Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals: an even dozen

  1. Stitch from stash ... purchasing no more than five new charts.
  2. Blog every other day.
  3. Maintain reasonable monthly goals.
  4. Complete 3 BAPs: TW's Woodland Angel stocking for Liam and Dimensions Woodland Enchantress converted to a stocking for Piper ... to work with the Woodland Santa stocking I made for their Dad. In 2011, I shall have to come up with something equally woodsy for my daughter-in-law Christina to complete the set. I also want to complete Angela's set of four Teresa Wentzler faeries by stitching the Winter Faerie.
  5. Complete 1 medium project a month, concentrating on Christmas and Halloween projects wth forays into Quakers.
  6. Get to the bottom of the finishing basket and then keep up with sewing finishes each month.
  7. Stitch one or two ornaments a month, concentrating on Christmas and Thanksgiving ornaments this year.
  8. Inventory and prioritize all UFOs [discarding those that are truly lost causes] and stitch at least five hours a month on UFOs.
  9. Do more work on my own design ideas.
  10. Finally back and quilt the feather-stitched crazy quilt top in time for Mary's 50th birthday in June ... after all, it was originally intended for her 16th birthday ... giving a whole new meaning to the the term belated. At least all those crazy colors from the 1970s are back in style again.
  11. Continue to work on fitting up a stitching room.
  12. Learn to knit.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas has been grand but it is time to move on...

Having the grandchildren around for the holidays meant baby-proofing the house which meant taking down my sewing station in the dining room. But, sadly, my son and daughter-in-law are taking the darlings back to the West coast today on an evening flight ... one more worry in this increasingly dangerous world. My husband is driving them to the airport four hours early to make sure they can get through the more rigorous security. I find myself grateful for the increased security but I don't envy Sean and Christina having to keep a two year old and a six month old happy during the four hours in the airport and another five and a half hours on the plane. I don't imagine they'll want to fly home very often over the next few years. It'll be easier for us to travel to them.

It has been a wonderful visit, though. I got to spend quality time with Liam while I babysat. He cuddled into me as we read several books before his nap, we played with his father's old Brio train set [which I will now pack up and send West] and we watched some of the old 1980s and 1990s Disney movies on VHS. I saved some of my children's things against the time I would have grandchildren and it is paying off: I am a fun grandma with lots of interesting "stuff" at my house. Next year, I'll bring out the wicker rocking horse ... and I'll be a real hero. Like her brother, Piper is a darling, smiling and very personable, always engaging the adults around her with her skilled flirting ... and I swear she is brilliant. While she is obviously not talking yet she vocalizes very prettily and I do believe she has an extensive "understood" vocabulary. She was sitting on the couch playing with a small stuffed giraffe and I made the typical goofy adult comment, "oh, you have a giraffe!" She looked straight at me, smiled and lifted the giraffe toward me. My husband says "coincidence" but I say "intelligence"!!!

Well, tomorrow morning I'll set up my sewing station up again so that I can finish work on the eight pillows I have in various stages of finishing. In order to control the mess, I will only bring down what I need for the pillow work. Once I am done with that, I'll bring down just what I need to finish my partially asssembled totes. By the time I return to work on January 4, I should have a substantially reduced "finishing" basket. I hope to have caught up with all my finishing by the end of February at which time I will re-christen the finishing basket as the UFO basket. One of my goals for 2010 is to gather, inventory and prioritize my UFOs and then systematically work on finishing them.

But, in the meantime, I shall just continue to focus on my Autumn Faerie today ... I am working on the border at present, since I really need to see more actual progress. Working on the wing as I have been is such slow work since I have to change needles every dozen or so stitches ... it'll be exquisitely detailed when finished, to be sure, but I am ready to move on to something a little less exacting. Switching to the border yields some immediate gratification: stitching long stretches of a single color or blend in simple rows or regularly repeated motifs covers so much more ground so much more quickly that I feel like I am really accomplishing something.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Goals Assessment

I decided to go office mode and color code my goals assessment. The goals are stated in plain black and white, the failures to meet said goals in red and the successes in two shades of green: light green for qualified successes and dark green for major achievements. Seven goals in various shades of green and only three in red: not all that bad.

  • Goal #1: Limit purchases of new charts to five. This was probably a lost cause from the get-go. In any case, I purchased 12 charts.
  • Goal #2: Blog at least every other day. Not quite, though at 139 posts this year it averages out to a little over one post every two and two/third days.
  • Goal #3: Complete two BAPs: TW's Autumn Faerie and Woodland Angel Stocking. This was not one of my bigger successes but I think it still qualifies as a pale green since I have made substantial progress on the Autumn Faerie even if I never did start the stocking for Liam.
  • Goal #4: Maintain reasonable monthly goals. Well, my goal lists are getting shorter and there are more achieved at the end of each month than not. I therefore conclude that I am getting closer to understanding the meaning of "reasonable".
  • Goal #5: Keep up with sewing finishes and work on the backlog of finishes [at least two a month]. Now here is where I really succeeded, with a whopping 55 sewing finishes this year. While I haven't emptied the finishing basket quite yet, I am getting to the point that I actually believe I will.
  • Goal #6: Complete one medium project each month, concentrating on Dragon Dreams, Sue Hillis and Prairie Schooler charts already in my stash. A qualified yes. I did complete thirteen projects, though not necessarily by the designers listed in my goal: one Sue Hillis, seven Workbasket, one Not Forgotten Farms, one Brightneedle, one Prairie Schooler, one Primitive Needle and one Homespun Elegance. No Dragon Dreams. It seems I concentrated on the Workbasket Quaker Animals for my quilt.
  • Goal #7: Stitch one Christmas ornament monthly. Absolutely. I have stitched fourteen Christmas ornaments, as well as ten Halloween ornaments, one Thanksgiving ornament and one Fourth of July ornament.
  • Goal #8: Inventory and prioritize all UFOs and try to stitch on UFOs at least five hours a month. Not this year. This goal will have to carry over into 2010. Perhaps when I have found the bottom of the finishing basket, I will rename it the UFO basket.
  • Goal #9: Do more work on my own designs, particularly the Ghandi quote sampler. Another qualified "Yes" ... while I didn't do any further work on the Ghandi quote, I did design the Fertile Circles needlebook and the Beach Find Pansies piece.
  • Goal #10: Convert the junk room to a stitching room. Life got in the way.

