Monday, April 16, 2018

Cheery cherries on a gloomy day

Happy April, everyone--enjoying your "spring" so far? I say that a bit sarcastically because here in western Pennsylvania, we are still getting snow flurries from time to time. In fact, I spotted a few this afternoon... Yes, it IS April 16th, but it feels more like early November weather here. We had a taste of very nice 70°+ weather over the weekend, but it quickly vanished into gray skies, rain, and a bit of snow here and there. But, things are looking up--the forsythia is blooming along with the daffodils (well, those that haven't been eaten by the deer, that is!). The birds are returning and the grass is greening up beautifully!

I have a couple of finishes to share with you today--one big (for me!) and one small. The first is by La D Da and is called "Cherry Picker." It is stitched on 40 ct. pearled barley by Lakeside Linens--a new fabric for me as I generally use 40 ct. Newcastle. But, I enjoyed it very much--just wish the pretty taupey color of the fabric showed up a bit better in my photos. I used most of the suggested colors, but substituted GAST Country Redwood for the suggested red of the cherries. I also changed the color of the leaves to DMC 934 and 936. The charted leaves in the middle were black and that just didn't appeal to me at all!

La D Da's "Cherry Picker" finish

What drew me to this piece (in addition to the cute blackbird carrying his little, red cherry) was that gorgeous alphabet. I think this may be one of the prettiest charted alphabets I've ever seen, don't you agree? I sure wish I could write like this--just look at that stylized F and the beautiful Q and Z! I am someone who almost always prints except when I have to sign a check or legal document so I truly appreciate beautiful handwriting.

Don't you love this alphabet?

I had an issue with the colors of two skeins of DMC, believe it or not! It taught me a lesson, though--start with a fuller skein if you have a large area to stitch. If you look closely you'll see the top 2 1/2 rows of the lighter squares in the basket are darker than the remaining squares. Apparently, my new skein of DMC 612 was lighter than the older skein! I noticed it immediately, but decided there was no way I was going to run off to the store to look for a matching skein--it is a basket after all and they usually have imperfections in colors or the actual weaving. So, it's fine--I'm glad I let my inner perfectionist go this time! I plan on framing this one--it is long and thin, though, so I'll have to figure out where in the house it will fit best.

Look closely--you'll notice that the DMC 612 in the basket is two different colors!

Next up is my small finish--my Christmas ornament for April. Isn't this Santa adorable with his little pigeon-toed feet? And the tiny reindeer--darling! This is called "St. Noel" and is a design from With Thy Needle & Thread which I stitched "over one" on 28 ct. bay leaf Jobelan. I had trouble getting the white to show up so I switched the suggested color from ecru to B5200 and stitched the top of each cross stitch twice. That seemed to do the trick! I also switched the red to DMC 221 and the face color to DMC 407.

"St. Noel" finish--such a joyful guy!

I fully finished the ornament this past weekend and love the final result... I combined two fabrics, a strand of homemade cording and a burgundy colored button to accent the stitching. The back of the ornament is also the burgundy and white checked fabric. So, on to my May ornament which I began last night... I'm so pleased to be on track this year with my monthly ornament finishes!

My April 2018 Christmas ornament finish

In other stitching news, I've received some lovely gifts which I'd like to share with you. First of all, I won a giveaway from Arlene at Nanaland. She was offering this cute patriotic chart and when it arrived, I found Arlene had also included a skein of the prettiest spring-colored thread from Colour & Cotton. I'm anxious to try it--it looks wonderful! I hope to stitch up "Land I Love" by Memorial Day and will then offer it as a giveaway right here--so watch for it... Thank you so very much, Arlene!

Giveaway win from Arlene

And from another of my readers (who doesn't want to be identified), I received a large package of charts that she said I can either keep and stitch or use as giveaways. Wasn't that sweet? I was so touched by her kindness and her desire to see these charts go to fellow stitchers. Thank you so much, my friend--I see several that I'll be adding to my stitching line-up and I know those of you who win some of these charts in future giveaways will be most appreciative as well. 

A wonderful grouping of charts from a blog reader and friend!

In the baking department... Easter brought another baking opportunity and the result was this tasty Strawberries 'n' Cream Cake Roll from Sally's Baking Addiction. I was a bit nervous about making this, but the instructions were so clear that it came together very easily... It used freeze dried strawberries which gave the filling a very intense strawberry flavor. My middle son, who is usually not a dessert eater, even had seconds!

I think the bunnies wish they could taste some!

Easter marked the end of my sweets baking for a while as we have no holidays until Memorial Day. But, that doesn't mean the bread-making stops! Sunday found this wonderful Multigrain Bread on our table... Very, very tasty--a great bread to serve with soup and a salad for a simple dinner. I used the multigrain hot cereal from Trader Joe's and added only 2 teaspoons of yeast. Next time, I would cut the salt to 1 teaspoon, too--it tasted just a bit too salty for me!

I'm being good--one slice a day! (Well, I did have 1 1/2 the day I made it!)

Little visitors... I think that's about it for today... I hope to be back at the end of April if I have any finishes to share. Until then here are two sweet visitors (well, the squirrel is just a bit naughty, if truth be told!) who frequent our bird feeders.

Poor squirrel--he spends much of his time perched on that rock looking longingly at the suet feeder!

The Carolina Wren--one of my favorite visitors

Perhaps spring will have sprung by my next post?! I want to thank  you all for your sweet comments and emails--you really are such a wonderful community, you know that? How lucky we are to be stitchers! As always, if you have a question--please make sure to include your email address so I can get back to you. Enjoy your week, everyone--make it a good one!  Bye for now...