Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bluebird Out My Window

Happy last day of April! Can you believe 2017 is now one-third over? It's been such a lovely spring and, unfortunately, my lack of stitching reflects that. I've had a real case of "spring fever" and have been doing everything but stitching... And my finishing mojo? Oh, that is nowhere to be seen. I sure hope things return to normal soon, but with picking out plants (or should I say deer food) for our gardens, doing lots of organizing and spring cleaning at home, and planning for my mom's 90th birthday party (which will be taking place in just two short weeks), the minutes to sit and stitch have been few and far between...

I do have one finish that was done in April (along with more stitching on "A Walk In the Woods" which, sadly, did not get completed by month's end as I had hoped). This sweet design is called "Bluebird Out My Window" by With Thy Needle and Thread. It took a surprisingly long time to finish and, to be completely honest, I just didn't enjoy the fabric (40 ct. wren Newcastle linen) at all. I doubt I'll use it for other finishes. It was just a bit too mottled for my liking.   I used most of the suggested overdyeds, but substituted a few of my own choices.

"Bluebird Out My Window" by With Thy Needle & Thread

Here are a couple of close-ups for you. The colors in the photo below are a bit more "true to life." The one above looks much brighter on my computer than it really is... As I'm looking at these photos, I'm wondering if the bird needs an eye? Perhaps a black stitched eye or a bead? What do you think? It wasn't charted, but he looks rather unfinished to me...

Such a sweet bird!

I'm going to be framing this one as it will fit perfectly in a 4" X 6" frame. Yay! Love it when that happens. And it is small enough that I can handle the framing by myself. I do love that bluebird, but you know what--I have never seen one in real-life! How many of you have them in your yards? Do you have special bluebird houses for them?

Should I add an "eye?"

I'm behind on my monthly Christmas ornament finishing--have done the stitching for March and April, but not finished them. I forgot to take a photo of the April ornament, but for March, I did a little PS design from "Button Up" (Book No. 143). You all know how much I love cardinals and I couldn't resist this little guy.

Prairie Schooler "Button Up" cardinal

As I mentioned, I haven't finished him into an ornament, yet, but I plan on doing him just like this one that I sent as a RAK to April in Virginia in 2016. I don't think I've shared this finish with you, but here it is... better late than never: a simple flat finish with a wide gingham border, green cording, and a coordinating plaid hanger. April loved it and I'm hoping my cardinal will look just as cute finished in this manner!  This design is from the same PS booklet as the cardinal above...

RAK for April in Virginia last December

Speaking of gifts, I had two wonderful gifts from stitching friends in Europe who thought of me at Easter time.  From Gabi in Germany came this cute bunny (everyone knows I love my bunnies!)... Thanks so very much, Gabi--I'll think of you each time I put him out in the spring...

Easter gift from Gabi in Germany

And from my friend, Nathalie, in France came another bunch of bunny love along with some Easter napkins and spring-colored ribbons. Thanks so much, Nathalie--you are so sweet to think of me!

Easter gifts from Nathalie in France

Easter was a bit sad for us this year as it was the first big holiday in 35 years--since we became parents--that not a single one of our sons was here for dinner. We really didn't know what to do--we just kind of sat there and tried not to be sad... but it was hard. In an effort to cheer up the day just a bit, I did make this delicious carrot cake roll for our dessert. I was so worried that it wouldn't turn out, but it was wonderful.  Ali, from the blog "Gimme Some Oven" did a wonderful job in explaining everything and it couldn't have been easier. The result was a nice looking dessert that came together very simply! Ali is the daughter of the Lizzie Kate designer--such a talented family! If you're interested, the recipe can be found right here.

A tasty carrot cake roll for Easter dessert

This has to be the most beautiful spring in years here in western Pennsylvania! A real spring --cool and sunny with just the right amount of rain. Usually we jump right from winter weather straight into summer heat and humidity, but not this year. Most of our flowering trees are gone by now, but over the past few weeks, every time I looked out a window, I spotted bright pinks, purples, and whites in each corner of our yard. Below you can see the white dogwoods, the pink mini-rhododendrons, the white crabapple, and the purplish pink lilacs. Oh, if only they would last just a bit longer!

Lovely spring blooms in every corner!

Giveaway winner... The winner of my giveaway from my last post for this sweet Homespun Elegance chart is:  

ROBIN (from Virginia)

Giveaway winner:  Robin (in Virginia)

Congratulations, Robin! I hope you enjoy the chart! I can see little bits and pieces of it being made into small cushions, can't you? I'll get it off to you sometime this week...

Sewing Machine news... Well, so, so many of you suggested that I have my old machine serviced, cleaned, and oiled before I invested in a new machine that that is exactly what I've decided to do! I truly appreciate all of your advice about what to buy, what you like, etc. That is a tremendous help and, if I do have to buy a new machine, you can be sure that I'll be taking your advice to heart. There is a Mennonite man up near my mom in New York who comes highly recommended, so I plan on taking my sewing machine up there some time this summer. Hopefully, he'll be able to get it running like new again!

And that's about it for today--my husband is on a long bike ride so I decided to sit down and get one last post in before the end of April. Thank you so much for stopping by and thank you, especially, to those of you who take the time to leave a comment or send an email. I appreciate each and every one so very much! Wishing you a wonderful month ahead... Bye for now...

Enjoy the merry, merry month of May!

60 comments:

Mii Stitch said...

Hi Carol,
As always, it is a great pleasure to read your latest post!
A wonderful array of birds and bunnies. My favourite is the bluebird. I simply love everything, the design, the colours and the fabric. I am so tempted in stitching that one, I will have to add it to my birthday wish list to my husband :) I wouldn't change it, it looks adorable as it is! Never seen one in UK but then again I am happy if I spot a cute little robin :)
The Easter cake you've baked looks delicious and I hope it did the trick in cheering you up a bit in the absence of your family. Take care x

Kate said...

Carol, I hope you get to see a bluebird some day - they are so beautiful! As a rule their 'houses' are quite simple with a specifically sized entry hole for them. Your bluebird stitchery is beautiful and I really like the cardinal - all your work is awesome. Thank you for the recipe link. So nice to read that you're having a pleasant spring - so many others are complaining, us included. It's been a very cool spring for us and actually February was a warmer month than April this year. k

CalamityJr said...

Sorry about your lonely Easter. We choose an alternate date to celebrate when we're unable to spent an actual holiday with our daughter. It's the time together, not the date, that matters!

As for that lovely bluebird, is that light colored x not his eye? So maybe just a tiny French knot on it?

Hang in there! It will get easier, knowing that your boys are happy and where they should be in their lives.

diamondc said...

Hi carol: I have seen an Eastern Bluebird here in Minnesota, they are beautiful.
Love your design, I am a big fan of With Thy Needle and Thread, Brenda's Design are lovely.
The finished ornament is so sweet, thank-you for sharing with us.
I just love rabbits and bunnies, they are so gentle looking, my entryway is all bunnies and rabbits.
Nice exchanges.

Blessings
Catherine

Linda said...

Another awesome post Carol. Congrats on the beautiful finishes. You have received some lovely Easter gifts. Your flowers are gorgeous as is your home.

Linda

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Dear Carol, they are beautiful designs!
Excellent cake!
Congratulations to your mother on the 90th birthday !!!!!!!
Hugs!

Mary said...

You are so blessed to still have your Mom, Congratulations to her on her upcoming birthday.

I love everything and anything to do with birds, both your stitches are lovely, especially the bluebird. I think a black French knot would look great for the eye.

Your flowering trees are beautiful and I just love the scents from them. So nice having a real Spring and not going from Winter to Summer heat like last year.

I'm not going to even look at that cake recipe...it's far too tempting!
Lovely gifts from your friends too!! Mary

Robin in Virginia said...

Carol, it is always a good day when there is a new post from you. I really like your bluebird finish; I do think it needs a black stitch or bead for its eye. Your ornaments look good as does the carrot cake roll. You received some lovely goodies from friends. Can't believe I am the winner of your giveaway; thank you!

Susan Lankford said...

Hi Carol...enjoyed your sweet post...I think a tiny black bead would look good for the bird's eye! And love your Christmas pieces...Unfortunately (or fortunately) I love everything you stitch! And then I look up (and sometimes buy) the ones you reference...of course you reference all of them! The bunny gift is darling!
Keep enjoying your Pennsylvania spring.

