Thursday, January 29, 2015

Christmas gifts and finishing tips

Good morning--and happy end of January! Did you all survive the month in good shape? I always think January days seem endless with their gray and chilly skies; I can't say I'm sorry to see the month coming to an end. But, the bright spot smack-dab in the middle of January was my 60th birthday and I want to thank each of you for helping make it a day of celebration for me! Your comments on my last post, the cards, the emails, the gifts--you certainly made turning 60 a fun (and much less painful than I thought it would be!) experience... 

I'm finally showing you the remaining ornaments that I stitched and sent for Christmas gifts. Some of you have asked how I had the time to stitch 11 gifts in the busy month of December... Well, the truth is, I try to stitch these little presents throughout the year and tuck them away to finish for Christmas gifts. But, I found myself feeling very stressed with all that finishing in December so this year I'm trying to "finish as I stitch" and then when Christmas rolls around, I'll be much better prepared. I showed you the five gifts that went out to some of my international friends in this post, so the following were sent to friends here in the United States. As alway, I'd love to hear which one you like the best!

To Robin (no blog), in Virginia, went this cute Barbara Ana design which is featured in the September 2014 issue of "Cross-Stitch & Needlework" magazine. Barbara Ana designed nine tiny Christmas/winter scenes for the September 2014, November 2014, and January 2015 issues. I fell in love with this one and knew I had to stitch it "over one" on 28ct. black Monaco and finish it as one of my little pillow ornaments. Isn't it sweet? I did change some of the colors to more of a Prairie Schooler palette. For the hanger, I simply fringed some of the same fabric that I used on the bottom and back of the ornament. I know I'll be making this again for myself!

I have previously stitched this snowflake ornament which I sent to Mary, on the other side of Pennsylvania, for myself and my finish seems to pop up all over Pinterest. The good news is that it is a freebie that is still available right here so you can stitch it for yourself. As with the finish I did for my own Christmas tree, I used DMC 115 and 40ct. white Newcastle linen. The ruched gingham ribbon adds such a nice touch to the finish--simple and classic. I know I'll be stitching this again for future gifts... perhaps in different colors.

Another Prairie Schooler ornament that you've seen a few times on my blog was sent to Shirlee, in Kentucky. In fact, this is the fourth time I've stitched it, so you know I must really like it! Unfortunately, I have yet to keep one for myself--I'll have to work on that...  This was stitched on 32 ct. sage Jobelan using the suggested DMC colors. The chart can be found in Prairie Schooler's "A Prairie Year II" (Book No. 23).

My friend, Jackie, in Texas was the recipient of this cute JBW piece called "A Very Merry Winter." If it looks familiar, that's because I stitched it last year for another friend and also received this same design as a Christmas gift from my friend Lois a few years ago.  I love how the snowman's body spells out "Have a Very Merry Winter" and the rusty bells on the bottom are a finishing idea I stole from the ornament Lois sent to me. Isn't it great how we all gain inspiration from each other?

My final finish traveled to North Carolina to a new home with my friend, Myra. I stitched just a portion of Prairie Schooler's Christmas Samplers (Book No. 63) in a finish I had already done for myself back in the 2010. I used the same linen and threads for Myra's ornament as I did for mine which you can read about right here. I did finish them differently and I can spot some improvements I've made over the past five years in my finishing process.  Here is the one I made for Myra:

And here is the one I made for myself in 2010:

FINISHING TIPS I've learned through the years... Now, they are both cute finishes, but do you notice how the newer finish is smoother and less "lumpy" looking than the one done in 2010? That is because I've learned what a huge difference using interfacing can make in the final look of your ornaments. Back in 2010, I didn't use it, but for the past few years it's been a vital step in my finishing routine. I purchase Pellon P44F interfacing from Joann Fabrics whenever they have a sale. It is fusible and very easy to apply--in fact, I found this very helpful tutorial for you right here. I apply the interfacing to both the front and the back of the ornament fabric--just think it gives it a nicer appearance and firmer feel.

More tips...  Some of you have asked what filling I use in my little pillow ornaments. I've used "A Touch of Silk" fiberfill for the past few years and love it! It is also available here at Joann Fabrics. I really stuff it well--push it into the far corners and then just keep pushing it in, layer upon layer. I use a lot more fiberfill today than I did when I made the older ornament and it makes a huge difference in the feel and look of the finished piece. When I am done filling it (but before sewing up the opening), I turn the ornament over (stitching side down) and really give the back side a good pressing with a hot iron (protect your fabric with a pressing cloth if you are worried that it won't hold up to a hot iron). I don't know if this melds some of the fiberfill together, or what, but the finished result is a nice dense feeling and not-so-puffy ornament. If you had me close my eyes, then held out my older ornaments and my newer ones to me and asked me to tell you which one was which, I guarantee I could do it just by feel... The amount of fiberfill and the pressing have made that much of a difference!

