Second thoughts

IMG_7119It’s difficult to know whether or not a handcrafted gift will be appreciated. One recipient might treasure an item specifically because it was handmade for them, while another might reject the most beautiful piece of handiwork regardless of the hours of effort involved in its creation solely because it doesn’t come from a store.

Currently I’m debating whether or not a project that I have planned is worth that effort. Although I chose the pattern, style and colors carefully with the recipient’s tastes in mind, suddenly I’m not certain that such a painstakingly handcrafted item would have any value in someone else’s eyes. I guess all I can do is hope that they will understand a gift of the heart.

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Santa & chocolate

IMG_5698Yesterday I had a visit from a sister bearing gifts, including the newest 2013 Prairie Schooler Santa card. She knows that I love to collect Prairie Schooler Santas, so this was a very welcome addition to my charts stash.

Russian-chocolateShe also brought me some beautiful postcards from her recent trip to Russia (foreign postcards are a big favorite of mine) and some delicious Russian chocolate, too! A quick Google search helped me to understand that this yummy fruit and nut concoction was made by Babaevsky Confectionery, the oldest confectionery factory in Russia. The gorgeous red and gold label was almost as impressive as the chocolate bar inside.

Christmas thoughts

These past few weeks before the holidays I’ve entertained myself by perusing other folk’s stitching blogs. While I was looking for ornament ideas and admiring all of the fabulous trees and decorations that people created in their own homes, I realized something very surprising – I haven’t a single ornament that I stitched myself on my own tree! All of the ones I have made over the years I have gifted out to others. So I decided that next year I would choose a design and do one just for me!

My own Christmas tree is decorated with a variety of things that I have collected over time, and changes very little from year to year. I could never seem to stick to just one “theme” for a tree, and so have amassed inexpensive old-fashioned glass ornaments, wind-up musical boxes shaped like instruments, simple wooden toys that evoke childhood memories, a heap of Santas and snowmen of every variety and manufacture, and even some tiny sparkly jeweled shoes! Not to mention all the lovely package and floral decorations that were just too pretty to throw away that now nestle happily within the branches, adding glamor and glitz to the greenery.

But I think my favorite decoration is still the “walnut”. This little item, inexpertly painted red to look like a strawberry and adorned with a green felt “leaf” and a simple twine hanging loop, was made long ago in an elementary school art class by one of my sister’s kids. I had always thought that my nephew made it, but during her visit last month my niece claimed all of the artistic credit.

Regardless of its origin it has always represented family to me more than any other bauble. It is the first thing I place on my tree each year – right at the top next to where the star will go, and the last thing I take off the tree when it’s time to take everything down.

Once all of the other ornaments are safely wrapped in tissue and packed into their compartments I make sure to place the walnut on the very top before the decorations box is sealed. That way each year when I open the box I once more remember what Christmas is all about for me.

I’ve lost my stork scissors

They’ve been missing for about three weeks now. This is not the end of the world, I know. I have plenty of other regular scissors lying around the house (some might say too many, there’s a pair in practically every room), which all usable and perfectly capable of snipping strands of cotton floss. And I’m sure my scissors will show up eventually, hiding between the couch cushions or tucked away in a craft box where I probably placed them momentarily and then just forgot about them. I just miss them. Stitching is not the same without them.

And of course I keep thinking that if I’d attached a simple scissors fob to them I wouldn’t be suffering this loss in the first place. *smacks self upside the head*

Perhaps I should go and make a beaded fob right now in the hopes that the scissors will magically return to see what all the fuss is about.

I love postcards!

I got a lovely postcard from Hastings, East Sussex today where sis is currently vacationing, and I thought I would share a photo of how I display my favorite vintage Florida postcards. These hang in my front hallway.

I am not an avid collector, I just pick up the occasional card here and there when I see one I like. I guess it’s the graphic designer in me! I do enjoy finding vintage cards from places I have actually visited or lived.

Happiness is Cross Stitching Anniversary Giveaway

It’s always a delightful surprise to me when someone announces a giveaway on their blog! Lynn at Happiness is Cross-Stitching is giving away some very pretty things to celebrate the first anniversary of her blog. When I read about such generous people I wonder if I will manage to make it to a year of blogging myself.

Here is a picture of Lynn’s first place prize which includes: a Box decorated with her own cross stitch design (the free pattern will be available to download when she return from her holidays); Coffee pot and cup; Rose pins; Heart shaped ornament with Swarovski crystal trim; Scissor fob with Swarovski crystals stitched 1 over 1. What an amazing assortment of goodies!