December 20, 2013

International Hermit Stitch Weekend

Here is a link to the blog:

Its time for the last one of the year! This is what I will be working on all weekend:

I didnt end up having much time....This is the update after the weekend...

December 16, 2013


I have been working on my Turtle Trot over the lat few days, got two finishes done, and I am looking forward to a third soon. I am working on an Alessandra Adelaide Needleworks pattern of a tree. AAN has several tree patterns, but I am working on one in particular. I have changed out the beige for gradient purple. This is an Emily Carr type lesson where I am shading nature although being unrealistic about it... I don't know the art term....

When I look out my six windows on the world from my flat, I see the city moving about, and trying to go on its merry December way. The traffic is hindered by snow, sand, and dirty ice:, the snow has fallen again last night for the umpteenth time in the last two weeks. In the spring we had record rains that caused a flood, and now we have record snows. I take consolation in the fact that even Cairo got snow for the first time in 112 years, and take refuge in my blanket with a warm cuppa.

November 26, 2013

S.A.B.L.E. - Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy

Before I start, let me say this is a happy subject!  But let us face facts: would we want more stash than we can stitch? Do we want to leave a legacy of unopened projects for our kids to sell at half price or find homes for after we are gone? In these continuing uncertain economic times, we have to be thoughtful with our money. This led me to think that I should be realistic about my stash. Conspicuous consumption with our stash is counterproductive at Christmas time. (Like my alliteration?)

Life Expectancy for females in the developed world is about 77.1 years of age on average. The majority of cross stitchers are female, so I am basing my math on the female stat. Sorry guys! As someone who has a detail driven day job, and a cross stitch addiction, I have just recently come across this term "SABLE". Stash Acquire Beyond Life Expectancy. A month ago, for the first time in my life, I just realized life is too short to stitch something you don't really like...

Let's say for argument's sake, I am 39. Let's say for mathematical sake, that I admit to aging past 39 going forward. And let's say, for argument's sake, I have done a rough calculation that says in my current stash, I have approximately 2630 hours of stitching to finish. Let's also say, that one can reasonably stitch 10 hours/week. So with my current stash, I will be stitching for the next 263 weeks.  Which, by that reasoning, I have roughly 5.1 years of stitching already in my possession.

5 years seems a long time to go without acquiring any new patterns!!!! YIKES! Say it isn't so!

And because we all like to count, let's say that statistically I have 77.1-39.6 years to stitch= 37.5 stitching years left. Give or take sewing, frogging, designing, injury, debilitation, holidays, failing eyesight, I have roughly a total of 1950 weeks of stitching left in my life. Roughly 19,500 hours of available stitching. 1950-263=1687 weeks worth of stitching would be how much more stash I could acquire from now on. If I were to spend any of that doing something I don't absolutely love, or would have some value about in the end, well, it would be a waste of my inevitably limited and valuable stitching time. Oh no! Say it isn't so!

I did my annual stash review, and I currently own, have, or intend to, stitch 64 projects. All of which are in one form or another are listed/pictured on this blog.  I unloaded a few projects last week, but I think I still have to make some hard decisions. 64 doesn't seem like a lot, but compared to most of my stitching colleagues, but this doesn't count my Stitch by Rachel Pinterest board "Patterns I will Stitch Someday" here. At least it gives me a way to consciously decide what to have in my stash without coming out like a hoarder....and a reason to update my blog!

Let's truly enjoy our hobby and love what we do. Let's be thankful for all we have, and spend our Christmas budgets on the people who matter the most.

November 6, 2013

Fighting Pattern Fatigue Turtle Trot Projects - Please VOTE!

As you are all aware, I have been following a number of Stitch A Longs this year. This is in part because I was trying to broaden my education, expand my online stitching circle, and get some much needed closure on my works. I also made a commitment to myself to not spend any money on any NEW patterns after Feb 2013, and so far I was able to keep to that rule. Who knows how it will go in 2014?

I started out with 15 not so massive and very massive projects on the Turtle Trot, and as of November 1, I have 4 finishes. 4/15 not so bad for 9 months work. Keep in mind I had a few catastrophes this year that prevented me from stitching. Add to that, some forays in other SALs, and a couple of on the spot, up to the minute, projects that came in during the last nine months ending on October 13. I have three months to work through the remaining 9, which I will diligently do, but I am already thinking toward the 2014 SALs and what I would like to pick for those 15 projects.

This leads me to the topic at hand: Pattern Fatigue.

I am one of those people who get pattern fatigue easily, therefore I end up with tons and tons of UFOs/WIPs. I get thread fatigue and want to stop working on that 9th page of brown teddy bears for example. I also have a tendency to buy patterns that are pretty but I hate the colours used in them, so they take much longer for me to finish. In this year's selections, I had a project in mind for a family member who is no longer a family member, and I am at 6s and 7s whether or not to finish it. I am going to fight through my pattern fatigue, and instead of picking 15 whole new projects from my WIPs, I am going to continue with these patterns with which I am so fatigued. If you see my fatigue, you might think to yourself, then put them away for 2014. Well here's the problem with that, some I have already put off for so long they have had several birthdays unfinished in my stash.  Examples of fatigue:

  • I have one pattern in this group that is for a new pillowcase for me, for my bed, with my initial on it, and I still can't bring myself to do it. (2010)
  • There is another that has a tremendous amount of white/9 pages of teddy bears/backstitching (2007)
  • The one I am not sure if I should put the energy into it because of the family (2009)
  • the pattern so detailed I have to frog every mistake because its mirrored (2007)
  • the one that is 3 feet by 3 feet and I am just downright intimidated by (2011)
  • the pumpkin for my buddy - I don't know why I am procrastinating this one, I think its because I have a hard time looking at orange, but I have got a twist for it...(2011)
  • for the other three my excuses are sad and more pathetic that those listed above, and I just need to pull up my socks... (2007, 2011 (for my newborn daughter who is now 2), and 2011 respectively

I have decided in the spirit of fortitude, patience, discipline, and attainment I will carry forward any of the 15 that are left over. This leaves me with a MINIMUM of 4 patterns I must pull out of the ole WIP file which you can find on the TAB on this blog entitled "UFO Projects (40 Photos)".

I would ask my followers to VOTE, by comment which of the following WIPS I should choose for my four open slots. In the interest of fairness, I chose varying degrees of difficulty. Here are the 7 top contenders:

Scarlet Ribbands

Clifftop Poppies

Italian Heart

Wedding Rings 
Triple Heart

Beatrix Potter's House

Tulip Trio

November 5, 2013

So Proud! Hydrangea!

I just got this bad boy back from the framers, 

I am deeply proud of it. I designed it and needle painted it myself, but I was inspired by a colouring page with a similar leaf and flower pattern which can be found on a blog under liudeju

October 31, 2013

Halloween Blog Hop

Here is my contribution to Serendipitious Stitching's Halloween Blog hop, my mystery letter is obvious!

And also happens to be my daughter's initial...

I took inspiration from a Pumpkin Black work by Michaela Lerner, and modified it for this project... After viewing my E, go on to the next blog, here

You can find my portfolio on Flickr, and my page on

October 19, 2013

Thistle WIP #toomanywips

Still plodding away on the thistle I designed. This design was one I drew based on a thistle in a garden in my neighborhood. With a ton of Scottish lineage, I figured I should have a great Thistle design for my dear daughter to admire as my legacy. Here is my Progress at Oct 19 2013.

October 17, 2013

Its a finish!

Finally my first pattern design, Wildroses, is a finish! Here is the stitched completion...

October 10, 2013

Okay, I was Nominated for a Liebster Award!

Because I want to follow The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award... I will answer the following:

1. Thank you over60andfabulous, and here is the link back to your blog.
This here is the link to the rules of the Liebster Award, kindly and meticulously researched by Lorraine Reguly.

3. There are 11 questions about myself I will answer, 
  1. Coffee or tea?  Both
  2. Favorite breakfast food?  Medium Poached Eggs and French Bread toast.
  3. Why do you blog? International Community with amazing resources and stories.
  4. Would you rather spend a week by the ocean or in the woods? Depends, what's the accommodation like?
  5. What is your favorite day of the week?  Any day I get to sleep in.
  6. What was your favorite cartoon growing up? hmmmm
  7. Chocolate or vanilla? Swirl
  8. Favorite book?  Wuthering Heights
  9. What super power would you like to have. Or if you already have one what is it? I would love to command a room, and have something thoughtful to say. 
  10. What is the best dessert you ever had? Chocolate Mousse. 
  11. Where did you have it?  France.
4. Provide 11 arbitrary facts about yourself in no particular order:

