Good morning, my stitching friends! It's so hard to believe that 2013 is winding down, isn't it? I hope you all had a joyful Christmas with your families. Ours was just the five of us--very peaceful and relaxing. But, oh, I'd forgotten how much four grown men eat!! It seems like I spent a lot of time in the kitchen... I thought I had more than enough cookies and snacks for the five days everyone was here, but they wiped them out in no time. But, that's good--there's nothing left for me to snack on. I don't know about you, but I'll be doing double treadmill workouts this week (and beyond) to work off the pounds that crept on between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
As always at the end of the year, I'm prone to reflection about the past twelve months--the good, the bad, and the really bad. I can't say I'm sorry to see this year end. There have been some very big bumps in the road, but, in the end, I have the love of my family and the friendship of so many of you fellow stitchers--and that matters more than anything. I want to say "thank you" to each of you who read my blog this year, especially those of you who took the time to leave a kind comment or send an encouraging email. You just never know what a difference one kind word will make in a person's day, do you? And a special thank you to the following stitching friends from around the world who brightened my holidays with their wonderful, creative gifts:
From Lois in Northern Ireland, came this bunch of goodies... She stitched me this cute snowman ornament and finished it so beautifully. Love the fabric Lois sent, too, along with a pretty chart, some snowflake charms and a tin of tiny chocolates. I've tucked them away for a special treat to enjoy in the New Year. Thank you so much, Lois--I love everything!
From June in England, came another lovely package with a cheery red theme! Just look at this cute Prairie Schooler angel tree mounted on an antique spool. I love the folded ribbon edging--need to try that myself very soon. She also included a chocolate bar, some pretty red, white, and gray buttons, and a skein of red and white cording. In addition to being a skilled stitcher, June also makes the prettiest cards. I fell in love with this cheery robin and plan on setting it out on my kitchen counter every Christmas. Thank you so much, my friend--you certainly made me smile!
From Robin in Virginia (no blog), came this sweet ABC Prairie Schooler ornament--one I've never stitched! So cute and beautifully stitched and finished. And look how Robin spoiled me with all these luscious skeins of thread in just about every shade of blue you can imagine. I told her I don't think I'll ever have to purchase blue thread again! The pretty white snowflake ornament was also included in her package. Thank you so much, Robin--everything is just so special!
From Myra in North Carolina, came not one, not two, but three handmade gifts! Myra, cardinal lover extraordinaire, gifted me with one of her beautifully handmade cardinal pincushions--don't you love the red and white snowflake wings? She included a thread catcher in the same cheery fabric and a tiny Merry Christmas ornament to add to my collection. It is mounted in a simple frame and hung with some gauzy ribbon--such a great idea for a quick ornament finish. Myra also included a tube of Gingerbread Kiss chapstick which will come in handy this winter. Thank you so much, Myra--I feel honored to have your beautiful creations in my home!
From Shirlee in Kentucky, came this truly lovely Prairie Schooler finish. Isn't it gorgeous? Shirlee's stitching and Myra's finishing make this one special ornament. I told them both I'd be copying this idea in some of my own finishing next year. I just love the perfectly stitched bag filled with cinnamon sticks and pine boughs! Thanks so very much, Shirlee--I will treasure your gift and proudly hang it on my tree each year.
From Cindy in Tennessee, came another wonderful package of treats! Cindy stitched this lovely bluebird ornament from the latest ornament issue of Just Cross Stitching Magazine. Don't you love the color of the fabric she used to finish it... a perfect match! She also included some DMC threads, a cute little wind-up jumping bunny, and a wooden bunny thread keeper. (Cindy obviously knows I have a soft spot for bunnies!). I've never used a thread keeper before and I look forward to trying it. I love each and every gift, Cindy--thank you so very much!
From Edit in Spain, came a beautifully stitched and finished Lizzie Kate ornament. I was touched to see that Edit had finished it with some of the fabric that I sent her last Christmas. She also spoiled me with the cutest fabric--it is printed with vintage Christmas advertising pictures and logos--so much fun! Two lovely skeins of Nina's Hand Dyed threads and some pretty poinsettia buttons rounded out the package. Your gifts are delightful, Edit--thank you again, my friend!
My final gift was a very special RAK (Random Act of Kindness) from Jackie (Scattered Threads II blog) in Texas. I wish she could have seen my face when I opened Jackie's surprise box of goodies. Oh my!! Knowing my love of blue and white, she created an adorable primitive snowman (whose tag says "Waiting On Santa")--just look at his sweet, sleepy-eyed face. He even has his very own blue fleece "blankie." In addition to that cuddly little guy, Jackie made me a very special doorhanger "HOPE" pillow and a darling quilted mug mat. Even the candy package was blue and white--yum. Jackie--your RAK touched my heart and spoke volumes about your generous nature. Thank you so much, my friend--I'll think of you every winter when I set out your beautifully crafted gifts.
This lovely chart recently arrived at my home courtesy of Heather in Delaware. I entered a giveaway on Heather's blog last month and was so pleased to see that my name was drawn as one of the winners. I truly love this chart, Heather--thank you so very much! And when I'm finished stitching it, I will be passing it along in a giveaway of my own, so watch for it...
On Christmas Eve, my oldest son asked each of us what our favorite moment was from the past year. I hesitated as I searched back through the past 12 months for that special time. And then it came to me--and it had to do with stitching! Yes, my favorite moment was my stitching retreat at a Bed & Breakfast with Lee, Linda, Pam, and Barb back in October. It was just such a carefree few days that made me temporarily forget any troubles or worries that I'd been concerned about. There was so much laughing that my sides hurt and so much delectable food, beautiful, uninterrupted stitching time, and the camaraderie of true friends that those three days really stood out in my mind as the highlight of my year. How about you? What was the one moment of 2013 that stands out in your mind?
Well, that's it for 2013! I managed only 25 posts this year and certainly stitched less than I did in 2012, but I'm pleased to have kept up with my blogging at all. There was a time, back in August when I was hospitalized for those five days, that I seriously thought about ending my blog. But, I'm so glad I didn't--just think of all I would have missed! New friends met, new blogs read, new memories made... Thank you all for being such wonderful friends. I so look forward to the peacefulness of January--no holidays, no outdoor work, just lots of cocooning and stitching time and my birthday coming up in mid-month. Here's to a happy and healthy New Year for one and all! Bye for now...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!