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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Smalls SAL Report for December

This past month has not been a busy stitching month for me, but I did finish two smalls - my final Christmas ornament for the year (for a newly acquired puppy in a niece's family), and the final Beatrix Potter character on the growth chart I am stitching for her son at another niece's request. I now have baby's name and birth details to stitch on a separate piece of fabric, which I will stitch at the top of the growth chart.  I have some pale blue fabric for that. In my mind it is going to work - time will tell!  I can not tell you how much I disliked stitching this piece (extremely unusual for me!).  If I wasn't so fond of my niece and grand-nephew, I doubt that I would have persevered. The chart  specified half-cross stitches for the characters, and left large areas within the characters unstitched.  I just couldn't do it, as I was using the 14 count Aida provided, and I just didn't like the result.  Unfortunately the kit didn't specify floss numbers, so I had to rekit all the floss once I made the decision to replace the half crosses with full crosses, and stitch all the areas on the characters. Then I had a melt down with the back/long stitching, and after much hair pulling decided just to ignore the charted outlining, and do my own thing. I also changed the numerals, because I found the charted ones to be extremely fiddly, and I also added 20 cm to the measurements (my great-nephew is quite a tall boy).  So, all in all, I was extremely happy to put in those final stitches tonight!

This is the final character - Squirrel Nutkin I believe.  The numbers and edges are quite straight - my photography skills are at fault.

 Semco kit, Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit Growth Chart, Squirrel Nutkin

 Semco kit, Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit Growth Chart, all 4 characters

This is the Christmas ornament I stitched at the last minute so that Bodhi would not be the only family pet not to receive a Christmas ornament at our extended family Christmas dinner..

I have enjoyed participating in the Smalls SAL this year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Advent Blog Hop - Day 20

Of all the Santas I have stitched, this one is my favourite, so I chose him to welcome you to Day 20 of Jo's Advent Hop.  He is 'Jolly Old Fellow' from HAED (Gelsinger/Sayetta), and I stitched him between Jan 1 2009 and June 25 2012.  During the year he lives on the wall of my dressing room, and at Christmas (typically from mid-November to 26th December) he moves down to the lounge-room.   This year, for the first time in over 40 years, I have not decorated my house for Christmas, and so this year he is remaining in my dressing room, where he he has the company of 3 L&L Santas, L&L's Oh Christmas Tree, and 3 other stitched Santas.

I enjoy stitching Christmas projects, particularly Santas, angels, and Christmas ornaments.  Over the past thirty years I have stitched well over 1000 Christmas ornaments.  I have kept a few  ornaments (predominantly Santas), but most have been given as Christmas gifts for children.  This tree contains ornaments I made over the years for one family of four children.  Actually, I got a shock to see that this photo was taken 9 years ago, so there are now another 36 of my ornaments on their tree.

I collect Christmas decorations, particularly older ones, and it is not easy for me to pick out just one special decoration to share with you.  So, I have chosen just a few. The first is my vintage 1950's Christmas Tree.  I was so very pleased when I found it about 12 years ago at a charity garage sale.  Each of the branches is like a metal bottle brush, which fits into a hole in a wooden pole that forms the tree trunk.  I decorate this tree with small treasures, many of which have been given to me, or which I have bought when travelling.  The amazing thing is that when I was a pre-teen, my family had one of these trees, and I can recall that I didn't like it, greatly preferring the cut pine trees we had as Christmas Trees in previous years.

This next pic is my 1970s tree.  It was the family tree of a work colleague, and a mutual friend rescued it from a skip when he was moving house following the death of his wife, and after the children had grown up and left home.  I decorate this tree with burgundy and gold ornaments, and I put my gifts under this tree. On the wall behind the tree is a wreath I made, using an old cane base, branches from an old battered tree, and old Christmas ornaments I found in a charity shop.

I do have quite a few trees in my Christmas house, and this next one was made by my partner.  It is my Angel tree, and it is made from doweling, and hangs on the wall from a picture hook.  On this tree are some of the angels I have made, been given, or bought for myself over the past 40 years.  I also have another larger dowelling tree, which I decorate only with Santas.

If I was allowed to keep only part of my collection, it would probably be my vintage Santas.  Here are some of them, in and on the display cabinet. Many of these have been given to me over the years.

Although he has spent only the past few years with me, this Santa has seen a lot of Christmases.  He needed some cleaning up and TLC when I found him (locally, on e-Bay), and I recycled the tatty Christmas tree and piles of gift boxes he was holding, replacing them with the 'welcome' sign I stitched.  He is a bit over 6 ft tall.  I like to think he spent his early life standing outside the toy department of a top quality store, welcoming children at Christmas.  Here he is standing on the landing at the top of my stairs.  If you stood at my front door and looked up, he would be the first thing you saw (last year, that is  - this year he is shrouded in a sheet standing in my craft room, though I intend to pop upstairs now and remove his sheet, so I can enjoy his presence for the next few days, even if I do have to go to the craft room to do so).  To Santa's right (on the door of the linen press) you can see some of my stitched ornaments; on the wall behind Santa you can just catch a glimpse of part of my Christmas jewelry collection; and to Santa's left are some of my Jim Shore Heartwood Creek Santas. 

So, that is the end of my Christmas story for tonight.  All my collection (Santas, angels, snowpeople, reindeer, and Nativities) and I wish you a happy Christmas. I hope 2017 brings for you and your loved ones a year of good health, good fortune, peace and contentment.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My final 'finish' for 2016, and GG Report for December

The final Gifted Gorgeousness Report for 2016 -hasn't that arrived quickly! I thought I had made my last Christmas ornament for 2016, and then my niece announced a new four-legged family member, so I picked up the needle and made this, definitely my final (and my simplest) Christmas ornament for 2016. I finished it last night, just in time for our family Christmas Dinner on Sunday, where I hope I will meet the puppy Bodhi.

Before I went on holidays at the end of November, I stitched the third character on my great-nephew's Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit Growth Chart.  Just Squirrel Nuttal to go now.  I have barely enough fabric left at the top, and may have to adjust the ribbon flourish around Squirrel Nuttal to make it fit on the fabric (I did measure it twice, and thought I had plenty of fabric, but obviously something went wrong with my calculations!). I have bought some blue fabric to add to the top of the growth chart, and I am planning to stitch baby's name and birth details on that.  I will make that a priority for 2017.  My niece wants it finished as a wall-hanging (not framed), and I want to have it all finished up as soon as I can, so I can devote my stitching time to HAED 'Christmas Dreams' in the first half of 2017.

This is the growth chart so far:

I have enjoyed very much being part of the Gifted Gorgeousness group this year, and plan to be back next year.  Merry Christmas!