Christmas Feed

Bookstore | Cross Stitch

Over the past couple of months, I've had two people contact me after seeing pieces I've stitched here on my lil' ol' blog, asking for help.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much that means to me.  I've been neglecting my blog so much this past year, yet somehow still inspiring people to stitch their hearts out.

That said, I've made a promise to myself that I'd be better about posting more regularly.  I've even written it in my planner, so you know it's serious business.  I lost my stitching mojo there for a while, but I think I got it back.  At least, for now.  So, fingers crossed it hangs around for a while so I can share some of the fun things I'm working on.

Even with a bit of a lack of stitching mojo, I still managed to finish an ornament.  Little House Needleworks always has the cutest ornaments, and this one is no exception.

Little House Needleworks Bookstore #crossstitch #ornament #christmas

And, hello!  BOOKS!  How could I pass up an ornament that's of a bookstore?!

I need to make sure I do the finishing work on this one so I can put it on the tree that I promised myself I'd put up this Christmas.  I haven't had a Christmas tree in 3-4 years, and I miss it.

Little House Nedleworks Bookstore #crossstitch #Christmas #ornament

Oh, and what are you guys reading right now?  I've hit a couple duds so far this year, but I read The Nix, which was ok, The Bear and The Nightingale, which I really liked, In a Dark, Dark Wood, which was unfortunately very predictable, and I'm currently reading The Last Days of Night, which is about the patent lawsuit between Edison and Westinghouse back in the late 1800's.  So far, I'm loving it.  I have nine books on hold at the library for my nook, so hopefully they'll keep me busy over the next couple months!

 

 


Christmastime is Here and Gone.

I swear it was last week that I was down in New Orleans, taking a billion pictures of gorgeous houses draped in Spanish moss in the Garden District.

Garden District, New Orleans

No, really.

Yet, here we are, spring is in the air, and Ash Wednesday is next week.  Time flies, my friends.

So, how are all of you?  I've missed you!  I haven't gotten much stitching done, or really anything done, really.  Oh!  I have done a lot of reading, though.  So many books, so little time.  There've been a couple that I started and just couldn't get through.  Two of them were ones that the whole world seems to be raving about, yet I just could not get into them.  The Summer Before the War and All the Brave are Forgiven.  I love period pieces, but these....I just couldn't do it.  Right now, I'm reading The Nix.  Has anyone else read this?  So far, I'm liking it, although the pace is a little slow.  Tana French's new book came out a couple months ago, so I gotta make sure to read that soon, too.  

Anyways.  I have been stitching, despite not finishing much.  Not long before Christmas, I finished "Coffee Saves Lives."  I loved loved loved stitching this piece.  I love coffee (duh), and the coffee theme plus the coffee-colored threads?  Totally in love.  And the next in the series is coming out at the Nashville Market!  I cannot wait to get my hands on it!!

Coffee Saves Lives #crossstitch #coffee

The sass with the coffee cup!  Get it, girlfriend.

Coffee Saves Lives #crossstitch #coffee

I stitched this on 40 ct. Purely Primitive.  If you stitch this, I highly recommend getting two skeins of Pecan Pie and Cocoa.  The graph does not designate how many skeins you need of each, but since I just went through this debacle, save yourself the aggravation and a separate trip to your LNS (although, is that really all that bad?! I mean...I ended up with a new Plum Street Samplers graph....so.....) and get two the first go-around.  If you stitch this on larger count, I would venture to say you'll need three of each Pecan Pie and Cocoa.

Next up, "Snow Queen".  

Snow Queen #mirabilia #crossstitch #winter

The model is stitched on a light greyish blue, but as always, I can't do that.  I can't just use what is in the picture.  I did a thread pull at the shop, and chose Picture This Plus "Dusk". 

Oh my God.

Look at the way those colors just jump off the fabric!!!  I can't.

There is a dark grey that is tough to see up agains that dark blue, but for the most part, it's just an outline, or it's surrounded by beads and lighter colored threads, so I decided that foregoing this fabric just because you couldn't really see that grey was ridiculous.

I mean, look at those purples!  Stop yourself.

