Monday, August 31, 2020

Finishes, flowers, and feathers

Good morning, my friends... How are you doing on this, the very last day of August? We survived another month of this crazy year, thankfully! I must say, I'm not looking forward to being trapped inside again as the cooler weather creeps in. I know many of you feel the same way... If you have to try to socially isolate, it's much easier to do so in the warm weather when you can at least escape into your back yard. But, life goes on... 

It's now been five weeks since my dear mother died. Is it getting easier? Well, let's just say I still haven't been able to make it through a single day without crying. Some days are "almost normal," some days are filled with memories that make me miss her terribly, and some days I feel like I'm just "going through the motions." But, I keep trying--I know she would want me to be happy, right? Your kind messages and emails have been so helpful to me... My mom loved my blog and read it religiously, including each and every comment. She honestly was my biggest supporter and always said, "You have the nicest readers and stitching friends, Care!" And she was right... Thank you for being here and bearing with me as I struggle to get back to my "new normal." 

I have four finishes to share with you today... Two were stitched in early summer, but I just finished them on Saturday when I had a burst of finishing energy. Finishing is not my favorite thing and I have to be in the right mood to even attempt it! I sure wish that mood would strike more often...

My ornament finishes for May, June, and July--finally!

Would you like to see each one a bit closer? For my May ornament, I stitched this whimsical Prairie Schooler piece from the Santa's Night leaflet (Book No. 175). I just love that lazy reindeer perched inside the sleigh eating a striped candy cane while Santa does all the heavy lifting--delivering the gifts and decorating the tree. 

"Santa's Night" finish from PS Book No. 175

This is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco with the suggested DMC floss. I added green gingham to the side with just a touch of white ric-rak peeking out. After adding the handmade cording, I glued a little accent with a jute bow, and some holly berries into the upper corner. 


My ornament finish for May

For my June ornament, many of you will recognize the adorable "Merry Mouse" from With Thy Needle and Thread, but have you ever seen it stitched up as an ornament? To accomplish that, I had to make it as small as possible so, once again, I stitched it "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco using a combination of overdyed and DMC threads.

Miss "Merry Mouse" by With Thy Needle and Thread

I knew I wanted a circular finish so I added a few more snowflakes to round out the pattern. A miniature white pom-pom was also at the end of the upside-down Santa hat, along with some frosty greens and a trio of dull brass bells. The size of this little mouse ornament ended up being a bit over 4 inches round--a bit large for me as I like my ornaments under 3 inches if possible. After all, I don't have much room left on my Christmas tree after all these years of stitching an ornament a month, do I? Anyway, I think it is adorable!

Isn't she sweet in her little apron?


As for my July ornament, I stitched this beautiful Prairie School angel in memory of my mom who died on July 24, 2020. My mom was an angel on earth and I know she's singing with the angels in heaven today. I stitched this piece "over one" once again, on 28 ct. black Monaco (so glad I bought a supply of it years ago, because they don't manufacture it any longer!) with the suggested DMC threads. I didn't stitch all the lines on her face as I thought she looked a bit harsh. The dove that she is holding makes me smile to think that my sweet mother is now at peace...

♥ An angel for mom ♥

I finished this one in the exact same manner that I did the other Prairie Schooler angel that I stitched back in 2019--with a simple buttery yellow cording and satin bow. These angels are so intricate that that's all you need. I like to let my stitching be the star of the show as I've said many times!

My July Christmas Ornament

Here are both angels together--there is a third one in the booklet carrying a cornucopia that I will probably stitch some day, too. These designs didn't appeal to me at all when they first came out in 1993, but my tastes have grown and matured and now I can truly appreciate their beauty!


Two of the three lovely Prairie Schooler angels ready for my Christmas tree


Here is one last look at all three ornaments. Do you have a favorite? Have you stitched any of them yourself? I loved all three and I highly recommend them if you haven't!


I seem to be stitching a lot of ornaments on black this year!

I also stitched a pretty flower for Clare's Christmas tree at church. Clare, who lives in England, is collecting stitched flowers from all over the world which she plans on making into little pillow ornaments to adorn a stitching tree in her church at Christmas time. (If you would like to contribute a flower of your own, you can read about the donation process in her post. There is still plenty of time to stitch one and mail it to her by the end of October deadline--my flower only took a week to travel all the way to Great Britain! Amazing)! The pretty pastel colors in this anemone were a welcome change from all that stitching on black.  The design is from an older Reader's Digest book called "The Big Book of Cross-Stitch Designs." It was charted for French Knots in the flower's center (lots of French Knots), but I am hopeless at them so I chose to stitch colonial knots--much easier with nearly the same look!

