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.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My very last 2015 stitching

I know I have said it before this year, but these two little ornaments are my final finishes for 2015.  I stitched at my sister's request for a friend of hers, whose very precious twins are due to be born early next year.   Mother is so organised that babies even have their names allocated.

The little stocking design is heavily modified from a design in LA's Christmas Caboodle #4 leaflet (1986).  I changed the size of the stocking, floss colours, pattern, and contents, and reversed the design for the pink one.  The tiny bear is adapted from Graphworks Mini Motif Designs Christmas Vol 8 (1987).  I changed the floss colours, and added the neck ribbon.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Advent Blog Hop post

Here we are already at 18th December (well, at least it is here already in Australia where I live), and that's my day for posting on Jo's Christmas Advent Blog Hop.  Christmas is big in my life, so I am most happy to be here to share it with you.

The cross stitch picture I am putting up is L&L's Angel of Love.  I chose her, not because she was a new piece this year, but because of her story.

In 2004, Patti K from Canada and I were both members of an on-line cross stitch group, and one day she posted "I wish someone would take this angel off my hands", and put up a pic of a partially stitched Angel of Love.  She had started it at the request of her sister in law in 2000, and had stitched the Angel's head, wings, and sleeves, and a little of the top of the cape.  Her sister in law then changed her mind about wanting the angel, and she had sat in Patti's work basket for nearly 5 years.  I'd never stitched anything as big as a L&L before, never stitched with beads, and never stitched on linen. But I put up my hand, and just before Christmas 2004, I got a lovely package from Canada which contained the part-stitched angel on beautiful linen fabric, all the floss and beads that Patti had kitted up for it, the original chart, and a soft padded project bag.  I was so excited!  Unfortunately, I was having health problems at the time - flu-like symptoms, tiredness, aching painful swollen joints especially my hands.  At the time I was unable to fasten my own car seat-belt or do something as simple as put on socks or do up a bra. To cut a long story short, I was very soon after diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I immediately was put on to methotrexate, which for me was a miracle drug, but it's a drug that takes a while to build up in the body to therapeutic levels, and for me it took just on 6 months before it got the symptoms under control. Despite this, I was keen to get started on the Angel, and started her just after Christmas 2005.  I can still recall sitting in tears trying to pick up a bead with my needle, and sometimes it would take me half an hour to get just 1 or 2 beads stitched on that skirt.  But, being somewhat stubborn and quite compulsive about my hobbies, I persisted, and put in my final stitches in the Angel of Love before the end of May 2005.  I stitched (in gold Mill Hill petite beads) Patti's initials and her starting year of 2000, and my initials and my finishing year of 2005 on the bottom, and sent her for framing.  When I sent a photo over to Patti, she was thrilled to see her finished and framed, and said it brought tears to her eyes.  A more generous person may have sent the finished piece back to Patti, but to be honest, that was never going to happen!  Since then, the Angel of Love has spent January to mid November hanging on the wall of my lounge room, and the festive season hanging wherever my angels are being displayed - for the past few years in my dining room.  I have since stitched L&L's Angels of Grace and Hope, and many Santas I love them all, but none of my cross stitched items is as special to me as the Angel of Love.

As I said, I'm into Christmas in a big way.  I stitch all year for Christmas. I decorate the entire house for Christmas, including changing all the art works and the contents of the display cupboards.  It takes me (with a lot of help, and very little sleep) at least three weeks to transition into Christmas, and at least one week to change back after Christmas. I like to have the house back to its usual state by New Years Day, and so far I have always managed to do it, but this year I have my doubts!  From Dec 1 to Dec 24 I have lots of Christmas visitors. Many of them are children, accompanied by assorted relatives.  Some families I see only at Christmas.  I usually stitch a Christmas ornament for any child I know will be visiting, and I also have little take-home gifts, gingerbreads, and handmade angels for the children, and most adults.  I really enjoy my Christmas visits!  The few days before Christmas are the most popular visiting times (after school is finished for the year), so by Christmas Eve I am pretty tired.  After I see off the last of my Christmas visitors, I sit and watch the Christmas Carols by Candlelight on TV, and relax.  My extended family has its Christmas party early, usually on the weekend before Christmas.  On Christmas Day I trot across the road to my sister's house for Christmas brunch, and that signals for me the end of Christmas.  I come home and start packing things away. An anti-climax, really.  It's like saying goodbye to old friends, as I wrap and pack the Santas, angels, and other decorations. But it's nice to have the old house back!  I usually swear I'll never do it again, and that holds till about August, when I start to think how nice it will be to have all my Christmas things around me - and the cycle starts again!

