Friday, June 25, 2010

Tiny finishes and big thanks

Hello all--hope you've had a great week!I had the urge to do some tiny stitching this week to offset my huge Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow piece. For my June ornament, I stitched the bottom quarter of the "O Christmas Tree" sampler from the Prairie Schooler Christmas Samplers chart (No. 63). I ended up stitching it over one to make it a better size for a Christmas ornament (and because I am an admitted "over one" addict!).

For this ornament, I used 28 ct. taupe cashel linen and DMC threads. I did end up substituting a couple of the colors--changed the cardinals to a brighter red (DMC 816) so they would more resemble the ones we see here in Pennsylvania in the winter and I changed the middle color on the trees to DMC 3363 because the charted color didn't offer enough contrast. Then I backed it with the fabric shown, topped it off with some sage green cording, attached a little bow and--voila! I'm very pleased with the final product...

My second tiny finish is from the Homespun Elegance "Miniature Samplers VI" chart. I changed many of the recommended overdyeds threads to similar colors I already owned. And because I stitched this little (it is just 1 1/4 inches x 1 3/4 inches) design "over one," too, there was no way the charted wording ("America the Beautiful") could be stitched and still be readable so I substituted it with some fireworks and added a little sheep.

Now, I am no artist--believe me, I can barely draw a stick figure, so if these don't look exactly like fireworks, try to use your imagination. (Now that I look at them, they resemble red and blue spiders!). I think that is one reason why I like cross stitching so much--because I feel artistic even though I'm not. I love the way the design appears on an empty piece of fabric almost like a painting. I stitched this tiny pin pillow on 26 ct. natural brown linen, filled it with crushed walnut shells, and added a bit of white ribbon and a red star button for accents. What do you think?

Stitchers are the nicest people and I recently received some wonderful things in the mail... Mary (no blog yet--but she's working on it!) and I became email friends when she sent me the sweetest note saying how much she enjoyed my blog. We hope to meet in person at some point because her son will be attending a nearby college in the fall. I was just so touched to receive this wonderful package of goodies from her. It contained all of my favorite designers: Prairie Schooler, Blackbird Designs, and Country Cottage Needleworks along with some floss. Most special of all, though, was the fact that Mary had read through my blog and discovered my love for black cats, especially my dear cat, Shadow, and she had picked out a special Permin kit featuring a little black cat waiting by a door. It brought tears to my eyes when I opened it... Thank you so, so much, Mary--I love everything and you are a wonderful new friend!

And from one of my very first blogging friends, Sue, I received this lovely La-D-Da Quaker Alphabet chart. Sue recently finished and framed this herself and kindly offered me the chart when she was done. It was her first Quaker and since I had never stitched one either I think she knew it would go to a good home. You know me, though, I'll have to use my favorite blues when I do stitch it. Check out Sue's blog for her amazing finish! It is perfection...Thank you so much, my friend. I will definitely pass along the chart to some other "new Quaker stitcher" when I am done!" Your gift means so much to me :)

Do you have a favorite flower? Mine, by far, are hydrangeas--I just adore them and this year, our bushes are absolutely bursting with the biggest blue blooms. In fact, they've never looked this good in the ten years we've had them planted! I'm assuming that it is due to all of the rain we've had this spring. Almost makes all of this horrid humidity bearable--almost... I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more the humidity gets to me. At this point I'm almost ready to move to San Diego where, I've heard, they have the most perfect weather. Do any of you live where there is no humidity? I just may be coming for a visit :)

I really enjoyed seeing all of your comments on my last post in regard to my question about whether or not you share your blog with others. I was very surprised to read how many of you are like me in that we tell only fellow stitchers or immediate family members about the fact that we have a blog. I just assumed the reason I didn't share it with people was because my shyness was coming through, but maybe it is just that I want to have a little corner of the world reserved for myself and others, like all of you, who share my passion for cross stitching...

Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment and email me each week. I treasure hearing from each of you and promise to catch up on my emails this weekend! Wishing you a wonderful last week in June (can you believe the year 2010 is almost half over?)...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Something Sweet

Good morning all! I just put in the final stitches of Blackbird Designs' "Something Sweet" last evening. Now, I'll have to say... I think this was my favorite stitch ever! Don't you love that giant violet hugging the creamy, yellow house? There was just something so calming about it...Not sure if it was the colors or the sentiment, but watching it appear on the fabric was such a pleasant experience. I ended up stitching it on a cream colored 28 ct. evenweave with the suggested WDW and Gentle Arts Sampler Threads. I did change the wording from "I looked for something sweet to send you, the violets asked if they would do," to "I looked for something sweet for you, the violets asked if they would do." It just sounded more like something I would say and since this is a gift, I wanted it to sound like me talking.

"Something Sweet" was one of those pieces that was stitching up so easily, that I kept thinking to myself: "Something is going to go wrong." Well, it did... As I rounded the final corner in the upper left, it became clear that the borders were not going to meet up properly. I'm sure you've experienced that sense of panic! Would I have to re-stitch the entire piece? What on earth did I do wrong? Well, it turned out I was one stitch off on the entire left border--just a simple counting mistake that was easily remedied by ripping out that side of the border and moving it one stitch to the left. Whew!! Crisis averted! I can't wait to get it framed and see my dearest friend's face when she sees it... Thank you again, sweet Kim for passing along this lovely chart to me...

Just look at these lovely fabrics that Barbara gifted me with. I answered a question on her blog and the next thing you knew, these beauties appeared in my mailbox. I think she knows my love of ornament stitching and I can assure her that these will be perfect for backing future ornaments or pillows. Thank you so very much, Barbara--you are so thoughtful and kind :)

Thank you all for your comments on my bird nest photos from my previous post. As you can see, the baby cardinals hatched! I was so excited when I saw the little fluff balls in the nest that I ran right outside to photograph them. They thought my camera was their mother coming to feed them and whenever I held it over the nest, they craned their necks upward hoping for a bit of squishy worm to eat.

I enjoyed watching the mother (and occasionally the father) cardinal feed them for the next few days, but one morning I awoke to the most awful sight. The birds were gone and in the branches below the nest lay one single lifeless, little body. Clearly, a raccoon or some other animal had gotten to them. My thoughts immediately went to the poor mother cardinal and what she must have been going through when she returned to the nest to feed them and found her little brood destroyed. So sad... I know it's the whole "circle of life" thing, but I still felt badly. I was really hoping to see the little things grow up and fly away...

Here's a question for you... Do your friends, families, co-workers, etc. know that you have a blog? I've been thinking about this, because I saw an old friend last week who asked me how I'd been keeping busy. I mentioned work, reading (a very enjoyable book called The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott), and stitching, but I didn't mention blogging. I really hesitate to share the fact that I have a blog with anyone but my closest family members. Not sure why... Are any of you that way? Or do all of your co-workers and acquaintances know that you blog?

In honor of the lovely shades of violet that I used to stitch "Something Sweet," I'll leave you with a few images of the purple, violet, and lavender hued flowers that have we've been treated to this spring. Aren't they glorious?
I want to say a special "Welcome" to each of my new readers and followers and simply thank you all for your visit today... I truly appreciate each comment and email that I receive. You're the best :)