Friday, April 17, 2020

Bunny stitching as the days slowly pass...

How is everyone doing? Still hanging in there? I sure hope so... I've been keeping busy with my stitching, reading, beginning a new (non-cross stitch)  project (which I'll let you in on some day soon!), trying to limit my news intake, and connecting with family members via Zoom and Board Game Arena . Since this whole strange Covid-19 saga began for us in mid-March, the only person I've talked to face to face is my husband! Such a strange feeling...  My family met up for a virtual game night on Easter Sunday (on Board Game Arena) and it was wonderful to see everyone's smiling faces. My oldest son and daughter-in-law in California, middle son and girlfriend who live 30 minutes away, and my youngest son in the Washington, DC area all connected online for games of Yahtzee and Sushi Go. I basically just watched and coached my husband a bit in Yahtzee as only five players could play at a time.

My stitching has been hit and miss--still having trouble settling, but I do try to sit down each day for a couple hours in the evening. I know you've seen these designs stitched up many times, but I hope you don't mind seeing my versions... First, is the Easter Holiday Hoopla design by With Thy Needle and Thread. I fell in love with this cute bunny the first time I saw him and am so pleased with how he turned out. I loved the colors on the chart and chose some similar overdyed threads from my stash to stitch him. He is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. ice blue Jobelan so the stitched area is a mere 2" X 2". I finished him into a circle (just traced a drinking glass to get the shape on the mounting board), padded the board with batting, and added a silk handmade cording trim. A mini-pompom gave his tail a nice fluffy look. 

Easter Holiday Hoopla finish

The round piece is simply glued onto a fabric-covered piece of sticky board and placed in a rustic looking 3.5 inch square brown frame. I purchased a bunch of these frames from an eBay seller, years ago, who had used them to display his butterfly collection (no, the butterflies were not included--thank goodness!). They sure have come in handy over the years and can easily be painted. Here is another of the frames that I painted and distressed last year for a different Easter finish that resides with my oldest son and daughter-in-law in California.

An Easter finish from 2019--such a cute bunny!

My second finish is so bright and cheery! It is called "Easter Wreath" and is a design from Tiny Modernist. The bunnies also have white mini-pompom tails like I used in the Holiday Hoopla finish above. They, too, are stitched "over one" on 28 ct. white lugana. I used the suggested DMC colors for everything except the carrots. I wanted a darker looking carrot so I used DMC 976. And, because of a slight counting error--my carrots are just a bit longer than those charted. Oops! It doesn't affect the overall look so I just left them larger. Ripping out "over one" stitching is the worst, so I avoid it whenever possible! I kept the finish very simple as the design itself is very "busy." Just a handmade cording in that pretty shade of blue that I love so much!

"Easter Wreath" finish

Here are both of my new Easter finishes together--looks like we had a big party going on on Easter Sunday, doesn't it? Nope--just me and my husband. It was a quiet day, but certainly one we'll always remember due to the circumstances. I didn't even get most of my Easter decorations out this year--it felt like too much of a chore for some reason. I've been gradually learning that now is the time to cut yourself some slack--be kind to others, but also to yourself. These are unnavigated waters and no one really knows what the next day will bring...

I absolutely love the pretty teal blues in these two finishes!

I also got a very sweet Easter card from my friend, Gabi, in Germany. She knows how much I love stitched bunnies (or any bunny, really!) so she made me this lovely card. Thank you so much, Gabi--I always love hearing from you and being the recipient of your pretty stitching!

Easter card stitched by my friend, Gabi, in Germany!

Much of my Easter seemed to be spent on the phone reminiscing with my mom, exchanging old photos via text with my siblings, and looking through old photos. The photos below brought back such wonderful memories of times with my three boys--dyeing eggs, hunting for baskets, and making a bunny cake each year. Oh, I miss those days so much. These were all taken in the late 80s / early 90s as you can probably tell by all the red and blue.  I think, back then, clothing designers only made boys' clothes in combinations of red and blue! It's so nice how things have evolved. And yes--they all have the same haircuts--courtesy of my husband. He sure saved us a ton of money through the years by cutting the boys' hair until they became teens. He even cut my hair when it was longer--not sure if I trust him to cut it at this shorter length, though! What are you doing about your hair? Trying to cut it yourself, getting a loved one to cut it, or just letting it grow? And we won't even talk about the hair coloring issue--yikes! By the time this is over, I'm going to have a very wide "skunk" stripe where my hair is parted, that's for sure! Time to let it go gray?

