Thursday, May 25, 2023

Slowly getting back to normal

I think (notice, I said "think") this will be a short post for me as I'm still not feeling well after getting sick on Mother's Day 12 days ago! For months we've been working with my little grandson on sharing and, unfortunately, what he so generously "shared" with all of us that weekend, was his cold. And it was a bad one for some of us (raising my hand here!). Three days of a 101+° fever, ear pain, stomach issues, congestion, coughing, night sweats--ugh! I hadn't been sick since well before Covid started in early 2020 so I'd forgotten how yukky feeling sick really is. (Both my husband and I tested for Covid, too, but the tests came back negative). So... it was just one terrible cold/flu or something or other. I'm at the point now where I'm just coughing a bit and feeling very blah--absolutely no energy. I'd better find some soon, though, as my grandson is coming to visit next week for a few days! How are all of you doing? Spring allergies getting anyone down? I got lucky in that department and don't suffer from them, but everyone else in my family does.  

Stitching has been minimal, but I do have a couple of things to share with  you today. Thankfully, these were both finished before we went away for that (forgettable) Mother's Day weekend! My ornament for May is by Tralala and is called simply "Christmas Day." It had the prettiest border in the design, but I had to leave it off because I started the piece in the wrong place and I would have run out of room on the fabric. Luckily, it looks just fine without the border, don't you agree?

Tralala's "Christmas Day"

This is stitched "over one" on 25 ct. black Lugana with a mixture of overdyed and DMC threads. I did have to change some colors because of stitching on black. For the finish, I glued a mini pompom to Santa's cap and used some burgundy and white gingham fabric and tiny white rick rack to finish it into a pillow ornament. 

Don't you love the little bunny?

I then cut out a pair of holly leaves from sage green felt and added three button "berries" on the side for a little embellishment. Isn't it sweet? Here's a close-up for you:

A close-up of the holly I added


And, after at least 15 years, but possibly longer, comes this finish! I can't exactly say for sure when this was stitched, but I know it had to be between 2003 when I returned to stitching after a 10 year hiatus and 2009 when I began my blog. Who else stitched one of these sweet Valerie Pfeiffer bird designs? They were very popular in the early 2000s and they've retained their charm. This one is "Story Time" and features a trio of baby Golden-Crowned Kinglets (I believe!) perched on a branch. It is stitched on 28 ct. antique white Monaco and I'm sure I used the suggested colors because, way back then, I wouldn't have dared to vary from what was on the chart. How times have changed!

"Story Time" by Valerie Pfeiffer--finally framed after at least 15 years!

Anyway, I was looking through my boxes of thrifted frames when this one caught my eye. There are subtle shades of sage green in it and I thought that it just might work for the birds. It was a bit too narrow, but I actually like the effect. I wish you could see the colors in real life--the soft browns, yellows, and greens all play so nicely together and there is even a hint of pale purple! I have other Valerie Pfeiffer bird trios charts so expect to see more feathered fellows appearing in the future. 

Giveaway winner... I truly enjoyed reading your responses to my "Getting to Know You" question in my previous post about advice that your mothers had passed on to you. There were several folks who wanted the Sue Hillis chart "Home is Where Your Mom Is" and the name I pulled from the hat is...

Gabi in Germany!

Congratulations, Gabi--you are the winner!

Congratulations, Gabi! I will get this chart off to you sometime next week and I hope you'll keep the kindness going and pass it on to another stitcher after you are finished. And for those of you who didn't win... please check this space for future giveaways!

I'll leave you with some of the pretty flowers appearing in our yard this month. There is something so reassuring about spring flowers returning year after year, isn't there? In this uncertain world, they offer a sense of normalcy and continuity. 

May blooms in my garden (clockwise from top left): purple clematis, rhododendron, purple columbine and ferns, and Korean lilac

And this pretty scene is in front of the gate to our patio. My husband and I dug up several of these ferns to pass on to my son and daughter-in-law for their new home. The pink coral bells came from my mom and dad's garden many years ago and it will be nice to give them some of those, too, for their garden. I know they'll find a special spot for them! I have such fond memories of sitting on my parents' patio watching as wee hummingbirds darted to and fro gathering nectar from these delicate pink flowers...

Love the combination of ferns, blue salvia, and pink coral bells!

I hope everyone here in the U.S. has a relaxing Memorial Day weekend! We have no special plans although I'm sure my middle son and his girlfriend will come over for a cookout at some point. Hopefully, next time I post I'll be back to my old self. This illness sure took a lot out of me for some reason--I think it takes longer to recover when you are older. Do take care now and I thank you for stopping in today! Bye for now...

Wishing everyone a safe and relaxing Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

May moments

Hello there! Hope May is off to a wonderful start for everyone... Things are definitely improving (weather-wise) here and we are finally getting some sunny, warm days again. Oh, how I love them! As I've gotten older, I've begun to realize just how much my mood is affected when we have no sun--and sadly, I live in one of the least sunny parts of the U.S. Yes, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area is one of the worst for lack of sunshine according to this article in USA Today. Is your city on the list? I think we've had only three sunny days over the past two weeks! Am I ready to move? Let's just say I'm definitely keeping my options open!

I'm finishing up the larger summer piece that I hinted about in an earlier post so I really don't have any new stitching to share with you today. But, I do have a finally framed finish! After 12 years, I can proudly hang this Hillside Samplings piece, "Seasonal Samplings," on my wall! There is no excuse... I've even had the frame for at least a decade. Yes, really!

"Seasonal Samplings" stitched in 2011

Isn't it pretty? I have no excuse for not framing this one earlier except sheer laziness on my part. Well, that and the fear of trying to frame something with such a straight border. But, I'm very pleased with the final outcome--and you know what? It probably didn't take me longer than an hour to get it done! As always, I use this tutorial by "With Thy Needle and Thread's" Brenda Gervais to do my framing.

Finally framed 12 years later!

This sampler was stitched on 28 ct. natural brown linen and I remember loving the specialty stitches and "over one" stitching in each little block. If you'd like to read a more detailed post about this particular finish, you can find it right here. I thought you might enjoy seeing some close-ups of each season. Notice the alphabet, year, and my initials are all stitched "over one" as are the bunny and birds.

Spring--aren't those flowers interesting?

Summer--such a sweet baby bunny.

Fall--some cute Rhodes stitched apples.

Winter--love the lone red cardinal perched at the top of the pine tree.

Such a pretty timeless piece! I'm still auditioning spots in my home to hang it--the long thin frame presents a bit of a challenge in finding just the right place. Right now, I have it propped up on a bookshelf (where it just may stay permanently!). Who else is with me in procrastinating on your framing? I'm pretty good with finishing the smalls as I stitch them, but... I'm embarrassed to think about the number of larger pieces in my "to be framed" drawer. Some day, I'll show you the contents of the that drawer! But, I know that many of you follow the same philosophy that I do: "The joy is in the stitching."

In other stitching related news--I got my newest bound blog book back from the printer! It's a biggie--383 pages! I always combine two years worth of my posts into one book to save money. It is still expensive, but every now and then Blog to Print (where I order the books) has a very nice 50% off coupon. I would suggest signing up for their emails as that is how they deliver the best coupons. 

For the front of my latest book, I chose--what else--my Christmas tree! After all, that is how I first began blogging way back in January of 2009--by stitching an ornament each week. 

My 2021-2022 blog book

I dedicated this newest book to my dear grandmother. Past books have been dedicated to my husband, my sons, my mother, my grandson, and even to you--my sweet stitching and blogging friends!

It makes me so proud and happy to leaf through the pages and see all of my finishes in print form! My only complaint about these books is that the captions don't end up appearing right under the photos. But, otherwise, I can highly recommend this company. Here are some sample pages to give you an idea of how they print out. (Please note that the pages are white even though they appear blue in some of my photos).

So many memories from 2021 and 2022... the good, the bad, and the ugly!

The good: Mother's Day 2022

The bad: the flooding of our family home in Naples, Florida in September 2022

The ugly: the horrid powder post beetle found in one of my professionally framed finishes!

And let's not forget my favorite images of all--my sweet grandson, "Mister B."

Love having my grandson included in my blog book!

For the back cover, I chose one of my favorite finishes of 2022

And here is the whole stack of books from 2009-2022--eight inches tall! 

Hard to believe I've been blogging for 14 years now!

Giveaway time... I found a cute chart that is so appropriate for this time of year with Mother's Day falling on Sunday for those of us in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and parts of Europe. This chart was sent to me from the very generous Janet B. in Texas to use as a giveaway and I appreciate it so much! Who would like to win this Sue Hillis chart, complete with tiny charm? The charm is a little door with a wee key to be stitched onto the house where the front door should be--adorable! You could also change the word "mom" to something else, too (dad, dog, cat, etc.), if you desired. If you'd like to win this, please follow the guidelines below. I'll announce the winner on my next blog post--good luck to all!

I'm giving away this sweet chart and charm... Please follow the guidelines below to enter!

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

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

Getting to know you... Since the chart is a mom themed one, here is my question for today: I am wondering if you have one piece of advice that your mom gave you that you really value or learned from? My mom drummed into me just how important it is to look a person in his or her eye and say "thank you" after receiving a compliment. I was a very shy child (which honestly hasn't changed even as an adult), and I had a very hard time accepting compliments. I would always brush them off and look down at the ground. But, over time, I learned to look directly at the person, thank them, and simply accept their kind words. I still have a difficult time with praise, but I try my best to be gracious and simply accept it! How about you? Do you have any wise advice from your mom that has stuck with you over time?

Life update... Sadly, the pain from my husband's "tennis elbow" hasn't lessened at all. It has now been 5 weeks and nothing has helped. It's so hard for him, especially since his left arm (where the shoulder was replaced) is healing so well. He went from being unable to use one arm to being unable to use the other. But, the good news is we will be seeing our grandson for Mother's Day weekend which will surely bring a smile to our faces. To be honest, this will be a difficult Mother's Day for me because May 14th will also mark, what would have been, my dear mother's 96th birthday. And then my mother-in-law would have turned 95 the following day. So, yes... we very much need the diversion a toddler can offer to help with the inevitable sad moments. We're counting the days as you can imagine--it's been almost three months since we last saw the little fellow!

I want to thank all of you who looked for the burgundy checked ribbon I mentioned needing in my previous post. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find it. A couple of you said they might have it, but didn't leave email addresses so I have no way of getting in touch with you. That's okay... there are certainly more pressing problems in this world, right? Thank you for visiting today--I'm so happy you're here and I hope you know how much I appreciate your kind words and emails. I wish all of you who are celebrating Mother's Day a beautiful weekend. It's a time of mixed emotions for those of us who have lost our moms, but I'm going to try to remember the happy times we once shared. I hope you can, too. Bye for now...

♥ This post was written in memory of my dear mother who would have celebrated her 96th birthday on May 14th, 2023. This photo of her  was taken with 4-month-old baby Carol on her 28th birthday in 1955.