Monday, January 28, 2013

A few more ornaments to share...

Warm greetings to you my friends on yet another frigid morning here in western Pennsylvania! The good news is that this cold streak is ending--well, for a few days at least. According to our trusty weathermen, Friday's high will be back down in the teens. Oh well, February will be a short month and then we're into March which means spring is just around the corner (at least that's what I keep telling myself)...

I have a few more ornaments which I sent out for Christmas gifts in December that I wanted to share with you today. It took a while for all of them to arrive. The differences in mail delivery times confound me--I mean I mailed a package to Spain which arrived in a week, but another package sent to England on the very same day took almost three weeks to be delivered!  The important thing is that all of my ornaments have finally made their way to new homes and were well received and for that, I'm ever so grateful...

For my friend, Lois, I stitched an older Prairie Schooler design which I'm sure most of you will recognize. I just love this giant bunny leaping over the little house on a starry winter's night! For this one, I used 40 ct. flax Newcastle and the suggested DMC colors and added some buttons and red jingle bells to the trim for a little accent. I'm sure this bunny is happily nestled in his new home in Northern Ireland. I loved stitching him for you, Lois!

Prairie Schooler Rabbit from "A Prairie Christmas"
 (Book No. 10)

This Little House Needleworks ornament simply called "Joy" was sent to my friend Cindy. The funny thing is, I received the exact same ornament (which I dearly love!) from my friend June for Christmas! I used 40 ct. antique white Newcastle and the suggested DMC threads for it... Also added some Mill Hill beads (#02052) and handmade cording in DMC 3052 to finish it off. I hope this little gift brings you much J-O-Y in the new year, Cindy!

Little House Needleworks: "Joy"

I liked this older Prairie Schooler ornament so much that I stitched it for not one, but two friends in December! The partridge wanted a warmer climate so he flew south to live with both Myra in North Carolina and Robin (no blog) in Virginia! This one is from PS "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (Book No. 74) and was stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle. I made a few changes in that I stitched another leaf in place of the number "1" that was charted and I changed the lettering to a gold color (DMC 420). Both Myra and Robin seemed very happy with their new "pets" and it was a pleasure to stitch for such sweet friends.

Prairie Schooler Partridge (Book No. 74)
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"

Obviously, I was on a Prairie Schooler kick in December because another one sprang from my needle and headed all the way down to Kentucky and my friend, Shirlee. Shirlee loves snow and reindeer so I thought this would be a fitting choice for her. It is stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with DMC threads. I then used the same green checked gingham that I accented Lois's ornament with and added some rope-like trim and four buttons.  I hope you are reminded of me each year when you hang it on your tree, Shirlee!

Prairie Schooler Deer from "A Prairie Christmas"
Book No. 10

For the second year in a row, my English friend, June, received an ornament stitched by me from Plum Pudding NeedleArt. Last year, I stitched her the little gingerbread boy and this year I made her the snowman from the same booklet called "Candy Cane Wishes." There is one design left in the book--hmmm...I wonder what June will be receiving next year? I stitched it over one on 28 ct. light natural Jobelan using the suggested DMC threads and added a ruched ribbon edging with some gauzy burgundy ribbon. Isn't he cute!

Plum Pudding Needleart snowman
from "Candy Cane Wishes"

To my young friend, Edit, who lives in Spain, went this pretty design from an older Just Cross Stitch magazine (November/December 1997). It is called "Folk Doves" and is designed by Ginger & Spice. I used DMC 115 on 32 ct. white Jobelan and dressed it up with some contrasting fabrics and bit of lace trim. I thought this ornament was fitting for Edit because her year was filled with lots of love--she has a brand new baby! I also stitched a little ornament for her new daughter, but forgot to photograph it before I sent it on its way, so if you'd like to see it, you can go to Edit's post right here.

Ginger & Spice: "Folk Doves"

Next we have an "oldie, but goodie" that is now making it's home with my local stitching buddy, Linda. I've always loved this design called "Winter's Eve" by Country Cottage Needleworks. It is from the 2006 ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine and is stitched on 32 ct. flax Belfast using the suggested threads. I kept the finish quite simple with some handmade white cording and a cluster of jingle bells topping the white satin ribbon on the hanger. I hope this little gift brought a smile to your face, Linda!

Country Cottage Needleworks: "Winter's Eve"

My final ornament went to my friend, Mary, and is one of my favorites. I stitched it for Myra last year--next year, perhaps I'll make one for myself! This is by Plum Pudding NeedleArt and is called "Winter's Song." I think it is one of the prettiest designs out there--just love the sentiment on it and the darling cardinal. I stitched this piece over one on 28 ct. Bay Leaf Jobelan using DMC threads and added a simple handmade cording and green and white gingham bow... Mary seemed quite happy with it and I am so pleased to add to her growing collection of Carol-stitched ornaments!

