Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the homestretch...



I can hardly believe that I'm on my final row of blocks for Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow. I actually finished the cardinals block (one of my favorites) on time for a change which leaves me two months to complete the Block 11 New Year's ship (which is solid stitching)and the final Block 12 cherub and wording, which looks quite easy. I've decided to hold off on revealing the entire piece again until I am all finished up at the end of December. Perhaps, that way, you'll be as excited to celebrate with me as I will be to have finished this mammoth piece. But, that leads me to a question. I really want to stitch my name and the year 2010 in the final block instead of the name and date charted which is "Mary Crow 1801." Now, I am a novice sampler stitcher--this is certainly the biggest one I've ever done so I don't know what is considered proper. Any advice from all of you expert sampler stitchers? I am really torn as to what to do...


How was everyone's Halloween? We only had 9 trick-or-treaters and I felt a bit let down. I miss seeing the excitement and the cute costumes of more children, but we live on a street that doesn't get much traffic because the houses are so far apart. We did have one unexpected visitor that night, though. My two older sons were over for their weekly Sunday dinner (and the way my middle son eats us out of house and home, I think that may be his only decent meal of the week!) and I asked them to bring the pumpkin and decorations inside before they left to go back to their apartment. Well, as they were gathering the items up, they heard a rustling in the bushes by our front porch. Thinking it was a stray trick-or-treater, they called out "Who's there?" Out wandered, of all things, a SKUNK!! Not more than a few feet from my front door! The guys quickly ran inside and slammed the door. Of course then they were afraid that the noise of the slamming door may have caused the skunk to spray. Luckily, after waiting a while, sticking their heads out a window, and giving a sniff, the air was clear. But, now, I am seriously concerned that this skunk may be living under our front porch.


We have so many "critters" visiting our yard, you would think we live in the country. But, no, our house is in the suburbs of a fairly large city. Just look at this photo (click on it for a larger view) that I took looking out my kitchen window this summer--you can see the mama deer with her spotted baby visiting our pond for a sip of water. Now look closely at the front of the photo--why it's the friendly (??) neighborhood groundhog come to nibble our grass. Needless to say, I really enjoy the ever changing scene outside my window...unless Mr. Skunk happens to decide to visit again!







My friend, Mary at Sweet Sentiments and Stitches surprised me with a delightful package of goodies this week: two lovely JBW charts with some Christmasy floss, a bag of chocolates, and the sweet little cat figurine (so cute with his little witchy hat and a dangling star on the tip). But my favorite gift was the leaf pumpkin piece that Mary stitched for me--just look at what a unique finish it is! The plaid background in autumn colors, the wire hanger and raffia bow, and the braided raffia trim and cute buttons. It is one of the most exceptional finishes I've seen (and I'm not just saying that because you're my friend, Mary!). I truly love everything and I'm so touched by your thoughtfulness and generosity... Thank you so very, very much! I'll think of you each time I decorate with your special gifts at Halloween.



Our fall colors weren't the best due to our very hot and very dry summer, but I did photograph this tree right outside the library at it's peak. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to settle in with my stitching for the shorter, colder days ahead. Speaking of "settling in"--I'm off to a three day stitching retreat tomorrow with some fellow stitching addicts. We're all converging on a Bed and Breakfast near Lake Erie to stitch the days (and probably half the nights) away. I'm really looking forward to meeting the three stitchers whom I've never met in person and catching up with the other two whom I've already been lucky enough to meet and stitch with several times. I'll have a full report for you when I get back...

Until then, thank you all for your wonderful comments on my previous "Favorite Freebies" post--I loved reading each one and I discovered several new-to-me blogs to add to my blog list in my sidebar. You guys are the best! Thanks for your support and inspiration and, especially, for your friendship. Bye now...

58 comments:

Margaret said...

Your CaHRH block is so gorgeous! Congrats on being almost done! I would say it's certainly proper to put your own name and date on CaHRH. I remember with HoHRH, I did that. Kathy had said the name and date on that one were made up, and I imagine that's so for CaHRH too. So feel free -- you did all the work after all!

Nice presents you received! I sure hope the skunk isn't living under your porch. I think we had one under ours for a while. :(

BeckySC said...

I think that is my favorite block on CaHRH too :) BEEutiful stitching Carol and I am so excited that you are so close to a finish :) After finishing HoHRH this week I have wanted to pull out all my series of HRH and stitch them all....then reality hits me :) LOL!!!

