Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Book Plans

At about 5am this morning I had a great idea for a book.
My plan is to make 3 smallish things a week for the next 20 weeks. Two will be for the book and one to send to magazines to keep myself visible as a designer. Then in just under 6 months the book should be ready. I plan to pitch it to publishers before it's finished to save some time. Publishers are notorious for taking time to decide on things, and then it could take 6 months to a year for the final publication to hit the bookstands. Yeah! It's a slow way to make money!

So the web site will wait until next Christmas. While I'm waiting for the book to be published (do you hear that optimisim?) I'll start making projects for the website.

Well, that's my year planned. I'm a little tired just looking at this post. :)

Monday, 26 December 2011

Did you have a Merry Christmas?

I had a lovely day (apart from when I told my husband he was clear of the garden wall and then he backed into it leaving a scratch on the car -ooops).

My dear son gave me a bead loom. I just had to try it out last night. In 3 hours I made my first cuff. It's pretty dodgy. The beads that came with the loom were just practice beads (low quality) so they are of varying sizes. And I'm not sure I used the right weight of crochet thread for the warpd threads (I just had to use what I had in the house obviously). I also need to work on my tension and beginning and ending threads.
here it is on my meaty fist

Anna (my daughter) plays the keyboard, so she is more than happy to have this first attempt. And now James (my son) wants me to make him one too. I'd rather not do the key board pattern again, though that's what James wants me to do. He said he'd be happy if I made him one that looks like a circuit board (electronics is his favourite elective at school). I'll have to see what I can do.

I also received some semi precious stones for beading, a small cross stitch kit and a book on embroidering native Australian flowers, and a CD of classical music to stitch to.

My husband thought the gift I made for him was brilliant. In secret I've been working on some alien Terrain for his table top games. He said he'd take some pics and put them on his blog, so I'll post a link when he does.

Hope your Christmas was a lovely.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


I've decided to be known as Jennidee for all my design work. There are quite a few artists and authors with the name Jenni Mills. To avoid confusion 'Jennidee' will be the name I publish under from here on in.

I've also got a new design to show you; Mermaid's Gift.
I called it that because of the mop shell, coin beads used as focal beads.
It's currently on it's way to the Beading Magazine editor for her approval. I'll update you on it's progress as soon as I know.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Waves Head band and Little Mermaid wall hanging

I've been given permission to show photos of beaded works prior to their publication in 'Beading' magazine. So at last I can show you what I've been up to.

The 'Waves' headband was inspired by the sea. The curling spirals of the beads represent the rolling of the waves as they crash onto the beach.
 I used blues, aqua and purple as these colours remind me of the ocean. The Alice band in covered in a sea green fabric. It's worn on top of the head and the sparkles of sequins and faceted beads add pizazz to any hair do.

The blackline pattern and instructions for Waves will appear in 'Beading' magazine early 2012.

The Little Mermaid wall hanging was finished yesterday. She's found a string of beads on the ocean floor and come up to see them sparkle in the sun.
Instructions and a blackline pattern for Little Mermaid will appear in 'Beading' magazine early 2012.

Thanks for sitting through my show and tell.

Friday, 16 December 2011

100 and a good start

This is my 100th post. Just thought I'd let you know :)

Yesterday I made a good start for my full time designing move. I dyed 12 pieces of cotton to be stencilled wiht mermaids and beaded. I also made a stencil for the mermaid, but it was too flimsy, so I went back to the drawing fluid method. I've printed one of the mermaids already. I have to fix up a few spots where the screen fill blocked the lines, but I'm happy with this attempt. It's all a learning curve at the moment anyway.

I also beaded a headband for my son's girlfriend. It's all finished, I just need to put it on the head band today. I'll put up a photo when it's done as it was never intended for magazine use.

As soon as this mermaid is beaded (hopefully today) I will go back to finishing Butterfly Princess. I'm loving being so busy and yet so content in my work. And it's only going to get busier as my first craft book is just around the corner. It will probably be a beading book at this stage (as beading is quicker than cross stitch). But the cross stitch and applique books will follow too I'm sure.

Happy happy

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Its Over!!!!! and new beginnings

I'm suffering from project exhaustion. Not from any craft related project I'm happy to say - but from Teaching. Today was my last day. I came home at 3:45 and told my husband (who was working from home) that I was taking some painkillers and going to bed. Then I slept for three hours.

I woke up much happier. I had a few dreams about saying goodbye to teaching, which I feel were very healthy.

From this moment on, I am a full time designer.
It feels very strange. I'm very happy, yet there is just a little seed of doubt.

But I'm sure it's going to be fine.

I finished a beaded headband yesterday. The editor of 'Beading' likes my work so I'm sure we'll be working together for a while there.

I have the screen printed mermaid to work on tomorrow (as I'm working to a deadline). And then it's back to finishing off Butterfly Princess.

I might have a few days off for Christmas ... maybe. LOL

Thursday, 1 December 2011

More Ideas

My copy of Embroidery and Cross Stitch came in the mail a few days ago and as I sat down to look through it today, my mind was buzzing with ideas.
One of the projects is an embroidered fairy which started life as a silk print.

Now, I won't be printing on silk ... but I'd like to do some prints on cotton and calico to embellish. I can't do many stitches (back stitch, satin stitch, lazy daizies and stem stitch) but I could learn some more. I could even print on aida for cross stitchers to embelish.

I finished my school reports today, so tomorrow I'll have some time to play with these ideas ... wish me luck!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Busy Beading

I've spent the last few days beading projects for the Australian Beading Magazine.
Maybe this afternoon I will get to sit down and do some stitching. I need to get on with it.

But I had a bad night last night. I didn't get to sleep until 3:30 am and then I woke up 3 times until 7am when my husband left for his bush fire brigade crew day. I didn't get up until nearly 10am and I'm still wacked. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow (teaching). There are only 8 days left now. Lets just hope I can get through them with some of my sanity intact for Christmas.

