Stitching for a good cause

Hello everyone! I said in my update post that part of the reason I’ve been quiet on here recently is because work has been busy and I haven’t felt like getting back on the computer afterwards. But the main reason is that I’ve been using up all my free time for something else… namely cross stitching. Only this time it’s not dozens of Christmas cards I’m trying to get finished, but cards for a very different cause…

I first heard of the charity Post Pals about 6 or 7 years ago, thought it was a really nice idea and then promptly forgot about it. When I saw a mention of it again in a magazine recently, I realised that cross stitched cards would be perfect for sending to pals. And now those of you who don’t know post crossing are wondering what I’m on about….

Basically the idea of Post Pals is for seriously ill children to receive some happy mail. Many of them can’t go to school and end up isolated and lonely, so receiving post from all over the world helps them feel connected to other people and makes them smile. Post Pals also encourages people to write to siblings, who often feel overlooked when the ill child is getting all the attention. All addresses on the site are “care of” addresses and the children’s surnames aren’t mentioned, so it’s all pretty safe.

But enough talk… let me show you some of the cards I’ve made so far.

Pirates and flowers and ballerinas, oh my!

One little boy likes tractors and farms, so he got this card:

farm card

I mean, who wouldn’t want a picture of a sheep? 😉

Apparently I like stitching initials… gotta make use of all those alphabets somehow! 😉

By the way, as it happens the pirate and footballs went to boys while the ballerinas, bear, mermaid and lipstick were for girls. All are based on the children’s interests, and soon I will actually be making a unicorn card for a boy and a dragon for a girl… no gender stereotypes here! (It just so happens that most of the boys are not into ballet or butterflies).

I am particularly fond of this next card because I’ve had the book it appears in for ages but never thought I would actually get to stitch it!

Where's Wally card

A couple of birthday cards went out as well:

I thought the little dancing cake was adorable! (Jan’s opinion was more along the lines of corny though…)

And I shall end with one I’m particularly proud of. This little girl is blind, so I found a Braille alphabet and did this:

How’s everyone’s Braille? That says her name! I just hope it’s actually readable… I also stitched the rest using extra thread so it’s nice and thick and can (hopefully) be felt. And if you’re wondering why I bothered with colour… her family aren’t blind and they deserve to see something pretty, right?

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this. No, it’s not because I want you all to think I’m an amazing human being (obviously I assume you already know that 😉 ). This post is partly an opportunity to show you some more of my cross stitching, but mostly to tell you that you too can get involved with Post Pals.

For me, it’s a perfect way of “volunteering”. I don’t have to interact with people face-to-face (scary!) or commit to being somewhere on specific days (I never know I’ll spontaneously have to work longer because something urgent has come in), I get to stitch new and different things, and I hopefully brighten the day of somebody who is so much worse off than myself. Every time I read a child’s story on Post Pals, I am reminded that whatever else may be going on in my life, I am actually incredibly fortunate to be living the life I do.

If you would like to get involved with Post Pals, all it will cost you is the price of a stamp. (Okay, an envelope and paper are involved too, but I’m sure you must have some of those to spare at home!). Just go to the website, click on Find Pals and choose a pal to write to. You can search by interest or just choose somebody at random. They even have a guide to writing post to help you work out what to say. Or, if you prefer not to write, you can always donate – they are currently organising a party and have an Amazon wish list of items they would like or you can just donate money.

So, what do you think of my cards? Any favourites here?

(By the way, can someone who is good at taking photos of cards please tell me your secret!)

Guess the Cross Stitch Volume 5 – round 2

There weren’t many guesses for the first round of “Guess the Cross Stitch”. Is this one too hard or is everyone just busy/bored with my blog? Either way, before we continue with round 2 I will present the guesses I’ve had so far.

Here’s what you had to work with:

guess-the-cross-stitch

 

Maia thought it might be a teddy bears’ picnic, with the checked part being a blanket.

Erin guessed a castle.

Jack thought it might be a TARDIS (I knew someone would ;-))

Kezzie thought maybe a Monsters, Inc. character or Thomas the Tank Engine – both very fitting for a 1st birthday card.

