In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Twelve Days of Christmas

The last few days have been busier than busy, with several holiday parties crowned by our family Christmas celebration yesterday with Mother and The Saint. Baby Girl arrived on Friday to help with the prep and to join me in an epic cookie baking extravaganza.  I've lost count of the pounds of butter, sugar, and flour we went through--and there was an emergency run to the grocery store for ground cloves--but it is quite possible that we have placed the Piedmont section of the Carolinas into a long-lasting sugar high and carb coma.

In the midst of all this, I have managed to get a few stitches stitched. I started one of the ornaments I found at Haus Tirol:

It occurred to me as I waved good-bye to Baby Girl today that I have no social engagements pending. I do have to work Monday and Tuesday of this week, but after than, I am off until January 2. Therefore, as of right this minute, I am starting my own personal Twelve Days of Christmas.

I plan to stitch, listen to Christmas music, enjoy movie marathons, and think about absolutely nothing of any consequence. Dearly Beloved and I are going to have a quiet Christmas feast for ourselves and there has been some discussion about driving around to see Christmas lights. Other than that, I am  taking time off to recharge before the New Year rolls around.

In fact, I may take a nap to celebrate!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Signed and dated

The embroidery is done on Christmas is Coming!

I was really hoping to stitch a couple more ornaments this week. Then I looked at the calendar. We have some kind of event every day this week--including two different parties tomorrow night--culminating in Mother, The Saint, and Baby Girl arriving this week-end for our family celebration.

That means I need to spend my time getting the house ready for Mother's white glove inspection. She had her cataract surgery this year and has 20/20 vision. The Saint and I have agreed we would have preferred that her hearing be corrected rather than her vision--she now sees dust in places we would never have thought of looking!

I mean, really--do you take your artwork off the walls and dust the backs of the pictures on a monthly basis?

I will admit, that's about the last thing on my list of things to do this week.

But as there are about forty bazillion other things before that, I need to get to work.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Geese and Grass

"Christmas is Coming" is coming along.  I now have a goose girl, an apple tree, various critters, three fat geese, and the grass behind them.

I've been thinking of taking a few stitches out and redoing the shadow on the goose on the right, but taking out stitches over 40 count is not the most fun. And from across the room it isn't bothersome. Dearly Beloved believes once the ornament is on the tree, no one will notice it. As he tends to notice the pickiest of details, I'm inclined to believe him.

Or he's saying this so I won't keep belaboring the point.

In other news, we now have a decorated tree. I had to go to a volunteer thing yesterday, but other than that, we spent the day working on the tree.  As usual, the tree looked much smaller in the lot than it does in the corner of the living room.  Dearly Beloved had to use more lights than he wanted to--actually, he would be happy with no lights at all, but this year it became a challenge to light up the tree. And I've used ornaments I haven't used in years to fill in all the spaces. 

At some point I need to pull out the Christmas dishes and go to the grocery store, but other than that and stitching and finishing more ornaments, I'm ready for Christmas this year. This is, I have declared, my minimal Christmas. There will be other years to go berserk--this year I'm taking a deep breath and relaxing.

And listening to Christmas music and watching old movies and thinking about what I want to stitch during my last vacation days of 2014. I am taking off the week after Christmas and doing only what I want to do for nine days straight.

That's the best Christmas present of them all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas is Coming

Here's my start on this year's ornament from Barbara Jackson for Shining Needle Society.

Aside from a bare-naked tree standing in the corner--not a light or ornament to be seen--this is the extent of my Christmas preparations this year.

Normally I would be running around like a deranged Ghost of Christmas Uh-Oh, trying to pull a Martha Stewart celebration out of the air. For some reason, this year I'm not making myself crazy. Maybe I'm finally growing out of that first-born-girl-child-who-is-responsible-for-the-turning-of-the-world-on-its-axis.

All this occurred to me today when I was thinking about stitching this ornament AND the five others I bought in Williamsburg last week AND knitting The Flash a pair of mittens AND baking a dozen different kinds of cookies.

And then I realized that Christmas is two weeks from tomorrow.

This year I'm going to putter. As I've decided with my needlework, I get more done when I don't give myself deadlines and rules. So tonight, I'm going to stitch a bit and knit a bit and enjoy the aroma of the tree. It still smells wonderful, whether it has ornaments and lights or not.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A finish! (almost)

I've actually finished something in only two days of class!

It still needs the bow but I want to check to see which ribbon to use before I do anything reckless like cut ribbon, only to find that I've cut the wrong ribbon.

And it's worked over one thread, so this is about the size of a quarter. The thing that has made this class worth the price of admission, though, is the joining stitch used. If you get a chance to take September Morning from Jackie du Plessis, you will learn the stitch right off the bat. It may become my go-to for putting ornaments together since you can easily add beads as you work.

In other news, we spent part of the afternoon back in the Historic District. In the rain. Which is supposed to clear off by time for the Grand Illumination tomorrow. Because of the rain, we didn't wander about the Historic District looking at decorations. Instead, we toured Bassett Hall, home of the Rockefellers as Mr. David oversaw the renovation and rebuilding that resulted in the Williamsburg we now know. We also spent a couple of hours in the museums, DeWitt Wallace and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. There is a lovely exhibit of samplers from the South there.

And, one of the things that always gets me in the mood for Christmas, the dollhouses are on display.

In my next life, I may have to become a miniaturist. I have too much needlework in this life to complete to take on another obsession, but, oh, how I love the dollhouses!

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Colonial Christmas

After I got out of class today, Dearly Beloved and I went strolling down Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg.

This is my favorite house. It had my favorite decorations, so elegant in their simplicity:

So, of course, I start thinking about Colonial Christmas ornaments. Basically, if there is anything I'm interested in, it translates into needlework for me.

As luck would have it, Haus Tirol's Facebook page showed a set of kits for Christmas ornaments that are exclusive to them. (Haus Tirol is a wonderful cross-stitch/sampler shop that has been a Williamsburg mainstay for years.) And they are designed by Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks. If you haven't figured it out by now, I do love me some Tristan Brooks designs. So they came back to the hotel with me.

Of course I immediately thought I would get them all stitched and put together for this year's tree. Reality set in quickly--there is not one hall decked at my house. There isn't even a tree as yet.

But there's always next year!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Back to Williamsburg

Dearly Beloved and I are back in Williamsburg, our annual trip so I can stitch and he can relax and make dinner reservations, all in the beauty of the Colonial District at this time of the year.

We have had our traditional crab cake dinner at Christiana Campbell's and today I settled down to stitch.

Here's the outside of the piece I started today:

And here's the inside:

And here are some of the goodies that go in the inside of this piece and the one we'll work on for the next three days:

And here are some of the other wonderful things that Jackie brought, both for show-and-tell and to sell in the boutique:

I have done very little shopping thus far, I have to admit. I stood in line to get the scrimshaw pieces for Jackie's class pieces, then shopped. By the time I had wandered around for a few minutes, the line had about 50 people in it--with only two cash registers open. At that point, I decided that I would put the things in my hands back and return in the morning. If I'm meant to have the items I picked up, they'll still be there. If not, I'm not supposed to have them.

Of course, I will now toss and turn all night, wondering if they'll still be there in the morning.

And I already have enough projects at home for three lifetimes.

But I'll still wonder.