Good February evening to you, my sweet friends! Who else is cheering the end of January? What a long, cold, miserable month--at least for those of us in the midwest and east (and many of you in the south, too). We received 20 inches more snow than in an "average" January...and I know I'll never forget all those sub-zero days. I'm sure hoping that February will be a bit nicer to us. But, a bright spot within that cold first month of 2014 was my birthday! I can't thank you enough for all of your birthday wishes on my last post. I'm so glad that many of you shared my recollections of childhood memories--it really was a wonderful time to grow up in so many ways, wasn't it? I do worry about the fast pace of life that children face growing up in today's world. I guess that sounds "old-fashioned," but it is so hard to see what kids have to deal with today in what should be a fun, simple time in their lives.
I've done a bit of stitching, but only have two things to share with you today--both were sent off as gifts. I stitched my first LHN "Little Sheep Virtues" and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one, "Peace," was sent to my friend, Cindy, for her birthday last month. I stitched it on 40 ct. pearl gray Newcastle using most of the suggested colors, but I changed the greens to DMC 3051 and 3052. I also added a few more leaves to the tree branches on the right. A simple ecru handmade cording finished it off into a sweet, little pillow for Cindy to set on a bookshelf or place in a basket.
Birthday gift stitched for Cindy
Another Little Sheep Virtues design, "Love," caught my eye and I thought it would be perfect for Valentine's Day stitching. This was sent as a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) to my friend, Lisa over at The Inspired Stitcher. I hope to do quite a few RAK's this year--just want to bring a smile to the faces of some of you wonderful stitching friends. Nothing is expected in return--I just enjoy surprising people now and then... For "Love," I again used the 40 ct. pearl gray Newcastle (although it seems to appear blue in this photo for some reason) and the same threads that I chose for the "Peace" pillow. I added two more small red hearts above the heart near over the "V" rather than add the suggested button. Both Cindy's gift and Lisa's RAK were backed with the pale green and ivory fabric you see in this photo. I think I'll be stitching this a second time to add to my bowl of Valentine's pillows...
RAK stitched for Lisa
I've also stitched both my Christmas ornaments for January and February, but want to wait until I'm done with the finishing to share them with you. Another RAK is in the works and will be winging its way to another stitching friend very soon, too!
BIRTHDAY ROUND-UP... Several of you asked what my sons cooked for my birthday dinner. I'll tell you... it was such a treat to just sit and be waited on that evening! I'm not used to others cooking for me and I honestly didn't quite know how to just sit and relax as they bustled around the kitchen cooking and doing the dishes... The main dish they prepared was called Pasta all'Amatrice and was prepared with a new-to-me pasta called bucatini. It was like a thick hollow spaghetti--have any of you had it before? Very, very tasty and quick to prepare. They also served roasted vegetables (not a green one in sight, thank goodness!!), garlic bread, and ended the feast with a selection of little cheesecakes for dessert. It was an almost-perfect evening--if only my youngest son could have been there with us, too. But, he surprised me by sending this simply gorgeous flower arrangement. Hydrangeas, lilies, iris, daisies, and white roses--such a perfect bouquet for me!
Birthday flowers from youngest son
Two wonderful gift certificates from 123 Stitch arrived from my oldest and middle sons and my middle son and his girlfriend also gave me this pretty blue and white bowl filled with the most fragrant hyacinth. It's been such a pleasure to enjoy a bit of spring as the snow flies outside!
A breath of spring!
And, guess what? More birthday gifts arrived from stitching friends. It took a bit longer to get them from overseas, but they were both well worth the wait. My sweet friend, Valerie, sent these all the way from France. Just look at this adorable blue and white needlebook that she stitched for me! I so love the little girl on the swing and the beautiful "C" monogram--just perfect! (This is from a French design called Toile de Jouy Alphabet Chart). She included a pretty handmade card and some floss as well. Thank you so much, my lovely friend--your thoughtful gifts are so special!
Birthday gifts from Valerie
My dear friend, Lois in Northern Ireland, sent another fabulous package of goodies. She made a lovely floss tag (her first ever--and it looks perfect!) in the prettiest shades of blue and green. As you can see, it is monogrammed with my initials and the year and finished with a lovely blue/gray cording. The gift box also included a sweet chart called "Maddie Button" (I know I'll be stitching this one soon!), a lovely decorative bow, some silk floss, and a package of tea. Lois, your gifts put a huge smile on my face--thank you so very much!
Birthday gifts from Lois
And I was also treated to another 123 Stitch gift certificate from my sweet friend, Donna (no blog) who lives in West Virginia. I know just what I'll be ordering with it, Donna! Thanks so very much for making my birthday so special!
It's a tradition at the library where I work that whoever is celebrating his or her birthday brings a treat for our monthly meeting, so, with my January birthday, I'm first each year. This year, I treated my co-workers to this plate of cookies... Oh, my--the aromas of butter and sugar were amazing as they baked. Along with the peanut-butter kiss cookies you see on the left, I also made White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies, Raspberry Brownies, and Pecan Pie Bars. Needless to say we were all on a "sugar high" after that meeting...
Birthday goodies made for work
I also wanted to share with you this bowl of cheery snowmen that I have on the sideboard in my kitchen. Honestly, just seeing their smiling faces has helped make this long winter a bit more bearable. Just look at those cute little grins--I dare you not to smile! My husband bought this long (22 inches!), narrow wooden bowl for me for Christmas and it is a perfect depth for displaying a row of my little pillows. These are actually Christmas ornaments that I placed in the bowl after we took our tree down last month. Cute, eh?
My bowl of jolly snowmen
Well, that's about it for my first February post. I plan on doing some Valentine stitching over the next couple of weeks--how about you? I hope you each have a great week ahead with lots of stitching time! There is nothing more therapeutic than curling up with our fabric, thread, and needle on these cold winter days, don't you agree? Thanks again for your delightful comments and emails... you always manage to make me smile! Bye for now...