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, 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...