Saturday, July 2, 2022

The patriotic Pottery Barn cubby

Happy July! It's the beginning of the July 4th weekend here in the United States. Do you have any special plans? It will be a quiet one here as my husband is still testing positive for Covid. The red line is much, much lighter and he is feeling just fine now, but I guess the virus is still there to some extent. And believe it or not--I didn't get it! That still amazes me, but I just read an interesting article online yesterday that said blood type may possibly play a part in whether or not you end up with Covid. Apparently, folks with Type O blood seem to have slightly more protection from it. Oh, they can still get it, but not as easily. And I have Type O, so who knows? If you'd like to read the article from Men's Health you can find it right here

In my past two posts, I've shown you several little patriotic pillows that I stitched and finished to fill some of the vacant spaces in my Pottery Barn cubby. I've since filled it up and just love how they all look displayed together. Would you like to see?

Lots of red, white, and blue fills my July cubby

Of course I'll share some close-ups with you, too...

 

As you can see, I have some of my larger patriotic pieces displayed on top since they won't fit into the smaller holes. I chose to fill one of the openings (below on the right) with a sewing theme: vintage red, white, and blue spools of thread and an old tomato pincushion (complete with tiny strawberry) as well as my maternal grandmother's gold thimble.

 

 

Do you wonder how I make the pillows stand up? Well, I steal my grandson's wooden blocks (shhh... don't tell him!) and place them behind the little pillows for support.

 

I've really enjoyed this display and plan on keeping it up for most of the summer.


As always, my mom's silhouette occupies the center position because she was forever the center of our home. I decorated her space with two vintagey looking pinwheels and some baby's breath inserted into the pair of white ceramic shoes that were part of her childhood shoe collection. I'm sure she would be delighted with my seasonal decorations of "her" cubby space!

The center space honoring my dear mother

Which one do you like the best?

Above is one final look at the patriotic cubby. Do you have a favorite? I think I am torn between the Liberty pillow in #11 and the Chessie & Me pillow (with the trio of houses and the ship) in #7. But, honestly? I love them all!

I also had a chance to finish one of the patriotic charts that my Instagram friend, Trinka, so generously gave me. I love stitching words so I really enjoyed this one! The design is called "All American" by Primrose Cottage Stitches. Love the way the colors pop on the 40 ct. vintage country mocha Newcastle linen! The red I used was Classic Colorworks "Ribbon Red" because I didn't own the called for overdyed thread, but I think it made a great substitute.

"All American" finish

 

If you have stitched this one already, you'll notice that I made a few changes (of course!).  As you can see, I added white polka dots (in the form of Smyrna stitches) to the word "Blue." I also added white stripes to the word "Stripes!" It just made sense to me and I love how it turned out. (The color of the fabric is much more accurate in the photo above).

Love those colors!

So, in the spirit of keeping the kindness going... who would like to win this patriotic chart? I'll pick a winner and announce the name when I post again (hopefully in a couple weeks). 

If you would like to win this chart, 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 if I don't already have it--(this is very important as I have no way of getting in touch with the winner if you don't)

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

 

In today's "Getting To Know You" question, I'm wondering if you are an early riser or a night-owl? Are you one of those people who loves jumping out of bed and getting right down to the business of the day? Or are you more like me--a "lounge in bed for an hour or so reading emails, browsing blogs and Instagram, and catching up on the news type of person?" I so wish I was an early riser--I always feel much more accomplished when I do get up early. But, more and more, I've been staying up until almost midnight stitching the evening away... How about you?

And that's about it for today! Happy second half of  2022 everyone... I hope you have a relaxing weekend doing whatever makes you happiest. With my husband being quarantined with Covid, I've gotten in a lot of stitching and reading time, believe me! I'm sure by the next time I post, he'll be fully Covid free and our normal life can resume. It really feels odd living in separate halves of the house...

Take care now--thank you for your visit today and your sweet comments! If you do want to enter the giveaway for the Primrose Cottage Stitchers chart shown above, please read the guidelines very carefully. So many of you don't include your email address (just a gentle reminder). I hope everyone who is celebrating the 4th of July in the U.S, has a fun, but safe holiday. Bye for now...

Thursday, June 23, 2022

My lone June post...

Hi everyone! Gosh, it's been a while, hasn't it? No excuses, just pure procrastination when it comes to sitting down and composing a new post. So, how is everyone's summer going so far (all three days of it!)? It's not been the best start to our summer as my husband tested positive for Covid on Monday morning--ugh! Last Friday, he came home from getting his hair cut and said that his barber was coughing and sounded sick and had just flown from New Orleans. I knew in my heart it was Covid... My husband began feeling a sore throat coming on Sunday evening and sure enough, Monday brought the news we had been hoping to avoid for the past 2 1/2 years. He's had a tough time of it and doesn't hesitate to tell me that it's much worse than the flu! Terrible sore throat, fever, congestion, joint and muscle aches, and extreme tiredness.

I'm feeling a bit like a sitting duck here, just waiting to get attacked, but, so far, I'm feeling fine. We are basically living in two different sides of the house and when we are in any common areas (hallways, kitchen), we wear masks and try to not be in the same place for very long. We are also keeping the windows wide open (and believe me on the steamy 95° day we had on Wednesday, that was no easy feat!). Anyway, we are anticipating that he will be feeling better soon (and really hoping and praying that I can avoid it). 

I've been doing more patriotic stitching lately--it always seems to call my name at this time of year. Interestingly, all of the finishes I have to show you today are from Italian cross stitch designers! First up, is this darling trio from Mani di Donna called "Sounds of Freedom Pillows." I used most of the suggested overdyed threads, substituting just a couple with DMC colors. 

"Sounds of Freedom Pillows" finishes

 

Here is a close-up for you...

This photo shows the true color of the fabric much better.

 

I stitched these "over one" on 25 ct. vintage country mocha Lugana--love how tiny they came out. They will be perfect to use in my patriotic Pottery Barn cubby (which I'll show you next time--still haven't photographed it!). I finished them all the same way except I chose to use different colored stars on each--gold for "Let Freedom Ring," blue for "Stars & Stripes," and red for "Land of Liberty." The other change I made was to just stitch a simple star outline on each flag rather than using the called for French knots. Much, much easier! The backing fabric is the gold-starred burgundy fabric you see underneath.

 

More patriotic pillows for my Pottery Barn cubby!
 

My other finish is from the top right portion of the Madame Chantilly design called "Celebrate 4th of July." You can see the entire design right here. I just love each of the tiered trays she has designed and have purchased almost every one. Just look at all the charming little motifs! I would really like to stitch the entire design for each holiday and season, but have to be realistic that that probably won't be happening. So, why not stitch the sweet motifs individually?!

Hmmm... which tiered tray design should I choose next?

This eagle is so regal looking, isn't he? I used overdyed threads and added a little star charm hanging from his beak. And because I wanted an oval finish, I added the little white doo-dads (not sure what else to call them!) around the perimeter to help shape it. The fabric I chose was a new to me 40 ct. Newcastle linen called Stormy Night--I love the subtle shading on this wonderful gray color.

A patriotic finish from "Celebrate 4th of July"

The blue flannel shown in the background is from one of my husband's old shirts. I used it to back the ornament and to make the little bow. For the bow, I simply cut off a long, thin piece of the shirt, frayed the edges, and applied Dritz Fray Check to the entire thing to stiffen it up a bit and keep the fraying to a minimum. The blue cording is the same color as the blue star and I also added little gold pearl-tipped pins around the edge. I just love it!

Loved the mottled gray fabric on this one!

 

And look at this wonderful surprise which arrived from Instagram friend, Trinka (bluebonnettexas on Instagram). Oh, my! Two beautiful charts, some charms, patriotic colored floss, and a darling scrappy handmade star. Thank you so much, Trinka! I am working on the "All American" chart right now and will definitely pass on the kindness when I am finished with it. Honestly, what a generous, kind community we stitchers are blessed to be a part of!

Goodies from Instagram friend Trinka in Texas!

And now for something I hadn't done in nearly 50 years--I finally got up my nerve and put in a zipper! YAY! I am so pleased with the little pouch that I made for my grandson's upcoming 2nd birthday. I found a very easy tutorial on Apple Green Cottage for a simple rounded bottom zipper pouch (you can find the tutorial right here). I also used this video tutorial on YouTube which was very helpful at the end of the process. It contains some excellent tips on clipping the curves and pressing the seams before you turn the project right side out at the end. I still recall my home-economics teacher's words from 8th grade: "It's all about the pressing!" She was right--a good pressing makes such a difference to the final look of a sewing project, doesn't it?

A little dinosaur pouch for my grandson's 2nd birthday!

I don't think I had put a zipper into anything since I was in high school back in the early 1970s! I used to do a bit of sewing then, making myself a few skirts, halter tops (remember those!!!???), a couple dresses, etc. Nothing fancy, but I really didn't have a fear of putting in zippers when I was younger. I was so scared to try it again after all these years, but look...

Yep! I put in a zipper :)

And it even works!

I did it! It works smoothly and looks really nice with those cute zipper tabs on each end. As you can see, the green checked fabric in the zipper tabs is also the lining--another repurposed man's shirt to the rescue! 

I can't wait to give it to my grandson with these little toys tucked inside. And I can't wait to see what treasures of his own, he'll add! I really enjoyed stitching it and can see more of these in varying sizes in my future.

Can't wait to see what other goodies my grandson fills his little pouch with!

 

Giveaway winner... I had several entries for the cheery "Spring Time" chart by New York Dreamer and the winner's name pulled from the hat is...

ISABEL (in Spain)

Isabel in Spain--you are the winner!

Congratulations Isabel! Please send me your mailing address and I will get this chart in the mail to you as soon as possible! And for those of you who didn't win--check back again. I often have chart giveways in this space.

Thankfully, I have a lovely yard to enjoy as my husband and I continue to quarantine. Here are just some of the things I spotted on my recent nightly strolls...

I personally find moths kind of creepy, and this was, by far, the biggest moth I've ever come across. He was just laying on one of the stepping stones in our fenced-in garden. Notice how well he blends in with the stone? This is a Carolina Sphinx Moth-- fascinating, but I hope he doesn't cross my path again!

And for the first time, we are growing blueberries! My husband has put netting over them in hopes of keeping the birds away--I'll keep you posted.


The hydrangeas are beginning to pop out--oh, how I love them!

Lots and lots of green in my husband's vegetable and flower garden right now. The tomatoes are getting huge and we have milkweed (in the lower left corner) for the first time in hopes of attracting those lovely orange and black monarch butterflies.

 

And finally, I'll leave you with the most beautiful sight (of this month, anyway)! Have you ever heard of "mammatus clouds?" I hadn't either, but we had them in the skies over southwestern Pennsylvania last Thursday evening. The skies were absolutely magical as these puffy white clouds appeared (after a threatening storm passed) right at sunset. Oh, my--the colors! My middle son said the photos look like something out of a video game... I honestly gasped in awe as I admired the pouch-like clouds that looked like they were falling from the sky. It was something I had never seen in all of my 67 years and I love the fact that nature still manages to surprise and delight me with its beauty!

A most magical sight!

No filters or color changes; just nature's beauty as its finest!

Mammatus clouds in our backyard: June 16, 2022

I hope your day is filled with things that make you gasp in wonder! Take the time to look around you--they are there simply waiting to be discovered... Thank you all for visiting today! I hope you enjoy the rest of June--please stay safe and healthy. Bye for now...

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Prairie and patriotic stitching at the end of May

Hello my stitching friends! I'm here with one final post for May... It's been a while since I checked in, hasn't it? So much has happened in the world since my last post on May 5th--it's been a month of highs and lows for all of us, I'm sure. I have been stitching because that is the one thing that always helps soothe my anxiety. Honestly, where would we be without our stitching? 

I posted this larger finish on Instagram a couple weeks ago, so many of you have already seen it. Oh, how I love the blue and brown color combination in this "Prairie House Sampler!" If I had to give up all other stitching and just concentrate on one designer's charts, I would choose "With Thy Needle and Thread" by Brenda Gervais. Sometimes, I question the colors at first glance, but she has a knack for putting together the prettiest color combinations, don't you think? The end result is always perfection!

"Prairie House Sampler" finish

I stitched this piece on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with most of the suggested threads. The main change I made was to add a bit of the brown zig-zag border pattern in the lower left corner. It was bare and I just thought that corner needed a little something.

I added a bit of additional border to the lower left corner.

Aren't the motifs sweet? I especially love the basket of beautiful, blue  berries! And, of course, the little birds.

Such soft shades of blue--love them all!

And that cabin! Can't you just picture little Laura Ingalls and her sisters running down the hill through the wheat fields in the opening scenes of "Little House on the Prairie?" That theme song played over and over in my head as I stitched this!

I added my initials and the date in the softest blue/gray color.

I'll be framing this one to hang in my mostly blue and beige family room. I do hope to stitch more blue and brown toned samplers in the future. How about you--do you have a favorite color(s) to stitch with?

I spent some time this weekend putting out a few pieces of my patriotic stitching to display for the next couple of months. I like to have it out from Memorial Day through the end of July when the bees and sunflowers are pulled out. I discovered that my Pottery Barn cubby needed a few more smalls to fill the spaces, so that's what I'm currently working on and will share with you next time. For now, though, I thought you might enjoy the red, white and blue displays in the corner cupboard in my kitchen. 

My patriotic corner cupboard

 

These stitched pieces are too large to fit in my Pottery Barn cubby so they'll live here for a couple months! Would you like a closer look at each shelf? I've linked each cross stitch finish for you so you can read about the materials I used and see more information on the finish itself in my older blog posts. Just click on the name of the patriotic piece for more information.

On the top shelf is Lizzie Kate's "Pop!" The middle shelf has "Americana" by Dames of the Needle finished as a round box and "Let Freedom Ring" by From the Heart Needleart in the white frame.

On the bottom left is "Olde Glory" by Heart in Hand, "Penny America" by Tree of Life Samplings, and Lizzie Kate's "July Flip-It Stamp"

 

Our May was filled with rainy, gray days, but the rain made for the lushest green plants and lawn I've ever seen!

So far, the deer have left the hosta alone--I've never seen it this thick and healthy!

Now that the sun has finally appeared, spots of vibrant color are appearing in our gardens as well!

The rhododendron, columbine, coral bells, salvia, and white mandevilla (which was a Mother's Day gift from my middle son) are all blooming right now.

 

Our feathered friends have been visiting, too...

A trio of cardinal eggs were carefully tended by mama cardinal. Sadly, a raccoon (or a larger bird) got to the nest and destroyed the eggs right before they were due to hatch. I was so sad for the cardinal parents.

A rare sight! A Giant Pileated Woodpecker dwarfs the suet feeder. He was probably at least 16 inches long--just look at those huge talons of his!

Some unwanted visitors! Although pretty, these Canada Geese leave the yard so messy you can hardly walk on the grass without stepping on their little "gifts!" My husband has to chase them off each year (madly waving his hockey stick in the air) until they fly off for a more remote location! The last thing we want is them nesting in our yard.

We also had some May celebrations...

Mother's Day was very special for me this year as all three of my sons were there with me at my oldest son's home in Maryland! The guys made a beautiful brunch for us and my grandson entertained us with his antics. Can you believe he'll be two years old in just five weeks?!

We celebrated my Mother-in-law's birthday in mid-May--she turned 94!! Amazing! I honestly think she's doing better this year than she was at her birthday in 2021. Fifteen of us gathered for lunch in her nursing home and she really enjoyed her special day!

Memorial Day weekend was very quiet here--my middle son and his girlfriend came over for a simple cookout. I did make a tasty new dessert called Mixed Berry Mini Trifles. You can find the recipe on Hello Little Home right here. The recipe called for a purchased pound cake, but since my middle son has a soy allergy, I have to bake almost all cakes, breads, etc. from scratch as most store-bought ones contain soy lecithin. So, I turned to a recipe (to replace the poundcake) that I'd made before and just halved it: David's Yellow Cake. We all agreed it was really yummy--and even a bit healthy with the berries!

Mixed Berry Mini Trifles

 

Giveaway... So, that wraps up my month of May! How was your month? Any exciting events or happenings in your world? I do have a new giveaway for you today given to me by Janet in Texas (thank you again, Janet!). Would anyone be interested in winning this sweet chart from New York Dreamer called "Spring Time?"  If you would like 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 if I don't already have it--(this is very important as I have no way of getting in touch with the winner if you don't)

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

If you'd like to win this chart, please follow the four guidelines above.

Getting to Know You... For my new readers, I like to include this little section to help me get to know you and to help other stitchers get to know you, as well.  Since I mentioned my son's soy allergy above, today's question is: "Do you have any allergies?" My answer: I am very allergic to wool--can't have it anywhere near me or I break out in a rash. As for food allergies,  although I've never been diagnosed with a shellfish allergy, I'm quite sure I have one. I've always avoided shellfish just because I'm a fussy eater, but I think it is more than that. I unknowingly had shrimp in an appetizer at a restaurant (it was ordered before I arrived so I had no idea it contained shrimp). Within a short time I was so sick I ended up spending a long, long time in the bathroom. And then, the same thing happened with a crabmeat appetizer at a family get-together. I knew it had crabmeat, but thought it wouldn't affect me. Boy, was I wrong! Other than that, I seem to be fine with just about anything (but, I still won't eat my green vegetables :). But, as far as seasonal allergies go--I am one of the lucky ones! No hay fever, pollen problems, etc. I know many of you suffer from those. So now, it's your turn--do you have any allergies?

So, June begins in less than an hour here on the east coast of the U.S! How can that be? It is finally warming up here and I'm loving it... just wish the humidity would stay away. I hope each of you has a wonderful month ahead with all the fun, time with friends and family, and fabulous foods that summer has to offer. Thank you so very much for visiting me today--and a special thank you to those of you who take the time to leave a comment. I so appreciate each and every one! Take care now, my friends. Bye for now...

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Blue, blue, my heart loves blue!

Surprise! I'm back again after just one week... I am here today with a very special post--all about my favorite color and a truly lovely collection of threads. Those of you who are long-time readers know I love blue of any shade: aquamarine, turquoise, royal, navy, cornflower, robin's egg, periwinkle. You name a blue hue and the mere thought of it brings a smile. So when my Instagram friend (and quilt designer extraordinaire!), Wendy Sheppard, asked me if I would like to stitch a project with her wonderful Aurifil Indigo Collection, I couldn't stop with just one project--I made three! And guess what?! You have your chance to win your very own Indigo collection on the Aurifil blog. Simply click on this link and go to auribuzz.com to read my interview and enter this special giveaway. To read my interview, just scroll down until you come to the giant (yikes!!) photo of my Christmas tree and me :)

A trio of winter-themed finishes using Aurifil's "Indigo by Wendy Sheppard" collection

Oh, how I loved this floss from Aurifil! This was the first time I had used it and I truly adored everything about it--the wonderful coverage, the way it smoothly glides through the linen, the large amount you get on each of those long, wooden spools. Not to mention the luscious colors! Wendy's Indigo collection is truly stunning. 

Isn't the outside of the box gorgeous?

Inside, you'll find these colors included:
50wt: 4140, 2815, 5008, 2805, 2310
Aurifloss: 4644, 4140, 2815, 5008, 2805

So, what did I choose to stitch with this glorious blue Aurifloss? Well, first up is the "January Quaker" design by "From the Heart Needleart." This incorporates three colors from the Indigo Collection: 4644 for the darker blue, 5008 for the medium, and 2805 for the light blue. I love how it turned out on the 40 ct. white Newcastle linen that I chose. It just looks like a cold, frosty January morning, doesn't it? The simple 5" X 7" chippy, blue frame was one I had purchased at Marshall's last year and it was a perfect fit.

"January Quaker"

 

Of course I just had to stitch an ornament (or two!) with those pretty blues so I chose a design by Renato Parolin (a free chart on the Ric-amiamo Facebook page in the files section). This lovely design called "Inverno" is one I had stitched before for a gift for a stitching friend. This one will be just for me, though, and I'll count it as my June ornament. Once again, I used 40 ct. white Newcastle linen and chose Aurifloss in 5008. I also added a few Swarovski crystals to the snowflakes and tree top to add to the frosty look. The cording is made of the same thread and I finished it off with a gauzy double blue/gray bow and a silver snowflake charm.

"Inverno" by Renato Parolin

My third finish is a sweet  snowflake design from the book "A Rainbow of Stitches" by Agnès Delage-Calvet. Aurifloss 4140 was used on 40 ct. white Newcastle. Once again, I used the same thread to make the cording leaving a long tail at the bottom. The printed snowflake ribbon was a perfect match for the thread so I made a little bow of it and hung a snowflake charm underneath. This will, most likely, be a gift for a stitching friend at Christmas time.

A simple snowflake design by Agnès Delage-Calvet

I first bonded with Wendy when I found out she had a passion for blue and white like I do. I made a comment on one of her Instagram photos when I saw she had a couple of Dedham bunnies like those I collect. She doesn't actually collect the bunnies like I do, but she does have a wonderful collection of blue and white English Transferware. I thought you might like to see my Pottery Barn cubby this month--filled with my sweet blue and white Dedham bunny collection.


 

As I mentioned in the article on the Auribuzz blog, I also have a small collection of Delft pottery from The Netherlands passed on to me by my dear mother. She and my dad brought these home from a European holiday in the late 1960s.

Three treasures from my mom--she loved blue and white as much as I did!

This Delft candlestick was a gift from my mother-in-law. The pineapple was my mom's, and the cross-stitch piece is an older one by Marjolein Bastin that I stitched back in 2004. This little vignette sits on a round table in my living room (which, of course, has blue painted walls!).

My kitchen is mostly white with lots of blue accents including this old quilt found in my mother-in-law's linen closet. I don't know the history of it, but it is tattered and well-loved and made a perfect table covering in my kitchen this winter. 

Love the cozy feeling this blue and white quilt added to my kitchen table this past winter!

 

So, who is with me? I know there are other blue and white lovers out there and I hope you enjoyed my post today! I also hope you'll visit the Aurifil blog to read my interview and see a few more photos. You can do so by clicking right here. And while you're there, don't forget to enter to win the beautiful 10 spool Indigo collection by Wendy. I know you'll love Aurifloss as much as I do--why not give it a try? Thank you so much, Wendy, for asking me to join the very talented group of quilters and stitchers for your "Shades of Blue" thread hop--it was an honor. Bye for now...