Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gifts for three (and a few for me!)

Happy mid-May morning to you, my friends! The turn of the calendar page to May changed our weather into summer-like conditions almost overnight--I love it! Warmth and sunshine have abounded this month and with temperatures near 90, we have been having weather that is more like that of July. It did dip down into the 30s last night, but we'll be back up in the 80s by the weekend. Some people are complaining that we had no spring here in western Pennsylvania, but after that horribly long, frigid winter we endured, I couldn't be happier to feel the warmth of the sunshine again...

Most of my stitching lately has been sent away as gifts and now that the recipients have received them, I can share them with you. First of all, I sent this little pillow to my friend, Melissa, in Vancouver, Canada. I had been planning on sending her a RAK for some time now, but since she celebrated a birthday in April, this gift turned into a birthday/RAK! The chart is from With Thy Needle & Thread's "Valentine Sampler" booklet and is stitched on 40 ct. raw Newcastle using most of the suggested threads (with a few substitutions, of course!).

With Thy Needle and Thread's "Valentine Sampler"

Now, you'll notice I made a few changes to the original chart (which you can see right here). I wanted to make this special for Melissa so I changed the swans that were charted on both sides of the flower pot to kitties--her kitties: Julius and Daisy! I was so pleased with how they came out--I know the coloring isn't quite right, but I think Melissa appreciates my efforts. Believe me, I am no artist!! I then finished it into a small pin pillow complete with handmade cording and accented with tiny spools. I thought the spools of thread were very appropriate because, in addition to being a lovely stitcher, Melissa has become quite proficient with her sewing machine lately and is creating some beautiful pieces of clothing for herself (which you can see showcased in her fairly new sewing blog). I am so happy to report that she loves it (hope the kitties do, too!).

Gift for Melissa

My next gift went to Elizabeth B. (no blog) in Texas who celebrated a birthday earlier this week. She and I first "met" while discussing Christmas ornaments, so I thought a little something to add to her Christmas tree would be a meaningful gift. I am truly on a PS Santa binge this year and found myself stitching this Santa sitting atop a prancing reindeer from the PS Book No. 48 "A Christmas Visit." Once again, I used 40 ct. raw Newcastle and the suggested DMC threads.

Prairie Schooler: "A Christmas Visit"

Here is a better look at it. The backing fabric is the tiny green checked material. I think that next time, I will leave less of a border showing when I finish this one, but overall, I'm pleased with the arched shape of this ornament. It wasn't the easiest finish for me, but I feel like I got it fairly even.

Gift for Elizabeth B.

My final gift for May was sent to Robin (no blog), in Virginia, who happens to have a birthday on May 14th--a most special day. Why is that day so special, you may ask? Well, it happens to be my dear mother's birthday, too! For Robin, I made a version of a pillow I showed you earlier this year (in this post). I stitched only the top half of the "Primrose Maiden" design by The Little Stitcher that can be found in the April 2015 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. 

The Little Stitcher's "Primrose Maiden"

Here is a photo showing the two versions side by side. For Robin's gift I used 32 ct. linen using two strands of DMC and for my version I used 40 ct. linen with one strand of DMC and also stitched the border beneath. The colors are truer in the photo below than the one I took outside shown above. I really love both versions and I'm so happy Robin likes her birthday gift!

Gift for Robin (in the front)

A gift for me... Sweet Jackie, from Jackie's Stitches, sent me a wonderful and much appreciated RAK earlier this month. Just look at this grand assortment of fabric scraps and squares she sent my way. Oh, my--I felt like I was in heaven! I just love receiving finishing fabrics and, as most of you know, I use little scraps quite often in my pillow creations. I was so excited to see fabrics for every season and holiday--just for me!! Thank you, thank you, Jackie--I am thrilled with your generous gift. If you aren't familiar with Jackie's blog, please visit--not only does she stitch, but she also quilts, sews, and knits. And she does everything so beautifully...

A multitude of fabrics from Jackie!

Mother's Day memories... I wasn't sure what to expect on Mother's Day this year as I hadn't heard a word from my sons all week. Usually, they ask for gift suggestions or ask what I'd like for dinner--but, not this year! All I knew, was that I was not going to cook my own Mother's Day dinner, so my mom and I came up with a plan for me to set the kitchen table with cereal bowls, put out a lineup of cereal boxes in the center, and announce that that would be our Mother's Day dinner. Well, happily, I didn't have to carry out my little plan because my older sons arrived shortly after noon with gifts and dinner fixings in hand. I truly was surprised! My middle son brought me a lovely white Mandevilla plant, my eldest gave me a generous gift certificate to 123 Stitch (oh, yeah!!), and my youngest sent a dozen cupcakes all the way from Georgetown Cupcake--yum!

Mandevilla from my middle son

I just love the yellow centered white flowers on this plant and am hoping the deer don't love them, too. I'm keeping the plant in a blue ceramic pot right on my patio next to my kitchen door so I pray they won't be that bold and come so close to the house. We'll see!

Geogetown Cupcakes sent by youngest son

The cupcakes were fabulous--and famous. The bakery even has its own TV show: DC Cupcakes.  Just look at the line that extended up the street and around the corner for people waiting to purchase them on the Saturday before Mother's Day! My son and his girlfriend happened to be in the vicinity of the bakery's Georgetown location and snapped this photo... Luckily, he ordered them online so there was no wait for him. My favorite was the peanut butter fudge in the front row--oh, my! Hard to limit yourself to just one a day, but I've been doing just that all week (okay, I confess--I did have two on Mother's Day!).

Waiting in line at Georgetown Cupcake!

This is the dinner that my sons cooked for me--chicken kabobs, grilled veggies, and some baked fries (that was my contribution since I don't eat most vegetables :) They also bought an assortment of grapes, but forgot to put them out. Everything was delicious (well, the guys told me the veggies were!) and I was thoroughly spoiled by my sons. It really was one of the nicest Mother's Days I can remember, except for the fact that my youngest son wasn't with us. He and I had a nice chat that morning, though, and we had just seen him last weekend on our way home from the beach in Delaware, so that helped!

Mother's Day dinner prepared by my sons

My oldest son and I took a walk around nearby North Park lake on Mother's Day afternoon. We usually walk the entire five-mile loop, but it was just boiling outside (nearly 90!) so we took the shortcut and only walked four miles. He snapped a couple of photos using his new phone--I was so impressed with the quality! Maybe it's time for me to break down and get myself a smart phone? It truly is a lovely park and it was very quiet for a Sunday--I suppose most everyone was off visiting their moms.

North Park Lake

A perfect place for a Mother's Day walk

Lately, our yard has been filled with some unwanted visitors. This time of year, the Canada Geese make an appearance searching for just the right place to nest. I think our small, peaceful pond presents itself as a perfect spot. Unfortunately, they are some of the messiest birds known to man and we don't want them settling down here so we chase them off as soon as they are spotted each spring. This couple wouldn't leave, in spite of my yelling, clapping, and general making-a-fool-of-myself antics... They simply flew into the water and seemed to know there was no way I could get to them unless I jumped in the water myself!

Canada Geese--handsome, but, oh-so-messy!!

This little guy and I came face to face when I was out photographing the flowering trees. Boy, was he shocked when he headed down the tree and found himself face to face with a human carrying a camera! I don't mind the squirrels except when they steal the birds' food--they are actually quite entertaining in their attempts to get to the bird feeders. Doesn't he look surprised to see me in "his territory?"

"Hmmm--I wasn't expecting you to be here!"

This particular squirrel and I played hide and seek for about five minutes around the tree. He would go to one side, peak out, see me, and run to the other. It was so cute! Why he didn't just run high up into the safety of the treetops, I'll never know! There was no way this old lady would be climbing up after him, that's for sure... 

Can you spot his little head?

With the sudden blast of heat this month, came so many beautiful flowers and flowering trees--all in white! In our yard you can spot (clockwise from lower left):  vibernum, flowering crabs, dogwood, and lily of the valley. What a welcome sight after the long winter! They are just about done blooming now, so I need to make my way to the garden center and try to busy some flowers that won't be immediately eaten by the deer. Anyone have any suggestions for tried-and-true deer-proof flowers?

The white flowers of spring

May 14--a very special birthday... My mom is turning 88 today and I want to wish her a wonderful day! I just love her more than words can say and am so very proud of her. Many of you have asked, from time to time, how mom is doing since dad's death... Since saying goodbye to him in late October, she's had her sad moments, of course, but it is so nice to see her enjoying her life again without worrying about how he is doing at the dementia facility. She is reading more, playing me nightly (and often beating me!) in "Words With Friends" online, and enjoying visits with my sister and brother and their families who live nearby. I so wish I lived closer, but I know she knows how very much I love and miss her... ♥♥♥


I'm so sorry for the length of this post--I guess I had more to report than I thought I would! I want to say a special thanks to each of you who takes the time to comment. I know that blogging is fading away as more and more people turn to the quicker and easier posting on Facebook and Instagram so your comments mean ever so much to me. Welcome to my newest followers, too--I'm amazed that the number is creeping toward 1500!! Enjoy your day and this beautiful month of May.  Bye for now...