Sunday, June 27, 2021

A Dizzying Month

Only three more days and 2021 will be half over--can you believe it? June has been an "interesting" month for me--filled with some nice times, but also some troubling health issues. Things have evened out for now so let's hope I stay on track. More about that later on, though--let's start with what I've been stitching, okay? 

Stitching update... I managed to stay on track and completely stitch and finish my ornament for June and I love it! I'd been wanting to stitch this whimsical Birds Of a Feather design ever since I saw it in the 1998 Just Cross Stitch Ornament magazine. I'm not sure why I put it off so long, but I'm so glad I finally sat down and stitched it. Just look at those big-eyed tots wide awake in their beds on Christmas Eve. Do you think they heard the giant reindeer on the roof or, perhaps, that rosy-cheeked Santa is making too much noise as he lays a pink present under the Christmas tree? The colors in this one are such fun, aren't they?

Birds Of a Feather "Night Before Christmas"


I stitched "Night Before Christmas" on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle with most of the suggested colors. (I did change the eyes from the suggested bright blue to a dark brown because all of them looked slightly possessed when I used the blue thread)! At first, I planned to use white cording to surround the little pillow, but I held up some minty green DMC 369 and knew that  that would be a better choice. I had just enough ribbon in my stash to make a hanger and bow in the same color, too, and I'm so pleased with the final result. It is a small ornament, but is almost solid stitching so it took quite a while! Anyway, I'm happy to say that the stitch along that I started on Instagram (#12in21ornamentstitchalong) has really been keeping me on track this year as far as getting my ornaments done each month. It's so nice to have company and see others' ornament finishes each month, too. Thanks to all who have joined in! If you'd like to start following me on Instagram, too, just click right here.

Such fun retro colors!


My only other stitching related news is that I finally managed to sit down and frame this sweet piece from Tralala called "Carré ABC Bouquet." If you've been following my blog for a while, you may recall that I stitched this more than five years ago--yes, in 2016! You can read about my finish right here in my post from April 21, 2016. It was stitched on 40 ct. burch Newcastle using a variety of overdyed threads. The blue thread is Gentle Arts "Crystal Lake"--such a soft pretty color, don't you think?

"Carré ABC Bouquet" stitched in 2016


The very detailed, carved frame came from my box (well, boxes, plural!!) of thrifted frames that I've purchased for $1-$5 through the years. Doesn't it look pretty? It is a silvery gold color and I think it accents this sweet piece so nicely.

There is a bit more margin on the top and bottom than the sides, but overall, the fit of this thrift store frame is quite good!

The flowers that lie beside it are from my garden... The blue hydrangea was from the plant that my middle son gave me for Mother's Day this year that we planted outside. The pink coral bells were transplanted from my parents' garden at my childhood home so they are very special to me. And the white astilbe, although only in bloom for a short while, is so soft and delicate, isn't it? Our neighborhood deer have been leaving things alone lately, but we just spied a pair of baby fawns frolicking in the yard yesterday so I fear the plants will be gobbled up in no time...

Such pretty blooms this year!


Giveaway winner... I had quite a few entries for this pretty Americana quilt chart! Thank you to all who entered and who told me about your thrift store/yard sale/side-of-the-road finds. It was such fun reading about them and it makes me feel better about picking up things I happen upon that someone has thrown out! The winner's name drawn from the hat this time is...

Faith from Faithfully Stitching

Congratulations, Faith! Please send me your mailing address and I'll get this out to you this week. I'll be having another giveaway next month so watch this space...


So, what was I doing the rest of the month? Well... traveling, gardening, baking, and stumbling around like a drunken sailor. Yes, after a wonderful break of 19 years (yes, years!) my vertigo came back with a vengeance this month. Oh, I'd forgotten how bad it feels. The first  time I had it in 2002, I ended up in the hospital and was diagnosed with BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). The doctor told me then that it would return... thankfully, it decided to give me a long break. But, boy, was I sick with it--violent vomiting and complete dizziness that lasted all day. I really couldn't move at all without getting sick or feeling like the room was spinning. It was so bad that we had to postpone our flight to Florida the following day. We were able to reschedule the flight for two days later and I felt well enough to fly, but the night we arrived in Florida my vertigo returned... I simply sat and felt miserable the entire next day. I tried doing the various maneuvers to ease the dizziness that were suggested online and one of them must have kicked in because I've been okay now for over a week. I'm still not feeling quite myself, but at least I can function! So, who else deals with vertigo--do you have any tips for me? 

