Thursday, November 30, 2017

Catching up on Christmas and Maui photos

Happy last day of November! How is everyone? It's been a month of battling the flu here (and I heard last night on the news that the flu shot was only 10% effective this year here in the U.S.--what's up with that?!)... But, we are on the mend and looking forward to a wonderful (and healthy!) Christmas.

Before I go any further, I want to thank each of you for your wonderful comments on the wedding photos that you left on my last post. You are so sweet and my son and his wife were as touched as I was to read your kind words and well wishes. It truly was a magical day--two cultures and religions coming together so seamlessly. If only the entire world could feel the love and acceptance and support that my son and his bride felt that day... Thank you again!

Well, I'll bet you can guess what I've been stitching, can't you? Yep--Christmas ornaments! And, at this point, it looks like I might actually finish all twelve for the year. I have three to show you today--those for August, September, and October which leaves just two for the year. I think I can manage two! My ornament for August is this darling Little House Needleworks design called "Tree Lot." 

Little House Needleworks "The Tree Lot"

I just loved the detail in this one... the red, vintage truck, the tiny cardinals, the softly falling snow. To make it ornament sized, though, I had to stitch it over one and chose 28 ct. black Monaco so that the snow would show up well. It is really tiny and I took a photo of it next to a quarter so you could get a better idea of its size.

So tiny!

I made several changes to the colors and also added more snowflakes. To finish it off, I used that wonderful Woolies Flannel that I've become so fond of. It just reminded me of a cozy flannel shirt--the kind my sons used to wear during the cold winters here in western Pennsylvania. Some tiny white x's and handmade cording finished it off quite nicely, don't you think?

The Tree Lot all ready for my tree

For September's ornament, I chose to stitch another Prairie Schooler from Book No. 48: "A Christmas Visit." As I've mentioned before, this is one of my favorite PS books--seven delightful designs and it's still being sold for the original $6.00 price tag! I forgot to write down what fabric I used, but it is a very stiff higher count natural linen (perhaps 36 ct. dirty linen?). I forgot to take a "before" photo, but finished this one very simply (and very quickly!) with coordinating cording and a little bow.
I wonder how many Prairie Schooler Santas I have stitched this year?

October's ornament was one I stitched while in Hawaii--yes, I was stitching an icy snowman in warm Hawaii! I'm sure you'll all recognize this as a JBW design. "French Country Snowman" is stitched over one on 28 ct. white Monaco with GAST Blue Jay thread. I left off the words "In the Meadow We Can Build a Snowman" to make it ornament sized. Can you spot all the winter themed motifs that make up this design: the bell, the star, the ice skate, the mittens, the hats, the birds, the shovel, the trees, the snowballs? So cute!  I used a blue and white cording and a gauzy blue bow to finish it off.

JBW "French Country Snowman"

And, here is one last finish--I told you I've been stitching! A sweet baby gift for a newborn baby boy was such fun to stitch. This is one I've stitched before and it is also a JBW design called "Baby's First Christmas." For this one, I used 32 ct. black Belfast linen, made some color changes, and added the baby's name instead of the words "Baby's First Christmas." 

A new baby gift

Not sure if you can see them, but there are tiny red beads for the berries on the gingerbread boy's hat along with a white pompom at the very tip. I hope the new baby (and his mom and dad) enjoy hanging it on their tree for years to come!

Such a cutie!

Giveaway! And I have one last stitchy thing--a little chart giveaway. This one is from the November/December 1991 issue of "Cross Stitch and Country Crafts" magazine--an oldie, but goodie. It features a quintet of Santas which could be stitched in a group as shown or individually. I think the patriotic Santa is especially nice. If you are interested in giving this chart a new home, just let me know in your comments. This is just four pages torn from a magazine--not the whole magazine. If more than one person wants them, I will do a drawing.  PLEASE, PLEASE make sure to include your email in with your comment--I won't be trying to track anyone down if they haven't included their email address... Also, just so you know, I will be folding this up and mailing it in a legal sized envelope to save on postage. I'll announce the winner the next time I post...

