Donnerstag, 30. April 2015

April DESIGN

So again I waited until the very last minue to participate in my very own SAL, but here I am at last!


What project are you talking about this month? 

My project for this month are these beautiful Asters - September of the Flower of the Month free patterns by Ellen Maurer-Stroh. As you can see, I finished the purples and started putting in the greens now.

Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

No, this is the first one.

Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again? Why/Why not?

I most certainly would - probably more of the Flowers of the month, as they are all really pretty and fairly quick to stitch, but I can totally see me buying a few of her patterns as well.

What made you choose this particular design/designer?

I was looking to make a wedding sampler for a friend of ours who's in his 60s, widowed a little over a year ago, and now head over heels in love again. Most of the usual wedding sampler didn't really seem to fit the situation, so I decided to compose something myself, and I thought that flowers that bloom in autumn are quite a nice analogy to falling in love in the second half of life, so I was looking for a pattern that fit my needs and along came those beautiful asters - just perfect!

Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others? - For example specialty stitches, fractionals, much/little 'confetti', beads, special fibers...

There are no fractals or backstitching in this design,  and from what I've seen that's true for most of her designs - yet the design is still very...defined, for lack of a better word, and detailed. And they don't even use that many colors, I think the aster has about five shades of purple and four shades of green! You should take a look at her other floral patterns, they are amazing!

That being said, I'm attempting to finish this over the weekend, so hopefully I can show you an update on it soonish :)

Donnerstag, 23. April 2015

April SFS

April - Spent: 74.07€ - Earned: 20€

Sounds scary, right? But believe it or not, I did have enough budget saved up to cover that and some more! In fact, I had a carry over of 63.90€ from last month, so my new carry over should be 63.90 + 25 + 20 -74.07 = 34.83€, which is still nice I guess :)

But let's start from the beginning...back in March, I had placed an order with my favourite German online needlework store for the pattern of Ink Circle's Turtles all the way down (8.99€), which I really wanted, along with a few other things like bobbins and a new q snap cover that don't count for SFS.  They didn't get back to me for over a month, so about two weeks ago I finally emailed them and they told me the pattern was back ordered from ther US supplier. Those guys are super-friendly when you contact them, but really, if it takes that long would it hurt to send out an email themselves?  Anyways, in the meantime I had discovered that they had the 2011 Christmas ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch on sale for only 3€, which has 76 ornament patterns by some really great designers, and I had to add that to the order. A few days ago, the whole thing finally arrived (except for the q snap cover, they will be sending that seperatly), and I LOVE the ornament magazine, there are some cute things in there and I really want to stitch almost half of these designs, I think that's a great deal for 3€ :D They also included an old issue of Cross Country Stitching as a gift, most of the designs in there aren't really my style but some are quite cute and hey, free patterns! :)


So, that accounts for 11.99€ of my spending, but what about the big chunk of 62.08€? Well, that was lost at ebay, actually - in the beginning of April, I scored a lot of four brand new Disney Dreams kits for that amazing price! Namely The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia and Beauty & the Beast, which I already had and am now planning to sell to make up for the shipping and customs charges I had to pay. But still, that's about 20€ for each of the three kits I could actually add to my collection (see full collection on the right), which is a great deal, and leaves me only three kits (Snow White, Bambi and Winnie the Pooh) short of owning them all - now I only need to find time to actually stitch them all up!

I also got the latest shipment of my thread club, this time including another storage box and some size 24 gold plated needles. I don't really use 24, but there should be some 26 and 28 in subsequent shipments, and I adore the little testube thing they're packt into! Sadly, no hand dyed skein this month, just a note that it would be shipped seperatly, so I'm expecting two skeins next time around...


As for the earning, I had another page finish on Dark Force (12€), Magical's Ornament of the Month for April (35x35 stitches -> 4€) and the two sides of her Fob of the Month for March, each sized about 25x25 stitches (2x 2€).





