Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmastime is Here~

This is what happens when I skip a week, lol! I still haven't read/responded to a goodly number of last entry's comments. So, Next Time will announce the "winners"/pertain to that blog. Today is to be a Christmas Round-up, including even some unposted 2009 stuffs.

I do want to say that I've been overwhelmed but the positive response to the mention I made of the freebie I'm working on. You guys are THE BEST! Work continues and I'm almost ready for "the fill" (Yes, the model has one but it is going to be So Worth It. :D). I really hope that if you decide to stitch it you'll enjoy it as much as I have.

Now, Christmas!

Key points: Santa Arrives Tonight looks WAY better against the green of the tree than otherwise. The other two are great ornaments from Patty C. as part of an awesome giveaway I won this summer! Don't they look beautiful?

I stitched these Mill Hill Holiday Harmony Kits in 2009. Blu is now the new owner of their charts, and mentioned a plan to make a cube on her blog--I think that'd be fabulous! :o

My favorite. <3

...though this one's probably got the strongest graphic impact. :)

I've been so amazed, touched, and happy to received gifts from so many blogging friends. They all just kept piling up while I was waiting to blog about them--each is so fabulous that it deserves its own post, but I know (from those Mill Hills) that if I don't do it yearbook-style it will suffer even more delay!

First was the amazing Christmas Goodie box from Dear Edgar! The candies are long-gone (I don't even like cherry cordials, but his were amazing! :o), but I am treasuring the prospect of that delicious jar of California Sunshine--his famed peach preserves. Little did I imagine when he blogged that he was putting up extra this summer for gifts that I'd be able to enjoy one this winter! :D I LOVE peach foodstuffs, and often have unsweetened canned peaches in my plain yoghurt-with-cinnamon-and-flaxseed oil breakfasts.

Next came the Faith-Hope-Love ornament (deservedly popular this year) from Andrea--Yup, I was lucky enough to win her giveaway! (Each year she prepares--in secret--throughout the year, and then has a draw! As they arrive with the new owners she reveals them on her blog! I loved following them on her blog last year, and this year I won one. :)

Her finishing is just as faultless as it appears on her blog. I can't believe her corners! :o And the pillow isn't lumpy in the slightest! :o I wonder if it's layers of batting? :/ At any rate, I love this DMC 115 ornament, and find the saying so comforting!

Then, came a no-return envelope, and when I opened it imagine my surprise to see this
gorgeous hornbook from Becky SC! Thank you, my friend! It is beautiful and wonderful in every way--I'd been wanting this design stitched for my home, and now here it is ready-to display! I just love that gingham ribbon. :)

Finally, Yesterday evening came this wonderful pouch from Myra--It's so small, elegant, and perfect! I love the sampler fabric. :o Myra's sewing is perfection--I feel totally spoiled to have a set of them in 3 sizes! :o

I really don't feel I can express my gratitude in words, so I'll have to content myself with: Thank you, Friends! You have truly made my Christmas with you kind gifts and warm wishes.


Elegant "Blackened Copper" finish of the key charm. I love copper. And keys. And samplers. And Cream.

The back of Andrea's ornament. This is my first piece with one of those charms on it. :)

That Freebie's fill isn't the only thing keeping me from finishing it: I started my (second attempt; first had a mu-mu marc didn't like) 2010 "family" ornament. I found this scrap of R&R 36 count at the local shop, and decided to convert this PS to NPI silks--maybe because the Ink Spot linen seemed to Demand It. (R&R seems like luxury to me 'cause I never see it. I've still never seen a piece of Lakeside IRL.) For the snow, I'd planned to use Belle Soie Icing (IMHO the most perfect snow fiber ever), but it was blinding on this linen! Xo So, the change was made to Oatmeal Scone. If you're like me, and hate stitching with white fibers, I recommend a Belle Soie.

It Has A Fox. (and is almost solidly stitched.) I'm alternating Greenery and Snow to get through it. And wondering if I shouldn't have stuck with DMC.

And I hear the Bunny one calling my name. It has a sweet rabbit helping Santa decorate a tree. (Marc calls me his Bunny, which is a really sweet and flattering diminutive as I think he's calling me sweet and cuddly whereas I'm actually rather prickly-sharp with more than my share of predatory--not carrot nibbling or rabbit-lace making--teeth which I would truly love to sharpen on you.) Well, maybe DMC for this one. I need the green fronds to show better against the black.

