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.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Advent Blog Hop - 6th December

This is my favourite blog hop every year. Once again it is hosted by the lovely Jo, from  Serendipitous Stitching.  There is a blog entry each day for December 1 through 24.  Pop over to Jo's blog for the participant list.  My post is probably going in a bit early, because in my part of the world (Australia) we're a bit ahead of most other time zones.  Also, please excuse the formatting. It's all over the place, due to the fact that I am using my phone, and I haven't lesrnt how to control the appearance.

Our task this year is to show a Christmas or winter related item we have crafted, and to talk about Santa.  I spend a lot of time crafting Christmas related items, so I have lots to show and talk about, but I will try to show some restraint. 

The picture I have chosen for this year is my Christmas Tree. Usually I put up in various areas of the house five large decorated Christmas trees: two hanging dowelling trees, one decorated with angels, the other with Santas; a 7 ft tall 1970s tree decorated with dark red and gold; and two 6 ft tall 1980s trees, one with red and white decorations, the other decorated with ornaments and beaded angels I have made and just a few which have been made for me. This year has been such a sad and disruptive year for me that I really didn't plan to decorate for Christmas, but somehow a few things emerged from their hiding spots, and one of them was my 'handcrafted' tree.  I didn't actually make the tree, I have decorated it with my handcrafted items.   I didn't count the beaded angels as I was hanging them, but there were a lot.  Do enlarge the tree if you want to see my angels.

I don't have any specific family traditions involving Santa, but I collect Santas, particularly old Santas. Really, any traditional Santa with a nice happy face (and without a red nose) is welcome to retire in my house. I don't know when my love of Santa developed, but my favourite childhood memories are of Christmas Eves. My 5 siblings and I would sing Christmas carols for ages after we had been sent to bed. I do recall being sent from the classroom as a not quite 5 year old when I casually announced to my classmates that Santa was a lovely fairy story, but he wasn't real. So, my love of and belief in Santa is something that has grown over time.

I have some Santas who have spent over 40 years with me.  My oldest Santa dates from the 1930s, though he has only been with me for the past 30 years. He is close to 60cm (2') tall, and filled with straw. He's a bit tatty, but then so am I, and I'm not quite as old as he is.

My biggest Santa is way taller than me.

He had seen a lot of Christmasses before he came to live at my house about twelve years ago, and needed quite a bit of tender loving care. He used to hold an old Christmas tree with a couple of parcels, but I wasn't able to resuscitate it, so I replaced it with a stocking and a vintage bear. He is one of my all-time favourites, and has a lovely face. He is a great favourite with visiting children.

These tall Santas always bring a smile to my face. I collected them from different places over many years. The three stocking holders at the front are extra special for me because tbey were given to me by my late mother in the mid 1970s.

My most elegant Santa is also one of my most travelled Santas.  I found him on Day 1 of my stay in San Francisco in 1994, and carried him around south western USA for a month before bringing him home to Australia. 

My White Santas are absolute treasures.  Usually at Christmas they reign over the sitting room but they have come down to my loungeroom, because the sitting room is a Christmas-free zone this year. These Santas are all about 90cm (3') tall. Santa at the back is standing on a box so I can see all three Santa faces from my recliner.

Santa on the front left has been with me since I bought him new in the late 1980s. The front right Santa is the same age, but only came into my life 10 years ago, rescued from a garage sale. The Santa at the back is about 20 years younger than the other two, but just as lovable.  I found him abandoned in a park and didn't have to think too hard about giving him a home. 

This year I have put a lot of my vintage Santas, and a few other special Santas in a display cupboard in the loungeroom, and I have set up my small collection of Jim Shore Heartwood Creek Santas on top of the cupboard.

I could talk about these Santas for days, but I will spare you that.  Suffice to say I could tell you where and how I obtained each one, and that each one is very special to me.  All of these Santas started out with other families, and I wonder about the stories they could tell if only they had the gift of speech.  Not all my Santas are in perfect condition, but that's OK with me. They don't have to be perfect to be loved in this house.

