Cross Stitch

Stitching Dreams: “B” is for…

Hello there! The middle of July has passed and I’m just now posting… July is one “busy” month (just one of the many “B” words you’ll read about in this post!) for my family with lots of birthdays, our wedding anniversary, gardening, etc. It’s interesting how some families seem to have “clumps” of celebrations in one month or another. Our busiest month is definitely July. We don’t have a single birthday in June or August (since my dad passed away anyway). What are your “busy” months? 

“B” is for… Big finish!  I decided earlier this year that I just had to stitch more summer themed pieces. I have a ton of patriotic finishes which I love having out in July, but I wanted more simple summer finishes to decorate with in June or August. The adorable designs in the “Celebrate” series by Madame Chantilly caught my eye when they were released and I purchased every single one. I’ve stitched snippets of “Celebrate Winter” and “Celebrate 4th of July” as little ornaments, but “Celebrate Summer” is the only design I’ve stitched in its entirety. There was a lot of stitching in this piece–much more than I anticipated, but I love how it turned out!

“Celebrate Summer” by Madame Chantilly

I stitched this piece on 40 ct. raw natural Newcastle linen using the suggested DMC colors. Stitching with DMC is so relaxing, isn’t it? You never have to worry about the actual stitched piece not matching the photo on the chart like you do when using many overdyed threads. The reds, yellows, and blues are such perfect summer shades.

Look at the cute mermaid–she even has tiny blue earrings!

I did make one major change (in addition to leaving off the word “Summer” underneath the tray). I substituted “Hello Summer” for the charted “Hello Beach.” We are not near a beach and rarely visit one so I just felt the “Hello Summer” phrase on the chalkboard was much more appropriate for my family. 

Such a happy looking whale!

The little motifs are so charming aren’t they? Why just look at that little pig-tailed girl in her old-fashioned bathing costume and parasol–adorable!

So many adorable motifs!

I enjoyed stitching this summer piece so much and I know I’ll be doing more of the “Celebrate” series–I think the fall design may be next! Have any of you stitched one of these?

I hope to frame this one soon!


“B” is for… Baking! I got the chance to bake when we went to a little get-together with my husband’s biking buddies and their wives a couple weeks ago. Since it was a hot, hot day, I went with two very quick and easy desserts that I’ve made before and shown you on my blog. But, with a number of new readers, I thought you might like the links to these recipes again. Shown below are a very decadent pair: Peanut Butter Pie and Flourless Chocolate Cake. Don’t they look scrumptious? Believe me… a little slice of these goes a long way! The Peanut Butter pie recipe can be found right here on the Jif Peanut Butter website.

July baking

The flourless cake looks quite elegant, but it is so simple! Be sure to watch the video and follow the tips suggested for a perfect looking cake. The white powdered sugar design is  made by placing a large doily on top and sprinkling the sugar over it. Lift off the doily carefully and you have a lovely dessert. I used strawberries to decorate the center. If you’d like to surprise your family with a super fudgy  treat, you can find the recipe on the Allrecipes website right here. The glaze I used for it can be found here. I only make a half-recipe of the glaze and it is plenty.  (Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Premium Baking bars were used for both the cake and the glaze just in case you’re wondering). Yum!!!

I dare you to eat just one bite!

“B” is for… Blueberries! Two years ago my husband planted six or eight blueberry bushes and this year we had our first edible blueberries. (We had some last year, but you’re not supposed to pick them that first year). Oh, my… they were fabulous! Sadly, we only got a few cups due to the birds helping themselves to them, too. We have the bushes under netting, but the birds still found a way to get underneath  and devour them. If anyone has any tips on keeping birds away from blueberries, I’d love to know…

Our first homegrown blueberries!

“B” is for… Blooms! My husband went a bit crazy with the sunflower planting this year (well, actually, I went a bit overboard in buying so many seeds) and they’ve taken over his garden. I love seeing their big bright heads bobbing around outside our window. Such a happy flower!

This year we planted sunflowers of all heights–from 3 feet tall to over 12 feet!


A bouquet of sunshine

“B” is for Babies! No, not human babies–baby deer. They seem to be everywhere right now and I love seeing the tiny white-freckled creatures trotting along after their mothers. This photo was taken from my living room window the other day. Sadly, there used to be two babies, but one was hit by a car and my husband found its little body back in the woods by our pond. 

A new little fawn exploring our yard

My sweet grandson (whom we fondly refer to as the “deer whisperer” because he has this uncanny ability to spot a deer quicker than any of us) is shown below. Look closely and you’ll see him pointing at the mother deer with her baby lying right next to the street in their suburban neighborhood. It looks like the baby deer was just born, doesn’t it?

Mister B loves animals of all kinds and was so excited to see the baby deer right in front of his house.

“B” is for… Birthday! And finally, I saved the best “B” for last. My little grandson, Mister B, turned three years old! This was the first year he really understood what a birthday was about and his enthusiasm was contagious. For months he had been telling people he was going to be “three in July” and he would be getting “five presents.” Well, he ended up with many more than that, trust me! He had a little party in the park down the street from his house with six little friends (all were girls!) and their parents, his uncles and aunts, a few neighbors, and a little pug dog. The highlight of his day was the Hot Wheels piñata–he kept asking over and over when he could “do the piñata!” 

Clockwise from top left: time for birthday cupcakes, piñata time, a walk with Nonna, Mister B with Nonna and Pompa, my oldest son with the birthday boy, my son and daughter-in-law with their newly minted 3-year-old

We tried to keep our gift giving reasonable and got him a new sandbox, some clothes (which he barely glanced at, of course!), some books, the Curious George zippered pouch I had made for him earlier this year, and his favorite toy–this UPS truck! I bought it online from a neighbor  and he absolutely loves it. Do you see all those tiny boxes in the back? I found a file on Etsy for $2.00, downloaded it, and my sweet husband constructed the little UPS “packages” for him. I swear–you can find just about anything on Etsy!

One of his favorite presents–a UPS truck complete with teeny packages. Unfortunately, I don’t have the driver for it, but hope to find one. This truck is made by Bruder in Germany–love the quality!

“B” is for… more birthdays! Yes, a trio of birthdays happens within a six-day span in our family in mid-July. My grandson was up first, then a day later my youngest son turned 35, and five days after that, my husband celebrated his 68th (or, as I always like to say: he caught up with me!). We were lucky enough to be together in the DC area again this year so my youngest son’s girlfriend has us all over for a delicious birthday brunch and a tasty oreo cake to celebrate. 

Just look at those smiles on the three birthday boys!

“B” is for Brand New Car! If you read my last post, you know that my 2010 Honda CRV was recalled due to a serious rust issue and was deemed too dangerous to drive. It has now been a month since that happened and we still have not heard about the settlement offer from Honda. Very discouraging indeed. But… all is not lost. Two weeks ago a new Subaru Forester was delivered to the dealership, we went and test-drove it, and purchased it that very day. Would you believe I’ve only driven it once since? That is how little I drive these days, but so far, I love it. I felt comfortable in it immediately, but, have a long way to go to learn all the ins and outs of the technology. Yikes! I’m too old for this! It is a pretty “Silver Ice” color and we feel very lucky to have found it given the low inventory of cars these days. 

Assuming I can learn all of its technology, I think my new Subaru Forester is going to be a great car!

That was a lot of “B” words, wasn’t it? Funny how that happens… I hope you enjoyed today’s post! It was a fun one to put together. To leave you with a few more “B” thoughts–I hope you have a bright, beautiful, blissful, blessed rest of July. Thank you for those wonderful emails and comments–I so appreciate each and every one. Bye for now!

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