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Why should you learn how to cross stitch?

Hi Everyone

Have you been contemplating learning to cross stitch but used some of the following reasons not to try it?

  • It’s too hard…
  • That’s what my grandma/elderly relative did…
  • I don’t have the time for it…
  • Isn’t it expensive?
  • I tried it and it’s just not for me…
  • It’s too girly…
  • I don’t have the patience for it…

Some of these reasons may be legitimate and you may have found your creative outlet that fits within your lifestyle. I hope this is the case if cross stitch is legitimately not for you.

However…if you have used any of the above excuses and not really given cross stitch a go, here are some reasons why you should!

1. You’re stuck in your head

You may also be thinking that there are so many other things that are great stress relievers. Some legal…some not so legal. Running for example is a great way to get rid of any excess energy you may have caused by so many different things. At the moment, my muscles are giving me grief, so it’s causing me more grief than what it should be. But humour me for a moment and lets say your chosen physical exercise has helped you as much as it can for today. But you’re still feeling stressed or anxious and you don’t want to undo all of the awesome work you’ve done with your physical release. This is where cross stitch comes into play.

2. It’s as time consuming as you want it to be

When was the last time you learnt something new that wasn’t because of work or because you had to, rather because you wanted to? Also, how long are you expecting cross stitch to take? Are you wanting to complete a project in one sitting or are you wanting it to take some time to see the end result?

Depending on who you talk to, some people may argue that they find it a hassle to get it out of the spot they store it when they’re not working on it. Depending on what your home situation is like, the amount of space you have and the size of your project, I can understand why it will seem like a hassle. My counter argument is how big is your project and is there a smaller project you could be working on that doesn’t require as much space?

When you next remember to, have a look around your home and see if there’s a corner or space that you can setup a space for yourself to stitch in. If you have a dedicated space, it may make it easier for you to sit down there and spend as much time as you have available there.

3. You can be as extroverted or introverted as you like

Our current climate is making life a bit difficult with catching up with people and doing anything fun. If you’re needing human interaction, there are numerous forums on a broad range of platforms that enable you to engage with fellow cross stitchers. Some of these forums include:

  • Virtual Stitchers (YouTube)
  • Cross Stitch Forum – Facebook
  • Cross Stitch Australia – Facebook
  • Cross Stitch Addicts – Facebook
  • Cross Stitch Unlimited – Facebook
  • Stitch Maynia – Facebook

Also, check out the related reads at the end of this post for some more suggestions.

4. It’s an opportunity to feel good

When was the last time you created something from scratch and felt good about the end result? You may have cooked a meal by following a recipe, repurposed some furniture or painted a room. It may have involved a bit of hard work because you may not have done it before or it took a bit of elbow grease. But in the end, it came out pretty good. That’s what cross stitch can be like. When you’re stitching, you are creating something out of nothing and giving a space some new life. When you have finished a page or section in the pattern that may have been challenging or the entire project, it feels really good because you persevered and achieved something.

5. It’s only as hard as you make it – stitch what you like

When you’re learning to do anything, at first it can seem daunting. Cross stitch patterns can look confusing with all of their different symbols and colour combinations. But it has evolved so much since you last saw someone doing it that technology has joined the party. Some designers use coloured squares in conjunction with the symbols to help stitchers clearly see the pattern and what colours go where.

When you have found a pattern that you really want to stitch, you will be amazed by how quickly you get through it. Or at least how often you find yourself wanting to stitch it if you’ve chosen to stitch a huge project! I have certainly found over the years that if I’m really not feeling the love for a project, it becomes a chore and I don’t really want to work on it any more.

Then there’s the app Pattern Keeper. If you have chosen a pattern that’s compatible with this app, it will make your life so much easier with reading the pattern and keeping track of where you are.

But wait…there’s more!

These reasons for why you should try cross stitch is just the tip of the iceberg. My aim with this post was to add to what so many awesome people have already written about and I’ve tried to keep this post as light hearted as possible.

To me, cross stitch is a way of being creative when I have the time and getting out of my head and focusing on just one thing – the pattern and what colour I’m going to stitch next. It doesn’t always work. I still have times when I’m still stuck in my head because my thoughts are getting to me and I need to talk to someone. Which is why I love being able to catch up face to face or virtually with like minded family and friends who enjoy stitching as much as I do. It’s also good to talk to someone if your thoughts are becoming too hard to handle on your own and you’ve done as much as you can in a health and safe way.

Also, cross stitch is just one of the many different creative avenues that people can use to be creative. Check out the related reads below to see a bit more about how cross stitch may be able to help you find your creative side.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related reads:

Posted in Uncategorized

Can you get a grant for cross stitch?

Hi Everyone

At the end of June this year, it came to my attention that if I were part of a community group, organisation or on my own (as long as it was not to make money), I could apply for a grant from my local government that could be used for improving the mental health of my community! This particular grant I have in mind, is specific to the current pandemic and wave of infections we’re all trying to avoid.

But it got me thinking…aside from the Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants Program, what other grants are available for the creative arts that can assist with our current environment, let alone the creative arts generally speaking?

Artwork Archive Complete Guide to 2020 Artist Grants & Opportunities

This site is amazing! The Artwork Archive have listed all of the grants and opportunities that they consider to the be the best for artists who are needing a helping hand in some shape or form. The opportunities are from around the world and some are specific to people who are living in a specific area, region or country and in some circumstances, the type of art that’s being done. The list is in order of deadline date and I think is worth checking out!

Advance-Africa – 1000+ Artist Grants and Opportunities

This site lists a looong list of creative grants and opportunities – over 1000 as the heading says – that are connected to Africa. They also have scholarships and volunteer options for different areas of Africa.

VicArts Grants – Creative Victoria

This site is a little closer to home for me because it’s Victoria, Australia. This grant, like many of the others in this post are for a variety creative arts. Ranging from theatre productions to concerts to art installations such as sculptures and paintings.

Just the tip of the iceberg

The grants mentioned in this post are just a sample of the huge variety grants out there. If you’re having trouble deciding on what grant to apply for, here are a few things to consider:

  • Why are you applying for the grant?
  • What are you going to use it for?
  • How is it going to help you?
  • What are the conditions with the grant?
  • Is it the right grant for you?
  • Is it possible for it to benefit others as well?
  • What work do you need to do to prepare for the grant?
  • How are you going to prove you’ve used the grant the way you said you would?

There are a lot of questions and potentially more that you may need to ask yourself and others who may be involved.

How do you apply for a grant?

This depends greatly upon what type of grant you’re applying for and why. Some grants may require you to submit a portfolio of your work to prove your abilities and how you may use the grant. Others may require you to provide the panel or board with a cover sheet or series of forms similar to a job application.

The awesome thing is that there are numerous websites and guides on how to apply for grants. The related links section provides you with some links to sites that can help you with this process. Additionally, the sites you go to, to apply for the grant of your choice will have supporting documents on what criteria you need to meet to be considered for the grant.

You have successfully received a grant! Now what?

If I were prepared for it, I would apply for the grant I mentioned at the start of this post. It would be used to try and bring my local community together to hang out and do cross stitch and learn how to do cross stitch. Some of the funds could go towards gift cards for people to use to purchase the supplies they need to start or complete a project. Whilst other funds could go towards gift vouchers for people to purchase food and drink from local cafes that they can eat and drink whilst stitching.

But that’s what I would do. Have you successfully received a grant? What did you do with it? How did it help you?

Until next time,

Happy stitching!

Related Links:

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How do you do your fandom cross stitch?

Hi Everyone,

There are a variety of ways we can celebrate our favourite movies, artists, songs, sporting teams, athletes and characters by creating bookmarks, quotes with beautiful borders and immortalizing through portraits to name a few. What’s inspired this post is some digital patterns I’ve recently purchased from Tilton Crafts Cross Stitch and Heaven and Earth Designs.

Where to get your fandom cross stitch

Who or what do you want to immortalise? When I’ve done some Google searches to see what’s out there, I’ve loved seeing the wide variety of options out there. I’ve found cute little caricatures of characters from popular television shows, famous musicians, sports stars and even your own family members and pets! Then there’s been the logos of various sports teams from various football codes, athletics, fishing, hockey (field and ice) and most other sports you can think of – let alone the action shots that go with those sports.

Full Coverage, realistic

Once you know this, you can then figure out how you want it to look. I prefer to have my fandom projects to look as much like the character or person as possible. This usually means that the project will be solid with at least some confetti stitching. An example of this is one of the patterns I purchased from Tilton Crafts cross stitch pattern of Robin Williams:

Cross Stitch Chart by Tilton Crafts, adapted from art by Emily Stepp
“Soccer Mom” designed by Jane Wooster Scott, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs

If you like this style of fandom, it’s definitely worth checking out their website to see what else they have!

Cartoons and smaller pieces

The less detailed the piece, the easier and quicker it is to stitch. But it can also mean a lot more back-stitch to give the detail it needs. I’ve found so many pieces on Etsy by many talented designers, heaps of different fandom cross stitch designs that will hopefully fit with your preferences.

HardKnotLife Studio for example, has a store on Etsy and they have created a beautiful cross stitch pattern based upon a watercolour picture of the four main characters of ‘The Wizard of Oz’:

‘Watercolour Wizard of Oz’ by HardKnotLife Studio

If monochrome is more your style, you may like the next example by PitbullAndFish who also have a store on Etsy and have designed the following pattern titled ‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’:

‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’ by PitbullAndFish on Etsy

The great thing with this type of pattern is that you can stitch it on whatever colour fabric you want and use whatever colour thread you want. For example, you might choose to stitch it on orange fabric with black thread, white fabric with variegated thread or any combination you want.

Samplers and getting wordy

Do you have a favourite quote from a movie, song, television show, sports commentator or something you heard or saw but you’re not sure who said it? This is where subversive cross stitch comes into play. The Clouds Factory for example, have some great patterns they have created based upon quotes from movies such as ‘V is for Vendetta’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Doctor Who’ and the rules from the ‘Gremlins’.

Alternatively, stitching iconic logos/emblems and images from your favourite show/movie/sport etc. with a few words are a great way to express your fandom. SewMarieStudio for example, is another store on Etsy that does just this and below are some examples of their awesome work:

How would you celebrate your fandom?

