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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jo's Advent Blog Hop

Jo at Serendipitous Stitching asked me to participate in her stitching blog hop again, and assigned me today, the 19th.  Which is perfect, because I finished the stitching on my tree yesterday!
Finding this design was surprisingly tricky.  I first saw an image of this tree on pinterest, but clicking through led to a Vietnamese blog.  Google Translate translated the page for me, but there was no mention of where the design came from.  Some hints from the text led me to a Russian blog, but that page, too, did not mention the origin of the pattern.  So I tried a Google image search, and that told me that the design was most likely from the book Handmade Style: Stitchby Penny Black.  But of course, it was out of print! (The Kindle version did not strike me as a good way to get a cross stitch pattern.)  That's when my mom came to the rescue, ordering me a copy from a used bookstore in England as a very early birthday present.

I changed the colors quite a bit, because the original pattern called for muted, neutral shades.  I didn't have just the right shade of green, so I mixed together one strand of Sampler Threads in Deep Sea and one strand of Weeks Dye Works in Collards.  The rest of the stitching is in Sampler Threads:  Dark Chocolate for the trunk, Cherry Wine for the presents, and Gold Leaf for the star.  I found a bit of tinsel thread in my stash, so I used that for the ribbon.  Then came the best part -- stitching on the beads:

I used seed beads in sizes 11 and 15, with a few faceted glass 4mm beads.  The tree fits perfectly in the hoop, so I'm finishing it that way.

I also stitched an ornament for one of my aunts from a kit that I'm not sure how or when I got:
The design is "Quaker Joy" by Homespun Elegance, from the 2008 Christmas Ornaments magazine.

Much earlier in the year I stitched up the Gingerbread Garden sampler and matching ornament from the Victoria Sampler:
But I haven't figured out how I want to finish them.

Finally there's the poor, neglected Yule Sampler by Primitive Needle:
Which will probably keep being neglected, because I still have to finish the quiet book for Beadboy3, and make a Minecraft t-shirt and Star Wars light plate for Beadboy2, and make a Cookie Monster t-shirt and Wizard of Oz bag for Beadboy1, and come up with some quick little ornaments for my other aunts, and make shaving cream and spice rubs for Mr. Beadgirl, and bake several dozen cookies, and finish up my promised hours for work, and and and ...

Jo asked us to write about our Christmas Eve traditions.  Ever since I moved to New York City to marry my husband, Christmas Eve has always been a bit lonely.  He's not Catholic, so he usually attends a Vigil service an an Episcopal church with his parents, and my family is too far away for me to see them, so I would go to Christmas Eve Mass alone.  The music and rituals were always beautiful and moving, and I knew I would be seeing family and friends later.

Now that I have children, they come with me.  For the last few years Beadboy2 and I have been part of the informal bell choir at our Church, so we attend the 4 pm Christmas Eve Family Mass to ring the bells and sing as loud as we can.  This year Beadboy1, who has Down Syndrome, finally made his First Communion, so he will be coming with us.  Wish us luck! I have no idea how he will react to such a crowded Mass, where he won't be able to sit where he usually sits and where I'll be able to chase after him only with great difficulty.

Once I get back from Mass, I put on Christmas music and touch up a few decorations.  I always replace the purple ribbon on the front door's wreath with a white one, to mark the end of Advent and the start of Christmas.  I impatiently wait for the kids to fall alseep so I can bring down their presents and fill the stockings.  Then my husband and I settle down to watch The Bishop's Wife, a favorite movie of ours.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Your Christmas stitching is all lovely, and I enjoyed teading about your Christmas. I hope that you have a happy Christmas.

  2. Your Christmas stitching is all lovely, and I enjoyed teading about your Christmas. I hope that you have a happy Christmas.

  3. Thanks for taking part in the Advent Blog Hop today. Looks like I chose the perfect day for you! I really like your tree, it was definitely worth the time it took to track the pattern down.
    I am glad that your children can attend your church with you now. One of the Small Boy's friends has Down's Syndrome, he was in the Signing Choir at school for the first time this year and did a great victory dance at the end because he'd kept up with the Big Kids!

  4. Just love the beaded Christmas tree, really so pretty, Wondering what you will make it into.The ornament and hardanger are perfect. Enjoyed reading about your Christmas Eve. Happy Christmas

  5. Hopping by on the blog hop. What beautiful pieces. Love your Christmas tree. I just love the added touch of the beads. Your tradition sounds lovely. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

  6. That Christmas tree is just beautiful. In fact, I love all the stitching. I had not seen Gingerbread Garden,it is so delicate and pretty. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family. I am glad you no longer have to go to Mass alone!

  7. What a beautiful Christmas Tree.You perseverence getting the design definitely paid off.Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

  8. Oh my, such a beautiful beaded Christmas tree. I can understand that you hunted the pattern down until you found it. And it was nice to read about your Christmas Eve. Have a happy holiday.

  9. Your tree is beautiful - definitely worth all the hard work tracking down the pattern! I really love how you adapted the design with the tinsel thread and your lovely beads.
    Your Christmas Eve traditions sound lovely. How nice that your children can accompany you to Mass on Christmas Eve. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

  10. Thank you for the kind words, everyone!

  11. Your Christmas stitching is wonderful! I enjoyed my visit. Merry Christmas!

  12. Lovely Christmas stitching. Loved the search story on the Christmas tree chart, supermom to the rescue. Thank you for sharing your Christmas traditions, glad to hear your eve is now merrier. Have a blessed Christmas:)

  13. What beautiful stitching! Happy Christmas

  14. I've pinned that tree, looks like I'll need to do some shopping! All of your pieces look wonderful. I hope you had a blessed Christmas eve. Happy New Year!