Tuesday, December 6, 2022

♫ It's Beginning to Look a (tiny) Bit Like Christmas ♫

After a busy, busy end of November, I feel like I finally have some time to get started on Christmas preparations... Yes, I said "get started!" I know many of you are already done and can sit back and relax and enjoy the beauty of this season. But, when it's my turn to host Thanksgiving in late November, it puts me way behind. And when you factor in a required appearance at jury duty last week, I feel like I'm playing catch up. But, that's okay... I am definitely not decorating as much this year, baking as many goodies, or even sending out as many cards. This is my "off year" as my oldest and youngest sons will be spending the holiday with the families of their respective wife and girlfriend. And, yes, that include my grandson which, I have to admit, makes me a bit sad. Sigh... I totally understand and accept this though. We did the same alternating holidays schedule when my sons were little, too. 

So, what was the first bit of decorating to go up? Why my Pottery Barn cubby, of course! This year I decided to showcase some of my ornaments stitched on black and I just love how the display turned out. I tucked in a few vintage figurines and also added a sprig of holly here and there. Would you like to see a few photos? 

The December 2022 Pottery Barn cubby filled with some of my favorite ornaments--all stitched on black

I'll give you some close-ups of each section as it is hard to see the details of the finishes in the overall picture above. 

So, do you have a favorite? I love the Five Golden Rings in #9, but all of them are very special to me. As you can see, I placed Prairie Schooler Angels on each side of my mom's special place of honor (in the center cubby) to watch over her.

My Pottery Barn cubby is hung on the wall just inside my family room--right next to my kitchen, so I walk by it many, many times a day. I can even see it sitting right here at my desk as I write this post. Below is one more photo that shows it on the wall above my dear maternal grandmother's pine table. Right before I was to be married in 1977, Gram had me come to her apartment (she lived almost directly behind my parents on the next street over) and asked me to pick out "anything I wanted" as a wedding present. I chose this sweet table as I loved the spool legs and arms. I still remember stripping and refinishing it out on the driveway under the guidance of my father (who had refinished many a piece of furniture before he married my mom!). It's held up very well and I still think of my sweet Gram B whenever I look at it. How she would have loved knowing I made all those little Christmas ornaments in the cubby above! She could work wonders with a needle and thread! The open door beyond leads to our sunroom where my naked tree is lit, but not decorated--hopefully, I'll get to it very soon!

Looking into the sunroom where my Christmas tree is waiting patiently to be decorated

I'm often asked what the designer is or what fabric I used for the ornaments in the numbered cubbies so I put together this helpful list for you. If you click on the link for the number of the ornament you are interested in, you will be taken to my original post describing my corresponding finish. Hope this provides a bit of inspiration to all of you ornament stitchers out there!

#1 Prairie Schooler "Happy Christmas" (Book No. 190)

#2 Prairie Schooler "Santa's Night" (Book No. 175)

#3 Twin Peak Primitives "Snowman Joy"

#4 Sue Hillis "Candy Canes"

#5  Prairie Schooler  "St. Nicholas II" (Book No. 36)

#6 Prairie Schooler "Christmas Past (Book No. 51)

#7 Little House Needleworks "Grandma's Quilt"

#8 The Cricket Collection "Woolen Mittens"

#9 Cottage Garden Samplings "Five Golden Rings"

#10 Prairie Schooler "Santa & Friends" (Book No. 110)

#11 With Thy Needle and Thread "Merry Wishes"

#12 Prairie Schooler "Angels" (Book No. 42)

#13 My dear mother's silhouette--always the center of the cubby

#14 Prairie Schooler "Angels" (Book No. 42)

#15 Plum Street Samplers "Merry Friends"

#16 Country Cottage Needleworks "Snowmen Trio"

#17 Schoolroom Samplers "Nutmeg Santa" from the 1997 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue

#18 With Thy Needle and Thread "Merry Mouse"

#19 Prairie Schooler "Saint Nicholas II" (Book No. 36)

#20 Prairie Schooler "Santa Moon"  (Book No. 53)

#21 Hands on Design "A Year in Chalk: January"

#22 Luminous Fiber Arts "Joy"

