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...


Katie said...

You are so sweet to share so many beautiful pieces with others. Love them all! I really enjoy stitching on perforated paper mostly because it's so easy to finish when the stitching is done. Just cut it out and glue to the sled done. Perfect for me haha. Your goodies look a lot better than the poor guinea pig. I have a friend that traveled there and actually tried it. She said it was very unusual. No thanks. The photos your son shared are beautiful though.

C Reeder PhxAz said...

I truly believe that pie would make my recovery go faster. If you were closer I would ask you to bring g me a pie!!!

Sandra said...

I love all your cross-stitch gifts you made to send away. My favourite is the French Country Snowflake ornament. It's just beautiful. You finish off your work so beautifully with little discreet touches, like the silver snowflake!
It's such a wonderful gift to be able to create. isn't it?
Wishing you a wonderful month of January - the perfect month for creating!

Aďka said...

Krása, krása, krása!!!

Very beautiful!

butterfly said...

Happy New Year Carol,
Your little ornaments are just wonderful , and loved by every one across the globe .

I am so happy for you that your family were all together for a wonderful Christmas , and your cooking looks so wonderful and yummy.

Beautiful photo's thanks for sharing , enjoy your week sweet friend .

maxi said...

Hello Carol,
i wish you a good start in 2019 and much time for our great hobby!
Happy Stitiching

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
I wish you a Happy New Year.
You have made wonderful gifts for your blogfriends.
It is very nice to have the whole family at home at Christmas.
Hugs, Manuela

Marilyn said...

All of your gifts are beautiful, I'm sure they love them. :)
Thanks for the links to the recipes.
Great pics of Ecuador.
That pool pic! Well...................amazing!
Thanks for sharing the pics and info about their lifestyle.
Have a great week!

Southpaw Stitcher said...

Hi Carol. So many precious gifts - the recipients are indeed lucky,! And I may have gained 5 pounds just looking at your yummy sweets.

I’ve done some work on perforated paper and I really like it because it is so easy to finish: just trim it, glue something to the back (sled, felt), and you’re done!

The most exotic thing I’ve ever eaten was the heart of a cow served at a local Peruvian restaurant. Of course, that was long before I became a vegetarian!

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol - what a great post you’ve shared with us this morning!! I loved reading it. Your stitching that you have gifted to your many readers is so beautiful and so creative. I am sure that all of them love them and know how truly fortunate they are to have such a wonderful gift from you.

Thank you, too, for sharing the pictures of your son in Ecuador - it really is interesting and so beautiful! I truly loved the part about the “true equator” being 240 meters north. What a great opportunity for your son to see these amazing places and meet all these great people.

Oh, and I must comment, too, about the yummy food pictures you showed us - I’d like some of each please! They all look so Delish!! (I’ll start my diet tomorrow!! Ha!Ha!)

Alll the best to you this Happy New Yeat!

Ele said...

Beautiful ornaments!!
Thank you for sharing the photos and impressions about Ecuador, so interesting

Barb said...

Oops! I’m the Anonymous above.

Hugs to you,
Barb R.

Robin in Virginia said...

What incredible treats you fixed over the holidays! I enjoyed seeing the pictures that your son shared of Ecuador. Carol, the gifts that you stitched and sent are true treasures of the heart. I know they are greatly loved.

I'm a rebel as I use 2 strands when stitching on perforated paper.

Vickie said...

Such beautiful gifts you made your friends Carol. And the treats! Oh boy! :D Guinea pig! NO WAY! We had a pet guinea pig named Gracie who lived to be 9 years old. I could never, ever eat a guinea pig. That would be like eating a poodle!😲

Vicki said...

Great finishes, Carol!

Sandy said...

I am not an adventurous eater either. I am definitely not going somewhere and trying something new without knowing what it is. It is pretty all around the world. That is one thing blogging has opened up to us...not a touristy tour, but real life elsewhere.
I love those JBW designs. I am putting those on my remember for later lists. That card was so cute and such a good idea.
I agree about the eating around the holidays. I just finished a detox and I feel much better. Laying off the rich foods for awhile.

Arlene Grimm said...

Carol your stitching and finishing is just lovely. As to eating strange foods...uh no. I would not make a good missionary as I have such a strong gag reflex.lol I am heading to my first stitching retreat this weekend and I can hardly wait.

Linda said...

Beautiful ornaments as always Carol. I won't even try frog legs. lol Give me a Happy Meal. lol Yummy looking treats. Love the pics from your son.


Julie said...

More lovely ornaments that have gone to precious friends.
Great pictures from your son.
Not sure I could eat the guinea pigs, we used to have two as pets.
Have a lovely week x

Cheryl Walsh said...

Wonderful post as usual! You really got me back to cross stitching after a lengthy break!
When you have to wear the strongest readers, use Aida 14 and only do it in the daytime-oh well! I still love all my projects.
Many years ago, I used perforated paper to make a picture mat and a small framed Christmas saying- nice to avoid the cost of professional framing.
I learned to be sure you don't crease it, and always wash your hands to keep the piece clean of oils/lotion.
Happy New Year!

Tricia B said...

Guinea pigs, huh, thanks for that tip - I will not be tyring any cuy if and when i go to Ecuador! 😂 Love the photos of your sons’s travels! (my oldest is in South Africa this week. She keeps going to places I havent been!) I am trying to eat a little less after all the xmas cookies but am not very good at food denial. I love your baking photos as that is something i am doing more and more of. Great inspiration! Your gifts received and given are marvelous, Carol! I am excited for a other year of stitching adventures!

Donna said...

Such beautiful ornaments and finishing, I love reading your blog and seeing pictures of you and your family’s travels. Happy New Year !

MartinaM said...

Hi Carol,
Very nice gifts you have made, I like the map very well, although I myself have never worked on such a dark cloth.
Wow, delicious sweets, yes I know that too, when the Christmas season comes, you can not resist the temptations, but from January is then less hip.
Yes, it is really interesting, while here guinea pigs are kept as pets here, they are eaten there as a delicacy. And who knows, maybe there is something here that you would not eat in Ecuador. I often find the cultures very interesting and how people live in foreign countries. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs Martina

Christel said...

Santé, joie et bonheur pour cette nouvelle année...
Tous vos petits cadeaux brodés sont délicats et les finitions les mettent formidablement bien en valeur. Bravo Carol ! Les destinataires de ces trésors sont forcément ravies.
Merci pour le partage des photos de l'équateur. C'est splendide... Ca fait rêver et donne des envies de voyages. Par contre je ne mangerais jamais de cochon d'inde j'aime trop ces petits rongeurs. C'est doux et gentils.
Par ailleurs je ne suis pas du tout une aventurière concernant la nourriture.. Alors pas d'aliments inhabituels pour moi.
Amitiés de France,

Carolyn xxx said...

Carol, Wishing your & all your family a very happy, healthy & safe New Year. Thank you so much for sharing so many of your wonderful stitched ornaments. I also love the small peeps into your personal life and that of your family members. Best wishes from Australia

Barbara said...

Lovely, all of it, as always of course!

Please tell me where you purchased the greeting card with the oval cut-out. I have looked for cards with cut-outs like that at Hobby Lobby and they didn't have them. Don't know if they were just out of this product or if they don't carry them. Like you, I LOVE the idea of sending a stitched gift in a card, due to the cost of postage (which is going up -- again-- very soon).

The most unusual food I've tried is probably Seitan, a vegan meat substitute. Not a fan of that, and it was some 20 years ago. I eat a big variety of foods, much of it vegan, and fresh produce as raw and as often as possible.

Thank you for a lovely post. I always enjoy seeing what you have been up to!

Wendy Howard said...

All your finished cross stitch ornaments are beautiful. So glad you spent Christmas with your family. The pictures your son sent are amazing.

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Carol, your ornaments as always - wonderful!
I was attracted by Ecuador and the life of an ordinary family. Your son has experience and thanks for sharing!
My youngest son was in New Zealand in December, it was also beautiful. I'm glad our children can travel and get to know life so far from us. I have blogs around the world :-)

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Nice to see your first post of the year Carol, yes it's hard to believe that we're a third of way through January already. I always enjoy stopping by and reading your blog - I agree that by commenting it's the way you are then able to connect with your reader.

Karen said...

Happy New Year, Carol! Your ornaments are always so beautiful.

Faith... said...

Such beautiful stitching Carol! Your friends are very lucky indeed.

Your son's adventure was very interesting. Like you I could never imagine eating a guinea pig but I guess if that is all we know!

Penny said...

Some very lucky and I'm sure happy friends out there! I haven't stitched on perforated paper in a long time but that little gingerbread boy is so cute, and I'm pretty sure I recently ordered him. : ) Your finishing over the months has really inspired me to try harder this year. Ecuador looks beautiful, especially that caldera. I would have to take a pass on the guinea pigs, though. The strangest thing I've ever eaten and it makes me feel ill to think of it now is muskrat!