If you weren’t able to find any patterns that suited what you’re after, would you create your own fandom pattern? I’ve certainly considered doing this with some of the shows I love watching and converting some of the images I’ve found on the Internet to cross stitch patterns. I haven’t done anything yet and it would be for my own personal use. I would have no intention of re-creating the patterns for sale to make money.

What would you stitch to express your fandom?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related links:

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How many secrets does your cross stitch hold?

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all well.

As I’m writing this post, it’s Mother’s Day in Australia and restrictions are starting to be lifted a bit more and we’re starting to get some more normality back to our lives! If all goes well, hopefully by the end of July/early August, life will be as close to normal pre-pandemic as possible.

As a result of staying home a lot more, I’ve been trying to catch up on a lot of the Flosstube clips people have been posting and it’s been really nice seeing what people are working on and how they’re going. When I was partly watching and listening to a Flosstube clip, the person at the time said something that I thought was quite interesting and quirky. They are not a fan fudging their stitching. If they make a mistake in their stitching, they’ll frog it (undo the stitches) and re-stitch the correct amount. Because to this person, they see fudging a project as a form of lying and being dishonest. To me, this is admirable. They have the patience and integrity to correct their mistakes.

The biggest ‘secret’ of them all

Nearly every project I’ve worked on and finished has at least one mistake in it and I haven’t been bothered to fix it for various reasons. The biggest mistake I’ve made on a project has been quite recently and I’m contemplating whether or not to do anything about it. Below is the project that I’ve made the biggest mistake and when I realised what my mistake was, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and wonder why I hadn’t picked up on it sooner! Can you see the mistakes I’ve made?

I can’t remember what the fabric count is. I used DMC’s varigated thread to stitch the project and the pattern was from …

The picture on the left is the finished project. The centre picture show mistake 1 and 2. The picture on the right shows mistake 3. When I was stitching this project – specifically the border, I made the novice mistake of rotated or turned the project based upon which side of the border I’m working on. So the picture on the right will show you that the direction of my stitches on the border is a different direction to the stitches in the centre of the project. You may also notice that the direction of my stitches at the top of the project (the centre picture) is different again and the width of the border is one row less than the other 3 sides. That’s because of my first mistake. When I started stitching the centre of the project, I had started it a row lower than I should have, which has thrown out the balance of how many rows I needed to stitch for the top of the border. If the rest of my stitches had been okay and the direction they should I have been, I could have added an extra row and some extra stitches to balance the border out.

How many secrets can a project hold?

If we don’t tell each other what our mistakes are and have a comparison picture of what it should be, does that make it a secret? Alternatively, if we show each other what we’ve done and show each other what it should look like, does it then become a ‘Where’s Wally?’ / find the mistake puzzle?

With my first HAED – ‘Moon Lit Waters’ that I’m working on, it will hold the largest amount of secrets and I’m totally okay with it! For anyone who’s been following my progress with this project, will know that it’s been a very slow work in progress! Over the last couple of years or so, I’ve been able to complete three pages and I’m starting on my fourth. The pictures below show my current progress, what it will look like at the end and the comparison shot of the cover sheet as a comparison of where I’m at:

Just before Stitch Maynia started, I downloaded the Moon Lit Waters pattern onto the Pattern Keeper app. I needed to purchase the PDF pattern to easily and honestly onto the app, as I’ve been working on the paper copy for too long and the edges are too awkward to send through the scanner.

One thing I had not anticipated or expected with this PDF is the updates and changes that the team at HAED and the associated artists have made to the pattern. I love that they have incorporated the new colours that DMC have released and I’m looking forward to incorporating those colours into the project when I get to it. What had me cursing and swearing as I was trying to figure out where I’m at on the pattern and marking off what I’ve completed. The symbols on the paper pattern have changed a little in comparison to the digital pattern and it means that I’m going to be doing a lot more fudging to make it all work!

When I’m done with the project, it will be for my sister and because of the nature of HAED’s, the odd colour being mis-stitched to me is not a big deal. I know that there are a lot of mistakes and fudging happening with the project and I’m okay with that. I’m going to continue using Pattern Keeper with this project because of the confetti in it and there being well over 100 different colours for it!

Now that I’ve rambled a bit about Moon Lit Waters and some of my challenges with it, have you found some of the secrets my stitching holds?

If you’re able to see any of the secrets, I am in awe of your eye sight! I know for certain where some of the secrets are, but my memory has faded a bit with what the exact secrets are. I’d like to think that I’ve blended them in well enough with the rest of the project, that it hasn’t thrown the intended design off at all.

What secrets do your projects hold?

As a stitcher, would you go back and fix it all up or would you leave it? Also, how honest are you with your stitching? At what point do draw the line and allow the mistake to remain in your project and you try to work around it?

Related reads:

Posted in Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized

The Joys of More Stitching. What are you gaining?

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all doing as well as you can at the moment. As I’m writing this post, it’s Good Friday and it’s been raining steadily for a few hours and it’s wonderful! I’m loving the sound of the rain and knowing that there’s barely a breeze to blow it all away. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting a range of 8 to 20 millimetres of rain! This is where I’m so thankful to be home to enjoy the rain, have Flosstube playing on the tv, be surrounded with my cross stitch stuff and be writing this post.

