Good morning everyone! Well, it's a special day for me, which I'll get to later in my post, but first I have some stitching finishes I'd love to share with you. Many of you have been asking about my monthly Christmas ornaments. Am I still doing them, when will I show them, etc. Well, I'm happy to say I've finally caught up--I hadn't finished a Christmas ornament since March so it was a lot of work, but I love how each and every one turned out! Below is a shot of the stitching along with some of the finishing materials I gathered. Sometimes I think finding the perfect trims, fabrics, and buttons to finish a piece is as much fun as the actual stitching!
Monthly ornaments waiting to be all finished up
My ornament for April was actually started last November and then got cast aside during the frenzy of Christmas stitching. Finding this little snow guy half-finished was like running into an old friend. How can you help but smile at that crooked grin of his? The suggested DMC colors and a mystery piece of 32 ct. linen were used. I think this finish is a perfect example of how you can take a simple design ("Let It Snow" by A Stitcher's Hands) and make it more special by adding fun fabrics and trims. The wee orange nose was called for on the chart, but I added the white pompom and jazzed him up with two fabrics, white ric rak, and a candy-cane striped hanger. The chart includes three other charming snowmen, all wrapped up in their warm scarves and knit hats, which I also hope to stitch one of these days.
"Let It Snow" by A Stitcher's HandsI honestly enjoy (gasp!) stitching on black--in fact three of my seven ornaments for 2012 are stitched on black so far! The May ornament is stitched on 32 ct. black Belfast linen with DMC threads. I love how white just pops on the black fabric and with snow and wintry themed charts, there is always a lot of white on Christmas ornaments. This cheery piece is Sue Hillis's "Candy Canes" and includes a little brass candy cane charm. The color of the red is really more of a maroon shade than is shown in the photo. I changed it from the suggested DMC reds to DMC 815 which I also used to make the red and white cording. It is backed with coordinating red and white striped fabric and topped with a little white pin. I left off the backstitching for obvious reasons. That's another good thing about stitching on black fabric--no need to backstitch!
"Candy Canes" by Sue Hillis
For my June ornament, I stitched the winsome Trilogy design called "Cheer." This is the second one of their little trees that I've done. I also stitched the Spooky Tree for my dear friend, Myra back in 2010. If any of you are familiar with the original design, you'll notice I left off the rectangular border and one of the little stars and finished it into an oval shape with a ruched ribbon and bow in slate blue. It is backed with the beige and white homespun fabric shown. Some miniature white buttons serve as snowballs just waiting for that next snowball fight between this trio of little guys. I don't know about you, but the sight of them certainly brings me "cheer!"
"Cheer" by The Trilogy
And finally, back to my all-time favorite designer, Prairie Schooler, for my July ornament! "A Visit From St. Nicholas" is from Book No. 48, "A Christmas Visit" and is the second piece I've stitched from it. The first was Sunflower Santa done back in 2010. Again, I love every single design in this booklet and I hope to complete all seven. This one is stitched on 40ct. flax Newcastle linen using the suggested DMC threads and is finished very simply with handmade cording in DMC 221. A red and white gingham bow was added to the corner to cover where the cording ends meet.
"A Visit From St. Nicholas" by Prarie Schooler
And here are all four--April through July...ready and waiting for December's Christmas tree:
April, May, June, July 2012 ornaments
I've had some lovely gifts arrive on my doorstep lately from three blogging friends around the world. First of all, Suzanne in Washington state (no blog) sent me this sweet Lizzie Kate kit as a thank you for lending her an out-of print chart. Secondly, Melody from Bookwoman Stitches blog sent me this cute "Jolly Jack" chart to thank me for lending her two out-of-print charts. She's hoping it will make the cut for my "October Bowl"--I just bet it might, Melody!! And finally, all the way from England, came these gifts from Linda. Linda doesn't have a blog, but has written to say how inspirational my finishes are and wanted to send me a little token to show her appreciation. She sent me my first (and probably only!) souvenir of the Diamond Jubilee and a wonderful bookmark with "Desiderata" on it (boy, does that take me back to my college days in the mid-'70s. I think every girl in the dorm had a poster with that lovely verse on her wall. If you would like to read the whole thing for yourself, click here ). She also included some postcards and leaflets from Sandringham. I am so touched by all of your gifts, my friends. Really, nothing is expected when I lend my charts out, but I so appreciate your friendship and generosity!
A most special day: July 23rd, 1977...My wedding day--which makes today our 35th wedding anniversary! I seem to find myself humming that old Carpenters tune We've Only Just Begun quite a bit lately. (For all of you in your fifties and sixties you'll love this old video--does that bring back memories or what?! I think I wore out multiple copies listening to the Carpenters' records over and over when I was in high school!).
"We've only just begun, to live...We were so young and so full of hope. Our sons can't believe we married at age 22, but that's the way it was done back then... graduate from college, get married, work for a few years, and have kids. Today the order of things has definitely changed up a bit, hasn't it? And the time-frame has certainly slowed down. But, you know what, I wouldn't change a thing about the way we did things way back when...
White lace and promises,
A kiss for luck
And we're on our way..."
White lace and promises,
A kiss for luck
And we're on our way..."
Wedding Day MemoriesHere is a tiny snapshot from our big day along with our wedding invitation (yes, it was the palest blue color!) featuring the quote "And this... our life, our beginning." The white lace is all that remains of my wedding dress which was damaged and discolored beyond repair from decades of storage in my parents' attic. So, I removed a few pieces to save before discarding it. (Having no daughters who might want to wear it someday, made that decision a bit easier!) And how about that 13¢ butterfly stamp--that just shows you how prices have jumped over the past 35 years--today it costs 45¢ to mail a card this size! (If it looks like there are no people in the pews behind us, that is because the minister would not allow photos during the church ceremony, so this was "staged" after the actual ceremony. There were actually nearly 250 people in attendance!).
So, how will we celebrate? Well, believe it or not, my husband is 3183.11miles away right now. He is on a week-long biking tour of Alaska! (This is not him in the photo, but I'm expecting some equally breathtaking shots to be taken by him this week.) I'm a bit sad, of course, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and biking is to him what stitching is to me. I know we'll celebrate later, in fact we already have plans to head down to the mountains of North Carolina (Asheville vicinity) this fall. And this is where I could use your help--have any of you vacationed there who could give me advice; the best time to go to see the leaves changing, must-see sights, good restaurants, even the name of a great place to stay (I'd love to stay in a little cabin!)? Any help would be greatly appreciated...
Well, that wraps up another very lengthy post--I hope you've enjoyed your visit today! Welcome to my new followers; so glad you've joined the fun. As always, your comments and emails are very much appreciated--thank you, my friends. I'll close with the final lines from Max Ehrmann's "Desiderata." Although written in 1927, it is still so applicable to today's world...
"With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy".
May your week be a special one! Bye for now...