Christmas Stitching.

Bob:  Must be very Vermonty this time of year, all that underwear.
Phil: I guess I should take the electric blanket back.
Bob:  Where you keeping that?
Phil:  Under the underwear....
White Christmas

So.  Here we are, fully entrenched in the Christmas season (with only 4 days left!!!  eeeeeek!!!).  I've been dreaming about gingerbread and shortbread cookies all day, every day.  I mean, gingerbread, you guys.  To die.  And you can only have it during this time of year.  I'm all about Christmas in July and all that jazz, but gingerbread in the middle of summer when it's Africa hot out just isn't the same as when you're curled up on the couch under throw blankets binge watching all your favorite Christmas movies.  

Wait.  Africa hot.  Kinda like it is now.  I don't know about where you guys are, but it's been straight up warm around these parts.  Aroundabout now is when we start hitting temps in the 40's (which is when I start to cry, quite frankly, because I hate the cold like whoa), but these past couple weeks it's been in the 60's.  Last weekend, when I went home for my nephew's 1st birthday party, it was a balmy 73 degrees.  73!!  On December 13th!  I was sweating, windows down, for the 3-hour drive north.  Sweating.  And not because it was freezing outside so I had the heat cranked to 90 degrees in my car.  Not that I actually do that or anything.....

Anyhooter.  As expected, I'm a teensy bit behind already on my December Daily album.  I just haven't done anything particularly Christmassy yet.....except finish my cards, plan out my cookie baking extravaganza, and listen to vintage LPs.....so, long story short (too late): I'm boring.  Well, so far this Christmas season, I've been boring. 

December Daily 2015 cover #dd #decemberdaily #christmas

ALSO.  YOU GUYS.  Tragedy struck my lil' apartment yesterday.  

One of my Christmas travel mugs from Starbucks back in the day.....BROKE.  I can't even explain the devastation.  It had pretty foil paper on the inside, and it was just so festive and fun, and you can't get them like that anymore.  Tears were shed.  

Ok, maybe just a tear.  

Ok, maybe not even that, but more like me saying, "SON OF A BIOTCH!" when it happened.  The latter is probably the most believable of all presented scenarios, and may or may not be what actually happened. ("Would you believe....twice around the bathtub?"  NAME THAT TV SHOW!!! <---- i really, really need to lay off the caffeine...)

On the upside, I get to treat myself to a new Christmas travel mug! I was holding off, because, let's face it, my mug collection is out of control.  But, I'm replacing a broken one, not adding to the mug hoarding mess!  #winning

Since I've been majorly slacking on my December Daily (other than to adorn the cover, as shown above), I figured I'd give you a WIP update on the Christmas stitching I've been doing instead.

Ok?  Ok.

First up is the Joy Quaker Sampler.  This shot shows the entire left side, which is tough to get in all the pics I take, since this piece is turning out pretty big, despite the fact that I'm stitching on my favorite 40 ct madness...

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I apologize for it being a smidge dark...

This next one has a bit more stitching in it, and you can see additional motifs across the top.  The colors showed up a bit better in this one, too.  I'm loving how this is turning out.

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I got a bit bored with that this past weekend, even though I was in full hibernation mode and didn't leave the apartment much, so I started on something a little smaller to give me a sense of instant gratification - the next day in the 12 Days of Christmas - Second Day - from Plum Street Samplers.  A bout of insomnia and one Christmas movie later, viola!

Second Day | 12 Days of Christmas | #crossstitch #plumstreetsamplers #quaker

Like with First Day, I used Currant and Blue Spruce to stitch these ornaments.  I'm trying to use up my scraps, though, so I used a different fabric than for First Day.  This one is 36 count, and is definitely a WDW fabric (although I don't know the color name), which I loathe, but whatever.  I need to use up my scraps, so I suffered through it.  Anyone else out there hate WDW fabric as much as me?????  I cannot stand how limp and lifeless this fabric is, and the weave is so loose it drives me insane.  UGH to the UGH.  

Tonight there will be binge baking and hopefully some DD album building before the big day arrives this Friday!  Are you guys ready for this??  I'm so not.  BUT - thank God for Amazon Prime - I didn't even leave the couch on Saturday (ok, I did for mass....4th sunday of advent and whatnot....) and was still able to order the last of my Christmas gifts, which will be arriving tomorrow!  Queen of Procrastination at her best, my friends.  

Sig


Christmastime Is Here!

Hello my friends!!  Did you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving???  I hope you did, filled with friends, family, good food, and even better wine.  Or maybe some mulled spiked cider instead.  Or maybe both. 

