Monday, February 28, 2011

Not What I Expected

We had a doozy of a storm last night... high winds, torrential rain... I should have seen it coming... But still, somehow, waking to no power caught me unprepared. A storm like this in November would have had us filling the bathtub with water, getting the old corded phone plugged in, and getting our showers ahead of time. But on the last day of February, our hearts are set on Spring, I suppose, in denial of the wintery weather we have been getting.

I watched a big, beautiful, fir tree fall this morning, back along the treeline, accompanied by a *crackle* and a *CRASH*... and now, although the power is back on (only 5 hours without... not too bad), it is a blizzard out there, snow piling up faster than I've seen in months.

We made the best of our dark morning... never have I been more thankful for a woodstove to heat water, a collection of antiques, including a working burr grinder, and a ginormous french press hiding in the back of my cupboard.

The kids were full of questions, wanting to know how the grinder works, and can they please help? Exclaiming over and over about how much they LOVE grinding coffee.

Asking if, the next time the electricity goes out... can they PLEASE grind coffee again?

Then, we all enjoyed a spot of our special brew together. Can you tell which is mine?

The remainder of our morning was spent watching Dumbo on the portable DVD player and stitching by the fire.

Sometimes, embracing the unexpected leads to the best kind of happiness.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Its 17 degrees outside.
My feet are cold.
And I am drawing a blog blank.

So, you get to see kid pictures.
Everyone loves kid pictures, right?

All Boy...

All Girl...

And "they" say that it is social conditioning that causes the genders to behave the way they do. All I can say is that I never taught her to like pink (ew!) and I never taught her to play with dolls (boring!)... but I DID teach him to enjoy playing in dirt (yes!).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

“The grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere;
the dew is never dried all at once;
a shower is forever falling;
vapor is ever rising.

Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands,
each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”

-John Muir

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I'm Working On

Two main projects have been consuming my creating time lately...

The first is my current sampler, which I am having such fun stitching. I, of course, have a constant supply of my own designs to stitch, and I must confess that some of them feel more like work than others. I often will be completely consumed by creating the design itself on my computer and thoroughly LOVE the end result, then find that I don't enjoy the stitching of it nearly as much.

Other times, I become so taken with a sampler that from start to finish it is a real joy. I won't tell you which ones are which, because it doesn't seem to matter that much in the end; other than the fact that some don't get set aside ever, and others get set aside multiple times.

Since stitching is my job, I don't usually have more than three in my workbasket at a time, and that means I don't have any secret WIP stashes mouldering away in a closet somewhere.

The only non-Heartstring Samplery piece in my workbasket is Mary Wigham, who sadly, has been in-progress for a very, very long time. I will finish her someday, yes I will... I am putting in the initials of all of my immediate family, from the Grandparent generation down to Nieces and Nephews. And since Nieces and Nephews are still being born, I figure I have lots of time, right?

When I'm not stitching, I have been spending more time on my Picnic Quilt (thusly named because I am making it specifically for that purpose), which is made entirely out of scraps from my stash. All 72 nine-patch blocks are now finished, and a 4 by 4 block section has been sewn together. This is going to be one cheerful bit of quilty-ness for us to spread under the sky come Summertime.

I am planning to back it with a dark-colored sheet, and haven't decided yet if I will put in a liner. I want it to be pretty compact when folded so that we can easily take it places.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meet the Dogs

Last night, just as the sun was setting, the dogs arrived. It was crazy, as you can imagine. Six full-grown and VERY EXCITED Labradors aren't the easiest to control. So we were smart, and only moved one at a time from the car to the kennel.

Here they are, in no particular order:

They seem to be adjusting to their new home just fine. Jazzi has been a little bit shy, but Doc and Lucie make up for it with their overabundant exuberance. Note to self: don't ever wear your sassy town clothes out to the kennel again, unless you WANT them to become polka-dotted with mud and pawprints.

As far as we can tell, all 4 Mama dogs are pregnant, so they get their own boxes to make cozy. The boys, however, are shacking up together for now, and don't seem to mind in the least.

We have kept them gated for now, to let them get used to their own boxes and home, but hopefully this evening, once the Mister gets home from work, we'll be able to let them out for a bit of a romp in their new field.

Thanks for coming along on this journey with us! And if you're not so much of a dog person, never fear... tomorrow I'll be sharing a sneak peek of a new design I've been working on that I am really loving. Until then...

Gone to the Dogs

In case you are now hopelessly lost in a dog-mood:

Stitch & Lucky

Two new(ish) treasuries that I have made for your window-shopping pleasure...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Goings On

In the midst of the cold,

the snow,

the frost,

determined Spring is showing her face.

