Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snowy Finishes and Lucky Winners

Good morning everyone! How are you all coping with this brutal winter weather? We haven't been hit nearly as badly as you poor people in the eastern corridor of the U.S., and yet, I'm still more than ready for some warmer weather. I don't ever remember a winter this cold, day after day, do you? Well, in spite of not stitching much this month, I do have a couple of things to share with you. First up is my ornament for January. I'm doing an "Ornament-a-Month" stitch-along with Lois, Valerie, and Staci. It's so nice to have company :)

I couldn't resist this quartet of Santas freebie that I found here at the Floss Box. It was designed by the very talented Emily Wilmarth to be a biscornu, but I made a couple of changes to turn it into a diamond-shaped ornament. I changed the colors to what I call the "Prairie Schooler palette": DMC 221, 520, 729, 3363, and 407 along with white and black and used 32 ct. gray Barnwood linen. I also stitched red and white stripes up each diagonal corner and added snowflakes on either side of the Santas. Using invisible thread, I stitched through the center of the ornament a few times to give it a "tufted" look. Add on some tiny black beads for eyes, a bit of white cording, and some white and sage green ribbon and I have another ornament for my tree!

My second finish is "January" from the Prairie Schooler "Summer & Winter" booklet. This was the piece I had planned on working on in Florida, but I left the chart at home so it took me much longer to finish it than it should have. But, it was worth the wait. I really love how it turned out and with all the deer we have in our yard, it holds special meaning. You can even catch a glimpse of a small pond behind the Canadian Goose off to the right just like we have in our back yard. (The photo in my header is our pond as seen from an upstairs window.)

No, we don't live in a log cabin, but there is one I pass on the way to the grocery store that I have my eye on! I've always thought a cozy cabin in the mountains of North Carolina sounded like a perfect place to live...Anybody else? This is stitched on 32 ct. Flax Belfast linen (which seems to be my fabric of choice these days) using the recommended DMC threads. I am using the same pop-out frame that I've used for the December, November, October, and September pieces that I've already stitched in this series. What a money saver!

The other day we looked out our kitchen window and spotted these two deer standing on top of our frozen pond. They appeared to be drinking from a small hole near the back of the pond that hadn't frozen over yet. I was just hoping and praying that they didn't fall through the ice and get stuck. Yes, it has happened before and the results were not pretty...I'll never forget that poor little deer.

Do any of the rest of you think you spend way too much time online? Well, I discovered just how much I could get done on Monday when our internet was down for the entire day. I accomplished more than I would normally get done in a whole week including making these cookies for my birthday treat at work (when it is our birthday month, we supply the goodies for our monthly meeting.) Can you smell the butter and sugar oozing through your computer screens? Pictured here are pecan pie bars, chocolate raspberry brownie bites, oatmeal raisin cookies and spritz butter cookies. Needless to say, these were gobbled up very quickly by my fellow librarians. I do love to bake and I think my dream job would be to own a combination stitching / bookstore / bakery. "Stitches, Stories, and Sweets"--how does that sound?

Well, if you've stayed with me this long, thank you. I do tend to run on and on in some of my posts. I'm sure you're anxious to hear who won my birthday giveaways... I called in a little helper to pick the winners. My little snowman reached in with his long twig-like arms and picked the winner of the "Winter Into Spring" giveaway package.

And what name did my assistant pull out? Why the very lucky Michele B..!! Congratulations, Michele B., you are the winner of the "Winter into Spring" giveaway. Please send me your full name and address and the goodies will be on their way to you next week.

For Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow my snowman decided to ask his little bald-headed buddy to help him choose the lucky name. There were far fewer entries for this one so you each had a better chance of winning.

But, in the end, there could be only one winner and my winter friends picked: Meadows08! Congratulations, Meadows08, you have won the chart for "Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow" and the DMC threads needed to stitch it! Please send me your full name and address and the package will be on its way to you very soon.

Michele B. at "X Marks My Spot"

Meadows08 at "For the Love of Cross Stitch"

Congratulations to both winners and thank you all for participating in my giveaways and for the kind birthday wishes. I really loved hearing the stories behind all of your avatars. Very interesting to read them and I felt that I got to know a bit more about each of you. If you have the time--look back through the comments on my last posting; I think you'll enjoy reading them as much as I did. Well, I hope the coming week is good to you and brings you plenty to smile about. Bye for now...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Come Celebrate With Me!

Good morning, everyone! Yes, it's my birthday and I'm celebrating with two giveaways for my friends and followers. Don't I look positively delighted in this mid-1950s photo which was taken sometime around my first birthday? Even then I loved a great birthday party--especially the cake. I was a pudgy little thing, wasn't I? And thank goodness my hair grew in... This was taken at my parents' first apartment in Buffalo, NY. I was the only child back then; little did I know that my younger brother would be making an appearance later that year. Spoiled? Oh, yes-- especially by my dear father who, my mother says, was so delighted with me that he would wake me up to play when he came home in the middle of the night after completing his shift at the hospital where he was an intern. (Much to my poor mother's dismay who had spent the entire evening trying to get me settled down and asleep!).

Anyway, to celebrate my 56th birthday and my 2nd blogoversary, I have a pair of giveaways to offer my blogging friends.

First up, and I think most of you guessed it from my "hint" a few posts ago) is Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow and all 59 skeins of DMC that you will need to stitch it. (Please note: 1 or 2 skeins (depending on what count fabric you choose) of Needle Necessities Mint Frost are also needed but are not included in my giveaway.) My only stipulation is that you must really want to stitch this. Please don't enter this giveaway just to win the chart or just to win the threads. I want this to go to someone who will actually stitch it and then pass it along in a giveaway of her / his own when you are finished. I was lucky enough to win this from the generous Jolene and I would love to keep the kindness going. You don't have to pass along the DMC, just the chart... So please consider this when entering.

My other giveaway, shown above, is one I'm calling my "Winter into Spring" giveaway since it has items dealing with January, February, and March. For January, I'm including the Waxing Moon "January Sampler" chart which I stitched last year. You can see my finish right here and in my sidebar. It really is one of my very favorite finishes ever. The month of February is represented by a pretty pair of red scissors for Valentine's Day, and March is symbolized by Prairie Schooler's "Daffodils" chart along with all 18 skeins of DMC needed to stitch it. I'm also including five ornament sized (6 inches square) cuts of some of my favorite fabrics including: 28 ct. black Monaco, 32 ct. barnwood linen, 32 ct. sage Jobelan, 28 ct. wood violet Jobelan, and 32 ct. putty Belfast linen.

So, how do you enter? It's very simple. I want these giveaways to be for my followers--the people who visit my blog and take the time to read my posts, look at my photos, and sometimes even comment. Please do not post it on your blog--I would like the giveaways to go to someone who normally visits me here, not someone who just stops in to win a prize. To make it a bit more interesting for all of us, I'd love to hear the story behind your avatar or little icon. If you use a photo of yourself, tell me about it--was it taken at a favorite spot, does it bring back a wonderful memory; why did you choose it? If you use a flower or animal or piece of stitchery or some other representation--how did you happen to pick that? And if you don't have an icon, well, I'd love to hear what you would pick to "represent you" if you had to...Incidentally, Sharon (aka Daffycat) had a very interesting post about why you should have a photo or icon attached to your account. You might want to read about it here.

Here's the story behind mine--the little girl holding the mistletoe over the black cat hoping for a Christmas kiss. I picked this in early 2009 when I first began blogging mainly because of the black cat. Most of you know I adore black cats, having owned and loved my own dear Shadow for over 14 years. Although I am no longer a girl like the one pictured here, I am quite petite--only a little over 5' 1" tall--so I suppose in my mind that girl on my icon is me when I was much, much younger (however, having grown up in the '60s, and '70s my hair was never curly, but always long and straight and parted in the middle--wasn't everybody's?)! I also chose this because it was originally a portion of a vintage postcard which is another of my interests.

So, tell me your story...that's all it takes to be entered into my giveaway. Please make sure to tell me which giveaway you are entering and make sure you include your email address if it isn't connected with your profile. You may enter both giveaways, but can only win one... I'll close the contest on Friday, January 28th at midnight and will announce the winners sometime that weekend. Good luck to all!

I want to thank two special friends for their birthday gifts. First of all, sweet Myra made this darling little covered box for me. It looks like she hand-dyed her own fabric, covered the top of the box with a crocheted doily and topped it with her perfectly stitched "springy" design (she thought we could both use a touch of spring and, oh, is she right!). She also include a piece of the wonderful alphabet /lettering fabric that she had made my pouch out of for my Christmas gift and a little notebook to use as a stitching journal. Thank you, my friend; your gifts made me feel very special!

And special thanks to dear Cindy who sent me a much-appreciated gift certificate to 123 Stitch --can't wait to pick out something new. My oldest son also gave me a gift certificate for the same site for Christmas so I'll really enjoy my spending spree. Thank you so much, Cindy--your thoughtful gift certainly made my day! I'll be sure to let you know what I select...