   1) I can count from 1 to 10 in seven languages
   2) I have taken public transit in at least 8 countries
   3) The middle name "June" runs in my family, I has occurred 5 times so far in my family tree
   4) My husband is 15 years my junior
   5) I work as an accountant and many friends ask why because they find me creative and gregarious
   6) I have communication with every member of my immediate family everyday. Including a sister overseas, and both of sets of my parents in separate places.
   7) I obsess about the color purple, and when I found out yesterday I had run out of DMC 550, I just about had a fit.
   8) I would like to design contemporary cross stitch patterns for a living 
   9) My age will end in a "9" for the next foreseeable future
 10) I love my life
 11) My little girl was named after a Queen.

5. So now I have to nominate 11 blogs that I feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers

In no particular order....

1) Sadie at Stitching Up a Storm - I do follow your blog publicly here
2) Joyzse at Random Ramblings - this is my monthly check in blog for the IHSW here
3) Three Sisters at Oh Dear Sisters of Mine, where you can stalk these ladies here
4) Kerri at The Crosstitching Librarian I love her stuff, we are doing a similar pattern here
5) World of Charity Stitching see them here, they are good people
6) Monika at My Sweet Prairie catch her here, she is Canadian, so yeah gotta represent
7) Bonnie at Bonnie's World this is where you will find her
8) Claudette at Bap Attack is one I check in with monthly here
9) I'm cheating with this one, but how can I not give Loretta at Stitching the Night Away props!
10) Catherine at Russian Blackwork has beautiful posts
11) Gabi in Australia, her blog is called Lady of the Floss

6. Create a new list of 11 questions for the blogger to answer.
1) Why do you blog?
2) Who do you hope reads your posts?
3) If you could have dinner with two to three people dead people who would they be?
4) What currency is in your wallet right now?
5) Did your mother go to college?
6) If money was no object, and you could quit your job, what would you do?
7) Where in the world would you live if you could?
8) Who is your role model?
9) If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
10) What would you like your legacy to be?
11) Would you live on the moon?

7. List these rules in your post.
Once you have written your post, and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
I would like to add that you can nominate someone who already has been given this award, as long as they have less than 1000 followers/subscribers. 

October 7, 2013

It is October already....

It is a sad day in my home today. A normally cheery family would traditionally be expecting Halloween. A costume for a certain little girl, a tradition of carving a minimum of 4-5 pumpkins... but this year the flood in June wiped out the basement of the home we usually decorate, participate, or partake in. All the decorations were destroyed (Including Christmas if we are really getting down to it). Unfortunately there has been a change in our family dynamic that none of us are happy about, and will change a brief but happy tradition again. In hopes of delaying the inevitable, I have been avoiding Halloween. I have started on the charming little outfit for the certain little girl. She is still a bit too young to get the attraction, especially since her dad repossesses the candy anyway....

I think I will focus on the Christmas WIPs that I have in my rotation, and move forward. When one door closes another opens.... in the meantime, here was a picture of last year's door. We will see what this year brings.... In the meantime, I am going to focus on the happy fact that I don't have to cook Thanksgiving this year, and can spend this next long weekend stitching to my heart's content.

September 20, 2013

September Hermitting weekend is upon us...

These two are my IHSW patterns I will be working on, one has DMC Satin in it and I will see how it turns out! Log into the party here

September 16, 2013

A New Design - My Wedding Bouquet

This is my first confetti design, and I worked this out to be about 125 colors to make sure there was detail, but not an over use. I am still tweaking the design, but after putting several evenings into it, I am going to take a break. Looking for feedback....

September 9, 2013

My First Fascinator....

I just finally finished, in the nick of time, a fascinator for someone to wear to a wedding in Britain.

This fascinator is to be worn by a Canadian attending a mixed wedding. It is 5 stitched together Maple Leafs, and it is hand sculpted and colored. The I did a complex satin Stitch over the leaf veins. I used for the first time DMC Satin Floss and wow that was a challenge in itself, but at least it come out close to how I envisioned it to be. It is to be worn across the head, in the hair, and it has attached clips for securing it to the hair. Perhaps I will have a photo of the finished look. 

