Happy last day of October--or Happy Halloween if you prefer! How are my blogging friends today? I can hardly believe we are rounding the corner to the final two months of 2018, can you? October has been one tough month around here--I won't sugarcoat it. I just have to hope and pray that November is kinder...
My stitching retreat, two weeks ago, was such fun: stitching, eating, stitching, snacking, stitching, sleeping, stitching... Unfortunately, I had to leave a day early as my niece's baby shower fell on that last day. But, it was still nice to be there for even the short time I had with four long-time stitching friends. We don't have formal exchanges these days like we used to--if someone wants to bring something, that's fine. No one keeps track! I had some extra time to stitch while my mom was in the hospital so I made four little snowflake ornaments--one for each of my friends. Believe me, by the final one, I think I had the chart memorized. It is actually one I had stitched twice before--once for myself and once for a Christmas exchange--so I'm sure many of you recognize it.
|A quartet of snowflake ornaments for four good friends|
The pattern is a freebie which can be found right here. I also have a link to it in my sidebar under "Favorite Freebies." These were stitched on 40 ct. white Newcastle using the variegated DMC 115 thread--love the crisp red and white look at Christmas time! The ruched ribbon edging is easy once you get the hang of it... Google "ruched ribbon tutorial" and you will find some great instructions and videos to help you out. I simply apply it to the perimeter of the circle with a bit of glue on the tip of a toothpick.
|There's just something about red and white!|
The problem of how to package my ornaments was made easy when I stumbled upon these red and white polka dot popcorn holders at the local Dollar Tree. Throw in some crimped paper ribbon shreddings and you've got a quick, easy gift box!
|All ready for gift-giving!|
My stitching friends brought me some goodies, too, as you can see in the photo below. We hope to get back on track and meet up next fall, too. This type of retreat is something that anyone can set up. Many of you told me they've never been to a stitching retreat. Well--why not set up your own? Contact a few friends, rent a house for a few days and let the stitching begin! I am not one for large groups so this smaller set-up suits me perfectly...
|Gifts received from stitching friends at our retreat--thank you all!|
I don't enjoy shopping, but I do make an exception to visit HomeGoods now and then. I love HomeGoods--you just never know what little gem you'll stumble upon. I recently picked up this "Measure, Make, Create" Rae Dunn divided dish to use on my crafting table. I love it; it corrals small buttons, trims, and other accents just perfectly when I am finishing an ornament or small pillow. And at the clearance price of $5.00--who could resist?!
|A handy little Rae Dunn dish for my craft table|
And, I've been meaning to post this sweet little tool set that my daughter-in-law gave me for Mother's Day in May... How pretty are these floral hammer, scissors, and tape measure? I have them where I can quickly grab them--right on top of my craft table at all times...
|Some "girl" tools from my dear daughter-in-law!|
The handle of the hammer unscrews and is a screwdriver inside! How neat is that? And that hammer came in very handy yesterday as I finally got a 2013 finish all framed up. I use the method outlined here to prepare my stitched piece for framing. The hammer tapped in all those tiny pins while saving my fingers lots of pain in the process! Who remembers this finish of "Halloween Is In the Air?" Well, as I mentioned... it's been five years and that poor neglected piece was just waiting and waiting for me to pay it some attention again. Here is the framed finish--isn't it adorable?
|Finally framed after five years|
Many of you know that Halloween is a hard day for me... My dad passed away four years ago on Halloween and since then I haven't decorated at all. I've stitched a few pieces, but this is the first year I've done anything in the way of decorating. Just this one simple vignette... It's not much, but I'm getting there! Baby steps, right?
|Just look at that moon!|
I really love the old-time vintage look of Halloween in this piece--the expressions on the moon's face and the candy corn "flowers" are priceless! I am not a fan of the bright purples and yellows and fluorescent greens that are so popular in modern day Halloween pieces. I much prefer the duller oranges and golds and more muted tones of Halloween decor from the 1930s and 40s.
|A basket of Halloween|
GIVEAWAY WINNER... We have a winner! Yes, there were 15 entries for the Seasonal Kitties charts and the winning name drawn from the hat is:
|The giveaway winner is: Patricia Dee!|
Patricia, please contact me (email is in my "A Bit About Me" profile in the sidebar) and let me know your mailing address. I will get these out to you this week. Congratulations and thank you to all who entered. If you didn't win this time--watch this space. There will be future giveaways!
The synagogue shooting in my city of Pittsburgh has been simply heartbreaking and so horrific for the families of those killed, for the Jewish community, for western Pennsylvania, for the United States, and for the entire world, really. We, here in Pittsburgh, have always felt a bit sheltered from "bad things." We get few natural disasters like hurricanes or wildfires or tornadoes. Our cost of living is low and we are lucky enough to have excellent educational, healthcare, and technology systems in place. Now we are on an evergrowing list of "those" places--Littleton, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Charleston, Las Vegas, Paris, and way too many others. You always think, "It can't happen here." But, you're wrong--it can happen anywhere, at any time, and your city or town will be forever changed. My thoughts and prayers go out to each and every family touched by this senseless act.
What I've been so proud to see during all of the news coverage of the tragedy are the many comments by outsiders and reporters of what a strong, resilient, and caring group of people make up the Pittsburgh area. We are a hard-working, friendly, "get right-back-on-your-feet" type and this will be evident in the days and years to come. I wasn't born in Pittsburgh, but I've lived here for the past 41 years--2/3 of my life. And I'm so proud to call this city my home...
As wonderful as Pittsburgh normally is, it's not known for an abundance of sunshine! In fact this list shows that it is the 11th least sunny city in the United States--right after Seattle... And it's particularly hard in the fall and winter months when the weather turns too cold to spend time outside. I've known that I'm prone to seasonal sadness and have finally decided to purchase one of those special lamps to use that mimic the sunlight and help battle depression during the winter months. Have any of you purchased one that you can recommend? I'm thinking about this one as it has excellent reviews and looks to be very portable and small. But, I'd love to have your input!
So, as I said--October... sigh. A tough one! My mom has been in and out of the hospital twice and I have been driving back and forth to New York to be with her. Hopefully, things are resolved for now--thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for her health. They meant so much to us!
|The beautiful fall colors that brighten my yard|
I also want to thank you for your kind, thoughtful comments and emails. I wish I could reply to each of you directly, but many of you are "no-reply" bloggers--and it seems that more and more of you are ending up in that category, sadly. For those of you who still take the time to read and comment, I so appreciate it! I was just checking my blog statistics and the number of views of each of my 2018 posts is about half of what they were last year. That really makes me sad and makes me wonder if blogging truly is a dying art. But, I'll keep plugging away for a while! Enjoy your November, everyone--may it be a kind month filled with the spirit of Thanksgiving. Bye for now...