Saturday, 30 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - Z is for.....

Good morning for the final time in this year's A-Z Challenge!

For the last day we have Z is for:

Enough said:
phrase - there is no need to say more, it is all understood

My chosen charts are about "enough" and include:

Be Kind by Pine Mountain Designs

Book Quote by

Enough Coffee by Dimensions

My personal Zs include:
zzzzzz - but doesn't everybody's? As you may know, I limit my sleep which gives more time for stitching! So when I do sleep, I really sleep!

And my finished Z piece is:

Sleepy Kitten by DMC

This was the first of the Sepia Kittens collection I stitched and is a companion for Big Eyes Kitty shown way back on my I post.

So, that would be it for the challenge, apart from I now need to reveal my fully stitched "Humerous Alphabet". I adjusted all of the letters from the original chart in some way or other so was left with a little gap in which I could add a reminder of why and when I stitched it:

Meaning the whole piece looks like this:

Humerous Alphabet (magazine chart)
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Lilac aida from 2 over 1
Stitch Count 240 wide by 120 high
Started - 18th February 2016
Finished - 18th April 2016
Total stitching time - 29 hours 55 minutes

I think I might move the L as there's a lot of spare space under and to the right of it. But I'm in no rush. As for what I'll do with the project, it's not what I would consider a delicate or important piece so I may make it into a small cushion to be used and abused.

So, that's it! Thank you all for staying with me during some fun times, some boring times and some weird times. Hopefully you have laughed (or groaned) at a few of the phrases, found some charts to add to your wishlists (or your stash piles) and enjoyed seeing lots of my older cross stitch projects..... or perhaps not!

Thank you too for your comments. Providing you are not a no-reply blogger you will get replies at some point. If you are a no-reply blogger I send you my thanks now.

As for the question, "would I do the A-Z Challenge again?" In all honesty, no, I don't think I would. I didn't go into this challenge naively as I knew I would lose a lot of followers for the month, simply because they are not the type of posts they wish to read. And I understand and accept that completely. But that aside it still feels as if it was a lot of time and effort with little personal reward - does that make sense? Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed putting together every single post, despite some being much harder than others (the last 6 especially) and  I was able to finally stitch a piece which has been on my to-do list for 20 years so it's not as if I'm going home completely empty handed. But, I suppose, in the words of James Bond, "Never say never."

I'll stop now and take advice from today's letter - 'nuff said!

Normal stitching and postings will now be resumed, starting with my Smalls SAL post tomorrow.

Rachel x

Friday, 29 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - Y is for.....

Welcome one and all!

For the penultimate day we have Y is for:

Why not?:
phrase - used as a suggestion or to express agreement

How on earth was I going to find any charts related to Why Not?? I wasn't! But I did find some Celtic (k)nots!!

Celtic Knots by Country Needlecraft

Celtic Knot Cross by

Celtic Rose by White Willow Stitching

My personal Ys include:
yellow - even though I'm heavily into autumnal colours, yellow surpasses all of these and is by far and away my favourite colour.

For my finished Y piece, I apologise for showing another recent project but couldn't resist this little fellow's yawn (bet you're yawning now too!)

Odd Dog - Sleepy Book by Lili of the Valley

Started in January and finished in February this went down really well with everybody. No harm in showing him again then, especially as I've had a few new followers since his last outing!!

So, it's the final day tomorrow. Everyone must be breathing a massive sigh of relief! An advanced warning though - Z has to be pronounced zed, not zee, otherwise it won't make sense.

See you there!
Rachel x

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - X is for.....

Good morning!

We're into the last three days of the A-Z Challenge and start off with X is for:

Scrambled eggs:
noun - a dish of eggs prepared by beating them with a little liquid (usually milk) and seasoning, then cooking and stirring gently until light and fluffy
informal - the gold braid on a military officer's cap

I always do my scrambled eggs with milk in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, and have never been let down by their fluffiness or flavour.
If you're interested, there's a wikipedia page about scrambled eggs here. I honestly didn't know there were so many variations on preparing and cooking them!

I couldn't find any scrambled eggs charts but did find loads which were egg related:

Eggs Ala Round by Glendon Place

Humpty Dumpty Verse by Artecy

Egged by Tom Allen (HAED)

My personal Xs include:
xeric - which means being deficient in moisture. OK, it's supposed to relate to desert-type environments, but as I don't drink enough fluids I squeezed it in as an adjective for me!! :)

And my finished X pieces are out of this world:

x-tra teresstrials!

These are a couple of aliens I stitched about 10 years ago from a magazine whilst the children and I were staying at my mum's house over the summer holiday. They were really quick and easy to stitch and have always brought a smile to my face!

For the penultimate day tomorrow, a question which answers many questions!
Rachel x

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - W is for.....

Hello again!

