Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"R" Is For Rabbit (and RAKs)

Hello my friends! Hope all of my fellow U.S. stitchers are hanging in there with this heat...What did we ever do before air conditioning? We rarely use ours here in Pennsylvania, but over the past ten days it has been running almost continuously. At least the heat gives me a good excuse to stay inside and stitch. Do you remember this little start I showed you back in May and asked if anyone knew what it was? A few of you guessed it was a Prairie Schooler (always a safe bet when it comes to me!) and you were right.

And here is my finish of "R" Is For Rabbit from the P*Q*R Prairie Schooler Book No. 111, stitched on 32 ct. flax Belfast linen. Now that is one big, brown, bunny, isn't it? And that was a ton of solid stitching; brown is one color I dread stitching with, but I'm so pleased with how he turned out. He is a darker brown than what was charted because I accidentally reversed the symbols of the two shades of golden brown. By the time I discovered my mistake, I had already stitched his entire head and was too lazy to "behead" him and begin again. I actually like him this darker shade and think my mistake ended up being a blessing in disguise.

July is just one celebration after another around our house. My youngest son turned 23 (say it's not true!!) on the 9th and my husband caught up with me and turned 56 on the 14th. Yes, I am a "cougar"--I married a younger man (even if he is only six months younger!) and he never lets me forget it! And finally, on the 23rd, we celebrated 34 years of marriage. We were such babies when we tied the knot--fresh out of college with no money in the bank, but with many hopes and dreams... I am so blessed to say most, if not all, of those dreams have come true thanks to a lot of hard work, compromise, love, and respect.

To celebrate our two July birthdays I wanted to bake something special, but didn't want a lot of leftover cake tempting me for the next week. Luckily, I stumbled across a wonderful cookbook called Small Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos which has recipes to serve just two or three people with little mini-cakes. I tried her carrot-cake recipe with cream cheese frosting and just look at how charming it turned out--it is a mere 3 inches round by 3 inches high! You bake these in well-washed empty cans (I used large soup cans--careful with those sharp edges) and it made two baby cakes--one for my husband and one for my youngest son (of course, I had a few bites (okay, more than a few bites) of each). I was really leery about how a cake baked in a can would turn out, but not only was it cute as a bug, it also tasted delicious.

Now, on to the next-to-the-last stop of our family's European vacation--the lovely town of Ronda in Spain's Malaga province. This town of about 35,000 inhabitants is divided by the Guadalevin River to form the stunning El Tajo gorge. Notice the gray skies--this was the only bad weather in our entire trip. We were so lucky, weren't we? We paid Ronda just a quick visit on our drive from Granada to Seville. You can click and enlarge any of the photos to see just how incredible the area was...

Puento Nuevo ("New Bridge") spanning El Tajo
gorge was built in the 1700s.

Can you imagine the view they have from their windows?

Some of the gorgeous farmland in the Ronda countryside.

What an incredible sight--but you could not pay me
to walk down that white stairway to the cliffside patio!

A matador statue in Ronda, home of Plaza de Toros
one of Spain's oldest bullfighting rings still in operation.

The 18th century Palacio del Marques de Salvatierra
is noted for it's unusual carved entranceway.

A gorgeous mosaic "map" of the town of Ronda.

Images of Ronda, Spain: May 2011

Well, that wraps up our visit to Ronda--the next, and final, stop will be the lovely Spanish city of Seville.

Now on to the other "R" in my post title: Random Acts of Kindness. I was so surprised and touched to receive these RAKs from fellow stitchers. Kathy from "Kathy's Sit and Stitch" blog surprised me with a darling sewing pouch--just look at that fabric adorned with everything a stitcher could need. Isn't it cute? And, I opened the pouch to find a beautiful hand-made scissor fob and the cheeriest pair of polka-dot scissors. Kathy, I am so happy to have "met" you and my other Canadian stitching friends. Someday, I really might make it up to one of your get-togethers so I can thank you in person...

I also received an email from Carol R. who designs at "iStitch" informing me that I had been sent this delightful strawberry chart as a RAK from Michele at "Just Another Stitching Blog." Isn't it sweet--I mean who doesn't love strawberries? I was so touched that Michele, who lives way across the U.S., would send me, a complete stranger, such a special gift. Well, we are strangers no longer--I'm happy to call her a "friend." Thank you, Michele--your gift truly touched my heart.

