Timber!

Yesterday I took down the tree and all the decorations around the house, although I really didn't want to. I feel like December snuck up on me, and I had very little time to enjoy it and take it all in! I'm just happy I started watching Christmas movies in November while I worked on charts (even watched Elf back-to-back three times, and Holiday Inn twice!).

And now everything (except for the stirring creatures) is packed away until next year..

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This marshmallow jar was curiously fuller a few days ago…

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This is an old Prairie Schoole I stitched back in the early 90's (Santa's Ark, I believe it's called?)…

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My reproduction antique candy dish (Santa's top half comes off to reveal a small "bowl" for candy in the bottom half)… I love his wreath, btw, since I'm a sucker for bottle-brush!

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Every year Sophie loves to set up the Boyds Bears nativity, given to me by a friend before Sophie was even born. This year, when I opened the box, I found a note she'd scribbled on a sheet of paper last year, laying on top of the figures: "THIS GOES IN SOPHIE'S FUTURE HOUSE," the note read. Clearly, she doens't trust me to remember it in my will.

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Another Santa, this one with a barn owl on his shoulder…

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I moved out lots of stuff from the china cabinet so that Mike could put his Lego advent calendar figures and village inside…

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It's the only way to keep them safe from Tilly-Roux and her pesky little brother…

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(My goodness, that little fella carries a lot of dust around on his face!)

I love vintage mercury glass ornaments, even if they're not really vintage!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season! So many of you have asked about the winter sampler exchange Mom and I do, and I've been wanting to show you the few pictures we took, but just haven't gotten around to uploading them yet to my computer. I will soon though! As usual, it was so much fun fun fun, and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Happy Birthday, Bre!

Twenty-three years ago today.

It was 2:41 in the morning.

That's when the Lord chose to gift me with one of the greatest joys of my life.

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I love you, Breanna Noel.

A Kitchen Visitor

There once was a sweet kitten-black,

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Who was always looking to snack.

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Christmas cookies would bake,

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Powder-sugar and cake,

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His mom should have ne'er turned her back.

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May this season of baking be full of good cheer and no cat fuzz.

George and Martha’s Place

I never showed you my pictures from Mount Vernon! What a perfectly grand time I had when I visited with the ladies from the Dyeing to Stitch retreat. They all know what a crush I have on George, so they made sure to add his home to our list of places to visit when we were in DC in October. It was one of the few places unaffected by the government shut-down, as the estate is privately maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. And what a beautiful place it is, even under cloudy skies!

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Here were my companions for the day: Sybil, Norma, Pat, Ann, and Jeanette! What a super fun bunch they all were, and they were very good about putting up with my never-ending search for the ladies' room. (Which, by the way, was affected by the government shut-down, but not on the actual Mt. Vernon property, thank goodness.)

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Speaking of ladies' rooms…

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Goodness, there were three seats inside, all situated next to each other. I'm afraid I would have had stage fright!

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These were Martha's gardens. They were huge because of all the entertaining the Washingtons did, and they needed to be able to have their own produce aisles to pull from at any moments' notice. Back then, it was considered rude to inquire as to how long a guest would be staying, so they never knew if they were to have visitors for 6 hours or 6 weeks!

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I loved the sheep!

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This was George Washington's horse stable, and I loved it so much that when Pat and Ann invited me to name a new color of R&R linen, I chose the name Plum Street Paddock.

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Here's the inside…

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This absolutely fascinated me! That a tree George Washington himself had planted would still be there boggled my mind.

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It had clearly grown like a weed over the centuries…

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Every so often my Canadian sister Jeanette Douglas would whisper, "Hey Paulette," and point to something she wanted me to take a photo of. In this case it was the lantern in the foreground… here you go, Jeanette!

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All throughout the many gift shops on the property are weathervane ornaments duplicating the extremely large one on the house's roof that George had commissioned in 1787. (Actually, the one on top of the house is also a replica, as the original needed to be protected from any more elemental damage.)

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A storage shed on the grounds to the right of the house…
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There was a nice long walk down to the original tomb for the Washingtons…

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As I said in the beginning, the day was cloudy, but as we walked around, we noticed it got darker and darker outside. Within minutes we were all dashing into any building we could find, and oh how I laughed at how positively soaked through Jeanette and Ann were! I took the most wonderful photo of them, but lest they set the mob out after me, I won't post it. 😉

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The rest of the photos I have were taken on my phone inside one of the buildings, just snapped here and there. I wish I could have taken a photo of George's dentures, but there were signs in front of it that strictly forbade any photo-taking, so I decided I wouldn't even attempt it with my phone. 🙂 You should have seen them though; I have no idea how he could stand wearing them, as they looked to weigh about 3 pounds.

