Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkeys and skunks and raccoons, oh my!

Thanksgiving greetings! It's hard to believe turkey day is almost here, isn't it? If you're wondering where I've been for the past three weeks, it's a good bet I've been doing something Thanksgiving related. Either prepping for the 21 folks that will be feasting here on Thursday or stitching some little pillows for my November bowl. What else could the theme be for November other than "thankfulness." And I am thankful...for so very many things that I've been blessed with throughout my life...

One of the things I've most enjoyed about stitching things for my monthly bowl is looking through my old freebies and books and stumbling upon a long-overlooked design that just fits the theme perfectly. For November, these five designs cried out the loudest and I'm so happy I finally stitched and finished them.

November 2012 Thanksgiving Finishes

I'm sure many of you recognize and have stitched this first one yourselves...This is Primitive Betty's "Thankful" freebie which you can find right here. This one stitched up very quickly with a bit of Crescent Colours "Roasted Chestnut" on 40 ct. flax Newcastle. To finish it off, I attached a trio of brown buttons in various shapes and sizes and used a couple of brown patterned fabrics to turn it into a little pillow.

Primitive Betty's Thankful freebie

Do you keep all of your old stitching books and magazines from years past? I do, and I'm so glad, because you never know what will appeal to you on down the road. Pieces I would never have stitched 20 years ago are now calling my name! This next finish is a perfect example... "Harvest Sampler" is from a very old (1998!) Leisure Arts hardcover book called Holiday Reverie. I left out the alphabet and a couple of the bands because I wanted this to be small enough to fit into my bowl. This was stitched on 28 ct. tea-dyed Monaco over one with a skein of Crescent Colours "Tennessee Red Clay" and finished into a simple pillow with some clay colored fabric and a bit of lace trim.

"Harvest Sampler" (from the book Holiday Reverie)

After stitching "Halloween Spots" last month and being so pleased with how it turned out, I decided to stitch "Thanksgiving Spots" for November. For this piece I used a variety of overdyed and DMC threads and stitched it over one on 28 ct. almond lugana. It is SO tiny--not even two inches square!! Even after I added the fabrics on the sides, it measures just 3 1/2 inches... Did I ever mention how much I love tiny things--I guess you've figured that out after all the smalls I've done this year :o)

"Thanksgiving Spots" by The Trilogy

And those long-legged birds make another appearance in my monthly bowl, too! I don't know what it is about them, but they always manage to make me smile. This "Thanksgiving Bird" dressed as a Pilgrim is particularly cute, isn't he? The chart, by Heart In Hand, called for a pumpkin button which I didn't have, so I improvised and stitched a cute pumpkin in its place. It is stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with a variety of overdyeds and DMC fibers.  The fabric shown behind is what I backed it with and a handmade cording of DMC 729 finished it off quite simply. I actually made two of these this month--one flew off to the other side of Pennsylvania as a birthday gift for my sweet friend, Mary.

"Thanksgiving Bird" by Heart In Hand

Last, but not least (in fact, this is my husband's favorite finish for the month), is another freebie from Beth Twist at "My Heartstring" blog which you can download right here. Obviously, this one is stitched on black and I just love how the colors pop... I stitched it over one on 32 ct. black Belfast linen and, at times, I wondered why I was torturing myself! I love over one stitching, but NOT on linen, and NOT on anything higher than 28 ct. But, somehow I found myself using a 32 ct. linen--in black, no less!! Just call me crazy... But, isn't it sweet? If you would like a list of the threads I used (all overdyeds), please feel free to email me. The backing fabric is just a bit of fabric from a gold colored cloth napkin. I then accented it with some orange ribbon that matched the pumpkins...

"Give Thanks" freebie from My Heartstring blog

So, which one is your favorite this month? I love them all, but I'd say I have to agree with my husband and pick the "Give Thanks" freebie stitched on black...

2012 Thanksgiving Finishes

And here are all five in my wooden bowl along with one of my favorite older finishes, the framed Prairie Schooler turkey (which, in my opinion, is the most handsome cross stitched turkey out there!). I can't believe I'm down to one last month of filling my bowl. I so appreciate all of your supportive comments along the way this past eleven months--you've really kept me going!

November 2012 bowl of finishes

Here is a close-up shot for you...

And one more...

The poor dazed and confused raccoon

I'll bet you're wondering about the title of my post... What do skunks and raccoons have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, in truth, nothing, but we are hoping and praying that our resident skunk--yes, skunk, doesn't make an unwanted appearance on Thursday as our Thanksgiving guests arrive. My husband discovered, a few days ago, that a skunk has taken up residence under our front porch so he arranged for a "critter control" specialist to set up traps to remove it. Well, after a bill of $203.29 (oh, when I think about the stash I could have bought with that money!!), all we've managed to catch so far is a frightened red cardinal and an ancient gray raccoon. Both were set free and went on their way (although, it took the dazed raccoon a while to amble off). So, where is Mr. Pepe le Pew? I sure hope he isn't biding his time waiting to spray our guests on Thanksgiving as they walk up the front sidewalk.  I think we'll be kind and warn them to use the back door!

How will you be spending your Thanksgiving? My husband's family will be coming here and this year we have a small gathering of only 21--yes, that is small for us! I've hostessed Thanksgiving 11 out of the past 15 years, so by now, I've got it down to a science. I have shopping lists and spreadsheets with meal timing and such on my computer. I have amassed all the various dishes, glasses, silverware, tablecloths, and serving bowls. I've baked and frozen a tasty assortment of cookies and pies, breads and muffins ahead of time. I've assigned my guests a dish (or two!) to bring. But one thing eludes me--I CAN'T MAKE GRAVY!! In fact, I am a complete and total flop at making gravy. My mother-in-law has to rescue mine each and every year. Last time, it was so thin, she spent nearly an hour stirring and stirring... adding cornstarch, etc. to make it thicken. I can't ask this poor 84-year-old woman to do that again this year. So, you know what--I'm cheating! I'm buying my gravy at Whole Foods this year!! (But, if any of you have any hints at all about making a good, simple turkey gravy, I'd love to hear them...)


Well, I think that is more than enough of my blathering for today! I want to wish each of you who celebrate Thanksgiving a lovely day with your family and friends. I am so thankful for the presence of each of you in my life--your comments and emails, support and inspiration, really mean a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and leave a comment--I know how busy you all are at this time of year, so it means all the more! Bye for now...