Anniversaries of the Heart Cross Stitch

Hello Everyone! Today is the day! I’ve been gathering some pictures and doing a lot of thinking about how I want to present this post on my Anniversaries of the Heart Cross Stitch stitch-a-long finish. I want it to be a record of whom each block represents and why I chose that block for them. When I initially picked the charts, I chose the ones I liked best then matched them to the person I was stitching it for. I plan on printing a picture of the final piece and writing down all the information about the person for each block and placing it in an envelope on the back of the piece.

I had AOTH framed, with museum glass, at Michaels and I got it back a few weeks ago. Here it is hanging on the wall. I started stitching on January 1, 2020 and put the last stitch in on December 29, 2020. I started stitching it with Olivia, @PumpkinHollowQuilts and Deborah, @CanopiedStitches under the hashtag #bbanniversaries2020. It was fun to follow along and see what others were stitching.

Some other details about AOTH:

  • Designed by Blackbird Designs in the early 2010’s. There were a total of 12 charts with 2 bonus blocks. I chose to only stitch 7 blocks and the last bonus block (the large one).
  • Fabric is 35 ct. Old New England hand dyed by The Primitive Hare using most of the called for overdyed threads with some DMC substitutes when needed.
  • I averaged about 18 stitching days per chart and I took almost a two month break from stitching it in the fall as we were moving.

AOTH is stitched for me and my husband and our immediate families. I could have added grandparents in with the additional blocks, but I wanted to keep it on the smaller size and I knew I could not complete all 14 blocks in a year, which was a goal. For each block, I’m adding the link back to the original post for details about that particular block.

Snow Garden

The first block I stitched was Snow Garden for my mom, Judy Vaughan, whose birthday is in January.

Mom and I are at a Pensacola airshow in front of a T-34, a trainer my dad flew in the Navy, in 1962.

Here we are again in the late 90’s. It was Mom who told me to try cross stitching when I was in my early 20’s. I had already been sewing for years and she told me I would enjoy it. I was a little reluctant at first, but then like most people who give a try, I was hooked.

Pink Hill Manor

I stitched Pink Hill Manor for our brothers and sisters. My husband has a younger brother and I have one brother and two sisters and we are both the oldest. I stitched each of their first name initials on this chart and backstitched the words Sisters and Brothers. This is the only block I wish I had put in a different place. When I started stitching, I had picked out which chart I wanted to stitch for everyone, but hadn’t thought about changing the release order in the full piece until after this one. It would have been better to be the last one on the top row because of the top and right border.

Vaughan Children

Unfortunately, the only picture I had of the four of us together was this one from the early 80’s. From my brother, Steve, clockwise is Donna, Sandra and me. We were all born in different places while my dad was in college or the Navy, then with Eastern Air Lines. We finally settled in Fredericksburg, VA and call it home, although only Donna still lives there. I’m 21 months older than Donna, who is almost a year older than Steve. My dear mom with two babies and a toddler! Sandra came along 10 years after me and my mom was only 29 at the time. I didn’t have my first until I was 34. There were a lot of changes in just a generation.

Donna, Brenda (me) and Steve, 1970

Most of our early family pictures are on slides and so I only have one other of the three of us together. Sorry, Sandra, you were just a baby. Don’t you love these swim team suits from 1970. We had a swim coach that went for this style for several years.

This is my husband, Joe (left) and his baby brother, Andrew, probably in 1962 or 63.

Andrew (left) and Joe

Here they are in the late 70’s. That Piper Cub is the airplane they both learned to fly in.

Joe (left) and Andrew

And again in 2020 on a fishing trip in Bryson City, NC.

Clara Ellen

I stitched the next block, Clara Ellen for the dads, my dad, Bobby Vaughan and my father-in-law, Paul Hotinger. My dad was born in 1935 and Paul was born in 1933.

Me and Dad

Dad and I are enjoying some sunshine in Blacksburg, VA in 1960 while he was going to school at Virginia Tech. After school, Dad joined the Navy and was a pilot. He finished his naval career as a Captain in the USNR. He was also a pilot for Eastern Air Lines.

Judy and Bobby Vaughan

This is Mom and Dad in the late 50’s. They met while Dad was going to school at VT. Virginia Tech was a good place to meet your spouse, that’s where I met Joe.

Paul and Ruth Hotinger

Paul went to school at Georgia Tech and that’s where he met Ruth. Paul was an officer in the Air Force, then after working in his father’s business, he became a pilot for United Air Lines. Do you notice a flying theme? My brother is also a pilot for United after working first for Eastern, then Continental.

These are the Hotinger men in 2005. Somehow, it became a tradition for a few years to wear the overalls at Thanksgiving. I think it ended when Jake outgrew his. From left to right: Andrew, Paul, Joe and Jake, our son.

Happy Birthday

At this point, I decided it was okay to stitch the Anniversary blocks out of order and put them where I wanted. I stitched Happy Birthday for Joe and me and started it in April since that was our anniversary month. I liked that the chart had a word motif where I could stitch our names and anniversary date. I put this block in the middle of the piece since we are the center of this stitched universe.

As I said, we met at VT one summer while I was hanging out at the airport shortly after I got my private pilot’s license. I was doing a summer internship at a local hospital for the Biomedical Engineering portion of my Engineering degree. Joe was instructing and flying university people around the state.

After Joe graduated from VT, he joined the Air Force Reserves and flew C-141s. Shortly after leaving active duty, he became a pilot for Delta Air Lines, where he continued to fly until his recent retirement earlier this year. You can read more about that here. As for me, I worked with missile systems when I first graduated, then did a couple of odd jobs while Joe was in pilot training. I ended up working in telecommunications before I finished my working career and became a full time mom, volunteer and chauffeur.

