As the snow falls quietly on this last day of January, I'm wondering how on earth this first month of 2021 has passed so quickly? January usually drags for me, but, thankfully, that wasn't the case this month. I am so appreciative of all of the birthday wishes I received via comments and emails--thank you very much! I also received some lovely cards from a few of you, too--thank you for brightening my day! I have to admit that my birthday felt like one of the few "normal" days that I've had over the past year. My middle son and his girlfriend made a tasty dinner (calzones, kale salad, and carrot souffle) for me at their apartment. (They have been socially isolating, just as we have, so we felt safe celebrating with them). Their always delightful cat, Spike, provided the evening's entertainment! Such a good feeling to forget about the problems of the outside world for an evening and just relax and enjoy ourselves...
Although my youngest son, oldest son, daughter-in-law, and baby grandson could not be there, I received some lovely gifts from them. My oldest son and his family sent me a very generous gift certificate for Etsy. Oh, you know that will be well-used, don't you? I already purchased some lovely ric-rak and satin ribbon with a portion of it! My middle son and his girlfriend gave me a darling gazebo bird feeder and their cat gave me some tasty chocolates. And my youngest son sent me some gorgeous blue and white flowers and a massage device to target the muscle that's been causing the sometimes excruciating sciatic pain down my left leg for the past three months (thankfully, it doesn't happen often, but when it does, it makes me yelp right out loud!).
|Beautiful blue and white flowers from my youngest son!|
|I think the wee chickadee likes my new bird feeder from my middle son and his girlfriend just as much as I do!|
After dinner, I received a decadent chocolate cake with a single candle! Can you guess what I wished for? I'm sure the very same thing every person in the world is wishing for right now... My husband picked up this beautiful cake and gave me some chocolates that evening. But, my big (and very unexpected!) gift, will be arriving in mid-February--a Peloton exercise bike! To be honest, I think this gift is just as much for him as it is for me, but I'm excited to be expanding my exercise routine a bit. Since Covid began, I've been pretty much doing my daily treadmill miles and not much else--time to mix it up a bit, I'd say! These bikes are expensive, but I don't belong to a gym so, in the end, I'd say it's a very good deal--and so much more convenient than hopping in a car and driving to a gym filled with sweaty strangers :)
|I bet you know what I wished for...|
I also received some very kind gifts from fellow stitchers...
|A sweet bird chart and pretty charms from June! |
|An adorable snowman chart from Vickie!|
|A darling needleminder from Instagram friend, Tricia!|
This next gift was not a birthday gift, but a sweet act of kindness from my friend, Ginger, on Instagram. She also lost her mother in 2020 and a friend sent her this chart to stitch in her mom's memory. After she finished it up, she passed it on to me, and when I'm done, I'll pass it on to another stitcher who recently lost her mom. We hope to keep this going for a long time... a little string of love between stitchers who truly understand how it feels to lose a mom.
|A very meaningful chart passed on from Instagram friend, Ginger!|
And--look! I won a box, jam-packed with stitching goodies, from Shelly, Arizona Stitcher to celebrate the milestone 10th anniversary of her blog! Wow! Look at all the delights that came my way... A beautiful project pouch in a fun candy-cane fabric, Bohin needles (love those!), rolls of ribbon and pom-poms, a "Let's Stitch" needleminder and floss ring, a cute With Thy Needle Chart and a piece of linen, a new journal to keep track of my finishes, and an array of beautifully colored threads--both DMC and overdyed.
|What delightful gifts from the generous Shelly!|
But, that's not all! Shelly also made me the prettiest ornament. I'm not sure of the designer, but isn't it darling? She did a beautiful job on both the stitching and the finishing. This is the very best part of your wonderful giveaway, Shelly--thank you so much! I'll think of you each December when I display it. Thank you for every single item you included--I truly love it all and feel honored to have won your very special giveaway!
|Such a lovely ornament from Shelly!|
So... that was my fun January--filled with lots of gifts and love and well-wishes. Thank you all!
I do have one more "gift" to mention, though--and it's a big one! I got my first Covid shot on Monday! They opened up our state to ages 65+ and, although we could find no appointments in our county, my oldest son (all the way over in California!) found appointments online for us (and quite a few of our friends and family members) in adjacent counties. We were so thrilled and my son has enjoyed helping all of us old folks out. Other than a mild sore area at the injection site, I had no side effects. Hopefully, the next shot later in February goes as well. I truly feel blessed to have gotten the first dose! I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel...
|I think this pharmacist needs to go back to school for remedial lessons in handwriting--yikes!|
Another first--my first ornament of the year is complete! I chose another Prairie Schooler Santa (from Book No. 80 called "Old World Santas)." As usual, I stitched it on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle, but I did change some of the threads. I changed the red to DMC 221, the green to DMC 501, the color of his sack to DMC 844, and the staff and a portion of the bird to DMC 839. The rest of the colors remained as charted.
|A new Prairie Schooler Santa from Book No. 80|
You'll notice in the photo above that I added some Smyrna-stitched snowflakes in an oval shape, too--love how the final finish looks! Isn't this Santa cute with the birdhouse tucked into his backpack and the sweet holly-carrying bird perched on his outstretched hand?
|My January ornament finish|
Here is a photo of the "Old World Santas" chart alongside my finish. You'll notice that I'm leaving off the rectangular base that each Santa is standing on in order to finish them as ovals. I'm sure I'll be stitching more from this chart during the coming year. I hope I never run out of Prairie Schooler Santas!
In other stitching news, I started a stitch-along on Instagram! Yes, me, that shy "sit in the back row of the class" girl, who hates being the leader of anything... But, I've had a great number of people joining in and we'd love to have you join us, too. The idea is to stitch an ornament each month and finish them all by year's end. I've done this for 12 years now and am (honestly) getting a bit weary of it... I'm hoping that by having others posting their ornaments, we can cheer each other on and have a dozen brand new stitched decorations by Christmas time. If you'd like to participate on Instagram, you can use the hashtag #12in21ornamentstitchalong. Hope to see some of you posting this year... even if you don't get all twelve done, a few new ones to add to your tree is always a delight!
I was planning on taking my snowman stitching down today, but with this fresh snowfall, I'm re-thinking that idea! Here are a few photos of my tiered basket tray that I've had on my kitchen sideboard this month. Those cheery little snowman smiles certainly brighten up that corner of the kitchen. All of these were stitched by me through the years and hang on my Christmas tree. I just pin the hangers behind them when I use them in displays like this one.
|Snowman smiles brightened my kitchen in January|
Here are a couple of close-ups for you. I took these photos earlier in the month when there was just a dusting of snow--the background would look quite different today!
So, on to February! Do you have any plans for Valentine's stitching? I have a couple little things that I'm trying to get finished up before February 14th rolls around--wish me luck. I can only work on finishing when the desire strikes--and that doesn't happen often... Thank you, each and every one, for your visit today. And a special thank you to those who leave comments. I know it takes time, but I truly appreciate each kind word. As always, I'm happy to answer your questions, but make sure to leave your email so I can respond to you, okay? Have a wonderful Sunday, my friends... and Happy February! Bye for now...