Friday, 30 August 2013

Giveaway Winner and a Consolation Prize

My heartfelt thanks goes to all of you who entered and commented on my first giveaway – how lovely it is to meet new crafty folks!

Without further ado, the lucky winner of The Hand-Stitched Home and craft kit is:

Laura Tyler! Laura wrote:

I am very new to blogging some hope I am doing this right :-). Please may I be entered. 

What a nice welcome to the blogging universe, eh? Congratulations, Laura! I’ll be in touch straight away to get your details to send you the prize.

I offer a consolation prize for everyone else, in the form of a delicious crumble topping recipe to take us into autumn. Everyone has a crumble recipe, and each one is a little bit different from the next, so I’m always happy to try out new versions – this one is a doozy, I do hope you’ll try it!

Greengage-Blackberry Crumble with vanilla ice cream

Yesterday afternoon a friend presented me with a small bag of very ripe greengages from her garden. I had a good handful of early ripened blackberries, picked during a family walk...the two fruits were just destined to be together!

This topping recipe is a family favourite, and it works well with any autumn fruit (or even the peaches, nectarines and raspberries of summertime). I baked the greengage-blackberry crumble for last night’s dessert. After two bites Bunny asked, “There’s more of this, right?” Little Flower wolfed down two helpings and was sad that it was all gone!

Oat Crumble Topping

* Make a batch (or double batch!) of this topping and store it in the freezer for an instant weeknight dessert! *

120g/ ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
220g/1 cup light brown sugar
120g/ ¾ cup plain flour
75g/ ¾ cup porridge or rolled oats
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180◦C/350◦F. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

I can hear my mother: "You could've ironed that tea towel, Christine..."

Prepare your fruit of choice – here I just cut the greengages into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled over the blackberries. I had to use a very small Pirex dish, as there were just enough fruits for a small portion each.

Sprinkle over the crumble topping

Then pop into a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your dish and pieces of fruit. Remove from oven when golden brown, then try to contain the family’s excitement until it cools enough to eat.

(Serving it with ice cream helps the cooling process...)

The topping makes a lovely gift, presented in a glass jar tied with twine and a little recipe card.

We’ve been invited to a new home party on Saturday, and I plan to give this to the hostess, rather than the usual flowers or candles.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, and welcome to all my new followers!

Chrissie x

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Stitchy Giveaway!

Hard to believe it’s nearly the end of summer, and what a glorious summer we’ve had! Although I really, really love autumn and all the nesting, baking, preserving and crafting that accompanies the season, a wistful part of me is sad to know that my days crafting in the garden with a glass of Pimms are numbered...

I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, so to add some cheer to these final days of summer, I’m hosting my very first giveaway!

Following my review of The Hand-Stitched Home, the kind folks at Caroline Zoob’s site offered me a copy of the book to give away!

The Hand-Stitched Home is a gorgeous book; you will love it even if you have never attempted embroidery but are interested. I wanted to sweeten the deal even more, so I have put together a little craft kit so the winner can make the heart key fob like the one I made, which I added in the photo below (the finished heart fob and key are not included in the giveaway – I need them to get in my door!):

This giveaway bundle includes the book, two John James embroidery needles, 60cm each of the three shades of embroidery floss I used to stitch the tree, 60cm of twine to attach to the heart, and finally, a bit of the vintage tea towel I have used to make my key fob, the teacher gift, and the thank-you gift.

To enter the giveaway:
Please leave me a comment on this post, making sure I have contact details for you (This is important! I’ll contact you for your postal address.).

For a second entry:
Please mention this giveaway on your blog with a link – grab the Stitchy Giveaway button on the sidebar! – and then leave me a separate comment on this post letting me know you’ve done so.

The deadline for entry is 10 a.m. Friday, 30 August, THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED! and I will choose the winner via a random number selector at midday. I will post the prize anywhere in the world – I’m grateful for all my followers everywhere!

But I’m not stopping there...coming up in September is my first Stitch-A-Long, so that even if you aren’t the lucky winner of this giveaway, we can all link up and do some embroidery together.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and thank you to all my followers!

Chrissie x

Friday, 23 August 2013

Liebster Award

A few weeks ago, the lovely Hannapat from Cosmos & Cotton gave me a Liebster Blog Award. I am so touched and happy to be given this accolade, and especially from Hannapat, whose blog I find so fun and inspiring.

I’ve learned that the Liebster Blog Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. Recipients have to list random facts and answer some questions posed by the person who gave the award. I’m a bit reluctant to ramble on about myself, I’m worried I’ll bore you all to bits, but here goes...
at you
10 random facts about Chrissie:

1. I can whistle like a bird. This is very entertaining when leading children on woodland walks, as I “talk” to the birds, and after some banter they often come flying over to check me out! I think they’re disappointed that I’m the wrong type of “bird”...
2. I have taken voice lessons since I was 14 years old. I am a soprano, and I have sung in choirs all my life, from small chamber choirs to large symphony choruses in big cities, plus various solo stuff.
3. Combine the whistling with the singing, and my children have remarked that they think I’m a Disney princess. Oh, if only...
4. My favourite flavour combination is chocolate and raspberry. Cake, ice cream, truffles, cookies, shortcake...shall I share some recipes?
5. I’ve eaten at the Fat Duck. Yes, it totally lives up to the hype and exceeds it. I am a real foodie, and this was the most memorable, most fun, most amazing meal I have ever eaten in my life, and one of the best birthday gifts ever. Darling Husband and I giggled throughout the meal, it was just so incredible, and luckily everyone else in the little restaurant, including the staff, seemed to be in equally jovial moods!
6. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
7. I have very small feet and hands. Shoe size 3 (UK)/5 (US). I buy a lot of my shoes in children’s departments. Terrific because it saves money, but annoying when one needs a sexy little pair of heels, as they are nearly impossible to find.
8. My hands and feet are always cold, unless I’m on holiday someplace hot. Cold hands, warm heart.
9. I can turn my tongue upside down.
10. I had big babies – Bunny was 9-1/2 lbs, Little Flower was two weeks early so was a mere 8 lbs 10 oz. I am five feet tall. Yes, I was a sight to behold. As wide as I am tall. Luckily I shrank back to my normal size after both!

Now for the 11 questions posed by Hannapat. I hope you’re still with me!

1. If you won the Lottery, what would the first thing be that you buy?
The first thing that popped into my mind was a set of pink Tulip Etimo crochet hooks. How sad is that? Of course I’d do all sorts of fabulous things, and all the kind charitable things, but I’ve been crocheting lots lately, so that’s what is on my mind.

2. What is your favourite band or singer?
I love classical music and choral music, but no real favourites. I love Bryn Terfel, his voice makes me a bit weak in the knees – and an extra random fact here is that twice I’ve sung in choirs that backed him up in performances!

3. Are you impulse or do you like routine?
I routinely do something impulsive.

4. What is your favourite item of clothing?
I love to wear a dress. Dresses always look elegant and put-together, but are actually so much easier than mixing and matching tops and bottoms. I love the snugly fleece Patagonia zip-up hoodie my DH got me last year because I’m always chilly in the evenings.

5. What is your favourite holiday destination?
Italy. Without a doubt, the best place in the world. Anywhere in Italy.

5. What would you prefer, sitting on top of a mountain or sitting on a beach?
Give me a beautiful mountain anytime!

6. What is your favourite thing that you have ever made?
That’s a tricky one! But the first thing to come to mind is the rainbow cake I made for Bunny’s 8th birthday – I’ve never been happier baking, and her reaction was one of true joy and surprise.

7. Do you have a favourite author?
I enjoy reading big, involved novels – I love David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, the beautiful prose of A.S. Byatt, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin blew me away...but Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is probably the most perfect book ever written.