Our Florida visit was yet another trip to prepare my in-laws' house for the rental market. We're almost there, I'd say... My husband did the majority of the work because of my vertigo, but I did a few things and we even managed one walk on the beach. It rained (heavily!) every day except for two--I really don't remember such horrid weather down there. Combine that with 90°+ temperatures and it was pretty miserable. I'm not sure if we have to go down again before we put it on the rental market, but, hopefully, things can be handled with phone calls from now on...

One of two non-rainy days in Naples, Florida. The Naples pier is in the distance.

Playing hide and seek--can you spy the little crab peeking out?


Our garden has been doing so well this year! It must have something to do with the cooler temperatures and all the rain we had in May, but everything is blooming and extremely lush and green... My husband deserves full credit for the gardening. All I do is pick out plants and seeds and tell him where to plant them. He is really enjoying the extra time in the garden now that he's retired. Here are a few photos for you...

The raised beds in our fenced in vegetable and flower garden

Lots of tomatoes are ripening on the vine

And lots of snap peas, too!

We also grow some flowers within the fenced vegetable garden to keep them safe from deer. That way we can cut them and enjoy them in our home.

Sunflowers, strawflowers and zinnias

Love the various shades of purple in the alyssum!

The calla lilies are very special to me. They came from a plant that my oldest son gave my mother on her birthday two years ago. So glad they've kept blooming--I feel like mom is smiling at me!

A view from the end of our driveway to our back patio--green as far as you can see!


June means blueberry season--my favorite fruit! I stumbled upon this extremely quick and easy recipe for "Ridiculously Easy Blueberry Crumble" and went right into the kitchen to whip it up. Oh, my--delicious and super simple... what more could you ask for? You can find the recipe by clicking right here at Inspired Taste. I halved the recipe which was a mistake--my husband and I could easily have eaten twice the amount!

A very tasty Blueberry Crumble

So, what does July hold? Well, believe it or not, my grandson turns one next week! Yes, it makes me want to cry when I think how quickly his first year has gone. He took his first steps earlier this month and we just happened to be on FaceTime with him when that happened so we got to witness that milestone. His dad says he's now walking more than crawling and oh-so-proud of himself! There are six teeth sprouting in his little mouth so he no longer looks like such a baby... more like a sweet little boy. We'll be heading to California for his first birthday and I'm counting the days, as you can imagine. "Baby B" helped us through so much sadness over the past year with the loss of my mom and my daughter-in-law's parents.  He has no idea how very much he is treasured...

This photo warms this former librarian's heart--Baby B loves books! Hooray!

Thank you, as always for visiting me today... I always enjoy reading your comments after each post--thank you so much for taking the time to say "hi!" I'm happy to try to answer your questions, but please make sure to include your email address so I can get back to you...  Wishing you each a wonderful July with lots of stitching time. Bye for now...

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Finds and a finish

Whoa! What's going on here? Two posts from me in only 9 days?! Well, I just had to share my newest finish with you right away because I truly love how it turned out... This design is from my friends at Twin Peak Primitives and is a limited edition kit called "Stitcher's Soul Journey." (The kit is currently sold out, but they hope to release it in chart form sometime in the future). I shared the photo of the entire kit  and of my start on it (using 40 ct. Woodland Newcastle linen) in this post from April 14th. 

"Stitcher's Soul Journey" finish


Isn't it sweet? And you know me, I just had to change it up a bit and add my personal touches to the design. As you can see, the main change I made was to omit the verse ("Mend thy soul with needle and threads") because, although I love the verse, I saw this as more of a patriotic or summer piece so I simply left it off. I also converted the DMC threads to similar overdyeds from my stash, added some specialty stitches (satin stitched the grass and the thread on the spools), and sprinkled a few smyrna and eyelet stitches in the centers of the flowers. 

I changed the colors to overdyed threads and added some specialty stitches


I think the border is especially pretty in this charming piece--and I do love those patriotic colors! I found a thrifted frame in my stash that I chalk-painted (Waverly Inspirations "Plaster" color) and distressed, added a backing of royal blue gingham cut from a thrifted man's shirt (washed, of course!), and glued some white ric-rak around the edges. Simple, but oh-so-pretty! This will decorate my home all summer. Thank you again to my dear friends at Twin Peak Primitives for the wonderful kit--I so enjoyed every stitch! Please check out their Etsy shop right here for many, many more beautiful designs! 

A pretty summer addition to my patriotic decorating!

So, how many of you love finding bargains in thrift stores? As I mentioned, both the frame shown above and the blue gingham backing fabric came from my local Goodwill. I hadn't been in a thrift store since March of 2020 when Covid began spreading so quickly. But, being fully vaccinated, I recently paid my Goodwill a visit in early May and, boy, did I find some gems! A beautiful blue and white piece of Polish Pottery, two pretty beaded frames in a pale yellow, and a very fun child's play car all hopped into my shopping cart. Would you like to see my finds? 

A woman at the Goodwill store actually stopped me and asked if this $3.98 tray was Polish Pottery. I told her I didn't know--that I just loved it 'cause it was blue and white. She picked it up out of my cart, checked the bottom, and said, "Yup! You got a great bargain!"

These pretty beaded, pale yellow framed flower prints were only $2.98 each. They look perfect in my bathroom!

My favorite find that day was this Fisher Price "Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car" that cost $5.99. When I got home I was shocked to learn that it sells for $60! I can't tell you how much fun my little grandson (who turns 11 months old today!) had with it during his visit--the sounds, the songs, the little activities... it kept him entertained for hours and he loved simply crawling in and out (and over!) it!

I don't always find something when I go to thrift stores, but that visit was special. I also bought a lot of children's books for 79¢ each (as if I hadn't saved enough from my own kids through the years!) and a couple of little ghost votive candle holders. But, thrift stores aren't the only way I find bargains... Over the years, I've been known to pick up little "treasures" (my husband doesn't quite agree with that description!) that my neighbors have put out on the street for garbage pickup.  This little rolltop desk was my favorite find from something a neighbor had left by the side of the road and my youngest son used it in his bedroom for years.

Yes, I found this sweet children's rolltop desk sitting out for trash pickup years ago. Why, oh, why wouldn't they donate it to a charity rather than throw it out. It is my favorite "rescue!"

So, that brings me to this week's "Getting To Know You" section: Do you enjoy going to thrift stores, yard sales, and such? And what are some of your favorite finds? My answer:  I grew up with a mom who loved a bargain so I think that is where my love of thrifting came from. When my kids were little, I would haunt yard sales every Saturday morning picking up books, clothing, and toys--many of which were cleaned up and given to my sons for Christmas and birthday gifts. They never knew the difference as I always bought things which looked brand new. It was never a matter of not having the money for new things--just the thrill of a bargain!  So, how about you? Have you found anything really special at yard sales or thrift stores?

Thank you so much for your answers to my last "Getting To Know You" question in my previous post... I really enjoyed hearing about all the career aspirations you had as children. No one seemed terribly unhappy with what they ended up doing in life which was nice to read, too. 

Giveaway... With summer upon us, that means the 4th of July and lots of red, white, and blue stitching. Would any of you like to stitch this pretty design called "Patriotic Quilts" from the August 2007 issue of  "The Cross Stitcher" magazine? If so, here are the guidelines: 1) Specifically mention that you want to enter to win this chart, 2) Include your email address, if I don't already have it, and 3) Answer the above "Getting To Know You" question in your comment on this post. I'll draw a name at random and let you know the winner in my next post at the end of June, okay? Good luck to all!

If you would like a chance to win this quilt chart, please follow the directions above! Make sure to leave your email address.


Giveaway winner from my previous post... I had quite a few people entering to win the Cricket Collection "Wooly Mittens" chart that I offered in my last post. The winning name pulled from the hat is...


Ndavis--you are the winner!

I'm not sure of your exact name or where you live, but congratulations Ndavis! Please contact me via email (my email is in my profile in the sidebar) with your mailing address and I will get this chart off to you as soon as possible. I hope you enjoy stitching these cute mittens--I may have to stitch that Santa moon one soon, myself!

A small public service announcement... UGH!!! We are having an epidemic of deer ticks which cause Lyme Disease here in Pennsylvania. Our state is one of 12 states which make up 94% of the Lyme Disease cases in the entire United States. Well, just last month when all three of my sons were home, they decided to play a few rounds of "disc golf" (they throw frisbees and try to hit targets in our yard like the pole of the tall bird house, the oak tree in the side yard, etc. and whoever finishes the course with the least number of throws is the winner). Unbeknownst to them, a couple of creepy insects decided to hitchhike on their legs and two of the three ended up with deer ticks burrowing into their flesh. Thankfully, both were spotted later that day and removed, but they had already burrowed, head first, into my sons' belly areas, and were becoming engorged with blood. Disgusting, right? So, my advice is... always, always check yourselves, your loved ones, and your pets each and every time after being outside in grassy areas or on hikes. You just never know! Lyme Disease can be a very long-term debilitating illness if not caught early. Beware and be aware!

I'll leave you with a much prettier vision--these lovely purple flowers are now blooming in our yard. I sure wish the blooms lasted longer, but what a welcome sight they've been this spring!

Chives, clematis, and salvia in my garden

I hope your June is off to a great start, my friends! Only 12 days until the official start of summer--I can't wait... I want to wish a warm welcome to my new followers--so glad to have you here! Thank you, as always for your visit today, your sweet comments, and emails, and your friendship. I truly appreciate each and every one of you! Bye for now...