I started my Christmas shopping yesterday. But I'm beginning to doubt I'll do a Christmas themed stitch design this year. It's getting a bit late for that.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Wings Finished

A progress photo;
The magazine I mentioned yesterday (Handmade) is actually on sale now in Australia. My appologies for the incorrect information.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Fairy Cameo

Handmade magazine, Vol 29, No.9 (a gift giving special) has published my Fairy Cameo design.
I love the pretty sparkly, pink boxes the photographer used in the background. As you probably know by now, I'm a very girly girl.

The issue should be on newsagent's shelves next month.

I'm enjoying my chair. Thanks for the comments. I'm looking forward to spending at least 5 hours in it today working on the butterfly princess. I've nearly finished her wings and I'm about to move on to her face and bodice. Maybe I'll put up a progress pic tomorrow.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

New Chair

I have a new chair for cross stitching in.
I got it yesterday at the schoo'ls funfair (in the white elephant stall0. It cost me just $10 and it's a lovely soft recliner. I can't believe my luck. The old recliner I was using was broken and didn't recline anymore. It's important for me to be able to adjust my seating position every now and then for my back and muscles because of my Fibromyalgia. So this is wonderful!!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Butterfly Princess Progress

Just to let you know also, that the Embroidery and Cross Stitch magazine with Angel Moon in it is now on sale at newsagents.

I've been working hard on Butterfly Princess, and here's the progress I've made so far (around 22 hours)
This doesn't show the fabric very well - it's Stitches and spice, Peacock fantasy.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Angel Moon in Magazine

On friday I received my copy of Embroidery and Cross Stitch Vol 19 No.3, which has my design Angel Moon in it.
The phototpgrapher for the magazine presentation did a wonderful job. I'm sure it was hard to tilt the book to the right angel to make the shine of the metallic thread obvious.

I really like this design and the finished project. It has a blank notebook inside which I plan to write my prayers inside, or my wishes and dreams.

The magazine will be on sale soon.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Maybe Not so Long

I've started the butterfly fairy and it might not take as long as I originally thought. I've nearly finished a bottom portion of one wing and it only took a few hours. I'm guessing it will be a 50 hour jobby.

This morning I have to go and buy some threads for her. There are 15 colours that I don't currently have. Usually I only have to buy 8 or 10. She has 47 colours, which is quite unusual for one of my designs. I like to keep the number of colours down so that stitchers (and myself) don't need to buy so many. But I'll just have to wear the expense this time as the colours are part of what makes this design work.

Happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

October Sneak Peak

While 'sun' is still on hold (I'm just not sure it's right for the target audience yet), I've started work on another large project ... Butterfly Princess. I know she is the sort of thing the editors want.
This is just a quick peek at the design in progress. I'll probably stitch her on a green toned hand dyed fabric from stitches and spice that I bought for something special years ago. She has bead work and the fabric has a sparkle to it, so I think she will be lovely.

I think she may take up to 3 months to stitch (though I'm hoping only two), with my current teaching schedule. And I know I will be spending way too much time on her comapred to the amount I will be paid for publication ... however I figured this is a good time to do it, while I have another income and I can still consider my designing as a side line. Next year I won't have the time to indulge myself with this kind of project unless I can sell the pattern online as well as publishing. So I might as well enjoy the process of this one.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Bit of a boring day

I spent the day writing up instructions for magazines. It's not my favourite thing to do, but it's necessary if I want to continue publishing designs.

Well, it's done now.

The 'Best Friend' sampler is all finished.
Tonight I think I'll draw up a design for a butterfly quilt. The editor of Australian Patchwork and Quilting is keen to see more of my work.
And then there is the Butterfly Queen ... a fairy I'm working on designing. I hope to finish designing it in the next week so I can start stitching the week after that.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Hard At it

Hi all,
sorry I've been a bit lax posting lately ... I've been too busy stitching you see!
Here is the last progress shot I took of my latest work. I won't be able to post a finished pic for about 6 months when it's published in ECS though.
It's all finished now apart from the backstitching on the rose and the saying reads 'Be your own best Friend'.

There is a little sotry behind that saying.
I tend to beat myself up a lot with destructive thoughts. And someone told me 'you wouldn't talk to a friend like that, so why do you let yourself say those things to yourself? You should be your own best friend and be kind to yourself.'

I liked what he said so much that I've taken this part as a sort of motto. And now when I start thinking 'Oh I'm so fat' or 'I'm no good' I remember this saying and think about what a friend would tell me if I said those things and I make those comments aloud to myself. Like; 'Well, you are quite curvy, but you have really nice legs' ... or something similar.

So, next time you are beating yourself up - Be your own best friend and say something nice to yourself.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Rhona's Design

I had a little break form stitching m y major project to do a little card for a swap I'm in. It seemed the perfect opportunity to try my new design from Tangled Threads.

Sorry Rhona, I made a mistake in the blue oval and couldn't be bothered unpicking, so the flowers went a bit wonky, but I still think it looks lovely.
I think it took me about 5 hours in total.
I hope the recipient likes it too.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Volume 19 No.2

My design 'Herald Angel has been published in Embroidery and Cross Stitch (Vol19, No.2)
Here are the magazine photos. It looks great, but my scan doesn't really show the quite vivid colours of the design.

I think I may take a photo of it myself tomorrow to try and show you those bright pinks and peaches in the stained glass background.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Progress 35 hours

OK, so this is what I've got after 35 hours of stitching, It's going to be about 120 hours I think. I like the way it's turning out.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

3 hours today

I'm going to post a progress picture of 'sun' tomorrow. I'm thinking I may not send it to a magazine, but keep it for my online store (selling patterns through etsy). And that means I can post the finished item.

Stay posted.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Article Published

My article for Hawkesbury Agricultural Show was published in the latest edition of Embroidery and Cross Stitch (which is actually a stump work special). The magazine arrived in my letter box today.
I had hoped that the magazine would also publish my blog address. No such luck this time, but hopefully with my next design.

Tomorrow is my last day teaching for the term. it will be a long one. The performance ends at 8pm.
Thursday I'm not teaching but I still need to attend the night time performance, so I'll travel down in the afternoon.

Then I have two weeks off. What a relief. Though in those two weeks I do my planning for the next term. But I will also have time to stitch. I aim to finish 'sun' in those two weeks. Wish me luck!

Thanks for your comments on my marathon stitching session on Saturday. I couldn't repeat it on Sunday as I went to watch my son achieve his black belt in Taekwondo. It's probably just as well - my wrists are still a little sore. :)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I couldn't stop

When I get going, I really go for it.
Today I stitched for 7 hours on 'Sun'.
I could have stitched another hour if my hands hadn't started to ache.

I mapped out the back of his mask and hair and down the front of his shirt.
Unfortunately I've discovered something isn't meeting up properly and the line of stitching for the cape seems to end too high. but I think I'll be able to fudge it without unpicking, because honestly I don't really know where I made the mistake. That's the trouble with putting it down for so long I guess.

Friday, 16 September 2011

On My Way

Welcome to my new follower, wow, 16!!! LOL

I finished the quilt today. it looks so lovely, I can't wait to do another one.


I also did number two on my little list (that tiny bit of backstitch on Shhh) and got to work on 'Sun' again. I managed an hour before this darn cold dragged me down again. Three weeks now this bloomin thing has lingered. I went to the doctor today to get some antibiotics to knock it on the head. She was STILL rectant to give me any as I didn't have a fever.

Well, tomorrow is another day and now I have done those jobs I wanted to get out of the way first. And I enjoyed the hour I did today which will spur me on tomorrow. It'll be finished before I know it.

This week I received notification that nother of my designs (Angel Moon) will be in ECS issue 19.3 which is due out in November. The priece arrived home in the post on Thursday. It's nice to have it back. It's a book cover so I'll be putting the note book to good use.

Friday, 9 September 2011

List of Projects and photos

Firstly; thankyou again for commenting. I'm STILL having issues replying. Mangogirl I may have to email you.

I'm nearly finished the applique quilt I was working on (one more 9 patch border to go). And then I have a list of things I need to work on.

1. I found a tiny bit of backstitch I missed on the fairy design for WOXS
2. Sun
3. Sampler for ECS mag, featuring a rose and a psotive saying

It's nice to kknow that my list of 'to do' is so pleasureable.

A few weeks ago I took my daughter to a small quilt show and we had some lovely mum and daughter time. I totally forgot to share the photos with you.

A height chart cross stitch, finished as a quilt.
 Some lovely picture applique
 This was Anna's favourite quilt. She does like bright colours!
 We'd been talking about log cabin blocks and I took this one to illustrate how different colours in different places produce different effects. There was also one that had same tones around the outside and a bright red (as the central hearth in the log cabin). But my stupid camera chewed up the batteries again.

Monday, 5 September 2011


I was reading my lovely friend Cucki's blog (she's my new penpal from South Africa - Hi Cucki if you're reading). She shared her thoughts on simple things in the day like what she was doing and hoping. It was lovely.

So here are my thoughts.

I'm thinking about the September surprise stitched card I need to post off (and another letter to Cucki and Laura in the UK).

I'm remembering the beautiful day we had outside yesterday on Father's day. The sun was shining, the company was good, the food was delicious ... such a relaxing day.

I'm hoping tomorrow will go somoothly at school. Today went well - very busy but fairly trouble free.

I'm still looking forward with GREAT anticipation to next year when I can be a designer full time.

Spring is here. The flowers are out, and all the vitamin D I got from being outside yesterday has made me very happy.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

September Progress

It's Spring!!!!
I bought some violas and potted them in a lovely glazed pot I have, plus a hanging basket that has been sitting sadly empty for at least 8 months. They look lovely and inspired me to weed the garden, water the lawn and check on the worm farm. I just love Spring and the blooms are really inspiring to me.

The little violas with their sweet, colourful faces are bound to inspire a cross stitch card or two.

Speaking of cross stitch cards, there is a local lady who goes to the market in my home town and sells bookmarks and cards that she has cross stitched. She has been doing it for years. In fact I once comissioned her to do a green dragon card for my son's first birthday and he is now 15. I am going to ask her to stitch some of my designs for the magazines as I just don't have time to stitch all the ideas I have. I'll still choose some of my favourites to stitch.

I haven't touched 'Sun' in a week. Instead I've been working on needle turn applique mini quilts. I'm hoping the Patchwork magazine will pick them up.

This afternoon I posted off some projects to Express Publications; 'Moonlight Fairy', 'Moonlight' (the beaded box) and a fairy done in needle turn applique that I've called 'Sparkle'. Fingers crossed, they will go in three different magazines. Eventually I hope to be submitting successfully to four different Australian magazines and three overseas magazines. If all goes well, that should keep the cheques coming in enough to call myself a professional designer.

I'll keep you updated here of course.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Well I got an hour done.

After clearing the day to stitch I fell asleep for four hours!!!! I was just going to nap for a few hours and i just didn't wake up. i was a bit annoyed with myself, but I obviously needed it.

When I got up I had a farewell afternoon tea to go to and when I came home I got an hour of stitching done before the tiredness overcame me again. I had an early night.

Today I was teaching and I never feel much like stitching in the afternoon. But I'm looking forward to the weekend at least.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Dry Spell is Over!!!!

I made myself sit down to 'Sun' yesterday afternoon, and then of course I remembered what I was missing and I couldn't stop. I did 4 hours.

So my panicking is over.

Hobbies are sometimes like that for me. I don't really want to commit the time to them. And then once I get started I enjoy it so much I just keep going. Perhaps it's the effort of pulling everything out; setting things up?

Well in any case I have most of the day to stitch today. I did everything I needed to earlier in the week to leave today free.

OK, I'm off to go start designing something else now.

Monday, 22 August 2011

So Close, Yet No Go

I have had a learning experience today.
Always, always, always read ALL of the instructions.

Last Monday I drove down town (half an hour) to drop off the money and form for a craft competition. I had finished the stitching, but not made up the project yet. I thought 'I'll do that on the weekend, I have until next Monday to drop off the finished item'.

The weekend came around and luckily I remembered on Sunday night that I needed to finish the item. It was too late to do it then, but I knew I'd be off work on Monday. Plenty of time to do it then run it down.

Then my dog hurt his eye quite badly and I knew I'd need to take him to the vet. Ok, getting a bit of a busy day, but I can handle it right? His aapointment was 10:30. I'll just do some work on the item before I take him and then finish it off when I get home.

At just before 12 noon I finished the item. Yay.

Then the school called, my daughter was sick, could I please come and get her? No problem, I'll pick her up, get her settled and when my son gets home from school I'll drive down so she doesn't get dragged.

I thought I'd just play it safe and check that the stewrd would still be there at 4pm.

DAMN!!! There was my problem. The steward only accepted entried until 12 noon and then judging started. I missed the deadline by an hour and a half!!!

I'm annoyed at myself because if I'd had the item finished earlier I would have run it down first thing in the morning. Or if I'd read the instructions more carefully I would have remembered to get the item done on time.

I've been trying to get myself organised to enter this bloomin competition for a few years. I thought I'd finally done it.

But I'm not goign to dwell on the mistake. There's always next year and it is only a small competition. I'll look around for other competition in the mean time. And I will read the instructions carefully and act in good time.

And at least I can share a photo of the finished item with you lovely readers. It's 'Making Wreaths' sewn into a padded book cover.
Making wreaths is available as a blog special (including instructions to make up the book cover) from my etsy store. Just click on the 'charts' page from the menu at the right.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Motivation slump

I haven't been motivated lately to stitch because I've been so darn tired from work (teaching). If I'm too tired i know i'll make mistakes counting, and then that's it, I don't want to stitch. This year cannot be over fast enough.

Anna, my daughter has also been zapping a lot of my energy with this sudden urge to learn patchwork. Yesterday we started a full size 'sleeping bag' quilt for her. I'm loving it. And I even got out a colour wash quilt I started about 18 months ago to work on myself.

It's just not cross stitching and that's making me feel .... withdrawal. LOL

I think today I'll pick up 'sun' for a few hours. My husband will be using the large tables in our 'playroom' where I usually sew to play table top games with a friend. So I won't be able to patchwork. And that's the perfect push towards that little silver needle and all those lovely coloured threads.

Thankyou so very much to everyone who commented. It makes me feel like people are reading along. XXXX OOOO hugs and kisses

Monday, 15 August 2011

not much stitching still

Ahhhh, so frustgrating.
Saturday we do the house work, then hubby wanted to do some shopping, then I was too tired to do much.
Sunday I got three hours done in the morning and then hubby wanted to do more house work, and then my daughter decided she wanted to learn to patchwork. Well, she isn't in the mood for craft often, so I grabbed the oportunity and we spent the rest of the day sewing a quilted sleeping bag with a nine patch front and back for her baby doll.

While I had the sewing machine out I sewed up an applique piece which I'll finish with some more hand sewn lettering.

So it wasn't all bad news.

But I'm just not getting ahead with that major project.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Once again no time to stitch

sigh ...
Monday I did do a few hours, but Tuesady was a write off with taking my daughter to the hospital for her EEG. Wednesday was no better, she had a concert in the city (recorders at the Opera House, lovely to go and see, a big hassle to get there).

Thursday, I was still trying to recover from the concert (got home at midnight), but still had to go to work.
Today (Friday, I'm exhausted from a massive week.

Tomorrow is a new day though and after the house work, that needle hits the aida once again!!!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Progress Report

Eight Hours into 'Sun' and I'm thinking 'what have I done to myself?'
It's not that this is a difficult project. And if it was another designers work, I wouldn't hesitate to spend a few months stitching up a lovely creation. I'm merely thinking that for the fee I will earn from this design, I'm making a pittance.

But it's not all about the fee is it?

My husband asked me recently if we came into a lot of money would I still design and stitch cross stitches? I didn't even have to think about the answer. Of course I would.

Unfortunately no large sum of moeny has come my way yet, so I have to think about the fee.

I also know that designing for magazines is good publicity. To get my designs to a larger audience, I need them to be in the magazines, and I want the customers to see my best work.

Also, I 'm enjoying the process, so it can't really be called 'work'.

So what am I worried about? I'll just keep enjoyign the stitching!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ready to stitch

I've finished the design for 'sun' and tonight I dyed the fabric. So tomorrow I can start stitching as long as I have soem fo the colours I need. I guess I had better have a look in my thread boxes tonight to see which colours I already have.

I'm looking forward to stitching this. It's the largest design of my own I've ever stitched. I wonder how long it will take?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

working, working

well, as much as designing is work for me, it's too much fin to be work.

I've completed sun's face, mask and hair, moving on to the cape and the sun he is holding. I'm really liking how it's turning out and I can't wait to stitch it (which I think says a lot about how much I'm loving it).

But tomorrow it's back to the paid employment (sob). So I'll have two days I won't want to design and then it's the weekend. So what am I complaining about hey???

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


I'm afraid this is the only preview I'll be able to do of these two before they are published.
But here is the artwork I created that I'll be using to chart my 'Sun and Moon' pair.
 and moon (though I'm sure you worked out which one was which). LOL

Monday, 25 July 2011

What's Next?

I know I've been very quiet lately.
I was still working on my school planning. It took so much out of me. But it's finally all done.
So now I can relax and settle back into doign some designing work.

I've nearly finished stitching the peacock which is the first bird of my exotic birds series of cards. I'm considering having the others stitched by a local lady who sells who cross stitch work at the market.

But I've also embarked on a much larger project - the sun and the moon.
I have the models for the artwork picked out and 'the sun' pencilled onto watercolour paper ready for painting. I'll pencil in 'the moon' later today. I actually like 'the moon' better. So that's why I'm doing 'the sun' first. I'll hang 'the moon' infront of my face like a carrot to get 'the sun' done.

