I want to thank each of you for your kind words throughout 2014; all the comments, emails, gifts, and support have helped make a somewhat difficult year, much easier. There has been a change in the blogging world over the past year and I'm sure all of you have noticed it, too. So many long-time bloggers have left this format to share their works through Facebook and Instagram and it has definitely made a difference in our little community. There seem to be fewer visits to our blogs, fewer comments, and a general feeling like people are slowly drifting away from blogging. For me, that's sad... The truth is, blogging does take a lot of time, but I love the feeling of permanency that I feel is lacking in the other venues. I love being able to scroll down through my blog and see all of my finishes and read about the exact fabric and fibers that I used ever since I wrote my first post almost seven years ago. I love, most of all, the personal connections that have come my way through blogging. I'm not sure they would have occurred in other forms of social media--I seriously doubt it. So, thank you for being here and still reading my way too long posts and leaving those wonderful comments. I truly appreciate you hanging in there with me even though I have only posted 23 times this year...
Christmas goodies... The biggest present I received for Christmas came in the form of two beautiful Amish-made corner cupboards for my kitchen. I've wanted these for the longest time, but it took a while to find some that would fit the dimensions of our kitchen and blend well with our existing table and chairs. I was thrilled to find two pretty pine corner cupboards online and they were delivered shortly before Christmas. Right now, we only have one in the kitchen because my snowman tree occupies the other corner. I've temporarily located the other in our bedroom and really like it there so who knows if it will be making its way down to the kitchen at all! What fun I'm going to have decorating them with each season...
|A corner cupboard for Christmas!|
Here is a closer look--I can just imagine lots of my cross-stitched pillows scattered across the shelves, can't you?
Gifts in the mail... My mailman was kept very busy this month delivering some wonderful gifts from around the world which I'd like to share with you...
From Lois, in Northern Ireland, came a darling ornament, some pretty Christmas ribbons and napkins, and a lovely BBD chart. I know I'll be stitching it very soon... Thanks so much, Lois--I love your gifts and our friendship so very much!
|Christmas gifts from Lois ~ 2014|
From Cindy, in Tennessee, came another box of goodies. She sent a pretty Lizzie Kate "Love" pillow for my bowl of February pillows, a cheery pair of Christmas socks, some sunflower stickers, and an adorable bunny plate (she knows I'm a bunny lover!). Thanks so much, Cindy, you are always so sweet to remember me at Christmas time with such lovely gifts!
|Christmas gifts from Cindy ~ 2014|
From Myra, in North Carolina, came the tiniest little bird pincushion--so adorable. Myra knows how much I love small things and she even included a miniature bird house in which the petite bird was perched when it arrived. She also spoiled me with a Moda Merriment charm pack, which will definitely come in handy for my finishing, as well as some tasty glazed pecans and hot apple cider spice blend. Thank you so much, Myra--I just love my goodies from you!
|Christmas gifts from Myra ~ 2014|
From a new friend, Nathalie (no blog) in France, came an assortment of French chocolates (which my husband and sons just about devoured!) and two cute ornaments to add to my tree. Thanks so much, Nathalie, it's been fun getting to know you this year!
|Christmas gifts from Nathalie ~ 2014|
From Gabi (no blog) in Germany, came two sweet ornaments for my tree. Isn't that little mouse with the Santa hat just adorable? Love the little bell on it, too... Thanks so very much for your lovely gifts, Gabi, and for your kind comments you leave on my blog throughout the year!
|Christmas gifts from Gabi ~ 2014|
From Anne, in Canada, came a beautifully crocheted snowflake. I just love the burgundy color of it and really do need to teach myself how to make these some day soon! Thanks so much for thinking of me at Christmas, Anne!
|Christmas gift from Anne ~ 2014|
From Robin (no blog) in Virginia, came a sweet "C" monogrammed ornament for my tree and a wonderful array of finishing trims. I love receiving fabrics and trims to use in my own finishing so this was a real treat, Robin--thank you so much!
|Christmas gifts from Robin ~ 2014|
From June, in England, came a beautiful package of ornaments and trims and buttons to use in my finishing. I had admired the smiling gingerbread boy on June's blog and was so tickled to receive one of my own! And the little scissor fob (along with my first pair of blue scissors) is so beautifully stitched and finished. Thank you so much, June--you always manage to make me feel special when you spoil me each Christmas!