I hope you and your loved ones have a happy Christmas and a healthy and contented 2024.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A batch of Angels, and a few little finishes.

I have been very slack this year. The days are just slipping away and I think I've missed many of the reporting days, for both the the Smalls and the Gifted Gorgeousness SALs.  My RA has become active, and that has slowed down my productivity. I was very lucky to be in remission since August 2022, when I had my last breast cancer surgery. So I have started back on my medications, and hope they will kick in soon.

These are the ornaments I have stitched and finished since my last blog post. Three little teddies (the chart is a very old DMC freebie that I can no longer find on their website) for three babies who will be celebrating  their first Christmasses this year.

And, stitched from another free on-line chart, the 1997 Christmas Angel from L& L (which is still available free on the TIAG website). I decided to frame it in a purchased frame, and it will be a Christmas gift for an angel-loving friend.

I was having trouble stitching, so decided to tidy up my stash. Everything was going well till I got to my bead box. I was I intending just to sort out the beads, but the first thing I pulled out of my (big) storage box was a bag of beads asking to be made into angel bodies.

And here are the 19 completed beaded angels:

The red ones in the top pic are the biggest - 11 cm (a  bit over 4") long, and the smallest ones, measuring just under 4cm  (about 1.6") long  are in the bottom pic. I do love making beaded angels. I will probably keep them for my own hand-crafted Christmas tree.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Smalls Report for August

 It's been a while since my last Smalls report, but I noticed that today was the last Friday in August, and Smalls popped into my mind. The Smalls Report is hosted by Mary at Mary's Thread.

These are the Smalls I stitched and finished this month. They are all Christmas ornaments, as usual.  

Four Santas - from the top, clockwise: 
a Jeanette Crews Santa head, a  Jim Hawkins gold Santa, a Barbara Mock Santa with sack, and a Graphworks Santa with Merry Christmas message, designed by Joy Averitt.

Five Clare Crompton wreaths and
 one  Barbara Mock tree

Two Dale Burdett Santa Teddies

The next two are stitched, but not yet finished as ornaments. The teddy was an on-line freebie on the DMC website many years ago, but I can't find it there now. 

I'm almost finished my 2023 stitching list, but I should have a couple of Smalls to show next month, if things go according to plan.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for August

I'm a little late for the August Gifted Gorgeousness report, once again. Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Most of my stitching meets the requirements for inclusion in the GG report, as it is stitched with gifted supplies and/or stitched to be gifted.

This year I have been stitching Jim Shore's 12 Days of Christmas, as individual ornaments. I am very happy to be able to show the final three ornaments in the set.

And here is the complete set. They are stitched 1 over 1 on 20 count, and each measures 13cm (a tad over 5") square. I replaced the charted beads with 2 over 1 cross stitches, omitted the charms and the charted border, added my own Smyrna cross and bead border, and made a few little changes to some to compensate for the missing charms (and sometimes to meet my need for symetry).

These stitched designs will be made into Christmas ornaments for the pets on my stitching list. The wreaths are Clare Crompton designs.  The little tree is adapted from a  Barbara Mock design.

These little Dale Burdett Santa teddies are for two toddlers who will be celebrating their second Christmasses this year.

The final group features Santas. From the top, the designers are Jim Hawkins, Jeanette Crews, Barbara Mock, and Joy Averitt. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Gifted Gorgeousness report for July

Another month gone! The 15th of each month is the reporting date for Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness SAL, hosted on Serendipitous Stitching.  We can include in our GG reports anything stitched to be gifted, or stitched with gifted supplies.

I received a lovely surprise gift this month. A friend gave me this lovely stitched and framed L&L Angel of Mercy, which she found in a charity shop. The stitcher didn't sign or date it, but I can tell from the framer's stamp on the back that it was framed about 25 years ago.  It's not a good photo, unfortunately. It looks much better than the photo. I found a great spot for it on the wall right next to my recliner.  I feel very honoured to have been gifted  this lovely angel.

