Category: craft

Pumpkin Passport: January

Well, the first month in the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery’s “Pumpkin Passport” sampler has been released, along with the framework for the overall yearly sampler:

As usual, despite the sampler being a mystery and only having a small sneak peek when I signed up for it, I knew I’d fall right in love with it! And when the whole thing (well, so far) has been revealed I knew I was right. Each month is going to be a different country and I’m really excited to stitch this.

So far I’ve managed to finish the actual January “block”:

(Except for one single stitch of yellow which I forgot about, but will go back when I continue the border).  I wanted to get straight into stitching the block, so I think I stitched a letter and a half, half of the yellow border – which is currently almost all in half stitch and I need to go back and continue, and then do the other side – and then jumped straight into the block.

Like with the Story Time Sampler, my goal for this is to try and get the border and title (frames, in last year’s case) completely finished before the next release of the clue, because that way I can jump straight into it and won’t keep putting it off.  I think it’s a bit easier than last year as there’s no frames, but having all of the borders done will definitely help with having a point of reference when I go to stitch the next blocks.

I’m nearly done with the title presently, but won’t take a photo until it’s finished – the sampler is stitched in DMC threads, with the “Let’s go on an adventure” stitched in Weeks Dye Works.  The border is quite simple to do so I’m hoping that I can get through this fairly quickly and should definitely be on track to finish by the start of February when the next clue is released.

Wedding Sampler Progress

The 2016 Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery sampler is being released tomorrow and I’m so excited to start it! Of course, two days ago, I realised that I didn’t know where I had put the kit and the fabric so had to tear apart the house looking for it. Crisis averted, they’ve both been found and I am all prepared and eager to begin stitching it. I’m hoping I can match 2015’s pattern of finishing within a few days of release, rather than 2014, of taking 18 months to finish it…

In the meantime, I’ve been putting some serious effort into the wedding sampler and I’m pleased with how well it’s been going. I’ve been doing a combination of stitching this when I get home from work at night, and watching Friends, because apparently I’m the last person in the world to watch this, so I’ve been bingeing on Friends (I’m already up to season 3!) whilst plowing through my stitching.

Today I went along with mum (who is to blame for my craft obsession) to a new-ish stitching group which takes place near us at The Quilt Shop in Eltham – it’s a new shop which opened up a few months ago and it’s nice to have a craft store near me! I’ve only been along a couple of times but there is a sit and sew session on Monday and Friday every week, and working shift work means that I may actually be able to make some of the sessions. I was working on the sampler again and here’s where I’m up to:

We have an eye (I just need to do some backstitch on both of the eyes but will wait til I’m finished for that) and the girl’s hair is well and truly starting to take shape.  My goal with this one is to finish it, with the exception of the name & date, by the end of February. Here’s hoping?

I probably won’t get much more done on this in the next few days because I’m going to be working on the Pumpkin Passport once it’s released, and I’m not sure how big each month will be, but I’m hoping that my rate of progress on stitching will continue once my two Heaven and Earth Designs patterns come back into rotation.

Wedding Sampler

Well, in an effort to prove to myself that I actually did a decent amount of work on this in a bit over a week, as well as continue to remember to blog, I’ve got some progress shots of the wedding sampler!

Here’s where I was at the beginning of the year:

And, here’s where I am now:

I’m really loving how this doesn’t seem to have any shape and then all of a sudden, the face appears! Plus, I’ve finally given them both mouths so they look less creepy.

Next up I’ve been told I have to work on the eye…

I’ve managed to finish all of the missing gaps with the boy’s clothes, except for the tie – I seem to have no form of logic when stitching this and just seem to be going wherever I can stitch with the same colour thread so I don’t have to rethread my needle. 

Regardless, this seems to coming along at a fairly reasonable pace, which is good as the 2016 Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery sampler is released in a few days and I need to firstly find the kit and make sure it’s ready, and I’ll be pulling that out as soon as the pattern comes out. 

New Year: New Goals

I know I say this frequently, but I’m still useless at remembering to update my blog. I am, however, putting up pictures every couple of days on Instagram (username: alexhulett) so feel free to go and follow me over there as well!

That being said, it’s a new year and I’m determined to both blog more frequently, and take on less new starts until I at least knock off a few more existing projects.  I started trying to concentrate on this in the last third of 2015 and I’ve been making some decent progress.  Last year I made a post of all of my goals that I wanted to achieve… let’s see how I went?

