Friday, February 27, 2009

Inspirational 2

Some of the things I've been finding inspirational this week.

Gay Ann Rogers and her February inspirations. And have you seen her new mystery on her website?

Bargello - for examples, see Liz Morrow's bargello on Picasa, or

I bought a couple of books on bargello over the last few weeks and here's some of what I found to inspire me.

Earth Laughs - I discovered this design from M Designs this week. I love all the flowers and colour and patterns!

'Earth laughs in flowers' is a great quote from E.E. Cummings and inspirational in its own way too. I love the way E.E. Cummings uses words.

Flickr again. This week I've been browsing around photos of Scotland and some of my favourite places.

Inspiration w/c 23 Feb

Among this week's Flick favourites, you'll see some of Jane's appliqued felt brooches - the final item in this weeks list of inspirations - I want them all! They are just so gorgeous - I love all the colour and the way she uses the felt. See her photostream on Flickr or her Etsy shop.

One thing that is definately not inspirational this week, is Bl*gger with all it's word verification issues! I've now switched off word verification on on my blog so that those who were having problems should now be able to comment. For those who talked of switching between Firefox and Internet Explorer - I'm already using IE and still having the problems.

Over the past few weeks I've been making increasing use of Google Reader and discovering all sorts of feeds I can add to it which can be really helpful to track things I tend to forget. I'm now even subscribed to the comments feed from this blog, to my Flickr recent activity and have just discovered that I can subscribe to shop feeds in Etsy to show me when new items are posted! What can I discover next?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another day, another biscornu

Here’s my February biscornu for the Basket of Biscornu SAL.

Flowers on the Square

It’s Flowers on the Square from Elizabeth's designs with a beaded edge and tassels at the corners - it's the first time I've added tassels to a biscornu and I'm rather pleased with the end result!

I think this design was used for one of the first biscornus I ever saw! You can see Chelle’s biscornu here. I stitched it exactly as charted using the charted floss. Like Chelle, I like the combination of pastel colours and the dark beads and I think the dark tassels work well with it too – I used DMC flosses for them in the colours used in the design with some added darker shades.

One of my plans for the SAL was to try and do something different and new with each biscornu. So far it’s working as my first had 15 sides and this one has tassels. I’m not sure what my next one will be – possibly something I’ve designed myself, or one of the Atalie ones. And I’m not guaranteeing to have it finished by the end of March!

Flowers on the Square

Grumble time – is anyone else as sick of Blogger’s new commenting kafuffle as I am? It’s getting to the point where I’m unable to comment on blogs using the new method as the word verification never loads! Grrrrrr!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I started writing this post in January, but ran out of steam with it as my thoughts were too nebulous to get down on paper. I've come back to it today as I'm having many of the same thoughts now. Maybe I'll get my head round them this time.

The one big advantage of being back at work is that I'm able to spend more time online and I'm loving having to time to trawl round the net being inspired by all the creativity out there. It's really making me feel energised and creative myself too and I have all sorts of ideas for things I want to do. The only problem is finding the time and energy to do them!

I particularly want to thank everybody who has left comments on my previous posts - every one of you inspires me to create and share with you what I'm doing, whether I'm working out my own designs or stitching someone else's. Your comments and feedback are always constructive and inspire me to do more and better.

And I also need to thank Yoyo who also tagged me with the Fabulous Blog award. I should perhaps be listing 5 of my favourite things and tagging others, but I'm going to tie it in with what I'm writing about inspiration here.

My original plan was to share a list of links of the things I've been finding inspitational since I returned to work as I'd been finding the internet itself so inspirational and turning up website gems at a rate I could hardly keep up with. Unfortunately, a lot of these websites seem to fade from my mind as quickly as I find them, so my list is never the same one day to the next. And then, of course, it also varies depending on my mood and different things inspire me for different reasons.

So maybe I should post and note my inspiration more regularly for my own benefit as well as to share. How about 6 things every week?

Anyone care to join me and spread a little inspiration?

Here's my first list.

Vonna - courage in adversity. I hadn't meant to blog today, but then I read her blog.

This post from Hohla at, particularly her beautiful photos and stitching!

Lucy at Attic24 - blog and flickr - all that yarn and colour - makes me want to go home and fill my house with crochet!

Crocuses -

Originally uploaded to Flickr by

The crocuses are just starting to flower in the park I walk through on my way to work. One of the results of feeling more inspired is that I find more inspiration in the world around me too - I need to start carrying my camera around with me all the time to record what I see.

Flickr where you can find amazing photos of almost anything.

My favourites

Slightly more frivolous this one perhaps, but this post from Isabelle Vautier has me dancing round the room cheering - I definately don't want to forget about it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Family Sampler (with added snowflakes)

Well, I kind of took your advice to heart and have put my Family Sampler to the back of my mind just now for a break. I just don't have any new starts yet.

