Thursday, April 21, 2016

Baskets of blues and browns

Well, I didn't plan on being gone this long! Three weeks since my last post--where have the days gone? I hope you've all enjoyed a lovely April so far? Ours has been delightful with a string of warm, sunny days over the past week. That is coming to an end today, but we do need the predicted rain so it's all good. I want to thank all of you who commented on my last post and also those of you who took the time to email me to let me know you enjoy my blog even though you don't comment. That means the world to me... You see, when you write a blog post, you are taking a chance and putting a part of your private life out there for the world to see. For a quiet, introvert like me, that is quite daunting at times. Oh, sure, I could make my blog private, but one of the best parts of blogging are the friendships that have sprouted up all over the world between myself and my readers--and I treasure those. So, it is truly heart-warming to read your supportive comments and emails--they keep me blogging!

I didn't realize, until I began photographing my latest finishes, that they have three things in common: baskets, blues, and browns! Blue and brown has become one of my favorite color combinations to use in my stitching and I'm so pleased with how the finishes I have to share with you today, turned out...

You all know I love bunnies, right? We've been lucky to see several in our backyard this spring; in fact, I saw the first one hopping across the lawn on Easter morning! This With Thy Needle and Thread design is called "Spring Greeting Bouquet" and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw the bunny nestled among the prettiest blue flowers. Well, I fell in love with everything except the French Knotted flowers--yikes!! But, I just did my best and am pretty pleased with the outcome. I ordinarily stitch in hand, but to do the French Knots, I found that using a small hoop for this design helped immensely.  It is stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with a mixture of DMC and overdyeds. I added the series of small x's on the top and bottom of the basket after seeing this finish on this pretty French blog. It adds so much, don't you think?

Spring Greetings Bouquet

I decided an Easter egg shaped finish would be perfect and with the addition of some ruched blue ribbon, some pearly headed pins, and a gingham bow it all came together quite nicely. Sweet, isn't it? I can just see him perched in my Easter basket of bunny finishes for years to come. That is one thing I love about stitching small things... As we downsize in the future and move to a smaller home, I can easily move and display these wherever we end up.

Another blue and brown finish came in the form of this sweet freebie from Cathy's wonderful French blog: Le Chalet des Pérelles.  It stitched up very quickly on 32 ct. sage Jobelan using the suggested colors (which look far more muted in real life than are showing up on my computer screen for some reason!).

Le Chalet des Pérelles freebie

I found some fabric which mimicked the look of the basket so I thought it would be a nice accent to the front and back of the little pillow along with various shades of blue in the ric rak and cording. A quick, easy addition to next year's Easter basket!

And finally, a blue and brown piece I've wanted to stitch for a while: Tralala's "Carré ABC Bouquet." This one will be framed (at some point--hopefully!) and hung in my family room. I used 40 ct. Birch Newcastle linen with most of the suggested threads. I did substitute a couple of the colors for those I already owned.

Tralala's "Carré ABC Bouquet"

Here are all three together. I've fallen in love with the blue/brown combo. How about you--do you have a favorite color combination that you enjoy stitching with?

A trio of blue and brown finishes

As much as I love blue, there has been one big blue "thing" that has recently come into my life that I'm not so happy about. You see, my 2010 Honda CRV has been recalled due to the life-threatening airbag issue that has hit so many of the Japanese cars. Not a problem if there is a replacement available right away, but we were told that the new safe airbags would not be available for three to five months and to stop driving the car immediately! Thankfully, Honda has given us a "loaner" car for the duration of our wait. Although I'm very grateful for that, I thought I would die when the car dealer led us to this bright "look at me!!" blue Subaru that I will have to drive for the next few months... It is even brighter than it appears in my photo and in addition to the color, it has large advertising across the front and back windshields for the car dealership along with the logo: "Subaru: Driven To Be Better." I've been wearing sunglasses and a floppy hat, trying to disguise myself, each time I drive it! Well, that is a slight exaggeration, but I do feel like no one can ignore this car. One good thing, I never have a problem spotting it in parking lots!

