Sunday, February 28, 2021

Farewell to February!

Good morning, good morning! How is everyone doing on this final day of February? I always feel like we're turning a corner when February is over and it certainly seems like it with our weather this weekend. With temperatures reaching the 50's here in western Pennsylvania, our snow is finally melting and I've even seen a few green shoots appearing here and there. It will be another month or two until we begin to see flowers, but just knowing that they're on their way brings so much hope, doesn't it? 

My stitching has taken a back seat this month as I seem to be spending more time doing some serious spring cleaning and refreshing things around my house--puttering is one of my favorite activities in the world! I just put on some music and begin rearranging shelves, displays, plants, etc. for fun. Nothing big like rearranging the furniture, though... Oh, my mom was a great one for that--I swear us kids would come home from school to a newly rearranged living room at least every other month! I remember exclaiming, "Mom, can't you just leave things the same way for once?!" I think that's why the furniture arrangement in my rooms stays the same--how about you? 

Well, enough of my rambling... You're here to see what little stitching I've done, right? I stitched my second Christmas ornament for 2021 and I love it! I mean, who can resist a miniature snowman being lifted up by a skating Santa to place his shiny, gold star at the top of the Christmas tree? Too cute! This is "Merry Friends" by Plum Street Samplers stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco. I changed virtually every color except for the red in Santa's robe and hat. The biggest change was using an icy blue for the snowflake centers and the tiny snowman's hat instead of the suggested gold color.

"Merry Friends" by Plum Street Samplers

For my finish, I attached the tiniest star and a mini pom-pom (using glue on both--just a little bit of Aleene's Tacky Glue applied with the tip of a toothpick does the trick). I also changed the location of a couple of the trees to create a more rounded look at the top of the design. Finally, I finished it as a circular ornament with green cording and a green gingham bow. I really love how stitching charts "over one" can make them small enough for ornaments for your tree!

My February 2021 Ornament Finish

This next piece is one I began stitching for Valentine's Day, but it ended up taking much longer than I thought it would! Those solid blocks of stitching will surprise you every time, won't they? This is from an old Leisure Arts magazine (sorry, I had ripped it out of the magazine years ago and I don't have the issue information). I'm not even sure of the designer, although it certainly resembles Lizzie Kate's style. It is stitched on 40 ct. white Newcastle linen with a mixture of the suggested colors and some of my own selections. What drew me to this piece was the mixture of soft colors--I just love them!

"Love Grows" from an old Leisure Arts

The biggest change that I made was changing the words from "Love grows from the heart" to "Love grows here." (I admit, part of that was sheer laziness as I just couldn't stitch another section of yellow!). Anyway, below is what it originally looked like next to my changed version. I'm not sure how I'll finish this one, but it will probably hang out in my box of unfinished finishes until next February. 

I'm having a giveaway for this chart (my stitching isn't included)

GIVEAWAY... So, now that I'm done with the 'Love Grows" chart pictured above, is there anyone who would like to stitch it?   If you would like to enter the giveaway: 1) Please specifically mention in your comment that you want to enter; 2) Make sure to include your name and last initial along with your email address if I don't already have it and; 3) Answer the question in my "Getting To Know You" section below. I will draw a name and announce the winner on my next blog post in March. Good luck to all!

GETTING TO KNOW YOU... For those of you who  are new visitors, my "Getting To Know You" section is simply a way for me to learn more about you. As I've mentioned many times, blogging often feels like a one-street: you know a lot about me, but I know very little about most of you. So, I like to pose questions from time to time to help remedy that... My question today is: "Where do you fit in your family: oldest child, middle, youngest, only?" I am betting that a lot of cross stitchers are, like me, oldest children. I do have many of the traits of the oldest (to read an article that lists the various traits, just click here)...  I'm definitely cautious, reliable, conscientious, and somewhat of a perfectionist. I don't fit the "leader" label as I've always hated being the center of attention, though. And controlling? Well, that would depend on who you ask on any given day--ha ha! Now, it's your turn--where do you fall in your family? I'd love to get to know you better!

