Saturday, April 30, 2011

Picture of the Week

Taken on my way home from dropping these off...

at Acorns and Threads, for a month-long trunk show. If you're in the area, stop in to meet Jeannine and her staff, and do a little stash shopping!

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Apologies

When I designed the Sweet Lovers Love the Spring Silver Dollar Scissor Fob, I was under the mistaken impression that everyone was like me and had a small stash of old coins laying around. Either that, or that one could simply walk into his/her bank and buy a silver dollar for a... dollar!

Apparently, not so. After turning my only two silver dollars into fobs, one to keep and one to give away, I had a custom request to make another one. And do you think I (or she) could find a silver dollar anywhere? Nope.

I really hope this has not been the case for you. But if it has, may I offer a few solutions to our quandary:

1. Begin stalking your bank. Mine tells me that the old, large silver dollars turn up from time to time, but they always get grabbed up right away.

2. Use 2 fifty cent pieces instead! The diameter won't be as big and glorious, but it will still make a nicely sized and nicely weighted fob, with the same monetary value, so it can still be called a silver dollar fob. Here is the one I just finished using 2 fifties:

3. Some foreign coins are large and heavy and may make a decent substitute.

4. A metal washer from your husbands toolbox may also work, although I'm not sure how to address the big hole in the middle.

5. My husband offered to make silver dollar sized pieces of wood from some of our native Vine Maple or Wild Cherry trees. Contact me if this option interests you.

6. As a last resort, log onto ebay or amazon and purchase a collector silver dollar for way more than its face value ($20-$75).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Easter... and a Great Story

It started out very different for us. With one kid battling (again) a nasty cold, and myself with a sore throat, we decided to keep our germs to ourselves and skipped church. It was sad for me; I love Easter Sunday celebrations. So instead, I turned on the local Christian radio station and listened to the soundtrack of Easter Sundays past. They rolled out some old classics from Don Francisco and Rich Mullins that I haven't heard in years.

With the unexpected free time, I decided to make some Resurrection Rolls to take to our Twist family dinner. I followed her basic instructions, but made my own bread dough, and brushed the dough with water instead of butter before rolling them in the cinnamon. They were super yummy, and everyone loved the symbolism. Sorry... no photos! (what was I thinking?)

Dinner at my in-laws' house is always festive. They live just a few miles down the road in a log cabin that they built when my husband was a strapping teenager who could be pressed into heavy labor. He has lots of stories of taking the bark off of locally felled trees, near-fatal accidents with chainsaws, an old 1940's crane to lift the logs, and the time he had a party while his parents were away, and they came home to find kids sitting up on the log rafters. Good times.

We had a huge ham dinner, complete with green beans and scalloped potatoes, and the long-lost branch of the family that I finagled an introduction to a couple of years ago. Did I ever tell you that story? Its a good one. My evil twin at her best.

There was a Wii bowling tournament for the older cousins, a sweet baby helping in the kitchen, book reading time, and great conversations.

Okay, now I have searched my blog over and found that I have never told the story of the Other Twists, so if you want to know, here goes...

For the first 8 or 10 years of our marriage, we would hear from time to time of another Twist family that lived in the area. This made us curious, since my Father-in-Law's known relatives are mostly concentrated in upstate New York. Starting in about 2007, we were hearing of them more often... at the pizza joint, getting their books at the library instead of our own, mixed up packages of photos at Fred Meyer, and even some slight confusion at our local John Deere dealership. These were obviously people who shared some similarities with us.

I knew from their description that He was similar enough in appearance to my Mr. Twist to be his brother, that She was tall and had curly hair like mine, but dark, and that they had two daughters, both adopted from China.

So one Autumn day, while at the library with the kids (then a toddler and baby in a stroller), when I saw a man with a daughter next to us in the kid section, my internal Hunch System clicked into gear. I had absolutely nothing concrete to base it on, but somehow I just knew that this was Him. Not wanting to come right out and say his name, knowing how weird that would seem, and even more, how awkward it would be if it wasn't Him, I decided to let my Sneaky Evil Twin take over.

"Come on, Mr. Twist" I said (loudly) to my 2 1/2 year old, taking him by the hand, and acting as if we were going to walk away (but watching Him out of the corner of my eye to see if He reacted at all). Oh, sneaky, sneaky girl!

