Thursday, April 30, 2015

Farewell to April

Good morning, my stitching friends! Happy last day of April... And on to  the (hopefully) warmer, sunnier month of May. I always loved May Day when I was a young girl. Invariably, we made conical shaped paper "baskets" similar to these in school. Of course, when I went to school back in the dark ages, I made them from course construction paper--there were none of the lovely scrapbooking papers available like there are now. I would simply decorate them with crayons and colored pencils and fill them with a flower or two and carry them home to hang on our front door to surprise my mom. I would ring the doorbell and run and she would act "oh-so-surprised" to find my May basket of flowers hanging from the doorknob. Do children do things like that anymore? It was such a sweet way to mark the beginning of what is usually one of the prettiest months of the year...

I've been doing a bit of finishing in between my travels this month and have my March and April Christmas ornament finishes to share with you today.  For April, I stitched this darling freebie from a French blog which you can find right here. It is called "Joyeux Noël" and is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco. I used most of the suggested colors, but did have to change a few due to stitching on black. For instance, her shoes were supposed to be black, but obviously that would never have worked, so I changed them to red. I also had to change her hair color from the charted black to brown and I made it a bit longer while I was "playing hairstylist." The nose area is a bit different from what was charted, too. It is still a bit large, but stitching over one on 28 ct. made it impossible to make the nose any smaller...

"Joyeux Noël " French freebie


For the finish, I had my usual struggle with making a flat ornament. I don't know what it is about these finishes that gets me so anxious. I find sewing my usual pillow finishes to be so much easier. I guess everyone has a finishing technique that they feel most comfortable with--what is yours? I think it turned out well, but I rarely do this finish as it frustrates me to no end! I chose a velvet ribbon for the hanger and the small accent bow in the corner and added a few green holly leaves and bead berries to finish it off.

 
Here is a closer look at the bow and holly detail--there is just something sweet and old-fashioned about it, isn't there?


If you read my previous post, you already saw my ornament all stitched up for March. If you didn't, it is called "Snow Birds" and is a design by Country Cottage Needleworks that can be found in the 2013 "Just Cross Stitch" ornament issue. I had a tough time finishing this one as I never realized how many different shades of gray there are! I had nothing in my fabric stash that coordinated well with this particular shade of gray so I just went with a black and white polka dot backing fabric. I did have a gray and white polka dot ribbon that I thought made a great hanger and perked up the finish a bit... And rather than adding my usual handmade cording, I chose this store-bought cording that resembled white rope--thought it was a nice touch for the nautical looking birds.


"Snow Birds" finish

We are hitting the road again and traveling to the beaches of Delaware this weekend to visit some college friends. Although I don't look forward to a seven hour road trip, I'm excited to see them again and on the way home we'll be stopping in Washington, DC for a quick dinner with my youngest son--yay! Anyway, I didn't want to arrive empty-handed so I stitched up this cute Lizzie Kate "A Little Beach" design. Since I already had a white frame just waiting for a finish, I had to downsize things a bit and stitched this on 40 ct. raw Newcastle rather than the fabric that came with the kit. I also added a real seashell to the piece (yes, with glue--I can hear a few of you gasping in shock!!). I think it turned out so cute!


"A Little Beach" finish

The friends we will be visiting just retired and bought a house near the beach so I think this is a perfect little housewarming gift for them. It can sit on an end table, mantle, or be hung on the wall. I really love it and plan on stitching the same thing again for my sister who has a beach condo in Florida... The shells in the photo below were all collected along the shores of Naples beach in Florida over the past few decades. I think that pretty pinkish shell in the right corner is one of my favorites...




Gardening Woes... Between work and travel, April has been a bit of a scattered month for me as far as stitching goes--I hope May will be better! Many of you have less time to stitch at this time of year because you're working away in those beautiful gardens that you are showing on your blogs, but we have just about given up on flower gardening due to our ravenous--and ever-growing--deer population. I can't tell you how disheartening it is to see your new flowers all chewed off within days (or hours!) of planting them. So we are waving the white flag of surrender--the deer have won. My husband will still plant his vegetable garden within a fenced area along with a few flowers for cutting, but that's about it. It makes me sad, but what can we do? We couldn't possibly fence in our entire yard as it is more than acre and has a large pond at the back. I took these photos just this week--yes the grass really is that green at this time of year!

Backyard ~ April 2015
 

These beautiful tulips are growing safely within the confines of my husband's fenced in vegetable garden so it's been a treat to have them to cut and bring inside!


Can you spot the tall Purple Martin house in each of the pictures above? It's one of the the things we fell in love with when we purchased our home 31 years ago... We've never gotten Purple Martins, but other birds sure enjoy it! If any of you have any tips about attracting Purple Martins, I'd love to hear them!


The beautiful ferns are unfurling their dragon-like heads everywhere--they seem to be one of the few plants the deer don't bother with.


Well, time to get packing (again!!)--short post today for a change! I hope May brings happiness your way, my friends. Thank you, again, for all of your sweet comments and always welcome emails. I appreciate them all so very much! Bye for now...

Wishing you all a very merry month of May!

78 comments:

Sherri said...

I love starting my morning reading your blog to see your beautiful stitches and finishes. No doubt, your friend will love the housewarming gift you stitched for her. I am a shell seeker and have LOTS of them from our annual beach trip. Our local historical town displays May baskets in the town and homes in the area. We used to make it a girl's day and tour the streets and have lunch. Happy travels to you.

Lynda Harrison said...

Hello Carol!
So lovely to read your new post and see your beautiful photos. I love your stitching - it never fails to amaze me at just how much you get done in such a short time! Leaves me way behind at the moment, I'm afraid!
Hope all is well with you - will email Very soon.
Take care,much love,
Lynda.

Shari said...

good morning! I didn't have time to read the whole post,but I did look at the gorgeous pictures!!! Life is just too crazy busy! No time for blogs lately......thankful to see this when I DID log in today.... (after searching for a password!!)

Lisa V said...

Two more wonderful finishes for your collection. I don't know what my favourite finish style is really, sometimes I love doing the pillows, other times the flat ones.

Mrs. GraceWorks said...

What beautiful stitching! The beach one will be such a treat for your friend! We only made May baskets once during school, it was in Kindergarten, and I managed to put a staple through my thumbnail into the fleshy part of my thumb. I ended up at the doctor's office to get it pulled out with a pliers... with about 4 or 5 doctors and nurses to hold me down while they did it! : ) How's that for a memory?? LOL! On the other hand, my Mom's birthday was this weekend as well, so that is a good memory to outweigh the bad one. : ) Have a wonderful trip!!!!

CraftyGurl said...

Safe travels friend. Your friend is going to love that sweet housewarming gift. Perfect for a beach house....

Enjoy visiting your son. And untill next time take care XXHUGSXX

Nancy said...

Always enjoy seeing your ornament finishes Carol! This design looks pretty stitched on the black fabric, and it does look old fashioned! Love your beach stitching too!

Margaret said...

Great ornaments! And your friends will love their housewarming gift -- so sweet! I hear you on the deer. It's tough to plant anything for fear of their eating the flowers. Sigh. I do hope to try some bulbs this fall though. Glad the tulips are safe in your DH's garden! Have fun traveling!

Robin said...

What a fun piece you created for your friends! I know they will love it. Your ornaments look great. Wow, what gorgeous color your yard is! Sorry to hear that the deer have won this year. Safe travels to and from Delaware.

Robin in Virginia

Vickie said...

Your "short post" comment cracks me up Carol. ;)
No, I do not think children do such things like that anymore. It is sad to see playgrounds rarely used, except for preschoolers with parents.
I do like the rope touch to Snow Birds.
What a fantastic gift for your friends and their new home.
Have a fantastic, safe trip!

Lesley said...

Hope you have a lovely visit with your friends Carol.What a pretty gift you have stitched for them.Your pink sea shell is beautiful.
Beautiful stitching finishes too.

Elizabeth Ann said...

Oh goodness those little red shoes are so cute! Great new ornaments! Have a wonderful trip, love your idea for a housewarming present, you are welcome here anytime....

Vicki said...

Your finishes are terrific, I especially like the beach project - what a great idea to include a real shell!

Barb said...

Great pieces! . Great job on all of them.

Jan Doling said...

More lovely finishes Carol and I just love your beach design. I am definitely going to be looking for that chart - it will be a great holiday stitch. I still haven't got back I to my stitching in a big way yet (too busy with crocheting) but this design is a must for me. Enjoy your trip to Delaware. xx

butterfly said...

Oh Carol I always love coming over to your blog .
I love to see all the stitching delights , if ever I need a stitching rush , I come over and look around and then I can't wait to get going on my stitching.
Your garden is so beautiful I would love to walk throught it here in the UK most of our gardens are smaller my last one was larger and most of it was put to lawn just to big to do very much with it.
Enjoy your trip hugs.