Once Upon A Time Sampler: Complete!

When I posted this last year, I was extremely behind on this sampler, which was released in 2014. Beginning of 2015:


And by the end:

I really enjoyed stitching this one, even if I did have to rip out about a third of the border due to a counting mistake.

Story Time Sampler: Complete!

This was a new start in 2015 as it was last year’s sampler. At the beginning of the year, shortly after the pattern was released:


And, at the end of the year:

I’m quite proud that I managed to stay on top of this one throughout the year, and almost every month was completed in the first few days from the clue release. I definitely think that stitching the frames for the whole year at the beginning helped, as it meant that once the clue was released I could just get straight into stitching it.  I’ve signed up for the 2016 sampler and I’m hoping that this record continues!

Mini Watching It Fly: Progress, 5/15 pages complete.

This is one that I only picked up again in November, but here’s where I was at the start of last year:


And, here’s where I am as of a couple of days ago (I was determined to finish the page before the end of the year, which I managed to do):

I’m finally starting to get some more of the pattern out – I think the next pages over to the right is where I start the actual girl and I’m hanging out for that. I love this pattern so much, but I think I got burnt out – my mode of attack for this one in 2016 is to try and aggressively stitch and complete one page and then move onto another project for a couple of weeks so I don’t get burnt out and sick of this and put it away for months, like I’ve done at least three times already.

Tribute to “Dogloaf”: Complete (except for back stitching).


This is another one which I finished at the beginning of 2015, although posting about this has reminded me that it still needs the backstitch:

The pattern is still incredibly detailed as it is, but I think the back stitch will just make it ‘pop’. As I’m saving to get this and a few others framed, there’s no urgent rush but I should probably get around to it at some point!

Travel Memories: Not touched.


There was bound to be a couple, right? This is one of two that I haven’t even touched – not for dislike of the pattern, but because others were calling to me first. There was no real intention for the finished project in mind, so I’m happy to keep this one in my ever growing stash until it’s needed.

First Love Wedding Record: Slight Progress

At the beginning of last year this is where I was with it:


And here’s where I am now – if you look closely, I promise you’ll see I’ve actually done a bit, even if it’s only a few stitches:

This is actually what’s currently sitting in my Q-Snap as I’ve pulled it out a couple of days ago to start work on again.  It’s such a cute pattern (although the mouthless boy is still creeping me out, I think I need to focus on that soon!)

Christmas Celebration Sampler: Complete!

This one was almost all finished except for the border:


Which, for some reason, I didn’t pick back up until mid-year, and then promptly knocked out in a week:

And has now been added to my pile of completed Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery projects that need to be framed.

Dimensions Christmas Ornaments: Not touched.


Another one I want to do, and have no other reason for not touching except it’s not as high on my priority and rotation list and have others that I wanted to do first. Maybe in 2016?

Hogwarts Crest: Barely touched.


I admit, I actually forgot about this one for quite a while. I’ve done a few more stitches on it but wasn’t actually that much to even bother taking a photo of. I started this one maybe 3-4 years ago, so I’d really like to finish it at SOME point. Or maybe at least the house crests in the middle!?

Mini Red Riding Hood: 2/16 pages complete.

The first two pages stitched up remarkably quickly (and I’ve learnt that I much prefer the large sized chart over regular in terms of reading, and smaller page sizes!) – I’m hoping that this year I can try and do another 2-3 pages. It’s a Heaven and Earth Designs chart so I have no illusions of completing it within a couple of months, but I’m hoping to at least try and steadily stitch on this so it doesn’t end up as long of a WIP as the grey blob has been.

A Very Merry Christmas Town: Complete!

This was a new start this year – another Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery design that was released mid-year and was their Christmas sampler released over four months.

It’s fairly adorable and nice to have a new start *and* a finish!

Woodland Sampler: Complete!

Another new one – I bought the pattern a couple of years ago, the threads a few months later, and then a friend bought me the fabric for my Christmas present in 2014. I think this one took me a little under 2 months all up, but it’s super cute and finished:

The only thing I changed on this was the year (from 2013 to 2015). With this, I think I’ve finished all of the FPS yearly samplers, and am up to date – so this year I’ll only be doing the current year, not 3 at once, which will hopefully free up some time to do other projects!

I’ve also got a TON of embroidery projects to catch up on that have completely been put on the back burner, almost all exclusively Rosalie Dekker (formerly Rosalie Quinlan) Designs.  I haven’t taken pictures, which will have to wait for another blog post but in the interest of trying to hold myself accountable and see where I’m at for the beginning of the year:

Best Friends Forever BOM: Super behind. I’ve completed about half of a stitchery, and there’s 32 to go. I reaaally need to work on this, it’s been almost 2 years since I signed up! I guess I’ll put this down as 0.5/32 stitcheries complete
Simply Blessed BOM: Doing slightly better, I have completed the first two and have made a small start on the third one, and this one’s only a year and a half old! 2/9 stitcheries complete
United Stitches BOM: Not doing much better in this, I’ve completed one and a half stitcheries, and I think I’ve received about 10 in the mail! Added to this, because it’s a “stitch and switch”, it’s more like 20 stitcheries as all of them need to be done twice and swapped with my partner (who, thankfully is my mother, who understands that I have far too many WIPs and it’s going to be a while before she gets hers!) 1/20 (and growing!) stitcheries
Flowerville BOM: The newest BOM from Rosalie, I’ve promised myself that I won’t start this one until I’ve made at least some impact on the above three.  This one is still being mailed out – so I’ve got 5 months so far sitting in a pile, waiting. I’d like to at least tackle one of them – they’re in gorgeous Cottage Garden Threads, but I need to wait otherwise this will end up like the others and not at all done! Not started

Well – that’s my round up of all my craft for 2015, and my goals for 2016. I feel like I didn’t get much done in terms of finishes, but when I’ve put it all out there, as well as the before and after shots it looks a bit better. Here’s to another year of successful craft!

Once Upon A Time – Finished!!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for the longest time, but never got around to it.

Remember the Once Upon A Time sampler? That I started in February last year and promptly got ridiculously behind, and never caught up? I finished it!

Here’s where I was last time I blogged about this –


I then proceeded to put ALL my energy (except for when Story Time got released) into finishing this one off, rather than my usual rotation of a million different piece.

July – Thumbelina:


August – Musicians of Bremen:


September – Rapunzel:


Did I post about how I stuffed up the bottom border? It was horrible. I had to pull out SO MUCH of it, after thinking about it for a while and deciding that if I didn’t fix it, I’d be bothered forever:


October – Cinderella:


November – Little Red Riding Hood:


December – Hansel & Gretel:


And finally, the finished piece!!


I tossed up for a while what to put down the bottom (whether to put 2014, when it was released / when I started it, or 2015, when I finished it – I tried to chart “The End” but I couldn’t make it work) but in the end I went for the original 2014 as that’s really when I started it.  Now I just have to save up to get it framed!

Woodland Sampler

I bought the pattern for the Woodland Sampler last year – it’s another Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery design, and I’ve always found it incredibly cute! It then took me a few months to find the perfect fabric, and I think I succeeded when I came across this from SewItAll, a local store where I get most of my fabric from in Australia:


I’ve definitely found that stitching the frames first helps with my motivation and it’s been so helpful in doing it! The first few months are stitching up fairly quickly…


How cute are they!?


I’m not used to blocks where everything is filled in! Definitely took a while especially as it was a darker colour, wanting to make sure I had full coverage.


March was definitely the quickest block – the same day I finished February, I knocked out March as well in a few hours.


I think April is where I noticed the “double” sized blocks were going to be a lot more work than I initially though!


This gnome is totally adorable, I love it.

I’m currently halfway through the June block and want to finish it in the next day or so – my friends from our monthly stitchy group were ‘encouraging’ (challenging!) me to finish this by our next meet up on the 22nd and at one point I thought I’d get there, but I’ve been sick this month and haven’t had time. July through to December are all quite bit blocks (not only is there a lot of detail, but there’s a lot less blank space as well) so I don’t think I’d even be able to knock out a block a day. That said, I’ll still give it a crack and see how I go! I haven’t been taking photos daily of these ones, just posting the finished block on Instagram, but I’m loving how it’s coming together.

Craft Retreat

This post is a few days late – it’s been sitting in my drafts for a while but I haven’t gotten around to typing it up.

Over the Labour Day weekend I had the opportunity to join 8 other ladies on a craft retreat up in Hepburn Springs.  They’ve been up beforehand however it was my first time and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and managed to get a decent chunk of work done on my WIPs (which yes, are still increasing, oops).

I’m not sure where I last left this off, but my grey blob had a page finish! I’m getting back into this again and I think the thousands of stitches in DMC5200 were worth it as now when I look at it I can actually see that it’s meant to be clouds in the sky, rather than a ton of greys all meshed together.  The next lot of pages are going to be better, I think, as I start making a move towards the actual girl in the piece and get more strands of hair.  And then I’ll have another page which is just full of DMC3799 for the girl’s corset – looking forward to that…


I also pulled out the Once Upon A Time Sampler from last year as I’ve really got to make more progress on this.  I’m trying to work towards a mid-year deadline, whether or not I’ll reach that is a different story, but I’m trying to assign myself reasonable deadlines that I can not only achieve but will also push me to work on them.


As a result, I started, and finished, the May block whilst on the retreat!  So I was only 8 months behind… it’s a start!


I then managed to knock out the June block a few days later, which means the actual blocks are half done!  I haven’t done any more on this one since, but I’m hoping to stay on track and work this into my rotation soon. The border is fiddly so I’m tossing up between doing it all first, but then I also want to jump straight into the next block – however I’m still mindful of my Christmas Celebration Sampler I started in December and have finished the blocks, done about 1/5 of the border and promptly put it aside and haven’t picked it back up.


Here’s where it’s at presently! I’ve done bits and pieces of the border already – I suppose I could always try and do the border as I go…


I also pulled out the 3rd block in Rosalie Quinlan’s “Simply Blessed” – Jess from A Patchwork Quilt sent me the 9th block, which was the final one last month, which made me realise (quelle surprise), how behind I was on this one too.  I’m still in love with the colour variegation in the Cosmo Seasons threads here – I think I’m going to try and do all of the stitching and then put them together all at once.


And lastly, not part of the craft retreat, but I’ve been tasked with doing another latch hook, this time for my husband who is a massive Brisbane Lions supporter, and thusly has informed me we will be putting up lots of Lions things around the house!  I made a bit of a start on this last week but haven’t done any more since – the thing is seriously massive and covers the entire coffee table.  I had no end of grief trying to sort out the colours (vanilla, light gold, medium gold, dark gold, honey, beige, cream, rust – took me about 10 minutes just trying to work out which colour was which!!!) but I think it’ll make the effect well worth it if/when I finally finish this.  It’s quite the majestic lion!

I’ve also been trying to work on a few other things – Red Riding Hood is back in the rotation, and I’ve been doing some quilt work and some embroidery in the mean time, but that’s a story for another post.

“Why don’t you sell them?” – The reality

If you’re a crafter, you’ve probably heard at least once, “You should sell [insert item of craft here], you’d make heaps of money!”

I know I’ve heard it a ton of times.  It’s an innocent comment, but there’s a harsh reality to it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve seen some amazing works being sold at conventions, in Etsy stores, in markets, and seen so many brilliant ideas on Instagram that have inspired me. I’m not saying it’s not possible to turn craft into a business – but realistically, if it’s something that’s done as a hobby, it’s next to impossible to actually turn that into a profit.

I showed someone one of my Heaven and Earth Designs charts, once, and she wanted me to do one for her. If you’re a cross stitcher, you’re aware of how amazingly detailed those charts are – and just how much time and effort goes into them.  I’ve been working on one of them for two years already (admittedly, it’s because I have Crafting ADD and keep changing projects).  There are some who can smash one out in a few months, but that’s definitely the rarity.  And there are so many hours that go into that work.  Let’s not even talk about the cost of the materials themselves – you’re looking around $25 minimum for the fabric, then the cost of the threads.  44c in the US still adds up to about $40 by the time you include all of the skeins, and if you’re in Australia, you’re looking closer to a dollar per skein.  When I kitted up Red Riding Hood, that was about $55 that I spent on the threads (thank you, Christmas money), and that was when Lincraft had their 40% off yearly sale.

You’re a quilter?  A lot of patterns call for a fat quarter bundle, and they can average about $100 each.  Add in the threads, the binding, the backing fabric, and the batting, and your price tag has gone up exponentially.

That’s just the materials.  How then, do you work out how much to charge?  I’ve seen numbers tossed around for cross stitching, where often 1c per stitch is the ‘guideline’. Great for smaller pieces. A Heaven and Earth Design chart? Their minis average around 70,000 stitches. What about their “regular” charts, or their large sized ones.  Do you charge a set fee, or an hourly rate?

That being said, a lot of people who do craft as their hobby don’t do it for the money, they do it for their love of the craft, and the enjoyment of being able to hand craft someone as a gift.  It’s not about expecting the recipient to know just how much time has gone into it, and expecting a gushing thank you, because to be honest, I don’t expect people who don’t craft to appreciate the intricacies of cross stitch, or embroidery, or quilting, but it’s about knowing I’ve made something for them that is unique, and one of a kind, and it’s not something they can just wander down to the local shopping centre and buy as a mass produced item.

Now that I’ve seriously gotten back into craft (and the growing stash in my craft room can attest to that), I look at patterns with an eye for making it for someone, not just something that I’d like. I made a number of projects for friends and family last year for birthdays and for Christmas.  Sure, it took me ages, and made me pull my hair out when I realised I had a deadline approaching, and sure, it would have been a hell of a lot easier to just go and buy something, but I didn’t want to.  I saw patterns, went in my mind, “Oh, that would be perfect for X”, and bought them.  I’ve already come across a number of ideas for presents for this year, and it’s already February.  The life of a crafter means that hand made gifts have a longer lead time and need more planning. The perfect pattern, the perfect fabric – and then you have to make it.

When I gave my presents, the reactions varied.  They ranged from understanding just how much work went into it, to just a genuine thank you and knowing it was hand made and a sincere appreciation of the presents – and that’s honestly all I wanted.

And then there’s instances where I didn’t get an acknowledgement, let alone a thank you.

And that upsets me.  Hours – weeks of work, and no comment.  I’m not expecting a critique, for someone to comment on the satin stitch (passable) or the chain stitch (tiny), but just a simple thank you.  Hand made craft items don’t have a determined value, but they’re still a gift.

Ultimately, though, this is where the problem lies with selling hand made items.  There’s no set value.  Do you charge materials + time spent + an hourly rate?  What may be the true cost of making something, may be realistically far too high. You could charge just materials, and maybe a little more, but this certainly wouldn’t cover expenses if this was your primary source of income. And you also have to take into account just how long it takes to make one item, whether this is an individual or a few of the same, and how quickly and easily you can produce them. If you’re going to be making a quilt, that’s not just something you can churn out overnight (and if you can, serious props to you).

I’m not saying it’s not possible to sell your items and turn what was a hobby into a stream of income – but it’s certainly not as easy as just “you could make money from this, you should sell them!”

Story Time Sampler: February

Is it the 15th of February already?? The month is going by so quickly – guess it means it’s time for the first check in post.

I’ve kept on top of this one (which is still a far cry from the Once Upon A Time sampler, where I am still on April’s block) and I love how adorable this is to stitch up.


I had intended to try and finish the banner before the clue was released, but failed.

I did manage to finish it not long afterwards, though!


I’m really enjoying the Weeks Dye Works threads and I am dying to see what the next months are.  Any thoughts?  Personally I think August will be Sherlock Holmes, the gap up the top looks just about right for his hate, although I’m stuck on the rest of them.

Don’t forget to add your link so your fellow stitchers can see how you’re going!

Another new start

I know, I know, I should really be working on some of my endless WIPs, but this has been calling out at me for so long and has been kitted up for a month that I had to make a start!


I sent a text to one of my best friend’s with the above picture.  The response was “WHAT IS THAT.  IS THAT RED RIDING HOOD?” … She knows me too well.


Day 1 Progress.


Day 2 Progress. Believe it or not, that blob on the left is two different colours.


Day 3 progress. Starting to introduce varying shades in – I’m a big fan of cross country stitching, I am far too uncoordinated for parking.


Day 5 – or, as I call it, “Avoid the confetti (single stitches of one colour) for as long as possible”.  I can’t wait until I finally get some kind of pattern coming through – not that this area will have much as it’s the ground and the side of the forest, but I’m hopeful that eventually it will be distinguishable as the forest!

I’ve never gridded my fabric before and seem to be doing fine with my other Heaven and Earth Designs chart (Mini Watching It Fly), however that has a lot less colours – 16 vs. 81!  It’s too late now, but I may keep it in mind for future projects.

I think my aim on this is to finish about four rows across completely – my next aim is to try and fill in those single stitches, but at least I’ve made a bit of progress! The whole thing is just shy of 70,000 stitches, and I’d be surprised if I’ve done more than 1000…. this could take a while.