Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Trio of New Patriotic Finishes

Hi, stitching friends!

Happy July! What are your plans for the month? For my American friends, are you doing anything fun for the Fourth of July? Are you taking part in "Jolly July" stitching?

While trying our best to stay safe and considerate of others, we are keeping our plans fairly low key. We are going to visit my husband's mom and my mom in central Idaho. The county they live in has 4,280 people and has had only 5 cases of coronavirus, so we feel pretty safe going there. We are going to keep our germs to ourselves, though, and wear our masks to keep others safe. (I hope you are doing the same.)

The town my mom lives in usually has the best small-town Fourth of July festivities - a breakfast at the Legion Hall, a big parade down Main Street, a free town barbecue at the city park, games for the little kids and fireworks set off above town by the local volunteer fire department.

This year, however, they are scaling things down to keep everyone safe. The parade and fireworks are still on because people can social distance and enjoy the show. In fact, the area where they set off the big fireworks is very close to my mom's house, so all we have to do is set up our lawn chairs in the front yard to watch them.

The photo above is yours truly (on the left) getting ready to compete in the "potato sack race" along with my little friend Lachelle. It was years and years and years ago (1970-something!). It must have been a chilly morning, with our little jackets on. (That, or my mom is going to email me and say, "That wasn't taken on the Fourth of July!") Anyway, the potato sack race was always one of my favorite events on the Fourth.

We are bringing my son's girlfriend with us and he is excited to show her all the amenities small-town Idaho has to offer. My husband's mom lives on a 1,000-acre cattle ranch so there are all sorts of adventures there. They might set up some aluminum cans and practice target shooting with a .22, or go for a ride with Dad into the forest to check on cows or fences. In my mom's town, there is a beautiful public golf course above town with a pond stocked with fish for kids, and there is a 2-1/2-mile paved walking path around the golf course that offers beautiful views of the entire valley. I'm looking forward to time with our moms.

On to the stitching!

Until this week, I had zero patriotic finishes, aside from my "July Cottage" from Country Cottage Needleworks. I'm happy to say that I now have three more! I featured these in my last blog post, but they weren't fully finished until now.

The first is "Pursuit of Booty" by Sue Hillis Designs. I finished it into a flat-fold using Vonna's wonderful tutorial at The Twisted Stitcher. I added handmade cording and I think it pops!

Pursuit of Booty by Sue Hillis Designs

The second is "Stars & Stripes" by Little House Needleworks. I bought this cute little birdhouse at Michael's last spring. I did my best to finish it "Priscilla & Chelsea" style, with lots of torn red-stripe ticking around the edges. It's a little busy in my opinion, and I don't think I will do this again, but I wanted to give it a shot. The stitched piece is attached to the birdhouse with a magnet so I can change out the stitching with the seasons.

Stars and Stripes by Little House Needleworks

And the third is "Old Glory" by Little House Needleworks. I painted a thrift-store frame and mounted the stitched piece onto some green fabric that Mary from Stitching Friends Forever sent me. I attached some lace that I found at a thrift store a couple of years ago to the back of the stitched piece. I really like how this cutie turned out. I love thrift-store finds, don't you?

Old Glory by Little House Needleworks

Here are all of my stitched pieces together on the cabinet in my foyer. I got the "Great American Sparklers" sign at Michael's a couple of years ago.

Getting to Know You

My friend Carol has started a "getting to know you" section on her blog, Stitching Dreams, and I really like it. I hope you don't mind, Carol, but I'm borrowing your idea!

What is your favorite summertime food? For me, it's grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. They remind me of camping and cookouts. As far as hot dogs go, I like mine charred over a campfire the best. I make homemade sweet relish that is out of this world. When I have a hamburger, I load it up with thick bread-and-butter pickle chips (sweet!), a thick slice of tomato, sliced avocado and leafy green lettuce. So messy and delightful.

What about you?

Until next time, friends, stay safe and be well. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

I Have Missed This...

Hi, stitching friends!

It has been a long six months.

But before I go any further, I wanted to say thank you to my friends for all the cards, letters, emails and gifts you have sent over the past six months. You have lifted my spirits and given me hope. You have made me laugh and made me feel that even though I'm "stuck" right now trying to heal, I'm not alone.

Since I last posted, I've had about 36 radiation sessions (I think it was 36... I lost count!) to my shoulder, femur, knee, hip and shin, and in May I had a second big surgery to have a plate put in alongside my femur.

If you remember from my last post way back at the beginning of the year, I had a titanium rod put into my femur to stabilize it and keep it from breaking, but the femur broke during surgery. I thought things were looking up in May and that Doc would tell me I could start trying to walk without the crutches. But I found out that the bone holding the screws in place was gone and I would need to have the plate put in to stabilize everything. It was a big surgery, bigger than the first one.

I'm still on crutches, although I can use just one around the house and I've even taken a few steps with no assistance at all. (I walk as though I'm practicing for an audition to be on The Walking Dead.) I'm trying to bend my knee but I'm still pretty stiff and looking forward to physical therapy starting soon.

Enough of that.

I'm sitting here trying to think about what to say about the events of 2020 so far. There are no words. I'm grateful that we have each other. I'm grateful that we have prayer and acts of kindness and the ability to lift up one another. I'm hopeful that through pain and struggle and challenges we have healing and growth and awareness. Rough seas make good sailors.

A friend sent this to me:

Stitching Update

I've been doing lots of stitching but not so much fully-finishing, so I'll show you some snapshots of some recent stitching finishes.

Stasi B. sent me a complete kit for "My Friend" by La-D-Da. It included silk threads, gorgeous linen, backing fabric, stuffing and even a neat tray to put it in. I changed the border a little by adding some Algerian eyelets to the pennies.

The fabric is 32-count Straw by Weeks Dye Works.

"Old Glory" by Little House Needleworks, stitched on 32-count Lambswool linen with called-for threads.

"Liberty Pirate" by Sue Hillis Designs, stitched on 32-count Legacy by Picture This Plus with DMC.

"Bluebird Cabin" by Country Cottage Needleworks, stitched on 32-count Tombstone by Colour & Cotton. I used the called-for threads except for substituting Colour & Cotton Mediterranean for DMC 3816 (the two birds).

"Farmhouse Bird" by Heart in Hand, stitched on 32-count Natural linen.

"Love is in the Air" by Country Cottage Needleworks, stitched on 40-count Vintage Country Mocha linen. I stitched this one over two except for the wording, where I used two strands. I messed up right at the beginning of this stitch by not stitching enough rows in the snowman on the right, and I didn't realize until way later. I had to adjust, adjust, adjust to get this to work out! (I know you've been there, too.)

"Sampler Snowman" by Homespun Elegance, stitched on 36-count Vintage Country Mocha linen. I used the called-for threads but substituted DMC B5200 for Shaker White. I wanted a bright white snowman.

I fell in love with this design when I first saw it on Carol's blog, Stitching Dreams. I found the pattern while in Oregon a couple years ago at Starlight Stitchery (formerly Friendship Crossing) in Corvallis. It came with the cute skate charm. And isn't that alphabet gorgeous? It is "Fiesta" by Caron Wildflowers.

"Star-Spangled Spectacular" by With Thy Needle & Thread, stitched over one on 25-count coffee/tea-dyed lugana with called-for threads. I could not find Classic Colorworks Pine Needles anywhere (Covid thread shortages) so I subsituted Weeks Dye Works Oscar.

"Stars & Stripes" by Little House Needleworks, stitched on 36-count Vintage County Mocha linen with called-for threads.

"Village Green" by The Prairie Schooler, stitched on 32-count Antique White lugana. For the longest time, this was my "unicorn chart." The only copies I could find were on eBay for as much as $80. Ridiculous. I was so happy when they reprinted this one.

"Spring Saltboxes" by Plum Street Samplers, stitched on 40-count Vintage Country Mocha linen with mostly called-for threads. I substituted some blues here and there but I don't think I made any notes. Eek!

Let me tell you, that was a LOT of white stitching. I get that they are supposed to look like Polaroid prints and I would not have gone to the trouble, but I have a finishing idea for this one and I need that look. I have the patterns for the rest of the series, but the thought of more white stitching is pretty daunting.

I love the tiny little bees in the first one:

"Winter Row" by Bent Creek, stitched on 32-count Heritage by Picture This Plus. I used the called-for colors but substituted DMC B5200 for WDW Whitewash. I absolutely love this in its simplicity. I have a finishing idea in mind, using an old fence board.

Thanks for stopping by, friends. And thank you for your sweet, encouraging comments, emails, letters, cards and prayers.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Escape from the Hotel California

Hi, stitching friends!

I hope 2020 begins better than 2019 ended. I had surgery Friday to have a rod put in my femur, and the surgeon broke my femur during surgery. If you’re anything like me, you’d rather not have details of why or how this happened, so I will spare you.

After three nights in the hospital, the physical therapist said I was not ready to go home. But the surgeon thought I should go home, so we compromised. Insurance said they’d pay for physical therapy rehab, so they loaded me into a van and hauled me to a place we now affectionately refer to as “The Hotel California.”

Back at the hospital, I had been told I would be in this place for a day or two, and my expectation was that I would learn skills like how to get up the step into my house, how to shower and dress myself, how to move easier with the walker. The Hotel California had other plans for me, though.

Remember these lyrics?

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
'Relax' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'

When the intake nurse finished asking me if I still had my own teeth, who the president is, what year it is, and so on, they told me about the in-house hair salon and the weekly activities I could participate in. I said, “I’m just here for a day or two to learn some basic skills. I’m not staying long.” 

She chuckled. “You’ll be here at least a week or two, maybe longer.”

By the time she left the room, that inner voice we all have was screaming, “RUN!!!”

I looked at Shawn, said, “I do NOT want to be here. This is NOT what I signed up for.” So he went and found somebody and told them we were leaving. It was after 9:00 p.m. We hauled my disabled hiney into the car and drove straight home. It was a comedy of errors trying to figure out how to get up the step into the house with my walker, but we managed.

My bladder is my personal trainer. The need to “go” is a strong motivator. In the hospital, the distance between the bed and bathroom was very short. At home, the distance between the living room and my bathroom is a marathon in comparison. Walking with a walker while putting less than 25% of my weight on one leg is a workout! I’m feeling stronger every day, and my husband has been absolutely amazing. My mom has been burning up the miles traveling to be with me, and she has cooked for us, cleaned up and shared her knowledge of post-surgical physical therapy with me. (She has had both hips and knees replaced, so she is a pro.) My son has been a great gofer for us since he has his driver’s license now. And I have been so blessed with lots of emails, calls, texts and visits from dear family and friends.

My Favorite Christmas Gifts

With my current mobility status, I am not able to get photos right now to show you, but I have to brag on my friends Carol and RJ. They sent me the most beautiful, perfect stitched ornaments. I showed my son, and his reaction was, “Holy sh**, Mom. Wow.” For a 17-year-old, that’s pretty high praise. I’ll show you as soon as I am able.

And my favorite gift I gave was to my sweet husband. He loves hoodies and he loved this one. I asked him to make a “grumpy old man” face for the photo. Love it!

Until next time, friends, I hope 2020 brings you lots of love, plenty of reasons to smile and laugh, and peace and good health. And, as always, lots of time to stitch!