Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 19...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 19...
This summer I was dreaming about Christmas and stitching ornaments. That started the whole wheels in my head turning, spinning really. I had this idea in my mind...I'm stitcher, not a designer. But I have a good friend who is a designer so... I pitched the idea to her and her wheels started turning, and whammo! A whole design line came out the other side :)

Today I am honored to present...

"The Sampler Tree"
designed by: Little House Needleworks ~ Diane Williams

I am the model stitcher and finisher for this entire series.

You may read about the new 12 month series at the Little House Website: HERE

I've stitched and finished the first four in the series and I have (in my hot little hands) the next 4 designs ready to stitch and finish them. I know there has been much speculation about the series and I can say without a doubt this series is fabulous and will result in 12 gorgeous, sampler inspired ornaments for your very own Sampler Tree!

The first installment is entitled:
"Old Colonial"

when I came up with this idea for myself, before I had talked to Diane about it,  I was dreaming of  "themed" trees. I was stitching on a Prairie Schooler ornament thinking that I was going to finally (after years of desiring a Prairie Schooler Santa tree)  have one! Then I started thinking about other trees. Trees that sum me up, sum up my stitching, my interests, what I really like when I am stitching. What do I like? I like Samplers. I like houses, I like big, stylized urns, reindeer, snowflakes on big snow dusted evergreens....

All of these things can be incorporated in a Sampler....
pull them out and stitch just "parts" and "pieces" and what do you have...
"The Sampler Tree"!

I've been making ornaments...
like these on my own for years, using "parts" and "pieces" of patterns to make "family" ornaments for my big tree. Here let me show you what I mean...
(NOTE: All of these patterns are from Little House Needleworks and may be viewed: HERE )

Let's start off with: 
"Poinsettia House"

This pattern dings my bell and toots my whistle on many levels. Let me tell you why, its simple, the house and the urn. Diane does the best houses. When I saw that urn...I nearly flipped over my chair. I love urns, I adore wheels start turning and I stitched these ornaments to commemorate our 2011 Christmas:
Poinsettia House_Little House Needleworks
Poinsettia House
stitched 1 over 1 on 25 count Vintage Country Mocha using called for Classic Colorworks Cottons

Then I stitched one of each of these for our family members:
Poinsettia House Urn_Little House
"Poinsettia House Urn"
I stitched these on 32 ct. linen that I hand-dyed myself all I did was "pull out" the urn from the original design.
(I'm just showing Katie's, but I have one for each family member)
When I got these done...well they were just as I envisioned!

The next year....Diane released
"Holiday House"

 I stitched my copy of"Holiday House" like this:
Holiday House_Little House
"Holiday House"
stitched over 1 on 25 ct. Vintage Country Mocha
and pulled out the big black urn holding the topiary trees on either side of the house...
and filled it by stitching either the little snow flower bushes (for the girls of the family) or the evergreens for the boys. Here is an example of one of them:
Holiday House Urn_Little House
"Holiday House Urn"
stitched over 2 on 25 ct. fabric to make the ornament larger
Do you see a pattern here? I do! :)

So see...
as I was thinking of "The Sampler Tree" of my dreams, it all consists of things like these that I've shown you. So am I getting all of Diane's new "The Sampler Tree" ornaments to stitch for my own "Sampler Tree"? YOU BETCHA!
and then while I wait each month for the next pattern to arrive, I'm going back over all of the patterns I have with a fine tooth comb and pull out "motifs" from them to make for my own "Sampler Tree". 

Let me show you...
For instance, take the pattern by Diane (again found HERE on her Holiday and Winter page of LHN Website) entitled:
"New England Winter Sampler"

You could stitch for little Sampler Ornaments:
  •  The house with the trees on either side, the snow, fence and birds and a couple of those snowflakes
  • The man and lady with the flower urn on her side and the ever green on his side...just move the trees closer and stitch a couple of small snowflakes falling around them 
  • The large urn with the red flowers 
  •  The big tall tree 
  • The whole top half of the sampler: large trees on either side, house, man, woman, etc. 
  •  The large snowflakes

**The border can be stitched around some of these ornaments too, to give the "sampler feel" to all of them, or left off completely.
See folks! Right there is 6 ornaments (and there are more than that in the design...) all you have to do is use your creative eye and you can see all the different possibilities!

Want to do another? Let's do it! How about:
"Winter Whites"

Well what ornaments do you see....
  • the house with a tree on either side
  • the house with the tree on the left side, sheep, bitty tree and moon
  • the house with tree on right side, sheep, star and bitty tree
  • The alphabet alone with the evergreen boughs and berries at the bottom using the border to frame it
  • the big tree with the bird house
  • the big tree with the bird
  • the whole darn pattern stitched over 1 on appropriate linen to make small enough for ornament
That's SEVEN ornaments from one design!

It's like a game! ;) and I bet you have TONS of designs in your stash that you can use this technique on. The only thing you need is your design that you want to use, some time to pull out the motifs you want to stitch and a stitch calculator such as this one that I use: STITCH CALCULATOR to determine what count fabric you want to stitch it on to make the size appropriate for your very own "Sampler Tree"! I like my ornaments to sort of be various sizes and shapes, I believe that adds visual interest to a tree that you are viewing. But that is all up to you! I like a mix of pillow and flat ornaments, but that's up to you too! What do you like?

Now I've just told you about Little House Designs...
 that you can pull motifs from...but let's say you are a big school-girl sampler stitcher. Well guess what?! Those work too for this idea! Like Adam and Eve? Pull them out of a sampler and stitch them up. Lots of sweet roses and urns on a sampler you are stitching...HEY there's an ornament! What about that sweet Bessie the cow on the school-girl sampler you're stitching....stitch her with a garland of greenery around her neck for an ornament for your tree. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

Another Designer that I own a bushel basket of patterns by (and had really good intentions of stitching and HA HA HA! right...) are the Blackbird Designs gals. Think of all the possibilities that these ladies bring to the table for Sampler Tree Ornaments...urns, trees, houses...OMGosh!

How about some more designers? 
OK...I've got loads of patterns from: 
Plum Street Samplers
The Scarlett House
City Stitcher
Little by Little

Do I need to go on? 
No, I don' get the idea. Make 2015 the year of "The Sampler Tree"!! Stitcher's unite! Sign up today at your Local Needlework Shop or your On-Line Stitching source for Diane's gorgeous "The Sampler tree" ornaments! GO GO GO!

Then while you are waiting for them to arrive...
start pawing through your stash. You've got ZILLIONS of Sampler Tree ornaments right at your finger tips waiting, literally waiting to be stitched. Change the colors, change the style...get your creative juices flowing! 

Let me start them flowing by my vision of my 2015 Sampler Tree:
I can see it in my head. A smaller tree. A large, silver, antique looking star on the very top of it. Tarnished silver beads strung among the branches. All of my sampler ornaments that I'm going to stitch finished with shiny, antique colored rushed ribbons, flashy beads on some, just sort of plain on others hanging from the boughs, with shiny, slightly distressed jewel toned glass balls strewn among the hand stitched pretties or houses, urns, flowers, trees, reindeer, antique sleds, horses......

Sounds pretty perfect to me....
May my dream for Christmas 2015 and the Pfeiffer House Sampler Tree become reality!
May it be so!

That does it for Day 19... little heart is all aflutter with dreams of Samplers :)

Until tomorrow...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and heart to God, just like always! Join me while a dream of my Sampler Tree!

Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 18....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 18...
Just a quickie post today folks!
Last night was a late one due to the Penance Service - but what a wonderful, freeing, cleansing evening it was! :) I'm all pure and white and clean now!

Ellie is having her Endangered Species Report Open Mama has to be there to view her good work! That starts at 9 a.m. Then I didn't get Ann's gift done, so I got get back home and get busy! Working that night shift sure threw me off my game...

I stitched...
this darling little ornament that I found in this year's Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue. Another popular one, I stitched for my husband's Christmas ornament for the year:

Down Jinglepot Road
I think the green gingham and the oval shape sets it off perfectly!

Until tomorrow...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and my heart to God, while I'm chasing my tail all day long!

Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 17....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 17...
Well this is blowing by....and I'm behind on my final stitching. I have to get done a project in the next three days for my most wonderful friend at work ~ Ann. She's been a true blessing to my life, we've known each other for only 8 years but I love her with all my heart. Here she is with Ellie on her First Communion Day, she made the dress for Ellie that she is wearing. 

So I've got to hurry up and get my laundry folded and put away and my house straightened and then sit and stitch this afternoon on Ann's gift :)

I'm sharing with you an ornament from this years 2014 Just Ornament Cross Stitch Magazine. Its been highly popular and has been popping up all over blogland. 

by Niky's Creations
stitched on 32 ct. Mocha using DMC
I used the pale gray color used in the design for the cording 
and added a big rusty jingle bell in the middle. 
Faith_Niky's Creations

This ornament proclaims something that is very important in my life and in the lives of my little family. Some days I don't know how I would get along without my faith. I'm one of those people that have been blessed from cradle and all through my life with faith. I was blessed to be born into a family that passed on faith and the traditions that go along with the particular religion I prescribe to. I hope that I am doing adequate job at passing on those same traditions and faith that was instilled in me to my own children. I've never once have fallen away in my faith walk ~ but I'm no where close to what a true ideal or model Christian is. But I try awful hard and I hope someday when I'm standing face to face with God, he'll know in my heart, I tried very hard and failed every day but I tried. 

During the season of Advent...
Catholics are charged to make their confession to "Prepare the Way" for the coming of our Lord. So tonight my family and I will travel to a neighboring parish that is holding a Penance Service. Confession is a strange thing to many and misunderstood by many non-Catholics ~ I am inadequate in having the words to share with you about it as it a beautiful gift, really. People interested may read more about it: HERE 

So tonight...
I'll be cleaning my soul of all my many transgressions and I'll be praying for each one of you ~  known to me and unknown to me ~ for your needs known only by God himself.

Until tomorrow...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and heart to God, just like always!

Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day 16...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~ 
Day 16...
Today I have a most special thing to share with you! I'm just tickled pink how it turned out! I hope you will be too. If you follow me and my blog, you will already know that I typically only stitch designs from a handful of designers. Not because I don't like other designers or their wonderful designs, only because I only have so many hours in the day, just like all of you I'm sure! Of course I'm a Christmas Girl and the Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue will introduce me to designers that I'm drawn to their ornament submission and I will stitch their ornament and then go and look to see if there is something I want to purchase from their design line. That's happened to me a lot!
 What about you?

in 2011 I somehow came onto the scent of Brenda Gervais because of her love of the Iowa eagle cam. I was watching the eagles myself and was totally enamored. See I'm a microbiologist and that kind of stuff dings my bell and toots my whistle. Brenda released a limited edition pattern dedicated to the eagles and a portion of the proceeds went to the eagle project. So I bought it and stitched it. And I began to follow Brenda on her blog. I love her work and admire her very much.

Since I found her those hand-full of years ago...
I've stitched many of Brenda's designs.

The Soar Sampler...
Soar Sampler w signature

J.M. Gardner...
JM Gardner 2013 Fair

"Snow Bird Pinkeep"....

"When This You See"...

Then I stitched "Snow Bird Pinkeep" over 1 on 32 count French Blue Linen and made:
"Snow Bird Pocket Watch"...
for my bud Marie P.'s birthday last year
This year...
as I was looking through Country Stitches On-line (Brenda's on-line shop) I found her older ornament designs. So I ordered up and stitched and finished...

