Friday, January 29, 2010

Backporch Picnic

I know that many of you are enduring yet another cold, snowy, winter day, and even here it is a bit gloomy with rain pending.

But yesterday! Yesterday there was glorious sunshine all morning, and by lunchtime the back porch had dried enough to take our lunch into the great outdoors.

There was leftover mac and cheese (homemade, with whole wheat pasta!) and sliced strawberries and sippy cups.

The sun warmed our hair and the fresh air cleansed our lungs.

It was quite a delightful way to spend a January afternoon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Signs of Spring

Here it is, not even the end of January, and already we are seeing the beginning signs of Spring.

It has been a very mild Winter so far, with just barely a dusting of snow. While in other parts of the country you have seen record snowfalls and cold.

I really do enjoy the coming of warmer weather each year, but the kids and I are anxious for at least one good snowfall first... we want to build a snowman and go sledding!

Instead, we will be playing outside in the balmy 50 degree air, and frolicking past the blooming Heather.

I think that we will spend some time perfecting a Snow Dance while we are out there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Free Chart for Valentines Day

I know that I already have a Valentine booklet out, but had such a hard time resisting yet another idea for that sentimental holiday which will be arriving soon. Not inspired by a sampler this time, but rather by a Victorian era postcard.

I am a bit of a sucker for old fonts, so I thought I would try my hand at reproducing the lettering...

The original was printed with a soft red, matte gold, and summer-skies blue. I envision it looking something like this:

Enjoy! And as always, will you please share photos of your finishes with me? I love seeing what you do with my designs.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sharing My Joy

Its hard to be grumpy for long with these two little people around. They bring me Joy multiple times a day. I hope their smiles brighten your day too!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Pattern Release... I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

I have long admired blackwork embroidery with its simple elegance and monochrome color scheme. I realize that cross-stitching is not a traditional way to create blackwork, but since I am not very practiced in embroidery techniques, I present for you here a modern interpretation.

To create this design, I studied pictures of antique samplers in my digital collection, looking for wintery borders and bands. I copied or adapted them to fit the design, and added some key phrases from a favorite Winter song, written by Irving Berlin in 1937…

The snow is snowing,
the wind is blowing,
But I can weather the storm.
What do I care how much
it may storm?
I've got my love to keep me warm...

Stitch Count: 123 x 233

Model stitched on
Weeks Dye Works 35ct. Straw linen

Using Weeks Dye Works flosses:
3900 Kohl, 1331 Brick

The lovely frame is an antique.

It is now available by directly contacting me (, or through my new etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jumping Through Hoops

I have been hard at work this last day.

Its been a little frustrating, but work that must be done, nevertheless...

Neither Facebook or etsy allow name changes. Really! So in order to avoid too much confusion, I have had to create entirely new pages for Heartstring Samplery.

If you look over to your right on my sidebar, you will see etsy snapshots for TWO SHOPS... a new one for sampler charts, and the old one for everything else. For the time being, I will continue to operate the old etsy shop, and will stock it with finished goods. I am not certain whether I will keep it open for the long term, but I will at least for now.

Currently, in my original etsy shop, along with some papercuttings and a Blessing Box, there are some charts all made up and ready to go, but with the old logo on the cover. I have greatly reduced the price on these charts! Please help me get rid of the old stock, and add to your stash at a nicely reduced price!

If you are on facebook, you can check out my new fan page here (there is also a button on the sidebar that will transport you).

Thank you for bearing with me...

I'm going to go put my feet up now!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Changing my Name

When I first named my business "Heartstring Primitives", it was a good title for what I created and sold... various primitive-style items, using a variety of art mediums. When the snowball effect occurred that launched me into sampler pattern sales, I was still operating my primitives business. But as my pattern sales grew, I found I had less time for creating finished goods, and began to grow uncomfortable with the "Primitives" part of my business name. I added the word "Samplery" to my pattern covers, with the intention of eventually eliminating "Primitives" altogether. I feel that the time to make that move is now.

Samplers... the stitching and designing and reproducing of samplers was what started me on my journey into the world of online sales, and it feels right and true to myself to be returning to that origin. I am sure that I will continue to offer finished goods to my blog followers as inspiration moves my fancy, but the primary focus of my business will once again be on the needlework that I love so very much.

So, starting today, I would like to begin the transition from being known as "Heartstring Primitives" to being known as "Heartstring Samplery". I have a new logo, designed using one of my very own papercuttings that represents the feeling I truly want to convey, that the designs I present to the world, are all creations that spring forth from my heart. I am strongly convicted to never, ever offer a design that is not meaningful in some way to me. I will not offer designs that were made just to generate money, but rather to generate an emotional response, a resonation in the hearts of my customers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Shadow

My business isn't changing, but I finally have a "look" that I am excited about.

Meet my shadow, formed from paper
with scissors and knife,
born from a seed of inspiration
that was certainly planted by God.

She will go many, many places
that I will never set foot,
she will travel the country
and perhaps the world... in my stead.
Stay tuned for more details.


Jack has lately been talking about what he wants to be when he grows up. And its a humdinger...

