"She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands." ((Proverbs 31:13)

Friday, December 31, 2010


 Meggie is totally enjoying her new pet bed, complete with a hand crocheted blankie, made for her by our daughter-in-law, Alyssa.  Meggie is a spoiled little pooch, but we love her to pieces.

As we prepare to watch 2010 come to a close, we pray that as we move ahead into the new year of 2011, that these words will remain with us.  "For You, Lord, have made me glad...;I will triumph in the works of your hands.  (Psalm 92.4) and also "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear!" (Hebrews:13:5-6).  

This is my final finished piece for 2010, which I have decided to name,  "CELEBRATIONS 2010".  (From Just Cross Stitch Ornament 2010 Issue)

In reflecting over the past year, as I have always told my children, it is in looking back at the road we've travelled, that we can best see where we've been, and how God has directed our paths.  Somehow, when we are living in the moment it is often difficult to understand why things happen as they do, why certain trials and tribulations have to happen amidst joyful circumstances too.  But, for me, it is in trusting the wise and loving ways of God, that I know He is always watching over me and my loved ones, and He always has our best interests in His hands.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy and Blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Keep Christmas With You All Through The Year....."

The words of a Christmas song are floating in my mind right now.  The lyrics go something like this....
"Keep Christmas With You All Through The Year.  When Christmas is over, give a little cheer....These precious moments, keep them close to you....Yes, keep Christmas with you all through the year."  If only we could keep the treasured spirit of Christmas in our hearts always every day of the year.

My Christmas ornaments and door hanger gifts were finished on December 23rd!  At least they were ready for wrapping before Christmas Eve!  I can remember, growing up, that my mother was always finishing a sewing project until late on Christmas Eve.  I have done this too, but this year, I promised myself to try and finish just a bit earlier.  Here are my finished pieces.

It was a beautiful and memorable Christmas this year.  We were blessed to spend it with our children, their spouses, our two precious little grandchildren, Emery, (11 months), and Ella, (almost 9 months), and Ella's grandparents, who came all the way from Virginia too!  What a joy it was to watch the wide eyed looks of excitement in the babies' eyes, as everyone opened presents, with the paper and bows flying everywhere.   Of course, Emery and Ella most enjoyed the pretty paper and glittering bows, especially the "gold" bows too!

The peaceful beauty of Christmas is now a memory, here yesterday and now it is hard to believe that, it is now just a treasured memory, until next year.  So many preparations.... so much joy, love, peace and faith abounds in this treasured celebration of our Lord's birth.    It always fills me with a little sadness when Christmas Day ends, because I love the meaning of it so much, and I want so much for our hearts to remember the reason for Christmas every day.

Love and Blessings to All of You.  Thank you, to everyone, for visiting my blog and sending me such nice little notes. I love all of them and look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Almost Christmas!!

Every year I wonder where the days in December go so quickly, and as usual I am busy as a bee, trying to finish baking my cookies, wrapping presents, and of course, finishing up some last minute stitching gifts!

Last Sunday morning we woke up to find that our roads were covered with "black ice", when my husband walked the dog, so our church service was cancelled and we stayed home.  So we decided that we would spend the morning decorating our Christmas tree!  Thank heavens for small blessings!

My ornament gifts are almost finished.  All of them are stitched and laced onto the foam core templates.  All that remains is to sew on the twisted cording or ribbons to each one.  I will try to get a few photos posted of each one, before they are given away as gifts!

Just thought that I would share with you some of my other Christmas projects.  Although the picture does not do this Christmas box justice, I had fun stitching up this delightful design, which fit perfectly onto the lid of the Sudberry box, which I discovered in my stash! 

This is a sweet little "NOEL" design, also tucked away in my Christmas stash, stitched up quickly.  I found the perfect sized gold frame for it too.  I'm very pleased with the way it came out!
This morning I made a quick trip to the post office to mail one last gift, and then it was home to bake a few more goodies.  I am not baking as much this year.  It is a lot of work, and much of it doesn't always get eaten because everyone always brings their Christmas treats to us too.  So, I have just made a few old time favorites that our family most enjoys.

