Monday, June 25, 2018

Hello Summer!

Hi, stitching friends!

Oh, lord, don't even get me started on how long it has been since I wrote a post. I procrastinated for a few weeks, and then my former employer reached out to me to see if I would do some at-home typesetting for them during their busy season. I agreed, and a few weeks went by with nothing, then BAM. One day I suddenly had almost more work than I could handle. Being a workaholic at heart, I told them they could send me even more if they had it (glutton for punishment). And they did. So I am taking a break from stitching, framing and typing to finally sit down and write to you.

First, and definitely not late yet, is June Cottage, by Country Cottage Needleworks. Like the others in the series, I stitched this on 32-count lambswool linen with the called-for threads. (Except for the green... somehow I managed to forget to order that one, so I substituted DMC.) I have to say, I am anxious to finish stitching this series. It is getting a bit repetitive!
I changed the two little ladybugs on the vine and the tree. I added little antennae to them. It didn't make sense to me that the flying ladybugs would have them and the walking ones wouldn't.
I started the series last October so I have July, August and September to go. I'm almost done!

Can I be honest with you? Summer is not my favorite season. I don't like to be hot and sweaty. I love fall, with the cool days and cold nights when a pot of stew warms our bellies and makes us feel good. My husband and son have gotten to the point where spring actually makes them feel depressed! For them, it's because that's when the days of ignoring the outside are over, and it's time to water, weed and mow. My husband has the added joy (misery) of getting water systems running and cattle ready to turn out on his mom's ranch in central Idaho.

On a positive note, I do love cooking outside and camping, so I will focus on that and stop complaining.
Yesterday, I put the final touches on "Simply Summer" by The Drawn Thread. I cannot tell you how much I love, love, love this pattern. From the one-over-one ladybug to the satin-stitched bees and bee skep, this was a joy to stitch. (OK... honestly, the bees weren't all that much fun to stitch, but look how cute!!!) If you click on the picture, it should open up a larger version that better shows the details. I stitched them on 32-count Wren by Picture This Plus with the called-for threads. I just adore this fabric, from the mottling to the weight and feel of it. I'm going to try to find more of it. The bee skep is stitched with TGA's "Brandy," and I think it's one of my favorite overdyed colors.
Isn't the bee skep pretty?
Beautiful bees!
This morning, while Thomas was in his math class at summer school, I finally framed "Love" by Bent Creek. I stitched this last fall, but it has been sitting in my "to-be-finished" pile. (I know you have one of those, too!) I substituted cross stitches for the plethora of French knots in the big heart at the top (life is too short...) and used the called-for overdyed threads and buttons. I don't recall the name of the linen I used, but I'm fairly sure it's 32-count. I found this sweet frame at Michael's.

I realized recently that I should change the title of my blog from "Live to Stitch" to "Live to Sit." When I first started staying home, I was a flurry of energy, going from room to room, decluttering and cleaning. Then came the June and July from hell last year, when I got really sick, started really nasty chemo, and lost my way. It dawned on me recently that I have been sitting on the couch most of the day, which really is not a good thing. So my new goal is to start tackling my "to-be-finished" pile. When I frame, I spend a good deal of time standing, so that's a good start, I think. I'm not running marathons, but it's a lot better than sitting all day.
I stitched "To every thing there is a season" sometime last year or maybe even the year before, and it has been buried in my to-do pile ever since. The pattern came from a back issue of For the Love of Cross Stitch magazine, I think, but I don't recall the designer or the actual name of the pattern. If you know it, feel free to mention it in a comment.

My mom bought me a great selection of thrift-store frames. This frame was a pretty gold, but it was a cheap plastic and was coated in 20 years' worth of the previous owner's cigarette smoke and grease. After a good cleaning, I painted it with a couple of coats of white chalk paint. I mounted the cross stitch on foam core, attached some cording (not my best work, but *sigh*... don't get me started) and mounted that on fabric-covered Davey board. A natural-twine bow and a paper flower in the corner covered up a less-than-perfect frame corner. Do you like it? I'm thinking of giving it as a Christmas present.
My brother in Colorado has been going through some very difficult challenges lately. I worry about him a lot. For his birthday in April, I asked him if there was anything I could send him to make life a little easier. "Just something you made," he said. He is so sweet. My mom and I pitched in and sent him some gas cards so he wouldn't have to worry about that, and I have been working on a project for him ever since. Reaching back into my to-be-finished pile, I found this stitch by D. Morgan that I had done 20 years ago (holy moly!) in 1998. It came from a back issue of For the Love of Cross Stitch magazine, but I don't recall the date. It just seemed perfect for him.
I mounted it on foam core, added some handmade cording, and mounted it on a simple wood box I bought at Michael's. To finish the box, I sanded it (and sanded it and sanded it!), then painted it with gray chalk paint. Then I sanded it some more and painted one side at a time with Elmer's glue. When the glue was tacky, I painted white chalk paint over it. As the glue dried, it shrank, revealing the gray paint underneath and giving the box an aged look.
I love how this turned out! My brother has been building a tiny house, so I thought this little box would work better for him than something he'd have to find wall space for.
A couple of weekends ago, we went with our good friends Rob and Kristin to their family cabin in Crouch, Idaho. Rob loves to explore, so he piled us in his pickup and took us to Placerville, Idaho, a ghost town. I'd never been there before, so it was a great adventure! Placerville has a population of 53, but in its hay day in 1863, the population was 5,000! A fire in 1899 nearly destroyed the entire town. Several buildings were rebuilt, but 10 months later another fire burned many of those as well.

One of two volunteer-run museums in Placerville.

The coolest part of Placerville, in my opinion, was Pioneer Cemetery on a hill above town.
The cemetery is a hodgepodge of some of the most unique and beautiful headstones I've ever seen and newer headstones - as new as June 2018.
Many of the residents buried here came from Ireland and Scotland.
We saw far too many graves of children. Life in Placerville in the late Nineteenth Century must have been very hard on families.
Heartbreaking.
These crosses that were made to look like wood were stunning.

That's it for now, dear friends. I hope to post again soon and share with you some things that have gone neglected far too long!

I'm so lucky to have met you.

15 comments:

  1. Great post Meg....all your projects are wonderful and the framing is perfect for each piece. I love those little bees !!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful post to see and read this evening, Meg! I enjoyed seeing all your finished stitches. I love what you created for your brother. Question for you! What is Davey Board? I am not a fan of summer either; I don't like the heat or humidity.

    Enjoy your week!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi there dear Meg. I was so happy to see a post from you tonight. I have missed you so much while I was sick. I will write and give you the low down which I owe to so many good friends.

    I don't even know where to start. I LOVE absolutely everything. I will have to come back again and look and digest it all. But, I'm truly in love with the Drawn Thread one with the bees. It is the best and I'm going to look for that pattern.

    All of your stitches were wonderfully done and the framing perfect. You are so good at painting the frames, putting the stitch on the board and then giving it all it's extras.

    Your trip looked very interesting and I'm so glad you had a good time.

    Loved your gift for your brother and I know he will too. I used to buy Donna Morgan prints and met her once in St. Charles, Missouri. She signed one of my prints and she was so nice.

    I want you to know you are one of my heroes in every way. Cancer is no fun and you have handled everything with so much spirit and grace. It's a honor knowing you.

    Have a great week. RJ

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello my friend....

    What a wonderful post! I so enjoyed reading it this evening! I am so in love with all of your stitching and framing! Every piece is just lovely and I cannot pick a favorite....although the one you finished for your brother does pull at my heart strings! I love the beach and lighthouses ....the ONE good thing about summer...lol! I am not a big fan of summer either ...I love my garden and my flowers and lovely cool days spent at the beach but the heat...not so much! Fall is my favorite time too!