Meanwhile, by the time I publish this post, we will have experienced Easter and Australia and New Zealand will have celebrated/commemorated Anzac Day on Saturday 25th April. It will have been the first Anzac Day that Australian’s and New Zealander’s will not have been able to have special dawn services and parades that are typically held at National/State and Territory memorials. Many people however, chose to stand in their driveways with candles to hear the last post and special service being played online.

Technology

I have a love hate relationship with technology. It has made life 10 times easier for many of us until it stops working and something breaks! When technology is working, I love that I can still talk with friends and family over the phone or by using apps such as Skype and Zoom. Technology enables me to find out what’s happening around me without actually getting out there and “getting my hands dirty”. There’s a time and place for that and Bear Gryles will always be in the back of my mind when it happens!

Technology also means that I can catch up on what’s happening in the world of cross stitch. You Tube and similar applications has for many years, been a fantastic platform for all crafters to share with each other what we’re working on, what we’ve learnt and how to do things. Flosstube has also helped me come across so many other designers that I otherwise would not have known about, based upon my own interests and Google searches. Because of Flosstube, my stitching collection will continue to grow and I’m going to need a number of companies and individuals to sponsor me so that I can stitch on all of the things full time!

Things I want to stitch because of Flosstube…

Because of Flosstube, I want to stitch:

  • Many of the Halloween patterns from Autumn Lane Stitchery (available on Etsy);
  • Sky Blue Street by Soda Stitch Canada;
  • all of the colourful cats by Kitty and Me Designs (available on Etsy);
  • Fight Like a Girl by Tanya Amity;
  • Halloween Night by Alena Koshkina;
  • Fright Night by Lewis T Johnson; and
  • Colourful Zebras by Artecy Cross Stitch.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There’s still so many more I want to stitch that many Flosstubers have shown and talked about. Let alone the numerous patterns I have had in my collection for years that I haven’t started yet and the projects I’m currently working on!

Nature

I’ve always had an appreciation for nature and what it can offer – even though it’s a struggle to get me out there at times! If I can’t leave my home or I don’t want to venture too far, I love being able to sit out in my backyard and enjoy the sunshine. Or on days like today, I love being able to sit hear the window and listen to and watch the rain coming down nice and steadily. Also, without nature, I wouldn’t have some of the beautiful photographs I have on my walls. More broadly speaking, as cross stitchers, we wouldn’t have some of the beautiful projects to work on that have been inspired by amazing landscapes, animals and gardens the world has to offer.

Right here, right now

Mindfulness has been a big thing for many years and is more important now than it has ever been. What are you thankful for right now? What did go right for you today? Do you have a roof over your head? Some warm blankets and a comfortable bed? Do you have running water – hot and cold – and food in your pantry? Do you feel comfortable in the clothes you’re wearing right now? What sounds can you hear right now?

These are a lot of questions, but ones that I ask my self a lot and very similar ones as I’m putting one foot back into reality, to test the waters and remind myself that life is still pretty good!

My other ‘right here, right now’ moments tend to come when I’m going for walks with my boyfriend or I’m sitting out in the backyard or generally chilling out at home. I’m really lucky to live near some bush land and we have kookaburra or family of them that lives nearby. Some days we can hear the kookaburra laughing away or we’ve spotted it as part of our walks around the block. We also have a number of houses around the neighbourhood who have dogs and early in the morning or early evening (the typical witching hours!), the dogs will have a howling session. It’s awesome! The howling sessions always make my boyfriend and I laugh and it reminds me of my family’s Jack Russell, Russell. In Russell’s younger years, I would get to have a howling session with him whenever I arrived home at my parents farm or would head out there to visit. If Holly the Blue Heeler was around, she would join in and howl along too. These sessions would always make us laugh and howl along with them.

Dream on

Many years ago I use to dream about what I would do if I won the lottery. Like many people, I would have done the standard things like travelling, buying a house, sharing it with family and friends and make some donations.

Now, I still dream of travelling, but it involves taking a year or so off work to do it and road tripping to many parts of Australia I’ve never been to or I want to see again. I’ll still have my moments of wanting to hibernate and needing a few days to recharge the batteries. Which will work out perfectly, because that would enable my boyfriend to go fishing and I can get a bucket load of cross stitch done.

Saving time and money

As much as I miss the freedom at the moment to be allowed to go out and do whatever I want (within reason), I am not missing the journey I have to take to get to work and paying for parking. On average, I pay $39 per week for parking and however much money it is for fuel consumption and the general wear and tear my car experiences when I drive it. Additionally, I’m not missing what my imagination does to me when I’m walking through Civic when it’s dark to get to the gym. In my mind, I worry about people jumping out at me from the shadows and being assaulted in whichever shape it may be. Civic is the centre of Canberra and a central location for many homeless and low income people to be, because of the services that are available to them. Towards the end of the working week, Civic is also known to be the location for people to go to unwind, catch up with friends at the pub or a food place. So, early Thursday or Friday mornings at Civic can be an interesting place to navigate (especially in the warmer months) because of the number of people recovering from the night before. Being a short female, and keeping an eye out for potential dangers isn’t fun! I’ve been lucky to not be severely impacted by this. I have had the occasional encounter with someone asking me for money and they’ve been good when I’ve told them I don’t have any on me.

