Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Three angels and a tiny devil!

Happy end of April... Hope you've all had a great month! It's been a busy one here with a visit from my grandson and his family last week, doctor visits, and the usual spring cleaning that seems to call to me at this time of year. I've managed to get a bit of stitching done, but have had some eye troubles the past couple weeks and that has limited the hours normally spent with my needle and thread. Hopefully, things are improving--if not, it's back to the eye doctor... Anyway, I've been avoiding too much time on the computer in an effort to rest my eyes so I haven't been able to comment on many blogs or answer many emails lately. Hope to catch up with each of you very soon!

I did manage to stitch two very sweet angel ornaments--one for April and one for May. Both of these were from the Birds of a Feather "Christmas Angel Ornaments" chart that was lent to me by a very generous stitcher in California. I had been wanting to stitch these for a long, long time and was thrilled when I was offered this rare chart. For obvious reasons, I chose to stitch the Angel of Peace first. Isn't she simply lovely? I used most of the suggested colors, but did change the color of her skin, hair, and cheeks. I also chose not to stitch the word "Peace" using the suggested gold metallic thread that I used in her halo and wing. (The less I have to stitch with that stuff, the better!). Because I knew I wanted to finish this as an oval ornament, I tightened the spaces between the letters. The original design had them spread out to extend from the ends of her feet to the olive branch that the bird is carrying. I was thrilled to find the cute polka dot ribbon in the same blue/green shade in my very own stash!

Birds of a Feather "Angel of Peace"


May's ornament (yes, I'm ahead by a couple of days!) is the Angel of Hope. For her, I changed the color of the skin, cheeks, and hair, but also changed the blue/gray in her dress dress to Gentle Arts "Old Blue Paint." That same color was also used to stitch the word "Hope." It's hard to tell from the photo, but the star she is holding is also done in gold metallic thread along with her halo and portions of her wing. I just love those sweet little feet dangling from her dress, don't you?

Birds of a Feather "Angel of Hope"

Here they are side by side--I smile each time I look at them. With each and every stitch, I thought of the people in Ukraine. It's hard to believe this horrible war has been going on for over two months now. I just can't imagine all that those brave people are enduring day in and day out. My heart is with them all...

Hope and peace--what we all want to see in this world

There are two more angels from this BOAF chart remain that remain to be stitched. I wasn't going to stitch them, but these first two turned out so darling, that I can't resist. So, expect to see the Angel of Love and the Angel of Charity popping up in the future. And again, I want to extend my sincere thanks to the wonderful stitcher who lent me her chart!

I received an very charming Easter card from my friend Gabi in Germany, too! Isn't this adorable? The little white rabbit looks so dapper with his red bandana--and I love the purple of the flowers. They remind me of violets. Thank you so much, Gabi--I love it!

Sweet Easter card from Gabi in Germany!

Giveaway winner... Thank you to all who entered the giveaway last time! I really enjoyed reading your answers as to what your grandchildren call you or what you called your own grandparents. There were some fun and unique nicknames, for sure! I had about ten entries and the winner's name pulled from the hat for the Lizzie Kate Mothers chart is...

DONNA (dputnam28)

Donna, you are the winner! Please contact me with your mailing address and I'll get this out to you as soon as possible.

I'll be having more giveaways in the future, so please visit often!

Now on to the "devil" part of my post... Those of you who follow me on Instagram (and if you'd like to follow me there, you can do so right here), have already seen my "public service announcement." But, I honestly think this is something everyone should be aware of--whether you are a stitcher or not. So begins my cautionary tale...

My sunroom is normally such a bright and cheerful spot--I do all of my finishing there, set up my Christmas tree at the far end each December, and read, cross stitch, and listen to audiobooks on the comfy wicker furniture. I also do my ironing in there and that is what I was doing when I happened to glance over at my very small (but, growing!) sampler wall. My eyes widened in horror! What on earth was that yellow "blob" in the lower left corner of my "A Walk in the Woods" sampler?

At first glance, this just looks like a lovely trio, doesn't it?


As I cautiously moved in for a closer look, I realized that it was a small pile of sawdust! What on earth?!?!

A pile of sawdust in the lower left corner!

Not only had the sawdust accumulated on this frame, but it has also fallen onto the frame below!

And more sawdust on the frame below...

It had even sprinkled onto the table and floor below the frames!

Even more sawdust on the table and floor underneath!

It was at this point that I began to feel physically sick to my stomach realizing that SOMETHING WAS LIVING  inside the frame! Was it termites, carpenter ants, a nest of stinging wasps? I slowly stepped away, holding my breath and hoping that nothing would emerge as I was in the house alone. I'm not the bravest person when it comes to bugs of any kind (just ask my husband who can attest to my screams each time I encounter a wasp or stink bug lurking in a corner!).  As soon as my husband arrived home, he was greeted with "Honey, we've got a problem"--words all men love to hear, I'm sure! As I showed him the sawdust, he thought it might be termites and carefully removed the frame from the wall and took it outside. In the bright, outdoor light, we saw 10 or 12 teeny tiny holes that had been bored into the frame on both the left side and front.

