Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Round Robin Finish

My Mirabilia Round Robin is on its way home to me as we speak! Karen, of My Stitchy Ramblings fame, added the final "angel" to my piece, one of the fairies from Spring Topiary Garden.

I can't stop looking at it. It came out so much better than I could have ever dreamed! I worried so much about the colours clashing, or the scale of the various angels, or whether the fairy would really look out of place with the Madonna and angels. But it's... perfect, simply perfect. And Karen added an awesome halo to the fairy, so she fits right in. All of my attempts at drawing one were not very successful, so I'm again in total awe of Karen's designing skills.

Now to count down the days until Canada Post delivers this home to me. I've had some issues with them of late, so please cross your fingers with me!

P.S. Two months between posts... I'm getting better ;)

P.P.S. I have been doing quite a bit of stitching of my own. I've completed three RR squares, one Mirabilia and two Joan Elliott's, and I've started another pixie. I just need to edit the photos, but my lunch break at work is almost over. I'll try to post again in less than two months :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ok, so I'm not the best or most regular blogger...

I used to do the same thing with my diaries, growing up. I'd write in my diary like mad for a month or two, at least once a day, sometimes twice, and then I'd stop, the next entry dated more than a month later. On a side note, I've decided to downsize and move. I've been decluttering in preparation for the move and found my diaries from when I was a teenager. Boy, was I ever a drama queen. And long-winded. And prone to going off on wild tangents. Anyways...

So it’s been almost five months to the day since my last entry. I went back to work after the Mirabilia Retreat and barely surfaced until the end of June. There were a great many days where I worked past midnight, very long days where focus and attention to detail were crucial and exhausting. Summer came, and with it an unending cold. Huh, who knew Mom was right when she said I’d get sick if I didn’t take better care of myself? And here we are. At least lying in bed for a good part of the summer gave me lots of time to think and make a decision about my life and what I want out of it, which leads back to moving (less house to clean, no yard work and much, much less shoveling snow), trying to attend more stitching retreats and travelling again (Scotland, Summer 2014!).

But you didn’t come here to listen to my ramblings about life. Remember the comment above about being long-winded – that apparently hasn’t changed, and I could go on and on and on, but this is a stitching blog. And I actually have gotten in quite a bit of stitching since my last post.  I’ve grouped things together instead of going chronologically.

Mirabilia Large Stitch Round Robins
We’re nearing the end already! I stitched Dreamer on Andie’s RR (see pics below). This was never a pattern I thought of stitching so I thought it’d be a great opportunity. When I pulled the flosses, I really thought it’d be a dull coloured piece, but instead they were so very rich and lush together. Andie’s fabric, Midsummer Night 32 ct. opalescent Belfast linen from Under the Seas, was a great background for this one.

I also stitched on one of Karen's older RRs. One of the stitchers wasn't able to stitch her part, so I volunteered to help out. I stitched Sweet Pea, which is one of my favourite pixies to date and definitely on my to do list now. 
I’m currently stitching my last square for this RR, July’s Amethyst Fairy for Jo. I’m almost done, but I’d really like Jo to be the first one to see it so I won’t be showing pics until Jo has received it :)
Joan Elliott Round Robin
I posted a preview of my own RR layout way back in February, but only got around to stitching it in May, just in time to make the mailing deadline, although I didn’t quite have enough time to do all of the backstitching, beading and swearing as I tried to do the French knots. The expression at the top is a Japanese proverb which basically means that imagination is awesome. Thank you, Google! I’ve stitched a small iris at each corner – this is from the fan of one of the Geishas in Joan’s Oriental Odyssey book. I also used one of the Geishas from the book to replace the top middle Geisha that I wasn’t too crazy about. I stitched Golden Buddha myself and them mailed him off to Kaye in Australia. The fabric is Dreamer 28 ct. Jobelan from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Steph.

