15 January 2022

Saturday Sampler: Keeping Busy Edition

 

Before we get to important stitching news, I want to thank all of you for the continued prayers and the lovely messages for me and my family. I deeply appreciate all of them. This year has not started out as we had hoped, but we are blessed beyond measure and I count all of you among those blessings. I'm thankful to you and for you. (And for Tiger Lily, who has been my constant companion since I returned from Texas.)

Now, let's talk stitching, shall we? First, my 2021 blog book just arrived. This is a yearly tradition I treat myself to every January. I use this service and have always been happy with the books. There are discount codes on their Facebook page (you don't have to have a FB account to see them) and I recommend waiting for a current code if you're thinking of making a book. I am a paper and pencil, hard copy kinda gal, and I love having my blog in book form. 






As you might imagine, I didn't get to have my annual Stitchy Planning Week between Christmas and the New Year, so when I got back from Texas I started trying to put my mind to a little planning. At least for the first half of the year, my plans aren't as ambitious as they usually are since we'll be moving at some point. Don't know where, don't know when. Not stressful at all. So I needed some small, enjoyable, accomplishable (new word!) projects to get me through the coming months. Here's what I came up with:

This is free! Twelve pretty, seasonal bouquets and you can see all of them! I've only ever done one mystery SAL (large stitched piece with a common border, and you don't know what's coming) and from that experience I learned I'm not a mystery SAL person. I ended up going my own way on four of the last five installments, and while I'm very happy with the finished piece, I discovered that I'm a bit too much of a control enthusiast to put time and money for supplies into a large project I haven't seen. (If you love them, there are lots starting this month!)

And this is why I love this SAL. I'm stitching each bouquet individually as that's what works for me right now, but if you want to stitch them together, you can see what the finish will look like. January bouquet is up now.

She has also provided a list of all the hand dyed threads needed for the entire project, along with DMC conversions, so if you want to gather your supplies for the whole project, you can do so. 

I love the SAL explosion that happens every January. This did not used to be a thing, but in recent years it seems to have really taken off and while I don't do a lot of SALs, I'm happy to see anything that increases interest in stitching. If you'd like to join a SAL, this is a great list:


There are all kinds available. Some are free, some not. Some are mystery, some not. Different techniques. 

I think more than SALs, I enjoy monthly series. I guess that can be considered a SAL, but maybe with a series you feel you can drop in and out as you choose, and you don't have to stitch every installment. Or maybe that's just me. Or maybe it's the lack of a border? Maybe I just have psychological issues? If it has a border it's a SAL and if it doesn't it's a series? I have no idea... 

Anyway.

This is my second choice and I am so looking forward to it. Last year I stitched her Tea & Coffee Series (still need to stitch December), and I loved it. I was hoping she'd do another series this year, and when I saw it was birds I just melted! I adore birds and I must say, it felt like a little gift just for me. Please do check out her Etsy shop. She has so many pretty things.

Also, keep your eyes open for Nashville Market goodies. I have noticed the very first few items begin to show up, one of which is a new edition of the Market cookbook they began producing a couple of years ago. Very cute little cookbooks with some small designs included. I'll try to remember to post Market preview pages when shops start putting them up.

Lots to look forward to in the stitchy world, and lots to keep busy with. Hope you're all happy and healthy and stitching up a storm!



10 January 2022

Thank You

 

Thank you for all of your prayers and kind words over the last year. My dad passed away on New Year's Day. He and my mom had been married 60 years.

25 December 2021

Merry Christmas!

 














"A Spirited Christmas" is from the December 1999 issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine.

18 December 2021

Christmas in the Woods: Woodland Christmas Garland

TA-DA! My big final project for this year's Christmas Open House is a garland! Since I don't currently have a stair banister or a mantle to display this rather large finish, the only way I could photograph it was to arrange it like this. I didn't measure it, but it's pretty long! It's also kinda heavy. Now you know what those little screw eyes on the sides of each individual disk were for!



I used jute cord to tie the disks together and strung wooden beads in between each one.





Just a few supplies needed for this garland: wood disks (link in first post of this week), a bead garland from Wal-Mart, and small screw eyes.