#23 Plum Pudding Needleart "Let It Snow" (in 2013 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue)

#24 Prairie Schooler "Santa Moon" (Book No. 53)

#25 Hands On Design "Silver Bells" (in Part 3 of the Chalkboard Ornaments Christmas Collection)

Thanksgiving 2022... Well, another Thanksgiving is in the books and I have to say I feel like I'm still recovering. But, we had a delicious feast and it was so good to see extended family again. No Covid cases sprang from our gathering--and for that I'm extremely grateful as there were 19 of us (one guest couldn't make it at the last minute).  Here is a small collage of our day showing the table and some decor. It always amazes me that you prepare for the feast for weeks and it is over and done with in a couple of hours! But, it's a wonderful holiday to just eat and chat and enjoy others company without the pressure of gift-giving. Plus, who doesn't love Thanksgiving dinner leftovers?

Scenes from Thanksgiving 2022

Jury Duty... Okay--is there anyone out there who actually enjoys being called for Jury Duty? And how is it handled in your state or country? Here in Pennsylvania, we are called in for possible jury selection, but if we are not picked, we don't have to return the following day. I know in some states you have to serve over a two-week period and can be selected for multiple juries! This is the third summons to Jury Duty I've had over the past 30 years and I have never been selected for a jury. This time, I wasn't even interviewed by the lawyers as I was seated at the back of the room (for 8 grueling hours on VERY uncomfortable slat-back wooden chairs) and they were questioning possible jurors from front to back. The case to be tried was going to last 7 to 10 days, but I heard one lawyer say it might last through Christmas. Please, no! Thankfully, I managed to avoid being selected as I can't think of a worse time of year to be stuck in a courtroom day in and day out. And, as I said--those chairs! My osteoporosis is mainly in my spine and I know that my poor back couldn't have stood much more of that hard, very uncomfortable chair.

Gingerbread goodies... One nice thing about being called down to the city for Jury Duty was getting to see the amazing gingerbread house competition which was in the lobby of the building. There were over 200 entries and what fun it was examining each one. Below are some of my favorites...

Over 200 entries were in the city's annual Gingerbread House Competition. I wonder how many hours (and how much flour and sugar!) went into making these beauties?

There were all sorts of entries from simple to elaborate in every age group from young children to adults. Each one was so sweet! I especially loved the gingerbread sewing machine that is in the center of the above collage. Here is a better look...

This prize winning gingerbread sewing machine was made by a teen in the 14-17 year age group! Don't you love the string licorice thread and all of the buttons and dials made of candy--so cute!

We had a wonderful time during my grandson's visit! It just makes me shake my head in awe as he continues to absorb new words (both in Spanish and English as he is being raised bilingually) like a sponge. He and his mom and dad stayed for a few days after Thanksgiving so we got to relax with them (and they got to help us clean up!). We also visited my middle son and his girlfriend in their apartment a couple of times and below is one of my favorite photos of my grandson, "Mister B," with my grandkitty, Spike. I will miss him so much at Christmas, but thank goodness for FaceTime!

Mister B (almost 2 1/2 years old) adores his uncle's cat, Spike

So, what's up next? I'm in the middle of finishing my final monthly ornament(s) for 2022, a few gifts are being stitched, and I still need to get the tree decorated. Christmas cards haven't even been started yet, but I'm fine with that. I'll do what I can, but I really want to relax and just enjoy the spirit of the season over these next 2 1/2 weeks. I hope you can, too! Take care now, my friends! Thank you for visiting me today and for all of your wonderful comments--I love to read them! Bye for now...


Claire said...

Your cubby is always so intriguing, Carol! I love all of the black ornaments and my favourite is the Prairie Schooler Santa with the cardinal. I love your photo of your little one with the cat. So sweet! What a lot of work you go to to link us up with all of the information on your ornaments. Thank you so much. Your blog is one of the very best stitching references ever! My tree is also sitting with just lights on it as we wait to see if it will actually survive the Lucy and Charlie tag team. Many Christmas memories have yet to be unpacked and some may just rest where they are this year but new ones will surely be made and Christmas will come as it always does with or without cards. May joy fill your heart this Christmas, dear friend, and may the new year bring happy times and good health for you and your family. xoC

MartinaM said...