Sure enough, He looked up, startled, and said, "is that your last name? My name is Twist too!" And just in case I might think He was a weirdo (little did He know!), he pulled out his ID to prove it to me. Of course, I acted all innocent and surprised, and pure as the driven snow.

Our following conversation very quickly turned to where each branch of the family had originated, and sure enough, both were from New York. I handed him my business card with email and phone number, and within two weeks they were sitting in our home comparing identical copies of a family tree from a long-ago reunion, discovering that my Mr. Twist and the newly discovered Mr. Twist share a Great-Great Grandpa. And not just the Grandpa, they also share similar personalities, hobbies, and political views, as if they were raised brothers. For both men, raised with only sisters and having no nearby cousins, finding a male relative in the same age range and with similar interests has been a treasured experience.

And I take great pride in the fact that if it weren't for me and my ability to connive, the reunion would not have taken place at all (I didn't confess to the other Twists what I had done until our second meeting, when I was sure they would react with laughter rather than alarm!).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies...

Since we last spoke, there have been Puppies going home...

Feeding of Puppies 3 times a day...

Visitation of Puppies by eager owners...

Lots of playing, chewing, and investigating, all done by Puppies, of course...

And more Puppies going home...

We are down to 10 pups now, half of them having gone home to behave themselves like perfect little angels(!?). A half dozen more will be gone by the end of the weekend. Just in time for some predicted sunshine and gardening weather. Woot!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Chart for Earth Day... Make it Do

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" is a WWII era slogan that has been revived and is used commonly today as a motto of frugal living.

Each year on Earth Day, for the past several, I have done some re-evaluating of how we live. In a way, it has replaced New Year's Day for me, since I always seem to be so busy at that time to actually think, let alone make resolutions.

We, as a family, are slowly but surely, changing the way we interact with the world around us, and are trying to be very conscious of our consumer impact on the environment.

I haven't done much research on the organization itself, but found this quiz at Conservation International's website to be thought-provoking. Want to know my score? I was pretty pleased with a 74, which, in their estimation, makes me an "Eco-Ally". But there are definitely areas where I can improve.

And since none of us are perfect, I am sure there are areas where you can improve your impact as well.

Here is a little design I created for you to stitch in commemoration of Earth Day 2011 (click on the image to be re-directed to a downloadable pdf file):

The idea is to only use materials you already have on hand to stitch it. And even better yet, if you have a large, healthy collection of orts in a jar, maybe you could stitch it only using those bits. Stick with the suggested colorway, but only as long as a thread holds out, then find another bit of thread that matches to finish out your vine/flower/bird. Let the variation in the colors of your threads create a lovely mosaic of frugality!

Its a small design, and will probably not even make a dent in your stash, but the idea is to get you (along with me) thinking about what you can do to make what you have stretch a little further before buying something new.

And if any of you decide to stitch it on black linen, please be sure to show me a picture. I think it would look quite lovely:

Thursday, April 21, 2011


My Spring is being fickle and I don't like it... its snowing again this morning. And another very wet week is ahead of us in the forecast... I think I'm going to go hide in a closet for awhile.

This has been the coldest Spring on record in our area. Ever. Since they started keeping track. Yep. Still no 60 degree days at my house, and certainly none in the foreseeable future.

On to the point of this post... I got amazing mail this week. Not trying to say "Nanner, nanner!" or anything, but check out what Deb sent me from Illinois...

That strange little object in the front is a vintage pincushion...

in the shape of a dog pulling a cart!

Call me silly, but this is my favorite part...

I love it when I can see how old things were put together. And the fact that they apparently used pattern tissue to stuff the pin cushion is recycling at its best.

Thank you Deb... the kids and their Daddy loved their surprises too, and say that you are their favorite of my online friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Coastodian

Click the picture and read the story. I am dumbfounded and amazed, and at the same time, not surprised at all.

Resident Artist

This is perhaps my all-time favorite kiddo drawing...

and I had to mail it to a far-away Cousin.
Which makes me happy about digital technology.

Don't you just love those talking birds?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


It seems that we have finally been given a break from the incessant rain.

Its still pretty chilly out there, barely hitting 50 in the sun, but on two separate occasions lately, there has been some gardening action in the foothills of Oregon.

Planting a bed of raised-from-seed-in-our-very-own-greenhouse Asparagus...

Starting pots of Peppers and Tomatoes for Summer Salsa and Sauce...

The mud no longer slips and splashes when stepped upon, it just squishes.

