Well, that was quick! June that is... As I mentioned in my last post, it was going to be a month of traveling for me and my family and I feel like I'm still recovering. Within the time span of three weeks, we drove over 800 miles to and from Connecticut for a nephew's wedding, flew almost 2500 miles to San Diego, California to spend a couple of days with my son and his fiancee before driving over 200 miles north to Santa Barbara for another nephew's wedding. Then we drove 100 miles back to Los Angeles, flew another 2500 miles back to Pittsburgh, and then last week I drove 600 miles to and from New York to visit my mom. And I wonder why I'm so tired! I'm 62 years old and my body just doesn't bounce back like it used to, that's for sure!! But, we enjoyed the weddings so very much--one from each side of the family so there were a lot of laughs and reminiscing. The next time that we'll see all of the relatives will be for a very happy occasion--my oldest son's wedding in October!
So, I hope you'll forgive this post for its lack of stitching. I have been stitching ornaments, but, you know me--I don't like to share them until they are fully finished off. Today, I have just one finish--a patriotic one that I'm so pleased with. You'll recognize it as one I stitched back in 2015: "Free and Brave" designed by The Drawn Thread. I found the red clipboard at Kohl's for only $5.00 (picked up a black one and a gray one, too!) and thought it would come in so handy for displaying future Christmas or Valentine's Day finishes. For the blue fabric on the background, I used an old shirt (not sure which one of the men in my family it belonged to!).
|Final finish of "Free and Brave"
I love this design for the wonderful specialty stitches that comprise the leaves and flowers. I remember really struggling with the flowers as I stitched them, but I'm so happy with the way they turned out. Here is a closer look:
|Love those special stitches!
And that beautiful extra-long American flag waving in the breeze--love it!
|And that sweet bird on the roof--so cute!
I'll try my best to finish up some Christmas ornaments to share with you next time. I don't think I've shown any finished ornaments since February! Oh, I am more behind than I thought I was with my monthly ornament challenge... Sigh... Just one of those crazy, busy years!
GIVEAWAY WINNER: I had a number of entries for the little patriotic chart so I pulled a winner from the hat and the name chosen was:
Congratulations to Mary! Please send me your mailing address and I'll get the chart off to you as soon as possible. It's probably too late to stitch it for this 4th of July, but you'll have it done by the next July 4th in plenty of time! And, if you didn't win this giveaway--don't worry! I'll be having more in the future. I'm so happy these old charts are going to my stitching friends!
|Winner of this giveaway chart is: Mary!
A special present... I wanted to share this sweet gift that my youngest son gave me for Mother's Day. He purchased it when he traveled to Abu Dhabi for work last month and it is just so delightful... filled with all shades of blue and those lovely birds--he knows me well! The wall hanging measures about 2 feet by 3 feet--not sure what fibers it is made of.
|Wall hanging all the way from Abu Dhabi!
Here are a couple of close-ups...
|Love those colors...
|...and those beautiful birds!
I'm not sure where I'm going to hang it yet--perhaps at the top of my stairs or at the end of my kitchen. Or perhaps I'll use it as the starting point when I re-decorate one of the boys' old bedrooms? I have to think about it for a while still--it is so beautiful that it needs to be showcased somehow.
My son's trip to Abu Dhabi was his first and he was so impressed with the splendor of the architecture and beauty of the city. I was a bit worried about him being there, but he said he felt extremely safe. Here are a few photos he sent us--not sure that it will ever be a place I'll travel to, but never say never. I'm sure he never dreamed that he would be there either!
|Abu Dhabi photos taken by my youngest son
As I mentioned, we were in southern California earlier in June and we just had to take advantage of the ever present sunny blue skies and get outside. We went on two hikes--the first one was in Mission Trails Regional Park. Hiking out there is very different than in western Pennsylvania--it is more desert like; we are used to forests of green trees and moss covered rocks! But, we still managed to spy some lovely wildflowers and even one small cactus.
|Desert flowers in Mission Trails Regional Park
A couple more lovely scenes we came across...
|Old Mission Dam
|Some of the rugged terrain at Mission Trails
We also drove up to Mt. Soledad Veteran's Memorial to enjoy the spectacular views of the La Jolla coastline... Wow! What a sight!
|The La Jolla coastline in the distance
At the top of the mountain is a war memorial and a huge cross which was the subject of much controversy (dealing with separation of church and state.) But, in 2015 a private group purchased the land under the cross and the case was dismissed as the cross is no longer on public lands.
|Mt. Soledad Veteran's Memorial
We took one other hike to the Gaviota Wind Caves in the Santa Ynez Mountains west of Santa Barbara. It had to be one of the hardest hikes I've ever done as it was very steep with lots of loose gravel and no shade. On the way down, I spent much of the time crab-walking so I wouldn't fall flat on my back! I didn't do a good job of taking photos as I was too worried about falling (and watching out for mountain lions and snakes!). But, the caves are those two little black things in the upper left of my photo...
|Gaviota Wind Caves off in the distance
So, my month of travel has ended and July looks like it will be quite restful. I'm hoping for lots of porch-sitting weather and more beautiful flowers like these purple and blue beauties that have been popping up in our garden... Even though I love to travel, home will always be my favorite place to be. I never get bored with all the books, stitching, and lovely nature scenes that surround me. Right now we have a pair of twin baby deer romping around our pond under the watchful eyes of their mama. I feel most at peace right here at home...
|Pansies, clematis, lavender, and hydrangeas--a few of my favorite things!
I'll try to pop in and visit your blogs very soon--I missed all of you while I was gone! Thank you again for your wonderful comments--I love reading each and every one... Take care now and for my U.S. friends--Happy 4th of July! Bye for now...