Monday, February 8, 2016

A flowery finish and birthday goodies

I finally have a finish! My very first finish of 2016... What a s-l-o-w stitcher I've been so far this year. I'm not sure what my problem is, but it seems that the long afternoons peacefully stitching away in my favorite chair just aren't happening this winter... I want to stitch--I just don't seem to have the time for some reason. I've really been enjoying visiting your blogs, though, and admiring your finishes and new starts. 

So, can you guess what I've been working on for the past five weeks? 

Well, here are a few clues. Let's start with a wicker basket brimming with pink and white blooms all nestled on some crisp white lace...


Add some of my favorite blue hydrangeas in a pristine white pitcher...


 And a flower-strewn topiary...



Don't forget a pretty basket planted with miniature sunflowers...



And a charming tin watering can filled with pink posies...



I'll bet most of you have figured out what my first finish of 2016 is, haven't you? Yes, it's...

The Flower Shop!

"The Flower Shop" finish

"The Flower Shop" (Country Cottage Needleworks) like its companion piece, "The Bakery" (which I stitched last year), took so much longer to stitch than I thought it would. Of course, when you completely change some of the design and end up stitching that part twice, it doesn't help! The original design had an entirely different sign at the top. It was simply stitched with light green thread (you can see it by clicking here). I stitched it that way originally, and although it looked "okay," I really wanted it to match the sign that was used on "The Bakery" that I finished last year, which was done with black lettering and a white background. So out came the scissors and needle and I began pulling out each of those carefully stitched letters. I had to re-chart the sign to make thinner letters in order to accommodate the wide white background. It took a while, but I'm so pleased I took the time to redo it. Now I have two lovely coordinating pieces to be framed in black and hung by my kitchen door.

Two cute stitched shops--wish they would design more!

I made a few more changes to the design substituting a gray color for the shelving under the flower pots and a black bottom border instead of the suggested golden brown. I also used little yellow flowers rather than the charted blue in the basket on the top shelf to incorporate a bit more color--they remind me of miniature sunflowers. I am very pleased with the way they look together and can hardly wait to get them framed!

So, that's it folks--that is the only stitching I have to show you today. Well, of mine, that is!! I do have some delightful birthday gifts that arrived for my big day in mid-January that I want to show you... And yes, I know I was very spoiled. Such kind friends--thank you all so much...

From June, in England, came this darling little bird with a stitching basket filled with floss. June framed it and I now have it sitting near my stitching chair. She also included a 2016 diary, some buttons, and a chocolate recipes booklet. Thank you, my sweet friend!

Birthday gifts from June in England

From Lynda (no blog), also in England, came this pretty BBD chart called "Summer Iris." Thank you, dear Lynda--I look forward to stitching it as it has those lovely blues and purples that I'm so fond of!

Birthday gifts from Lynda in England


From Cindy, in Tennessee, came the most darling little PS church stitched over one. Cindy knows how much I love anything miniature and this will look lovely on my Christmas tree. She also included a great group of finishing fabrics. Thank you so much, my generous friend--I love them!

Birthday gifts from Cindy in Tennessee


From Nathalie (no blog), in France came a wonderful French magazine and a cute personalized stocking. Don't you love leafing through French stitching magazines? Such fun... Thank you, my friend!

Birthday gifts from Nathalie in France

From my long-time friend, Myra, in North Carolina, came a bag of Christmas trims from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. The little bag was filled with all sorts of red and green ric-rak, chenille, buttons, charms, and bells! What fun I'll have with my ornament finishing this year--thank you so much, my sweet friend!

Birthday gifts from Myra in North Carolina


From Melissa, in Vancouver, Canada, came a darling little kit that I had never seen before called "Spools of My Thread." It is a design to make a little bag to hold your threads and I plan on sewing it to house the spools of silk thread that I own. Thank you, my dear friend--I love it!

Birthday gifts from Melissa in Canada


From Robin (no blog), in Virginia, came this sweet little rabbit ornament--perfect for my spring decorating! Robin said this is a Blue Ribbon design. She also included some chenille, a monogrammed notepad, fabric, pins, and a thread picker (not pictured as I was using it to pick out the threads in my "Flower Shop" piece!). You are always so thoughtful and generous, Robin--thank you!

Birthday gifts from Robin in Virginia

From Lois, in Northern Ireland, came a darling snowman pillow to add to my collection. Don't you love his smile? She also included a wonderful assortment of ribbons and buttons, a cute new chart and a trio of tiny notebooks. Thank you my long-time friend--it is always so special to receive a package from you!

