Sunday, 23 December 2012

More Decorations and a free chart

I have just managed to finish stitching a few more Christmas ornaments.  The template above was from one of Cath Kidsons books, based on her dog Stanley.
These two stitched hearts came in a kit with the current issue of The World of Cross Stitching.  I just added some coloured felt to the white felt hearts provided. 
A cute reindeer card from a Cross Stitcher kit included with issue 259. 

I made this Christmas Airedale Terrier snow globe a while ago but have just got around to photographing it.  I am including the chart in case anyone else would like to make one.
Wilberforce is all ready for Christmas, although he isn't sure about these antlers.  Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas.
love Shirley

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Decorations

 My needles have been flying recently as I have been trying to finish up UFOs (Unfinished projects) plus make more Christmas decorations than I have managed previously.  The Robin decoration was a cover kit with issue no. 258 of Cross Stitcher Magazine.
Another Cross Stitcher cover kit from issue no. 257 is this stitched snowflake garland.  I backed all the stars with red card and run them throughy my laminating machine before threading them on the bakers twine to make them a bit more durable. 
At first I strung them along the bottom of the t.v. - not a good look - I have since strung them along a bookcase since I took this photo where they look a bit more at home.
Another chart from Cross Stitcher no. 259: Season's Tweetings.
I had another go at a thread crochet starflake, this time using a slightly thicker thread and a size larger hook.  Again the pattern is from "100 Snowflakes to Crochet" currently available free from the Lion Brand website.  I still do not like them very much so don't think I will bother making any more.

I have finally finished John's Aran sweater, yay!  I was so fed up with it I just want to get it over and done with.  I really do not like knitting men's sweaters, there are too many stitches on the needles.  I told him if he wants another I will crochet it or else dig out my old knitting machine!
Anyway, I am off now to sit in front of the fire and stitch some more decorations.  The weather is feezing here, we have already had snow twice so I plan on hibernating with some crafty projects.
Thank you to those who sent me kind messages to my last post.  I still miss Archie so much, we were constantly together and your thoughtfulness is appreciated.  I just hope that one day I can get over his devastating loss.

Monday, 3 December 2012


On 1st September we lost our darling Archie to cancer - he was 10 years old.  It is only now I can talk about it.  He was my best friend, constant companion, hat loving, car riding, cheese chomping, costume wearing, cake loving, funny, unique "best boy".  There will never be another dog like him. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Happy Howl-a-Days

Christmas is my favourite time of year for crafting even though I don't like cold weather.  I always have plans for more projects than I can ever possibly complete but this year I am determined to make more than usual.
I couldn't resist the Happy Howl-a-days chart by Barbara Ana because of the cute doggies and turned it into this ornament.  The chart is available as an instant download from Creative Poppy.  
 Last year I bought Mini Christmas Crochet by Val Pierce but never had time to make anything so I got started early this year and made the Rudolph on the cover using scraps of 4 ply yarn from my stash.  I didn't have any metallic knitting yarn for the nose but found Madeira metallic embroidery thread worked just as well.
I always liked Christmas trees decorated with white crochet thread stars so thought I would try to make one using a free pattern from the Lion Brand website.  I am not sure I like it though, I had to use masses of starch to make it look decent.  Perhaps I will try a different pattern before I give up.  Lion Brand are giving away a free crochet star pattern on their website every week for 10 weeks.
This was another free Christmas ornament pattern (knitting) by Debbie Stoller from the Red Heart website. I used oddments of d.k. and Aran yarn and the knitting needles are cocktail sticks with beads glued on the ends.
Wilberforce recently enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame on VetVits mail shots, under the heading "Wilberforce is Dressed to Kill".  This is my favourite photograph of him, as on my avatar and I decorated a plain metal frame with pirate paper, gave it a couple of coats of clear spray varnish and added some pirate charms leftover from a scrapbooking project.  This now has pride of place on the bookshelf in my lounge and it always makes visitors smile.  
Well, I am just off the finish another Christmas ornament, I am spending the evening in my craft room.  Happy Christmas crafting.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Hard Frost

Where have the last few weeks gone?  Can't say I have done anything in particular, just life, although I am resisting hibernating all day since the weather turned colder.  I just finished this Heritage design (Hard Frost) above but one thing I don't miss about owning horses is those frosty early mornings, mucking out, before making my way to work!
While looking through my photos suitable for scrapbooking I found this pic of me when I was younger with one of my horses, I must get around to doing some horsey pages soon.

Sleepy Village
This is another design by Heritage that is based on the village of Finchingfield in Essex.  I used to feed the ducks here when I was small so this bought back a lot of memories while I was stitching it.

Village Lane
John bought me the Village Lane kit for my birthday years ago but I only just got around to working it.  We actually bought this kit on a visit to Finchingfield from a shop called the Needlewoman on the Green, I wonder if it is still there?
I bought the frame packs from Heritage Direct and framed them myself.  I just got a local framers to cut the glass for me.
I have been using Madeira threads for the first time recently so made this little box which used to hold cosmetics to store them in.  The papers were free with a scrapbooking magazine and I just added some buttons and threads.  The spiral packs of thread fit exactly.
After I made this I was in a papercrafting mood so made this storage box for bits and bobs using papers that came free with Simply Homemade magazine. 

