Thursday, February 22, 2018

Two new ornaments and more random thoughts

Hello, everyone! How has February been treating you? I can't believe it's been more than three weeks since my last post--I guess my goal of two posts per month isn't going to be met for February, is it? I spent a wonderful week in New York visiting my mom (who is doing very well--thanks to all of you who ask about her!) in early February. Since I returned home, I have been stitching a lot, but since several things are for gifts, I have only two new finishes to share with you today. 

My February Christmas ornament is Little House Needleworks' "Needlework Shop" stitched "over one" on black Monaco... So tiny and cute! Because it was done on such a tiny scale (and on black!), I had to change a few things. I changed the lettering just a bit to make it readable, omitted the window panes in the door and substituted a simple red valance, left off the backstitching around the quilt in the window. I also changed the color of the roof so it would show up on the black and satin stitched the cute little spool underneath the peak of the roofline.

Another Little House Needleworks shop on black

And this is how I finished it off... I just love the green flannel--I think it is perfect for a winter scene. The little details in this series are so sweet--the wreath in the window, the quilt on display, and that brilliant red cardinal atop the pine tree. I think the black shows them off even better, don't you?

Needlework Shop finish

If you think this finish looks familiar, it's because I finished "Tree Lot" in the Hometown Holidays Series in the same manner. In fact, I've decided to stitch and finish each chart in the series in a similar fashion with various flannel colors. There are 15 charts in this series and I only have two done--at this rate it will be a three or four year project! Think I can do it? Wish me luck...

The first two finishes in the Hometown Holidays series

My second finish was made for a former coworker's new baby girl for her first Christmas. As usual, I was just a bit late with my gift and she didn't receive it until late January, but it was so well-received. This is "Snowmen" by Country Cottage Needleworks with quite a bit of rearranging (you can see the original chart right here). I actually took the snowmen, lined them up and spelled out the baby's name. I then used the snowflakes that were on the chart and rearranged them and put the pine needle border along the bottom. 

Give me an "A," give me an "L," give me an "I"...

To make this ornament sized, I stitched it "over one" on a dusty pink evenweave that I found in my stash. I am thrilled with how it turned out and think the pink and white twisted cording adds a perfect touch. I hope sweet Alice enjoys hanging this quintet of smiling snowmen on her Christmas tree for years to come. This may give some of you a new idea for a baby gift... As someone on my Instagram post commented "Carol, you've just started something new!" I'm sure I'll be using this idea for future baby gifts or Christmas presents...

The finished gift for baby Alice

So, what else have I been up to this month? Well, lots of organization / re-purposing / purging  has been going on in our house. We are turning our middle son's bedroom into a proper guest room which meant purchasing a bigger bed and new mattress. While mattress shopping for the guest room, we decided it was long past time for us to replace our own mattress (which is, I'm embarrassed to say--at least 25 years old!). It is just so weird testing out mattresses in public, isn't it? But, we both agreed, very quickly, on two mattresses to purchase and they will be delivered in a couple of weeks.  So, that set off a chain reaction... we moved the daybed in our middle son's old room to the youngest son's room and gave that bed to Goodwill. And, that led to cleaning out under the beds, reorganizing drawers... well, you get it! But, it is such a good feeling to be getting rid of so many long-unused items. 

When I mentioned what was happening to one of my sons, he said, "It sounds like you are doing "Swedish Death Cleaning." WHAT?!?! I had never even heard of such a thing! It sounded a bit crazy, but then I read up on it and it is a real thing called "döstädning" which means "death cleaning"  in Swedish. In fact, there is even a book about it called "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning and How to Save Yourself and Your Family From a Lifetime of Clutter" by Margaretta Magnusson.  It sounds rather morbid, but it really makes sense when you think about it... It basically involves going through your possessions one by one and paring them down so that, when you pass away, your family isn't burdened with disposing of them. It is not cleaning or organizing--it is literally getting rid of what you no longer use or want... What do you think? I know my sons will appreciate our efforts some day (hopefully, many, many years from now!). We have just begun, and have a very long way to go, but it is such a freeing experience!

Found treasures! Anyway, while doing my purging, I came across four old cross stitch kits (pictured below) that I didn't even remember I had as they were stuck way back in a cupboard behind my fabrics. I was so excited as I still love each of them and really should get started on one. But, which one? What would you like to see me stitch? After all--they are kits with the fabric and floss so I have no excuse not to start one, do I? 
Which one should I stitch next?


*** Thank you for all of your caring comments about my sadness and feelings of uselessness now that I've retired. They honestly meant a lot to me...  I did a bit of reading on the subject and discovered that retirement is a process and involves steps similar to those in the grieving process. I am feeling better each week and I know I'll find my way as I journey deeper into this new chapter of mine.

*** I've been slowly dipping my toes into a new craft--one that involves pretty fabrics. Can you guess what it is? I hope to have some photos for you next time.

*** Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts for my son's safe return from abroad. His trip to Pakistan went well, other than a bout with food poisoning, and he is safe at home in Washington, DC (until mid-March when he is off on yet another extended work adventure!). 

*** I just finished listening to a very good audiobook called "Night Road" by Kristin Hannah. Has anyone read books by her that they recommend? I listened to her book "The Nightingale" which was excellent, too, so I think more of her books are in my future.

*** Did you see any new Nashville Needlework Market releases that called your name? My favorite four were three With Thy Needle and Thread designs: "Basketful of Summer Time," "Indigo Lane," and "Welcome Spring" (oh, that design is just the cutest!) and one La D Da piece called "Love Abide." I also love "Pear Tree Sampler" by Chessie and Me... time to start a new wish list!

My favorites from the Nashville Market releases

♥♥♥ I'll leave you with a belated Valentine's Day photo that I posted on Instagram (if you would like to follow me, please click here)... These are all older finishes from 2012, but I know I have a lot of new followers who may not have seen these before. I am generally not a pink girl, but I do love it at Valentine's Day! ♥♥♥

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

So, that ends my lone February post! I hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend. We are due for a lot of rain so it looks like a good weekend to do more "Swedish Death Cleaning" and some spring stitching... As always, thank you for visiting with me today--and a special thank you to those who take the time to comment. It really means a lot to me to know there are people giving up their free time to read my blog. And if you have any questions, just be sure to include your email address so I can reply to you. Bye for now...