That said, as you can see in the image above, Civic can be pretty at night if you forget about any of the dangers that the location may have. For about a week each year, we have an event called Night Fest, that encourages people to come out at night and experience Civic and nearby locations under different lights.

Because of this stress, time and money saving, I’m able to sleep in a bit and go for more shorter walks with my boyfriend and we’re able to meet in the kitchen for tea/coffee and lunch.

What about you? What are some of the things you’re happy to be missing out on? What have you been able to do as a result of what’s happening at the moment?

Until next time…

Happy Stitching!

Related Reads:

Posted in Uncategorized

Digital versus Stitched Pattern Cover Sheets… Does it matter?

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all going well. I’ve been working from home for the last two weeks or so and I’m finding that I’m not as inclined to be in front of the computer as much. I’m also finding that I don’t even want to go near my craft room unless I’m working now. But I digress…

I’ve been watching a bit of flosstube and I’ve fallen in love with Autumn Lane Stitchery. Cassandra and her husband Aaron are awesome. Aaron’s the designer of all of their patterns that are available on their Etsy store. I absolutely love all of the Halloween themed designs they have and I’m keen to start stitching some of them when we get closer to October! Below is one of their recent flosstube episodes to give you a bit of a taste what they’re like.

Autumn Lane Stitchery Flosstube episode 5 – Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2020

One of the things that I’ve been mulling over for a while now, and Autumn Lane Stitchery have reminded me of this question – how important it is for the project cover sheet to be stitched?

Digital Cover Sheets

I’d never really thought about it too much until Java Girl Stitches talked about one of the patterns she stitched by Shannon Christine Designs (two examples are shown below that I’ve purchased).

From a design and small business perspective, I understand that it may not be possible for businesses to pay someone to stitch a model, or wait for the model to be stitched before the patterns are released . I’ve also found that from stitching perspective, if the cover image is really cool, then I won’t care if it’s not been stitched. I’m placing enough trust in the designer to convey the way the finished picture is meant to look, that I’ll purchase the pattern and stitch it.

A similar thing can be said about photos that have been converted to cross stitch. On some of the social media groups I’m part of, some people have shared their progress of projects from photos and they look really good! Jan Hicks is one example, where she has converted some of her travel photos to cross stitch patterns – aka Jan Hicks Creates. Other examples include Cross Stitch Collectibles and Mystic Stitch. The images below are from the Mystic Stitch website.

Stitched cover sheet

For the majority of the time I’ve been stitching, I’ve only known cover sheets to have a stitched image on it. For example, below is the cover of a pattern that’s currently in my WIP (work in progress) pile.

When I started stitching, seeing a stitched image would give me really good idea of whether or not I’d be able to stitch it. It seems strange to say that because in theory at least, any pattern can be stitched. It’s just a question of how long it will take to stitch it! What I’m finding as time goes on, is I’ll gauge a picture by how much back stitch is in it versus how big the project is and how much confetti stitching it may have – e.g. a HAED.

Being able to see the actual stitches (rather than the digital stitches) helped me in my early years to see how the stitches needed to look. Also, aside from following the pattern, seeing the finished picture helped to reassure me that I was on track, and that my finished project looked as close as possible as what it was meant to be.

Summary

I’ve found that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the cover page is stitched or digital. The most important thing is what the picture is of. The picture needs to jump out at me and make me want to stitch it. It could be because of the colours or the theme – e.g. Shannon Christine’s Craft Room picture. It could also be because of the main subject – e.g. a cute puppy sitting under a Christmas Tree.

What do you prefer – a digital cover image or a stitched one? Does it matter? Why?

Posted in Uncategorized

February Funk and Festivities

Hi Everyone

In roughly a week, we’ll be done and dusted with February and we’ll be moving into March. As I get older, I’m hearing more often from family, friends and work mates ‘where has the month gone?’ or ‘wow! the year is flying by!’ February is a short month – we all know this. But are the months and years flying by because we’re getting busier and not keeping track of our time as much as we did when we were younger?

Nostalgia and reflection is kicking in because it will be my birthday on Tuesday! Getting older doesn’t worry me. Bring on the wrinkles and grey hairs and battle scars. They show I’ve lived a life and survived it! If the wrinkles are in the right places, it shows that I’ve been able to smile at those challenges once they’ve passed.

My birthday on Tuesday also means that I’m a Pisces. Which means that I’m in a constant battle with making quick decisions because I take into consideration all aspects of situation. For example, which chocolate bar should I get from the lolly shop? There are so many options! I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out on anything because I know that all of them will taste really good. But what do I feel like? Will I regret choosing plain chocolate over the gooey caramel? What about the one with honeycomb? The taste and texture and crumbs can be pretty fun to experience. What about trying something new or a little different? What if I don’t like it? I’ll feel like I’ve wasted my money. What if I do like it?

It’s too much overthinking for a chocolate bar, I get it! That said, the image below is one of the signs for the Pisces and shows one fish swimming up and the second fish swimming down in a circular or oval shape. As airy-fairy as this sounds, the image below to me, helps to explain why it can take me forever to make a decision about some of the most simplest of things.

Image found on Pinterest. See Etsy store BirdBlackEmproium for similar images.