As I mentioned in Monday's post, you can find wood disks in the big craft stores that will work for this project just fine, but you won't find these: beautifully sanded, uniform wood disks, with lovely bark still intact. Absolutely do use the craft store disks if that's what you prefer (and you need them in a hurry!). This project will still turn out so, so cute. I just wanted to be clear about what I used in case you were looking for the same result.


If you're thinking of stitching some of these precious critters but just want to finish them plain, here are a few posts you might find useful:

Finishing Perforated Paper (super easy tutorial)

Finishing a Perforated Paper Ornament (using old Christmas cards!)

The Joys of Perforated Paper (hint: I love it)

So that's it for this year's Christmas Open House. Thank you all so much for visiting and leaving such sweet comments. This is a tradition I look forward to all year, and some years it's easier to pull off than others. This wasn't an easy year, but we did it, didn't we? I'm so glad that a lot of you look forward to this as well, and it makes me happy to know I can bring a little joy to others every Christmas. Theme for next year (9th annual!) is already chosen!

From our home to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS!




17 December 2021

Christmas in the Woods: Possum & Squirrel

 

Our final pair of friends come bearing gifts. A red squirrel with his favorite pinecone, and a wee possum who has found a peppermint. Although I am creeped out by real possums, I think this little guy might be my favorite. Peppermint Possum is just too much.





This soup is maybe a tiny bit more work than the others, but it's worth it. We love cheeseburgers. We love soup. We should love Cheeseburger Soup. And we do.

Cheeseburger Soup

4 small red potatoes, washed and diced

1 c. seasoning blend (onions, peppers, celery) or fresh in the amount you prefer

1 4oz. can chopped green chilies

1 1/2 c. water

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. beef bouillon

1/4 tsp. pepper

Bring these ingredients to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add and heat through: 

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

2 c. milk

In a small bowl, stir until smooth:

1/2 c. milk

3 Tbsp. flour

Gradually add flour mixture to soup. Bring to a boil, cook and stir a few minutes until thick. Reduce heat and stir in:

8 oz. Velveeta, cubed

*****

Don't miss the Grand Finale tomorrow!

16 December 2021

Christmas in the Woods: Bunny & Sparrow

 

Our sweet little folk today are a cheerful, snowy sparrow and a holly-crowned bun. Can we exceed this cuteness? Stay tuned.





I have not always been a soup enthusiast. When I was younger, I could take it or leave it. But after living where it snows in the winter for nearly 15 years, and aging (gracefully, I hope) all the while, I have become a devoted fan. I love soup. And this recipe from a church sister was my first "favorite soup" even before I learned the true joys of soup. Enjoy!

Ham & Potato Soup

1 stick of butter

1 c. water

1/4 c. minced onion

4 c. diced potatoes (2 large)

1/4 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. celery salt (don't leave this out!)

3 c. milk

2 c. chopped ham

1 c. frozen peas

Melt butter in stockpot and add water, onion, potatoes. Simmer while preparing other ingredients, stirring as needed. Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring often, until soup is thick and bubbly and potatoes are tender.

*****

But wait, there's more! Come on back tomorrow for our final pair of Christmas friends! (And more soup.)

15 December 2021

Christmas in the Woods: Bear & Moose

 

These two dapper gentleman are all ready for Santa! Mr. Bear in his snazzy bowtie, and Mr. Moose (Mr. Wonderful's favorite) with his antlers all decked out in lights.





Today's soup recipe is perfect for when you just want to get out of the kitchen and get back to stitching. Which, let's be honest, is pretty much a way of life for many of us. I adore my slow cookers (I have five) and I absolutely love recipes where you just toss stuff in with little or no prep, turn it on, and walk away. This is one of those recipes. A thick, Southwestern-style cheese soup. I serve it with tortillas.

Santa Fe Cheese Soup

1 lb. Velveeta, cubed

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

1 can whole kernel corn, undrained

1 can kidney beans, undrained

1 can Rotel, undrained

1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 packet taco seasoning

Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook 1 hour on high, then 2-3 hours on low.

*****

See y'all tomorrow!