Good morning on this final day of May, my dear stitching friends! I'm sure your month has been just as busy as mine, hasn't it? So much to do at this time of year and I've been trying to manage everything with some sort of hand / thumb tendonitis going on. Not fun at all--in fact, downright painful at times, but I'm hopeful that it might be improving. I've been wearing a brace on my left hand at night and faithfully doing thumb exercises hoping to keep it from getting even worse. I'm a bit behind in commenting on your blogs as typing is one of the many things that aggravates it (stitching is another, sadly)... I think the tendonitis began due to general overuse of my hand, and unfortunately, I do believe stitching is a prominent cause (along with holding my phone, typing, gardening,and lifting my light weights--basically anything that involves a gripping, repetitive motion). I've pulled back on all of these activities and hope that I'll be back to normal in 4-6 weeks.
I do have three small finishes to share with you this month. Many of you have seen this one on Instagram (if you wish to follow me, just click here!) and I was thrilled with all the sweet comments I received. This finish, called "Berries In a Basket," is a design by one of my Instagram friends, Jenny, at Homestitchness and is available on her Etsy shop right here. You all know I have a very special relationship with cardinals that began soon after my dad died so the minute I saw this darling piece, I knew I had to stitch it. I love that both the female and male cardinal are featured as you so often see them as a couple in nature. The basket of berries just says "summer" to me so I added the gold cording and red gingham bow to reflect that. I have it hanging in my kitchen now and it always makes me smile when I spot it!
The fabric is closer to the color in this second photo below. I used 40 ct. vintage Cedar Plank by Lakeside Linen and although I love the color of it, the holes must have shrunk during the dyeing process as they were very tiny and close together... In other words--it was very hard to stitch on! But, I persevered and ended up with this lovely summer finish!
In my last post, I mentioned how far behind I am on my monthly ornament finishes! Well, I did manage to get two finished... For March (yes, March--I told you I was behind!) comes one of my very favorite Prairie Schooler Santas from way back in 1999. I stitched him for a friend at the library years ago and I'm so happy to have one for my own Christmas tree this year.
I just love the quartet of gingerbread men and that cute gingerbread house he is carrying don't you? I kept the finish very classic as I really think he should be the star of the show--just added some handmade cording and a simple gingham bow at the top. I've been using 40 ct. vintage Country Mocha Newcastle linen for the yearly Prairie Schooler Santas for the past few years and just love how well the white shows up on it. The called for DMC threads were used except for the green which I substituted DMC 520. I think I'll be finishing all of my yearly PS Santas this way from now on.
My April ornament is another Prairie Schooler design. For this one, I stitched only the top third of Book No. 190 called "Happy Christmas." It is very tiny as I stitched it "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco. I did make a few changes to the colors--used DMC 221 for the red and stitched the reindeer and tree trunks in DMC 610. Let me tell you, stitching that lettering over one was not an easy feat! But, look how cute it turned out!
The finish was fairly quick and easy--I simply surrounded the little pillow with DMC 221 cording and hung a quintet of rusty bells from the bottom.
Unfortunately, I was not able to finish my May ornament (although it is stitched!) due to my wrist / thumb pain. Hopefully, I'll have that to share with you in June!
Giveaway winner... I'm happy to announce the winner of the pretty hummingbird chart is...
Congratulations, Mini! Please send me your mailing address and I will get this chart to you as soon as possible... And for those of you who didn't win, keep an eye on this spot. More charts will be given away in the near future!
So, what kept me busy in May? Well, I mentioned our trip to Washington, D.C. to visit our youngest son in early May in my last post, but I wanted to share a few photos with you. I absolutely love visiting the D.C. area as we lived there for a year back in the late 1980s; in fact, my youngest son was born there! I always feel like I'm "going home" when we drive down I-95 and into the city. As many times as I've been there, we did two things on this trip that we've never done before. One, was to see the monuments at night. It was a beautiful, warm spring night--the perfect evening to enjoy those special sights by moonlight.
|The beautiful Lincoln Memorial--can you spot Abe sitting inside?|
|The Washington Monument, at just over 554 feet, is the tallest building in Washington, D.C. and the tallest obelisk in the world!|
|The World War II Memorial is especially striking at night with its 56 pillars, fountains, and arches of water.|
|Of course, I had to locate the pillar for Pennsylvania!|
|If you look closely to the right of the Washington Monument, you can spot the dome of the U.S. Capitol in the distance. It really is quite an inspiring vista!|
The other place we visited during our Washington, D.C. trip was a hidden treasure that I had never heard of and I know we'll be going again. Far removed from the tourists and the hustle and bustle of the monument area is a delightful gem known as the National Arboretum. Have any of you visited? Oh, what a wonderful surprise this was--over 400 acres of gardens and paths and special features located right in the District of Columbia. We only saw a fraction of it (and walked nearly 10 miles while doing so!), but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. If you visit, try to go in the spring... The azalea garden had already bloomed, but we still saw so many gorgeous spring flowering plants and trees.
|Scenes from the National Arboretum all dressed up for Spring!|
|Some of the beautiful dogwoods in bloom|
|The peonies were at their peak when we visited and made me want to rush out and buy some peony bulbs to plant at home.|
But, the highlight for me was the beautiful National Capitol Columns... These 22 Corinthian style columns were once part of the United States Capitol built way back in 1828. These stayed in place until they were removed in 1958 in order to build an addition to the Capitol. In the 1980's, the columns were brought to the National Arboretum where they now stand like soldiers watching over the gardens. Apparently, there were originally 24 columns, but 2 were damaged and lie somewhere on the grounds of the National Arboretum's Azalea Gardens. It was really quite a sight to see these giant sandstone columns in the middle of a flower-strewn meadow like this--they almost looked like ancient ruins!
|The National Capitol Columns on a cloudy D.C. afternoon|
|Don't they look majestic?|
|The intricately carved sandstone columns rest on a foundation of steps once used on the east side of the U.S. Capitol|
|The reflecting pool at The National Capitol Columns|
|My husband and me taking a breather!! If you visit the National Arboretum be advised that a lot of walking is involved!|
After our trip to DC, I went up to my mom's in New York to help her celebrate her 92nd birthday. Just look at all the cards and flowers she got! The pretty calla lily was sent by my oldest son and daughter-in-law. And her friends at her senior living community had her all decked out with a light-up crown and a bright lei for dinner one night to help her celebrate. She felt very much loved--which she is! Thank you all for leaving such sweet birthday wishes for her on my last post. She enjoys reading my blog (especially the comments!) and I know she appreciates your kind words.
|Happy 92nd, dear, dear mom!!|
I wasn't home for Mother's Day this year so I saw none of my sons. To be honest, it felt a bit lonely, but they each remembered me with a phone call and some wonderful gifts--trekking poles for our next hiking adventure, ranunculus bulbs to plant in my garden, and this sweet reading rabbit statue which I adore.
|Could this be any more perfect for a former librarian who loves bunnies?!|
Memorial Day was quiet with none of our sons home so we did a lot of gardening. I'm not sure if it is all the rain or what, but our ferns are going crazy and are now nearly as tall as me (which isn't hard as I'm only 5'1"!). They just keep growing and growing. For some reason, I seem to be taking more of an interest in my garden this year--not sure if it's because I have the time now that I've retired or what. My husband has been faithfully spraying the plants with "anti-deer" spray (horrible smelling stuff!!) and it seems to be working. For the first time in years, my hydrangeas are absolutely covered with buds...
|If only our gardens could look this lush and green year round!|
|We transplanted some of the giant ostrich ferns to individual planters and placed them on our patio.|
|A view out to the garden shed and the vegetable garden beyond.|
I've put my patriotic stitching on display for the next few months and am so happy to see all the red, white, and blue again! I'll probably leave it up through July and then begin to switch to sunflowers and bees for the rest of the summer.
|Honoring all those who served our country on Memorial Day|
And, just like that, another month is over... unbelievable! Thank you so much for visiting me today and a special thank you to those of you who take the time to say "hello" in your comments. I truly appreciate each and every one of you and love reading your comments. I know blogs are not the "in" thing these days as Flosstube has taken over, but I so treasure you faithful friends who are still hanging in there with me! As always, if you have a question about a finish of mine, please, please leave your email address so I can get back to you. I have no way of responding to your questions if you don't. See you in June! Bye for now...