Monday, September 21, 2015

George Gets a Makeover

Last October, I was in our local department store, and saw a garden gnome that just had to come home with me. Every winter, I look out my kitchen windows at a drab backyard. Yes, we live in a beautiful part of the country, surrounded by gorgeous forest land, but nevertheless, looking out at the same patch of colorless yard doesn't make me smile when the rain continues for weeks on end.

So I took it upon myself to improve my winter view with some native evergreen plants and one silly gnome, which I named George.

Here he is, one year ago, in his new home.
Even though he was proclaimed to be an outdoor garden ornament, the quality of his paint job was apparently not up to snuff. By the time December rolled into January, he was already showing signs of weather damage, and the arrival of Spring was greeted with much embarrassment on his part. Poor George. It wasn't his fault. He did his job well, providing many smiles during the gloomy months.
With another winter looming, I took it upon myself to do something I had never done in my life: use paints to decorate a three-dimensional figure. Armed with tips from a lady at my local Home Depot (let's hope her suggestions are more trustworthy than his original label), I bought supplies and waited for the perfect day.

The Farmboy used one of his toys (sandblaster!) to get the remnants of old paint off, and I ignored all other duties for an entire relaxing warm and sunny day in the outside air.
He may not have the same depth of detail, but I can guarantee his new coat of paint is thicker and very well coated with protective lacquer.
Plus, he now has glitter on his lampglass and a shimmery golden belt. Not to mention green pants, instead of that old pair, which was a quite shabby shade of brown.
The hours I spent bringing him back to a presentable condition will be absolutely worth it as he repays me by providing smiles from his home outside my window.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Letting Off Steam in the Great Outdoors :: Green Beans :: Down in the Valley :: Perch :: Droplets :: That Summer when the Sunflower Forest Sprung Up Beside Our House :: Pretty Weeds :: Morning Forage :: I Heart Squash :: Last Days of Summer :: Preen :: Church Should Always Take Place in Tree Cathedrals :: Don't Mind Me, Just Out for a Stroll :: On Any Given Day in Oregon :: Come Sit :: Final Firepit :: Evening Grosbeak :: Coffee Shop Checkers :: Western Sky :: Glow

Friday, September 11, 2015

*NEW* Victoria's Garden (a Faithfully Reproduced Antique Sampler)

This may have been the most nail-biting purchase of an antique sampler in my experience. I had spotted it for sale by auction online, but the closing time was on Sunday morning during our usual church time. No problem, I thought, that’s what smart phones are for, right? I felt very naughty, checking the auction during the sermon, but I wanted this sampler SO very badly. As the teaching was wrapping up, I realized with horror that he was going to finish preaching before the auction’s end, and I was due back on the stage for the closing song. So with a few quickly jotted instructions to the Farmboy, I left the strategy of bidding in his hands. I honestly don’t know how I made it through that last song. I must have been playing my guitar and singing on auto-pilot. I most certainly wasn’t mindfully in the spirit of the song. It was all I could do to not watch my advocate sitting there in the pew, trying to subtly bid on that auction. And finally… a huge smile and a thumbs up. And aren’t we all glad I broke the rules of propriety for this gorgeous piece?

Unsigned and undated, all I know from this sampler is that it is from England, and based on the materials and overall look of the motifs, I guess to be from the mid-1800’s. I therefore dubbed it “Victoria’s Garden”. If you want to personalize this piece with your name and date using your favorite alphabet, there’s room up at the top left. I wonder if the original stitcher intended to do so herself? The overall layout is so well thought out that leaving that space there must have been intentional.

Stitch Count: 247 x 191
Model stitched with one thread over two
on R&R Reproductions’ 28ct. Winter Brew

Using flosses from Classic Colorworks: Pebble Beach, Roasted Chestnut

And from The Gentle Art: Old Brick, Country Redwood (2 skeins), Woodrose, Pomegranate, Caramel Corn, Endive (4 skeins)

And from Weeks Dye Works: Light Khaki, Goldenrod, Dove, Tin Roof, Dirt Road, Collards, Pink Sand

Conversion to DMC available on request.

Frame on the original (top) is an antique.
Frame on the model (bottom) by Valley House Primitives.

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:

Monday, September 07, 2015


Almost all of my favorite things are represented here.
The Farmboy and coffee being two of the most obvious absentees.