Sunday, December 4, 2016

The first week of December, 2016

Dear Friends,
Well, I guess the Christmas season has arrived both with the month and the weather.  We had our first big snow this week and as you can see, Teri got right into her snowman making mood--snowsheep as well.  I love all of the beginnings of Christmas--the lights, the carols at church, the excitement at the shop and of course the first of the holiday parties.  But what I really don't like is the fact that it all rushes by us so quickly.  I sort of want the days to just slow down and give us all the time we want to enjoy the preparation and anticipation.  I am not one of those early birds as far as the holidays are concerned.  I don't shop early, I don't decorate early, and now is the time that I really feel like getting out a great Christmas project and stitching away.  Unfortunately, for all of those reasons, I love to just amble through the first 2 weeks of December and then I panic... Oh well.  I am looking forward to getting some baking done, and planning special meals for when my boys will be home and doing a little stitching.  But in my heart, I know that it will all come and go so quickly that I will never keep up.  So I just keep thinking about the mantra for this past Retreat--Enjoy the Journey.  And that is what I am going to try to do this December...not worry so much about all the things there are to do, but just have fun for the moment with whatever we are doing. 
Teri and I sort of like to catch a few Christmas movies, but we take a bit of heat from the guys in my family for watching them.  I complained to Teri when Hallmark started their constant loop of holiday offerings near the end of October.  Seriously?  We have caught a few of them already--ok perhaps more than a few of them--as we were getting ready for the shop Christmas Open House as well as completing some of our new projects for the season.  But then some glitch of fate or wrinkle in the cosmos caused my DVR to suddenly start recording every one of them.  I am in a bit of distress as they are recording by the tens and twenties every day, and I have no idea how to make them stop  So every night I have to delete everything that has recorded that day.  I mean, honestly, it's not like they don't repeat a hundred times a week.  Yikes!  My boys have gotten their wish--I am quite tired of seeing even the title of a Christmas movie these days.  I really have to figure out the hidden secrets of the mysterious DVR.

All is Calm
New kit by Shepherd's Bush:  $36.00

Here is a new little kit to go along with our new Ornament--Up on the House Top and Teri's darling St. Nick Sled/Tag.  I think he turned out rather sweet and he was certainly a lot of fun for me to stitch.    He isn't really quite as bright as the photo shows, but I hope that you will enjoy his gentle reminder as we face this holiday season and indeed the world this year.

Santa Tag kit $8.00
by Shepherd's Bush

Up on the Housetop
 card:  $5.00
complete kit:  $20.00

Limited edition Christmas Fobs

I've been making these little fobs this past week, and I think they turned out very sweet.  I don't have lots of them, but hopefully I will have enough for you for this special Christmas.

Born in a Manger by Little House Needleworks
chart:  $8.50

We just love this new little nativity by Little House.  It is simple and sweet and not really a lot of work.  Perfect for a gift or just enjoy it yourself.  

Stocking Stuffers

I think that this time of the year, we are all on the lookout for little stocking stuffers and tiny friend gifts.  So...we are going to give you a few ideas for something new and very fun.

Zappy Dots
by Blackbird Designs and Lizzie Kate

Barb and Alma brought some of these to the Retreat in October and everyone loved them.  We have ordered more to have in the shop as well as some brand new ones from Lizzie Kate.  They are very clever and darling and each little dot has a magnet on the back so that you may use them as needle minders.  I love that they come in these little plastic boxes that made them quite special.  You may have to call us to see what styles we have, but be assured that even you might like to find one of these in the toe of your sock on Christmas Day.

Zappy Fobs

This is a very fun idea--scissor fobs with the little dots.  You get the chain and the frame and then you just choose which of the little dots you want to put in it.  Lots of fun and surprises in store for some lucky stitcher.

More Stocking Stuffers

This fun table is overflowing with great little gift ideas.  We have little stuffed fabric pin cushions, holiday mesh bags, needle minders, tacky bead minders, and a fabulous assortment of Cece's wonderful needle trays.  If you are ready for something quick...we've got your back.  

