New Patterns!

Spring time patterns are here for your stitching pleasure! 

House of Blues & Browns Sampler Pillow
worked on 22 count Fine Ariosa over 2 threads.
Finished size - 11" x 23" 

Peter & Peep
worked on 22 count Fine Ariosa over 2 threads
Finished size - 15" x 20"

April Word Play
 worked on 35 count Abecedarian over 2 threads.

Floss kits, linens and fabrics for the above new charts are all available from us online.  Items are now posted on our website.


Margaret Lucas 1832
Emma Triegel 1878

Have a good weekend,

Winter Arrives...

Looks like mother nature whipped up a big batch of royal frosting  
over night... 

She frosted everything
 with a 
the red boy
extra red

The red boy
 was my morning coffee
flitting from snow covered branch
snow covered branch.

 I'm pretty sure he was thinking,
hurry up lady
 drink that coffee,
get your boots on,
come out 
and feed me.

It's Friday, yayyyyy!

Off to do my bird chores,


In a chocolate coma...

not quite,
I will be 
when I get through 
both layers of chocolates!

Come on,
 don't let me eat chocolates by myself...
go on out
 and buy yourself
 a 12 oz box of Whitman's. 
The Whitman's Sampler,
a collection of assorted chocolates...
And while your sinking your teeth
 into the chocolatey nugget,
take a look at the lid of the box... 
A basket of flowers, the bluebirds in the corners,
the wavy cross stitched border...
and yes,
they are done in tiny little cross stitches!
when you've consumed the whole box of chocolates,
I repeat,
we are going to
repurpose the box
into another stitching ditty!
 Watch for a future 
cross stitch design
 using the empty box...
will keep you posted.
It's going to be special...
  The idea is in it's early stages,
 just some scribbles in the sketch pad.

X X X X X X X 

Coming soon!
These are so small & sweet!
They feature tiny little photo pendants (1/2" - less then an inch)
 of antique samplers.
Tiny little charms and natural beads
are carefully attached 
and all hang
from a brooch
 that measures less then 2" across. 
  They make such a cute clanging noise 
when you wear them...
reminds me of my charm bracelet days! 
 I'm in the process of working on this collection. 
 Hoping to have 4 or 5 brooch choices to start with.
  More info on these to follow.  

 I now have stork charms,
which means,
more floss keeps will be coming!

Happy Thursday Everyone...
we are having a mix of rain/wet heavy snow today,


Growing Old Gracefully...

I spent the weekend
 with my eyes closely fixated,
 a few inches away,
 from Frances Pool - 1832.

color planning.

 Frances Pool has
 grown old gracefully,

 I cannot seem
 to get her musty smell
 out of my nose...

 Frances has spent
 some time in a
 I'm just guessing,
 that is what her
 indicates to me... 
Sharing little
 bits and pieces
the work of 13 year old
Frances Pool - 1832. 

   I've grouped the photos
 of the front and back
 together into one photo unit,
 for easy comparison.
 The top photo is the backside,
 showing the original colors of floss.
The bottom photo of the group is the front side,
 showing how the flosses have faded
over the 180 years.

See how the flosses have changed?
Frances has grown old gracefully,
hasn't she?

 The purples have faded
 to a lovely 
federal blue.

 The fuchsia pinks
are now a wonderful
shade of muted mulberry.

The rusty brown tree branch
is now
 greenish brown.
Take note of the bird..
It's light chartreuse-colored feathers
 have faded to a subtle shade
 of soapstone grey.

 I think she has aged beautifully,
I love her faded colors.
 It seems to be
 that I always
 the faded version
 to the original version. 

What way do you prefer to stitch a reproduction?

 Bright and bold,
 like newly purchased
 skeins of flosses,
faded and muted 
shades to simulate 
a piece that is 180 years old?
Frances Pool appears to be about a 15 count.  
The finished piece isn't quite square, 
with her widest width being around 14 1/2".
Just a nice size,
not too overwhelming. 

  I've selected hand dyed flosses
 by The Gentle Arts
 Weeks Dye Works,
 the front side 
of the sampler.
The reproduction will have
the same look as the antique. 
The linen selection
 hasn't been finalized.
I'm still on the hunt for the perfect shade of linen.
Wish me happy hunting!
Have a good week,


TNNA Bound?

If so,
 stop by Norden Crafts 
to view models
 of my new patterns
 releasing in their room.
 You will be amongst the first
 to view
 April's Word Play,
 Peter & Peep 
House of Blues & Browns Sampler Pillow.
Norden Crafts will have limited stock of these patterns for purchase at the show.
I'm also very excited
 to be working
 with the wonderful folks
 at The Gentle Arts.
 They have chosen 
the April Word Play
 as one of their floss kits
 for the TNNA show. 
 They too will have a limited supply of these kits
for April's Word Play
 all cutely packaged
 ready for you to take and sell...
how easy is that?
 Safe travels,


Soups On!

All week long I would come home from work and think gee, a good bowl of soup would taste good for dinner.  But it was always a little too late in the day to start a kettle of soup.  I've hardly made any soup this winter...it just hasn't felt cold enough to be a soup-kind-of day for the most part.

Today's recipe share is a recipe that I've looked at all week.  The photo of the soup looked so good
but the ingredients were a little weird.  I knew this would be one of those recipes that is going to be really really good.
 or really bad...

This taco soup was delightfully delicious.  So light, fresh and full of flavor.   So many of the recipes are a little bit too heavy and rich in the tomato for me.  This recipe definitely gets a smiley face,
a big smiley face!

Let's make some Taco Soup with Mojo Sauce, shall we?
 Brown 1 pound ground chuck; place in a strainer to drain excess fat off.
  Chop a 1/2 onion, 1/2 yellow pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper.  Place into same pan that hamburger was fried in, along with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Cook for 5 minutes.
 Add cumin, chili powder, coriander, dried oregano and minced garlic.  
Cook 5 minutes more.
Bring hamburger back into pan; stir to mix.
Add a can diced tomatoes.
Add 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed.
Place mixture into a large soup kettle.  Add two cans of beef broth, plus 3 teaspoons beef bouillon and 1 cup corn.  Simmer on low for 1 hour.

Now comes the weird part to this soup,
to me anyway...
Mojo sauce?
I had never heard of it.
The ingredients seemed a little weird.
Honey, cinnamon, cilantro, cumin...
But trust me,
this is what made the soup
so flavorful and fresh! 

Pack fresh cilantro into a 1/2 cup measuring cup.  Place in a food processor.  Squeeze two small limes over cilantro.  Add 2 cloves of garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoon honey (yes, honey!), 1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste.  The recipe also called for a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon in the mojo sauce...I took a taste before adding the cinnamon
and decided it tasted delicious as is.  I chickened out, I didn't add the cinnamon...that sounded just a little bit too weird for me.
Place in a food processor and mince; adding 2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to sauce.
Garnish each serving of soup with 1 Tablespoon of the Mojo Sauce. 
Mmmmmm, this sauce is so good.  Do not skip this part of the recipe!
Add desired taco toppings to soup...
freshly grated cheddar jack cheese, dollop of sour cream,
avocado slices, shredded lettuce
and Mojo Sauce.
Serve with corn tortilla chips.

This recipe serves 4 people, can easily be doubled.

And as always...
a printable recipe card. 
Click on arrow.

Click to play this Smilebox recipe


Ebay thieves...

Sorry about the quality of the below photo
 it is a scan
 of an ebay auction
 of mine back from 2007.
 So thus 
the poor quality of the photo...

This was a piece that I designed for this particular ebay auction. 
It was a one of a kind. 
There was never a pattern published for this design. 
I repeat, there was never a pattern published for this design...
hold onto that thought.

You can imagine my surprise while police-ing ebay, 
category Punch Needle
 when I came
 upon this auction...

I do allow my customers
 to use my designs
 for purposes of selling the finished items,
 on a small scale.  
This is with the understanding
 that they have purchased the pattern.
   Not stolen it
 from my ebay auction,
 blog or website.

   It is also always appreciated
 that the seller list the name of the designer,
 of the item, that they are selling on ebay. 
 Seems fair doesn't it? 
 I watch many of my designs
 fetch a pretty hefty sum
 (not trying to toot my horn, here) 
on ebay
 and that is wonderful!
I'm always happy for the seller.
  I don't ask any commission from this...
  And this posting isn't directed at those who do this fairly.
there are ebay sellers who are doing this

It does frustrate me to the max
 when I see  my punch needle design on ebay
 I am 99.99% sure that the seller doesn't physically
 have the pattern
 in their possession,
 rather "borrowed" it from my website, 
blog, etc.    
They feel that this sort of "borrowing"
 is okay,
 if they just list the name of the designer...
  This is NOT OKAY.  

So my point is, 
if you like a designers work,
 so much
in fact,
that you want to use it to profit from,
just simply support the designer
by purchasing the pattern.
Seems fair doesn't it?

I don't like negative posting
 this post only applies
 to the .1% of my readers/followers.
I'm only posting this here
 because those few people
shop here,
on my blog,
 then their local craft shop
or website.

 Feeling slightly cheated today,


Conversation Hearts

Each February the dear husband brings home
 his annual bag of conversation hearts
. He prefers the larger scalloped ones
 over the smaller version...
They are better.
Didn't know that?
Yep, that's what the dh says...
I'm pretty sure they are all made from the same recipe,
we'll just let him believe they are better,
I'm not too fond of conversation hearts myself,
I always find myself stealing a heart or two...
This year's stolen heart was that orange one.
See it?
The one that says honey pie.
I read it,
said, "no way"...
 stomped my feet with excitement, 
told the dh "I'm saving this one"
 and tucked it onto a special little spot
 on a shelf of my stepback cupboard.
But not before I tucked it into his fist
for him to see.

