Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Wrote 2000 Posts and All I Got Was...

I’ve been away. First it was the silent auction. The day after that my parents showed up. They stay with my sister but they seem to occupy my life when they hit the border of Pennsylvania. It was nice. We celebrated my birthday with a trip to Teikoku. I took them to Han Dynasty, the best Szechuan restaurant in Philly; they raved about it the rest of the week. My mother and I went shopping at King of Prussia. We didn’t do too much else. On Saturday, we went shopping with my sister—looking for furniture for her house. Blah blah blah. I kept thinking about posting because I know it’s been a while, but it was my 2000 post! It had to be a good one. 

Since last week, when I went to see my internist, I have been wearing a giant splint on my right ring finger. When I told the dude, “I have to see the orthopedic hand surgeon," he responded, "again?" We must not blame him; can there be another response? That little injury I reported a month ago, from my beautiful puppy? Left ring finger avulsion with swan neck deformity. (That's broken with ligament damage to you and me.) The good news is no surgery. But it has compounded the obstacles to posting lately. I’ve figured out how to work around the problem of typing ess, double u and ex.

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, my 2000th post ….the 2012 Just Cross-stitch Ornament review. You have been waiting patiently for a long time. Open your magazines. Let's compare notes.
This year’s magazine opens with the snowflake and snowman ornaments. I like the SamSarah and Amy Bruecken ornaments, but I love the Cherry Wood Design Studio snowman. It’s really all in the construction, but it’s different. (That said, I found something similar in a card making magazine I was perusing recently.) People will be pleased to learn that some ornaments have their photos on the same pages as the design this year. Not all. In fact, there’s not a lot I can say about the layout. It’s still not great.

The next section has animals. And I can’t believe I’m still complaining about the stupid moose puns. Christmas moose is not a thing, and you shouldn’t make a pun with it. “Merry Moose Wishes for Christmas.” Seriously? That just rolls off the tongue. I like Dragon Dreams’ ornament and I may have to stitch it for my dad the Golden Dragon (my niece Lala is one too). People will like Charlotte’s Web’s deer in a landscape. Twisted Oaks Quaker Mouse will appeal to the stitchers of things Quaker. Blackberry Lane’s  Emperor penguin is well-shaded and in that sense artistic, but it kind of looks like we’re watching the penguin give birth. (Don’t worry, like most birds, they hatch.) So it is and it isn’t. Jemini’s bird is not as crazy as some years. So, yes, I love that one less.

Since some people think Christmas is about Jebus, they will include crosses in the ornament issue. Rosewood Manor’s is a needlebook. I like Keslyn’s. I’ve never heard of the designer, but it’s really neat with a purple and green crescent stitch framing the central motif. Tempting Tangle’s ornament is called “Star of the Magi”—each point on the star kind of looks like a magi, but that can’t be because there are four points and only three magi (all those years in Catholic school, and I can count!). Casey Buonaugurio’s doesn’t feature food, amazingly enough. (But she will fill you up with her pineapple cheese ball.) Fern Ridge’s isn’t a cross; it’s a purple and pink tree. “Christmas can come in many colors too.” Is that a thing? Because you know I have nothing against non-Christmas colors. I’ll decorate with pink and green or turquoise and lime but I didn’t know we needed a slogan. Charland has a painful poem about her visit to Christkindlmarkt. Writing poetry is kind of like designing needlework. In needlework it’s not just the design but also the color. And in poetry it’s not just the rhyme, it’s the rhythm. And in this case, rhythm is way more important than rhyme. Next time you write a poem, remember that.

Standouts among the trees include Prairie Schooler (which matches their recent Christmas release), Country Cottage Needleworks and Acorn House’s Mistletoe. Do I really have nothing cleverly snarky to say about the rest? My notes are crap.

Here comes Santa! Heartstrings’ reindeer Santa is cute. As usual, I love Mosey n’ Me’s Franknsanta (that’s my new name for Santas that look like Frank). But where is he? He doesn’t appear in the photo with Judy, and that worries me. I don’t love Imaginating’s ornament but there’s a sweet story about her design partner. I like Primitive Hare’s “I Believe in Santa” as you know my Christmas is all about the Santa. But you’ve got to read her story about Jesus and the Christmas donkey. Wait…what? (Why am I thinking about Shrek right now?) 

I don’t think I can explain why there are so many ornaments that feature houses but we’ve reached that section. I think I might stitch Cherished Stitches, Little by Little, Plum Street and Little House Needlework’s ornies. The prim fans will love Niky’s Creation. These are mostly all good, but mostly very similar to ones we’ve seen before.

I’ve labeled the next section “soft rose” which must mean all the ornaments in this section are of a certain colorway. I don’t love La-D-Da’s stocking. I think it’s the wrong shape for the color and design. She’s designed a Turkish genie’s stocking and made the colors soft and the decoration colonial. A stocking with this shape should have crazy colors. Moss Creek’s ornament looks quick and easy. I shall reserve my judgment; I’d need to see it made up to see what I think. I’m not in love with Blackbird’s design which is shocking. Gentle Pursuit’s stocking says “Believe and Receive” which I somehow read as Believe and Relieve…and all I could think of was heartburn. Lo How a Rose fans will find a companion ornament in this section by Jane Timmers of Fancy Work, who writes about a Christmas tradition of a stitching group. Everyone chooses and kits an ornament from the issue and shares with the group, and they have an ornament stitching GTG. Now don’t you wish we were friends IRL?

My next note cracks me up. Over three lines in my notebook paper I wrote:

 Wiseman on p. 79. 

And it’s true. How many times do I have to say it? Wise Men is TWO words. WTF?  It’s not even one word in the Bible…I checked.

Red and green, the traditional Christmas colors some designers railed against, is the final group of ornaments. Sampler Girl has a Jane Austen Ornament. Fresh Threads has gone totally stale with their ornament which looks exactly like the last two. I mean, there’s design consistency and there’s boring. Lizzie*Kate is back, y’all, back from the abyss of her “I don’t give a shit” ornaments. This one harmonizes nicely with patterns she recently released. Raise the Roof channels the chipmunks with their “Please Christmas Don’t be Late” ornament. Who’s going to stitch candy ribbon when you can make them from ribbons, like this? Still Stitching with Susan wins the lame ass ornament of the magazine. But she may redeem herself with a recipe for crab dip. My last little note says “cute plaid ornament and coconut pound cake” which seems to be all I can muster to say about DebBee’s Designs.

Because they keep sending them, I’ll comment on the recipes. Every year someone sends a duplicate recipe. This year there are two hot artichoke dips—Dames of the Needle and Summer House Stitche Workes. Charlotte’s Web sends curried cream of pea soup which sounds horrible. Who’s going to try it and report back? Turquoise graphics sends a recipe for a Mediterranean Salad wrap; I don’t know what I was planning to say about this, but I’ve singled it out for some reason. I’m going to give Glendon Place’s “Holiday potatoes” a pass because there’s a 3:2 ration of potatoes to fattening dairy products. I’m not giving them to every veggie recipe though. Even though Workbasket’s Frosted Cauliflower is loaded with dairy…it’s still cauliflower, and I’m still not making my guests eat it! Also not going to inflict cabbage noodles nor sauerkraut caraway no matter how well it goes with pork or fowl.

Stitcherhood’s buckeye recipe is not on page 106; try page 108. Also look for it alphabetized under “The.” Ugh. Total pet peeve. This is why we don’t let computers do our alphabetization…unless we input “Stitcherhood, The.” I’m not a huge fan of hardanger but thank god for Roz Watnemo who knows holiday desserts should have scant amounts of fruit and loads of fat! She’s given us Fresh Fancy Fruit Salad with peach pie filling. The Shepherd’s Bush ladies send a candied popcorn recipe, which I cannot make because I don’t know what “soft Christmas candy” is. Oatmeal cookies: There are two kinds of people in this world, those who use add chocolate chips and those who make oatmeal cookies the wrong way.* Jeannette Douglas is a good woman.

I love the idea of the Christmas morning breakfast cookie sent in by Sue Hillis. But the execution? Puhlease it’s a cookie not a “health bar.” Thea Dueck gets crap from me every year because year after year her recipes are too healthful. This year—fried cheese. Yay, Thea! Now that’s the Christmas spirit!

Now rush out and stitch some ornaments (let me know and I’ll make a collection again) and try the recipes. I need some reports on how they taste.

*Recently I heard a shocking tale of someone who made them with raisins AND chocolate chips. All I can say is that is a sin. Just when you think you’re biting into chocolate, squish, it’s a raisin.


Cole said...

hahaha, this post made my day! I love your reviews, I think this is the best one yet! There's an ornie or two on my Stitch Soon list, I'll send you a link when I've done them :)

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Great great review, I enjoy your review almost as much as the issue itself! Just had to run and fetch my copy to compare comments.

I agree with alot of your comments too, especially the Wiseman one. Maybe they're referring to someone they know called Mr. Wiseman?

As for the number of Magi I refer you to Joyce Grenfell and the Nativity Play!

I was not impressed by you mentioning the poem because I'd managed to avoid it so far and not it's lurking in my mind. I think the word is "doggerel"!

My initial list has 19, maybe 20 designs I would definitely stitch from this issue which I think is pretty good. Certainly better than last year which I found disappointing compared to 2010 (my first ever issue).

Totally agree on the "lame design" award too.

Annie said...

I think if I were a designer, I'd be afraid to submit an ornament to JCS for fear of seeing your review! ;-)

Funny, but very tough love.

Deb said...

This post cracks me up! Congratulations on your 2,000th!!

Now with that said, I bought this issues and haven't even cracked a page (I know, truly sad when you think about it). But now I'm going to have to pull it out and compare your notes to what I see in the magazine - and crack up the whole time I'm doing it.

And yes, chocolate chips and raisins - YUK! And I am a huge soup fan and curried cream of pea soup sounds intriguing - but not intriguing enough for me to try. With you on the horrible factor with that one.

PS - to prove I'm not a robot I got the word wassupp - like wassup with the magazine I guess!! LOL

Lee said...

Congrats on 2000 posts! I think you chose a very suitable subject, since your Ornament Issue reviews were how I found you in the first place, way back in the olden days!

C in DC said...

Congrats on 2,000 posts. (As a math bitch, I'll point out that 2000 is the year; 2,000 is the number.) In any case, keep bitchin'.

You made me snort out loud with "This year—fried cheese. Yay, Thea! Now that’s the Christmas spirit!"

Coral said...

Frankensanta - good thing I'm reading this in bed so I don't fall down laughing!

I love these reviews. You should have seen me: Yes! *The* review (or Review, The). Settle down and enjoy!

And I did. Thank you so much.

(Once I bought this magazine. I've never stitched anything from it).

Let me prove myself not to be a robot.....

Colleen said...

Thank God your back!!! Happy 2000!!! I put off buying the ornament issue but finally I caved and bought it. Let's review the Christmas trees pages 49-55. I am working on Christmas Morning from The Stitcherhood. The garnet is a beautiful color but who determined khaki green 3012 was the color of a healthy Christmas tree. This tree has been through a drought so I changed the color

Needle Nicely said...

I think the publishers of the magazine would do all of their purchasers a big favor if they would submit a preview copy to you and then attach your review to each issue.

I'm glad all is reasonably well in your world (other than having a stiff finger, handy in some instances). Congrats on 2,000 posts. Whew!

Barbi said...

LOL! I think that I look forward to this post of your's as much as I do the ornament issue itself. Very well critiqued!

Edgar said...

Another super post - spot on!!!!

Erin said...

Love it.

Also, based on your review I feel quite smug in my stitching choices from this issue - the Dragon Dreams ornie for my newly-arrived nephew and FrankenSanta (with a LOT of color changes, stoopid expensive hand-dyeds) for my daughter. However, even on 32-ct. FrankenSanta seems too big to be an ornament. So there's my criticism.

Kristen said...

Love your review!

That winterscape with the deer was the reason I bought the issue. I'll stitch that one and keep it up all year. I also love the mistletoe orn, even though it involves over-1 stitching (ugh!).

Surprise, surprise! The Thistle Threads design requires the purchase of a Tokens and Trifles sewing card. I know she's just trying to promote her business, but this really burns me! Tricia Wilson Nyugen used to design before those cards were introduced, and I don't think it's unreasonable for her to design something that doesn't require a purchase. Those cards aren't cheap (I know they're of really high quality, supposedly). Sorry, had to get that little rant out of my system.

Congrats on 2000 posts!

SewAmy said...

Great review. I didn't buy this issue because I felt it wasn't as good as last years. (there I said it) And I am still stitching things from last years issue.

Anonymous said...

Great reviews on the ornaments and their respective sections! Thanks for reminding me about the cheese sticks!

Robin in Virginia

Patti said...

I've been waiting for this review! I love reading it every year.

I agree with most everything you wrote, although I do like the Blackbird Design's ornament. I think the "busy" scrapbook paper border takes away from the design though.

Lizzie Kate's "I don't give a shit" ornaments the past few years really p***ed me off, I mean come on! I was glad to see she put in a little more effort this year.

I also noticed Frank was not in the photo with Judy and the fact that she didn't write anything more than "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" and no recipe either, has me worried.

Congrats on your 2,000 post! Hope your finger gets better soon : )

Patti said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lewmew said...

Love your review - and have to say I just can't make myself buy the issue. I won't make enough of them, too many specialty threads (really folks - design for us poor working schmoes!), designs that just don't appeal.

And I'm really sorry about Frank! I hadn't heard he'd passed away :(

Frances said...

I always look forward to your Ornament Issue Review!!! What fun!
You never disappoint!!

**I read previous posts saying that Frank Bielec had died--but I just looked at another blog with photos of him at a workshop a week ago! He looks like he's doing great in these photos!! I also googled his name, but I think the person's obituary that comes up is another Frank! Just trying to be helpful!

Charlene ♥ SC said...

Great review, as usual. I loved the Mistletoe by Acorn House - until I started stitching it. I will post it later with my changes...

Kathy A. said...

Im gonna go get my magazine and read this review again. You totally cracked me up. I loved it!