Perhaps soon we will actually be able to till the garden and start working our flower beds. That thought makes me happy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Bittersweet and Joyful.

Echoes of Hosannah! Hosannah! mirroring two thousand years of remembering.

A King, entering His city, Triumphant...

But on the back of a donkey, and being heralded by Peasants and Children.

He knew the path he was walking. He chose to ride into the city still.

So that these little people could know real Freedom.

And celebrate the future day when they will enter the Final City, triumphant...

marching together with all of the generations before, and lead by their King.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thirsty Hart... the Second New Design Released Today!

Another new design for you today... now listed in my etsy shop and also available directly through me via email (

Inspired by old samplers with lush bowers of vines and flowers... Detailed floral borders, stags resting in green meadows... And a favorite passage in scripture, Psalm 42:1, which I added in the King James Version, because I love the old English phrasing:

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God”.

If you love stitching large, detailed samplers, then this is a sampler for you.

Stitch Count: 262 x 230
Model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 40ct. Putty.

Using flosses from The Gentle Art: 0112 Grasshopper, 0320 Old Brick, 7000 Harvest Basket, 7019 Pomegranate, 7041 Apple Cider, 7057 Roasted Marshmallow, 7060 Picnic Basket, 7080 Endive

And flosses from Weeks Dye Works: 1230 Havana, 1330 Baked Apple,2202 Bullfrog, 2219 Whiskey

Conversion to DMC provided with the pattern.

Also includes a full Upper and Lower case Alphabet and Number set for customization.

Let Us Be Truly Thankful, the May Flowers Edition

Here is my “May Flowers” adaptation, the fourth in my mad-designer plan to put Thanksgiving into every season! If you stitch every installment in the coming series, they will all fit in the same frame, giving you the ability to swap them out and celebrate Thanksgiving all year long.

Stitch Count: 101 x 61
Model stitched on R & R Reproductions 35ct. Espresso
Using flosses from The Gentle Art: 0190 Forest Glade, 0420 Gold Leaf, 0450 Corn Husk, 7010 Ohio Lemon Pie, 7019 Pomegranate, 7049 Lambswool, 7059 Pumpkin Pie, 7080 Endive

And Weeks Dye Works: 1108 Honeysuckle, 1171 Dove, 1332 Red Pear, 2107 Blue Jeans, 2220 Curry

In addition to being available in my etsy shop as a mailed pattern, I have decided to keep this series available in PDF format indefinitely, for a lower price of $7 each... simply email your request (, and I will respond with the emailed file(s) within 24 hours of payment (in most cases you will receive it in less than an hour, since I check my email almost constantly when I'm home).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Revealing Post

In which I offer a glimpse of my backside...

I've been working like crazy on chart covers and last minute details. I am currently re-finishing a thrifted frame for the large sampler, then all that will be left is photo sessions. Check back with me tomorrow for the grand reveal(s).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Its Baby Chick Time!

The Daddy came home a few days ago with a suspicious box under his arm.
A noisy suspicious box.

Upon closer inspection, it was discovered to be full of baby chicks!

For now, they are cozy in the greenhouse, living in their box.

I like it when the greenhouse glows at night.

Did You Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day?

We sure did...

The old fashioned way... wheat bread and Tillamook cheddar cheese... yum.

These folks have some interesting takes on the classic sandwich... is your mouth watering?

Three cheers for the woman who first placed a slab of cheese on bread, slathered it with butter, and cooked it in her frying pan!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pick Your Puppy Day II

The remaining two litters of pups were made available to those on their registration list on Saturday. It was another crazy morning. We had the same rules... no requests or deposits accepted until 10am.

This time we had a couple of someones in our driveway at 9am. One of them brought us donuts... care to venture a guess at who was the kids' favorite?

We again made people wait until the stated time of 10am because although we already had a full house by then, we knew that some people weren't able to be here in person and were waiting to call in their request.

We are so pleased how this portion of the process has gone. There may have been a small amount of tension in the air, but in the end, everyone who had their heart set on a certain puppy got the one they were after.

And we now know the names for many of our pups... Copper, Maggie, Scout, Zoe, Inez, and Moose...




As I type this post, our fourth Mama, Lucie, is in isolation with Doc, and he is following her around like he is tied to her tail. I predict the next litter being born around the second week in June.

And now, if you have Puppy Fever, here is something to help... a wallpaper for your widescreen computer monitor. Just click and save... personal use only, please...