Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Being Friends

We all have them... the silly ones, the serious ones, the shoulder-to-cry-on ones, the ones that have been around as long as you can remember, and the ones that you are happy to newly add to your collection.

I have a friend who (after listening to me tell of how I have had to lower my housecleaning standards since bearing children, and by example, hearing my confession that I used to keep my Tupperware drawer organized) did this for me...

You can't possibly know just how much that little gesture meant to me, my friend. Thank you for liking me enough to sort out the too-far-gone and lid-less containers, and for loving me enough to clean the crumbs out of my corners.

Right Now

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cloth Bag Winners!

We are very technical here in our household. When there is a contest and winners to be chosen, we are all about doing it in the most modern and current fashion. It goes something like this...

The names from all of the people who left comments on the contest-in-question are printed, then some are jotted by hand if their comment was left on my personal facebook page. Each name, individually folded into its own little piece of paper are put into a basket.

The Random Generators are then called to the room and given their assignment.

Are you ready for the results of the Cloth Bag contest?

Random Generator #1 picked...

Random Generator #2 picked...

then I (the Original Random Generator) reached in and picked...

Woo hoo! Winners, I need your mailing addresses. Send me an email and I'll get your made-by-me shopping bags off later this week!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Speaking of Plastic...

I knew that there was a problem with plastic clogging drains and causing flooding in India. I knew that there is an island in the South Pacific that has shores completely covered up by broken bits of plastic and fish nets.

But I had no idea how big the issue really has become.

Then I watched a documentary on OPB that opened my eyes. And kept me awake that night. Then a few days later, still disturbed by what I had seen, I typed "plastic in the ocean" into the google search box. Click the link... I dare you. Then, if you want a little more in the way of statistics, read this blog post and the comments below.

I have never described myself as an Environmentalist. But I find that the more I know about the condition of the land, sea, air, the more concerned I am about the way we (all mankind) are treating God's Creation.

I have a love for the outdoors... the woods, the ocean, the rivers, meadows, trees, and I have always been curious about the animals that live here (including homo sapiens... I love watching and learning about people).

And I don't like the condition we are leaving the earth in for future generations of trees, animals, people.

I don't have a huge circle of influence politically or in my community, but I do have a voice, and I have a blog, and I have a few people who pop in to see what I have posted. So I am using this platform to try to make a statement to those who will listen.

Thank you for bearing with me as I stumble through trying to explain what has been ruminating in my heart and on my mind recently. I have an easy solution that just might help a teensy tiny bit.

Knowing that the majority of my blog readers are women who sew, and yes... I know about your fabric stashes... I have spent the last few days putting together a tutorial demonstrating how to make a lined, square-bottom, shopping bag out of fabrics from your stash. And I am going to give the tutorial to you for free. Why? Because it feels like it just might be a way that I can help reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.

You may already know how to make such a bag, or you might have a pattern in a stack somewhere. If that is the case, then let this blog post be a reminder to you to use those bags, that pattern.

I know that the download is a little on the large side, but I filled the tutorial with photos and options, making it a 7 page long pdf. Please, please, download it, share it with all of your sewing friends, spread the word. There really should be no excuse anymore for using those plastic bags.

And for those of you that have lasted through this entire monologue, I have a little giveaway for you... leave a comment on this post, and three of you will win (my Random Generators will draw names on Monday morning, August 30) one of these...

Made from a thrifted bedsheet, thank you very much.

I will be adding a permanent link on my sidebar to the cloth bag tutorial. Feel free to take it and post it on your blog and share it with as many people as possible.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Have You Seen?

I made each and every one of these items with YOU in mind... head on over to my finished goods shop to see what else is available.

In the Greenhouse

I realize that I have not shared much this Summer about our gardens and greenhouse. Partially because I was so preoccupied with other things, and partially because our garden has behaved very poorly this year.

But not the plants in the greenhouse! Nope. They are doing super well. Especially well, considering that they were all started from seed right here at our home in Oregon, a place not known for its ability to grow such exotic varieties (hence, the need for a greenhouse).

I give you, the star of the show, Matt's Little Shop of Horrors...

Pepper plants so tall they had to be moved to the floor...


Wait... what???... a WATERMELON? In Western OREGON?

Another of the many varieties of Pepper...

The doorway to fresh air... Get me out of here! I'm cooking!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stalking the Chickens

Because of the merciless Chicken Genocide of 2009, we have been without fresh, home-layed eggs for a very long time.

And with all of the hullabaloo lately about store bought eggs making people sick, I am craving some fresh from the farm goodness even more.

The new batch of layers is on the verge of being old enough to start giving us eggs, so lately, I have been haunting their Chic Chalet, looking for any sign at all that they might be wanting to start their job in earnest.

But no... no eggs yet. Instead, do you see what I see?

Yep. I'm pretty sure that 2 of our pullets will never, ever lay an egg, and by the watchful attitudes and glint in their beady eyes, methinks I will have to separate them from the flock pretty soon, or someone is going to get hurt.

Monday, August 23, 2010

If Etsy Was My Closet

This is what I would be wearing today:

dark brown shrug-bolero by larimeloom
(everything else she's wearing too, for that matter)
YOUR Initial Earrings by FrenchSentiments
The Sweet Chocolate Bar - Brown Crochet Shoes by soleilduautomne

I own a version of the earrings already, and love, Love, LOVE them! Mine are slightly different from the listing, per my request, and Kathy made them even more perfect than I had visualized (thank you with all my heart!).

I wear them all the time.

And every time I do, I forget that my clothes came from Goodwill... and off of the clearance rack... and handed down from my sister's closet, and instead feel like I'm the Queen of Style.

Hurry up and go get yourself a pair too, before she runs out of those amazing, old, letter pieces!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


This one slept in a tent for the first time last night.

He says he slept great, but his Daddy asked him to tell a joke in the middle of the night.

The truth is, he woke up at midnight and at 4am and was still so excited about being in a tent that he was wide awake and wanting to talk.

I think he will take a really good nap today.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good Things

Line-dried Clothes...

Reading Books...

Campfires in our Backyard...

Biodegradable Plastic and Recycled TP...



Ice Cream Cones...


Black-Eyed Susans...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free Chart... Unna von Bergen 1869

Do you remember the promise I gave you last month?

Click on the photo above to be directed to a free downloadable pdf charted version of Unna's sampler.

It is charted for the original, uber-bright colors (if you want to make an authentic reproduction, you will need to stitch with wool), but please, by all means, change the scheme to suit your own tastes!

I left out stitches on the chart where stitches are missing on the sampler, due to the wear and tear of time, but you can fill in the blanks and stitch it as you imagine it might have originally looked, if you so desire.

Anja, a blog reader from Germany confirmed that the antique sampler is stitched with German words... Im Jahr 1869 = In the Year 1869.

Change the name and date to your own... or don't... it is completely up to you.

I am sure that Unna wouldn't mind; I like to think that she would be thrilled to know that anyone at all has been inspired by her original stitches to create something all their own. She most likely used motifs that were charted in some booklet or magazine, arranging them to her delight, using the colors that were fashionable at the time.

So, off you go... download the chart, spread the word to your stitching friends, challenge each other to be creative, send me photos of your completed work, and start checking the Heartstring Samplery Finish Blog to see how many different ways it is translated!

As always, I would be very grateful if you gave credit to me if you post photos or links anywhere online, or offer your finished goods up for sale.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Quest for Year-Round Deliciousness

We have 16 blueberry bushes in our yard.

Growing, but still young, and not producing enough for our greedy year-round munching.

So every Summer, I find a sitter and trudge down the road to a neighbor's berry field and sweat through several hours of picking, followed by the rinsing, packaging and freezing.

Then, every winter I have to ration them out in order to make them last until the next season.

But not this year... This year I had helpers.

Because of this guy and his amazing long arms and quick-picking fingers (those berries are practically quivering with fear under his fierce hunter's eye), we brought home 16 pounds after just 1 hour of work.

These two munchkins helped too... at one time, I think Little Miss had two whole berries in her bucket before they were eaten up. Big Brother actually dumped a few handfuls in with mine, but mostly ate his way down the row.

We now have 12 quarts frozen and awaiting winter, and we are heading back tomorrow evening for more.

Need a good reason to join us in our quest for the perfect food? Read this informative article about the health benefits of the amazing Blueberry.

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Pattern Release... Remember Me

I returned to one of my favorite categories of needlework to create this design… 17th century band samplers. Strong on graphic appeal, and with an emphasis on floral motifs, they are often quite symmetrical and well balanced. They also don’t repeat the alphabet over and over, which is refreshing to anyone who does much in the way of sampler stitching.

The quote, circa 1700’s is a reflection of a time when death was a frequent, familiar, and expected occurrence. Young sampler workers were directed by their teachers to stitch phrases that led them to reflect on the shortness of their lives in comparison with the length of eternity. I imagine that this was done in order to either comfort them, knowing that they had already or would soon experience the death of a loved one, or to frighten them into good behavior!

It reads:
When this you see remember me
& keep me in your mind
& be not like the wethercock
That turn at every wind+

When I am dead & laid in grave
& all my bones are rotten
By this may I remembered be+
When I should be forgotten

Stitch Count: 123 x 279

Model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 35ct. Cappuccino linen.

Using Weeks Dye Works flosses:
1108 Honeysuckle, 1193 Guacamole, 1230 Havana, 1236 Mocha,
1267 Kris’ Bon Bon, 1336 Raspberry, 2202 Bullfrog

Conversion to DMC included.

The frame is a thrift store find.

I am ever grateful to Julie Steinbarger for stitching the sampler model. Previously unknown to me as a person, she nevertheless volunteered her time and stitching skills, which she carried out to perfection. This design would still be sitting, untouched in a digital file if it weren’t for her. So let us all together give a big, thankful shout out to my new stitching friend… three cheers for Julie!

This pattern is now available in my etsy shop and will be on its way to distributors soon. If you don't have an etsy account, you can always contact me directly to make a purchase: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just Breathe

Do you like my new blog format? It has bothered me for a very long time that the "large" setting for my photos on blogger is really so very small. So I finally did a little reading and figured out how to make them appear bigger.

This has been a good project for me to pick away at these last few days, post-wedding, as I work my way through piles of laundry, orders, mail, and getting ready to release a new sampler (tomorrow!).

The kids both came down with nasty head colds early this week, so the nights have had interruptions from the youngest, and the days have been full of nose-wiping and lots of hugs.

Trying to find the balance between giving them the love and attention they need while also accomplishing the household and business tasks that are overdue.

"Just Breathe", I mumble to myself a million times a day, defusing the stress of the moment, helping me to BE in the moment where I am needed most.

It does help immensely, that all of my weeding is done until Autumn.

The coming heat wave predicted to start tomorrow will be tolerable, knowing that the landscape can go brown now that the wedding is past (air conditioning would help more, but beggers can't be choosers).

I'll have it made if I can figure out how to fold laundry here...