Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Seven Glimpses

Waiting for fabric, needing to be stitched, framed, or finished.
My workbasket is full.
Two antique reproductions, and five born of my imagination.
Seven new designs being prepared for you for the first half of 2012.
Just when I think I may run out of ideas, a perfect storm arrives and I have enough to last another year.
Please don't get tired of stitching my dears, because I doubt I will ever get tired of designing.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Runt

I know you have been anxiously awaiting some more puppy pictures, right?
This is the runt of the litter, weighing in at nearly a pound less than the rest of his siblings, but with no less energy or will to live.
One family on our litter list is completely smitten with him asked for a few extra photos, to which I happily complied.
But I just couldn't keep them in a folder on my desktop. They had to be shared with you all too. Even (and especially) this quite blurry YAWN.
Which was almost immediately followed by a vicious growl and bark aimed at the giant hand that was holding him.

I think I would bark if I was being held by a giant hand too.

Friday, January 27, 2012

*NEW* Friendship Pin Pillow and Needle Book

Well, my dears, this design was originally intended to be ready at the beginning of the month, to give you plenty of time to stitch it up for Valentine's Day. But then it was the stomach flu, followed by a birthday, puppies, snow, power outage, and you know... I just couldn't get it done!

The great thing is that it is super easily adaptable to whatever occasion suits you.
This design began, of all places, while sitting in the dentist’s chair. Prompted by the sometimes-distance found between my home and some of my favorite women. Two houses, representing us, a sweet little phrase, a peacock for longevity (their flesh was thought to not decay), with room for initials and a heart. I stitched it up with three color schemes and finished it three ways, as a pin cushion, needle book, and hem-edged sampler.

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Birthdays, or Just Because.

This pattern will come with charts for two different versions, with two additional phrases, should you choose to further customize it, color photograph, an alphabet, basic instructions for making a needle book, and my recommendations for floss and fabric. It will arrive in a plastic zip-close envelope for safe keeping.

I will also make available to anyone purchasing this pattern a free downloadable PDF tutorial for finishing the sampler into a pinkeep just like the model; in the tutorial I will have step-by-step instructions with color photographs.

Stitch Count: 101 x 85

Pincushion model stitched on Northern Cross 40ct Cream
Using thread from The Gentle Art: 0920 Tropical Ocean, 7004 Brethren Blue, 7019 Pomegranate, 7060 Picnic Basket, 7080 Endive
And thread from Weeks Dye Works: 2219 Whiskey, 3500 Sand

Needle Book model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 40ct Straw
Using thread from Weeks Dye Works: 2259 Cayenne

Sampler model stitched on Weeks Dye Works 30ct Red Pear
Using thread from The Gentle Art: 7049 Lambswool
And thread from Weeks Dye Works: 1236 Mocha, 1268 Molasses, 1336 Raspberry

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Need More Hellos.

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos. ~Charles M. Schulz

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. ~Henry David Thoreau
You all have been a balm to my heart this week.
You make this world feel spacious and full of Hellos.

** You know, I had a feeling you were going to ask, and forgot to put a note in here about the photo. It was taken from our bridge down in the woods. Looking upstream toward where our Beaver family are building their habitat. Bear Creek is a year-round stream, and home to trout, water skippers, crawdads, wood ducks, and plenty of other yet-to-be-seen creatures.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thank You