Here is one of his telescope and pistol (which is believed to have been used during the Revolutionary War)…

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George loved horses, and was considered an excellent horseman. Two horses he used primarily during war were Old Nelson (a brown horse) and Blueskin, represented below…

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I love what was written in a letter by an English visitor to Mt. Vernon in 1785:

"When dinner was over, we visited the General's stables, saw his magnificent horses, among them 'Old Nelson,' now twenty-two years of age, that carried the General almost always during the war. 'Blueskin,' another fine old horse, next to him, had that honor. They had heard the roaring of many a cannon in their time. 'Blueskin' was not the favorite on account of his not standing fire so well as venerable 'Old Nelson.' The General makes no manner of use of them now. He keeps them in a nice stable, where they feed away at their ease, for their past services."

This was quite an interesting quote by George, so I had to post a picture of it, below. And with it, I'll say goodbye, and I'll see you all soon! Thank you for stopping by and letting me share with you all the fun I had that day in DC. And thank you to my Dyeing to Stitch friends for making it that much more a wonderful experience!

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Meet Fezziwig.

It had been bugging me for a while that Tilly-Roux needed a friend.

"Cats don't need friends," Big Papa would say. "Tilly loves being an only cat."

But I couldn't leave well enough alone. It matters not that I'm terribly allergic to cats. I decided that if I loved one cat as much as I love Tilly-Roux, then surely Tilly-Roux would love a little friend just as much.

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On Black Friday, Sophie and Bre and I headed out to PetSmart to view the cats from the humane society that were up for adoption. I wasn't completely sure I would be bringing home a cat with me, but I wanted to look anyway. Right away we spotted the most precious long-haired black male kitten, whose littermates had all been adopted earlier that day. He was the only one left.

Sophie pleaded with me to adopt him on the spot, but since I didn't want to make any snap decisions, I decided to wait and sleep on it, and see how I felt about it the next morning.

The next morning came, and the very first thing I thought was this: "Oh no! I really hope no one adopted my baby black kitten! Tilly needs him! And surely Big Papa is tired of being the only male in the house!"

So I grabbed Sophie and Bre and we headed back to to PetsMart. I was trying very hard not to get my hopes up about his still being there, and I thought Sophie would burst into tears at the thought of someone else adopting him. But there he was… all 1.8 pounds of him.

And so we brought him home.

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Fezziwig is very loved.

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And he gets more than his fair share of treats.

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This is what he looks like after a long nap, which makes me laugh…

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And when I'm doing laundry, he likes to sit quietly and observe.

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We weren't sure what we wanted to name him, and my vote for Tuppence wasn't well-received. I just love the line that Jim Carrey's Scrooge says in A Christmas Carol.. "Tuppence is tuppence," when he steals the coins from Marley's corpse in the beginning of the movie. They didn't mind if I wanted to name him Tuppence; they just couldn't seem to remember it. They would say, "Well hello, little… umm… Tipsy? Tellulah? Tallboy?"

We put his collar on him, and it jingled, so I suggested we name him Jingle. Everyone liked that, so we called him Jingle for a few hours.

But he wasn't a Jingle to me, so I thought some more.

He was also Darth for about a half-hour, thanks to this face:

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I also thought about naming him Black Friday.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that since I was in such a holiday spirit and I couldn't stop singing the theme song from A Christmas Carol, then it had to be a Dickens character from that movie. Ebenezer was too harsh… Marley made me think of a big yellow Labrador… Tiny Tim reminded me of that awful Tiptoe Through the Tulips song…

Fezziwig! That's what he was. A Fezziwig. But mostly we call him Fezz.

Here is the very first photo we took of him in the room at PetSmart; I asked one of the girls to snap a picture of him to send to Sabrina (she was working and couldn't be with us), and when I saw it, I knew immediately that I could NOT send it to Sabrina, or she'd think I'd lost my mind.

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Although this pose certainly could have earned him a moniker like Scrooge.

And that's how this sweet little boy came to live with us. (Thank goodness Tilly-Roux can't blog about it.) I hope you're all enjoying your week! I'll see you soon!

Corrections!

My goodness!

I do my very best to proof my charts for spelling errors, color key consistences, and anything else that is important for stitching a pattern, but it seems that my accuracy record leaves much to be desired lately.

For that, I'm terribly sorry. I know it causes great inconvenience to stitchers who think they've got all the threads they need, but one is missing (because it wasn't on the key), or they're confused as to where in a chart a symbol is, when it's marked on the key, but is mysteriously missing from the chart itself. Unfortunately, these are some of the errors I've made lately, and I hope I haven't caused too much irritation.

Below you'll find some of the corrections that have come to my attention recently. I thank you very much for your patience, and hope that, in the future, I'll be able to spot these things before they get sent off to the printer and mailed to the shop owners!

Promised Lamb…
There is a heart symbol for Wood Smoke (Gentle Art) on the color key, but on the chart, Wood Smoke uses a small checkerboard square symbol. Therefore, everywhere you see a checkerboard symbol, please pretend it's a heart!