A few other tips... I've had many of you email asking about my cording. As you know, I love adding cording--not only around an ornament, but also as a little accent across the joint between the stitching and accent fabrics. Although there are many ways to make cording (using a drill, an electric mixer, etc.) I choose to use the Kreinik Custom Corder. It is very affordable and actually fun to make! And then, I glue (yes, I can hear a few of you gasping in horror!) the cording to my finished ornament. I simply go very slowly--I mean VERY SLOWLY!!! Do not glue the entire ornament edging at one time. I put a bit of glue on the end of a toothpick and apply it sparingly to about half of one side of the ornament. Once that has taken hold, I move on, slowly doing the rest, bit by bit. The glue I use is Aleene's Original Tacky Glue. I'm sure there are many others that work just as well--that is just what I happen to prefer. The trick to it not oozing out and showing under your cording is to just use the slightest bit--a little goes a long way.

One last tip--I use invisible thread to stitch the sides of my pillow ornaments closed. Yes, it is a bit fiddly to work with, but there is never the problem of a finding a matching spool of thread to sew up your ornament with.

I am, by no means, a professional finisher--I just wanted to share with you a few things that have helped me become a better ornament finisher than I was five years ago. Most of you probably already know/use these things, but I'm sure there are a few of you who are just beginning to finish your stitching into pillows and ornaments. Many of you email me with questions and I'm hoping that the above tips will help a bit... This was not meant to be a tutorial on how to finish--there are many excellent ones out there already:  Vonna's finishing site and Pinwheel Ponders are just two that I've regularly used. But, these are just a few of the tips that have worked for me. Good finishing takes a long time--honestly, I'm embarrassed at how long I spend on some of my ornaments. But, I love making them and want them to be special so I really try to put some thought into choosing complementary fabrics, trims, and accents.

Now, I said I sent out six ornaments to U.S. friends, didn't I? And there are only five pictured (not counting my "old" finish from 2010)... Well, the truth is I loved that sixth ornament so much that I'm making it again for myself for one of my monthly ornaments so I"ll wait to show it to you in February...

60th birthday memories... I had such a nice birthday even though I spent much of the actual day on the phone talking to friends and relatives (I'm not one who enjoys talking on the phone very much!). And then that evening, my husband took me out for dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. Being the middle of January, the weather was frigid and icy, but we were seated right next to the fireplace in a cozy corner--it couldn't have been nicer. That Sunday, my two older sons came over and baked homemade pizzas for us and gifted me with two certificates to 123 Stitch (thank goodness, because I got no stitchy gifts from my family for Christmas--they said they didn't want to "feed my addiction!" Addiction??? Me??). My  youngest son sent this beautiful basket of blue hydrangeas which have continually brightened my kitchen table for the past two weeks.
Birthday flowers from my youngest son
My husband bought me a lovely silver bracelet and the most decadent chocolate cake. I think it was the prettiest cake I had ever received--the sides were all covered with chocolate curls!  And I'm happy to say, that so far anyway, life in my 60s is going quite well!

60th birthday cake--chocolate decadence!

I also received a few more birthday gifts from blogging friends... Myra sent this quilted table mat--isn't it gorgeous? I can already picture a cute patriotic display in my new corner cupboard using your mat, Myra! Along with the mat, she sent a couple of notepads and a striped towel that I can stitch on. Thank you so much, Myra--your gifts are wonderful!

Gifts from Myra

Lois sent a package of goodies all the way from Northern Ireland. She stitched this adorable snowman fob for me and include four lovely finishing fabrics and the cute Lizzie Kate Snow kit along with it. I just love everything you chose for me, my friend--you know me well! Thank you, Lois...

Gifts from Lois

And all the way from France, and my friend, Nathalie (no blog), came this blue wool scarf with a pretty wintery scene and two little bunny ornaments to put me in the mood for spring. Nathalie thought she remembered that I love anything bunny related and she was right! Thank you so much, Nathalie--your gifts made me smile :)

Gifts from Nathalie

Western Pennsylvania got very lucky as we were only on the outer edge of the latest blizzard to hit the northeast U.S. We  got about 7" of the white stuff this week and it was absolutely beautiful--the kind of snow that looks like icing on every branch and twig. I took a few photos of our backyard yesterday as it was an unusually sunny, blue-sky type of day...

I never intended to write a post of this length--I hope at least a few of you are still awake!! I just thought you might like to know what has helped me become a better finisher over the past five years... Even if you just gleaned one useful tip from this post, I'm happy to have helped.  Happy February everyone--and thank you, as always for your friendship and your great comments and emails! Bye for now...


The Queen Bee said...

Beautiful ornaments. I like them all and almost always prefer anything with Santa but I think my favorite is the winter scene you sent your friend Robin.

Great finishing tips. I picked up two that will be useful.

What a beautiful cake. Lucky birthday girl.


Vonna, The Twisted Stitcher said...

Your ornaments are always gorgeous, no matter how they are finished! And you are so right, TIME is the biggest factor in finishing and many do not understand that :) It takes HUGE amounts of time. I love all your sweet finishes Carol, they are simply stunning! And the gifts that wound up at your door from around the world is just perfect and wonderful and show how much admiration and love your garner from us all! Happy Belated Birthday! May your year be filled with sunshine and rainbows!

Barbi said...

Great tips Carol! And such wonderful gifts from your friends. Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday with your family. A dinner by a cozy fireplace sounds perfect. Love those snow pictures.

Barb said...

Hi Carol - what a wonderful post! Your stitching & finishing is just so beautiful - thank you so much for all of your wonderful tips. I think many of us are just a bit intimidated to try the finishing process. Probably the best tips of all is the reminder that it takes 'time' and not to rush the process. I know that Vonna has written about that, too. Thank you for that reminder :-).

Your gifts to your friends are so wonderful - I know they will treasure them always.

I'm so happy to read about your very 'Happy Birthday' celebration. I think you started this new era in a great way! I had to laugh about the comment about your 'stitching addiction' - so funny!! (Especially since we can all relate to that addiction!!)

xo to you


Mrs. GraceWorks said...

I love all your tips, Carol! Something I need to figure out how to do is to make cording with more than one color. I've read and reread the directions, and I'm still not sure I understand. I need to watch someone... hmmm, I wonder if there is a YouTube video. LOL! : ) Beautiful ornaments and birthday gifts. I'm so glad you had a nice day!

Vickie said...

Yay! Thank you for sharing such good tips on finishing.
I love the Barbara Ana ornament the best. :)
That is a truly awesome cake!

LoriU said...

Love all the tips! I am actually going to print this out and hang onto it for when I get up the courage to take the finishing leap!!

Melody said...

Hi Carol. I'm always open to finishing tips. I appreciate yours. I have a long way to go on finishing skills. I'm glad you had a nice birthday. The chocolate cake looks divine. I hope it tasted as good as it looked. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers, that is a beautiful bouquet!! Your stitching and finishing is inspirational as always!

Cathy H. said...

So thankful that you included your finishing tips. You amaze me with your creative ornament finishing! My favorite is the first one worked over one! Beautiful and just my style! I'm a little envious of your snow!! It's been in the sixties here and sunshine. Not what I consider winter weather! So glad your 60th birthday was a wonderful one!

Julie said...

A fabulous post Carol, a few tips I hadn't heard about and i'll be trying them out, thank you.
You've created such beautiful things for your stitching friends.
The cake looks delicious and the hydrangeas are fantastic.
Your snow looks lovely always looks nice on the screen, not sure I would be so thrilled with it if it were in my back garden!
love and {hugs}

Lynda Harrison said...

Hi Carol,
Such a lovely post - I always look forward to hearing about what you've been doing, and the photos and tips are marvellous!
I'm glad that you had such a beautiful birthday, too. I will email shortly.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend filled with all the lovely things you enjoy!
Take care of yourself,
With much love,

llknbillburg said...

A lovely post, as always. Thanks so much for the tips. A finisher I know once told me the finishing should take as long as the stitching so don't be embarrassed about the length of time you take. Perfection does not happen quickly!!

Glad your birthday was a good one! Laura

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Lovely stitched ornaments, I enjoyed reading your tips - I wish I had the patience to do proper finishing, i enjoy the stitching and then it all goes south. Snow always looks good when it's not here with me:-)

Kate said...

Beautiful ornaments, Carol, and thanks for your tips. Happy to hear that you enjoyed your birthday.
The snow looks lovely and good on you for appreciating it. Enjoy the weekend.

Hilda said...

Dear Carol,
I am really overwhelmed of all these beauties. I love AND adore all your finishes.
I read your tips carefully and some of them I will try, when I do my next ornament. Thank you for sharing your tips.

Have a wonderful weekend, my dear friend!


Anna said...

wonderfully informative post with beautiful photos...I love the little snowman ornament!! adorable!!!

Dani - tkdchick said...

It really shows in your work that you take the time to make it perfect, and that's the one thing I tell everyone else you can't rush finishing, take it slow, step by step and be meticulous! Also practice makes perfect!!!!

Beautiful stitching and finishing as always!

I'm glad everyone made your 60th so special!

Nurdan Kanber said...

Thank you for tips Carol ♥ All your finishes are just adorable!

Precisely, as a wise woman with all worldly knowledge and vision, you've just started to live in the most beautiful years of your own! Happy Birthday to you ♫

Greetings from far :)

marly said...

I think the last one and the little snowman are my favorite. Thanks for sharing your tips with us. I agree with all of them and so glad to hear you use glue too!! Sounds like your birthday was special and enjoyable.

Robin said...

Another enjoyable post to read! Your posts always make me smile although the snow pictures in this one make me pea green with envy.

You created many wonderful ornaments this year and I am blessed to have received one of them.

Robin in Virginia

Angela P said...

You sent out some really lovely ornaments and you rec'd some lovely gifts :) I have my eye on that PS snowflake ornament, I am pretty sure my Mom has that chart book.

I never would have thought to use interfacing with a pillow finish but I am definitely going to try it next time I finish one! Great tips that are very much appreciated. I agree great finishing takes a really looooong time but it's so worth it in the end. And I use glue to attach the cording too ;)

Von said...

Thanks so much for including your finishing tips, Carol, as your finishes are top-notch!!

butterfly said...

So happy you had a wonderful Birthday Carol so many lovely gifts , love the flowers your son brought for you.
I love every one of your ornaments the first one I really fell for.
The tips were great too.
Your garden looks so pretty in the snow , we had a few flakes today after a hail storm , but all gone now .
Big hugs .

priscilla said...

Such pretty ornaments you made for gifts Carol ! Love them all ! Especially the first one so now I will have to find those magazines !
Glad you ahd such a nice birthday !
Love all your snow photos !

Lee said...

Well Carol, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. And since you've given me many beautiful ornaments, I know your tips are good ones!

And why am I craving chocolate pudding right now?

Caitlin D said...

Wonderful post.
Your ornaments are all gorgeous, and thank you so much for the tips! I've not had a small (anything) to finish, but I do hope to in the year(s) to come.
So glad you had such a wonderful birthday! Fortunately my family is still feeding my addiction, so I'll ride that out as long as I can make it last. :-)

Jentwyn said...

Fabulous finishing tips. Thank you!!

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Dear friend Carol, your birthday was romantic - dinner by the fireplace with her husband:-)))
I want to ask - are you employed?
Your finishes are beautiful, admire it, I do not know:-)

Gillie said...

Thanks, Carol, great tips, I can use them, always a little bit of dissatisfaction with my finishing. Such pretty pictures of your backyard, it's a bit bleuch here, no new snow!

Lumiruusu said...

As i have said before I trulu admire your stichings skills and LOVE to learn from BEST meanig just You carol as well as Vonna.There is much for me to learn andthis is what I love in this hobby..

Linda said...

Belated Happy Birthday Carol. All of your ornaments are stunning as always. I would say that the Barbara Ana one is my favorite. You have received some wonderful gifts. Love the pics of the snow.


Elizabeth Ann said...

Beautiful snowy pictures and great gifts! I couldn't find your ornament for January, did I miss it somewhere? Thank you so much for the great tips for finishing! I will put them to great use this year! Have a great weekend!

Nancy said...

Beautiful ornaments, and a very Happy Birthday to you!

Maggee said...

Going to use your advice and try finishing with fusible interfacing this year. I have a corder like the one you showed, but ask me how many times I have used it? NONE! I don't want to mess up! Silly I know... I have plenty of thread! Great post--never too long! Thanks for sharing! Now I want chocolate cake for my birthday on the 8th!!!! Hugs!

Annie said...

Lovely ornaments as usual. I'm such a pushover for Barbara Ana.. those designs are always my favorites.

Great tips on finishing. I made a note of the exact interfacing you use. I often seem to have a problem with puckering when I use it. I've taken to lowering the heat setting on the iron. The link you gave said to go hotter. And some directions say to use steam. What do you do?

Glad you had such a great birthday. Love, love, love that cake! What a great husband you have!

Cold and dreary here. I really wish spring would come!

Lisa V said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips Carol. I had heard about the ironing down of the pillow, I might have to try that next.

shirley flavell said...

Hello Carol. Beautiul finished stitcheries and thank you so much for the tips, they are great. I tried a flatfold finish a couple of weeks ago and really delighted with them. I used Vonna's tutorial,so clear, step by step instructions. Your instructions are also very clear and have always thought your work to be beautiful.So glad you had a memorable 60th birthday.As you are having snow we are having intense hot days and nights. Need rain desperately, the farmers are desperate. Drought not declared quite yet but will be soon. Happens nearly every year. Hugs Shirley N.Z.

Cindy's Stitching said...

Such pretty gifts Carol. The cake looks so yummy. See, 60 will be a great year. So glad you enjoyed your birthday.

Barb said...