Thank you for all of your kind comments on my last post--I try to answer each of you who have questions, but sometimes your account isn't attached to an email. Please feel free to email me personally with any questions and I'll be glad to answer... And thanks for the "get well" wishes--I ended up getting the flu and having to call in sick at work for the first time in 15 years! Yes, I was that sick, but I'm almost back to normal now so my new year is off to a good start after all. I hope you all have a wonderful week with lots of time for whatever makes you happiest. Bye now...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Finishes and Florida

Hello everyone! Gosh, it is already January 9th and this is only my first post of the new year... I am just in awe watching many of you work on your 15-day challenge projects--you're not making it any easier to achieve my goal of "stitching from stash" this year, that's for sure. I wanted to share with you some of my final Christmas ornaments from 2010 that I sent to friends across the country...

This Prairie Schooler from the "Santas & Snowmen" chart made it's way to Myra in North Carolina. Myra liked it so much she decided to purchase the chart and stitch the other designs for herself:

This quartet of snowmen found a new home with Cindy in New York. This is a freebie which you can find right here. I'm sorry, but I don't know the designer--if anyone can help me out, I'd appreciate it (Edited on 1/10/11: thanks to Gabi from Germany who shared the designer's name with me! This design can be found on Les Chroniques de Frimousse.)

My sister in New York is now the proud owner of this little Brittercup kitty ornament. I stitched it in memory of her dear black cat, Cinders. She has always been very appreciative of my hand-stitched ornaments and I love making them for her:

I actually stitched two of these Prairie Schooler snowflakes (from PS Book No. 23: "A Prairie Year II.") One traveled across the state of Pennsylvania to my dear friend Mary and the other made its way all the way to California to a new blogging friend Julianne. I like this one so much, I'm planning on stitching it a third time just for myself:

And Shari in Indiana was such a good girl this Christmas, that she received this Told In A Garden angel ornament. With her son serving in the military, I thought it would hold special meaning for her. This is a free design which I've added to my "Favorite Freebies" list in my sidebar along with the snowmen design pictured above:
I really loved stitching and surprising a few of my friends with these and hope to send out even more surprise ornaments next Christmas for additional blogging buddies...I think I'm going to secretly stitch ornaments all year and hide them away until December rolls around!

Are any of you familiar with this book? Well, last Tuesday, when I flew down to Florida to visit my parents, my day could easily have rivaled Alexander's "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." I am not a great flyer--flying only once a year doesn't make it any more comfortable for me. But to calm my nerves, I took along a small project to stitch while waiting for the plane. I pulled out the fabric and the threads and the scissors (airplane approved) and my needle and--oh no, my pattern was not there! Ugh--I had left it at home beside my stitching chair. The stitching withdrawal symptoms began immediately...

Once on the plane I was delighted to find myself seated across the aisle from a girl who sneezed non-stop for the 2½ hour plane ride. I kid you not--the entire trip. I've never seen anything like it! Her mother, seated next to me, filled up an entire large white plastic bag with her used tissues. Can you say "ewww?!!"

After we landed, my son and I immediately went to the car rental counter to pay for our reserved car. I gave them my license and credit card, signed the paperwork, and away we walked to pick up the car. Well, when we got to the car pickup location, they had no record of me ever having rented the car! What? I just signed the papers five minutes earlier! For 30 minutes, we stood waiting and waiting while several employees walked back and forth trying to solve the problem. "Are you sure it wasn't rented under a different name?" "Are you positive it was this car rental company you used?" Sigh...finally, they figured out the problem and offered to upgrade the car. We told them it wasn't necessary, but they insisted. Now, an upgrade to some people would have been exciting; to the two of us who know nothing about cars...well, it was meaningless. They told us to pick a car and my son simply pointed to the first car he saw.

Well, let's just say this car, classified as a "sports" sedan had a lot more power than this middle-aged mini-van driver is used to! You know what's coming, right? Flashing lights appeared in my rear-view mirror--the Florida State Police had decided to set up a speed trap for all of us unsuspecting tourists. $134 later I pulled back onto the highway and continued my drive to my parents' condo with tear-streaked cheeks. It wasn't just the ticket, I was just so tired, and the entire day had been less than ideal. (Well, to be honest, I also thought about how much stash I could have bought with that ticket money!).

After we arrived in Daytona Beach, unpacked the car, and rode the elevator to the 14th floor, I spied my parents waiting outside their front door. Mom immediately sensed that it had been a long, hard day and when she wrapped her loving arms around me suddenly everything was right with the world. There is nothing like a hug from mom to erase all your worries is there?

The weather wasn't sunny and warm like I had hoped for, but we did get one nice day. Oh, and I brought home a "lovely" souvenir from my trip; Saturday morning I woke up with a cold--yes, I had caught Miss Sneezy's cold from the plane trip down--my first cold in three years. Sigh...

Thank you all for visiting me today--I really loved reading your comments about my Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow finish last time. Isn't it wonderful how we all support each other in this little stitching world? I appreciate each and every one of you more than you know... And remember to stop by next week for my annual birthday / blogoverary giveaway post! Bye now...