Jennifer said...

Beautiful finishes and lovely stitching as well. You also have a real eye for the photography - these could be cover photos! We have deer in our area as well, but not as much trouble with them eating our flowers - perhaps because they are so close to the house. At least you have the lovely tulips from your garden! Safe and happy travels!

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Carol, is a great freebie! I like finish!
You have a beautiful garden!

Berit said...

Your tulips are heavenly! And the grass' color is beyond lovely. <3 have a wonderful time visiting your friends. I feel certain they will be over-the-moon with your wonderful gift! :D

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Safe travels and enjoy your trip. Love your house warming gift. I'm sure they will too! Have a great weekend too!

Dani - tkdchick said...

Your ornament on black is so striking!

Sheryl S. said...

Pretty stitching and finishing as always and a thoughtful gift for your friends.

Mini said...

Beautiful finishes. My favorite is the beach one. Your friend is going to love it.

Weronika said...

Wonderful finishes Carol! "A little beach" makes me think about summer already!

Mary Ann said...

Lovely finishes, and such a wonderful housewarming gift for your friends!!

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Cindy's Stitching said...

Carol all look so pretty. I have done the beach piece also. Love the shell you added. Enjoy your next trip.

marly said...

Over one on black? Bless you! The deer have gone over the fence and they love the pepper plants. Our neighbor has huge gardens and installed a motion sensor sprinkler that sprays water on anything that comes near. Works like a charm so far. Enjoy your trip.

Lee said...

Oh Carol. And you call yourself a librarian? Great literature has taught us that there are Fifty Shades of Grey.

So now you know. ;)

Kaisievic said...

Fantastic post, Carol, thanks for the link to the freebie and I think all of your finishing ids just gorgeous, as is your big, beautiful backyard. Shame a it the deer eating the flowers. I bet your friends love your be achy piece. It is lovely.

Ellen said...

Beautiful finishes! Love your stitching on black but it hard on the eyes ha ha!

Gorgeous tulips, just love them!

Enjoy your beautiful month!

Hugs,

Barb said...

I'm sure your friends will love that wonderful beach stitch! My sister had the same deer problem when she lived in Cincinnati. I don't blame you, gardens are too expensive to merely be deer food. Your Christmas ornaments are lovely as usual! You are such an amazing finisher!

Tonya May said...

Love your finishes, so perfect. Beautiful ferns, my favorite.

Linda said...

Congrats on the cute finishes Carol. Love the pics of your gorgeous yard.

Linda

Gabi said...

What a morning, a new lovely post.
Your stitching and finishing is, as always, very beautiful.
Stitching on black over one.... great.
Greetings from Germany

The Queen Bee said...

You always find the cutest free patterns! The little red shoes are the perfect touch. So cute.

We have the same problem with the deer and have found a few flowers they won't bother. I plant some inside the pool fence but the bunnies? OY. I use a spray that deters them until the flowers are a little older and, apparently, lose their appeal. Good thing I like geraniums....something neither want to eat. Oh, and lillies. Lots of lillies.

Pam

Mdm Samm said...

everything is so lovely and yes hello may and hello CAROL X

Annie said...

Love your new finishes. You definitely don't have to fear a flat finish! The beach piece is just adorable. Clever idea to use a real shell and it looks so nice in the white frame.

I have to go now and dance around a May pole! Have fun on your travels!

Mii Stitch said...

Beautiful & colourful finishes as always! They all look stunning :)
My favourite is the seaside one with your clever addition of the seashell... Fabulous!!

priscilla said...

Yeah! A Post from Carol :)
Love your finishes ! I hope you have a great fun weekend! I am so sad you are having to give up your flowers .. Your husband just needs to make your garden bigger ! :)

Lumiruusu said...

Hello Carol! as allways Your post make me smile--lovely stitching and especially when making the french freebie looking your own :) I think you did a great work with the finishing too!

Девушка с пяльцами said...

Dear Carol, may the last spring month bring you much joy and time for stitching! Your finishes are adorable, as always.
Tatiana

Девушка с пяльцами said...

Dear Carol, may the last spring month bring you much joy and time for stitching! Your finishes are adorable, as always.
Tatiana

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Lovely stitchy things as always Carol. I hope you enjoy the upcoming trip - seven hours drive isn't too bad if you have a few stops along the way. The gift you have stitched and framed is delightful and I'm sure will be well received. We moved into our current house on May 5th 1984 which may have been the same year you moved into your home.

Justine said...

Those are all such beautiful finishes Carol. Simply amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Mrs Milkybar Kid said...

Beautiful finishes Carol, I love your ornies they always have such beautiful trimmings too! I love your L*K finish, the fabric is just perfect and the shell finishes it off beautifully :).

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

Beautiful finishes, Carol.

Andrea said...

Hope you are having a wonderful visit with friends. Beautiful stitching, all are super finishes. Your flowers are lovely, the ones you are left with! I'm afraid, yes, you are just going to have to go with the flow and accommodate the deer!

Angela P said...

Lovely finishes, I prefer the flat ornament over the pillow finish but that's only because i have had more practice with the flat finish.

*-* said...


Beautiful completions as always, Carol, especially love the wee Snow Bird.

Kay.

Beth said...

I hear you about the deer Carol! A deer fence is one of the things we've talked about for several years now, but I am worried about the quail and other birds flying into the fence. Thank goodness I can garden a bit on the front porch and back patio or I'd be really frustrated.

Małgorzata Zoltek said...

Piękne prace. Wyszystko starannie wykonane. Pozdrawiam.

Sally said...

Such wonderful finishes Carol and I love the shell you added to A Little Beach.

Enjoy your visit with your friends.

Wow I love your back yard! Wish I lived somewhere like that!

Melody said...

Hello Carol. You have some lovely finishes. I'm sure the Beach stitching will be a much appreciated gift. It turned out so pretty! The white frame really sets it off. I hope you have a great time on your trip!

Michele B. said...

I hope you are enjoying your weekend at the beach with your friends, who must have been delighted with your lovely gift. What a day brightener to look at, along with your other work. Despite your anxiety your flat finish is perfect, and I love the way you finished the Snow Birds (the white rope cording is an extra special touch). I hear you on the deer not being at all dear - I have one, yes one, daffodil this year, courtesy of their pesky appetites (and the squirrels didn't help either). We had a whole herd in our yard the other day; they are quite majestic but I wish they'd visit elsewhere!

KimM said...

I so love reading your posts. Your stitching and finishes are so pretty and inspiring. Lovely flowers, too.
xxx

Cathy H. said...

Lovely stitching! I especially love the bunny in your hearder. Enjoy your trip!

thegreytail said...

oh, WOW Carol! your garden is even better than I remembered!
of curse your finishes look dashing, as usual, but the garden just steals the spotlight this time.
I agree with you, finishing pillows gives me just a very few moments of anxiety, other finishes.. :P

Lillie said...

Both ornaments finishes are absolutely gorgeous.
Beautiful frame to go with A Little Beach, am sure the receipieht will be thrilled.
Enjoy your trip. The tulips are so pretty, sorry about your garden woes.

Melissa said...

I'm late with commenting on your post. By now I hope you've had a great trip to visit your friends, and your son!

I think I would feel very sad if animals came and ate up my garden. At least you live on a lovely property from the looks of it!

Lovely stitching (of course)!

Anna van Schurman said...

What a beautiful ornament. I love A Little Beach too!

Maggee said...

Both of your finishes are delightful. I am a fan of the beach, so love that one with the shell added. Great idea! I have a basket FULL of shells in my stash room, just gathering dust... Hope the trip to the beach was/is terrific!

Annette-California said...

Your Joyeux noel ornament is just so perfect on black fabric. Love the changes you made on her. And Snow birds is gorgeous!!! I love the grey linen you used and how stunning the polk a dot ribbon and white cording - LOVE IT! oooh your friends are going to love "A Little Beach" - beautiful! Lovely lovely photos of your yard and those tulips - Pretty!
Happy traveling and have a great time. love Annette

Andréia Regina Sarmento said...

Hi, stitching friend! Your finishes are very beautiful, as Always! And the Tulips are WONDERFUL, I love them so much!

Meari said...

Your ferns looks just like mine. I have a big bunch of rhubarb, too.

Love-love-love your finishes. I find it interesting that you have a harder time with flat ornaments vs. pillow ornaments. I'm the opposite. :) I can never seem to get the pillows to look good. Although, I remember the interfacing tip you told me about, which I'm going to try next time.

I enjoyed your outdoor yard photos, too.

Brigitte said...

So nice to see your two new finished ornaments. And they are both so beautifully finised as always. I also love my pillow finishing best, but have nothing against making flat ornaments. The only thing which bothers me with them is that the centering is sometimes a bit difficult, I don't know why. And the worst is when I see it only when the finishing is already done, lol.

What a wonderful house warming gift you made for your friends. A great choice of design and frame.

So sorry to hear that the deer love to visit your garden a bit too often and that they love your flowers a bit too much. BUt fortunately you have this fenced area where you still can have some flowers like these wonderful tulips.

passionfruitprincess said...

Hi Carol! I love your finishes. The flat ornament turned out lovely. I never made one layered like that. I should try. The beach little picture looks beautiful. I love the sea shell detail. And your garden looks amazing. Sorry about the deers :( My tiny garden here is not doing very well this year. I planted daffodils but all I have is lots of leaves. I think was not enough cold weather for them to bloom. Anyways, have a fun trip!
Ana Paula.

Hilda said...

Hi Carol - happy May to you!
I hope you had a great trip to Delaware and some wonderful days with your friend. And I am sure you had some wonderful hours with your youngest son.
All the stitchings and finshings you show are so adorable. I love this little girl with its red coat and its red shoes. You have such a good eye for this designs - and how to finish them up!
This beachy stitching is oh so cute! It makes me yearning for Summer!

Your yard looks so beautiful - even without flowers. This little "forest" on the one end, this green meadow - so relaxing!
And watching your deer population can be as sweet as watching flowers, isn't it?
I just had to look up about how many squarmetres to an acre. And know what: Our yard has nearly the same dimension ...

I hope you can enjoy warm and sunny Spring weather in May!

Hugs
Hilda

Wanda said...

Carol, your posts always make me smile! You have such a beautiful way of presenting things and a real gift for writing! I love your Joyeux Noel, Snow Birds and Little Beach finishes. I still have not stitched on black although I have a couple ready to go - one day I will do it! I have the Snow Birds kitted as well but have been working on larger projects and have even done a little quilting lately. The great thing about our crafts is that they do not spoil with age!
You have had such a busy time. I hope you had a great time in Delaware. I am sure your friends will love their gift.
I am sorry about the deer interfering with your gardening but hope their beauty eases it somewhat.
Have a great week Carol.
Hugs,
Wanda

Belinda said...

Lovely stitching Carol, I love the timeless feel to your Christmas ornament and the gorgeous finish to snow birds.
I hope you had a lovely time away with your friends, I am sure they would have loved their gift you stitched for them.

Belinda said...

Lovely stitching Carol, I love the timeless feel to your Christmas ornament and the gorgeous finish to snow birds.
I hope you had a lovely time away with your friends, I am sure they would have loved their gift you stitched for them.

Preeti said...

Beautiful finishes, Carol !! I am sure your friend is going to love that gift:)
You have a big and lovely garden area! Do you often stitch outside?
Have a nice time on your vacation :)

Jenn M said...

I love all the finishes. Your gift is really making look forward to summer time and collecting my own shells and rocks at Lake Erie. Or maybe I'll just sit there and stitch: either way it makes for a lovely time!
Jenn

Margaret said...

Love your tulips. They are such a big part of spring.

Your stitching and finishes are lovely. What a pretty gift for your friend.

Safe travels.

Anne said...

Hello Carol! I made it today!! Love seeing your finishes...so inspiring to me. I prefer your Snow birds finish to the one I did. Maybe I'll restitch it again around Christmas time and do the pretty pillow finish. The beach scene for your friends is lovely and a perfect homewarming gift. I sure hope those deer don't stick their necks into your hubby's vegetable garden!! They are cute but pesky aren't they?! I love your yard! It's so massive and pretty. Hugs to you dear friend!

Ms. Wright said...

Well, it looks as though you've been busy stitching, Care. I love the flat finish for the ornament. Considering this is not a style that you usually use--I wonder if there's anything you don't do well when it comes to stitching! I'm sure that Sue will love the beach themed piece-it's quite adorable. As always, I love your bunny pieces. They're so adorable00but what I would rally like about now are a few of those cookies!

Mylene said...

Lovely ornaments and you've finished them off perfectly!
I Find Flat finishing for ornaments the easiest though i don't have many collections of fabrics to choose for backing so i do more into cushions with beads around it.
Beautiful garden pictures.

pen2needle said...

Hello Carol!

Just discovered your blog today and I am in love! Beautiful pictures and loved the little snippets of life you share with us. Your stitching is absolutely gorgeous. I loved the March ornament and will have to look that one up :)

Will definitely be back later to read more posts!

www.pen2needle.wordpress.com

Kay said...

I just love seeing all your lovely finishes, they are always so beautiful! Love seeing all the wonderful photos you share as well! Happy almost June!