Monday, April 5, 2021

Llama, Llamas, Llamas

I hope you had a lovely Easter if you were able to celebrate with your family. This sweet little lop eared bunny and plant were a gift from my godchild and her family and her pets. :-)

 My sewing machine was pleasantly surprised to have gotten a workout lately. I wanted to make an oversized project bag to accommodate my large 11x17 Q Snap frame.  

 
 
I also made a matching grime guard and a bitty board. What is a bitty board you ask? Well, it is a tiny version of a design board. Still confused? Wondering how they are used? Then head on over to Lori Holt's Youtube episode where she explains how to use them and how to make them. Quilters please take note: the designs boards are geared to you, so definitely check them out.

 
 
I enjoy making project bags and finding fittings to make cute zipper pulls.  This little llama charm was perfect for this project bag.

Let me share this poem from Ogden Nash. . . 

The Llama
 
The one -l lama, 
He's a priest;
The two-l llama,
He's a beast.
And I will bet 
A silk pajama
There isn't any
Three-l lllama.
 
I remember pointing out to my English teacher back in high school that we do indeed have 3-alarmers when we have serious fires. (Note to those not from this neck of the words. We sometimes drop our "Rs" when we speak; we also sometimes put them in when they should not be there. :-)

A llama tip . . . Kimberly Jolly of The Fat Quarter Shop in a recent floss tube talked about taking her children who were on spring vacation to a ranch with all kinds of animals including llamas. While feeding the llamas, the guide warned Kimberly and her children that whenever a llama puts his/her ears straight back, get out of there quickly as the llama is about to put his/her head back and spit!!! That's your tip for the day; file it away in your memory bank. :-)

Readers have asked what weight vinyl I use in my bags. I use vinyl with the green printing sheets from Joanns. Their vinyl comes in various weights, but I find this the best weight for my bags.

Here's Emma after her Thursday trip to the groomer. 

St. Colettas School is just down the road from the groomer’s shop, so I stopped in there to see their new shops and to learn when they would again be accepting clothing items and other items for their thrift shop. The new shops are boutique-like, and I found two items. This small gold frame will be perfect for a cross stitch piece.

I also picked up this tiny Campbell Kids item which I will use for a sewing kit. I couldn't help thinking of my mom who said when she was little, folks would say she looked like the Campbell Soup girl.

Oh, one more thing, WHOOPIE, I received my second vaccine shot this morning!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful week. Stay safe and stay creative.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

I'm just hop hop hopping in to share my latest cross stitch FFO, "Easter Peeps."  It was an adorable little chart designed by flosstuber Helen D. You may find this free chart on her Flosstube episode #77 on Youtube. She offers wonderful tutorials for finishing cross stitch pieces. If you are not a cross stitcher and don't really know what flosstube is all about, I encourage you to check out one of Helen D's presentations on Youtube, but be careful as you, too, might tumble down the cross stitch rabbit hole. :-()

I had finished this stitched piece on Friday, and I decided to mount it on this cute jalopy decoration that I had purchased from Michaels. It fit perfectly!!!

In person, the rainbow ric rac around the "license plate" shows up better.  :-)

Now, are you a crafty person? Would you like a good laugh? Then check out Jamie Lissow"s Never Marry a Crafty Woman" on Youtube. It is short and absolutely guaranteed to make you laugh.

Stay safe. Stay hopeful. Be creative and crafty!!!

_________________           _________________            __________________

Today the death toll from Covid in the United States stands at 550,000.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Shamrock Stitches - 3 Cross Stitch FFOs

Before packing away the few St. Patrick's Day decorations that I had put out this year, I thought I would show you the three pieces that I have stitched this month.

The first is "Irish Kisses" from Primrose Cottage Stitches.  When you watch flosstube episodes, you quickly see that most of the cross stitchers have a dough bowl or wooden trench to display their pieces, so of course, I picked one up at Hobby Lobby. The bowl looked really fake, but the price was right, so I distressed it a bit and darkened it with stain. The other item all cross stitchers have is a tiered tray, and as you may have seen, I have two of them. :-)  :-)

This small pillow appears a bit lonely, but I will add to it next year.
This sweet piece is "Sampler of the Month - March" by Country Cottage Needleworks. I mounted the piece on a garden sign that I found on sale in the spring section of  Michael’s. It was the right size and the frame around it was the perfect shade of green. 

 Finally, here is "Sweet Clover Girl" from Pineberry Lane. The pattern includes three other charts which I will stitch for next year.  I could not resist stitching this lovely, little colleen.

