Monday, November 22, 2021

Random thoughts in late November

Can you believe it's almost time for Thanksgiving here in the U.S.? I think, for many of us, this year's feast will look a bit different than that of 2020. I remember last Thanksgiving sadly sitting alone with my husband as we ate, not a traditional turkey, but a simple chicken breast, a photo of our far away family members propped on the table. It was a hard day... the first Thanksgiving without my beloved mom and without anyone other than my husband to help me get through it. Thankfully, this year more and more families will be reunited to give thanks for our blessings once again! I'm excited to be traveling to Ohio for dinner at my niece's house (and pretty excited that I am not hosting it this year, if truth be told!). What are your plans? 

This time of year my stitching always seems to take a back seat to baking, decorating, Christmas card writing, etc. But, I did manage to get my ornament for November done. As soon as I saw this adorable design with the cheery Christmas mugs stacked three high and the smiling gingerbread boys peeking out, I knew I had to order it from Whitehouse Stitchery on Etsy. You can see what the original chart looks like, and purchase your own copy if you're interested, right here. I used my favorite 40 ct. Newcastle linen--this time in a new-to-me color called "Water Green." It's the prettiest shade and I love how Christmas colors look on it.

"Sweet Christmas" finish for my November ornament

I did make a few changes to the colors and rounded out the gingerbread boys' heads a bit more. I also stitched only half of the charted design to make it ornament sized. And because I wanted an oval ornament, I added a few snowflakes to both sides to shape it. It's hard to see, but there are red beads representing berries  next to the holly in the top mug. As there is so much going on in this design I kept the final finish quite simple merely adding white cording and a red and white gingham bow and hanger. I've always loved gingerbread boys and this one truly makes me smile each time I look at it.

Such cute little grins on the gingerbread boys!

I've also made some significant progress with my Prairie Schooler "Christmas Village" which I first shared with you in this post. At that time, I had only two of the nine houses stitched and now I'm up to five so I think I'm about at the half-way point. I feel like I could stitch those little trees at the top in my sleep by now, but they are a good thing to work on while watching television. I honestly can't tell you how much stitching this piece relaxes me. Even those long, solid roofs don't bother me! That's Prairie Schooler for you! Just the best!

Progress! About half-way done!

Randomness... thoughts on what I've been doing, reading, watching, baking!

*** Who else is watching less and less network television?  There just seems to be nothing that captures my interest these days. I've been turning more and more to Netflix and Hulu and have been really captivated by the Dopesick series on America's opioid epidemic (on Hulu) and  Maid (on Netflix)--a fictional account of a young, single mother who takes a job at a cleaning service while trying to raise her child and navigate the confusing legal aid system. And I finally watched the delightful Lark Rise to Candleford series on Hulu... Oh, if they would only make more shows like that one--love the characters so very much. The British do know how to make such charming series!

*** YouTube favorites... Unlike many of you, I'm not a Flosstube watcher. I find most of them move way too slowly for me and they're much too long! But, I've discovered several fun decorating/thrifting/makeover type YouTube channels that I enjoy ever so much. Do any of you watch: Canterbury Cottage, The White Cottage Company, She Holds Dearly, or Jessica Giffin? I enjoy all of these women because they are working within a budget and trying to recycle/reuse when they can--talk about creativity! Anyone else have recommendations?

*** Of course I've been baking for Thanksgiving--I've made nine different kinds of cookies so far, freezing half for Thanksgiving and half for Christmas. These are the goodies I whipped up this morning--so light and flaky. Not to mention--they have raspberry jam in the centers! My favorite! You can find the recipe right here. Do roll the balls of dough in sugar before baking and pressing the indentation for the jam--it makes that process much easier. 