This is a pic I’ve borrowed from Ginny’s blog – she just finished stitching the Geisha on the bottom right, with the orange background (there's a great close up on Ginny's blog). Kaye and Karen stitched the other two Geishas. I just about squealed when I saw Ginny’s pic earlier today. I am so in love with this RR and can’t wait for it to come home!
In the meantime, I stitched Lily Fairy for Rachel’s RR and Rose Fairy for Deb’s RR.

My own stitching
I have some finishes!!!
I stitched Summer Faerie Love this summer, one of the newer Mirabilia patterns. It was love at first sight – the teals, the greens, the attitude. I had to stitch her! I chose Tarnished Silver from Under the Seas, on 28 ct. opalescent Lugana, and it really was the right choice! The opalescent fibres really brought out the shine in the beads and her wings, and the light grey colour let the colours of her dress shine. Plus, honestly, it’s been a pretty grey summer here this year, so I thought it was particularly appropriate. I made a few changes to her face, using DMC 632 rather than the dark grey called for for the backstitching, and giving her an open eye. I may eventually change it further, but for now, I find her quite lovely.

And this is Buttercup Pixie, also from Nora Corbett, finished tonight. I had a blast picking fabric for her from my pretty extensive stash, with help from Lynne, a fellow stitcher from New Zealand and Facebook friend. I dragged out dozens of fabrics from my stash one sunny Saturday morning as we messaged back and forth, yay-ing and nay-ing various fabbies. This is the one we both agreed was best, a Limited Edition from Polstitches, Lust and Laughter, on 28 ct. Jobelan. I’m not usually a fan of yellows and oranges, but I had so much fun stitching this one. The colours were just so bright and happy they made me smile whenever I picked her up. She's also very beady - there's a pack and a half of the light yellow beads on this piece. 

I’ve also stitched some more, here and there, on both Siren and the Shipwreck and Gypsy Mermaid. I really do love them both so much. I can't wait until I finish and mail the two RRs I currently have so these ladies can get a bit of stitching time.  

The rest of my WIPs didn’t get any lovin’ but I’m thinking it might be time to change that, especially the Chatelaines. Well, after the RRs, my mermaids and the move.
Happy stitching everyone, and thanks for sticking with me, despite the irregular posts :)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Mira, Mira on my wall, a recap of the 2013 Mirabilia Minions Retreat

OMG, I met Nora Corbett! And she's awesome. And she likes my angel RR. Heaven, for me, was in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend as I attended the Mirabilia Minions Retreat organized by the awesome, amazing and fabulous Leslie of Under the Sea Fabrics.

There were about 45 of us there, from most parts of the US and we were two from Canada. We laughed, we shopped at one of the cutest and friendliest needlework stores I've seen, Panda's Crossing, we mobbed and fawned all over Nora, we fondled fabric, we ate, we laughed, we even cried a couple of times. Oh, and of course, we stitched, though some more than others. I fall into the category of "talked too much, didn't stitch much" and I let myself be talked into a new start. Leslie had made arrangements for copies of the newest Mirabilia pattern, Gypsy Mermaid, and I had ordered her along with the threads and embellishments called for. And then I found this amazing piece of fabric that Leslie had dyed, Volcano, on 28 count opalescent Lugana. I had been thinking navy blue for Gypsy, but the fabric was so beautiful and the colours amazing against it. Plus, it was right there!

And so I've started Gypsy Mermaid. Below is my WIP, which is pretty much all the stitching I did this weekend. I'm also including a pic of my other new project, Siren and the Shipwreck. That's on a piece from Sunny Dyes, Hydrangea Garden. I decided to use Spring Glade for another Mira mermaid, Merchant Mermaid. What can I say, I like Mira mermaids!

In the next few days, I'll post pics from the retreat after I've sorted and organized them. I will also post pics of all my new stash -- expect your computers to freeze up as I was spoiled this weekend and also bought quite a bit. And I will have pics of my new, freaking amazing artwork by Nora.

Like I said, Greenville was heaven.