Next, I'll get hopping on some Easter bunnies and spring stitching. 

Cuteness Alert!!!  

My neighbor's new grandpuppy came over to meet Emma yesterday.  Emma had fun meeting and playing with this sweet little puppy.

Everyone is tired of mask wearing and social distancing, but let's not let our guards down. We have all come too far to screw it up now. Stay safe everyone.

________________             ____________________          ___________________

Covid Deaths as of March 28,2021:

World - 2.78 million

United States - 548,000

Massachusetts - 17,086

Monday, March 22, 2021

Help Needed to Identify this Hawk

Hi Everyone! Happy Spring!!! Today I wanted to show you who has been hanging around the woods behind my house. As I have explained previously, "the woods" is a narrow strip of no man's land between my street and the one behind it. Though small in area, it is pretty active. This is where deer have sometimes come for a day or two and other creatures such as fox and skunks and raccoons and turkeys, oh my . . .

 Anyway, yesterday morning when I took Emma out, this handsome fellow was ripping apart his breakfast up in the big, old tree directly behind my estate. :-) I bolted inside, grabbed my camera with my 100 - 300m lens, and took these shots. (Please do click on any image for a close up look at this beautiful creature.)


 Can you help me identify what kind of hawk he/she is? From an internet search and my trusty bird book, I think it might be a broad-winged hawk which is a close relative of the red-tailed hawk. None on my photos capture the hawk's tail from the back.

This morning when Emma and I returned from our walk, there were two hawks sitting side by side on a branch behind my neighbor's property. I've read that the real estate market has been really heating up in recent months. Perhaps this pair is looking for a suitable spot in our neighborhood. Fingers crossed they find something that they like!

Don't worry; I won't be letting Miss Emma out in the backyard by herself. Besides, a neighbor further down the street has seen coyotes roaming around. Gee, remember when I only had to deal with a big flock of wild turkeys?

Stay safe, everyone. Have an awesome week. There is a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Suffrage Act Proclaimed and Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

  

I began work on this cross stitch piece in August and continued from time to time stitching on it. During the lead up to the presidential election, I concentrated on this piece and finished stitching it while watching the Inauguration. It went to the framer shortly after that, but the first time I picked it up, I saw that the clerk had measured incorrectly as some of the stitching around the edges was covered by the frame. I had specified that I wanted a half inch border around the piece. They redid the framing, and I am very happy with the results as I love the frame and inner bead-like insert that I selected.  The piece is "Suffrage Act" designed by Diane Williams for Little House Needleworks.

I did make one change/addition to the design.  It took a hundred years after women in the US were given the right to vote, but we finally have a woman vice president, and so I added "V.P.  K.H. 2020. "

Here is where I had intended to post photos of two St. Patrick's Day cross stitch finishes, but I still need to do a bit more stitching on one, so they'll show up in my next post.

Play Ball!!!

Sad but true . . .
 
Early this morning I went to the supermarket intending to pick up a corn beef, but I was clearly late to the party. That whole section of the meat counter was nearly empty.  I was able to pick up a small piece which will shrink down to practically nothing when cooked. I'm not much for the cabbage, carrots, turnips, etc. . . but I do love my corn beef. :-)  Reubens, anyone???

I will leave you with the words on Emma's shirt ... Keep Calm and Shamrock On!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Merry Monday and Another Cross Stitch FFO

 Hi Everyone! Why is today Merry Monday?

 1.) Yesterday, I spotted the first robin of the season!

2.) This morning I got my first shot of the covid vaccine!!!!!!!!! O Happy Day!!!!

3.) I finished a cross stitch FFO for St. Patrick's Day!!! The chart is "Lucky Love," and it is available from Primrose Cottage Stitches on Etsy.


This music box colleen I have had since I was a little girl. The sheep was purchased on a trip to Ireland with members of my camera club a few years back. Funny story . . .  Half the bus was filled with eager photographers. Each day folks would yell out, "Sheep on the left" or "Sheep on the right" and cameras would begin firing. Finally after a few days of this, our bus driver/ tour guide asked, "My God, people, haven't you ever seen sheep before??? Don't they have sheep in America??? We assured him that we had indeed seen sheep before but not in quite this number. I checked and found a statistic that said as of December 2019, there were 3.8 million sheep in Ireland.  

Here is my favorite sheep photo from that trip in September 2016. Isn't he a handsome fellow? (Please  click on it to enlarge it, and you will see that he is giving us the eye.) This photo was taken on our way up to the Slieve League Cliffs. The Slieve League Cliffs are on the south west side of County Donegal. The cliffs are three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.


I also finished another St. Patrick's Day cross stitch piece which I am finishing into a small pillow. 

4.) My cousin Linda's latest book was launched yesterday.  I am including info here in hopes that my readers might be willing to help her out. Linda is a speech pathologist and co-owner of  Peer Projects Therapy from the Heart. Co-Regulation Handbook : Creating Competent Authentic Roles for Kids with Social Learning Differences, So We All Stay Positively Connected Through the Ups and Downs of Learning is the title of her latest book. It will be FREE  to download today, March 8 and tomorrow March 9. Would you please consider downloading the ebook from Amazon HEREIt will help in her placement on the Amazon site. Please pass this info on to anyone else who might be interested in this subject. I appreciate it, and I know my cousin will, too!

Thank you so much for considering this. I could not be prouder of all that Linda has accomplished and how many children she has helped through the years. 

5.) Are you looking for something light and pleasant to read? I just finished Marie Bostwick's latest novel, The Restoration of Celia Fairchild.  You won't find a deep examination of the human condition, but you will spend time with characters that you will like.

Stay safe, have hope, the vaccines are coming, and spring is on its way.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay!!!

 Yes, indeed, it is a frabjous day as this morning I was able to book my two appointments for the Covid vaccine. My heart is happy, and I feel as if a weight has been lifted. I have been spending hours and hours and hours over the course of the last three weeks at all hours of the day and night trying to get scheduled. It has been frustrating, maddening, and time sucking!!! But today at a little after 6:00am, I was able to get my two appoinments!!!! O frajious day indeed!!! My cousin, her husband, and her friend were all going to try to land me an appointment this morning, a team effort, but I managed to pull it off early.

If you live in Massachusetts and are eligible, here are my tips. Use every device that you own that has a browser and have them open to: maimmunization.org, vaxfinder.mass.gov, and also cvs.com where I succeeded in getting a spot. Next Thursday morning try the pharmacy site at 6:10 am as that is when they uploaded the slots today for next week. I do not know if that will work in all states with CVS, but it is worth trying. At 6:15, I was able to schedule my slot and there was availability at many other CVS stores. Have your insurance info beside you as you will need to enter that. By 6:30, all the CVS appointments were completely booked across our state. 

If you have a laptop, have multiple windows open to the various sites. Today there were only 12,000 appointments open for the 900,000 people eligible as officials were keeping back 40,000 slots for those getting their second shot.  Next week 400,000 teachers will become eligible, so things should become massively more difficult. I believe teachers will be allowed to book appointments on only two days; I’m guessing the weekend, but I might be wrong. Be persistent. More vaccine will be on its way.

Is it any wonder that I feel as if I have won the lottery?

My cousin Kristin and her family and their pets :-) sent me this bulb garden for Valentine's Day. For the longest time, it was just short, green stalks and then almost overnight, the blooms started appearing last week. It truly is a breath of spring. I know. I know. "A breath of spring" is a trite cliche, but I don't care, in this case it is true. :-) This afternoon it was warm enough to be on my sunporch, so I grabbed my camera and my newly purchased Lensbaby 85mm Velvet manual lens and played around with it for a bit. There is definitely a learning curve with this lens that they warn you about in all the literature. Next time I will write down my exposure choices. . . I believe these were shot at F/2.8. 

This one is my favorite. I love how the flowers in the back created soft blurs of color.

This lens produces soft dreamy effects, and you will be seeing many soft focus flowers on this blog as the flowers in my yard start blooming.
The background setup for this shot was super ultra expensive . . . okay, not really. It was pretty blue pashmina draped over a large amazon box.

 
Just thinking . . . Is it just me or do you get more Amazon packages in a month than you have had for the past five years? And, don't get me started on all the packages I receive containing cross stitch related things. My mailman who is frequently delivering those packages once commented, "Gee, you sure must be doing an awful lot of stitching." :-()

Tip for the day: I attended a wonderful quilt workshop in Italy in 2007 with Esterita Austin in Tuscany. 0n the flight over I sat next to an elegantly dressed older woman, and she gave me the following advice. When I was shopping on my trip, I was to buy one or two pashminas. I had admired hers. She said always bring one on your travels. On the plane, it will provide some warmth so you do not have to use an airline blanket. Drape it around your shoulders when you deplane to hide your rumpled outfit. You can use it when you go out for the evening and you won’t look so much like a tourist in your sweater, sweatshirt or jacket. And, I love this part. . . when you have a pashmina draped around your shoulders, you will always look classy. :-)

Stay safe. Stay hopeful and stay classy!!!