Thursday, September 29, 2016

And the days grow shorter...

Well, September is nearly over--can you believe it? I hope you've each had a good month? Before I show you what I've been working on since my last post, I want to thank you for your great comments and emails regarding my oldest son's move to the opposite side of the country. I really could feel the love--and it made his departure a bit easier to deal with. Let's just say I'm doing "okay"--I have my tearful moments, but am trying my best to look ahead to our already booked San Diego trip to visit him in November.   Sunday night is the hardest time for me as that is when he and my middle son always used to come over for a special Sunday dinner each week. But, life goes on and is always changing, isn't it?

On to stitching news... I managed to finish that little Prairie Schooler snowman that I showed you in my last post. This is my eighth snowman ornament for 2016 (yes, I need to get the ninth stitched and finished for September as soon as possible). For this finish I used some green gingham (actually I cut up a kitchen towel because I liked the weight of it better than the gingham fabric I can find in stores), some putty colored mini pompom trim, a sprig of greenery, and some jingle bells to match the red in his scarf and earmuffs. 

Prairie Schooler Santa finish for August

Here is another photo where you can see the greenery a bit better...I simply glued the greenery and the red bells to the jute hanging ribbon. The back of the ornament is covered with red felt. I think his big grin tells me he's quite happy with the finish, too!

Such a smiley guy :)
I also stitched a fall piece that I've stitched before (way back in 2012 which you can see here) as a birthday gift for one of my earliest blogging friends, Myra. (She isn't blogging any longer, like so many, but that doesn't mean I don't still think of her! I'm so happy to have discovered many old blogging buddies on Instagram and reconnect with them, though...) Anyway, this Homespun Elegance design was stitched "over one" on 28 ct. Monaco (a hand dyed fabric by Sassy's Fabbys called "Hay Fields").

Homespun Elegance's "Joyful Autumn"

I auditioned various fabrics for the final finish and this medley of tan, brown, and black was the ultimate winner. I was surprised at how much I liked this as it isn't a "typical" fall fabric, but for some reason, it worked! I simply added some black ric rac, gold handmade cording, and a pair of buttons to finish it off. I was really pleased with the final look and who could resist that tiny black squirrel posing with a little acorn in his paw?

"Joyful Autumn" all finished up

My overdyed thread for the Birds Of a Feather Sampler that I shared with you last time arrived and I've made some progress--not a lot, but at least the green leaves and trunk are done on the large tree and I can move on to the house on the hill... I would love to get this done by the end of the year, but I'm going to have to begin Christmas stitching soon, so it may have to wait!

"Birds Of a Feather" progress

I was surprised to receive not one, but two RAKs in the mail recently. First--all the way from jolly old England and my friend, June, came a lovely stitched sachet filled with lavender, fragrant soap, and cards. June grew the lavender in her own garden (which has to be one of the prettiest around!) so that makes it even more special. Thank you for thinking of me, my sweet friend...

Random Act of Kindness from June

And from my friend, Lisa, in Ohio came two bunny charts. Lisa was de-stashing (something I should be doing, too!) and came across these two cute charts that reminded her of me. She knows how much I love rabbits! So, off the bunnies hopped across the border into Pennsylvania and to a new home with me. Thank you so much, Lisa--they are adorable!

Random Act of Kindness from Lisa P.

On one of our last Sunday dinners together before my son moved to San Diego, I made one of our favorite cakes: Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake!  This has a chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips in it--I mean, really, who can resist something made with three chocolates? It is so moist and tasty and super easy to make--I'd be happy to share the recipe if any of you would like it (just make sure to include your email so I can send it to you). 

Triple Chocolate Cake, Orange Cosmos, and some fall stitching--three of my favorite things!
I have to admit, I'm a bit sad to say "farewell" to this month. I honestly don't remember a September as warm and sunny as this one...  The shorter days of late fall and winter are something I dread--especially when it begins to be dark when I leave work at 6:00 PM. But, I do get more stitching time in as the months grow colder which is good. I hope October is good to each of you--thanks, as always, for taking the time to say "hello" and reading my little blog--I do appreciate each of you! Bye for now...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Changes of the season

Happy September! How has your first week of this new month been, my friends? I usually love September--the cooler nights, the changes in the way the sunlight filters through my windows, the fun of fall decorating and baking. But, this year, I've been dreading this month... I'll tell you why after I share my stitching news with you...

I am so pleased with how my latest fall finish turned out! I actually did the stitching of "Crow On a Pumpkin" last November (you can read about it right here). This is a design by Samplers Not Forgotten that can be found in the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. I have fallen in love with the Woolies Flannel to use in finishing off my little pillows--it is wonderful to work with and comes in such rich, warm fall and winter colors. I wish you could feel the gold wool flannel strip on the left of the pillow--so soft to the touch! The back of the pillow is the black and tan checked homespun that I also used to make the yo-yo flower on the front. This has to be one of my favorite fall finishes ever.

Final finish of "Crow On a Pumpkin"

So, I have another little pillow to add to my ever-growing crow display here in my kitchen... I don't want to give you the impression that I am in love with crows or anything! The ones that visit our back yard are big... and noisy... and tend to bully the other birds. But, there is just something about the crow/sunflower/pumpkin combination that I love to see in fall stitching...

Lots of "caws" have been heard coming from my kitchen!

I also pulled out an older project, With Thy Needle and Thread's "Birds Of a Feather Mystery Sampler," that I began a couple of years ago. I know exactly why I stopped working on this one--because the lack of the "J" in the alphabet bothered me. I know that is how the designer charted it (and you can read her explanation of why right here), but I wish it was included. Anyway, I debated whether or not to add it myself, but after going back and forth many, many times, I decided to just leave it as it was charted and plunge ahead. I soon discovered that you need more than one skein of WDW Kudzu for the many leaves so that is why I've stopped for now--some is winging its way to me as I write this!

Birds Of a Feather Mystery Sampler progress

I'm almost half done, but there is a lot of border and a big old hill and house of solid stitching waiting for me on the bottom half which will take quite some time. I do love the colors in this so much--wish they had photographed a bit truer in my picture!

My monthly snowman ornament stitching is falling behind--I do have the one for August stitched, but not finished. I was playing around with fabrics and trims for the finish and may be using these. But, maybe not; it's always a last-minute decision. You'll recognize this pleasingly plump fellow as a Prairie Schooler design from the "Holly Day" (Book No. 157) chart. I changed his nose color from red to black because I wanted it to look like a piece of coal--otherwise, he is stitched using the suggested colors on 32 ct. flax Jobelan. Now, to pick a snowman for September!

Prairie Schooler "Holly Days" snowman

With all of the snowman stitching I have going on this year, I treated myself to "just a few" fat quarters of finishing fabric. I found a wonderful deal on eBay on a complete fat quarter bundle of Moda's "Snowman Gatherings II" that I couldn't pass up. Now, how will I ever use all of this? I suppose I could learn to quilt when I retire? Or get up my nerve and try to make some pretty project bags? I just loved the colors and many of them will be useful for patriotic or primitive finishes as well...

So, that was the happy part of my post... September 17th brings a day I have been selfishly dreading for a while: my oldest son is moving almost 2500 miles across the country to join his girlfriend who moved to San Diego in July. I am so happy for him--he has found a lovely, intelligent, kind, and giving young woman to share his life with. But, oh, how different life will be here in Pennsylvania with him way out in California.

You see, because our oldest works from his home, he was the one we always counted on to be there when things went wrong.  He had the flexibility and freedom in his work schedule to be able to drive over and help out with this or that whenever needed. He actually moved right in with us when my husband broke his neck in last year's fall down the stairs. He fixed our computer problems, challenged our thinking on various subjects, and made us laugh with that dry sense of humor that we so love.

There will be a big void in our lives with him so far away, but at least San Diego is (I've heard!) a lovely, lovely place to visit. It won't be the easiest feat to get there, as there are no direct flights from here, but we will definitely fly out a couple times a year. And, thankfully, technology has made keeping in touch so much easier. We are blessed to have the middle of our three sons still nearby in Pittsburgh. I hate to think that everything will get dumped on him, but he is so very loving and capable, too, that I know we're in good hands. No matter what they say, parents do need more help from their kids as they age...

Anyway, I wish my oldest and his girlfriend all the best in their new life out in the Golden State...  

You will be missed more than words can express...

Thank you all for visiting me today--and a special thank you to those of you who take the time to leave a little comment. Blogging seems to be on the wane and so, for those of us who do still take the time to post now and then, your comments mean ever so much... I'm heading up to New York this morning to visit my mom for five days so I'll be a bit out of touch. But, I'll catch up with everyones blogs when I return! Bye for now...