Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February finishes

Happy Valentine's Day, my sweet friends!  Do you have any special plans for today? I have to work until 9 PM tonight so not much is happening here, but we tend to keep things simple on February 14th anyway--usually just a nice dinner at home and a sweet chocolatey dessert of some sort.

Can you believe February is already half over? I did manage to get a new little pillow stitched up for my Valentine's Day bowl of smalls and I think it's one of my favorite finishes ever. I forgot to take a "before" photo for you so here it is in its finished state. I recently began subscribing to the online version of Punch Needle & Primitive Stitcher Magazine and was delighted to discover that I have access to all of the charts from previous issues as well as this coming year! That's where I found this little beauty by Nikyscreations called "Be Mine."

Nikyscreations "Be Mine" finish

"Be Mine" is stitched on 32 ct. Putty Belfast linen with the suggested DMC colors. I did change the color of the lower right heart to match the upper one on the opposite side and used a satin stitch to fill in both.  I found a charm square of a marbled-looking fabric that perfectly complemented the thread colors so that was used as the little accent strip at the bottom as well as the backing of the pillow. The little heart charm was one I had in my stash and I thought it looked so sweet tied on with a wee bow in a bit of thread to match the cording. I think this color palette is a nice change from all the typical reds and pinks you usually associate with Valentine's Day, don't you?

Another gift sent... This green-robed Prairie Schooler Santa from Book No. 62 "Kris Kringle" is  now making his home with my sweet friend, Valerie, all the way out in California. I finished several of these Santas in this oval shape last year and have to admit, they are among my favorites! This bird-loving guy is stitched on 40 ct. natural Newcastle with the suggested DMC threads. I'm so pleased with this finish that I know I'll be stitching and finishing him exactly like this for myself in the future.

Kris Kringle Santa (from Book No. 62)

A near disaster... Well, that brings me to my ornament finish for January and a lesson I thought I had learned, but apparently hadn't! I loved this crow sporting his jaunty Santa hat the minute I saw him in the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue so I finally decided to stitch him as my first ornament of 2017. Using 40 ct. Sand Newcastle (a first for me--I loved it! The fabric's true sandy color is more accurate in the second photo below) and a variety of overdyed threads, he stitched up fairly easily (although I did make a few changes to the lettering--just a personal preference). I also added the two smaller snowflakes...

"Merry Christmas" by Samplers Not Forgotten

Anyway, it all began so well and I decided to use a black and white checked flannel (an old shirt from my husband--believe me, having had four guys in the house at one time, left me with a lot of flannel to add to my stash!). To this, I decided to add a thin burgundy colored strip of fabric and tuck a barely visible row of green ric rak in between the two fabrics. All went well and the little pillow was sewn and stuffed and ready to be pressed down to give it a nice compact look. I typically only use the iron on the backing fabric, but I stupidly tried to press the flannel portion on the front. Disaster struck! The iron accidentally touched the green ric rack, melted it and it somehow made it's way on to the linen just under the wording. AAAGGGGHHHH!!!

I flew into action and immediately tried to sponge off the sticky green remnants of the synthetic ric rak. Then I began picking it off with tweezers, which actually worked quite well. At this point, the ric rak that was peaking out from under the black and white checked fabric was half melted so my only choice was to cut it all off as best as I could. I then covered the entire area where the red and checked fabric met with a new line of ric rak which now meets in the back of the ornament. Not a bad save, eh? If you look closely, you'll notice flecks of barely visible green here and there, but I was not about to take apart the entire ornament and start over. If you recall, this wasn't the first time that my iron and ric rak have done battle... In this post from four years ago, you can see the results of a previous catastrophe. I hope I've learned my lesson, but I know I've learned that it almost always possible to rescue a piece from being thrown into the trashcan by using ribbons, trims, or buttons to cover your mistakes!

Saving a finish from near-disaster!

Another birthday gift... I want to thank my friend, Nathalie, all the way over in France for sending me a lovely package of goodies on my birthday. What a treat to receive this pretty French stitching magazine and  pretty embroidery kit with threads. Thank you, Nathalie--that was so thoughtful of you!

