Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rainy May, 2015
Welcome to the desert.  Plenty of clouds, thunder and lightening...but if you are coming, bring a kayak.  We have had such a strange, moisture-less winter, that this watery spring is both welcome and surprising.  My friends walk about outside with bath towels--although a beach towel might be a bit more festive--and all of Utah spends an inordinate amount of time staring out windows at our unexpected weather.  Yesterday, Teri and I sat in the parking lot for 15 minutes trying to muster up the courage to slosh our way into the shop.  One by one, everyone else drove up and sat in their cars looking over at us and wondering what we were doing.  Obviously, they don't have naturally curly hair.  Seriously, 18" of snow overnight will only elicit a few groans and a frantic scramble for boots, hats, and gloves.  But 5" of rain over 3 weeks and we are completely undone.  But, I will tell you, that we are a shimmering spectacle of green...the Emerald State--for this 1 brief and glorious month.  The mountains are green, the grass is green, trees and plants and bushes are green.  In fact everywhere you look is green.  You can smell it and breathe it and sneeze it.  I should definitely take a picture, because it is not going to last...

The box gardens are doing great.  Well, like the rest of us, they could actually use a bit of sunshine, but that will come.  The tomatoes and beans are growing quickly, and are almost reaching the girl scout teepees.  How exciting.  We've added a bunch of flowers, and they are bravely soldiering on through the downpours.  Only the cucumbers are attempting to turn up their toes.  Teri is quite determined that they are going to fight through this, but I am not very sure.  Luckily the grocery store has new and healthier ones beckoning from the trolly outside the front doors...and I secretly have my eye on them.  

The oddest thing of all is that while we have been busy nurturing and admiring the flora and fauna  out in the back yard, we totally failed to notice a serendipitous little garden growing out in the front yard.  In the grate under our tree we now have a lovely forest of mushrooms--ok--toadstools.  They make me laugh every time a walk past them.  I sort of vacillate between wanting buy a gnome and paint tiny red polka dots on them, or thumbtacking a skull and crossbones to the trunk of the tree.  I am a bit mystified about this unexpected crop.  Teri thinks is is tiny fairy village... but I am not convinced.  

Well, this lovely rainy weather has allowed for much fine stitching.  We have finished a few very fun pieces that I am excited to share with you now.  I think that everything is ready so I hope that they will make you want to stitch and stitch.  

Hope For Peace
kit:  $30.00

This sweet little piece is stitched on a lovely 32 count Flax Belfast linen with a gentle palette of silks and overdyed cottons.  The kit includes a packet of little buttons for a perfect finishing touch.

Crown Thy Good Pin Cushion
kit:  $20.00

This was such a fun little pin cushion to stitch.  It is worked on 32 count natural Belfast linen with a combination of silks and overdyed cottons.  Sweet little buttons crown this piece as well as hand-dyed ric rac and pearl beads.   If you would like a piece of the wool backing, let us know.  It is a beautiful Weeks Dye Works wool.  It is $4.50 a piece, just let us know we would love to send you one.  

Flag Box 
kit:  $12.00

Teri's stitched flag is a great addition to the little box top series.  You will totally love this charming piece which will be just right for those hot, patriotic days of summer.

Summer Trifles
leaflet:  $8.00
complete kit:  $70.00 

Finally, it is here!!!  Oh, sorry, Teri, that sounded rude.  I just have been very excited for her to finish these--and so is everybody else.  I think they are darling and you will just love all the fun little bits and pieces that go along with them.  Sweet blue, gold, and cloudy linens, fab ribbons that she has dyed, beads and buttons and everything you need to finish them up. A perfect beginning of summer project--actually 3 of them.  

Liberty Hill
exclusive kit:  $20.00

Jill and Teri have been having a great time working on this new exclusive kit.  Available only from Shepherd's Bush, this sweet and summery piece is stitched on 32 count linen.  The kit includes linen, threads, and buttons as well as this lovely hand-painted mat by Jill.  It will stitch up very quickly and you can enjoy it the whole summer long.  

New Darling Charts from our friend Paulette

George and Martha by Plum Street Samplers
Chart $10.00

Winsome Pair by Plum Street Samplers
Chart $10.00

Party Tarts by Plum Street Samplers
Chart $12.00

These make me laugh,  we do have the little tart tins for $3.00 each.  

Stars and Stripes by With Thy Needle
Chart $ 12.00

Our niece Erin stitches for us, and she just sent this back to us, it is so wonderful!  

Well, there you have from Lake Ogden. We have a lot of fun new things that we haven't taken pictures of yet, but I think that we will just add them to this letter in the next day or two.  Just come back to me and scroll down to see what's new.  We have chosen very cool linens and threads to go with Plumstreet's new pieces, as well as Stars and Stripes from With Thy Needle.  And a darling new one called Santa's Hike.  So... keep in touch.  There will also be a bunch of new designs coming out this weekend so we will be ordering lots of exciting things.  Classic Colorworks is coming out with two new threads and a free pattern to go with.  With Thy Needle has 2 darling pin cushions...and there will be lots more.  I will write again next week, but if there is something you want, just let us know.
Have a great weekend and remember...don't eat the toadstools.  hugs, Tina

Friday, May 1, 2015

Late spring

Ahhh...Spring, 2015

Dear Friends,

It's the first of May, and I think that Spring is well and truly here.  April brought its share of snow to Utah, and May might as well, but it's all good.  In fact it is all great.  Our darling, young horticulturist neighbor, Sveva, has been working with Teri on a project in the back yard of the shop.  He has a master plan for us which involves a few years of landscaping, and this is the year of the box gardens. He has worked very hard, and he and Teri have had a great time planning out the the future of these gardens.  Today is planting day #1.  So excited to see how everything grows, so I'll update you as the summer progresses.  Teri can't wait to get her tomatoes and cucumbers growing, and I can't wait to bring down my blue chair and watch.  We have always loved our little oasis out in the back and have spent a lot of time out there over the years:  dyeing fabrics and ribbons, tending the lilac bushes that our mom planted the year we opened the shop, dodging baseballs, and sometimes setting up a table and just working on a project in the quiet of the afternoon.  (Well, quiet--if the people next door at the shady motel are on their rare good behavior. ) When my boys were little, it seemed like we spent many hours out there trying to get some work done while they rode scooters and trikes.  I kind of miss those times a little.  But now we will have a new phase and I know that it will be fabulous.  A little pocket garden in the heart of the downtown.  Sometimes Teri disappears from the shop for long periods of time, and now we know where she is.  When everything starts growing, we might never see her.  

This week, she has been constructing tomato and cucumber cages for the box gardens.  I tried to help her a bit, but honestly it was pitch dark and freezing cold most of the time.  So far, I think they look pretty good, albeit a bit rickety.  But they are sturdier than they look, and hopefully they will work out well.  (Tina...they are not rickety, they are very strong and will be the perfect frame for our cucumbers and beans.  Our sister Sheree has ordered up some for her yard, good luck getting them home)-Teri

This has been a busy few months for all of us. with the market in March, preparing for the next Fold, and trying to get new things ready for May.  I have stitched a lot and also done a bit of sketching as I think forward in the year.  Nothing is better than a good project to come home to.  I have also been reading quite a bit, and right now I am almost finished with the most fantastic book: All the Light we cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Bob gave me this book for my birthday, and once I had started it I just can hardly put it down.  Last week it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction--so well deserved!  If you need a good book for summer, just go get this one.  It is lovely and thoughtful and a total page turner-- and the last couple of days I have had to have great discipline to put it down and come to work.  I am almost finished, and I just don't want it to end... but I can't slow myself down.  I am also a bit worried for all the characters.  Ugh!!!!
Teri and I have also been watching the Gilmore Girls.  I had actually never heard of it before.  I guess when you are raising boys, you don't notice a series called Gilmore Girls.  We have only watched the first 3 seasons--out of 7--and each season has about a billion episodes.  It has been so much fun.  I loved the series, Parenthood, and this seems a bit like a prequel.  Not really, but sort of because of the main character.  Anyway, just find it on Netflix and give it a try.  Last night we watched the episode where Rory goes off to college, and it just flooded me with such memories of taking my boys to the dorms.  Ahhhh....  I was just thinking about those saddest phone calls home on their first nights...when Rory called her mom.  If I had only watched it back in the day, I would have realized that it is perfectly alright to bring an extra mattress to Orientation and spend the first night on the floor next to my babies. 
On a totally different note, I thought that I would include a recipe just to get you jump started into spring and summer.  Have you been enjoying the strawberries the past few weeks?  We certainly have.  Hey, maybe we will try growing our own in the infamous box gardens out back.  Actually, all the berries have been really good lately--perhaps because of the long winter gone by.  We have been making Panna Cotta,  a favorite dessert that goes perfectly with fresh berries--any or all.  This Italian confection is simple and creamy and decadent, and is the choice that Teri usually makes for her birthday cake.  (Not a cake at all.)  So here is a recipe that we love to make, and I hope you give it a try. Let me know what you think.  

Panna Cotta
(make the night before)
2 cups heavy creme
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup sour creme ( I love Daisy but I think a really thick, plain Greek Yoghurt would be good as well.)
Ok here goes:
1.  In a tiny bowl measure out a scant teaspoon of the gelatin.  (do not use the entire envelope!)
Pour 1 Tablespoon of cool water on top and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
2.  Place the creme and the sugar in a heavy sauce pan and heat until it is almost ready to boil.  (I stir it a lot.)
3.  Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla.  Stir
4.  Add the softened gelatin to the hot creme and stir well to dissolve.  Let cool about 10-15 minutes.
5.  Add the sour creme to the mixture and mix completely.  
6.  Place in a bowl and cover well.  Leave in the fridge overnight and serve big scoops of it with fresh fruit.  
7.  Enjoy! 