I'll post some pictures of the artworks when they are finished.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Somebunny Finish

My term Three program for KC is FINALLY finished (4 days of work on that!) and I had some time to stitch tonight. It was just enough to finish of a somebunny loves you card.
This was an interesting experience for me as it required stitching with just one strand. I hate stitching with one strand and usually ignore that instruction. But the kit really had limited threads, so I decided to give it a go. I can't say it was the most enjoyable stitching (better than no sittching at all!!!). And it's finished now.
It wa shte first time I've finished an edge by fraying too. That was pretty easy and surpridingly enjoyable. I'll do that again some time.

Tomorrow the kids are back at school and I am too. But I have Tuesday and Wednesday off, so I'm hoping to finish the design of a larger project and get started.

Catch you later

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Just One Piece Left

Just letting you know there is only one piece of hand dyed aida fabric left; pictured below.
It's 14 count and about 19.5cm by 25cm.
Price is $15 plus postage (it worked out at just $1.20 to an Australian address) and you also receive the Moonlight Fairy chart.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Some News

I've just found out that my 'Herald Angel' (as in Hark the Herald Angels Sing) will be in issue 19.2 of Embroidery and Cross Stitch. It's the Christmas edition I think, so I expect it will be out late August to give stitchers time to work on their items for presents or decorating their home. Luckily that means the angel will most likely be back in my home in time for Christmas.

I'll let you know when the magazine is released.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Beads on a box

Hi everyone,
On Friday I worked hard to finish off my two latest creations as made up projects. I turned them both into boxes using the EXCELLENT tutorial from lynn

I can shoe you the bead box as this is a cross stitching blog (well that's my resoning anyway, and I'm stitcking to that).
I'm so amazed that I could turn a few pieces of thick card into a box.
I like the blue material I chose to go with the hand dyed fabric. The tonal quality of the finished piece looks rather soft and peaceful to me.

Let's just hope that the beading magazine like it enough to publish the chart.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lisa Liked her L

Hi everyone,
I took the 'L' up to Lisa for her 40th birthday last night and she seemed very pleased. I put it in a gold frame which set of the bright colours in the design nicely.
Sorry about the dark photo Lisa, I guess that light in the club wasn't bright enough after all. But you can see the size of the design in comparison to her hands. In the end I was very pleased myself how the design stitched up and she said it was a lovely touch to get something hand made.

Friday I spent inhaling glue fumes as I put together some fabric covered boxes. I mounted the bead design on one of them. I promise I'll take a photo tomorrow to show you.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Beads in Cross Stitch

I did a little research and according to the sites I read on the internet, beading in cross stitch has been around since the first recorded samplers in 1580. That probably means it's been around longer than that.

I rather enjoy putting beads into my cross stitch work. But last night was the first time I've made a design entirely with beads.

 It was a little hard for me to get a good photo of it. The first photo shows the sparkle of the beads, while the photo below shows the design.
I used a pearl chabochon with a silver setting for an elegant focal point. You can get these from bead and craft stores. It's stitched on one of my hand dyed pieces of 14 count aida.
The chart is availbale in my etsy store.
Click on the charts page to your right to purchase the chart.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Ten Pet Stitchy Hates

10. Not actually getting time to stitch. Whether the distractions are enjoyable or annoying, at the end of the day, if i don't get to stitch it just seems wrong!

9. Finding that you've forgotten something important and you can't stitch when you're out. Yesterday it was the fabric I was supposed to be working on. DOH!

8. Getting up to do something, putting my glasses down and then I don't know where they are.

7. Running out of a thread when the shops are closed.

6. My lamp falling off the table it's screwed to.

5. Dropping my thread box and they all fall out.

4. A knot in your thread.

3. Metallic thread fraying.

2. Finding a knot at the back of your fabric that you've already well and truly stitched it in.

1. Unpicking! It's bad enough when you have to unpick something you just stitched, but when you discover you've made a mistake hours or days later ... well I just can't do it. I usually  just work the design around the mistake.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Free Pattern Heart

To say thankyou to everyone who gave feedback on the peacock, and to everyone who follows the blog or even just drops in now and again, here is a free pattern inspired by the free gift heart in Cross Stitch Crazy.

Feel free to change colours. I'd love to see someone stitch this. Send me a photo by email, or post a link in the comments.

Monday, 4 July 2011


I was goign to design a peacock alphabet, but in the end the peacock I designed was too big. But it might still make a nice card.
What do you think? Maybe I could add a pretty border or something?
I'm only showing you 3/4 of the design here for copyright reasons.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Quick Finish and Preview

I just finished a quick card that I got free in a magazine.
I'm so glad I was able to start it actually as I had pinched the needle out of the kit quite some time ago and forgotten to replace it. I was waiting for my son to do his Taekwondo lesson when I brought it out and realised I had no needle ... bummer right? But the day before I had put an emergency sewing kit in my handbag. Phew!!!
And here is a very quick preview of my next piece for Cross Stitch and Embroidery. I can't show you the finished piece unfortunately (they want you to buy the magazine. LOL). This is the Moonlight fairy on another of my hand dyed fabeic (14 count aida this time). The photo doesn't show the gold thread very well, but it stands out beautifully on the dark background.

I actually dyed four pieces of fabric in the same manor. Of course each one comes out differently, that's the beauty of hand dying. I chose the one I wanted to use. They are all beautiful, I just chose the one which 'spoke' to me.

If you would like one of the other pieces of the hand dyed fabric, I'll give you the chart of the moonlight fairy for free (including the finished photo of course). I'm asking $15 for the fabric (approx 20cm by 25cm) and chart. Let me know if that's a fair price. You can contact me by email and I'll send you a photo of the two pieces I have for offer. There are only 2 pieces for sale and I don't intend to dye any more exactly like this.

So just to be clear: $15AU for the hand dyed fabric and Moonlight fairy chart. There is no thread or needle included. Buyer will be responsible for postage from Australia (it will all be quite light so I don't anticipate it being more than $5AU).

When the magazine prints the pattern there will be instructions to dye the fabric yourself.