Magnetic Needle trays $8.00

We have a few of the needle keepers from Kelmscott

Tacky Bob for Christmas

Threaders from Just Another Button Company

New snowman kits by Wichelt  

Hands Across the Sea Charts

We have just received a new shipment of these beautiful reproduction samplers from 
England.  Several of our customers have been stitching some of these wonderful samplers and it really makes me want to get busy and make one.  Might be the perfect gift for your favorite stitcher this year, or give one to yourself for the perfect present to keep you warm and happy as January approaches.  

Well, I guess I will get this sent off to you, and hopefully I will write again next week.  Those are my plans, anyway.  So speaking of holiday movies, I do have 1 great recommendation:  The Shop Around the Corner.  I watched it late last night after work and Christmas shopping with Teri and Bob.  I just pulled up a blanket and watched it.  Bob kept coming in and asking me what I was laughing at, but I was just thoroughly enjoying this lovely, old movie.  
So however you begin this Advent season at your house, be calm, be happy, and be safe.  
fondly, Tina

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Week

November has been an extraordinary month in Utah this year.  October is usually lovely,  dependable, an all around good sport, but seriously November is fickle, moody and can be downright tempestuous. So the mild past couple of weeks has been a gift.  We have had tomatoes flourishing in our gardens and have still been picking everyday for lunch and dinner.  Then in the midst of a warm afternoon, Winter came creeping in with wind and snow.  Ugh!  So Teri tore around like a mad person harvesting the garden and hanging boughs of--well not holly--but tomatoes from every place she could find.  Our front window at work, with its natural solar warmth, is now the happy home of our ripening harvest.  People are a bit surprised to see it when they come shopping, especially when one of us saunters out to the window to pick something fresh for lunch.  It is working out quite nicely. Whoever said that an abundance of tomatoes can't flourish amongst fine needlework.  

Well, indeed November is here along with Thanksgiving, and we are busy trying to get ready for our Christmas Open house on Saturday.  If you are nearby, we invite you to stop by on the 26th between 11 and 4 for some Holiday Cheer.  We have yummy treats in store and I know that I am going to be making my fudge and Teri will be making her date balls--hint, hint as well as a bunch of other fun delights to try.  Plus--my sister in law's famous egg nog.  Yum.  We have some fun new Christmas things to show you just in case you are ready for a new December project.  For some reason this always seems the time that I love to stitch on Christmas things, even though I probably won't get them finished before the big holiday.  Plus...remember it is American Express Shop Small Saturday, so get your card ready or give us a call to order and you will get double points.  
I hope to see you here.  

Up On the Housetop
Shepherd's Bush 2016 Christmas Ornament
Card:  $5.00
Complete kit:  $24.00

I finally have this year's ornament finished and ready.  It was a lot of fun to do and goes right along with the past few ornaments which celebrate favorite Christmas Carols.  Besides it is something that you could easily get finished in time to hang on your tree or garland.

Old Saint Nick Tag/Sled
Kit:  $8.00

Teri's new tag/sled is ready for this year.  It is a darling old St Nick with his pack and is a blast to do.  The kit comes with all the supplies to complete including the holly printed paper tag and ribbon.  It will also fit perfectly on the little sled ornaments, but you will need to purchase those separately.  

All Is Calm
sneak peak

A new little kit that I am frantically working on.  I will post the info as soon as I finish, and I am hurrying...

Teri has been busy rearranging the shop from Halloween into Christmas,  and all the front displays are very festive.  Here is one of our great Christmas walls.   If you look carefully you can see some of our favorite pieces--new and old.  In the middle is out wonderful French Advent Countdown and next to it is Plum Street's Kringle and Woolard along with Key to Christmas,  Jingle,  and Ewe Better Not Pout.  Take a closer look and see what else you can find... 

She loves to transform our spooky tree into an ornament tree, and I just love it.  I might take it home with me on Christmas Eve and use it as our family tree.  Great idea, Tina!  Sue and Teri might be making origami lights....really?  But please go forth you two, and then I don't have to worry about lighting it either.  Yay, better and better.  

Petite Christmas Sampler
by Nikyscreations 
Chart $14.00

Niky is our darling Italian friend and this is one of her new pieces for the holiday.  Isn't it quite sweet.  I like everything about it and especially the checkered linen that we stitched it on.  Very old-fashioned.  I hope we get some kits made for the Christmas Party.  I would love to work on it.  

Wise Men Still Seek Him
By Lizzie Kate  
Card $5.00

Here is a new pattern from Lizzie Kate that we have just had stitched.  It is very cute and a perfect design to get us into the spirit of the season.  

 Heart Holly Bears the Crown
by Heartstrings Samplery
Chart $10.00

Christmas Portrait
by Madame Chantilly 
chart $11.50

We just unpacked some adorable new holiday pieces from Madame Chantilly.  Teri pulled this one out to send to Dez to stitch for the shop.  It is going to be fabulous.  

Thanksgiving Display

I know, Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away, but we have so many darling pictures for this somewhat forgotten holiday, that I hate to see it come and go quite so quickly.  It has been fun and so many people have had a great time working on Thanksgiving projects this year that is has been exciting  to watch.  

This new little one by Chessie n Me is very sweet.
Autumn Blessings $12.00

And, of course Paulette's (Plum Street Samplers) little Scary 2 is still perfect for this November holiday.  $20.00

Here is another little collection of fun autumn projects.  I just love Turkey Bay by Plumstreet which is just chock full of turkeys, pilgrims, boats, flowers and humor.  Definitely on my list for next year. $12.00

The small sampler on the left is another favorite fall piece.  It is Pumpkin House by Chessie and Me. It is a kit complete with threads and fabric:  $30.00 

Thanksgiving Trifles                                                                      Autumn Trifles
Leaflet $8.00                                                                                   Leaflet $8.00
by Shepherd's Bush                                                                         by Shepherd's Bush

Teri has so much fun designing her Trifles.  Thanksgiving Trifles was new this year.  I think she is working on a new one.     

Teri is always a bit sad on November 1, when she has to move Halloween back to its own corner.  She loves Halloween!!!  There are so many fabulous Halloween designs, we wanted to share a few of our new stitched pieces from this year.  So for those of you who love spooky stitchings...this section is for you.

Spell of the Moon
by Blackbird
chart $8.00 
32 count fabric $7.50 

This is such an amazing fabric, and just perfect for this piece.  
We have added a few colors and love how it turned out.  

The new Lizzie Kate Spooked Mystery 

Top is the Lizzie Kate Spooked Mystery stitched on a great purple 32 count linen.  
Center is Almost Halloween by Drawn Thread $11.00 
Bottom is Jolly Jack by All Through the Night: $8.00

Top Left- October Snapshot by pine Mountain, stitched on a great green fabric.
Bottom Left- Witch Inn by With Thy Needle and Thread
Right- Which Witch  $10.00 chart

Old Black Cat and Friends
Pattern $12.00
2 fabric set: $7.15

Are these sooooooo darling we stitched two of the three patterns on 2 different fabrics.  Love them

Witch's Night Out
by With Thy Needle
Chart $10.00

Little House Alphabet Houses
A sampler in 9 parts 
each pattern: $6.00

This is shaping up to be a wonderful little sampler.  Each month you receive and new little house and button with just enough tine to complete it before the next one arrives.  If you would like to join in on this darling adventure,  just give us a call.

Well, we have been having a philosophical discussion at work on what is the best way to spend Thanksgiving.  Oddly, its hasn't really been about each person championing her own celebration.  Instead it has been a little bit of remembered nostalgia for childhood Thanksgivings viewed through the memories of our child-selves' eyes.  And a bittersweet longing for the Thanksgiving some of us weren't having this year.  The one who was celebrating with the family cast of thousands longed for a quiet, more intimate dinner, and the one who was cooking for a small group, longed for a bit more chaos and company.  The one who missed her early celebration altogether, and the one whose boys won't be home to stir up the quiet and solitude with debates on the state of the world.  But in the end, perhaps it doesn't matter what we think Thanksgiving should be, but how it is for this year...the people you are with now, the joy of the moment, and the blessings it brings.  
So, however you are spending Thanksgiving, have a wonderful time and try to squeeze in a few moments of stitching to give you calm and joy.
Be safe and happy...
fondly, Tina  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shepherd's Retreat 2016

Mid October, 2016

Dear Friends,

Before I go one paragraph further, I want to introduce you to our newest stocking for 2016.  She is finally here--a little gypsy who has slowly wandered her way into our lives.  In some ways she is an homage to my childhood.  My siblings always said that my parents adopted me from a gypsy caravan, which I maintained until the story made Christian cry, and I had to leave my gypsy ways behind.  I hope you love her.  

