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...