Thursday, February 29, 2024

Christmas stitching as Spring approaches

Greetings on what was a sunny (but quite chilly!) last day of February! I always love having this "extra" day every four years, don't you? And to those of you born on February 29th--I bet you especially love it! Can you believe March begins tomorrow? February was a good month here--I felt we got a lot accomplished around the house. So many projects that we've procrastinated about for years are done--the main one being the wallpaper removal in our bedroom. My husband painted our bedroom last weekend and it's so wonderful to have the old wallpaper and chair rail gone and the room looking brighter and refreshed. It really gives me a lift when projects like this are finished. Next up? The dining room! I've been saying that for at least five years now, but that red paint in there has to go. I need something lighter and airier in my life right now rather than the red walls that were so popular for kitchens and dining rooms twenty years ago. 

Unfortunately, due to all of the house projects, my stitching time has been limited. I did manage to get my two ornaments finished for February and March, though. My taste in ornaments is very eclectic--have you noticed that? Last month, I stitched that elegant wreath with the cardinals and the two I have to show you today are just plain fun and whimsical. For February, I stitched yet another Crocette a Gogò design--the little gingerbread boy from the "Christmas Green Chic" pattern. I had a small scrap of a mystery sage green 40 ct. linen left and thought he would look perfect on it. I used most of the suggested DMC colors, but changed the gingerbread boy himself to DMC 167 and chose to use DMC 816 for all of the reds. A simple sage green cording and a row of rusty bells sewn to the bottom finishes him off quite nicely. He is very small--the finished pillow is just 3 inches square!

Too cute to eat! A new gingerbread boy ornament for February.

March's ornament is a bit larger even though I stitched it "over one" on 25 ct. vintage country mocha Lugana. This is "First Snow" by Annie Beez Folk Art and I actually used all of the suggested DMC colors (for a change!). I just love that little snowman head she used to represent the letter "O" in the word SNOW. The ornament is surrounded by cording in the same green I used for the pine needles (DMC 580) and the fabric you see on the larger circle is wool felt. I thought the green and cream checkered bow topped it off nicely. I did move around/add some snowflakes to achieve the round ornament I desired.

My finish of "First Snow" by Annie Beez Folk Art

I've had questions as to how I finish the back of this type of round ornament... Very simple! I just cut out a round piece of wool felt (in a coordinating color) to cover the area and use some spray glue to carefully press it in place (spray the piece of felt with the glue--not the ornament back). Below is what it ends up looking like. I do this to save both time and money on supplies. I'm not fond of bulky ornaments which happens when you add yet another covered fabric round to the back.

The felt covered back on my round ornament finish. Simple, but effective!


One additional ornament was sent out as a gift to a special friend who has a family member dealing with a very rare health issue. I just wanted to bring a smile to her face as she and her family deal with a very scary and worrisome situation. This is one you've seen before--a small motif from Madame Chantilly's "Celebrate Winter." It's stitched on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle with some added snowflakes to shape it into an oval ornament. I love the little polka-dot bow and brass bell and so did the recipient. Thinking of you, my sweet friend--and sending caring hugs and prayers your way!

I love this motif of the sweet bird perched on the white house and have now stitched it four times!

The only other new things I "made" this month, were some tasty mini-Bundt cakes for my middle son's girlfriend's birthday on Monday. I didn't know what to bake, but decided on these cute little chocolate cakes using the recipe found right here. They were very rich and I could only eat half of mine! I used sour cream in this recipe, but I'll use buttermilk the next time as they were a bit dry for my taste. The recipe made 12, but I halved it for the four of us. Of course, whipped cream and fresh raspberries hopped on to the plate, too! Doesn't this little Bundt cake look pretty?

One of the Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes for a birthday celebration


I had a wonderful trip down memory lane this past weekend. We were invited by friends to attend a musical tribute to Fiddler on the Roof on Saturday. I thought it was just going to be a selection of some of the musical numbers, but it turned out to be almost the entire play, dialogue and all! As soon as the orchestra began to play the first few notes, I was immediately transported back to my high school auditorium where our drama club performed Fiddler on the Roof to standing ovations in March of 1972. Imagine that... over fifty years ago and I could still remember (almost) every word to every song. I was one of the "villagers" in the play--no speaking part (heavens, I was way to shy even back then!). The villagers sang as a chorus, did a few (very minor) dance steps, and simply "created magic" as our director wrote in a letter to each of us after our play was over.  I smiled wistfully throughout most of the production on Saturday night as I remembered my high school friends who acted in the play with me and all the fun we had during those rehearsals so many years ago. I also got a bit teary-eyed during the very sad parts as the villagers are forced from their homes in the little town of Anatevka by the Russians (the very same thing that is happening in Ukraine today).  Anyway, it was a night I'll never forget...

