12 November 2019

A Snowy, Blustery Veterans Day

Veterans Day at our house was quiet and cozy inside and cold and snowy outside. Tiger Lily snuggled down in one of her many winter baskets, our favorite veteran Mr. Wonderful studied in his library, and I stitched away on a non-Christmas Open House project, because I am finally done stitching those! Hooray! It's been a challenging year, and there were times I wondered if I'd get them done, but I did. I hope to get most of the finishing done this week... fingers crossed. It's so nice to be stitching something without a deadline! 

Remember Mr. Bun from this summer? (see this post) He still visits his spot almost every day, even in snowy weather. I open the front door a bit and talk to him every morning. We're friends. Can you see him?

Here's my little project. Every now and then in my wanderings around the interwebs I stumble across something I have to stitch yesterday. This is one of those projects. The adorableness was irresistible. I hope to have a finish to show you later this week.

Tiger Lily and I will be unsupervised for a couple of days this week while Mr. Wonderful goes off to help protect the country. No telling what we'll get up to. Stay tuned! And stay warm!

01 November 2019

Fancy Pumpkins Finish!

I took a break from Christmas Open House work to finish up this gorgeous little pumpkin piece I've been dipping into here and there, between other projects. (Link to purchase this chart in this post.) I stitched it on 28 ct. Dirty linen with the recommended DMC, but I did make some changes.

*I omitted the crow and the word "pumpkins."
*I didn't use the 522 (pumpkin stems) or the 368 (vine on white pumpkin). Instead I used 470 for both.
*I substituted 3854 for 3705 for the berries on the white pumpkin.
*I used beads instead of French knots on the black pumpkin.
*I used two strands of floss to backstitch the mouth on the white jack-o-lantern, instead of one.
*I stitched the flowers in the border using 3853 & 3854, with 3855 centers, instead of the 3865 called for. I wanted to pick up more of that gorgeous, glowing orange.

It sounds like a lot for such a small design, but all I really did was some editing: fewer design elements and fewer colors.

Mr. Wonderful and I had our annual Halloween party. We are extremely low-key, so by "party" I mean eating stuff with lots of carbs and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. For the first time in the history of ever, we ran out of candy. In 30 minutes. Four big bags. I've never seen so many trick-or-treaters in my life, and I will be ready for them next year! (Although I did think I was ready this year!)

Anyway, we had baked ham and Swiss sandwiches.

And a little Halloween cake (half a Spice cake mix but a whole container of vanilla frosting!).  I thought I had overdone it with the sprinkles, but Mr. Wonderful said it's not possible to overdo sprinkles.

And a cold weather tradition, my mom's hot Percolator Punch (recipe in this post). 

In between laundry and cooking, I managed to get in some stitching and finish up Fancy Pumpkins, with the help of my little homemade Bride of Frankenstein needle minder. I call her Elsa, after Elsa Lanchester, the actress who played the role in the 1935 classic. We watched it again last night and I'm always amazed by her performance. Probably less than 5 minutes on the screen, and yet she created a classic character.

Too much going on at my house this year to get any fun Halloween stitching done, but I've saved this cute little freebie for next year, and thought I'd share it in case y'all missed it.

Happy Stitching!

29 October 2019

First-Ever Pre-Halloween Snow

Well, the locals told us it would snow before Halloween, and lo and behold, it did! It began yesterday around 6 p.m. and snowed lightly all evening. It wasn't much, but it was so nice. There's nothing quite like the very first snow of the season. The part of the East Coast we moved from usually doesn't have much in the way of snowfall until January, and being from Texas originally, pre-Halloween snowfall is just bizarre to us. 

We're supposed to get more tonight and tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to putting on a crock pot of soup and cozying up in my sewing room to stitch and watch the snow fall. 

Our first winter on the Great Plains is underway. I'm armed with cozy blankets, a new soup cookbook (with 300+ recipes!), and enough stash to provide projects to every person in Siberia. Let's do this.

23 October 2019

Christmas Ornament SAL October Finish

Here's my October choice for the Christmas Ornament SAL. This is from the 2003 issue of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments.

It's stitched on 30 ct. English Ivy from R&R Reproductions, with GAST Antique Rose and Oatmeal, and CC Weeping Willow. The beads are Mill Hill  #2012.

I'm two (!) ornaments away from finishing this year-long SAL and having a set of twelve ornaments for my sewing room tree!

I'm spending all my spare time working on Christmas Open House lovelies. I wanted to do more fall/Halloween stitching, but with the big move this spring and everything that's happened since, the time is just too short. I suppose I could skip my Open House this year, but it's become a tradition for me and I would miss it. So I'm working on it as much as I can, with quick little breaks for whipping up an ornament here and there. November at my house is going to be... interesting. It's going to look like the North Pole three days before Christmas!

21 October 2019

Basket Season

Snuggle down, y'all. It's Basket Season.

And just in case you missed it, here's a new fall freebie. It's one of the prettiest I've seen in a long while. Enjoy!