8. What is your earliest childhood memory?
Sitting beside my grandpa on the Haunted House ride at Disney World in Florida, it was so dark and spooky and so much fun; and the view of my mother doing dishes, from where I was hiding underneath the kitchen table. I’m not sure which memory came first.

9. What is your favourite movie of all time?
Such tough questions, Hannapat! I have always loved A Room with a View since I first saw it as a teenager, and I love sweeping period dramas, but I’m also a big fan of quirky indie flicks...I was crazy about proper old-school scary movies when I was younger...and let’s not forget the impact of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings...good grief, I just love a good flick, full stop!

10. Do you have a favourite artist?
Whistler. I adore Whistler. He is someone I actually wish I could have known. He led a fascinating life, he was quite a character and pioneer in art. “Art for art’s sake” was a phrase coined during a libel trial over his Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, my favourite painting.

11. Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life?
My grandma. My grandma is absolute sunshine, my role model, and the kindest and happiest person I have ever known. She is the quintessential grandma, all apple pies and smiles, creative, crafty, and humble as can be. I am the luckiest person on this planet for having her influence all my life. She’s turning 89 next month, and I’m making her a present which I’ll tell you about later!

Now I’m supposed to present my own list of questions to some bloggers I choose for the Liebster Award.

I would love to learn more about:

Joyjinks Creations: We all know the lovely Joy from the kind comments she leaves on our blogs, and her blog shows that she is a very talented lady, with her crafts and her beautiful photos. She’s a gem!

Betsy Makes:  I’m a relatively new follower of Samantha’s blog, and she is an inspiration. The colours, the projects, the how-to’s...I’m looking forward to getting to know her (and her blog) better!

So please, lovely ladies, tell us a few random facts about yourself (I’ll let you choose the number!), and answer me these questions:

1. When baking or cooking, do you clean the kitchen as you go, or wait til it’s all done then tackle the mess after?
2. If money, time and family schedules were not an issue, what would be your dream job?
3. Name three things that are always in your fridge.
4. Sweet or savoury?
5. What is your favourite book?
6. You have a room all to yourself. How do you decorate it? No one to impress, no one to judge. Your secret hiding place.
7. Do you have a signature dish? Tell us about it!

Thank you for reading, and for your patience I will shortly announce my very first giveaway – it’s a nice one, I can’t wait to tell you about it!

Chrissie x

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Great Bake-Off Ritual

All was very quiet in Blogland last night, and I’d bet my KitchenAid that all of us in the UK were watching The Great British Bake-Off!

Bunny and I started a Bake-Off Ritual two years ago, when I would let her stay up late to watch the show with me each week (now she stays up til 9 p.m. anyway, my big girl!).

We watched the first episode, drooling at the yummy bakes, so the following week we made sure we had cake to eat while we watched!

Then as the cooler autumn temperatures rolled in, we added hot chocolate to our Bake-Off snack lineup...

To add to the indulgence, the next week, while I was putting Little Flower to bed, Bunny made what she dubbed a “nest” on the sofa, comprised of all the sofa cushions lined up, a fleecy blanket underneath us, and covered up with another snugly blanket.

Last year Daddy realized he was missing out on something quite special, so he happily joined us in the nest, which Bunny expanded with another blanket beneath and a larger quilt on top for all of us.

Darling Husband is not a baker, but we all love the gentle drama of the series – and he loves to listen to Bunny and I discuss the recipes and techniques, and we three chime in on who might win, who will be Star Baker, and who is on their way out!

Now we have our ritual perfected – preparations start at 7 p.m., when I take Little Flower up to get ready for bed (we are all quite excited about adding her to the nest when she’s a bit older, she’s quite the baker!). Bunny makes the nest, then we ready our treats when I come downstairs...but last night, to celebrate the first night of the show, Darling Husband came home from a long day in London with a very special box of very posh chocs!

He’s recently completed a big project at work, and he bought me this present for being so supportive! (Moments like this remind me why I said “I do!”, he’s my dream come true!)

