I’ve finished all the cross-stitching (excepting the name, which I’m saving for last) and have moved on to outlining. With 50 days until Christmas, it’s starting to look as if I might actually be able to finish the stocking in time for this year.

Of course Mr. Cleaver, being the reasonable one (and knowing me all too well), has encouraged me to banish the thought from my mind instead of giving myself some crazy deadline.

He’s probably right, butfor now, I think I’ll keep stitching along and call it come December 10th or so.


Cross Stitch Stocking in ProgressWaldorf DollCross Stitch Stocking in Progress
Waldorf DollCross Stitch Stocking in Progress

Waldorf DollThe end of summer came all too quickly this year bringing with it big changes (LMC started daycare two days a week) and big deadlines (knitting and day-job related), and the sad realization that I should have taken more days off of work. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all and have found some soothing simplicity in hand-work. Setting all knitting aside for a a few weeks, I’ve been focused on my cross-stitch, and this newly finished Waldorf Doll for LMC. At other times, I would find it all a bit tedious, but for me, for now, it’s just right.

What do you turn to when you need some quietude in your life?






This weekend, I put up all our decorations (indoor and outdoors) with the exception of the live tree. Since last year, my Christmas decoration stash significantly expanded when my family shipped out all the decorations I still had at my mother’s house, which amounted to a rather large plastic tub of ornaments and my collection of about a dozen Christmas-themed music boxes. We also bought a silver tinsel tree at the after-holiday sales, because I have always wanted a silver tinsel tree. And since it’s the first question people ask when I tell them we have a silver tinsel tree, no I did not get the lighter spinner to go with it.

Of all my decorations however, there are two there are most precious to me. First is my pair of German Nutcrackers. The soldier I received as a gift as a young ballet-loving girl. I loved it so much that I saved up my money to buy another nutcracker (Herr Drosselmeyer), a year later at a little shop in Eureka, CA we stopped at each year when we visited my great-grandmother for Thanksgiving. It was the biggest purchase I made as a young child and I remember it vividly.

The second, and far more precious, is the needlepoint stocking my grandmother made me.  My grandmother had a tradition of making everyone in the family some kind of needlework stocking. They are detailed and specially chosen and very beautiful. Every spouse and new grandchild or great-grandchild got one – not right away, as they are terrifically labor intensive and finding the right one could take time, but sooner or later, there it was, given with a lot of love and no great fanfare. When my grandmother passed away in 2009, my Aunt took over stocking-making duties for her own grandchildren and in-laws; and while my mother offered to take up the task, I knew I would want to make Little Miss Cleaver’s myself.

So for the past 7 months or so, whenever Miss Cleaver takes an extended nap in my lap, I’ve been plugging away on her stocking. Though I learned how to cross-stitch at a young age, and distinctly remember cross-stitching bookmarks in the pews at church as a young child, I can’t say it’s my favorite craft. For me, it tends to fall somewhere between soothing and the world’s most tedious form of coloring in the lines. But the thought of her hanging it up with anticipation every year makes every stitch and tangled thread worth it.

I’m maybe a third of the way through the pattern at this point, and I certainly know that I won’t be done in time for this year (nor will LMC miss it), it feels good to be working on it at this time of year and knowing that I’m carrying on this tradition.

Here’s a few more things I either made in secret (ornaments) or at the last minute (wreath):








Did you do any Christmas making?

A few weeks ago, Casey of Elegant Musings asked for fellow bloggers to join her in a blog tour of Cherished Collections and having previously mentioned my “wicked apron collection,” and made no secret of my love of aprons, I jumped at the chance to share my, wait for it……. aprons as part of the tour.


I’d like to say my love affair with aprons began in my middle school home economics class, when our final sewing project was a simple bib apron. In true 90’s style, my featured sunflowers and was sadly lost in my first post-graduation move after college. But in truth, my apron obsession probably came because I lost that apron and needed a replacement.

I picked up another bib apron from ebay, in blue gingham, which I still use, but it was then I discovered the adorable half apron, of which I have now amassed eleven. I used to have an even dozen, but I passed one featuring a chicken off to a friend.


My first, and still on of my favorites, also came from ebay and features adorable pockets in fishy fabric, which I later recreated the shape of for a Christmas gift, when I lived in Chicago.


Surprisingly enough, only one of my collection is one I made (yellow gingham),  with most of my apron sewing skills having been put to gift-making.


A good chunk of my aprons have come from antique stores, where I grabbed them for around $5-6 dollars (black & white and embroidered pink). At least one has come from a garage sale (grey gingham with chicken scratch). A few I can’t recall where they came from.


But my most precious one are the ones that have been given as gifts, including the Christmas bells from a roommate, the green hostess apron from a knitting friend, and the rose hostess apron from a co-worker- perhaps my most precious one, because it was her grandmothers. As was the plain white one I embroidered with Raggedy Ann.


And I use each and every one of them, because as they become dusted with flour and sugar, they become all the more cherished to me.

Yesterday I joined my knitting friends over at Maggie’s for an afternoon of knowledge sharing and enabling each other’s crafting addictions.

Maggie taught Bristol & I crochet:

Working on Crochet

My Crochet

and I taught them embroidery:

Bristol Embroiders

Maggie Stitches

Lynn taught Karen punchneedle technique:

Karen's Punchneedle

Lynn's Punch Needle

Maria (who’s trying to finish 12 knitting stash projects before Rhinebeck!) provided the locally made gelato:

Maria Knits


And Chase, Jackson, Hobbes* and Cocoa Bean* provided fur and company (*not pictured):



String I:

Tuesday - Ironing ScottyI finished this dish towel at the beginning of the month, but for one reason or another it’s sat in my photos for about three weeks. It’s not as though I have a backlog of a bazillion projects to post, but as cute as this piece of embroidery is (it’s an ironing scotty dog!), I didn’t think it warranted a whole post to itself, so I’m lumping it together with a few other bits and pieces.

The Scotty Dog Pattern is from the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Group on Flickr, which has a treasure trove of patterns you can print out an stitch. They have an especially large collection of mostly complete days of the week patterns like the Scotty above.  I’m alos planning on doing Wednesday (mending) and Friday (baking).

I worked on this mainly while my bum wrist kept me from knitting and in the after period  when I struggled to get my knitting mojo back (which happily it has, thanks to Kate Davie’s Manu and some Malabrigo Silky Merino). I haven’t yet done the pattern transfer for the second towel, but if our current levels of humidity hang around for much longer I will, since they’re only so much wool I can handle in humidity 🙂


    On Saturday, Mr. Cleaver and I picked four pints of strawberries at Maxwell’s, two of which went to his mother and the other two which ended up on my cereal and this strawberry shortcake I made last night.

    The recipe is from Posie Gets Cozy and the only changed I made/would recommend is to make 6 or 8 dough “blobs” instead of the listed 4. mine were doughy in the middle until I cut them in half and baked them some more, and the smaller biscuits (it’s a very biscuity shortbread) were about all I could handle to eat at once.

    String II:
    Tissue Fitting

    I have plans for a fantastic Fourth of July dress from Vogue 8184. It’s a fairly simple dress (especially since I’m skipping the boning- since my version has straps), so I ‘m taking the time to do my first go at tissue fitting, especially since I fell in between two of the multi-size envelopes.  I’m somewhat obsessed with fit these days – what with the pattern drafting I’ve been dabbling in and all (and I’m close with another sundress I drafted). Since the Fourth is only ten days away, we’ll hopefully have results soon!

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