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...



In some ways I was like you--but it was before I could go to sleep--I would lay awake for hours 'thinking' regretting planning wondering worrying--finally I started visualizing a different life--I have always wanted a house in the country with animals and gardens--so I would design my country house, then the barn and then my animals and gardens--I plan which day I would bake the homemade bread--I would picture a little country church right down the road, I had 3 dogs and lots of kittens--rabbits, chickens, goats, lambs a horse-I would quilt on my front porch while I watched the birds at the feeders--and on and on--I soon found out I was falling asleep too soon and sleeping through the night--and now--I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow--I do miss my 'farm planning' each night now!! I have no idea if this will help--but maybe figuring out one of your 'dreams' that you have not been able to do in real life and working on building it when you wake up in the middle of the night will help--hugs, di

diamondc said...

Happy End Of Summer carol: The weather has been strange everywhere, here in Minnesota we have been without humidity but loads of high temps and very little rain.
I love the design the leaves would also drive me crazy, I am looking forward to seeing how you construct it.
Oh my good ness, I remember when your grandson was born the years fly by, I also remember your mother holding her great grandchild, what a beautiful memory of them both together.
Your garden photos are lovely.
Congratulations to Barbara on the win.
What a lovely package you received from Arizona friend.
I can only add that when I cannot fall asleep, I have fond memories about my family before they passed away, this helps me, it may not be for other people.


Stasi said...

Carol, I have the same problem waking up, but around 3:30AM. I too lay there and can't turn my brain off. UGH!!! I heard recently about a melatonin tablet that is meant to be taken if you wake in the middle of the night. I haven't tried it yet, but may, because lack of sleep really gets to me. I know people who get up and watch TV, or read or stitch, but I just can't seem to pull myself out of bed to do that. Please let me know if you find a solution.
Your finish is wonderful and I too love the little couples depicted in different times...very clever!

Jackie's Stitches said...

Congratulations on your Land of the Free finish! It's beautiful and like you, I love the couples and how their dress changes.

I've had trouble sleeping for years and years. I have to take a rx now. Something that isn't habit forming. I'm still working so a bad night makes a really miserable work day. For a while what worked for me was saying my ABCs and saying what I was grateful for that started with each letter. After a while, that just didn't work. I also tell myself that one night bad sleep isn't the end of the world and if I can't get back to sleep that is ok. That didn't really work for me but my Dr said it worked for him. He's a lot younger than me though and I think bad nights don't make him feel hungover all day like it does me. I hope you find something that works and I hope you share with your fellow sleep deprived stitchers! xoxo

grandma sandy said...

My husband thinks the yellow flower is a Double Flower Calibrachoa, but he said he didn't have the right glasses on so he wasn't positive.

Sandy said...

The stitch is lovely and unique with the couples outside each house. Great choice and beautiful stitching.
My oldest started real VPK this year. He has done well, but the first few days he was exhausted. He is loving it now. Those grand boys are just amazing, aren't they? This summer has been one of the hardest in many years. A series of obstacles and emotions and it has worn me down. It is also truly the hottest on record ever here in our corner. It has worn me out in more ways than one and I feel sort of like I missed summer. I am not enjoying that feeling at all. I am hoping to get to a more doable pace in the next 2 months. I still have lots of doctor appointment for Mama and the house is going up for sale next Friday if I can get it all done. It was good to see a post from you. I have to admit I have read very few blogs this summer. I hope to rectify that as well in a few months. Take care and enjoy the cooler temps, but let's hold onto the sunshine.

Gabi said...

Same problem to me. Sometimes I wake up and have a melody in my head. Awake for 1-2 hours and then, fall asleep again. Then the day is very long.
Your stitching is as beautiful as ever. I like the house on the right side.
Well, summer was quite ok this year. Not too hot but wet. The weatherman sais: Normal.
Wish you a wonderful week and happy stitching.
Hugs, Gabi

MartinaM said...

Beautiful, your summer stitch, the colors you have chosen harmonize very nicely with each other, so that there is a harmonious picture.
Oh yes, I know that too, the little moments that bring you out of the deep and little things that put a smile on your face. You often don't need much other than such surprising gestures.
Unfortunately I can't give you any advice, I don't have the problem with insomnia yet, sometimes it takes me a little longer to fall asleep, but mostly it's pretty quick and I don't wake up until the morning. I hope you find some good advice that will help you.
I don't have much to do in September, a doctor's visit is everything, I would like to visit my father-in-law, otherwise it will be quiet.
Enjoy your September
Hugs, Martina

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Happy Friday, Carol. Your stitch is absolutely gorgeous. How teeny your stitches are and so beautiful as well. It is hard to choose a favorite home. Such a sweet gift to brighten your day. Simple acts of kindness can have such an affect on one's mood. I hope you have the most lovely holiday weekend. Hugs.

Kay said...

I suffered from sleep problems for years and would be exhausted in the mornings, it was getting back to sleep which was the problem as my mind would go into overdrive thinking about so many things. I now follow some advice from a soldier, it’s what they were taught to help them get sleep through all kinds of background noise. When I wake up I immediately start going through the alphabet with three boys names beginning with A and then three girls names beginning with A, then onto B etc. It sounds simple but it concentrates the mind. After a few weeks of practice I found that it was helpful. At first I would get to the end of the alphabet and start again but now I rarely get halfway through the alphabet, my mind has been trained to do nothing else and it triggers sleep. So now my body knows this it must sleep when this happens. I still wake up but rarely have problems getting back to sleep. X

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
deinen fertige Stickerei sieht bezaubernd aus. Die gewählten Farben passen so gut zueinander. Mein Favourit ist das blaue Haus.
Eine schöne Freude hat dir deine Freundin bereitet. Bestimmt wirst du passende Stickereien für die Rahmen haben.
Im September kommt unsere Tochter für 14 Tage zu uns. Wir planen einen Ausflug und werden sie später zurückfahren zu ihrem Studienort.
Have a nice time in September and a big Hugs, Manuela

Jill at emeraldcottage said...

Your stitchery is gorgeous! I love the white house the best I think

Marilyn said...

Land of the Free looks fabulous Carol, your color changes work well.
Yes, sad that the designer passed away.
What great goodies you've received!
I have the same problem here.
I can fall asleep a chair!
Then when I go to bed, I lay there for an hour or 2 trying to fall asleep.
Then I wake up at 3.4:00, & can't fall asleep for the life of me.
I've tried Melatonin with little effect.
Maybe we all can't sleep because of what's going on in the world.
Your flowers are gorgeous.
I found a Weigela bush here when we moved in.
Apparenly no one had trimmed it......ever.
After I trimmed it in the Fall, it now blossoms every year!
It has beautiful, tiny pink & white flower every Spring now.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing all your beautiful & inspiring stitched works of art. This one really speaks to me because I’ve sent a husband to dangerous war zones too many times. We enjoy our time together now in retirement.
I too sometimes wake in middle of night. My mom had an Eastern Indian friend who recommended a cup of hot milk with curry powder sprinkled in—I added a bit of honey, and Golden Milk powder (health food store) that has a blend of turmeric, dates & herbs.
When I can’t shut my mind off, I also read about an hour, sipping my warm comforting milk. Then I seem to fall asleep again when I return to bed.
A dr recommended melatonin also—the plain one didn’t work, but her suggested time-release one does the trick. If my mind won’t calm down, I resort to my warm milk above.
I enjoy your blog SO very much! Thanks for your time in producing it! Love your photography—obviously another artistic talent. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m touring your garden 🤭
Also, as we live in SW FL now, I appreciate you talking about seasons changing. I miss that.
I would live to stitch your Land of the Free—sad we lost such a talented designer.
Take care, Ellen M

Isabel para ALROMASAR said...

The embroidery is absolutely wonderful, Carol!!!.
I loves those little couples that mark the change of time with their wardrobe.
Your garden looks beautiful at this time.
I wish you a happy month of September. Hugs

Wendy Madden said...

I also have been suffering from insomnia for a few years now. Same M.O.: waking up around 3 am and then can't get back to sleep! I also tried melatonin, which worked for a while, then stopped working. I then bought Unisom SleepTabs and found that they really helped keep me asleep, at least for about 5 hours. I stopped taking them after about 2 weeks and then began a new sleep regimen of going to bed earlier, no later than 9:30 pm, and I find I will fall asleep fast and STAY asleep until about 4 or 5 am! That's a win for me! So, maybe you should try getting to bed earlier and see if that helps? Good luck!


Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing your stitching and stories. The piece is a lovely tribute to those who have sacrificed so much. It’s a little sad though that throughout time we have been sending our loved ones to war and haven’t yet found a better way. As for sleeping, I turn on a podcast or audiobook that isn’t too interesting and one in which the narrator has a calm voice not punctuated with bursts of laughter. The volume has to be low. I set the shutoff timer for 10 minutes and tuck the phone next to me. (Usually I have to reset the timer a few times.) My mind settles listening to someone else talk. That helps me fall asleep as I have trouble setting aside worries at night, too.

Christina DErrico said...

Hi Carol,
First of all as always I absolutely love your stitching and finishing! On the piece with the houses I love them all, if I had to choose one it would be the blue house.. I know how much you wanted your hydrangeas to flower and I am so glad they did! They are gorgeous! As far as the insomnia I have two things that help me. One is celestial seasonings sleepy time tea right before bed and the other is two pills called NewMood from Onnit they are all natural a little expensive but they work in calming your mind. I don’t do both the tea and the pills on the same night. Good luck my friend ♥️

Robin in Virginia said...

Your patriotic finish is a beauty, Carol. Love the couples in this one! The leaves look like they would be a pain to stitch. Hard to believe that Mr. B is heading off to pre-school in a few days. I usually get up and read (usually a magazine) for an hour or so before returning to slumber land. Sometimes, it works and other times, it doesn't. When I am running on empty the next day, I try to keep busy and avoid napping. I hope you figure out something that works for you. Enjoy this Labor Day weekend!

Barbara said...

As always, you have blessed us with another beautiful blog post. That cardinal frame is very pretty. Gary has a cardinal that his uncle carved and painted for him. It sits on a shelf in his office. The flower photos you've included are beautiful, as well.

Insomnia -- I think this must be a real common problem for people in our age range. Why else would Mr. Huckabee advertise his product for it on TV?!!! (smile)

I, like you, have similar sleep patterns and it is a bothersome problem. All summer I've been taking 1 or 2 Ashwaghanda capsules about an hour before going to bed. It took a few nights for this herb to seem to make a difference, but I am now finding that it helps. Find it in the vitamin/supplement/herb section of most grocery stores, Walmart, etc.

A friend of mine who was recently widowed by told by her doctor to give it a try. She and I have both benefitted from it.

Gail L. said...

Hello Carol,
I really enjoy your blog.
I also have a problem shutting off my brain. What has helped me is to get comfortable in my bed and then think about and even say “blank wall, blank wall, blank wall”. Please don’t scoff, try it. It really works! I don’t need any more medications in my life and this is free! Don’t give up. Just try to relax and focus on a huge blank wall or start small, but think blank wall. Hope this helps you 😊.

Anonymous said...

It's me! Barbara from Wolverine Lake. THANK YOU for selecting me as the winner! I sent you an email with my address. I am so appreciative and thank you very much! xoxo

butterfly said...

Hi My lovely friend, another lovely post .
WoW look at those beautiful flowers .
Your wonderful stitching , love the design .
I think when we get older we need less sleep, I use to have 9 hours now I have about 6to7 . I find if I go to early I think to much.
Sometimes I will go up after lunch and read a book and rest for an hour.
But I know what you mean with all the bad things in the world it's hard to close your mind to it.
Enjoy your September, and all your family gatherings.
Big hugs June.

Solstitches said...

Beautiful stitching Carol. It’s such a lovely design and very poignant with the little couples saying their goodbyes.
You garden has been ablaze with the most gorgeous display of flowers. So, so lovely.
My remedy for sleeplessness is to listen to an audio book. It works like a charm and gets me off to sleep every time.
Happy weekend,
Margaret x

Anonymous said...

Have you tried meditating? I use an app called Ten Percent Happier which has some great sleep meditations. I also find that meditation helps me to control my mind better so it doesn’t control me. It can be very calming!

marly said...

My sister was sleeping by 11 and not up until 9 in long term care. Found out she was taking 5 mg Melatonin which is not an RX so was not delivered with her meds. Since arriving back home, she is up ALL night. Doc said to try 5 mg Melatonin every night at home for 2 weeks, see if it helps, up to 10 mg if needed. Another mentioned was ... Valerian? He feels her life changes are causing worry and not allowing her mind to rest, without even realizing it. I hope you find a solution, insomnia is miserable. Maybe the pre school and new house are thoughts in the background?

That stitchery is wonderful and until you mentioned it, I was unaware of the couple's eras!

Jutta said...

Dear Carol,
oh, a beautiful embroidery, such pretty houses and couples, just adorable and you have embroidered and photographed the pattern perfectly!!!! The garden photos turned out great too.
I'm glad your friend was able to cheer you up with her package, that's friendship.
I also suffered from sleeping problems, melathonin spray helps me a lot, when I wake up in the night I took two sprays in my mouth, then drink a sip of water, otherwise I don't like the coffee in the morning and I fall asleep within 15 minutes on again.
Love regards, Jutta

Anonymous said...

Where have I been? Just found your blog. I knew it had to be a good one if people are leaving comments- rare these days!
Your stitching is inspiring! I’m back to it after many years away raising my sons as a single parent. They are all grown and gone and the evenings were needing a hobby. I quilt too but after sitting at a desk all day, just can’t sit at a sewing machine in the evening.
I too am in the insomnia club. It comes and goes and just when I think I got it licked, it comes back. So I cycle through a combination of almost all the wonderful suggestions you already got here (most recently for me increasing B Complex and magnesium) and something will work and break the cycle for a while. So I guess my suggestion is to not worry if it’s something that won’t totally go away. That just adds to your stress!

Cathy H. said...

First of all, I love your header piece and your finishing with the tiny spools!
Your summer piece is beautiful! I just love houses in stitched pieces. The red one is my favorite. I wouldn't mind living in it! I also love those little people!
While you've had a nice cool summer, we've had record heat and high humidity. It has been a rough summer for me and I'll certainly be glad for cooler weather! Along with the draining heat I got Covid in August. Even with my vaccinations I had a bad case that developed into a sinus infection. So, I'm really dragging! The good part of that is I don't have the enerty to go anywhere, so there's time for stitching!
So sorry to hear about your insomnia! Maybe some of the advice given here will help!
Enjoy your September!

Faith... said...

Carol, I love the piece you just finished! All your changes look great (as always) and I love how you they ended up being red, white and blue and I think your colors are better than the display. I also love how the couple was portrayed which each home. I can just imagine the pain in the butt stitching the leaves, but they look good.

What a nice RAK from your friend! Congratulations on your win Barbara! I am no help with the insomnia. I have asked the doctor and she just says 'take some melatonin' but that doesn't seem to worK! That is my jigsaw puzzle time since I am up and I can do it in my room and not bother anyone.

Oh Mr. B is a student now! I am sure he will enjoy it as he will get to explore all kinds of new things. I will be praying for you and your DH regarding the Memorial Service. It can be hard to get through but remember you will always have your happy memories to think about when you think of them. Hugs to you.

Leonore Winterer said...

Hi Carol, how lovely to read from you again! Your stitching is lovely as usual, although this piece is a little too military-patriotic for my tasts, so I personally wouldn't stitch it.
I'm sorry to hear you have been feeling down, despite the gorgeous summer weather - I am team 'can't wait for autumn', but we are currently stuck in a late heat wave! Hope you will start to feel better soon.
The only help I can give with insomnia is that I have heard it helps to not just do something (like reading), but actively get out of bed, read for half an hour, then go back and try again. Apparently, if you are laying in bed restless too often, your subconcious stops connection the bed with restful sleep, and it can get worse!
Good luck for your September. I got some travels planned (a stitching retreat next week, then visiting a friend later this month) and hope ot'll be a nice and quiet month otherwise!

Anonymous said...

I Love your stitching!it Is so very pretty.
I’ve experienced many nights where sleep was elusive, for lots of different reasons.
Something that helps me sleep is reading from the Bible , prayer, & journaling. Those help me feel calmer. If I write my worries etc. down, somehow it’s like giving mind permission to rest since it’s on paper. I can always come back to it the next day if it’s something really pressing on my mind.
If I don’t want to write because I think it might take too long I tell myself to just write one thing down.
I also like to write something positive or something I liked about my day. Sometimes I have to stretch to find that positive thing but it’s always there.
I hope this is helpful!

Shelly said...

I have insomnia too Carol. With me it's music that runs through my head, especially one particular song! Drives me nuts! I'm doing the melatonin gummies and Benadryl but I figure it's better than the Advil PM, the Sleeve PM, and so on and so on that i was taking. I have the pattern of your finish and want to start it one day. I like the white house. So sorry to hear of the loss of the designer's husband. I hate cancer. I hope things get easier for you, maybe the changing of the season will help with the melancholy. Take care Carol!

Katie said...

What a beautiful piece. So you. Haha. Which is a compliment indeed. How sweet of your friend to send you a beautiful package. Yes I know exactly what you mean about when you need it something happens. Just perfect. Well deserved. Love the red frames.

Oh I've had such sleep problems and tried everything. Mine was stress related. I try to get my mind to settle. Sometimes I can. Boy sometimes I can't. I sure hope you can find what eases your mind and lets you rest. Rest is so important.

Beautiful flowers. Have a wonderful September. I'm have so much stitching fun with the daily letter challenge. In love with my stitching. In love with life. Yes I have some bad days but so many more great days. So I count my blessings. Hugs sweet friend.

Bluebird said...

Another lovely post. What a wonderful stitching finish, too. You always choose such great projects, and your stitching is beautiful. I'm sorry to hear of your issues with insomnia; I have had that at times as well, but unfortunately have never come up with a good solution. I hope that some of the advice here will help you, and things will improve. I hope your sweet grandson has been enjoying starting preschool, and that he's adjusting well to all the changes. I hope that September has been a good month for you so far. Take care.