Now I know...

my A B C's!
You all know about the February 1st goal that I had...
wanted to finish "Mary's Best Handework Samplar" before then.

We all know what day it is today...

The question is, is it going to be finished today?
Guess what I have left? Remember, I said I wasn't going to leave the 16oo-some green pasture stitches until last.
first it was that cute little urn filled with flowers, then it was the old skeleton key, then it was the alphabet that was tempting me...
I couldn't resist
I caved,
leaving the green pasture for another day.

Here we are today...
and the only thing left to stitch is the green pasture....aauuggghhhh!! How could I let this happen??????

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chicken noodle soup is cooking in the crock pot
the house smells yummy.
If my peripheral vision is serving me correctly, I do believe that was a laundry basket I just saw in my DH hands as he walked by.
Now, if I could just get the cat to file my quarterly witholdings & figure the W-2's for me that would even be better!

After a meal of home-made soup & egg~salad on pumpernickel marble rye
it is going to be
stitching lots of green stitches,
in front of the Grammy's.
How is that for an evening of entertainment & enjoyment?

With thy Needle & Thread,

And a little footnote...
Mary's Best Handework Samplar Details -
Worked on 30 count Parchment Linen by Weeks Dye Works over 2 threads.
Stitch count - 140 wide X 188 high
Finished size - approximately 9 1/4" wide x 12 1/2" high


Struck by the arrow...

of Cupid!

I feel better now...
I've had just a tiny bit of time to rummage through beads
play with jewelry findings.

Here is what I have come up with...

Necklaces are available for purchase on our
under NEW ITEMS category.

Now it's back to my chair...
got some major stitching to do if I'm going to meet my February 1st goal with the
"Mary's Best Handework Samplar"...

With thy Needle & Thread,


I'm trying...

my best

to finish "Mary's Best Handework Samplar"
before we turn the calendar page...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I awoke this morning at 5:30 and settled into my stitching chair that is now lined with snippets of threads of various shades of reds, greens, dusty blues & drabby browns. This seems to be my nesting place as of late...

I love to get up with the birds and stitch in the peace & quietness of the early morn. Just me, my needle & thread and our furry child that is running around the house enjoying little treasures he has found overnight ...

This morning as I was stitching, I heard the male cardinal in the crab apple tree outside my window singing his courting song...
an early February occurrence in our parts.
His song goes something like this...
ohhhhh birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie
then it starts all over again. Sorry, singing hasn't ever been one of my strengths!
Sweet notes to my ears...
a gentle reminder that spring will come!

With thy Needle & Thread,


Simply Charming...

A shipment of new sterling silver charms arrived!
I hope to get these posted onto the website for purchase this evening. Remember these sweet little charms aren't just for jewelry making, they also make darling embellishments to needlework or to simply tie around a dollies neck!

~Victorian Cupid~
1 1/2" tall - double sided
(Is that a cute little b-hind, or what?)

1" tall

~Winged Cherub Link~
3/4" tall

~Little Flower Dangle~
a tiny 3/8" tall

These little charms are certainly begging me to get my beads and patera pieces out once again. I'm one that likes to continually dabble in various mediums,rotating between sewing, stitching, punching & jewelry making. I'm thinking it's time to make some fun Valentine pieces with these new charms...coming soon!

Have a good day,



Sewing Green Pastures...

1685 little green cross stitches will make up the green pasture for 3 little grazing sheep on this spring~time sampler that still does not have a title. I told myself that I wasn't going to leave this for the last to stitch.
I always try very hard to not leave the "least fun" stitching for last...

Today we are snowed in again with blizzard conditions, so what better day to start stitching green grass!

Not sure when we'll see green grass again in our yards....April or May at the rate this winter is going!

Wishing you a warm and cozy evening with needle & thread,



Saturday hoops

with G-ma & G-pa and not too much to smile about...

It's a wet & rainy Saturday and Mommy says the ISU vs. KU basketball game is a sell out and it would be easier if I stayed home with Grandma & Grandpa Gervais.

