Crazy January Challenge 2011 – Round Up

As many of you will remember I started 2011 with the Crazy January Challenge, where I started 15 new stitching projects in 15 days, all to be completed before December 31st 2011.
So how did I do? Do you think I managed to finish all 15 of them?

Sadly, I did not. The challenge might have been a bit to ambitious for me, especially since I kept getting distracted by new starts all through the year. Our move in May which saw me leaving all my WIPs behind in Liverpool didn’t really help either, it was August before I had them back (well some of them are still up there).

In the end I managed to finish 7 out my 15 projects. It was almost 8, but I still have some stitching left on the last one.

And here they are in the order they were finished:

Lizzie*Kate – Time for God finished in January
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Valentine Biscornu – Own design finished in January
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The Sampler Girl – Christmas Eve Flight freebie finished in January
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La Fee Rie – Snowflake Biscornu Freebie finished in January
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Lizzie*Kate – All you Need is Love finished in February
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Crossstitcher/De Fil en Aiguille – Post Wall Hanging finished in March/April
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The almost finished piece is my Sleepy Hollow Sampler, at least it will be finished by next Halloween. I’ll show you a picture of it and some of the other unfinished challenge pieces tomorrow.

I am definitely not joining the Crazy January Challenge for 2012, one big failure is enough for me. Instead I’ve joined Measi’s WIPocalypse (more on that in another post) and I’ve joined Kell’s X-Stitching Xmas Challenge 2012, so I should be able to have some fun with those.

How did everyone else fare with their Crazy January challenge and other 2011 challenges?

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March in Hindsight and April Predicted

Wow another totally useless month. Cross stitch goals went well, but everything else, not so much. I have no excuse, just plain lazy and feckless these days.
So let’s look at the March goals and see how I got on.

Every Month:

1. Post on my blog at least once a week Only just managed this, and most of them are very rubbish posts.
2. Post picture of my TUSAL jar on each new moon
3. Stitch a biscornu for my Basket of Biscornus My favorite one to date, the shamrock biscornu
4. Stitch a Christmas ornament
5. Plot 3 new stories/plotlines Actually plotted about 6, all linked. More on that at a later stage
6. Write 10,000 new words (either on existing novels or new stories) Made a start on the above plots and wrote about 14k on two different plots. This new idea is really bringing back my love of writing!
7. Read 4 books a month, and write reviews for them Have to review 16 for April – not yet giving up hope that I’ll get this sorted out

March Only:

1. Finish wall hanging for mum The cross stitched part at least
2. 2 x Mother’s day cards Used two freebie kits as well
3. Finish one more project started during Crazy January Challenge This was of course the Blackwork Lady
4. Restart C25K challenge as it was completely ignored for Feb It remained ignored for March as well
5. Complete Scissor fob for exchange Completed, sent and received, a perfect exchange in every way.
6. 2 x ATC’s for exchange Stitched one of my favorite ATCs so far
7. Post an excerpt every week from one of my WIPs (can be new, old or discarded) Yeah that one didn’t go to well did it, will keep it in as a goal for April
8. Stitch Giveaway for PayitForward Giveaway Started but not finished

Ok, I guess it doesn’t look too bad, as usual the fitness and the book reviewing is being ignored, but at least all the things with deadlines got done and I did get a fair bit of stitching done.
April’s Goals won’t look too different from March, just a few changes to the stitching goals. Have a look here.

Every Month:

1. Post on my blog at least once a week
2. Post picture of my TUSAL jar on each new moon
3. Stitch a biscornu for my Basket of Biscornus
4. Stitch a Christmas ornament
5. Plot 3 new stories/plotlines
6. Write 10,000 new words (either on existing novels or new stories)
7. Read 4 books a month, and write reviews for them (Have to review 16 for April – not yet giving up hope that I’ll get this sorted out)

April Only:

1. Post an update of all current WiPs with pictures
2. 5 x cards for various occasions
3. Start a Thursday Three from the first Thursday in April
4. Restart C25K challenge as it was completely ignored for Feb and March
5. Complete Bookmark for exchange
6. 2 x ATC’s for exchange
7. Post an excerpt every week from one of my WIPs (can be new, old or discarded)
8. Stitch Giveaway for PayitForward Giveaway
9. Stitch LoveQuiltsUK square
10. Stitch minimum of two cards for charity.

A good chunk of stitching to do there, but then again i don’t have the added pressure of finishing more CJC projects. Family birthdays etc are just around the corner so there will be a lot of cards from now on, but I quite enjoy the smaller stitchings (stitchlets 🙂 )

CJC – 7th finish of the challenge, a Christmas ornie and some WIP updates

Let’s start with the finish, really should have posted this last week, but just didn’t have the time. The Crazy January Challenge (CJC) finish is the cross stitched part of the wall hanging mail organizer I’m making for my mum. Now I just have to sew on to some fabric and make it into a wall hanging. Should have it in the mail for my mum next week (fingers crossed)

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I also finished my Christmas ornament for March last week, it’s a Liz Almond design which was in the free Christmas design booklet which came with The World of Cross Stitch issue 170. I used Madeira Decora and Silk floss in green, red and gold, and some red Gütermann beads, and stitched it on plain old 16-count white aida. The pics aren’t great for this one, so I put in two (excellent logic, no?).

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I’ve also been working on two WIPs.

Mostly it’s been my Sleepy Hollow Sampler by Raise the Roof. I really do love this one and can’t wait to finish it and frame it. There is still quite a bit to do, the story excerpt at the bottom and of course the border, but every single stitch is a joy!

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This last one it’s been a while since I worked on, it’s the Stitcher’s Sampler. It’s a little slow going as I’m having trouble making the changes I want to it, but I’ll get there eventually. At least all the borders are done now.

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CJC – Blackwork Lady Finished

First a warning, this will be picture heavy.

This weekend I finished another of my Crazy January Challenge(CJC) pieces, Lesley Teare’s Blackwork Lady which was in WOXS last year. I used a piece of hand dyed 28-count evenweave for her, which I had received in a grab bag from Polstitches. The fabric is beautiful, I think it might be Rustic Rhubarb, it seems to be the closes match. She is of course stitched entirely in black using DMC 310, and instead of french knots I used beads, as my French knots are really sub-standard and on a piece like this they would stick out. Over-all she was a lovely stitch, but I think my habit of sitting in dark rooms stitching made it harder for me to get her done. At least she is here not and just needs a frame before she can go up on the wall.

Here she is with the stitching complete
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And here she is fully beaded
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Here is a close up of her face, you can see the beads better and she looks so delicate. Think this is my favorite part of the design
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These butterflies are pretty adorable, and I’m really please with how the beads complement the piece.
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And a final look, this time from the bottom of the chart

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Which means I’ve finished 6/15 of my CJC pieces. That’s an average of two a month, but of course most of the ones left are larger designs so will take longer. But I am well on my way to completing this challenge

March Biscornu, a couple of cards and an exchange

As I said on Saturday I have a couple more finishes to show you, today i had a picture taking session and got it all done. And I got permission to use a picture taken by the recipient of my exchange item, silly me had completely forgotten to take a picture before sending it off.

My Basket of Biscornus challenge, which I set myself, is going really well. For March I decided to honour St. Patrick and stitch up Faby Reilly’s Shamrock Biscornu, it used to be a freebie on her site, but she seems to have taken most of them off the site now. So if you don’t already have the chart, tough luck I’m afraid. I decided to stitch this one on 18-count cream aida (trying to use up my aida, really did buy a shed load when we lived in Abu Dhabi), I used 2 different types of floss, the dark green is Madeira Decora 1479 (satin thread), and the variegated is DMC Colour Variations 4045. For the gold I used Madeira Silk 2210, and the beads are gold Mill Hill ones. I love the button in the middle, it was part of a charm pack my dear friend Kim gave me. Originally it should have been for a Shephard’s Bush stocking but I use them for various other things (the silver heart charm in the January biscornu is from the same charm pack). I think this might be my favourite biscornu to date, it certain is hubby’s favourite. The best part of it is the blackwork in the two larger shamrocks, it just gives it lovely texture, it also helps that the satin floss is a little ticker than the cotton so it’s more raised.

Here it is from the top.
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And here, a side view
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Finally a closer look
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I also stitched two cards for Mother’s Day this year, I never remember when the Norwegian Mother’s day is (at least not until after the fact) so I just send cards for the British one. I’m sure that makes me an even better daughter, my mum gets celebrated twice (once by me and once by my bro). This year I decided two free cover kits would do the trick. For my mum I’ve stitched a card from the same series as the one she received last year, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. I love these designs, timeless classics!

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For MIL I stitched a Fizzy Moon freebie. These WOXS free kits are driving me crazy, they keep cutting the thread length very short and some of the colours are really hard to differentiate between. It stitch up really nicely though and I changed the words on the note to ‘MUM xx’.

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Last, but certainly not least, we had an Easter-themed scissor fob exchange at CrossStitchForum. I decided to stitch a Penelopis freebie on mine, and stitched it up on some 28 count handdyed Polstitches fabric. I made the cord out of some variegated Anchor floss i had, it is infact the same colour as the one I included in the package, very Easter-y/Spring-y. Didn’t manage to take a picture myself, but Alice kindly let me use the one she took of the goodies I sent.

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Stitchy Saturdays – Some progress and a couple of finishes

Yes the weekend has come at last and I’ve saved my stitching progress for your Saturday viewing pleasure.

First up is the one I’ve spent the most time on, one of my CJC (Crazy January Challenge) pieces, Jungle Scamp by Maria Diaz. As I’ve said before I’m stitching this for hubby, so there is no deadline, and after stitching a lot in variegated floss or doing monochrome pieces it’s actually quite nice to have color changes, and in particular seeing the design come to life as you add new colors to it 🙂

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Secondly we have the Blackwork Lady, which was in WOXS a while back. Haven’t bothered doing much on her to be honest. I love the design, but I need a lot of light while doing it and as I usually don’t start stitching till the afternoon there isn’t much time for her. I am determined to finish her in March though, so you should be seeing a few more updates in the near future.

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Then there is Solo Brode’s ‘En attendant l’été’. Not a lot done on this either, just a few stitches here and there. The chart doesn’t seem like the easiest to follow and I’m glad i have the whole one not doing it piece by piece as i think the small adjustment I’ve made myself will have been inconsistent if I didn’t have the full picture.

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And then for the two finishes.

 

First we have the February biscornu, where i used another of Faby Reilly’s freebie charts. I mostly used the pinks she had charted and added a heart button and some pale pink beads to the middle spiderweb stitches. I used some of my sparkly 28 count Brittney for this one, giving it some extra bling.

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And then I finished the most recent Crossstitcher freebie, a mirror pouch. I didn’t use the design in the magazine, instead I chose to stitch a design my friend Kell of Kincavel Krosses designed for this freebie. I stitched it using Tentakulum Painter’s Threads in Van Gogh. Isn’t it lovely? Thank you so much to Kell for the lovely design.

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February Revisited and Goals for March

It’s that time of month again, that’s right – the beginning. So it’s time to review February and sort out the March goals. I’m sorry to say February wasn’t as productive as January, so here’s hoping I get my act together in March.

Every Month:

1. Post on my blog at least once a week
2. Post picture of my TUSAL jar on each new moon
3. Stitch a biscornu for my Basket of Biscornus (need to post picture of the Feb asap)
4. Stitch a Christmas ornament
5. Plot 5 new stories/plotlines
6. Write 13,000 new words (either on existing novels or new stories)
7. Read 4 books a month, and write reviews for them (have to review 8 for Feb) – Really need to get to writing reviews, read 12 books in February,

February Only:
1. Finish wall hanging for mum
2. 2 x Mother’s day cards
3. Arrange Giveaway on blog
4. Finish one more projects started during Crazy January Challenge
5. Complete 4 more weeks of C25K
6. Complete Scissor fob for exchange
7. 2 x ATC’s for exchange

As you can see I flaked out on my book reviewing, my exercising, and some of my stitching. The stitching isn’t too bad as I still have a lot of times to meet the deadlines, everything that had a deadline got done so I’m happy 🙂 My giveaway went brilliantly, 75 submissions, but of course we could only have one winner. Again, Congratulations Agi!

Here are the March Goals. Not too many added goals this month, as I want to get on top of my reviewing, but I’m sure I’ll have enough to do.

Every Month:

1. Post on my blog at least once a week
2. Post picture of my TUSAL jar on each new moon
3. Stitch a biscornu for my Basket of Biscornus
4. Stitch a Christmas ornament
5. Plot 3 new stories/plotlines
6. Write 10,000 new words (either on existing novels or new stories)
7. Read 4 books a month, and write reviews for them (have to review 12 for March – this is getting a bit ridiculous)

March Only:

1. Finish wall hanging for mum
2. 2 x Mother’s day cards
3. Finish one more project started during Crazy January Challenge
4. Restart C25K challenge as it was completely ignored for Feb
5. Complete Scissor fob for exchange
6. 2 x ATC’s for exchange
7. Post an excerpt every week from one of my WIPs (can be new, old or discarded)
8. Stitch Giveaway for PayitForward Giveaway

Wish me better luck this month (more days in it for one)

Stitchy Saturdays – A Finish and Some Progress

I thought I’d take a leaf out of my friend Kell‘s book blog and instate Stitchy Saturdays here at Wikkid Woman. All in the name of getting some structure into my blogging and life 🙂 So for this first Stitchy Saturday I have a finish to share with you and some progress on other pieces.

My finish was started on Day 12 of the Crazy January Challenge, Lizzie*Kate’s All You Need Is Love. I stitched it on 25-count fuchsia lugana evenweave, and used my own floss choices, you can see them below:
Brown text and cupcake and heart outline – Madeira Silk 2008,
Cream on cupcake and inside heart – Madeira Decora 1523,
Flowers – Dragonfloss 201 Sweetheart,
Leaves – Dragonfloss 206 Wood Elf,
Variegated text and swirls at bottom– Dragonfloss 115 Hugs with Stitches,
Framing the A and bottom square– Dragonfloss 113 Greetings.

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Now I just need to find the perfect frame, I know what it looks like in my head I just have to find it in real life 🙂

As for my progress, the one I have worked on the most is Raise The Roof – Sleepy Hollow Sampler. I just LOVE stitching this one, it’s so sketchy and atmospheric. I started stitching it on Day 5 of the challenge and have finished most of the middle motif now. I’m really enjoying the specialty threads, the GAST seems a bit wooly (maybe that’s just me, but I love the texture) and the WDW is just lovely too.

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Another piece which has seen a little progress is the wall hanging I’m making for my mum. I finished the motifs on either side of the text and started a flower border thing at the bottom, but then I decided I don’t like the houses on either side and I’m gonna frog them and just have a flower border above and below. This was my first start of 2011 and it’s one I need to finish pronto so I’ll be picking it up again shortly.

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January’s Goals reviewed and February’s Goal’s Revealed

It’s time to sum up how January went in the goal department. Not to bad in my opinion, after all I only posted them towards the end of the month. The stitching goals were all reached, but the writing has been a bit slower, as has the book reviewing.

Every Month:

1. Post on my blog at least once a week
2. Post picture of my TUSAL jar on each new moon
3. Stitch a biscornu for my Basket of Biscornus (I haven’t bothered joining the official blog, I’m just gonna do it on my lonesome)
4. Stitch a Christmas ornament
5. Plot 3 new stories/plotlines – Only 1 story plotted
6. Write 10,000 new words (either on existing novels or new stories) – Approx. 7000 words written, on an oldish story
7. Read 4 books a month, and write reviews for them – Not written a single review. Bad Line

January Only:

1. Start and complete the first 15 days of the Crazy January Challenge 2011
2. Finish Emily Peacock ‘HUG’ cushion
3. Start and finish Lizzie*Kate ‘Time for God’ design as a bookmark
4. Start c25k (Couch 2 5k) training plan Only done a week, but it’s going great so far

And over to February’s Goals. I’ve decided anything not managed in a previous month will roll over to the new month. I can see some unmanageable goals in the future.

Every Month:

1. Post on my blog at least once a week
2. Post picture of my TUSAL jar on each new moon
3. Stitch a biscornu for my Basket of Biscornus (I haven’t bothered joining the official blog, I’m just gonna do it on my lonesome)
4. Stitch a Christmas ornament
5. Plot 5 new stories/plotlines
6. Write 13,000 new words (either on existing novels or new stories)
7. Read 4 books a month, and write reviews for them (have to review 8 for Feb)

February Only:
1. Finish wall hanging for mum
2. 2 x Mother’s day cards
3. Arrange Giveaway on blog
4. Finish one more projects started during Crazy January Challenge
5. Complete 4 more weeks of C25K
6. Complete Scissor fob for exchange
7. 2 x ATC’s for exchange

January Biscornu and Christmas Ornament finished

Another couple of finishes, my biscornu and Christmas ornament for January. As I mentioned before the ornament will not be finished ‘finished’ for a few months, I plan on having a finishing day once I have a few more stitched up.

The biscornu is a Faby Reilly freebie design. I stitched it on some of the 16-count zweigart cream gold flecked aida I got for the wedding project, I’m amazed I still have some left although there isn’t much now. For floss I used two different DMC colour variations, and a blue Madeira silk. I also used some Gütermann Beads (9/0-9904) at the end of the flakes and around the edge. It took an awful long time to bead the edge, but it think it was worth it. Predicable I’ll be doing a Valentine’s themed biscornu for February, just have to decide on a design now. I have done one, but it’s for an exchange.

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My Christmas ornament was a freebie by The Sampler Girl, it’s called Christmas Eve Flight and can be found on her blog. I stitched it on 32-count flax Belfast linen, using Weeks Dye Works – Chestnut for the reindeer, Dragonfloss – Blood Ruby for the text and 2 DMC Colour Variations for the snowflakes.

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