Monday, December 28, 2009

December Goals Assessment

The Goals

Finish TW's Autumn Faerie: Not quite, but making substantial progress ... enough to make me quite happy.
Focus on Brightneedle's Ghosts and Ghoulies Etui: NO!! Pressures of work and Christmas business kept me from accomplishing all I had planned.
Focus on The Primitive Needle's Halloween Revelry: YES, completed 12/9.
Focus on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler: NO!!! Afraid this will become a 2010 goal ... probably part of my usual practice of stitching Christmas projects in January.
Start TW's Woodland Angel Stocking: NO!!!! Afraid this will become another 2010 goal ... one of my two planned BAPs!!
Stitch at least one Christmas ornament: YES!! Finished PS's Peace Angel on 12/10. Finished Caron Byzantine Ornament on 12/17. Finished Sisters and Best Friends' The First Day of Christmas on 12/24.
Spend at least 5 hours on sewing finishes: YES: 12/10 - 1 hour on PS's Peace Angel ornament; 12/13 - 1 hour blanket-stitching the front and back of the floss tag [Dec. giveaway] together; 12/17 - 1 hour assembling the Caron Byzantine ornament. Spent 1/2 hr sewing, stuffing and fringing S&BF's First Day of Christmas ornament. And another 2 hours starting the assembly-line style sewing finishes of three totes and four pillows.

MMMMM!! Three NOs and one NOT QUITE! And here I thought I had finally mastered the skill of setting reasonable goals.

I think January should be goal free ... I plan on picking up any project that suits my fancy. Usually, my fancy in January involves clinging to the Christmas spirit by stitching Christmas projects for the whole month ... which will give me a nice jump on Christmas 2010. I have a Sue Hillis Santa, two Heartstring Santas and one PS Santa just waiting to be kitted up. I could also seek out a few more heart ornaments for my Valentine's Day display on the ornament tree I keep in my entryway. I only have four and could use at least four more to give a little fullness to the tree.

Continuing to Focus

... on TW's Autumn Faerie. I am rewarded by steady but slow progress. I have finished the bodice, the arms and the shoulder wrap and have begun work on the lower left wing segment. Since I do not have to return to work until Monday, Jan. 4, I have very high hopes of finishing this piece. I am devoting my days during this vacation to relaxing with my stitching and a DVD collection of the first 8 seasons of StarGate ... love Richard Dean Anderson!

Tomorrow, I shall be babysitting for my grandson so I am not going to be able to devote the day to finishing my Sue Hillis pillows as planned but I may be able to steal a few more hours on my Faerie during naptime. I have to get all the grandchild time in that I can before my son takes his family back to the West Coast. On Tuesday, we will celebrate my son's birthday ... a few days early since he leaves before his actual birthday on New Year's Day. So I don't anticipate converting the dining room back to a sewing station till 12/30, but I hope to work on the pillows then.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Gifts to Indulge My Stitching Passion

This year, I had asked both my husband and my daughter to consult the wish list on my blog when purchasing Christmas gifts for me. And, those darling people did just that. Pictured to the left are Zucca from Allessandre Adelaide Needleworks, The Pumpkin Conspiracy from the Cricket Collection, The Goblin Market from Counted Illuminations and The Book of Spells from the Goode Huswife. Pictured to the right are The Library from LHN, The Tea Party from The Victoria Sampler, The Owl and the Wyvern from Arelate Studio and Celtic Beasties: Halloween or Knot from Ink Circles. These were all left under my tree by my darling husband along with a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and another to Pamper Yourself, a local day spa. I haven't exchanged gifts with my daughter yet but she had me take Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons off my wish list. I am looking forward to unwrapping that chart as well. I shall have plenty of Halloween and fantasy stitching to keep me busy in 2010. I am one very lucky lady.
And here are some Christmas Day photos of the grandchildren.
Liam is playing with the Brio train set that brought his Dad and his Uncle Dan so many hours of pleasure when they were little. I went to some considerable trouble and pain [... I may still think I am 19 but my knees know better] to set the tracks up in an elaborate double figure 8 with the suspension bridge and the locomotive turntable and the tunnel all in place. I should have remembered that I was dealing with a two year old who prefers his tracks mostly piled up high with just a bit of track laid for travel. He brought his Thomas, Victor and Percy locomotives which apparently run on the same gauge track and promptly christened the Brio locomotive as the "old" train since Daddy had played with it. After Christmas, I'll be packing the train and tracks up to send out to the West Coast for Liam to enjoy year-round ... I will enjoy imagining him pushing the trains around the tracks with his usual exuberance. He has quite the imagination. At one point, he grabbed the passenger terminal, whooshed it through the air and informed us that the rocketship was flying very fast.

At just six months, Piper doesn't do much more than smile and look adorable ... unless she is living up to my private nickname for her, Vesuvius ... the child spits up at least half the milk she takes in even though Christina [my DIL] always feeds her in a quiet spot away from all the noise and fuss and holds her still and gently afterwards. The relatives who thought it would be fun to bounce the baby up and down on their knees soon wished they had followed Christina's advice. There were a number of calls for wet towels and burping clothes. Here she is resting on her grandfather's chest. Bill has definitely fallen in love with his little grand-daughter ... I think he finds her a relaxing change from Liam who is very "high energy" like most every two year old I have known. Bill loves his children and grandchildren very much but cringes when I cheerfully agree to babysit ... he grew up in a very small family [just his sister and 1 first cousin, neither of whom married] whereas I was the oldest of 21 in my generation [siblings and 1st cousins] and I count 16 nieces and nephews as well as my 3 children in the next generation. I can't remember a time when I wasn't surrounded by chaos and he, poor soul, can't cope with anything but peace and quiet. And while peace and quiet don't exactly surround Liam, I have to say, my grandson is a remarkably well-behaved and intelligent and interesting little guy ... I am afraid Bill just isn't used to small people anymore.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day



And in keeping with the season: a few more photos of Christmas at my house:

In the living room, we have the family tree with ornaments we have been given or have collected or have made over the 39 years [on Jan. 10, 2010] of our married life ... reflecting our enthusiasms, our fads and our activities or those of our three children. Backyard birding, ballet dancing, violin and trumpet lessons, the Nutcracker Suite performances, dollhouses, a myriad of brass name ornaments used as gift tags, my own collection of Nativity scene and Madonna and child ornaments, all the angels for Angela, "teacher" ornaments given to me by students, ornaments featuring the word PEACE, a Beatrix Potter ornament marking the year Danny just had to read everyone of her books ... that and more are usually all there on the tree ... a visible family history. This year, however, in deference to my 2 year old grandson, I have used only my wooden and my cloth ornaments on the tree. I want to protect him from the breakables ... I have no intention of ruining Christmas with an emergency room visit.