These were, by far, the very best chocolates I have ever eaten – and my dears, I have eaten lots (and lots and lots!) of chocolate, from all over the world! We nibbled away at them while watching the bakers nervously create their cakes...who impressed you the most? Who will win? I have my guess...

I love the Great British Bake-Off, and I love our family ritual even more. Happy memories!

Chrissie x

Monday, 19 August 2013

A little thank-you gift, step by step

Take one vintage tea towel, one embroidery hoop, one needle, one pair of scissors, two shades of embroidery floss

Trace hearts onto the towel using a cookie cutter and a fabric pencil

Stitch a simple design – in this case, double-bloom poppies in a soft shade of pink (French knots), with their sinuous blue-green stems (stem stitch). I did freestyle embroidery with this one rather than drawing a design on the fabric.

Fold the fabric in half, right sides facing, and machine or hand stitch around the heart, leaving a gap to turn right sides out. Cut around the heart shape ¼” outside the seam line, turn right sides out, and stuff with toy filling. Stitch a length of twine on top and knot.

Package it up with a little thank-you note and pop in the post!

(This particular token of appreciation is for Debbie at Serendipity Patch, who generously offered to share double-bloom poppy seeds with anyone who was interested. I received my batch of teeny seeds in the post last week, hence the poppies on the little heart. I don't know how many batches she posted, but that kind of generosity deserves a treat – thank you, Debbie!)

Happy crafting!

Chrissie x

Friday, 16 August 2013

Book review: Granny Squares

I bought this book a little while ago, simply because it looked so happy and colourful! Let me tell you about it...

Granny Squares by Susan Pinner includes 20 granny square projects, and unlike many books which feature a collection on a theme, I could actually see myself making every project! No duds!

I have an old stool which is screaming for a cover like this

And this beauty of a cushion would be great in Little Flower’s room...though I’m not sure I’d allow the pretty picnic blanket to be tossed on the ground!

And one day, when I have my own craft room (a gal can dream!), I will have a lampshade like this

While most of the projects feature very colourful yarns, there are a few pictured in one colour, a simple ivory, which shows off the beauty of the texture. I like all the rainbow brights, but part of me would love to do one of these projects in neutral shades...and these projects would be perfect opportunities to try out some of the colour schemes from my Colour Palettes Pinterest board.

Granny Squares is full of gorgeous photos that definitely add the chic to granny chic! The book is printed on the beautiful, matte, quality paper that I love. Dotted throughout are super ‘Granny’s Tips’, which offer sage bits of advice that are useful for beginner and advanced crocheters alike.

Anyway, I don’t like reviewing a book without actually having tried at least one project, so here’s what I’ve started

This bold, bright bathmat is perfect for the girls’ bathroom – their current one, which I crocheted a while ago, is getting quite worn. If I make this one then we can alternate between the two mats.

Now to the nitty gritty: How is the pattern? Well, for the most part, it was easy to follow and made a fun little hexie

But I was wishing for a little more explanation with certain elements. It assumes knowledge of cluster stitches, or you have to refer back to the beginning of the book for a full explanation. Sometimes I prefer everything to be laid out in one pattern, to save flipping back and forth (I know how to do clusters, I’m speaking here for beginner crocheters or for anyone working on a new technique). How do you feel about this? Do you like the pattern in detail, or do you prefer to get on with it and have a reference page if you need more explanation? I’m curious...

Also, the yarn requirements call for equal amounts of merino DK and acrylic DK, and the hexagons are worked with one strand of each yarn together – but no explanation as to why. Does the acrylic help the merino wear better underfoot? I’m not sure. And heaven knows I don’t have the same colours in both merino and acrylic, so I know I won’t be working it up this way.

In fact, I tested this with some of the yarn I used on the original bathmat, which was a very silly garden meadow mat that was perfect for a child’s bathroom

The girls love this mat, and the bright flowers match the colours I painted on the cupboards and walls. So I might use the leftovers to do some hexies and buy more of the same yarn. It is a chunky acrylic, so I don’t have to bother hooking two strands of DK together.

I need to rummage through the craft cupboard to see if I can dig up the original wrappers for this yarn, because I can’t remember what it is! And here’s where I heed a useful tip found on page 33 of Granny Squares: “I keep extensive notes and file all my ball bands with a small sample of the yarn. It might seem a bit of a hassle to do this but in the long run you will find it extremely useful.”

Indeed. There’s my New Year’s Resolution!

Chrissie x

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Craft Limbo...

...the absence of progress with current WIPs, despite not having started any new projects. A state of creative oblivion. Craft Limbo indicators include summer holidays, sunny weather, an increase of child presence in the home.

It’s not for a lack of desire to accomplish anything – oh no, I’m rather excited to continue work on my WIPs. But somehow, inevitably, as I gather the balls of yarn to do a few more blossoms for my bag, something distracts me. A child needing another snack (growth spurts, both of them! I feel like I’m catering for two rugby players, not young girls!), another load of post-holiday laundry to put on...I pop the yarn on the table, then suddenly it’s 10 p.m.! Then only one or two blossoms are made rather than one or two rows.
So for now I’m going to show you some more of my alphabet sampler. I managed to finish the letter D, and I realised that I should actually be posting details about this sampler after every four or five letters, or else I’ll be writing a short novel about the entire alphabet when it’s done!

I added the ten-pence coin for size reference (US peeps: 10p coin is about the size of a quarter). Some of you will know these stitches, so look softly – some are new to me, and I know they’re not perfect, but I’m gaining good experience with this sampler, which is entirely the point of the project! To those of you who haven’t embroidered much, these are fun stitches to learn, and I’m happy to explain more via emails or in future posts if there is interest. Perhaps some tutorials down the line?

The letter A is done in stem stitch with one thread, the flower is worked in buttonhole stitch, the leaves are long and short stitches. B is a chain stitch with two threads, leaves are a mix of lazy daisy and fern stitches, and the flowers are lazy daisies, but I used some variegated floss for some colour interest.

The letter C was done in stem stitch with two threads, more lazy daisy leaves, and the blossoms are French knots – but I chose to use three colours rather than one, a pale yellow, pale peach and a shade darker peach. The D is stem stitch one thread, but some leaves were done with the fishbone stitch – my first time doing this, and it was tricky. I seemed to succeed on the larger leaves, but the very small leaves, well, let’s just say they’re not perfect and leave it at that. Perhaps I’m mad to think a fishbone stitch would work on such a dinky leaf...
I decided to use silk ribbon for the blossoms, rather than the buttonhole stitch recommended in the instructions. I like how they turned out (except that, looking at the photo, I have to adjust the ribbon in a spot or two to conceal the needle hole - photos show you what the naked eye can't detect!) and I like reviving my ribbon skills. A few ribbon knots at the top, and I’ve got a pretty garden developing here!

Now, a confession: I spent the majority of yesterday firmly believing it was Friday. I’m serious. I was mulling over weekend plans, etc...Sometime in the afternoon my mother-in-law was talking to me about popping a card in the post, and I cautioned her that it won’t arrive in time because it’s nearly Sunday. Her puzzled look was my first indication that something was amiss. Then she had to actually tell me that it wasn’t Friday. Then she told me it was Tuesday. Nice. Then I’m sure she wondered why this grown woman staring blankly at her is caring for her grandchildren...
We’ve been home nearly a week now. Time to snap out of this post-holiday stupor! Time to get out of Craft Limbo as well. I’ve had it!

Watch out WIPS, I’m coming to get ya!

Chrissie x

Saturday, 10 August 2013

And so to bed...

One of life’s little joys is the first night sleeping in your own bed after a holiday. The familiar comfort of your very own mattress and your very own pillow. There’s nothing like your own bedroom, your private retreat at the end of the day, is there?