Can you spot the pinprick holes?

And there were even more on the side of the frame!

I couldn't quite believe it was termites so, putting my retired librarian skills to work, I researched "bugs and wooden picture frames" online and quickly came up with a diagnosis. According to this very helpful article, my frame was infested with powder post beetles. EWWWW... I immediately took the above photos and sent them to my framer who confirmed my suspicions. She apologized profusely and said this was the first case she had seen in one of her frames in over three years.  She immediately offered to reframe the piece and assured me that the beetles aren't interested in eating fabric or paper--their meal of choice is wood. She also told me they would be destroying their entire inventory of this particular moulding and notifying the manufacturer to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Excellent, excellent customer service, I must say!

I  then carefully placed the infested frame in a plastic bag to isolate it as I prepared to send it back to the framer. When I came downstairs the following morning, one of the little devils had bored out of the wood. EEK!!! So very tiny (under 1/4 inch), but so very destructive. More sawdust kept appearing so I know more of the larvae were hatching, too.  Ironically, my sister in Florida had this exact experience with a newly purchased table the very same week. Apparently, the powder post beetles lay their eggs in the crevices of wood where the larvae don't hatch for months or even years. As the weather warms up, April to June is a common time for them to make their appearance. I had this framed back in July of 2021--amazing that the beetles "lie in wait" that long. Ugh!

A powder post beetle had hatched! Eeeeek!

So, check your frames and anything made of wood in your home! If you have a pile of sawdust nearby--chances are it is that little guy's cousins who are hatching and boring through the wood. What an experience--I mean, who knew? Anyway, my framed sampler is "in the shop" for an extreme makeover... Sure hope not too many larvae are found by the poor framer when she dismantles it. 

How are you feeling after that little tale? Honestly, my stomach still gets queasy just writing this all down once again. I had trouble sleeping until the frame was out of the house. Hopefully, that is the end of my experiences with the powder post beetle!

You sharp-eyed readers will wonder about my blog title as it mentions three angels, doesn't it? Well, I'll leave you with something much nicer than the photo of that nasty beetle. How about this little angel? My 21-month-old grandson was here for a visit last week. Oh, what a joy! He's talking up a storm and repeating each and every word and expression. Each time you hand him something, he sweetly says "Tank you!" and when he or someone else fixes something, he exclaims, "Eg-go go!" (his version of "There you go!"). We had such fun as we played and played while his mom and dad worked. Here he is helping us rearrange the little bunny, squirrel, and turtle statues that I have in our patio garden. Such a precious boy...

My little gardener, Mister B, at work!

Mother's Day is very early here in the U.S. this year and I don't think I'll post again before then so I want to wish all of you mothers a lovely, lovely Sunday on May 8th. I'm planning on being with all three of my sons in Washington, DC that weekend if all goes as planned! This will be the first Mother's Day we've all been together in many years. I sure am missing my own mother, but being with my sons, daughter-in-law, and grandson will help ease that pain. Thank you all for visiting me today--and a special thank you to those who take the time to leave a comment or send an email. I never know if anyone is actually reading my blog unless I hear from you. I do appreciate each and every comment--thank you so much. See you in the merry, merry month of May! Bye for now...  

Hoping for peace very soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Pink bunnies and Florida sunsets

Well, hello there! We made it to April! Are things greening up in your part of the world? This morning as I looked out from my upstairs window, I suddenly noticed the little green buds sprouting on trees and bushes throughout the woods beyond our pond. It's as if they seemingly appeared overnight! Such a welcome sight mixed in with hints of the blooming yellow forsythia. Now, if only the weather would cooperate and we'd get some warm, sunny Spring days. I shouldn't really whine, though, as I was lucky enough to spend the beginning of April in beautiful sun-drenched southern Florida. 

I've done some decorating for Easter and it's amazing how a little pink can brighten up the house. Well, in this case, there is a lot of pink (for me, anyway; I'm a well-known lover of blue!). Over the years I've stitched many, many bunnies--just love them! I have so many now, that I tend to group them by color when I decorate. Today, I'll share with you my pink-hued Easter stitching which I included in a sweet vignette on the side table in my kitchen. 

Lots of "hop-hops" as my grandson calls bunnies!

Would you like a closer look? I'll try to identify each piece for you, too. You can click on the name of each finish to be taken to the corresponding blog post for more information.

In this photo is the Prairie Schooler bunny (from Prairie Year-Rounds book no. 52) finished as a pouch hanging on my sweet rabbit chair, Springtime Sampler from the January/February 1986 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine, and "The Hearts Chase" by Patrick's Woods.

From left to right are La D Da's "Briar Rabbit," Just Nan's "Bunny Hop" found in the HummingBead Heaven booklet, and a Prairie Schooler bunny finish from the PS mini-card set F.

The little rabbit couple is a freebie from Snowflower Diaries called "Spring Bunny Love." In back is another Prairie Schooler Rabbit from Book No. 13 called "A Prairie Year" and the piece on black is a freebie from Kissy Cross.

So, which one is your favorite? I have to admit, I'm partial to the little Prairie Schooler bunny stitched on black that I made into the tiny pouch. I've hung it from the chippy, white bunny chair that I found in Florida a few years ago for $5.00. That's definitely one of my best finds ever! I also love the dear bunny couple holding paws in the front. 

I don't have any new stitching to share today as I really haven't stitched much this month. I do have a charming Easter card that arrived for me from my sweet friend, June in England, though. Just look at that little bunny with the butterfly perched on the tip of his nose--isn't it adorable? Thank you so much, June--I love him!

Such a sweet Easter card from dear June!


Giveaway winner... I loved reading your answers to my last "Getting to Know You" question asking if you are a picky eater. I'm so relieved to know that I'm not the only adult who doesn't care for green vegetables! Thank you so much to all who responded to the question and entered the giveaway. I had about ten entries for the Little House Needleworks "Spot of Coffee" chart and the winning name pulled from the hat is...

Barbara From Kansas

Barbara From Kansas--you are the winner! Please email me with your address and I will get this in the mail to you as soon as possible! Congratulations!

How about a new giveaway? Since Mother's Day is arriving here in the U.S. on May 8th, I thought this cute Lizzie Kate chart shown below would be timely.  (This was also a gift from the generous Janet in Texas who told me I could use it as a giveaway. Thank you again, Janet!). This will be my second Mother's Day without my mom and it's still so very hard, especially since her birthday often fell around that day.  Perhaps one of you might like to stitch this cutie up for your own Mother or a new mother or mother-to-be? If you would like to be included in the drawing for the chart, please...

1) Specifically mention that you would like to win the chart in your comment 

2) Be a follower in my blog's sidebar (to the right)

3) Make sure to leave your email address in your comment if I don't already have it--(this is very important as I have no way of getting in touch with the winner if you don't)

4) Answer the "Getting to Know You" question below.

If you would like to win this chart, please follow the four guidelines above.


Getting to Know You... For my new readers, I like to include this little section to help me get to know you and to help other stitchers get to know you, as well. I've had a couple people ask what my little grandson calls me so I thought I'd incorporate that into today's question which is: "What do your grandchildren call you?" Now, I realize not all of you are grandparents, so in that case, "What did you call your grandparents?" 

My answer: As a new grandmother, I just assumed my grandson would call me "Gramma"  or "Grandma" like I had called my own grandmothers, but he had other ideas!  For a long time he didn't call me anything. In January, he began calling my husband, "Pompaw" which we find hilarious. We have no idea how he came up with it. And, it's stuck! I have to admit, I felt a bit sad that he hadn't yet picked a special name for me... But, just last month he started calling me "Nonna!" Okay... Nonna is a very common name for grandmother in Italian families, but I don't have an ounce of Italian blood (that I know of). My daughter-in-law is Mexican-American and she had always referred to me as "Abuelita" when talking to my grandson about me. Well, Mister B had his own ideas of what I should be called so "Nonna" it is! It's just the best feeling to be greeted with a big smile and hear "Nonna!" each night when he sees me appear on FaceTime! Now, it's your turn to answer the "Getting to Know You" question...

Florida visit... As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my husband and I spent the first nine days of April in what I consider to be one of the prettiest parts of Florida: Naples. Have any of you been? My in-laws own a home there, but now that my father-in-law is gone and my mother-in-law is up North in a nursing home, we are renting it out to help pay for the taxes and insurance. So, we went down to check on it and do some improvements/housekeeping after the tenants left at the end of March. We actually worked most of the time sprucing up the yard and patio area, shopping for items, and doing a lot of organizing and a bit of painting. But, there were free moments that we spent strolling the beach and taking long walks in the evenings after the heat of the day had passed. Following are some of the more memorable photos that I took from our visit this year.

Looking down the beach to the Naples Pier

A lone cormorant stands guard

Can you spot the airplane in this beautiful Naples sky?

A magical sky lit up the Naples City Dock

Another peaceful evening in Naples

I so enjoyed taking long walks in the evenings and admiring all of the colorful flowers and birds. The orchid is growing in a tree right outside of my in-laws' back door!

Returning home on Saturday to 37° and rain was a shock to my system. I just couldn't warm up! But, hopefully, within a week or two we'll be having consistently warmer weather. 

Are you having a big family dinner for Easter? Only our middle son and his girlfriend will be here on Sunday with us. My youngest son and his girlfriend are vacationing in Tuscany (just a bit envious here!!), and my oldest son and family will be coming the following week for a few days. So, things will be pretty quiet here. I hope each of you who celebrates Easter has a wonderful day with your family and friends.

Thank you so much for visiting me today and taking the time to comment and say "hello!" I hope to be back with some actual stitching finishes for you by the end of the month. Do take care, everyone. Bye for now... 

Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend!