Thursday, April 18, 2019

Three Birds, Two Bunnies, and One Decadent Chocolate Cake!

Mid-April already??? I can hardly believe it! This is the time of year I would always look forward to the most--the end of tax season and the return of normal work hours for my husband. The boys and I rarely saw him from January 2nd to April 15th when he worked as a tax accountant/CPA. He worked every single day of the week, often not getting home until past our bedtime. I honestly felt like a single mother for those 3 1/2 months every year. Thankfully, he changed jobs about 20 years ago and life has been much better. But, still, even after all these years, mid-April is a time I associate with good things--warmer weather, blooming trees and flowers, singing birds, and digging in the soil (well, not that one so much--I am not a gardener anymore due to the deer who devour things as quickly as we plant them!). It's just such a happy month, don't you think?

I have two finishes to share with you today--one large and one small. The larger piece is one you last saw in September of 2016. But, I actually started it over five years ago! (This is why I tend to stitch one piece at a time--if I put it down for any length of time, it is a true struggle to go back to it). The first time I put it in "time out" was because I didn't know what to do about the "J" that was missing from the alphabet. Yes, I know many older samplers don't include the "J" or the "V," but, that bothers me... So I put it away in order to "think" about what I wanted to do. In 2016, I picked it up and decided to just leave it as charted--no "J." But, then I ran out of Weeks Dye Works "Kudzu!" I mean there is a lot of kudzu in this piece--everything green is kudzu... Just look at all of the leaves, grass, and stems! The replacement Kudzu arrived and I stitched all the way down to the house. And then I put it away again--I was so very tired of stitching all that green! Fast forward to earlier this month and I came across it again and literally said--out loud--"Carol, just get it done!" My husband was out of town so I "stitched like it was my job" and, voilà--here it is! Don't you love it?

"Birds Of a Feather" is finally finished!

"Birds Of a Feather" is a With Thy Needle and Thread design stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle linen with most of the suggested overdyed colors. I did change the birds to a bluer blue, but I lost the tag that stated the exact shade and have no idea what the lighter color is! The darker color on the birds is GAST "Dungarees." Don't you love the border--just look at the reds in those pretty tulips? I photographed it next to my husband's grandfather's old pocket watch and one of my grandmother's hankies. The sampler reminds me of a simpler life in days gone by... just like the watch and the hankie...

I want to live in that little yellow house on top of a hill!

Green, green, and more green!

Now, to get it framed!

Bunny stitching... It wouldn't be Easter if I didn't create at least one small bunny pillow to add to my collection, would it? This is from a 1994 design by Patrick's Woods called "The Heart's Chase" which I just happened to see on eBay last year. I don't think I've ever seen this design stitched up before, have you? It really could be either an Easter piece of a Valentine's design.

"The Heart's Chase" finish

The pillow was stitched on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with a combination of overdyed threads and DMC. I changed the large heart color to black (from a charted dark navy blue). If you look closely, you'll notice some specialty stitches... in fact the "stairs" that the bunny on the right is running up are made of satin stitches. Don't they resemble tiny hearts?  To finish this off into a pillow, I used a tiny strip of pink fabric next to a black and white gingham along with some mini-ric rac, a stack of buttons, and some of my handmade cording--I think it gives the whole piece a cheerful, fun look.

Another pink and black bunny pillow for my collection

You don't generally think of pink and black being Easter colors, do you? But, I've found myself returning to that color scheme quite often over the past years. Just look at all the pink and black creations I've made in the photo below! Do you like my bunny chair? Oh, I absolutely fell in love with it when I spotted it at a thrift store in Florida last year. My husband was not impressed--it is very "chippy" and aged looking and I know he wondered what I saw in it. He asked me just how I intended to get that home on the airplane and I told him I'd find a way. I carefully padded it with plastic bags and brought it home in my little carry-on duffel bag. I was so scared it would fall apart, but it arrived in great shape and is now a treasured part of my Easter decorating. Not bad for $5.00, eh? If you'd like to know more about the other bunny finishes in this photo, just click on the name of each one and you can read the description of my finishes: black bunny pouch, two bunnies in black oval, bunny and pink house.

I tend to group my bunnies into groups of similar colors--these are just a few members of the pink group!

More thrifting goodies... I love visiting thrift shops, although I don't go as often as I'd like. I did stop in at my local Goodwill this week and came away with some treasures including that pale pink ceramic basket on the right in the photo above for a mere 98 cents. I spotted the adorable green bunny creamer below and had to have it even though, at $7.99, it was more than I wanted to spend. Yes, I'm very frugal!! 

My new thrifted bunny creamer

Fresh daffodils from my yard that the deer actually didn't devour this year!

I also came home with a new pair of framed 15" x 17" floral prints for my pale yellow sunroom (the room where I take the majority of my photos because the natural light is so wonderful). Aren't these pretty--can't wait to get them hung up. They are double matted and in absolutely pristine condition... And guess how much they were? Each one was only $3.98! Thrift stores offer such a great way for you to find something to change up the look of your room at very little cost.

Two new floral prints from the thrift store

A delicious dessert... Before I get to the winner of the cording giveaway, I'd like to share this decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe with you. My oldest son was visiting from California last month and I made this for his birthday--doesn't it look fancy? Well, let me tell you, this was one of the easiest desserts I've ever made! You can find the cake recipe right here (it is just a single layer) and the chocolate glaze recipe here. I only made half of the glaze and it was plenty. For both the cake and the glaze, I used Ghirardelli's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bars. For the pretty effect on top, I simply sifted powdered sugar over a paper doily placed on top of the glaze after it had dried and then lifted the doily straight up. This honestly tasted as good as it looked--just like an expensive restaurant dessert! Give it a try on your next special occasion...

Flourless Chocolate Cake--oh, my!!

Giveaway winner... I was so touched by all of your kind comments on my previous post--I'm very glad my tutorial on how I attach my cording was helpful. Have any of you tried it yet? I had 32 entries for my eight pieces of cording and the name pulled from the proverbial hat was... drumroll please:

Shelly (An Arizona Stitcher) is the giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Shelly! Please send me an email with your mailing address and I will get these pretty pastel pieces to you pronto. This was a fun giveaway for me to host as I truly love making cording. I'm thinking I'll do another giveaway for patriotic colored cording in a month or two so keep on reading! Thank you to all who entered--I mean it when I say I was very touched by your compliments and comments... I am way behind on emails so I will do my best to catch up with you soon. And please remember, if you have a question, make sure to include your email so I can answer it!

Our Easter will be quiet with just our middle son and his girlfriend here for dinner. I so miss those wonderful family Easter dinners that my mom used to prepare for us--she always made things so very special at holiday time. I don't think you appreciate how hard a mother works at holiday time until you are on your own and doing all those things yourself. So, thank you, mom--I love you so...  Hope you each have a blessed Easter weekend with family, friends, and lots of little chocolate bunnies. Until next time, happy stitching, my friends! Bye for now...

Wishing all of my friends here at Stitching Dreams a very blessed Easter weekend!