Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Happy New Year

The season of Advent is upon us once more and in the Western Christian church it is the beginning of a new liturgical year. Advent is a preparatory season and is marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation, and preparation. So many times I get too caught up in my preparations and forget to pause and remember what it is that we are preparing for. In our home we have an Advent wreath which was given by a friend to Bob and me prior to celebrating our first Christmas together. Every year since then our Advent wreath has graced our table. The lighting of the candles on the four Sundays prior to Christmas helps me pause and reflect on the true meaning of the upcoming season. On the first Sunday in Advent my DH always wishes our choir a Happy New Year. It is a gentle reminder to us all.

We had a house guest this past weekend so our weekend was a busy one but the rest of the week was fairly quiet which allowed me to finish stitching these two ornaments. The first is the companion ornament from Tra La La Duo de Noel. This one stitched up just as quickly as the first and I will be doing the final finishing today at our Wednesday afternoon group.

Tra La La Duo de Noel (ornament #2)
stitched on 32 ct natural linen
using DMC
The second ornament is a freebie called Winter Sampler by Carolyn Hofstede of Cosmic Handmade.  If there is no time for the finishing today I hope to get it done up by the weekend.
This was another quick stitch and I thought it appropriate for the beginning of Advent. 

Winter Sampler by Cosmic Handmade
stitched on 32 ct natural linen
using DMC
 As I sit here writing this there has been a dog, a golden Lab I think, making repeated trips from my driveway and then down the street. Each time he has been carrying something in his mouth. Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure it's not from my yard but I haven't figured out yet what he's doing. He's already made three trips back and forth. I snapped this pic quickly through the window as he trotted by. You can see that he is carrying something in his mouth.

 The weather has been mild this way and our snow has disappeared but rain has taken its place. I had hoped to walk to join the group today but I don't feel like braving the damp. I'm off a little early now to join them for lunch. Catch up with you later!

Friday, 25 November 2011

TUSAL Update

 Once again TUSAL time is here. My little ort jars are filling up with wonderful reds, greens and whites from all my Christmas stitching. I think we could probably determine what season it is by the colours in our ort jars.

I've been working on some ornaments this week for the challenge and have only one picture to share. You saw this little fellow on my last post but now he's all finished up into an ornament for my tree. For now I've hung him from the door to my grandfather clock.

I've almost finished the stitching on the companion piece to this one and hope to get it finished up at my stitching group next week. Tonight I'll be starting on another ornie. Then I'll take a break and get back to Jenny Bean's Christmas next week.
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

First Snow

It's arrived! The first of the white stuff. Here's the view out my window when I opened my blinds this morning.

This is just a quick post to show off my latest finish. My little Tra La La Duo de Noel ornament was a very quick stitch and I plan on doing the second of the charts next. This afternoon I will be finishing this off into a small pillow ornament at my Wednesday afternoon stitching group.

Tra La La Duo de Noel finished as an ornament
on 32ct Sassy's Sugared Cocoa
using DMC floss
Now I'm off for a quick lunch before I head out stitching. I'm walking so I have to dig out the winter boots once more. Hope I can find them!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Catching Up

I'm slowly starting to catch up with my stitching now that our renovations are completed. Unfortunately I can't show my one finish since it is for an exchange. The stitching on this one is completed and I just have to do the actual finishing.

What I can show you is the square which I stitched on The Twelve Days of Christmas. Our Tuesday night stitching group meets in a local church hall. One of the members of this church approached our group with a cross stitch kit of The Twelve Days of Christmas. It's a Design Works publication and the designer is Joan Elliott. I didn't get all the details and I'm not sure if this kit had already been started and this lady was unable to finish or what but in any case we were asked if we would take on the job of finishing this piece. Several of our members volunteered and we treated the project as a round robin with each one of us finishing a different portion of the design. You either stitched a square, worked on the border, did the lettering or beading. I chose to stitch Six Geese A Laying.

I wasn't entirely happy stitching this one since I no longer enjoy stitching on aida which was the fabric plus it's just not something I would stitch myself.  I did my part as a thank you to the church since they don't charge us any rental fee for the use of the hall. There's not much left to be done on this now so we should have it completed in time for the holiday.

