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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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A Stitching Update and a Trip to Melbourne

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything for this blog. Looking back on what I have posted, it will have been about a month between drinks! I’ve been drafting a few more posts for this blog, I’ve been stitching like mad, taking short trips to Melbourne and to the South Coast, NSW and working towards changing my career direction. Not much running, but I have been doing a lot of fitness alternatives until my body is ready for it!

Stitching like mad…

I’ve been stitching like mad on a photo I’ve converted to a cross stitch picture. The image below shows the progress I’ve made on the first page of the pattern and the following image is the photograph I’m basing this project on.

Work in progress cross stitch project in a hoop. A lot of browns and greens. The picture is yet to take proper shape.
Work in progress cross stitch project
Mini Mushrooms photograph - Copyright Kristen Gawronski
Mini Mushrooms – copyright Kristen Gawronski

As I continue to stitch this project and referring back to the original image, I can’t help but make myself nervous about how it’s going to turn out. Whenever I start to get nervous, I remind myself that I am testing this out and I’ll be able to make alterations for future projects – whether it be this project or similar ones!

Trip to Melbourne…

My boyfriend is a keen supporter of the Sydney Swans (an AFL (Australian Football League) team). Since we’ve been together, I’ve really gotten into watching it with him and going to a number of their games up in Sydney. By getting a feel for what it’s like to watch the match live, I’ve been really keen to watch at least one match in Melbourne at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground, aka the G). The importance of this is the MCG is the mecca for the AFL and the grand final is always played at the MCG! So going to see a match at the MCG was on my bucket list. The challenge will be seeing the Swans play at the MCG in a grand final!

Swans vs Essendon at the MCG – We had seats in enemy territory

It was fantastic seeing the game at the MCG. Unfortunately we lost by 10 points and we were sitting in enemy territory – something we didn’t know until we got there and sat down at our seats. So the loss of the game was felt a lot more than if we were sitting anywhere else in the stadium.

However, the weather for the entire weekend was beautiful and we did a lot of walking around – especially along the Yarra River (aka The Yarra). Below are images of what we came across as part of our walks:

Left image – A view up the Yarra, looking towards the MCG; Centre image – a cool sculpture; and Right image – the Yarra, looking under a bridge at the MCG

The unfortunate thing with all of the walking we did, was the muscles around my left knee decided to let me know that they were very unhappy about the amount of movement it was doing. It swelled up and became stiff and very uncomfortable to walk. It thankfully has settled down since then and I can walk around with minimal problems.

I have tried running on the treadmill with limited success. About a week ago I went for a jog on the treadmill and within the first 50 to 100 metres it became too uncomfortable to run. Since then the elliptical machine/cross-trainer has become my favourite machine and I’ve really enjoyed listening to my music and the Zombies, Run! app. One of the things I have had to be careful of when listening to Zombies, Run! is how I react to it. There have been many times when I’ve been close to jumping out of my skin, or cringing significantly because of the sound effects or even wanting to talk to the characters (like I would if I were watching the t.v.)! I realise it shouldn’t matter too much since I’m at the gym early in the morning, my back is to the back of the gym and most of the gym-goers are too busy with what they’re doing to worry about what I’m doing!

So all in all, I’m still here, alive and kicking! Hopefully in a few months time I’ll be able to share with all of you an update on how my mini mushrooms picture is progressing. I’m also hoping that I’ll be running soon – quite probably in enough time to start being worried about swooping season!

Until next time,

Happy stitching!

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Cross Stitch Cross Roads and Challenges

Hi Everyone

I’m writing this piece somewhat off the cuff compared with many of my other pieces, which I try to plan and mull it over a bit before I hit the publish button. To date, this blogging about cross stitch has been an interesting experience and somewhat of a roller coaster ride! I’ve had fun learning about the blogging process and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t subject-wise and when to post my pieces via WordPress, Pinterest and Facebook.

