Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Summer Surprises!

And here we are nearing the end of June--almost half of the year is over! Can you believe it? Summer has arrived very tentatively as we've had more than our share of rainy, cool days here in western Pennsylvania. This past weekend was perfect, though--sunshine and blue skies with no rain or high humidity! A real treat--in fact, the local weatherman reported that we had not had a precipitation-free weekend like that since February! I can believe it... I do hope the warmer weather is here to stay because it feels just a bit strange to still be wearing my winter bathrobe on the chilly June mornings that we've had this year, that's for sure!

So--here's some good news! My wrist and thumb pain that I mentioned in my last post is 95% better. I so appreciate all of your well-wishes--they helped! Since I had some of you emailing and asking about the exercises I did to help overcome the pain, I thought I'd give you a link to them for any others who may be suffering. I did not go to a doctor, but am quite sure I had developed a condition called De Quervain's tenosynovitis which is common in people (especially women) who do repetitive activities such as playing the piano, typing, and, of course, our beloved stitching! Mine got so bad that I could barely grip a plate or pick up a jar. But, between wearing a brace like this one every night and doing the 12 exercises that are outlined in this article, I seem to have bounced back nicely. I am only putting this out there to offer an idea of what helped me... Always consult your doctor for anything serious!

A summer finish... My stitching time was limited in June due to my wrist issues, but I did manage to finish an older (2012) Chessie & Me design called "Scarlet's Summer Sampler." I am making a concerted effort to go through my older charts and stitch them instead of being lured by the exciting new designs out there. I'm so pleased with this one--I mean who doesn't love a sweet red house, a beehive, and four gentle sheep grazing in a flower-strewn meadow on a lazy, summer day?

Scarlet's Summer Sampler finish

Here are a couple of close-ups for you. I had to convert every single color as it was charted for silks...  I simply chose some similar overdyed colors--much less expensive and I think it turned out great!

Just look at those tiny buzzing bees!

Unfortunately, I have no idea what fabric was used for this--it is a piece of 40 ct. "mystery" linen that I've had in my stash for a long time. It was a great color to use because the sheep show up so well. The date in the upper left was charted for 1822, but that date meant nothing to me so I changed it to 1895--the birth year of both of my grandmothers. If you've ever stitched a Chessie & Me design, you know to expect specialty stitches. The roof is done in satin stitch as is the bee hive. The sheep are all smyrna stitches and the four-sided stitch in black borders the entire sampler.  

Lots of specialty stitches in this one!

Two new Christmas ornaments... What's a stitcher to do when she is blessed with not one, but two new great-nephews in the past six months? Why, stitch them each a Christmas ornament, of course! This is the fourth time I've stitched this sweet gingerbread boy ornament and I'm pleased to say that the parents were so excited. The design can be found in the JBW Designs "Baby's First Christmas" chart and is stitched on 32 ct. black Belfast linen with DMC threads. Rather than stitching the words "Baby's First Christmas" as were charted, I stitched each baby boy's name.

Two new Christmas ornaments for two new great-nephews

I included a tiny white pompom and red beads on his hat

I'm so happy to have met both of my great-nephews while they are still young. They both live far away so who knows how often I'll get to see them. Here is a photo of my dear 92-year-old mom cradling her 2 month old great-grandson... so sweet! It's amazing how much time we all spent simply gazing at this little cutie when we all got together in New York earlier this month... No television, computers, or phones are required for entertainment when a new baby is around!

The oldest and the youngest in my family

I was so touched to receive a gift from dear Mary at Stitching Friends Forever last week. She wanted to let me know she was thinking of me and hoping my wrist would start feeling better very soon. In her note, she explained that she had come across this cut of linen printed with a rabbit and thought of me so she sent it my way along with a beautifully handmade card. Mary, that was so kind of you--you know how much I love rabbits and I'll have to find the perfect way to use your pretty fabric. She thought he would make a nice project bag and she's right (if I can get up my nerve to try making one!). Thank you again, my friend...

A thoughtful get-well gift from Mary at Stitching Friends Forever

And over on Instagram, I won an amazing getaway from Tracy (handstowork). Tracy was having a birthday and offered these beautiful skeins of Weeks Dye Works to the first person in the U.S. who guessed how old she was going to be. I mean--just look--66 gorgeous shades of stitchy goodness! Thank you so much, Tracy, for your very generous gift--you know these will be put to good use! If you aren't on Instagram, please consider checking it out--such wonderful inspiration and so many supportive, kind stitchers are there. You can follow me on Instagram right here

My fabulous rainbow of threads giveaway win from Tracy on Instagram!

Chart Giveaway... Recently, I was leafing through old cross stitch magazines when I spotted this charming patriotic chart called "A Pride of Patriots." Isn't it cute with the colonial-garbed citizens celebrating freedom in a 4th of July parade?  Would any of you like it? If more than one person wants this, I will have a random drawing. This is just a few pages removed from the (Cross Stitch & Country Crafts July / August 1990) magazine--not the whole magazine. I will be folding them and mailing in a legal sized envelope to save on mailing costs. I'll keep the drawing open until the 7th of July and announce the winner the following week. Important: PLEASE make sure to include your email address if you are entering (and I don't already have it) and make sure to specifically leave a comment that you want to be entered. Good luck to all!

If you would like to win this patriotic chart, just leave a comment stating so along with your email address!

A great movie... My husband was on a bike ride for much of last weekend, so I took that time to watch a romantic comedy on Netflix (something he is not into!) and was very pleasantly surprised by it. "About Time" is an older film from 2013 starring Rachel McAdams (whom I love) as the wife of a man who can travel back in time. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it, but it is one I am going to persuade my husband to watch with me as I actually think he'll like it, too. 

It really makes you think about how you live each day... Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person? If you had the chance to re-live a day, would you? Are there things you would have done differently over the course of any given day? I am a bit of a "glass half-empty" person, I'm afraid, as I am a terrible worrier. My husband always says that if I didn't have anything to worry about, I would invent something!  And he's right... But, something my youngest son said to me way back when he was about 15 really made me think. He said, "Mom, you're so negative!" I was shocked as I had never thought of myself that way, but from that point on, I've really made an effort to be more positive-minded and hope for the best. It definitely helps to "think positively"--I've seen it in action. So, if you have a spare couple of hours, sit down with a friend or loved one and watch "About Time." I think you'll be glad you did! 

We're going to be doing a bit of landscaping this fall as everything is now over 20 years and is looking rather wild and overgrown. Outside our kitchen window are three hydrangea bushes which have barely bloomed except for the first year or two... Lots of beautiful foliage like the one below, but few (if any!) flowers. 

Lots of healthy, green foliage, but no flowers on this hydrangea bush

So, our landscaper suggested digging them up and trying something new. We were all ready to sign off on the final plans (that included digging up the hydrangeas) when I said to my husband, "I just can't do it--I keep  hoping they'll bloom again." Well, just look at this--two of the bushes are still almost barren of buds, but the third one (the one that was the worst performing of the three all these years!) is just loaded with flowers! I'm in heaven as hydrangeas are probably my very favorites!

But, just look at this blooming beauty not even six feet away!

Big, beautiful flowers... I might add. What do you think? Did the positive thinking on my part help in any way? I like to think so!

This is one giant single flower!

It always delights me to see two totally different colored flowers on the same hydrangea bush!

With so much rain, all of my flowers are looking wonderful this year! How is your garden doing?

I'm sure all the rain and the diligent use of deer-away spray have helped our garden this year. Clockwise from the top are pink mandevilla, white astilbe, yellow tuberous begonias, and purple and white alyssum.

So, that's about it for June! I really hope to be back with some finished ornaments in July now that my wrist is better. I hope your summer is off to a great start and will be filled with lots of relaxation, reading, and stitching time. We have some big travel plans coming up which I'm excited about (a bit nervous, too!) and I hope you'll get to take some trips of your own this summer--even if it's just a day trip here and there. It's always nice to explore beyond your own backyard, isn't it?  Thank you, as always for visiting me today and for taking the time to say "hello" and leave a comment. Please make sure to include your email if you're entering the drawing for the patriotic chart, too! Bye for now...