Today, if you came to my front door and stepped inside, this is what you would see:

Thank you for your Christmas Advent visit!  Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.  I hope 2016 brings for each of you a year of good health, good fortune, peace and contentment - and lots of joy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Gifted Gorgeousness Report

Well, I thought I had finished my 2015 stitching - until my sister arrived and requested ornaments for the yet-to-be-born twins of a friend.  So, the basket came back down and I started stitching again.  I still have the back of the pink ornament to stitch, and both ornaments to make up.  My job for tonight. 

This is what I have stitched so far.  Despite evidence to the contrary, the pink and blue ornaments are the same size exactly!

These will definitely be my final offerings for 2015!

I have so enjoyed being part of this lovely group, and I'll be back next year, God willing!  Thank you all for enriching my year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

More Christmas Pic - My Angel Room

This year, my Dining Room has once more become my Angel Room for Christmas.

 I have three cross stitched L&L Angels - the Angel of Love is the first I stitched (in 2005).  She is my favourite, and this year she is watching over my collection of white and glass angels.

These are my musical angels, and a few non-musical but very sweet Angel friends.

The Angel of Hope and Angel of Grace are watching over my collection of tree-top angels.  In the left hand corner, you can just see my collection of vintage angels in the display cupboard.

Some of my doll Angels.

My beaded Angels (my own design).

And finally, my Angel tree.  The tree is made of dowelling and hangs on the wall on a picture hook. I try to hang my Angels symmetrically when I can - matching ones on each side.

 I love my Angels!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Needle down, work basket retired for the year ...

Here are my final 'finishes' for 2015.
The little bear is a freebie from the DMC site.
I changed the floss colours.

So - I have now finished everything on my 2015 stitching 'to do' list. The plan is to take my work basket upstairs to my craft room, pack away the floss and fabric, and take a break from stitching for the rest of the month.  I may get out the floss for "Christmas Dreams" and put it onto the floss cards, and perhaps put the fabric on the frame - in fact, it's likely that I will. It's 41 months since I last worked on a HAED (my first).  Ironically, that's just 1 month shorter than the length of time that it took me to stitch it.  I am quite excited to start another HAED - and  also quite frightened, since I still have clear  memories of the sleepless nights spent huddled over the floor-frame, and the compulsion to just finish this thread/section/page/etc.  I have more  than a touch of OCD when it comes to my stitching! But the pleasure I get from the sight of my completed Jolly Old Fellow more than makes up for the pain I felt while working on it, and I hope the same will hold for Christmas Dreams.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of my Christmas house. I'm starting with the upstairs landing - this is what you would see if you stood at my open front door and looked upwards.

My life-size Santa carries a cross-stitched 'Welcome'.

The Christmas Tree on the Singer table is an Advent Calendar of my own design - each star has a Santa painted on the reverse, and each day in December I turn over a star to reveal the Santa.  As you can see, I took this photo before Dec 1. The framed cross stitch is by Donna Vermillion - Portrait of Santa.

These are some of my favourite Christmas ornaments (most of the Santas are Vermillion designs). They're hanging on the linen press door.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for November

So, here we are again.  There's a lot going on in my house right now (90 yr old MIL in hospital with broken hip, country relatives staying to visit MIL), so stitching has taken a back seat.   However, I have finished my name sampler for Jude, stitched a bib for my new great-niece, and started a set of two ornaments for a long-term friend who has welcomed two new grandchildren (her first grandchildren) this year.

This is the bib I stitched for my great-niece.  It's not a great pic, I'm afraid.  I started to stitch the 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' bib from LA's Bibs by the Bunch leaflet (LA939), but rethought it after I had almost finished the 'Mary' bear.  I decided I definitely wanted to include baby's name, so I stitched another bear reversing the image, and stitched baby's name between them.  If I had planned it out first, I would have left more space for the name - but I didn't, so I filled the leftover space with hearts, for this brave little fighter who has had so much to contend with in the nine weeks since she was born. Of course this bib is way too big for Annabelle right now, but I am confident she will grow into it.  It is part of her Christmas gift.

And here is the name sampler I stitched for our little Aussie-American.  I used the letters from Allura's Australian Alphabet, but changed the colours in the letters to make them all the same. I'll be taking this to the framer in the next day or so. It will be a Christmas gift.

And the ornaments for my friend.  I have stitched the one for the little Belgian-Aussie grand-daughter living in Britain, but I have only started on the border of the little Aussie grandson who lives locally.  I have to have both finished up by December 8, for my friend's 60th birthday. The teddy is a freebie from the DMC website. I changed the floss colours.
These two ornaments will be the last of my 2015 stitching.  My next project will be the HAED Christmas Dreams - but as that one is for me, it won't count for Gifted Gorgeousness reports!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for October

I have made good progress in the past month.  I have finished all my 2016 Christmas ornaments (all destined to be Christmas gifts), and I have made a start on another gift - a name sampler for a new family member - a baby boy born in New York to Aussie parents.  I'm half-way through baby's name. Here's my progress so far:

Stitched with 2 strands of floss over 1 on 20 count blue fabric.  
The charts are from Allura's Australian Alphabet. I used the DMC conversion,
 but changed the letter colours, as I wanted all the letters to be the same colour. 
I added the name of the fauna.

