Christmas Stitching and Farewell to a Friend

It's December--can you believe it? And I've already finished the last of my 2021 monthly Christmas ornaments--can you believe that? Normally, I'm struggling to get that final one finished by mid-December, but this year I took the smart approach and chose a small, easy chart to stitch during this very busy month. This sweet design is a freebie by the talented Misty Pursel of Luminous Fiber Arts fame. If you are a subscriber to her newsletter, you'll be able to receive her charming design--you can sign up right here by clicking the red box at the top of her website. This is called "Joy" and is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco. (Many stitchers ask me where I get the black Monoco. Unfortunately, it is no longer available and I'm still relying on the large one-yard piece I bought years ago). 

"Joy" by Luminous Fiber Arts

It's hard for me to get a good photograph on black, but, trust me--this is lovely in person! The silk I used is "Rubbed Magpie" by Hand Dyed Fibers. It's the prettiest variegated blue! In this case, I worked backward and chose the finishing fabric--a cute blue and black check--first. Then I chose the blue thread to coordinate with it. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted to finish this ornament from the very beginning and I'm very pleased with the final outcome. 

Love the long "tail" on this one!

I didn't add the stitches that were charted inside the letter "o" because it is stitched "over one" and it would have been too crowded. However, I did add three sparkling Swarovski crystals. I had the glittery blue and silver ribbon in my stash so I made a simple bow, attached a snowflake charm, and surrounded the outer circle with black cording and a long "tail."

Swarovski crystals add a fun bit of sparkle, don't you think?

How is everyone's Christmas decorating coming along? I've been enjoying doing a little bit each day rather than rushing through it and stressing out. I redecorated the small three foot tree that sits on our bookshelves above the television in the family room. It was looking pretty worn out after 20+ years so I removed everything and started from scratch. Red and white has been calling my name at Christmas for  the past couple of years, so I simply tied on some red and white gingham ribbons and added a few white lacy snowflakes from Target (which are years old).

A refurbished 3 foot tree in my family room

I have had the sweet gingerbread boy and girl ornaments for years, too, and I didn't want to part with them. So I removed their old hangers and attached new ones made of bright red ribbon printed with snowflakes and polka dots. The tiny, round glass red and white ornaments were purchased from Target last year. Love the stripes and dots--it's such a fun little tree for our small family room and casts a nice glow while watching television in the evenings.

Here's a brighter photo of the tree taken while I was working on it in my kitchen. You can also spot my snowman tree in the back corner.

Although our large tree is up, it is not yet decorated. I heard a ruckus in the room we now use as a nursery the other day and discovered that the Prairie Schooler Santas had had just about enough of being kept in that white under-the-bed storage box for the past year. They were not happy with me at all! So, my solution was to free them and display them in my Pottery Barn cubby! I can't tell you how much this display makes me smile--I wish I had thought of this years ago. 

Pure Prairie Schooler!

Do you have a favorite from these 29 handsome fellows? I think number 27, number 11, and number 18 are my top three. But, you know what? I truly love them all! Here are a few close-ups for you...



 

 






I always leave the middle cubby space for my mom's silhouette. This year I added a tiny white Santa to keep her company (along with those sweet ceramic shoes that were part of her childhood shoe collection). I miss her so much, but this time of year is especially hard... 




So, what do you think? Should I leave them here in the cubby or move them to my tree? In all honesty, my tree is getting "just a bit" crowded with cross-stitched ornaments so I may move half of them and leave the others here... we'll see!

Thanksgiving was wonderful, although we were missing my oldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson who went to El Paso, Texas to celebrate the holiday with her family. Thankfully, they'll be here in just two short weeks to spend some extended time with us. In my previous post, I mentioned that I only had to provide cookies, pies, and the strawberry-pretzel salad for our family feast this year. Here are the baked goods I made--nine kinds of cookies (of which I froze half for Christmas) and two pies. Can you guess what the favorite cookie is in our family? Why, it's those yummy Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookies on the blue plate in front. This is the recipe I've used for years: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

I wonder how much sugar and butter I used to make these?!

 

Many of you asked about the mysterious sounding strawberry-pretzel salad that I made, too! Well, it is not really a salad, but that's how we've served it at our Thanksgiving feasts for over 25 years. Here is a link to the recipe: Strawberry Pretzel Salad recipe. With it's bright red strawberry top layer, this makes a great side dish for Christmas dinner, too. And yes... I'll be making it again in a few weeks!

A sad farewell... Sigh... now I've reached the part of this post where I know I'll cry. In fact, I already am... Many of you have heard about the passing of our dear friend, Meg, from Live To Stitch. Although we knew her death was imminent based on her final post in August, it is still hard to believe that such a kind and generous and downright decent person is no longer here on earth. Meg started writing her blog in 2017 and in her last letter to me in late September, she told me that I was the one who inspired her and gave her the courage to start her blog. I was so touched, but I have to say that you, Meg--you are the one who taught me (and many, many others) so much about courage. You faced your diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer with such dignity and bravery. You were the inspiring one--in fact you still are. 

Meg sent me this lovely Christmas ornament in 2019. Not only is it beautifully stitched and finished, but Meg designed it herself! Oh she was so extremely talented in many, many creative and artistic ways. She then generously offered this design to anyone who wanted to stitch it in  this post from December 2019. If you would like to stitch this in honor of Meg, I think it would be wonderful... you can find her chart and instructions right here

 

My Christmas gift from Meg--2019

I mailed a Thanksgiving card to Meg in very early November--I think something told me that she might no longer be with us on the actual Thanksgiving. She passed away on November 19, 2021 leaving her beloved husband and son. She was only 48 years old... In my final note to her, I thanked her for her friendship, her inspiration, and, most of all, for her all-round kindness. I told her I would never forget her--and I won't. May you rest in peace, sweet Meg...

Please visit Meg's blog to see more of her beautiful work and read her inspirational posts...

 

I think this is a good time to sign off for now since my tears are making it hard to see the computer screen clearly. I do want to thank you all for your well wishes for my rib injury. It's definitely on the mend and I can now sit reasonably well. I am still having trouble sleeping on my left side (which is, of course, the side I normally sleep on!), but I'd say I'm about 80% better. 

I also want to thank you for all of your sweet comments and emails. My mother always said that I had the kindest group of commenters--I have to agree. I love hearing from you and, even if I can't always respond, I hope you know how much your friendship means to me. I think my friendship with Meg was indicative of how close the cross-stitching community is on social media. She was nearly 20 years younger than I am, but we had the bond of stitching tiny x's in fabric to create something beautiful and lasting... something for our loved ones to remember us by long after we're gone. Wishing each of you a peaceful December. Bye for now...

Day is done... December 2nd, 2021

Source: stitchingdream

Christmas Stitching and Farewell to a Friend