Baking corner... Now that my husband is permitted to visit his parents (from a distance) in their nursing home in Ohio, I am getting more chances to bake so that he can take them some homemade goodies. I saw a photo of peanut butter brownies topped with peanut butter icing on Pinterest and knew I had to make them. They brought back so many memories of Friday lunches in the school cafeteria... Now, I was not one to buy my lunch--except on days that these special brownies were offered! 

The recipe I used can be found on an older blog called "Relished" in this post. Now, I did use a different recipe for the icing as it also contained butter in addition to melted peanut butter and confectioner's sugar. I mean can you ever have too much butter? The icing recipe can be found right here and you pour it on the slightly cooled brownies while the frosting is till a bit warm.  They were very tasty (although, next time, I won't bake them as long as the recipe says--my edges were a bit crispy). I cut them fairly small as, oh my, they are very rich--almost like fudge! Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Frosted Peanut Butter Bars

That about does it for my final February 2021 post... I'll leave you with two photos of our backyard visitors during this snowy month. The deer have been so hungry this winter (due to all of the snow that covers their normal foodsource), that they started devouring the birdseed in the two smaller bird feeders! My husband decided to outwit them and devised a system to bring the feeders inside each night. Since both of the small feeders are right outside our kitchen, he simply attached a hook onto an old broom handle so he can extend it out the window and then lift the bird feeders right off the hooks and into our kitchen where they sit until the next morning when they're placed outside again. This has cut way down on our bird seed costs! And now that grass is reappearing the deer won't be raiding the feeders any longer (hopefully!). 

The deer have been coming closer and closer to the house to get to the food in our bird feeders. They're so pretty, but so hungry!

Mr. Cardinal enjoying a sunny, snowy day!

I'm so glad you stopped in today! I hope you're all staying safe and making progress in getting your vaccines... We got our second shots of the Moderna vaccine last week with no side effects (other than a bit of tiredness and sore arms). I feel very blessed to have received both doses of the vaccine so quickly--I truly do. It's almost as if the dark veil that has covered the entire world for the past year is slowly lifting. It will take time, but we're getting there... Take extra good care now and I'll be back in March with some St. Patrick's Day stitching to share. Bye for now...

Sunday, February 14, 2021

♥ Sending a lot of love on Valentine's Day! ♥

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you are spending the day doing something you love or spending it with someone you love! I intended to get this blog post written and posted much earlier in the day, but as luck would have it, the new rug for our family room was delivered and we spent the entire morning moving furniture, removing the old rug, cleaning the hardwood floors, and then putting everything back in place.  If I can get some decent photos (in other words, if the sun ever shines again!), I'll post a couple of photos for you if you'd like to see them...

I've made it my practice to stitch a couple new Valentine's piece each year and 2021 was no exception. Isn't this love letter carrying bird a sweet piece? I used DMC 115 on 40 ct. white Newcastle linen and bordered it with the same color ruched ribbon. To add a bit more interest, I hung a little heart-shaped charm from the bird's beak topped with a bow of the same DMC floss.

Love the variegation of DMC 115!

This chart comes from a French book called "Coeurs a Broder" (which I believe translates to "Hearts to Embroider"), by Agnes Delage-Calvet and Anne Sohier-Fournel. It was a gift from a blogging friend in England many years ago and is filled with so many charming designs for both cross stitch and embroidery. I'm sure I will be stitching more designs from it in the future. The red fabric you see in the right corner is what I used on the back of my finish.

Sending some love to all of my blog readers today!

This little cupid has been calling my name for a few years and I finally got around to stitching her. Most of you will recognize this as part of the "Holiday Hooopla" series by With Thy Needle and Thread. I used the suggested colors except I changed the word "Love," her shoes, and her eyes to DMC 3799--a dark grey. I also gave her a bit of a smile and used smyrna stitches to round out her eyes.

With Thy Needle and Thread "Holiday Hoopla Valentine's Day"

I decided to finish this one the same way that I did my Easter Holiday Hoopla from last year. You can see that finish right here. I'm using the same frame for all of the holiday hooplas (St. Patrick's Day is coming up next month!) to make things easy. The backing is just a piece of sticky board covered with red fabric. Then, after finishing the stitching into a round shape, I simply glued it onto the red fabric, added a fun polka-dot bow, and attached a silver heart charm--a very easy finish!

I did add more hearts to the design to round it out a bit so it would better fit the finish I had planned. Isn't she sweet? I love her tiny shoes!


And the next "finish" of sorts has been a long time coming. It has been almost a decade since I purchased this beautiful wooden cubby that Pottery Barn sells. So, where has it been all this time? Oh, just sitting on the floor in one of my son's old bedrooms collecting dust. I just kept procrastinating because to hang something this large seems like such a commitment! Do any of you put things off this way? I think something changed in me after my mom passed away almost 7 months ago, though... I've been consciously trying to complete long planned tasks and goals--I think I realize that life is never guaranteed to any of us so we might as well enjoy what we have while we can! I'm thrilled to finally have this out and on display where I can have fun with it each month.

My Pottery Barn cubby is finally hanging on the wall!

For February, I filled the cubbies with lots of red and white stitches, old greeting cards, and assorted small treasures and am so enjoying seeing it hang on my family room wall. It will be such fun to change it up for the seasons, don't you think? All of the Valentine's finishes are ones you can find in my February blog posts from years past.

February contents: lots of pink and red

Here is a view of it on the wall. I love the location I chose because it is the first thing you see when you walk into the house from the garage and is even visible from my desk here in the kitchen when I'm on the computer. It certainly makes me smile!


No matter what I put in my cubby each month, I've decided to dedicate the very middle space to my very first love--my dear mother. There is a sweet silhouette of her as a young girl, a pair of ceramic white shoes that were part of the collection she had as a child, and a gold thimble belonging to her first love--my maternal grandmother. (There is a whole story behind that thimble which I'll have to share with you some day!). This particular cubby hole is right at my eye level and is very, very special to me...

The center cubbyhole dedicated to my dear mother.

I was so touched to receive this wonderful package of goodies below from a fellow blogging friend... I had done a simple favor for her and expected nothing in return, but she sent me an amazing group of fabrics and charts. Thank you so much, my friend--you know who you are! With all you've been dealing with, your thoughtful and kind gifts mean all the more to me...

Thank you, thank you to my sweet friend!


I finally got a wonderful looking (and tasting!) loaf of bread from my Zojirushi bread machine. I've really struggled with my machine and have had very uneven results. I've been reading tips online (such as make sure not to let the salt touch the yeast when you put in the ingredients, double check the temperature of your liquids, and make sure to always use fresh yeast and flour). Anyway, this multigrain bread is a favorite of ours and I "try" to limit myself to one piece a day! If you'd like to give the recipe a try in your bread machine, you can find it right here. I only use two teaspoons of yeast, 1 cup of the multi-grain oats, and substitute 1/4 cup honey for the brown sugar when I make it.

Finally a bread that looks as great as it tastes!

Snow, snow, snow... although we have yet to receive a giant snowfall, the ground has been snow-covered for most of the winter. The funny thing is, now that I've retired, I really don't mind snow or ice! I can just sit at home all cozy and comfy and not worry about driving or falling on icy parking lots. We are supposed to get more snow off and on all week! I don't care as long as the roads are clear on the 23rd as that is the day we're getting our second dose of the Covid vaccine. I'm a bit worried as I have heard there are more side effects with this second one, but I don't care--I just want it done! We are already making plans to fly to California in mid-March to spend some long overdue time with this little cutie. We last saw him when he was just 3 months old and here he is all dressed up for Valentine's Day in his little heart suspenders and red bow tie. Seven months old already and he is definitely looking more like a little boy than a baby!

♥ This tiny 7-month old cupid has captured my heart! ♥


Well, my friends, stay warm and safe... I hope these last two weeks of February fly by for you. Next comes March and the promise of springtime--I can't wait! Thanks so very much for stopping by today and for all of your sweet comments. If any of you have questions, make sure to leave your email address so I can try to answer you. Happy stitching everyone! Bye for now...