Amicalola Falls State Park, GA

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that one of our favorite things to do is to search out waterfalls and camp. We plan to do plenty more of both in the years to come.

Pumpkin Farm

I stitched Pumpkin Farm for our son, Jake. I chose this block for him for two reasons, this is my favorite of all the blocks and his birthday is in the fall.

He was such a cute little boy (and still is)! For an almost 3 year old, he was a trooper. He walked down this beach carrying that stick for almost two miles to the pier in Nags Head, NC. He is an Eagle Scout and now is a Financial Analyst. Because of his involvement in scouts and a couple of family campouts, we started camping as a family. It’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done.

Like my husband, Jake has become quite the fisherman.

Moonlight Visitor

Moonlight Visitor is Emily’s block. I chose this one for her because she likes moths, although she told me her favorite part was the tree. Her favorite thing to do is to go on adventures. She does keep us busy when she’s around. She’s a Marine Biologist and works for the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection.

Emily, 1999

Do you know how hard it was to find a picture without a big brother in it?

Emily Sedona, AZ 2017

Jake and Emily are two wonderful kids and have grown up to be kind and responsible young adults. We are so proud of them.

Whiteface Mtn, near Lake Placid, NY 2003

This picture was taken on our first non-beach week long trip with the kids. We spent the week at Lake George, NY in the Adirondacks, seeing all the sites in the area. This was our first big hike up a tall mountain, but certainly not the last! We’ve been very lucky to be able to see this beautiful country with our kids.

This is the last picture I have of us all together from 2018 in Williamsburg, VA at Christmas, a favorite place to visit during the Holiday season.

Remember Me

The next to last stitched is Remember Me. stititched for my mother-in-law, Ruth, who we sadly lost in 2015. Besides the “Remember Me”, I chose this block for Ruth because she loved Christmas in Williamsburg and the red house reminds me of the buildings there.

I think this is a beautiful picture of Ruth! I’m guessing it was taken in the early 60’s.

From left: Paul, Ruth, Emily, Brenda, Joe, Andrew, Jake

This is the entire Hotinger crew, except Andrew’s wife Debbie, at a Christmas dinner in Williamsburg in 2010. We had lots of fun on that trip and several others where we’ve spent Christmas in Williamsburg.

Bonus Block from Remember Me

Finally we are at the end. The last block I stitched was the Bonus Block from Remember Me. The first stitch went in in Georgia, the last in Virginia. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching Anniversaries and picking out the charts that were just right for me and my family.

Just another look at the entire piece before I go. Writing this post has taken over a week while writing and re-writing and adding and substracting pictures. I’ve gathered pictures old and new trying to represent each family member. It’s been fun to go through almost every single picture we have.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a milestone in my stitchy life!

This entry was posted in Anniversaries of the Heart SAL, Blackbird Designs, Cross Stitch Finishes, Cross-Stitch, Sampler Cross Stitch, Stitchery, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Anniversaries of the Heart Cross Stitch

  1. Elizabeth Stewart says:

    Thank you for sharing. Just lovely. I stitched a sectioned picture fir my family and I just love it.


  2. Little Quiltsong says:

    What a lovely piece! So enjoyed hearing how you lovingly stitched each part for someone special. Loved hearing about each one of your family members, and the pictures included – priceless! I can imagine how it took you a long time to finalize this – a trip down memory lane is wonderful, but also very emotional. A real treasure, Brenda!


  3. says:

    Wonderful pictures of your stitching and family. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Judy Vaughan says:

    Beautiful, you have so much talent.


  5. Carol MINA says:

    What a lovely tribute to your family. I so enjoy your stories of places you all have been and I enjoy seeing it all too! Keep it up! Sincerly, Carol


  6. Sandy K says:

    What a beautiful post! I love your blocks and the stories connected with them. I’m just getting back into cross stitch and have loved it since I learned in the 1980’s. My two loves in my sewing room…quilting and cross stitch! Thank you so much for sharing.


  7. Suzanne says:

    This is a wonderful tribute to your family, well designed….. just beautiful. Thank you for the details which make it even more meaningful, I feel as though I know you.
    I also want to comment on your blog posts in general. My husband and I are both from an area of VA near where you live now and we BOTH enjoy your weekend drives through “our” country. Yes, every time your post pictures of your drives I have him look at them. We are familiar with many sites and the roads you travel. Such fond memories for us, thank you!!!


    • Brenda says:

      Thanks for you kind words. My husband and I are having such a good time exploring this area of Virginia. We really can’t wait for spring to be able to spend more time outside.


  8. Lydia says:

    This is truly wonderful and I LOVE the old photos. I can’t believe how much Emily looks like you in the swimsuit photo.


  9. Libby Ratliff says:

    Brenda. I enjoyed getting to know your beautiful family. What a precious way to keep memories. !!! Now, I am an 82 year old quilter who has been thinking about taking up cross stitching. Where did you get your patterns? Any info or advice would be appreciated! Libby Ratliff


    • Brenda says:

      Thank you so much, Libby! Cross stitching has become very relaxing for me. My suggestions are to make sure you have strong lighting in your work area and magnifiers are great. I would start with a chart that you really like to keep your interest and either a 14 count Aida or 28 count evenweave that you can purchase from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. This would be the least expensive way to get started to make sure that it would be something that you would want to invest more time and money in in the future. Good luck and enjoy the process.


  10. Pingback: A Quilty Update | The Quilting Nook

  11. Pingback: New Year Cross Stitch Plans and Organization | The Quilting Nook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s