Friday, September 16, 2016

*NEW* In the Garden

I’ve returned to the Garden of Eden for another look at life when it was quite literally perfection. Just how the Creator wanted it to be. Before the Snake entered the scene with temptation and our weak human nature ruined it all by listening to that wily deceiver.

In other designs, I’ve placed Adam and Eve inside a giant bouquet of flowers (Permit Me Not to Stray), on a coffee plantation (Coffee Saves Lives), and surrounded them with every creature imaginable (His Eye is on the Sparrow), but this one I kept quite simple. Just the original Parents of our race along with the Tree of Life, some other exotic plants, a lovely Peacock perched up high to inspect it’s surroundings, and inevitably, that sneaky devil of a serpent.

My colors and size were chosen specifically to fit into the lid of one of Lone Elm Lane’s sewing boxes, and the thread palette to compliment her "Herb" color. I can’t say enough just how much I love how it turned out, and I know you will too.

Having said that, I realize that not all of you want or need another box. So please feel free to interpret this as a pincushion (choose a higher count linen or it will be too big), as a cupboard hanger, or even as a small pillow for your stitching chair. Please have fun with this design and customize it to suit your own style. I’ve included an alphabet and number set so you can add your own initials and date.

Stitch Count: 111 x 81
Model stitched with one thread over two
on Dames of the Needle 32ct. Dirty Ewe

Using thread from Classic Colorworks:
Peanut Brittle, Honeycomb

And from The Gentle Art:
Brethren Blue, Old Red Paint, Chamomile,
Woodrose, Pecan Pie

And from Weeks Dye Works:
Dolphin, Oscar, Red Rocks

Conversion to DMC included.

Sewing box by Lone Elm Lane:
8x10 Cabin Box (6x8 design area) in Vintage Herb

This design is now available in my etsy shop, through the shops that are on my auto ship list and that purchased it during the Harvest Market Hop, and will soon be in the hands of my distributors. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

Friday, August 05, 2016

*NEW* A is for Acorn: the Alphabet Series, #2

This is the second alphabet design that came to me after deciding to embark on this series. And I can’t think of a better time to release it than now, on the verge of Autumn. Featuring some sassy little squirrels, plenty of acorns, and surrounded by a wreath of greenery, this round design could grace the center of a candle mat, the top of a pantry box, or live in a frame (as mine will). I hope you like it! And stick around… there are still 24 letters to go!

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 on etsy.

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 79
Model stitched with one thread over two on R&R Reproductions' 32ct. Winter Brew.

All threads are from The Gentle Art: Old Hickory, Endive, Piney Woods, Pecan Pie
Conversion to DMC included with the chart.

Frame by Signed and Numbered: 6” Circle Opening Super Vintage Dark Wood Tone: 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).

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: beth@heartstringsamplery.com


*NEW* Rooster and Acorns: The American Coverlet Series, Part VI

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

I pulled the various elements of this pattern from different antique coverlets, combining them in my own way. The included chart has lettering that is reversed, in tribute to the same effect on most signed antique coverlets. I was tempted to stitch all of the words and numbers the “right” way, (you can feel free to do so for your own), but ultimately decided to keep mine in the style of the olden days.

I chose the roosters and acorns because they are still appealing today, reminding us of a time when most households raised their own chickens instead of going to the supermarket to get their meat and eggs. In the right climates, they also gathered acorns to use as a natural dye or for oil, and sometimes even as a meal added to breads or hot cereals. During the Civil War, acorns were used as a coffee substitute by the Confederates when they were cut off from supply routes by Union soldiers. Acorns are very bitter unless properly prepared, so I would advise sticking with the stitching of this nut, rather than its consumption.

As you can see by the photo of the model, I did not stitch this one! Kathy Krause put the time in for me on this one, with such lovely stitch work. I am so thankful for those of you that step up to help me when I can't get all of the stitching done myself. I like to stitch my models, but sometimes just have to admit defeat and let someone else shine. Thank you SO much, Kathy! I appreciate the speed and neatness of your labors. Many of you know Kathy, so when you see her, please give her a real or virtual hug from me!

Stitched on R&R Reproductions' 36ct. Old Towne Blend using just one thread over two strands of linen.
Stitch count: 159 x 175

Using thread from Classic Colorworks: Blue Corn
Frame by Valley House Primitives.

Full alphabet and number set included so that you can customize it with your own initials and date.

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: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lately

I don't understand how the pace of summer can be at once frenetic and slow. The days are longer, the housework stays the same, the work load doesn't change; but friends visit, exceptions to bed time are frequent, more books are read, homework is traded for "Mama, I don't know what to do" (the word "bored" is not allowed). It is almost expected that the social calendar is more full, regardless of how introverted a person might be, or how much she longs for just a few quiet days at home with no obligation.

I try to seize the warm afternoons as often as possible, grabbing the picnic blanket and reading aloud in the shade of trees to the kids. But days pass, full of I-don't-know-what, and the season is passing way to quickly.
That last picture, of the wild sweet peas, is designed to fit on a wide flat screen monitor as wallpaper, if you like it. Just click on it to enlarge, then save to your computer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What Not to Do

Here's what I've learned about myself this Summer: I am not invincible.

I should have already known this, having endured 3 years of recovery after my big Adrenal Crash at the end of 2012.

But, it would seem that I don't learn lessons easily when it comes to knowing what I am capable of. After just a year of good health, I apparently took on too much too fast somewhere between the middle of June and the beginning of July. This resulted in a herniated disc in my lower back which triggered piriformis syndrome which led to sciatica in my right leg, partial numbness from my calf to my toes, loss of reflex in one foot, aches and pains in places I forgot existed, and so much lost sleep.

My MD prescribed Vicodin to help with the pain while waiting for the MRI. I've never taken this kind medication before, even during childbirth, having a rather high tolerance to pain and decided aversion to any kind of drugs. Well, Vicodin hates me. The first night, I took the minimum dosage, which didn't help in the slightest, so I decided to up the amount the next night, which also didn't help with the pain or lack of sleep, but did cause passing out while standing. Oh, and vomiting and feeling like I'd been electrocuted. That too. When I looked up all the symptoms I was experiencing later that morning, WebMD told me that I was experiencing a drug overdose. So no more Vicodin. Ever again.

And really; don't ever look things up on WebMD. That place is scary.

But the great thing about that horrible morning is that my symptoms scared the Farmboy into staying home and keeping a close eye on me all day, so when the hospital called to say that they had an opening for the MRI that I thought I would have to wait two weeks for, he was able to get me there, even if that meant pulling over for me to throw up some more by the side of the road (sorry kids, didn't mean to traumatize you, but seeing the looks on your faces really was quite funny. Payback is beautiful sometimes).

As I type this, it's a few months later (September to be exact), even if I'm posting it back around the time of actual injury. I'm much, much better, having undergone first the diagnosing MRI, then several rounds of gentle chiropractic and acupuncture to take care of the piriformis and sciatica. I am now down to just the herniated disc, which will take time, time, and more time to heal. I can walk without limping, and almost as fast as my usual (I'm one of those fast walkers, no point in wasting time if I know where I'm going). Thanks to Gabapenten and Diphenhydramine, I'm sleeping through the night again, and can sit for short periods of time without my back hurting.

Oh, how painful it is to be reminded that I'm not 20 anymore.

One of the kids commented this morning, "Mama, I wish we could go back and do the Summer all over again, but this time without your back being hurt." Oh, me too, my darling, me too.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sun River 2016

After the overwhelming success of our Baker's Dozen trip to Sun River last summer, plans were almost immediately hatched to repeat the adventure. Three families of 4, plus 1 Grandma, with bikes in tow, took over 1 happy house.

Sleep is a rare commodity for me under normal circumstances, so I confess that I was most likely the one reluctant holdout. However, the weekend was good fun from start to finish. Pool time, riding bikes, taking walks, spending quiet hours in the house with books and games, amazing food, frequent deer sightings, live music by the lodge, ice cream cones in the village square, and another epic float down the river.

I hope these trips continue every year, creating lasting impressions for the kids as they grow up. The cousin bonding time is good for all of us, even if the lone boy of the group grumbles under his breath just 5 minutes after arrival that "they are already talking about high heels and lipstick".