Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thank you--one and all!

And suddenly, here we are on this very last day of the year 2016! It seems as if I only blinked and twelve months have passed... Thankfully, 2016 was a wonderful year for my family and I can look back with mainly smiles. Oh, every year has its share of sadness and loss; its disappointments and its "I wish I could do that over" moments, but I can't complain...  Each of you who reads Stitching Dreams, whether you know it or not, has been a big part of my life this past year.  Through your sweet comments, your specially stitched gifts, or your emails simply thanking me for my blog, you've made me feel special and I truly appreciate each one of my stitching friends! 

I haven't been stitching much since before Christmas, but I wanted to share with you today the wonderful  gifts I was blessed with from stitching buddies around the world.  I'll share them in the order I received them...

From June in England came a cheery ornament with the cutest pompom trim, some fabric, ribbons, a PS mini-chart, and some chocolates.
Christmas gifts from June

From Lois in Northern Ireland came a lovely PS Strawberry ornament, some ribbons, mints, post-it notes, a new Christmas chart, and a sweet drawstring bag.
Christmas gifts from Lois

From Cindy in Tennessee came a darling Friendship ornament, a beautiful project roll made by Faye, a sweet gingerbread man, a snowman ornament and some pretty guest towels.
Christmas gifts from Cindy

From Myra in North Carolina came two beautifully sewn pillowcases, a bobbin nest to corral my ever-increasing number of bobbins, some pretty fabric squares and the cutest cross-stitched themed coasters!
Christmas gifts from Myra

From Gabi in Germany came not one, but, two sweet ornaments on two of my favorite subjects: cardinals and cheery snowmen.
Christmas gifts from Gabi

From Robin in Virginia came a darling snowman ornament to add to my collection, a whimsical rabbit pillow in my favorite colors of blue and yellow, and two Moda charm packs to aid in my future finishing endeavors.
Christmas gifts from Robin

From Nathalie in France came a pretty striped wool scarf, some DMC  floss, a Christmas decoration and hearts, and some tasty white chocolate.

Christmas gifts from Nathalie

From Lynda in England came a sweet "Welcome Christmas" ornament with the cutest button/charms, some fabrics, a multitude of cotton threads, some lip balm and the cutest box of shortbread biscuits.
Christmas gifts from Lynda

What did I do to deserve such spoiling? Thank you all so much! I still shake my head in awe that I've "met" so many special stitchers through my blog. I feel truly blessed to have made such caring friends...

So, what lies ahead in 2017? I am not one to make stitching plans as I have to be in the right mood to stitch different things. I admire those of you who meticulously plan ahead and have lists and kitted-up projects that would last you for years. I have trouble juggling more than one project at a time for some reason; if I leave a project, I just can't muster up the interest in it when I try to return to it... That being said, I do hope to finish the With Thy Needle and Thread "Birds Of a Feather" sampler that I've had on the back burner for way too long.

So, my friends, I do hope 2017 brings you much good health and happiness. I so love the peacefulness of January and even enjoy the cold and snowy weather as it offers me more time to sit and stitch or read. It will be interesting to see what this year brings, but I'm so glad that I have you blogging friends to help inspire me, teach me, and enable me! Thank you all... bye for now! 

Happy New Year! Welcome 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Parade Of Ornaments!

Happy First Day of Winter, my stitching friends! As we inch ever closer to Christmas morning (is it really happening in just four days?!), I couldn't let this week go by without my annual Parade of Ornaments... This is the seventh year of doing my "Ornament a Month" stitching and I like to do one post at the end of each year devoted to the twelve little "newbies" on  my tree. If any of you are new readers and would enjoy looking at past years, simply click on the year and you'll find my finishes from 2010-2015:  2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. I like to display my ornaments from the current year on a garland on my front stair bannister. It's hard to get a decent picture as it is in a hallway with limited natural light, but I promise to give you close-ups at the end.

So, are you ready? Cue the music and let the 2016 parade begin... Look at all of those chubby grinning snowmen marching down the stairs! How can you resist smiling back at them? It was a fun year (and I sure used up a lot of DMC white thread!!). You can see my cherry colored dining room in the background--love it at this time of year! But, it is awfully dark due to the covered front porch just outside so I'm thinking of painting it a different color. As usual, though, I'll probably be "thinking" about it for the next ten years before I actually do anything!

2016 Monthly Ornament Finishes

Would you like a closer look?
January ~ April 2016
May ~ August 2016
September ~ December 2016

As always, I love to hear what is your favorite (or favorites!).  I'll give you a closer look so you can make your decision... And if you want more information on fabrics or fibers that I used, just click on the name of the ornament below the photo--it will take you right to the post describing each finish.

Homespun Elegance "Sampler Snowman"

Notforgotten Farm "Parson Brown"

Casa Mia "Joyeux Noel" freebie

The Drawn Thread "The Joys Of Christmas"

Prairie Schooler Book No. 202 "Evergreen"

Country Cottage Needleworks "Snowmen"

Grandma Kringles "Winter's Frost"

Prairie Schooler Book No. 157 "Holly Days"

The Little Stitcher "Blue Snowman"

Country Cottage Needleworks "Snowmen Trio"

Heart In Hand "Winter Bird

All Through the Night "Stockingful"

So, what do you think--did any one of the chubby white fellows just call out to you, "Pick me! Pick me!"? Like any mother, I shouldn't play favorites, but I would say the two tiny Country Cottage Needlework pieces (June and October) are mine. The sheer tininess of them--stitched over one--is so sweet. I do love the December finish, too, as it is a bit different. It is awfully large for one of my ornaments, though, but it will still look nice hanging on the lower branches (or even on a cupboard knob or door handle). 

