Sunday, August 19, 2018


Late Summer, 2018

               Have the Zinnias ever been more lovely than during this incredibly hot, dry summer?  Teri found these this morning at the Farmer's Market, and they are glorious.  But our neighborhood is also bursting in pots of unbelievable Zinnia explosions. Earth gifts like these make the relentless sun and heat almost bearable. In spite of the warmth, these long summer days seem to have just sped by too quickly.  It hasn't really cooled off much--even at night--but the crickets outside my bedroom window are almost deafening in their symphonic chirping--reminding us that summer is waning.
For me, this has been a season for trying new things.  I am not a soul who enjoys venturing out of her cozy comfort zone, yet that has been my adventure this Summer.  Sadly, I seem to be a constant sufferer of empty nest blues.  Christian graduated from his Master's program in late May and now both the boys are working in D.C.  As much fun as we have going back to visit them, eating at all of their favorite haunts, and wandering the streets of that amazing city, I miss the everyday joys of having my little chicks clutched close to me.  So this seemed to be the summer for pushing myself out of my safe and familiar little world--just a little.  
               First, I joined the choir at my church.  I'm not really the most musical person, but I play the piano and have nurtured my boys through piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone, and guitar--ok, they nurtured themselves through that one.  Choir is a different kettle of fish altogether. Yikes!!  Everyone is wonderful and that makes it all worth it, but for me it is an alternate discipline completely.  It has required many focused hours on my own in front of my seldom used (by me) piano, and has demanded an untapped fearlessness to sing in front of a congregation.  
               Then, Teri and I have been working with a program which helps feed and house homeless families.  We have spent time in the evenings with them, helped a bit with dinners and tried to make a few of their nights a little less scary.  Teri is my inspiration there as she can organize a family board game, coax a two-year old to eat his dinner, or hold a long conversation with a hearing/speech impaired mom with that love and enthusiasm that she brings to all. For me, it has truly been a lesson in grace and compassion.  Joys come in all kinds of packages.  
                And finally, there is our Tai Chi class.  I have wanted to try this for a long time, and this was the summer.  Master Lu teaches his classes in the evening up in the park behind our house--at the base of the mountain foothills, and we walk up and have an hour of Tai Chi.  It is odd and interesting and very hot, and although it is hard, it has given me a time to focus on movement, the world around me, and life in that specific moment.  There are usually about 15 of us--including Bob and Teri--and we have become odd friends doing something in perfect silence in a beautiful setting accompanied by squirrels, and birdsong, and blessed shade.  Sometimes we have been serenaded by birthday parties, cheerleading practices and playground noises which is always a test of concentration.  My favorite evening, however, was spent moving through our endless, ancient Chinese motions to the sound of a lone bag piper who practiced nearby.  Isn't Life amazing?
However, in spite of my summer of dis-comfort...I have made plenty of time to spend in my beloved cocoon of stitching.  Here's what is going on at Shepherd's Bush...

New Stocking 
coming soon....ish

This has been my project the last 2 months.  It is one of my favorite things that I do each year, but it never becomes any easier.  Lots of imagining, drawing, erasing, stitching and un-stitching.  Adding colors, taking colors away, setting it aside and staring at it for long periods.  But I actually think I am making progress, and I am grateful for that.  Now for a name....

Sheep Scissors
silver or black 

We have finally received our sheep scissors that we have been patiently waiting for.  They are just darling and actually cut quite nicely.  I have no idea if we will get more, but for now we are really enjoying our little flock.

The start of our Halloween displays.  

It's that time of the year when the shop is transformed into Halloween and Fall.  Pumpkins and spooky things hang from the ceiling, and Halloween ornaments festoon our fabulous tree.  Look for all sorts of projects, both large and small.  

Here are a couple of new Halloween pieces that are new at the shop

Hocus Pocus by Blackberry Lane
Cat chart:  $13.00
Pumpkin Chart:  $13.00
Frog Chart:  $13.00

Teri saw these at market, and she has been so excited to get them stitched by our wonderful stitchers.   They are worked on 3 gorgeous Halloween colors of Picture this Plus Linen.   We have small fabric pieces cut and ready for each face. The patterns include a design to stitch the back of each one, so you could have a stitched front and a back.  Ours are finished with a fun black Halloween fabric on the back and black chenille trim.  

Happy Halloween Night by Jardin Prive'
Chart:  $10.00

Halloween Mouses  by Madame Chantilly
chart:  $12.00

ABC Halloween by Jardin Prive'
Chart:  $9.00

New Charts from Brenda Gervais
We are so excited to get these darling new charts.  They came in yesterday's mail, so Teri and Reeta are busy finding linens and threads to get them going.  Such fun for the perfect fall stitching.

Autumn In Baltimore

Bittersweet and Broomsticks

A Basket of Autumn Time

The Cat and The Moon

Here are a few photos of the fun pieces we have had stitched recently... 

Woolemina by Plum Street Samplers
Chart:  $10.00

We LOVE this sweet sheep.  We stitched it in gorgeous shades of purple, and Jill framed it in this amazing frame.  

Blessed Bee by With Thy Needle and Thread
Chart: $12.00

Little House Farmyard Christmas
Each pattern: $6.00
Nancy has been moving right along on this darling series.  Only 2 left to go.  It is turning out so sweet and she has had a great time working on it.  She was triumphant on Wednesday because the had finished the border...and it worked out.  Always a relief.

 If you would like to join into this project, we have all the charts and the buttons.  You can choose between 36 count (our piece), 32 count or 28 count.  There is still plenty of time before Christmas.  

Plum Street Samplings Noah's Christmas

This is turning out so fabulously, we are anxiously awaiting the next part....  what will they be???

New scissors $5.00 

Our city Garden

We planted earlier this year, so we have been feasting on tomatoes and cucumbers for a month.  The grapes are finally ripe and Teri is hankering to make grape juice.   They are tiny and super sweet and plentiful, but I can only think of helping our mom make hundreds of bottles of delicious grape juice.  It was messy and sooooo much work, and picking through the grapes to remove stems, always made my hands itch.  Teri says she has a easy recipe..... we'll just see who gets them first--Teri or the birds.

Wherever you may be, I hope that you cherish these last warm weeks of summer.  I hope you can taste a warm, freshly picked tomato, share a peach with a friend, take a walk in the early evening cool, and stitch until bedtime.  
ever, fondly Tina and Teri