Happy New Year!

Depending on where you call home, New Years is a little over 24 hours away, some more or less! Wow where has this year gone to? It seems that it was just yesterday we were welcoming the year 2011 and now 2012 is nipping at our heels. I think that we all say “where has the time gone?” as it really does just seem to go all too quickly.

I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to head back home to San Diego. I had a wonderful Christmas, even though it wasn’t very white. I could have gotten my wish of snow and probably would still be digging out from under the white stuff if was just somewhat colder the other night. It rained! and rained! and rained some more! We had a little dusting of snow this morning, so I had my fill of the white stuff, until next Christmas that is.

What do you have planned to welcome in the New Years? Lets see for me it might be staying in with the feline children and enjoying a little bubbly and some delectable treats. Maybe a very early movie? There are only at least 3 of which I would like to see! The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo or My Week with Marilyn and last but not least Meryl Streep as the Iron Lady. I will need to do some serious shopping in the morning as besides cat food, cheese and a bottle of the bubbly, the frig is bare!

Then there is the stitching. Oh the stitching! I did a fair amount at my sisters, but of course I need to finish the hearts for the Phoenix TNNA Market. I also have one more Halloween Heart that needs to be restitched for the Halloween series. Did I mention the stitch guides too?

I really have missed Sylvester & AlleyCat and I wonder how mad that they will be with me when I get home? They will both speak their peace with me and quite loudly. and until next time…keep on stitching


The Day After Christmas!


Well for me it really is the day after Christmas! and you are thinking that I have had just a little too much holiday cheer by now. Maybe I have indulged a bit, but we were still celebrating the arrival of that man in the red suit last night!

Little boys and girls really need to be home on Christmas morning to see the wonder of what was left for them during the night, so we celebrated the holiday again last night with my niece and her family. More delicious food, more holiday cheer, laughs and reminiscing of Christmas past and of course more presents!

For dessert, we indulged in more of the wonderful cookies that my sister and I made during our annual cookie bake off. Some new recipes and some old favorites.

From the left there are Spumoni Ice Box Cookies, Walnut Cookies that are then filled with a chocolate hazelnut filling and Butterballs or some call them Russian Tea Cakes! In the center are Rugelach and Linzer Tortes filled with the same chocolate hazelnut filling. That filling was so good, that we just couldn’t waste any of it! Finishing out the plate are Pignoli’s, an Italian cookie rolled in pine nuts and one named Rosette, coming from an old family recipe. Last but not least, Biscotti with dry cherries and pistachios. A new recipe and one that we will probably use again!

Rosette, the name that was on this recipe really bugged me as no way does this look like a rosette, now does it? I was going to get to the bottom of this and I started looking through recipes and Googling it over and over. Come to find out that this is really Anginetti, referring to a cookie that it is as light as an angel with the white frosting being symbolic of the clouds. They can be made with vanilla flavoring, almond, lemon or anise and the latter is usually saved for the Easter holidays. I feel much better now that I got to the bottom of this! For everyone that thinks that I will be able to bring some of these cookies with me to the Phoenix TNNA Market, sorry to say that they will have long been a memory by then…

I am missing AlleyCat and Sylvester so much by now. I know that AlleyCat will speak her peace with me as soon as I open the door! Sylvester will be happy as soon as he gets a few treats or a frech can of cat food. I am anxious to get back to some serious stitching too! See you when I get back home.


Merry Christmas! Merrrrrrry Christmas!

Santa Claus is coming to town! I hope that he brings everything that you wished for… and especially what’s on that needlepoint wish list. Wonderful new canvases, exciting threads, books that have just the right stitch that you are looking for and all the latest and newest toys.

For me the holidays are not necessarily all about what Santa might leave me under the tree, but being with my family and carrying on all the traditions that we grew up with. Tonight’s Christmas Eve celebration and being of Italian heritage is featured around the feast of the seven fishes with a little wine of course.

Santa Claus comes riding into town in style, not on his sleight but on the panda bear. A beautiful canvas by Brenda Stofft and stitch selection by Susan Portra. This was my ribbon winner at the ANG Exhibit in San Antonio earlier this year.

My wish to everybody is for a wonderful holiday season! and since I am doing absolutely nothing stitch related…will take a little break from visiting with you till later in the week.

Merry Christmas! Merrrrrry Christmas!

It’s Getting to Look Allot Like Christmas!

