Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gift of Cross Stitch

Happy December, everyone! How on earth did it get to be the final month of 2011 already? It seems like just yesterday that it was January and I was complaining about the cold weather and planning my stitching goals for a new year. I'm beginning to think the older I get, the more quickly time passes--do any of you notice that?

Unfortunately, I have no "new" stitching to share with you today, but I do have some "new to you" pieces that I want to show you. Most are things I stitched before I began my blog in 2009. While visiting my parents and my sister over Thanksgiving, I was delighted to notice just how many of my cross stitched gifts they had displayed in their homes. You don't think they just put them out because they knew I would be visiting, do you? No--they truly appreciate the time and effort a stitched piece takes and I think they genuinely enjoy the stitched gifts I've given them through the years. Anyway, while I was up in New York for Thanksgiving, I snapped these photos to give you a little tour of pieces I've given them for special occasions.

First up, is "Outside My Window" by Lynn's Prints (from the 2005 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue). I stitched this for my mom a few years ago because it reminded me of the cardinals that used to visit the bird feeder outside the kitchen window each winter in my little hometown in western New York. Aren't the little "icicle" beads cute?

My mom loves birds just as much as I do, but she's especially fond of hummingbirds. I'm not sure what magazine the chart for this little hummer appeared in, but I placed him in a flowery frame and he now sits on my mom's nightstand next to her bed.

This Just Nan design, called "Robin's Wreath" was my mom's Mother's Day gift a few years ago. It's normally displayed on her bedroom wall (I took it down to photograph it).

Here is a closer view of Robin's Wreath. Don't you love the tiny robin's eggs in the nest in the lower right corner? I think the colors and details in this one make it one of my favorite finishes ever. The color of the fabric is more accurate in this photo--if I remember correctly, I used 28 ct. glass blue Monaco.

Another Just Nan finish called "High Hopes" is displayed in my sister's breakfast room. I gave this to her back in 2008 when she moved to a new home in a new city in a new state. It was a fresh start for her and I thought the saying on it "High Hopes Grow Here" was perfect for that time in her life. I changed the cat to an all black one to represent her old cat, Cinders. In the very center of the stitched garden is a silver birdbath charm. I'm sure the kitty is eyeing the birdbath with high hopes of capturing one of the feathery bathers!

I've stitched this Prairie Schooler "Good Morning" piece a couple of times and this one now hangs in my sister's rooster-themed kitchen at her lake house. I recently gave it to her in September for her 50th birthday and she just loves it. This chart appeared in the January/February 2002 issue of Just Cross Stitch Magazine.

I wanted to show you the little labels that I make for each of my framed cross stitch gifts and below is a good example. I take some theme or element of the design and create a "little something" on the computer to note the occasion and date... In this case I found a vintage-looking rooster and added a note to my sister along with my birthday wishes. Then I simply printed it, cut it out with fancy scissors, and apply it to the back of the gift with double-stick tape. It just gives the framed piece a bit of an extra personal touch!

The final stop on my cross stitch "tour" is this stitched bouquet of wildflowers that was placed in a frame with a mirror below. My mom has it hanging right by her front door in the her new home, but for years it was in the dining room of my childhood home. I checked the date on it and it was stitched in 1985!! It's held up quite well don't you think? This one was from the "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" cross stitch booklet.

Do any of you remember the actual book, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, that the designs were based on? It was so popular back in the late '70s (I know, I know...some of you weren't even born yet!!). The book was actually a reproduction of an authentic 1906 diary filled with the most lovely drawings and paintings of wildlife along with the author's observations and thoughts on nature. I think it is still one of the most charming books I own. In the upper middle of the collage below, is the drawing that the cross stitch was based on.

The year that I stitched the above piece for my mom has a very special meaning to me as well. 1985--that means I was stitching it while pregnant with my middle son. Yes, he will celebrate his 26th birthday on December 4th. He'll be coming for dinner and, of course, that very special dessert that he requests each and every year, "Giant Chocolate Eclair." It's been a good year for him with a very positive job change and I have faith that 2012 will bring him even more happiness. So... ♫♫♫ Happy Birthday ♫♫♫ to you, my dear middle son!

The winner of the LHN "Season of Plenty" chart is ... Hazel! Congratulations, Hazel--please email me with your postal address and I'll get this off to you right away. Of course, who knows how long it will take to travel all the way to The United Kingdom at this time of year. I hope you enjoy stitching it as much as I did, Hazel, and that you'll pass it along to another stitcher when you're finished...

Before I forget, I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments on my "Thanksgiving Comes Again" finish in my last post! You really made me smile with all of your compliments... And, I'm glad I was able to suggest a way to help many of you change the picture display on Blogger. I honestly prefer the old display rather than the black "lightbox" effect and I'm glad Blogger is giving us an option.

I'll be back soon with a more "seasonal" post--I promise!! Until then, try to find some time for yourself in this very busy month! Bye for now...


Septiembre said...

Hi Carol:
A sample of your beautiful embroideries beautiful and splendid gifts. The one I like is the first "outside my window" and the last, the mirror with this bouquet of red flowers.
Congratulates your second son for his birthday.
And certainly the year has flown by, and almost starting a new one.

Margaret said...

Wow, what a pleasure to see all the wonderful stitching you've done for your mom and sister through the years! Beautiful, all of them, and I love how you make labels for them too. Very clever! I do remember that Edwardian Lady book. I'm wondering if we have a copy of it somewhere. I'm almost positive my MIL had a copy at least. Happy birthday to your middle son too! A bit early, but that's ok, right? I'm so glad good things are happening for him!

Annie said...

What a beautiful trip down memory lane! Your pieces are all stitched so beautifully and you really chose wonderful frames to set them off. Love that idea of personalizing the back with a card.

I actually have one of those needlework mirrors from years ago hanging right next to my front door for that last minute check that your hat is on straight! It's done in needlepoint. Just part of the woodwork now.. I never even notice it.

Sherry said...

Everything is lovely and how special that your family truly appreciates your time and work on these. I love the label too!

Elizabeth Ann said...

Wow so many beautiful treasures for your family! I am so happy that they use their pieces and not just stick them in a drawer somewhere. I faintly remember that book, I think I wore it out just reading it and didn't really ever stitch anything from it. I think the designs would really be pretty on some of the linen we have nowadays. Happy Birthday to your son!

Lynn said...

I loved seeing all of your wonderful stitching finishes! It's so great that your family appreciates your stitching talents.
Thanks for sharing them wit us.
A very Happy Birthday to your son. My second born will turn 27 on Dec. 15 so we will have a celebration here too.

Hazel said...

Oh wow I won. Fantastic!! I will email you with my address now. Well, what a lot of beautiful stitched pieces. I love those little birds in the white frame. Very effective. xx

Nancy said...

I enjoyed looking at all your lovely projects Carol! I think it's wonderful that your family appreciates your stitched gifts.

Hope your son has a very happy birthday! The giant eclair cake looks so yummy!

Parsley said...

I love all you've shown and yes, those beads are adoreable!

Tricia said...

What pretty pieces! I love the two Just Nan designs. I'm going to have to look at her patterns more carefully. These are beautiful!

Tatkis said...

Your unshown stitched works are beautiful!
Congrats to the winner!


Syd said...

Thank you for sharing your idea for the labels. I think I'm going to have to use that one myself! Your pieces are gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing past works, they are delightful. That Giant Chocolate Eclair isn't looking too bad either! ;)

Melanie said...

All of your finishes are beautiful, it's so nice that you're family appreciate how much time and effort you put into their gifts. I do think the older you get the quicker time goes, I can't quite believe this time last year I was very fat and uncomfortable waiting for my baby to arrive and here we are all of a sudden and she'll be 1! Many happy returns to your son (the cake looks amazing).

Melody said...

Carol, What a beautiful collection of completed pieces! I'm glad to see your family treasures their gifts. Also, what a great idea of yours to add that message on the back of your piece.

I do remember the Country Diary book well. I own it as well, and in fact chose the Country Diary china pattern for our good dinnerware, so we received the whole set of it from friends and family at our wedding.

Stitchin' Sweet Sue said...

Pretty finishes, so comforting to know they're well received and loved by family. Enjoy the party, eclair cakes are always a special treat, your middle son has very good taste ~ wink:) Congrats to Hazel!

Laurie in Iowa said...

I enjoyed seeing all your stitched pieces you've given to your family. It truly is a joy to see your work so appreciated.

BrendaS said...

Carol --
Thank you for giving us a little tour of some of your older stitched pieces! Isn't it fun to remember why you stitched a piece and what was happening in your life at the time? Great fun!

Happy Birthday to your middle son. I'm sure 2012 will bring more great things for him.

Have a wonderful weekend:))

HUGS to you.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

I love seeing your gifts to your family. They are all lovely.

Also thank you for bringing that book to my attention. It's just right up my alley. I love nature and watercolor drawings!

Yes, I was a wee one when it was first published. LOL!

Rachel S-H said...

Thank you for the tour of your lovely work. I think that cardinal piece is one of the prettiest things Lynn's Prints has ever done--of course my finish of it is not as pretty as yours. Happy Birthday to your son!

Heather said...

Your stitching is beautiful! Thank you for sharing them, I really enjoyed looking at all of them. I really like the first one with the red cardinals, it's gorgeous. Your son's b-day cake look delicious, and it's good to hear life is going well for him! Have a great day.

Lesleyanne said...

I loved looking at all your gorgeous projects Carol! I think it's wonderful that your family appreciates your stitched gifts. Hope your son has a very happy birthday

Mary said...

Carol, what beautiful treasures you have stitched for your Mom and sister. It's hard to pick a favorite!
Isn't it the best feeling to know that your work is so loved and appreciated?

I'm happy to hear that everything is going well for Andrew. I wish him a wonderful birthday and all the best for the coming year.
What a delicious cake....YUM!


Beth said...

I really enjoyed your cross stitch tour - your pieces were each framed with such care and all have stood the test of time. I too am old enough to remember the Edwardian Lady Diary book and that style still 'sings' to me. As an unreformed Chocoholic, I hope you will consider publishing your Giant Eclair recipe!

Anne said...

Beautiful stitching pieces you made for your mom and sister. I love the designs and the frames they are in. I do think they display them all year round because they are so gorgeous!! I really love the one with the mirror. That book is really familiar to me because I think "Victorian Magazine" did an article on this once and I collected the magazines as a teen. As for time speeding ahead, it does get faster as I get older to :( Happy birthday to your son!!!!

Charity C. said...

I loved looking at your cross stitch tour! It was so very nice! Happy Birthday to your middle son! That cake looks too good to eat!

Congrats to Hazel!

Bekca said...

Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your wonderful stitching Carol, I love the High Hopes design, it's gorgeous.
Glad to hear you had such a great Thanksgiving and I hope you have a lovely time celebrating your son's birthday.
Loving the new blog layout too!
Best wishes and happy stitching to you.

Tracey said...

I really enjoyed looking at all of your finishes... love the one with the 3 cardinals. Thanks for sharing the tip about the labels for the back of each piece you stitch... can I steal your idea? :^)

Teresa S. said...

Beautiful stitching and framing, Carol!

The Queen Bee said...

What a fun trip down memory lane. I also must apologize for not commenting on your last post. I 100% intended to but I read the original post on the wee hours of the morning after working until after 11 the night before. I was too tired to do it but intended to go back later. My bad. Just know that I think the finish is fabulous and is inspiring me to do a PS pattern soon.


passionfruitprincess said...

I am sure your Mom and Sister really enjoy such lovely gifts! I love the mirror with the beautiful flowers and the cardinals too.
Your little tag idea is just perfect. Makes the gift extra especial.
Have a wonderful day, Carol.

mainely stitching said...

I picked up a copy of the Edwardian Lady's diary in a used bookstore ages ago, thinking how pretty the illustrations would look at cross stitched designs - I had no idea that it had already been done! Love your mirror piece. Love ALL your pieces!! How do you get so much done?!

butterfly said...

Dear Carol, love all the stitched gifts you made for your family, funny most of them are the same ones that are in my todo pile or all ready started UFOs.
Happy Birthday to your son. Have a nice family time.

dixiesamplar said...

What a lovely little stitching trip to take us on...beatiful work and such delightful gifts for your mother and sister! Thank you for sharing with us...

Happy Birthday to your precious young man...continued success to him as well!!

Michelle said...

Carol, your stitching is so beautiful - thank you for sharing these lovely pieces :) I love 'Outside my Window' - it is absolutely gorgeous!

Happy Birthday to your son!

Myra said...

What a wonderful tour of "cross stitch past" Carol. It is wonderful to have someone who appreciates your work. I know you enjoyed seeing those older pieces proudly displayed.

cucki said...

hello dear, everything is so lovely..i so much enjoyed looking at all of them..
i hope your son has a lovely birthday,
hugs and blessings xxx

valerie said...

