Despite the Weather

Last week I started pulling out a few fall things, and I'll probably put a bit more out this weekend.

This was the ornament I submitted to Just Cross Stitch for their Halloween bookazine…

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I love all the crazy gourds at this time of year, and their warm colors…

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I even found this little pumpkin man, and placed him on the nightstand in Bre's room…

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His skinny little legs make me smile…

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The temperatures are supposed to start climbing into the 80's again after the weekend, but that's okay. I'll just turn on the air conditioner and bake apple pie and light all my spiced candles and watch Disney's Halloween Town with Sophie and Sabrina and just wait patiently for the cooler weather to finally settle in for good.

Have a lovely weekend!

She Did It!

I am so proud of Breanna! Earlier this year, she announced that she'd be running the Omaha Marathon on September 25th, and she immediately started training for it. Every day, she and her running partner, Adam, ran neighborhoods, parks, and lakes, all in an effort to be ready to run 26.2 miles on race day.

About a month away from the day of the marathon, her knees started giving her trouble, and after many arguments with herself, she finally decided to shoot for the half-marathon instead. It was a hard decision for her to make, but one I'm very relieved she went with, considering she's only got one pair of knees, and she's awfully young to begin a life of troubles with them.

The longest she had ever run was 10 miles on the beach in California, and other than that, her college and work schedule had only allowed her about 3-5 miles per day, if that. Needless to say, she was very nervous on the day of the race, worried  she wouldn't be able to run the entire distance. Heaven forbid she should walk!

We arrived downtown at 5:30 am so they could pick up their race packets and get warmed up… Here we are, standing in line. No, not for the race packets, but for the portable toilets!

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Adam took advantage of the waiting to stretch… it was a chilly 40 degrees out, so everyone was probably pretty stiff…

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This is Mike's "Don't you dare cut in line" look…

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(Just kidding. I have no idea what he was looking at. All I know is he hadn't had any sleep for 24 hours, thanks to his work schedule.)

In the front are the professional runners in uniform. I have no idea where Adam and Bre disappeared to, but the line goes pretty much back to that second set of traffic lights waaaay in the back…

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After the runners took off, Mike and I headed to a nearby restaurant for breakfast, waiting until we thought Adam and Bre would be approaching the finish line, and then we headed over there.

I wasn't prepared for Adam to suddenly appear, but there he was! He finished his half marathon in about an hour and 50 minutes or so…

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A huge congratulations to you, Adam! Well done!

As Adam headed toward his finish line, Mike and I started anxiously looking for Bre. We waited and looked… then waited and looked some more. Mike started pacing, nervous that Bre had twisted her ankle or passed out somewhere. Or worse yet: that she had started walking. (We had tried convincing her that there was no shame in walking, but she was hearing none of that!)

And then I saw her bright pink Nike shorts. 🙂 "Mike! There she is!" I yelled, bc he had walked a little way away from me.  But of course, he'd already seen her, and she'd spotted him, a big smile on her face…

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I heard him yell, "GO BRE! GO! YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!" and I started yelling the same thing, while also trying to get pictures…

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I wanted to cry, bc it was then that I realized I was so afraid for her that she wouldn't finish. It meant so much to her to reach her goal, and I knew she'd had a lot of difficulty with training for it, so to see her come down the line with a smile on her face and a look of such satisfaction filled me with so much happiness…

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It was at this point that I ran as fast as my legs would carry me to try to beat her to the finish line, cutting through hundreds of people. I wanted to get pictures of her crossing, but the way had been blocked off to us, so I stood where I could and got a few blurry ones (thanks to my having a near heart-attack from running so hard).

As soon as she realized that she was so close to the finish line, her head popped up and she took off at a sprint…

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GO GO GO, BRE!!!

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Her official time was exactly 2:05:00! She placed 490th out of 1,362 runners, and in her age group (20-24) she was 104/202. I was so very, very proud of my girl.

Here's Adam, with his medal.. he was quite ready to go back home and hit the sack…

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(My favorite picture of the day…)

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Believe it or not, they both said they wouldn't mind doing it again next year.  😉

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Congratulations, Adam and Bre!

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And I have to add: Bre didn't walk a single step for the entire 13.1 miles. 😉

A Dainty Housewren

This is a design by Carriage House Samplings that I started a couple of years ago as my "portable project."  I always have one small, manageable cross stitch project in a ziploc bag that I keep in the car, and this is the one that accompanied me to Sophie's piano lessons. When I went to California, I needed something easy to work on, so I grabbed this and decided to finally finish it, bc I'd been dragging it around for far too long and making no progress on it.

I received it back from Jill Rensel last week, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the moulding she chose!

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Btw, I used the DMC's listed for the black linen, but I made a few changes. I have no idea what these changes were, exactly, bc they were sort of by the seat of my pants, but if you look at the cover model, it doesn't exactly look like this!  If I had to stitch it over again, I'd probably stitch the original version on the lighter linen, but since Jill chose such a stunning frame for it, I'm okay with what I've done. 🙂

By the way, if any of you stitchers out there are headed to the Pals Convention in Myrtle Beach in October, I'll see you there! I'm flying out on the 18th, and I'm so excited!

New from Hodgepodge Cottage…

For those of you who haven't seen Bre's new releases yet, I just had to show them to you!

Here is Tic Tac T'Ocean… I LOVE this little tic-tac-toe-inspired design, and I hope she has many more to come. 🙂 The frame is from The Family Tree Frame Co…

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Next up is Morning Brew… the fabric is Lakeside's Winter Sky… (For those of you who attended the Celebrations of Needlework, maybe you saw it in The Silver Needle's booth.)

018 MODEL Kelmscott

And finally, from my French-loving daughter, is Fleur de Love…

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Thanks for letting a proud mom share. 🙂

Martha (Washington) Would Be Proud.

When Bre left home to start a life of independence in her new apartment, she took with her all the fun personality that she'd put into her room. The white iron headboard that Mike and I bought for her when she was little was gone, the bobby pins that had usually littered every surface had vanished, and the soft scents of her favorite perfumes had finally faded. (She was, however, kind enough to leave behind the makeup stains on the carpeting.)

I decided that I'd redecorate the empty space, turning it into a quiet room that she could come home to if she needed to, and I'd set up office in there as well. I didn't know how I'd do it, but I knew I needed to start with a small bed and dresser. That eventually turned into a desk and table and nightstand and upright chest and bookshelf, which means all that's left to acquire are the samplers. 🙂 (Feel free to stitch them and send them along to me.)

I decided to go with a "Colonial Couples" theme, and with the help of some dear stitching friends of mine (hi, girls!), I've come up with several samplers I want to stitch that have colonial figures on them. I haven't felt this much excitement over stitching in ages! (As a matter of fact, I found myself so inspired, I even designed a Colonial-themed piece that is at the model stitchers' house right now.)

The sun was shining in the room yesterday so prettily, so I took a few photos to share with you.

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Nevermind those blank walls. Like I said, they're waiting for samplers. 🙂 I love that rug… it reminded me of sampler motifs when I first saw it a year ago, so I was very happy that I finally had a reason to purchase it (at Lowe's, btw).

And I couldn't leave Weathered and Worn (my favorite little shop!) without this hurricane lamp shade…

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This tin horse reminds me of Sabrina bc she loves all things equine…

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My rug again. I adore it. 🙂

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Sophie has taken to sleeping in this bed, btw. It's a pillow-top mattress, and I purchased the softest sheets and blankets I could find for it. I was lucky enough to get a much-coveted pillow case (the red French General one) from my mother as well! She makes them so beautifully!

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And what would a Colonial Couples room be without the Quintessential Colonial Couple themselves, George and Martha?

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I saw this painting somewhere online, but since I didn't want to pay what they were asking for it, I decided to paint it myself.. sort of. I liked the original much better, but this will do. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep it or not though.

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I've never bee one for window treatments. Mostly bc I never knew how to make them actually look good. So now I'm just a sheers-and-black-rod sort of gal, and I'm very happy with that.

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Here's the dresser. It has really cool dividers in the drawers…

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Whenever I open the top drawer, I hear angels singing. It's the weirdest thing.

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And my favorite part of the room? A Sgraffito Redware plate!

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Oh, wait a second. I lied.

This, looking ever so dreamy – and on loan from Mom – is the best part of the room:

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I hope you like the room so far! And I really hope Bre likes it. I know Sophie does. 😉

A Disappointing Curiosity

A few weeks ago I decided to finally start going through all of Mike's parents' belongings that have been stored in our basement for the past year. I had avoided this enormous undertaking for a long time bc it involved sorting through literally thousands of photos and removing what seemed like hundreds of them from old picture frames.

But I did it. I sat down in the basement, turned on the tv for some company, and started opening boxes.

And boxes.

And boxes.

And that's when I came across the most fascinating photos. Mike's dad, Jimmy, had kept many of his relatives' photos from what appeared to be the very late 1800's and early 1900's, and I found myself wondering over them, desperately wishing I'd known they existed before Jimmy's passing. Old photographs never cease to bring me great curiosity, and I'm sad that I could have known who was in these photos, if I'd only thought to ask.

But how do you ask someone, "So… do you have any photos from the turn of the century that you could show me?" I suppose you ask them just like that.. if you think of it. Most of the time, however, I was busy trying to think of ways to get Mike's mother, Frieda, to talk about her childhood – one that was spent growing up during World War II in Germany. It never occurred to me that my father in-law, born in the great state of Texas, would have just as interesting of a childhood.

So I'm left with these old black-and-white photographs, filled with people who are linked to our family somehow. I took a few photos of them when I was in the basement, so I could share them with you – just in case you like old photos as much as I do. 🙂

First, I'll show you one of Jimmy as a baby, and those are his shoes. I think he's one of the most beautiful baby boys I've ever seen…

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His mother's name was Jewel, and she died when Jimmy was a small boy. His grandmother, Viola, helped raise him.

Here he is when he was about 10 years old or so…

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These are photos of people I can only guess at.. I can see resemblances between so many of them, and it was fun trying to guess at who belonged to whom…

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I thought they made a handsome couple…

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These were some of my favorites – especially that old school photo. All of the children were shoe-less and dusty, and the most interesting part was the mix of ages; there looked to be older teenagers mixed in with the youngsters. The slate that the boy in the middle is holding reads "Sycamore 4-9-30.. W.E. Faith.. J.N..Miss Fewell (Tewell?)."

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I thought the woman below had interesting features.. perhaps she's the mother or aunt of the woman in the photo with her husband – the "handsome couple" photograph above; after all, they have the same wide-set eyes and cheekbones…

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There were several other old photos, but there were also a lot of them from the 50's, as this one appears to be. Wouldn't you love to know what these ladies were laughing about? I imagine they were being very boisterous, and the fourth person in the room – no doubt laughing along with them – wanted to snap a photo to remember the hilarity of that afternoon – or to show them how silly they were being!

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I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos as much as I did. I plan on taking them all out of the box Jimmy had stored them in and putting them into an album, in the best order I can guess at.

Join us next time, as we explore the 1970's – and answer the burning question: was Mike, in fact, the first person ever to wear the now-popular Justin Bieber hair-do?

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P.S. After showing her this photo, I later overheard Sophie saying to one of her friends, "You should have seen my dad when he was our age: he was hot."

And Finally…

Here is Buttons Black…

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The stitch count for this one is 94 x 97, and it is stitched on Lakeside's 36 ct. Autumn Gold using Gentle Art Sampler Threads in Nutmeg, Raven, Walnut, Endive, Mulberry, and Shaker White.

The frame is called "The June," and it was provided by The Family Tree Frame Company. I love the swirly accents on the corners!

And aren't those witch boot scissors the cutest things? They're new from Kelmscott Designs! (Btw, I got those gorgeous buttons from Kelmscott too… they're polished mother-of-pearl on one side, and unfinished mother-of-pearl on the other. I prefer the unfinished side!)

Btw, Hodgepodge Cottage has a few new designs coming out as well, so check back on her Facebook page to see if she's updated! :)  Yoohooo…. Bre!

New for September…

I realize this was supposed to be released last month, but the release was pushed off to September, so here it is – along with another one that's releasing tomorrow:

This is Beans, Beans

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(Sound familiar? Maybe you're thinking of the Musical Fruit version, of which I have no plans to design a sampler around.)

Here's the pattern info:

Stitch count is 245 x 86, and it was stitched on Lakeside's 36 ct. Vintage Autumn Gold. I used two Belle Soie silks: Vanilla Pudding (DMC 712) and Old Crow (DMC 3371).

The frame is the best part, in my humble opinion! The molding reminds me of coffee beans, and I love anything that reminds me of coffee beans. :)  If you'd like to order the frame, contact the lovely ladies (Maryann or Julie) of Reflections Framing at 402-331-1740 or email Maryann here: maryann@reflectionsframing.com.

Next up:

Salem Hornbook…

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The info:

This was stitched on Lakeside's 36 ct. Vintage Pecan Butter (doesn't that make you hungry?) using Crescent Colours in Black Coffee, Whatley Woodlands, Stepping Stones, Zach Black, Avocado, Chai, Hickory Sticks, Joshua Tree, Green Onion, Fool's Gold, and Used Brick. The stitch count is roughly the same as Halloween Hornbook: 121 x 136. (Halloween Hornbook is 121 x 140).

A little extra info about this sampler: The bottom right block represents John Hale, a minister who approved of the court's witch trials in Salem, but later reconsidered his stance when his wife was accused and arrested for witchcraft in 1692. He wrote this book in 1697, challenging the way the courts handled the trials:

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The middle square on the bottom represents Giles Corey, who was crushed to death with stones when he refused to enter a plea regarding whether or not he was indeed a wizard/warlock. Reputedly, his last words to his torturers were "more weight."

As for the frame, check out the texture on that hornbook, provided by the talented folks at Valley House Primitives! If you're interested, ask your shop owner to contact them at valleyhouseprim@aol.com.

One error I just noticed (and not before already sending these to the distributor) was that the chart states that I used silk (Belle Soie) in this piece; I did not, as Crescent Colours are most certainly made of cotton. 😉

I have one more release to show you tomorrow, as I'm out of time today! I must dash off to pick up Sabrina's car from the shop, as it's been making noises akin to what one would make after consuming musical fruit.

I hope you like the new releases! And Happy Fall!