Montag, 20. April 2015

April - GG, TSAL, IHSW

I swear I was planning seperate posts for each of my SALs, I really was, but life just kept on rolling and thowing stuff in my way (mostly awesome things though, don't worry), and now they are all due at once and I want to get them done; they'd mostly include the same WIP shots anyway :D

So last week was a bit busy, shopping and a university barbecue and other stuff and hardly a day went by as planned. I was kinda looking forward to a real nice and quiet weekend, but somehow stuff kept piling up again - it was mostly fun, really; shoe shopping with grandma, sushi and an AWESOME film music concert with Felix on Saturday evening, then my grandparents coming over for coffee and cake on Sunday, but sometimes, there is such a thing as too much good and fun and I just need some quiet time to relax and stitch and stuff like that. I still made the most of the time I had, so I do have some progress to show despite everything else :)

Now let's do this in chronological order - first up, Gifted Gorgeousness. So this month I stitched on stuff gifted to me: Dark Force (I won the pattern in a contest), and I got my obligatory column of the week to show. Lady and the tramp (a birthday present by my grand parents), Things Unseen (Christmas present by Felix) and the April Ornament of the Month (the fabric was a gift by my good friend Carla).



I also stitched on a wedding sampler for a friend, using September of Ellen Maurer-Stroh's Flower of the Month patterns. I added about one and two half shades of purple this weekend :D


That aster and Dark Force is also what dominates my TSAL jar for the month...that, and some odd ends of thick cotton yarn from that pair of potholders I finished earlier this month:

So that sums up my stitching and incidentally also what I did for IHSW - working on those asters, mostly. But I also started a new crochet project...some of you may remember that delicios ball of dark navy/petrol sparkly lace yarn I bought a while back - well, I bought a few books about knitting/crocheting lace, and finally found a pattern to use it in. I might need one more ball, but that's okay! I'm doing a shawl called 'Soyeux' from the German book 'Lace häkeln für Einsteiger' (crocheting lace for beginners). It's a triangle shape and a bit off since you start at the long side - so it starts off looking much like a fancy string that slowly turns into a fancy band and I had just reached the fancy belt stage to take this picture, when I realized I had to rip two complete rows due to some mistake I made ad the beginning of this third pattern repeat, ugh! I got the basic pattern down pretty good, but I still get confused by the changing of rows...I hope that by next weeks, I'll get a bit more done so I can actually properly show the lace pattern :)


So that's it for my crafty progress this past week :) As usual, I also have to share what we watched: that was some more Supernatural (S6, E6-15) and How I met your Mother (S1, E2-15). Yesterday Felix wanted to watch Grown Ups 2, since he really liked the first one, but neither of us enjoyed this one much...it has a few funny moments, but for the most part it's just plain, ordenary, Taste-less 'homour'. It's a pitty, they hardly make really enjoyable comedies anymore I think :/

I also did some reading and finally finished The Mazerunner. I wanted to read this series after seeing the trailer for the first movie, and it's nice, but pretty forseeable for the most part - I enjoyed it, but not as much as The Hunger Games or Divergent. I already started the second volume though and that start's of with much more suprises, so I'll see where that will take me :)


Montag, 13. April 2015

March Tons of Tiny

Another week has passed, and I'll be using the opportunity of my weekly progress post to get a not-too-late sign in for Tons of Tiny done. This month, I have three tiny finishes to count again (well stiching finishes, I still need to finish-finish but that might take a while longer so I'll just count them now): The two sides of Magical's March fob that I already showed a while back, and then her April ornament which I just finished this weekend; it was a ton of backstitching but the result is so worth it again:


I also had a new start that might count as a tiny when finished, I haven't checked the dimensions yet...it's September of Ellen Maurer-Stroh's Flower of the Month patterns, and I'm doing it as a wedding sampler for a friend of ours who's getting married in May.


Of course I also stitched the next column of Dark Force. Fun fact -  used actual black for the first time in this one, everything else was just really dark blues and greys. AND I finally got to sew off the loose ends on that pair of pot holders I crocheted sometime last year! Now that's what I call a productive weekend.