"Evelyn's Christmas Cookies"


*** I've read several very good books lately! Meet Me at the Museum is a charming tale (told in letter form) of an older couple whose relationship develops through correspondence. A first time author at the age of 70, Anne Youngson, created a very sweet story with such memorable characters. I've read many Susan Meissner books and have enjoyed most, but this was my favorite to date: The Nature of Fragile Things is set in San Francisco and weaves a tale of mystery, romance, and female friendships during and after the great earthquake of 1906. Finally,  Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer takes on a very difficult subject--postpartum depression. It's hard to read at times, but explores a subject that definitely deserves more attention and discussion. I'd give each of these 4 1/2 stars out of 5! Can anyone else recommend a must-read book?

***I've been bit under the weather since we last talked... The reaction I had to my Covid Booster on November 10th caught me by surprise as I'd had nothing but a sore arm and mild tiredness with the first two shots. This time I experienced chills, a fever of 100.6°, and general body aches. BUT... I'm so glad I had it as I feel safer going to Thanksgiving and traveling again. On top of that, I somehow injured my lower left rib area when we were visiting my grandson. Oh, it felt like I was being stabbed every time I coughed, sneezed or laughed. And rolling over in bed or simply sitting in my stitching chair was pretty painful, too! I didn't know if I had broken a rib, bruised a rib, or torn a muscle. Since it is starting to feel much better ten days in, I think it was the latter. How did it happen? Um... roughhousing with my grandson and picking up and carrying a 27 pound toddler surely had something to do with my injury. I really need to be more careful given that I have osteoporosis... sigh! 

*** Decorating... Since we aren't having Thanksgiving here this year, I did very little in the way of decorating other than putting out a few of my cross stitched pieces. I did decorate my mantle, though, with a collection of copper pieces, candles, and white pottery. I really love how warm and cozy it looks on these cooler autumn nights. I also convinced my husband to bring the boxes of Christmas decorations down from the attic last night so Christmas decorating will commence on Friday--I can't wait!

My decorated mantle with my blue stitching chair on the right

Some of these copper pieces belonged to my mom which makes this display even more special


Speaking of mom, below is a throwback photo to Thanksgiving 1963. I think my siblings and I are being Native American Indians (apparently none of us wanted to be Pilgrims!) and entertaining my parents before dinner. My middle sister is wearing a headband with what I'm sure are turkey feathers because there was a large turkey farm down the street from us. My brother is beating on a drum while I imagine I (sporting those "lovely" short bangs my mom used to cut for me!) am, most likely, making some sort of Indian whooping sound. Probably totally politically incorrect in this day and age, but that was life in the '60s! My dad was the photographer and my youngest sister, just a couple months old, was, most likely, asleep in a nearby bassinet. Such nice memories... My mom always made sure that our holidays were very special and now, being a mom myself, I know how much work goes into that process! I don't think you can truly appreciate all that a mom does until you become one yourself...

A 1960s-style family Thanksgiving!


So, it's time to end this longer-than-expected post! I hope you know one of the things I'm truly thankful for is all of you. Honestly! I have such a nice group of readers and commenters--I hope you know how much I value your friendship and love hearing from you. As I've said many times, if only all the world could be as supportive and loving as the stitching community, it would be a much better place. I wish all of my U.S. stitching friends a blessed Thanksgiving with your families. And I hope all of my international readers have a lovely last week of November. Do take care now, and I'll see you in December! Bye for now...

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Marilyn said...

I am making dinner & we are having my BIL & SIL over.
That ornament is too cute, & the fabric is very pretty.
Great progress on your PS.
I'll have to check out those Youtubers.
Your fireplace looks so pretty, love those lanterns!
I love those old pictures.
I remember we had a Birthday party picture, & one of my brothers had a tantrum 1 day & tore the picture up.
We still had the pieces, so my SIL gathered them together & taped them & had some new ones made. It was a classic@
As always, can't wait to see your tree.
It will be so much fun at Christmas with baby B!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Rebecca C. said...

Hubby and I have been watching Hulu also. We love Britains Best Home Cook, and I have been watching Maid, I really like it.
We had just about the same reaction from our booster shots. I am reading Travels with George by Nathanial
Philbrick right now, I am really enjoying it.
I adore your newest ornament, I am going to buy a few of her charts in fact. I declared 2022 the year of Christmas stitching as I have only one stitched ornament, and that is it.
I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving and your Christmas decorating. My trees have been up for over a week now, I felt like I needed some extra Christmas fun this year…😊

butterfly said...

