Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas, IHSW, More Gifts, & One Last Exchange

I trust that everyone had a happy & blessed Christmas!  Our's was filled with love, peace, contentment, & way too much food as shown by the extra 5 pounds showing on my scale! That's okay though ... it's Christmas   : )   I received some lovely gifts from my sweet babboo & will show you some stitching gifts in a moment.

I noticed this year that way too many people were saying they would be glad when Christmas would be over.  In fact, I wished one woman a Merry Christmas & her response was a sour "I'll be glad when it's over!"  Although I understand that not everyone is surrounded by happy circumstances at this time of year, it's still the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior!  Of course it's possible that these people do not give any thought to that   : (

I know that many of you are waiting to hear what Christmas book John chose to buy & read to me this year.  It is The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey.  It's a lovely story about a man who comes to a small pioneer town to open a store.  The townspeople wonder what type of store it will be.  A little girl knocks at his door to ask if he needs any help & discovers he is opening a candy store. While helping him unpack a crate, she finds a package of candy canes.  She has never seen this candy before.  This is when the man explains the meaning of the colors & shape of the candy cane.  Afterward, they visit every townsperson to share the candy & story with them.    
This year we had not one book, but two!  A small wrapped package came in the mail from Jo with instructions to open it on Christmas Eve.  Inside we found a book titled Jesus' Birthday Party.  This is a delightful story of the birth of Jesus, hilariously told from the point of view of the inkeeper who just wants a good night's sleep   : )   John & I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Thank you again Jo   : )
Last weekend was IHSW.  I made sure to take some stitches in my Dames of the Needle ornament which I showed you in my post on December 4th.  Here it is then ...
... & here it is now.
The color of the fabric in the bottom photo is truer to life than it appears in the top photo.  I didn't add all these stitches last weekend, but I did stitch the snowman hat & nose on the right as well as the hat & what you see of the snowman on the left.  I had to frog two branches of the tree because I had added one stitch more than I was supposed to & I couldn't fudge the snowman to accommodate it.  I'm really enjoying stitching this despite what to me is the fiddly-ness of it   : )

A few more gifts I sent have been received.
This was a freebie & I don't remember where it came from.  If anyone is familiar with it, please let me know   : )
Fabric:  32 ct evenweave (I think)
Floss:  Gloriana Luminescense 
Stitched for Vicki
Finished by Myra
Designer:  Foxwood Crossings
Designs:  Snowman - Snow Friends Sleds
Quaker - Quaker Sleds
Snowman stitched for Kevin
& for Robin (no blog)
Quaker stitched for Annette
Finished by me
Designer:  LHN
Design:  Peppermint Twist
Fabric:  32 ct linen
Floss:  DMC
Stitched for Sharon
Finished by Myra
     Designer:  Pine Mountain Designs
Design:  Let It Snow
Fabric:  14 ct blue Aida
Floss:  DMC
Stitched for my friend Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota

There's a wee bit of a story behind why I chose to stitch this for Mary.  When I lived in Bismarck, I would wake up on wonderfully cold winter mornings to find it snowing!  I would then call Mary & when she answered the phone, I would start to sing "Oh the weather outside is frightful ... let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"  Yes, she thought I was crazy.  She undoubtedly still does   : )

My exchange package for Sarah finally reached Dubai   : )   You might remember seeing in my December 8th post the lovely ornaments & other goodies she sent to me. Sarah does not celebrate Christmas & instead wanted an exchange package with a patriotic theme.  I sent her a Bent Creek kit called Land of Liberty, a My Big Toe needle threader, & I stitched a pinkeep for her from a design by Country Rustic Primitives ... Liberty Hanging Pinkeep.  I stitched this on osnaburg fabric using DMC floss.  I stuffed it with clean sawdust & finished it myself.   
I received a few more gifts as well.  Vicki sent me this delightful Christmas Joy ornament.  I know you will be as bowled over as I was to learn that this was Vicki's very first attempt at finishing an ornament! I think she's a natural, don't you?  
I received this wonderful tea bag holder & some delicious tea from Sally.  Sally shares my love of tea   : )   The holder is stitched from a design by The Little Stitcher.  

Jen sent me a little wool applique pillow with a holly design & also a little punchneedle pillow featuring a pair of ice skates.  Jen is extremely creative & I think she designs 99.99% of the things she makes so I'm sure these 2 pillows were stitched from her own designs as well.  I am forever encouraging her to market her designs.  I think she was blessed with a real talent!   

I had hoped to leave you with some photos of our Christmas tree.  I actually took a few photos on Christmas Day but they turned out a bit blurry for some reason.  I was going to try again today but time got away from me.  Hopefully I'll be able to share some tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I pray that you will allow God to fill your life
with His love, your mind with His peace,
& your heart with His joy,
not only at Christmas but all through the year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Finishes & a Few More Gifts

Like all of you, I have been busy with Christmas preparations ... baking, cleaning, shopping, & wrapping.  Tomorrow I will be making a ham, turkey breast, & potato salad. John & I will then enjoy the magic of Christmas Eve night & the peace & love of Christmas Day.

Although this past weekend was IHSW, I will post about that later today or tomorrow. For now I would like to share a few more gifts I have sent/received & also some recent ornament finishes that have joined the other ornaments on our tree.  I'll start with these ornaments.  I stitched all 5 of them from designs which have appeared in JCS Christmas Ornament magazines.  Needless to say, they have all been finished by Myra.  I am borrowing her photos.
Designer:  LHN
Design:  Winter Sampler (2009 issue)
Fabric:  As suggested
Floss:  DMC equivalents
Designer:  Milady's Needle
Design:  Regal Red Christmas (2010 issue)
Fabric:  As suggested
Floss:  As suggested
Designer:  Blue Ribbon Designs
Design:  Redbirds Rejoice (2013 issue)
Fabric:  As suggested
Floss:  As suggested
Designer:  Handwork
Design:  Rejoice (2001 issue)
Fabric:  As suggested
Floss:  As suggested
Designer:  My Big Toe Designs
Design:  His Gift (2012 issue)
Fabric:  As suggested
Floss:  As suggested

A few of the gifts I stitched have been received    : )
Designer:  PS
Design:  Cardinal (Book 14)
Fabric:  32 ct Amber/Toasted Almond linen
Floss:  As suggested
Stitched for Vicki
Finished by Myra
Designer:  Foxwood Crossings
Design:  Small & Medium Cardinals
Fabric:  Perforated paper
Floss:  DMC
Stitched for Pam
Finished by me

This Foxwood Crossings design is my first attempt at stitching on perforated paper & I really enjoyed it!  I foresee more perforated paper stitching in my future   : )

John came home from the post office the other day & handed me a package.  The return address indicated it was from Marly. When I opened it, I was thrilled to find one of her handmade sampler boxes!  I have admired these on her blog for a long time & am so happy to now have one!  I opened it to see what the inside was like & found a lovely old fashioned gift tag.  The box was filled with tissue paper which I assumed Marly had put there to help protect the box during shipping.  However, when I started to remove the paper, I found more gifts!  A package of dark green rick rack, beautiful YLI red silk floss, a skein of Caron cotton floss in a gorgeous colorway (Desert Sage), a package of star buttons, & an absolutely wonderful perfect-for-me wooden tag ... another one of her handmade creations! Thank you again my dear friend!

"When we were children we were grateful for who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?"
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Exchange, Some Gifts, & Shoulder Pads - Very Picture Heavy

Good morning!  I know you've heard this about a million times lately, but can you believe it's almost Christmas?  I've been a bit behind this year despite the good intentions I had in January to not find myself in this fix. In the new year I will have these intentions once again, & they will be realized   : )

Yesterday I received my exchange package from Lisa.  I must say that I am overwhelmed!  We exchanged a list of ornaments we'd each like to receive, & her choice of ornament from my list was one of my very favorites ... O Holy Night by The Sampler Girl which appears in this year's JCS Christmas Ornaments magazine!  She also very thoughtfully sent me a beautiful project bag she made with the perfect choice of fabric (blue birds & strawberries), a Celestial Seasonings tea sampler, a vintage primer (I have a collection of these), & a really cool vintage teabag strainer!  I had never seen these before.  You would think these things would be more than enough, wouldn't you ... but Lisa tells me there is one more thing that will be coming my way! Thank you again, Lisa, for a wonderful exchange!

Next I have some gifts to share with you. This first one is from Vickie, aka the poodle princess   : )   She sent me a package of Peeps snowmen, some of her wonderful counting pins, & a beautifully stitched pen. She stitched the inserted design over 1 on 40 count!  
Chris sent me this very pretty pottery dish ornament & a little bar of Red Clay Soap, both made in her home state of North Carolina   : )
From Annette I received a lovely assortment of buttons & embellishments, some Cosmos floss skeins, a very cute notepad, & a beautiful needle book which she made herself!  Her workmanship is awe-inspiring!  I neglected to take a photo of the back of the needle book which I will try to remedy at a later time.  She really outdid herself with this! I have never had, but have always wanted, a needle book, & now I have a perfect one that I will use every year at Christmastime : )

