Welcome to Brownie's Chair, my blog about all things cross stitch. Feel free to have a look around, and email me if you have any questions or suggestions!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: Snow Couple

Welcome to another edition of Free Pattern Friday!  Today's free cross stitch pattern continues January's theme of snowmen, but as it's the last Friday in January, it also gives a nod to the upcoming February holidays as well. 

This cute little snowman couple and filigree heart is from the German blog Kissy-Cross.  It's a nice size pattern without a lot of color changes, which means it's something you could whip up really quickly for a gift or ornament.  I bet the filigree heart border would look really cool in an over dyed or variegated thread as well. 

You can get this free cross stitch pattern in graphic format from the designers blog

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: Bashful Bunnies and Snowman

Welcome to another edition of Free Pattern Friday, where I share a free cross stitch pattern link with you (mostly) every Friday!

Have you ever heard of Designs by Gloria and Pat?  They were more popular a few years ago, but these are the publishers of the Precious Moments, Cherished Teddies, and Playful Kittens patterns, as well as artists like Dianna Marcum's work in cross stitch.  Most of their chart books are out of print or harder to find now, but the good news is that they've gone digital.  In addition to offering a lot of their chart books as PDF downloads now, they also have a lot of freebie patterns for you to download and try.

Continuing with our snowman theme, this week's pattern I'm sharing is one from the Bashful Bunnies line of patterns they offer.  It features a cute little bunny building a snowman buddy.  For those who've never done one of the Gloria & Pat patterns before, this is a good one to practice with.  They do usually have several fractional stitches with lots of backstitch, something I would call more "old style" than a lot of the minimalist patterns that are available and popular now.  But I think the designs are cute anyway, so I will definitely be trying this bunny.

You can download this cute free cross stitch pattern in PDF format from the Gloria and Pat website

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Progress Update: Crazy January Challenge Days 15-18

Well, I hope everyone had a good weekend, and those off in the US had a good 3 day holiday.  It was nice to rest and relax for most of the weekend.  Luckily my cold hasn't blown into full on sick mode yet, but I definitely am still feeling off my game.  Monday I had a visit to my thyroid specialist for my monthly checkup and apparently the radioactive treatment I had in October has finally taken full effect.  So my sick symptoms could be caused by the fact that I am now officially hypothyroid.  I'm going on a new medicine for that starting tomorrow, so hopefully that will help bring me back up to feeling better in the next few weeks.

In other news, my brother made it to Florida okay and has now completed his first few days of working at Walt Disney World.  Yay!  So proud of him. If anyone would like to read his adventures about working as a Walt Disney World cast member, he has his own blog here.

But now onto stitching.

Things were slow on the January Challenge side of things, mostly because I got far enough into Swirly Lollipop that I wanted to hurry up and finish it.  So ta-da!  It's now done:

This is a chart from Dailycrossstitch.com and was done on 14 count white aida with the charted DMC threads.  I did modify a few of the stripes slightly and I made the lollipop stick only 1 row instead of two because I thought it looked better.  This is a project stitched for WOCS (World of Charity Stitching) and was started on January 3rd and finished on January 17 of this year.

Friday I decided I wanted to start something new since I have a bit more extra time on the weekends instead of working on a WIP.  So I pulled out this piece of fabric for a project I'm calling Butterfly Sampler:

As you can see I only got a stripe of 1 color of 45 stitches in.  By the time I tracked down and pulled all the colors, I was pretty tired from the long week and ready to go to bed.  This is a series of 4 freebie butterfly charts by Durene Jones that I'm stitching together as one piece.  I think it will look really neat when it's done.

Saturday was another new start.  This is Homegrown Melons from an old copy of the (US) magazine The Cross Stitcher.  Sadly, I'm not sure who the designer is.

My plan is to frame it and gift it to my mother, since watermelons were a large theme in our kitchen and house when I was growing up.  Right now I just have a few stripes of a pink blob, but I actually didn't want to work on this one too much because I ended up working on it when we got together to watch a movie Saturday night.

My project for Sunday was also a new start (noticing a theme?).  This is Britty Kitty stocking by Brittercup Designs.  I've gotten the crazy idea in my head to attempt to stitch stockings for my family over the next year, and these is the one I've chosen for myself.  I spent most of my stitching time on Sunday finishing up Swirly Lollipop so this actually didn't get much attention, but I got two rows of a tree branch done.

Monday's project was also a stocking; this one is called Tate's Stocking and is done by Raise the Roof Designs.  It's originally charted on a 20 count linen from Weeks Dye Works, but I don't particularly like working on linen because of the uneven weaving and slubs, so I swapped it out for a sparkle evenweave instead.  I then spent like 30 minutes (no kidding) on trying to decide to do it over 1 or 2 threads.  If over 1 thread, it will be slightly smaller than the other stockings I'm doing, but if over 2 it will be much, much bigger than the other stockings.  So in the end I decided to stitch it over 1 and just have this one turn out a little smaller.  I'm probably going to get flak for it later on from the person I'm giving it to, but oh well.  After all that time debating, I only had the energy to make the barest of starts on it:

After that I needed some mindless stitching, so since Swirly Lollipop is now done I moved onto Sweets for the Sweet for a bit more progress on the lettering.  That turned out to be a good thing because most of the night was spent stitching while having a massive discussion/argument with my aunt about getting scholarships for college and so the mindless stitching was nice to not have to think too much about:

Not sure what today's project will be yet.  Honestly, I was still pretty tired from being sick/not sick/whatever all weekend, so I didn't plan the rest of the challenge out all the way like I was thinking I might.  So we'll see what I pull out of the WIP or new pile when I get home tonight and see. 

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Progress Update: Crazy January Challenge Days 11-14

Despite my best intentions, this is the first opportunity I've had to come on and do a Crazy January Challenge update since Monday.  Somehow I find myself getting sick (again!) and combined with a very busy week at work again, it's really slowed me down.  Bleh. 

But enough complaining.  Let's talk about funner things.  Here's a recap of what my challenge progress is.

January 11th, Monday, I did decide to pull out another WIP project rather than start something new.  I decided it was time to work a little bit of Sunshine by Satsuma Street, since it hadn't seen any love for awhile and is actually pretty close to being finished.  So I pulled it out and took it from here:

To here:

Not too much left to go on this one, so I should be able to wrap this one up pretty quickly soon, although maybe after January and the challenge is over. 

Tuesday night I started a new project.  This is Lizzie Kate's Autumn Alphabet, which I sent out this week as the start of a new Lizzie Kate round robin that my Facebook group is doing.  That's right, I'm pretty much crazy because I signed up for another round robin at the same time.   This one was hard for me to miss though, because I absolutely love Lizzie Kate designs. 

I stitched the middle "M" block on my project so my fellow stitchers have a base point to start their stitching from.  Here's what it looked like when I sent it off:

I'm super excited about this project because it's the first Lizzie Kate chart that I've splurged for the charted Weeks Dye Works and Crescent Colors overdyed threads.  Although you can't really tell with this block because the orange is the one color of DMC in the pattern and the very slight variation in the dark brown hasn't shown up in the small amount of stitching for this letter.  I can't wait to see how it turns out as a whole though.  I plan on doing all 4 in this alphabet series eventually. 

Wednesday I decided that after all the Mill Hill kits I did in December, I was really kind of missing doing the little Mill Hill kits.  So I pulled out Kitty's Stocking and managed to put in one more stripe of color, taking it from this progress last year:

To this:

Not much progress, but hey, progress is progress, right?  I was still in a Mill Hill mood the next night, so Triple Scoop got a little love to take it from where I left it last year:

To this:

Again, not much progress, and in posting this now I see a mistake I need to go back and fix.  But most of my challenge stitching this week was done on lunch breaks, since I've been working on other things during the evening.  Swirly Lollipop has got almost all of its stripes now:

Just the green stripes, white, and the stick to fill in.  I also made a dent in my chosen mandala motif of the Ink Circles piece I'm doing for the sampler round robin for January. 

