Tuesday, 18 February 2014


My favourite author of all time is Terry Pratchett.

Well, one of my favourite authors.  I have a number of favourites - JK Rowling, LM Montgomery, Jasper Fforde, Bryce Courtney, John Marsden.  My bookcase is a bit of a conglomeration of different authors, themes, genres, styles.  It's over-flowing at the moment (and I have more in storage and at my brother's house) but space is at a premium in my share-house and there just isn't space at the moment!  My dream house has a dedicated library.  And craft room.  And Doctor Who shrine.  Have I mentioned I'll need a mansion?

My packed bookcase, and a few of my completed stitches
Part of my Pratchett collection - there are more on my desk, and more in storage!
But now I'm off topic.

My favourite author of all time is Terry Pratchett.  I love the way is mind works, the worlds he creates, the characters I know better than real people, the emotions, the total "what the" moments, and the utter crazy dedication of Pratchett fans.  I particularly love the vividness of his stories - the way I can see pictures in my mind as I read (or listen to the audio books).

To celebrate my favourite author, I have not one but two new patterns inspired by Pratchett, now available in my Etsy store.

First there are the Discworld Earrings:

The pattern includes Igor's eyeballs in jars, Death's life-timers, Rincewind and Granny Weatherwax's hats, and of course Great A'Tuin his/her self.

The second new pattern is A Cup Of Tea, featuring a quote from "Snuff":

Don't forget, there is also the Discworld Alphabet.  I originally designed and stitched this for the charity auction at the Irish Discworld Convention in November 2013.  The finished piece ended up selling for 35 (approximately $50).  Proceeds were donated to Alzheimer's Research UK.

In other news, I may have agreed to direct one of the plays for the local amateur drama group this year.  I'm not certain - it's all a bit of a sugar-induced blur.  I blame the owl-themed patty cakes at the baby shower for my friend (coincidently the president of said drama group).

I wonder if I could convince them to do Wyrd Sisters?

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A Spectacular Doctor Who

OzzyPip (Mum) and I at the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular
This weekend Mum and I went to the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular in Brisbane.  And it was Spectacular!  The Queensland Symphonic Orchestra and the Brisbane Chorale were joined by Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor) and Ben Foster (the official Doctor Who conductor) for an evening of awesome Doctor Who music, much of it by Murray Gold, from the last 50 years of Who.

The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular!
Basically it was the BBC Proms, but in Brisbane... and with that all important Australian twist.  But maybe that was just the atmosphere.

It's Peter Davison.  Shhh, don't mention the cricket!
I love the music from Doctor Who.  It is just so powerful and uplifting and emotional - when you are in tears just listening to the music, you know it must be good.
However I think my favourite thing from the weekend was the crowd.  I was at the Excel for the Doctor Who 50th Celebration weekend.  I was in Ireland for the Irish Discworld Convention.  I was back at the Excel for London Comic-Con.  And while those were all powerful atmospheres, there was something uniquely relaxed, uniquely friendly, uniquely Australian about the atmosphere and the crowd in Brisbane this weekend.

Vampire ladies from Venice, and a Cyberman listen to the Doctor's warning
Maybe it's because we don't get that many events of this calibre in Brisbane.  Maybe it's because we don't get that many geeky events, let alone ones with a Doctor Who theme.  Maybe it's because not only are we Australian, but we're Queenslanders.

"The conductor is over-acting, the conductor is over-acting"
Or maybe it's just that I became sappy and sentimental while living in the UK.  That's always a possibility.
Sylurians in the audience
But it was a very relaxed and friendly evening.  And so much fun!  Daleks, and Cybermen, and Sylurians, and Jadoon, and Silence, and Wheeping Angels, and the faceless men, and a few others I didn't recognise.  Powerful music, brilliantly conducted.  Peter Davison was charming, the video clips were moving, and the video message from Tom Baker was very Tom Baker-ish.

My jewellery for the weekend.
If you get the chance to see it in New Zealand, go!  Otherwise you'll just have to wait until the BBC decide to send it back on tour.

Oh, and for your chance to win a pair of Tardis earrings, as shown above, head over to my Facebook page and like the appropriate post!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Joss Whedon Alphabet and Discount code

It's my birthday today and I decided to celebrate in two ways: a discount code and a new cross stitch pattern!

Code first: just enter HAPPYBIRTHDAY at the checkout for a 20% discount.  The code is valid until the 20th February 2014.

Today's new pattern is inspired by the wonderful works of Joss Whedon, specifically Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly.

