Tuesday, 31 March 2015

It's a Finish! Once Upon A Time Sampler

I've finally had a finish for March!  Hurray!

The Once Upon A Time Character Alphabet cross stitch is done and dusted.

This is the only project I have worked on all month (apart from designing custom pieces) and it went down to the wire to get it done by the end of March - 10pm Sunday night I finally put it away.

I really enjoyed stitching this pattern and watching the characters come alive.  I backstitched them all, and I think that added a whole new dimension to the pattern, unlike some of the other pixel-style people where I've only used backstitch for added detail. I think in future all the pixel-style ones will have backstitch - it defines the characters so much more and makes them 'pop' as one of my American friends would say.  The other difference in this one is the use of a  lot more half-stitches to give a more curved look to the face and clothing.  I think this has also worked really well - the characters don't look as harsh, and have a more 'real' quality to them while still looking cartoon-ish.

The fabric was hand-dyed opalesence evenweave from www.sewitall.com.au.  The threads were all DMC.

This was my entry for A Lovely Year of Finishes as well as being my only finish for OPAM for March.  I'm just glad it's done!  You can read about my start to the project here, and there's an update photo with a close up of a lot of the letters here.

Now I just have to find a frame for it.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A to Z Challenge theme reveal - Cross Stitch of course!

The challenge hasn't even started and I'm already behind!  I missed the "challenge reveal" day but here it is at last.

For those who haven't heard, I'm going to be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April.  I wrote about it here.

The idea of the challenge is that for every day of April (excluding Sundays) you blog about a different letter of the alphabet, from A to Z.  You can either choose a different theme each day (keeping on a general topic) or blog about one theme for the entire month, mentioning different aspects in relation to the letter.  Or something like that!  You are also meant to visit other people's posts as well.

Challenge Reveal

For the challenge I have decided to stitch my Doctor Who Quotes alphabet.  This will then become the gift for one of the craft swaps I'm involved in.

I am also doing a Harry Potter themed blog.  I've stitched a number of the characters from the Harry Potter films, and thought this would be a nice way to share them.

I had originally planned on stitching one of my larger alphabets (the Doctor Who characters or the Harry Potter characters one) thinking that with Easter school holidays I would have plenty of time to catch-up or stay-ahead as needed!  ... Then Ozzypip (who is also doing the A to Z challenge) reminded me that we are off to Malaysia for a week in April, which will significantly hamper my stitching time (can't stay in the motel stitching when there is exploring to do!) so I've had to go for an easier project this time.  There's always next year for something more challenging!

Following Blogs

However, the thing I am most excited about is seeing the progress of other people's stitching projects.  I have so far discovered 3 different bloggers who are going to be stitching my alphabets as their challenge piece!  How very very exciting!!  Go and check them out, they clearly have very very good taste:
Are you stitching a Fangirl Stitches pattern for the A to Z challenge?  Let me know - I'd love to follwo your progress.

Happy stitching and happy blogging!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

WIP Wednesday

Back at the beginning of March, I identified my Once Upon A Time cross stitch as the project I was going to get finished this month - for both the One Project A Month and A Lovely Year of Finishes (see links over on the right)
I've stitched a couple more since I took this photo
It is slowly coming together, and I think I am on track to getting it finished.  However, it has meant that I haven't worked on any other projects this month, and I desperately need to get started on my swap stitches!

On the plus side I've only got 5 letters/sets of characters to go :)


 Happy Stitching!

Just Giving with Cross Stitch - Alzheimer's Research

Following Terry Pratchett's death, a Just Giving page was set up in his name to raise money for The Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE).  RICE was a charity greatly supported by Terry Pratchett, with the funds from auctions at Discworld conventions often being donated to them.

I wanted to do something similar, however being in Australia makes it a little bit harder to donate to overseas charities.  Not impossible, just a bit harder.  Besides, there are plenty of Australian charities and research organisations that I'd like to support, such as the Australian equivalent of RICE: The Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Research Foundation.

Until the end of May, the profit from the sales of all Discworld-themed cross stitch patterns on Fangirl Stitches will be donated to Dementia Research.

Snuff Quote
Hogswatch card
Hogswatch Card
Wyrd Sisters
 Happy Stitching-with-a-cause!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Vale Terry Pratchett

Friday morning I was woken by a text message:

I was thrown by this a lot more than I was expecting.  This was the first time the news of the passing of someone I didn't know personally (eg celebrity) has actually affected me.  I was rather teary all day, reading some of the beautiful and poignant things people were writing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; reading articles and editorials such as this one by the Discworld Emporium.   Teary to the extent that I had one of those headaches that comes from crying too much.

 Previously when people have talked about being upset when Elvis Presley died, or Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, even Steven Irwin, I couldn't understand it.  They'd never met this person, they were just an image on TV or a picture in a magazine, a song on a radio.

Now I do.  People we don't know, never meet, can still have a significant impact on our lives, and shape the person who we are.

Terry Pratchett was, is, and most likely always will be my all-time favourite author.  His work came into my life when I was about 12 and awoke a love for fantasy and science fiction novels. They gave me comfort the year I lived in Malaysia as an exchange student - I'd allow myself to buy one new one each month and would read it over and over again until the next month when I could buy my next book.  The Discworld shaped some of my travels and adventures while I lived in the United Kingdom, including trips to Wincanton (twined with Ahnk-Morpork) and over to Ireland for the Irish Discworld Convention.  I often listen to the audio books when driving for work, or when dropping off to sleep at night - I know them so well I can lose myself in the book and turn off all other thoughts.