Counting the days til Christmas!  Savor these precious moments before they are just memories.  I always love the days leading up to Christmas more than anything.  Just me being sentimental again:)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Swedish Saint Lucia Day

During some of my recovery time after one of my surgeries, I enjoyed stitching this Mill Hill beaded banner, called "Angel of Tidings".  Because of the wreath that she is wearing on her head,
it kind of reminds me of the Swedish mythical Saint Lucia, although Lucia wears a wreath of lighted candles in her hair.  
 I first learned of the custom of Saint Lucia Day, celebrated on December 13th, from my husband, Bruce, who is Swedish.  Lucia was an ancient mythical girl who bore the role of a "bearer of light" during the dark, cold Swedish winters.  Ancient stories tell of Lucia rising very early in the morning, wearing a candle lit wreath in her hair, to light her way. 

Today, in Sweden,  the Saint Lucia celebrations consist of a processional with Lucia, her handmaidens, "Star" boys and Brownies, following, carrying small lanterns.  Lucia, the handmaidens and "Star" boys all wear white gowns.  Only Lucia wears the lighted wreath of candles on her head, her hands held together in front of her.  Her handmaidens wear green wreaths in their hair and hold lighted candles.  The "Star" boys, also dressed in white gowns, carry stars on stitcks and wear tall paper cone shaped hats on their heads.

Lucia and her handmaidens sing a traditional Lucia themed song, perhaps like this one:

"The night treads heavily, around years and dwellings.  In places unreached by sun, the shadows brood.  Into our dark house she comes, bearing lighted candles.  Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia".
((Taken from the Swedish Institute)

A custom, dating back to 1880, includes Lucia serving sweet saffron buns, called (lusslkatter), shaped like "curled up cats with raisin eyes", with coffee, or Swedish glogg, a traditional Swedish Christmas drink.

I would love to hear about some of your favorite customs or traditions to celebrate too.  All of your visits and comments mean so much to me, and I love hearing from all of you! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What's Happening in Our Neck of the Woods!

It seems forever since I have been able to take some time to update my blog about what has been going on in "our neck of the woods".  Actually, we had a pretty dusting of snow on the ground when we awoke this morning...so pretty, and just the perfect setting with the woods in the background for Christmas!

Well, my husband, Bruce celebrated another birthday, and our daughter, Carra, with baby Ella, and our youngest son, Nathan, were with us to join in the festivities.   Ella was absolutely fascinated as everyone helped "Grandpa Bruce" blow out his birthday candles.  Carra, who loves to make and decorate cakes, made a very special cake for the occasion.

A few days ago, we went to our favorite family owned Christmas Tree location and picked out a beautiful tree.  I always love the very full, "fat" trees, and this year we found a really beautiful one that looks lovely in the corner of our living room.  So far, we have little white lights and pearl beaded garland on it, and this weekend we hope to find some time to put ornaments on it too.  We have my husband's work Christmas party tonight to attend, and are invited to the home of friends for dinner tomorrow.  Oh how the hours of every day fill up, don't they?
Carra and Ella came for a visit on the other day, and Ella was fascinated by the Christmas tree and wanted to touch the branches.  Her eyes were wide with wonder.  She was wearing a cute little fleece "cow" patterned jumpsuit, and looked adorable. 
We are looking forward to celebrating this Christmas with our two little grandbabies, Ella and Emery.  It is always so much fun watching their adorable little faces light up with excitement as they each discover each new experience.  Aren't babies just wonderful?

It has taken more energy for me this year to get out my Christmas decorations, but not too surprising after all of the medical issues going this year, but I am determined to do my best!  I especially love the weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas, which has always been my most favorite part of Christmas.  This year I completed a special piece that I call my "Advent Calendar Blocks", (although it is really called "Country Christmas Blocks", designed by Linda Meyers.  I changed some of the blocks to personalize it for myself.  The original pattern is featured on the cover of The Stitchery Magazine (Holiday 2010) issue.  I loved stitching each block....they were so much fun to stitch!

More news to come soon!  Hope your days are filled with happiness, joy, peace and contentment as we anticipate the celebration of our precious Savior's birth.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas is Just Around the Corner

Christmas is just around the corner, but it is difficult to believe that Thanksgiving was just last week and today is already December 1st!  Our house is still decorated for Autumn, and we are still recuperating from all of the preparations and celebration of Thanksgiving, which still lingers in the air.  I just made my turkey leftovers soup two days ago, and believe it or not, we still have turkey and a few slices of various pies to enjoy.

As I sat in the sewing group, at my LNS, this morning, and listened to some of the ladies talking about having already put up their Christmas trees, I realized that I need to get myself going and get out the Christmas boxes!  It just seems like we are barely past Thanksgiving and before we can blink an eye, Christmas is upon us.  Can't we just savor these special times a little longer, I wonder?

