Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Rejoicing Reindeer

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

The Just CrossStitch 2020 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 "Rejoicing Reindeer" and can be found on page 96, with my Christmas memory and recipe found on page 102. This year, I included my recipe for Salt Dough know, the favorite childhood ornament project - dough cut with cookies cutters, embellished and baked, then painted if desired. My recipe has a simple list of ingredients (which you probably have on hand) that will make quick and easy ornaments and a fun family project! My 2020 cross stitch ornament complements my woodland ornaments from the past several years, only this year it is circular in shape. 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.

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC

This is the 15th year I have been included in the annual Ornament Issue (2006 - 2020)...which doesn't even seem possible! If you would like to see all 15 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, criticism regarding this issue seems to pop up everywhere - 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. As a designer and contributor (who puts a ton of thought and time into EVERY ornament design), this can be quite discouraging. Over the years, the magazine has taken away quite a bit of the prestige and excitement that came along with being included in this publication. For those who do not know, this issue has always been an unpaid assignment and designers do not receive any compensation for being included. 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 a single copy (and somehow, mine always arrives bent and damaged)...these are just a couple reasons why you may not be 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 happy to be a part of this special publication for the past 15 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 a personal favorite, 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 - do you have a favorite ornament(s)???

...and now, here is my holiday recipe for 2020... 

Salt Dough Ornaments

Dough ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour - 4 cups
  • Table salt - 1 cup
  • Warm water - 1 1/2 cups

Decorating tools:

  • Cookie Cutters
  • Textural items (kitchen utensils, rubber stamps, toothpick, etc.)
  • Straw (to create hang hole)
  • Acrylic paint, glitter, puffy paint
  • Polyurethane spray - optional
  • Ribbon (for hangers)


Mix flour and salt – whisk until well combined. Slowly add warm water while stirring. Continue stirring until you have added all the water. Use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and pliable – this will take a few minutes. Roll out the dough 1/8″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Texture or draw/write on ornaments using your favorite tools. Use a straw to make a hole for hanging. Bake the ornaments in a 300°F oven for about an hour or until hard. Paint and decorate ornaments to your liking. Once paint is completely dry, coat with poly spray for extra longevity. Tie ribbon hanger and hang on tree.

May decorating your tree create lasting memories!

©Copyright 2020 Belinda Karls-Nace/Blue Ribbon Designs, LLC