Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A month of travel, illness, and visitors (but not much stitching!)

Hello, everyone!  Amazingly, I'm actually posting for a second time this month!   I've been very out of touch over the course of this busy, busy month. I hope you are all well and I truly will do my best to catch up on your blogs next week. I usually stitch every day, but there were quite a few days this month where I just wasn't able to. In mid-May we flew to Florida for my mother-in-law's 90th birthday which was lovely. Not so lovely, was the fact that I must have picked up some very bad virus on the flight home as I became sick with the flu--sicker than I have been in years. It has been two weeks and my voice is just now getting back to normal! Luckily, I recovered  in time for my sister and brother-in-law to visit over the long Memorial Day weekend. And then tomorrow, I am driving up to New York to spend a few days with mom. Whew! June is looking a bit calmer--at least at this point...

After much encouragement from all of you (and many fellow Instagram stitchers), I have decided to go ahead and stitch more little pillows with a bee theme. My latest bee pillow is from Prairie Schooler Book No. 104: G*H*I which is one of the alphabet charts. If you've stitched this one yourself, you'll notice I made a few changes: I stitched pinker flowers, changed the background of the bee square to green, and the main change: I substituted the word "Honeybee" for Honey.

"H Is For Honeybee!"

"H Is For Honeybee" is stitched 'over one' on 28 ct. mushroom Lugana to make it small enough for a little pillow. The finished size of the stitching is just 2.5 X 3.5 inches. I kept the finish fairly simple because there is a lot going on in this design... just added some green cording and a green checked bow. What do you think?

A new finish for my "bee bowl"

Here is a close-up of the bee and words (which would make a nice little pillow all on its own!).

I changed the word "honey" to "honeybee"

I did manage to get my Christmas ornament for May finished up (but, only because I had stitched it last month!). This is my latest finish in Little House Needleworks' Hometown Holidays series and it is called "Main Street Station." If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that I am stitching each little building or scene 'over one' on 28 ct. black Monaco which leads to a very small finish. 

Little House Needleworks "Main Street Station"

And, yes... there are more color changes which I specifically chose to complement the grey wool flannel fabric that I had selected to use on the bottom of it.  I'm very happy with the final look--and I truly love how the snowflakes are popping on the black fabric.  

My ornament finish for May

Here are the three in the series that I have stitched so far:  Needlework Shop, Tree Lot, and Main Street Station. I have at least fifteen more to go! But, I am not pressuring myself to stitch them all this year.

Three done--lots more to stitch!

In other stitching news, I received a couple of sweet gifts from fellow bloggers! From Stasi at Bee-mused and Bee-stitching (who may just be the ultimate bee stitcher!), I received a quartet of darling bee charts. Wasn't that thoughtful of her? Thank you so much, Stasi--I really look forward to stitching them as I add to my "bee bowl" this summer!

Wonderful bee charts from Stasi

And all the way from Australia, came this cute gift from Kaye at Kitten Stitching. I had lent Kaye a chart and when she returned it, I found this cute pillow topper in fun pink and black. I just need to find a small pillow insert and then tie the black ribbons around it to display it. Thank you so much, Kaye--that was so very sweet of you!

A cute pillow topper from Kaye in Australia

Giveaway winner... There were a number of you who entered the giveaway for the Theresa Wentzler birdhouse chart so I picked a name out of the hat and the winner is...

Congratulations, Martina! Please send me your mailing address and I will send you the chart as soon as I can. And for those of you who didn't win this time--please keep an eye on this spot. More charts will be given away in the future!

Martina--you are the winner!

The merry, merry month of May...  So, that ends my stitching news for May, but I'd like to share a few more photos of the fun things I did this month and of our garden visitors.

Scenes from my Mother-In-Law's 90th birthday in Naples, Florida. I basically used the same color scheme and decorating ideas as I used for my own mom's 90th birthday party last May!

When my sister and brother-in-law visited from Boston, we hiked at McConnell's Mills State Park just north of us. Such a beautiful day with equally beautiful scenery!

And my husband and I gave them a tour of beautiful downtown Pittsburgh... Clockwise from top left are... The Duquesne Incline, PPG Place, The Pennsylvanian, and me and my husband with everyone's favorite neighbor, Mr. Rogers!

A new-to-me visitor: The Red-Bellied Woodpecker!

And a brilliant Blue Jay who really is way too big for this suet feeder!

I want to extend a warm welcome to all of my new followers (especially Pam, who I was lucky enough to meet when I sat next to her on my flight down to Florida--she was a cross-stitcher/knitter! What are the chances of that!). Thank you all for you wonderful comments on my stitching and my house in my last post--you are so kind! I'm truly thankful for this wonderful community of cross-stitchers--aren't we the lucky ones? Happy June to you all! Bye for now...

Monday, May 7, 2018

One big pink house and a couple of bees

Happy May, everyone! I hope your weather has warmed up like mine has--finally... It feels so wonderful to walk outside without a coat and simply feel the sun's warmth on my face. It truly was a long, hard winter and not the best to be adjusting to retirement. I hope that I'm breaking out of my cocoon bit by bit now that the weather is nicer and more activities seem to be filling my calendar.  Baby steps...

