Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gifts and Giveaways

Good morning, my stitching friends! And how are you doing in this very last week of October? Is everyone ready for Halloween? I so miss those days when my sons would fill the house with the excitement of creating their costumes (with just a bit of help from mom!), mapping out their trick-or-treat route, carving pumpkins, and at the very end of Halloween night, laying out their candy by type on the floor of our family room in a massive trade-fest (and generously giving all of their coconut candy bars like Mounds or Almond Joys to me because I'm the only one who likes coconut in the family!). What fun memories...

I want to thank all of you so much for those wonderful comments you left on my last post. I'm so touched that you liked the goodies I made for Lynn at Happiness is Cross Stitching and now that I've received her part of the exchange, I know you'll be absolutely blown away! Lynn started off making me the most beautiful fabric box in a pretty fall print of red and gold. On top of it she attached a stitched "C" monogram and added a touch of cording and a pretty crystal pin as the "opener." It is tiny--not quite 3" X 5"--just the way I like things! I really need to learn how to make these fabric boxes myself, and, luckily, Lynn has included detailed instructions in her tutorials blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to put together your helpful tutorials, Lynn!

Fabric box made by Lynn in our October exchange

Inside the box were two more beauties all done in the same shades of red and gold--a bottlecap pincushion and a needlebook with a pretty butterfly clasp...

Bottlecap pincushion and felt needlebook from Lynn

Here is a close-up of Lynn's darling creations:

And to package them, she made me this cute bag:

Stitched pouch from Lynn B.

It was so nice getting to know you over the past year, Lynn. I loved your treats--everything was so perfectly stitched and assembled and I know I'll think of you whenever I admire them. Thank you again, my friend!

Exhange gifts from Lynn B. at Happiness is Cross Stitching

And look what arrived from down south! My North Carolina friend, Myra, surprised me with this adorable candy corn mug mat for my favorite "brew"--too cute! I love it, Myra--you really made me smile!!

Candy Corn Mug Mat from Miss Myra!

Do you remember this little Shepherd's Bush Thanksgiving design which I won from Tricia? Well, I stitched it not once, but twice--once "over one" on 28 ct. cashel linen and the second time over two using two strands of thread on 40 ct. linen. 

"Give Thanks" by Shepherd's Bush--twice over!!

GIVEAWAY #1: Now the little chart is ready to move on to a new home. Who would like to stitch it next? If you want to stitch it up quickly (it only takes a few hours) and send it along to another stitcher, please let me know in your comments. This giveaway is for the followers of my blog and please be sure to leave your email if it is not included in your profile. Oh, and for fun, tell me the name of your favorite Halloween treat!

 Giveaway #1 for the Shepherd's Bush "Give Thanks" chart

GIVEAWAY #2: But, wait--that's not all!! I decided to stitch one of my little pillows out of one of my finishes and offer it up as a giveaway, too... The same rules apply--this giveaway is for the followers of my blog and you must leave your email if it is not included in your profile. For fun, please share with me the name of your favorite Halloween treat, too. And for this giveaway, if you are a regular commenter (and you know who you are!) you will get an extra entry. This Thanksgiving pillow is stitched over one on 28 ct. cashel linen and includes a variety of autumn colored ric-rac, ribbon, fabrics and cording. It is backed in the same fabric shown on the left side. (The drawing is for the pillow only--the scissors are not included).

 Giveaway #2: "Give Thanks" pillow

If you are interested in either giveaway, just let me know in your comments and I will draw two winners in November. I'll set the deadline for this drawing as November 10th. Good luck, everyone!

Well, I'm off tomorrow to my yearly stitching retreat at a bed & breakfast with four of my blogging buddies (yes, we all met online and have been meeting up like this for four years now!). After that I'll be driving directly to New York to visit my parents so I may be out of touch for a bit. I hope each of you has a delightful Halloween night--stay safe and be sure to eat some of your children's or grandchildren's chocolate for me!! Bye for now...


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Friends and Stitching

Good morning, my friends... and I don't use the word "friends" lightly. It has been a week since we lost our dear Cathey and with each passing day I realize even more what a special and inspiring friend she was over the past four years as well as just how important each of you is in my life.

"It still amazes me after all these years of Blogging 
and being on the computer the kinds of relationships
 you can develop. Here you are connecting with someone 
you've never met or even talked to on the phone 
and an instant friendship blossoms :o)"
                          ~ Pumpkin Patch & Co. ~ September 9, 2011

The previous highlighted sentences weren't written by me, but they could have been--or by any one of you, no doubt. They were written on Cathey's blog back in this post from September 2011 which she wrote to thank me and another blogging friend for some little surprise gifts we had sent her way. It's hard to explain blogging friendships to people who don't blog, isn't it? I think, too many times, these friendships are dismissed by non-bloggers as "not real" because, in most cases, we've never met each other. But, like Cathey, I treasure the blogging friendships I've made and know they are real.

I've spent the past week re-reading parts of Cathey's blog and crying my way through the emails that we exchanged over the past few years. I think every blogging friendship is formed because of something shared--not only the love of stitching, but also a personality trait, a certain sense of humor, similar family backgrounds or beliefs, etc. Cathey was much younger than me--in fact I teased her that she was young enough to be my daughter (well, if I'd had her at age 16!!), but that didn't stop us from becoming fast friends. I, along with all of you, admired her strength and determination to beat the disease that spread so quickly through her. I will miss her every day and think of her each time I see a pumpkin in any form. ((^^)) Rest in peace, my sweet friend...

Stitching brought Cathey comfort as it does for so many of us. Lately, I've only been stitching for friends, but I can finally show you some of the things I've been working on and have sent on to their new homes...

EXCHANGE WITH LYNN: When someone with almost 3000 followers on her Happiness Is Cross Stitching blog asked me to do an exchange with her, I was taken aback! And a bit nervous... I really have a hard time pinning down exactly what to stitch for anyone. Do any of you have that problem? I think I tend to overthink things, but I finally decided on a block from Hillside Samplings' "Seasonal Samplings" chart for Lynn. I stitched this on 32 ct. flax Belfast linen using the suggested DMC colors and finished it into a black box. As you can see, I added the date and Lynn's initials onto the stitching, too. I'm very happy with the way it turned out and Lynn seems to love it, as well.

Exchange gift for Lynn B.

Here's a glimpse of the inside which I lined with this pretty black and white swirly fabric and edged with handmade trim in DMC 3045. The box started off as a simple wooden unfinished piece that I sanded, primed, and painted with three coats of black craft paint. 

Inside of box for Lynn B.

I also stitched this  little scissor fob for Lynn using the freebie that can be found on this page  from Casa Mia (scroll down to near the bottom of the page and you'll see it). I simply used the same DMC colors as in the box finish and added the same border so it would coordinate with the box. 

Scissor fob freebie  for Lynn B.

I thought it would be nice to include a few non-stitched treats, too, so I also included a cute pair of Eiffel Tower scissors, some black and white fabric, and an "L" monogrammed needleminder...

And here is a final shot of the whole exchange. The package crossed the Atlantic Ocean and made it's way to Lynn's home in England in a record-breaking SIX days!! Unbelievable...  Lynn's gift to me should be arriving sometime next week--I can hardly wait to see what she created for me...

Exchange gifts sent to Lynn B. ~ October 2013

BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR MYRA:  My friend, Myra, is one of my long-time blogging buddies--one of those faithful friends who always leaves a comment and whose emails certainly brighten my day. She celebrated a most special birthday in September so I wanted to make her day a memorable one and this little piece is what sprang from my needle. It is a tiny over-one piece from the Prairie Schooler "Acorns" (Book No. 65) and features a cute Pilgrim couple preparing for Thanksgiving. I usually stitch Myra something Halloween related, but decided that if she's anything like me, Thanksgiving stitchings aren't quite as plentiful so I went with this one this year.
Birthday gift for Myra

I changed the colors on some of the leaves (they are nowhere near as bright as they appear in the photo above--they're more like the picture below) and had to change the color of her bonnet and his stockings to a pale gray as the suggested white wasn't showing up well enough on the almond colored fabric.  To finish it off into this Thanksgiving pillow I added a few autumnal colored fabrics, some brown ric-rac and a wooden button. Tiny and cute--just the way I like my stitching! Happy Birthday again, dear Myra--may your coming year be filled with happiness...

Finished birthday pillow for Myra

BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR VALERIE: And for my fun, young friend, Valerie in San Francisco, who celebrated her birthday earlier this month, I stitched this Homespun Elegance design called "Majestic Cat" from the September/October 2013 issue of "Just Cross Stitch Magazine." I stitched Mr. Kitty on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with a variety of DMC and overdyed threads. I did change some of the colors and added in the yellow.

"Majestic Cat" by Homespun Elegance

Her gift is finished off into a little pillow that Valerie can set on a shelf or fireplace mantle  when she decorates for Halloween each year. I hope you like him my friend--I had a wonderful time stitching him for you... Happy Birthday and best wishes for a fun-filled year ahead!

 Birthday pillow for Valerie
GIVEAWAY WIN... My friend, Tricia,  recently offered this darling Shepherd's Bush Thanksgiving chart in a recent giveaway. I was the lucky winner and I promised to pass it along when I was done stitching it so watch this space for a future giveaway... Not only did Tricia include the chart and a bit of the WDW Indian Summer thread to finish it off, but she also included the sweetest handmade card. Tricia's cards are perfection--I love them! You can see more of her beautifully creative cards at her Simply Stamping blog. Thank you again, Tricia--I look forward to stitching this one very soon!

Giveaway win from Tricia

And just look at this sweet bouquet of flowers which my oldest son brought me last month. He had to stay at our house for a time while the bathroom in his apartment was being remodeled. What was supposed to be "a few days" turned into almost two weeks so he brought me this lovely arrangement as a "thank you." What did he get for his dad--why a six-pack of a craft beer, of course! I think we raised him right, don't you?! 

Flowers from my oldest son

FINAL THOUGHTS ON FRIENDSHIP: While looking through one of the new psychology books that I recently ordered for my library (Discovering Joye: Uncovering the Treasures Inside Ordinary People, Places, Things, and Ourselves by Jim Stovall), I came upon a chapter on friendship and these words caught my eye:  
"Friends are not simply individuals who make
 us feel good or bring us what we want.
 Friends are those people who complete us and
make the road on which we travel not necessarily
 easier, but more significant in lasting ways." 

Thank you, my friends,  for coming into my life and helping to make it more significant and meaningful... in so many ways. Bye for now...