Friday, November 18, 2016

*NOW AVAILABLE* Fruit Basket Ornament Kits

Originally released as an exclusive kit back in March, I am now making these kits available for purchase through my etsy shop. I think they would make a fabulous addition to your Christmas tree, as they are just the right size for an ornament. Or, you could stitch one up to wear, as I originally intended.

The kits come with everything you need to complete the ornament/pendant: silk gauze, thread, backing fabric, wooden frame, and black ribbon.

Buy several to give as gifts or make one to give in a holiday exchange. Or... keep it for yourself! Before making the model, I had never attempted to stitch on silk gauze, but I have to tell you, it was so much easier than I thought, and I really enjoyed every second of this quick stitch. It would be a perfect first try too, because it is small and very forgiving.

This design is now available in my etsy shop, and will not be sold in any needlework shops unless they purchased it from me in March. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Day

Once again, the school field trip took place at Liepold Farm, known locally not just for pumpkins, but for berries too. This year, the Daddy was able to take the day off from work to join us for the festivities. Due to high amounts of rain in the past week, the corn maze was a stinking muddy mess, so we ended up cheating and taking an emergency exit about 2/3 of the way through. But we considered ourselves winners anyway.

After arriving back home, the Farmboy demonstrated just why he is a great Dad, by undertaking the carving of the pumpkins lesson all by himself. And fun was had by all. Until the guts had to be removed, that is.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Making Centerpieces

With October comes our yearly forestry banquet for Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association. This is the same award banquet at which we received the title of "Small Woodland Owner of the Year" back in 2012.

The Farmboy has been serving on the board for almost a year now, so when the subject of centerpieces for the tables came up, he naturally came to me for ideas. And could I just leave well enough alone, offer my ideas, and let the guys do the work? Of course not! Instead, I almost single-handedly took the project on. I enjoyed it, but it took way more time than I expected, so you can believe me when I say that next year I will be delegating and/or forming a committee.

Ingredients: assorted plastic and wood lanterns with battery-operated candle lights (found at Craft Warehouse), large tree "cookies" freshly cut by a fellow board member who happens to run a firewood company, assorted fresh leaves, twigs, and branches foraged on our property, florist wire, wire cutters, and this fabulous base wire for forming the wreaths.

I didn't take pictures of the process, because I really needed four hands for assembling the wreaths, so the two that God gave me were way too full to also add in a camera. I basically layered bunches of Cedar, Douglas Fir, Holly, and Pin Oak over the wire, wrapping with the florist wire as I went along, and twisting the base wire ends together to hold a loose circle.

Some of them turned out a bit wonky, but everyone seemed to like them, and those that won their table drawing and got to take a centerpiece home seemed very happy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

*NEW* H is for Holly: The Alphabet Series #3

As things usually go when being inspired by life rather than doing things in proper order, the third letter in my alphabet series is actually the 8th. But hopefully no one will complain too loudly (wink, wink). I wasn’t planning to make the next installment seasonal in any way, but I kept looking at that RED frame, and suddenly knew exactly what needed to go inside.

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 80
Model stitched with one thread over two onDames of the Needle 32ct. Dirty Ewe

The Gentle Art: Endive, Piney Woods, Pecan Pie, Ruby Slipper
Conversion to DMC included with the chart.

Frame by Signed and Numbered: 6” Circle Opening Super Vintage Red Dye: 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

Monday, October 17, 2016

Octobering

When one goes Octobering, there should be layers of clothing. Because one never knows if it will be warm or cold, and one would not be able to enjoy the changing colors to the best of their ability if they are too cold or too hot.

Also there should always be stew.

*NEW* Do You Hear What I Hear? Stocking Ornament

For years now, I’ve been seeing such darling cross-stitched stocking ornaments being offered by others in the industry. I never intended to jump on the bandwagon and create my own, but have had enough requests now and a few encouraging nudges from some shop owners, so I decided to take the plunge. From there, it was just a matter of drawing a stocking shape that would be similar enough to match other stockings that you’ve collected, but unique enough to be my own and not a copy. Figuring out the stitch area didn’t take too much trial and error, and the inspiration for the overall design came to me in an instant.

I’ve always loved the Christmas carol “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Written in 1962 by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Decades later, that particular crisis is over, replaced by multiple other dangerous and violent situations around the world. The message is still as valid today as it was then, “Pray for peace, people everywhere”.

This ornament is intended to last through the whole winter, not just the Christmas season. I hope you enjoy it. And if you, like me, have never finished a tiny little stocking, You Can Do It! It really wasn’t as difficult as I imagined, and I think I’m hooked. I am fully on the stocking ornament bandwagon now, so look out world!

