Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And a Happy New Year

Any parent of small children knows how tempting it is to take pictures of the little ones sleeping. They look so sweet, so quiet, so innocent. Here's my little Boo taking a nap in my felting supplies on Christmas. Awwww...

I just finished my first Make Do kit for 2010, and wanted to share a picture of it here, first. The kit will come with a light rose colored linen, hand-dyed silks and cottons, and the graph. The Make-Do part of it, is you have to find a button or charm to put in the lower right corner. Each kit will be "missing" one part, and you have to go through your stash to "make do." You can sign up to get these as they come out -- they will be limited edition kits and only available through my shop.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve and 2010. We're pretty laid back, so we'll most likely watch a movie or two together, eat a good meal, and just enjoy each other. Hope there's much of the same in store for you!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas everybody!

I can't believe we're so close to Christmas already. It's sunshiny today in Hattiesburg, and after a few days of rain and gloom, it's nice to look out the window at the blue sky. I have been stitching off and on this week. I finished stitching two Brightneedle ornaments from 2007 over-one (they were in the Just Cross Stitch pre-ornament and ornament issues). I stitched them on white opalescent Belfast, so the sparkles will be so pretty on the tree. I'll probably finish them this weekend and post a picture soon. But in the meantime, here's a picture of my family taken on Thanksgiving outside. That's Harrison (my college freshman) on the left, me, Graham (he's 13 and holding our 2-year-old cat, "Kitty"), and Steve. I've got a nice big hammock stretched between two pines out back, and you can see, we all fit.

The exciting news this week is I get to spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday with my local friends stitching. We're having our own holiday stitching retreat. It'll be at my house on Saturday, so I'm deciding what to make for food. I'll probably work on the Carriage House Samplings Quaker stocking I started this week. I'm stitching it over-one on cream Belfast with Au Ver a Soie in navy, blue and gold. And then I plan on antiquing it. It's going to be gorgeous! And I feel like I can hang it all year, because it's not Christmas, per se.

I hope whatever you're doing to celebrate the season this year, you're having FUN and not doing things just because you "have to." We'll soon be making cookies, listening to holiday music, lighting candles, spending the day in our slippers, and just enjoying each other. Blessings!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walking in a winter wonderland

When we moved to the south, we were told it snowed down here once every five or six years or so. Last night was our third snow "storm" here in Hattiesburg. I woke up to white, but it's almost gone. I quick snapped a picture of a Christmas sampler of mine in a snowy bush, while wet slush was falling off the roof above me. This is my Christmas Colors (MD's Sampler) that I released about a year ago. It's not a Christmas sampler, per se, but the colors and motifs, I think, are Christmassy.

We went and saw the Fantastic Mr. Fox last night. VERY good movie (not just for fact, I think grownups would get more from it.) Lots of great actors and actresses, and the animation was incredible (I love stop-motion photography.)

With all of the white stuff outside this morning, I started to really feel the spirit of the season. I think I'll go home and turn on Sting's new Christmas album (sooo good.) We need to put our ornaments on the tree, too. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sketchy details

I don't usually sketch a design out before I start designing. I typically have something in my mind, and just start going. But earlier this year, I was doodling some ideas, and actually hung onto the doodle. I thought I'd share it here. You can kind of see the process. The finished product was Measure by Measure.

Haven't been stitching much the last ten days or so. Thanksgiving was busy, and work has been busy, and it's just...well, busy. And I kind of got a little burned out with all of the designing/stitching that I did up to and immediately after market this fall. Jenny Bean needs to get started on some new projects for spring, and I will also be designing another series for Crescent Colours. Am also talking to Sharon about doing a thread pack series with her for a band sampler (kind of reproduction style, but an original design.) Hope all is well out there -- stay in touch!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Teenage Boys

Graham had his good friends Aaron and Zac sleep over last night (the alpha and the omega, I now realize). Steve and I took the three of them out to dinner at the neighborhood Chinese food buffet, and then we went home. They saw the needle felting I had done the night before on the kitchen table and seemed really interested. After a few, "that would be really interesting's," and "that looks fun's," and "I'd like to try that some time's," they just came out and asked if they could give it a go. Luckily, I had purchased a set of five felting needles, so there was plenty to go around. I didn't have felting blocks for all of them, so they worked on folded bath towels.

