Thursday, April 30, 2009

Plotting and Scheming

Here in the Cascade foothills, Spring comes a bit more slowly than in the valleys of Oregon. Some early birds that I know already have growing gardens, while we have yet to even till the soil. But our time to plant is almost here, and I spent some time over the weekend doing one of my most favorite yearly things: plotting the vegetable garden.

I have kept every single one of my garden maps since our first in 2001, but the map from last year (the most important one for planning this year's garden!)has disappeared, so I relied on my fuzzy memories of walking the paths with my clingy baby Katie in her sling.

This year, I plan to completely gut my little herb garden, because in the aftermath of two spring pregnancies and two spring infant years, it has become completely overgrown, and infested with weeds and oregano. It isn't in the best location for most herbs, being to the North of the house, and therefore not getting as much sun as many herb-y plants need. So, much of it will be turned into a seasonal garden rather than housing perrennial herbs (which will be relocated to the vicinity of the rock wall where it is much warmer and sunnier).

Oh, my mouth is watering, just Thinking about those fresh veggies that we will be eating in a few months. I can hardly wait!

Caught up in plotting, I then moved on over to my computer, where I charted a brand new sampler that I'm now very excited about stitching up. Its another big one, and quite different from any that I've done previously. AND I also designed a patriotic pinkeep that I need to get stitched up quick for the coming Summer!

The scheming I referred to in the post title is what Matt has been up to, and I don't have any photos to reflect his labors just yet, but he has gathered up a pile of old windows and lumber, and is going to build "me" (we all know it is really for him!) a greenhouse. A little 12 by 8, cute as a bug greenhouse that will allow us to get a jump start on plants next Spring, and maybe even have some greens growing into the early Winter.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A New Blog!

Ladies and Gentlemen, announcing a brand new blog, dedicated to showcasing your finished Heartstring Primitives designs!

Since this blog that you are now reading is first and foremost about my life and family, it naturally includes announcements and updates about my little design business. I have been wanting to show off the finishes that you have sent to me, but wasn't sure how to go about it without changing the nature of my personal blog. Then I had one of those moments of clarity recently when I realized *you-need-your-very-own-blog* for show and tell time!

Go check it out! Let me know what you think! Become a follower! Email your pictures! You are such a creative, talented group of people, and I love seeing the countless ways you interpret my designs.

This blog will still be the place to find updates and new design announcements, and free charts too, while the other blog will showcase YOU and your Talents.

Ready... Set... GO!

My Poor Little Barn is Dead

I am so sad.

My little barn down in the canyon wasn't being used for anything, and was old and leaky, but oh-so-sweet.

I have loved taking photos of her (why do I think of her as a "her"?) sitting there in the glade looking all rustic and full of mystery.

I have picked blackberries on warm sunny days with my back to hers.

I always imagined that someday she would be a nice little picnic spot for the kids and I, or that she would serve some other romantic, creative, imaginative purpose. Or even that she would house a sheep or two.

But she simply could not withstand one more winter, and quietly succumbed one day to the weight of a December snow.

It will be a bit of work, but we will gather her boards and nails, her rusty hinges, and maybe even some of the moss from her roof. We will save her skeletal remains, and put them to use. Because we are country folk, and that is what we do.

And someday, if her parts are used to make something really nifty, I'll be sure to share it here with you, my faithful readers.

In the meantime, I am still feeling sad. Sniff...

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Its that time of year again, when busy farm folk are shearing their sheep and putting the freshly clipped wool to good use.

Here at Hillside Farm, we don't raise sheep, but there is plenty of Springtime shearing going on anyway...

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Like Cutting Things

I love the sound of scissors cutting cloth on the tables at the fabric store.

I love how it feels to run the rotary cutter through a piece of wool.

And I love cutting away little bits of paper with my knife, watching as my design emerges from a single plain sheet of paper.

This will be listed next week on ebay:

I also love stitching the cut pieces back together. :)

This was inspired by a friend, and is being made entirely for myself:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beavers, a Boy, and His Dog

Recently, the Boys went down to inspect the Beaver Dam to check up on their progress. At one point this winter, the dam had almost completely washed away from flooding, but true to their nature, our critters have been busy, and are carefully re-building. I still haven't been down to see it myself, but Matt says that the bottom of the canyon has been totally changed, and is having a blast watching his very own live nature preserve in action! (click the links to see previous posts about the beavers).