What a LOVELY, LOVELY gift from Mary for such a sweet lady :) Enjoy :)

As for me-it really depends-I want to pass my sampers on to family and I want my initials and date on them-however, I have stitched a few things as charted if they are not an heirloom type piece :)

hugs to you :)

Lesleyanne said...

Congrats on finishing your block. Cant wait to see it all finished. I should think it would be okay to put your name and date in, I think I would. Lovely pressie received from Mary and your pictures are great.

valerie said...

Carol, this is my favorite block out of the whole piece. It's beautiful! Great job! I would say to go ahead and chart your name and date. It makes it that much more special not to mention all the time you spent stitching it and making changes to the carolers...it's yours!

Skunk...ewww! I thought you lived in the country seeing photos of the backyard before. How interesting that you live in a city! I think it's nice that critters come and visit with you. Not the skunk though...he needs to go far away. I'm sure he is not as lovable as Pepe LePeu.

Beautiful gift from Mary!

I am going to have to check out the freebie responses!

Melissa said...

The cardinal square is my favorite one too. I've actually thought about stitching it as an ornament too. You did a beautiful job.

I hope the skunk isn't living underneath your porch. I watched a show last night about how they go about catching and releasing them.

Congrats on your nice package. Do you know the designer of the leaf pumpkin? It's very sweet!

Jackie said...

Every time you post a block I think it's my favorite and this one is no exception! Beautiful photo as well. I'm looking forward to seeing your special personalization - which I think will make the piece even more special. I'd take special vs. proper any day.

I sure hope you don't have any dogs or cats that could run into that skunk! I live in a city as well but we sure don't have the wildlife that you do - and I wish we did.

Enjoy your retreat and don't forget your camera. I've never been to a retreat before and I love seeing blog posts about them!

Tanya said...

Love your block Carol! I've had a 'thing' for cardinals lately! ha

Your gifts and that finished piece Mary sent you are amazing! Love the way she finished it.

The skunk story is funny! Our SS teacher/wife had to move out of their house for a few wks. last yr. when a skunk sprayed their dog and the dog ran into the house and got the smell on everything! At least you didn't have to go thru all that!

Tanya~friendshipcrossing.blogspot.com

Shari said...

another wonderful blog post...you have a way with words that is so nice...
Love the block you just finished!!! Yeah! Only 2 to go!!
Your gift from Mary is delightful! Wow! What a treasure. I love how she finished it.
Love the critters in your yard...gee...I live in the middle of a field & don't see as many as you do!!
Enjoy your retreat!!!! Stitch some for me!

Hazel said...

CaHRH block is gorgeous. I can't wait to see it all stitched up. I have this chart in my stash - don't know when I'll do it. Beautiful fall leaves. xx

Lisa V said...

I just love the grinning pumpkin finish, the colours are amazing. And your cardinal block is soo pretty too.
You have such a lovely view out your kitchen window, a block that size here would be called semi-rural, half acre to an acre.
Hugs
LISA V

Ranae said...

I love this block. I am so glad you are getting close to being done. I would surely add my name and date to it. It will be treasured by hopefully family who will love it, when they see your name and the year, I say "go for it".
A very nice package of goodies from Mary.
Have a fun time at your retreat.

Lynn said...

It seems there are several of us who favour this block! I know I loved it the first time I saw it. Cardinals are a favourite of mine!
I don't see any problem with adding your own initals and date. It's a lovely way to personalize it.
What a pretty gift your friend has stitched! I love the colours in it.

You have a resident skunk and we have a resident fox! We've seen him over the course of three winters now hiding out under the next door neighbour's back porch. Up until this year the house was empty but has now been sold so maybe he won't return to his lodge!
Hope you have a great time on your SAL!!

Tricia said...

What a lovely post! Your block is just beautiful!! Can't wait to see the completed piece. Your present was lovely, too!!!

Good luck with the skunk, and have a *wonderful* stitching retreat!!

Diane said...

I love that block of CaHRH. It is definitely my favorite and I'll probably buy the chart just to make that one into an ornament or a framed piece because I think it's great as a stand-alone. Beautiful!

I understand your dilemma about personalization. I think that if I do the stitching, it should be my name on it. It's the reason I don't stitch reproductions. That, and it seems dishonest to me to stitch someone else's name and date that's hundreds of years ago. Stepping off my soapbox now....

When I was growing up in the Pgh 'burbs, we had acres and acres of woods on two sides of our house. We had many woodland visitors to our garden, much to my dad's dismay. There was a particularly loud pheasant cock that we dubbed "Gronk" (remember the B.C. comic?). He came back year after year with his harem. I don't remember ever seeing a skunk, but they certainly made their presence known. :P

Diane said...

I love that block of CaHRH. It is definitely my favorite and I'll probably buy the chart just to make that one into an ornament or a framed piece because I think it's great as a stand-alone. Beautiful!

I understand your dilemma about personalization. I think that if I do the stitching, it should be my name on it. It's the reason I don't stitch reproductions. That, and it seems dishonest to me to stitch someone else's name and date that's hundreds of years ago. Stepping off my soapbox now....

When I was growing up in the Pgh 'burbs, we had acres and acres of woods on two sides of our house. We had many woodland visitors to our garden, much to my dad's dismay. There was a particularly loud pheasant cock that we dubbed "Gronk" (remember the B.C. comic?). He came back year after year with his harem. I don't remember ever seeing a skunk, but they certainly made their presence known. :P

Mary said...

The cardinals look beautiful Carol. I can't wait to see the entire piece finished...it won't be long now!

I'm not familiar with sampler "etiquette" but given the time and loving stitching involved,it would be nice to add your name and date to this beautiful heirloom.

I'm so glad you like the treats. I had fun finishing the pumpkin for you. Raffia lends itself to a lot!

I hope you have a wonderful time on your retreat. There's nothing better than to share your stitching with friends...the B&B is a plus for sure!
HUGS

Angela P said...

I have to say that the Cardinal block (along with the skaters) are my favorites on this piece and you are so close to finishing it, I am excited!

With the name and date it's a personal decision that you need to be happy with :) Either way would be lovely.

Is the stitching retreat close by our border (either Buffalo or Windsor) just curious as I've always wanted to go to one of these but closer to home would be better :)

Angela P said...

Me again :)

I meant to add that I love your blog header picture but you know my fondness for PS designs too! LOL. I'll be stitching more of them next year too.

Karen said...

I really like this block and can't wait to see what the entire project looks like...exciting that you are so close.

Love your goody package your received!

Barb said...

Glad you weren't skunked! See you tomorrow, needles in hand!

Patty C. said...

Lovely finish on the block - Cardinals are so beautiful

vEr0n!c@ said...

That's a very pretty block. Doesn't matter if you show each and every block finished before the big Happy Dance. I'll still be as excited :) I don't think there's anything improper about putting your name and year instead of the charted year and date but that's me. I've always done what I like with my pieces because to my way of thinking, it's mine and I'm the one who has to live with it.

Love the critters visitors that you've been having... Well, except for the skunk. The baby deer is so cute!

Take care and have fun during your stitchy meet :)

Edit said...

Your new block is really beautiful Carol! But do we have to wait until the end of December to see it again? Oh, it is just not fair! :)

I think putting your name and the date 2010 on the last block is great idea. Sometimes I even change the whole text on the designs from english to Hungarian. Sometimes I even think they design it with a name and a date just to give us an idea what to write there, so that we change it to our names.

I hope you will enjoy your stitchy meeting. I wish I would know some fellow stitchers here and could go to such a weekend with them.

paru's_circle said...

lovely fall colours and lovely gifts!

Brigitte said...

OH Carol, how wonderful that you are near to finishing CaHRH. It's definitely a big piece and you will be able to hang it for Christmas this year. As this is not a reproduction sampler, I think I'd sign it the way you mentioned.
What a nice goodie package from your friend. I love the fall colours in the stitched piece.

I've just read your last post about freebies and let me tell you that I love freebies as much as you do. At the moment I'm stitching on some fall freebies and it's pure fun. But I don't have a favourite freebie. I have a folder full with freebies and I often browse through it. I appreciate the freebie list in your side bar as I found a couple that I didn't know before.

Have fun at your stitching retreat and enjoy every hour of it!

Lois said...

What a sweet block! You are so close to being able to show us all this piece finished in all it's glory! I would say that you should put your own name and date on this one, it's going to be one that will be treasured down the years and think of what it will mean to future generations when they see it.

Loved the pics of your animal visitors, something we would never see here in our gardens. As for the skunk though? I hope he hasn't taken up residence under your front porch!

What a lovely gift from Mary, such a nice surprise to receive in the mail. Have fun on your stitching retreat. There's nothing nicer than spending time with stitching friends.

An itch to cross stitch.. said...

I would put my own name and date on my piece too as I like to do that after I've stitched a project.

I love the photo of your little visitors, the baby deer is gorgeous, and the little groundhog made me smile. We don't get groundhogs here in Australia. :-)

Have fun at your stitchy retreat, sounds like so much fun.

KarenV said...

How wonderful to see the deer and groundhog in your garden! (although I hope the skunk doesn't come back!)

Congratulations on getting another block of CaHRH done, it turned out great! You're so close to being done now, you must be getting excited for it to be completed :)

Lovely photo of the tree, such wonderful colours and the gift you received is beautiful. Have a fun time away!

Sally said...

I absolutely love thie block! I love most of them but I think this one is my favourite so far. I'd still really like to stitch this one but I think it'd be a while before I do once I finish Shores! I would definitely add your own name on the last block. Had I been clever enough I'd have done mine on Shores.

Lovely gifts from Mary.

Love the photo of your visitors. I don't think I'd have liked a visit from a skunk though lol!

Martine said...

Ohhh ! Carol ! Your block is georgous ! and I think that it is my favourite too !!!!!!!
The gift you received is so beautiful !!! Here, in France, Halloween is less and less celebrated ! What a pity ! But we had some children who came to look for candies....
The holidays are finished and the children took back the school today.... The house is very silent !!.....
Have a good day, my dear friend !
Hugs

Vaida said...

That's a great finish! The cardinals are so cute - now, I have to consider, which block should I stitch next...
I also think that it's OK to put your name and year on your stitching, to personalize it. I sometimes leave the year as charted, but always put my initials :)

What nice visitors you have (except for the skunk, I guess :)))

Beth said...

Your HRH square is beautiful. So glad that you didn't get skunked!!
Enjoy your retreat. Having just got back from one recently, I know they are good for the soul!!

Nancy said...

Congratulations on finishing another block Carol! I can see why this would be a favorite - the colors are gorgeous! I love your gift from Mary - so thoughtful and such a beautiful design she stitched - so unique looking.

I bet it's fun to see the deer, and skunks really are cute, but they don't smell very cute do they! We have an owl living in the trees behind our house this Autumn. It's wonderful to sit quietly and listen to him. I think nature is one of life's greatest gifts for sure - so many colors, sights and sounds!

Rachel S said...

I am excited for your finish.

When I did HOHRH, I personalized it and put "in her 30th yr", using the letters that were in the sampler. I just kinda winged it on the numbers. You have most of them with the date they gave, you just have to work with the 2. It's really not that hard. That is such a beautiful piece!

Annie said...

How exciting to be so close to finishing such a gorgeous piece. I'd definitely go for the personalization. You deserve to make it your own after all that work/love!

I live in a condo so no trick or treaters at all... more candy for me! I can't believe all those critters roaming in your backyard!

And what a great gift package to receive. You pick your friends well!

BrendaS said...

Carol --
Your CaHRH block is just beautiful. I can't believe you are almost done and will be revealing the entire piece in a couple of months. What an accomplishment:))))

Nice gift and goodies from your friend! Love the colors in the pieces.

Have a great time this weekend. Hope you have lots of laughs and get lots of stitching in:))

kmaurer said...

I personally don't think there is anything wrong with stitching your own name or initials and the current year. Especially for large projects that are likely to be in your family for awhile.

I recently did just that not too long ago in a Just a Thought design. I took off the words "Ackworth School" and the old date so I could stitch my own name and the new date.

Shirley said...

Your block is really beautiful Carol, look forward to seeing the finished piece. I have never seen a groundhog before, it looks quite cute. This is only the second year we have bought sweets for halloween as it has only just started to become popular here. We live in the middle of nowhere and usually only two boys from a nearby farm drop in but some new people with two children moved to the village recently and they came over too. Nine sounds like an awful lot to me but I suppose it depends on where you live and how many kids there are.
kind regards,
Shirley

Annette said...

Congratz on finishing another lovely block on you big piece, love the colors of the birds!!
Here we don't do much on halloween only the school kids go visit, but when Noah is older I going to trick or treat with him too.
What a beautifull picture of the Bambi and his mother... Wow how great is that so see in RL.
You where spoiled with those lovely gifts from Mary, enjoy them.
Autumn is so beautifull with all the colors...
Have a nice week and enjoy it meeting with the stitchers, Love to see what you made with the others!!!

Giovanna said...

Congrats on finishing block 10! I've just started mine and look forward to stitching those gorgeous cardinals. I'm planning to do the same as you on block 12, nothing wrong in that, it's your stitching!

Cindy's Stitching said...

I do like the cardinal block very pretty. From my neck of the woods not many trick or treaters this year either. Your pictures are so pretty.

Melanie said...

I love this cardinal blocks! I love cardinals in general (I get a pair that visit my bird feeders in the winter) but I also love the delicate pine needles. Very nice!

I would put your name/date in final square. It's such a masterpiece - it should reflect YOUR work, not some 'phantom' person, you know?

Lana said...

Great "mini finish" on this block!!! You are so close to finishing the entire thing!!! Wow!! It looks great!!!

Myra said...

A Skunk! Oh my Carol - that has all the mice and such that Ziggy drags up beat hands down. I sure hope he isn't living under your porch.

You know I love cardinals and this has to be my favorite block - gorgeous. I can't wait to see it all finished. I would stitch my name/initials and the date on that last block - all that work, you need recognition girl! :o)

Sweet Mary has outdone herself with that finish. I love it! I have admired that design every time I see it on her blog and have been meaning to ask her about it. It is so pretty and her finishing is superb. A beautiful gift for a beautiful person I say. :o)

Carolyn NC said...

Yes, I'd be worried about that skunk, too! Love the gift Mary sent - so pretty! CAHRH is gorgeous!

Bekca said...

CaHRH is coming along so well, I can't wait to see the final unveiling. What a beautiful gift from Mary and I agree with you about the shorter, cooler evening beings perfect for stitching! Best wishes.

Ariane20 said...

J'adore tes petits oiseaux. Les couleurs sont magnifiques.

Melissa said...

I love this block,Carol! I have never stitched any of the HrH pieces. I think the Autumn and Christmas ones top the list for me though!

I know this is way after Halloween - we had 80+ kids which is more usual for us. The weather was good, then started raining around 8:30/9pm which was perfect because it sent the little and big kids home to go to sleep and get ready for school the next day. (hmmm, did I just sound mean there?)

Siobhan said...

Carol, congrats on the block finish! That's my favorite of the CaHRH series. I can't believe you're so close to being finished!! YGG!

I love your garden visitors. My brother just bought a new house in Virginia that backs up to woods and is totally freaked out by the amount of deer they have coming through their yard. He's instructed his wife to throw herself in front of their 2 & 4 year old daughters if need be. LOL Like, an attack deer or something. LOL

We didn't get as many Halloween trick or treaters this year, either! My family was happy for the candy but disappointed in the turn out. I'm surprised--I wonder if it's because of the economy. ?!

Have a great week!

Julie said...

Congrats on completing another block, its lovely

Mary's stitched gift it truly remarkable, it really is an eyecatching piece of stitching and finishing

Have fun with your fellow stitchers!

Berit said...

What a lovely post! (And I just love everything about your top banner, too!)

I love this block of CHRH; one of these day's I'm going to stitch it up as a pinkeep. :) I did start it, technically! Your finish of it is beautiful. I can't answer as a sampler stitcher, but as an artist I can tell you that you should definitely sign your work. :) It's also fine to stick to the design and put the charted "olde" name in, but find somewhere on the piece to wedge in your initials and a date.
:)

What a wonderful gift! :o Thanks for sharing pics with us. :)

Pumpkin said...

Oh Carol...that is just stunning! STUNNING! I love Cardinals and I love their coloring in this design. I'm SO excited for you for being so close to being done :o) What an accomplishment this will be! I say put your name and year in the final block. Stitchers do it all the time.

LOL! Are you sure it was a skunk? Maybe it was a little tot dressed as one? ;o) Too funny.

I love seeing all the wildlife that you get around your house. The mama deer and her baby are beautiful. I guess Mr. Groundhog didn't want to feel left out of the picture ;o)

WOW! Mary sure has been busy! What a sweet finish and I LOVE this design. I have it on my to-do list that is ever growing ;o)

gracie said...

Hello...love your stitching....and your visitors.

Meari said...

Your latest square looks beautiful, Carol. I think it would be OK for you to stitch your name and the date in the last square if you wish. I would!

Always smiling said...

You have made me green with envy.. the block for your CaHRH is beautiful.... and Hazel is joining in a SAL for this and I think I might join in with it, It is a beautiful design. Do put your own name and date, it will be your heirloom!
Happy Stitching
Chris x

♥ Nia said...

Your blovk is so beautiful!! Really really beautiful :)

Oh! I hope Mr. Skunk won't visit you again! But that baby deer.. is so cute =)

Lovely gift, lucky girl! :)

Barbara said...

Gorgeous, Carol! This is a wonderful block. I'm so enjoying your progress on this design!!!

Mylene said...

Another beautiful block. Congrats on the finish.

Love your fall picture, can't see that kind here as it is always very windy so they fall off before they get that colour. Looking outside all the trees are bare already and it is stormy since yesterday.