I am a big fan of Shepherd's Bush patterns, as everyone who knows me already knows. And I love, love, love their stockings. I've made one for both of my daughters and their husbands as well as for each of the grandchildren, so I ache when the new stocking arrives every year wishing I needed another stocking. Well, this year I looked at the patterns and thought, What the heck, I can always stitch one and make it into a pillow or a hanging. In the end I made the decision to use the Ackfield Table stand with the Merry Christmas topper and make them into hangings and because of the size restriction I also had to eliminate the bottom design of the stocking...so I stitched the Santa's and anything surrounding them. I also added bits and pieces from other designs as I stitched along. It was so much fun, taking what I loved about one piece and then adding it to others. But most fun of all, stitching a Shepherd's Bush pattern for someone else. I made the finishing easy so I could complete it myself since Caroline was away at the time...and it also gave me the opportunity to use my new Baby Lock for the first time (I played with it in June for about an hour but didn't actually do anything with it.) The banners were stitched on 18 ct. and I used DMC and Weeks Dye Works Pearl Cottons. Fun, fun, fun! And because the toppers are exchangeable, the stand can be used for other occasions and not just for Christmas. You can change it for the month or season. Of course that means that the person that received the gift must then stitch for other occasions and also purchase a new header....don't want Merry Christmas when it's an Easter design hanging on the stand. Anyway, stitching something you love makes the gift easier to make, but then also makes it harder to give up. Since Christmas stitching is over, I've been sorting through all the bags stuffed with projects. Stacy Stinson was in Saturday and mentioned the Delaware Guild's next challenge, name 5 projects which you intend to finish before the end of 2016. I really think it should be old half done or just started projects...not choose 5 new projects. I get depressed looking at all the projects I started that have been relegated to a tote bag of other half finished projects. With that in mind this morning before work I went through 3 of the 5 (or 6) tote bags just in my living room alone to see what has been started. I also want to get some of the finished projects put together so that's my resolution again (I've said this every year....and I do get one or two things done, but that's like a thimble of water out of the ocean). Anyway, I pulled out Shepherd's Bush "Wave" and "Bee Scissors Fob" to get finished. I stopped working on Wave when Debbie Liming left her finished and framed piece here for us to use as a model. But I'm now going to finish mine for home. The Bee fob I have the word Bee done and that's it. So these are the two I will work on first, and as a treat (this always sidelines me) I'm thinking of stitching Lizzie Kate's "Very Merry Santa." I usually don't work on holiday stitching once the holiday is past, however, I want the model in the shop so I guess I have no choice and it's small so that's a win win. I put several of the bags in closets for Christmas Day but have since pulled them back out so I can go through them for the umpteenth time. I also find things in these bags that I've been looking for. Little treasures I stick in the tote at the time but then forget I put them there. While it may be fun and exciting to go through the bags, my living room is back to piles as I organize the items in each bag. I swore I wouldn't let my living room get in such a state after getting it all cleaned and scrubbed for the holidays, but here I am, once again hiding totes behind chairs and tables and hoping no one notices them there. Of course the plan has always been to empty the totes and put empty totes in the closet. I'm not sure I'll ever see that plan materialize. The only tote I emptied, is still hanging on the door knob of the closet...somehow apparently it was just much for me to actually open the door, step inside and hang the tote on the rack. And the truth of the matter is, I only emptied that tote by stuffing another tote with the charts and kits. As my mother would say, I'm only fooling myself. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon.