Monday, 27 November 2017

Nov Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello Everyone,

I hope your week is going well and that you are keeping warm (for those living in the northern hemisphere). Here it is -13C (9F) and snowing (yay for winter).

I have done a bit of stitching these last few weeks on some smaller projects and one of them fits into the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL hosted by Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching (go over there to see the other gifts stitched this month). Jo is always holding community projects and blog hops and is starting to look for bloggers wanted to participate in the Christmas advent calendar. Shoehorning in projects is always welcome so even if I am not doing any specifically Christmas-styled projects I will be signing up and encourage everyone else to get involved.

I have finished up some more the of the flowers on the Energetic Tree that is a gift for my brother and his partner as a move in present / Christmas projects. I am all finished and just need to figure out how to finish / frame.

I have made a couple of colour changes to the piece because I like purple and red more than yellow. This was the first time I used Jacobean couching and I think the look is very striking.

I also started another embroidery piece that will be a gift for my sister, the shoe collector. It is a small and fun design and the fabric is a high count and nice to stitch on.

Now for the piece that I am shoehorning in to this months GG. This was a gift for my soul. This is a piece from the XStitch magazine that I received last month. For those of you who are not familiar, the first magazine was released a few months ago (revolution) and has some political projects.

This too shall pass
XStitch Magazine
32 count antique white lugana 
Colour & Cotton threads (Black Currant & Slate)

I made some adjustments to the piece including just using one colour for the words, although it is variegated, and adding the border to the outside. I made this for work for when I get so frustrated and need to focus on the big picture and see the what is truly important to me and what is always true. I found this piece very cathartic and it is now at work. I did a quick finish but it seems to be holding together well so far. I will clean it up over the holidays.

Have a good week everyone,

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Blog Hop 2017

Hello Everyone,

I am participating in the 2017 Hallowe'en blog hop hosted by Jo from Serendipitous Stitching. Please head to the lovely Serendipitous Stitching blog to start the hop and spell the spooky quote. The letter I have is


And the next stop is Barb at Wicked Stitcher.

I rarely do a lot of holiday stitching but I do have a spooky colour of thread and some work completed on a fantasy piece.

Dryad and the Dragon is a HAED design and I have completed the top row. I have just started to see the tail of the dragon and the back of the dryad.

The thread is a Colour & Cotton hand-dyed thread with orange and grey colours that is perfect for any hallowe'en design. I will be starting a piece with it once I get in some fabric.

Thanks for stopping by everyone and good luck figuring out the quote,


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Oct Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello Everyone,

I am back with a quick update for GG. I missed the last few (2 I think) months but I am back to finish off the year strong. Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo from Serendipitous Stitching each month and we are supposed to show our stitching that is related to someone else. So a gift to or from a person has to be part of the project in some shape or form. I use the Coastal View piece usually for this SAL as it was gifted to me by Lulu in one of her giveaways last year and will be a gift for my sister. I have also started an embroidery piece that I will be gifting to my brother and his partner as a "move-in" gift for Christmas, I think it will be done by then (omg fingers crossed!). 

Coastal View:
This is the same photo as last week since I haven't stitched on it since then. I wanted to include it though, as I did do a fair amount since the last time I checked in for GG. All the backstitching is done on this page except for a tiny bit in the road as it extends over to the next page.

Coastal View
Dimensions Gold Kit
18 count ivory aida

Energetic Tree:
This is a crewelwork piece that I picked up on my trip to BC in July. The colours are super vibrant and it stitches up fairly quickly. I am almost done the larger Jacobean flower and the stem.

 Vigaroso Albero (Energetic Tree)
Crazy for Crewel
32 Count White Lugana
DMC Cotton Threads

Life Update:
Asides from work and stitching the big focus I have had recently, especially on the weekends, is building a chicken coop. The coop will be at my parents and will house 15ish laying hens. I am opting for as many chickens as would be happy in the coop but we will see what my partner wants as well. The coop is built onto a plastic frame that used to be a greenhouse and is made of plywood and 2x4s. This weekend I am going to be painting to make sure the roof does not suffer water damage over the winter and will be finishing up some of the siding pieces. We also need to put sheets of plywood in the inside to make sure the chickens don't have access to the insulation (styrofoam) and put in nesting boxes and roosting dowels. I really want to have the chickens in about a month but we might go the chick route and order them for February-ish and raise them to hens. I am really looking forward to eating my own eggs and to having the hens. 

Hope everyone is well,

Monday, 9 October 2017

Aug & Sept Update

Hello Everyone,

I have been gone for a couple of months from the blog world but I have been stitching. I don't really have a good reason for being gone so long, I have been very busy (but not satisfyingly so) at work and I think that has really been the issue, more on that below.

