Christmas Feed

Mrs. Claus's Cookie Shop | Cross Stitch

Happy April!  Yesterday was a rainy, gloomy day, and today isn't looking much better.  Here's hoping April showers bring those May flowers!  I could use some color and cheer these days.

Speaking of cheer, one thing that does make me happy is stitching all things Christmas.  I can't help myself.  I love Christmas and all the nostalgia.

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I picked up Mrs. Claus's Cookie Shop from Country Cottage as something quick to stitch, plus I loved the bright red and white on the border and the awnings.  It looks just like a candy cane :-)

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With all that's going on right now, the sudden change to teleworking every day, stores closed, shelter at home orders, it's all a lot for us to handle.  So, stitching something cheerful was what I needed.  Also, cookies.  Because, yum.  Btw - I saw online that the Girl Scouts extended their online ordering for their cookie sales! Is that true???  I miss Thin Mints....I used to put them in the freezer....they were so good cold...

Aaaaaanyhooter...

I stitched this on 36 count Antique Ivory, which I think helped bring out that vibrant red.

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Isn't that little cookie button so cute?! 

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I hope you're all doing something each day that brings you cheer during these trying times.  Stay safe and healthy, friends.

 


Quaker Christmas | Cross Stitch

It's been ages since I picked up my Quaker Christmas piece, "Faith", and I finished it last weekend.  This is the second of a three-part series, "Joy", "Faith", and "Peace".  I thought it was a perfect time to share this piece, given that we're all kinda anxious right now, not knowing when we can stop carrying Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer everywhere.  The news is exhausting - anyone else shut it off and only catch updates here and there?  It's all a bit much. 

I finished "Joy" a few years ago (did I even tell you guys about that one?  I can't find a post about it...), and started "Faith" over two years ago now (where does time go?!).  I was making steady progress for a while, until I realized a miscount on the giant star in the top right corner, and put her in timeout after I ripped it out and stitched it again. 

I didn't realize how long it'd been since I worked on it, until I scrolled through my posts to see when I'd started it: December 2017.  Quite long enough to be in the WIP pile, thankyouverymuch.  Although...not quite as long as Shores of Hawk Run Hollow...but that's neither here nor there...

Ahem.

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I stitched this on 40 count fabric that I had in my stash.  I'm sure it's one of those ginormous pieces I've had since forever when I was part of a fabric of the month club...so it's Silkweaver...I just don't know what the color is :-|.  My stitch club members from back in PA are still laughing at all that fabric I had on hand...and still have on hand....ugh.  haha.

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There are so many gorgeous motifs in this piece, that I don't think I could pick a favorite.  I wasn't sure how I felt about the three wise men being stitched in such contrasting colors to the motifs surrounding them, but they grew on me.


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Those snowflakes...took.....forevvvvvverrrrrrrrr to stitch.  Forever.  They're everywhere.

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I have one more to go in this series:  Peace.  For now, though, I'm gonna take a break from the Quaker style and move to something different.  Not sure quite what...but I'm not sure I want to start another sampler just yet.  Maybe I'll move to an autumn or Halloween piece (like the Little Bits that I started last week!), or possibly patriotic.  I found a remnant of PtP Heroic that I used for a Blue Ribbon Designs piece (I really need to start taking stuff to be framed...once shops are open again...) that I might use for a patriotic piece I've been itching to start.  We'll see...

Happy stitching everyone!   I hope you're out there making beautiful things or reading your favorite novels, or whatever makes you happy :-).


Miss Christmas Eve | Cross Stitch

You all know by now how much I love stitching Mirabilia pieces.  I love them.  The detail is incredible, and they never disappoint. 

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As usual, when I start a Mirabilia piece, it's hard to put down.  I swore I wouldn't start anything new (HAHAHA) until I was done at least one piece, but last March (I honestly can't believe it's been a year since I started this piece), I couldn't stand it any longer and had to start Miss Christmas Eve.  I hoped to be done by this Christmas (no easy feat when you have 6 or 7 projects going at once....all the time....), and actually met that goal!  I only now just got around to posting her in all her glory.

The greens that make up the evergreens in her dress (like a Christmas tree!) drove me a bit batty.  It took me a while to see the difference in the reds and realize that they were giant bows.  I felt like I was in that Seinfeld episode where they're all talking about those illusion pictures (remember those?  back in the 90's?!), and everyone saw them....except Elaine's boss, Mr. Pitt.  Drove him nuts.

Then, all of the sudden, I saw the reds as huge bows and now I get it. 

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As usual, the beading makes this piece, along with the straight stitches around her face and on her gloves.  I think my favorites to put on were the gold beads.  They were squared off rather than round, and they were the perfect shiny gold.  I didn't care for the bugle beads.  They don't lay right (I didn't like them much in Snow Queen, either, quite frankly...), so they end up looking all crooked, like I wasn't paying attention as I stitched them on.  Ugh.

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Unfortunately, what you can't really tell from these pics, is that the fabric is a crystal fabric.  I stitched this on 32 count Crystal Legacy by Picture this Plus.  I love using the crystal fabrics for winter and Christmas pieces.  It gives the piece that extra oomph :-).

I haven't decided which Mirabilia will be my next...I have quite a few in my stash to choose from...and I'm already itching to start another.  Maybe I'll do one of the Red Ladies...or possibly the Dressmaker's Daughter....

I hope you're all staying healthy, and may our needles and thread (or other creative ventures!) keep our anxieties at bay through this tumultuous time.  May a vaccine be found quickly for this crazy virus!

I'd love to hear what you're all working on, whatever creative thing it is.  Be it reading, painting, embroidery, quilting, you name it! 

 


Snow Queen | Cross Stitch

Holy Heatwave, Batman.  Did you guys cool off yet?  Good Lord it was hot this weekend.  I like summer, but not when you could legit cut the humidity with a carving knife.  It's too much.  I was dehydrated yesterday morning at 7am, and all I did was sleep.  All of this means it’s only appropriate that I post my most recent finish to help us think of cooler temps (which should be here tomorrow): Snow Queen. 

I actually finished her last year, but only recently took her to be framed. 

I’m not a huge fan of matting, so most of my pieces are framed without it. I felt that this piece needed to stand alone without anything detracting from the fabric or the piece itself.  I may change my mind in the future, depending on the piece, but for now, I'm sticking with mat-less frames.

Snow Queen by Mirabilia #crossstitch #christmas #holiday #mirabilia

Let's start with the fabric.  Could you die?!  I stitched her on 32 ct Mystic by Picture this Plus, and it is so incredibly perfect.  The called-for fabric was too light - you could barely see her hair and the lovely purples.  This?  This makes them all just jump out.  Plus, since it's got the purple dye in the dark blue, it pulls out the purples in the sash.

How about her reindeer?  Omg.  He's heavily adorned, to include large teardrop gems that fall from his reins.  Can you even?!

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And then there are the beads all over her and her dress.  The snowflakes were a bit of a pain - it was tough to get all those bugle beads to sit right, but in the end, worth it.

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The frame is a bit tough to see, but it's a creamy white, with a small silver inside edge.  Perfection.

This piece was, by far, one of my favorites to stitch. The dark fabric took a little getting used to, but once I got going, it was easy to work on.  As always, I encourage you all to use different fabric, and even change some (or all!) of the threads, if you're just not liking what's showing on the model picture (see my Skeleton Crew for some inspiration on switching out both fabric and threads :-)).  I will say that to date, I think this is probably the best fabric switch I've made.

Also, huge shout out to my LNS, In Stitches, for their framing services.  It turned out gorgeous, ladies!  Thank you again!

*This post was updated on 18 March 2020 to reflect the actual PtP fabric used.

 

 


Tidings of Great Joy | Cross Stitch

Welcome fall!  I feel like yesterday it was March and I was losing my mind at work, and next Thursday it's Thanksgiving already.  This Thursday, they're calling for snow in the forecast.  I say no thank you and good day.  Snow is inappropriate for this time of year.  I better not hear that word for at least another month, preferably two. Kthxbye.

Anyway, since last we spoke, I've been to Italy and back (I may post about that soon - we were there for two weeks and had a wonderful time), and actually finished a stitched piece, Tidings of Great Joy.  I don't do religious pieces (i.e. ones that have verses), but this one kept drawing me to it every time I was at my LNS, so I finally got it in the early summer and started stitching it immediately.

You all know I love me some Christmas.  I mean, I've had my Christmas tree up at work all year (don't judge me!) - not lit or with decorations, but it's up - and just absolutely love this time of year.  I used to get so agitated that everything was Christmas everywhere starting 1 November, but the past few years, I'm totally over it.  I want to savor every minute of the spices on the stove making the house smell Christmassy, the tree, lights, and festivities.  I stitch Christmas all year, too, with at least one piece going at all times.

Tidings of Great Joy #LaDDa #crossstitch #christmas

While I was stitching this, I couldn't help but hear Linus in my head, reciting this on the stage in "Charlie Brown Christmas".

Tidings of Great Joy #LaDDa #crosstitch #christmas

I made some changes, but they're minimal.  I stitched this on 36 count WDW Confederate Grey, and switched the berries and vine from the called-for colors to GAST Currant and Blue Spruce.  Hands down, they are my favorite Christmas red and green to stitch with.  Ever since I stitched Songs of the Season, I've been obsessed.

Tidings of Great Joy #LaDDa #crossstitch #christmas

The special thing about this piece is that this traveled with me across the Atlantic, and I even put a few stitches in on the plane and in Italy.  It's a transatlantic piece!  I think that's pretty cool ;-)

What are you guys working on? It's been such a long time since I've checked in with you all!  I'd love to hear about your projects!

 


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.

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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.

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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
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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.