I Spy...

It's a beautiful & sunny Saturday morning!
The earth is starting to warm up,
green plants are beginning to stretch and yawn,
peaking from under winter blankets of leaves.
My most favorite time of the year.

I spy



 Wild violets...

{Note to violets} Hurry up sweet violets,
I need a small handful of your little purple blooms!
You are needed for a prop in a photo shoot...

I spy...
a fluffy spring sheep!

Sweet Violets will include a spring sheep.
  The vast majority of  those that left comments here,
and on Facebook,
 wanted a sheep.
The sheep can easily be omitted
for those who don't do sheep,
just extend the flower stems down to meet the pasture.
The sheep just seemed to work for this design,
am glad I went with this version.
I am going to spend the day outdoors,
 cleaning off the flowerbeds.
  Am also thinking,
 it would be a great day to put some meat in the smoker....
maybe some ribs or pork shoulder,
 and a couple of chickens.
Hope you are enjoying a beautiful,
 Saturday in your little
 "neck of the woods".

With thy Needle & Thread,


Violets & Eyelets

You may recall from my last post 
that I've been busy stitching
Spring Violets.
I hinted about adding wool accents...
Simulating the cross stitched violets
into wool ones...

I found  the perfect match,
in wool felt,
to create these tiny little wool violets.
about the size of a dime.
See the little bumblebee?

I think I am close,
perhaps just a wee-tad smaller
in size...


Love the texture that this will add to the overall piece.

And since this piece has added detail,
I thought adding some little eyelet stitches for the grass was in order...

When I chart a design, it is never a "one and done".  How's that for some basketball terminology? 
 Any UCONN fans here? 
If so, congrats!
 They knocked my team out (ISU) in the Sweet 16, so I cheered them on. 
Okay, back to stitching...
When I chart a design, I always have 2 or more versions of the design.  They are all slightly different.  Then I get to choose which one I like best.  I am to the point of my stitching on this design that I need to decide if I am going to go with version 1 or 2.  Do I stitch the sheep on this piece, or do I leave it off?  Help me!  Do you want a sheep or not!???
The overall size of this piece is what I would consider small. 
 Not sure if a frame is in order
 or a finish into a little cupboard tuck or hanger.  

Our snow is now gone, 
we had a nice little shower last evening.
It smells like spring outside today,
Spring Violets coming soon...
real ones,
wool ones,
and cross stitched ones!

I have been having issues with spammers commenting.
I have switched my commenting over to moderating them,
hoping to deter these spammers.
Anyone else having problems with this?

Have a good day,



I could have run outside this morning 
and shot a picture of our 5" of  wet & heavy snow
 that fell overnight...
but I won't,
I will spare you.
Am sure you are as ready for some spring-like weather,
 as I.

A few weeks ago we traveled to Colorado to spend a long weekend with Matthew.
He and a group of friends rent a condo for the ski season.
I am deathly afraid of heights.  
He failed to tell me this condo sits at the top of the mountain.
I should have known better, I know.
Look out the windows and you are at the tree line.

Pretty view, 
I don't disagree.  
 I don't like that out of breathe feeling...tends to put me into panic mode.
Walking up steps is an effort,
getting dressed is an effort,
putting your groceries in the car is an effort.
I think I could lose weight if I stayed there long enough!

Everybody skied, but me.
  I ventured down the mountain,
 and shopped the outlet mall that sits at the bottom.  
A stream runs through the outlets and it is always fun to watch
people fly fish the stream.

There was plenty of time for stitching, too.
However, my arm is still not allowing me to stitch for extended periods of time.
I did finished the Mary Jane Smallman sampler on the Colorado trip.
She is awaiting her frame...

The following week I spent a few days with the grand kids.
Daddy was in Iceland on business, 
and Dave and I helped out with the kids,
and kept Mommy company.  
They are growing up so fast.
Beckham starts kindergarten this fall
Avry  turns two this month...
how did this happen so quickly?

I've had some time to chart some new designs.  
I use two computer monitors at my desk.
  One for charting and the other is currently set on the Decorah Eagle Cam.

The first eaglet hatched on Wednesday.
  I happened to be sitting at the computer charting a design
 and was able to witness the first hatch...pretty cool!
 Bob, the Decorah Eagle Guy, was on our local news last evening.  
He mentioned they were afraid that there would be no eaglets this year due to the 20 plus degrees below zero weather that we had during the incubation.  
These eagle parents are amazing birds. 
 They are dedicated to their eggs, 
no matter the weather conditions.
  He said something along the lines that the eggs have to remain at some 90 degrees and cannot get over some 100 degrees (can't remember exact degrees).  
When bad weather approaches the parent doesn't leave the nest.  
They can't, or the eggs would freeze.  
setting on the next too long
can raise the temperature of the eggs, which isn't good either.

