Happy January! I have to say this has been the oddest January I can remember... While many of you are getting buried in snow in locales that normally receive little or none of the white stuff, we haven't had more than an inch. As I write this post--we have nothing on the ground--only green grass! We didn't even have snow for Christmas, which I always hope for. Oh well, it's made it very easy to get around, but I feel for the ski resorts, snow removal companies, and others who rely on snow for their livelihoods in the winter. It must be a very tough year for them here in western Pennsylvania!
So, how is this new year treating you so far? There seems to be a fair number of colds and flu going around the world from what I've been reading on your blogs. I'm always amazed that I'm not sick more often, considering what I do for a living and all the germ-infested things that I touch in the library on any given workday--the library cards, the computer mice, the keyboards, even the books themselves! But, so far, so good--I hope my good health holds out as it will be one busy, busy year for my family. So far, we have three family weddings (including my son's in October--can't wait!), my mom's 90th birthday in May, and our 40th wedding anniversary in July on our calendar. Lots of travel, but for such joyous occasions!
I've begun stitching a new mid-sized sampler, but don't have enough worth showing quite yet, so, instead, I'm going to share with you some of the Christmas ornaments that I sent to friends here in the U.S. There are still a couple of ornaments wandering who-knows-where in Europe and I'm beginning to worry as it has been almost a month since I mailed them... Oh dear! I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that they will show up at their new homes...
This sweet Hands On Design (from the "Chalkboard Ornaments Part 3" chart) flew across the state to my friend, Mary. I was so tickled with this finish that I know I'll be stitching it again for myself. It is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco and is so tiny that I had to scale everything down. I cut smaller leaves from felt than those that came with the chart, used a smaller button, and finished it with some miniature white ric rak. A little tip: when you finish an ornament, pay close attention to scale. If the ornament is small, use smaller prints and trims for a more polished looking finish.
|Hands On Design "Silent Night" finish|
Myra, in North Carolina, received this handsome gold Prairie Schooler Santa from the "Father Christmas" Book No. 43. This is the second time I've stitched this one and the second time I've given him away so the third time will be for me (greedy, aren't I?!). I used 40 ct. flax Newcastle and the suggested DMC colors in this design. An oval finish with hand-made cording and a simple bow finished him off quite nicely. I never get tired of stitching Prairie Schooler Santas for some reason--they are just such classics.
|Prairie Schooler Santa finish from Book No. 43|
And my friend Robin, in Virginia received yet another Prairie Schooler ornament from the "Evergreen" Book No. 202. I used 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle and good old DMC threads for this finish along with a bit of lace and some little red jingle bells sewn along the bottom. I so love that dove and peace is something we surely could use a lot more of these days... I plan on stitching this one again, too, but this time, on black!
|Prairie Schooler Dove of Peace finish|
Speaking of stitching on black, when I was taking down my Christmas tree last week, I was surprised to see just how many ornaments I had stitched on black... I posted this photo on my Instagram page last week and it was a big hit, so I thought you blogging buddies might like to see it, too. Do you know what my favorite is? If you guessed one of the Prairie Schoolers--you're wrong! Nope--it is the one right in the middle: "Five Golden Rings" by Cottage Garden Samplings. Are you surprised? I don't know what it is, but there is just something special about those sweet angels carrying the golden rings, that I really adore. So, do you have a favorite?
|Can you tell I love stitching on black?|
But wait! There are more!! A couple of my Instagram friends asked me about the PS Santa with the cardinal that they remembered seeing on my blog a few years back and I realized I had totally left out not just that one, but two others, as well. The Santas were not at all happy with me and wondered how on earth I could forget them, so I promised them their very own "photo shoot!" Several people asked about what fabric I used on this trio... Well, these are each done on something different; the Santa with the cardinal is on 32 ct. black Belfast linen, the one with the lantern is done "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco, and the Santa pulling the sled is done on 18 ct. Aida.
|Three Prairie Schooler Santas on black|
I wanted to stitch something special for my oldest son and his fiancée to commemorate 2016--the year they got engaged, and I thought this Little House Needleworks ornament fit the bill perfectly. I chose to use the green cording as I didn't want anything too "girly" since it is for both of them. I'm happy to say it was well-received and I hope to start a tradition of making them an ornament each year to add to their tree. We so enjoyed having her with us at Christmas--another girl in the mix was fun for me and she and my son were both a great help in the kitchen. They even got me and my husband out bowling on New Year's Eve, something we hadn't done since college over 40 years ago! (And, believe me, my poor aching body reminded me of that fact for a few days after--bowling certainly uses muscles that I don't ordinarily work out!). We won't talk about the score--let's just say I need more practice...
|Little House Needleworks: "Season of Love" finish|
A new stitcher! My future daughter-in-law expressed interest in my cross stitching and said she wanted to learn, too, so, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to teach her. It was just a quick lesson on 14 ct. Aida using two colors and a simple lady bug chart. I was so surprised to get this back in the mail earlier this week! Not only had she finished the lady bug on her flight home, but she added the heart and the wording all by herself... She says she has found "her hobby!" YAY!! Another young convert! I am so happy to see more of the younger generation finding the joys of cross stitching--it really does warm my heart. I began stitching when I was in my early 20's and it has brought me so many relaxing moments. My 62nd birthday is right around the corner and I'm sure at age 22, I never dreamed that I would still be stitching 40 years later!
|First cross stitch ever from my future daughter-in-law!|
And, there I go again with an overly long blog post!! I do need to work on that... I am just the worst procrastinator when it comes to sitting down and composing a post and then, when I finally do, I have way too much to share. Thanks for those of you who are still reading. I'll be back later this month with photos of the ornaments I sent to my international friends (and one more U.S. friend)--hopefully, they will have all arrived by then... Thanks so very much for all of your wonderful comments--they truly make my day! Stay warm now and happy stitching. Bye for now...