Monday, December 23, 2019

A Blue Christmas

Hi, stitching friends!

Here we are, Christmas Eve Eve, and I am writing this with a heavy heart. We came home from our awesome, amazing, wonderful-beyond-belief vacation on the Oregon Coast, and I had routine scans Monday morning once we were back home.

Good news and bad news. The good news is that my cancer is still in the bone. That's REALLY good news. The bad news is that it has progressed. The last few days have been a flurry of doctor appointments and planning. I'm having surgery Friday to have a titanium rod inserted in my femur to stabilize it and keep it from breaking. After that, we'll be looking at several weeks of radiation to various parts of my body to kill the cancer and reduce pain.

After that, I don't know. Lots of fighting with insurance, probably. Maybe more chemo. One day at a time.

So. Much. Fun.

We've decided it's wise to stay close to home this next year, so we cancelled our 2020 Ireland/Scotland trip. But we are not sad. Shawn and I can have fun anywhere, doing just about anything together. Grocery shopping can be an adventure.

And, I'm so thankful that I have cross stitch as a hobby. I can't count the number of life challenges that stitching has helped me through. It keeps me centered. And I will have plenty of excuses to stay off my feet in the near future.

I would appreciate your prayers, though. Pray for strength, pray for healing, pray for wisdom and skill in my doctors.

In the meantime, we will have a wonderful Christmas. My mom is here with us, and with any luck, a family friend will be able to join us as well.

"Blue Christmas House," freebie from Live to Stitch

Blue Christmas House Freebie

My Christmas gift to you is a little ornament I designed called "Blue Christmas House." The design is based on a painting by Charles Wysocki called "Cape Cod Christmas." Click here for a PDF of "Blue Christmas House."

I owe the New England charm to Mr. Wysocki, though. I just adore his work. Here is the original painting:

I made some changes to make the ornament my own, but the spirit of the house is there. I hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Seventeen

My son turned 17 last week! I can hardly believe it. He is growing up to be such a kind, thoughtful young man, and I couldn't be prouder.

I asked him what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, and he said red velvet cheesecake. I made a red velvet cheesecake cake, and wow.... let me tell you, it was amaaaaaazing. See that picture above? That's MY cake! It turned out better than I expected, and my son was so thrilled. I have not been eating sugar since August, but I made an exception and had a piece of this. It was worth the calories. Click here for the recipe.

With that, I'll sign off for now. It may be a while before I post again, as life is about to get a lot more complicated for me. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2020!

Friday, December 13, 2019


Hi, stitching friends!

We enjoyed our last full day here by going to the waterfront in Newport. We saw the sea lions sunning themselves on the dock, browsed the gift shops and stopped at Beverly Beach again on the way back. It was pretty windy today and the tide was high, so we are saving our beach walk for tomorrow (fingers crossed). I finally pulled out my hat, scarf and coat today!

This evening we checked out the clubhouse at the condo and made a mental note to bring our swimsuits next year. Heated pool...check! We shot a few games of pool, and while I am not good, I am happy to report that I won two out of five games, so it wasn’t a total embarrassment.

After we check out tomorrow but before hitting the road, we hope to squeeze in one last walk on the beach. And, stitching friends, Shawn insists that I go to Starlight Stitchery in Corvallis one more time. What should I get? They have so many things I’ve never seen.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday hustle and bustle, and I hope you are taking some time to pamper yourselves. Thanks for all your sweet comments!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


The ocean view tonight from the back patio

Hi, stitching friends!

The storm seems to be passing, but the water and wind are still wild tonight. We hibernated yesterday and watched the waves crash on the rocks, and I worked on writing Christmas cards. After dark, we turned off the lights and snuck out in our bathrobes to skinny dip in the hot tub! Nobody needs to see that! That’s one huge benefit of visiting in the off-season. The condos on both sides of us are vacant. (Thank goodness.)

We drove north to Tillamook today to visit the cheese factory and get ice cream. They have a fun self-guided tour and free samples.

