God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Perfect Purchase & A Song

The person who came up the saying on this tray must have been thinking of me   : )
Also, I saw this video posted on Beverooni's blog.  I thought it was so wonderful that I had to share it here as well   : )

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dishes Update - What Kind of Christmas/Winter Dishes Do You Have?

I have lots to show you but I haven't taken photos yet & today I'm going to be MIA because I have to travel to Louisville to see a root canal specialist   : (   Turns out I have a nightmarish infection in 2 root canals I had done over 30 years ago.  The specialist who I saw regarding my dentist's pathetic attempts at bridgework freaked out when he saw this on x-ray & ran me upstairs right away to make an appointment with the RC specialist.  The infection has been there for many years apparently & the word "surgery" was mentioned.  I sure hope it doesn't come to that but it doesn't look good   : (   Anyway, today is shot.  Tomorrow is a doctor appointment but that's just over in the next town & it's early in the morning so it won't take up the entire day.

Still no decorating yet except for a few snowman potholders I hung on the side of the fridge in the kitchen.  I hesitate sharing this photo because someone from HGTV might see it & then I'll be inundated with emails asking if I would allow them to feature my home on one of their holiday decorating shows.  I just don't need that kind of pressure right now!  Sorry for the crappy photo ... it was a quickie, spur of the moment thing.

Now why was I writing this post?  Oh yeah, an update on the dishes.  
Thanks to the sleuthing of someone (you know who you are ... I'll respond to your comment soon), I have indeed found these dishes, but alas, they are made of tin!  Who would've guessed!  I don't want tin dishes so that ends that.  I did find another set while searching for them that I thought would be a nice runner up but I'm not sure.
These are for sale at Dillard's.  They are made by Noble Excellence & the pattern is Twas the Night Before Christmas.  I'd have to see them in person to determine if they're right for me or not.      

Johnson Brothers has made some beautiful sets but I've read that they are made in China now rather than in Great Britain & the quality is very poor   : (

Do you have a set of Christmas/winter dishes?  Please do tell me about them   : )

Christmas specials have been airing on TV for a while now.  Here's one that you Alien fans might have liked but it was never broadcast for some reason.
Best wishes for a happy day   : )

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Giveaway!

Marmmies Mammys & More is having a fabulous Old Time Santa Giveaway   : )


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fill In the Blank

Shirlee is ___________.

(A) An idiot
(B) A moron
(C) Unable to perform even the simplest of tasks
(D) All of the above

The answer is D.

I am going to guess that someone out there isn't praying.  In 6 hours' time I "finished" 4 ornaments.  I say "finished" because I got as far as making templates, choosing backing fabrics, & sewing backs to fronts.  No stuffing, no trimming.  I also ruined one ornament.  I think I might be able to save it but it's not going to be saved anytime soon. Can you guess the bonehead thing I did?

In case it isn't screamingly obvious to you, I stitched the front of this stocking ornament to the back of the backing fabric.  Twice. Yes, I double stitched it.  Didn't want those seams to open!  What a doofus!  Ah well, at least I have 3 ... possibly 4 ... other ornaments that should finish up somewhere in the neighborhood of decent.  I say possibly 4 because the 4th one is another stocking ornament, different than the one above, & I'm not following the finishing directions ... I'm doing my own thing.  Lord help us all.

On a happier note, the cardinals have returned!  We usually have at least a dozen pair coming to the feeders at this time of year.  Thus far I've only seen 3 pair.  I'm hoping the others are just lollygagging down south & haven't made the trip up here yet. (Lollygagging ... sounds like something a little kid does if he eats too big a lollypop, doesn't it?)

Back to the cardinals.  I managed to catch one of them on film to share with you. There's another thing to ponder!  Hardly anyone uses actual film anymore now that we have digital cameras.  The term "on film" can hardly be applied & "on digital" isn't right.  I'll let Webster figure it out.  

Without any further ado, here is Mr. Cardinal.  