P.S. Full disclosure, the title of my post was borrowed from the t-shirts some of the local attendees had done up. Don't you love it?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mirabilia Minions Retreat, here I am!

This Winter, Leslie of Under the Sea Fabrics decided to organize a Mirabilia Minions Retreat as a way to celebrate the artist whose works we all adore. Greenville, SC is of course not right around the corner from my hometown of Ottawa, but at the time, I was on an extended "holiday", so I decided to make a road trip out of it and attend my very first stitching retreat. It didn't hurt that Nora Corbett, the artist behind Mirabilia, would be attending.

Fast forward a few months and here I am, with a brand new job, and the timing isn't exactly awesome. I thought about not going, but the truth is, after I lost my job, I was pretty depressed and planning for the retreat is one of the things that helped me get past it and look upon that forced break as an opportunity. The thought of not going after all that was pretty bleak and so I thought hell with it, how can I make this work. And so I found a ticket that was within what I wanted to pay, got up very, very early this morning to catch it, spent half an hour finding an alternate flight since the original plane was still stuck in Chicago because of bad weather and am now standing outside the Greenville airport terminal waiting for my taxi.

I can't wait to meet up with the other girls and I promise to post lots of photos. I'm also finally stitching. I went almost four weeks without stitching as I started my new job and adjusted to being a working girl again. I've started Siren and the Shipwreck and I LOVE her! A new mermaid was also released this week and I'll be among the first to get the pattern, thanks to Leslie's awesome work.

Tata for now, my carriage (ok, hotel shuttle) arrives!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

A quick quickie (at least, that was the plan)

Oof, has it really been two weeks?  It's amazing how time flies by and how quickly things change.  If you read my very first blog post, Life's given me lemons, so I'm starting a new blog, you'll know that my position was cut.  Fast forward just under four months from the day I was sent home and my lemonade is now much sweeter.  I have a new job.  It's in the same government department, but in a completely different directorate and with very different responsibilities.  My new coworkers have really gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and wanted, which I really needed.  I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Now on to the pics I promised you two plus weeks ago.  

Please meet Emerald Mermaid, stitched on Karen's 2013 Large Stitch Mirabilia Round Robin.

Karen's theme is mermaids and, self-admitted RR addict that she is, she came up with an absolutely amazing layout.  She designed the algae and the shells herself, and instead of the usual square boxes, she charted the mermaids to give them softer edges, so that they look like they're swimming through the beautiful, shiny water.  Her fabric, Polstitches' Mythical Mermaid on opalescent linen, is perfection itself.  I also simply adore the mermaid she stitched, South Seas Mermaid.  She's now on my rather long to-stitch-at-some-point list.  You can see more of this beady beauty on Karen's blog, My Stitchy Ramblings.  Karen is also having a giveaway to celebrate reaching the big 1-0-0 in followers.  If you're not already a follower, you should be.  She's all about the drool; she has an amazing fabrics tab and her Friday hunks...  Yum!

My stitching mojo has been AWOL for a few weeks and with my being sick, I've barely stitched anything in a month, so there's not much to show right now.  I did finally fix my Chatelaine Beaded Tile -- I was off by two beads in one of the corners and it showed, but that's about all.  I also made a very, very small start on my first Joan Elliott, Snowdrop  Fairy.  I'm hoping that now that life is getting back to normal, my mojo will come back.  Especially since I'm trying a "finish one, start one" way of managing my WIPs and there are two projects I will want to start very soon.  The first part Chatelaine's Zen Garden is coming out on April 1, and I really love the new Mirabilia, Siren and the Shipwreck, which was released last month.  The latter is on its way, but it usually takes a couple of weeks for me to get things from the States.  It so happens I have the perfect fabric for it, too, which I'm head over heels in love with.

This is Spring Glade by Sunny Dyes/Youthful Hands Needlework.  I love all of my 100+ pieces of hand dyed fabric, but I'm really IN love with this one and I can't wait to stitch on it.  I was not able to get a really good photo of this fabric, but this is close, if a little bit dark.  The base seems to be a very light blue, and it's mottled with different shades of blues, aquas, greens, lilacs and purples.  Siren and the Shipwreck will look amazing on it and I really, really can't wait!

I was planning on a quickie post, but, well, guess that's beyond me :)   Until the next time, which will hopefully be in less than two weeks, happy stitching everyone!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fabric Giveaway Winners

I've finally done the deed!  We have three new fabric owners, no thanks to Bart the Pomeranian.  Sigh.  He rolled over to get his belly rubbed and wouldn't get back up, no matter what I said or did.  I would have broken out the treats, but I think "Grandma" gave him a few too many while we were there, as he feels a little hefty when I pick him up.  Sigh.  So with one hand rubbing Bart's round little belly, I picked the following three names.

Susan, who sounds like an enabler extraordinaire and my kind of gal, won piece #1, the fat eighth hand dyed Newcastle linen, for her stash.  I almost feel like sending her some carrots for her eyes.

Winner #2, for the almost square piece of dark grey Aida, is Ariadne from Greece, whose second entry is the one that did it.

And the most popular piece of fabric was the only piece that wasn't hand dyed, the fat eight of yellow 32 count Belfast linen.  Terri is our lucky winner there.

Congratulations to the winners!  I've already e-mailed everyone for your addresses so that I can send you your fabric when I finally venture out later this week.  I can't wait to see what you will be stitching on these pieces, when eventually you do :)

And thank you everyone for your warm wishes.  They really mean a lot.  I'm doing better every day, although I'm still not back to my usual routine.  But as soon as I hit the Publish button on this entry, I'm powering off my laptop and finally stitching, after more than two weeks.  And tomorrow, I'll be taking photos when it's light out again and, apparently, taking lots of walks with a chubby little someone.

Happy stitching everyone!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

But, but, but, I got the flu shot! (A slight delay in the fabric giveaway)

I've been out of commission for the last almost two weeks with a bad case of the flu, which turned into bronchitis.  Oh joy.  I ended up going to stay with my Mom for some TLC, but I forgot my iPhone charger and she doesn't have a computer.  I've been cut off from Facebook, your blogs and my friends for a week and a half.  I also haven't been able to shop for new stash.  Gasp!  For a while there, I wasn't sure whether that was worse than the flu.  (Ok, no, the flu was worse, but by just a hair.)

But now I'm home, feeling a bit better, my iPhone is charging and here I am with my laptop.  There was also some lovely new stash waiting for me in my mailbox, including a piece of fabric I can't stop staring at.  What?  I'm giving away three pieces, so, it's only logical that I'd replace them with pieces I like, no?  As Susan pointed out in her comment on my last post, it's only logical given the price of fabric is going up.  I like Susan :)

Anyways!  I'm just checking in to say hi (so, hi!) and to let you know that I'll do the draw for the fabric giveaway on Saturday instead.  I'm already late, so why not?  And I'm just still really tired.  The thought of figuring out who wants which fabric, cutting up little pieces with everyone's names and then spending half an hour trying to make Bart pick one out before losing patience and just picking one out myself (let's just say Pomeranians, or this one at least, are cuter than they are smart and easy to train)...  So, Saturday.  And if you want an extra chance in the draw, go ahead and comment again on the giveaway post.  I'll put your name(s) in again.  And you can also still enter if you didn't before.

I'll have a nice long post with lots of pics in a couple of days.  Right before I got sick, I finished Emerald Mermaid on someone's RR and progressed quite a bit on my Chatelaine Beaded Dragonfly Tile.  Plus, you have to see this new piece of fabric from Sunny Dyes.  I love all of my pieces of fabric, but I think I might actually be IN love with this one and I'm thinking it'll be perfect for the new Mirabilia mermaid, Siren and the Shipwreck.

And now I'm off to take another nap and dream of fabrics.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Me? Addicted to hand dyed fabric? (And a giveaway)

How did you know about my addiction?

