Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Home for Christmas

With pomp, power and glory
the world beckons vainly.
In chase of such vanities,
why should I roam?
While peace and content
bless my little thatched cottage
and warm my own heart,
with the treasures of home.

Beatrix Potter

In all the preparations for Christmas, I still haven't had much time to stitch, but here are a couple of updates anyway :-). I continue my slow progress on my Mary Engelbreit piece, To a Friend's House the Road is Never Long. I am getting to the point where I can almost envision a finish.

And, I pulled out my Dear Diary sampler and began the fifth block, the Mary Heaton section. Here is a picture of where I was, and a picture of my progress. This is getting quite big, and difficult, therefore, to photograph.

My daughter and I have also been baking and cooking up a Christmas storm of sweet treats. Here is a platter with some of our creations. Starting at twelve o'clock and going around clockwise, we have peanut brittle, creamy butter mints, ginger snap cookies, peppermint bark, and fantasy fudge (using the old recipe on the marshmallow creme jar back from when I was a child). We also had coconut thumbprints, but even though we made two batches of these, none survived to get their picture taken.

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas This Year

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some freebies

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful, merry time preparing for the arrival of Christmas.

I have no stitching pictures to share, but I thought that I would post some links to some freebies that I have come across lately.

This beautiful French sampler, called Grand Abcedaire, is being offered by Gazette 94 in eight parts, one part per month, from now through July 2009. There are a lot of other great freebies on this site you can browse also.

Also check out:

Madame La Fee for a pretty candy cane ornament
Joli Tambour Creation has three very nice ornaments
Isabelle Vautier, one of my favorite designers, has a beautiful Christmas freebie

That is all for now. I'll probably come back and add more later.

Enjoy the season!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Stitching Update

It is the most wonderful time of the year. The time where my family and I are so busy that we aren't home much, and when we are, it seems like we have endless Christmas chores to accomplish. I love it all, but it leaves less time to stitch. I have made some progress on my various WIPs, but not as much as I would like.

Here is what I have accomplished on my Mary Engelbreit piece. The yellow is gradually getting filled in, and the sign is almost done.

And I got a bit done on the North Pole project, participating with the Saturday Night SAL with the Only One Ewe forum. You can now see the elf's arm, appearing rather ghostly without its body.

And finally, I started an ornament from the 1999 JCS Ornament issue called Christmas Village by the Threads of Time. This is going kind of slow because I am stitching it one over one.

I have so enjoyed surfing around the stitching blogland this week, and seeing everyone's Xmas ornaments and other projects. It is very inspiring. Until next time....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Engelbreit Yellow

I have been stitching and stitching and stitching and stitching some more with DMC 444 which I have affectionately? renamed "Engelbreit Yellow." Progress is being made, however, on the border. I have finished the bottom part, which is the thickest and have passed the halfway point. I apologize for these photos. I took them three times, but the colors are still washed out. Perhaps my camera needs new batteries, or perhaps the light is just not good today. Here is a close-up of the bottom part of the border with its multitude of little yellow stitches...around 1500, but who's counting?

Here are some international blog posts that will make an enjoyable visit this week:

Argante at Il Filo Incantato stitched The Thread Gathering by Victoria Sampler and finished it into a top for a box where she can store her various threads.

Maria at Un punto e una croce has finished Winter Sampler by Little House Needleworks. It is so cute with the little gingerbread man. She also has pictures of finishes of the others in this seasonal sampler series.

And look at what Gisele made with her finish of Noel 2008! She has finished it into a gorgeous bag. I love the colors that she used on this free SAL pattern from Chez Brodyzen.

Finally, I wanted to show you this finish by Amaryllis at My Workbasket of a beautiful Wolf. This blog is all in Russian and thus I can't read it, but she has some beautiful stitching, including some Teresa Wentzler.

And lastly, I wanted to show another new design that I have fallen in love with. This one is Peppermint Twist by Blue Ribbon Designs. I really need to finish something so I can start something new.

And the new pattern I mentioned last week by Tournicoton, Pere Noel Charmant, and other Tournicoton patterns can be purchased simply and easily by Americans at Violarium. I have placed orders with them several times, and their shipping to the US is both inexpensive and quick, and everything is done in excellent English.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

As I wandered around from blog to blog this week, I was enveloped in the Christmas spirit. So many of you are working on Christmas projects, ornaments are everywhere, Christmas decor abounded, and many in the Northern Hemisphere were blessed with their first snow of the year. I saw snow pictures from all over the world. Blogs were also beginning to get winter or christmas-themed backgrounds. Christmas and winter are definitely in the air!

No less so here, although we have no snow. I worked on The North Pole piece some more this week. I am now on the fourth floor of the design which seems to be the room of the doll maker. The brown checkerboard thing is the beginning of an easy chair.

I also stitched quite a bit on Mary Engelbreit's To a Friend's House the Road is Never Long, but I am so close to finishing the bottom border that I have decided to wait and finish that before I post a picture.

In the new design area, have you seen this new one by Tournicoton? I don't usually stitch too many ornaments or smalls, but I really like this one. It is called Pere Noel Charmant.

And finally, here are some blog posts that caught my eye this week:

First of all, Val at Jum's Blog really did now finish her Blackbird, I Thee Wed. She substituted the suggested threads with DMC, and the result is truly beautiful.

At Le Blog d'Alineka, there is another lovely Blackbird finish. This one is Strawberry Garden.

For a wintry finish, take a peek at Brodev's Hiver Nordique. She has stitched a gorgeous wintry scene.

Well, I had another to share, but I am looking at the clock and see that it is time for me to go to church, so I'll get to it next time. Oh, and I want to mention that I think I fixed the problem with comments from people who do not have blogger accounts. Now you should be able to comment with Open ID. Sorry about that problem.

To my American readers, have a Happy Thanksgiving! And to all others, have a great week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Saturday Night SAL

After a week of no stitching due to a slight injury to my hand, I was glad to start up again by participating in the Saturday Night SAL sponsored by the Only One Ewe cross stitch forum. I had a great night of stitching, due in part to my state of mind after returning from a stressful all-day swim meet. Those of you who have kids involved in competitive swimming will understand, but to those who do not, let me explain. Pools are usually not set up as a spectactor sport, so for many meets, parents bring their own folding chairs and space is always an issue. This year, perhaps because of Michael Phelps, it is nearly impossible to find a place to even set up your chair. This made parents cranky and unfriendly. In addition, indoor pool buildings are heated to a level for the swimmers' comfort, who are running around in wet swimsuits. So for parents, who are not in swimsuits or wet, it is uncomfortably warm. Then there is the smell and taste of chlorine in the air, and the echoey nature of almost all indoor pools that seem to amplify sound and bounce it all around all the walls, increasing its volume fourfold, I'm certain. Add to this lovely environment, about 250 excited, pumped-up, carb-filled 9 to 12 year olds, and you may begin to get the picture.

So when I got home, I was very happy to sit in my comfortable chair, and cross stitch away on the North Pole while watching The Lake House on TV. Cross stitching helps me to de-stress, and I had a lot that to accomplish :-).

I got the toolbox on the left side done, the icicle on the right side roof, and all the light brown stitching in the ceiling part. I continue to love this design and hate the fabric that I am using, but felt in my Q-Snaps helps tremendously. Here is the progress picture:

I also had a good stash week. Two separate orders, from two different stores arrived. One of the orders arrived promptly, but the other was placed nearly 9 weeks ago and I had all but given up on it ever arriving. I received Blue Bird Sampler and Christmas Row by Bent Creek, and Blessings & Kind Wishes which is a Loose Feather design from Blackbird. There were also some Weeks Dye Works threads which are for a another Blackbird design, Awake the Dawning Day, that I want to start, probably after Christmas.

