Saturday, October 31, 2009

Week Forty-Four: Halloween Spots

Does everyone have their candy ready for tonight? I've been pretty good this year--so far I've only eaten about half of the giant bag of goodies that I bought two weeks ago! Hopefully the rest is safe until after the trick-or-treaters have come and gone... My ornament for this week is a Trilogy design: "Halloween Spots" stitched over one on 28 ct. Summer Khaki Cashel linen with DMC and Gentle Arts threads. Don't you love the skinny, striped legs on the tiny ghost? I changed a couple of things on the chart--added the words "boo" and "eek" in place of the little colored boxes that were on the original design.

I never experience the Halloween season without recalling this old tune that my mother used to play and sing with her tiny grandsons (my sons who are now in their twenties) seated beside her on the piano bench. Have any of you ever heard this? Wish I could provide the music, too, but the lyrics are as follows:
"Hallowee-ee-een, the witch is riding high.
Have you see-ee-een her shadow in the sky?
So beware don't you dare to even boast or a ghost
To your dismay will hear you say
That you don't care, say a prayer
Or it may come and pull your hair

There's a big, black cat a crossing in our way.
Now you've heard of that, bad luck they always say.
Weren't you scared when it stared with eyes aglow
Hear that crow?
There's a thump near the pump
Let's hurry home or a gnome
Will thump a lump upon your dome."

Mom only sang the first verse--in fact I never knew there was a second one until I was double checking the lyrics on the internet and I discovered one! Just the thought of her singing this silly song and making my boys giggle brings me a smile...

We didn't buy a pumpkin to carve this year, but I hope you enjoy our one-inch high, grinning, green and gold gourd!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week Forty-Three: Bringing Home the Christmas Tree

Good morning everyone! Can you believe how quickly this month has flown we are in the last week of October! Since I couldn't decide whether to stitch the boy or the girl(and because they were both such quick stitches)I ended up finishing two ornaments this week! Although they look similar, it's only because I made changes to the colors and the design of the boy's ornament. The chart of the little boy carrying his Christmas tree (designed by June Grigg) can be found in the November-December 1987 issue of "Just Cross Stitch" and the little girl's chart (designed by Schoolroom Samplings) appeared in the November-December 1988 issue. I used 16-ct. khaki aida and DMC threads for each, backed them with the green fabric shown, added the plaid ribbon, and embellished the ribbon with some tiny green buttons. For the boy, I changed his tree to resemble the one in the girl's chart more closely and added a little black cat similar to the one that appears by her side. I completely changed the colors of their outfits to coordinate with the green and red plaid ribbon.

This has been a crazy week, weather-wise... We had our first frost on Tuesday morning and then on Thursday it was a sunny, seventy degree day. Today we're back to the cool, grey fifties that is so typical for this time of year. Oh, the joys of living in western PA in October! The leaves are lovely, though, and I realize how much I would miss the four seasons if I lived in a warmer climate.

I've discovered, though, that October must be a lucky month for me because I won, not one, but two giveaways! Myra had a drawing for her blogaversary which I was fortunate to win. The prize, as you can see, was a grinning pumpkin scissor fob (stitched on her hand-dyed purple fabric) complete with a new pair of scissors! When the prize arrived I discovered she had also included a little orange candle and an array of fabrics which I will definitely be using to stitch some of my many ornaments that need to be finished. Thank you so much, Myra--you were one of the first people to comment on my blog and I always look forward to hearing from you and visiting your inspiring blog!

My second giveaway win is from Missy Ann's Thirteen Days of Halloween giveaway. Check out her blog for your own chance of winning...she is picking a new winner each day through Halloween! My prize (which you can see by clicking on the right side of her blog under my name for the Day 2 prize winner) is making its way here all the way from Texas. And what a small world it is--Missy Ann told me she graduated from high school not more than thirty minutes from my home! Can't wait to open the package and check out the fun and funky Halloween goodies she put together... Thanks so much for your generosity, Missy Ann! I'm so glad to have found a fun, new stitching blog to follow...

Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on my mouse stitching and story last week. Some of you have asked where my husband was during the whole mouse in the house incident. Well, he was away on a four day bike trip...when the cat's away, the mice will play! But, I'm happy to report we've had no more mice. Hope you all have a wonderful week...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Week Forty-Two: Not a Creature Was Stirring

Hello everyone! I was a bit tired of stitching with black and orange so I returned to some Christmas stitching this week. "Not a Creature Was Stirring" by Crossed Wing Collection (featured in the 1998 JCS Ornament issue) was stitched on 32-ct. Putty Jobelan with DMC floss and a bit of DMC gold thread on the ornament top. The mouse, the border, and lettering are all stitched over one. This little mouse is definitely stirring as he hungrily makes his way toward the popcorn and cranberry garland. He obviously hasn't read Clement C. Moore's poem The Night Before Christmas!

My two older sons come over for dinner every Sunday and afterward we sit down to watch old home videos and the latest episode of "The Amazing Race." Last Sunday, the guys and my youngest son, who was home from college for Fall Break, settled down in the family room to watch TV while I stitched on this week's ornament. All of a sudden, my youngest son exclaimed--"There's a mouse behind you, mom!" Thinking he was teasing about my little mouse stitching, I reluctantly turned and glimpsed something brown scurrying back into our sunroom. It had been right behind my stitching chair--not more than two feet away from me!! Of course I shrieked and the guys all acted like guys do when mom acts like a little girl--they laughed at me and tried to calm me with such platitudes as "He's a lot more afraid of you than you are of him" and "Mom, you're a lot bigger than he is." I suggested, in between my periods of freaking out, that they try to get him to run out through the kitchen door. So, with perfect teamwork, we came up behind the cowering thing and clapped and stomped to get him to move forward into the kitchen. My middle son had lined up all of their shoes to form a sort of low wall that headed right out the door. The poor mouse thought he was in a maze and just followed his instincts and headed through the doorway and into freedom! I know that as Christmases come and go, every time I look at this ornament I'll remember that tiny brown mouse who came to inspect my stitching...

Anyway, here is the finished ornament, ready for our Christmas tree in December! I used the cranberry-colored fabric on the back of the ornament, surrounded it with a hunter green braid, and added a simple ribbon in the corner. What do you think? As always thanks so much for visiting my blog and for taking the time to comment... See you next weekend!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week Forty-One: Cat-O-Lantern

Black cats and glowing pumpkins--does anything say Halloween any better? As many of you know, I'm partial to black cats--my dear all-black cat Shadow was just a perfect Halloween kitty and I think of him often at this time of year. He used to love greeting the trick-or-treaters at the front door (and then attempting to escape outside, of course). I've had this Calico Crossroads chart (called "Cat-O-Lantern") in my stash for years and I thought it would be the perfect thing to stitch this week. My sons wondered why the pumpkins on the left weren't orange... Perhaps they are pumpkins disguised as ghosts? I'm not sure, but it definitely made for a quicker stitch not having to fill in all of that orange. The design, which I stitched on 32-ct. white Jobelan, called for three strands of DMC to fill in the cat and pumpkin which gave them a really lush, defined appearance. I'm not sure if I'll frame this one or turn it into a wall hanging...but it should be a cute addition to my Halloween decorating.

It just hit me last night that Halloween is in three weeks--time to buy the candy for the trick-or-treaters. I love this time of year because I can actually purchase candy without feeling guilty. Of course, I always buy way too much (we usually get only a dozen trick-or-treaters, but I buy enough for fifty!) and then I squirrel away the extra for myself... Do you have a favorite treat to hand out? I love anything with chocolate and peanut butter or caramel, especially peanut butter M & M's, Reese's peanut butter cups, Rolos... Mmmmm...think I'll head to the store right after work! Have a great weekend everyone...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week Forty: Halloween Sampler

It's October and you know what that means--time for some Halloween stitching! This little sampler (appropriately called "Halloween Sampler") is from a book that I checked out of my library. From the book The New Cross Stitch Sampler Book by Helen Philipps, I stitched this fun piece on 32-ct. sage Jobelan with DMC threads. It came together pretty quickly, but I'll tell you I won't be stitching any more checkerboard borders anytime soon--ugh! Anyway, check your local library; they just might have a copy for you...

I don't decorate my home for Halloween as much as I used to when my sons were little--just set out a few pieces of my cross stitching, some ceramic pumpkins and ghosts, fall leaves, etc. Just enough to get in the spirit...So, who else is stitching for Halloween this month? I'm curious to know if my international stitching friends celebrate Halloween, too? Do you have any special customs? I hope to finish a couple more Halloween patterns before the month is over so check back again next week!

And again...thank you for all of your supportive comments. I love reading them and feeling encouraged by each one!