And, all of a sudden, it's December! I'm sure we're all anxious to put 2020 behind us, aren't we? Such a strange, almost unbelievable year the entire world has had... Sometimes it just feels like a bad dream! Anyway...
How was your Thanksgiving? I didn't even bake a turkey this year since it was just me and my husband. But you know what--it felt rather liberating! We had a simple chicken casserole dinner with stuffing on top, a few easy side dishes (I mean how much easier can things get than sliced apples!), and a homemade pumpkin pie. My husband pronounced it the best pumpkin pie ever, but I think it's because neither of us were "stuffed to the gills" like we usually are after Thanksgiving dinner. It was such a nice feeling to enjoy our simple meal, savor the dessert (with extra whipped cream!), and then wake up the next day not feeling like I'd eaten a whale! And the extra time not spent preparing our usual feast for 20-25 people allowed me to get a jump start on my Christmas decorating and truly enjoy it... I didn't feel rushed--just took my time and relished the process. So, there really is a silver lining to almost everything...
With my extra time, I've been stitching gifts for friends and finishing up my final three ornaments for the year. I'll share two of them with you today as the third is not quite complete. For my October and November ornaments, I stitched Hands On Design's "Merry" from the Cranberry Christmas chart and Just Nan's "Blitzen Glistens."
|My two latest ornament finishes|
"Merry" was stitched on 32 ct. Tumbleweed linen by Wichelt. I love the color, but wasn't crazy about the linen. The linen seemed very "holey" to me. I usually use Zweigart fabric, but I wanted this particular color... The color is wonderful for showcasing white threads, but I'm not sure I would order it again due to the fabric itself. This was the first time I used Sulky Threads and, they too, brought mixed feelings. The coverage with one thread was great, but they lacked the sheen that DMC threads seem to have. I ended up substituting DMC thread for one of the reds and for the brown branches.
|Hands On Design's "Merry" from the Cranberry Christmas Chart|
For the finish, I added a couple of complementary fabrics in red and green with a mini white ric-rak to separate them. I was so excited to find the red fabric in my stash as I thought it mimicked the berries in the finish. Homemade cording, a jute bow and a fabric covered button (the first time I've made one!) finished it off. I think it's so bright and cheery!
|A merry finish of "Merry!"|
November's ornament was a much different one for me as it included metallic threads and beads--neither of which I enjoy working with. I am just not a sparkle-type. But, I thought I'd give this a try for something different. Blitzen is certainly glistening, isn't he? There are gold metallic threads in the stars and beads of gold, red, and translucent white (not to mention those "over one" cardinals on 32 ct. lambswool Jobelan). You were supposed to stitch the year hanging from the deer's antlers, but I've always preferred to leave my ornaments undated, so I didn't include them.
|My November ornament: Just Nan's "Blitzen Glistens"|
A ruched ribbon and an iridescent burgundy bow finish him off. I added three little leaves and some additional beads in the middle of the bow. These are simply glued on using some Aleene's Tacky Glue, a toothpick, and tweezers. Very fussy and time consuming, but I do like the overall look.
|Blitzen is certainly glistening, isn't he?|
Here's one more look at the latest duo. The lighting has been quite on and off this week, so it's been hard to get a decent photo! One more ornament to go for December and I'll share that with you in my annual "Parade Of Ornaments" post next time!
|Can't wait to add these pretties to my tree!|A couple of non-cross stitch projects have also been occupying my time--Taggie Crinkle Toys! What, you've never heard of them? Well, I hadn't either until I became a grandmother. Apparently, babies love tags and love crinkle sounds so these little things keep them occupied for hours (well, not really, but, they capture their interest for quite a while). I made two for my grandson and one (which I forgot to photograph) for a newborn baby girl. There are a ton of tutorials on how to make these, but the one I used can be found right here. What is the secret to creating the crinkle sound that babies love? A simple cereal or cracker bag (well-washed and dried, of course)! It is sandwiched in between two layers of flannel with colorful ribbons at spaced intervals. I added teething rings to mine as well as my little fellow is truly struggling with those first teeth wanting to poke through his little gums.
|Taggie-Crinkle Toys created for my grandson|
For the larger of the two, which measures about 10" square, I found the cutest Star Wars flannel fabric. It features all of the Star Wars main characters as babies. Can you spot the latest sensation, Baby Yoda? My oldest son loved anything Star Wars when he was growing up and I'm sure he'll make certain his own son does as well.
|Can you spot Baby Yoda?|
The second Taggie-Crinkle Toy is a smaller version (about 7" square) and features a soft white flannel with safari animals coming and going. This has more of a babyish look to it than the one above, doesn't it? I forgot to photograph the back of this one, but it has little black, white, and grey animal footprints scattered about. Honestly, the combinations are endless--if you need a quick and easy baby gift, give these a try!
|These little safari animals have the sweetest faces!|
Two sweet cross stitching friends were so kind and sent me two charts they knew I would enjoy. Stasi sent this pair of "Courting Cardinals" by Charley Harper as she knows how important cardinals are to me. And Barb R., my stitching friend from Michigan, sent me this lovely Drawn Thread chart called "The Little Birds Sampler" because she discovered she had two in her stash. I was the lucky beneficiary and I love it! Thank you both so very much--I can't tell you how much your thoughtfulness means to me...
|Two wonderful charts from two wonderful stitching friends--thank you so much, Stasi and Barb! You both know I love birds!|
Tuesday brought a lovely snowy day--perfect for getting out my cross-stitched Christmas ornaments! This large white box is an acid-free box that is usually sold to store quilts. I just keep it under a bed and in 12 years, I've never had any issues with the ornaments discoloring or getting damaged.
|My box of treasures all ready to get to work decorating my tree!|
In this box are all the ornaments I've stitched over the past 12 years. (I keep the ornaments my friends have given me in a different box). Even though it is large (at 30" x 18" by 6" deep), it is close to over-flowing so I may need to add a new acid free box to my Christmas list!
|I wonder how many hours of stitching have gone into creating these?|
Many, many hours of stitching and lots of love have gone into making these through the years--lots of little x's. I love the memories that each ornament brings back to me and I hope they are treasured by my children some day!
|Ah... my lovelies! It's so nice to see you again!|
The snow that fell on Tuesday was the prettiest kind--the type that clings to every branch and twig and gives the world a fresh, pristine appearance. I know some of you don't get snow in your part of the world, so try to imagine looking at an outdoor scene that has been frosted with the fluffiest, most delicate icing... a fairyland!
|The view from our upstairs window out to our pond and back yard after the snowfall.|
|View from the front porch|
Since the ground was snow covered, the bird feeders saw a lot of action and I had a visit from Mama Cardinal. She is not the bright red of a male cardinal, but more of an amber color as you can see below. After I took this photo, I was shocked to see I had caught a wee chickadee in mid-flight as he flew to perch on the hook!
|A female cardinal getting her breakfast as a tiny chickadee awaits his turn|
I loved the picture even more when I enlarged it to get a better look at him! I think the quality is quite good considering it was taken (through my kitchen window) with my ancient iPhone 6-S that I've had since 2015! I've noticed my photographs just aren't as sharp as they used to be so I think it's definitely time for a phone upgrade. Have any of you purchased the new phones that just came out--any recommendations?
|Chickadee in flight on a snowy December morning|
And Papa Cardinal was quite a sight in our snow covered Winged Burning Bush tree right outside my husband's den. If you look closely, you can see one lone berry to the left of the cardinal--bet he gulped it down quickly!
|Can you spot the male cardinal?|
So, my Christmas decorating is almost done except my tree is not completely finished. How is yours coming along? Are you doing a bit less this year? Or are you going all out and really doing it up right? I'm doing just a bit less, but definitely enjoying the process more! I want to share one of my favorite shelves in my kitchen corner cupboard. I mean who doesn't love caroling mice and Prairie Schooler Christmas stitches? This shelf makes me smile each time I glance over at it! I had wanted a corner cupboard in my kitchen for years and years and I'm so glad I finally splurged and bought this a few years ago...
|A shelf full of happiness!| Thank you so very much for visiting me and a special thank you to those who take the time to comment--especially during this busy month! Welcome to all my new followers, too. I'm having issues with my email subscribers not getting notified when I have a new post for some reason so I suggest that you follow my blog through Bloglovin' if you want to see my latest posts. And, of course, you can always see some of my photos on Instagram right here--I do tend to post more photos and more details here at "Stitching Dreams," though! I definitely have a special place in my heart for my blog readers--thank you for all your support over the past 12 years! I'll be back soon with the "Parade of Ornaments" for 2020. Bye for now...