And I also received Winter Wonderland by Crown & Thistle, which I have to tell you, I would never have purchased had I not seen one finished. The picture on the pattern really does not do it justice. In this package was also The 4th Day of Christmas by Prairie Moon, a designer that I am becoming more and more fond of, who actually lives near here. I have to say, though, I am still a little shell-shocked from perusing the thread list on this design-- a whopping 22 different GAST threads. Finally, there were three Lizzie Kate monthly flip-its from a few years ago.
I have been busy surfing many beautiful blogs this week. Here are a few that had some wonderful finishes:

At Jum's Blog, there is a beautiful finish of Blackbird's I Thee Wed. The colors on this one are spectacular! Edited to say that Val at Jum's Blog emailed to point out that this is not yet finished, there is a bit left to stitch.

There is also a cute finish at Roses et Caramel. Charline has stitched Winter Row by Bent Creek. I have seen several splendid Bent Creek "Row" design finishes in the last month, and it is really making me want to stitch one myself.

And at Croix Begood, there is a stunningly beautiful picture of her finish of Momenti di Vita.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mon Beau Chalet

I have developed a strong attraction to French designs. I like many of their popular designers: Isabelle Vautier, Tournicoton, Bleu de Chine, Madame La Fee, Tralala, Perrette Samouiloff, and A Mon a Pierre. I am also building a library of French stitching magazines and books. The very first one of these magazines that I owned was De Fil en Aiguille, Hors Serie Alpin, which is a special issue themed on the alps. This design that I am stitching, Mon Beau Chalet, comes from that magazine. I grew up skiing and backpacking in the Sierra Mountains of California, and these chalet-style designs evoke in me the memory and aura of those happy childhood times.

Here is my recent progress picture on this design:

I have also been surfing stitching blogs. If I stitched as much as I surfed, I might actually finish some stuff. Anyway, here are some of the blog posts that really got my attention this week:

Petite Croix & Compagnie there is a post depicting her progress on a lovely work in blue called "la trousse de Jeanne". It is gorgeous!

At Bienvenue Chez Virginie, Virginie has finished stitching the beautiful Coeur Chalet by Bleu de Chine with a SAL. One of these days, I want to join one of these French SALs where they break the design up into parts and everyone stitches the same part in the same week.

At Il Mio Mondo...di crocette, Tina has finished stitching Autumn Row by Bent Creek and made it into a nice pillow. I love all these Row designs by Bent Creek. It is only a matter time before I try one myself.

Well, now it is back to stitching. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drum Roll Please......

The winner of the Winter Cardinal pattern giveaway draw is.....

Debby of StitchWizard

Congratulations Debby! If you could please send me an email with your address and I will send the pattern in the post tomorrow. My email address is in my profile.

Thanks to all who entered my first ever pattern giveaway. I am sure there will be more in the future.

As today is Election Day here in the United States, let me just remind my fellow Americans to:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Saturday Night Stitching II

I participated in another Saturday Night Stitch-Along and once again I chose to work on my Cricket Collection North Pole design. It is really three different designs combined to make one project: First Story, Second Story, and Third Story; but I find those titles quite unsatisfying, so I'm calling it The North Pole. I am getting close to finishing up the Second Story. Next Saturday should see it done, I think. Then there are just two more rooms for me to finish.

For those of you who entered the drawing for the Winter Cardinal pattern, I am going to draw a name tomorrow, November 4th, in the afternoon.
That's all for now. Have a great week!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winter Cardinal Finished

This afternoon, I put the final stitches in Winter Cardinal. Now I just need to figure out how to finish him. But anyway, I am finished with this pattern by Something in Common, so I am going to offer it as a giveaway. If you are interested, please post a comment saying you would like the chart. If more than one person is interested, I'll draw a name, and then mail the chart to the winner. International stitchers, please feel free to respond.

Oh, I left off the border on this design. You can go here to see the original design at the Something in Common website.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday Night Stitching

On Saturday night, I participated in a Saturday Night Stitch Along with some other stitchers from a forum that I joined. You can stitch on anything you want, so I decided to pull out an old UFO and try to bring it back to life. This project is contained in three different pattern books by Cricket Collection. I have already completed 1st Story, and am almost done with 2nd story since I am skipping the floor with the Christmas tree (I think I do want to finish this in my lifetime...LOL). And the last pattern which I haven't begun yet is the third floor. It has a room where they make dolls and stuffed animals and the attic room where the Elf Secretary reads the letters to Santa. So here is my before-SAL photo:

While stitching, I rediscovered why this project became a UFO in the first place. I really don't like the fabric. It is very slick or slippery and it refuses to be held taut by either my Q-Snaps or even my hoop. I persevered though, and got the elf's head done and some of the wall on the left side. I will continue stitching it on Saturday nights, and I think I am going to try placing a piece of felt between the fabric and the PVC pieces in my Q-Snaps to help with tension issues. Even so, it is a fun piece to stitch.

Here are some more international blog sightings that I enjoyed recently:

Plaisirs d'aiguille Marie-Christine finished Fees de Noel by A Mon Ami Pierre.
Mausimom's She finished the adorable Two-by-Two and Santa Too by Homespun Elegance. I think that I am going to have to get this pattern.
Purr-Stitch Dolci finished the festive Christmas Elf by Mirabilia on a fabric that I really like by Silkweaver.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A UFO Comes Out of the Closet

This week I have stitched primarily on two different designs, and they are both Winter projects. Winter Cardinal by Something in Common is almost done. I have decided to leave off the border because it does not really match my decor...the border is Southwestern in design. So all that is left is stitching all the pine needles in straight stitch. I decided not to put a photo up this time because I am so close to being done. I'll just wait until then.

But I also stitched on The Road to a Friends's House is Never Long. I am trying to discipline myself to keep stitching on this even though the yellow border is ENDLESS. I really love the design, though, so I plow on. I stitch some yellow, then something else, then back to yellow again. I am nearly done with the more interesting parts, so soon it will be naught but yellow left to stitch.

Here is a detail of the little skier.

This Saturday, I am going to participate in a SAL where I have decided to work on an old UFO. This project has not seen the light of day for years. But my kids like it, so I have decided to pull it out of the mothballs and stitch on it on Saturday nights. Here is the before picture:

And here is a detail of the elf in the barn with the reindeer.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Recent Stitching

The days are finally getting cooler here in North Texas, and I think fall might be here to stay. You can never tell here, though, we might be pulling the shorts and sleeveless shirts out again next week. Like many people, fall is my favorite season of the year. I love the cooler days, the colors of fall, the pumpkins and scarecrows, the end of mowing the lawn, the shorter days....just about everything about the season, except perhaps football. I think perhaps,, for me, it is because it signals the end to our incredibly brutally hot summers. It is like a drink of cool water to a man dying of thirst. I have noticed, however, that it is the favorite of most people, even of those who are in much more agreeable climates than Texas. Perhaps for some, it is a last calm respite before the rigours of a harsh winter season. But whatever the reason, I just want to take long walks with dogs, stitch out on my front porch and bake pumpkin pie.

I have been stitching some these last few hectic weeks. I started a new project from a French magazine, De Fil en Aiguille, special Alpine issue, called Mon Beau Chalet. Here is my progress so far.

And I started Winter Cardinal by Something in Common. This is a very small design, and all I have left to stitch is snow swirls all around him and the border. I think I am going to try to make my very first flat fold with this one.

On the international blog watch, I'll just list a couple that stood out for me this week:
At Cross Stitch Girl, Daniela has finished stitching the gorgeous Secret Santa by Lavender and Lace. This Santa design just really appeals to me.
At Chalet des Perelles, Cathy is almost done stitching Merry Christmas, Ella Vaughan by Blackbird Designs and I just love the colors. Her photo makes it look much better than the picture on the pattern.
Nivaira at Labores de Nivaira has finished Where the Heart Blooms by Blackbird Designs, but she changed the words. It is just beautiful!
And Paola at Il Blog di Paola has made a delightful flat fold with her stitchery of Blessed Are the Meek by Little House Needleworks.
Everyone have a great weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reba Jo Dix

Reba Jo Dix
August 28, 1931 to September 30, 2008

My mother passed away peacefully and went to the arms of the Lord in the afternoon of Tuesday, September 30th here at my home. She was a strong, courageous woman full of faith in her Lord Jesus Christ. She will be greatly missed.

Friday, September 26, 2008


A month ago, I found myself suddenly providing end-of-life care through hospice for my mother at my home. Last spring she was diagnosed with her fourth metastases of breast cancer. She decided to forego aggressive treatment, and has been in a gradual decline ever since. She moved in with us in August and hospice people were called to help with her care. It has been a difficult journey, but a blessing as well to serve my mother in these last precious days with her.
She is now arriving close to the end of this battle, which has lasted 22 years, and though I don't know when the sun will again shine into our lives, I am trusting that our Lord will cause all things to work for His glory.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My First Blackbird

Well, after a long, long blogging absence, I have been inspired by my completion of The House on Acorn Hill today to actually get out the camera, take a picture and upload it onto the computer. Once that was done, it didn't seem like such a huge step to actually make a new blog post. So here I am.

It seems appropriate that this design is finished right at the beginning of autumn. And I have to say that, even though it has become cliche, I enjoyed every stitch. Fall is my favorite time of the year and I just love the colors that go with it. There are a few more Blackbird designs that I am eager to stitch, so there will hopefully be a new start around here soon.

Since I had the camera out, I snapped an updated picture of my LHN Dear Diary sampler. I am exactly at the halfway point on this one, and I'll be starting on the fifth little sampler tomorrow.

So far, the Abigail Winslow sampler has been my favorite. I just love the little ship, the dock and the brown house.

I also did the Lucy Fairchild in Savannah sampler which came out rather elegant.

I might take a short break on this large sampler compilation to work on a smaller wintry LHN. I haven't quite decided yet.

That is all for now. Until next time...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blackbird Designs

I kind of went off track this last week. Did I stitch on my beloved Dear Diary Sampler? No, not a stitch. Did I then work on my Anagram Diffusion sampler? No, it is still folded away. Perhaps I went back to the Mary Engelbreit piece? But alas, no, that was not the case. What then happened? Well, to put it succinctly, I caught Blackbird fever while surfing around the glorious worldwide web. Are you familiar with this malaise?

It all began when I came across Keka's beautiful picture of her completed
Beneath the Sunlit Sky. It is gorgeous! While still recovering from seeing that stunning image, I then ran across Nivaira's Awake the Dawning Day. I then found that I could not shake the beauty of these two finishes from my mind. So in the persuing days, I found myself hunting the web for other pictures of Blackbird WIPs and finishes. I found plenty to feast my eyes upon! It is strange, I had looked briefly at Blackbird Designs before and dismissed them as not quite my taste...disportionate foliage, somber colors. It must have been before I got glasses ;-).

So now I am in happy possession of three Blackbird charts as the picture below testifies. And I have Awake the Dawning Day and Moonlit Garden on order.

And I already made the plunge and started House on Acorn Hill. I started this one because I had all but two of the required threads on hand and some fabric that I have had forever and not ever found the right project for it. The fabric is actually darker and more yellow-toned than this photo depicts.
And now, that I have started one, I feel the Blackbird fever abating somewhat and I think I might be able to return to my Dear Diary sampler for a couple of days.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fair and Square Round #5

Yesterday, I received these lovely squares in the mail from Nancy. K. for the Fair & Square Exchange. She stitched part of LHN's Schoolgirl Lessons one over one in a lovely varigated rose thread. They are so delicate and pretty, this pattern looks marvelous stitched one over one.

And here are the squares that I sent Nancy. This pattern came from a magazine out of my extensive (embarassing even) collection of cross stitch magazines, and I stitched them using Gentle Art Sampler Threads.

And finally, I did manage to find just enough time to finish Julia's portion of the growing Dear Diary Sampler.
Here is a picture of what I have stitched on this so far. Next, I think I will work on the next virtue square which goes above the Mercy one.

Have a great stitchy week everyone!