"French Hen"...
With Thy Needle and Thread French Hen Ornament

and finally my share with  you today is another find from her older line:

"A Winter's Skate"...

A Winter's Skate by With Thy Needle and Thread

Now what is...
not to like about this cutie patootie? Totally cute as a button. This is ornament size or a little cupboard hanger size. But I've got intentions of stitching it over two on a larger count to make it a little bigger to make a skate for my winter (after Christmas) decor and hang it from a door. I decorate my home seasonally and for winter I do snow and evergreen boughs all over the house and this sweet "A Winter's Skate" would fit right in!

Now if you are thinking...
I couldn't finish something like that. Have no fear! Brenda includes fabulous finishing instructions. I had ZERO problems making my "A Winter's Skate" in fact it took me like 30 minutes. 

So there you go...
Day 16!

Just a few words about...
yesterday's post. I stirred up a cauldron of distress that I didn't mean to do. I received a lot of e-mails and comments from people thinking I was going to quit blogging. NO! I'm not going to quit blogging...this blog has made me - The Twisted Stitcher. Its sort of like my alter identity now, how can I quit that? Plus, I couldn't just walk away from all the friends I've made. 

My point was....
Facebook and Instagram are impersonal, "quickie fixes". I use both venues to connect with friends and to view other's hobbies, etc. But I personally prefer to blog. You cannot get that "homey", "warm" feeling by clicking a heart or clicking a thumbs up that you can get from reading a person's heart in their blog posts - so I'm staying. I grieve over those bloggers - for what I am very sure is good reasons - for walking away from blogging and I miss them!

What I meant about not blogging...
was that maybe I wouldn't do the 25 Days of Christmas with The Twisted Stitcher. I wasn't complaining that it was too much work or that I didn't have time. I enjoy it myself because if you haven't figured out by now: I LOVE CHRISTMAS! What my point about not doing it was: I wasn't getting the comments (or responses - many people e-mail me personal comments) that I had gotten last year. When you put yourself out there (like I do and I do!)...and you don't get a response, a person can't help to think: do they not like what I'm doing? what I'm saying? Am I boring them? Is this too much like last year? 

From the response...
I got yesterday, those that read my blog during the 25 days and all through the year, like what I'm doing and what I'm saying. So good! I feel better now! I know everyone is busy and cannot comment every single time. I understand, I'm the same and I'm as guilty as the next guy about skipping commenting sometimes. But I'm aware how it makes an author feel to get a comment and so I try very hard to leave one for the blogs that I follow. It makes a difference. 
Thank YOU for being my readers!

Until tomorrow...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and heart to God, just like always!

Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day 15...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 15...
Today I have to share another ornament I stitched:

Homespun Elegance_Snow Merry_JCS Ornament Issue 2009

"Snow Merry" 
by Homespun Elegance
Found in the 2009 Just Cross Stitch Special Ornament Issue
I stitched mine using DMC on a scrap piece of unknown linen 32 ct. 

I finished this with simple twine that I made into cording and a red gingham bow at the top. I think it just turned out darling. It certainly makes me smile :)

I've had some questions about how I make my twine cording...
If you look on my finishing blog you will see in the tutorial for the Little House Needleworks Sheep Virtues: HERE that I make it using a single piece of twine. I then make slip knots on each end and twist it with my Krenik corder to make the cording. A *note* about twine cording.... twine is not a type of material that is "perfect". Its raw jute and as it is made there are lumps and bumps and imperfectness in it. When one uses it to make cording, the resulting cording will be "uneven" or not the same thickness in places along the cording because of the very nature of the jute twine. You are not doing anything wrong, that's just how it is. Twine cording lends itself to the "country" look or the "primitive" look perfectly. It does not lend itself to "perfect" and "polished" finishing. If you are the type of person that does not like imperfectness, then do not use it, as you will not be happy with the end result. 

I've also had some questions about...
how I make my bows. If you would like to see how I do my bows. Please follow this tutorial I authored on my Tutorial Blog at this link: Making the Bow... And please remember, if you use my tutorials, please give credit where credit is due. Thank you!

My 25 Days...
has only 10 days left! I can hardly believe it :) I don't know if I'll do this again next year. It seems that blogs are dying. I know that many people that I love to follow and were "old timers" on the blogs don't blog anymore. Last year, these 25 days were highly popular and I got a lot of feedback. This year, I've noticed that I get around 2000 page hits each day, but I'm only averaging about 10 comments per day. I'm going to be honest and say, I blog for the feedback. I've made so many, very close relationships with people across the globe by authoring this blog. It just seems that Instagram and Facebook, where one can just quickly click on a Heart Icon or a Thumbs-up Icon is what people are leading toward. I like both of those venues as well and use them a lot, however my true love is reading someone's thoughts and words and looking into their hearth and their home. Learning their true feelings on different topics in life. Viewing their gorgeous handwork and almost like forming a relationship, a friendship with them. I know that people are very, very, very busy all the year long and particularly at this time of year, believe me I'm with you! We will see what 2015 brings. 

So that does it for Day 15 folks....
I'll be back tomorrow with something else to share with you!

Until then...
I'll be keeping my hands to work (doing laundry...YUCK!) and heart to God! Just like always :)

Love in Stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day 13 and Day 14...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 13 and Day 14...
I'm combining these two days as, I unexpectedly got called in to work a midnight shift last evening (Friday, Dec. 13) because of a co-worker's illness. Sadly, my husband and I were hosting a Christmas dinner with our good friends and I had a house full of guests ready to party it up! My supervisor called just as we were sitting down to dinner.... the news that I had to work at 11 p.m. sort of put a "damper" on our festive spirits, but we had a good time anyway! :)

Let me tell you, I have the utmost respect for those people that can work midnight shift and still maintain a life that is full. As for me, personally, being a healthcare worker and working at a hospital for the past 21 years, I have worked midnight shift as a young woman fresh out of college, when I was single with no one to care for other than myself. I didn't like midnight shift then, but worked it on rotating shifts to have a job. I like second shift just fine (3 p.m. - 11 p.m.), but midnight shift (11 p.m. - 7 a.m. shift)....I hate that shift with a passion. Luckily I haven't had to work it much over the last 21 years, but this "refresher" just reminded me again - I am not a midnight shift person, at all! But to put a positive spin on it: it was fun to sort of step outside my "normal" routine and burn the midnight oil. One man told me I was the happiest lab person he'd seen in there on midnight shift! HA HA! :)

So since I lost a day sleep...
if I want to maintain my routine sleep schedule, I learned when I was younger, that I have to just "suck it up". The day following, I just sleep enough "to get by" so that I can sleep at my normal time. Keeping that in mind, I came home at 7:30 a.m. today (after being up 30 consecutive hours), slept 3 short hours, and got up to start my day. I'll go to sleep tonight (and ready for it) and be back on my schedule. Finger's crossed....

Today I have to share...

The Flora McSample 2013 Sampler Stockings
by Lizzie Kate
copyright 2013
stitched on 32 count raw linen
using DMC

Flora McSample 2013 Sampler Stockings

and here they are on our tree:

Flora McSample Alphabet Stocking_Lizzie Kate 

Twas the Night Flora McSample_Lizzie Kate 

Noel Flora McSample Stocking_Lizzie Kate

This weekend...
we light the pink candle for the third Sunday in Advent, also known as: Gaudete Sunday, which may be translated as: Rejoice Sunday. The priest will wear rose vestments and they are gorgeous. They look similar to these:

Did you know...
that I sing in the choir at our church? This weekend we will sing as our introit (from Latin meaning: entrance) this beautiful chant:

"Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominu enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuan: avertisti captivitatem Jacob."

This may be translated as:

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob." 