Today is W is for:

Double your money:
phrase - in gambling to place a bet and receive back double your bet, thus doubling the amount of money you started with

Double Your Money - a UK TV game show which ran from 1955 to 1968 where contestants could double their money with each question answered correctly up to a jackpot of £1,000, quite a lot back in the 1960s.

There are a lot of charts depicting gambling-related items, especially playing cards, but I have chosen to show you:

Fallout Gambling Perk by SpriteStitches (etsy)

Poker Game Board by LudivinePointDeCroix (etsy)

Las Vegas by NataliNeedlework (etsy)

My personal Ws include:
woolly jumpers - I'm partial to woolly jumpers as long as they are big, baggy and very snuggly!

And for my finished W pieces we have a trio:

 Witzy from Little Suzy's Zoo by DMC

These were started and finished just after Toby was born, although were stitched for Heather as she had (and still has!) a little Snuggle Chum duck which looks very similar to this character.

Tomorrow an X at which you will definitely groan!
Rachel x

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - V is for.....

Good morning again!

For V we have:

C'est La Vie:
exclamation - used to express that you have accepted or resigned yourself to a situation in life which is difficult or unpleasant, a bit like "oh well".
origin - French and literally translated as "that's life"

c'est la vie - a well-used phrase in songs. I counted over 10 albums and 40 singles which have had this phrase as their title - and I only recognise one of them by Robbie Neville back in 1986.

I kept with a French connection so today's charts include:

C'est La Vie (can't find the maker)

Paris Skyline by ZGCrossstitchpattern (etsy)

Douce France by Luc Creations

My personal Vs include:
vegetarian - I have been a vegetarian for 28 years. Heather joined me a few years ago but Toby and hubby remain carnivores.
vertically challenged - I come in somewhere around the 5 foot, 1.5 meter mark and actually like this phrase. It brings a smile to people's faces when I say I'm vertically challenged rather than short!
volatile - at least that's what my family tells me my temper is like! Only sometimes I think!

I had to really shoehorn in a V finish today so am showing two very small projects!

After the Bath and Sparrow by Mouseloft

*Shock horror* I don't know when I actually stitched these! I'm guessing around 10 years ago. They're so cute and show what can be achieved with just a few stitches.I hadn't realised the sparrows were the same shape until I put them side-by-side!

A real groan of a W tomorrow.
Rachel x

Monday, 25 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - U is for.....

Good morning!

And welcome to the final week of this A-Z Challenge 2016. To start the week we have U is for:

After you:
phrase - a polite expression to suggest that someone goes in front of you or takes a turn before you

I was thinking about this and how society has changed regarding polite behaviour. For example, years ago men would be expected to hold doors open for women and women would expect them to do so. Nowadays, whilst this behaviour still exists, some women would find it sexist rather than polite.

Driving has got to be the worst offender though. As a pedestrian I watch the behaviour of motorists as I walk. Believe it or not, it is the younger (not including teenage) males who tend to be the politest drivers, letting other drivers out or pedestrians across roads. School run mums and middle-aged men are definitely the worst. Please note, this is not a criticism of drivers, just a general observation. I feel I may be opening up a hornet's nest if I say any more!!

As for charts for today, how on earth was I going to find anything remotely related to "after you" as a polite expression? I found one funny "after" chart then went off at a tangent thinking that "after you" is a polite expression, politeness is related to chivalry and chivalry was a major principle of King Arthur and his knights. So I have chosen:

I Before E by nerdylittlestitcher (etsy)

Brave Knight by Bucilla

King Arthur by DMC

My personal Us include:
university - I've already mentioned Swansea and my degree but what I haven't said is that I was the first member of my family to go to university. A proud moment.
unorganised - not only disorganised but very very very unorganised... except where storing my cross stitching and scrapbooking stash is concerned and then I'm a little bit OCD! Hubby has always said my time management and prioritisation skills are appalling!

And my finished U piece is:

April Showers by DMC (because he's holding an umbrella!)

This is Lickle Ted who was started and finished in 2015 and still waiting to be framed. I'm sorry to show a piece which I only finished a few months ago, but I couldn't find anything else remotely U related! Anyway, he certainly sums up the weather in the UK this month so is actually quite an apt choice!

We go to Continental Europe for tomorrow's V.
Rachel x

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - T is for.....

Hello again!

Today we take a little break as we enjoy:

noun - the time in the afternoon when tea is traditionally served, often accompanied by a slice of cake 

But (in the UK) there are numerous variations of tea-time depending on time period and social class. For example:

afternoon tea - a break during the late afternoon during which tea was served with a light meal (cucumber sandwiches and/or scones for example)

tea time - the evening meal of the the working classes. The upper classes would have lunch (or luncheon) at midday followed by dinner or supper in the evening. The working classes would have dinner at midday followed by tea time in the evening.