So that's coming along too.  So what's my plans for the weekend?  Well, I haven't picked my project for today yet, so we'll see what calls to me tonight when I settle in for my nightly stitching session.  Other than that, I want to organize the rest of my potential crazy project pieces and choose which ones I will most likely stitch on during the rest of the month.  Oh, and rest.  Lots of resting.  This getting sick thing is no fun, I tell ya.  : (   Good thing we have a 3 day weekend which gives me more time to recuperate. 

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Free Pattern Friday: Snowman Bookmark

Welcome to today's free cross stitch pattern link!  As I said last week, January is going to be full of all sorts of snowmen.  This week's pattern happens to combine two of my favorite things: snowman and bookmark patterns.  In fact, I can say stitch and designing bookmarks is what really got me back into my stitching bug a few years ago after I lost it somewhere around 16 years of age.

This friendly snowman features a vest of stained glass style blues and greens with a jaunty purple scarf, and is offered by English designer Amanda Gregory.  I became familiar with Amanda's designs through a cross stitch forum I stop by from time to time, but her designs have started to get more and more popular lately.  She's popping up again and again in my Cross Stitch Gold magazine with her bright (usually) botanical designs.

You can head over to Amanda's blog to save this bookmark pattern in picture format.  You'll have to scroll down a bit to see it (as of the writing of this post).  There's also a matching biscornu pattern featuring this same snowman if that's more your thing.  Either choice is a great free cross stitch pattern!

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Progress Update: Crazy January Challenge Days 9-10

Hope everyone had a good weekend.  Mine was actually pretty busy since we spent most of it trying to my brother up and ready for his move to Orlando for his "summer" break for the next three-ish months.   But I still kept up with at least a little stitching for my January challenge, so here's what I worked on. 

Friday night I was feeling pretty dead because we'd had a pretty rough week at work, so I decided rather than go allllllll the way across the room to my work bag and pull out Fa La La, I would just pick up Swirly Lollipop and do a few stitches.  Managed to put a stripe and a half in so now it looks like this:

I had a bit of a mini heart attack moment where I thought I had centered it wrong on the fabric, but after 30 minutes of counting and measuring and recounting I think it's actually okay.  I'm liking the way it's turning out so far. 

Saturday night I decided to pull open the latest sampler round project I had just gotten in the mail.  It's Garden Stars by Ink Circles which if you haven't seen it before, is an absolute HUGE project featuring all sorts of mandala type motifs.  I don't think I correctly internalized just how big this project was when I looked at pictures of it online at the beginning of the of round robin.  I got a nice chunk of the mandala motif I'll be finishing for this round one, I think maybe about 1/6 of the way done?

The colors got bleached out a bit in the picture, but there's all sorts of green used.  The motif I'm working on isn't my favorite green color, but it's interesting to see how it fits in with those around it. 

Sunday (yesterday) I figured perhaps it was time to mix it up a bit since so far I've worked almost exclusively on new starts.  I decided to pull out a WIP project instead, and pulled out one of my oldest, Silent Night by Mill Hill.  This is going to be a gift for a family friend who collects nativities, and originally it was supposed to be given as a Christmas present two years ago, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to work on it lately.  Not sure why since I really enjoyed it through the first 1/2 or so, but I've been bogged down on the top and haven't gotten much progress on it in almost 2 years. 

So I pulled out Silent Night while catching up on Downton Abbey last night and went from this:

To this:

Not much progress, but at least the top is starting to look like something a little more now.  The light bleached out the colors a bit on this picture, they're closer to life in the top picture.  I did get to stitch with my Christmas Ott light, so that was exciting!

Tonight will probably be another WIP project, since I just am not sure I'm in the mood for something new again.  Guess we'll see what tonight brings after work. 

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Progress Update: Crazy January Challenge Days 6-8

Time to share another update of my projects from the Crazy January Challenge.  You know how I said I was on a snowman pattern kick earlier?  Well, here's why...

After the 5th, I moved on from the "sweetie squares" to the "snowmen squares".  The first is Frosty Snowflake, a Needle Bling Designs pattern from the 2013 Just Cross Stitch ornaments special. 

I managed to get a bit of the brim on the snowman's top hat done.  He's not much to look at right now, that's for sure.  This is another WOCS piece, and they specifically asked for designs that were done on other colors of aida to offset the white of the snowman patterns.  I ended up sourcing two pieces of moss green aida, so that's what I'm stitching this and my other snowman square on.  The color really kind of bled out in this picture, but this next photo shows it more at it's actual color. 

Day 6 is also done on green aida and is a pattern from the (now gone) US magazine The Cross Stitcher (not to be confused with the UK publication CrossStitcher magazine which is still in print as of this post).  Anyway, my working copy unfortunately doesn't list the designer or the title of the pattern and since I don't know exactly where in the black hole that is my stitching magazine stash right now the original magazine is, I'm calling it Let it Snowman. 

Doesn't look like much yet either.  Just mostly a white blob. 

Which brings me to the last project start before my internet-less (and thus update-less weekend). Today's start was also a snowman.  This is a freebie chart from Plum Pudding Needleworks called Fa La La:

Although I got a decent start on his head at lunch today, without some of the facial details you can't see it much against the natural aida yet.  I'm hoping he will stand out better as his face and hat are added.  This is my selection for the 2016 Christmas Ornie SAL, since January's theme is music. 

In other stitching news, I finished up my part of the latest sampler round robin project:

So that's off in the mail.  I got the next round yesterday but I haven't had a chance to open it yet so I don't know what it is yet.  But I expect that will show up in my crazy challenge later on in the month (maybe even this weekend). 

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Free Pattern Friday: Baby It's Cold

That's right, it's actually a free cross stitch pattern post!  As I stated in my post a few days ago, one of my goals for the upcoming year is to get back into posting Free Pattern Friday.  If anyone has joined the readership the past few months since I've done this, the idea that on Fridays I post links to free (or nearly free) cross stitch patterns that I've come across in my internet browsing.

Since it's January, I'm going to spend this month focusing on snowmen!  I don't know why, but I'm really on a snowman kick lately.  I blame the World of Charity quilt that they're doing for February with a snowman theme.  It really made me go through and search out lots of snowman patterns.

For this Friday, I have a pattern called Baby It's Cold Outside by Alita Designs.  This pattern is a great example of using negative space, so if stitched on white fabric it should stitch up really quickly and make a great last minute ornament.  I'll have to remember that as it gets closer to Christmas, since this seems to be one of my mother's favorite Christmas songs lately.

You can download this free cross stitch pattern from the designer's website in PDF format. 

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Progress Update: Crazy January Challenge Days 1-5

Now that I've finished up wrapping up 2015, it's time to look forward to 2016.  Looking back through my blog archives, apparently my first Crazy January Challenge post last year was also Days 1-5, so I suppose that's appropriate!

For any of you who haven't heard of the Crazy January Challenge before, the idea is to start 15 new projects in the first 15 days of January.  Over the years it has evolved to different iterations, one of which is to start a new project for each day of January (so 31 projects).  Now, I have way to many WIPs to do 31 new projects (okay, I could do it if I really wanted to) so I do a combination of new starts and new projects throughout January instead.

And with that explanation over, here's a peek at what I've been working on.  My projects haven't gotten a huge amount of progress, mostly because I think I may have overdone things a little over the Christmas holiday, and I'm feeling a little flareup in my carpal tunnel and what might be tendinitis/tennis elbow.  So I'm trying to take things easy on the stitching front in general.

For New Years Day (Jan 1) I got started on the latest round of the Sampler Round Robin project I'm doing with my Facebook group.  This is the start of my part of Blue Ribbon Designs Little Quakeresque:

It is 1 over 2 threads done in an overdyed 3 color thread.  I like how it's turning out so far, but the project owner requested we not work in rows so the motifs ended up "striped" so it takes a bit more concentration.

January 2nd I decided it was time for something more "new years"-y so I started New Years Magic.  It's a freebie pattern by Brooke's Books.  I got one of the fairy's arms done and the start of the highlights on her face and neck.

I've never done a New Year's design before, mostly because I don't really decorate for that holiday, but Brooke's designs really appeal to me lately and the pink and purple of this really called to me for some reason.  I think I will leave off the year as it is in the original design and just leave it generic to take out for every year. 

January 3rd was a Sunday, which tend to be either really good or really slow stitching days for me.  My brother ended up being sick so I didn't get much done on this start either.  This is the start of Swirly Lollipop, a design from Daily Cross Stitch.com.  This will be going to World of Charity Stitching for a "sweet" themed quilt they are putting together.

I got two of the bottom stripes done, so hopefully this will work up pretty quickly.  It's going to be very colorful when it's done, that's for sure!

January 4th was Monday and so that meant back to work, which meant a lot of my stitching was confined to my lunch break at work.  This start is another WOCS project for the sweet quilt (as long as I get it down in time).  This is Chocolate Box by Little House Needleworks.  I thought for sure I could at least get one of the 9 chocolates completely done, but as you can see, that didn't quite happen.

With a name like Chocolate Box, you KNOW there's going to be a ton of brown in this.  So it was nice to start with one of the more decorated chocolates in the pattern as the center block.
Day 5 was the last of what I'm calling the "sweetie square" starts.  This is Sweets for the Sweet by Sue Hillis.  Kind of weird for me to start with "backstitch" first, but since that was the center of this pattern and I'm not doing any sort of gridding for this one, starting with words it is.  Anyone know what the pattern name refers to?  The English major in me is pretty tickled by it. 

 This is going to be pretty monochromatic until I reach the chocolate box on the lower right corner.  Which probably a good thing since I'm actually out of a few of the colors I need for that part.  Speaking of which, do you ever feel like you must have the entire DMC library by now but when you go to pull colors for a design there's always at least 1 you're out of?  Or is that just me? 

So that catches me up to today.  Guess we'll have to wait and see what the future holds when I get home and see what speaks to me for Day 6. 

In addition to the new starts, I've also been making slow progress on the sampler round robin project from Day 1, since that needs to be mailed soon.  Here's how it looks now:

Back with more updates soon!
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Stitching Wrap Up and 2016 Plans

Since my post from yesterday about Christmas got a little long, I'm going to put off showing off my Crazy January progress so far for just one more day to do a quick recap/future goals post.  Well, I say quick, but things never seem to go that way when I start to type.

2015 Stitching Statistics

Projects started:   44
New projects started for Crazy January Challenge: 30
Projects finished:  30
Crazy January Challenge projects finished: 7 (which is why many of these are included as WIPs in this year's challenge...)
Charity squares donated: 9
Exchange presents mailed: 3

Not a bad year overall.  So what's my plans going forward for 2016?

You may have noticed if you've been a reader since last year that I didn't really sign up for an SALs or check ins this year.  Stitch from Stash as it was before has now been dissolved, although there are similar groups popping up all over Facebook I could join if I wanted to.   But I'm also not participating in WIPocalypse or the Smalls SAL, or anything like that, at least so far.  In the end, I really burned out in the check ins on those posts, and so this year I decided not to. 

I have joined Kaye's Christmas Ornie SAL 2015 blog with good intentions to keep up, but I'm not going to stress about it if I don't. I've also signed up to participate in a few Facebook challenges, but again, I'm trying to go more stress free in my blogging and stitching this year.  If I meet the challenge, great, if not, that's okay too. 

I will be doing Debbie's Crazy January Challenge again this year (I've already started) because that was one thing from last year I really enjoyed.  I know I will continue charity stitching in the new year because that's also something I have really liked doing (as long as I don't leave things too much to the last minute!).  I have some plans for some gifts I would like to make.  I'm in a current Round Robin sampler round, and I'm starting a new Lizzie Kate RR in January.  But in the end, I really want 2016 to be more about stitching and blogging for me, and I feel like right now, what I have committed to is working for me.  Of course, that could always change in the future, since I seem to have SAL ADD. 

