I'm also adding a couple more pictures of finishes I did for Christmas because it's a first for me to have stitched so much and they were such fun to do ...that doesn't always happen for me, and I think some of you stitchers might
want do them as well. They make wonderful gifts. I'm showing two of the boxes I did, the first one you see I actually did 2 of and then wanted a change so used Houseworks Needlework's woolen Woolen Sheep design. Anyway, the Initial design is the original design from Blackbird's "Stitcher's Journal". The box is a card box which comes from Hobby Lobby. You paint it (and all the directions are in the book) and finish the box by waxing it (this is a must for a finished look), why I even dyed the binding that I used in the finishing (directions are also included in the book.) The directions are excellent and anyone can do it. While I'malways leary of having to do painting, etc., to finish something, I swear it comes out exactly like they say if you follow their directions. Fun, Fun, and more fun. And you pick out fabrics you have in your stash, or use it as an excuse to make a run to your favorite fabric shop. I also used Shepherd's Bush New pincushion ...just perfect for a Christmas gift. And again, I tailored the fabrics, etc., to suit the colors of the design on the top. There is one spot on the inside where you have a stitched piece, so I did pull a piece off of both the sheep design and the stocking design to use in that one section, but it wasn't that difficult. Anyway, you will love stitching these and believe me, your friendwill love receiving it. Oh, yea, it also gives you a reason to use the new chenille's that R & R and Crescent Colour have put out. We used Crescent Colours but either would work...just make colors to your stitched piece. I just finished stitching for a different box out of Blackbird's "Christmas Garden" book which they call a "gift box". You are using a paper mache box which is embossed, painting it and then putting the design on top and using R & R's new overdyed 1/4" rick rack to finish it off. Again, I loved stitching this...it was quick and easy and I do not mind painting these boxes. It would make a wonderful added gift and then you could put a special treasure inside. When I get it put together I'll post it. Right now I'm working on several finishes...I stitch faster than I finish...darn it. But I'll have them up soon. And as much fun as I'm having with my stitching Sara is having an equal amount of fun with her knitting. Sara is new to the knitting world but she has taken to it like a duck to water. She's even getting confident enough to answer questions in the shop. I gave her a couple of purchased knitted headbands for her to wear in the winter so her ears don't get cold. They were just plain, but she loves them. She's been busy knitting a sweater but decided to start a new project and knit some flowers that she then would attach to the headbands. She did that all by herself with no help from anyone....and it looks cute. Now, of course, she's busy knitting flowers, flowers, and more flowers. I swear she's become a fanatic. It helps that we have the Noro supplies with includes "bling" for the flowers so she added a little bling to the center of her flower. That's our Sara.....leopard print and bling! She did pull out a piece to stitch with me in the shop which she had the "balls" to put the date on back in 2007 which still isn't complete, but it's getting close to completion...but I can assure you she will never put the date on anything again until it's finished. She's going to add 2012 in small numbers somewhere else on the piece. She's also working on an Erica Michaels gauze piece, one of the larger ones...poor thing always picks big projects and since she's a working mother can't work on them as much as I do so it takes a lot longer for her to finish anything. WEATHER REPORT....where is winter? We haven't seen it yet, but you just know it's coming. Two years ago our retreaters for Superbowl were snowed in and we weren't sure we'd ever get them out. We ended up bringing food into the shop and we all stayed in our P.J's and just held the retreat in there (what fun to retreat inside a shop). For the past 2 days it has been in the low 60's here. People are back in shorts for God's sake. It is such a wonderful surprise....I do love seasons so I don't want just hot weather...in fact I don't like hot, hot. But to have 60 be your high in the winter is wonderful. And we're not even mentioning the "S" word. I'm just afraid I'm going to see that word in March or April. I remember one Easter where we had snow...it was an early Easter, but still no one wants to see that. Well, Brian just delivered my dinner so I'm leaving now....they worked the grill out back...in February...life is good! By the way, Solomon seems to be doing well....he's back to having dinner with me a few nights a week and as active as he was before his incident. But we will always now have to be worrying about his heart...goodness...I'm too old for this! Talk to you later.