Saturday, January 06, 2018

Button Up Your Overcoat!

Hello, friends! Thank you for your encouraging words on my pathetic output of last year. You are a wonder.

Although the weather outside is frightful (Below zero in southeastern Pennsylvania? Crazy talk!), I haven't stitched quite as much as I might have sitting here bundled up on the couch like Bob Cratchit (stocking cap, scarf, fingerless gloves). I did continue to work on Nunavut Santa as promised. I think one more round ought to do it!

Speaking of ornaments, the tree is down and the little glitter lights that I love to watch in the afterwork hours (and dine by) have disappeared. I'll have to find another way to add some sparkle into these dark cold (cold cold cold) nights.

Stay warm; unless you're near the equator. And if you are, you might not want to mention it to people on the east coast of America right now.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

Here we are, 2018. Before we look forward, a stocktaking. Though there wasn't much stock to take. I finished five pieces--Ortilda the Witch, Tada Santa and Snowman, Wabbit's Wonder, and Christian's Stocking.

Stitching did pick up in the latter half of the year, so I am hoping that is the trend for the future.

I am joining Stitching Lotus's Smalls SAL for real this year! (Last year I said I would stitch smalls but I didn't even change the link from 2016 to 2017. But look, it says 2018!) I plan to do a rotation, but I think I'm going to do fewer pieces for an extra day so seven pieces for four days each instead of ten pieces for three days with occasional theme months, like in February (Valentine's Day!) I'm going to focus on anniversary pieces*, and of course, Craft Month in March.

I also plan to blog more, and visit your blogs more often too.

For my January rotation, I'm going to start with seven smaller pieces so I can feel like I'm making headway!
  1. Nunavut Santa
  2. Lapland Santa
  3. Four Fat Friends
  4. Elizabethan Rose
  5. Deruta Biscornu
  6. Special K's Ornament
  7. Sweet Baby Ray's Ornament
What are your plans for the year?

*There are three unfinished--47 Hearts ('17), Our Souls ('14), and To Thee My Heart ('10).

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Arctic Santas

After Christmas, I was able to get back to stitching partly because of the arctic cold we were having. (We accidentally went to the Franklin Institute on what must have been the coldest day of the year, to see the Terracotta Warriors, and I'm pretty sure my face froze off!) I managed a few hours on both Lapland Santa (top) and Nunavut Santa.

Here's what Lapland looked like in November.

Nunavut got a lot of action! Here's what my polar bear friend looked like the last time.

I plan to take some time tomorrow and visit all of you and leave some notes. I want, like so many others, to get back to blogging. (I only wrote 60 posts in all of 2017!) And stitching! But more on my plans tomorrow.

Happy new year, everyone!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

O Christmas Tree

I've definitely been collecting things to show you even if I haven't been able to post.

The weekend after we got back from DC, we went with my sister and the girls to Longwood Gardens to see their trees. Fabulous as always! (The girls are three and a half now.) We saw so many trees with unusual color combos. This one was (advertised as) "Tiffany blue" and had some copper accents. Another one was red and lemon yellow--it worked!
Then we put up our own trees. The snowman tree, last year (because we were heading to Florida) we bought a new artificial tree--black tinsel!--we got it back out this year because I was too sick to want to wander around tree lots. We didn't put it up until the Monday before Christmas when I was shamed into it at work. The dude helped so much over this period. He doesn't usually love all the Christmas brouhaha, but he really pitched in, buying presents, decorating, cooking, baking. I found a good one!

This is the handmade tree. Almost all the ornaments were stitched (or made) by me (there are a few by you too!). When we were at Winterthur, there was a tree of needlepoint ornaments that rotated. (I don't know how I managed to miss a photo of it!) The dude said we'll have to get one of those for this tree. Ha ha!

My collection of Sandy Cozzolino ornaments, growing slowly. I posted this photo on her Facebook page, and she said two in the middle, the Santa with holding the tree and the teddy bear Santa, are among the earliest ones she designed!
I did get the trees for the mugs that I set out to do over Thanksgiving break. I bought that huge gold tree at Target. (It is in there straight; I don't know what went wrong with this picture.) A fun little vignette. I shared it on Facebook and lots of people have these mugs. I think they might be looking for trees to stick inside during the sales!
For my aunt's December 27th birthday, we headed to Winterthur to see their trees. Although I should have photographed the needlepoint tree, I took this one instead. For the past 30 years, Winterthur has had a dried flower tree. All of the flowers are grown and preserved on the property and saved for this tree, which was HUGE. I think you can tell if you look at some of the flowers, like the sunflowers or the hydrangea. Pretty amazing!

