Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Day 6....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

I showed you a the finish of the 2014 Prairie Schooler Santa...
but I neglected to mention that I finished a second Santa while I was in California.

It was the 2015 Prairie Schooler Santa and yesterday I finished them. 
Here they are right before I slapped them on my Prairie Schooler Santa Tree.

2014 and 2015 PS Santas

I finish all of my Annual Santas the same - red pillow ticking on the back, grosgrain red ribbon for the bow and hanger. I also make a little initial and year patch that I tack on the back with a dot of fabric glue, so that when I die, my family can see when I stitched these ornaments. I do this to all of my ornaments that I have stitched. 
2014 and 2014 Prairie Schooler Santas Back

Have you heard the old adage....
"Less is More"
In my opinion, The Prairie Schooler Santa's speak to this adage. They don't need any jazzing up, because they are beautiful and jazzy all by themselves. Simple is best in a lot of things. This being one of them. 

For your viewing pleasure...
I have created a tutorial that shows exactly how I make a "Simple Pillow Ornament". 
Simple and Perfect with my "secrets" shared for your own finishing prowess to grow.
You may view it on my YouTube Channel at this LINK HERE

Merry Christmas!
Sharing is caring!

Until tomorrow....

Monday, December 05, 2016

Day (4 &) 5....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Day 4....
was my twin sons' birthday, so forgive me for not posting. We were busy attending Mass, celebrating and just having general family time before they went off to go to work gathering carts and bagging groceries at Kroger. Then I spent a cozy afternoon with my husband watching documentaries (we are nuts for documentaries) and stitching. It was Sunday, thus a family day.

Day 5...
On my trip I took a project envelope filled with 10 Prairie Schooler Annual Santas that I have not stitched yet. I finished this one while on my vacation.

Prairie Schooler Annual Santa 2014
stitched on Davos 18 ct. 
2 strands over 1 thread
2014 PS Santa

is the called for fabric of many of the Santas. I tell that to people and they are like.... whaaat?! 
Essentially it is 36 ct. since it is just stitching over 1 thread. You can tell from the photo above that the holes are very visible. It is an evenweave not an aida. I like working on it. and I think the santas look spectacular on it.

My trip....
I'm going to spread this out a little to share among posts. Keith and Ellie drove me down to Haubstadt, Indiana on Sunday, November the 6th at 5 a.m. From there I got in the car with my father and stepmom and off we went on our trip. We headed first to St. Louis, MO - Gateway to the west. We traveled all day and stopped for the night at Salina, KS. I had never been further west than Branson, MO, so Kansas was a whole new world for me. I was amazed at the gently rolling prairie and the golden grasses blowing in the wind.  The next day (Monday, November 7) we drove to Golden, CO which was just outside of Denver. In the morning (Tuesday, Nov 8) we got up and began to make our way to Arches National Park in Moab, UT. Before we got to Arches though we stopped in Colorado for breakfast and ate at Mountain Lyon Cafe in Silverthorn, Colorado 
Oh my word...the food was so delicious. It was a sort of smallish, homey diner that I saw and said something to my father about eating there and he pulled in and I was glad he did. Delicious, wonderful food!

We made it Arches National Park (11/8/16) and I will share some of the beautiful photos I took while there. It was a stunning, awe inspiring experience. You go there...and it is just...well let's just say, I thought about God.... a lot. I'll never forget it.








In this canyon...the wind whips through these stone walls and all that sand is from the rocks being broken down. It was nearly up to your calves and you walked in there. I was wearing Birkenstocks and took them off to walk through the sand (because I was rubbing my feet raw with the sand and the straps of the sandals). That sand was freezing cold! My little tootsies were almost blue by the time I got back outside the canyon and just dirt. Definitely could tell this place was a desert environment because at night it gets cold and the sand was a good insulator of keeping the cold in!


So there you go....
the first three days of my "grand" adventure.

