Closing Out the Year

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I appreciate you all being patient while I play post catch up here.  This post though, as you can tell from the title, is the last of things I wanted to share with you from the end of 2013.  
I was very excited when Paulette announced she would be doing a Sunday Mystery SAL back in September.  She released a part each Sunday for nine Sundays, with the promise that we’d have a finished piece before Thanksgiving.  I stitched Mary’s Sampler II, which was the more densely stitched of the two pieces.  Each week I took the opportunity to stitch the new part, while reflecting on the season ahead and what it means to me.  I chose to stitch mine on 40ct Vintage Light Examplar by Lakeside with mostly the called for GAST threads.  I had to change out the white to a brighter white so that it didn’t blend into my linen.  I also opted not to use the called for Espresso Bean, instead choosing a warmer, lighter brown.  Mary I dressed in blue, using a Limited Edition GAST called Aquamarine.  I love how my little sampler turned out and I’m looking forward to having it framed for this Christmas. 
One of the things I wanted to accomplish over the holidays was to finally do the finishing on all of my ornaments and my two guild nametags.  I figured since I had three ornaments for exchanges to finish, I might as well finish my others too. 
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I’ve already shared the finished product of the ornament I stitched for the EGA exchange and the ornament for the Tudor Rose exchange.  I also managed to finish these two. 
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I’m not over the moon about how my Penny Angel turned out, but I think the pompom trim for the Dash Away All was a perfect choice.  
And since I had them out, I took a pic of all my stitched ornaments together.  You can see my Tulip Angel and Shepherd’s Bush ornaments are still lacking their trim.  I realized later that there was one missing from this photo.  Isn’t that always the case with family reunions?  ; )
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I had one final finish for the year I wanted to share.  The year before at the Tudor Rose party, Sylvia and I decided to do an ornament exchange between the two of us in 2013.  So, it was with great anticipation that I opened up the package from and saw this beauty. 
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She stitched this Monsterbubbles ornament changing the colors and the linen.  She uses some metallic silver thread as well as adding the gorgeous beaded edge so that the whole thing sparkles in the Christmas tree lights.  And I absolutely love it on the dark blue linen.  Such a stunner in person, my photo does it no justice.  
But, here comes the funny part.  Sylvia and I didn’t discuss with each other what we were stitching and kept it a surprise until the packages were opened.  Here’s what I stitched for her.
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The little Blackbird Designs’ Souvenir stocking seemed like the perfect choice since we’d be seeing each other in Paris in the spring.  I stitched this on 40ct Vintage Light Examplar (the same fabric I used for Mary’s Sampler) with the called for threads.  I backed it with this pretty pink fabric and used Swarovski bicones for the hanger.  I think we both had fun with the exchange and will definitely be doing it again this year.  
I also had a couple of gifts I wanted to share.  Back in 2010, Gloria of Milady’s Needle was designing this piece and asked if she could use Romeo’s information to personalize it.  I had completely forgotten she’d promised the model to me in return until she sent it along.  I’ve hung it in the hallway with the memorial sampler for my dad (John Reed will also hang here once it’s framed, I’m sure).  It is a sweet reminder of my boy, and a very generous and heartfelt gift. 
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My sweet friend, Kim, also gifted me with this lovely Mary’s Best floss keep from Country Stitches (WTN&T).  Isn’t it pretty?  I’ve been lusting after one of these for a long while and now I have my very own! 
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I had really hoped to have my Kate Spain Christmas quilt finished in time for the holidays, but it didn’t quite happen.  I ordered the backing fabric for it, that you can see in my Instagram photo here.  I could not pass up those cups of hot cocoa on that Icicle grey background.  Too too perfect.  I definitely want to get this one done this year finally so that I can snuggle underneath it while sipping Mexican hot chocolate (my favorite) and watching Serendipity (one of our favorite Christmas movies). 
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My finishes for the year were not as numerous as previous years, but I did get some more sewing in and I finished my dad’s memorial sampler, which was the most important thing for me.

2013 Finishes
2013 Finishes
Return to the Sea with Jane Austen
Kate Spain Christmas quilt top
 Hexy pincushion
Swoon mini quilt
Pinwheels mini quilt
John Reed 1844
Nightshade pillowcase
Sally Halloween costume
Kiss Kiss mini quilt
December ornament 
View From Above ornament
Souvenir of Paris ornament
Mary’s Sampler II
It’s nice to finally feel like I have some closure on 2013, although much delayed.  I can’t wait to share what I’ve been up to in 2014 so far and my brain is zinging with new ideas all the time.  
I am grateful for weekends spent marathon-watching Game of Thrones.

The View Above

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The past few months it seems I’ve been stitching on a series of things that I couldn’t share – but now they can be revealed!  In early December, I attended the annual Tudor Rose Sampler Guild holiday party.  I’ve enjoyed attending each year but always find that I’m down to the wire getting my ornament stitched and finished for the ornament exchange I participate in.  This year I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to stitch, but when I stumbled across this Little By Little angel called “The View Above”, I knew it would be a good choice.  I thought it was a nice little nod to the Tulip Angel I stitched in 2009 for the exchange too.  She was a fun little stitch.  Finishing, on the other hand, ugh!  Twisted cording is my nemesis.  
Anyway, the party was fun, as usual.  This year instead of holding the party at a member’s home, we held it at our usual meeting place.  Our Programs Chair printed off these delightful little caskets on cardstock as a party favor – they were a freebie on Tricia Nguyen’s blog in December.  So cute!  I may color mine before I assemble it.  We’ll see!
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I wanted to show a few of the ornaments that particularly caught my eye – you know I can’t say no to a Blackbird Designs piece, right?
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I never think to stitch LHN ornaments until I see them and then I fall in love with the cute.  Love how this one was finished with that pretty (I think it may have been velveteen) red fabric and green cording (why can’t my cording look like that???).  Excuse the random red ribbon peeking out from under there – once we tore open the wrapping there were bits everywhere!
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This was a sweet, simple design but look how cute with the chenille trim, gold jingle bells in the corners and red cording for the hanger.  (again, the red ribbon photobombs my pic)
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This one really caught my eye and the photo doesn’t do it justice.  It’s by The Primitive Hare and was in the 2013 JCS issue, I think.  
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And this sweet little one – a Jeannette Douglas design.  Look at the pretty beaded edge and the tiny little over one bird.  So so cute.  (and the red ribbon is now beginning to resemble some sort of sea monster tentacles).
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Here’s a shot of all the ornaments together.  I meant to get closeups of some others, but it didn’t happen.  I’m completely in love with that Stacy Nash Silent Night one.  And that Ewe & Eye & Friends down at the bottom reminded me that I went completely gaga over seeing these stitched up on a blog a while back and meant to stitch them…clearly that plan fell by the wayside.  
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And finally, here are the ornaments I came home with.  Bonus this year – I ended up with two!  They are the sweetest little things too.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing the ornaments – every year I’m amazed at how varied the ornaments are – both in choice and in finishing.  Even when we have so many stitchers choosing ornaments out of the same magazine, we never end up with two the same.  I always come away inspired and with a long list of new ornaments to stitch.  
I am grateful for sweet little reindeer and sheep and birds.