Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Few New Ornaments

Four ornament finishes since returning from our trip   : )

Designer:  Little House Needleworks
Design:  Cardinal Winter
Fabric:  Suggested 30 ct Cocoa linen
Floss:  Suggested DMC

Designer:  Lizzie Kate
Design:  Flora McSample 2012 Ornaments
Fabric:  Suggested 28 ct Milk Chocolate linen
Floss:  Suggested DMC

Visiting London and Germany - A Condensed Tale

This post is going to be rather picture heavy so please bear with me   : ) 

Our flight began in Cincinnati with stops in Philadelphia and Zurich before arriving in London.  We then made our way via the train to St. Pancras station which was just a few steps away from our hotel.  St. Pancras station had several very long, very tall escalators.  About half way up one of these escalators John lost his footing and fell head over heels to the bottom.  It was quite scary!  I was trying to get to him but of course it was difficult to go down the escalator while it was still going up.  Thankfully it occurred to someone to press the stop button.  I honestly didn't expect John to be moving but I saw him lift his head.  Someone helped him up.  Amazingly he escaped with little more than a banged up knee and a wrist which was gashed but didn't bleed.  Someone had gone to fetch an attendant who came over to see if everything was okay.  He asked John if he wanted to fill out an accident report but he said no.  I was a little upset about this as I believed he should have filled one out in case problems occurred later (as it turns out his knee is still causing him problems), but I think he was quite embarrassed and just wanted to get out of there.  We made it to our hotel, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, which was lovely.  Lots of amazing history there.  
The next day we made our way via the tube to Oxford and Regent Streets.  It was a very gray, very rainy day so it wasn't as much fun as it could have been.  I spotted a John Lewis store.  Someone on Instagram told me that John Lewis has cross stitch items.  They did!  I found these three little kits to bring home   : )
The following day (gray and rainy again) we met our tour manager and caught the Eurostar to Cologne where it was also gray and rainy.  We stayed at the Maritim Hotel which was very close to three of Cologne's five Christmas markets.  It was a gorgeous hotel!  I love that big bow made of lights!
This is a photo of the lobby when you come through the entrance.
This photo was taken from the fifth floor looking at that beautiful lighted bow   : )
And here is a photo from the opposite side of the hotel, looking toward the lobby.  That Christmas tree was nearly 5 stories high!
And look who was visiting the hotel!  Santa!  We became fast friends   : )
That evening we explored the two Christmas markets nearest the hotel.  These were not too far from Cologne's magnificient cathedral.  In fact, one of them was right next to the cathedral. This is shown in the last of the four photos below.  
The next two days (more rain) we explored the town and more of the Christmas markets.  We found the Angels Market which Edgar said was not to be missed and he was right.  All the markets had so many booths offering fun things to buy and good things to eat and drink.  I wanted to bring home at least one Gluhwein mug.  Gluhwein is a spiced wine.  Each market sells their own type of Gluhwein and their own special Gluhwein mug.  I couldn't have cared less about the spiced wine … I wanted one of those mugs!  I ended up with two mugs that I liked best.  One from the Angels Market …
… and one from the Cologne Cathedral Market.
The only other item we bought at the markets was a pound of delicious nougat.  We could have purchased many more things but getting them back home in one piece would have been a bit chancy.  I did, however, get a special package of Christmas teas from a department store called Karstadt   : )
Then it was back to London where we spent the night at a hotel near the airport and flew home the next day.  I had so much fun at Heathrow!  They actually had a satellite John Lewis store there and I bought these two delicious gingerbread cookies which are as big as my hands … and I have great big Herman Munster hands!
I also scored some British cross stitch magazines at a WHSmith shop   : )
And just before we left I spied this café created for people just like me!
We then got on our plane and flew to Copenhagen, then to Chicago, and then home where thankfully is was NOT raining   : )   We have been home for 2-1/2 weeks now and we are still exhausted, but all things considered it was a good trip filled with good memories   : )

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Advent Calendar Blog Hop - Day 13

Welcome to Jo's whatever-number-it-is annual Advent Calendar Blog Hop!  Sorry Jo, I don't know how long you've been doing this, but it's been a while and we all love you for it   : )   After a much-too-long absence I am once again joining in, and my day is today, Day 13.

Jo's blog is Serendipitous Stitching.  I have linked to her 2018 Online Advent Calendar post and you will be able to connect to all the participants there.

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  In fact, I stitch Christmas things all year round!  I have a tree which I enjoy decorating with my own stitched ornaments and those that were gifted to me from my blogging friends, but alas, this year there is no tree, no decorations of any kind.  This was my decision for multiple reasons.  I will still cook good food on Christmas Eve … turkey and ham, stuffing, and potato salad.  I might make a pan of brownies and a bowl of Angels Delight as well.  I will make our traditional orange rolls on Christmas morning.  John and I will then spend a quiet day together eating and watching Christmas movies.  Next year we will have settled into a new home, life will be simpler, and I look forward to decorating then.  In the meantime I have no Christmas stitching on display that I can share with you, so I dug into my archives of past stitched ornament photos and decided to share the one below.  I stitched this little ornament a few years ago as a gift for someone.

Peace on Earth  - Pine Mountain Designs

Christmas, to me, is celebrating the birth or our precious Lord and Savior.  I recently learned that Christmas is celebrated this way by Christians in Germany.  December 6th, St. Nicholas Day, is the day when St. Nicholas brings gifts.  Christmas Day is the day you celebrate Jesus.  I like that custom   : )

This year Jo wants us to share our favorite Christmas song.  It has been really hard for me to pick just one as I love so many of them, but I decided to share the following song with you … Mary Did You Know.  The words are so beautiful and meaningful and they speak to the true meaning of Christmas.  I must admit that I cry without fail every time I hear it.  I hope you will enjoy it as well.  I wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas!