Tuesday, September 27, 2011
JCS Ornaments Reviewed
I see once again JCS has not taken this opportunity to change their layout. This year, there's the added inconvenience of a chart that is printed sideways. Because turning the magazine won't be cumbersome. They print magazines in landscape all the time; they call that...pornography. And if men can hold the mag with one hand, so can we.
I need to quibble with the cover which touts that these patterns are "from your favorite designers." There are designers in here that I've never heard of. Which is fine--I always like to be introduced to new designers--but if I've never heard of them, how can they be favorites?
Let us turn to page six. Phyllis Hoffman got married! Now why is she still editing this? She is president of Hoffman Media, she doesn't need to edit the magazines. Is she too difficult to work with, and thus can't hold on to an editor? Or is she just saving money? I know...blah, blah, blah, get on with the review already!
The first set of ornies are the "red ones." Heartstrings' Santa is on this page but these are the palest colors I've ever seen her work with, almost too washed out. You've already seen Sampler Girls' Good Tidings Rabbit over at Barbara's. Back to the reds...Lauren Sauer stitched a woven heart which is real finger-on-the-pulse redwork but she carried her floss on her confetti stitches! JBW does a word heart this year. I think I may be tired of those. I like Angel Stitchin's Santa, but mostly for the use of funky fibers.
Prim and Proper
I like the Noel Stamp, but is she going to be dictated by the post office forever? The Gift by Blackerry Lane is gorgeous but you know I don't do the whole Jesus thing so I won't be stitching it. I'm not crazy about the Shepherd's Bush but they certainly did jam a whole lot into three square inches. I like Niky's Creation's deer, Gentle Pursuit's Rejoice, and Plum Street's Yuletide. Moss Creek's is pretty; I like the long stitches for the pine but the words? A little off.
Snowman and Flakes
Amy B has a snowmen with a snowman growing out of its head. I like the colors (and I can hear the chorus, "They're not Christmas colors!") but I can't stitch that growth. LHN's is pretty and simple, a must stitch. And just when you think you've seen everything, SamSarah designs a pregnant snowman. Um, what? You know how snowmen are made, right? Praiseworthy has a Victorian-esque sleigh ride, but everyone's so tiny they have giant bug eyes.
I think the two best on this page are Elizabeth's Designs (I like sheep) and Workbasket's log cabin home. Blah. I'm a little uninspired. There's nothing funny to say about these. Although there are a couple, maybe just one, that are under designed.
You know how they use Christmas carols as headers? The blue ornaments are listed under "Blue Christmas" a little spot on. I like Little By Little's blue and brown design. Mosey N Me does the can-it-ever-get-old? pun of "Merry Moose-mas." (Though that's a reindeer not a moose; I'm from NH, I know from moose.) This year, I'm pretty sure this one doesn't look like Frank. Could it be Judy? Jennifer Aikman Smith didn't contribute a dragon this year; I hope no one is disappointed. She designed a little planet to hang from a "hopeflake" for the people of Japan.
For the Birds
Nine ornaments featuring birds. I'm pretty sure Tempting Tangles' bird is going to fall right off his perch. I usually like the whimsicle fuckery of Jemini Designs but this year's cardinal looks like he had a curry that disagreed with him. Some of the others almost work. Winter Song has the wrong font; the owl goes too far with the earmuffs. I do like Blackbird's blue bird. This may be my favorite.
But WTF Lizzie*Kate? "Half hour ornament?" You know the problem with stitching a half hour ornament? It looks like it took half an hour to stitch. She's still mailing it in. Maybe it's time to call it. Just for the Christmas issue, of course. Or do you think that she's pushing it to see how far she can go before Phyllis Hoffman DePiano finally says, "you know, maybe we don't need L*K to sell magazines."
Another Christmas Butterfly! Good grief...fly away to Bethlehem crazy Christmas butterfly. But be careful, those office supplies can be dangerous. I like Christmas in the heart from Acorn House, but I'm tired of depressing stories behind the design. It's a Christmas magazine. We're supposed to be joyful that Santa was born! Wee Work's Noel has elaborate finishing and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Photographed on mini marshmallows, this page is reserved for the twee. It's also the page that will get the traditionalists riled! These aren't Christmas colors! I love Cathy Jean's squirrel, but tying your recipe to the ornament is...well, that's how she landed on this page. CCN's confection is worthy as are Ink Circle's book and Miss Crescent's Jolly. If there were no marshmallows on this page, Brooke's Books would take care of the saccharine. I don't know what kind of crap they got for Christmas over at Raise the Roof, but the box is not the best part of the present. Fresh Threads' ornament feels so stale, I had to get out my old copies to see where I've seen this before. This is basically last year's ornament with a different color on the sock and trees in it instead of candy. Does that make it stylistically coherent or just recycled?
I finally met someone who cooks extensively from the recipes. I thought maybe I should cook them all. But then I realized that was insane and no one really wants to eat Christine's broccoli salad. Okay, while I was perusing the recipes for a reject to include in that sentence, I noticed Charlotte Smyth has sent in the recipe for Caramelitas. Run to the store. Buy the ingredients. Make them. Now! These are perhaps the best bar cookie ever. What's interesting to me about the recipes are the slight regionalisms. Lychees in heavy syrup? Just let me run to the corner store for those! Catsup and mayo on steak? Cheese in your corn chowder? But I'm sure many more of you will believe I haven't lived until I eat a cookie made with Jell-o.
Breaking news: Designers bake cookies at Christmas. And have friends and family over to their homes, which they decorate with trees. They are busy during the holidays with family traditions, attending church, admiring Christmas lights, eating Christmas dinner, traveling, and watching Christmas movies. Yeah, me neither.
Number I might stitch (and I'm being generous): 18
But I'm making the caramelitas!