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.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Smalls Report for January

I've been working hard on my Smalls in the past month, and I am pleased to be able to say that all the little ornaments I stitched in late December and January have now been finished up. There were 22 in all. This year the Smalls SAL is being hosted by Mary at Mary's Threads blog.

These 5 ornaments are for the dogs in our extended family. If you have excellent vision you may see the 'bones' decorating the heart wreaths. I adapted the design from a Pat Waters wreath in 'A Christmas Collection' by substituting Smyrna crosses over 4 for the cross stitches over 2, eliminating some of the decorations, and rounding off the edges.

Here are the four Jeremiah Junction nutcracker Christmas ornaments I stitched for the grandchildren of a friend.

These three Dale Burdett Christmas teddy ornaments will be in the Christmas stockings of our family toddlers having their third Christmas in 2019.

Four Christmas stocking ornaments for Christmas visitors. They were inspired by a design in LA's Christmas Caboodle leaflet, but I totally changed the stocking, which I stitched with Smyrna crosses over 4. The tiny teddies are adapted from  Graphworks Mini Motif Designs Christmas Vol 8.

My favourites - two beaded Christmas tree ornaments, my own design.

Three little angel ornaments, stitched for neigbourhood young girls. I was inspired by TIAG's Amish Angel, but the only parts that survived unchanged (apart from changes to the floss colours and decoration) were the wings and sleeves.

And, last but not least, a quirky Sam Hawkins ornament for a neighbourhood young boy.

Here are all 22 Christmas ornaments together in one picture.

I have made a good start on my Christmas stitching. I still have lots to cross off the list, so I plan to be stitching as much as I can in February.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gifted Gorgeousness Report January 2019

Already half-way through January - how did that happen! There goes my NY resolution #1 - not to complain about the speed at which time is passing. I knew I couldn't win on that one! Today is the reporting day for the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.

I have made a good  start to the New Year. My radiation burns are now healed, and I am pretty much back to my usual activity level. This week I resumed my hydrotherapy exercise sessions, and I already feel the benefit. I am a happy camper!

I've been busy with my needle in the past month, and there are now 21 stitched designs waiting to be made up into Christmas ornaments.  I don't quite know how that happened - usually I stitch a batch of 4 to 6 designs and then finish them up. I guess a lot was happening in my life, and it was just easier to keep on stitching. I will be busy finishing up the ornaments in the coming weeks. I did show pics of some of these stitched designs in my Smalls post for December, but I have since added the bead trims, and stitched the matching back pieces, so they are now ready to make up.

This is my latest 'finish' - my first bead decorated Christmas tree for 2019. It will be the first ornament in my box of take-home gifts for 2019 Christmas visitors.

This group is for the extended family dogs. If you have good vision and a touch of imagination, you may see bones decorating the wreaths. I adapted the wreath design from a Pat Waters design in 'A Christmas Collection II' leaflet. I replaced the cross stitches with Smyrna crosses over 4 with 3 tweeded strands, omitted some of the decoration, and smoothed out the edges.

I have stitched several of this design every year for over 30 years, for different children - obviously I like it! I really enjoy changing the stocking designs. I think I have stitched one for every child who has  come into my life. The original design is from LA's Christmas Caboodle leafket (1986). The tiny teddy is adapted from a design in Graphworks Mini Motif Designs Vol 8.

This Dale Burdett teddy ('A Mini Christmas' DB 132, 1990) is another favourite to stitch. I have stitched many of these over the years.

I loved stitching these little angels for two neighbourhood sisters. The starting point was TIAG's Amish Angel freebie, but really the only things that survived relatively unchanged were the wings and sleeves.

Another angel for another little neighbour, and a Sam Hawkins design for her brother.

And, finally,  the four nutcrackers I stitched for the grandchildren of a long-term friend.

I have to be quite stern with myself now, and get these designs finished up into ornaments before I stitch any more designs. So, tomorrow will see me washing, ironing, cutting cardboard and felt, and getting the job started.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

December Smalls SAL Report

Another year is almost gone. Soon we will be trying to remember to use '2019' when writing the date. And if 2019 passes as quickly as 2018 did, we will be waving it goodby way too soon for my liking.

I have made a start already on my 2019 Christmas gift stitching. So far I have stitched 5 designs which will be made into Christmas ornaments for the children in my life. I have stitched four Jeremiah Junction (Nutcracker Factory 3) nutcrackers for the grandchildren of a long-term friend. They  will be flying to opposite ends of the world in November - the boys' nutcrackers to England, and the girls' nutcrackers to New Zealand.

The other design I have stitched will be a Christmas gift for a young neighbour. The designer is Sam Hawkins, and the chart was in a booklet called '50 Santas to cross stitch'.

So, that brings my 2018 stitching story to an end. It was quite a productive year. I stitched 59 Christmas ornaments and  8 framed pieces, all but one given away as Christmas gifts. My crochet hook was also quite active. I made 4 dresses and 2 ponchos for toddlers, a number of beanies, and lots of crochet shopping bags for young girls.  And I beaded 51 largeish angels, very few of which are still in my possession. As you might guess, I had lots of sitting time in 2018, recovering from assorted operations and medical interventions. There were times when my hands were pretty much all I could move! Fortunately I had a  grandmother who gave me excellent advice when I was 17. She told me to keep my hands busy to ward off arthritis. I have always followed her instruction, and while it didn't prevent arthritis (I have severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), it has allowed me to keep my hands flexible. I have always been grateful for her wisdom.

So now there is nothing more to say than Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Advent Blog Hop

20th December is here (in eastern Australia) at last - that's my day to post in Jo's On-line Advent Blog Hop.  Jo's question for this year is to name a favourite Christmas song. This is a hard one for me - there are so many lovely Christmas songs to choose from! I have decided on Elvis's version of "If every day was like Christmas".  I have to admit that the sentiment rings true for me!  I hope (without much confidence I'm afraid) that this link will take you to my song.

This pic is one of my favourite Christmas grouping. The central cross stitch was one that had me tearing out my hair (on and off) over 5 years. The chart was in a LA Christmas cross stitch magazine - it was the 1992 Christmas Plate design. I started stitching it in 1992, when I was a fairly inexperienced stitcher and worked only on 18 count Aida. In retrospect, a linen or evenweave would have been a much more appropriate fabric choice, as the chart was absolutely crammed with fractional stitches. Live and learn! It is a very detailed design, with lots of backstitches, and it was way above my skill level when I started stitching. It is my smallest framed Christmas cross stitch, but one of the trickiest to stitch. The two Santa heads flanking the cross stitch are old favourites - I bought them in San Francisco nearly 25 years ago, on my one and only holiday in the USA, and they have been part of my Christmas decorating since then.  The tree is my Advent Calendar. I designed and made it myself. It has 24 red and gold painted stars  and each day in December I turn over one star to reveal a painted Santa. When there are 24 Santas hanging on the tree I know that Christmas Day is just one sleep away. In front of the tree are a few of my Santa bell collection, some clothes peg Santas I painted, and my favourite metal Santa music box.

Unfortunately, this pic comes from last year's Christmas decorating. It's been a different festive season for me this year. Usually I spend most of November packing up all the non-Christmas items from walls, surfaces and display cabinets and replacing them with my collection of Christmas. From December 1 to December 25, Christmas reigns in my house, and Christmas visitors are welcomed daily. This year  I did not decorate at all for Christmas, because my time and energy was focused on the cancer treatment. I've discovered that I'm pretty much an 'all or nothing' person - and this year it was 'nothing' when it came to decorating the house. When she heard I wasn't decorating for Christmas, one of my sisters threw up her hands in horror, and arrived on my doorstep with a most unusual felt Christmas tree and 2 wooden angels, which she insisted on lending me, so I did end up with a Christmas corner. The tree is about 1.2 m (4') high, and the wooden angels are about 50cm (20") tall. I quite enjoy seeing it in the sitting room.

Just 5 more sleeps, and Christmas Day will be here. I wish you a Merry Christmas, and hope that 2019 brings for you and your loved ones a year of good health, good fortune, peace and contentment.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for December

Well, here we are - the final GG report for 2018. This year has slipped  by way too quickly for my liking. I am hoping that 2019 will proceed at a gentler pace (and also require fewer medical interventions). If you're not familiar with the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL, you can check it out on Jo's blog.

I had thought that all my gift stitching was finished, but when I found stitching on my floor frame was too uncomfortable, and I had to return my HAED Christmas Dreams to the UFO basket until I have healed from my radiation treatment, I decided to stitch some extra Christmas gifts. Earlier in the year I stitched a dinosaur name sampler for a great-nephew, and I was quite taken with the dinosaur alphabet, designed by Clare Crompton.  So I decided to stitch name samplers for three young honorary nephews (two brothers and their first cousin). To keep the cost down I decided the samplers would need to fit into purchased frames. Here are the stitched (not yet laundered) samplers I stitched, which fit matted 23cm x 18cm (9" x 7") purchased frames:

It's hard to believe given the colour variation in the pictures  but they are all stitched over 2 on a solid colour very pale blue 28 count fabric. 

And here are the framed name samplers. The photos have some reflections unfortunately. I wasn't able to get any clearer photos.

I have enjoyed taking part in GG this year, and watching progress of all the lovely gift-related stitching. I wish you all a happy Christmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Smalls Report for November

I thought I had finished all my Smalls for the year, but here I am again with three Smalls to show.

A friend found me a preloved TIAG Band of Angels chart (dated 1987), and I just couldn't resist stitching a few little angels. This one I am keeping for myself.

This one is for my youngest sister. It is not fully framed yet - I am trying to find the right window mount board.

And my final Christmas ornament for 2018 - this is for the latest addition to my extended family - a newly adopted puppy.

So, there you have it. I will enjoy popping in to see all the lovely Smalls stitched this month.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for November.

I've not achieved much in the past month, so there is little to report. I did crochet an outfit for a pre-loved kewpie doll which will form part of my Christmas gift for a 1 year old great-niece. Sarah loves musical sounds, and Kewpie has a lovely squeak when pushed in the middle, so I think she will be a hit. Kewpie's underwear (with press studs for easy dressing):

And in her new dress:

I have finished all my planned gift stitching except for a growth chart for which I am waiting for measurements, so at long last I was free to drag my HAED WIP out of it's basket in the craftroom and bring it down to my stitching chair. The chart, fabric and most of the threads were bought with birthday money, so it qualifies as a GG project.  It's 16 months since I last stitched on Christmas Dreams, and I am keen to finish 5 pages to complete the 4th row of pages by the end of the year. Wish me luck! I am finding it a bit hard to get 'into' it, but that's pretty normal for me. I'm pretty much a 'one at a time' stitcher except when it comes to huge projects, and I'm not good at swapping in and out of projects. In the first week of stitching I spend more time than I like searching my floss cards for the one marked 'J' until I finally realise that what I am really looking for is the floss marked 'n' (x 90 symbols, many of which are very similar), because my stitching is sideways and I marked the floss cards before I understood that I would be stitching with the left side of the design upwards. I usually eventually swing into it and convert without thinking about it (fingers crossed that it happens this time). I am about one-third through this project; I have stitched 19 of the 66 (large format) pages. Here's where I started on 1st November, about one-quarter of the way through the 20th page, which is actually page 48:

I tried to stand my fabric up to take the photo, and that has made it look quite out of shape, which isn't how it appears. The edges are really very straight. And here it is back on the frame and ready for stitching:

(If you have good eyesight you may notice my L&L Angel of Love - my very favourite piece - hanging in the right side of the pic.)  It is a bit tricky, stitching sideways, but it wouldn't fit on my frame the other way. I am forever consulting my little plan to check that I am working on the correct page, and I did already fall into the trap of re-stitching three stitches at the beginning of each row on two consecutive pages - that resulted on several months of frogging and restitching to correct the error.  Something I am so desperate to avoid in future that I have written reminders to check on each page. This is where I am on November 15, having completed a good section of the 20th page:

Nov 18
I am sad to say that I have taken Christmas Dreams back upstairs for amother rest. Hopefully not for long this time. I was finding it too uncomfortable while stitching on the frame, and my concentration has been a lot better than it is right now. I' m going back to small projects for the next few months.