Yummmmm.

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday at my sister's house, where she had the prettiest table set, and fantastic food for us all to eat.

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Hi Bean!

After the ridiculously delicious dinner, it was time for dessert, of course.  Since my sister's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, and my mom's was Saturday, and my bro-in-law's was last Sunday, I had some serious baking to do.  I made a three-layer apple cider cake for my sis & bro-in-law, and a Hershey's special dark chocolate cake for my mom.  There was the obligatory pumpkin pie, too, but....cake.  Filled to the brim with gluten and sugar, per my sister's request.  Ha.

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If you know anything about me...at all...you know my seat at this dessert table was the one with that coffee pot at my right hand.  Duh.

Black Friday was spent in downtown Philly, doing the tradish Christmas stuff down there, like seeing the light show in the old Wanamaker's building.  I am eternally eight years old when I see this show.

Light Show at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia #Philly #christmas #wanamakerslightshow

I live for this time of year, but it's still nearly impossible to believe that Christmas is right around the corner again already.  I'll be doing another December Daily album like I have the past two years.  I will do my best to provide regular post updates as I build my album, but bear with me as I finish making my Christmas cards and start prepping cookie batters - I may fall behind some days. 

You're all shocked, I know.

It's like I get distracted by shiny objects or things I unearth in crevices in my craft table or start a new cross stitch project when I have three going already or something like that instead of finishing blog posts.  Not that any of that ever happens.  Ever.  

Never.

Ahem.

Pardon me while I go find my mug of mulled cider...wherever it is I left it....and curl up to watch some Christmas specials...

Sig


First Day. | Cross Stitch

We're officially in the Christmas season, which makes me beyond giddy.  I mean, Thanksgiving is fantastic with all the food and pumpkin pie and all....but, Christmas.  

Lately, I've been stitching some seriously big pieces, and I needed a break from all that.  So, I decided I needed to incorporate some smalls, like ornaments, into my WIP rotation.

Enter, Plum Street Sampler's fabulous Christmas freebies.

First Day | 12 Days of Christmas by Plum Street Samplers #christmas #12daysofchristmas #crossstitch

Have you guys gotten on this wagon yet??  Paulette has the first six days posted on her website - she's posting them all as freebies! (fun fact:  the twelve days of christmas are actually the twelve days after christmas, leading up to the epiphany, not the days before christmas...)  I'm a huge fan of her designs, and these are no exception.  

She doesn't have specific colors listed in the charts, she just says to use red, green, gold, and black.  This one only calls for red and green, so I used the same two I used for Quaker Christmas II - Currant and Blue Spruce.  They're superb Christmas colors, and I have a ton of them left over, so it's a great excuse to use up some thread in my stash!  

I'm so far behind already, but Christmas comes every year, so here's hoping I can get all twelve all done by next Christmas!

Sig


November.

Did anyone else have the same reaction as I did when I turned my planner page this month?

"Wait.  What?!"  

That's what I said last Monday.  Aloud.  At my desk.  At work.  People stopped and stared.  As if Mondays aren't bad enough.

I mean, clearly, 1 November comes after 31 October, but this year for some reason, I thought my planner was playing silly planner games.  Like, no way was it already November.

No.freaking.way.

BUT.  You DO know what that means, right?  CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE!

I cannot even contain my excitement about Christmas.  Literally.cannot.even.  I listened to Christmas music today at work while writing a memo.  I did a chair dance when Mariah's "Oh, Santa!" came on shuffle.

Don't you get all judgy on me.  You know you do the same thing, every time.  Yup.  Every time.

In other news, I actually have a finish!  Score!  AND, it's Halloween-themed!  I was on a Halloween roll there for a while.  I'm over it now, though, because....Christmas.

Anyways.  Halloween!  Witches!  Snakes!  Pumpkins!  Bats!  They're all in this fun piece from Prairie Schooler -

Double, Double | Prairie Schooler #crossstitch #halloween

Ooooo....spooky.....

Double, Double | Prairie Schooler #crossstitch #halloween

 

Those skulls, tho!

Double, Double | Prairie Schooler #crossstitch #halloween

Double, Double | Prairie Schooler #crossstich #halloween

 

BOO!!


The Master and The Macabre | Cross Stitch

Well, friends, it's officially fall, which means it's almost hibernation season.  It was downright windy and chilly last night, and I'm not happy about it.  The only thing good about fall is the clothes.  Well, and pumpkin spice bread.  And boots.  I wore my black boots on Friday for the first time since probably March, and it felt awesome.  