Another reason why I’m feeling like I’m in a bit of a funk is that I’m coming down from an amazing last week of January 2020. With this blog I like seeing how my statistics are going for the frequency of visitors, what posts people have been clicking on and which countries the visitors are from. For me, a good week or good day will be a couple of people to 7 people. Sometimes a touch more. During the week of 25th and 26th of January, Oh. My. Gosh! My stats were through the roof! I’m talking an average of 150 or so people visiting my blog in one day! What’s got me stumped is the details. For example, what prompted so many people to come and take a look at my blog all of a sudden? Why that particular week? And how can I make it happen again and keep it constant?

So what does any of this have to do with cross stitch or running or many of the other things I’ve talked about on this blog to date?

Cross stitch gets me out of my head for a while. It stops me from over thinking things. I can just relax and focus on what I’m doing. I don’t need to think about or worry about the feelings of others or if I’m offending anyone by sitting wherever I choose and keep to myself. Cross stitch combined with some really good music, tv show or Flosstube I can partly watch and listen to, is one of the ways in which I can recharge my batteries and become again the person my family and friends know and love.

Meanwhile, the challenge I’ve set for myself with cross stitch for this month, it’s got me thinking I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish the current pages for my current pages by the end of this week. Even with the time I’m spending on writing this post, I feel guilty that I’m not stitching. But when I take a break from stitching, I’m then feeling guilty that I’m not writing a post for this blog. Agh, that inner turmoil kicking in again!

So, my call to action for you this week is – what can I do for you cross stitch wise? What do you want to know about? How does cross stitch get you out of your funk?

Related posts:

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What’s your pick of the bunch? Flowers and Fruits Cross Stitch

Hi Everyone

Before I jump into this week’s post, I just want to say Happy 1 Year Anniversary! It has been 1 year since I signed up to WordPress and started this blog. I had been so nervous about starting this blog and actively putting myself out there in the blogging world. So I just want to say thank you very much to my followers for sticking around and checking out my posts and hello to any new comers!

Fruits or flowers?

If you had to pick one type to stitch, would it be fruit or flowers? Why?

For me, it would end up being flowers…

Flowers and how gardening isn’t my thing

I admire people who find gardening relaxing and are regularly changing things around in their gardens. To me, flowers and plants can be nice to look at and smell, as long as I don’t have to do too much with them. The plants need to take care of themselves – within reason – because there’s other things I’d rather be doing!

That said, without people who have that strong desire and passion to garden, we may not have any or many green spaces to hang out in or have inspiration for many of the beautiful floral, garden and horticultural related cross stitch designs.

Meanwhile, when I was in my early to mid 20’s, I was interested in renting an apartment that realistically, I wasn’t going to be able to afford and keep my head above water at the same time. If I had been able to afford it, one of the plants I wanted to own was a lily that produced flowers like the pattern I stitched below. Though, I’m not sure how well it would have survived had my financial circumstances been different!

Lily – Designer currently unknown

I stitched this flower from a magazine I had in my collection for many years and within the last few weeks, I’ve donated the magazine to the bush fire relief. So unfortunately I’m not sure who the artist and designers are or which magazine I got it from.

When I had first stitched this flower, I had thought that I would turn it into a card for someone. But as time progressed, I never got around to making it into a card and I’m still working on improving my card making skills! So instead, I turned it into a pin cushion lid on top of a container that holds my pins for sewing.

Side view of pin container with pin cushion lid

I used some styrofoam as the cushion part and Mod Podge glue to stick it all together. The container is from Big W, that originally held cotton tips – 400 hundred of them! It’s taken me years to get through them to get this result!

Meanwhile, what floral patterns have caught your eyes over the years? If you’re looking for inspiration, below are some designs I’ve come across on the Net that I think are beautiful!

SA-Stitch

At the moment I can’t get enough of the designs that are on the sa-pattern website. All of the designs on there are beautiful! One of the patterns that has really caught my eye is the Lilacs, designed by Averina Elena/Lena Averina and the artist is Irina Khimich as shown below. Underneath the Lilacs design are others that have really caught my eye and hopefully there will be enough time for me to be able to stitch them all!

‘Lilac’ by Lena Averina – available on sa-pattern.com
‘Basket with Forget-me-nots’ by Zamorina Alexandra on SA-Pattern.com

Now I know that technically, I should have this image in the fruit section of this post because of the lemons. However, lemon blossoms smell really good!

‘Birdie with lemons’ by Svetlana Sichkar – available on sa-pattern.com

NonStopStitch

Meanwhile, on NonStopStitch’s Etsy store, there’s a beautiful spring flower bouquet to stitch…

‘SpringTime’ by NonStopStitch – available from NonStopStitch’s Etsy store

Cross stitch fruits

One of the things I’m finding really entertaining with writing this section is that I don’t like eating a lot of fruit. Mostly because I don’t like the flavour of many fruits. For some fruits like strawberries it’s about the seeds. For others like oranges and many citrus fruits, I really don’t like the smell of them, let alone the taste and bits of it getting stuck in my teeth.

That said, if any of you stitchers are like me, I can’t go past something that is colourful and looks fun to stitch and is well designed. Which is where many of the following designs have caught my eye…

Victoria House Needlecraft

There’s something about the way The Fruit Collection (artist/designer unknown) are designed that I find aesthetically pleasing. If only I ate more fruit!

