Stitching on holiday

imageThis week my stitching place is the stuff of dreams. Beautiful view, great light during the day and a lamp for when it gets dark. A fireplace to keep me warm – there is actually snow outside despite it being May. Between the view and the fire, it’s a wonder I am getting any stitching done at all.

Lately I have been working on keeping life simple. With that in mind, instead of bringing a larger more complex project with me on holiday I went with something simple and easy.

For my project this holiday I am working on the model for a bookmark. My stitching packing list was:

  • Pattern
  • Aida
  • The 3 colors used in the project
  • 1 contrasting color for the grid – I could have brought only the 3 colors but the habit of using a contrasting color for the grid is too ingrained in me.
  • 3 needles – somehow I always break needles
  • My trusty scissors – I make sure to pack them in the checkin luggage
  • Dental floss – not only good for keeping my teeth and gums healthy but also great to cut threads if I want to stitch on the airplane.


Since it’s a small narrow and stiff piece of Aida I don’t need a frame. This is such a change from past trips when I brought along large projects with complex charts and many color changes. In the end I didn’t stitch at all because it was too much trouble to get my project out and set up.

This time, it all fits in a small pouch and I can easily carry it along with me wherever we go… So I am actually stitching whenever I am in the mood for it!

Ubuntu – Finished!

DSC00372Its been a long time since I’ve had a finish of the stitchy kind… Today changes that. This morning I finished my Ubuntu bookmark. Just in time to use it on my holiday!

The front of the bookmark has the Zulu word “Ubuntu”. Meaning human kindness, compassion and the interconnectedness between us all. If you you want to know more about it, you can read about it here.

For the back I wrote the words “we are one” with a rainbow coloured background using assisi work. South Africa is the rainbow nation after all.

This was such a simple design to make and an easy stitch… yet it is so meaningful. ❤


ubuntu previewUbuntu is a beautiful word from the Xhosa and Zulu people of South Africa. It can be simply translated as human kindness and compassion. However, it is so much more than that, it includes the principle of connectedness: ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’.

The images and news coming out of southern Africa right now are just the opposite of what ubuntu means. I can only hope that soon tempers will cool down and peace is restored to an area of the world that is so close to my heart.

I felt compelled to create a chart for a simple bookmark with the word Ubuntu. For the back I have decided to chart the words “we are one” outlined in the rainbow colours. Each time I use the bookmark, it will remind me to be kind and compassionate… and that we are all connected in this little blue planet we call Earth.

Once I have stitched it, I intend to make the pattern available to anyone that wants it for free.

I end this post with one of my favourite quotes from Nelson Mandela, one I hope the people of South Africa will take to their hearts:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

Easy win – Checker Alphabet

Its been a rough week at work and I had the flu to boot and I am dreading next week. I needed an easy win last night to get me in the mood for the weekend.

A browse through my old designs and WIP charts and I found that it wouldn’t take much to finish the chart for the Checker Alphabet. So thats what I did, finished it and released it on Etsy. Its not perfect but its done.

Thats the first of the 6 patterns I would like to release this year. Small happy dance!IMG_3216

A Fresh Look

screenshotlg1After 3 years of inactivity, I feel inspiration returning. It is too early to tell if this new found creative energy will stay or if its just a fleeting moment.

Ever the hopeful, I have given my website a fresh new look using the Sketch WordPress theme. I am delighted with this minimalist layout which allows me to easily showcase my designs and to maintain a blog.

Over the next few months, I would like to get back to journaling about my design experiences and the simple joys of life. If inspiration and motivation stays with me, it will be great to create some new designs and share them with you.

Image credit: the picture used in this post is from the Sketch theme description.

Just released my 3rd pattern!

Today’s goal was to finish the pattern for “Stitching, Please Wait” and release it on Etsy. DONE!

Now to spend time with my girls!

Working On… And First Customer

Today, or more accurately, yesterday I had my first customer. When I checked my inbox this morning there was an email telling me one of my patterns had been sold. Happy dance!

After I delivered the pattern I spent most of the morning playing around with the content of this blog. Particularly with the sidebars trying to make it easier to find the content. I am now almost happy with the layout.

I also took the time to finally create a twitter account for Chanda Belle.

Now its time to get back to designing and stitching on any of the following designs:

I may well have too many pieces on the drawing board… Time to finish and release a few of them!

Up and running again!

I’ve managed to transfer all my data from a backup to my “play” laptop. It will do nicely until we fix my main computer. In the process of transferring all the data to the laptop I’ve also started re-organizing my files. A bit of work to do there, but the new structure will give me easier access to my most used files, as well as making sure that important stuff isn’t lost. So this crash of my main computer may actually be a blessing in disguise.

Fortunately my file that lists all my design ideas and my inspirations folder were both recovered. I am extremely happy about that… Now I can get back to creating new designs.

Am I the only one that feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day? I have all these ideas and not enough time to make them reality! The process of creating a new design for me involves:

1. The idea
2. Research on the topic if needed
3. Draft sketches
4. Create a pattern
5. If specialty stitches are needed, find the right ones and learn how to stitch them
6. Stitch the piece.
7. Finish the piece and take photos

Then, if its a pattern that I want to add to my store I have 3 additional steps:
8. Correct the pattern and adjust the legend symbols to make it more readable
9. Create a chart with the pattern, legend, instructions and model picture
10. Add to store

Its all very simple… except that I need more time! I often get as far as create a pattern, and there the whole project gets put on hold until I find the time to test stitch it.

I have many patterns waiting to be stitched up and even more waiting to be charted. Its tough selecting which one to work on next… but I shouldn’t complain. Better that than to have a complete block of creativity.

New Theme and Stitching

Major online time suck this weekend! I spent a fair amount of time changing the theme template on this journal, I wanted to have 3 columns so I can share lots of pictures and links. Then I figured out how to add a page for Chanda Belle to Facebook and to link it to this journal so that post updates show up.

In between family activities I also managed to select the colours for my current creation:

And I made a start on it… Here is a teaser of “Stitching”: