Happy end of September! Are you ready for a new month? In some ways it seems 2020 is passing at a snail's pace and in others, it is like a runaway train--speeding by with no sense of direction. It's been a beautiful month here in the mid-Atlantic states with warm days and cool nights--perfect sleeping weather. The cooler weather moved in yesterday, however, and I think it's here to stay. Great stitching weather, though, and I'm looking forward to it.
Today I have a trio of finishes to share with you on one of my favorite subjects: black cats! Oh, I know... black cats are supposed to bring bad luck and they are even adopted from shelters at a much lower rate than other cats because of that superstition. Well, having had a black cat named Shadow for 14 years when my sons were growing up was one of the best chapters in my life. Ever since then, I've had a love for the sleek felines and, if it weren't for our travels and my husband's allergies to them, I would definitely adopt another one.
These cute pillows are all designed by Blue Ribbon Designs and were featured in various Just Cross Stitch Magazines. I had stitched the one below on the left last year and decided to make two more and finish them in a similar way to display in this little wooden tray.
|A trio of black cat finishes|
The chart from the one I stitched last year can be found in the October 2018 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine and is called "Startled Superstition." Don't you love the expression on the cat's face? Now, hovering right above the cat are two things I do fear--bats! Ugh!!!
I used 40 ct. vintage country mocha Newcastle for these and changed the colors to all DMC: 311, 3826, 976, 640, 729, 648, B5200. I also changed the outer border from orange to black. To finish it, I added some black ric-rak and a thin border of an orange and black print fabric to the side. Of course, I had to add my cording along with a black button, topped with a rust colored button, topped with a little checked bow.
The second pillow, called "Midnight Meeting" (from the October 2016 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine, was stitched on the same fabric with the same thread colors that I chose for the pillow above.
I wanted the borders to match on all three, so I changed that up a bit, too. I think the shy smiles on the little ghosts are so sweet! This was the narrowest of the three designs so I did a border of ric-rak and fabric on each side, topped it with a gingham ribbon and an old brass jack-o-lantern charm.
The final black cat stitchery is called "Scaredy Cat" and can be found in the Just Cross Stitch Halloween magazine from 2011. It's also stitched on 40 count vintage country mocha with the same DMC threads. I began stitching this one and thought, "Wait a minute! If I'm going to display these together, I want the two cats on each end to be facing each other." So, I took a photo of the chart with my phone and flipped it so it was the mirror image. Luckily, I had only stitched the cat's tail so I didn't have much to rip out!
The border on this third design was totally different and done in green so I re-charted it to match the borders on the other two. Here is a close-up of it all finished up... what do you think? As you can see, I put the fabric strip on the opposite side of that in the first finish. I love the way all three look together and think this is a cute Halloween display without being creepy or scary. I haven't done much Halloween stitching since 2014 when my dad died on Halloween, but I'm hoping to do a few pieces now and then. It definitely changed the feeling of the holiday for me.
|It was nice being able to use the same colors and fabric for all three!|
So, do you have a favorite? I think I like the last one the best--not sure why! I like the happy (rather than scary) pumpkin in it, too. I haven't stitched very many Blue Ribbon Designs, but will definitely be doing more.
Would you like to see a photo of my sweet Shadow who started my love for all-black cats? He was one big black cat--nearly 20 pounds! The vet said he could double as a panther in an action movie--he was that big. And, he was the very best pet for our boys--he followed them around in the yard, slept with my middle son, and really behaved much more like a dog than a cat. He, sadly, developed a tumor in his intestines and, even though we had him operated on, he ended up dying of it about 18 months later. Shadow was 14 years old when he died in 2007 and I still miss him dearly.