‘The Fruit Collection’ – available on the Victoria House Needlework website

Everything CrossStitch

Meanwhile, Everything CrossStitch has some beautiful fruit cross stitch patterns like the Strawberry Kitten pattern below by Heaven and Earth Designs (shown below). How cute is it!

‘Strawberry Kitten’ by Heaven and Earth Designs. Found on the EverythingCrossStitch.com website

What about a photo converted to cross stitch?

Have you every taken a photo (or seen one) of a flower or fruit or seen an image of one or the other (or both), that you’ve thought would make a good cross stitch picture? What about the images below?

‘Purple Wild Flower’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Wildflowers’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Jindabyne Flowers’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Flower’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Lavender’ by Kristen Gawronski

Alternatively, do you have a pattern in your stash that you’ve been meaning to stitch for ages, that could fit within the scope of fruits and flowers in February?

Until next time, happy stitching!

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February Finishes and Something Funny

Hi Everyone

Over the last couple of years of watching Flosstube, I’ve found many flosstuber’s talking about Stitch-May-nia and New Year, New Starts, 24 hour stitching marathons and similar playing on words for many months throughout the year. With these things in mind, I’m aiming for a few ‘F’ themed things for February for this blog and my cross stitch that may also help you and hopefully inspire you to do something similar with your stitching!

A few weeks ago, I talked about my aim of finishing some pages of the projects I’m working on because I know I’m not going to be able to fully finish any of them! I’m hoping that this is a reasonable task to achieve considering how much of each page I need to complete for each project. However…February for my family also means a bucket load of birthday celebrations! We have my Dad and sister in the space of 2 days. A week later is my boyfriend’s mum’s birthday and a week after that is mine! Somewhere in-between all of those celebrations are birthdays of friends and a colleague at work. Who would have thought that February could be such a social month for such a short month!

A challenge for you, a challenge for me…

What ‘F’ themed stitching, that’s PG (a rating that’s applied to movies, games, television shows in Australia) / above board, could you do? Is there a funny quote or picture you’ve been eyeing off for ages, but haven’t gotten around to stitching yet?

Funny February Suggestions

Considering everything that has been happening in the world over recent months – even years – we all could do with a really good laugh to try and relieve some stress and feel better for a little while. Also, Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and unfortunately the statistics are there to show it. So lets bring on the funnies and have a really good laugh!

Subversive cross stitch – need I say more? We can say so much with just one word or mash-up of words to project a feeling of the time. The links below will take you to some pages that will hopefully make you laugh and inspire some stitching:

What about your favourite comedy or a song that makes you smile or laugh out loud every time? For a long time, I’ve loved Garfield and reading the comic strips. For me, it’s the dry sense of humour of Garfield that I like the most.

‘Teamwork’ by Peter Underhill via Arts and Designs

I also like showing my boyfriend funny pictures of dogs and clips of them getting up to funny things like doing mad runs around the backyard or at a dog park – especially if other dogs get involved and they’re all running around madly! Which also means that I’d be showing him pictures like the ones below that can be purchased fro LoLaLotta’s Etsy store:

Funny Pugs range from LoLaLotta’s Etsy store

Fast February?

I’ve entered myself into the 5km event of the Canberra Times Marathon Festival and my aim is to get as close to the 30 minute mark as I can. This year the course has changed, and thankfully it’s easier because it’s a lot flatter and I’ve run a similar course when I use to work on the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin.

The challenge at the moment is getting myself outside running! I’ve found many excuses not to run – some of them legitimate, like it being too smokey or too hot. However, I should use that as an opportunity to get to the gym instead and run on the treadmill to keep myself on track. If any of you have tried running on the treadmill, you may understand why focusing on the ‘dread’mill isn’t always easy!

That said, in recent days, I’ve put together a spreadsheet of all the races I’ve participated in since 2013 and the times I’ve gotten for 5km, 10km and 14km. I’ve found it inspiring and motivating to see how I’ve progressed from running 5km in 38 minutes 29 seconds through to 31 minutes and 15 seconds. At my peak, I had been running 5km nearly every day of the week – Friday’s were my day off from going to the gym and running. My motivation during my peak had been to beat my previous times and to lose a lot of the weight I had gained when I started going out with my current boyfriend. I had relaxed too much in our relationship and I had gained 20kg. Thankfully I was able to lose that weight through a combination of running, group and one-on-one sessions at the gym and changing what I ate.

Well, I hope that this has given you some inspiration and you’re able to get some finishes happening for February!

Until next time, happy stitching!

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What memories are embedded in your cross stitch projects?

Hi Everyone

Before I jump right into the topic for this post, I feel like I need to say a really big thank you to all of the recent traffic my blog site has seen in recent days. I’m not quite sure what’s caused the spike. I have talked a little bit about the fires we’ve been experiencing recently and I live in Australia. Nonetheless, thank you everyone for clicking on my posts and I hope you find something you like and you find out something new!

Stitching Memories

Recently I was watching a Floss-Tube clip that has inspired this blog post – what memories are embedded in your cross stitch projects? This can vary from remembering what music you were listening to while you were stitching a project or there may have been some life events happening that you used cross stitch to help take your mind off things.

New home, new project

For example, when I was stitching the project below, I distinctly remember being at my grandparents place when they were living up in Queensland. It was just during the year that my current home was being built and I knew that I wanted it to hang up in toilet room, just near the mirror.

