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, February 28, 2014

February Finishes

I am quite surprised at the number of finishes I have for February.  Six!  Six ornaments stitched to be gifted or to grace my own tree next Christmas which, if you can see my countdown counter, is only 299 days away!!!  Happy dance, happy dance!!!

You saw a bit of this first finish in my post about my January finishes.  I had hit a bit of a snag with the floss color suggested for the planting pot ... WDW Peach.  Although it looked lovely on the model photo, the skein I had was very stripey with about 6" of dark peach suddenly turning into 6" of light pink. It looked terrible.  I asked for suggestions & played around on my own & came up with using DMC 3773.  I am quite happy with the result   : )
Designer:  With Thy Needle & Thread
Design:  Snow Bird
Fabric:  As suggested by designer
Floss:  As suggested by designer with the
exception noted above

I next tackled an ornament which appeared in the 1999 issue of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments (hereafter referred to as JCSCO).  Once again I asked for help ... click here ... because the white suggested for the house & church was just not showing up well when I attempted the stars & border.  I received many suggestions (including one I didn't publish that told me to stop whining ... thank you very much) & I decided to stitch one large star & a few smaller stars using DMC 3045 (already suggested for other design elements) & leave off the border entirely.  I didn't much care for it anyway.  I made a few other adjustments to the original design including swapping out the gray color used for the church roof, doors, & windows.  I'm sure the designer had a reason for choosing that color for those particular design elements, but what?  I decided to give the church a brown (wooden) door, brown shingles on the roof, & stained glass windows.  These were fun to figure out.  Since they are designed with very few stitches, I didn't have much room to work with ... but I thought a cross in the center of each one would be perfect   : )   
 Designer:  Threads Through Time
Design:  Christmas Village from 
1999 JCSCO
Fabric:  40 count natural linen
Floss:  DMC as suggested

Because Christmas Village was rather fiddly, I decided to choose something simple for my next ornament ... another JCSCO design.  I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this!  It's just a wee bit large for an ornament, but it would make a perfect little pillow or branch tuck   : )
Designer:  La-D-Da
Design:  Merry Christmas from
2009 JCSCO
Fabric:  As suggested by designer
Floss:  Gloriana Silk as suggested by designer

The next ornament I chose to stitch was another JCSCO offering.  This one really puzzled me.  I kitted the majority of these ornaments prior to & just after my heart surgery in September, so unless the chart copy included a colored picture of the finished ornament, I had no idea what it would look like.  As I have always tried to do, I used the exact same fabric & floss suggested by the designer.  Crescent Colours floss was suggested here.  There is a leafy branch included in the design & the floss color suggested was Green Onion.  I thought it was odd that the designer wanted me to stitch a leafy branch with off-yellow floss, but the ornament was rather nontraditional in color anyway so I tried not to give it another thought.  It really haunted me though.  After finishing the ornament, I retrieved the magazine from my files & my eyes were met with a medium green colored leafy branch.  Now I know that dye lots vary, but one lot medium green, another off-yellow?  How do you explain that?  I did make one small alteration to the design.  I am not big on dates so I replaced the date in the bottom left corner with a small cross. I think it goes with the theme of the ornament quite nicely   : ) 
Designer:  Knotted Tree NeedleArt
Design:  Peace in 2008 from 
2008 JCSCO
Fabric:  As suggested by designer
Floss:  As suggested by designer

My next choice was very simple & an absolute delight to stitch!  It's off center because of the large slub in the center of the fabric that refused to be picked out. 
 Designer:  My Big Toe Designs
Design:  Merry Christmas from
2013 JCSCO
Fabric:  As suggested by designer
Floss:  As suggested by designer

I ended February's ornament choices with a design I've been wanting to stitch since I first saw it.  It turned out to be an exercise in patience though.  The two hand-dyed colors suggested for the angel's wings & dress were basically identical.  You had to look very, very, very closely to notice any shade difference.  I decided I would use the DMC equivalents instead, but this only added to my frustration because the dress was showing up as an extremely pale blue & the wings pale green ... absolutely nothing like the magazine photo.  Now before anyone tells me that designers can't be responsible for the way their colors show up in magazine photos, let me tell you that I worked in the publishing field for many years.  Professional photographers take dozens of photos to ensure the perfect representation of the subject(s) being photographed.  Also, I have stitched other ornaments from this particular magazine page & the colors match perfectly.  Okay ... now that that's off my chest, I will move on   : )   Naturally the hand-dyed floss companies are at fault here.  I gave up on trying to attain the same look as the original ornament & opted for gold flowers & a red dress (Crescent Colours Ruby Red) for a Christmas angel.  I detest stitching with metallic thread so opted to use WDW Whiskey for the star.  If I were to stitch this again, I would redo the entire color palette, but despite the frustration, I think this one still looks pretty.
       Designer:  Little House Needleworks
Design:  Glory to God from
2008 JCSCO
Fabric:  As suggested by designer
Floss:  As suggested by designer with
substitutions as stated above

Now begins the March stitching   : )

My husband went to town this morning to pick up a few prescriptions for me at the drug store.  I told him I was in the mood for something sweet & asked if he would bring me back a little treat.  He came home with a humongous Valentine heart filled with chocolates & two little M&M hearts.  His reasoning?  "They were on sale!"  I should have asked him to bring me home a piece of jewelry   : )
It's bigger than my butt!  For now   : )
Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blessings

This morning I am filled with joy & thankfulness to God.  Like this psalm says, He is good & we are blessed when we take refuge in Him.  Many people think of blessings as tangible goods ... a nice house, a closet full of clothes, a new car etc.  These things are indeed blessings when they come from the Lord, but I am most happy & thankful when I think about the intangible blessings He gives us!  Many people don't even give a second thought to these kinds of blessings.  Being able to dress myself in the mornings, get up from a chair to go into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea, brushing my own teeth, washing myself, & wiping myself after I go to the bathroom.  I have a friend who is unable to do these things, yet she still recognizes blessings in her life.  I can see, I can hear, I can walk, I can stitch, I can do my own laundry, I can feed myself.  When you start thinking about them, our blessings are endless!  

I received a blessing the other day that I would like to share with you.  
     Designer:  Bent Creek
Design:  Got Carrot? Zipper Kit
Fabric & floss:  As provided in kit
Pillow finish by Myra

I stitched this cute little design last year & sent it to Myra for finishing along with several ornaments I had stitched.  I told her I was in no rush for this little pillow.  She informed me last week that it was in the mail, but she didn't tell me that she wasn't charging me for it!  She wanted me to have it as a gift!  Isn't it adorable?  That rusty tin snowflake really sets it off, don't you think?  I stitched it a little differently than charted.  I like this design so much that I think I'm going to scale it down & stitch it again as an ornament   : )   

Today is SAL day with Sally so after I pop the laundry into the dryer, I will be sitting down in my recliner to stitch & think about more blessings.  I encourage you to think about your own blessings today & maybe even share a few   : )

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

SALing with Sally

Sally & I started a SAL back on New Year's Day.  Thursday is our actual stitching day. We are stitching Snow Angel by Lone Elm Designs.  I don't think I've posted a photo of my progress since that first week (shame on me!) but this is my progress as it appeared at the end of last Thursday's stitching.

I opted to not include the date, 1880, on the roof of the house. 

As you can see, I have started to stitch the tree using 3 needles & the suggested 3 colors of thread.  It gets rather tricky trying to stitch with one needle without catching the threads of one or both of the other two.  I know that many of you would stitch this tree or similar types of motifs using one color, then another, then a third, etc.  I have a bit of difficulty getting my stitches to look nice when I do this, not that I'm not saying they look so great with this multi-needle method.

Like Sally, I am not too happy with the way one of the floss colors is showing up.  If I had realized this right away rather than after many stitches had been made, I would have frogged & chosen another floss color.  I will just have to deal with it &, like Sally, count this as a learning experience.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today is my daddy's birthday.  If he were still alive, he would be 96 today, but he passed away in June 2008.  I miss him every single day.  He was a wonderful man.  He worked very hard at two jobs to provide for our family & also took care of all the upkeep of our home.  When he wasn't working, he loved to read, work on crossword puzzles, build & fix things, & tend his garden.  He had a huge vegetable garden & was so proud when his crops came in!  He also enjoyed cooking & baking.  He was a cook & baker when he served in the Merchant Marine during WWII.  Here he is sometime during his tour of duty, standing on the main street of our town, Blawnox, Pennsylvania ... a suburb of Pittsburgh.  
For reasons unknown to me, the government did not accept the Merchant Marine as being "real service" to our country, so when dad was discharged from the MM, he joined the Army.  He wrote on the back of the photo below "Me at work in Aid Station."
As I mentioned above, dad loved to read.  I remember him reading to me when I was a little girl.  One time in particular, when I wasn't even in school yet, I remember sitting with him on the couch.  He was holding a book in his hands, ready to read to me, & telling me that soon I would be able to read to him!  I used to sit on his shoulders as he carried me up the stairs singing "Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to bed we go."  He taught me how to ride my bike.  He built a sandbox for me in our yard, & swings & teeter-totters at our cabin.  Those swings hung from the limbs of very tall trees.  I would say "come push me daddy" & he would grasp the back of the swing seat, move back, & then go running so that he ran underneath the swing seat & I swung very, very high.  I think this gave my mother more than a few gray hairs   : )   I remember once upon a time when I was very tiny ... we were still living in the upstairs of our home because he & his friends were building it a bit at a time ... & him telling me something was hiding somewhere for me.  I looked around & found some malted milk balls!  No doubt this is where my love affair with candy began   : ) 

The photo below was taken at our cabin in Marienville, PA.  It was a lovely place even though I was allergic to something there & developed childhood asthma (we found out later that I was allergic to mold & something I can no longer remember).  The nights were the worst of it, but things weren't too bad for me during the day.  I can't remember this photo being taken but it was obviously in the fall & dad apparently raked up piles of leaves so we could jump in them.  I kind of look a little bit like Scout from the movie "To Kill A Mockingbird," don't I?  Anyway, see that cute little cocker spaniel that dad is holding?  Her name is Midnight.  Midnight was my gift on my 7th birthday.   
Here are me & dad a couple years later at Lolita Beach ... a little swimming lake in Marienville.  My right arm looks almost as long as my body, doesn't it   : )  
Family was very important to dad.  This is a photo of him & his mother, my grandma, on a very special day.  I can't remember if it's the day that my cousin Jimmy was ordained as a priest (that's Jimmy wearing glasses in the background), or if it was the day my cousin Susie, Jimmy's sister, became a nun. 
John & I had four children.  Two are in heaven because they were born too early to survive (Michael at 4-1/2 months & John at 5-1/2 months), but Kati & Matt are here on earth & they were the apples of dad's eye. He absolutely adored them.  John had a job transfer to Florida two years after we married & dad & mom moved to the town next to us about two years later when Kati was about a year old.  Here are dad, Kati & Matt taking a break from swimming in dad's pool.
Dad was very, very sad when John & I moved to Montana a few years later.  Just a short time before we decided to make the move, a little girl came trotting by dad's house on this pony.  She stopped to say hello & mentioned that she had to be sell the pony.  Dad was looking into buying the pony for Kati, but that didn't happen since we made the decision to move away.  At least Kati got to sit on the pony for a while   : )   I don't know if she remembers this.  I'll have to ask her.  
Dad was always making jokes & being funny. Here he is clowning in his back yard.
Dad loved dogs.  He is relaxing here with his best friend, Tracy.  Tracy was his constant companion for many years.  She even saved dad & Matt from a rattlesnake once when they were hiking in a nearby wooded area! It broke dad's heart when he had to put her down.    
I mentioned that dad liked to build & fix things & also liked to cook.  Here he is in his later years doing both.  Do you see that large gardenia bush near dad's tool shed? John bought me that as a small potted plant one year.  When it got too big for its pot, we gave it to mom & dad to plant in their yard. It smelled like heaven when it was in bloom   : )  

After my mother passed away in 2005, dad's health declined.  He was unable to do much of anything toward the end except sit in his recliner or in a lawn chair on his deck.  It was very sad to see this once strong man who was always busy doing something being unable to even walk a few steps without needing to stop to catch his breath.  This was the result of years of working as a welder in a steel mill, not having the adequate protection for his health.  
After my mother passed away, John & I wanted dad to come live with us but he didn't want to leave Florida.  He always referred to it as "paradise."  I therefore started calling dad every day at 5 o'clock, just to say hello & to make sure he was okay. For over a year after he died, there were still times when I would find myself looking at the clock & thinking "it's almost time to call dad" & then remember I couldn't do that anymore.  The woman my brother & I had hired to look after dad told me that he always looked forward to those daily calls. He would watch the clock & wait for them.  I would always end the calls by saying "I love & miss you dad," & he would respond with "I love & miss you too honey."  If you think the tears are rolling down my face by now, you are right.  

Happy Birthday Daddy!  I love & miss you more than you know. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Do You Have Any Favorite Christian Books?

I like to read a good book even though it cuts into my stitching time   : )   Although fictional books are fun every now & then, my very favorite books are those that teach me something.  I love the history of just about anything, & biographies are great too, but I really enjoy reading books that help me in my Christian walk.  Right now I'm reading The Red Sea Rules which I highly recommend.  I didn't care for the preface & wondered what I had gotten myself into as I was reading it,  but once I started in on the chapters, I felt as if I were a dry sponge absorbing water.  The author shares wonderful insights regarding what we can learn from the Israelites' Red Sea experience.
Do you have any favorite Christian books that you would like to recommend?  Other than the Bible, of course   : )

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Revisited

Last Friday was not only Valentine's Day ... it was our 38th wedding anniversary   : )   John & I exchanged gifts, then went to Lexington where we had a luscious meal at Red Lobster ending with a visit to the Half-Price Book Store near Fayette Mall.  I know what you're thinking ... a visit to the Half-Price Book Store on your anniversary?  Well, they were celebrating their 1-year anniversary being open at that location. The first 100 people through the doors would receive a tote bag containing a few goodies with 99 of those bags containing a $5.00 gift card & one bag containing a $100 gift card. John said that he'd like to stop by so that each of us would get a $5 gift card & this would give him $10 toward a future purchase. I jokingly told him that would be fine with me but it would be part of his present   : )

When we arrived at the store about half an hour before it opened, there was one couple standing in line & several cars in the parking lot.  We joined the line about 5 minutes before opening time.  We were either the 5th & 6th or the 6th & 7th people in line.  They opened the doors & started handing out the tote bags.  I took mine from a girl that had been handing them out on the right side of the door.  Another girl came up on the left side as John came in & he took a bag from her.  I opened my bag & found my $5 gift card, but when John opened his bag, he found this!      

He couldn't believe it!  He went to the manager who gave him his gift card & they took his picture to place in the store   : )
It's quite amazing really.  We never thought for a second that either of us would get the special card!  I was glad that John got it. He was thrilled!  Of course I would have given him the card if it had been in my bag   : )

It's hard to believe that we have been married for 38 years, & we knew each other for 8 years before that!  We met in high school when I was 14 & John was 15.  Time sure passes by quickly.  Who knew that day we met that we would spend all these years together   : ) 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Do You Hook Rugs?

If you hook rugs, I have a proposition for you.

