Cheese.

For a few years now, my oldest daughter Bre has been trying to convince me that I'd love her style of music if I'd give it a try – particularly if I'd give her favorite band (introduced to her by Josh), The String Cheese Incident, a chance. I love all sorts of music, but never actually listen to any, because I prefer the sound of peace and quiet (which usually sounds like a pot of coffee brewing and perhaps a DVD of Lark Rise to Candleford playing on the set in front of me-and-my-stitching).

However, a few months ago I found myself saying "sure" to her invitation to join she and Josh at Red Rocks in Colorado, and up until the day I left, I was pretty much a nervous wreck over it. What if the night lasts too long and I can't stay awake? What if I'm surrounded by hooligans who start body surfing? What if I can't find a quiet spot to stitch in? WHAT IF THERE'S NO COFFEE?

I'm here today because I survived it. And not only did I survive it, I had one of the best nights of my life! Bre and Josh were the most accomodating, fun adult couple to hang out with, and as I was getting dressed this morning, I was bummed that I didn't buy a concert tee shirt to put on.

Here are Bre and I in the hotel room before the show:

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And with Josh:

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When we arrived at Red Rocks Ampitheater, I was amazed at how beautiful it was!

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(If you follow Bre on Instagram, you'll remember that she won that really cool Kelly Moore camera bag/backpack that she's wearing.)

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The sun was very hot and very hazy, but Josh warned me not to complain about the heat, because as soon as someone does, the sky opens up and the rain falls in bucketloads, and then it's freezing the rest of the night.

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We walked through what's known as "Shakedown Street," because that's where lots of vendors sell their wares – jewelry, tee shirts, art work – and Bre's koozies! She had some made especially for the weekend, and she sold tons of them!

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(Josh was her koozie caddie, reaching into his backpack and refilling her handfull when she'd run out.)

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(I love how talented she is… for those of you who have gotten one of my little lip balms in a class kit, she helped me design those as well!)

I bought these crazy pants to wear to the show, as well as the necklace I'm wearing (which has a clay pendant of the SCI logo), but as soon as the show was over, I gave them both to Bre.  She was happy to adopt them, as they're much more her style than mine. (But it was fun wearing something out of the ordinary for a change.)

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These two are so fun to hang out with! This was before the show started. (And by the way, Katrina mentioned once that Josh looks like a young Matt Lauer, and I have to agree!)

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Incidentally (see what I did there?), Josh is a very calm, laid-back kind of guy. He's always soft-spoken and pleasant, and I was planning on sitting by him for the most part while Bre danced the night away. However, as soon as the band members walked out on stage, I was jerked out of my comfort zone by a never-before-seen Josh that one can only describe as the mildly wild sort…

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I need my cross stitch, I need my cross stitch, I need my cross stitch….

Truth be told, I never laughed so hard! These two were an absolute joy to watch, the way they danced and had so much fun, singing along to the songs they love and stopping frequently to see if I was still breathing.

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What a fantastic night! The music, the food (hot dogs, Philly steak sandwiches, and lots of peanut M&M's), and the friendliness of everyone there; young people, old people, and lots of children, all having the same wonderful time I was having.

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But best of all, I got to spend time with my girl. My sweet, talented, artistic, music-loving girl.

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Thank you for a wonderful time, Bre. I love you. And I love Cheese.

Sugar High.

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I'm heading back to Colorado tomorrow, but this time to visit Bre and attend a concert at Red Rocks! But before I go, I wanted to share a recipe with you that will leave you thinking you just downed 3 of those 5-Hour Energy drinks they sell at the grocery stores… The recipe is for Butterfinger Blondies, and you can find it over on my sorely-neglected food blog, Four Seasons Cafe.

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I'll see you soon!

The Fourth

Our Independence Day was wonderful, crazy, messy fun with sweet family and good friends and great food. Mom called me earlier that week to prepare the menu for our "event," as she calls our cookouts, and Mike spent hours trying to come up with a way to trick us all into playing board games with him after the fireworks were over.

Mom's menu worked. Mike's plans did not. (He did, however, convince a few good sports to play Monkey Ball with him, which is always fun.)

My mom's dearest friend Anne came all the way from Wyoming to spend the holiday with us, my sister Audrey and her family drove all the way from Dallas, and Bre and Josh and Kaia joined us from way out in western Nebraska. The only person missing from the festivities was my brother. We missed you, Paul!

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While Anne knows full well what it's like to be at a Kwaak gathering, poor Josh had not yet been introduced to such an experience.

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I'm never sure who the bigger ham is, when it comes to Mike and my sister.

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And then there's Bre (with her signature mouthful of ice cubes), pretending to be her dad (with his signature Hook 'em Horns sign)…

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I think Josh was looking for a quick escape…

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Baby Kaia was certainly the star of the evening, and got lots of love and reassuring hugs, since the fireworks had her a bit rattled…

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(My beautiful mom.)

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(I think my dad was in love.)

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Later on, we moved out front to shoot all the fireworks the menfolk had purchased.

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And the girls had fun writing things with their sparklers. It takes a lot of practice, and we usually run out of sparklers by the time the writing becomes legible, but here was one of our earlier attempts: Bre was trying to spell "I (heart) Cheese," which you can make out somewhat, if you look really closely. (Cheese is the nickname of her and Josh's favorite band, the String Cheese Incident.)

