Friday, December 29, 2017

A year filled with Thankfulness

Happy post-Christmas week, my friends! I hope you are all recovering from the excitement of Christmas and all of that tasty rich food (I'm sure we're all going to amp up our exercise routines next week, right?!). I also hope you got some nice stitchy presents from your loved ones (or yourself!). I was honored to receive some lovely gifts from both blogging and non-blogging stitching friends for Christmas which I'll share with  you today in the order I received them...

From dear June, in England, came this sweet angel ornament. But, wait--it's not only an ornament! It opens up and is a needlebook inside--so adorable. This is a free design from Told In A Garden which you can find right here. So darling and so beautifully stitched...

An angel from June

June also sent a pair of fingerless mittens (so soft and blue!), some sparkly floss, a calendar for the new year, and a flowered pouch that I can use for scissors and other stitching supplies. Thank you so very much, my friend--I love each and every gift!

Christmas gifts from June

From dear Cindy, in Tennessee, came another beautiful angel ornament (it was the year of angels and snowmen and cardinals!). This was another freebie from Told In A Garden which you can find right here. Cindy embellished the ornament with tiny gold beads and gold thread--it is exquisite!

An angel from Cindy

Cindy also sent an assortment of trims and charms to embellish my future finishes. Thank you so very much, my friend... Your gifts are so lovely!

Christmas gifts from Cindy

From dear Lois, in Northern Ireland, came this gorgeous, perfectly stitched Drawn Thread design which she chose to stitch for me because she knew that cardinals have a special place in my heart. Isn't it lovely with those silver bells and green cording? 

Christmas cardinal from Lois

Lois also sent some pretty fabric and ribbon, a cake of beeswax, and a lovely Spring-themed chart. Each present is so "me," Lois--thank you so very much!

Christmas gifts from Lois

From dear Robin, in Virginia, (no blog) came yet more cardinal themed gifts! She stitched this pretty red cardinal on perforated wood. He looks so striking on my tree with that bright blue background.

Cardinal for Christmas from Robin

Robin also gifted me with a set of cardinal notecards and some pretty fabric squares to use in my finishing. I love each and every gift! Thank you so very much, Robin!

Christmas gifts from Robin

From sweet April, in Virginia, (no blog) came a surprise package including this cheery, plump snowman ornament. In April's card, she thanked me for the continued inspiration that my blog gave her. That is just so sweet, April--I love hearing that from my readers! And look how beautifully this is finished with the double layers of cording and lace! I'll have to remember that technique...

Snowman from April

April also included more items for me to use in future finishes: some fun purple pompoms and some poblano pepper ric rac. Thank you so much for the lovely gifts, April--you sure surprised me (in a good way!!).

Christmas gifts from April

From dear Gabi, in Germany (no blog), came another of  those chubby white guys which is now residing on my snowman tree in my kitchen. She also sent this cute Christmas tree ornament--isn't it pretty? Thank you so very much, Gabi--your gifts will be treasured each Christmas for years to come.

Two cute ornaments from Gabi

And last, but not least, sweet Nathalie, in France, (no blog) sent me two lovely red and white kitchen towels, a tiny ceramic Santa, and a wonderful French stitching magazine. Thank you so very much, Nathalie--such lovely gifts!

Christmas gifts from Nathalie

I was just a "bit" spoiled, wasn't I? I have been blogging since 2009 and still can't believe how many wonderful stitching friends I have "met" through my blog. And it's not just those of you who send me things; it is those of you who keep reading--and commenting--even though blogs seem to be fading away. It's those of you who send me emails saying I've inspired you or complimenting me on a finish. What a special community we have here... I love the fact that we are all cheerleaders for each other, don't you? Thank you one and all for making my year so special--I truly appreciate you!

My "Best Nine": As many of you know, I joined Instagram in 2016 and have really enjoyed it--it is quick and easy and I don't find that it is time-consuming at all. I'm so enjoying seeing photos of stitchers' work from places like Japan, Russia, and eastern Europe--places that I don't see in stitching blogs very often. Anyway, each year you can use a little program to generate your "Best Nine"--those photos that received the most "likes." Here is a collage of my best nine. My top photo, the annual ornament parade, received over 660 "likes!" Amazing... If you would like to follow me, too, you can find my account right here. 

My "Best Nine" according to Instagram

At this time of year, I always like to think back and pick one favorite moment. And, this year was tough for me to choose just one--I had so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences: seeing my dear, dear mother celebrate her 90th birthday with her family surrounding her, celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary with a trip to Hawaii, witnessing our oldest son and his beautiful fiancée joined in marriage, gaining more time for "me" since I retired from the library in late September. What a year of changes! So, what rose to the top for me? It was sitting at the table at the wedding reception watching as my two younger sons toasted their older brother and new sister so charmingly--a wonderful, heartfelt speech filled with the perfect combination of humor and admiration. What a proud mom moment. Those three boys have grown into such independent, loving, thoughtful young men--I guess my husband and I did something right along the way.  So, now it's your turn--what was your favorite moment of 2017? I'd love to hear it!

The end of the year is drawing near... What are your thoughts as we round the corner into 2018?  I know that many of my blogging friends have faced new and continuing health challenges this year. You've met these trials with a courage that awes and inspires me. I truly hope that this coming year will heal you and ease your pain. Please know that each of you has a special place in my heart--I'm not going to name names, but know that I think of you often... So, that's it for Stitching Dreams in 2017--on to a new year... Let's make it a good one! Bye for now...

Happy New Year! Welcome 2018!


Marilyn said...

What a wonderful post!
You sure received some fantastic ornaments and gifts, you deserve them.
You ARE an inspiration to all of us, and we always look forward to your finishes and Christmas decorations, especially your tree!
I guess my favorite moment from 2017 is the fact that I too, retired on Dec 21st. It was a hard decision, but I made the right one. :)
We all look forward to more of your beautiful finishes in 2018.
Take care, and I wish you and your family a healthy, happy New year!!

Babs said...

Your gifts are so nice :) I didn't stitch up any gifts this year, I'm trying to focus on finishing a Haed. Maybe I'll make some ornaments next year.

I wish you a happy and healthy 2018.

Love, Babs

kcenya1950 said...

A great post to finish a beautiful year of stitching. This year saw a first ever European trip for my husband (of 48 years) and myself. It was our "Impressionists" tour and it was a wonderful one. I want to thank you again for the Santa chart. It arrived and is tacked on my bulletin board awaiting fabric and floss selection. Have a great 2018.

Robin in Virginia said...

Carol, what a beautiful post to end 2017! You are such an inspiration to me with your stitching, your finishing, and your love of family and friends. After reading one of your blog posts, I come away thinking what a nice visit we have had. Enjoy the remaining days of 2017 and I hope 2018 brings you more time to do the things you love.

Katie said...

What a great post to read. What beautiful gifts you have received. You deserve them. You are an inspiration to many. Your finishing and your beautiful cross stitching are beautiful but it's your attitude. Just makes your posts a pleasure to read.

Wow I'm like you. We traveled so much this year. We got to see so many amazing things. I guess the first thought that pops to my mind is seeing my son get to see Disney this year. He always loves Disney but they added a TON of Star Wars things recently. We got to be there on Star Wars Day...May the 4th because May the Force be with you. His little eyes were just so happy. It was a pleasure to see. He also got a wave from his favorite character. So he was just beaming.

I look forward to what 2018 will bring. A fresh new start. I also look forward to your posts and seeing what you are up to. Enjoy!

Cindy's Stitching said...

Such beautiful gifts. You have had a busy year. My best moment was celebrating with my sister and brother in law for my dad's 75th birthday. Happy New Year my friend. 2018 will be amazing

marly said...

What lovely gifts! Yes you do inspire and your creative finishes give many stitchers new ideas for their work.

Lots of events for you in 2017, wishing you a grand 2018.

butterfly said...

Another lovely post Carol .
You have been my mentor , in helping me start my blog , thank you .
I still liked blogging the best , you make such wonderful friends and feel they are part of your family .
We cry and laugh together.
You had some beautiful gifts from lovely friends .
I had lots of wonderful moments this year , hard to say which one was the best .
But reaching our 50 th Wedding Anniversary must be the top one.
Happy New Year .

Vickie said...

Carol, you are such a special lady. I am so very blessed to have you as a friend. Your last paragraph has touched my heart and moved me to tears. Thank you for being you. You inspired me to start my blog and I am so very glad I did. I have so many friendships now.
What wonderful gifts you have received dear Carol.
I think my favorite moment of 2017 was our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

Shelly said...

Beautiful gifts Carol! Such a nice post. It's pretty sad that I can't remember what stood out this year. I do remember one thing and that was when my daughter messaged me (we live in neighboring towns, 9 miles apart and we both have crazy schedules) to tell me that I did such a good job raising her! Her father, my ex-husband, was not in the picture after the divorce, and things were not easy raising her alone. With the help of my father, we came out of it fairly unscathed! My daughter has an apartment, holds down two jobs, making payments on a vehicle, has a boyfriend, and is kind and caring. You never know how a child is going to turn out and while we've had our times when she was a teenager, she has turned out to be what we as parents hope for! I think I can pat myself on the back and say 'Good job, Mom'.

Happy New Year Carol, to you and yours! And to continued blogging for you and I!

Linda said...

What beautiful and thoughtful gifts Carol. I so need to come and take finishing instructions from you.

Happy New Year,

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
so many wonderful ornments gifts from your friends.
I wish you and your family a Happy New Year.
Big Hugs, Manuela

Kay said...

You have such beautiful gifts, it shows how much your friendship and stitching inspiration is treasured. happy 2018. x

Annie said...

What a wonderful collection of stitchy gifts from far and wide. I know you have made a tradition of exchanging with some of these friends for many years.

And, of course, the wedding had to be your real highlight (unless it's the retirement thing ;-)

Happy New Year!

Tricia B said...

Carol, you are so dear! Thank you for sharing yourself beyond just your stitching, it’s not easy to do and yet you do it so gracefully and sincerely. I love connecting with new friends on ig. It has been a fantastic experience for me as well. I’m really looking forward to seeing more beautiful stitching and getting to know more wonderful people in 2018! Thanks for leading the way!

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Dear Carol, you got beautiful presents!
I wish you a happy and joyous year 2018!

Kate said...

Fabulous post Carol and your gifts are all so beautiful! April's snowman ornament stole my heart.
Best Wishes for 2018! ♥

Malgorzata Zoltek said...

Happy New Year!

Maggie said...

So many lovely gifts, I think stitchers are the kindest people!
It's a shame many bloggers have disappeared in favour of other sites, i said something similar in a recent post too.

I wish you a a Happy New Year! x

valerie said...

Happy New Year, Carol! I wish you the very best in 2018. And you received such lovely gifts from all over the world. They are all wonderful!

LaNelle said...

Happy New Year Carol..what fabulous gifts you received such stitching treasures ♥️ So enjoy reading your blog thank you for sharing..many blessings in 2018🕊🕊

Barb said...

Thanks for all your sweet words Carol. You do inspire us. If I can only pick one event for the year it would be celebrating Hannah's 4th birthday last June. But the continuous love and support of my DH and the time I get to spend with Laurie are ongoing blessings everyday. I hope 2018 will be a great year for you and your family.

MartinaM said...

Dear Carol,
what beautiful gifts you have come, all so lovingly chosen.
My year comes to an end with a slight cold. I can not say what was my best moment, there were so many beautiful moments. Maybe my son at the age of 19 still hugs me. Or that my 15 year old daughter plays trumpet with enthusiasm. I'm just thankful that we're fine.
I wish you a happy new year and I look forward to another, beautiful blogger year with you.
Big Hugs, Martina

Michèle said...

Such beautiful gifts ! And pretty many !
Thank you a lot for the link on the adorable angel pattern !
Have a very happy new year !

Lili said...

Such a great gifts, Carol!

Happy New Year!!

Stasi said...

What a lovely post, Carol--I am so glad to have found your blog this year. Your style of writing makes me feel as if we are chatting in person, perhaps over tea or hot chocolate. I just signed up to follow you on Instagram, though I don't get on that much.
My favorite moment in 2017 was just a mere three weeks ago when I finally got to hug my two new grandchildren from Sierra Leone.
Happy New Year...see you in 2018!

