Dec 2, 2008


So there I was, minding my own business, when Stewey jumped up into the Happy Chair with his whistle and clipboard. "It's December 1st, Mommie Dearest, and you haven't done one damn thing around here to welcome the holidays. Do you think Santa Claus is going to find this house with a GPS? Now put your shoes and socks on and get out there in that garage. I want to see decorations and festive cheer by the end of business today."

With that, he disappeared into the bedroom. I suspect that he decided to wait out the ensuing madness in his "fort", which is the space under the bed in between dust bunnies and a few stray craft projects. (For all I know, he's tamed the bunnies into his pets and has completed, washed, framed, and hung all of the projects.)

I managed to muscle the big ass Christmas tree box into the house without too much damage and I even found the urn that I used last year that was still filled with water softener salt as a tree base stabilizer. That's a very technical term, don't you know. Tree. Base. Stabilizer.

Now I know that I am 42 years old and I know that I am supposed to be smarter than a 6 1/2 foot Martha Stewart pre-lit spruce holiday faux fir, but alas, I am not. I grunted the tree into the tree base stabilizer and then proceeded to plug it in, all the while thinking "Gee, I sure hope these 1,500 specialized white Martha Stewart faux fir tree lights work."

Sadly, they did not.

Four episodes of "The Sopranos" and a case of diet Coke later, this is what I ended up with:

It looks lovely, doesn't it? You never would guess that stripping that tree of lights or getting it into the urn and fluffing its branches would have consumed 12 hours of my day. I gave it a little kick and headed for the shower and I'm thinking the damn thing is going to stay this way until March. Stewey is not amused:"She can't even put up a Christmas tree without supervision. Why do I even bother?

On a MUCH happier note...I finished Laura J. Perin's "Jewel Box" in Christmas colors:Now I know you're wondering why I decided to use ecru in the background, but I really wanted those variegated "arrows" to pop. I think they do. Quite nicely. Now I'm going to tart this up with a bunch of beads and fish out a Michael's coupon for some fast framing and we'll be Happy Dancing for Joy all over the place.

My Christmas stitching basket is all assembled, but I have to confess that I still felt the need to do counted canvas work instead of cross stitch. I suppose that you could argue that they are very closely related, if not sisters, so I didn't feel too guilty about neglecting my q-snaps and linen supply for the time being.

The problem, however, is that between the massive holiday preparations (see above), and the massive effort to finish "Jewel Box" (also, above), my fingers are a OK, they're a bloody, scabbed over, scratched, dried out mess. I'm dutifully putting hand cream and cuticle oil on them, but I just didn't think that I could take canvas at this moment.

I was starting to fret about that when I pulled out another Laura J. Perin piece called "Christmas Quilt" and lo and behold, she mentions CONGRESS CLOTH! Woo Hoo! I can get my canvas work fix AND save my poor hurt fingers all at the same time! So I kitted it up and started stitching away and I'm just thrilled with the way it's stitching:
If you're a cross stitcher and you think you might want to try canvas work, but aren't sure about working on needlepoint canvas, congress cloth is a wonderful transition. It's 24 count and is a little stiffer than linen, but not as stiff as needlepoint canvas. It's stiff-light.

So I'll be in the Happy Chair today working on this piece, unless Stewey decides that the bare unlit tree is just too much for him to look at. He's hiding out under the dining room chairs at the moment, and methinks he's plotting a coups. Stay tuned, and send help if you don't hear from me in a few days!


  1. Jewel Box looks fabulous in those colours - great choices :) And well done on getting the tree up without any help from Stewey though maybe he has some suggestions re the lights.

  2. Jewel box is just beautiful. Love your color choices. I also had a problem with a pre"unlit" tree. I noticed it atfer I had the tree half decorated (I know they were lit when I started). I just threw another string of lights right over the bad string. Easiest solution to a pain in the #$%problem. Don't think I will ever get another prelit tree again.

  3. Jewel Box is gorgeous - I love the ecru. My pre-lite tree only has one strand of lights not working. After killing myself trying to change fuses to no avail, I decided to just leave them alone and throw another strand in on top of them. I add some faceted white lights anyway so it is just another strand to wrestle with.

  4. Maybe 42 is just when the Christmas trees finally start winning. I am all scraped up from putting one of my two trees up. And it's the prelit. I don't even know what it going to happen when I have to put lights *on* the tree!

  5. Well! What a marathon! But a fantastic story and I love the Jewels and the Christmas Quilt. I don't think we have prelit trees in new Zealand but Laura J has made it here!

  6. That was absolutely hilarious reading your latest post.

    What was not so funny to me anyway is that you made me think that I have to put up the big tree, add all the lights, many sets of them, add the decorations, etc., all this by myself as my husband wants no part of it, except to bring down the boxes from the attic for me, otherwise there would be NO Christmas decorations at my house, but that would be a bit sad.

    Anyway, thanks to you now, I am starting to feel guilty if I don't put that darn tree soon.

    What were you saying again about "minding your own business"? That is exactly what I should have done and stayed away from your blog :-(

    Pierrette =^..^=

  7. Laura's pieces are gorgeous, as always! Thanks for the laughs about the tree! I have to get started on mine!

  8. Jewel Box is stunning - I love the colours you chose!
    Great picture of Stewey 'sulking' because you didn't finish with the tree decorations. Can't wait to see his happy dance when (or should I say if?) you do!

  9. Jewel Box looks great. Looking forward to the progress on the Christmas Quilt.

  10. Jewel Box is wonderful, I just wanted to add my delight to all the others.

    Keep Stitching,

  11. Jewel Box is elegantly pretty.
    Very nice.

    I, too, finally have my pre-lit tree up. But I haven't been brave enough to plug it in yet. Here's hoping all goes well today.

    And *sqeee* Congress cloth is stiff light! I'm gonna have to work that into the conversation tomorrow at stitching group.

  12. Lovely stitching.

    I LOL'ed about your tree. Yeah...I have one of those too. It's not going up until DH gets back from his trip. DS won't even help me with it. LOL Suz

  13. Hi Coni,


    Yes, I've also had my share of Holiday disasters/frustrations. Outdoor decorations are up and hopefully the tree will go up this weekend.

    "Jewel Box" is beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress on your "Christmas Quilt".

    Windy Meadow

  14. Jewel box is just lovely. I love the colors. They are perfect. The tree thing cracks me up. Is that snow I see outside that window? Lucky you. :)