Friday, September 29, 2023

Four days that turned into two weeks...

Well, once again, I've only managed to produce one meager blog post for an entire month! I do have a good excuse, though... My trip to help my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson with their move to their newly renovated home in mid-September ended up being "just a bit" longer than I expected--ten days longer, in fact! I'll get into more details later in this post, but I know many of you are only here for the stitching so let's get to that first...

Before I left to help with the move, I was able to stitch this darling squirrel couple, but only got to the finishing today. "Autumn's Acorn Gathering" by With Thy Needle and Thread is stitched on 40 ct. summer khaki Newcastle linen with a mix of overdyed threads and DMC. I did change a few colors--primarily the blue of Mrs. Squirrel's frock and the pinstripes of Mr. Squirrel's britches where I used GAST Dungarees.

Such a charming couple!

I finished each one as a simple pillow with handmade cording in DMC 3033 which coordinated with the apron and the shirt. Tip: to get the ends of the cording to look nice, I iron the ends, sort of "comb through" them with the tip of my scissors, and then iron again. Then I carefully cut the edges as straight as possible with very sharp scissors.

I left off the jack-o-lantern face on the pumpkin basket--just wanted it to be more fall themed than Halloween. I also omitted the thread bow on her dress.

There is some satin stitching on the acorns and on the wings of the crow. I love these special touches that Brenda Gervais adds to her always charming designs!

Aren't his little suspenders the cutest? And how about that spiffy orange striped tie!

I haven't had a chance to do much fall decorating yet, but I did manage to set up this little display in a corner of my sunroom. I'm hoping to do more fall decorating next week. The brown carved wooden squirrels (on the right) belonged to my maternal grandmother and I collected the tiny acorns last week when we took my grandson to a local park for an afternoon.

The extent of my fall decorating so far!


So, there you have it--the extent of my September stitching! I didn't even manage to get my monthly Christmas ornament finished (although it is stitched). Hopefully, October will be a bit more productive in terms of stitching...

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband's extended family gathered for a memorial service for his parents on September 9th. Two of my nieces planned a truly special day for 40 of us that included the graveside interment of ashes, lunch afterward at a botanical garden, and a wonderful dinner (filled with lots of family stories) at a nearby restaurant. We saw relatives we hadn't seen in ten years so it was a very special celebration of my in-laws' lives. In between lunch and dinner we all took a walk in the woods near my in-laws' old home to spread some of their remaining ashes.  It was a cloudy, cool day, but just as my brother-in-law released the ashes near a beautiful old tree, the sun came shining through the clouds illuminating the remains as they drifted through the air. I drew a sharp breath and turned to my niece saying, "Did you see that?" "Yes," she replied with a smile and glistening eyes. I do believe in signs from our loved ones who have gone before us and this was definitely one.

The woods where my in-laws' ashes were scattered is so pretty and peaceful.


On Sunday, the day after the memorial service, we hopped into the car for the four hour drive to Maryland to help with my oldest son's move to his newly remodeled home. We cleaned out cupboards and closets, packed boxes, and gave the house one last cleaning. We worked from dawn to dusk on Monday as the movers were coming on Tuesday--there was so, so much to be done! Thankfully, their new home was just around the corner from the home they had been renting for the past two years so the movers didn't have far to go. After the truck was unloaded, we quickly realized that there was no way we could sleep in their new home due to the overwhelming odor of polyurethane on the newly refinished floors so we headed to a hotel. It was nice to just take a shower and relax in a calm, dust-free environment for a night. 

The next morning we were back at it, unpacking and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning (dust was everywhere as the entire home has hardwood floors that had been sanded). And... all while the workmen who have been doing the remodeling for the past five months were still there! We soon realized that four days was not long enough to make even a dent in the unpacking/cleaning/organizing/setting up a working home so I decided to stay longer while my husband left for home. He had to take care of a home improvement project that was scheduled at our own house that Monday. My son and daughter-in-law were extremely thankful for me extending my visit and said they couldn't have managed without me--I was so glad I was able to be there for them. 

Packing up the kitchen for the move. My son and daughter-in-law will definitely not miss that galley kitchen in their rental home!

