Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thank yous and spring stitches

It's April! March zoomed by with just a single blog post from me--how did that happen? I try to post twice a month, but other things took precedence last month... More working hours on weekends, a long-overdue trip to New York to spend five days with my mom, a wonderful week-long visit from my oldest son. But, I have been stitching! Before I show you what I've been up to, I want to say a heartfelt "thank you" to each of you who commented on my last post or emailed me to congratulate me on the British Craft Award win. I couldn't be prouder to be a member of such a supportive community of needleworkers--we all celebrate each other's success whether it be for a new start, an amazing finish, or an unexpected honor! Thank you again, my friends--your kindness means so very much to me...

So, do you remember that sweet Prairie Schooler bunny stitched on black that I showed you in my March post? Well, he's all finished up and, I must say, I'm very proud of this one!! I made him into a little hanging pouch, filled it with some dried baby's breath, and hung it on the wooden knob of my corner cupboard. Oh, my--it just makes me smile every time I see it!! The bag is very small (just 3 1/2 inches from bottom to top (not  counting the hanger)--just my style.

Prairie Schooler bunny pouch

The back of the little pouch is a fun black and white polka-dot fabric and the gingham trim and hanger are cut from an old pair of slacks.  It took me an entire afternoon to figure out how to make this as I had never done anything like it before. It's not perfect (as I couldn't figure out how to line it), but it looks pretty darn good for my first attempt at sewing curves, don't you think? My ancient 40-year-old sewing machine rebelled, though, and it was all I could do to coax it to do "just a few more stitches, please!"

Love, love, love this little finish!

This next finish is one of the monochromatic designs from Little House Needleworks--Spring. I had the hardest time photographing it as it was a gray, dreary day when I took the photo. It is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. ivory evenweave so the finished size is just a bit over 3 inches square. 

Little House Needleworks Spring

For this piece, I worked backward and chose the floss color based on this pretty spring green piece of gingham I wanted to use (the gingham came from an old shirt of my husband's!). After auditioning all shades of green, the one that popped to the front was Anchor 214. Where I got this skein of Anchor thread, I have no clue as I only purchase DMC or overdyeds. It must have been a gift at some time or other. But, it worked perfectly for the fabric I had chosen! Here it is all finished up as a flat finish (the backing is simply covered with some ivory felt). I found a perfectly colored button and some green ric rak to jazz it up a bit. I'm very pleased with the final outcome...

A spring green finish

Here is another view straight on--I had a bit of trouble getting this one to photograph well. 

Little House Needleworks Spring--all finished up!

And my "A Walk In the Woods" sampler is inching along as well... I've added another line of letters and that gorgeous nest (which caused much anxiety as I kept having to rip out wrongly placed stitches time after time!). But, isn't it pretty with the lone egg resting there? My goal is to have this one finished by the end of April--fingers crossed!

It's growing!

Our spring weather here in Western Pennsylvania has been less than ideal. I think because our winter was so easy this year, we all hoped for a warm, sunny, early spring! But, that hasn't been the case... There has been lots and lots of clouds and rain. Luckily, all I have to do to get my daily dose of sunshine is to look over at my "yellow" shelf in my corner cupboard. I dare you not to smile when you glance at it--just look at all of the cute bunnies, chicks, and sunny colors. I love it! When I posted this photo on my Instagram page, there were a lot of comments about that little polka-dot bowl. I had just purchased that (as a set of three!) for a mere $7.99 at Homegoods. The other two are white with yellow dots and yellow with white stripes--so cute for spring decorating!

My cheery yellow corner shelf

March was my month to take in the treat for our department meeting at the library, so I spent a few hours in the kitchen making this plate of goodies. As you know, I love to bake, but with my three sons all grown and out of the house, I just can't bake as much as I used to when there were five of us living here. So, it was a real treat to put together this tray of Chunky Cheesecake Brownies and Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies for my very appreciative  coworkers. You can try baking some for yourself by clicking on the names of the goodies--I've linked to the recipes for you! Yum!!

Chocolate overload!

I really appreciate all of your thoughts on when to retire from my last post. I've pretty much decided that the end of 2018 will be it for me--right before I turn 64. But, there is a new bump in the road! My "new" boss who has been here all of one year, will be leaving at the end of this month... What a shock! Now we all have to adjust once again to a new manager and new ways of doing things. I'm getting too old for this! So, who knows... we'll see what transpires this year!

More advice needed... As I mentioned above, my old sewing machine (which was gifted to me by my parents as a college graduation gift 40 years ago!) is giving up the ghost. I have thought about purchasing a new machine, but the choice just seems overwhelming! There are so many bells and whistles now--do I really need them? On the other hand, I do hope to be sewing more in the future after retirement so I want more than a basic machine. Do any of you have advice for me? Any thoughts would be much appreciated!!

New Giveaway for this pretty chart... I have a lovely little Homespun Elegance chart which needs a new home. "Be Ye Kind & True" is from the May/June 1992 issue of "Cross Stitch and Country Crafts" magazine. An oldie, but goodie! If you are interested in giving this chart a new home, just let me know in your comments. This is just two pages torn from a magazine--not the whole magazine. If more than one person wants it, I will do a drawing.  PLEASE, PLEASE make sure to include your email in with your comment--I won't be trying to track anyone down if they haven't included their email address... Also, just so you know, I will be folding this up and mailing it in a legal sized envelope to save on postage.

I'm giving away this chart from an old magazine

GIVEAWAY WINNER from my last post... There were ten entries to win the Nora Corbett chart called "Gathering Eggs," so I did a simple drawing and the winner is:

Congratulations to Jo! Please send me your mailing address and I'll get this pretty chart off to you as soon as possible (although since Jo lives in England, it may take longer than normal!). I hope you enjoy it... And for those of you who didn't win this time--please keep an eye on my blog for future chart giveaways...

Chart giveaway won by Jo
I hope some nice, sunny spring weather is finally here by the next time I post! Thanks so very much for visiting me today; it's always a pleasure to read your comments and emails...  Wishing you a lovely week ahead with lots of stitching time! Bye for now...