This week is half term, so Alexander is off school and we have my parents staying with us. The down side of this is that my evening stitching time is reduced to a minimum, so even if I had been working on my Family Sampler, I wouldn't have been getting very far and probably would have ended up even more fed up!

Early in the week, I did something completely different and charted some of the showflakes from my biscornu. I was surprised at how how much I enjoyed it and how much of a constructive activity I found it to be. So, since then, I have been gradually charting some of those other little ideas to the extent that they are no longer just 'little' ideas! Now I need to do some 'model stitching' (! LOL) before I'm ready to share. And I'm also pleased with the progress I'm making now on my Basket of Biscornu biscornu.

Here are the charts for some of the snowflakes. If anyone stitches any of them - I'd love to hear about it - and I'd be pretty amazed too!


You'll see that I haven't charted the positions of the beads - I'll leave that entirely up to you if or where you add them!

Monday, February 16, 2009

We have a winner! (plus some added bits)

And the winner, thanks to the random number generator, is

Sally - if you could email me with your address, I'll get something into the post for you!

I've hit a bit of a stitching slump since I finished my snowflake biscornu - I went back to my SB Family Sampler, but somehow I'm just not enjoying it And then I went back to the biscornu I'm stitching in my lunch hour for the Basket of Biscornu SAL and discovered that I'm going to have to frog part that I stitched last week.

I need to find something to cheer me up at the moment as I'm generally feeling a bit down, and in particular really not enjoying work. If I could figure out what I wanted to do, I'd apply for another job!

Maybe I should just take a break and start another 15 sided biscornu as I have a whole load of little ideas floating around my head!

Edited later to add:

Have you seen this?

Isn't it lovely? The designer is releasing the chart for one side every couple of days or so - I've downloaded 8 of them this afternoon!

And each little chart would make a lovely mini biscornu in its own right too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

That time of year again


So this was me 42 years ago today. Give or take about 6 weeks - I think it says 'Lesley 6 weeks' on the back of the photo. It'll be a quiet day as I'm here at work with nothing much going on and Alexander goes out to a friend's after school for his dinner so won't be home until 7.30, but it'll be quite nice to get home and not have to rush to do anything. Maybe I'll feel a bit more like stitching this evening as I've been feeling tired and headachy after work this week and not particularly inspired to work on anything at all.

In order to celebrate my birthday, I thought I'd have a little giveaway. Anyone who fancies a crochet brooch/corsage like these below and some stitchy goodies, leave me a comment - I'll announce a winner on Monday.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Oh wow - I couldn't believe it yesterday morning when I logged in at work and saw 31 comments on my last post! It think that must be a record for me. Thank you all for your lovely, kind comments - I'm so glad you liked my biscornu and found the tutorial useful. For those who've asked and others who may be interested - feel free to pass around the tutorial to anyone who's interested. I hope it all makes sense and I'd be happy to try and help anyone struggling with it.

I've seen on a few blogs recently that we're all eyeing up the new releases coming out at Nashville this year. As Karen says, ABC Stitch Therapy has a really good list (over several pages) of what’s coming up. I'm trying hard to resist as I already have far too much stash, but of course, this caught my eye - how's that for timing?

Just Nan's Floral Fifteen
This is Just Nan's Floral Fifteen and isn't it gorgeous? I'm not completely sure about the Charm Garden Pins, but I'd love to stitch the biscornu. I think the stitching will be a bit more drawn out than my snowflakes as each square is more densely stitched and there are a number of colour changes. I'll have to get hold of that one!

Now that I've finished my snowflake biscornu, I've made some more progress on my SB Family Sampler, but forgot at the weekend to try and get a decent photo.

I've also been doing a little crochet, initially as a birthday gift for a friend.


A crochet flower brooch - as I rather liked what I came up with, I made another for myself!


I think I'm going to have to make some more - I rather like them! The pattern is adapted from one in Crochet Bouquet and I crocheted the inner rounds using a varigated Debbie Bliss yarn with the final round in a finer mohair.

Finally, the recipients of my PIF will be SGVChicago and geeky Heather - I'll be in touch soon to get myself organised!


I've also been spending far too much time recently setting myself up in iGoogle having too much geeky fun! I'm constantly struggling to find a good way to manage my favourites and the blogs I want to follow. Bloglines and Google Reader just aren't spontaneous enough for me and I keep loosing track of things I want to keep up with!

Oh, and I'm starting to pick up a few stitchy friends in Facebook, so anyone else who'd like to be my friend, let me know - you never know, I might become a Facebook convert!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Snowflakes in the Snow (with 15 sided biscornu tutorial)

Long post with lots of photos, but hopefully useful information!

Snowflakes in the Snow

I've been a bit distracted from my planned stitching recently (this seems to be happening faaar too regularly these days) by the above 15 sided biscornu or banurukotti. I first saw these last year here on this Russian blog and then saw that Anita had designed this lovely one too. Somehow the idea of making this kind of thing with a snowflake pattern caught my imagination, but I just didn't manage to find the right snowflakes to stitch.

At last, a couple of weeks ago, I saw this post from Janet Perry for the snowflakes on her December twinchy. That got me started! Janet's snowflakes were just perfect for what I wanted to do, so I printed off the charts and got started.


As I got going, I started playing around with Janet's snowflakes, adding beads and trying out different shapes and stitches. And before I knew it, I had ended up with 15 squares each with a different showflake!

Four of the snowflakes are Janet's, one or two were copied from images I found on the internet and the rest are my own. I might chart some of them sometime to share.

As all the tutorials I've seen for this type of biscornu have not been in English, I thought I'd write my own for anyone who's interested.


Step 1 - You need 15 stitched squares all the same size. The squares I used were all 20 x 20 stitches. As with a 'normal' biscornu, the outline round the edge of each square was done in backstitch and I used a #12 perle cotton.

When you have your 15 squares, cut them all out leaving a border of at least about half a centimeter.


Step 2 - I then divided my squares into 3 groups of 5 squares - 5 squares for the top, 5 squares for the bottom and 5 for the sides.



I then whipstitched the 5 squares for the top together.


When you have joined the 5 squares together, you will have a kind of 5 pointed star. Note that it will not lie flat, however hard you try.

Now, join the 5 squares for the bottom.



Step 3 - The next step is to join the side squares to either top or bottom. I've tried to show in the photo below how this works with the arrows showing which sides wshould be joined to each other.


You will end up with something like this.


Step 4 - Now you can start to join the bottom/top to the top/bottom plus sides in a similar way to that in which the sides were already joined. I haven't got a photo of this step - not quite sure how I would show it!

Only join about three quarters of the way round so that you leave a gap for stuffing. I use a general toy stuffing to stuff my biscornus.

Now, this is a point that I've never seen written anywhere for biscornus or anything else. When I make a biscornu, I sew on the central buttons before I've completed stuffing. I like to have my button in a reasonable indent in the middle of my pin cushion, so, in this case, I half stuffed my biscornu and then attached my button. Then I completed stuffing, working the stuffing around the threads holding the buttons, and stitched the opening closed.

Et voila!

Snowflakes in the Snow

And if anyone saw a mad woman yesterday morning, wandering round Vicky Park with a pin cushion and a camera, yes, I confess, it was me!

And before I forget, you can still sign up for my PIF! I'll leave signups open until next Monday and then let you know the result. And for those who've asked, I'm quite happy to post overseas, so don't let that put you off!


The snowflake patterns I used in making my biscornu can be found on the following web pages of my blog:

Remember, I also used Janet Perry's December twinchy snowflakes. This gives you 12 snowflakes. I don't have another 3 to share at the moment, so you can either make up your own or wait patiently until I get around to thinking of some more.

My notes on an alternative 15 sided biscornu are here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

PIFs in the snow

I had an unexpectedly quiet and enjoyable week last week, spending Tuesday to Friday at home with Iona - yay! Just what I was needing after a couple of weeks back at work. It did mean, however, that my time online was fairly limited so there wasn't much blog activity going on.

Now that I'm back at work again today, I thought I'd start this week with a PIF!

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for Mary's PIF.

Some time in the next year, Mary will send 2 fat quarters of fabric to me on condition that I make the same offer on my blog. So, in the next year, I will send 2 fat quarters of fabric to 2 commenters on this post. If there are more than 2 brave volunteers, then I'll have some kind of draw! And with the FQs I might even throw in a ball of yarn and a few other stitchy goodies for you to have fun with!

I'd love to have people volunteering for my PIF who will take the things I send them and use them to do something new or different. So, those who're up for a challenge, roll up, roll up!

For the snowy bit of the post title, it's been snowing here off and on since lunchtime yesterday. Alexander was devastated this morning when I told him his school probably was not closed and he would be going today! I'm sure he'll have his fingers crossed for tomorrow as there's more snow forecast for later this afternoon and overnight. I think this is probably the most snow Alexander has seen, so I hope it lasts for a bit and he can make the most of it. I think Iona wonders what all the fuss is about, but she'll learn! I have very fond memories of childhood snowy days building igloos in the garden and sledgeing in Castlebank Park. I need to get out with my camera and have a bit of fun with the snow.

To end today's post, this seems somehow appropriate!

Snowflake collage