I haven't repeated the ornie photos here, as they are very close - in my previous post.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Major HD in my house - all my Christmas ornaments finished!

Today I finished up the last of my final batch of Christmas ornaments for 2015.  So, here they are:

The teddy is a DMC freebie from their website.  I changed most of the colours.

The stocking design is heavily adapted from a chart in LA'sChristmas Caboodle leaflet.
  I changed the colours, pattern of the stocking, and contents of the stocking.

My own design.

And I re-made up an ornament I stitched 25+ years ago for a niece.  When I stitched it, I framed it in a small round red flexi-frame, and over the years it deteriorated.  My sister gave it back to me to see if I could repair it.  So I pulled it apart, washed the design, found some matching fabric for a back, and made it up into an ornament.  I haven't decided if I will return it to my sister - I might just keep it as a souvenir.
It's the stocking design (as charted, except for some colour changes)
from LA's Christmas Caboodle leaflet.

Now I can get started on a name sampler for a young cousin (another Christmas gift).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WIPocalypse Report

I've missed the past few WIPocalypse reports, but I made it back for this one.  I've been working my way through my 'to stitch' list, even though I forgot to report.  In the past month I have stitched, but not yet made up, six Christmas ornaments.  These six ornaments are the final ones on my stitching list for 2015.  When I have made them up, my Christmas ornament tally for the year will be 50.

First, a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament for my very new greatniece Annabelle (just 3 weeks old today):
Teddy chart is a DMC freebie (I changed most of the floss colours)

Then, ornaments for a three year old boy and his very special bear Dougal, made for him by his grandma:

The stocking chart is adapted from a chart in LA's Christmas Caboodle leaflet.

And finally, ornaments for three sisters.  Two of the ornaments are ready for finishing up, the third one still has to have its beads added. In fact all three are exactly the same size, despite the size difference here. These are my own design.

Now for the discussion topics:
Pick one of the WIP pieces you’ve stitched on this month, and tell us about your stitching journey with the piece, and where do you buy most of your stitching supplies?
Not much to say about my WIPs - this month they were all Christmas ornaments.  Each year (for the past 25 years)  I make personalised Christmas ornaments for many children (and a few adults) who visit my Christmas house in December.  It started small, but it's sort of got out of hand, and now I make around 50 each year.  The two Christmas stocking ornaments that I made this month were requested by one of my sisters, for the 3 year old grandson of one of her work colleagues.  I don't know the child or his family. My sister will bring the little boy, his grandmother, and possibly other family members over to my house for a Christmas visit this year.  Often a one-off Christmas visit like this turns into an annual event, which I enjoy.
I get my stitching supplies wherever I can - from craft shops, online needlework shops, eBay, occasionally from needlework shows.  Lately I have been buying from online needlework shops in US (mainly 123stitch)  because even with the bad exchange rate and the cost of postage, it's cheaper to get things sent from US than it is to buy them locally (in Australia) - and sometimes they just aren't available here anyway.

OK then, that's all from me for this month.  In October I will make up my final six ornaments, and start - and hopefully finish - a name sampler using an Aussie-themed alphabet for a baby cousin, born and living in New York of Aussie parents.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for September

It was a very slow stitching month for me.  I didn't meet my goal of finishing all my ornaments, but I I have stitched and finished two Christmas ornaments, and framed a cross stitch finished earlier in the year. I have now almost finished my 'gifts to stitch' list for 2015 - or I would have, had I not just added another 6 projects to the list.

This ornament is for my niece Amira, who admired my collection of Lorri Birmingham antique Santas last year.
Designer:  Lorri Birmingham
from Santa Bell Pull chart
in BH&G Cross Stitch Chrstmas 1995

 And this one is for her mother, my sister Gayle, who has an abiding fascination with cherubs. The scan has distorted it - in real life it  has even edges, not distorted ones.
Designer:  Nancy Dokter & Linda Culp Calhoun
from LA 2870, Angel Alphabet

My niece Aislinn gave me this kit, which she had intended to stitch, when she found her new baby was interfering with the time available for cross stitching.  I stitched it earlier this year, and have just framed it (in a pre-loved frame I found at a garage sale).  I will be giving it back to my niece for Christmas this year. The photo doesn't do it justice - the colours are much brighter, and the light has created some odd marks on the frame.
Dimensions kit, Santa's Secret

For next month's report I hope to have my remaining six Christmas ornament gifts finished, and to have made a start on a name sampler using letters from the Allura Aussie alphabet.

