Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 15, 2009--waiting for Spring

Hi Friends,
We are in the midst of a huge blizzard here, and I am waiting for my hair to dry after running 2 errands on my way to work. Last week I read a little article in a magazine about waiting while I was waiting to pick up Chinese take-out. The writer was waiting for fish to bite and maple sap to run--both things I know almost nothing about, but it made me think all weekend long how much of our lives are indeed spent in waiting. I am patiently waiting for each new episode of Little Dorrit to come each Sunday. Christian is waiting for his 16th birthday in 2 weeks so he can get his driver's license. Teri is waiting for our accountant to bring her taxes, and we are all waiting for Winter to end. I am not sure what this means about our humanness. Perhaps we are impatient beings.
This week sort of starts the birthday times in my family. We took Simon--our Chinese exchange student--along with Christian, Raphael--France--and Chin Wey--Taiwan--with us on our Wednesday night dinner with friends to celebrate Simon's 16th birthday. We went to the Mongolian barbeque and had a blast eating, talking and laughing. I think Teri has a picture of the 4 boys down below. I can hardly believe that they will all be returning home in about 6 weeks. Where has this year gone? Raph and Chin walked down to our house last Sunday evening to teach Teri how to make French Crepes. They brought another neighbor with them, and Peter hadn't gone back to Salt Lake yet, so we had a kitchen full of giant teenage boys, 2 guitars, 1 dog, and small containers of "secret ingredients" to go in the crepe batter which the boys were whispering and chuckling over. Raph made a bowl of batter that was almost as big as a hot tub, and after making 3 crepes, he left Teri to make another 200. They were very good, and she did learn well how to make them. The boys gobbled them with Nutella, we served them at work with ice cream and caramel sauce, we took them to all our family with whipped creme and strawberries, and then had several meals with chicken and mushrooms. I am not sure how soon we will be making them again, but when we have the hankering, we will be ready. Next, he is going to teach us "the world's best pasta carbinarra." I am excited, but I think we will need to invite a large number of friends in for that night. Want to come?
I have no idea why I have rattled on about all of that, but now to the business of the shop. In spite of our crazy weather, we have been busy here. Teri and I are working on designs for the Columbus market in June, but she has had some very darling pieces stitched for the shop as well. One of our favorite new samplers is one by Lizzie Kate--ABC Lessons. Marilyn stitched it for us, and it is fabulous. Both Teri and Lynnette are working on it for themselves. It really is quite lovely, and expresses sentiments we badly need in this world. The original colours that come in the kit are sweet and cheerful, and we chose to do ours in sort of muted, unusual colours. If you want to buy the kit from us, we can give you a choice between the two colours pallettes. We have not been so good about keeping up with SamSarah's alphabet baubles for this year, but we have just finished the Bees and it is very sweet. I think we have a picture of it below. I'm fairly sure you will love it. Then be sure to take a good look at some wonderful new scissors we have just received. The little ones from Kelmscott in darling colours are just perfect for keeping in a little sewing pouch. Plus some of the new bigger stitching scissors are unique and fun.
I'm on my own here now as Kari is sick and Sue has gone for the day, so I am on the phones. I am going to send this on so I don't forget. Have a great April week, and I hope spring is there even as you are reading.
Until next week--fondly, Tina

The way we love bees, how could we pass up B bauble by Sam Sarah. It is great fun!!! I am starting to assemble a bee display. I am very hopeful for spring. It has been cold and snowy here, but the weather men say there is warmer weather on the way!

This is such a great piece by Lizzie Kate!!! We have so many customers stitching it. The kit comes in great pinks, aquas and browns for $32.00 (fabric is not included). Marilyn stitched this one in dusty colors, isn't it fabulous!!!!! We also added a few buttons for fun!

We have received a few more colors of the Little Gems scissors. Pink, Matte black ( looks like olive in the photo), red, purple, green, and yellow. They also come in gold and silver. The owl scissors in the center are brand new!!! Great!

Chris on the right with the other exchange students - Simon is next to Christian. It was his birthday and we went to a favorite local spot. The owner speaks Chinese so both Simon and Chin Wai could converse with her. Raphael (on the end) is from France.

Just as we started hiding the candy for the annual Easter hunt, It
started to rain. Look at those clouds.... We had a great time and
everyone was so happy to out of their houses and visiting!!! Can you
see Jillian and Sophie in the crowd? Where is Ellie????

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fool's Day, 2009

Dear Friends,
Perhaps that is the April Fool's joke, that I am actually writing this blog. Don't think I haven't thought about it a lot all through March. I can't believe that it is gone. Usually March is one of my favorite months, but this year I am sort of glad to see it go. Of course it doesn't help that we seem to be still mired in Winter. It's ok though, the heat will come soon enough. For me, March is birthday month--always time for celebrations. Mine falls at the beginning of the month and Teri's just 3 days after. Odd for twins don't you think? Then our other sister, Sheree, has her birthday near the end of the month. It's pretty fun, as it gives us many excuses to get together and party--which we have definitely done. Most sadly, one of our very dear friends passed away suddenly on Teri's B-day. We have just been totally down all month. A friend of mine wrote in an e-mail that the thing he feared the most was losing the people he loved, and I have thought about the truth of that so many times lately. Why does life have to be so hard. But now it is April, and time to look ahead and cheer up. Certainly there are a hundred things--and people--here at work to raise one's spirits. Plus--I have been reading a lot. I know I should be stitching but it is cold here and reading gives me a good excuse to crawl under a blanket and escape. Besides, I have read such good books lately. I gave Teri a book for her birthday which I knew nothing about, and then Sheree gave me the same book which she had read a while ago and loved. It has such a peculiar name--The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. (Or something like that) I read the whole thing in 3 days which is saying a lot as I can linger on a book for months. It is fantastic! If you haven't read it, just go get it this afternoon. It is only about 250 pages, but I wish it had been 1000, I loved it that much. I could hardly bear it to end, and didn't want to leave these people whom I felt were truly my friends. Not to sound bossy, but go read it and let me know what you think. It sounds sort of silly--by its title--but it is anything but that. In fact it deals with deep topics, but is very gentle, sweet, and touching. Such a feel good book. Another book I just finished, which I loved, was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. I love this author anyway, and this book was also wonderful. I know--you think I haven't been stitching, but I really have. Teri and I went to Chicago in the middle of the month to teach for our friends Pam and Kim at their darling shop--Tomorrow's Heirlooms. We had such a good time stitching pieces for the classes, and then we had a wonderful weekend while we were there. There were such darling women taking our class, that it was fun meeting them and being able to visit and get to know them a little while we were there. Pam and Kim are sweet and enthusiastic, and it was especially nice to visit their shop. Sharon Crescent also attended the class, and we always have a great time together laughing and catching up. A perfect weekend with old friends and new.

Spring is taking its time coming to Utah this year, but that may be the very reason that everyone here has been stitching spring things like crazy. Teri's new Hide and Seek pillow has been a blast. You could still easily have it ready before Easter. One of my favorite new pieces is one by Notforgotten Farm. I love her whimsical, folk-art patterns anyway, and her new one Ah, 'Tis Spring is just fabulous. I think Teri has a picture of it below. We can't even bear to part with it long enough to send over to Jill to frame, so we have it on the front counter in Q-Snaps. This little bunny lady is just gentle and sweet--everything spring ought to be. If you can stand to put her away, I think she would be a piece that you loved to bring out every March. Another piece which we have loved for awhile is Still Waters. Our friend, Marilyn, stitched this one and we adore it. It is a perfect mixture of colours and psalm and motifs. This is one that is definitely on my list--but I haven't started it yet. And be sure to watch for Home--a darling new piece by La-D-Da. It has kind of a spring-like theme, but really would be perfect all year long. And just wait until you see how we have stitched a fantastic new piece by Lizzie Kate--ABC Lessons. Sorry, you just have to wait for the photo. More of that anon.

Finally, while we were in Chicago, Pam gave us this wonderful little ort box and kindly shared the name of the person who makes them. I think we might have a picture of them below. It really is quite ingenious--made from a variety of darling papers and they fold right up and tuck into your sewing bag. I usually stitch at a table and try to capture my cut ends of thread in various paper cups. But now I just unfold my little box and leave it on the table. It makes me very happy. My biggest problem is keeping it away from the eternally lengthy nose of my beagle, Lindbergh. It is just the kind of thing that he can hardly stand not to have between his teeth, so he dances about the table waiting for me to leave it in his reach for 1 tiny second. I also have to keep it away from any boys at my house. There is something about the folding nature of the thing that entices them to fiddle with it. So----if you are up to the challenge of keeping it away from curious fingers and teeth, I think that you, too, might enjoy it.
Well, I guess I have to send this off to you. Until next week, be safe, read a little, and stitch a lot.

ever fondly,

I have pulled together some of my favorite sheep pictures. These are great for spring, but sheep are wonderful all year round. From bottom left, "Curly Q Ewe," Our "Queen Sheep." Behind to the left, "STU" and "Counting House." Behind in the gold mat, "Sheep May Safely Graze." Center top... NEW "Still Waters"- (I have a close up further down, to the right of it). To the right Shepherd's Bush "She Tends" - another favorite, above it and to the right, Sheep Button Sampler. Below She Tends, "Sheep" from Workbasket. The pillows are from Prairie Schooler. We have about a zillion more sheep, I may have to rotate them.

Still Waters is a project I have had pulled out to do since it came out. I love how it turned out. Our friend Marilyn stitched this project for us. The soft colors and overdyed fabric add to the sweet feeling you get from this piece. Marilyn used overdyed threads to stitch this, isn't it fabulous!!!!!

Here is another fun new piece from La D Dah. Our friend Bonnie stitched this great project. Yes we did change all the colors, It is so fun!

I finally had to take down the snowmen pictures. Our tulips are coming up in fine force. It is time for spring! So I thought of bees and happy sayings. Did you want to know what they all are? OK I will list them. Bottom left on the wall is Shepherd's Bush "Be of Good Cheer." Center is the Lizzie Kate flip-it series from last year. We only made it down to "care" before I needed Judy to stitch something else for us. This project comes in small cards, with 2 designs in each leaflet. In the bottom right is "Gentleness." "Queen Bee" is above Gentleness and above that is "Keep a Happy Heart"- Shepherd's Bush. On the top left, is "We Seek." The pillows are left to right: Love- from the Lizzie Kate double flips. Friend for all Seasons, Buzz on In and on the right are two more Prairie Schooler pillows.

Here we are in Chicago. We had a great time with Pam and Kim of Tomorrow's Heirlooms. If you have never been to their store in Glen Ellyn, Ill., you need to go. It is filled to the brim... and I mean to the brim! They brought an astonishing amount of Shepherd's Bush models to the hotel and set up a shop there. They have a great seamstress that makes pillows for many of the Shepherd's Bush designs called blanks. We are all holding the scatter series pillows.

Helping to set up the shop, Tina hugs Sharon Crescent of Crescent Colors. Pam and Kim look on. That is the best part of traveling, meeting good friends on the other end.

OK, this is not a new project, but it is one we have loved forever. It has just been reprinted, and so is available once again. "All through the Year" comes as a packet of instructions. You stitch the angel on 10 count fabric so she is big!!! then you stitch aprons to change each month. all the aprons are stitched on 28 count fabric. Her hair is wild and crazy. We have the pattern, and the apron fabrics, the stick arms and legs you have to find yourself. It is fun, isn't it?

Ah tis' Spring is our new favorite piece. Stitched in overdyed threads and with a few button accents, this sweet bunny will brighten your spring.

These are a great product we discovered at Tomorrow's Heirlooms. They kindly shared their source and we ordered these darling "ort" boxes. These great boxes are to put all your odds and ends in....the end threads that always end up on the floor or down the couch. The coolest part is that they fold right up and slip into your stitching bag or purse. Each is a different paper, and comes in a matching folder. they are a super price at $6.50 each.