It's also time to start living in leggings and big, warm sweatshirts on weekends with a mug of mulled cider (which reminds me...I need to get more mulling spices.....).  I got a pair of leg warmers to help layer and keep me warm (don't you judge me - you know you want a pair...or five...), and oh my god do they work.  As someone who suffers from some degree of joint and muscle pain daily, these things are amazing at keeping my legs warm and from cramping.  They also may or may not make me sing, "FAME! I'M GONNA LIVE FOREVER!" to myself while I'm wearing them.

That may or may not happen.

More importantly, fall means I stitch fall things, and this one in particular was incredibly fun to stitch.

The Master and The Macabre.

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #needle #thread

HOW COOL IS THIS?????

OMG.  The fabric....just....I can't.

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

THAT INKWELL.  I want it.  I also want that raven - I'm pretty sure Poe borrowed him from Maleficent, and I love all things Maleficent (she's the best Disney villain, in my opinion), so, ergo, vis-a-vis, I love that raven and need him.

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

THIS HOUSE.  I want to stitch everything in the variegated silk that's in the roof.  I also want a door that looks like this one.  a) it's purple; 2) it has gold around the doorknob; and d) it's purple. 

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

And then, there's the moon, peering over the haunted house.  Just creepin' up there in the corner....lookin' at all his poems come to life....

The Master and The Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #needle #thread

GAH. 

Ok.  So, I've been promising to publish my color changes, and I make good on my promises.

I will say this - I had planned on making A LOT more changes, but as I started stitching, most of them didn't end up working out.  I think because the fabric I chose to stitch this piece on is so drastically different from the model in the picture on the graph, that the changes I wanted to make would have looked great on the suggested fabric, but not so much on this one.  

Changes are as follows:

Fabric used:  32 count Dusk by Picture This Plus

Fiber changes:
DMC 926 is changed to WDW Pewter for the lettering
DMC 3811 is changed to WDW Aqua
DMC 646 is changed to WDW Galvanized for the woman's hair (she's hanging out the window, all strung out) and in the inkwell
DMC 310/black is changed to WDW Mascara for the black in the raven, the inkwell, and the line under the house (special note about the raven: I originally planned on using CC Black Crow for the raven, because, duh, but it actually has too much blue in it.  Because this fabric is such a dark dyed blue, the Black Crow didn't show up as I stitched, so I made the switch to WDW Mascara, which has just enough of a variation to make it look like the sheen of a raven's feathers.)

Note that for all but one of my changes, I only made the change in certain areas, not every place that color is used.  

Again, the biggest reason I didn't make more drastic changes to the fibers is because the fabric I chose made most of the original colors punch you right in the face as you stitched.  No need for dramatic fibers when the fabric is stealing the show.  

It is also important to note that I used all of the Silk'n Colors called for in the graph.  If you decide that might not use the silks, I think that you could get away with the DMC alternative for all of them except two:  Desert Moss and Acorn Woods.  These are the variegated colors in the roof and in the shingles on the side of the house.  They're not variations of a solid color, they actually move between a few different colors (which you should be able to see in the pics above) as you stitch.  If you want the same effect in your roof and house, then I highly suggest you get these two silks, even if you decide not to get the others.

These color changes will be published on my Fabric and Floss page for easy reference, should you want to make the same changes in this piece as I did, and need a quick reference.  If you do, please link back or tag me in your Instagram shots (if you're on IG) so that I can see your progress!  I love seeing everything everyone does.  

Sig


Boozy Water Ice.

I think most of the world calls this Italian ice, not water ice, but really, it's wooder ice.  I'm from Philly, and that's how you pronounce it, otherwise no one knows that you're talking about.  In fact, since I've moved from the Philly area, it's the one word I say that gives me away to anyone I meet.  

Now let's talk about limoncello.  That marvelous liqueur that cleanses your palate after a meal, and everyone's favorite wedding/party favor as of late.

Or that liqueur that you use to make boozy sorbet, which is legit like Rita's lemon and totally reminds me of walking to the evening band camp session with my friend, Lauren.  We'd leave a little early, and eat our wooder ice whilst walking to the high school for more marching band shenanigans.  

Ah, memories.

Whatever you decide to call it, it's delicious.  I highly recommend making some of your very own, whether you're just looking for something different for dessert, or if you're looking to hide the fact that you're getting sloshed on a regular run-of-the-mill Tuesday night.  

I won't tell.  Mainly because I'm doing the same thing.

We'll be each other's Secret Keepers.  Secret Keepers of the Limoncello.  That totally sounds like an underground secret society of Italians who distill limoncello with a secret recipe from 1497 AD in a super secret underground place near the Vatican, funded by the pope.  I'm all about it.

And, yes, I bought the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer in order to make this boozy wooder ice.   Don't tell my mom.  Kitchen accoutrements were deemed off-limits when she helped me pack to move last winter.  At least I purged 429 plastic containers I was no longer using and hoarding for unknown reasons in order to have room for said ice cream attachment.  Because, homemade ice cream.  Duh.

In other news, I treated myself to a new planner.  A purple one, to be exact, made out of buffalo leather.

Planner cover #filofax #malden

If you have never experienced buffalo leather, well then, you must.  My checkbook cover is made from buffalo leather (yes, I still write checks, and am probably the only person left on the planet who does), and it's the softest thing.  Ever.  It's also withstood a solid beating every.single.day in my purse, and it still looks like new.  

Anyways, have you guys seen all the fun things they have for planners out there these days????  I mean, OMG.  It's a planner nerd's dream.  

Actually, it gives me another place to use up all my scrapbooking supplies.  Last week, I had a migraine that kicked my ass...HARD...and when I could finally see straight without blinding pain, I moseyed into the den and decorated December with stamps and shiny ephemera.  I mean, what better to cheer you right up than Christmas!  Seriously.    

#Christmas #planner pages #filofax

There are only 93 days left, people.  Under 100 days.  I hope you're ready. 

Sig


Welcome September! | Cross Stitch

You guys!  September is upon us!  It's Africa hot out there....and I just choked on a cubic foot of humidity.  

But fear not - the stores are filled to the brim with pumpkins and witches and black cats and skulls, so cooler weather is on the horizon.  Well, hopefully.  At the very least, all this means that Halloween will be here before you know it.  

And then....CHRISTMAS.  Which, as you all know, is the season I live for every.single.year.

First though, let's have Halloween.  Because I do love pumpkin bread.  And pumpkin pancakes.  And pumpkin spiced anything.  And my Autumn Wreath Yankee candle....which I may or may not have been burning since 1 September....

ahem.

Let's also talk about my progress on The Master and The Macabre.

It's not exactly a Halloween piece...but it's E.A. Poe, so it's haunted and horrifying....so it fits....

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I mean, how tormented is she?!  Her hair is a hot mess, and she's reaching for someone who's not there...

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And, hello!  Spooky, faded, torn curtains.  Loveloveloving these silks.  I have a greater appreciation these days for silks - yeah, they're more expensive, but look at that variation!  The rotting roof!  The curtains!  I can't.  Totally worth the extra pennies.  Or dollars.  Or my left arm.  Whatever gets me that silk thread.  

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I mean, that fabric though.  I literally can't even right now.

 

Sig


And one week bleeds into another...

Here we are, at the end of August.  Next week is 1 September.  I could cry, if it weren't for the fact that I love fall clothes (but not the cooler temps), and that flare jeans are coming back in style.

Thank Jesus. 

I love me some flares (Gap Long and Leans were my FAVVVV when I worked there all through college and grad school....oh, how I miss them so....), and I'm looking forward to some flares and sweet sweet boot cut to come back to my jeans wardrobe for the fall and winter, taking the place of some of my skinny jeans.  As a former college athlete, my legs and ass are just not built for the skin-tight super-skinny jeans on the market these days.  My sister introduced me to leggings a couple years ago, and I want to wear them all.the.time.  If it were socially acceptable, I'd wear them to work.

I don't think the general would appreciate me attending a meeting wearing those.  Or maybe he would.... 

Still.

Unacceptable for everyday in the office.  Unless it's snowing, then all bets are off.   

Aaaaaanyhooter.

The past couple weeks have been totes cray.  I'll sum it up for you:  a mind-numbing week-long meeting in California, delayed return flights, an unexpected overnight stay at O'Hare airport without my luggage (for the record.....I HATE O'HARE AIRPORT.  thank you for listening.), end-of-year work insanity, and a really, really bad Lyme flare-up.

The good thing is there is therapy in the form of great books and needle and thread.  

And a Starbucks barista who spells your name correctly without even asking how it's spelled.  #winning

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I just finished reading one of Tana French's books, The Secret Place.  Her books are seriously so good.  If you like detective novels, def check her out.  I have holds at the library on the remaining two of her books that I have yet to read, so hopefully soon one of those will be available for download. (if you missed my amazing revelation to you all back over the winter, most local libraries have an ebook collection now, so you can download books from your library to your e-reader and get reading!)

