cross stitch · finishing

Gifts for my great-nieces

Kids-Ornaments-2013Finished all three ornaments for my great-nieces on Monday night and took them to the post office on Tuesday morning. I was only one day behind schedule, so I am feeling pretty pleased with myself.

The kids already get tons of great toys and gifts from their family at holiday time, so this year I decided to do something handmade and personalized for their Christmas tree instead. In that sense, these are really more like gifts for their parents, I suppose! These were a lot of fun to stitch, and even though there were a few moments when I was afraid my hands would give out before I could get them done in time, it all worked out just fine.

Each ornament is a Lizzie Kate Monthly Stamp Flip-It design and was stitched in 18-count Aida Oatmeal using DMC floss as indicated in each chart. I substituted my own buttons for the ones indicated, and changed the names of the months to the childrens’ names by playing around in MacStitch. The designs were finished as little stuffed hanging pillows, with cotton print backs and cloth ribbon from my fabric stash.

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woofAlmost done with this little Lizzie Kate Block Flip-It called “Woof.” I found some matching wide green rick rack for the trim when the piece is done. If I have the time, I plan to start “Meow,” its sister piece, later tonight.

Once again I’ve resorted to using ibuprofen gel on my hands during the day and soaking them in Epsom salts at night to help alleviate the discomfort. Along with stitching for only relatively brief periods of time and take plenty of breaks, this seems to be working out pretty well, and is allowing me to get more stitching done than I have been able to do in a long time.


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.

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"Be Merry" Ornament

I just finished this tiny hanging ornament for my dear niece. For gift-giving I popped it into a small premade paper-covered box from the crafts store, which I enhanced with an added scrapbook sticker that says “forever joyful” – which is how I think of her.

Val’s Stuff “Be Merry”
Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments 2007 magazine
25-ct. Dublin Linen Light Blue, DMC floss (substituted for Weeks Dye Works)
Stitch count: 40W x 35H
Start 12/18/09 – finish 12/21/09

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“Merry Kitty Klaus” completed

I finished the kitty ornament last evening as a stuffed pillow hanging, backed with a piece of dark red printed cotton and using some silky green cording for the hanging loop. And made a tiny white pom pom out of floss for the hat.

Val’s Stuff “A Merry Kitty Klaus”
Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments 2007 magazine
18-ct. Oatmeal Fiddlers Cloth, DMC floss as charted (mostly)
Stitch count: 48W x 49H
Start 12/10/09 – finish 12/19/09
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Inching along

I’m only a little bit farther along on the “Merry Kitty Klaus” ornament. Real life job has kept me busier this week, and earning dollars outweighs stitching for pleasure every time! One good thing, since this ornament is being given in person I don’t have to worry about finishing and mailing it early.

The pattern calls for Wisper floss (a fuzzy blend of mohair and nylon thread) for the “fur” on the Santa hat – which is actually something I’d never heard of before this chart! – but I am skipping that bit. It is possible that I have a tiny jingle bell somewhere in my sewing basket for the tip of the hat, and, if not, I will use a homemade pom pom instead – if I have time to make one!

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Itsy bitsy project

I just completed and framed this small project, but as it is a gift for a friend who sometimes stops by here, I could only post a tiny photo hint of the finished snippet. It was a quick and enjoyable stitch, and I hope she will like it.

You’ll notice that it has my favorite thing (BEES) in it.