Shawn took five turns going back for free samples. The man loves cheese!
Yours truly!

Shawn loves to get ice cream at Tillamook. Last year they had a limited-edition flavor with maple syrup and bits of pancake in it, so he was looking forward to some of that. They didn’t have it this year, so he got FIVE big scoops of birthday cake ice cream AND a big scoop of praline pecan. I envy that man’s metabolism! I got ONE scoop of white chocolate raspberry.

Hey! Who ate all my ice cream? You did! You ate all your ice cream!

On our way “home,” we stopped at a post office in little Hebo, Oregon (population 231) to mail our Christmas cards and a Christmas package to my dad and his wife. They are hard to buy for, but I found some socks for them at the novelty sock store in Depoe Bay. Here’s what I sent them:

Socks for my dad and his wife, Marcia

He will think her socks are funny, and she will think his socks are hilarious. Perfect!

Until next time, friends, I hope this finds you happy, healthy and finding lots of time to stitch!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Storm Clouds Brewing

Hi, stitching friends!

I took this picture just a few minutes ago out the back patio of the condo. Beautiful evening. Those dark shapes on the left aren’t hills; they’re storm clouds rolling in. The waves are starting to crash high and hard against the rocks. It’s going to be a wild night!

Today was sunny and calm so we took a long walk on Beverly Beach. I love the Oregon Coast this time of year. We have the beaches almost to ourselves, and while others may think it’s too cold, we think temps in the 50s are perfect. I haven’t worn my coat since we’ve been here.

After Beverly Beach, we drove down to Newport and visited Bridie’s Irish Faire and met the owner, Susan. Earlier this year we signed up for a tour of Ireland and Scotland in 2020, organized by Susan, so it was fun to introduce ourselves. A lot of people going on the trip are from Oregon, so we are the Idaho contingent. (If you ever want a small-group tour of Ireland, click here to visit Bridie’s online. Next year will be Susan’s 17th tour!)

Lunch at Nana’s Irish Pub next door followed, and now we’re back at the condo, ready guessed it... watch Monday Night Football!

Wish you were here. There’s a lot to love!

Until next time, wishing you fun and lots of time to stitch!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Good Day

Hi, stitching friends!

Photo from

Today was a good day. Shawn and I slept in, watched some football in front of the fireplace, and had a nice breakfast (although we found out that our well-stocked vacation kitchen had no salt!).

We ventured out to Fogarty Creek Beach just up the road from our condo and walked on the beach. I took lots of pictures with my Nikon, so I’ll have to wait until we’re home to show you. (I don’t have a way of transferring them to my iPad.) I borrowed the above photo from, and it shows one of the pretty bridges we walked on at Fogarty. It was a gorgeous day, temp in the mid 50s. We forgot our rubber boots back at the condo, so we’ll be back again with boots maybe tomorrow so we can get wet and check out the tide pools.

After Fogarty, we went to the Christmas store in Lincoln City and bought some pretty ornaments. This Jim Shore Celtic Santa is my favorite.

We stopped by Walmart to pick up a few necessities (salt!) and came “home” to have some salads and watch football. I love our week away and how we can take it easy every day. Lots of down time. The perfect vacation for us.

I brought several projects with me, but I’m currently stitching “Simply Winter” by The Drawn Thread. After this, I’ll just have the autumn one to go. I decided to stitch with two strands of thread rather than the called-for one strand because I wanted the colors to be a bit bolder.

The light in the condo isn’t good for stitching, so I’m happy I brought my portable stitching lamp from home. If you travel and have a hard time with finding good light, I highly recommend this lamp from Amazon; it disassembles and packs in a suitcase. Here is the link on Amazon.

Tomorrow we plan more beach combing and exploring if the weather continues to cooperate.

Mr. Wonderful is sleeping now, pretty typical when Sunday Night Football is on and the fire is warm and cozy. It’s been a good day.

Wishing you joy and lots of time to stitch!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Hello, Oregon Coast!