Roma's Stocking
chart:  $9.00
entire kit: $96.00 

Here it is the middle of October, the weather has taken on a definite chill, and it is hard to believe that the Retreat is over.  Ahh...sort of sad.  We did have such a fabulous time that I thought I would share a bit of it with each of you.  All of the teachers were wonderful, and I think that everyone enjoyed all the time spent with them in classes and evening events.  Teri and I always brag that we have the very nicest people in the world attend our weekend, and those words are very true.  Everyone was so friendly and inclusive and helpful that I wanted to give each person a gold star for perfectness.   And of course all of our girls worked very hard and just kept on going making it so much easier for us.  All in all, I think it just may have been the best retreat ever for us.  A huge thanks to all who helped and attended.  I hope you are all catching up on your sleep...and stitching.  I am working on a pin cushion, but I might be calling one of you for a few clarifications.  I really should have taken notes.
It's funny, but here at the shop we have been busily preparing for this event all year long.  Lynnette has been cutting and folding thousands of pieces of fabric.  Sue has been assembling charms and packaging and keeping track of each and every thing.  Reeta and Nancy have been making kits like a mini factory and trying to help Teri keep the shop stocked.  And Teri and I have been trying to keep everything moving forward towards October.  Sometimes I think that we have lived and breathed Retreat for so long that we haven't done much else.  (I know that I have been a bit preoccupied when Bob starts posting restaurant ads on the refrigerator. ) Of course task master Teri doesn't believe in wasting even 1 minute, and she stitched pin cushions on every airplane trip we made to Indiana.  All the way in the car to DC, she was busy sewing buttons on little cloth bags, and every time I would whine, she would just smile and say:  Isn't this the most fun any person could ever dream of?  I know, I am weak, but there were many nights --and days--when I wanted to tell her that we just couldn't do this again--but I thought I would wait until this one was over.  And then everyone arrives, and the great fun of the week begins, and every single person is so sweet and darling and wonderful, that I woke up Sunday morning and thought:  Next time...  And there you have it.  We have't stopped talking about what we are going to do in 2 years.  So read on, McDuff, and come take a stroll with me through some of the highlights of this very fun week.  Our finisher dropped this off just in time for our shop open house...  

Prairie Schooler Santa
Card $5.00
Complete kit $49.85  (backing fabric not included)

How fun, that Prairie Schooler has designed another Santa for this year.  I just love him, and I think that our pillow turned out fantastic.  We stitched him--as always--on the 7 count Klostern with #3 perle cotton and added darling buttons.  What a perfect continuation of a wonderful tradition.

Retreat Week!!!
It's here, the shop is dressed and ready.
We are all very excited to welcome everyone to Ogden.

Treats to entice

Jeannette Douglas and Teri are working at the counter.  Those are 2 pretty great smiles. 

A few darling friends at the end of the first open house day.

Des picked up Paulette and Brenda, and whisked them up to the shop open house.

Park we come.

The boutique in the hotel is beginning to take shape. 

Here we are almost ready for the grand opening.  

The freebee table, each morning stocked with a new free pattern and small kits to make it.  

Here is a whole long table full of very fun accessories that we have been ordering and collecting all year long.

Blackbird Designs Table

Darling Buds of May
New by Blackbird $9.00

By the Light of the Moon
by Blackbird $8.00

Teri chose the greatest spooky linen for this darling pattern.  It has been such fun this Halloween. 

Blackbird magnets 

Barb and Alma are holding our Garden Club.  It is totally fantastic.  

This has been such a super project.  Twelve months of fun and mystery--done on different types of linen and all sewn together in the end to create this lovely piece.  Of course all parts are still available if you want to get started.  

Chessie and Me Table

I love Linda's new Pumpkin House kit (left) and the darling frame Jill used.  American Stag (center) and Winter Woods (right) are other great kits in this charming series.

With Thy Needle and Thread Table

Here are new wonderful patterns from Brenda Gervais.  
She was kind enough to bring them to debut at the Retreat.
All of them are available now from us as patterns or kits.

