Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 ends but Santa fever continues!

Another year is ending. Many stitchers are presenting their year's accomplishments and they are a pleasure to see. Ranging from a few smalls to a multitude of various sized projects, our stitching pastime is a source of relaxation to aggravation. It's nice to see what can be completed in a year, and is encouraging to those of us that drag our needles, or disregard a loved design thinking it will take too long to complete. Time constraints, slumps, and emotions can get in our way, but eventually, we will complete and display the treasured work of our hands for our enjoyment.

Then my sister will look at it and say - "Why is that so dirty looking?  You spilled something on it?   What do you mean you deliberately stained it?  Why?  Were you having a hot flash?  So it will stay that way?"

Here's my last two finishes of SL's Hinckley and Bliss. I added the bottom border on Lydia's just because I thought it looked better.

Right now I'm completing BOAF Red Santa and really want to continue with the Schooler Santas since I have so many of those designs trees I need to fill with stitched ornaments.


My mantel Santas are from PS #43 Father Christmas,
and #62 Kris Kringle is very similar.



 Then there's #58 Old St. Nick,
 #20 St. Nicholas that I did on Aida and want to redo,
 #53 Santa Moon,
all the annual Schooler Santa cards,
and most of all, #80 and #88 Old World Santas I and II. I have a few more but can't find them right now.

 This is the sampler I plan on starting, from the 1988 issue of Early American Life magazine.

It's really different for me but I like it.  Problem is, there are no symbols and I'm having difficulty discerning the greens in the chart.  The pages are yellowed somewhat from age and I am trying to rechart areas so I don't get discouraged during stitching.


A few other notes -
Sue has instructions for everyone to check their Profile on Blogger to make sure you are not "no reply".  So many questions and comments cannot be answered because Blogger settings mysteriously change from time to time and if you do not allow your email address to be seen in the email we receive from your comment, we can't reply to you.  Her post with the info is HERE.  Make sure you click Save or Done Editing when finished.  If you don't have a blog, just go directly to your profile and edit from there.

A while back, I received an email from a stitcher regarding this rabbit and finally have the answer for you - contact me! 
Yesterday we rolled the stuffed cabbage for New Year's and I was going to post the recipe and photos but I will do that next time.  I have a great easy recipe for stuffed cabbage casserole but still prefer the real piggy.
And...I'm coming up on my 100th post.  I will have a small giveaway of two 1994 magazines containing a stitcher's sewing case that is killer!  This is a sneak peak - the inside is beautiful and complete instructions are in two issues.

And finally, I want to sincerely thank every one of you for being a part of my 2011, especially my new followers.  I started this blog to push myself to pick up that needle and get back into life as I had known it before becoming mom's caregiver.  I realized there is no going back, only moving forward.  I've changed a great deal, mentally and emotionally, but my love for samplers and stitching hasn't.  You have no idea how your support, comments, emails, and followings have lifted me and encouraged me. 
To all of you, a Happy New Year  filled with
love and laughter for the good times,
strength and comfort for the bad times,
a needle and thread for the quiet times.
Thank  you
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The envelope please.....

Hello everyone!  Hope your Christmas was wonderful.   I wanted to show a quick post about a quick finishing job I did the other day.  I found another PS Santa on Aida that may have been from my SIL and needed to complete the ornament for an unplanned gift.  I tried the envelope method and loved the ease.   The next one won't be as hurried and will have little buttons sewn down the flap or X's stitched along the fold.  I've seen a few finishes that were interesting on the back and never bother to do that myself, but that will change with this method.  The chenille or rick rack trims, lace, or a multitude of items can be used to dress up (or hide) the center opening and create a great look.  That didn't happen here!  It was a real rush job.  So here's the simple and easy procedure...
 The backing was cut twice the width of the project and then ripped down the center for two pieces.  Fold and press the edges in about an inch and then overlap and pin shut.  From then on, follow the usual right sides together but sew on all FOUR sides.  Press the seams, clip the corners.

Turn right side out, open the flap and fill.  Pull the two edges to overlap evenly and either glue or hand stitch closed.  Then have your fun with buttons or trim.  To make it even easier, you can sew on the rick rack or lace to the folded edge before stitching the back to the front.  Mine is bare which is OK too.  You can get all the edges and corners nice and plump without having to hand stitch any of the linen or other background fabric.   I used fabric glue to close the flap and would have liked to have sewn on those little buttons but had no time.  If you use the glue, it may be hard to get the needle through it if you want to stitch X's over the opening or buttons on, so test your glue on a scrap, or sew the buttons on before gluing closed.
 So here's the pillow from the front.  But take a look at how much nicer the bottom edge is without my usual pucker.

