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Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Mattress Pincushion

Remember when I showed you my WIP a little while ago and I had also said I was going to try a new type of finish for me ? Well, ta da... VOILA :-)

From one of the new Prairie Schooler charts, this one being called 'Rain Rain'. My Mum bought this when we went to The Needlework Show at Newcastle back in March. I knew straight away I had to borrow it from her to stitch for my lovely friend Colette who if you remember has made me 2 gorgeous Pinkeeps that I showed you on here . It reminded me of Colette with her little dog and I knew I wanted to do it 1/1 so it would be a bit more special and I thought the design was perfect for that. You might not believe looking at this but it took me 10 days of my time to stitch it!! It is just a bit bigger than these photos and with the design being quite cross intense I took my time so that it would look lovely and smooth. I gave the little lady a face as she didn't have one but I am not sure you can make it out? It was a bit difficult to photograph up close with it being so small. I did a simple design for the back to personalise it.

For the finishing I used the dark brown in the design for the backstitch outline so that the design would be 'framed' with layers of 'Warm & Natural' inside. I had this very thin green silk ribbon and it matched well with the grass so I have used it all round the edge with a little bow at the top. I couldn't decide if it looked better with the pins or without and thought maybe without... but I put some in to send it and Colette can decide herself :-))

My package actually crossed paths with a surprise one on its way to me from Colette...I was very kindly sent the gorgeous new French Redwork Book called 'ROUGE' and will definately be using it, Merci again Colette :))
Thank-you for all the visits and comments on the beautiful gift Becky made me they were so nice to read :)) I shall be back quite soon as I have some more things to share. More on that another time but for now Happy stitching and hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Oh WOW just look at this...

Here you can see this gorgeous scissor case that Becky has made as a gift for me :-))) I can't tell you how beautiful this is in real life and as for Becky's stitching, I can tell you it is ABSOLUTELY perfect. Every stitch is identical and honestly it is so neat you would think it had been printed !! There are many speciality stitches in this piece and some tiny pearl beads it really must have taken her hours and hours to do and I appreciate it so, so much :-)))

If you look below you can see how she has made the closure with the section of cutwork for the ribbon to be threaded through and the pretty heart crystal that the ribbon ties around when it is shut. I love heart shapes and it is a perfect match for the Rhodes Hearts that Becky has stitched on this. It is finished so neatly, (contrary to what Becky's own opinion is) and prettily. The size in real life is about the same as the top picture. I guess you all know by now how much I love dainty things :)

The colours are so fresh and spring-like and the lining fabric Becky has chosen is another perfect match, wait... it does not end here...see this next picture below? I was also sent these really pretty pink scissors along with their leather case that sit inside the case Becky made. I think you will all agree with me that this certainly lives up to its name of 'Simply Elegant Scissor Case'.

I thanked Becky yesterday when this arrived to me and it is so difficult to actually say in words just how touched I am by her kindness and how I feel very honoured to now own such a beautiful piece of Becky's needlework to display amongst my most treasured items. Infact I feel I am actually walking around in a bit of a daze lately as I am so stunned at the kindness that has been showered on me and I can honestly say I have got a nice warm feeling of happiness just now, so much so, I think I must be glowing... ;-))

Once again I will tell you Dear Becky that I LOVE IT and know it came from the heart and I thank-YOU from the bottom of mine xx

P.S. I forgot to picture the back...sorry!

Once more cheers for stopping by to visit my blog :-))

Sunday, 20 May 2007

First Steps...

Some of you know that my 8yr DD has a little blog for her first tentative steps into the world of stitching. I am so pleased as you would imagine that she is taking an interest in this hobby. I tend to leave her to herself as I do not want to force this on her...fearing that she will hate it. Her efforts are therefore few and far between but when she decides to do something it is always lovely :)) Her Gran (my Mum) can somehow manage to get DD to sew.....no, correction DD asks Gran if she can sew?? Seen as my Mum is a wonderful needlewoman she is only too pleased to oblige. The last weekends request from DD was for books to do designing and the sewing machine please!! Oh boy...she loves the sewing machine and now tells her Gran to go away as she can do it...lol!!

What you can see above is the result of DD's own designing...parts are entirely her own, a little bit from a book and definately her own colours and ideas. I think she is brilliant :) :) :) At the moment she has had 'enough' of evenweave linen and likes this Binca and the threads her Gran has left over from teaching needlework in a school, as she can see quick results...a girl after her mothers heart, don't you think ;-)) ...lol

Look and see that personalisation A to H...how cool is that from some-one who is 8 :)

Next, look down and take in this fab bow...goodness me...mine are not even that nice and I was proudly told that "Gran did not do it for me".

This next picture shows the fabric that was chosen for the back, DD knows that I hold our French stitching friends in such high regard for their talents, soooooo, look at what she chose!! This took her 4 and a half hours to do and apart from Gran turning it the other way out after it being machine sewed it was all her own work. Pretty cool huh!! DD made a few more things last weekend and when she gets the time (from her busy social life) she will update her blog and apparently she is going to do a tutorial of how to make a pillow on her blog for you all. Be sure to check in when she does so that you know you are doing them right ;-)))

Those that follow DD's stitching will be pleased to know that Mary Kirby is finished apart from about 4 stitches but I don't seem able to get her to do them...sigh ;-) Next up...Carol and Karen, she is making you a gift but don't hold your breath it might take 2 years to get to you the rate we are going, at least the thought is there ;-)) I have to pass a message on to you Carol..." I really like that lady with the cats" Her other favourites are Joanie with her horses and KiwiJo with her dogs :-)) Oh and Vero DD thinks you have the nicest blog of all :)) but she want hers to look like Becky's :-))

Thanks for calling by, I do appreciate your visits :-))

Have a great Sunday!!

Friday, 18 May 2007

Pinkeep Exchange Part 2 for me..

I got sent this lovely Pinkeep from Lisa (all the way from New Zealand) for the Needlework Smalls exchange on SBEBB. As you may know the design is by The Drawn Thread and is my first one of these designs. Lisa told me it was her first pinkeep finish but you would never know as it is so nicely made! I got sent some extra goodies with it too that I am so pleased with :))
Many thanks again Lisa, I think it is a beauty :))) I can't link you to Lisa's blog as I'm not actually sure if she has one?? As you can see the picture above is the front and below shows the fabric used for the back and it has gold sparkly chiffon ribbon with gold pins around it. It is light as a feather and I'm most curious to know what is inside it....hmmmmm??

What do you put inside your pinkeeps....cardboard? forms? padded mount board? which I have never found here yet acid free. Do you pad them out or not? Do you use self adhesive cardboard?? Lastly do you glue or stitch?? Seems like most people glue them whereas I stitch them but ladies...da da dah I bought some glue yesterday!!! Whether I use or not, I'm not sure but at least I have taken the first step and bought some now ;-))

Hope you all have fab weekends, not sure when I'm back as we are still decorating but it won't be too long......until then have fun and thanks for visiting :-))

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Pinkeep Exchange for Chris

Here is what I made for Chris for the Pinkeep exchange from SBEBB, it is a little shy about coming out of the case to reveal itself ;-))

Anyway with a bit of persuasion I managed to convine it that even though it is a bit different it was is very pretty and good enough to show itself to the world :) Now it has decided to come out of the case, it feels rather proud, as it knows it is totally unique and therefore it is a little bit special!

It wanted you to see that yes, it is indeed a pinkeep and to show you its tiny silver pins that are in every flower around its edge ;) It was feeling a little plain as its pins were so small and I had to tell it it did not suit the big headed ones as it looked pretty enough on its own :)

Now it is feeling much more confident and it is doing a twirl for you ladies ;-) so you can see the little pocket it has on its back to hold a secret surprise which is a needle threader. It was a little unsure about its button but it was handpicked my by DD as the flower went with the fabric so it decided it would wear it with pride!!

Now it wants me to tell you all about it ;-) My partner Chris has a name on the BB of 'Brown Tabby' I do not know alot about Chris other than she is a very caring lady who has a great love of cats. I had nothing in my stash appropriate for a cat lovers Pinkeep so after a bit of thought whilst mopping the kitchen floor inspiration came to me. This inspiration was a picture that came into my head that I instantly drew very quickly onto the cover of my cheque book incase I forgot it. Later that day I got my pencil and graph paper out and created my own design from the quick doodle I had done. This is totally from my own head and not an adaption from other designers charts even down to the numbers. I like to use speciality stitches and nice threads so this little design is stitched with Caron Waterlilies and Au Ver A Soie silk threads on Wichelt 36ct flax linen. I have used one strand throughout the whole design. The numbers and initials are stitched 1/1 it has 8 sided Eyelets above the year numbers with Algerian eyelets on the right hand side. The heart is filled in with Satin Stitch and double backstitch rows above that. I was really pleased with the result and had alot of fun in creating this and choosing the colours. I did make little adaptions with the colours and layout as I was stitching it to get it right. I put the pocket on the back as I have seen them on some of your pinkeeps and think they look nice and had wanted to try one for myself. I chose a pretty spring like fabric with cats on (of course) for the contrasting reverse side. And now I guess you all want to know the name of my design?? Have you guessed yet.....no!! Then I shall tell you it is 'Brown Tabby' as, if I hadn't got Chris's name, then this maybe would never have been created :-)))I am most pleased to know she loves her exchange piece from me......phew!! I hope you like looking at it to :-))

I am glad you like my photos of Wales and the wee stitching shop I visited thank-you for telling me and once again thank-you for dropping by :)

I'll hopefully be back soon until then Happy Stitching and blogging!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Beautiful Wales

Look where I have been this weekend for 4 days.............I am tricking you it wasn't all at this lovely little stitching shop! We were on our way to our holiday weekend when I asked DH if we could make a 'd'ear-tour to The Nimble Thimble, this is a shop owned by Chris a lady I have got to know through going to several stitching shows. This is in a beautiful location at Llangedwyn Mill in Llangedwyn which is near Oswestry. We made it to the shop just in time and I was so glad we did, this may be a small shop but it is packed to the brim and one of our 'best' of the very few we have here in the UK. I especially wanted to visit this shop as Chris stocks the Shepherds Bush kits that I love so much. I got myself 3 gorgeous SB kits and DD 2 little SB kits that have the 10ct Tula in them, a small cut of vintage 32ct linen and 2 GAST threads. I would have loved to get much more but I spent quite a bit on what I did get so thought I had better not seen as we were on the way there not back!! I have definately seen some other things I now have my eye on for next time.

I expect you US ladies have never seen such a small stitching shop...lol, this is Chris behind her counter and straight ahead from the door is the SB, DT LH, CCN section. I was in drooling heaven...on the wall from them to the door frame were loads of kits and charts. The table you can just see to the right of the doorway is full of charts, every variety you can think of. There is another shelved section after the front window with kits and charts, the floor area has a wooden clothes airer with afghans etc all beautifully hanging from it, then there is the shelves full of threads and then linens leading up to the counter. The WDW and GAST and Caron threads are on little stands that you can maybe just make out near to the counter area. There are also little baskets dotted about with small SB kits and Sweetheart Tree kits with the walls covered in tempting beautifully stitched pictures :-)) I liked!!

Moving on from there as it was sadly closing time and I had spent up for the day we next came to this beautiful view even in the rain we were driving through. This is a view of Snowdonia National Park. I cannot tell you just how beautiful Wales actually is, I am truely in love with the place :))) I have been when I was a child but knowing me I was asleep on Su's lap as I used to be terribly travel sick, so cannot really remember it from then ! As you can see even through a rainy car window driving along it looks beautiful.