The first of our seasonal Bird friends have returned... Mr. Robin Redbreast was spotted a few times this week, fat and sassy, scouting the landscape for a home for his sweetheart. See him there, perched in our Anniversary Tree?

In the meantime, my Dearest is hard at work on this President's Day, putting the final pieces together so we can move our new Dog Family in by sundown.

Nice door, eh? Yes, the man can build just about anything. No time-travelling machine as of yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the prototype was in the thought process as I type this.

Yep, today is the day. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, our lives will be bound to 6 Labrador Retrievers and their offspring. The adventure of finding families for our puppies and building upon a community will be irreversibly started.

I am most excited about the lessons these two will learn from caring for animals as a way of life.

But I think that they will be a *weensy* bit sad, in the beginning, about giving up their new playhouse.

Anyone else think the next building project should be a fort for the kids?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Now Available

You've seen the photos already, but now the official announcement... my two new designs are listed in my etsy shop and also available directly through me ( They are both on display at the TNNA show in Nashville this weekend, so if you are attending (jealous!), be sure to drop by the Norden Crafts room for an in-person view.

Permit Me Not to Stray

Stitch Count: 197 x 197
Model stitched on R&R Reproductions 28ct. Old Mill Java

Using flosses from The Gentle Art:
0115 Tiger Lily, 0130 Avocado, 0420 Gold Leaf, 0540 Brandy,
1170 Dark Chocolate, 7002 Straw Bonnet, 7004 Brethren Blue, 7018 Woodrose,7019 Pomegranate, 7050 Baby Spinach,7079 Heirloom Gold

Conversion to DMC provided with the pattern.

Frame by Valley House Primitives.

Matchless Grace (a Faithfully Reproduced Antique Sampler)

Stitch Count: 169 x 170
Model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 30ct. Confederate Gray

Using flosses from The Gentle Art:
0110 Dried Thyme, 0190 Forest Glade, 0510 Cinnamon, 0930 Deep Sea, 1111 Acorn, 1150 Flax, 7017 Buttermilk, 7042 Raven, 7048 Old Hickory, 7049 Lambswool

And flosses from Weeks Dye Works:
1171 Dove, 1236 Mocha, 1331 Brick

Conversion to DMC provided with the pattern.

Frame by Valley House Primitives.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tin Roof... Dusted.

Sorry... couldn't resist.

And if you have no clue what my title refers to, then a) you must be too young, or b) you must be too old, or c) you lived in an anti-pop culture bubble in the 80's.

You can always go here to reminisce or catch yourself up to speed.

Anyway... I was standing out on our upper deck taking these pictures of our cute little snowfall...

Yes, I did say "cute" and "little". If you Easterners were sitting on my couch watching the weather last night, you would have been cracking up about how the valley Oregonians go into an excited panic at the slightest sniff of snow in the air.

And not just any snow... this is "rare" snow! White stuff on the ground AFTER Valentine's Day? How could it be?

For the record, we are in close proximity to Portland, where the news stations broadcast, but we are quite a bit higher in elevation. Enough higher that our Spring growth is a good two weeks later than theirs. Not to mention the fact that we have had a foot of snow on the ground on St. Patrick's Day. Just sayin'.

Back to my story... I was standing on our upper deck taking pictures, because even though the grass is poking through, from up high, the snow still looks pretty...

When I turned toward the French doors to get my cold bare feet back into the house, this is what I saw:

"Mama, I not wookin' at Birds, I usin' da binocuwars to wook at da snow!"

Cutest little googly-eyed munchkin I ever saw.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Staying Warm

I was going to write my first "Signs of Spring" post this morning, but alas, we woke to snow. I actually don't mind so much, though. After days of rain so relentless that it created puddles in the yard, any change in the weather is welcome! Besides, snow is so pretty and peaceful, and gives me a good excuse to stay home by the fire.

During yesterday's downpour, I managed to get another dozen blocks finished for my Picnic Quilt. Perhaps I will do up a few more today.

Speaking of staying by the fire, my March design is nice and cozy, drying out after a warm coffee bath...

I hope you are dry and warm today too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet Like Honey

Making etsy treasuries is totally addictive... its like being a Museum Curator, Store Window Designer, and Personal Shopper all rolled into one. Too bad I don't get paid for my services! Here is my most recent...

Sweet Like Honey

And a few others:

How Do I Love Thee?

My Kind of Valentine


Now that I finally figured out how to take a screen capture, I'll be sharing all of my treasury adventures with you in the future.