I always love your posts Carol.
I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving here we go right into Christmas .
I love those little gingerbread men so cute .
Lovely family photo .
Yes I do love our TV series in the UK , I wish they would make alot more .
Because some of the TV is real rubbish I can't watch it .
Have fun , and take care and I hope you feel better soon.
Lots of hugs. June.

Sandra said...

I love your mugs and gingerbread stitching. Very charming. I also very much enjoyed the Larkrise to Candleford series We do indeed need more stories like that.

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Switzerland, nor in England (where I grew up) which I find a great shame. I love reading about Thanksgiving celebrations! I love the photo of you and your siblings with your mum!

Even though you didn't have your whole family around you last year, you and your husband had each other! Last Christmas Day, I spent completely on my own with just a Zoom chat with my son and his wife in Canada and my daughter and grandson. It was a was a question of adapting to the situation!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving on November 25th!

BarbaraS said...

I also feel as if some of the YouTube videos move too slowly. Don't laugh, but most of the videos I watch I set the the speed to 1.5. Some of them I even set as high as 2.0. There are some real slow talkers out there. If it is a video with just music, I turn the sound off and set the speed to 2.0.

Kay said...

Happy Thanksgiving.x

Mary said...

I love your Sweet Christmas ornament and it's perfect as an oval! Your PS house stitch is gorgeous, I admire you for tackling so many houses!! I find stitching houses tedious but do love how they look. Trees, I can stitch all day!! I haven't had tv in over 22 years now, got rid of cable and never looked back! That's how I rationalize buying camera equipment, I have saved over 20 thousand dollars not having tv! I loved Lark Rise to Candleford!! One of my favorites, I frequent my library for BBC shows. I watch 2 floss tubes and fast forward a lot of it now. They are far too long for me. I am addicted to Dr. Lori though, I love seeing the bargains that people find and her appraisal of them, I have learned alot from her and hope someday to find my "treasure"!! I also watch photography instructional you tubers but that's it. I love thrifting and upgrading so will check out your recommendations.

I am going to be making and decorating cookies for my nieces baby shower next month. I have never frozen cookies, do they have the same texture and do you freeze the dough or the cookies baked? I will definelty try the thumbprints, my favorite jam is raspberry.
Your decor for Thanksgiving is beautiful and I love those lights on your mantle, were they a recent purchase? I would love to have them.
I'm so glad that your Thanksgiving this year will be with family and a much happier one. I hope you have a safe trip and a wonderful day making memories with family.

Darlene Hennlich said...

I love the ornament, do you have a post that shares the framing/finishing process, that is always were I get stuck in the finishing process. Thank you

Janice Boucher said...

How do you set the speed on an iPad? Most times I fast forward when I get bored with a lot of chatter.

Vickie said...

We have received our boosters and I am happy to say we are headed to Mom's this year. :) I am making the mashed potatoes and the sweet potatoes. Sweet Christmas is just darling! I truly only watch Barb/Lost in Floss. I feel the days pass too quickly for me! I don't want to waste time watching Flosstube! I very much enjoyed The Nature of Fragile Things also. Truths I Never Told You was a good one, wasn't it? I will be checking out Meet Me at the Museum, thank you! I hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful Carol!

Eva said...

I liked to read your blog.
Have a nice day.
Love Eva

Robin in Virginia said...

Your November ornament is simply darling, Carol! Well done! And your progress on the PS Christmas Village is fabulous. I enjoyed seeing your bits of Thanksgiving decor. Those lanterns on the mantle are so pretty. I hope your rib area continues to mend and that you have recovered from your booster. I watch very little floss tube since I have to read the captions which makes it tough to stitch at the same time. Wishing you and your family a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Sarah Beth Marchuk said...

