Thursday, May 28, 2009

We Like Dirt

First, the set-up.

Have I mentioned lately just how much I have missed working in my gardens these last four years? First tri-mester symptoms slammed my early Spring efforts down in 2005 and 2007. Infant care kept me in the house in 2006 and 2008.

Now it is 2009, and here is (oh, this is embarrassing) what my cherished herb garden looked like when I stepped out to survey the damages a few weeks ago...

The same garden that I hand-cut from the field sod several years ago, carefully graded and laid brick pathways with a "T" pattern for Twist, each pathway pointing in a direction of the compass and duly marked in brick with a N, S, E, W. The sweet herb garden pictured here in Autumn glory (2001- sorry, my scanner isn't working properly, so you get a picture of a scrapbook page)...

Okay, that was the setup, now back to Dirt.

Here is the Youngest, scooping dirt from a molehill into a bucket.

And the Boys, planting strawberries in the dirt.

Here is the Daddy playing in the dirt with his Tractor (double the pleasure, double the fun!); tilling the beautiful soil for our vegetables to grow in.

Please pay attention to the foreground, and noticeable progress on aforementioned herb garden, thanks to my very own somewhat atrophied muscles and the sweat of my brow...

And just last evening, as darkness was sweeping in, I scattered the last few seeds, turned on the sprinkler, and couldn't resist taking a picture to show you a very beautiful thing...

"Don't cut the Tractor out of the picture!" says aforementioned Daddy with unveiled shock and horror in his voice. Well, okay then...

I must be completely honest, and confess that it isn't *quite* finished; I still have the upper shoulder to weed and mulch, and the pathways still need to be de-weeded, but after three weeks and countless children-induced interruptions, I couldn't help celebrating a teensy bit.

Last, but Certainly not least, the place where we will be able to continue playing with Dirt well into the Winter months, our Greenhouse has a roof and side walls!

Isn't my Sweetheart clever? No stock plans or drawings for this fella, nosirree. It's make-it-up-as-you-go Brilliance every time.

And in case you were wondering, yes, the vegetable garden is mostly all planted now too, and will be watered with drip line this year. But the only tiny bit of responsibility I can claim for myself is one little row of mesclun that I planted. The rest has been taken care of by the Daddy with a little help from one very eager Son.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

General Cuteness

Who has the cutest kids in the world? MEEEEEE!

Thomas and Friends experiencing sandy fun by the firepit...

Little Miss All-Grown-Up...

I have no words, just "Awwwwwww....."

Mmmm. Yummy. Messy. Chocolatey. S'mores.

Monday, May 25, 2009

And the Winner is...

Constance Sullivan! Prudence put in a valiant effort and was a close second, so you can look forward to herself being the next "oldie but goodie" chart release. I'm working hard to get my patriotic sampler finished in time for June's arrival, then my efforts will be transferred to getting Constance charted. Thanks for the help! That was fun...

Oh, and I bet you want to know who won the drawing? Here you all are, printed out on a sheet...

cut into strips...

and placed in a tiny little vintage wooden chest that I recently found...

I enlisted my Assistant Extraordinaire to shake you up a bit...

close his eyes (I think he's peeking, but he can't read yet, so it doesn't really count, right?) and pick out a name...

ELLEN! (look at those grubby little fingers- can you tell we've been out enjoying the Oregon sunshine a LOT this weekend?)

and, since we were having so much fun, the Assistant Extraordinaire thought we should draw one more "for Katie"...


Ellen and Nancy, please email me at: so that I can arrange getting a pattern of your choice out to you!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Tomorrow, we will Honor the brave Soldiers who have given their lives fighting for our Freedom. We won't attend any ceremonies or place flags on any graves. But we will savor the fresh air that we breathe, and we will plant our vegetable garden knowing that this land that is ours to use and enjoy was bought at a price even above our own labor and mortgage.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sittin' on the Porch

These photos were taken last weekend during a visit from members of my family. I love this one of Katie (wearing Jack's old camo overalls!) with my Mama and Grandma...


And for those of you keeping track, here is some progress on the greenhouse:

And don't forget... you have until Monday to place your vote for my next oldie-but-goodie sampler pattern release. And in case you are wondering, I will most likely release them ALL at some point, I just thought it would be fun to let you choose which comes first. So far, Constance is only 1 ahead of Prudence, and EN is trying ever so hard to catch up! Scroll down for your chance to get in on the action!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Your Choice... and a Giveaway

I am currently hard at work on a patriotic design that I am hopeful will be ready for an early June release- its taking me FOREVER to finish, because I am stitching it up two ways, one as a pinkeep, and one as a sampler.

I have been looking at photos of some of my older designs- the ones that I stitched to sell as a finished sampler- back before I had cross stitch software. A few of them are begging me to be published. I picked my top four candidates, and thought I'd let you decide which is the first to be pulled out of mothballs.

Here they are, in no particular order:
Elizabeth West:

Constance Sullivan- I hated the fabric that I stitched this one on, but love the trio of bouquets inspired by a mid 1800's sampler.

EN 1815, stitched with a vintage variegated Coats and Clark floss from my Grandma's sewing basket...

Prudence Talcott, the only one of my finished samplers that I regret selling- almost as much for that pretty vintage frame as for the sampler itself!

As for the Giveaway... I will draw a name from those who offer feedback in the comments on this blog post (please include your vote for one of the above designs). The drawing will be on Monday, Memorial Day. The winning person will be able to either pick one of my currently available charts for free, or can sign up to be the first to receive the newly-charted, democratically-chosen sampler choice from above.

Sound like fun?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ah, me...

What has happened to me? I am someone who thrives on calm, quiet, peace, organization, creativity, focus... yet I am the mother of a Preschooler and a Toddler, which in and of itself is enough to set the most stoic off their kilter. And I have stepped into a business venture that just might be over my head!

I have the stitchers of the world to thank for liking my patterns enough to buy them (and hopefully stitch them too!). I have been making so many trips lately to my local copy shop that I don't even have to tell them who I am, they simply re-set the copy counter when I walk in the door, and off I go.

Fortunately, the copy shop is just across the parking lot from our library, so a quick stop for a few books for the kids, and they are generally well behaved while I stand at the copier.

I can't tell you how I look forward to the day that I decide my profits are enough that I can buy or lease my own copier!

In the meantime, I will share with you one brief, magically quiet moment I had this weekend:

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Happens When you Give a 3 Year Old a Camera...

Katie and the Drawer of Wonders.

Now you know what I'm REALLY like...

Still Life with Bananas, Old Wooden Bowl, Office Depot box, and Garbage.

Big vs. Little.

Dog Butt.


Little Sister.

And I quote, "Mama! Say cheese!"...


Light Fixture.

Ice Cream.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Needed That... and a Little Bit of History

Until just a few days ago, this is how I kept my pens and pencils on my desk:

Clever, yes... I love that vintage flower frog, and love the idea of using it in this way. But it was not very practical. My pens and pencils were always toppling over, and some were too fat to even fit properly without bending the wires.

Then, on a recent trip to "Oldwill" (as Jack calls it), I found this:


Now, for the history... the people in the photograph are my Great-Grandparents, August Ray and Eunice Pearl (she went by Pearl most of her life, and is the reason we chose Pearl for our Katie's middle name). August and Pearl grew up on neighboring pieces of property in Oklahoma. Their fathers "won" the rights to those pieces of property in the Oklahoma Run. Growing up as neighbors, and classmates in their small country school, and both being part of large families, not only did August and Pearl eventually marry, but one of his brothers married one of her sisters (or maybe it was the other way around, I can't remember).

They later sold their farm and property because of financial difficulties related to drought and the railroad cutting their land in half, and moved out West during the Dust Bowl years, looking for a financially stable place to raise the last of their 9 children. My Grandma has memories of that long, hard trip, with all of their belongings strapped to the car, and the following years being made fun of by other kids because she was an "Okie".

The other branches of my family line immigrated around the turn of the century, so I am a true representation of the Melting Pot that is our Great Country.

In the future, I am planning to design a completely indulgent line of samplers representing the four countries of my Great-Grandmothers (England, Denmark, Norway, and the USA). I'm very excited about the idea, but a bit daunted by the research I'll have to do as well!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Mother's Day Weekend

For starters, Matt was able to take Friday off, and the sun came out for the entire 3-day weekend! Progress was made on my little greenhouse...

Playtime in the sunshine happened for the kids...

Carhartts, John Deere, and yes...

that IS a fake tattoo on Katie's arm. :)

We are "Country" through and through.

I enjoyed a bit of one of my very favorite pasttimes... gardening! After four Springtimes of being either pregnant or with an infant in tow, our flower beds are in serious disrepair. Here is a before and after view of the flower bed along the walk to the house:

I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my sweet Jack:

My Lilacs were right on cue, finally opening their little buds on Mother's Day...

And the Wild Strawberry Vine was so sweet I couldn't resist adding it here.

I didn't get to see my Mama on Mother's Day (we'll make up for it later this week with a visit to her home), and we didn't make it to church because of a rough night for Katie and I. But the Vitamin D absorbed into our skin had all the good endorphins flowing, so I didn't mind too much.

While sometimes feeling trapped by the duties of caring full time for two Small Ones, in truth, I cherish these moments. I know that they will grow up all too quickly and then I will have more time on my hands but less time with my babies. I am Blessed and Honored to have been given these two precious children to share my life with.