Good morning all! I've just returned from my monthly 600 mile round-trip journey to visit and help out my parents. Unfortunately, I got no stitching done while I was up in New York because, guess what ~ I forgot my needle! Luckily, the iPad that I received for Christmas kept me very busy playing "Words With Friends" (I'm totally addicted!), admiring all of your lovely new stitching and stash, and trying to figure out those horrid, new word verification "captchas." Mine has been removed from my blog to make it easier for you to comment and so far, any spam comments have been caught by the spam file on blogger, so I guess I'm going to leave things this way and see how it goes. Interestingly, when I used my mom's Mac to comment on blogs this weekend, the two "jumbled" words were very easy to read so I wonder if those of you who have Apple computers are all having an easier time with the changes than those of us who don't?
One of my most popular older posts was my Favorite Freebie Finishes back in October of 2010, so I decided it was time for another. I'm always so thankful to designers for sharing their talents with us through the form of freebies, aren't you? Several of you have asked if I'm doing my "ornament a month" finishes this year and the answer is "yes"--in fact, here are my first three... It just so happens that each of my Christmas ornaments so far this year has been stitched from a freebie chart. I didn't plan it that way, they just happened to be what I picked. I've also added the links for each one to my list of "Favorite Freebies" in my sidebar.
First up, is this sweet "Noel" freebie with its scenes of winter: the snowflake, the swag of holly, and the inviting looking house with heart-shaped smoke drifting up from its chimney (which, as I'm writing this, I realize I forgot to stitch--yikes!! Oh well, I'm not going to try to add it at this point!) . I found this one on a new-to-me French blog called "Balades et Broderies" and the chart can be found right here. Carmela offers quite a variety of cute freebies so check out the rest of her blog, too.
My January ornament is stitched over one on 28 ct. black Monaco. No colors were suggested by the designer, so I chose DMC B5200, 815, and 3051. Very simple, but effective on the black, don't you think? To finish it off, I ruched a bit of burgundy and white gingham ribbon and topped it with a white pin. It is very small--just a bit over two inches wide by two inches high. For me, the smaller the ornament, the better!
When I first saw Melissa's version of this next freebie back in 2010, I fell in love with it and knew I would stitch it myself some day. I hope she doesn't mind, but I "borrowed" her color ideas and used similar shades of overdyeds that I had in my collection (WDW Cocoa, Ivy, and Raspberry). Here is the chart for this cute deer freebie, and I'm sure you'll love many of the other free charts available on the main page of this site which you can find by clicking here.
To finish my February ornament (which is also stitched over one), I made a simple hanging pillow ornament with a bit of sage green fabric, rope-like trim and hanger, and a trio of soft cocoa colored buttons. You'll notice that I didn't stitch the border as charted because, well, the mystery piece of scrap linen that I used wasn't quite big enough for it! I think it looks great on its own, though, don't you?
And, believe it or not, I'm a bit ahead of the game as I've already finished my ornament for March, too! This comical melting snowman and his long-legged crow buddy were so adorable, I just had to stitch them. Doesn't it look as though the crow is just waiting for the perfect chance to pluck that tasty carrot nose from the snowman and eat it for his dinner? The chart for this freebie can be found right here on the French blog "Jura Point de Croix". I just used a small portion of the design and also changed the border so it would be symmetrical.
Vonna's extremely thorough tutorial on finishing a Mounted Flat Ornament was so helpful. Thank you, Vonna, for all the time you've spent creating those detailed tutorials in an effort to help each of us become better finishers! I used a fun black and white polka dot material for the backing and trimmed it with three silver jingle bells, burgundy satin ribbon, and handmade cording. It's quite a bit larger than my normal ornaments, but I'm still very pleased with how it turned out. So, there you have it--my first three ornaments of 2012.
I want to thank one of my Canadian blogging friends, Kathy, for passing along this darling LHN chart called "Summer Splendor." I had admired Kathy's finish of it on her blog and she so generously offered to pass along the chart. I'm especially thrilled because I have so few true "summery" pieces that this one will be a joy to finish and display. Thank you, my friend--I can hardly wait to start stitching this one as soon as I purchase the threads...
Do you remember when I last posted, I was feeling a bit forlorn because my husband had gone on a skiing trip to Utah leaving me alone for Valentine's Day? Well, he tried to make up for it by leaving me this surprise box of chocolates--aren't they incredible? You can click on the photo to get a better view--each one is painted like a miniature work of art. Why, they were almost too pretty to eat--almost!! They came all tied up in that pretty pink, satin ribbon, too--just perfect. Yes, my dear husband is in my good graces again--he knows chocolate goes a long way toward winning my heart...
Is anyone else shocked at how quickly this year seems to be passing by? It's hard to believe March is nearly here, isn't it?! When I was up at my parents' home this weekend, we watched that charming movie, "My Dog Skip." My dad seems to be totally enchanted with children and dogs these days, so I thought it would be a perfect movie to make him smile... Anyway, a line from it really gave me pause:
"Why, in childhood and youth, do we wish time to pass so quickly - we want to grow up so fast - yet as adults we wish just the opposite?"
Do you remember those times? The days when it seemed like forever 'till you were allowed to walk to the store all by yourself, go on your first date, or learn to drive.... And then suddenly, time seemed to be passing by more and more quickly and you began to wish it would simply slow down. When did that change occur? For me, I think it happened when my sons were born. I just wanted to hold their tiny hands a bit longer while they crossed the street and shelter them a few more minutes from the reality--sometimes harsh--of the grown up world. And now, as my fifties seem to be whizzing by faster than any previous decade, I long for the world to slow down more than ever. I have no desire to go back in time or to relive my life at a younger age; I'm happy being at this stage of my life. I just think I need to be more mindful of things that are happening around me right at the moment and to take time to really enjoy even the smallest things in life to their fullest... How about you?
Well, that's all I have to share with you for now. Thank you, as always, for stopping by and taking the time to say "hello." I truly love hearing from each and every one of you and I so appreciate your kindness and friendship--you guys are the best! Wishing you all a wonderful week--and remember to slow down, treasure those simple moments, and take some time for yourself. Bye for now...