Thursday, August 31, 2023

One last summer finish...

And suddenly... summer is drawing to an end. I know, I know, summer doesn't technically end until September 22nd, but, to me, it ends today--August 31st. The way the light filters into the house is changing, there is a nip in the air in the mornings, the sounds of the school buses fill the air, and darkness falls earlier and earlier with each passing day. Oh, how I'll miss the summer season... But, I know many, many of you are counting the days until you have much cooler, less rainy weather. We've had a beautiful summer here in western Pennsylvania with more sunshine and less rain that usual--and much less humidity which is always a win-win in my book! The older I get, the less I can tolerate the humidity. It's been such a nice summer here that we've only used our air conditioning maybe five or six days! 

It's been a while since my last post (a whole month to be exact!), but I assure you, I have been stitching. In fact I have one last large summer finish which I've been working on for almost two months. This patriotic piece "Land of the Free" is by Willow Hill Samplings and is stitched on 40 ct. vintage country mocha Newcastle linen. I did change some of the colors: the blue house is stitched with GAST "Old Blue Paint," the red house is done in GAST "Old Red Paint with a roof in CC "Baking Tin," the white house is WDW "Light Khaki" and the greenish/gray house is painted in the called for colors of GAST "Old Hickory" and "Chamomile." I changed a few of the doors and windows here and there--I felt like a little girl with my crayons and coloring book at times!

A beautiful late summer finish


This is such an endearing design, don't you think? My favorite motifs are the charming little couples--a young woman saying farewell to her sweetheart in scenes from four different eras. Below, you can see the long blue gown, lace cap, and tricorn hat of the Revolutionary War couple on the left. And then next to the red house are the Civil War garbed man and woman.

Aren't those little people the cutest?!

And in the photo below are the couples from World War I next to the white house and World War II on the far right. I just think they add so much to the entire piece!

Such a pretty border, don't you think?


And, of course, I love the sentiment: "The land of the free because of the brave." Now, let me tell you one thing (or a lot of things to be exact!) that I did not love:  those tiny little leaves about drove me crazy! Yikes! But, I persevered and got them done and I'm so pleased with the final look...

Which house is your favorite? You know me--I love the blue one!

I purchased "Land of the Free" from  this Etsy shop, but sadly, it appears that the designer has closed her shop as she recently lost her husband. I hope Kim and her family are healing and that she'll reopen her Etsy shop at some point--she is such a talented designer.

The land of the free because of the brave


Have you ever noticed that sometimes little surprises come into your life when you most need them? To be honest, I've been feeling a bit "down" this entire summer. All of the horrible natural disasters going on in the world have really affected me. Growing older has affected me. Lack of sleep has affected me. I just haven't felt quite like myself. Well, imagine my smile when I opened this wonderful package from my sweet friend in Arizona? She sent me three wooden frames that she thought I would like along with a wonderful ceramic cardinal frame which she said reminded her of me. Won't it be perfect for a photo of my dad? She also sent a collection of the cutest little floss tags--they are all dairy-themed which bring back memories of my childhood. I grew up in a very small town with many dairy farms in the countryside that surrounded it. A visit to one of the local dairy farms was always a staple for class field trips during my elementary school years. I want to thank my friend so very much for her random act of  kindness--it really came at the perfect time!

A surprise package of goodies from my sweet friend in Arizona!

Giveaway winner... Way back at the end of July, I offered this cute Lizzie Kate kit as a giveaway. I enjoyed reading everyone's answers to the "Getting To Know You" question about one thing that instantly makes your day better.  Thank you to all who participated! I had quite a few entries, but the name drawn from the hat is... 

Barbara from Wolverine Lake, MI

Barbara from Lake Wolverine--you are the winner!

Congratulations, Barbara! You are the winner of this sweet Lizzie Kate kit. I hope you enjoy stitching it! Please send me your mailing address (my email is in my sidebar under "View My Complete Profile") and I'll pop the chart in the mail to you early next week. And for those of you who didn't win this time, please check future posts as I'll have more things to pass on.

Any advice on... insomnia? Oh, it's gotten bad this year. I can usually fall asleep just fine, but I wake up around 3 AM and can't fall back to sleep for hours--sometimes not at all. This is really taking a toll on me. My mind just won't shut off and I worry about everything under the sun. Does anyone have any advice? I have taken those little melatonin gummies from time to time and they seem to help a bit, but I don't want to become reliant on them. Reading does help sometimes as it distracts my mind for at least a little while. But, it's a real problem that seems to be getting worse. I hope someone can tell me what has helped them.

I'll leave you with a few photos of my end-of-summer flowers to brighten your day...

Amazingly, now that summer is almost over--my hydrangeas have decided to bloom!

Some pretty phlox also made an appearance. It had been hiding behind some ferns for years and when we removed some of them, this beauty made its appearance!

I'm not sure what these are. Does anyone know? They look like some sort of petunia and they've really put on a show in the window box on our garden shed.

A busy little bee gathering pollen from one of the few remaining sunflowers.

On to September! It's going to be a busy month for my family... Believe it or not my little grandson is going to be starting pre-school next Tuesday! I know... how can that be? He's going to be attending just two mornings a week, but it will be a big change for him. He and his mom and dad (my oldest son) will also be moving into their newly renovated home the following week so that will make for lots of changes at the same time for one little 3-year-old. Luckily, the new house is just around the corner from the house they were renting so at least his neighborhood and friends will remain the same. Next weekend my entire family will be home for a few days and we'll then be traveling to Ohio for a memorial service for my in-laws. It will be nice to see some relatives that I haven't seen in many years. But, it will be a sad time, too. Hard to believe my mother-in-law has been gone almost a year now... What's on your calendar for the new month?

I didn't get a chance to thank each of you personally for your sweet comments on my last post, so I want to do that now. Thank you so very much--each and every one of you! I do appreciate the time to you take in commenting (or "trying" to comment as I know Blogger can often be temperamental in even allowing some of you to comment!). Take care everyone! I hope you have a wonderful month ahead! Bye for now...

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Sunny days and snowy stitching

Hello, all! I hope this post finds you doing well? Thankfully, the second half of July has been much, much quieter than the first and I've had some much-needed "me" time. As an introvert, I relish my alone time and truly need it to "recharge" after a lot of social activities like I had in the first two weeks of July. I know that sounds strange to you extroverts who thrive on parties and get-togethers, doesn't it? But, my fellow introverts understand, don't you? So, how did I spend my quiet time? Well by stitching and reading and puttering around the house, of course! 

I actually stitched up three new ornaments, but I'm only going to share two of them with you today. The third isn't fully finished so I'll wait a bit to show you that one. These are my monthly ornaments for the stitch along that I host on Instagram otherwise known as the #12in23ornamentstitchalong. My July ornament is this little cutie by Heart In Hand called "A Very Merry Christmas." It's stitched on 40 ct. woodland brown Newcastle linen and I changed all of the colors except for the white and the light pink due to the darkness of my fabric. 

My July ornament: Heart In Hand's "A Very Merry Christmas"

I did make a small change in the design--I left off the stocking that was charted on the right and replaced it with two of the smaller light green trees. I wanted this to resemble a cozy looking Christmas house in the middle of a forest of trees and I love the final result! For the finish, I sewed on a narrow strip of red and white striped fabric bordered by some cheery black fabric with white polka dots. Add a white button, little red ribbon, and some white cording--and there you have it... my July ornament all ready for the Christmas tree!

This one just makes me happy!

August's ornament uses basically the same colors so it was easy to just dive right in and begin stitching. This design is by Lila's Studios and is part of her "Spirit of Christmas, Set 2" chart. Isn't that the prettiest shade of red in the bird? I used the suggested GAST color: "Schoolhouse Red" and, once again, chose to stitch it on 40 ct. woodland brown Newcastle. I love how well white shows up on this pretty shade of brown linen. The green I chose for this piece is CC "Steamed Broccoli."

"Spirit of Christmas, Set 2" by Lila's Studio is my ornament choice for August

The only design change I made was to add three small snowflakes underneath the word "Noel." I just thought it needed "a little something" in that vacant space. I changed the bird's legs to DMC 3021 from the suggested black, too. The finish was easy--just surrounded the entire thing with handmade cording and topped it with a gingham bow, red bell, and some greenery. What do you think? Such a cheery little piece!

August's ornament

It's nice to be a bit ahead in my ornament stitching! Hard to believe there are only five more months left in 2023, isn't it? I'm already looking forward to seeing my Christmas tree all decked out in December!

My July and August 2023 ornament finishes

Giveaway... So, in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, how about the chance to win a little gift today? I have a very sweet one passed on to me from Janet in Texas (thank you so much again, Janet) who sent me many, many charts to use in my giveaways. This is actually an entire kit from Lizzie Kate which includes the chart, a piece of the suggested fabric, and two tiny accent buttons as shown in the photo below. Would anyone like to enter the giveaway? If you'd like to win the kit, please follow the guidelines below. I'll announce the winner in my next blog post--good luck to all!

I'm having a drawing for this Lizzie Kate kit. If you would like to enter, please follow the guidelines below:

To be included in the drawing for this Lizzie Kate kit, please...

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

2) Be a follower of Stitching Dreams (in my blog's sidebar on the right)

3) Make sure to leave your email address in your comment if I don't already have it

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


Getting to Know You... For those of you who are new to my blog, I like to pose these little questions from time to time so I can get to know my friends and fellow stitchers a bit better. After all, you know a fair amount about me from reading my blog, so I'd love to know more about you. Today's question is: "What one thing can instantly make your day better?" Hmmm... there are many things, but one that really stands out for me is the sound of laughter--especially from my grandson or my sons. I still love hearing all my "boys" (who are now grown men between the ages of 35 and 41!) laughing together as they tease and joke amongst themselves. Nothing warms my heart more than knowing my family is happy and enjoying their time with each other. And now that has spread to my little grandson--oh, how his laughter lights up my day! How about you? I'd love to hear your answer to today's question!

46 years... I did have one big event occur in the past couple of weeks and that was the celebration of 46 years of marriage! What?! How can that be? I met my husband as a teenager--we were just 19-years-old and beginning our second year of college. And then at the age of 22--just two months after our graduation, we were married in 1977. That's almost unheard of in today's world, isn't it? We kind of "grew up" together in a way. But, here we are--still smiling and laughing after all those years. No big party or trip this year--we're saving them for the "big one"--our 50th anniversary in four more years! We celebrated with a quiet dinner out with my middle son and his girlfriend at a local Mexican restaurant. Very simple and casual just the way we like things!

Still laughing together on our 46th wedding anniversary!

How is your garden doing this year? Ours is bursting with flowers and tomatoes right now. They've been loving the sunny weather we've had this season. We feel very blessed to have escaped most of the horrible high temperatures that have swept over much of the U.S. and Europe this summer. In fact, many in our area are joking that people will be wanting to move to southwestern Pennsylvania for our climate! Haha! Anyway, we've been very lucky this summer and our garden seems happy.

The bright and beautiful colors of summer

I like to place my zinnias in individual glass bottles on a little tray. Such a quick, fun arrangement!

My husband wanted me to take a photo of him in the sunflower garden to share with his brothers. He titled it: "Too much fertilizer!"

So, that's about it for July! I hope each of you has a fabulous month of August... We don't have any special plans, but, of course, we hope to see our little grandson at some point. We try to get together at least once a month which isn't always easy given our four hour distance from him. But, it sure is easier than when he lived all the way across the country in San Diego and for that, we are thankful...  

Speaking of thanks, I hope you know how much I appreciate each of your sweet comments. I can't always reply to each of you as many of you are "no-reply" commenters and I don't have your email address, but I hope you know I read and appreciate every single comment! Take good care, my friends! Bye for now...

Sunday, July 16, 2023

"B" is for...

Hello there! The middle of July has passed and I'm just now posting... July is one "busy" month (just one of the many "B" words you'll read about in this post!) for my family with lots of birthdays, our wedding anniversary, gardening, etc. It's interesting how some families seem to have "clumps" of celebrations in one month or another. Our busiest month is definitely July. We don't have a single birthday in June or August (since my dad passed away anyway). What are your "busy" months? 

"B" is for... Big finish!  I decided earlier this year that I just had to stitch more summer themed pieces. I have a ton of patriotic finishes which I love having out in July, but I wanted more simple summer finishes to decorate with in June or August. The adorable designs in the "Celebrate" series by Madame Chantilly caught my eye when they were released and I purchased every single one. I've stitched snippets of "Celebrate Winter" and "Celebrate 4th of July" as little ornaments, but "Celebrate Summer" is the only design I've stitched in its entirety. There was a lot of stitching in this piece--much more than I anticipated, but I love how it turned out!

"Celebrate Summer" by Madame Chantilly

I stitched this piece on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle linen using the suggested DMC colors. Stitching with DMC is so relaxing, isn't it? You never have to worry about the actual stitched piece not matching the photo on the chart like you do when using many overdyed threads. The reds, yellows, and blues are such perfect summer shades.

Look at the cute mermaid--she even has tiny blue earrings!

I did make one major change (in addition to leaving off the word "Summer" underneath the tray). I substituted "Hello Summer" for the charted "Hello Beach." We are not near a beach and rarely visit one so I just felt the "Hello Summer" phrase on the chalkboard was much more appropriate for my family. 

Such a happy looking whale!

The little motifs are so charming aren't they? Why just look at that little pig-tailed girl in her old-fashioned bathing costume and parasol--adorable!

So many adorable motifs!

I enjoyed stitching this summer piece so much and I know I'll be doing more of the "Celebrate" series--I think the fall design may be next! Have any of you stitched one of these?

I hope to frame this one soon!


"B" is for... Baking! I got the chance to bake when we went to a little get-together with my husband's biking buddies and their wives a couple weeks ago. Since it was a hot, hot day, I went with two very quick and easy desserts that I've made before and shown you on my blog. But, with a number of new readers, I thought you might like the links to these recipes again. Shown below are a very decadent pair: Peanut Butter Pie and Flourless Chocolate Cake. Don't they look scrumptious? Believe me... a little slice of these goes a long way! The Peanut Butter pie recipe can be found right here on the Jif Peanut Butter website.

July baking

The flourless cake looks quite elegant, but it is so simple! Be sure to watch the video and follow the tips suggested for a perfect looking cake. The white powdered sugar design is  made by placing a large doily on top and sprinkling the sugar over it. Lift off the doily carefully and you have a lovely dessert. I used strawberries to decorate the center. If you'd like to surprise your family with a super fudgy  treat, you can find the recipe on the Allrecipes website right here. The glaze I used for it can be found here. I only make a half-recipe of the glaze and it is plenty.  (Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Premium Baking bars were used for both the cake and the glaze just in case you're wondering). Yum!!!

I dare you to eat just one bite!

"B" is for... Blueberries! Two years ago my husband planted six or eight blueberry bushes and this year we had our first edible blueberries. (We had some last year, but you're not supposed to pick them that first year). Oh, my... they were fabulous! Sadly, we only got a few cups due to the birds helping themselves to them, too. We have the bushes under netting, but the birds still found a way to get underneath  and devour them. If anyone has any tips on keeping birds away from blueberries, I'd love to know...

Our first homegrown blueberries!

"B" is for... Blooms! My husband went a bit crazy with the sunflower planting this year (well, actually, I went a bit overboard in buying so many seeds) and they've taken over his garden. I love seeing their big bright heads bobbing around outside our window. Such a happy flower!

This year we planted sunflowers of all heights--from 3 feet tall to over 12 feet!

A bouquet of sunshine

"B" is for Babies! No, not human babies--baby deer. They seem to be everywhere right now and I love seeing the tiny white-freckled creatures trotting along after their mothers. This photo was taken from my living room window the other day. Sadly, there used to be two babies, but one was hit by a car and my husband found its little body back in the woods by our pond. 

A new little fawn exploring our yard

My sweet grandson (whom we fondly refer to as the "deer whisperer" because he has this uncanny ability to spot a deer quicker than any of us) is shown below. Look closely and you'll see him pointing at the mother deer with her baby lying right next to the street in their suburban neighborhood. It looks like the baby deer was just born, doesn't it?

Mister B loves animals of all kinds and was so excited to see the baby deer right in front of his house.

"B" is for... Birthday! And finally, I saved the best "B" for last. My little grandson, Mister B, turned three years old! This was the first year he really understood what a birthday was about and his enthusiasm was contagious. For months he had been telling people he was going to be "three in July" and he would be getting "five presents." Well, he ended up with many more than that, trust me! He had a little party in the park down the street from his house with six little friends (all were girls!) and their parents, his uncles and aunts, a few neighbors, and a little pug dog. The highlight of his day was the Hot Wheels piñata--he kept asking over and over when he could "do the piñata!" 

Clockwise from top left: time for birthday cupcakes, piñata time, a walk with Nonna, Mister B with Nonna and Pompa, my oldest son with the birthday boy, my son and daughter-in-law with their newly minted 3-year-old

We tried to keep our gift giving reasonable and got him a new sandbox, some clothes (which he barely glanced at, of course!), some books, the Curious George zippered pouch I had made for him earlier this year, and his favorite toy--this UPS truck! I bought it online from a neighbor  and he absolutely loves it. Do you see all those tiny boxes in the back? I found a file on Etsy for $2.00, downloaded it, and my sweet husband constructed the little UPS "packages" for him. I swear--you can find just about anything on Etsy!

One of his favorite presents--a UPS truck complete with teeny packages. Unfortunately, I don't have the driver for it, but hope to find one. This truck is made by Bruder in Germany--love the quality!

"B" is for... more birthdays! Yes, a trio of birthdays happens within a six-day span in our family in mid-July. My grandson was up first, then a day later my youngest son turned 35, and five days after that, my husband celebrated his 68th (or, as I always like to say: he caught up with me!). We were lucky enough to be together in the DC area again this year so my youngest son's girlfriend has us all over for a delicious birthday brunch and a tasty oreo cake to celebrate. 

Just look at those smiles on the three birthday boys!

"B" is for Brand New Car! If you read my last post, you know that my 2010 Honda CRV was recalled due to a serious rust issue and was deemed too dangerous to drive. It has now been a month since that happened and we still have not heard about the settlement offer from Honda. Very discouraging indeed. But... all is not lost. Two weeks ago a new Subaru Forester was delivered to the dealership, we went and test-drove it, and purchased it that very day. Would you believe I've only driven it once since? That is how little I drive these days, but so far, I love it. I felt comfortable in it immediately, but, have a long way to go to learn all the ins and outs of the technology. Yikes! I'm too old for this! It is a pretty "Silver Ice" color and we feel very lucky to have found it given the low inventory of cars these days. 

Assuming I can learn all of its technology, I think my new Subaru Forester is going to be a great car!

That was a lot of "B" words, wasn't it? Funny how that happens... I hope you enjoyed today's post! It was a fun one to put together. To leave you with a few more "B" thoughts--I hope you have a bright, beautiful, blissful, blessed rest of July. Thank you for those wonderful emails and comments--I so appreciate each and every one. Bye for now!

Friday, June 30, 2023

Six months down, six to go!

And just like that... the year's half over! Can you believe it? Tomorrow marks the first day of July and the beginning of the second half of 2023. I really can't say much good about the first half of the year so here's hoping the second is better! Anyway, it's been one busy, busy month. As always there has been some good and some bad happenings in my world. Both, have led to very little stitching time, though, and I only have one teeny-tiny finish to share with you today which is my Christmas ornament for July. If it looks familiar--yes, I've stitched it before. But, it was stitched way back in 2011 and given away as a Christmas gift. 

I'd never forgotten that sweet Jeannette Douglas design (from the 2011 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue) and decided this busy month would be the perfect time to stitch it for myself. It measures a mere 2 inches by 3 1/2 inches and will be perfect for hanging near the top of my Christmas tree where I like to place the smallest ornaments. This only took me one day to stitch up and the following day, the purple beads were added and I made it into a little pillow. The fabric wasn't my favorite--a mystery 32 ct. gray linen that was very floppy. I prefer my linen to be stiffer. There was some 'over one' stitching including the word "Noel" and the tiny chickadee in the upper right corner.

