A friend recently gave me the pattern to make these owl pincushions.  I looked around the net and found it available from Sewn into the Fabric if anyone is interested.  I didn't fill mine with walnut shells though but used wheat instead plus a washer at the bottom so they would sit a bit better.  Gave all these away so I now have to make myself one!

I am currently working on stitching this hardanger ornament that I am keeping for myself this time.  Gave a number of them away as Christmas gifts as well.

Managed in between owl pincushions and hardanger ornaments to sew the edges onto the top of the leaf lid I'm also working on.  Will tackle the sides next year.  Making a stitched box with leaves as our theme is the Regina Stitchery Guild's program this year led my Leann Clifford.

Made this cross stitch design into a pillow many years ago.  It's always such a pleasure to bring out the hand made Christmas things to decorate the house.

A few ornaments that I made many years ago that are now on the tree :)

I love birds and bird watching and am also a member of Bird Feeder Watch Canada. 19 beautiful Grey Partridges come into our yard on a daily basis.  One or 2 are usually standing guard while the rest forage. They have such wonderful chestnut barring, reddish face and dark red belly patch.  One of these days I'd like to stitch a partridge too!

Have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Frohe Weihnachten and a Joyeux Noel!!  I wish each of you good health, joy and plenty of creativity in 2014 :)

Jeannette Luther

By Kathryn Drummond

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I know that a lot of people say that, but there's a good reason for it. 
It's magical and sparkly and warm and wonderful all at once.  It's a time when you feel like love is literally in the air, when you see family and friends and think about those that you won't be seeing.  It's tied into many wonderful traditions, some of which are shared by all who celebrate Christmas and some that are very personal to each of us as well.  I love it so much, in fact, that when my wonderful husband asked me to marry him, over 19 years ago now, I told him that I wanted a Christmas wedding.  And the following year, that's what we had - with a tree decorated with hand-made ornaments (each guest got to pick one as their wedding favor), vinetarta (Icelandic Christmas cake) as our wedding cake, bridesmaids in green dresses carrying red roses and holly and lots and lots of good cheer.  It was perfect.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to make a Christmas ornament for my husband each year and one for each of our wonderful sons, Boone and Liam (this photo is of two "Love Knots" that I made for the boys - that year I made a Love Knot for each of our nieces and nephews as well).  Almost always, these are stitched ornaments and sometimes they are even my own design.

This year I'm working on Punto Antico ornaments for each of them, something with metallic braid and crystals to add to the sparkle of the season.  I hope they like them!

Another tradition that I love is Christmas baking.  Let's be honest - I just love baking, so adding Christmas to that is like icing on the cake (so to speak!).  My favorite is cookies.  There are so many wonderful kinds of cookies to make it's hard for me to choose some days (although my hubby says that you can never go wrong with chocolate chip and I have found this to be true).  This year, my family has requested cinnamon buns for Christmas brunch, Nanaimo bars (like I didn't see that one coming!) and chocolate chip cookies. 

All classics in this house.  But one of my favorites is a little different - Lavender Cookies.  You can find lavender flowers (yes, you can really eat them!) at some bulk food stores in their spice section.  It has a wonderful scent that's even better when you combine it with butter and sugar and bake it - heaven smells like this, I'm sure of it!  This is a recipe that I found that didn't work out well the first time, but I modified it a bit and now I think it's wonderful (I usually make a triple batch and round up the butter to a full pound).  I hope you find it wonderful too!

Lavender Cookies

5/8 cup butter
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 T lavender flowers
extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat the egg and blend into the butter and sugar.  Mix in the lavender flowers and the flour.  Roll dough into 1” balls and roll in sugar.  Place 2” apart on cookie sheets.  Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass dipped in the sugar.  Bake about 12 minutes, or until edges are golden.  Remove cookies to wire rack to cool
Makes about 2 ½ dozen

Note: The rolling sugar can be plain or half white sugar and half lavender colored decorating sugar.
I knew the Guild Christmas Gathering was scheduled!  I knew that I needed a stitched gift for the gift exchange!  I knew that I had bought a kit for an ornament so I would be ready!  I knew all these things but it made no difference – the clock was ticking and the gift was no closer to completion.  But it is amazing what can be done when desire, help from a very supportive family, and an amazing pattern all come together.  I had found a Mill Hill “Tiny Treasured Diamond – Beaded Kit with Treasures” at “our” stitching shop, Because You Count, in Moncton, New Brunswick, a mere two hours’ drive away and had put it away until

I found the time to stitch – which, of course, was during the past week.  The directions were exact and easy to follow and I picked up all kinds of ideas to be used when I create other ornaments.  The colours, plum and blue, while not traditionally Christmas, worked together to make an ornament that could be on display at Christmas and throughout the year.

It was intriguing to see the ornament develop – with the floss being placed first, the rondele bead being placed next, and the seed beads being placed last.

The kit promo on the front featured a “design wraps to back” banner and I kept folding the fabric, trying to envision how the ornament would look when it was stitched together, all to no avail.

But faith and good instructions prevailed and all came together to make a wonderful pillow ornament, complete with bead hanger and 3-strand bead tassel.   I was delighted when my family declared it “splendid”!  (Aren’t I lucky to have my very own cheering section?!!)  I had a whole day to enjoy my creation before wrapping it for our party, where, I am pleased to say, one of our long-time members fell heir to my gift.

All in all, I agree with the name of this ornament, a “Tiny Treasure” – it will always be a treasure in my heart, with lessons learned (and perhaps heeded!) and a lovely end product.
This week the Toronto Guild of Stitchery members celebrated our Christmas Parties.  The Toronto Guild is very fortunate to have both a day group and evening group and some lucky members are able to attend both holiday celebrations.  I am one of those lucky people.

Our Day Group party began with hugs and cheery hellos as members arrived dressed in fun festival clothes.

Our musically talented member Karen Doak on piano filled the air with Christmas music.

Wonderfully wrapped stitched gifts were assembled waiting to be given out.

Mrs. Claus (Cathy Cormier) arrived in full costume with shortbread cookies for everyone.

There was a sudden excitement as a Ho, Ho, Ho, brought cheers from everyone with the arrival of Santa Claus himself.  Santa greeted everyone merrily and with the help of Mrs. Claus, pulled names out of a snowman bag, presented lovely gifts to the participants.

We had a feast of delicious soup, sandwiches, fruit/veggies and tempting desserts.

We had a wonderful time.

Our Evening Group began with a potluck of delights from our kitchens.  The smell of warm apple cider was sure to get everyone in the mood for fun.  We had salads, chili, meatballs and salmon with more tempting desserts.

Everyone was given a note with a line from a Christmas Carol.  The Christmas Carols were read by Nicole McReavy and people jumped to their feet and dashed over to the table to select their gift.  Everyone unwrapped their gift and one by one each gift was displayed and the secret Santa was revealed.

As a group we are so fortunate to have good friends to share our passion for expressing ourselves in stitches and who embrace the traditions of the season.

Wishing everyone all the Best of the Season!

Lisa Carlin
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About EAC

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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.

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