Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalm 51:12

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Special Stuff

Hi friends! I hope your Christmas was wonderful? Ours was, despite Brian and I still trying to get rid of this cold that came directly after the flu. I did go to the doctor on Christmas Eve morning and get antibiotics. I have a sinus infection.

Here is my favorite Christmas present this year. It is from Brian. ♥
He gave this to me now, because we draw names on my side of the family. And he drew mine. We probably will not give gifts again on Orthodox Christmas. I think that will be a celebration of Jesus' birth alone. And that is great!

Look at what I received in the mail yesterday from our sweet friend Annette.
What a pretty card and gorgeous fabric! I love it Annette. I do! Thank you my friend. :)

Brian bought me this lovely Christmas bouquet.
My in-laws gave me this most exotic poinsettia.
Oh yes! I did finally make up my mother's  present into a flatfold. I always use Vonna's technique. Here is the link to this freebie pattern.
(It appears misaligned in these two pictures. I assure you it is not)
My mother loves it! If you recall, that is supposed to be her kitten, Sweetie, up on top of the pile there.  Honestly, it is a bit frightening how Crazy Cat Lady my mom has become. I thought I knew what people meant by that phrase. Now I really do!

Okay! Who has seen The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies?!?! We saw it yesterday! So good! Also, so hard to believe it is over. Going to these movies every year as a family has been great. We went with my BIL yesterday. He is home from Cambridge. He is getting his Masters in Divinity there.

I picked up the needle once again last night on Theotokos. I took a five day break from stitching, due to Christmas and being ill. I think I may have told you, but when Theotokos is completed and framed, I will give it to Father and his family. It will not be for Orthodox Christmas as I had wanted. They do not know I am making this, so it will be a fine gift whenever I end up giving it.

Thank you for stopping by today friends. Have a lovely weekend!

Stitching and praying,
Vickie

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hi friends! We are trying to recover from the flu at our house. Brian and I are the two stragglers, the kids are over it. :( So these are the last cookies I baked on Sunday. I got the recipe from Honeybee at The Copper Fox. They are Mexican Wedding Cookies.
I enjoyed two of them warm. My husband and kids love, love, love them. I had been promising to make them for years. I am glad I finally did.  So are they. ;)

I will be baking the other planned cookies over the rest of their Christmas break. Why not? I learned something when we all got sick ONE AT A TIME OVER 10 DAYS, you can only do so much. What gets done for Christmas does. What does not, oh well. And if you recall, Brian and I will be celebrating Christmas again on our Orthodox Christmas, January 7th. So actually, I am not really late at all then am I? Ha! I actually feel better now with that realization. ;)
The progress on Theotokos really slowed down. I just could not stitch with a massive headache and the flu.

I did receive in the mail this chart from Regina. She was having a giveaway of some charts she had.
Thank you again Regina.

That's it for me today friends. Grace and peace to you all.  I hope you all have a Blessed, Merry Christmas!
Resting and praying,
Vickie

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Warm, PINK Goodness

Hi friends! I received a Christmas package from our friend Shirlee a while ago, but I waited to open it for a little bit. Let me show you what Shirlee gave me.
I had to create some snow to go with that awesome pink scarf! ;) You may have seen this scarf? I did. Way back in October on Angela's blog. I had even commented on it's greatness. :) Her mum made this as a donation to Gaynor's Breast Cancer Research Fundraiser.  Shirlee tells me that when she saw this and her raffle ticket was chosen, she chose this for me. I am so touched.

Isn't it awesome? This very pretty, very warm cable scarf was made so very well by Angela's mum. She generously donated it for the Fundraiser and Shirlee lovingly gave it to me. What a neat thing to be a part of! Thank you again Shirlee.♥

This is the gift I sewed for Shirlee. She has opened it already, so I am going to share it with you. :)
 Do you see the mouse? That is what I made her. This is Shirlee's picture I borrowed. I forgot to take a picture of the mouse and counting pins I gave her. He is designed to be a pincushion. She placed him in the tree. :) Looks good too! I had never made this before. I wanted to make something different for sweet Shirlee, and this is what I decided on. I found the tutorial for the mouse HERE. I scaled my pattern size down to about half. It was too big for me. Made me think of a rat, not a mouse. ;)

I have been stitching on Theotokos. Were you frightened on Tuesday? Did you hear me? This was me!
Much, much unstitching was going on Tuesday on Theotokos. :(  It is all fixed now though. So on I go! Here is a progress picture of where I am at now.
And finally, look! I just knew it! I knew Santa was my kinda guy!


Oh I hope one of those poodles is for me? Or all three? No, couldn't be. I would truly prefer a teacup poodle. Santa knows that! sigh. Well, I can always hope for his snow globe, right?

Stitching and baking and praying,
Vickie

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pink Poodle Gifties!

Hi friends! I decided to allow myself to open June's gift finally. I had to be good and get Christmas preparations going first. ;) Look at these perfect patterns June saved for me from her magazines!
 And I had to get a closeup of this, my favorite one!!! squee!
And are you ready for these gifts?!?
Look at the awesome poodle pattern June has found for me. I have never seen that one! June and I exchanged poppy seeds this year from our gardens. :) You can see the sweet, little calendar she made me on the right. On the left are Angel bookmarks/calendars. I use these every month in all the books I read each year June. :) The sweet embroidered bag at the bottom held the beautiful butterfly pill box filled with pink beads. Thank you so much June. ♥

I did some finishing work on two gift pieces which are now in the mail. One cannot be shown yet, but the other can. This is a magnet I made for my friend Heather. She is the new first grade teacher. I thought a magnet would work very well for her. God bless her. She is very overwhelmed right now.
I made our first Christmas cookies a few days ago. I used a new recipe I just found on Craft Gossip. SO easy and very yummy! When I asked Jacob if I should make these every Christmas then, he said, "NO! Every week! Don't save these just for Christmas!" ;) Here is the link to the Grinch Cookies.
Sorry for the crummy pictures today. It has been dreary for a week here. Damp, cold, and cloudy. (Yes, my pain is up from this.) You cannot tell from the picture very well, but they are a light, odd green. ;) Grinchy! I will be changing a few things next time I bake these. I will use 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring. I will make the cookies smaller, mine were a little bigger than the recommended tablespoon. And I will use a bit less than the called for 1/2 cup of oil.
A few treasures from friends tucked in this display in our front room. :) You can spot the Linus Christmas card on the right. This was given to me by my brother Jonathan 3 years ago. It still plays the recording of Linus' famous Biblical quotation and " That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown." Love it.♥

No snow on the ground here. Yay! I am not worried about a white Christmas. Almost all of my 45 Christmases here in Wisconsin have been white. ;)

I am going to bake cookies again today. And stitch some more on Theotokos. And then probably wrap a few presents. I hope your day is merry and bright!

Stitching and praying,
Vickie




Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gifts

Hi friends! Almost all of our snow has melted here.  I am nowhere near ready for Christmas either. Gotta get motivated!!

I received a lovely Christmas present from Jacquie. Just take a look! I let out a squeal. I did!
I love the precious poodle buttons. :) And do you recognize the stitched card from our friend Jacquie's blog?! I do! ;) Thank you again Jacquie!

I finished the needlepoint border for Theotokos half a week ago.
Last night I began working inside the border. I had taken a break for two days to stitch up this birthday gift for a friend.
Ha! Yes, that is the only peek you will be getting for now. I must do the finishing on it now. As you can see, I used some of Nancy's lovely threads for this project.

I also finally finished reading The Living God volume 2, another catechism book we were gifted from our Deacon. It took me so long, because, well, catechism can be dry reading. But I learned many things and I hope to retain them all. I do not know about you, but as I am getting older, it sure is harder to retain information I learn!

The boys have finished with their final exams. They will find out how they did shortly. Madeleine has her exams for high school this week. She is rather jealous that the guys have off for over a month now. ;)

Well I am off to read a few of your blogs now. Then Henry and I will go for another visit at the local nursing home this morning. He will be wearing his Christmas bow tie. =)

Thank you for stopping by. I am glad so many of you enjoyed my story on my Advent Blog Hop post. I appreciate your comments, but most of all your friendship. ♥

Stitching and praying,
Vickie

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent Blog Hop

Hi friends! Welcome to the 11th day of the Advent Blog Hop. So glad you stopped in. If you are not familiar with this, you can check out all 10 prior days of the Hop, over here at Serendipitous Stitching. Jo will be updating the entries daily. You can see how everyone celebrates, and enjoy some seasonal stitching and nice stories too.

This year I am sharing three new stitched ornaments for our tree. I made them all earlier this year.
My regular followers will recognize these. For any new friends here, these are Mabel and Henry, our toy poodles.

Jo would like us to also share our best Christmas present ever. I would have to say I received that back in 1987. Brian and I had been dating for 13 months. I was 18, he was 19 years old. I was invited to spend Christmas eve with his family. Well you can imagine I was a bit nervous.

I should give you a bit of background history here briefly. Brian's father created his own business when Brian was young. He ended up doing very well for himself financially. I came from a poor family. My father and mother divorced when I was 8. We rarely saw my father. He never paid child support. My mother constantly struggled to get food for our table. I have three younger brothers. So we were all used to having not much and accepted this.

So on with the story! It came time for me to open my one gift. It was a very large box. I opened it to find a new, white, down-filled  winter coat and royal blue knitted hat, mittens and scarf. My MIL had noticed my thin winter coat that truly did NOT keep me warm here in Wisconsin. Now I had NEVER in my life received such gifts at Christmas. To say I was overwhelmed with emotion, well that is putting it mildly. So what did I do? I could not even look up, because I was crying. Not just one teardrop mind you, I was an emotional mess. Brian was stunned. His only sibling, my future BIL Andy, was staring. My future MIL was trying to figure out what was wrong. My future FIL, he saved me. He knew instantly. He grew up poor also. He knew what it was like to receive a fantastic gift and be ever so grateful for it. He jumped up and "got busy distracting everyone" after he handed me a tissue box. They all gave me a moment or two to collect myself and my voice. And then I thanked them properly, and the rest is history.
My Christmas wish for you is that you are filled with the real joy of what this time of year is all about. My hope is that you recognize your need of a Savior. Let’s celebrate that God sent His Son to save us from our sins! Advent is the preparation for the arrival of the Messiah in the birth of the Christ Child.

Stitching and praying,
Vickie

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Guess Who Turned 5?!

Hi friends! How are you? I am glad you are stopping by. :) It is cold and white here. I have been stitching and stitching on my Theotokos. Here is my progress.
BIG SMILES! =) The borders meet!

Hooray for Henry! Not only is he doing well with his neck injury, he seems fully recovered! He is now 5 years old. =) He is about half a year younger than Mabel.
 I finished the book by Louis Zamperini, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons From An Extraordinary Life. What a great, quick read. I recommend it!
A beautiful, sweet surprise from Brian.
Are you ready for Christmas? No, not me. Not at all.  Well, the Christmas stockings go out tomorrow night, and I have the stitched ornaments ready and the candy all set. We have the front door wreath up and the nativity out in front. Not much else yet. I'll get there. ;)

Stitching and praying,
Vickie
I told you poodles are smart

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The October Snippet

Hi friends! Back in October I shared a tiny snippet with you of a Christmas ornament gift that I finished. Well I can now show you the whole thing. I waited until that Canadian friend received it. Then I waited until she shared her little bean news. Yep! Anne is who I am speaking of. =)
This pattern is titled 'Snowflake'. It is by SamSarah Design Studio. You can find it in the 2011 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Issue. I stitched this on 32 count straw? linen two over two, using the called for DMC, except I used 3865 for the white to make it just a bit brighter. I like my snow white! ;) I had this backing material in my stash. I had bought this flannel for another SamSarah snowman ornament design I made several years ago. Most of the same DMC colors are used for that one too. So it worked perfectly.

I am happy to report that Anne is thrilled with it. :) And I am just so happy for her, Lee and Little Bean. ♥

Thanksgiving Day was wonderful. Yes!! David did come home. God is good.

Thanksgiving evening we watched God Is Not Dead. Have you seen this movie? What a good movie it is. All five of us think so.

Henry is very much recovered. You would NEVER know he was injured. Yay! God is good.

I was making such good progress on my current catechism book, The Living God vol.2, and then we went to the library. I like to check the new book section. Do you too? Well, I found the last book by Louis Zamperini, called Don't Give Up, Don't Give In:  Lessons From An Extraordinary Life. I say last book, because Louie died in July. Just two days before the book was published. He was 97. I am 60% done with it. What a great book! He was an Olympic athlete and WWII pow.

Still plugging along on Theotokos.

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you stopping in. Have a super weekend my friends!

Stitching and praying,
Vickie

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Progress

Hi friends! It is a frigid 14º and the ground is covered with an icy snow, but I am thankful. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Yes, I thank God every day for blessings, but tomorrow. Tomorrow if this all goes through as planned my brother is coming home. David has had a problem with my mom's husband for many years. If he truly reconciles tomorrow, we will be together again. I am so happy to think of it. I have three younger brothers. We have not ALL been together for almost 10 years now. God is good!

I have had Jacob's Christmas ornament stitched up for over a week now. I just needed to get the finishing done. Now it is complete.
Sorry for the picture quality. It is dreary here without the bright sun. I stitched this on 28ct Navy Jobelan, one over one using DMC 972. I once again used my 365 Alphabets Cross Stitch All Through The Year by Kooler Design Studio.

I have been working diligently on Theotokos. Frogging once in a while with those black scrolls in the border. I am doing up the border first.
I finished a large book on St. Seraphim last week. I am now close to finishing a catechism book. You can see the titles in my sidebar.
To my American friends a very Blessed Thanksgiving to you! To ALL of you a very blessed weekend! I am so glad to "know" you. Thank you for being you! Thank you for stopping by.

Stitching and praying,
Vickie
P.S. Henry is recovering so very well. You would NEVER know he had a problem! Thank you for all of your well wishes and prayers. God is good!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Are The Chances?

Hi friends! Still cold here. However I received this gift to warm my day. I hesitated to open it, but Michelle told me not to wait for Christmas. Okay!
A Christmas card and a very nice wooden plaque. It is on display. Thank you so much Michelle. :)

Our sweet Henry has a ruptured disc in his lower neck. It seems unbelievable. We don't know how this happened. As you may recall our precious Mabel has 7 slipped discs! The veterinarian has told us Mabel is one of the worst cases he has ever seen. The x-rays for Henry show a moderate rupture. So he was on pain medicine for a few days and is still on the steroid for a two more weeks. It will be a gradual tapering off of that. He seems fully recovered already. Which of course is wonderful. The vet is hopeful he will fully recover and never have an episode of pain again. The key to that will be using a harness for his walks (we bought it today), not letting him go down the stairs (not the easiest to catch him beforehand always), lift him down off of furniture if he is up and place him down IF he goes on the bed. The vet said if we can't stop his jumping off the bed well then, he can't go on the bed. He just lounges on one bed, that would be Madeleine's. All the time. We will see how this goes. We love him so much. He will be turning 5 soon, like Mabel already is.
It is not that Henry is dumb, no. He is just not as smart as our Mabel. She is so very intelligent. The smartest dog we have ever owned. She listens when we say wait. She waits on her own for steps and to get down from furniture. She would just never try it anymore. She will wait patiently for help from her humans. Here is Mabel for you. ;)
 So what are the chances of having two toy poodles with disc issues?! The vet said this is rare!

Still stitching away on Theotokos. No picture update today, didn't get one.
This one is for you Margaret! Can't see it the best, but he IS crossing his front legs.

Thank you for your kind comments my friends. I always look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful weekend!

Stitching and praying,
Vickie


Monday, November 17, 2014

What Was I Thinking?!

Hi friends! It snowed over the weekend and it is frigid too. Our high for today is 18º. So I stayed in and stitched. ;) I began a new project. I had ordered this kit months ago.  It is to be a gift for our Orthodox priest's family. I want to give it for Christmas, but WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

This is a needlepoint kit. A very beautiful icon. It is the Kazan Mother of God. Well, I am not that fast at needlepoint at all. And this is all in petit point on 24ct mono canvas. o_0 This one is not as large as our Theotokos. I began the year stitching a Theotokos, and now I will finish the year stitching another!

Here is my progress after many hours this weekend.
I am truly loving the looks of this border so very much. There are four different golden brown colors in there. This is not the best picture.

When we had gone to a graduation party for Father's oldest son, back in June, I had admired two different cross stitched icons in their home. I asked Father's wife if she made them. No, an old woman back in Ukraine had made these for them. She told me she would love to have a Theotokos also some day. AHA! And so I decided to make one for her. I did give it weeks of thought before purchasing the kit. Once I get an idea, I can sometimes be like a terrier and not let go of it. ;) So here I am. The pattern I fell in love with just happened to be petit point instead. It is a good thing Orthodox Christmas is January 7th! We will see.

This whole subject has bored Mabel to sleep.
Here is one of my beautiful pansies from less than a week ago. Before all this bitter cold and snow moved in.
Now I have none. The pansies are always my last flower to hold out. And the first I plant in the spring. :)

In between stitching up this icon, I plan to do finishing on the smalls I got stitched last month during the Mega Mini Month Madness SAL that I was in.

Keep warm! Have a wonderful day! Thank you for stopping by. You brighten my day.

Stitching and praying,
Vickie