Friday, 30 June 2017

All About Blogger of the Week - Pinned Post - Scroll down for the interviews

As a long-time subscriber of the now defunct Cross Stitch Collection magazine, one of my favourite articles was their Blogger of the Month.  When the magazine ceased publication I decided it would be fun to continue the tradition but make it a weekly feature (more bloggers for your money!).

I started by inviting some of the followers of my blog to see if there was any interest in doing interviews and articles and this blog is the result!

If you would like to be interviewed and considered for a post on the blog, please email me at joanneperry179@gmail.com with a link to your blog.

I do hope you enjoy reading the posts and leave comments for the interviewee.  Hopefully it will inspire you to visit their blog and add a new blog to your Reader.

Just for fun, here's the full version of the design I "cut-up" for the header:


Designed by Elissa Hudson, stitched as a birth sampler for some friends.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Keiley from Keebles World

This week's Blogger of the Week describes herself best in her profile as "I'm an Aspergers Dealing, Obsessive Compulsive, Anglophilic, Bibliophilic, Cinephilic, Disneyoholic, Cross-Stitching Janeite who is the proud Mother of two rescue Shih-Tzu's."  For me, I love the detail in her blog, her reviews of the various Disney parks are second-to-none and her regular Five Things are always interesting.  Her insight into the workings of an Asper-brain are fascinating too.


1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Keiley (pronounced Key-Lee), but I’ve gone by Keebles or Keebs since I was a kid, so I’ll answer to anything in that ballpark. I was born, raised and will probably die in Northeast Arkansas. I’ve been divorced for so long that I’m not sure it even counts anymore. I have two beautiful rescue Shih-Tzu’s...Bam and Bugs who are my whole world. And I guess the biggest elephant in the room is that I’m an Asper with OCD, so a lot of routine things in life are difficult for me, but since I’m old and grew up in a time when you either hid your problems or learned to adapt, I have basically done both my entire life and can function pretty well in the day to day...or at least enough to appear normal enough to the outside world.

Bam and Bugs


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I was pretty young when I started stitching probably 8 or 9. My step-grandmother tried to teach me to crochet first (which didn’t take) and then she tried knitting (which also failed). My mother used to embroidery, but I never could understand all the different kinds of stitching, so again...fail. Cross stitching was last on the list and I took to it like a duck to water and I’ve been stitching off and on ever since. Aspers tend to get bored very quickly, but we can also become completely obsessed with something so much that it lasts a lifetime. My three lifetime obsessions are cross stitching, Disney and Duran Duran although the order does tend to vary. On the OCD front, what could be better than the repetition and symmetry that stitching offers.


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started blogging almost 6 years ago partly out of frustration from social media (I HATED Facebook and the like). I met a fellow Duranie/Disney person who blogged and showed me the ropes and, after I got comfortable, all my social media accounts went out the window and I’ve never looked back. Granted, lack of a social presence does isolate me a bit even in the stitchy world, but the Asper in me kind of likes that. We aren’t social creatures by nature and we are quite selfish as well...I could not have cared less what others were doing, let alone feel obligated to comment every time so-and-so’s kid burped. The blog world is SOOO much better and I’m more in my element, surrounded by more like-minded people. I don’t blog to gain followers, but rather to have a venting place just for me, hence Keebles World. I can do a post, rant about whatever, and I don’t expect others to comment (although I’m always pleasantly surprised when people do...why anyone would want to read some of the crap I post is beyond me, especially when I’m having a serious Asper-rant). I think the hardest part about blogging (at least for me), is trying to keep up with everyone else’s blogs.


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 was definitely a OAAT until I started blogging and, even then, it was a few years before I started with rotations. Now I have technically 9 projects in rotation (although only 6 are actually rotated and the other three ignored for various reasons). I am EXTREMELY organized...it goes with the OCD territory, although I am a bit lax when it comes to rotation schedules (that’s all Asper). I do like to change projects when I feel like it versus on a specific day (although I try to switch out week to week), but I tend to routinely report my weekly progress on Sunday nights. I stitch two-handed thanks to scroll rods and lap stands and, since I have no life outside of work, I can easily manage 40+ hours a week stitching on average (at least half of that is weekend time), so I do tend to make a lot of progress per week although I’m not necessarily a fast stitcher. I utilize both paper patterns and my iPad in the process, I take photos of my progress every night and I keep track of my time via a time clock app (that’s a fairly recent development). My OCD will not allow me to use the parking method and I will often get hives just seeing pictures of other people’s parking. All those loose threads hanging everywhere...chaos!