I really enjoy being part of the Gifted  Gorgeousness 'group', and love looking at all the other blogs.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness Report (slightly late)

I'm a little late (sometimes life just gets in the way), but as my Granny used to say, better late than never.  I'm working my way through my gift list for Christmas 2015, and this month I have eight Christmas ornaments finished, and another one stitched and almost ready to finish.

Full designer details are in previous posts.

I am stitching this next ornament to give to my sister Gayle, who is besotted by cherubs, and likes a little bling.  I've stitched the design and have just started on a border (which will contain soem beads when I have finished it).

The chart came from LA2970, Angel Alphabet.
  The designers are Nancy Dokter and Linda Culp Calhoun.
I stitched this as charted, using  the purple clothing choice.
The only change I made was to add some gold blending filament to the cherub's wings.

I'm hoping that for the next report (and I will try to make it on time) I will have finished all the ornaments on my Christmas stitching list - even the two not yet added to the list!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Another batch of Christmas ornaments finished

I'm working my way through my stitching list - another five ornaments to cross off the list today.

First is the replacement for the ornament my pup destroyed last month.  This will be a Christmas gift for a young Christmas visitor.

The letters are adapted from the Santa Hat Alphabet
 in Alma Lynne's A-Z series Christmas Alphabets and Borders.

These three Nutcrackers will be Christmas gifts for three brothers.

The Nutcracker design is adapted from the Nutcracker
 in the "Merry Christmas" picture from
 Just Cross Stitch's 1991 Special Ornament Issue

 The letters are adapted from the Santa Hat Alphabet
 in Alma Lynne's A-Z series Christmas Alphabets and Borders.

And this one is for a lovely young couple who have recently started their life together.

The design is adapted from Dale Burdett's Christmas Minis booklet

Friday, July 17, 2015

Three finished ornaments

I made these up tonight.  Had Angela not been such a busy little baby there would have been four ornaments in the pic.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A disaster - and it was all my fault!

I was making up one of the ornaments I had stitched last week.  I had just the last side to finish when I decided to have a short break, and sat down at the computer (in the next room) to check on this month's GG posts. Minutes later I heard the sounds of a very happy puppy growling and rough-playing with her toys back in the lounge room.  Something made me go and check - too late, unfortunately.  Miss Angela had got into my work basket (which was on a box well over a metre (3 foot) from the floor - and was playing with my almost-finished ornament.  Luckily she left the needle behind in the basket.  This is what I retrieved from her (eventually - she thought it was a great game):

She has not only chewed off some of the edging and inner border beads, she has torn several holes in the stitched design and shredded the seam allowance of the side I hadn't yet stitched.  I have no option but to start again. Fortunately for Angela, I love her a lot.  And she is still a puppy - almost. It's not the first time she has got away with one of my stitchy projects (though up till now I have always rescued them before too much damage was done), so I have only myself to blame for it.  I am going to have to get cleverer about protecting my basket.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day - and hopefully life goes on!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness Report for July

Well, I sort of met my target for this month, and I have made an impact on my 'to stitch' list.   I have had quite a busy month.  And apart from my stitching, we had a birthday in the family - Miss Angela turned one.  Her favourite Auntie taught her all about party caps and opening presents.

So - the stitching.  My target was ten ornaments, and I have stitched and finished 8, and stitched another 4 - so I'm calling that a win! I also stitched and finished two other gift items. These four ornaments, are the ones I have yet to make up. The Christmas tree is for a favourite aunt who likes a bit of Christmas bling, and the other three are for children who will visit me at Christmas time.

The chart for the candy cane (but not the letter T) came from
 Alma Lynne's Christmas Alphabets booklet - I did change all the colours
(only because I used floss colours already in my work basket).

The Santa hat alphabet chart was in Alma Lynne's Christmas alphabet booklet (I changed the floss, and removed some of the hats - also changed some of the letters). I adapted the star design from a Dale Burton design, changing the floss colours and adding backstitching.

I also made this pendant (well, made the double-sided cross stitch insert for the pendant), as a gift for a friend.

I also stitched and made up these eight Christmas Tree Christmas ornaments - the first two are for friends (ex-work colleagues) who will visit at Christmas, the other six are for children who will come to see my Christmas house.

And I made this lavender sachet holder for a friend's 50th birthday. 
The inspiration for the letter came from the very first cross stitch chart book I ever bought - also the first one I ever saw! - a very old Vanessa Anne booklet.