All three of these 13-year-old's were eager students and sat and worked diligently at their projects. They picked the most daring colors I had, all the while saying things like, "This is super fun," "I am going to ask my mom to get me supplies for Christmas," and my favorite (a jaw-dropper): "This is more fun than video games." "Yeah," another one said, "video games are starting to get boring." One more time. A thirteen-year-old boy said, "Video games are starting to get boring." Victory!

Graham's ball is on the right -- he wanted to make his very random (so it has lots of different colors on it.) He had fun picking his favorite colors from the ones I had (brights and darks). Aaron's block stack is in the middle (it's all felted together as one piece). I think it looks very Asian-influenced, almost sushi-like. His felting is very tight and compact, and his use of color was really nice. Zac wanted to make his mom a bird like the one I made the day before. "I never get her anything for Christmas," he said. He was only part-way done last night when I went to bed, and this morning I saw he had stuck at it until he finished. I asked him if I could take it to work to take a picture, and he said, "You can, but it didn't turn out very well." I told him I thought it was wonderful. How tickled would you be if a 13-year-old boy in braces made you a needle felted bird for Christmas?

Aaron's birthday is coming up in January, and I think I know what we'll get him. You never know how someone will react to a new craft. And I had never even thought about showing these boys how to cross stitch. I've never thought they'd take to that, but now I'm not so sure. Life is full of surprises.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A new friend and a new craft

Yesterday my mailman knocked on my door to give me some packages, and when I stepped outside, I could hear a cat meowing somewhere. My mailman said, "Do you hear it, too?" I grabbed my packages, and a quick check of the bushes revealed a little black cat. At first, I thought she was trapped in there (the bushes are really pokey). But when I reached in, she ran out. So, I opened the back door to my shop and went in to get a little of Boo's food that I keep here at the shop, in case she's visiting. By that time, the little cat had run in and was meowing and checking everything out.

I gave her food (she ate every bite), a drink of water (she drank and drank and drank), and then she was really happy. She purred and kind of rubbed on me. To me, she looks like she is about 6 or 8 weeks old or so. We have a lot of wild cats in the lot adjacent to my shop, and I imagine this is a kitty whose mother recently quit nursing her. I scooped her up and put her in a box and took her to the shelter. If she's adoptable and healthy, they'll clean her up, give her her shots, spay her, and find her a home. If not, at least she had a little loving human contact and a full belly. If she were mine, I'd name her Spook.

Also, I tried my hand at needle felting last night (my supplies are the reason the mailman had to knock at my door -- otherwise, he just puts my mail in my mailbox.) I made a little red-winged blackbird, a pumpkin and a bumblebee (not pictured -- it's kind of silly, and I'm going to let the cats play with it. It's round like a ping pong ball and it has kind of googley eyes and it's sticking its tongue out.) I like that you can just come up with an idea and start creating. It's pretty easy, and fun to boot. May make some decorations for Christmas packages.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Noel, Noel, Noel

Here are three little pinkeeps/ornaments that I stitched this year and finished recently. They're all designs by Blackbird Designs. The one on the top is in their newest book, Joyeux Noel, the one on the lower left is from the Just Cross Stitch ornament issue a few years ago, and the one on the right is from another collection book of theirs, and now I can't remember which one. But I just noticed as I was taking the picture that they all say "Noel." Did you know that one of the meanings of "Noel" is a shout of joy because of the birth of Jesus?

Will be spending much of today at the computer writing invoices and listening to tunes. The sun came back out, and the air is crisp and fallish. I'm starting to post things on etsy again (you can find me at You won't find more there than you'd see on my web site, but I'm trying to catch a new audience -- aka hip young crafters. I have already bought several of my Christmas gifts on etsy. If you're looking for something hand-made, one of a kind, unusual, and just right, that's your place. Soooo much to see, you could spend days just looking.

I purchased some needle felting supplies last week on etsy, too, and am waiting for those to come in. I watched a tutorial on YouTube (there are LOTS), and it looks like a lot of fun. Hopefully I won't manage to stab myself too many times with the felting needles.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Banana Split!

No idea on the title -- but wouldn't a banana split be good right about now? I love those things!

Posted a picture here of a design I released earlier this year -- I Love the Birds. It's a really sweet little sampler, and quick to stitch. I even found a verse from Shakespeare that mentions all three birds (crow, lark, wren.) That's included with the graph, but I'll share it here, too:

"The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,
When neither is attended, and I think
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection!" (Merchant of Venice)

I had a productive day yesterday on my weekly "day off," and finished graphing the Jane Philpott Adam & Eve Sampler. I just have to select the final floss colors, fabric, and then check in with my model stitcher, and she'll be off and running.

Oh, and I had the greatest idea this weekend. I had a friend over to stitch, and we looked through my UFO's (not many, not many.) And one was the very start of a dragon pattern I was going to stitch for my son (can't even remember which one) about six years ago. It's one of those multi-page graphs with 100 floss colors that melt your eyeballs. I had finished part of a rectangular area that was about 3 by 5 inches or so. I decided, "I am NEVER going to finish this," trimmed around what I had stitched and put the fabric back in my stash. Now, I am going to make a UFO Pincushion with the piece that I stitched on (I'm going to see if I can find a UFO charm or something for it.) I'll put a picture up when I'm done. Funny!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We survived double-cat-bath-night!

OK, first off, the picture above is a bunch of the lace I bought on last week. It was all waiting for me in my mailbox this morning at the shop. Some of the bobbin lace is especially fine and amazing. I don't know what I'm going to do with these, but they have a good home. Plus, I got a big bang out of the old picture that came with one of the lace pieces -- you can't really tell on the smaller picture above, but the lady doesn't look very happy about getting her picture taken.

Lucy Boo has a little skin thing going on, and the vet said yesterday we better give both cats a bath just in case. Both? Both?! Are you sure? I mean, Lucy only weighs 3 pounds (she gained a whole pound this week!), but Kitty is probably 11 anyway, and is pretty strong and, well, skittish/fraidy/intolerant.

We had never given her a bath before (she keeps herself very clean and soft.) So Steve and Graham and I started the water in the sink, and I swear, the cat did that all-four-paws-on-the-sides-of-the-sink/can't-push-me-in thing you see in the cartoons. At one point she hooked Steve's arm like a fishing lure, and at another, she was completely wrapped around his waist like a girdle. She made noises we had never heard before. And then she spent the rest of the evening in the living room with us, but at the other end of the room with her back to us.

Like I said, Lucy Boo is only 3 pounds, so she was much easier to handle. But she was shivery, so I held her in a blanket while she slept for a few hours on the couch while we watched our Monday night shows. At least she's still talking to us!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lace shopping

I had fun this week looking around on at all kinds of things. Bought a few gifts, started to spruce my online shop back up, and found some wonderful treasures, including antique laces. I found some antique bobbin laces, including some from Bedfordshire, England. I got a really nice piece of vintage French bobbin lace. I found 12 yards of a hand-crocheted trim for just $15.00 (vintage, of course.) I included a picture here, so you can see one of the things I found. I thought this would be really fun to use for finishing, or who knows? The lace shown is two feet of Victorian handmade bobbin lace and it comes with the antique photograph, too (for ten dollars). Love that moustache!

I think people often under-value hand-work. If you figure the amount of time it took to crochet 12 yards of lace, plus the cost of you come up with $15.00? So glad I can give these a good home. If you want to go on your own treasure hunt, it's easy (you can find other lovely needlework items on etsy -- search for antique buttons, trim, fabric, even quilt squares.) Just go to and start typing away.

