Hello, hello! I'm back from my stitching retreat and visiting my parents and find myself with only six weeks left until Christmas! How on earth did that happen?? Are the rest of you feeling like this year has passed in a blur, too? Seriously...I don't know where the past 10 1/2 months have gone!
Many of you have asked what stitching retreat I went to... Well, it isn't an organized retreat--there are no teachers, no classes, no "stuff" for sale. It is just five friends gathering together at a lovely bed and breakfast in the town of North East, Pennsylvania (yes, why a town in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania is named "North East" is a bit ironic, to say the least!). This is the fourth year that we've traveled from towns in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania for three days of stitching, chatting, and eating. I love the casualness of it--I am not a big group person. I tend to be a quiet, rather shy person and crowds just overwhelm me so this sort of retreat is just perfect for me.
This year we decided to have an exchange of gifts with absolutely no theme and it was such fun. We could stitch something, give something stitchy-related, or present one another with any sort of little remembrance. I chose to make these "A Spot of Christmas" scissor fobs designed by Milady's Needle (from the July/August 2009 Just cross Stitch magazine). They were stitched over one on 28 ct. tea dyed Monaco using a variety of overdyed and DMC threads. I added my own border to the design, though, rather than using the one charted.
"A Spot of Christmas" fobs
Here is a close-up of one of them. Can you see the little white snowflakes and the eyes in the bird and reindeer--so teeny! I told my friends they could use them for fobs or Christmas ornaments and they seemed very happy with them...
Of course a scissor fob needs a new pair of scissors, doesn't it? I bought Kelmscott's primitive Vineyard scissors because the name of the inn we stay at is the Grape Arbor Bed & Breakfast so I thought the vineyard theme tied in nicely. I purchased the Kelmscott scissors from Anita's Little Stitches and just wanted to let you all know what quick and perfect service I got--thanks, Anita! To complete my gift I added a scented Banana Nut Bread candle and a bar of Dove chocolate...
I found these cute red snowflake boxes at my local dollar store to make wrapping the goodies up quick and easy... Here they are all set to go!
And what a great bunch of goodies I received from my four stitching friends... We all agreed it felt like Christmas morning as we opened each gift!
From Linda, we each received a darling Lizzie Kate kit, some handy clips, a pad of paper and pen to write down those charts we must buy, and a magnetic pick-up wand for locating those "disappearing" needles. I have no more excuses for not finding those missing needles, do I?
Barb stitched us each a sweet sled ornament from Foxwood Crossings... How cute is that little snowman with the cardinal nesting on his hat? I'll have to order some of those little sleds for myself to stitch up for friends!
Lee, our fearless "leader" and chief organizer of this wonderful retreat, asked each of us what our favorite color was and proceeded to buy us a scarf in that very hue. Isn't it lovely? Everyone knows I'm a fan of any shade of blue and the blues in Lee's scarf are particularly pretty.
And Pam made each of us an adorable table runner/mat appliqued with a circle of six snowmen. How perfect for my blue and white kitchen! She also included a lovely glass ornament for my Christmas tree.
Thank you Linda, Barb, Lee, and Pam for those gorgeous gifts, but even more thank you for your special friendships. I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did on our retreat. It was all just so much fun... and so easy. Simple, uncomplicated relaxation... And to make it even better, the inn has two resident cats who would occasionally park themselves next to me while I stitched. Talk about pure contentment... If you're even thinking about doing a similar retreat with stitching friends, I highly recommend it. We all met online and who knew that we'd all hit it off and our friendships would just keep growing each year!
BLOGGING SLOW-DOWN: Our get-together prompted a discussion of our blogs and blogging in general. All five of us have blogs, but they are in various stages from inactive to blogging just now and then. Lee started us all thinking about why we are blogging less and offers up some very good points in this post. I began blogging almost five years ago and posted once a week because I was stitching an ornament a week. But, since then the number of posts have dwindled each year until 2013 when I've barely posted twice a month.
Lee asks (in this post) why those of us who have blogs lose interest in updating? I think my problem is I tend to procrastinate and end up with these way-too-long posts and it seems overwhelming to me to sit down and write. Also, I'm one who only likes to show finishes or at least a good start on a new project. In other words, I want to have something interesting or something of substance to share with you. I have no cute pets or darling grandchildren to show photos of so I doubt that my everyday life seems very interesting to the outside world. I love my life, but to others it probably seems very simple... I keep having to remind myself that I started this blog only to keep track of my cross stitch finishes and I do want to try to keep that up. As a result of our discussions, my friend, Pam, has decided to revive her old blog, so why not run over and say "hello." How about you? How have your blogging habits changed through the years and why? And for those of you who have been blogging regularly for years, what motivates you?
GIVEAWAY WINNERS: I was very surprised that so many of you entered the drawing for my little Thanksgiving pillow! Such kind comments were left and I would love to have something for each of you, but there can only be one winner and the winner this time is:
BARB (Wicked Stitcher blog)
Congratulations, Barb! Please send me your mailing address and I will make sure this little turkey gets to his new home by Thanksgiving! He has to fly clear across the U.S. to Washington State so it may take a while.I'll miss the little guy!
And the winner of the Shepherd's Bush "Give Thanks" chart is:
Chris (Tot Hill Farm Stitches blog)
Congratulations, Chris! I know you'll love stitching this as much as I did and I hope you will pass along the chart in a giveaway of your own after you're finished. I'll get this in the mail to you as soon as you send me your mailing address.
I'll leave you with the gorgeous first snow of the season which I awoke to yesterday morning. This was the view that greeted me as I looked out my upstairs window...
First snow of the season: November 12, 2013
Our backyard looks so pretty with the blanket of snow and the hint of yellow leaves still visible on a few of the trees. And here is a close-up of our pond...so tranquil looking. I hope the fish are keeping warm somehow! Poor things--amazingly, they do survive the winter each year.
Well, I do have more finishes to show you, but I'll save them for another post--this one is way too long already. Next year, I'm hoping to shorten my posts up and make things easier on myself (and on you, my dear readers!!). Thank you, as always, for your kind comments and emails. I truly appreciate each and every one. I've added a "Follow By Email" link to my sidebar since I've had so many requests for that. Hope it makes things easier for you to follow "Stitching Dreams". Bye for now...