Monday, October 14, 2019

Trimming the Tree

The Just CrossStitch 2019 Special Christmas Ornament Issue is currently arriving at needlework shops, in mailboxes, and on newsstands. Today, I am pleased to share my contribution with you. My ornament for this year is titled "Trimming the Tree" and can be found on page 96, with my Christmas memory and recipe found on page 104. This year, I included my recipe for BBT Dip (bacon, basil and tomato) - a simple list of ingredients that will make a quick and easy entertaining favorite (which I will also share later in this pre-holiday post). My 2019 ornament complements my woodland ornaments from the past several years. The entire design is Cross Stitch over two linen threads, so you can easily change the type/count of fabric. 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 thirteenth year I have been included in the annual Ornament Issue...which doesn't even seem possible! If you would like to see all thirteen of my contributions, you can visit the "Publications" tab on my website (my coordinating 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 SUPER excited - it was an honor to get that invitation each year to be included. Over the last several years, I have read quite a bit of criticism regarding this issue - complaints that the ornaments seem too simple and/or without thought, harsh statements about the finishing of the ornaments, complaints that favorite designers are missing....some say 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 can definitely agree with some of those statements...and, to be honest, I too have wrestled with myself for the last few 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, this issue generated 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, in years past, the included designers would 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 (and somehow, mine always arrives bent and damaged)...these may be just a few of the reasons you aren't seeing some of your favorite designers in the more recent issues. The needlework industry is constantly changing, who knows what the future holds - but I have been proud to be a part of this special publication for the past thirteen years! I can't wait to sit down with my issue and look through each page. There is always a diverse selection of designs from some very talented creators (some are new and upcoming talent, some are longtime favorites)...these designers love needlework so much that they contributed/donated their time and, while each and every ornament might not be your cup of tea, I hope you will still be able to find a few to stitch up for your tree!

I would love to hear your comments on this year's issue - what are your favorite ornaments??

...and now, here is my holiday recipe for 2019...


2 cups sour cream
8 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp dried or fresh basil
crackers or vegetables for dipping

Stir all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Makes 2½ cups.

If using crackers, spinach make a great garnish – place spinach leaf on a cracker and put a dollop of dip on top!

While it may be a little too early to get in the Christmas spirit - I hope this post will inspire you for the upcoming holiday season! Time to start stitching those ornaments and gifts...


  1. Love your new Christmas design and very interesting read about the Mag .
    I have a few older ones , we can't buy this one so easy here.
    I have been away so just catching up with my blog reads.
    Enjoy your day.

  2. A very pretty ornament.
    I think some people are disappointed in JCS since Annie's took it over.
    I too, have had many problems with my subscription in the last 2 years. Not sure I will renew, but I do still like the ornament issue.

  3. Thank you for the post. I have to agree that I too have been disappointed in both the Halloween and Christmas issues of JCS magazine. I have to agree with Marilyn that this seems to be when Annie's took them over. I appreciate your explanation for how the designers are invited to participate. I really would appreciate if the community of stitchers would think carefully before airing such has criticism about designs or other stitcher. To me if you do not have something good to say then it is best left unsaid. For some reason in this day and age we are so quick to judge without thinking of how our comments might be received. I will step down from my soapbox and thank you once again for your post.

  4. I've been a subscriber for a number of years now but have been told that from next year JCS will no longer mail to the UK. I'll continue to buy the Halloween and Christmas issues as lots of places here sell them but I shan't bother with the ordinary issues.
    I've stitched a few of your designs from the magazine and do appreciate them but I'm still waiting for the Christmas issue - it's late!