Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Black Cat Hollow, Autumn Leaves and a Freebie

Hi, stitching friends!

I hope this finds you all enjoying the last warm days of autumn, with plenty of time to stitch. Our weather is typical for Idaho this time of year - frost in the mornings, then mid- to late-60s in the afternoon, with blankets ready for curling up in the evenings. I can't decide how to dress each morning. A hoodie is great for staving off the cold in the morning, but by midday I'm sweating and asking, "What was I thinking?" So lately, since I have the luxury of being able to do so, I've been staying in pajamas until late morning (or early afternoon, if I'm working!). Problem solved.

I have not been able to do as much stitching as I would like lately. I have put in some long (up to 12-hour) days typesetting. I have never been so thankful to have cross-stitch as a hobby. It's such a great way to relax and unwind.

"Black Cat Hollow"
by Barbara Ana Designs
Stitched on 32-count Dark Cobblestone Lugana
Called-for DMC threads
I'm excited to show you "Black Cat Hollow," a 3-part sampler by Barbara Ana Designs. I purchased the PDF downloads from Creative Poppy as they were released. I mounted the stitched piece on sticky board, then mounted some black-and-white homespun on cardboard and attached the layers with magnets onto a metal sign I picked up at Hobby Lobby. (The metal sign was originally white with metal words attached that said "Good Things Take Time," but the word "Things" was mounted upside down! I bought this "defective" sign on purpose because I knew I would be taking the words off and painting the sign with black chalk paint.) I made a bow - Priscilla and Chelsea style - with some black plaid ribbon and some fall foliage picks. I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
Taking a cue from Priscilla, I hot-glued the bow and foliage to the stitched piece, rather than the black sign, so I can reuse the black metal base to display another seasonal project.
Don't you just love those mischievous little witches? They are definitely up to something wicked.

I have so many Halloween-themed projects finished, but not fully finished, and I'm anxious to show them to you. My craft room/office is a DISASTER. When I first started staying home, I tackled each room of my house, purging and organizing. But since then, the chaos has crept back in and it's obvious I need another go at this room. At the time I first organized the room, I was still doing a lot of card-making. I have a LOT of paper, rubber stamps and embellishments taking up space. While I'm not ready to give them up, I would like to put them in storage so I can have a better space for finishing cross-stitch projects. I'm looking forward to the workload slowing down in the coming weeks so I can get this done.

Autumn Leaves

"Autumn Leaves"
by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 28-count white Irish linen with called-for DMC threads
and limited-edition "Ginger Cake" thread by The Gentle Art
The next project I have to show is "Autumn Leaves" by The Prairie Schooler. I actually stitched and finished this last autumn, before I started my blog. I used the called-for DMC threads, but I substituted "Ginger Cake" by The Gentle Art for some of the words ("said the," "to the," etc.). I received the skein as a thank-you freebie from an Jen at Jen's Stitching Niche on Etsy and I was anxious to use it. Unfortunately, it's a limited edition color, so I'm not sure about its availability.
I followed the cube tutorial from LHN (for their Hometown Holiday series) to finish it. The best part? NO sewing required! None! I had purchased this gorgeous autumn leaves fabric from a quilting store in Whidbey Island, WA, more than 20 years ago (!) and have had it in my stash all this time, waiting for the perfect project.
I used flat, wide beads attached with pins as "legs" for the cube, and I just love it. Every time I see it on the cabinet in my entryway, it makes me happy.

A Fall Freebie

A big thank you to Beth at Garden Grumbles and Cross-Stitch Fumbles for bringing the newest Lizzie Kate freebie, "Moon Over Blackbird," to my attention! Look how cute!
I couldn't wait to get started on this, but I did not have all the suggested overdyed threads. I substituted for some of the colors (my substitutions: WDW Grasshopper, Seagull, Deep Sea, Whitewash and Chrysanthemum, and CC Pumpkin Harvest). Here's my finished (but not fully finished yet) stitch:

"Moon Over Blackbird"
Freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32-count coffee/tea-dyed linen
with suggested/substituted overdyed threads
I wanted the pumpkin to have a vertical-striped look, like a real pumpkin, so I outlined it then filled in the stitches going up and down rather than side to side. It was a fun, quick stitch. Thanks, Beth, and thank you, Lizzie Kate!

Adventures in Driving

My son, who is going to turn 16 in December, is taking driver's ed. He's doing well, and he is loving the driving experiences. The school where we have him enrolled has very fancy cars for the students to learn in. His first driving experience was in a 2018 Ford Mustang convertible, and he drove in rush-hour traffic around the mall. He did so well, his driving instructor asked him if we had been letting him drive in the city already! (We haven't.) His dad lets him drive pickups in the corrals at the ranch, and on some of the tiny back roads around the ranch, but this was his first city-driving experience. 

The second time he drove, it was in a $75,000 pickup. It will be quite a shock to his system when he has to drive his mom and dad's cars. We drive old Hondas (Hondas last forever if you take care of them), and mine is the "newest." It's a 2006 CR-V with 108,000 miles on it! My husband's car is a 1996 Honda Civic with more than 300,000 miles on it, and our other "good" car is a 2004 Honda Accord with more than 200,000 miles on it! When it comes to cars, we are firm believers in "use it up, wear it out." I get my "new car" fix when we vacation in Oregon and I get to drive a new rental car for a week.

My son says his first car is going to be a Ford Mustang GT350. I asked him how much it costs, and he said, "Only about $50,000." Dreams.....

Well, I'd better get back to work. It was fun sharing with you, friends, and I look forward to hearing from you. When you take the time to comment, it's like getting "happy mail" in my inbox. So thank you! Have a great week, and I will be back next week with more to share, and hopefully some finishes.


  1. Congrats on the stunning finishes Meg. I need to work on some Prairie Schooler pieces.


  2. Ok, you have worked patterns from two of my favorite designers. You did such an awesome job on both. I love the way you finish your stitching, it's always so elegant and lovely. Thanks for the freebie info, too. Also stitched and framed just perfectly. You rock. I can't wait to see what you stitch up next. Wishing you a most lovely day. ((hugs))

    1. Thanks! To clarify - the photo of the framed Lizzie Kate freebie came from the Lizzie Kate blog. Mine isn't fully finished yet - I just wanted to show the two side by side. I think I did a pretty good job picking substitute colors! :-)

  3. Such beautiful stitching and finishing Meg! Boy, they are trusting of the kids with wonderful cars hey?! Well, good for them!

  4. I love the finishes you did on both pieces; the leaf fabric complements that piece especially well. I will have to hunt up the Lizzie Kate freebie.

  5. Oh I love your finishes Meg!! That Autumn Leaves is one I hope to stitch for next fall. How I love my Prairie Schooler. When I took Drivers Ed in the Dark Ages, we drove these big old Ford Grandma cars. Times have changed.

  6. LOVE your finishes ,all look just wonderful.
    Your weather sounds like you have the same weather has we have.
    I also have a craft room that sounds like yours I keep telling
    DH you have to make a mess when working in there ha.

  7. Thank you so much for the freebie, I have been over and printed it out already. I rarely do any autumn stitching and usually go straight from summer to Christmas stitching but this very sweet and quick. Love your finishes, I really should try to be a bit more adventurous with my finishes. x

  8. Wunderschön sehen deine beiden Stickereien aus. Beide Fertigstellungen gefallen mir sehr gut. Der Blätterstoff passt hervoragend zu dem Herbst Sampler.
    Liebe Grüße Manuela

  9. Meg, your witch piece is precious--love the finishing. That also goes for the PS Autumn piece, the leaf fabric is a perfect backing. All I can say is "Yikes" for the Driver's Ed cars; I think I'd be very nervous driving those myself!!! We put a lot of miles on our cars as well; I have 109,000 on my 2013 Subaru!!! We had a Toyota Camry once that we passed on to our daughter, who sold to a friend and had well over 400,000 miles on it at the end! :)

  10. Love your stitching and finishing!

  11. Your stitches and your finishes are fabulous, Meg! The PS Fall piece is my favorite though. Hmmm, I wonder if that limited thread from GAST is still available.

  12. Love your finishes! Black Cat Hollow is so wonderful, I must've had my head in the sand when the pattern was released. Glad I found your blog, I'm going to start at the beginning and read it all!

  13. Oh Meg, I adore your finishes. The witches are just perfect. I also love the PS box like finish. I must check out the link. I have been so busy with the new grandbaby that I have had no time to read blogs, but I hope to get in a better routine soon.
    How fun for your son! Those vehicles are a far cry different from my 1976 experiences with a Ford Granada:)

  14. Wow, great finishes! I love the magnet idea, what a great way to reuse a "frame"!
    Cubes are the best for a no stitch finish, I love the way Autumn Leaves turned out.
    Thanks for sharing the LK freebie, it is a cute one.
    I'm all for driving a vehicle until it dies, but ours don't last as long as yours!

  15. Aww... the witch finish is darling, Meg! You did a beautiful job in your finish. And the PS cube finish is fantastic. I can see why it makes you smile each time you walk by. I think I'm going to frame mine because I found the perfect frame in my stash for it :)

    Had to laugh at your Honda stories. We are a Honda family, too. My 2010 CRV is starting to act up recently, though. Had to get a new AC system put in and now it is making a weird noise. Back to the shop tomorrow! I rely on it heavily to drive the 600 mile round-trip up to NY and back when visiting my mom. If it weren't for that, I would hardly use it! My one son has a 2005 Accord and the other has a 1999 Civic--they just keep going and going :)

    Good luck with the driving--it sounds like your son is a natural. That seems like ages ago that we went through the whole driving thing. (well, it was--my youngest is 30 years old--gulp!!)

    Enjoy this last bit of October, Meg--Happy Halloween to you!

  16. Sorry I didn't get here earlier Meg. We have been out of town for most of the month at the beach. I'm not complaining one bit but I'm so behind in the blogging world right now. Well I'm so behind on everything to be exact.

    I love all of your stitches and your finishes are wonderful. They are so creative and perfectly done. You have become a real pro.

    I loved the story about your son's idea of the perfect car. When Mike was in his senior year of high school we bought him a bomb of a car "the big and ugly". George thought no one could be able to hurt him in that big car. He started to take the bus to school instead and would ask me to pick him up after football practice. Well when I got there, I quickly understood why he didn't want to drive "the big ugly" to school. His new school was in a ritzy area and only the base kids didn't have lots of money. So the cars were BMW's, convertibles etc. and sports cars in the parking lot. I came home and told George the situation and so we made some changes. I got George's brand new car, Mike got my car (though not new it had a sunroof, looked sporty and was in perfect shape and good old George took the bomb lovingly known as "the big ugly" It all worked out for everyone. George was commanding a squadron of about 125 and they all thought he was so cool driving such an ugly car not to mention they all knew who it was when they saw it. This brought back some really fun memories for us. Thanks Meg. RJ

  17. ...And yet more amazing finishes. Love that Barbara Ana design Meg.


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