Monday, December 31, 2018

Thankful At Year's End

The very last day of the year! How are you feeling about that? Was your year memorable for the right reasons? I get very reflective on December 31st each  year... Like most of you, my year was filled with both high and low points--I choose to focus on the high points, however, and move forward. 2018 wound down with my entire family here for Christmas. Nothing brings me more joy than to see those three "boys" sitting around our table together, poking fun at each other, and recalling fun times they experienced in their childhood. We played a lot of games, watched movies (balancing an action movie ("The Commuter") with romance (a Hallmark movie called "Once Upon a Christmas Miracle"),  laughed a lot, cooked a lot, ate way too much rich and sugary food, watched old videos from the 1980s (getting a bit sad at how much our parents have aged--not to mention ourselves!) and simply relaxed with each other. I even went to my first NHL Hockey game! 

As most of you know, I love to bake, but don't do nearly as much as I used to since it is just me and my husband left at home. I love holiday time because I do get to indulge in my second-favorite hobby, though! Here are nine of ten kinds of cookies I made for the holidays including a new-to-me recipe which I highly recommend. See those jam-filled cookies in the upper left corner? Oh, my--they literally melt in your mouth and I will definitely be adding them to my Christmas cookie lineup. If you are interested, the recipe, Evelyn's Christmas Cookies, can be found on this blog.

My cookie platter for Christmas 2018

I halved most of these recipes and that worked out very well--we were left with very few cookies going into the new year! It was still a lot of work, but I had this duo to help me out. I got these Possible Dreams baking Santas years ago and they have become an important part of my Christmas decorating. The boys used to  (well, honestly, they still do!), stick the little peppermint sticks in the Santas' mouths making them look like they are smoking. I just shake my head and put the peppermint sticks back in the jar! Just one of those Christmas "traditions" that will go on forever!

My baking buddies: the one on the right ate more than he baked!

Here is a little collage of our Christmas Day... In the top row are my oldest son and dear daughter-in-law, my middle son and his girlfriend, and my youngest son. In the bottom row is our tree on Christmas morning and just me and "my guys" before opening presents. And yes, Santa was good to us! He even managed to figure out exactly what stitching gifts I wanted! Hmmm...

Scenes from Christmas Day 2018

I had many, many little "Santas" from all over the world sending me gifts this year and I am so appreciative. Thought you might like to see what I received, too...

From June, in England, came a darling notebook embellished with her beautiful stitching and a packet of Christmas sachet. Thank you so very much, dear June!
From Robin, in Virginia, came this sweet red bird ornament and a charm pack of beautiful flannel fabrics to help me in my finishing. Thank you so much, dear Robin!
From Gabi, in Germany, came this sweet ice skating couple ornament for my tree. Thank you so much, dear Gabi!
From Liz, in Idaho, came this sweet With Thy Needle and Thread ornament (part of the "Letters For Santa" chart). Thank you so much, dear Liz!
From Lois, in Northern Ireland, came a darling Hands On Design ornament, a snowman chart, chocolate, a pack of little tags, and a piece of fabric featuring sweet woodland animals. Thank you so much, dear Lois!
From Stasi, in Virginia, came this teeny-tiny alphabet Christmas tree ornament and a very handy pack of graph paper to use in personalizing my stitching. Thank you so much, dear Stasi!

From Cindy, in Tennessee, came a cute birdhouse ornament and a lovely fabric star. Thank you so much, dear Cindy!
From Rosey, in Missouri, came this lovely blue crocheted bookmark that was included with a Prairie Schooler chart that I won in a recent giveaway. Thank you so much, dear Rosey!
From a sweet anonymous reader came a plethora of tiny stars to use in my finishing. Thank you so much, dear friend!
From Karen, in Indiana, came a beautifully stitched cardinal card and more of those elusive tiny gold stars to aid me in my finishing. Thank you so much, dear Karen!
From Manuela, in Germany, came this darling hexie Christmas tree ornament. Thank you so much, dear Manuela!
From Martina, in Germany, came this breathtaking hardanger card stitched in white thread with gold metallics. Thank you so much, dear Martina!
From Nathalie, in France, came some lovely wooden ornaments, spools of Christmas thread, and three fabric embroidered stars. Thank you so much, dear Nathalie!

I was very spoiled, wasn't I? I wish I could send out more gifts myself, but with the cost of international postage these days, I've had to limit my gifts. I hope you understand... Please know how thankful I am for not only these gifts, but for each and every comment I receive throughout the year. I know a lot more people read my blog than take the time to comment so I truly, truly appreciate those of you who do! Speaking of commenting--with my family visiting for the past week, I am way behind on visiting your blogs, but I will remedy that this week... 

On Instagram, my "Best Nine" generated from the photos that were most "liked," resulted in the collage below. Who would have thought a plain white box of cross-stitched Christmas ornaments would have been my most liked photo: over 1200 "likes!" I guess it's because those of us who stitch know all of the love and patience that have gone into filling that box higher and higher each year. I am still loving the Instagram experience and if you'd like to follow me, please click here.

My "Best Nine" according to Instagram

At this time of year, we have a family tradition of going around the table and recalling our favorite memory. This year, my husband and I both said the same thing--seeing that waiting truck as we emerged from the Panamanian jungle after our "hike from hell!" We were just so grateful to have lived through that experience and be heading back to civilization again.  (If any of you are wondering what on earth I'm talking about, please read this post).  So, now it's your turn--what was your favorite moment of 2018? I'd love to hear it!

The end of the year is just hours away... I know many of my blogging friends and family have faced new and continuing health challenges in 2018. You've met these trials with a courage that continues to inspire me. I truly hope that this coming year will heal you and ease your pain. And for those of you who are facing difficulties with other family problems, my thoughts are with you, too. 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 2018--on to a new year... Let's make it a good one;  positive thinking certainly goes a long, long way! Bye for now...
Wishing all of my fellow stitchers every happiness in 2019!


sheryl said...

Hi Carol

I love reading your blog. What caught my eye this time were those lovely gift ornaments. Would you know of the chart for the skating couple from Gabi and the redbird from Robin?

I wish you a healthy and happy New Year 2019!

Purple Pixie Dust said...

Carol, that was a fantastic blog and I love all the wonderful friends gifts you received. I wish you a wonderful and healthy new year to and your family. big hugs

Natureluvr57 said...

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2019! What wonderful gifts-I spied some I would like to get eventually. I love your "cover" photo with the Word Play. That's on my wishlist. I know many people said they were tedious to stitch. I follow Cindy's blog and her Flosstube-love seeing her stitcheries too and those stars-I'll make one someday. 2018 had so many low points I'm celebrating in my own quiet way because I'm glad to see it go. The lowest point was losing my precious dog. Puppy prayers gave us 4 years more than the doctors predicted but it's never long enough. She was 13 1/2 and I'm thankful she doesn't have to be poked and prodded with needles anymore but I sure do miss her so much. Her calcium level went high every month and they had to give a treatment to lower it every 4 to 6 weeks. They told us the tumors caused it. In July it wasn't quite 4 weeks and she became lethargic and I took her to the emergency vet. The high calcium level caused her organs to start shutting down and it was too late for a treatment. So many other bad things but that was the worse. Stay safe and I'll see you in your blog next year

Sandy said...

Those are wonderful pictures of your family. I know you had to be happy with all three in the house together. You have received such cute goodies. Time to start a new year of stitching and I am with you ---let's focus on the positive. There is plenty of negativity out there. The blog world of stitching is a great escape! And my little grandson topped the list this year.

Julie said...

Wonderful family pictures of your family Christmas, those cookie look tasty.
I'm not surprised your box of ornaments for the most likes, its amazing, and your tree always looks so beautiful, it could win awards.
Wishing you a coming year filled with lovely things dear Carol.

nonnadonna2 said...

