Come visit with me as I stitch and craft my way from one Christmas to the next - I like to have Christmas projects close by me all year. I have a particular fondness for Santas and Angels. If you have the time, leave a comment so I know you've visited.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Santa is with reindeer ...

well, at least two of them. The other six are yet to put in an appearance. I've just finished backstitching the reindeer, and I'm feeling quite pleased with my progress. I'm well on track to have this finished and at the framer by early May.

I should be asleep in my bed - it's after 2.30am, and I need to be up early to take Maddie to her vet appointment at 9.30am for a review of her eye regime. The poor little love has also developed an ear infection - unusual for her - so that will need treatment as well. This year isn't starting well for Miss Maddie, health-wise. I hope the trend is reversed soon. She is snoring away on her cushion by my chair - at least one of us will be well-rested for our big day tomorrow!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Santa's in his sleigh ...

Before I move on to Santa, I couldn't resist showing this pic of Miss Maddie, resting on a pile of cushions she rustled up on the lounge chair. Her eyes look sore, and I'm sure they are, but they are so much better than they were, so I think the treatment is working. We're back to the vet early next week for a progress check, so here's hoping!
and now, here's Santa:

I am just loving this project! Though I think maybe I should have used three strands of floss instead of two - particularly for the darkest red. I may just go back and add another strand of floss to the sleigh - I'll think about it. I decided to backstitch as I finish each section, rather than leave it all to the end. Hopefully the sleigh will be finished tonight, and I'll start on the first pair of reindeer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Midnight Journey - progress pic

Two evenings of stitching, and the presents in Santa's sleigh are almost all there. This fabric is such a pleasure to stitch on - I am really enjoying this project. Which is a good thing, as I have bad feelings associated with this floor frame. For most of the past 2 years the floor frame (with my HAED Jolly Old Fellow on it) has sat staring reproachfully at me each time I entered my craft room. I only managed to stitch on it for one month in 2010, just got one more page finished in that time. When I was sorting out my craft room for the New Year, I decided I could take the guilt no more, and promised myself a break from JOF this year. I took JOF off the floor frame and packed the frame up. I'm pleased I did that, as it broke the pattern of avoidance I was developing. Now that I have the frame up again with my new project, I found myself yesterday planning to stitch for a couple of months on JOF when I finish Midnight Journey. It's early days yet, but I'm feeling quite excited at the prospect right now.
I'm just back from a morning walk round the Lake foreshore. I was amazed when we got there today to find the place packed already, at 8am. We had trouble finding a car parking spot, which is not usually a problem at that hour on a weekday. But then, it is Australia Day - and there's no doubt that we Aussies enjoy our public holidays to the max! There were eskies, tables and chairs, sunshades, tents, and pergolas popping up everywhere, and so many boats out on the lake. We shared our walk with so many people and dogs today. Miss Maddie got tired before the walk was over (walking never was her best thing, and now that she's almost 12, she's very definite when she says she's had enough), but luckily I had thought to take her carrying pouch, so I was able to finish my walk wearing Maddie. She loves her carry pouch, and so do I - it's much easier than picking her up and carrying her in my arms.
We're heading out for a BBQ with friends for lunch - I've got my lamb chops packed ready to go!
Happy Australia Day. Welcome to all today's New Australians.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Midnight Journey - started

This is my new Christmas project - Midnight Journey from Leisure Arts' 1996 book, Santa's Great Book (LA 2840). The needlework adaptation was done by Jane Chandler from original artwork by Peggy Jo Ackley for Family Line Greetings, Inc. and, because I'm not fond of stitching on dark coloured fabrics, this is the fabric I'm using: a beautiful piece of Australian hand-dyed Jobelan 28 count, colour Arabian Nights, by Stitches and Spice . The fabric is just a little darker (and prettier) than the pic.

My floor-frame is assembled, fabric on the rods, and the first stitches are in. Guess what I'll be doing for the rest of this evening ...
As I browsed through my LA Santa's Great Book I said yet another silent 'thank you' to Mary, an on-line friend who sent me this book several years ago. It has been well-used, and is well loved. I have already stitched four designs from this book - Carol Emmer's 'You Better Not Pout', Marilyn Gandre's Santa's Great Book and Santa's Workshop, and Heartprint's Santa Reunion. And I'm not promising to stop at five - there are lots of designs in the book that are just begging me to stitch them!
Just one little whinge at The Universe before I retire to my floor-frame - was it really necessary for my little Maltese to develop an auto-immune disease - we already have four auto-immune diseases in this household! Madalyn is just about to celebrate her 12th birthday, and is my little shadow. Her eyes have been discharging and looking sore in the past few weeks, so I took her along to the vet, who diagnosed an auto-immune disorder that interferes with tear production. So the poor little love now has to have an immuno-suppressant eye drop in each eye twice a day, and lubricating drops in each eye as frequently as every hour. She is so good - sits still and lets me pop the drops into her eyes, like it's been happening every day of her life. Her eyes have improved markedly in just a few days, so I am extremely happy about that - and Maddie appears much more comfortable and happier too.
Well, whingeing time is over - I'm off to my stitching chair...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Decisions ,,,

I've decided on my 2011 Christmas project - after many hours of deliberation. I wanted something I could hang in my stairwell, to replace a treasured bread-dough 'Merry Christmas' banner that my youngest sister made for me 25 years ago. It's been part of my Christmas each year since then, and for the past 22 Christmases it has hung in my stairwell at this house. It's the red 'Merry Christmas' banner you can see in the midle of the pic above. It was the first thing you would see as you open my front door. I was very distressed in November when I got it out of its wrapping, and the bread dough letters had all crumbled away. There's no chance my sister is going to replace it for me - she's well and truly moved on from there! - so I decided to make something special to hang there next Christmas and in future years. I needed a design that was a lot wider than it was long, and at first I thought I would make a "Merry Christmas" design, but after a lot of thought and chart searching, I've decided on a lovely Santa in his sleigh in the night sky (Midnight Journey from LA's Santa's Great Book). The chart I selected has just 6 reindeer pulling the sleigh, so I've adjusted it by adding another two reindeer, so that it's more 'realistic' and also longer, which suits my need. I'll add a "Merry Christmas" message to the bottom of the stitched design.
I've made a trip to my lns and returned with the floss, and a gorgeous piece of hand-dyed darkish blue Sugar & Spice 28 count Jobelan, so I'm almost set to go! I'll get pics of the chart and fabric and put them up soon. I think this will be one for the floorframe, as the fabric will be wider than my lap-frame. As soon as I've made a couple of urgent phone calls and done as little housework as I can get away with today, I'll be getting out that floor-frame and assembling it so I should be ready to start Midnight Journey tonight. Yay!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two small finishes

The initial Santas are adapted from Vermillion's Sudberry House leaflet "Alphabet Soup" (2005) - the 'E' Santa is as charted (except for the floss colours), but I changed the 'G' Santa to make it the same as the 'E' one (the two little girls I stitched them for are sisters, and right now they do like to have exactly the same as each other).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ten little trees finished

Six bead and button decorated trees finished in little gold coloured frames: and four bead and button decorated trees finished as fridge magnets:

These will be my last trees for a while. I've picked a design for ornaments for two little sisters, and I'll start them tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A little heart ornament

I've stitched this for my great-niece for Christmas 2011. It's also my entry in a valentine competition on the Stitching under the Southern Cross board (the challenge was to produce a heart-shaped project, or one containing hearts).
For the angels, I adapted one of the angel charts from Pat Waters' A Christmas Collection leaflet (1986)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two Christmas ornaments

The little angel chart is adapted from Pat Waters Country Crafts leaflet Christmas Miniatures II (1979), but the border is my addition. The wreath is adapted from JBW Designs Noel ornament from The Ornament Collection chart (1991).

More little finishes

Two more beaded Christmas trees finished as fridge magnets: and three beaded wreaths in little frames.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some little finishes in the New Year

Three little framed bead and button decorated trees: Three more bead and button decorated trees finished as fridge magnets:
and Santa in his sleigh, finished in a 10cm (4") round wooden frame (Santa designed by Darla J Fanton, A Cross Stitch Christmas 1989):

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The last of my Christmas pics (I promise!)

This is my dining room (on left) and entry foyer (on right). The bags at the door were a temporary addition to the decor - I mus have taken this pic just before we left for a Christmas visit. and this is a close-up of my Angel Tree. Not a very clear pic, but the best I could get.

So, that's the end of the Christmas pics for this year. A sad day for me!
I've stitched a small Santa and four bead-decorated Christmas trees, and hope to have them framed this evening, so I hope to be back with pics soon.

More Christmas pics

This is the wall of my stairwell (from entry level up to the bedroom level). The framed Santas are by Lorri Birmingham, and was a RR project many years ago. On the door of my linen press I hung my collcetion of Santa ornaments (I usually stitch myself at least one new one each year). The large Santa is one I bought back from Los Angeles in 1995. The Santa mask is one of my favourites - I got him as a birthday gift 10 years ago.

The pic above is of my 1950s Christmas tree (another favourite of mine). At the left you can see soem of my Santa bells.

This si my Santa tree - another dowelling tree. It's on the top floor landing. Beneath the tree I have my collection of Santa tins. At the bottom of the pic is my set of Aussie 12 Days of Christmas ornamenst (adapted from Di Noyce's design in Jill Oxton's Cross Stitch magazine). At bottom right are some of my soft Santas.
All my Santas. Angels, and Christmas things are safely packed away now, and won't come out again till November 2011. My house is cleaned and re-arranged into its usual configuration. Christmas 2010 is over. Sadly. My thought are already flitting ahead to Christmas 2011!
To mark the New Year, I did my annual craft room clean-out and reorganisation. My work basket is now filled with fabric scraps, Christmas coloured floss, and beads. To start 2011, I'll be stitching some tiny Christmas designs to frame and/or turn into fridge magnets or ornaments. I haven't yet decided on my 2011 Christmas project, but I have made one difficult decision. HAED Jolly Old Fellow has been removed from the floor frame and will be rested this year. So it is now officially a UFO (my one and only - ever!). I have now spent 8 months stitching JOF over the past 2 years (it's not unusual for me to stitch in excess of 60 hours per week, every week), and I have stitched just 8 of the 36 pages. I'm not giving up on JOF for ever - but I have given him up for 2011. He's safely packed away, with all his floss and the chart. But still in sight - just so I don't forget him altogether!

New start for a New Year

A little late, but (perhaps?) better late than never. Here are a few of my favourite Christmas 2010 pics. The first one is of my most precious Santas - my oldies. Most are from the 1950s, but a couple are relative youngsters - the musical Santa in the orange-red outfit at front right was given to me by my late mother in the mid 1980s. They're sitting atop a display cabinet where I had my 1950s and 1960 Christmas ornaments displayed. Below is my "Angel Room". The tree on the wall is made from dowelling, and hangs from a picture hook. The framed Angel is L&L's Angel of Hope, which I stitched in 2009. I had two other L&L Angels hanging in the room (Angels of Love and Grace), but they were out of camera range in this shot.

And here are my fridge magnets - more favourites of mine.

My house is now 'de-Christmassed', and returned to its normal state, but I'm going to put in a few more Christmas pics in my next post. I had such a lovely Christmas, I just want to extend it a little.