Hi there. I have just gotten back to reading my old blog subscriptions. Your stitching is beautiful and I love the ornament you made. I love how in depth your blog post was. I love to read about the lives of other bloggers. It is so much fun😀.

I have a Flosstube you might like where I got to interview Karen Kluba from Rosewood Manor. It is my latest one. It is about 30 min. My channel is Sarah Beth’s stitching.

Just Joan said...

Cute ornament! Of course, I had to head over to Etsy and buy the pattern immediately! One of my stepdaughters is hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I'm so looking forward to it. All we have to do is bake pies and show up. And we're having a mini Thanksgiving the following weekend with my eldest daughter and her boyfriend, who are currently traveling. Last year was such a sad one, as I had just lost my mom in October and we didn't get together with family. I don't watch a lot of FlossTube either and find they are way too long. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Sandy said...

The ornament is adorable. I love seeing what you will come up with each month. I love that PS stitch as well. I have no idea what I would do without stitching each evening. We don’t watch much cable any,ore. I keep trying to get Jeff to just cut it but he can’t seem to do it yet. He chooses all kinds of guy pro gyro watch. I am with you on Flosstube. I really love stitching by the lake because most of hers are 20 minutes and I just plain like her but I can’t sit through most either. I still like blogs better. I will check out your tubers as I do like some things. I am so grateful to have the family here for Thanksgiving. Last year was hard! My computer has been in the shop for a while. Can’t wait to get it back. Fortunately it is under warranty. I have missed it lots!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Clare-Aimetu said...

Lovely stitching and super mantle. I don't watch flosstube as I think it would lead to more time lost online but I've heard there's some fab stuff on there, enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
wonderful finish. The two gingerbred men in the mugs are so cute.
Wonderful progress on your TPS project. I love it.
Happy Thanksgiving and a big Hugs, Manuela

Kyle said...

Your posts are always so warm and friendly as you share what's been going on in your life, stitching, etc. Love the photo of your family in 1963. Holidays can be a challenge emotionally. I hope you have a wonderful time with your family this year.

Nancy Collins said...

I can recommend a wonderful floss tuber named "Whilst Iris Naps". The floss-tube videos are filmed in Great Britain. The host always researches the samplers that she reproduces in great detail, and her stitching is beautiful! The videos are also always around 30 minutes. I always learn something new and come away feeling inspired and motivated to stitch all the beautiful designs.

Mylene said...

Hello Carol, i always enjoy reading your blog, thanks for sharing everything.
Your recent ornament finished is such a cutie! Progress on Christmas village looks great. I do love Prairie Schooler designs but most of my finishes were only small designs and completed into ornaments.
As for books, started reading the first book of the serie of the Seven sisters of Lucinda Riley. These gonna take me a while as i haven't much free time yet. I am not really a TV person, only watching the news..
A beautiful family picture! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Claire said...

Oh Carol I'm so happy to see your progress on the Christmas Village! I put mine up at the beginning of November because it is one of my all time favourites. I also loved every stitch and yes, even the trees. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling well and hope your ribs heal quickly. Wishing you a safe journey and Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

Claire said...

Oh...and I forgot to say...Maid was filmed in our area. One location was at the gas station about 2 minutes away. There were 160 locations used in and around Victoria from October 2020 to March of this year. So happy it's a success!

Barb said...

Hi Carol -

Just. wanted to get my “Happy Thanksgiving” wishes to you. Hope you and your family have a wonderful time.

❣️Barb R.

Sweet Sue said...

Thx for the YouTube links, will enjoy checking them out:) I agree, most are way too long. Safe travels, Happy Thanksgiving my Friend!

Barb said...

Thank you for the book suggestions, had them checked out at one time, but never read them. Now to try again. I watch floss tube either while I'm working or stitching, but usually at 1.5 speed. I can catch the important stuff if I need to. Your ornament is so lovely and hopeful that rib pain can be all gone. I'm getting booster in a couple weeks after some travel as I am trying to prepare for a reaction as I've heard of many with them like yours. Happy Thanksgiving.