 The first item to be put out, although a few days late, is always our Advent Wreath with its' candles.  Growing up in my family, Advent was always my favorite part of the Christmas season.  Each night after supper, as we all sat around the dinner table, my parents would dim the lights and my mother would read the daily scripture lesson, and then we would all joinin singing a Christmas hymn or two.  We carried on this tradition with our children as they grew up, and now my husband, Bruce and I still continue it together in our "empty nest".  On Christmas Eve, with our grown and married children,  everyone all looks forward to the special time of lighting the candles, and  reading aloud the scripture for Christmas Eve.  It is now quite a chorus of voices when we all sing some of our favorite Christmas hymns together, but it is such a special time that we will always cherish in our hearts.

Here are a few previews of some of the Christmas ornaments I have been stitching, although they are not finished yet.  Some of  them will be gifts for my daughter and my daughters in law, who, as I mentioned in my last post, put little "sticky post-its" on the pages of my 2009 and 2010 Just Cross-Stitch Ornaments issues!  "Hint-hint", they said with sweet grins on their faces.  Here are two previews that are ready for finishing.  At least one ornament will be for our tree, and I am almost finished stitching it.  Hopefully, I will be able to show you a few finished ornaments with my next posting.

"Stitcher's Joy" (Prairie Moon)

"Windows of Faith, Hope, and Peace" (Primrose Needleworks)
Crossing in Stitches & Friendship With You.....One Stitch At A Time!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Counting Our Blessings

Victoria Sampler "Hands to Work - Hearts to God"
When times are difficult and there is so much uncertainty about so many aspects of our lives in these times, it is not surprising to forget about all of the blessings for which we can be thankful.  If you are like me, some days I feel overwhelmed and find myself slipping into a mood of discontent and grumbling about this and that.  But when I stop to consider all of the many blessings that God has bestowed upon me and my loved ones, my heart gives way to "thankfulness".

Since many of our grown children are not able to be with us for Thanksgiving this year, we decided that we would make dinner for my elderly parents in Connecticut.  What was to be just a very small gathering of 5 of us, has mushroomed into a rather large group of my siblings and spouses and a few of the great grandchildren.  As one by one,  word made its' way around to all of the siblings about our plans, others decided that it would be a wonderful way to give thanks....for the many blessings of a loving and wonderful family, gathering together on Thanksgiving Day!

So, we will put our many "hands together" and all make the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and thank God for His gift of faith, a loving family, hope for the future and gratefulness for being together.  But most of all we will give thanks to God for all of His abundant blessings, too numerous to count...

"Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine."  (Proverbs 3:9-10)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Little Bit of Stitching Here and There

Lately, with the cooler weather settling in, and the holidays just around the corner, all I have wanted to do is make the house look a little more festive for Thanksgiving, and whenever time permits, cozy up with a cup of tea and enjoy some stitching time. 

The past few days though, my stitching time has been put on hold, as I performed the dreaded task of transferring our spring/summer clothes and  winter clothes into closets.  Always such a big job, washing and putting all of it away.  I am one of those perfectionists who feels guilty sitting down with my stitching when I know there are jobs that need my attention. So now, I am stealing away in my recliner for  some stitching time for me!

Recently, I participated in the Victoria Sampler "Gingerbread Tree Etui" Stitcherama, which was a live online two day class, almost like being at a retreat.  It was fun, and I also had access to the stitching lessons and finishing techniques for an additional two weeks.  Here is my first tree panel, without the beads and buttons attached, as all four tree panels, pincushion and scizzor case are all stitched on one piece of linen.  Not sure if I will get this finished in time for Christmas, but I am working on it!

My daughters-in-law have been looking through my Just Cross Stitch Ornament issues from 2010 and 2009 and put little sticky post-it notes with their favorite ornament picks...hint...hint.  So, I went to my LLN shop over the weekend and purchased some linens and fibers to stitch some of their selections.  It is fun to stitch something small for a change.  My usual stitching projects are larger, and take longer to finish.  So here are some sneek peeks at a few of the ornaments before they are completely finished.
"Stitcher's Joy" by (Prairie Moon)

"Windows of Faith, Hope and Peace" by Primrose Needleworks
I just want for all of my faithful follower to know how much it means to me when you visit my stitching blog and leave all of your nice comments.  Hope that you are taking some special time just for you, whenever you can, to closet yourself away with your favorite stitching projects too!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Almost Finished...

Last weekend was a flurry, but I managed to find some quiet times for stitching while my husband flipped channels between football and the World Series in Baseball. 

Two days ago, I took the last stitches in "Quaker Faith" (Little by Little Designs).  Here is a photo of my piece, before it goes off to the framer.
I love the colours in this piece.  In the original design, only the last two numbers in the year, for example, (10) instead of (2010), were used.  In a recent newsletter from Nordic Needle, there was an article describing the importance of  always signing your initials and the actual year on all of your stitching pieces, because it makes them more valuable as heirlooms to be passed on to future generations.  So, I decided to place the "20" at the top of the piece and the "10" is placed exactly where it is seen on the original design.  My husband's initials (BNR) are in the lower right hand part of the piece. 

When "Quaker Faith" comes back from my framer, I will be sure to post a finished photo on my blog!
The history behind my love of all the Quaker designs, as I may have mentioned in a previous post, is that I am a direct descendent of William Penn, and my youngest brother is named William Penn.  My grandmother's name was Margaret Penn, and William Penn's mother's name was Margaret too.  One of our sons lives in Pennsylvania, and we love touring around when we are there, seeing many places, buildings, churches, and museums which bear plaques, noting William Penn's many contributions to the founding, settling and establishment of the first governments in Pennsylvania.  We find all of it very interesting indeed!

"And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yeilding fruit, whose seed was in inself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good".  (Genesis 1:12)

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Special Blessing...

Yesterday, we were blessed to have witnessed the marriage of the daughter of very dear friends.  The bride, Hilary, and our daughter, Carra have been best friends since they were babies.  They were even roommates for a few years after college.  It has been a joy to watch Hilary grow from a little girl into a beautiful, lovely young woman, who has found her true soul mate at last.

Our daughter, Carra & Husband, Drew, Hilary & Bryan (Bride & Groom) & Friend
 One of the interesting aspects of the reception was an intriguing Chocolate Fountain.  We had never heard of such a thing, but it was delightful, and everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying dipping everything from fruit to various kinds of cookies, pretzels, and biscottis into the flowing delectible chocolate.  Yummmmmm!

This precious little flower girl was totally enthralled with the wedding cake, and just couldn't wait for the bride and groom to cut it!
Okay, now it looks like maybe they're beginning to look serious about cutting this cake, so more of the little children gather round in anticipation.  So cute...
Marriage is a very special blessing indeed, when you have found that one very special person with whom to share your life, through good times and difficult ones, in joy and in sorrow, passing through the peaks and valleys of life. 

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Autumn Leaves Drift Past My Windows...

Oh my goodness, but it is a very cold fall day here in Massachusetts.  Yesterday the sky was a mixture of a very darkened eastern sky, and a grayish blue with the sun trying to peak from behind the clouds in west.  All around our neighborhood we are surrounded by towers of lovely trees, glowing with the gorgeous fall colours.  You can tell that I absolutely love this season!

The other day, I pulled out my autumn needlework pieces and decided to do a little decorating with them in the house.  When Bruce and I went to Pennsylvania this summer, we found some wonderful frame stands in an Amish country store, perfect for displaying some of our needlework.   Here are just a few of my favorite pieces.

Distance photos just don't do justice to these pieces, so I thought that I would add a few close-up's too.
"Autumn Basket" (Sunflower Samplings)
"Falling Leaves" (Prarie Grove Peddler)  
"Autumn Leaves" (Elizabeth's Designs)

Although like every other stitcher, I too am always adding to my "stash" of pieces that I just can't wait to stitch.  Although some of these patterns were among some of my older "stash", I had such fun stitching them.  After all, with the way the economy affects all of us in our spending now, I am so grateful that I can "shop" in my own closet now for something new to stitch!

By the end of the weekend, I should have "Quaker Faith" finished!  It is turning out really nicely, and of course I am an avid Quaker designs stitcher, so I love it!  So, I will be posting my finished piece soon, I hope.  Then I will be starting some Christmas ornaments.  My daughter-in-law, Gwen,  put a whole bunch of stitcky notes in  my 2009 & 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornaments issues, noting her favorite ornaments...hint...hint:) 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

With October Comes the Pumpkins and the Autumn Leaves....

