Trying out Ali Express

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I have heard a lot about the website AliExpress but had never checked it out before. I decided to try ordering some trims to use to finish off my cross stitch projects as ornaments, mini pillows, etc. When I visited the site for the first time I was overwhelmed. You can get just about anything on there! Because I wasn’t 100% certain that it was legit, I decided to keep my purchase to around $20. This way if the items never came and I didn’t get my money back, or if the supplies themselves were very sub-par, I wouldn’t be out much.

My main interests were ribbons and pom pom trim, but I found some lace and ric rac that was cute so I decided to add those too. One thing I didn’t get that I sort of wish I had looked for, was different colored baker’s twine. It is really expensive to buy at hobby shops or in the cake decorating section.

For the pom pom trim, I went with multi packs that contained many colors. One pack was all the same size, just in different colors. The other was a grab bag of sizes and colors.

The lace was just a couple of things that stood out to me, mostly in white but also a star trim in black.

The ribbons were a mixture of colors but all the same pattern in a pack – I ordered polka dots, gingham, and chevron. I also ordered a “mystery pack”. I knew how many ribbons I would get, how wide they were, and how long, but I had no idea what would be in the package. That one turned out okay. A few were ginghams and polka dots similar to what I had already purchased, and one had the word Handmade all over it. Apparently you cut the ribbon into little pieces and use one piece to attach as a label to something you have made. One had the word NICE written all over it so it came out looking like ICENICENICENICENICENICENICEN. I doubt I will use that one, as it is just odd. Another one says Forever Love all over it and is kind of gimicky. But at least the words are separated. I probably will not buy a mystery bag in the future.

It only took 27 days to receive everything from China. I did order each item from the same shop. I am not sure what would have happened if I had ordered from multiple shops. I am guessing I would have received more than one package in the mail and they probably would not have come at the same time.

The total cost for everything shown in the photos was $21!

I can’t wait to finish off some of my projects using these trims. My favorites are the polka dot ribbons and pom pom trims. I wish I had ordered some ribbons in solid colors, along with the baker’s twine. But I am very happy with my purchase and will likely order again.


More stash finds

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While going through my stitchy supplies I found a kit that I had forgotten I had ordered off of Amazon around Christmas time. I had been interested in this chart for about 2 years, after having seen it in a British magazine as a “subscriber gift”. But the advertisement never mentioned what it was called, or where you could purchase it. Finally I decided to do a little sleuthing with Google images, and after a while I found it! I was really happy to see that Amazon had it for only $11 including shipping, whereas other stores were charging up to $27 just for the kit. Yikes! I had Amazon gift cards saved up, so it ended up not costing me a dime. The kit is by DMC and it is called Butterfly Garden. The kit is number BK1545 and the designer is one of my favorites, Susan Bates! Normally I see her designs in the British magazines and she is affiliated with Anchor, so this was kind of surprising. I did not know who the designer was until after I bought the kit, but now I am not surprised that I was drawn to it and couldn’t stop thinking about it for a couple of years.


I just love the bright colors of this, and it would look so great by my computer to keep the dreariness of my location away. Yes, even in April it is gray, cold, and not very nice looking outside. Once the snow is completely gone, the bugs will be out and the trees outside my window will be nothing but shades of green. So, I could definitely use a bit of a color pick-me-up! I’m not sure if I will start on this right away after finishing the Pyramids, or if I will work on another WIP or start on the mermaid. Choices, choices!


2016 Goals

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In 2015 my goal was to “stitch from stash” and get some things cleared out. I did stitch quite a few little cards, but I didn’t have as much fun as I would have if I had been stitching things I really wanted to make. So for 2016, my stitching goals are projects that I really want to do and have had on my to-do list for a while. Of course, I will never get all of these done this year. But these are the projects that have been in the back of my mind for some time now:


Pyramids by John Clayton



The Gods of Egypt from Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches issues 121, 122, and 123. Sadly I only have the first and third issues and have not been able to find issue 122 anywhere, even eBay. But I could stitch the middle and right side and stitch the left side portion later.



Charles from John Clayton’s Elegance series.



His Name is Jesus. This was a free chart I got online and I think I will use variegated threads for it.



A Summer Ball (almost 1/5 complete so far).



The deer in the woods, which I have been working on for years and really want to get done with.


Uh Oh, More Stash!

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Today a new issue of The World of Cross Stitching came in the mail, and had a free kit with it for a floral sachet. I had also received an adorable kit of a hedgehog with the last issue, which I never got around to stitching. So that’s two new kits to add to my stash. And this year is supposed to be all about de-stashing!


The hedgehog kit seems a bit daunting, but the sachet looks like it could be worked up in a day or two. I think I might tackle that one as soon as Nefertiti is done, just so that it is not taking up space in my “kits” tote, which is overflowing as it is. That wad of batting they give you for it is huge! Maybe putting some potpourri inside would make it smell nice. I really need to get these free kits stitched up. It is already April and I am kind of disappointed on the number of finishes I have done so far this year. I want to work on A Summer Ball too, but I think I will have to finish at least one small kit before I can get back to work on it.



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Here are some pictures of my stash of kits. I don’t plan on doing all of these in 2015, but I would like to do a bunch of them. The first photo shows the kits I have received from World of Cross Stitching magazine. These will be my top priority because they are small and contain good materials.


The next photo shows my stash of larger kits. I would especially like to stitch the DMC African scene and the three sets of Nativity figures.


And finally, my stash of miscellaneous kits. These will probably not get attempted in 2015. These came from clearance sales, garage sales, etc and have been in my stash forever. The materials in the tiny kits especially are not very good, so I may not even hang onto these.


Next up: photos of my threads stash!



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While doing some early spring cleaning, I found an empty vinyl zippered bag that I had purchased just after Christmas. It originally held makeup (you know how they roll out all those gift sets in November, and then sell them half price on Dec 26). Well, I had purchased this for the makeup inside, but couldn’t bear to just throw the bag out, even though I had no use for it at the time. When I rediscovered it, inspiration hit. Normally when I am working on a project I keep my threads, needles, and scissors in a ziplock baggie on the end table in our living room, next to the couch where I do all of my stitching. It’s not that I don’t have several of those nice plastic organizers that are made just for cross stitch, and hold a bunch of floss bobbins and accessories. Because I do. It’s just that they are all full. I pull out the skeins I need for a project, and label the container so I know what it is for. After you have used up a dozen of those containers, however, you find yourself running to the kitchen drawer to find something – anything – to put your stash in for your current project. I actually don’t have a dozen projects going at one time, it’s just that I tend to be lazy and not put anything away when I am finished with it. So I have several of those cute plastic organizers full of carded floss, that I don’t need any more because the project is done. Instead of taking them out and finding the time to put them back into my main stash (in DMC numerical order) I end up throwing the whole thing into an even larger tote. So when it comes time to pull threads for a new project, I usually can only find half of the colors I need (even though I know I have at least one of every DMC shade).

So for my next project, I am going to try something new. While ziplock baggies do work, they aren’t ideal for storing cross stitch notions. I think this makeup bag will do just the trick. It is large enough to hold my fabric, hoop, floss, needles, scissors, chart, and a colored pencil so I can mark off my stitches as I go along. It has a handle, so it will be easy to take anywhere, and it is see-through, so I know just what project is inside. And best of all, it was free (sort of). This newest project is only one color, so I don’t have to worry about putting floss away when I am done. The bag will then be ready for my next project. As for this project, that is going to be a surprise. I will reveal it here as it comes along.


Digging through the stash

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Tonight I needed a break from stitching and decided to go through my stash of threads. Oh, what fun! I have picked up silks, cottons, and overdyes from various sources, but mostly shop closings. The rainbow of colors is simply breathtaking! And I love the feel of these different types of fibers. Hopefully these photos will inspire you to go through your own stash and find some things you can use to create your next masterpiece. Here is the first tote of goodies.

Inside, I found Weeks Dye Works Pearl Cotton:

Northern Lights silks:

Kreinik Silk Mori:

and huge hanks of Gloriana silks:

I also found a stash of what appears to be one skein each of the entire line of overdyed floss by JAR Designs in Florida. I don’t know anything about this company, and an internet search didn’t provide much information. It looks like they are out of business or just don’t have a website any more. The skeins are small, but I am sure I will find something to use them on!

By far, my favorite from this stash is the lot of twisted skeins of Silk N Threads from The Thread Gatherer. They are sooooo gorgeous! I can’t wait to find a project to utilize some of these. If I can bear to cut into them, that is! They are so pretty the way they are.