Stitch Therapy

Discovering me … one stitch at a time

Tricks & Treats

Hi Blog! Another weekend has come and gone.

Saturday was windy and cold! Tom and Biggest went to the beach house to do some fishing and crabbing. Biggest has really caught the fishing bug! It’s great to see his enthusiasm.


While they were away, Littlest and I spent some quality time together. We:

shopped for Halloween costumes,


picked out Tom’s birthday presents (this Thursday! 45! Wheeee!),

made gluten free pumpkin muffins (yes, I’m back at it!),

did a little grocery shopping, where I managed to drop and shatter a glass bottle of tea tree oil in the checkout line at Whole Foods. Mortifying! Especially when people started to wrinkle their noses and say “What’s that smell?”

went on a gluten free pizza and frozen yogurt date,

and watched Zootopia while cross stitching!!!


On Sunday, we dragged the Halloween bins down from the attic, which led to hours of trying on old costumes and giggling hysterically. Here’s a random sampling of what we modeled:

Spock ears
Karate outfit
Chinese dress
Red Riding Hood/Wolf
Monk with pug head
Wednesday Addams



The BEST part is that I found a costume that I made for Sammy when he was just a puppy. He wore it to a costume contest and won. He was even featured on the evening news! Sammy has put on some weight over the years (sigh… haven’t we all?) and it no longer fits, but Charlie was able to be squeezed into it! HA!


The WORST part is that it’s been a few years since I’ve worn some of these costumes too and could barely get them zipped up. Sammy, I feel your pain.


Charlie, afterwards, obviously trying to forget the entire ordeal. Sorry, Charlie!


Happy Monday!

Mountain Girl

Hi Blog!

Last weekend was amazing! The boys had off from school on Monday, so I figured that we’d take advantage of the long weekend and go to the beach house. Unfortunately, there was a date mix up and Tom told someone else that they could use the house! Of course, I sulked and carried on for a good few hours because that’s what I do.

Things turned around quickly though because Sweetie McSweet-Tom surprised us with a getaway to the mountains instead. We had so much fun!!!


We rented a beautiful house. It was very private and quiet on 12 acres of land.


The house was kid (and adult friendly) with a trampoline and ping pong table and foozeball and, perhaps the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, swings hanging by the rafters in the basement.


We were all big fans of the hot tub.


The boys had fun exploring and doing boy things.


On Saturday, we went on a 15 mile bike ride in the mountains! The best part is that they drive you to the top of the mountain and you just bike DOWNHILL. That is brilliant if you ask me.


This was us at the beginning when we were still fresh and cheery.


The sights were pretty glorious.


We took a lot of breaks.



Here is my artistic shot of Tom at the opening of an old railroad bridge. Littlest thought that it looked like a dinosaur eye!


Tom and Biggest did a lot of fishing, which meant that Biggest was in Heaven.



I was in Heaven too, stitching while admiring this scenery.


I moved every once in awhile to find a shady spot.


The boys did not catch a lot, but they were very proud.


They insisted on learning how to clean the fish (Thanks a lot, YouTube) and preparing it for dinner.


We had enough to make a very small appetizer. It was delicious.


The next day, we found a quiet beach at the lake.


I love him.


In the evenings, we played board games and some very exciting Blackjack.


On Monday, Tom and Biggest went out early for more fishing.


Littlest and I played a few competitive rounds of Don’t Break the Ice. My baby, age 10 with bedhead.


I have always thought of myself as a Beach Girl, but this weekend has me thinking that Mountain Girl has a pretty nice ring to it.


Might be time to reconsider.


Around here…

Tom and I have been taking turns being sick.

The two older guys (Tom and Biggest) went to the beach house to go crabbing. Biggest caught 2 blue crabs and proudly cooked them.


Littlest and I went to the roller rink (old pic from last Summer, also known as my roller queen days)


And prepared a fondue feast for Tom and Biggest’s return home.



Sunday was cold and rainy, so…

I baked Pesto bread (which got weirdly tall), but tasted delicious.


Tom hung our new (old) lucky horseshoes above the doors.


Littlest sat at the top of the stairs creating comic book characters.


Biggest disappeared into his room (Preteen! No photos!)

Sammy did what Sammy does best.


Coal celebrated his 15th birthday!


Charlie hung out in a box.


What did you do this weekend?

Shopping Adventures!

Hi Blog!

What?! Monday again?!

On Friday, Tom and I went to dinner and a comedy show with some friends. We saw those guys from that old improv TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” It was hilarious.

Stephanie and I went shopping on Saturday and I bought this old blanket chest. I love it.


I guess I never finished telling you about our cross stitching adventures in Paris. I looked up some stitching shops to visit before the trip, but we didn’t manage to go to any of them!

One day though, we were out strolling near the hotel and spotted what looked like a fabric store. We stopped in and, lo and behold, it turned out to be a fabric, knitting, and CROSS STITCH store!!! Quelle surprise! They had a whole floor dedicated to cross stitch stuff! In a terrible moment of irony, my phone battery chose that exact time to die. Luckily, Tom was there to snap some photos.

I almost couldn’t focus. There was so much to see!


Evenweave and linen in every color…



They had a ton of pre-finished items just ready to be embellished with some cross stitching. Cute pouches of every shape and size!


And pretty kitchen towels!


There were soft stitchable bath towels in lovely colors…


And a whole wall full of embroidery books!


I had never seen the Rico design books in the US before and promptly fell in love. It was reaaaaallly heard to pick just a few items to buy.

I ended up getting two books, filled with the most gorgeous designs.


So tasteful…


And modern…


Le sigh…


I also bought a pre-finished runner and a tablecloth that was made specifically for stitching some of the designs from the books. I love the pretty texture on the tan one and … swooooon… white swiss dots! Who doesn’t love swiss dots?!!


Can you tell how excited I was to find this store?


The rest of the trip, I carried my stitching stuff around Paris in hopes of working on it during any down time. There ended up not being any until our final day at the Luxembourg Gardens.


There were a lot of people milling about reading and sketching and relaxing. Can you imagine a dreamier place to stitch?


I worked on last year’s 12 Days of Christmas stitch-a-long because it is small and portable and not too confusing, especially amidst so many distractions.


Oh… is someone selling baguettes? Oh… do I smell crepes? Oh… should we walk over there for a quick Cafe au Lait? You know, distractions.


I also stitched on the flight home and managed to complete Days 1-6. Quick aside, can I say what a treat it is to sit on your butt for 7 hours while watching movies (of your choice) and cross stitching while people bring you booze and food? Other people think that flying is a pain, but this tired working mama says “Bring it on!”


I think I’m calling this project done for now and try to do a little finish work so that they are ready for Christmas. It only took two years to complete 6 days. I guess I’m not so good at stitch-a-longs.


Anyhoo, that wraps up the Paris recaps. You’re probably tired of reading about the trip by now, so this week I’ll move onto more exciting things like Soccer practice and Chili making. Haha. Until then!

Ermahgerd! A blerg!

Hi Blog!

We had a great weekend but I barely took any photos, so does that mean that it never happened? You will have to use your imagination today.

This weekend, we:
made soap (Oatmeal Honey again. I’m a one trick pony.)


made yogurt (no pic, but it was good!)

went to the trampoline park (no pic, but the boys were sweaty!)

ate the best Vodka Rigatoni. Do you know how to determine if you’ve found your true love? I wanted to order the Vodka Rigatoni because it’s my favorite but Tom wanted to get it too. So I ordered the scallops instead, because we can’t both get the same thing (weird rule in my head). So then Tom told me that he didn’t really like the Vodka Rigatoni so we switched and I happily scarfed it down in record time, only to figure out later that he really like the VR better, but pretended he didn’t so that I could have it. Sniff. True love.

hunted for Pokemon (Biggest is really into making memes these days)


broke the paddle on my stand mixer. Waaaaaaah! Mixer, why have you forsaken me??!!!!


mugged for photos at Barnes & Noble



Happy Monday!