Birthday gifts from Nathalie

A little giveaway... I've been doing a lot of cleaning out as we are turning our sons' old bedrooms into proper guest rooms. After 25 years, all traces of the old green plaid wallpaper with its border of mallard ducks have been erased from my middle son's old bedroom. Oh, what a job! We had neglected to apply sizing underneath the wallpaper and it was a bear to remove, often coming off in only thin little strips. But, it is off and the room now has a fresh coat of a lovely pale gray/blue shade of paint thanks to my husband. Now to find a new bed (the bunk beds are out!!), dresser, chair and rug and we'll be all set for future visitors. Anyway, I had been storing my old cross stitch magazines in this room and so began weeding them out for duplicates and unwanted items. In the process, I came across several pretty charts that I thought one of you might like to stitch so I'll be offering one per post.

I thought this pretty chart would be perfect for a Valentine's Day giveaway and, as you can see, you can stitch just portions or the entire sampler... Just let me know in your comments if you'd like to give this a new home. This is just two pages torn from a magazine--not the whole magazine. If more than one person wants it, I will do a drawing.  PLEASE, PLEASE make sure to include your email in with your comment--I won't be trying to track anyone down if they haven't included their email address... Also, just so you know, I will be folding this up and mailing it in a legal sized envelope to save on postage.

I'm giving away this chart from an old magazine

On kindness... I had a really, really bad day at work last Tuesday. Problems with poor communication from another department that led me and other librarians to have to do many, many more hours of unnecessary  work on a project, a mean and condescending male patron doing his best to make me feel like an idiot, and way too many tax questions all rolled up into a gray and rainy day  left me feeling empty and defeated. But, at the end of that long day--a little ray of kindness offered itself up and saved the day from being totally bleak. A co-worker, one whom I work with every Tuesday, came up to me as we were getting ready to close for the night, and said she just wanted to thank me for always having her back, for always being there to help if problems arise. I wonder if she had any idea how much I needed her kind words at that time? 

It doesn't take much to make someone's day a little brighter... A simple compliment about a pretty outfit or a new haircut or a kind offer of help can go a long way and it makes such a difference. Even a simple smile given to a passing stranger... A dear, dear great-aunt of my husband's told me she always did her best to spread kind things she had heard about others and she was one of the most positive-minded individuals I've ever met. I strive to be more like her...

Thank you all for visiting! Thank you for all of your kind comments! Thank you for being such caring stitching friends! I hope your Valentine's Day is filled with at least one piece of chocolate... Spread kindness whenever possible--it does come back to you!  Bye for now...

Wishing you a day filled with love!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Another year older...

Hello, everyone! And here we are at the end of January--can you believe it? I hope the first month of 2017 has treated you well? In the middle of the month, I hit another milestone--I turned 62. Age 62, here in the U.S., means you are eligible for Social Security benefits. But, of course, I'll be waiting to claim them as the amount you receive increases each year until you hit 70. I doubt if I'll wait that long, though... still have to figure  out this "new chapter in my life!"

And there was another birthday this month--my blog turned eight years old on January 24th! During that first year of blogging, way back in 2009, my goal was to stitch an ornament (or small design) each week for the entire year--and I did it. Thus began my love of ornaments! Back then, though, I wasn't doing much finishing--and the finishing I was doing didn't look that great. Time and practice have improved my ornament finishing greatly! I've learned to enjoy the finishing process much more than I ever dreamed I would--and I'm so thankful to all of you fellow cross stitchers who have provided inspiration, photos, and tutorials!

So, on to the ornaments that I sent to my international friends for Christmas... Most of you will recognize this first one as a Prairie Schooler. This went to my dear, long-time blogging friend, Lois in Northern Ireland, who shares a love of Prairie Schooler designs with me. This chart can be found in PS Book No. 190 "Happy Christmas" and is stitched on black 32 ct. Belfast linen with the suggested DMC threads. I did change the color of his boots, gloves, and the door to DMC 844, however.  I love this finish so much with it's cheery checked fabric and little red jingle bells hanging from the cording--I know I'll be stitching it again for myself.

Prairie Schooler "Happy Christmas" finish

Another PS Santa found a new home all the way over in Austria with my lovely friend, Hilda. I'm sure he is very happy with his new life surrounded by those snowy mountains near Hilda's beautiful home. The Prairie Schooler Book No. 80, "Old World Santas," is where this chart can be found. I changed the red to DMC 221 (as I often do with PS charts that call for red) and used a 40 ct. flax Newcastle with some handmade cording and a simple bow.  I don't think you can see it in my photo, but I applied teeny Swarovski crystals here and there to look like snow.  Another one that I "must-stitch" for myself!
Prairie Schooler "Old World Santas" finish

My sweet friend, Gabi (no blog), in Germany was the recipient of this "Be Merry" ornament. I'm sure you all recognize this as one of the delightful chalkboard ornaments from Hands On Designs "Christmas Collection: Part I." I love these little designs so much--what I didn't love was the fabric suggested on the chart. It is designed to look like a dusty chalkboard, which is great, but it was way too soft and "flopsy" for me--I prefer stitching on a stiffer fabric with more body. I doubt that I'll be using it again... I think I'll be trying a simple black Belfast or 28 ct. Monaco for future chalkboard ornaments. I used the suggested overdyeds, but think I will just use good old DMC in the future as the variegation didn't show up enough to warrent the cost of the overdyed threads.

Hands On Design "Chalkboard Christmas" finish

And, surprisingly, I stitched three of the same ornament--I enjoyed it that much!! One of these little cuties was sent to my sweet friend, Cindy, here in the U.S., another went to dear June, in England, and the third, also sent to England, appears to have gone into hiding somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean. Sadly, it never arrived. Sigh... That is the first time in all the years I have done exchanges, that something not arrived at its destination. Guess I will just have to stitch another! Anyway, the chart for this Little House Needleworks cutie can be found in the 2014 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue. I used 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle and a combination of overdyeds and DMC for this one and this is another I plan on stitching for myself (some day!).

Little House Needleworks "Snowy Day" finishes

There are a few more gifts that I also sent, but I will wait for the next post! Whew--I was very busy at Christmas time, as you can tell!

Ch-ch-ch-changes in exchanges... After many years of doing many birthday exchanges, I have decided to stop participating in them this year.  I emailed those I regularly exchange with and explained to them that I could no longer keep up with everyone and the deadlines were causing me a lot of stress. And that is not what stitching should be about, is it?  (I do hope to continue the Christmas exchanges, for now). But, a few stitchers snuck in little birthday gifts for me anyway, which I want to acknowledge...

June included the sweet January Calendar girl chart in with her birthday card:

Birthday gift from June

Cindy included a cute Lizzie Kate chart in her card:

Birthday gift from Cindy

And, Christina, sent me some darling fabrics (aren't the little houses sweet?), a new magazine, and a  little gift tag-making kit.

Birthday gifts from Christina

So sweet of all of you--I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness! My birthday was quiet this year as it also fell on the Monday that Martin Luther King's birthday was celebrated so there was no postal service and it was a federal holiday here in the U.S. Unfortunately, my library doesn't observe many of the federal holidays so I still had to work. The day before my birthday, my middle son and his girlfriend had me over for a wonderful dinner, cake, and flowers so that made the day very special...

I wanted to share a photo that I posted on Instagram last week... I mentioned that the only snow we'd been having in January was in the form of the "snow" in my little stitched pillows! We actually did get a couple of inches this weekend, though, which has brightened up the outdoors.   I'll be replacing these snowy finishes with something more appropriate for Valentine's Day very soon, but I'll miss them--they certainly have brightened up the corner of my kitchen during an extremely grey and rainy month. I don't know about you, but I'm very happy to be rounding the corner to February!

Snowy finishes in my corner cupboard

A bit nostalgic... When I realized that my blog's birthday was January 24th, I began looking through my posts from 2009 and getting a bit nostalgic. So, so many of my old friends from those early years are no longer blogging or have stopped stitching altogether. They've moved on to Facebook, Instagram, or different creative outlets. Or have simply disappeared...  I suppose it is like anything--people move on to newer, more innovative things... Old fashioned records were replaced by 8-track tapes, then cassettes, then CDs and so on. But, then records kind of reinvented themselves as "vinyl." Will that happen with blogs? Do you suppose people will miss the more personal contacts that this media offers, and return?  I do worry about the future of blogs... I have to admit, I love the quick and easy posting format on my Instagram account, but I so treasure the friendships that I have formed through blogging. 

Anyway, I'm ever so thankful for those of you who continue to read "Stitching Dreams!" Your comments and emails and supportive friendships are always appreciated... Wishing you a very Happy February! Bye for now...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Christmas in January and a new stitcher!