Yes, it is bright, bright, bright blue--yikes!!

My younger coworkers think the wild blue color is great, but for this reserved,  61-year-old librarian, it is just a bit too "loud." In fact, I think it bears a striking resemblance to this fellow. How about you? Anyway, I'd like to give a shout-out to Honda--they have handled this whole airbag recall with integrity. It must be costing them a fortune to provide loaner cars to all those affected for such a long period of time...

Cookie Monster would love my loaner car!

Uruguay photos...  I'm finally getting back to my Argentina trip photos... Are you ready for Part III: Uruguay?  Quick, do any of you know the exact location of Uruguay without looking at a map? I sure didn't until we took our Argentina trip.  It is a tiny country sandwiched in between two of the world's largest countries (by geographical area):  Brazil (Number 5) and Argentina (Number 8).  (Can you name the top ten countries by area? I was so surprised by Number 9 in this list!)  Uruguay is the little country in orange on the right side of this map of South America.

From Buenos Aires, Argentina, it is just a one hour ferry ride across the The Río de la Plata to the historic town of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. This UNESCO World Heritage Sight was founded in 1680 by Portugal, but was the subject of disputes between Portugal and Spain until 1828 when Uruguay became an independent country.  To enter the historic area, you cross a footbridge into the gates of the stone wall which helped protect the city from invaders.

Here is a closer view of the ancient wall leading down to the river.

A view of The Río de la Plata which separates Buenos Aires from Uruguay.

The Río de la Plata is very brown in color due to pollution and an abundance of river sediment.

The weather was perfect for our day-trip to Colonia del Sacramento with a brilliant blue sky and temperatures in the low 80s. It was probably the best weather we had on our entire trip. Uruguay has a mild, humid sub-tropical climate much like that of Florida so you saw some wonderful flowering things.

This red flower, Erythrina crista-galli, commonly called the "ceibo,"  is the national flower of Uruguay. They grow on small trees.

The cotton-like fluff found on the Kapok trees can be used as stuffing for pillows and toys.

This multi-hued beauty, the Lantana camera flower, was my favorite--so many pretty colors on one bloom!

And, of course, the lavender colored Jacaranda trees were all in bloom in November--so lovely!

The well-worn streets of Colonia del Sacramento were lined with old stone buildings--very charming.

Buen Suspiro is a restaurant still open to the public...

People still reside in this ancient town, it is not just for tourists. This was one of the nicer residences.

I can just imagine the clip-clop of the horse's hooves that once pulled this old wagon up and down the hilly streets.

A close-up of one of the cobblestone streets.

Crumbling stones and rusty gates added to the charm of  the town.

The lighthouse, El Faro de Colonia del Sacramento, was built over the ruins of the old San Francisco Xavier convent in 1857. 

For a small fee, visitors can climb to the top...

From the top of the lighthouse, we had a bird's-eye view of the surrounding town...

...and out to the river. You can get a great look at the old stone wall that once protected the town in the distance.

One of the most unusual sights in  Colonia del Sacremento were these decrepit cars parked along the streets. 

This ancient black jalopy even had a garden growing out of it!

I'm not sure what era they were from, but the old roadsters certainly made good conversation pieces.

Looking up the street you can spot the twin towers of the local church.

The parish of the Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento was established in 1680, but the church has undergone multiple renovations... 

The interior is so simple and peaceful... The birds add an unusual touch, don't they?

After a full day at Colonia del Sacramento, we headed back on the ferry boat to our apartment in Buenos Aires. You can spy the city's skyline in the distance. 

I hope you enjoyed my Uruguay travelogue and photos. The next--and final--stop:  Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia!! My very favorite place on our South American adventure. It will take a while to sort through my photos, but I'll try to have them posted by the end of May.  

Thanks again for visiting me and a special thanks for those of you who take a few minutes to comment! Wishing you each a great day with at least a bit of stitching time thrown in... Bye for now...

A new visitor to our suet feeder: The Carolina Wren