Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 In Review

I noticed that Facebook has this feature that displays the highlights of your year.  In reality all Facebook does is select your most popular posts and displays them as "2013 in review".   I like the concept, just not on Facebook.  



Here is my 2013 year in review:

  • January:  I resolved to be more physically fit, lose some weight and change my eating habits. 
  • February: I became addicted to Tim Hortons Fruit Explosion muffins.  If you've never tasted them, you have no right to judge me!!!  
  • March:  I read more magazines, books and blogs.  Pretty much I became infused in reading articles on the internet about healthy foods, vitamins and exercise too.  
  • April: I fell off my healthy lifestyle but managed to get back to it. 
  • May: I got back to Scrapbooking, placed my first order on Etsy and discovered that "someone" really truly dislikes me in a real big way (ya it made me laugh, HA!).
  • June: I fell back in love with jogging!  I began setting up an Etsy shop and ordered a ton of craft supplies on ebay (all from China because they don't gouge in shipping rates like other countries tend to do).
  • July: I gave up sugar, caffeine and crispy crunch chocolate bars.  It was harder to give up the chocolate bars if I must be honest up in here ok.  I also ran more and started clocking my distance.  Oh and lets not forget the month of exercise challenges I did like the squat challenge and the ab challenge.... I'll never do that stupidness ever again!
  • August: I tried to give up social media for the whole month but cracked about two weeks later.  I was still losing weight even if slowly but I was losing inches for sure!  woot woot!  And my Etsy shop was developing nicely thought still not open for business.
  • September: I vacationed in New York with my husband.  I worked a bit more on my Etsy shop (you know, the policies, photos and whatnot), and I lost more weight!  I gained motivation from other bloggers on line whom I thank very much!  And I also got started on the annual family Christmas ornament.
  • October: I decided to run well into autumn and throughout winter but it was challenging!  I learned how to knit but still suck at it so I need more practice.  I bought a new set of bamboo knitting needles.  I practiced crocheting more and got started on the cross stitch ornaments for the kids but people keep asking me to stitch for their kids so my list is getting longer!
  • November: I got sick with the flu but still jogged more.  Actually I increased my jogging time like a nutball.  I got really annoyed when someone flat out lied about their health just to get attention on social media. That's really twisted if you ask me.  
  • December: I stitched Christmas ornaments til my fingers were numb.  I baked but not enough.... . Rushed to the post office to mail Christmas cards, ornaments and gifts that I recently found out haven't all arrived at their destinations yet... Canada Post, how you gonna do me like that eh?  I thought we were friends!.  Sheesh.  I had a lovely Christmas.  Mom said she really enjoyed Christmas this year. I had time off of work and didn't over eat and gained only half a pound.  I'm cool with that!

And there is my 2013 year in review!  



Blocked!

2013 is this close to coming to an end.... and I currently have writers block!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dude, Seriously?


Isn't there a saying or something about the best form of flattery is when someone copies you or something like that?  Would that apply to someone stealing your blog posts or photos and posting them on their page and labeling them as themselves?  Ordinarily I'd be a bit ticked off but since the individual in question really doesn't like me, I think it's truly amazing that they'd go to great lengths to steal the nonsense on this blog.  Seriously! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to everyone in the blog-o-sphere!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve


Time to enjoy family, loved ones, friends, and be thankful for all that our Lord has given us.  Remember the reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sub Zero

It's really cold today in my neck of the woods.




Monday, December 16, 2013

Checking It Twice

This year I added a few more members to the Annual Family Christmas Ornament list.  They are family members... from my Dad's side of the family.  Previously, only my Granny was receiving the ornament, but sadly, she passed away in 2007.  Four members of my paternal family were added to the list.  I hope they do enjoy the ornament as they take plenty of time to stitch and are made with love.... even if I do burn my finger tips with hot glue, or pick my finger with a needle, or dry out my hands from handling acrylic yarn, or get angry for not having the winning bid on ebay for the pattern I want to make, running out of plastic canvas and having to travel all the way to the craft store an hour away via public transit to get more.

Now that's love!! 



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Not Even A Mouse

13th Annual Family Ornament
Year 2012: Mouse with Cheese

I had no clue what to make for 2012.  I had narrowed it down to three things but didn't have a pattern for any of them.  Finally I decided on a mouse.  You know, from the poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas... "not a creature was stirring, not even a MOUSE".

I had begun cutting out a pattern for a two dimensional mouse but then stumbled on a 3D mouse pattern.  He is quite small, only about 3" but he is three dimensional....and was so difficult to stitch!    .....here come the complaints..... 

  • His arms were too small I kept losing them.
  • His legs were too small and I kept losing them too.
  • His body never went together right unless I took my time forming the shape. ugh!
  • Using hot glue to stick the arms and legs on burned my fingers time and time again!
Ok, I'm done complaining now ha! ha! ha!  When I saw them all lined up, he was well worth the trouble.

I couldn't stitch him multiple colours, obviously, but I was able to be creative and use two different shades of grey, black and white to stitch them.  Mom got the white one, Dad got the black one and everyone else got shades of grey.  Their noses were micro mini pom poms in either pink, red, or black and they all had small size google eyes glued to their tiny heads that also burned my finger tips.  His piece of cheese was an unstitched piece of orange plastic canvas so it looked like "swiss cheese" ... pretty cool eh?
He was mailed inside a small padded manila envelope with the Christmas cards, and this year I had added one person to the list of recipients... an old friend from childhood, who was like a sister back in the good ole days!  I had cut extra patterns of this guy but never stitched them. 

This mouse was hard to stitch, but he was stitched with much love... so much love that it burned my finger prints off ... Ha!

Now.... what could the ornament for 2013 be?  By now everyone is in receipt of the 2013 ornament....  I'll make the big reveal tomorrow!!!!!   

 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Bird House

12th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2011: Holiday Bird House

Finally I got the nerve to do a 3D ornament.  I got the pattern from 75 Merry Christmas Ornaments In Plastic Canvas (no, it's not the only book I own but it does have awesome patterns!)  I also got to stitch the houses in multiple colours!  See in my photo below, I took that photo two days before I mailed them!  You can spot thirteen houses in that photo if you count the very tip of the aqua blue one way off to the right.  

The only difference in some of them is the birds.  The pattern doesn't call for a bird to be placed on the ornament, that was totally my idea!  I had intended to use red cardinals (the "Christmas bird") but I accidentally ordered the wrong size.  I ordered 1" birds instead of 2" birds. 

I used the 2" mushroom birds I already had in my craft stash but when I ran out I could only find the hummingbirds, and those I got at the Dollarama.  I had gone to floraltrims.com to purchase the red cardinals.  They have a wide variety of craft birds so I highly recommend them for your crafting needs!! 

I also used mini fabric flowers by cutting off most of the stem and hot glue them to the front of the house where a small vine was stitched. The pattern only required the vine, so the floral addition was my idea.  I believe this is one of the very few patterns where I used yarn as the hanger instead of fishing line. 

Mailing these was more expensive because they had to be in a box not an envelope.  I purchased cute re-useable boxes at the Dollarama for a buck each and enclosed the ornament and this was also the year I made a family photo slideshow of my Mom's family so I added the DVD to the box.  Basically, the box was the exact size square as the DVD case!  phew!  And mailed them as "small package" which cost an arm and a leg considering how many I had to post but it was worth every penny.  Though I don't see myself stitching a 3D ornament of this size anytime in the near future with postal prices constantly on the rise.  Obviously, when it comes to distributing the annual ornaments, I only mail the ones that absolutely have to be posted, the rest I can deliver in person.

I've had plenty of requests for this pattern over on flickr.  Apparently it seems to be a craft fair favorite.  One lucky lady got my last two birds, one half stitched bird house with extra yarn to complete it, and the pattern sent to her in the mail!  I made a few more of these and geve them out at church that year as well.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ice Dancers

11th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2010: Ice Dancer

The beauty of this ornament hopefully made everyone forget about the previous year's teapot fiasco.

This was one of my favorites.  She was so easy to do.  I actually stumbled on this pattern and thought it was the cutest thing and saved it just in case I decided to use it.  Well I did use it simply because I didn't bother to look for any other pattern, she was just too cute! 

I found the pattern over at freepatterns (link will take you directly to the pattern).  

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was that it required some sort of mesh fabric for the dress and I had no intention of using fabric!  I simply used the daisy loop stitch to create a ruffled skirt.  She's stitched with a front and a back side so on each side I incorporated the daisy stitch so when the two pieces are stitched together, ta-da!  A skirt!  

I made it a point to have her hair ribbon match her dress.  So cute!  Again, I was able to stitch in multiple colours, and if memory serves me correct, I had about a dozen colours made!  Mom got the red one. 
I had difficulty with the neckline of her dress, stitching it was a nightmare in my opinion because the stitches are on a slant so her collar didn't appear to line up so I used co-ordinating glitter fabric paint to go over the neckline and cuffs of her outfit and also dotted some as buttons down the front !  Her skate blade was a broken paper clip!  She was easy to make but I had to use larger padded envelopes for mailing and add extra postage which is no big deal but I didn't want her skate "blades" to poke through the envelopes.

Family loved this one!  By now, I've been giving my mom's sisters & brothers the ornament, also my siblings, my Mother-In-Law, my best friend, and a coworker too.  I alway stitch extra so sometimes I have one or two laying around that I'll give to folks at church, however, the one I have laying around of this is still only half stitched (she was to have a dark yellow dress but I ran out of dark yellow so I still have to go match up the yarn in order to complete her.)

From what I heard, this one was "the best so far!"

   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Afternoon Tea

10th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2009: Afternoon Tea 

Sadly enough this was my worst ornament ever.  I can honestly say that I was not completely happy with the way this ornament turned out.  I loved the pattern and the idea I had in my head just didn't seem to  come forth.

I loved the pattern, I loved the concept, I had great plans for this pattern but in each and every one I stitched I made a mistake (and any family members reading this who received one of these is just now finding this out!)

I really was ashamed to send these out but it it was too late to make something new and I really wanted to do a tea set.  Earlier in the year one of my Aunts held an afternoon tea party, hats and all!  It was a very lovely affair.   I used that as my inspiration for this years' ornament and went searching for patterns of tea.  I had initially wanted to do a 3D tea cup but couldn't win the pattern I wanted on ebay!  Bummer!  

I found this pattern on the Kreinik website, the instructions are still there but unfortunately the pattern is not!  Personally, that just doesn't make any sense since you can't stitch the directions without the pattern to follow!

Once again I stitched these in a variety of colours and as I had run out of felt, there's no telling what colour I glued to the backside of the tea pots! 

Sad but true. 

Shame on me.

I think my aunts & uncles were too polite to comment negatively on these or afraid they may not get another one the following year, pfft, who knows, that's what I call LOVE! 

Either way,  I loved the way the pot and cup go together, I just wish I had taken my time with them and not rushed along.  

The cup was hot glued to the edge of the pot, and I also used glitter paint on some of the trim.  The ornament was about 4" tall.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dear Santa;

9th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2008 : Letter From Santa

This pattern was also taken from 75 Merry Christmas Ornaments In Plastic Canvas.  

The original pattern called for a white envelope and it was a letter TO Santa so I had to make a few adjustments.  I just stitched the envelope red with dark green trim and used a gold button as a closure.  The envelope can be opened and inside is a folded letter from Santa saying hello, and hoping you were good all year, and telling you how busy's he's been preparing for Christmas!  ha! ha! ha!  The front side of the envelope has a star shape brad that says Happy Holidays on it.  I put the brad in the top right corner as a "stamp".

I attached the fishing line from the top corner of the envelope so when it hangs on the tree it will be on a slant.  The finished ornament was about 3.5" by 4.5 inches.  I had to post this one in a small padded envelope because the curve in the closure of the stitched envelope needed some padding protection during export.

This ornament was made for my maternal aunts & uncles, my parents, my siblings and two close friends. 


  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Say Cheese!

8th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2007: Photo Frame

This had to be the easiest ornament of all and lots of thought went into this because I was rushed to create something.  You see, in the summer of 2007, I married Prince Charming and therefore had absolutely no time to stitch anything really detailed but skipping a year was simply out of the question! 

Since the summer was filled with photo taking, I figured I needed to make something to display a photo on the tree.  Such a parctical idea.

I didn't bother looking for a pattern for a photo frame, I simply used my imagination!  I had plenty of mini plastic stars and used two stars per frame.  I cut out an insert in the middle of the front side, but stitched the back side complete.  Each star was unique in colour ... I really like when I can swap colours!  

I stitched the photo inside the frame. When I made these frames for my maternal aunts & uncles, I stitched a "couples" photos inside the frame so when they received it, their photo was already in it!  I also made them for my nieces & nephews since I hadn't done any cross stitch ornaments for them this particular year.  So cute!

Ok well in this photo, I inserted a picture of my niece who read a Bible verse at our wedding.  I'm casually hiding her identity by covering her eyes!  This lovely young lady just turned 17 last month!  I can't belive she's growing up so fast!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Angels In Our Midst

7th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2006:  Angel


This was a special ornament.  This ornament represented my Aunt "M" whom we lost. 

I knew I wanted this year's ornament to be an angel but I just wasn't sure what pattern to use.  I found this one over at Mary Maxim but I don't think it's there any more but surely you can find it on ebay if interested.  I belived it's called Mary Maxim Christmas Plastic Canvas Kit #7149 Beaded Angels. 

This angel was about 4" tall, and was made with beads adorning the wings, dress and the head was also a larger bead but I didn't make the angel as per the pattern, not quite anyway.  I did stitch a front and back side of the angel but did not stitch any beads into her dress or wings.  I didn't want it to be a flashy angel, just a simple one.   I used a large glitter pom pom as her head instead of the large pearl that comes with the kit.  I used a glitter gold chenille stem as the halo but I managed to make the halo appear to float above her head by using the trusty near invisible fishing line (aka beading cord).  That was pretty much it.  Nothing fancy, just plain and simple all white angel with a white/silver pom pom head and gold chenille halo. 


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Heart and Home


6th
Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2005: Heart and Home



I remember this one very well.  Every time I think about this one I smile to myself.

I wanted to do something extra special for my Mom because she was really feeling extra sentimental.  I found the house pattern with the words "Our Hearts Come Home At Christmas" in the 75 Merry Christmas Projects In Plastic Canvas book and just used my imagination to take it from there!
After I stitched the house exactly as per the pattern, I then took some plastic canvas heart shapes and on one of the hearts I cut out a square to make it into a picture frame then I inserted a black and white photo of my maternal grandparents and stitched another heart over the back to enclose it.  The heart was then joined to the house with floral craft wire.  As was the norm, white felt covered the backside of the house (the heart was two hearts stitched together) and fishing line was the hanger.  I also added a gold heart cabouchon to the top of the house like a small window.  Only my Mom and my maternal aunts & uncles received this ornament because it was made especially for them. 

My Mom really liked this one because of the photo of her parents inside.  The photo attached in this blog is of my finished stitching but I flipped the heart over so as not to display my grandparents' photo here.  I still have a few of the plastic pattern pieces cut out because I always cut extra so eventually I may stitch one containing my Mom's photo in the heart! 



Friday, December 6, 2013

Friendly Gingerbread Man

5th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2004: Gingerbread Man 

This was the year I started to take the annual ornament seriously to heart.  I had pondered over what to make, going through many patterns and narrowing down the search.  Though the choice was pretty easy since I hadn't made too many ornaments at this point,  I did want to make something easy but memorable and cute too.

A gingerbread man was perfect.  

Who doesn't bake gingerbread at Christmas? So why not have one made of plastic canvas and yarn to adorn your tree right?  Am I right!?

It was a no brainer this time around.  At the time, I participated in some online craft exchange groups, so I asked the fellow crafters if they has the perfect little gingerbread pattern and here he is.  I stitched him with the usual 4ply worsted weight yarn and used google eyes so he looks right at you.  For the "icing" I used glitter fabric paint!  See, by this time I was getting creative!!  

Brown felt covered his back side and the usual fishing line was used as a hanger. I attempted to make a few changes to each by adding buttons or sequins as well.

This little guy became a household favourite with everyone when comparing to the ones they'd already received.  My Aunt "M" loved him and said she could stare at him all day he was just so cute.  Sadly,Aunt "M" is no longer with us, but I will always remember when she told me how much she loved this little guy.
This year, my best friend was added to the family ornament list.  Believe me, you have to be VERY VERY SPECIAL to get on that list!!!
When completed, he was about 3" to 3.5" tall.





Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hey Santa Claus!

4th Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2003: Santa Claus

If memory serves me correct I knew that Santa Claus would be the ornament even before summer arrived!  By autumn, I had already drawn and cut the plastic canvas pattern that was a combination of three pieces: his face, his mustache, and his hat trim.  I purposefully used larger google eyes so instead of a "twinkle" in his eye, he looks more like a dear caught in the headlights!   A mini pink pom pom was hot glued as his nose, and his moustache was also hot glued in place.  The hat trim was stitched on to the top of the had and a glitter pom pom (in red or white) was used. The back was covered with white felt and fishing line was used to hang it.  He was pretty easy and quick to stitch and since he was flat, and small, he fit perfectly inside the envelopes that contained the Christmas cards.  Once again, this ornament was given to my maternal aunts & uncles, my paternal Granny, my parents and siblings. 

I found this pattern in a book 75 Merry Christmas Projects In Plastic Canvas.  

The completed stitching was about 3 inches tall. 





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Bedroom Slippers

3rd Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2002: Holiday Slippers

Though it wasn't my intention to make these for everyone, once I stitched the ornament, it pretty much was a done deal!  This time the ornament was also given to my siblings, my Dad and my paternal Granny.

I'd done some stitching throughout the the year and when I completed one pair of these tiny slippers I knew they had to be stitched as a Christmas ornament for the family.  They just screamed of an old fashioned Christmas.  Mom used to knit us slippers to wear for Christmas when we were kids, I guess as a way to pass down the old traditions she had or simply because she wanted to keep our feet warm.  Whatever the reason, we always got handmade slippers for Christmas along with a new flannel night gown, underwear and socks..... and ..... toys!  Yup, Mom always had us looking forward to Christmas!! 

The thing I liked about this type of pattern is I got to choose what colours to use so no two pairs were identical!  The pair in this photo were stitched with the Christmas Blend yarn, so the red, white and green ended up where it ended up!  Then I tied a piece of yarn as a bow atop the slipper while other pairs had pom poms or sequins stuck to the top, and were stitched with different colour yarn.  The bottom of the slipper was covered with colour felt to closely match the colour yarn used and the two slippers were bound together (side by side as in that photo) with floral craft wire and hot glue, then strung up with a piece of fishing line (beading cord).

These ornaments measured about 3" to 3.5" long per slipper.  The pattern was from "Holiday Slippers" in plastic canvas.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sweet Candy Canes

2nd Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2001: Candy Cane

When 2001 rolled around I hadn't given it much thought to make and mail out another ornament to my Mom's family.  I hadn't been searching for anything to stitch for anyone, basically I was just stitching for the sake of stitching!  

