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Hi, everyone. Welcome to Series 3, Episode 33 of The Cross Stitch Podcast.
So, this is the last ordinary episode of 2020. And I’m glad we’re ending on Episode 33, that is, like, one of my favorite numbers. I love the number three. I think I’ve mentioned that before on the podcast.
So, this episode is actually a recording from an Instagram Live that I did last week. Some of you may have already watched that. I did it on Friday the 4th of December. So, you may have already seen it, so you might not want to listen to this whole episode, but, you know, I’m going to chat a little bit before I share that recording.
Because it was a Live, it’s quite short. I don’t really tend to ramble on too much when I’m live, not like I do on the podcast, but I just have a lot going on this week so the easiest thing was to just go live and record it and share on the podcast too because I know not all of you follow me on Instagram. It’s just been one of those weeks, you know, where I just thought it was going to be restful and peaceful, and just things went a bit crazy. I had a horrendous migraine, like, the end of last week, and then the kids had a snow day, and then we had a new bed arrive today. We thought it was going to take an hour to build, it ended up taking, like, five hours to build.
And, guys, right now I’m sat in the living room, and I was so excited to get into bed tonight to try out the new bed. And then, I was doing — I was on a call tonight and I heard my little — one of my little’s feet coming down the stairs, and I was like, “Hmm.” Because it’s quite late when I’m recording this just because the five hours of building a bed today took up some of my work time. And I heard these little feet pattering down the stairs, and I was like, “Oh, what’s the matter?” And he was like, “There’s a spider in my bedroom.” And we rarely get spiders in this house, so I was, like, “Oh, is there, are you sure?”
So, we went upstairs and had a look. And sure enough, there was a spider in his room. And I’m trying to act all calm, like, “It’s fine. Mummy can get it. Don’t worry.” Freaking out on the inside. I do not enjoy spiders. So, I got it anyway, got it out, got it out of his room for him. And of course, he would not go to sleep in that room then. Which I don’t blame him, I wouldn’t have gone to sleep in there either, so he is now in my brand new bed — star fishing in the bed.
So, the first night in my brand new bed will be spent with a seven-year-old in there with me too. My husband is not here, so just the two of us for a few hours until he gets home. He’s working nights again.
So, yeah, that is just like why things have just been a bit crazy. And you know what’s really interesting, which probably isn’t very interesting to you, but at the start of lockdown here in the UK, like right at the start, there was a spider in my little boys bedroom, but we found it in the middle of the day. My husband was home, luckily. And so, like, we got it out and then — well, he got it out and everything. And that was like the first spider that we’d ever found in this house in four years we’ve lived here for. And of course, it was in his room, and it was a pretty big one. And he wouldn’t sleep in his room for about two weeks. He just would not go back in there. Luckily the spider tonight was not as big, but it’s just really interesting that at the start of lockdown that happened, and, like, we’ve just come out of lockdown here in England again, and, oops, spider again.
But, yeah, I’ve told him that when he’s in school tomorrow I will clean all his room for him and hoover everywhere, and move — sometimes moving things around in there helps him. So, hopefully, that will help, and then he will go back in his room tomorrow night.
So, I’m just sitting here, obviously recording this introduction. And just looking at the Christmas tree and thinking about 2020 and just what a crazy year it’s been. And at the end of the year I like to go back and listen to the podcast from January and just see what I was planning for the year. And it’s just so interesting what happened.
So, at the start of 2020, I was planning on stopping selling physical kits. I didn’t really want to do them anymore. I wanted to focus more on the blog, more on the podcast, and then, obviously, lockdown happened and we went into lockdown. And so, I stopped selling kits. I kind of turned my shop off for a little bit, and then I turned it back on. And things went a little bit crazy, and I sold so many kits through lockdown. Obviously everybody just wanted something to do. And so, I sold lots and lots of craft kits, cross stitch kits throughout lockdown, more than I’d ever sold in that short a space of time before. Five times as busy what I usually am at Christmas.
