Halloweenies

Considering I'm barely tolerant of the ankle-biting barker that I own, my mother asked me what would possess me to design a chart that had two ankle-biting barkers on it. I plead insanity. Which means that those of you out there who are completely, hopelessly in love with their little doxies will forgive me for calling the little darlings such rude names. 😉 (I actually think they're rather cute little things.)

If you haven't seen it yet, here is my newest release:

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This design was charted for both Gentle Art Sampler Threads and Crescent Colours in the following:

GAST Raven
GAST Piney Woods (one of my favorite GAST colors!)
GAST Nutmeg
GAST Pumpkin Patch
GAST Grecian Gold
CC German Chocolate (one of my favorite CC colors!)
CC Used Brick
CC Antique Lace

The fabric is Lakeside's 36 ct. Vintage Sand Dune, and the stitch count is 157 x 65.

My lovely friend Connie Adrian did a gorgeous job on the model (hi, Connie-girl!), and I shall be stalking her soon when I finish another design. 🙂

Meanwhile, I've been feverishly working on my presentation piece for Shepherd's Bush in September, as well as trying to keep things organized in my mind for other upcoming releases. I've also chosen my mom's Christmas piece, and I've got  to get that kitted up and going or I won't finish it nearly in time for our Holiday Sampler Exchange!

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer! And give your doxies a little treat for me. 😉

An Inspiring Finish

Recently someone was sweet enough to send me a picture of their finished A Patriot's Sampler, and it put me in quite a patriotic mood when I saw it! I suddenly wanted to decorate my whole house in the colors of the flag. 🙂

This is Patti's finished sampler, on which she used antique ticking and vintage ricrac:

Patti

And this is what she had to say about it:

"Here in Chicago the veterans in the VA hospitals make the poppies. Then Memorial Day weekend, the American Legion veterans collect donations on the street corners and hand out the poppies. Everyone puts them on their lapels, purses, car rearview mirrors, etc. I just stitched one on to the pillow and left the little tag that says 'In Memoriam Made by Veterans in Hospitals.' I thought it appropriate. :)"

You may remember that this was a free chart I offered last year for Memorial Day, and if you'd like to stitch it, just look for it under the "Freebie" category in the sidebar.

Btw, Patti's blog is lovely! It's called  Winding Vine Wanderings, and she has many beautiful finishes she's shared.

Thank you so much, Patti, for sharing your lovely sampler with me. 🙂

Warrior Dash!

This past weekend, Mike and his buddy Jeff ran together in Omaha's Warrior Dash. The day was extremely windy and hot, leaving me to wonder how those who survived the Dust Bowl did it with their sanity intact. But nothing would deter these two – and 20,000 others – from embarking on this much-anticipated race.

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Here we go!

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Here they are, in line for a drink of water before heading to the start line…

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Minutes after wishing them luck and watching them disappear into the crowd of contestants, they returned and told us that despite the fright it may cause, the heat had forced them to come to this critical decision: they needed to run shirtless.

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You go, boys.

The race was supposed to take around an hour or so to complete, and involved 1.5 miles of running up and down steep hills, and then leading into another 2 miles of challenging obstacles, including climbing 15' walls, swimming through a lake, hurdling fire pits, and wading waste-high through thick mud. Just to name a few.

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Once they took off, Soph and I desperately sought a shady place to sit, but there was none to be found. With dirt in our teeth, grit on our faces, and hot sun on our necks, we roamed the grounds, hoping the boys could break all records and complete the race in about 6 minutes tops. 

Eventually, we found a place to purchase some lunch, and discovered that there was a shady place to have a picnic after all…

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This was the view from where we lunched:

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And these were my once-white tennis shoes:

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After eating, we decided to head over to where the finish line was, hoping to catch Mike and Jeff cross in. We were there about 2 minutes before they came into view. (Thank goodness we got there when we did; it only took them about 44 minutes to complete the race!)

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Soph wouldn't pose with her dad until he promised not to touch her…

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After receiving their medals, they headed over to the Warrior Wash, which was an area where a truck stood, rigged with a huge water hose. Everyone massed together to be hosed off, and I imagine Mike probably did his best Charlton Heston imitation (in Planet of the Apes) when it happened. Just sayin'.

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This was where one could leave their shoes if they didn't want to wear them back home…

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But of course, the boys decided to keep their shoes on. And their wives had no idea why.

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Btw, the above photo was taken after their shower.

Here they are with their race shirts back on, celebrating their victory over the course…

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Jeff decided to check if the medals were real gold, and Mike just wanted to bite something.

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Then, in true warrior fashion, they started chewing on their turkey legs…

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And in true juvenile fashion, they started sparring with them…

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They thought it would be good to show off their sponsor's tee shirts…

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And since their sponsor was a martial arts school, they started making those "hy-YAH" noises and kicking the air…

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Once they calmed down, we headed for home. And all the while, Mike insisted I would love running the race with him next year. But I'll leave that to these two hooligans.

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Next goal: The Tough Mudder 2013!

From Holland with Love

Dutch Beauty has returned to me, and I am incredibly happy with her. When I crawled into bed last night, I sat for quite a while just looking up at it and marveling that such a young girl (by today's standards) would have stitched something so astounding. Was it expected of her to do so? Did she start out with the intentions of creating something this large, or did she simply have trouble finding a stopping point? Could she not settle on just one pattern, but wanted to incorporate many? (Yes, they had cross stitch patterns back then!) I'm sure if she knew I copied her masterpiece, she would laugh and say, "Oh, that old thing?" 😉

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The barrel distortion of my lens made the frame look bowed in the above photo, but in real life it is not! Thank you, Julie, at Reflections Framing and Stitching for choosing such a gorgeous moulding for it! (Maryann and Julie and Connie are all such sweet ladies. and I'm thrilled that we once again have a lovely cross stitch shop here.)

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This sampler is a mirrored pattern, which made the work a bit tedious at times. But in the end, it was worth all of the exasperated sighs and exclamations of, "This again?"

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Believe it or not, my bed is king-sized. The way everything fits so snugly into the photo gives it the appearance of being much smaller than it is, but trust me, it's pretty overwhelming when I walk into my bedroom!

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I cannot believe it's finished! And now I want to stitch my guts out. 🙂

And guess what else I got back this week! 

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Thank you to Jill Rensel for such a lovely job on my (The Primitive Needle) A&E! I loved the original color scheme Lisa designed it in, and when I saw the way Shepherd's Bush had changed the colors, I couldn't believe it was the same sampler! Tina and Teri did a beautiful conversion to their signature soft palette, and as much as I wanted to use it, I knew that it wouldn't quite fit in with this particular wall of color. So I opted for keeping the majority of the primitive colors Lisa used, while switching out a few to more vibrant hues in an effort to keep up with the other Edens. (To the left is Frances Eden, and underneath is Paradise Lost.)(Would you believe that it just now occurred to me that Frances Eden's last name is Eden? Am I the only one who didn't notice the coincidence?)

I'm off to do a little weeding (Mom, quit snickering… okay, a lot of weeding!), and then perhaps take a walk around the lake. But when I get back, I do believe I'll stitch until I can stand it no more. 🙂

Duos.

Lucy and Ethel.

Laverne and Shirley.

Bean and Sam.

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Love you girls. 😉

Memorial Day Cookout

Every time we pull out of my parents' driveway after enjoying one of their cookouts, Mike always says the same thing: "I always have the best time at your parents' house."  It really is so fun to get together with them, and I'm sad that for this one, the older girls had to miss out. (Sophie, on the other hand, wasn't too upset about it.)

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I made a fresh pear cobbler, and Mom made homemade ice cream to go with it…

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As usual, Mom has the prettiest things sitting around on the deck my dad built for her…

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The milk jars are actually tea lite holders…

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The weather was perfect, and looking out into the yard was almost inspiring enough to get my own yard in shape. Almost.

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This is Sophie's favorite part of her Meems' and Pops' garden:

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And this was Major's, when he used to romp around and drink it dry:

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Mom's newest addition to a tree (you can find all sorts of little things hidden in the trees here):

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(Mike was content with his marshmallows, but when he finds out there were photos taken that he wasn't included in, I'm sure he'll be sore over it.)

I wish I had been able to get a better photo of these two trying to get the fire started for the marshmallows, but I do like looking at this one and remembering how much fun Soph had helping out her Pops…

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My dad is a quiet man, and would usually rather observe than verbalize (and that's actually something I love about him; he's very comforting to be around)…

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This one, on the other hand, would prefer to verbalize…

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Ah, here's the marshmallow man!

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This may be too charred for some people, but I love them this way!

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We also played the usual ladder ball and bean bag toss, which is always so much fun. (Btw, I've had a few people ask me about ladder ball.. you can find a whole set for under $20.00 at Wal-Mart, along with several other lawn games.)

I hope you all had a really nice Memorial Day weekend. As usual, when we spend an evening at my parents' home, we certainly did.

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