Thank you all so much for taking the time to pop in and send a message yesterday. Your words felt like big hugs from across the miles.
I feel like there are a million things I have been waiting to show you and write about, but they will still be there in a few days, as I regain my footing and get daily life feeling a bit more normal. It becomes a new normal each time life throws a curveball, doesn't it?
My Mother in Law joined us for a dinner of French Toast last night, and the evening was spent looking at old, old photos and talking about old stories. It was good. We decided that we need to add a standing appointment weekly for her to join us for dinner.
I finished a big sampler last night after the kids were in bed. Really big. I've been stitching on it for a long time, setting it down to get smaller designs finished, then picking it up again. Now to steam it and get a frame ordered. I think she just might be April's calendar girl.
Its raining buckets out there today. Lots of flooding down in the valleys, and our little creek is so swollen we can hear it gushing as soon as we open the door.
The kids are playing ping pong on the wii right now, and their giggles from the other room are a delight to hear.
There are nine roly-poly puppies out in the kennel, growing like crazy and keeping us busy. This coming weekend will be the first chance for their future families to come take a peek. We always enjoy getting to know a new group of Labrador people.
I appreciate you all so very much.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I have spent the last three days mentally composing and deleting and editing this post. I am not usually at a complete loss for words, but this time, every phrase has felt inadequate and incomplete. I know that many, if not all of you will understand though, so here it is…
It was November 13, 1998, the day I first met the man who would become my Father in Law. I don’t recall any words that he spoke to me that night, but I do remember his quiet presence across the table, and the way his eyes carefully watched and appraised this Girl who was with his Son. He must have liked what he saw though, because I was welcomed into his family with open arms.
Always an optimist, and quite a free spirit, there wasn’t much about him that was conventional and expected. One of the most resourceful and innovative people I have ever known, he one winter found himself just days before Christmas, being told that the house he was renting for his family had been sold and he had to get out. Most people would panic in that situation, and perhaps he did a little, but within days, he had secured property, bought a travel trailer and a generator, and was able to keep his family warm and dry until Spring, when he could build a structure for them to live in.
He had a way of seeing what was in a person before they themselves did, I think. And he had a way of encouraging and speaking to those qualities until they became obvious to that person. It was that way with my art. There is not one person on the face of the earth who has encouraged and cheered and added ideas to my artistic endeavors more than he. Always asking what I was up to next, and being truly thrilled with each success.
He himself was an artist, sometimes caught up by life circumstances and a practical nature, but always seeing with an eye that noticed lines and curves, color and contrast, in the beauty of our world. He learned to capture that beauty with his camera and with a hammer and with his words, often weaving stories that captivated the attention of everyone in the room.
Over the years, I have watched him in his relationship with my Farmboy, and enjoyed listening to their conversations, as they spent hours troubleshooting and fixing or building something. Fences, wells, bulldozers, houses, barns, cupboards, ponds, birdhouses, rock walls; you name it, they could together figure it out and build it better than ever before. The mutual respect and admiration that they had for each other was easily apparent to anyone who saw their interactions.
But what I appreciated about him the best, was his unwavering faith. Having experienced more than his share of heartache and difficulty in life, he remained grounded and secure in his relationship with his Heavenly Father. He knew, and demonstrated with his life, that people and situations would let him down, but that his Creator would always remain faithful. After struggling with illness for a very long time, that Creator came and rescued him from his broken body on Thursday evening.
I can’t claim to have known him best or longest or anywhere near the depth of those who have walked beside him for many more years. But I know that he loved me, and was proud to have me as Daughter by marriage. I never once doubted how he felt about the addition I made to the family. And for that I am very grateful.
I will miss him dearly for the rest of my days on earth, miss the place he held in my Farmboy's life, and regret the Grandpa-shaped hole in my Children's future. But together, with his brother and sisters, wife, daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren and countless friends, we will keep his life story vibrant and part of our verbal history. And together, we will remember the time coming when we will be reunited for eternity.
Joel Kevin Twist
August 11, 1942 - January 19, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well Hello There...

Is the real world still in place?

This post is brought to you by determination, grit, and a 5000 watt generator.

Since I last posted, we went from this...
to this...
That is greenhouse you see in the background, housing our generator, with the spotlight shining from the front of the kennel. If you look closely, under the weighed down branches of our Anniversary Tree, you can see the two foot deep deep pathway trampled by a thousand treks.
Is it any wonder a giant Douglas Fir tree snapped in half and took out a whole section of power lines and poles?

We have been on around-the-clock gas-up-the-generator-every-two-hours shifts to keep the puppies warm and alive.
We have extension cords snaked all over this house, and have to take turns plugging in the electrical devices that need to be used.
It now looks like this out there...
Roads are clear, rain is quickly melting away the two feet of snow that accumulated.

The power company got an earful this morning, due to the fact that their crew made a small repair yesterday afternoon at the end of the road, then apparently went home, leaving the majority of the damage untouched. They could give us no indication as to just how much longer we will have to wait, but from our appraisal of the damage, it might be quite a while. Big sigh.

It has been nearly two days of interrupted sleep, dirty bodies, dirty dishes, and general inconvenience. We are all learning to be very grateful for the blessing of electricity.

The romance and excitement of being snowed in and having the power go out was immediately erased by the stress and concern of keeping those puppies warm and alive. We are more than ready for normalcy to return.

And I can't stop thinking about how good a hot shower is going to feel.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


We got a little snow over the weekend.
And then we got a whole lot more last night.
(Someone, please tell me I'm not the only one with a dead Christmas tree still laying on the back deck?)

Grand total of about 8 inches right now and still blizzarding.
Its pretty out there.
And wild.
The Littles thought that making tracks in the four inches we had yesterday was fun.
Just wait until they get a chance to go out and play later today.
The school district is only on a 2 hour delay, but we are quite a bit higher in elevation than most of the district, and there is no way we are braving those roads for a measly 3 hour day of learning the alphabet. This kid can already read like a ten year old. Don't you think he deserves a snow day?

Oh, and did I mention... newborn puppies are trying to stay warm out in the kennel right now. Born throughout Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning.
Lucie was definitely an overachiever and gave birth to 13. A few of them were very small and weak. We are now down to 10 puppies (ten is still a big litter!), and making hourly trips to make sure everyone is cozy and dry.
It is hard work, and possibly more exhausting emotionally than physically. Those little pups are so weak and defenseless. Its hard to not feel like we should be out there guarding them like Mother hens every second. But with kids and jobs and chores, it just isn't feasable to drop everything. So we trek, back and forth, day and night, wishing the days away until they are older and stronger.