Sunday, April 14, 2024

Reindeer Games In a Soggy Month

Finally... a sunny day! I know many of you almost always have sunny (or partially sunny days), but that isn't the norm for southwestern Pennsylvania. And this spring has been rainier than ever. In fact, it's been our wettest spring on record going back to 1871! As of Thursday, we had received 10.54 inches of rain since March 1st beating the old record from 1967 by over three inches. The only good thing about all the rain is it makes for great stitching weather, right?

One of my goals for this year was to finish some large Christmas pieces along with my usual monthly ornaments. What can I say? I just love stitching Christmas! "Reindeer Games" by Erica Michaels was such a fun piece to stitch for my first larger Christmas piece. It is stitched on 40 ct. summer khaki Newcastle with most of the suggested threads. I did substitute DMC 498 for the red and DMC 3865 for the white. The whole time I stitched this, I thought of my dear mother who absolutely adored doing crossword puzzles. She enjoyed doing them well into her late 80s when the macular degeneration in her eyes made it impossible for her to read or do puzzles. Oh, how she missed her crossword puzzles and books. She would have loved this particular finish so much.

"Reindeer Games" by Erica Michaels

All of the reindeer names are stitched in Classic Colorwork's "Black Coffee" thread and the remaining words are done in green and red. The little gold bells were created using Rhodes stitches and add such a nice texture to the finish.

Love that teeny elf!

Below is "the most famous reindeer of all," good old Rudolph with his bright red nose ready to lead Santa's sleigh.

The motifs in this design were such fun to stitch.

I did make one major change from the original chart--I changed the name of one of the reindeer from the charted "Donder" to "Donner." Why? Well, that is the way I remember it from that famous song sung by Gene Autry: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

"You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and VixenComet and Cupid and Donner and BlitzenBut do you recallThe most famous reindeer of all?
Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerHad a very shiny noseAnd if you ever saw itYou would even say it glows..."
Donner or Donder?

In reading about the reindeer names online--there is a lively debate over whether it should be Donder or Donner. Boy, you can really go down a rabbit hole reading about the opinions of which one is correct! Some people say it should be Donner as that is the German word for thunder (and Blitz is the Germany word for lightning). I don't know... I'm just choosing to spell it the way I'm most familiar with. How about you? Are you in the Donner camp or the Donder camp?  However you spell it, I love how this turned out and I'm truly hoping to have it framed and on display by December.  On to my next "big" Christmas piece which I'll show you in May!

Easter update... Although it's only been two weeks since Easter, it seems like much longer, doesn't it? All nine of us were here for at least portions of Easter weekend which was wonderful. Little Mister B was enthralled with the idea of the Easter bunny arriving during the night and leaving him a basket of treats. He had such fun following the jelly bean trail from the bottom of the steps to the Easter basket's hiding place and couldn't believe the bunny had hidden it in the clothes dryer. He thought that was hilarious!
Easter morning with Mister B. He certainly is loving those M&M's. Isn't his little bow-tie adorable?

The bunny also hid plastic eggs filled with treats outside even though our weather was cool and wet from a rain the previous day. And lots of baking was done! We celebrated my oldest son's 42nd birthday with a carrot cake, made a bunny cake, and baked bunny biscuits. Have you made a bunny cake before? They are so, so easy and here is a good write-up on how to create one of your very own. It was my grandson's idea to use candles for the whiskers and I thought they were perfect! He had a lot of fun putting the pastel colored M&M's on the bow tie (although I think more ended up in his mouth than on the cake!). I just used a boxed cake mix, but made my own icing using this recipe--it was delicious! And the bunny biscuits were super easy. You start with a package of refrigerated biscuits, cut half of the biscuits in two for ears and then embellish them however you want. We used big chocolate chips for the eyes and pink M&M's for the noses. We didn't add whiskers, but this blog post suggests using slivered almonds. Really a fun project for your little helpers!

Easter baking 2024

I used to make these bunny cakes when my three sons were little. In fact, here is a photo of my oldest son with one we made in the mid-1980s. The shape of the bow tie is a bit different and I no longer use coconut to cover the whole cake because some family members don't care for it (unlike me--I love coconut! How about you?).

One of the first bunny cakes I ever made with my oldest son back in the mid-1980s.

Of course, we also dyed eggs--the first time my grandson had ever done so! They turned out so bright and cheerful--it was a great family activity. Now, if you look closely, you'll notice that unusual brown egg right in the middle... Well, that was the result of Mister B wanting to experiment with dipping one egg in color after color after color. It actually turned out to be a very pretty shade of brown and it was interesting for him to learn about how the different colored dyes reacted with each other.

Such a lovely Easter tradition...

Looking upward! The other big event that happened since my last post was... the solar eclipse here in the U.S. on April 8th. Although we weren't in the path of totality in southwestern Pennsylvania, we were at 97% which was still pretty amazing to watch. Unfortunately, my husband and I both had doctor's appointments which we couldn't miss, so we ended up watching the peak of the eclipse in the parking lots outside of our respective doctors' offices. (I would much rather have watched with him by my side, but when you've waited over a year for a doctor's appointment, you don't change it). I tried to take photos with my phone, but they didn't turn out well at all. The photo below, though (which I found online), is what it looked like locally at the 97% peak coverage--pretty breathtaking. As I watched the sun become more and more covered by the moon and felt the temperature drop, I realized what a small speck I am in this beautiful universe of ours... It was really something special to experience and I can only imagine how those in the path of the total eclipse must have felt!

Southwestern Pennsylvania's 97% coverage on eclipse day

So, that about wraps up my first post for April. Our daffodils and tulips are blooming right now and are putting on quite a show. 
Daffodils are such a welcome sight in April!
I just love spring flowers--and tulips are my favorites. My husband planted several dozen in our fenced-in vegetable garden to protect them from the deer and they've been putting on quite a show.
Tulip bulbs that my husband planted for me last fall have burst into bloom this past week

Below are some tulips that I cut earlier this week. Such a beautiful color, don't you think?

It's so wonderful having fresh-cut tulips to decorate my table this month!

Thanks so much for visiting me today! I hope you are enjoying the month of April and getting outside more. We are, optimistically, putting the screens in our windows today so I'm hopeful that summer is on its way. I so enjoy your emails and comments. Living in a family of all men, I get  little interest in my stitching so I'm always very appreciative of your kind words! Bye for now... 


MartinaM said...

Oh what a lovely Christmas puzzle.
It seems you had a nice Easter, I'm very happy about that, these are memories that last. And such great Easter treats.
Coloring eggs was always a nice tradition in my family, but now I don't need it anymore because we don't eat as many of them anymore.
We had a solar eclipse in 1998 or 99, which was a wonderful experience.
The tulips are now opening in my garden and the white lilacs already smell wonderful. Very early this year, but I'm happy about it.
Enjoy the rest of April,

Kay said...

It’s definitely Donna! I had never heard of an alternative until I read your blog post. I really enjoy having Christmas pictures on my walls and look forward to switching out all of my cross stitching in December, I think that this is another design to add to the pile of things that I would like to do one day.

Gabi said...

What a wonderful X-mas stitching. Great! And I love the song. I prefer Donner!
I remember the solar eclipse which was in 99, I had the same experience like you. Over Germany it was 100%, but I was in Antwerpen I saw only 97%.
Well, it sounds that you had a wonderful Easter. Although my kids are grown up, they want to have their easter basket.
The tulips, daffodils are blooming and this morning I saw that my lilac tree stays in blossom. Nearly 4 week earlier.
Have a great time,

butterfly said...

What a lovely Easter blog Carol and a little bit of Christmas to. Love the Christmas stitch and than your Mother loved Cross words and you love cross stitch .
Looks like you had a fun Easter love the bunny cakes.
Your GS looks such a happy boy.
We grew more Tulips this year , yours look wonderful great colours, makes you feel good knowing spring is now here.
We also have had three days of beautiful sunshine .
I was not use to the brightness I had to wear sunglasses ha .
Enjoy a lovely week hugs June.

Manuela said...

Hello Carol,
what a lovely Christmas piece. I like it very much. I'm looking forward to the frame. In German we say Donner.
It sounds like a wonderful Easter time with your family.
Have a nice time in April.
Hugs, Manuela

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

Lovely to see a new blog post! You certainly are the fun gramma. I love the idea of the jelly bean trail; but, unfortunately, our grandkids are too old for that kind of fun.

Looking forward to seeing your finishes; they are always inspiring.

Marilyn said...

We had 6" of snow 2 days after Easter, then some rain.
It seems warmer & sunnier this week, I've been cleaning up the yard some.
Reindeer Games turned out awesome.
I think Donder was the true name, but I also grew up with Donner.
It looks like Mr.B had an amazing Easter! What fun!
All of your baking looks delicious.
Mom always made her Lamb cake for Easter, I miss that.
We didn't see much of the Eclipse here.
My flowers are slowly waking up.

Robin in Virginia said...