"Noel Stamp" ornament finish for June

Here is a closer look at the cute chickadee and some of the purple Mill Hill beads. I finished this one very simply with some purple cording in DMC 3740 and then added a bit of black and white checked ribbon in the left corner. I was going to go with purple ribbon, but decided I liked the way the black and white picked up the colors of the bird.

Look how adorable that tiny chickadee is!

So, there you have it--six months of ornaments down, six to go! Time to look through my ornament charts and pick out my next design. I have an entire folder full of smaller Christmas charts that I'd like to stitch as ornaments one day, so it makes it easy.

What else kept me busy this month? Who knows what this stack is?

I'm going to be busy with framing!

I've been framed!  I finally took the time to measure some of my finishes and order frames for them. I've gotten a bit more confident with my framing through the years and have decided to tackle more of my framing myself. Oh, I'll still send out the most special pieces for professional framing, but many I'll be attempting to do myself. I've ordered this bunch of frames from Franken Frames online and I'm very happy with what I received. Each one was precisely made to my exact measurements (within 1/16th of an inch!) and the whole turn around time took under took two weeks. Franken Frames has some great sales and this one was for 30% off the frames plus half price shipping. They also send out free samples (1-2" lengths) upon request making it easy to decide what frame will do justice to your finished stitching. For these seven custom-made frames I paid just $70 plus $24 shipping. Isn't that great?

Seven new custom-made frames just waiting for my cross stitch.

You can tell I really liked this particular style as I ordered three frames in various sizes. It is such a pretty moulding and I think some of the fall Prairie Schooler pieces that I've stitched will look perfect in them. No, I'm not being compensated by Franken Frames in the least--I just think a good company deserves recognition and I love that they're made right here in the U.S.A. Their communications and customer service were both excellent. I will definitely be ordering again... Check them out if you need any new frames!

Won't these be lovely filled with autumn-themed stitching?

And do you see the silvery frame on the right front corner in the picture of all seven frames? It's already been matched with a piece of stitching from last year. I stitched "All American" by Primrose Cottage Stitchers last summer with the best of intentions of framing it and giving it to my oldest son and his family for the Fourth of July 2022. But... you know how that goes! So, I was thrilled when I noticed that this frame fit that piece of stitching perfectly. You see, I had actually ordered that particular frame for another piece, but it was just too heavy looking for the delicate stitching in that one. Thankfully, this worked out just fine and I can't wait to give it to my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson next week! If you'd like to read about the details of this patriotic piece, please check out my post from July 2, 2022 because I did make a few changes.

I framed "All American" yesterday and it will be going to its new home next week.

When I stitch framed pieces and give them as gifts, I like to cover the back of the frame with a pretty scrapbook paper. I then add little tags that I've created online to the back to make the gift even more special. (This one has July 2022 as the date because that is when I actually stitched it).

The little label that I made for the back of "All American"

Giveaway winner... my last bit of stitching news is to announce the winner of the Patriotic Angel chart which I offered last time. Thank you to all who entered and answered the "Getting To Know You" question--it was fun reading about your favorite foods (and I applaud many of you who seem to be much healthier eaters than I)! The winner's name pulled from the hat this time is...


Congratulations to Catherine--you are the winner of "Patriotic Angel"

Congratulations, Catherine! You are the winner of this beautiful angel chart--can't wait to see her all stitched up. Please send me your mailing address (my email is in my sidebar under "View My Complete Profile") and I'll pop the chart in the mail to you early next week! 


RIP dear Honda CRV--you served me well for 13 years.

So, I mentioned some bad happenings in my life this month and the worst is that my 2010 Honda CRV is gone. It was recalled by Honda for rust underneath the chassis so we took it into the repair shop two weeks ago. Little did I know that that was the final time I would be driving that car. When the repair shop examined it, they deemed it unfixable--apparently I'd been driving around in a death trap for who knows how long! The suspension could have just completely broken or fallen out at any time the rust was so bad! We were very upset as the car (in our eyes) was in excellent shape. It had never been in an accident, the interior and (what we could see of) the exterior was perfect. I drive so little these days that we had planned on keeping it as long as possible because it was doing just fine. Or so we thought... Honda said they will be "buying back" the car from us, but we've received (after a full two weeks!) absolutely no information as to how much they'll be giving us. The whole process is very frustrating to say the least.