Happy January! I have to say this has been the oddest January I can remember... While many of you are getting buried in snow in locales that normally receive little or none of the white stuff, we haven't had more than an inch. As I write this post--we have nothing on the ground--only green grass! We didn't even have snow for Christmas, which I always hope for. Oh well, it's made it very easy to get around, but I feel for the ski resorts, snow removal companies, and others who rely on snow for their livelihoods in the winter. It must be a very tough year for them here in western Pennsylvania!

So, how is this new year treating you so far? There seems to be a fair number of colds and flu going around the world from what I've been reading on your blogs. I'm always amazed that I'm not sick more often, considering what I do for a living and all the germ-infested things that I touch in the library on any given workday--the library cards, the computer mice, the keyboards, even the books themselves! But, so far, so good--I hope my good health holds out as it will be one busy, busy year for my family. So far, we have three family weddings (including my son's in October--can't wait!), my mom's 90th birthday in May, and our 40th wedding anniversary in July on our calendar. Lots of travel, but for such joyous occasions!

I've begun stitching a new mid-sized sampler, but don't have enough worth showing quite yet, so, instead, I'm going to share with you some of the Christmas ornaments that I sent to friends here in the U.S. There are still a couple of ornaments wandering who-knows-where in Europe and I'm beginning to worry as it has been almost a month since I mailed them... Oh dear! I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that they will show up at their new homes...

This sweet Hands On Design (from the "Chalkboard Ornaments Part 3" chart) flew across the state to my friend, Mary. I was so tickled with this finish that I know I'll be stitching it again for myself. It is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco and is so tiny that I had to scale everything down. I cut smaller leaves from felt than those that came with the chart, used a smaller button, and finished it with some miniature white ric rak. A little tip: when you finish an ornament, pay close attention to scale. If the ornament is small, use smaller prints and trims for a more polished looking finish.

Hands On Design "Silent Night" finish

Myra, in North Carolina, received this handsome gold Prairie Schooler Santa from the "Father Christmas" Book No. 43. This is the second time I've stitched this one and the second time I've given him away so the third time will be for me (greedy, aren't I?!). I used 40 ct. flax Newcastle and the suggested DMC colors in this design.  An oval finish with hand-made cording and a simple bow finished him off quite nicely. I never get tired of stitching Prairie Schooler Santas for some reason--they are just such classics.

Prairie Schooler Santa finish from Book No. 43

And my friend Robin, in Virginia received yet another Prairie Schooler ornament from the "Evergreen" Book No. 202. I used 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle and good old DMC threads for this finish along with a bit of lace and some little red jingle bells sewn along the bottom.  I so love that dove and peace is something we surely could use a lot more of these days... I plan on stitching this one again, too, but this time, on black!

Prairie Schooler Dove of Peace finish

Speaking of stitching on black, when I was taking down my Christmas tree last week, I was surprised to see just how many ornaments I had stitched on black... I posted this photo on my Instagram page last week and it was a big hit, so I thought you blogging buddies might like to see it, too. Do you know what my favorite is? If you guessed one of the Prairie Schoolers--you're wrong! Nope--it is the one right in the middle: "Five Golden Rings" by Cottage Garden Samplings. Are you surprised? I don't know what it is, but there is just something special about those sweet angels carrying the golden rings, that I really adore. So, do you have a favorite?

Can you tell I love stitching on black?

But wait! There are more!! A couple of my Instagram friends asked me about the PS Santa with the cardinal that they remembered seeing on my blog a few years back and I realized I had totally left out not just that one, but two others, as well.  The Santas were not at all happy with me and wondered how on earth I could forget them, so I promised them their very own "photo shoot!" Several people asked about what fabric I used on this trio... Well, these are each done on something different; the Santa with the cardinal is on 32 ct. black Belfast linen, the one with the lantern is done "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco, and the Santa pulling the sled is done on 18 ct. Aida.

Three Prairie Schooler Santas on black

I wanted to stitch something special for my oldest son and his fiancée to commemorate 2016--the year they got engaged, and I thought this Little House Needleworks ornament fit the bill perfectly. I chose to use the green cording as I didn't want anything too "girly" since it is for both of them. I'm happy to say it was well-received and I hope to start a tradition of making them an ornament each year to add to their tree. We so enjoyed having her with us at Christmas--another girl in the mix was fun for me and she and my son were both a great help in the kitchen. They even got me and my husband out bowling on New Year's Eve, something we hadn't done since college over 40 years ago! (And, believe me, my poor aching body reminded me of that fact for a few days after--bowling certainly uses muscles that I don't ordinarily work out!). We won't talk about the score--let's just say I need more practice...