Can you b-e-l-i-e-v-e

Doesn't Mom know this is Kansas, thee third rated team in the nation and I really need to see this game in person??
Momma is lucky this game is televised or I'd be really upset.
So I guess it's just me and the remote and Grandpa and Grandma too.
Grandpa seems to be a bit more tuned into the game then Grandma is...
she's got that camera out again & right in my face!

The Cyclones are down by 10, doesn't look good.
Think I need my paci...
makes me feel better about this game I'm watching.
Come on guys play some defense...
My paci comforts me and eases my stress from the fact that my Cyclones are now down by 12. Boy, I bet Daddy is really upset...probably biting his fingernails! He could probably use my paci about right now...
Where's the foul ref??

Grandma keeps taking my pacifier out and has that camera pointed right at me again. She wants me to smile...
Geesshhh Grandma, will you please pay attention to the game!

I need my paci, my teams getting beat & there is really nothing to smile about at the moment Grandma...
Come on guys, set up your offense & run it!

Good grief,
now she's taking pictures of my feet...
That was not a good shot...

Now she is taking off my socks...
Follow your shot, rebound!

Now she's telling me I have cute toes, she calls them little piggies. Wish she'd quite buggin' me, I've got a game to watch.

I know what her plans are...
she thinks she's going to tickle my toes or sing that "little piggy went to the market" song to get me to smile for the camera.

Come on ref... he walked with the ball!

Okay, I've had it with Grandma and that camera!
She wants to see a smile...
I'll give her a BIG smile!

I'll need to give up my paci for a bit though...
Pardon me...I feel a tickle in my nose,

Grandma is now yelling frantically at Grandpa to get a Kleenex, & telling him to hurry up.
Oh this is good & this is so funny...
I'm not only smiling I am giggling as hard as I can! I've never seen Grandpa move so quick...
(Due to the graphic nature of the next picture, those of you with sensitive stomachs should stop reading now.)
Really....don't say I didn't warn you!

Here is your smile you've been waiting for ...

Sometimes you gotta take what you can get Grandma!


Hop on over...

The new punch needle patterns are up for your viewing pleasure!
We are now taking pre~orders on these and will begin shipping on Wednesday, January 27th.

With thy Needle & Thread,


Moving on...

The last of the punch needle designs are now complete, pattern instructions are wrote, only now I need the sky to cooperate! Wanting a nice some~what sunny day to take the last photo. Hoping to have them posted and ready for purchase by weeks~end.

We are grey~skied here today with a good old fashioned winter ice storm going on outside. They are forecasting a 1/2" of ice then turning over to snow...
A good day to stay inside, unless you have a pair of skates to strap on! Our lights are flickering now & again, just hoping we aren't sitting by candlelight by evening.

With the punch needle pieces done , its time to move on.
Time to move onto the next thing...
Time with the linen, needle & thread.
A soon to be published sampler that will be worked in various shades of reds, mustard's, yellow beige's, khaki greens, powdery blues & drabby browns. The color palette is yummy! Various motifs common to the samplers created in the 1800's will be used throughout this some~what larger piece.

I enjoy working samplers. Each little motif doesn't take all that long to stitch and there is just something about finishing one thing and moving onto the next...a sense of accomplishment of sorts in a short amount of time.

As I sit and work these school~girl type samplers, my mind wanders. I try to visualize the young girls that so carefully worked these samplers & at the same time learned their alphabet. It was the duty of these girls parents to teach them needlework skills regardless of their wealth. The "instructress" or needlework teacher often made the decision as to the overall design, verse and thread choices...leaving very little choice for the young stitchers. You will often find unfinished antique pieces, suggesting not every little girl saw the enjoyment in her needlework.

With my needle & my thread,
Which now appears so neat,
Before I was quite nine years old,
I did this work complete.
It still will show when I am old,
Or laid into the tomb, How I employed my little hands,
While I was in my bloom.
(verse from an antique school~girl sampler)

With thy Needle & Thread,


I'm stuck

in contemplation....
Seems like I get stuck here often!

Contemplation of the "finish" of the last punch needle design. The new designs that I promised you all in a couple of days a few days ago...

