1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.
My name is Leonie (aka Stitching Noni). I live in Australia... born and bred Aussie… with English, Irish, Scottish and German heritage. All of my closest relatives are Australian born, however it is only 3-4 generations back on my Mum’s side to the German and Irish born ancestors, and about the same on Dad’s side (English & Scottish). I am married (both of us are second time rounders…), no children to call my own but my husband has two grown up sons from his first marriage. We have 2 cats (British Blue boys) and 1 dog (a Blenheim King Charles Cavalier princess).
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
I really started stitching back in the early-80’s (I was in my early 20’s).... I had seen a new magazine in the newsagent (Family Circle) and it had some stitching article in it and an advert to buy some cross stitch kits. My Mum used to sew all of our clothes when we were younger but didn’t do embroidery – she did knit on the odd occasion though. My Mum’s Mum used to dabble in surface embroidery (she stitched on doilies and tablecloths) and I had seen her stitching occasionally when I was little but I never stitched with her. I did do a little bit of chicken scratch embroidery in high school during the sewing classes but my true introduction to stitching was when I bought the kits from the magazines. They are stamped cross stitch on linen… and I still have them! I finished stitching the tablecloth and an apron from the kits, but in true form I have never turned them into a finished piece!! I did sew the lavender pin cushion up and I still have it somewhere in my sewing basket! After that I saw some other kits in another mail order catalogue but didn’t really do a lot of stitching back then. I got back into stitching in the early 90’s when I left the Pilbara and moved to Perth and I found a couple of needlecraft shops that I could visit and buy books/charts from. I took a break for a couple of years (2003-2005) and then started up again, but it has really only been in the last 5-10 years that I have been particularly serious about my stitching.
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?
My first post was on 31 October 2010. It was short and sweet... I had spent all day setting up my blog and wanted to post something! I was inspired to start by seeing other crafty/stitcher bloggers posting and realised that I too can do this! Also one of the girls I worked with had a scrap-booking blog and she had been telling me that I was a girls blouse if I didn’t get out there and blog about my stitching!! My second post was a stitching post later that same day with pictures of the first (and only) round robin that I had been stitching on.
There is sort of a story behind my blog title... I was struggling with deciding what to call my blog – everyone that I had started to follow had these cool blog names and given that I am not very creative in that way I was really struggling to come up with a cool, memorable title! On the day that finally got the nerve up to go online I was watching a movie called “Fireflies in the Garden“.... I loved the title of that movie (and it was such a sweet movie as well) – so I added “cats” to the title (I have cats in the garden but no fireflies) and so a name was born! :o)
4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?
I used to be a one at a time stitcher... but I would get bored easily and put it down. Then I wouldn’t stitch for ages until I got the urge to stitch again and I would pick that WIP up and stitch on it again. Over the years I have realised that I am a serial starter and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that! I just need variety in my life :o).... I try to be organised and plan what I am going to stitch on each month... but plans go awry very quickly as I am also very easily side tracked by other pretties! I do try to get finishes along the way and often I will stitch on something until it’s finished... but I try not to be too/overly organised in my stitching plans as I have to be organised in my work life and sometimes I need randomness to prevail in my stitching to keep me sane!
5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?
I have a number of favourite designers these days... and over the years I have found my style changing! I used to stitch a lot of small cute designers but now as I see more and more different designers in the big stitchy world I do like to occasionally try some of them on for size (so to speak!). My absolute favourites are Nora Corbett, Lizzie Kate, Joan Elliott and Margaret Sherry (although I will admit to be going off Margaret Sherry lately.. too many of her designs appear to be re-hashed repeats of previous designs....) Durene Jones is a favourite as well, but now I am finding that I also want to stitch Plum Street Samplers, Prairie Schooler, Long Dog Samplers, Blackbird Designs, Satsuma Street.... and the list is growing! I think that might mean that I am beginning to become an eclectic stitcher!
6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?
I don’t know to be honest.... I stitched a wedding sampler for my sister over 20 years ago (it was a Linda Gillum) design and was the biggest design I had completed (probably still is!) I was very proud to finish that one. I have other finishes that I am proud of – i.e. designs I have stitched and finished for exchanges but I can’t really put my finger on any one in particular. My latest finish is Prancer by Nora Corbett. I am very proud of this one as it is my first Nora Corbett finish! :o)
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
I don’t think I have had a stitching disaster yet... and fingers crossed I don’t ever have a bad one! So far I have managed to avoid having tea or coffee or red wine spilt on my stitching... I have had more than a few moments where the frog has appeared but nothing that hasn’t been fixable! I am not going to tempt fate by saying anything else on this subject!
8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?
One day I would like to learn to do hardanger... I love the finishes that I have seen but somehow I don’t think I will ever have the patience or the nerve to do it! I also love looking at goldwork embroidery but again I don’t think I will ever do it... Cross stitch with the odd speciality stitch thrown in is good enough for me at the moment :o)
9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?
Yes... I do have a couple of boxes and a folder with un-finished finished pieces in them... I don’t really have a favourite way of finishing which is probably why I have so many finished pieces waiting to be finally finished! I am one of those people that love to stitch but not finally finish... I do love flat folds and cushions – which is generally how I finish when I get around to doing it!
Wow, what a question! I have no idea to be honest with you… given how much I love stitching witches (or Halloween even though I don’t celebrate it) maybe I am a closet witch! A good witch of course…. :o) or maybe I am just a little kitty…
11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
I am not sure what secret I can tell you…. But here is something that I know that you won’t/don’t know about me…. When I was 17 years old I entered the Lions Miss Personality Quest. I was the youngest contestant ever at the time (I had to wait til I turned 17 in the Oct of that year to be officially allowed to enter which didn’t give me a whole of lot time to fund raise in the end!). I actually made it to the Grand Final which was televised. I didn’t win… but it was one of the most exciting and scariest things I have been involved in. I never expected to get to the finals let alone the grand final… and being on stage in front of a huge ballroom full of people and knowing it was also live on TV at the same time…. Oh boy! But I survived… and it only took me another 36 years to be in front of a camera again when I started doing Flosstube videos!! :o)
12. Anything you would like to add?
I would like say thanks to Jo for setting up the Blogger of the Week blog…. It is a great idea and a wonderful way to find out just a little bit more about our blogging stitchers – some new and some old to us all :o)
I also would like to thank Jo for all of the hard work she puts into her blog and the events that she runs from it…. I don’t know where she gets the energy to do it all! But she is a real inspiration!
And also a big thank you to all the stitchers (and bloggers) that share their stitching and thoughts – it is wonderful to be a part of the stitching community. Stitchers are the only ones who really understand how it is that we “need” to stitch each day and if we don’t we will go slightly insane… Stitchers are also probably the only ones that understand the need to have that design in their stash that we will probably never ever stitch in our lifetime but we still have to have it within our reach!
And finally, I would like to thank all the designers out there in the stitching universe that give something of themselves every time they design something wonderful for us to stitch and make our own. Without them we wouldn’t have this wonderful hobby/past time keeping us sane!