Your Christmas shelf is beautiful, so beautifully decorated. I can't decide on a favorite, they are all so beautiful. Oh wow, I've seen quite a few gingerbread houses, but they are really wonderful.
And I've never seen a sewing machine made out of gingerbread.
A cute picture with Mister B and Spike.
Enjoy the Advent season, it goes by so quickly.
Hugs, Martina

Isabel para ALROMASAR said...

Your cubicle always looks beautiful at any time of the year, Carol!!
I love how the embroidery stands out on the black background.
We decorated the tree this weekend and yesterday we set up our Nativity.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
Hugs from Spain

Marilyn said...

Your cubby looks so pretty!
My favorite is #14.
Your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful with family, love that Turkey nut bowl.
Those Gingerbread houses are amazing!
And the sewing machine is tops!
Mr. B is so cute & growing.
You know we are waiting to see your tree! :)
I don't send as many cards anymore either, most don't send back, so why bother?

Patricia said...

Ich liebe es!
Liebe Grüße Patricia

Mary said...

I grew up at auctions; my parents were avid antique collectors. They had a stand very similar to your treasure. It's a washstand, and towels were hung on the bars on the sides. Such memories! We learned early how to strip furniture of old paint, sand, and finish. The pieces were beautiful. I struggle when I see old, chippy paint pieces used for decorating now. They are just as beautiful but definitely not my style. I can still remember of smell of the chemical they used to take paint off wood; I'm sure it's probably illegal to manufacture it now!

Anyway, your stitching and displaying is always fun to see and very inspiring. I hope you have a most happy Christmas celebration and a happy ending to a year of marked with sadness.

KrissKross said...

Reading your blog posts is always so comforting and delightful! Thank you for sharing your kindness and talents! Merry Christmas!

Robin in Virginia said...

What a delightful post to read this morning with my coffee! I am sorry about being summoned for jury duty. I received a questionnaire for it in October for the coming year. Won't hear anything until sometime then! Your collage of Thanksgiving looks wonderful. I love your December cubby with all the black ornaments you have stitched (well, some of them). The picture of the sewing machine gingerbread is incredible. Love the picture of Mr. B and Spike! I haven't started decorating yet; probably next week so I am still sporting the Thanksgiving look. I have been wrapping, packaging, and yesterday I started cards. Have a good week, Carol!

Sandy said...

Your cubby is just beautiful as the table underneath. I love all of the stitches, but I think I like #1. Those PS are just so classic. I do think Thanksgiving is a lot of preparing and then bam, the meal is eaten. I love that holiday though and don't mind that Christmas starts "late" after it. ISn't it crazy how quick people decorate these days. I know I didn't put my tree up until around the weekend of the 10th whatever that was for years. Now, we are in a rush to see who can get it up faster. I have never been great with Christmas cards. There were many years while teaching that they didn't get off in time for Christmas. For some reason, I am on the ball this year and the last of them are going out today. I am in shock at myself. I do hope to slow it all down around here and just enjoy the season. The stitches are just beautiful.

Vickie said...

The Christmas cubby is gorgeous! I love the angels the best. :)
The table from your Gram is wonderful Carol!
I love the picture of Mr. B and Spike also. Perhaps he will be getting a pet in his future??
I am about as far as you are with Christmas, Carol. Oh well! ;)

marie said...

Your cubbie is beautiful, love the black as it shows the stitching. As I was reading my thought was I wish she would post the designers names, and then there they were, thanks so much for that. I might have to hunt down a few of those charts. As a newbie stitcher (started this January) I already have more charts I can stitch in my lifetime, that's ok, I have a friend much younger than me that I will leave them for her to enjoy. We have a half quilt half cross stitch shop that has end of year sale and every thing Christmas is discounted encluding cross stitch charts. I have a huge list started. Ha-its a addiction. I love your blog. My question is, is your dinning room table large enough to fit all 19 people?? Merry Christmas to your and the family and may your New Year be healthy and full of new stitches.

Cathy H. said...