Now that my obligation stitching is completed I can get back to stitching on Jenny Bean and some more Christmas ornaments for the challenge. I started another one last night. As I was stitching on my Tra La La Noel Sampler, I thought that a portion of the design would make a cute ornament. So this is what I'm working on at this point.

There's a definite nip in the air here now and I had to dig out my winter jacket for the first time this season. Gosh I hate bundling up!
I want to wish all of my American blogging friends a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a most enjoyable holiday with friends and family. And for those of you who are travelling during the holiday, stay safe!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

It's nuts around here!

Two things have prevented me from getting a lot of stitching done this past week. The first is the ongoing renovations to repair our flood damage. Workers have been coming and going, drywall dust is everywhere and displaced items are in my way everywhere in the house.  It makes things very hard to settle and concentrate. However the  new carpet will be laid on Wednesday and all our junk  belongings put back in their rightful place Thursday. DH and I spent yesterday washing drywall dust off of most surfaces.

The second thing which hasn't helped my stitching any is that my Daylite lamp with magnifying lens appears to be on its way out. The light keeps flickering and now has finally died, all of which is due to a broken socket. Bob tried to repair it yesterday with no luck. He has a local fellow that he's going to take it to for repair. I have some table top Ott lites but it's not the same especially without the magnification. I'm hoping the repair doesn't take too long. Last time he repaired my lamp I didn't have it for a month.
 I see that JoAnn's has had a sale on the Ottlites. Perhaps I should make a visit stateside to pick one up.

Don't you just love the pics of my furry visitor? I've never seen a squirrel with white tufts of fur on the ears like this one. Her partner in crime could be distinguished by the beige vest that he was sporting.

I've put my ornaments aside this week in favour of Jenny Bean's Christmas.  I really enjoy stitching this one and find it so unique for a Christmas design.

It appears my iron isn't working all that well these days! It's just not putting out the heat even when I try the steam setting. Sorry about the mussy pic.

The second piece I've been working on is for an exchange so I can't show any peeks of that one yet.  I've also made a start on Tra La La Duo Noel. I wasn't far into it before I discovered a  mistake in the charting of the alphabet. The W didn't look anything like what it should and came out looking like a more glorified letter V. The charts for both of these two stitches have the same alphabet so I flipped the chart over to the second stitch and found the correct lettering. Now I'm back on track. I'm thinking that my next ornament stitch will be using the top portion of one of these designs minus the alphabet.

I'm hoping to get back to my ornament stitching next week. During the past two weeks I've managed to get almost all of my Christmas shopping done. Just a few items left such as stocking stuffers for my granddaughters.  The weather here has been unseasonably mild which has also aided me in getting my Christmas lights out on my shrubs.
 I've recently picked up a few Christmas baking magazines to help me pick out some new cookies for this year's baking. I always try to find one or two new ones to try each year. I love the BH&G Cookie issues that come out every fall. A second favourite are the Canadian Living issues. Oh yes and the Taste of Home seasonal magazines. This one is an older issue I dug out. I always manage to find some new favourites within the covers of these three. I'm so excited that I actually have the time to bake this year!

With extra time on my hands I also joined the new casserole ministry at our church. We will be cooking up casseroles and freezing them. These will be used to send out to any members of the congregation who fall ill and are unable to cook for themselves or to anyone who has a death within their family. Before this ministry was announced, DH and I made three casseroles last week for friends who took sick. I think it's a wonderful idea and there is definitely a need. After all, many members of the congregation are elderly and live on their own so there is no one else to cook for them should they fall ill.

Lots of Christmas craft and bake sales are popping up in our area and I noticed that the stores are now displaying their seasonal finery. It certainly brightens up the dull November landscape. Lots to see and do! I hope that some of the excitement of the upcoming season is spreading your way. I can hardly wait until I have my family all together once more!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Do You See What I See?

Do You See What I See?
 by Deanna Carter of Carousel Charts
stitched on 32 ct Lambswool
using DMC
Can you believe it? Two weekend ornament finishes!  I'm actually making some progress with this challenge. The first design is from the Dec. 2007 issue of Gift of Stitching magazine. I backed it with the fabric shown and trimmed it with some of the chenille I won from Victorian Motto Sampler. In this picture it doesn't look like there is very good coverage on the shepherd's robe but IRL it looks just fine.

My second ornie is called Christmas Love. It's designed by X-Appeal Designs and is from the Just Cross Stitch 2003 ornament issue. I used the same fabric for it as I did for my Noel ornament since it went so well with this piece. I used a mix of DMC and CC floss. I wanted some more variegation in the tree itself.

I'm pretty new to pillow finishes and I still have a few problems with them. I tend to understuff them and my corners leave a lot to be desired!  I do have a question regarding these finishes. Do you attach your hangar before or after finishing your pillow? It doesn't seem to be as neat when you attach it after the fact.
In any case, they're coming together, slow but sure!

Christmas Love
by Deanna Carter of Carousel Charts
stitched on 32 ct white linen
 I'm going to give the ornaments a break for a day or so and concentrate on JB Christmas. Besides, I have trouble making up my mind as to what ornament to stitch next.  I have another stitch for Christmas on the go too but it's a gift so I can't show anything yet.
Hope your week is off to a good start!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

First finish for the challenge

Noel by Log Cabin Needleworks ( a freebie)
stitched on 25 ct Floba using DMC
 I've completed my first finish for the Christmas Ornament Challenge. It was a really quick stitch and I did the finishing on it this morning. Not sure if I like the trim but I wanted to use up what I have in my stash. I found this cute fabric for finishing at the bottom of my fabric box and the colours were perfect!

I'm off to get started on ornie number 2!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Halloween's over, Bring on Christmas stitching!

I know that many of you start to bring out your Christmas garland once Halloween has past. Although we don't decorate here quite that early it doesn't mean that I can't start thinking about Christmas! Becky's Christmas Ornament Challenge starts today and I'm kitted up and ready to go. I'll put my first stitches in after I finish this post. I have so many ornaments designs that I've dug out to stitch. I'll be happy if I can finish even a couple of these. I know I won the Pumpkin Challenge last year but too many other activities start to take place in the next few weeks and I won't have a hope of completing as many projects as I did then.

However I have been stitching away on my Jenny Bean Christmas Sampler and really enjoying it! I'll put this aside now for a few days while I get started on my ornaments.

No, I haven't forgotten about Gobble. I've put a few more stitches into it as well and will have another progress pic soon. Yesterday's mail brought the charts from the rest of the series.

Gather, Give and Ghoul all look like such fun stitches. They won't get done in the near future but I certainly hope to start on at least one of them in the coming year. Eventually it would be nice to have them all hung in a group.
Another PSS design which was a recent ebay win also showed up yesterday. It's called A Handwork's Pace. I love the verse on this one. Click on the pic to read it.

My youngest arrived home on the weekend for a very short visit. He wanted to see his girlfriend and attend some of the Halloween festivities in the area. We caught up with them on Sunday for lunch. He showed me some great pics taken of the two of them in costume. He was supposed to email them to me but they haven't shown up yet. In the meantime I snapped a pic of them during our visit.

Chris always loved watching me carve our Halloween pumpkins. He asked if I was  still doing them. I sure am! Below is a pic of this year's carvings. Sorry it's a bit grainy. I didn't bother setting up the tripod to take it and should have with the low light setting.

Time to get to those ornaments! Hope you have a good start to your week and I'll catch up with you soon!

Edited: Okay so right after I posted this, the pics from Chris showed up. You saw the pic above, now see them dressed for two different events.


The first pic they donned makeup for a walking tour at Screamers in Toronto and the second photo is of Chris dressed as Chucky. and Steph dressed as Tiff, Chucky's bride. Love the makeup! Can you tell that my son is a horror film buff, lol? Seems his girlfriend has similar interests!

I've also included a pic that he sent me from this year's Festival of Fear in Toronto. Believe it or not, this is Doug Bradley who played Hellraiser from the movie of the same name. Chris also got to meet Robert Englund who played Freddy Kruger.