Hi, stitching friends!

We made it to the Oregon Coast this afternoon.

During our flight, I snapped a picture of the Snake River and the snowy mountains in the distance, the clouds blanketing everything. It was a smooth flight, but as we started to descend, my ears felt like someone was stabbing them with an ice pick. I hate getting my ears to pop, especially when I’m getting over a cold.

On our way to Depoe Bay, we stopped at Starlight Stitchery in Corvallis, a real life needlework shop! I was in heaven. Shawn waited patiently as I browsed. “I’m almost done,” I kept reassuring him. “Take your time,” he said. Is there a husband-of-the-year award? I mean, for real? He deserves it.

I picked out some new things to add to my stash:

I think our friends might appreciate “Cabin Sweet Cabin” as a thank you for hosting us at their cabin so often. I wanted “Winter Saltboxes” the moment it came out, and “Autumn ABCs” is just a must-have.

I picked up a few small-project charts as well, and I asked Shawn if he saw anything he liked. He showed me this:

I have so many Halloween stitches already, but I can’t resist when he picks something. I love the colors.

Shawn told me we can stop at the stitchery store on our way home, too, if I want. I don’t think we will, but he is so sweet. How did I get so lucky?

Our home-away-from-home in Depoe Bay, a rental condo, is gorgeous and cozy. The ocean is right out the back door.

I hope you all find time to be in your happy place. You deserve it! Looking forward to a week of exploring, relaxing, stitching, and being with my favorite person in the world.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Time to Give Thanks

Hi, stitching friends!

At this time of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for your friendship, your kindness and your support. When I started this blog two years ago, on November 30, 2017, I hoped I might meet a couple of people who shared my love of cross stitch. I met dozens and dozens of wonderful people, and I am so glad and thankful to call you friends.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you every day of the year.

I would love to share with you a quick stitch I created called "Give Thanks." You can get a PDF of the chart by clicking here. I charted it using all DMC threads, a palette I borrowed from a favorite Prairie Schooler chart, but feel free to use any colors you want.

I stitched mine on 32-count "Fog" linen by Picture This Plus and finished it into a little pillow with "Vanilla" chenille trim by Lady Dot Creates.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Do you like to cook a big turkey dinner? When we lived on the ranch in Central Idaho, I would host, and since we had a house that was made for entertaining, with two dining areas, a big kitchen with a long bar-top counter and an open living space, we had room to have 25 people! It was so much fun. I would do a turkey and a ham, since my father-in-law didn't like turkey. If I heard more people were coming, I would just make a little more of this or that and we'd be fine. Great memories.

When we moved to Boise, we were farther away from family and my kitchen was much smaller. My husband watched as my mom and I tripped over each other. It seemed that I was always where she needed to be, or she was where I needed to be. One year I even cried at the dinner table because my rolls turned out like hockey pucks. Have you ever had a Thanksgiving like that?

So, a few years ago, my husband said, "I hope you don't take this the wrong way, because I love your Thanksgiving dinners, but how about we go out this year?" I agreed. We were going to go to Cracker Barrel, but when we pulled up to the restaurant, the line was out the door, wrapped around the porch. Oh, no! We thought we would be the only ones "cheating" and not cooking! How wrong we were.

We went to a buffet-style place called Chuck-a-Rama instead, and while the wait was still about half an hour to get in the door, the hostesses handed out hot cocoa to all of us in line, and we chatted away while we waited. Once inside, everybody got exactly what they wanted to eat, and it was delicious. We've been going there every year since.

I have to tell you, I do not miss the leftovers in the fridge. You know the plate of cranberry sauce that always manages to tip over and drip all over everything, making a sticky mess? I don't miss that! We usually have a pie or some snacks around to nibble on later in the day.

We pick up a newspaper on the way home, and my mom and I browse the Black Friday ads, debating whether or not it's worth going out and fighting the crowds the next day.

