a wee Christmas present for my blockaday readers …

{ The Tomten Christmas Band, copyright 2011 A Pint of Cream }

I’ve been squeezing Christmas cross stitch time in between all the other busyness that is our lives at the moment.  It began with the realisation, back in Bootville, that I couldn’t find our Christmas stockings and that, in fact, I hadn’t been able to find them last year either.  Hmmm … I do wonder whether “moving” ever truly finishes!

So, the day before we left Brisbane, after collecting Abby from school, I dragged her along to Amitie with the promise of a Bagelicious smoothie once I had picked out fabric and trim to whip up four new stockings.  Three for us, and one for Mum who has never had a Christmas stocking.  Disappointingly for Abby, Jenny, Judy and I chatted and ooohed and aaahed over the new Sue Spargo ribbon for so long that Bagelicious had closed by the time we got there (never mind, we had frozen raspberries and bananas and yoghurt at home so we made our own smoothies) but I did come home with a clutch of loveliness for the stockings.

I began stitching straight away – all will be simple stockings in lovely coloured linens with natural linen linings, each topped with different and gorgeous bands of Sue, a 4 inch strip of cross stitched linen and a wee trim of lace (from Nana Nicky’s lace suitcase – yep! lace suitcase).  All who observed my feverish stitching noted that the missing stockings were sure to turn up once I had made these new stockings.  And guess what – as I whipped out the bottom drawer on a wardrobe at Mum’s, just before the removalists were about to carry it out to the truck, there were the missing stockings.  :sigh:

But like the Father Christmas quilt, I have now made such good progress on Mum’s and Julian’s (remember – Mum has no stocking and Julian’s is very impersonal) that I’ve decided they simply must be finished in time to hang from the chimney with care.

For Mum’s cross stitched band I used a Danske Julemotiver pattern – the only alteration were the colour choices and the addition of an “A” for Alayne in between my sweet Christmas girlies.

For Julian’s, I got a lot more carried away with the basic pattern in the above leaflet – and ended up working up my own pattern on the computer.  Which is what I have included christmas tomtem band pdf 2 here for you.

{ The Tomten Christmas Band, copyright 2011 A Pint of Cream }

I know, I know, I know … it’s Christmas in less than a week.  But surely I’m not the only silly billy who’s still cheerfully plugging away with her needle.  Perhaps you have a last minute stocking, or a Christmas apron or tea towel or gift bag that needs trimming :-)

It’s sweetly simple and quick to stitch and it’s here for you as a Christmas gift from me.  So, while I’m unpacking boxes and downloading furniture – oops!  arranging furniture! (moving has made my brain go soft – can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought in the last week, “never mind, I’ll just hit edit undo!”) – you can plonk down by the fire or snuggle up in bed or on the sofa with a hot cocoa, or stretch out on the verandah in a nice cool breeze with an iced tea with plenty of ice (depending on what’s going down in your neighbourhood at this time of year) and stitch up some Christmas loveliness.

And think of me.  Sweating and grimy.  With my sore hips and aching back.  WISHING I was sitting in that lovely spot with that lovely drink stitching some Christmas loveliness :-)

Enjoy dear folk!

p.s. please remember that this is an original design and is available for individual use only.  Please do not reproduce or use for commercial purposes.  Ta!

p.p.s. when I tried out the link for the pattern it came up enormous and I had to shrink it (using that command – thingy) and there it was perfect.  hope you can work it out :-)


a gift for you this weekend

That is, a give away for everyone!

Abby’s been home with a cold for the last two days and we’ve been indulging in our favourite cosy pursuits – drawing, stitching, watching Agatha Christie films, Stardust & Princess Bride (they always go together) and reading.

One of the books we rediscovered was Ursula Le Guin’s A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back – so spooky and enchanting.  With beautiful illustrations and a hefty dose of Swedish folklore.  Which inspired a new cross stitch – The Red Mare.

If you have not had the delight of reading Ms. Le Guin’s wonderful tale, you may have met the Red Mare (or Dala Horse) at Ikea!  We look at the large – are they papier mache or wooden? – statues positioned around the store each time we visit and wonder whether we could charm a sales assistant into letting us squish one into our handbag – ’cause they never have them for sale!

So here you are … for all you Red Mare / Dala Horse lovers … The Red Mare cross stitch with a pretty nordic border and flowers.  I have included the instructions I put in with my other designs (available here) for those of you that haven’t tried cross stitch before but would love to give it a go.  It’s very simple and once you start, so very hard to stop!

Click on the red link below to download your PDF …

The Red Mare Cross Stitch Pattern and Instructions

I’m busy stitching mine up this evening – I’m half way through the mare’s body – and plan to applique it onto a denim tote I would like to sew up this weekend – it’s been on the drawing board for months and I’m hopeful that this sweet embroidery will be the kick in the butt I need to get sewing.

I also think it would look lovely as a needlepoint stuffed toy.  Abby wanted me to do that this afternoon but I had no red embroidery wool in the book box size box I have full of embroidery wool – every shade of blue and brown and green you could imagine with the odd skein of ecru and pink floating about but no crisp, fire engine red.  How could that be? Hmm … that just means a trip to the embroidery store.  What a shame :-)

If you have any questions, please email me.  And please remember, this is an original cross stitch pattern and I would ask that you do not sell the pattern or any finished cross stitches you make.  Thanks :-)

I do wish you a lovely weekend and many hours of cosy stitching!