12 October 2019

Pink & Green Ornaments, Part 1

For the Christmas Ornament SAL, I have nine ornaments stitched (January through September), and I have six finished. (If you're new here, these ornaments are for the Christmas tree in my pink and green sewing room.) I hope to get the finishing on the remaining three done next week. Then I'll be caught up to October, with only three more to stitch and finish. This SAL has been great for keeping me on track with ornament stitching during this very busy year (click on the image in the right sidebar to go to the SAL page).

This crocheted banner thingy is something I picked up at Hobby Lobby during the summer a few years ago. It looked useful as... something. When I'm doing a lot of finishing at once, I quickly run out of space to display my finishes as I complete them. I want to keep them out for a while and enjoy them--who wants to put in all that effort and then immediately store them away? So I nailed this crocheted banner to a little scrap of wall in my sewing room and pinned my finishes to it as I completed them. Now I can see them all together, see how the colors are working, and just enjoy my work.

January and March


September and April


For info on any of these ornaments, click on the Christmas Ornament SAL label at the bottom of this post. All the info on sources and color conversions is posted.

11 October 2019

Bead Trim for Ornaments

I've been wanting a bead trim option for my ornaments for some time now, and I finally found one I like. As is usual for me, it's an adaptation and is not actually bead trim at all--it's for jewelry making, but I think it works.

I referred to this tutorial, but of course left off the jewelry findings on the ends. I used SuperDuo beads and regular Mill Hill seed beads, and used tiny sequin pins to attach the trim to the ornament. I then used a Sharpie that matched the seed beads to dot the pin heads to conceal them. 

These are what the beads look like. I had these in my stash for a while, having bought them because I liked the colors and thinking I would eventually figure out how to use them for finishing. Not being a jewelry maker, I had no idea, so I asked a lady shopping in the bead aisle who looked like she knew what she was doing. She very kindly gave me an idea about stringing them, and that was enough to put me on the right track. 

I needed a 15" length of trim for this ornament and although it was a bit fiddly and slow at first, I did get the hang of the two needles and got faster toward the end. I'm happy with how it turned out and already have my eye on this bead trim for another of my ornaments. 

07 October 2019

Crocheted Doily Ornament Finish

So. Last October's flu shot knocked me on my backside and derailed plans I had made to do a bunch of finishing and framing that week.

This year, I was smart, and came up with my Flu Shot Plot. I spent a few days getting all my housework and a bunch of cooking done, just in case I did another post-shot face plant. But the cleverest part of my plot was this: if I didn't end up sleeping for two days... all my stuff would already be done and I could spend the week playing in my sewing room! 

I am happy to report that it's play time! I got my shot yesterday, and apart from a sore arm and some heavy duty napping yesterday afternoon, I've had no side effects and I'm ready to do some finishing! Hooray! It's been way too long and I am way too behind. I'm so looking forward to being in my sewing room, making a mess, and sharing the results with y'all.

I decided not to over-do it today, though. I did some tidying up in there... because it's always important to tidy up before you make a big mess. And I whipped out a super simple ornament using my September Christmas Ornament SAL finish that I showed last week. 

This finish is as easy as falling off a log. I found the little craft doily on clearance at Jo-Ann's for 97 cents. I've seen these craft doilies at Hobby Lobby, too. You can usually find them in white or ivory, and they come in various sizes. I just gave this one a little spritz with spray starch, ironed it, and glued my finish on--that's it! Inexpensive, simple, fast. This finish can be completed in just minutes.

Just so y'all can see what a difference the starch makes, here are before and after pictures of the little doily I used for this finish.

Finishing doesn't always have to be elaborate and time-consuming. Sometimes the most satisfying finishes are the simplest.

03 October 2019

A Very Good Day

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

~Genesis 1.31

30 September 2019

Christmas Ornament SAL September Finish

Somewhat unbelievably, I'm still on schedule with the Christmas Ornament SAL. This is my September finish, a Brooke Nolan design from the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue. I'm really happy with how the color conversion turned out. The pictures can't capture how sparkly it is, though. Most of the robe is stitched with Kreinik and this ornament just glitters.

Here are the original threads followed by my choices:



I didn't stitch the halos, stars, flowers, or leaves for the border. I haven't yet decided how to finish it.

27 September 2019

Fancy Pumpkins Update: Creepy White Jack-O-Lantern

Pumpkins are done--on to the border! There's supposed to be a little crow perched on the stem of the fifth pumpkin, but I haven't decided whether or not to include him. I'm going to stitch the border and see what I think then. Also, if you're planning to stitch this, I used two strands to backstitch around the mouth of this jack-o-lantern; the chart calls for one.

Sometimes when you're hard at work helping mom stitch, you have to pause for a baff.

24 September 2019

The Last of Summer, The First of Fall

Summer warmth is letting go. Today, and perhaps a couple of days early next week, will be its last gasp. Fall will arrive, in all its perfection, with days in the 50's and 60's, and nights in the 40's. I can't wait. I come alive in the fall. Thrive in winter. Tiger Lily and I spent the day getting the sewing room ready for long hours of autumn stitching.

Happy Stitching!