Saturday, December 01, 2012

2012 Great Christmas Tree Tour: Mary Connealy

These stockings are crewel work. I always thought the word was apt. Cruel work indeed. 

I made these from very expensive kits, one for each of my four daughters. It kept taking me longer and longer to get the stockings done. My oldest daughter (born in April) had her stocking hanging up by her first Christmas. My second daughter was also an April baby, born two years almost to the day after her big sister. I was kinda busy. Her stocking was done before her second Christmas.

My third daughter was born in November two and a half years after her big sister. No way was she getting a stocking by her first birthday. I might have made it by her third.

My fourth daughter is five years younger than the next oldest girl. I think I had her stocking up by the time she went to Kindergarten. I think.

But I love them. I used to do so much needle work. Things like this and knitting and crocheting. No more. I write books now. 

Merry Christmas


Candlelight Christmas
Two Inspirational Christmas Stories ...

The Christmas Candle by Mary Connealy

Arkansas Ozarks 1883
Gabe Wagner, has left his hectic city life and moved onto Rose Palmer’s mountain. His plans to build a house will tear the heart out of her Ozark Mountain home. Rose learns that what she calls peace and quiet has evolved into isolation and loneliness. As Christmas approaches and she searches for the perfect way to honor the Savior’s birth, she realizes she wants to let Gabe into her life. But to do it, she may have to face a larger world that frightens her while she gives up the safe life she has always known.

The Outlaw’s Gift by Linda Goodnight

1880s Oklahoma Territory
When drifter Seth Blackstone shows up at Raven Patterson’s homestead, Raven thinks this may be the solution to all her problems. But Seth’s mysterious past is about to catch up with him and could mean disaster for them both.

Can the search for the perfect Christmas candle and the broken hearts of two little boys bring a solitary woman and a grieving man together?

Visit Mary on the web:


  1. Mary, I used to do so much needlework, too. Maybe when I retire, eh? I do miss it. I'm not familiar with crewel, but these stockings are beautiful, very intricate. And being the mother of 4 daughters, too, I know what you mean about taking longer and longer! It was that way for me with baby books. I'm not sure I even finished Amy's (#4 daughter).

    Merry Christmas!

  2. I used to do cross-stitch until I went to grad school. All the typing plus needlework gave me carpal tunnel syndrome. Something had to go. But I just put up my little Chrismon tree with ornaments I stitched back in the day...actually three decades ago.

    Needlework is such an heirloom. I am glad all the girls got their stocking!

    Loved your story btw!

    Peace, Julie

  3. I love your stockings and wish I did needlework. However, my daughter will be 41 in January and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have hers done yet. :-)

  4. Mary,

    The stockings are beautiful! I only did two needlework projects, then I went back to regular old embroidery or sewing.

  5. I used to be "crafty" too--until I started writing books. I never finished anything, which is why our house was known as the "halfway" house.

  6. Oh when I was young I did a lot of sewing nd crafting also...but I'm not sure what I Love your to kings, they are beautiful!


  7. I didn't do a lot of this type of thing but I crocheted and knitted constantly. I just got in the habit of having some project to pick up every time I sat down. I did dozens of full sized afghans.
    Does anyoen do afghans anymore? I used to give them for wedding presents.
    Now when I sit down, I pick up a book. There was a time when I hadn't read a book in, probably a decade. I had four kids in ten years so it was a HURRICANE decade. But somehow, even then, I was always knitting or crocheting.

  8. And we're glad you do...write books now! Beautiful work on those stockings.

    Like a lot of you, I've done crafting and needlework--in the past. I loved counted cross stitch, but my vision has gotten too funky for those tiny squares. Now when the urge hits, I'll do something with fabric, like quilting. Or easy crochet. I never did figure out knitting...and could only crochet once someone taught me how to not hold the hook like a pencil. Much better.

    Ooh, now I have the urge to go find one of those ufo crochet projects. (Ufo as in unfinished object not the space kind. Although with me, you never know...)

  9. Hello Mary, I am not a crafts type person, but love to read and you are one of the authors I look for, your stockings are great works and your love for the daughters is the main thing. thanks for sharing today with Cheryl and we readers. Merry Christmas...

    Paula O(

  10. My mother in law, one of my favorite people on the planet, was a really gifted woman with any needle. She knitted and crochets, plus sewing, she could do anything she turned her hands too.
    She's passed away, at 92 years old almost two years ago. She was just one of those old fashioned, homemakers who really brought this huge talent to her home and family because it was before a woman had much opportunity to work. So all her gifts got turned to the domestic.
    She quilted and crocheted, she could make an apple pie that is unequaled, honestly, but any I've ever tasted.

    The world lost something when Marybelle died.
    I don't think I'd have ever tackled crewel work without Marybelle and maybe all that sitting still working with my hands translated into writing, huh??? :)
    Merry Christmas everyone.

  11. Hi pol, thanks.

    I'm so glad you enjoy my books. Thank you.

    I have this tiny desire to crochet again, no knit, it is much more complex, knitting and you can make much more beautiful things with knitting.
    My oldest daughter who has my only grandchildren (so far!) wanted to make beautiful stockings like this for her children.
    She could NOT find kits.
    I mean NO WHERE. The apparently don't exist.

    She's a bright girl and she looked and I looked.

    I bought mine over a long span of years from....oh Hobby Lobby or Mangelsons maybe. She looked there and online. She found a few on ebay, but for a truly staggering price.
    She could buy books with patterns and stamp them on cloth and buy the embroidery floss and cut out stocking shaped felt, which is what the backs are mostly, but that wasn't what she wanted.
    She ended up buying stockings and having them monogrammed at ... I think Pottery Barn Kids? (so much faster!) :)
    Not crewel work at all. But really pretty.
    and saved her a fortune, plus years of her life spent working on them.

  12. The stockings you made are stunning, Mary. I don't have the patience for such intricate needle work. I do large sewing projects, like curtains, microwave heating pads, things that basically take a machine and straight lines and go pretty quickly. As soon as I get a knot in thread, I'm anxiously pulling out my hair, so it's not a relaxation for me. I do love creative projects like beadwork, though. I make jewelry, wine charms, things like that.

    And I do the occasional crazy project. A couple winters ago my grandson and I broke china and covered bowling balls for yard art. The worst part of it was the grout. A tedious project to be sure. We have two and my husband and daughter think they are the ugliest things ever. lol I let him throw out the rest of the bowling balls.

    This Christmas break we are making softening cream for feet and hands. I bought all the ingredients and saved little jars all year. Yeah, I do weird stuff, not normal things.

    Thanks for being my guest today Mary!

  13. Those are beautiful stockings, Mary. What patience it must have taken to do them. Did you keep them, or give them to your daughters when they left home? Wait, maybe they're still living at home. In that case, will you let them have theirs when they leave home? It would be hard to part with such beautiful treasures as those.
    I know what you mean about not crocheting and stuff and writing. I used to crochet, used to draw western art, used to bake, clean my house etc. Now, it's writing, writing, and more writing. I do clean, but not as deep as I used to. In fact, I could open a dust bunny ranch and make a small fortune. *smiling*

    I have to get a copy of you and Linda's new book because it sounds SO good. Not only that, you and Linda wrote it so it has to be good. *grin* Speaking of...I'm off to get a Kindle copy now. Yay! Talk to you later, Mary. I'm on a mission.

    Oh, and MERRY CHRISTMAS, my friend!!

    Debra Ullrick

  14. I love these!!! YOu are so talented. I already bought the ebook and am enjoying it!! Happy Holidays.

  15. Sooo beautiful!! and all so different from each other!!

  16. Hi Mary:

    I just loved your, ‘The Christmas Candle’ story that’s in “Candlelight Christmas”. It’s amazingly creative. It may be the best 5-sensed story I’ve read.

    Do you think any of those Christmas stockings will find a way into a story? Could they have been made in the 1880’s? You could make one for your next Christmas novella, put it on the cover, and then have a contest so a reader would win it.

    BTW: I just love your new picture that's on Seekerville today. You really come alive in red. It’s a great picture.


  17. Lovely! And what a beautiful heirloom for your daughters.

  18. Well they're not THAT different,girlgirlhoosier, they're all Santa after all.
    But they are each all their own, aren't they. I loved making them. And then I never did much in the line of needle work like that again so I'm like Michaelangelo, only I quit after four paintings. (or something)

  19. Vince that red dress! I can't believe I was running around wearing a red dress. What was a I THINKING? But that picture came out pretty good. Thank you for saying you liked it. God bless you.

    And I'm so glad you enjoyed Candlelight Christmas. I think Christmas romances have so much potential to just be wonderful and I'm always striving for that.

  20. Hi Sherri...I like the word Heirloom. Nice. I considered making new ones for sons in law and grandkids and, when I quit rolling on the floor laughing at the VERY IDEA, I just transformed the four stockings to sort of DECORATIONS, rather than real stockings.

  21. Lol Mary, you crack me up! They do look good : ) Ours kind of look like this, but they're definitely NOT handmade lol. Mom probably could've done it if she wanted to, but we ordered ours from L.L. Bean :P