I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions, or your Thanksgiving disasters! Do you enjoy going out Black Friday shopping? Or are you more like me and do a lot of online shopping these days?

This is the top of my little cabinet in the entryway to our house. I made the green pedestal myself with a candlestick and plate I picked up at a thrift store. I glued them together with E6000 glue and painted them with acrylic paint in "celery." I put some fairy lights in the metal house, and you can't see it from this angle, but the house has a green roof that matches the pedestal. I think I may need to stitch another pillow to go on the other side of the bird. What do you think?

A Note of Gratitude

Do you remember this post from early September when I shared "Farm Fresh," a flat-fold I made for my friend Jan, the farmers market goddess? I sent it off to her and never heard whether she had received it or not. I was so worried it was lost in the mail or she didn't like it. I received a card from her the other day. She said she was embarrassed to have taken so long to respond, but I was just glad to hear she had received it.

She wrote, "Your timing was impeccable, for me. The day I received your care package, I was struggling - tired and a bit discouraged. Your kind words, your thoughtful touch, these lifted my spirit. Thank you for making the time to put your care into action. Thank you for such a sweet touch.

"You have helped me to remember that we are offered the opportunity to focus on that which we find hurtful, OR that which brings us joy, that both are available in the moments of our lives. You've helped me remember to touch the joy. Thank you! -Jan"

I believe that a simple act of kindness - even just smiling at a stranger - can make a big difference. When I think something nice about someone, even a stranger, I try to tell them out loud. What's the worst thing that can happen? They think I'm weird? So what? The best thing that can happen is they carry that with them and pull it out when they need it. When we plant seeds of kindness, love grows.

My Stitching Buddy

When I was going through my photos for this post, I saw that my son had taken some pictures of Scout, my stitching buddy. The photo above is the view I usually see from my spot on the loveseat when I'm stitching. That look is "When are you going to give me a cookie?" Or maybe it's "Can I go outside and bark at the squirrels?" It's hard to tell. He has the same expression for both.

This is his favorite spot in our front living room, where he looks out the picture window and barks at strangers and the neighbor's cat.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, friends! I have fallen far behind on keeping up with many of your blogs, but I will jump right back in ASAP. I'm working on some Christmas surprises for you!

Until next time, be well, be safe, and stitch!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

It's Cheesy Christmas Movie Time!

Hi, stitching friends!

The Hallmark Channel and other movie channels have started their Christmas-movie marathons. I can't help it. I love a good, cheesy, romantic Christmas movie.

I loved this post from the Lizzie*Kate blog last year. Linda wrote "Even though the plots are predictable and repetitive, even though every woman has the same hairstyle (soft waves!), even though everyone looks model-perfect all the time, even though it is ALWAYS gently snowing (never blowing), even though someone has always lost their "Christmas spirit" and even though there are a huge number of obscure PRINCES wandering around the US looking for mates...I find these irresistible."


(Oh, and by the way, Linda offers a super cute Lizzie*Kate freebie in the same post.)

Cheesy Christmas Movie Bingo

Lizzie*Kate's blog entry inspired me to create "Cheesy Christmas Movie Bingo" last year. My husband and I had so much fun playing! Our cards were handwritten, but I decided to make some "official" bingo cards to share with you. There are 12 different bingo cards in all, so grab the family or a friend and have some fun.

Click here to download or print a high-res PDF file of the bingo cards, or click here to download or print a smaller PDF file of the bingo cards. (They are the same cards.)

Until next time, friends, be warm and safe and I hope you have lots of time to stitch!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Just Call Me Hopalong

Hi, stitching friends!

Here is my view today from my couch, where I have been spending way too much of my day lately. I apparently broke my foot 2-3 weeks ago. I was just walking into the kitchen and POP! I felt this very sharp pain in my foot. I hobbled around on it for a couple weeks, thinking it was just tendinitis or my imagination. On Friday my doc ordered X-rays and we found out it was broken.