 I love how he's cocking his head at me in this next photo   : )
 Can you believe the big bite this guy is taking from that peanut cake?  Note the little wren along the side of the feeder.
 Did I hear a cat?
Well, that's it for this post.  I suppose I'll work some more on my finishes.  Oh boy!

Finishing Help Needed

Just a quickie this morning.  I decided that today was going to be a day to go upstairs & do some finishing.  Prayers will be much appreciated   : )

The directions for finishing one of my items reads as follows:

"After sewing around the stitching lines on the entire piece, cut a small slit on the backing & turn right sides out.  Stuff firmly with stuffing & hand stitch opening shut."

This is an odd-shaped piece so I can't opt to leave a seam open to sew shut as I usually do.  I only tried this "slit the back/stuff/sew up the slit" thing once before & it turned out quite horribly.  Sort of like a bad scar, all lumpy & yucky.

Any hints for how to do this so it looks at least half way decent?

Must get back upstairs & continue stressing myself, but before I dash off I want to thank everyone for commenting on yesterday's dishes post.  I have searched everywhere I can think of including replacements.com which someone so kindly suggested.  I paged through all 963 Christmas/winter dinnerware replacements that they had & still came up empty.  In the meantime I found another set that is in the running for second place.

Okay ... must get back upstairs ... must get back upstairs ... must get back upstairs. AAAAHHHHH!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Dishes

Aren't these Christmas dishes absolutely gorgeous?!?!?  I love them but I have no idea who the manufacturer is, or was, so I thought I'd ask my wonderful followers if you have any idea   : )

I am in the market for a set of Christmas dishes.  I had some long ago ... cutesy little snowmen (ugh ... & that's ugh for the cutesy, by the way, not ugh for the snowmen) ... but I sold them prior to one of our many moves.  I haven't had Christmas dishes since.  Now I want some ... lol!

If I can't find these dishes ... & oh what an unhappy stitcher I will be if that's the case ... can you share with me the Christmas dishes you might have & why you love them?  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Stitching Stuff

The 12 days of Christmas are not yet upon us (for those of you who are confused by this, the 1st day of Christmas is December 25, the 2nd day is December 26, etc).  However, I am doing a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway now   : )

Below are photos of the 12 items in the giveaway.  All items are brand new/unused. Each item will be won by one person.  You may sign up for more than one item if you wish.  However, if your name is drawn for one item, it will be removed from all remaining items.

Here's how this will work.  Please read carefully.

1.  This giveaway is only open to current followers of my blog.     

2.  Please do not post this giveaway on your blog or place it in your blog sidebar.

3.  If you want a chance to win one of these items, leave a comment on this post indicating which item(s) you would like to have a chance at winning.  Once again, if your name is drawn for one item, it will be removed from all remaining items.  You can only win one   : )

You must leave your comment no later than 12:01 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, on Saturday, December 1.  I will draw names later that day.  Good luck!

ITEM 1
Debbie Mumm
Snow Friends Bow Kit
Item 2
Elizabeth's Designs
Joyous Noel Chart
Item 3
Blackbird Designs
My Heart Is True Booklet
Item 4
Brown House Studio
Merry Snow Days Chart
Item 5
Primitive Needleworks by Caryn
Noel Sampler Chart
Item 6
The Sweetheart Tree
Let It Snow Knob Knocker Kit
Item 7
JBW Designs
A Very Merry Winter Chart
Item 8
Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe
Cinnamon Primitive Spice Bag Kit
Item 9
Lizzie*Kate
When We Do Boxer Kit
Item 10
Lizzie*Kate 
Faith Boxer Kit
Item 11
Lizzie*Kate
Winter-ize Boxer Kit
Item 12
The Trilogy
Wonderland Kit

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


An Ornament Win

Last month Andrea at The Craft Room posted a photo of 7 Christmas ornaments she was offering as a giveaway ... one ornament each for 7 lucky winners ... & I was one of those lucky winners!

