Friday, December 30, 2016

Thoughts on a New Year....

 ~ Greetings and Warm Welcome ~ 

The New Year is upon us...
so I thought I'd reflect on my 2016 and share with you my stitching "was" and my stitching "hopes".



First off let's take a look at my 2016 Christmas Cookies...
Katie and I made these on Dec. 23, just in time for the big party we had here over the weekend :)

Candy Canes Frosty Packages Red Truck Santa and Mrs. Claus

We made 143 cookies. Shared them with friends and neighbors and we are still eating them. AND a week later they are still good. Lots of work, these take, but they are delicious.
If you are interested in learning how to do these cookies as well as the recipes I use, etc. etc. Please see Sweet Sugar Belle blog. I use her Royal Icing Recipe and I use her basic sugar cookie recipe. PLUS she taught me everything I know. I read and read and read a lot of cookie blogs, but Sugar Belle spells it all out and I like it being all spelled out. Sharing is caring, and she shares it and lays it all out for you to learn. She has the same  philosophy as I do when it comes to learning and I appreciate her! Thank you Callye!

Please note... learning to do these cookies is just as expensive as a serious hobby in cross stitching! I have cookie stash that rivals my cross stitch stash. You begin the whole "I'm gonna learn to make iced cookies" thinking oh cookie cutters are cheap...Well HA HA HA on you! I have a tub (literally a large sterlite container) filled with cutters. And another filled with my cookie roller, tips, bags, bottles, my gel colorings (think DMC in small tubes of 100 different colors to achieve "just the right shade")....cookie cooling racks... 15 really large (like in professional kitchens) cookie sheets. To do cookies like these it takes lots and lots and lots of ...stuff. But...I've made a couple of batches over the last two years for friends of mine...which lead to friends of my friends that got my name... which means a couple more batches for profit. Anyway between those batches for profit and my catering the boys' Eagle Scout reception and Katie's graduation reception...I figure I have paid for my cookie stash :)

In the week intervening between Christmas and New Years....
I always try to stitch at least one ornament to commemorate our Christmas to hang on our tree the following year. I picked out and stitched:

"Heart Pin Cushion" 
from Mary Garry's Sewing Cabin
found in the 2000 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Magazine

Mary Garry's Heart Pincushion

It is stiched on 36 ct. Vintage Country Mocha 
Using Gentle Arts Piney Woods and Mulberry threads

Yep, I pretty much love it...
AND this is my first OFFICIAL ornament for my Antique/Sampler themed Christmas Tree that I hope to have ornaments enough to fill a small tree next year. 

Which leads me to my goals for 2017...
this is going to be the first year in memory that I will not start something new on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Nope...I'm going to work on a WIP. I'm going to try to work on a WIP for 2017 in general. Oh there will be plenty of starts, as I just got done kitting a huge Mirabilia - you'll hear more on that later on in the new  year. But to be honest...I'm happy with just being me and stitching what I have going on right now. 

2016...
wasn't a prolific stitching year. There was lots of struggles in 2016 for me personally, but I look at all struggles in life as being forged in steel. Every day no matter if it is filled with all positives, or all negatives is a day of blessings if you just look a little below the surface. I have tried to think of life in that way this year particularly. Counting my blessings instead of automatically turning to negativity. Negativity is easier, looking for hidden blessings much harder, but once you practice looking for blessings you notice that your day is filled with them. I'm going to keep on looking for blessings in 2017. 

2017 Prayer journal...
my new journal is purchased and I have transferred names and intentions that I know still need prayer from my 2016 journal into my 2017 journal. This is my 3rd year offering my prayers up and asking for people with prayer needs to contact me. If you have specific requests for prayer, please privately e-mail me (located under the mailbox in the sidebar). I keep everything private. The only eyes that see that journal is mine. No request for prayer is taken lightly, no request for prayer or intentions mentioned is too small or too large for God. I will pray most devotedly for all intentions. Doing this prayer journal has been a very positive thing for me in my faith walk. So as I pray for you, you are really helping me, a poor sinner, be a better person. Thank you!

So...
I believe that is enough for now. May your New Year's Celebrations be safe, festive, fun and filled with every thing good. May you shine in 2017! 

Now...
let's stitch ALL the things! Until next time...

Hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!....


Merry Christmas from my family to yours...

Christmas Eve Mass 2016


Christmas Day Mass 2015
(look how they've grown and changed!)

May the Infant Jesus...all brand new and laying in his manger, bless each of you with health, happiness and joy!








Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day 21 and Day 22 ....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Let's talk THEME TREES!!....
ahhhhh...one of my favorite topics and one of my favorite things to dream about....
if you have been a follower of me or my blog for any length of time you will know that I have two major theme trees in my life. My handmade ornament tree, which houses over 500 handmade ornaments. About 275 of those are cross stitched by my own hands, while the rest are handmade by the hands of either myself and Keith (when we were children), my own children, a few painted ceramic ones from my maternal grandmother, a few cross stitched from my friends and about a dozen hand-painted by my sister in law. Each one is special and beautiful and loved by me. 

Here are photos of my Handmade Family Tree...
(which I think I already shared...but its worth seeing again, there's a lot of work and a lot of beauty in that tree...)
2016 Tree Front
2016 Tree Left side 
  2016 Tree right

My second theme tree is my Prairie Schooler Santa Tree...
this year's version sits inside a milk can from my paternal grandparents Dairy Farm that I inherited. I painted it black (it was rusty and rather nasty)...

2016 Prairie Schooler Santa Tree

I only added two ornaments to it this year...
it's been a rough year stitchy-wise.

Now let's talk 2017 Theme Tree Aspirations...
I'm quite certain that many, if not all of you, have seen "Hands On Design aka Cathy Habermann's 
 newest "12 Days of Christmas" If not...go look HERE
Funny, really. I just bought a knock-off feather-type tree and thought a 12 Days of Christmas ornament series would be perfect. Then the very next day...whamo! I saw Hands On Design  preview picture on Facebook. 
WOWZA! 
Other 12 Days options would of course be: Prairie Schooler's 12 Days of Christmas Version 

copyright Prairie Schooler ~ Hoffman Distributing

Or Plum Street Sampler's "12 Days Sampler" version which happens to be a freebie at Paulette's blog and can be found HERE

copyright Plum Street Sampler - Paulette Stewart

So...
definitely a "12 Days of Christmas" theme tree is feasible and desirable to me for 2017.

The other theme tree that I have kicked around in my brain for years is a "Sampler Tree"...
I pitched the idea a couple of years ago to Diane Williams of Little House Needleworks and she created a series of 12 designs all with a nod to Sampler Making. You can see those 12 designs which I was lucky enough to stitch and finish for her: HERE 

If you want more inspiration for Sampler Trees please visit Mary Beale's website and gaze upon the beautiful trees at:  Linda Wallace's House

While you are there you can view Mary's own sampler type ornaments in her shop that is ready for instant download: Mary's Shop 

There are lovely, beautiful sampler type ornaments in the older issues of Just Cross Stitch Ornament issues (I'm talking 2010 down to 1997) Sheepish Designs, Blackbird Designs, Little by Little, Hands to Work, Sampler House and so many more fabulous designers that give a nod to Sampler's and Sampler Making in ornament designs that are ready to stitch. If you don't own the ornament issues down that far...lucky you... they are available for purchase: HERE  (if link doesn't work just go to Amazon and google Just Cross Stitch Ornaments CD and it pops up from 1997 - 2013 all magazines on one CD for $25)

Other Designers that have fantastic patterns, huge big samplers that may or may not have anything to do with Christmas, but you can pull out specific design motifs from their larger sampler patterns and would work perfectly for a "Sampler Tree" theme is:
The Scarlett House ~ Tanya Brockmeyer
Plum Street Samplers ~ Paulette Stewart
Threadwork Primitives ~ Nan Lewis

Think about it... for instance a pastoral scene which is highly prized and desired in samplers...such as this one in the Heartland Sampler from The Scarlett House
Lookie there at that Cow...perfect little side oval ornament for a Sampler tree. 

Plum Street has put out a PLETHORA of designs that are smallish and can be manipulated sizewise by choosing the linen size you stitch it on... an example is Pomegranate Santa

With Thy Needle and Thread...oh my word...I can get lost sitting and looking at all of her reproductions and original designs. Just go look at her shop: HERE

Are you seeing my Sampler Tree? 
I sure am.

Have I inspired you to create your OWN Theme Tree?
I sure hope so! 

In the meantime...
I created some videos of my theme trees to get an "up close and personal" look of both of them..

Tomorrow....
we ice the cookies...so being that it will be an ALL day affair, this video and blog counts as two days in my book!

Until the 23rd...where we will have a review of my favorite gadgets and gizmos...and a where to spend your Santa bucks :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Day 20...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

When you think about Christmas...
the first thing that comes to my is

Faith - Family - Friends

I have been blessed abundantly in all three of the F's but today I'm going to talk about friends.

Over 10 years ago...
I was just a cross stitcher that when I had a free moment I'd pull out a piece and work on it in the evenings, after my children went to bed. Then my eyes were opened to bulletin boards and blogs. Wow! Never had I seen such lovely things created and people that actually cross stitched!

I read blog after blog...
for many months and then thought, why not? I've always enjoyed writing. I love to tell stories. I'm going to try my hand at this blog thing. 

Who would have thought...

that years later I would have such very close friends (and we ARE friends) sharing our lives together.

Our joys. . .
Our successes. . .
Our failures. . .
Our sorrows. . .
Our families. . .
Our love of cross stitching. . .

I do find it rather funny that the majority of people that I correspond with, my circle of very tight friendships, I have met through this blog and live no where near Indiana. I know there are very prolific and wonderful people that stitch in Indiana but very few have I met here in my own state or converse with me. I have a few very close Hoosier friends that I meet up with and stitch with time to time, but the majority of my "peeps" are those that live very far away. 

I was lucky on my trip that I got to meet some very lovely, wonderful stitchers in San Francisco, CA..

The first meet up was at Alameda, CA at the Needle in the Haystack.

Here is the group:
(From Left - Right)
Olivia B (FlossTube Channel HERE)
Jennifer (Delicious Threads needleminders on Facebook) and FlossTube Channel HERE
Becky - Obsessed Stitcher, FlossTube Channel HERE
Rose C (FlossTube Channel HERE)
-- me --
Michelle H (Instagram @mhudson1992)
Madelyn (Instagram @happygostitchy)


we had such fun shopping and chatting and laughing :)


It was a very wonderful day and I want to thank ALL of these ladies for welcoming me for the day and sharing friendship and fun with me! What a great day it was! 
Thank you all so very much!



Then three days later...
it was on to meet my longtime, wonderful friends Edgar of "Blacksheep's Bit of the Web" fame and Rico! 

(Hey Edgar...stealing your pic it was better than mine!)

Long...have I corresponded with Edgar and long have I loved him and Rico too. Do you ever meet someone and your heart just "feels at home" with? Like you've known each other from the very beginning...but really you haven't ever met them in real  life? That was exactly how it was meeting Edgar. I knew his story, he knew my story and we connected at the heart level. My brother and sister in law (Jeremy and Ryan) took me to San Francisco to meet up with Edgar and Rico and it turned out fabulous, because Edgar and I sat down started talking and 2 hours later...
LOL!
Honest to heaven we didn't hardly have time to eat because he was looking right at me and I was looking right at him and we just gabbed and gabbed and gabbed. I could have stayed and talked the entire day away, but rush hour was upon us and Edgar and Rico had things to do, so we parted ways. 
But I will never forget our meeting and I hope fervently in future that we get to see each other again...someday.

Edgar and Rico...
you sweet boys. I love you and thanks so much for meeting up with me, our friendship means the world to me and I am so blessed and humble to think that through this little thing called "stitching" that I love so much, brought two people into my life that are just the epitome of friendship and kindness (and FUN!). Both men are just hilarious and wonderful people to hang with!


Alright...
so grab up your cups of coffee, tea, water, soda...and let's all toast to ~
FRIENDSHIP
may it always be a shinning star in our night sky!
A star that I have been blessed with tenfold.
Thank YOU ALL for being my friend.
Love you all!


Until tomorrow....


Monday, December 19, 2016

Day 19....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Well...
I picked up Katie safely on Saturday afternoon! 
We had a celebratory lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
Yes, we had the cheesecake (we had it boxed and ate it for supper)
Here is a picture of the Pfeiffer girls back together!


On Sunday...
it was icy and rather nasty. We went to late Mass and then after Mass the boys went to work and the girls and I went to get our hair trimmed and do some grocery shopping and some last minute gift purchasing. 

We were having a great time...
until we went to SAMs and I ended up locking my keys (inside my purse) in my new car. It's a Toyota Avalon and its remote entry and remote key (I press a button to start the car and just touch the handles of the car to open the doors as long as I have the fob on my person) .  But my "smart" car thought I and my keys were INSIDE the car and so it locked me out and kept starting the alarm system when I touched the handles because it thought I was an intruder, not the frantic owner looking at the purse on the seat of the car and wanting inside.

Well thanks to the kindness of strangers...
and there ARE still good and true people out there, even though it seems that kindness is rare or hard to find nowadays, I am always reminded that this is not true - there are good people everywhere willing to lend a helping hand and sadly the negative nellies and those who promote such negative behavior are the ones that stand out. 