Christmas Tea 

Snow for Christman
chart: $12.00

The Christmas Bird
chart: $12.00

Wool and Flax
chart $12.00

October Feast
chart and little table:  $20.00

This is super darling.  It is a little pin cushion that is mounted on a tiny wooden table. 

The Plum Street Samplers Table

Paulette brought so many fabulous brand new charts. Everyone loved them.

Turkey Bay
chart: $12.00

New Siren Cove
chart: $12.00

Autumn Ewe
chart: $10.00

 Olga's Autumn Stocking
Chart: $16.00

The next few designs were a pre-release for the retreat.  All so fabulously fun and Christmassy.
We love those sheep..... 

Kringle and Woolard
Chart: $ 12.00

1831 Christmas
Chart: $10.00

Merry Friends
Chart $10.00

The Adams Family
chart: $12.00

This one was new earlier in the month, but it was such fun to have Paulette's model in the shop.  This is a favorite of Teri's and she has already started stitching it for herself.  So darling....

Jeannette Douglas' Table

Quilt box is new and so cool.
pattern $

Gorgeous!!  Her Seasons by the Sea series all connected together.

Pumpkin Box was new for the Harvest Hop and everyone loved seeing it at the Retreat.  So perfect for October and November.  

The Purple Thread Table
Sharon always sets up the most darling display just filled and brimming over with enticing little projects.  

The hustle and bustle of the shop during the weekend.  
How fun.

The Welcome Project was a luggage tag to go on the tote bag we gave everyone.

Our Humanitarian Project this year was to send a girl from an impoverished country to school.  If you wanted to participate, you could stitch a scissor fob to exchange and donate $5.00.  We had over 100 fobs entered into the exchange as well as many, many generous donations from tons of people.  Shepherd's Bush matched all money raised, and we are able to send 10 girls to school and change the lives of those children and their families.  Yay.  What inspiration and kindness.   

The Class Projects

Our darling teachers are shown here with their class projects, these designs are not available now, but watch for them in a years or so.  

Jeannette shows her fabulous Journey Box

Brenda shows her wonderful shadow box design:  O Tannenbaum

Barb and Alma with their beautiful Scottish sampler and pincushion

Paulette holds her fantastic Americana Sampler.  So amazing!

Linda shows her sewing casket and the small stitching pieces to go inside.  
A perfect traveling sewing box

On the Road to Paris
I loved creating this sampler inspired by a train journey from Nice to Paris.  I hope that everyone will have a great time stitching it.  Sorry no photo of Teri and me...darn. 

Cece gave out her beautiful new sampler pattern and a sweet pincushion taken from the sampler. 
This replica of an antique sampler is simply gorgeous. 

Hazelnut mousse cake for dessert after Cece's wonderful talk on the journey of the color Red.

Shepherd's Bush's darling classes 

Macaron button boxes, cookies, and needle keep

 Leslie is holding her travel scissor fob.  We gave them the start of the fob and then they collected travel charms to add at each event.   

Here are the pincushions we all presented on the Shared Stitches evening

A close up of the fob and the scissors and the postcard and magnets-- all were small tokens given at each event.  The polka dot scissors were made for us in Italy and arrived just in the nick of  time.

Here are three of the magnets that were given out.  We had them specially created for our retreat.  

The blue washed tray was our final gift--perfect to keep all our pincushions together.

The banquet is always silly fun and delicious food. 

After a song from the "Vienna Men's Choir," the game began..  

 All the teachers pose together for a photo.

Nancy and Teri pose with this amazing sheep which our friend, Susan Cavanaugh, brought to us.  She had an artist--local to her area--make this and it is unbelievable.  Even down to the little Shepherd's Bush flowers growing in the grass.  I think he might be pasturing at my house for a little while.
Well...I could just go on and on.  Oh yeah, I did.  I just can't express what a great week we had.  Thank you so much to everyone who suspended their lives for a few moments to travel here... to all our friends who encouraged and helped... to all the teachers (also friends) who brought such lovely projects.  
Our theme was about a journey, and what a journey it was...a journey of stitching, of course, but also a journey of love and soul that I will treasure in my heart forever.  
hugs, Tina