I hope you were able to enjoy lots of lovely Christmas trees--if that's your thing. I do love the sparkly lights in this dark time of year.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Trip to DC

I've been trying to get back here since the second weekend of December when the dude and I took the train down to DC to visit the Vermeer exhibition at the National Gallery. But between being sick (pretty much up until Christmas eve) and preparing for the holidays, well, you know how things get.

On the train down, I worked on 47 Hearts. I made some good progress despite the fact I kept nodding off. (The last time I stitched it.) I think February might be the month I try to finish the anniversary pieces I have going, and start a new one for 2018.

Biscornu (Did I really not stitch this in 2017 until now? Previously.) I'm getting there!
Even though we went down to DC to see the Vermeer exhibit (we have now brought our total of Vermeers to 20/35) and were lucky enough to get tickets for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I only have this photo of a stumpwork mirror for you (1650-1690, silk with silk and metal threads). I always love trying to find a fiber-related photo for you!
And here we are with the national Christmas tree. It was a little disappointing because, as you can see, it's just a scrim over a tree. Cheating! Definitely one of the better selfies we've ever taken!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Our Souls, Round 436

Thanks for your lovely comments on my ornament, and I hope those who visited for the blog hop found a reason to stick around. Hiya! To all the people who've been with me all these years, or even just a few of them.

As many of you know, I stitch an anniversary present for the dude every year. (Well, I start one every year.) I think this was supposed to be the anniversary sampler for 2014. I really need to knuckle down and finish! 

I realize I've been showing you close up shots of the (usually) small amount of stitching I've managed to complete per round on this piece. (ex 1, ex 2, ex 3, ex 4) Since I've stitched quite a lot of the border this time, I thought I'd give an aerial view. I think I might be in the homestretch, maybe three more rounds? The bad news is I don't have enough dark pink to finish it! Oh darn, I'll have to take a trip to the store.

Good news, I'm picking up the anniversary sampler for 2017 next. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Advent Calendar Blog Hop

Welcome to the Fifth Day of the Advent Calendar Blog Hop!

Jo of Serendipitous Stitching has organized us to count down the days to Christmas.

Since I have definitely underperformed in the stitching area this year, I chose to share an ornament that I stitched a while ago and finished two years ago. I love this finish, and I thought I'd give it a better show than it got back then. This is monsterbubbles Joyeux Noel from the 2007 JCS Ornament Issues

Jo asks, How do you plan to spend Boxing Day?  Do you have any traditions associated with this day? 

As you've learned from the Americans who've answered before me, we don't traditionally celebrate Boxing Day. When I was young, we used to either head to Boston to spend our Christmas loot at the sales or to the Carroll Reed sale closer to home. 

Then, I married a Brit. We didn't develop any specific Boxing Day celebrations right away, not until my parents moved to Florida, and we started celebrating Christmas in Pennsylvania. My cousin hosted Christmas Eve, my sister Christmas Day, so we started hosting a Boxing Day celebration filled with...Polish food! I don't know how we landed on that idea, but we went to the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia and bought pierogies of various flavors, and kielbasi, and cvikla (a beet puree), and I made bigos. My family is of Polish (and French Canadian) origin, but we in our forty years of celebrating, we never ate pierogies on Wigilia (the Christmas eve celebration that is our tradition). 
But because we do celebrate Wigilia with my mother's family, and then Christmas Day with our family, having another weighty dinner is getting to be a lot.

I'm not sure about this year. My father isn't coming to Pennsylvania for Christmas, and my mother is returning to Florida (and him) on Christmas Day without us this year. The dude and I are looking forward to a quiet homey Christmas Day with no obligations (we'll see) but I don't know whether or not we'll want to gather the remnants of our family on Boxing Day. Partly because my aunt's birthday is on December 27th. That's a whole lot of togetherness + big meals.

This is probably a lot more detail than you were hoping for, but I think I may have needed to think some of this through. Thank you for indulging me!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a relaxing Boxing Day wherever you celebrate!