Saturday, January 30, 2010

I've got the "blues"...but my giveaway winners won't!

All I can say is, it's a good thing that blue is my favorite color because I've been stitching with nothing else all week (oh, okay, there is a bit of white, too!). I was really hoping to be finished with Waxing Moon's January Sampler by the end of the month, but as you can see, I'm not even half done. I forgot to order one of the overdyed threads, so I am at a standstill until it arrives. I'm stitching this one with WDW and DMC floss on 32 ct. sage jobelan and just loving it. I love to stitch I weird?

Here is what January Sampler will look like when I'm all done. It just reminded me so much of my sons sled riding down the little hill in our backyard when they were younger. The photo at the top of my blog is actually our backyard and there is a hill on the left side where they used to sled-ride. If you look closely at the picture, there is also a pond at the back of our yard where they used to play hockey when it was cold enough to actually freeze over. I love the memories that snow in the winter conjures up...

Well, enough about that--on to my birthday giveaway winners! If you're like me, you've probably scanned past all of the above and already peeked to see if you're a winner. Believe me, I wish I could send you all something--you've been such great friends and supporters of my blog. However, the fact is, there were more than 70 entries, but there are only three prizes so, without further ado, the winners, drawn randomly by my dear husband, are:

Giveaway # 1 winner is: Cole

Giveaway #2 winner is: Jennifer

Giveaway # 3 winner is: Lynda

Please send me your home addresses as soon as possible and I'll get your goodies in the mail next week. Interestingly, two of the winners are from Canada. It must be Canada's year with the Olympics starting in two weeks in their beautiful city of Vancouver! And my third winner, Lynda, who is brand new to my blog, just happens to be a fellow librarian. It was nice to have new readers and a few new followers, too. You may have noticed that I didn't require anyone to become a follower with my giveaway. Is it just me or does that "requirement" bother anyone else? I would rather people decide on their own and not be forced. Anyway, welcome to all of my new visitors and I hope you'll return often! Thanks to everyone for the great reading suggestions. I never get tired of having a wonderful, new book recommended to me.

Until next week... stay warm and I hope your days are filled with lots of uninterrupted stitching time. Thank you again for all of your comments--I appreciate each and every one...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Berries and Birthdays

Good morning everyone! Well, I went back to stitching a smaller piece this week and felt much more "in my comfort zone". This is my ornament for January and I'm trying to finish/finish as I stitch this year so I'll have twelve new ornaments for my tree by Christmas. LHN's "Holly and Berries" is stitched one over one on 28 ct. natural light Jobelan using DMC threads. I trimmed it with this pretty burgundy colored cording and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

Thank you all for your "Happy Birthday" wishes last week. I had a wonderful day and my family presented me with a new computer as my gift. Wow--I had no idea what I had been missing on your blogs...Now that I have a widescreen monitor, I can actually see your entire blog without having to scroll across the screen. And the download speed and brilliant colors--amazing! Oh, and this computer doesn't take 10 whole minutes to shut off like my old one did. My previous computer was at least 10 years old, so this is a huge upgrade. So thanks so much to all my guys...

I also received two more very special birthday gifts! My blogging friend, Cindy surprised me with the cutest little birthday stocking ornament which she stitched on a lovely shade of pinkish-mauve linen. She included my initials, birth date, and the year (well, not the year I was born, thank goodness!). I love the pretty pastel cake all stitched up in pinks and greens. It is just perfect, Cindy, and I'll think of you as I admire it through the years. She also included some soft, pink stitching socks to keep me warm on these cold winter nights. Click on the photo and you'll be able to see all the details a bit clearer...Thank you so much, my friend :)

And just who is my other secret gift certificate giver? Gosh--you are spoiling me whoever you are! I received a wonderful gift from Stitching Bits and Bobs to treat myself to some new stash. really have me stumped. I am trying to narrow it down, but the only hint given was that it was from a "Stitch Friend." If you would email me, I would love to thank you personally. When I opened my email and found the notice of your thoughtful gift, it really made my day. I'm sending you a huge hug--whoever you are and I'll be sure to post what I end up purchasing with your gift...

The prize for my funniest birthday card has to go to my brother. I laughed so hard when I saw this card with the grown woman scraping her dinner plate into the wastebasket and singing, "La la la la...I'm throwing out my veggies and no one can stop me!" And on the inside it says, "See, there are perks to getting older. Happy Birthday." The card is absolutely perfect for me and if you have the time to read the following story, you'll find out why...

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you may know that I hate green vegetables--always have, always will. This "quirk" as I like to call it, goes back to my childhood when I just refused to eat anything green. I would hide the vegetables under potato skins or chicken bones, wad them up in my napkin, spread them around the plate to make it look like I'd eaten them. Anything to keep the horrid things from going down my throat. My poor mother was at her wits end as to what to do with me, so she began sending me into the dining room to eat by myself on nights when I wouldn't eat my veggies. I would soon saunter back into the kitchen without a vegetable left on my plate and she was so pleased with herself for coming up with a solution to get me to eat them--or so she thought!

Now, my little brother, figuring that there must be something special in being allowed to eat alone in the dining room, found a way to get himself banished there, also. He soon discovered (and of course tattled to mom), that "Carol isn't eating her vegetables--she's throwing them down a little hole in the dining room floor!" You see, we were having a lot of construction done on our house at the time and there were holes all over the floors for cables and wires and I had discovered one the perfect size for disposing of those dreaded green things! My mother had previously noticed an army of ants marching across the floor and into the hole so she went down to the basement to check it out. She found a pile of moldy food there, but blamed the workmen for leaving pieces of their lunch behind. Her eyes were opened to the truth, though, when little brother ratted me out! Sigh... that was the end of the dining room for me and I went back to gloomily sit and sit and sit at the kitchen table until I had eaten all of my vegetables. And the rest, as they say, is history. To this day, I'll eat salads and peas, but not one single other green vegetable... This little anecdote is part of that special group of old family stories that we all still laugh about and never get tired of telling, so thanks little brother for reminding me of it again--and I forgive you for tattling!

Don't forget, there is still time to enter my giveaway from my birthday posting...I'll be picking the winner next Saturday, so be sure to check back then...

Thank you all for visiting and for taking the time to comment. It sure brightens my day to read your thoughts!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Christmas Bells Are Ringing!

Well, I know it's January, but, for's still all about Christmas! I finished the first block of Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow and am in love with the colors. The whole block looks like it is just exploding with the love and hope and joy and happiness and good will to men (and women!) that Christmas is supposed to represent. I love the peacock and his tiny, gold crown, don't you? I'll have to admit that it is taking me a while to get used to stitching on such a huge piece of linen after a whole year of doing nothing but small projects, but I'm slowly getting accustomed to it. I went back and forth on what to stitch it on, but finally decided on 32 ct. Flax Belfast Linen and I'm happy with my choice. I knew I would have to feel this fabric for a l-o-n-g time so I had to go with a fabric that I enjoyed touching! Anyway, one block down, only 11 more to go...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, stitchers are such a special group of generous and thoughtful people! I received the most amazing birthday gift yesterday from my blogging friend, Myra. It literally brought tears to my eyes to think that someone I have never even met would make this beautiful and perfectly stitched "project pouch" for me. Try clicking on the photo to enlarge it so you can see all the amazing details close up. The colors are just delightful and as you can see, my latest project is waiting patiently in it for me to start on it! She included the sweetest little quilted birthday postcard, too, and the bag zips up with a small, silver flower charm. I will treasure it always, Myra, and think of you each time I use it. Thank you so very much, my friend...

And... I received an extremely sweet gift certificate from from a secret stitching friend last week! Now which one of you generous friends sent this to me? I was awake half the night going back and forth trying to figure out who could have been so very thoughtful. She described me in the email notice as a "special person." Well, I beg to differ--you, kind friend, are the special person and I wish I could thank you in person. Sending you a huge hug and my genuine thanks for brightening my day...Your kindness means so much to me:)

Don't forget to take a peek at my previous post and enter for a chance to win one of my birthday giveaways... The contest will remain open until 5 PM on January 29th... Good luck to all. And thank you for your kind birthday wishes...this has been a hard one for me and it makes it a bit easier knowing I have so many wonderful friends out there.

Hope your week is a special one...

It's My Birthday and I'm Having a Giveaway!

I wonder what was going through my head when this photograph was taken more than fifty years ago? Knowing me, I'm sure I was being quite bashful around the photographer. I love the tiny red bows in my hair and the cute little pinafore dress that my dear mother so carefully chose for me. My bangs don't even look too crooked (which was unusual back in those days!).

We had a contest at work a few years ago where we each brought in a baby photo of ourselves and everyone tried to match the baby with the now-grown co-worker. For some reason, everyone--and I mean everyone, matched me up with no problem! I suppose that is a compliment...Now that I look at this photo, there are many similarities to my now middle-aged face: I have grown bangs again (although now they're there to hide the wrinkles), my teeth are nice and white (well, thanks to those handy whitening strips), and I'm still petite (due to all those miles I log on my treadmill each day). Hey, I am talking myself into feeling pretty good about this birthday after all! And it is a big one--half way between 50 and 60 which will now get me the senior citizen discount in a few restaurants. I just can't believe I am this old, but as my dear husband always says: "It's better than the alternative!"

So, in honor of my birthday and my one-year blogoversary, I've decided to offer a little giveaway--or, more accurately, three little giveaways. I'm always sad when there is only one winner for a huge amount of cross-stitching stash, so I've broken this up to result in three winners...You all know that last year I was stitching nothing but ornaments, so what better things to offer in my giveaway than ornament related goodies:

In GIVEAWAY #1 is Prairie Schooler's Book No. 110: "Santa & Friends" plus all the DMC floss needed to stitch each ornament.

In GIVEAWAY #2 is Plum Pudding Needleart's "Candy Cane Wishes" plus all the DMC floss needed to stitch each ornament.

In GIVEAWAY #3 is a stitched-by-me ornament from Prairie Schooler's "Santas & Snowmen" chart featuring this snowman with his little rabbit buddy.

To enter, simply leave a comment, on this post only, with the numbers of the giveaways you would like to win. Please include your email address if I can't reach you through your blog. And to make it more interesting for the librarian side of me, please let me know the name of the favorite book that you've read or listened to over the past year. Haven't read or listened to a book? Hmmm--get yourself to your nearest library soon :) No, seriously, I know how busy life can get, so how about the name of your favorite book from childhood? For me, the choice is easy... I just finished listening to "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett--probably the best audio book I have ever heard...really incredible. It is about life in Jackson, Mississippi in the early sixties as the Civil Rights movement was just getting underway. The book deals with a young white journalist, Miss Skeeter, and her journey to write a book about the experiences of the black maids ("the help") in the town. I laughed, I cried, I didn't want the book to end...

The deadline for the drawing will be Friday, January 29th at 5 PM Eastern Standard Time and I'll announce the winners on Saturday, January 30th. Good luck to all!

And thank you again, for all of your amazing comments on my last post--they mean so much to me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

52 in 52: 2009 in Review

First of all--Happy New Year! Second of all--wow!Thank you all so very much for your many compliments on my completed "ornament a week" challenge! I was overwhelmed by your wonderful comments. I don't know about you, but I love it when readers take the time to comment--it is amazing how a simple kind sentence or two can brighten someone's day, isn't it? I love waking up in the morning and finding evidence of a new visitor in the comments section of my latest blog posting. It just starts my day off right. So, thank you all!!

As I promised last week I am posting a photo of all 52 ornaments from last year. Well, almost all... I made two of them into cards and mailed them to loved ones and sent off the bookmark to a book-loving friend. So, here are the remaining 49 in order! I wish the photo was better, but with my camera it is difficult to get a clear photo from so far away. I'd love to know which one is your favorite piece... Mine is the little bird standing on his egg--he never ceases to make me smile. I "finish/finished" only about half of them so I have plenty to catch up on this year! Sometimes work just gets in the way of my stitching and finishing time :)

I've had a few requests to see the ornaments on our Christmas tree so I decided to snap a quick picture before we take it down tomorrow. You'll also notice a few ornaments from past years--one of my favorites is the little elf with his tangled string of lights. Like many of you, I have tended to give away a lot of the ornaments I made, but these are just for me to commemorate my "Ornament a Week" year.

I'm also including some close-ups of some of the ornament finishes that I got done this week (yes, I was very busy finishing!). You can see them in this slide show of all of my 2009 cross stitch finishes that I put together. Hope you enjoy it!

Many of you asked what my stitching plans are for 2010... Well, to tell you the truth, I plan to stitch just for the pure joy of stitching. The only two concrete goals I have are to stitch a block a month of Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow and to stitch an ornament a month. I truly love creating ornaments and just can't give them up for all larger pieces. My confidence in my ornament finishing has really grown with each month and I plan to finish as I stitch this year...

I am going to take a bit of a blogging break for a couple weeks and catch up with things around the house--I plan on putting away all of the Christmas stuff and maybe cleaning out a closet or two (or three or four). I should begin removing the wallpaper from my middle son's room, too, but we'll see... maybe that can wait another year (I mean does anyone like removing wallpaper--YUK!!). Anyway, watch for my next post in two weeks 'cause, guess what--I'll be posting a giveaway in honor of my January 16th birthday AND my first blogoversary. It is so strange to think that a year ago, when I began my blog, I didn't know any of you! And now, just look at what a difference a year in the blogging world can make. Thanks for a great year everybody--you've really made me smile :)