Plum Pudding NeedleArt: "Winter's Song"

Whew! That was a lot of stitching for one month, wasn't it? Does anyone have a favorite? I know I say this every year, but I really need to start my Christmas gift stitching earlier! I think I'll try to do one each month and squirrel them away for gift-giving in December... I hope each recipient loved her ornament as much as I loved stitching them! I know I treasure the things that were stitched for me at Christmas time...

BIRTHDAY NEWS: Well, first of all--thank you, thank you for all of my wonderful birthday wishes on my last post! You sure know how to make a girl smile!! An Italian blogging friend, Pat, commented that it was also her husband's 58th birthday on January 16th--we are "birthday twins!" It's a small world, isn't it?  I also received two more lovely gifts from two of my oldest and dearest stitching friends which I'd like to share with you...

I'm not sure if any of you heard my cries of joy when I opened Myra's gifts on January 16th, but I'm sure I could be heard well into the next county!! Just look at what she made for me--one of her beautiful stitching wallets... Isn't it gorgeous?! Tucked inside was a package of needles and there are three compartments to hold threads, scissors, and even a small chart or two. I absolutely love it, Myra--and you couldn't have picked prettier blue fabrics for me. But, that's not all she sent; I also received a delightful bar of fragrant soap, two Vera Bradley notepads, some finishing ribbon, and an assortment of chocolates (which are long gone!). Thank you so much, my generous friend--you certainly spoiled me this year!

Birthday gift from Myra!

More birthday gifts from Myra!

And from my long-time friend way up in Canada, dear Cathey (who many of you know as "Pumpkin") came a wonderful gift certificate from my favorite online shop 1-2-3 Stitch. When I opened my email that morning and read of her gift, tears came to my eyes... As many of you know, Cathey has been dealing with some major health issues over the past months and I couldn't believe she remembered me on my birthday with all she has on her plate right now. That just shows what a caring and thoughtful friend I have! She also has the most darling little baby with the cutest dimples I have ever seen.  Thank you so very much, my sweet friend--your gift truly touched me...
Birthday gift from Cathey!

RAK received:  What a delightful surprise came from a new blogging friend in England last week. Michelle, from Michelle's Stitch Craft Place blog made this delightful red and white pincushion and sent it to me as a RAK  to thank me for my inspirational finishes on my blog. Wasn't that sweet? I just love it, Michelle, and I have already added it to my basket of pinkeeps stitched by friends around the world. I forgot to take a photo of the back of it, but it had the cutest red and white snowflake pattern and a darling fabric label that Michelle added. She has a photo of the back of it on her blog so go take a look and tell her I said "hello!" Thank you again, Michelle, for the lovely gift and for the beautiful card--I'll treasure them both!

RAK from Michelle!

Well, I actually do have a couple of new finishes to show you, but I think I'll save those for next time. Right now, I can hardly move due to having shoveled my entire driveway (and it is a long driveway!) and two sidewalks this past weekend. You see, my husband has been in sunny southern Florida visiting his parents and brothers for the past week so the shoveling fell on my shoulders (and arms, and back, and hands!). We got about five new inches of snow, but luckily, it was the powdery light stuff so it wasn't too bad. It's just that I used muscles that I normally don't use. I think a nice hot bath might be in order before I head off to work this morning...

Thank you all for visiting me today--I am so happy when I see your comments as they let me know you've dropped by. And a warm welcome to my new followers--I hope you'll visit often! Thanks again for your sweet birthday thoughts--it made turning 58 much easier (well, a bit easier at least!). Bye for now...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

They do roll around quickly...

Birthdays, that is! Yes, today marks yet another year in my march toward the big 6-0!! I'm 58 today, but the thought of that milestone birthday still two years away is very much in my thoughts  these days for some reason. Here is one of my favorite photos taken on my very first birthday... I just love those pudgy baby fingers exploring the ribbons on my birthday present. What is it about chubby babies that is so appealing--just love them!! And how about those vintage birthday cards? I spot a smiling rabbit on each and every one--I guess I liked bunnies even way back then. This was taken in Buffalo, NY back in the mid-50s by my dear dad who was in medical school at the time. I wonder if I got a chance to sample that yummy looking chocolate cake my mom so lovingly baked for me? If so, I'll bet she carefully removed the sweet, lace pinafore that I wore in this photo...

January 16, 1956 ~ one year old!