Nowadays we tend to use lunch for our midday meal and dinner for our evening meal as that is the type of lifestyle we have grown accustomed to. There is little time to stop for a cooked meal at midday.

There are so many tea-time related charts and kits available but I have narrowed my selection down to:

Afternoon Tea by DMC

Tempting Teas by Tempted Tangles

Afternoon Tea by Randal Spangler (HAED)

My personal Ts include:
Toby - my wonderful handsome boy
Toronto - our honeymoon destination. This was the first (and only) time I have flown and I hated it! But I have wonderful memories of Toronto, the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and hubby's distant relations who we met whilst there. Nor will I ever forget looking out of the plane window when we took off at 9pm and slowly watching the lights fade into the distance.

And my finished T piece is:

A Taste of Tuscany by Rico designs (magazine charts)

I stitched these almost two years ago as they really took my fancy. They were lovely and easy to stitch but so effective. When you compare the size of the cat to the door and table though, that's a BIG cat, don't you think?!

Being Sunday tomorrow, you have another day off from A-Zing before the final week begins. Enjoy your break!
Rachel x

Friday, 22 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - S is for.....

Good morning again!

Today's stitch is S for:

adjective - costing a lot of money
origin - early 17th century from the Latin expendere (to pay out) and the English expend (lavish and elegant)

This is a very subjective adjective though. What is expensive to one person, may just be pocket money to another.

Here are a selection of charts which depict expensive items:

Promessa by AAN

Bugatti Veyron Caricature by Stitchtastic

Versailles At Night by Classic Cross Stitch

My personal Ss include:
Swansea - a place I called home for three years during my university days. I loved it there and still reminisce about it a lot.
scrapbooking - a very serious hobby for a few years between my break from cross stitching. I was hoping to fit both into my life but my needles are constantly pulling me away. No doubt I shall return to it one day.

And my finished S piece is:

Sepia Baby by Vervaco

Stitched as a birth sampler for my daughter, this was my first venture into sepia tones and I loved it! There are only a few colours but it was so soothing to stitch.

See you tomorrow for a very easy T.
Rachel x

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - R is for.....

Good morning!

Today's stitch is R is for:

noun - a system for detecting the presence, direction, distance ans speed of aircraft, ships, and other objects, by sending out pulses of radio waves which are reflected off the object back to the source
noun - the actual apparatus used for this purpose
noun - to indicate that something or someone has not come to the attention of a person or group
origin - 1940s as an amalgamation of RAdio Detection And Ranging

Since radar is widely used by the military I chose some military-themed charts:

NATO Phonetic Alphabet by oneofakindbabydesigns (etsy)

British Armed Forces Alphabet by Cottage Needlecrafts UK

Let's Be Brave by Ursula Michael

My personal Rs include:
Runrig - my favourite band who have been together for over 40 years. You're probably asking "Who?" Well, they are a Celtic Folk/Rock/Pop band who are massive in Scotland and some European Countries but little know in England or elsewhere. Some of their songs are sung in Gaelic and although I have no idea what they're singing about it doesn't matter! In my opinion in 40 years they haven't produce one duff song.
right - Always. So there!!

And my finished R piece is:

Rainbow Rose by White Willow Stitching

This was a beautiful and colourful piece to stitch, although I only stitched the top two-thirds of the chart as I thought the bottom third spoiled it. At the moment it's in an off-the-shelf frame with a tiny mount. I will reframe it..... one day!

See you tomorrow for S.
Rachel x

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A-Z Challenge - Q is for.....

Hello all!

I hope you're feeling hungry today because Q is for:

noun - a meal or gathering at which meat, fish or other food is cooked out of doors on a rack over an open fire or on a special appliance
noun - the hearth (or nowadays custom-made grille) on which said food is cooked
verb - to cook food on a barbecue
origin - from the mid 17th century Spanish barbacoa, a raised frame of sticks on which food was stored or cooked

Luckily, we don't do barbecues but both neighbours enjoy them regularly in the summer. To me the definition of barbecue is: "having to get the washing in from the line when the neighbours start cooking because they STINK!!"

There are loads of charts available to do with barbecues and cooking in general but I have chosen to show you:
BBQ Rules by Pickle Barrel Designs

Barbecue Time by Anchor

BBQ Chef by Mystic Stitches

My personal Qs include:
quiet - I may not come across as being a quiet and shy type person but I am! At work I was the person who dotted the i's and crossed the t's whilst everyone else socialised. Suited me perfectly!!
querulous - Heather chose this one and it means "habitually complaining". It's a good word but far too negative; I only complain when necessary!

And my Q project is my quartet of seasonal teddies:

A Bear For All Seasons by Framecraft

These were stitched in 1998/1999 in the days when I didn't mind frequently changing colours! I thought they were quite cute at the time and, although finished and mounted in cards, have never been on display.

A difficult R for me tomorrow.
Rachel x