My Creche is also displayed in the living room. Every year I promise myself that I will get a more elegant nativity scene [ I covet one of those ornate, very Italianate Fontanini sets] and every year I resurrect this inexpensive set purchased from the Lillian Vernon catalog when Bill and I were first married and money was tight. This is the one I packed through all those early moves [eight times in six years] when Bill and I were still students. This is the one I used when telling my children the Christmas story. Now, I am not normally sentimental but for some reason, I never get around to replacing this set. Someday, I expect, I will indulge myself with another and more beautiful creche set but even then I will have to tuck this one in some other corner of the house, perhaps the master bedroom.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Ornament of the Year/ Ornament Stitching Plans for 2010

I have talked this one to death in previous posts, so a picture will have to suffice here. I still think it looks awful and most un-pearlike ... probably the worst design I have ever worked in my 30+ years of stitching ... which is why I didn't waste my time on a complicated sewing finish. It'll find a place on the back of the tree.

Since I plan to stitch a Christmas ornament a month in 2010, I think I'll start by pulling out the old Glory Bee charts [Joy, Peace. Love, Home] that I had used for my pillow [see 12/22 post] and stitching them as ornaments as originally intended. I believe I'll use 36ct linen and finish them as fringed pillow ornaments ... it'll mean stitching each design twice to make a front and a back, but they are all such simple designs, that the duplication will go quickly enough. Then there are plenty of Christmas ornament charts that I had liked from that one year subscription to Gift of Stitching [an e-zine] I had won at my very first Stitcher's Hideaway. Another idea I have had for a themed Christmas Tree is to stitch a whole flock of cardinals in scarves from a chart in one of my old JCS ornament issues. I believe the chart is from La-D-Da. I have more than enough cranberry and deep red linen to make several dozen of the little guys ... another really quick stitch, since the bird is simply outlined and the scarf is the only solidly stitched bit of the design. I could either sew them together beak-to-tail with some pretty beads in between to make a strand and then fill the tree in with all my other bird ornaments ... or ... I could finish them separately as individual birds and use my wooden cranberry strands on the tree. I might also try and seek out some wooden popcorn strands to accent a bird tree next year. Then there is my plan to stitch Thanksgiving ornaments this year. I only have two at present and would like to make more so that I can keep the ornament tree up between Halloween and Christmas. I have made a working copy of the page with Thanksgiving designs from my BHG 1001 Cross-Stitch Motifs hard cover which will net me at least five more charts, then there are various freebies on blogs [notably Nic's Girl As Mad As Birds] and of course, I have some autumn-themed Prairie Schooler charts that have motifs [turkey, harvest wagon] that will pull out nicely and serve as ornaments, especially if stitched over one. There is also a sprite subtly worked into a fiery maple leaf chart [see Dani's blog] that I would love to stitch up for my Thanksgiving tree ... I'll just have to scroll back through the comments section of her blog to get the name of the chart.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Still Focusing ...

... on TW's Autumn Faerie. It continues to go slowly but at least progress is being made. And, I have been reminded of why this was set aside in the first place. Much as I love the final result, I can't help but wonder what is the point of setting just one stitch of a particular color in a piece that is 134x134 ... I've looked all through the four pages of the chart and can't see this symbol repeated anywhere. Oh, well, far it be it from me to question the genius of Teresa Wentzler! I have only one more of the seasonal faeries to do [the Winter Faerie] since neither my daughter, for whom these faeries are being stitched, nor I particularly like the Summer Faerie ... and I have already given her the Lilies of the Valley Faerie that first appeared as a magazine chart and the Spring Faerie from this leaflet ... so Angela will have a set of four ... we'll just re-christen the Lilies of the Valley Faerie as a Summer Faerie to make it an all seasons set. When I start the Winter Faerie, though, I am definitely going to start with the border ... the borders stitch up more quickly since you don't have that "stitch three or four stitches, switch needles, do another fifteen or so stitches, switch to another needle, do five more stitches..." thing going on in the border. Long lines of a single color going up and across the height and width of the design, with an inner border being only slightly smaller and the space between the two being filled with regular repeats of motifs using only four or five colors ... it gives one the immediate gratification of seeing a substantial portion of the design come to life quickly. Then one has the courage and the fortitude to deal with the fussier details of the actual faerie.
And because I can get obsessive at times, I did finish the Sisters and Best Friends First Day of Christmas ornament just because I am too stubborn to admit defeat. I am not liking it much but at least it is stitched. The finish will have to wait until after Christmas, though, since I have temporarily dismantled my sewing center ... I do need a dining room for holiday entertaining after all. I'll post a photo when I have done the sewing finish.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Pillows

I have been making holiday pillows for many years now and have a respectable collection which I will be using on my couch ... the perfect background with its deep forest green velvet. While I have given away quite a few of the Christmas pillows, I have kept nearly as many as I have given away ... quite the opposite of my tendency to give away ornaments and only keep a few.

The first pillow [right] was made by joining four Glory Bee Christmas ornament charts into a flea-market style group with feather stitching to embellish the seams. The ornaments themselves were sized up because I used a very low count aida [10, I think] leftover from teaching Girl Scouts to cross stitch. I tea-dyed two of the patches for a little added contrast and used some beads to add a little something. I stitched these from magazine charts years before I became designer-conscious or even knew who Glory Bee was. Nancy of Glory Bee has since become one of my favorite designers so I was not at all surprised to come across the old charts while browsing through one of my binders and, guess what, see her name!!! This pillow is one of my favorites because it says it all: Peace, Joy, Love, Home. The second [left] is an old Secret Needle Night piece from The Silver Needle. I don't usually do "cute", I am more of a country and primitive [with the occasional foray into whimsical] kind of person. But this one caught my fancy. The third [right again] is a funky little free chart featuring a snowman wrapped up snugly in a scarf, again not in my usual style, but the whimsy appealed to me. And this particular pillow finish seems "country" enough to make it all work for me. And somewhere in the house is a very old pillow, my very first, with a partridge in a pear tree design. I hope to find it in time to display it this Christmas, since it is really one of my favorites. This missing pillow was the very first project in which I ever used metallics or other specialty fibers ... all I knew up to that point was DMC ... but I saw the chart in a magazine and ... thus began my obsession with fiber.

