21 June 2022

2022: Summer of...

A few weeks ago I was rambling about my new-ish tradition of having a theme for my summer stitching. In late spring of 2020, when we were all still trying to adjust to the awful reality of the pandemic, I was casting about for something cheerful and distracting to focus on and came up with Summer of Halloween. Our first Halloween in that neighborhood was a blast and reminded me I hadn't stitched any new Halloween pretties in forever, so I decided to spend the summer just stitching that. I enjoyed it so much I did Summer of the WIP in 2021, working to finish some long-neglected projects. 

What to do about 2022? This year has been... well, y'all have been here. You know. I hadn't given a thought to my summer stitching theme until some time in May. I was sitting in temporary quarters one afternoon, trying to come up with a theme, something I would really enjoy. Something calming. Something therapeutic. Something that would help me recover from these difficult months. And then I thought of the perfect project. Exactly the right project.


I'm the project.

2022 is the Summer of Me.

I got out my little notebook and started jotting down things I'd like to do over the summer that would be just for me. Things I enjoy. Things that calm the mind and repair frayed nerves. Things that are quiet, and slow, and pretty. And of course, creative. Things that got swept away in the upheaval and grief of the last six months.

Reading on my pretty little patio

Having tea with my favorite tea sets

Getting back to my rowing machine (Mr. Wonderful attributes this love of rowing to my Viking genetic memory... lol)

Baking, baking, and more baking (thus all the rowing!)

Of course, stitching... I have a couple of projects chosen

And all the little things you let go of when your hands are too full of hard things to hold onto them.

There's something else I want to do. Something I absolutely love--get lost in--and always, always, always put off because there's always something more important I should be doing. 

Finishing and framing

When I get going on a pile of stitching that needs finishing or framing, I may as well have fallen down a rabbit hole. I become totally absorbed. I make a mess. I spend hours and hours and then days and days at it. I completely lose myself in it. I thoroughly enjoy it. Which is why I rarely take the time to do it. Which is... backwards and wrong? My reasoning goes something like this (stop me if you've heard this in your own head): "I can't tackle this pile of finishes because if I do I'll end up spending days on it and I have all this other stuff to do and I can't just disappear into my sewing room for days so maybe once I get all this other stuff done I can get to it..." And of course we know that all that other stuff never gets completely done and so we never feel like we can break away and play. 

Not this summer. This summer, I want to finish and frame until I go cross-eyed. I want to enter my sewing room after my morning row and only emerge for snacks. I want to make a mess. I want to throw some things into my slow cookers for supper (two new cookbooks have arrived!) and walk away from the kitchen. I want to spend an hour trying to choose just the right embellishment. I want to re-pin something three times. I want to beautify the things I've stitched so they can live where I can see and enjoy them, instead of in the finishes box. 

And it's almost as if this was the plan all along. My sewing room is small, but it's painted a soft, sunny yellow (by some past resident) and has a bay window. My pink and green sewing room is going to clash magnificently with the yellow paint, but I don't care. I think my soul needs sunny walls and a bay window. 

So it's the Summer of Me. I'll be quietly puttering away, putting myself back together. You're most welcome to drop in any time. Consider it a season-long open house. We'll have tea. We'll eat tiny baked goodies. We'll get lost in the sewing room. We'll sit on the patio and listen to the birds. And we'll feel better. (I won't make you row.)

See you soon, my dears.

12 June 2022

Baby Fox is finished!

I'm somewhat surprised I have a finish to share in the midst of moving chaos, but I do. Isn't he sweet? I love his expression. This is one of my Ukrainian designs, stitched with DMC on the Zweigart manufactured 32 ct. fabric from Hobby Lobby in the color Spa. What a lovely boy.

Unpacking is moving along. My kitchen is about 90% put together, so that's the biggest job pretty much done. I've got a few days of work left around the house before I can get at my sewing room, but I'm hoping I can start on that at the end of this week. Mr. Wonderful is down with a summer cold and I need his help with a few things, so my plans may be delayed a bit, but I'm close to getting to that sewing room. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed I do not catch his cold! No time for that nonsense!

07 June 2022

Ukrainian Stash

While we're waiting for me to unpack my sewing room, let's look at my Ukrainian haul! Back in this post I shared some links to several Ukrainian designers' Etsy shops for those who might want to support them through their work. Over the next few weeks, I did some shopping with them and photographed my new stash but didn't get a chance to share before we moved. Let's see what I got...

First, of course, foxes! 

This gorgeous design is from KitsBySAstitch and is part of a series of animals bundled up in winter clothes. They are all absolutely beautiful.

Fox Silhouette: HappyLittleMouse
Grandma Fox: MrStitchxMrsNeedle
Spring is in the Air: NonStopStitch

Swamp Sampler: StitchyPrincess
Joy, Autumn Fairy, Pumpkin Mousse: NonStopStitch

Swamp Sampler? Yes! Big fan of all things green, critters, and unique designs, and this one has it all. I just love the warm, summery feel of this sampler. I can almost hear the buzz of the insects, the croak of the frogs, and the bird calls. What a great summer project.

Moving from summer to fall, feast your eyes on this fantastic turkey from AwesomePatternStudio! Y'all know how much I love this type of design and it's an ideal style for a turkey.

Lighthouses and Seagulls: NonStopStitch

If you're a lighthouse lover, that's your shop. They have a series of really pretty ones. I held myself back and only got two. For now.

That's my haul. I made a pretty notebook to hold my pdf designs, put them in plastic document protectors, and divided the notebook into categories. When I find it, I'll show it to y'all. 

Hope you're inspired to check out these shops (and the others in the linked post) and that you find some designs you didn't know you needed. These are not the only Ukrainian shops on Etsy. You can filter your search of cross stitch pdfs (or anything) by country of origin and find a lot more.

Back to unpacking. Happy Stitching!

01 June 2022

My Travel Kitchen

We got our shipment on Thursday and oh my word, what a day. It poured rain all day. The unload--which took three hours for our last move--took seven hours. At the end of the unload, the truck was empty and we were missing 45 items. The next two hours were spent painstakingly going through the inventory and hunting through the house, locating and matching items missing inventory stickers, or missed on the call-out, a task made much more difficult by the less-than-exact inventory prepared by the company at the other end. Thankfully, we had a good crew who calmly and cheerfully searched through the chaos and we ended up finding everything. What a blessing they were. But y'all. We have never had a move like this. We've already found some damage and I'm praying there isn't more.

And that will be just about enough of that. Onward. Last week I mentioned my travel kitchen, my bare minimum of kitchen things that I take with us so that I can make simple meals as we wait for quarters, or for our stuff to catch up to us. I've been doing this for years and never thought to share, probably because we've never been displaced for this long. All of this stuff fits in a hard-sided, collapsible grocery tote that measures 13"L x 11"W x 11"H, with the exception of the small crockpot.

Here's my list. Easy to customize to your own preferences and useful in all kinds of situations, not just moving. I also should note that this list assumes access to a microwave and a small fridge, which are pretty standard no matter where you stay.

Slow cookers: 3 qt, 1.5 qt


Dishwashing liquid, scrubby

Cutting board, small knife

Liquid measure, measuring cups/spoons


Micro-cooker (2 qt., Pampered Chef)

Small tongs

Can opener

Spatula, serving spoon

Mix n' Chop (Pampered Chef)

Pizza cutter, ice cream scoop (yes, bring the scoop)


I love my slow cooker collection and use them all the time, and they really are invaluable when you don't have a kitchen. The 3 qt. size is perfect for the two of us: large enough to accommodate a pretty wide range of recipes, but small enough to take up very little space. The 1.5 qt. is just right for a small side dish, or even a small dessert. I also use it to cook chicken breasts for other recipes (it will hold a package of 3). Lots of great low-prep and no-prep recipes out there for both sizes.

The Pampered Chef items I've had for years and are some of my most used. The micro-cooker (microwave) can be used to steam vegetables, heat stuff, and even brown ground beef. This 2 qt. size also doubles as a mixing bowl. The mix n' chop is what I use to break up cooked ground beef.

And that's it. Just a small tote of essentials and you can set up a tiny but adequate kitchen and get a break from fast food. There are a number of "slow cooker for two" cookbooks to choose from, with recipes sized for these smaller crockpots, or you can just do some googling and choose what looks good to you. 

There is definitely an emotional boost from smelling the aroma of a favorite dish wafting through an empty house, or in our case, a house that smells of cardboard boxes. Having supper simmering away all day as I unpack endless boxes--without having to frantically find kitchen things to cook with--makes me feel like I might survive this.

Happy Cooking!