Monday, February 15, 2016

Kitchen stitchin'

I've had a very relaxing few days. I did nothing much and it was wonderful. I have a big bag of new library books, which is one of the best things in the world to me. I worked on Hensfoot. I read a lot. I puttered around the kitchen. I did a little redecorating in my girl's bedroom. I spent some time outdoors, which I really needed; the weather has been unseasonably warm for days, like mid-spring instead of late winter.

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a special dinner for me and the Bear on Saturday night (we always have a kid-free late dinner on Saturdays, it's a tradition). I cooked my favorite recipe for oven-roasted shrimp scampi, from The City Cook, which we had with a kale salad and crusty bread, and mint-chip ice cream for dessert. On Sunday, we took the small Bears to a play, a children's performance based on the Frog and Toad books, then came home and grilled steak for dinner. We ate well and had fun this weekend. I feel very refreshed.


We're still on our school break for another day more. I think we may go to the park with a picnic lunch tomorrow (today was a bit too windy and actually a bit too cool, but I think tomorrow will be warmer again). The small Bears and I stayed home today. I had laundry to do. In between, I started working on a new project, a cross-stitch sampler this time. I haven't done any stitching in months, focusing on crochet instead, but I've had the urge lately to stitch.

Weirdly, I seem to get this urge at the same time most years; I even blogged about cross-stitch almost exactly a year ago today. It's a good time of year for cross-stitch, I guess; the sun streams into our south-facing living room window and I find it's the perfect place to sit for stitching. I think, too, that I'm usually at the tail-end of a big crochet project by this time in the winter. Hmm.


I'm working on the Retro Kitchen sampler from Stitchrovia (above is a photo of my printed pattern download). I purchased this pattern from Stitchrovia's Etsy shop several months ago, along with two smaller patterns for coffeepot (no longer available in the shop) and teapot designs. I'm planning to hang them all in my kitchen. I have sort of a retro thing happening in my kitchen, with my collection of vintage crocheted potholders, ceramic and tin strawberry-themed items and tiny cuckoo clock. (I wrote about my kitchen a few years ago, if you're interested in more details).

I adore my kitchen. It isn't perfect, but it's the nicest one I've ever had (honestly, I've had some real doozies, it doesn't take much to be better than most of them). It's open and bright, I have adequate storage and newish appliances; really, I can't complain. There isn't much handmade in my kitchen, though, and I want more of that. I'm still working on crocheted potholders (it's hard and I am just not very good at it). Cross-stitch will be a nice touch.


I don't have a color printer, just a black-and-white one, but I wanted to give you an idea of the way the design looks in color, so I took a photo of the shop listing on my laptop screen. Hopefully the internet police won't come and take me away. I love the colors in this design. My kitchen has a lot of red, green and blue. The design definitely has a retro look, some of it with a Scandinavian feel, reminiscent of the Cathrineholm Lotus pottery. I'm told there's also Hornsea pottery, from England, in the design. Vintage Pyrex, perhaps, or Fire King.

I made one color change, using a dark red for the center canister instead of orange as suggested (it looks red on the screen, but it's actually a bold orange). I wanted to have some red in the design, to go with my kitchen, so I put it front and center. That's what I stitched today.

One thing I really like in this design is the large areas stitched in one solid color. It might seem like it would be boring, stitching row after row in one shade with little variation to the count, but I actually find it very relaxing. It's easy to lose myself for hours with that kind of stitching. And I did, sitting in my chair with the warm sun behind me, the small Bears playing nearby and the radio on. The morning passed in a blur, and soon it was time to make lunch.


These are my flosses for all three designs (the retro kitchen, teapot and coffeepot). I really like these  colors; they're bright and cheerful and I think they go with the general feel of my kitchen. The flosses, and a big roll of 14-count Aida cloth in Ivory, were Christmas gifts from the Bear. I bought them, he put them in my stocking; it works for us. He tied the flosses in a white ribbon, like a pretty bouquet. I really enjoyed stitching today. I usually have to slow myself down when I cross-stitch, to make myself savor the work, and I will probably have to do it this time too, because it's just that good.

35 comments:

  1. I love that design! The colors look so great together. It's funny, I find myself getting the same creative urges in cycles too - depending on the time of year. Glad you had a good weekend.

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  2. What a great cross stitch. A performance based on the Frog and Toad books, gosh my little man would love that!

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  3. Yes, a great retro design Jennifer: I like it very much. Cross-stitching is wonderfully soothing I have always found. The colours look great in a bouquet, don't they. What fun to go to see Frog and Toad at the theatre, and good for the kids too :)

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  4. It sounds like you and your family are having a perfect break. I can't think of anything better than a pile of library books and a great stitching project. I don't know whether to curse you or thank you for turning me onto Stitchrovia. That is one talented designer!

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  5. It's been quite a while since I've cross stitched and I get the itch for it when I see your project! I really like it and can't wait to see it finished!