Hi Carol I've just recently re-discovered counted cross stitch and found your blog - what an inspiration! Thank you for pouring so much of yourself into it. Happy New Year!

Robin in Virginia said...

Carol, I enjoyed reading this last post of 2018 of yours. The collage of your Christmas Day is fabulous. I am glad your boys were all able to be there. Your cookie platter looks incredibly yummy. I can't say that I am surprised that your box of stitched ornaments made your top 9 on Instagram. What fabulous gifts you received! Wishing you a new year filled with many smiles and stitches!

Linda said...

Lovely pics of you and your family Carol. Those cookies look yummy. Congrats on all of the beautiful gifts you received.


Stasi said...

Carol, what a handsome are very blessed! Your cookies look very yummy..are the green trees made with cream cheese? I usually make green wreaths with a tiny red cinnamon heart with that recipe.
All your gifts are wonderful and so thoughtful..what treasures!
My highlight this past year has been seeing the growing bond of my newest grandchildren as they assimilate into their 'forever' family.
Happy New Year to you and wishes for a healthy, stress free 2019.

Tricia B said...

Fabulous New Year’s Eve, post, Carol. Love your photos and all your very special gifts. It’s funny that your new favorite cookie is the type of cookie that is my favorite. I think I will try your recipe next year. I am so happy to have met you here and on ig and am looking forward to more stitching fun in 2019! xoxo Tricia

Jackie said...

What a wonderful post Carol, the cookies, your family pictures and all the beautifully displayed gifts. I love the jam filled cookies too. They are delicious!!! I know how happy you were to have all of your family at home for Christmas. It does make the heart smile doesn't it? I wish for you a New Year of good health and lots of stitching:/. Take care and hugs. It was so nice to visit:).

Wisconsin Stitcher said...

My highlight of 2018 was a new great gerandson born on Mother’s Day. He’s cute as a button.

What a harrowing experience your Panama hike was. It reminds me of a boat trip we took in Italy a fe2 years ago. We went by bus to a group of little villages. Very quaint and lovely. We were suppose to return by train but they were on strike so they brought in a small boat. Capacity about 50 to 75. The sea was very rough and that boat got tossed all over the place. The waves were crashing over the deck and soaking anyone brave enough to go outside. Lots of seasick people throwing up all over the place. My husband was white knuckled holding onto a rail. He said he could picture headlines back home of the boat capsizing with many Americans on board. It was quite an experience.
Happy new year. You have a lovely family and you always remind me of Reba Macentire.
Pat schwartz Wisconsin Stitcher

marly said...

What lovely gifts! So nice to have your boys all together for the holiday. Many of the cookies look like our favorites, but they weren't baked this year.

So enjoy your posts and stitching, glad you are continuing. Happy new year and good health to you and your family in 2019.

Faith... said...

Carol that was a beautiful post and it looks like you are one lucky lady to have such a wonderful family and so many dear friends!

I hope that 2019 is good to you and you won't wander into to many jungles!

Happy New Year!

Donna said...

I love reading your blog! It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by your family. Such lovely words of encouragement at the end. Thank you for continuing your blog. Your ornaments are inspiring and your finishing is so beautiful. Have a wonderful new year.

MartinaM said...

It's nice to have the whole family together at Christmas, especially when they live scattered all over the country. Then these are the valuable, precious moments.
The two Christmas bakers are a great decoration, I have never seen such big ones.
A pretty picture with your family, you have to frame this necessarily.
I do not know what was the best moment in 2018, I have such beautiful memories of the holiday in Berlin, it was very hot, but perfect. I got to know my friend Jutta in person and even met Manuela in May. And we had not had such a beautiful peaceful Christmas for a very long time. So many nice moments.
I wish you all the best for the new year.
Big Hugs, Martina

Pamela said...

Lovely holiday pictures! Those cookies look delicious! My favorites are the PB with the hersheys kisses. You receved many wonderful stitching gifts. Happy New Year!

Gabi said...

