WIP Weds: A Tiny Finish and Progress

“I didn’t get much stitching done this week” is pretty much going to be my weekly mantra for the foreseeable future. But, rather than let that stop me, I’m going to keep sharing whatever small progress I do make. So, here is my update this week.

WIP Wednesday logo

First, I do have a small finish to share this week. I didn’t have much left to stitch, so I did finish this little squirrel ornament from The Prairie Schooler:


I can add this little guy to the four ornaments I finished a couple months ago. I have three ornaments left to stitch from this chart.

Second, I did make some small progress on the scissors case I have been working on. I did not take new photos because it’s difficult to see the stitches, but you can check out the photo from last week. I finished the running stitch border of the case, and I started the “points de vauvert” center stitches that form the center of the case. Hooray! And, I am getting used to stitching with a thimble, which was tricky at first.

Thanks for reading, and happy stitching!

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9 Free Winter Cross-Stitch Patterns You Can Download and Stitch Right Now

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…so stay inside and stitch! I love browsing stitching patterns whether I’m browsing online needlework sites, Etsy, cross-stitch magazines, or I make it to a local needlework shop. And, we are so lucky that many professional and hobbyist designers have free patterns that they have made available online.

Even though Christmas and the holidays have passed, we are still in throes of winter here in the northern hemisphere, I decided to round-up a few winter themed free cross-stitch patterns I found online.

Free Winter Cross-Stitch Patterns

Here are the links to some great free cross-stitch patterns online with winter themes:

  • First Snow” by The Drawn Thread. This lovely pattern of a tall evergreen tree uses several specialty stitches for a stitcher looking for a bit of a challenge.
  • Let It Snow” by Helga Mandl. I love the long carrot nose and wide mouth on this rustic-style snowman.
  • Winter Freebie” by The Sitcherhood. You can stitch this seasonal sign in plenty of time before the snow melts.
  • Winter Biscournu” by The Victoria Sampler.  This beautiful design uses several specialty stitches and could be stitched as an ornament or biscournu/pincushion.
  • Free Snowman” by Sue Hillis. This adorable snowman doesn’t seem to mind the “frightful” weather.
  • You Melt My Heart” by Barbara Ana. This cute snowman would also make a great quick stitch for Valentine’s Day.
  • Snowflake Quaker II” by Embroiderbee. If you love Quaker-style designs, this delicate snowflake pattern is for you.
  • Blackwork Snowflake” by Lorraine Clarke. Whether you enjoy blackwork or are looking for a small project to try blackwork, this little snowflake would look lovely.
  • Winter Snowflake” by Rabbit Girl Crafts. Last, but not least, here is the little snowflake I designed and shared in 2017. It would make a great last-minute gift for someone.

One of the things I love about all of these patterns is that they are all small, quick stitches. These would make great last-minute gifts or quick projects to work on in -between larger projects. They would make great seasonal ornaments, mini-pillows, or small framed pieces.

Happy stitching!


Background snowflake graphic designed by Kjpargeter / Freepik.

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Friday Finds — January 5, 2018

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, art, and book news from around the web.


Can you believe we made it to 2018? Seriously, where does the time go?

Here are this week’s links:


Video of the Week

January is often a month for new beginnings and fresh starts. This song is the anthem for new beginnings.

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WIP Weds: A Recap of Works in Progress

For the first WIP Wednesday of the new year I thought it might be a good idea to review my stitching projects in progress and remind myself where I am at. I have updates on three WIPs right now.

WIP Wednesday logo

First up is the “Evergreen” chart by The Prairie Schooler. I completed four of these and finished them as ornaments, and since then I have stitched one more and have almost completed stitching a sixth ornament. The squirrel is nearly done, but not quite.

evergreen chart by the prairie schooler

I enjoy stitching this one in my downtime because of its simple shapes and limited color palette. It is a great easy project to work on while watching TV or listening to a podcast.

Next up is the boutis scissors case. I wish I was farther along on this. I even brought this project along with me on a recent trip over the holidays to visit my husband’s family with every intention of sewing on the plane, but it just didn’t happen. I was so tired on our flights that I ended up falling asleep both on the way to California and home again. So, I did not make any progress on this over the holidays. However, I did buy a thimble, which you can see in the photo. So, that will save me some pain when I do get back to stitching this project.


I would like to finish the stitching the innermost border line and make a good start on the inner stitches before the next guild meeting.

Finally, here is how far I have gotten with the “12 Days of Christmas” chart by Satsuma Street. I had high hopes of finishing this by this Christmas past, but instead this project landed in UFO territory. I love stitching it, but it is more complicated than it first appears. Maybe I will get it done this year, but I’m afraid the fabric wrinkles will be difficult to get out at this point.


Three days of Christmas down and nine to go!

In other news, I am enjoying seeing other blogger’s stitching and crafty goals. I especially love the “18 in 18” lists — what a great idea. It’s nice to have time to catch up with other blogs. Thanks for reading!

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Stitching Goals for 2018

Making New Year’s Stitching Goals

I made some stitching goals for 2016, but looking back at my blog, it does not look like I made any specific goals for 2017.

Time management experts will tell you to make SMART goals if you are really serious about getting things done. I’m not going to list specific SMART goals here, but I’m going to briefly review my stitching from this past year and look ahead to this year.

2018 Stitching Goals

Looking at Last Year

It feels like I did not complete a lot of stitching in 2017, but I did finish a few items.

All Shall be Well
Only Those Who Risk

I had ambitious plans last year for designing and publishing cross-stitch designs, but in the end, I only published two designs. “All Shall be Well” is a medieval-inspired sampler using a well-known quote by Julian of Norwich. “Only Those Who Risk” is a sampler inspired by a quote by poet T. S. Eliot. Both are available in my Etsy shop.

–Ribbon embroidery pinch purse
–“All Shall Be Well” medieval sampler
–Rice stitch color theory project
–“Belle & Boo” birth sampler

I finished stitching four projects in 2017. Two of them were big projects, including the “All Shall be Well” sampler from the design that I created and the “Belle & Boo” birth sampler that I modified and stitched for my new niece. The other two projects were both homework from my embroidery guild and gave me an opportunity to try some new stitches and techniques.

–Boutis scissors case designed by Karen Jablonski
–The Prairie Schooler ornaments from the “Evergreen” chart
–“12 Days of Christmas” by Satsuma Street

The three projects above were all started in 2017 but not finished. They are all on my list to finish this year.

Dealing with Burnout

2017 was a busy year for me, and I bit off more than I could chew. Stitching and designing fell by the wayside towards the middle of the year. In addition to my full-time job as a librarian, I also have assumed the following responsibilities:

–member of church choir
–member of church vestry (board)
–secretary of local embroidery guild (new for 2017)
–trustee of local public library (new for 2017)
–part-time adjunct teaching one class in fall semester (new for 2017)

I am also on several committees related to my job and hold at least one position in a local library organization, as well.

On the one hand, some of these opportunities have been amazing and I wouldn’t give them up now for the world, but on the other hand, it is no wonder that I found little time or energy for stitching or designing new patterns. This year I am going to need to give up some of these responsibilities so I focus and get some of my time back.

My Stitching Goals for 2018

So, my stitching goals for 2018 include:

  1. Finishing the unfinished projects listed above, including the boutis scissors case and The Prairie Schooler “Evergreen” collection.
  2. Designing and publishing more patterns for my Etsy shop.
  3. Publishing some free patterns on this blog.

I have some numbers in mind for how many new patterns I want to publish this year, but I’m not ready to share the number yet. It feels pretty ambitious. We’ll see how it goes.

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Friday Finds — 12/08/17

Friday Finds is my weekly round-up of needlework, art, and book news from around the web.

This is the last week of classes at the university where I am a librarian. Next week is finals week. Due to a combination of work stress and being over-committed in my personal life, I am feeling very rundown and burnt out. As a result, I have gone into hermit mode online — not posting here or Instagram or anywhere else. I need some time to rest and regroup. I will post some stuff here, but I am taking it easy right now and hitting the pause button. I would like to return full-strength after the holidays.

But, for now, here are this week’s links:


Video of the Week

I love Christmas music, and I am very attached to certain songs. Actually, it’s not just the song — it’s the specific singer, too. “Christmas in Killarney” is one of those songs. It HAS to be Dennis Day, or I don’t want to hear it. :D Enjoy!

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Weekend Links — 11/18/17

Another week has gone by already. Here’s this week’s round-up of needlework, art, and book news from around the web:


Video of the Week

The month of gratitude songs continues with “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant.

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Finished Cross-Stitch Christmas Ornaments

So, I have not had much time for stitching recently, but I did have to finish some pieces in order to turn them in for my local embroidery guild for the guild’s annual holiday display at the community center where we meet.

I ended up finishing four Prairie Schooler ornaments from the “Evergreen” chart that I have been stitching.

First, here is the deer from that set that I finished stitching about a week ago:

Prairie Schooler cross-stitch deer Christmas ornament

I think he’s cute, but I know some folks don’t care for the, er, point-of-view.

After I finished stitching the deer, I had four pieces from the Prairie Schooler chart completed. Here are the four cross-stitch pieces I decided to finish into ornaments last weekend:

four Prairie Schooler Evergreen Christmas ornaments

My guild requests that every member contribute at least three pieces to the annual display, so I was happy I completed enough stitching to be able to finish a little over the minimum.

I decided to do a simple flat-backed finishing with felt, which is how The Prairie Schooler often finishes the ornaments in the chart photos. It’s really quick to do, and it looks nice. I trimmed the fabric, cut out my templates from matte board, laced and glued everything together, let it sit overnight, and ended up with these finished ornaments:

Prairie Schooler Evergreen cross-stitch Christmas ornaments

I love how they turned out, and I turned them in at my guild meeting this past week for the display. That’s the only thing that makes me sad — although I’m glad they’ll be in the display, I’m sad that I won’t be able to enjoy them on my own Christmas tree this year.

I am going ahead and stitching the rest of the ornaments from the set, though. Here is my start on the other Santa in the group from the “Evergreen” chart:

Santa cross-stitch start

I don’t know if I’ll get any finished into ornaments in time to hang on my tree this year, but we’ll see.

I would also like to make some progress on my boutis scissors case. I did buy a couple of thimbles, but I have not had a chance to try them yet. I hope to share those adventures in a future post.

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Weekend Links — 11/11/17

Not much sewing going on around here the past couple of weeks. I need to do some catch-up this weekend, but I have had numerous personal commitments after work recently that have kept me from my stitching.

Anyways, here’s this week’s round-up of needlework, art, and book news from around the web:


Video of the Week

Continuing the month of gratitude songs with “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. Fair warning: This song makes me weepy, too.

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What I’m Reading — November 2017

Every month I share what books I finished last month and what I’m reading now. I also love to hear what others are reading. Share your own book recommendations in the comments or friend me on Goodreads!

What I'm Reading--Nov 2017

Finished in October

October still had a lot of stress/comfort reads. I finished the Harry Potter series (again) and even read some Winnie-the-Pooh. But, I also read a couple of more serious titles, too.

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. This series is so good. I laughed and cried all over again.
  • Gilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell. I purchased this audiobook in one of my “I’m going to read all of the classics that I didn’t read in college” moods, and, well, I finally read it. This adaptation is very accessible and enjoyable, and Gilgamesh is a much shorter–and much stranger–story than I expected.
  • The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins. One thing you need to know about me — I love self-help books. I read a lot of them. This one was okay. It started off strong, but some of the later parts felt like filler. I read this in audiobook format, and I did enjoy Robbins’ narration. It was like listening to your own personal coach. She didn’t sound like she was reading; it just sounded like she was talking to you. And, I have been using the “5-second rule” to get some things done recently.
  • Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. Somehow I had never read this delightful collection of children’s poems before. Sweet, quirky, and very British.
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. I listened to this in audiobook format, and it was so much fun to hear it read aloud. Peter Dennis did a wonderful job with the narration.

Reading Now

  • Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories by Flannery O’Connor. It’s book club time again. Reading this one for my church book club. I love Flannery O’Connor, but, wow, her stories pack such a punch.
  • Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists by Courtney Martin. I’m reading this for work. I’ve been teaching an introduction to college course this semester at the university where I am a librarian, and this is the “common reader” this year that all of the freshmen are required to read. I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would.


Here’s what I read a year ago. I was deep into the Cadfael mystery series then.

What are you reading right now? I’d love to get your recommendations in the comments!

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