Once upon a time, I made braided rugs using wool strips evenly & precisely cut somewhere between 2-2.5" wide (I'd have to go measure & to do so now would wake DH) across the width of the fabric.  I am sure that I will never again make braided rugs, so what to do with the strips?  I am guessing that a hooker can run them through a strip cutter ...
... in order to cut them down to hooking size. The strips are clean & free of any odors (DH & I are not smokers).  They have also never come in contact with Sophie ...
... so you needn't worry about cat hair   : )

I have 4 humongous Rubbermaid containers filled with these wool strips in a large variety of colors.  The exact number of strips is unknown to me, but as you can see, there are a lot.  I apologize for the less than enticing photo.  It was taken last week when I decided to de-clutter the guest room & wanted some "before" photos.    
My proposition is this:  if you are a hooker & would like to have these strips, I will gladly send them to you in exchange for (A) dollars (make me an offer), or (B) handmade items crafted by your own talented hands.  This offer is only open to folks living in the continental US due to the cost of shipping which I know will be quite horrific.  I have considered putting them in groups to sell on eBay or in my Etsy shop, but I just don't want the hassle of doing that. 

If you are interested in the strips, please contact me via email.  Needless to say, the Rubbermaid containers are not part of the deal   : )      

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Words to remember on Valentine's Day
& every day   : )

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Always Remember


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Recipe for Living in the Devil's Playground

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tea!!!

Here it is February, & leave it up to me, I am still posting about Christmas ... lol!  Of course a couple days after Christmas through last month was filled with illness so I never got around to posting this.  I think today is a good day for doing so, especially since I'm enjoying an absolutely delicious cup of tea right now   : )

I have been asked what kinds of goodies were in some of the Christmas packages my husband so lovingly gave to me.  Well, among other things, knowing how much I enjoy tea, he decided to treat me with a wonderful selection!







There are teas here from Teavana, Davids, Lupicia, Harney & Son, Stephen Smith, Elmwood Inn (a local brand), & a few miscellaneous teas.  I wish I could invite you all here for a tea party   : )

I would have to say that my favorite teas are produced by Teavana.  They have one tea ... Caramel Almond Amaretti ... that smells & tastes like a baked spice cake!  Right now I am trying their Zingiber Ginger Coconut tea which is a rooibos tea.  It's my first time having this one & it's not going to be my last!  I love coconut anything.  This is definitely one of my new favorites   : )

I also wanted to share with you a couple ornaments I sent as Christmas gifts but hadn't gotten around to posting yet.  Unfortunately, I can only remember one of them ... lol!  The other ... I have no idea what it was.  This one I gifted to Anne.
 Designer:  Prairie Schooler
Design:  Christmas Tree from
2013 JCS Christmas Ornaments magazine
Fabric:  32 ct Lambswool linen
Floss:  DMC as suggested by designer
There were also several stocking ornaments I gifted to people but I neglected to take photos prior to sending them.  Michelle did post a photo of the one I sent to her, so I will share that with you.  I finished these stockings myself!
It looks a bit different than the pattern photo below.  This is a Nikyscreations pattern simply titled Christmas Stockings.  
And that's all I have to share with you today except this   : )
I am so thankful that God is my help.  He is your help too!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Any Ideas?

I have spent many an hour stitching this Threads Through Time design, Christmas Village, which appears in the 1999 JCS Christmas Ornaments magazine.  I'm stitching it on the suggested natural linen although I chose to stitch it on 40 count rather than 35 count.  It's quite fiddly, & there is an error in the chart.  The model shows a wreath hanging on the door of the upper right blue house, but it's not included in the chart.  I didn't catch this until I started stitching the other doors on the other houses & then looked at the model, so of course I frogged the first door & added the wreath.  I've made a few other small changes & intended to make a few more including taking off the date & replacing it with a few more of the stars already in the design.  The stars, per the designer, are stitched in white.  If I stitch them in white, they get lost on the background.  The same goes for the border that goes around the design which is also stitched in white. 

Here is what the model looks like. 
I'm really stumped.  For now I have placed the project on hold & have started something new.  I will go back to this one, but really do need some suggestions on what I can do for the stars & border.

Any help will be appreciated   : )