Little House Needleworks: "Season of Love" finish

A new stitcher! My future daughter-in-law expressed interest in my cross stitching and said she wanted to learn, too, so, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to teach her. It was just a quick lesson on 14 ct. Aida using two colors and a simple lady bug chart. I was so surprised to get this back in the mail earlier this week! Not only had she finished the lady bug on her flight home, but she added the heart and the wording all by herself... She says she has found "her hobby!" YAY!! Another young convert! I am so happy to see more of the younger generation finding the joys of cross stitching--it really does warm my heart.  I began stitching when I was in my early 20's and it has brought me so many relaxing moments. My 62nd birthday is right around the corner and I'm sure at age 22,  I never dreamed that I would still be stitching 40 years later!

First cross stitch ever from my future daughter-in-law!

And, there I go again with an overly long blog post!! I do need to work on that... I am just the worst procrastinator when it comes to sitting down and composing a post and then, when I finally do, I have way too much to share. Thanks for those of you who are still reading. I'll be back later this month with photos of the ornaments I sent to my international friends (and one more U.S. friend)--hopefully, they will have all arrived by then...  Thanks so very much for all of your wonderful comments--they truly make my day! Stay warm now and happy stitching. Bye for now...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thank you--one and all!

And suddenly, here we are on this very last day of the year 2016! It seems as if I only blinked and twelve months have passed... Thankfully, 2016 was a wonderful year for my family and I can look back with mainly smiles. Oh, every year has its share of sadness and loss; its disappointments and its "I wish I could do that over" moments, but I can't complain...  Each of you who reads Stitching Dreams, whether you know it or not, has been a big part of my life this past year.  Through your sweet comments, your specially stitched gifts, or your emails simply thanking me for my blog, you've made me feel special and I truly appreciate each one of my stitching friends! 

I haven't been stitching much since before Christmas, but I wanted to share with you today the wonderful  gifts I was blessed with from stitching buddies around the world.  I'll share them in the order I received them...

From June in England came a cheery ornament with the cutest pompom trim, some fabric, ribbons, a PS mini-chart, and some chocolates.
Christmas gifts from June

From Lois in Northern Ireland came a lovely PS Strawberry ornament, some ribbons, mints, post-it notes, a new Christmas chart, and a sweet drawstring bag.
Christmas gifts from Lois

From Cindy in Tennessee came a darling Friendship ornament, a beautiful project roll made by Faye, a sweet gingerbread man, a snowman ornament and some pretty guest towels.
Christmas gifts from Cindy

From Myra in North Carolina came two beautifully sewn pillowcases, a bobbin nest to corral my ever-increasing number of bobbins, some pretty fabric squares and the cutest cross-stitched themed coasters!
Christmas gifts from Myra

From Gabi in Germany came not one, but, two sweet ornaments on two of my favorite subjects: cardinals and cheery snowmen.
Christmas gifts from Gabi

From Robin in Virginia came a darling snowman ornament to add to my collection, a whimsical rabbit pillow in my favorite colors of blue and yellow, and two Moda charm packs to aid in my future finishing endeavors.
Christmas gifts from Robin

From Nathalie in France came a pretty striped wool scarf, some DMC  floss, a Christmas decoration and hearts, and some tasty white chocolate.

Christmas gifts from Nathalie

From Lynda in England came a sweet "Welcome Christmas" ornament with the cutest button/charms, some fabrics, a multitude of cotton threads, some lip balm and the cutest box of shortbread biscuits.
Christmas gifts from Lynda

What did I do to deserve such spoiling? Thank you all so much! I still shake my head in awe that I've "met" so many special stitchers through my blog. I feel truly blessed to have made such caring friends...

So, what lies ahead in 2017? I am not one to make stitching plans as I have to be in the right mood to stitch different things. I admire those of you who meticulously plan ahead and have lists and kitted-up projects that would last you for years. I have trouble juggling more than one project at a time for some reason; if I leave a project, I just can't muster up the interest in it when I try to return to it... That being said, I do hope to finish the With Thy Needle and Thread "Birds Of a Feather" sampler that I've had on the back burner for way too long.

So, my friends, I do hope 2017 brings you much good health and happiness. I so love the peacefulness of January and even enjoy the cold and snowy weather as it offers me more time to sit and stitch or read. It will be interesting to see what this year brings, but I'm so glad that I have you blogging friends to help inspire me, teach me, and enable me! Thank you all... bye for now! 