As for watching, we finished Big Bang Theory (S7, E22-24 - Season 8 isn't in amazon prime yet) and started How I met your Mother (S1, E1) to take it's place. We have both seen this one up to vertain (different) points, but we figured we'd just start over from the beginning. We also saw more Supernatural (S5 E21+22 and S6 E1-5). This weekend, Felix wasn't here, so I got to watch some stuff he just recently watched and didn't want to do so again with me just yet -  13 going 30, which I really enjoyed, and Castle (S2, E1-8). 

There are also some news in gaming - I finally bought myself a PlayStation 4 a while ago, and since I got a bundle deal together with The Order 1886, this was the first game I played. It's rather short, so I finished within a week or so, but I really enjoyed it - it as an interesting story, well thought out background and characters, and potential for more games to follow, so I'm looking forward to that. Although the graphics was really impressing after being used to PS3 for so long :)




Samstag, 11. April 2015

Blog parade: My favourite crochet piece

Daniela from Gemachtmitliebe.de, one of the few German blogs I follow and focused mostly on crochet and knitting, is hosting a monthly blog parade where she poses a question and people get to answer in their own blogs. Since I really enjoy working with wool and yarn, but focus mostly on cross stitch in this blog, I figured it would be a nice idea to take part in this as well :)

The first monthly question (or rather, the quest for the first month) is to show and talk about our favourite amongst our finished crochet pieces. I have to admit that I don't have a lot finished crochet pieces, I didn't do much in the last years and most of what I have done before that where oven mittens and stuff like that, that got used and eventually worn. But there is one project (or rather two I made shortly after one another), that kind of marked a new eara for me, so this is what I picked:


This lovely pair of turtles was a gift for my grandma's birthday a few years back. The pattern (along with that for a pair of bunnies that Felix got for Valentine's Day) was my very first etsy purchase, but also my first time buying a digital pattern at all - so you could say this project marks my first entry into the amazing online community of crafters! Crocheting these two (and the bunnies) also marked the end of a kind of craft slump I had been in, it was with these that I started to do a bit more again here and there which finally lead to the stitching craze I am in today :D I also really liked working this patterns, there where so many things that were new to me who had only crochetet patterns from books until then. I loved all the little details, that they can actually stand on their own, playing with wire for their glasses, and so on and to forth. My grandma was really happy as well, which is another plus! I needed to dig quite deeply for this picture though, I didn't take many before my blogging days.

Speaking of crochet and knitting, I git some lovely new yarn these past days, as well as some ideas on what to do with old one I still have, so I might pick up some bigger needles in the upcoming weeks :) Here are my new additions: Three more colors of the yarn I used for the baby jacket, and some hand dyed sock yarn by an Austrian supplier called Wollelfe:






Mittwoch, 8. April 2015

March WIPocalypse

As usual, I'm a few days late for these checkins - even for my usual just-after-the-weekend post - but I do have good excuses; we spent drove to Felix' hometown on Sunday to spent a bit of Easter with them as well, and we took yesterday off at work so we only came back in the evening. In case you're wondering why I'm still at home writing this, I'm doing home office this morning since we got some guys here installing our new sink and shower door in the bathroom and also some lockable window handles in all the rooms, and I need to wait for a reply to an email before I can do anything more, so I figured I use the timt to get this up :D

So, WIPocalypse. This month, the question to answer is Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects? Which do you dread? Now to be honest, my experience with speciality stitches is a bit limited, but so for I enjoyed all the ones I did. I probably like eyelets and satin stitch the most, I like how soft and shiny that turns out, but Lazy Daisys are fun as well, and as some of you might know I'm currently working on a band sampler using different kinds of specialiy stitches which is lots of fun! I'm a bit concerned about wrapped backstitching though, it can turn out very pretty, but it's not easy to get it that way.

Now for my latest progress: Last week, I finished the next colum of Dark Force, and thus, page 2! Very exciting, I love how much detail suddenly shows up when I just take a step back and look at is as a whole.


After that, I treated myself to a bit more on the Things Unseen sampler. Two more words, and a bit of border that went with them. In case you're wondering, I'm doing part 1 and part 2 together so I can go through the text line-wise, instead of finishing the left half first and than the right half.



For the long weekend - that is. mostly Sunday to Tuesday in this case - I took Lady with me. She hadn't seen any love in a while, and I really enjoyed working on her. I put in a few hundred stitches, mosty greens, but also half a dozen other colors, finishing ten '10x10' blocks and making good progress on a few more. Since it's been a while since we last saw her, there's the starting point on the left and the current progress on the right. If you look closely, you can already make out the two dogs!


So much for my stitching progress - this week I'm going to start page three of Dark Force, than some other exciting stuff on the weekend that I will show you next week :D

For watching, there was more Supernatural (S5, E6-20) and Big Bang Theory (S7, E7-22). Felix 'made' me watch The Mummy Returns - much more fun than the first one, especially since I knew what I was getting into. When we were with his parents, some rewatching (for us, his dad didn't know them yet) happened - Up (still one of my favourite Pixar movies) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - not our favourite, but we concluded that Indiana Jones, even if bad, is still pretty good :D


Montag, 6. April 2015

Strange German Holidays, #4 - Easter

It's been a while since I got a post out in this series, but there hasn't really been a holiday to talk about since February. I'm guessing Easter doesn't really count as a 'strange' holiday as well - it should be pretty much the same in each country that's dominantly Christian - but I bet there are some slight differences in how it's celebrated, so I'm going to talk about it anyways.

In Germany, Easter is an extra long weekend - both Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. The term 'Good Friday', by the way, confused me quite a bit when I first heard it some weeks ago, I don't really get what's so 'good' about the day - for me, it's a rather sad occasion, and the German word, 'Karfreitag', uses the medieval German word 'Kara' which translates to mourning and to be sad, so we have more of a Sad Friday here. Karfreitag is also what we call a 'silent holiday' - that means that activities that go against the somber occasion, like public events, dancing in clubs, and even some movies in TV or the cinema, are prohibited. Lots of people, especially younger ones, are complaining about that to no end, but I don't quite get it - even if you yourself do not believe in that whole Christian Easter story, the people that do are the reason why you get the day off work after all - can't people enjoy one day without dancing and getting wasted at clubs?

For practicing Christians, especially Catholics, Karfreitag is a strict fasting day (which is should be anyway because it's still part of lent), so no meat is allowed - although lots of peole, including my (non-catholic) family, don't really do that anymore. Another catholic practice I know of and that I find rather cute is that they don't use their church bells from Karfreitag to Easter Sunday. Instead, children using rattles call people to mass, and it's said that 'the bells fly to Rome for Easter'.

There's a great mass on Easter Sunday morning, of course, but for some years now I've only been to church for the Easter night celebration on Saturday evening - I really like the atmosphere of that, it starts with the church all dark, and in the second half the Easter light is brought in and the church lit with candles; it's very beautiful.

Now appart from the church customs, which should be pretty much the same everywhere, there are also some other things people do for easter. Of course there's the dyeing eggs and the big egghunt for children which the holiday is famous for, but one other thing I really like is the practice of decorating Easter bushes and bouquets. People will hang eggs (traditionally painted blown out egg shells, but nowadays most people will use plastic) and other ornaments either on a bush in their garden or on a bouquet in their homes. For the bouquet, we traditionally used branches of pussy willow, but I think that regionally differs as well. I kind of wanted to make my own Easter bouquet this year, but stuff kept getting in the way and we weren't home for most of the holidays anyways.


As for food, there's all kinds of eggs and chocolate of course, but also famous is the Easter Lamb - a biscuit cake baked in the form of a lamb. Lot's of people will do great brunches on Easter Sunday morning, and for my family it's kind of an tradition to make eggs in mustard sauce sometime in the week after - to use up all of the left over colored eggs!



Freitag, 3. April 2015

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop

This is just a really quick update for my participation in Jo's Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop - everything else will be dealt with in time; I hope to get an Easter entry in my series of German holidays up, and I haven't forgotten about that give away prize either, I'm just slow and lazy is all :D

So my letter for the blog hop is:

R


You've probably seen my bunnies before, but they are the most easterly thing I got and I'm really proud of them, so here you go again! ^.~