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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Christmas in April!

Hello everyone!  Long time, no blog.  I swear, I've have had all these Christmas photos uploaded on blogger for at least three months now, but I finally got some time to write a couple of words while DH is entertaining the girls.

I managed to finish up all the stockings on Christmas Eve and I was really pretty pleased with how they turned out, even though a lot of people can't really see the reindeer in the deer stocking.  Oh well...  The finishing was super easy (sewing machine), but I do confess that I did not use the instructions that came with the patterns.  I opted to use an on-line tutorial instead.  It is so much more easy to follow photos than words, don't you agree?  
The stockings were stitched the called for Caron Collection's Watercolors hand-dyed perle cotton (on 20-ct linen), which was a true joy to stitch with.  It is fun to experiment with large fields of the same color over-dyed too; you never know how it'll turn out until you are done.  If you have less patience with cross-stitching and are more skilled with sewing than I am, the designs are also available as applique patterns (check out this link).  
I really like SamSarah and if I had more time, I would probably tackle the perpetual calendar that she is designing.  I am not a big fan of stitching on perforated paper though.  I like to crumple my linen while I stitch.  :-)
Back to the stockings: I love stockings!  We didn't use them in Sweden, so it is one more American tradition that I am embracing in the fullest!  I love all the BOAF stockings and I will find out a reason to stitch them sooner or later as well (Special Delivery and Snow Day can be checked out here and here are Angel of Peace and Wish Upon a Star.  
And one can always dream.... Mary Beale's stockings (insert dreamy sigh here):
I love Mary Beale's designs and she is yet another designer that I have stitched way too few pieces from!   (The first 3 pics taken from Mary Beale's Gallery and journal, the 4th from Loudoun Sampler Guild, the 5th from Plum Street Samplers blog, and the last photo from The Life of Miss Pants blog.)

Over "Christmas break", I did also work some more on trying to finish up my Blackwork Angels and Starry Night ornies.  I got this idea for a new way of finishing in my head that took a while for me to get up the courage to test out.  I am doing the classic rectangle using cardboard, but I am doing two "backing" pieces that are slightly larger than the stitched design.,  The thought is that the "front backing" will frame the design.  I think that it'll end up looking great, but it takes a lot of cardboard, backing fabric, batting and thread to finish all of them.

After I am done with these, I'll try to start stitching PS' Redwork Santas and maybe even Cranberry Christmas.  I love the simplicity and elegance of the sparse coloring that PS uses, even though I am a little less in love with the green/red combination of the Santas than I am with the black/blue/gold of the angels.

One set of ornaments that I did not have time to finish was the baby Christmas name plaques. I really like how they turned out and I have even been thinking about making a few more from the other PS alphabets.  (I wish that I had picked a khaki linen instead of a white one, since I had to switch the white details, such as the angel's wings and Santa's beard to grey in order for it to show up.  Next time, I guess...)
If you haven't seen it yet, you have to check out the little banner that Amy stitched for her grand daughter.  How adorable is this!?  She even has some finishing tips on her blog, here!

So, since this is a Christmas themed post, here is a photo of Scrappy, enjoying the Christmas decorations.
I also have to show off these small and totally adorable boxes that I picked up at Michaels.  I use them to keep ornaments and finishing supplies organized.  One of them contains the PS Xmas ornies and the other one is packed full of the CEC Thanksgiving acorns.  One of these days I will finish them all!  :-)

Before I log off, I just have to post a couple of photos of my baby girls.  As you can see, they like bath time!  They are 4 months and 1 week old today and I am still in heaven (and still exhausted!).  I started working again a few weeks back and I promise that I have never found work as relaxing as I do now.  When Monday rolls around, I am ready for a break!  LOL
Well, take care everyone and I hope that you get a lot more stitching in than I do!
Happy Spring!