Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All...

and to all a good night!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Questionnaire

Last year, Mary-Frances of Frequently Wrong, But Never in Doubt, tagged me to answer a Christmas questionnaire – and I was so far behind in my blog reading that I didn’t see her post until after the holidays! I figured I might as well just wait until this year. So here goes:

1. Wrapping or gift bags? I definitely am a wrapper – and a terrible one at that. DH is the best gift wrapper, ever. An artist! His corners are always perfectly even – and he can wrap any shape of package with ease. I love the idea of gift bags, but I’m pretty much hopeless with them, too…

2. Real or artificial tree? We use artificial trees, usually several. For the first few years we were married, we always bought real ones and planted them after Christmas. Only one survived – and its growth was severely stunted.

3. When do you put up the tree? It usually goes up the day after Thanksgiving. We are very late this year because we are in the process of creating a feline-free room where the tree will be safe from the cats and the cats will be safe from the tree.

4. When do you take the tree down? Oh gosh! I always threaten to take it down right after New Year’s Day – but it’s been known to be up until the end of January. I would really like to have a room someday just devoted to Christmas – and then it could be up all year. Can you tell I am into Christmas?

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes! But I just add milk to it - no alcohol! I have a family "legend" to share about eggnog. When I was little, my father worked as a milkman, and he dropped his last bottle of eggnog on the ground right before he was supposed to deliver it. Some spilled out. He panicked and scooped up as much up as he could and replaced it, dirt and all. When he talked to his customer after Christmas, she said it was the best darned eggnog she ever had – and wondered out loud if it was the extra nutmeg… My father, keeping a very straight face, said he believed it must have been, indeed, the extra “nutmeg!”

6. Favorite gift received as a child? That is a tough question. All my Christmases were terrific! My sister and I always had gifts piled high. Does anyone remember the Emenee organ? That stands out in my mind as being particularly desired – and received. DH says he got one, too. That must have been a hot ticket item back in the day. I also remember receiving a doll trunk so overflowing with beautiful new Barbie clothes (that my mom had sewn) that it couldn’t be closed.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. My sister painted a beautiful ceramic nativity scene for me that I treasure. Unfortunately, I haven’t displayed it for years, because the small pieces are too tempting for the cats to carry off. One Christmas, Baby Jesus was stolen from the manger – and we found him buried in the litter box! Evil, evil kitties!

8. Worst Christmas gift I ever received? I honestly don’t know. I pretty much love everything and am very easy to please! And I never look a gift horse in the mouth…

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Snail mail, but I’m running awfully late this year. I bought cards over the summer – and can’t remember where I put them…

10. Favorite Christmas movie? My favorite Christmas movie just happens to be my all-time favorite movie, "Bernard and the Genie." We watch it every Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season… Another movie that is pure magic is "The Polar Express." We just ordered the Blu-ray version so we will be looking forward to watching that.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? It’s ongoing for me. I pick up things all through the year – and love to take advantage of sales.

12. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? Same as Thanksgiving - Stouffer’s vegetable lasagna with a nice big salad and a glass of sparkling cider. I’d rather spend the day playing with my new toys than cooking!

13. Clear light or colored on the tree? Martha Stewart would not approve of this, but we love all kinds of colorful twinkling lights on the tree. Plus we throw on a couple strings of reproduction bubble lights.

14. Favorite Christmas song? I love so many of them, it’s hard to pick a favorite. I love the charming French carol, “Noel Nouvelet.” I found a delightful version, here, by the group, Anuna. Another favorite is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” – especially the words in the third verse:

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? That’s easy, there is no place like home for the holidays… or any other days, for that matter…

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? My first impulse was to say, nope. But then I thought about it and I can name them, after all: Dasher, Donner, Dancer, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Prancer, Vixen and, of couse, Rudolph. For the true story on the origins of Rudolph, click here.

17. Angel on the tree or a star? A little angel my mom made years ago. It’s tradition…

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? My birthday is Christmas Eve, so I get to open a bunch of presents on both days!!! YAY!!!

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? I love absolutely everything about this time of year, except the song, “Holly, Jolly Christmas.” See question 22.

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? The big tree is a hodge-podge of ornaments, many handmade by my mom through the years. We have a small tree I used to use in the kitchen, before we were inundated with kittens, that is decorated with fruit-shaped ornaments. I store it decorated. And I have another old world style tree(the ornaments are glued in) that I made for my Mom when she was alive. We used to display that in the bedroom until the kitty deluge…

21. What do you leave for Santa? We can’t leave anything out with thirteen kitties! So far, Briar, the baby, loves coffee, tea, cherry yogurt, pretzels, popcorn, tortilla chips, tofu, brown rice and stir-fried vegetables…

22. Least favorite holiday song? “Holly Jolly Christmas” makes my blood run cold… There, I’ve said it! God help me…

23. Favorite ornament? I treasure all of the ornaments my mom made, of course. But there is also a little tin cat angel ornament that I love (my sister bought it for me) that reminds me of the cats we’ve had over the years who are now in heaven. I always hang that near the top of the tree.

But, Darling, I’m Imprisoned by These Chains…

and I really should be getting ready for Christmas! Anyway, here are a few more rows of stitch variations. From top to bottom: Russian chain, twisted chain, broad chain, tulip stitches, detached wheatear (laced), whipped chain and zigzag chain.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Can’t Break Away from These Chains…

Here are three more chain stitch variations. The first is aptly named the magic chain. I think the magic must be the way the alternate color thread slips to the back as the stitch advances. It is also known as the checkered chain and two-colored chain.

Next is the Singalese chain stitch. I really struggled to learn this one. But, it’s funny how easy stitches seem, once you learn how to do them.

Lastly, is a row of threaded chain stitches.

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Hat for Pru

DH and I are in the process of turning one of the bedrooms (currently used for storage) into a cat-free room for the Christmas tree and a music room for me. Usually, the big tree is up the day after Thanksgiving, but we are still in the process of clearing and reorganizing. We are also going to be moving my art studio upstairs and our office downstairs - a major project. While cleaning out some boxes, I stumbled upon some partially completed baseball style caps I had designed for woodsman type Santas a few years ago, and, for fun, tried one on my Ellowyne doll. I thought it looked kind of cute so I decided to finish it up for her. I sewed a lining in and covered a small button with material to match the brim. Ellowyne’s buddy, Prudence, is modeling. Of course she’s nagging me for an outfit to go with it…