Talked to Barb at Blackbird Designs yesterday -- she's so cool. She told me that sometimes when they want to antique some fabrics, they actually sand the fabric with sandpaper. I'm going to give that a try. Nothing like taking something new and making it look shoddy, hm?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Good progress on Jane's sampler...

Yesterday I spent much of the day graphing Jane Philpott's Adam & Eve Sampler from 1837, and made very good progress. It's always fabulous to really dig into a sampler and find all of the little hidden gems, mistakes, compensations, and subtle color changes. Jane had lovely tension, and for a ten-year-old, did very well completing a sampler with a LOT of motifs.

I've been teaching Graham a little here and there about how I do things (he's 13). He came in yesterday while I was at the computer and asked if I had found anything unusual. I told him I found one stitch with another color stitch right underneath it (a dark green one underneath a beige one). I showed it to him, and he thought it was interesting.

The border is complete, and I'm just about done with the bottom third of the interior design (including old Adam & Eve). The tough part is just about done -- the rest should be much easier. I have a model stitcher all lined up, and the plan is to release this one for market in February.

By the way, our new kitten's name is Lucy Boo -- we couldn't decide on which of the two names to use, so you can call her Lucy, or you can call her Boo, but you can't call her Mr. Johnson.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Love at first sight?

Went to the pet store the other day to get something for our one remaining goldfish. And of course they always have cats and kittens for adoption from the local rescue groups. How could you not fall in love with this little face? Steve and I brought her home last night. She's 10 weeks old, and her given name was Sugar. We're still deciding on names -- might call her Shug (like the first syllable of Sugar, but with a southern accent), Lucy, and now I'm looking at her, and maybe she's a Georgia (she IS on my mind!)

She has a very sweet personality -- curious and calm, brave and snuggly. She's sleeping on my lap right now -- I am going to bring her in with me to the shop for a while, because Kitty is completely bent out of shape about this new little girl. Our big lab, Bea, thinks she's just fine. (Sigh, she thought, another cat.) Needless to say, didn't stitch a lick last night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A little finishing...

This weekend I stitched this little pincushion design from Blackbird Designs' new book, Joyeux Noel. I had a scrap of some fabric, might have been Glenshee Scottish linen, in my stash, and I just chose Raspberry Parfait Sampler Threads, because it was laying around. The date I chose is one that Jenny Bean uses. I guess I just like the number. Barb and Alma said they sanded an area, and then darned an area back in using a piece of the linen thread from the side of their fabric. I didn't sand the fabric, but I did choose two areas to weave a little piece of linen thread back and forth. (Look below the bird on the left and above the bird on the right.) When I was done with it, I finished it into a pincushion using a piece of Civil War reproduction quilting fabric I picked up at a quilt show last year and about a cup and a half of ground walnut shells. It's pretty cool.

Well, then I decided with the new fabric and the very clean linen that it looked too neat and tidy, still. So, I got out a coffee cup and the instant coffee. I put about half a cup of water in the cup, put it in the microwave for two minutes, then added a small spoon of the instant coffee. Then I added another spoon of actual coffee grounds. Then I thought, "Do I really want to do this?" And before I could answer myself, I stuck the spoon in the mucky, hot mixture, scooped some up, and then dripped it on the piece. (You kind of have to approach this kind of decision like jumping in the pool -- just do it! It's the same inspiration that strikes when I feel I really need a hair cut right now, and why don't I give it a try?) The drips alone were not going to do it, I decided. So, I took a paper towel, dunked it in the coffee, soaked some of it up, and then started applying it on the piece. I blotted the entire front with coffee, then the back, too, because hey, what the heck? Then, I filtered out all but the grounds, and then threw the grounds on top of the piece in a few areas, mushing them down really good first, and walked away from it for a while. I came back about a half an hour later, brushed it off, then it was off for the next step.

I took out my hair dryer, because I couldn't wait to see how it would look dry. I'm sure my husband wondered, "What is she DOING?" I stood there and blew dry my pincushion, and as I did, it lightened up some, and the darker areas grew more pronounced. I love it, love it, love it! It's cuter in person, but I thought I'd show it off here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Last night I did some ornament finishing, including Jenny's Christmas Ornament for 2009 (above). It turned out really cute. There are some on-purpose mistakes in this one. I think they make sampler designs look more authentic, because really, they were just girls and prone to make mistakes. They're not obvious. And that makes them cool! I stitched this one in silks (Belle Soie), and will be doing fiber packs through my shop, so y'all don't have to spend a fortune getting full skeins. You only need a little of each color. Stitched this one on 40 count cream linen, but you could stitch it on other counts/colors, too. This one will be released next week with Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler (below).

Listening to iTunes right now on DJ mode and The Beatles' "Two of Us" from the "Let it Be" album is on. What a wonderful album. May need to listen to the whole thing. "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead." Better get to work. Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jenny Bean's Christmas -- Framed!

It'll just take me a few days now to get Jenny's Christmas sampler printed and bagged. The frame came in yesterday -- earlier than expected (hooray!) I think it turned out really cute. Here's a list of supplies you will need to complete the sampler:
  • 40 count Navy Bean Vintage Linen (Lakeside Linens) 1/8
  • Sampler Threads: Raspberry Frost, Chives, Cucumber, Grape Leaf, Aged Pewter, Weathered Barn, Portabella, Grecian Gold, Apple Cider, Currant, Rose Garden, Oatmeal, Walnut, Garden Gate, Raven, Wood Trail, Pebble
  • Eastside Mouldings frame PRL BK 6 3/8 by 7 7/8 (this is to frame it really tight like I did)
  • Stitch count is 116 by 149
I finished stitching Jenny's Christmas ornament last night -- haven't decided what to name it. I have to do the finishing yet. It turned out very sweet and kind of Colonial-looking, which I like. I'll post a picture of that as soon as I can. You can pre-order the Christmas Sampler now, along with linen (in whatever count -- 28, 32, 36, 40). I can also send threads (some of these are lesser-used Sampler Threads, but they're all lovely!) By the way, I took the photo just outside my shop. I have some really pokey bushes out there (not sure what they are, but they look like holly, sort of.) So, even though it'll be 80 here today, it looks a little like Christmas.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Here it is -- Jenny Bean's Christmas sampler. I am waiting for the frame to come in from Eastside Mouldings (a black beaded frame). As always, this is much more wonderful in person, but at least you get the gist of it. I am taking pre-orders. As soon as the frame comes in, it'll just be another two days for me to get the graphs printed. I designed and almost finished stitching a Jenny Bean Christmas ornament yesterday; this one I'm doing in the Belle Soie silks by Crescent Colours, and it's so pretty and fun to stitch.

Also am including a picture of some flowers I sent my mom. You never know how those florists are going to do when you give them some sort of carte blanche to put something together. I told the gal "bright and cheery" and boy, she did well. Hope y'all are having a groovy week.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Christmas sampler finished...

No picture yet -- I need to take it to the shop Tuesday and stretch it. Then I can at least take a picture for those of you following my blog. But...Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler is done. I finished it at a stitching/scrapbooking day yesterday with my friends here in H'burg. One of them said she likes it even better than the Halloween sampler, but everyone really loved the colors. Just as an FYI: it's stitched in the regular line of Sampler Threads (including some of their new colors) on Navy Bean 40 count Vintage linen by Lakeside Linens, but you can stitch it on whatever count you like. I used a few specialty stitches (a few eyelets for one of the letters, for example), but it can all be stitched in cross stitch. No backstitching, of course.

Just kicking around today and loving the fall temperatures here in Mississippi. I'm thinking I might pull out an ornament pattern and just stitch the rest of the day away on someone else's design.

Also, I am in the market for model stitchers for my reproductions...if you have experience and time, you can contact me through my e-mail: You're going to need to be able to work on fine linen (40 count.) Have a great evening -- will post a pic soon...

Friday, October 9, 2009

As promised, here's Sarah Philpott...

