06 April 2021

Tea & Coffee Series: March and April

 

Back in February, I posted my finishes of the January and February installments of this adorable new monthly series by Punochka (link to the shop in that post). I ended my month-long stitching break by whipping out the March and April cups. 

March: This is charted for a pink tulip on a blue cup, but I went with a lavender tulip on a pale green cup. My choices (all DMC): 

cup: 14; tulip (light/med): 211/210; leaves: 989


April: The only change I made to this little bun was to move his eyes further apart and stitch them with a Smyrna cross in DMC 938 instead of 310. So cute.



I want to thank all of you who have left such sweet and supportive comments and offered prayers for our family. I really do appreciate them so much. Thank you.

27 March 2021

Resting

 

Well, well. How are y'all doing? We're okay. Shortly after my last post, my dad came home from the nursing facility. So many of y'all have been so supportive with encouraging words and with prayers, I wanted to provide a quick update. I don't want to dwell on the negative, but we are where we are right now. He went into the hospital on 30 October for a serious but not uncommon surgical procedure that should have only required an overnight stay. He had mowed the yard a few days before. Nineteen weeks later, after a lengthy hospital stay and three more nursing facilities, they have returned him to us unable to care for himself and likely suffering from PTSD. It's a long, complicated story which I will spare you, but the chief cause of this catastrophe has been the COVID protocols in both the hospital and the nursing facilities. Thankfully, all along the way, the Lord has blessed us with people willing to step in and help at critical times. Even now, there are people doing what they can to help rehabilitate him at home. We don't know how far we can bring him back, or if we can bring him back at all, but at least he is at home with my mom, and not alone in a facility. 


When he got home, I sort of shut down. I knew he wasn't right and there was such a long way to go, but the strain of knowing he was so ill and so isolated was relieved and exhaustion set in. I haven't picked up a needle since the beginning of March. I think I was so heavily relying on my stitching to keep me sane for those four months that when I shut down, the urge to stitch went, too. I have just been so tired. I know so many of you know this feeling.

So these last few weeks of inactivity on my blog have just been me resting. Trying to recover and recharge and refocus. If you've been with me for a while, you know I strive to keep this a happy place and I never share overly personal things. But I know that so, so many people have endured this type of situation--and far worse--over the last year, and I wanted to say: I know. I understand. I feel all that same fury, and sadness, and helplessness. And I'm praying for you.

When the pandemic began last spring, I said to Mr. Wonderful, "We must make it through this without anyone having to go into the hospital." Well, we didn't. And it's been a nightmare. But the Lord has sent so many people into our lives to help us carry this burden and we've learned so much from this ordeal. I think the main lesson is: be the helper. Be that person who steps in and lightens the load someone else is carrying. And don't underestimate your ability to help. We are unbelievably blessed that an ICU nurse lives next door to my parents and helps daily with my dad. I could never provide such skilled help. But someone quietly left a crate of fresh oranges on the porch, and it was a sheer delight. That, I can do. Just be the helper. 


Be well, y'all. Back soon.

01 March 2021

Get in, y'all. We're doin' spring.

 













I am ignoring the piles of snow left around, and the fact that it can snow here at any time for the next two months, and I'm doin' spring. Pardon the nerd talk, but March 1st marks the beginning of meteorological spring (astronomical spring begins in a few weeks), and I am definitely okay with that. For the first time ever, I put out my spring decor before the end of February, and although I had one little winter project left to stitch, I put it aside and jumped to spring. (If we have a spring snow storm, I may pull it out and stitch it up.) 

Y'all know that we usually bake from scratch around here, but I am far from a baking snob. Sometimes you need emergency cookies, and there is nothing faster than ready-to-bake cookies, a container of frosting, and some sprinkles. Boom! Emergency Spring Cookies! My favorite combo is sugar cookies with lemon frosting, but try anything. There's no way to mess these up.

The sweet, sleepy baby bunny is available here. And to add to your spring stitching stash, here are a few freebies:

Spring Robin

Easter Basket

Easter Delivery

I have Huckleberry Farm all ready for my first stitches. I don't have a deadline for this project. I just want to stitch it and enjoy it. The pile of threads is the latest addition to my Cosmo collection, and the spring mini lights are from Hobby Lobby. 

Hope your weather is warming up nicely. Ours has been so lovely. Tomorrow will be our first open windows day since last fall and I'm so looking forward to it. Fresh air wafting through the house just makes me happy.

Happy Spring, and Happy Stitching!

22 February 2021

Northern Lights Conversion

Here's my latest little finish: a "Northern Lights conversion" of this charming winter scene from the February 2020 issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. I knew I wanted an aurora effect, but I didn't know if there was a fabric available that would suit me, so I hunted around. I settled on PTP Monster Mash and happily, I got a piece that was usable for this project. Well, half of it was. The other half of the fabric had too much purple in it for the look I wanted. Hand-dyed fabric is a bit of a gamble at the best of times, and if you're wanting a specific effect in addition to color, good luck. My piece just happened to work. I know it's weird, but I love it.


As I often do, I not only changed colors to suit the fabric, I also did some editing. I left off the little bushes, and the birds, and the snowflakes. I wanted the fabric to do all the work so I just sort of streamlined the design. If you check out the "color conversions" tab at the top of the page, you'll notice that I am always "purple-izing" designs. (I know "empurple" is a word and "purple-ize" is not a word, but I like purple-ize better and now it's a word.) I think it's because blue is such a popular color--except with me--and it's easy to visualize blue-to-purple conversions. Anyway, here are my changes (all DMC):

B5200-->Blanc; 3822-->3821; 598-->28; 3810-->29; 164-->3364; 988-->3363;

987-->3362; 644-->3790; 642 & 640-->4145

Speaking of winter and winter stitching, it poured snow yesterday. It's been incredibly cold here lately (negative double-digit lows at night, negative daytime highs, 30-below wind chill), and when it's that cold, the snow is fine and dry like sand and sparkles like diamonds. But yesterday it was warm (30!) and the snow was chunky and fluffy and made everything look like it was coated in frosting. 





Last winter was underwhelming but this one is making up for it. We have had so much snow. The snow bank in our yard from clearing the driveway is so high Tiger Lily can't see the street from her window. In spite of what it looks like outside, I'm kicking off spring on March 1st! Who's with me?!

Bonus:

Aurora Webcam!  If the Northern Lights aren't visible when you check, try again later or on a different night. You'll eventually catch them. So enchanting.

18 February 2021

How to Remove Ghost Stitches

I have no idea what these little holes that remain after stitches are removed are called, but I call them ghost stitches and I find them annoying. Happily, they are easily removed. With your fingernail, gently scratch the fabric up and down, and side to side, to move the fibers back into place. You usually only have to do this on the bottom side of your fabric, but sometimes a few scratches on the top side might be needed. The up and down scratches move the horizontal fibers and the side to side scratches move the vertical fibers.

Before:

After:


A very simple solution to a not-very-serious problem, but some readers may be new to stitching and you never know when sharing something you do as a matter of habit or instinct may be just what someone else needed. This is as true in life as it is in stitching, so always share your knowledge!

15 February 2021

Winter Treasures

 

I love this little design. It's called Winter Treasures and it's available in this Etsy shop. This pretty scattering of seed pods, pine boughs, berries, and pinecones looks like you've just returned from a winter nature walk and emptied out your pockets. 

I'm stitching up a few small winter designs to freshen up my winter sewing room display, much as I did last year during my Summer of Halloween. I had realized I hadn't stitched Halloween in quite some time so I spent the summer adding some new finishes. Once I put Christmas things away, I like to have plenty of pretty winter things to look at to get me through the months til spring, and I needed some new additions. This one will work from December right through til spring.

12 February 2021

Winter is Coming Mini Quaker

 

I've had this finished for a while and have had it propped up in my sewing room so I can observe it and decide how I feel about it. Oh my goodness, I had such a time trying to find a substitute for GAST Garden Gate. The skein used in the model is lovely and my (three!) skeins were... not. The color in the model (used for the vase, candlestick, bottom center motif, right border motif) is subtle shades of beige, blue, and olive. My skeins are the color of mud. I searched high and low for a substitute, tried several, and settled on GAST Fisherman's Wharf. It's darker than I wanted, but the other choices were too pale or too bright. They were prettier colors, but in the end, I went with the more subdued color as I thought it would blend better. 



I'm still not sure how I feel about this finish. I wanted to love it but that color not being quite right just bugs me. I may end up ripping it out and trying something else, but for now, I'm calling it a finish. 

This is the companion piece to Autumn is Coming Mini Quaker. Can Spring be far behind?

08 February 2021

New Monthly Series!

 

I spent last year stitching a teapot per month and I've just started another year-long project with this new coffee and tea calendar series by Punochka. How cute are these?

Here's January:

And here's February:

These are pretty, quick-to-stitch little projects that are perfect for those days when you want to be sorta productive but don't want to dive into that WIP you're laboring over. They're charted for DMC so you're sure to have supplies on hand. I'm stitching mine on 32 ct. Vintage Country Mocha. I have no idea how I'll finish them; right now I'm just enjoying stitching them. And I'm caught up... yay, me!


Happy Stitching!

04 February 2021

Freezing Fog

 

Ever seen freezing fog (rime ice)? I hadn't, until we moved to the frozen tundra. Pretty neat.










Stay cozy!