Pam in IL said...

Such beautiful stitching and finishing! I'm not fond of stitching on the perforated paper either, but it does make the sled ornaments (and the wood slice ornaments I made) easier to finish-finish.

Shelly said...

A very cool post, Carol! You are a baking dynamo and so good at it! Your son is quite the traveler and I'm sure you get a bit nervous when he's off to a new place. That water filled crater is so amazing. It looks different compared to Crater Lake in Oregon which I would love to see. Wonderful gifts you have made for friends. You're not kidding about how expensive international postage is! I just priced a package of two charts to Ontario Canada and it'll cost $10 to mail! Ouch. I'm not sure what we'll do here in the U.S. when it becomes too expensive to ship anywhere! I'm not an adventurous eater either. If I see what I call mystery meat in something, I won't eat it. Even when I know it's beef but looks weird, I still won't eat it. There's a Mexican stew called Menudo that is made with tripe, beef stomach lining is what that is. I've been eating that since I was very young after a friend of my mom's taught her how to make it. It's great stuff and particularly good for hangovers! I'll have to look at everyone's comments to see what unusual food they've eaten. Have a super weekend! I am, as usual, getting caught up with commenting on posts.

Bethan said...

Wow so kind of you to send out so many lovely gifts. Your baking looks delicious! I didn't really make anything edible for Christmas, but I am still full from all the food our families fed us! Thank you for sharing the pictures of Ecuador from your son. My sister-in-law went to Ecuador as part of a school trip, and she was horrified by the eating of guinea pigs; particularly as she had 2 at home as pets! x

giò said...

Felice anno 2019 e che sia spettacolare!!!!!

rosey175 said...

Beautiful ornaments that went around the world! It's fun to think of something you've made on a Christmas tree in another country. But yes, shipping has gotten quite absurd. I have not stitched with perforated paper and, judging by the comments, I'm torn! The finishing of it sounds awesomely easy but I'd probably tear it. Maybe it'd be a good exercise in gentleness hah.

I'm fairly adventurous with food, even if it's just a little taste to say yay or nay. :) I've tried alligator, squid as kalamari (maybe this isn't unusual elsewhere but it's really odd here in the Midwest), and possibly dog and some sort of offal dish (Filipino culture in HI, they sometimes don't mention what it is haha). There are some lines I won't cross and scent can really turn me away. I would totally try cuy. But as the owner of a voracious sweet tooth, I'll take one of each dessert goodie, please. :D

Great Ecuadorian pics too. Love the drone shot!

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

You did make some lovely gifts for people this year. I agree with you about postage - I sent e-cards to many people this year for the same reason.

I am pretty sure my sister has been to Ecuador, she loves South America. She would not have tried guinea pig as she is vegetarian and has learned to say "no meat, no fish, no chicken" in many different languages (some people seem to think chicken is OK to be given to vegetarians!). She spent Christmas in Vietnam and having been to Indonesia in the Summer she is off to South America again this year. As she said "somewhere that doesn't eat noodles, I am all-noodled out!"

LaNelle said...

Carol, once again you have given fabulous stitched gifts! Oh what treasures...photos were gorgeous how wonderful to travel and enjoy that opportunity and in turn we are able to enjoy 😘 what a spread of baked goodies....would love being part of your family 😍 blessings

Lili said...

Very pretty ornaments!! Have a wonderful New Year!

Andrea said...

Carol … what wonderful stitched gifts you created.

Great photos too of Ecuador. Different countries … different cultures … it's amazing how the world works. Thank you for sharing.

Hope you have a great year.

Stasi said...

Carol, your stitched gifts are true treasures and I'm sure much appreciated. Your baked goods look very yummy and I would love the giant eclair recipe ( I think you have my e-mail address). I am NOT an adventurous eater but I did try a smidgeon of haggis while in Scotland!!! Thanks for another great post!

Margaret said...

Love all the beautiful gifts made for friends! Your son's pictures and experiences in Ecuador -- wow! So cool! I'm a happy armchair traveler myself. lol! I only have a desire to go to one or two places. I guess I'm not very adventurous! Anyway, Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2019 be a good year for us all!

Lillie said...

Happy New Year to you and family, beautiful photos.
Lovely stitching as always Carol and beautiful gifts received too.

Fascinating and interesting post on Ecuador. I've seen some unusual 'delicacy' from my travels, imagined fried tarantula, wriggly silk worms, but no thank you, I'll not put any alien substance into my body. LOL. Thank you for sharing.

Meg said...

