Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The red, the white, and the blue...

Happy July! I hope everyone in the U.S. had a relaxing Fourth Of July weekend... It was a quiet one here, but we'll make up for it when my entire family gathers in San Diego this coming week to celebrate three birthdays, a job change, and our upcoming 44th wedding anniversary. Needless to say, I can't wait for the fun to begin! Before I get into my stitching news, I want to thank all of you who offered suggestions on how to deal with my vertigo. I purchased some of the items suggested (motion sickness bands and anti-nausea meds) to have on hand if (please, no!!) it returns. Thankfully, I'm feeling better now and am just going to think positively!  

So, on to stitching updates. I had really hoped to have this latest finish done by the Fourth of July, but it took longer to stitch than I expected. That's okay, though, as I leave my patriotic stitching up for most of the summer... I'll switch over to sunflowers and bees in mid-August. This is the first piece I've stitched by "From the Heart Needleart," but it won't be the last... such an enjoyable design! "Let Freedom Ring" was stitched on 40 ct. sand Newcastle with a combination of the suggested threads and my own choices. The substitutions made were: I used Needle Necessities #142 (Grecian Olive) for the green, Nina's Threads (Old Jeans) for the blue, and DMC 3865 for the white. The other colors were as suggested by the designer. I did change the beak on the eagle to the gold color as well as its claws. And instead of using cross stitches for the flagpole, I did a simple straight stitch.

"Let Freedom Ring" by From the Heart Needleart


Once again, a thrifted frame came to the rescue! My middle son had picked up this simple frame for me at Goodwill for $2.00 (I have him look for square frames whenever he goes!).  I painted it with Waverly chalk paint (using the color "Plaster") and then lightly distressed it with a bit of sandpaper. It was too wide for the stitched piece so I simply sewed on two star-strewn pieces of fabric in burgundy and blue, added a strip of gold ric-rak, and topped it off with a yo-yo and a couple of buttons. A very inexpensive, but cute, finish! I love it!

Love the flag carrying eagle!


Last week, I was putting away some things in my guest room when I spotted this sweet little scene on top of the dresser and it just made me happy. So, why not share it with you? The reading bunny was a Mother's Day gift from my youngest son a few years ago and the stitching is a piece that I finished way back in 2009--my very first year of blogging.  I wonder if there are any readers that remember my blog from way back then? That was the year I was stitching an "Ornament a Week"--crazy, right? I don't know how I did it given the fact that I was still working at the time... Most of those early blogging friends have left the blog world behind and have turned to Facebook or Flosstube. I really miss them, but I'm so happy to have you new readers along for the ride!

Reading books and stitching--two of my favorite things!


This chart can be found in the August 2000 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine--a sweet design by The Drawn Thread called "Summer Scene." I think this may have been one of the very first pieces I stitched on linen. I remember being a bit overwhelmed by all of the specialty stitches in it: Hungarian stitches on the roof, leviathan stitches on the front door, Smyrna stitches for the flowers, woven leaf stitches for the tree leaves, reversed cushion stitch on the sidewalk; and everyone's favorite--the French knot for the flower centers. It was a challenge, but I truly love how it turned out. I mean who doesn't love a giant cat in their front yard? This remains one of my favorite finishes even though it is 12 years old! Do you have any old favorites that just make you smile when you walk by them?

"Summer Scene" by The Drawn Thread


I took a few photos of my 4th of July display to post on Instagram which might provide some inspiration to those of you who love red, white, and blue stitching as much as I do. These were stitched over the past twelve years; I usually stitch two or three patriotic pieces each summer. After Christmas stitching, patriotic stitching is my favorite (although bunnies for spring and Easter are rapidly multiplying, too!). 

So many memories in these little pillows...

Red, white, and blue stitches are taking over my kitchen!

Believe it or not--there are more patriotic finishes in my corner cupboard which I didn't photograph! I think I've gotten a bit carried away with them, but they sure are fun to stitch and finish...

