Strawberry Thief...

See that little tiny strawberry emery dangling from brown bird's beak?
You have no idea how many times this poor little strawberry
got fished out of the cat's water dish
then placed in the sun to dry,
before the piece was finished
secured within the bird's beak...
Three times to be exact.

The new pincushion now sits on my old cupboard
with other sewing ditties
guess who thinks
is now part of the display???

So please tell me,
is that a look of guilt
or a look of

I think what those big blue eyes are telling me
is a story that goes like this...
If I sit here like a pretty kitty
look at the strawberry
maybe she'll go away
and forget about our games of hide and seek.

Have a good day,


Saving the best for last...

I'm now to the stitching
of the bottom band
of the Ann Dickinson -1819 reproduction piece.
This is my favorite part
of this sampler.
A band of various motifs...
big birds,
tiny birds stitched in petite stitches,
big trees,
funky shaped little trees,
garden gates
a house.

Petite stitches
are also used around the windows,
framing them in so delicately...
don't you think?
I always look for petite stitches
antique samplers...
I think they add
such a delicate touch
to the piece
perhaps indicates
that the young girl
was somewhat
experienced in stitching.
Perhaps it wasn't her first sampler,
one can only imagine...

The dear husband and I
are spending a few days
caring for our little Grandson.
I will be out of the office
Thursday and Friday
of this week.
Ann is packed
just in case
I'm not too tired
feel like stitching
after the little one is in bed,
in the evening...

We'll spend our days
playing at the park,
feeding the fish,
watching the ducks,
building Playdoh bridges,
splashing in the water table,
drawing trains,
playing Thomas the Train,
snacking on ice cream cones,
even perhaps a visit to the zoo...

Should be lots and lots of fun...
Grandma can hardly wait!

Have good day everyone,


New Patterns!

Now taking pre-orders for two new patterns.
Shipping of these will begin on Monday, June 27th.

First off...

Blooms & Berries

A pattern for 4 sweet little sewing companions. From left to right, let me describe...

1. Bird pin keep mounted on an antique sewing spool, complete with strawberry emery dangling from beak.
2. Next is a late 19th century antique reproduction sewing caddy. While the pattern does give a cutting template for the wooden sewing caddy, we are also offering un-finished wooden caddies for these, for those who don't have access to wood-working tools. The original of this piece was found in Monroe Co., PA.
3. Next is my personal favorite, a cross stitched pincushion with hand dyed rick rack ruching. A special little brown bird feels quite at home, perched upon the pin keep.
4. Lastly is a fun little pin /scissor/needle keep...so sweetly housed in a tiny 3" embroidery hoop. Piece has a hanger made from vintage seam tape ribbon for hanging next to your stitching chair or sewing machine.
Here is the backside...
isn't it cute?
A secret little safe-keeping spot for your scissors and needle. The Elizabeth scissors is a perfect fit for this little stitching companion. Available on our website, under the THIS & THAT category.

on this first day of Summer,
is the release day
and kick off
for the
Sampler of the Seasons sampler series.
"Sampler of the Season - Autumn"

(Thanks to Valley House Primitives for supplying us with the lovely frame...a perfect finish for this piece!)

The piece is worked on 30 count Iced Cappuccino linen by R&R Reproductions, stitched with Gentler Art flosses throughout. Watch for the Winter chart to release on the first day of Autumn...think of Christmas tree farm, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmen and ice skating.
The finished samplers in this 4 chart series will all be very similar in size...fitting the same frame, if you so choose to change out the piece each season.

Reserve your copies today and we'll begin shipping on Monday (I will be out of the office Thursday & Friday), orders will ship in the order received.

With thy Needle & Thread,


So who is the bird brain???????

You may remember a few weeks ago
my blog post titled,
Bird-Brained Idea....
If not, let me refresh...
An inexperienced Mom & Pop Blue Jay
decides to build their nest in a tree,
about five feet off the ground,
about 4 feet from Spot's house.
Spot is a cat.
Way too low to the ground
way way to close
to the house of a cat
in my humble opinion.

Fast forward
to this afternoon...

I'm sitting in my stitching chair,
enjoying a Sunday afternoon
of quiet stitching time,
when all of a sudden,
I hear a ruckus
outside the window.
I think every squirrel
in Buena Vista County
was in our yard.
There were blue jays,
no... make that lots of blue jays,
and even saw Mr. Flicker
fly in with his two cents worth.

So I set down my stitching
run outside to see what's up...
I'd find a bird
from a cats mouth...

Down in the violet foliage
I spy a cat
on the hunt
at the same time
being dive-bombed by birds.
I'm thinking the cat
is probably
getting what it deserves...

I bent down to startle the cat away
when I felt this sharp blow
to the
top of my head.
I had just been beaked by a blue jay!
I felt a little foolish,
gathered my thoughts,
rubbed my head
out a couple of words...
"ouch, that wasn't very nice"
returned to my stitching
making lunch
A few minutes later,
I step out the back door
to put some brats on the grill for a late lunch...
And what do I find,
just a few feet from the grill????
This guy...
with a sore head still,
I'm afraid to step foot outside.
I could see Mom up in the apricot tree.
I was afraid to look up at her
in fear she'd go for my eyes...
then I remembered
I wear glasses...
I have eye protection.

So what did I do?
I grabbed my camera,
shot a couple pictures of the little one
through the screen door,
and then nonchalantly ask the dear husband
if he'd mind
putting the brats on the grill.
(He had no idea about the earlier bird-pecking incident. If we could keep that under wraps, that would be wonderful...it's a little embarrassing.)

My head still hurts,
as I rub it,
I'll remember
the bird brain???

Have a good week,


Going out on a limb...

If you haven't visited the Decorah, IA eagle cam lately,
you may be surprised.
The eagles have left the nest!
(do you need a tissue...)
They are now in what is called the branching stage.
Just sitting on branches a short distance from the nest in the big old cottonwood tree...
taking in the lovely view of the beautiful
rural Iowa country side
below them.

Yes, they are out on a limb...
Decorah Eagle style!
On Thursday when I got home from work
I was able to witness
the last of the three to take flight from nest to branch.
The last to leave was E2 ( the 2nd to hatch).
This was so within this eagles (E2) character.
In observing the nest
over the past several months
E'2 always seem to be the laid-back eaglet
of the family.
While the other two were up and eager to eat,
E2 would be sprawled out
and in
no big hurry to eat.
E2 always seemed
to have that humdy dumdy
approach about life...
I could stand to take a lesson from
E2 at times.

Witnessing this next step
to the
"I'm a big bird now" phase
was just amazing.
It was one of those
"lump in the throat"

On a side note...
It just occurred to me that the 4th of July is only a couple weeks away, and I still don't have my Soar frame ordered...probably not going to have mine framed for the 4th of July posting. Where did June go? Will you all please forgive me? It's been somewhat crazy at Country Stitches with the "Birds of a Feather" sampler club and the time has just escaped me.
The intention of posting pictures of every ones finished Soar samplers is still my intent for the 4th of July posting. So please email me digital photos of your finished Soar sampler pieces to me by July 2nd. Send to email address - order@countrystitchesonline.com. Please supply your name and state, if you so desire. Should be a very appropriate and beautiful posting in celebration of the 4th of July.

Have a splendid weekend everyone,


Meet Susan...

Her name is Susan Randall,
she was 10 years young,
the year was 1859.

Love love love the fat hare with it's wide-set ears,
and head slightly cocked.
Love the Greek Key border
in which urns of flowers and trees sit upon...
I have a weakness for samplers
with the use of eyelet stitches...
love the delicate touches
that they add to a piece.

Susan is a little rough around the edges,
I'm okay with that...
She has some holes and blemishes,
I'm okay with that as well...
The love of all things old
trumps imperfections, always.
She is paper thin.
She is brittle.
She needs some TLC...

Young Susan didn't fret over her mistakes,
as we do...
She just kept stitching.
It didn't seem to concern her,
that her
border ran right into the verse.

The verse reads -
Jesus, permit thy gracious name to stand
As the first effort of an infant's hand
And, while her fingers on the canvas move
Engage her tender heart to seek thy love
With thy dear children let her have a part
And write thy name thyself, upon her heart.

Susan Randall's Work In the
10th Year of Her Age 1859.

With thy Needle & Thread,



Webster defines precious as...

pre·cious [presh-uhs]–adjective

1. of high price or great value; very valuable or costly: precious metals.
2. highly esteemed for some spiritual, non material, or moral quality: precious memories.
3. dear; beloved: a precious child

This is my definition
(Beckhams first visit to the zoo, aboard the little train.)

There is just something
little folded hands
that melts "Grandies" heart.
So innocent.
Then there's that
cute little cowlick...

Precious, simply precious.

Have a good day everyone,

New goodies...

in the shop this week,
with more to come!

These new patterns are now posted and described on our website.

a note in regards to the hand dyed chenille and rick rack trims.
We underestimated the demand for this
and thus
a slight delay
if filling some orders.
If you are patiently waiting for yours,
our shipment is due to arrive today
we'll get your order shipped today as well.
It is just going out the door as soon as we get it in.

We are also excited
about more new colors
and also a new mini size of chenille.
The new colors will be offered
in both sizes of
rick rack.

They are...
Candy Cane Red
Christmas Wreath
Norfolk Pine
Nautical Blue
Dried Roses
Vampires Cape
we have all of these new colors
coming our way soon!
I still haven't had a chance to "play"
with these wonderful new hand dyed trims...
need to snatch a couple
set them aside for myself!!!

Have a good day,


Part 2 Revealed!!

Part 2
of the
Birds of a Feather Mystery Sampler
is now
on it's way
to your local needlework shops...
should be getting it
very soon-like!

(lovely frame by Valley House Primitives)

During the design process of this piece
I was contemplating what kind of birds shall they be.
Robins, cardinals, sparrows?
As I sat and pondered this
I had a child-hood memory
pop into my head.

When I was just a young girl...
probably 8 or 9 years old
my piano lessons
included songs from the musical
"The King & I".
My favorite song was,
"Whistle a Happy Tune"
I had it memorized...
It was while I would play this song in the summer time,
that the notes would carry out through the old screen door,
into our tree-lined front yard,
and be heard by our summer-time guests...
the indigo buntings.

I'd play this song
and the male bunting
would sit in the tree
and sing his little heart out.

I played for him
he sang for me...
we were quite the duet!

My mother had me convinced
it was the song that made the bird sing...
now that I think about it,
it may have just been Mom's way
to get me to practice
my music lessons.
Either way, it worked!

The following summer
we moved 5 miles away to a "new" farm...
never to hear or see another indigo bunting again,
until this spring...
some 40 plus years later.

Earlier this spring,
I was sitting in my kitchen taking pictures
of the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and Baltimore orioles
when I saw these two tiny little blue-colored birds.
It is an unmistakable brilliant
and iridescent blue...
a sight you don't forget!

It had been years...
I was shaking with excitement
and was able to shoot a couple of pictures
before they flew off.
There were no more sightings,
but I did hear them in the yard for a few weeks...
I had not forgotten their song.
Made me want to play the piano again...
how I wished I had that old sheet music!!
So in the meantime,
I'm on the hunt for the sheet music...
just because.

I found it to be such a coincidence,
since the birds in the "Birds of a Feather" sampler
had been stitched
earlier this spring
to look like the little indigo bunting
that serenaded me
so many many years ago
in that
old farmhouse
through it's
old screen door.

It made me think
of a line
from movie,
Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner...
"If you build it,
they will come".

my story line
goes something like this...
If you stitch it,
they will come!"

The sampler
now has found
a special spot
in my
heart & home
reminds me of these fond
child-hood memories
and the return
indigo bunting...

With thy Needle & Thread,


Monday Musings...

To those who have inquired about the "other Ann",
or the
Ann Dickinson 1813 sampler...
I'm happy to report she is back at hand.
She is out of the stitching basket
I made nice progress on this reproduction piece
over the weekend
I can say
it's nearing completion!
Release date for "Ann Dickinson -1813" is late summer, tentatively...
Part 2 of the Birds of a Feather Mystery Sampler
It will be on it's way to the distributor,
and then it's off to your local needlework shop.
Do you have part 1 finished??
and lastly...

Remember these from last year?

An antique reproduction Sewing Bird clamp just as the ones used in the mid 1800's. This particular sewing bird is a replica of one of the more elaborate designs made specifically for Marshall Field and Co. of Chicago in the 1890's and is intended for decorative purposes only.

Often times this sewing bird was gifted to the bride-to-be from her soon-to-be husband.

The reproduction clamps have a wonderful rusty~black patina to them...wonderfully prim! The little pincushion is fashioned out of indigo blue civil war calico for safekeeping of your pins. History pamphlet included, too!
I have 4
of these wonderful
antique reproduction
sewing bird clamp/pinkeeps
available for purchase on our website.
Sorry, the 4 now have new homes.

So sweet...
4 1/2" tall
from tip of beak
to bottom of screw.

These little ones seem to fly out the door rather quickly...
if you want one,
you'll need a quick finger!

These are available for purchase online only,
no phone in orders or reservations taken for this item...
thanks for understanding.

Have a good week,

Rosa's House...

I received a note from Bob Anderson
director of the Raptor Resource Organization
to inform me
that the little female falcon
bearing the name
was banded on Friday
this is where
she lives...

"Great Spirit Bluff"
(nesting box is circled, photo courtesy of Project Banding 2010 Report)

The nesting box
towers over the mighty Mississippi River
just north of La Crescent, MN
across the river from La Crosse, WI.

It will be interesting
to be able to follow
over the years
through their annual banding reports.
To see where she ends up...
to find her as a nesting female
in the future
with little ones of her own.

Quite the view this falcon family has...
and it just occurred to me
that they need to get
to this nesting box
to band these falcons...
rubber knees for me!