Birthday gifts from Lois in Northern Ireland


And, finally, from my big-hearted friend, Mary in Pennsylvania, came a package brimming with lovely ribbons, a snowman cup and tray set, a pretty With Thy Needle chart, some tasty Piroulines, and a gift card to The Strawberry Sampler which I promptly spent during their Snow Blizzard sale in late January! Thank you so very much, my sweet friend--your gifts made me smile.

Birthday gifts from Mary in Pennsylvania

Several of you sent cards and email messages on my birthday, too, and I can't tell you how much they meant to me. Having a birthday so close to Christmas is difficult as it often gets "lost in the shuffle." All the presents come at once and then all the celebration is over for another year. I've often wished I was born in a warm month when you could have a fun picnic or barbecue for your birthday party. But, my family always does their best to make my January birthday special for me and this year was no exception.

My two older sons made homemade pizzas for my birthday dinner, which were delicious. They used this recipe for New York style pizza dough and it is so tasty! One was plain with just chicken and cheese (for me--the fussy eater!) and the other two had mushrooms, peppers, and spinach for my more adventuresome eating men...

Tasty homemade pizza for my birthday--thanks guys!!

To top it off, my husband bought this exquisite chocolate-mousse birthday cake. Oh, my!! Talk about decadent! It was so rich we could only eat a small portion, so I took the rest in to the library the next day and had another celebration with my co-workers.

If I had to turn a year older, at least I got an amazing cake!

It was the year of "plants" for gifts from my sons... From the oldest and his girlfriend, came a tasty "fruit bouquet" made up of chocolate covered pineapple, melons, strawberries, and grapes. He also gave me a gift certificate to 123 Stitch ("but, mom, you don't need any more stitching stuff"--HA--he doesn't know us stitchers very well, does he?).

Fruit bouquet from oldest son and his girlfriend

From my middle son, came a Joann Fabrics gift card and a "lucky bamboo" plant. 2015 was such a difficult year for me and he hopes that this little plant brings better luck for 2016. It is growing nicely and so far, my year is going well, too! I was so very touched by the card that he gave me, too. In fact, it may be my favorite card ever... With a quote from "The Wizard of Oz" on the front: "There's no place like home," the inside opens to this sentiment: "Wherever I go, I always know that I have someone hoping I'm safe, and making sure that I always feel loved... Thanks to you, mom." Aww... for you moms out there, I know you understand how very special a mom feels when she receives a card like this. It is a keeper!!

Lucky bamboo from middle son--let's hope
 it truly is my lucky year!


And from my youngest son, came this beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas. Blue hydrangeas, yellow tulips, and sunflowers are my favorite flowers and it was so nice to have a touch of spring during my winter birthday.

My favorite flowers--blue hydrangeas from my youngest son.

So, that ends another birthday round-up... I have been blessed with such loving family and friends throughout my life and I'm thankful for each one of you! You blogging friends have become as dear to my heart as friends I see in real life. Thank you all for your friendship!

I've not been sleeping well lately as I'm worrying about my youngest son who is setting off for a ten-day adventure in Nicaragua and Costa Rica this week. Yes, he is the same son who just got back from Argentina in December!! He loves to travel, but I get so nervous about his safety. This year, there is that horrible Zika virus being transmitted by mosquitoes that is becoming epidemic down in so many of the Central and South America countries, including the two he will be visiting. I sure hope he remembers to use his insect repellent (and apply his sunscreen--and watch out for pickpockets--and so on, and so on!). I guess a mother never stops worrying about her children, no matter their age, does she?

Well, I've come to the end of another way-too-long post! I can just hear you whispering, "Whew--thank goodness!" to yourselves...  Thank you for sticking with me to the end. And for those of you who ask me questions, please know I'm happy to try to reply to you, but you must include your email address in order for me to do so. I get so many questions, but have no way of getting back to you unless you include an email address.   Hope you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day on Sunday and thank you ~ truly ~ for each of your wonderful comments! They mean so much to me. Bye for now...

HAPPY  VALENTINE'S  DAY!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Christmas 2015 Wrap-up

Hello, hello! How are my stitching friends doing today--and how on earth did it get to be January 22nd already? I am still playing Christmas catch-up here and feel that I'm moving very slowly this month. Could it be my advancing age--horrors!! I want to thank each one of you who sent such kind happy birthday wishes on my last post. I was very spoiled and I'll show you photos of the birthday gifts that I received in my next post. I haven't even had time to photograph everything yet and I understand that a few more presents are on their way so I'll wait for those to arrive...