Tomorrow I'll be back and in the meantime...
smile, keep that little light of yours shining!
Share a Coke with the world too :) 
I love Coke and I saw that "I'd like to give the world a Coke..." commercial today. If it would just be that easy....perfect harmony in the simple act of sharing a Coke. I'm pretty happy when I drink a Coke....

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Day 3...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Sorry I'm late this morning with my daily post....
I've been decorating and am happy to report, I put the final touches on my home yesterday afternoon!
It is clean, decorated and ready to enjoy!

I usually save my tree to be viewed on Dec. 23...
but what's the point? You want to see it and I can use various close up shots of it through the 25 Days to show each ornament in more detail :)

So here we go... FRONT view of our 2016 tree:
2016 Tree Front

RIGHT SIDE of our 2016 Tree
2016 Tree Left side 

LEFT SIDE of our 2016 Tree
  2016 Tree right

Over 500 handmade ornaments adorn our 7 ft. tree. Ornaments from my childhood, ornaments from my husband's childhood and ornaments from my children's childhood. About 275 of them are cross stitched by my hands and a few of those are from friends of mine that have gifted me through the years with their beautiful work.

Our tree isn't fancy, but it is a work of a lifetime and all six of us are a contributor to it's beauty.

Katie is having the time of her life in college....
She's done so well with the transition, heck even Mom did very well with the transition - all things considered :)
She has made tremendously good friends. And every Friday night they have "friend game night" and a sleepover. Last night instead of games they went ice skating.

Katie Dec 2016 college

They posed with Garfield outside the rink ~ Jim Davis the creator of Garfield is a Hoosier born and bred and still living in good 'ol Indiana where he presides over Garfield, Inc and is an adjunct professor at Ball State University. (Yep, BALL jars....made in Muncie, Indiana) Indiana ROCKS!

Katie Dec 2016 college with Garfield

A wholesome, fun ending to a Friday night ~ Friday Night Sleepover!
Katie Dec 2016 sleepover
Start studying girls, finals are in a week!

And here are my boys this morning eating a hearty breakfast prior to going to their first SAT attempt....
SCORE BIG BOYS! Mama and Daddy need you to get a scholarship!
aren't they cuties? ;)
Ian and Jake SAT

Last night I began stitching....
by Country Cottage Needleworks
Snow Place
I'm doing mine with the called for colors on 36 count 2 over 2 on Vintage Country Mocha linen
I think it will be an ornament.

And Day 3's Tip is....
buy this book, that I finished last night:

It was SO good...I cried at the end. So good in fact I'm going to start at the beginning and read the series. :) 
I'm always in need of a new series.

OK folks...
that is Day 3! Until tomorrow....

Friday, December 02, 2016

Day 2....

~ Greetings and Welcome to ~
Day 2 of

is one of my most favorite days of the month! It is my pedicure and manicure day! 

Do you know...
that I never had a pedicure or a manicure before I was 40 years old?
I always felt it a little odd to have a person mess around with my feet...
you know handling them and clipping my toe nails and such. 
 Then I was given a gift certificate for my 40 birthday from a dear friend of mine 
(who knew I had never had one and kept telling me that they were HEAVEN! And I kept telling her that it was WEIRD to have some random person picking the toe jam out from under your toenails....) 
Well I used her gift certificate and I was hooked!

It has become my monthly ritual that makes me feel like a girl ~ my one guilty indulgence
  (well besides buying too much cross stitch stash.)

So here is a tip for you....
RUN and go get a pedicure! 
Even if you don't want some random stranger picking the toe jam out from under your toenails....you will LOVE it! Oh they feel so good! 
The best part of a pedi is the night you get home with a fresh pedi and getting into a new bed with fresh clean sheets and running your smooth feet back and forth on the sheets.

You know.....it's the small things in life for me.

someone on one of my last blog posts asked if my new kitty, Augustine - Augie for short -
(yes named after our happy place, St. Augustine, FL not to forget St. Augustine the actual saint and theologian of the church)
They wanted to know if he had made it from his illness and continued to thrive.
Well he certainly has! I am happy to report that he is spoiled rotten. He runs my older cats like a collie herds cattle. Chatty distinctly will not put up with any of his crap - he starts growling when Augie gets that - I'm going to tackle you look in his eye. Red boy puts up with his crap for a while and then knocks Augie in his place. Here are a few snaps of my sweetie new boy:

The very day we brought him home:

48 hours after coming home, he was gravely ill....

During his convalescence when I was hand force-feeding him and wiping his hiney when he had to use the bathroom....

Two weeks after bringing him home...he's sassy and killing ALL the things!
Augie Kills

Four months old!

Here he is as a big kitty...
I believe he is full grown (so does the vet) he's 9 months old. He's a smaller Tom Cat than my other Tom's. He's petite and short-legged. He is a ham....

Here he is today with Red and Chatty (yes, Chatty was growling while I was taking this picture).
You can see he is small. 
Red is my biggest guy...he is skinny but so long and tall that he is roughly the size of a bobcat (just not as heavy in body as a bobcat). 
Chatty is dainty in bone structure but large in size - he loves to eat and I have to watch him. 
**All three adopted from the shelter. Chatty was 2 when we adopted him. He is now 11 years old. Red was adopted the next year as a kitten, he is 8 years old. Augie of course is less than 1 year old.


Tip #2 for today....
Adopt, don't shop! 
Give a pet that has been discarded a loving home. SO many pets (of all varieties) are just waiting for someone to love them, care for them and give them a forever home. Maybe consider adopting one from your local pet store for Christmas? 
These boys have brought us abundant joy! Little gifts from heaven to brighten our walk on this earth. I love these cats so much. They are my friends and my companions and love me for me. Of course they are cats, so it is all their terms...but what is not to love about them?! Mama's little sweeties! I've had many cats in my life...but these guys...ahh! I love them best. Even though they eat like they are starving and fill up their litter boxes like champs!
...scooping poo daily not my favorite part of pet ownership... 

after my mani and pedi is decorating day! So tomorrow we might have actually something Christmassy to talk about.

And maybe even a little stitching???
WE WILL SEE what tomorrow brings!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Day 1.....

~ Warm Welcome and Merry Christmas to all of my stitching friends ~

Today is the beginning of the fourth year of

So here we are on Day 1...
and I've got to be honest people, I have been back in my home for 24 hours and my life is a bit random and frankly a mess since I've been away for 3 1/2 weeks on my grand vacation.

One thing you can count on me about is: 
Keeping it real. My life is a bit of a mess right now ~ not in a bad way, just in a I'm not in the groove and things are out of control way.

My house isn't a mess...
(no my husband is too much of a perfectionist for it to be a mess) but it is still decorated for fall. Yes, you read correctly. Not a single Christmassy thing is anywhere in my house, except for this Blog Header (that I made today) and this here little 'ol post.

So give me this first day to draw a road map of what will happen in the upcoming days.
"What is going to happen this year during these 25 Days?"
Well I'm going to share with you my family, my life, my tips/techniques/ideas and just generally bask in the glow of the holidays!

Last year so many people enjoyed my gadgets and gizmos bit...
that I know for certain that I'll have a few gizmos to throw in and show you. Some I've bought from a store, some I've made because it helps me in the way I stitch.
We will definitely have stitching related talk.
We will definitely have tutorials created and shared as my gift to you for being my loyal friends.
We will have fun and laughter.
However, above all, we will share happiness and love for each other, our craft that brings us so much joy and just general fun.

There is so much negativity in the world...
you see it all around you. It is my hope that together we all can make a change in our hearts, with purpose in our minds, to be a positive light for this world. We all have different ideals, faiths, families, friends, goals...but although we are all different and walk different stations in life; this art, this hobby brings us all together under a common roof for fun and fellowship. AND....I've got a couple of fellowship moments that I just experienced over the last few weeks to share with you during these 25 days!

Tis the season for fellowship....
join me friends - join me to light up this world for good, for joy and for friendship.

I'll be back tomorrow to share with you my progress on bringing a little Christmas in my home....
Oh heaven help me, I've got a long row to hoe here and the weeds are a grabbing at the handle.

Until tomorrow friends!
Merry Christmas and Happy 25 Days!

Now on to my coffee with peppermint mocha creamer....GO! get ya' some!
That's your Day 1 tip :)

Friday, November 04, 2016


~ WHAT?!?!?! ~ 
is going on with me an posting TWICE in less than 7 days?
LOL! Miracles never cease to happen

I've had a couple of finishes I want to share....
And then I want to share something personal.

My first finish is:

"Flag Maker"
Notforgotten Farm

This sweetie is stitched on 32 ct. Days Gone By Linen
using the called for DMC
It is a freebie found on Notforgotten Farm Blog and can be found

I also got my needles going a couple of days ago and whipped out the next house in the

"ABC Samplers Series"

LMN House

Here is how my whole sampler looks as of today...
I am just so proud of myself staying up to date on stitching this sweetie!
Isn't it looking so darling?!

LHN ABC Samplers _ 11-4-16

Stitched on 32 ct. Vintage Examplar
two over two using the *mostly* called for colors (if I don't have one I sub it for another)

I have been notified that there are a few remaining spots in the retreat I am teaching at this spring....
if you are interested, you need to call soon!

I have a secret that I want to share.
On Sunday, November 6, 2016, I am going on a most excellent adventure!
I am going to help drive my Dad and Stepmom from Indiana to Fairfield, CA.
We are taking 9 days to get there because...
my Dad has planned stops all along the way to National Parks that I have long dreamed seeing since I was a child. My Dad is a retired Science Teacher. I went to college and graduated with a degree in Biology and Chemistry, in my career I specialized in Microbiology. When I was a little girl, besides reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books, every book Beverly Cleary ever wrote and Judy Blume books...I also read every science book I could get my hands on. Books about bugs, animals, plants, birds you name it, I read it. I read about archaeology, I read about native Americans, evolution, our solar system....if it dealt with the natural world, it was my sort of book.

Long have I dreamed about visiting ALL of the national parks. Starting Nov. 6, my dreams as a little girl and adult will begin to come true! We are driving the first day to Salina, Kansas. Second day, to Denver, Colorado. Third day to Moab, Utah where my park touring will start with Arches National Park. (I might try talking my Dad into seeing Zion too...but we do have an itinerary, so probably a long shot). Then it will be back into Colorado to Mesa Verde and the Cliff Palace. OH MY WORD! I read a book about this place, I don't remember the name of it, but I was a young teenager and I remember it was a fiction book based on non-fiction places. Well I long have remembered that story and that book and have dreamed of Mesa Verde and the cliff side homes. Well I'll be seeing them!!
After Mesa Verde we are headed to the Petrified Forest! Then on to the Grand Canyon and after there we are moving on to Sequoia National Park and Yosemite!

Once we get to Fairfield...
I will get to see my brother, whom I have not seen in nearly 10 years.
I will get to meet in person my nephew and my niece (they just know me from Facetime).

I will be 2 weeks in the Fairfield area and my brother has my time booked, I believe. But I am hoping to drag him with me to meet my long, long time friends, Edgar and Rico
and also...
my new friend, Becky from FlossTube Obsessed Stitcher fame! 

My husband was so generous...
in allowing me to take this precious time away from our own family to visit my extended family and take this awesome trip. I wasn't going to go. Then he encouraged me to go. Then I was just going to get out there and stay a couple of days and fly home and he encouraged me to stay for 2.5 weeks. I will be gone basically the entire month.

I am so excited! 

Keith has dubbed this trip as: 
"Dave and Von's most excellent adventure!"
LOL! (David is my Dad's name, Keith doesn't call me Vonna - unless I'm in trouble - he shortens my name to "Von" - which I don't particularly care for. I like to be called either Von Marie or Vonna)

So if you all could keep me in your prayers for a safe journey...
and while I am gone from Nov. 6 - Nov. 30 that my family remains safe.
I am excited, yet a little apprehensive. Let's face it I have NEVER done anything like this before.
I'm not a pack my bags and I'll catch you on the flip side girl.
But I guess I could be that kind of girl, just this once!

Until next time my dear friends....
Hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxx

Saturday, October 29, 2016

November WIP and Life Update....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to all of my stitching friends ~
I hope all of you are enjoying a lovely fall...
I am enjoying life immensely of late. It's rather odd, how in the midst of turmoil and stress sometimes (at least for me) I fail to see the forest for the trees. Each problem is an obstacle to seeing the greater good of the world. I was really in a quagmire the last few months of 2015 and the first half of 2016. Making a change and then letting go...and letting God, what a huge, huge, HUGE thing. I really did struggle and really was struggling until July 31. Oh ye frail human.... thinking you are bigger than that and in control of everything. Ha! Thank the heavens above that through prayer and a little sacrifice of letting go my control, things have worked out so well. Life ~ always learning.

Big good things have been happening in my ~ works in progress piles:
Stitching is a very large part of my life.
It is my calgon moment.
It is my only hobby.
If I don't stitch in someway or create in some way, every day, I feel sad and grumpy. Re-investing in myself these past 3 months has meant I have began again to enjoy my stitching and not look upon it as a chore. OH HAPPY DAY! 

First up on the WIP #1 list is:

LHN ABC Sampler Series WIP

I am stitching these all on one piece of fabric (32 ct. Lakeside Linens Vintage Examplar)
I am not stitching the boxes around them as charted on the pattern.
I am using the called for colors which are a mix of Classic Colorworks and DMC
My ABC Sampler has a solid frame and a broken line frame that will encircle it (solid line = Caterpillar/broken line = Sassy Brassy both by Classic Colorworks. 
I cut my cloth to the dimensions specified by Diane at the link above (go read it if interested) However, stitching it my way I could have cut it a bit smaller, But I don't mind the extra. My sampler has sort of "evolved" since I began stitching it. I wanted the fabric a little larger so that I could be creative.) 
I have charted something for the bottom that will tie the whole piece together, I believe. . .
time will tell.

WIP #2....
is my Prairie Schooler - Year Rounds - Book 52
This is a "quilt" that I will turn into a quilted wallhanging *someday*
I have finished Jan/Feb/Mar
April (the bunny)....I finished twice already.....
*darn frog*
This is my THIRD attempt...wish me luck. If I can't get it right this time, I am sorely tempted to toss the thing in the trash bin.

Prairie Schooler Quilt - Year Rounds

This is being stitched on 25 ct. black lugana 
3 strands over 2 threads using DMC as called.

WIP #3:
Crown of Thorns

Jesus Face

A new start (actually this is the second time I started it).
This time round I am stitching it on 18 ct. ivory aida.
You can see it is just the top right hand side of his head.
I think it will be a stunning finish *someday*
This is a kit I got from the Stitchery: HERE

WIP #4:
I have slobbered all over this sweet pattern ever since I saw it on Notforgotten Farm's Blog last May. You can see it: HERE 
I have seen many of you stitch it and finish it up in various ways. I think I'm going to stitch it twice. I want it for a display and I think I want to frame it as well for my "Americana" room. 

Flag Maker WIP

I am stitching mine on 32 count Days Gone By
2 over 2 using the called for DMC
I am close to a finish with this one!

WIP #5
I was stunned, shocked and disbelieving when I was picking around through my cross stitch stash. This one I have had kitted with all the threads, JABCO buttons, fabric...for years. This was released: 2008. I need to have my hiney swatted!
have I not stitched this?! 
Believe me, I started this up and in no time at all had half of the border done and one of the treat blocks. Oh yeah...how darling is this?!
CCN Sweet Treats Part 1 + Border

"Sweet Treats" by Country Cottage Needleworks
OH golly Miss Molly its gonna be so cute! I am going to finish this and frame it up! It'll be a great good thing!


My needlework....
and myself, really, are a changing. I finish a lot of things for myself and others and I have to be cognizant of the stress I put on my fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. I have pain issues (especially when I finish a lot in one day, which is nearly every day since finishing has become my job). So when I stitch I like to stitch using a stand and I like my work close to me so my reach is not very far. Using a Q-snaps, like I have for 25 years, was great as I could make them wide and short and it was perfect. Being that I'm expanding my interest in stitching into larger projects that have beading and metallic fibers, well....beading as I go can be an issue using a Q-snaps. I know I can make the Q-snaps, larger and larger by adding in pieces of the snap bars to accommodate the beads, but my Needlework System 4 stand means I can't get wider than 17 inches and not too much taller than that because of the way head rotates. I know that many say you can use the snaps over beads, but still that makes me a little nervous. So luckily I had a friend that wanted to sell some scroll bars that no longer fit her stitching needs. I bought them and I am in love with them!

The brand I really, really love is Rolaframe.
I have about 8 sets I think. . . 
anyway...look forward to my Days of Christmas featuring an informational tutorial about Rolaframe!

Does Rolaframes fit on my Needlework System 4 stand? NO.... However, earlier this fall I purchased a home-made stand similar to the Judy O'Dell Lap Stand featured: HERE  
The arms make it a universal type stand for any thing you want to stitch using: Q-snaps, stretcher bars, scroll rods.

I share that later on upcoming during my Days of Christmas too. 
I can't give away all my secrets at once 

Being that my stitching is evolving....
that means that my organizing and storing needs to evolve as well. 
Pondering a question all night long in my head while I drowsed this morning I awoke with an idea in place. Now I know this is not a new idea and that there are many ways to ride a horse.

I believe that all my work no matter if it is done and ready for framing and finishing...
or if it is a work in progress needs a beautiful "home" to live in.
So I made a Project Roll. 
The idea came after I saw a version by DMC in my local Michael's. 
I really looked it over and decided I could make one myself...prettier.

So this morning I did...
I see from searching on the internet this is not a novel or new idea. But this is my version.
I think it is gorgeous. 
Using what I had available to me I used a mailing tube, quilting cottons, fleece, gingham ribbon, a little tacky spray, needle and thread, some sewing machine time, a ribbon and a rusty heart button to create my quilted Project Roll. BOY do I love this! I'll be making more for sure. 

Project Roll 1
Project Roll 2 Project Roll 3 Project Roll 4 Project Roll 6 Project Roll 5

And...to those inquiring minds since I have been asked this lots already on FB and Instagram. Yes, I will make a tutorial but you are going to have to wait until My Days of Christmas, it will be my gift to those of you who wish to know how I did it. It is relatively easy. Some sewing experience is required. Do you like me for me or just for my tutorials? Sometimes, to be honest, I wonder.

since the last time I blogged I have finished A LOT...thank you to my wonderful clients who use my services over and over and allow me to create beautiful things to grace their homes.
Here is a sampling there are loads more since the last time I blogged (to be honest, I counted the other night....I finished nearly 400 items this year alone so far). I am blessed beyond measure. Thank you!

IC_CCN Red White and Bloom LS_WTNT Land of  Liberty W1_Shepherd's Bush Stocking LO_PSS Patriotic Stockings LO_CCN London JP_DT Autumn JP_Frosted Pumpkin Halloween Town JP_LK Jack JP_LK Oct 31 JP_Shepherd's Bush Wish JP_Brooks Books Advent Animals SD_LK Halloweenie SD_LHN 7 Pines SD_LHN House of Sweets LG_SB Sheep Friends

Did you make it all the way down here?! 
Well then you really DO like me! ha ha ha!

Until next time...
love your neighbor as yourself, because to be honest all I see in the world is a lot of anger and hate.
Be nice. Be kind. Be a Friend to those around you. Everyone needs a friend!
Be the change that you want to see in this world.

Hugs in stitches,
Vonna xxxx