Camping, Condors and Christmas Stockings

We packed our little trailer and headed out for Pinnacles National Park yesterday. It’s home to nearly 60 of the 405 remaining Condors left in the world. We might not spot one, but with a wingspan approaching 10 feet they should be hard to miss. The forecast calls for rain which suits me just fine because I have catching up to do.

I’ve made a needlepoint Christmas stocking for every member of our family. Never mind that I’ve seen similar ones all made up at Marshals for less than I’ve paid for the canvas alone! They’re a labor of love and made in China can’t compete with “made by loving hands at home”…that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

This is how the canvas for my grandson’s stocking looked last October 24. I know because I snapped this photo, feeling proud of my progress the first day.

hand needlepoint Christmas Stocking

It might be hard to see, but all I had done was part of the chimney and little bits at the bottom of Santa. I have no idea what happened but it got set aside…in plain view!

storing my needlepoint in plain view on my mantle

I kept it smack dab in the center of my mantle so I would see it and be inspired to work on it. That didn’t happen too often.

needlepoint Christmas canvas


Here’s how it looks today. I have so much more to do I’m starting to panic. Everywhere you see a hole, is an undone stitch. I didn’t sweat the lack of progress last year because he was only 2. This year will be a different story.

My grandson, the love of my life

He’s seen it sitting on my mantle and asked what it was. I’m not sure he understands what’s ahead for Christmas, but he’s excited to get this thing Granny is making for him that Santa will put presents in.

So other than breathing fresh air and looking for Condors, I’ll be working on this, every moment. I’ve even packed my headlamp so I can see long into the night.

Are you doing anything to get ready for the holidays yet?

Have a great week.





  1. Condors and stitches…..sounds like the makings of a poem about national parks and grandmas, holidays and love. Good luck with the sightings and stitches.

  2. Hi Jennifer, I love following you but have never commented. My bad….This post took me back. My mother in law taught me to needlepoint years ago and she made all my children stockings. I am not sure many people stitch like this these days. I still am drawn to all kinds of needlepoint, especially pillows! I am sure this will be a treasure for your grandson, look forward to seeing it finished, you can do it. Happy Weekend to you. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Pamela! I’m so happy to hear from you. I love needlepoint pillows too. They add such richness to a room. I’m finally making some progress in this. I can’t wait to give it to him.

  3. This is such a cute story Jennifer and your grandson will love the stocking, although I’m sure he’s just excited about Halloween right now. I think camping is the perfect time for relaxing activities like this and can’t wait to read how your trip goes. I haven’t gone camping in years…

  4. Jennifer, good luck as far as amazing progress on your grandson’s sock! Your mantel is just beautiful. I have a feeling that you and I like the same style- antiques and beautifully classic decor.

  5. I LOVE that you’re needlepointing your family Christmas stockings! My mother hand knit personalized stockings for every member of our family and they’re such a treasured part of our Christmas tradition.

    I’m completing a counted cross stitch college logo for my son. I finished my daughter’s a few years ago and have been lackadaisically working on my son’s for, oh, the past several years. A month ago, I decided this is the year to give the logos as gifts and need to finish the second one so I can get them both framed in time for Christmas.

    Why do we put pressure on ourselves like this? (and when will I learn not to?)

    Love, love, love your blog … I’ve learned so much from you! Thank you!!!

    1. You’re so kind! I have no idea why we wait until the last minute. Bravo for you! I love knitting. You and I, are in great company…with each other. Thanks so much, Jane.

  6. He is so cute! We have a three year old grandson, too, and Thomas the Train is so popular.

    As for unfinished needlework, I’ve been carrying around a queen sized sampler quilt (all made by hand) for years – house to house as I move. It needs the binding edges finished and quilted and it will be ready for my guest room. Ha! Now that I’m retired, maybe I’ll finish it this winter.

    The stocking is really cute and much more meaningful than picking one up at Marshall’s. Go, Granny, go!

    1. Queen sized sampler? OMG. Good for you! I think Granny’s are pretty special. I bet you’re as crazy about yours as I am. Thanks for sharing, Laurel.

  7. I knew I loved you as a friend before but this just put a stamp on it. You are so right, the labor of love will never come close to store bought. I truly believe the recipients can feel the love that pours forth. This little man will treasure that stocking for years. And please get a picture of you working into the night with the headlamp, that will also be a treasured memory.

  8. That will be a cherished treasure from his grandmother! I did a Christmas stocking for each of my grandchildren. I have found if I pull it out and stitch on it every evening, even for 15 minutes that really helps. Keep at it and look at his sweet picture to motivate you. 🙂

  9. Hi Jennifer- glad to know there are others with unfinished business. I wish you well in completeing this stocking for your grandson. Love your mantle too! Hope you spot a condor…

  10. Every year I make a variety of special cookies and a loaf of fruitcake for our son and daughter-in-law in Florida. Since they don’t live close to us, the Christmas box gives them a taste of my holiday kitchen. I love doing it and they love receiving. Win, win!

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