Carol, thanks for sharing the photos of Ecuador. That's fascinating! A friend of mine lived in Africa with her husband for a couple of years, and while their abode was not as simple as the folks in Ecuador, she said it was very simple - one room with just a ledge-type shelf running the perimeter. That ledge was the only shelving they had, so they each had a bowl, a cup and one set of utensils. She said living so sparsely was a shock at first, but when they returned to the States, they felt depressed. She said it was unbelievable how much happier they were when they had only the necessities.

Your Christmas gifts to your friends are wonderful! You are such a talented stitcher and finisher. (I've said that so many times already, and I mean it.) Postage is insane, isn't it? The little box of presents I sent to my brother from Idaho to Colorado was $36 to mail! Holy Hannah!

When I was younger, I was a very daring eater and begged my mom to take us out to exotic restaurants when we traveled. I've eaten frog legs and escargot. (I would not eat either one ever again.) When I was very young, my parents bought an old log home on acreage and we raised goats, chickens, rabbits and a cow. One cow....haha! So yes, I've eaten cow tongue and rabbit as well. I've also eaten prickly pear cactus because my brother told me it would taste good. (He removed the prickles and the tough skin.) It wasn't bad!

Barb said...

Good Morning Carol -

I just wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday!
Best wishes for a fun-filled day and a wonderful year ahead!

Love & hugs to you,

Barb R.

Claire said...

Such a wonderful post, Carol! I love all of your ornaments especially the PS Santa and always enjoy hearing about the travel adventures. I hope you have a wonderful 2019 and I notice the last commenter wished you a Happy Birthday today...I knew there was a reason I was drawn to your post today! Have the happiest of birthdays and the best year yet!

Jennifer said...

I hope the new year is going well for you Carol! Such nice gifts you stitched and sent - I like the card finish, simple but so pretty and easy to mail too! Neat pictures from your son, sounds like he is quite adventurous! And I haven’t tried too many crazy foods, but I did sample ostrich and kangaroo when in Australia- I didn’t care for either of them!

Leonore Winterer said...

So many beautiful gifts, and just looking at all the desserts is making me very hungry!
I remember when we bought our (pet) guinea pigs, there was a guy at the store who told my grandma that he had about a hundred of them at home. He was from Ecuador too and when ever he had friends over, they'd put a few on the grill! I'm not sure how I feel about that...

RJ said...

Happy New Year Carol! I so enjoyed this post. I loved each and every of your cross stitched gifts sent to others. What treasures they all received. I really love the one with the sheep that you have done two ways...each equally lovely. Your baking is wonderful...everything looks scrumptious! Very interesting photos of Ecuador. I'm a fussy eater so probably would not have liked it but I think it is wonderful when people try new things. Sorry I'm so late to comment...we are dealing with big medical issues and I've been off the computer alot during the holidays and since. Trying to catch up wth everyone today. RJ@stitchingfriendsforever

Mavi. said...

Dear Carol, very happy new year. May this new year bring you health and time to enjoy your family, your hobbies, to cook those delicious cookies and appetizing desserts. That you can enjoy and make us participate in the trips of your children and thus be able to contemplate other parts of the world. Very interesting life in the cabins. Here you eat "frog legs" but I can not even think about it ... The blog is a little abandoned and I try to go back to it at least once a month or two if possible. And also visit the blogs of friends. A hug.

Jutta said...

Dear June, Happy New Year 2019!
Your gifts sent for Christmas are beautiful, so lovingly worked with delicate details.
And again you have embroidered great new ornaments!!!!!
I also like the photos of the cakes and of Ecuador, thank you very much for this beautiful post.

Meari said...

Ohhhhhh MY! Guinea pigs for food. I think I'll pass (and I'm usually up for trying most anything). Thanks for sharing Ecuador and the culture there -- I so enjoy reading about other places and people.

You finishes are SO adorable! I've done many of those sled ornaments on perforated paper. Mine are Foxwood Crossings, though. I think I only used 2 strands of floss, but I could be wrong on that. It's been quite a while since I've done any.

Happy New Year... and Happy Belated Birthday!!

Sheryl S. said...

As always I love your ornaments and the different finishes you give them. I particularly like the French Country Snowflake, a delicate pretty colour with the added snowflake charm. All sugary treats look very tempting, so tempting that I will not look at the recipes. Great photos of Ecuador, thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing your work and reading your adventures this year.

Evi Erlinda - Brain Plasticity said...

aww..beautiful designs and photos. thank you for sharing.
greeting- evi erlinda

patoupassions said...

Cette petite luge est toute mignonne!