Thursday, June 23, 2022

My lone June post...

Hi everyone! Gosh, it's been a while, hasn't it? No excuses, just pure procrastination when it comes to sitting down and composing a new post. So, how is everyone's summer going so far (all three days of it!)? It's not been the best start to our summer as my husband tested positive for Covid on Monday morning--ugh! Last Friday, he came home from getting his hair cut and said that his barber was coughing and sounded sick and had just flown from New Orleans. I knew in my heart it was Covid... My husband began feeling a sore throat coming on Sunday evening and sure enough, Monday brought the news we had been hoping to avoid for the past 2 1/2 years. He's had a tough time of it and doesn't hesitate to tell me that it's much worse than the flu! Terrible sore throat, fever, congestion, joint and muscle aches, and extreme tiredness.

I'm feeling a bit like a sitting duck here, just waiting to get attacked, but, so far, I'm feeling fine. We are basically living in two different sides of the house and when we are in any common areas (hallways, kitchen), we wear masks and try to not be in the same place for very long. We are also keeping the windows wide open (and believe me on the steamy 95° day we had on Wednesday, that was no easy feat!). Anyway, we are anticipating that he will be feeling better soon (and really hoping and praying that I can avoid it). 

I've been doing more patriotic stitching lately--it always seems to call my name at this time of year. Interestingly, all of the finishes I have to show you today are from Italian cross stitch designers! First up, is this darling trio from Mani di Donna called "Sounds of Freedom Pillows." I used most of the suggested overdyed threads, substituting just a couple with DMC colors. 

"Sounds of Freedom Pillows" finishes


Here is a close-up for you...

This photo shows the true color of the fabric much better.


I stitched these "over one" on 25 ct. vintage country mocha Lugana--love how tiny they came out. They will be perfect to use in my patriotic Pottery Barn cubby (which I'll show you next time--still haven't photographed it!). I finished them all the same way except I chose to use different colored stars on each--gold for "Let Freedom Ring," blue for "Stars & Stripes," and red for "Land of Liberty." The other change I made was to just stitch a simple star outline on each flag rather than using the called for French knots. Much, much easier! The backing fabric is the gold-starred burgundy fabric you see underneath.


More patriotic pillows for my Pottery Barn cubby!

My other finish is from the top right portion of the Madame Chantilly design called "Celebrate 4th of July." You can see the entire design right here. I just love each of the tiered trays she has designed and have purchased almost every one. Just look at all the charming little motifs! I would really like to stitch the entire design for each holiday and season, but have to be realistic that that probably won't be happening. So, why not stitch the sweet motifs individually?!

Hmmm... which tiered tray design should I choose next?

This eagle is so regal looking, isn't he? I used overdyed threads and added a little star charm hanging from his beak. And because I wanted an oval finish, I added the little white doo-dads (not sure what else to call them!) around the perimeter to help shape it. The fabric I chose was a new to me 40 ct. Newcastle linen called Stormy Night--I love the subtle shading on this wonderful gray color.

A patriotic finish from "Celebrate 4th of July"

The blue flannel shown in the background is from one of my husband's old shirts. I used it to back the ornament and to make the little bow. For the bow, I simply cut off a long, thin piece of the shirt, frayed the edges, and applied Dritz Fray Check to the entire thing to stiffen it up a bit and keep the fraying to a minimum. The blue cording is the same color as the blue star and I also added little gold pearl-tipped pins around the edge. I just love it!

Loved the mottled gray fabric on this one!


And look at this wonderful surprise which arrived from Instagram friend, Trinka (bluebonnettexas on Instagram). Oh, my! Two beautiful charts, some charms, patriotic colored floss, and a darling scrappy handmade star. Thank you so much, Trinka! I am working on the "All American" chart right now and will definitely pass on the kindness when I am finished with it. Honestly, what a generous, kind community we stitchers are blessed to be a part of!

Goodies from Instagram friend Trinka in Texas!

And now for something I hadn't done in nearly 50 years--I finally got up my nerve and put in a zipper! YAY! I am so pleased with the little pouch that I made for my grandson's upcoming 2nd birthday. I found a very easy tutorial on Apple Green Cottage for a simple rounded bottom zipper pouch (you can find the tutorial right here). I also used this video tutorial on YouTube which was very helpful at the end of the process. It contains some excellent tips on clipping the curves and pressing the seams before you turn the project right side out at the end. I still recall my home-economics teacher's words from 8th grade: "It's all about the pressing!" She was right--a good pressing makes such a difference to the final look of a sewing project, doesn't it?

A little dinosaur pouch for my grandson's 2nd birthday!

I don't think I had put a zipper into anything since I was in high school back in the early 1970s! I used to do a bit of sewing then, making myself a few skirts, halter tops (remember those!!!???), a couple dresses, etc. Nothing fancy, but I really didn't have a fear of putting in zippers when I was younger. I was so scared to try it again after all these years, but look...

Yep! I put in a zipper :)

And it even works!

I did it! It works smoothly and looks really nice with those cute zipper tabs on each end. As you can see, the green checked fabric in the zipper tabs is also the lining--another repurposed man's shirt to the rescue! 

I can't wait to give it to my grandson with these little toys tucked inside. And I can't wait to see what treasures of his own, he'll add! I really enjoyed stitching it and can see more of these in varying sizes in my future.

Can't wait to see what other goodies my grandson fills his little pouch with!


Giveaway winner... I had several entries for the cheery "Spring Time" chart by New York Dreamer and the winner's name pulled from the hat is...

ISABEL (in Spain)

Isabel in Spain--you are the winner!

Congratulations Isabel! Please send me your mailing address and I will get this chart in the mail to you as soon as possible! And for those of you who didn't win--check back again. I often have chart giveways in this space.

Thankfully, I have a lovely yard to enjoy as my husband and I continue to quarantine. Here are just some of the things I spotted on my recent nightly strolls...

I personally find moths kind of creepy, and this was, by far, the biggest moth I've ever come across. He was just laying on one of the stepping stones in our fenced-in garden. Notice how well he blends in with the stone? This is a Carolina Sphinx Moth-- fascinating, but I hope he doesn't cross my path again!

And for the first time, we are growing blueberries! My husband has put netting over them in hopes of keeping the birds away--I'll keep you posted.

The hydrangeas are beginning to pop out--oh, how I love them!

Lots and lots of green in my husband's vegetable and flower garden right now. The tomatoes are getting huge and we have milkweed (in the lower left corner) for the first time in hopes of attracting those lovely orange and black monarch butterflies.


And finally, I'll leave you with the most beautiful sight (of this month, anyway)! Have you ever heard of "mammatus clouds?" I hadn't either, but we had them in the skies over southwestern Pennsylvania last Thursday evening. The skies were absolutely magical as these puffy white clouds appeared (after a threatening storm passed) right at sunset. Oh, my--the colors! My middle son said the photos look like something out of a video game... I honestly gasped in awe as I admired the pouch-like clouds that looked like they were falling from the sky. It was something I had never seen in all of my 67 years and I love the fact that nature still manages to surprise and delight me with its beauty!

A most magical sight!

No filters or color changes; just nature's beauty as its finest!

Mammatus clouds in our backyard: June 16, 2022

I hope your day is filled with things that make you gasp in wonder! Take the time to look around you--they are there simply waiting to be discovered... Thank you all for visiting today! I hope you enjoy the rest of June--please stay safe and healthy. Bye for now...