Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Samplers and Sheep

Maria Tilley 1835 is finished and awaiting her frame. She is the reproduction that I have been charting and stitching for Needle Work Press. Vickie, who owns the original was brave enough and sweet enough to let me choose the fabric and silk and adapt the sampler as I chose. ( Since I chose to stitch her on 45 ct. vintage Sand Dune from Lakeside Linen, let's hope she doesn't do that again!) Truthfully, it turned out really beautiful and the labor was worth it. And the good news is that I didn't go blind. As soon as I am able to get her framed, the chart will be off to the printer and available soon after.

Lady's Garden from Carriage House Sampling was a nice change after the last two big samplers. As with many CHS designs, I sometimes wonder initially at the colors chosen, but I always like the result. I chose not to do the back stitching veins in the large leafy things. So now I've picked Country Life back up and I'm making great progress. I had hoped to have it finished before the end of the year, but unless I give up sleep for the next three days, it's not happening.
I've had fun seeing the endless lists of projects planned for 2011. I've also given a lot of thought to what I hope to accomplish next year sampler wise. I'll post my list next time. With the exception of the upcoming Ann Grant from Shakespeare's Peddler, everything that I plan to do involve old, old charts from my stash.

Samplers and sheep...I don't know which I love more. In my perfect world, it would be a sampler with sheep. Every winter, the fields by my home are dotted with these grass eaters. They are brought in and moved continuously from field to field to mow. I look forward to seeing them every year.
One more thing...I received several emails and inquiries about the bird cookie cutter that I used for my cinnamon birds. I wish I could tell you where I got it, but I have no idea. I've collected them for years and most likely found it in an antique shop. It isn't old, so they might be out there somewhere.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season, and here's to a very Happy New Year to come!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What goes around, comes around...

In need of a hostess gift for a Christmas party that we are attending tonight, I had to channel my inner Martha Stewart. What to do? What to make? I immediately thought of my friend Yolande's macaroons. Yolande is THE best macaroon maker ever. Fortunately, I have her recipe, (and you will too at the end of this post). I've shared it before in years past, but it is so worth repeating and maybe some of my new blog readers will appreciate it.

They look like coconut snowballs, don't they? The recipe is supposed to yield a dozen cookies, but somehow I ended up with thirteen. Hey, that's no problem. That one will be my test cookie.

This little plate will work perfectly for them.


And here they are all wrapped up and ready to go. You might be wondering what the blog title has to do with making cookies. Well, Yolande will also be at the party and maybe she'll have one of my (her) macaroons.
Also, the cute cellophane bags were bought one day while out shopping with tonight's hostess. I'm fairly certain she took home the very same bags for her own homemade goodies. Maybe she'll get a laugh out of getting one back.
Yolande's Macaroons
Beat 4 large egg whites until frothy.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup flour. Beat until well-mixed.
Stir in 3 1/2 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut.
Drop dough in 1/4 cup portions on a buttered and floured cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees until macaroons are golden~about 25 minutes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cinnamon birds and orange slices...

On my last post, I mentioned that I was going to try my hand at drying orange slices to decorate a small tree. Any normal Arizonan would simply lay the slices out in the sunshine to dry. Eventually, that is exactly what I did, but first I went surfing the net to find a faster way. My Google search led me to this site. Thinking that the microwave way sounded easy, I went that route first. I followed the directions just like it said, and lets just say the slices resembled well-done barbecued potato chips. Not exactly the look I was going for. I then tried the oven method with slightly better results. Not wanting to spend 3-4 hours flipping orange slices every half an hour, outside they went after a short turn. I let them dry for most of the afternoon and they were ready to hang. I think they are really primitive and simple, exactly what I wanted.

The cinnamon birds were super easy to make, and they smell wonderful. Here is my recipe:
3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 oz.) ground cinnamon
1. Mix applesauce with cinnamon in a small bowl to form a stiff dough.
2. Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll out to 1/4 in. thickness. Cut with cookie cutters.
Make a hole in the top of the ornament for hanging.
3. Bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours. Place on a rack to cool. Use ribbon or yarn to hang.
Here is Scarlett peeking out from her spot on my (okay, her) chair. Our three Bostons do not like to be cold, and they all have to burrow down under a blanket to sleep. Talk about spoiled...
Thank you for all the enthusiasm and love for Sarah. I'll get busy charting her soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meet Sarah Elizabeth

Christmas has come a little early. I had been drooling, obsessing, ogling, and dreaming about this antique sampler since September. She arrived from England last week, and is now front and center and the focus of my craft room wall. To say that I'm one happy girl is putting it mildly. Thank you, Mr. B. She has everything I love about samplers including the big red house, birds, and four dogs. As a friend said, "it's definitely a Tanya sampler." Did I mention it has a big red house, lol? The verse is wonderful, too. I'm always amazed at the ages of these young girls. Sarah was 11 yrs. old when she stitched this in 1842. I will be reproducing her in the near future. I can already picture the linen and fibers in my head. I think I had that done before I even saw her in person. Here she proudly hangs:

I am finishing the model for Maria Tilley any day now. I hope to show pictures soon. When my eyes can't take any more of Maria's 45ct linen, I put a few stitches in Lady's Garden from Carriage House Samplings.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We sure went straight into Christmas, didn't we? I spent yesterday decorating the house. It's exhausting, but I love the results. My next adventure will be making cinnamon ornaments and drying orange slices for a small tree. Stay tuned to see how that turns out...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still playing with paper

As you can see, I'm still in the paper crafting mode. I had so much fun making the journals that I thought I'd give some note cards a try. Of course, they have a sampler theme. My husband would say "what else is new?" I can't help it. If one is going to make things, it should be what one enjoys, right? They come in a set of six with two of each design and are available through my Etsy shop. Email me if you have questions or would prefer one design only.

Have you seen the upcoming repro from
Shakespeare's Peddler? My friend Katrina, who is also THE Master Enabler couldn't wait to point it out, and all I can say is WOW. It is going to be fabulous and I'll be looking forward to that one. I've now reached the top portion of Maria Tilley which includes a brick house and a very cool cow. I hope to have it ready soon.

In unrelated news, the Midwest relatives are flocking to AZ. It's been a little warm for November, but it's making my garden grow. I can't believe that Thanksgiving is three weeks away and the stores are already promoting Christmas. The holidays all seem to blur into each other these days. It seems like only yesterday it was last December and I was thinking of stitching more tiny samplers for the feather tree. Have I started? No, I have not. I'll be lucky to have even one finished for this season.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Making Journals

No stitching to show you, but I am making good progress on the model for Maria Tilley. Now that my planting is done and my garden is in, I had an urge to make some journals. These are currently available in my Etsy shop. This one kind of makes me laugh. I hope all you stash queens find it funny, too.
I love these sweet vintage images...and the birds. Gotta have birds.

What a look on her face! I wouldn't want to be her teacher.

I made this collage a couple of years ago, and I kind of forgot about it. I recently found it while cleaning the craft room. I call it the Scissor Sisters.

And last is the grungy fairy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Planting time

It's the time of year that we love in AZ. While most of the country is preparing for cold weather, we are shopping for plants and flowers and enjoying outdoor living once again. Last weekend was spent trimming and planting. One more monsoon storm roared through last week and the yard was a mess. The temps are starting to fall and soon the 90+ degrees will be behind us. The old galvanized tub holds some chives, parsley, sweet cherry tomatoes, and marigolds for color.
The patio is my favorite "room" of our house. We literally spend most of our time out here. I love Boston ferns, so I hope these three will thrive. I used to have a huge one inside, but they can be so messy. As usual, I planted red geraniums. They are so easy and kind of my thing. If you look close at the ruby red grapefruit tree, you can see lots of fruit. It's going to be a great crop this year. If you get sick of winter...come for a visit.
This is what I came upon when I came in from taking pictures of outside. Mr. HB must think he's a cat. Lately he's been sleeping on the top edge of the sofa. It is sort of soft and squishy, but what a nut! He is a never ending source of entertainment.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Resuming Country Life...Literally!

Once Jane Tindall was ready for market, I worked a little on Country Life again. It is such a cool sampler, but that border...Geesh! Getting one flower finished is a major accomplishment. I probably won't get too far along as I am also working on another model for Needle Work Press. Next up is Maria Tilley 1835. I finished the chart before our vacation to Iowa, but I wasn't able to stitch on her much. I am using 45ct linen, and it was too hard to see in the car.

Here are some photos from the trip. We took our bikes along, and this path was near the lake that my in-laws live on. I was riding as fast as I could because there were snakes...lots and lots of snakes. I saw at least thirteen. They were only Gartner snakes and most of them had been run over, but they were still SNAKES. And we all know that I hate snakes.

Loved checking out this huge tree...while keeping an eye out for snakes, of course.

This is the lake that my hubby grew up on.

I wish we had more of the blue skies, but unfortunately it was cool and rainy most of the time. I skipped the county fair because it was a nippy 41 degrees. How was I to eat fair food in the freezing rain? Paul went without me and probably ate enough junk for the both of us.

Henry, Ruby, and Scarlett are now sailing dogs. They took a ride in the pontoon boat.

Bad weather can't stopped me from antiquing. I hit every store that I could. My favorite find is this pewter canister or tea caddy. I'm using it to store my tea, so that's what we'll call it. I've wanted one for some time but the prices always stopped me. This one was a deal.

I always look for more canning jars for my craft room. This one came filled with buttons, so in the cart it went.

Naturally, I found a couple of crocks that needed a home.

On the way to Iowa, we made a stop in Colorado Springs so I could see my good friend, Katrina. It was so fun to meet up with her, and we had a great time talking, eating Mexican food and looking through each other's stitching bags.
Many thanks for the very sweet comments left on my last post about Jane. It meant the world.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jane Tindall 1864

The model of Jane has been finished and framed. She's packed and ready to travel to the St. Charles Market on Thursday. The charts have been printed and will soon be available through Needlework Press.
This project has been a labor of love for me. I first saw Jane in the Summer 2010 issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. I immediately wanted to stitch her, so I volunteered to stitch the model. Little did I know that it would lead me to collaborating with Vickie Jennett, who owns the antique, in reproducing this wonderful sampler. The original Jane spent the summer with me while I charted and stitched. I become very curious about this twelve year old girl. I would find myself sitting and staring at her sampler and wondering...always wondering what she was like. Hers was stitched on canvas with wool, and she had the most unusual way of using a variety of greens for the grass area. Was this her way of being creative or was she simply using what wool she had? I've stitched many samplers, but this one touched me like no others have. In an odd way, I felt a kinship with this young girl. When you stitch from a chart, the connection to the real thing is only through the cover photo. As I stitched, I constantly compared my sampler to Jane's. It was imperative that I stayed true to the original, while enjoying the linen and threads available today. I'd like to think that she would be pleased and happy to know that others will want to stitch and enjoy her sampler, these one hundred and forty-six years later.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's that time...and another sneak peek of Jane

Here's another peek of Jane Tindall. This little shepherd fellow reminds me of a Quaker. Don't you just love the speckled dog? And the rather large duck? I have to laugh at how out of proportionate it is. I think it could herd the sheep on it's own. Many thanks for the kind comments and encouragement on peek#1.
I had precious little time this week to do much blog reading, but I did see that a few of you have decorated for fall. It's always so inspiring to gather glimpses of your homes and treasures. It is still warm here during the day, however, the mornings are almost chilly. I had to wear a light jacket, forgo my usual flip-flops and wear real shoes when I rode my bike early today. Next week, we'll be travelling to Iowa for a visit with family. I'm looking forward to eating some fair food, doing a little antiquing, and sitting and stitching by the lake. Maybe I'll even see some frost on the pumpkins. Since autumn officially begins while we're away, I spent some time this morning arranging some bittersweet and readying our house. I know I show you the same pictures practically every year, but I hope you enjoy seeing them again.

This cabinet and crow greet guests in a bathroom.

My husband will hate this. He'll complain about bumping into it, but I like the clock with a little bit of berry spray. Surely he can deal with it for a couple of months.

I wish I had enough bittersweet to fill every crock. I brought what I have back from the Midwest a few years ago. Each year I carefully pack it away, but it gets so brittle and breaks easily. At least I have some to enjoy.

Tomorrow is Henry Blue's 1st birthday. As I sit and type this, he is annoying the girls. It's what he does best. They'll be nice to him for a couple of days... in the event there is cake!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A sneak peek at Jane

Here is a little peek at Jane Tindall 1864. The last stitches have been put in the model, I 'll soon be framing her, and the charts are in progress. She'll be travelling to market at the end of the month. It has been my absolute thrill and pleasure to reproduce this wonderful pastoral sampler, and I cannot thank her owner enough for giving me this opportunity. I'll be offering more snippets in the next couple of weeks.
And now for something a little different, it's what every sampler enthusiast needs, right? I made this pillowcase yesterday. I love this sampler fabric and the contrasting colonial print. It's my hugging pillow. The one I scrunch up with and travel with. Here's the front:

and the back.

Now that it's September, the mornings are starting to be cooler here in AZ. We are approaching my favorite time of the year. I can't wait to drag out the pumpkins, gourds, and bittersweet and decorate the house. Is it too early? When do you do it?

Thanks for the sweet comments about my Minnesota souvenirs, and also for the new grandchild congratulations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've been a bad, bad blogger. My apologies, but I've been a busy one lately. Still no stitching that I can reveal, but I'm making progress on the model. I'm excited to say that the plan is to release the chart at market in September. I'm stitching as fast as I can. Hopefully, we can show a sneak peek here soon. I just returned from a quick trip to Minnesota to see family and do a little antiquing. We attended this show. It was simply amazing. Row after row and building after building of the most wonderful things. If I hadn't been flying, plenty more would have come home with me. My favorite finds were the samplers, the tons and tons of crocks, and the many weather vanes, just to name a few. We walked for at least seven hours and probably missed some things. I spied this guy, and had to go back and get him. I've always wanted a Hubley Boston Terrier doorstop. He certainly weighted down my luggage. The TSA went through my suitcase and I'm sure they were surprised to see him. Well, maybe not...they probably see lots of unusual things. The real Bostons weren't quite sure what to think. I caught Henry chewing on the ear. The cast iron had to have sharpened a tooth or two.

No trip to the Midwest is complete for me without buying another crock. It had to stay behind until I drive back there next month. I think I got a great deal on it, especially after seeing one priced at $4,700 in a shop. It was a 5 gallon jug, with a nice leaf design in mint condition. I've never seen one that expensive before.
This silhouette was too cute to pass up. The same dealer had the sweetest spinning wheel with the original blue paint. I'm kicking myself for not getting it.
I came home to some exciting news. We are going to be blessed with another grandchild in February. What a homecoming...I'm thrilled.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Out of the blog loop

Wow...I rarely go this long between posts. Like my title says, I am out of the loop. I haven't had time to update mine or read many either. I have no sampler progress to show, at least none that I can share at this time. I put aside Country Life a few weeks ago to begin stitching a model. It's a wonderful reproduction sampler, and I was absolutely smitten at first sight. You'll just have to take my word for how awesome it is. I've also been working on the charting, in fact, I just finished it today. So, now my focus will be in finishing the model. I'm finding that I love the whole process, so it might lead to me attempting some designs of my own.

I was asked to make a journal for a gift. Here are the photogenic Beagles. It's a nice little break from stitching, and I love making them.

Awhile back I posted some photos from a bathroom remodel. The last project was to replace the existing mirrored medicine cabinet. We finally finished it. You can see pictures of the punched tin door that we made here.

I've been riding my bike like a woman possessed. I try to get out early in the morning before it gets too hot. On the weekends, we take longer rides and recently went to this park. The trails were great, we saw plenty of wildlife including huge jack rabbits. Thankfully, no snakes crossed my paths.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gone fishing...

Hello from steamy, hot Arizona. Sitting next to some cool refreshing water while holding a fishing pole sounds really good right now. Since I don't ever go fishing, my progress on Country Life will have to do. Even though I'm thoroughly loving this sampler, it isn't going to be a quick stitch. The row after row of grass seems to take forever. The border is oh so pretty, but also very time consuming.

I took some time out from stitching to make some journals for a couple of friends. The adorable girl on this one is Ami. Check out her muddy paws. I was really inspired when I saw the picture, so that is what her tag says. Her parents are lucky that she lives several states over, because I'd be tempted to steal her. Love that face!

The back of the journal. Doesn't this photo make you smile?

If you've been lucky enough to find Laurie's blog, you'll recognize these two. They are of course, the very photogenic Emma and Owen. Naturally, that is the princess herself wearing the crown.

I love this photo of them on one of their daily walks through the prairie, and thought it would be perfect for the back of the book.

I love to use pictures of dogs in my art. You would think that I would have plenty with my own three. But, as you can tell from this photo, my dogs are a bunch of lazy bums. Trying to get them to pose would definitely cut into their busy schedule.

If you would like a personalized journal featuring your adored pet, drop me an email for more details.
My non-blogging friend has been reducing her stash, and she has some great things for sale. If you're interested, send me an email, and I'll forward it on to her.