Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keeping Up With the Joneses... or Not


It seems that every year around this time, every family we know with little kids are taking and posting pictures from their trip to the pumpkin patch.

My kids looked at me really funny when I said that we should get some pictures out in our own pumpkin patch.

Like, "huh? why would you want pictures of us with the old rotten leaves, mud, and dirty pumpkins?"

My kids who have grown up with me sticking a camera in their face at every possible moment, and they are puzzled by my request?

They obviously aren't under the influence of peer pressure just yet.

They also have no clue yet that they are missing out on tons of candy tomorrow evening. All they know is that the decorations in the stores are scary and creepy and they don't like Halloween. My funny oldest child a few days ago commented in the store, "Mama, its like it isn't even a grocery store anymore, its a Halloween store", and he wasn't excited about it. At all.

I, being the terrible Mama that I am, have not tried to convince them otherwise. Living waaaaaay off of the road is pretty convenient, in my opinion. No being stuck by the door all evening handing out candy or traipsing around someone else's neighborhood, knocking on strangers' doors, when I would rather be home where its warm.

I'll be glad when the commercialism of this holiday is over for the year, and I no longer have to soothe the nervousness of my kids whenever we go to town and see the decorations and displays.

Instead, we will be spending the evening with a few family members who also want to escape being taken hostage by a bunch of kids in costume. We will be warm and cozy, laughing by the fire with a pot of chili and pumpkin cake.

Because that's how we roll.

Please don't be offended by my attitude about Halloween. I have no problem with you and your kids getting out there and enjoying yourselves; I can totally understand why most people get excited about the festivity. Dressing up, eating candy; I get it... Its just that for us homebodies, living on the outskirts, and with the kids being so young, it would be way more trouble and hassle to take part in the traditions than this Mama wants to undertake.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Betcha Didn't Know I'm a Poet

"I'd really rather not", said I,

"pluck a cotton ball from the sky...

for a person never knows,
from where it came or where it goes".

-Beth Twist


Yep. Ask anyone who knows me well... that's the way this brain of mine works... I see fluffy, whimsical clouds, and suddenly I'm in LaLa Land, composing a silly, rhyming ditty.

Next thing you know, I'll be designing a cloud sampler.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Asparagus and Queen Anne's Lace

We have been wanting to grow our own asparagus for a few years now. Asparagus is one of those plants that takes longer than one season to mature and produce, and for some reason this fact always caused us to delay planting. But finally, this spring, we ordered some seeds along with the rest of our garden veggies, and got them started in the greenhouse.

The spears may not be edible yet, but I have been enjoying their leafy tops all season long.

I had no idea that such a common-looking vegetable could produce such lovely, delicate, lacy greenery.

And speaking of surprising vegetable greenery, did you know that these pretty flowers...

come from another common vegetable?

Me either.

When I first spotted them, I thought I had Queen Anne's Lace growing in my garden.

And now I'm wondering... if I were to go out into the woods and pull up a Queen Anne plant, would I find that the roots look like carrots?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Something in the Air

I don't know what has gotten into me, but I am feeling the need today to clean and organize. Not an entirely unusual need for me, but I do find that having children with me all day long dampens the urge into almost nothingness most days.

Which is probably why my closets are in their current state of disarray.

So I'm off... but first I thought I would share a nice, cozy image with you, of my woodstove this rainy, blustery morning, keeping us toasty and warm.

The golden circular blur is our thermoelectric fan, which is about the coolest wood stove gadget ever invented. And it works really well too. We've had it for going on three years now and can't say enough good things about it.

I don't know if I'll emerge from my cleaning frenzy in an hour, or in three days. Depends on how many obstacles I discover, I suppose.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Swinging on Tires

Some of my favorite things to play on/in as a child were tires. Tires and gigantic wooden apple crates together made for extreme country kid fun. With a little teamwork, they could be stacked and assembled to make rocket ships, Noah's Ark, war-time bunkers, and Time Machines.

I spent much of my childhood in a somewhat poor logging and ex-hippy town. We didn't have playground equipment at our little church school, but we did have gigantic log truck tires, a concrete pad where we played Four-square, and of course, a tether ball pole.

But my favorite by far were the tires. Smelling of dirty rubber and swampland (they almost always had pools of stale water inside), this little unafraid-of-dirt-girl, could curl up and hide for long minutes, just listening to the sounds of nature and her playground companions.

Or, other days, I would brave welted legs by sitting in the center of a tire roped to a tree and swing and twirl until my head was dizzy and my stomach in knots.

The tire swing at my school was pretty tame, so I didn't use it much, but I had some friends with a swing out in their woods, perfectly situated at the top of a hill. I remember swinging out over the open slope, surrounded by trees and fallen leaves, and feeling like I could fly.

That's why I'm so glad that we now have a little tire swing in our barnyard. Its a small tire, too small for my grown up legs to fit through, and too close to the tree for real swinging, but it is there. And just looking at it takes my mind to another place and another time, when I was a little girl, lost in an imaginary world.

Share your tire swing stories with me! And then go read this tire swing poem.

In other news, I am going to make these today, and I can hardly wait for that first taste. I'll tell you if I like them later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

-John Muir

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Just Some Random Observations

October has amazing sunsets.

I like my house.

Woodstove fires are cozy. We had our first of the season last night.

But I didn't take any photos of the fire because I was too busy doing something else.

I was finishing my Adam & Eve sampler that will be released next month.

Speaking of stitching... Stitchers are thee nicest people. Yesterday I got a package in the mail... along with a mailed payment for a pattern, I received, for no particular reason, this:

The bird ornament! The little squirrel card! Love! Thank you, Debbie, you made my day.

Speaking of days being made... the kids got to make cupcakes with their Auntie and cousins yesterday... it totally made their day.

Cupcakes are yummy.

Babies are yummy too.

No, I don't want another baby. But I'll take another cupcake, please.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Those Kids of Mine

Kid #1 has been taking lots of pictures lately, on my old digital point and shoot camera.

He had a conversation with his Daddy a few mornings ago that went something like this:

Kid #1: "Is my camera concentrating?"
Daddy: "Huh?"
Kid #1: "Mama always says her camera is concentrating..."
Daddy: (long pause) "Oh... do you mean focusing?"
Kid #1: "Yeah!... Focusing"

Then, later this weekend, as he realized that he could squat down to get closer to his subject, he said, "Hey, Mama! Now I'm like a REAL photographer man!"

That's my boy.

Here are just a few of his weekend photos...



Those Kids of Mine

Kid #2, despite repeated negative tomato-eating experiences, insisted that she wanted to eat this:

"Do you like it?"... "Yeah... it nummy!"

"Tomatoes are GOOD, aren't they"... "Mmmm Hmmm"

"Do you really think that tomato tastes YUMMY?"... "Yes... it really nummy!"

"Do you want Mama to pick another one for you?"... "No fank you."

She also can do something that her big brother has yet to master (thanks, Uncle Aryn, for capturing this moment)...
video

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two New Releases

Simple Bounty Cupboard Sampler

As a mother of two young children, the simplest, most pure representation of the bounty in my life has come in the form of bedraggled, half-wilted bouquets of wildflowers, lifted by grubby sets of fingers, a sweet token of their love for me.

So this design is a bit uneven, a little bedraggled, with minimal colors and primitive form. As you stitch it, and each time you look at it thereafter, I hope that you are reminded of the Simple Bounty that is found in your life.

Stitch Count: 87 x 87.
Model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 35ct. Straw linen.
Using flosses from The Gentle Art: 7000 Harvest Basket,7041 Apple Cider, 7060 Picnic Basket

The pattern is now available for $10 (includes shipping) in my etsy shop or directly through me (beth@heartstringsamplery.com).

And, release #2...
Harry Tyler's Lion

Coverlets in both geometric and figured patterns were widely popular during the early to mid 1800s. Some coverlets include trademarks. One of the most well-known is a lion used in the 1830’s by New York weaver Harry Tyler.

I didn’t know any of this information when I first spotted that charming lion, all I knew was that I wanted to try to re-create it in the art medium I know best. Researching Tyler’s Lion and antique coverlets led me to the National Museum of the American Coverlet online.

Thus began a little experiment... if this design is well received, I will continue in partnership with the Museum, and release a series of coverlet-inspired patterns available only through their shop and mine.

Stitch Count: 160 x 110

Model stitched on Zweigart 40ct. New Castle Cream linen.
Using floss from The Gentle Art: 7055 Uniform Blue.
Frame by Broken Wheel Woodworks.

This pattern is available exclusively from Heartstring Samplery and the National Museum of the American Coverlet. It will not be distributed through my usual channels, but rather, it will be distributed exclusively to needlework shops through the National Museum of the American Coverlet. For wholesale orders, send me an email.

It is a small gesture, I know, but my hope is that over time, the proceeds of sales of this design will be of benefit to the Museum and their mission.

The pattern is now available for $10 (includes shipping) in my etsy shop or directly through me (beth@heartstringsamplery.com).