Anyway...due to the kindness of strangers...
who drove Katie and I home (Ellie had already been dropped off at home - Keith has been in St. Louis on work travel for the past 8 days and is due back late Wednesday or early Thursday.) The lovely couple drove us home and we got our keys and I drove the van with Katie back and dropped her off with the spare keys and she drove the Avalon home and I followed. 

As if that wasn't enough....
remember I said it was Icy during the day...
well our drive way up next to our house never gets sun, so...hauling in the groceries I slipped and fell HARD on the concrete. Flat on my rear-end/right side. Well I had the wind knocked out of me. It took me a few minutes to catch my breath, stop crying and actually get up off the concrete. Thank God I didn't hit my head, because I went down VERY HARD. Well my butt and thigh is swollen, I have probably pulled/severely strained my ham string, as I can hard bend myself at the waist without my right back thigh and rear end hurting so badly I want to cry. But I'm icing every couple of hours. Taking ibuprofen and taking it easy. Gently stretching by just bending at the waist and letting myself "hang" there for a few minutes to try to lengthen my hamstrings as I'm VERY tight and I know they are severely abused right now. God willing I'll get it myself to rights. 

So...
just a quickie post today. I'm not feeling 100% but I have so much to be thankful for, and sometimes one runs smack dab into a brick wall. There are always road blocks in life. I'm try to remember that and to remain positive. It could be so much worse. So I'm going to say my prayers of thanksgiving and ask for healing while I'm at it.

You'd think...
I have enough padding on my bum that I'd have bounced yesterday. 
Not so. Here's hoping my daily elliptical workouts mean that I'm "in shape" and my bum quits hurting faster than normal :)

Somehow me thinks...
that 46 years of age trumps my working out daily.
I don't bounce like I used to...

Until tomorrow...


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Day 17 and Day 18...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

I'm combining the two weekend days because...
today I go and pick up Katie from college!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She will be home with us for 3 glorious, wonderful weeks!
With all of us here together at home.
Simple joy!

Yesterday I stitched and finishing my boys' 2016 yearly ornaments.
These have been percolating around in my brain for the last year.
2016 is the year they got their driver's license so I stitched vehicles...

Ian 2016 Ornament Jacob Ornament 2016

The addition of the little trees loaded in the back and tied on the top of the car were original to me and I thought about it all year long. This summer when I found the little trees. WELL....I knew it was going to be the addition I was looking for....
and it was, as I think these ornaments are the cutest!

The truck is from "Tree Lot" by Little House Needleworks
The Car is from "Route 66" by Little House Needleworks
just another example of thinking outside the box with patterns that you may already own.


On my grand vacation starting on Day 10 and all the way to Day 28 I was stationed in Fairfield, CA. 
I met for the first time my niece and nephew. 
Here we are together. My nephew's name is Weber and my niece's name is Evan.
They were doll babies and I'm pretty sure they liked their "Auntie Von" as they called me :) 


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So that's a wrap for the weekend...talk to you Monday!

Until then...

Friday, December 16, 2016

Day 16 ....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Today it's all about this guy:

Keith

He always bakes us cakes...

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He loves his family...



He "hates" cats...

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and he really loves me...


How could a girl ask for more? 
Plain and simple I can't. AND...like I've said before on my "Keith" day during the 25 Days of Christmas...
It was meant to be because when I was first married, and my mother in law gave me Keith's childhood ornaments, he had made a Boy Scout clothes pin ornament when he was in Boy scouts and I had made a ballerina ornament when I was in dance. 
Boy Scout and Ballerina

Now they hang on our tree together every year...
and when its time to take down the tree and put away the ornaments they get wrapped together and laid on top because they are the first ornaments to go on our tree each year.

:) 

Speaking of trees...
Day 8 and Day 9 of my grand adventure was spent in YOSEMITE!
here's a few of my favorite shots.

Upper Yosemite Falls...
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Sequoia...
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They Sequoia they cut a hole in so a state coach could get through...
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You can see Half Dome way in the background there (we couldn't get to it as that part of the park was closed for winter).
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Bridal Veil falls...
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Yosemite was one of my favorite places...the effervescent smell of pine permeated the air. It was majestic in it's valleys and granite rock faces and sheer drops....the waterfalls, the twists and turns...the mighty sequoia trees. Yep. Pretty fantastic. The whole time I was there, I was wishing Keith was there with me. He would love Yosemite....and someday we will be there together.

And on Day 10 of the grand adventure...
the loooooong drive was almost over and we were leaving Yosemite and pulled in and ate at this little cafe in Groveland, CA....

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and...I wished I was home with the REAL ELLIE.

until tomorrow...