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...