What fun to see designs that you've stitched in the past! I especially love the Drawn Thread and Prarie Schooler piece. So fun! And the personalization on the back is so clever and special!

Happy birthday to your middle boy! I hope it's a special day for him.

Remember to take some time out for yourself!

Ellen said...

Beautiful stitching! It's great that your family members appreciate your wonderful stitched gifts!

Happy Birthday to your middle son!


staci said...

Such lovely stitched and framed pieces Carol! I really like that first one with the cardinals...will have to dig out my magazine (at least one of these days, lol!)

Love your labels too :)

Catherine said...

What a fun post Carol! I loved seeing all the pieces you have done for your mom and your sister. I think I should do the same when next I am at my mom's. What a great idea to put your special "stickers" on the back of your gifted pieces! You know, I have that Country Diary cross stitch book! It had been my mom's, but somehow it ended up in my collection. I may just have to look at that one again soon.
Happy Birthday to your middle son - his birthday cake is a favorite in our house too!!
Congratulations to Hazel!

Poussy Stitches My Love said...

Absolument merveilleux !
very beautiful !!!

bravo à vous, marylin From FRANCE

Solstitches said...

What a lovely selection of your stitched and framed pieces.
I love the Just Nan piece with the little nest and I also love High Hopes.
I stitched the winter version of High Hopes a long time ago but it is still sitting unframed in my box.
What a great idea those little labels are. They make the stitched gift so very special.

Ele said...

All your cross stitch pictures are amazing, so beautiful and perfect framed my dear Carol, love each of them...

thanks for your warming words in the mail long ago, whish you a wonderful Christmas time


Giovanna said...

What beautiful stitching! And yes, I have that Edwardian Lady book, since the late 1970s, lol.

Charlene ♥ SC said...

Thanks for the tour down memory lane, Carol. Of course you've always done such lovely pieces! And I love the personal notes for the occasion - so You! Look forward to seeing more soon, and enjoy the day with your DMS and his cake!!

LoriU said...

Isn't it such fun going back and looking at what we stitched in the past! Your pieces look lovely! And I also love the label idea. I might have to steal that from you!

Thanks for sharing!

Sally said...

All of your stitched pieces are beautiful especially the Just Nan ones.

Oh I'm sure time goes faster the older we get!

Jennifer said...

Love your gift stitching Carol! Your tags for each gift are a lovely idea. You will have to post the recipe for the giant choc eclair dessert. yum!

Julie said...

My grandmother used to say that as you get older it takes longer for you to do things so time seems to go by faster.

Beautiful stitching you have given to your family over the years. I have had High Hopes in my stash for years, maybe 2012 will be the year it finally gets done!

Annette said...

Time is flying so fast... I can't keep up!!
That first piece is so beautifull!!
love the icicle beads
Also beautifull hummingbird.. As a child I loved them, written a paper about it for school. also love the frame of it.
You made a wonderfull Mother's-day gift

hihi that funny roosters!!!
What a great idea the labels... you did a wonderfull job on it!!

hihihi... 1985... I was 1
Very beautifull

I think you are such a great stitcher... beautifull pieces, and also beautisull finishes of them..

Can't weait to see your Christmas pieces in your tree and everywhere in you home.. your haninging on your stairs with the montly ornaments!!

mmmmmmm that Chocolate Eclair...mmmmm
happy Birtday to your and your son

Congratz to hazel.

Have a great week... cán't wait on your next post!!

marly said...

I've been so busy with a few projects that I haven't checked blogs in days. Then I see all your sweet photos and so enjoyed them! And yes, the older we get, the faster time goes which doesn't make sense to me. Why do we think it's going so fast when we keep getting slower?

Lois said...

What a lovely post Carol! I so enjoyed your trip down memory lane and what sweet gifts you have stitched for those you love. I love the little labels you attach, what a wonderful idea. Happy birthday to your son! Our middle children are very close in age as my daughter reached that birthday milestone just last weekend. Have a wonderful weekend!

Siobhan said...

It's so nice to see all of your pieces, Carol! I love it that your family appreciates the time and effort and love that goes into each stitch. :)

Happy birthday to your middle son!

I thought of you last night... I was looking through one of the note apps on my iPhone and it said to remember to look at your November 2010 posts for ornaments. I'm headed there now!!

