Friday, December 18, 2020

Merry and Bright

Hi, stitching friends!

Grab a cup of joe or hot cocoa and cozy up in a warm blanket. I have so much to show you, starting with some awesome Christmas ornaments from friends.

A Right Jolly Old Elf

Arlene from Nanaland blog sent me this adorable ornament – "A right jolly old elf." Isn't it cute? (And I love that...a right jolly old elf. How can you not say that with an English accent?!) I love the way she finished it with the sugared holly and the antique buttons and the coffee/tea-dyed fabric.

Joyeux Noel

Robin in Virginia sent me three lovely ornaments. Joyeux Noel is stitched on country mocha aida and is finished off with the most perfect cording and bow. I love the pattern in the tree, don't you?

Blanket-stitched felt ornament with spool

The second gift from Robin is this wonderful blanket-stitched felt ornament topped with an antique wood spool. I wish threads still came on wooden spools.

Blanket-stitched felt ornament with key

And the third ornament from Robin is this cutie. Have you ever seen anything so clever? I love it!

Nostalgic sleighing scene ornament

Carol from Stitching Dreams blog sent me a wonderful surprise. She stitched this nostalgic sleighing scene over one, which honestly just rocks my world. Carol is so good at tiny stitching, and she enjoys it. (I can do it, but it kind of stresses me out, to be honest.) This stitch in blue just makes me happy, and I love that horse. Carol finished it with a wool houndstooth fabric, a lovely ribbon, a delicate snowflake charm, handmade cording and a pretty organza bow.

Prairie Schooler Santa from Carol

I hung the ornament on the tree right by the Prairie Schooler Santa that Carol made for me last year. Aren't they lovely? (Carol, you spoil me.)

Conquering My Fears

Do you have any projects that you've stitched and put away in a drawer because you just don't know how to finish them? I don't mean the ones you're not sure what to do with, but the ones that intimidate you?

Years ago (more than five years ago, for sure) I finished stitching a stocking for my husband, Shawn. It was a Dimensions kit called "Here Comes Santa." It came with a flimsy piece of felt for the stocking back. After putting in hundreds of hours of stitching, I was not going to finish it with a piece of felt. You've heard me whine before that I am not confident when it comes to sewing, so I sure didn't feel up to finishing his stocking by myself.

I thought of all the people I know who can sew, and I thought, what if I mail this to her? Would she finish it for me? What if it got lost in the mail? What if she didn't want to do it? Should I just pay somebody to do it? Every time I thought about it, I got so overwhelmed that it was just simpler to put it back in the package and think, maybe next year.

But here's what happened...

My son bought presents for his girlfriend this year and he asked me to show him how to wrap them. I offered to wrap them for him but he said, "I think I should do it myself. I want the gifts to be totally from me, including the wrapping."

That got me thinking. I wanted the stocking to be totally from me, including the finishing. I kicked myself in the behind, hopped online and found some tutorials, and thought, if I take my time and work carefully, I can do this.

Well, guess what? I did! And the stocking even has a lining.... ooooooh! And I did royally mess up. When I turned the stocking right side out, I realized that I sewed the hanger on the front of the stocking instead of the back. Doh! So I turned it inside out again, ripped out the seams that needed to be ripped out, and fixed it. I won't make that mistake again.

Santa stocking

Santa card

Several years ago we received a Christmas card that had the exact same scene on it. Isn't that funny? I saved it in the package with the stocking.

Back of Santa stocking

The backing fabric is sparkly and fun. It glistens with tons of silver sparkles (which seem to be impossible to photograph).

I wrapped the stocking up for Shawn as a gift to open Christmas Eve, but I couldn't wait that long. I kept asking him, "Do you want to open your present now?"

"No, I can wait. It's OK."

"Are you sure? Don't you want to open it now?"

"No, that's OK. I want it to be a surprise."

"I think you should open it now....."

I think it was wrapped all of two hours before I convinced him to open it. I was so excited for him to see it, and he absolutely loves it. I've started stitching another stocking for my son, a Dimensions kit called "Santa's List." I've had the kit for years, and now that I know I can finish a stocking, I'm anxious to do another one.

Hopping on the Bandwagon...a Little Late

Several years ago, in 2018, it seemed like everybody was stitching the Farmhouse Christmas series by Little House Needleworks. I was, too. I stitched the first block, the sheep and barn, by itself, but then thought, hmmm... I think I'd rather stitch them all together.

At first I was thinking I was going to make it into a pillow, but my measurements on my fabric were way off. The fabric, some cheap, rustic packaged thing I bought at Joanns, claimed to be 32 count, but it wasn't. When I finished stitching the border, it came to within 3/4" of the edge of the fabric! I had allotted 2" extra all around. Jean Farish, in her YouTube videos, stresses the importance of checking your fabric count by putting in a few stitches, then measuring them, before cutting the fabric (just to make sure your fabric is the size you expect). She is right.