Next up is the Halloween project I started - Cricket Collection "The Master and the Macabre."  I've been working too much with Shores of Hawk Run, apparently, because I found an f-up, and I can't figure out where it originated, so it's in time-out.  My OCD tendencies won't allow me to just keep going and hope no one but me notices the mistake.  So....indefinite time-out until I'm ready to find it.

The Master and the Macabre Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #eapoe

THAT FABRIC THOUGH.

OBSESSED.

The Master and the Macabre | Cricket Collection #crossstitch #halloween #eapoe

I want to stitch everything in that silk that's in the roof of the house.  Like, everything.

Those of you who've been following me for a while know that my most favorite thing to do is take some of these pieces that have been stitched on totally lame and drab fabric and shake that shit up.  Skeleton Crew is the best example - if you're stitching this (or plan to) and you want to make the same changes I did, head on over to my Fabric & Fibers page to see the list of color changes.  

Once this piece is done, I will post all color changes - I have most of them mapped out, but I've changed one so far as I go along from what I'd originally planned.

Fear not, friends.  You will be rewarded for waiting to see the final piece.  That is, of course, if you wish to make the same fabric and fiber choices I did for this spectacularly spooky Cricket Collection piece. 

;-)

Sig

 

 

If you don't have an LNS and you want the supplies to make my changes for Skeleton Crew, call up the gals at The Strawberry Sampler and tell them you want my colors - they will know exactly what you mean.  You could also order online from them - they actually have my changes as an option.  (disclaimer - i get nothing for suggesting you order through TSS - they were my LNS until this year when i moved to the DC area, and they're an amazing bunch of women running a small business, and i'm all about supporting small businesses, especially stitch shops.) 

 


Custom Made. | Papercraft.

How how how how HOW is it August???  HOW.

I saw this in Michaels on Friday and wept.

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I mean, I get it.  We crafters have to stay a season ahead, and I tend to stitch Christmas things year-round which is ironically ok in my brain, but for some reason, when the Halloween decorations and crafts start hitting the stores mid-summer, I lose my shit.  Next week, I'll be seeing Christmas ribbon when it's still 105 degrees outside, and I'll end up crying & rocking in a corner of the store.

Anyhooter.

Know what's fun to do when you're still crying inside after leaving Michaels and all the Halloween paraphernalia, and because you know the Christmas nonsense will be hitting stores sooner than you care to admit ("ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOUUUUUUUU!!!!!"  You're welcome.), and then the dead of winter latches on and makes you want to just hibernate with boozy hot chocolate (or, let's be honest, just booze...like hot toddies on tap...) until it's July?  Make custom crafts for your friends that are not holiday themed.

One of my friends saw a banner on etsy that she was going to get for a bridal shower for which she's one of the planners, and asked me if I could make it for her instead.

Um, of course I can do that.  It gives me a reason to take my Cricut out for a spin, and also do a little distressing, which is my newest favorite thing to do.  My other newest favorite thing to do is prettify my planner, but that's a story for another day.  

So, I asked Erin to send me a pic of what she wanted, and asked what the bride's colors were, and got to work.  

Well, first I got the plague...so I got to work once that ran its course.

Ahem.

Banners are quite possibly the simplest things to put together, yet they really can make a huge difference in your party decor.  It's always the simplest things that are best, isn't it??

With my trusty kraft paper and purple and orange to work with, I had a blasty blast putting this banner together.  Because, purple wins.  Always.

Bridal shower banner #banner #papercraft #bridalshower

How cute is that lil' saying?!  

Ok, so, first I distressed the edges of the square backings - 

distressed edges using Tim Holtz tea dye ink #distress

Then, I used my Cricut to cut out the letters and hearts and just glued 'em on the kraft squares - 

distressed banner #banner #bridalshower #distress

I sanded the surface once they were dry to give it a little bit of a rustic look.

distressed bridal shower banner #distress #bridalshower #banner

For some reason, the one thing I could never figure out with all the banners I've made previously, was how to keep the pieces of the banner attached to the twine, and used all kinds of methods to keep them attached.  Then, the other day, it hit me:  HOT GLUE.

DUDE.  DUH.   

I cannot even explain to you how much that revelation changed my life.

distressed bridal shower banner #banner #bridalshower #distress

Stupid cute, amiright?! 

Happy Tuesday, friends.  Make it a good one, and keep the fresh coffee brewing.

Sig