The sleigh gave me fits. I started with Kreinik braid, trying the outline stem stitch. It didn’t work. I then tried couching a braided trim from Access Commodities, starting with the scroll shape at the bottom of the stocking cuff. I decided the effect was too dark and strong for the entire sleigh, but I kept the scroll in place. I like it and I am sticking with my resolution to refrain from ripping stitches out until I am absolutely certain they don’t work. I finally tried basketweave using 2 shades of Neon Rays and one gold Shimmer Blend ribbon floss. The sleigh glows but doesn’t overwhelm the piece.
I then alternated between stitching the teddy bear in French knots using 2 strands of Burmilana and stitching the tree in random long and shorts stitches using one strand of two different Wildflowers colors. I have found that using one strand of a thread like Wildflowers or Wisper and building layers results in a much finer effect than doubling the thread. It’s hard not to want to rush, but if you compare the two results (layering one strand vs. stitching with multiple strands) you’ll go for the slower approach. Besides, if you are stitching an heirloom, you might as well do it right. The star is a button I picked up on one of my many searches for embellishments and the ornaments are from a Little Charmers bead set that matched the painted colors perfectly. Little Charmers come in about 15 different colorways, often with different size beads mixed in.