Cindy's Stitching said...

So pretty all of the framed pieces. The cards on the back are a great idea. We can always learn from others. Have a blessed christmas season.

Vinniey said...

Happy belated birthday to your son! That cake looks so beautiful and yummy!

Love all your framed stitching gifts for your family and each of them was so beautiful and meaningful.

What a beautiful antique booklet! Love the illustrations.

Have a wonderful month, Carol.

Dani - tkdchick said...

Carol, what wonderful, special gifts you have stitched up for your Mom over the years! Hope your son has a fantastic bday and what a cake!!!

Lesley said...

Wow. I love them all, they are gorgeous.

Nancy M said...

It was fun going down memory lane with you. It's nice that so many pieces are still on display. You must have picked the right pieces to make for them! And yes the years go by so much faster as we increase in age!!

Kay said...

Thanks for sharing all you have worked on! I do think that as we get older time just passes by faster with each year. Happy birthday to your son.

Hilda said...

Dear Carol!
That is the evidence for the fact, that you always stitched such wonderful things! Thank you for sharing this pictures with us.

I also love the "Country Diaries of an Edwardian Woman" - I owe them both - and I love those paintings and poems!

Have a nice sunday,

Brigitte said...

Isn't it great to know how much our stitched gifts are appreciated by the recipients? I think that's the biggest thank you they can give us. My mom was like that. She loved everything I stitched for her and each tiny little piece had its special spot in her house. Although she had never stitched she knew how much time and love were used to make these gifts.
The Country Diary must be a real treasure.

♥ Nia said...

Happy December my friend!!! :D
Oh time is flying.. and December is so small.. Santa is almost here!! :p

No way!! I'm sure you family loves your cross stitched pieces :) How could they not love the gorgeous ornaments you always make? :)
I love making handmade gifts for my family too. And it's so good when they make 'requests' for my next gift hehheheh Warms my heart when I see that they want something more made by me =)

Beautiful stitching sweetie!! :D
All so pretty but I specially love the first one :)

Happy birthday to your DS!!! :D
Hugs&Smiles to you :)

Melanie said...

Oh boy, time TOTALLY goes by faster as you get older. Totally weird but totally true! lol

That's so wonderful that your family put such care into displaying your stitchy treasures every year and that you get to visit them again every holiday season. And by 'them', I mean your stitchies. (AND your family too of course. :))

That's such a clever idea to personlize the backs like that. WHY OH WHY have I never thought to do this?? *pout*

Happy Birthday to your son!!!! :)

Suzanne said...

What beautiful stitching you have done for your mum and sister. What is more wonderful is that they display them and enjoy them.

I made so many lovely things for my mum, who has hidden them all away in drawers.

Edit said...

You have made beautiful pictures to your family over the years Carol. I also like to give cross stitch to my parents and some friends, knowing that they will treasure them. Sometimes it also happens that what I stitch with so much love and care ends up in a drawer... That is sad, but then to those people I look for a different present next time.

I love all of your stitches, but that PS Good Morning is especially so lovely :)

Meari said...

So much to comment on :)

I'm with you. Time seems to fly by the older I get. Remember when we were kids, and time seemed to drag on forever?

Thanks for sharing the new-to-us pieces. While they are all truly beautiful, my favorites are the birds :)

It's really neat you have the book one of your stitched pieces is based on. Sorry, no... I don't know the book. I was just an itty-bitty tike in the 70's.

Happy Belated Birthday to your DS! How did you make those musical notes on your blog post? Very cool!

Lastly, congrats to Hazel!

Veronica said...

It's been an absolute pleasure to look at all those stitched and framed pieces of yours. Thank you so much for sharing.

Michele B. said...

What fun to see all your beautiful gifts, and how wonderful to know how much they are appreciated. You have such good taste in what you choose to stitch, and it's obvious a lot of thought goes into what will please the recipient. You've picked such perfect frames too - they set off the work so nicely. The labels are a lovely idea.

That giant eclair looks awesome! Would you share the recipe? Happy birthday to your DS.

Thanks for sharing your work - your blog is always a treat to read.

P.S. I had to cancel my trip - I got diagnosed with pneumonia the day I was supposed to leave ;--( Oh well, maybe next'll still be there.

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed looking at your past stitching. I love, love, love High Hopes!!! And, all the birds, so pretty :)
Donna in WV