Good day, all! It's a gloomy, chilly Friday here in southwestern Pennsylvania so I thought I'd finally sit down and write a new post. It's been over three weeks since I last checked in--have you missed me? I haven't been in much of a blogging mood--or even a stitching mood--lately. I just can't seem to settle and focus for some reason. Is it because it's spring? Who knows... Anyway, I hope you've all had a good month and are looking forward to May's arrival on Monday.
I did manage to stitch and finish one sweet Spring piece this month. I seem to be on a bird kick lately and am finding myself more and more drawn to charts that feature our feathered friends. This charming little design is by Homestitchness on Etsy. Unfortunately, Jenny's shop seems to be on a break right now, but you can sign up to be notified when it returns by clicking here. "Springtime Greetings" is such a perfect design for the season, don't you think? I mean what says spring more than the arrival of robins and daffodils? I stitched it on 40 ct. platinum Newcastle linen using all of the suggested threads (except for one of the colors in the urn which I changed from DMC 3776 to DMC 976).
|"Spring Greetings" by Homestitchness on Etsy|
I found a frame in my stash (99 cents from Goodwill!) that fit perfectly. This is such an easy finish... Simply cover a piece of sticky board with fabric for the background. Gather your stitched piece into a round shape (I just use a glass or a bowl to trace a round shape onto the backing board to get the desired size) using this tutorial. Then, glue the round ornament on to the fabric-covered piece of sticky board, add cording around the perimeter (I use Aleene's Tacky Glue applied lightly with a toothpick), and top with a pretty bow to hide where the ends of the cording meet. Doesn't it look darling on the bookshelf in my family room?
|A bright pop of yellow on my bookshelf!|
My ornament for April is from the Prairie Schooler booklet called "Old World Santas" (book no. 80). I've stitched three of the Santas from that booklet so far and am finishing them all the same way. They're stitched on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle linen with DMC threads. I did change a few of the colors and am using what I consider the classic Prairie Schooler Santa color, DMC 221, for the robe. The green I'm using for these is DMC 501. I left off the bottom border as I wanted an oval finish and added Smyrna stitched snowflakes in the background. Love the final effect. A lot of folks think that the fabric is printed that way--nope! It's all stitched... It takes a while, but is totally worth it in the end!
|April 2023 ornament finish|
|Three down, five to go!|
I do have a problem, though--I am almost out of the ribbon I've been using to finish these ornaments and I still have five left to stitch! Does anyone have this particular ribbon on hand? I don't need much--maybe a couple of feet. I believe it was sold at Michael's (here in the United States) last year or the year before. Please let me know if you have any to spare--I'd be happy to pay you for it! Here is a close-up:
|Does anyone have to have any extra ribbon like this?|
Pouch fever! I seem to be finding myself more and more drawn to making simple zipper pouches. This month I made two of them using the tutorial from Erica Arndt on YouTube which you can find right here. Now, I am not a confident sewer (or sewist, if you prefer--there is an interesting discussion in this Threads Magazine article on whether to call yourself a "sewer" or "sewist"), but I find this to be a very straightforward tutorial. I love the added zipper tabs--not only do they look cute with the contrasting fabric, but they finish off the top so nicely. The final size of these pouches is approximately 4" high by 9" long. Next, I'd like to try sewing a larger one with boxed corners to help it stand up easily. Wish me luck!
|Making these little pouches is rather addicting!|
|I hope "Mister B" likes his new treasure pouch.|
And I knew this blue and white fabric would be perfect for a new pouch in which to keep my stitching necessities. The fabric was a gift from a fellow stitcher (many years ago) and I absolutely love the scissors and strawberries that are featured on it. For the interior and the zipper tabs, I used one of my husband's old dress shirts (I have plenty of them to cut up and use now that he's retired!).
|Those old dress shirts of my husband's sure come in handy for the linings and backs of projects!|
So what do I consider my necessities for my stitching pouch? Well, I am a real minimalist when it comes to my stitching. I don't use hoops or frames to hold my stitching and I don't use needleminders. So... this is it: needles, a pen (thanks Vickie!), scissors (thanks, April!), a seam ripper, and a corner measuring ruler (thanks, Robin!). How about you? Do you stitch with lots of extras or are you more of a minimalist like me?
|I just love my new stitching pouch!|
Giveaway winner... I was pleased to see so many entries for the "John 3:16 Sampler" that I offered in my last post. I think this is one of those pieces that will be much prettier stitched up than it appears in the photo, don't you? The winner's name pulled from the hat is...
|JustPam--you are the winner of this pretty chart!|
Congratulations JustPam, please send me your mailing address (my email is in the right sidebar--just click on "A Bit About Me" and you will find it). I'll get this chart out to you next week--hope you enjoy stitching it! And for those of you who didn't win... keep an eye on this space for future giveaways!
So, about the title of today's post... Yes, April has been a month of ups and downs. Nothing unbearably sad, thank goodness. Just the normal twists and turns of life. Let's start with the downs:
* My husband now has tennis elbow in his "good" arm (the one that didn't have the shoulder replacement surgery). He overused it and is suffering for it. Does anyone have any experience with helping "tennis elbow" heal faster?
* My son and his girlfriend who were both here for Easter, came down with Covid two days later. They have no idea where they got it as they hadn't even been at any gatherings. They had gone to the grocery store and a thrift store, but that's it! Both are recovering, but it was a rough go for a while. Fortunately, neither my husband nor I came down with it. I am now the last member of my immediate family not to have contracted Covid. I'm sure I will at some point, but I hope not...
* I just came back from the dentist yesterday--need a new crown. Honestly, it's always something with my poor teeth. I try and try to take good care of them, but...
* I haven't seen my little grandson in over two months now. What can I say :( We didn't dare have him around my husband after his shoulder replacement surgery as he is so active. Boy, do we miss that little fellow!
* The weather... So many ups and downs, but it's been an awfully cold and gloomy second half of April. We've had frosts on several nights, but have managed to cover our plants and vegetables up so they are safe (for now!).
On the flip side, there were some nice moments happening in April as well...
* I've been enjoying the most beautiful cut flowers from my husband's garden. He planted tulip and daffodil bulbs last fall and these are the stunning results.
|Love the peachy/rosy color of the tulips!|
|Blue, yellow, and white--one of my favorite color trios!|
* My oldest son, daughter-in-law, and grandson have bought a house! They were thrilled to find one in the Potomac, Maryland neighborhood (where they are currently renting) and will move in September. I'm having a lot of fun looking for decorating/remodeling ideas for them.
* We have a little visitor each morning peering into my husband's den window. Such a cutie--he's not doing any harm, just seems very interested in what may be going on inside!
|"Well, hello there, Mr. Robin!"|
* We have high hopes that we'll see our grandson in mid-May for Mother's Day! Hopefully, my husband's shoulder and elbow will both be feeling better by then. Right now, "Mister B" is enjoying a long weekend in Naples, Florida with his mom and dad. Looks like he's really having a wonderful time capturing who-knows-what in that net!
|Mister B in Naples, Florida. I wonder what he's caught in his little net!|
So, April comes to an end... I love the month of May and the warmer weather that (usually) accompanies it. I want to welcome my new followers and thank my regulars for your sweet comments and emails. I can't always respond to each of you, but I hope you know how much I appreciate you taking the time to say "hello!" Enjoy your weekend everyone and I'll see you again in the merry, merry month of May! Bye for now...