I never met Terry face-to-face, but I did have the privilege to hear him speak live once, at the launch event for "The Science of the Discworld IV".  I've also met a lot of people who knew him personally, who were close friends, and on whom characters from the Discworld were based.

Now I know there will be no more new adventures on the Disc, and that's probably what makes me most sad.  My brother posted on his facebook page: "There are very few Pratchett novels I haven't yet read, and will savour them all the more knowing they will be the last new journeys I will have into the wonderful mind of this magnificent man." I echo this sentiment completely.

Vale Terry.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Wibbley Wobbley Timey Wimey Cats

This blog has taken me an age to post.  I initally wrote it just after I bought my house but before I adopted Eevee (about October 2014).  I updated it after I adopted her (early Nov 2014), then I updated it (again) after I'd adopted Skimbles (Dec 2014).  It's now March 2015 and it's still not posted.  Originally the delay was because I was trying to upload the photos.  Then the delay was because I wanted to find the links to where the pics came frome to give proper acknowledgement of ownership.  Then I had a number of other posts I wanted to upload more......... At any rate, this post is finally getting its 15 minutes of fame (once I update the introduction.... again!).

I've already mentioned here that I now own two cats: Eevee and Skimbles.  That was once of the best things about getting my own place - finally being able to have a pet for the first time since I moved out of home (2003).  I contemplated adopting a dog to try and motivate me to get fit, but I didn't think it would be very fair on the animal given the small backyard.  I know: lots of people have dogs in tiny appartments but I'm used to dogs being outside animals and I think having a predominately inside dog would rock my sensibilities.  So instead I adopted a cat or two and started the journey of becoming a mad cat lady.  

Okay.  I'll admit it.  The main reason I wanted a cat over a dog was because I got to check out all the awesome geeky cat furniture out there.  In particular the T.A.R.D.I.S. Cat Houses.

I have fallen in love with this cat climbing frame, created by astromark and found on TARDIS Builders.  It was created at a 1/2 scale size and looks amazing. I particularly love the cat bed, the inside tunnel, and the cat's name inscribed on the door lock.
Then there is this one.  I believe it originally came from cattardis.jadbean.com but the link is no longer available.  The image comes from pinterest.  This one gives greater access for the cats, without losing the overall T.A.R.D.I.S. style.
Picture from pinterest.com

Similar to this, is this cat house created by the author of I also live on a farm:
If a T.A.R.D.I.S cat house isn't your style, there are some other awesome geeky cat furniture ideas around, such as the miniature cat bedroom:
Picture from pinterest.com

Or the Middle Earth litter tray and scratching post created by Super-Fan Builds:
Picture from thinkgeek.com 

Then there are the cat-climbing bookcases:

So cute!

However, since my Dad made me a TARDIS shoe cupboard for Christmas, I think my chances of getting a TARDIS cat house are buckleys and none.  *sigh*  Except that my TARDIS shoe cupboard is the coolest thing I have ever seen.  I'll tell you all about it another time.

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Preparation for the A to Z Challenge

I've signed up to participate in the A to Z blogging challenge this year.

Basically, for the month of April, you set yourself a theme and blog once a day for each letter of the alphabet (excluding Sundays).  The A to Z blog people explain it best on their webpage:

"Can you post every day except Sundays during this month?  And to up the bar, can you blog thematically from A to Z?  Using this premise, you would start beginning April First with a topic themed on something with the letter A, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until you finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.  It doesn't even have to be a word--it can be a proper noun, the letter used as a symbol, or the letter itself.  The theme of the day is the letter scheduled for that day."

I'm still trying to decide on my theme.  It is going to be cross-stitch related (of course!) but the problem is, what theme after that?  Keebles (who first mentioned the A to Z challenge to me) got me thinking about my character alphabets, after she requested the Once Upon A Time pattern as a possibility for her theme.

Not that I'm short of options!  Themed alphabets have become my "thing" of late and there are more than a few now available from the Fangirl Stitches website.  This might be a good excuse to stitch one or two of them. :)

Happy Stitching!
The Christmas Alphabet, Discworld Alphabet and Geeky Alphabet

The Veronica Mars AlphabetPokemon AlphabetWhedon Alphabet
Harry Potter Character AlphabetDoctor Who Alphabet of charactersMario Brothers Character Alphabet

The Doctor Who Quotes Alphabet, Christmas Carol Alphabet and
Once Upon A Time Character Alphabet

Saturday, 7 March 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes - March

I'm joining in with the A Lovely Year of Finishes, run by Fibre of All Sorts and Sew Bittersweet Designs.

The idea is that you select one project to finish each month - you post about it in the first week of the month, and then post your successful finish at the end of the month.

For March I want to finish the Once Upon A Time Character Alphabet.

I designed the pattern back in late January/early February.  I started it a few weeks ago and want to get it finished as soon as possible so I can make sure the pattern (available here) is accurate!

I've finished D, E, F, G, J, K, and Q so far.  Only 19 letters of the alphabet to go...

Happy Stitching!