Fall finishes and Rocky Mountain highs

Hello, my dear stitching friends! I've had to face the fact that summer is slowly sliding away--with cooler nights and crunchy, falling leaves each day, it's hard to deny. And yet, still, I hate to see it go... Many of you have already put up your fall (and even Halloween!) decorations, but I'm hanging on to sunflowers and bees in my kitchen corner cupboard a while longer. I did feel the itch to allow just a bit of fall into my life through my stitching, though, and I'd love to share it with you today.

A Stitching Dreams reader recently contacted me to ask about the little "Blessed Be" piece shown in my sidebar. It is an older freebie from Plum Pudding Needleart (if you just do a Google images search for Plum Pudding Needleart Blessed Be, you can find it easily) that I've actually stitched five times now! Yes, five times! I gave four of them away and am finally keeping the fifth one for myself.

Numbers four and five of "Blessed Be!"

This is stitched on 40 ct. Vintage Country Mocha Newcastle with the suggested DMC colors except for the pumpkin, the crow, and the border. I used DMC 3371 for the black crow and border and DMC 3826 and 976 for the pumpkin. Can you sharp-eyed stitchers see anything different in the design from the photos above to the finished pieces below? 

Doubly blessed--one for me and one for a friend

Well, I decided to finish off the lower right border even though it's not charted--just three little x's! Here is a close-up so you can see the finish better. I used some gold lace (it is not as yellow as the photo makes it appear), a polka-dot bow, and some of my handmade cording in DMC 3820 for the finish. The tiny pillow below was sent off to a friend as a little surprise. I hope she likes it!

Love the little flower in the crow's mouth!

Now, take a look at the date on the photo below... No, that's not an error! I really did stitch this cutie ten years ago. I stumbled upon this scarecrow recently in my portfolio of finished (but not fully finished) stitching and took pity on him. I mean ten years is a long time for the poor guy to be just hanging around waiting to be displayed. I doubt that any of you remember when I first posted this finish back on September 19, 2009 as most of my original readers from ten years ago have vanished. If you'd like to read about it, please click here. The piece is from an early Just Cross Stitch Magazine dated September/October 1988. The charted color of his jacket was blue, but I thought green fit in better for a fall finish The entire piece is stitched "over one" on 28 ct. Stormy Gray Jobelan. I just love those little birds with pieces of  "straw" hanging from their mouths. And I think you know my soft spot for all-black cats if you've been visiting me here for any length of time!

"Pumpkin Patch" from an older JCS issue

This one was stitched during my very first year of blogging when my goal was to stitch "an ornament a week" and it was my Week 38 finish. If you'd like to see the other smalls and ornaments that I stitched that year, check out this post. I'm happy to say I succeeded in stitching all 52, but sad to say that some of them still remain not "fully finished!" In a way, I'm glad I put off finishing this one because my finishing skills have come a long way since 2009. Since this is such a busy design, I kept the finishing quite simple--just a bit of straw colored cording and a green gingham bow were all that were necessary. It is very small--only 3" X 4" and I love it!

A new fall finish

Giveaway time... With the cooler weather, my thoughts have naturally turned to harvest season and Thanksgiving and I thought this beautiful chart from the July/August 1992 Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine would make a perfect giveaway. I have always meant to stitch this basket of sunflowers myself and have kept another copy for that "some day!" If any of you would like to stitch it, let me know in your comments and I will draw a winner. Please, please make sure to include your email if I don't already have it and to make it more fun--I'd love to hear your favorite fall food. For me, it's  Cranberry Pumpkin Bread (click here for recipe) which I make each Thanksgiving--absolutely love it! I will keep the drawing open until September 25th... Good luck to all!

If you are interested in winning this chart, please let me know in your comments. Make sure to leave your email and share with me your favorite fall food, too! Good luck to all!

I'm working on a fun, larger piece (very appropriate for my profession as a librarian--hint, hint!) that I hope to have finished to share with you  in my next post...

On to some vacation photos, but, surprise! We aren't going on more of the Danube River cruise just yet... We spent the final week of August on holiday in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado and I'd love to take you along with me. A family wedding took us there and it was my very first trip to the state. Needless to say, it won't be my last as I simply fell in love with my surroundings. Honestly, this was the very first time--ever--that I didn't want to return home from vacation. I simply loved it that much. My family (husband, three sons, daughter-in-law, and middle son's girlfriend) rented a large home in Estes Park, Colorado which advertised itself as having the "best views in Estes Park." It didn't lie--the view from each and every window was spectacular. 

Sunrises like this one greeted us each morning

The sunrise as seen from our bedroom window

View from our rental home of Lake Estes

The famous Stanley Hotel where the movie "The Shining" was filmed. I never saw it as scary movies and I don't get along! This photo was also taken from our bedroom window.

The first day, in order to adjust to the high altitude, we took a simple hike around Lily Lake.

Even the flowers seemed brighter in Colorado!

The peaceful waters of Lake Estes

Our hike to Emerald Lake was definitely one of the most enjoyable I've ever done

The skies really were the most brilliant shade of blue!

Sadly, other hikers had carved up this beautiful grove of Aspen trees.

Everywhere you looked, it was just one beautiful sight after another. You honestly couldn't take a bad photograph!

Emerald Lake

The water was so clear and clean we could see many fish.

Driving up Trail Ridge Road was spectacular. It is the highest paved road in any of the U.S. National Parks.  As the air thinned, it became harder and harder to breathe easily.

Our ultimate stopping point--12,005 feet above sea level! Walking up to this point left us wheezing and stopping often to catch our breath, but we made it... The land was so different up there above the tree line. This alpine tundra was scattered with rocks and oh-so-windy and cold!

The Lava Cliffs Overlook with its tiny blue glacial lake

Toward the end of the week we hiked to the ruins of an old stone cabin in Estes Park that had burned down over 100 years ago. It was fascinating to look out the "windows" of the structure to those beautiful vistas beyond.

All week we were on the lookout for moose. On the final day, our patience was rewarded as a female moose and her baby ran right across the road in front of our car and scrambled up the rocky embankment.

Pure bliss--stitching in my happy place!

Sunset over the Rocky Mountains

My favorite photo of all--my family at my nephew's "mountain casual" wedding in Estes Park.

And I love this one, too--my siblings and me, left to right are youngest to oldest (yep, I'm the oldest child!)

We returned home ten days ago and I have to admit to being a bit "down" ever since... All of a sudden we were back in our way-too-quiet house and missing our family so very much. But, that wasn't all of it... I truly fell in love with that part of the United States. The sense of peace I get in the mountains can't be matched anywhere else. I've taken to singing "Rocky Mountain High" and daydreaming about moving there. Will it ever happen? Who knows, but I think my husband and I are both ready for a change when he retires. Tell me--is there a place that you would love to move to, a place where you feel so relaxed and worry-free? I'd love to hear about your "happy place!"

I will return to my regular Danube River cruise travelogue in my next post, but I hope you enjoyed my photos of this very special part of our beautiful United States. I think sometimes we forget what a lovely country we have right in our own backyard, don't you? Such varied geography and different scenery in each and every state.  I'd like to welcome my new readers and commenters--so glad to have you here in what seems to be turning out to be a stitching/travel blog! Thank you, as always, for taking the time to leave a comment and say "hi"--I appreciate each and every one of you so very much. Bye for now...
Source: stitchingdream

Fall finishes and Rocky Mountain highs