Monday, July 24, 2017

Bits of blue and big celebrations!

Hello, everyone! Another one-post month, I'm afraid, unless I can get another one up within the next week and that isn't looking very likely at this point. But, I do have a good excuse... July is our busiest family month for celebrations! Every family seems to have one--you know, the month that is filled with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. What is yours?

I do have a couple of stitching finishes to share with you and another non-stitchy project that I finally finished. This is "Summer" from Little House Needleworks stitched over one on 28 ct. white evenweave. As you can see, I finished this one the same way as I did the "Spring" LHN monochrome piece (which you can see right here). I hope to do Fall and Winter in the same series this year, too.

Little House Needleworks "Summer"

Aren't the blues in this lovely? I used the prettiest silk thread from Hand Dyed Fibers (no longer selling silks, unfortunately) called "Rubbed Navy." I found a coordinating checked fabric (another old shirt from one of my sons) which worked perfectly for the background. A simple jute ribbon and pair of buttons completes the piece. For this type of finish, I simply apply a piece of felt to the back--very quick and easy!

I never get tired of blue!

And I finished another ornament--this one is for April (yes, April, she said as she hung her head in shame).  I actually have all of my Christmas ornaments stitched through July, just haven't had any desire to finish them for some reason. I had to force myself to get this one done yesterday! This Prairie Schooler Santa is from Book No. 58 called "Old St. Nick." I used the called for DMC colors on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle, but did change his beard to DMC 3865.

A new blue-robed Santa for my tree

I have really come to love finishing this series in an oval shape so that is what I went with once again.  Matching blue handmade cording and a snippet of fabric (the same fabric that I used for the backing) finish him off quite nicely, don't you think?

Prairie Schooler Santa from "Old St. Nick (Book No.58)

I met up with my friend, Lee, for lunch last week and she surprised me with this project pouch! Isn't it gorgeous? She's been experimenting and trying to use up stash and thought this blue and yellow print would be perfect for me. I just love it, Lee--thank you so, so much. And I'm already using it to hold my latest Prairie Schooler project!

Lee made me this gorgeous project pouch!

My non-stitchy project was started way back in November of last year when I picked up these pretty tiles on my very first visit to San Diego. My son and his fiancee took us to a Mexican market and I selected these four blue and white designs with the intention of turning them into coasters. At only $2.00 a piece, they were quite the bargain!

Pretty Mexican tiles

For this project, I simply painted the edges a dark blue (as I didn't want to leave the raw edges showing) and then glued on some cork backing that I found at a local craft store.  And there you have it--some cute new coasters that fit in perfectly with my blue and white kitchen... When my oldest son saw them he jokingly (I hope!) asked if I could make 250 more for his wedding in October!

New coasters all finished up!

Along with some stitching, crafting, and just getting on with my normal every day life--there were some family birthdays to celebrate. And birthdays = cake = baking!! Yay! You know that I love baking almost as much as I love stitching, don't you? I don't get to bake much these days because my sons no longer live at home--and I really miss it (and them!). But, my youngest son did come home for his 29th birthday and he requested a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. So, that's what he got.  I had never made a yellow cake from scratch before, but I found this recipe and it looked so good that I had to try it. And when topped with this frosting--oh, my rich and decadent--a little piece went a long way! I did make 1 1/2 times the amount of frosting to cover the cake completely.

Lots of July birthday baking

My husband celebrated his birthday (he caught up with me as he is 6 months younger!) five days later. So, out came the baking pans once again and I whipped up this carrot cake which my friend Myra posted on her blog several years ago. It is a winner and I've made it many, many times. I cut the recipe in half to make a smaller cake, though. Oh, it is heavenly! Pictured above with the two cakes are some blueberry banana mini-muffins. I used this recipe, but halved it and made muffins instead of bread--they turned out so moist and tasty. That's it for the family birthdays now until December.

But, I do have one more celebration to share with you and it's a big one! Yesterday, July 23, 2017, was our 40th wedding anniversary. It seems like I just blinked and that young 22-year-old couple on the left, newly graduated from college,  morphed into the 62-year-old couple on the right--a bit wrinkly, but still smiling! I'm happy to say that most, if not all of our dreams have come true. Oh, there have been bumps in the road--no marriage is free of those, but I can't imagine sharing this journey with any other man by my side. Our three sons are our greatest blessing and, hopefully (fingers crossed!) we'll be blessed with grandchildren in the not-too-distant future. I am truly thankful...