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Cinnamon Stars…The check-mark symbol on the house is Oatmeal (Gentle Art), which was left off of the key entirely.

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(The angle of this photo reminds me of Dorothy's house blowing away in the Wizard of Oz!)

A Red Cottage…
The color Wood Smoke (Gentle Art) was omitted from the model at the last minute, yet I forgot to remove it from the key. I'm very sorry if you purchased a skein of floss you didn't need.

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His & Hers Thanksgiving Stockings…
Mrs. Pilgrim's hair is stitched in Onyx, as you may be able to tell from the chart, but her symbol is wrong. In this case, the symbol for her hair should be an X, like what you find in Mr. Pilgrim's outfit.

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Winter Wienerland…
This isn't so much as an error as it is a bit of a discrepancy; the color key offers the option of stitching with DMC instead of Gentle Art threads, and I used the color 3859 for Old Red Paint. It's come to my attention that in some shop owner's inventories, there is no color labeled 3859 (although it is in my DMC catalog). In this case, you could use the color 407 or 3772 instead. Keep in mind that I design in DMC first, and then convert the DMC colors to the overdyed floss I have in my inventory, which may or may not be of the same dye lot as what you'll find in your shop. If this is the case, please don't hesitate to use something you like as a substitution! Many stitchers are afraid of doing this because they feel that the designer chose the color listed because it's the perfect color for the piece, but this isn't the case; it's a matter of opinion, so allow yourself the gift of your own opinion if you'd like to substitute something. 🙂

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I sure hope this is everything! If I've missed something, feel free to let me know about it.

I'm going to try very hard not to make any more goofs, but I know they will happen. I just ask for your continued patience when I do!

I hope you all are enjoying this brand new week we've been blessed with so far.. I've been trying to teach myself to knit in between Christmas shopping and a myriad of errands, as well as working here and there on an old work-in-progress of mine called Ruth Bacheler (by The Scarlet Letter; I'm so in love with all the pinks and greens! Why do I ever put it down? Oh yeah… because there are about 8.2 million satin stitches in it, and as many color changes. But it will be so worth it when it's finished!)

Darn that Scarlet Letter… not a single error yet, and I'm 2/3 of the way finished with it. 😉

Two Final Releases for 2013

Hi All!

How's that for a title to the post? Not very inventive, but to the point. 🙂

I've had such fun designing this year, and am so blessed to have met many new friends in my travels and over the internet. What a busy time 2013 was!

I hope you like my last two designs for this year.. thank you so very much for all your support and encouraging words these past eight years!

First up is a follow-up to Halloweenies…

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Winter Wienerland

Stitch count: 170 x 73
Fabric: 32 ct. Plum Street Paddock by R&R

Fibers: The Gentle Art (Old Hickory, Roasted Marshmallow,
Caramel Corn, Cottage Blue, Dried Thyme, Garden Gate,
Chamomile, Espresso Bean, Weathered Barn, Old Red Paint,
and Oatmeal)

Stitches used: All cross stitch over two threads.

Framed by: Sherri Berkman at Total Framing. LOVE this frame!

Here are some suggested substitutions, if you'd like them:

Fabric: Perhaps a color like Lakeside Linens' Flagstone or something warmer,
like Lakeside's Meadow Rue. R&R also has a gorgeous golden color line,
including one called Espresso. Picture This Plus has Legacy, which is
also a good choice. Ultimately, the right color is what looks good to you.

Fibers: The DMC equivalents are 640, 644, 739, 928, 3011, 3021,
3022, 3371, 3858, 3859, and 3865.

Substitute

And finally, two more stocking ornaments, along the lines of the His & Hers Thanksgiving Stockings; however, they could also make fun hostess gifts or ornaments for exchanges with stitching girlfriends! (Or not? It was just a thought!)

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Wintertide Friends

Stitch count: Each stocking is approximately 40 x 120.
Fabric: 40 ct. Olde Towne Blend by R&R.

Fibers: The Gentle Art (Wheat Fields, Gingersnap, Walnut, Oatmeal,
Dried Thyme, Espresso Bean, Maple Syrup, and Cherry Bark)

Trim: Norfolk Pine mini rickrack by R&R.
Buttons: by Kelmscott Designs.
Stitches used: All cross stitch over two threads.
Stocking Tutorial is included in the chart pack.

Some suggested substitutions:

If you're not certain you want to stitch on 40 ct. fabric, feel free to use
a lower count! Some other color choices are Lentil or Buttercream by
Lakeside Linens, or Espresso by R&R.

These are the DMC equivalents: 422, 434, 646, 822, 3011,
3371, 3781, and 3857.

 

Both of these designs will be mailing out to the shops on my auto immediately, and all of the distributors should have them in their warehouses by early next week!

Thank you again, to everyone! I hope you've had a very good year of stitching. 🙂 Now I need to get back to the drawing board for the first releases of 2014!