Whedon's Alphabet now available

A is for Angel, the vampire with a soul.
B is for Buffy the Vampire Slayer
C is for Cordellia
D is for Dawn, the shiny new key
E is for the First Evil
F is for Faith and "five by five"
G is for Giles, the Watcher and Librarian
H is for Wolfram and Heart, the evil lawyer firm
I is for Inara the Companion
J is for the hero of Camdon, the man they call Jayne
K is for Kaylee, strawberry-loving mechanic
L is for Lorne, the singing Host
M is for Malcolm Reynolds, Captain and Brown Coat
N is for the Nightmares Wheedon gave us
O is for Once More with Feeling
P is for Principal Snyder, the principal I loved to hate
Q is for Quotable - who hasn't repeated the lines from the shows?
R is for River Tam the Reader
S is for Spike, the bad-ass, smoking, leather-wearing vampire... who now has a soul... and is dead
T is for Tara, the sweet girl with the quiet smile
U is for Undead monsters that filled our screens each week
V is for Vampires, them that Buffy slayed
W is for Willow, the witch with skills
X is for Xander, he who sees and listens
Y is for Yolanda... or is she Saffron... or Bridget?
Z is for Zoe Wash, Mal's second in command

Joss Whedon, I salute you.

The pattern is now available here

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

How to... Cross Stitch Earings + FREE PATTERN!

I am a fan a jewellery, particularly unique or quirky earrings and necklaces.  I have dice, thongs (flipflops, jandles, pluggers depending on what part of the world you come from), witches hats, Great A'Tuin, sheep, feet, and a time-turner!

Currently, my favourite pair are some Tardis Christmas earrings I made last year as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations (pattern available from my Etsy store).  They were much admired by others at the celebrations.  I'm off to Brisbane this weekend for a Doctor Who Spectacular concert (sort of like BBC at the Proms, but not) and am planning to make myself a new pair, minus the Christmas trees.

Tardis Christmas Earrings
What surprised me most when I made my earrings was how easy it was!  All it took was some spare threads, left-over plastic canvas and a couple of jewellery hooks.  In today's blog-post I thought I'd share just how to make your own pair of Discworld-themed cross stitch earrings.  Don't forget to check out the free pattern at the end!

Death's scythe

What you need:
stitching supplies
  • Plastic canvas
  • Threads (I've used DMC 310, 413, & 898 but any left over scraps will do)
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Jewellery hooks and chain links
  • Pair of pliers
  • Optional - a DVD or audiobook for background noise/entertainment (I watched an episode of Firefly while making mine) :) 

How to make your earrings

Count your starting point carefully!
1. Collect all your materials (one of my biggest peeves when stitching is to get really motivated for a project and make a start, only to find I'm missing a particular thread colour!)
2. Find your starting point on the canvas.  You need to allow for at least a one square boarder around the outside, and a two square boarder along the top - this will become the holder for the earring hook.

The loop method

3. Starting your stitching - when stitching on plastic canvas, I prefer to use the loop method as then you don't have to worry about dangling or loose threads showing through the canvas. 

The loop method: take a single strand of thread and double it over.  Thread the two loose or "live" ends through the eye of your needle. Stitch the bottom half of your first stitch, making sure not to pull the thread all the way through!  On the reverse side of your stitching, thread your needle through the end loop of the thread and pull tight.  Your thread should be "caught" and you're ready to continue stitching.

Half stitches are one half of the cross
4. Continue to follow the pattern to finish of your stitching.  A couple of notes:

Half stitches: you can't stitch through the middle of the plastic canvas.  Instead, only stitch one half of the cross (in the direction of the backstitch).

Finishing your threads: make sure when finishing off your threads that you tuck it under several previous stitches, and trim it neat.  Remember - any loose threads will show through the plastic canvas.

Square cut out

5. Stitch the backstitch, keeping it as neat as possible to avoid stitches showing through - you may need to double back on yourself once you are done. 

You need to stitch two of each pattern, in order to make the front and back of each earring.

6. Cutting out the earrings.  Using a sharp pair of scissors, carefully cut around your stitching, remembering to leave a two square boarder along the top, and a one square boarder on the other sides.

Cut out with diagonals
Diagonals: I find it is easiest to cut a square boarder around the design first, and then trim down the diagonals.  Although there is no right or wrong when it comes to cross stitching, I find it looks best when there is an empty hole visible between the diagonal stitches and the trimed edge - less chance of me cutting any threads as well!

7. Apply double sided tape to one half of the earring, peel off the backing paper and join them together, taking care to line up each edge.

8. Adding the hooks: using pliers (or your fingers if you are like me and need to buy a pair), stretch the chain links open and carefully thread through the top of the earring.  Which hole on the canvas you choose will depend on how you want your earring to hang.  I chose to thread the link through a hole closer to the tip of the scythe blade so that the earrings hang on an angle.  Add the second link to the open one, and then use your pliers to close the link back up.
I use two links so that the earrings are font on when I wear them.  If you would rather they face sideways, use one or three links, depending on how long you want them to be.

9. Attach the hook to the top link.

My jewellery hooks had a larger opening (hidden by the bead), which I was able to attach to the link.  Depending on your hooks, you may need to stretch the link slightly to get it to attach. 

Take care which way you face the hook!  Do you want your earrings to face the same way, or opposite directions?  I chose opposite directions, but it is up to you.

10. Pop them in your ears and get ready to party. :)


Here it is - the pattern to make your own scythe earrings; earrings Death and Susan would be proud of.  

Stay tuned for more Discworld earrings in the coming weeks.

Happy Stitching!

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