To hear what it sounds like... 
you may click and listen: HERE

So beautiful, isn't it? It inspires inward reflection and peace and of course since it is Gaudete Sunday ~ REJOICING! :)

I've been listening to this introit this afternoon to practice, as Latin is not my first language..(haha!) and my sons are playing their electronic games in the living room. Just now I had the introit playing and when I turned it off...they were singing it, in perfect chant cadence and Latin! If I would say something to them about it, they'd deny that they were chanting I sit quietly in here and listen and smile to myself! I must have been listening to it a lot today for them to catch on :)

That does it folks for Day 13 and Day 14!

May your weekend be filled with Rejoicing!

Until Monday...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and heart to God, just like always and also trying to catch a few more Zzzz's that I lost!
love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Friday, December 12, 2014

Day 12...

~ Greetings and warm welcome to ~ 
Day 12...
we are all a little hung over from birthday cake so today is going to be short and sweet!
I stitched today to share:

"Winter Night"
by Lizzie Kate
found in Just Cross Stitch Magazine 2014
stitched on random linen scrap using DMC

Lizzie Katie from 2014 JCS ornament issue

I finished it simply - mounted on felt, but I added some baker's twine for the bow and hanger. I think its cute :)
Here it is on our tree:
Lizzie Kate on tree - Copy

For today's tradition...
My sister-in-law, Susan, is very talented at painting. I can't paint anything to save my life except a wall....but she creates gorgeous ornaments. Here is one of them in my collection from her. It is the Holy Family:

Susan's Holy Family painted ornament - Copy

On the back she prints in paint a relevant Scripture verse. 
I have probably a dozen of her hand-painted beauties and I love and treasure each one!

Verse on Back of Holy Family

SO folks...
that's Day 12!

Until tomorrow...
love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Day 11....

~ Greetings and warm welcome to ~
Day 11...
a day very similar to Day 4 in its special place in my heart as we celebrate today the birth of our firstborn, Katie!!

Newborn pictures are not the most flattering and although she looks a little bit like Grandpa Munster in this photo, we thought she was the most gorgeous baby ever!!


As she started to grow, she became so cute! Here she was 6 months old and loved to be in her walker :)

  Katie_6 months_May 1998

She celebrated her first birthday and we were so proud of her!

Katie_First Birthday_Dec 1998

Then one day in October 1999 when she was 22 months old we broke the news to her that not only one brother would be coming soon, but two (as if she couldn't tell by my monstrous belly)....
She didn't take the news well....

Katie_22 months_October 1999

She resigned herself to her new brothers by her second birthday...
ho hum....

Katie_2 years_December 1999

By the next year...
she figured it was pretty much fun having a couple of kids around to play with and do some paci sucking together, you know contemplating life...

Katie and the Boys_12_22_00

Yeah, maybe it wasn't so bad...

Mommy and Kids_December 2000

She was still the apple in her Daddy's eye!
Life was good!

Keith and Katie_Katie's 3 birthday_Dec 2000

Plus these losers were gated OUT of the Christmas tree and she got to be on the INSIDE where the party was goin' on....

Katie and the boys Christmas_2000

Then she decided enough with the toddler years and she started to grow up....
(December 2003 6th birthday)

Katie's 6th Birthday_December 2003

Then another bomb dropped when her parents said another kid was coming in 2005...
she didn't know what to think about that!

Christmas Card 2005

But a couple of years under her belt of being a big sister to a girl...
and she decided it was pretty fun!


Then the awkward preteen years struck....
so.....she did a lot more growing ~ use your imagination.

She celebrated her Sweet 16 Birthday last year with her favorite kids that she loves so much, even if they do make her mad sometimes!

Katie 16 Birthday 2013

and today....
she celebrates her 17th birthday!!
She's turned into the most beautiful, warm-hearted, loving, hard-working, intelligent person I know and I'm proud to call her my daughter!


Happy 17th Birthday Katie!
We love you so very much! 
We thank God that He blessed us with you!

That does it for Day 11 folks!

Until tomorrow...
Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx