Jan 13, 2024

Christmas and Birthday and Gifts, Oh My!

Feeling a little nostalgic today. We finally got some significant snow, but as this seems to be the pattern our weather has been following lately, it immediately warmed up and started to rain. While I appreciate I don’t have to clean off my car or shovel the sidewalk, it would have been nice to keep the white stuff around for a day or two.

I miss the Christmases I used to have when I was a kid. Mostly, I miss the snow. The snow would start coming down in November, and by Christmas we’d be up to our eyeballs in it. Thanks to global warming, it’s rare we have a white Christmas anymore. In fact, the weather was so mild I was still wearing my fall coat until the end of December. And really, I only put it away because I refused to wear it for New Year’s, even if I could have got away with it.

My birthday comes about 2 ½ weeks after Christmas, and I was hoping for snow for it but all I got was rain. And as anyone who has a birthday near Christmas will tell you, it really sucks. People think that just because Christmas is barely over, your birthday is no big deal. But let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.

Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. Not just my own birthday, but anyone’s birthday. Sometimes my big deals don’t always work out the way I envisioned, but at least I try. Take the daughter’s 16th birthday. I worked like a dog planning a surprise party for her. I’m not sure the party was a total surprise, but I know the fact that her boyfriend showed up without a present was. Seriously boyfriend? And here I thought I’d planned for everything. LOL

This year I had a milestone birthday, and while the one or two people who still thought of birthdays as no big deal made me sad, the number of Facebook happy birthday wishes helped make up for it. And my stitchery guild sisters sang happy birthday to me at our meeting, two of them contacted me privately for more birthday wishes, and I talked to one of my sisters for an hour and a half – and while I was talking to her, my other sister tried to call and had to settle for leaving me a voice mail. The hubby got me a generous slice of the healthiest cake he could find – carrot cake – that was still pretty decadent but hey, it was my birthday. 😊

On to the presents . . . the hubby and I usually get each other one big present for Christmas and a couple of little ones. This year we made the decision to get our own big present. So the hubby got himself a new colour printer, and I got myself this:

It’s a Singer Quantum Stylist computerized sewing machine. It took me a while to settle on which machine I wanted. For a while the leader was a Brother machine that did embroidery, but I figured if I was going to embroider something other than an edging, I’d probably do it by hand. Still, the Quantum did come with its fair share of decorative stitches:

Have you seen pictures of those stitching calendars? The idea being to do a stitch a day for an entire year? I always love looking at them and I always intended to start one of my own, but by the time I remember I was going to do it, we’re usually well into the new year. But this year, my daughter gave me this:

Not only does it tell you how to get started, it has iron-on templates for the base to work on, and pages and pages of ideas and inspiration. We went away for the new year, but I took my stitching bag, and the book, with me so I could make my start. I don’t know which is harder, coming up with a new little image for each day, or actually stitching the little image. It’s going to be a challenge to keep it up, but so far I’m having a lot of fun.

And apparently, great minds think alike. I don’t remember every mentioning the stitch-a-day calendar to my sister in New Brunswick, but she must know me better than I realized because she sent me this for my birthday:

This is a whole stitch-a-day kit, that includes thread, material, and a tutorial. Looks like I’ll be set for next year too. LOL

I can see this is going to be the Year of Sewing. I’ve yet to figure out my sewing machine, but I’m keeping up with my calendar and I still want to finish my zentangle. In the next guild meeting I’ll be learning sashiko (Japanese embroidery) and I’ve just started a 12-week stitch-along course in Blackwork.

But that’ll be a post for another day. 😊

Jan 1, 2024

Happy New Year

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? 😊

While I’d love to report I got scads done during my blogging break, I’d be lying if I did. After getting off to a slow start, I lost a week to illness. It might have been a bad case of food poisoning, it might have been a prolonged IBS attack, it might have been a reaction to a medication I was taking – we may never know because I was unable to get a hold of my doctor.

But in due course I recovered, and then it was full speed ahead for Christmas. You may recall that during the summer I went on a jam making frenzy, the idea being to make jam sampler baskets instead of cookie baskets this year.

I left it a little late to get the baskets, and the only ones left were rather on the large size. Now I’d already planned on including scones or biscuits (gotta have something to put the jam on, right?), but even with the scones the baskets were a little sparse. So I made four different kinds of fudge. LOL

The home made ornament for this year was the fabric stars I learned to make with the stitching group. It took me about four days to turn this:

Into this:

Half a day was spent cutting, a day and a half was spent folding and ironing strips, and two days were spent actually folding the strips into stars. I averaged about 3 stars per hours. But it gave me an excuse to sit in my chair and watch TV.

I had fully intended to make tiny God’s eyes using metallic thread and tooth picks as well, but they never got past the experimental stage. They turned out to be more fiddly than I expected, and while I’m tempted to give them a shot now that the holiday madness has died down, we’ll have to see if I’m in the mood for them or not.

One thing I did do while on my break, was a lot of thinking about what I want to accomplish in the new year. I came to the conclusion I could get a lot more accomplished if I eased back on the blogging.

When I first started blogging, many, many years ago I was writing short, pithy posts on random subjects. The last couple of years I’ve been bogged down in this strict blogging schedule that takes more out of me than might be apparent.

Coming up with a subject, researching, writing the post – these things can be pretty time consuming. So with that in mind, I’m scrapping the poetry posts – it’s getting harder to find new forms anyway. And I’m finding the only poetry I wrote last year were examples for the new forms, or homework for my poetry group. I wasn’t writing poetry for fun any more.

I’ve also decided that the posts on this blog are going to appear a little more randomly – I’m no longer locking myself into posting every Monday. If I have something to say, fine. If I don’t I’m not going to worry about it. This means I might post once a week, or two or three times a week, or skip a week completely.

AND I’m going to focus more on the crafting side of my life here – what I’m working on, the progress I’m making . . . I have a lot of things I’d like to accomplish craft-wise in the year ahead and a lot of things I’m going to learn. I’m taking a class in blackwork embroidery, and another in sashiko. And that’s just for starters.

I confess I went a little crazy, the last few weeks, shopping online for craft supplies. That alone should be worth a couple of blog posts. 😊