Wednesday, October 20, 2021

For the first time in seven years...

I've put out most of my Halloween decorations! Last week, when I opened the dresser drawer (where I store my seasonal smalls), I saw these sweet pillows looking up at me and knew it was finally time to take a step toward healing. For you long time readers, you may recall that my father passed away on October 31, 2014--yes, my dad died on Halloween seven years ago. And although I've stitched a few orange and black pieces since then, his death on that day forever changed how I will think of Halloween. However... I know he would want me to begin enjoying all of the cute things I've made through the years again--he loved Halloween so much. So, this post is for you, dad--enjoy!!

My Pottery Barn cubby filled with much of  my Halloween stitching from the past 13 years.

Would you like some close-ups? For more detailed information on each of the Halloween finishes shown here (along with others!) you may want to click on the "Halloween" link under "Labels" in my sidebar to read the original posts about each finish. 

I also created this short video that you might enjoy, complete with not-so-spooky music. Unfortunately, the quality of it is not very good on my blog--not sure what I'm doing wrong!

As always with my Pottery Barn cubby, I leave my mom's silhouette in the center opening throughout the year. Do you think she's scared with the all Halloween things surrounding her? Not at all! My mom and dad loved Halloween and I can still picture Dad wearing a hairy gorilla mask, sitting quietly in the shadows of our front porch, not moving until an unsuspecting trick-or-treaters would climb the steps to knock on our door. He and my mom attended Halloween parties each year and would come up with the best costumes--cave man and woman, hippies, etc. I loved watching them plan and execute their costumes each October. Here they are in two of their get-ups!

Mom and Dad dressed as (not very authentic looking) "hippies" in 1967. I so wish I could read what their signs said. I do remember helping them create them as a then 12-year-old. I imagine they said things like "Peace Now," "Flower Power," etc. I was too young in the late '60s to ever be considered a hippie, but I do remember scribbling peace signs and flowers all over my school notebooks--anyone else?

Meet caveman and cavewoman also known as mom and dad! These disguises won them a "Best Costume" prize that year. I have no idea how mom attached the leafy vines to herself! Dad's "club" was simply a baseball bat with wadded up black paper stuck to it to resemble rocks :) I'm quite sure this was also from the late 1960s.

I know there are some of you who don't enjoy Halloween and won't even read or comment on today's post--and that's okay. I only enjoy the cute side of Halloween--nothing scary or gory. I mean I can't even watch a scary commercial for an upcoming movie or television show without covering my eyes and ears!  How about you--cute or scary?

I so enjoy the memories of dressing up for the big day. My "old woman" costume (complete with a white wig made of cotton balls perched on my head under an old cap) was my favorite and I dressed up like her several years. I hobbled along with a cane while wearing a long,  ragged skirt covered with patches. It's funny that today, at age 66, I wouldn't even need a costume to achieve that look! (Well, I'm not needing a cane yet and my hair isn't white due to the wonders of hair color, but you get the idea!). They say that, for many kids, Halloween is their favorite holiday. My oldest son, who is nearly 40 (gasp!), recently told me that it is still his favorite holiday. I had no idea! What is your favorite holiday? And did you have a favorite costume from back in your trick-or-treating days?

This next piece (which I finally framed after 10 years!), brings back such wonderful memories of those long ago crisp October 31st evenings  going door-to-door begging for goodies with my neighborhood friends. I lived in a small town which actually allowed trick-or-treating on two nights, and believe me, us kids took full advantage of it! With buckets filled with our "loot," my younger siblings and I would retreat into the living room, dump it all on the carpet, and begin the serious candy trading negotiations. I was the only one who liked coconut, so I was lucky enough to get all of the Mounds and Almond Joy bars!

"Trick Or Treat Lane"--finally framed!

You can read about my original finish of "Trick Or Treat Lane" by The Stitching Parlor in this post from 2011. Although I stitched this a decade ago, I still find it as charming as I did way back then. The frame was a great find for a mere 99¢ at my local Goodwill store. The rustic off-white look fits the scene perfectly. All I did was stitch some additional rows of the green grass on the bottom and sides and add a few rows of the brown floss to the tree trunk to get it to fill the frame completely. This was the first time I'd ever framed something like this and I love the effect!

I added several lines of stitches on the bottom and left side of this piece to fully fill the frame.

I want to thank you all for sharing my excitement about my grandson's move to the East Coast that I told you about in my last post. I honestly can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to leave here after breakfast and drive to their house in time for lunch! My husband and I drove down three weeks ago to help them unpack and  settle in. The settling in process has not been a smooth one and this is a cautionary tale for anyone renting or buying a place and not being able to tour it in person first. In hindsight, they realize that they should have had a trusted friend go see the house in person for a sniff test! Although their rental house was great to look at online--a nicely sized four bedroom, 2 bath home--it had one major problem. It smelled awful!!! UGH!!! The first thing they noticed when they walked through the front door was a horrible odor. Putting it down to cooking odors, we all pitched in and thoroughly scrubbed all the kitchen cupboards, appliances, vents, etc. Unfortunately, the disgusting odor persisted; I had never smelled anything like it--a combination of wet dog, smelly feet, and body odor (if you can even imagine!). It soon became apparent, it was emanating from the carpeting in the family room, up the stairs, and in the second floor hallway. Every other room in the house has hardwood flooring, thank goodness.

In trying to remedy the problem, they had the smelly carpeting professionally cleaned... it still reeked! They used an ozone machine... it still reeked! They were out of options. When they complained to the landlord, his response was that he had never smelled anything odd. Really?!?! We finally suggested that my son and daughter-in-law offer to split the cost of the carpeting with the landlord. The man and his family will be moving back in in two years so it really behooved him to have someone else pay for half the cost of the carpeting.  And, this option was MUCH cheaper than breaking the two year lease and paying an $8,000 penalty! So, on Monday, new carpeting was installed (there was no sign of mold or mildew when the old was removed, thankfully) and voilà--the odor is miraculously gone!

It has been a stressful three weeks for the little family struggling with this issue, getting used to a new nanny for my grandson (my son and daughter-in-law both work from home, but they need someone to keep an eye on him while they work), and living with the bare bones furniture that they brought with them from San Diego. Due to all of this stress, my poor daughter-in-law came down with shingles. Sigh... I sure hope things turn around for them and they can finally settle in because, on the plus side, the neighborhood is one of the nicest I've seen--big old trees, lots of people out walking or biking, strolling babies, and exercising their pets. I wish our neighborhood was more like that! I do wish them luck and I feel optimistic that they will end up deciding they made the right decision to move east. 

Believe it or not, we are leaving again for our third (and final) wedding (in three months!) of one of our nephews on Friday. This one is in Kentucky--about a 6 1/2 hour drive. I'll be so happy when this last wedding of the year is over and I can just relax at home or go visit my grandson. I'm such a homebody and I miss having an empty calendar! I think the  past year and a half has turned me into somewhat of a hermit as I truly enjoy my time at home stitching, cooking, reading, decorating, and just plain old puttering more than ever! How about you? 

Thanks so much for stopping by today--I really love knowing that some of you still read blogs and find them interesting and entertaining as many of you mentioned in your comments or emails to me after my last post. I'm not sure if I'll be back again before November, but, if not, I hope you all enjoy these final days of October. Sending hugs and positive thoughts to my stitching friends who are dealing with sickness or sadness... I think of you often; I hope you know that. Take care now, everyone. Bye for now...