Around Here

Hi Blog!

I’m getting bored with these trip posts, so today let’s take a break to talk about what’s been going on around here lately.

Are you as happy as I am that Fall has arrived? It’s still hot in Pennsylvania, but there’s that bit of crispness in the air to show that the seasons are changing. Yay!


I am feeling especially thankful these days to be back into our school and home routines. I do love me some routines! Taurus much?


Soccer season is in full swing so our Saturday mornings are spent on the field. The weather has been perfect for this so I can’t complain. The boys have been playing hard and I love to watch them.


In addition to Soccer, they both signed up for a running program that culminates in a 5k. Littlest said that he wanted us to run the 5k as a family. I foolishly agreed. This week, I broke out my super fashionable knee brace and 80s music mix and restarted the Couch to 5k training. Mom guilt sure makes you do some crazy things!


I really fell off the gluten free train while we were away and it’s been soooooooo hard to get back on. Every day I start strong, then stuff like this happens…


I know at some point I really need to commit to the diet again, but WHY IS GLUTEN SO DELICIOUS?!?!!!

Speaking of delicious, the boys and I continued our Saturday dinner tradition with an Asian inspired evening of Dumplings, Soy & Ginger Glazed Cornish Game Hen with Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms, and Mango Sorbet. Yum. They are seriously upping their game.



And in stitching news… I’m discussing Halloween stitching in the October issue of CrossStitcher magazine, available on newsstands now (Haha. I’ve always wanted to say that)! It feels these days like I write about cross stitching more than I actually cross stitch, but blergh… such is the life of a working mother.


Happy Friday, Friends!

Louvre Love

Dear Diary,

For our Summer vacation, we visited the Louvre. It was big and breathtaking.

We saw the Mona Lisa.


We read a crazy statistic that 80% of people who go to the Louvre just look at the Mona Lisa and then leave. That seems like such a waste because there was so much more to see.

Those of you who have read my blog for awhile know that I love history and have a mild obsession with Henry VIII of England. Well, you can imagine how much I nerded out when I spotted this painting!


Do you know who this is? It’s Anne of Cleves! Henry the VIII’s fourth wife! Back in the day, you couldn’t just ask someone to send a selfie when you were checking them out to be your 4th wife, so Henry dispatched Hans Holbein to paint Anne’s portrait. Henry liked the portrait enough to commit to marrying her, but when she arrived in England he was not pleased with her looks at all!!! So, what’s an obnoxious spoiled King to do but marry her anyway then annul the marriage in 6 months in order to take up with that trollop, Katherine Howard. What a jerky diss! But the best part is that Anne won out in the end. She got a nice settlement from Henry and they actually ended up becoming friends and confidants. She outlived him and all of this wives. Go Anne of Cleves!

Anyhoo, this is the ACTUAL PORTRAIT of her painted by Hans Holbein that started all of this drama. I just about died standing next to it!!!

Speaking of disses. I had to take a picture of this painting. It’s nice enough, right?


Until you see the title which is “Portrait of an OLD LADY at 44 years old”. This 44 year old was not pleased.


Tom liked this one. I wonder why? (insert eye roll) But look at the lady in the background embroidering. That’s redeeming.


This has always been a favorite of mine.


And this. Swoooon.


I can’t imagine what it would be like to paint something so huge.


Some of the halls were truly over the top.


You can definitely picture this guy galavanting around in these rooms.


You can’t tell from my sucky photo, but these colors were so rich.


And, of course, Rembrandt.


And check out the size and detail of this tapestry. Perhaps inspiration for my next project? Ha!


Next up… Parisian cross stitching adventures…

Until then, hope you’re having a great weekend!

Ooh la la

Hi Blog.