Carol, thank you so much for all the finishing tips! I think you are one of the best so it is good to know how you do it. Those are wonderful gifts that you made for Christmas. I am so happy your birthday was a big success!

Myra said...

Thanks for the finishing tips Carol. I have said it before and I will say it again, I want to stitch like you when I grow up! I absolutely love the ornament you sent me. I am thrilled you had such a good birthday. I am looking forward to celebrating many more with you.

Ellen said...

Gorgeous ornaments, my favorite is the first one by Barbara Ana!

Thank you for all the finishing tips! I love the stitching but always procrastinate when it comes to finishing ha ha!

Lovely cake and gifts from family and friends!

Looking forward to your monthly ornament!


Margaret said...

I love all your finishes as always! OK, now that I know you glue your cording onto your finishes, I need even more to find my Aileen's glue. lol! When I did that ornie finish in December, I sewed the cording on and wasn't happy with how it looked. I do wonder what I did with my Aileen's. Sigh. Thanks for all these tips! I hope you don't mind if I pin this post to my pinterest for future reference.

sew.darn.quilt said...

Thank you for passing along your treasure trove of tips. Your ornaments are so nicely finished and beautiful.

Phyllis said...

Your ornaments and finishing are fantastic! Loved looking at the different finishes.

Judy said...

Hi Carol. A lovely post to find this evening. Never too long! I have not seen the Barbara Ann design before, but I really like it. And PS ornaments are always a must have.Thanks for sharing your finishing tips. I too use glue and a little does go a long way. I have been practicing with the Kreinik..and I am loving it. Do you use a specific amount of thread for your cording? I must say that cake is devine! Did it taste as good as it looked? I am pretty sure it did! The snow pictures are beautiful. It is forecast for 7" of snow in my area this weekend. Out winter has been pretty mild so far..hope I just didn't jinks it! Until next time, enjoy!

Judy Heartland stitcher

Ginny said...

Thank you for sharing your finishing tips. I have an ornament to finish, so I will have to give your tips a try.

Shelly said...

Great post Carol! I really like the ornament sent to Mary. Very pretty finishing. Nice birthday gift haul too. 7" of snow is no small amount but glad you're not having to dig out!

Preeti said...

All the gifts you made and the gifts you received are beautiful !! Birthdays are always so lovely to look forward to; we don't get that pampered on women's day or Mother's Day. Glad to know how you enjoyed your day:)
My husband don't like gifting crafty items either. Not that he thinks I am addicted but he doesn't feel satisfied with what he gifted - 'a set of yarn balls ? No way ' , he says :) but anyways he gives some or the other crafty item along with other gifts to make me happy :)
Love the flowers from your son. Very beautiful!!
Thanks for the tips!! I need to get invisible thread to try finishing for my cushions.

Marie said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Carol. That cake looks so delicious. You certainly have 3 wonderful sons and a great husband. Not to mention the many generous friends who sent those gift!

I admire you and your talent ~ such perfect and creative finishing! i must try Touch of Silk. I do however use interfacing, that's a must in my finishing. Thanks for the tips.

Everything that you create is amazing!

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for the tips Carol. Glad you had a happy Birthday. Your sons flowers were delightful. We have woken up this morning to lots of snow. Take care xx

Gabi said...

As always, wonderful ornaments. i love the one you send your friend Robin.
The cake looks delicious... yummy and your sons flowers pretty,pretty,pretty. My favorite color.
Thanks for the tips but I think my ornies will never look so pretty like yours. You got a talented hand!
Have a great February.
Warm greetings from Germany

Thoeria said...

What a lovely birthday you've had, Carol! That cake looks so yummy! favourite! Gorgeous gifts received.....and what addiction would this be :D :D
Thanks so much for all the lovely tips! My finishing skills really need much to be desired but I'll definitely be putting a few of these into to find my glue gun!

Anu said...

Hello Carol,
Happy Belated Birthday! I loved your post. These ornaments are so beautiful, like always. And thank you for your finishing tips. I will certainly use some of them to improve my own finishings. And
your winter photos make me dream...
Greetings from France!

Irene said...

fai sempre dei lavori meravigliosi

Marilyn said...

What pretty ornaments.
Thanks for the finishing tips, they will come in handy.
Glad you had a nice 60th!

Hazel D said...

Beautiful ornaments and finishing. Choosing a favourite is difficult as I love them all but if forced to choose just one it would be the JBW Snowman. I have a great fondness for designs using words and text.

The colours of the blue hyrangea flowers are just exquisite, only rivalled by your blue skies.

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Thank you so much for sharing your tips on making a professional-looking finish to ornaments. Your work is beautiful.

I'm on the hunt for Prairie Schooler's Christmas Samplers (Book No. 63). Your Santa ornament is just too darn cute.

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

Beautiful ornaments, Carol. Thank you for the finishing tips; I will try the use of interfacing on my next ornaments.
Glad to read you had a such a lovely birthday.

Carol C said...

Thanks so much for sharing your tips on finishing. Love all the ornaments it hard to pick one. Lovely, Lovely, look forward to reading your posts.

Mary Ann said...

Beautiful ornaments--stitching and finishing!! And, thank you for the finishing tips!

Melissa said...

The snow scenes look beautiful. I know, it's probably losing its appeal with the cold weather staying on!

Thanks for showing your beautifully finished ornaments and sharing your finishing tips. They are very helpful!

Glad you had a great birthday. They are lovely gifts from your friends and family too!

ps I will reply to your email later today.

Sherri said...

What a wonderful post! All of your ornaments are perfect, so it's hard to pick a favorite. I really like your Barbara Anna with the black linen. I have the black Aida, so I need try it. Your PS snowflake is also pretty as I like the shape of it which is a nice variety. Need to try that too. However, my favorite is your PS from Book 63. I liked your ornament the first time I saw it. Hard to say which finish I like best. Both are great, but still lean towards your original. All very well done. Thank you for posting your tips on finishing. These are the things that have really helped me in my finishing. As for the hydrangeas, they are my favorite and I have them on my table at the moment. I hope the ones in my yard will do as well this summer.

BARBARA said...

Your finishes and tips are the best. I have gained so much from all the wonderful stitching bloggers but especially you, Carol, because your insert various sites to go to.....I don't know how to do that :( It's on to February ....Happy Valentine's Day !

Lesley said...

Lovely ornaments for your friends Carol,beautifully finished. I like them all:)and your birthday cake looks absolutely delicious.
It was great to read your tips and I am going to find out about cording machines. I just looked over at 123 stitch, thank you for the link.I have never heard of one before.I may have trouble locating one in the uk..we'll see.
Hope you have a good weekend.

Beth said...

There's something about PS designs! Love the soft colors used for the PS snowflake. I appreciate all your hints and tips for finishing ornaments - one day I'm going to have to dive off into the deep end of the pool and try it myself. Looks like you had a lovely birthday and now you have some pretty snow to enjoy! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing stitching and crafting knowledge.

Karen said...

Thank you for the wonderful finishing tips. Your ornaments are always so beautiful.

Mavi. said...

Carol Ohh, that amount of gifts and bordaditos, all beautiful. The one I like is the snowman with red birds. Thank you very much for all your advice to form the cushions. Fantastic chocolate cake. And to enjoy life, 60 years is nothing. A big kiss.

Blessings in the Country said...

Great tips, thank you! I'm not against glue, there are times there is really no other way too attach something. BUT I am surprised that the cording stays on, I guess glue works better than I thought.

So neat to hear you had a great birthday! Love your gifts and cake, so special.

No snow here in southern Cali. It's warm most days with a few rainy days thrown in for good measure.

Blessings, Jessica

Karen said...

Great post! Happy Birthday too...

Jan Doling said...

Carol, I love your stitched ornaments and your finishing looks very professional to me. I really enjoy stitching ornaments but loathe the finishing process. I am pleased to hear your 60th turned out to be better than you had feared, just as mine did! That chocolate cake looks fantastic. Just like you I am always glad when January comes to an end, it always seems such a long month but when we get to February and a short month you begin to feel that Spring is not too far away.

Irene said...

Hello Carol

I've just discovered your blog and I am so pleased. Your cross stitching is exquisite and cushions amazing. I used to cross-stitch many years ago, and have decided to "give it another go" after first finishing a crochet blanket.

Thank you so much for your tips.

wonderful, wonderful Winter photos.


Andrea said...

Good to know you enjoyed you birthday and it did sound like a super day!
Beautiful ornaments you have stitched and lovely gifts to have received too.
Finishing tips ... thanks for the link to Pinwheel Ponders, I'm always on the look out for more finishing ideas. I am in agreement with all of your finishing tips although I don't always use interfacing ... me bad! I haven't purchased a corder yet, my ONS does sell them and I often put it in my basket when putting an order through and then think 'no' I'll carry on doing it by hand! Perhaps one day!
Love the snow photos, it does look so serene.
Roll on February and Spring!

Ele said...

Beautiful ornaments and wonderful photos!
Happy belated birthday,

Weronika said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Weronika said...

What a wonderful work! Thanks for all your tips! They are really useful and will help me a lot with my future stitching!

Kay said...

Thank you for all of the tips. I have used interfacing only in the last year and the difference it makes is amazing, I have to admit to being sad now by some of my lumpier cushions. Glad that you had a lovely birthday, the cake looks wonderful. x

Brenda A said...

Oh those are all so lovely! I actually made that snowflake/pinecone from A Prairie Year II for my parents last year! Great minds think alike. :)

Kathy H said...

That is a beautiful cake. Happy birthday! Thanks for the finishing tips. I have trouble deciding how to finish my pieces so leave them alone for a long time. This should be very helpful.

Brigitte said...

So wonderful to see more of the ornametns you stitched and sent as gifts to your friends. As always it's nearly impossible to choose a favourite design as you have chosen such lovely designs. BUt well, that last Prairie Schooler one is just wonderful. And so is the Barbara Ana one, and the little snowman and ... well, you see it's impossible, lol.

Your tips include all the little tricks I use too when I make my little pillows. And I found that adding the interfacing just is the most precious tip. I once forgot to use it and you can find out which little pillow it is when it is standing together with other pillows. And I also glue my cording around my pillows and pinkeeps. Why not, it sticks perfectly and is invisible :)

Anne said...

Carol, your finishes are stunning as usual and obviously a great joy for you to do. Thank you for the tips! I will have to try interfacing on the backing fabric too plus the iron and overstuffing! I think I may just purchase that cord maker because it will save me time and make the cords perfect. Lovely gifts from around the world. Myra's quilted mat is beautiful. Your winter photos are so pretty! Here it is dreary and raining but we do see hints of spring everywhere...the benefit of living in a rainforest! Hugs!

Chris said...

Happy Belated Birthday Carol! It looks like it was wonderful.
It is always wonderful to see your stitching and finishes. Thank you for sharing some of your secrets!

Mylene said...

Another lovely post, as usual great ornamnents. Thanks for sharing your finishing tips.

mainelystitching said...

I loved this post, Carol. :) Sending you lots of belated but heartfelt birthday wishes.

Looks like you are also enjoying ample snow this winter. We're up to our chins here in Maine, LOL.

Thanks for the tips on the ornament finishing. I know for sure I've been understuffing mine!

Lillie said...

Love your finishes, pretty as always and wonderful gifts from friends.

Thanks for sharing your tips and the snow scene. Look so serene.

Mii Stitch said...

You truly are my inspiration for finishing!! Your creations are perfect :) So thank you for sharing a few tips!

Quiltsmiles said...

Hi Carol. What beautiful finishes, and thank you so much for your tips. I appreciate them and you. My favorite is your Prairie Schooler 63, with the Santa and the yellow house peaking on the horizon.

Also, I was hoping you could help me out. I'm stitching the Lizzie Kate Winter Alphabet and there are many single cross stitch units scattered throughout the background that are to be stitched in white. I'm using a natural linen for my cloth.
Do you carry your thread on the back of the fabric to do these, going from one unit to another or do you stitch each one separately then tie off each cross stitch? There is no one I know around me that cross stitches and I'm always impressed with your stitching so am hoping for any tips.

On another note, do you know what happened to Deborah who blogged at Cranberry Samplings? I miss her posts.

passionfruitprincess said...

Wonderful ornaments and finishing tips, Carol! Yes, finishing takes time. I take forever to stitch and finish...choosing the right fabric, ribbons, and the real finishing. But it is worth it!
I love your gifts and you winter pictures are amazing!

Have a wonderful week!

Ana Paula.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Your ornaments are always so pretty. I just love the one I have. I'm glad your special day was good. I loved your snow pics. We just got rain here. Whew! Have a good week!

Pam in IL said...

Beautiful stitching and it sure looks like you had a great birthday! Thanks for sharing your finishing tips.

Melanie said...

Ah, your finishing is always the best! Such wonderful, generous gifts. You are amazing. :)

Jackie said...

I LOVE your photos of the snow. The white snow, the blue sky along with the sparkle - just gorgeous!

Thank you for the finishing tips, I'm definitely going to save this. I have one of the two ornaments I've finished that I may re-do so it looks better. Can't hurt.

By invisible thread do you mean monofilament? How do you finish the ends so it doesn't come loose? That is my biggest concern.

It sounds like you had an amazing birthday! I'm glad - you deserve it!

Lois said...

I think it's fair to say that I learnt the hard way that TIME is a big part of finishing. As long as I'm organised and am not in a last minute rush (!!), I do one step at a time. It seems to just make all the difference to finish one part and leave the next to another day. I loved your finishing tips Carol and I wasn't familiar with them all. Such lovely gifts you've received from others and I'm glad you liked what mine. I also love the ornaments you sent - I'm honoured that you chose to follow how I finished that cute JBW piece!!!!

Escargopotte bordados said...

OMG !!!!!! so cute ! you are so creative !

valerie said...

Wonderful gifts sent and received, Carol! Your tips will totally come in handy when I find the time to do some finishing. I still find it so daunting! Lovely flowers and cake for your bday. Your snow pictures look so pretty! I am sure it's quite chilly though...