  So many ideas about how to dress up the back - even a loop with a large fancy button.  I am planning on this method from now on!  Which you probably already know about and use but I'm yapping about it anyway cause I'm excited.  
A few more things.  Food. 

This red grape salad was out of this world.  Haven't had it for a number of years and when a friend brought it to dinner, oh my, were we glad!  It's cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, tossed with red seedless grapes and topped with a brown sugar pecan topping.  Heaven. 


And can you believe this?  I found the 4' tree that I wanted to buy.  They moved it into the foyer and draped red tulle and cotton balls over it which is why I couldn't find it last week.  75% off!  My husband saw me carrying the 4' bag and rolled his eyes.  I told him I may sell the 3'.  I need an intervention.  But I also came up with an idea for lights.  Since these small primitive trees are very hard to string with lights, how about using honeysuckle, raffia, or thin grapevines intertwined with the teeny light strings and draping it like garland over the branches?  Huh?  Good idea?  I think so.  Lights, primitive, no wires showing, happy dance.   Except for that white crap you can see out the window.

Next time, the new sampler project.
I'll leave you with two more darling freebies I recently found.
Gettysburg Homestead has a sweet little peacock bag found HERE and The Sampler Girl has a kitty found HERE.
Have a wonderful week - thank you for visiting, I really appreciate your support - stay safe!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Down the chimney? Through the wall!

Hey all.  Santa may be coming down the chimney but Woody is coming through the wall.  Yep.  We finished patching all the smaller holes a few weeks ago and yesterday I heard an odd knocking. 
It wasn't the loud pecking that alerts us to a pecker, it was different and I thought Junior was attacking the adults.  Nope.  Outside investigation revealed a very large bird with yellow beneath the wings.  ?????  It's the Flicker. 
 

Inside investigation showed a hole about 7" long and 4" high.
Flickers are also protected by the Migratory Bird Act and are basically a type of woodpecker.  They are distinguished by the yellow underside of their wings as you watch them fly away from tearing your house to shreds.  Big bird.  I continued to scare and interrupt his excavating all afternoon which obviously upset him since he hasn't returned today.  We have an aluminum piece attached inside the attic and caulked around that to prevent rain and snow from running behind the siding.   The siding will be replaced on the house this spring so it will be corrected then.  We were planning on cedar lap siding again, but after this year, James Hardie cement siding may be a better choice.  We've co-existed with many pecker varieties and fed them for 25 years, but they obviously are needing more protected roosts.  Not sure what to do if he comes back but I'm also concerned that he is elsewhere starting a new hole.  He wasn't finished with this one! 
Woody Woodpecker his very self was here again and is creating a cavity for his home as you can see here.  Problem is, they usually pick dead trees but this tree is living - so far! 

Well, I have to prepare palachinkas (cottage cheese filled crepes), smelts, pierogis, with a few purchased side dishes for Christmas Eve so I don't have time for birdwatching. 
I haven't really been browsing for freebies but Pineberry Lane's caught my eye on Nan's blog.  Love it.  For some reason, my reader's list missed quite a few recent posts so I need to go back and review your blogs.  I'm listing a few freebies that were featured by stitchers - just in case you missed them or haven't had time to check them out.
Pineberry Lane's download on PatternMart (you need to register)
can be found HERE.
Another nice Christmas Free is from Woolen Sails and can be found HERE.
Merry Primitive Christmas from The Primitive Hare can be found HERE.
Another of her wonderful free charts is on her blog HERE.
And scroll down Viola's lovely blog to see several sweets HERE.
DMC's Mistletoe Sampler is a little more elaborate HERE.
Tokens and Trifles has lots of smalls and I picked the Quaker Stocking HERE.
Their sewing cards are so lovely and they offer many free charts for them HERE, you just click on the shape. 
That's the end because I'm flashing and need to go stand outside in the cold rain.
****************
I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tour of Homes

