Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Dreaming of spring

The final day of February! I still remember my mom telling me (when I was a bit down with the "January blues") that if you can just make it through February, spring is right around the corner. And I can't wait! We've had some snippets of spring weather here and there over the past month and it felt so good for a day or two. But, by the next day, we were plunged back into the icy days of winter. I read a report last week that said March is forecast to be a cold, wintry month for much of the country. Say it's not so!!! I'm  choosing to think positively and hoping March is a mild, spring-like month. How about you?

I have a sweet spring finish to share with you today. This is called "Apple Blossom Sampler" by The Drawn Thread and it is much prettier than my photos are showing. It's such a long, skinny sampler (just 2 inches wide by 9 1/4 inches long on 40 ct. fabric) that it's difficult to get a good photo of it. I stitched this lovely little piece on 40 ct. stormy night Newcastle with Dinky Dyes Silks and various other overdyed threads pulled from my stash. 

"Apple Blossom Sampler" by The Drawn Thread

I've always loved the combination of pink and gray together--in fact I still remember the cutest gray and pink argyle sweater that I wore probably 50 years ago! So, as soon as I saw this design, I knew I had to stitch it on gray fabric.

Who else loves the combination of pink and gray?

The shades of pink are so soft and pretty--honestly, I loved every stitch of this one! The center portion of the two apple blossoms was supposed to be stitched in something called "square boss stitch" (which I have never heard of in my life). I tried it twice using different threads, but I think the fabric count was just too high as it came out looking sloppy and just plain bad both times. So, I simply stitched Smyrna stitches in the center and they look just fine.

Do you see the tiny bees in the letters "N" and "Y"?


Of course, the star of the show is the pretty robin. Have you seen your first robin yet? I was so surprised to see what must have been 15 or 20 of them on our neighbor's lawn on Monday! A very early spring in the making?

Such a pretty robin--the first sign of Spring!

In other spring stitching, I'm trying to work on some St. Patrick's Day smalls for my Pottery Barn cubby--hope to have enough to nearly fill up those cubes! Stay tuned... Who else has turned to spring stitching? 

A most special day... Its been a busy end of the month as we just returned from Maryland where our grandson was baptized. I was so, so anxious that he would act up or cause a scene (after all, 2 1/2 year olds aren't the most predictable creatures, are they?). The night before the baptism, he absolutely refused to try on the little white suit his godparents had bought him for the occasion, complaining that it was "too scratchy." Oh, dear... not off to a great start!

On Sunday, his mom and dad went to the service that was scheduled right before the baptism leaving Mister B with us to dress and get to the church by 2:15 pm. My middle son and I got him dressed without any problems by entertaining him with videos on the phone and putting a long, soft white shirt underneath the scratchy one of the suit. I also promised him a present if he wore his suit nicely and was well-behaved at church. I made up a little story about  "Mister B" putting on a white suit, going to the church and running to see mommy and daddy, sitting quietly and listening to the priest, and then receiving a present. (Of course, he thought the priest was going to give him the present and couldn't quite figure out why he never got one :) Several of the guests brought  religious remembrances and others brought small toys for him so he was smiling ear-to-ear at the party afterward. Such a meaningful day and I'm so glad we were able to be there with him. The service was in Spanish, so we understood nothing more than a word here or there, but it was still very special!

My little grandson and his father (my oldest son) waiting for the baptism ceremony to begin

I bought him this sweet bedtime blessing plaque (from Lisa Leonard.com) to hang in his room. It has his name engraved in the banner at the top making it a wonderful personalized gift.

In other family news, my world-traveling youngest son and his girlfriend just returned from 10 days in Norway. What gorgeous photos they sent back! Oh--those--mountains... be still my heart! He told me I would love it there and I think he's right. Surprisingly, the weather was not that cold. It was in the low 30s--about what we were experiencing in western Pennsylvania in mid-February.

Scenes from my youngest son's trip to Norway

Their ultimate goal in this particular trip was to see the Northern Lights. They had traveled to Iceland last year with that hope, but had been disappointed. It looked like they would be let down again, but on their very last night there, they were rewarded with a truly magical light show. I know the photo doesn't begin to come close to seeing the Aurora Borealis in person, but it's still so very special, isn't it? Have any of you seen them?

Finally--on the very last night in Norway, the Aurora Borealis appeared!

And... on the opposite end of the spectrum, an upcoming event that my husband has been dreading is upon us. He will be having a total replacement of his left shoulder on Friday. It is a surgery with one of the longest recovery times--approximately 6 months to a year. He'll be unable to drive for six weeks or lift anything heavier than a pound for a month, so I'll be doing pretty much everything for him. I know he'll be great at following through on the physical therapy as he is very disciplined, but it's going to be very tough on him not being able to ride his bike until mid to late summer. (If then--as the doctors don't want him to risk falling). But, he's been dealing with this painful shoulder for so many years, that we're glad this day has finally arrived. All positive thoughts, prayers, etc. would be most appreciated!

So... on to March! I hope it's a good month for each one of you. Thank you all for your visits, thoughtful comments, and emails--they keep me blogging, that's for sure! As always, if you have any questions for me, please make sure to include your email address so I can get back to you. Take care now, everyone! Bye for now...

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Stitching, travels, and a special visitor

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! It's going to be a warm one here for the middle of February--in the mid-50s! And tomorrow will be almost 70°! My husband and I don't have any special plans for today. We are not exactly the most romantic couple, to be honest--just very practical, I'd say. For example, last week when we were doing the grocery shopping, I spied a display of Valentine's candy and said, "Let's just buy some treats for ourselves right now!" "Great--that makes it easy," he replied. Definitely takes the pressure off :) Now, we just need to remember where we hid the candy so we wouldn't eat it all up before Valentine's Day. Hmmm... that's a real problem as we get older. Anyone else with me on that little "forgetful" issue? 

I like to stitch a new little Valentine's Day pillow each year to add to my collection. There are so many delightful free designs available at this time of year and I'm very thankful for those generous (and talented!) designers out there. This year, one of the cutest designs came from Cherry Hill Stitchery and can be found on the Facebook group called "Cherry Hill Stitchers." (I am only on Facebook to follow stitching groups and designers--I do not post, comment, or have any friends there). Because I love tiny things, I chose to stitch the design "over one" on 25 ct. black Lugana using the following threads: DMC B5200, Classic Colorworks "Ribbon Red," and Gentle Arts "Green With Envy." If you look closely, you might be able to spot the little gold beads I added to the center of each flower.

Cherry Hill Stitchery freebie finish

This finished up so tiny and cute--just the way I'd pictured it. The whole pillow measures a mere 3" X 4" in size. The other major change was that I added an apostrophe; as a former librarian, I just had to! You can also see the little red gingham and flowered hearts (in the bowl in the background) that I made last year.

I've put together a list of some other Valentine's Day freebies that you might like... There are 20 links below--hopefully, you'll find something quick to stitch for your Valentine! As always, with any freebies, I recommend printing them off as they often disappear from online over time.

"Happy Valentine's Day" from Stitch Wit

"Un Ago Tra i Fiori" by Cuore e Batticuore

 "Do Everything In Love" from Silver Creek Samplers 

"Stupid Cupid" by Brooke's Books 

"True Love" by Sub Rosa 

"Love Makes Me Happy" by Crocette a Gogò

"Love You Too" (and many more) by Cathy Habermann of Hands On Design 

"Be My Valentine" by Lizzie Kate 

"Heart Throb" by The Drawn Thread

"Be My Valentine" by Sandy at Stitchin' & Life in a Small Town

A trio of 3 Valentines by The Stitcherhood

"Be Mine" by Cottage Garden Samplings 

"Love Is All We Need" by Feathers in the Nest 

"All You Need Is Love" by The Drawn Thread

"Je T'aime" by The Drawn Thread 

"Love Never Fails"  by The Primitive Hare 

"Valentine" by The Primitive Hare 

"Coeur Mon Amour" by Passione Ricamo 

"Love" by La Comtesse & le Point de Croix 

"Waiting For Love" by La Comtesse & le Point de Croix 


I mentioned that I had completed a large (for me) finish in my last post. Well, just look at this handsome guy! At almost 9 inches tall, he is definitely the largest Santa I have stitched. This is the 2019 Twin Peak Santa from my friends at Twin Peak Primitives. I fell in love with that blue robe (DMC 930) as soon as I saw him and just had to stitch him. Of course, that sweet red cardinal perched on the end of his staff called my name, too. He is stitched on 40 ct. summer khaki Newcastle with good old DMC threads. I did make some color changes to better work with my fabric.

"2019 Twin Peak Santa" finish

Love the cardinal and the pretty blue robe!

The snowflakes were what I call a "happy mistake!" The chart originally had a bag of toys on the snow next to his staff, but I started the design in the wrong place and had to leave it out. I wanted to add a little something, though, so I basted a running stitch down each side of him and filled it with pretty snowflake designs found on some of my other charts and online. I love the final effect!

I added the snowflakes on each side

This one will be framed--and I think I have a frame right in my stash that might work well. I just have to decide if I want to paint it or not. 

He has such a gentle face, doesn't he? And I love the subtle shading in his beard.

What are you stitching this week? Have any of you begun spring stitching like I have? I'm so enjoying the pretty pastel colors and hope to have a new finish to share with you at the end of the month.

Giveaway winner... Wow! What a great response I had to last month's "Getting To Know You" question. I loved reading about your favorite quotes and have written down several of them (I keep a running list on my phone in Notepad so I can read them over whenever I need a lift). If you get a chance, go back to my previous post and read through the comments--lots of inspiration there! Thank you all for joining in! There were quite a few entries for the "Wintertime" chart by New York Dreamer and the name picked from the hat (well, really the bowl!) is...

Heritage Hall


Heritage Hall--you are the winner of this chart! Please email me with your mailing address and I'll get this out to you this week.


I was the lucky recipient of a lovely package of gifts from Kay! I had loaned Kay a couple of charts and she surprised me with a delightful thank you package. Kay made me three little project notebooks with matching floss drops. I love the sweet fabrics she chose and her work is absolutely meticulous!

Such wonderful thank you gifts from Kay!


Kay, obviously a multi-talented crafter, also made a very cute calendar for me with scrapbooking papers. Each month can be placed in the acrylic magnet which she included. Just look at all these twelve creative designs she came up with. The calendar now resides on my refrigerator and I hope to find more of those tiny monthly calendars to print up each month to use in future years. Thank you so very much, Kay--I love each and every gift.

An adorable new calendar page for each month! Thank you again, Kay--this is so special!

February travels...Well, the first of our February trips has come and gone and it was a bittersweet return to our family's flooded home in Naples, Florida. If you remember, Hurricane Ian flooded my husband's family home with four feet of water on September 28th. He and I emptied the house of its soggy, molding contents in mid-October (you can read about it in this post) and this month we concentrated on cleaning out the garage. It was much easier as we didn't have to deal with that revolting, smelly water this time around. We made very good progress and even had time for a couple of walks to check out the beach. 

As we walked to the beach, this statue captured my eye. It's called "Inner Dialogue" by Jim Rennert. The description online says it's "a metaphor to remind us of the subconscious conversations we are constantly having with ourselves." Love it!

Sadly, the beautiful Naples beach is still a bit of a mess. The beach access points were either closed or in a shambles from the hurricane. The foliage still looks beaten and gray. And the sand, once so white and pristine, seemed dirty and uneven.

This group of birds didn't seem to care that a hurricane had drastically changed the beach, though! Aren't they adorable?

It felt so good to feel the warmth of the sunshine and walk along the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico!

A trio of pretty white ibises scoured the waves looking for their next meal.

I thought there were more pretty shells  on the beach than in past years. Not sure if it was from the hurricane stirring up the waters and sand or what. When I got home, I photographed the ones I picked up on a piece of black Jobelan.

The shells that I picked up and photographed on the black fabric reminded me of a smaller version of this shell table. It was created by my husband's grandmother and passed down through the family. Unfortunately, it, too, was destroyed by Hurricane Ian in September.

Sadly, someone had broken into the Florida house and something very special to our family was stolen. Do you see this window-like opening into the bathroom? Well, that once contained a colorful stained glass window which was made by my mother-in-law and some rotten person came in and stole it. I mean, honestly... talk about adding insult to injury! We had planned on removing it on our next visit--we simply ran out of time in October. I just shake my head with disgust when things like this happen. They left other things that could have been stolen--light fixtures, faucets, etc. But, they stole the one thing that remained that had a personal significance to our family...

The empty space left by a thief who stole the beautiful stained glass window right out of the wall!
Thankfully, I had taken a photo of the stained glass when we were renting the house on Airbnb. My mother-in-law surely spent many, many hours creating this lovely window with the little fish swimming among the sea grasses. When I think of how the house used to look before the hurricane, I just have to block it out of my mind... it simply hurts too much. As I said many times before, it was a true blessing that neither my father-in-law or mother-in-law were alive to see what happened to their Florida home.

This stained glass window created by my mother-in-law was stolen from the flooded home in Florida some time over the past few months.
A poppet and some puppets... We arrived home from Florida last weekend and guess who arrived just three days later?! My grandson,"Mister B," and his mom and dad came for a four day visit! He just lights up our lives when he visits--life sure would be boring without him around! Here he is at a local "indoor playground" interacting with a puppet. He just had the biggest smile on his face!

A friendly wizard puppet...

Unfortunately, all puppets are not created equal and his experience at a Japanese puppet performance at the local children's museum the following day was the complete opposite. I think the performance was meant for older kids as he was terrified... He questioned if "the boy" was going to "get him," asked to "go home to Pompaw's and Nonna's house," and said he "wanted to hide." Poor little boy... I wasn't there, but my son and daughter-in-law obviously didn't stay for the entire performance. When he got home he told me all about the "boy who looked like a skeleton!"

... and a scary looking puppet--at least for a two-year-old!

So, it's been a busy February for us so far. My grandson is being baptized later this month so we'll be traveling for that as well. It should be interesting to see how he reacts to the priest and the holy water. Hmmm... I'll keep you posted! 

I want to remind everyone who has a question for me to please include your email address--or better yet, email me directly (my email address is in the my profile in the sidebar under "A Bit About Me").  I hope that, however you celebrate Valentine's Day, you enjoy yourselves. Eat some chocolate, watch a "feel-good" movie, treat yourself to a little something special--you deserve it! Take care my friends! Bye for now...