Reading update... The reading bunny seated in the blue chair, that I showed you earlier, was a perfect gift for me being a former librarian. I know many of you love to read, too, and might enjoy seeing what I've read so far in 2021. I rated them with blue hearts (five being the most-liked) and am so surprised that I've already read 25 books this year. I am not a fast reader... I tend to fall asleep when I read. But, I do have an audiobook and a Kindle book in progress at all times. I love listening to the audiobooks when I stitch, cook, or work on my finishes (or when I'm trying to get in my 10,000 steps by just walking around in the house)! Some have been very good, some only so-so; the number of blue hearts tell you what I thought of each one. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Books read and rated so far in 2021


I passed on all of your compliments about our garden to my husband--thank you so much. He's really enjoying digging in the soil this summer and I told him the garden and yard have never looked better. He's even set up a drip irrigation system to water the plants when we are away on trips! Lately, we've seen lots of wildlife in our backyard... a doe and her twin fawns, lots of groundhogs, and a Great Blue Heron visiting our pond. The pond is stocked with a couple dozen very large koi and a few smaller fish as well as a newly arrived snapping turtle (where he came from, we have no idea!). The heron waits patiently on the bank of the pond until just the right moment... Then he rapidly snatches one of the smaller fish out of the water with his long bill. I think the koi are too big for the heron to eat, thankfully...

The Great Blue Heron patiently waiting for his breakfast to appear

Email subscriptions... You may notice a new white box in the upper right sidebar to sign up for email subscriptions. Recently Google has announced that it was stopping their feedburner subscription service so I had to switch to follow.it. The very helpful staff at follow.it have transferred my existing active subscribers for "Stitching Dreams" to their service so, if you have already subscribed, you should still receive email notifications each time I put up a new post. They may look a bit different than the previous emails--I have no control over this... If you're not receiving notifications, you may have to subscribe again in the white box. 

I'll be on a little blogging break while in San Diego celebrating my grandson's first birthday. I will be able to read your blogs, but won't be able to comment as my phone won't let me for some reason... I hope you all have a wonderful month ahead with lots of time to relax and enjoy the season. Thank you, one and all, for visiting me today--I love my readers! Bye for now...

The peaceful view from our front porch as the sun sets on the Fourth of July. "Day is done, gone the sun. From the lake, from the hills, from the sky; All is well, safely rest. God is nigh..." (lyrics to "Taps")


Robin said...

Just love your catch up posts. Have a great trip to San Diego. Love your patriotic displays. I see some I recognize. Awesome awesome finish on Let Freedom Ring. Also, great list of books. I have four and five hearts on many of the same books AND want to check out some I see I have not read yet.

Sandy said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for turning me on to Overdrive and Libby. I have loved listening to books while doing my chores. I even set Mother up on a Kindle this past weekend and she loved it. I was quite surprised. I made the print really large of course:)
You do have a good many beautiful patriotic pieces. I am drawn to the colors each year. I love my old pieces just as much as my new. I have a kitchen stitch coming down my hallway and it is definitely old 80s style but I truly love it so it stays!
Enjoy that trip with family. If that ugly virus taught us anything fit is to value family time.

Stasi said...

Carol, As I mentioned on IG, your patriotic display is wonderful 'eye candy'...love each and every piece! Your latest finish i so sweet and the added fabric was the perfect addition! Enjoy your trip to CA...safe travels!

chitra said...

Hi Carol
just love all your posts and your patriotic stitching.I make it a point to read your posts right away .I have a common bond with you i am also retired from the library and an avid cross stitcher and a book lover.
wishing your grandson a very Happy birthday and have fun in San diego.

Goofin' Off Around the Block said...

I really enjoy seeing all your beautiful stitching pieces. The added fabric, ric-rak and yo-yo really make your Let Freedom Ring finish pop beautifully. You are very talented and putting all those together. Enjoy your time in San Diego. Happy stitching! -Andrea

Georgia said...

Oh Carol, I loved reading your blog today, what a day brightener:) As always your stitching is amazing and so many great new ideas (for me). Your back yard looks so peaceful. Thank you so much for the book list I am always looking for something new. I like to listen to Audible when I am stitching. Enjoy your time in California, and with your little guy. Have fun celebrating your birthdays, and happy anniversary! Many blessings to you and yours.

Darlene S said...

Congratulations on your upcoming 44th Anniversary. And good to hear your Vertigo is better. I do so hope it remains under control, ideally in the rear view mirror. I do so want you to enjoy your trip to San Diego. While I'm in Washington this summer, I live in San Diego. All your stitchery projects are beautiful. You've inspired me to make patriotic pillows now! (thanks). On the reading front, have you read "The Bookseller: A novel", by Cynthia Swanson? I read the audio version while in Hawaii earlier this year. Really enjoyed it and I liked the readers voice too!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

I think I've been reading your blog from the very beginning - the inspiration! I'm thrilled you included your reading list. I'm always looking for something good to read, and will be looking for some of these at my library.

Enjoy your trip and the celebrations. Grandbabies are so prescious.

butterfly said...

Wow a lovely post again Carol .
What a wonderful display of stitching .
Have a lovely time with your family hugs to all.

Vickie said...

Firstly I wanted to thank you for telling me about follow.it I did not have email subscriptions before, but decided to do them now. :) Love your new patriotic finish! And that darling bunny statue! Your patriotic display is fabulous Carol! Thank you for showing your book list. I look forward to referencing it! I would recommend Our Darkest Night. I really enjoyed the audiobook. I will pray you have a safe round trip. I hope you have a SUPER time out there!!!!

Shelly said...

Love your Patriotic display! I need to stitch more patriotic designs. Looks like San Diego will be a grand ol time! I will wave as you go by. Have a safe trip!

marly said...

Thank you so much for the email solution! Can't believe that sweet baby will be turning one soon. Your patriotic stitch is wonderful and your creativity in the framing is as always, inspiring. Thanks for the book ratings. I have no patience and trying to choose is much easier if someone else picks it out! Have a safe and fantastic family time.

R's Rue said...

I love your patriotic display. I hope you have a wonderful time in San Diego with family. Enjoy.

Vicki said...

Have a great visit with family!

Nancy Collins said...

A wonderful book is The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. I also enjoyed Beach Read by Emily Henry. I hope you enjoy your trip to San Diego.

MartinaM said...

I like your patriotic pattern very much. I wanted to ask how long you leave your decoration, it would be a shame if you only put it up on July 4th.
Oh yes, I also have an old pattern that I embroidered many years ago, a little girl on a swing is kissed by a little boy, how cute they look.
I wish you the best time in San Diego, enjoy meeting your family. And take good care of yourself ..Martina

maxi said...

Hello Carol,
i like your Summer Scene. Have a good trip to San Diego and a great time there!
Happy stitching

Marilyn said...

i LOVE your finish, so very pretty.
It's in my "to do soon" pile!
Love the Drawn Thread piece.
Not sure what my favorite piece, there's too many.
You have a great collection of Patriotic, can't have too many!
I wish you a safe trip with family fun.
We'll be waiting for a report when you get back!

Sharon Vance said...

Thanks so much for sharing all the books you have read, with stars…much appreciated! Lovely cross stitch pieces and as I look through your blog, so great of you to have listed your favorite freebies. Happy July!

Unknown said...

I loved your newsletter! Your patriotic display is outstanding. Glad your vertigo is better(that is the worse feeling).Congratulations on your 44th anniversary.Have a safe trip to San Diego and enjoy your visit.
Your yard is beautiful and the view from your front porch is picture perfect.
Carol T.

Barb R. said...

What a wonderful posting you’ve shared for all of your readers! So much fun! I imagine you must be on your way to San Diego to celebrate the happy event of Baby B’s first birthday 🎂, and all the other happy events coming up - more birthdays, your wedding anniversary, a job change - lots of great things happening in your family. I hope you all have a wonderful time. It is so great that you all get to be together and share these happy events.
“Let Freedom Ring” is wonderful and I’m completely impressed how you framed it! Very imaginative and clever - really perfect! You have stitched (and finished!) so many patriotic items - really charming and amazing!
Thank you, too, for sharing the books you’ve read. I love to read and I’m always on the lookout for suggestions for new books. I’ll have to choose a couple of your suggestions and see what I can find in the library.
I’m really happy to read that the vertigo you suffered from recently is much improved for you now. I do hope the suggestions others gave you are helpful and you don’t have any more problems with it.
Have a wonderful time in San Diego - enjoy your family and this very happy, special time! Safe travels to all!
XOXOXO Barb R. ❣️

Christina said...

