Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week Thirty-Five: Sunflowers

It is hard to believe that this is the 35th ornament I've stitched during 2009. September is right around the corner and I'm really looking forward to it. Not only is autumn my favorite season but fall pieces are my favorites to stitch (aside from Prairie Schooler Christmas ornaments!). I thought this one, stitched on 32-ct. sage Jobelan using DMC, Needle Necessities, and Weeks Dye Works fibers, was perfect for the end of summer/beginning of fall. This was actually a pattern for a beaded Mill Hill kit, but I converted it to cross stitch and added a few things such as the little bees and the grass sprouting at the bottom of the fence. The original kit had sunflower buttons so I had to chart some rather rustic looking sunflowers, also. I'm pleased with how it turned out and I think it will be a great addition to our family room.

When spring planting time rolls around, we make sure to plant sunflowers in our garden. They are such a strong, brilliant looking flower and they always brighten my day when I look out my kitchen window and see them. As you can see in the photo on the right, the bees like them, too. And, of course, the birds appreciate all of the seeds as the cooler weather arrives.

I hope you all have a great week with lots of peaceful stitching time! Until next weekend...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week Thirty-Four: Prairie Schooler Snowman and Bunny

A snowman and his bunny--what could be cuter? This ornament, from the Prairie Schooler's "Santas & Snowmen" leaflet, was stitched on 32-ct. sage Jobelan using DMC threads. I had a tough time tracking down this pattern. Many of the shops seem to be out of it, but I finally got my hands on a used copy online and it was worth the search. There are so many charming ornaments in it, but this one is my favorite. Who knows? Maybe I'll stitch all eight...

Well, it's that time of year again for many--the annual trek back to college. For some of us, it is the oldest child who is leaving for four years of studying (and partying) and experiencing new things that don't include mom and dad. For others, like us, it is our youngest child returning for his next to the last year of college. Years ago, way before any of my sons was even thinking about college, a library friend shared with me a copy of an essay that I've never forgotten. Written by Bill Bryson in his book, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, this essay touches the heart with its reflections on the author's eldest son leaving for college. I found the essay, called On Losing a Son, posted online and thought you might like to read it yourself. Whether you have a child still in elementary school or one about to leave for college, I think you'll be glad you did.

After my youngest son left for college this week, the phrase from all of those old fairy tales kept running through my head, "And peace returned to the kingdom." There are no more stray socks peaking out from under the couch, no loud guitar chords wailing up from the basement, no damp towels left drying on the floor, no lights left burning all night. Since he left, the dishes seem to be mysteriously making their way into the dishwasher and the toilet paper holder remains curiously filled. The house has taken on a comfortable and peaceful hum. Yet, I already miss him...and I hope he has an amazing junior year.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Week Thirty-Three: Season of Growth

I am so, so excited! I just read on the Little House Needleworks: Behind the Scenes blog that a new design will be released next month called: "The Library." Most of you know that I am a librarian so I can hardly wait to see it--and I'm sure that it will be making its way into my next shopping cart at my favorite online needlework shop. I love the verse designer Diane Williams chose for it: "An open book is a window into the world"... how true. Anyway, back to this blog posting... LHN's "Season of Growth" was a joy to stitch as all of her creations are. 32-ct. Flax Belfast Linen and DMC threads were used in this little piece and I changed the border color from green to blue (just because blue is my favorite color). I also stitched the window panes and outlined the doors in the same brown color used in the roof.

It certainly has been a season of growth around our house. Pictured to the right is our vegetable garden (well, really my husband's garden because he does 99% of the work)...Everything was a bit slow coming in this year with our cooler than normal temperatures, but it is shaping up to be a lovely year for the tomatoes, beans, peas, and zucchini. The peppers and broccoli are also making appearances along with some brilliant yellow sunflowers.

I finally framed another LHN piece called Nature's Beauty (which I stitched last year) so I wanted to share that with you, too. Thank you all for visiting--I love reading your comments each week and truly appreciate the time you take to say hi (and, of course, I love visiting and being inspired by all of your blogs, too!).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week Thirty-Two: Prairie Schooler Bird on Flower Bookmark

As with any Prairie School piece, I loved the colors in my latest finish. I believe this was a free bookmark at one time, but I ended up purchasing it from Ebay. I stitched the whimsical looking bird walking up his large flowering plant on 32-ct. natural colored linen with DMC threads. Now I'm looking for a pretty, floral fabric to use as a backing for the bookmark. When finished it will make a great gift for a friend...

I think one of the reasons I don't finish my ornaments right away, is that I have to drag the sewing machine out of the hall closet each time, set it up, thread it, etc. If I had a designated sewing area I could just keep the machine set up all the time and I would probably be much more productive in actually finishing my pieces. idea is slowly forming in my mind. I turned my oldest son's old bedroom into a proper guest room when he left home, why not turn my middle son's old abode into a sewing/craft room now that he is gone? (I can just hear the groans as he reads this!) What do you think; do many of you have designated sewing/craft spaces?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Week Thirty-One: Let It Snow

More snowmen this week! This happy little trio standing under a snow-filled forest of pine trees can be found in the Winter 1994 issue of Cross Stitch Sampler magazine. "Let it Snow" was stitched on 28-ct. tea-dyed Monaco using DMC floss. A very easy stitch, but all of those smyrna-stitched snowflakes took some time. For the snowmen's eyes and buttons I used Mill Hill petite black beads.

As in most gardens across the country, our zucchini are taking over... In an attempt to use some (okay, one) of the zucchini, I discovered this delicious recipe for Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins and baked some this morning. I am, in one way, just like a little girl who never grew up--I hate green vegetables. So this is my half-hearted attempt to get some into me! I did substitute 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil with 1/4 cup applesauce in an effort to make them even healthier. (Of course, the fact that I doubled the amount of mini-chocolate chips completely offset that plan!!). Anyway, here is a link to the recipe on one of my favorite recipe sites, Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins Enjoy!