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  6. Oh I really like your new project Jennifer. The bookmark I made for my sister was the first cross stitch I've done in awhile and it was just outlining...no crosses at all! :-). The colors in yours are great and I had to smile at you and the Bears method of gift giving. I'm glad you're enjoying your time together as a family. I love reading how you savor your time together. So many people wish the days away. I would love to have more time with my children and now they're grown and gone. Thank you for allowing us the glimpses into your life.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  7. Yes, it's very retro and I like it! Reminds me of 50s kitchen ware. It sounds like your family had a very cozy loving time together. your meals sound good, too. My sister got an electric pressure cooker that she's loving.. I ordered one.. can't wait to get it and try it out. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  8. Beautiful cross-stitch and it will look lovely in your kitchen. I haven't done any cross-stitching for ages - you've quite inspired me. Your weekend sounds so homely, I did enjoy hearing what you got up to. Have a great week. xx

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  9. That's a fab cross stitch...it will look great in your kitchen. I've just finished off a cross stitch for my nephew. It's a craft I love but I never seem to do enough of it.
    Marianne x

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  10. I love that cross stitch the design is wonderful. Thank you for linking to the shop I love her designs I might just have to buy one of those someday!

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  11. That design is just fabulous! I love everything about it; the colours, shapes and retro feel. I look forward to seeing the completed cross-stitch X

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  12. Your cross stitch is going to be wonderful when you have it all done and hung up in your kitchen. Love the Saturday dinners.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  13. what a beautiful blog, let me now pass often.
    Sunny greetings
    Antje

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  14. Love it
    Love the colours

    All the best Jan

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  15. Slowing down to focus on something requiring concentration is very good for you. You forget all the nonsense floating around your head (well, I do!). Gorgeous colours in those skeins of thread. I look forward to seeing the finished work.

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  16. What a lovely design. I keep staying I will start cross-stitching again but so far it hasn't happened. I have so many supplies, so many patterns, so many ideas for so many things. But I lack focus most of the time. And crochet is a whole lot easier to carry around. I do like x-stitch patterns in one color. I will follow the pattern in one direction and then I can carry that piece with me wherever I go and just cross back over to make the x. Sometimes I do that for traveling as I like to mix things up to keep myself busy. It certainly does help to pass the time. Have a good day!

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  17. I really love these cross stitch patterns. I swooned when I saw the photos! It's got all the lovely retro kitchen things I like, especially the Catherineholm Lotus design kitchenware. I'm really looking forward to seeing them when they're all finished. They're going to be fantastic!

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  18. What a very clever design, I love the balance of colours and shapes and I know you will stitch it beautifully Jennifer. Did you read Kate Davies' (the knitting designer from Scotland) recent blog post on Hornsea pottery. I think the brown mug on your chart is Hornsea. It was very popular in the UK in the 1970s and even I have a couple of olive green storage canisters from my parents's house in which I now keep my tea. PS I hopped back to your kitchen tour, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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  19. I get seasonal crafting urges, too. I really like the design of your pots and pans sampler, I look forward to seeing the progress over the next weeks and months (it looks like a lot of work!). x

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  20. Your weekend sounds perfect Jennifer and so does the food. I love the picture it's going to look lovely in your kitchen. :) xx

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  21. What a lovely design, and I like how you've changed the colour to fit in better with the colour scheme of your kitchen. I know what you mean about losing yourself when you're working on a block of colour, it's nice to have projects where you don't have to concentrate too hard from time to time. Looking forward to watching your progress.

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  22. I love this Cross stitch and your cheer kitchen things! (I looked at the other post, read it all!). I am slowly making my kitchen cheery too, one of the things I have are red canisters and I just love using them. Your cross stitch creations are lovely and I like the colour change of the red! Hope your day is a peaceful one!

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  23. I keep toying with the idea of cross stitch. I think I may succumb this year! Love the last picture of the thread, some really lovely colours there. x

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  24. Your stitching is beautiful thus far, Jennifer! When you complete it I can imagine it adding a special touch to your kitchen and meanwhile it is great that you have the pleasure of making it. I'm so glad your school break time has been refreshing for you. Wishing you a happy week. xx

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  25. I love your cross stitch design, it has made me want to get mine out but I am so busy crocheting at the moment I know it would soon get abandoned again. One day soon perhaps ....

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  26. I sort of have the itch to stitch, too! I love your cute sampler!
    Yay for a Valentine's Day dinner for two!
    It IS warm here, too. Yesterday it was too windy but today I hung the clothes on the line.
    Take care, sweet Jennifer!

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  27. It's going to be fab, Jennifer! :o)

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  28. I like cross stitch as well, you're right, it's quite soothing. The picture is going to be lovely, perfect for your kitchen I think. It's funny how we turn to different things at different times of year isn't it. A comforting routine. I hope you're having a good week. CJ xx

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  29. I've not done cross stitch since I was at school a very long time ago, I'm not a very neat person and yours looks so neat! Lovely. Xxx

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  30. Hey Jennifer,
    I am in love with this! I love that sort of kitchenware, and just love the idea of it in sampler form. I can't wait to see the end result.
    Leanne xx

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  31. I LOVE this. The style, the colours -all beautiful. It's going to look fantastic. X

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  32. Sounds like a lovely time in your home... That cross-stitch is darling. That is something on my list of crafts I want to try. I think it would be very meditative. One day! :-)

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