A Paleontologist.

I guess its not THAT out of the ordinary for a little boy to be interested in dinosaurs. But he also wants to be...

A Rockstar.

Said just like that. Alloneword. Rockstar.

And the funny thing, is that I actually believe he could be both things at the same time... don't you?

It all became concrete on our return trip from the beaver dam last Sunday. We were hiking up through the woods to the road, wading through waist-high ferns, when Jack astounded us by suddenly saying, "Hey- these plants are like what Herbivores eat!"

Stunned silence. The boy JUST turned 4. Then, laughter and, "You are ABSOLUTELY right, Jack... how on EARTH did you know that?"

"I learned it from the Paleontologist."

He then went on to tell us exactly what Paelontologists do.

Its inevitable, isn't it, that a little boy will go through a period of time in his life when he thinks that he will never, ever leave home? And better yet, that when he grows up, the woman he will marry is his very own Mother?

This morning, he came to me and said, "Mama, when I grow up and I'm a Paleontologist and a Rockstar, I am going to help you with the chores, and you will be my wife. Because I love you so, so, so, so, much!"

Look out, little girls in the Oregon Trail School District... Jack is growing up quickly and he's a charmer!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Visiting the Beavers

For nearly a year and a half now, I have posted from time to time about the Beaver family that has taken up residence in our creek bottom. It is thick, brushy and swampy down in that area of our property, not really appropriate for little people, so I have never actually seen our new neighbors with my own eyes.

So it was with much excitement when we set out on Sunday for a Long Explore, all four of us, down to visit the Beavers.

The littlest Twist, aka Birthday Girl was carried most of the journey, and often Matt and I were both schlepping children, passing them over a deep portion of the stream, or carrying them while walking upstream ourselves.

But it was well worth the effort! Believe me when I tell you that the photos simply cannot do justice to the vastly changed creek bottom. The system of dams and ponds that our Beaver family have built is simply amazing. I think I can understand a little now, why some folk are not happy when members of this remarkable animal family move onto their property.

Little bits of color in the midst of marshy, muddy, boggy, slimy-ness.

Colorful wellies are a MUST when traversing the low parts along Bear Creek. A "Bah, Humbug!" to those who insist on wearing the boring Black type.

Not a result of Beaver activity, but rather one of several Tree-Growing-Out-Of-Roots-Of-Fallen-Tree scenarios scattered throughout our forest. Do you see there at the top of the photo? The new tree has been growing up, up, up, for some 50 plus years, finding nourishment to continue to thrive despite the old original tree lying dead and rotting on the ground beside. The mass you see is the bottom of the root ball from that old tree.

And here you see, with bodies in place for perspective, the largest part of the Beaver's efforts- a 4 foot tall dam that stretches perhaps 150 feet into the distance, creating a pond. Out in the pond is a classic Beaver mound, where the family is living. It is a bit hard to see, but the water is right up to the top edge of the dam.

Better seen in this photo...

Heading back home after a quite satisfying adventure...

If ever you are in the woods of Oregon, perhaps you will drop in for a visit? We can go on a Long Explore together- I think I might like to take tea and cookies along the next time, find a rock, and sit awhile.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where Did the Time Go?

My baby girl turned TWO yesterday!



and Sassy as can be...

Katie is also Charming, Shy, Independant, Loyal and Adventurous. We are enjoying the rapid growth of her vocabulary and physical abilities as she strives to leave toddlerhood behind.

Sweet Girl, we are so very glad to have you in our family!
Happy Second Birthday!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Oh. My.

I just discovered a new favorite indulgence...

Need I say more?

And for the record, this is my other favorite...

just in case you wanted to know.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

On Days Like This

The forest beckons me.

There is something quite wonderful
about the stark days of winter,
when the weather is mild,
and the woods are at rest.

I want to go on a Long Explore (Piglet and Pooh-style),
not returning home until the shadows are long,
and Supper is already laid out on the table.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Holiday Highlights

I so enjoy being caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays each year. The festive spirit in the air, the time spent with family and friends, the making and giving of gifts. The little and big traditions that add brightness to the season.

A few favorite moments captured on film...

Drinking hot cocoa on a positively frigid night, at a packed-out Oregon Zoo bedecked in lights...

later, standing with a certain train-obsessed 4 year old, as the Zoo Train whooshed out clouds of steam around us, blew its whistle loud in our ears and chuffed away...

hearing a certain almost 2 year old exclaim, "Mama! Chrish-ish!" each and every time her eyes spotted colored lights as we went about our days...

a frosty Christmas morning, pure and crisp, remembering and reflecting on the birth of our Savior...

barely-contained joy and excitement from my two sweet children, helping me to once again see the Season new and fresh...

silly-ness and laughter on many occasions for no particular reason...

and many, many more moments and happenings that would take too long to share here in this one little blog post. I am happy to have entered the new year, and am looking forward to some exciting things that will take place, some that I know of, and others yet to be discovered. There will be hard times too, I know, but the joy and festivity of this past Season will linger, adding its spark to the other sparks from holiday seasons past.

May you live each day of this new year with a spark of remembered joy!