Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner once again? How I love these busy, inspiring days full of preparations. The period from now until early January just might be my favourite time of the year!
There is always so much to do, but it’s so pleasant. The wreath going up on the front door, the tree to decorate, the Nativity to display…and of course, a lot of baking! I don’t typically eat sweets during Advent, but I like having a few goodies ready for Christmas day, of course. I’ve been really in the mood for gingerbread this year, and the other day I saw the cutest cookie decoration tutorial on Pinterest that I’m determined to try out! You make a simple wreath out of what looks like royal icing, and dare I say, it looks fairly doable for someone with zero cookie decoration skills? I’ll let you know 😉.
In truth, these sweet days of homemade preparations for Christmas are nearly as exciting as the day itself! There’s something so magical in getting ready to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, in a spirit of simplicity that yet delights in taking time to prepare special things. The family recipes, the handmade ornaments, the cheerful hymns…there’s so much to take part in and be thankful for.
The best part, naturally, is the holiday stitching. I’ve been spending too much time browsing everyone’s lovely embroideries on Instagram lately, and my Christmas-stitching-to-do-list is long enough to last twenty Christmasses and more!
On My Worktable
I tried something new this week…watercolour on fabric…and I think I love it. I have Nicki Franklin of The Stitchery to thank for this. I’ve been admiring her work so much lately, and finally decided to try this idea! She often mixes a little watercolour with her embroideries and it’s so pretty.
I’m definitely no watercolour artist and painting fabric is different than painting paper, but I’m incredibly happy with how this turned out! The colours bled a little in some places, but since most of those spots will be covered with stitches later, I’m not worried about it. I had a lot of fun trying this out and am really glad I didn’t mess it up! Have you ever tried something like this? I do love mixing things up with embroidery a bit.
I’ve spent the last four or so Christmases in the country, but I don’t think I’d ever been as inspired by my surroundings as I am this year! Little animals keep making their way into my sketchbook, and I dream of snowy forests and snug log cabins, midnight skies and twinkling stars. I’ve even had a few lovely encounters with the dear woodland creatures. A hooting owl woke me up softly one morning, a cotton-tail rabbit has been spotted several times bouncing around the garden, and the most beautiful, majestic fox went for a leisurely stroll around the house a few days ago.
Fresh snow had fallen, still adorning roofs and tree branches, and out came a flash of orange amid the winter whiteness. The fox moved about unhurriedly, as though completely at home. He left straight through the garden path towards the field, his bushy tail swishing gently, leaving dainty footprints behind. It was such a picturesque sight, I wish I’d been outside to take better photos!
It’s no surprise then, that these sweet little creatures should make their way onto my embroideries…although I have to say, I’ve really been challenging myself with the actual drawing of them! I feel fairly confident in my botanical sketching abilities, but animals are another matter entirely. I’m pretty proud of how the fawn in my latest project turned out though, and am excited to stitch him. It’s turning out to be a very relaxing and calming project, the very thing to work on during these bustling days leading up to Christmas.
I look forward to sharing the finished piece with you! Since this will be my last post before Christmas, I wish you a very merry Christmas, filled with serenity and hope. This season is always a wonderful time to remind ourselves of what’s really important, and to slow down a bit and delight in the true mystery of Christmas.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Kathryn J says
That is a lovely verse Anne, and I enjoyed seeing your progress with your mixed media piece. I love Nikki’s designs too, and although I’ve not tried mixing paint into my stitching yet, I find it a really interesting extension of the embroidery possibilities! Your moment seeing the fox sounds quite magical, that is how it always seems to me. They are so fleeting and unexpected. This morning I had a flock of Bullfinch land in the trees opposite my bedroom window, and it was a delightful, brief encounter! 🙂
Thank you so much, Kathryn! I’m almost done stitching the design now, and so pleased with how it’s turning out! 🙂 One of my goals for 2022 is to stitch one of Nicki’s designs. I’ve been loving everything from afar, but am dying to stitch one of her pieces! Seeing the fox was indeed so beautiful, and he stayed long enough for me to photograph! The bullfinches sound so lovely, I absolutely love seeing birds in the winter.
Brittany D. says
What a beautiful project, Anne! I’ve never mixed watercolors with embroidery but I love the idea.
And your fox visitor looked quite regal! I too find that the seasons’ sights and sounds affect my creativity. I look forward to seeing the progress you make on your latest pieces!
Thank you so much, dear Brittany! I look forward to sharing the final piece soon 😀 I hope to do more watercolour next year, I’m enjoying it so much. Merry Christmas to you as well!