Now, many of you have asked to see a photo of my tree and I'm happy to oblige. We got a new star this year and, although, it doesn't photograph well, it is just so soft and pretty at night... Anyway, here is my 2016 tree with an accumulation of nine years of ornament stitching. People often tell me I've inspired them to stitch an ornament a month--that makes me so happy! It is such a joy to see them all on display in December and remember the stories behind them. I chose to stitch many of them because they remind me of people, places, or events that have been important in my life...

A tree filled with lots of love and tiny little x's!

You might like to see a few close-ups--inch after inch of stitchy Christmas joy! Not much room left for future ornaments, is there? At this stage in our lives, we won't be getting a larger tree, though, so I'll just have to get creative. Eventually, when we truly downsize, I have visions of my sons and their future wives (hopefully!) sitting in a circle and taking turns selecting ornaments to take home to adorn their trees. My middle son already told me he wants all of the bird-themed ones--ha ha!!

GIVEAWAY  WINNER! I was amazed at how many of you entered the giveaway for the Little House Needleworks "Be Merry" chart on my last post... I simply picked a name from the hat and the winner is:

Jennifer--congratulations! Please send me your address and I'll get this right out to you...

I'll be back after Christmas to show you some of the lovely gifts that I've received from fellow stitchers--kindness abounds in our community. As I've thought--and said--many times, if only stitchers ruled the world...

I want to thank all of you for your sweet comments--they are like little gifts to me throughout the year. They really are! When you take the time to write a blog, you never really know how many are reading unless they take the time to comment. I've received such lovely emails from people telling me I've inspired them to get back into stitching or try a new type of finish and I truly appreciate those. I feel very blessed to have "met" so many kind people through my stitching. Thank you--each and every one of you! Bye for now...

Friday, December 9, 2016

December days and a giveaway!

Does it seem to you that time speeds up in December? That each day is more like an hour, each hour more like a second? I just never have enough time to do all that I want for Christmas, no matter how early I start... I'm sure many of you are feeling this way right about now. But, somehow, it all comes together and Christmas morning arrives and the important things--your family members--are all that you really need at that moment. As you can tell, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed today--no cards are sent, few presents are bought, and even fewer are wrapped. But, it will all work out (or so I keep telling myself!).

I visited my mom in New York last week (thankfully, before all the snow hit the Erie, PA area right on the roads I would have been traveling) and managed to put the finishing stitches in this Little House Needleworks piece. Isn't it sweet? My dear friend, Pam, passed the chart on to me at our retreat in October, and I thoroughly loved each stitch. I used 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle with the suggested overdyeds. The snow didn't show up quite as much as I wished, but, in the end, I like the more subtle look of it just fine.

I did make a couple of changes to this "Be Merry" design... I stitched the word "Christmas" instead of the girl's name "Belle Pepper" and I changed the date to 1895. That was a special date--the birth year of both of my grandmothers so you could say this piece is done in honor of them. My paternal grandmother was actually born on Christmas Day in 1895. I'll never forget Christmas Eve at her house where she sat in a regal looking chair in her living room surrounded by piles and piles of both Christmas and birthday gifts from her four children and 20+ grandchildren! What a sight! And she proudly displayed each little knickknack and tchotchke that she was given until the day she died  in 1994 at the ripe old age of 98.

"Be Merry" finish by Little House Needleworks

GIVEAWAY:  If anyone would like this chart, I'm passing it along, with the request that once you are done with it, you pass it along, too... If more than one person wants the chart, I'll draw a name. Let's set the deadline as December 20th at midnight. You probably won't get it before Christmas, but you'll have lots of time to stitch it for next Christmas. Please make sure to let me know in your comments that you would like a chance to stitch this next--and make sure to include your email address. There are so many "no-reply" comments these days that it is very hard to track someone down when there is no email given.

"Be Merry" chart is seeking a new home

And--one more finish, but it is a big one! My final snowman is done for the year--12 in all and I can hardly wait to show each one to you again in my annual "Parade Of Ornaments" in my next post. This one is stitched, but not finished (as you can plainly see!), but I hope to work on remedying that this afternoon.  Isn't he fun?! This All Through the Night design is called "Stockingful" and is stitched on 28 ct. dusty green Jobelan with the suggested overdyed threads. The stocking he is sitting in is cut from a piece of Woolies flannel. The chart suggested a red and white polka dot stocking, but I thought this plaid was adorable, too.

"Stockingful" all stitched up

We had a new visitor to our bird feeder today and I was so excited! I had seen these beautiful birds on Beth's blog and always thought them so handsome and today I got to see my first Northern Flicker in person! Boy, did he eat--he just hung there chowed down on the suet that we had in this particular feeder. Such a striking bird with his fat spotted belly, beautifully marked wings, and the bright red markings on his head.

My first spotting of a Northern Flicker!

It wasn't until I looked at my photos on my computer that I noticed there were actually two on the feeder at once in this shot. Can you spot the head of the second one just peaking out from behind? The plastic dome above the suet feeder is to keep our pesky squirrels away and it works quite well.

Not one flicker, but two!

My husband brought this pretty bouquet home to me earlier this week and I was so surprised to see tulips--in December! But, they work so well and the lovely red and green arrangement has fit right in with all the red and green decorations that seem to be popping up around my home these days. He's a keeper--wouldn't you agree?!

A Christmas surprise from my husband

Well, that's it for today--I'll be back soon with my 2016 "Parade of Ornaments" post! There will be lots of those chubby white snowmen for you to smile at.  Don't forget, if you would like a chance to win the "Be Merry" chart, please leave a note in your comment and include your email address.  Until then, enjoy these last two weeks before Christmas! Bye for now...

Getting ready!