You've had a busy November with Thanksgiving, hard chairs, and precious Mr. B who is simple adorable! I love his eyes! So glad you didn't get jury duty! This year Christmas to me is slowing down and enjoying each day, even if I don't really accomplish any big significant thing! I've chosen this year to be quieter, to write daily in my journal, and to read. Yes, Christmas decorations are up, but they went up slowly with me enjoying every moment of it, well, maybe not the irritating backache, but I had my heating pad nearby! I'm looking forward to your 2022 ornament post! Enjoy your holidays!

Averyclaire said...

I love all of your blog posts. I admire that you have kept at it! Blogging takes a lot of time and effort. That being said I adore ALL of your black ornaments. They are so lovely. Can’t pick a favorite but am grateful for the links you have included for reference. The cubby is a golden find and so perfect for your stitching. Your grandson is adorable. Such a delight. Thank you for sharing so much of your art and yourself with all of us. Merry Christmas and best wishes for a beautiful new year.

Anonymous said...

Love all the cubby ornaments—especially the angels surrounding mom’s little spot. Always loved that table of Gram B’s— even better that it’s right below the cubby with all your stitching pieces. The gingerbread houses definitely added a bright spot to a not so fun experience.

Stasi said...

Looks like you had a great Thanksgiving, Carol... you deserve a respite! I le all your ornaments on black and found some black linen that I'm going to try one on.
We have been to see the gingerbread competition at the Grove Park when we go to NC for Thanksgiving and were always amazed at what they could build out of only edible materials....that sewing machine is sweet!!!
Hope you enjoy your holidays!

Ο κόσμος της Ράνιας said...

Πολύ όμορφα όλα τα κεντήματα !!!!
Οι αναρτήσεις σας εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρουσες και τις απολαμβάνω.
Καλές γιορτές και πολλά χαιρετίσματα από Ελλάδα !!!!

Joy said...

The sewing machine gingerbread is adorable! I actually purchased a Perler bead kit that makes a complete "gingerbread" house. The girls and I haven't had much luck in the past.

I've only been called up for jury duty once (legitimately...Tarrant county tried to call the whole family up over a year after we had moved out) and I was not even picked for the first round. Thank goodness. Now as a teacher and mother of two with special needs, I may have an out.

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Your cubby is decorated beautifully, Carol and I adore how you placed the angel ornaments next to your dear mom's cubby. It is hard to choose a favorite because they are all spectacular but I was drawn to #20's finish- just gorgeous. What a treasure to have your grandmother's table. It pairs perfectly with your cubby. Your sweet grandbaby is growing like a weed and is as cute as a button. I know he will have a fabulous Christmas. Hugs.

Eva H. said...

Wonderfull reading.
I wish to you and your family very nice days before Christmas

butterfly said...

Wow Carol , your blogs are always full of great photos of lovelies.
Love your shelf with all the wonderful stitching , everyone is beautiful and stitched with so much love.
Oh I love those Gingerbread houses , I want to make or stitch one soon I just love them.
Your little one is growing fast, I bet he loves coming to see his Nana and gramps.
Have a great week hugs June.

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
your shelf looks great. My favourite are No. 3 and 7.
All the gingerbread houses are wonderful. My favourite is the sewing machine aswell.
A cute photo from Mister B with the cat.
Enjoy the time until Christmas.
Big Hugs, Manuela

Alhana said...

Hello, Carol!
I love seeing your cubby decoration changing every season. The amount of ornaments stitched on black amazes me! I have never seen black cross-stitching fabric in our shops. Picking a favourite among them must be very difficult, they are all so pretty! I am looking forward to see your sunroom Christmas decoration as well. :-)
Glad to know you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with all your loved ones! Hope you are able to see them again soon.
Hugs ♥

Jutta said...

Hi Carol,
thank you for this great long blog post, I really like your beautiful, elaborate decoration, the gingerbread houses too, but Mr. B with Spike is the highlight.
Enjoy the Christmas time, hugs, Jutta

Pam in IL said...

I always love seeing your ornaments and your cubby is perfect! That photo of Mister B and the grandkitty is adorable! It is amazing how much these kids learn every day. My grandson is so interested in everything and you can just see him absorb it all.

