Good morning, everyone! I've heard such horror stories of the extreme heat, flooding rains, and forest fires that have plagued many of you in the U.S. and Europe and I'm so sorry... We've somehow managed to escape all of that here in western Pennsylvania. It has even been downright chilly some mornings to the point where I've had to throw on a lightweight bathrobe when I first get up... most unusual for the summer months. I hope Mother Nature can get her emotions under control and things calm down for all of you very soon!
It's been two weeks since my last post and I want to thank you all so much for your kind and very insightful comments on my walk across the border into Mexico and on those interesting creatures that have been visiting my yard (especially that very odd groundhog who thinks he is a member of the family and settles down on our front porch from time to time!). Since my previous post, I've traveled up and back to New York State for a visit with my mom (all of my siblings were there, too!) and to attend my 45th reunion (more about that later). Thankfully, I've also managed to finish my Christmas ornaments for June and July. Would you like to see them?
For my June ornament choice, this classic Prairie Schooler Santa (the 2016 design) caught my eye. Isn't he cute with his arm wrapped around his reindeer buddy? I chose a 40 ct. linen--Vintage Country Mocha Newcastle--to stitch him on and I was really pleased with how well the white shows up. I'll definitely be stitching more of the PS Santa series on this same fabric.
|The 2016 Prairie Schooler Santa|
I am so happy that Prairie Schooler is continuing their designs of their yearly Santas even though they've retired. Someone on Instagram asked me how many I've stitched through the years and I think the answer is about 10 of the annual Santas--I have many, many more waiting their turn! If you'd like to see what others they've designed through the years, here is a link to all of them from 1984 up to 2016: Prairie Schooler Santas list. I used the suggested DMC threads except for the green which I changed from DMC 502 to DMC 520. And here he is all finished up! A simple classic finish for a classy looking guy...
|Another ornament for my tree!|
Since this has been such a busy month, I stitched this quick and easy JBW design called "French Country Snowflake" for my July ornament. I love the dusty blue fabric, but have no idea what it is called--it was just a small piece of 32 ct. mystery linen that I had in my stash. The fabric color in my photo is not true to life, but the second photo of the actual finish is pretty close. The original design had the word "Snowflake" charted underneath, but I wanted to create a round ornament so I simply left that off.
|JBW "French Country Snowflake"|
How many little winter motifs can you spot in the snowflake? I think the reindeer right in the center is my favorite. But, then again, that sweet little cottage at the very bottom is pretty cute, too! I made a two toned cording from DMC 932 and 3865 to finish this one off. So, I'm all caught up with my monthly ornament challenge--on to August!
|Blue and white--my favorites!|
Throwback Thursday... Here is an oldie, but goodie! I stitched this way back in 1987 when we were living in Silver Spring, Maryland for a year and I was pregnant with my youngest son--nice memories! Some older pieces look, well, o-l-d--and tired--and like they really belong to a long ago decade, don't they? But, this one has held its own--I never tire of it and see it daily as it hangs right by the door in my family room. The name of this Ann Taylor Nelson design is "Town Square" and it so reminded me of my little home town with the pretty houses and the church in the lower right. We had no town square, but we did have a park with a lovely band stand/gazebo where people would often meet up. I'm not sure what fabric I used, but it might be Davos--and I'm sure I used the suggested thread colors as I wouldn't have dared change a color way back then! I did a little search and you know what--the designer has a website where she still sells her older charts if any of you are interested: ATN Designs.
|"Town Square" stitched more than 30 years ago!|
Giveaway Winner... There were a half-dozen entries for the Butternut Road "Children's Garden" chart and the name that was drawn from the hat is:
Congratulations, Karin--please email me your mailing address and I will get the chart off to you as soon as possible. And for those of you who didn't win--keep an eye on this spot! More chart giveaways will be appearing in the future.
|Winner of this chart is: Karin Carnine!|
So, my high school reunion... 45 years had passed since I saw most fellow members of the Class of 1973! What did I expect? I was SO nervous and on the 3 1/2 hour drive up to New York, I began breaking out in hives! Yes, at least three appeared on my face by the time we reached the hotel. I took a Benedryl which calmed them down as I attempted to relax. But, you know what--I was being silly because as soon as I walked through the doors of the venue and saw my old classmates, it was as if time had melted away.
My three best girlfriends (who had attended school with me since we were just five year old kindergarteners!) were all there and we spent the evening chatting and reminiscing and laughing and making new memories together. Oh, everyone in the class looked a bit different--some had lost a little (or a lot!) of hair, some had spread out through the middle, all of us had wrinkles, and still others had blossomed! But, it was such a fun evening and I'm truly glad I got up the courage to go. There were only 100 students in my graduating class so I really knew most every one of the 30 who showed up that evening. I hope to see everyone again for my 50th (gulp!) in five years, but until then we've been emailing and texting and simply renewing our friendships. There is just something special about old friends who knew you "back then," isn't there?
A funny thing happened the morning after the reunion when we met up with two of my girlfriends for breakfast at the hotel. The one showed up with a copy of the local newspaper folded under her arm and said she had a surprise for me. As I opened it up--who should be pictured on the front page, but me and my husband as we were checking in at the reunion! (It must have really been a slow news day in my small town for them to feature us :) It is a horrible photo, but, yes, there we were right in the middle of the photo--me with my back to the camera and my husband looking on as we find our name tags. So, does this mean I'm famous now?!
|Yep--front page story! Ha ha :)|
Baking news... I've been doing a bit of baking lately and wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you today: No Fat Banana Applesauce Muffins. You can find it right here--it is the perfect way to use up those overly ripe bananas that seem to appear overnight. So moist and dense; I love them--and they whip up in no time!
|The little blue and white pitcher was something I picked up at Goodwill last month for $2.99!|
We celebrated a couple of big occasions earlier this week--my husband's birthday (he caught up with me in mid-July!) and our 41st wedding anniversary on Monday. I wanted to make a simple cake and what better one to try than our very own Mary's Raspberry/Wineberry Cake that she posted on her (and RJ's) blog, Stitching Friends Forever on July 14th. I had never heard of Wineberries before, but had just purchased some juicy, red raspberries so I thought it would be a perfect one-layer cake. Mary, it was fabulous--so easy and oh, so yummy. Will definitely be baking this one again--thank you for sharing!
|Mary's Raspberry Cake to celebrate a birthday and an anniversary|
I'll leave you with a cute photo of my new "pet!" This sweet baby rabbit visits every morning, nibbles away at the clover in our grass, and hops up on our patio to sun himself. He is so tame and lets me come within a few feet of him--he doesn't seem to fear me at all! I hope he sticks around for a while--I do miss having a pet in the house, but with all the traveling we've been doing, it just isn't going to happen for quite a while!
|The sweetest bunny!|
So, that is it for July 2018--another busy month, but a good one! I hope you know how much I enjoy your visits and comments. It takes a long time to put together a blog post and it does my heart good to know someone is actually reading my thoughts other than my mom and husband :) So, thank you all! Enjoy your remaining days of July... and Happy August! Bye for now...