30 January 2023

Blog Book & Baby Update


My 2022 blog book has arrived, the smallest yet, and I have mixed feelings about it. I'm always glad to get a hard copy of my blog into my hands, but this was my last with Tiger Lily in it, and that's so hard. 

As always, she graces the back cover, one last time.

Next year's back cover will be the babies, although by then, they'll be all grown up. But I think because they were so tiny and fragile when we got them, no matter how old they are or how big they get, we'll always think of them as "the babies".

Baby update: Five months old! Marigold has reached 6 lbs, Butterfly is almost there. It's starting to get a little awkward to pick them up and hold them at the same time... almost 12 pounds of kitty! Hard to believe when they came home we could carry both of them in one hand! Marigold has joined her sister in learning to fetch. They both give kisses, and we're working on our household manners. Learning stitching manners is going to be a challenge for later. They are so very, very "helpful" with everything, and they have to learn not to "help" with stitching. We'll get there eventually (I keep telling myself)!

25 January 2023

A Year of Winter: Winter's Rest

First finish in my Year of Winter stitching! This is Winter's Rest by Calico Confectionery stitched with the recommended DMC on some kind of 28 ct. rustic mystery evenweave. I love the charming retro look of this design. It reminds me of the design style back in the 80's, when I really got into stitching as a teenager. When I was about six years old, my mom taught me to stitch by having me make "x's" on a piece of gingham fabric stretched in a hoop, one "x" on each colored square. It wasn't until I was about 15 and discovered the double blessing of a stitching friend and a great local shop that I really got going. This design reminds me of that happy time. I chose the rustic fabric (rustic = bits of stuff in it) in tribute to the Fiddler's Lite (or oatmeal) aida that was so popular at the time. 

I know it's only January and I've only finished one project, but I am really enjoying this Year of Winter plan. I've assembled a little collection of winter projects that I love and am anxious to stitch. I'm also working on a big Christmas Open House for 2023, the tenth anniversary of that tradition. 

Hope you're all well and off to a great start on your stitching year!

20 January 2023

A Long Sought Treasure


When I was a little girl, this was my favorite book and I checked it out of the library over and over and over. I have hunted for this book, off and on, for most of my adult life. It was published in 1964 and has been out of print for ever so long. But I knew I'd find it one day. And I did. I'm not sure exactly what a very small me loved so much about this book, but throughout my adulthood, when I thought of it, what I remembered so vividly were the colors and the illustrations. Black, white, blue, green, and purple. And of course the story is lovely, and feels as relevant today as it did when it was published almost 60 years ago, and television was still new. 

Just a sampling, so you get a sense of the story:

""It was a long time since she had seen moonlight on the water,
on account of watching television."


16 January 2023

Blue & Gold Babies


This is difficult to photograph because the babies are wiggly and lighting is tricky, but it's neat so I wanted to show it to y'all if I could. The babies have dichroic eyes (two colors in one eye), which is somewhat unusual. They both have it, and in both eyes, which is also unusual. In their case, gold eyes with blue around the pupil. Marigold's blue and gold are lighter than Butterfly's. It's also easier to see when their pupils aren't so large, but they're almost always wound up, so... hard to photograph. Maybe you can see it.

Also, this is just for you, Laura! On my 8 January post, Laura pointed out they have little floofs below their ears, in addition to their Magnificent Ear Floofs, which cracked me up! Bonus wee ear floofs!

You can even see them in silhouette! Lol!

More ear floof. (I think this looks like an album cover.)

That's the baby update. Have a wonderful week!

12 January 2023

Back to Stitching


For the last three months of 2022, our home was pretty much a kitty intensive care unit and there was zero stitching happening. I can't remember the last time I went that long without stitching, but thankfully we've gotten through that trial and I'm back to my needlework. I managed to get Mr. Wonderful's Christmas ornament stitched when we were in Texas, and I've just finished mine, this glorious little Chunkadee. Not only is he adorably chunky, I also stitched him on 25 count fabric over two, so the stitches are extremely chunky. Thus, Chunkadee. The design is from this leaflet and the Zweigart fabric is from a Lithuanian shop on Etsy. At the time I purchased this fabric, I had searched for a US source and was unable to find one. There may be one now, as I've had the fabric for some time, but I've had good service from this seller and they carry a lot of Zweigart fabric that's hard to get here. As y'all know, I'm a huge fan of this speckled fabric, especially the dark grey. Mr. Wonderful's owl ornament is from this Etsy shop, but be aware--unless it's been corrected--the chart does not match the model. I didn't realize that until I had already completed the owl, and I was stitching him over one, so I decided to press on and stitch him as charted, but I did prefer the model version. Anyway, these are our 2022 ornaments. When the finishing will be done is anybody's guess. Last year's aren't finished either. *sigh*

I also started Winter Sampler, which I showed in my last post. First block is a lovely wee fox. Of course I had to stitch him first. This is stitched on 28 ct. Pewter Jubilee. I'm not sure whether or not Jubilee is still made anymore; this piece came from my stash.

And lastly, a small personal triumph. I finally finished Blackberry Lane's Let It Snow. I started this way back in 2016 and decided I didn't like the way the over one snowflakes looked, so I put it away. I finally figured out at some point over the last few years that for me, the one strand over one thread method was the problem. I've stitched with one strand over one on 40 ct. and it looked fine, but on 28 ct. I prefer 2 strands in sparsely stitched areas, like snowflakes. I know, I know. This is a stitching no-no. I don't care. I like fat stitches. Once I switched to 2 strands, I was much happier with my snowflakes. Fully stitched areas, like the birds, work fine with one strand.

This is stitched on the recommended PTP Stellar, which I don't think they make anymore. It's a shame, as it's such a beautiful blue (and that's from someone who's not crazy about blue). I've read dyers are no longer able to get certain dyes anymore, particularly ones used for some blues. Anyway, this is a loose interpretation of this design, as I didn't do a number of things suggested, but after all these years, it's finished and I'm happy with it and I'm proud of myself for finally getting it done. Good job, me.

In addition to Winter Sampler, I've also just started my next Year of Winter project. Stay tuned for a peek of that pretty soon. It's good to be back at the needle.

Happy Stitching!

08 January 2023

The 5 Pound Club


We've come a long way since 1 lb 11 oz and 1 lb 13 oz when these little girls came home on 29 October. Not quite 5 months old and both have reached 5 lbs. Big milestone. Next up, the shedding of the baby coats! They haven't started that yet but I have noticed some really long adult guard hairs coming in at the base of their tails. In other news, Butterfly (left) is learning to fetch, and we've discovered both of them like to be bounced like human babies. Seems to calm them down. So when necessary, we walk around with a kitten on one arm, bouncing her gently up and down as you would a baby. Weird, but adorable. (The pink towel they're sitting on is where they have their breakfast and supper. I guess they figure if they sit on it there's no way they'll miss a meal.)