Saturday 28 February 2015

February DESIGN

Some host I am, almost late for my own SAL! So here I am, quickly scribling my post for February, but at least I already spent some time thinking about what I'm going to write ;)

What project are you talking about this month?

This month, the designer of my choice is Kate from Bothy Threads and the design I'm talking about it Cut Thru' Cottage from the Cut Thru' series, artwork by Amanda Loverseed. I'm doing this as a housewarming gift for my boyfriend's sister and her boyfriend, who are building a house at the moment. Below you can see both my progress so far and what it's going to look like eventually.


Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

I had been eying Bothy Thread's designs for a while after seeing other people stitching them, but this is the first one I actually got :)

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

I absolutely would! In fact, my wish list is filled with both more designs of the Cut Thru' series and their other artists as well.

What made you choose this particular design/designer?

I adored the Cut Thru' series before because the designs are so full of little lovely details, and use such happy bright colors without looking like 'too much'. The idea of doing a housewarming gift gave me an excuse to finally get one, and so it had to be the cottage, though I also love Noah's Arc, The Pirate Ship, and many more.

Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others?

Several things in fact make bothy threads awesome: They use a lot of backstitching but in a way that really makes things pop. If you look up close, many of their designs look a bit like a kit colored in some lineart - with the crosstitching 'going over' (actually under since you do it first, of course) the lines, thus avoiding partial stitches, and it works really, really great. There also are two charts - one with only the cross stitching, and one with the backstitching, so you don't lose symbols under the backstitching lines, which is really neat.
I got this design as a kit, and I have to say that it was easyly the best quality kit I ever had: The floss isn't DMC, but Medeira, if I recall correctly, which is also very good quality, the fabric is from Zweigart and there's plenty of room all around the design, which is something many kit's fail to provide. The Floss is presorted and labeld with the symbols on the chart, which is printed in black and white, divided in many smaller pages and therefor rather big, for readability. 
Also, Bothy Threads has licences for many really great artists, and is constantly releasing new awesome designs. 

New Year HAP SAL February

Hi everyone :) February is almost over, and I still have some SALs to sign in for. One of them is the News Year's HAP SAL Stacy ist hosting this year, and for this I'm showing my weekly progress on Fark Force again - I even took it out of the qsnap so ypu can see the whole thing!

Yesterday evening, I managed to finish column 9, which makes for a total of 7200 stitches so far, and I can already make out the head of one of those demon like figures now! Also, with the column done on Friday, that leaves the rest of today and all of tomorrow to work on whatever I want, though I will probably try and get a headstart on next week's column as I'll be away from home for a few days and only take smaller stitching projects with me. I'll also try to get some serious knitting down, as the baby my BSJ is war was born yesterday, a healthy little boy called Leon if I'm informed correctly.

Other things I worked on this week were finishing Smart Gosh - I love how cute this one turned out, and I hope to get his brother stitched up next week - and catching up on the Mystery Band Sampler. I had three bands to do this week, a bigger braid stitch, heart shaped satin stitch and upright cross stitch. It was fun stitching three band back to back, but I'm still aiming to not fall back that far again.

As for watching, there was more Big Bang Theory (S4, E 18-24 and S5, E1-6) and Supernatural (S3, E 5-8) and also two movies: Asterix und Obelix im Auftrag ihrer Majestät (at her majesty's service), the latest 'real' movie of Asterix. We didn't particularily like it, it just didn't have that Asterix 'feel' to it. The second one was Send me no Flowers, a great and hilarious 60s movie statting Doris Day and Rock Hudson. I love their movies, and this was the one I hadn't seen before.

I also got a bit reading in and finally finished Allegiant, the last of the Divergent series. I didn't like it as much as the others, storywise, and I did not like the ending it just wasn't what I had hoped for after all this mess and struggle. Not saying any ymoe for the people who have yet to read it. I'm probably still getting the Four story collection, but first I need to read a book a friend gave me :)

Tuesday 24 February 2015

February SFS and other goodies

February - Spent: 29.15€ - Earned: 16€

Second SFS signin of the year, and I think I'm still doing good :) I didn't stick with the 0€-spent-policy, but I just can't afford not buying stash, there's so much I still need! :D I did, however, only overspent my January budget by 0.15€, so I still have my February budget mostly intact. So let's see what money was spent on:

First, I ordered two little guinea pigs kits from RTO (4.50€ each). There are four of them in total, and I did the first two for my grandma's birthday last year - this year she's getting the missing ones :) I also got Vervaco's 'Cupcakes' kit, I had been drooling over this for almost two years now, and as coincidents go, the avaiability switched to 'as long as stock lasts' right when I had a 10€ coupon, so I took the oportunity to only spent 18.95€ for this. Lastly, Felix and I went to a crafts market last weekend, and while I did get a few things there (details see below), only one of them was for stitching: a vial of beautiful night-blue, silver-lined beads at 1.20€.

