Thursday, November 29, 2012

In the Dark

Hello my lovelies. I'm so very sorry I've been away for so many days in a row. I fully realize that your day does not HAVE to have me in it, but I try to be present most days of the week just as a matter of being fully engaged.

But I've allowed myself to become overwhelmed with little and big things, and somehow the blogging has fallen by the wayside. And it may remain spotty for the remainder of this year... or at least until puppies have grown and gone to their forever homes, and the festivities of the Christmas season have been fully enjoyed.

Here I offer a glimpse of what my world looks like in the wee hours of the morning. What I see each night around 1:30 or 2:00 am as I take my one shift to check on welfare of Mama and pups.

Bright stars some nights (Orion! there you are... shoot that arrow far), with frosty crunchy grass underfoot, bare branches of our Anniversary Tree seen silhouetted against the dark, pale glowing window from a nightlight inside.
And on my return trek, with motion-sensored brightness at my back, bed calling loudly.
I haven't posted many puppy pictures, as this has been a challenging litter to raise. Born early, and lots of them, we lost a few too small, too fragile, too underdeveloped. And the clumsy Mama, despite our around the clock vigilance has accidentally been the cause of a few more lost lives. So hard, this part of what we do.

But the remaining puppies are getting stronger by the day, and have begun to romp and play in such an endearing way. Practicing their fierce growls and barking so suddenly, so loudly, that they knock themselves off of unsteady feet. We will welcome the first of their families as they come visit this weekend. We look forward to meeting these people for whom we have put in the mid-night hours.

And I look forward to your Hellos, left in the comments and my email box. Always so happy to know that you're out there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meet my Neighbors

 
Aren't they Purty?

I'm not one to wish for horses myself.

Well, at least not anymore... when I was a girl, it was all I dreamed about. But now, there's just not enough time in my days for the caring for and riding, and all that being a horse companion entails.
But I do love looking and watching.
They offer such an idyllic and peaceful vision for my busy eyes each day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So Much to be Thankful For

Wishing you a day spent remembering your blessings, 
while in the company of those you love the very most.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pile of ...

The boy child was at school. The girl child was taking a nap. I was out on my umpteenth trip to the kennel for the day. The sun broke through the clouds, and suddenly I had the unexplainable urge to rake the leaves.

Can't remember the last time I raked leaves.

Usually the wind sweeps them away or we bag them with the lawnmower and dump them in the compost pile.

Well...

With part of the yard raked somewhat neatly, and one last check on the pups before heading up to wake girlie from her nap so we could go pick big brother up from school, I emerged from the kennel to find She was already awake and standing with a huge grin, at the base of my pile.

(How's that for a run-on sentence?... not even going to try to fix it.)

"Mama! Da best fing dat I wuv about the Autumn is a big pile of weaves dat I can jump into!"
(Whatever... she's never had a big pile of leaves to jump into... must be PBS kids' programming influencing her brain.)

"Can I jump in, Mama?"

Oh, for Pete's sake, how could a sane person resist such adorableness?
 And there she went, wholeheartedly, with complete abandon and glee, up, up, up into the air, and straight down on her hands and knees.
 Followed by a bit of rolling around.
 "Can I do it one more time, Mama?" She asked.

It was literally right at that moment that I remembered the pile of doggie doo that was buried somewhere down in the bottom of the leaves.
Who's handing out the Mom of the Year award? I'm ready.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ordering Finished Mugs

Well, just when a girl thinks she has her audience pegged, you surprise her! Many of you have asked if you could just purchase a finished mug instead of buying the graphic to do it yourself.

The answer is yes! I will not be ordering a bunch to keep in inventory, but rather will order as-requested and have the finished mug sent directly to you from the manufacturer.

You can contact me either via email or through an etsy convo to get the order set up.

Cost per mug will be $13 plus state tax (you'll have to provide the percentage of your state) and shipping is $4.95 for the first mug, $1.50 for each additional mug... don't worry, I'll do all the calculations for you and send an invoice to reflect the total... just wanted to give you the ability to guess a ballpark figure.
So... if you've been wishing... contact me now! And don't hesitate to ask if you want a particular design other than Baby Its Cold Outside on a mug. I can certainly begin to offer other images either digitally or on a finished mug.

PS. That's a Pumpkin Streusel cake in the background. Want the recipe? I'll be posting it in the next day or two. Yum!

Friday, November 16, 2012

An Experiment

I wanted to have some custom mugs made up to sell with an altered image of my "Baby, Its Cold Outside" design wrapped around the outside.

I spent a couple of hours digitally manipulating a photo of my finished sampler to get it to the correct dimensions, then started to research pricing. Alas, I was unable to find an option for having them made that was cost effective for both me AND you without having to order about 500 of them.
So, I put my thinking cap on, and decided that perhaps you would like the opportunity to purchase the digital file so that you can go have as many of the mugs made for yourself as you want!