I also made a couple of masks for myself and my husband. Oh, dear! I am really  not good with a sewing machine... The first one took me two hours to create, and, although the second one was easier--I do struggle!  I used one of my husband's old shirts for the green checked one (mine) and a piece of quilting cotton for my husband's. They are "okay"--mine is a bit too loose around the sides. I found another tutorial that might work better for small heads on YouTube so I might give that one a try this weekend. Wish me luck!

My two masks--pretty good, but I need more practice!

Comfort foods still seem to be appearing on the menu at my house and I found this delicious recipe for apple crisp right here. When I make it again, I'm going to try about 3/4 as much sugar and maybe even take it down to half as much. It was plenty sweet!  We enjoyed this as our Easter dessert (and for the next two nights, too!). Have you been whipping up any tasty comfort foods during this lockdown period?

Do the apples make this a health food--ha ha!!

Watching old television shows seems to be comforting to me right now, too. My husband and I have started watching an episode of Cheers (on Netflix) each night before we go to bed--a light, fun show that doesn't upset us or keep us awake. Honestly, I think we've both been sleeping better lately... And I've begun watching Downton Abbey again from the very beginning. You see, I never watched the final season, so I decided to begin all over again. I absolutely love it-- and I really think I'm picking up on so much more of the dialogue than I did before. The Dowager Countess's (Maggie Smith's) lines are just so delightful, aren't they? "Edith, you are a Lady, not Toad of Toad Hall!" ~ "What is a weekend?" ~ "Every woman goes down the aisle with half the story hidden." I could go on an on! And the scenery, the dresses, the jewels--sigh... All so well done. I still haven't seen the movie, but plan on watching it after I finish the series.  Anyone else have any comfort watching television shows to recommend?

So, how many of you have talked to friends or family using Zoom? I had a Zoom get-together with my three sisters-in-law (on my husband's side) on  Tuesday and, after some initial difficulties connecting on my end, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their faces and catching up with them. They live in Indiana, Ohio, and Connecticut so we rarely see each other anyway. We already have plans to meet this way every other week. At the end of our session, the following question was posed to us so I've decided to use that as my "Getting To Know You" inquiry this week:  "Have you found a "silver lining" in this period of being confined to your home?" In other words, few love being stuck at home, but is there something nice in it that you've discovered? For me, that answer is easy! Yes! I've discovered that my husband and I can live together happily and quite easily (other than the occasional disagreement) after he retires. I was truly worried about that, as I was so used to being home alone,   but--so far, so good! How about you?

Giveaway Time... I haven't had a giveaway in a while... so how about the chart for this lovely red house sampler? It is simply two pages removed from a magazine (sorry,  I don't know which one) and if more than one person wants it, I will draw a name. All you have to do is: 1) mention in your comment that you specifically want to be entered in the giveaway,  2) answer the "Getting To Know You" question above, and 3) include your email address if I don't already have it. You may enter until April 29th, 2020 and then I'll pick a winner and announce it on my next post. The chart will be folded and mailed in a legal sized envelope to save money on postage. Good luck to all!

If you are interested in winning this pretty red house sampler chart, see above!

I'll leave you with what, to me, has always been a sign of hope and comfort each time it blooms. This orchid was given to me when my father died on October 31, 2014 and it still blooms almost yearly. Each time it blesses me with these beautiful white and fuchsia blossoms, I think of him and feel like he's visiting me. And this year, that feeling is especially needed and meaningful. It's an absolute perfect time for it to be blooming with all the worries and unrest swirling around us these days, isn't it?

This special orchid always brings me comfort...

So, more of the same for a while--at least here in Pennsylvania. We are shut down until at least April 30, probably longer. The hardest part for me in this whole thing is being unable to visit my mom--I miss her so much. It is extremely lonely for her having no family visits to look forward to and eating her meals alone in her room at her senior living residence. I call her daily and we still play "Words With Friends" each night online (and yes, she is almost 93--amazing!). But, it's not the same... Stay well, my friends--keep on hoping and praying and social distancing. Life may be very changed when we emerge from the other side of this, but we will get through it. Bye for now...