Luckily, a family friend is a well-known foot and ankle surgeon and he pulled my X-rays up at home this weekend. He thinks it may be broken in two places. He suggested I wear this lovely boot and stay off it, so I have an accompanying rolling scooter, which, to be honest, is pretty fun to roll around on.

By the way, my current stitching project is “Welcome Christmas” by The Drawn Thread. As you can see from all the little holes, I have done quite a lot of frogging on it. I just wasn’t loving the green for the letters and decided to try them in navy blue. I would have scrapped the whole thing and started over, but I just finished the over-one stitching on the stockings and couldn’t bear to start those over again.

Happy Mail

Today’s mail brought this sweet Halloween envelope and needle book from Stasibee. Isn’t she the greatest? I’ve been feeling kinda down and this lifted my spirits. Thank you, Stasi! ❤️

So, I need help coming up with a good story to explain how I broke my foot. Any suggestions? I was thinking I could tell people I was helping my husband on the ranch when I saw a 2,000-pound bull charging toward him. I threw myself in front of the bull, and the bull veered off at the last second, avoiding plowing into me but stepping on my foot. Better story, yes? What are your ideas?

Have a wonderful week, friends, and don’t be clumsy like me!

Your friend,

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Autumn Leaves

Hi, stitching friends!

A few days ago I featured an autumn freebie from Ricami di Marula at Crocette a gogò. You can get the free pattern by clicking here.

I wanted to stitch this while our leaves were still so beautiful, so for the past few days this is all I've been working on. I finished it last night and framed it today. Isn't it sweet?

I've had this little mahogany 4x4 frame in my stash for more than 20 years! Isn't it great when you finally find a use for something? I thought about painting the frame green or white, but my son said I should keep it natural because he liked how it went with the tree trunk and branches.

I stitched "Autumn" one-over-two on 40-count Flax Newcastle with the called-for DMC thread, except I substituted DMC 817 for the called-for DMC 321. I thought the 321 was a little too fire-engine red and bright, and I wanted a more "orangey" red for the birds. I stitched the string in DMC 898, same color as the branches, instead of the called-for DMC 310.

I have to thank Carol at Stitching Dreams for recommending the 40-count Flax Newcastle as one of her favorite stitching fabrics. I bought a big cut of it because she liked it so much, and while I was stitching on it, I thought, "Where have you been all my life?" It had such a nice feel and I love how I could use just one thread.

I absolutely love those birds. I changed the legs a tiny little bit, removing a couple of stitches in the pattern so they would be more delicate.

I think this would be a fun stitch to alter for different seasons, using different color schemes. The acorn between the birds could be a Christmas gift and they could be cardinals, or, for spring, the acorn could be a little tied bouquet.

Autumn Leaves

I call your attention to the title of this post: Autumn Leaves. It has a double meaning. The local news tonight said we're going to get "winter-like" temperatures in the middle of the next week. I'm not sure I'm ready to hear that! But I do like it when the colder weather sets in because I like to make soup and homemade stock, and I start getting all giddy thinking about watching Christmas movies and getting busy with the holidays.

My heart goes out to all of you still suffering the heat. Hold tight. This, too, shall pass. They just never say when!

Be well, friends, and I hope you have lots of time to stitch.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Halloween Finishing Spree Day Six

Hi, stitching friends!

Welcome to Day Six of the Halloween finishing spree! Today's finish is "Pumpkins," a gorgeous pattern I first saw when Honeybee featured it on her beautiful blog, The Copper Fox. If you haven't already visited The Copper Fox blog, please do. She does such amazing stitching and she has some very good inspirational posts on finishing. I owe a lot to Honeybee for helping me to silence my inner critic! (I think we are all pretty hard on ourselves when it comes to being perfectionists.)

You can find the PDF pattern for Pumpkins on Etsy at LoLaLottaShop.

I stitched Pumpkins on 32-count Barnwood linen by Picture This Plus. The pattern uses DMC threads, but I swapped out some of the greens for Colour & Cotton threads I had on hand. I wanted brighter greens that would pop on the dark linen. I used petite seed beads from Mill Hill for the lacy pumpkin.

I finished the stitch as a flat fold (thanks for the tutorial, Vonna!) and trimmed it with some handmade cording made with DMC thread.

I used some lovely fabric I received from RJ and Mary at Stitching Friends Forever to complete the flat fold.

I love the finish and the Barnwood linen. It just pops! And I'm so thankful to Honeybee for inspiring me to start this project.

I hope to have Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow back from the framer soon. She called me yesterday to tell me there had been some sort of mix-up with the moulding I chose, and her supplier told her it wasn't going to be ready until mid November! And did I want to wait until November to pick it up? (Would you?!) I'm going in today to pick a different moulding, which is heartbreaking to me because the one I had originally chosen was just so perfect. Wish me luck, and I hope to have it back by the end of the week so I can show you.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Halloween Finishing Spree Day Five

Hi, stitching friends!

Welcome to day FIVE of my Halloween finishing spree. Today's finish is "Chic Witch," a free pattern from La Comtesse & Le Point De Croix. Click here for the pattern.

I stitched Chic Witch on 36-count Star Hollow linen by R&R Reproductions. I did not have the called-for threads and I didn't want to use all DMC, so I used:

  • Weeks Dye Works (WDW) Grasshopper - boot accents
  • WDW Taffeta - wording and purple stripes on sock
  • WDW Mascara - crow and spider
  • The Gentle Art Fragrant Cloves - orange stripes on sock
  • DMC 310 - blended with 535 for boots
  • DMC 535 - blended with 310 for boots

The designer does such beautiful work and she is very generous with her free patterns.

The pattern, on 36-count linen, fit perfectly in a 5x7 thrift store frame I painted with black chalk paint. For the skirt, I took some wired plaid ribbon, removed the wire and stitched a running stitch on one side to gather the pleats. I stuck the ribbon to the inside of the frame with some sticky dots and put the needlework, laced onto foam core, into the frame.

I blended DMC 310 and 535 for a heathered look in the boots. What do you think? And don't you just love that spider? (If it's possible to love a spider.)

This was such a fun stitch, and great because you can use any color combination you want, with any ribbon you have on hand.

See you tomorrow for Day SIX of my Halloween finishing spree! Until then, be well, and I hope you have lots of time to stitch.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Halloween Finishing Spree Day Four

Hi, stitching friends!

I'm realllly excited to show you today's finish. It's my first attempt at a drum. Hats off and big thanks to Vonna, The Twisted Stitcher, for her excellent tutorial video. She made it look so easy. I did not expect much from my first attempt, but I have to say, I absolutely LOVE it.

The pattern, by Lizzie*Kate, is "Just a Little Hocus Pocus," which is the bonus chart that came with part 2 of Lizzie*Kate's Halloween Mystery Sampler 2019. I'm still working on the sampler, and I stitched the bonus design on a little scrap of 32-count "Fog" linen by Picture This Plus. The cat's eyes are amber-colored beads from the mystery sampler embellishment pack.

It was such a cute, fun little stitch, and I am really enjoying stitching the sampler. The orange diamonds in the bottom diamond pattern above were supposed to be filled in with black stitches, but I thought the diamonds would look more dainty if I left the black stitches out.

Isn't that little witch trick-or-treater darling? In the original pattern, she didn't have any hands, so I added two little stitches to give her some hands. Without them, her little bag was just floating beside her.

I topped the drum with some black pom-pom trim and stitched on a narrow black ribbon around the bottom.

For the top, I used a little square of Moda fabric from a charm pack I bought on Etsy a while ago.

I used another square of Moda fabric from the same charm pack for the bottom. Sooo cute!

Thanks for stopping by, friends. I will be back again tomorrow for Day Five of my Halloween finishing spree. I'm telling you, I have been on a roll! Until then, be well, and I hope you find (or make) lots of time to stitch!