I would like to get back to doing Free Pattern Friday posts, so I'm going to be try and be better about being regular in posting those, starting with this coming Friday.  

Oh, and since I totally am behind on reporting for the TUSAL (Totally Useless SAL) where we show our ort jars each month, here's what my ort jar looked like at the end of 2015:

Now time to empty it out and start over with a clean jar. Whatever 2016 brings, I hope to make it a great year!

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas Debrief

Hello fellow stitchers! 

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday break.  I pretty much collapsed after my pre-Christmas crafting frenzy and have been pretty quiet for the most part, although now we are into January I am officially smack dab in the middle of the Crazy January Challenge.  But before I start sharing my January projects, I figured it would be a good idea to officially wrap up 2015 since I never got around to actually posting anything the past two weeks.  (I did think about it, just never actually DID it....)

Warning in advance, this post will probably get long and picture heavy.

The Christmas ornaments were a big hit with my mom and brother at least.  Dad and Grandma still need to get theirs, so I don't know that reaction yet.  Here's what Love Potions ended up looking like (gifted to Mom):

I told her they were "lotion and potion" bottles since my mother makes her own lotions.  It's a bit of an inside joke in our family.  My cousin thought they were old-fashioned light bulbs up until right before I finished the project (since he was privy to the crafting process). 

My Americana-obsessed brother was very happy with Stars and Stripes, despite my worry that it was a little too small. 

Cookies for Santa for my dad turned out great, and I think this is my favorite Mill Hill of the year (although love potions is a close second because it used many of my favorite colors).  There's just something about this that is so festive. 

And my last Christmas finish was Floral Watering Can for my grandma.  I was really excited to see this one come out as part of Mill Hill's spring release last year, but yikes was it a more complicated pattern than I realized!  Never again will I leave a project like this to the last minute (if I can help it). 

I mentioned in a previous post that I made made (non-stitchy) ornaments for my coworkers, here's how my flurry of snowmen turned out:

Does anyone know if there's an official term for a group of snowmen?  If not, I think a flurry of snowmen should be made official.  These are two pieces of felt blanket stitched together by my wonderful long suffering mother on her sewing machine, with hand tied ribbon scarves and acrylic painted faces by me.  Each snowman also has two buttons, taken from my great-grandmother's vintage button collection.  My mom agreed to part with a few of the buttons from her grandmother's collection, and I think it gives these an extra special touch.  My coworkers loved the ornaments, and some even more so after I told them about the buttons. 

So that is what I gave for Christmas.  Here's what I got. 

My exchange partner apparently had to replace my ornament because the original was damaged by the post office (grrrrr!) but on Christmas Eve I got the most adorable snowman ornament in the mail:

Perfect actually because we didn't decorate until Christmas Eve this year.  I'm not sure who the designer is, but maybe Bent Creek or The Trilogy?  I don't know why, but lately I just adore snowmen so much, so this was a perfect little gift for me.  I think it's my favorite of all the exchange pieces I've gotten this past year. 

I also got my first scroll frame to try out, and a little traveling Ott Light from my mom, both were a huge surprise and I'm super excited to use them.  Then from my cousin I got a large full size floor stand Ott light, which I never expected to get because they are very expensive.  I'm super excited to use it, although it's been set up, I haven't had a chance to use it yet because I haven't found the perfect spot (near an outlet) to set it yet.  Perhaps when we get around to taking down the tree. 

Another cousin gave me this Disney Classic Cross Stitch kit that (I think) is a Barnes & Noble exclusive because she knows how much I like Disney.  Honestly, some of the patterns in here look a little weird to me, probably because they are mostly based on whole stitch/pixel artwork, but I am really excited about the Sleeping Beauty Castle pattern from Disneyland. 

That pretty much wraps up Christmas.  So going wrap up for the rest of the year?  Well, since this post is getting quite long, I think I'll save that for another post for tomorrow.
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