What a fabulous Christmas large finish, Carol! I am in Team Donner because that is how I have always heard it. Your pictures from Easter looked awesome. I am happy you had a houseful throughout the weekend. Mr. B looked like he had a wonderful time. Your tulips and daffodil look so pretty. We didn't have much of the Eclipse to see as it was overcast here that day. It darkened a little, but was that due to the storm rolling in or the eclipse. Enjoy this new week!

Vickie said...

What a darling piece you stitched up there! I know your sweet Mother would have loved it so. :)
Your Easter was delightful. Nothing like Easter with little ones.
I am glad your pretty flowers are safe in the fence!

Heritage Hall said...

Oh Carol...what a breath of fresh air your visit was today...Finding enjoyment in crosswords
myself, I love your finished project and agree your Mom would have as well. Such happy memories
you have made through time with bunny cakes, Easter hunts and family gathering. Your garden just
sings Spring with those beautiful tulips... Your light does shine...

Maggie said...

I love Reindeer Games, and yes I think you did right changing the spelling, I remember is as Donner too, perhaps it was a spelling mistake?
Love cute Rabbit cake, I love coconut so it wouldn't have lasted long in this house, ha ha.
It must have been amazing to see the eclipse, we saw a partial one here a good few years ago but it wasn't the clearest of days.
We've had our fair share of rain here in the UK too, I looked a couple of days ago and since the beginning of the year we've had just over 12 inches, I don't know if that is a record, but it's an awful lot! We've had the odd day this last week that have been nice but it has usually rained over night even then, feels like it will never end doesn't
it? Mister B looks very pleased with his Easter treats and he look adorable in his bow tie❤️
Enjoy the rest of April, fingers crossed the rain eases up soon x

Isabel para ALROMASAR said...

Beautiful cross stitch design.
I'm so glad you enjoyed those family days recovering recipes, games and traditions!

Jackie's Stitches said...

Reindeer Games is fantastic! I would have made the same change.

Easter with Mr. B looks like it was loads of fun. We had bunny cakes growing up too with coconut (which I do not like at all) and some fluffy/frothy like frosting.

Your tulips are beautiful! Have you had any success making them live long after cutting? I've heard a few ice cubes every day help but haven't tried it myself. The last time I had tulips in the house, they didn't last long at all...

Amara said...

I don‘t comment often, (need to change that) but i always read your posts, Carol. They are really brighten my days. I love your Reindeer Crossword Piece and your Bunny Cakes. Have a lovely day.

SueH said...

Definitely camp Donner here, I can't say I've ever heard of the other option. I've had my eye on the 'Reindeer Games' chart for some time, but have managed not to to cave in so far. I wonder how much longer that will be the case after seeing yours, lol.

Your Easter weekend sounds just perfect, food and fun, what better combination! I especially love your bunny cake.

How lucky you were to see the total eclipse. I can remember standing in the school playground some 60 years go. I don't think it was a total eclipse but I do remember the drop in temperature and the light disappeared. Such an amazing thing to witness.
Happy Stitching! Sue xx

Anonymous said...

Oh what a wonderful blog posting you’ve shared with us today, Carol. So much fun to read and enjoy. Mister B. is just such a cutie pie! He must be just so much fun to have around and share so much with him. I loved learning about the jellybean trail to the clothes dryer - who knew? I would have never guessed my Easter Basket was there! When I first saw the picture of your oldest son as a child with the bunny cake, I thought it was Mister B - then I realized it was your son and thought they looked a lot alike..anyway, it’s seems like your family had a very yummy and Happy Easter,

Your stitched “Reindeer Games” is so great. I think Donner is my choice too. When you repeat the words it doesn’t seem like we hear or repeat the “d” sound - just sounds like “Donner”.

Wasn’t the solar eclipse great - even getting to experience in the parking lot was pretty fun for you. My brother lives in Rochester, NY and they were in the path of totality, but it was a very cloudy day so they were not able to see the eclipse. However, he told me that during the totality, it got very dark and the hospital on the corner of the street the live on all the outside lights came on like they do at night.
We sat on our back deck and looked at the eclipse - we weren’t in totality but about 98.7% -so it was fun to see what we could.

Your daffodils and tulips are beautiful! Enjoy Spring is a beautiful time of year isn’t it. 🌺🌸

Anonymous said...

Oops! I forgot to sign my name above.

Barb R. ����

Kgirl said...

What a lovely post! I like your crossword stitch. So fun! We make a bunny cake and a jelly bean trail. Haven't tried the dryer yet, but I'm sure Mr. B loved it. Your eggs were beautiful too. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol, I so enjoyed your post today! Reindeer Games is so pretty and I, too, would of changed it to Donner! I’ll be starting Erica Michael’s chart Liberty Games in the near future. Your Grandson is so cute and I’d bet he enjoyed every minute at his Grandparents house! I’m going to steal your idea of the jelly bean trail next year for my grandsons! Your tulips are so pretty. We aren’t close to having tulips here yet, but I look forward to them. We had about 87% totality on the eclipse. I saw it from a parking lot, too, and am so glad I had glasses with me to take a look. It was amazing! Happy Spring! Cherie in WI

CarolE said...

Your stitchery is lovely. I am in the Donner camp. In fact, until I read your post I had never heard of Donder! Your tulips are beautiful.

Clare-Aimetu said...

Lovely reindeers and Christmas stitching. Easter looks yummy and great fun. I remember seeing the eclipse here in the UK when our children were young, it's quite a weird when everywhere goes dark and silent

Kathy H. said...

Hi Carol,

I just love your finish of Reindeer Games, that is a great piece. I've seen it a few times and it always makes me think of my father in law. He loved doing the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, and was very good at it. We had a family reunion one summer in the '90's, and a sister in law made shirts that said "Never A Cross Word", and had all our family names on the back in the style of a crossword puzzle. My father in law passed away almost 23 years ago, but all his children have carried on his love of crossword puzzles, and love to play Scrabble too. For the record, I'm in the Donner camp, as that is the only way I remember hearing the reindeer's name.

I'm glad you had a wonderful Easter and your grandson is at such a fun age for all the sweet traditions that come along with the holiday. When I was little, my mother had a lamb cake mold that was often made for dessert, iced and decorated with coconut. I made a bunny cake a few times when my children were little and had a little baking book with various cake designs you could make with a boxed mix. I think when my daughter was 3, she asked for a car cake which she had seen in the book. I remember trying to suggest other ideas in the book, but she had her heart set on the car cake. I think she chose it because she played with all boys in the neighborhood and their little riding tricycles were their "cars"!! The following year she asked for a Panda cake, and I think we even had a butterfly once. Fun memories.

It's definitely spring here in New Hampshire, with flowers and some trees popping with color. We've been out in the yard a bit and today took our first long walk on some trails that weren't too muddy. It's very encouraging to see things greening up and starting to bloom. Hope you have some sunny days ahead!

Thank you for your post, I always enjoy reading it!


Christina DErrico said...

Hi Carol! I love this piece and yes I say Doner. Your Easter looked so great, I am so glad you got to enjoy Benjamin ♥️
Take care and see you on instagram 🤗

Christel said...

Beaucoup de pluie aussi en France, certaines régions subissent des innondations.
Le "Jeux de rennes" est un modèle splendide. Pour moi le renne c'est tonnerre....
Je comprends le mal-être de votre mère de ne plus pouvoir lire... La tristesse m'envahirai si je ne pouvais me plonger dans un roman ou jouer avec les mots comme je le fais quotidiennement, comme ne plus pouvoir lire une partition.. Il y a la possibilité de jouer à l'oreille mais j'aime voir les notes sur le papier.
Nous étions également tous réunis pour Päques. Nos petites filles ont cherchés les douceurs chocolatées disséminées dans le jardin par le lapin. Notre grande Lara passait derrière sa petite soeur qui en laissait tant elle était pressée de tout ramasser.
La dernière éclipse solaire que nous avons vu en France remonte à 1999. C'était splendide. Nous avions pris une pause au travail pour aller admirer ce spectacle. L'univers est fascinant et je suis bien en accord avec vous nous ne sommes qu'un petit, tout petit point dans cette immensité.
La fin des jonquilles a sonné dans notre région, et je n'ai qu'une seule tulipe ! Mais où sont passées les autres ? Aucune idée !!! Je replanterai des bulbes à l'automne prochain.
Prenez soin de vous.
Amitiés de France.

marly said...

Perfectly spaced tulip planting! Very very nice. The only thing blooming here is dandelions.
That Christmas design is different and so very nice.
Looks like another special holiday with family and that adorable Mr B!!
You mentioned cake. And when you do, my mind goes directly to the banana cake with coffee frosting you shared that I am addicted to.

Irene said...

Beautiful! I definitely always called her Donner! Is it true that it seems like a century has passed since Easter? Your nephew is more and more beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol, I enjoyed reading your latest blog posts and I love all of your stitched pieces! The Brenda Gervais Easter pillows are so sweet and are on my list to do! Reindeer Games is another that I love and I’m with you on the name Donner!
I am finishing my March ornament this afternoon and will then share a picture. It was stitched in March but I didn’t get to the finishing before I headed to Tucson for a week of wedding events. My youngest daughter was married at a historic house in the downtown with a beautiful outdoor setting. The weather was perfect for the rehearsal dinner the night before but the day of the wedding was very windy and chilly for the southwest. It was wonderful having all of our kids and grandkids together and everything went without a hitch.
I enjoyed your Easter picture with your cute outfit. I have been in a smocking guild for many years and smocked dresses for my daughters. I hope it doesn’t become a dying art.
Take care. Laurie

Gail L. said...

Hi Carol, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog today. As a crossword enthusiast, I really like your Reindeer games project. Looks like another design that I will have to check into purchasing. I’m familiar with both names, but I grew up knowing it as Donner. I enjoyed reading about your Easter treats. My two July boys wanted homemade pumpkin pie and my December boy liked ice cream cake Yule roll. Our non traditional was our normal We were in the exact path for the eclipse living by Lake Erie in Ohio. Truly amazing and we were so shocked to find the temperature falling and became downright chilly as the eclipse reached its peak. All the streetlights and solar lights came on during the coverage of the sun. Incredible! Great to visit with you today, looking forward to your next blog!

Melisa- pinkernpunkinquilting said...

Happy Wednesday, Carol. Happy late birthday to your son. Oh my bunny biscuits and cake- how yummy do they sound . And how very clever is little Mr. B to think of using candles as whiskers. He is on his toes and creative like his grandma. Sounds like you had an fabulous Easter. Hugs and love.

Jutta said...

Thank you for the beautiful photos, Carol, I really like your Christmas embroidery and so do you both with Mr. B.
It's a shame that Easter goes by so quickly.
I'll keep it short today, you know why, lots of hugs, Jutta

Barbara said...

Reindeer Games as a cross word puzzle — how clever!!

And yes to the name change from “Donder” to “Donner”!

That Bunny Biscuit is a great idea! That golden crust looks delicious!! I think I made at least one of those Bunny Cakes when my 3 were small. You bring back memories.

The tulips are beautiful. We don’t see many tulips here in North Central Florida, except in grocery stores.

As for your stitching, I ALWAYS enjoy the photos you share.

Shelly said...

That little boy is going to grow up with the best memories of wonderful family get togethers! When my daughter was small, I made sure she experienced everything I did- birthday parties, Easter egg hunts and egg coloring, Christmas photos with Santa, Independence Day parade and rodeo. My family didn't have lots of money but my mom made sure us kids got to do all that. I am of the Donner camp. I too first heard of the song sung that way. Arizona didn't get any totality of the eclipse. I remember last year with another eclipse, things looked weird outside. Hard to explain! Take care Carol!

Leonore Winterer said...

Oh what a fun finish! I've seen a couple of these cross word stitches lately and they really appeal to me.
I never realized there was a debate about the reindeer names - for me it always just made sense that there are Donner and Bliz(en), because of the German words. What even is a 'Donder'?!
Your Easter must have been so cheery and fun with all these colourful eggs and treats, I'm glad you had a good time!
Here, April has brought cold and rain and even a little snow and ice...I'm a bit miffed because I'm off work for two weeks, and haven't had one sunny day yet! Lots of time for crafting, I guess...

Faith... said...

WOW you guys really broke some records this spring! I love your new Christmas finish! It looks great and I love how all the reindeer fit together there. I am sorry about how your mother's disease had affected her; I think that may be one of the worst conditions to have.

LOL The clothes dryer is a "different" place and I wish I had thought of that when mine were little. You guys look so happy when you are around Mr. B! I am so happy you guys had a fabulous Easter, Birthday Celebration, Family Get-Together weekend! I used to make the bunny cake but haven't made one for a long time! He did a great job with the bow tie an the whiskers. Looks like another crafter has joined the family.

No Eclipse in my area so I am going to try waiting for the next one in 2044! I may be to old but I will try to wait it out.

Your tulips are beautiful.Enjoy the rest of April!

Bluebird said...

What a wonderful large Christmas finish. Reindeer Games looks so pretty! I would've changed the name as well, I've always thought it was Donner. I'm glad you had such a lovely Easter with your family. Dyeing eggs is such a fun tradition. Your tulips are beautiful. Hope the rest of April has been happy.

Mylene said...

That is a beautiful Christmas finish.
Precious picture of you three together, with your grandson. And sounds you all had good times together.
Your Daffodil and Tulips are beautiful!
Here has been a rainy month of April too, so temperature still too cold.
Been for a drive around the island this afternoon and was able to take a few pictures of the tulip fields but it started raining along the way, i didnt got out to take more pics and quite muddy too.
Have a happy week.