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!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

20th Day of Advent Blog Hop

Hello readers!  Today I am proud to co-host (with Cheryl) Day 20 of Jo's Advent Blog Hop.  I've admired Jo's blog hops for almost 2 years now, so I'm very excited to be participating for the first time. 

Jo has asked us to share some Christmas stitching with you all and then share our Christmas Eve traditions.  So I thought I'd share a photo I snapped of Mill Hill's Holiday Stamp before I sent it off to my exchange partner.  Ornaments always look better hanging on a tree don't they? 

So now onto Christmas Eve traditions.  Growing up, and even still now, I don't think we ever have a "typical" Christmas Eve.  Our activities change a bit from year to year, although there are two constants: family and putting out stockings. 

Of course when we were little my brother and I would always put out milk and cookies for Santa and then pick out which stockings we were going to use and choose some for our parents as well.  Although we had a fireplace growing up, we never hung the stockings up, rather draping them over the couches and chairs in the family room.  This left more room for extra presents of course.  The years my Mom and Dad got sick of wrapping presents at 2:00 in the morning there would be more things piled around the stocking than in the years they started the wrapping earlier in the month. 

Now that my brother and I are adults, we still put out stockings for the family on Christmas Eve.  Then we take turns sneaking up to them in the middle of the night to fill them with goodies.  We have collectively taken on the Santa role I guess. 

What we fill our time with during Christmas Eve before the stockings go up varies from year to year.  We often enjoy doing a Christmas puzzle, so sometimes we will pull that out early and put one together on the card table while watching Christmas specials on TV in the background.  One time we gathered around the tree and read the book The Best Christmas Pageant Ever out loud in turn.  Which, by the way if you've never read that book, I highly recommend it.  Lately it seems Christmas Eve is reserved for snuggling up in your favorite cozy blanket and putting in a favorite Christmas movie.  My brother will probably opt for Elf while I'll fight for A Muppet Christmas Carol.  Although with the new Star Wars movie coming out a few days ago, I sense there might be a movie marathon in the works instead. 

Thank you for joining me on this blog hop!  Don't forget to check our Cheryl's blog for another Christmas stitchy post today, and you can catch up on any advent posts you've missed on this page at Jo's blog

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Almost there!

We're in the final countdown to Christmas; are you ready?

I was able to get some progress done on my ornaments, although not as much as I wanted.  I need like 4 more days added to my weekend. *sigh*  In the end, I decided that my final to "maybe" projects that I was hoping to get done before Christmas will absolutely not get finished before the holiday.  So I've decided to save those two for next year and find an alternative small present to send to my aunt and uncle. 

I did finish-finish up my Holiday Stamp project, so that was ready in time to be sent off to my exchange partner:

So that left me free to focus on starting what will now be the last gift stitching project for the year.  This is Floral Watering Can by Mill Hill. 

I will be finishing it up as an ornament as a present for my paternal grandmother who loves gardening and flowers.  When we were younger and her garden was much bigger every trip my brother and I would tail her around the garden in the morning helping her water the plants with her beat up green plastic watering can.  I had a babysitting job Saturday night so I made some decent progress on this start after the kids went to sleep for the night. 

I was able to finishing the beading on Love Potions and attach the backing paper and bead hanger in preparation for it's "finish-finishing".  Now I just have to cut it out. 

I decided not to do the bead swags that were charted because I didn't really like them and didn't think they added much to the design, but I think they look oka without it.  Luckily the heart treasure covered up the giant green space left when I took out the "No 9" as charted, so overall I'm liking how it looks. 

I also finished the same steps on Stars and Stripes.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  The beading totally makes this one.  I made a few boo boos on the placement of blue and yellow in the lower left corner of the star that I had to improvise a bit to fix, but hopefully it doesn't look too bad. 

If there's one thing I'm disappointed in with this one it is that it is rather small, even for a Mill Hill kit.  It was originally intended to be a pin, so I guess that's why.  But I think the recipient will hopefully not mind the smaller size.  This was my favorite of the Americana kits I could find, and he is very patriotic.  I just need to cut this one out and it will be done as well.

All of the stitching and backstitching has been done on Cookies for Santa.  I'm a little disappointed that the photo washed out the light green "sprinkles" stitching on the white star cookie, but I'm hoping once the beads are on it will stand out more.  Next up for this one is adding previously mentioned beads and then cutting and backing and hanging. 

This weekend I also made some progress on the 11 fleece blankets I'm tying for gifts this year.  Which leaves me with a pillowcase, an apron, two batches of soap, two batches of lotion, and 13 felt snowman ornaments to finish before 7 days are up.  But this weekend I also completed 2 sewing projects that I can't show yet in the very chance case the recipient reads this blog.  I was extremely proud of myself since I have extremely rudimentary skills and my mom is such a good seamstress I always feel embarrassed asking for help because my sewing always looks childish at best. 

Anyway, I'm very proud of this project, which will be extremely useful (I hope) once the cold weather hits full force.  We haven't had more than a half dozen nights or so that have been cold here in Mississippi yet, but since this is only my second winter here I'm not sure what's typical yet. 

Funny side note about cold in Mississippi and cats:

Last winter Brownie took to "burrowing", which is what I called it when he wanted under the covers with me so he could snuggle up closer to my body warmth.  I tend to "cocoon" myself when sleeping in the winter and seal myself up so no cold air can reach my body, but when Brownie burrowed in, I would usually leave the end of the blanket by my face untucked so he could crawl out when he was done with being under the blankets. 

Well, last night I was woken up by him pawing and nipping at my hand... which was wrapped in my blankets.  Apparently he either burrowed in while I was sleeping or I let him in and didn't remember it at all during the night.  It took my sleep deprived brain about 5 minutes to realize he was trying to get my attention because he was trapped under the blankets. 

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Countdown Progress Update

Most of my time these days is spent frantically trying to finish as many Christmas presents as possible before the looming deadline.  Which of course means that my Mill Hill stitching has been coming along.  So here's a quick look at my most recent updates. 

First off, I finished Holiday Stamp for my partner exchange:

I'll be finish-finishing it hopefully this weekend.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out; the petite seed beads are perfect for the scale of it.  I think the regular size Mill HIll beads would dwarf the design too much, but they fit perfectly here.

I also got the stitching all done on Love Potions:

I left the "No. 9" off the green bottle on the right, so I'm hoping it won't stick out because it's the one with the least amount of beading.  This will be hopefully be beaded by the end of the weekend, along with Stars and Stripes which I showed in my last update. 

I've also gotten quite far on Cookies for Santa now:

No longer just a green blob in the middle.  Just a bit more white to go, then backstitching and beading next for this one, again hopefully done by Monday.  Notice a pattern?  Then it's just 3 more kits to start and finish by the end of next week and *phew*, the Christmas stitching will be D. O. N. E., done.

Of course, then there are about 17 other projects I need to finish before the holiday that aren't stitching.  *sigh*

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mill Hill kits everywhere!

To my US readers, I hope that you all had a good Thanksgiving with lots of good food and good company.  And for everyone, happy first part of December!

I must admit, December is one of my favorite months, and Christmas is probably one of my favorite holidays.  I just love the ambiance of love that (usually) surrounds this holiday.  Around here I'm falling behind on production schedule of Christmas gifts though, so things are about to get crazy!  But here's what's been happening on the stitching front. 

Before Thanksgiving I managed up a finish on my band for the Antique Band Sampler project in my latest sampler Round Robin. 

Sorry for the black smudges, but I bled out my last name and city for security purposes, for what it's worth on the internet anyway.   I didn't really enjoy working on this one much, sampler bands just aren't my thing I guess.  But I am excited to see what project comes next. 

The day after Thanksgiving my cousin and I sat down and had a huge marathon of all 6 Star Wars movies back to back.  It took 14 hours, but was a good excuse to get a good chunk of stitching done.  The cross stitching and backstitch is all done on Holiday Stamp:

And as you can see, I'm starting to bead too.  I like that this kit came with all petite seed beads.  Not sure why, but those are my favorite.  Soon it will be ready to go to my exchange partner. 

Speaking of Friday again, since one of my gift recipients who is normally home had to work on Friday, I pulled out Love Potion, which will be for her, while she was at work.  I got a good part of the stitching on this one done, and now it looks like this:

I also pulled out Stars and Stripes just to change things up a bit.  This one is the smallest, so it had the least amount of stitching to be done.  I hadn't worked on this one since last year's January challenge, but now it's done and ready for beads. 

I didn't have Holiday Stamp with me to finish during my last stitching session, so I pulled out what will be the next kit to work on.  This one is called Cookies for Santa:

Not much to see yet, just a green blob.  I love the design of this one, but it will probably go slower than the others because it has a LOT of color changes and detail stitching.  But at least it seems to have more minimal beading than some of the other designs, so that will help. 

So other than these WIPs that leaves 1 more kit to start and finish before Christmas, 2 more I would like to start and finish (but it's okay if I don't), and 11 fleece lap blankets to fringe and tie in the next two weeks.  Plus a secret project that's a present for another family member that needs to be finished and ordered ASAP.  Whew!  I'm going to be BUSY!!!!

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