18 December 2018

A Christmas Tea: Spoonful of Sugar Ornaments

Welcome back! Today I have an elegant little teacup ornament to show. This design is available from this Etsy shop. I used gold Petite Treasure Braid to give it a bit of sparkle!

I made what I'm calling "Spoonful of Sugar" ornaments using the small plastic spoons from a tasting set. Tasting sets are sets of mini spoons and cups (usually plastic or porcelain), and can sometimes be found in the grocery store. The tiny spoons are great for crafts. 

The sugar cubes are made from small wood cubes (Hobby Lobby) painted white and dusted with glitter.

If we're having a Christmas tea, we need gingerbread. Those of you who've been around a while will know that one of my loves is small-batch baking. (If you need to catch up, check out these posts.) This recipe for a mini gingerbread loaf is lovely. The recipe says it should be baked 33-40 minutes, but I found mine was done after about 30 minutes. Just the right amount of spice and excellent with a cup of tea!

Have a great day, and see you back here tomorrow!

17 December 2018

A Christmas Tea: Teacup Ornaments

Welcome to my 5th annual Christmas Open House! All week I'll be sharing tea-themed Christmas ornaments, both stitched and crafted. Brew yourself a cup of tea and meet me here every day for some Christmas cheer!

This adorable Christmas visitor is a Casey Buonaugurio design from the December 2008 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. He's stitched on 28 count mystery linen with DMC.

These sweet teacup ornaments are not difficult to make, although if you've never worked with epoxy resin, they can be a bit tricky. I was inspired by this post and used the supplies she recommends. Any small teacup can be used, doll or child-sized.

We can't have tea without something to nibble on, so I'll be sharing a few recipes this week, too. Today's recipe is for Lemon Stars. 

The original recipe says it makes nine dozen using a 2" cookie cutter. I cut the recipe in half, and then used only half the dough (so, 1/4 of the original recipe), and used a tiny 1.5" cookie cutter. I got 40 tiny stars out of it. This is a very versatile recipe as it makes a ton, but scales down easily, and can be flavored any way you like. If you make these tiny, as I did, beware! You're more likely to just pop them in your mouth as you pass by the cookie tray!

Lemon Stars (original quantities for nine dozen)

1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg*
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Glaze: 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, 2-3 tsp. lemon juice

Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract. Stir in sour cream and lemon peel. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough into three balls; cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until easy to handle.

Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator at a time. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4" thickness and cut with floured 2" cookie cutter. Place 1" apart on uncreased baking sheets and bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Glaze when cool.

*To scale down a recipe that uses one egg: break the egg and lightly mix it (don't beat it as you would for scrambled eggs); pour into a small liquid measure and divide as needed. I used about 2 Tbsp. of the mixed egg in the halved recipe, but that will vary depending on the size of the egg you're using.

Thanks for dropping in... see y'all tomorrow!

13 December 2018

It's almost time!

You're invited to my 5th Annual Christmas Open House, beginning Monday, 17 December!

If you're a newer visitor and haven't seen my previous Christmas Open Houses, just click on the tabs at the top of the page.

See y'all Monday!

05 December 2018

It's Beginning...

...to look a lot like Christmas!

30 November 2018

The Joys of Perforated Paper

It's been forever since I stitched a Brooke Nolan angel, but I finally got one finished! Every time I stitch one of these beauties I think, "I should do more of these!" They are really fun to stitch and the finish is just eye-popping. This one is Spirit of Christmas Stitching and it's available in her Etsy shop as either a PDF download or a hard copy. Most of her "dollies" (as I like to call them) have wings, and sometimes I stitch them and sometimes I don't. This time I left them off, and I also didn't stitch a few of the items that are supposed to be gathered around her skirt. I think the patchwork is so pretty and I wanted an unobstructed view of it. Another change I almost always make is to change the eye color from light to dark.  

Now, let's talk about the joys of perforated paper. Perforated paper is, in a word, wonderful. There are several very good reasons for its wonderfulness.

1) It's very easy to stitch on. The holes are gigantic, so if your eyesight is not what it used to be, or if your eyes are just tired at the end of a long day, it's just the thing. Also, because the holes are gigantic, you get to use a fat needle and three strands of floss and there are no fractional stitches. It's the stitching equivalent of getting out your box of crayons and leisurely coloring a picture of a lady in a pretty dress. Like we all did when we were little. It's super relaxing.

2) It's sturdy. In every conversation about perforated paper I've been a part of, there is always at least one stitcher (and usually more than one) who expresses fear of tearing the paper. You will not tear the paper. It's not like printer paper. It's more like card stock. I've been stitching on it for years and years and have never torn it. Okay, I suppose if you're working out some anxiety and you're really yanking your thread, you might tear it, but if you're in that shape, you should probably be taking a walk or having a cookie or something. (Definitely cookies.)

3) It's easy to finish. The question of finishing always comes up, too. Several years ago I did a couple of posts on the subject. This one is how I do it, and this one shows an idea for using old Christmas cards to finish ornaments. My Stitching Dolly is finished with this pretty dark green card stock.

The thin, wired cord I used is (I think) from Michael's, but Jo Ann Fabrics also has it seasonally (red/white at Christmas, pink/white at Valentine's, pink/green at Easter, etc.). For other angels I've finished, I've used 1/8" ribbon, or you could use the Kreinik or the floss from the design.

If you haven't played with perforated paper and want to just dip in your toe, you could experiment with one of those small Mill Hill ornament kits and see how you like it before plunging in on one of these large pieces. Brooke also has a number of smaller dollies in her shop that are only about 5" high (the large ones like this Spirit of Christmas Stitching are about 7.5" high).

One of these days I'm going to get out all the Brooke Nolan dollies I've stitched and post pictures of them all together. 

And I'm going to stitch Mr. & Mrs. Claus.

And the Stitching (color conversion!), Knitting, Crocheting, and Quilting angels.

And the Woodland Santa series.

And Gretel. And Annie...

And Spirit of Mistletoe (another color conversion!)...

And Spirit of Cinderella's Fairy Godmother (yet another color conversion!)...

And, and...

...I'm going to need more time.

(Caution: More Enabling! I would be failing y'all if I didn't also point you to Brooke's collection of gorgeous freebies, in case you've overlooked them. I also need to stitch these. Really, what am I doing with my time?

Freebies on Craftsy Y'all, that seasonal house series. And the monthly birthday cakes.

Freebies on her website The Stitcher's Alphabet, y'all.

I ask again, "What am I doing with my time?!")

27 November 2018

Important News

I just discovered that one of my little pottery bowls is the Exact Perfect Size to hold an 11 oz. bag of Hershey's Kisses Exactly Perfectly and it made me so happy. 

Just thought I'd let y'all know.

Have a wonderful day!

19 November 2018

Update from Tiger Lily's House

We're still here! It's been a busy few weeks and I have been quiet on my blog, so I figured I'd better report in before some of y'all send the dogs out! We just got back from a trip to North Carolina, or as we call it, Pottery Disneyland. (Check out this post for an explanation.) We were supposed to go in September, but had to cancel our trip because of Hurricane Florence.  I haven't even unwrapped all of our treasures yet, and my living room looks like Santa crashed his sleigh. When I get it all unpacked, I'll photograph it (my pieces, at least) and share. If you like pottery, click on the "pottery" label in the right sidebar.

Let's see... new stuff at my house. First, two new designs from With Thy Needle & Thread. Brenda Gervais has sneakily become one of my favorite designers. The series of oval designs she's doing is just adorable. I've stitched a purple version of Here a Peep and have Jingle All the Way on my to-stitch list, so when I saw Candy Cane Wishes, I had to have it immediately. Her little mice series is also growing on me, so I picked up Plum Pudding, as well. 

Here's another of her designs I got recently.

Picked up some Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid for some Christmas stitching. I've never had a problem using Kreinik metallics, and always use them when the Brooke Nolan designs I stitch call for them, but I know a lot of stitchers seem to dislike using them. I find they work great on perforated paper, but for linen I prefer Petite Treasure Braid, simply because it has a more delicate feel to me. If you hate metallics, but have never tried PTB, give it a go. It's very easy to work with and is so pretty.

New dishes, y'all! Aren't these beautiful? Spotted these at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago (on sale!) and couldn't resist. I got some plates...

...and a little bread and butter plate and mug just for me to enjoy my winter tea and snacks.

Had to throw this in here! This is some Stanley Cup swag I got last month celebrating my Washington Capitals winning the Cup back in June. This hockey playing calico kitty was a must-have! We are very partial to calicos around here.

And this beautiful patch, combining the Cup with two D.C. symbols: the flag (based on the coat of arms of George Washington's family) and some lovely pink cherry blossoms.

Tiger Lily got something new, too. I found this adorable fleece at Jo Ann Fabrics for 50% off and figured it was time for Tiger Lily to have a new blanket. It's an ultra-plush, anti-pill fleece and it is sooo soft.

Ready for whatever winter throws at us... I think. We've already had our first snow this year (15 November), which is really, really early.

So that's what's going on around here. Having to squeeze our trip to North Carolina in right before Thanksgiving has thrown me off of my holiday game a bit, but now that it's done, I can turn my attention back to more pressing matters... like my Christmas Open House! (No hints! No sneak peeks!) Since it will be my 5th annual Open House, I'm planning something sort of celebratory. As of right now, it will be the third week of December, unless I amaze myself and have a stunningly productive week next week and can do it a bit earlier.

Hope y'all are all healthy, cozy, and ready to bake all your Thanksgiving goodies! Have a great week!

01 November 2018

New Sparkly DMC--UPDATE

Just a quick update on the new sparkly DMC now that I've had a chance to stitch with it. If you missed my first post on this new thread, just scroll down a bit.

I'm happy to report it gets a thumbs up from me! The two issues I mentioned wondering about in my first post (shredding and texture) were not a problem. It has a light, almost wispy feel in hand, but it stitches just like regular DMC and has a very nice sparkle to it. Shredding wasn't a problem. The cut end that was repeatedly passing through the fabric separated just a bit, but that's to be expected with any thread like this. It did not come apart along the length of the thread as blending filament usually does. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I do wish they had used an iridescent filament in the Blanc, instead of silver (which gives the Blanc a greyish look), but it's still pretty. Just don't expect a true white if you're thinking of using it for snow. 

Hope this, along with my other post, is helpful. Happy Stitching!

30 October 2018

Spooky Finishes!

Victory! After last week's flu shot adventure derailed my finishing and framing plans, I have finally been able to play in my sewing room and I have stuff to show y'all! 

Ichabod Crane Inn is by The Primitive Hare and is in the book "Le point de croix au fil des saisons." I got my copy several years ago from Amazon France, and it used to be available from Casa Cenina (which I have no personal experience with), but I don't know if it's still available. I have always loved this piece and even though it's not a perfect job, it's now framed and I can enjoy it.

Here's my purple house conversion of Judith Kirby's Victorian House #9. Color conversion and fabric info are in this post and in this one.

I also did the finishing on this little piece, Simply Boo by Elizabeth's Designs from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Special Halloween Issue. Info on my color changes can be found in this post.

I love this spiky black ribbon trim. I've used it several times and keep a supply on hand as I've never found it anywhere other than Hobby Lobby.

I have grown-up stuff to do tomorrow, but hopefully Thursday I'll be back in the sewing room making a mess. Stay tuned!