Vickie said...

The bluebird stitch is just darling Carol. I don't mind him the way he is. I love the way you finished off the gift for April. That is so very cute. Gabi's gift is really cute too! My mom's birthday is coming up in two weeks also. :D Safe travels my friend!

Annie said...

I love the Brenda Gervais piece and I think it looks great on that fabric. Maybe it will grow on you.

A 90 year birthday party! That is something very special. Will some sons show up for that since they missed Easter?

That cake is so pretty and I'm sure it was delicious.

Enjoy this pretty spring. Feels like summer here!

Shelly said...

Bluebird Out My Wjndow is so pretty, fabric notwithstanding! The fabric is probably as mottled as I can get but you never know! Yes, you better add a stitch or black bead for the bluebirds eye or it will mess with you! Sorry your sons could not make it for Easter. Our children's lives create a new normal, don't they? Delicious looking carrot cake and beautiful flowers. Hope your week is a great one!

Jackie said...

The year is just flying by! I certainly understand how you felt at Easter. It's different to not have family all around you. It's still hard for me as I'm really used to my parents or at least one of the boys being here. This year it was just my MIL and while it was nice to see her, it was odd.

deb said...

Wow, Carol - you've packed so much into this post I hardly know where to start! :)

The Bluebird Out My Window came out beautifully! That's such a sweet little piece (so tempting!) and it looks so dainty on the 40 count. Sorry you weren't too pleased with the fabric - not sure how it is in person, but it looks great in the photo.

Your ornies look great, your composite of spring flowers is lovely, and the carrot cake roll is so pretty. Your post is a feast for the eyes. :)

I understand about your being a bit at loose ends at Easter with none of your sons there - we nearly had a just-the-two-of-us Thanksgiving, but it turned out our son was able to get here with his girlfriend, though I still felt kind of lost without my daughter.

Goofin' Off Around the Block said...

Carol, Your "Bluebird Out My Window" piece is so sweet! I can relate to your feelings of being a bit lonely on Easter. Our son is grown and we only sometimes see him on holidays. It can definitely feel lonely at times being an empty nester during a holiday. I think it hits my husband harder than it does me. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your stitching updates.

marly said...

I hope your mom has a wonderful birthday. Hope we get to see her celebrating. I think the bird's eye is enough contrast and looks just fine. We've had bluebirds visit, but they nest at my sister's. I saw an Indigo Bunting once, gorgeous iridescent! WW doesn't allow carrot cake roll. But I can dream.

Kaisievic said...

Wonderful long post, Carol, so much to enjoy in the reading of it. I love that Bluebird design finish and I must say that the mottled fabric is gorgeous - I do love mottled fabric to stitch on. And such a sweet little cardinal stitch which will look great finished in the same way as April's ornie (I must learn how to do cording one of these days). It is hard to be empty nesters, isn't it? But, I am sure that next Easter you will all be together again. Thanks for the link to the Carrot Cake roll - it looks delicious.

Andrea said...

Beautiful stitching Carol! The blue bird is beautiful as it is, but an eye stitched in black would be pretty too!
Always loved to see your wonderful finishes, happy to be playing catch up and rediscovering you and your blog!

Cindy said...

Hi Carol! Enjoyed your post. That bluebird is very pretty! We occasionally see them in our yard and we have 4 bluebird houses! I always love it when a pair decides to nest here and we see them coming and going.
I can understand it being hard not to have your sons there for Easter. We have had one or two of those holidays and it is just weird! Oh well, I guess that's why they call it "empty nest"!
have a great week coming up and I hope your mother's birthday party goes well. Happy birthday to her!

Preeti said...

Lovely stitching and finishes, Carol!! You got nice gifts and the cake looks perfect! Pretty flowers:)

butterfly said...


Oh how I love to read your posts.
More wonderful stitching and finishes.
The blue bird is so sweet , I love all birds and bunnies .
Lovely gifts too .
It takes time to get use to the family not being there at the holidays .
I know the first time we were on our own at Christmas time and I was so upset then the next Christmas I had a house full and never sat down all day untill late at night !
Now we love it on our own , you can do what ever you want to .
You soon get use to it , we go for walks and get together with friends who are also on thier own now the chicks have flown the nest. Hugs.

Manuela said...

Hallo Carol,
ein wunderbarer Frühlings-Post.
Deine Vogelstickerei ist ganz niedlich. Ich würde dem Vogel ein Auge sticken oder wie du vorgeschlagen hast, eine Perle einsticken.
Auch deine beiden Weihnachtsornamente sind ganz bezaubernd.
Genieße den Frühling und viele liebe Grüße, Manuela

Christine said...

Lovely stitching and finishing Carol. I did a google search for images of bluebirds as we don't have them in England (not even over the white cliffs of Dover, so I don't know what Vera was thinking), I hadn't realised they were so vibrant. I hope you get to see one some day

averyclaire.org said...

As always I LOVE your stitching choices and your finishes! But this post I am in LOVE with that recipe for carrot cake roll! I can't wait to try it. I adore carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. And golly...your yard is LOVELY! Hugs to you and Happy Spring!

Jennifer Janney said...

I love the Bluebird out my Window and love love love the fabric..i'll be happy to take it off your hands if you dislike it that much. :) Your spring blooms are gorgeous too! Thanks for sharing your work.

Jennifer

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

I enjoyed reading your post and seeing your latest stitching. You also received some beautiful gifts for Easter. Thanks for the link to the recipe. I plan to try it.

Julie said...

Pretty bluebird finish, it will look delightful in a pretty frame.
We seem to be spending more time on our own, this holiday we have and its been quite nice to get up late and just potter about.
Happy birthday wishes to your mum on her special big birthday.
Lovely PS small finish.
Enjoy your garden, the blooms do look pretty.
xx

Reed said...

Hey Carol, I have been a long time reader, however this is the first time I have commented. Love the bluebird finish and yes we have bluebirds nesting every year at our house. I love watching them look for the perfect house each year. They go to each of our bird houses and check them out. I too am an empty nester although I was lucky enough to see both our girls this Easter. Hope you have a great day.
Happy Stitching.
Judy

Andrea said...

The bluebird piece looks wonderful. Perhaps a small French knot would give the suggestion of an eye. I am like you with mottled fabric. The only one I have tried is the vintage country mocha, luckily that wasn't too heavily mottled. I'm more at ease with a solid, neutral. Perhaps we are too set in our ways. :) Take a view on it when you have it in the frame. With not so much fabric showing you may take a different view.
The dessert looks delicious. You didn't eat 3 pieces at once did you?!!
Your flowers look fabulous. It's good to get out in the garden when time allows and the weather is so nice.
Have a good week.

Patricia Dee said...

I always enjoy reading all about your stitching and life in general. The flowers are gorgeous!! We don't have much blooming yet (still to early for us) but the Cherry Blossoms are out, crocus, hyacinths, and some tulips (not mine, though :()

Yes, I think the birds eye needs something, whether it be a full stitch, a bead, or a French/Colonial knot in black.

Joanie said...

Your stitching and finishing is so beautiful! I LOVE those little Prairie Schooler designs, they stitch up so quickly and are just so graphic!

Oh how I miss Western PA. Growing up in the Pittsburgh area was the best. Your post made me so homesick for HOME!

I understand how you feel about spending your holidays without your children. We've been doing that for awhile now and the holidays are just quieter. I always try to make it a little more special like making a nice desert, that carrot cake looks so scrummy!

Occasionally, I will see a bluebird in our back yard, they are so intensely blue, it takes your breath away. I would put an "eye" on your bird, right now it looks unfinished. And I like that it can fit a 4 x 6 frame. I'm gonna have to order that pattern now!

Take care, Carol!

Joanie

Christina said...

Dear Carol, I too tried to get in an April post, but failed! May 1st will have to do! I know what you mean about stitching mojo. I have been spending lots of time in our garden. It's so lovely to seeing everything springing back to life. We have lots of birds nesting in our garden so we have been on constant bird watch! We have robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and wrens all building a nest in our hedges. Our three Is all have their own binoculars, so we are quite the ornithologists! Lol.
I'm in agreement with you regarding the bluebird's eye. I think a tiny black bead would finish him off nicely.
I hope your mum has a lovely 90th birthday - such a milestone is definitely worth celebrating in style!