Happy Crafting.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Seaside Memories

I started buying Scrapbook 365 magazine after a long break from scrapbooking and it has fired my enthusiasm for the hobby again.  So, I have set myself two goals - 1) To enter their scrapbook challenge every month and 2) To use my existing stash without buying anything new.  I have achieved both this month.

If I don't manage anything else, at least by the end on the year I will have 12 new scrapbook pages, used up some of my stash and made a small hole in the 100 years worth of family photos I have.

Happy crafting.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bad to the Bone

Here is Wilberforce modelling the coat I crocheted for him.  I made it a little while ago but waited until he was clipped before photographing it on him as he was so woolly.  He went to the groooming parlour last Friday but he is a real rough and tumble dog so I don't think he will stay clean for long so I snapped this pic while I could.
Every Christmas we make up a hamper for our local dog rescue centre from where we have adopted two dogs in the past.  Throughout the year I have been crochet squares and finally put them all together this week.  It is made from all my oddments of D.K. yarn left over from other projects.  The colours are a bit garish but I don't suppose the dogs will mind.
I bought a ball of green sequinned yarn in Poundstretcher last week and run up this quick crochet beret.  It was only 3.99 pound for a 150 gram ball and I have used less than half of the ball.  The sequins are quite subtle and only notice when they catch the light, you can see them better in the ball below.  This is the amount I had left, probably enough for another two of the same design.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Crochet Finishes and A Knitting Disaster

 I seem to have been crocheting a lot more recently -  I suppose it is because I am a very slow knitter so I can whip up a crochet accessory in one or two evenings whereas with knitting it would probably take me at least a week.
I bought the coat (below) in the M & S sale in January but have not worn it yet so I crocheted these accessories to wear with it this winter.
Talking of knitting, I have had an Aran sweater for John on my needles for months.  I have finished the back but after working half the front I realised I had made a mistake near the bottom.  I could have left it, it was only one stitch wrong but I know it would bug me if I left it so thought I would unravel it row by row down to the offending stitch.
Well, the pattern is so complicated and the stitches twisted and crossed so much that I just cannot get them back on the needles in the right direction so I really have no alternative but to undo it right the way down to the ribbing and start again, eek!  Do you ever have a project that you end up hating?  For me it is this.
I have had more luck with "Hard Frost" and only have a little bit of the sky left so should finish during the next week.  This is the third of Heritage's John Clayton Circles I have worked.  Heritage now have an outlet shop on ebay where I purchased this chart for half price.  They have lots of their discontinued kits, fabric, threads and current products at a much lower price than normal so I have added them to my favourites.

Although I stitched this Airedale Terriers design a while ago I only just got around to having it framed.  I used a new framer as my old one had put their prices up a lot.  However, it stil cost me 52 pound which I thought was a bit excessive considering I just chose a plain mount and frame.  I don't know why they charge so much, it puts me off getting some of my other work framed.  The design is from a company called Faces.  I think they have closed the business now which is a shame as they produced some really lovely designs.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Walk in the Woods

On 8th July 2012 we attended a charity walk to raise funds for the VRCC which treats dogs and cats who have cancer.  They are trying to raise 100,000 pounds to replace an urgently needed 6 million volt linear scanner.  The day raised over 1,200 pounds and we all had a fun day in spite of the gloomy weather.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Summer of Sewing

Thank you to all who contacted me asking where I had been for a while.  The fact is my computer has been out of order for so long that I gave up on it.  I have also had a few health problems which meant I have had more hospital and doctor's appointments and we have also been redecorating our house so I have been painting, wallpapering and have refurbished a few pieces of furniture too.

My computer is much improved but I still have text bunching up or sometimes freezing when I view blogs/websites.  Very wierd!  I need to remove more of the hundreds of photos and files I have on it to see if that helps.

Throughout it all I have been crafting more than ever and my sewing machine has been working overtime recently.

One of the items I made this summer is this handbag organiser.  Now I can change my handbags over quickly and easily without have to tip everything out.  The pattern is called The Encore Purse Insert and is from Studio Kat designs.

Using some of the leftover fabric scraps I made this coupon holder.  The pattern is free from website.  My coupons were always running out before I got around to using them so now I use this every time I go shopping and it has definitely helped me save money.
The weather has been so hot recently that I ran John up a pair of loose cotton lounging trousers.  The pattern is Butterick B553.  He has had then on ever since.  I bought extra wide sheeting so I have enough left over to make another pair.
I always have a cross stitch project or three, on the go, to work whilst watching t.v..  At the moment this is "Hard Frost" from the Heritage Circles range.  This is the third in this series I have worked and it shows horses in the snow.
Thanks for stopping by and again for your good wishes.
All the best,  Shirley xx