Autumn is my very favorite season of the year.  The scents of spice fill the air, and when the leaves turn to their most magnificent colours of gold, rust, cinnamon, crimson and orange, the beauty of God's earth just fills my spirit with joy!    Of course, anyone who knows me well, knows that I will use any excuse to indulge myself in a nice pot of tea, which is the perfect compliment to my stitching pleasure, and especially on a cool autumn day.

Oh my goodness, these past few weeks have been a "whirl", and it is already the middle of October!  Time to hang up some of my favorite October needlework pieces!  Here are just a few hanging in my sewing room.

After a second surgery last week, which went very well, I am at long last beginning to regain strength, and when I finally felt like I wanted to pick up my needle and thread again over the weekend, my husband gave a big sigh of relief.  He knew that I if I wanted to stitch, then I MOST definintely must be feeling better!

Every day I have worked a little bit more on "Quaker Faith" (Little by Little Designs), and it is about three quarters finished now.  My goal, is that by the weekend, when my hubby has some time to go with me to our favorite framer's shop, I will be able to take the piece with me for framing.  I am so excited about the prospect!

Last Sunday afternoon, our son, Kevin and his wife, Gwen, arrived with our little grandson, Emery.  They had been attending a wedding in New York, and decided to surprise us by driving to Massachusetts to surprise us.  What a wonderful treat!

Little Emery is now 9 months old and is cuter than ever.  He has the most infectious smile, and such a wonderful disposition for his age.  Even his pediatrician says that he has never seen a happier, more content baby.  He and his Daddy are great buddies!

Of course, Emery is completely decked out in his total Halloween baby gear, complete with pumpkin binky!

Friday, October 8, 2010

This weekend we were to attend a wonderful needlework retreat in Enfield, New Hampshire with Thea Dueck, of The Victoria Sampler, sponsored by New England Stitcher's Retreats.  Alas, after all of the months and months of anticipating this exciting event, the Lord had other plans for us.

Sometimes it is so difficult to understand why things happen as they do, but since my throat surgery about 5 weeks ago, my breathing has waxed and waned, and yesterday it worsened and caused me to need an urgent visit to my surgeon.  His diagnosis was that another surgical procedure needs to be done the day after Columbus Day, and I am on steroids for now to reduce the swelling.  Honestly, if I had been in New Hampshire and had this crisis occur, it would not have been a good thing to be so far from home, and I know that in my heart, but what a HUGE disappointment not to be able to join with all of those lovely stitchers at the retreat!

When I read my devotional for yesterday, this is the scripture that jumped off the page:  "Do not fear nor be dismayed" . (Deuteronomy 31:8)  Well, if that isn't a really direct answer to my question of  "Why did this have to happen now!?   I shed buckets of tears, got it all out of my system, and later in the day picked up my stitching again, and started to feel some of the tension and disappointment begin to dissipate.  For me, stitching has always been one of the most wonderfully soothing ways to get in touch with the more peaceful side of my spirit.  It always is....

This is a song by Lowell Alexander, reminding us of God's presence in our lives.  It was featured in "Our Daily Bread" on October 7, 2010, and I believe that this beautiful song reflects what so many of us need to realize when we travel through the stormy journeys of life:

" You will face mountains so steep, deserts so long and valleys so deep.  Sometimes the journey is gentle, sometimes the cold winds blow.  But I want you to remember, I want you to know that you will never walk alone...Jesus will be right beside you all the way."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ella's First Spoonful of Cereal!

Yesterday our daughter, Carra, brought our granddaughter, Ella, here for lunch and some special time with Grandma, who had the priviledge of feeding Ella her first real spoonsful of rice cereal.  What a riot!  Ella couldn't get the cereal fast enough, and was loving every mouthful!.  We also had our little poodle, Meggie, sitting close by watching, in case there were any cereal "droppings" to lick up.

In between mouthfuls of cereal, Ella was distracted by Meggie sitting next her, and she would hold out her hand for Meggie, who was thrilled to lick off the any of the clinging cereal from Ella's hand.  Carra and I were hysterical!  It probably sounds gross that we allowed Ella to let Meggie lick her hand, but it was just too funny for words!  Ella was thoroughly enjoying this wonderful new adventure of having her first real food! Meggie thought it was fantastic too!

What a joy it is to have grandchildren and to be able to share in the great new adventure of watching them grow and change!  We are so blessed!

Consider the Lilies of the Field

Consider the Lilies of the Field
"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the Lilies of the Field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, that even Solomon in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these." Matt: 6: 28-29)