I'll post pictures of a few more pillows in a day or so: the first four Annual Sue Hillis Charmed Santas are in various stages of assembly-line pillow production.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekend Progress Report

Since this weekend has been consumed by holiday cleaning and decorating and a wee bit of sewing finishing before I dismantled the dining room sewing center and restored the room to its original function, I have very little to report. I have resumed work on TW's Autumn Faerie. This will be my focus piece for the remainder of December or until it is finished, whichever comes first.

First, a photo of it when last seen. And now, a photo of weekend progress, such as it is. There are several reasons it is going so slowly. For one thing, I am obsessive about stitching discrete segments of a design and I worked this weekend on the faerie's hair and one arm draped in a scarf which straddled two pages of the chart ... hence lots of juggling pages. I find when I just stitch a design page by page, there is a discernible "line" marking the joining of the pages once stitched ... probably a problem with my tension. But the problem is resolved when I stitch across page borders to complete motifs or design elements. Another factor is that I don't have the space to really spread out and set up one of those boards in which one can park all the needles threaded with the multitudinous blends and singles that make up a TW design. I actually am stitching this with one needle and I am rewinding all the floss that is left over after I finish a needleful in a particular symbol. This keeps me organized and neat in my little stitching corner but it is not particularly efficient. And lastly, this piece is on 18" scroll rods and set up in my stitching stand. I rarely use the stitching stand, preferring most often to use smaller hand-held scroll rods [usually 12"] or tension hoops so I have never really found my rhythm for stitching two handed and I am constantly flipping the piece to make sure there aren't any loops, knots or other flaws developing on the back side of the piece. With luck, as I progress on this piece I will develop the skill set of working with a stitching stand.

And, of course, I am still cleaning and decorating for Christmas. For me, this a piecemeal process. I have arrived at that certain age when housework is best done an hour at a time with breaks in between. If I go full throttle, I pay for it with aches and pains and a very irritable mood. Physical labor is now an incremental thing!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Favorite Ornament for 2009: Byzantine by Caron

Of all the ornaments I have stitched this year, this is my stand-out favorite. A bit of a surprise really, since it is not a cross-stitched ornament but a needlepoint one.

A lot of factors came together to make it a favorite :

  • the novelty of doing needlepoint after a very long hiatus

  • the sheer pleasure of working with Caron Watercolours: such a buttery soft yarn like cotton

  • the fantastic colorway of the Caron fiber: the colorway is called Royal Jewels

  • the way the Kreinik High Lustre Gold braid makes the colors in the Caron fiber pop

  • the easy finish: just blanket stitching the two sides together

I also particularly enjoyed stitching the Prairie Schooler Peace Angel and the Prairie Schooler Partridge in a Pear Tree and, with one notable exception [see 12/16 post], I thoroughly enjoyed all the other ornaments I have stitched this year whether the themes were Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Patriotic or Valentine's Day. I don't stitch what I don't like. I have enjoyed experimenting with different finishing techniques. And I have enjoyed giving a large number of ornaments to the people I know and care for ... relatives, friends, stitching buddies. But somehow, the Byzantine ornament stands head and shoulders above them all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Trees and other decorations

I thought I'd post some photos of my Christmas Trees, mostly small table top deals, and a few of my Christmas decorations ... since so many of them are home-made or, if purchased, have a country or home-made feel to them. While I am nowhere near as creative as Sue Hillis with her many and varied Christmas trees [which may be seen at ], I do have a few themed trees:

In my entry hall, I have a wrought iron table top tree displaying my favorite cross-stitched and needlepoint ornaments. The two trees in the background are live, potted trees decorated with birds and birdhouses and bird nests. I hope to transplant them after Christmas into some planters for the patio and next year decorate them with popcorn strands and dried fruit for the birds. I'll have to keep them indoors this winter, in the larger pots, because I doubt that they have been hardened to the cold but I should be able to bring them outdoors in the Spring. The next photo is a close-up of the ornament tree so that you can actually see some of the stitched ornaments. I find it amazing that I have stitched at least 200 Christmas ornaments over the years and these are the only ones I have left for decorating my own tree. And most of these were stitched this year with the express intention of using them at home. My children, my mother, my sisters, my brother and his wife, my nieces and nephews, my stitching buddies and even my volunteer catechists have more of my handiwork than I do. And I bet I am not the only stitcher who finds this to be true.

In the upstairs hallway, I have a small artificial tree displaying the ornaments purchased as souvenirs of vacations. It is very eclectic but each piece is a reminder of a place my husband and I have enjoyed visiting. These ornaments remind us of trips to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, to Gettysburg, Pa., to The Sagamore Hotel in upstate New York, to Fredricksburg, Md., to Amish country in Pa., Williamsburg, Va. and to Fire Island, LI, NY. There is even a steamboat ornament to call up memories of our 8 day cruise on the Mississippi Queen. Unfortunately, we have not purchased a souvenir ornament from every place we have been but I will certainly make sure to do so in the future. I rather like the idea of a Vacation theme tree. Normally, the hooks on the hall tree hold my husband's baseball caps and my hats and scarves but in keeping with the travel theme I hung one of my husband's Hallmark classic car ornaments from each hook. The bottom looks a little bare. So, in keeping with the travel theme, I will have to dig out my two crackle glaze candle globes in red and green to place beside the tree ... to mimic Port and Starboard lights.

I have placed my collection of Santas on the tops of my bookcases. This includes all my framed Prairie Schooler "Crafting" Santas: Embroidery, Quilting, Knitting and Sewing as well as my New Age-y Celestial Santa. Sue Hillis' "Pair Tree" has pride of place above the center bookcase along with my water globe Santa music box. In between the framed Santas are the Santa figurines I have either made in ceramic class or purchased over the years. Two of the purchased ones are music boxes. There should've been another Sue Hillis piece up there: the Yo Ho Ho Santa with the candy cane peg leg but my framer forgot to put the easel back on it. I will find a place for it somewhere else. The stockings are "hung" from the book shelves using wrought iron stocking holders. From left to right, they are my husband Bill's stocking, a Homespun Elegance design that was a pain to stitch in the prefinished stocking format [who has hands that small?], my own stocking purchased from a Hallmark card store [I like the cheerful Scandanavian style knit], Angela's stocking featuring a collection of cross-stitched teddy bears [a passion of hers when she was small], Sean's childhood stocking which was the very first stocking I made [he has another I made, a more adult folk art style woodland Santa, that he took with him when he married], and Danny's needlepoint stocking featuring the Three Wise Men. My two BAPs for 2010 will have to be stockings for my grandchildren. And, though I bought my daughter-in-law a lovely hand quilted stocking at a craft fair several years ago [like Sean's "grown-up" stocking it, too, is on the West Coast], I'd like to make one for her that I can keep here. I'll have to come up with something equally as woodsy as the Santa of Sean's and the charts I already have picked out for the children. Something with lots of woodland animals since she is an environmental educator at a nature reserve in Washington state. And, who knows, maybe I'll stitch a stocking for myself someday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And Some More Ornaments

I finally got my Christmas decorations trunks out and have uncovered these old ornaments. Some are sewn, one is needlepoint and one is candlewicked but all have been used and re-used over the years. The first is one of my early needlepoint pillow ornaments. Needlepoint pillow ornaments tend to be neater than cross-stitch pillow ornaments becaues the stiffness of the canvas gives cleaner finished edges than soft linen. This next is a little candlewicked poinsettia ornament, another oldie. I remember stitching this when I was pregnant with my youngest. It was a lot of fun and a very quick finish. Still looking good for a 28 year old ornament though I am afraid to wash it. It came as a kit and who knows how color-fast the threads are. The last picture is of a bunch of sewn ornaments that are even older. These were made to fill up the tree the first Christmas in our newly purchased home way back in December 1980. They were all made from a Butterick pattern and while the drum and the baskets might make it to the tree this year, I think the gingerbread men, toy wagon and toy doll carriage are ready for retirement. Maybe not though, I remember how my daughter used to place a tiny doll from among her toys in the baby carriage every Christmas ... so, as sadly misshapen as the carriage gets, it still holds a memory of a very little girl doing her bit to decorate the tree. My daughter has already taken her favorite ornaments from this set: a little stick horse, actually a unicorn, and a rocking horse so I have no pictures of those ... which is pity since they were embellished with crewel embroidery depicting the faces of both and the saddle on the rocking horse as well as cut loop stitches [as in rug hooking] for the manes of both. The hearts just might make it onto my Valentine's Day entry way tree if they wash up well it is now the white zig zag trim is an unsightly yellowish white ... but those hearts also contain memories. They were made from the scraps of a red dress with white eyelet pinafore I made for my then four year old daughter in 1981 ... the same year I made the other ornaments in the picture.

Since I am now simplifying my life and de-cluttering my space, I will be offering a number of my two steamer trunk-loads of ornaments to my children for their own trees. I believe I am going to stick to "theme" trees in the future. This year, my entryway wrought iron tree will be used to display my favorite cross-stitched and needlepoint ornaments and the 36" artificial tree [made with a real tree trunk & artificial branches] will be used in the upstairs hallway to display souvenir ornaments from our various vacations over the years. Given my collection of ornaments, I can see angel trees and nativity scene trees and bird themed trees in the future. But now, for the first time in about a decade, I'll be buying a 5 or 6 footer, artificial and narrow [the kind designed for apartment dwellers] to set up in the living room ... after all, there will be grandchildren in the house this year ... and I need a place to set up the Brio train set for my grandson. If I can't find the right artificial tree, I am thinking of picking up one of those Shaker style trees made of dowels wrapped in cloth. This last tree will be decorated with the remaining ornaments as well as my wooden cranberry strands. I'll ask my daughter-in-law and daughter if they would like to have my white poinsettia light sets and mini light sets. If they don't I'll bring them to work to use on the PREP Christmas tree next year. Either way I want to cull down my three trunk collection of decorations down to two ... and that includes two trunks of ornaments as well as one more with my Santa and nutcracker figurine collection, the stocking holders and stockings, and the music boxes. This does not include the odds and ends that are scattered around in various closets and boxes holding candles and candle holders, wreathes, baskets and wooden sleds. My husband and I are trying to eliminate some of the stuff that has overtaken our small 6 room townhouse ... it's amazing what one accumulates in 30 years in the same place! Something has to go ... right now, the rooms I want to convert into a sewing room and into an office [the children's former bedrooms] are filled with the detritus of our own lives and, since my husband's mother's death in March 2007, his parents' lives. Sentimental value aside, we need the living space and I just can't stand looking at the mess any longer. My husband [who is both a pack rat and a slob of the Oscar Madison type] will just have to deal with the fact that we can't hang onto everything and we will only keep what we can actually use.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Need To Get A Life

To re cap briefly:

I like the partridge in a pear tree motif and have stitched it in many variations, so when I saw The Sisters and Best Friends First Day of Christmas ornament in the JCS 2005 ornament issue, I saved the page. I pulled it out of the Christmas binder just before Thanksgiving. It called for GAST floss. Okay, I have a really deep stash of GAST, probably 60-70 skeins. I should have realized I was headed for disaster when I had to order four skeins of GAST to completely kit it up ... and when it was finally kitted up, I had a dozen GAST on my floss ring ... this for an ornament that is less than 4"h and 2 1/2"w. That's a lot of color in a small space ... especially when you factor in the color variations of overdyes.
But did I pause to reconsider the wisdom of stitching this piece? No, I most certainly did not! Blindly, and I mean this literally, I carried on ... not thinking to compare the photo of the stitched model with the chart ... and we all know that the JCS ornament issues are not the most carefully proofread publications. The photo depicts a pear that is primarily golden with a delicate blush of pink diagonally crossing the pear from top left to bottom right ... quite pretty and almost realistic. Did I even remember the image in the photo as I started to stitch? Clearly, no, I did not! See the evidence in this photo of a garishly bright pink pear with blotches of gold resembling ulcerated bed sores. And even as this monstrosity began to emerge beneath my hands, I still continued to stitch, hoping against hope that the final result would be less ghastly than I knew it would be. It was only after the last stitch in the pear and the better part of the leaf were stitched that I admitted to myself that things were not going all that well. I did call a halt to the process when I saw that the chart called for me to stitch 8 little x's of Royal Purple right beside 6 x's of Burnt Orange in the frigging leaf, along with the 4 different shades of green already there. Mind you, I actually bought a whole skein of Royal Purple to stitch about 2 inches of floss into this travesty. There is no plumbing the depths of my idiocy.
At this point, no longer trusting my sanity, I posted a request for advice both on my blog and on a stitching mb I frequent. I was considering frogging 50% of the pink and restitching in shades of gold or just ditching the whole thing. Ditching it was an irksome option since I had used a remnant of rather pricey Silkweaver overdyed fabric and had invested a small fortune in GAST. I wanted to hear that I had some hope of salvaging this little ornament. The advice I liked best was the suggestion to dye the piece in some strong coffee to mute the garish tones ... mainly because it involved the very least effort with the best promise of decent results. I checked on the piece after 1/2 hour in the coffee, giving it a quick rinse in cool water, took one look and promptly put it right back in the dye bowl. Here are the results after two hours in the dye liquid. I am still not happy. I'll give it one more shot, soaking it overnight. If that doesn't work, it is headed for the trash. Or maybe I'll send it to Sisters and Best Friends with my most sincere holiday wishes! Yeah, I like that option ... civilized but satisfyingly snide!!! Ah, the Christmas spirit is grand, is it not?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WIP Report

Normally I post a WIP report at the end of the weekend, but this past weekend was devoted almost completely to work. I probably spent no more than two hours stitching during the entire weekend. Things haven't been any easier the last few days with little or no stitching time at home so only my travel piece seems to be getting much attention. This is a busy season in a Parish Religious Education Program, with lots of extra activities. Advent Prayer Services, Christmas Carols Workshops, distribution of wreaths [one of our all too many fundraisers], an after-Mass reception to bid farewell to my former secretary, the annual Catechist Christmas Party, Advent Confessions ... all of these things are added to the usual program schedule [which in itself is quite full enough]. But at least I have made some small progress on my ornament.

The Byzantine Ornament [needlepoint complimentary chart from Caron] stitched on 18ct mono canvas with Caron Watercolours Jewels and Kreinik Very Fine Braid 002HL. This is the completed front of the ornament: I think the Kreinik makes the Caron colors pop. The second photo is the back of the ornament, nearly completed. When done, I'll blanket stitch the pieces together with a bit of fleece batting in between. Add a metallic gold narrow ribbon loop at the top, and I'll have one more ornament for my entryway tree. It's been great fun to work on a needlepoint project again. Needlepoint was my entry into textile arts over 35 years ago. And, while it hasn't been my main focus in over 20 years, I have done a needlepoint project every so often over the years ... though less and less frequently lately. I have three more needlepoint projects in my stash ... two Halloween pieces and one Owl, done sampler style with lots of specialty stitches ... and I can see myself working them into my rotations fairly soon. There are also a few more complimentary needlepoint charts on the Caron site that I'd like to stitch. Since I have more than enough canvas both in 18ct and 10ct mono, I expect a needlepoint project will be added to my stitching pleasure every other month or so. It'll just be a matter of getting the right fibers for the projects. I don't have much of a stash of needlepoint yarns, just a few Caron Watercolours, some odds and ends of various Rainbow Gallery fibers, some ThreadGatherer wool and wool blends and a very basic stash of Paternayan yarns [kind of like the 18 ct Crayola crayon box in color range].

TW's Autumn Faerie: Since I haven't had much quality stitching time at home and since this piece is on my stitching stand, progress has been non-existent. But that's okay, starting Dec. 23, I'll have ten days off and lots of stitching time since I'll be home bound most of the holiday. I am lending my car to my oldest son who is flying home with his wife and two children for the holidays. His in-laws have provided him with a car service to and from the airport so I figure lending him the car during their stay is the least I can do and a very light price to pay for the joy of spoiling my two grandchildren.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More ornaments

Here are a few more photos of some of the Christmas ornaments I have done over the years. The first is a mini quilt block done in Christmas colors and the second is one of those Heartstrings designer series Santas ... I never get my pillow ornaments quite square and have pretty much stopped using that finish technique since I am never satisfied with the end result.

Next are some photos of crewel ornaments I did about 15 years ago. These were given as Christmas gifts to my 1996 volunteer catechists. The crewel ornaments came from a Butterick pattern and were an awful lot of fun to stitch ... not to mention that it was a great way to use up odds and ends of floss left over from other projects. I stitched a total of 50 of these little guys and backed them with stiffened felt ... but these two pictures give you an idea of the different designs ... the rest were the same designs done in different colorways. Of course, I had the pattern for nearly a decade before I finally stitched them ... after all, crewel was all the rage in the 80s and I stitched these in the early 90s ... I was never one to be a slave to trends. Or, to put it another way, I am often the last to jump on the bandwagon or catch up with fashions and fads.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Giveaway Winner

Using an on-line number randomizer, I have selected a winner: Truck. I e-mailed her on Friday and am waiting to receive a snail mail address. As soon as I do, I'll get this funky little Christmas present in the mail.

And since I wasn't able to post a photo on Dec. 5, due to a minor embarrassment [running out of floss], I am now posting a photos of the front and back of the floss tag. I think some people were expecting a lovely linen tag with one of those colorful novelty-shaped eyelets to hold the floss ring ... but if you go back to the Dec. 5 post you will see that I believe in truth in advertising. I clearly stated that this floss tag was made with plastic canvas ... an easy solution for those who, like me, never seem to get the eyelets right.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Still Focusing ...

... this time it's on finishing the Teresa Wentzler Autumn Faerie. I don't know why it took me so long to recover my enthusiasm for this piece but now that I have ... well, I am remembering all the reasons I love Teresa Wentzler charts: the precision, the delicacy, the sheer breathtaking beauty of the designs. Even so, it is very slow going and not photo worthy as yet.