On from there and the beautiful scenery all the way, we eventually came to this... which is just before you drive into Porthmadog town.

The specially built and very beautiful village of Portmeirion (where the Pottery is from) is in the same location and is definately worth a visit. Very, very pretty!!

At the place we stayed it was right on the coast again a very beautiful location, this was our first holiday of this type in a holiday camp. Superb for families with actually a bit 'too' much to do so we did out best. There was a boating lake that housed Swans :) we got a picture of this one with her signets, they were so sweet. We went to the huge swimming zone which has wave pools , flumes and slides. We went Go-Carting which was a laugh as DD was getting cross with me for going so slow but my feet hardly reached the pedals so I could not go fast! We went bowling amongst other things, out for meals and really had a fun packed time.

I personally was made to feel very welcome in Wales as you can see in this collage below ;-) Many of you know my real name is Helen so I was tickled to see it all over and just had to take pictures as that is not something you see everyday :-))

I was most impressed by how 'Welsh' Wales is...everything is in Welsh first including road work signs then English and they are all bi-lingual right down to the toddlers and I thought it was great. Welsh flags are swaying from such alot of houses and it felt so incredibly miles away from England in one sense as it is so different but similar in another of course but definately a lovely surprise in the ways it is different. Here is Caernafon Castle we visited on Saturday which is in Caernarfon this is the sight you see as you drive into the town.

This is the Castle from the other side for a better view of the massive turrets which are on the far left of the picture above. This must be the biggest castle I have ever seen in my life up to now and I have visited a good number of them!!

All in all a wonderful weekend, I am totally worn out and need another holiday to recover ;-)) Mainly because these pesky seagulls were having a disco on our roof ALL night long I think!! Noisy little things they kept waking me up...so I am extremely tired but happy :-))

Lastly but not least on our way home to England we called in a historic Chester, it is a fabulous city with a huge Cathedral and the heart of the town has all the shops built into the original tudor buildings. It is quite unlike anywhere else in England... the nearest it is remotely like is hmmmm.......maybe York..... but really York is quite different again so they cannot really be compared. Here I am with my hands full ;-) charging off way ahead of DH, as usual......he walks so slow, or is it I walk so fast!!?? ;-)

Most of the pictures were taken through the car window as it rained quite a bit in true British fashion but I think you can still make them out OK :-)) I didn't get alot of stitching done in Wales as it was a busy long weekend but my next postings should be of the Pinkeep exchange. Mine should surely be arriving as it is over a week ago it was sent and I have yet to receive mine. I am so sorry I have not had time to catch up with all the blogs of you lovely ladies who leave me a comment, there are just not enough hours in my days. I won't be able to do alot of blog commenting just now either as we are having our house decorated so I shall be very busy for a while with the upheaval of that and trying to fit a bit of stitching into my day if I can somewhere along the busy line ;-) I do thank-you all for coming to my blog, it is great to 'see' you all.

Take care all and enjoy your week...until next time :-))

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Little Treasure

I'm back a bit sooner than I had thought ;-) because.........

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WOW..... just look at this beautiful little treasure I have had sent to me as a gift :-))) This gorgeous little beauty has been sent to me by an Italian blogging friend just because she wanted to send me a little stitching present!! I really don't know what I have done to deserve such kindness but I am absolutely delighted with it and this is my first ever Biscornu :-)))

I am told it is a design by Giulia Punti Antichi so this makes it 100% an authentic Italian gift!! Wait...have you seen the back?? If you look closely you can see the pattern is actually made up of H's :-D and look at all the beads that so prettily finish the edge! This surely is an elegant little treasure, tiny, dainty (just as I love) and perfectly made.