Pat said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. You received some wonderful gifts from on line friends.

Keep up the good work, and keep this blog going please.

Happy New Year!

Jennifer said...

Happy New Year Carol! I love the ornament gifts you received, especially that cardinal on wood. I also think of you when I see cardinals, whether in my back yard or in the cross-Stitch store! You did have a great set of moments for your year - but how touching to see your boys together as adults. My favorite memory of the year is 2 weeks long - our amazing RV trip out west. We saw so many gorgeous places, I saw friends I haven’t seen in years, and our family created memories of an “epic” adventure. I came home in awe of the beauty in this country, and also grateful for the chance to go see it as a family. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a happy 2018!

Christine said...

What wonderful gifts you received.
Wishing you a very happy new year

Karen said...

Those are some lovely stitchy gifts you received, Carol. Happy New Year!!

diamondc said...

Carol: Wonderful gifts what a sweet post.

Happy New Year

Margaret said...

Beautiful gifts all! How lovely! I like your favorite moment for sure. Not sure about mine, but at the moment, I think it might be following the eclipse (partial) with my son. It was quite fun! Happy New Year to you and yours.

Nima said...

Always enjoy spending time at your blog...wishing you a blessed new year 2018

Julie said...

A lovely post Carol showing lots of pretty gifts from your friends.
One of my best moments this year was earlier this month when my granddaughter told me she had a won a competition at school to design a Christmas card for her local Member of Parliament. All local schools had been included and he had picked her design from all the entries. The cards were printed and sent out to all he sends cards to, she even thought a copy was to go to the Queen with her name, age and school printed inside as the winner and designer ... she was so excited and her pic was even in the local newspaper.
Blessings to you and the family for 2018, wishing you lots of fun and happy times ahead in the new year.
much love x

Shari said...

testing.... I have tried 3 times to comment!
Let's see if this works!

Shari said... worked!!! So good to find your blog Carol....and as always......beautiful!!!
I love the header picture..... gorgeous!!!

Southpaw Stitcher said...

So many wonderful gifts, Carol! You are blessed to have so many generous stitching friends around the world. Happy New Year! Looking forward to reading your blog, and seeing your lovely photos on IG, in 2018.

Preeti said...

You received so many beautiful gifts from your wonderful friends :) I Can't recollect the best moment as such, there were both ups and downs this year. But yes, when my daughter attended my cousin's weddding in a traditional saree, she looked beautiful although she still played with her teenage cousins like any other kid:) She still enjoys sitting on her parents lap and getting hugs and kisses from us. Seeing that she is growing fast, it makes us emotional that, one day, we both husband-wife will be alone once she gets married.

Mini said...

Dear Carol,
You received so many beautiful handmade gifts which you absolutely deserve.
You are such an inspiration for crafting and positivity.
Your posts always fill me with new energy.

Thank you for touching our lives in ways unknown.

My fav. moment for the year was celebrating 10 year wedding anniversary with my husband. Though it was a very simple celebration of a meal in a restaurant, I can't tell how lucky I am to have married such a wonderful human being.

Rebecca said...

All of the gifts you received are so pretty, what treasures.

Beth said...

Wonderful gifts and so very many happy memories in 2017. I hope 2018 is a great year for you as well. If I remember correctly, it will be the first 'full year' of retirement for you.

Frances said...

Such lovely gifts and memories from this year! Happy 2018!

Justine said...

What a lovely post Carol. Your friends have been so kind and are also very talented!
I hope 2018 is just as good for you as 2017 was, if not better!

Cheryl said...

Wonderful gifts, what treasures! I have enjoyed your Instagram so much this year, now I will check in on your blog also.
I have two great memories this year. The first one was flying to visit my sister and brother in law in August. My brother in law had an accident in May and was recovering from severe trauma to his brain. He had been in a coma for weeks. It was wonderful to see how he had improved! He was walking and talking and knew who I was. What a thrill to see our prayers had been answered! The other memory is the day last September that we adopted our rescue dog Maggie. I knew when we saw her and visited with her that we had to bring her home.
Happy New Year! I look forward to reading your blog and seeing your photos on Instagram.

Susan Lankford said...

I'm coming rather late to the table, but here I am! Carol...getting to know you a bit through your blog has warmed my heart this year. Seriously, you are amazing and really you could write a book with your creative thoughts and words.
Probably the highlight of my year was my son's response to the album I made (birth through high school) for his 50th birthday. I didn't think he would say anything negative, but he was overwhelmingly appreciative and thankful for the album. The experience was wonderful because I wasn't sure if he would be a little blasé about the whole thing. Instead, he said "Mom, this is GOLD!"
Thanks again, Carol for sharing your life and showing so much genuine interest in others.
Hugs, Susan

Barb said...

Hi Carol - I don’t know if you remember me but I truly wanted to wish you a joyful and very Happy New Year. I haven’t been very good at reading blogs for the last little while but I’m attempting to get back to it a bit and honestly, your blog is just about my favorite. Your blog is really a joy to read and all of your stitching is so Amazing. I truly love everything you stitch -you are an inspiration, Your Christmas tree is so beautiful! It is just stunning! Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful picture with the rest of us.

I also wanted to thank you and send you my most heartfelt Congratulations on your retirement, your son’s wedding to his beautiful bride, your 40th wedding anniversary and the lovely photos of your trip to Hawaii. You have had a very busy, amazing and wonderful past year and I wish you much joy and happiness this coming year. All the best to you,

Barbara R.

Patti G. said...

I always enjoy your posts. You share not just your stitching but yourself. May you have as wonderful 2018!

Brigitte said...

Carol, what a lovely heart-warming post this is. Such wonderful stitched gifts from your friends and a lot of goodies added. You must have been over the moon with everything you received.

I still love the blogging world very much, it's such a friendly and inspiring community. Lately I was taking a tour on Instagram and saw so many accounts from former bloggers that I miss dearly. Maybe this will be the year for me to join IG as well. And when you say that it's not time-consuming at all it should be good for me as well. I just have to see if I can handle the start :))

I loved to read about your favorite moment of the year. In my life it would also be a moment with my children. Like you I'm overly proud of them and of how they lead and master their lives.

Have a good 2018!

Northern Stitcher said...

I so enjoy reading your blog, Carol, and following along on Instagram! You really do provide so much stitching inspiration! Happy 2018! Jennifer

Annas Nadelbuch said...

Happy New Year, dear Carol !
Ilove all of your cross stitching !

Meari said...

Happy New Year, Carol. I have to agree with many others... you and your blog is an inspiration. Always so many interesting things to read about and very pretty stitching. You received some beautiful gifts. Thanks for including links to the freebies. I like the little angel with wings. My aunt loves angels so I'm thinking I'll stitch that for her birthday coming up in April.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

You have been sent some beautiful presents which will grace your tree for many years to come.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful year you have had! The highlight of our year was celebrating our 45th anniversary with a trip to Italy spending over a week driving and wine tasting...but not together...through Tuscany and up to Lake Como. We then boarded a ship and spent the next 15 days sai!ing back to the United States...stopping in Barce!ona, Malaga, Cartegena, and the Canary Islands. Loved it so much we booked again for next year!! In March we will celebrate our son's wedding...we are so happy for him!

Kaisievic said...

Lovely post, Carol and I am so happy for all of the good things that have happened for you this year - a good year is always such a blessing. I love all of the gifts that you were sent and your IG best nine are lovely. Wishing you the Happiest of years ahead, hugs, Kaye

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

I enjoyed reading this post. It made me reflect on my last year which had some very sad moments, but many good ones as well.
You received a great selection of beautiful gifts.

Bekca said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. 2017 was tough for me, but I'm grateful I had my surgery in December and could start 2018 with a clean slate :)

RJ said...

Happy New Year Carol. It is always a joy to come and read your posts and look at all of your lovely stitches. I know you had a very special year and it was well deserved.

I love all of the lovely gifts you prettier than the next.

I guess a special moment was starting our blog in April. I can still remember being so scared to press publish but so glad I did. We have met so many wonderful people and it has been such a positive experience.

I look forward to 2018' and reading more of your posts and enjoying all of your lovely stitching. RJ@stitchingfriendsforever

Lillie said...

Gorgeous gifts received and a lovely post. How did I missed this ? Your finishes is always beautiful .