Kay said...

So many beautiful photos!!! I love all that you have done as always! Your finishing is always beautiful as well! Happy birthday a little late. It looks like your day was such a special day!!!

Jackie said...

Happy Saturday morning Carol,
How are you? I am glad to know you had a wonderful birthday. Your flowers and cake are absolutely darling.
Thanks again for the wonderful surprise ornie and gifts you sent. It will sure to be a treasure on my tree this Christmas. Of course my favorite ornie is the one of which I was gifted. I am just partial to that one. LOL, although I think all the ornaments are beautiful.
You have given some great finishing tips and I like to finish as I go, because finishing all the ornaments at one time is just too overwhelming and Christmas time is more than busy for anyone.
In return, you have some beautiful gifts as well and truly deserving too:))).
So sorry, I am not getting around to blogger as frequent as I would prefer..but I will sure try to post more of my progress when I can.
Take care my dear friend,
Love and hugs:)/

Heather said...

Carol, I am so glad that you had a lovely birthday! It looks and sounds like your men did a good job! :-)

Thank you so much for sharing your finishing tips! I have been wondering how you finished your ornaments. :-)I have taken notes and will add it to my cross stitch book. :-) I was in the process of finishing two February stitcheries last Saturday and my machine broke. :-( I am hoping that they call me soon to let me know that it's fixed. :-)

The ornaments that you stitched for friends are all gorgeous!

I hope that you are having a lovely weekend!

Sheryl S. said...

Lovely post Carol, such pretty differently finished ornaments, difficult to choose a favourite. Lovely birthday cake and flowers, lucky you, I usually get ¨Oh is it today?¨

Parsley said...

Gorgeous work, as always! Just love popping in for a drool....

Lesleyanne said...

Lovely finishes. Thank yo for the tips. Happy Belated Birthday.

diamondc said...

Happy birthday belated birthday Carol:
Love all your finishes.
They are lovely.


Meari said...

Great finishing tips! You and I share some of the same finishing habits. :) Your finishes are always gorgeous.

Glad you had a wonderful birthday. I'd have never guessed you were 60. :) You wear it well, friend.

Annette said...

Ow my what a beautifull present you send around!!
Really awesome!!
They most be so happy with such aweome creations from you.. they are really so pretty.

Ow my thank you so much for all the tips..
Love the tip of the invisable thread to close it!!
really have to remember that one..
Abd using interface..
So sweet of you

What a beautifull gifs you receved.
I love the flowers.
Don't wanne feed your addiction???
are they crazy??

YOu gor some lovely gifts.
It's good your house it that big.. hihihi
Otherwise no room for it all..

How is it with the snow?
Here it's all gone, also there?

Have a great week..

Nancy M said...

More great finishes and gifts! All your smalls are so attractive and yet when I see the patterns I'm sure I wouldn't be drawn to them like I am after you get them in your hot little hands and finish them! Your stitching on dark fabric over one still amazes me since I am 5 years younger and still struggle with it. I have started to use interface, but last time I was at a fabric store ( not JoAnnes) I couldn't find the 44. I'll have to see if what I got is thinner or thicker than what you recommend. And I've found out you have to stuff, stuff and keep stuffing. I'm glad to hear you spend a long time finishing things. At least I'm in the all park then! Sounds like you had a wonderful birthday celebration with your family.

Sally said...

Happy Belated Birthday Carol. I cannot believe I haven't commented on this post. Unless I did and I can't find it!

So glad that you had a wonderful birthday and your received some beautiful gifts.

Gorgeous finishes as always and thank you for the tips. I have started using interfacing and also pressing the back of the finish too. I can definitely feel a difference in the finish.

Gorgeous snow photos.

Daniela Linhares said...

Wonderful ornaments!! I'm loving to see all this snow!! I really could spent a day just looking this white scene!

♥ Nia said...

Oh I missed you birthday this year =/ sorry sweetie.. Your cake was very pretty, indeed :) And I bet as delicious too ;)
I hope I will have such a beautiful cake on my 60th and that I will be able to make ornaments as gorgeous as yours :D I will need years to get as perfect and pretty :) heheheh
Thank you for your tips!! Wonderful ideas, interfacing really makes a diference :) I will have to try that ;)

♥ Nia said...

Oh I missed you birthday this year =/ sorry sweetie.. Your cake was very pretty, indeed :) And I bet as delicious too ;)
I hope I will have such a beautiful cake on my 60th and that I will be able to make ornaments as gorgeous as yours :D I will need years to get as perfect and pretty :) heheheh
Thank you for your tips!! Wonderful ideas, interfacing really makes a diference :) I will have to try that ;)

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Since Christmas is coming soon, many are shopping for different gift for their loved ones.

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