This is the other in the pair of samplers I've got made by two sisters in the same year (1837). Both are lovely. The central motif at the bottom of this sampler is repeated twice at the top of Jane's sampler. Even though Jane was 10, she was a neater stitcher, where Sarah was more of a free spirit. Sarah tended to let her strings dangle on the back (a kindred spirit to me!) And she substituted bright pinks in a few areas (notice the basket on the right is outlined in bright pink -- the one on the left is in tan.) She also used four-sided stitches for her capital letters, which is fun. You can click on the pictures in my blog to make them bigger, if you want to really take a good gander.

I am making good progress on the Jenny Bean Christmas Sampler. I should be finished stitching it in the next couple of days, but still need to design and stitch an accompanying ornament for it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jenny Bean's Christmas and Adam & Eve

I'm making good progress on Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler. I'm offering you a sneak peek. This one is laid out rather unusually. You can't see it yet, but there is a main section of the sampler that is square, but the overall sampler is rectangular. Lots of pretty shades of pinky red and soft/antique green. It's fun to stitch. I hope to have it finished in the next few days.

Also, I'm doing a little show-and-tell of a sampler I own to see what people think. Next reproduction? It's a great old Adam & Eve sampler, one of a pair I own by two sisters (the Philpott's) from Ramsgate done in the 1830's. They are similar in size and colors, but all of the motifs and what-not are different. Should this be my next one? I bet it's a ton of fun to stitch. And she did a fabulous job. Hope y'all had a great weekend. Steve was excited about the Vikings' win last night over the Packers (Brett Favre lives just up the road from us.) I sat and stitched. After all, it's just a game!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No picture, but good news...

I finished designing Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler this morning, and am going to start stitching here in a few minutes. It is SOOOOO CUTE! The verse on it is from Love's Labours Lost, and the colors are "antique Christmas." Not a Christian theme, per se, and you could definitely hang it all year. I can't wait to start stitching. There will be a matching ornament to go with it, and a custom button by JABCo, I think. I will also start reproducing another antique soon. Decisions, decisions...which one?

Anyway, I will post a sneak peek here next week, depending on how far I get. Yes, you can pre-order sight-unseen. I am using all Sampler Threads for mine, but it's just their regular line (no special pack for this one.) Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October!

Where on earth did September go? I am going to spend the next few weeks packing, and packing, and packing (and packing) orders. I'll have to get some good tunes on -- I'm thinking some John Mayer, some Eric Hutchinson, a little Sting (he's always good in the fall.) I included a picture of my cat -- she's so cute. Lately she's taken to sleeping on top of our stereo components...nice and toasty. Does she have a cat bed? Yes. Does she prefer expensive stereo equipment. Yes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quick market update...

I'm only giving myself a few minutes here, because I have tons of stuff to scan and put on my site. Market was a blast and hugely successful. Jenny Bean was the talk of the town, and I am going to start designing Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler this week. I think the most flattering thing was how many designers came into my booth to purchase my designs, including Barb and Alma from Blackbird Designs, who each picked up Jenny Bean and her pin tuffet, the Antique Spring Sampler, and MD's Christmas Sampler (among other things). They loved my stuff, and I loved theirs...a mutual admiration society.

I thought I'd include a picture of my sampler display from market. It may not seem like much, but I released my first sampler design just one year everything you see was created in the space of one year. The other picture is me coming back with a Rogue full of market goodies. Lots of empty space where my designs/charts/kits used to be. I'll be shoveling things out the door this week. Be patient -- remember, there's just one of me. Lots of cool stuff.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sneaky Peeks

Hey all -- I'm making good progress on getting ready for market. I thought I'd give you blog-followers a treat and post four more of my little designs for market. The one on the top is the Jenny Bean Pin Tuffet. The pins are made exclusively for me (shops can buy them from me at market -- customers can order them through my web site). That is available as a chart. The other three are the limited edition kits I came up with last week, start-to-finish. They're being printed today, and I'll be packing the kits tonight. They are: Grandfather's Sleigh (the ornament), Abby Rhodes' Scissor Holder (comes with scissors, too), and Oh the Holly, which I finished with some really COOL upholstery beading I found at Hobby Lobby yesterday.

