Hoping for Calmness...

I have been thinking about all my customers in the path of Sandy, and hoping and praying you are all safe.     I, like so many others was glued to the TV last evening, following the news on this devastating storm....so many states are affected, so much damage, it makes your heart ache.  Stay safe everyone, and we will hope and pray for calmness and a speedy recovery to normalcy, once again, for you and your communities.
I've been  going through "stitcher's withdrawl"...all my WIP's are finished.  While watching Sandy coverage last evening, I started working on a Christmas sampler that I have had charted, with intentions of a 2012 release...that didn't happen.    It is a large sampler, and with my casual stitching habits, it will probably take me until autumn of 2013 to get it stitched.
the antique reproduction, Frances Pool sampler is done!!
 I've really enjoyed stitching this piece.  I started her in February and Frances was one of those projects that I picked up and put down several times over these past several months...casual stitching.  I like that kind of stitching...no rush, no holiday deadlines to meet...just a few minutes of stitching a week.
She is beautiful in her "jewel-toned" flosses, tones of flosses that I don't usually use when designing.   It was fun to work with a different range of colors of flosses.   Framing is next...  I'm thinking she would look really pretty in a cherry wood frame of some sort, with perhaps a silver beaded insert...
Tentative plans are for a  holiday-time release for this sampler. 
 So, if you need an idea to put on your wish list, keep Francis Pool in mind! 

Our floss keeps inventory was replenished last evening.
With thy Needle & Thread,



Thread your needles...
'cause NEW PATTERNS are here! 
"Merry Yuletide"
10" x 20" pillow
worked on 22 count Fine Ariosa, over 1 & 2 threads
Rusty jingle bells sewn to ends of pillow adds extra detail & charm.
-model stitched by Suzanne Garber-
"Letters for Santa"
10" x 22"
The use of jumbo sized rick rack & candycane striped twill ticking is the perfect finish for this pillow!
-Model stitched by Susanna Baker-

"Heaven and Nature Sing"
12" x 12" pocket pillow
A pillow with a pocket to fill with fresh cedar pine, tallow berries, vintage sheet music, Christmas cards...or whatever makes your heart sing!

"Winter Stocking"
6" pine-filled hanging stocking
And as always, we have the necessary supplies available to support each new pattern.  A big "THANK YOU" goes out to model stitchers, Suzanne & Susanna...
your work is the best!
With thy Needle & Thread,


Pretzels & Brazil Nuts...

A few birthdays ago,
my dear husband gifted me with this rustic outdoor bench
 that wraps around our crab apple tree,
 a tree that sits next to our front door,
 I. love. it.
(you done good honey)
  Summer time you will find it full of various potted plants,
old bird houses
other ditties that I have found over the years. 
 At Christmas time
you will find potted sruce tips,
 fresh pine, winter berries
 perhaps an old pair of ice skates.
Here is my Autumn version of the bench...
I filled the bench with various size, shapes and colors of these... 
with freshly picked bittersweet entwined throughout...
are you getting the picture?

This years harvest of hedge apples
 were really too big
 for my various ironstone bowls
 or platters
 for indoor decorating.
Darnit, now what am I going to do with all these hedge apples?
 I had this brilliant idea...
I'll tuck some of them around the pumpkins
on my tree bench...
orange & green, wonderful contrast,

If you aren't familiar with the hedge apple,
 they sort of stink,
 they ooze a sticky substance.
 Old wives tales say they are suppose to repel spiders,
 if you keep a few cut up in your basement
over the winter months.
maybe they would repel those damn little bushy tail varmints?
{she thinks with a twinkle in her eye}
Brilliant idea,
I thought...
And the photo above pretty well sums
up my latest research...
The pumpkins are now gone,
not because I made pumpkin pies with them...
The bittersweet is finding it's way
to the ground.
Not because I put it there...
poor little bushy tail
only has hedge apples to snack on....

Sort of like
 when you
get down
 to just
 the pretzels and Brazil nuts
in the bowl of Chex Party Mix....
you soon realize
they aren't so dry
and bad tasting after all...
 so much
for my
 hedge apple squirrel repellent theory!
Maybe I should stick to pattern ideas
 forget about a career
 in pest repellents...
You win squirrel,








Bath Time!

Each day, after my work day at Country Stitches ends, I come home to sit at my kitchen table and enjoy my last cup of coffee of the day and watch the birds come in for their late afternoon feeding. 
 It's a quiet time for me, a time to reflect upon the day and what needs to happen tomorrow, think about what's for dinner, or just to simply sit and sketch...putting ideas to paper.
My kids often times call me at this time of day,
it is my favorite part of my day...
Yesterday,  I was entertained by a group of congregating/migrating robins.     They weren't all that concerned about using my backyard bird bath as a watering hole, or doing their acrobatic moves to pluck berries from the bushes,  rather I sensed some urgency that they were in need of a bath.    My photos are a bit fuzzy, as I was taking these through my kitchen windows, and at this time of year are in need of cleaning...
Six birds a bathing...
And then I spotted this... 
and at this point I think know I was more excited then the bathing robins.
 A pair of Cedar Waxwings!
 My first sighting of this bird in my yard, ever.  They are common to this area, just have never spotted one, as we don't have the cedar trees in which they like to feed in.  I'm guessing they may have been feeding on Viburnum berries, along with the robins.
Today is going to be another Indian Summer type of day here in Iowa.
It's going to be one of those "wish I didn't have to work sort of days"...

The summer drought has put forth some of the prettiest leaves, ever.

One lonely little leaf...
just daring to be different.
Makes me think of a favorite autumn-time verse...
Autumn is like a second spring,
when every leaf
becomes a flower.
I just wish it didn't have to end...
Have a good day everyone,


Meet J.M. Gardner, 1888...

Here she is,
isn't she sweet?
Worked on 35 count linen, over two threads, the JM Gardner
measures just a mere 7" x 7". 
   This is a relatively quick stitch, in terms of sampler stitching, and will look extra special at Christmastide in her red and green flosses.   
Floss kits and linen will be available for purchase too.
The ever popular floss keeps will also be available in the JM Gardner design.   These floss keeps keep your floss organized and at your fingertips while stitching.
These make wonderful gifts...think Christmas gifts!


And lastly,
the JM Gardner Brooch...
a tiny 1" gold plated pendant is home to a color photo of the sampler.
A glass like resin protects the piece.
The pendant dangles from a filigreed-style brooch pin.   
A perfect addition to a big woolly sweater or jacket lapel.
Items will be posted on our website later in the day for purchase.
With thy Needle & Thread,


New found treasures...

I enjoyed a "sister's weekend" with my sisters and their dear husbands. We traveled to our home state of Minnesota and took in a relaxing weekend in the Mississippi river valley towns of Red Wing, Wabasha (yes, Grumpy Old men) and Lake City.  
A visit to an antique shop in Lake City turned up a couple of "antique treasures" for me
that I couldn't resist.
No, not the sampler,
nor the buttons.
a rusty hook,
and these...
 not the thimbles,
those clam shells. 
Silly purchase isn't it?
  A couple of old clam shells with holes in them...
 When I showed them to the dear husband,
 he gave me
 "the look"
 like I must have holes in my brain....{sigh} 
In the 1800's the Mississippi was full of clam beds
 the button business
 was booming along these river towns.
  The rusty hook (1st photo)
 was used on the clamming boats. 
 By nature, a clam likes to sit at the bottom of the river,
 with it's mouth open,
facing up river,
just waiting for some morsel of food
 to find it's way into it's mouth.
These hooks,
 that were drug across the bottom of the river,
would find their way into the clam's "mouth"
When these hooks touched their mouths,
 they would clamp down on it
the rest is history for the clam.
The clams were then dumped into large boiling pots of water,
they died from the heat of the water,
the meat was then recovered
 the shells were used for button making!!
See the holes in the shells?
The men would punch out the blank buttons
and it was usually the younger boys
that did the finishing work.
Button making often times
would involved the whole family,
women would sit in their homes
sewing buttons onto the cards.
I've found myself,
 a time or two,
 sewing buttons onto old cards and photos...

I think I grew up in the wrong century...
Anyone else?
I'm happy as a clam with my new found treasures
and love their history!
And another thought,
schoolgirl samplers?
How fun would have school been,
if it would have involved stitching samplers?
I definitely grew up in the wrong century!
With thy Needle & Thread,



to get my ducks in a row!
The JM Gardner antique reproduction sampler is back from the framers,
it is lovely! 
I always try try try to be prepared
 ready for the releasing of a new chart,
with all the necessary goodies needed to support the chart,
available and in stock.
Floss shipment for the chart arrived,
received only partial shipment on one color,
none of another color, backorderd.
 as it is,
I'm just waiting...
waiting for threads and linens,
before releasing JM Gardner...
trying to get all my ducks in a row!
In the meantime,
I'm putting the finishing touches on a couple of
NEW Christmas designs.
For those of you who have stitched
the "House of Blues"
"Hilda's Alphabet Brew",
there is a Christmas version of this pillow coming!!
Have a good day,