Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goodies In The Mail and WIP

Good Morning!

I love getting things other than bills in the mail -- doesn't everyone? Yesterday I had a package delivered from with several small goodies.  I especially love the scissors and the little charms AND the fact that Amy stuck in a few freebie charts from The Prairie Schooler! :)  All this for under $15 -- check out her site if you have some time.

I started a new project last night... L*K 2008 Special Edition Kit "Christmas Is Forever". to see what it'll look like all done, and below is what I have completed after 4 hours.  I've never used Crescent Colours floss before and it's working up fine so far; see the varigation in the bottom of one of the g's? (not sure if you can tell from this pic)  Also LOVE the Caschel linen it came with -- so soft!

That's all for now--have a great Wednesday, don't forget about my contest for the L*K giveaway from yesterday (still on until I hit 100 followers) and just keep stitching! ~Nicole

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Resolution & Contest

Good Morning Everyone!  I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and were able to enjoy some quality family time like I did!  Too much going on to stitch any until yesterday where I did manage to get something finished:

Lizzie*Kate: Away in a Manger from Tiny Tidings XVI 
I stitched this on 14 ct. ivory aida and used blending filament for around the star and three additional crosses vs. using the small star charms right now.  Plan on making this a small wall hanging like last week's "Feliz Navidad".

My stitching resolution is to do at least 1 item a week for craft fairs in Fall/Winter of 2012 so I'm not scrambling last minute as in years past.  I want to be stitching and enjoy it, not rushing through it to move onto the next thing, etc.  I typically don't do great with resolutions in general but THIS is one I think I can do! :)

Resolution Contest:
  • This contest will run until I hit 100 followers and then I'll pick the winner. 
  • Leave a comment between now and when I hit 100, you get a chance (once a day). 
  • Post on your facebook page about my blog and send me a message to check it out, you get another chance (once a day). 
  • Link my blog to your blog if you have one and send me a message, you get another chance.

The prize will be a Lizzie*Kate giveaway of THREE CHARTS (charts only):
  1. F99 - Christmas Rules FaLaLa/Honor Traditions
  2. Q006 - Sampling Thanksgiving Quick-It
  3. S94 - Snowman 2010 Snippet
Let me know if you have any questions and good luck! Just keep stitching ~Nicole

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sleep Deprivation

Good Morning!

It is with tired eyes I'm typing this blog this morning!  Why?  Last night Mary said "Mom, Senora Nunes is my favorite teacher! Did we get her anything?"  Gulp.  Nope.  Then I remembered that I thought I had a Lizzie Kate pattern perfect for her Spanish teacher...
Soooo... at 7:15pm I got to work.  Found a spare piece of evenweave and we put on "The Help" and off I went.  Fast forward to 12:30am... when I put the glue gun down and stumbled to bed.  Finished project is 5" x 4" which is a little large for an ornament but it looks BEAUTIFUL as a small wall hanging!  Thin batting glued to a piece of thin cardboard with the design wrapped around it and backed with red felt attached.  Gold cording from Michael's around the edges and affixed with hot glue and also made into a bow/hanger.  SO easy and I love the end result.  Not too shabby for only 5.25 hours, huh? :)

Fast forward again to 6:40am... Mary comes to the realization that Senora Nunes won't even be at school today so my sleep deprivation was for nothing! Oh, don't worry... there's PLENTY of house cleaning that needs to be done so child labor will be alive and well at my house today/tonight. On the up side, at least I know Mary's teacher will be especially surprised after they all return from Christmas vacation.

That's all for now and I'm planning on doing another giveaway contest so stay tuned for that!  Have a great day and just keep stitching.... ~Nicole

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finished and Framed Part 3

Good Afternoon Everyone!

Well the countdown is on.  My daughter Mary helped me make my shopping list for Christmas Dinner, I wrapped the few remaining presents, and made my list of last minute things that still need to get done.  All the teacher/friend gifts have pretty much been delivered so just the neighbors left a few treats to have on hand at the house since the girls were commenting last night on how I gave all the goodies away and they had to resort to sorbet in the downstairs freezer! :)  Life's rough kiddies.

Made my final trip to Michael's framing to pick up the last of my projects for 2011:

Here is one of my favorites that I made up for Katie's Music/Drama director at school for him and his wife.  I love Lizzie Kate!

That's it for today...have a great Thursday and just keep stitching! ~Nicole

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New LNS Find & WIP

Good Morning Everyone!

Yesterday I was introduced to a Facebook group of stitchers and stumbled upon several posts mentioning a local needlework shop called Bush Mountain Stitchery which I HAPPILY DISCOVERED is in my state--only about an hour away from me!!  I'm not sure how things are in your area, but there aren't many local shops around anymore in my area.  I have one under an hour away and two (now three) that are an hour plus away. With the big box stores making more room for what they deem as "more popular crafts", the needlearts aisles have shrunk down to one and in some cases not even a whole aisle.  I try to buy local when possible but sometimes I do need to place an order online to get supplies.

Check out and see what Maeann's shop has to offer --- I'm planning on heading to her shop in early February and will give you all a full report; photos and all! :)  She offers free shipping on orders in the USA over $10 as an added bonus!  I've also placed a link over to the right with all my other favorite shops that I've either visited or regularly order from online.

No baking happened in my kitchen last night so I was able to carve out a little time for some stitching.  Here is my progress on the BTB Stich an Inch motifs.  This progress accounts for about 5 hours so they really work up quick despite being over one on 28 ct. because it's the Continential Stitch. 

Have a great day and just keep stitching... ~Nicole

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vanishing Cookies and WIP

Good Morning!

Something hilarious happened to me last night and I just had to share since all of you knew how much I have been baking, baking, baking! :)  I made more peanut butter blossoms and it's cold here in Massachusetts so I put the cookies to cool outside on the back patio.  Note:  two FULL trays of cookies.  I go back into the kitchen to form more cake balls because those will also have to chill and firm up before I can dip them in chocolate, etc.... after they're all set I go back outside to bring in the cookies...

...and one of the trays only has 7 cookies on it, not the 13 it had when I put it outside to cool! HAHAHAHA  I did a double-take just to make sure I wasn't going crazy and that they were the full sheets I put out there...called Katie downstairs to make sure and then we started laughing.  I think we laughed for a good 10 minutes!  We have lived in our home for 14 years and every year I put things out in what a friend calls "God's cooler" and this has never happened before!  My thoughts are that it was a neighborhood dog that was roaming and smelled the peanut butter/chocolate combo and thought it was a cookie buffet! :D  Needless to say from now on I'll make sure things are placed higher up to prevent another cookie burglary!

I stopped early enough last night to have a little while to relax and get in some stitching.  Not sure why I can't rotate the photo this morning (computer gremlins?) but it's one of the Santa motifs from By The Bay Needleart's Stitch an Inch Christmas 2011 stitched over one on 24 count linen. Below him is a start of a few trees for the next design.  I want to get these done up in the next couple of days to put on my woolen feather tree that's on my side table in the kitchen.

Have a great day everyone and keep an eye on your cookies! ~Nicole

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookies Up The Whazoo!

Hi All,

I baked/decorated/packaged cookies & candy from 8:15am - 2pm and 5pm - 9:45pm yesterday.  Made a couple of deliveries, too!  Still more to do but made a huge dent.  Tonight the Amaros will be having pasta with homemade marinara sauce & meatballs (aka "gravy") for dinner which is currently thawing because it was made ahead for nights just like tonight will be; I'll see if I can wrap it up (pun intended, haha) before it's time to call it a day.

Here are some photos:
Snowmen sugar cookies.  White royal icing "thinned" to flood, eyes are black confetti sprinkles from Halloween and the nose is an orange chocolate covered sunflower seed.  I can't take credit for the materials used; check out which I came across to help fuel my snowman addiction.  (Future winter post will be all my snowmen that don't get put up in the attic until spring)
Peanut butter blossoms

Chocolate dipped butter spritz

Pointsettia butter spritz

Bag to take to the office for some of my coworkers.  Some I swung by my office last night during my baking break because they were heavy! (see the snowmen tags?)

Some for the teachers...
All in all I ended up making (so far):
  • 4 pounds of plain chocolate fudge
  • 4 pounds of chocolate walnut fudge
  • 10 dozen chocolate chip walnut cookies
  • 12 dozen peanut butter blossom cookies
  • 20 dozen butter spritz cookies - 1/2 poinsettias 1/2 trees
  • 2 dozen sugar cookie snowman faces (love!)
  • 8 dozen chocolate covered preztel rods (white and dark)
  • 4 dozen butter spritz dipped in chocolate on one end
  • 2 dozen red velvet cake balls dipped in milk chocolate
  • 1 dozen almond clusters with milk chocolate
PHEW! Needless to say there won't be a photo of anything stitched today for obvious reasons.  Stitching related though I can tell you that ABC is having a large clearance sale on their website... don't ask me how I know or if I'm having anything sent to me for my stash, haha!  I've been to their actual shop and it is GREAT -- it was a 3+ hour drive round trip for me when my younger daughter Mary and I went a few weekends ago and well worth the trip.  You can check them out at (click on specials on the left hand side off the main page).  :)

Short lunch break almost over--have a great rest of the day everyone!  ~Nicole

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Woolen Feather Tree Completed

Good Morning!

I mentioned in a previous post that I took a class last weekend at Yankee Cross Stitch to make a woolen feather tree taught by Donna from By The Bay Needleart.  LOVED it and finally had time to finish the tree -- just needed to put the red berries on and did that last night.  See? 
It came out great, took about three hours start to finish and I plan on making some of Donna's "Stich an Inch" as ornaments to hang on the tree.  I ALSO plan on making more trees in different colors and already made a stop to Joanne's for some wool felt in various shades of green.  Most likely after Christmas but I want to make a large tree to put on a tabletop at fairs next year to hang ornaments for sale. Both Yankee's and By The Bay's links are posted on the right hand side of the page if you'd like more information.

Today is "Christmas Baking Day Part 2" for most of the day (yes, I'm stalling a bit by posting this blog post) where my girls and I bake and decorate to get gifts together for teachers, neighbors, friends, coworkers and family.  Last night I was up very late and made fudge (with nuts and without), chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate chip walnut cookes and some butter spritz cookies dipped in chocolate.  Today will bring more butter spritz cookies colored pink for poinsettias, more plain and dipped in chocolate, more pretzels, peanut butter blossoms and sugar cookies -- snowmen of course! :) Don't worry -- tomorrow's posting will be photos of everything baked and boxed up and I'm happy to share any recipes if anyone is interested.   Housekeeping will have to wait until during the week when I will get the house ready for my parents and brother on Christmas Day!

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone! ~Nicole

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Old Favorites

If you're like me, you give away a lot of what you stitch or craft over the course of the year.  I also used to do several craft shows in the area and I'd feverishly stitch, stitch, stitch each summer night to make ornaments and other items for when the Fall/Winter fairs rolled around.  Each year though, there would be something that would catch my eye or someone else's in the house so we couldn't part with and it made it onto the family Christmas tree.  Below is a photo of some of those which I yanked off our tree this morning to take this photo and then had to remember where I pulled them off from...and it's early and I don't have coffee in my system yet... :)
The mini pillows are on 14 ct. aida and are stuffed with fiberfill and sewn around edges--on the reindeer I used running stitch and the "sisters" as I like to call them was done with full cross stitches around the edges.  It takes a little longer and you just have to make sure you line up the holes each time the needle goes in and out to keep it straight.  It helps if you start off with the front and the back being the same size fabric.  Then you just pull out the threads in one direction only up to where the stitching border is to make fringe. Those are at least 10 years old and I believe I got the designs from an Alma Lynne book (anyone know?).

The Noel heart was done using a basic baking soda dough and baking them like sugar cookies, then painted with various acrylic paints and sprayed with a clear acrylic to seal it.  This one is from 1994 and has held up really well.  I made a TON of those for various craft fairs that year and wanted to make sure I kept at least one for myself since at the end I think I was seeing them in my sleep I'd done so many!  The recipe for these can be found here: if you'd like to make some of your own.  (One tip: although they're very easy, you want to remember two things.  1: make sure to make them a little on the thick side so when they air dry they dont crack and break and 2: make sure they're completely dry and free of any moisture on the inside before you paint them.

The cinnamon heart is also along the same lines as the baking soda ones and whipped up really quick.  The finishing is just the tip of a toothpick or a pen to score the lines before baking and then a glued a simple bow on the top.  I have a daughter who is allergic to cinnamon so I won't be making these until she heads off to college but you can find the recipe here: if you'd like to take a stab at it.

Feel free to comment with any ideas for ornaments you've used through the years that are part of your family's Christmas traditions!

Speaking of college, Katie has a vocal audition at a music college later this morning so I need to sign of for now---have a great Saturday everyone!  ~Nicole

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another Finish, Christmas Ornaments Part 1 & Contest Winner

Yesterday I was not feeling well (stomach issues) and decided to make a very rare sick call into the office.  Upside was I got a lot of little things done around the house and by that I mean stiching-wise, certainly not housework/gift wrapping/holiday baking - wise! :)  That will come on Sunday, at least that's what I'm telling myself today.