Let me know in your comments if you would like to win this chart

So, on to Hawaii photos... What can I say about paradise? Except it wasn't--paradise that is! We had horrible weather; in fact, out of the ten full days we were there, it was sunny for only three. And what a difference that makes. You see, it wasn't just the lack of sunshine. It was two nine-hour power outages--one on Maui and one on Kauai combined with flash flooding, closed bridges and hiking trails, and a distinct lack of blue sky. We still enjoyed ourselves and it felt wonderful to relax after the wedding and celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, though. But, would we go back? That is debatable... Weather can really make or break a vacation!

Anyway, many of you had expressed interest in seeing some photos so here you go... I will just show scenes of Maui today and save Kauai for the next time...

Gray skies and clouds were the norm for the week
But, there were beautiful waterfalls everywhere due to all the rain!

Just look at this mountainside--three waterfalls in one photo!

Smiling even though it was a cloudy day

This was taken on the "Road To Hana"--a notoriously curvy, scary road

The view from our condo on the beach--we could look right down onto the water and see sea turtles!

The Grand Lahaina Luau was wonderful... tasty food and fun entertainment. We sat on the ground right up front while we ate and enjoyed the show. I was in awe at how those dancers moved--wow! Thought you might enjoy this short video that I took right at the end of the show...

A beautiful sunset at the luau

Such lovely flowers were everywhere

And so were the wild chickens that roamed the island freely!

This was probably our best day--weatherwise. We just relaxed on a non-crowded beach and my husband did some snorkeling.

The day we spent at the Haleakala volcano was so special. What made the biggest impression on me was the absolute silence as we hiked down into the crater.

We hiked for four hours down into the crater and back up. At over 10,000 feet above sea level, it made for a very tough trek... It was so amazing to be above the clouds!

Haleakala has erupted only three times in the past 900 years--glad it didn't choose to do so when we were visiting!

A sunset dinner cruise was a beautiful way to end our stay in Maui

Dinner cruise sunset with the island of Molokai in the background

My favorite place of the three Airbnb's that we stayed was a cottage in Kula, Maui. Such a treat to be in the mountains and experience beautiful sunsets like these! Total relaxation...


So, there you have it--Maui 2017. Up next post: Kauai, a very different island!

If you are still reading--thank you! I know this was a long post to get through... I really hope you enjoyed both my stitching and travel photos. I always love seeing your travel photos as there are so many places in the world I know I will never get to see. Hopefully, I've inspired some of you to travel there--as long as it's sunny!  Hope the month of December is good to you--busy, busy, I know. But, a joyful kind of busy and one that I am truly enjoying now that I'm retired. Thank you ever so much for your kind comments and emails--I do appreciate them! Bye for now...

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Autumn Of Memories

It's been a while, hasn't it? I've missed you! Two and a half weeks away from home for my son's wedding in California and our 40th anniversary Hawaii trip--the longest I have ever been away. Eight plane rides + nearly 11,000 miles flown = one bad head cold. I hadn't had a cold in nearly two years, but, thankfully, this one reared its ugly head after our trip! And at least now that I'm retired, I can rest here at home, drink lots of water and eat my chicken noodle soup... Anyway, I've been asked by many of you if I could share some wedding photos so I'll do just that after I show you my latest finish...

I blame this one on the squirrels--the trio of gray squirrels romping around the lower left border reminded me so much of those in our yard this time of year that I just had to stitch this one!  I'm sure you'll recognize it as a Prairie Schooler--it is from "Autumn Samplers" (Book No. 66) which has three gorgeous fall-themed beauties. I'd love to stitch the others some day, too. 

Prairie Schooler "Autumn Sampler" finish

This one is stitched on 40 ct. country mocha Newcastle linen using the suggested DMC threads.

Just love those squirrels!

I have to admit that those leaves were starting to get to me after a while, however I just kept plugging away! But, I loved the saying and the fallish colors, too. Oh, how I wish Prairie Schooler designs were still creating new charts--they are so timeless!

