The end of the year always brings a mixture of the bitter and the sweet, doesn't it? I think that holds true more this year than any other year that I've lived. It's been a tough one! And yet, I am still grateful for so many things--especially my family and my stitching friends who have really made living through a pandemic just a bit easier. One of my favorite quotes from Ralph H. Blum states: "There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy." I've chosen to find that gratitude this year in spite of some pretty sad happenings... You can choose to dwell on the sad or you can decide to find things in life to be grateful for--because there is always something, no matter how small, to give thanks for!
Well enough of my end-of-the-year philosophizing! How was your Christmas? I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it felt to have my youngest son home for five days after not having seen him since last Christmas. My middle son was able to join us for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning brunch, too. It felt so good to just sit and laugh together (I actually laughed so hard during a game of Balderdash that my ribs hurt the following morning)! How I missed the simple normal things this year like spending days with my family. We ate too much, watched "It's a Wonderful Life" (which, although it is one of my husband's favorite movies, I had never seen!) and episodes of The Mandolorian. As I looked around the table one evening, I smiled to myself: "How wonderful it feels to just laugh and chat and feel normal for a change!" I'm sure most of you can relate, can't you?
One of the normal things in life that I didn't have to miss out on this year was my stitching! I'm sure you all feel that it's been a lifeline at times, just like I do. This beautiful piece is called "Merry Christmas Sampler" by Crown & Thistle. The chart was given to me by my dear friend on Instagram, Claire, from Canada. Although I'm not really a sampler stitcher (I usually need the reward of instant gratification given by smaller pieces!), I truly enjoyed stitching with one color and I think the end result is gorgeous.
It is stitched with a stunning red thread--Gloriana Silk in the very Christmasy sounding name of "Poinsettia." I used, for the first time, a higher count of linen: 46 ct. white Bergen linen. Now, what I didn't realize as I was stitching along, is that this is not an evenly woven linen. I panicked as I saw that right margin growing smaller and smaller as I stitched across the top row of the sampler. You can see it here in the photo below--the right margin is about half the size of the left. I think I can make it work, but I won't have much fabric showing when I frame it.
I hope to frame it in a pretty, tarnished silver frame of some sort. Can't wait to display it for many Christmases yet to come. Thank you again, Claire--your gift was so sweet and I look forward to seeing your finish in the coming year!
But, there's more! I must have been a good girl this year as I got some lovely gifts from stitching friends around the world. I truly appreciate each of them taking the time to make a little something for me!
|Cindy D. made me this gorgeous Hands On Design ornament for my tree. She changed the colors to darker blues and I absolutely love it! Thank you so much, Cindy!|
|From Vickie came this very sweet little bird that she sewed out of an antique quilt. Of course, she chose to make him blue for me! Thank you, Vickie--he is adorable!|
|Two beautifully stitched cards arrived from two of my German stitching friends. Manuela made the pretty snowflake on the left and Gabi stitched the sleigh laden with Santa's goodies on the right. Thank you both so much--they are lovely!|
|From Stasi came this darling ornament mounted on a piece of tin. Such a beautifully stitched and finished piece, Stasi (and that little "Spread Love, Not Germs: Go Wash Your Hands" needleminder is a perfect way to remember 2020!) Thank you so much!|
|Another German blogging friend, Martina, sent a lovingly stitched card and two cuts of cardinal themed fabric. She knows how much cardinals mean to me! Thank you so much, Martina!|
|From another Instagram friend, Cindy C. came this pretty jeweled card and a skein of the prettiest Gloriana Silk thread. Wouldn't that deep red be perfect for a Christmas design? Thank you so much, Cindy!|
|And last, but certainly not least, from my dear friend June in England, came this darling cardinal card, a sweet Merry Christmas bookmark and a cute "I Believe In Christmas" chart. Thank you so much, June--everything is delightful, as always!|
What a lovely variety of gifts I received this year! I am truly grateful for your friendships and for these sweet remembrances. I displayed them on my mantle this year and smiled each time I glanced over at it. Over the past 12 years, I've received so many lovely ornaments from stitchers around the world. I display them on my staircase garland (after I move my 12 newly stitched ornaments to my Christmas tree when it goes up) and it looks so pretty and bright. Here are a few photos of the wonderful ornaments I've received over the years--I treasure each and every one. Some people are no longer active in the blogging world and we've lost touch, but I still think of you when I see your ornament. I hope you know that... I truly am grateful for all the stitching friendships I've had--both old and new!
|The ornaments from stitching friends certainly brighten up my stairway!|
|So much thought and love went into each and every gift!|
|I think I need a longer bannister, but I love how bright and cheery my friends' ornaments look as I walk up the steps!|
Do you have any favorites from the pieces you've stitched this year? On Instagram, my "Top Nine for 2020" (generated from the photos that received the most "likes") were the following. All of them were Christmas related except the lone Valentine's Day photo in the lower right. The numbers are a bit skewed, of course, because as the year goes by, the number of followers grows, so, naturally, the posts at the end of the year will garner more interest.
|My "Top Nine" 2020 on Instagram|
My number one pick would be none of the above, however; it would be the post that I made in July when my little grandson came into the world in La Jolla, California. Do you remember this one? Yes, far and away, my favorite post of this year!
|My personal favorite post from July: my precious grandson, "Baby B"|
Where did that helpless baby go? Well, he's almost six months old now and is sitting up, attempting to crawl, and just fascinated by what's going on around him. My husband and I just shake our heads in awe as we watch the changes in him practically unfold before our eyes when we FaceTime with him each day. Here is my favorite photo from Christmas of the little fellow in his Santa cap. I wonder what is going through his mind? So precious...
I'll share a couple of photos from our Christmas day, too--we didn't take many this year. Although I missed my oldest son, daughter-in-law and Baby B so very much, it was wonderful to have my two younger sons join us for the holiday.
|And here I am with my tree! I'm just a wee bit proud of all those ornaments!|
Well, this ends yet another year of Stitching Dreams. Next month, will mark my 13th anniversary of blogging! Where have the years gone? I've so enjoyed getting to see some new names among my commenters this year--thank you for taking the time to say "hello!" It's been a tough year for the entire world... one none of us ever dreamed about, that's for sure. And it's not over... we still have a long way to go until the majority of us are vaccinated and things become safer again. So, on that note, I'll leave you with my word for this coming new year. In 2021, I wish you HOPE! Happy New Year, everyone! Bye for now...
|Wishing you hope in this new year!|