Friday, April 30, 2021

Bunnies and blue (and a bit of beach time)

The last day of April--can you believe it? The year is one third over! I'm back with some stitching and a life update and I hope this finds you all doing well. Who else is finding stitching time to be in short supply at this point in the year? I think I stitched a total of about two hours over the past week (but I do have a good excuse for that which I'll go into later on in this post). 

For those of you who know me only as that dedicated "one ornament a month" or small pillow stitcher, you'll probably be a bit surprised by this new finish. I began "A Stitch In Time" by The Workbasket back in July 2020 when we were in California quarantining before our grandson came into the world. I worked on it from time to time since then and finally finished it completely in early March. I've had this chart in my stash for years (it is from 2005) and I'm glad I finally took the plunge and stitched it.

"A Stitch In Time" finish

The suggested Kreinik Silk Mori threads on 40 ct. Woodland Newcastle linen were used for this finish. I love the beautiful flowers in varying shades of blue with their specialty stitches.

And the little creatures are so adorable... I mean who doesn't love a pale blue swan? Those cute white owls are so sweet, too!

As always, I made a few changes to my finish... The original design had the saying "A stitch in time saves my mind" charted below the flower pot (you can see it right here) and it just didn't appeal to me. So, I made the decision to center the entire motif and eliminate the words. Instead, I stitched my initials and the year on either side of the flower pot and I'm very pleased with the result!

Can't wait to get this one back from the framer!

I took a leap of faith and mailed this piece (along with two other large finishes) to Total Framing in Virginia so they could work their magic. Hopefully, I'll have them back some time in May. And, of course, I'll share the framed finishes with you right here. 

What draws you to choose what to stitch? For me, the colors in this design are perfect for my family room, but the thing that really called my name were the cute bunnies on the flower pot. They remind me so much of the Dedham Pottery bunnies that I've collected for years. I began collecting these reproduction pieces in the '90s and purchased most of them on Ebay. Through the years I've probably added nearly 50 pieces to my collection. 

For the past couple of months, I've filled my Pottery Barn cubby with some of my Dedham Pottery. As you can see there are bunny figurines, little vases and jars--even a two-piece egg!

My Pottery Barn cubby this month

I'm not sure what captivated me about this pottery. I do love the bunnies' sweet faces, of course, but I also love the crackled glazing on the pieces. And, of course, I love the blue and white--always such a crisp, clean look.

Do you have a favorite?


I also have some larger pieces not displayed here including two different teapots, a casserole dish, even a recipe box! They've been displayed in the glass-front cabinets in my kitchen for over 25 years and I've never grown tired of them. 

Why, I even have similar bunnies on the pillow covers in my family room which I ordered on Etsy--they came all the way from England!

Here you can see the pillows in my family room setting. Remember the new rug that I mentioned a few posts back. Many of you said you'd like to see it, so here it is... Yes, it's clear that I love blues! That navy blue chair on the left is my stitching chair, which, sadly hasn't seen much use lately. Why is that? Well... read on!

My family room--and my stitching chair where you'll find me most every evening!


And here is a view from the opposite end--on the far right you can see my Pottery Barn cubby hanging on the wall leading into the kitchen. I stood on the window seat to take this photo which is why the room looks bigger than it is! It's simply a nice cozy space and the new rug gave the room some much needed pattern...

So, why haven't I been stitching? Two weeks after we returned from seeing our grandbaby in California, we were on the plane again--this time heading south to sunny Naples, Florida. No, it wasn't for a holiday--we were there to work. And work we did--boy, I can't remember the last time I was that tired at the end of each day. You see, my in-laws' health has deteriorated so they had to bid farewell to their Florida home and are now residing in a nursing home in Ohio (about an hour from us). We flew down to get their home ready for the rental market which meant a lot of trips to Goodwill (for both dropping off and purchasing), organizing, cleaning, repairing, rearranging, etc. 

We did enjoy a bit of free time over the weekend when my youngest son flew in for a quick visit. We went out to eat with him a couple of times and saw the prettiest skies as the sun was about to set. I did manage to take one lone walk on the lovely Naples beach which is only five blocks from my in-laws' home.

Naples, Florida at sunset

Naples is truly one of the prettiest places I've visited--beautiful homes, wonderful restaurants, and charming little shops and boutiques. If you haven't had the chance to visit, I highly suggest it! I'm usually not one for the sun and heat and beach life, but even I fell under the spell of this Gulf Coast city.

The beautiful end of a busy day

My youngest son took this photo of my husband and me at the Naples dock right before dinner. We don't look too tired here, but, honestly, we were both wiped out from working from dawn to bedtime... Did we get everything done? No, we will be making more trips down at some point. But, I think next time, we'll try to fit in a bit more relaxation (and I'll definitely make sure to carve out more stitching time!).

Tired, but still smiling!

Giveaway winner... I drew a name for the chart of the yellow daffodils in the blue vase  that I offered in my previous post and the winner is...


April--you are the winner of this chart!

Congratulations, April! Please email me with your mailing address and I'll get this chart right out to you. I hope you enjoy stitching it--it really is a beauty. I'll be having more giveaways in future posts, so please stop by again!

I was the winner of a beautiful giveaway on Instagram myself! Just look at this huge project pouch made by the talented Michelle from Under the Woolen Willow. Michelle "saves the stitches" that she finds in thrift stores and turns them into beautiful project pouches. She has a wonderful Etsy shop which you can find right here. Thank you again, Michelle--this was a real treat and your work is perfection!

A lovely giveaway win from Michelle at "Under the Woolen Willow"

I was happy to find our spring flowers and trees still in bloom when we returned from Florida. Honestly, is it just me, or do they seem to be more beautiful than ever this year? This busy bee certainly seems to be loving the miniature rhododendron. We had heavy rains yesterday which brought down many of the blossoms, but I was so glad to enjoy a few days of their beauty and lovely scent.

Spring in western Pennsylvania


Well, a busy month lies ahead, but it's one I've waited for for ever-so-long--my grandson is coming for a visit! Yes, my oldest son, daughter-in-law, and almost 10-month-old (and into EVERYTHING!) grandbaby will be here for two weeks in May. I've been busy setting up a little play area (at the far end of our sunroom where the Christmas tree usually sits), babyproofing, and purchasing a crib, highchair, diapers, etc. in preparation. (My oldest son has not been home in over a year and a half so I think he is more excited than anyone)! Thank goodness for vaccinations--such a feeling of freedom after all the time we were isolated from our loved ones. I feel truly grateful and thankful for the scientists who worked so hard to come up with these vaccines, don't you?

I'm having such fun setting up a little play area for my grandson's visit!

I'll be reading blogs only off and on during their visit, but I hope each of you has a wonderful month of May. Not sure when I will post again, but I'll try to check in with you at some point. Thank you for all of your supportive comments--I do appreciate each and every one. I'm also thankful for those of you who have taken the time to email me and thank me for inspiring you, stitching-wise. Those kind emails always make me smile and give me the push I need to keep on writing "Stitching Dreams." Have a wonderful day, everyone! Bye for now...

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

It's been a while...

It's been an entire month since my last post! Did you miss me? I know I missed a lot of news in the cross stitch blogging world and I hope to catch up with each of you soon. Although I returned from visiting my grandbaby in California over a week ago, jet lag and problems with a vaccination left me with little energy and no desire to sit down and write a blog post. And no--not "that" vaccination (my Covid vaccines were both fine)! It was a pneumonia vaccination that I got last Friday which left me with a very swollen sore arm, a rash, fever, chills, and general tiredness. But, I'm finally feeling normal again so here I am! 

Our visit with Baby B in San Diego was delightful and I'll tell you about that further on in this post. But, first, let me share the very limited stitching that I've been working on. I had finished my Christmas ornament for March before our trip to California and it's a good thing, because I got virtually no stitching done while out there. I was just too busy (trying) to keep up with one very busy 9-month-old! This pretty design is by Ewe & Eye & Friends and is called "White Christmas." 

Ewe & Eye & Friends: "White Christmas"


Don't you love the soft colors? Such a peaceful, simple looking finish. I used Sulky 712-1071 thread (just one strand because it is thicker) for this and stitched it on 30 ct. blue Murano linen. I did make a few changes to the design--mainly by making the windows on the house symmetrical because I knew they would have driven me crazy as charted! Who else feels the need for symmetry in your life? I also changed up a few of the motifs at the top and substituted a snowflake in the center top motif where you were supposed to stitch your initial. If you look closely, you'll notice a number of specialty stitches which really add to the charm of this design!

Love the specialty stitches

My other finish is one that I've stitched before for myself... a little freebie from Kissy-Cross that can be found right here. This was stitched "over one" on 28 ct. black Monaco using the following DMC colors: 223, 224, 3053, 611 and ecru (for the little Smyrna stitched bunny tails).

A little spring freebie


I finished it into a flat oval, added pink cording and a double pink and white gingham ribbon topped by a pink button. This was a quick and easy piece to stitch and makes a cute gift! It traveled to California with me and is now happily living with my oldest son, daughter-in-law, and little grandson. I try to give them a new little Easter finish each year so, someday, they'll have enough small stitched pieces to fill an Easter basket.

This cutie is now living in sunny California!


I do have a much larger finish which I'll share with you in my next post... I recently had a lovely package from my friends at Twin Peak Primitives which contained this very sweet kit called "Stitcher's Soul Journey."  This is a limited edition kit which can be found in the TPP Limited Exclusives Etsy shop. It came with the chart, a canvas project bag with beaded zipper pull, fabric, threads, wooden thread holder, and a little bag of extras that included nail files, a mint, and some tea and honey ( I forgot to photograph the bag of extras!). Such a wonderful kit! 

A beautiful kit from the twins at Twin Peak Primitives


I've made a start on the design using 40 ct. Woodland Newcastle and some overdyed threads that I'm substituting for the DMC threads. I'm really enjoying stitching this sweet piece!

My start on "Stitcher's Soul Journey"

My friends, Nurdan and Nursun, from Twin Peak Primitives, also included another very special item in their package--this sweet knit monkey for my grandson! Isn't he darling? This cheerful monkey came all the way from The Netherlands and I can't wait to introduce him to my grandbaby--I know he'll love him! Thank you so much for your wonderful gifts, my friends--you are both so thoughtful and kind!

A baby gift for my grandson from the wonderful ladies at Twin Peak Primitives!


I received some other wonderful gifts as well including this pretty card from my long-time stitching friend in Germany, Gabi. Isn't the bunny adorable? Thank you, Gabi--I'll be putting it out with my Easter decor for years to come...

Sweet Easter card from Gabi in Germany

And from my sweet friend, Nathalie, in France came a lovely package filled with chocolate bars, pretty Easter napkins adorned with pastel bunnies, and one of my favorites--a French Christmas cross stitch magazine! Thank you, Nathalie--that was so kind of you to send these gifts at Easter time!

A lovely package of Easter treats from Nathalie in France


I also won an adorable chart in a giveaway from blogging friend, Stasi. I love the little leprechauns on this piece--so playful and impish! Thank you so much, Stasi--I look forward to stitching this to add to my St. Patrick's Day display.

Giveaway win from blogging friend, Stasi

Giveaway winner... There were a good number of entries for the St. Patrick's Day Holiday Hoopla chart and even though there can be just one winner, I enjoyed hearing all about your various collections from those who entered. It really is fun getting to know a bit more about my readers and stitching friends--thank you for your answers to the "Getting To Know You" portion of my blog! The name of the winner for this chart is...

MARILYN (from Wisconsin)

Congratulations, Marilyn! Please send me your mailing address and I'll get the chart on its way to you!

Congratulations to Marilyn--you won this St. Patrick's Day chart!

New giveaway... Are the daffodils blooming in your area? We came home to some lovelies brightening up our garden. The spring flowers and trees seem to be especially pretty this year, don't they? I found this sweet chart in the  June 1999 issue of "Just Cross Stitch" and thought it would make a perfect giveaway for this time of year. Who would like to win it? If you would: 1) please mention specifically in your comment that you are interested in winning this daffodil chart, 2) be a follower of my blog in the sidebar, 3) answer the "Getting To Know You" question below, and 4) make sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

If you would like to win the chart for the daffodils in the blue and white vase, please follow the directions above. Good luck to all!

GETTING TO KNOW YOU... Today's question is: How do you feel about gardening? Love it, hate it, can take it or leave it? I wish I could say I loved it because I truly do love the results--but... I tend to pretty much leave the gardening up to my husband who does enjoy it (his grandfather owned a nursery and he spent a lot of time with him growing up). Now that he has retired, he has the time it takes to  create a nice garden. I do love seeing little green shoots pushing up through the earth, but I leave the actual gardening to him... What are your feelings about gardening? Do you grow your own vegetables and flowers? Is it fun or a chore?

I'll leave this giveaway open until April 29th--good luck to all who enter!

On to my California visit... Many have asked if I felt safe flying with Covid still rearing its ugly head. Well, it was a very different experience from when we flew last in October. This time, the airports were more crowded and noisier, the planes were fully packed (not a single seat was empty on any of the four flights we took), and, although everyone still wore masks, there was not the sense of silence and fear onboard that I'd noticed on flights last summer and fall. Since my husband and I are both fully vaccinated (my daughter-in-law and youngest son, who was also visiting, are, too, and my  oldest had his first shot), we felt quite safe. I have to say how impressed I was walking around San Diego and 98% of the people were wearing masks, except at the beach.

Seeing the baby in person again was a delight, as you can imagine. It took a few minutes, but he soon recognized us as those "two old people" who talk to him every night on FaceTime! He felt totally at ease with us and we spent lots of time just making him smile (he couldn't stop laughing when I had the hiccups one day!), dancing to '70s rock music with him, singing "Wheels On the Bus" many, many times, taking him for walks and to ride on the swing at the playground, enjoying his "old man face" where he sucks in his cheeks and looks like an old geezer who forgot to put in his dentures, watching him cruise around the furniture and pull himself up on every available surface, and finally, just cuddling with him (when he would let us as he was mostly interested in being down on the ground exploring every single thing he could--much like his father was at that age!)

Not only did we celebrate my oldest son's 39th birthday, but also the baby's first Easter. My youngest son was able to fly in to be with us, too. Baby B quickly viewed him as much more interesting than Gramma and Grampa and they soon became best buddies. Here are a few photos of him in his darling smocked Easter romper adorned with wee embroidered bunnies and playing in his little tent. Such a sweet, sweet boy! ♥♥♥

My little sweetie!

We took the baby on his first trip (and ours!) to the renowned San Diego Zoo. It was a bit different visiting during Covid as many things weren't open, but we spent a few hours enjoying the exotic and unusual animals along with some old favorites. I'd love to go back when it is fully opened and we have more time--it's quite an amazing zoo!

Pretty in pink

Glad my skin isn't as wrinkly as this elephant's--yet!

Clockwise from the top left: a pair of cuddling camels, a Chacoan Peccary from South America, an Okapi from the Congo, and the always recognizable elephant

Clockwise from the top left: a Secretary Bird, a Takin from China, the delicate flamingos, and  Southern Gerenuk from Somalia

And then there were the lost wallets...  Saying goodbye to the baby was hard, but since he will be visiting us next month here in Pennsylvania, it wasn't as hard as it might have been. Unfortunately, a nice goodbye was not to be had. An hour before we were to leave for the airport, my husband couldn't locate his wallet. Oh, we turned my son's apartment upside down, looked under every cushion, and behind every door. We looked through suitcases, pockets, even the baby's toys! It was nowhere to be found. Panic set in as we weren't sure he would be allowed on the plane without his driver's license as identification. Finally, deciding we had nowhere else to look, we went to the airport to see what could be done. My husband had to go through a special screening at TSA and they asked him all sorts of questions and dusted all of his electronic devices. But, he was allowed on the plane for what was to be a long, depressing trip home. He was so upset with himself as he dwelled on all the headaches this would cause trying to replace his credit cards, insurance cards, and license. 


When we got home late Tuesday night, we were still on California time so we decided to unpack our suitcases. I was in the closet hanging up some clothes, when I heard my husband say: "There's my wallet!" I thought he was joking, but as I walked into the bathroom, I spotted it--just sitting in the middle of my open suitcase! WHAT?!?! We think what must have happened is after taking the baby for a walk my husband changed from his jeans into shorts. He, most likely, folded up his jeans and didn't notice that his wallet fell out of the pocket right into my open suitcase. I was doing laundry and placed the pile of clean, folded clothes on top of the clothing already in my suitcase without noticing his wallet sitting there! Even though we both felt around for it during our search, it is small and was packed squarely in the middle of piles of clothing. Whew--crisis averted! So, the moral of the story is... always know where your wallet is the night before you fly out! (And, it's good to know that you can still fly even if you do lose your driver's license).

That's not the end of our "missing wallet" story, though. My youngest son arrived in California from Virginia on Good Friday and was staying in a nearby hotel. He went for some coffee at a local shop and when he got back to his hotel, guess what?  No wallet! Of course, he called us right away and my husband and daughter-in-law went out to help him look for it. They carefully retraced my son's steps, but--no luck. Unbelievably, just a bit later, my son got a message through Linked In from a wonderful, honest young man who was also visiting California from the state of Virginia. He had found the wallet and used my son's ID to track him down through Linked In... Oh, happy day! It's so nice to know there are still good and honest people in this world. All's well that ends well--we'll certainly always remember our missing wallet weekend!


I'll leave you with a photo of some of our cheery daffodils that I placed in the lovely vase my daughter-in-law gave me when we were in California. She knows me well--blue and white always make me smile! Thank you all for visiting me today--I hope spring is warming up your part of the world and that even though this is such a busy time of year, that you're able to carve out some stitching time. It truly is good for the soul... Welcome to my new followers--so glad you're here! Bye for now...