Hello, hello! How is March treating you so far? Well, it's been an up and down month for me, but I think I'm finally on the upswing so all is good... As you can tell from the title of this post, March has been a month filled with stitching, traveling, and illness (something I'm not used to!).
Let's start with the fun stuff first! How sweet is this little Plum Street Samplers design called "Hello Spring?" I bought all four seasons of this series when they first came out a couple years ago, but am just beginning to stitch them. I wish my photo was better as the fabric is a lovely pure white evenweave. I changed all of the colors using overdyed cottons and Dinky Dyes silks. The big blue flower is done in Dinky Dyes "Ghost Gum"--a really lovely color. I also used it for the cording. Many people have stitched this without the words, but, to me--the words really make this piece! I love the beautiful font and the wide spacing of the letters. And, of course, who can resist a skinny leaping brown bunny?
I finished this as a small pillow since the design ended up being only a bit over 3 X 5 inches on the 46 ct. evenweave... Wait--46 count?!?! Yes, you read that right! An Instagram friend, Jucus who lives in Hungary and creates lovely hand-dyed fabrics and trims, offered a free piece of 46 ct. evenweave to "brave stitchers" who would like to try it. Of course, I took the challenge... I mean as an avid 40 ct. stitcher, how much harder could 46 ct. be? Simply put: much harder! I don't know if it was because it was evenweave and I had to use a hoop to hold it (I usually stitch in hand on linen) or what, but I really struggled to see the holes. The fabric itself was beautiful, but I'm not sure I would try such a high count again. Here is the link to Jucus' Etsy shop--she offers beautiful fabrics in many counts and free shipping on $50.00+ orders: xJudedesign
|Stitching on 46 ct. makes for a small pillow!|
The yo-yo was made with a Clover "Quick" Yo-Yo Maker which I tried for the first time. They come in various sizes ranging from Extra Small to Jumbo and I thought it worked very well. I used the "small" size for this yo-yo, but plan on buying the medium and large sizes now that I know they are easy to use. Clover even make yo-yo makers in heart and flower shapes!
|Don't you love yo-yos?!|
My other finish was my February (yes, I'm behind already for 2019!) Christmas ornament and I love it! This is a Prairie Schooler design from Book No. 47 called "Santa Rides." I used a scrap of 40 ct. mystery linen in a soft sage green color (wish I had more of it!) and most of the suggested colors. The main change I made was to the snowflakes which were charted to be DMC 3046 which I found very strange... 3046 is quite yellow in tone! So I changed the snow to a much more believable ecru. I also changed the color of the third tree to make it stand out from the two bordering it.
|Prairie Schooler's "Santa Rides" finish|
I knew I wanted to build a frame of twigs for my final finish as soon as I began stitching this funny Santa driving his Christmas tree-filled truck. This design just demanded a rustic finish, in my opinion, so I channeled my decades old summer camp "arts and crafts" sessions! I made a twig frame, braided some simple twine for the hanger, and added some dried berries and rusty jingle bells on top. I also had the idea to use a very thick cream colored trim to represent the snow under the truck. It came on a spool and I just glued down two strips of it, side by side, to get the look I wanted. What do you think? I have to say, I think this was my most "liked" ornament ever on Instagram when I posted it on Tuesday. By the way, if you'd like to follow me on Instagram just click here! I'd love to see you there, too...
|A rustic finish complete with "snow" made from trim!|
I made a twig frame once before for a Christmas ornament way back in 2011. This one was done a bit differently as I stacked the twigs rather than cutting and piecing them as I did in my latest finish. I love the look of it except for one thing--there is a gap between the stitching and the twigs on the top and bottom because those twigs lie on top of the two side twigs. It is not visible in this photo, but it is there if you look down at the ornament. I do love this one, though, and it is on my top ten favorite Christmas ornaments--I just adore his little bundle of logs. If you'd like to read more details about this finish, click here. And if you have extra time, you may want to read the whole post as it contains the story of one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences I had in my career as a librarian!
|My first twig frame back in 2011|
A delightful random act of kindness arrived from one of my readers (and new stitching friend!), Nicole, who lives on the other side of Pennsylvania. She read of my sudden fascination with French designer, Perrette Samouiloff's designs (in this post) and wanted to send me a little book of them. Well, imagine my surprise when not only the book, but five French magazines, five skeins of DMC floss, mini blue ric-rak, and a sweet silver charm arrived in my mailbox! Oh, my, Nicole--you truly spoiled me! I am so looking forward to stitching these charming designs and I'm even happier to have "met" such a generous and thoughtful new stitching friend! Thank you so very much ♥
|Delightful surprise goodies from Nicole!|
So, on to more of the "fun" stuff: Florida! Yes, I got very brave and flew by myself to sunny Florida for 5 days to visit my middle sister and her husband. I had only flown alone once before when I was much younger so I was quite worried. As luck would have it, I got stopped in the security line for a "random electronics screening" where they had to take each of my electronic devices: (my iPad, my cell phone, and my Kindle), swab them with something, and then test them for explosive residue. I have both TSA pre-check and Global Entry, but I guess this is completely random and happening more often to travelers no matter their security risk. Of course, my devices were fine, but it started my journey off on a bit of a nerve-wracking note! I am an anxious flyer to begin with (are any of you, too?) so that wasn't the best way to start my trip, but, thankfully, everything went smoothly from there on.
Walking into my sister's condo in Daytona Beach Shores was a bit like stepping back into time . You see, my parents had owned that same condo for many, many years and the last time I visited was in 2011 (you can read about that visit right here) when both mom and dad were still living there--the visit where I got the big speeding ticket! My sister has changed very little and it made me a bit sad picturing my dad relaxing in his recliner by the sunny window staring at the waves in the ocean, eating lunch at the bar counter, and sitting on his bed as he tied his shoes. 2011 was the last time I saw him there as my parents soon moved back north to get some much needed help in dealing with his troubling dementia. But, it also brought me a feeling of home and comforted me as well. I love remembering how happy mom and dad were there all those years during as they escaped our long, cold winter months. My sister and I simply relaxed, took long walks on the beach, and reminisced about days gone by. We had a great time!
|Daytona Beach Shores is a very wide beach where you are even allowed to drive a car! My sister's condo is in the first building on the right--way up near the top.|
|Because the condo is on a barrier island between the Florida coast and the Atlantic Ocean, there are beautiful views of the Halifax river...|
|... and of the Atlantic Ocean. These photos were both taken from the condo.|
|I so enjoyed those warm sunny days by the water!|
We also went to visit nearby Dunlawton Plantation and Sugar Mills Gardens which contains a few artifacts of a former 19th century sugar plantation along with gardens and hiking trails.
|Artifacts of the sugar making process included these giant kettles used to boil the cane juice|
|At the center of the garden was this huge old oak tree.|
|The Spanish moss was draped over the boughs of the trees and swung lazily in the Florida breeze.|
|I love the way the American flag seems to have taken on the shape and color of the Spanish moss!|
|Some of the pretty flowers and ferns we saw at Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens|
I can see why my sister is so happy living in Florida in the winter months! You totally forget that it is winter--no icy roads or shoveling mounds of heavy snow to deal with. It is a very easy, carefree life for her in her retirement years! I actually hated to go back north and face winter again, but it was time to go home...
|This was what greeted me as I flew into Pennsylvania! Yes, it had snowed the night before. Can you see the shadow of the airplane on the ground? At least the sun was shining even if it was a frigid 10° when I landed!|
And the bad -- the FLU! Unfortunately, the germs of the plane got to me and I came down with some sort of cold/flu bug on the way home. I think it was the flu (although I did have a flu shot this winter, as I always do!) because my whole body ached--even the tops of my hands were hurting. My cold wasn't horrible, but the cough was and it took a good 10 days to finally begin to feel better. I just felt so wiped out and listless... I honestly hadn't been that sick in years!
So, if I haven't visited your blogs, responded to your comments or emails, or left comments recently, please forgive me. I will catch up--I promise! I think I've babbled on long enough for now... I'll be back in a couple weeks (hopefully!) with a darling Easter piece that I'm stitching and my March ornament. Until then, thank you all for your sweet comments and emails--I treasure each one! Hope the rest of the month is good to each of you! Bye for now...