And then, thing obviously went back to normal-ish again, orders went back to normal, and I was preparing for the Christmas rush that always happens again, and I was listening back to them episodes from January and I just thought, “Wow, what happened? I just kind of got back on the train of doing kits again, and I was like I like giving you all kits, I like doing the simple kits to give you all, you know I like giving you that option to buy a kit and you make it and it’s done, and you don’t have to waste any thread or buy a whole bunch of Aida when you’re only going to use a little bit. I do like that, and I enjoy that aspect of making kits, but I just kind of realize it’s just not where my heart is anymore, I guess. And whenever I’m making kits, I just kind of think, oh, I could be designing this, or making that, or teaching this, or sharing this, and it was just kind of draining me quite a lot. And I tried to get my husband on board to do the kits for me, and he really did help throughout November, but it just wasn’t — it’s just not really a viable option for us. It doesn’t light him up either. He’s not made to be making kits all day for me.
So, I’m just basically really slowing down the kits now. This is usually my busiest time of year with selling cross stitch kits. I mean, I’m assuming this year would have been as busy as lockdown. But generally December is my busiest time and it’s just really strange because I only have about four kits left, like four different designs left in stock. I’m basically just running down my stock now until they sell out, and then I’m not doing anymore.
Now, I will still have kits for stitch-a-longs, they’re a bit different. They’re just easier in lots of ways. It’s just one design, I don’t print a pattern with it, I give you full skeins of thread now. So, it’s just a bit different doing a stitch-a-long kit, and I will still be doing those, so don’t worry. I know lots of you join my stitch-a-long because I do a kit with it and you like that option. So, I totally will be doing that still, but it’s just like those little smaller kits. I won’t be selling them on a kind of every day basis.
My plan is to do, like, sale nights. I love doing the sale nights with you all. If you’ve ever joined one of my sale nights before, I do a summer one and a Christmas one usually. I love those so, so much. So, my plan is really to do just a few sale nights a year with the kits and just build loads of stock over the few months, and then do a big sale night and kind of work like that rather than the everyday trickle of orders that usually happen. I’m just — I don’t know, they just — I will just do them and just be very drained after doing them. Whereas when I do a live sale with you all and do it in that, like, one night, it’s just so much better. I have so much energy. I love showing up live with you all. It’s something that I’ve come to realize in 2020, is that I just love the energy around being with you all even though it’s through a screen and digitally and everything. It’s just something that I’ve come to realize about 2020 is that I really enjoy being live with you all. Especially with the stitch-a-long and the sale nights.
So, yeah, it’s like a massive change, but also one that’s kind of been coming for about a year because I literally said in January I was going to do, and it’s now 11 months later. And I finally am doing it. And that is the reason why the podcasts are going weekly next year. I can’t wait for that. I’m so excited. And I’m just excited to see what happens with that.
Some people genuinely think I’m absolutely crazy for doing this. I’ve spoken to a few people about it and they are a bit confused. They’re like, “But what are you doing to do instead, that’s your whole business?” And I’m sure a lot of you know that that isn’t my whole business. I’m sure most of you probably don’t even know that I sell kits on these different stores. I sell on an English storefront here called Not on the High Street, I sell at Etsy, I have my website, I used to markets and things like that last year. So, for many of you, you probably don’t even know that. Especially if you’re new here, you probably just think of the blog and the podcast and my Facebook group and stitch-a-longs. Many of you probably don’t realize that on an everyday basis, most of the time I’m just packing orders, and it’s just not where my heart is anymore.
But when I told a few people that I was thinking of it, they were just generally like, what? They were just so confused. Especially because that is, like, half of my income for my business, so it is pretty scary, but I’m also really excited to just kind of take that leap of faith. I shared a quote on my Instagram — I say a quote, I kind of made it up, so I don’t know it if is a quote. Some of you have it on a pattern, actually. It was something like you cannot have love without hate, you can’t have joy without despair, and you can’t have a leap of faith without a bucket full of fear. But if you chose love over hate, and you chose join over despair, and chose faith over fear, then you shine a little brighter. And that is genuinely what I believe.
I think just thinking about energy and how I show up for you all, and just generally just the energy that you have in the day, I just sort of started tuning into it more and more. And I just realized I shine a lot brighter when I’m on a podcast, when I’m talking to you in the Facebook group, when I’m hosting a stitch-a-long, than I do when I’m just packing kits all day. It just drains me.
And it’s hard to admit that because a lot of people probably want to be in the position where they are getting lots of orders and packing lots of orders all day, and that is what I used to want. That was what Hannah Hand Makes kind of turned into for a few years, but it does just drain me a little bit now. And I end the day and I’m just tired. And I’m like, oh. But when I’m designing patterns or I’m planning a stitch-a-long or I’m creating digital things or planning like a — I’m planning a free challenge, which I’ll talk more about next week, I’m just so lit up. I just shine brighter and I can work for, like, 12 hours and not even be a little bit tired. I can just keep going and going and going.
So, that is just like how I kind of came to that decision. I didn’t even plan on sharing that with you all. I don’t even know where that just came from. But I think it’s because I’ve just come off a call about just, like, reflecting on 2020. And so, it was just on my mind. Like, I’ve literally just hopped off and then come straight on to record this podcast introduction, so the longest introduction ever.
So, I just wanted to share that with you all so you know where I’m going and I hope that you all are as excited as I am for weekly episodes next year.
Like I said, I do have an episode going out next week. In that episode I am going to be talking more about 2020, and it’s going to be quite a light-hearted talk, and I know it’s been a hard year and we will probably discuss that. We haven’t actually recorded it yet. And I keep saying we, I’m sort of spoiling the secret, but we’re kind of talking more about the — not the benefits that came out of it, but more like the silver linings. You know, finding that joy, finding that love, finding the gratitude, and talking more about things like that rather than focusing on the negative, even though we know it was a bad year.
So, I’m recording with a guest. It’s my first, I’m not going to call it an interview. It’s a conversation, and I hope the technology works. I’ve never done this before. But that is a peek at things to come in 2021. So exciting!
So, yes, I think that’s all I have to share really, was just that things are changing and they’re good changes. And that this episode is basically a recording that you may have already seen or heard, but I’ll pop it on here anyway, and it is just sharing five finishing ideas that are Christmas-themed for your Christmas cross-stitch designs. You all know I love finishing projects off in different ways.
Which is also another interesting thing because a couple of years ago, when I was really focused on the kits, I was actually going to change my name to Hannah’s Hoops because I framed all my projects in hoops. And then, I got a little bored of doing that and started thinking of other ways I could finish my projects off. And imagine if I did change to Hannah’s Hoops, that just would not have worked, would it. I would have had to change back to Hannah’s Hand Makes next year.
So, I’ll let you go now and dive into the episode. It is literally about seven minutes long, guys, it’s not every long at all. And next week I have that new episode going out. And there will also be another bonus just talking about that free challenge that I mentioned. It probably won’t be for all of you because it’s sort of for beginners, but, again, I’ll just talk more about that next week. I’ll just pop a little mini episode out for you all so you can take a listen and see if it’s for you.
So, here’s the episode.
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Hi, everyone. How are you all? Happy Friday.
It’s so exciting here today because it’s snowing, but it’s actually really windy. So, the snow isn’t very nice. I can’t wait for it to actually stop snowing so we can outside in it. Walking around in right now is not great. It’s pretty cold. I had to sit in my car for ages before to warm up before I could get out to come into the house.
But, yeah, exciting because it’s snowing.
Three weeks until Christmas. I’m so excited. Today I just wanted to talk about five finishing ideas for Christmas projects that you can make from your cross stitch designs. Most of them I’m going to mention, you’re going to have to kind decide before you start stitching what you’re making, but there’s one you could just use the design for and then turn it into something.
I’m going to start with something new. You can hear the bells there. This I finished off yesterday. This was stitched by Amanda, and then I turned it into a little project. Some of you bought this class from me last Black Friday. Last Black Friday? Last week on Black Friday, and if you’re waiting for that it’s going live today. The video is actually uploading right now. That is a Santa Treat mat.
We’ve done it. Amanda stitched all the design, and then I finished it off with the bells, felt on the back. There’s a place to put Santa’s drink, his snacks, and the carrots for the reindeer.
I just kind of gave Amanda all the colors to play with, all the glitters. I do mention in the class that I kind of feel like this yellow is a bit harsh, but that’s one idea that you can make. You can make a Santa treat mat.
I’m going to put a link in my bio on my profile after I’ve done this video, so you can go and check and that class out. I’m going to give you all 25% off for the rest of December for that class. I think that makes it $9. You get the pattern and everything inside too.
So, that was number one.
Number two is just a really simple idea, and it’s just to do these little mini ones and frame your finished cross stitch design in a flexi hoop because the good thing about a flexi hoop is — well, they look really nice finished. You can get quite small ones. This is three-inch. And then, they have the hook already on so you can hang them on the Christmas tree.
I did have these as little kits. I don’t think I have any left now, and I’m closing today. This pattern is off my Deck the Halls pattern, which you can get on Etsy, but I used color changing thread for the stocking. It was 4052, I think the number is. It’s called Christmas. How cute!
I love just framing in little mini hoops like this so you can just hang them straight on the tree. I have a few small designs like that that I hang on the tree. I haven’t finished this one off in the back yet, but it’s ready to go. That’s another finishing idea for you rather than using a wooden hoop.
Wooden hoops are great, but obviously you need to put string on and stuff. These can actually just hang straight on the branch if you want them, or you can add string, but they just have a nicer finish at the top.
So, hi, everyone, if you have any questions while you’re here, please just pop them in the comments and I will reply to you while you’re here.
My next idea is these little mittens to hang on the tree. This is from a Cross Stitch Crazy — I think it was Cross Stitch Crazy last year, they’re Christmas pattern thing last year. There’s a bit of glitter on this one. But this literally, guys, I didn’t even finish the back. I just stitched on — I think this was 24 or 25-count evenweave, so the holes are quite bit, so I used four strands of thread to make it look nice and chunky. It might have been three, actually. Three or four stands of thread. And I didn’t do anything. I just cut around it and fray checked the edges.
These are from last year and they’ve held up pretty well. I did two. You can see they held up all right. So you can use those.
What else do I have?
Oh, you can make a cross stitch bunting as well. I have a tutorial on the blog for a summer one, but you can change the designs to Christmas if you want to instead. So, you can just use Christmas designs for the bunting and put it on. I don’t have the summer one with me. It’s away now for summer. But you can check that out on the blog and you can just use Christmas designs instead.
I have no idea what we’re up to. Is that number four? It was.
So, number five, again, I don’t have this to show you either, but you can make a cross stitch stocking. You can either stitch the whole design on the front for the stocking and then finish it into a stocking. I know Satsuma Street, Jody, has some lovely stocking patterns that you can make the whole front cross stitch design. Or you can just grab your stock that you have already and add a personalization to it. You can put a name across it or just any extra designs you want to have on it.
I have a tutorial on the blog about stitching on clothes. You can kind of use this same idea for stitching right onto a stocking. You can use waste canvas or soluble canvas and add a design to it, and then just take off the canvas and your stitching is left.
Those are five finishing ideas for you today for Christmas. Of course you can also make and Advent calendar, but I think I’ve spoke about an Advent calendar a little bit much these past few weeks. Obviously that’s a little bonus for you as well.
There are so many things you can do at Christmas. There’s so many ideas. They’re just five small ones because obviously we’re getting quite close to Christmas now. So, I just wanted to share those with you.
Yeah, I hope you’re having a good Friday. If you’re watching the replay and you have any questions for me, just let me know in the comments below and I will answer as soon as possible, as long as we don’t freeze to death in this weather. I’m looking outside and the snow is not stopping. It is so, so bad.
I’m going to go now. I hope you’re all having a lovely day and I will speak to you very soon. Bye-bye.
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Thank you so much for much for listening to that episode. If you want to have a look at any of the projects that I mentioned in today’s episode, you can head over to the website, hannahhandmakes.com and just search for finishing idea of Christmas finishing ideas, and the blog post will come up. It will have all the pictures of what I am talking about and some links as well to that class that I mention, the treat mat class, and other tutorials and things if you want to go and have a look at the tutorials that I mention too.
Hope you’re having a lovely day and I will speak to you next week.
Bye for now.