Friday, April 29, 2011

Stitching the Blues

Good morning everyone--and what an exciting morning it's been watching the events of the Royal Wedding. I got up before dawn to witness history taking place--I do love a good love story. I was glued to the television as I soaked in each and every detail. From the sweet dresses of the cherubic flower girls to the earnest-looking choirboys to the fresh green trees adorning the aisles of Westminster Abbey; I almost felt as if I was right there myself. Just delightful... And I loved the idea of millions of people from all over the world watching the same event at the same time. I'll have to admit, I got a bit teary-eyed--I always do at weddings. It is such a time of hope...

Anyway, back to my "blue" stitching. I am, and always have been, a lover of all things blue. It doesn't matter the shade of blue--baby blue, periwinkle blue, turquoise blue--I love them all. (It's a good thing I had three sons, isn't it?) And when you combine blue with bunnies--well, that's just about perfect! Now, I've never seen a blue tulip, but, hey, I can dream, right?

As soon as I saw this tulip fabric in the store, I knew what the perfect piece to stitch for it would be: this sweet Tulip Time freebie from Primitive Betty's site. I usually work the opposite way and pick a fabric to complement a piece I've already stitched, but this was a fun change. You'll notice that I changed the location of the words and two of the bunnies--my brain seems to crave symmetry! I wish I was one of those people who could deal with uneven displays on fireplace mantles and that sort of thing, but I like everything well-balanced. Since I wanted to make a tiny pillow out of it, I stitched "Tulip Time" over one on 28 ct. summer khaki Lugana using DMC colors that matched the shades in the fabric. My tulips even cooperated for the photo-shoot as they beautifully bloomed just this week...

I know many of you have already stitched Blackbird Designs' Bluebird pincushion and I finally succumbed to its charms myself. For this piece, I used Nina's Hand Dyed Threads in "Old Jeans" color and stitched it on 32 ct. Belfast Dirty Linen. I just love Nina's threads--they work up so beautifully. I chose to leave out my initial in the upper right corner and will stick some pretty pins in that space instead.

For this finish, I decided to make a long pillow with some coordinating fabric. When I showed my husband after he got home from work the other night, he jokingly asked, "Is that to rest one ear on or what?" Hmmm... I told him it was just decorative and more of a pincushion--not sure if he really understands this whole cross stitch world or not. That is why I've been so happy to discover the wonderfully supportive blogging/cross stitching community--you all really "get" it...

Someone else must have heard it was "blue week" here, too, because just look at what made an appearance at my pond--a great blue heron! I was thrilled to look out my kitchen window yesterday afternoon and see him just standing there like a statue. Wish I could have gotten closer for a better photo (you can click on the picture for a clearer glimpse of him), but, oh my, what a regal looking bird. They only visit two or three times during the year--probably passing by and looking for a quick snack of one of the minnows in our pond. I don't live in the country; I live in the suburbs of a rather large city, so it always thrills me to see this kind of wildlife in my very own yard.

I nearly squealed with delight when I opened this surprise gift from my dear friend Lois at "Of Needles, Pins & Stitching Things". Oh, all right, I admit it--I really did squeal with delight when I saw this sweet bunny scissor fob. Isn't he the cutest rabbit? I was so touched by Lois's kind and generous gift--from the fob to the pretty yellow fabrics to the yummy Lindt chocolate chicks. The little bunny is sitting right here above my desk where he makes me smile ever time I glance up at him. Everything was just perfect and much appreciated. I treasure our friendship, Lois, and thank you again so much for your thoughtful gifts. Your emails always brighten my day and I hope we are still friends when we are old and gray.

We had a lovely Easter brunch here on Sunday for my brother and his family. There were 11 of us including an exchange student from abroad whom they have living with them for the year. When I asked her if she was anxious to head back home at the end of June, she exclaimed in a decidedly American fashion, "No way!" It's so nice to hear from others that they've enjoyed life in the U.S. and to see our country through their eyes. Too often, we take too much for granted living here--I know I do anyway...

My thoughts are with all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in the south. It surely has been one of the worst years for weather-related disasters I can recall. And, unfortunately, the year isn't even half over yet...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your kind comments. I truly appreciate the time that you take in saying hello each time I post. And a warm welcome to my new followers, too--I hope to visit you at your blogs very soon. Enjoy your weekend everyone! Bye for now...

Monday, April 18, 2011

You know what they say about rabbits...

Well, they sure have been multiplying around my house lately. I just can't seem to get enough of their sweet brown faces and want to share with you what I've been working on. First up, is this little pillow I created using Bent Creeks' "Bunny" chart (part of "The Littles" series). Don't you just love his dear face--he looks quite concerned about something. This is stitched on 32 ct. Flax Belfast linen and uses whatever WDW and Sampler Threads I had available. Then I simply made a pillow using one of my favorite leafy green fabrics and embellished it with soft yellow ric-rac and mauve colored buttons that pick up the color in the bunny's flower.

Rabbit finish #2 is from the Just Nan chart "HummingBead Heaven" and is called "Bunny Hop." I had so many compliments on my Just Nan bunny finish from my last post that I decided to stitch a different one this week. Here he is romping through a white picket-fenced garden filled with cabbages and foxgloves. Notice the two little lady bugs crawling through the garden, too.

Stitched on 28ct. grey Monaco with DMC threads, this tiny pillow is backed with a cheery green and white polka dot fabric. I'm so proud of myself because I finally got up my nerve to try a ruched ribbon trim. I struggled and struggled to get it right using different online tutorials. Somehow, none of them got through to my feeble brain. Finally, I found an extremely helpful YouTube video that I could understand. The ruching isn't perfect, but I think it came out quite well for my first time. Doesn't the ruching on the pillow resemble bunches of fluffy bunny tails? If you'd like to try ruching yourself, check out this video.

The third and fourth rabbit-themed finishes are, of course, Prairie Schooler designs. First up is the April ornament from Book No. 13: "A Prairie Year." I used the suggested DMC threads and made my own cording out of DMC 223 to match. The fabric is 28ct. tea-dyed Monaco evenweave. I just noticed that the poor bunny has no whiskers, but they weren't charted so I guess maybe they're supposed to be brown whiskers that just blend in with his body.

Finally, I stitched the PS April design from Book No. 90: "Spring & Fall." I used the suggested DMC colors and stitched it on 32 ct. flax Belfast linen. Think I'll frame this one when I find just the right frame. The bunnies would feel right at home huddled under their umbrella with all the rain we've had this spring! The downpours on Saturday were unbelievable, but I didn't mind since I had to work. And, yes, I worked Sunday, too... Not the best weekend to work with all those last-minute folks coming in for tax forms who then get mad at us librarians because we don't know what form they need! We keep telling them we aren't accountants, but oh, the looks they give us. We can hardly wait until tax season ends each April. Do you all have your taxes done? I sure hope you don't owe too much money. Even better, I hope you're lucky enough to be getting money back that you can spend on those much-needed stitching supplies!

Last week's mail brought a couple of lovely gifts from fellow stitchers. First of all Faye at Carolina Stitcher sent me this delightful red scissor fob as a thank you for a chart that I lent her. I'm just tickled to have one of her famous "red" pieces and the personalization on it is very special. Check out the suede cording and the little silver bead that she attached, too. Such a pretty piece...Thank you so much, Faye--I certainly love your thoughtful thank you gift! It will look quite elegant attached to a pair of my favorite scissors...

I was also lucky enough to win this package of gorgeous giveaway goodies from sweet Lynn at Kearnel's Korner. Don't you just love the chick ornament that she made? It is so special to me because it reminds me of the fluffy little chicks that were born last spring at our pond. (If you're new to my blog click here and you can see photos of the nine chicks and their mother paddling merrily along in the pond.) And just look at the gorgeous spring fabrics, cute scissors, and the butterfly ribbon that Lynn included. I am one lucky stitcher. The LHN "Simple Joys" chart is one of my favorites because it is so "me." Thank you so very much, Lynn--I'll think of you each time I use these thoughtful gifts.

I'm sure there are others of you like me who savor the simple things in life. It gives me such pleasure to curl up with a good book at the end of a long day or sort through my buttons or ribbons looking for the perfect accent for one of my ornaments. Or to spy the first sky-blue eggs in a robin's nest in the spring or hear those soft coos of the mourning doves at sunrise... Things that cost little or nothing, but leave me feeling so satisfied and comforted. Just last month, I was thrilled to see this majestic-looking hawk sitting on a branch not more than 10 feet outside my kitchen window. What a sight! No, it really doesn't take much to make me happy... Hope you'll enjoy some simple joys today.

Well, that's about it for this post. I want to thank you, as always, for all the kind comments and emails and wish each of you a wonderful week ahead. Do you have any plans for Easter? My brother and his family will be joining us for Easter brunch and I'm really looking forward to their visit. I only get to see them once or twice a year so it will be special. Wishing everyone who celebrates it a blessed Easter and I hope you find lots of bunnies (chocolate ones, that is!) in your Easter baskets! Bye for now...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hopping in With the Giveaway Winners

Good morning everyone--and a warm welcome to my new followers! I am amazed and honored that 400+ of my fellow stitchers seem to enjoy visiting my blog--thank you so, so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit me. Would you believe I haven't picked up my needle in a week? Oh, how I've missed the relaxation that my stitching provides... The only thing I have to show you in the way of finishes is this sweet Easter bunny that I rescued from my "almost finished" drawer. I had stitched him back in 2008, but just put the beads on his vest and spats yesterday--so I guess I can officially call him "finished!" I'm thinking about a rustic looking creamy white frame. What do you think?

This piece, titled "Spring Garden" by The Design Connection (as far as I can tell, this is an out-of-print chart), is finished on 28ct. blue Monaco using most of the suggested DMC threads. I did change the colors on the sign to tone them down a bit. I wanted Mr. Rabbit in his little black shoes and argyle vest to be the star of the show. And since I didn't have the suggested buttons for the butterfly and flower in the basket, I stitched them instead. I think the Easter egg trellis is so lovely and don't you love his little "spats" and purple bow-tie? So handsome; a very proper rabbit indeed...

My "Spring Giveaway" certainly attracted more attention than I ever expected! I really was shocked that so many of you threw your names in the hat to win a bit of my stitching. Thank you so much--your compliments on my little ornaments made me blush and I'm so pleased that you took the time to enter. I loved reading about everyone's favorite vacation memories, too. I think I need to add some of your favorite destinations to my "must visit" list...

This is the hard part for me--sending a gift to only three of you. You have been such wonderful friends that you all deserve one, but, unfortunately, I only have three to give away this time. I let the Random Number Generator select my winners and first up was #10. Next was #1. And finally, #67. So, after numbering each entrant and reading the preferences of each winner in her comments, I'm happy to announce the winners are as follows:

Solstitches at A Sampler of Stitches!

Charlene SC at Needle In Hand!

Farm Girl at Farm Girl Stitching!

Congratulations to all three of you--please email me with your postal addresses and I'll get your little ornament off to you this week. It makes me happy to know that three of my creations will soon be residing in Spain, South Carolina, and New Zealand! I will definitely be having more giveaways in the future, so if you weren't among the winners, I hope you'll try again.

I spent most of last week in Florida helping my dear parents pack up for their move back north. Saying goodbye to their home of 17 years isn't easy for them, but I'm thrilled that they'll be living within a reasonable (5 hour) driving distance once again. There were many "lasts" this week along with quite a few tears, but it's time for them to start a new chapter of their lives. Anyway, because I was away, I am way, way behind on my blog reading and commenting. I'll really try to catch up with your blogs this week. Please know I've been thinking of you and I'll try my best to visit everyone. I really love to comment on blogs because you never know what a difference a kind word may make in someone's day. I know how one caring comment in the midst of a not-so-great day can bring me a smile :)

In closing, how about a bit of humor to start your week? My sharp-eyed husband spotted this sign outside of a newly remodeled restaurant a few weeks ago. Look closely now! Hmmm... I wonder what color scheme they've used in their newly "remolded" dining room; perhaps a nice black mold or maybe the more common green variety? We've had such a laugh over this and, embarrassingly, I had driven by this sign numerous times myself and never noticed the spelling error. My husband has been wanting to try this restaurant for a while...I think we'll pass!

Thank you all for your sweet comments, emails, and thoughts--I so appreciate each and every one. Hopefully, the next time I post, it will actually feel like spring here... Bye for now...