Monday, August 07, 2017

*NEW* Schoolhouse Coverlet Pin Drum: The American Coverlet Series, Part VII

Inspired once again, by the graphic appeal of woven antique coverlets from the beginning of the 1800’s, meet my newest design!

The included chart is perfectly sized to make a pin drum, but you could also frame it or turn it into a two sided pin cushion with just a little flip-flop of the two floral panels.

I added my kids’ initials and the year to my pin drum to commemorate a successful finish to another year of study.
I’ve included a full alphabet/number set so that you can customize it for your own family and/or friends.

Stitch count: 181 x 76.

Stitched with one thread over two
on Picture This Plus 36ct. Wren.

Using thread from Weeks Dye Works: Fathom (3 skeins).

Materials needed to finish Pin Drum:
Two 5x5 pieces of quilting cotton, your choice.
Crushed walnut shells or other filler of choice.

This design is now available in my etsy shop, and will soon be in the hands of my distributors and the shops on my auto ship list. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Break: Week Five

I'm not sure why it is making sense to me to break my Summer down into weekly posts, but it seems to be helping me catch up a little, so I'm sticking to my plan.

This week brought a lot of the same... Sunshine (how many days has it been since it rained? Feels like forever!), kids playing in the pool (oh, how they're loving it!), trying (and failing) to stay one step ahead of the weeds, making raspberry jam, the corn finally reaching knee-high (not TOO long after the 4th of July), eating kale and peas straight out of the garden, putting in double time with the band to try to be ready for Twistapalooza (coming in two weeks!).

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Ever since Christmas 2011, paella has been a somewhat regular event around here. Sometimes for birthday celebrations, sometimes just-because. It's a lot of work, but a relatively simple recipe. The fun part is that we make it in a really big pan, cooking it over coals.

Well, it's been at least two years since I made it, partially because the last time I did, I swore that I wouldn't do it again until I got a bigger pan, because apparently an 18" pan just isn't big enough for me.

I've been looking for ANY old excuse to feed a bunch of people, so when we were asked to host our church's elder team for dinner, I knew immediately what I would be cooking. And at long last, I visited my BFF Amazon, and ordered a pan a few sizes up. Oh yes...

26 inches of beautiful brushed steel for just $60. Who could resist? Well, I imagine YOU could resist, but this is ME we're talking about.

I followed my old tried-and true methods (which you can find here) with the addition of a generous dose of Paprika, and my friends, it was just about perfect. And I don't mind telling you that everyone went back for seconds, which I consider a foodie win!

One thing that I've never mentioned in all of my posts on paella is the importance of your pan being as perfectly level as you can get it. There comes a point, when you add in all the broth, that you can really tell if your pan isn't level, by which I mean, broth sloshing over the side and dousing your nice hot coals. Not a good scenario, let me tell you.

It took a full three hours to cook, from start to finish, in this larger pan, I'm not exactly sure why, because I used the same proportions as I have in the past, but it cooked up so much easier and with zero sticking. I was ready to make it again the next day.

And, as tradition holds, here is a picture of the successful chef with her successful dinner (gritting her teeth and telling the Farmboy to hurry up and takethepicturealready because thisfoodisHEAVY!).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

*NEW* B is for Beekeeper

As things usually go when being inspired by life rather than doing things in proper order, the fifth letter in my alphabet series is actually the 2nd. But hopefully no one will complain too loudly, because sometimes there is no controlling the creative portion of my brain.

After a few decades of being interested in keeping bees, I started my first hive this Spring. And now I don’t think there will ever be a time when I stop doing so. I am absolutely in love with the processes involved in caring for a honey bee colony, and find myself looking forward to each hive inspection as it comes, and being sad when I have to close up the hive for the week. These tiny creatures are fascinating and clever and inspiring all at the same time. I’m thrilled to be added to a long history of beekeeping on planet Earth.

Honeybees can thrive on their own without human intervention, but there is evidence to suggest that we have been interacting with them from as early as 7000 BC, based on traces of beeswax found in Middle Eastern pot sherds from that time. It appears that beekeeping on a commercial scale dates back to sometime before 2422 BC; on the walls of the sun temple of Nyuserre Ini in Egypt, workers are depicted blowing smoke into hives while they remove honeycomb. Archaeological finds related to beekeeping have been found on every continent.

I don’t have a planned release scheduled for this series. With 26 letters to chart, it might take me ten years to get through them all, since I have other ideas and plans and designs in the works too. They won’t be released in alphabetical order, but instead, as inspiration strikes. The one thing you can count on is that they will all be round, designed to fit into the same frame, which can be found here on etsy: When you purchase a frame from their shop, they have generously offered a coupon code just for my customers! Enter HEARTSTRING10 at checkout to get ten percent off of your order (this coupon code won't work in MY shop, but only in the SignedandNumbered shop).

You could buy one frame and swap out the letters as you see fit, or a grouping of four or more of them for a nice collection to spell out your last name or a favorite word.

Or, you could finish your pieces as ornaments for an alphabet tree. The options are multiple; use your creativity!

Stitch Count: 80 x 80
Model stitched with one thread over two
on Picture This Plus 32ct. Legacy

Using threads from:
The Gentle Art: Green with Envy, Grecian Gold, Endive, Pecan Pie
Weeks Dye Works: Sandcastle, Cocoa, Deep Sea, Gold, Teal Frost

Conversion to DMC included with the chart.

Frame by Signed and Numbered:
6” Circle Opening Super Vintage Roman Gold

This design is now available in my etsy shop, and will soon be in the hands of my distributors and the shops on my auto ship list. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email:

Friday, July 07, 2017

Summer Break: Week Four

The week started with a celebration/retirement dinner for our Senior Pastor, who has led the same congregation for 29 years. We've only been a part of the church for 2, but we thoroughly enjoyed hearing the stories and meeting the people that go back much further in life history with this man and his family. I volunteered as a photographer, so I got to roam the room, snapping photos to my heart's content. Which is probably partially to blame for the fact that I have very few pictures representing the rest of week 4 of Summer Break.

The next day, we hosted a gathering of all of my siblings (except the one that lives over-seas), together with their spouses and kids, plus my parents and an Uncle. We try to gather as often as we all can, which usually amounts to twice a year, when my Montana sister comes to visit. With 11 adults and 11 kids, I was very glad it was a sunny day so we didn't have to crown into my little house. The cousins had great fun running around, while the grown-ups sat in the shade and swapped stories. And I did more relaxing and hosting that photo snapping.

Two days later, our yard was full again, this time with friends, talking, laughing, eating, then going to see the local fireworks. We think we've finally found the best spot to view the display, after a few years of trial and error. 

The rest of the week included band practice, lots of pool time for the kids, printing and assembling a new design for y'all, harvesting the first of our raspberries, lots of work on renovating the back deck, and a trip to the city to visit my local needlework shop and pick up models from their trunk show. 

Methinks busy = less photographic evidence.