Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Prairie and patriotic stitching at the end of May

Hello my stitching friends! I'm here with one final post for May... It's been a while since I checked in, hasn't it? So much has happened in the world since my last post on May 5th--it's been a month of highs and lows for all of us, I'm sure. I have been stitching because that is the one thing that always helps soothe my anxiety. Honestly, where would we be without our stitching? 

I posted this larger finish on Instagram a couple weeks ago, so many of you have already seen it. Oh, how I love the blue and brown color combination in this "Prairie House Sampler!" If I had to give up all other stitching and just concentrate on one designer's charts, I would choose "With Thy Needle and Thread" by Brenda Gervais. Sometimes, I question the colors at first glance, but she has a knack for putting together the prettiest color combinations, don't you think? The end result is always perfection!

"Prairie House Sampler" finish

I stitched this piece on 40 ct. flax Newcastle with most of the suggested threads. The main change I made was to add a bit of the brown zig-zag border pattern in the lower left corner. It was bare and I just thought that corner needed a little something.

I added a bit of additional border to the lower left corner.

Aren't the motifs sweet? I especially love the basket of beautiful, blue  berries! And, of course, the little birds.

Such soft shades of blue--love them all!

And that cabin! Can't you just picture little Laura Ingalls and her sisters running down the hill through the wheat fields in the opening scenes of "Little House on the Prairie?" That theme song played over and over in my head as I stitched this!

I added my initials and the date in the softest blue/gray color.

I'll be framing this one to hang in my mostly blue and beige family room. I do hope to stitch more blue and brown toned samplers in the future. How about you--do you have a favorite color(s) to stitch with?

I spent some time this weekend putting out a few pieces of my patriotic stitching to display for the next couple of months. I like to have it out from Memorial Day through the end of July when the bees and sunflowers are pulled out. I discovered that my Pottery Barn cubby needed a few more smalls to fill the spaces, so that's what I'm currently working on and will share with you next time. For now, though, I thought you might enjoy the red, white and blue displays in the corner cupboard in my kitchen. 

My patriotic corner cupboard


These stitched pieces are too large to fit in my Pottery Barn cubby so they'll live here for a couple months! Would you like a closer look at each shelf? I've linked each cross stitch finish for you so you can read about the materials I used and see more information on the finish itself in my older blog posts. Just click on the name of the patriotic piece for more information.

On the top shelf is Lizzie Kate's "Pop!" The middle shelf has "Americana" by Dames of the Needle finished as a round box and "Let Freedom Ring" by From the Heart Needleart in the white frame.

On the bottom left is "Olde Glory" by Heart in Hand, "Penny America" by Tree of Life Samplings, and Lizzie Kate's "July Flip-It Stamp"


Our May was filled with rainy, gray days, but the rain made for the lushest green plants and lawn I've ever seen!

So far, the deer have left the hosta alone--I've never seen it this thick and healthy!

Now that the sun has finally appeared, spots of vibrant color are appearing in our gardens as well!

The rhododendron, columbine, coral bells, salvia, and white mandevilla (which was a Mother's Day gift from my middle son) are all blooming right now.


Our feathered friends have been visiting, too...

A trio of cardinal eggs were carefully tended by mama cardinal. Sadly, a raccoon (or a larger bird) got to the nest and destroyed the eggs right before they were due to hatch. I was so sad for the cardinal parents.

A rare sight! A Giant Pileated Woodpecker dwarfs the suet feeder. He was probably at least 16 inches long--just look at those huge talons of his!

Some unwanted visitors! Although pretty, these Canada Geese leave the yard so messy you can hardly walk on the grass without stepping on their little "gifts!" My husband has to chase them off each year (madly waving his hockey stick in the air) until they fly off for a more remote location! The last thing we want is them nesting in our yard.

We also had some May celebrations...

Mother's Day was very special for me this year as all three of my sons were there with me at my oldest son's home in Maryland! The guys made a beautiful brunch for us and my grandson entertained us with his antics. Can you believe he'll be two years old in just five weeks?!

We celebrated my Mother-in-law's birthday in mid-May--she turned 94!! Amazing! I honestly think she's doing better this year than she was at her birthday in 2021. Fifteen of us gathered for lunch in her nursing home and she really enjoyed her special day!

Memorial Day weekend was very quiet here--my middle son and his girlfriend came over for a simple cookout. I did make a tasty new dessert called Mixed Berry Mini Trifles. You can find the recipe on Hello Little Home right here. The recipe called for a purchased pound cake, but since my middle son has a soy allergy, I have to bake almost all cakes, breads, etc. from scratch as most store-bought ones contain soy lecithin. So, I turned to a recipe (to replace the poundcake) that I'd made before and just halved it: David's Yellow Cake. We all agreed it was really yummy--and even a bit healthy with the berries!

Mixed Berry Mini Trifles


Giveaway... So, that wraps up my month of May! How was your month? Any exciting events or happenings in your world? I do have a new giveaway for you today given to me by Janet in Texas (thank you again, Janet!). Would anyone be interested in winning this sweet chart from New York Dreamer called "Spring Time?"  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'd 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.  Since I mentioned my son's soy allergy above, today's question is: "Do you have any allergies?" My answer: I am very allergic to wool--can't have it anywhere near me or I break out in a rash. As for food allergies,  although I've never been diagnosed with a shellfish allergy, I'm quite sure I have one. I've always avoided shellfish just because I'm a fussy eater, but I think it is more than that. I unknowingly had shrimp in an appetizer at a restaurant (it was ordered before I arrived so I had no idea it contained shrimp). Within a short time I was so sick I ended up spending a long, long time in the bathroom. And then, the same thing happened with a crabmeat appetizer at a family get-together. I knew it had crabmeat, but thought it wouldn't affect me. Boy, was I wrong! Other than that, I seem to be fine with just about anything (but, I still won't eat my green vegetables :). But, as far as seasonal allergies go--I am one of the lucky ones! No hay fever, pollen problems, etc. I know many of you suffer from those. So now, it's your turn--do you have any allergies?