Sometimes when I have a lot to write about, I get overwhelmed and avoid writing altogether. Actually, that applies to pretty much every area in my life, not just writing.

But today I’ve decided to JUST DO IT, so here goes…

Our trip to Paris was pretty great. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but here are some of my favorite memories.

I KonMaried my suitcase. Don’t ask how it looked on the way home. Let’s just say that KonMari would not have been impressed.


On the first day, we went to Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre. Sacré-Cœur creeped me out a little. I don’t know why, maybe just the thought of all the stories held within those walls.



I insisted that we walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. I took the same photo when I was there in January, but this one is better because Tom’s feet are in it too. Everything is more fun with my partner in crime.




Notre Dame is pretty impressive. I couldn’t get over how old it is (construction began in 1163!!!). Can you imagine carving all of this by hand! With no electricity!


I am ashamed to admit that I may have checked Pokemon Go while at Notre Dame (I know… I know) but Pikachu FINALLY showed up! And the worst part is that I was so busy taking pictures of him to send to Littlest at home that he GOT AWAY!


One of many random stately buildings.


Le sigh. So charming.


We enjoyed strolling on the quais along the Seine. They had set up a little “Paris Beach” on one of the quais which was kinda weird and hilarious. Here is Tom mid- “Bonjour!”


We ate and ate and ate… bone marrow and escargot and fois gras and Tartare de Filet de Boeuf (i.e. RAW STEAK) and more baguettes than I could count (needless to say, I fell off the gluten free diet).






I was particularly fond of the super indulgent flower-shaped gelatos.


When we go out to dinner in the US, I always try to convince Tom to same-side-sit with me and he refuses, but in France, EVERYONE same-side-sits! In fact, they MAKE you same-side-sit even if you don’t want to!

We spent a full day at the Louvre and LOVED it (sorry for the excessive capitalization) but that deserves an entire post of its own because it was AMAZING (there I go again). The gardens! The artwork! The history! MON DIEU!


Yeah, the Eiffel Tower. So cliche, but what can you do?


And! You better believe that I had some cross stitching adventures! More coming on that too!!! Here’s a teaser.


Le OMG! French cross stitch patterns! I died and went to heaven!

En Français

Bonjour mes amies! Where to even begin?

Tom and I just got back from Paris! It was très incroyable. Originally he was going to join me for a few days only, but changed his plans and ended up staying for a full 9 days! Wheeee!!!

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We had a lot of adventures. There was sight seeing! And snail eating! And cross-stitch goody buying! And art admiring! And French language botching! And people watching! And walking! So much walking! I logged 145,883 steps on my Fitbit. Crazy!

There are a gajillion photos to wade through, but that will have to wait for another day while I catch up on work, and hear about the boys’ first days at school, and give Charlie some extra tummy rubs. Il n’y a pas de place comme à la maison!

I hope that you had a great week too!

Behind the Scenes

We currently have house guests and hosted a family dinner party for 17 last weekend. I am so frazzled and have been averaging 2-3 hours of sleep per night for the past few days. If I can just make it though this week (which includes two work trips) and Littlest’s birthday sleepover on Friday, it will be time for me and Tom to jet away to gay Par-ee! Keeping my eye on the prize!

Tom snapped some photos of me taking photos for my next CrossStitcher article. Lest you think I know anything about photography, I’m keeping it real here on le blog by showing these behind-the-scenes pics.

How you do it when you’re a shorty and use a door mat as a fancy backdrop. Paula, can you spot the cute polka dot bag that you sent to me?

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Sometimes getting a good shot means that you have to sit in the bushes. This is hardcore photojournalism in action!

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In other news…

Charlie routinely turns his nose up at his fancy cat beds, but has claimed an old potato chip box as his favorite hangout.

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Me and Littlest eye-balling the Carrot cake even though we have a perfectly good Chocolate cake in front of us.

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Parent-types yucking it up in front of my cross stitch wall.

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Happy Monday, stitchy friends!

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