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!
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 also stitched an ornament for one of my aunts from a kit that I'm not sure how or when I got:
Much earlier in the year I stitched up the Gingerbread Garden sampler and matching ornament from the Victoria Sampler:
Finally there's the poor, neglected Yule Sampler by Primitive Needle:
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.