Tricia T said...

Such sweet stitching! I love the cardinal ornament and yes, I would probably add an eye to the bluebird. :). They are really pretty in real life - but I've only seen one a few times over the years.

Cindy's Stitching said...

The piece came out really cute. add a small black bead for the eye on the bird. I hope your stitching mojo comes back, but it seams life is keeping you busy these days. Wow, mom is 90. That will be an exciting party. San Diego was just lovely, a litttle to cool for me. How funny when you went it was in the 90s, that is my kind of weather. Its hard to believe it is May already. Time is going so fast.

RJ said...

Carol I love the bluebird stitch. I'm a huge fan of Brenda Gervis designs and this one is special. Love it. And I also am really, really fond of cardinal stitches and love how this one turned out too.
Your Easter gifts were wonderful. I especially like the bunny with the flowers...so sweet! Your Easter dessert looked mighty special too. I know your feeling of not having the kids home for Easter but I know you were in their thoughts.
Hope your Mom's party goes super well. And that your machine gets tuned up with no problems. RJ

Cathy H. said...

As always I've enjoyed your post and love your stitched pieces! I love bluebirds and thankfully we're in an area where there are many. I have three bluebird boxes and my neighbor has several, so I see and enjoy them every day. They are truly special and very beautiful! Maybe you'll get to see one some day. The flowers around your home are gorgeous. Most of our flowering trees and bushes are gone. We're having what we in the south call a "blackberry winter." A cold snap after winter should have been gone! Our mornings are chilly, but that's perfect for me! I've also been outside more and stitching less! We'll get back to it though. The hot days of summer are on their way and I'll be inside again! Happy May to you!

laceystitcher said...

Love the beautiful blooms in your yard. I especially am fond of the Dogwood tree. So beautiful. Your bluebird stitching is adorable - just love it. Until next time, happy stitching.

Lillie said...

A wonderful post Carol, the bluebird look wonderful as it is but I am pretty sure a little black eye would make it 'pop-up', if you know what I mean. PS design is always a favorite of mine and that cardinal is no exception. Good to see that Spring brings lovely blooms in your area and no doubt lovely Easter gifts received. I am pretty sure your boys will make it up to you. Looking forward to some lovely blooms and garden produce from you garden soon. Have a wonderful month of May

Marilyn said...

Bluebird is so pretty, I like it on the Wren fabric.
What cute Bunny goodies you received!
OMG! Carrot Cake Roll!!
Carrot Cake is my favorite, thanks for the link.
Not much of a Spring here in WI, it rained almost everyday in April.
Still down in the 30's at night. :(
I hope you get your machine up and running.
It's hard to buy a new one when you've had it for so long.
Marilyn

Lili said...

Beautiful stitching on "Bluebird Out My Window", I love that linen.
I like the bird like that, but you can try a black stitched eye for the bird.

How cute the cardinal! Such pretty gifts!!

Beautiful garden, Carol!

Have a great month and I hope your mum has a lovely birthday!!

cucki said...

Wow so beautiful
Love your projects so much
Love and smiles x

Lesley said...

I enjoyed your end of April post,Carol and I think your bluebird looks great as he is,a pretty design.Your Cardinal finish is lovely too.I like the way you are going to finish this piece.
The gifts from your friends are very special and I must say your Carrot Cake Roll looks delicious.
I hope you,your family and your mom enjoy celebrating her very special day.

Carol Lakin said...

I am a new follower and love reading your blog. Your bluebird is lovely

Jennifer said...

Two lovely finishes and a very yummy looking carrot cake roll. I am sure Easter was lonely - I hope that you and your husband enjoyed the day - maybe next year you'll have to visit California for Easter! Funny that you mentioned the flowering trees - ours are almost all done here in Indiana, but i think I enjoyed them more than prior years - they seemed to be more vibrant and last longer this year. Maybe it was the second warmer winter, the rain, or just my mind! Hope you have a great start to May and look forward to seeing your Walk in the Woods when it is done.

Beth said...

As always, a most enjoyable post. Happy May Carol!

Sheryl S. said...

Pretty work as always Carol, love the bluebird and cardinal stitcheries. Lovely Easter gifts and yummy carrot cake. We are having a mild Spring here too with only three rainy days last month - must be a record.

Sheryl S. said...

p.s. I´d definately give the bluebird an eye.

Jenn M said...

I just love your little bluebird: such lovely colours for Spring.
I'm sorry your Easter felt a little 'flat': after all those years of having at least one child over I can well imagine how it felt to have none.
Your dessert looked terrific. I had forgotten about her food blog: I should go look it up and maybe get inspired. Bakes goods have been a little on the sparse side here lately! ( Though my stitching is progressing quite well..!)
I hope you continue to have nice weather; Spring really is such a tonic when it shows up.
Happy Days,
Jenn

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Great post. I thought the light square was the bluebird's eye? We don't have them in the U. Neither do we have cardinals. I honestly thought they were artistic licence when I first saw them in cross stitch designs. I was amazed they really are that red in real life!
I started Gathering Eggs today as part of a SAL with a friend on FB.

Southpaw Stitcher said...

Bluebird Out my Window turned out spectacularly! I have that chart and should stitch it sometime soon. Your carrot roll looks so yummy, and your flowers are beautiful!

*-* said...


The Carrot cake looked splendid. I do hope it helped to lift your spirits. It is sad to celebrate major family times alone.

Congratulations to your dear Mother. Mine would have been 92 this year, her sister will be 90 on May 23rd.

It is always such a pleasure to read your blog, & see your stitching Carol, thank you for shearing your beautiful work.
Kay.

Jocelyn Thurston said...

Another lovely post, Carol. You pack a lot into each one I never know where to begin. The cross stitching is always lovely and Easter provides such lovely motifs to stitch. And now the birds too for spring. Happy May to you too and hope it is sunnier where you are. We are still waiting...

Margaret said...

It's sad, isn't it, when our kids aren't with us on Easter? That happened for us all 4 years that DS was at college. This year was the first in 4 years that we all were together, so the opposite of you. But now you must be close to or already celebrating your mother's 90th? happy birthday to her! My dad is close on her heels, but not there yet. I'm sure your stitching and finishing mojo will come back -- you are busy with spring and preparations! Good to see your finishes as always. Hope the sewing machine servicing works for you!

Linda said...

Such a lovely post, I enjoyed everything in your beautiful photos! And the carrot cake roll looks delicious! :)

Giovi's Creations said...

Your bluebird is so cute, Carol! And Spring sometimes changes our rutines...in my case I look like a narcoleptic zombie ;) Want to sleep all day...haha On the other hand brings us flowers, colours and blue birds!! :)

Pam in IL said...

Bluebird Out My Window is lovely. We have Bluebirds here and do have Bluebird houses, but the houses usually get taken over by other birds. Sounds like spring has been really nice for you. Ours has been more gloomy and wet. We've had a few warm, sunny days, but mostly it's been raining. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Cricket-bug Corner said...

The stitching is great!! That carrot roll looks delicious!! Don't be sad about kids not being able to make it - go to the movies or start a new tradition it makes it a little easier.

Hilda said...

Dear Carol,

you are right: Better late than never. That's what I claim for my belated comment now, haha!
I love your stitching. It looks so fresh and pretty - and typically With Thy Needle And Thread. I scrolled very quickly down to this post, so I am curious whether you stitched an eye on the bluebird or not ...
The carrot cake roll looks yummie! So sorry that you have been without your sons on Easter this year!

Hugs
Hilda

Brigitte said...

Oh how wonderful to come to your blog and to see that great bluebird design first. I have always loved birds, the real ones and the stitched ones. I once saw blue birds when we were traveling in the Rocky Mountains and I remember that I was totally fascinated by their look and their songs.
And of course I loved seeing the two Prairie Schooler designs that you stitched. I'm sure that your finishing mojo will soon be back with you.
That carrot cake roll looks so delicious. I think it was a wonderful idea to bake something delicious for the two of you and I'm sure it gave you and your husband a bit of consolation during the Easter holiday. Nicer Easter gifts from your friends, too.

Rita Kaiser said...

Hi Carol,

first of all, I want to tell you, that I love your blog. Your finishings are so inspiring for me.

If you don't like the mottled look of linen, you could stitch on the backside. That's what I do sometimes, when I like the color but don't want mottled linen.

Hugs
Rita