Hi all!  I found a blog that has hundreds of home tours from bloggers if you're interested.  It takes a while once you reach the blog for it all to load so give it a while, and then click on any of the photos to see Christmas decorations from some pretty artistic bloggers.  Well, not all.  I posted mine!  You can post yours too.  I uploaded my photos to a page on this blog - your can see the tab for Stitcher's Christmas - copied and pasted the URL for that page, and voila.  You can do all the photos on one post and give that URL if you prefer.  I've seen some wonderful photos from stitchers so think about including yours for this fun show.  You only have one more day and then it will be closed.  There are 617 house tours before me so it may take us months to view it all!    Click HERE to take a look.
I went to Pat Catan's (again) to purchase the 4' tree but it was gone.  They are having 25% off Christmas items and I found these picks, garland, and wreaths that are stiff, painful, and very realistic for CHEAP.  I'm a happy girl lady woman.  My kitty now resides in one of the new wreaths.
Here's a few of my favorite ornaments on the newest 3' that you have talked me into keeping.
 Big hips and big feet - these two are certainly related.  And yes, I can relate to!
 My SIL's daughter bought this for me and it cracks me up. He has a backside, where he is hiding a snowball to nail someone with and he's wearing ice skates.
I also found this really scrawny garland that I draped over the hutch and my husband just rolled his eyes.  See the little baskets now on the other tree?  25 cents each and they were bright red - I just water thinned my brown craft paint and slopped it on to age - more cheap ornaments.  Happy dance.
 
 
I said I was done posting about decorating but I can't keep my mouth shut when I get a bargain.
I promise - no more!!
Have a great week and thanks for visiting!  Don't forget to check out the home tours and add your stitched or favorite decorations!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

AUGH!!! and more trees

Hello everyone.  Today started off with me shaking in my red rubber boots.  I was proceeding to the cat condo (which now has egg-crate foam lined with thick sherpa) to feed the brats but not before I gave a panoramic snarl to the white crap that is now covering my yard.  Did I ever mention that I hate winter?  Something colorful and large caught my eye.  There he was.  The Godfather, the Drill Sergeant, Jack Hammer of the woods, the Grand Poobah of peckers.......the pileated.  Oh Lord I'm in trouble.   He's bigger than the cats!  Did his subjects call him in after being squirted off my house?  Did the clanging pans disturb them too much?  The sight of a wild woman jumping up and down flailing arms and screaming give them nightmares?    I was afraid to let him out of my sight to get the camera so I snagged this photo.

This Poobah Pecker can take the siding off my house in a half hour.  I'm providing nourishment (as recommended) for his #*$&*! subjects that were trying to nest in my house so he should be kind to me.  He's too big to land on their feeder - I'll make a larger feeder - and a sign with his image on it - with an egg-crate landing post.  Anything O Poobah.   I watched him fly away as I bowed, but I'm not leaving the house just in case. 

 Here's the results of the drawing.  I went to Random.org and entered all the names, it created a list and assigned numbers, and then two numbers were drawn.
I hope you like your gifts!
I decided to forget about stringing lights on the last tree so it is back in the attic.  This smaller version has been used for years and since it already had lights, I brought it down and decorated it the same as always.  The little schooler Santas that I earlier put on a wreath since I wasn't planning on their usual tree, and rust.  Rusty jingle bells, stars, and pine cones.  What a difference since staining them!  I like the tree so much better than prior years and am glad I darkened the light sage Aida.  It looks great with the rust and even better with the lights off.


The little stool next to it is something I found at our local antique mall a while back.  It's a darling little shoe shine stool.  Usually the lid is down and it looks like an ordinary little bench but the Shinola label matches the colors on the tree so I left it open and will fill it with greens and enormous rusty bells.
So with all these trees and others in the attic, why am I keeping the 3' I just purchased?  Because I may never find a little one with branches that stiff for heavy ornaments.  I think it's perfect in my tiny parlor.  The price tag is still on though, just in case.  I'm done.  So you've seen all trees.   Except for the main one...
 Which goes in front of the window next to the fireplace now that it's complete.  Now we're done.   The glass ornament filled with colored ribbons has "BJ" on it.  We have a local pet cemetery, chapel, and they also do cremations.  Any pet lost in the year is remembered with a personalized ornament at a chapel service held at Christmas time.  I couldn't go last year, but Mark did.  They would have heard me wailing downtown.   Anyone is welcome and it's a packed house every year for our pet service.  I'm crying already!  So that's it.  For sure.  I'm done.  Back to stitching.  I want to finish Frances Bliss and start on the Woodlawn that I plan to post for sure, next time.   I was planning to make our cottage cheese pierogis for Christmas eve, but none of the stores carry dry cottage cheese anymore and the regular (even well drained) isn't the same.  So I'll make some of our favorite cookies and try not to eat so much dough that I only get a half batch.  Stay safe, have a great week, thank you for reading.  My sincere gratitude to everyone that participated in the offer, and to followers.  Thank you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

And the winners are..

Ann won the large box and pear.....

and Anonymous (Jean Hohulin) won the small box.

Please send your address girls - I will post the photos of the Random.org drawing later.

I want to thank everyone for participating.  I really appreciate the response and wish I could give something to every one of you!

