Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Smalls Check-in

My final SAL check-in of 2015 is for 2015SmallsSAL. A thank you to Heather at Stitching Lotus for hosting this SAL and continuing it into 2016.  If you are interested in participating, click on the 2016 button on the left and it should take you to the sign-up page. If it doesn't, click here.  I have said it before, but if it weren't for this SAL, I would have very few finishes each year.

All of my finishes can be seen in the "Finishes" tab up top.  I had been using The Sampler Life SAL blocks as my Smalls SAL pieces, but this month decided to focus on Plum Street Samplers 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL instead. Like The Sampler Life, the motifs for the mystery SAL could be stitched as individual ornaments/pieces.  I had toyed with the idea of individual pieces, but I am even worse at finishing-finishing things than I am at finishing the stitching so gave that idea up quickly.  So, as of right now, I am here:

This is still on the frame as I plan to do a bit of stitching while watching this afternoon/evening's football games. I will continue with this piece as my Smalls SAL piece until finished and then back to The Sampler Life pieces.

I did a bit more on Christmas Presence yesterday. I got tired of the parked threads of page 4 (bottom right) getting in my way, so concentrated on getting as many of them done as I could. I ended up going cross country with them, but the majority of them are finished and out of the way. I then worked on the next column of page 2.  When I put him away last night, he was here:

It is fun to see this piece in a photo.  Because I stitch this under a magnifying lamp, I only see scattered stitches and bits of color that really don't make a lot of sense, but when I step away and take a photo, there is a glove or a coat sleeve and all the color bits make sense. Santa will be on the frame soon as I would like to finish the column.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December WIPocalypse

It's a few days late, but as the topic for this WIPocalypse check-in is to recap our 2015 stitching accomplishments, it gave me a few extra days to stitch - which didn't happen but it was a good thought.

2015 was a good stitching year.  I had 18 finishes, mostly smalls, but given the limited stitching time I have, it is quite a lot.  All of my finishes can be seen in the tab above titled Finishes (catchy isn't it?).  I put a list of WIPocalypse projects together about this time last year, unfortunately, there will not be much difference in my 2016 list. From the list, I had two finishes:

Holly and Hearts Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

and Spring in the Air by Just Nan

I had some progress on all the others on my list:

Mirabilia's Santa's Magic went from here:

 to here: 

Elegant Doily by Kayann's Kreations was here on January 1st:

and here when I put it up last: 

Secret Victorian Garden started the year here:

 and ended it here:

Shakespearean Fantasy and Christmas Presence from Heaven and Earth Designs were blank pieces of fabric the beginning of the year and are here today:


I kept up with my rotation fairly well this year.  The last couple of months have been "stitch what I want when I want" and very relaxing, but I can feel the rotation calling again, so will most likely start it up after the first of the year.  I also did better than expected with my SALs and checking in - well I did until the end of August when they started to get away from me.  I have pared back the SALs for 2016 to a much more manageable three (if you are interested in participating in any of them, the badges at the top of the page should be clickable and will take you to the respective pages). 

I have this week off from work and have a stitching plan worked out (which I have already deviated from) which could have me finishing one or two more smalls and making some progress on Secret Victorian Garden; however, I will not be too upset if I don't. I do have a new start planned for January 1st, Just Nan's Christmas Soldiers stocking, and have several other pieces that I will be starting throughout the year, or I may start them all in January and create a rotation around them, or something else will come to me in the next couple of days and throw this all out the window.  This is the first year in a long time that I have not had a solid stitching plan in place this close to the new year and I am not sure if that is good or bad.  I suppose as long as I am stitching it doesn't really matter. 

I hope you all had an enjoyable and productive stitching year and that 2016 will bring more of the same.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Gifted Gorgeousness

It's Gifted Gorgeousness time again.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and serves several functions. First of all, it lets us thank the generous folks that have gifted us something stitching related - patterns, thread, fabric, etc. and it also lets us highlight the pieces that we are stitching as gifts.  And the best part is the "shoehorn" category - that one lets us put on our justification hats and tell the world why it fits this SAL.

Soooo, I have two pieces that fit perfectly, Shakespearean Fantasy and Its About Time. Both of these patterns were gifted to me by the very generous Pull the Other Thread and Kate at Needle and Haystacks respectively.

Shakespearean Fantasy looks like this today:

And Its About Time looks like this:

Right now, I don't have any pieces that fit into "gifts I am stitching" category, but I will in 2016.  I do have two pieces that I am shoehorning in as they are freebies from the designers and are, in my mind, gifts.  The first is QS Christmas Presence.  He was part of the 2015 Freebie SAL on the Heaven and Earth Designs Yuku bulletin board.  I have put a few more stitches into him since I last showed you. Today he looks like this:

All those ratty ends on the right are the starting of threads for the10X10 square that I finished - very heavy confetti stitching.  The next couple of squares are not as confetti heavy so should stitch up much faster.

The second shoehorn is Plum Street Samplers, 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL. I am slowly but surely working through each day and have it to here now:

I have stitched "Sixth Day" in the next block, but that's all.  I doubt I will have this finished for Christmas but may by Twelfth Night. Thinking on it, as I am stitching this with thread won in a give-away at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, I think this one actually fits into the "perfect fit" category and not the shoehorn.

As I mentioned, I plan to reduce my SAL commitments in 2016, but this is one that I plan to continue with.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Well, the time went somewhere...

I am unsure how it got to be the middle of December, but here we are.  I missed a couple of SAL check-ins, again, but will not try to make them up, will just have a fail for the year for a couple of them. I took the first week of December off to do all my baking and crafty Christmas things.  I am happy to say I finished everything.  DSon texted to say he got his boxes and was binging on cookies (I send all but a couple of each cookie to him - they look much better on him then they do on me!!). I still have to get the cards in envelopes and mailed, but they are made. I went a bit outside my usual for the cards but enjoyed designing and making them. Here's a not very good photo of a finished one (and the mess that is my crafting area - also known as the dining room table):

Unfortunately, not a lot of stitching happened during my time off or this past week.  My focus piece has been Plum Street Samplers 12 Days mystery. I managed to get it from here:

to here:

The first photo is closer in color to the piece even though the second one was taken in natural light.  Oh well, DSon is the photographer in the family not me. I am using Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe's threads for the first time on this and like the subtle variation in color. I am having an issue with tangles, but I think it's more an issue of my thread being too long (user error) rather than an actual issue with the thread.

We are having ridiculously warm weather.  We're supposed to be near 70 F (21C) today with no major cold snaps predicated - it's great for my electric bill as the heat hasn't kicked on in several days, but it's not doing much for my holiday spirit. Looking out the window, there are still large patches of green in the yard and a flock of about 50 robins (that's the American version, which bears very little resemblance to the European variety) just flew in - they're about six weeks early. 

I am still puttering around with my stitching plans for next year.  I will be cutting back on the number of SALs I sign up for if that sounds familiar, I said the same thing last year about this time, and will be doing some major project changes in my rotation to get the promised Christmas stockings finished for next Christmas and try to get a little ahead on the wedding piece stitching, but for this weekend, I think I will work on Christmas Presence  and the 12 Days sampler.