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

Throughout my youth, I only did kits and really had no knowledge of anything else (although I’ve subscribed to cross stitch magazines periodically throughout the years). Only when I became a blogger and got to know other stitches did I started to learn more about stitching techniques and digital patterns which lead me to Heaven and Earth Designs. I immediately fell in love with Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s work and have quite the stash of not only her designs, but several other artists as well. And don’t get me started on the joy that is Etsy! Since I’m a Disney girl through-and-through, most of my stash tends to be of the Disney variety or of a similar ilk. Since Jasmine also does work for Disney, I have several of her prints and basically have an entire JBG wall in my house which will only grow with time. I don’t like dithered patterns (as I have mentioned once or twice or a hundred times on my blog). Now that HAED has gone 100% dithered, it has negatively affected the number of patterns I buy, especially JBG designs, but I do still buy them if it’s just a design I can’t live without.

Jasmine Becket-Griffiths wall


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

I’d have to say my first HAED (which is a JBG), The Highland Girl. It was the largest project I had ever done at the time and I’m still in awe of it. Although, the most difficult piece I ever did, the typical stitcher’s rite of passage, Teresa Wentzler The Castle, took me from high school to college to college dropout, then to marriage to divorce, and back to college and dropout again before it got finished, so I guess there is something to be said for that and it holds a lot of memories (as well as stains). HAEDs have spoiled me because I HATE half and quarter stitches, backstitching, and most certainly French knots! My OCD loves a whole project with all the same kind of stitches lined up all nice and neat (although the backside of my projects are atrocious and I can’t see that ever changing).

Highland Girl

The Castle


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

My poor Mickey and Friends. It was an old kit I bought off of eBay back in the day and the material was sucky to begin with. It sat in my stash for years before I started it, so the fabric didn’t age well. Somehow or other, I managed to put my hand right through the fabric creating a huge hole/tear and I ended up patching it with a cutout piece of fabric put on top and stitching over it all. You can’t really tell other than it’s a bit lumpy in that area, but I’ll always know and it drives me insane every single time I look at it. Also, most of the symbols were so similar that I ended up doing most of Donald’s face in the wrong color and, by the time I realized it, it was too late to fix it. He’s got a pink tint to him (and pink is my absolute least favorite color), which is another sore spot for me. Unfortunately, it was during pre-digital age and I used to mark off the completed stitches on the paper with a marker basically destroying the pattern. On top of that, when I finished a project, it was a big deal for me to trash the pattern and the leftover thread as a sort of send-off to the project, so I don’t have the original pattern to redo it. Now, I make copies of paper patterns and keep the original digital copy (if there is one), but I do still trash the working pattern like I always have. I don’t get rid of the old thread anymore though, I save it for a rainy day.

A Patch in Time Saves the Project?


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I always wanted to learn to quilt, but I can’t sew (long story involving my refusal to take home-ec even though my mother tried to force me to every single year of high school). I had this amazing quilt when I was a kid (a Sunbonnet Sue one although it had this hideous yellow ochre backround), and it got ruined when I moved to live with my dad (which also got ruined, but that’s a whole other story). I always wanted to remake that quilt in shades of purple (of course), but alas, it’s probably never meant to be. Quite a few years ago my mother bought me a sewing machine and all kinds of quilting stuff for Christmas, but again, I can’t sew, so the machine sat in my closet for several years still in the box until I lent it to a friend and I haven’t seen it since. Besides, I’m not sure I have the patience or the skill-set to quilt. I’m not a crafty person by nature and all the different mix of fabrics needed for quilting doesn’t play well with my OCD mentality. If I have instructions and a specific task, I do well, but I’m horrible at trying to be creative. Even when I was an art major in college, I did better drawing or painting something in front of me or copying something else versus coming up with my own ideas.


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?

I used to have a drawer of them, but I finally got almost all of them matted and framed. I like the typical black mat and black frame and, because I’m poor, I can’t get too fancy with it anyway. I used to mat and frame them myself, but the older I get, the harder it is for me to cut straight and I’ve gotten lazy and it’s just easier to pay Hobby Lobby to do it. Plus, digital charts tend not to be the standard size, so they need custom frames anyway. In my early years, I did a lot of projects for other people, especially for the birth of a child or marriage, but it seemed like people got less and less appreciative over the years. Designs I worked so hard on got put in attics or trashed and I hated it. Over time, people tend to move on or forget things...we Aspers dwell forever and we NEVER forget. I still have and cherish the projects I did when I was just a wee one and it’s hard for me to comprehend that others don’t think like I do.


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I would say again, Highland Girl (because I have strong Scottish blood) and Princess and the Pea (because I am incredibly sensitive to sensations and have been accused of having Princess and the Pea syndrome anyway). Every pattern or kit I buy has to be "me " or has elements of my taste in it or it won’t hold my attention long enough to finish it.

Princess & The Pea


11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I’m not sure I have any secrets...I’m pretty open on my blog and often talk about things I probably shouldn’t...from work to family to personal stuff. I am the I.T. Systems Admin for a pathology lab by day, live in a trailer filled to the brim with Disney memorabilia by night and rarely venture out of those two realms. There is a part of me that really wants to start doing FlossTube, but that will have to wait until I build my house and I have a well-lit craft room. I also plan to do time-lapse videos of my stitches that I’ve done since I started taking pictures, but I have issues with the lack of symmetry of the pics and need to find a good stacking program first (something I’ve been trying to do for a couple of years). When it comes to jokes, my Asper brain can’t process them quickly enough to get the punch line, so I typically avoid telling them or even listening to them.


12. Anything you would like to add?

Thanks so much Jo for doing this! What a great idea and I’m learning so much about my fellow bloggie friends!






Friday, 16 June 2017

Pat The Southpaw Stitcher

If I referred to this week's Blogger of the Week by her first name I suspect many people would be asking "Who?" as she is so well known by her nickname.  The interview explains the origin of this nickname for those who don't know.  So please welcome Pat, better known as


1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

I'm Pat, blogging as The Southpaw Stitcher.  I grew up in Chicago, Illinois (USA) and am currently living in the suburbs with my hubby of almost 49(!) years and my dog Molly.  You knew I wouldn't miss this opportunity for a photo of the Little Sweetie, didn't you?



2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I started out stitching, like many of my friends, as a pre-teen doing surface embroidery and cross stitch on stamped fabric to make into dresser scarves, napkins, etc.  Right after high school I discovered counted cross stitch, and did that almost exclusively for many years before branching out into other techniques.


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started blogging in early 2011.  Several of my friends were doing it, and Lelia from Stitches of Life sat down with me one afternoon and showed me all the ins and outs of Blogger.   She was and is a great mentor!  My blog title is pretty self-explanatory; I'm left-handed and, surprisingly, the name had not been taken at that point, so I grabbed it.


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.?

Like many of us, I used to be a one-at-a-time stitcher.  That pretty much went out the window after I started joining embroidery/needlepoint guilds.  Now, I usually have 4-5 active WIPs going at one time, and I will work a little on 2-3 different pieces during the course of one day.  That's part of the beauty of being retired!  I guess my tastes are eclectic since I enjoy doing a wide variety of techniques.   The current project that I find most challenging gets worked on for about an hour before breakfast.  (I get up really early.)  Right now, it's Copper Illumination by Kay Stanis.  My deadline is the end of June, and now that I'm back to stitching it, it will most likely get done in time.  



5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I tend to like geometric designs.  My favorite needlepoint designer is Kathy Rees of Needle Delights Originals.  I've done a ton of her pieces, and have many more in my stash.  For cross stitch, it has to be Prairie Schooler since I have so many of their designs.  However, I also really like Plum Street Samplers, Rosewood Manor and Carriage House Samplings, among others.  For blackwork, Elizabeth Almond and Tanja Berlin are pretty much in a dead heat.  The photo is Rainforest Revisited, one of my Kathy Rees projects.



6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

The piece that I'm most proud of is Tanja Berlin's Eastern Bluebird, which won Best of Show at the Lake County Fair last year.



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

My worst stitching disaster is a hardanger piece that I was about 2/3 of the way done with when I cut multiple threads of the ground fabric in the wrong place.  There was no salvaging that one.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I would like to have another go at needle punch.  I tried it about ten years ago without success (it's supposed to be so easy), and I still have a set of expensive needles specifically for that technique.


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?

Once I finish stitching a project, it almost always gets finish-finished right away.  My favorite way to finish?  Giving my stitched pieces to other people and having them do it!  For pictures I have a 92-year-old local framer who is a real gem, so I get those to him immediately because tomorrow's not guaranteed when you're that age!  My small pieces: pillows, needle books, pin cushions and whathaveyou get sent to Averyclaire, who is one of my good friends and lives close by.  She finished this drum pinkeep and the Eastern Bluebird, too.



10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I'll go with the Uptown Stitcher because I'm no spring chicken and I love stitching--although I don't dress like her.  At all.



11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

Well, this really isn't a secret, but it might surprise the folks that I currently hang out with.  Back in the day (early-80's), I used to love going for a canter (sometimes a gallop) on the trails of our local forest preserve on the weekends.  I even took jumping lessons for a while, which kind of terrified me.



12. Anything you would like to add?

I've really benefitted from the various embroidery and needlepoint guilds that I've joined.  I've learned many new techniques which is why my tastes are so eclectic, and made some good friends, too.  
Thank you, Jo, for hosting this blog and for the fun blog hops that you organize throughout the year.  




Friday, 9 June 2017

Melinda from Family Business

I have known this week's Blogger of the Week since the beginning of 2016 although she has been blogging for much longer.  She always shows a nice variety of spooky stitching as well as Christmas stitching and chat about her family.  Not surprisingly, since she is Melinda and her blog is called:


1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Melinda, but my Grandmother (Dad’s mom) decided they were all going to call me Mindy (much to my mother’s disappointment) and it stuck.  I was born in the Western New York State, spent my 6th - 13th year in Ontario Canada and then moved back to Syracuse New York (Central) and I am still here.  I have six grown kids - sons (42, 40) and 4 daughters (34, 32, 29, 28).  11 Grandkids aged 22 - 1.  And I don’t think those kids of mine are finished yet.  Have one dog and one cat.






2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

My mom taught me to knit and embroidery when I was young.  You know I had to start making all those things for my hope chest.  My mom was so perfect in all she did, you can just imagine a right handed perfectionist teaching a left handed tomboy skills with needles.  But I didn’t actually start to cross stitch until 1988 when I was expecting my youngest. I was 35




3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start?  Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started blogging 20th February, 2010.  I created this blog to share all things about my life - so my blog is named Family Business.  It sort of was/is a hashtag we use.  It has evolved to more of just a stitching blog - with  few family or political references.  This has not been a constant thing - but I have tried to blog more consistently the past few years.




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.?


What day is it?  The one thing I am not is organised.  Too much organization in life makes me nervous.  I am random, totally random.




5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

No, I don’t think so.  I love Primitive Hare - I also love Stoney Creek (I still subscribe to this magazine) and those designs are so far from primitive.  I can find a reason to stitch everything and anything.  But I think I am drawn to designs have spark a memory.  And I have 1000s of those.




6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?


This is really hard.  I think I would have to say a Christmas Stocking I finished in 2012 the chart was in one of those hard cover Christmas memories books.






7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?


I can’t think of any true stitching disaster I have had.  Nine times out of ten if it is a stitching mistake, I just figure out a way to edit the chart so I can keep on going. And I have been blessed to never have a mishap to something I am stitching.




8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I am determind to learn more embroidery stitches.  And I want to knit a pair of socks and a sweater.  Upcoming retirement is prompting me to think of ways to keep learning new things - keeping the mind active




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?

Tons of things that are not finished.  So sad, in a box.  Here goes that retirement goal once again.  I have actually only started finishing things (besides framing) over the past couple of years.  So we will see where this takes me.




10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

The me I am today its the 100 years project.  This was a terrible project for me to stitch however, the words ring so true to me.  And I wanted to stitch something to remind my kids of what is important. Now I just have to take it out of the box and fully finish it.






11. Tell us a secret about yourself.  Or a joke.  About anything!


I have no secrets, my life is an open book.  But I guess, since I can share anything and the name of my blog is Family Business, let me say this,  my family - we are a rainbow of different colors, we are straight and we are gay, we practice many different religions, or we don’t practice any at all, we are more than American, we are from Scotland, and England, and Africa and Jamaica. We are Family and we are all about our Business of making this world a better place.


I have no idea why the fonts are so different in this post!  Let's call it a design feature LOL.



Friday, 2 June 2017

Kerry from Ramblings of a Biscornu Addict


This week's blogger is someone I have followed for a long time, I was intrigued by her biscornu collection and loved seeing each one as she showed them.  But as you'll see from the interview Kerry has many more talents up her sleeve!  Please welcome Kerry from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

Hi, I’m Kerry, I live in Worcestershire in the UK. I’ve been married for almost 14 years, we have 2 children who have just both had birthdays – April is a really busy month for us as they are just a day apart. DS is now 12 and DD is 7. We have a rather large hamster called Luna and I work as an administrator for a small company and I’m currently doing a diploma in Business Administration.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I’ve been cross stitching for about 13 years and started when I was I was pregnant with DS. My first cross stitch was of Eeyore. I saw the kit and thought, bet I could do that – turns out after a bit of trial and error I could. I’ve always crafted and I remember doing 2 long stitch kits when I was 8 or 9 one of a cottage and the first was a fawn in a green frame and my Mum got it from Avon! I did the standard sampler at school when I was about 7 on binca too. My Nan taught me to embroider as a teenager too.



3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

My first blog post was on 10th August 2011 and I had a couple of friends I’d met through craftbubble who blogged and I jumped on the bandwagon! I was making a lot of biscornu around that time and I’d built up quite a collection by then too. As you can see from this, I can ramble too!



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’m a bit of an OAAT-er at heart and I like to work on the same design for a few days, until I get bored. I do tend to underestimate how long it will take me to do a project though. I’m not a serial starter and I find having 10 WIP’s stressful. I think I prefer smaller designs as I need finishes to keep me motivated I have 2 big designs in the to-start pile but they both are made up of small sections, so I can claim lots of mini finishes I’m quite organised. I’ve recently made a stitching Bullet Journal as I have lists everywhere I’m hoping this will help me keep track of all my stitching notes in one place rather than my current method of calendar, notebook and several lists.



5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I’m currently quite drawn to primitive and Quaker designs and I have several on my wish list from Heartstring Samplery as well as Elizabeth Shephard from The Scarlett Letter to start. I also like bold designs from designers like Lizzie Kate, Wee Little Stitches and Satsuma Street along bright florals designs. I adore blackwork too.


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

I have lots of pieces for I’m proud of for different reasons. I love Irises and Hydranga by Sheila Hudson, that I’ve never gotten around to framing despite finishing them probably years ago!



I love my blackwork pieces too – this one is Art Nouveau window by Holbein Embroidery.



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

The hole that mysteriously appeared in Blackwork birdsong last week? Other than that- my failed attempt at a HAED as I decided to do it 2 over 1 full crosses on 25 ct. That was too much like hard work and after about 1500 stitches I gave up. I’d do another HAED – still on 25ct but 1 over 1 tent stitch this time.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

Hardanger but the cutting of the threads terrifies me! I’m going to give flat fold finishes a go too. As for other crafts, I would love to spend more time on my hexagon quilt. It’s been over a year since I last put any hexi’s in and crochet – I definitely have an awful lot to learn with that.



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?

A small box of around 8 pieces, I’ve been trying to get them done this year. I usually frame bigger pieces and small cushions or bell pulls out of the smaller ones.


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I asked my family this one as I really had no idea and they said… the Blackwork sampler. I think they are probably right, lots of detail – I love the small details, speciality stitches –I love learning new stuff, my love of stitched florals, and it’s a quiet piece. Hubby says it’s not fussy either – I’m not sure how to take that!



11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I’m not sure there are many secrets to share but DD had to take a joke to school recently for Comic Relief – we spent a while chatting over dinner about our favourite jokes so here goes.

Q: Why did the elephant paint his toenails red...

A: To hide upside down in a cherry tree.

I had an elephant joke book as a kid and loved it. You could tell – it got so tatty.


12. Anything you would like to add?


Floss tube is my new adiction as well as following so many awesome blogs. Stitchers are such an inspriring (and enabling) bunch (a big thank you to Jo for putting this together). Thank you to all who follow my blog and leave me me such lovely comments. It really means a lot to me.