Oh, well; "When the stitching's dim--call it 'Prim'!" :)

Wishing You Happy Holiday Stitches,

Bonus Round (Berit Likes to Talk):

The Tree
• My favorite part of Christmas Hands-down.

• I'd be giddy beyond measure if we had (as planned) a new pre-lit tree with branches that don't have to be individually attached and fluffed and ends like barbed wire.

• I'd be Very Happy if I'd procured a "lazy susan" for the tree to ease lighting and garlanding. I think they make such things. Do they?

• I'd be enjoying the Soft Glow Joy that is Contentment-With-One's-Circumstances if I could find a strand of Warm white (Not LED: I can see them "vibrating" and they cast a dead blue light the color of a searchlight on the prison-yard) frosted lights to replace the one that died between this year and last.

• "Well Ain't that a/n ____": My lights are several years old, but the strand that died was new last year.

• The lights are metallic gold (1 strand) and frosted white (2 strands) for a ratio of lights that is 2 parts white, 1 part gold. I like white over colored lights, but they are can be dull alone. (Plain lights + extravagant ornaments = Balance). I re-strung the tree, but the over all effect is running to yellow, and I'm not getting over it.

• "They" stopped selling these lights (the soft pearlized and frosted types) this year. Why now? They're "Just lights". $7 a strand. From all the usual suspects: Target, WM, etc.

• Must somehow get over it so I can Enjoy the Tree. :)

The Exam (for those who have expressed interest. Otherwise... :):

• Went pretty horribly.

• Was all in Japanese. Yes, it was a Japanese exam, but there was no "J-to-E" or "E-to-J".

• Was mostly Trick Questions. I've never liked a trick question. I think they're unwholesome.*derisive sniff* And the reason that such a thing as "I-just-don't-test-well" exists. The only possible defense of their use is that they eliminate the too-easy leading question. But they emply the device of leading you to the wrong answer to accomplish that effect. For the record, I've always tested Very Well.

• It's a 5-Level Japanese exam. I took the easiest level. Most of the "Vocab" section was comprised of a short conversation between two people with one word a blank. The examinee had to choose from a selection of 4 words to fill the blank. My problem was that the blanks were all particles. I'd understand the WHOLE conversation, and be able to make a reply in Japanese or answer questions in english about what was going on, but my particles (they're a little like English's article adjectives--a, an, the--, or "Genders") are weak. Weak enough to make a native speaker smile behind his hand, but I can be understood nonetheless.

Particles are "Grammar", not "Vocabulary."

I don't think the lowest-level of fluency person in a 5-level cert. should be expected to have the level of mastery they tested for.

• I enjoyed the listening section. It wasn't the nightmare I'd been warned of; probably b/c it was revamped to CD. (Rather than an Aging-each-sitting cassette tape).

• I'll know in March, but I'd say "I'd have to raise my score to fail". In school, if one scores a 60%, that's a failure, but really it's a majority. You can win an election with numbers like that, lol! I estimate a 25% would be optimistic.

• Conclusion: The material that I studied did worlds to bolster my reading comprehension (which is my personal goal), if little for my abilities on the exam. So, hence I'm going to enjoy studying in my own reading-comp oriented fashion!

I know I had some Upbeat Yakking Material in my head:

• Yay--My linen for BBD Mystery Sampler finally arrived (second order as there was a problem with the first.) Oh, the perils of sight-unseen linen!

Now to serge and dye! :) These are good times, folks! Thanks to Christina for her continued loan of 3/4 charts for this project!

Also in the order:

• Mary Arden 28 Petites--best needle. Bohin is great, but no petite, which I must have. :) John James gold are too sticky or grabby in the linen.

• The extra "black" I need for Jenny Bean Halloween chart and remainder-kit that I won from Robin. :D

• JBW French Country Apple chart. :3 Which will look great in my kitchen along with Good Morning Rooster. If I actually framed and hung it! :D

Happy Stitches and Holidays, Extended Readers. Winners of giveaway next time. :)


Jackie said...

What beautiful goodies you've received! I love your ornaments as well. You are a talented stitcher.

Meadows08 said...

Lovely gifts you received! Merry Christmas to you.

Deborah said...

What wonderful gifts! They are all so beautiful.

Hazel said...

Wow you got a lot of lovely gifts! Beautiful. x

Margaret said...

Love your tree, love your gifties! Love that PS with the fox!! Wow! Sounds like the Japanese exam was tough. But the important part is that you're reaching your goals, which it sounds like you're doing.

valerie said...

Wonderful ornies and gifts!

Catherine said...

Wow! I think stitchers are some of the most generous people I have met! Great goodies you received!

That exam sounds like it was tough - maybe it wasn't as bad as you thought though!

carol fun said...

Beautiful goodies in all areas of the exchange - certainly makes opening the mail exciting. Enjoy your Christmas - I understand the light issues - I have my own personal crusade for bubble light replacement bulbs every year. Take care and happy stitching!

Christina said...

Wow Berit, what a post! I don't know where to begin!
Your tree looks lovely. I'm so jealous of the strawberry style finish ornie. I wouldn't have the fainest idea how to finish like that.
Myra's handiwork is just amazing. I really love the key charm - it's just, well...charming!
I share your pain on the Christmas tree lights, mine are too yellowy!
The Japanese exam sounds like hard work. As a former language student myself, I used to spend hours revising for the exam, only to find that nothing I'd revised ever came up! The most dreaded part of the exam for me was the oral exchange with a native speaker. The situations were so contrived and used to leave me cringing with embarrassment!
I hope you & Marc have a fantastic Christmas. Looking forward to many more of your posts in the new year!

Bonnie said...

I don't know where to begin. I will just say that you have received some beautiful gifts from some very talented friends.
I have really enjoyed reading your post.
Have a Merry Christmas.

Brigitte said...

Oh my, these Mill Hill beaded ornaments are like little treasures. They look so delicate, absolutely beautiful.
And you have received some great gifts from your stitching friends. They spoiled you rotten, didn't they. Enjoy all these wonderful goodies.

Katrina said...

What gorgeous ornaments and gifts!!! Love that little bag :-).

Laura said...

Wishing you happy holidays, friend. Your tree looks great and so do the ornaments.

About that lazy susan thing, when we were little my dad found this rotating stand for our tree at an after Christmas sale and it was his pride and joy. Every year all the neighbors would stop in to see our "spinning Christmas tree." Once a strand of lights wrapped around the base as it spun and the tree fell over. But dad loved that stand so much he stood it right back up again. Oh, I just remembered it also played music! Believe it or not, I think they do still make some version of it.

Giovanna said...

What great gifts, good for you!

Lynn said...

Beautiful gifts and gorgeous ornaments!!

Barbara said...

The Chinese test I took several years ago (for my acupuncture class) was tricksy like that. Didn't test your knowledge so much as your ability to study the nit-picky stuff. Grrr.

Hey I love all the stitching and I wish you lots of luck getting your tree just how you want it. I went with tiny white lights this year (usually the family insists on multi-colored), no garland, and about 85% handmade ornaments. I like it. :)

staci said...

Lovely ornaments that you've made and received! Merry Christmas Berit!

Carol said...

Gorgeous ornaments, Berit--we seem to share the same taste :)

I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful pouch from Myra, too--isn't she the best!!

Hope your Christmas is "Merry and Bright!"

Sally said...

Wow gorgeous ornaments you made and received. The pouch from Myra is beautiful.

Siobhan said...

What a bunch of gorgeousness in this post!! Wow. Lucky you--everything you've received is fantastic.

I love your conversion to the Ink Spot Black and silks for the PS. Great idea. I have some PS charts that are too big for ornaments on 32 ct and I don't know that I would want to frame them. I have some Ink Spot Black in my stash... thanks for the idea!

Pointed Stitcher said...

You received some beautiful gifts. Love your ornaments too.

Andrea said...

Lots of gorgeous gifts.

No layers of batting in mine, just stuffed normally with hollowfibre filling. :) I'm glad you showed the back, I forgot!

Have a very Happy Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the awesome stitchy gifts :) Merry Christmas to you Berit! Hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you :) I don't often comment these days (really need to rectify that!), but wanted to make sure I left one now to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your blog this year :)