Farmhouse Christmas

So, plan B. Instead of making a pillow (which would require sewing and stuffing with lots and lots of fiberfill...ewww..... ugh), I decided to frame it. I wanted a barnwood frame but couldn't find one on Franken Frames, so I went with this rustic dark brown one. I love it!

Farmhouse Christmas

Farmhouse Christmas

Farmhouse Christmas

Farmhouse Christmas


Welcome Christmas

I stitched "Welcome Christmas" by The Drawn Thread on 32-count lambswool linen. I started out using the called-for colors but by the time I finished the W and half of the E in the called-for green, I decided I just didn't love them. It looked like an awful lot of green, and the ribbon and the bird seemed off, too. So I swapped them out for some Colour & Cotton threads I had on hand and chose my favorite blue and a bright, vivid red. I struggled with doubt and second-guessing my choices. Would it look good? Are these the right colors? (Do you do that when you decide to change things? Or is it just me?)


Welcome Christmas

When I finished it, I fell in love. I'm glad I went with my instincts. For finishing, I chose an ornate frame from Franken Frames, an antique silver/gold. It's quite small, just about 4" tall, and it fits perfectly on top of the cabinet in our entryway with old photos of my son with Santa.

Here are some close-ups of the stitching and beading.

Welcome Christmas

Welcome Christmas

Welcome Christmas

Those stockings were a bear! They are stitched over one (on 32-count linen). Lots of trouble, but oh, so worth it. The pattern comes with alternate stockings if you don't want to stitch them over one.

Goodbye (and Good Riddance) 2020

2020 has been a hard year, hasn't it? For me, it started at the end of December 2019 with a difficult surgery, with more surgery in May, lots and lots of radiation, physical therapy and trying to walk without a walker, crutches or cane. I sometimes waddle more than I walk, but I'm making progress.

Your friendship – your emails and cards and packages and prayers and good thoughts – have lifted my spirits. Thank you!

We have all struggled in some way or another this year, but I believe in the mantra "rough seas make good sailors." Think of the things you'll never take for granted again, think of the new skills you've learned (like Zoom!), think of how the people we've lost have touched our lives, think of how much more you will cherish the people you love. 2021 is right around the corner, and things will get better.

My mom gave me the best advice years ago, so I'll share it with you: When you have a good day, enjoy it. When you have a bad day, hunker down and wait for a good one.

Wishing you lots of good days this holiday season and in 2021!

21 comments:

  1. Meg, you should be so proud of yourself...the stocking is fabulous...you did a great job!!! I love all your gifts and finishes. The Drawn Thread is one of my favorite designers! I agree 2020 can't end soon enough...hoping 2021 shapes up to be a happier year! Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

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  2. The stocking for your husband turned out GREAT! All that solid stitching
    ... oh my! Your other stitching is lovely as well and I just bookmarked your framing site - thanks tons!

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  3. I was all set to comment on all the lovely stitches, but I have to tell you that quote is so true. Everything about your last two paragraphs is positively the truth friend.
    I love all your gifted stitches, but oh my that stocking. Isn't it amazing?! I am so glad you finished it yourself. IT makes even doubly special. The color changes are perfect for the Welcome sign as well. I am the queen of second guessing that kind of thing.
    We will be using Zoom for our Christmas Eve celebration. Paul Allen and Katie have both had Covid and won't be out of quarantine in time. So, their presents will be dropped off and we will Zoom them in. I had my moment of tears...I won't lie, but I pulled myself up and remembered I am too blessed to let something like this win.
    However, I have never been one to count days away, but bring on '21.
    Merry Christmas, Meg.

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  4. You have mad stocking finishing skills Meg! It looks amazing. Loved seeing all the ornaments and that felt ornament that Robin made with the spool is too cute. Carol is always on point in her beautiful stitching and finishing. But let me say, your Farm house Christmas is lovely. I did mine as ornaments and now I think I may want to re stitch it. I will sit here quietly for a moment and maybe that thought will pass. Love you Meg. Merry Christmas.

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  5. Excellent sewing skills on that stocking! Your stitching is so uniform and neat and accented by great frame choices. Welcome's colors are really nice and the over one stockings could not have been easy, but are so great.

    Wishing you a merry Christmas and a new year with less struggles, better health, unlimited good times.

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  6. Hi Meg,
    You got beautiful ornaments, each one is beautiful.
    Your Christmas stocking is a real dream piece, great, beautiful and something very special. I like the motif very much.
    Oh yes, FArmhouse Christmas is a great motif, I embroidered it last year and I really enjoyed it.
    Thanks for your mom's advice, it's really great, I have to remember it.
    I wish you a Merry Christmas, take good care of yourself and start the New Year healthy. Martina

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  7. Great post Meg.
    Your stitching is just beautiful.The stocking is wonderful .
    Love your gifts Carols stitching is just perfect.
    Hope you are fully well .
    And love your words at the end , these times make us stronger and
    knowing we can get through this together.

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  8. Hello Meg,
    Your finishes are all so beautiful. I like your Christmas Sock.
    Years ago I stitched three socks for my children and made a finish with a patchwork fabric and not with a filz.
    Lovely gifts arrived. Carols Stitching are so beautiful.
    I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    A big Hugs, Manuela

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  9. Meg, so thrilled to see your new post. Love Shawn's stocking! Well done on conquering your fear of turning it into a stocking. Both the framed piece look awesome. You received lovely ornaments. I love your Mom's quote at the end of your post. You should chart it; I would definitely stitch it. Wishing you and yours a joy-filled holiday! Merry Christmas!

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  10. Such a beautiful post and lovely stitching. I also live to stitch, it brings such comfort. Stay safe and hang in there.

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  11. What a lovely post! Oh such sweet gifts. They are all so pretty. I love your finishes. Wow, the stocking is so awesome. What a true heart gift. Wishing you a most Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as well sweet friend. ((hugs))

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  12. You did a fabulous job on your stocking! Good for you. AndI am always so impressed with your framing. Praying this year will bless you and your family.

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  13. Your gifts are wonderful. I would have been very intimidated by finishing the stocking as well. You really rocked it Meg! It is just gorgeous! Your framed pieces are awesome! I am hoping and praying for 2021 to be a better year. You take care my sweet friend. Merry Christmas!

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  14. I'm glad your sons words resonated with you because you finished the stocking beautifully! The framed pieces are beautifully done too! xoxo

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  15. I am truly impressed by your stocking, Meg! For some reason, I've never wanted to even begin to stitch one--it could be that the finishing seems so daunting to me. I love that you just couldn't wait for Shaun to open it :) Sounds exactly like something I would do!

    Beautiful gifts and I'm so glad mine arrived safely. Two of the ornaments I sent out on the same day as yours (December 11th) are still wandering around somewhere in Michigan and Virginia. I've never had that happen before :( I so enjoyed stitching this ornament for you!

    I love your Farmhouse Christmas all finished and framed. I totally understand about making sure your fabric count is accurate. This recently happened to me with a Christmas piece that I stitched on 46 ct. Bergen linen. Now, this is not a cheap linen, but apparently it is not evenly woven! Why would Zweigart make such a thing? It does say in the notes of the online shop I bought it from that it is not an evenweave. UGH! I wish I had read the fine print. I did the same as you--thought I was leaving a good two inches for the framing all around. It ended up as just one inch on the right side! So frustrating. I'll make it work, but...

    2021 is one to forget and I hope and pray that next year will be easier for you, Meg. You continue to inspire me with your positive attitude and courage. Not sure I would be nearly as brave... Sending a hug and best wishes for a lovely family Christmas ♥

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  16. Meg, I am so glad that you tackled the finishing for the gorgeous stocking for Shawn. I'm in awe of those that stitch full coverage pieces. Your Farmhouse Christmas is gorgeous framed. Much safer framed than in a pillow! You received beautiful gifts.
    I hope 2021 is a much better year for all of us. I hope you have a Blessed Christmas with your family and a Happy and Healthy New Year. Hugs, Mary

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  17. You did a terrific job of completing Shawn's Christmas stocking. I need to take a leaf out of your book and finish one that I have stitched. Mine is only Christmas tree ornament sized! Your colour changes are Welcome Christmas are ideal.
    You received some beautiful Christmas ornaments.
    I hope that 2021 is a better year for you. Happy Christmas.

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  18. Meg: Your gifts are wonderful, how lovely to show us the kindness of other stitcher's.
    Your husbands stocking is beautiful, how unique to have a card like the stocking.
    I am so loving your Little house series, what a grand way to stitch and frame them, I would have never thought to stitch them all on one piece of fabric.
    Welcome Christmas is beautiful, perfect frame.
    I will be happy to see 2020 go and hope for a better year in 2021, I have seen a lot in my 70 years, this one has by far been the worst
    Happy New Year

    Catherine

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  19. You are amazing Meg! After all that you endured last year, you stitched and framed some gorgeous things! Farmhouse Christmas...wow! I have the first 3 patterns but I need to finish Frosty Forest first. I hope 2021 treats us all better, especially you:)

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  20. Wow! What beautiful work! Your stocking is finished PERFECTLY! Well done! Your LH project came out so well too. I just love the you made to the DT Welcome. They are perfectly suited to the design. Thank you for sharing Franken Frames-I have been trying to find an online frame shop and this one has never come up in my searches but they look promising! I will check them out! Thank you and Happy New Year!

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  21. Lovely post, you received some beautiful ornaments this year. I saw Carol's one on her blog but didn't appreciate how tiny it was until I saw it here!
    The stocking is beautiful, well done on conquering your fears and making it look amazing!

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