Oh, right, I'm showing you :)

Putting away the new hand dyed fabrics that had arrived over the last couple of days (yay, stash mail!), I decided to organize them by size and loosely by colour families.  I thought I'd count them too while I was at it.  Well...  Let's just say I could start a new project every day for the next three months and still not run out of fabric.  Does this qualify as an addiction?

I still remember when I first saw hand dyed fabrics.  There was still a great local needlework store in Ottawa, the Cross-Stitch Cupboard, and they had just received Lavender & Lace's Firefly Fairies.  This must be a good ten years ago.  I was quite horrified at the idea of putting bleach on a cross-stitch fabric.  The ladies at the store suggested I could use already hand dyed fabric, and they now had several pieces in store done by some lady in Ontario.  I thought they were tacky.  Ah, the uninformed opinions of my youth.  But none of the models on their walls were stitched on these newfangled hand dyed fabric, so I hadn't seen the effect that was possible with them.

Now of course, I'm crazy about hand dyed fabric.  It gives so much more life to a project and lets me express my individuality and sheer love of colour.  Looking back on it, I kind of regret not getting those fabrics.  They were likely Sugar Maple Fabrics, a Canadian business that closed down five years ago, I think, and their fabrics are prized beyond all others.  People snatch them up and a piece even went up on eBay a little while ago for $100.  For a fat quarter.  Luckily, I've found several companies to keep me in hand dyed fabrics - Steph's Fabbys, Under the Sea Fabrics, Sparklies, Polstitches, and Youthful Hands Needlework (aka Sunny Dyes) are my current favourites - and I've found I can't resist a pretty piece of mottled 28 count fabric, as many of them have Facebook sales.  Which is how I ended with this much fabric.  I may need to start stitching faster.

And so I need your help!  In my sorting, I found three pieces of fabric I will not use.  Two I bought from Silkweaver's weekly solo sales, thinking I might give another count a try and because I liked the colours, but who'm I kidding?  And the other, I have no idea when or why I got it, but I'm really all about 28 count.  So I'm having another giveaway.

Fabric Giveaway!

I'll draw names next Wednesday, February 20, let's say at 10:00 a.m. EST.  To enter, you have to comment on this post and tell me which piece you would like to win.  You can of course also say that you'd like to be entered in all three draws :)  Who am I to judge fellow fabric addicts?  And while you're at it, I'd like to know, what is your favourite cross-stitch fabric type and count?  Feel free to answer even if you don't want to be entered into the giveaway.  I love learning more about you guys.  Please note that this time, I won't be entering my followers, since I know these counts are not necessarily to everyone's liking.

And now I'm off to stitch so I can buy more fabric use the fabric I already have.

What?  You want to see what I'm giving away? Well, ok, if you all insist ;)

Piece #1 is a fat quarter, approx. 13" x 20" of hand dyed Newcastle Linen (40 count) from Silkweaver in Witch's Brew.  This is my favourite of the three, but my eyes hurt just thinking about stitching on so small a count.

Piece #2 is 18" x 20" of hand dyed 14 count Aida, also from Silkweaver, in Thunderstorm.  It is a dark gray, with a few slightly lighter areas, and some dark purple.

And piece #3 is a fat quarter, 13" x 18", of yellow Belfast Linen (32 count).  It's yellow.  And linen.  And 32 count.  That's three strikes.

Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A little bit of progress on Beaded Dragonfly

I'm now back to stitching and my arm is good as new :)

I can't tell you how relieved I am.  After some time with Google and WebMD, I was scared silly I had tendonitis.  For now, though, just in case, I'm stitching in shorter bursts and I'm making sure I have more support as I stitch and work on my laptop.  

I picked up Beaded Dragonfly Tile and I just couldn't resist doing some more beading.  I love the blues and turquoises that Martina of Chatelaine Designs chose, and it adds so much bling to the pattern.  I have a first beaded dragonfly to show off.  Martina suggested that they be backstitched and then beaded, which worked pretty well.  Only three more to go.


