I'm hoping you are all feeling as happy as I am on this, the final day of September?! It's been a great month and an especially wonderful last week for me, so read on for the very best surprise of all... First of all, let me share my latest finish with you. I worked on this piece of summery sunshine on and off over the past few months and am proud to show you my completed "There Is Beauty In Simplicity" today. (It was a cloudy day when I took the photos so they don't accurately show how pretty this piece really is). The goldfinch is so beautiful, isn't he? And I think the choice of daisies depicts simplicity at its finest!
|"There Is Beauty In Simplicity"|
Some of you may recall my post about finding the goldfinch feather (pictured above) soon after my mother died in July of 2020. In that post, I wrote about seeing an abundance of goldfinches, receiving a card from a friend with a goldfinch on it, and then finding a goldfinch feather right outside my kitchen window. After doing some research, I learned that different colors of feathers have specific meanings and that a yellow feather represents joy and happiness. It also serves as a reminder to slow down, enjoy life, and be more mindful of the present. I've kept the yellow and black goldfinch feather in my Pottery Barn cubby ever since I found it and truly believe it was a message from my dear mother. If you'd like to read the entire post on the feather you can find it right here.
|The colors in this piece are so cheerful, aren't they?|
Now you know why this finish is so special to me. This is the fourth of the Cottage Garden Samplings "Songbird's Garden Series" that I've completed. Would you like to see all four? I'm stitching each of them on 40 ct. pearl gray Newcastle with the suggested threads. I think my favorite parts of these designs, besides the stunning birds, are the little houses--aren't they charming? I especially love the newest one as the wee golden brown house looks like it is sprouting right out of the daisy!
|Which one is your favorite?|
And, I had another start which I'm absolutely loving: Prairie Schooler's "Christmas Village" (book number 79). I just don't understand why I put off stitching it for so long?! Honestly, I could have had this stitched and on display at Christmas (or even all winter!) for many, many years. I don't think I'll have it finished by this Christmas, but I truly am loving every stitch. I'm using 40 ct. antique white Newcastle with the suggested DMC threads. I "only" have 1 church, 1 snowman, 2 sleighs, 3 deer, 6 geese, 6 houses, and 54 trees left to stitch. I'm trying to do a few trees for every house so I'm not left with them all at the end. For me Prairie Schooler designs are my "comfort stitching." What is yours?
|I love all the details in this sweet village!|
On Monday, I received a lovely surprise from one of my Instagram friends, Cindy C. from Virginia (she is cindycstitches on IG). She sent me this darling bee pillow to add to my bee display next summer. Isn't it cute? So beautifully stitched and finished, too. Cindy, I love it and will think of you each time I put it out--thank you so much, my friend. You are always so kind and thoughtful--and I truly appreciate our friendship!
|Thank you so much, Cindy--what a great addition to my bee display!|
So, what else have I been up to since my last post three weeks ago? Well, I became a great-aunt to a sweet baby girl who was born to my nephew and his wife just over a week ago. This was the first girl baby born on my side in this generation--how my mother would have loved having her first great-granddaughter. I also went to Connecticut for another nephew's wedding (the second of three nephews who are marrying within three months of each other!). It was a long, long drive as we dealt with the horrific traffic around New York City (I can't imagine living in that busy area), but we made it and were rewarded with a beautiful Airbnb which was our home for three nights. It was right on Long Island Sound and this was the view that we woke up to each morning--that beautiful blue water glistening in the sunlight. So relaxing and peaceful!
|The view from our bed at the Airbnb in Connecticut|
In addition to the wedding (which was so much fun as we hadn't seen some of our relatives in over two years!), we went for a relaxing beach walk along Long Island Sound. The beach there is filled with shells and large rocks although there was a sandy beach further down from the house we were renting. The weather couldn't have been nicer--low 70s, clear blue skies, and sunshine. Here are some of the photos I took last Saturday morning before the wedding.
|Scenes from our beach walk with views of Long Island Sound|
And because we were so very close to Yale University (the third oldest university in the United States), we spent a couple hours walking around the campus (and now I can truthfully say, "I went to Yale!"). Since it covers 260 acres, we only saw a tiny portion, but made a point to track down the oldest existing building on campus. That was Connecticut Hall, built in 1750 which housed such notable Americans as Eli Whitney (the inventor of the cotton gin), Noah Webster (the author of the first American dictionary), and Nathan Hale (the American Revolutionary War patriot who purportedly stated, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country" as his last words before he was hung by the British in 1776). Connecticut Hall is pictured in the lower right below. It is now used to house Yale's Department of Philosophy.
|Scenes from Yale University include (clockwise from upper left): The quad at the Old Campus, Battell Chapel, Connecticut Hall, and Farnum Hall|
Fall is very slowly creeping into western Pennsylvania and the leaves are a bit late turning color this year. The temperature at night has begun dipping into the 40s this week, though, so that should surely hasten the bright reds, golds, and oranges that we all look forward to here in the northeast at this time of year. My husband and I took a walk around a local lake last week hoping to see some color in the trees, but very little was to be found. It was still a lovely day, though, and I took a few photos to share in the collage below.
|Hints of fall are beginning to appear|
With the cooler days, fall baking is on my mind and I made a cake that had both my husband and I saying "Yummmmm!" as we took our first bite. Now, it sounds like a strange combination, but, trust me--this recipe is a keeper. You must use very ripe bananas for it, though--very important! It is so moist and tasty and, although I don't even drink coffee, the combination of the banana cake and coffee flavored frosting was out of this world! Give it a try and let me know how you like it? You can find the recipe for "Potluck Banana Cake" right here. Does your family have any tried and true fall recipes that you're planning on making soon?
|Banana cake with coffee frosting anyone? |
And, I've saved my most happy news for last... We will no longer be making that exhausting cross-country trip to San Diego, California to see my grandson and his mom and dad, because, guess what?!?!
They have moved to the east coast!
We've known about their plans for a while, but I didn't tell many people because I was so worried that something might go wrong. However, as of Sunday, the little family is living in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC.--just a four hour drive from us and only 30 minutes from my youngest son who also lives down that way! We couldn't be happier for them and, although it will take some adjustment on their part to having four distinct seasons and dealing with snow, ice, and cold weather, I truly think this will be wonderful move. My daughter-in-law has taken a new job at the National Institutes of Health and since my son has always worked from home, he can follow her wherever her career takes her. This new job offers her more normal work hours, less stress, and a great bunch of co-workers. She's been working remotely for the past six weeks and I can already see a big drop in her stress level.
|My sweet grandson after landing in Maryland enroute to his new home! I think he's excited about being closer to Gramma and Grampa (but it could just be that big smile is a reaction to his tasty snack :) |
So you can plan on reading about lots of road trips to and from Washington DC--in fact our first one is coming up tomorrow. We plan on helping them unpack, organize, and clean their new home (they are renting for now until they see what area they'd like to buy in) and, of course, spending lots of time with "Baby B" who is thoroughly enjoying the extra space in his new home already. No more apartment living for him! To say we are thrilled doesn't begin to express our excitement. I know for many of you being four hours apart doesn't sound that close, but after living on opposite sides of the country for the past five years, it will seem like they're living next door! I wish them all the best in this new chapter of their lives...
Well, time to bake some goodies to take to my son's family, pack my suitcase (again!) and do a bit of cleaning before we leave tomorrow so I'll sign off. Thank you all for visiting me today and a special thank you to those of you who leave such nice comments. I love reading each and every one and appreciate the time it takes you to write them. I'm still hanging in there with my blog for now, but thoughts of when to stop writing it are increasingly on my mind, so we'll see. Take care, my friends. Bye for now...