    Your trip looks so interesting. I too love old cemeteries and reading the old headstones but all the children....times back then were so very hard.
    You are doing great my friend and I am just so very proud of you! Sending hugs and love your way!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Liebe Meg,
    schön von dir zu lesen.
    Einen schönen Post hast du geschrieben.
    Das Juni Haus sieht wunderschön aus und der Rahmen passt perfekt dazu. Zeigst du uns auch mal alle fertigen Häuser?
    Auch die anderen beiden fertigen Stickarbeiten hast du sehr schön verarbeitet. Die Rahmen sind ein Traum und sehr gut aufgearbeitet.
    Die kleine Schachtel für dein Bruder sieht fantastisch aus.
    Deinen kleinen Bericht über euren Ausflug habe ich sehr gern gelesen.
    Wir haben auch etwas gemeinsam, ich mag die heißen Tage im Sommer auch nicht.

    Ich hoffe wir lesen bald wieder etwas von dir.
    Hugs, Manuela

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have been busy. I like all of what you have been stitching, especially the Drawn Thread piece. I too have done some of the cottages and keep getting burned out because of them being so repetitive. I stitched 3 last year, and 2 this year, I might get some more done sometime. The box for your brother is lovely, I am sure he will treasure it. x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh Meg your stitching is just wonderful. I especially love your gift for your brother. I too like looking through cemeteries. You sound like you are doing pretty well right now Meg. You are in my prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful stitching and beautiful finishing I have to finish a pillow today and I am praying it turns out nicely. It is for my daughter's birthday gift. Love seeing the old cemetery. I have always enjoyed looking at epitaphs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats on the stunning finishes. They are amazing.

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  10. So nice to see a post from you, Meg! I am a slacker lately, too--haven't posted in a month. Unlike you, though, I don't have much stitching to share. You are amazing--so much stitched AND finished... My favorite is the beautiful box you made for your brother. Love how the paint job turned out and the special piece on top. I always loved D. Morgan designs (do you think "D" is a man or a woman?).

    I am another old cemetery lover! In my small hometown, the beautiful, hilly cemetery was one of my favorite places to walk and explore. My dad is buried there now and I get such a sense of peace picturing him at rest there.

    How you are feeling well and not pushing yourself too much with this outside work, Meg... Take care now and I look forward to your next post :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Meg, I saw your post quickly yesterday morning but was heading out to the Bronx Zoo and didn't have time to give it justice! I LOVE all your stitching and finishing. I think your gift to your brother was my favorite though. I am quite sure that this beautiful sentiment touched his heart. I love how your framed it on a small box for his tiny home and your cording came out very well. You are too hard on yourself! I"m going to keep in mind your glue trick for aging too! I have a pile of thrift store frames that need updating and this is a great tip. To Everything there is a season is lovely and the recipient of such a lovely handstitched gift will be thrilled with it. Your redo of the old frame is so well done.
    I love your Drawn Thread stitch, it's a new one to me and another to add to my growing list. It's just a perfect summer Sampler. Your Bent Creek stitch is lovely and I think your framing is just perfect! I love how the white frame brings out the white birds and birdhouse, great contrast!
    What a great trip to Placerville and I know some people find it strange but I love going to very old cemetaries and reading the names and dates and seeing the old stones, so many are true works of art. The tree shaped stone is amazing! It's always so sad to see how many children passed so young also. I am not a fan of Summer heat either and thankfully June has been really cool here. I hope you are doing so much better this year than the horrible Summer you had last year. I consider myself lucky to have met you. Have a wonderful week. Hugs, Mary

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your Placerville photos...wow! You really caught the atmosphere of the pioneer cemetery Meg. Your framed finishes are fantastic - the Drawn Thread one is extraordinary.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I simply LOVE all of your stitching and finishing! Especially the piece for your brother! Looks like you had a great trip.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful stitching and finishing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Doing a little catch up on my blog reading and just had to stop and tell you how much I enjoyed all your stitching projects as well as your trip up to Placerville. Although I'm an Idaho native, I've never made that trip. Hope to remedy that one day!!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comments and am happy to answer any questions. Be sure to include your email address if you would like a reply.