Saturday, January 31, 2009

Look What I Found!

For a girl who loves puzzles AND samplers, this made the trip to Goodwill feel like a trip to heaven-on-earth...

Jack-isms, Part 3

Not really an "ism", but funny, nonetheless, here is Jack "helping" his cousin Savannah blow out her birthday candles...

A few days ago, after a special ice cream treat while out running errands, we returned home, and as Jack was taking his hoodie off, the conversation went like this:

Jack: "This jacket got ice cream on it."
Mama: "Oh. Is it dirty then?"
Jack: "No, its not dirty... its Ice-Creamy."

And one evening recently, Matt was helping Jack draw shapes on his mini doodle pad. A triangle was left on the screen, and a little while later Jack was back at it. Soon, he came to me and said, "Wook at my shape Mama... its all scraped up!"

The boy, he makes me laugh!

Woodshop Update

For Matt's friends and family who are interested to know... the floor is in! All but 12 inches, that is... calculations were off just a tad (probably due to lumber mills "cheating" on the dimensions), and now he has to go back to the lumber store before he can move on to the next step.

Fourth Folder, Fourth Photo

A little while ago, Heather tagged me in this little blog game, where you open your fourth photo folder, find the fourth picture inside, and post it on your blog, explaining who/what it is. Curious, I finally took a look, and the funny thing is that I had originally intended to post about this photo, but never got around to it!

Its Jack and Katie watching Sesame Street together...

The reason it didn't make the cut? I was going to post a similar photo circa 1977 of my older sister, little brother and I watching... you guessed it! Sesame Street. But my Mama's photos are in the storage unit awaiting a permanent home, so my plans were foiled.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Sampler... Almost Done!

A few of you have asked, so I thought I would share my progress with you... this sampler design was created because I saw an old original for sale on ebay that I LOVED, but could not afford. So I sat down at my computer and picked away at the design for a week or two until I had a new sampler that has an overall look like the old one... Naive, like it was stitched freehand without aid of teacher or book. With ships and houses and animals and... cakes!

I have just a tiny bit of stitching to do in the lower right corner, then a section of lettering to add to the bottom, and it will be ready (perhaps I'll finish while "watching" the Superbowl?)! I know it is another large sampler, and many of you prefer the small ones, but can I just say just how much FUN it has been to stitch up? All those little motifs are so different from each other, and lots of colors too.

Hopefully it will be ready for an early February release.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lovely Surprises

It seems that lately there have been some nice, unexpected happenings around here. For starters, we have been enjoying beautiful, sunny, warm (if you consider temps in the upper 40s to low 50s warm!) weather. January? Is this really YOU???

A miniature sun-drenched landscape...

After laying down on the grass to enjoy the warm sunshine, Jack said, "Mama, I need a book"... That's MY boy!

While shopping for inexpensive clothes for a growing Katie, I stumbled across this shirt on Old Navy's web site. A sampler shirt? Seriously? It makes me very HAPPY. Now if only I could find it in my size...

Matt, who has been NEEDING a closed-in wood shop for YEARS, finally is able to get started. And, as he was planning it out, he "found" a few key pieces of lumber that he forgot he had stashed under a tree. Then, as he was putting the framing in, he didn't have to move one single piece of gravel to get the floor level, because he did such a great job of spreading it out in the first place!

Jan sent me a picture of her almost-finished "Come Buy my Sweet Flowers". Have I told you before just how much I love seeing how my designs look when stitched up by others??? Speaking of my designs, check out how Tanya finished "I Will Stitch You in My Heart". Love it!

And a beautiful bouquet of tulips arriving on my doorstep... from, of all sources, the owners of the company Matt works for, in appreciation for the long hours he has been needing to put in lately. Yes, the tulips were addressed to ME, not him!

What lovely surprises have happened in your life lately?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scherenschnitte Valentines for You

Finally, after a two-day delay, due to the loss of my sepia pen, and subsequent trip to town to buy a new one, I can show you three finished Reproduction Valentines. All will be offered for sale on ebay later this afternoon.

The first is a silhouette of an old wooden weather vane, on the banner it reads, "You are my true North". Framed by a primitive old frame which used to be the inner velvet-covered frame housing a tiny oil painting (which now resides in my bathroom!) now the frame is perfectly rough and rustic, and I absolutely LOVE how it looks with this tiny cutting. Overall dimension framed is just 5 1/4 by 7 inches.

A two-layered Valentine. Cut hearts and diamonds over a water-colored base layer. Both sheets were aged before being attached to one another. This is a reproduction of a true old valentine, color scheme and all. I simply added the words around the edge, which I found on another period Valentine "My Dearest I've pictur'd here your Heart - As turns the needle to the pole So my fond heart's inclin'd To the bright magnet of my soul And you my Valentine. 1875". Framed size is 6 1/4 inches square.

And finally, another reproduction, again all hand-cut by me even though it looks like a paper doily! The original was COVERED in writing. I chose only my favorite little quotes to include, since I simply couldn't write that tiny on this smaller version! Some of the words are, "Sweetest Heart tis you I adore... Oh! That I were a little fly I'd sit neath your pretty eye... My cherished Dear here I sit in a burning loving fit!... If I've written badly tis because I love you madly". And the date: 14 February 1790, the date on the original. Framed size is 6 inches square in a very pretty vintage frame.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Kids

Jack (3 years old) now weighs 43 pounds and stands 41 inches tall (that's greater than the 97th percentile on both counts)... Recently missed the bottom step, and when he fell, made a big dent in the wall with his head...

Continues to enjoy drawing on his doodle pad and playing with Thomas and friends...

...continues to crack us up with the things he says. Just this morning, his Daddy dialed up Grandpa Twist and handed the phone to Jack. Knowing my Father-in-Law's customary, "Hello, this is Joel", the first words out of our little smarty's mouth were pretty funny... "Don't call me Joel! Just call me Jack!"

Katie (1 year old) now weighs 19 pounds and stands 29 inches tall (that's 14th percentile for weight and 40th for length)... Loves to walk around the house while holding onto adult-sized fingers... Gives out hugs and kisses freely... Loves to play with cars and balls and musical toys...

...still isn't too sure about taking baths in the big tub, but having her big brother with her helps, and when taken at sunset with calming music in the background, well, okay, maybe this can be fun...

Busy Beaver

Whew! What a week! You stitchers out there have kept me busy printing and mailing patterns! I usually make it to town just once, maybe twice a week to pick up mail and groceries, but with all of the orders coming in, and checks arriving in the mail, I was at the post office 4 times, taking just one day off. So my blog has been lacking in posts, a matter which I intend to remedy now.

For starters, I'll share a few of the other things I have been up to in the weeks since Christmas...

I happily pulled all of my regular decorative items out and packed Christmas away for another year. I had fun re-arranging my piano-top display to incorporate my wooden boxes and little wooden shoe-form that I received as a gift.

The figurine was given to me by my Mama on my Firstborn's birthday. Can't for the life of me remember the name of the designer of the series, but I'm sure you all know her work... I love how it looks perched on top of this little silverplate vignette.

I finally found a spot to hang that vintage CHERRY RED wall box that belonged to my grandmother (made by my uncle in the mid-50's)... it displays perfectly one of the many doilies that she crocheted in her life.

I stole my friend Lorraine's idea and turned an old crock into a napkin-holder:

I covered two thrift store hat boxes with reproduction fabrics; I've been meaning to do this for a very long time! The overflowing junk drawer and arrival of new fabrics in the mail finally got me going... now I have a pretty place to hide away my framing and finishing supplies for those samplers and papercuttings.

I finished Betty's Two Birds Needlebook. I received the pattern for Christmas, and finally finished it just last night. Now I can't wait for an opportunity to take a stitching project on the road!

I did add a few of my own touches... the button closure, thread winder, and scissor pocket were my additions.

I have also been making progress on my latest sampler design... I'm probably 3/4 of the way done. And, I have started listing on ebay again after taking the month of December off.

Now if only someone would come mop my floors and catch up on laundry for me...

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Baby Girl is One Year Old!

Born January 10, 2008... So sweet and tiny, but SUCH hard work to care for as a newborn and infant...feisty and opinionated, and not afraid to tell you so!

But as she has grown up, She has become ever more loving and cuddly, and surprisingly eager to please... So, we were happy to celebrate her first birthday in style... may she only grow sweeter by the day!

I made a butterfly cake (it was a "Hummingbird" cake on the inside... banana, pineapple and cinnamon flavored- yum!), the design of the cake changed about five times in my head over the course of the morning. I have discovered that I am not one to plan it out and stick with my plan- I simply can't follow the rules, even if they are my own! Designing and artist-ing as I went along, this was the final result:

Recognize the butterfly colors? This Mama had some "Toby" leftovers, and put them to good use!

We invited family to join us. The Whittaker and Twist grandparents were all here, as were Aunties, Uncles, and a Cousin. We ate pizza (including a "Jack Special"), chatted up a storm, and gave the Birthday Girl presents, which she really wasn't all that interested in, and required help from Daddy and Mama.

Of course, as her attention moved on to the next gift, Big Brother was quick to abscond with each discarded toy:

And now for the cake-eating... Oh, pretty butterfly!

Ew... it feels Yucky. I'm going to wipe it off on my leg, maybe no one will notice.

Mama made me taste some, and I'm not happy about it AT ALL!

I'll lick my lips a little... hm, interesting...

Nope. No. Uh-uh. I'm done, and you had better get me out of this chair RIGHT NOW!

Strip me down, wash the frosting off, and let me play with my new toys... it's MY party, after all!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Valentine Pattern Release!

I put the final stitches into my new little pinkeep last night and couldn't wait to get the photos taken this morning to show!

This sampler-turned pinkeep was inspired by an engraved metal heart I once saw, which read, “I will stitch you in my heart”. I tucked its image away in my mind, saving it for a rainy day. The motifs used in this pattern are all near and dear to me… the initial M in the heart is for my Sweetheart, the two wings flanking the smaller heart are for my two children, the crown symbolizes my Faith. And the bird… well, I love to hear their sweet songs, and almost always include them in my designs. I hope that you thoroughly enjoy this little pattern. It is a piece straight from my Heart.

Oh, and I had better mention that I originally had a little practice band flanking the date along the top. When Matt saw it, he said, "what's that? You should put an arrow in there". He was right... so I did.

"I Will Stitch You in My Heart" is available for sale now in pattern form.

For $10, you will receive a professional quality chart enclosed in a cover that has detailed directions for staining your finished product. There is a color photograph of the model on the front, and I have also included a sheet of letters-in-a-heart so that you can customize your little sampler. The whole booklet will arrive packaged in a plastic zip-envelope for safekeeping.

And, if that isn't enough incentive, I am also creating a tutorial that will be available as a free pdf download to any who purchase the pattern. The tutorial will give basic instructions and clear photos of the finishing process to make a pinkeep out of your sampler just like the one in the photo.

I will be listing this pattern on ebay and etsy, but you can also contact me through my blog if you wish to purchase a pattern.

Thank you!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Christmas Redux

Redux: "brought back" or "revisited"

Since I have been so backlogged and never got around to posting Christmas pictures, I chose a few of my favorites to share with you...

Katie in her first-Christmas finery:

Says Jack, "Mama, you have to be very quiet. I have work to do on my puter".


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Valentine Pinkeep Pattern

I've been stitching away, back to my regular speed, now that my finger is almost like new again... And I hope to have a BRAND NEW Valentine pattern ready to release by the end of the week. Here's a little teaser for you...

I took a little break from my large motif sampler, but it is nearly half finished, and will hopefully be ready for an end-of-the-month release.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gloomy Happiness

It is a dark and stormy day out today, one of those days when all you want to do is light candles and wrap up in a blanket by the fire.

But I am happy, Happy, HAPPY!

Why? you ask...

Because Frosty is dead!

Finally, some "normal" Oregon winter weather is upon us. The roads are clear, and I can get into town whenever I want to!

Note: I have always wanted to see what happens to a snowman's trappings when he is allowed to melt completely away. But usually, scarf, hat, and facial features are removed before final destruction. The above photo is the actual, untouched remains after a deluge of overnight rain melted him completely away. Now you know.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

J is for Jack

Says Jack, who is barely 3 years old, "Wook, Mama! I made a J"...

Now if we could only get the toilet training figured out!

The Aftermath

I spent a good hour or more on New Year's Day cleaning up the mess left behind after our Whittaker Christmas celebration. I gleaned a pile of boxes that I can re-use for shipping purposes, along with that huge, lovely pile of only slightly crumpled white tissue paper. I flattened and folded the boxes that I can't re-use for recycling, along with the wrapping paper and plastic bags. Just a quarter of a paper grocery bag is garbage when all is said and done.

But then, after all was sorted and ready to go, I did a little research and found out that 90% of the wrapping paper used by various family members is actually NOT recylable- WHAT? I thought all paper could be reduced, re-used, and recyled! Apparently not. So next year, I will be encouraging those that I know to do a little research ahead of time, and choose wrapping papers that won't end up as waste.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I Can Finally Show You...

Now that Christmas is over, I can show you what has been keeping me busy. Here are some of the gifts that I made for my female relatives...

For my dear Aunt Kathy, who joined our family's celebration this year, because her son was stuck far away from home in a snow bank (at least his plane was stuck). My Aunt is the epitome of hospitality, so I decided to alter my Noel Dancers a bit, creating "Welcome Dancers" complete with Colonial Pineapples, a symbol of hospitality.

For my Mother-in-Law, who is the nurturer to more Labradors than I can count. The design is by my talented friend, Merrie.

For my sister Jennifer, my first attempt at wool applique, thanks to Maggie Bonanomi's book "With These Hands", which is full of amazingly beautiful folk art patterns.

For my big sister Kimmie, a silhouette of her Donny, which made her pregnant self burst into tears, which subsequently made both myself and our Mama start to was a sight to behold...

For my little sister Joann (to get the significance of Roaring Bubbles, go here):

And for my baby brother Timmy and his wife Heather: