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.

Snow Day

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Thanks for all the compliments on my ornament in the last post.  I agree with you – the guild members are a talented group of stitchers!  As you know, I have been attending the Tudor Rose guild’s annual holiday party since I became a member.  I decided this time that I would also attend the Greater Dallas EGA holiday party as well.  Having never been before, I thought it would be fun to attend.  Unfortunately, the holiday party had to be postponed a week due to the crazy ice storm we had in Dallas.  We did get snow as well, but underneath that snow was a solid sheet of ice.  Needless to say – we all opted to hibernate in our houses!!
But the city thawed and we were finally able to get together for our party.  You’ve seen the ornament I stitched for the Tudor Rose exchange, so here is the ornament I stitched for EGA. 
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If I’d been thinking clearly, I would have photographed my little Santa ornament in the snow!  Alas, I wasn’t.  I’ve been mulling over stitching this ornament for a few years now.  It was actually one of the monthly sheep blankets for the Woolly Tyme club done by Homespun Elegance back in 2006.  I just always thought this was a sweet design and would be something that probably few have seen.  I just love his little Wisper beard that’s all fuzzy.  I found this great pompom trim at JoAnn’s that was a perfect choice for finishing him.  
One of the things I love about EGA is that  you have needleworkers of all kinds – cross-stitchers, needlepointers, beaders, etc.  One of the ladies brought her beaded Christmas trees to share.  You can see two of them in this photo – but she’s actually finished like six of these things!  Aren’t they awesome???
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The board members presented the outgoing President with this amazing gift.  They took a kit out of her stash (without her knowing) and they each stitched on it and then finished it.  Not only was she completely blown away by the beautiful piece – but the fact that it had come from her own stash – what a gift that is!  (Side note: if anyone would like to stitch something for me from my stash, shoot me an email.  LOL)  She had even bought these gorgeous Sajou Mother of Pearl scissors to go in the piece and quickly wen to retrieve them so that they could take their proper place!  I wish I’d gotten a photo of the outside of the piece, but it was just stunning!
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Now, on to the ornament exchange!  Here are closeups of a few I thought were eye-catching.  Loved the beaded edge and hanger on this sweet one. 
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A beaded ball with fringe.  My photo of this does it no justice. 
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This one had a lot of people’s interest – it’s a completely beaded three-dimensional star with a beautiful crystal in the center.  Loved this one so much!
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And here are some closeups of some of the fantastic ornaments together.  
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Look at the beaded cardinal – wowza!  So pretty!  I love the blackwork piece next to it as well. 
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And here they are all together.  I meant to get a closeup of the two wool ornaments – they were darling.  Again – I love how different they all are. 
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And this is the beautiful ornament I went home with.  Made by my sweet friend, Adrienne, I was thrilled I managed to hang on to it through the swapping! It’s two-sided and entirely beaded.  She is such an amazing beader. 
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So there you have it – another fun holiday party and exchange.  I will definitely be attending the EGA party again.  
I am grateful for stepping outside my comfort zone.  

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.  

Epiphany

2012 Finishes
Happy New Year!  I can hardly believe it’s already the 10th of January!  I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and spent some quality time with friends and family.  Before the new year gets away from me, I thought I’d do a little 2012 recap of some of the things I accomplished last year.  
2012 was not a banner year with regard to finishes.  But, I enjoyed what I did find time to stitch on, and a lot of it was little things that caught my fancy, rather than working on existing WIPs.  You may remember that after starting Margaret Cottam in November of 2011, I was enjoying her so much and was so close to a finish that I decided to stick with her rather than having a New Year’s Day start like I normally do.  And sure enough, I finished Margaret only a few days into 2012.  
Isabella Johnstone was the big star of my finishes this year.  I started her for my birthday in August of 2011, and when I picked her back up in April I continued to work on her steadily until she was finished at the beginning of August.  I really enjoyed stitching her and she’s a beauty!
I did work a little bit on quilting in 2012, I pulled my Kate Spain quilt back out at the end of the year and made some progress on it.  I also started my Kiss Kiss quilt for my birthday.  I also spent the first part of the year working on the Prince Charming hexie pincushions that were gifts for friends.  I made six of them, and still haven’t made one for myself.  I need to rectify that situation!  And in the fall I made some stitching wallets that I shared with you a couple of posts back.  
I also made one other little piece that I haven’t shared yet.  I made a knitting needle case for a friend’s birthday.  I love the way it turned out. 

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Here’s the inside.  I bought the fabric back at the beginning of the year knowing I wanted to use it for her gift. 
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I think she was happy with it, and I am head over heels about that fabric.  So fun!
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So, while I didn’t get a lot done this year, I did enjoy what I was working on.  
And my 2012 finishes were:
  • Margaret Cottam
  • Hexie Pincushions (6)
  • Bonus Block #1 (AOTH)
  • Happy Birthday (AOTH)
  • Rabbit Box
  • Isabella Johnstone 1854
  • Quaker Pincushion
  • Glory House
  • Stitching wallets (5)
  • Sugar Skull 5
  • Five Star Pinkeep
  • Knitting Needle Roll
  • Candy Cane Stocking

For 2013, I have three main stitching pieces I was to focus on – John Reed, Anniversaries of the Heart and And They Sinned.  All three of those are pretty big undertakings, but certainly not an unreasonable feat to finish them all this year.  I did also have a new start on New Year’s Day, but I chose a piece that’s a bit smaller.  In fact, I’m already half way finished with it.

Also this year I want to focus on my quilting.  I did so little sewing last year that I want to rectify that situation.  I bought a lot of fabric, but now I need to do something with it!  I definitely want to work on finishing some of the quilt WIPs I have in progress.  So these will be my focus this year:

Kate Spain
Kiss Kiss
Blue & White
Partridge
Log Cabin
Pansy Park

Plus I intend to get back on track with my niece and helping her with her first quilt.

I definitely think these are all reachable goals, and it will be nice to focus on some of the pieces I’d really like to finish.

What’s your plan for 2013?

I am grateful for refocusing.

Holidayin’

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Last week I attended my guild’s annual holiday party, which I always look forward to.  This year, even more so, because my sweet friend and PIC, Sylvia, was here from Germany.  Such a treat to see her, and her schedule allowed her to come to the party too!  
I did the finishing on my ornament last weekend and I’m really happy with how it turned out.  
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This is Candy Cane Stocking by Blackbird Designs from the 2003 JCS Ornament issue.  It is stitched in Weeks and GAST with Mill Hill beads on 30ct 18th Century Blackbird linen from R&R.  The fabric I used to finish it was a pretty Kaffe Fassett fabric that I picked up last weekend in Fort Worth at Madtosh Crafts.  
And the ornament I received? 
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Isn’t that the sweetest thing?!  It’s from With Thy Needle & Thread’s Friendship Samplers.  Stitched over one, it’s so tiny and cute.  Love it!
Our hostess had the best displays of stitched ornaments.  And there were so many of them!  I need to stitch faster (or finish faster – considering I have several that are stitched but still not finished).
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There was a lot of yummy food too.  
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And delicious desserts…
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And here’s a look at all the fabulous ornaments that were exchanged!
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Here’s a few closeups…
This was Sylvia’s.   I’m so in love with the button trim.   It’s a BBD.
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This one was the sweetest little needlebook that doubles as an ornament.  I love the gingham fabric!
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 Here’s the back.  Such sweet trees!
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Robert also stitched a BBD ornament.  I need to stitch this one for sure!
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And rounding out the BBD party several of us were clearly having, my friend Ava stitched up Crowning the Tree.  My photo of this does not do it justice at all.  I have this chart too and need to stitch it up for sure!
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A good time was had by all, and it was an excellent way to kick off the holiday season.  I also started a Christmas sampler on Thanksgiving Day that I haven’t made much progress on, but I’m looking forward to getting it back out to work on.  Once I have some progress to share, I will.
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I hope you’re enjoying whatever holiday stitching you’re doing!
I am grateful for visits with friends and my sweet husband for taking care good care of me.