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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Cross Stitch Monthly Challenge

This is a very tiny stitch, for a monthly challenge the subject this month was Snow or Sea.
I chose Sea.

This is a free chart from Lynne B-
It will probably be made up into a small pillow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Wonderful Memory for Today, January 11th.

I'm very grateful today as I contemplate my late Wonderful Mother. This was the date she celebrated her birthday. Had she still been with us, today would have been her 92nd. I have her to thank for so many aspects of my life.  Today I'm reminded of our many outings to patchwork & needlework stores. Some were some distance away & we would make a day of it, checking several in the area, stopping for lunch, at nurseries, pottery stores,  then visiting more before returning home.
Today I went shopping at a couple of  local Patchwork stores, so had my Mother well in mind. These were my purchases, from some of my Christmas gift money. From the first shop, a couple of rulers & a piece of striped fabric. I know my Mother would have loved the fabric also,  she always encouraged me in my patchwork interests.

The second  fabric pieces are accompanied by a wee wooden ruler, a cat of course.

  A couple of decades ago, my Mother presented me with a hand embroidered apron, which she had made for me, she had also finished the hem & pocket with a crochet edge.

I know my Mother was instrumental in a major way, for my interests in the varied pursuits of Needlework. My Mother,  as well as my maternal Grandmother, were exquisite needlewomen. One would think it only natural for me to follow in their footsteps.  However, my own daughters do not appear to share these interests. Mine include embroidery, cross stitch, patchwork & quilting, dressmaking,  & tapestry to mention a few. Mending & darning fail to inspire me, although at some stages, I  need  to address boring stitching. When I was a child, I  watched my Mother embroidering, what was then called "Fancy Work." I remember several pieces, which are still around today, although not very fashionable. Tablecloths, of different sizes, a couple of special ones, sandwich tray cloths, throw overs &  Duchess sets to mention a few.

Dressmaking was a pursuit I relished. If a Vogue pattern could not be found to suit what I decided I wanted to make, my Mother would draft a pattern for what I had drawn & described.  When I was 12,  Mother made a beautiful patchwork quilt with cotton piecing on one side & pure wool fabric pieces on the backing. It remained in our family until a few years before my Mother died, when it was lost.

 An apron of my Mothers, a special one for Christmas.

Many Happy Returns to my very dear Mother. today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Childhood, New Year's Memories

A friend sent this email, New Years' Greeting  of a you tube  rendition of Auld Lang Syne .
It brought back wonderful childhood memories.

My Mother's youngest sister, had a  pottery tankard/mug, with a music box in the base,  & the words od a couple of verses of Auld Lang Syne printed onto one side. I loved to play with it at my Aunt's home as a child. I might add, my aunt is only 15 years older than I am,  so she probably had a profound influence on me growing up. I can still see that huge mug/tankard with the calico coloured pottery, the greenery & purple thistle flowers decorating the handle & sides. I 'd spend  hours picking it up to hear the music box chiming through the song.  I knew the song well, as New Year was special in my family & is Summertime in the Southern Hemisphere. 
  My  Maternal Grandparents had a lake house where extended family & friends would gather over Christmas, New Year & school holiday times. They were Halcyon days, swimming, exploring, boating, reading & playing. On New Years Eve, it was usually sunny & hot.  As the children swam & played, the adults prepared for a wonderful celebratory feast, that evening. While my Grandmother  and aunts prepared sweets & salads, the men prepared a suckling pig for the barbecue. My Grandfather would then walk the lakeside estate & invite everyone to join our hospitality from 7pm that evening. There would be a a huge log fire burning in the outdoors & folk would gather  & enjoy the spirit of the evening. As the midnight  hour drew near, everyone would assemble in a large circle with arms crossed, hands held  & at the stroke of midnight, all would burst into song  with Auld Lang Syne. 
  I hadn't heard this song or seen such renditions in many years. This year, along with the email mentioned above, we also saw Auld Lang Syne on the Last Night of the Proms, thus bringing back all those wonderful memories. 

Here is an identical mug, enjoy with me.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Last of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

How bare the tree looks today as it is being undressed & dismantled.. I don't enjoy this time as I take each decoration down from the branches.
I'm reminded of the link it has to Christmases from times past.  The wonderful baubles, some really old ones belonged to my Maternal Grandmother, now safely in my care. I remember those from my childhood. Others  that were my Mothers'. A vast collection also, of ones our children made when they were small,  special pieces as gifts from friends, our collection over our married life, along with a special dowel tree  devoted to hand made & stitched ornaments, some from friends & some from other stitchers.
The sitting room now looks every so naked, devoid of all the wonderful  pieces that have enhanced this room & our home over the Christmas celebration.

The  absent tree,  pack away in the loft, leaves a bare tree skirt, which will also be stored away until it is needed  for Christmas 2017.   It has graced one of our trees every year, since 1985.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

While still in "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

With Christmas 2016 a fading memory, one looks at the photographs to remember special times.

The Christmas break up for a couple of the stitching groups I belong to, were celebrated with either a Secret Santa at a luncheon or, with a small  Christmas item for each member of the group. For the Secret Santa group I made this Santa ornament below,can be found here

What I need to add is, the link is in Italian, however if you sew you can follow the video & work out how to make the Santa. I also reduced the size of the centre starting block to 2", then continued with the specified 1" strips to build the Log Cabin block. One log cabin block will render two Santa s. Enjoy.

 I usually include another small gift for everyone who attends the lunch. This year I made small individual name tags for their scissors & added two needle threaders, in a  Christmas paper envelope. Here they are all wrapped & ready for  the group. The other group received a lovely sparkling tree decoration & two needle threaders

  Earlier, at a November GTG, another member was stitching a wee fox. I immediately  thought of someone I knew who adored foxes, so I asked if I could use the pattern. That person had been great, in helping me acquire a few special beads from a site where she is located.  I stitched the wee fox ornament, posted it to her & it arrived in time for Christmas. I also included a scissors name tag & two needle threaders.

 For Christmas 2016 I was unable to ice the Christmas cake. It makes up to be a very heavy cake, so I gave it a red & white striped skirt, wrapping it around the cake while it was on the milk glass stand.. I added a sprig of real Holly leaves from our garden, red berries & tiny silver fir trees. It tasted great & we didn't miss the sugar hit, of the icing. The cake is guaranteed to turn out evenly cooked, from the recipe & it is cooked in a wooden cake pan. It has always turned out even, every time I've used this recipe.
The aroma, which was strong & delightful, woke the cat. She  was  very  keen to sample the cake so we meanly, removed it from her access.

This year it was necessary for us to be still at Christmas. We had a rather delicious  meal of roast vegetables, along with  ham & turkey trimmings . It was a coolish day so we enjoyed the hot traditional
feast while our guest in the room, slept on. Obviously the aromas from the ham & turkey, were not as appealing as the cake.


It is getting very close to the time to take down the decorations, for this time of of celebrating. Two more days & the house will look really bare for a short time, until we adjust to the  lack of decorations. With a New Year 3 day in, it is time to look ahead.