The edging around the sleigh ornament is some braided leather -- I found some cool leather strips in the jewelry aisle and braided it myself. And I sprayed everything with "Distress It" spray, which makes things look even older/grungier. The kits come with the threads, fabric, pattern and of course the scissors with the scissor holder. I basically made it a stiff pocket, and you tuck the scissors into the upper corner. Super-cool!

Anyway, this week I am printing like a maniac, stuffing things into bags, and generally going crazy. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here she is...Sarah!

Here's Sarah -- you should be able to click on it to view it larger/see it better. So proud of her -- my friend Kathy did a wonderful job stitching this. She's even way-better in person, of course. Thanks to all of you who have pre-ordered. If you want to pre-order from me, and haven't, I am shipping Sarah and supplies out next week before market. Otherwise, tell your local shop to pick her up at market next week.

I updated my blog, so now everyone should be able to leave comments. I'm still tweaking the format here and there, so thanks for your patience. My three exclusive kits are turning out so neat. They'll be done in time, and I will only have 125 of each. Have your local shop stop by early to make sure they get in on them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Busy weekend -- still getting ready for market

I got quite a bit done this last weekend (thank goodness.) You can see I had help -- Kitty loves it when I'm stitching or working on kits and charts. You can see in front of her an ornament I designed, stitched and (almost) finished on Sunday. It'll be a limited edition kit at market (an ornament by fictitious "Emma," who stitched an ornament with her grandfather's sleigh on it. I designed two other limited edition kits (there will only be 125 of each of these). One is "Abby Rhodes'" scissor fob. It'll come with the red scissors, and is sampler and Beatles-inspired. (Get it? Abby Rhodes?) I'm going to be doing a series of these. I already have a bunch planned out. And I designed and am part-way through stitching "Oh the Holly," with a verse from this great old Irish song and some classic sampler motifs.

Last week when I was packing up Sarah Woodham sampler graphs, I had 11 piles of copies on my table and was one-by-one working my way through packing them into their bags. At one point, the cat leapt up on the table and laid across four of the piles and closed her eyes. Bossy!

Graham had his 13th birthday yesterday, and we had a great time. We gave him money (he's a teenager now), and a few little things. But he had been wearing my grandfather's high school ring around, so I stopped quick at TJ Max and found him a little silver ring with three tiny chip diamonds in it. He was thrilled. He spent the rest of the day gesturing wildly with that hand and making hand poses in front of the mirror. I love this picture of him, because it shows his big hands and his new teenage face. The hands grow first, so you can see him on the edge of manhood with that new silver pinkie ring.

I had to run to the clinic this morning for a double earache (they're not infected, but I am on some medicine to make them feel better.) I went to Target to fill my prescription and found a bunch of great ideas for decorating my booth at market. I'll start taking care of that stuff next week. One thing at a time, and I'll soon be ready.

(P.S. Changed my graphic this morning at the top of the page. I wanted it to be a little less tall, so you could see more of the new post when you log on. Plus, I think it shows what my blog is about. You get to see the needlework, but you get to see what's behind it, too (like the pins holding that sampler in place. This is where I show you my mental pins!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Forced creativity...

Above is a cute note I received in 2008, after I taught cross stitch to three groups of fifth graders (including my son's class.) I got the best thank-you's from all of the kids. One of the cards said, "Thank you for showing me how to cross stitch. I think that this type of art work is awesome." Another said, "Thank-you for teaching us how to cross-stitch. I had fun doing it, too. I hope you become famous." My favorite one was, "Thank you for teaching us how to crosstitch (sic). It is in everyone's hand now that you tought (sic, again) us how to stitch. Sincerely, Kyle."

