Sunday, July 17, 2022

All Creatures Great and Small

We've passed the half-way point of July! Can you believe it? Our summer has been quite nice here in southwestern Pennsylvania--pleasant temperatures (a bit too cool in the mornings for me!) and low humidity. But, that will change this week with some impending storms and very high temperatures on the way.  My husband and I have a nice little anniversary trip coming up which involves hiking so I hope it's not too hot! Yes, on Saturday, July 23rd, we will be celebrating 45 years of marriage.  I shake my head in wonder at how quickly those years have flown by. We met at just 19 years of age--as sophomores in college at a fraternity party. And here we are now, at 67 having raised a beautiful family and having made lots of memories--many, many happy times and a few sad, of course. It's been a wonderful journey and I can't imagine making it with any other man by my side...

Gosh... I got a bit teary-eyed writing that! Better switch over to stitching talk so I can even see the keyboard through all the tears... I have a big, beautiful finish to share with you today and it is all because of the generosity of a fellow stitcher on Instagram. You see this design, "Spring Moon" by Plum Street Samplers is an exclusive to Fox and Rabbit in Australia. The demand for the chart was so great that they are now sold out. I'm not sure if it will be reprinted, but when I admired Sherri's finish on Instagram, she immediately offered me the chart and I have continued the kindness by passing it along to another Instagram friend.  

"Spring Moon" finish by Plum Street Samplers

I'm sure you know what first captured my eye in this design, don't you? Yep... those luscious colors! Oh, how beautiful those blues are! And who doesn't love a giant, leaping rabbit? Add in some buzzing bees, a beautiful border, and a beehive almost as tall as the house and you have one charming design!

I think I need to live in a blue and white checkerboard house!


I stitched this one on 40 ct. vintage country mocha Newcastle linen with most of the suggested colors. I did change the rabbit to Gentle Arts "Maple Syrup," though, as the suggested color was just too dark for me. I also made the rabbit's nose smaller and changed up his eye area a bit. And for the reddish brown of the basket, I used Weeks Dye Works "Brick" as I didn't have the suggested color in my stash. I also used Smyrna stitches instead of cross stitches wherever you see the white dots (just to help them show up better on my fabric).

By the light of the silvery moon...

Although the finished size is not huge (it ended up being 7 inches wide by 8 1/4 high on 40 ct. linen), this took much longer to stitch than I expected. There is a lot of dense, solid stitching in that house, the basket and the gigantic beehive. I am so pleased with my finish, though, and will definitely be getting this one professionally framed!

Now, I've moved on to some gift stitching which I really need to finish up and get mailed off! Hopefully, I will have those finishes to share with you next time along with my Christmas ornament for July.

There were many, many entries for the All American chart that I offered in my last post. I put all of the names into a bowl and the winning name picked is...

Shelley Bermingham

Shelley B.--you are the winner of this patriotic chart!

Congratulations to Shelley! Please send me your mailing address and I will get this mailed to you as soon as possible. And for those of you who didn't win... check this space in my next post for another giveaway! 

July is always our busiest family celebration month and this year was no exception. My sweet grandson turned two on July 8th, my youngest son turned 34 on July 9th, and my husband turned 67 on July 14th--whew! Luckily, we were all together to celebrate Mister B's 2nd birthday so we were able to celebrate all three special guys at once.

Mister B ended up having not one, not two, but three parties! His first was just for the immediate family on his real birthday, his second was a neighborhood party for his little friends from the park (and their families) held the following day. 

Mister B on his second birthday! When we arrived, he had his little creatures arranged in a circle and told us they were having a party--so cute! Then he proceeded to sing "Hap Burfday to You" (the first of many renditions of it that he sang that weekend :)

The third party was actually a birthday party for my youngest son that his girlfriend hosted and nicely included celebrations for my grandson and husband. I think this trio will be celebrating together forever! 

The birthday boys prepare to blow out their candles. I wonder what they wished for?

My youngest son's girlfriend lives in a beautiful apartment overlooking the Jefferson Memorial right in the heart of Washington DC. Oh, my--the views from her window are breathtaking! And if you look out her window the other way, you can see the Washington Monument, too! The night after we visited her place for the birthday party, there was a crazy thunderstorm. From the window of her apartment, my son captured this amazing photo of lightning near the Washington Monument right at sunset. I told him this one is definitely frame worthy!

Lightning over the Washington Monument as the sun sets

I truly love the Washington DC area and could see myself living there some day. We lived there for just twelve months in the late 1980s (my youngest son was actually born there) and I so enjoyed that special year... Something to ponder for sure!

While down in Maryland for the birthday celebrations, we also took a nice hike at Great Falls National Park. It's one of my favorite spots to visit when we are down that way. If you are ever visiting the area, make sure to check it out!

Great Falls National Park: July 9, 2022

The roar of the water was so loud!

Can you spot the kayakers?

You wouldn't catch me kayaking in those rapids for any amount of money! It looked very scary, but they obviously knew what they were doing.

Can you spy the lone heron surveying the rushing water for fish?

We only hiked about two miles because Mister B wanted to pick up every single stone he found and fling it into the water! It made for a very slow walk, but he was a trooper and did quite well on those sturdy little legs of his. His dad finally had to put Mister B up on his shoulders and carry him part of the way. The biggest attraction for him was this small rock formation (I'm sure it looked like a mountain to him!) which he was bound and determined to climb. Of course, Nonna was holding her breath hoping that he wouldn't fall on his face and break those tiny baby teeth right off. But, he wouldn't take no for an answer and he reached the summit with a look of great pride!