A sweet anemone stitched for Clare's church tree in England


I was so touched by all of your sweet comments about my new (not-so-little!) grandson. I'm pleased to say he is growing by leaps and bounds, smiling now, and becoming a true "little man." I'm so thankful that we were able to fly out to visit him in California when he was still a newborn... I would have missed out on that very short window of inhaling that sweet newborn fragrance and cuddling that helpless babe in my arms. They truly do grow up way too quickly and my little guy no longer resembles the tiny baby we said goodbye to one month ago. Thankfully, we have another visit planned for October. Already counting the days!

We received this adorable pillow from college friends to celebrate our finally becoming grandparents!

Life without mom... I am still struggling with the fact that she is truly gone. Sometimes, I just imagine that she is still sitting up in her apartment in New York waiting for my next visit. But, then reality hits... Her apartment is now empty and waiting for a new occupant at her senior living facility. But, you know what?  I still talk to her--is that weird? I walk around inside my home (getting my 10,000 steps a day in) and have weekly "conversations" (admittedly, one-sided!) with her. I tell her about everything that's happened with me recently, fill her in on my sons, the baby, how I'm holding up. I cry (a lot!) during these conversations, but I feel like it helps me. Do any of you do this? My own kind of therapy, I guess...

I forgot to share these lovely flower arrangements that I received in memory of mom while I was in California in July. I was so touched by the kindess of so many...

This lovely white arrangement in memory of my mom arrived from my brother-in-law and family when we were in California

And this blue and yellow flower arrangement came from my daughter-in-law's brother and his family

I received many, many heartfelt cards from friends and family--and many from you sweet blog readers. Thank you so much! Annie stitched the pretty card in front surrounded by the blue background, and Meg made the card with the photo of me and my mom on it on the far right. Her card included the sweet paper hearts that are strewn on the table in front of the cards.

Sympathy cards brought so much comfort


Many of you have asked if the female cardinal was coming around bringing me mom's love. Well, yes, but, I don't think that is "her bird" like the male cardinal is Dad's. You see, Mom loved hummingbirds more than any other bird. I had even stitched one for her... She had several hummingbird-related trays and decorative pieces scattered through her apartment, hummingbird stationery, and she even had hummingbirds on her china! I remember sitting on the patio at my childhood home watching the hummingbirds whiz back and forth as they fed at the coral bells each summer. Such fascinating little creatures...

Sadly, we haven't had hummingbirds in my yard in a good number of years. When we arrived home from California in early August, I kept seeing tons of sweet yellow American goldfinches, which was a surprise as we hadn't seen many all summer. So I began asking myself, "Is that my message from mom?" 


One of the many American goldfinches I've seen since mom passed

Then a couple weeks ago, I received the card below from my Instagram friend, Jen. She said she chose it because the yellow goldfinches were "bright and cheerful, just like your mom (and you, too!)." Isn't that sweet? Well, the very next day after receiving her card, I was walking aimlessly around the yard (looking at the very sad state of our lawn which has received next to no rain all summer) when a bright flash of yellow caught the corner of my eye. I wandered over to the flower bed just outside my kitchen window and there on the ground was a lone yellow and black Goldfinch feather. 

A lovely goldfinch card from Jen and a goldfinch feather found the day after

Coming across a feather after a recent death has often been said to be a message from your loved one, hence the old saying "feathers appear when angels are near." Different colors of feathers have different meanings and after doing some research, I discovered that a yellow feather represents joy and happiness and that your angel wants you to enjoy life, slow down, and be more mindful of the present moment. I just know that my mom sent this special yellow feather my way!

The day after the feather appeared, my husband said to me, "Care, I saw a hummingbird outside the kitchen window today and it appeared to be looking for food!" Honestly, we hadn't seen one in years. So we immediately got the old hummingbird feeder out of storage, mixed up some sugar water (a ratio of 1/4 cup sugar to one cup of boiling water--no dyes!!), and hung it up. Lo and behold, the hummingbirds have been coming ever since! I think that yellow feather was my message to slow down and pay attention to the little things in life. And, sure enough, many little blessings in the form of teeny hummingbirds have been visiting daily.

Love the whirring buzz of the hummingbirds as they visit our pretty feeder

Now when I see a cardinal, I'll think of Dad and when a hummingbird visits, I'll smile for my dear mom... How blessed I was to have had two such loving parents!

♥♥♥ The cardinal and the hummingbird ♥♥♥


So, that brings me to this week's "Getting To Know You" section. My question is: "Have you ever received a sign of a loved one visiting? A feather, a coin, a fragrance? Something else?" I'd love to hear about your experiences! If any of you would like to read more about the meanings of different colored feathers, here is a good article to check out.

I'm still planning on doing a tribute post for my mom soon. Just need to gather my thoughts and some old photos together, but that will be coming up in September (hopefully!). I'll leave you with a very special sunset from Saturday night. We rarely see sunsets here as our house is set down in a valley, but, for some reason, the sky was putting on a show that even we could see that night. Looks like pink cotton candy pulled across the blue, doesn't it?

