Friday, March 17, 2023

Stitching of the green

Top 'o the morning to you, my sweet stitching friends! How are you doing on this fine St. Patrick's Day? Are you wearing your green? Are you preparing any special Irish foods for dinner?  Are you feeling especially lucky today? I always thought I had no Irish blood, but after my middle sister dug a bit more into our family history, she discovered that indeed we do have a tiny bit on my maternal grandmother's side. That might explain why I love stitching with so many green threads this time of year. Or, perhaps, I just enjoy the many shades of green that represent the rebirth and blossoming of nature after our long winter here in the northern hemisphere. Whatever the reason, I have some cute new St. Patrick's Day finishes to share with you today!

I've stitched three new pieces for my Pottery Barn cubby and my favorite of the trio is this wee leprechaun. Isn't he darling carrying his giant clover--he looks like he's going to topple right over from the sheer size of it! This is called "Clover of Clovers" and can be found only in kit form from Bent Creek. I was lucky to be able to borrow just the chart from a stitching friend. Using all DMC threads (which I did change up a bit from what was suggested on the chart), it is stitched on 40 ct. woodland brown Newcastle linen. I also gave the little fellow a pair of green socks rather than the charted black. The three golden yellow buttons represent some of the gold he's just found at the end of the rainbow. I thought the polka dot yellow ribbon was a perfect accent at the top.

Bent Creek finish: "Clover of Clovers"

 

Next up, is this very sweet design by Luminous Fiber Arts called "Gathering Clover." I just love Misty's series of birds which you can see right here. I think I'll be stitching "Gathering Honey" next for my summer bee display. Anyway, this piece marked a first for me! It was the very first time I stitched on 56 ct. linen! I just love how teeny tiny the stitches look and how small the piece came out. I used white 56 ct. Kingston linen with Gentle Arts "Green With Envy" thread. If you look at the button you'll see that I repeated the clover motif found in the birds' mouths. Yes, I made a little covered button and glued it onto the satin ribbon in the left corner. I really love how this one turned out and I'll definitely be trying other designs on the 56 ct. linen.

"Gathering Clover"--such a sweet design!
 

Finally, a finish from a new-to-me designer, Mamaida Pattern, on Etsy. This design caught my eye because it was so unusual--I don't think I've seen any St. Patrick's Day patterns similar to this one. It was only a couple of dollars and if you'd like to buy a downloadable copy for yourself, you can find it right here. This was also stitched on 40 ct. woodland brown Newcastle using DMC 311 and 905. I finished it off very simply with some handmade cording in the same shade of green and added a couple of stacked buttons tied into the middle. A very fun and different finish for the holiday!

"Clover" cross stitch design by Mamaida Pattern

 

As you can see, I'm quite an eclectic stitcher! Are you, too? Or do you tend to stick with one theme or type of stitching? Below you have the cute Bent Creek, the sweet Luminous Fiber Arts, and the more modern looking Mamaida Pattern...

Such varied shades of green in this month's finishes! Which one do you like best?

I don't have that many St. Patrick's Day finishes for my Pottery Barn cupboard, but I still managed to create the fun display shown below for March. What do you think?

My March 2023 Pottery Barn cubby

I'll give you some close-ups and link to my finishes just in case you have any questions about what's what... Just click on the title of the stitched piece and it will take you to my post with all the information on that particular finish.

At the top is a lovely card from Robin in Virginia and two merry Irishmen from the book "Un Air de Fête" by Perrette Samouiloff. Below is:  "Basket O' Luck" by Pineberry Lane (in #1) and "Erin Go Braugh" by Pineberry Lane (in #3), "March--the Lion and the Lamb" by Rainbow Gallery (in #6) and Prairie Schooler's March finish from "A Prairie Year" (in #7). The sweet hand painted dish and pitcher (in #2) were from my maternal grandmother and I found the little green stein (in #8) in a thrift shop in Ohio last fall.
 

On top is With Thy Needle and Thread's "Holiday Hoopla St. Patrick's Day. Below is Mamaida Pattern's "Clover" (in this post above), Lizzie Kate's "March Stamp Flip-It," and Bent Creek's "Clover of Clovers" (in this post above)

Blue Ribbon Designs "Leprechaun Lodge" (in #14). The little clover cups in #19 were also a thrift store find.

The green bunny pitcher was a Goodwill find! My dear mother's silhouette in cubby #13 is adorned with a little shamrock bow for the occasion. "Two Wee Lassies" (in #17) and "Little Shamrock Girl" (in #18) are both by Pineberry Lane. "St. Patrick's Day kitty" from Embroiderbee's Primary Hive (in #22) and "Gathering Clover" by Luminous Fiber Arts (in #23) in this post above. The darling embroidered hankie (in #22) was one of my maternal grandmother's, too!

I know I'll be stitching more green-themed designs to add to my cubby next year. So, there you have it... another year of St. Patrick's Day stitching in the books! Do any of you have anything fun planned for the day ahead?

The impatient patient!

Surgery update... First of all, I want to thank all of you who sent positive thoughts and prayers for my husband's shoulder replacement surgery. It appears to have gone well, but we'll have a better idea after we visit the doctor today and get his evaluation of things at the first post-operative check-up. My husband is normally an extremely active man (biking, going to the gym, gardening, house repairs, etc.) so this having to rest and take it easy makes him a very impatient patient. I've actually had to get upset with him a few times and tell him to take it easier. You just can't rush the healing process after such a complicated surgery! It's been a long two weeks--let's just put it that way :) Thank goodness, my stitching is always waiting to help calm me down... I've been able to stitch a lot in between helping him shower, cutting his food, helping him get dressed, icing his shoulder, etc. With one arm in a sling, he is  limited, but he is hoping to be rid of the sling in another couple weeks. We aren't sure yet when he'll be allowed to drive again.

My husband received a number of sweet get-well cards and phone calls, but the nicest gift came from my youngest sister and her husband. If you ever want a gift that offers pure comfort, check out this nice box of goodies that came from Spoonful of Comfort. It's a wonderful gift for a far-away friend or family member who could use some tender loving care after an illness, a death in the family, or for someone who needs some cheering up.  It's rather pricey, but oh, my--the soup, rolls, and cookies were all so very tasty and they provided two meals for us at a time when we truly needed them. The cute silver soup ladle was also included and I loved how recyclable the packing materials were. This will definitely be on my list to give future loved ones who need a lift!

This gift of comfort food from my youngest sister and brother-in-law couldn't have come at a better time!

So, now it's just physical therapy and hard work to get back to normal for my husband. He's still having some pain and numbness now and then which is concerning, but hopefully it is normal after such a major operation. We'll find out more today...

As the weather forescasters predicted, March has been a colder month than February. So many ups and downs! Just last Saturday, I spotted this beautiful bluebird (which we rarely see here in my yard so I was super excited!) dining at the suet feeder.

♪ Bluebird, bluebird at my window ♪

 

And then just three days later, this was the scene out the back window of our house! Yes, snow--but not much and it melted the following day. It was just beautiful and made me wish we had had just a bit more snow this year. According to the National Weather Service we haven't had a winter with this little snow (only about 14 inches all winter!) since 1931!

We often get one last snowfall in mid-March and this year was no exception.

 

I hope you enjoy this last half of March and that your spring flowers are soon popping up all over your yards. Our daffodils are about to burst open--perhaps next week which is about the earliest I remember seeing them. Thank you all for your kind comments and emails. I know I have a few emails to respond to--I just haven't been on my computer much since my husband's surgery. I'll try my best to catch up with all of you over the coming week! Take care, everyone. Bye for now...

♣ Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!♣


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Dreaming of spring

The final day of February! I still remember my mom telling me (when I was a bit down with the "January blues") that if you can just make it through February, spring is right around the corner. And I can't wait! We've had some snippets of spring weather here and there over the past month and it felt so good for a day or two. But, by the next day, we were plunged back into the icy days of winter. I read a report last week that said March is forecast to be a cold, wintry month for much of the country. Say it's not so!!! I'm  choosing to think positively and hoping March is a mild, spring-like month. How about you?

I have a sweet spring finish to share with you today. This is called "Apple Blossom Sampler" by The Drawn Thread and it is much prettier than my photos are showing. It's such a long, skinny sampler (just 2 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches long on 40 ct. fabric) that it's difficult to get a good photo of it. I stitched this lovely little piece on 40 ct. stormy night Newcastle with Dinky Dyes Silks and various other overdyed threads pulled from my stash. 