Stitch Count: 50 x 100
Model stitched with one thread over two and one thread over one
on R & R Reproductions’ 35ct. Heartstring Blend

Using thread from The Gentle Art:
Gold Leaf, Cinnamon, Buttermilk, Piney Woods, Ruby Slipper

Conversion to DMC included.

Recommended Additional Materials:
1 fat quarter of co-ordinating cotton fabrics

Fusible interfacing or webbing of your choice

Reserve three 12” lengths of floss for creating the braided stocking loop:
1 Piney Woods
2 Ruby Slipper

This design is now available in my etsy shop, through the shops that are on my auto ship list, 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

*NEW* In Everything

Several years ago, I released a free chart to my blog readers called, “Give Thanks”. I always liked that little design and the sewing pouch that I made from it, but something kept nagging at me whenever I looked at it. As I sat and reflected one afternoon, I realized that what that old free chart needed was a companion piece that finished the saying, “In Everything”. It could easily go either way, “In Everything, Give Thanks” or “Give Thanks In Everything”.

Instead of releasing the “In Everything” pincushion all alone, I decided to officially print and include “Give Thanks” with every purchase. You will still be able to go to my blog and download the free chart, but it will also be added in with every copy of this pin cushion, along with some basic instructions for how to make the little sewing pouch.

The two charts could also be combined into one to make a long saying, could be turned into a two-sided pin cushion, or both as individual pin cushions, or framed, or… so many variations. Use your imagination! And as you stitch, join me in pondering what it means to be truly thankful IN EVERYTHING.

In Everything:
Model stitched with one thread over two
on R&R Reproductions’ 35ct. Heartstring Blend
Stitch Count: 104 x 49

Give Thanks:
Model stitched with one thread over two
on Weeks Dye Works’ 35ct. “Linen”
which was walnut stained before stitching.
Stitch Count: 94 x 48

Both models were stitched using threads from
The Gentle Art: Mulberry, Piney Woods
Weeks Dye Works: Pecan, Chestnut, Whiskey, Autumn Leaves

Conversion to DMC included with the chart.

Materials needed to finish pin cushion and sewing pouch:
“Toast” Chenille trim from Lady Dot Creates.
Narrow strip of felted wool or rick rack.
A button, needle and thread.
Assorted small pieces of quilting cotton in coordinating prints.
Crushed walnut shells or other filler of choice.

This design is now available in my etsy shop, through the shops that are on my auto ship list, 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

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Reading Books

Reading aloud, reading to self, reading on a Kindle, reading from a page, listening in the car... so much reading took place over the Summer.

Kiddo One has always been a good reader, but didn't really start to enjoy chapter books until the discovery of the Redwall series in 2nd grade.

Kiddo Two was later to bloom as a reader, and just this Summer has begun to stick with a chapter book once picking it up. Before, she bounced around from book to book, reading a chapter here and there. Beverly Cleary and Laura Ingalls Wilder, with some attempts at Harry Potter (during the long months when we were listening to the series as audiobooks in the car) but mostly she indulged in plenty of picture books.

He's currently reading through the Artemis Fowl series, while dabbling in Garfield, TinTin, and other graphic novels. I've just put the book Dream Thief (Lawhead) into his hands while we wait for the next in his series to come in to the library, hoping a little foray into sci-fi might grab his interest.

She is fully involved in the Little House on the Prairie series, finally working her way through the same set that I collected as a grade schooler. I love the conversations we have, chatting about the characters and events with shared interest. Oh, how I love those tales.

Together, we finished listening to the Harry Potter series (Rowling), then moved straight into The Hobbit (Tolkien). We had a brief break while waiting for The Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien), to come in (we are now more than halfway through; yay for my kids finally understanding why I have to keep biting my tongue every time we watch the movies!), so we listened to most of The Jungle Book (Kipling). Those hours spent in the car while running errands are so fun now that we've branched out into audiobooks. The kids are always clamoring for more drives into town, more errands (what!?), because it will mean more listening to great narrators telling even greater stories.

As for read-alouds, we finished last Summer's final book, then made it through a few more that were new to me as well as to the kids.

Pigs Might Fly (King-Smith)
The One and Only Ivan (Applegate)
Freak the Mighty (Philbrick)

We are now about halfway through Alice in Wonderland (Carroll).

And now, for some random reading-related photos. Even if it isn't obvious right away, each and every one of the photos does indeed contain either a book or a reading kid.