So, June begins in less than an hour here on the east coast of the U.S! How can that be? It is finally warming up here and I'm loving it... just wish the humidity would stay away. I hope each of you has a wonderful month ahead with all the fun, time with friends and family, and fabulous foods that summer has to offer. Thank you so very much for visiting me today--and a special thank you to those of you who take the time to leave a comment. I so appreciate each and every one! Take care now, my friends. Bye for now...

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Blue, blue, my heart loves blue!

Surprise! I'm back again after just one week... I am here today with a very special post--all about my favorite color and a truly lovely collection of threads. Those of you who are long-time readers know I love blue of any shade: aquamarine, turquoise, royal, navy, cornflower, robin's egg, periwinkle. You name a blue hue and the mere thought of it brings a smile. So when my Instagram friend (and quilt designer extraordinaire!), Wendy Sheppard, asked me if I would like to stitch a project with her wonderful Aurifil Indigo Collection, I couldn't stop with just one project--I made three! And guess what?! You have your chance to win your very own Indigo collection on the Aurifil blog. Simply click on this link and go to auribuzz.com to read my interview and enter this special giveaway. To read my interview, just scroll down until you come to the giant (yikes!!) photo of my Christmas tree and me :)

A trio of winter-themed finishes using Aurifil's "Indigo by Wendy Sheppard" collection

Oh, how I loved this floss from Aurifil! This was the first time I had used it and I truly adored everything about it--the wonderful coverage, the way it smoothly glides through the linen, the large amount you get on each of those long, wooden spools. Not to mention the luscious colors! Wendy's Indigo collection is truly stunning. 

Isn't the outside of the box gorgeous?

Inside, you'll find these colors included:
50wt: 4140, 2815, 5008, 2805, 2310
Aurifloss: 4644, 4140, 2815, 5008, 2805

So, what did I choose to stitch with this glorious blue Aurifloss? Well, first up is the "January Quaker" design by "From the Heart Needleart." This incorporates three colors from the Indigo Collection: 4644 for the darker blue, 5008 for the medium, and 2805 for the light blue. I love how it turned out on the 40 ct. white Newcastle linen that I chose. It just looks like a cold, frosty January morning, doesn't it? The simple 5" X 7" chippy, blue frame was one I had purchased at Marshall's last year and it was a perfect fit.

"January Quaker"


Of course I just had to stitch an ornament (or two!) with those pretty blues so I chose a design by Renato Parolin (a free chart on the Ric-amiamo Facebook page in the files section). This lovely design called "Inverno" is one I had stitched before for a gift for a stitching friend. This one will be just for me, though, and I'll count it as my June ornament. Once again, I used 40 ct. white Newcastle linen and chose Aurifloss in 5008. I also added a few Swarovski crystals to the snowflakes and tree top to add to the frosty look. The cording is made of the same thread and I finished it off with a gauzy double blue/gray bow and a silver snowflake charm.

"Inverno" by Renato Parolin

My third finish is a sweet  snowflake design from the book "A Rainbow of Stitches" by Agnès Delage-Calvet. Aurifloss 4140 was used on 40 ct. white Newcastle. Once again, I used the same thread to make the cording leaving a long tail at the bottom. The printed snowflake ribbon was a perfect match for the thread so I made a little bow of it and hung a snowflake charm underneath. This will, most likely, be a gift for a stitching friend at Christmas time.

A simple snowflake design by Agnès Delage-Calvet

I first bonded with Wendy when I found out she had a passion for blue and white like I do. I made a comment on one of her Instagram photos when I saw she had a couple of Dedham bunnies like those I collect. She doesn't actually collect the bunnies like I do, but she does have a wonderful collection of blue and white English Transferware. I thought you might like to see my Pottery Barn cubby this month--filled with my sweet blue and white Dedham bunny collection.


As I mentioned in the article on the Auribuzz blog, I also have a small collection of Delft pottery from The Netherlands passed on to me by my dear mother. She and my dad brought these home from a European holiday in the late 1960s.

Three treasures from my mom--she loved blue and white as much as I did!

This Delft candlestick was a gift from my mother-in-law. The pineapple was my mom's, and the cross-stitch piece is an older one by Marjolein Bastin that I stitched back in 2004. This little vignette sits on a round table in my living room (which, of course, has blue painted walls!).

My kitchen is mostly white with lots of blue accents including this old quilt found in my mother-in-law's linen closet. I don't know the history of it, but it is tattered and well-loved and made a perfect table covering in my kitchen this winter. 

Love the cozy feeling this blue and white quilt added to my kitchen table this past winter!


So, who is with me? I know there are other blue and white lovers out there and I hope you enjoyed my post today! I also hope you'll visit the Aurifil blog to read my interview and see a few more photos. You can do so by clicking right here. And while you're there, don't forget to enter to win the beautiful 10 spool Indigo collection by Wendy. I know you'll love Aurifloss as much as I do--why not give it a try? Thank you so much, Wendy, for asking me to join the very talented group of quilters and stitchers for your "Shades of Blue" thread hop--it was an honor. Bye for now...