Let the baking begin! It is time for our annual Christmas cookie bake off. Always one of the highlights of my trip home. It is supposed to start snowing today, which will make it really feel like Christmas.

The recipes have been selected, all the necessary ingredients shopped for, the tools have been brought out and I will just wait for my sister to get home from work. We will start baking right away. Some of the dough has already been made and others not.

I have never seen toasted almond flour or hazelnut flour…hmmm what delicious cookies will we make from this? I have no idea…but I do know that we will be making biscotti’s and pignoli’s, the latter which is an Italian cookie and an absolute favorite of mine!

Sugar cookies to decorate, thumb print cookies to fill, cookies to roll out in our hands, some with the rolling pin. Too many cookies and not enough time!

Sylvester was keeping an watchful eye on me as I finished up my packing. I miss you kids and hope you are behaving for Rose!


I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Now not too much snow, now. Just enough to turn it all into a winter wonderland and make it really feel like Christmas. Growing up where it snows, well  it just isn’t the same without a little bit of snow at this time of the year. yes I know that I am crazy!

I am headed to NY today to celebrate the holidays with my family, well most of them. Sadly my niece that is in the Navy stationed in Northern California, won’t be able to get home. Maybe another year. She will be with us in our hearts and in our thoughts though.

I am looking at some of the ornaments to get me in the snowy mood. Like this Melissa Shirley Candy Cane that says it all “Let it Snow!”

Another Melissa Shirley Candy Cane. You would definitely need lots of snow to make these snowmen! Now how about this one with the snowy Christmas Trees. I think that the pink is my favorite. The trees are all beaded!


AlleyCat is hanging out in my suitcase and supervising the packing…do you think she wants to go with me? I will arrive in NY very late tonight and after some hugs and laughs and a little sleep of course, the cookie baking will start!

From the bottom of our hearts,  AlleyCat and Sylvester too!

we wish you a ……..


Santa’s Other Little Helper!


Now you really don’t think that I could get through the holiday season without some help from AlleyCat, the queen of getting into everything, the one that insists on parking herself on everything that I am doing? no matter what it is, now did you?

Throughout the packing and shipping, everything was properly inspected, cat scanned and a fair amount of cat hair was deposited upon said items. But you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Even though I have never had children, I have to liken having AlleyCat in my life to having a child around. She is the ultimate busybody and if I am working around the house, she is constantly into everything… nonstop. She runs the nightly midnight frenzies as if she was racing the Indy 500, jumps at the shadows and just well, she is a character!

I enjoyed watching A few Christmas movies yesterday and all the holidays specials on the Food Network, Cooking Channel and Bravo. I absolutely love Iron Chef and Top Chef and to this day it amazes how fast they can think and create these amazing dishes. I think of myself in their shoes when I was in the heyday of my chef career, and honestly I don’t think that I could do that.

I did do some stitching and I keep thinking of what to bring with me to my sisters?! Something easy and nothing that I will change my mind at least 1000 and one times and need to dig in the thread boxes. I better start getting it ready since I leave in a few days. What book do I want to bring with me? Rules of Civility? Night Circus? or the new book that I got the other day, The Leopard?

I need to do laundry, clean the house for the cats of course…well really it is for the cat’s nanny as I don’t want to be embarrassed! A little grocery shopping for a bit more cat food, water the plants and ooh what else am I forgetting?

This is my burning question, will it snow for Christmas? just enough to make it really feel like the holidays is all I ask for. and until next time…keep on stitching.

O Tannenbaum!

is a Christmas carol of German origin. It has long inspired many a song singing its praises of such a beautiful tree. It was always one of my favorites as a kid.

This is the 4th and last of my ornament trees. I do like the ornament trees, no fuss, no muss and I don’t have to worry about certain feline children getting any ideas!

This is a favorite Mutts cartoon of mine from Christmas past. I can just see AlleyCat perched ontop of the tree just so proud of what she had just done!

A few more of my favorite ornaments from years past. I wish that I had the dates embroidered on the back of all of them. This one of course celebrates Christmas California style.

A Christmas heart designed by Gay Ann Rogers and it looks like there is another candy cane hanging next to the Christmas chicken. I think that I did 3 or 4 of those chickens years back as did most of the ladies in our stitching group. Oh they were so fun to do!

I worked at home most of the day on stitch guides and took an afternoon break for a little stash enhancement. A few threads and what I thought what I needed was 7″ stretcher bars turned out that I really needed 8″ bars!


Today will be a stay at home all day long and stitch day…not sure what I will work on, but I am stitching. and until next time…keep on stitching. It seems that Sylvester is keeping my spot warm for me.


Santa Knows if You’ve Been Naughty!

Yes AlleyCat…even you! He knows if you’ve been naughty! My kids are indoor cats, always have been, always will be. Well again I am not too sure about AlleyCat since she was really rescued from an alley as a little bitty kitty.

Okay I digress…but every once in awhile, AlleyCat becomes the escape artist. No rhyme or reason, no pattern to her sudden outburst, just open the door and out she goes! I was watering my plants and puttering around and she decided it was the time to run out the door.

She can’t go very far, so I don’t know where she thinks she is going. I used to chase her all around. That was really just a big waste of my time as she usually out smarted me, so now I just close the door and wait. This time I was taking some recyclables out and as you can see she was just waiting for me to come back and let her in. She was meowing at the top of her lungs as if to say, “what took you so long?”

Since I really am not stitching much…really I kid you not! I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite ornaments from Christmas pasts. A Terry Enfield poinsettia that was stitched mostly in basketweave….

This a little puzzle of Santa, hand made and held together with a silk ribbon at the bottom. I love this little guy!

This snowman with the great nose is a new addition to the tree that a dear friend gave to me today as we shared a cuppa holiday coffee and talked stitching…what else? and until next time…keep on stitching





Holiday Stitching…Texas Style!

No I haven’t moved to Texas recently or am I thinking of anytime soon! Well I am sure that you are wondering why did you stitch so many of these Texas type ornaments? These were the stitched models from the canvases at the ANG seminar in San Antonio, so I figured if they were stitched, I might as well have them finished! Right? They just came back from the finishers and I hung them together just for the photo shoot. The cowboy boot is my fav! Check out the pink lining and now how perfect is that?

I love stitching these little bags! Brenda Hart over the years has given us so many great little background stitches for these bags. I had fun beading the boot and the state of Texas. A little background stitch with some silk and a little Kreinik and then add the finishing touch of some ruched silk ribbon and you’re done!

I am ready for Christmas! Packages are all wrapped and shipped, cards are mailed, house is all decked out and now I can sit back and enjoy the festivities. I am looking forward to a few holiday get togethers over the next couple of days mixed in with some holiday stitching for next year. This is another little canvas that I came across that is already on stretcher bars ready to go! I have some colors picked out already, just need to select the greens and the reds. I am thinking French Knots for the holiday lights.

I need to start thinking about what stitching I will take with me to my sisters next week. So many choices, such little time! The plants need watering and I like to make sure that the house is left picked up and organized, a few new toys thrown on the floor for the kids and maybe a few boxes placed stratigically about the house for their sleeping pleasure. Shhh, I haven’t told them yet that I am leaving. The kids do have a cat sitter, but it is still not like having me here. AlleyCat will voice her displeasure with me when I get back home.

It was a nice sunny day yesterday, so AlleyCat was enjoying taking it all in. and until next time…keep on stitching


Santa’s Little Helper!

I am thinking that Sylvester is all ready to help Santa! or is he saying this is mine, mine, mine? You know it is amazing that these cats of mine just don’t miss a thing, they really don’t. I came home from finishing up the last of my holiday shopping, set the package on the bed and sooner than later, guess who was curled up on it? well you can see the evidence!

I really haven’t been doing much stitching these last few days, can you believe that? I need a break as I am slightly burned out with my needle and thread, plus there are way too many fun things to do! I love being among the shoppers at this time of the year, but I try to stay away from rush hour shopping. I enjoy the lights, the festivities, the music and all the decorations. There are cards to be written and mailed out, packages to be shipped, parties to attend and lots of wonderful foods to be prepared and served. And the cookies! well we save that for next week when I am visiting my sister. Ooh did I mention that I am going back East for the holidays? well I am! and we always bake Christmas cookies together. After seeing my family, that is of course the highlight of the trip. We will need to plan out our cookie menu as it differs every year.

Almost all of my packages are shipped, just a few more tomorrow.The last one is for my sister and I was going to ship it, but after all I am just going to pack in my suitcase.Thank goodness for Click ‘n Ship on the USPS website. This way I don’t have to wait in line.

I should be stitching on more of what I should be stitching on, but I may take a break and stitch what I want to work on! This is the time for ornaments for next year. I already did the candy cane, so now I want to do the bags. Shh, please don’t tell. and until next time…keep on stitching