Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trick or Treat Lane

Good morning, all! I can hardly believe October is almost over, can you? I hope you're all enjoying your autumn and the colors and scents of the season. I sure wish it would last a bit longer, but it looks like old man winter will be arriving soon. And from the forecast, we're in for a worse winter than normal...

Not much stitching has been going on in my house, but I do have one fun new finish to share with you. May I present... "Trick or Treat Lane" by The Stitching Parlor Don't you love the ghosts carrying their little treat pails? And how about the scary looking cat? Adorable...Those must be very young "ghosts" carrying the treat buckets because any older trick-or-treater knows that buckets just don't hold enough candy! As my sons got older, they "graduated" to taking pillow cases to hold all their collected goodies as they haunted the neighborhood. I think I loved Halloween as much as they did--it was such fun to see their excitement as they arrived home, spread out their bounty on the floor, divided it into categories, and generously "shared" anything coconut related with their old mom.

I didn't have any of the suggested Crescent Colours so I substituted an assortment of overdyed threads and I'm very happy with the result. The fabric, 28 ct. stormy gray jobelan, drove me crazy, though. It was just so flopsy with no body to it at all. But, I do like the color of it; reminds me of a typical gray blustery Halloween. The house is one stitch too short, but, shhh...don't tell anyone; we're the only ones who have to know! After I discovered my error, I realized it wouldn't affect the outcome of the piece at all, so I just let it be. There were supposed to be pumpkin "buttons" in front of the houses, but I just stitched in some pumpkins and gourds instead. Although the stitching of this one took much longer than I expected (those daisy stitched leaves about did me in!), the end result really makes me smile.

We had a bit of a "trick" of our own played on us two weeks ago. My youngest son brought his girlfriend home for a few days so we decided to show off the city to her since she had never visited the area before. Now, Pittsburgh always surprises any first time visitor. Most people still have the idea that it is a dirty, industrial city, but over the 34 years that we've lived in its suburbs, the city has experienced a miraculous revitalization. It has won many, many awards over the past ten years including Forbes Magazine's Most Liveable City, one of the Top 10 Cities For Single Women, Top 10 Cities For Raising a Family, Economist Magazine's Best U.S. City In Which To Live, and just this week National Geographic Travel Magazine named it one of 20 Must-See Destinations In 2012! Surprised? Come visit--you'll be amazed!

Anyway, the four of us drove down to the city on a glorious fall day--perfectly blue sky, sunshine, crisp air. After parking the car, we began heading toward the center of the city when we passed a man sitting on a park bench who spoke an ominous warning: "Be careful, there are zombies ahead." "Ummm...okay" we replied as we dismissed his words. As we walked on, we came across a bride and groom dressed like zombies and thought that must be what he was referring to. A bit early for Halloween, but...whatever. We continued to walk past a few more scattered "zombies," but as we rounded the corner and entered Market Square, we were suddenly surrounded by a teeming sea of zombies. There were short zombies, tall zombies; thin zombies, fat zombies; old zombies and even baby zombies being strolled in their little zombified carriages by scary looking zombie parents. We had unknowingly placed ourselves smack-dab (I don't think I've ever written that word before!) in the middle of the Pittsburgh Zombie Fest 2011 .

Apparently, we weren't the only innocent bystanders to be caught unaware that zombies had taken over Pittsburgh... Do you recognize the family above? Why, it's actor Tom Cruise (in town to shoot his latest movie "One Shot"), Katie Holmes, and their daughter, Suri, who ended up with a zombie stalking them. Sweet little Suri looks totally unaware of exactly who is behind her. (Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the Cruise family in person, but the fan who shot this photo must have been very happy).

Anyway, at first it was entertaining, but it slowly began getting creepy--way too much fake blood puddled on the sidewalks or oozing out of zombies' mouths, creepy bulging zombie eyes, and torn, blood-covered clothing. After a tasty lunch in a non-zombie inhabited restaurant we made a hasty exit from Zombiefest 2011 to show our guest the "prettier" sides of Pittsburgh. But, yes, Pittsburgh can add yet another honor to its list--it is now the proud owner of the new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of "zombies" in one place--there were over 4900 of the creatures there on that sunny Saturday! If you'd like to see some of the zombies who took over the city that day, you might enjoy (?) this Zombie video. It was all a bit much for me--I can't even be in the same room when a scary commercial is on television! I cover my eyes and start singing to cover the noise of the commercials--weird, aren't I? Are any of you scaredy-cats like me?

As a thank you for her visit, my son's girlfriend treated us to this sampler of miniature cupcakes from Baked By Melissa all the way from New York City. Just look at these darling creations--each is the size of a quarter and they came in the most unusual and delectable flavors--s'mores, peanut butter and jelly, even chocolate chip pancake...They were almost too cute to eat--almost!! It was so nice to have another female around the house--we all hope she comes to visit again soon...

I've been lucky enough to win a couple of giveaways lately. First of all, Kajsa, from "Kajsa's Stitching and More" blog, found herself with two of the 2011 Prairie Schooler Santas so she nicely offered to have a drawing for her extra copy. I was so happy to win it as I've collected most of the other years, but hadn't purchased the latest one yet. Thank you so much Kajsa--I know I'll love stitching him and his little red cardinal!

And just look at this array of goodies that I won from dear Jane over at "Buttons & Stitches" blog. I told Jane that everything she included in her package was something I would have picked myself: the ribbons, the charms, the ric-rak, the fabric, the thread, the cocoa mix--oh, I love it all. But, the highlight of the giveaway was the charming Margaret Sherry Pumpkin Pie kitty that she stitched. Jane's stitching and finishing are just perfect and I'm so proud to have a piece of her work on display in my home. Thank you so very, very much, Jane--your gifts made my day!

There is still time to enter my giveaway to celebrate my 500+ followers (on my last post only). Entries will be accepted through November 1st and I can't wait to find out which of you will win my little treats! Good luck to all...

Do you have any special plans for the weekend? I'm heading north to Erie, PA to stitch the days away with four blogging friends at a quiet Bed & Breakfast. It sounds like perfect stitching weather with nothing but rain and gray skies forecast.

Thank you, as always, for your wonderful comments and emails--I appreciate each and every one! I'll be back soon with the winner of the giveaway; until then, I hope you all enjoy a week doing whatever makes you happiest. Bye for now...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Giveaway Time!

Hello, my friends! Well, I finally gathered a few items together to celebrate my 500+ followers, but, before I tempt you with them, I have a couple of small finishes to share with you... I wanted to send my blogging friend, Valerie, a little something for her birthday so I stitched up this sweet pin pillow from the Prairie Schooler J*K*L chart (Book No. 105). Since she has an October birthday, I thought the grinning Jack-O-Lantern would be perfect. I backed it with the fabric shown and made the cording out of the same DMC shade that the pumpkin is stitched in... The cute little guy is now sharing Valerie's apartment on the other side of the U.S. in sunny California... I'm so glad you like it, Valerie--I really enjoyed creating it for you!

Another tiny finish--and I do mean tiny--is this darling design called "Froth and Bubble" created by the very talented Mindi at Joie de Vivre blog. Mindi offered a "little something" to anyone who stitched her twin witches huddled around their cauldron before October 1st. Isn't this just the cutest Halloween scene? I used my own choices of DMC giving the witches purple socks along with green faces and hands. I also added a long handled spoon so the witch on the right could stir her bubbling brew.

Stitched over one on 28 ct. country mocha Cashel linen, I turned it into this little pillow with some black-bubbled fabric, a bit of black and white checked ribbon, and a gold star topped with a black button. It is now sitting on my side table in my kitchen and every time I see it, I smile... You all know how much I love "tiny" things and these witches that Mindi designed are just perfect! Anyway, I sent this photo of my finish to her as she requested and was so happy to hear that she liked it.

To thank me for stitching her design, Mindi sent me this most delightful assortment of goodies! Just look at this gorgeous fabric covered notebook that she created! It is perfect for keeping track of my starts and finishes, wish lists, supplies to be purchased, etc. I'll keep it right inside my stitching bag, Mindi. Her gift also included a black mesh make-up bag, two Halloween pencils, some yummy apple cinnamon lip balm, a packet of fun-colored travel tissues, and some tasty mints. If you haven't discovered Mindi's blog yet, please pay her a visit; you won't be disappointed. So, thank you again, Mindi--you had already given me a gift in the form of your charming design and I was so touched that you would add to it with these wonderful goodies...

Okay--on to my 500+ follower giveaway... Do you remember how thrilled I was last Thanksgiving when my dear niece and sister-in-law presented me with this delightful stitching bag? I've used it so much--in fact I would say it is one of my "required" stitching accessories, just as much needles, fabric, and threads are...It helps me stay very organized; in fact I keep mine right beside my stitching chair with little folders in it for each project or soon-to-be stitched project. Its portable size makes it ideal to take to an afternoon of stitching with friends, too.

Well, I thought you might like the chance to win one of your very own, so I asked my niece to order me this little beauty to give away to one of my followers... This version is black and white with the prettiest raspberry colored monogram that says, what else, "STITCHING." It has two mesh pockets on either end which are perfect for storing needles, scissors, eyeglasses. And the interior is wonderful for holding your current projects or things you are thinking about stitching.

Of course, I didn't want to send an empty bag, so I'm including two fat quarters, some lovely pink hand-dyed thread from Nina's Threads, a handy notebook to keep track of your stitching needs, and of course, a bar of Lindt dark chocolate. How does one of my lucky followers go about winning this package of goodies? Well, all you have to do is leave me a comment that you would like to win (on this post only) and tell me about your blog's name... Some of your blogs have such interesting names that I'd love to know the story behind them. If you have a blog named after yourself--well, tell me if you ever thought about changing the name or if you like it just as is. And, if you have no blog--what would you name yours if you created one? Please do not advertise this on your blogs--I want this to be for my regular readers and followers. In fact, there is a little bonus for those of you who regularly comment on my blog. If you commented on either of my September posts before October 10th, I will automatically give you one extra entry just to thank you for taking the time to say hello without the incentive of a "prize."

I guess it's only fair that I tell you how my blog got its name, right? Well, almost three years ago when I thought about starting this blog, I got the idea that it would be fun to stitch an ornament-sized piece every week for a full year...That was my dream--my "stitching dream" and that is how my blog "Stitching Dreams" came to be. If you are a new reader, you might want to go back to the beginning of my blog and see how far I've come. Back in January of 2009, I knew none of you in the stitching / blogging community. No one commented on my posts and I was never expecting that anyone would. I was honestly blogging to simply document my finishes... Well, ever-so-slowly, comments would trickle in and before you know it, I had more and more readers and even better, more and more blogging friends and inspirational blogs to follow myself. I wish I could give each of you a prize to say thank you for such wonderful comments, emails, and, most importantly, your friendship. It has meant more to me than you'll ever know...

I'll keep the giveaway open until November 1st and announce the winner soon after. Good luck to all!! Enjoy your last warm days of autumn! Bye for now...