Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun to see my designs pop up...

on Jill Rensel's Blog. You can find her at She has been doing framing and hand-painted custom mats for Shepherd's Bush for YEARS (in fact, I have to admit that there are a few Shepherd's Bush pieces I stitched JUST for the matting!!!) I have a whole wall of them here at my shop.

But you might not know that Jill does custom framing of LOTS of needlework, and, if you ask her, she'll do custom framing for pieces with hand-painted mats just like she does for Shepherd's Bush. Recently, she started blogging, posting pictures of framing she has done for other needleworkers. I check in from time-to-time, and was tickled to find two of my designs.

This is my Magic Garden design (via Shakespeare's Peddler.) I released it last year, and it's been very popular, but I REALLY REALLY UBER-LOVE this with the matting Jill did. When I called her to ask if I could post the picture on my blog, she said she had no idea I was designing and said she loves Jenny Bean and had a lot of fun doing these mats.

By the way, I have plans for a Winter Garden piece to mimic this one...but more of a "sleeping winter garden" theme to it.

This is a piece I designed back in Fargo for Raise the Roof Designs called "Peter's Cotton Knits." I love how the stitcher used a sky-type hand-dyed fabric, and aren't those little cut-out painted eggs on the matting so cute? Jill is such an artist, and she could not be one ounce nicer.

But you don't have to live in Utah to have Jill frame your needlework. You can call her at 801.627.3594 or e-mail her at to see if she can do some framing for you. You can send her your needlework, and she'll send it back to you framed amazingly!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You say good-bye, and I say hello

I haven't done a cat update in a while, and LOTS of people ask about it. We had some changes at our house this week. Last week, Simba and Mufasa had their surgery, and I feel like it was a gender reassignment surgery, because when I picked them up, the doctor said: "Oh, by the way, they're girls." WHAT?!?! I never checked! The shelter told me boys. Gave them boy names, and I said, "OK."

Of course, surgery meant that they wouldn't be with us much longer. And yesterday, I took them to PetSmart, set up their cage with food, water, and a bed, then clutched each one of them and cried like an idiot there in the back room. I am praying they go to very good, loving homes.

Before I left, I snapped a few last shots. Here is Moofie sitting by the window. She is a really sweet cat, loves to sit on laps, purrs while she's sleeping, and has a lot of patience.

And here is Simba taking one last little cat nap in our Ikea Poang chair. Who says redheads don't look great in red? She is confident, loves popcorn and wrestling, and is so, so happy. It was strange not to wake up to them this morning. I'll let y'all know when they've been adopted.

Dottie thought as long as I was snapping pictures, she'd pose for me. She's doing great, although she's trying to get used to two new (temporary) brothers...

Say hello to Skipper. When I took Moofie and Simba to get their final check-up on Friday at the shelter, I was asked if I could take home two nameless black cats. Nameless is never a good thing at the shelter; it usually means that unless something quickly changes, that animal will be on the next list for euthanasia. I said: of course! And I was able to name these two sweet little boys (I'm pretty sure they're boys this time.)

You'll notice Skipper has white and black hair ... a very unusual coat. It's called a "fever coat" and is the result of being ill when he was even smaller (he's about a pound and a half now.) He probably had a fever, and so for a short time, his hair came in white. This will eventually grow out, but for the time being, he's interesting-looking (and easier to tell apart from his brother.) He was timid at first, but when I showed him the amazing-ness of wet cat food, he came out of his shell.

This is Skipper's brother, Gilligan. (We call them Skip and Gill.) Gilligan is an awesome cat -- very brave, confident, comfortable in his own fur. He rubs on ankles. He asks nicely to be picked up. He has been over just about every square inch of our house already. And both boys are eating nicely, using the litter box every time, and even tucking themselves into their cat bed at night. We'll have them for around five weeks or so -- it will depend on how quickly they grow.

Here's a face from the past you may not recognize. This is little Elvis! My friend Jennifer and her family adopted Elvis and love him to pieces. He is getting big, and is such a nice boy. He is getting over his habit of tearing open the bread and eating the crust off. Jennifer even caught him putting away a skein of Sampler Threads that had fallen out of a basket (you can see that basket behind him.) I told her that he was raised well.

And here is Chi. Chi's new name is Stella, and her new owner contacted me via Facebook and shares pictures now and then. Stella and her owner like to watch English romance movies together, and that cat is getting supremely spoiled. Isn't she a beauty?

Zero is doing great -- no new pictures of him today, sorry. He's getting big and fluffy (I called him a "walking carpet" this week.) And by coincidence, Jennifer met Soba's new mother at Wal-Mart about a month or so ago (she works there in the check-out.) Soba has retained his name, and his mom says he has his own special blanket that he likes to nibble on, that he climbs into bed with her every night, and that he, too, is getting spoiled and is very loved.

Hope y'all are having a great week. Happy stitching, and to those of you who have pets...give 'em all a scratch behind the ears for me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What a great show...and here's Ann!

Hey, well, I know you are all going to want to see this ... Ann Dale came in the mail this week. Thanks so much to Chris Canaday to doing a fabbo job stitching the model. I have already ordered a frame, and the piece is stretched. Isn't it gorgeous? The next few days I'll be working on getting the chart finished. When the frame is in, I can print covers, and away we go!

Just a reminder that this (above) sampler will be sold as a graph. You also will be able to order the ENTIRE sampler graph (this is just the bottom third). And there will be a third booklet available with just the urns from the sampler (to use for smalls and ornaments.) (You should be able to click on the picture to make it larger.)

My friend Jennifer and I had a great time in St. Charles at the Celebrations of Needlework show. Our booth looked just like a little shop, and I was fortunate to be able to meet stitchers from all over the place. I sold lots of fabric, lots of my sampler charts, and lots of silk, so I know there are some very happy and busy stitchers this week.

I always enjoy market, because it's one time that all of my models are in one place. I loan a lot of my pieces out to other shops during the year, so it's kind of like a little family reunion to have them all back together in one place.

I am busy now getting the store back together, answering e-mails and shipping orders. I am hoping that Celebrations will host the show again next year. If they do, I will be there...with bells on!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick post

Much to do...heading out to lunch for my son Graham's birthday -- he's 15 today. Then I'm heading to St. Charles, Missouri for the Celebrations show. Will be out of town for a few days. Hope you have a great rest of the week!

If you need to get a hold of me, please just e-mail me...I'll answer those when I get back.

Take care,


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering and Hoping

This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,

A song of peace for lands afar and mine.

This is my home, the country where my heart is;

Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.

But other hearts in other lands are beating,

With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.

But other lands have sunlight too and clover,

And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,

A song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;

may peace abound where strife has raged so long;

that each may seek to love and build together,

a world united, righting every wrong;

a world united in its love for freedom,

proclaiming peace together in one song.


Ten years ago, I posted some hymn lyrics on my web site in reaction to the horrible events of 9-11. Ten years on, it still seems we can use the sentiments of "This is My Song" (sometimes called "A Song of Peace.")

The lyrics were written in 1934 by Lloyd Stone, an American poet and the last stanza by Georgia Harkness, a Methodist theologian born in New York in 1891 (she also wrote additional verses that sometimes appear in hymnals). It is sung to "Finlandia" by Finnish composer Jean Sebelius in 1899 as a secret protest against censorship.

There is a perfectly lovely version on You Tube by the St. Paul's Concert Chorale in Maryland at God bless us, everyone.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A new Raise the Roof piece and yes, she's mine

First off, yes, I am buying the Maria Druce sampler (see my previous blog post)! Thanks to all of you who chimed in (I heard from about 100 different stitchers in all so far) who said Maria's sampler must be reproduced. There was another buyer who was interested in the sampler, but as I had already inquired, I had first dibs.

I've included images of two motifs from the sampler (I do not have the actual sampler yet) that knock me right the heck out -- a funky-haired squirrel and a fanciful butterfly (moth?)

I really love butterflies/moths on a sampler, so here is one Madelena still has for sale that has a border made of BUTTERFLIES! (Or moths...I don't discriminate.)

This is the Hannah Starkey sampler from 1836, and it has a bee-you-tiful verse:

"Dear Jesus smooth that rugged way/And lead me to the realms of day/To milder skies and brighter plains/Where everlasting sunshine reigns." I took a sampler class from Nan Tyson Euler a looong time ago, and we stitched a sampler in silk. I don't remember what it was SUPPOSED to say, but I changed my verse to something I liked from the Bible with a similar sentiment: "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

Anyhoo, this sampler is still for sale at ....I can't buy them all folks -- not until I get my own reality show.

Here is Boo*Scurry*Yum all finished -- I'm still waiting on a groovy black frame that I ordered, but I'm getting graphs printed, and am just waiting for that cover shot, so I can pack and ship charts to my distributors and customers. This was a TON of fun to stitch -- I always enjoy stitching in Halloween colors of black, orange, green, purple. I really loved Fanci That patterns back in the 90's, and miss those primitive rag doll-like designs of theirs. They always used dark and colorful fabrics, too, lots of buttons, and brave colors of thread.

You can pre-order this graph (or kit) from me, or have your local shop pick it up from one of their distributors. I have fabric to stitch a similar piece of a Christmas lady!

Until next time, happy stitching ... may all of your X's be true and all of your treats be chocolate.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hm...what do you think?

I have an opportunity to purchase this sampler. It's British, and I think quite lovely. But I need your help....

What I like about it: the double-sided border (different inside and outside); PURPLE elements; the sheep (which are done in cross over four, I think, or Smyrna cross); the little house scene with a canopy of sky over-top; birds, squirrels and doggies; the tulip border (inside), the leafy cartouche around the young stitcher's name and date (and other things, of course.)

It's big -- about 22 by 25 inches, and I think the fabric is quite fine. There are numerous holes and even adhesive marks around some of the holes (looks like bug damage here and there.)

I am always on the look out for samplers with something "different" about them. This has a number of those elements, and looks like it would be a lot of fun to stitch. But is this something that has broad appeal (or appeals just to me?) If I buy it, it would be to reproduce it (and then of course hang it up and enjoy it.) Let me know what you think. I'm trying to make up my mind.

I'll leave you with the verse:


'When the pure soul is from the body flown,

No more shall Night's alternate reign be known;

The sun no more shall rolling light bestow,

But from the Almighty streams of glory flow.

Oh! May some nobler thought my soul employ,

Than empty, transient, sublunary joy.

The stars shall drop, the sun shall lose his flame,

But thou, O God: for ever shine the same.'