Smalls for 2015

Over the past few years I’ve chosen a theme for my smalls and ornaments. I’ve stitched one ornament from each JCS ornament issue, Dragon Dreams ornaments, and TW smalls. For 2015 I was planning on making this my theme:

 

Teresa Wentzler's 12 Days of Christmas (WIP)

Teresa Wentzler’s 12 Days of Christmas (WIP)

Yes, I thought I could actually finish up Teresa Wentzler’s 12 Days of Christmas. And, hey, since two were already finished, I’d have two months to fill with something else. Then I came to my senses. Next year I really want to stitch at least one stocking and a birth sampler. I’d also love to design a Minecraft piece for my little man. The TW ornaments may be small, but they aren’t that small. So, plan B:

2015 Smalls

2015 Smalls

I’ll be working my way through my backlog of Mill Hill ornaments and other little kits. I absolutely adore Mill Hill ornaments, and I love how they look on my Christmas tree. Since I’m a bit short on the 12 I need for the year, I’ll also be stitching some other small kits I’ve collected over the years.

Would you like to join in on the stitching fun? You can learn all about the 2015 Smalls SAL here. If you will be taking part, let me know what you think you will be stitching. (Jo, I know you are going with snakes, right? ;) )

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Catching Up on SALs

Although I have been keeping up with various SALs offline, I haven’t been doing a good job of posting about them online. The last time I posted a TUSAL check-in was back at the beginning of October. I’ve been saving my orts, but I just haven’t been taking the time to take pictures and post.

Mini ort collector (October - mid-December)

Mini ort collector (October – mid-December)

This is everything I’ve collected since the start of October. There are bits from my smalls, from the Creativ Festival, and from the little bit of Christmas stitching that I have managed to do.

Large ort jar

Large ort jar

And this is my jar for the year. It isn’t as full as some years, but I’m still happy with the amount of orts in it. I may feel like I haven’t been very productive, but this jar shows me otherwise.

Stitch from Stash 2014 button

The other SAL that I’ve managed to keep up with is Stitch from Stash. I have to admit that I’ve done a terrible job of keeping track of carry-over amounts, bonuses, etc. Essentially, I made sure I stayed within the $25 budget every month as best as I could (and I knew I had some carry-over since I spent $0 for a few months). In November there was another bonus, and since all I purchased was an $18 chart (the newest Passione Ricamo SAL), I know I’m good.

I’ll be taking part in both TUSAL and Stitch from Stash next year (and running my own nifty spreadsheet to keep track of my budget). I’m also running the Smalls SAL again, and I would love to have you take part.

So, tell me, what SALs are you taking part in in 2015? I’d love to know all about them, because maybe I will want to join in too. ;)

5 Comments | Posted in Cross Stitch, Site News | Tagged ,

Black and Silver

December continues to be busy, but, as I said a few posts back, I’m making it a point to take some time for myself everyday. Recently, I spent my crafting time finishing up a couple of chainmaille projects.

Double Spiral Bracelet

Double Spiral Bracelet

This is the Double Spiral bracelet from Metal Designz. It uses two colours of aluminum rings, and looks super cool. Not only that, but it was also very easy to put together. Clear instructions make all the difference in the world.

Chainmaille Flowers

Chainmaille Flowers

I also finished two more chainmaille flowers. I love them, and I think I need to come up with some ideas on how I can use them for magnets or keychains or something. They are just too cute!

Sadly, this probably it for chainmaille until after the holidays. I have some sewing projects that must getting finished, and my craft room will soon morph back into a guest room. But that is okay. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say.

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First Cross Stitch Finish

Now that we are settled into our house, and actually have some space, my mom has started bring over old Christmas decorations. It was a lot of fun to go through the boxes and uncover ornaments and figurines that I haven’t seen in more than a decade. From all these treasures, though, there was one that is perhaps the best.

Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

This was the first piece of cross stitch I ever finished. It is a pre-printed design, possible from Dimensions or Designs for the Needle. When I bought it (while in vacation in the U.S.), I didn’t see the listing for the floss colours. So, instead, I spent a lot of time trying to match colours to what was printed on the fabric. I think my fabric choices worked out fairly well. (And if you know more about this piece, please let me know!)

Peace on Earth (It is framed under some weird, slightly frosted glass.)

Peace on Earth (It is framed under some weird, slightly frosted glass.)

So you still have your first stitched piece? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below, and if you post about on your blog be sure to let me know!

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Countdown to Christmas

December can be either a very stressful or a very magical month to those of us who celebrate Christmas. This year I chose to make December as peaceful and magical as possible. Admittedly, I almost always try to finish my Christmas shopping as earlier as possible, and I make it a rule to avoid malls in December if at all possible. And those two things in themselves make December so much nicer. But, this year I decided to try two new things. First, the little man and I have a calendar with fun activities for every day of the month up to Christmas.

santahouse

So far we’ve made a Merry Christmas banner, a pretty Santa house, coloured together, and built things out of Lego. It has been a lot of fun, and it has helped remind me that to children Christmas is something special. It is more than just spending money and eating tasty food. It is about family, and fun, and time together.

Stress Free Challenge Square

The other thing I’ve been doing is for me: I’ve been working through Ruth Soukup’s (of Living Well Spending Less) Stress Free Christmas. She is offering a free video series and holiday planning workbook, and both are fabulous. (You can learn more here.) Ruth also has some great tips on reducing stress during the holidays. I especially like her reminder to practice self care. For us stitchy ladies, that means sitting down with our needles once in a while and making a couple of stitches.

Also, this quote from Ruth’s new book Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life is apropos to both our daily crafty lives and to our aspirational holiday plans:

LWSL-Book-Quote-14So, whatever you are doing (or not doing) during December, I hope you take some time to make it magical, fun, and peaceful.

2 Comments | Posted in Crafts, The Outside World |

Socks – Big and Little

The other week I promised you more socky finishes, and here they are.

Garge and his green socks.

Garge and his green socks.

First up is the little green socks I showed in this post. They were knit 2-at-a-time (which I don’t like) with a super cool heel (which I loved). And, as you can see, they live on the feet of the little man’s stuff monster Garge. (He is Presley Cash the Monster, designed by Rebecca Danger.) The yarn is Berroco Touché, a 50/50 blend of cotton and model, in colourway 7909 Mint Julip.

Hedera, designed by Cookie A.

Hedera, designed by Cookie A.

The second pair is Cookie A’s Hedra, knit as part of a KAL on Ravelry. Hopefully, if I have enough yarn (*laugh crazily*), I should knit through her whole book Knit.Sock.Love as part of the KAL. I knit these Hedera using Kollage Yarns Luscious in colourway Tangerine.

The pattern is very simple, but looks great. I can see why  it is one of her most popular with over 4200 projects on Ravelry right now. If you’d like to knit it yourself, you can still find the original pattern on Knitty here.

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Metal Flowers

As you might remember, I’ve played around with chainmaille a little bit in the past. I’ve even got a Pinterest board that is full of projects I’d like to tackle some day. So, when the fall Creativ Festival rolled around again last month, I was keen to get some more chainmaille supplies and try a couple of things.

New chainmaille supplies

New chainmaille supplies

I picked up this nifty little container full of the most common ring sizes, a new pair of pilers, a couple of kits, and some pretty scales. And, while I haven’t had time to do much, I have managed to make this:

Chainmaille flower

Chainmaille flower

It is a scale flower, made from a kit from Metal Designz. It was easy to make, but a touch fiddly. And, my goodness, does having two good pliers ever make a difference.

I’m thinking that these might make pretty Christmas ornaments, if I get a chance to make a few more. I’d also like to try my hand at some of the scale butterflies, and maybe even some of the fancy stars. I think I may need to do an online order…

If you’d like to try making a scale flower yourself, here is a free tutorial for a similar flower.

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