Then and now! 40 years have flown by!

For our anniversary celebration, we had a quiet dinner overlooking the beautiful Pittsburgh skyline. For those of you who haven't visited this area, the view of Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington is one of the prettiest of any city around. I mean just look at it... those rivers, those bridges, the wonderful hills!

The beauty of Pittsburgh as seen from Mt. Washington

After our seafood dinner, we ordered a very chocolatey dessert and they brought it out on a plate specially decorated for us. We shared this one, but should have ordered one for each of us! Anyway... that was just our little 40th anniversary celebration. The big one is coming this fall when we head to Hawaii--a first for me. I'm counting the days!

A bit of chocolate to top off our anniversary dinner

Insta-versary! July also marked my first anniversary of being on Instagram. I was so reluctant to join, but I can't tell you how glad I've been to be there. It really has been a joy to catch up with former blogging friends and meet so many new stitchers from around the world. It is quick and easy and if some of you are on the fence about it, I strongly encourage you to give it a chance.  My account (if you wish to follow me) is under caroling55 or you can click here!

And, that's my July! Busy and not quite over--we plan to visit our youngest son in DC later this month as we haven't been down in over a year. He is only 4 hours away, too! Just a shame that we don't get there more often. 

I know many of my blogging friends are going through some tough times and my heart goes out to each of you--serious illnesses, deaths of loved one and pets... You know who you are and please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you all for taking the time to visit me--and an extra thanks to those of you who take the time to say "hello!" Bye for now...


Arlene Grimm said...

Happy Anniversary Carol! We celebrated our 40th last September and it is a milestone. Y'all look great by the way. I love that blue and fresh and summery. I am hoping for a finish today on my Prairie Schooler Village number 15. I am working on the border and it will be done!! I can't wait to take it to the framer and have it hanging in our little farm house in GA.

Vickie said...

What lovely finishes you have shared today Carol. Happy Anniversary to you and Tim. Thank you for sharing your wedding photo. I just love it. A dream vacation in Hawaii! Wow!

Sandy said...

Happy Anniversary! 40 is worthy of a trip to Hawaii.
I love both of your finishes. The PS Santas look lovely in the oval. You have made me think I would love a set of them. So many things I want to stitch. I haven't tried to do my own cording yet. Scared silly.
I also love to bake and June and September are my busy months for family celebrations.

E Wilburn said...

Happy Anniversary, Carol!
I just love your stitching and your writing...I rather selfishly hope that we will meet in person sometime (it seems like we OUGHT to, with the hometown connection and all! LOL). Your Prairie Schooler Santas are just darling...

Robin in Virginia said...

Happy Anniversary wishes (a day late) to you and Tim! Your dinner sounded fabulous and I know you are looking forward to your trip to Hawaii this fall. Carol, your Summer finish is stunning. I love the blue silk you stitched it with and the plaid shirt of your son's to finish it. Your PS Santa is a cutie and I really like the oval finishing for him. Very cool project with the coasters! What a beautiful bag Lee made you; love the print she used. Enjoy your week and your upcoming trip to DC!

Berit said...

Mnnn, Santa! I don't think I've seen this PS stitched before—isn't sweet! I feel like the oval finish on that straight-staff wielding Santa surprises me, but you make it work! The simple bow really echoes and highlights the same on the package he is carrying—wonderful!

Rhona said...

Happy anniversary! Enjoy your trip to Hawaii....what a great way to celebrate. I love the blues in your Summer stitching and your finishing is gorgeous! I also love the tiles you bought what a great way to use such pretty designs.

Vicki said...

Happy Anniversary! Sounds like you had a good celebration of your 40 years of marriage. Your finishes look great. I love your tile coasters!

Shelly said...

Oh my, Carole! I bet you could still fit into your wedding gown! Happy 40th! Great finishing and neat idea with the Mexican tiles. Your cakes and such are works of art and they are magazine-worthy! Safe travels wherever you go:)

Karyn said...

Happy 40th Anniversary Carol! Enjoy Hawaii, perfect way to celebrate! I love your wedding pic, and don't see much aging in the current one, you could have stepped out of the first one into the now pic :)
Your coasters are gorgeous, and what a wonderful way to finish them! can't just whip up a few hundred more? I love it!
Your baked treats look delicious, especially those cakes...yum! I am a sucker for cake LOL.
Your celebration dinner sounds wonderful.
What a fabulous month July has been!
Have a great rest of July

CalamityJr said...

What a beautiful post! Happy anniversary; love your side-by-side photos. Your stitching, finishing, and baking are all inspiring. Wish I could have been your taste tester!

Manuela said...

Happy Anniversary! Wonderful photos from your wedding and yesterday.
Your monochrome stitching looks wonderful and it is a lovely finish.
I like your little Santa Claus.

Best wishes, Manuela

Terri said...

Happy Anniversary!!!

Justine said...

Happy 40th anniversary! You are such a handsome couple - then and now. Aou ds like you had fun celebrating and more to come with the trip to Hawaii!

Is there no end to your talents? Beautiful cross-stitching and finishing, expert baker and now maker of coasters for weddings?! Seriously everything is just gorgeous. You really make everything your own.

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

What beautiful pictures of you and your husband! Congratulations!

Daniela Bencúrová said...

Blue summer is beautiful, I like blue color.
We had 10th July 41st anniversary of the wedding :-)
I wish you beautiful 40 others !!!!!

Pondside said...

Happy Anniversary!
Life has been dominated and I do 't often comment but I certainly enjoy your posts. I have been stitching the PS Santas for some years and habe a treasured collection of them now. I frame mine in old frames and prop them on the mantle and on the transom/piano windows in the dining room. They really make me happy.

Pondside said...

Happy Anniversary!
Life has been dominated and I do 't often comment but I certainly enjoy your posts. I have been stitching the PS Santas for some years and habe a treasured collection of them now. I frame mine in old frames and prop them on the mantle and on the transom/piano windows in the dining room. They really make me happy.

butterfly said...

Happy 40th Anniversary to you both.
Oh love your post , stitching is wonderful , really love the blue one.
Looks like you have had a busy few weeks .
Have a lovely week hugs.

Beth said...

Congrats on 40 years together! An accomplishment worth note. Oh Carol - all your blue stitches and tiles! I love blue - my bedroom is Benjamin Moore "Brazilian Blue" - it is a very strong shade of blue that brightens my spirits every time I walk in my bedroom.

Kate said...

Happy 40th - you both look terrific!

Susan Lankford said...

Hi Carol...I already admired your lovely LHN Summer on IG, but it's wonderful to see it again. So you are a blue person (in the sense of color preference, not your mood!). And Santa is adorable in his blue coat! Great idea for the tiles...such a pretty accent in any room.
Your baking makes me want to live next door to you! The desserts look luscious.

And I can't get over how wonderfully you and your husband are "aging" over the last 40 years. I just read one of your posts (on IG) about his neck two certainly weathered a difficult time. Again, Happy 40th. I can't wait to see your Hawaii pictures!

Meari said...

Happy 40th Anniversary! You looked good then and even better now!

Happy Birthday, also. All those goodies look scrumptious.

Your finishes are so beautiful!

Tricia B said...

Your blue santa is beautiful and another fantastic finish! I love the blue tile coasters - there is no end to your crafty talents! Happy Anniversary! Happy Blogoversary! and get going on those wedding coasters 😉 💙

deb said...

Beautiful finishes, Carol! Made me smile that your LHN, the Santa and the coasters are all blue (I never get tired of it either).

Happy anniversary!

Sue J said...

Happy anniversary! Your stitching and finishes are stunning. So glad I came across your IG account!

RJ said...

CONGRATULATIONS Carol on your 40th wedding anniversary. You both look great at 22 and 40 years later. It was meant to be.

I love your "blue" stitches. They both came out great and perfectly finished too.

And your baking looks so you could cut right into that chocolate cake right on the screen.

You will love Hawaii!!! RJ @ stitching friends forever

Martina M said...

Happy Anniversary, Carol.
40 years - what a long time full of events. Thank you for the beautiful photo of Pittsburgh. It makes me happy that you had a nice time.
July and August are our months with birthdays, school holidays, excursions. And a bit in March, when my daughter has birthday and Easter is celebrated.
I like your version of the summer very well, the blue fits very nicely to the whole motif. Then I'm still looking forward to the autumn motif.
big hugs, Martina

Lesley said...

A lovely post to read Carol.IG is great for instantaneous posting but I do enjoy the narrative behind each photo.
Your stitching is lovely,I admired blue summer again and look forward to you completing the seasons.Santa is lovely too.
What a wonderful thing to look forward to,a trip to Hawaii.Your celebration overlooking such fantastic scenery certainly befitted a 40th Wedding Anniversary.
I love your tiles,blue and white always look clean and fresh.
I always think of Delfware when I see your blue and white finishes.

maxi said...

Hello Carol,
Happy Anniversary!
I like your Summer very much! If I could, I would get this pinkepp ;-)

Happy stitching

Christina said...

Oh Carol, I was hoping you would put a wedding photograph in your post - beautiful. Your dress is gorgeous and hasn't dated at all. My mam and dad were married in 1971 and I wish she'd kept her dress..I would happily have worn it on my wedding day. 40 years is certainly something special. I'm so pleased you found a best friend to share your life with...many are not so lucky. Tom and I celebrate our 10th anniversary next month. I couldn't imagine spending my life with anyone else!
Love your 'blue' stitching. I'm a little behind on my ornament stitching too. I'd like to blame it on the hot weather, but it's rained non-stop for the whole of July!

Julie said...

Happy 40th anniversary to you both, what a lovely picture was captured of the two of you, you have hardly changed a bit.
St Nick is a gorgeous oval finish and a pretty Summer blue stitch finish too
Those birthday cakes look delicious.

Kay said...

Happy anniversary, you are both looking wonderful. I really enjoy seeing all of your finishes, the oval Santa is perfect. x

Maggee said...

As expected, a post FILLED with delight! Firstly, Happy Anniversary! You two have not changed very much in 40 years--great pictures! How nice of the restaurant staff to make you a little dessert--it was beautifully staged! I am not into cooking from scratch these days, but those cakes look yummy! And as for the stitching... more inspiration for us! What lovely stitches and finishes you put together! Thanks for sharing with us, as always! BTW--you do know that the progression is from Instagram to Flosstube, right??? :)

Mary said...

Happy Anniversary!!! It's a big milestone and the two of you are such an adorable couple, then and now! Lovely view of Pittsburgh too.

I bet your son was not kidding about the tiles as a gift for the wedding. My sister and I made a set of 4 coasters for her daughters wedding favors for each couple, we stamped and sealed them and glued the cork on the bottom, it was a fun project to do although time consuming.

I love your PS santa finished as an oval..and your summer stitch is just adorable, I love that you use your son's old shirts! Enjoy the rest of your summer, Mary

Cindy's Stitching said...

Happy Anniversary. I have to say both of you don't look much different then 40 years ago. Love the sidebyside picture. You will love Hawaii, I have been there 3 times. The traveling is the worst part. Love the blue Summer piece. I just love blue also. The Tile project is a great idea. Its hard to believe we are heading into August. Have an awesome week. Those cakes look so good, it makes me want a piece.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Happy Ruby Anniversary! Love the special dessert they make for you too.
It's nice to fully finish some stitching and I'm glad that you mentioned using a old shirt, I was about to throw one of mine out but I can definitely use it for backing fabric instead!
The tiles make great coasters too.

Lillie said...

Happy Anniversary Carol, wishing you both many many more years of happiness, love and beautiful moments. Love the blues, beautiful stitching and finishes.

Christine said...

Happy Anniversary!
Great stitching and finishing. I love the blue and white colour scheme

Mini said...

Happy Anniversary Carol! Lovely pic of you two and the celebration.

The flat fold is finish is gorgeous. What good use of a old shirt.
The finishing on the santa ornament is splendid.

Mouth watering muffins and cake.

I love how you converted the tiles into coasters. I may do that sometime.

jhm said...

Happy belated Anniversary! Our anniversary is exactly one month later an only at 37 years. Nearly 38 years ago, hubby proposed at a restaurant on Mt. Washington, sitting at a lovely window table. It's been a long time since we've been back to Pittsburgh.
Enjoy Hawaii - it's great. I think there is still a stitching shop in Honolulu - Fiddlesticks.


Lili said...

Congratulations on 40 years together! Both photos are beautiful, such a pretty wedding dress!
The oval Santa is adorable! Love the Summer piece too!
The tiles projects are really pretty.

Happy Summer!

Annie said...

Love your blue stitching. I didn't know you ever stitched with HDF silks. I never did, but always heard great things about them.

Beautiful project bag! And what fun to do a different bit of crafting with the, what else, blue tiles!

Birthdays and anniveraries... such fun celebrations! Enjoy your time with your son!

Karen said...

Happy 40th Anniversary! Your LHN monochromatic piece is lovely. Looking forward to seeing the other two seasons.

Barb said...

