Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Stitching Shamrocks and Saying Goodbye

Happy St. Patrick's Day, my friends... I truly hope that you are all doing as well as can be expected during these unsettling times. Every day we are greeted with yet more worrying (at times, downright scary) news and updates regarding the coronavirus/COVID-19 which has affected every one of our countries. It appears to me, that it will have a far-reaching effect that will take our world a long time to bounce back from. Here, our schools are closed throughout the state, restaurants and bars are shut down (except for getting take-out food) and all non-essential businesses are closed for at least two weeks. My guess is that it will last even longer than two weeks... My dear mother is allowed no visitors in her senior living community and my in-laws are now required to eat in their room as there will be no communal dining time for the foreseeable future. How are things being handled in your country or state? 

In times like these, our stitching brings comfort, doesn't it? I can't imagine life without my needle, fabric, and thread--they truly soothe my soul during times of distress. I've finished up the four St. Patrick's Day designs from Pineberry Lane's "Little Shamrocks" chart. Each one stitched up very quickly and, I have to admit, the finishing took longer than the actual stitching.  They are stitched on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle linen with most of the suggested threads, although I did change a few things along the way. Below is a little vignette I put together with my newest St. Patrick's Day stitching. I bought a set of the topiaries (shown on the left side of the photo) at the Target Dollar Spot and the white pitcher and two tiny cups adorned with clover were purchased at Goodwill last year. The moss "rocks" came from The Dollar Tree.

Would you like a closer look at each one?  Here you go...

"Basket O'Luck" finish. I added three small buttons,  a ribbon and silver shamrock charm to the flat mounted finish. For this one, all of the suggested colors were used.

Shhh... don't tell anyone, but "Sweet Clover Girl" is my favorite of the bunch! I turned her into a round ornament by eliminating the square border that was charted. I also change her face color to DMC 950 and gave her a shy little smile. I had this green and cream gingham ribbon that I thought finished her off perfectly with a big bow and ruched ribbon trim.

"Erin Go Bragh" was made into a simple pillow with handmade cording tied in a bow at the top. The faces on the women were changed to DMC 950, their dresses , shamrocks, and hats to DMC 580, and I also added a shamrock to the girl's hat on the left. Love how she is blowing shamrocks out of her pipe!
The final finish is called  "Wee Lassies" and is also finished into a small pillow with two different fabrics, ric rak, a cream colored button and a small tie of green jute attached to the button. The girls' faces were done in DMC 950 and I changed their mouths up a bit. I do love their red hair!
Here is one last glance at the quartet. Which one is your favorite?
I truly loved stitching these and even though I have not one ounce of Irish blood in me, they definitely make me smile! How about you--are any of you mostly Irish? 

Saying goodbye... This past week was a very difficult one for me as I said goodbye to two very special people in my life. The first was a wonderful co-worker of  many years who passed away just weeks short of her 90th birthday. We shared so many laughs and fun times at the library and she was probably one of the kindest, most generous people I ever met. Always there for you in a pinch.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend either my friend's visitation or  her funeral as I was down in Texas for yet another funeral. And this one was even more difficult. I can't help but cry as I write this... My dear daughter-in-law lost her mother at the very young age of 71. Although she'd been having some serious health issues for the past six months, no one expected this outcome so soon. So, in spite of our fears of flying with the coronavirus epidemic, my husband and I boarded two planes and flew down to El Paso, Texas. I think our presence truly brought some comfort to my daughter-in-law and I can only hope that she'll turn to me for the love and guidance she received from her own mother all these years. It won't ever be the same for her, but I promise to be there whenever she needs me--she is so very dear to our family. 

Flying was not easy... I am not a good flyer to begin with, but flying with the coronavirus fears is a different experience altogether. We wiped everything down in our seat area and tried our best to keep our hands away from our faces (not so easy when you are on two planes each way for more than eight total hours of flying time!).  I hope and pray that neither of us picked up anything on our trip! To ensure that I don't pass anything along, though, I'm staying at home for the next two weeks happily holed up with my stitching, reading, and baking. We have almost no food in the refrigerator, but have placed an order online and my husband will pick it up later today. He doesn't even have to go into the store as they will load it into the trunk of his car. We've never done anything like this, but I hope it is successful and I can shop this way more often!

Flying above the clouds felt like being in a cocoon. I almost hated to land and return to the reality of this rampant virus and all of the news pertaining to it. This shot was taken as we prepared to land in Chicago on Saturday night. 

GETTING TO KNOW YOU... Oh, I so loved reading all of your responses to my new "Getting To Know You" section questions! Thank you so much for letting me get to know you a bit more... I have to admit that some of your responses to the question of "What small living thing are you most afraid of" made me cringe--I mean maggots and earwigs! UGH!!! So, I have two new questions for you today. As always, this is just a fun way to get to know each other a bit better--participate or not, it is up to you. Of course, I'll give my answers to the questions as well.

1) Do you think of  yourself as an introvert or extrovert (or a bit of both!)? I don't think you'll have any trouble guessing that I'm an introvert. I am most happy in my own little world doing my own thing. I have always been quite shy and simply prefer my own company. Parties exhaust me and I'm always relieved when I can "opt out." After a social gathering, I need time alone to "recharge my batteries." I won't have any trouble self-isolating, let's put it that way!

2) What, besides your stitching, helps you relieve anxiety in stressful times like these? For me, it's exercising. I love to walk on my treadmill and if I don't do it daily, I can feel the anxiety building up inside me. Music helps, too--even more as I get older. It can take you back to easier times or bring back memories of happy experiences. Can't imagine life without either. How about you?

I'll leave you with one last photo I took in Chicago's O'Hare airport on our flight home from Texas. I think I'm behind the times, but look at one of the many receptacles placed in very plain view throughout the airport... 

Who knew?!?!
And that wraps up another post... I hope it's brought you a few smiles during this scary time we are all facing. Things are changing so quickly and it's hard to keep up with all the news. I truly hope each of you stays healthy and safe. We WILL come out of this on the other side! Take comfort in your stitching, call a friend or family member, read, pray, and do whatever helps relieve the anxiety. Bye for now...

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Birds of a feather...

How can it be the end of February already? I don't know, but I'm more than happy to bid it "adieu!" Lots of gray and dreary days here... March certainly has to be better, doesn't it? This week was another busy one with my six-month dental appointment (thank goodness I had no cavities this time!) and an informational meeting about Medicare thrown into the mix. I have to sign up for Medicare by April 16th so time is getting short. I'm slowly beginning to understand it more, but any helpful advice would be much appreciated by those of you "over-65ers!" My husband and I are leaning toward signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan--just need to pick the one that best suits us at this stage in our lives. I was relieved to hear that these plans can be changed each year during certain months--doesn't make it quite so stressful in making our selection. I feel like I'm a reasonably intelligent person, but this Medicare process has made me feel really dumb. Thank goodness, I have my stitching to relieve the stress, right?

That "big" (for me, anyway!) finish that I've mentioned in previous posts is finally done and I love it! May I present "Winter's Wisdom" by Cottage Garden Samplings. Oh, what a delight to stitch (although those pine cones about made my eyes permanently cross!).  I'm using 40 ct. pearl gray Newcastle for this series and stitching each one individually. The suggested overdyed threads were used, except I painted the door on the teeny house a teal blue color.

"Winter's Wisdom" all finished up!

The "argyle forest" is so unique, isn't it?

The tiny houses in this series are so sweet... I changed the door color to the teal blue found in the trees.

I saved the darling birds to stitch until last--these are Gold-Crowned Kinglets, which I've never seen. Have any of you?

The colors in this piece perfectly capture the mood of winter!

This is the second of the series that I've stitched... Last year brought "Forever & Ever" (which you can read about in this post) with the cardinal couple. I'm planning on stitching each of them on the same linen, framing them individually, and hanging them together.

