I'm getting better! It's been less than two weeks since my last blog post--can you believe it? Since then I've lived through that horrid heat wave that hit much of the U.S. and then experienced a string of almost perfect 75° days with low humidity. I think they were our reward for putting up with all of that heat wave nonsense! But, the good thing about a heat wave is that you can't be outside very long which left plenty of time for sitting and stitching in air conditioned comfort. I only have two finishes to share with you today, but two more projects are "almost done."
Oh, it was so hard to part with this little cutie... I stitched this sweet pair of elves (on a 32 ct. mystery linen from Lizzie Kate's "Tiny Tidings XXII") for a gift for a former co-worker who just moved into her first home. She is a baker and she loves little creatures like gnomes and such, so I thought this cute elf couple sharing a giant chocolate chip cookie would be perfect for a Christmas ornament. If any of you have stitched this, you'll notice I made a few changes... In addition to a few color changes (the main being the face and cheeks where I used DMC 950 and 758), I didn't care for the row of flowers that was charted under the elves. So, I simple stitched "Merry Christmas" and added two small hearts. I also added some "steam" rising from the mug and changed the hair color to resemble that of the recipients. What do you think?
|Lizzie Kate's elf couple from "Tiny Tidings XXII"|
I thought a wooly flannel in green would be the perfect accent fabric along with a cheery red print and a bit of white ric rak peeking out. The cording is made from the same shade of green as in the elf boy's shirt. This one just may have to be stitched again for my own tree!
|The baking elves finish--so adorable!|
My second piece was finished just in time for the 4th of July and is from our friend Nurdan who used to blog, but now has an online Etsy shop under the name Twin Peak Primitives. When I posted this on Instagram last week, I had so many people requesting information on where to buy the chart. Well, all you have to do is go to the Twin Peak Primitives Etsy shop, right here... there are so many cute designs to choose from! This design is called "Patriotic Olde Truck" and it is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco. I did change a couple of the colors--used GAST Mulberry for the rusty red color and GAST Freedom for the blue. I also changed the tire colors to DMC 844 because, well, DMC black would never show up on the black Monaco, would it? I also changed the font of the words and stitched them in white so they would really pop against the dark background.
|Twin Peak Primitives: "Patriotic Olde Truck"|
And here is my finish--simple and patriotic using fabric from a checked towel that I purchased at a local store along with ecru colored ric rac and a rusty star that I glued into place. I love it!
|A star-spangled finish!|
Giveaway winner... I had eight entries for the little Uncle Sam Flatbed chart so I simply drew a name out of a hat (well, really a bowl!) and up came the winner....
Meari, congratulations... please send me your mailing address and I will get this out to you as soon as possible.
|Meari--you are the winner!|
If you didn't win, keep an eye on this space. More charts will be given away soon... In fact, why not now? Would anyone like to give this pretty chart a new home?
♥♥♥ NEW GIVEAWAY for July... I was recently given this charming Butternut Road chart called "Children's Garden" from a very generous reader (who wishes to remain anonymous). It is a fairly large chart at 199 stitches X 133 stitches, but it calls for only DMC floss. I think this perfectly captures the innocence of childhood from a bygone era... Since I already own a copy of this chart, my friend wanted me to simply pass it on to someone who might want to stitch it. So, how about you? If you are a follower and would like a chance to win, please let me know in your comments. As always, please include your email address if I don't already have it... Best of luck to all who enter and I will reveal the winner's name the next time I post.
|I'm giving away this "Children's Garden" chart|
"Oh, the Places You'll Go: Part II" Do you remember when I teased you with the "Day 3" happenings in my previous post? I asked where you all thought we went during our third day in southern California? There were some great answers: Balboa Park, the beach, the San Diego Zoo, and even Phoenix. Nope... We walked into Mexico! Yes, that's right: walked...into...Mexico! Who knew that you could simply park your car on the U.S. side of the border, 20 miles south of San Diego, and casually walk over into the city of Tijuana after presenting your passport and signing one quick form!?
Now I can just hear you whispering... "but, was it safe?" I was nervous--I have to admit; but having my wonderful daughter-in-law, (who is of Mexican-American heritage), with us, gave me extra courage. She helped us navigate the city on foot and via taxi and Uber rides very easily. Things have improved, in terms of safety, since the major drug cartel era of the 1990s and early 2000s--and as long as you stay within the heavily traveled tourist areas, it is supposed to be pretty safe. We had no problems whatsoever on the day we spent in Tijuana. At the same time, I felt like I needed to be quite vigilant and aware of my surroundings. The city has come a long way from the drug wars that engulfed it a while back--but it has a long way to go. There is a lot of poverty and street crime (and much worse) outside of the well-traveled tourist spots.
So, would you like a little tour of Tijuana? First of all, I learned that I've been mispronouncing Tijuana my entire life--I had been putting an extra "a" in there (Ti-a-jua-na) and that is not correct. It is simply Ti-jua-na. From the time we stepped onto Mexican soil, it was just a short walk to the main touristy area: Avenida Revolución. Restaurants and souvenir shops abound and the strangest thing for me was how the owners of these establishments would stand outside their shops and call for you to come in and shop or dine.
|This huge arch was the first thing we spotted as we began our walk down Avenida Revolución.|
|It was a rare cloudy, cool day in Tijuana, but these vibrant banners helped brighten the visit.|
|My husband and I pose behind the colorful Tijuana sign. It was very chilly--so glad I wore a jacket and long pants!|
A zonkey?? Some of the most interesting sights were all of the "zonkeys" that were waiting on many of the street corners. What is a zonkey? Well, from a distance--they truly do look like zebras, but they are really just donkeys painted to look like zebras. This is a long-standing Tijuana tradition (going back over 100 years) in which serape-draped donkeys carrying sombrero-wearing tourists are photographed for a fee. Years ago, with only black and white photography, the donkeys would simply fade into the background and the customers were disappointed with their pictures. So someone came up with the idea of painting the donkeys with black paint, hair dye, etc. to resemble zebras. It worked! The newly created "zonkeys" were a hit and many a Tijuanan has made money photographing his favorite animal and a willing tourist. Of course, there are arguments about whether or not this is hurting the donkeys, but the "zonkeys" have become an important part of Tijuanan culture--there is even a basketball team named the Tijuana Zonkeys.
|Barbi the Zonkey chomps on corn as she waits for her next customer!|
|Colorful street art and Mexican flags lined Avenida Revolución|
My son suggested taking a taxi ride over to the Pacific Ocean and it was quite an unforgettable experience. At this spot, is the westernmost point of the 1954-mile border between the United States and Mexico. As you can see, there is a rusty 15-foot high fence that separates the two countries and juts out into the Pacific Ocean for several dozen yards.
|On the left: Tijuana, Mexio ~ On the right, California, U.S.A.|
|The Mexican side of the fence has been painted with different sentiments and names and photos of various Mexican deportees|
|In this photo, a Mexican woman visited through the fence with her family or friends who were on the U.S. side.|
|There are many large decorative fiberglass hearts on display. This one overlooks the Pacific Ocean and says "El amor es una verdad, la unica verdad" which translates to: "Love is a truth, the only truth."|
So, would I go to Tijuana a second time? Probably not... although I'm glad I went once. I've heard that people are braver when they are on vacation--that they step out of their comfort zone and try new things. This was definitely the case for me! Have you ever tried anything out of your comfort zone while on vacation? It was an eye opening experience that I will never forget and it certainly made me appreciate how very blessed I am to live in the United States of America.
All creatures great and small... Returning to my little corner of the world after being away from home always makes me smile. I am a true homebody, that's for sure. Lately, all sorts of critters have been visiting our yard...
|One of the two darling fawns recently born (who promptly bent down and ate my lavender plants as soon as I took this photo!)|
|This crazy groundhog has made himself right at home. I caught him gnawing on the fibers of our front doormat last week. After he'd had his fill, he just plopped himself right down on our front porch and watched the world go by!|
|A handsome male Black Swallowtail loves the dianthus plant that my middle son and a friend brought me on the 4th of July!|
|This fuzzy buzzing bee enjoyed the salvia plant, but was so hard to photograph. Can you spot him in the lower left?|
So, what does the rest of July hold? Well, I'll be heading up to New York State to attend my 45th high school reunion! What??? How can I be that old? Several of my best friends from way back then are going to be there also and I haven't seen most of them since I was 18 years old. Will we recognize each other? I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous... I've only been to one of my reunions and that was the 20th--25 years ago. How do you feel about reunions? Wish me luck!
Thank you all for stopping by today; whether just to see my stitching photos or to read about my travels--or both, I so appreciate you taking the time you take to say "hello!" I hope to be back in a couple of weeks with the winner of my giveaway and a new finish or two. Until then, bye for now...