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(I think Bean was missing someone, but I'm not sure who…. I'll let you know, as soon as I find out…)

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There's my girl!

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Little Natalie, my niece…

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I love this picture of my mom and Sabrina chatting…

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My darling Bre…

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Sophie spent the whole night out in the street with her dad and Pops and Uncle Shaun, shooting one firework off after another, but she did take the time to come over and sparkle a heart for me…

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I'll leave you with this last family photo, and with any luck, someone out there will be able to offer up an explanation as to what Sabrina could possibly be doing in it.

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Poor Josh. Hopefully our event hasn't scarred scared him away for good.

Promised Lamb

This is releasing today, so your shops should have them soon! (I was a little behind in getting them to the distributors this time.)

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Here's what you'll need to know if you'll be stitching this design:

The model was stitched on 35 ct. Liberty Gathering Gray by R&R Reproductions, and the threads used are by The Gentle Art in Faded Rose, Cameo Pink, Pomegranate, Garden Gate, Portabella, Old Brick, Parchment, Brandy, Endive, Old Red Paint, Wood Smoke, and Oatmeal. The stitch count is 198(w) x 140(h), and the gorgeous frame (love love love it!) can be ordered from Total Framing in Fairfax, VA, by calling (703) 426-0660 and asking to speak with Sherri Berkman. (And thank you, Kathy Krause, for your beautiful work on the model!)

I suppose this is a bit of a Christmas-themed design, but I do believe that the message is one that could be displayed year-round. 🙂

And Mom, I hope you approve of it, since I put the deer there for you. 🙂

I hope everyone's summer is going beautifully! I've been enjoying every single day of it, and refuse to complain of the heat, since it seemed that winter lasted forever here in the heartland. I'll be back soon with pictures from our July 4th weekend.. what a fun time that was!

A Workshop in the Mountains

Knock-knock.

Who's there?

Paulette.

Paulette who?

Exactly.

I've been MIA for so long, I almost forgot how to sign into my blog. But there has been a very good reason for this… since returning from Colorado, I've had this insatiable desire to overhaul my entire house! New paint in every room, new blinds on every window, a new stitching chair in every room (okay, just one room), and new carpeting everywhere, which will arrive in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure if this mission I was on was due to the fresh mountain air or simply from being with friends who give me lots of positive energy, but whatever it was, I'll take it.

And I must say, Colorado was wonderful! What a beautiful place to present a workshop, and the Sampler Guild of the Rockies' ladies couldn't have been more welcoming. I enjoyed every moment I was able to spend with them! The room was full of not only everyone's stitching belongings, but a large boutique area (I couldn't fit that into the photo) where I did plenty of shopping. 🙂

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It was the Guild's 20th anniversary, and since the theme was Crowns and Jubilee, I presented a reproduction of the first antique sampler I've ever purchased, called 1837 Crowns Sampler. Here is the original:

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The smalls I designed were based on the sampler, and I called them A Crowning Effort.

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Judy Yunt and Katrina Devine did the most amazing job putting this workshop day together for the ladies, and I can't thank them enough for the honor of being invited to attend. The decorations were beautiful (which included fresh flowers in beautiful blue Mason jars at every table!), the gifts given to every single attendee were outstanding (stitched scissors fobs – 65 of them, front and back stitched! – black Kelmscott Storklette scissors, and beautiful beeswax crowns), and the door prizes were absolutely fantastic (Lady's Trimkeeps and stitching wallets – again, stitched by the sweetest, most generous ladies – sampler charts, and so much more!). And the food! Absolutely delicious, and I think every single person there needed one recipe or another.

It was sad for the day to end, but I left knowing I'd made many new stitching friends. 🙂

After the workshop was over, I stayed a few extra days at Katrina's house, along with good friends Natalia and Karin (and we got to visit Jen's house for a stitching day as well!). We had such a fun time chatting endlessly, eating everything Katrina cooked (because everything she made was amazing), and "shopping" in her stash room, which holds more kitted samplers and Natalia's stitching wallets than you can imagine.

And did I mention that everything was organized by designer, and then alphabetically?

I'm not even kidding.

We also spent a day going shopping and walking around Garden of the Gods. It was such an awe-inspiring place, with the way the rocks had formed there…

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This particular rock formation is called the Kissing Camels

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Hi Natalia and Karin!

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And of course, for Instagram:

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By the way, Katrina's house is lovely, and I'm quite envious of the view from her kitchen window in the mornings:

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And these are her little princesses:

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But there's one little princess that will be even more spoiled than these two, and her Grandpa can vouch for that:

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Thank you for having me as your guest, Katrina! It was a perfect mini vacation, at least for me. 😉

And by the way, for those of you on Instagram, you can follow Katrina as she works on her Crowns Sampler, and see the color changes she's made. It's coming along beautifully, and if I were to stitch this sampler again, I'd go with her conversion!

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(The 1837 Crowns Sampler chart will be available at the upcoming needlework market in St. Charles.)

I suppose I'll sign off of here and get back to my stitching a bit before I go to bed. I'm almost finished with a project I got from Katrina's stash room, which I'll show you in another post. That is, if I remember how to sign back into my blog again. 😉

I'll see you soon!

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