Well, at least I know there’s probably not many like my bedroom...
You’ll either love it or hate it, but this is my wacky bedroom wall mural. I painted this “feature wall” three years ago, when Little Flower was a few months old. Perhaps it was post-pregnancy hormones affecting my creativity, causing me to go a tad overboard with the crafty endeavours (I wasn’t yet embroidering or sewing, I only knew how to crochet back then).
But there is a story here that I want to share with you.

The master bedroom, when we moved in nearly 10 years ago, was a less-than-serene shade of dark yellow. The carpet was a thin, worn royal blue. Ugh. It remained this way for years, as we had other priorities in the house – the kitchen, the sitting room, Bunny’s bedroom...everything else took precedence over our room, which is silly, because this is where we are supposed to find solace, to relax and recharge our batteries.
Well, one day I was reading either House & Garden or Homes & Gardens, you know, one of those rather upscale decorating mags. I would buy them for inspiration around the house, then knock together something similar for a quarter of the price of the items on those posh pages. Flicking through the issue, I came across an amazing home featuring grand murals. The bedroom was a peaceful sage green, soft but not pastel, calming, a quiet, natural shade. The weeping willow-style branches, with their dainty aqua buds dotted here and there, were dramatic but yet graceful. I was entranced. I had to have this on my wall!

So I read the details closer, to find where I can get my hands on this wallpaper. I’ll splurge, I thought, and just buy enough to cover one wall, knowing it wouldn’t be cheap.

But this wallpaper wasn’t any old posh wallpaper. It was hand-embroidered silk wallpaper from China. And it as £284 per square meter.

Yup, that’s right. About £5,000 to cover that wall, I reckoned, after I got out the tape measure and did a few measurements.
The paint pots have been replaced with a much more tasteful brown linen cube stool...

So I taped the mag photo to the wall, grabbed a pencil and jumped on the bed, and I started drawing on the walls (these were the days before wall stickers were easy to find everywhere!). I figured I’d better do this now before Little Flower was old enough to see me and think it’s okay to doodle on walls anywhere in the house.
I sketched a few branches, then I bought one small tester pot of dark brown paint. What could go wrong? If we don’t like it, paint over it.
After matching the green and painting the walls, I drew the entire mural on the wall. I was nervous painting the first little branch in the corner, of course, but I kept going and loved it.

The nice thing with branches is you can be as wobbly as you like with painting, it doesn’t matter, because trees are knotty and bumpy and not at all straight.
I got out the old acrylics I used for the fairies in Bunny’s room and mixed some turquoise and some white to make the buds, just like in the magazine. I never, ever would have put turquoise, sage green and dark brown in a colour scheme, but oddly, I think it works!

I even went so far as to copy the wall lamps on either side of the bed with the duck-egg shades, and the large kingfisher-coloured cushion with the smaller duck-egg cushions on the bed. But of course for a fraction of the cost of the ones in the magazine (and now I would have bought fabric and sewn them myself!). Last year I found the brown and teal bedding in a catalogue, so now we have “summer bedding” and “winter bedding” – how very grown up, eh?
Of course, now that I’m into embroidery, I’m wondering how one learns to stitch wallpaper...

Chrissie x


Friday, 9 August 2013

Home Sweet Home

Hello there! It’s been a while, how have you been? We just got back last night from a little family holiday, and now I’m in post-holiday stupor, trying to maintain the lovely relaxed vibe while unpacking and sorting laundry and toiletries...

How can one describe the feeling of returning home after a truly wonderful, relaxing trip – that moment you walk through the door after a day spent packing, travelling to the airport, hurtling through the air in a plane, travelling home, unlocking the door, stepping inside?
There’s no place like home.

