Monday, December 31, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new...

Hello blogging buddies!  I guess this is my last post for 2012.  So let's raise a glass (of tea of course!) to the New Year, shaking off the things of the past and making way for the things of the future!

As I type, there are fireworks going off in the neighborhood and it's not even 9:00 yet!  I guess there are others as anxious for the New Year to start as I am!

I had one last finish a few days ago for 2012.  I started 31 new projects in January of this year, hoping to finish them all before today.  I am pleased to report that I have finished 16 of the 31, though I am disappointed I wasn't able to finish them all.  So my hope is that I'll be able to finish the other 15 along with three others that I have started or plan to start next year.   Wish me luck!  I also finished a few smaller pieces that were not listed on the sidebar.  They were for friends or family and are probably pictured somewhere on my blog this past year.

I've received a few gifts from my fellow stitchers!  First off is from my pal Sonya.  We were able to get together for  a stitch day  a couple of weeks back and exchanged our gifts.  She knows how much I love Nativities and gave me a blown glass set of ornaments for the tree and a book with Nativity stories.  I love them, thank you so much!!

And here is the ornament I gave Sonya.

Next is from my pal Astrid.  She gave me a few stitched mitten ornaments for the tree and a very special angel pin (sorry no picture at this time but hopefully on the next post).  I hadn't finished my gift for her and will share a picture after I've given her her gift.  I love the little mittens that she made and they will find a special place on our tree from now on along with Sonya's Nativity!

And here is my gift from Mouse!  She is an amazing stitcher as well as seamstress and I love the bourse she made for me.   She sent along some hand dyed fabric from Sparklies called Purpleberry Spludge and some hand overdyed floss from Threadworx.   What an awesome gift!  I can't wait to find something to stitch on the purple fabric.  Now how did she know that purple was my favorite color?

My family and I took a special trip with a couple that we've just gotten to know over the past two years.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer a month or two before me and she and her husband have become dear friends.  We decided to do something special this year and traveled into Baltimore to visit 34th street.  It has been a tradition to decorate the houses on a certain block every year for the past 65 years.  They even have a website!   Afterwards we visited the Hon Cafe for a bite to eat.  It was a very pleasant evening and a very special memory for my family.

 My favorite gift this year was a complete surprise from my husband.  I'm still a little shocked that he even paid attention to what I was saying one day while shopping at a bead store.  Astrid had given me a bracelet that I can add beads to, and as I was looking one day with DH I mentioned that I wanted to choose the charms carefully as I wanted them to represent meaningful events in our lives.  I had forgotten the conversation until I opened this gift on Christmas day.  I don't know if you can read what is written on the paper, but he bought several charms and explained what each one meant on the paper.  In every marriage there will be ups and downs and we've had our share of both.  He chose charms that represented moments in our lives that have special meaning to both of us.  I'm still tearing up as I write this thinking of how much thought he put into this gift.  It may seem like silly charms, but it means the world to me as it shows me that those events meant as much to him as they did to me.  I am SO in love with that man!!

And what did I give him?  A Moo Mixer...LOL  It seems like such a silly thing in comparison.  He liked it though!  

On Christmas day I started a big project I hope to finish in 2013.  This is called Winter's Majesty and is a kit from Maia.  I have admired this piece for many years, hesitating to buy it because it was so expensive.  I found a fabulous price on it and DH gifted it to me for my birthday.  I am having a hard time putting it down.  Here is a little corner that I have started.

Today I started Friendship Blooms by Blue Ribbon Designs and is a SAL with Mouse.  We have decided to stitch this piece on Tuesdays during next year.  Mouse sent this to me for my Birthday and we agreed then we would make it a SAL this year.  I'm stitching it on 40 ct. Exemplar linen over two threads using the recommended WDW threads.  I love how it's coming out so far!  I'm so excited to be working on this with Mouse!

The third project I hope to start this year is London by Thea Gouverneur.  I've been waiting to start this because I need a floor frame because of the size of it.  If/when I start, I'll post a picture.  I still have to find a floor frame...any suggestions?  It's a rather large piece.

It's been a year of ups and downs for my family, mostly ups for which I am so very thankful!  I hope all our stitching wishes come to fruition this year and my prayer for you and your families is for peace, prosperity, and good health in the coming New Year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hi there!  Thanks for stopping by!  I have to admit, with the holidays getting closer, things here are beginning to get a bit busy!  I'm sure you understand, with Christmas parties, shopping, concerts and other doings, it sure gets busy at this time of year.  I have to admit, I seem to be handling things a wee bit better this year, getting my decorations out (slowly but surely), getting my shopping done (there is only one more thing on my list!), wrapping and other "busy"ness.  I have a few pictures to show you of what I've been doing lately...

First let me show you that I've finished my Quaker Harmony by My Big Toe.  Thanks to a few comments left a few posts ago I decided to make a trek to my LNS to get the recommended Weeks Dye Works color they suggested.  I was being lazy and thinking I could use the DMC substitute, but I honestly didn't like the color choice.  I'm very thankful that I did.  I love it so much more!!  What do you think?

I've been working on another Christmas gift.  I found this yarn at Hobby Lobby.  I wish the picture did it justice.  There is so much sparkle in this yarn, but it just doesn't show up no matter how hard I try to photograph it.  I'm sorry for the blurriness but the sparkles only show up without the flash on and I just can't hold the camera still enough.  It is the softest yarn, I hope the recipient loves it as much as I did crocheting it for her.

I have given Astrid her ornament for this year.  I thought you might like to see what I gave her.  She has been my stitching buddy for a while now, I'm so glad to have her in my life.  She has been a grand example of a true Christian lady and I've learned so much from having known her.  She is one of the most generous people and so thoughtful of others and I count her as a blessing in my life.  

I've had some time to actually get some decorations up in my house.  We have always had a star at the top of our tree.  This year my dear husband informed me that he has always hated that star.  It only took him 28 years to tell me this...LOL  So....we were in Michael's the other day and I found angel tree toppers.  They were just so beautiful, and we looked for quite some time before we agreed on the color of the dress, the color of the angel's hair and the expression on her face.  I thought she was gorgeous!  It will seem pretty weird not to have a lit Christmas star on the tree, but what a grand addition she makes.  Again, pictures just don't do her justice.  And hopefully we'll have ornaments on the tree before too long.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have been collecting nativities for many years now.  They are from all over, and I'm pretty particular which ones I collect.  These are only a few pictures, I keep some up all year, and rotate them now and then.  I wish I had my Korean nativity out to show you, maybe in a later post...but here are some of my favorites...

This one was hand carved and painted and came from Germany...

This one is made from Olive wood from the Holy Land, and was given to me last year from Astrid...told you she was thoughtful!  It is the only one I have made from Olive wood.

This is a Thomas Kincade nativity, we collected in pieces for an entire year, and was a Christmas present from my husband one year.

This is a needlepoint cube I made depicting the nativity a couple of years ago...stitched and finished by myself.  It was my first...well my only finish...of a needlepoint piece.  I just love this!!

This is a miniature nativity, the pieces are very tiny and made of metal.  There are palm trees and other fun elements to this one, but I'm only showing the Holy family at the moment.

This was a gift from my husband last year, from Willow Tree.  I can't decide what I like more, the ornate ones, or the more humble looking pieces.  I just love them all!!

Last is a piece that I stitched many years ago.  I learned some interesting stitches while working on this one, and it took a very long time to stitch.  There are a lot of specialty threads in it and I could sit and stare at this for ages.  I took pictures of a few of the areas just to show you how much work was involved.

Now, I've heard that some people are having issues with blogspot.  I've been requested to give directions on how to compress pictures so I thought I would add them here for whoever wants them.  If you have microsoft office, I use that to open my pictures.  At the top there is a title called "edit pictures".  Click on that and a menu will appear on the side.  Under the heading "Change picture size" there are the words "compress pictures".  Click on that and another menu will appear.  I compress mine to web pages.  Click in the circle, then click OK at the bottom.  Your picture will appear smaller.  I then click on "file" at the top, then "save as" and give it a name and a place to live in my computer. are finished!  I don't know if this is the problem blogspot was having, but I have never had any problem uploading pictures (touch wood).  I hope this explains it well enough so you can try it at home.  Good luck!

And now I leave you with a silly picture of my crazy cat who likes to sleep in his crate.  We've added a pillow for his comfort, and when the weather turns chilly he sleeps in here, must be warmer somehow.  If only I could sleep that well!  See you all later!  *Hugs*