Photobooth Snowmen by Bent Creek - Came as a kit with the light slate blue linen and beads for snow.  I am addicted to snowmen so no explanation needed as to why this one caught my eye.  After the holiday rush this one will be handed over to Amanda at Michael's in Salem, NH for her to work her magic. :)  (This one not leaving Casa Amaro either)

One of the designs from Stich an Inch Christmas 2011 from By the Bay Needleart:  This was stitched on 28 ct. antique white evenweave over ONE (yes, over one) in continential stitch.  Took me approximately 3 hours start to finish and I'll definitely be showing you some more of her designs which I love! (And I met Donna personally last weekend--she is such a talented AND sweet woman so I tell everyone about her designs when I can)  I was a bit cross-eyed afterwards but it was worth it. Finishing entailed putting stitching on foam core and popping it into the back of the frame - I secured the foam core around all sides with hot glue (kinda used it like "caulking").

Winter Wind by Prairie Schooler:  This was done on 14 ct. antique white aida and the finishing is just fabric fusion glue onto a piece of maroon felt with pinking around the edge.

Dimensions (?) Punch Needle Kits:  Purchased and finished punching these last year and came across them when organizing my stash a couple of weekends ago -- finally got around to finishing the snowmen and santa last night.  Finishing is just the design on cardboard with felt on the back and various ribbons around the sides and top for hanging.  Cross stitch will always be my first love, but I did love doing these punch needle designs and have purchased a few more since that are for now safely tucked away in the stash. :)

Congratulations!! (drum roll please....)
Follower "SEEFORD" is the winner of the "Double or Nothing" contest this week! Keep your eye out in a few minutes for an email from me so I can get your snail mail address and send your prize!

I am thrilled, excited and humbled all at the same time by the fantastic response and lovely comments regarding my blog.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for this site and for being able to share ideas with all of you.

That's all for today -- have a great Friday! ~Nicole

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Framed and Finished Part 2 & Contest Announcement

I was going thru my stash with my girls a couple of weeks ago and came across this piece already completed... I think it came out of a book I used to have (anyone know?) and believe it's stitched on Monaco fabric.  Took this one to Michael's for framing and love the color mat and silver frame.  This one will stay in the Amaro house and has already been hung up off the kitchen.

This one is from Cross Country Stitching circa 2000 and was another one I found completed and tucked away in my stash that the girls wanted me to frame.  Many, MANY winter Sunday afternoons were spent stitching this one and I love that Katie & Mary asked me to frame it and put it up.  My favorite part is the sheep--so cute!  Love this frame from Michael's and I love the way it looks with the details on the baskets in the design.

Bringing Christmas Joy by Stitcher's Hands:  did this one on Monaco last January and was SO HAPPY to put it up this year!  LOVE the buttons from Just Another Button Company and ordered all of it from  This one will not be leaving my house either. :)  I think I went thru a whole skein of that red.

CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT:  "Double or Nothing"
As of this second I have 6 followers.  Not too shabby considering at the beginning of the week I was wondering if I was going to be talking to myself in cyberspace, haha!  If by Noon tomorrow I have my follower count doubled to 12, I'll pick a winner randomly and that person will win Lizzie*Kate's Snowman 2010 (chart only) as shown in my second blog posting.  Thanks for reading, help me get the word out, and good luck!  ~Nicole

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finished and Framed... so far...

Here are some photos of what I've had framed for this Christmas so far.  Some are gifts (can't say yet for obvious reasons) and some are for my family.  All framing done at Michael's and while they do a good job I REALLY wish I could do this myself because I'd do some of them a little differently.

Snowman Snippet 2010 by Lizzie*Kate -- Don't remember fabric count for this one either but I can tell you I cut it too small and they had trouble framing it; that's why the white mat is there (wish they'd called me first but I still like it).
Bless Our Home by Lizzie*Kate.  Love this one exactly as it is!

Bless Our Family by Lizzie*Kate -- If I could frame myself I'd maybe make it smaller but Michael's can't because of OSHA laws -- we can't have a bunch of frame makers with missing fingers all because of my stitchies! :)
Welcome Friends by Lizzie*Kate.  Stitched on 18 ct. Aida (oatmeal maybe? or fiddler's? I need to do a better job of keeping track of what I stitch projects on).

Think Winter by Lizzie*Kate   -- I don't remember the fabric count and I did use a different button since I was waiting for my order from that had my button order and couldn't wait to finish it :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taking the plunge

Ok, so this is all so new to me but I'm taking the plunge into this whole blog thing.  :)

I've been inspired by (thanks Donna!) at a class I took at Yankee Cross Stitch in Hampton,NH this past Saturday.  I took the unfamiliar plunge out of the cross stiching realm and made a Woolen Tree (photo to come soon). It came out GREAT, it was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon even if I was nervous at first to come out of my comfort zone, and I'm looking forward to learning more. 

That's all for now.