Friday, November 20, 2015

*NEW* The Holly Bears the Crown

I know its late to be releasing a new Christmas design, but this little last-minute piece came to me and I just couldn't resist. It really was a very quick project, taking about six hours total, including the finishing.

Long a favorite Christmas song of mine, this sampler is inspired by the lyrics of “The Holly and the Ivy”. I did a little research on the carol itself, and found that it has no known author. The earliest recorded printing of the words with a melody is 1911 in “Sharp’s English Folk Carols”. A few sources claim that the lyrics originated from an old broadside printed in the early 1700’s.

There are tales from ancient British village life that there was a midwinter custom of holding singing contests between men and women. The men sang songs praising Holly for its masculine qualities, while disparaging Ivy. The women sang songs praising Ivy for its feminine qualities while disparaging Holly. The resolution between the two was under the Mistletoe. These three plants, Holly, Ivy, and Mistletoe are the most prominent green plants in British native woodlands during the winter, and for this reason, they earned the respect of early country dwellers and placed highly in their traditions.

Stitch Count: 67 x 60
Model stitched on Picture This Plus 32ct. Sand

Using flosses from Weeks Dye Works:
Havana, Grasshopper, Curry, Red Rocks

Conversion to DMC included with the chart.

Mini pompom trim "TexArkana Sage" by Dames of the Needle.

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

*NEW* Narrow Escape

You almost can’t see him there, bounding off into the forest, freshly escaped from the arrows of the hunters. But in my mind, that is exactly what is happening. I’m married to a hunter, and don’t mind that he goes off each Autumn in search of some wild venison for our freezer, but there’s always that part of me that is glad when he is unsuccessful, and I can know that somewhere out there is one majestic antlered animal that escaped for another year.

The image that inspired this design was found on in a publication called, “Children’s Books and their Illustrators” by Gleeson White. The woodcutting itself dates back to an 18th century English chap-book and bore the title, “The True Tale of Robin Hood”.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I spent charting, revising, stitching, frogging, and re-stitching this design. I almost completely abandoned it at one point along the way, but was encouraged by Kathy Barrick to finish it, and since I completely trust her opinion on things cross-stitchy, I kept plugging along. The idea was born in 2009, and it just now is finally ready for you, in the Fall of 2015. It is very different from my usual designs, but I have a love for old woodcuttings and am always fascinated by the solidly-stitched pictorial needlework masterpieces of the earliest days of this art form. This is my attempt to pay homage to those needleworkers of long ago. I hope it strikes the fancy of a few of you out there, so that all those hours I invested won’t be in vain!

A special thank you to Jane Lemm, who put in some of the stitching on this dense piece. She wasn’t able to do much, but every stitch she put in for me meant time that my hands were free to work on another design.

The model was entirely cross-stitched with one thread over two.

Stitch Count: 295 x 221
Linen used: Picture This Plus’ 36ct. Spice

Threads from Weeks Dye Works: Linen, Skinny Dip, Guacamole, Havana, Mocha, Molasses, Tarragon (2), Curry, Sanguine

And from The Gentle Art: Mulberry, Grecian Gold, Country Redwood, Brethren Blue, Cidermill Brown, Sarsparilla, Tin Bucket, Apple Cider (2), Pumpkin Pie, Caramel Corn, Cucumber, Endive (4), Piney Woods (2), Espresso Bean

Conversion to DMC included with the chart.

The frame is an antique.

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

Have You Seen???

My sis-in-law has a new sampler-inspired line of gift-ables... wine charms! Also useful, I might add, for coffee mugs or tea cups (just sayin').

The motifs are from an old sampler in her collection that I'm thinking you might need to twist her arm about and convince her to let me chart it for you all. Hop on over to her etsy shop or blog to check out the details, and tell her I sent you!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Anniversary Tree 2015

We waited just a tad bit too long this year to capture our yearly photo with the Anniversary Tree... those top leaves just couldn't hold on any longer. A little like the fleeting thoughts and reminders that I don't *quite* get written down, and therefore disappear into the nether.

This family of mine just makes my little heart so full and warm and happy in every way. We are growing and becoming more entwined as the years pass. The littles getting so much taller and more grown up and the things they say just astounds me sometimes.