Have a good week everyone,


They're Here...

The L-O-N-G wait is over!
Hand dyed goodies from R&R are here
I'm doing the happy dance,
they are fab-tab-u-lous!!!!

We've all grown to love their hand-dyed linens
now this!
Yes, they are breath taking.
Take a look...
1/4" rick rack
1/2" rick rack
narrow chenille trims

and there are more colors folks...
kelp (shown)
we've got them all!

To see the other colors of these beautifully hand-dyed trims look here.

Hope everyone has a good weekend
mine will be spent stitching
underneath a big shade tree.



A good part of my pattern design process is making changes once the piece is almost completed.
Tweaking, if you will.
Often times starting all over...

Why is it that I have to have a piece almost finished before I know whether I like it or not????
{sigh, again}
I asked Mary Etherington from Country Threads this very question, and she seems to have the same problem...so I guess I'll consider myself in good company! Except she makes quilts, big quilts...yikes!

this is where I am with the little stitching companion piece,
asking myself the following...

Is the paint choice correct?

Should it have been a softer shade of paint, perhaps creamy butter yellow?

Should I have grained the paint?

Do I like the chenille trim?
(the chenille trim has already replaced a border of button hole stitches that edged the piece)

Should I have waited for the hand dyed trims from R& R to work into this piece, cause I just know they are going to be yummy? (Yes, I think their hand dyed trims are arriving today...watch our blog and website for these details)
sorry, got side tracked there...

Does there need to be a couple more motifs stitched on the piece,
or is the simplicity of the piece
just fine?

Less is more, right???

This is how I'm spending my day,
how are you spending yours?

With thy Needle & Thread,


Doing the morning Jumble!!!

First of all I'd like to shout out
a big
thank you
to everyone for sharing
their ideas of names
for the young falcon.
It seemed to be the overall consensus was,
that I should name it
that was my first thought
as well.
I just didn't know
if that was
I lost sleep over this folks!
I never knew
it would be so difficult
giving a falcon
I don't labor this hard
when I name
a new pattern design...
maybe I do!???

it came to me early this morning,
about 4:30 AM to be exact.
I was lying there half-awake,
waiting for the dh's alarm to go off,
when I asked myself this...
What if I jumble the letters in Soar?
What do I come up with?
I'm asking you.
What do you come up with?
Have you figured it out yet?
Any jumble fans here?

I don't think I've ever
solved a jumble
that quickly in my life...
pretty good for being half-asleep!

The little falcon shall be named Rosa!

Soar Rosa, Soar Magnificent One,


I think I'm blushing...

for sure
I know
I'm honored

As you" eagle cam fans" may remember from a recent post here, the Raptor Resource Organization was ending their need for donations. It was at that time that the fund-raising pattern "Soar" was also retired. I made my final donation from the proceeds of this cross stitch chart to the group on the final evening they were taking donations.

This morning I received a note from Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Organization that I'd like to share with all of you, who so kind-heartedly purchased the Soar pattern. This is to you, too.

It reads ...

Many thanks for your ongoing support. What can I say? You have made so many donations that I am starting to feel guilty. All I can say is many, many thanks. I will be sending you some DVD's of wildlife documentaries that I have worked on over the years. But, these are little in comparison to your donations.

I will also name a falcon in your honor. We have been busy banding young falcons over the last few days. Yesterday, we banded three young falcons at the 3M water tower in Cottage Grove, MN and four at the Horizon Milling stack house in Lake City, MN. Today we band falcons at the US Bank in La Crosse, WI and at the Bunge stack house in Mc Gregor, IA. On Friday we will be banding on cliffs near Diamond Bluff, WI and Maiden Rock, WI. Saturday will be a cliff near Waukon Junction, IA then crossing the river to a cliff near Lynxville, WI. Please let me know if you have a certain name that you would like to have for a falcon?

Many thanks... Bob Anderson

The Raptor Resource group is much more then the eagle cam that we've become captivated with! They are also very active in the preservation of the Peregrine Falcon. A raptor that at one time was near extinction in the Mississippi River Valley. Through their research, breeding in captivity, and nesting solutions, this falcon is thriving once again, in these parts. A magnificent raptor that can fly in excess speeds of 200 mph.

This note from Bob has just overwhelmed me. I would be very honored to have a young falcon named in the honor of myself and the Soar sampler. I'm just not sure that Brenda is the right name for a falcon...

What should we name the falcon? I'm open to ideas, please share your thoughts. I'm feeling sort of giddy as I type, we get to name a baby falcon! How cool is that?

Have a good day,


P.S. Here is an article and beautiful photos, for your reading pleasure, of some falcon banding that was just done along the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin & Iowa.