December 30, 2012

Christmas Start(s)

Hi, all! I promised some photos of gifts received, some new charts and a Christmas start. I received this wonderful rabbit pillow (and accompanying bunny card) from Melissa. It's beautifullly stitched and finished, and I just love it, Melissa! Thank you so much--you know that bunnies are dear to my heart!
Here is my Christmas start, a design called "Maria's Sampler 1831" from GigiR's Collection Privee line. I purchased it with several other GigiR designs, and as I studied the photo (which is of the original sampler and is dark and smallish), I realized what a stunning design it is. Under the 7 lovely alphabets (cross stitch, algerian eyelet, four-sided stitch) are figures and symbols from 1831 Portuguese society. They are surrounded by birds, animals and various flowers. The cover photo just hints at the richness of this sampler, and I believe that with all these varied figures, I should never be bored with it. There are many different colors and they aren't dark at all!
Here's my start. I received a couple of generous gift certificates for In Stitches, so I decided to do a conversion from the design, which is charted for Gentle Art Sampler Threads to Belle Soie and Silk n Colors silks. The design size is quite large, 494W x 562H, or 24.75 x 28.25 inches (before framing allowances). I am stitching it on Picture This Plus 40 count in Sand.
Here is my other Christmas "start," which actually consisted of pulling the threads from the kit and stringing them through the thread holder. I didn't get a chance to put needle to fabric. This is Mary Ann Hoover, brand new from The Essamplaire. I am also stitching her on 40 count Lakeside. I have a second gift winging its way to me from The Essamplaire. I will show her to you when she arrives next week. See if you can guess which one, Essamplaire stitchers. Tom asked me a few weeks before Christmas what sampler I'd like to have that would be challenging and enjoyable and colorful but that I wouldn't buy for myself. I replied, telling him about the how the original sampler that was reproduced had mica in the windows of the castle--it's that elaborate.
Before the Essamplaire orders and the 3 GigiR designs I bought on Stitch Night, I had been amassing a bunch of these designs by Ewe and Eye and Friends. Ellen, the owner of In Stitches, has a whole bunch of them stitched and hanging in her home and I decided that I must stitch as many as I can. They're ideal because they're rather small. Think I'll get any of them done this year? Maybe not, although I'll try for at least one.
And a couple of things I finished: two Prairie Schooler ornaments, which I stitched for the In Stitches staff Christmas Party gift exchange. They are stitched over one on black Cashel using DMC. I purchased the two little frames at Michaels. They were inexpensive and surprisingly well-made and substantial--I couldn't have been more pleased. The problem with stitching tiny ornaments is that little pillows are too light and are likely to get lost on the tree.
Pink says Merry Christmas. This photo is several years old--the bunnies spent Christmas week at the bunny spa; I picked them up yesterday and brought them home.
Happy week ahead. Next up, a New Year's start. (Yes, there's more...)

December 26, 2012

Merry Fishmas!

Merry Christmas a day late! We headed north on Sunday to visit my dad for Christmas, and today we drove back--14 hours--the longest drive ever for a trip from Cape Cod to Virginia (normally it's ten). We hit the beginning of the winter storm in New England and the tail end of one in Virginia, and traffic was just horrible. But we're home and happy and while I still have two days of work this week, I'm looking forward to sitting in my stitching chair this weekend. I received a couple of beautiful Essamplaire kits for Christmas, I bought a half-dozen Ewe and Eye and Friends charts I've been wanting to stitch for years, I won several great ebay charts, and I bought three GigiR designs that I'm excited about; 2013 is going to be a great stitching year! I will show you photos of some projects, a pair of ornaments I made for a gift and a lovely stitched gift that I received. Stay tuned for those on Sunday. In the meantime, here's a cute pair of Christmas ornaments I bought on the Cape--tiny real puffer fish that were shellacked and embellished with googly eyes and little Santa hats; each is no bigger than my thumb. They were a gift for my sister. I'd have bought 20 if I could have found them, but the store had only these two left. I know you're thinking there's no accounting for taste....