"Apple Blossom Sampler" by The Drawn Thread

I've always loved the combination of pink and gray together--in fact I still remember the cutest gray and pink argyle sweater that I wore probably 50 years ago! So, as soon as I saw this design, I knew I had to stitch it on gray fabric.

Who else loves the combination of pink and gray?

The shades of pink are so soft and pretty--honestly, I loved every stitch of this one! The center portion of the two apple blossoms was supposed to be stitched in something called "square boss stitch" (which I have never heard of in my life). I tried it twice using different threads, but I think the fabric count was just too high as it came out looking sloppy and just plain bad both times. So, I simply stitched Smyrna stitches in the center and they look just fine.


Do you see the tiny bees in the letters "N" and "Y"?

 

Of course, the star of the show is the pretty robin. Have you seen your first robin yet? I was so surprised to see what must have been 15 or 20 of them on our neighbor's lawn on Monday! A very early spring in the making?

Such a pretty robin--the first sign of Spring!

In other spring stitching, I'm trying to work on some St. Patrick's Day smalls for my Pottery Barn cubby--hope to have enough to nearly fill up those cubes! Stay tuned... Who else has turned to spring stitching? 

A most special day... Its been a busy end of the month as we just returned from Maryland where our grandson was baptized. I was so, so anxious that he would act up or cause a scene (after all, 2 1/2 year olds aren't the most predictable creatures, are they?). The night before the baptism, he absolutely refused to try on the little white suit his godparents had bought him for the occasion, complaining that it was "too scratchy." Oh, dear... not off to a great start!

On Sunday, his mom and dad went to the service that was scheduled right before the baptism leaving Mister B with us to dress and get to the church by 2:15 pm. My middle son and I got him dressed without any problems by entertaining him with videos on the phone and putting a long, soft white shirt underneath the scratchy one of the suit. I also promised him a present if he wore his suit nicely and was well-behaved at church. I made up a little story about  "Mister B" putting on a white suit, going to the church and running to see mommy and daddy, sitting quietly and listening to the priest, and then receiving a present. (Of course, he thought the priest was going to give him the present and couldn't quite figure out why he never got one :) Several of the guests brought  religious remembrances and others brought small toys for him so he was smiling ear-to-ear at the party afterward. Such a meaningful day and I'm so glad we were able to be there with him. The service was in Spanish, so we understood nothing more than a word here or there, but it was still very special!

My little grandson and his father (my oldest son) waiting for the baptism ceremony to begin

I bought him this sweet bedtime blessing plaque (from Lisa Leonard.com) to hang in his room. It has his name engraved in the banner at the top making it a wonderful personalized gift.


In other family news, my world-traveling youngest son and his girlfriend just returned from 10 days in Norway. What gorgeous photos they sent back! Oh--those--mountains... be still my heart! He told me I would love it there and I think he's right. Surprisingly, the weather was not that cold. It was in the low 30s--about what we were experiencing in western Pennsylvania in mid-February.

Scenes from my youngest son's trip to Norway

Their ultimate goal in this particular trip was to see the Northern Lights. They had traveled to Iceland last year with that hope, but had been disappointed. It looked like they would be let down again, but on their very last night there, they were rewarded with a truly magical light show. I know the photo doesn't begin to come close to seeing the Aurora Borealis in person, but it's still so very special, isn't it? Have any of you seen them?

Finally--on the very last night in Norway, the Aurora Borealis appeared!

And... on the opposite end of the spectrum, an upcoming event that my husband has been dreading is upon us. He will be having a total replacement of his left shoulder on Friday. It is a surgery with one of the longest recovery times--approximately 6 months to a year. He'll be unable to drive for six weeks or lift anything heavier than a pound for a month, so I'll be doing pretty much everything for him. I know he'll be great at following through on the physical therapy as he is very disciplined, but it's going to be very tough on him not being able to ride his bike until mid to late summer. (If then--as the doctors don't want him to risk falling). But, he's been dealing with this painful shoulder for so many years, that we're glad this day has finally arrived. All positive thoughts, prayers, etc. would be most appreciated!

So... on to March! I hope it's a good month for each one of you. Thank you all for your visits, thoughtful comments, and emails--they keep me blogging, that's for sure! As always, if you have any questions for me, please make sure to include your email address so I can get back to you. Take care now, everyone! Bye for now...

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Stitching, travels, and a special visitor

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! It's going to be a warm one here for the middle of February--in the mid-50s! And tomorrow will be almost 70°! My husband and I don't have any special plans for today. We are not exactly the most romantic couple, to be honest--just very practical, I'd say. For example, last week when we were doing the grocery shopping, I spied a display of Valentine's candy and said, "Let's just buy some treats for ourselves right now!" "Great--that makes it easy," he replied. Definitely takes the pressure off :) Now, we just need to remember where we hid the candy so we wouldn't eat it all up before Valentine's Day. Hmmm... that's a real problem as we get older. Anyone else with me on that little "forgetful" issue? 

I like to stitch a new little Valentine's Day pillow each year to add to my collection. There are so many delightful free designs available at this time of year and I'm very thankful for those generous (and talented!) designers out there. This year, one of the cutest designs came from Cherry Hill Stitchery and can be found on the Facebook group called "Cherry Hill Stitchers." (I am only on Facebook to follow stitching groups and designers--I do not post, comment, or have any friends there). Because I love tiny things, I chose to stitch the design "over one" on 25 ct. black Lugana using the following threads: DMC B5200, Classic Colorworks "Ribbon Red," and Gentle Arts "Green With Envy." If you look closely, you might be able to spot the little gold beads I added to the center of each flower.

Cherry Hill Stitchery freebie finish

This finished up so tiny and cute--just the way I'd pictured it. The whole pillow measures a mere 3" X 4" in size. The other major change was that I added an apostrophe; as a former librarian, I just had to! You can also see the little red gingham and flowered hearts (in the bowl in the background) that I made last year.

I've put together a list of some other Valentine's Day freebies that you might like... There are 20 links below--hopefully, you'll find something quick to stitch for your Valentine! As always, with any freebies, I recommend printing them off as they often disappear from online over time.

"Happy Valentine's Day" from Stitch Wit

"Un Ago Tra i Fiori" by Cuore e Batticuore

 "Do Everything In Love" from Silver Creek Samplers 

"Stupid Cupid" by Brooke's Books 

"True Love" by Sub Rosa 

"Love Makes Me Happy" by Crocette a Gogò

"Love You Too" (and many more) by Cathy Habermann of Hands On Design 

"Be My Valentine" by Lizzie Kate 

"Heart Throb" by The Drawn Thread

"Be My Valentine" by Sandy at Stitchin' & Life in a Small Town

A trio of 3 Valentines by The Stitcherhood

"Be Mine" by Cottage Garden Samplings 

"Love Is All We Need" by Feathers in the Nest 

"All You Need Is Love" by The Drawn Thread

"Je T'aime" by The Drawn Thread 

"Love Never Fails"  by The Primitive Hare 

"Valentine" by The Primitive Hare 

"Coeur Mon Amour" by Passione Ricamo 

"Love" by La Comtesse & le Point de Croix 

"Waiting For Love" by La Comtesse & le Point de Croix 

 

I mentioned that I had completed a large (for me) finish in my last post. Well, just look at this handsome guy! At almost 9 inches tall, he is definitely the largest Santa I have stitched. This is the 2019 Twin Peak Santa from my friends at Twin Peak Primitives. I fell in love with that blue robe (DMC 930) as soon as I saw him and just had to stitch him. Of course, that sweet red cardinal perched on the end of his staff called my name, too. He is stitched on 40 ct. summer khaki Newcastle with good old DMC threads. I did make some color changes to better work with my fabric.

"2019 Twin Peak Santa" finish

 
Love the cardinal and the pretty blue robe!

The snowflakes were what I call a "happy mistake!" The chart originally had a bag of toys on the snow next to his staff, but I started the design in the wrong place and had to leave it out. I wanted to add a little something, though, so I basted a running stitch down each side of him and filled it with pretty snowflake designs found on some of my other charts and online. I love the final effect!

I added the snowflakes on each side

This one will be framed--and I think I have a frame right in my stash that might work well. I just have to decide if I want to paint it or not. 

He has such a gentle face, doesn't he? And I love the subtle shading in his beard.

What are you stitching this week? Have any of you begun spring stitching like I have? I'm so enjoying the pretty pastel colors and hope to have a new finish to share with you at the end of the month.

Giveaway winner... Wow! What a great response I had to last month's "Getting To Know You" question. I loved reading about your favorite quotes and have written down several of them (I keep a running list on my phone in Notepad so I can read them over whenever I need a lift). If you get a chance, go back to my previous post and read through the comments--lots of inspiration there! Thank you all for joining in! There were quite a few entries for the "Wintertime" chart by New York Dreamer and the name picked from the hat (well, really the bowl!) is...

Heritage Hall

 

Heritage Hall--you are the winner of this chart! Please email me with your mailing address and I'll get this out to you this week.

 

I was the lucky recipient of a lovely package of gifts from Kay! I had loaned Kay a couple of charts and she surprised me with a delightful thank you package. Kay made me three little project notebooks with matching floss drops. I love the sweet fabrics she chose and her work is absolutely meticulous!

Such wonderful thank you gifts from Kay!

 

Kay, obviously a multi-talented crafter, also made a very cute calendar for me with scrapbooking papers. Each month can be placed in the acrylic magnet which she included. Just look at all these twelve creative designs she came up with. The calendar now resides on my refrigerator and I hope to find more of those tiny monthly calendars to print up each month to use in future years. Thank you so very much, Kay--I love each and every gift.

An adorable new calendar page for each month! Thank you again, Kay--this is so special!


February travels...Well, the first of our February trips has come and gone and it was a bittersweet return to our family's flooded home in Naples, Florida. If you remember, Hurricane Ian flooded my husband's family home with four feet of water on September 28th. He and I emptied the house of its soggy, molding contents in mid-October (you can read about it in this post) and this month we concentrated on cleaning out the garage. It was much easier as we didn't have to deal with that revolting, smelly water this time around. We made very good progress and even had time for a couple of walks to check out the beach. 

As we walked to the beach, this statue captured my eye. It's called "Inner Dialogue" by Jim Rennert. The description online says it's "a metaphor to remind us of the subconscious conversations we are constantly having with ourselves." Love it!

Sadly, the beautiful Naples beach is still a bit of a mess. The beach access points were either closed or in a shambles from the hurricane. The foliage still looks beaten and gray. And the sand, once so white and pristine, seemed dirty and uneven.

This group of birds didn't seem to care that a hurricane had drastically changed the beach, though! Aren't they adorable?

It felt so good to feel the warmth of the sunshine and walk along the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico!

A trio of pretty white ibises scoured the waves looking for their next meal.

I thought there were more pretty shells  on the beach than in past years. Not sure if it was from the hurricane stirring up the waters and sand or what. When I got home, I photographed the ones I picked up on a piece of black Jobelan.

The shells that I picked up and photographed on the black fabric reminded me of a smaller version of this shell table. It was created by my husband's grandmother and passed down through the family. Unfortunately, it, too, was destroyed by Hurricane Ian in September.

Sadly, someone had broken into the Florida house and something very special to our family was stolen. Do you see this window-like opening into the bathroom? Well, that once contained a colorful stained glass window which was made by my mother-in-law and some rotten person came in and stole it. I mean, honestly... talk about adding insult to injury! We had planned on removing it on our next visit--we simply ran out of time in October. I just shake my head with disgust when things like this happen. They left other things that could have been stolen--light fixtures, faucets, etc. But, they stole the one thing that remained that had a personal significance to our family...

The empty space left by a thief who stole the beautiful stained glass window right out of the wall!
 
Thankfully, I had taken a photo of the stained glass when we were renting the house on Airbnb. My mother-in-law surely spent many, many hours creating this lovely window with the little fish swimming among the sea grasses. When I think of how the house used to look before the hurricane, I just have to block it out of my mind... it simply hurts too much. As I said many times before, it was a true blessing that neither my father-in-law or mother-in-law were alive to see what happened to their Florida home.

This stained glass window created by my mother-in-law was stolen from the flooded home in Florida some time over the past few months.
 
A poppet and some puppets... We arrived home from Florida last weekend and guess who arrived just three days later?! My grandson,"Mister B," and his mom and dad came for a four day visit! He just lights up our lives when he visits--life sure would be boring without him around! Here he is at a local "indoor playground" interacting with a puppet. He just had the biggest smile on his face!

A friendly wizard puppet...

Unfortunately, all puppets are not created equal and his experience at a Japanese puppet performance at the local children's museum the following day was the complete opposite. I think the performance was meant for older kids as he was terrified... He questioned if "the boy" was going to "get him," asked to "go home to Pompaw's and Nonna's house," and said he "wanted to hide." Poor little boy... I wasn't there, but my son and daughter-in-law obviously didn't stay for the entire performance. When he got home he told me all about the "boy who looked like a skeleton!"

... and a scary looking puppet--at least for a two-year-old!

So, it's been a busy February for us so far. My grandson is being baptized later this month so we'll be traveling for that as well. It should be interesting to see how he reacts to the priest and the holy water. Hmmm... I'll keep you posted! 

I want to remind everyone who has a question for me to please include your email address--or better yet, email me directly (my email address is in the my profile in the sidebar under "A Bit About Me").  I hope that, however you celebrate Valentine's Day, you enjoy yourselves. Eat some chocolate, watch a "feel-good" movie, treat yourself to a little something special--you deserve it! Take care my friends! Bye for now...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

My first two ornaments and a bit of snow...

Good Saturday morning to you all! Can you believe the last weekend in January has already arrived? What a strange month we've had here in what is normally one of the coldest, snowiest months in western Pennsylvania. It's been quite mild with very little snow, unlike much of the country that has experienced major snowstorms and frigid temperatures. But, it's still been cold enough here that I spend most of my time indoors stitching and reading (well, throw in laundry, and cleaning, and cooking, too!). I've managed to stitch and finish my first two ornaments of the year. Would you like to see them?

For January, I stitched "Rudolph & Friends" by With Thy Needle and Thread. As soon as I saw this sweet chart, I knew I had to stitch it! I mean... just look at that cute reindeer with the bright red cardinal perched on his back. I love the way he's gazing up at the snowman. So sweet! I used 40 ct. Woodland Brown Newcastle with an assortment of DMC and overdyed threads. I did change out the green as the suggested color was just not working on this darker fabric. So I went with DMC 3362 and I'm very pleased with it. To finish it, I added some handmade cording using the same off-white shade I stitched the snowman and snowflakes in: Weeks Dye Works "Grits." I added a simple plaid ribbon for the hanger. A little tip from me--when there is a lot going on in a design (such as this one)--keep the finishing simple! It doesn't need a lot of "extras" piled on top. It just takes away from the overall look in my opinion.

"Rudolph & Friends" finish

And since the coming month is going to be a busy one for me with several trips planned, I went ahead and stitched an ornament for February as well. The new booklet by Prairie Schooler called "A Merry Mini Surprise" (Book No. 215) is filled with so many cute Santas and this skating Santa was my favorite of the eight. Mine looks a bit different, though, as I chose to finish it as a circular ornament. I left off the charted rectangular border and added snowflakes to "round" it out. Once again, I used 40 ct. Woodland Brown Newcastle--can you tell I love that fabric for snowy scenes? I changed the two main colors to the more traditional Prairie Schooler shades of DMC 221 and 3362. In this case, since it was a simpler design, I did add a few more "doo-dads" to my finish! I topped it with a larger gingham bow, some dried boxwood leaves (stolen from one of my boxwood wreaths!), some burgundy berries and a silver jingle bell. A quick and easy finish for the short, but busy, month ahead.

Skating Santa from Prairie Schooler's "A Merry Mini Surprise"

So, here are the first two ornaments for 2023--only 10 more to go!

My first two ornament finishes for 2023

I have another larger winter finish to share with you, but I need to get it ironed and photographed. Can't wait to share it in my next post! I'm working on a couple of smalls for Valentine's Day, too. Every year I say I'm not going to stitch any more, but then the cute love-themed freebies begin to appear and I can't resist. So, hopefully, those will be ready for my next post near Valentine's Day.

Well, another birthday has come and gone... I ended up having not one, but two birthday parties with my family! The first was a surprise celebration when we were down in Washington DC for our belated Christmas on January 8th. And the second was at my middle son's apartment on the 15th (the day before my actual birthday). Below are some photos of my 68th birthday celebrations--I think everyone knows I love chocolate based on those yummy cakes I received! From top left going clockwise, are: celebrating with my grandson in Washington DC, birthday cards from friends and family, celebrating with my "grandcat," Spike, at my middle son's apartment, and a huge decadent triple chocolate cake from my husband.

Another birthday celebrated in fine style!

I received so many lovely gifts from my family, but one of my favorites was from my middle son and his girlfriend who found this wonderful large crock. After doing some research, it appears to be a vintage Robinson Ransbottom Pottery three-gallon crock. In the early 1900's, this company was the largest producer of stoneware jars in America. My son found it at Goodwill for a mere $6.00!

My first crock! Could this be the beginning of a new collection?

Now, unbeknownst to my son, I had just purchased a small three foot Christmas tree on sale. I wanted a tiny tree for the corner of my kitchen or dining room. I loved the tree when it arrived, but I needed a bucket or something to put it in... Enter the stoneware crock I was gifted for my birthday! Perfect fit! Isn't it funny how things just come together like that sometimes? 

My new little tree has found a home!

I also received some very generous and thoughtful birthday gifts and cards from stitching friends! Thank you all so very much--I am very blessed for sure!

June P. sent me a lovely birthday package including a PS chart, some fabric, an angel bookmark, and some pretty ribbon. Thank you so much, my friend!

Vickie N. sent a sweet snowman chart! Thank you so much, my friend!

Jen P. sent a lovely blue themed package including floss, a charm pack of fabric, a pretty snowflake tin, candy, and a sweet thread holder with a cardinal charm! Thank you so much, my friend!


Charlene sent an amazing package loaded with black and navy fabrics, a sweet Paddington Bear chart, and a rainbow of DMC floss. Thank you so much, my friend!


Gabi sent a sweet stitched pair of snowmen all the way from Germany! Thank you so much, my friend!

And a belated Christmas gift arrived from Nathalie in France: two sweet ornaments and a pouch for my stitching accessories. Thank you so much, my friend!

For me, everything comes at once, doesn't it? Christmas and my birthday fall just three weeks apart! I often wish my birthday was in the summer to spread out the gifts a bit, but... I'm just thankful to still be here celebrating another year of life. 

Giveaway time... I know, at this point in the winter, many of us are growing weary of the cold, but this cute chart might just cheer you up! I was given this chart called "Winter Time" from New York Dreamer by Janet in Texas to pass along in one of my giveaways (Thank you as always, Janet!). Aren't those cardinals adorable? And, of course, I love the blue and white theme. I own this chart myself and really do plan on stitching it some day (along with at least two million other charts :) Is there anyone who would like to win it? If so, just follow the guidelines below. I'll pick a name from the hat and announce the winner in my next post.

If you would be interested in winning this chart in the giveaway, please follow the guidelines below...

To be included in the drawing for the chart, please...

1) Specifically mention that you would like to win the chart in your comment 

2) Be a follower in my blog's sidebar (to the right)

3) Make sure to leave your email address in your comment

4) Answer the "Getting to Know You" question below. 



 

Getting to Know You! Hmmm... what question should I ask today? How about a favorite quote? Do you collect quotes or thoughts that you like and might help guide you through life? I have a running list that I add to from time to time and one of my favorites was one I just recently added. "Success is measured by how you make those around you feel." Think about it... Don't you want to go through life giving others a kind word and making them feel good about themselves? Just a simple compliment such as "I love your earrings!" or "What a great haircut!" can make someone's day--and those words don't cost you a penny. Try to be kind to others... it really isn't that difficult. We truly need more kindness in this world of ours!  Now it's your turn... What is one of your favorite quotes or guiding principles in life?

I'll leave you with a couple of wintry photos from this past week. I think this was the only snow we had all month! It was just an inch or two, but it sure was pretty!  Most of it melted by the following day--I sure hope that's not the end of our snow for the year.

Our lone January snowfall! Looking out the upstairs window at our back yard and pond.

 

Our home looking so cozy in the snowy late January landscape!

So, what are your plans for the coming month? I'll be heading someplace warm for a few days in early February which should make for a pleasant change! Of course, I'll be taking my stitching--isn't that one of the best things about our little hobby? It's so very portable. When I travel, I take only small projects, so I'll be sorting through my charts today trying to find a quick and easy chart. Or charts--I always pack way, way too many. You'd think I'm going to be gone for a year rather than just five days--ha ha! I'm sure you understand. 

Thank you all so very much for the wonderful comments on my last post--it was great to hear from so many new folks as well as my long-time commenters. A gentle reminder--if you ask me a question in your comments, please make sure to include your email address so I can get back to you. That's it for today! Stay warm--and happy stitching, my friends! Bye for now...