A cotton candy sunset!

Thank you for visiting me today--and a special thank you to those who take the time to comment. I love reading each and every one! I'd also like to welcome my newest followers--so glad you are here. As always, I'm happy to try to answer your questions, just be sure to include your email address so I can get back to you. Wishing you a wonderful September ahead--let's hope and pray for some good news on the Covid-19 vaccine front before winter sets in! Take care now, my friends! Bye for now...


Sandy said...

I honestly could not pick a favorite from your stitches. I so agree that our tastes change over time and the stitching needs to be the star of the show. They are all so pretty. Your blog has always been such a source of inspiration for ideas.
Oh the birds...I do have a that I didn't even realized until the next day. I think I was caught up in the moment. One of the memories I have that only I could have remembered is fishing with my dad on the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, GA. I remember being there with him and him teasing me about the fish biting my hand. He had used my sandal to put a few small fish in to take home. Anyway, a few years ago they built a beautiful bike trail from downtown Columbus all the way to the back entrance to Fort Benning. Jeff and I decided to bike it. I stopped many places along the trail that looked like it could have been the very spot Dad and I fished. Jeff was patient and took lots of pictures of me just staring out at the waters without me even knowing it. I remarked several times that I have never seen so many male cardinals along the way. I don't know if there were multiple ones or the same one darting along the entire trip with me. It dawned on me the next day that those cardinals were just what I needed to seal the very special day I had on that trail and the closeness that I felt to him. I have often said I left a piece of my heart in Columbus, GA.
Time will heal your heart. Memories are priceless.

Robin in Virginia said...

Carol, what a beautiful post to read this morning. Your trio of ornaments are all so lovely. The flower you stitched for Clare is a beauty. Thank you for sharing the story of the feathers, the Gold Finch and the return of the hummingbirds to your yard. The grieving process is so individual, but you are not alone talking to your Mom. Following the passing of my Grandfather, I talked to him daily and still talk to him (other not as often) all these years later. I found it helped and I know that it will help you. Thinking of you, my friend.

Barb said...

Good Morning, Carol - oh what a great start to Monday morning to find your especially wonderful post to all of us! We are all truly lucky to find your wonderful and interesting posting. Thank you so much. Your stitching projects are just beautiful - I am always so impressed with your work and finishes. They are so special.
I loved reading about the feathers and what they all mean. You are very lucky to have hummingbirds come to visit your yard. I don’t think we are that fortunate- at least Ive never seen one around here. We do get lots of other birds, but no hummers that I’m aware of.
I think we all understand how you are feeling about missing your Mom. As you know, my Mom hasn’t been gone that long, I miss her and think about her so often.
I am so happy for you that you are planning a trip back to visit your new grandson!! October isn’t that far away so what fun to look forward to that visit.
My best wishes to all of you!

Vicki said...

Your finishes are all terrific. I agree... I love to stitch, but the actual finishing... Ugh. I tend to let it pile up. Tomorrow is September, so that trip to California to see your grandson will be here soon!

Jackie's Stitches said...

Such beautiful finishes!

I truly believe our loved ones who have passed check in on us and watch over us. You are indeed fortunate to have had such loving parents and I know they must have been very special people because they raised a very special daughter! oxox

butterfly said...

Hi Carol , you must have so many mixed emotions going on in your head .
Oh yes your love ones send you signs all the time .
My ones are white feathers for my parents and my daughter a double rainbow and white feather.
Also every book I pick up in the house says Ali was here , not just once all the time.
Your Christmas ornaments are just wonderful.
We all go through these ups and downs of life we have to be strong , one day we will all be together again .
Love the birds coming in a pure sign .
Lot's of hugs .

Diana said...

My favorite ornament is the prairie schooler santa.
The flowers you got were just beautiful!

Stasi said...

Hi Carol, I know it's going to be a nice "read" when I see your name come up in my Feedly daily list. Your finishes are lovely as usual....I just love them on the black, over one. My next trip to OCMD, I'm going to check out their black fabric supply. I'm going to need to get some ornaments stitched since my youngest daughter finally took all hers that I've been hanging on the tree. My fave would be the PS Santa.
I know you're grieving your Mom, and will be for quite some time, but I do think she would want you to enjoy life and take time for yourself. It's so nice you have such wonderful memories of times spent with her.
Take care and thanks for taking the time to share your beautiful work.

Sandra said...

Such beautiful stitching, as always. I do love the little mouse in her apron and of course the angel for your mum.

How exciting that you have a new visit planned to see your little grandson again in October. Something beautiful to look forward to and it won't be long now! Take care.

Darlene said...

I can't pick a favorite either! They are all beautiful. The story of the gold finches, hummingbirds, feathers and your mom has truly touched my heart. I will never forget the first white feather I found sticking straight up out of the dirt about 2 weeks after I lost my husband. I stood there shaking and crying; I knew what it meant. I understand that you talk to your mom often. Even after 2+ years I talk to my husband almost daily - in fact the other day I was mad at him and let him know. LOL Sounds silly but it's all part of self care. I haven't shared with many but I lost my mom 8 months after I lost my husband (we'd lost his younger brother 10 months before). It was a very troubling time in my heart and mind.

Take good care of yourself, Carol. Gentle hugs!

Kate said...

Lovely finishes, Carol, and my favourite is Miss Merry Mouse who is exquisite!! Your mom is never far away.

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Carol you were so blessed to have such a loving and supportive mother. My mother in law was that to me as my own mother can be quite difficult. The other day I was fussing about something she said to me and Marvin told me, "Well this I do know, you will miss her when she is gone." You have reminded me of that. Blessings on you in the days ahead. I wanted to respond to your comment on the Perfect World know I am Indoorsy so I am thinking of changing the words to a Bible Verse. I am searching for just the right one. As for visits from departed relatives. I have never experienced anything like that. I like to think they are so happy in heaven that they are just waiting for me to arrive.:) I have had dreams about my grandparents, inlaws and my daddy. In my dream about Daddy he looked like he did when I was a little girl, even wearing the old US Forest Service uniform from that time period. I woke up so happy....I thanked God for that sweet dream. Have fun with Baby Boy.....they are so precious and the time goes by in a snap. Hugs...Arlene

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Oh and totally forgot to mention your You know I love Prairie Schooler and I am loving those Brenda Gervasis mice more and more. Just ordered some more mice patterns from 123 Stitch. I love how perfect your finishing is...truly sets off the lovely stitches.

Vickie said...

All three of your finishes are just wonderful Carol, but as I mentioned on IG, I think the angel is my favorite. :)
It breaks my heart to read that you cry every day Carol. I am so sorry. You were so very blessed to have such good, loving parents. I am happy you have the feather and the hummingbirds! So neat! Take care my sweet friend.💗

Becky said...

Carol, I truly enjoy all your beautiful stitches and wish I could finish as well as you do. I lost my husband in February, and while I haven’t had physical signs, I do believe he visited me in two specific dreams. They were quite unlike my usual dreams. In one, he talked me through letting go. In the other, he was showing me how to build a bridge to a new life. I will have these in my heart forever. I still cry many times a day and out of habit store up little tidbits to talk about just like I always did. It was recommended to me to write letters to him and I’ve done that several times. For some reason it feels more meaningful to pour my heart out in writing. I read somewhere that tears are a manifestation of your love spilling out and your love for your mom is so strong it’s no wonder it spills over. Take care and be kind to yourself in this difficult time.

Meg said...

Oh, Carol, I’m tearing up after reading about the goldfinches and the hummingbirds. I think your mom is trying to tell you something. Be happy and joyful, sweet friend. And keep talking to her. She is listening and it’s helping you.

I have not lost someone close to me since I was 15, and that seems like a lifetime ago. When I was in college, I was going through some dumb family drama with my (now husband, then boyfriend’s) sisters, and I remember crying hard in my dorm room, in the dark, thinking that I must have to break up with him in order to make his sisters happy. (They did not like me.) I was crying uncontrollably at the thought when I heard a voice in my head — not my own — say, “Do not worry. It is not your problem to solve. It is theirs.” An unbelievable sense of calm overcame me and I stopped crying. I went to sleep and did not break up with him. And...his sisters got over it. They fight with each other on and off, which I see now is just how they are. I don’t know if it was the voice of God, of someone else, or simply the voice of reason, but it was an experience I’ll never forget.

Your ornaments are so beautiful, as they always are. My favorite is the Santa with the reindeer on the roof eating that candy cane.

So many lovely cards and flowers. ❤️❤️❤️ XOXO

Barb said...

Such beautiful ornaments and finishing. I know your mom appreciates you talking to her, you know she hears that and smiles. Tears come from love....we wouldn't grieve and cry if we had not had the love for those that have gone. She lives on in your memories and love.

Linda said...

Hi, Carol - I'm not one to usually reply to blogs, altho I do read some faithfully (like yours!!), but I felt compelled to send you a quick note. I lost my mom a year ago, at age 93 - so I can identify with what you're going through. I don't know that it gets any "easier", but I guess I can say it does get to where it doesn't hurt quite as much. But ... you asked for stories. My dad passed away 30+ years ago, and I still talk to him. :o) When he died, I was engaged and living with my fiance. Dad had picked up an antique wall clock for me, and had promised to get it up and running ... this was before we found out he had lung cancer (and nope - he never smoked a day in his life). Anyway, I had the clock up on a shelf in the living room even though it wasn't running, it's a beautiful clock! The night dad died, my fiance and I both heard someone in the apartment, moving around - but it's like we were both paralyzed - neither of us got up to investigate. We talked about it later; we weren't afraid at the time, just "aware". The next morning I got the call that dad was gone, and when I went into the living room the clock was not only running, but set to the correct time. I have no idea what happens to us when we die, but I DO believe that the essence of those who love us and care about us stays with us, and finds a way to make itself known when need be. Keep your heart and mind open; your mom will visit again! Linda

Nancy M said...