And, the TW piece is just too large to transport ... I have it on 18" scroll rods ... so I chose Sisters and Best Friends On The First Day of Christmas ornament from the JCS 2005 ornament issue as my current travel piece. I had hoped to finish this as a three-dimensional pear-shaped ornament, complete with twig "stem". I have been stitching it on 36ct Edinburgh linen from Silkweaver. The linen color is Days Gone By. I have used the GAST cotton overdyes called for in the chart and I have to say, now that the pear is completely stitched, that the designers are seriously lacking in color sense and/or common sense. My theory is that they challenged themselves to see just how many GAST colors they could squeeze into one tiny ornament design and came up with an even dozen. There are five colors in the pear, six in the unfinished leaf and I haven't even gotten to the partridge yet. This pear looks like it has the botanical equivalent of leprosy and fails to resemble any pear I have ever seen in my nigh onto 60 years. I kept stitching, hoping it would not look as ghastly as I suspected it would. I should have been clued in when I belatedly noticed that the photo of the model didn't match the chart ... the smart model stitcher must have made adjustments as she went along ... but I noticed the discrepancy between photo and chart only after I realized I was already in trouble. Now I have to decide if I want to go to the trouble of salvaging the piece by frogging at least 50% of the pink, replacing it with the two shades of gold and soldiering on to the end ... or simply to cut my losses and trim off the usable fabric. The only reasons I am even considering salvaging the piece are: 1] Silkweaver linen and GAST floss are relatively pricey and 2] I really wanted to try my hand at the 3D pear-shape finish. I suppose a third option would be to start over again after correcting the chart but I am not sure I really want to go to that much trouble. Reader's opinions are welcome ... just leave a suggestion in the comments.

Well, being totally disgusted with my partridge/pear ornament, I consoled myself by visiting the Caron site,, which has been redesigned and updated since my last visit several months ago. While there I printed out the chart for the Byzantine Christmas ornament [needlepoint on 18ct mono canvas] and promptly sat down to stitch it with Caron Watercolours Jewels. It's been awhile since I did any counted needlepoint but it must be like riding a bike ... you don't forget. I immediately fell into the rhythm of counting holes instead of threads and have been moving along nicely ever since. I am thinking of filling in the blank spaces with some VF braid from Kreinik either in gold or copper ... I need to do a floss toss to see which would work better and then stitch a small test patch to make sure the coverage is right. I'll stitch two of these and stitch them together back to back with a bit of quilt batting in between.
Once this is done, I'll shift to another December goal and focus on Brightneedle's Ghosts and Ghoulies Etui as my travel piece.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Ornaments

I just set up my wrought iron table top ornament tree in my entryway and realized that I have given away almost all of the hundreds of Christmas ornaments I have made in the past decade and a half. Some I managed to hang onto in photo form at least and I will be showing those old photos this month. For me it will be a trip down memory lane. Some of the older ones lack a certain polish when it comes to the finishing but I have been getting better as I practice. These were all given to my god-daughter, Sara, as part of an even dozen stitched ornament package for her bridal shower ... she assures me that all the ornaments I made for her will have pride of place on her very first tree as a married woman. Sara is one of my most appreciative young relatives. She still has the stocking I stitched for her when she was five ... she is now twenty-nine. She told me privately that my shower gift which included, among other things: the ornaments, a selection of Party-Lite candles and some of their Christmas-y candle holders, was her favorite shower gift ... and I am just egotistic enough and gullible enough to believe her. She used one of the candles I gave her as her unity candle at her wedding. The girl has a way of making me feel very good.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


One of my December goals was to focus on The Primitive Needle chart from JCS September 2009 ... and, boy, did I ever focus! I have been stitching on Halloween Revelry since last Friday evening when I received the much needed card of Belle Soie Old Crow. Such concentration has had an excellent result: this rather large piece was completed in just 12 days [I started it on November 29]. The pale grey [witch's hair and the two tiny owls in the bottom band] shows up much better than the photograph indicates. I intend to finish this piece up as a "tie-one-on" pillow cover for one of the oversized throw pillows on my couch, since I have more than enough wall hangings and framed pieces for Halloween. I am going to have to scale back on my purchases of Halloween themed charts. Though I enjoy celebrating that holiday, even I have to admit that enough is as good as a feast.

Another December goal was to stitch and finish one more Christmas ornament: here is the finished Prairie Schooler Peace Angel. I ended up using two strands of Belle Soie Old Crow for the blackwork wing and for the backstitched border but only one strand for the feet, hands and face. I used two strands of blending filament [Kreinik 002HL, to match the braid in the same color] to add a little glisten to the wing ... this was not in the chart but was in the photographed model. And I used some DMC blues [931 & 932] for the cording. I like this quite a lot and am not sure I'll be able to part with it. I had originally intended this as one of the four ornaments set aside to give my colleagues at work.

I spoke to Joann about the DMC #5 Perle in 815 that was missing from my order [the one that arrived Friday] and she assured me that it will be in the mail today along with the back ordered bell pull hardware. So I will go ahead and draw a winner for my monthly giveaway tomorrow and plan to have the finished floss tag in the mail by Tuesday morning at the latest.

So with a third of the month behind me, I am moving along nicely toward my goals. And when you consider I will have the 10 day Christmas holiday that educators enjoy so very much, I will have more than enough stitching time to achieve the rest of my goals. I'll be picking up Teresa Wentzler's Autumn Faerie again, now that I am done with Halloween Revelry. If I focus as diligently on the TW piece as I did on the Primitive Needle piece, I should have that finished and ready for the framer by Christmas. The timing will be tight since I had hoped to use it as a birthday gift in late January but one can hope for small miracles.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Progress Report

I didn't make as much progress on my goals as I wanted this weekend: pressures of work. I had planned to work on finishing three more pieces into tote bags but I am afraid that didn't happen. It was easier to pick up my cross-stitching for a few minutes here and there than to settle in at the sewing center, formerly known as the dining room, for long blocks of time.

I had to deal with a minor disappointment: for the first time in four years, there was an error in my order from 123stitch. Joann failed to include a skein of DMC #5 Perle 815. Since it wasn't even listed among the back-ordered items, I have to assume it somehow fell off her radar ... not all that surprising, since it fell off my radar when placing the order ... I had to make a second call minutes after the first to add it to the order. I'll be calling her this morning to ask her to mail it ASAP ... I do need it to finish the floss tag for my monthly giveaway. Even so, I still consider 123stitch one of the most reliable online sources for stitching supplies.

