Handmade Gifts and Needlecraft


I am slowly working on emptying boxes from our move two years ago. We have boxes stacked along the wall of our garage and we are both trying to clear them out. Also, I am trying to find my rolling pin because I definitely want to bake Christmas cookies this year!

A few days ago I found some treasures – Cross Stitch magazines from the 1980’s to 1990’s. Some of my favorite patterns were from this publication and I feared they had been thrown away.  I stopped counted cross stitch when my eyes changed and had to use a magnifying lamp which was awkward to say the least.  Memories of gifts I had made for loved ones over years came to mind.

Before I got married, most of the Christmas gifts I gave were handmade. From homemade potato bread (Granny Hinchee’s favorite) to Crewel, Embroidery and my favorite, counted cross stitch.   After all, a single teacher in a small Christian school has a small budget and must be creative. My husband however, knew how to shop for “good things!” Nice clothing, etc. and so my needlework was mainly for our home – with two exceptions. Mom still has the large, double matted cross stitched Governor’s Palace, Williamsburg, VA.  I also worked on two other Williamsburg buildings but still haven’t had them framed or made into a pillow.  The second was a gift to my Mother-in-law. She kept this in her kitchen until she was recently moved into a small room in assisted living. It is in our home now. Every time I look at it, I think of Mother Purdy and am reminded to pray for her.

ImageAs I was looking at the magazine, I became recharged and immediately copied the patterns – enlarging them so that it will be easy to read. I have some projects picked out but my goal is to have the better patterns finished as gifts by next Christmas. This year, I already have some easy gifts picked out on Pinterest. ImageI was delighted to find two pillows I had made for our room back in the late 1980’s – 1990’s.

ImageIt definitely needs work. My trim is loose and the year and the background fabric are fraying but this is one of my favorite

patterns. If you look carefully, you will see a kitty hiding in the picture!


My friends will know why I love this pillow. I love cottages and especially like cottages with vines growing on it. Isn’t it picturesque? One of the reasons I was delighted to find the magazine is that there is another cottage pattern I am anxious to get started on.

Part of the fun of needlework is in imagining the finished product. Oh, there will be times when I have had to pull out one or two rows of stitching, or added something not in the original pattern, such as my initials and the date.  In my earlier days of stitching, I thought adding my name or initials was too showy. I simply wrote on the back of the framed piece my name and the date finished.  However, through the years, the Lord impressed upon my heart to add that detail. Why?

     1. We need to reflect Christ in all that we do. (Whatsoever ye do, do heartily as unto the LORD and not unto men.”)

     2. It is easier for family members and friends to identify.

     3. There is an old saying that whatever the task, do it so well that we will not be embarrassed to put our name on it.

I am always reminded of the industrious Proverbs 31 woman when I make something new and also ask myself if it is gift-worthy?

In Proverbs 31, her husband trusts in her and her children rise up and call her blessed.

How about you? Do you do needlework? Embroidery, counted cross stitching, quilting?  I would love to hear your stories and see pictures of your work. I am sure we would all enjoy seeing your handwork.


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