Love your patriotic stitching. Glad your feeling better from the vertigo. Whenever I get it I take Dramamine. Have a safe and wonderful trip to my state. Happy Birthday Little B!

Carin said...

Such beautiful projects. Yes I know what you mean that many bloggers left their blog.
I looked it up and last April I was blogging 15 years. I started in 2006 and I keep on blogging, it is my online diary.

diamondc said...

Carol: The Sampler turned out lovely with the added fabric, it is hard to come by square frames , you are lucky to have a son who is able to purchase for you.
I love second hand stores.
I am loving your bunny in the chair, I am from the old school where I like a real book in my hands, nice reading list.
Your Patriotic display is beautiful.
That Heron is beautiful.
Have fun with your Family.


Christel said...

Carol. Je vois que vous avez passée une belle fête nationale. Votre décoration est superbe, je n'ai jamais brodé de modèle patriotique, ceux des créateurs français ne m'attirent pas. En france notre fête nationale est le 14 juillet, la semaine prochaine.. Espérons qu'il fasse beau temps, nous avons encore eu beaucoup de pluie ces derniers jours.
Je suis fan du lapin lecteur.. Il serait parfait en décoration dans ma bibliothèque. :-)
Comme vous je ne lis pas très très vite et le soir je m'endors sur le livre.. Pendant la journée ça va. Je ne peux émettre un avis sur vos lectures de 2021 je ne connais pas du tout ces titres.. Il en serait de même si je vous citais ceux que j'ai lu..
Pour les parutions des articles j'ai fait comme vous. Je me suis inscrite sur follow it, mais comme mon anglais est très mauvais je rencontre des problèmes.. Je me sers alors du traducteur google.. Je viens de leur demander de bien vouloir exporter mes abonnés, je verrais ce qu'ils me diront... Si j'arrive à comprendre correctement ! Ah comme je regrette de ne pas avoir été plus attentive à l'école, je suis certaine que mon anglais serait moins pire..
Bon voyage et passez de bons moments avec Baby B..
Amitiés de France,

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
ich liebe dein neuestes Finish. Du hast immer so tolle und geniale Ideen zur Fertigstellung. Bin jedes Mal auf neue davon sehr angetan.
Dein altes Finish ist wunderschön.
Ich wünsche dir eine schöne Zeit in San Diego und viel Spaß bei den Feierlichkeiten innerhalb der Familie.
Big Hugs, Manuela

Mary said...

I'm so glad to hear that your vertigo is better and hope you will never need the tips to deal with it again. Your Patriotic Display is stunning!! I love how each one is finished differently. Your newest, Let freedom ring is beautiful, I'm more and more drawn to Quaker style and this is a beauty!! You trained your middle son well to pick up bargain frames!! Your bunny sitting in the chair is darling next to your "old" finish!! You have a great eye for styling vignettes. Happy 44th and I hope you have a nice celebration of that milestone!!

Stoff und Nadel ... Jutta’s Blog said...

Thanks for this great post, as always "full of your favorites of all kinds", have a nice blogging break,
warm regards, Jutta

Leonore Winterer said...

While (for obvious reasons) US-patriotic designs don't touch me in the same way as they do for you, 'Let Freedom Ring' is awesome! I love the cute eagle and the flowers with just a touch of yellow in all the red, white and blue. And I have a confession to make: Even though I have no connection to them personally, there are a couple Americana designs I am really tempted to stitch just because they are so pretty!
Love to see what you've been reading too - I haven't read any of the books though (But Eleanor Oliphant is on my list).
Hope you'll have a great time with your grandson!

Barbara said...

You are an amazing woman with how you read so much and get lots of needlework done. I'm in awe of you.

And I do like your bunny reading his book!

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Such a lovely post, Carol. You are going to be very busy while on vacation with lots of celebrations. I know you will have a ball. Have a wonderful time

Sheryl said...

Wonderful post Carol, I love your gorgeous patriotic display of stitching, such a lot of pretty designs which I´m sure draw a lot of attention of visitors. I like the `Let freedom Ring´ pattern and the frame you have chosen. Hope you enjoy the family celebrations.

Faith... said...

I love your Red, White and Blue display! You have made a lot of pillows! When you were stitching a pillow a week how successful was that? Either wat I am very impressed that you even attempted it and while working! I don't think I could have done that. I LOVE that bunny too. It must be amazing to look out your window into the yard to see all kinds of different animals. I would love to live in an area where we are not bunched up with a bunch of other houses! Hope your family is having loads of fun. Hug Benjamin for me and Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!

Sandra said...

I do love your 'Summer Scene' stitching with the charming cottage and cat with birds flying in the sky and the white picket fence. I want to live there!! Cute bunny reading in his chair too!
I was interested to see your book list from 2021 too with the number of hearts you gave each book! You don't give authors, but Amazon can help out there!

Enjoy your blogging break and your grandson's first birthday!

Robin in Virginia said...

Good morning, Carol! I'm playing catch up as I was away. Totally enjoyed reading this post. Love your Quaker patriotic finish and all your precious patriotic stitches. I remember your Ornament of the Week theme as that is when I stumbled upon your blog. Have a fabulous time with your family in San Diego. Thinking of you!

Barb said...

I hope you are having a wonderful trip. I love your new patriotic design and your display was wonderful!!

Heather said...

Carol, your stitching is so beautiful! I hope that you are having a wonderful time celebrating in San Diego!
Love, Heather (sweetpickle02)

Cathy H. said...

Carol, you have such a beautiful group of patriotic pieces! I love your newest one and your creative way to frame it! You have the best ideas for finishing your pieces. I will keep this one in mind when I have a piece that doesn't quite fit the frame! Thank you for sharing your book list. I've added several titles to my "to be read" list. And lastly enjoy your time with family!

Claire said...

Such beautiful displays, Carol! Your garden looks absolutely amazing, too. I hope you have a lovely trip and I know you will enjoy visiting your special little boy. Safe travels!

Mary's Thread said...

It is so nice to hear what's going on in your neck of the woods, Carol! Your yard and pond ARE truly lovely. What a gift to have such interesting wildlife visitors and so much green to look at. All your stitching is lovely but I do like that Drawn Thread piece. She is one of my favorite designers and her designs are so classic and timeless I think. I hope you have a good trip to San Diego, our family is also headed there for a quick break from our Arizona heat at the end of the month!

MaryBeth said...

The addition of the fabric, yoyo and ricrac add so much to your cross-stitch piece. I just LOVE it!!

Jennifer said...

I am doing a little catching up on blogs today in between Olympic events, I just love watching both summer and winter but can only stitch so long before I have to give my hands a break, so it’s the perfect time to read. Love your new finish and your old one - that huge cat is more than half as tall as the house - haha, makes me chuckle. I love that your son keeps an eye out for frames for you. Hope you had a great trip and had a fun time celebrating the birthday - so glad that travel is easier for you now. I like your list - we share a few items on our lists - I was going to recommend The Exiles, but then saw it at the end of your list and I just started This Tender Land! There are so many good books and just not enough time to read and stitch and spend time with family (and work for me) - guess I could say the same about cross stitch patterns! It’s great to have hobbies that make you want more time in the day, isn’t it?

Irene said...

Anch'io compro le cornici quadrate se le trovo, ce ne sono così poche! Adoro i tuoi angoli di ricami patriottici e grazie per la lista dei libri, prenderò spunto per leggere qualcosa

Barb R. said...

I thought I would check to see if you were home from your travels to California yet and hoping to read all about all the wonderful events you would share with us. I do hope all is going really well for all of you and that you are having the very best visit and lots of fun!