Happy new year to you. What a lovely post at the end of the year.
The cookies look so yummy, I think I must go on a diet. Having the family together makes always the heart smile.
Have a wonderful 2019 and keep on stitching.

maxi said...

Hello Carol,

i wish you and your family

★ Happy New Year ★

Happy Stitching

Daniela Bencúrová said...

I wish the best and most beautiful in 2019!

Marilyn said...

The cookies look delicious!
Thanks for the link, I will definitely check that recipe out.
Love your baking helpers. :)
You have a very attractive family.
What great goodies you've received.
My favorite moment of 2018 was when we moved in August.
A lot of work, but so worth it.
Wishing you all the best in 2019.
Happy New Year!!

Kay said...

You have so many beautiful stitched gifts, it just shows how much you are loved. Happy new year. x

Manuela said...

Wonderful photos from you and your family.
So many beautiful cards and gifts arrived for you around the world.
I wish you a Happy New Year.
Hugs, Manuela

Unknown said...

Have very much enjoyed seeing your fabulous stitched pieces in 2018, Carol, hope to see many more this year!

LaNelle said...

Sounds like a perfect family Christmas to me full of Love and more memories made...the gifts you received are true treasures of friendship how beautiful they are! What fun to receive those pkgs. nothing makes me happier....Thank you for taking time to share your family & talents with us on your blog it is much appreciated and I so look forward to spending more time with you in 2019 many blessings to you & your family in this New Year. Many hours of peaceful stitching....LaNelle

Aďka said...

Prajem všetko dobré v Novom roku 2019, hlavne veľa zdravia a dobrých ľudí okolo...
Srdečne pozdravuje zo Slovenska,

I wish everything good in New Year 2019, especially a lot of health and good people around ...
Best regards

Sandra said...

Your cookies look delicious and how wonderful to have your three lovely sons at home with you and your husband!
You really received some beautiful handmade gifts!
Wishing you a wonderful and creative New Year, Carol! Your beautiful stitching is an inspiration to me!

Katie said...

What a wonderful post. So nice to see your bright cheerful Christmas photos and lovely baking. Yummy indeed. My favorite memory has to be the nights we have spent in our new cabin. My son lighting up talking about how he helped with each board and the feeling of satisfaction knowing it's ours and finished. You've received so many beautiful things in the mail. How fantastic. I look forward to what you might do in 2019. I will enjoy cheering you along.

Clare-Aimetu said...

What lovely photos (and mrmories) from your Christmas. Great finishes too. Wishing you a very Happy New Year 🥂

Arlene @Nanaland said...

What eye candy we got for New Years Day Carol!! I hope 2019 is a greta one for you and your family.

Shirlee said...

Hi Carol! Didn't realize you were in Instagram. Just followed you. I'm shirlee_stitches : )

Joyce said...

Carol, Happy New Year, I love your blog and instagram posts, it feels like a friend has come to visit. Love seeing the Christmas pictures of your family as we get older these are the most precious gifts, time with the loved ones. The gifts from fellow stitchers were wonderful. Looking forward to more posts in the new year.

PS your Christmas tree is gorgeous.

butterfly said...

Beautiful post my friend .
Your family is the best gift you can ever have and to see you all together is heart warming .
Your friends have made some beautiful gifts , what wonderful friends .
Happy New Year dear friend to you and your family and I am looking forward to another wonderful stitching year with all our friends hugs.

Joy said...

Happy New Year Carol!

I strive to make my ornament finishes as awesome as yours and I'm glad to be back around the blogosphere.


rosey175 said...

I didn't think to take a picture of our cookie platter! Yours look so cute all together. Due to the silly shoulder mishap, I wound up not making quiiite as many as I normally do. Only eight types, but still a double batch of mints since my husband would wither away without them. :) I wonder if the Reese's cups would travel well? I make a "Snickers" cookie for our traveling packages - basically peanut butter dough balled around a mini Snickers bar, but I dunno how well a two-piece cookie would fare.

All of your little goodies received are lovely! I like how you got a plethora of tiny stars to decorate future stitches. Or one really, really shiny stitch!