Happy New Year! Welcome 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Parade Of Ornaments!

Happy First Day of Winter, my stitching friends! As we inch ever closer to Christmas morning (is it really happening in just four days?!), I couldn't let this week go by without my annual Parade of Ornaments... This is the seventh year of doing my "Ornament a Month" stitching and I like to do one post at the end of each year devoted to the twelve little "newbies" on  my tree. If any of you are new readers and would enjoy looking at past years, simply click on the year and you'll find my finishes from 2010-2015:  2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. I like to display my ornaments from the current year on a garland on my front stair bannister. It's hard to get a decent picture as it is in a hallway with limited natural light, but I promise to give you close-ups at the end.

So, are you ready? Cue the music and let the 2016 parade begin... Look at all of those chubby grinning snowmen marching down the stairs! How can you resist smiling back at them? It was a fun year (and I sure used up a lot of DMC white thread!!). You can see my cherry colored dining room in the background--love it at this time of year! But, it is awfully dark due to the covered front porch just outside so I'm thinking of painting it a different color. As usual, though, I'll probably be "thinking" about it for the next ten years before I actually do anything!

2016 Monthly Ornament Finishes

Would you like a closer look?
January ~ April 2016
May ~ August 2016
September ~ December 2016

As always, I love to hear what is your favorite (or favorites!).  I'll give you a closer look so you can make your decision... And if you want more information on fabrics or fibers that I used, just click on the name of the ornament below the photo--it will take you right to the post describing each finish.

Homespun Elegance "Sampler Snowman"

Notforgotten Farm "Parson Brown"

Casa Mia "Joyeux Noel" freebie

The Drawn Thread "The Joys Of Christmas"

Prairie Schooler Book No. 202 "Evergreen"

Country Cottage Needleworks "Snowmen"

Grandma Kringles "Winter's Frost"

Prairie Schooler Book No. 157 "Holly Days"

The Little Stitcher "Blue Snowman"

Country Cottage Needleworks "Snowmen Trio"

Heart In Hand "Winter Bird

All Through the Night "Stockingful"

So, what do you think--did any one of the chubby white fellows just call out to you, "Pick me! Pick me!"? Like any mother, I shouldn't play favorites, but I would say the two tiny Country Cottage Needlework pieces (June and October) are mine. The sheer tininess of them--stitched over one--is so sweet. I do love the December finish, too, as it is a bit different. It is awfully large for one of my ornaments, though, but it will still look nice hanging on the lower branches (or even on a cupboard knob or door handle). 

Now, many of you have asked to see a photo of my tree and I'm happy to oblige. We got a new star this year and, although, it doesn't photograph well, it is just so soft and pretty at night... Anyway, here is my 2016 tree with an accumulation of nine years of ornament stitching. People often tell me I've inspired them to stitch an ornament a month--that makes me so happy! It is such a joy to see them all on display in December and remember the stories behind them. I chose to stitch many of them because they remind me of people, places, or events that have been important in my life...

A tree filled with lots of love and tiny little x's!

You might like to see a few close-ups--inch after inch of stitchy Christmas joy! Not much room left for future ornaments, is there? At this stage in our lives, we won't be getting a larger tree, though, so I'll just have to get creative. Eventually, when we truly downsize, I have visions of my sons and their future wives (hopefully!) sitting in a circle and taking turns selecting ornaments to take home to adorn their trees. My middle son already told me he wants all of the bird-themed ones--ha ha!!

GIVEAWAY  WINNER! I was amazed at how many of you entered the giveaway for the Little House Needleworks "Be Merry" chart on my last post... I simply picked a name from the hat and the winner is:

Jennifer--congratulations! Please send me your address and I'll get this right out to you...

I'll be back after Christmas to show you some of the lovely gifts that I've received from fellow stitchers--kindness abounds in our community. As I've thought--and said--many times, if only stitchers ruled the world...

I want to thank all of you for your sweet comments--they are like little gifts to me throughout the year. They really are! When you take the time to write a blog, you never really know how many are reading unless they take the time to comment. I've received such lovely emails from people telling me I've inspired them to get back into stitching or try a new type of finish and I truly appreciate those. I feel very blessed to have "met" so many kind people through my stitching. Thank you--each and every one of you! Bye for now...