Sunday, May 31, 2009

End of May, 2009

Can you even believe how quickly the year is flying past? As usual, Spring has hurried right past us, and I already feel summer in the air. I sat out in my back yard 2 nights ago and wondered at the perfect evening. I love it when the days are warm, but the evenings implore a sweater. I watched the squirrels skittering through the oak and listened to the deafening roar of our little creek swollen with last winter's snow melt, and I thought--Summer is really here. Of course there are other signs as well. I see Peter a little more often--at least when his band is playing in Ogden. We get to sleep in, and Christian and I are already arguing about lawn mowing techniques. But how truly blissful to have those long, evening hours to stitch and read. I also know it is summer because all the spring birthdays are behind us--many cakes eaten, ice cream slurped and present unwrapped.

I know that I am a little slow with this blog, but honestly I have just been so very busy making lemon bars, that I haven't had time to get back to it. Actually, I did come up with one very good batch. I had to do it on my own, because even though many friends told me they had the best recipe in the world, no one really came forth with one. Oh well, this one was delicious, so I can't complain--a crumbly crust, thick custard and very lemony. Hmmm--what next? I was going to put the recipe up, but I have to confess it belongs to the Barefoot Contessa and I found it on the Food Network on line. So, if you are inclined, look it up and try it out.

The shop is busy right now with all of us getting ready for the Columbus market. We leave in another week or two and we are quite crazy getting everything done. Besides a lot of new things for this market, we are coming out with several new things this week to celebrate summer.

This darling pillow is worked on the windowpane fabric and finishes up quickly. The leaflet is $5.00 and the hand-made button is $6.00.

Flag Bag is the newest addition to our little burlap bags. The kit comes packaged in the little pre-sewn bag, and includes all the floss and instructions plus a little button to complete your project. Lots of fun and quick to do. Kit: $12.00

Wave is a new kit which was so much fun to do. It worked up quickly and seems the perfect thing for a good Americana summer. It is worked on a 30 count hand-dyed linen with lovely silk threads. Cecile, at Jabco, has made us a darling green fish to swim in the ocean. Kit: $24.00.

Home is the newest in our sheep with hats series. I have been asked a lot to design a new patriotic sheep as the first one I did--Oh Say--didn't actually have a hat. I love the muted tones of the silk threads in this kit, and it simply made me happy to stitch it. It is worked on 32 count flax linen with all silk threads and a sweet striped hat made by our friend Diane. As I finished it up, I just wanted to put Home instead of a more patriotic word. And if America isn't your home, just leave the flag off or change it to a fun striped, or bright coloured summer flag, and let it remind you of your own home. Kit: $18.00.

So there are our fun early summer offerings. I hope they inspire and beckon. But keep watching for our new market things because we have some fabulous designs we are preparing. We also have some wonderful new things here at the shop. Most exciting are the armloads of new stitching bags which we have just received from 2 friends who are now sewing them for us: Lori and Mavis. Teri has had much fun out in the backyard of the shop hanging them on the clotheslines so that you could see them. Sadly it has been high school baseball playoffs in the stadium behind us, so she had to be sharp to avoid getting his by foul balls speeding over our fence. Don't hesitate to call us--Sue is back now--and we can describe any other bags that might not be in the picture.

Here is a darling picture which Judy just stitched for us here at the shop. It is called Bless this House and it is designed by Mosey 'n Me. It is sweet and simple and makes you just feel good.

And here is a snapshot of a darling customer, Linda, who brought this Prairie Schooler sampler in for us to see. It is one of their monthly series--July Brings--and was simply fabulous. She had stitched it on a larger count linen and it made such a statement. Everyone at the shop loved it.

I am sneaking this letter in on a Saturday morning, and I know that they are busy out in front, so I guess I have to sort of wind up. It just seems so long since I wrote and it is fun to be back with you. Oh--I almost forgot to mention that some of you called about the Blackbird's pin book after we had run out of them. Teri was able to get 6 more, so if you are still interested---give us a quick call. I know they won't last, but for a few days we should have them. And finally, Teri and I are in the midst of working on a new Shepherd's Fold. I think it is going to be quite wonderful, so we will let you know more in the fall. Just be savouring the deliciousness of this prospect. Have a lovely, safe summer. If Bob will take his laptop, I will write again from market--if not before.
Many hugs--fondly, Tina

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May has flown right by. I know Tina is really working on her thoughts for the blog, but I thought you might like to see a few of the pincushions we just received from Nancy the felt lady. . . . They are so fun and springy.

I have been on a pincushion wave length. I designed an Americana one for our class in Chicago and had such a great time; I am working on a few more to come out this summer. The Liberty pincushion ( from the Chicago class) won't be available until next summer. Here are some great reproduction pincushions from the Civil War. The original one was filled with cotton, buck shot and sawdust. They are made out of interesting solid fabrics and are filled in the same manner as the one made in the 1860's. They look like stars. I fell in love with them at market a couple of years ago, and we have carried them ever since. They run $38.00 and are very cool.

This is a sweet Blackbird pin cushion we have stitched and added silk ribbon around the edge. The pattern is available for $ 7.00. The fabric we used is $3.10 and the silk ribbon runs .50 cents per yard; I used about a yard. and added tiny beads to anchor the ribbon in place. I just love stitching the ribbon on like that.

I have just sent out Miss Mary Mac's pincushion to be stitched and it is going to be wonderful. I even bought a little shelf to display them all on. I will keep you posted. Take care and happy stitching.


PS-I am still waiting for Tina to make her famous lemon bars.....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friday, May Day, 2009

Dear Friends,
Spring has finally--tentatively, shyly--arrived in my yard. I have been watching its progress out of my bedroom window, which is still mostly shut against the chill April air. The yellow daffodils which Bob planted in the fall are up and quite cheerfully competing with the sudden and impossible greenness of the grass. My trees are more sluggish to awaken. Only the Cherry has committed to her blossomed glory while the Oak and Maple seem still stuck in their winter slumbers. Even the Virginia creeper on my window refuses to unfold its leaves despite my watchful coaxing. Be patient, I tell myself. Our creek, however, in its noisy tumbling torrent shouts Spring as it thrusts down the barely melted snows from the mountain behind us.
I wonder each year at the beauty and joy of this time, so much surprise and colour after the endless grey of Winter. And yet, Spring also makes me oddly sad. Perhaps it is the continual switching from sun to rain, but I think it is more likely the understanding that Spring is a harbinger of change. I don't really like the end of the school year always with its progression of grades for my boys. My soul simply longs for things to stay comfortably the same, and Spring just quickly pushes everything on and on--from grass, to water, to children. Christian turned 16 this week and has been been the beaming owner of his driver's license for about 48 hours. During the past year, he has always driven with Bob or me--usually me, finished Driver's Ed at 6:00 in the morning, possibly completed double or triple the required 40 hours of practice--yet still I am in a panic. Of course we had to go the the DMV the minute school was out on his birthday, and that evening he asked if he could drive around the block--alone. Sure..OK...I guess, I answered, and then plied him with instructions for getting out of the driveway. When he returned 47 seconds later, I was nonchalantly waiting on the curb. Last night, he asked if he could meet us at the restaurant we were going to for dinner--about 2 miles away. I called him three times before he left the house to give him advice, admonitions, and instructions, which he took in good humor. When he reached the destination, I was waiting on the sidewalk. This weekend, he has asked if he could drive to a friend's house to watch a movie. I said--perhaps--and that seemed to satisfy, but a minute later he asked if I would be waiting in their driveway. Ah...16.
I have decided to overcome my spring blues by finding and mastering the perfect Lemon Bar. I am going to start this weekend and I shall keep you apprised of my progress. If you are even now in possession of the perfect recipe, let me know. If I actually get a good one, I will send you a picture of it and include the recipe. Teri also tells me that I should stitch her new pillow, Be Happy. This darling piece fits in with our other Be-attitudes and is the perfect answer to our current times. As if the economy, the war, and global warming weren't enough, now we have the swine flu to worry about. So might I just suggest a few quiet days stitching--Be Happy--to remind us that we can't really do much else. So we might as happy.
Now here are a few very fun things from Barb and Alma at Blackbird designs which our friends--as well as me--are thrilled with. They are doing a series of sewing implements through Moda, the company who prints their fabric. I don't know if any of you bought one of their sewing rolls a few months back, but I did and I love it so much. I hang it from a lamp where I sometimes stitch and it is supplied with all my stitching necessities. Well now we have received several new things in this sort of series. I am pretty sure that Teri has a picture down below of these things. There are 2 darling pin cushions which are machine made, but look like they were hand made. They are so adorable. One of them is in creme, green and odd purple and the other one is in blue and browns. I love them both and I might have to buy them both so I won't have to choose. Take a look at the picture and see what you think. They each have buttons in the corners. I know I won't be able to order them again, so choose quickly. Then, my even more favorite thing is their little pin pocket. It is very old-fashioned and darling in soft cremes and sea blue. As you can see in the picture it is made out of a soft, sort of homespun linen and folds up with a button. The front has a little cross stitched picture and the back has a sweet button-holed and buttoned pocket for storing. When you open it and unfold it, it has a little fabric loop to secure your scissors, 2 pieces of button-holed wool felt for pins and needles and a tiny partial pocket for tucking threads or fabric. It really is very sweet and I already have mine well stocked and sitting on my table at home. And finally--they have been very busy--they have a new book out and ready for stitching. It is the April stocking book and it is wonderful. We have ha d so much fun with their little stocking series, and this one--designed just for April--is the perfect thing. I am not sure if Teri has a picture of this one as we have had a hard time keeping it in stock, but if you are collecting them, it is ready, and if you haven't been, now is a great time to start.
Remember, it is almost Mother's Day and gift certificates make wonderful presents. So if you are looking for something for that fantastic wife, mom, or grandma in your life, think about a beautifully wrapped gift certificate from the shop. Teri says that they make a lovely gift for that special aunt in your life as well.
We are busy here at the shop and it has taken me all day and then some to write to you. Today has been both fun and crazy, and I love seeing everyone heading home with fantastic projects to work on. It makes me want to start something new. Teri and I have been busy designing and stitching some new things, so I will tell you about those next week. Be safe this week, use plenty of disinfectant wipes and don't get sick.
fondly, Tina

Be Happy was the first of the Be-Atitudes... We have stitched it in  
soft spring colors and finished it with a gorgeous floral fabric that
just arrived in the shop. It is so nice to finally have flowers in
my yard to use in photographs ( not the lilies). The pattern was
released this week and we have all the supplies available.

Here are a couple of wonderful stitching accessories from Blackbird Designs. They are already finished and all you have to do is enjoy them. We have 2 pincushions shown above. They are larger than you think, about 5 inches. They are made of a woven fabric, the letters are woven right in. I think they are very sweet.

We also have a very few of their sewing cases (shown above). They all come in soft sage green and cream fabric they have a sweet house on the front with the words "Pins ands Needles." The inside of the case has a pocket and a place to put your needles. Both of these would make a great addition to your sewing basket.