Do I sew it & stuff it into a little pillow,

or frame it,

or add woolly tongues

or take the easy way out and just scan it and plop it onto the pattern cover as is? A little voice in my head keeps telling me, "this IS NOT an option!"

As of this morning I'm leaning towards adding woolly tongues,but that could change by noon!

Today's goal is to have the piece completely finished by days end.

4 new punch needle patterns will be ready for purchase in a few days...

I promise!

Then it's time to contemplate what's next...do I begin stitching the sampler I have graphed that's begging to be stitched, or do I start that rabbit doll that's been sketched since last spring?

Have a good day,


They need our help...

The average person in Haiti lives on a $1.00 a day...

This is less then the cost of that cup of coffee we buy at Starbucks
or that bottle of Coke we drink a day...

We need to reach into our pockets and help the people of Haiti.

A dear high school friend is a co-founder of a wonderful non-profit Christian group called
Providence Ministries based in St. Paul MN. Please take a few minutes to read their heart-warming story.

Asking you to forgo that cup of coffee or bottle of coke for the people of Haiti...every dollar helps!




punch needle

With thy Needle & Thread,


Today's recipe & photo share are courtesy of my son, Matthew.

To set the scene of today's post, we'll begin here...
It's Saturday afternoon & the phone is ringing.
Mom: "Hello"
Matthew: (no hello, just a voice doing his best Beavis & Butthead impersonation...)"Aaaaaahhhhhh, if you were fennel, what are you & where would you be in the grocery store?"
Mom: (I'm now thinking, what in the world is my #2 child cooking...)"Fennel is a spice and you'll find it in the spice aisle"
Mom: "Sort of looks like caraway seeds".
Mom: "What do you need fennel for?"
Matthew: (his phone is now breaking up as it often does when he calls me from the grocery store and all I could make out was...) "I'm going to smoke it."
Mom replies in a somewhat louder/concerned type of voice: "WHAT...you're going to do SMOKE IT????"
Matthew: "Yea, I bought some salmon and I'm going to smoke it." "The brine calls for fennel".
Mom (now in a more relaxed voice): "Oh, yea, that sounds good."
Mom: "Do you have a smoker?"
Matthew: "No"
Mom: "Oh"
Matthew: "I'm going to turn my grill into a smoker." (He inherited this sort of "make-do" ability from his Dad)
Mom: "Hummm, will that work?"
Matthew: "Yea, it'll work."
(Blogger Mother is now brainstorming....I'm not quite sure what kind of response this question will bring, but what the heck...I'm going to ask it anyway...so here goes)
Mom: "You should take pictures." "You know, step by step pictures." "And I'll post it on my blog!"
Matthew: "Okay."
(He said okay, can you b-e-l-i-e-v-e it! Mother is now doing the "happy dance" as she has Monday's blog post all planned...and better yet, she doesn't have to make the mess in her kitchen or even take the photos!!)

Sunday afternoon (It is at this time I'm really wondering if sonny boy is going to pull through on this sort of deal we had goin'. Later in the day I check my email and oh baby I got mail! Mail from Matthew! Mail with lots of pictures attached! We are makin' smoked salmon & Matthew you are thee man!!!

Here is the recipe just as it came to me from Matthew...no editing, so enjoy!

ok so here is what i had to do. first you have to put the "brine" together and soak the salmon in it for a day or so. here is the brine (Mom thinking here...looks like the college grad could use a refresher course in capitalization)
4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 stalk sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 smashed garlic cloves

Place salmon in a pan & pour brine over

Refrigerate over night.

After that is done soaking it is time to lay the meat out and let it dry out. The reason for this is so that "pellicle" is formed on the fish and it gives the smoke something to adhere to. (Mom thinking...he has been doing some major research on smoking, now he is throwing "big" words at us). During this step it is a good idea to have the fish sitting somewhere cool (65 degrees or less) and with air movement. I sat it outside and had a fan blowing on it for about 2 hours. (Mom thinking...something about this picture totally cracks me up! What if the neighbor's dog or cat catches whiff of this out on the deck drying?????)

Hickory, wood of choice.

While the fish is drying its a good time to start soaking your wood chips in a bowl of water. (Me thinking...dang I taught him well, he is multi-tasking!!!)

Since i am using a gas grill which isn't a wonderful candidate for smoking, i made several packets ready to replace any that stopped producing smoke. After your fish has been "dried" and your wood chips are nice and waterlogged its time to prep the grill. Take your wood chips and wrap them in heavy duty tin foil so that it is pretty much air tight. To get good smoke you should put the packet (or packets) of wood chips under the grill grate so its exposed to direct flames. Turn the grill up until you start to see smoke.

once the grill is smoking its time to get the temp under control. smoking is suppose to be done between 225 - 250 degrees. I had the fish on the side of the grill that had the burner turned off and the other side was on low which for me kept it just below 250 degrees the entire time i was smoking the meat.

Depending on the thickness of the fish you should leave it in the "smoker" anywhere from 1 - 4 hours. i left mine on the grill for pretty much the entire patrioits vs. baltimore football game (Mom is now laughing out loud...isn't this a classic "description of time" coming from the male gender?!!!) i think it was just under 3 hours.

I now have something to snack on for the next week.

Fresh smoked salmon will be good in the fridge for 10 days and 6 months in the freezer.

And that ends our fun day of cooking with Matthew. Please let us know if you would like this to become a weekly deal, as I'm sure Matthew wouldn't mind.....

Also please free to offer any favorite brine recipes or smoking tips that you may have!

Have a good evening,

(Matthew if you should happen upon this post...thanks a bunch! - Love, Mom)

When Agassi meets Ruby...

Ughhhummmm,Pardon me?

Um,this is where I lay.
This is my spot in the sun.
I lay here all day and bask in the sun and watch the squirrels and birds.

What are you doing,where did you come from?

Ughhhh, the nerve of my human mom...

Oh, oh there she is with that camera,

I'll just sit here and pretend I don't see her.

If I don't look at her maybe she won't see me.

When she's not looking I'm going to have to check this out...
sneak a tiny taste.

Is this what "curiosity killed the cat" means?????

Wishing you all a quiet lazy day in the sun,


Meet Ruby!!

My Christmas amaryllis I call "Ruby" is finally making her striking appearance.
She is a little late, but that is okay...
Christmas sort of snuck up on me too this year!

3 bulbs...
each producing 2 buds, yippeee!!!!

Bulbs were planted the week after Thanksgiving in hopes for a blooming show at Christmas~time.
December was a deary month and due to lack of sun, Ruby was a bit slow in growing...

"I can totally relate Ruby,
I'm pretty certain I am solar powered too"

Wishing you a bright & sunny day,


Mother Nature at her best...

Just when I thought I couldn't take another day of snow & winter
I wake-up and look out the window to find
the trees covered in beautiful crystals

Hoarfrost is similar to the dew on a summer morning. The dew freezes on everything it collects upon, forming beautiful feather-like crystals. Heavy fog is almost always present on these rare winter mornings. After the fog clears it exposes an astonishingly blue sky which makes the white frost stand out so beautifully.

It truly is a sight to behold!

Join me on my morning walk
take in this occurrence that happens just a few times each winter...

Even frosty has hoarfrost on his twiggy arms. Gotta love the life jacket frosty has tucked under his arm.
Even Frosty is thinking summer time & swimming!

If you want to see our Mama Cardinal, click on above photo for a larger view. (Really wanting a bigger zoom for birdie photos!)

Looking out over our lake...

A few lonesome fish houses & one of the 3 small islands on our lake. My kids always told me there are deer that live on the islands when they'd come home from a day on the lake...do deer really swim??? Or were my kids trying to see just how gullible their mom really was??

The above photo gives true meaning to the United States Postal Service's slogan...
"We deliver in Rain, Sleet or Snow...
that is,
if they can find your mailbox!

City is beginning to clear snow that is piled on the sides of the road, loading it onto large semi-type trucks and then leasing farmland to dump the snow on. Something I have never seen done as long as we have lived here.

A lonesome crow warming himself in the morning sun
I'm pretty certain he is thinking the same thought as I...
"wish it would warm up & real soon-like"

Keep warm & enjoy the weekend,