Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Month of Changes!

It's here, it's here!! My oldest son's wedding month, that is! When he and his lovely fiancée announced their engagement a year ago, it seemed like it would take forever for the wedding day to arrive... But, the months have just sped by at seemingly warp speed and, all of a sudden, it's time. The next time you read a post from me I will have a daughter in the family--after all these years of being the lone female (even our cat was a boy!), I will have someone who may actually think a bit more like I do and see my side of things more easily. Because, no matter how much they may love each other, men and women think totally differently, don't you agree? (Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, her wedding dress finally arrived and the final fitting is Tuesday--thank goodness!!)

Before I go any further, I want to thank you for all of your thoughtful and heartfelt comments on my previous post about my retirement and my sleeping issues. I truly appreciate your well-wishes and your suggestions on how to get a better night's sleep so thank you for taking the time to leave a comment... Anyway, more about those two topics later. After all, you're here to see some stitching, right?

I try to add at least one little pillow to my Halloween collection each year and this one came from a chart I found in the October 2017 issue of Just Cross Stitching Magazine. It is designed by Teresa Murgida and is called "Boo Birdhouse." If you have seen the design in the magazine, you'll notice that I made a number of changes. I changed the color of the birdhouse roof and opening to gray (from purple), changed the color of the ghost's hat from black to orange, stitched a smaller bat and moved him down, omitted a white swirly thing under the bat, added some more green vines to the left of the pumpkin. Whew! And my biggest change--I added a teeny baby ghost peeking out of the birdhouse!

"Boo Birdhouse" finish from October 2017 JCS Magazine

And here is my finished ghostly pillow--I'm so pleased with it! The orange and black polka dot fabric is wool flannel (love that stuff!) and the backing is the fabric pictured. A bit of ric rak and a gingham yo-yo and black button finish it off. The fibers are all DMC and it is stitched on 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle linen. Every time I look at that baby ghost, I just smile :) This was my most "liked" photo on my Instagram account (if you'd like to follow me, please click here... It brought lots of wonderful comments and one of them said I was so "brave" to change colors and design elements. I replied that that is something I would never have done when I was younger, but now I'm more comfortable with color and I simply know what I like. I hope the designers never take offense--it is just my way of making the design more "me." And, after all, if I hadn't truly loved the original design, I wouldn't have chosen to stitch it, right? How about you--do most of you make changes?

How do you like the wee baby ghost?

Still plugging away on  stitching my monthly Christmas ornaments, but I am very concerned that I'll not be able to finish all twelve for the first time since I began blogging... Hopefully, there will be stitching time on my upcoming travels, although I am not the best at stitching on airplanes! But, I do have a new Prairie Schooler Santa to share with you... This handsome guy is the annual Santa chart from the year 2000 and is stitched with the suggested DMC colors on 40 ct. burch Newcastle linen. I did change the suggested ecru on his beard, book, and candy canes to DMC 3865, though.

Prairie Schooler Santa 2000

I have to say, that this one has special meaning as it brings back fond memories of when my boys would ask what I wanted for Christmas and I would reply, "All I want is good little boys!" I can't say that any longer so I do supply them with (usually stitch-related!) wish lists. I like to keep my PS Santa finishes pretty simple as they are such classics so I stitched a small pillow, added homemade cording, and tied on a pair of rusty bells in the corner. This is my monthly Christmas ornament for July (I told you I was behind!)...

My July ornament finally finished!

I had several entries for the pair of autumn charts that I was giving away in my last post and the name drawn from the proverbial hat was...  ROSE HECK!   Rose, please email me with your mailing address and I will get this charts off to you this week.  Congratulations and, if you weren't the lucky winner, please check back--I'll be having more old chart giveaways in the future!

Giveaway winner... Rose Heck!

Retirement update... Today marks the beginning of my third week as a "lady of leisure"--ha! Whoever said retirement brought more hours of free time? I spent the first week up in New York helping out my mom who continues to have health problems (prayers, good thoughts, positive vibes, etc. would all be very much appreciated!) and the second week packing and cleaning the house so I can leave it "spic and span" for our travels. Does anyone else do that? I just have to clean the whole place before I leave on a trip--can't stand coming back to a cluttered house!

My retirement farewell brought recollections of many fond stories and quite a few tears as I said goodbye to my wonderful co-workers at the library. I was treated to some beautiful gifts, a farewell lunch, a lovely cake, and lots of goodbye hugs and well wishes. My sweet co-workers know me well because just look at these lovely gifts they bought for me...

Yes, it's a personalized stitching pouch!! And the fabric is made to look like old library date due cards--how perfect for a librarian! The pouch was filled with a Michael's gift card, needles, floss tags, and threads. Absolutely loved this!

My second gift from my coworkers was equally special--a basket filled with baking goodies, a cute pie-themed apron, and a gift card to King Arthur's Flour Baking catalog. How very thoughtful!

And look at this giant cake--so pretty in shades of teal, pink, yellow, and green.

My lovely chocolate retirement cake was scrumptious!

To thank them all, I made these little thank you cards--only a librarian will truly appreciate them. They are made to look like old library catalog cards and you can generate your own personalized (and free!) card at this site. I added the Dewey Decimal number 179.9 which is for "thankfulness/gratitude" and the name of the library (which I have blocked out) along with a little note saying my "wonderful co-workers will forever be in my heart. Thank you for all you have done to make my 29 years at the library so memorable." And a personal note was written to each of my fellow librarians inside the cards... As many of you mentioned, I was so fortunate to have a job that I loved all those years; not many can say that!

Thank you note cards I made for my co-workers

Other retirement treats were received as well from my oldest son and his fiancee, my two sisters and brother, and previously retired coworkers... Even a couple of patrons brought candy and flowers! I felt very much appreciated and loved!

From my oldest son and his fiancée: a lovely pouch (will use it for my stitching, of course!)  and an action figure of Nancy Perl--America's best known librarian. She "shushes you" when you push the button on her back--too cute!)

Also from my oldest son and fiancée--these beautiful fall flowers and a box of delicious chocolates. They really spoiled me--do you think they are angling for a nice wedding gift?! (Just kidding!)

Beautiful roses from my youngest sister! The fall colors were stunning!

And a host of gift cards, flowers, retirement cards and other small gifts from various family members, friends, and library patrons.

Here is a photo of me on my last day with my lovely cake. Yes, that is a big smile on my face because I was pretty much cried out at that stage... The decision to leave now wasn't easy, but I felt the timing was right. To just be able to fly to my son's wedding and then on to our 40th wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii, and then not have to return to work--it just all made sense! I'll be 63 in January, a bit young to retire perhaps, but, for me, it works! Thank you all so much for your well-wishes--I know I'll never be bored in retirement! And if I do miss the library, I can always go volunteer on a weekly basis!

Still smiling 'til the end--I was so blessed to have had a job I truly loved for all these years!

Sleeping update... Wow! I am obviously not alone in my sleeping problems. Based on your comments, a lot of you are having issues--either falling asleep or staying asleep (my problem). Things seem to be a bit better since I retired, but are still not great. Interestingly, there was just an article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend that was titled, "The Older You Are, the Worse You Sleep." Great...  Apparently, the older we get, the more our capacity for deep, restorative sleep disappears so that by the time we are age 70, 80-90% of our "youthful, restorative deep sleep is gone." Sad...  And that lack of sleep can really affect our health as we age. I loved reading your tips about overcoming (or at least accepting) sleep problems and plan to try some of them soon. Right now, the best thing for me is to get my Kindle out and simply start reading, but I worry about waking up my husband so I don't resort to that very often. 

Okay--I have babbled on for far too long. There is just so much going on in my life right now... Thank you, as always for your sweet comments--I read and appreciate each one. Can't always get back to you as some of you are "no reply bloggers," but if you leave your email address, I will certainly try to answer your questions. Happy rest of October, everyone... see you in November! Bye for now...