Shepherd's Fold 
Part 5

We are totally in the process of getting the 5th part of the Fold ready to go.  It has turned out very fun, and we are getting excited to share it with you.  We have tried not to send them out too close together, because most everyone has loved having the time to get each new project finished.  
So get stitching.....And if you need us to send something with your Fold--just give us a call.  
Here is a huge bundle of silk ribbon which Cece hand dyed for us.  Doesn't it look scrumptious?  
We have all been working hard on getting this one ready to go, and we are planning to send them out sometime next week.  So watch your mail.  After this one, we only have 1 more left in this series.  Hopefully it will come out sometime in late June.  It is also going to be a very fun one.  So, if you are behind, I hope that you catch up quickly.  Happy Stitching.   

Old Glory 
by Little House Needleworks
pattern:  $6.00
Complete Kit $48.75 (includes backing fabric)

Isn't this a darling?  It is simple and sweet and just perfect for the summer that is hurtling towards us. Teri found this wonderful patriotic banding fabric for the pillow itself, and it comes with the kit.  We stitched this little piece on 10 count Tula, and that made it so much fun to do.  I'm sure that you will 
just love it as well.  

Sweet Land Of Liberty
by Heartstring Samplery
Pattern $ 10.00

Teri has also been binge stitching... maybe it is all the Gilmore Girls we have been watching...
She whipped up this wonderful patriotic piece in no time.  Isn't it great?

Sampler Lesson Two
by Plum Street Samplers
partial kit

Paulette's new BYOF (bring you own fabric) kit is on it's way to us.  It has a patriotic twist, and looks so fabulous.  We will pick the perfect fabric for it as the fabric is not included in the kit.  Give us a call if you would like one.  They should arrive Tuesday or Wednesday, and we can send it right off to you.  

Summer at Cherry Hill 
by Brenda Gervais
Pattern $ 12.00
Complete kit also available

Teri and Lynnette are both working on this fabulous piece.  (I think that Teri needs to stop and work on her new Trifles pattern, but she seems a bit obsessed with this.) I love the hand dyed linen that they chose and their colors are very rich and beautiful.  Heaven knows it will be cherry time before we blink.

Leona's Sewing Box 
by Blackbird Designs
Pattern:  $9.00
Complete kit:  $49.00
Hand made box: $199.00

I love this little project! Teri couldn't decide whether to frame it or use the box, but when we got it in the box, we were very happy.  I just love the lace that Teri dyed and the little buttons that she picked out.  If you buy the kit, all of these sweet treasures will come with.  I think it is quite beautiful.  It's funny, but ever since I started the Fold, I have fallen in love with the Lone Elm boxes.  I know they seem expensive, but they are just so lovely and well crafted.  I love! love! love! my purple box.  Now I want to get one of these square boxes.  I think that it is wonderful and I also think the little shelf inside is fantastic.  Maybe it's because I am not the most organized person, and I have loved having a place to keep my stitching treasures.  

Lady Dot Beeswax Waxers

These are new for us from Lois (Lady Dot).  She has truly gotten into the beeswax, and I think her waxers are just fabulous!  I love mine just sitting on a shelf, but Teri uses hers all the time for strengthening and calming thread.  Doesn't every sewing box need one?  We have been sending the sheep out to people who have ordered them--especially for the Fold, and Teri has been packaging them in little boxes for sending.  So we have had a big basket with little boxes tied with bows.  Then on the 1 day in six months that I stayed home sick, she and Sue had the brilliant idea to package all of the new ones in the boxes as well.  Unfortunately, no one bothered to mention this bit of news to me, and I have spent 2 weeks sending a large variety of waxers all over to people who have ordered-- sheep.  Yay! 

Sweet Sheepies

Hoot Hoot

Buzzzzy Hive

Filigree Bee

Button 4

Rose Hearts

Stitching Bags
Large: $30.00  
Medium: $28.00 
Small: $26.00 
We always love it when we get a group of wonderful stitching bags.  It is fun to have a great variety and her fabrics are sweet!!!  
Ah...which one to choose first.

All sorts of adorable sheep bags: 
Blue Sheep- bottom
Teal leaping sheep- Top
Red and black sheep- Left
Black and white- right 
Really?  Can you ever go wrong with a great sheep bag?  Not!

Stitching fabric
This is just the most darling fabric. Soft and sort of watercolored with all sorts of sewing tools on it.  I just love this one.

Of course bee bags...for Teri
Pink bees: top
Aqua Bees: top left
Bears and Bees: top right (very limited)
Bee Border: bottom left
Green bees: Bottom right
Yellow: center bottom (medium only)

Well, I think that I am going to send this off to you before it gets any later.  That means that I can go to bed and try to finish my book.  I can 't wait to finish it, and I also don't want to, because then it is done.  Plus...I am very worried about many of the characters.  Oh...and this book has sort of inspired me to re-read 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  (Not in braille.)  That could be fun for summer.  So happy gardening, happy reading, happy cooking, happy eating, and most of all happy stitching.  See you next week.  hugs, T & T