One of my challenges with writing my posts for this blog is trying not to be so much like everyone else, that for anyone coming across my posts, they aren’t thinking ‘oh, another post on how to… or how not to…’ I definitely want to share my experiences with cross stitch with all of you, but do it in a way that has you thinking a little differently about cross stitch – in a good way! So the challenge for me is to make the journey for all of you fun and interesting without losing any of you along the way or scratching your heads, wondering what on earth I was thinking whilst writing my pieces!

Another challenge I’ve been having an interesting time with, is converting my photos to cross stitch patterns and making them easy and fun to stitch, whilst ensuring they are as realistic as possible. I’m using the software program PCStitch and I’m annoying myself with trying to get it the way I want it to be. Yesterday for example, I was playing around with the image below, trying to convert it into a pattern.

Photo by Kristen Gawronski – Name of flower unknown – photo taken at CIT Reid Campus, Canberra, Australia.

At the moment, it’s a 40 page pattern (roughly) because I’ve wanted it to be stitched on 14 count fabric and the measurements are about 40 to 45 inches wide and 20 to 30 inches high. I’ve also trimmed the image down to incorporate more of the flower and less of the background. The additional challenge I’ve found with this is trying to get the colours right and the detail as I love the contrast of colours in this picture. I’m very detail orientated when my brain is in the right gear and it’s something that frustrates me at times, as it can take me forever to get something done – if at all! The hilarity is that cross stitch is one of those things that requires time and patience!

The cross roads I’m at, at the moment are trying to figure out what I want to do. I’m at a really good stage of my life and I want to make the most of it. Career wise I feel like I’ve achieved most of what I want to do in my profession and I’m ready for a change. The challenge is figuring out how much of a change that is going to be! For a long time now I’ve had a keen interest/passion for conservation and preservation of cultural heritage information. Which means working with places such as the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum of Australia. If I go down this path, I will be able to maintain my comfortable lifestyle with minimal disruption and I’ll be pretty happy. I’d still be working as a public servant – something I’ve been doing for the majority of my working career, I’m familiar with the office politics and the benefits are very nice.

The other direction would be developing my photography and graphic design skills (which are quite basic at the moment) and building a business around cross stitch and photography. This concept is super scary and exciting. I’ve never started up or owned my own business before and from what I’ve seen and heard I know that it’s a lot of hard work and responsibility.

However, I’d be doing something I’m super passionate about – writing and cross stitch and being creative. Which translates to continuing with this blog, producing and selling patterns, cards, images and finished products which are are just a few of the possibilities. Then there are finishing services, lessons and videos to name a few.

Additionally, the arts and crafts industry can be extremely fickle. For many people, it is a nice to have rather than a necessity. So when times get financially tough, they are less inclined to spend money on a nice picture to hang on their wall or pattern to stitch. Additionally, if the true monetary amount was placed on a stitched picture that represented the amount of time spent on it and the resources used, the average amount would be in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. Which leaves me wondering who would buy it? Who is my audience? Who are my customers?

Off and on for a few years now, I’ve been working on business plan to try and figure out some of these issues and questions I’ve just raised and there’s still quite a lot I need to figure out and develop. I do feel like I’m on the right path though with getting this sorted out and this blog is a big part of that!

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of what a dear friend of mine said recently via live Facebook post. She talked about valuing what we do and the experiences we bring to our roles – regardless of what they are – and being rewarded for our time, experiences and the services we provide. These rewards can be in the form of money, gifts, the people we are working with, the pride within ourselves and seeing the differences we are making to those who are receiving our services and products. Additionally, she talked about quality over quantity and the value that something gains over the quality of it rather than the quantity of it. To me this means not being afraid of putting a high price on my products and services because my products will be originals. It also means putting the time, love and effort into my products and services to produce such beautiful and quality work, that the monetary factor shouldn’t be an issue.

In summary, I appreciate that it sounds like I’ve made my decision about my career direction. My gut instinct tells me that I have. My head and heart however are regularly fighting with my gut and I’m needing/wanting to get a lot more things sorted out in the background (e.g. finances and sussing out this archival side of things to see if it’s the right fit for me) before I take the terrifyingly big leap. If nothing else, this can be my side-hussle until I’m earning enough to be able to support my current lifestyle.

Thank you all for bearing with me while I find my voice and until next time…

Happy Stitching!