All did not go without a hitch, though... the toilet for their primary bathroom arrived cracked, the dryer was delivered with big dents on both sides, the existing vent isn't large enough for the new stove, light fixtures were installed in the wrong location, etc., etc. Worst of all, they have no heat! The plumber who was supposed to call the gas company about connecting the gas line neglected to do so and it can take months. The previous home owner had oil heat, but my son had the oil tank removed never dreaming that it would take this long to connect to gas.  But, I have faith that eventually they will have a lovely home. It may be a while until they can purchase furniture, but they'll get there!

The outside of the house is looking great as a landscaper and his crew gave the home a quick makeover (it only took a day plus a few hours!). This is their new home--isn't it pretty? It's big, but they need all that space as my son and daughter-in-law work from home so they both need offices. And, of course, they need a guest room for us :) All of those big overgrown shrubs were removed and the sidewalk was replaced. The whole look is much cleaner and tidier, and best of all-- none of these plantings require much maintenance. We were all very pleased and the neighbor across the street liked it so much, he came over and asked the landscaper to do the exact same thing at his house!

My little grandson is, unfortunately, having a bit of trouble adjusting to the move. The house is much bigger than their rental home and I think Mister B is feeling a bit lost in it. He was very clingy--only wanted mommy or daddy and wouldn't even let me or my husband care for him. He did let us pick him up from pre-school one day and take him for an outing at a local park for a few hours. It was so nice to just relax away from the workmen and the chaos and stress of the move for a few hours.

Mister B loves to check for mail each day at his new house!

My husband drove back down to pick me up, stayed a few extra days, and we finally got home last weekend, tired, but fulfilled. We both enjoy doing projects that make a difference and that have a beginning and end. We put up curtain rods and hung curtains, replaced light switches, hung a new light fixture, did a mini-makeover on the guest bathroom with my daughter-in-law, hung pictures, etc. And since returning home--guess what?! That insomnia that I wrote about in my last post has just about disappeared. I so appreciate all of your suggestions on how to deal with it. I think, for me, I just needed to make sure that their move was over and they were safely in their home and then I could relax and not stay up half the night worrying about them!

My husband and I took a drive yesterday and discovered a wonderful walking path at a nearby park. It was so peaceful strolling through the woods as the sun drifted through the slowly-turning leaves.


A beautiful fall day for a walk in the woods

More signs... As we walked, my husband spied some round things on the ground, "Look at those walnuts." I didn't think they were big enough to be walnuts so we stomped on a few and cracked them open. They were hickory nuts--something I should have recognized as my childhood home had two huge hickory trees in the front yard. Each fall, my mom would settle all of us kids at the kitchen table cracking the nuts to make her once-a-year hickory nut cake. It took forever as there is very little nutmeat in each one, but the result was worth all the effort!

Hickory nuts and maple leaves--memories of mom.

I'd been really missing my mom lately and just know that those hickory nuts were a sign from her. And if that wasn't enough proof, as I walked back to the car after our walk (hickory nuts safely stuffed in my pocket), I heard a mother calling to her little girl on the playground, "Way to go, Elinor!" Again, I smiled to myself--Elinor was my mother's name. Thank you, mom--I love that you are still here watching over me when I most need you. How about you? Do you believe in signs from beyond? 

That was a long post! Yikes... I hope some of you are still reading along. We are expecting one last week of summer weather ahead (with temperatures in the high 70s) and I'm so happy. I dread the cooler, darker days that are coming. Hopefully, I'll be back a couple of times in October--that is always my goal--to blog twice a month--but sometimes, life interferes. That's okay--I wouldn't have traded those two weeks helping my son's family for anything. But, it sure did feel good to plop down in my stitching chair once we returned! I broke the cardinal rule of stitching: ABC (Always Bring Cross stitch!) when I went to help them move. I never dreamed I would be gone for so long and I think that is the longest period I've gone without stitching in 20 years! Remember that when you travel somewhere: ABC! Happy October, my friends--hope it is a good month for each of you. Bye for now...


Gabi said...

Hello, what a lovely post and all the best to your son and family in their new home.
I let thoughts about moving passing because the attic and the cellar is full. Oh my Gosh, all the toys of my kids are still there and Mummy has in everything a memory.
Well Carol, about signs from beyond. YES I believe in that and I think there is someone watching over me. There were some occasions to me.
Fall is lovely, we had the warmest September since years and you can still sit in the garden.
Wish you a wonderful fall and look forward to your next post.
Warm greetings, Gabi

MartinaM said...