And last, but certainly not least, just look at this sweet snowman ornament I received in yesterday's mail from Patty at "Hanging On By a Thread" ! I had let Patty borrow one of my charts and she kindly sent this beautifully stitched and finished ornament as a "thank you." I just love it, Patty, and I'm so glad I was able to help you out by lending you my chart. Your ornament will have a place of honor on my Christmas tree this year--thank you so, so much!

I've said it many, many times, but I still feel compelled to say it again--stitchers really are the nicest people! Thank you all for visiting, for your wonderful comments, and for being such great friends--you're the best! Hope your week is a special one. Bye for now...


Annie said...

Your bunny looks fabulous! Sometimes stitching those large color blocks can be relaxing.. almost like meditation since you don't have to do as much counting.

Congrats on all those July events! Love your little mini-cake. So no trouble getting it out of the can?

And your stitchy friends have showered you with some wonderful gifts. Enjoy!

The Queen Bee said...

Such a cute bunny. I like the radish.

Can you imagine how people built all those homes and buildings on the cliffs like that in Spain? Scary.

How lucky to receive such nice RAK's.

And, Oh.... I wrote that recipe book title down. I'd like to find it as my nest shrinks.


Margaret said...

Love your bunny! That darker shade looks great to me! Congratulations on all the birthdays and on 34 years! We were married straight out of college as well. At the time we didn't think we were young to get married, but now that my daughter is turning the age I was when I married, I think we were! lol! I love the pics from your vacation. I swear I would be way too scared to live on such a cliff!! But it sure is beautiful. And the RAKs -- wow! You are a lucky one! Stay cool!

Lisa V said...

I LOVE your rabbit finish, PS designs are just gorgeous when fully stitched up.
"Lucky you", also received some lovely gifts from friends.
Loved the trip photos too.

Lana said...

I love your Rabbit- he turned out really great!! your house sounds like ours in july. My hubby's birthday is the 9th as well, and we celebrate our anniversary on the 19th!! Happy (belated) Anniversary to you and your honey!

Chris said...

Good Morning Carol!
Your PS finish is wonderful. Such beautiful colors.
I have enjoyed your European Journey, all of the beautiful pictures.
Stitcher's are the best :)

Happy Tuesday!

Michele B. said...

What a great finish - that bunny hops off the fabric. Your mistake certainly was serendipitous - I can't imagine it with the colors reversed. I'll bet he would have loved eating that delicious carrot cake you made! I've heard of brown bread in a can but never cake in a can. Hmmm... must look up that cookbook.

The photos of your trip have been such fun to look at. I love the tapestry - what an awesome piece of work.

I'm glad you got such sweet RAKS - you deserve them. I look forward to seeing the strawberry design stitched up - it's a nice complement to your Watermelon Garden.

Mavi. said...

Maravillosas fotos, maravillosos bordados.
Muchos besos.

Tricia T said...

I love your bunny! I think the darker color is perfect - sometimes it's a blessing to make a mistake! Congratulations on the birthdays and your anniversary. Your cake looks good enough to eat. LOL!!

Your vacation pictures are wonderful. I'm so glad you were able to do that! And what lovely RAKS. The beaded edge on that ornament is fantastic!

Nicola said...

Your rabbit is absolutely gorgeous! I'm feeling sooooo tempted!! I wouldn't have known that you'd made a mistake with the symbols - it turned out just fine. Lovely RAK's too.

Congratulations on your son's birthday, yours and your wedding anniversary. We celebrate our 34th in October - 1977 was a good year!

Deborah said...

The rabbit is the sweetest! Wonderful RAKs. Stitchers are the greatest.

Gabi said...

Of course I agree. It's not true. He was born couple of months ago (just before my daughter if I recall that right...lol)
You're not the only Cougar...lol...my husband is 4 years younger then I am.
Congrats on all the birthdays and your anniversary.
Congrats also on finishing this beautiful PS sampler. It looks lovely
The Strawberry chart from Michelle looks great too. So does the snowman.
And I really enjoyed admiring your pictures from Spain. SO beautiful

Giovanna said...

Congrats on finishing the gorgeous rabbit!

Barbara said...

Carol, I love your bunny...he's so precious and I totally agree with you about stitchers. They are the most generous ladies I have ever found.

Patty C. said...

Your Prairie Schooler is coming along nicely :)

Jennifer said...

Happy Happy celebrations, especially your anniversary! 34 years is impressive - here's to another 34, and 34 more on top of that!

Meari said...

Beautiful vacation photos. I love that you're sharing with us... almost as good as being there :)

That little cake is the cutest! Could you share the recipe? I'd like to try making one.

Congrats on your rabbit finish. It turned out beautifully.

Fun RAK's... enjoy them all.

BrendaS said...

Carol --
Love your PS finish. I think some mistakes work out for the better and I think your bunny looks wonderful.

Happy belated birthday to your husband and son and congratulations on 34 years of marriage! What a great month for celebration.

Thanks again for sharing your vacation pics. It's so nice to see other parts of the world.

Have a great week and stay cool. Our a/c has been running like crazy and I'm so very very thankful for it:)))

Rachel S-H said...

Your post is delightful. I have really enjoyed seeing the pictures from Spain. And your Rabbit is WONDERFUL! Love the gifties you have been recieving in the mail--so nice of them to send them.

It seems like the weather has finally broken here, at least temporarily. I'll take it, though!

Shelley said...

Congrats on the great finish!! I'm not a huge rabbit fan but that piece is very pretty.

The cake looks delish! Happy birthday's and anniversary :)

Thanks for sharing all of the awesome pics from your trip.

All those surprises in the mail would have me blushing...

Elia said...

Your bunny is so lovely!!
The cake looks delish! mmmmhhhh
happy anniversary.

have a wonderful week...
photos are magic!

eljardindemiduende ^^

Ana Luisa said...

The stitching is lovely, well done. Thanks for sharing photos of your trip to Spain. :)

Mary said...

Your bunny looks great, Carol.
The colors are perfect!

Congratulations to all of you on such a "happy month." I hope you all enjoyed every minute of each celebration.

Your RAKs are wonderful. You are so deserving for your RAKs to others :)

I hope you're making a journal or scrapbook of your trip. It will be such a beautiful treasure of memories in years to come for your family.

The heat is breaking here but not after 10 days of temps near/over 100. Thank God for ac!!

*HUGS* (I owe you an email)

Vinniey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vinniey said...

How time flies! I missed out reading 3 beautiful posts. Hope I could catch up with blog reading after my house keeping helper come back on September.

What a good idea to recycle the soup can as baking tray. I will try this next time. Thanks for the great idea, Carol. Your carrot cake looks delicious. Happy belated birthday to your youngest son and your hubby. And happy anniversary to you and your hubby too. :)

Your bunny looks so cute in darker color. And "Delivering Liberty" is beautiful too. Love all your vacation photos. Beautiful dining view from Restaurante Ruta Del Azafran when you're in Spain.

Beautiful RAK from Kathy. Love the fabric of that lovely pouch. Patty's work is beautiful, love the finishing.

Nancy said...

Your finished Rabbit is gorgeous, and I think your color "mistakes" make him look beautiful!

Well Carol, we have a couple more things in common besides stitching. My husband and I are also exactly six months apart (to the day!), and I was RAK'd by Michele with the same beautiful pattern! Stitching friends are such special people.

Daffycat said...

A wonderful brown bunny finish! He does look nice that way and I wouldn't have frogged his noggin either!

What a fantastic RAK thank-you gift from Patty. I love that snowman, he's so cute!

Bekca said...

I love your latest Prarie Schooler finish, that bunny is the sweetest. I've really enjoyed looking through all of your holiday snaps and I can't wait for the next installment! Enjoy all of your lovely gifts and happy stitching to you.

butterfly said...

Oh Carol i just love your sweet Rabbit by P/S Your stitching is so neat.
Love the photo,s and the cake,s look so so yummy, can i come for tea.
Also your gifts from stitching friends are beautiful.

Siobhán said...

Your bunny is adorable!! Congratulations on the finish! Great job. Love the RAKs, too--lucky you! :) Happy birthday to your guys and happy anniversary, too!

I enjoyed seeing the pics of Spain. My brother & SIL are contemplating a trip through Spain for their 10th wedding anniversary. I thought of the pics you've previously posted when I agreed about what a gorgeous place it must be.

Stay cool!

Nancy said...

Love your rabbit finish! He looks good dark with light highlights! Nice RAK, such nice gifts you received! Loved the pictures of Rhonda! So beautiful!

Christine said...

Great finish on the rabbit and lovely RAKs. Happy birthdays and anniversaries all round

valerie said...

Congrats on your finish! I love it and I like the bunny in the darker shade too! Congrats to you and DH on your wedding anniversary! 34 years...I can't even imagine! Altho my parents have made it to 56 years! And happy belated to your dear hubby too. Certainly a very busy July for you!

Wonderful RAKs! That is so sweet of Kathy, Michele and Patty. That ornie is just too cute and I really like those polka dot scissors. I may have to looks for them. But I like the new daisy ones that are out too. Wait...no more shopping. I have to put my cc in the freezer.

Annette said...

Wow How beautifull is that Rabiit... lovely piece.

Your trip pic's are so beautifull... I wanne go on vacation too... love it... Can't wait on the last one!!

You lucky girl... with your RAK's... great and so beautifull made... Enjoy them!!

Gillie said...

I only have six weeks of *sorry, before my time* but agree wholeheartedly it is very annoying! Goodness, it was hot last week, wasn't it? We started in DC and worked our way to Chicago via the Burgh and it was 101F when we flew out. Now back in cool, green UK! Gorgeous, gorgeous stitching and Spain!

Melanie said...

Just fabulous!!!
I'm with you - I think he looks great in the darker brown. Definitely a happy 'mistake'!! :)

Happy 34th Anniversary and for all those birthdays. :) I met my husband when I was 19 (am now 39) so we were young too. It certainly doesn't seem like that long though in a lot of ways.

Jennifer said...

Love seeing your trip pics Carol . What a trip of a lifetime you had . How wonderful . Your PS rabbit is beautiful! Congratulations on your beautiful work and gifties you have received. Glad you are having a great summer .

Ellen said...

Love that bunny, beautiful stitching!

I enjoy your vacation photos, thank you for sharing.

Yes, stitchers anre the best, enjoy your lovely RAKs!


barbara said...

Happy birthday to you and your son! :D And many happy returns.

Love that rabbit - and I agree, your turn-around of the colors is an improvement!

passionfruitprincess said...

Cute rabbit!
Happy birthday to you. I love the cake. I have the same problem here. With a family of 3 I always have lots dessert leftovers!
Your gifts are very sweet, the ornament is darling.
Ana Paula

Unknown said...

Wow! Wow! and Wow! Your Prairie Schooler is fabulous- love the color change. Your pictures of your trip are incredible that gorge scared me just looking at the pictures - LOL! And, yes, stitchers are the nicest people in the world and I am glad you got three wonderful examples of their niceness (is that a word?) Anyhow congratulations on everything. Oh! My youngest turned 28 today!!

Pumpkin said...

OH!!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this finish!!!! How I don't have this chart in my stash, I don't know ;o) LOL!

How wonderful! DH turns 40 this week so July is a busy month it seems ;o) I'm a cougar as well so we're in the same club. LOL! That cake looks SO delicious and more drool on my keyboard, just to let you know...

Look at all those RAK! But who better to receive them ;o) Stitchers have such warm hearts and are so thoughtful.

Kay said...

I love the PS finish, it is very beautiful! The cake looks yummy as well. Me and my husband both have July birthdays that are 2 weeks apart, so I can relate to your situation, lol.

Lois said...

I always love to see your PS finishes. This rabbit is such a lovely one. November is the month in our family for lots of birthdays! What lovely RAK's you received. I can never get tired of seeing pics from your trip. It's wonderful to have the chance to see where you visited.

Solstitches said...

Your PS rabbit is beautiful and worth every stitch of the solid stitching.
What a neat idea for a cake. I'd never have thought to do that but it would be my luck not to be able to turn it out and end up eating it right out of the can with a spoon :)
Congrats. on your wedding anniversary.
Lovely RAK's. Stitchers really are the best.


Sally said...

Your R is for Rabbit is delightful Carol :)

Lots of celebrations :) I love that cake! Happy Belated Wedding Anniversary!

What lovely RAKs from Michele and Patty.

Cindy's Stitching said...

your post made me laugh, you cougar. congratulations to you and your husband. Your baking always looks amazing. Lucky man he is. Your baby 23, how can that be. I fell like that to. The time just flies. Rabbit is beautiful. all the extra goodies you received are so great.The photos of your trip, priceless.

Lynn said...

I think your bunny is adorable and agree that the darker shade looks much nicer.

Belated Happy Anniversary and thanks for sharing the link for cookbook. I find it difficult cooking for just the two of us.
Love your photos of Spain! My former boss vacationed there every year and has told me many things about the area. Really lovely!

Gorgeous RAKs! Stitchers are indeed the greatest folks!

Lesleyanne said...

A great finish - your bunny is lovely. Great photos. Gorgeous cake. Gorgeous gifts from fellow stitchers, they really are the best.

Wendy said...

wauw, beautiful photo´s, and, of course, beautiful stitching !

please, send some of that heat to us, we´re having summer holiday, and it it just cold over here, not nice at all !

Edit said...

Your PS rabbit looks absolutely beautiful, but what else can I say about a PS picture? :)

Happy birthday to your "birthday boys" and happy anniversary, too.

Here we are also having hot weather, not as hot as the last years, but still enough for me to stay at home and do not feel like doing anything at all, but enjoying air conditioner.

Your photos about Ronda are wonderful, I have never been there but looks like a lovely place. Probably not the best place to go in the summer, though, I guess it must be really hot.

Have a nice evening,

Nicky said...

Your bunny is beautiful! Every day I look at the little Spring bunny you stitched and admire it, I was the luckiest girl to win some of your gorgeous stitching! Congrats on all the milestones at your house, non-stop selebrating! Your photos of your trip are stunning, and I am absolutely with you about those steps. I don't think I could even live in the houses that close. lol
I hope you're having a great week,
take care, Nicky

Catherine said...

I love how your bunny turned out!! The coloring looks perfect to me!
Sounds like you have been busy with all of your celebrations - the cake is so sweet. I've heard of cake-in-the-can, but have never seen one or tried to make one. Perhaps now I will!
Wow! Those houses are in an amazing place. I'm with you though, don't think I'd be walking down to the cliff-side patio either!
You certainly had a great mail week! Lovely RAK's!

♥ Nia said...

Hello my sweet friend :D
Summer decided to arrive this week, finally we are having hot weather, really hot summer temperatures.. and no wind! :p Perfect summer time for the beach ;) heheheheh

Such a beautiful bunny! Congrats on your finish! :)

Congratulations to your son and you husband!! :D I'm also a birthday girl from July too heheheh But I'm a Leo ;)
Really 6 months? I'm 5 years older than Rui! But I look 5 years younger than him ;) LOL :D

By now you can write your own book about your travel to Europe :D heheeh

Hugs&Smiles to you sweetie!! :)

Cole said...

Wow, you had a trip of a lifetime! Lovely stitching :)

Nancy M said...

Your bunny looks perfect the way it is! We all make them personal somehow, don't we?? That cliff cafe would be really scary, but I think I would have to try it! I'm considering going on a river cruise somewhere in Europe with my mom next year, I hope it materializes! Those RAKS are awesome and you must have some great stitching friends! Congrats on the 34 years, we just had 30....how does time go so fast???

♥marylin♥ said...

♥ oh ces images sont merveilleuses bravo ! bisous bisous ♥

Berit said...

I adore your rabbit color change and finish! Oh, how wonderful PS is! :D

Also great are your travel pics. I have so been enjoying them these last weeks.

Julie said...

Belated birthday and anniversary wishes to you all. Such a super cake, it looks so yummy!

Rabbit is adorable, and i definately agree with you that stitchers are wonderful people, i too have recently received some wonderful goodies

Hope your weather is cooler now

Quiltsmiles said...

Sweet bunny and how appropriate since it is still the chinese year of the rabbit. Your color changes look great besides all the friendly RAK. Cyber stitcher friends are the best. JAne

Unknown said...


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o meu trabalho é o 1, uma rosa com o nome artes da jane!!
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