Now that I'm back at work, I can review it.
We begin with stockings and red and green. Well, do try to open at page 10; if you open the front cover, be sure you are wearing your sunglasses--what is up with that Charles Craft stocking? Have they made it that bright to rival the Star of Bethlehem so you'll get the gold, frankincense, and myrrh? That is one neon fabric for Christmas. Anyway, back to page 10: five ornaments feature a stocking and three are miscellaneous. The Prairie Schooler Design matches their Cranberry Christmas. On this page my favorite is Designs by Cathy Jean (new to me); she's done a folk art stocking, but I'd probably leave off the sentiment. Far be it from me to tell Santa what to put in my stocking.
Next, we have the red and green ornaments. Moss Creek Designs is going with the ethnic things again, this time the Dalahast (put an umlaut on the last a). Don't know about the "goodwill horse"? Don't worry; Rae has written about it in breathtaking detail. (I know her; I like her, but still...). Lizzie*Kate has a Lizzie*Kate ornament. Interestingly Scandanavian Stitches doesn't use the Scandinavian dalahast, but contributes a tree decorated with hearts. It's okay. M Designs has a different tree--it seems a little fair isle for my taste. I almost never like Ursula Michael's designs, but she's contributed a pink floral wreath that you could use for a biscornu.
The next set of ornaments are darker red and green. This may be the first time I thought I'd stitch a Brittercup Design. Whe's got a lovely poinsettia done in her "outline" style. This time, it works for me. I like La-D-Da's "Yule Flower" but you knew I would. Fans of the Workbasket will be disappointed to see that they have not contributed a Quaker design. Theirs reminds me of the Brightneedle houses only stitched over two and using horrible colors.
Santa shows up in various forms. From cute and pudgy (Knotted Tree) to um, Santa as one of the Marx Brothers (Raise the Roof, but we expect it of them). I usually love the Heartstrings Santas, but I'm not keen this year with symbols of Christmas growing out of the top of his head. You almost don't recognize the Dragon Dreams ornament because the dragon is secondary to the really otherwise cute Santa. Carriage House has a toy shop sign with Santa on it, and it almost works. Mosey and Me's Santa looks like Frank. Does everything they do look like Frank, or is that just me?
I would have to say of all the photo spreads, the Christmas trees are my favorite. Very even, though I probably wouldn't stitch them all. I love Erica Michaels forest and Charland Designs' Tipsy Tree (though not the finishing...). Brightneedle cannot go wrong; they've finished their cute dainty ornament as a pinkeep. There are also a scissor fob and scissor case from Follow the Leader. I wouldn't stitch all of these, but I really can't complain.
The next group of ornaments is the "random" group. It includes Shepherd's Bush's continuation of their series, "Their sweet baby kept." I'm no Bible expert, but is that opposed to the sweet baby who rotted? DD tells me she keeps trying to read it as "Their sweet baby slept." I would be indebted to the person who directed me to the carol or passage that they are using for these. Especially where it says "wisemen." But I digress. Cross-Eyed Cricket contributes a mitten with a shepherd, and I like it, except that it's a mitten. Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches has "happy Chrismas" and I'm not keen on it. I love Little by Little's Merry and Bright star. And Country Cottage's ornament is cute but a little pink.
Wild describes the next group of ornaments. Imaginating contributes a "Wacky Holiday" and in case you were wondering about the woman on the ornament, you get her full story. I couldn't read it, I'm sure someone can get back to me with a two sentence treatment. Charlotte's Web contributes a slightly demented-looking doll, but the story explains everything. It's sort of sweet, sort of weird. I'm backing away slowly. S&BF's "flakey" ornament is cute, but I'm not ready to welcome flakes into my life (not the snow kind, the annoying person kind). I like SamSarah's "Winter Love" (you got a taste of it in the preview issue) and her story is sweet, but her life is sure gonna change. My favorite (and the dude's) is the Eiffel Tower by monsterbubbles. I don't know why the Eiffel Tower, it just is. Love the green fabric!
We haven't left out the animals this year: four birds, two cats, one dog, and a reindeer. I'm not a cat person, but the blackwork cat from Kitty & Me is pretty. Crossed Wing's cardinal is different--stitched on red. I might do the woodpecker from Jemini for the dude, although he does want to know what the bird has to do with Christmas. (We saw a pileated woodpecker on a hike last spring.) If your kids love Happy Feet, they'll be happy with the penguin from the Stitchworks. And my mom will be happy with the yellow lab.
Angels 'n' things describes the section on page 26. Two scary angels, one primitive angel, and one country. The latter two, totally stitchable. There is a set of bells on this page, ehn. And "Do you hear what I hear?" provides the words for a star ornament that I think is too glitzy, but I've heard it said, you can't be too glitzy at Christmas. Gentle Pursuits Designs' ornament is nice in a sampler sort of way, but too much Jesus for me.
The final collection of ornaments is purple and blue and such. I cannot imagine stitching Still Stitching with Susan's hardanger candle holders for my Christmas lights. And I only put up six of them. Ther's another hardanger ornament, I think it's supposed to look like a wrapped taffy. I like Rosewood Manor's Christmas Lace blackwork and beads ornament, and LHN's Snow Bunnies is too cute!
I've read all the stories and recipes. Here's what I have to say:
- You're a cross-stitch designer, not an evangelist. No Bible passages. We have to remember that Christmas is about Santa Claus, people!
- How funny is it that the first two designers (Angel Stitchin and Bizzi Creations) both sent in no-bake cookie recipes that are virtually identical. Who's going to make them both and tell us which one is better?
- Our new editor made a booboo. (So mean of me to point out, like I've never made an editing mistake in our magazine.) They forgot to tell us which page the finishing is on xx (see page 47). And could she not edit Colleen Leader's story: "I bought the biggest tree I could find and drug it through the front door"? What kind of drugs do you use to get a tree through the door?
- If you got divorced, would you announce it in a magazine? You know, if you weren't a celebrity? (Still love her Santa.)
- No more rhyming recipes.
- No more recipes for broccoli, no matter how much it's supposed to make us want broccoli. That's just not in the Christmas spirit. Even the people on low-glycemic diets can give us muffins.