I bet you all want to know who is my mystery gift sender with a heart of gold and the hands of a stitching fairy?? ......Well, I won't make you wait anymore...the super kind lady who has made my day is 'Paola' :-))) If you go here you can see more of her beautiful stitching and finishing she is a very talented lady :-))) Thank-you so much again Paola you have made me so very happy and I really do 'love it' and will treasure it always :-D

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See you all again soon and thanks for visiting...have a great weekend with happy stitching :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Gift Number 3 for Barbara

Yay!!! At last Barbara's little gift has arrived, it had departed the same time as the others and has taken 8 days to get over to The Netherlands. Just shows you can never tell with the mail ;-)

Barbara...I thought was going to be my tricky one to choose for as we have quite different taste! I really wanted to do her something she would like but so that it would still have a bit of me about it, if you know what I mean? Whilst looking about for inspiration I suddenly remembered she had left a comment on Carols blog the other week about a fob Carol had made saying she has wanted to stitch it for herself forever. Now as you know I had my Brightneedle 'Small Samplings' book right next to me already and was so pleased to see this little design was in there too.

This design is called 'Bunny Hop' and again it is stitched on 40ct linen which I coffee dyed before stitching on this time. I finished it very simply as for one it suits it that way and for two I don't think Barbara is into fussy bits and bobs too much ;-) I did add a little bow shown here below because I had to... seen as it was from me!! But, it is not stitched on and I really don't mind if it is not to Barbara's liking she can just slide it off.

For the back I have stitched our initials 1/1 and I was a bit unsure about Barbara's surname as she must be 'posh' ;-) and has a 'double-barreled' one! However the first one starts with 'C' so I went for that. I did a couple of rows of backstitch picking colours out that were used on the front, to give the back a bit of life. This is my first fob that I have finished as fobs should? be finished with the backstitched then whipstitched edges and I love how it turned out, my cold and thumping head had an improvement by the time I got to this one ;-) It is really tiny only about 1 inch square.

Finally below below is a piccy of the 3 THANK-YOU gifts before I changed the one for Von. So once again thank-you all 3 ladies and thank-you to all of my blog visitors you really make blogging much more worthwhile and I have had such lovely comments from you all lately and do really appreciate them :))

Have a great weekend everyone I'm away for this one and I will be back soon as my Pinkeep for the exchange should be arriving fairly soon :-)))

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Gift Number 2 for Von

Aha..............the infamous gift number 2...lol !! A very pleased Von let me know her gift made it to her in record time, I think it only took 3 days from the UK to US!! Wow, I was impressed...go Royal Mail :-)
For Von I had set out to make her something that would look quite elegant as I thought that would suit her taste. I liked the Drawn Thread freebie that my sister had stitched the other week so I decided to do that for Von with a nice beaded tassel. I used my own selection of threads, a Caron thread being used for the flowers and it is stitched on 40ct cream. I did enjoy stitching this little one but this is the one that I was not satisfied with the finish that you read about below. On the back I had stitched our initials 1/1. In view of that and because I made her something else that I was more happy with... I decided to send her the fob anyway... along with her 'proper' gift, as it would have been a shame to just throw it away!! I am really pleased I did as Von is delighted with it and her eye is much kinder than my eye about my own work as she says she can't see what I am talking about and that she likes how it looks being flatter than intended :-))) If I do this one again I will backstitch the outline then whip stitch it together as it is a funny shape to keep spot on with every corner matching.

After that I re-looked through my stash and found my Brightneedle 'Small Samplings' book that contains their previous free charts. I knew when I looked at 'Dearest Friend' I had found the perfect chart :-)) Those of you who know Von through the blogs will know she is a 'dear blogging friend' and very supportive with always a nice word to say and even if your blog is not very well known she always leaves a comment and takes a genuine interest in what you are doing! I have wanted to stitch this for some-one for a long time and now I had the perfect opportunity.
I know as well as cross-stitch and hardanger multi-talented Von does alot of smocking and machine sewing so I decided a pincushion finish was the best option. I had originally stitched this on the stated colour 45ct linen with all the stated threads, I did like how soft the colours were but I wanted to use a piece of the silk that I had got from Harrogate and some genuine French lace for the finishing and try to create an antique type of look. The silk was quite a warm cream and slightly too bright for the whiteish colour linen and it all looked as if it would be a bit crisp and new looking. I then decided to take a big risk having not done it before.....and coffee dye the stitched piece and some silk along with the lace for the finishing at the same time. Into my pan it went for 10 minutes. With bated breath I poured it into my sieve than gave it a good rinse. I was very pleased with the colour so I gave it all a quick handwash and ironed it dry. I wanted to make a tiny bolster type of pincushion and with a removable outside cover so it could be washed in the future. I made a little calico bolster pillow that I filled with fresh pine wood shavings that I had got from Preston Hall Museum. There is an old fashioned street there but one of the shops is occupied by a toymaker who makes mainly old fashioned rocking horses. I know from reading about antique needlework items that pincushions were quite often filled with wood shavings or sawdust as it gets called here. For the outer cover I machine sewed the silk and the lace onto each side of the stitched piece and used the original cream colour silk for the back as it went beautifully with the new coffee coloured front. I handsewed on the beads to each corner and then handsewed the edge to close it once the calico bolster was inside. I was really very pleased with how this turned out as I achieved the look I wanted just a simple pincushion with an antique elegant air to it :-))

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Gift Number 1 for Nicki

The other day Nicki let me know that the gift I sent her as a wee thank-you for her comments to my blog had arrived :-) I know that Nicki is very fond of red and that she likes alphabets so I decided to copy the alphabet from the beautiful Pinkeep Colette sent me but do it in a red shade. I have stitched this on 40ct raw linen that I got from the Needlework show at Newcastle in March, I can't remember the shade of red that I used now but I chose it as it went so well with the linen colour and the ribbon I wanted to use. I used couch stitch again to hold the ribbon in place...remember my fear of glue ;-/ and simple pearl coloured pins. I did try bright red pins as I know Nicki loves bright red but they didn't quite blend in.

Pinkeep Front

For the back...I had a briliant idea at about midnight on the night I was finishing it to use a tiny piece of Lene Bjerre net lace fabric I had for the back. I have stitched our initials and the date onto it too. I love how the rose and trailing leaves look but I could not get a 'perfect' finish to it as the tiny piece of net fabric was not quite big enough to tuck in. However it does look neat even though it would not tuck in and I think it looks just a little bit different. This was the first of my little gifties that I made. I know that Von's has arrived so I will put that on my blog next time:-)

Pinkeep Back

Hope you are all having a nice weekend, we are lucky and have a Bank Holiday here tomorrow :-))) Thank-you again for stopping by to visit my blog, I think I am 'about' caught up with everybody again and I must say there are some fantastic pieces of work in all of your blogs. I have been looking at all of yours so much that all I have got done this past week is my Pinkeep for the exchange but I am happy with how that has turned out and it is now on its way. My days clock on by so quickly but I have set myself a challenge...on Becky's blog this past week she stitched and finished a lovely little basket in a morning!! I am going to see if I can get my little snip basket done on morning this coming week, some hope I have but I can daydream of being 'Miss Speedy Needle' ;-))

A quick thing I wanted to let you know about is Carol has set up a new blog to showcase stitched freebie designs. this is a brilliant idea as it is sooo much better to see them in colour and brilliant to see them as a finish. Anyone can join in so pop over there and have a look.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Happy Birthday Marsha

Today is Marsha's our cats Birthday she is 2 years old now. I like this picture which I took the day I was photographing the exchange from Cathy. Don't worry the stitched piece was very quickly moved and came to no harm what so ever as she was too sleepy! She does sometimes decide to lay amongst my 'prop' selection that I might use...lol

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