Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Catching Up

It really wasn't my intention to take a little blogging break, but with holiday celebrating, snow romping (its nearly all gone, now... sniff, sniff), birthday goings-on, and breaking out of the Christmas decorations, I apparently got too distracted to blog.

What? I didn't tell you it was my birthday? Yep. On Thanksgiving day this year. There's this odd pattern in the solar calendar which lands the 25th on the third Thursday of November every 6, then 5, then 6, then 11 years (repeat, ad nauseum). I am happy to say that I won't have another ThanksBirthday now until 2021. I prefer to keep my favorite holiday separate from all felt-obligation on the part of family to throw in a cake and candles where only a pumpkin pie belongs.

I did receive a few gifts that I think you will be interested to hear about, but will save them for another post.

This time around its all about showing you the last of the snow pictures, if you hadn't guessed. There were just so many great shots. And even though I have a feeling we are in for a lot of the white stuff this year, I still have this need to show you all my favorite moments.

My very favorite shot I saved for last. Introducing, my Dad and my nephew (wedged between my kids). This photo is a favorite on a few levels...

1. A sled piled with happy children.
2. Snow.
3. Rays of winter sunshine streaming.
4. The stocking hat on my Dad's head, displaying his pride for UVCS, the school from which all five of his children graduated. Gooooooo Monarchs!
5. The grin on my Dad's face, almost as big and joyful as the grins on the faces of the children in the sled.
5. The nephew, a sweet boy just 6 weeks younger than my boy, lives on the other side of the world near the equator, and has never played in snow before, not to mention the fact that we haven't seen him for over a year. Seeing the two boys together, in all their excitement to see each other, was good medicine for this Mama's heart.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Today, I Am Wishing for You...

a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life...

a feast, whether large or humble, eaten with gratitude...

warm toes, an inspired mind... and love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We have a pretty strict no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving policy in our family. A rule that we have been a teensy bit lax on the last few days.

How can a Mother put the kabosh on an impromptu round of "Jingle Bells" started by a 2 1/2 year old while driving in the car through falling flakes of snow? She can't... simple as that.

And she also can't stop the weather from creating positively Christmas-y displays of natural light strings either.

Just a few more days... are you hanging in there with me, or have you already begun to celebrate?

By the way, these photos were taken a few days ago, before the snow. Today we are hovering around 23 degrees outside with nasty, frozen, dangerous driving conditions. So once again, we are staying in. If you are (still) waiting on an order, I am so very sorry... we are hopeful that tomorrow will bring safer driving conditions. Out here in the woods we are left mostly to ourselves when the roads get bad. No snow plows or de-icers, just 4 wheel drive, grit & determination.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Couldn't Resist

This pretty much sums up how we feel about the snow.

Why We'll Be Staying Home Today

It started around noon yesterday and hasn't let up much since.

The mostly tiny flakes aren't piling up very quickly, but it is enough to transform our world, and warranted a stern request from the Daddy to stay off the roads.

So we will.

And later, there will be some pre-nap bundling and romping to do.

To those of you expecting patterns and packages in the mail, I am truly sorry to delay your expectations. But really, can you blame me?

Stay tuned for future snowman pictures!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The News I've Been Excited About

I like self-portraits.

I'm not that good at taking self portraits of my face,

but love to take a more unconventional approach.

As long as there is a little bit of "self" in it, it counts, right?

I find that these more abstract shots almost show more of who I am than if you were just looking at my nose.

I find myself so often looking through files full of photos of everyone else and rarely me, since I'm always holding the camera. So I have decided to have fun with it so that someday, if my great grandchildren ever care to see what I was like, they will still be able to catch glimpses of me amongst all of the other photos.

So when I recently found myself wanting to create a new logo for myself, is it any wonder that I made this simple alteration to my current one?

And now we get to the exciting part... I now have note cards available for sale that feature my photography!

Introducing... "Sampler Christmas":

"Stitching Samplers":



This was a small batch, and rather expensive. Since I don't anticipate ever being able to be a big shot in an already very saturated photo card market, this is more for YOU, my needlework customers and blog readers.

There are only 12 sets (with 4 blank cards in each set, envelopes included) of each of the four themes, and only if they all sell will I consider printing more, so the best way to vote is by purchasing a set (or two, or three, or four!) by going through my etsy shop checkout, or by emailing me: beth@heartstringsamplery.com.

Each set is $12- this price includes shipping within the continental USA.

Oh, and before I forget yet again to tell you... did you notice the "ON SALE" tab up at the top of this main blog page? Click over there if you want to get 50% of some of my listings... just in time for Christmas shopping, I might add.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Waking Up to Snow

It came much earlier this year than usual. Sorry excuse for a photo, but it was taken early, while still rather dim out. See the American Jay on the feeder and Oregon Juncos on the ground waiting their turn?

We are running out the door now. We are very excited to see some out-of-country family members who are landing at PDX this morning, and we are off to go share breakfast with the whole gathered clan.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"Wook, Mama! One, Two, Free, Fouw, Five, Six, Seben Cups!"

"Who is in the cups, Sweetie?"

"Our Famiwy!"

"Oh. I need a cow."

"Now I pinch da boy"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Release... Now Christmas is Come

Never too late for a new Christmas design, right?

Introducing... Now Christmas is Come

It began with the frame, a lovely vintage oval that has been sitting in my closet for a few years. The perfect dirty cream color, and here I am, in the mood for Christmas.

Something simple, cheerful, heartfelt and festive was certainly in order. After designing the border, I did some searching online for a perfectly Victorian Christmas quote, and what did I find, but a snippet from an old English folksong, as quoted by Washington Irving in his book The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon:

Now Christmas is come,
Let us beat up the drum,
And call all our neighbors together;
And when they appear,
Let us make them such cheer,
As will keep out the wind and the weather.

Now doesn’t that invoke feelings of nostalgia and longing for wassail and a crackling fire? Oh, to have an old-fashioned drawing room and fur muffs and a sleigh ride!

Stitch Count: 180 x 114

Model stitched on Zweigart 40ct. New Castle Cream linen which was coffee stained prior to stitching.

Using flosses from The Gentle Art:
1170 Dark Chocolate, 7019 Pomegranate, 7080 Endive

As usual, this pattern is available for purchase in my etsy shop for $10 (shipping is free to the USA), but you can also order it directly through me via email (beth@heartstringsamplery.com) or you can wait until your local needlework shop has it in stock (if they don't carry my designs, ask!)

Friday, November 12, 2010


“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you,
if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

- Eleanora Duse

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Stitchers in the House

When he learned that he had missed out on an opportunity to learn to stitch, my oldest began an immediate campaign for his own turn. It was a mere day later, but apparently felt like an eternity to him.

Finally, on the appointed day, we were outside enjoying a little sunshine, when he said to me, "I want to hurry up and go inside because I want to learn to stitch. Its one of my dreams and its coming true!" "One of your dreams?" I asked. "Yes!" he replied. "If it is one of your dreams, why have you never told me?" I asked. "Because I thought you would say no, and not to touch your stitching stuff" he replied.

Oh, how quickly they grow from the toddler (who gets in trouble for cutting up my beautiful overdyed flosses into tiny bits and then pulling all of my pins out of the pincushion, dropping them on the floor one at a time to hear the sound it makes) into the almost-big boy.

Since the first stitching session, I have advanced both children to a hoop with scraps of an old cotton sheet for stitching on, and drew shapes per their request for them to stitch over.

The little one chose to connect her shapes, then proclaimed that she was "All done!".

The oldest spent a few hours, spread over a couple of days, very carefully stitching on the line, proclaiming to anyone who would listen, "I love to stitch!". He is now finished with the first shape and anxiously awaiting a change of thread color for the next shape.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Seasonal Goodies for Sale

I have a few pretties for sale... first come first served... click on the photos to see a larger image for more detail... email me (beth@heartstringsamplery.com) if you want to buy one of the following (I'll do my best to keep this post updated, showing when something has sold):

Thankful Pinkeep... completely hand-stitched, an adaptation of my newest release. Filled with crushed walnut shells and trimmed with a wide rickrack, the entire piece is coffee stained, and includes the assortment of pins and a needle as shown. Measures 4 1/4 by 2 1/2 inches. To be honest, I won't be completely disappointed if this one doesn't sell, but if it does, you can be sure I'll be making another for myself... $30 plus shipping (by the method of your choice).

Pair of Pumpkins... One made from a vintage brown and pink upholstery-weight fabric, filled with crushed walnut shells and topped with a dried tomato stem. The other made from vintage brown velvet, filled with clean sand and topped with a real dried pumpkin stem. Both measure about 4 inches in diameter... $20 plus shipping (by the method of your choice).

Oregon Hemlock Ornaments Batch One... A heart-shaped paper mache box painted and distressed (white) on the outside, lined with paper on the inside. Filled with little ornaments that I made from Hemlock cones harvested on our property. Each ornament has a red or green satin ribbon loop and is lightly flocked. They range in size from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. There are 17 ornaments in this batch, and I threw in a handful of cloves to make them smell good... $20 plus shipping (by the method of your choice).

Oregon Hemlock Ornaments Batch Two... A heart-shaped paper mache box painted and distressed (red) on the outside, lined with paper on the inside. Filled with little ornaments that I made from Hemlock cones harvested on our property. Each ornament has a red or green satin ribbon loop and is lightly flocked. They range in size from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. There are 20 ornaments in this batch, and I threw in a handful of cloves to make them smell good... $23 plus shipping (by the method of your choice).

Joy Scherenschnitte (SOLD... thank you!)... Teensy, weensy papercutting designed and created by me, the cutting itself measures just 2 inches square. The frame is resin with a gold painted finish, just right for a little holiday festivity. Total measurement is 3 7/8 inches square. There is glass in front to protect the papercutting, and the frame is sealed with brown paper, has a sawtooth hanger attached, and it is signed and dated... $25 plus shipping (by the method of your choice).

Just Some Random Observations

I did not brighten the colors on either of the next two pictures one iota.

Apparently, Chartreuse and Raspberry are this season's IT color combination.

We had a Pretzel-and-Peanut Butter Picnic outside on November 4th.

Not only was it dry enough for a blanket on the grass, it was also warm enough to take our boots off.

We got a package in the mail from Chicagoland recently. My kids now think that Suckers-made-from-Chocolate are the best invention EVER.

And although I will never make it to an actual Oprah Show taping, I now have a pen that was in the same building, which is at least a pretty cool consolation prize.

I am working on a new (non-stitching) project that I hope to unveil by the end of the week, and I am having a hard time keeping my big mouth shut, I am so excited about it!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Capturing Light

I think that the light in Heaven will always come in at an angle, just like the light in the Northern Hemisphere in November.

I find myself in an almost constant state of shock from the sheer beauty of the light this time of year.

I want to capture its elusive presence and hold it in my pocket.

Then it would always be there for me to play with during the dark days of winter.