Whatever the amount, it won't be enough money to compensate for losing a car that we had expected to keep for several more years. All those memories... a car that had safely carried me through 11 years of 600-mile round-trip travels to visit my mom and dad in New York as their health was declining, a car that had seen us make many trips to the beach and to visit colleges with our sons, a car that I was truly comfortable with and didn't want to lose. I am one of those folks who hates change and to have to purchase a new car at this point in my life is upsetting. Whatever we end up with, it will, most likely, be my last car as we tend to keep our cars for years and years. I'll keep you posted... And for all of you Honda CRV owners (years 2007 to 2011 models), please be aware of this recall. For more information, you can read this article.

Cough, cough... We've been dealing with terrible smoky air from the Canadian wildfires again this week; in fact Pittsburgh was one of the worst cities in the world for air quality over the past two days. The entire state was issued a "Code Red" warning and yesterday morning the reading from the Environmental Protection Agency was 247--even worse than the Code Red warning! 

The main thing I noticed over the past few days was the smell... Not a smoky smell, but a distinct odor of chemicals in the air. The retired librarian in me kicked in and I did a bit of research... Apparently, the smoke from the wildfires includes Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that interact with UV radiation. When this interaction occurs benzene and formaldehyde compounds are created in the atmosphere, toxic air pollutants that can be very hazardous to human and animal health. And the smell that is created when this happens is one of chemicals and plastic. Very sad to think that this might be a problem we'll be dealing with for a while... They say the Canadian wildfires will be burning all summer. Needless to say, I've stayed inside with the windows closed. I did venture out to check on the garden and had to come inside after a mere 5 minutes as my eyes started to burn.

I always try to end my posts on a positive note, though... We so enjoyed our grandson's visits this month--Mister B was here for a total of 10 days over two visits. On this last visit we took him to a local farmer's market (twice!) where the photo below was taken. He absolutely adores animals and he  loved feeding the baby goat and seeing the gigantic black and white pig that reside there. What you can't see in the photo below is that, with his other hand, he is holding his nose--he may have loved the goats and pigs, but he sure didn't enjoy their odor! It was so funny!

Mister B feeding the baby goat at a local farm market

I hope all of my U.S. friends have a relaxing and fun Fourth of July on Tuesday. We are going to be getting a lot of rain over the next four days so I hope to find more time to stitch. Thank you for stopping by today and for saying "hello" in your emails and comments! I really appreciate hearing from each one of you.  Hope July is a good month for all!  Bye for now...

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Happy Flag Day!

Gosh... has it really been three weeks since I last posted? Where does the time go? We experienced 21 days without rain here in the southwest portion of Pennsylvania--a streak that was finally broken on Sunday with some light showers. We need more rain badly and it looks like we'll be getting some off and on for the next few days. Our lawn is starting to turn brown already and it's only mid-June! Usually, that doesn't happen until late August. Add to that a few hazy, sunless days due to the wildfire smoke drifting down from Canada and it's been an odd month so far. Very cool too--in fact I've been wearing my winter bathrobe in the mornings it's so chilly! So, how have you all been? I'm feeling much better although my energy level is still not back to normal. I really appreciate all of your get-well wishes after my last post--thank you! That was one mean virus and it seems to be hitting a lot of folks. 

So, it's Flag Day here in the United States and I finished up the cutest patriotic piece just in time! This is called "Fourth of July Picnic" and is a design from Samplers Not Forgotten. I've had this chart for quite a few years and am so glad I finally made the time to stitch it.

"Fourth of July Picnic" finish

It is stitched on 40 ct. "Stormy Night" Newcastle using all of the suggested colors except for two: I substituted CC Bamboo for the charted Gentle Arts Picket Fence and used DMC 950 for the face and hands. I just love that sweet girl in her straw hat and the little brown puppy and saved them to stitch last. Do you do that, too--save your favorite motifs for last? I used Smyrna stitches for the stars on the flag, the dots on her dress, and her eyes--I simply like the rounded look it gives to those spots.

Such a sweet little pup!

And, I suppose I have to mention the one part of the chart I didn't enjoy stitching, don't I? Can you guess? Yep--it was the "July 4, 1776" all stitched 'over one' on 40 ct. linen. I was about to tear my hair out by the time I got to the "6!" But, I persevered and got it done... The white button "flowers" were shown on the finish on the chart and I think they add so much to the final look. 

Love the button "flowers!"

This piece is a bit too large for a pillow finish so I'll be framing it. I'm thinking a rustic black frame would look nice. Or perhaps a chippy red frame? I'll have to think about it for a bit... I've now moved on to a much larger patriotic piece which I'll be lucky to finish by summer's end!

Giveaway time... In keeping with the Flag Day theme, I found this lovely chart in an old Just Cross Stitch Magazine (July/August 2009) that I thought would be perfect for this month's giveaway. It is by Brooke's Books, is called "Spirit of America Angel," and is meant to be stitched on 14 ct. perforated paper. Would anyone like to stitch this beautiful angel? If you'd like to win the chart (the three pages are removed from the magazine and I will be folding them to fit in a legal sized envelope to save on mailing costs), please follow the guidelines below. I'll announce the winner in my next blog post--good luck to all!

I'm having a drawing for this patriotic angel chart. If you would like to enter, please follow the guidelines below:

To be included in the drawing for this chart, please...

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

2) Be a follower of Stitching Dreams (in my blog's sidebar on the right)

3) Make sure to leave your email address in your comment if I don't already have it

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

Getting to Know You... For this week's question, I'm wondering what your three favorite foods are? I have absolutely no problem in answering this one: bread, chocolate, and nuts. I just can't refuse any of them. I absolutely adore a nice warm slice of freshly baked bread slathered with butter any time of day! And I can't resist chocolate-covered nuts of any kind. I've developed a real addiction to those tubs of chocolate-covered almonds that are sold at Trader Joe's--I really have to watch and limit myself to a few a day (well, I try to anyway!). How about you? What three foods top your list of favorites? 

I'm so excited that my little grandson will be arriving later today for a visit! Yes, he was just here two weeks ago, but his mom will be at a conference so my oldest son decided to drive up from Maryland with Mister B and spend Father's Day weekend with us. He is so, so busy and seems to be at the "giving up the nap" stage which is exhausting--for him and us! Last time he was here he had a grand, old time feeding the koi in our pond, building Lego sets with his grandpa and uncle, racing all of us to the birdhouse and back over and over again, "shopping" for food in my pantry with his little basket, and playing with the wonderful old Tonka trucks that had belonged to my boys when they were little. He truly enjoys his time at "Camp Nonna and Pompaw!" 

This was the first time in over 30 years those Tonka trucks were used. I've been storing them up in the attic for my hoped-for grandchildren for three decades and, at last, I have one! Mister B  absolutely loved playing with them under the shade of the pine trees while picking up sticks and pine cones. Some kids like dinosaurs or superheroes--he just adores trucks and cars!

It's going to be a busy weekend as my youngest son and his girlfriend arrive on Friday and my daughter-in-law flies in from her conference that evening so we'll have a full house. Thank goodness, my middle son and his girlfriend live locally so they aren't sleeping here. But, there is so much food to prepare and cooking is not my favorite thing! I've already made lasagna with ground beef, lasagna roll-ups (with spinach) for our two vegetarians, macaroni, ham, and cheese casserole, and pulled chicken barbecue! Phew! I hope to make a couple of desserts today or tomorrow and then let everyone else help with sides and clean-up duty. I know I'll be exhausted come Sunday night, but I wouldn't have it any other way. And my husband is thrilled that all three of our sons will be here for Father's Day. Do you have a busy Father's Day weekend planned? 

I'll leave you with this pretty photo from our yard...

Such a beautiful peony with the barest hint of burgundy in the center

Well, I'm off to the dentist now--time to get a new crown in an upper molar. Not my favorite thing in the world. I hope he can get the fit just right so I don't have future problems... Thank you so much for stopping by today! I love reading your comments and emails and truly appreciate you taking the time to say "hello." Wishing each of you a relaxing day filled with lots of stitching time. Bye for now...

Wishing all of my U.S. friends a happy Flag Day! This photo was taken from my front porch in 2021 and is one of my favorites.