When I was stitching this project, I didn’t have a hoop with me. I may have forgotten to take one with me. I can’t remember exactly why. I do remember stitching it in hand and it reminded me why I prefer to have my projects in a hoop because I really like the tension that a hoop provides. I was also super conscious of making sure I didn’t leave any of my excess threads around when I was stitching at my grandparents place, because I was a guest at their home and they like to keep their place very neat and clean. I hadn’t realised just how much of a challenge this was until I got home. I am naturally a messy person. My home looks lived in – much to my boyfriend’s annoyance and grief! I have piles of stuff everywhere and he and I are regularly moving my stuff out of the way so that he can sit down next to me on the couch or to another room if we have guests coming over.

Shade changes to threads

Meanwhile, whenever I look at the Fire and Ice project (shown below), I remember that I had some problems with procuring the right shade of DMC 902. I’d had the shade in my stash for ages and it took me a while to get into stitching the project. When I ran out of the colour, it never occurred to me that the number would be the same, but the actual dye-lot or shade may have changed as part of the dying process.

‘Fire and Ice’ Designed by Dyan Allaire – Artwork by Sharlene Lindskog-Osorio – Kustom Krafts Inc. 2003

When I started stitching with the newly purchased DMC 902 there was a significantly obvious difference and I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the project if I couldn’t get the right shade. Thankfully, one of the cross stitch businesses at the Canberra leg of the Craft and Quilt Fair were lifesavers and they knew exactly what I was talking about, regarding the shade change for DMC’s 902 and they were able to sort me out the the shade I needed. My memory has faded and at the moment I can’t remember the name of the business who helped me out and I wish I did. Without them, I’m not sure how I would have been able to finish the project. Thank you!

The other thing I’m reminded of when I look at Fire and Ice is the other pattern I have that’s the relation to it – Golden Ice which is designed by Dyan Allaire. By memory, I picked up the pattern at a craft fair or up at Mittagong. The good thing is that the pattern is still available. A Google search took me to 123Stitch.com and it’s available on the Kustom Krafts Inc. site.

Golden Ice cover image from Google image search

First a gift, now a quilt

When I started the following this next project, I had the intention of stitching it for a friend of mine who’s birthday is in January. It was a last minute decision and I had been on summer holidays at the coast and wanted to do a dog themed project. At the time I didn’t have anything in my stash, let alone with me at the coast. I was also looking for crafty/cross stitch related business around the south coast that I could travel to, should I need to pick up any supplies or need a new project. I ended up driving up to Nowra to pick up this kit and trying to stitch like mad to get as much done as possibly could before my friend’s birthday.

‘Puppy and Chick’ by Country Threads

If by chance you’ve seen some of my other posts, this project may look familiar to you. I never got this project finished in time for my friend’s birthday in the year that I started it. As time progressed, I decided to include this in my first country quilt instead.

Vintage cars – not the response I was expecting!

A few years ago I stitched a picture of 4 vintage cars for my Pop’s birthday because he is a car enthusiast and it was something that I thought he would really like. When I was stitching the project, it took me a while to finish it because of the amount of black I needed to use for one of the cars. At that time, the colour black was a draining colour. I didn’t get a lot of joy out of it, but I kept reminding myself that I was stitching it for my Pop and I wanted to get it done for his birthday!

Cars of the ’50s Sampler – Stoney Creek Collection – Book 383

When I’d finished the project, I had to get creative with the way I framed it because I had trimmed the fabric too close to the picture to properly stretch it and lace it. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

When I was ready to give this to my Pop, my uncle – Pop’s son – had passed away unexpectedly due to complications he experienced with pneumonia. My uncle had been a car enthusiast as well and my Pop’s memories of cars and his son were and still are strong and potentially still painful for him. This makes me sad because there’s nothing I can do to make it better for my Pop or Nan.

Thankfully my Pop was gracious in receiving the gift I made for him. He and Nan chose not to hang it up on the wall and they’ve since moved homes a couple of times and the picture is now with Mum and Dad. I’m thankful it’s still around. I would have been really disappointed if it had been discarded.

Wedding sampler

This one had been a cute one to stitch. My cousin was getting married up in Queensland and unfortunately I was unable to make it. I did want to give her something that would help her to remember the day.

Wedding sampler – exact details unknown

When I’d finished the project, I remember using a regular craft glue stick to stick it to the inside of a photo album that she could use to put some of her wedding photos in. Mum at the time was questioning if the glue stick would work. I had my doubts, but lived with the hope that it would hold out long enough for it to have the right affect when she opened the gift. I also used the glue stick because I didn’t know any better at the time and I didn’t have enough time to get the right supplies, because Mum and Dad were flying out the next day!

I’ve not asked my cousin if the picture is still attached or not. I’m not sure if I really want to know either, as the marriage didn’t last. The good news though is my cousin found love again and (to the best of my knowledge) is happily married!

What stitching memories do you have?

What memories are attached to your projects? Were there special events happening in your life or around the world while you were working on a particular project? Had you started a project with the intention of it being framed but you changed your mind at the last minute? Alternatively, do you hear a song or phrase that reminds of when you were stitching something?

Until next time, happy stitching!