There is a pip hole in egg number 2,
 guessing a hatch will happen today.  

Moving onto some new stitching...

I was looking at my floss color ring the other day.  It happened to be sitting on the kitchen table,
as I was eating a bowl of soup for lunch. 
  The above is how the colors laid out. 
 How pretty, I thought.
  Love those shades of purple,
 with the green and yellows...
 I don't use too much purple in my design work.  
What could I do with these colors that were haphazardly placed in front of me?  
So, I went to work.
The colors reminded me of all the little violets that are scattered in the shady spots of our yard,
each spring.    
What mother hasn't received a little hand filled with these spring-time flowers?

Spring Violets...
 and with any luck, 
the snow will be gone
 and I'll have real spring violets 
to use as props in the photo shoot
 for this piece.  
 Have planned some dimensional wool applique, 
along with the cross stitch in this piece...
we shall see where this takes me.

Have a good weekend,


Lots of new goodies!

Good Tuesday Morning!

Some new arrivals in the shop to share with you...
A wonderfully prim candle holder that I am excited about and makes me think outside of the box a bit...

While it works for holding a grubby candle,
 looky at what else you can do with these great pieces!
Perfect bases for pinkeeps!

Here I am showing the Brambleberry Bunting Pinkeep Biscuit on top of the candlestick base.
Perfect!  I love it!
The black tin clamp easily adjusts to accommodate varying widths of table tops,
with a gentle squeeze.
I have a few design ideas swirling around in my head...
  watch for future designs incorporating these bases.

Speaking of pinkeeps...
Another new arrival in the shop are these wonderful smelling crushed walnut shells.  
Lavender buds are sprinkled within the shells.
Fill you pincushions, small pillow tucks, etc with these for a nice feel and wonderful aroma! 
The crushed walnut shells also come un-scented.

Also new,  wonderful primitive Easter grass. 
 Doesn't this create a great bowl filler?
Also comes in a wonderful green.  Bags are 8 oz, a very generous amount!
New patterns are flowing in daily as well, and I continue to add those as they arrive.
Hop on over to Country Stitches to see what's new!

 And for some stitching news,
 I am on to the words and border of a sampler that I am reproducing.  It has really been a fun stitch and I am loving the colors on this one.   The border  is very delicate, simple and small, the stitching of it is going rather quickly....yay!!  
Here's a little sneaky peeky...

Weather man is saying for the next week plus, we will be above zero degrees!  
Thank goodness, 
we been in the icebox all winter..
.maybe we will get to thaw out our toes!

Have a good day,


NEW Patterns!

New Springtime arrivals are here
for your
 stitching pleasure!

"Springtime Messenger"
After a long cold winter, robin sightings are always so exciting.  It was a snowy Saturday here in Iowa, but I did see my first robin (several of them actually) yesterday!  We can be hopeful Spring is coming, and in the meantime, I have the perfect stitch for this time of year!  A simple, sweet & quick-to-stitch cupboard door hanger that features our favorite springtime messenger perched upon a vase of tallow berries.  A sweet scalloped border and old buttons frame the little sampler so nicely.  Design is worked on 28 count gingham linen over 2 threads, using hand dyed flosses.  Our linen order didn't arrive in time for the release of this chart, hoping to have it soon!

 "Easter Parade"
Look who is leading this years Easter Parade...Peter & Peep!  The pattern cover makes this piece look much larger then it is, it is small and sweet at just 4 1/2" x 6".  The cupboard tuck is worked on 40 count Espresso linen over two threads using hand dyed flosses.  Vintage silk ribbon ruffled along the edges finish the piece off so nicely.  

 "Madam Cottontail"
I had requests for this design in cross stitch after the piece released last year in punch needle.
So here you have it in cross stitch!  The piece is sewn into a prim little ditty pouch with wool penny tongues and antique button trim.  Fill the pocket with your favorite dried naturals and you have a fun piece to enjoy all spring.  Design is worked on 35 count Espresso linen over two threads using hand dyed flosses.

 "Elizabeth Clark"
An antique reproduction.  I have several blog postings about this piece as it was a WIP. 
An exquisite English sampler filled with a wonderful brick house, pink puppies, birds, flowers, a cute little man in the upper corner with his walking sticks and grapes.  All are motifs that I love and look for in a sampler, but it was that large grapevine winding over the house that caught my eye & stole my heart.
Design is worked on 32 count linen over 1 & 2 threads using hand dyed flosses.

 "Spring Break"
Are you seeing a trend yet?  Look who's on Spring Break...Peter & Peep!  A long and skinny cupboard tuck featuring my favorite springtime friends.  Design is worked with hand dyed flosses.  Pattern includes the weavers cloth and tracing template.

"Tulip Town"
Spring peeps have hatched, and the tulips are all in bloom....look who has arrived in Tulip Town!
Just in time to nibble on a few sweet and tender tulip petals, too!  This little punchneedle ditty pocket is a great companion piece to Spring Break.  The pocket is backed in wool and has three old buttons stitched to the upper scallop.  Fill the pocket with pussy willows and you have a perfect piece for your Easter and Spring time decorating!  Design is worked with hand dyed flosses.  Pattern includes a piece of weavers cloth and tracing template.

Warmer weather is in the forecast, hope it's the same for your "neck of the woods".  Have a good week.


A Labor of Love

After several tedious hours of nose to the computer screen,
 and magnifiers resting low on my nose,
and then months of stitching,
Elizabeth Clark is once again
all bright and new.
Is she elegant!

A labor of love...
"Elizabeth Clark, 1822"

I made one adjustment to the sampler.  The verse on the antique was stitched in pink.
I originally charted it with pink, but upon stitching the tiny 1 over 1 letters I was finding that the verse was hard to read.  So a froggin' I went...
Elizabeth had worked her name, village and year in black floss so I tried black for the verse too.
It balanced the wording out and I can read the verse easily from a distance.
If you are a sampler purist you will want to work the verse in the Woodrose floss.

And leaving you with a few snaps of the antique,
just because...

Love the grapes...
 love the unevenly spaced windows...
and any sampler with little men on them,
always catch my eye
steals my heart! 

With thy Needle & Thread,


Ready? Set! Go!

How many of you have your Olympic needlework ready? 
 For me the Olympics and needlework go hand in hand. 
 I am so looking forward to spending the next 16 evenings 
watching the Olympics
 and stitching.

I will be working on an antique that I am reproducing. 
 It was my New Years Day start 
and will now turn into my 
2014 Olympics stitch...

This evening I will fill in those cute little "honey-combed flowers" with Pomegranate floss
and move onto the next flower motif.

 Of my collection of antique samplers,
 this sampler is worked by the youngest girl. 
 Mary was just 7 years old.

Overall, Mary did good work.
Her outer border was always consistent from one repeat to the next
and the backside is pretty neat.
She did have a little spacing issue with her verse
in the center cartouche'.
Some words are extending beyond it's border.
I have charted the sampler just as Mary stitched it.
My verse too will extend beyond it's border. ;)

Just look at that face...
isn't it a hoot?

The color palette on this piece is such fun,
I love the colors!
 If you have,
 or are 
working the Harriette Coe sampler,
 this piece will coordinately lovely with that sampler,
 as many of the same threads are used on both pieces.

And just like the Harriette Coe sampler, 
this one too,
 has cute little dog motifs for all you dog lovers!
How's that for a cute little dog?

What is your Olympic stitch? 
 I'd love to hear!

With thy Needle & Thread,


Sneak Peeks and Whose Feet?

 I love this time of year.
Not where we are on the calender, 
in the midst of cold and snow.
But rather,
 it is what I get to design and stitch this time of year.
Refreshing and bright springy shades of flosses,
and stitching springtime flowers and critters...
It gets me through the winter and cold.
And guess what?!!
The tulips are now in the stores,
that is always so refreshing!
There is something that I love 
about the contrast of a big bouquet of tulips
sitting by a window,
sun drenched,
with snow as it's backdrop...

So on this sunny & cold winter's morning 
I thought I'd share some photo snap peeks
 at some new spring stitching that I've been working on.

 X X X X X 

I've always loved the gingham linen by Weeks Dye Works and have wanted to design with it for a very long time.  It is sort of tricky to design around checks, but I love what I have come up with on this one
and think you will too...
it is soft, subtle, 
and I really like the charm that the added antique buttons
 give the finish of this small cupboard tuck.

 Can you guess who these cute little feet belong too?  

And who do these cute little shoes and floral apron belong too?
She is even wearing cute little pantaloons, see them peeking from under her dress?

These three designs and an antique reproduction coming soon!

With thy Needle & Thread,


Love Struck!

Lots and lots of love-themed stitching has been going on!
Valentines Day always sneaks up on me.  
It' seems like I'm just recovering from the Christmas rush 
and Valentines needs to be done,
and now 
I have Easter in my hoop!

Happy to share with you
two new 
Not to "Valentinesy",
 but perfect for this upcoming holiday!

 Punch needle design inspired by old PA Dutch frakturs
 Reminiscent of old book plates created on parchment 
with watercolor and ink drawings
 many many years ago... 
This simple little rug will find a spot on one of my small antique stacking benches. :)

~ Mary Valentine's Handework ~

A  love-themed pattern filled with 5 quick stitch projects. 
 The "Forget Me Not" pinkeep is fashioned and sized to look like a vintage postcard. 
 A perfect little piece to place on an ironstone plate 
and surround with old buttons and thimbles...makes a perfect vignette.  

"The gift is small, but love is all"  These are the words that young Mary Valentine chose to stitch on her simple little sampler. 
 I've always loved this verse!
  A piece of worn ticking
old buttons adds extra detail and charm to the sampler.

The remaining 3 projects all center around re-purposing
 Russel Stover's or Whitman's Chocolates Valentines heart-shaped boxes.  
Mary's Sewing Box top is decorated with various cross-stitched motifs worked in rows, giving it a feel of a band sampler.   
The box is lined with old sheet music 
and old thread spools becomes it's legs. 
 Perfect for storing your needles
 favorite embroidery scissors.
Posies for Thee
a smaller box, perfect for storing thimbles! 

 And lastly, Key to the Heart
uses just the bottom of the smaller box.  
 The little box becomes a little hanging display of a stitched vine and bluebird. 
 You will try your hand at building a bird's nest...
what fun that is, 
twisting and entwining thread remnants among flax!  
The verse, "feather your nest with love" 
and a little key finishes this piece off so sweetly.
  And yes, there are tiny eggs in my nest...
the little birdie must have approved of my nest making skills!!

All designs on this chart are worked on 35 count Old Town Blend linen using various hand-dyed flosses.

That's all for now, 
the bunny in my hoop 
is calling me!

Have a good week everyone,


Coming Soon!

~Mary Valentine's Handework~

worn ticking
old buttons
x x x x

x x x x x 

paper heart doilies
old keys
heart boxes
x x x x x

sweet sentiments stitched
in post-card style
x x x x x

"the gift is small
love is all"

Mary Valentine's Handework
coming soon!
x x x x x


Found my hearts & a change of heart...

You would think after all the practice that I have had
 that I would get it right on the first try...
I have had a change of heart.
I have changed linen choice.
Not enough contrast between linen and some flosses,
 so I have restarted
 on the slightly darker
 Old Town Blend linen.
So far, so good.
I am working this using 2 strands over 2 threads, 
something I rarely do,
 but this too,
will help those lighter shades of floss
 pop off the linen.  
When I work with two strands,
I lay my stitches with a laying tool...
I don't work as fast when I stitch this way,
 it does make for perfectly laid stitches.

If you worked last years Valentine sampler, the box choices for 2014 are the same as 2013.
I am using the Russel Stovers 4.75 Red Foil Heart  & the 1 .75 Photo Heart

If you happen to find Whitman's hearts, these are the sizes that will work from this brand:
4.5 and 1.6 oz boxes.
While the weight of the boxes are lighter,
 the heart shaped box is the same size
 as the slightly heavier Russel Stovers.

It is a bitterly cold day here,
 temperatures were near 50 degrees below zero overnight.
Schools are cancelled,
 businesses are closed,
people are warned to stay inside.
The dear husband got a call over the weekend 
from the utility company that his workplace must go on alternative fuel
 until Tuesday,
 due to the big demand of electricity.  

The electricity flickered early this morning...
Fingers and toes crossed that we don't lose power.
I too will be staying home today.
I've got lots of stitching to get done, 
in a short amount of time.

I am working through some arm pain since a week before Christmas. 
 I think I injured it moving a shipment of cover stock paper.
   It feels like somebody "slug bugged" me in the shoulder.
   Of course,
 it is my stitching arm
 that has my "mouse finger" on it,
 and is the arm I tuck under my pillow and sleep on...
none of these things help a sore arm!
   Sleep has been very restless,
 and stitching,
 quite uncomfortable.  

Off to stitch,
stay warm,