I finally have a finish! My very first finish of 2016... What a s-l-o-w stitcher I've been so far this year. I'm not sure what my problem is, but it seems that the long afternoons peacefully stitching away in my favorite chair just aren't happening this winter... I want to stitch--I just don't seem to have the time for some reason. I've really been enjoying visiting your blogs, though, and admiring your finishes and new starts.
So, can you guess what I've been working on for the past five weeks?
Well, here are a few clues. Let's start with a wicker basket brimming with pink and white blooms all nestled on some crisp white lace...
Add some of my favorite blue hydrangeas in a pristine white pitcher...
And a flower-strewn topiary...
Don't forget a pretty basket planted with miniature sunflowers...
And a charming tin watering can filled with pink posies...
I'll bet most of you have figured out what my first finish of 2016 is, haven't you? Yes, it's...
The Flower Shop!
|"The Flower Shop" finish|
"The Flower Shop" (Country Cottage Needleworks) like its companion piece, "The Bakery" (which I stitched last year), took so much longer to stitch than I thought it would. Of course, when you completely change some of the design and end up stitching that part twice, it doesn't help! The original design had an entirely different sign at the top. It was simply stitched with light green thread (you can see it by clicking here). I stitched it that way originally, and although it looked "okay," I really wanted it to match the sign that was used on "The Bakery" that I finished last year, which was done with black lettering and a white background. So out came the scissors and needle and I began pulling out each of those carefully stitched letters. I had to re-chart the sign to make thinner letters in order to accommodate the wide white background. It took a while, but I'm so pleased I took the time to redo it. Now I have two lovely coordinating pieces to be framed in black and hung by my kitchen door.
|Two cute stitched shops--wish they would design more!|
I made a few more changes to the design substituting a gray color for the shelving under the flower pots and a black bottom border instead of the suggested golden brown. I also used little yellow flowers rather than the charted blue in the basket on the top shelf to incorporate a bit more color--they remind me of miniature sunflowers. I am very pleased with the way they look together and can hardly wait to get them framed!
So, that's it folks--that is the only stitching I have to show you today. Well, of mine, that is!! I do have some delightful birthday gifts that arrived for my big day in mid-January that I want to show you... And yes, I know I was very spoiled. Such kind friends--thank you all so much...
From June, in England, came this darling little bird with a stitching basket filled with floss. June framed it and I now have it sitting near my stitching chair. She also included a 2016 diary, some buttons, and a chocolate recipes booklet. Thank you, my sweet friend!
|Birthday gifts from June in England|
From Lynda (no blog), also in England, came this pretty BBD chart called "Summer Iris." Thank you, dear Lynda--I look forward to stitching it as it has those lovely blues and purples that I'm so fond of!
|Birthday gifts from Lynda in England|
From Cindy, in Tennessee, came the most darling little PS church stitched over one. Cindy knows how much I love anything miniature and this will look lovely on my Christmas tree. She also included a great group of finishing fabrics. Thank you so much, my generous friend--I love them!
|Birthday gifts from Cindy in Tennessee|
From Nathalie (no blog), in France came a wonderful French magazine and a cute personalized stocking. Don't you love leafing through French stitching magazines? Such fun... Thank you, my friend!
|Birthday gifts from Nathalie in France|
From my long-time friend, Myra, in North Carolina, came a bag of Christmas trims from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. The little bag was filled with all sorts of red and green ric-rak, chenille, buttons, charms, and bells! What fun I'll have with my ornament finishing this year--thank you so much, my sweet friend!
|Birthday gifts from Myra in North Carolina|
From Melissa, in Vancouver, Canada, came a darling little kit that I had never seen before called "Spools of My Thread." It is a design to make a little bag to hold your threads and I plan on sewing it to house the spools of silk thread that I own. Thank you, my dear friend--I love it!
|Birthday gifts from Melissa in Canada|
From Robin (no blog), in Virginia, came this sweet little rabbit ornament--perfect for my spring decorating! Robin said this is a Blue Ribbon design. She also included some chenille, a monogrammed notepad, fabric, pins, and a thread picker (not pictured as I was using it to pick out the threads in my "Flower Shop" piece!). You are always so thoughtful and generous, Robin--thank you!
|Birthday gifts from Robin in Virginia|
From Lois, in Northern Ireland, came a darling snowman pillow to add to my collection. Don't you love his smile? She also included a wonderful assortment of ribbons and buttons, a cute new chart and a trio of tiny notebooks. Thank you my long-time friend--it is always so special to receive a package from you!
|Birthday gifts from Lois in Northern Ireland|
And, finally, from my big-hearted friend, Mary in Pennsylvania, came a package brimming with lovely ribbons, a snowman cup and tray set, a pretty With Thy Needle chart, some tasty Piroulines, and a gift card to The Strawberry Sampler which I promptly spent during their Snow Blizzard sale in late January! Thank you so very much, my sweet friend--your gifts made me smile.
|Birthday gifts from Mary in Pennsylvania|
Several of you sent cards and email messages on my birthday, too, and I can't tell you how much they meant to me. Having a birthday so close to Christmas is difficult as it often gets "lost in the shuffle." All the presents come at once and then all the celebration is over for another year. I've often wished I was born in a warm month when you could have a fun picnic or barbecue for your birthday party. But, my family always does their best to make my January birthday special for me and this year was no exception.
My two older sons made homemade pizzas for my birthday dinner, which were delicious. They used this recipe for New York style pizza dough and it is so tasty! One was plain with just chicken and cheese (for me--the fussy eater!) and the other two had mushrooms, peppers, and spinach for my more adventuresome eating men...
|Tasty homemade pizza for my birthday--thanks guys!!|
To top it off, my husband bought this exquisite chocolate-mousse birthday cake. Oh, my!! Talk about decadent! It was so rich we could only eat a small portion, so I took the rest in to the library the next day and had another celebration with my co-workers.
|If I had to turn a year older, at least I got an amazing cake!|
It was the year of "plants" for gifts from my sons... From the oldest and his girlfriend, came a tasty "fruit bouquet" made up of chocolate covered pineapple, melons, strawberries, and grapes. He also gave me a gift certificate to 123 Stitch ("but, mom, you don't need any more stitching stuff"--HA--he doesn't know us stitchers very well, does he?).
|Fruit bouquet from oldest son and his girlfriend|
From my middle son, came a Joann Fabrics gift card and a "lucky bamboo" plant. 2015 was such a difficult year for me and he hopes that this little plant brings better luck for 2016. It is growing nicely and so far, my year is going well, too! I was so very touched by the card that he gave me, too. In fact, it may be my favorite card ever... With a quote from "The Wizard of Oz" on the front: "There's no place like home," the inside opens to this sentiment: "Wherever I go, I always know that I have someone hoping I'm safe, and making sure that I always feel loved... Thanks to you, mom." Aww... for you moms out there, I know you understand how very special a mom feels when she receives a card like this. It is a keeper!!
|Lucky bamboo from middle son--let's hope|
it truly is my lucky year!
And from my youngest son, came this beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas. Blue hydrangeas, yellow tulips, and sunflowers are my favorite flowers and it was so nice to have a touch of spring during my winter birthday.
|My favorite flowers--blue hydrangeas from my youngest son.|
So, that ends another birthday round-up... I have been blessed with such loving family and friends throughout my life and I'm thankful for each one of you! You blogging friends have become as dear to my heart as friends I see in real life. Thank you all for your friendship!
I've not been sleeping well lately as I'm worrying about my youngest son who is setting off for a ten-day adventure in Nicaragua and Costa Rica this week. Yes, he is the same son who just got back from Argentina in December!! He loves to travel, but I get so nervous about his safety. This year, there is that horrible Zika virus being transmitted by mosquitoes that is becoming epidemic down in so many of the Central and South America countries, including the two he will be visiting. I sure hope he remembers to use his insect repellent (and apply his sunscreen--and watch out for pickpockets--and so on, and so on!). I guess a mother never stops worrying about her children, no matter their age, does she?
Well, I've come to the end of another way-too-long post! I can just hear you whispering, "Whew--thank goodness!" to yourselves... Thank you for sticking with me to the end. And for those of you who ask me questions, please know I'm happy to try to reply to you, but you must include your email address in order for me to do so. I get so many questions, but have no way of getting back to you unless you include an email address. Hope you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day on Sunday and thank you ~ truly ~ for each of your wonderful comments! They mean so much to me. Bye for now...
|HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!|