Aren't the fall colors perfect?

Being away for 2 1/2 weeks, I missed most of the really good autumn color here in Pennsylvania. When we left on October 18th, the leaves were still green--very unusual for that time of year. But, when we returned many had turned color and fallen, although there are still a fair number remaining. After the frigid weather that is moving in this weekend, though, I doubt many will hang on too long! Anyway, I hope to frame this one (famous last words!)...

Another Prairie Schooler checked off my "must-stitch" list!

When I got back from my travels, I was thrilled to find two little gift packages waiting in my accumulated mail.  My long-time blogging friend, Cindy, sent me two beautiful gifts to help me celebrate my retirement. Just look at this gorgeous needleminder and needlecase--and in blue, my favorite color! I love that pretty sunflower card, too... Thank you so much, Cindy--you  have been a special stitching friend through all these years!

Retirement gifts sent from Cindy

And Tawny (in New Jersey) sent me two cute charts to thank me for sending her a chart that she couldn't find. Thank you, Tawny--I look forward to stitching them!

Thank you gifts sent from Tawny

In other stitching news, I did get a new Christmas ornament stitched while in Hawaii, but I'll wait until it's finished off to share it with you. 

♥♥♥ So, the wedding ♥♥♥... It was such a beautiful day--in every way... I'm sure every parent of a bride or groom feels that way, but my husband and I were just beaming the entire day as we watched our oldest son and our now daughter-in-law start their life together...

The wedding was held at a lovely old mission style church in Oceanside, California on a day that couldn't have been nicer--sunshine and blue skies abounded! I loved the simple style of this church much more than the grand cathedrals I've seen in my travels. The ceremony was bilingual... since my new daughter-in-law is of Mexican American heritage, the priest spoke in both English and Spanish.

St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Oceanside, CA

I'll just share a few more photos...

The new couple made their way to the reception in this vintage auto.

Relaxing at the reception

My youngest and middle sons congratulate the happy couple and welcome their new sister! They were co-best men and did an outstanding job on their speech at the dinner. The middle gave it in English and the youngest in Spanish so that all of the guests could understand their words.

Blue and orange flowers complemented the bridesmaids' royal blue dresses

I just love this photo of my son and the three sweet flower girls. Although they didn't know each other previously, the little girls bonded and held hands and danced together throughout the evening. Just adorable!

The groom's proud parents--we clean up pretty well (although it looks like a vine is growing out of my head!). It's hard to tell in this photo, but my dress was a beautiful dark amethyst color.

The reception was held at Green Gables Wedding Estate in nearby San Marcos, CA. It had such great backdrops for photo taking with the old schoolhouse, chandeliers hanging from trees, a gazebo, and a turquoise vintage truck

The dessert table included traditional cakes, cupcakes, and an assortment of Mexican candy!

One of my favorite photos taken by a co-worker of the bride's

People asked me if I cried--oh, I got a bit teary eyed, but I honestly didn't cry. Well, that day, anyway! The day before the wedding I saw the following post on Instagram and it just set me off... Tears and so many memories swelled up in me as I read these words that were originally written by Tabitha Studer on her blog way back in 2011 in a post called "25 Rules For Mothers of Sons." This is her Rule Number 25: 

And my sweet new daughter-in-law understands this so well. The morning of the wedding she gave me a gift bag filled with a framed photo of herself and my son, some charms (one of which read "Thank you for raising the man of my dreams"), chocolates, a lovely blue and white handkerchief, and most meaningful of all--a beautifully handwritten note about her love for my oldest son and assuring me that I "wasn't losing a son, but gaining a daughter!" How blessed I feel to have this wonderful young woman in our family!

I am out of time today--my poor head is aching from this cold.  I need to go through my Hawaii photos before I can share them with you... so until next time, my friends! Thank you all for taking the time to visit and maybe even taking the time to leave a comment... Each and every one means so very much to me! Bye for now...