I'm thrilled to report that my youngest son and his girlfriend returned safely from their vacation in Oman with glowing reviews. He said one of the best things was that where they were staying was within a two-hour drive of the mountains, the beach, or the desert. In fact, they even spent a night in the desert at a remote camp. I have since learned that Oman is considered the "Switzerland of the Middle East" due to it's neutrality so I guess I had nothing to worry about concerning their safety after all, did I? But, a mother always worries--even when her "baby" is 35 years old!

A beautiful view of the sun over the sand dunes in Oman sent by my youngest son


We've had a couple of huge rainstorms this past month and when that happens, we get what we call "the second pond," in our back yard. Oh, the deer just love to come visit it to get a drink of water and romp and splash through the giant puddle. Here they are with white tails flashing danger after they spotted me walking toward them... There were actually nine deer in the yard at that time, but the rest are out of the photo frame. I think that's the most we've ever seen at one time! Now, do you understand why growing flowers or vegetables outside of a fenced in area is impossible in this area?

The deer romping through the water in our "second pond" that forms after heavy rains.


And I saw my first robin of Spring last week--always such a joyous and welcome sight! Although this hasn't been a hard winter here, I still look forward to the beauty of spring--the longer daylight hours, the pretty pastel flowers, the smell of the fresh air wafting through open windows. Ahhh... I spotted these two new With Thy Needle and Thread designs last week (when I was buying some overdyed threads online) and I just couldn't resist them. How about you, are you buying/stitching anything fun for Spring? 

Two new additions to my Spring stitching line-up!

I want to thank you for your visit today! I'm so glad when I see your comments pop up letting me know who has stopped by... Thank you, each and every one, for your very kind emails and your words in the comment section. I do appreciate each of you--I hope you know that! Wishing you a wonderful March ahead filled with warmer days and lots of sunshine. Bye for now...

Welcome, March!


Gabi said...

As always, wonderful stitching and pleasure to read your post. Congrats to the new colored bedroom. Oh I remember when we moved in our house, 45 years ago. In some rooms we had 2 of the 4 walls painted..... brown! It was in style. Horrible. Now the walls are light yellow and so I have always sunshine!
Well, the sunset in the dessert must be spectacular. And did he hear the stillness?
Wish you a happy weekend and send warm greetings,

MartinaM said...

Two beautiful new ornaments, and as always with a great finish.
These mini chocolate cakes look very tasty.
Nice to hear that your son and his girlfriend got home safely.
Yes, I'm currently stitching something for spring and Easter, it's fun to work with the beautiful spring-like colors.
enjoy March and everything beautiful is coming.

butterfly said...

Another beautiful blog of beautiful ornaments love them .
Love your new Spring charts, I must try backing some of my stitching with felt great idea .
You have a big garden I would spend all day outside with those deer. Our Robin stays here all year I just love them .
Enjoy a lovely Spring my friend.
Sounds like you had a lovely time with your son and wife.
Happy Spring hugs June.

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
zwei wunderschöne neue Weihnachts Finishes. Beide gefallen mir sehr gut. Danke für den Typ mit dem Filz für die Rückseite. Das werde ich mir merken und bestimmt auch mal austesten.
Die kleinen Kuchen sehen sehr lecker aus.
Schön, dass dein Sohn und seine Freundin gut aus ihrem Urlaub zurückgekommen sind.
Ich habe gerade eine Osterstickerei beendet, nun heißt es, es zu finishen.
Happy Weekend and Hugs, Manuela

Marilyn said...

That little Ginger guy is so cute on the green fabric.
The others are so nice, always love your finishes.
Mmmmm,the mini Bundt is so cute & looks delicious!
I bet Fiddler was awesome.
I saw our first Robin yesterday, but we went back to winter temps this week, I hope it survives.
Love those Brenda Gervais designs.

Sandra said...

Really lovely embroidery work, as always!
Those mini Bundt cakes look delicious. Thank you for a link to the recipe!
Fiddler on the Roof is wonderful and I saw the Musical in New York many years ago. I loved it!

Robin in Virginia said...

Both of your monthly ornaments are darling, Carol. I love the sweet ornament you stitched for your friend. Well done on getting the master bedroom finished! I know that you are going to enjoy it with its freshly painted walls. Great short of the deer! While I haven't seen a Robin in the yard yet, we did have a Bluebird visit the back porch on Wednesday. The mini bundt cake looks fantastic. Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful March.

miriam said...

Always look forward to your monthly posts. Your ornaments are just so beautiful and classy. See you next month. Miriam

Purple Pixie Dust said...

Glad your son and his girlfriend are home safe. Love all the stitching and the deer are having a great time in your back yard. big hugs Lynda Ruth

Rita Heindel said...

I’m always excited when March rolls in with warmer temps and flowers popping up everywhere. Robins winter with us but, are still a reminder of spring to me, having grown up in Wisconsin. So, when I saw The Robbins Are Here I had to have it right away! I’ll just have to wait awhile to stitch it. Happy Spring! Happy stitching!

Jackie's Stitches said...

Such a good month of ornaments! I LOVE the Gingerbread man! Perfectly colored! I don't like bulky ornaments either so I'm going to try your felt trick. Do you ever notice any bowing over time with just one mat layer? Thank you so much for sharing all of your tips and tricks. Even though I've been reading your blog for absolute eons, I still learn from you! XOXO

Clare-Aimetu said...

Great stitching, nothing wrong with festive stitching any time if year. Wishing you busy needles in March

Rebecca said...

I enjoyed reading about your stitching, the play, and the cake. I agree that it’s so nice to finish and enjoy projects around the home. Thank you for sharing your ornament finishing tip. This was a lovely post all around, as was your beautiful stitching.

Sandy said...

Both ornaments are simply adorable. I can’t choose a favorite. As mothers, can we ever stop worrying about our children and I didn’t know that about Oman. Aways love reading your posts. Nature is so much fun to watch.

DeeKSal said...

Such lovely stitching as usual. Your remarks about high school drama productions brought back warm memories. That was an important part of those years for me - not onstage, but many backstage chores! Being near NYC, there was a huge interest in plays in our group. My cousin in the UK posted a video taken near her home that showed at least one hundred deer crossing the road in front of her car. They were single file! I believe that action is called a “parade” of deer. Quite amazing. In our local deer, we had a triplet birth this year. They were fun to watch growing. Yes, hard to keep many things growing with them around. Happy March!

Barb R. said...

What a wonderful posting you’ve shared with us, Carol! Your stitched pieces are so fun and adorable. Love the rusty bells you added to the gingerbread boy ornament and the addition of a felt backing to the round ornament is a very nice idea. Thank you, too, for the Bundt chocolate cake recipe - YUM! They look too amazingly yummy! Could I just show up at your door for a delicious sample? I could sit in your backyard and watch the deer! Your yard is so beautiful - no wonder the deer come to visit you.

Your son’s photos of Oman are truly great. I’m not familiar with Oman but it looks very interesting and very beautiful. How long were they there?

Hope all goes well for you with the home reno projects - always a lot of work but worth it.

Best wishes to you for a fun & happy month of March! 🍀 ☘️🍀☘️

Barb R.🌺

Barbara said...

Carol, your blog is always good reading and the photos are magazine-quality. I admire your talent for cross stitch so much. The photo of the sand in Oman is incredible! How beautiful and different from where we live.

mylene said...

Oh that is such a cute gingerbread ornament..all your finishes are so lovely and perfectly finish. I wish and i admire your finishing with corded around the ornaments. Since threads are so expensive here i rather not use it for cording🤭so I chose beads to use around it instead.
What a beautiful picture of the sand in Oman❤️
Have a Happy weekend🥰

Gail L. said...

Hello Carol, I’m from Ohio so we have similar weather, especially the rainy days. I’m always inspired by your ornaments and have purchased quite a few from your postings. Thank you for sharing your talent. However, I cannot get excited like you do about the deer. Ours are so destructive and persistent. They aren’t afraid of anything! And they look at you like you’re the interloper not them. Looking forward to your next post. Happy March!

Cheryl said...

Hi Carol,
Once again, you have very delightful ornaments. Such an inspiration! I enjoyed your trip down memory lane as I, too was in the musical in high school. No starring role or anything but such great memories and talent from high schoolers.
Keep on posting your work - I look forward to seeing it every month! Happy Spring🌷

Kay said...

I always love seeing your Christmas decorations. Do you know how many you have made over the years? I haven’t even thought about spring stitching this year. My daughter is getting married this month and I am still trying to finish her wedding sampler and when that’s done I have the ring pillow to make so my creative time is very much spoken for.

Colleen said...

Beautiful work as always, Carol. I especially love ornaments finished with cording. As a former high school drama kid, I related to your story about Fiddler. But now I can’t get “If I Were a Rich Man” out of my head…. :) I’m glad your son and his girlfriend are home safe; mothers never do stop worrying about their precious children. We too have deer behind our house. They do eat some of our plantings - even from the raised beds - but they’re so beautiful that I forgive them. We once counted 25 - a parade for sure! I haven’t seen a robin yet, but here’s hoping I do soon. Happy spring!!

Jill said...

I enjoy your monthly blog newsletters. Your stitching & finishing of them is beautiful and I love your patterns. Thanks for sharing the beauty you create with all of us.

Christel said...

Cela fait du bien de redécorer son intérieur de temps en temps. Pour cette année, j'ai dans l'idée de changer le papier peint de la chambre de mes petites filles et de refaire tous les sols à l'étage. Rien de compliqué mais il faut que je m'y mette et surtout que je trouve ce par quoi l'ancien sera remplacé.
Vous avez quand bien brodé malgré les changements dans votre maison.
Le bonhomme pain d'épice est ravissant tout comme celui de mars. Vos finitions sont toujours aussi parfaites.
C'est un beau cadeau d'amitié et de réconfort pour votre amie qui vit des moments douloureux.
Vos petits gâteaux sont bien appétissants.
Je vous confirme qu'une maman s'inquiète toujours pour ses enfants et petits-enfants. C'est dans notre nature.
Quel bonheur tous ces cerfs... Notre jardin est bien trop petit pour qu'ils y viennent, mais nous avons la visite de nombreux oiseaux et d'un écureuil roux. Au printemps quand il sera vraiment installé, les hérissons reviendront nous donner le bonjour...
Oh elles sont merveilleuses ces 2 nouveautés. Elles ne sont pas encore arrivées chez nous.
Amitiés de France.

marly said...

So the trick is to spray the fabric/felt, not the ornament! Thank you for that info.

We've had robins for two weeks and didn't know what to get for food. First time, bluebirds are eating the meal worms and checking out the houses!! But the turkeys and deer are really hitting our budget hard. We should cut back on their corn and plan to when spring arrives. March already!

I hope your friend's situation improves.

Véronique Rose said...

quel plaisir de vous lire
vos broderies et finitions sont superbe
doux dimanche

Jutta said...

Dear June,
I really enjoy visiting your beautiful blog, you posts are always interesting and varied.
Your new ornaments turned out beautifully and the cake also looks delicious.
I'm happy for you that you've renovated your bedroom, February is a good time for it.
Thank you for the many beautiful photos, warm Sunday greetings from Jutta

Donna said...

Always love seeing your beautiful 9rnaments Carol! I also saw my 1st Robin last week (Colorado). I am so ready for Spring to come.

Shelly said...

Stunning picture of the sand dunes😍my daughter may fly to Mexico to visit her father and the thought of that just terrifies me! I saw a meme that says parents pray more when their kids are adults and boy, isn't that true! Beautiful ornaments as always Carol! I love chocolate but when something is all chocolate, I have a hard time getting it down, lol. I haven't seen Cardinals but I am hearing birds chirping in the morning, and I also saw a big black raven carrying a piece of a branch, maybe a foot long, to line a nest maybe? Yay, Spring! Take care!

Pam in IL said...

Beautiful ornaments and I love the little bird you stitched for your friend. Seeing the deer in your yard makes me think of my younges daughter. She just moved to their ranch in Colorado and has had many deer in her yard.