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Such a lovely post full of eye candy. Be sure and leave that Christmas village out all year Carol! I have mine up all year as it just makes me happy. If you do not hear from me much on social media it is because our mom fell and broke her foot. I am traveling a lot to Ga to help care for her. While I am reading my blog friend's posts, I often do not have time to comment. I know you can empathize.

Barb said...

Well Carol, we agree about books. I,too, loved the nature of Fragile things!! Your ornament is so cute!! We will be having Laurie for Thanksgiving tomorrow and for that I feel very blessed and thankful! After living far from her through college and then many years before we retired, I can say what a joy it has been to be near her!

MartinaM said...

I love your Novemberfinsih, the motif is really cute.
I sincerely wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and a lot of joy and fun with your family.
take good care of yourself
Hugs Martina

Jackie's Stitches said...

We cut the cord some time ago. We have Hulu Live so my other half can watch football. We don't miss cable at all.

I hope you have had an enjoyable day. We are in PJs early as we both missed our post Thanksgiving meal naps!

Alhana said...

Hi Carol!
I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving at your niece with all your family.

Faith... said...

Glad you got to be treated to your holiday meal this year. I remember when first my mom and then my daughter and I hosted every year and sometimes it can be exhausting! Now it is just my immediate family of four and that's good for me! This year my daughter made BBQ for dinner.

Your version of the chart looks great and I think it is better than the original! Love how the Christmas Village is coming along too.

I for one am watching less of network TV! There is so much out there to see. I like watching true crime so I have been watching a bunch of it. And I am another who does NOT watch FlossTube.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Vicki said...

What a great post! I enjoyed reading it and catching up with you. Now that Thanksgiving's over we have our annual cookie day next Sunday. I will be baking cookies, making candy, and pistacchio bread this week. The house is all decorated inside (the outside is Dan's domain) and I'm eager for the arrival of our son and his family in three weeks. I love this time of year!

Leonore Winterer said...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Carol! must be so nice to be able to get back together with your family after the mess that was 2020. Your stitching is lovely as always, both the village and the ornament. I've been wondering - with all the ornaments you've made already, do you ever come across a pattern you want to make, and then later realize you already stitched it?
I haven't watched 'real' TV in ages (unless we are at my in-laws house). Netflix and Disney+ all the way, so many shows to choose from! And I don't think I could deal with watching just one episode a week anymore, haha. I also watch Youtube, but mostly True Crime, ASMR and some educational content. I follow a couple floss tubers, but only people I know outside of Youtube. Can't really get into the genre, I'm afraid.
Some of your books sound interesting, I'll have to look them up! As for my recommendations - have you read The Keeper of Lost Things, The Paris Seamstress or The Engineer's Wife? I think you might enjoy them.

Katie said...

Your Thanksgiving sounds lovely. We had just our household but that's okay it was peaceful and didn't need to deep clean to impress anyone haha. Love your ornament. Perfectly Carol. Great progress on your village. Sometimes those calm pieces are just lovely to work on. Hope you feel better quickly. There is sure a lot of ick going around. I have new pains all over every year I get older. Now I think I have tendonitis and it hurts I think worse than my arthritis. Fun. Enjoy decorating. We just brought all our tubs in to start the process too. I'm looking forward to it. Great memory with your Mom. Beautiful pic.

Eva said...

I am not at all surprised that there are so many comments here.Reading here is so nice and friendly. I look forward to chatting more
with love Eva in Czech Republic

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

I usually enjoy Flosstube but have limited my 'must see' list as I'm tired of seeing so much haul. How nice that so many have money to buy endless charts and supplies. To me it's just craziness. I really enjoy Saltbox Stitcher as she reminds me so much of my mom's taste in stitching, decorating, and her faith.

Thank you for listing the videos you do enjoy watching on YouTube. I'm going to take a look at them as I love a well decorated room.

And I also appreciate your list of books to read. How did we ever find time to work with all the stitching to do and books to read. Plus I love to sew quilts.