Hi Carol. So glad you remind me on Instagram to read your blog. Back in the day, that’s all I did was read blogs and now it’s just quick photos here and there. You have such a way with words and your descriptions of your ornaments are perfect. I don’t have any story to share of a presence of a loved one. I have heard about the birds and such. I feel like you, with the cooler Midwest weather we will have to retreat to the indoors way too soon again. Such mental health issues from the isolation of everything. I’ve seen my mom 2 times since March. Still not allowing her to leave and go out to eat or anything like that. I’m still hoping she will be able to attend my daughter’s (her youngest granddaughter) wedding on sept 26. I guess it would be more for me than her anyway because she won’t remember. She would enjoy the moment though and that’s what counts too.

RJ said...

Carol, everything you are feeling is so understandable. It is never easy to lose someone we love but you have loved such a wonderful person in your life. Your Mom always had that smile that warmed my heart and many others. I believe you have it too. Each day will get alittle easier but there will be days that it will hit you hard all over again. It's totally normal. I look forward to the tribute post to your Mom.

I bet you miss that sweet little boy in California and wish you could be hugging him right now. I'm happy to hear you will be returning in October for another visit.

I love all of your stitches so much that it is hard to pick a favorite. I guess I would pick the mouse and I usually don't care for mouse stitches but I do love Brenda's designs. But, then again the angel is so lovely.

I have a love affair with cardinals and am positive every time I see one good things are going to happen. I did have an experience one night in bed. I heard a voice and when I opened my eyes I thought I saw my Mom in the distance. It did not last long but it was a special moment.

You are in thoughts and prayers my friend. RJ

MartinaM said...

Wow, beautiful ornaments and great finishes. The angel for your mom moves me to tears.
The anemone is also beautiful, the colors make it look really vivid, this will make a great ornament.
How beautiful your story with the golden pen and the hummingbirds, that is exactly what had to happen, you are blessed with happiness.
No, I have never received such a sign, neither from my child nor from my mom, but I know that they are with me, very deep in my heart and in my thoughts and that is a great comfort to me, and I know that they take care of my children and take care of them.
I wish you a quiet and pleasant time.
Hugs Martina

Irene said...

Adoro come rifinisci i ricami, si vede che ci metti tanta passione e cura. Vedrai che il dolore piano piano sarà più lieve. Un abbraccio.

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
your three finishes are so beautiful. Your are so talent with your finishes and your stitching on black fabric. I don't stitch on black fabric.
Jeder geht mit seiner Trauer anders um. Wenn es dir hilft mit deiner Mutter zu reden, dann ist es der richige WEg. Ich denke auch noch sehr häufig an meinen Vater und es stehen fast immer Rosen neben seinem Bild. Er liebt Rosen und ganz besonders seine Rosen in seinem Garten. Bei vielen Dingen merke ich auch wie recht mein Vater hatte oder ich ertappe mich dabei, dass ich ihn zitiere. Ein Teil von ihm lebt in meinem Sohn weiter, der ihm sehr ähnlich ist.
Have a nice time and take care. Big Hugs, Manuela

Kay said...

I am not at all surprised that you talk to your mother every day, she was a huge part of your life and still is. I still think about my Gran every day even though she has been gone 22 years now, she was my closest relative by a long way. I miss her and want to tell her things and ask advice.
I do especially like your mouse design, very sweet. I think that anyone who stitches on black is very brave. x

maxi said...

Hey Carol,
I already said that I like your finishes very much. my favorite ornament is the reindeer from tps.
Happig stitching

Mary said...

My daughters and I pick up pennies (pennies from Heaven) that we see lying on the ground. It's said someone in Heaven is thinking of you. Once Sunday morning and my husband and I were getting ready for church, I couldn't keep my mind off my husband's mom (who had passed away recently). After he parked the car in the church lot, I got out and saw a penny on the ground. That penny is now in an pocket of my Bible cover, and I will never take it out.

My heart goes out to you. Losing a parent is so difficult, and it puts you in a club you don't want to be a member of. Praying you get through this.

Mary said...

Carol, I am looking forward to learning more about you and your Mother's relationship in your tribute post. I'm sure the writing of that is going to bring joy and tears. Your in the early stages of grief so I think writing this now is going to be very emotional for you.

Love all your stitching and finishing. The angels are gorgeous and so elegant. I just love Brenda's Christmas mouse and what a great idea to make an ornament out of it. I just might have to try stitching on black at some point again, it really makes for a striking background.

I am so happy for you that you will be going to Ca in Oct to see your grandson. Will you have to quarantine there for 2 weeks again?

Marilyn said...

All of the ornaments are beautiful, but I think the Mouse is my favorite, so pretty on black.
Glad you are going to visit your Grandson again.
We have Hummingbirds here, we have 2 feeders out, so interesting to watch.
Yes, I have received a sign many times.
My Mom's favorite bird was the Cardinal, & we see them here a lot, male & females.
It's uncanny about your feather story.
This week, for 2 days in a row, I found a tiny feather on the garage floor.
I wonder how they got there because there were no birds in our garage!
Take care.

Pat said...

Carol, all the ornaments are lovely. I think my favourite is the little mouse.

I, too, will periodically talk with my Mom who has been gone for many years now. I've never had any "signs" of her talking back or anything, but I lost my wonderful furbaby this year and a few times have felt her rub up against my leg like she used to when she wanted attention.

Have a good time with your visit to you grandson. I'm sure you'll have some stories and pictures for us in one of your future posts.

marly said...

I think I sold the PS angel chart, didn't like them, now I do!! But the over one is so much nicer for these designs and I can't do an entire piece.

Your post brought tears to my eyes. It's so very difficult. Mom has been gone for almost 14 years, my aunt three, and I still catch myself reaching for the phone to tell them something exciting. I have never received a sign that I can remember. There is no doubt in my mind, that yours are real. We've had hundreds of goldfinch at our feeders for many years, never once found a feather.

Denise said...

Hi Carol. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of your mother. My wonderful mama passed away in April. She was 79 and her name was also Carole, but with an "e". She always made sure to tell anyone that! lol.
We have always thought that white butterflys were signs that someone who was gone, was near and visiting. A few weeks ago I was having a particularly sad day. I was in my car at lunch, with the windows open as it was a pretty nice day and just kinda staring out the window and eating popcorn. Lo and behold, in flew a white butterfly. It lingered and floated for a few seconds as if to say "Don't cry honey. I'm watching over you and I miss you too." I bawled my eyes out.
Yes I believe she is my angel and is watching over me, my dad and my sisters and of course her grands and great-grands. I treasure each and every memory.

The Knitting Cross Stitcher said...

I admired your beautiful finishes on IG Carol.It is even better to see them in such detail.I love them all,too.
How lovely to have a visit to see your grandson,to look forward to.I agree they grow far too quickly.
Your parents chose beautiful birds to visit you with,especially when you need comfort.
You asked if any of us have experiences,well my dear mum passed away many years ago,she was exactly year older than I am now and these past few months have made me think even more how young she really was.I was very sad one day,I could have done with her advice on a matter that was worrying me very much.I sat,in tears,and suddenly,out of the blue, felt as though she was putting her arms around me and giving me a gentle hug.All my worries evaporated.
My father passed away two months before your dear father in 2014.A robin started appearing on our fence,we have two families of robins nearby,however this one had markings I could recognise.He came each day and sat on the fence watching me in my kitchen,from August through autumn and winter he came and sat,sometimes twice in a day.I am sure it was my dad keeping an eye on me.I love our lttle robins:)
I hope this next month is a happier one Carol.We have to work through our feelings and as you say,find a new normal.
Lesley x

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Gorgeous ornaments, I love black fabric and I love over one stitching too, especially both together! I think the Angel is my favourite, I like that folk-art style very much.
How lovely to have special bird visitor for both your parents now. In England we say "Robins appear when loved ones are near" so last Christmas I painted a batch of robins on stones to give to some friends who had all lost their mothers that year.
I still write my Grandparents' Birthdays on my calendar so I remember that date and not the day they passed away. My Mum definitely felt my Grandad's presence after he died, she would feel him in her garden, making sure we were all OK and looking after Nana. We all think of them both and say "oo, Grandad would like this" or "Nana would enjoy that". Even 20 years later, they are still in our thoughts.

Barb said...

Honestly Carol, I don't know how I missed all these big events in your life. First, congratulations on the baby. he will bring so much joy into your life. My Caleb turned 15 last week. Where have the years gone? Enjoy every moment you have with him. Now, of course, I was so sad to hear about your Mom. Please do not take this the wrong way but you were blessed to have her as long as you did. My Mom and best friend died at 59. I still miss both of my parents but know they would want me to be happy. I still talk to them both so keep that up. Caleb was given my mom's maiden name so that was a big one that I shared with her. I told dad about having a Revolutionary War ancestor. I did have dad till he was 80 . My thoughts and prayers are with you . I don't think I ever really adjusted to the loss of my parents as much as I learned to live with that reality. And eventually I learned to live and be happy again.

Georgia said...

Carol, I was finally able to sit down, and read your blog from top to bottom. I was close to both of my parents, as I don't have any siblings. Dad died in 1995, 10 days before my first Grand-son was born. Dad was ornery,he made us laugh, and after he died, we often would hear something and say, "dad would have appreciated that, and chuckle. A year after Dad died, Mom moved in with us, she lived with us for 18 years. Her presence is everywhere in my home, especially some of her beautiful cross stitch pieces, and then lived 4 years in an assisted living apartment, she died 3 years. I still miss her, however but believe it or not the one thing that brings me comfort is a number. Mom's address at the home she loved most was 1144. When, she moved in with us, every time she needed a number for a password that she needed to remember it was 1144. Every time I look at a clock and it happens at least once a day the time is 11:44. When I see that I just breath a little prayer and say, "Thank you for for my Mother's prayers." Carol, embrace the memories, I love that you stitched an Angel in her memory. You will heal it is ok to grieve. Talk often of her. Keep her in your heart, and she will help you move on. Many blessings to you and yours my friend:)

Jill said...

Such lovely stitching projects! I have a two items to finish and keep procrastinating. Lol! I agree the stitching should be the star. Wonderful about finding a feather. Nice to hear you are helping the migrating hummingbirds with a sip of sugar water on their way south. We have had a few stop by the past few weeks. May your many good memories and support through friends and extended family help you through the grieving process. I'm so glad that you can travel soon to see your 'lil grandson.

Faith... said...

I love all your ornaments and like that the Angel will hold special meaning for you. Maybe you can leave it out and hanging where you can see it all year round? I am glad that your Mom sent you that special message via the feather so that you will both know that each other are ok and just like a Mom she is still giving you the advice you need! Hope October comes pretty fast for you so you can go see that precious grandson again.

Love and lots of hugs to you

Giusi said...

Ciao 🤗
per inaugurare il mio blog " Le rose di cristallo "
ho deciso di organizzare un SAL DI BENVENUTO 🌸
Se vuoi dare un occhiata ne sarei felice 🥳
Ti lascio il link... così potrai decidere.
A presto

Pam in IL said...

Great ornament finishes! I love them all, especially Merry Mouse.

I often have signs from loved ones that have passed. When my dad died, I felt totally lost, that my sense of security was gone and that I was just drifting. I have had some really hard days and I would be driving somewhere and see a semi truck from the trucking company my dad had worked for. It is unusual to see those company trucks, but those trucks always appeared when I was feeling lost, overwhelmed, concerned or really missing dad. I've come to take those truck sightings as dad letting me know he is still always with me.

I pray that you will find continual reminders that your mom is still always with you.

Honeybee said...

I adore Goldfinches and just love all the backyard birds. We have very few out here on the prairie and I miss them so much. I'm glad they're bringing you comfort.

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Oh, Carol. This was such a lovely heartfelt post that brought me to tears. I hope your days will get better as time goes by though it is never the same and a hole will always be in your heart. Your angel ornament is perfection for your dear mother. I have a small Christmas tree that I put up every year that is filled with angels. I put it up when my last grandparent passed away 16 years ago . I never intentionally buy an angel ornament but every year somehow I receive a new angel for my tree. I always feel like that is a sign from my grandparents. Enjoy the return of your hummingbirds and the beauty of the finches and the cardinals. You are still in my prayers.
Hugs, Melisa

Jennifer said...

Oh, Carol, your story about the birds brought tears to my eyes - our moms are always looking out for us, aren’t they? How wonderful that your hummingbirds are back. Ours are too this year, and we have one very territorial one who I watched chase a chipmunk the other day - it was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time to see him “buzz” that chipmunk away! The only person who I feel has visited me is my friend Lois who left me her quilting stash when she passed away after a knee surgery which turned into a series of complications. It was so sad as we didn’t expect her to go, but I am sure she visited me in my dreams the morning she passed away, and then a few times within the month after her passing as I brought her sewing items to my house. I still think of her often and she lives on in much of the fabric I have in my stash! Love your ornament finishes. I am partial to that tiny mouse! Hope you have a nice long weekend.

An Arizona Stitcher I said...

Wonderful finishes, Carol. I stitched the WTNT mouse piece on a neutral color but I like yours much better on the black. Did I have a visit from my deceased? Yes, I did and it went a long way in making me feel good but it scared me a little too. Two days after my dad died, I was on the computer alone when from the living room I saw movement. I looked over the monitor and saw a big round circular thing hovering above the floor. All around it, it was shimmering and the inside was the pattern of my dad's fave flannel shirt which was still draped over the back of the sofa. It was beach ball sized and was moving in the direction of the hallway. I knew it was my dad!

Take care, Carol. As always, my best wishes to you as you go through this tough time.

Shelly, An Arizona Stitcher

Mary - Lecoeurceltique said...

I'm glad that you are finding some comfort in talking to your mother each day and in the signs of her love that surround you.

I was surprised to read that you are finishing is not your favourite thing as they all look so professional. Besides wanting to stitch each of these designs myself, you make me want to stitch on black!

Mary's Thread said...

My condolences on the loss of your dear Mom. Your story about the hummingbirds and finches is lovely. It is sweet to have these reminders of our loved ones. I love all your black background ornaments! They are so elegant and your finishing is perfection!

Faye Riggsbee said...

It’s taken until to write a comment to you Carol..... The highs and lows you’ve been through have been immense.... Of course the birth of your sweet grand baby is the highlight... But, I could feel, and still feel, your pain in loss of your mom. They say it’ll get npbetter, but even after a year, I miss my mom so very much.. Collect those feathers because I truly believe your parents are smiling down on you, Here a big hug and letting you know I’m on the path right there with you.

Donna said...

Such a beautiful post! Your ornaments are lovely. I loved hearing about the hummingbirds, finches and cardinals. When my son passed away a 12 year old girl had started The Dragonfly Project. She sends a card with the Dragonfly Story on it and also a dragonfly charm to parents that have lost children. What a beautiful thing to receive! About a week later I was sitting on our swing thinking about our son when a little dragonfly landed on my leg and stayed there for several minutes. The unusual thing is that it was the third week in October and in Minnesota you don’t usually see dragonflies that late. Now every time I see a dragonfly I know Bobby is telling me he’s OK. Let yourself feel sad and grieve for your mom for as long as you need. Eventually the sadness will ease and all the good memories won’t hurt anymore. Peace to you.

Claire said...

It's been quite a year, hasn't it, Carol! It is interesting about the birds and your mom. I think there are often signs of things if we are able to look for them and notice the small things. My mom died when I was in high school. I remember sitting outside doing some stitching on a shirt that I had made when a butterfly came and landed on my arm. It walked up and down and then fluttered off. When my son was getting ready to start Kindergarten the same kind of butterfly came down and landed on his hand. It stayed for quite a while and we were able to get pictures of it. I think the Tiger Swallowtail is my mom's spirit creature even though she never met my son. Your stitching is beautiful and I felt the same way about the angels. I think I might need to buy that chart now. Thinking of you often these days.

Bluebird said...

This is the first time I've commented on your lovely blog although I've enjoyed reading it for a bit now. Your stitching and finishing is so beautiful and inspiring. I love your style of writing as well, as if you're just chatting with friends. I'm always happy to see a new post. Congratulations on the birth of your adorable grandson! What a joy he'll be for your family. I did want to say how sorry I was to hear of the loss of your Mom. That is so difficult, and I know from your many wonderful stories that you were very close. I enjoyed your stories about the goldfinch feathers, hummingbirds, and cardinals. I hope that your precious memories will give you comfort. I'm also so sorry to hear about your daughter-in-law's father. What an incredibly difficult time for her, and the whole family, especially so soon after losing her mom as well. I hope that she will be able to find peace and comfort during this time of grieving for her parents, while also experiencing joy with her new baby. I'm glad you'll be able to visit with them in October, I'm sure you can't wait. I look forward to reading your post about your Mom. Take care.

Leonore Winterer said...

We are getting close to a year since the day my grandpa died, and it's still hard - sometimes I almost forget he's gone and want to ask grandma to put him on the phone for me! It's good and important you take proper time for yourself to grief, I don't think I've gotten around to that yet. Love your story about the birds! How much your parents must have loved you to send a sign like that now.
As to your question...I haven't had any particular sign from grandpa, but I do remember seeing more feathers than usual lately. Maybe I'll need to start and pay closer attention to when they turn up!
Your stitching ornaments are lovely, as always. I love the little mouse and lazy reindeer, but the angels are very sweet as well. I love how peaceful and serene they look.

Leonore Winterer said...

We are getting close to a year since the day my grandpa died, and it's still hard - sometimes I almost forget he's gone and want to ask grandma to put him on the phone for me! It's good and important you take proper time for yourself to grief, I don't think I've gotten around to that yet. Love your story about the birds! How much your parents must have loved you to send a sign like that now.
As to your question...I haven't had any particular sign from grandpa, but I do remember seeing more feathers than usual lately. Maybe I'll need to start and pay closer attention to when they turn up!
Your stitching ornaments are lovely, as always. I love the little mouse and lazy reindeer, but the angels are very sweet as well. I love how peaceful and serene they look.

Cathy H. said...

Once again you have created beautiful ornaments. I honesetly don't know how you can see to stitch over one on black fabric. I use a dazor magnifying lamp and still wouldn't be able to see where to put my needle. My mom loved hummingbirds, too. She had quite a collection of hummingbird things. I kept some of them, as I also love hummingbirds. One day this week my feeder was over run with hummingbirds. I think they may have been migrating through as they only stayed a day. They were very entertaining to watch! I didn't know about feathers having meanings. I'll be checking out that link.