I found this Prairie Schooler card at the bottom of one of my stitching bags and the stars aligned to make this a perfect travel project. I had a small piece of a Silkweaver overdyed blue fabric [Starquest] in just the right size, a card of Rainbow Gallery Elegance black [a silk perle that I have been dying to try for blackwork], a spool of Kreinik #4 braid 002HL as called for and just the right Belle Soie silks for the rest: Ocean Tide to replace the DMC930 and Old Crow to replace the DMC 310. I love it when a spur of the moment project comes together like that. Well, I tried the Elegance out for the blackwork and it was just too thick a fiber for this 32ct fabric, getting fuzzy as it was pulled through the holes, instead of staying well-defined and crisp as it does on 28ct. A lesson learned and time well-spent even if I had to frog my test patch. By the way, a scrupulously clean eyebrow brush is an excellent tool for removing fuzzy fibers from a frogged area of linen. Next, I will try double strands of the Old Crow and if that doesn't work I will pare it down to a single strand.

I have also gotten quite a bit more done on The Primitive Needle piece since my 123stitch order did include the Old Crow I had been working around. The bottom band is done with all the black lettering and stars completed and I have moved onto the witch in the main panel. It's great to have reached this point since I will no longer have to flip between three pages and four overlapping charts ... Halloween Revelry is one of those dreaded magazine charts [JCS September 2009] that are printed in pieces in order to fit magazine lay-out. There are two more charts in that issue that I plan on stitching: the two blackwork ornaments.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December Giveaway: Floss Tag with CC floss

For December, I have decided to give a little Christmas present to one of my readers: this month's giveaway will be the current Prairie Schooler free chart stitched as an over-sized floss tag on plastic canvas in DMC Perle cottons with the bonus of some Crescent Colours overdyed cottons [Cupid, Spinach, Dulce du Lache, Magnolia] in all the colors needed to stitch up a Santa or some other Christmas motif. This particular floss tag will never get lost in your stitching bag since it measures a whopping 4 1/2" by 5". There is no finished photo as yet because I have to run out and pick up some more DMC Perle #5 in 815 ... I had ordered it from Joann at 123 stitch but somehow it never made its way onto the order that arrived on Dec. 4.

The rules this time are simplicity itself:
--Open to all stitchers, though I expect only US or Canada mail service will deliver before Christmas.
--Leave a message in the comments section explaining why you would like to receive this giveaway.
--Include an e-mail address if clicking on your name will not lead me to a link with your e-mail.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Progress on Hallowe'en Revelry by Primitive Needle

This is both an enjoyable and a soothing stitch. The chart is not the least bit challenging, which works really well for me at present. Stress free is good after the past week's commotion. The colors are bright and cheerful and come from my preferred autumnal colorway. The Halloween theme is one of my favorites. There are lots of little discrete pieces to this chart so that there is a real feeling of accomplishment and gratification as each motif is stitched. It's nice to see such concrete evidence of progress. Added to all that, I am stitching the piece with Belle Soie silks which are a current favorite. My only quibble is that the chart is in four pieces: a necessary evil since it is a magazine chart. Standard magazine page size is rather unforgiving when it comes to lay out requirements. So there is a certain amount of flipping of pages going on ... a minor annoyance that I can live with, given all the other pluses. If that gets too annoying, I can always cut and paste a single photocopied working copy.

As you can probably tell from the photo, I am working around the fact that I ran out of Belle Soie Old Crow and am awaiting a shipment from 123stitch of that silk in addition to a number of cotton overdyes I need to kit up my next Christmas ornament and some DMC Perle 815. I placed the order on Monday and if Joann is her usual speedy self, I should have what I need tomorrow or Friday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Assessing Nov Goals, Setting Dec Goals

November has been a very good month with far more goals achieved than not.

November Goals
Finish Brightneedle's Esmeralda's House: Finally finished on 11/17.
Finish TW's Autumn Faerie: NO, see 11/29 post for explanation.
Start TW's Woodland Angel Stocking: NO, since I won't be able to start this till the Autumn Faerie is done ... too much overlap in the flosses needed to kit one up without finishing the other.
Stitch at least one Christmas or Halloween ornament: Well over my goal, with five. Pinecone ornament for Rachel, from Gift of Stitching online magazine, finished 11/8. Prairie Schooler Old Fashioned Christmas Tree ornament, finished 11/8. Elizabeth Needlework Designs Have a Jolly Halloween ornament on 11/10. And on 11/13, finished Cherry Wood Studio's Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet as well as The Stitcherhoods' Give Thanks [twice, since I am finishing it as a fringed pillow ornament and stitched a back that was a negative image of the front].
Resume work on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler: even if it was only one row, it still counts as resuming work ... that's my story and I am sticking to it.
Make Sara's wedding veil: Yes, though at the 11th hour [or more precisely the day before the wedding ... I am not sure she will wear it ... waiting for me to get done may have made her nervouse enough to come up with an alternative plan. ]
Spend at least 5 hours on sewing finishes: Well over my five hours. On 11/1: The Prairie Schooler Partridge in a Pear Tree [JCS 2005] and the Stitcher's Hideaway Spooky Retreat souvenir ornament. On 11/10, finished a fringed pillow ornament, Pinecone [GOS 2007]. On 11/13, finished the Monster bubbles Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun as a mini wall hanging, the PS Christmas Tree and END Have a Jolly Halloween as padded flat ornaments and stitched 3 scraps of 32ct linen together for a flea market style project, the subject of which is yet to be determined. On 11/14, finished Give Thanks from the Stitcherhood as a fringed pillow ornament. On 11/16, finished the Trick or Treat piece as a Halloween ornament and the witch's hat motif from this chart as a change purse. On 11/29, the Autumn Leaves bookmark and the Sailor's Jig Book Tote. I aslo did some assembly line stitching preparing the fronts of three more totes using cross stitched pieces: a red squirrel, In the Garden [designed by Erynne of Be-Stitched], and a teddy bear that I stitched when my now 32 year old daughter was only 8 or 9, intending to make it up as a stuffed stand-up.
Not on the original list, but: the Colon Cancer block for Donna Karl's Charity Auction Quilt, finished 11/22 and the Handblessing Autumn Leaves bookmark, finished 11/24. Then there's the unplanned start: Primitive Needle's Halloween Revelry from the Sept. 2009 issue of JCS.

December Goals: I am going to keep this short and sweet

Finish TWs Autumn Faerie
Focus on The Sweetheart Tree's Hearts and Holly Sampler
Start on TW's Woodland Angel Stocking
Focus on Brightneedle's Ghosts and Ghoulies Etui
Focus on Primitive Needle's Hallowe'en Revelry
Stitch one more Christmas ornament
Spend at least five hours on sewing finishes