I've decided that I'm a very slow stitcher! I know it's not a race and the older I get, the more I am stitching just for the pure relaxation of feeling the needle go in and out of the fabric in that special rhythm that it has. And that's one reason why I could never do Stitch Maynia and start a new project each day--it would drive me batty! Why stress myself out?  How about you? Are you participating in Stitch Maynia this year? 

Well, I was bitten by the bee bug recently (or stung, should I say!) as bee themed stitching seems to be calling my name more and more these days. This first finish is a delightful older 2002 sampler from Ewe & Eye & Friends called "Old Rose and Chamomile" which is stitched on 40 ct. antique white Newcastle linen.  Oh, the colors--could they be more spring-like?  I used Gentle Arts "Antique Rose" to create the brick-like appearance of the house, using both the light and dark portions of the thread to form little bricks, and I love how it turned out. My sampler should actually be called "Old Rose and Dandelion Stem" as I substituted GAST "Dandelion Stem" for the called for "Chamomile." It doesn't have nearly the same ring though, does it?! The other change I made to the colors was substituting WDW "Collards" for DMC 3051.

"Old Rose and Chamomile"

The specialty stitches in these Ewe & Eye & Friends designs add such a lovely dimensional look to the finish, don't they? Here are a couple of close-ups so you can see them better. If you haven't tried specialty stitches, please give them a try--they are not hard to do and are actually quite fun! In other changes, I stitched the pretty eyelet stitches on the right vine in the same color as the house and added a tiny doorknob to the front door.

Some of the beautiful specialty stitches

And just look at that giant bee--I love him! The black portion of his body is done in satin stitch along with portions of the grass, urn, and door (which you can see in the photo above).

Rhodes stitches on the flower centers

Stitching this chart now has me on a hunt for more of the Ewe & Eye & Friends house charts. I'd like to stitch and frame them and hang them all together on the wall of one of my bedrooms. They can be hard to find, though, so I'll be haunting eBay and Etsy for a while!

I also had another small, but very cute bee finish that I made into a tiny pillow. Another Ewe & Eye & Friends chart, this one is called "Bee Hive Scissor Companion." It was meant to be turned into a scissor fob, but I went in a different direction. It began with a fairly simple and straightforward finish (although all that satin stitching did cause a bit of a headache for me on the 32 ct. lambswool jobelan).

A tiny Ewe & Eye & Friends beehive

This was one where the finishing actually took longer than the stitching, but I think it looks so darling. Do you think a bowl full of bee pillows might be in my future? Hmmm...

First finish for a new bee bowl???

And look! Everyone's favorite crow couple, Ida Mae and Ira Ray are now framed--and I did it myself! Yay! I used the tutorial on this blog post from With Thy Needle and Thread and am so proud of myself. I purchased the frames online from Franken Frames so I spent less than $25 for each frame. My husband cut out the foam core board for me which was a huge help so I know more self-framing will be in my future. If you are new to my blog and want to read more about the crow couple finishes, just click here

The crows are framed--now I need to figure out the perfect place to hang them!

Do you purchase a lot of stash? I've been watching a few Floss Tube videos lately and have to admit that I'm shocked at how much fabric and how many threads and charts many of these stitchers purchase--each week! I guess I am frugal, but I seem to purchase very little. Or maybe I'm just being realistic; at age 63 I know I already have way more charts than I will ever be able to stitch.  That being said, I did purchase a few goodies last week--all of them at a great price on either eBay or online cross stitch shop sales. I was especially excited to get the "Home for the Holidays" book (Blackbird Designs) as it included some of my very favorite designs. Would you like a closer look?

A few new goodies for me!

Here are just four of the designs I am looking forward to stitching from the BBD booklet! I know many of you have already stitched one or more of these and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Which one should I stitch first?

Giveaway... And I have one last stitchy thing--a chart giveaway. In honor of spring and all the singing birds that awaken me each morning (way too early!), I am offering this beautiful Teresa Wentzler chart which I removed from the August 1998 issue of Just Cross Stitch Magazine. You could stitch all five birds as a bellpull or stitch each one individually--either would be lovely. If you would like a better look at the chart, click here. If you are interested in giving this chart a new home, please let me know in your comments. And please remember--this is NOT the whole magazine, just five pages of it that will be folded and mailed in a legal sized envelope to save money. PLEASE make sure to include your email address or I won't be able to contact you... I'll announce the winner the next time I post (probably toward the end of May). 

If you are interested in giving this chart a new home--let me know in your comment!

I'll leave you with a couple of photos of the glorious spring trees and flowering shrubs in bloom in my yard--I so wish this time of year would last longer!

Our beautiful white crabapple blooms by our patio each May

♥♥♥ Home ♥♥♥

Thank you all so much for stopping by. Whether you are a long-time reader or a new follower, I'm so glad you visited me today. Thank you for each and every comment--I love reading them and I do appreciate the time it takes to write them. If you have any questions for me, please make sure to include your email in your comments so I can get back to you, okay? Enjoy your week, my friends! Bye for now...