The Boy has taken to calling Bailey "MY dog". He apparently is no longer the family dog, but belongs to him alone. And don't they look like they are about to cause some trouble?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Apparently, Gingerbread-Mama and Gingerbread-Jack escaped the cutter bowl and decided to take a walk. The turkey decided to follow, and is very curious to see what Ginger-Jack is carrying in his little biscuit pail...

Apparently, I have a collection of birds. I seriously didn't realize just how many I had acquired until I needed to find a home for an old decoy that Matt got for his birthday. I gathered the whole flock for a photo shoot, just so's you could see. (click on the photo to enlarge).

Apparently, Katie isn't *quite* ready to drop down to just one nap a day...

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Decidedly Great Weekend

It all started on Friday with the decorating of the table for Daddy's birthday...

Bathtime, again with a nod to the birthday boy...

Presents (what other person do you know who would LOVE to receive "Mole Chasers" for his birthday?

On Saturday there was a celebratory feast with some family and friends:

I got to play in the dirt Sunday afternoon after church and while the kids were napping... amazing what one Mama can accomplish in an hour with no kiddos to distract her!

And one final celebration of a sunny, WARM weekend, with good friends, hot dogs, new sunglasses, and s'mores down at the firepit...

(yes, that is Mr. Cool in the chair, still wearing his sunglasses despite the dark!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, My Love

I did not have the privelege of knowing the boy that you were.

I didn't share in the adventures of your teenage years.

But I was blessed to meet you while we were still young, in our twenties, with many bright years ahead to share.

And many adventures yet to come...

I love you deeply, with all my heart.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Joining in the Fun

I have never taken part in a fun little contest like this, but since I just finished up another large sampler, it was timed perfectly for me to get a break from big projects, and I just might win some treasures in the process. Here is my progress from evening #1 on Blackbird Design's "Petites Lettres Rouges".

And here is a photo of the finished piece:

With the dozens of samplers that I have stitched, I have never once used my name or the actual date. I decided it was time! The needlepunched button box was made by Betty Dekat, and is a favorite treasure. Also in the photo is a hand-carved wooden quail made by my friend Janelle's father, and the tiny skeleton key belonged to my Grandmother.

I'm not sure how I will finish the sampler. I usually frame them, but maybe this time I'll make it into something else...

There is still time for you all to get in on the contest... follow the link above to the Blackbird Designs blog to get the free chart and details.

Flowers from my Sweetheart

A perfect little bouquet of Trillium and Bleeding Heart fronds, both native Oregon wildflowers that grow profusely in our forest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Gotta Love Sesame Street

Lately, when Jack is watching one of his shows on TV, it is either commercial free PBS or our new addition of QUBO (thanks to the digital switch-over. No cable television here, just local channels).

He has become quite taken with the infomercials that QUBO runs. Yes, infomercials. Not the program-length ones, but the ones with all-too-convincing narrators for weird products.

He will suddenly come running into the room, urgently asking, "Mama! Do you have belly fat???!" or, "You know that hose windy thingy? We NEED one for the garden!"

So this morning, while watching Sesame Street, I was so happy that the urgency was because, "MAMA! I NEEEED some Vegetables!"

That's my boy. :)

(disclaimer: Jack already loves vegetables, so its really not that big of a miracle that a silly Monster song would create such a strong desire for baby carrots. But still...)

A New Frame for Ann Taylor

For a very long time now, at least a year, my Ann Taylor sampler has continued to languish without a suitable frame to display her in. So you must imagine how happy I am now to show you this:

The frames made by Valley House Primitives are absolutely lovely, and I couldn't be happier to finally have a suitable home for Ann.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This is Oregon

This is how we spent the first weekend in April:

And today, this is what we awoke to...

I keep saying, "I'm SO glad this is our last snowfall of the season!" and we keep getting more snow... Down in the valley it has been Spring for a month.

But I still wouldn't trade my home for anything!