Posted in Hot Cross Stitching Business, Uncategorized

Introducing…Hot Cross Stitching

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while between drinks (ages since I’ve published a post). A lot’s been going on since I last posted to this blog. My main focus has been on developing my new side hustle – Hot Cross Stitching!

Logo for Hot Cross Stitching.

The purpose of Hot Cross Stitching is teaching people how to cross stitch face-to-face and selling selling my cross stitch patterns online. The classes will initially be held in my home town, Canberra with three different types of classes people can choose from – Beginner, Intermediate and Social.

The beginner class will focus on people who have never done cross stitch or it’s been a very long time since they’ve done it. People will learn how to read a pattern, thread their needle, change colours, convert what they see in the pattern to stitching it on a blank piece of fabric. As well as finding the centre of their fabric and marking off the pattern as they stitch/keeping track of where they’ve stitched just to name a few things!

The intermediate class will focus on people who have been stitching for a few years and want to improve their skills and tackle some more challenging projects, whilst having the support of stitching friends around them. People in this class will learn how to kit up their own projects, which includes choosing the right size and amount of fabric they need for their project. People will also be able to use the class to bounce ideas off their stitching friends regarding the different ways to store their projects – especially the threads – and try out some different types of threads such as silks, verigated threads and metalics to name a few.

Meanwhile, the social group is for anyone and everyone – regardless of how long someone has been stitching for. The aim of this group is for people to come a long for as long as they want and to stitch with some friends and chat as much or as little as they want. Over the years I’ve found that I have learnt more through just stitching and chatting and comparing notes. However, I’ve not taken any formal cross stitching classes to be able to compare!

Over all, the aim of all of these classes/groups is for people to connect safely face-to-face, learn something new that hopefully they like and make some new friends. This year especially has been a testament for how important human interaction has been for everyone and the use of art and craft to enable people to have a creative outlet.

I’m hoping that over time, I’ll be able to run some classes from a public space at the South Coast as well. But that may happen once I’m no longer working in my current 9 to 5 job.

The patterns people will be able to purchase as PDF downloads are of photos I’ve taken over time and converted to patterns. One of which will be the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms that I’ve been stitching for potentially a couple of years. I haven’t kept exact track of when I started and it feels like I’ve been working on it for the last couple of years! Below is a sample of images that I’ve converted to patterns, that will be available for purchase:

The website is currently under construction and I’ll let you all know when it’s publicly available. This blog will be connected to the site and my aim over time (and let’s see if it actually happens!), is to use this blog to still talk about cross stitch and a bit about the business as well.

Aside from working on the website, I’ve also been travelling to the coast a bit and as I’m writing this post, I’m at the coast looking out the window from the dining table and at times it’s really hard to concentrate! As I’m looking between the two trees in the image below, I’m on the look out for any breaks in the water that can’t be explained by waves crashing on rocks or boats sailing past.

Ocean view from the dining table – as of 22 October 2020 – Image by Kristen Gawronski

One of the last times I was here, I was able to see some sprays of water from whales cruising past in the distance! That was something really special, as I never thought we’d be able to see something like that from this window. Normally when my boyfriend and I have been here, we’ve gone for walks to the nearby cliff tops and we’ve been able to see the whales from there and some dolphins. It’s really exciting and special when that happens, because we’re not always lucky enough to get our timing right to see them.

The other awesome thing that’s happened recently (last week to be precise!) is a really awesome experience my boyfriend and I did as part of a birthday present from my parents and boyfriend. We stayed overnight at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra. This particular stay is part of the Jamala Wildlife Lodge that resides within the National Zoo and Aquarium.

When you’re booking your accommodation, you’re able to choose which lodge you stay in an nominate which three animals you would prefer to see. I need to point out here, that the three animals aren’t in the same enclosure together! The need to nominate which three animals you would prefer is part of which lodge is available at the time and which enclosure is connected to which lodge. For example, I chose the Jungle Bungalow and there are 5 lodges that are part of the Jungle Bungalows. One enclosure is assigned to each bungalow and I had the choice of the Sun Bears, Lions, Tigers and Cheetahs. The top three animals I nominated were the Tigers, Lions and Cheetahs and we were lucky enough to share our space with Ravi the male Tiger!

The images above were taken from the room we stayed in and Oh. My. Gosh! It was just amazing to see him doing his thing. For the most part he was on patrol and keeping an eye on things in his enclosure. His brother lives couple hundred of metres away from him (so that they don’t kill each other, the guide told us the next morning!), so he was calling out to him every so often and checking on him every so often. There’s clear window in the brother’s enclosures that enables them to look across a path and into each other’s enclosures!

When we left for dinner, Ravi was on patrol and when we came back, he was up close, next to the window and sleeping. It was then that we really got to appreciate how big he is. We found that he’d had most of his sleep by about 1 or 2 in the morning and he woke my boyfriend up, by calling out to the rest of the zoo from the spot we saw him sleeping at when we got home from dinner. I was sleeping very well at that stage and didn’t hear anything until about 4 in the morning or so.

When it was lighter in the morning, we found Ravi doing his rounds again and there were a few times that we thought he’d come up to the platform you see in some of the photos, but he kept going with his rounds. Just before we left for breakfast he did come up and sit down and it had been the first time during the day on either day we were at the zoo that he’d come up to the platform. We really didn’t want to go to breakfast at that point as we weren’t sure if he’d still be sitting there when we were due to get back. Thankfully he was and that’s where most of the pictures above have come from. It was amazing!

After breakfast we did a guided group tour around half of the zoo, which was really cool. Some of the animals we saw include some cheetahs, rhinos, monkeys, leemahs, zebras, giraffs and an ostrich. I took a lot of photos along the way and I’m wanting to turn some of them into cross stitch patterns for the website.

With all of this in mind, I haven’t done as much stitching as what I would have liked. I’m aiming to make amends for that over the next few days and get some more stitching done this afternoon and tomorrow. The weather from tomorrow afternoon ’til about Sunday/Monday is meant to be raining and indoor weather kind of stuff. So hopefully, I’ll have more cross stitch related things to talk about next time and there won’t be as much time between blog posts!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Uncategorized

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!


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
‘Basket with Forget-me-nots’ by Zamorina Alexandra on

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


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 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!

Posted in Uncategorized

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!

Posted in Uncategorized

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!