I recall it was somewhere in November and I had an old plastic canvas kit that my sister had given me a few years earlier. She'd bought the kit for herself a but while stitching one of the ornaments she got confused and when I discovered an error in the pattern, she just gave me the kit (that's pretty much how I began doing plastic canvas because up til that time I never knew of it.) From that kit, I stitched the red and white candy cane though I did go a step further and stitch a few green and white and some red and green ones as well. I put red or white felt on the back to cover the exposed yarn on the backside and strung it up with gold cord. I also put beads as the "berries", some red, some yellow, some green and then before you know it I was packing them inside the Christmas cards I was mailing to my maternal aunts and uncles.

This here is a picture of my stitching.  The finished ornament is about 2.5 inches tall (not including hanging cord obviously).  I was still pretty new to plastic canvas crafts so it does look a bit rough around the edges. I have since improved considerable with the stitching! 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Rudolph The Red Nose

1st Annual Family Christmas Ornament
Year 2000: Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

The first ornament in the Annual Family Christmas Ornaments was Rudolph!    I recall I downloaded the free pattern from freepatterns.com but I don't think they have it any longer (because I had to request another copy of it from a friend in a craft group...thanks for that by the way!!) 

The pattern originally was for three bookmarks, a reindeer, santa and a snowman.  I chose the reindeer because his antlers were cute and I only stitched his head and also cut a second piece of plastic canvas to stitch as the back of his head too.  The body of the reindeer was just a long stem because it was a bookmark so it was irrelevant as an ornament.  To finish off the ornament I used google eyes glued really close together and a glitter pom pom for his nose.  He also had fishing line (beading cord) as the hanger.  The ornament fit nicely in the same envelope that the Christmas card was mailed in because he was only about 2 or 2.5 inches big and relatively flat so just one extra stamp was used per card and was sent to my maternal aunts & uncles.

The photo here is of the pattern book as I did not take a photo of the finished item once I'd stitched it.  At the time, I doubt I even owned a digital camera! 

I've kept all the patterns aside though, just in case I decide to stitch them again!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Annual Family Christmas Ornament


How it all began...

I've been asked time and time again how I began the tradition of the Annual Family Christmas Ornament.  Well, here it is... pretty much what I can remember of it I should say:

If memory serves me correct, it hadn't been intended as an annual thing, just something I wanted to do at the moment since... (insert twilight zone music here)... it was the infamous year 2000... the year all computers were supposed to stop working and planes would fall from the sky if the software wasn't updated... yadda yadda yadda, you know, a virtual end of the world type of thing that had everyone on pins and needles the entire year waiting for something to go wrong though it never did...so basically the year played a role in all of this.  
Quite often leading up to the holidays Mom would tell us how her family spent Christmas back in the "good-old-days" when she was growing up.  She'd tell us how her Mum would sew dresses for her and her sisters, and make dolls.  She told us of the home made Christmas ornaments, and how they were strung on a real tree they cut down themselves.  Nothing big and flashy, just a fresh cut tree with a couple of handmade items strung on it.  She shared memories of all the wonderful baking that went on and the carols that she and her siblings would sing while her Mum baked bread and biscuits.  I guess I just wanted to bring something "home-made" back to Christmas for her in particular and also to her siblings, and the Annual Family Christmas Ornament was born!  

Though, still at this time it wasn't initially intended to be an annual thing, after the first two years went by of sending out the ornament inside the Christmas card, I just kept at it and each year as soon as Christmas is over, I would start making notes of ideas and keeping watch for patterns for next year's ornament.  I wrote them all down so that I'll remember what I made but I'm a little shaky on which year I gave one or two of them out. 

In the following days I'll post the ornaments that were sent and the "story"  behind each one.  They're all made using 7 count plastic canvas and 4ply worsted weight yarn.  I haven't duplicated an ornament yet and by the time this blog post gets published, the Annual Family Christmas Ornament for 2013 will be in the mail on it's way to family members!!  

Some traditions are just to valuable to leave behind, especially the ones our Grandparents either made or kept alive from their parents! 


note:  photo courtesy of sewfresh.blogspot.ca