In my previous post, I shared with you the ornaments that were sent and received from my U.S. friends. This time I'll share gifts sent to and received from my international friends. It's always a special treat to receive a package postmarked from a foreign country, isn't it? And it's still a bit unbelievable to me that I've "met" so many people from all around the world when, prior to 2009 and the start of my blog, I knew none of you! I think that is one of the best things about blogging--it really opens up the world and lets you glimpse bits and pieces of lives that may be lived very differently than yours, but that, at the heart of things, share that same wonderful passion for cross stitching.

I'll begin with the ornaments that I stitched and sent abroad. This Prairie Schooler from Book No. 48 "A Christmas Visit" went to my friend, Lynda (no blog), in England. I've stitched this bird-loving Santa before for myself and decided to finish him in an oval shape this time. I love how it turned out. I used 40 ct. natural Newcastle with the suggested threads and finished it off with handmade cording and a gingham ribbon on top. I'm sorry for the quality of the photo--the sun has been in short supply this winter!

Prairie Schooler Santa from Book No. 48 "A Christmas Visit"


A JBW piece called "French Country Star" was sent to my friend, Nathalie (no blog), who lives, coincidentally, in France!  I truly love these JBW designs and always enjoy picking out the little motifs that the designer includes. Can you spot the deer, the stars, the hearts, the birds, the trees, the holly leaves? Such a creative design and they look so good stitched in one color. In this case, I used DMC 115 on 40 ct. white Newcastle linen.

JBW French Country Star

My third finish flew off to England and my friend,  June, who loves anything to do with birds, butterflies, and flowers. I thought this sweet bluebird sitting on a holly branch dotted with red berries would be perfect for her. This design is from a very old (January/February 1987) Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine. June says the color is perfect in her living room area--I'm so happy he's found a nice new home!

Bluebird from 1987 Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine

Another Prairie Schooler finish, this one from Book No. 24, "Prairie Birds," was sent to my German friend, Gabi (no blog). If you've read my blog for a while, you know how cardinals have come to play an important part in my life ever since I lost my dad in October of 2014. (You can read about the significance in this post). With that in mind, I stitched this cardinal pair for my dear Gabi who lost someone so special this past year. I hope it brings her comfort and peace each time she looks at it.

Cardinals from Prairie Birds Book No. 24

And finally, to my long-time friend, Lois, in Northern Ireland, went an  ornament you have seen before. Yes, this is the third time I've stitched this one--I just love it so much! I know I'll be stitching it again for someone else. It is done on 28 ct. black Monaco (over one) with DMC threads. I adore the tininess of it and Lois did, too... The chart can be found in Book No. 51 "Christmas Past," which is still in print.

Prairie Schooler Santa from "Christmas Past" booklet

Do you have a favorite from this bunch? I'm really pleased with each of them and am so happy to know that little bits of my work are spread all over the world!

I received such wonderful gifts in exchange, too. Would you like to see?  From Lynda, in England, came this chubby Santa holding a wee bird in a cage. The cage is stitched with gold metallics which gives it a wonderful shimmer. Lynda also included two books--one on stitching, one on baking (my two favorite hobbies!), some pretty charts, fabric, and a notepad. I've so enjoyed getting to know you over the past couple of years, Lynda--thank you again for all of these goodies!

Christmas gifts from Lynda in England


From Nathalie, in France, I received another stitched Santa--I believe the design is by Heart in Hand. Along with the cute ornament, Nathalie included some wonderful Christmas decorations, ribbons, and tags. They will all come in very handy in my preparations for next Christmas! Thank you so much, Nathalie--you are a lovely friend to remember me with these special goodies!

Christmas gifts from Nathalie in France


From June, in England came a darling ornament that she chose because I have three sons. This little boy carrying a package and a holly branch home (possibly to his mother?) is just so sweet. June always finds unique charts and finishes them so nicely. She included a white penguin (to remind me of the penguins in Argentina), a white felt dove ornament, and a tin snowflake-covered box filled with ribbons and fabrics. I love everything, June--thank you so much for spoiling me!

Christmas gifts from June in England

From Gabi, in Germany, came one of my favorite designs, the Little House Needleworks "Season's Greetings" cardinal. I thought it was interesting that we both chose to stitch cardinals for each other. I just love this, Gabi, and am so touched that you were so thoughtful to stitch something for me with the rough year that you've had. Thank you, thank you my lovely friend--I will treasure your cardinal ornament!

