Well, hello there! Have you missed me? It's only been three weeks since my last post, but it seems like much longer! That's what happens when you are traveling (and boy, have I been traveling!). You seem to lose all track of time and current events when you are on the road (or in the air!). We flew to San Diego to visit our oldest son for five days, flew home, then three days later, we drove to Washington, DC to visit our youngest son last weekend. And then this weekend I'll be driving to New York to visit my mom for Mother's Day and her 92nd (!!!) birthday which is next Tuesday. That will make three weekends in a row that I've been away from home! To say I've had limited stitching time is an understatement, but I would gladly give that up for a chance to visit with our sons and my dear mother.
Stitching update... I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of stitching to share with you today... I do want to show you this cute bunny who flew out to California with me and liked the climate so much that he is now making his home with my son and daughter-in-law. I mean, can you blame him? The weather out there is so much sunnier! This is "The Little Bunny" by Bent Creek and is stitched on 32 ct. flax Belfast linen with overdyed threads. The frame is part of a set of about fifteen 5" X 5" frames that I bought used on eBay years ago. (I remember the seller advertising that they had been used to display his insect collection. Hmmm...) Anyway, I painted the once-brown frame off-white and distressed it and think it showcases Mr. Bunny very nicely! The bunny is mounted on sticky-board covered with batting and then glued onto the fabric covered green and white polka-dot backing. A very simple finish that will make a nice addition to my son and daughter-in-law's Easter decorations.
|The Little Bunny by Bent Creek finished for an Easter gift|
Here is a close-up of his face--I think he has the cutest expression! He looks a little bit lost and just a tiny bit wistful, don't you think?
|That face--who could resist it?!|
Before we left for California, I framed two older finishes by Country Cottage Needleworks. "The Bakery" (finished in 2015) and "The Flower Shop" (finished in 2016) have been languishing in a dresser drawer just waiting for me to stop procrastinating and frame them. I bought the frames from Franken Frames online and think the black was a great choice! As always, I used the framing tutorial that you can find right here. It seems that I'm becoming more confident in my framing abilities--guess the more you do it, the easier it gets!
|Country Cottage Needleworks "The Flower Shop" and "The Bakery" are finally framed after 3+ years!|
You can read about my finish of "The Bakery" right here...
|I'd love to have a taste of everything in that pretty bakery!|
My changes to "The Flower Shop" finish are detailed in this post... I totally changed the sign at the top as I wanted it to match the one on "The Bakery." It originally was charted to look like this. I so enjoyed stitching both of these and think they will be a wonderful addition to my kitchen right next to my back door!
|Country Cottage Needleworks "The Flower Shop"|
Those lovely flowers in the photo above are columbine from my garden and a branch of the gorgeous (and fragrant) crab apple tree near our patio that blooms so beautifully each spring. And below are some of the gorgeous tulips that my husband planted for me last fall--such a welcome treat after a cold winter!
|Amazing that such pretty flowers grow from ugly brown bulbs!|
I won a giveaway on Instagram recently from a very kind stitcher in England. She sent me three sweet JBW Designs charts which I know I will enjoy stitching! Thank you so much, Linda--I really love them... The Instagram community is so supportive and encouraging. If you would like to follow me on IG, just click here. There is an amazing amount of beautiful stitching from around the world to tempt any stitcher--I love it!
|Three lovely charts from Linda in England|
So, what did we do in sunny San Diego? Well, I have another hiking story to tell you--but, a good one this time (unlike the "hike from hell" that we went on in Panama!!). Garnet Peak Trail is located in Cleveland National Forest and we decided that it would be a moderately difficult hike for a hot, sunny day. The hikes in southern California are mainly in desert areas--very little greenery like we have in the East. The pictures below give you a good idea of the topography as we hiked and I've included a photo of the four of us relaxing at the top of the peak enjoying the views...
|Scenes from Garnet Peak hike|
Anyway, we had reached the top of Garnet Peak and were resting there chatting when another couple appeared. I asked them if they were from the San Diego area and the man said they lived in a nearby county and asked where we were from. When I told him we lived in the Pittsburgh, PA area, he replied that he had relatives in Bradford, PA which is on the very northern border of Pennsylvania and New York. I was shocked and told him that I had grown up just over the border from Bradford and he said, "Well, actually, I spent the first twelve years of my life in a tiny town called *******." (for privacy reasons, I've choosing not to give the exact name) I almost fell off the peak right then and there when he named it--that was my home town!! I spent my entire childhood there from age five until I left home to get married at age 22 after college! Honestly, what are the chances that I would meet someone on a mountain top in California who grew up in my teeny village on the other side of the United States?! I mean this was one tiny, tiny town--a single traffic light and a few side streets--really just a blip on the map. Blink and you miss it--that sort of town. Unbelievable, really... We reminisced about what a lovely place it was to grow up and just marveled at the coincidence... his street was just two streets away from mine! As far as I can tell, he must have left our town right about the time my family moved there in 1960. Anyway--what a fun discovery!