I've also been spending a considerable amount of time ripping out two blocks of my Shores at Hawk Run Hollow and re-stitching them, but I'll update when I actually start a new block.  That effort has been killing me, because it's all due to being ONE ROW OFF on the lighthouse in Block One.  You have NO idea how angry I was at myself when I figured that out, and subsequently how long it took me to actually pull out that project again to start fixing it.  (sigh)

Anyhooter.  I've missed you guys.  I need to figure out a better blogging schedule than once every six or eight months.  I may need to get planner pages and write it all out, but I will make this happen. Promise.

Sig


Merry Brew.

We all know how I feel about coffee.  It's the elixir of life.  Make it bulletproof, and I'm even happier.

When Paulette released "Merry Brew", I snatched it up just as quick as it was placed on the shelves.  It combines two of my most favorite things ever: Christmas and coffee.

And, as always, I found a faboo fabric to stitch this on that wasn't a neutral khaki or sand or somethingorother.

Merry Brew by Plum Street Samplers #crossstitch #coffee #christmas #santa

I wanted something dark enough so you could see the snowflakes and the steam in the coffee, but most of the neutrals I have were either too dark and you'd lose the reindeer, or they weren't dark enough and you'd lose the snowflakes.  

Enter Dusk Rose. Dark enough to see everything, and the right color of pinkish to bring out the "Merry" and Santa's suit.  

  Merry Brew by Plum Street Samplers #crossstitch #christmas #santa #coffee

I used all Crescent Colors....or whatever they're called now....is it Classic Colorworks?  I can't remember.  Anyways.  I used all the ones called for, so you can see the variations throughout.  I love using variegated threads.  I didn't used to use them all the time - I'd use the DMC equivalent - but sometimes, it really does make a difference.  Now, silks are a different story.  Unless it's a huge difference to use the silks, like if there's 47 different colors in one skein, I'll use the DMC equivalent.  No use spending all that money on solid silks when I can put it towards graphs I have to have.  Priorities.

Speaking of graphs I have to have, I just got "Snow Queen" from Mirabilia, and OMG.  I cannot wait to start her.  I got some WICKED awesome fabric to stitch her on, too.  I can't wait to post updates.  She's gonna be incredible.

Sig


Quaker Samplers Are My Thang.

YOU GUYS.  It's been like, foreverandaday.

I mean, what have you guys even been up to?????  I was on travel for work two weeks ago in sunny CA, then off to San Antonio and the Riverwalk where the best people watching occurs, then back to frigid DC. 

Thank God it appears that spring has finally arrived (it's 80 degrees today!) because, I'm legit

So.

Over.

Winter.

I brought my Joy sampler with me on travel....and didn't realize till I got it out to stitch that I left 99.9% of the threads I needed on my dining room table.  Sooo helpful when I need some stitch therapy.  

Ugh.

Anyhooter.

When I got home, I did some serious stitching on my Raven Queen and Joy Sampler...so much that I FINISHED the Joy sampler!!  

WOOT!

Oh, and PS btdubs, I miraculously have been able to read on planes - I can't even explain how much less painful this makes traveling for me.  I usually get motion sickness SO BAD I just about throw up everything I've eaten over the past week by simply walking down the gate to the plane.   Forget takeoffs and landings.  But, over the last year, it's been glorious.  I just make sure I get some Coke when the flight attendants come down the aisle, and I'm good.  Can you outgrow motion sickness as a grown woman??  Who the heck knows, but I think it happened.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.  I probably just jinxed myself now, and next time I have to fly, I'll want to die.  

Anyways.  So on the flights to LAX...then to SAT....then home....I got out my trusty nook glowlight and read After Alice by my beloved Gregory Maguire, who wrote Wicked and the three sequels.  I LOVED Wicked and its sequels.  Loved.  The musical?  Forget it.   My friend Matt and I lost our minds watching that show on Broadway.  So good.  

However........ I HAAAAAAATED his other books that take fairy tales and twist them sideways.  The Ugly Stepsister?  Awful.  Mirror, Mirror?  Horrendous.   When I saw he wrote a book based on Alice In Wonderland, I thought....this could be awesome....or this could make me want to slice my wrists the right way for wasting time on a terrible book.

Such high hopes.

It.was.awful.

Like, awful.  I literally have no words other than awful to describe how awful it was.  Even worse, I wasted hours of my life reading the damn thing cover to cover.  I kept saying, "it's gonna get better.  All this chasing after Alice to find her through the looking glass? They'll find her and it'll continue into an even better adventure in Wonderland."

False.

I won't spoil the storyline in case any of you would like to read this book, but I am not happy I wasted my time.  (insert angry emoji with furrowed brows here)

But Christmas!  And Quaker samplers!  And manger scenes!  Yay!

Joy Quaker Sampler #crossstitch #sampler #christmas #quaker

I am seriously so in love with this sampler.  Ever since I finished Songs of the Season II, I've been obsessed with the Quaker style samplers.  You all know I have no love for regular samplers, but these are a horse of a different color.

I mean, how can you not love the fact that the letters of the word "Joy" are the basis for the manger scene?!

Joy Quaker Sampler #christmas #crossstitch #sampler #quaker

 Fun fact: those letters took forrrrevvvverrrrrrrrrrrrrrr to stitch because, you know, 40 count.  

Joy Quaker Sampler #christmas #crossstitch #sampler #quaker
IMG_5883

Joy Quaker Sampler #christmas #crossstitch #sampler #quaker

I'm not totally sold on how I stitched my initials and the date.  I wanted it to kinda be invisible, like part of the piece, rather than draw your eye to my signature.  I'll leave it for now....I might change it......who knows.....

But....anyways.  Next up: The Three Wisemen.


Sampler Love.

TGIF, you guys.  Like, fo' realz.  The struggle was real this week.  How is it that short weeks always seem so daggone long?! The long holiday weekend was not long enough.  Just sayin'.  And Monday, we had 4-6 inches of snow which I had to trudge through to get more ground coffee because I ran out.  

I KNOW.  

How is that even possible???!?!?  No idea.  But, my canister is full again and I'm a happy camper.  Bulletproof coffee is my lifeline.  Have you guys tried it yet?! It's wicked good, and a faboo way to get your good fats in before the day gets away from you. 

I decided this week to put down Raven Queen for a hot minute and pick up my Joy Sampler again for the first time in weeks.  Stitching the word "Joy" just about killed me, which is why I needed a break.  I love working on 40 count (I know, I know, I'm crazy for loving such small count fabric), but those letters broke me.  They're about 4 inches high on 40 count, so you can imagine how long that took.

  Joy Sampler #quaker #christmas #sampler #crossstitch

I thought it would never end.

Good news is that these motifs are much quicker to stitch.

Joy Sampler #quaker #sampler #christmas #crossstitch

Much quicker.

Joy Sampler #crossstitch #quaker #sampler #christmas

I'm so in love with the greys and golds up against the dark red.  It's a stray from the normal reds and greens of Christmas pieces, and I love it.

Joy Sampler #quaker #sampler #crossstitch #christmas

And butterflies!  (sigh) Now I want spring like whoa. 


Christmas Stitching.

Bob:  Must be very Vermonty this time of year, all that underwear.
Phil: I guess I should take the electric blanket back.
Bob:  Where you keeping that?
Phil:  Under the underwear....
White Christmas

So.  Here we are, fully entrenched in the Christmas season (with only 4 days left!!!  eeeeeek!!!).  I've been dreaming about gingerbread and shortbread cookies all day, every day.  I mean, gingerbread, you guys.  To die.  And you can only have it during this time of year.  I'm all about Christmas in July and all that jazz, but gingerbread in the middle of summer when it's Africa hot out just isn't the same as when you're curled up on the couch under throw blankets binge watching all your favorite Christmas movies.  

Wait.  Africa hot.  Kinda like it is now.  I don't know about where you guys are, but it's been straight up warm around these parts.  Aroundabout now is when we start hitting temps in the 40's (which is when I start to cry, quite frankly, because I hate the cold like whoa), but these past couple weeks it's been in the 60's.  Last weekend, when I went home for my nephew's 1st birthday party, it was a balmy 73 degrees.  73!!  On December 13th!  I was sweating, windows down, for the 3-hour drive north.  Sweating.  And not because it was freezing outside so I had the heat cranked to 90 degrees in my car.  Not that I actually do that or anything.....

Anyhooter.  As expected, I'm a teensy bit behind already on my December Daily album.  I just haven't done anything particularly Christmassy yet.....except finish my cards, plan out my cookie baking extravaganza, and listen to vintage LPs.....so, long story short (too late): I'm boring.  Well, so far this Christmas season, I've been boring. 

December Daily 2015 cover #dd #decemberdaily #christmas

ALSO.  YOU GUYS.  Tragedy struck my lil' apartment yesterday.  

One of my Christmas travel mugs from Starbucks back in the day.....BROKE.  I can't even explain the devastation.  It had pretty foil paper on the inside, and it was just so festive and fun, and you can't get them like that anymore.  Tears were shed.  

Ok, maybe just a tear.  

Ok, maybe not even that, but more like me saying, "SON OF A BIOTCH!" when it happened.  The latter is probably the most believable of all presented scenarios, and may or may not be what actually happened. ("Would you believe....twice around the bathtub?"  NAME THAT TV SHOW!!! <---- i really, really need to lay off the caffeine...)

On the upside, I get to treat myself to a new Christmas travel mug! I was holding off, because, let's face it, my mug collection is out of control.  But, I'm replacing a broken one, not adding to the mug hoarding mess!  #winning

Since I've been majorly slacking on my December Daily (other than to adorn the cover, as shown above), I figured I'd give you a WIP update on the Christmas stitching I've been doing instead.

Ok?  Ok.

First up is the Joy Quaker Sampler.  This shot shows the entire left side, which is tough to get in all the pics I take, since this piece is turning out pretty big, despite the fact that I'm stitching on my favorite 40 ct madness...

IMG_4868

I apologize for it being a smidge dark...

This next one has a bit more stitching in it, and you can see additional motifs across the top.  The colors showed up a bit better in this one, too.  I'm loving how this is turning out.

IMG_4960
I got a bit bored with that this past weekend, even though I was in full hibernation mode and didn't leave the apartment much, so I started on something a little smaller to give me a sense of instant gratification - the next day in the 12 Days of Christmas - Second Day - from Plum Street Samplers.  A bout of insomnia and one Christmas movie later, viola!

Second Day | 12 Days of Christmas | #crossstitch #plumstreetsamplers #quaker

Like with First Day, I used Currant and Blue Spruce to stitch these ornaments.  I'm trying to use up my scraps, though, so I used a different fabric than for First Day.  This one is 36 count, and is definitely a WDW fabric (although I don't know the color name), which I loathe, but whatever.  I need to use up my scraps, so I suffered through it.  Anyone else out there hate WDW fabric as much as me?????  I cannot stand how limp and lifeless this fabric is, and the weave is so loose it drives me insane.  UGH to the UGH.  

Tonight there will be binge baking and hopefully some DD album building before the big day arrives this Friday!  Are you guys ready for this??  I'm so not.  BUT - thank God for Amazon Prime - I didn't even leave the couch on Saturday (ok, I did for mass....4th sunday of advent and whatnot....) and was still able to order the last of my Christmas gifts, which will be arriving tomorrow!  Queen of Procrastination at her best, my friends.  

Sig


Christmastime Is Here!

Hello my friends!!  Did you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving???  I hope you did, filled with friends, family, good food, and even better wine.  Or maybe some mulled spiked cider instead.  Or maybe both. 

Yummmmm.

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my sister's house, where she had the prettiest table set, and fantastic food for us all to eat.

IMG_4496

Hi Bean!

After the ridiculously delicious dinner, it was time for dessert, of course.  Since my sister's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, and my mom's was Saturday, and my bro-in-law's was last Sunday, I had some serious baking to do.  I made a three-layer apple cider cake for my sis & bro-in-law, and a Hershey's special dark chocolate cake for my mom.  There was the obligatory pumpkin pie, too, but....cake.  Filled to the brim with gluten and sugar, per my sister's request.  Ha.

IMG_4507

If you know anything about me...at all...you know my seat at this dessert table was the one with that coffee pot at my right hand.  Duh.

Black Friday was spent in downtown Philly, doing the tradish Christmas stuff down there, like seeing the light show in the old Wanamaker's building.  I am eternally eight years old when I see this show.

Light Show at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia #Philly #christmas #wanamakerslightshow

I live for this time of year, but it's still nearly impossible to believe that Christmas is right around the corner again already.  I'll be doing another December Daily album like I have the past two years.  I will do my best to provide regular post updates as I build my album, but bear with me as I finish making my Christmas cards and start prepping cookie batters - I may fall behind some days. 

You're all shocked, I know.

It's like I get distracted by shiny objects or things I unearth in crevices in my craft table or start a new cross stitch project when I have three going already or something like that instead of finishing blog posts.  Not that any of that ever happens.  Ever.  

Never.

Ahem.

Pardon me while I go find my mug of mulled cider...wherever it is I left it....and curl up to watch some Christmas specials...

Sig


First Day. | Cross Stitch

We're officially in the Christmas season, which makes me beyond giddy.  I mean, Thanksgiving is fantastic with all the food and pumpkin pie and all....but, Christmas.  

Lately, I've been stitching some seriously big pieces, and I needed a break from all that.  So, I decided I needed to incorporate some smalls, like ornaments, into my WIP rotation.

Enter, Plum Street Sampler's fabulous Christmas freebies.

First Day | 12 Days of Christmas by Plum Street Samplers #christmas #12daysofchristmas #crossstitch

Have you guys gotten on this wagon yet??  Paulette has the first six days posted on her website - she's posting them all as freebies! (fun fact:  the twelve days of christmas are actually the twelve days after christmas, leading up to the epiphany, not the days before christmas...)  I'm a huge fan of her designs, and these are no exception.  

She doesn't have specific colors listed in the charts, she just says to use red, green, gold, and black.  This one only calls for red and green, so I used the same two I used for Quaker Christmas II - Currant and Blue Spruce.  They're superb Christmas colors, and I have a ton of them left over, so it's a great excuse to use up some thread in my stash!  

I'm so far behind already, but Christmas comes every year, so here's hoping I can get all twelve all done by next Christmas!

Sig


Monday Catch Up.

Did you ever get so behind in reading your blog roll that you just went through each one and cleared the feed without reading any of the articles?

No?  Just me?  Ok.  Well....I just did that.  Last week, I fought what I call The Trifecta: ear infection, sinus infection, and bronchitis.  All of that at the same time.  I'll let you know when that's fun.  When I was able to sit upright for longer than 35 seconds, I made chocolate chia pudding, because, priorities.   And chocolate heals all ailments. 

Since I'd been out of commission for so long, I had wayyyy too many posts in my feed.  So, I just deleted them.  It was liberating.  Now I can start the week fresh with new blog posts I'll (hopefully) have time to read!

I wasn't able to do much last week, being laid up on the couch and all, but I was able to make some serious progress on two of my pieces.

First up, Shores of Hawk Run:

Shores of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings

That house was killer to build, and the stone cliff made me want to drink heavily after I was done, just so I could see straight again.  It doesn't look like much...but 40 count is a beast when you're filling in all those squares.  

I also finished The Night Before Christmas from Prairie Schooler:

The Night Before Christmas by Prairie Schooler #crossstitch #christmas

I stitched this on 32 count Smokey White, which is actually a painted linen vice overdyed - the smokey effect is only present on the side it's painted on, rather than variegated through the entire fabric.

btdubs - I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but after this year, the ladies at Prairie Schooler will be retiring, and they will not be reprinting those designs already in print.  So, make sure you get your hands on whatever graphs you want, because once they're gone, they're gone.  This, friends, is precisely why I hoard cross stitch graphs - you never know when one of your favorite designers will retire and you won't be able to get their graphs ever again.  And because, well, some of them I just can't pass up and need to have.  

Ahem.  Moving on.

I don't know about you guys, but have you been watching True Detective?  Are you as completely and utterly confused as I am with this season??  Please tell me I'm not alone.  I finished watching last night's episode just exhausted from trying to piece everything together.  There are only two episodes left and literally no answers.  It's like I'm watching LOST again - every week there are 42 new questions and no friggin answers.  GAH.

Anyhooter.  I'm off to go grab my 5th mug of coffee (yes, 5th) and hopefully make it through this Monday in one piece as I come down the home stretch of recovery from The Trifecta. 

May your Monday be full of sunshine and an endless pot of coffee!! Sig

 


What a whirlwind. | Scrapbooking

And just like that, it's December 30th.  Christmas is over, and we're gearing up for the new year.

2014 is gonna go out with a bang, and 2015 is gonna be wicked awesome.  You heard it here first.

But, before we get that clean slate on 1 January, here's a peek at my full December Daily album.  I had a lot of fun making this album, mainly because I decided to stop hoarding all my Christmas paper and embellishments.  They're not doing any good laying around in my bins, so I did the best I could to use most of what I had for this project.  I'm actually really, really proud of myself - I didn't buy any new Christmas paper before OR after Christmas.  THAT takes an insane amount self control, my friends.  Hooooo boy.

I'll start where I left off in my last post about DD --

Day 9:  kiiiiinda lame, since I have no pic for that day, but I like the tree printable on the facing page...

IMG_1045

Days 10 & 11:  Day 10 is from the Anthropolgie store in Rittenhouse Square.  It's one of my absolute favorite buildings of all time - they kept most of the original architecture intact from this house when they converted it to a store.  It's absolutely stunning inside.  I took this from the ground level floor, looking down to what used to be the kitchen in the basement, where they have their  home goods section.  Day 11 is the gigantic tree in the Liberty II building in Center City, one of my favorite trees to see each year.

December Daily 2014

Days 12 & 13:  I'm eh about Day 12, but what can ya do.  I may switch this up, I may not.  The pic I chose is the light show from the old Wanamaker's building - now Macy's.  Day 13 is the wreaths in the arches at Macy's, which are in the area of the light show.

December Daily 2014

 Days 14 & 15: Day 14 is of the tree and the tops of some of the shops in the Christmas Village in Love Park, right outside City Hall.  Day 15 is a snap of the handmade gift tags I made for all the gifts this year.  Just a simple stamp on a kraft tag (that I cut out using my Cricut, but you can use pre-made tags) that says "I'm dreaming of a white christmas" with red glitter embossing power, and red baker's twine.  Boom.

December Daily 2014

Days 16 & 17: Day 16 is all about the Santa display at Pottery Barn.  I wanted everything on that table.  Day 17 is a little stitching I've been doing when I should be doing 47 thousand other things.  (yes, i stamped directly on that photo of my stitching - Staz-on ink works on any surface!)

December Daily 2014

Day 18:  Day 18 gets a two-page spread.  It's the day my nephew was born! I'm an honorary aunt to many of my friends' kids, but this time I'm an aunt to my sister's first baby!  Welcome to the world, Carrick James!

December Daily 2014

Days 19 & 20:  Day 19 is when I was able to see the baby - the day he was born, I didn't get the chance to see him, but when I went back the next day, I was able to see him and hold him for a while.  Day 20 is the ornament I made for him for his first Christmas.  It's a Prairie Schooler design, from the Christmas Tree Farm chart.

  December Daily 2014

Days 21 & 22: Day 21 is a snap of a house in my neighborhood whose lights are the rosary, and they have a manger scene below.  I've never seen anyone do anything like this, so I had to get a snap.  Day 22 is a snap of the cards I made this year.

December Daily 2014

Days 23 & 24: Day 23 is hot chocolate and White Christmas.  The best Christmas movie ever.  I have to watch it at least 46 times during the Christmas season, including on Christmas Eve.  Day 24 (Christmas Eve) is a pic of the altar at my parish church before the vigil mass. 

December Daily 2014

 Day 25: My mom and I went to my sister's house this year for Christmas, since it was only a week after the baby was born, and that way she didn't have to go anywhere, especially since she's not supposed to take the baby out in the cold.  I took a quick pic of the tree and mantle and of the table, and she sent me the one of my bro-in-law with the baby in his Christmas bib. The facing page is a quote from one of my favorite Christmas movies - Christmas Vacation - and I thought it needed a place in this album, so I used it as the final page.  Clark's freak out is so great.  My other favorite line?  "Why is the floor wet, TODD?"  "I don't know, MARGO."

December Daily 2014

That wraps up my December Daily for 2014!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate)!!!  What are some of the traditions you have?  Did you do anything new this year for Christmas?  Did you do any Christmas crafting?  

Sig