The squirrel couple is really cute, like grandma and grandpa. What a beautiful ceremony, a blessed moment. What a great idea for a funeral service.
Yes, such a move has it all, but they are rewarded with a nice house and can now take it easy.
Oh yes, I also think there is someone who watches over me. Just because you can't explain a lot, it doesn't mean that there is no. And as long as you wear your loved ones in your heart, they are always with us.
Now that the move is over, you can look forward to your Stichery again.
Happy October

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
zwei wunderschöne Finishes mit den Squirrels. Ich liebe den Satin-Stitch bei den Vorlagen von Brenda Gervais.
Das war ein sehr langer und anstrengender Umzug deines Sohnes und seiner Familie. Ich hoffe, du hast nun wieder Zeit ein wenig mehr zu sticken.
Wenn ich unterwegs bin, ist mein Strickzeug immer dabei.
Einen guten Start in den Oktober und liebe Grüße, Manuela

Marilyn said...

Those Squirrels are too cute!
It sounds like a very busy time with much accomplished.
Their house is beautiful!
Mr.B is growing so fast.
I believe is signs.
Mom loved Cardinals, they were her favorite bird.
We have Cardinals that stop by every day & visit, so very pretty.

Isabel para ALROMASAR said...

It's wonderful to be able to help. to the people we love!
Your son and daughter-in-law will be very grateful for your help and I am sure that the little one will soon adapt to his new house, which is also beautiful.
Your embroidery is very beautiful.
And I never doubted that our loved ones care for us and wait in heaven!
A hug

Robin in Virginia said...

I knew the move was coming and had been wondering how it went. Hopefully, things will begin to settle down and in for your son and his family. It is a beautiful home. Pretty pieces you shared, Carol! Glad the insomnia is over or at least better. Yes, to ABC and I will add to that -- have extra needles. What a beautiful place you found to walk! Happy last day of September!

Ele said...

Lovely stitching Carol. I can understand the move issues, have been through a few moves myself and don't recommend them :) But the new house looks gorgeous so I am sure they will love living there.
Enjoy more relaxing walks and plenty of stitching now!!

diamondc said...

Hi Carol: It is amazing hoe life sometimes throws a curve, what a shame about the work on their home, I can only imagine the gas company not being called, what the heck was the plumber thinking.
I too would get rid of the oil burner so messy.
The curb appeal is beautiful, they did a wonderful job.
It is a sign from God with the sun shining at that moment and seeing so many people that you have not seen for a while.
Your pillows are adorable and beautifully finished, I cannot make cording as nice as yours.
Good to hear about the insomnia going away, sometimes stress brings it on.
I miss my Mother also, she was an amazing woman.
Mister B is so cute and getting tall.
Thank-you for the pattern I forgot to email you a thank-you for the win.


marly said...

Goosebumps! Wow.

They are so lucky to have you two! The floor sanding in a house that large had to be a real chore to clean after. At least they had workers, we still can't find reputable to come within a year. We had drywall sanding done when building at the same time they were running the furnace to keep warm which circulated it throughout the entire house!

Adorable finishes with perfect cording. I like WTNT designs habit of using two different borders in pieces.

Anonymous said...

Carol, your squirrels are so cute. Good idea to leave off the pumpkin face so you can leave them out longer. You sure have been busy. Such a nice service for your in-laws. Your son and daughter-in-law’s home looks beautiful. Enjoy the Fall.

butterfly said...

Wow you have also had a busy month .
Love the two squirrels so cute.
Just got back so my mind is all over the place right now .
Looking forward to getting back to normal this week.
I loved reading about your family hugs June.

Stasi said...

Always a great day when I see you have posted Carol; I so enjoy your writing and stories.
Glad your son's new family home is coming together, but how frustrating about the heat! I hope it gets taken care of before the cold weather sets in. I'm sure they appreciated all your help very much.
Mr B. is growing so and I'm sure he will ov the new house as he becomes accustomed to the 'newness'.
Your little squirrel couple is so darn them!
Looking forward to your next post!

Heritage Hall said...

You have really been a busy lady, Carol. Blessings on the new house and hope they can put those
required adjustments behind them quickly. They were so fortunate to have you both through that
short, but heavy move. Love the squirrels and your finish. How well I understand the happenstances that reminded you of your coincidences, right? Glad to hear that your
insomnia had back to rest and recovery. So enjoy your blog.

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Oh, Carol, your sweet post brought tears to my eyes. I do believe in signs. I look from them each day.I know you miss your dear mom so much; I am glad you found the hickory nuts which brought back fond memories. It sounds like the memorial service for you inlaws was very lovely as well. Your dear son and his family have such a lovely home; they are so fortunate to have you and your hubby come help them.Little Mr. B. is growing like a weed and is as cute as button. I am sure he will get adjusted very soon. Have a wonderful weekend. Warm hugs and blessings.

Vickie said...

The squirrel couple is darling. I will be stitching them also, but not this year. Your son's home is lovely. And you are a trooper!! :) I went that long when I had the disc replacement in my neck. Thought I would go crazy without my stitching. Yes! I believe in signs from beyond.

Maggie said...

Wow you have been busy, I did wonder where you were and if everything was ok.
You son's new house looks wonderful, so big, as you know, here in the UK we don't have the land space that you have in the US so our houses tend to be on the smaller side, so your houses look like mansions to most of us, lol
Hope Mr B settles soon, I'm sure he will love running around his new space soon enough :-)
Glad your insomnia is resolved, all that cleaning and moving work must have helped, I bet you were exhausted when you got home!
Those squirrel finishes are so cute, love how you have them displayed.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. x

Friendship Crossing said...

So nice to be able to help out your family when needed!! We did the very same thing when our oldest son moved into his first house several years ago. Was a lot of work, but so appreciated.

The walk in the woods and ceremony sound wonderful. It has really been a beautiful Sept. here in eastern Ky. and the trees are finally starting to turn. Always fun to bring home some goodies from your walk.

Cute squirrel couple too and thanks for the tip on the cording. I bought the tool to make cording but have yet to give it a try.

Happy Fall Carol!

Tanya (used to be Friendship Crossing many yrs ago)

Clare-Aimetu said...

A lovely post Carol full of lovely news and listening to your voice you sound so settled, which is probably why you are sleeping better.

Signs from above are all around us and give such reassurance, beautiful locations for your ceremony and peaceful walk.

Your son's house looks lovely, I'm always amazed at the size of your houses in the USA, the front looks so much better.

Lovely fall stitching, thank you for the cording tip. Enjoy the autumn.

Shelly said...

I believe in signs from our passed loved ones. It was too much of a coincidence with the hickory nuts and the little girl named Elinor! I saw your finishes on IG, they're very pretty. I try to do 2 blog posts a month also. Glad you're home now and glad your insomnia has lessened its hold on you. Enjoy the warm temps while you can,👍🏼

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol - Oh, what a wonderful posting you’ve shared with us! Really, so interesting and wonderful! It’s always fun to see what stitching you’ve done and the way you have finished it. Autumn’s Acorn Gathering is so adorable - love it!
As for all your efforts helping your son and his wife and their incredible move - WOW! I am sure they appreciated every bit of help and time and work you provided! Their new home is just beautiful!! (and it’s good to know you and your husband have your own guest quarters! 😊). I hope all the crazy things that still need to be fixed, installed, new gas line, etc. happen quickly and without too many other issues, and that Mr. B gets used to his new home.
The memorial events for your husband’s parents was very special and so nice you got to see family relatives you hadn’t seen in such a long time.
I can imagine you’re happy to be home for awhile - I hope all goes really well for you and your husband.💕

xoxoxo Barb R.

Sandy said...

This was a lovely post, Carol. I am so glad the kids are all moved in and the front looks amazing. I am glad you were able to help out and that had to be just what the heart needed. Those little squirrel stitches are adorable. I think next fall I will add some smalls to my fall stitches. I missed that this year. Time has gotten away from me but that is life. I love all the seasons, but I too dread to see the light go each year. It will be while until we have cool temperatures, but the days are getting shorter. I am hoping my sleep will settle in soon. I know stress has interrupted mine for a few weeks.

Christel said...

Ils sont magnifiques Mr et Mrs Écureuils. Les points fantaisie des modèles de cette créatrice sont toujours un petit plus.
J'ai installé ma décoration d'automne, mais pas de feuilles ni de glands, je ne saurais pas où les mettre...
Une belle journée en hommage aux parents de ton mari. C'est très touchant.
Les déménagements c'est une corvée que d'emballer et défaire les cartons. Mais c'est un bonheur lorsque l'on aménage une nouvelle maison. Celle de votre fils est en effet très grande, c'est en effet peut-être perturbant pour MisterB.
Le devant est plus joli dégarni des arbustes mal taillés.
Comme vous je crois aux signes que nous adresse nos proches décédés.
Températures estivales aussi chez nous. Aujourd'hui et hier nous avons encore eu 30° (celsius). Aussi nous ne nous privons pas pour profiter du jardin.
Amitiés de France,

Katie said...

I said Wow out loud when I read your post about signs. Ohhh I agree. It was cute because my husband was like What? LOL I love that story though. Beautiful. You were in the right place at the perfect time.

I have noticed my sleeping has drastically changed too with less stress. But to tell someone feel less stress is never helpful. Stress is so easy to let overwhelm us no matter what we do. It sure feels good to sleep well.

Stitching will be there for you whenever you are back. Your son and family was lucky to have you to help. How fantastic you were available. Mister B will adjust. It's hard on everyone to move. Especially if too young to understand the whole thing. The front of the house looks like a whole different house. Perfect. I don't blame the neighbor for wanting it too.

Oh your stitched couple is adorable too. Too much other stuff to comment on first haha. Hugs. Have a wonderful October.

Jackie's Stitches said...

I'm so glad to hear that you're sleeping better Carol! I'm glad your son and family are getting settled in their beautiful new home. There is always something that goes awry with a renovation and I'm hoping all of that is settled soon too. Mr. B is so adorable checking the mail!

Your grandmothers squirrels are just precious!

I got goosebumps when reading about the mom calling for her daughter Elinor! Our parents always find a way to be with us! xoxo

Jutta said...

Thanks for the long post, Carol,
you did a great job with the two squirrels.
Moving to the new house must have been very stressful for you too, hopefully you will soon have a lot of time for your hobbies again.
Happy October, Jutta

Cathy H. said...

What a busy month you had! I love the adorable squirrel couple and your fall display! Your story of helping your family move reminds me of when my daughter moved three hours away. I went to help them. I was able to help some, but mostly took care of their six-month-old twins and a six-year-old! First thing we put together in their home was baby beds! I hope Mr. B adjust soons. It is a big change for little ones!

Solstitches said...

Two beautiful finishes Carol. The designs are so sweet - love them.
I’m surprised you managed to get any finishing done at all given the busy time you’ve had of it helping your son and family move home.
The house looks really beautiful.
Hope you are back in your stitching happy groove after being without it for so long!

Leonore Winterer said...

Oh Carol, what a gem you are! I can't imagine how much your son and his family must have appreciated you being there to help, especially with everything that went wrong. Glad you got them settled in safely!
Your cross stitch is lovely, such a shame you didn't think to bring anything on your trip. I almost always grab a craft project when leaving the house, at least some knitting has to come everywhere!
How nice you got some signs from your mum when you needed them. Personally, I believe my grandpa is watching over my by sending certain times of the year, I seem to see them everywhere!

Irene said...

I progetti di vita futura sono spesso più importanti del ricamo, hai fatto bene a dedicarti ai tui figli e al nipote, la casa è meravigliosa!

Julie Wright said...

Wow! Love the little squirrels! The finish is beautiful. What a busy month you had. I love that you found sonme hickory nuts. I recall gathering them, bringing them inside, and spending hours cracking them open. I loved doing all of this—knowing that mom was going to make that wonderful cake! What a wonderful memory of mom, Care! 💗

Jennifer said...

What cute squirrels for your fall display - and I love the little wooden ones too. Wow, what a move for your son’s family, hope things are getting all sorted out now and that Mister B is settling well into his new home. Sounds like a very busy month so hope your October has been a little quieter. I also believe in signs from departed family members and friends, have had a few myself but it seems mine tend to come more in dreams, or in that time in the morning when you’re transitioning from asleep to awake. It is comforting.