Well I guess that's it for tonight,
Happy Stitching

Friday, 1 July 2011

Finished Lisas L

Here it is all stitched. I really hope she likes it. It took longer to do than I thought it would.
I really must remind myself next time I work on 18 count that it should be two strands, not 3. It's much more difficult to pull through the fabric. But it does give a nice coverage, more of a tapestry look to the finished work.

And now on to something else. I think I'll do some smaller pieces for cards or small objects.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Brimming with ideas

I've got so many ideas and so little time.

And to make things worse, I didn't get to do any stitching on my sil's present while I was away because I accidentally left the USB with the chart on it at home. I was going to take a small kit with me too, but decided not to in order to get the present fiinished. I was stuck reading my book and had serious stitching withdrawal. I bought a cross stitching mag to help relieve the tension. LOL but it didn't have a free kit, just a Joan Elliott fairy to drool over.

On the way down to Kiama we stopped in at Penrith and I dropped into the bead shop to drool over the pretties. I've bought some things to embellish designs in the future. I can't wait.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


I'm off to Kiama for the weekend for our anniversary (18 years).
Se eyou when I get back.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Hand Dying

Firstly, thankyou to my watchers for sticking with me. And thanks for the comments. It's really nice to get some interaction.

Yesterday I was thinking about hand dyed linen and wondered if anyone out there hand dyes, or do you prefer to buy the fabric already hand dyed by those specialist companies? Or do you just buy your linen in a flat colour?

I also got about 4 lovely hours to stitch yesterday. I wish it had been more, but life is just so hectic at the moment. I can't wait for the end of next week when I can slow down a little for the school holidays.

Not much to write about today ... sorry.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

More Progress

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. It was reports time at school which means more after hours work. But it's all done now.

I've made progress on the 'L' for Lisa.
This photo is quite drak as I took it early this morning with my flash. I'm actually quite happy with the colours now. As I come down to the bottom of the 'L' the colours lighten considerably and make give an overall impression of blending colours.

I must say I 'll glad when it's done. I've used three strands in 18 count aida which I've now decided is too thick (and pretty cumberson to work with). But I aint starting again or unpicking!!!

When it's finished I plan to work on some smaller pieces for magazines to keep the cheques coming in. There is a good chance I'll be leaving teaching next year to focus on my designing full time. I've been quite stressed by teaching this year. So doing smaller projects for more magazines should give my husband a sense of ease with a steady flow of income.

Though the larger projects will always be my first love and I'll certainly be working on them in between the 'bread and butter' stuff.

Until next time,
happy stitching.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Feeling Great

I had a phone call today from Embroidery and Cross Stitch this morning saying they would like to publish the article I wrote about a local craft exhibition. It's really exciting to think that my writing is also worthy of the magazine, and it gives me another way to contribute to the magazine.

I've worked quite a lot on the WIP for my sister in law today (when not doing house work).
I did a bit more research on the lettering and thought I should show you the site that it came from.
The game is called 'Elder Scrolls'
Here's where i got them from, and you can see the entire alphabet there.

As I work on the letter I am glad it is turning out a good colour. And I'm being inspired to design my own fancy alphabet to make a sampler or two.

Tomorrow I have to work on school reports so i'm not sure I'll get much stitching done ... we'll see.

But tonight I'm riding high on good news.

Monday, 13 June 2011

New Work WIP

I finished the fairy for WOCS and started the present for my sister in law.
I'm a little worried at how dark it is turning out. But I started at the top and it's darker at the top, so I hope it will turn out OK.

I've stitched so much today that my wrists are sore. :)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Preview/ Detail

I just can't resist showing you some more of my newest design. It's called 'Shhh'. The fairy is saying 'Shh, don't tell the grown ups (you've seen a fairy)'.

First, let me tell you al little back story about the design.
I took the photo of my daughter Annalese dressed as a fairy when she was 5 (she's is now 11) and posted it in my deviant art stock account for stock artists to have fun playing with.
The photo was spotted by David Asch who writes photoshopping cheat books and he asked if he could manipulate the photo and use it on the cover of his next book. I happily agreed and a year later the book arrived for me in the post.

I liked his manipulation of the photo so much that I asked his permission to turn it into a cross stitch, and David was more than happy to agree.

Once I'd made the chart and shown it to David, I showed the editor of World of Cross Stitch a simulation. She said that after one minor change she would find it a spot in the magazine (but not until 2012 as they're list for this year is already full).

Now I've stitched the design for Hannah to approve.

Of course I have to be careful with copyright, but I'm going to show you a detail shot of the fairies face.

In the design she is sitting on a bright red, spotty mushroom and has gorgeous purple butterfly wings.

I hope you think she's a pretty as I do. But she looks even better on the lovely dyed background sitting on the striking mushroom.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Nearly finished

Hey ... I've nearly finished my fairy cross stitch.
It's been more than 40 hours in the making. That's not the longest one I've done by far. But it's always good when you get to the end of a project you've been working on for a while.

I had to go and buy three more thread colours to finish it. I seem to be always in the craft shop lately. Even though I have at least 75% of the colours I still end up designing with colours I don't have. :) And then of course I run out of colours I use often, like skin tones.

Well, not much else to talk about lately. So I guess I'll write again later.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Chart for Sister-in-law

My sister in law's 40th birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I wanted to design something smallish that I could complete in time.

I found this cool letter 'L' online
Her name starts with 'L' so I'll turn it into a chart and stitch that for her. I think the letter comes from a video game ... must be graphics for the instructions or something. I didn't look at the site all that carefully. But I won't be releasing the chart for sale, it's just a gift for my SIL so it should be OK.

I'm struggling to find time to stitch and design at the moment as my daughter has been home sick, and school is winding up for reporting to parents (very time intensive). So I hope I can get it done in time.

The editor from World of Cross Stitch also contacted me yesterday by email to ask how the adjustments she's asked for were coming. Luckily I've nearly finished stitching that piece and I was able to tell her I will show it to her next week. I had hoped to put it aside for a while to get the monogram present done in time, but I'll have to finish it first.

Busy, busy, busy. Who knew the life of a cross stitch designer could be hectic. LOL

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Flesh Tones

Have you ever noticed the wide range of flesh tones used by designers in cross stitching charts?
I think it's wonderful that we have such a range of colours available to us.

A few years ago I bought my first cross stitching magazine in nearly 10 years because of the Cicely Mary Barker fairy on the cover. I'm very gald I did buy it as it has sparked my love of cross stitching and designing once more. The designer of the fairy used the 3770s as flesh tones. I use them sometimes myself.

Though lately I have discovered 543 is a great skin tone with not too much pink. I used to use a lot of 819, but now I use it more for blushes in the cheeks.

Joan Elliott seems to like 951 and 945 for her pale flesh tones and they certainly give a ethereal glow to her fantasy characters.

Have you noticed they are all very pale anglo skins?
I dont' have my hands on the Native American series that Joan Elliott created, so I can't comment on those colours. But I do wonder to myself if we are a little narrow in our selection.

Or maybe that's just what I like to buy?
Perhaps it's me that's narrow in my selection?

Well in any case, I may look for some models with darker skin to use in my next design. That will certainly prove a challenge choosing colours for flesh tones.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Free Rose Card Pattern

Time for a free pattern to keep you interested and to say thankyou for following my blog. :)
Stitch this feminine rose card

I finished off the card with two strips of ribbon and a thin strip of decorative paper plus some sequins.

I'd love to see a photo if you stitch it.


Saturday, 4 June 2011

All Our Yesterdays

Book Review

All Our Yesterdays
Faye Whittaker for DMC
David and Charles publications 2007

I was extremely lucky to pick up this book at a bargain price. I saw it on the shelf for $7.99 and when i went to pay for it they told me it had been reduced to $3.99. I couldn't believe my luck.

When I first heard about this book I went searching for images of the patterns online. I thought the historic costumes were quite nice, but didn't think I would bother stitching any of them. Getting my hand on the book has changed my mind. There are some wonderful large pieces depicting the victorian seaside holiday. but it is the littl epieces that have taken my fancy. The girl with sunhat t her back on page 64 is adorable and so is the girl sailing a little boat on page 78.

All the patterns have very strong colour pallettes with red and royal blue being prominent. These striking colours seem to add to the victorian feel of the images.

the charts use only full stitches, so it is ideal for someone just starting out (or like me, who doesn't enjoy fractional stitches. And while backstitching is used to outline some major areas, the designs are not reliant on backstitch to form the picture.

I'm very much lookign forward to stitching one of the designs from this book.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

This and That

I still can't post comments. Blogger seems to be having some real issues.

So thankyou Rhona for the lovely comment on my WIP. I don't have a due date for it, just asap. It should be done in the next week.

Welcome follower number 9.

Today I'm off to the library again. This time it's to be chaffeur to my son who's goign to the movies. It's a pupil free day at his school.

Last night I was talking to my brother. He's an aspiring writter and working really hard at his craft. Everytime I get on the phone he asks me about my writing. When I told him I'd pretty much given it up to pursue my designing career (where I AM actually earning some money), my husband seemed a bit shocked. He asked me why I hadn't sent my stuff to the publisher who was interested. I commented that it was a very small publisher and I would probably make less than $100. And he said 'but you've done all the work, why not finish it off?'. I felt really guilty after that.

It makes me wonder if I'll ever 'make it' in any field on my own. I do procrastinate with the admin work,  or the last few steps. I just recently sent in 5 designs in one go. Some of them had been finished for quite a few months, but I hadn't written instructions or made them up into projects. I will be paid for them, but I could have already been paid for them.

I have improved over the last few years though. Five years ago I was terrible at finishing anything and hopped from one project to another. Now at least I make myself finish one chart before starting a new one. And I delayed sending designs in due to confidence. The first design sat finished for three years before I found courage to send it to publishers.

So perhaps the little changes I make day by day will be enough.

I'll work on that paperwork problem. I'll set aside some time each day to get it done.

And I might as well sned off the publishing agreement for my books today. Like my husband said, 90% of the work is already done.

Wish me luck.

Monday, 30 May 2011


I can show you a little more of the fairy i'm working on. I've been doing her butterfly wings.
I've made so many mistakes lately, it's frustrating. I feel like an idiot. Why can't I count and plot properly?
Oh well. I guess that's why we have unpickers.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Blogger Gremlins and WIP

The gremlins in Blogger are making it impossible for me to comment on my own blogs.

So here are a few replies that I wanted to make

Kitty Dragon; thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the review. I'll try to get my hands on more books to review.

Everyone who commented on Making Wreaths; thankyou so much . it's nice to get positive feedback. I think for a while I'll stick to submititng to magazines. I'm a bit too impatient to wait for internet orders.

Yesterday I tie dyed the fabric for my next piece (which has already been bought by World of Cross Stitch on the strength of a simulation).

The photo doesn't really do it justice. There is much more yellow variation in the fabric ... I'm very pleased with how it turned out. The muchroom fairy perching on a mushroom will look fabulous on this background.

Last night I wasted 3 hours!!! I stitched some purple, realised it was wrong, unpciked it and then stitched it again, but I hadn't unpicked far enough and it was still wrong, so i had to unpcik again. Grrrr. Well at least it's all ready to go again this morning. So I'd better get back to it.

Thanks for reading

Friday, 27 May 2011

Donna Kooler Book Review

Still stuck in the library and browsing the craft section, I pulled out another great book I thought I’d review.  I’ve actually seen this book in my own library and didn’t give it only a cursory glance because of the title. A longer study of this book revealed some unexpected treasures.

Book Review
Cross-Stitch for the first time
Donna kooler
(Sterling Publishing 2004)
                The title of this book is a little deceptive. Yes there are some fantastic tutorials for the beginner which take you right from the start, but there is also a section called ‘Beyond the Basics’ which I found really interesting.
                Even the well practiced stitcher should enjoy the lovely little designs in sections one and two, designed specifically for those starting out in the craft. The fat, happy cat on page 33 reminds me of my own moggy and I’m tempted to stitch this pattern. It’s bright, colourful and happy like most of the patterns in this book.
                As the book progresses through the sections, the designs become more complicated and the techniques more advanced. I’ve never used waste canvas. The tutorial on page 60 made it look easy though. And I’d be more than happy to try it with the cheerful country angel pattern provided.
                Section three was where it all became extremely interesting to me. I’ve been thinking about trying hardanger for a few months now and not only is there a great tutorial, there is a gorgeous pattern provided to try some of these much more difficult techniques. While not technically cross stitch any more, the stitches presented in section three would enhance any work. I think now is the time for me to finally get up the courage to give it a go using the sampler pattern ‘Le Jardin’ ... the garden in French?
                The of course there is section 4; the gallery. If the rest of the book failed to inspire you, there’s bound to be something in the gallery that will impress.
                I’m thinking that rather than borrowing this book I’m going to seek out a copy to buy – that’s how much I like it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my second book review. See you next time
Jenni Mills

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Book Review

Book review
A cross Stitcher’s Oriental Odyssey
By Joan Elliott for design works crafts
(a David and Charles book 2001)

                Stuck in the library while my car was being serviced I took the opportunity to browse the craft books and was delighted to find a book by Joan Elliott. Those of you who have read this blog for a little while now know that I am a big fan of Joan and aspire to be like her.
                It’s been out a while so you might have seen this book, but it was new to me.
                I would have taken this book home in an instant, but unfortunately I’m out of my area and not actually a member of this library. 
                As usual Joan has created some stunning designs for this volume. The complexity of the patterns in the Kimono’s alone is astounding. Unfortunately that complexity comes at a price. Even by looking at the patterns I could tell they would drive me nuts to stitch. The intricate floral patterns that are so much a part of oriental decoration require small areas of stitching in lots of different colours, and alas ... masses of backstitching. I hate backstitching. But I could possibly be swayed by these divine patterns. There are one or two patterns in the book that are not as intricate and require less back stitching. However I suggest this book is not really for beginners or the faint hearted.
                I adore the little bonsai tree on page 42 (I’ll may try this chart) and the dragonfly border on page 94. Much as I think the oriental ladies are stunning with their doll like faces and serene backgrounds, I won’t be attempting them. I already have a UFO that I abandoned because of the amount of backstitch in it.
                Apart from the patterns the book includes some interesting information about oriental culture. I wasn’t aware that a Kimono is a symbol of a woman’s wealth.
                If you are enamoured with oriental designs and not afraid of colour changes, or backstitching, this is definitely the book for you.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Making Wreaths

I finished the fairy last night and took a photo this morning.

I think she is lovely.
She was designed from this artwork of mine of the same title

She took me about 18 hours to stitch, backstitch and bead and she is a blog special. That means I will not be sending her to a magazine for publication. The chart is only $3AU and only available through etsy

Happy Stitching

Monday, 23 May 2011

Nearly There

I'm 90% finished stitching my new design.
I've decided to keep this one for sale at etsy rather than publishing in the magazines (my etsy shop is so sadly empty at the moment). I should finish it tonight or tomorrow and have photos tomorrow afternoon. At least I hope so - I'm having a lesion removed from my neck at the doctors tomorrow morning.

No previews tonight, but can I tease you just a little by telling you it's a fairy? I think she's lovely ... I hope you do too ... tomorrow we shall see.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Laugh at yourself

Well if you can't laugh at yourself, it's a sad old world.
I'm laughing at myself today because I sat down to cross stitch and actually sighed like I was sinking into a warm bath after a week camping.

It has been a bit of a long week. I sacrificed stitching time to write a few articles and they took a little longer than I expected which basically meant I didn't get anything done on my designs at all last week. I did dew about two threads a night on the magnolias and they are nearly finished. but there is just something so satisfying to me about working on my own desings. I think it's a real sense of accomplishment I get knowing that I'm working on my dream.

So have a little chuckle to yourself about something funny you catch yourself doing. It's good for the soul.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Those last fiddly bits

I hate them!
You feel like you're almost done and then all these little sections need doing. I like to start with the big chunks of colour so you aren't changing thread too often. But that means at the end you are left with the fiddly little bits.

And that's what I'm doign now with the Magnolias.
I push through it of course. I've finished plenty of charts up til now.

It's almost done.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Stitchy Meditation

A few weeks ago I wrote about not being able to stitch after work.
Well that has changed.
I discovered that I can stitch quite happily after work in the evenings, if I'm not working on a design I created.

I've been stitching the Magnolias design in Cross Stitch Collection. It's actually stitchy meditation for me. It helps me relax after work.
Lesson learned:
Own design + teaching + stitch = bad
Magazine chart + teaching + stitch = good

Got it?
me too!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

What is a Sampler (Including Free Pattern)

According to Wikipediea a sampler is an example or test of a stitcher’s skill. And the word sampler itself derives from a Latin word ‘exemplum’ or example.
Samplers originally grew out of necessity. In the past there were  no printed patterns, so when a woman saw a new stitch or design she liked she would quickly stitch it onto a piece of fabric for later reference.  A collection of such designs might be kept and added to throughout a woman’s life.

 However, by the 18th century they were becoming a decorative item for the home and often included a saying, the alphabet, the date, and the stitcher’s name. They were often worked in cross stitch.

There are plenty of designers today who’s work reflects the traditional style of the sampler.
(The Wayward Garden Sampler, available from Nordic Needle)
However the modern sampler has almost turned full circle by including types of embroidery stitches in their design, and some sampler designs are simply a selection of small pictures.
(Cross Stitch Hearts Sampler from Jolly Red Collection)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little exploration of the theme. I’ve designed a few samplers in my time. One of the is available as a free download at my Deviant Art site;
(Click the link below)
(Oh and if you're wondering why the above sampler has marks - it went through a house fire in 1998)
My editor says that samplers are a popular type of pattern and has asked me to design more. So I guess I’d better get off this computer and get cracking!

If you'd like to read more:
Sources for this mini article;

Victoria and Albert Museum