I don’t need to click together sparkly red shoes to know this (but oh, I wouldn’t say no to a pair to give it a go!). I love travelling, I absolutely love visiting new places, learning niceties in other languages, eating new foods, strolling through local streets...but I also love coming home.
I love walking from room to room, reacquainting myself with the home. I slip my feet into my recently repaired purple slippers. I spot the decoupaged bookcase in the kitchen, and it’s all new to me again. My eyes spot the granny stripe blanket I made for Bunny and I feel happy. These little crafty creations – and I’m speaking for you, me, all of us, we crafty folks – are more than a hobby, much more than a way to spend a few hours here and there. These are treasures that truly make our house ours. Our home.

That’s it from me for today, no photos, no WIP updates I’m afraid, just a little hello and a promise to post something clever and crafty ASAP!
Chrissie x

Saturday, 3 August 2013


The summer holidays have indeed been fun and busy. I love not having to stick to a routine, letting the kids play around in their pyjamas til late morning, or staying out later than normal just because we’re having such a great time.
I have managed a bit of progress on some WIPs, so without further ado...
The Blossom Bag is blooming nicely – the first half is complete!

This crochet project, first mentioned here, whips up so quickly, the flowers are fun and easy, and the pattern is simple to remember. Now I’ll move onto the other side, then I have to decide which colour should make the band at the top that will connect the handles to the bag. Any ideas? I’m considering the lighter green, or perhaps the rose...

The only drawback to the pattern so far, as with every crochet flower, granny square or stripe pattern actually, is this, the backside:

AAAAACK! Strikes fear in the bravest of I’ve said before, they can put a man on the moon, but they can’t invent a tool to sort out yarn ends. Priorities, people!

Moving swiftly on, Sam-I-Am is done, so I will start to stitch green eggs and ham next:

I won’t say much about him yet, other than I’m learning a lot with this project, my mistakes, my good decisions, some techniques I’d change next time...but more on that when it’s a FO. It is fun stitching something so different from my other projects - the bold, cartoonish black, red and yellow, the sketchy style...

And I’ve even managed my ABCs!

This sampler is a delight to stitch, and I’ve only done three letters! It is very easy to pick up when I have a spare 10 minutes, as the piece is made up of a lot of little components. 

Pop over to the lovely &Stitches site today and you’ll find the guest blogger! I did a little interview with Sophie Long, author of a fantastic new tome entitled Mastering the Art of Embroidery. Sophie is a professional embroiderer who trained at the Royal School of Needlework, and she also happens to be one of the team who embroidered Kate Middleton’s wedding dress! Last summer I took part in a wonderful silk ribbon embroidery course that she was teaching, and I kept in touch with her afterwards. She’s an expert, a terrific teacher, and she keeps centuries-old techniques fresh with her contemporary designs. I’ll give a proper review of her book soon...

I’ve put a lot of topics on my Blog To-Do List, haven’t I? Better stop writing, get crafting, then get blogging some more, focusing on one project at a time...

Happy crafting!
Chrissie x

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Stitching season

I’m still stitching away at various embroidery projects, and if I haven’t finished them by next week then I will at least post WIP photos to show I am making progress with them!

I wonder if there tends to be a ‘season’ for particular crafts? Obviously, when the weather gets warmer we tend to put away the wool and crochet hooks – who wants to make a blanket in the hot summer sunshine? (Baby blankets don’t count, I had to work towards my friend’s due date!) And there’s nothing better than to huddle up next to a fire during the dark days of winter, hook in hand, crocheting the cold away...I’m not sure if there is a season more conducive to sewing – I’m still too much of a newbie; I’m happy to get any block of time to get the machine out, no matter what day of the year!
Embroidery is very suited to lazy summer days, whether it’s sitting outside in a shady corner of the garden, or indoors on the sofa watching the rain through the window. Little Flower agrees – she decided to snuggle up next to me and do some of her own stitching!

I received a little treat the other day that will get me started on another project from The Hand-Stitched Home...

I have been teaching a friend to crochet, and she has taken to it like a fish to water. She also happens to be married to a very skilled woodworker, so she asked him to cut some triangular blocks so I could make the bookends! A little present for me so I can start a new project. Yippee!
Chrissie x