My husband and two older sons surprised me with an early birthday celebration on Sunday. What a wonderful treat that was as I had just spent five hours driving back from visiting my parents in New York and was very tired. They made chicken parmesan and a nice salad and treated me to some wonderful stitchy gifts--a couple of charts from my wish list, lots of overdyed threads, and a few gift certificates to various online shops and JoAnn Fabrics. They obviously have learned what makes me smile... And when mom is smiling, all is right with the world--everyone knows that!

I finally have my first finish for 2013 and it is a finish for my blogging friend, Brenda, who just happens to share my birthday today! Brenda is the proud "mama" to two adorable Scottie dogs and when I saw this freebie from The Cricket Collection, I just knew I had to stitch it for her. I thought the design would really "pop" on black so I chose 32 ct. black Belfast linen for the job and used most of the suggested DMC colors. I did change the green on the dog's sweater a bit and I added a silver jingle bell in the "bow" of the stitched mitten. The fabric shown in the background is the backing of the little pillow. Brenda seemed to enjoy my little gift and I'm so happy!

Cricket Collection freebie stitched for Brenda's birthday

BIRTHDAY THANKS... I was lucky enough to receive some very special gifts on my birthday as well... From my long-time blogging friend, Cindy, came two cute charts and fabric, fabric, and more fabric!! She covered just about every season--from the spring flowers to the patriotic colors to the Halloween spooky designs to the green and red Christmas prints. WOW! I will have to get busy and make some more little ornaments and pillows to use these up, Cindy!  You were so sweet to remember me with all you have going on in your life right now--I am truly touched... Thank you so very much!

Birthday gifts from Cindy

From the always sweet Sue came this beautifully handmade stitching pocket. In her card she noted that it is stitched on 32 ct. Golden Promise linen with WDW Williamsburg Blue. Isn't it lovely? She monogrammed it with the letter "C" from one of the Sajou alphabets and added the prettiest antique ivory trim at the very top of the pocket. I just love it, Sue--you were so thoughtful and kind to remember me on my big day. Oh, and that Godiva chocolate bar is certainly an extra-special treat, too!! Thank you so very much for your sweet gifts, my friend!

 Birthday gifts from Sue

All the way from England and my friend, June, came this exquisite needlebook--my very first!! I had admired those miniature spools that she used to adorn one of her creations so I was thrilled to see that she added them to the ribbon on the needlebook. Don't you love the color of blue she chose? I think that is why blue is my favorite color; there are just so many shades of it--from the royal blue that June used to turquoise to the palest icy blue of a winter sky--I love them all! She also included a magnetic bookmark and some cute thank you cards. I love my gifts, June--you really are so kind to remember me and my special day!

Birthday gifts from June

And from my West Virginia stitching friend, Donna (no blog), came this wonderful assortment of charts...all new to me! She included the Waxing Moon "Lost Mitten Angel" chart, the Lizzie Kate "Love Sampler," and Twisted Thread design called "Easter Hare." Along with them she added a Marjolein Bastin bookmark. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Marjolein Bastin designs? And the bunnies  pictured on the bookmark are adorable! Thank you so very much, Donna--everything is delightful! It has been a pleasure getting to know you this past year...

Birthday gifts from Donna

Thank you all so very much for your thoughtful remembrances--your friendships are the best part of your gifts and I treasure each one of you!

Many of you are aware of Melanie--or the amazing Melanie as I like to call her, who blogs at Moonraker Lampwerks. I call her amazing because she is one of those crafters who can do multiple things and do them all so well--from her knitting to her stitching to her bounteous and beautiful handcrafted beads, her blog is a joy to read. She recently let me borrow one of her cross stitch charts and when it arrived I saw that she also surprised me with two of her adorable handmade beads... Aren't they adorable? Check out her blog--you'll love it as much as I do! Thank you, Melanie, for the special treats--I'm thrilled to own some of your beads!

Beautiful beads from Melanie

I know I promised to show you my final Christmas ornaments in this post, but I'm out of time this morning--will definitely get to it next week, okay? Thank you, thank you for all of your wonderful comments on my last post--I guess you liked my "Year of the Bowl" as much as I did. I have to admit, I'm missing making all of those little pillows very much.  Welcome, too, to my new followers--I'm so happy you're here. I'm way, way behind on answering emails and commenting, but will definitely catch up this week. Can't wait to spend another creative stitching year with all of you! Bye for now...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012: The Year of the Bowl

Hello, my friends! And how is the New Year treating you so far? We've already had a few ups and downs in our family this year, but, hopefully, when 2013 ends, it will be with more of the positive than the negative. I'm not one for making resolutions, are you? I've found that I rarely keep them more than a couple of weeks, so I just try to live my life with kindness and treat others the way I would like to be treated. And you know what... it works quite well!

I thought you might enjoy a photo of all of my "bowl" finishes... Yes--here they are...all 68 (if I counted correctly!) of them. Of these, all but 11 were stitched this year, and all were finished this year. I made many more little creations, too, in the form of monthly ornaments and birthday and Christmas gifts for friends, so I think the total for 2012 is somewhere close to 100 smalls. I know 2013 will not be nearly as productive a year in terms of stitching, but I do hope you'll continue to visit my blog...

2012 Monthly Bowl Finishes

Since some of you just started following Stitching Dreams mid-year, you mentioned you hadn't seen the early months so I thought you might like a little refresher... Here is the 2012 parade of bowls!

January's Snowmen

February's Hearts

March's St. Patrick's Day

April's Bunnies

May's Blooms

June's Strawberries

July's Patriotics

August's Sunflowers

September's Squirrels

October's Black Cats

November's Thanksgiving

December's Prairie Schooler Santas

Who has a favorite? I would have to vote for August or July, myself. When I see everything all grouped together in that first photo, I'm amazed that I did all of that stitching and finishing in 2012... I've had a lot of people asking if I'll be continuing the bowl theme this year, and the answer is..."no." You may see a new bowl full of smalls now and then in 2013, but definitely not on a monthly basis.  I hope to stitch a few mid-sized projects and, of course, keep stitching my monthly ornaments, but other than that, I have no concrete plans for my stitching this year--just plan to stitch whatever "calls the loudest" to me!

Final thoughts on the "Year of the Bowl..." This was a surprisingly inexpensive stitching year for me! To select the charts for each month, I looked through my stash and files of freebies and tried to choose things I already owned.  In fact, just glancing through the photos above, I believe I only bought four or five new charts! It really was a wonderful way to finally stitch things that have been waiting for attention for so long.  Many of you have said you'd like to make a few of your own bowls and I heartily encourage you to do so. It is going to be such fun to pull out a grouping of different smalls each month to decorate with for years to come. And I will always remember 2012 and my journey to stitch a bowlful of smalls each month. I am truly thankful for all of you who encouraged and supported me along the way! Thank you so much for your kind words throughout the year...

Do you remember last week when I asked you about storing the monthly stitchings? I told you I had them in shoeboxes underneath a bed... Well, that storage system quickly changed when I went to pull them out and the January box held an uninvited guest trying to cozy up with those sweet little snowmen... Yes, this horrid stink bug had found my little pillows and was trying to keep warm!
Horrid creature alert!!

Eek--double eek!! I had to hurry and find a new storage spot for my little pillows--immediately!! So, for now, I've found a temporary home for them in two drawers in a dresser in my guest room. Hopefully, the little critters haven't figured out a way to get into closed wooden drawers yet! Do any of you have stink bug problems? Well, if you live in the U.S., you probably will at some point if you don't already. They made their way into this country in the late '90s and have been spreading north, south, and west from the mid-Atlantic states ever since. Our population of them has lessened from two years ago, but you still find the slow-moving creatures every now and then--and they seem to love cardboard boxes for some reason. They don't hurt or bite or sting--they just release a terrible odor if they're squished. Thus, the name stink bug. So, here is my temporary new storage system:

 An old dresser now houses my monthly pillows.

January through June pillows

July through December pillows

Very little new stitching has been going on this month... Between work, trying to put away Christmas stuff, and cleaning up after my sons finally departed after the holidays, I've had little free time. And today I'm driving up to New York to spend some time with my parents... I'm excited for the five-hour drive, though, because that means I can spend an extended visit with my current favorite literary character: Flavia de Luce. The narrator of the series audiobooks, Jayne Entwistle, does the most amazing job of capturing the voice of the 11-year-old heroine. For those of you who haven't discovered Flavia yet, she is just delightful--a precocious amateur sleuth with a passion for chemistry (poisons, in particular!) who resides in a rambling English country estate with her quirky family members and an always intriguing crime to solve. I've listened to the first three books and will begin "I Am Half-Sick of Shadows" on my trip today...

The first three Flavia de Luce mysteries

Well, that's about it for now!  Next time, I'll show you the Christmas ornaments that I made for friends around the world (now that they've finally all been delivered).  I want to welcome each of  my new followers and hope you'll visit often this year. I'm so glad you've found my blog and I look forward to visiting each of yours, as well. Your comments and emails are so very much appreciated--as I've said many times before: stitching friends are the best!  Bye for now...