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.