I also earned a bit more budget this month: I finished Magical's February ornament (35x35 stitches and worth 4€) and the first page of Dark Forde (which at 70x80 stitches, 100% coverage, is 80% of the size and value of a HAED page, so 12€). This brings my carryover to 29 - 29.15 + 41 = 40.85€. Now that's something I can work with :)

And then I also got the second shippment of my monthly DMC club, this time together with 'Liberty', another pretty Fiberlicious thread. I already bobbinated it all and suspect that I shall be able to fit about three months' worth of thread into one box.

So much for SFS - but as I mentioned before, Felix and I went to a crafts market on Saturday, so I have a few more goodies to share. The market was indoors and rather small, but really, really nice - as I ad anticipated, there was no stitching stuff (good for my budget!), but one that specialized in self made jewelry. They had kits for bead-crochet and some technique using thin wire, and after much going back and forth I got one of the former, for a nice green-white-red necklance. The pattern seems pretty basic, so I might be able to use it again on the beads I have in stash already :) We also got some really nice tea (one with dates an spices which tastes AWESOME with milk, maroccoan mint and a fruity one), and the buttons for my baby jacket that I already posted yesterday:

And that's still not everything! Back in December, when I finished Angel of Frost, I entered her in the Stitchin Pirates 'Legends, Myths and Fairytales' contest and she actually won! I had wanted to tell you this ever since, but I thought I'd wait until I had the actual prices to show off, which were sponsored by my totally awesome friend Carla, and from totally awesome friends come totally awesome prices: For one, I got to pick a HAED pattern, and since I had been eyeing Randal Spangler's patterns for quite a while now, I just knew it had to be one of his. I finally settled on Celestial Dreams and can't wait to stitch it, though it might probably be a while longer until I get to it.
The other thing I one was a GBP 30.00 gift certificate for polstitches, and there deciding took me even longer. Finally, I ordered a 25x27" piece of 28ct sampler linen 'Jacobean' and a 9x13" piece of 'Pearl' Jobelan. I already have projects planned for both of those, and I will soon tell and/or show your what they are. For now, just marvel at these awesome fabrics (the picture is a bit blurry, but I think the colors turned out rather nice :))

Monday 23 February 2015

February IHSW & TSAL

Little - late check in for two of my SALs, and a few more to go - I don't know how I always manage to be late for this stuff. But last week was strange like that anyways, I was supposed to have tons of times compared to the weeks before and then stuff happened and I got disctracted and long story short, my progress is nowhere near as impressive as it could be, but still visible :D I was also able to make at least a bit of use of IHSW and spend a tiny bit of time in the video hangout with some of my girls, which was nice :) I have a few more things to tell about the weekend, but those I will save for another time in order to get this post down quickly, I think I'm brewing out a cold and my head is hurting a bit so I want to get off the laptop and into bed ;)

For one, I managed to finish another column of DF. Didn't want to take it out of the snap for a complete shot, but you can see that the swirls are starting to get even more interesting here :)

I also continued knitting on my first BSJ...the baby can be born any day yet, so I gotta get this done. Still quite a bit to go, but it's fun, and I also decided on and bought the buttons for the jacket - three adorable little owls that I'm very pleased with :)

And last but not least, I continued working on Smart Gosh for my grandma. I'm almost done with the cross stitching now, so hopefully, there will be a finish this week:

I also missed the sign in for Totally Useless Stitch Along (TUSAL) by a good week, but nevertheless, here is my ORT char - filled mostly by blue bits from Dark Force, and a few differently colored ones from Lady and Smart Gosh and the Band Sampler.

Bit of watching happend as well this week - Supernatural (S3, E2-4), a fair bit of Big Bang Theory (S3, E 22+23 and S4, E 1-17), and also another Episode of the Original Star Trek series (S1, E3).  Also some movies - my pick was Jonny English, which was nice, but not quite was hilarious as it was made up to be, and Felix' pick was The Mummy (the new one, as I just learned there is an older version as well), one of his favourites that I hadn't seen yet. He tried to tell me that it would be 'a fun movie', but that 'buried alive' part in the very beginning is giving me nightmares, so much for fun...

Saturday 21 February 2015

Strange German Holidays, #3 - Fasnet, Fasnacht, Karneval

As promised a while back, here's a new entry in my series about German holidays. This one is a bit special because it's not just a day, but lasts quite some time, and is sometimes even called 'the fifth season'. Different variations of it are celebrated all over Europe, and in other places of the world too: Famous examples are the Carneval of Rio and the Mardi Gras of New Orleans. In Germany, there are two main traditions: 'Karneval', which is celebrated mostly in the 'Rheinland', an area around Cologne and Mayence, and 'Fasnet', which is common in south-west Germany, and some parts of the surounding France and Switzerland. Karneval officially starts on 11/11, 11:11am, and 'Fasnet' just after 6th of January (see my previous post),although the real celebrations are focused in the week before 'Aschermittwoch', the day Lent starts. They are meant to serve as a last source of high spirits, mischievousnes and lots of eating before the much more quiet and somber Lent time starts.

As I myself have been born and raised in the very south west of Germany, there is only so much I know about 'Karneval', but in the participating areas it's quite a serious business. People are organized in clubs to prepare for the occasion, there are costume parades where usually each of the bigger clubs will sponsor and/or built one wagon, and people will dress up - there are a few traditional dresses, mostly resembling old miltary uniforms, but you will also see about everything else that is popular at the time. There are also public 'meetings' where the representatives of the clubs hold speeches, mostly witty and funny and rhymed, and often aimed at politic events. Some of them are really famous, and you can see them in TV every year.

Now in the souths-west, 'Fasnet' is an even more serious business. Here, it's purpose (besides partying before lent) is driving the evil spirits of winter away. There are 'Fasnet' guilds that have been around for often centuries, usually one per village and several for bigger towns and cities, and the will all dress up in the same way - often was witches, devils and other fearsome creatures. Those custumes traditionally consist of the 'Hääs', a full body suit, which is in most cases made from layerin lots and lots of small pieces of fabric, often felt, and looks a bit like scales, and the 'Larve', a heavy wooden mask covering all the face. Traditionally, the women of the clubs will make the Hääs, one specially skilled guy makes the Larves, and only men get to dress up, but of course, that has been changing over the last couple years. The one on the left is a 'Flecklihääs' (spotted costume) or 'Fasnetsrufer' (caller of 'Fasnet'), it one of the most important guilds of my town and they traditionally start and end 'Fasnet' each year.

Just as in Karneval, here are also big parades were all the different guilds walk through town, make as much noise as possible to drive winter out (lots of guilds have special assecoires for that), and throw candies to the kids :D Those parades are often accompanied by the 'Guggenmusik', special brass bands that dress up, march with the parades and play very louds (and skillfully off-key) music, sometimes using ridiculously big instruments as you can see here. Aside from the guilds, you can meet all kinds of costumes there, especially kids love to dress up (just like Halloween in the US, I suppose).

There are also some meetings like in Karneval, but the parades are more of a central points. Still, Fasnet gets involved with politics as well; each year the will single out one local polotician who was commited some kind of fauxpas during the year and present him in a golden 'fools cage' on one of those meetings (voluntarily, of course). 

The main celebration start the Thursday before 'Aschermittwoch' - The guild people ('fools') will come into schools to take the key off the principals and 'liberate' the students. The also do the same (symbolically, of course) to the major in the town hall to show that the towns are in their hands for the week.  Celebrations reach their climax on the monday after ('Rosenmontag'), and end on the wednesday ('Aschermittwoch') with the symbolic burning of the 'Fasnet' - a puppet dressed like one of the 'Fasnetrufer', in my town. There's los of mourning and wailing for the events, and the Fasnetrufer will putt black treads into the nose holes of their masks to show it too - I've never been there, but I'm told it's quite the sight!