Isn't it absolutely gorgeous!!!  I love it!  No, wait ... did I say I love it?  That's not right. What I meant to say is I LOVE IT!!!!!  I wish my photo showed it off to full advantage ... it is much prettier than you can see here. Andrea's stitches are perfect, her finishing is perfect, the design is perfect, it's just all totally perfect!!!  And take a look at what Andrea did on the back.
Isn't this a great backing idea   : )

Not only did I receive a breathtaking hand stitched ornament, I also received a wonderful handmade card!
Andrea's card making talent is amazing!  

Thank you Andrea!  I will always treasure both the ornament & the card   : )

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finishes and Trades and Goodies and Lots of Pictures

I just spent 2 hours cleaning the kitchen and I need a break   : )   The sad thing is, it doesn't look all that different in there! Cleaner of course, and a bit neater, but really not much different.

Yesterday we spent a few hours in Lexington. Had to pick up some Thanksgiving provisions at Whole Foods & Kroger but also made a run to Target, Barnes & Noble, Marshall's, & John went to Best Buy while I visited Michael's to see their Christmas stuff.  What a waste that was!  First of all, the things they had were all crammed into the aisles in a great big mess!  Secondly, there were a ton of people in there!  The line for the one cashier was very long and I can't figure out why.  Apparently they all saw something worthwhile where I just saw a jumbled mess. Anyway, what fun Marshall's was!  I have never paid much attention to Marshall's but look what I found there!


 



Yes, new teas!  Well, let me rephrase that. The two tins on the right are actually from Barnes & Noble & are not new.  They are some of my favorite Christmas teas   : )   The others are from Marshall's & are imported from Great Britain & Scotland. You have to love UK imports ... they are so much more interesting than what we produce here. See that large box with the snowman picture?  It's written on there that you are purchasing 4 different teas, 24 bags of each for a total of 96 bags.  When I opened the box I just assumed they would be separated in 4 little plastic bags or something but here is what I found instead.
Each tea comes in 4 little decorated boxes, 8 bags per box.  Isn't the artwork beautiful!

I also came home with some woven Christmas tea towels (I've always been a sucker for tea towels).  Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of those.  I did, however, get some new winter mugs!
Aren't they pretty   : )   These were for sale at Kroger with matching dishes, S&P shakers, & some other related items but I just got the mugs.  I'm not much of a brown person but I fell in love with these.  I think it's the snowflakes   : )   They are huge!  The mugs that John & I currently use hold exactly 16 ounces.  I'm guessing these ones might hold 24 ... lots of room to add a great big marshmallow to my hot chocolate   : )

A while back Sara at Salmon Falls Prims & I did a part exchange/part purchase.  I sent her some sign stencils, some money, & I still owe her a pinkeep.  She sent me a sign I asked her to make as well as one of her Partridge in a Pear trees, a stove board, & a wall box.  Here's a photo of the box it all arrived in (Sophie was hoping the box was for her), the goodies wrapped up inside, & then the goodies unwrapped.


I haven't put the tree together yet, haven't decorated the box, haven't decorated the stove board, but I did hang the sign   : )
Last, but not least, I posted a while back about my total lack of skill in finishing things, indicating I had a pile of 52 stitchings that needed to be finished.  Sweet Myra from Gr8dame's Place took pity on me & offered to help me out.  I chose half a dozen small ornaments & sent them to her & look what she did with them!




Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?!?!?  Total perfection, & that's a lot of praise from an OCD person!  The crow ornament is actually a duplicate.  I stitched 2 of them, & yes, those are 9 colonial knots mixed in with the holly leaves (total of 18 knots when you consider both ornaments), & yes, I stitched them myself, & yes, it nearly killed me!  I can't even begin to count how many times I made those knots, cut them out, made them again ... & again ... & again.  See the ornament with the cardinal on it?  The cardinal is supposed to have a wreath of colonial knots around his neck.  Yeah, right ... like that was ever going to happen!!!

I've been working on my own prim finishings which I'll be able to share with you hopefully soon.  I'm still working on gifts as well.  I don't know how it is with you but with me I feel like I'm doing a lot but nothing is getting done!  I'm not stressing, not at all.  I'm just marveling at how quickly the time goes by anymore!  Just look at my Christmas countdown thingie!  35 days left until Christmas!

Tomorrow I'm off to Louisville to see a dental specialist (the likelihood of getting my money back from my regular dentist for this bad bridge is sadly slim), Wednesday will be spent preparing for Thanksgiving & then Thanksgiving will be spent cooking & eating    : )   One thing I am thankful for is that I only have to cook for me & John.  Those of you who cook for 10 or 20 or more people, my hat's off to you!  I get freaked out if I have to have more than 2 pots going on the stove at the same time!  Friday is Black Friday & I'll be staying home, thank you very much.  I'd rather pay full price for something rather than drive to a mall in the middle of the night, try to find a parking spot, stand in line waiting for the doors to open, & then be squashed inside with what seems like a billion other people just to save a few bucks on a cell phone or whatnot.  

I welcome my new followers ... thank you for visiting & deciding to stay   : )   Hugs to my regular followers as well.  I really appreciate you all being here.    

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rethinking My Stitching Faves

This photo is representative of me yesterday. It actually started out as a rather good day.  I've often seen bloggers posting theme days & I decided that yesterday was going to be my Finishing Friday.

Before you imagine another post about my finishing inadequacies, let me tell you outright that the finishing part of the day wasn't too bad.  Of course I concentrated on primitive finishes.  No need to be fancy or creative or, most importantly, perfect with those.  I grabbed a handful & went to work sewing the seams to make the primitive stitchings into little pinkeeps & ornaments.  I then turned them right side out in preparation for stuffing.  

Enter Proverbs 16:18.  The Message translation is quite a good one ... "First pride, then the crash.  The bigger the ego, the harder the fall."

I decided I did not want to stuff anything right away.  Instead, feeling quite cocky, I decided to get a jump on Staining Saturday. I had a few almost done stitchings that needed a bit of primitive staining before adding some sort of shade of white floss snowflakes to them.  I decided to tackle that. Of course I have talked about my staining difficulties before.  No matter what I do, no matter what I use, my staining attempts always have that accidental coffee spill look about them. I've used Distress It, walnut crystals, various teas (both the hot brew & the hot brewed bags),  & hot coffee.  I've dabbed, sprayed, dipped, & wrung out.  I've added spices to the mixtures.  The results are always the same & always, no matter what, have an orange tint to them.  

John had his hands full at this point as the tears streamed down my face & I wailed "I'm going to sell all my stitching stuff & start a new hobby ... eating & watching TV!  At least that's something I'm good at!"  My eyes were hurting as much as my heart.  Intestinal distress ensued.

I did not even want to stitch last night. Unheard of!  I started knitting a dishcloth instead.  

Today I'm feeling a bit better although my eyes still hurt.  I do love stitching ... I won't give it up ... but I feel quite cold toward primitive stitching right now.  Stacy & her fellow prim designers are no longer at the top of my favorites list.  Instead I am yearning for the likes of BBD & La D Da. Shepherd's Bush always used to be a favorite of mine back in stitching days of yore.  I mentioned in my last blog post that I have recently been drawn to some of the French designers.  I'll find something to stitch that won't give me ulcers.           

Monday, November 12, 2012

An Exchange to Share

Lainey has posted the photos for the Stitched With Love Fall into Halloween exchange so I am now free to show you what I stitched & what I received   : )

Remember me talking about working on an exchange piece & that the chart photo of the finished piece was taken at rather a distance & how surprised/dismayed I was to find areas of the chart requiring specialty stitches?  Well, this is it ... Bent Creek's The Pumpkin Flower Sampler.

The person I needed to send to was Greta (no blog) & this is the entire package of goodies I mailed to her.
I ordered the little notions pouch from Faye at Carolina Stitcher.  She did a great job making it to my specifications   : )

This is the package I received from Pam.  I'm sorry ... right now I don't know Pam's last name or even if she has a blog.