Christmas gift from Gabi in Germany


From Lois, in Northern Ireland, came this beautiful Homespun Elegance ornament. I had always admired this design and wanted to stitch it, but the heart-shape intimidated me! Lois did a wonderful job on hers and said it really wasn't that hard. I know I need to give it a try... Maybe this year? She also included a cute chart, some needles and a needle minder, and a tasty tin of dark chocolates (which, I'm proud to say, I am eating very slowly, savoring each one). Thank you for each and every gift, my dear Lois--you always make me smile!

Christmas gifts from Lois in Northern Ireland

And a surprise ornament, from my sweet friend, Hilda, in Austria. She had the best idea of attaching her stitching to a piece of felt and then adding it to her Christmas card. Not only did I get a beautiful ornament, but she saved a great deal on postage--it was simply the cost of mailing a letter internationally. I may be stealing this idea in the future, Hilda, as the cost of international postage has become prohibitive if you send a lot of packages. I can remember sending small packages to Europe for a few dollars each and now the cost is five times that! Thank you, my dear friend!

Christmas gift from Hilda in Austria

A lovely giveaway was also won from Sheryl, in Spain. This was a surprise giveaway--Sheryl decided to randomly reward someone who had commented on one of her posts and I was the lucky winner. The gift was four Christmasy mug mats with a cheery, red crocheted border. I just love them, Sheryl, and assure you they will be put to good use next Christmas. I really need to teach myself to crochet as this type of border would add a nice touch to my little pillow ornaments, don't you think? Thank you again, Sheryl!

Giveaway win from Sheryl in Spain

I wanted to showcase the ornaments I received from my stitching friends this year, so rather than put them on my tree, I arranged them on my mantle above my fireplace. (Reminder to self--you need a Christmas picture for above your mantle next year!!). If you look at the far right, you can just make out part of my blue stitching chair where I try to spend as much time as I can! These are the ornaments I received at Christmas time plus the ornaments received earlier in 2015 from Sylvia in New Mexico, U.S., Shirley in South Africa, and Andrea in England. You can click on their names to see close-ups of their lovely ornaments and read about them...


Oh, dear, that is a bit far away, isn't it?  Here are two close-ups for you.  From left to right are the ornaments from Lois (Northern Ireland), Nathalie (France), Hilda (Austria), Robin (Virginia, U.S.), Sylvia (U.S.), Robin (Virginia, U.S.), and June (England).


And from left to right in this photo are ornaments from Cindy (Tennessee, U.S), Shirley (South Africa), Lynda (England), Andrea (England), and Gabi (Germany).


A veritable United Nations of stitched ornaments, wouldn't you say? I wonder what would happen if stitchers ruled the world? I'll bet things would be a lot more peaceful, don't you think? 


Finally,  I wanted to share with you two photos of my favorite Christmas gifts from my three sons. My two older sons bought me these two sweet felt mice called "Santa Mouse" and "Charlie Caroler" and I can't bear to put them away--they are the only Christmas decorations still out! I just love the attention to detail in these little guys! I also love the fact that they are made right here in Pennsylvania at Century Farm Crafts.

Christmas gifts from my two older sons

My youngest son brought me, all the way from South America, this adorable trio of penguins. He took a side trip to Chile while studying in Argentina and as soon as he spotted these blue and white cuties, he knew he had to get them for me. They are made from lapis lazuli stone, mined from the Andes Mountains area and mounted on what looks like a base of unpolished marble. They are now on display on my kitchen counter and they make me smile each time I spot them because they remind me of our wonderful Argentinian adventure to see the penguins. 

Christmas gift from Chile from my youngest son

A number of you have asked about seeing photos of our Argentinian sojourn and, I can assure you, they will be coming. I just need some time to sort through them--I'm about half done, right now! I hope to have them ready to share with you in late February...

Okay, I'm sure you are tired if you've read this far, so I'll wrap this up! But, before I go, I just want to wish each of you in the path of this major snowstorm that is hitting the eastern U.S., the best of luck. I hope you don't lose your power and stay warm and safe. We are only getting an inch or two as we are on the outer border of the storm here in the Pittsburgh area.  Special thoughts go out to my youngest son who is back in the Washington, D.C. area (which is supposed to be especially hard hit)--and probably wishing he was back in sunny, warm Argentina!  Bye for now...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blogging under the influence...

...of cold medicine! It's a snowy morning here in western Pennsylvania--actually our first real snowfall of the winter. So pretty outside, but, oh, how I wish I could just stay home today and stitch. Unfortunately, the real world of work and meetings and such calls and in spite of the fact that I have come down with a head cold that has swept through the entire library, I have to carry on as usual. Which, is why I took cold medicine last night (something I rarely give in to!) and I am feeling quite groggy and "out of it" this morning. Fortunately, I don't have to be at work until after noon today, so I have a few hours to "clear my head!" 

So, that is how my new year is starting out... How about yours? I've watched as many of you began the crazy challenges of starting new projects each day and just can't imagine how you keep track of everything. I am such a "one-project-at-a-time" stitcher which is why I also don't post as often as others. Sometimes, I just don't feel that I have much to share with you. Today, though, I am going to share some of the Christmas stitching I gave away to blogging friends... This post will contain the pieces I sent to my friends here in the United States and the lovely things I received from them. And next time, I will show you the pieces that were sent and received internationally. I am still waiting for one of them to arrive!

I stitched this Prairie Schooler ornament called "Christmas Eve Deer" for my friend Robin (no blog), in Virginia. I used 40 ct. Newcastle and DMC threads and changed many of the colors to those that were used in the earlier PS charts including DMC 221 and 520. The deer was changed to a much lighter color: 610--just didn't like him so dark in the recommended 3371. I also left off the border! Lots of changes, but I think the final ornament turned out so sweet!

Prairie Schooler "Christmas Eve Deer" finish

To my friend Myra, in North Carolina, went this miniature  Barbara Ana design that was featured in the November 2014 issue of "Cross Stitch & Needlework" magazine. It is stitched over one on 28 ct. black Monaco--I just love the tininess of it! And don't you love that chubby snowman just waiting to chuck a snowball at some passerby? The checked fabric that I used to finish it is from a kitchen towel that I picked up at a local craft store.  It is a nice weight and lends a cheery air to the finish, don't you think?

Barbara Ana design from CS&N November 2014 magazine


My friend, Cindy, in Tennessee, was the recipient of this darling snowman pair that I have stitched at least twice before. They just never fail to make me smile! The Val's Stuff design is from the 2010 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue and is called "Oh, Joy." As usual, I made some color changes and used DMC 221, 520, 844, 301, and B5200. This is also stitched "over one" on some mystery 28 ct. fabric and uses the same fabric from the kitchen towel as I used in the ornament shown above.

Val's Stuff "Oh, Joy!" finish

Cindy and I also share January as our birthday month and have exchanged gifts for years. This year, I sent her this cute Trilogy piece called "Happy Bunny Bunny Day" made into a little pillow. I have always loved this design and Cindy was very pleased with her gift. 

The Trilogy "Happy Bunny, Bunny Day" finish

I was delighted to receive packages from my U.S. friends in return! So many talented stitchers are out there--I am honored to be the recipient of your carefully stitched gifts!

From Robin, came not one, but two(!) darling Prairie Schooler ornaments along with some pretty pompom trims which will come in very handy with my next round of ornament finishing. Thank you so very much, Robin! Your beautifully stitched gifts made me smile :)

Christmas gifts from Robin

From Myra, came a box just jam-packed full of wonderful goodies including homemade pillowcases in the beautiful deer/cardinal winter themed fabric that you see below, a tiny cloth bell ornament, a wee zipper pouch that will be most handy when I travel or to clip on to my stitching bag (it is a perfect size for needles), some lotions, a jar of caramel pear butter, and a nice supply of candy canes. Thank you so much, my friend--I just love everything!

Christmas gifts from Myra

From Cindy, came this cheerful Lizzie Kate ornament, some snowflake fabric and two charts. I'm sure my youngest son would love it if I stitched that hockey playing PS Santa for him some day! Thank you, Cindy, you were so sweet to remember me after the difficult year you've had. Your gifts are beautiful!

Christmas gifts from Cindy


And another unexpected gift flew in from California! I lent Annette a chart a few months ago and to thank me she sent a beautiful needlebook (all done up in my favorite colors of blue and white!), two skeins of silk thread, and a charming hand-made Christmas card. What a wonderful surprise, Annette! You were so sweet to spoil me--your needlebook will come in very handy and is perfect for this time of year with its sparkly fabric. It mimics the sparkly snow that is falling outside as I write this! Thank you again for thinking of me...