And that was it. Just four guesses this time. Nobody got it right, so on to round 2. Here’s a new photo with more completed:

guess-the-cross-stitch

So, now can you guess what I’m stitching? Answers in the comments…

Guess the cross stitch volume 5

Hello everyone. Sorry I’ve been a bit absent this week – being off work I haven’t really felt like turning on the computer, and for reasons unknown to me I can’t post from my tablet! But I thought I would quickly pop in before the week is over with an easy kind of post. A few people have asked whether I’ll be doing a cross stitch guessing game this year, and I’m finally stitching something that seems suitable. I was quite surprised to realise that this is the 5th time I’ve done one of these!

The rules are simple: I post a photo of something I’m cross stitching and you tell me what you think the completed image will be. If nobody guesses correctly I post an updated picture and you try to guess from that. I will give you one clue: it’s a birthday card for a boy who is turning one (also yes it is the right way up!).

Here’s your first photo:

guess-the-cross-stitch

Have fun!

In which I attempt to do something different with my cross stitch

Some time around November last year it suddenly occurred to me that I could branch out from card making and use little cross stitch designs to make brooches. So I bought some brooch backs from the Internet and promptly became so busy with Christmas cards that the idea of making anything else went completely out of my head. At the weekend, I rediscovered the brooch backs and decided to give it a go…

From a distance it looks alright (particularly if the photo is nice and blurry… sorry about that). I pinned it on a cushion for the second photo to get an idea of what it would look like in use.

How about a close up?

daisy-brooch3

Hmm. The sharp-eyed among you may notice my not really even stitching and the badly cut edges of the Aida (the fabric the pattern is cross stitched on).

Turn over…

  1. The brooch back thing was supposed to be in the middle. Why isn’t it in the middle?
  2. The stitching on the little strip of felt that’s covering the brooch back is awful! Note to self: stitch that little strip on before sewing the two bits of felt together.
  3. The sharp-eyed among you may notice that the strip of felt isn’t even covering all of the stitching that’s holding the brooch back on, thus completely defeating its purpose.

Apart from all that, it’s not bad for a first attempt 😉

Now I just have eleventy million brooch backs to somehow use up. (Well, 99 anyway…)

Christmas stitching 2016

I should really do another travel post to try and catch up, but the thought of sorting out all those photos just makes me feel tired, so instead here is some of the Christmas stitching I’ve done so far this year. All of these will be made into cards.

Do you have any favourites among these? Personally I love the snowman most, although I do also like the bauble in the “JOY”.

Now I just have to make sure none of the people who occasionally read this blog receive the pictures featured here 😉

Lights, camera…

Is it really Wednesday already? This week is going fast!

Today I want to show you the birthday card I made for my brother, who recently turned 26. He did film studies at uni and is really into TV and films, so the popcorn cross stitch that was featured in one of my magazines ages ago seemed perfect for him.

popcorn-cross-stitch

Embellished with a printed out clapperboard, that I added “Happy Birthday” to, it ended up being a card that I’m actually quite proud of.

film-birthday-card

I cut out the hole for the popcorn myself using a punch, which meant there wasn’t a back bit to put over it as there usually is with aperture cards, so I backed it using red and white checked card. I didn’t take a photo of it, unfortunately, so you’ll just have to take my word that it made the inside look more interesting 😉

The popcorn was fairly simple, but I actually quite enjoyed stitching it. It was fun doing the back stitch and watching the pieces of popcorn come to life where previously there had just been a block of weirdly shaped stitches!

Would you like to receive this birthday card?

Stitching for boys

I find it incredibly difficult to stitch for the little boys in my life, mostly because my stitching magazines tend to feature cute, anthropomorphic animals, flowers and things that are generally more often associated with girls. (Yes, I am aware that boys can like cute things and flowers just as girls can be into superheroes, cars and dinosaurs, but quite frankly most of my friends’ children are boys and they are into stereotypically boyish things, while the one little girl I stitch for is perfectly happy with fairies and cute critters. I’m not about to make something up just to prove how open-minded I am am!).

Occasionally, a cross stitch magazine does include a “stitching for boys theme”, but they’re few and far between. So when I ordered a cross stitch book entitled “Babies & Children” I was over the moon to discover it contained entire pages of dinosaurs, rockets and planes. Between that and my magazines, I was able to stitch up quite the collection for all the boys’ birthdays I needed to cater for within a 27 day period in August and September! (All my friends’ little boys seem to have their birthdays close together as well…). Here are some of the boyish birthday cards I stitched up this year.

If you took part in this year’s guess the cross stitch game, you should recognise the dragon.

Which of these is your favourite? What would you stitch for a little boy? Give me some new ideas for the next set of birthdays!