Edit:
Pam was watching & posted that she does have a last name (Bowman) & a blog as well ... Confessions of a Southern Stitcher   : )   Thanks Pam!   
This is going to be one of the last group exchanges I do.  Next year I plan to do a few one-on-one exchanges with blogging friends (let me know if you'd be interested in doing something like this with me) & some RAKs.  Over the past week or so I've been thinking of my stitching plans for next year.  I have stitched a lot of Christmas smalls this year & I plan on continuing to do that next year.  However, I also want to stitch some of the special items in my stash that I love-love-love ... a Miriam Dowd sampler, some large BBD pieces, & there are 3 My Big Toe samplers that are very meaningful to me.  I keep shoving these things aside to do other things & sure enough I'm going to wake up one day 20 years from now & realize none of these things have been stitched   : (   I am also going to cut way, way down on the stash buying this coming year.  As just mentioned, I have too many wonderful things I already want to stitch & I want to be sure to stitch them!  I'm certain that I'll find an ornament or a small or two of interest now & then (Lord help me, I just got interested in some French designers!) but otherwise I will only be buying linen for the projects I already have ... & maybe some silk threads if they are called for.   

My main plan for this past weekend was to get outside & clean up the gardens for winter.  The weather was perfect for it. Unfortunately I realized after only 2 or 3 hours that this gardening part of my life cannot continue.  Today I am still hobbling around the house with pain & stiffness in joints & muscles I didn't even know I had!  I did not accomplish a lot either.  I trimmed down all the daylilies & dug out these weird ground cover type weeds from a small area in the foundation bed off the back porch. That's it.  Still so much to do but colder temps are coming & I'm guessing I will just have to leave what's remaining, which is a lot, until the spring.  I told John I cannot continue to take care of all these flower beds.  I just can't.  So next year, if we must remain in the devil's playground, I foresee digging up the current flower beds, putting grass in their place, & having someone come here to lay weed preventing cloth over the foundation beds & put down mulch to keep them looking tidy.  And no more buying of plants!!!  None!  Nada!  Although some nut trees would be nice   : )

A warm welcome to all my new followers!  It's always nice to have people visit & then decide to stay   : )   And welcome to my true blue followers as well!  Hugs to you all   : )

Friday, November 9, 2012

Panic Revisited

In yesterday's post I mentioned panic, specifically the panic I have recently begun to feel regarding all the gifts I want to stitch for Christmas.  I actually started my Christmas stitching a couple months ago so you would think this panicky feeling would not be a part of my life, but it is.  This is just the tip of the iceberg though.  I look around me & see total chaos in my  home.  I've written before about the moving boxes everywhere, the clutter, etc.  I've lived like this for so long now you would think I wouldn't be bothered by it, but I am.  I have always been a very neat, very clean, very "a place for everything, & everything in its place" kind of person.  I have made references to my OCD in the past but it's not a joke.  I really do have OCD.  This cartoon really is me.
 
Although I have sort of shelved the OCD part of me that needs neatness & order in things, it still bothers me very much to live as though we just emptied the moving truck.  I hope the new year will bring me & my DH (A) another moving truck to move us somewhere else, or (B) the ability to graciously accept that we are stuck here in the devil's playground & have to make the best of it.  

Hmmmm ... I got a bit off track there.  This post was supposed to be about panic, specifically the panic of Christmas approaching & the realization that all I want to accomplish is not going to be accomplished.  I was looking for a cartoon to illustrate this & in my search I came across this video for a song called "Where's the Line to See Jesus?"  I had never heard of this song before.  I clicked on the link to watch the video & it certainly gave me pause.  Christmas is not to be preceded by weeks of intense cleaning & baking. Christmas is not overloading my home with decorations. Christmas is not spending money I don't have.  Christmas is not a time for stress. Christmas is a time to find peace in God's gift of love to us.  
I feel less panicked already   : )