Forever & Ever finished in February 2019

So, how many of the Songbird's Garden series will I stitch? Probably six or eight of the dozen offered... I need to step up my stitching if I want to have them hung in my home before I'm ancient, though, so I've decided to attempt to stitch two or three each year. For the next one, I'm trying to decide between these three. Which one do you think I should start next: Faith, Gratitude, or Simplicity? I just love the colors Vinniey (the designer) chose for her Songbird's Garden Series and I can't say enough about the high quality of her charts. Well done all around!

Help me decide which one to stitch next!

In other stitching news--I just received my latest blog book back from the publisher. Every two years I order a new book created through the  blog2print.com site. I suggest signing up for emails as they often send you discount codes for your blog book printing. This year, I had one for an amazing 60% off! The book arrived quickly and I'm so enjoying reading through the memories of the years I had printed (2017-2018). Yes, I can read it online, but there is still something so comforting about a printed book--especially when it contains your own words, photos, and recollections.  Here are some photos of my latest book's cover and a few inside pages (not the best photos--as I mentioned above: gray and dreary weather here!).

My newest blog book--all 329 pages of it!

My only complaint is that the captions are not directly under the photos. (But,  I knew that would happen before I ordered the book).

The print is clear and easy to read and the color on the photos is quite good.

I especially like having the memories of our trips in book form. Here is a portion of my post on our "Hike From Hell" from our Panama trip in 2018.

And here are all five of the blog books of my "Stitching Dreams" journey dating back to 2009. As I mentioned, I order two years per book so at the end of this year, I'll order the book for 2019-2020.

There were just a few entries for my last giveaway and the winner of the cute snowman and bunny chart is...

Carol Is Sewbizzy
Carol Is Sewbizzy is the winner!
Congratulations, Carol! Please send me your mailing address and I will get this mailed out to you as soon as possible. (My email is in my sidebar under "A Bit About Me.) Thank you to all who entered. And please keep an eye on this space for future giveaways!

GETTING TO KNOW YOU... It was so much fun reading your answers to my question on my last post about how long you spend stitching each day!  I have often said that blogging is a one-way street--you know a lot about me, but I know little about most of you. So, in an attempt to rectify that, I'm beginning a new little feature called "Getting To Know You." On each post I will pose two simple questions--and I'd love to hear your answers in an effort to get to know you. This is just a fun way to get to know each other a bit better--participate or not. It is up to you! I'll answer the given questions for all of you, too...

1) What is one small living thing that you are scared of? For me--it's bats! I am absolutely terrified of those beady-eyed flying things. Having grown up in an old house with bats in our attic (who sometimes made their way down to our bedrooms and living areas), left me with a definite fear of them. Watching my dad try to chase them out of the house with a tennis racket that he kept near his bed just for that purpose is a memory I'll never forget!

2) What is one healthy food you couldn't live without? For me--it's nuts! I love, love, love nuts of any kind--walnuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, cashews (well not Brazil nuts or hazelnuts so much!). I often start my day with a small handful of walnuts or pecans. I add them to granola, oatmeal, yogurt--so many things...  Can't imagine life without them!

I'll leave you with a few photos of my feathered friends (and one very unwanted visitor) at our bird feeder last week. I guess you can tell from this post--I love birds, too!

A Tufted Titmouse visiting the feeder right outside my kitchen window. As you can see our snow disappeared almost overnight!

This teeny chickadee is carrying a sunflower seed larger than his beak! They are among my favorite visitors each day--so sweet and delicate.

We had to move the bird feeder due to raccoons repeatedly knocking it down at night and, unfortunately, the squirrels have discovered just how easy it is now to jump onto the window ledge, bypass the cone-shaped squirrel buffer, and leap from the pole to the feeder.
There's the little devil enjoying the birds' lunch!
I want to wish a warm welcome to my new readers--so glad you've joined us! As always, a special thank you to those who take the time to comment. There were over 500 views of my previous post, but very few comments compared to the "good old days." It does get discouraging, at times... I'll be honest with you. So, to those of you who comment--I truly thank you! Wishing each of you a happy, healthy month of March ahead--I'm counting the days until we turn the clocks ahead and have more daylight hours! Yippee!!  Bye for now...

Friday, February 14, 2020

Sending a little love on Valentine's Day

Good morning, my stitching friends! How are you doing on this "lovely" Valentine's Day? (That is actually wishful thinking--it is a mere 22° here this morning, the coldest weather we've had in a long time). The good news is that they are calling for partly sunny skies! Hmm... I'll believe it when I see it--it has just been one grey, cloudy, rainy, depressing day after another here in western Pennsylvania. But, we did get a nice snowfall a week ago (which promptly melted, although it sure was lovely while it lasted!). I'll share some photos with you later on in the post. 

I've finished my ornament for February and it is a cutie, if I do say so myself! This is Bent Creek's "Red Bird Globe" stitched on a piece of mystery color/mystery count fabric. I think it may be 36 ct. linen as I used only one thread, but I did end up using two strands on the white "snow" part to provide better coverage.  The fabric is a very pretty blue/grey color--sure wish I knew what it was as I'd love to buy more of it for winter stitching. The white shows up so well, doesn't it? Isn't this cardinal sweet--I just think his little striped scarf blowing in the wind is adorable. I used Smyrna stitches on the scarf and the lighter brown bands on the globe's base to provide texture. The bird is stitched all in Week's Dye Works "Indian Summer" using the darker portion of the thread for the wing.

My February Ornament finish

I kept the finish very simple on this one--just added beads for the snow (as was charted) and applied a simple white cording and hanger. I seem to be in a "less is more" mood lately as I think too many extras detract from the stitching in many cases. The fabric shown behind the ornament is what I used to back it (another of my husband's old shirts!).  Anyway--so far, I'm happy to say I'm keeping up with my monthly ornament challenge for 2020.

Bent Creek's "Red Bird Globe" finish

For the first time in many years I did no new stitching for my Valentine's Day collection. I did post a few photos on Instagram of a new display which were well received. I got the chippy white basket at HomeGoods last year, but hadn't used it until now. Because the bottom is quite open in each basket, I had to put some shredded raffia in the bottom to get the pieces to stand up. 

Baskets of red and white for Valentine's Day!

These are the more red-themed Valentine's pieces--the pinker pieces are in my corner cupboard. 

Some of my Valentine's finishes from years past

The sweet girl and boy finish on the right is still one of my favorites from my finish last February!

But... I did do some Valentine's stitching for others. Over on Instagram, my dear friend, Claire (Blackberryhill1), wrote on her January 10, 2020 post these words, which ring so true: "As stitchers we carry a long history of creating comfort. A small, handmade item and a few kind words can be a great comfort to someone in need." In an effort to provide some comfort and to let them know we are thinking of them, Claire designed a sweet heart pattern to stitch and make into a pincushion to send to our Australian stitching sisters who have been affected by the horrific wildfires. You can get a copy of the pattern at Wool Penny Rug Supplies by clicking here and then clicking on the button that says Wendy Williams. 

After you've stitched your pincushion, simply sew it up on three sides and leave about 1 1/2 inches open on the fourth side for stuffing.  Turn, press, and you're all set to mail it off--the actual stuffing of each one will be done in Australia. The owners of the Virginia Beach shop, Dyeing To Stitch, offered to act as a collection point in the United States and mail everyone's contributions at once thus saving a lot of money on postage. So, I'll be mailing mine to them next week at Dyeing To Stitch, 5312 Kemp's River Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464. ***Important: the deadline for getting it sent to the Dyeing To Stitch shop is February 28th, 2020!*** (If you are not in the U.S. and would like to contribute a stitched heart, you can mail them directly to Australia to: Wendy Williams, PO Box 638,  Drummoyne 2047, Sydney, Australia).

♥♥♥ They ask that you include a short note, as well... I hope you'll each consider sending some love to Australia this Valentine's Day--these only take a few hours to stitch up! ♥♥♥

A pretty red heart with its flannel backing fabric

I used Sulky threads for this one and loved stitching with just one thread on 30 ct. fabric. I didn't leave enough room for the outlined straight stitch border, but think it looks just fine without.

Two heart pincushions will soon be finding new homes with two Australian stitchers!

I received some love of my own this week in the form of another birthday package from a friend in Arizona. Oh, my--I was so spoiled! Just look at all of these charts, floss, and other goodies from her! The silks are such lovely pastel colors--makes me want to drop everything I'm working on and delve into a spring project. Thank you so much, my friend--you are one of the most thoughtful people I know.

My birthday gifts continue! Thank you so much to a stitching friend in Arizona!

I had a number of folks wanting to win the cute snowman chart from the last giveaway with the unforgettable name: "Mr. Shivers." I've drawn a name from the proverbial hat and the winner is...

Congratulations, Barbara! You're the winner!

Congratulations, Barbara--please send me your mailing address and I'll get the chart out to you next week. I hope he doesn't melt on his way to sunny, warm Florida! Thank you to all who entered!

New Giveaway... Since the snow has finally fallen here in western Pennsylvania (even though it has now all melted away), how about another snowman chart to give away to one of my readers? I found this adorable snowman and rabbit chart in an old issue of Leisure Arts. How cute is the little bunny in this one? Do you think he's taking the snowman's carrot nose or offering him it? Anyway, if you'd like to be entered into the giveaway for this chart (pulled from an old magazine--I will be folding it to fit in a legal sized envelope when I mail it): 1) Please say so specifically in your comment below, 2) Make sure to include your email address if I don't already have it, and 3) Tell me how you feel about snow! Me? I love seeing it as long as I don't have to go outside. **** I'm sorry, but if you don't include your email address, you won't be included in the drawing. I've had too many past winners who never claimed their prizes and I don't think it's fair to those who regularly read my blog who enter and want to win.****

If you would like to win this cute snowman and bunny chart: 1) Specifically say so in your comment below, 2) Include your email address if I don't already have it and 3) Tell me how you feel about snow!
In my last bit of stitching talk, I was asked on Instagram last week how much time I spend stitching each day. The stitcher who inquired seemed to think I was a fast stitcher (oh, I definitely disagree!) and was curious as to how much time I spent. Of course, it varies from day to day and season to season. I certainly spend more time in the winter than in other seasons. Spring brings more outdoor chores and summer and fall bring more vacations and trips. But, on average, I would say 3-4 hours a day. I try to sit down each morning for a couple of hours and then do the same in the evening. On a really good day, I may sneak in an afternoon session as well. My problem is--I'm very easily distracted. I think I need to just start putting my phone in another room while I stitch so I won't be tempted to look at Instagram, check my email, scroll through Pinterest, etc. I've noticed a big improvement in the amount I stitch when my phone isn't within grabbing distance! How about you? How long do you manage to stitch on average? Do you stitch in peace and quiet, listen to a recorded book or music, watch television? I'm usually watching TV or listening to a book--it all depends on how engrossed I am in a particular book. Anyway, I'd love to hear your "normals" when it comes to stitching times...

Snow... at last!  With what is fast becoming a record "lowest-snowfall ever" winter here, I never thought I would say this, but... I truly miss seeing the snow. We haven't even had to shovel our sidewalks or driveway all winter! So, I was thrilled to see a few inches covering the landscape when I woke up last Friday. And even more thrilled to see it was the "cover everything" type of snow that looks so magical. For those of you who have no snow in your part of the world (or who don't like snow and just enjoy pictures of it!), I thought you might enjoy these photos.

Looking out onto our back yard: February 7, 2020

Picnic in the snow, anyone? Brrr...

The snow looked like icing as it covered every branch and twig in sight!

It even stuck to the sides of the picket fence.

A sweet male cardinal spent a long time gobbling up the sunflower seeds.

Thank you so much for visiting me today--a big welcome to my new followers. I hope the rest of February is good to you--I should be back with a completed larger finish by the end of the month. Thank you, as always,  for your sweet comments and emails--they really make my day! Stay warm now--and happy stitching. Bye for now... 

♥♥♥ Sending each of you a little Valentine's Day love  ♥♥♥

Friday, January 31, 2020

Another January winds down

And, just like that, the first month of the new decade is over! How was your January? I've had a busy month between visiting my mom for five days and getting caught up on lots of doctor's appointments. It's always such a relief to have those out of the way, isn't it--those routine exams for this, that, and the other thing? Luckily, I checked out just fine (other than having to have a worrisome growth removed at my annual dermatology appointment) and I feel good to go for another year! I hate going to the doctor (even though my dad was one!), but I forced myself to get caught up with my various doctors this month and it is such a good feeling.

How is your stitching coming along? I've been working on a "behind the scenes" larger project which I hope to have finished to show you in February. When I'm doing a large project like that, I need to stitch a smaller project at the same time and my finish this month was another of the Little House Needleworks Hometown Holidays designs. May I present... the Firehouse, my ornament for January! This one, like the others in the series, is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco. I used a mixture of the suggested threads and some of my own choices--when you stitch on black you have to make a few color changes to get the stitches to show up.

Little House Needleworks "Firehouse" finish

The Firehouse joins the other four in the series that I've completed so far:  Tree Lot, Main Street Station, Needlework Shop, and Grandma's House. (You can click on each building name to get more detailed information on these previous finishes). I had been using the Woolies Flannel checked fabrics to finish the others, but there was no coordinating shade of the rust color so I used a different Woolies Flannel pattern and think it blends in nicely. Do you have a favorite so far? I am a blue girl, so Grandma's House is mine. I still have 14 more in the series to stitch and all I know is, I need to do more than one a year if I'm ever going to finish them by the time I can no longer see well enough to stitch on black. So, you will be seeing at least one more finished this year (hopefully!).

My village is growing!
Five down--fourteen to go!

I also have a long ago finish that I finally framed! Yes, "Winter Circle" by The Cricket Collection was something I began in 2007 and finished stitching and beading in 2010. So, where has it been all these years? Stuck away in some dark, airless drawer (with way too many other "unfinished finishes!").  You can read about my 2010 finish right here. I'm embarrassed to say, I even bought the frame back then so it was just pure procrastination on my part that "explains" why I never got around to framing it. But, in a way, I'm glad I waited--I have learned so much about framing since then and I'm sure I did a much better job on it in 2020 than I would have done in 2010. As always, I used the framing tutorial that you can find right here on the With Thy Needle and Thread site.

Finally framed after ten long years!

I debated about whether or not to chalk-paint the gold frame, but in the end, decided to leave it as is--the snow people are so elegant with their top hats, turbans, and pretty feathered hats. I think they deserve a fancy frame, don't you? My finish is stitched on 28 ct. summer khaki Lugana with the suggested threads (because ten years ago, I would never have been brave enough to change even a single color!).  Just look at these cuties--do you have a favorite? Mine is the little chap in the yellow, maroon, and gray argyle sweater, but I do love Little Miss Red Riding Hood, too.

Isn't this the best-dressed group of snow people ever?

Here are some individual photos of each one so you can see them better. I think they would make very cute ornaments, too...

The attention to detail in this design is amazing!

Do you have a favorite?

When I was visiting my mom last week (who, at 92, is doing very well--thank you to all who ask about her!), I enjoyed seeing the older cross-stitched gifts that I have given her through the years. This is one of my very favorites... "Outside My Window" by Lynn's Prints which was featured in the 2005 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Magazine (stitched on 28 ct. glass blue Monaco with the suggested threads). I gave this to my mom and dad for Christmas way back in 2008 because I said it reminded me of the snowy winters in the tiny New York State village where I grew up. After my dad passed away in 2014, cardinals took on a new meaning for me so this piece is especially dear to my heart.

"Outside My Window" stitched and given to my parents in 2008.

Blog Anniversary! Interestingly, I stitched the cardinal piece shown above once more time and featured it in my very first blog post on January 24, 2009. So, yes, Stitching Dreams just celebrated its 11th anniversary a week ago. Who would have thought? I never dreamed of the ways writing a blog would open up my world: new friends and new experiences have walked through my door and my horizons have certainly expanded. There are very few readers still here from when I began blogging in 2009, but a few of you have been with me the entire way. So, I want to give a special thank you to all my readers--both old and new. Your wonderful, heartfelt comments and kind emails have encouraged me to keep stitching and to keep blogging. 

Another birthday has come and gone and I'm officially a senior citizen now. Bring on the discounts--I've earned them, right?! It was a quiet birthday, but I received many wonderful greetings from family and friends. I loved reading your cards, emails, and messages--thank you all!

There is just something so special about receiving a card in the mail!

I received two lovely birthday gifts from stitching friends which I want to share with you, too.

 June, in England sent a pretty garden-themed chart, some floss, and a bee charm for my birthday. Thank you so much, my friend!

 Karen, in Indiana, made this lovely needleroll for me. She says she has a collection of 50-75 of them! This is my first needleroll and I will treasure it--Karen's stitching and finishing is flawless--thank you so much, my friend!

Giveaway Winner... As you'll recall, I had a cute snow chart to give away last time and the name drawn from the hat is...

MARI  K.!!!

Mari K. is the winner!

Congratulations, Mari! Please email me (my email is in the sidebar under "A Bit About Me") with your full name and mailing address and I will get the chart off to you as soon as possible. I hope you enjoy stitching it!

New Giveaway... And, in honor of those cute snowmen I showed you above in "Winter Circle," I have a new giveaway for the Glory Bee chart (shown below) called "Mr. Shivers" (don't you love that name?). This is an actual chart, not one pulled from a magazine. If you would like to win it, please: 1) specifically say so in your comments, 2) make sure to include your email address if I don't already have it and 3) tell me your favorite snack food. I have to admit I'm addicted to Hershey Kisses with almonds--to me nothing beats the chocolate / nut combination when snacking! The drawing will be open until February 12, 2020 and I'll announce the winner on my next post.

If you would like to be entered into the drawing for this cute snowman chart: 1) specifically say you want to enter the giveaway in your comment 2) make sure to leave your email address if I don't already know it and 3) tell me your favorite snack food!

Sharing a recipe... I hope some of you had a chance to try the Double Chocolate Biscotti recipe that I posted in my last post. We froze some and it is just as good coming out of the freezer as it is fresh. I'm down to my last piece now--will definitely be making more. I thought you might like to see another (bit healthier!) treat that I make at least twice a month. I've posted other granola recipes in the past, but we keep coming back to this one as it is so easy to make and has fewer ingredients than many.

Bet you can't stop with just one bite!

I found the original recipe here, but changed it up a bit so here is a copy of my version (you can click on the photo to enlarge it). I love it with yogurt, my husband likes a spoonful on his fruit and cottage cheese concoction, and sometimes, I just pop a handful in my mouth for some quick energy during the day.  Hope you enjoy it--let me know if you try it!

I hope February will be a nice, short month for all of us, because you know what follows...  S-P-R-I-N-G! I can't complain as we have had a real non-winter here... haven't even had to shovel snow at all. I have noticed a distinct improvement in my mood compared to previous winters, too. The milder weather has found me smiling more and having more energy. I love it! So, that's it for January 2020... Thank you all so much for stopping in to visit with me today and a big welcome to my new readers and to you first-time commenters. So glad to have you join us! Happy stitching everyone! Bye for now...