Of course, there are also traditional foods for Fasnet: On the meeting, all kinds of soup are eaten, but more importantly there are lots of fat-baked goods. Below you'll find pictures of two of the most common ones: 'Berliner', 'Krapfen' or 'Pfankuchen' on the left are round and delicious and filled with jam, the other ones are called 'Scherben' (shards) and are just cut out pieces of dough baked in fat and powdered with sugar. There are many more, all equally unhealthy and delicious :D

Tuesday 17 February 2015

February Gifted Gorgeousness

Still catching up on blogging, here's my GG update for this month. For those who don't know it, Giftet Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching and is a SAL featuring all those projects that were either (partly) gifted to us or are meant to be gifts when finished, and thankfully most of my WIPs fall into this category :)

Last weekend, I had two new starts that match the SAL description, one knitting and one stitchingwise. The knitting one is a baby suprise jacket: it's a kind of famous pattern that had been along since the 60s, and I've wanted to make one for some time, just waiting for a opportunity. Now one of my new colleagues announced that his wife is pregnant and they'll become parents in June, so I finally got to order the pattern and started planing. But then I was told that another colleague is becoming a first-time dad even sooner, in March, and I can't make a jacket for one and not the other, so I hastly got my yarn (Lana Grossa 8-ply sock yarn, which is maschine washable and even tumble dryable) together and startet knitting away - this is a little less than one third of the way after spending a four hour card ride on it. I'm aiming for a bit above new born size so they'll be able to use it longer than just a few weeks. I think the baby is going to be a boy, but I don't really believe in gender stereotypical colors ;)

The stitching progress was Smart Gosh, another one of the guinea pigs two of which I made for my grandma's birthday last year - the date is approaching again, and this year I intend to finish the set for her. I only spent a few hours on this so far and already got two colors down; those are really enjoyable and quick to stitch.

I also worked on Lady and the Tramp (Birthday present from my grand parents last year) and Gut Thru' Cottage (present for my boyfriend's sister) this month, both of which were already posted in an earlier update, so only quick reminder pictures now:

Probably not relavant for this SAL (I got the pattern from my friend Carla, but it wasn't a gift per se but a price for winning a contest) is Dark Force, but I will post it nevertheless because yay, page finish! One page down, only 29 more to go ^.~

So much for my crafting progress - considered how I hardly got a good evening to sit down and work on stuff last week, I'm quite content with myself :)

As for watching, more Supernatural happend, we finished S2 (E19-22) and started S3 (E1). Also, a bit more of The Big Bang Theory (S3, E4-21) and I started rewatching Digimon as it appearded on amazon prime - sweet childhood memories (S1, E 1+ 2). I also got to watch two more episodes of Haven (S4, 3+4), and we saw another German movie targeted mostly at kids - Die Vampirschwestern/Vampire Sistery, which is about two half vampire girls that move from Transilvania to Germany. While one sister is really happy about being able to live out her human side, the other one isn't quite so happy about having to hide her vampire side. Serious vampire fans might get furious at stuff like that, but I think it's a fun approuch to the subject :D

Monday 16 February 2015

Secret Stitching Sweethearts Blog Hop

This Valentin's themed blog hop is organized by Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching. During the previous weeks, we could send a picture of some seasonaly appropriate stitching to her, and a few days before Valentines Day we each got one forwareded at random to share on our blog. I know I'm a bit late, but Felix and I spent the weekend in Munich, were we had an awesome time - we met a few friends of mine I don't get to see very often, went to the cinema with them (Big Hero 6 - awesome movie, but then the animated Disney ones usually are awesome), and had some delicious burgers afterwards (mine was grilled chicken with wasabi and sweet chili, nomnom). On Sunday we met up with a friend of Felix and went to a concert which was the real occasion of the journey; the philharmonic orchestra of Munich performed the OST of Pirates of the Carribean while the movie was also screened, it was great, and although we were quite tired when we got home last night, it was a really awesome movie altogether!

but no for the blog hop - the picture I got was those really cure cherubs. I hope that whoever stitched them will come forward so I can thank them in person!

Tuesday 10 February 2015

February WIPocalypse + ToT

Hello my lovelies, it's been a while, but I'm finally here to catch you up on everything that happend! Well actually, not too much has happend, but we spent the weekend at Felix' parents, which is usually quite busy, we were with a friend yesterday evening and today my grandparent's electric cables needed some fixing (thankfully, I picked a guy who can deal with this sort of thing!), and that on top of me wanting to finish certain things before posting again lead to this a-bit-late post, which will double for WIPocalypse (sign in was on the 4th, I think?) and Tons of Tiny (which is due tomorrow, but what's the sense in making another post then without anything new to show?).

So this month's question is How do you overcome that feeling that you’re in a rut with a particular project? and my answer is that, basically, I don't - probably I haven't been in a real rut yet, but for my deadlined projects, I always managed to just pull through, and the others get usually put aside for other reasons (distraction everywhere!), so I can't really provide anything usefull here, sorry. I'm sure I will experience it eventually, but right now, I haven't.