Well Carol, this post was just full of wonderful things. The cakes look awesome but WW is really working wonders for me so no cake here(I did have a piece of sweet Hannah's princess cake when we were in Alabama for her 4th B-Day). I do love all the blue stitching. Summer looks beautiful. You and your DH still look wonderful.What fun seeing both pictures! A very happy Anniversary to you both. You picked a lovely spot to celebrate. We hit 39 this year. Time sure has a way of flying. Enjoy the rest of summer. So hard to believe August will be here in a few days!

Linda said...

Congrats on the gorgeous finishes Carol. Happy Anniversary.


Southpaw Stitcher said...

Adorable stitching finishes, Carol! Your baked goods look yummy, and you and your hubby make a handsome couple, then and now. Happy anniversary!

Irene said...

Felice anniversario! Questo post è bellissimo e adoro i ricami in blu

Hilda said...

Happy Anniversary, my dear friend. Sending all the best wishes to you and Tim, for many other happy years to come! And happy belated Birthday to Tim and Steven!

Oh I love your stiching finishes. Both of them. The blue Summer Ornament of LHN is just so pretty. And your Santa? Stunning. Since a few years blue is my favorite color - and I also can not see enough of it ;-)

Oh - and the coasters. If it was me, that would have said, what Dan said to you, I wouldn't have joked about making one of this beauties for each guest for the wedding. How pretty this must look, when every place is set with such an ornamented tile-coaster (made from the groom's mother ...)

If you are in Washington at the moment: Enjoy the trip and the days with your son.

Have a wonderful rest of July, my dear friend!


LaNelle said...

Many congratulations on 40 years just wonderful and blessings for many more! Your stitching is beautiful....lovely blog

Sok Sareth said...

Nice sharing!

Margaret said...

I'm way behind on blog reading! But at least I can keep up with you on instagram. Yay! :D Happy anniversary, again! And happy birthday to all the July birthday people in your family. A good month for a birthday! Love your stitching as always. Hope you are surviving all the busy-ness!

Von said...

Finally getting around to a little blog reading so I'm a bit late, but Happy 40th Anniversary! That's a wonderful milestone nicely celebrated - what a lovely view. So glad you'll be getting away to Hawaii for more celebrating! Can't wait to see some pics from that one. :)

Jennifer said...

I know the last two months have been super busy for you, but you are still getting a lot done! Love your newest finishes, especially Santa in his blue coat! Happy anniversary to you and happiest of birthdays to your guys! Hope you've had a chance to do some stitching this weekend.

phann son said...

What beautiful pictures of you and your husband! Congratulations!

jeffsrose35 said...

Oh Carol what beautiful projects you create!!!!! You are a very talented lady and a lucky one at that to be married 40 years to such a wonderful man. Blessings to you and your family.

Brigitte said...

Truly a post in blue, Carol. First the two wonderful stitching finishes and then the blue tiles you turned into coasters. All of them so finely finished that I really get envious as the finishing bug has stayed far away from me for over a year now. Maybe when winter comes my finishing bug will return. You are right, the oval shape goes perfectly with the Old Nick Santas.
The project bag your friend made for you looks gorgeous. Such a lovely fabric, so summer-y.

Happy belated anniversary to you and your husband, Carol. 40 years is a long time and still being happy after so many years is really something. My husband and I have already passed this milestone and we don't want to miss a single day of our marriage either. Your anniversary vacation on Hawaii will be so very special.

Andrea said...

Happy Anniversary to you both, sorry I am a bit late. :/ You both look so wonderful and happy together. 40 years!!

Beautiful stitching. Love the blue thread colour. As always your PS Santas are a joy. Wow the tiles turned out great as coasters.

Mmmm ... missed the cakes again haven't I?

priscilla said...

Love that Santa..Carol! Happy Anniversary again .. you two look just as good 40 years later!

Frances N said...

Your finishes and baking are so lovely!
Happy Anniversary to you and I love your photos!!
Hawaii will be a fun trip--we had such a good time there several years ago.
I love the Pittsburgh photo--that view is so pretty! I took a river cruise there a few years ago and really enjoyed it.

Jackie said...

July looks like such a special month with the birthdays and your anniversary! Congratulations on 40 years - it's quite the accomplishment in a society where getting out is so easy. xoxo

Pam in IL said...

Happy Anniversary! All your baked treats look so yummy! I love all the "bits of blue" in your post.

phann son said...

What lovely finishes you have shared today Carol. Happy Anniversary to you and Tim. Thank you for sharing your wedding photo. I just love it. A dream vacation in Hawaii! Wow!


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