September 3, 2013

Pinterest / Etsy / Twitter

So in addition to my Pinterest Page and my Twitter feed, I have finally opened a new Etsy shop also!

Here is the link to my Etsy shop:

There you will find my cross stitch patterns for sale, and you can give me some feedback about my setup or let me know what you think I should be doing for pattern design. I have three more int he pipeline but so far I just have floral.

August 28, 2013

My Wednesday Work in Progresessssssss

Well as I have several things on the brain, I should highlight the three works in progress I am currently fixated upon:

1) You can't publish a design, and sell it, if you can't stitch it first yourself. Or shouldn't. Or so I decided. After the fact. I think its a great way to find (what I would call) design flaws. This is the Wildflowers WIP... you can purchase the pattern for a mere $8.50 CAD at StitchbyRachel Shop link above. Where I can email to you a PDF, PDQ!!!

2) When you have kids you have to prioritize!! I have to prioritize my #toomanywips projects which are featured on my Turtle Trot 2013 List. This SAL, which will be coming to a close in approximately 137 days, has been motivating me to keep my priorities straight. Here is one of the unfinished from the list I can't put down:

3) Officially I have been designing for about a month. In my mind, I have been designing for about a year. It is gushing forth from me. I could just sit at my software and spew forth pattern after pattern. I have full blown carpal tunnel happening because I am spending so much time stitching or designing on my laptop. You should see my laundry piles! They are taking over the house. I am just so focused. Coming Soon: Thistle.

I need sleep badly. Less than 10 hours in the last 48. Too much work makes Jack a dull boy. And this time it is too much.... Ah to be able to quit my day job....

August 19, 2013

Wildroses Cross Stitch Pattern is available for sale!

It's official! My first design is for sale~Yippee! 
I like designing so much I am already working on my next one. 
Check out my shop link above.

See us on the Needle and Thread Network

August 15, 2013


I am pleased to announce I have launched the Stitch by Rachel shop! Click on the above link ~~SHOP STITCH BY RACHEL~~ and you can have a look at my first design copyrighted pattern to be released soon!

August 13, 2013

Christmas Smalls

Due to the June 2013 Flood in our region, I have three homes in my immediate family that lost everything in their Christmas stash. I have decided to prioritize all my WIPs to work on Christmas ornaments. The crucial thing is to keep it on a low budget. I also have reindeer, snow globe,and a couple of other JBW Designs in my already done pile of patterns.  I am using small AIDA scraps I have, and I am looking for all kids of finishing ideas. This post is focusing on all of the Turtle Trot pieces, my WIPs, and my UFOs that are Christmas themed. If you have an good finishing ideas, that would be great.

August 12, 2013

Needle and Thread always in my head

Lately, I have been bored with my usual Turtle Trot 13, and I have been trying to get some creative juices flowing. When I went on our coastal family Vacation, I took a lot of floral and textural photos. That did the trick! I thought stitching my own design would also recharge my batteries and boy did it ever! I stitched all weekend long. I know my family is frustrated with me but I needed to do something that was just for me. I hope to have a natural effect when I am completed, and I know it looks "blocky" at the moment, but when I am finished that leaf I will be particularly proud of this one. And for once, I will probably keep it for myself.

August 9, 2013

Embroidery... the other white meat... #toomanywips

My family and I went on road trip vacation to a lovely coastal spot, hit the Aquarium, and among other things, rode a teeny little passenger ferry. Found some great markets with some great artists, I will further explore on a later post, and spent a lot of time embroidering in the car. 

These pants magically came out of the washing with bleach stains on them. No one will cop to washing with the bleach, so instead of crying over split milk and a loss of pants, I choose a couple of iron on transfers from Sublime Stitching purchase those here, and I went after it. I have been doing a combination of long and short stitch, stem stitch and satin stitch to get this effect. What has happened though? The pants are starting to look unbalanced so I ended up putting together kind of a tattoo concept. Hopefully they will be my "arty" pants and I can get some good weekend use out of them.

July 31, 2013

The Biggest Cross Stitch I've Ever Seen

This is a link to a story on N E E D L E P R I N T blog, it is a story about several stitchers in Poland who took a famous painting (The Battle of Grunwald) and turned it in to a project that would eventually exceed more than 8 Million stitches. Check out her blog here.