No for the stitching stuff, I'm trying to do this in chronological order: Since we were away for the weekend and DF isn't really portable, I had only four days to finish the next columns, but I managed in time - which means only one more to go for a page finish, which I hope to acomplish this week:

I then used the weekend to catch up with my SALs: I stitched the latest two rows on the Mystery Band sampler (chevron stitch and Montenegrin cross stitch), and the February ornament of Magivals ornament of the month SAL, for which she had generously helped me out with the threads I didn't have yet - this one was really fun to stitch, just as January, and I can't wait for the March one!

The rest of the time I worked on Lady and Tramp, starting page 2. This looks fairly easy so far, lots to go with one color before switching to the next one, which you can see quite nicely with the green I have done so far:

And last but not least, when we got home on Sunday evening I managed to finished the last bit of backstitching on page 3 of Cut Thru' Cottage - so far it was mostly half pages, the following ones weill be a bit bigger.

As far as my goals for 2015 are concerend, I'm quite nicely on track so far :) 

For Tony of Tiny, the February Ornament shown above and it's January sister piece (can be found in my finishes section) are all I got so far this year...the start of DF has distracted me a bit from everything small ;)

As for watching, nothing too exciting happend: bit more of Supernatural (S2, E15-18), lots more of Big Bang Theory (S2, E5-23 and S3, E1-3). Yesterday we were at a friend's of ours and watched The Prince of Egypt, which I really liked (I hadn't seen it before).

It's already a bit late today, so I'm just going to leave this picture heavy post here and try to get a bit of actual stitching in - we'll be gone again for the weekend, so in case I don't get to post again before that, I wish everyone who celebrates a happy Valentine's Day. I'll be back soon with another Germany holiday soon too, so keep your eyes open!

Monday 2 February 2015

Dark Force caught up!

So after another busy weekend (busy working on our apartment, busy with friends, and busy stitching, of course!) I can say that I made it - I caught up on my one colum/week on Dark Force. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture on Saturday, so here it is with a few more stitches I put in this morning - I think I will give up on the blockwise thing and treat the column as a whole, might make for a bit more speedy progress:

I can't relax just yet though; I will have to finish this week's column in just four days because we'll be gone for the weekend once more. But since column five was done on Saturday, I got to stitch on Cut Thru Cottage on Sunday, and finished the cross stitching on page three of Cut Thru Cottage. Only the backstitching to go now, and I hope I will finish this soon (this week possibly - though I also need to do the current band of the mystery sampler...)

I also finished a game - Lego Batman 3 on the PS Vita, which a friend had lent me (I play so many great games, why do I only ever finish the small and goofy ones to talk about?) and of course, lots of watching happened since the last post. We saw the last episode (E24) of NCIS S11 - it was a sad one, but thankfully no cliffhanger ending this time. We also finished watching The Nanny (S6, E13- 22, and what a nice ending for a great show) and replaces it be (re)watching The Big Bang Theory (So far S1, E1-17 and S2, E1-4  - Felix knows them until S5 or so, and I only until S3). We finished S3 of The Walking Dead (S15-16) and started watching Supernatural again (S2, E14) which we had neglected for a while, but is is still epic. I also saw the last two Episodes of S3 of Scandal (E17+18) and I'm a bit confused as of where there is a S4 (not yet on amazon prime), because this would have made for quite a good ending; and I finished S1 of Castle (E8-10 - yes, I recently had a thing for finishing stuff, including several boxes of sweets) and started D4 of Haven (S1+2 so far) which seems to be taking a bit of a different direction now. There are also a few movies in the mix - first we saw Django Unchained, which we both liked a lot and which got us talking about Leonardo DiCaprio and when he became a really good actor, so we watched Catch me if you can the next day (which was the first time I noticed him, Felix obviously had skipped a few movies because his entry was Inception). Then this weekend, we watched Noah, which was new on amazon prime, and while the movie itself was quite decent, I do have a few words about that Noah character himself that I really can't write down here - such arrogance, d'uh! I was close to turning the film off. The day after that we saw The Thief Lord, a children's movie after a German book, which was much less frustrating, but the end still left a bit to desired (I'm not a huge fan of the author of this book anyway...). Phew, I should stat blogging about this kind of stuff more often really, look at this wall of text now! Okay, enough ranting, back to stitching. See you girls and guys!