Gifts galore! In other stitching news, I've received some lovely gifts from stitchy friends from both Instagram and fellow bloggers. I still feel quite overwhelmed at the sheer thoughtfulness and generosity found in our community and I hope this kindness spreads to other online communities as well. This year, more than ever, we need a lot more kindness in our world, don't you think? Thank you to all of my sweet friends who surprised me with little bits of happiness in my mailbox recently...
|Instagram friend Claire, in Canada, made me this darling scissor fob with the tiniest "over one" cardinals and the letter "C."|
|Instagram friend, Lois, from Northern Ireland sent my grandson this adorable book by two of my favorite children's authors.|
|Instagram friend, Tricia in Illinois, sent me some delicious honey harvested from her husband's beehives, two beeswax candles and these sweet bee-themed scissors.|
|Blogging and Instagram friend Stasi, in Virginia, sent this wonderful selection of ribbons for my finishing and two sweet "Handmade With Love" charms.|
|Blogging friend June, in England sent me a cute beveled frame so I can put some stitching or photos in it for my grandson's room.|
Giveaway time... I haven't offered a giveaway in a while so how about the chance to win these two charts? I'm offering both because the chart for one is on the back of the photo for the other and I can't separate them. These are from an old Leisure Arts magazine (sorry, but I don't know the issue). One is a seasonal band sampler called "Peace and Plenty" and is filled with pumpkins and sunflowers and a pastoral looking farm scene. And the other is called "Toy-Lovers Santa" and features good St. Nick carrying a bag of toys and carrying a snow globe with what appears to be a tiny Nativity scene inside.
|If you would like to win these two charts, please follow the three steps below and I'll pull a name from the hat and post it sometime in October.|
If you would like to win these two charts (which are torn from a magazine and will be folded to fit in a legal sized envelope to keep postage costs down): 1) Please let me know you are entering the giveaway in your comment below; 2) Make sure to leave your email if I don't have it already, and 3) Answer the question in my "Getting To Know You" section below. I'll let you know the winner in late October so you have a while to enter! Good luck to all!
Getting to know you... For today's question, I'd love to know if you like your first name and why or why not? My answer: Actually, I do like my first name even though "Carol" definitely screams "born in the 1950s." My mom and dad named me Carol as I was supposed to be born on Christmas, but just wasn't ready to appear until mid-January. "Carol" originated in France and means "song of joy" and, to me, it always sounds like a happy name. ♪♫♪ I wasn't named after anyone... my parents simply liked the name and I'm happy they chose it!
So, now it's your turn... Do you like your first name? I'd love to get to know you a bit better...
With fall comes the job of cleaning up the garden which I leave to my husband. This spring he put up a new deer and critter-proof fence and halved the size of our garden. This fenced in area is the only place we can grow flowers due to our overly abundant and very hungry deer, so the four raised beds are used for both vegetables and a few flowers. This is what it looked like in early summer (my husband surprised me by planting those small sunflowers when I returned from caring for my mom in May). I love the concrete slabs in between the beds as they keep your feet free of dirt when picking vegetables or flowers.
|The newly configured garden in spring...|
And here is the view at the end of summer. There were lots of tomatoes and butternut squash...
|... and in fall 2020|
Actually, there are way too many butternut squash--we have almost 20! Does anyone have any good recipes to recommend that would use up some of them? I am not usually a squash eater, but I may have to force myself this year!
|I need Butternut Squash recipes--help!!|
This year was definitely a transition year and my husband hopes to plant more flowers and a wider variety of vegetables next year. I did manage to get some pretty bouquets from our garden, though!
|Love how the pink and white flowers look in the Delft pieces from my dear mother.|
These gorgeous mums were sitting beside mom's grave during the funeral service and each of us kids took a pot of them home.
|Mom would have loved these mums so very much... She always enjoyed the colors of autumn in the northeast.|
I'm still planning on doing a memorial tribute for my dear mother, just need to get a bit stronger. The good news is that I am getting less weepy--I noticed a distinct improvement this weekend so I'm hopeful... I still miss her dreadfully, though.
Well, that's it for me for September. I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break for part of October... Bet you know what that means, right? Yep--we are off to visit our little sweetheart grandson, "Baby B" who is now nearly 3 months old. I can't wait to hold him again--although he will look nothing like the nine day old cherub in this photo below. I mean look at that sweet dimple... sigh! Once again, we will be quarantining in an Airbnb before moving in with my son's family just to make sure we didn't pick up Covid on the flight to California. Wish us luck! I will be able to read your blogs while I'm gone, but won't be able to comment on them.
Don't forget, if you want to enter the giveaway, please make sure to include your email address (and that goes for anyone who wants a reply to a question as well, please). I hope you all have a wonderful October ahead and thank you all for visiting "Stitching Dreams," reading my way-too-long posts, and commenting--I do appreciate each of you so much! Bye for now...