I learn from them almost as much as they learn from me, I think.
Click here to walk back through our Anniversary Tree timeline.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Steve and Elsa

If you've been reading this blog for more than a year, you know that we don't celebrate Halloween in the traditional manner. We don't have neighbors to speak of, so going door to door for candy is a hassle. A few years ago, together with the Farmboy's sister and her family, we started a new tradition that has made our kids completely over-the-moon-happy.

It starts as you would expect, with costumes.

This year we were once again visited by Elsa, this time wearing a dress found at Costco, which apparently is even better than the amazing one I concocted last year.


Queen Elsa was happy to have her friend Steve along for the festivities.
With torrential rain in the forecast (we felt sorry for all those PNW kids out there either braving the elements or stuck trick-or-treating at the mall), we moved our usual celebration from our house, to the roomier house of their cousins.

Ahem, I mean Pikachu and Ariel.
The traditional in-the-dark Easter egg hunt (YES!) was moved indoors, but was still quite dark and exciting. Headlamps? Check! Flashlights? Check! Buckets? Check!
Shortly after all of the eggs were found, we convened on the front veranda where the kids took turns beating on a castle pinata and chasing down flying candy, with a good dose of raindrops and leaves thrown into their buckets for good measure.
And swords. There were swords too. And sword-fighting Disney princesses, no less.
Followed by a puppet show.
At which point everyone was a little rummy from sugar and swords and beating up castles while dressed in costume, and it quickly got ugly with dying seals and other such nonsense which led the responsible parties to break up the fun until the next time.

Cousins are the best.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

I always drag my feet when it comes to pumpkin patch time. I can't explain why. I just don't like them. But my kids... they think about field trips to the pumpkin patch with great longing. So, being the good mother that I am, and very glad that their new school lets all of the elementary kids go together instead of splitting into grades, I signed us up.

It rained the day before and it poured the day after, but on the actual day of our field trip, the heavens opened and beams of light and warmth flooded the earth. Which is a very good thing, because I most likely would have called it off otherwise.

We were once again at Liepold Farms in the next community over, and this time, I told the kids, there was no choice for them. If I was going to take them to the pumpkin patch, they were going into the corn maze with me, no complaining allowed.

We picked out pumpkins, posed in plywood cutouts, went on a hayride around the property, and then we conquered the maze.

And I actually had fun.
They wanted to go back again the following weekend with their Dad, but I said no... the pumpkin patch is only a once a year thing. And I'm really, really glad.

Friday, October 09, 2015

*NEW* Pincushion Street

I don’t remember where I saw the quote, perhaps it was printed on a journal cover or some such item, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it needed to be stitched up in a sampler... “Come in the evening or come in the morning. Come when you’re looked for or come without warning.”

Reminds me of former days when we weren’t all addicted to our electronic devices and Sunday afternoons were reserved for popping in unannounced at a friends’ house. I absolutely love the surprise of someone showing up on my doorstep without calling ahead because it tells me that they are comfortable enough with our relationship to know they will be welcomed with open arms, no matter what.

Stitch Count: 251 x 140
Stitched with one thread over two on R&R Reproductions’ 35ct. Classic Homespun

Using thread from The Gentle Art: Brethren Blue(2 skeins), Bayberry(2 skeins), Apple Cider, Picnic Basket, Caramel Corn

And from Weeks Dye Works: Grasshopper, Red Rocks

Conversion to DMC available on request.

The frame was thrifted, then re-finished by me.

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

Just Really a Lot of Pictures

No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get caught up on posting pictures. So with an unexpected free day, I'm going to blast you with back-dated posts that will be rather picture heavy. Back-dated, in case you didn't know, means that I'm posting in November, but can tell them to publish as if they were on schedule. In this case, October.
We Grow Them Big in Oregon :: Black Cat :: Misty Horizon :: Mama Got a New Camera :: One of my Four-Stringed Babies :: Shimmer :: The Big Drop :: Hardy Kale :: Chartreuse and Fuchsia :: Web :: Change :: Almost Ready :: What's Up, Doc? :: Gone to Seed :: Downpour :: Is Your Mouth Watering? :: Sunset :: Days Gone By :: School :: Brussels are on the Menu :: Freestyle Mario :: Wispy :: Hello Coffee, Have I Told You Lately that I Love You? :: He Left the Motor Running :: How to Make a Cardboard Arm :: Stitches Past :: Building a New Road :: Wooly Bear :: Reflection :: Perch