My first full-time job, right out of school, was working as a Deputy Circuit Clerk in the traffic and misdemeanor division and I got to sit on the other side of the jury trials. This was in a collar county to Chicago, so there were many cases and many jury trials. Years later, I moved to a rural area, where jury trials are pretty rare. In most cases, after receiving notice to appear for jury duty, the required phone call made on Sunday evening resulted in no need to report to the courthouse the following day and you were deemed to have served your jury duty. When I was called up for jury duty, I wasn't given the notice to call the Sunday evening before. Instead, a very detailed questionnaire was sent along with the notice to appear for jury duty. I complied with the notice to appear and answered the questionnaire. I was the first person called to be questioned further and, of course, was the first person seated on the jury. It wasn't a bad experience, but it lasted two full weeks at the most inconvenient time.

Enjoy your holiday prep and I hope you get time to relax and enjoy the season too.

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

Love your cubby display. The black fabric really does suit the ornaments you chose. I think my favourites are the first Prairie Schooler with the rooftops and the Mouse at 18, a Brenda Gervais?
It will be a quieter Christmas without the family but at least you had Thanksgiving with them.
As for Jury Service, I got called once and couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t have minded when I was working because I would still have got paid! But now, there is no one to do what I do!

Christel said...

Votre casier est toujours magnifique, c'est un bonheur que de le voir, toutes vos broderies sont très belles.
La maison est décorée ainsi que le sapin, même les cadeaux sont prêts à être confiés au Père Noël.
Vous avez fêté magistralement Thanksgiving avec vos proches, Noël sera tranquille certes mais vous vous réjouirez quand même.
En France toutes les personnes ayant un casier judiciaire vierge peuvent être appelées pour être juré. Défendant toujours les plus fragiles et les animaux, d'ailleurs voici ce qu'il m'est arrivé ce soir... Depuis le mois de septembre (comme je ne peux plus avoir d'activité professionnelle à cause de la maladie) je me suis proposée pour aller chercher bénévolement deux petits voisins à la descente du car scolaire les mardis et jeudis soirs. J'attendais qu'ils arrivent à l'arrêt du bus et un livreur s'est arrêté un peu plus loin pour déposer des colis. Comme tout ne rentrait pas dans la boîte à lettre il a lancé un paquet par dessus le mur de la maison. Il y avait un petit chien dehors (que je connais bien et qui est très gentil), qui s'est mis à aboyer, ce qui est normal, il défendait sa maison. Le livreur s'est mis à lui lancer des cailloux. Voyant cela je ne pouvais pas le laisser faire. Je lui ai dit " Monsieur, arrêtez de lancer des cailloux au chien". Il s'est mis en colère et m'a insulté. Lorsqu'il est repartit vers son véhicule je me suis approché de lui pour lui redire qu'il ne fallait pas faire ça. Il a levé la main sur moi en m'injuriant de nouveau. Je lui ai dit "Allez-y, frappez-moi si vous voulez, cela prouvera que vous êtes un lâche !". Un voisin est arrivé juste à temps pour stopper son bras. J'étais tellement en colère que j'ai rajouté "Un homme comme vous qui lance des cailloux aux animaux et est prêt à frapper une femme, c'est bien un lâche". Le chauffeur du car scolaire est arrivé également pour le forcer à rentrer dans sa voiture et le faire partir. Il m'a jeté au visage que j'avais de la chance et que la prochaine fois il ne me raterait pas. Je lui ai répondu qu'il ne me faisait pas peur, ce qui était faux car je me suis effondrée en larmes dans les bras de mon voisin et du chauffeur de bus. Heureusement qu'ils étaient là car je pense que même en me défendant au mieux j'aurais pris de sacrés coups... On peut se faire agresser partout même dans un tout petit village comme le nôtre.. je ne serai sans doute pas un bon juré car si je suis convaincue que le justiciable est coupable je ne tiendrais pas compte de la plaidoirie de la défense...
Mister B et Spike, quelle belle photo.. C'est si attendrissant...
Reposez-vous, prenez soin de vous.
Amitiés de France,

marly said...

How great those finishes look on black fabric. I'm impressed with your ability to identify the chart! Seems quite a few have toned down decorating this year, no ornaments on my trees, just lights that were on from last year.

What a great room for a feast, everyone at one table in one room! We were always scattered with card tables where there was space. Glad you had extra days with that sweet B.

My only jury call will never be forgotten. It was a week after my flu shot when my eyes shut and burned, my lips turned to leather, and I couldn't swallow. Within an hour all at once! Had no idea what was happening. Guilty plea, got to go home.

Susan said...

Hi Carol! My favorite time of year when you post Christmas cubby!!! Just love all your work and I get some great ideas from your finishing! I still have not put up my cubby, just can’t decide where to hang it!!
Like you, the holiday will be less doing and more enjoying this year! And I’m fine with that!
Quick question, the adorable like stitch on main page of two cardinals kissing under mistletoe, what pattern is that? I love it!
Thank you for sharing your work and letting us peep into your life!
Merry Christmas!
Susan Miller

Sandra said...

I am in awe of all your beautiful ornaments stitched on black, it is something I have always wanted to try. This coming year I'm going to give it a go and I already have some 25 count evenweave that I could use to stitch over one. Wish me luck.

Sandra said...

It's such a wonderful time of the year for those of us who love decorating. My favourite embroidery is number 10: Santa with a sledge, two foxes and two red birds in the tree.
Your grandson is growing up and he's at such an interesting age. Cute shot with the cat!
I am enjoying decorating small corners of my home with seasonal items and lots of candles!
Enjoy you Christmas tree decorating!

Faith... said...

The black on the ornaments look stunning against the color of the cubby! Each is beautiful in it's own right so I couldn't possibly pick a favorite.

What a cute turkey on your dining room table, I just love him! 19 or 20, I just couldn't do that anymore. I never had that many but I have had a full house and my Mom used to have an open door policy where people could just come when they were ready.

I can't believe how big Mr. B is already! Grands certainly bring a smile to your face, don't they!

Irene said...

Ti auguro che sia un Natale di felicità e relax, con tutto l'amore della tua splendida famiglia:)

Leonore Winterer said...

Don't worry, I haven't done and decorating yet either..maybe this weekend. I think the stressful part of the month is over now, we went to the last of four pre-Christmas events today, and hopefully, will be able to actually enjoy the season for the next ten days now, without running from one place to the other!
Your cubby looks lovely filled with all black ornaments! What a great stroke of inspiration.
We don't really do jury duty here in Germany, lmost all trials here are settled by professional judges. And thank God for that! Selecting the right jury seems to have way too much influence on the outcome of a trial. I'm glad you got out of it!
Hope you'll have wonderful, if quiet, holidays after the craziness of Thanksgiving. Are you sending Mr B lots of presents?

Jennifer said...

Oh how wonderful your cubby is Carol - I so enjoy seeing it decorated for each holiday and Christmas is no exception! Your really inspire me to stitch more on black - need to include that in my 2023 plans. What is your favorite black linen/fabric to stitch on? Now, on to jury duty - yours sounds pretty bad! We get called for a week and have to dial in each night after 8 to see which groups are to report the next day. They only bring in as many as they need. Once your group is called, you report to the courthouse and then they pull potential jurors all morning - usually done by 11 and then release anyone they don’t need. I’ve been on two juries and it was so interesting, glad to do one of my civic duties and learned a lot along the way. My husband actually had jury duty this week and got seated on a trial for a 2 day case - but when they showed up for the second day, a mistrial was declared because one of the witnesses had talked to one of the jurors! He was bummed not to be able to see it through - it was his first time ever having jury duty (I’ve had it about 6 times!). But I hear you on the chairs - and serving on such a long case before the holidays would be tough. We are set to decorate our tree today and I am taking my dad to do some shopping - hoping to wrap things up in the next few days so i can enjoy the days before Christmas with my kids. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Jan said...

I love all the black ornaments. I have never stitched on that color but after seeing yours and attending a stitching retreat this year, I'm going to try some. I bought a black/blue linen and have been sorting through patterns trying to decide which will be first. I do love the Prairie schooler ones. Thanks for the inspiration.

Katie said...

Wohoo another beautiful cubby photo. Just love those pictures. So much to adore. Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving pictures. Looks like a lot of fun was had indeed. We went to my Dad's mom and dad and it was lovely too. Enjoy your Christmas decorating.