|Christmas gifts from June ~ 2014|
From Shirlee, in Kentucky, came another beautifully stitched and finished blue and white ornament. I hadn't seen this design before and I love the way it spells out "Glory to God" amidst the alphabet... Thank you so much, Shirlee--I love it!
|Christmas gift from Shirlee ~ 2014|
From another relatively new friend, Lynda (no blog) in England came this pretty heart shaped ornament along with a lovely stitched card. I'm not sure who the designer of the ornament is, but I love it--such a cheerful looking gift. Thank you very much for your lovely gifts, Lynda--I've so enjoyed our emails this year!
|Christmas gifts from Lynda ~ 2014|
And finally, from Tricia, in Wisconsin, came a wonderful RAK--a package of her beautifully crafted handmade greeting cards. Tricia had offered to let me borrow one of her charts and surprised me by including her lovely cards as a little gift. I have always been in awe of Tricia's adorable and perfectly crafted little paper creations... You can check out more of her darling designs on her card-making blog right here. Thank you so very much, Tricia--I will save them to send to some very special people!
|RAK from Tricia--December 2014|
I sent out some Christmas ornaments, too, but will save them for my next post...
The $10.00 Challenge... Many of you asked what my sons ended up giving each other in their second annual "$10.00 Challenge," so I thought I would share a photo of their gifts. (Unfortunately, one gift never arrived from the vendor so there are only five pictured). Clockwise, from the top left, we have the game "Appleletters" (a relative of Bananagrams), a cacti dish garden, a book (which my youngest son cheated on and spent a bit more than $10 so he jokingly told us he had to rip out the last two chapters to make it fair!), a 19-in-1 keychain full of little tools, and a can of kinetic sand. Never heard of kinetic sand? I hadn't either, but here is a short video about it. We all really enjoyed seeing what the guys came up with for each other--I hope they do it again next year.
|$10.00 Challenge gifts ~ 2014|
A little gift idea... My youngest son is the only one who doesn't live nearby so he didn't want any big gifts to have to transport back to Washington, DC. One of the requests on his gift list was some plants for his office at the Department of Justice. Rather than just handing him the cash to buy them, I came up with this cute idea--a little forest of money trees made from $20.00 bills. To make the little "trees," I used this video on YouTube and, although they're not perfect, for my first attempt, I thought they turned out quite well. I then added a large gold star, some snowflakes, a fawn and cardinal, and a grinning snowman with a gift message (using the Publisher program on my computer) for a fun and easy gift. My son loved it and I know I'll be doing this for future money gifts...
|Origami forest gift|
Talk, talk, talk... Do you remember the conversation starter jar that I showed you in this post? Well, I decided to make a Christmas version of it for our Christmas Eve dinner. We had such fun with it and the guys wanted to do it again the next evening so they came up with even more questions. The questions ranged from the serious ("What is your favorite Christmas carol?" to the silly "Who is your favorite reindeer?"). I even included, "What is something you like about the person to your right / left" which one of my sons promptly changed to read "What is something you dislike about the person to your right!" Honestly--those guys!!
But, my favorite question, and one that I like to ask myself as each year comes to an end is, "What is your happiest memory of the past year?" Their responses all made me smile and imagine my sons in those situations: the day the youngest reunited with his girlfriend after a four-month break-up, the afternoon my middle son spent snorkeling in Japan with his girlfriend in July, the mini-reunion weekend my oldest son spent with seven friends from college at a lake in Virginia ... Although I wasn't there for any of those experiences, I could honestly feel their happiness... My husband said his happiest memory was seeing how well I handled my father's death--he was so worried about me and was very proud of how well I held up at the funeral and afterward. And what was my happiest memory? Well, ironically, it took place on one of the saddest days of the year and that was at Dad's funeral in November. It was the moment I looked around and found myself surrounded by the four men in my life and I just felt such complete pride and happiness that they were there for me--to support and care for and love me. I felt so very blessed and loved in that moment--and so, so happy! How about you--I'd love to hear your happiest memory of 2014...
So, that's it for this year! I usually look forward to the quiet and peace that January brings along with my birthday in two weeks, but I have to admit that this is a birthday I'm dreading... I'll be 60 and, to me, that is the real start of getting "old." At least I'll have the many senior citizen discounts to look forward to--I do love a good bargain! Anyway, as my husband always reminds me, "Getting older is better than the alternative." I want to wish each of you every happiness in 2015! Thank you again for being such true friends! Bye for now...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!