Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, stitching friends!

My husband and I have a New Year's Eve dinner date with his sister and her new boyfriend (woot! woot!) in a little over an hour, so let's see if I can get this post done before I have to go change clothes and get ready.

Ready... set....GO!

"Snow in Love"
by Little House Needleworks
Stitched on 28-count coffee/tea-dyed linen with called for threads

Yes, yes, Christmas is over, but I'm still finishing ornaments! I stitched "Snow in Love" by Little House Needleworks while my husband and I were on vacation in Oregon earlier this month. I finished it today as a wedding gift for his former high-school band teacher. What do you get someone you haven't seen in more than 25 years, who already has everything she needs household-wise? Something handmade and personal, of course! She is a crafty girl herself, so I know she will love this. A cute "Made with Love" charm (a gift from RJ and Mary) tops it off.

The back is a Christmas print fabric from Moda fabrics.

By the way, I recently treated myself to a tracing table. It's a flat LED tablet that plugs in via USB. I don't like the dot pattern on it, so I lay a piece of plain white paper over top to diffuse that. It's awesome for centering stitched pieces on foam core, sticky board, or whatever you need to center them on when finishing. Sure beats trying to hold it up to a window and keep it centered! And it was not expensive - less than $15 on Amazon.

"Winston the Snowman"
by The Trilogy
Stitched on coffee/tea-dyed mystery linen from my stash with called-for threads

Next up is "Winston the Snowman" by The Trilogy. I didn't have the triangle buttons called for in the pattern, so I substituted some Algerian eyelets instead. He is a dapper snowman, indeed! I mounted the ornament on foam core, added a fabric-covered piece of chipboard to the back, and glued lacy trim around the outside. I topped it with a gold hanger and a rusty star.

The fabric on the back goes nicely with the rusty star, don't you think?

I hope your holiday celebrations were awesome! One of my favorite presents under the tree was this "pocket locket" from my wonderful stitching friend, RJ, from Stitching Friends Forever. Look at those tiny stitches! Thank you, RJ!

We enjoyed having my mom stay with us over Christmas. My husband and I played lots of three-handed pinochle with her, and my son joined us for cards when we agreed to play Texas Hold 'Em. We ate lots of good food and watched movies.

I wish you all lots of time to stitch, safe travels, good health and good memories-in-the making in 2019. See you next year....

Woohoo! It looks like I'm going to be on time for dinner after all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Birthdays, Beaches and a Box... Oh, My!

Hi, stitching friends!

I hope this finds all of you snuggled in and all done (or mostly done!) with your December preparations. This time of year can be hectic for any of us, but this week is a particularly busy one at our house. My niece turned 27 on Monday, one of my best friends, Amber, turned one year older than me today (haha - she's only one month older than me, really), my son, Thomas, turns 16 tomorrow, and my mom will celebrate her 80th birthday on Thursday. What is it with all of these December birthdays?

This is my son, Thomas, almost 16 years ago. I think he could have given the Gerber baby a run for his money with those blue eyes.

We still tire each other out, 16 years later.

Here is my mom, on the right, with her little sister, Pat. I just love her little dress and shoes and that smile. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Shawn and I spent the first week of December in Depoe Bay, Oregon. We had a wonderful time doing a whole lot of nothing together (the BEST vacation). We stayed in a lovely condo right on the water and passed the week recharging our batteries. We watched the waves in front of the fire and watched Hallmark Christmas movies. We shopped and ate at Nana's Irish Pub and a Chinese restaurant we had driven past for years. We walked beaches and explored.

Back at the condo in Depoe Bay, we saw a whale on our second day! Every day we were there, the waves crashed onto the rocks right outside our door (the spray in the photo above is about 50 feet in the air). Sometimes the waves were so violent that they would send a gust of air toward the condo that would rattle the windows. We would both *gasp* and look at each other wide-eyed.

We drove down to the docks in Newport, and Shawn pointed out this sign. It was on both bathroom doors. I love it.

Down on the docks, the sea lions gathered to rest and soak up the sun. These are just a few of them. There were around 40 to 50 altogether, and they barked non-stop! I just love their sweet faces. They look like dogs to me.

On our way back to Portland we stopped in Corvallis, where I got to spend as much time as I wanted at Starlight Stitchery. A real treat for me since Boise does not have an LNS. It's a great shop because the new owners are very sweet and they carry a lot of out-of-print patterns. It was fun to dig through and find things I had never seen online before. I could spend hours more there and still not see everything. If there's something rare you're looking for, give them a call. They just might have it. (Their name above links to their website.)

❦ ❦ ❦

Yesterday was a Happy Mail day. This arrived from my amazing blogging friends, RJ and Mary over at Stitching Friends Forever. (Click on the blog name and it will take you to their blog.)

Eeeeeee! (That's me barely containing my excitement.)

I won their big giveaway a little while ago, and you can imagine my delight and surprise when I got to unpack this wonderful, generous gift. Inside....

Look at this beautiful tool caddy/pincushion stitched and finished by RJ! Click on the picture to open up a full-size version. I wish I could show you this in person. The stitching is so perfect and so tiny. The finishing is absolutely beautiful, and I love it. This will be by my side from now on as I stitch. Aren't the wings on the bee amazing and lifelike? And the goodies inside... You have no idea how thrilled I am.

A gorgeous assortment of finishing fabrics....

Buttons and charms...

Three beautiful patterns (not showing the third because it would be showing the actual pattern itself).

A very cute journal and card set...

RJ and Mary, thank you again for your thoughtfulness and generosity!

I have been stitching a lot lately but I don't have any FFO projects to show you, so I'll leave you with one of my favorite Christmas finishes. It's from way back in 2011. I have the chart somewhere, but I don't recall off the top of my head what it is, so if you'd really like to know, leave it in your comment and I'll find it and tell you.

I love the warmth in Santa's eyes.

Have a lovely week, friends! See you soon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hibernation Day

Happy Thanksgiving, stitching friends!

The holidays this year are sneaking up on me. I'm still stitching a Halloween project! And tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Holy Hannah. Part of it is that Thanksgiving is early this year, but the other part, for me, is that my mom is in Cuba right now, and will be flying back to Idaho the day after Thanksgiving.

This is the first year in a long time I have not spent the holiday with her, and it just feels weird. She will be spending Thanksgiving day in Miami with her travel buddy, Carol. I hope they have a great day! I will definitely miss her but am looking forward to her photos and stories when I see her Friday.

While my mind is still on Halloween stitching (I'm working on "When Skeletons Dance" by The Drawn Thread), I did finish a winter-themed project today. It's for my dear husband, Shawn, and it's probably my most favorite project.... ever.
This is Shawn, in 2000, after an especially dirty day on the ranch. It was a hot, dry day and they were working cattle at the "dippin' vat," a set of community corrals owned by their cattle association. (I have no idea why they call it the dippin' vat.) He was sweating and the cattle were stirring up dust, and I just could not resist the opportunity to snap a photo of my beautiful cowboy. Oh, those blue eyes....

So, why the random photo of him covered in dirt? Because it reminds me of how hard he works, and it really does relate to my cross-stitch project.
Shawn's family owns a 1,000-acre cattle ranch in central Idaho, and the ranch has been in their family for four generations. The above photo is Shawn and his dad, Terrence. Terrence passed away eight years ago on November 19, so this time of year is especially hard on Shawn, his mom and his sisters. Terrence was a great guy, with a big, booming voice, an irreverent sense of humor, and a big heart.

We lived in a house on the ranch then, and Shawn and his dad worked every day of the week, often putting in 12-hour or longer days. Shawn and I would get away maybe four weekends a year, and we would travel to Boise to stay with college friends and get in some movies, shopping and dining out - all those things we didn't have access to in a town of 500 people.
Here we are back in the day, on one of our trips to Boise. (We look different now - Shawn is a lot more grey and I'm not so skinny anymore!) I loved our trips to Boise because I got my cowboy all to myself for a whole weekend.
When we lived on the ranch, I looked forward to rainy weekends in June the most. If it was raining in June, that usually meant lightning, and that meant it wasn't safe for Shawn to be outside moving pipe. So, he would come inside and we would spend the whole day together watching movies, snuggled up together in a big overstuffed chair, listening to the rain hit the windows.

And that brings me to my most recent finish, "Hibernation Day" by Heartstring Samplery. Thanks to Beth of Heartstring Samplery for personally responding to my email (WOW!) asking for help with the alphabet to personalize the sampler. She is awesome!

Hibernation Day
by Heartstring Samplery
Stitched on 32-count natural linen by MCG Textiles
with called-for overdyed threads

I love the snap of winter air
and snowflakes on my face
How snowdrifts make the world
disappear without a trace

I'll take a day dressed in pajamas
in a room without a view
If I can spend the day
curled up next to you

Let's have a hibernation day,
me and you

Sorry about the huuuuuge photo, but it was a really long finish! I found this vintage-looking shutter at Michael's and did a happy dance when I pulled out my measuring tape to find that it was the perfect size for this sampler. (Don't you just love it when you find the perfect thing to finish a project?) I finished it Priscilla & Chelsea-style, lacing the stitching on 3/16" foam core, then mounting that on homespun-covered chipboard. I used magnets and washers to attach it to the shutter, then also used a magnet/washer combo to attach the bow and greenery to the bottom so I can reuse the shutter for another project if I want to and change out the embellishment.
I really like the variegation in the overdyed threads Beth chose for the project.
This sampler just nails the way I feel about my days with Shawn. Now that we are living in Boise and he is a teacher, I still look forward to our "hibernation days." Spending the day with him, no matter what we're doing - watching TV or movies, running errands, grocery shopping - is hands down my favorite thing in the world. He still works two or more weekends a month at the ranch - a 500-mile round-trip drive - so those hibernation days are still precious and few.

So this Thanksgiving I think I am most thankful for time. Time with my family, time to stitch and enjoy good days, and the time you take to visit me here. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving and wishing you lots of hibernation days with those you love.