I went and checked out the TNNA Market Exhibitor Listing and found that I'm supposed to have some limited edition/St. Charles exclusive kits. (I had to write my market description something like six months ago, so you always have to guess what you'll have at market.) So, this weekend, I'm putting together (i.e., designing, stitching, and assembling) these goodies. I have a few great ideas, and just ordered a ton of red scissors from The Nordic Needle up in Fargo. Plan on something sampler-y, and something fobby, and maybe something ornament-y (I am going to try to create three little kits), and I'll post pics. as soon as I can here on the blog.

Wish me luck -- I'm crossing things off on my TNNA show check-list left and right, front and center, up and down, and all around.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ann Hobbs

I wasn't totally happy with the way my printing came out when I published the Ann Hobbs graph. The original is LOVELY -- very delicate motifs and colors and just a fun old English style. I just took a picture here this morning to show everyone, since you may have missed it. Stitching motif samplers is a lot of fun, because you feel like you make progress really quickly as you finish the motifs one-by-one.

You can't even imagine how many photocopies I'm making in preparation for market. I love being able to print here at the shop, although the whoosh-ca-chunk noise may eventually get on my nerves. I'm out of paper again, so I have to head next door to Sam's Club for more. Got a big box of ink yesterday, and lots of envelopes and bags for packing kits and charts. Wish y'all could come over this weekend and help me pack them up. Wouldn't that be fun? I'd totally buy the pizza.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sarah Comparisons

I thought it would be fun to show you the Sarah Woodham Sampler as it is and as it was. On top, you can see the reproduction. The colors are vibrant and clear, and of course all missing stitches are filled in. Below is the same section of the original sampler. You can see some of the holes that are in the original (remember, this one is from 1770!) I had to fill in a lot of stitches on the whole sampler, where they were just missing entirely. You can see the central flower had been outlined with a charcoal grey, but on the original, this is almost gone/invisible.

I absolutely love the colors in this one. And those rabbits (or whatever they are there by the flowers) simply knock me out. I am done with the graphing, now, and will be printing graphs today at the shop. The covers will have to wait until I get the reproduction put in the frame. Needless to say, it will be ready for market.

This weekend was fun, although I did a lot of "work." (I feel guilty calling it that, because stitching and designing hardly SEEMS like work, although it is.) Last night, I pulled out a 15-year-old Prairie Schooler pattern with a birdhouse on it, and a verse (it's one of the Garden Samplers, I believe), and my ring of Sampler Threads, and started stitching it on 40 count natural linen with various colors of over-dyed threads. Will post a picture once I make more progress.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sarah Woodham and other news...

The frame came in today for the Sarah Woodham sampler (the original is pictured above). My model stitcher (and great friend), Kathy, stitched the reproduction in about a month -- it was over 25,000 stitches, and it's gorgeous.

I didn't realize until I got it back that the original is stitched on an unevenweave linen, so although the original is square, the reproduction is taller than it is wide. R&R is dyeing me lots of the Olde Towne Blend in 40 count, and I've got silks hanging at the shop ready for my customers. But first, I've got to stitch in two more words and two little birds that I left off of the chart (the birds were intentional; the words were not.)

Today I finished printing the charts for the Jenny Bean Pin Tuffet, which is a companion piece to the Jenny Bean Halloween Sampler. I used the most adorable Shaker Pin Cusuhion from Sudberry House. I designed, stitched, finished and printed that chart in less than a week. The finishing was a breeze (took about ten minutes). And yes, I did use my hot glue gun. And yes, I did burn myself. Just Another Button Company designed me some exclusive pins to put in this. There are three "Funeral Rose" pins, and a swirl and a checkered circle. All are tea-dyed. I'll post a picture here on the blog soon.

So, now I have to decide which of my old samplers to reproduce next. I know I'll be designing another Jenny Bean sampler, too. Oh, oh, and I've ordered envelopes and will be printing notecards with pictures of samplers from my own collection to sell at market and in the shop.

Since there's always so much to do right around market, I generally don't sleep well. I have been up too, too early all week. I was designing a Noel Pin Garden this morning at 5:30. No rest for the wicked? The weary? Well, not for me, anyway.