Perfect for Christmas gifts for your stitching friends.
I ordered one for myself, using Costco's online photo site, and am very happy with the finished product. Their mugs are a white, 11 ounce, very basic mug with a glossy finish. With shipping, they come to about $12. You may have another source for photo mugs that you prefer. This listing gives you the freedom to have them made wherever you want.

When you purchase this listing, I will send you a digital image file specifically sized for a wrap-around mug. Once you have the file, you have the right to make as many copies as you want to keep or give as gifts. If you want to sell the finished mugs, please contact me first.
If you all seem to like this idea, I'll be adding other designs to this listing in the near future. Please don't hesitate to put in a special request!

And as always, if you don't have an etsy account, you can always contact me directly to order your file. My email is: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Peek

My evening chair sits closest to the woodstove.

There's a good lamp that shines over my right shoulder.

And in the morning, light comes through the window to illuminate my work.

There it rested, undisturbed, all night,
right where tired fingers let it rest after I just-one-more-stitch ed myself out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Perpetually November

I'm fairly certain that my part of Heaven 
will be perpetually November.
I find myself driving the morning roads 
through pockets of mist and streams of light,
the radiant leaves glowing, the coating dew shimmering, 
my eyes drinking in each vista 
like a fawn too long away from its Mother.
I hold those long shadows and vibrant contrasts 
in my soul all year long.
If I could, I would abandon shelter 
to live among the foggy byways, 
immersed in the beauty of my month 
until the last leaf had fallen.
I would soak up every drop, 
every ray of light, 
every twirling leaf, 
and keep it in my heart-jar 
to open and dive into 
at any necessary moment thereafter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

One Week Old

For such little tinies, pups are sure hard work! We're still on every-two-hours-around-the-clock checkups.
I'm ever so grateful that the Farmboy takes night watch. I still have bouts of insomnia now and then, easily triggered by distrupted sleep. He's completely exhausted, but doesn't seem to have a hard time falling back asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.
A couple of these critters hit the 2 pound mark by the end of their first week. We like it when that happens. The bigger they are, the better they can get around, the less vulnerable they become, and the less stressed out WE become.
Still no visitors and only minimal handling by the human parents to make sure weight is still being gained and everyone is getting a shot at the Mama when eating time rolls around.
Soon, they'll be big enough for some natural light photography, then let the real ooohs and aaahs begin!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Better Late

... than Never.

Our tradition says that each year on October 10th, we take a picture with our Anniversary Tree.

Well, this year we were in Arizona on that day, and once we returned home, it was either raining or dark when we were all at home at the same time. But at last, we caught a break in the weather before all the leaves fell off the tree, and here we are:
Two of us are taller, one of us isn't as big around, one of us has more facial hair, one of us has longer branches and more leaves... and all of our roots are stretched deeper into this soil.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day... and Puppies!

When I was a kid, Election Day was such a big deal to me, even though I wasn't old enough to vote yet. It seemed like everywhere we went, there were flags and banners and patriotic music and old ladies handing out cookies and lemonade.

Perhaps they were raised by a Mother that had to fight for the right to vote.

The courthouse where we went so my parents could fill out their ballots had a long row of secret little stand-up cubbies hidden by curtains. Oh, how badly I wanted to see what was behind those curtains! But no, it was never to be.

By the time I reached voting age, my state had decided to do away with those public voting places and instead go with a mail-in or drop-off ballot. In some ways, I like the convenience of no-pressure, at-my-leisure fill-out-the-ballot evenings.

But when the time comes to drop my ballot in the box, I want FANFARE! I want TRUMPETS! I want little old ladies with plates full of COOKIES! Or at least an American flag.

Agh. So anti-climactic. Months of build-up and debates, commercials and phone polls have been tolerated around here, and all I get is an unassuming box in the lobby of my library?
Well then, at least I can spend the drive there reminiscing about Election Days past, regaling my children with all the reasons why its a privilege to be able to contribute to the political decisions of our country.

And then I can let them drop the ballots in while I say things like "Hooray! Go USA! Go Election Day! Way to VOTE!". Who cares if we get funny looks. This is AMERICA. If you don't like my excitement, go pick another lobby to loiter in.
And then... we may or may not have gone to TCBY for a little post-ballot-drop celebration.
Just sayin'.

Oh, and did I mention that we have a brand new batch of puppies? Hooray for Doc and Lucie! This litter looks to be healthy and growing strong, and will be ready to go to their forever homes by Christmas Eve. How's that for timing?
We plan to do the first weigh in and gender/color check this evening. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Now try to not spend your entire evening fretting in front of that TV screen. This Presidential Election is bound to be a nail-biter, but keep your hands on your stitching and its been scientifically proven that your blood pressure will drop.

Monday, November 05, 2012

*NEW* A Thankful Heart

This is one of two brand new designs being released today... Be sure to scroll down to see the other one!

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 to keep a Thankful Heart. For indeed, it is good medicine to be thankful.

The entire model is worked with cross stitches, using one thread worked over-two.

Stitch Count: 99 x 69
Model stitched on Picture This Plus 36ct Ancient

Using flosses from The Gentle Art: 0420 Gold Leaf, 0450 Corn Husk, 7005 Old Red Paint, 7024 Tin Bucket, 7025 Shaker White, 7041 Apple Cider, 7061 Caramel Corn, 7080 Endive

This design is now available in my etsy shop, and will be going out to my distributors and the shops on my automatic shipments list soon. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

*NEW* Pomegranate Birds

This is one of two brand new designs being released today... now doesn't that make you happy? It makes me happy...

The graphic appeal of an old Persian carpet with gigantic pots of flowers and birds, perhaps not a traditional sampler inspiration item... But often in those old rugs I see enough parallels in style and motifs, that I wonder if some of the schoolgirls and their teachers of centuries before didn’t also draw inspiration from the imported carpets on their parlor floors.

No matter if that is the case or not, I have often found myself drawn to those old hand-made carpets from the East, and completely understand why they were such a popular decorating item in British and American homes during the Victorian era.

The entire model is worked with cross stitches, using one thread worked over-two.

Stitch Count: 150 x 121
Model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 40ct Sand

Using flosses from The Gentle Art: 0540 Brandy, 7007 Cidermill Brown, 7019 Pomegranate, 7039 Bayberry, 7057 Roasted Marshmallow, 7080 Endive, 7082 Piney Woods

And from Weeks Dye Works: 1236 Mocha, 1267 Kris’ Bon Bon, 2219 Whiskey, 2253 Sanguine

This design is now available in my etsy shop, and will be going out to my distributors and the shops on my automatic shipments list soon. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Woodsy Story

I have this story to tell.

Its a true story.

All about me and the Farmboy and our forest.

I love to write, but the thing is, this story has taken such a long time to develop, that I've been having a hard time deciding how to put it into words. Just a weensie bit overwhelmed by the winding trail that I somehow need to string together to catch you up to speed.

So the other night, as I was stirring a pot of dinner on the stovetop, when it started to come to me, I quickly plopped my laptop onto the counter and started to bang away at the keyboard in between stirs.

It goes like this...
It all began innocently enough. Two young people, each raised with a love of nature and woodlands, they had found each other and together began tending their own patch of forest.

One day a flier arrived in the mail inviting them to attend Tree School at a local college. It was to be a one-day affair, classes ranging from Silviculture 101 to Chainsaw Operation for Women, and everything in between. Were they in? You better believe it.
Each early Spring afterward, they eagerly awaited seed catalogues and the arrival of the new Tree School brochure. They spent long happy hours carefully selecting their classes, then completely enjoying the day once it arrived.

But it wasn’t enough. Each time, they left at the end of the day, inspired and eager to put their new knowledge to practice, but wanting more. So when the opportunity arose for them to take a more in-depth course that would last for several weeks, they couldn’t sign up fast enough.

The instructor of their class, an expert Forester and Woodland Manager, would go on to fondly refer to them as his “star pupils”. Praise which made them beam silly grins of pride.
Over the ensuing years, there were two children born to the not-quite-as-young-anymore people. Life became so busy that Tree School was no longer an option, and days spent tending their woods were much fewer and further between than they liked.

One Summer day, they got a call from their old instructor asking if he could stop in and see how their trees were faring. Of course they were happy to show him all of the improvements and developments on their parcel of land. Real dirt roads, a bridge, and a growing family of beavers changing the creek bed.
He must have liked what he saw on that visit, for a few short days later he called to ask if he could nominate them for an award. Surprised and amused, they thought it sounded like a fun opportunity and said to count them in!
Paperwork was prepared, a forest tour with local experts was conducted, and a few months later, they somewhat sheepishly sat down at a banquet table to find out what new direction their story might take.

There they sat, surrounded by a hundred and fifty fellow lovers of the forest, and watched a slide show detailing five different properties, including their own, that had been nominated.

At the end of the presentation, one by one, the nominees were called up to accept a plaque to commemorate the evening. The pair sat and waited for their names to be called, but four others were called first, leaving them surprised and pleased and feeling a bit bowled-over when they were awarded the title, “2012 Woodland Farmer of the Year”.
“For many years of passionate land stewardship toward multiple-use tree farm goals including wood, wildlife, and family values.”

THE END

Well, not really the end... Only the end of Chapter One. Who knows what Chapter Two will hold!