Thursday, August 30, 2012

For the Love of Sunflowers: Part II

Greetings from your long-lost friend! I'm sure many of you wondered if I would ever post again... Not only was I traveling a lot this month with trips to North Carolina, New York, and Ohio, but I also really seemed to lose my blogging "mojo." I still enjoyed reading and commenting on your blogs, but, as far as putting a post together... well, let's just say, I don't think I've ever had a month with only one post in the nearly four years I've been blogging. I sure hope this doesn't become a chronic problem for me. It has made me ponder when I will stop blogging altogether. I mean I'm sure I won't be blogging when I'm 85, right? 80? I doubt it--I'll be lucky if I can still thread a needle by then! How about all of you? What helps you get through the blogging "blahs?" Do you ever wonder how long you'll keep blogging?

Luckily, I've still been stitching--haven't lost any interest in that at all! Many of you were spot on when you guessed that my monthly theme for August would be sunflowers. I made it easy on you when I said it was one of my favorite things... They are listed right in my profile in my sidebar! So, to see what designs have made it into my monthly bowl, let's get started...

August 2012 sunflower finishes

You all know what a Prairie Schooler lover I am and two of my sunflower finishes for the month are PS designs. I actually used the June block (without the wording) from "Summer & Winter" (Book No. 91) to create this first piece. I loved the colors in it and when I discovered these fabrics in my stash, I thought they complemented them perfectly! The orangey-red strip is from a cloth napkin I purchased at Kohl's last month and the plaid is just a scrap of sample upholstery fabric from Jo-Ann's! Don't they look like they were made to go with this design?! The mama bird and her babies are stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle using the suggested DMC threads.

Prairie Schooler: "Summer & Winter" (June block)

This Heart In Hand design called "Sunflower Sampler" may just be my favorite finish for the month. I stitched it over one on 25 ct. mushroom lugana using overdyed threads (a mix and match of whatever looked right to me!). Then I sewed it into this cute little pillow using a brown print and a yellow and brown polka-dot fabric... Top it with the rope-like trim and a little yellow yo-yo adorned with a speckled cocoa colored button and...voilà!

Heart In Hand: "Sunflower Sampler"

Or, maybe this other Prairie Schooler finish for August is my favorite--it's so hard to decide! For this one, I stitched just a portion of the PS Birdhouse Sampler from Book No. 45: "Garden Samplers." I used the suggested DMC colors and stitched it over one on a 28 ct. khaki evenweave. I just love how tiny and delicate it looks stitched over one. I added an additional blackbird at the bottom of the birdhouse, backed it with the cheery print fabric shown, and finished it with a simple cording to match the sunflowers. Cute! Cute! Cute!

Prairie Schooler Birdhouse

This Homespun Elegance Design is called "Crow's Treat" and is from the "Tiny Stuff II" booklet. It stitched up very quickly on 30 ct. dirty linen with the suggested DMC threads. Aren't the satin stitched sunflowers sweet? They give this simple piece some nice dimension along with the addition of the wee black buttons. I love using gingham in my finishes (as you've probably been able to tell!), but I especially love it in the fall--it just gives finished pillows a nice cozy feeling.

"Crow's Treat" by Homespun Elegance

Next up, is Lizzie Kate's August Stamp Flip-It. I like to have a piece included in each monthly bowl that has name of the month stitched on it and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It is stitched on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle linen using whatever overdyed threads I had in my collection. The colors in the fabric I used for the backing of this flat mounted ornament pick up the colors in the stitching beautifully, don't they?

Lizzie Kate's August Stamp Flip-It

My final sunflower finish is a freebie called Manuela's Sunflower that you can find right here. I stitched this a few years ago, but finally finished it off into a tufted pincushion just last week. I left off the outer border, added some brown beads, and turned it on a diagonal. I'm not sure what linen was used, but I know I used the recommended DMC colors. It is backed with a cheery yellow floral print that perfectly matches the colors in the sunflowers.

Manuela's Sunflower freebie

Here are all six August finishes grouped together...So, what do you think? Do you have a favorite?
August 2012 sunflower finishes

And that completes my 8th bowl of finishes for the year--can you believe summer is just about over and fall is right around the corner? I'm so happy with how these sunflower finishes turned out--very cheery and just perfect for this time of year...And my sunflowers even cooperated and two lovely smaller ones bloomed just in time to take the photo yesterday!

August bowl of sunflower finishes

But wait--look closely! There is one finish there that I haven't described yet. Look in the back right corner--can you see that darling Country Cottage "Sunflower Alphabet?" This little beauty came to me as a surprise from my friend Linda as a very late birthday gift (I had to laugh when she told me it was actually for my birthday back in 2011!! It's never too late to remember someone's birthday, especially when the gift is as adorable as this one!) . When Linda read my blog last month, she just knew that sunflowers would be my theme for August (she knows me well!) and decided to get her gift to me as soon as possible so I wouldn't stitch it myself (indeed, I had already pulled this CCN chart!). I just love your gift, Linda--your stitching is so, so perfect. After she had finished stitching it, she sent it away to be beautifully finished into a flatfold by Vonna. Two very talented ladies, I'd say!! Linda just loved the sweet green bow that Vonna added and I have to agree--it makes me smile whenever I see it. Thank you again, Linda--your sweet gift is, indeed, the perfect addition to my August "bowl!"

Gift from Linda--thank you so very much!!

Our hot and sunny summer has been perfect weather for the sunflowers in our garden this year. I never remember them reaching the heights they have this August--many were too tall to even cut! The tallest are probably over 12 feet tall with thick, green stalks almost two inches in diameter... The bees just go crazy over all of that lovely yellow pollen. If you click the photo below, you can even see a trio of pollen-drunk bees on the middle sunflower...

Sunflower gardens: Summer 2012

In early August, we gathered for our annual family trip/reunion in North Carolina's lovely Outer Banks. Our house this year was in South Nags Head and was large enough to accommodate all 23 of us! Unfortunately, the older I get, the less I can take the sun. Even when slathered with plenty of sunscreen and sitting under an umbrella, I seem to develop a red, hive-like rash on my arms. Not exactly something I want to remember from my trip! Anyway, it was great to catch up with my husband's whole family who are spread throughout several states. Would you believe this is the 28th consecutive year the whole family has vacationed there? We missed a couple of years due to me just having given birth in 1988 and an early school start back in the 90s, but it has been a great way for my sons to really get to know their cousins. Now that the "kids" are all grown, they tend to just come for a few days, but this year, we were lucky enough to have all three sons there for a full week. Here are some of the scenes from the week and the pretty salmon-colored beach house that we so enjoyed...

Nags Head 2012

View from our third floor deck

The dunes and sea grasses looking down the beach

It is beautiful at night, too!

Believe it or not, I actually do have a couple more pieces to show you--gifts I stitched for friends and a new Christmas ornament finish, but I'll save those until next time. I want to welcome my newest followers--so glad you're here! And I want to send a huge "thank you" to all of my dear friends who leave comments or send emails just to say "hi" or to tell me that my blog has inspired them in some way. I truly appreciate each and every one of you so very much.

Happy Labor Day weekend to my U.S. stitching friends--I hope you'll find many relaxing moments to sit and stitch a while. I'll be working at the library on Saturday (oh, the life of a public servant!), so my weekend will be a bit shorter, but I'm still looking forward to a nice picnic dinner on Monday with my family. Hopefully, I'll be back soon! Bye for now...