I have been working on the Coastal view and the Dryad mostly. A quarter is now down on the Coastal view and the whole side of the Dryad is finished minus a couple of ninja stitches as Alicia calls them. I am stitching using the parking method, unless a colour is only used once in the nearby blocks and then I am marking it and going back at the end. There is a lot of confetti in these last few pages and so this keeps me from hunting for where to park the thread and going back later takes about a day/ day and a half.

Coastal View


Finished Pieces:

Life Update/ Rant:
I have been watching flosstube while I stitch unless I am listening to an audiobook and I enjoy other peoples personal updates and so I am going to try adding this portion to my blog.

I have mentioned before that I am taking my Masters of Science (MSc) in welding engineering which entails taking four courses and writing a thesis. I am working on phase transformations in steels and in particular, I am focusing on predicting what phases will form and therefore how likely a welded piece of metal will crack. For those who are unfamiliar with steel phases imagine ice forming in the winter. Some of the ice is brittle and forms sheets that you can easily shatter completely, and other ice forms an intertwined structure that is much more bendable (think of ice dipping down under your weight on a pond but not breaking). Steel is very similar and I am working on improving prediction techniques so that we can always form the bendable steel and the piece will not critically fail when it is used.

My work has taken a lot of my time recently, more in frustration-allotment than in actual time. There are many nice aspects working in the university however here it is like have 100 different little companies without managers and so it is inefficient and puts people in roles that they are not well suited for. My supervisor is a very intelligent person, but is not a good manager and is not well organized. What that means for me is that work can be madness without a need. And it turns out I am not the type of person who can work under constant panic, especially if we could have just done some basic planning to avoid the problem. So needless to say, I was returning home as a ball of annoyance and just could not write a happy blog post to save my life.

I have also been feeling so helpless with the almost weekly cases of tragedy somewhere in the world. Definitely there are moments of brightness, especially close to home (Payette as the GG in Canada, mission to end homelessness in 10 years in my city) but the horror and frustration has been all consuming. I have been feeling like some days I wake up mad and go to bed mad and although I have a very strong home life and am connected to my technical and local community I have the feeling of being swallowed by the frustration of world events. With the recent horror in Las Vegas and the attack in my own city that injured five I want to offer my condolences to everyone and anyone touched by the senseless violence and disregard for human life. I also want to reach out to those battling and rebuilding after hurricanes, flooding and other weather events.

I am planning to check in much more these next few weeks even if it is just a life update and a few pictures.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

July Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone has been having a good summer. It has been hot here for the last few weeks although it is cooling off during the nights again finally. The plants are doing very well though as long as they can stay watered. I just have a small balcony but we set up flowers, tomatoes and some herbs and they look very nice. It really brightens up the room and smells nice. We don't get any bees up so high unfortunately but the tomatoes will self-pollinate.

For Gifted Gorgeousness (hosted by the wonderful Jo from Serendipitous Stitching) this month I have been working on the Coastal View. This is a project that was gifted to me by Lucy and will be for my sister. I am working on the steps and the first building and am happy with the progress. I still have a fair amount to go and will start to focus on this project more while I am at home and not just while I am in the car.
Coastal View
Dimensions Gold Kit
18 count ivory aida

I also received a gift from Minnie at AllXX's who held a blog giveaway and then ended up giving a gift to everyone who entered. She sent me the great pattern below and I am very excited to start it, I think I will put it at work when I am done. I have begun to slowly kit it up and will probably get a hand-dyed fabric for it and maybe silk floss.

Be True
Little House Needlework

I have completed a few more blocks on the Dryad. I have about 1500 stitches left until this page (and top row) are completed which will be a major milestone. I am enjoying the detail in this piece and like exploring each new motif, I feel I have a much better understanding and appreciation of the painting.
The Dryad and the Dragon
Heaven and Earth Designs
Original Art: Josephine Wall
28 count evenweave

I also have picked up some more patterns. I took a couple of days off a few weeks ago and went on a road trip to Vancouver. We had a lovely time, saw whales and flew in a float plane, and ate tons of fruit. I also got a chance to stop in a quaint needle shop in Victoria called Buttons and Needlework where I had purchased the salmon and dolphin designs from years ago. It has stayed refreshingly the same and I picked up another pattern designed by the Stitching Studio and two needlework kits. I think the shoe design is fun and silly and will definitely go to my sister who loves shoes and plants. The other design is bright and happy and will go to my youngest sister as a house warming gift if I can finish it in time and as a Christmas present if I can't (good to always have a back up plan).

Virginia Creeper Slipper
Woodland Threads

Vigaroso Albero (Energetic Tree)
Crazy for Crewel

The Stitching Studio
Original Art: Sue Coleman

The only other update I can think of is about my work at the University. It is going fine right now, I am focused on making a proof into a usable calculation (excel or matlab program) and am having fairly good success. There are a few kinks to iron out, but I feel like I am moving forward at least. I am hoping to have a very productive rest of the summer as the fall will be very busy with conferences (Montreal and Chicago!)

Have a good rest of the week!


Thursday, 22 June 2017

June Gifted Gorgeousness and WIPocalypse

Hello Everyone,

We are going to do another combined SALs post so that I have a hope of being on time for WIPcopalypse. I am working to find a better system of getting photos onto the blog using both my camera and tablet. Right now I am writing the post at home and then inserting the pictures during lunch at work or I am bringing my laptop home. Neither of those are ideal but I am going to try using a micro SD card in my camera and see if that works.

Onto stitching. For GG we have to work on something that was gifted to us or will be a gift and shoehorns are welcome. Jo is the host of this fun SAL and you can see all the other entries on her post, she also recently completed the "longest day" stitching if you want to take a look at the diversity of her wips and ufos.

Coastal View is an easy piece to use since it is both, no shoehorns necessary. The Birds and Berries will also be part of GG for me once I actually start it.

Coastal View:

I have worked a bit on this piece but missed the last two weekends because A) I forgot my threads at home when I went to my parents (sigh!) and B) I did not travel last weekend and so didn't really work on it. I do really enjoy this piece and I love the balance of backstitching and crosses. I am hoping to get this page finished before the end of summer. The next bit is mostly the arch and should be large blocks of colour.

Birds and Berries:
I have selected the fabric that I am going to use and just have to decide which birds to do. I think I will do all the red ones first but I could mix them up as well. I am planning to start this piece this weekend once I attach it to the scroll bars and make some decisions.

For WIPocalyse I will update you all on my other wip, the Dryad haed piece. This has been finally getting into a rhythm and I have made a fair amount of progress given the amount of time I have stitched. I am more than a third through the final page of the first row which would be a huge milestone on my first heaven and earth design.

You can start to see the final blue flower on this page and also the very tip of the dragon's tail (the gray/blue part on the bottom right). 

Also just a quick thank you to Minnie for her not only running a great giveaway with four wonderful prizes but then also rewarding all the rest of us who entered, and were not selected, with a gift as well! Thank you for your generosity Minnie and for your awesome blog (and flosstube) posts. I love the diversity in your projects and how personable your posts are.

Have a good week everyone,

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

May WIPocalypse, Page Finish, and Haul

Hello Everyone,

It is time to log our monthly progress for WIPocalypse hosted by Measi. This is such a fun and low stress SAL and you can find everyone else's post up here. One day I plan in being in the first row of the link-up but clearly not this month!

Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?
This would have to be Chatelaine's and Goldwork designs. For me the biggest deterrent against a Chatelaine or similar silk-heavy piece is the cost. I am concerned that I will not like the piece enough to justify the much higher cost that silks and beads bring to the piece. I also do not like the idea of not being able to wash the final piece. At this point in my life my stitching place is wherever I am, which means pets are around, the furniture is far from pristine etc and not being able to wash a piece would not work well for me. If I was going to get into silks and goldwork I would want to have a designated stitching spot that the cat couldn't come into.

Now onto the stitching. This month I was able to focus on my HAED which was really exciting. As I finished up the Kingfisher I was itching to get back into this and to finish up the page, and I did! Last time I had just finished the first flower and now I have finished one more, a bell shaped flower and started the one below it. This is the last page in the row which will be a huge step and it is a partial page so it should be faster.

And the total design up to this point:
28 count antique white evenweave
1 over 1 DMC
Dryad and the Dragon
Josephine Wall
Heaven and Earth Designs
Total stitches: 290,625
Total completed: 30,400
Percent complete: 10.5%

I am going to continue working on the Dryad this month and hope to get a decent dent in the 5th page.

I have also picked out and purchased my next project to replace the Kingfisher. It is another bird piece! Actually, I do more than a normal amount of bird stitching considering I wouldn't say they are my favorite animal. This is a piece by Ajisai Designs (currently the site is down for maintenance) and is a mix of blackwork and cross stitch. They also did the ladybug piece that is fairly popular that was in the Just Cross Stitch magazine (I think) and that Mii is working on.

I am planning on putting three on a piece of fabric and writing the names of the birds and plants under each one. I might do a few changes to make them all Canadian birds and my environmental scientist sister is researching which are found here and which aren't (or are introduced and non-native). These designs are quite small (100x100) and I am excited to really get going. I am planning on doing the cross stitching first and then filling in the blackwork but if anyone has any advice please let me know.

I think that is all for now. Have a good week everyone,