Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Frosty Friends"

My copy of the Just CrossStitch 2017 Special Christmas Ornament Issue arrived yesterday, and I am pleased to share my contribution with you. My ornament is titled "Frosty Friends" and can be found on page 11, with my Christmas memory and recipe found on page 104. This year, I included my grandmother's recipe for Candy Cane Cookies, a childhood favorite (which I will also share later in this pre-holiday post). My 2017 ornament features a pair of snowmen, pine trees, and snowflakes, and complements my woodland ornaments from the past several years. Stitches include: Cross Stitch over two linen threads, Back Stitch, Smyrna Cross Stitch, and several French Knots. I stitched the model on 40-count Mocha linen from Weeks Dye Works (same as previous ornaments in this series) and used Weeks Dye Works cotton floss (DMC conversions are provided). I opted for a flat-finish with two-tone twisted cord to match my previous holiday ornaments.

This is the eleventh year I have been included in the annual Ornament Issue...WOW, that doesn't even seem possible! If you would like to see all eleven of my contributions, you can visit the "Publications" tab on my website (my ornaments from the Christmas Ornament Preview Issues are shown there, as well). This magazine has gone through a lot of changes over the years (just like my design style), yet still continues to be a yearly fan favorite. I remember getting my first designer invitation back in 2006 to be in the magazine - I was so excited - it was an honor to get that invitation each year to be included. Over the last few years, I have read quite a bit of criticism regarding this issue - complaints that the ornaments seem too simple and/or without thought, complaints that favorite designers are missing, complaints the photography isn't good and the magazine is of lesser quality...even complaints that the holiday memories and recipes are in the back and not shown with the designer. As a designer and contributor (who puts a ton of thought and time into EVERY ornament design), this is quite discouraging. I definitely agree with some of those issues and, to be honest, I too have wrestled with myself the last couple years on whether or not I want to be involved. For me, the magazine has taken away quite a bit of the prestige and excitement that came along with being included in this publication. Let me clear -  this issue has always been an "unpaid" assignment and designers do not receive any compensation for being included...years ago, it used to generate quite a bit of excitement and a designer had to receive a special invitation to be included - back then, it was always a treat to be involved - but that excitement has changed and now designers receive an invitation to "submit a design idea" (which let's face it, takes away most of the incentive, especially when there is no payment)...also, included designers would always receive a handful of copies of the magazine (which I would give away in contests to my readers and social media followers) - now we get one copy...these may be just a few of the reasons you aren't seeing some of your favorite designers in the 2015-2017 issues. The needlework industry is going through growing pains and constantly changing, who knows what the future holds - but I have been proud to be a part of this special publication for the past eleven years! I can't wait to sit down with my issue and look through each page - at quick glance, I see a diverse selection of lovely designs from some very talented creators, that love needlework so much they contributed their time and talent...
I would love to hear your comments on this year's issue - what are your favorite ornaments??

Candy Cane Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red food coloring
½ cup crushed peppermint candy

Mix in order given, except food coloring and peppermint candy. Divide dough in half. Blend red food coloring into one half. Roll one teaspoon of each color on a lightly floured board to 4” long. Place side by side; press ends together and twist like a rope. Place on greased sheet; curve top for handle.

Bake 375ยบ for nine minutes. While warm sprinkle with peppermint candy.


  1. I agree with some of the discussion on this, but times change, different owner, etc.
    I, of course, love your design with the Snowmen.
    Who doesn't love a Snowman?
    Thanks for sharing your time and talent for the issue.
    I also like the little purse by GPA, so cute.

  2. I love your ornament, Belinda. Your snowmen make me smile. Thank you for sharing your creativity, talent and work with us. Thinking of you! xoxox