Thank you gifts from Annette

I have to say, that it feels good to get the house back to "normal" after all of the Christmas festivities. It was hard to take the ornaments off my tree and put them to "bed" for the year. Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments about my Christmas tree in my last post. They meant so much to me! Here are all the little beauties nestled into their acid-free box just waiting to greet me next December...

Piles of Christmas ornaments just waiting for next year!

I still have more Christmas ornaments to share with you that were sent and received from my international friends, but that will have to wait until my next post. Right now, I have to run and shower and head off to work. My head is beginning to feel less groggy since I began writing this so at least I can drive safely now that the cold medicine has worn off. I have the rest of the week off after today so I'm sure I'll get well-rested and be back to my normal self the next time I post. But, there will be one big change--I will be a year older. Yep, I turn 61 on Saturday. Sigh... That sounds very old to me!

I do hope this will be a healthier year for my family. When my husband broke his neck last May, it clouded much of our year with worry and uncertainty. I actually think many of the health issues I faced were rooted in my anxiety over his recovery. But, 2016 is a new year and I am so hopeful for better days... I wish you the same!  Bye for now...

A snowy day here in Pennsylvania...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

And they say that it's Christmas...

...but it's in the 60s here in western Pennsylvania! Good morning, my stitching friends! Is it warm where you are, too? In all my 60 years, I never remember a December like this--it is supposed to be in the 60's here (more like May weather for us) throughout the Christmas weekend. I hate to say I miss the snow, but (I miss the snow!). The mild weather has been great in terms of getting around to shop, decorating the outside of houses (in fact, I swear more houses than ever have put up outside decorations this year), and getting back and forth to work easily. But, without the cold, ice, and those pretty white things that fall from the sky, it just doesn't feel Christmasy. As my son said, "This is what Christmas in northern Florida must feel like every year!" 

Anyway, the cards are sent, the groceries are purchased, the few presents we bought (our main gift was the Argentina trip from last month) are wrapped and under the tree, and the tree is up. Yes, the tree--the one I stitch for all year. Would you like to see?

2015 "Stitching Dreams" Christmas Tree

I can't tell you how much I smile when I see each little ornament perched on the tree.


I am truly running out of space! I wonder how many hours of work have gone into creating these little ornaments?


This year, I set aside a special portion for the Prairie Schooler ornaments that I have stitched. Unfortunately, the six PS Santas that I did this year, never got finished so they aren't hanging with their friends.


Can you see the top of my Santa doll that has been in my family since I was a little girl sitting under the tree? My brother and I always argued over whose it was, but I ended up with him somehow.


Ah, here is the jolly fellow himself, just resting up until his big night... Very 1950s, wouldn't you say (and if truth be told, just a bit creepy looking in the face). I'm sure he once had a black belt and other accessories, but this is all that is left of an almost 60 year old, well-loved Christmas tradition.


The tree at night is so pretty, but hard to get good photos of. Here is one with the lights in my sunroom on:


And here is a final shot with the lights off...

2015 Cross-stitch filled Christmas tree

I've loved seeing photos of your trees and your new ornaments this month--thank you all for sharing! Some of you who don't have blogs have even emailed me photos, too, which I always enjoy seeing. Thank you, thank you to each of you for your kind comments on my "Parade of Ornaments" post last week. It was such fun seeing which ornament you liked the most. At this point in the voting, it appears that the July ornament (the Prairie Schooler one with the little boy carrying his Christmas tree home) is favored by most.  Anyway, it was interesting to see how varied the responses were. I think poor Miss May (the LHN angel) was the only one who failed to receive a single vote. Poor thing--I can hear her weeping in the other room as I write this!

Well, this is short and sweet today as I have a ton of things to attend to--mainly in the kitchen. What are you preparing for your holiday dinners? We have manicotti for our Christmas Eve dinner so I want to prepare that ahead of time along with some homemade bread. And we'll be having our traditional Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with turkey and all the trimmings since we missed out on it when we were traveling in Argentina in November. My youngest son, I'm so happy and relieved to report, flew in late last night from Argentina (after a one day stop to check on his apartment in Washington, DC) and is now tucked into his small childhood bed upstairs. That sounds funny, but it is so nice as a mother to know he is home safely! My other two sons will arrive today and I'll be putting all of them to work in the kitchen--they are becoming quite the chefs!

I'll be back soon to share with you the wonderful Christmas gifts from my stitching friends--I was very spoiled! Bye for now...

Merry Christmas to each of you--
may your day be filled with the love 
and laughter of friends and family!