Monday, December 28, 2009

Valentine Booklet Release! Tokens of Affection (4 Little Valentine Samplers)

Tokens of Affection (4 Little Valentine Samplers), my brand new booklet is now available for sale! You can find it in my etsy shop or by asking your local needlework shop to get it in stock!

Valentines Day is most often celebrated by Sweethearts, but really, in the true spirit of love, I like to extend my offerings to any and all that I hold dear. Therefore, I bring you a grouping of designs that can easily be made for and given to your Sisters, Mothers, Bosom Friends, your Sweethearts, and yes, Yourself!

Tulips for My Beloved I made into a needle book, and personalized with my maiden initials, along with my husband’s, and the year we were married.

My Favorite Things became a pinkeep, customized for a friend.

Love Bird Pocket Watch Token bears the first initial of myself and my sweetheart.

O! My Heart is Thine! was framed in a vintage frame, perfect for using as a holiday decoration, or all year long.

I encourage you to customize these designs in any way you see fit, to give as gifts to those you cherish.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Free Chart for the New Year

Today has been a very nice, quiet, relaxing day here at home. I found myself thinking of the upcoming year and all that it may hold. I am not one for making resolutions, but I do find that a fresh new year always inspires me to reflect and re-focus.

I think that two virtues we could all aspire to get better at are Courage and Charity.

And so, I give to you, as my gift for the New Year, "A Brave New Year" sampler, inspired by the many wonderful old Dutch samplers I so often admire in online galleries and books (left click to open in full size, then right click and save to your computer):

Here is how I picture the colors:

DMC 221, 676, 839, 841, 926, 3011, and 3773... but please interpret it however you wish. And if you like it enough to stitch it up, will you please share a photo with me? Feel free to stitch it for yourself or to give to another, or even a limited number may be stitched for sale, but as always, please respect my gift and give credit to me as the designer.

Wishing you a year that includes Courageous Action, and in which you find yourself the recipient of unexpected Charities. And most of all, a year in which you also Give, uninhibited, to Others... Love, Compassion, Understanding, Mercy, and Hope.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

See You on the Other Side

I am signing off for the rest of the week...

I will be back Monday the 28th, with the unveiling of a Valentine booklet to help get you through the post-holiday slump. Until then... wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Four Years in Cakes

One Year Old:

Two Years Old:

Three Years Old:

And... Four Years Old:


Jack doesn't seem to mind at all that I REALLY cheated on this one by using computer graphics and toy trains. This makes me happy.

Its pretty obvious that he is happy too...


We didn't want his cold germs on the whole cake, so he blew out candles on his own plate, and for some reason, Frank and Lightning McQueen didn't want to watch.

Here's to another year full of delight and laughter!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where Did the Time Go?

My baby boy is FOUR today!

Sweet...

Affectionate...

Happy...

Silly...

and a Great Dresser...

Jack is also Stubborn, Persistent, Clever, and Perceptive. As he is growing out of his baby ways and into a little (or not so little, if you look at his growth chart) boy, we are daily delighted by his Antics, Words, and Sweet Spirit.

Dear Boy, we are so very glad to have you in our family! Happy Fourth Birthday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Barnwood

I am not one that would normally choose to use barnwood as a decoration in my home... not that I don't love the rustic look, and certainly not that I don't love old barns, I just prefer wood with darker, richer patinas.

I somewhat by accident last winter started a collection of vintage children's woolens, and have been wanting to display them on a peg board in our hallway. When my handy husband brought a piece of my poor little collapsed barn to the house, suggesting it as the board to use, I simply couldn't say no.

He added some little white knobs that my Mama gave to me a few years ago, and hung it below my hall mirror. The mirror is one that I bought as a teenager at a garage sale for fifty cents, then used it for YEARS as my vanity; once I was all grown up and married, my dear, creative husband crafted a frame for it... isn't it nice? The perfect spot for displaying my other accidental collection of children's shoe forms.

And just because I know you are curious, the lights reflected in the mirror come from the top of my old upright piano, where I display our Christmas cards each year.

The little vintage plastic village is a complete departure from the antiques that I love, but is an etsy find that I simply could not resist... my Mama has an identical Alpine village, and every single year of my childhood it was my most favorite of her decorations.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December Morning

Happiness is...

Sipping hot coffee while gazing at sunshine on my old barn...

Watching my daughter kiss a cow that I kissed when I was a girl...

Being protected by my son from the naughty Diesel engine...

What brought happiness to you today?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sugarplum Fairies

I can show you now the surprise that I sent to a friend for Christmas, since it has been received and opened...

Silhouettes of her two sweet babies... don't you just adore those ringlets?

There is still time before Christmas if you want a custom silhouette of the babies in your life- just give me a holler, and we can work out the details!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What to My Wondering Eyes Should Appear?

Several years ago, knowing how much she loves acorns and all things sewing-related, I made a little pincushion for my Sister in Law, based on an article I saw in Martha Stewart Living. It was similar to this (tutorial here):

but wasn't made of felted wool, it was just a little piece of green cloth stitched and stuffed and glued in place. It turned out oh-so-sweet, and I have been wanting to get my hands on some more acorn caps ever since.

So when I opened my birthday gift from her a few days ago, I was excited to see acorns!

Suddenly, the ability to make up a whole bunch of little acorn emerys was upon me!

But wait... (please forgive me, the lighting was quite dim that evening) what is THAT, in the middle of the box??? Could it be? Did she make for me my very own acorn pinkeep? (she is quite good at making pinkeeps, you know)...

I lifted it from the box, thinking how clever she was to pack an acorn pinkeep among acorns, when I very belatedly realized that something felt wrong... she didn't MAKE the pinkeep for me... NO! It is a real-live, genuinely OLD as the hills acorn emery!


Be still my beating heart... I know this sounds silly to so many of you (ahem... *Matt*Gregg*), but to own a piece of sewing history feels positively decadent...

Imagining the woman who made it many, many, MANY years ago, and all of the years put to use, retaining its original acorn cap, and not-being-thrown-away by someone who thought it was Junk!

And she Actually apologized for using not-old pins... tsk, tsk. My dear Sister, I will Cherish this gift for all the remaining years of my life!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

...and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Brrrrrr.... it is still SO c-c-c-cold out there! The mercury dipped down to 8 degrees last night... we are wearing wool and fleece today, I guarantee it!

I was also wearing wool last night, in the form of my little Partridge penny rug, and despite having cold fingers, I finished it...

backed by a simple cotton print...

I am so happy with how it turned out! A few have encouraged me to offer it as a pattern, and I am thinking about it, but I need to do a little research first.

Oh, and do you see the fabrics underneath the finished rug? Another Christmas decorating inspiration in the form of an applique quilt... I'll share it with you, but only IF it turns out how I want it! This is another first for me, but once the idea was burning in my brain, I just had to give it a try.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Baby, its Cold Outside!

The newscasters are calling it "Arctic Blast 2009", which is just silly, really... why on earth do they have to give a name to every single weather front that comes through?

But it is Cold, really, REALLY cold... 24 degrees was our high temperature yesterday, and it dipped down to 13 degrees last night. With sunny, clear skies, it is deceptively beautiful outside, but step out that door for an armload of firewood... Brrrrrrr!

Our poor little woodstove is blazing away night and day, and still needs the help of our central heating system to keep the house in the upper 60's.

But our simple country Christmas decorations are up... fake garland and lights on the banister (real greens dry out Superfast that close to the woodstove)...

a mis-matched assortment of knit stockings hung from the mantel...

burlap coffee bags in place of a tree skirt...

The kids really enjoyed participating in trimming the tree this year. It was much, MUCH more work for their Daddy and I, and not nearly as relaxing as it used to be, but I am sure that their memories of Christmas are beginning to establish in those precious little heads, and we are trying to contribute to the magic of the season as much as we can.


Including a chocolate chip cookie after they finished putting their ornaments up.

Each year, not only do I pick out one special ornament to add to their collection, but I also let them pick one for themselves, which can be pretty humorous. I am labeling them each year, and already Jack has quite a collection. It was so fun going through and pulling them out, and telling the story that went with each one. The same type of narrative that I have in my head every year as I open up my own set of special ornaments.

This year, I picked for Katie this sweet, tiny pottery bird..

and for Jack, this vintage ornament, which I found on etsy last spring...

Jack picked for himself...

and then he also picked for Katie, since she was being a stubborn toddler, complete with folded arms, pouting lips, and "No!"... she apparently didn't appreciate the fun of choosing from the variety before her, unlike her brother, who has loved the ritual since he was 11 months old.

Wishing you a warm-and-cozy festive day!