We also spent an afternoon on the USS Midway--an aircraft carrier commissioned right after WWII and decommissioned in 1992 after having seen action in both the Vietnam War and the Operation Desert Storm. What was once the longest serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century that housed 4100+ soldiers, is now a highly rated museum. Today, there are 30 restored jets and helicopters on the flight deck that provide visitors with an audio history of each aircraft--often narrated by one of the former pilots. We got to tour not only the flight deck and captain's bridge, but the below deck areas that included a chapel, barber shop, laundry, sick bay, and the kitchen / food galley (which served an amazing ten tons of food each day). It was really an impressive and educational experience and I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area.
|This isn't my photo, but I'm including it to show the huge size of the ship (in the middle) with the city of San Diego in the background|
Here are a few photos I took onboard--I can't imagine landing a jet on an aircraft carrier out in the middle of an ocean, can you? Well, let's face it--I can't imagine landing a jet anywhere!
|Scenes on the USS Midway aircraft carrier|
My favorite experience of our latest San Diego trip was to see The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. Oh--such beauty everywhere! The Flower Fields are most known for the beautiful ranunculus flowers that cover much of the 50+ acre farm. I think I may just have a new favorite flower and I'm planning to plant some bulbs soon! The farm is only open for two months each year and will close for this year after Mother's Day. I'm so glad we were visiting San Diego at the right time of the year!
|The entrance to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch|
|A rainbow of radiant ranunculus!|
|Wouldn't you love to have the view that the people living in those apartments have?|
|There were small gardens of other spring flowers, too--these delphiniums were my favorites (of course!) with all the blues!|
|Sitting in this giant Adirondack chair makes everyone look like a kid again! And notice the little birdie perched at the very top, photo-bombing our picture.|
|Memories of The Flower Farm ~ April 2019|
San Diego truly is one of the prettiest areas of the United States--cool and sunny most of the year, its climate is nearly ideal (although a bit too cool for me this visit being in the low to mid 60s!). Just walking in my son and daughter-in-law's neighborhood was a feast for the eyes with all of these beautiful flowers blooming that I've shown in my collage below. I think I would enjoy walking for miles and miles if I lived there! Everything was green and lush as they've had more than the usual amount of rain this year...
|Southern California beauties|
If you've never visited the area, I highly recommend it. Living there is another thing altogether with the very high cost of houses--oh, my, I was shocked at how much they cost! Anyway, we loved our visit with our oldest son and daughter-in-law--just wish they lived closer as it takes almost a full day to get there since we have no direct flights available.
More goodies! Here is yet another fattening, but delicious recipe that I made for Easter. Since it was just the four of us, I made cupcakes rather than a large dessert. These are carrot cake cupcakes and you can find the recipe right here--very, very tasty and easy to make... I only made half of the frosting recipe and it was plenty! I am slowly learning to decorate cupcakes with the Wilton Cupcake Decorating Set that I purchased on Amazon last month. I think they turned out quite well for my first try!
|Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting|
GIVEAWAY TIME! In honor of Mother's Day, I found a pretty chart to give away to one of my stitching friends. Since my mother's favorite bird is the hummingbird, I thought this lovely chart would be perfect to give to one of you. This is a chart removed from an old "Cross Stitch & Country Crafts" magazine from March/April 1990. If more than one person wants this, I will pick a name out of the proverbial hat... The deadline for entering will be May 24th, 2019. To enter, please:
a) Be a follower of Stitching Dreams
b) Leave a comment below telling me you want to enter and make sure to include your email address (if I don't already have it)
c) Answer one of the following questions: What is one of your fondest memories of motherhood? or What is one of your fondest memories you have of your own mother?
I think it's only fair that I answer the question, too--don't you? For me, my fondest memories were lying in bed and reading to my three sons each and every night--I absolutely loved those times. All of my sons (now in their 30s) are avid readers now and I like to think that those early days of reading to them before bedtime had something to do with that. (Rocking them in my old creaky rocking chair and singing them to sleep when they were babies comes in a close second in my list of favorite memories!).
|I'm giving away this beautiful hummingbird chart|
I hope all of you who are mothers have a wonderful Mother's Day this coming weekend. This will be the first Mother's Day in 37 years that I haven't been with one of my sons... But, I'll be with my own dear mother and I so look forward to our time together. I hope to be back with my Christmas ornaments for March, April, and May by the end of the month--yes, I have never been this far behind in my monthly ornament stitching. Wish me luck! Thank you all for your wonderful comments and emails--I truly appreciate each one. Bye for now...