Friday photo challenge (week 34) Stitch

Only 24 hours late for my Friday (ahem Saturday) photo challenge for this week. Stitch is the theme. Stitches have been with me ever since I was a child. I first learned to sew, knit and crochet when I was probably younger than 10. Taught by my Mum and Grandma.

It brings me lots of pleasure and I always have several projects on the go at any one time. The first photo of crewel wool honeysuckle has been a work-in-progress for at least 8 years (whoops – I really should get it finished).

Then there’s a pile of some of my crochet blanket creations (the bottom two using lots & patterns from Attic 24).

And as I am currently at my parents’ house on holiday, here’s a couple of my previous projects from years gone by which hang on their walls….

Summer craft challenge 2016 Part 4

Day 22 : Saturday 30th July


A woodland walk and a picnic in the countryside on Saturday meant portable crafting was required. After lunch, while the Little Postcards played football I made some little crochet flowers.

Day 23 : Sunday 31st July


Slowly but surely a little bit of progress is happening on my summer holiday cross stitch picture. A little bit each evening in front of the TV seems to be working so far.

Day 24 : Monday 1st August


Can you see a little green & white stripes beach hut appearing. I’m really enjoying this cross stitch picture so far…

Day 25 : Tuesday 2nd August


I’ve been working on this crochet wreath as a birthday present. I had originally chosen pale pink to go along side the fuschia shade against the pearly cream wreath but it was lacking something. A quick trip to the wool shop in the afternoon solved the problem… a variegated yarn. 

It will live in a pale blue bedroom when it’s completed so I wanted a hint of blue but not too much as I don’t want it to clash with the walls!

Day 26 : Wednesday 3rd August 


Just adding the finishing touches to the crochet wreath. I will reveal all shortly…

Day 27 : Thursday 4th August


My last few woolly hearts for Yarndale were finished off and parceled up ready to be posted to Skipton. If you aren’t aware of the 7000 challenge check out @bonnies_little_crafts on Instagram. This lovely lady’s trying to make and collect 7000 woolly hearts to give to visitors to the Yarndale festival in September this year.

Day 28 : Friday 5th August


Today began a little too early with crochet on the platform of Manchester Oxford Road station just after 8am waiting for the train to take us to the next destination on our holiday. We waved goodbye to the north of England and hello to the East. 

A new destination seemed as good a reason as any to begin a new project. This one’s a blanket using square the circle squares. I used a very clear pattern called Bullseye by Little Tin Bird but instead of changing the colours on each round I kept the square to just two colours.

Summer Craft Challenge 2016 Part 3

Day 15 : Saturday 23rd July 


A new project and a new location… Saturday was our first full day in Manchester and the first day of our ‘summer holiday’. As all loose ends had been darned in on my ongoing WIP before I left Gibraltar, it was time I cracked open a new ball of yarn and got cracking on my next project. This is another gift, but I have almost two weeks to complete it so no pressure 🙂

Day 16 : Sunday 24th July


Sunday’s crafting session was a family affair. I continued with my crochet I started the day before and two of the Little Postcards began their summer sewing projects. One is of landmarks in London worked in cross stitch, the other is a football tapestry worked in long stitch.  

Day 17 : Monday 25th July


Flower making on a cross country train to visit special friends who used to live in Gibraltar 🙂 …. Who now live in:

Spotted this gorgeous crochet sign in the restaurant we are dinner in – isn’t it gorgeous? 🙂 It has pride of place at the top of a community notice board.

Day 18 : Tuesday 26th July

We had such a busy day out having fun with friends that the only crafting I managed was just before bedtime. I sewed these two little flowers together which I had crocheted on our train trip the day before. Not much to show I’m afraid but a brilliant day was had by all, Mums and children alike 🙂

Day 19 : Wednesday 27th July


Another train journey – this one taking us back up north to Manchester meant time for leaves to go with all those flowers made on the southbound journey. Once the leaves were complete, this little pile of #woollyheartsforyarndale got their ends darned in and a few buttons attached. They’ll be winging their way to Skipton very soon 🙂

Day 20 : Thursday 28th July


My wreath base is complete. I just need to add the flowers & leaves.

Day 21 : Friday 29th July


I cracked open my summer holiday cross stitch picture today. It’s a lovely summery beach scene, so the big question is – will I finish it be the end of the summer? Or more likely by the end of the decade? I’m a bit slow at cross stitch as a rule, time will tell… I have never stitched on coloured Aida before and I found stitching blue thread on blue material made my eyes a bit funny even in bright daylight. The jury’s out on whether it’ll be a success or not. 


Better late than never… a birth sampler for my 4 year old!

   
When my first son was born, I was given a wonderful gift by a work colleague and fellow cross stitcher, a baby sampler. As I had previously made similar things for friends of mine when they’d had babies, I was incredibly touched by the gesture. I know at first hand the time and love which go into making such an item:

  
It was treasured and hung in No 1 son’s nursery. It has moved with us from house to house over the years and now hangs in a corridor near the boys’ bedrooms.

Fast forward a few years and No 2 son put in an appearance. In an attempt to be fair and make sure each child has the same treatment, I set about making a cross stitch sampler to mark his birth too. However, having moved countries (England to Gibraltar) and juggling two young children, time wasn’t on my side so at the ripe old age of 2 years old I began his sampler. As he was now officially a toddler rather than a baby, I chose a slightly more ‘grown up’ design than teddy bears opting for jungle animal name plate kit from Daisy Designs. 

   
  

It took about a year to complete and eventually both he and I were pleased with the results. Once framed, it hung on his bedroom wall, where it remains to this day.
  
  
Fast forward another few years and No 3 son arrived. I’m afraid that for quite a while, crafting took a back seat and although I always meant to get around to doing a cross stitch picture for him, it just didn’t happen until he was … 3!

I struggled to find a kit I liked at first and considered using my many cross stitch books to create a unique one just for him, but I just didn’t have the time or the creative inspiration I needed to hit upon the right thing. Then I saw this:

  
The kit by Bothy threads, although quite ‘baby-ish’ for a 3 year old had a very important feature; a giraffe! My LO has a very special friend in the shape of a cuddly giraffe very similar to the one in this pattern – decision made!

And so, just over a year ago, I began. It started on our summer holiday in England last year. I made great headway, then stalled…. for most of the year. You may remember seeing this photo featured in my post WIP Mountain!

   
It spent an awful lot of time at the bottom of my pile of projects to complete, but I think writing about them all spurred me back into action and so, instead of embarking upon another new project (which I am supremely good at) I decided to make this summer a time to complete one or more of my old ones!

 
While in England this year, I finished the animals and began the shelf they were sitting on.

   
Fueled by gorgeous homemade strawberry smoothie, Operation Cross Stitch continued in Portugal!


Then that magic moment came when you stop cross stitching and start working on the outline/accents – my favorite bit!

    
I love the way that the outline and details transform blocks of colour into little creatures with personality!

  

Just look at how this little blue rabbit comes to life with a few stitches.
  
I think he’s really rather sweet!

 
So at long last, I’m very pleased to say I’m almost finished. It’s just waiting for the name and birth date to be added then it’s off to the framers. Very soon, my conscience will be cleared and my youngest won’t be the only child NOT to have a cross stitch picture. He’s not that interested in it right now to be honest, but perhaps one day when he’s older and has children of his own he might be glad I made this for him.

   
 

A final postcard from Portugal 

  
Today’s the day we wave goodbye to Portugal and head back home to Gibraltar. We have had a brilliant week and were  lucky enough to meet up with friends which meant the children had buddies to play with on the beach and in the pool. 

  
We have had mixed weather for our stay, some days scorchingly hot, on a couple of others we’ve even had rain but that hasn’t affected our enjoyment of this beautiful stretch of Atlantic coastline.

  
The aforementioned friends have been coming to this part of the world for many years and were able to introduce us to some lovely things like the red berry laden, white sangria above. It’s made with a fizzy white wine, spirits and strawberries, cranberries & raspberries and is divine. It also requires the drinker to have an afternoon nap!

We were also introduced to these beauties:   

They are local sweets made with marzipan and filled with egg custard. They looked fab and tasted delicious, from someone who doesn’t normally like marzipan that’s a BIG deal.

We’ve had great meals out, like the one in this atmospheric taberna in Portimão. I was ever so brave and ate clams and baby octopus (another BIG deal for me).   

There has also been plenty of time to be crafty and I’ve been making great progress on one of my cross stitch WIPs. The stitching session below was powered by the most gorgeous homemade strawberry smoothie made by Mr Postcard and ably assisted by the smaller members of the family.

 
On one of our drives to explore the local area we witnessed the sight of a shepherd striding out into the road, bringing the traffic to a standstill. He had a few goats among his sheep as well as a couple of weary looking sheepdogs.

   
My floral appreciation has continued in the Algarve. I have been very disciplined and only chosen a couple of the many pictures I’ve taken for fear of boring you!

 
 

I thought this plasterwork on the side of this building looked stunning.

  
   
Goodbye Portugal, thank you for having us to stay. We’ve had a wonderful time and hope to see you again one day!

 
Thank you so much for stopping by. Until the next time…

Levanter, craftiness & Saharan Dust!

   
By jingo, it’s been hot since we arrived back in Gibraltar. Now accustomed to the welcome cool of an English summer, the muggy heat here has been a shock to the system. I do appreciate that while we were in Blighty, Gibraltar residents were experiencing hotter than normal temperatures thanks to a heat wave, but it’s still a bit hot for my liking. The reason for the ‘closeness’ (if there is such a word) is the Levanter. The dictionary definition of ‘Levanter’ is an easterly wind in the Mediterranean. The Levanter in Gibraltar is a large plume of cloud which forms on the top of the Rock, caused by the aforementioned easterly wind. The cloud, as shown in the photo above (taken at Europa Point on Sunday afternoon), acts as a sort of duvet sealing in all the hot, sweaty air beneath. Today, there’s no sign of blue up above, just cloud, and it’s so muggy!

   
This photo was taken at 2pm on Thursday 6th August not the middle of winter! It may look cold and dismal – it’s not, it’s hot and dismal! Sorry for such an uninspiring picture, perhaps the next one will help lift the spirits!

  

 I took this one last night as the sun was disappearing behind the hills above Algeciras. The hazy quality was caused by Saharan dust which is being blown across the Straits of Gibraltar and along the Costa Del Sol area at the moment.
Aside from weather watching, it’s been great to be back home surrounded by all my crafty bits and bobs. I’ve not had the time or inclination recently to pick up my crochet hook but this great  Flower tutorial from Mollie Makes inspired me.  I’m rather pleased with the results, I think I’ll be making a few more of these.

  
It felt good to be back in the saddle again! I’ve also revisited a current cross stitch WIP, a birth sampler for (she mutters embarrassingly) my 4 year old. Well, the other two have them and I can’t be seen to be unfair! #betterlatethannever 

 I’ve challenged myself to finish it by the end of the school holidays … time will tell whether I’m up to the challenge or not.

Yesterday I rolled back the years and tried teaching my eldest two how to make old skool friendship bracelets (with mixed success). One jumped ship after the first demo!

   
    
 The blue and yellow one was made by my eldest and is rather good for a first attempt don’t you think?
  
That’s all from me for now, thanks for stopping by. See you soon!