.My dearest has called me
honey pie
 since high school days.
  He would start his love notes to me,
Dear Honey Pie...
and then sign them -
 Love allways,

yeppers, he always misspelled always ;-)
I always thought it was silly...
I loved being called his honey pie.
Still do.

In fact,
 I always thought he sort of made those words up. 
 I had heard of a honey bunch
 a sweetie pie.
  But honey pie? 
  I just always figured
 he got the two words switched around
 and came up with honey pie...
so for all of these years
 it was sort of an inside joke
 I had
with myself.

So this years bag of hearts
 there really is such a thing as honey pie?  
  I even Googled it,
 Dr. Google confirmed it.  
 It is a term used more heavily in the south. 
  What can I say...
I was born and raised a Minnesotan,
way up nort 
where they call ya sweetie pies 
and honey bunches...
 yah, you betcha!

So today is the day of love. 
 I don't expect a big bouquet of red roses
 from my heart throb.
 there will be a card
 with a Russel Stover's marshmallow heart
 sitting on the piano
 this evening.
The heart will be sitting on a card
that will be addressed to
"Honey Pie"
 that is perfectly 
with me.

Happy Valentines Day everyone,


"Making flour"...

This photo was in my email in box
when I got home from work.
It said...
Hi Grandma.  I'm busy making flour.
Those are Beckham's words...
Momma says he "made flour" for over an hour
Look at the tongue...
such concentration.
It's safe to assume
the flour was well sifted
after an hour of sifting...

By the looks of his shirt
 it could have 
been used as a pastry cloth
for rolling out momma's heart cut-outs...
Have a good evening,


Time is Ticking...

Have I told you I love old pillow ticking? 
It's just one of those
My collection consists
of light blues
in narrow stripes...
darker indigo blues...
blues with reds...

wide blue stripes
(my personal favorite)

I've spent a few evenings surrounded by piles
of ticking that I've collected over the years.
Thumbing through it,
folding and refolding it,
even picking off some
down from their backside's
for the most part
trying to

But enough playing with the ticking,
it's time to get down to business.

Time is ticking,
a decision needs to be made
as market is quickly approaching
I've got deadlines to meet.
I've always wanted
to incorporate 
old pillow ticking 
into a sampler design. 
The idea has gone from a sketch,
in my sketch pad,
to almost reality.
except, I'm "scaird" to death
to cut into the freshly cross stitched sampler...

It's going to give me sweaty pits.
I just know it is...

Wish me luck.
And with any luck,
in a few weeks,
you'll see the finished product
in a new cross stitch pattern.

Crossing all finger & toes that I don't screw it up,


Mid Week Musings...

I love this time of year. 
When the tulips arrive in the flower case
at the store...
I treat myself to a weekly bouquet.
They always seem to pick me up
brighten things up a tad.
Aren't they pretty?
I used them in the photo shoot for
April's Word Play pattern cover.
Their orang-ish petals 
worked perfectly...

 * * * * * * * 

 Look what arrived today...
teeny tiny little pad lock charms.
they measure about 1/2" tall and are available in gold and silver.
 They are darling...makes me want to create something with them,
right now...
but, I can't
there are too many other things
that need finishing at the moment...
 * * * * * * * 

And lastly,
we now have the 35 count Abecedarian linen back in stock
for those of you waiting for this. 
If you had it on backorder with us,
your linen is on it's way to you!

* * * * * *
It's that time of year,
working long & hard days
filling orders (thank you thank you),
the evenings are spent finishing up cross stitch designs,
then the printing and packaging 
of them,
for the quickly approaching TNNA show...
I find myself
craving some
"me time"...
Some time to just sit in a chair 
without my groovy magnifiers on,
and no 
needle and hoop in hand.
No counting.
Just me,
in the chair,
doing nothing...

The demand of this business
wears me
I've got my big girl panties on
I'll survive!

so much to do,
so little time... 

Have a good evening,


Snowman Building 101

Winter arrives to central Iowa! 

Big and wet fluffy flakes...
the kind that look
like goose feathers
falling from the heavens.

Get out the snow pants,
get out the
mittens and boots...
let's go build a snowman!
Roll a big snow ball on the bottom...
Roll a little bit smaller one for the snowman's tummy
a baby-sized one for it's head...
Add a carrot
for it's nose...
Let's keep him warm
with daddy's 
stocking hat...
add a few corks 
from momma's 
cork collection
for eyes
a happy face...
 Say "hi" 
Mr Snowflake!
  A snowman...
from the warmth
of a little
ones hands...
that melts
this grandma's heart...

And there you have it,
Snowman Building 101.

Grandma B gives the little one an A+,
passing with flying colors!!

Have a good week everyone,