July 30, 2013

Patterns I covet

How many of you are on Pinterest? If you aren't you should be. I have several public boards that I am looking after under the Stitch By Rachel segment and one of my newest favorites is "Patterns I Will stitch Someday". You can check out my board directly here.

In the meantime and in between time, Here is my pattern of the week:

Blackwork Tudor Rose, Originally posted in issue #221 of Cross stitcher Magazine

July 25, 2013

Off Topic - How to replace 3 household's worth of Christmas ornaments

I am looking to replace three household's worth of Christmas ornaments due to the extreme flooding that happened in our area. We are looking to do it on a budget! I am looking at handmade ideas, post Christmas sales, and all kinds of good things... Last year I made a bunch for the office and I am trying to think of ways... if you have any websites or ideas (I am combing Pinterest like an addict) I would greatly appreciate it.

July 23, 2013


I had to change out my Easy Count, re arrange my reds and beiges, but    overall I got very little stitching done. I am happy to have something accomplished, be motivated, and working through!

After I finished my International Hermit Stitch Weekend I have this to show for it:

This is what I started with:

July 18, 2013

How am I staying focused? #toomanywips

Before we embark on another International Hermit Stitching Weekend (July 19-21st), you will probably recognize these 5 projects. 
I am just trying to power through some details. Leaving pictures up of the finished projects in my office motivates me to go home and work on them. When I am spacing out at work, I just look up, mentally take stock of what challenges I have left on each of them, and know exactly where I will start when I get home. Typically I commute, have dinner with the family, and while toddler plays with her toys, I pull out my stitching. When she goes to bed, I'll give it a further go. The last few weeks have disrupted my routine drastically, so I have to get the groove back. I was so busy this week I missed a deadline for pictures of the Turtle Trot, so I will just get the next round. If you have any ideas on how to motivate oneself through too many WIPs, I would love to hear about it~!

Join this stitch-a-long Here

July 17, 2013

June 19 - June 30 and the aftermath

Because of the flood, I lost my wedding cake top layer 2 weeks before we were to celebrate our first anniversary. As a placeholder, my dear lovely husband and I celebrated our anniversary with a piece of pie and some of the hand decorated butterflies (made by Lindsey Searle, pastry chef extraordinaire)  that survived the freezer thaw.We couldn't eat the butterflies, but we had a very nice moment on July 7th. We did our favorite activities, hugged our little girl, and had a moment to appreciate all we have.

As I mentioned in my previous flood post, many members of my family were evacuated and suffered major property damage. Our city and surrounding areas were drastically affected by a flood. 3 people perished, many hundreds of animals were lost or relocated. Our province committed a Billion Dollars to the Red Cross, the Stampede raised $2.1 Million from the sale of the T - Shirts, and many believe that we are hundreds of millions away from rebuilding. Thousands of people are still homeless for months, many will have their homes deemed uninhabitable. Building permits have changed, and there will be limits on who can build where.

Our zoo was badly affected. Three species of animals and fish were killed, the hippos tried to escape, and there was talk of putting lions/tigers in jail to keep them safe(which everyone got a laugh at, imagine being in the cell next to them). One animal pavilion will never reopen because the damage will cost too much to repair. The area is rebuilding and we have high hopes. We would like to thank all the volunteers who worked so hard in our neighborhoods to get people back into their homes safely.  If you would like to help donate online to the Canadian Red Cross Here

I haven't been coping well and many subsequent time/financial issues have arisen. Our first family vacation in three years may be in jeopardy. We had to outlay thousands in unexpected costs. Although there has been a tremendous amount of friends that have chipped in for us, and we are grateful to them, by no means are our heads above the proverbial water yet. The good news is we are all healthy and safe. 

I have been trying to get back into my stitching. The irony was when I was inspired and motivated and had time to stitch, I was without it. As soon as I got some of it, the stress had set in and I just couldn't concentrate. The same Turtle Trot Projects that I have been running with since January are still my focus, and I am hoping today I can find my rhythm. I was working on William Morris Roses and Paris Market last night and I am going to switch back and forth between them until I can't stand them anymore and move on to my remainders. I did do a bit of the Panda Pals over the course of the evacuation, but I just need to do what I can to stay sane. 

Please check out My Flickr feed "Original Works & Finishes" on the right=> for completions if you want to look at what I have done in the past.