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” – John Muir


Back home again, our yard has been alive with creatures! A pair of sweet spotted fawns has been spotted frolicking around our pond. I haven't been able to get a photo of them, but will keep trying. Seeing them is a bittersweet experience because we know that our flowering plants and shrubs are doomed--those babies seem to be eating all the time! Here are some of the other creatures we spied...

A foot-long snapping turtle making its way across our yard into our pond

A trio of buzzing bees and a Japanese beetle enjoying the milkweed

I'm fascinated by the fine detail in this fuzzy bee's wings!

A big brown bunny wondering which flower he should devour first...

It's been a lovely summer so far and I'm trying to stay positive as the second anniversary of my dear mother's death approaches on the 24th. How can it be two years already? I'm still missing her terribly and tears come easily on some days. But, I know how much delight she would take in knowing that my family is doing well, and I'm still carrying on with the things I love... my stitching, reading, baking, decorating my home, and taking delight in the small, simple things in life. I hope the small things in life bring you comfort and joy as well! Thank you for visiting me today--I appreciate each and every comment and email. Bye for now...

It's the simple things, right? Like watching the wonder in a two-year-old's eyes as he spots a deer casually strolling down the street in front of his home!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The patriotic Pottery Barn cubby

Happy July! It's the beginning of the July 4th weekend here in the United States. Do you have any special plans? It will be a quiet one here as my husband is still testing positive for Covid. The red line is much, much lighter and he is feeling just fine now, but I guess the virus is still there to some extent. And believe it or not--I didn't get it! That still amazes me, but I just read an interesting article online yesterday that said blood type may possibly play a part in whether or not you end up with Covid. Apparently, folks with Type O blood seem to have slightly more protection from it. Oh, they can still get it, but not as easily. And I have Type O, so who knows? If you'd like to read the article from Men's Health you can find it right here

In my past two posts, I've shown you several little patriotic pillows that I stitched and finished to fill some of the vacant spaces in my Pottery Barn cubby. I've since filled it up and just love how they all look displayed together. Would you like to see?

Lots of red, white, and blue fills my July cubby

Of course I'll share some close-ups with you, too...


As you can see, I have some of my larger patriotic pieces displayed on top since they won't fit into the smaller holes. I chose to fill one of the openings (below on the right) with a sewing theme: vintage red, white, and blue spools of thread and an old tomato pincushion (complete with tiny strawberry) as well as my maternal grandmother's gold thimble.



Do you wonder how I make the pillows stand up? Well, I steal my grandson's wooden blocks (shhh... don't tell him!) and place them behind the little pillows for support.


I've really enjoyed this display and plan on keeping it up for most of the summer.

As always, my mom's silhouette occupies the center position because she was forever the center of our home. I decorated her space with two vintagey looking pinwheels and some baby's breath inserted into the pair of white ceramic shoes that were part of her childhood shoe collection. I'm sure she would be delighted with my seasonal decorations of "her" cubby space!

The center space honoring my dear mother

Which one do you like the best?

Above is one final look at the patriotic cubby. Do you have a favorite? I think I am torn between the Liberty pillow in #11 and the Chessie & Me pillow (with the trio of houses and the ship) in #7. But, honestly? I love them all!

I also had a chance to finish one of the patriotic charts that my Instagram friend, Trinka, so generously gave me. I love stitching words so I really enjoyed this one! The design is called "All American" by Primrose Cottage Stitches. Love the way the colors pop on the 40 ct. vintage country mocha Newcastle linen! The red I used was Classic Colorworks "Ribbon Red" because I didn't own the called for overdyed thread, but I think it made a great substitute.

"All American" finish


If you have stitched this one already, you'll notice that I made a few changes (of course!).  As you can see, I added white polka dots (in the form of Smyrna stitches) to the word "Blue." I also added white stripes to the word "Stripes!" It just made sense to me and I love how it turned out. (The color of the fabric is much more accurate in the photo above).

Love those colors!

So, in the spirit of keeping the kindness going... who would like to win this patriotic chart? I'll pick a winner and announce the name when I post again (hopefully in a couple weeks). 

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

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.


In today's "Getting To Know You" question, I'm wondering if you are an early riser or a night-owl? Are you one of those people who loves jumping out of bed and getting right down to the business of the day? Or are you more like me--a "lounge in bed for an hour or so reading emails, browsing blogs and Instagram, and catching up on the news type of person?" I so wish I was an early riser--I always feel much more accomplished when I do get up early. But, more and more, I've been staying up until almost midnight stitching the evening away... How about you?

And that's about it for today! Happy second half of  2022 everyone... I hope you have a relaxing weekend doing whatever makes you happiest. With my husband being quarantined with Covid, I've gotten in a lot of stitching and reading time, believe me! I'm sure by the next time I post, he'll be fully Covid free and our normal life can resume. It really feels odd living in separate halves of the house...

Take care now--thank you for your visit today and your sweet comments! If you do want to enter the giveaway for the Primrose Cottage Stitchers chart shown above, please read the guidelines very carefully. So many of you don't include your email address (just a gentle reminder). I hope everyone who is celebrating the 4th of July in the U.S, has a fun, but safe holiday. Bye for now...