Happy stitching everyone!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

No stitching, but we have a Joan Elliott Round Robin

I think I pulled something doing all that beading on the oh so appropriately named Beaded Dragonfly Tile, so I've been out of commission for a couple of days.  That, or I'm using a slightly sore arm as an excuse to take a break from it.  I've spent most of that time cozied up to my laptop, now that everything is working well again.  Maybe that sense of optimism is what drove me to it.  Or I fell on my head and don't remember.

I signed up for another round robin.

The Joan Elliott round robin group was at an uneven number.  They only had seven stitchers signed up. Gasp!  They really needed an eighth.  I'd been thinking about it, but reason had prevailed and I'd decided I had enough to do, with the 2013 Mirabilia Large Stitch round robin and all the projects I  want to do this year.  But I kept on thinking about it.  And so I signed up yesterday afternoon to join the Joan Elliott round robin.

Big sigh.

I decided I'd at least keep my layout simpler than I did for the Mirabilia round robin.  Stitching almost half of Angel of the New Dawn, in just over three weeks no less (darn procrastination!), was stressful.  So I started looking up different patterns to pick my theme.  I thought about the new Historical Ladies, but there will only be four new ones published and I'm not crazy about the older already designed Medieval ladies.  What about international ladies?  Joan has an African lady, Paris and London, the Native American brave and maiden, and the Asian ladies.  But it didn't really hook me.

Then I noticed how many beautiful Geishas Joan has designed.  I visited Japan a few years ago and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of a Japanese-inspired round robin.  It will make this year truly my year of Japan.  One of my Christmas present from my Mom this year was tickets to see this great documentary about Japanese festivals.  I'm heading to the Mirabilia Minions Retreat this April and stopping in Washington, DC along the way, where we'll be just in time for the Cherry Blossom Parade and Japanese Street Festival.  Chatelaine comes out with the Japanese Zen Garden Mandala I'm dying to stitch.  And now my Joan Elliott round robin.

Here's a preview picture of the patterns I'll be having stitched.

There will likely be a black shiny border between them and I want to find a small decoration for the four corners.  And I need to find an alphabet.   And a fabric to pick.  But it'll all be fun and I can't wait.  

Has anyone stitched any of these or other Oriental patterns by Joan?  What do you think?

I look forward to hearing from you guys, and thanks for looking!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Bluebeard's Princess is finished!

My laptop and I have been fighting all week.  Apparently, it didn't like the new Flash Player version.  Long story short, I'm probably never, ever getting back together with Internet Explorer, but everything now works and I can finally see my new, longer followers list.  Welcome!  I see lots of new faces and I look forward to getting to know you all better through your blogs and comments.  And thank you to Jo of Serendipitous Stitching who's sent some of you my way.

I had a happy dance earlier this week!  After too many months languishing, almost finished, Bluebeard's Princess is now finished!!!

The design is from Mirabilia and I stitched her on a solo piece of hand dyed 28 count Quaker Cloth from Silkweaver.  I made a few changes.  I'm not a fan of Mirabilia's recent habit of backstitching skin with dark browns and greys, so I used DMC 632.  And, um, there's a little mistake in the crown.  But it's lovely nonetheless and I couldn't be happier.  I wasn't originally crazy about her face on the pattern cover.  I may or may not have nicknamed her Miss Piggy.  But I love her face now.  Maybe it was the softer colour for the backstitching.  And the seahorses at the bottom are both really cute.  

But lest you think that I spent all week playing around with my laptop and wanting to throw my laptop out the door into a snowbank, I have also been busy working on the Beaded Dragonfly Tile by Chatelaine.  

My bead pack FINALLY arrived earlier this week from European Cross-Stitch and I dove right in.  I'm hoping that by not having to do all of the beading at once, it won't seem so bad.  But it took me a good part of the day yesterday just to do the beading in the centre.  Apparently I'm not that fast a beader, especially when I'm using 11 different colours of tiny Delica beads.  The effect is stunning, but...   At this point, I'd rather backstitch and I hate backstitching.  

But what makes it all worth it is the middle border.  I love the smaller lotuses, with the reed grasses and tiny dragonflies.  There is a bit of backstitching still to do around the lotuses and leaves, but I smile every time I look at this part.  The eyes and backstitching were supposed to be black, but as they wouldn't really have shown well on my black fabric, I switched to gold, which is used in the tail.  I love the blingy effect it gives my dragonflies.  

Time to get back to it, after a bit of new follower blog reading :)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

And we have a winner!

And the winner of my Winter giveaway is:


Congratulations!  Please contact me, A-len-ka, so I know where to mail your patterns.  And I've been cleaning my craft room, so there'll be other giveaways. 

P.S. Please keep an eye on my blog tomorrow.  I have a lovely new finish, but for some reason, Blogger and Photobucket are not getting along tonight, and I'm giving up before I throw my laptop out into the snowbank. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Angel of the New Dawn, and a welcome giveaway

I did it, I actually did it!  I finished my part for my 2013 Mirabilia Round Robin, after a sleepless night or two.  May I present to you Angel of the New Dawn...

This is stitched on Picture This Plus Heather, in 28 count Lugana.  I really love this fabric, and my angel really pops.  She looked quite boring on the pattern cover, but the colours are brighter and more sweetly pastel at the same time, especially once I'd added the beads. 

Three fabulous ladies will be stitching on this over the next nine or so months.  In the left hand box will be one of the fairies from Spring Topiary Garden, inverted so that she faces inwards; in the middle, Madonna (and baby) of the Garden; and last but certainly not least, on the left, the hunky Archangel.  So, yeah, even though my theme is In the arms of an angel, only two of them are actually angels.  I just didn't like the other angels, or they didn't work with my layout.  I haven't quite figured out what to do about the bottom part.  The title looks, well, a little wispy and wimpy.  And I wanted to stitch another rose to the right, and a "subtitle", something like 2013 Mirabilia Round Robin, followed by all of our names, but I ran out of time to make it work.  Right now, this piece is about to cross the pond, to Jo of Serendipitous Stitching.  She called dibs on the hunk :)

Oh, and I mentioned a giveaway in my post title.  I am so very happy that you have all decided to follow my blog (and grateful to Karen for sending you to say hi).  Welcome everyone!  I look forward to getting to know you all better through your comments and your own blogs.  So, to show my appreciation, I thought I'd have a small, winter-themed giveaway.  Appropriate given today really feels like winter here, with outside temperatures around -29C (or -20F) with the wind. 

First up is a duplicate copy of the January 2013 issue of Cross-stitch & Needlework, which features the oh so lovely Winter Faerie designed by Nora Corbett of Mirabilia fame, as well as a Little House Needleworks, "Cardinal Winter", which I liked so much I unknowingly bought it three (!) times, along with a skein Crescent Colours English Ivy (not shown) to stitch it with. 

To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog and/or comment on this post.  Do both and I will enter you twice.  I will draw a name this Sunday, January 27, around 6:00 p.m. EST.  Good luck everyone!

And now back to stitching, since it's so cold outside even the dog doesn't want to go out. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WIP round-up

In my last post, I, um, mentioned that I had a few works in progress (WIPs, as I've learned we cross-stitchers say).   I still can't believe I have six projects on the go.   I'd demand a recount, but there's photographic evidence to the contrary ;) 

First up in this round-up is Bluebeard's Princess by Mirabilia on a Silkweaver Solo.  I really need to finish this, I'm so close.  Just finishing the left arm, which looks like a claw right now, adding the shell, the crown at the top, backstitching and then tons more beading.  Maybe I'm not as close to finishing as I think I am.

This is Chatelaine's Autumn Knotgarden, on Lambswool Jobelan. I've stitched two out of six parts.

Another Chatelaine, Butterfly Elegance, on black Jobelan.  It looks great on black, but it's also hard on the eyes.  I'm thinking that this would be a perfect patio project when summer finally comes back around. 

Chatelaine's Polar Mandala, the first of twelve parts.  ALL OVER ONE.  Nearly 30,000 stitches.  I needed a bit of a break, but I love it and I love the fabric I chose for it, Crafty Kitten's Aurora.   
Yet another Chatelaine, Beaded Dragonfly Tile (there will be tons of beads, I'm just waiting for the beadpack to arrive).  I started this in mid-December and I couldn't put it down, despite a looming deadline...

My final WIP is my piece for the 2013 Mirabilia Round Robin.  It's stitched on PTP Heather Jobelan and I have to mail it on Monday.  Oops!  I procrastinated a bit, because I was so enjoying the piece above.  I'm hoping to finish all of my piece, Angel of the New Dawn, before mailing.  I also have to stitch the title below the boxes and finalize the working copies for the ladies who'll be stitching on this piece. 

 And there you have it.  Six WIPs.  Sigh. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sigh. Another project joins the list.

A long time ago, I used to be a one project at a time girl.  Admittedly, there are a couple of pieces in my UFO pile, but I finished a project, put away my threads and beads, and then began a new project.  Ah, the good old days. 

I seem to have come down with an incurable case of start-itis.  There are now five different large or large-ish projects lying around in various corners of my living room.  Five!  No, wait, I just recounted.  I actually have six projects down here.  Sigh.  I'm not counting what's upstairs or small projects, that would just be even more depressing. 

But six is such a mundane number.  Seven is much luckier, right?  Because Japanese Zen Garden, the brand new design by Chatelaine Designs kind of ended up in my cart earlier today.  The first part of the design will be released on April 1 and I can't wait. 

Sigh.  Seven WIPs.  How ever did it get to this?


Monday, January 7, 2013

Round Robin 2012, The End (well, almost)

My re-entry back into the world of stitching brought many new discoveries.  I saw a finished picture of Chatelaine’s Knot Garden on a blog.  Google led me to a site full of patterns I had to have and the Chatelaine Yuku forum.  My timing was pretty good, as the moderators were just organizing a Chatelaine Smalls Exchange.  I chose to stitch the centre pond motif from Konstantinople Mandala and finished it as a bicornu.  Rachel from New York was picked as the recipient of my very first smalls.  I was nervous – would she like it, was my stitching ok, were my first Rhodes stitches well done?  Oh God.  I waited impatiently for her to receive it and so doing, found her blog, which I started stalking.  It just so happened that Rachel was participating in a Mirabilia Round Robin at the time.  (You were wondering what this all had to do with the Mira RR, weren’t you?  Be honest.  I know I’m a wee bit long winded.) 

I was hooked.

A second Mira RR group was started for 2012, and so I was able to join in.  Our group included another stitcher from Canada, two stitchers from Australia and four from the U.S.  Our respective pieces went round and round until everyone had stitched on each piece.  My last piece to stitch on was Jocelyn’s, who had chosen patterns for her design that evoke internal peace.  Madonna of the Garden was the pattern left to stitch, which worked for me for many reasons.  Here is Jocelyn’s finished piece, just before it was mailed.  I was a bit rushed taking the picture, but it gives you a good idea of how beautiful the piece is.
But even more exciting for me was seeing a picture of my piece, posted on Facebook by Debra, the final stitcher.  I can’t wait for it to arrive home!  My theme was fairies and I left it open to the stitchers to choose which ones to do.  I’m so incredibly happy with what everyone chose and I really like that all of the fairies are brunettes, or sort of brunettes, like me.  I've had all of those hair colours over the years.   I have a few crystals to add to the centre and to my fairy (Fairie Treasures, bottom centre) and then I’ll be trying my hand at framing on my own.  I'll post another picture then.

And so the 2012 Mirabilia Round Robin is done.  Well, almost.  Neither Jocelyn’s nor my piece have yet made it home.  And with Canada Post, one never knows…