My favorite experience this year would most certainly be our DC trip and all the museums! It also had a bonus of being our first trip ever that didn't involve family, which is really unusual for us. :) It was nice just being the two of us, geeking out over spaceships and rocks. As for a single instant in time, when the sewing machine was plugged in and worked! "Yes!"

Vickie said...

Carol I loved seeing your beautiful family pictures. Your gifts are fantastic. I have to say Gabi's ornament is just fabulous. Happy New Year my friend!

Jackie's Stitches said...

Happy New Year! It looks like you had a fabulous Christmas! Your family is beautiful. Being a boy mom myself, it's always fun to see them as adults exhibit some of the same behavior/habits they had as kids - like with your baking Santas and the candy canes! Wishing you the best year ever! XOXO

moreofhim said...

So glad you had a great Christmas. The candy canes in the Santa's mouth's made me laugh. That's something my own adult sons would do! lol Your gifts are gorgeous and it's so nice that you were so blessed. I hope you have a wonderful and joyous New Year!

Blessings - Julie

diamondc said...

Carol: Lovely post.

Happy New Year

Rebecca said...

Happy New Year Carol! It was so nice to see you had your boys home for Christmas. We had a wonderful Christmas with both of my kids home from college, it was lovely. I hope you and your family have a wonderful year.

Barb said...

Hi Carol - what a wonderful blog post you have shared with all of us! And what a very special Christmas holiday for you that all of your sons and your beautiful daughter-in-law could share this very happy time all together. As so many have commented, your Christmas tree is truly beautiful and amazing! Honestly, your work in all of those hand stitched ornaments is stunning! I can only imagine just how much fun it would be to see them all on your tree - it is truly a beautiful work of art!

I hope you had a joyful Christmas, a fun New Years Eve and I’m sending you my very best wishes for a wonderful 2019! Thank You for sharing your blog with all of us. It really is so special and joyful and so much fun to read and learn about the special things going on in your life.

All the very best to you and your family. With. Love and Hugs -
Barb R.

Maggie said...

Happy New Year Carol!
What a great blog post, and how lovely to have stitching gifts from around the world to add to your own beautiful ornament finishes :-)

Sounds like you had a great time having the boys home for Christmas, it's still special isn't it even though they are grown up.

I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2019 and look forward to seeing your wonderful stitching again in the year to come. xx

Wendy Howard said...

Have a blessed New Year. I love reading your blog. It is so uplifting.

Lili said...

Happy New Year, Carol!!
How lovely photos with your family!

Christel said...

Tout d'abord tous mes voeux les meilleurs pour cette nouvelle année. Santé, joie et bonheur au quotidien pour 2019 sans oublier de nombreux projets créatifs. Merci pour le partage de tes photos de famille. Le Père Noël t'a effectivement bien gâtée. Que de belles surprises pleines d'amitié venues de différentes parties du monde...
Je n'ai pas de plus beaux souvenirs que d'autres en 2018. Ce serais donc trop long, bien trop long à écrire :-) Comme toi je ne conserve que le meilleur. La vie est belle profitons de chaque instant.

Claire said...

Happy New Year, Carol! Beautiful treasures from friends and loved seeing your family and your baking, too. Isn't it funny how we can so easily recall the worst moment in the year but the best moment is often elusive? Maybe because there are so many good moments. Let's hope so! Wishing you a healthy, happy new year with many blessings yet to come.

Darlene said...

Happy New Year, Carol.

Tips said...

you received so nice gifts. I wish you a Happy New Year.
Waving greetings Larissa

Ele said...

So many lovely gifts and delicious cookies!
a very happy new year to you

Andrea said...

A wonderful post to end 2018. Looks like you had a perfect Christmas with all of your sons and loved ones. Beautiful gifts too.
Wishing you a very Happy 2019.

Cathy H. said...

Such a wonderful post to end the year! I'm looking forward too a new year of your inspiring cross stitch! Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

Lovely to read about your family Christmas. You received a beautiful selection of stitching gifts.
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2019.

Shelly said...

I'm a little behind reading blog posts! Carol, you have handsome sons! They are a good combination of you and your hubby. How much fun that must've been having everyone together! Wonderful gifts you have received too. Love all the cookies too! I ate so much during Christmas and New Year's, I can't look at chocolate the same! Have a wonderful New Year!

Jennifer said...

Happy New Year Carol, what a great holiday you had and so nice to see all your boys together - I am sure it was a happy house! I am very impressed with your cookies - we only made three varieties here, but are still eating up the last few! What lovely gifts you received from around the country and world - you are a special lady and they are all well deserved! As I reflect on 2018, it was a good year - I enjoy watching my kids mature from kids to young adults, see them establishing a group of friends, and starting to form into the people and personalities they will be as adults. I think my favorite memory from this year was from early when we took our kids skiing. It is so fun to see them embrace something I also love! Hope 2019 is a good year for you!

Christine Williams said...

What a whirl wind Christmas break you had! It looks so joy filled & I am happy to see such a glow on you! Your sneaky boys & those peppermint sticks, what a fun tradition they have begun. Wishing a very blessed new year on you Carol! Thank you for letting us join you on this journey xx

Southpaw Stitcher said...

What an uplifting end-of-year message! Please know that you have given inspiration to so many people on an every-day basis. Happy New Year!

Christel said...

Merci pour ton petit mot laissé sur mon blog. Peu importe les frais d'envoi vers les Etats-Unis, il n'y a pas de raison que tu ne participes pas pour les petits cadeaux mis en jeu. Ton prénom sera inscrit comme les autres sur un petit morceau de papier et hop dans le chapeau pour le tirage au sort.
Amitiés de France,

Irene said...

Grazie Carol! Un felice anno a te e alla tua famiglia ♥

Sheryl said...

Wonderful post Carol. Loved hearing about how you spent Christmas and were lucky enough to have nearly all the family together. Generous gifts from friends and just look at those biscuits. Happy New Year.

Leonore Winterer said...

Sounds like you had an amazing Christmas - fun times with family, food, gifts from all around the world. There is no better way to end the year! I also can't get over that picture of your cookies...they all look so delicious. Are these Reese's Cups in the ones on the lower left? And what about the green ones?

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

What a wonderful selection of gifts from all around the world! You were truly spoiled, and deservedly so. Your house looks so beautiful at Christmas, so many lovely decorations and, of course, so many handmade ornaments. I am sure you remember the history of each one as you place it on the tree too.

Meg said...

Hi, Carol!

So glad your family was able to be together for Christmas, and I must say, I was amazed that you all had showered and dressed so nicely before diving into the presents! Haha! In our house, the adults are usually bleary eyed, with our hair in a tussle, in our pajamas with maybe a cup of coffee, because our son wakes us up tooooo early and wants to dive right in. It's usually at least NOON before one of us ventures to take a shower, while the rest debate whether or not to have a pajama day.

I must say my TWO favorite moments of 2018 were my trip to the coast with my husband in December and the surprise flight above Boise on New Year's Eve.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2019!

RJ said...

What fabulous holiday photos of you and your family Carol. I enjoyed seeing them. All of your Christmas gifts were just beautiful and I know how appreciative you were. And my oh my do your cookies look good. I could go for one right now. If only we could share on the computer. May you have a happy and blessed New Year. RJ@stitchingfriendsforever

Meari said...

You received some wonderful gifts for friends around the world. Loved seeing photos of your Christmas and family. What a good looking bunch you all are!

Hope your 2019 is great one.

Pam said...

Hello Carol

Just wanted to say how pretty your finish is on your 'Love' cross stitch and thank you so much for the link to the other Valentine free chart.

We are basking in 13 degree spring sunshine in the UK today even though it is only mid February. Snowdrops and daffodils are out, window is open - it feels great. It's unlikely to last but we are making the most of it!

Best wishes