Your chances just increased

Hello people!  I'm feeling generous.  I am thrilled that 50+ of you would like my box, and encouraged enough to think seriously about Etsy.  So how about super sizing it?
I used the same two designs and put them on a 6" x 6" box.  I will use the generator at Random.org for the winner, and also draw a second time for the original offer of the 4" box.  If you're the winner and prefer the small box, that's fine.   The pear will be included with the first prize, along with a few dried citrus.  Don't you wish there was some stitchy stuff inside?  Well there isn't so don't get your hopes up. 
I was also informed that the pear will not make it into Australia which I didn't know.  I guess the box is all I can send since even the dried oranges are not allowed.   I don't know if other countries will accept but we'll find out.   I'll try to find something that I can include instead of the pear should the winner be lucky enough to reside in Australia.   Many of you are "no-reply" so be sure to check back for the winner.   Today, 11 pm EST!   I'll post by midnight.  Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Offering update

Hello everyone.  I've decided to give the winner of my offering a choice of boxes.  You can choose from the house design I showed earlier...
or if you are an Adam & Eve lover, this design...
The round boxes are painted a dark brown, aged, and are 4" high and 4" across.  I will draw from the names at 11:00 pm Eastern time on Friday night.  Hopefully I can get an address Saturday morning and get it in the mail before the post closes at noon.   Don't forget - the pear will be inside! 
Another tree!  This is jingle bells and dried orange slices, with dried whole oranges lying on the branches.  I think the last tree (still waiting for its lights) will be all lights and rusty, brown, and gray jumbo jingle bells.  
 I didn't get the scanner working to post the Woodlawn piece, but wanted to give the deadline for the pear box.  Make sure you leave your request on THIS POST.  Yes, the box originally shown was mustard but I wasn't happy with it and since it's still my box, I changed the color.  Good luck!  Remember, Friday night at 11:00 pm EST. 
I also wanted to thank everyone for the wonderful comments on my mantel.  I added more stitched Santa pillows in the greenery and it looks even better. 
To answer your emails, Margaret stitched her PS on the recommended 18 count Davos over one.  I always did mine on my standard 28 count over two, but really like this look so I will be using the 18 count on future designs.  Unfortunately, I included all my 18/19 count Cork linen with the charts for my EBay sale.  All gone.  Never thought I would have a need for it!!  The Christmas cushion from Carol (Sampler Farmer) is a design from Country Rustic Primitives.  Nice stuff.   It's stitched on "mink" which may be discontinued.  That's typical.  If I didn't give it away, sell it, or burn it, it's discontinued.
That's it folks!  I'll be back the end of the week.  Stay safe!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas came early

Hello everyone.  I received two gifts of stitchery today and am absolutely thrilled.  As soon as I got them, the mantel decoration became perfectly clear....


Margaret surprised me with this Prairie Schooler ornament that I recently saw featured on her Sampler of Stitches blog.   This wonderful design fits perfectly in my collection, and I am thrilled with him!  Beautiful backing, a little jingle bell, and perfect finishing.  Thank you Margaret! 

This Christmas cushion was also a surprise from another friend and I am speechless at the generosity of stitchers.   The weight and feel is new to me and I'm assuming it's walnut shells (of which I have a large bag that has been hiding for quite some time).

The backing fabric is perfectly matched to the linen and thread and stitched all the way around with those X's that we all love.  I don't know what I did to deserve such fabulous treasures from you girls.  I'm really touched and can't tell you how much I appreciate your gifts.   Thank you thank you thank you.
My mantel is now a showing of Santas and stitcheries.  I had small pieces here and there and decided to group them after opening my mail today.  I love the way it looks!
And believe it or not, I bought another tree.  I happened to spot this at my local craft store in a 4' but didn't want to spend $50 so I passed.  And there, way up on the top shelf, was a 3' version for $25!  The branches are so stiff, perfect for heavier ornaments, and the needles are pretty stiff too.  There are several branches on each limb so you can pull them out for a little fullness, or not.  I'm drawn to these because I like the look of the tree itself, even without adornments.  Not sure if I am keeping it - I have several this size.                                                                                                                                My other simple tree now has lights round the trunk only and all tin and pewter ornaments.  Not sure about the lights, but I am wiring each ornament securely, putting it in a large bag, and next year I only have to open the bag and plug it in.   The siliconed light strings are on the little fat trees.  I've tired of my traditional and shiny ornaments and tried different themes this year.
  I have a sampler chart from the Woodlawn Collection I want to start and would like to show that and the problems I will have right from the beginning.   Next time.  I  need to post the date for the drawing so I will be posting again in a day or two. 
Thanks for reading - talk to you soon!