I have stitched a few Christmas ornaments in the past month, starting with these four sleigh-themed ones.  Top left is adapted from a Barbara Mock design (Christmas Quickies II leaflet); top right is a Graphworks design (Mini Motifs for Christmas Vol 3); bottom left has a Jeanette Crews sleigh (One Nighters 32 Santas leaflet); and bottom right has a Claire Crompton Santa sleigh and reindeer (Christmas Cross Stitch book).

And I made these eight Christmas tree themed Christmas ornaments.  The five heavily beaded trees are my own designs. The top ornament is adapted from a Claire Crompton design (Christmas Cross Stitch book); the tree in the centre is adapted from a design in LA's Christmas Caboodle 4 leaflet; and the large one in the centre of the bottom row is adapted from a Pat Waters design (A Christmas Collection).

I have just finished up this pair. The HoHoOh is a Sam Hawkins design.  The angel is very loosely based on L&L's Amish angel. I changed the cap to hair, added facial features, used beads for the wings, and changed the style and pattern of the dress, and omitted the garland.

I made a crochet sunhat as a 6th birthday gift for my greatniece, and because there was a lot of cotton left over I also made her a matching bag (my own design). The hat is a Lavender Chair design (Clarissa sun hat - child). I used 10 ply Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton and a 5.5 hook.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for June

 It's been a few months since I've put up a Gifted Gorgeousness report, and they have been difficult months. My partner lost the cancer battle at the very end of April, after putting up a very good fight, and there has been so much to cope with. I'm finding the older I get the harder it us for me to adapt to changes  but when I looked at the calendar and saw I'd just missed the GG reporting date of the 15th of the month, it prompted me to take action. As always, the GG SAL is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  Anything stitched with gifted supplies, or stitched to be gifted, qualifies for inclusion.

My last GG report was for February, so I will put in pics of the things I have stitched since then. This year my 12 Days of Christmas project is Jim Shore's very colourful set. Initially, my plan was to stitch one day per month, but I am notoriously bad at following plans.  I had finished Days 1 to 6 by the February GG report. Days 7 to 9 are now also finished.

And I am currently stitching the border on Day 10.  I am stitching this set for myself (because who doesn't need a 7th stitched 12 Days of Christmas set) using gifted supplies.

I have also stitched and finished these ornaments, most as Christmas gifts for children or close relatives.

I also stitched a name sampler for a new member of the extended family. It's not a good pic  unfortunately. It does look better than the pic, much brighter and clearer.

That's it for now. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Easter Blog Hop

 The Easter Blog Hop is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  I always enjoy this blog hunt each year, and it is fun to collect the letters and discover the phrase.

My Spring picture is one I stitched last year, for Miss Sarah's 5th birthday.  It's a shoehorn job, but both the unicorn and the girl  do have a garland of spring flowers, and it was the only non-Christmas pic I could find. 

This is the letter Jo gave me to share:

Your next blog is here.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Gifted Gorgeousness Report, February

 I missed the January Gifted Gorgeousness report entirely, and I'm running late for the February report, hosted by Jo at  Serendipitous Stitching on the 15th of each month. Anything stitched using gifted supplies, or stitched to be gifted, qualifies for inclusion in the GG report. Pretty much all of my stitching supplies are gifted to me, so most of my stitching meets the GG requirements.

I decided to stitch Jim Shore's 12 Day set for myself this year. So far I have completed the first 6 Days. I stitched them 1 over 1 on 20 count fabric, and omitted the beads and charms. At about 5" (13 cm) square, these are larger than my preferred ornament size, but so very pretty.

I also made another 6 Christmas ornaments, most of which will be gifted at Christmas. I stitched the Snowflake Christmas Tree with the intention of giving it to my oldest nephew and his wife for Christmas 2023. I was amost finished making it up (just 7 beads away from the end) when I discovered I had the backing piece upside down. I'm now going to keep it for myself.  I can easily love an imperfect Christmas ornament!  The snowflake Christmas tree and deer are adapted from CrossStitchingForFun designs.