Katie said...

I just always love your beautiful ornaments and then want so bad to do my own haha. I just have way too much stuff I want to stitch. Drives me crazy haha. I'm glad you are getting big projects marking off and done. Yes it does always feel good when you finish something like that. I love the gift you made. Beautiful. I hope your friend's family member will be okay. So scary all the health issues going on.

Oh those little cakes look yummy. Great memories. I love musicals. Glad your son had fun on his trip. The dune photo is beautiful.

Oh I love the deer playing. So sweet. We have a lot of them here too.

Love the Spring designs. Right now everything is calling to me to stitch haha. But I do have a pretty Spring design that I plan to start on the first day of Spring and I'm excited about it.

Have a great week.

Isabel para ALROMASAR said...

Welcome March with this beautiful collection of embroidery!
I wish you a productive and wonderful month, which will bring us spring.

Leonore Winterer said...

Happy March, Carol! Your stitching is lovely as usual, and, while you are stitching Christmas ornaments, with the soft greens it still looks a little like spring!
I'm glad you are getting some long overdue projects finished around the house. Maybe it's the year for it, I'm also tackling some (mostly smaller) been-meaning-to-do-this-for-years things!

Kgirl said...

Another lovely post. Such beautiful finishes! You have such an eye for things. So does this mean my hubby needs to repaint his red office? Ha! The deer look like they are hainvg fun. Thank you for sharing. I always look forward to taking a ,moment to enjoy your blog.

Stasi said...

Such sweet finishes, Carol! Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite musicals...even my hubby likes it! In college, we had an assignment, in one of my classes, to go see the movie version...easy grade if I recall!!!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

I always look forward to the first of the month when I know you'll be posting, and this one didn't disappoint. Such cute ornaments, and how thoughtful to send one to a family who is hurting. I'll have to keep that idea in mind.

In 1972 I was on a missions trip to Atlantic City to help teach Bible School to inner city children. One evening our group went to the theater to watch Fiddler on the Roof. When I got home, my boyfriend (and now my husband) and I went to see it again. All told, I think I saw that movie three times that summer! Great memory.

Bluebird said...

I always enjoy reading your lovely blog, and so appreciate all the time and effort you put into it. Both of the monthly ornaments you finished are so cute! I'm always impressed at your beautiful stitching and finishing. That's great you've finished fixing up your bedroom- must be wonderful to have it looking refreshed. That's lovely to send such a sweet ornament to your friend and I hope their family member is doing better. The photo of Oman is gorgeous- that must've been an amazing trip. Hope you've been having a good month so far.

Faith... said...

That cake does look yummy. I like making things in individual portions like your small cakes. I am glad that your son and his girlfriend arrived home safe and sound from their trip abroad. Oman looks beautiful with all that sand and the sunset. I think that every mother will worry no matter how old our kids get or if they are traveling somewhere "safe" or just around the corner. Those are some very cute spring patterns you are adding to your collection!

Have a great week Carol!

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

Three lovely ornaments in very different styles. It’s nice to stitch a mixture of designs.
The deer are amazing, we get the tiny muntjac here but not so often now they are building houses near us.
Glad the your son and DIL enjoyed themselves and came home safely too.

Kathy H. said...

Hello Carol,

Now that March is almost half over, I'm finally realizing that I read this post awhile back and never commented, so better late than never. I'm sure you've had a March similar to ours with a real mix of mild and cooler days. Yesterday in southern New Hampshire it was 60 degrees, and today is rainy and raw. I see greenery from Day Lilies poking out of the ground on a sunny hill in the back yard which is very premature for us.

Your February and March ornaments are very sweet and I continue to marvel at your stitching over 1 on 40 count fabric. That certainly makes for a perfect ornament size and your finishes are so inspiring. Hope your home projects are going well and have helped to make the cooler winter days fly by. We are also painting and my husband has been very hard at work and done a great job in our family room, dining room, front foyer and eventually the kitchen is on our list. We are doing some renovations in a downstairs half bathroom as well, which is quite a learning curve for me as I investigate all that is out there to choose from. We are keeping it fairly simple, but the choices are a little overwhelming to say the least.

Hope the rest of March is a good month for you and all is well your way.