My first post of 2014! The slate has been wiped clean and January brings a fresh start. And, boy, what a start it's been for those of us hit with the effects of the Polar Vortex. Even the name of it sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, doesn't it? Here in Pennsylvania, we've been luckier than many of you... our low only reached -7°F (about -21°C) on Tuesday with a windchill in the -20° range. I'm sure that sounds warm compared to some of you who have been dealing with windchills hovering around -45°! But, it was the coldest weather we've experienced in the western Pennsylvania area in 20 years! I still remember that January back in 1994 because it was so frigid that the schools shut down for a few days and I was at home trying to reign in three rambunctious boys who were then 11, 9, and 5! The good news is that we didn't get hit with the snow that many of you had--in fact we only have about 4 inches on the ground. The even better news is that it is warming up and will reach 50° by the weekend--time to wash our disgusting, salt-covered cars, I'd say. Mine is so bad that I walked right past it in the parking lot the other day because it looked like a drab gray instead of the normally pretty shade of blue!
Thank you all so much for your great comments on my last post--I really did receive some wonderful gifts, didn't I? Today, I'd like to share with you the stitched gifts that I sent to some of my blogging friends for Christmas. I truly wish I could have sent out more presents, but I'm only human. I work part-time and still need to sleep (and indulge in my love of reading!) so my stitching time is limited. I'm going to try sending out more Random Acts of Kindness surprises this year, though, so, hopefully, I'll put a few more smiles on friends' faces...
This cheery Just Nan snowman piece called "Snow Business" went across the state to my dear friend Mary. I used the suggested DMC threads and stitched it on a mystery piece of 32ct. linen. In the inner circle I tacked on a delicate Mill Hill snowflake charm. Rather than finishing this into an ornament, I made one of my little pillows so Mary can perch it on her mantle or next to a wintry display.
Just Nan "Snow Business"
You'll all recognize this next piece as a Prairie Schooler design, I'm sure! This sweet chickadee standing on his birdhouse is from PS Book No. 14 called "Holiday Homestead." I changed the red to DMC 815 and added some black to the chickadee's head and to the opening in the bird house. It is stitched on 35 ct. natural Northern Cross linen. Where did this little birdie fly off to? Why, he ended up in Virginia at my friend Robin's nest... Robin doesn't have a blog, but has sent me photos of her stitching and, believe me, it is gorgeous!
Prairie Schooler Cardinal
My next gift went to long-time blogging friend, Myra, in North Carolina. If you think this looks familiar, you're right! I stitched two of these--one for my December ornament and one for Myra. Both were stitched on black 32 ct. Belfast linen. I added the snowflakes in the background rather than the charted monogrammed initials. You all know what a lover of cardinals Myra is so I thought this would be perfect for her. I have a feeling I'll be stitching this a third time for another gift!
Prairie Schooler Santa With Cardinal
This little sheep made his way to sweet June in England. He is the third and final in a series of ornaments I stitched for June designed by Plum Pudding NeedleArt in the "Candy Cane Wishes" booklet. As with the other two, I stitched this ornament "over one" on 28 ct. natural Jobelan with the suggested DMC threads. You can see the previous finishes from that series by clicking on these links: here is the snowman and here is the gingerbread boy. June loves them all and says she looks forward to hanging the entire set together on her Christmas tree.
Plum Pudding NeedleArt
"Candy Cane Wishes" sheep
Another ornament that traveled across the Atlantic ended up in the Northern Ireland home of my dear friend, Lois. I got so many compliments on this Prairie Schooler snowman (from the 1999 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue) that I stitched on black 32 ct. Belfast linen (in this post), that I decided to stitch another for Lois. I don't mind stitching the same thing more than once if there is some time in between. In this case, it was over two years between the two so I thoroughly enjoyed it! The ornament is backed with the pretty red snowflake fabric shown in the background and bordered in some of my handmade DMC cording.
Prairie Schooler Snowman
Another of my earliest blogging friends, Cindy, received this next ornament. Cindy moved into a new house this year so I wanted to include a stitched house in the design I chose. And what better designer to find the perfect house images than Little House Needleworks? I turned to "Snow White" and stitched just the bottom portion of the design so it would be small enough for an ornament.This one is stitched on 16 ct. blue Heatherfield and I added a trio of silver bells and pearly white Mill Hill beads in the center of the bow.
Little House Needleworks: "Snow White"
My young friend, Edit, still hasn't received her ornament, but I decided to share it with you anyway. I sent it before Christmas, but it had to travel to Spain so I hope it's not lost. This one is called "A Very Merry Winter" by JBW and I received the same ornament from my friend Lois last year. I loved it so much that I decided to stitch it for Edit. The hanger is a strip of fabric from an old frayed flannel shirt (which is also the backing fabric) and the bottom is adorned with five rusty bells. I love how the stitching on the snowman spells out "Have a Very Merry Winter"--adorable!
JBW: "A Very Merry Winter"
The final ornament was an easy choice! My friend, Shirlee, told me how much she loved my blue and white finish of the skaters and the log cabin (you can see it in this post) so I decided to stitch it for her Christmas gift. The finishing is a little different from my original, but the overall effect is the same.This is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. white evenweave with DMC 3750 and is just the bottom portion of a larger sampler. And, guess what?! I just discovered that Leisure Arts offered the entire sampler as a free download in this post!! Simply scroll down to the Cross Stitching section of that post and click on the words "Winter Sampler." I would print it off right away if you plan to stitch it, though--you just never know how long these things will stay online... I also stitched the top portion of the sampler in red (DMC 304) back in this post in 2012. Love them both! Has anyone stitched the entire sampler? I'll bet it is beautiful!
Leisure Arts "Winter Sampler"
So, that finishes up the last of my 2013 stitching. I knew my stitching count was down last year, but I'm still pleased with all that I managed to accomplish. I stitched 47 smalls (ornaments, pillows, fobs) and of those 28 were given away as gifts or giveaway prizes. I think that fact makes me happiest of all--I love having my little creations spread out around the world! There were only 5 larger (really mid-size!) finishes, but two of them were box finishes--my very first ever. I so look forward to sharing my stitching addiction (and a little bit of my life) with all of you in 2014! Thank you, as always for stopping by and saying "hi!" I'll be back next week. Bye for now...