Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Wrapping up 2018

Happy 2019! I can hardly believe we are well into the second week of this newly minted year already... Looks like the next twelve months will be rushing by way too fast, just as last year did. I loved reading about your favorite moments of 2018 in my previous post--thank you to all who responded! As I've often said, when you blog, the readers know a lot more about the writer's life than the writer knows of the readers'. So, it's little questions like that which help me get to know you better. 

I've shared many of the gifts I sent out for Christmas on Instagram, but I wanted to share them on my blog, as well.  I've had to cut back on some of my international gift giving due to the high cost of postage--it really has gotten ridiculous! The postage often costs more than the gift itself is worth...

This sweet sheep is now residing in Northern Ireland with my friend, Lois. I also stitched "Merry Wishes" by Just Thy Needle and Thread for myself using the same colors (a mixture of DMC and overdyed threads) 'over one' on 28 ct. black monaco. However, I finished this one in a completely different manner. You can see the one I finished for myself in this December post.

"Merry Wishes" ornament finish

I made a greeting card for Gabi in Germany--a good way to send a "little something" without the high cost of postage... This is stitched over one on 25 ct. Victorian Green Lugana and is from JBW Designs "Christmas Motif Sampler II" chart. I did change the bottom a bit--stitched two bunnies facing each other rather than adding the extra deer and toy bunny that were charted. I do love my symmetry!!

"Christmas Motif Sampler II" finished as a card

To June, in England, went another ornament that I also stitched for myself back in July called "French Country Snowflake" by JBW. I used a 32 ct. blue-gray linen with DMC 3865. I did finish hers a bit differently using a pretty white bow and a silver snowflake charm along with the two-colored cording.

"French Country Snowflake" ornament finish

To Cindy, in Tennessee, went this handsome Prairie Schooler Santa (from Book No. 62: "Kris Kringle"). I love the white dove perched on his shoulder. He is stitched on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle with the suggested threads and the "snow" is made of tiny white beads. This is one I don't have on my tree yet, so I'm sure I'll be stitching him again for myself.

"Kris Kringle" ornament finish

And, I made my very first Lizzie Kate sled ornament (from the "Nutcracker Sleds" chart) using perforated paper! How do you feel about perforated paper? I have to admit I really didn't enjoy having to stitch with three strands of thread. I am so used to stitching with one strand that using three really slowed me down. I do like the look of the final finish so I will probably be making more of these, but I'm not going to go crazy with them! This one went to a friend who asked us over for dinner after Christmas. She seemed quite pleased with it...

Lizzie Kate gingerbread boy sled finish

I have a few more ornaments that I stitched for Christmas gifts last year, but I will save them for my next post--after all, I want to have something to show you! 

More sweets! I showed you the cookies that I baked for Christmas in my previous post, but just look at all the other sugary treats that I made! No wonder  we each have to diet after the holidays--I don't know why we do that to our bodies every year, do you?! Clockwise from the upper left are:  Decadent Peanut Butter Pie Giant Chocolate Eclair Dessert; Pumpkin Roll; and Soft, Moist, and Gooey Cinnamon Rolls which we make each and every Christmas morning. You can click on the name of the sweet treat to be taken to the recipe itself. (I can't find the recipe online for the Giant Chocolate Eclair Dessert that I make each year for my middle son's December birthday, but I'll be happy to send it to you if you email me)! These are all tried and true family favorites so you may have seen them pictured on my blog before. Just thought I would share them again for my new readers!

Too many calories to count at Christmas time (which is why I'm eating scrambled eggs for dinner tonight!)

A peek into life in Ecuador... One of my favorite things about reading blogs is getting a glimpse into life in different countries or different parts of this vast United States. My son recently shared some photos with us from his December work trip to Ecuador (which I keep wanting to spell with a "q!").  I doubt any of you have ever visited the equator in that part of the world, have you? Well, I'm sure I'll never get there either, but here are three photos of Ciudad Mitad del Mundo and the "Monument to the Equator" which is supposed to be on the exact location of the equator (from which Ecuador gets its name). My son is sitting with his body half in the northern hemisphere and half in the southern in the bottom right photo! (Although, he said that with modern GPS mapping systems, the equator is actually 240 meters north! Oh well, it makes for a nice photo op...)

My son's photos from the equator in Ecuador: December 2018

I'll share a larger photo of the upper left photo in the collage that he took from the air (using his drone) of the water-filled caldera of the Quilotoa volcano. I just thought this was breathtaking! (you can click on it to enlarge it). There is so much beauty in this world of ours, isn't there?

On top of the Quilotoa volcano in Ecuador

An unusual food... During his time there, my son hiked into the mountains and met up with this Ecuadorean family pictured below. His guide told him that if he brought the family some goods from the market that they would show him their home. I found their living situation so fascinating and wanted to share it with you... They live in a simple thatched hut with no running water. It is quite cool up in the mountains and they have to bathe in a local stream! I can't begin to imagine... But, even more interesting--can you spot that tiny white animal on the ground in their hut? That is just one of what my son said were dozens of guinea pigs running around living with the family! Apparently, they raise them and sell them to be eaten--they are considered a delicacy. Each guinea pig can bring in $15.00 or more. I asked my son if the hut smelled and he said, surprisingly, no! So, if you are ever in Ecuador and see "cuy" on the menu--you'll know you're ordering a guinea pig. Fascinating what people in different parts of the world eat--I'm sure some of our western foods are considered pretty unappetizing to other parts of the world! What is the most unusual food you have ever tried? I am not an adventurous eater at all so I can't even answer my own question!

An Ecuadorean family raising an unusual food choice!

I love learning about different parts of the world which is one of the reasons I've enjoyed blogging so much. I'm lucky that my son travels frequently and can share stories about different customs and foods of the countries he visits. This week, he is in Argentina where we vacationed in 2015. Can't wait to see his photos from this trip! I'm sure they will bring back many memories...

So, that wraps up my first blog post of 2019--I plan to continue posting twice a month if at all possible. Thank you for visiting, thank you for reading, thank you for commenting--I appreciate each and every one of you!  Hope you'll stop in again soon. Enjoy this first month of your new year, my friends! Bye for now...