These next gifts are from Myra.  A much needed gingerbread flavored Chap Stick, a little sewing themed notepad, a box of tea all the way from Taiwan (when her sister's coworker travels to Taiwan, he brings this tea back with him!), & one of her beautifully stitched sewing birds & floss catchers   : ) 

Gracie made this beautiful tatted & beaded ornament for me   : )
Last, but not least, is this wonderful array of stitching goodies from Kevin.  Three lovely kits which are just perfect for me (he kitted one of them himself!), a chart with a reindeer theme, a floss sorter, & some Carrie's Creation floss   : )
I will now show you some of the gifts I have sent which have been received.
Designer:  Prairie Schooler
Old World Santas II, Book 88
Floss:  Recommended DMC
Fabric:  I forget
Stitched for Carol
Finished by Myra
Designer:  Lynn's Prints
Design:  Outside My Window
(JCS Christmas Ornaments 2005 issue)
Fabric:  32 ct evenweave
Floss:  Recommended DMC
Stitched for Myra
Designer:  Country Rustic Primitives
Design:  Noel Pinkeep
Fabric:  Osnaburg
Floss:  DMC
Stitched for Calamity Jr (no blog) & Chris
Finished by me
Designer:  Country Rustic Primitives
Design:  Joy Pinkeep
Fabric:  Osnaburg
Floss:  DMC
Stitched for Dawn, Marly, & Jen
Finished by me
Designer:  Pine Mountain Designs
Design:  Up on the Housetop
Fabric:  28 ct blue Aida
Floss:  DMC
Stitched for Ruthie,
my best friend from high school.
(Ruthie hasn't received this yet, but she's not an online person so I can share it now.)

I think I will give you a break & show the most recent ornament finishes Myra did for my own tree in another day's post   : )

I now have a question.  I have some pullover Christmas sweaters I bought years ago but have never worn.  When I saw my heart surgeon for my 3-month followup on Tuesday (the surgery appears to have been successful & we are going to wean me off my heart medication & see how I do without it), I thought I'd finally wear one.  When I took them down off the shelf, I was dismayed to find they all had shoulder pads.  Me & shoulder pads don't mix because I have extremely broad shoulders.  I don't know what possessed me to buy these sweaters, but here they are.  Would I damage their shape in any way by removing the shoulder pads?  I'm guessing that my own broad shoulders will fill in any "gap" left by removing the shoulder pads, but I'd like to be sure.  

My baking is done with the exception of the traditional Christmas morning orange rolls.  I didn't do much baking this year.  I made M&M cookies, chocolate chip cookies, & brownies ... all which have been sent to Matt with the exception of one of each of the cookies.  I also made another pan of brownies & some pineapple drop cookies for John.  Yesterday I finished up with a few loaves of Christmas cake, one for me & John & the rest for the people at the local post office.    

Remember the reason for the season & the gift of peace which He has given us.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmastime with Pearl

It was Christmas Day, 1957.  I was 4 years old.  This was the year that my friend Pearl came to live with me.

It was indeed a good Christmas!  I remember opening the box & seeing Pearl.  I also remember my mother saying that we looked like twins!  

Pearl was my best friend during my childhood.  However, somewhere, somehow, we were parted.  When I grew up, I searched high & low trying to replace my Pearl ... in stores, antique shops, etc ... but my efforts were in vain.  When a personal computer entered my life, I searched online but still could not find her.  Then suddenly, earlier this year, there she was ... on eBay.  I'm sure I tried the seller's patience by asking as many questions as I did, but I had to be sure the Pearl she was auctioning was "my Pearl." There are many different Pearls who were born in the late 50s/early 60s.  Different body types, different sizes.  Mine was the original Pearl.  Her body is made from what I describe as stuffed rubber.  I'm sure there's a technical term for this type of doll body although I don't know what that is.  The seller assured me this was "my Pearl."  I won the auction (woe to anyone who would have overbid me!) & when Pearl arrived, it was a wonderful reunion!  This Pearl even had a bent leg, just like "my Pearl" had!  

Pearl & I are happy to be reunited.  This is the first Christmas we will be spending together since I was a child.  Pearl is excited too!  Here she is admiring the tree after we decorated it together   : )  
"A friend loves at all times...."
Proverbs 17:17

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thank You for Your Prayers!

Thank you so much for praying for my son (as well as for me & John).  Last night we received a phone call from him.  He will be fine.     

"...they cried out to the Lord
in their trouble,
& He brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm...."
Psalm 107:28-30