Out of the Bag!

How fun that was, reading all of your comments and emails!  I am so grateful to each of you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me.. I never knew there were so many readers! You've made my day!

It's time to announce the winners! The first winner will receive 3 currently-released Plum Street Samplers patterns as well as 1 e-voucher for a future release, good through December 31, 2011. The second winner will receive 1 current release and an e-voucher for a future release.. and Winner #3 will receive her choice of a current release OR an e-voucher for a future release. (That last one was Sabrina's idea.)

The winners will be "announced" by Breanna's newly-adopted kitten, Tilly! :) 

Congratulations, Winner #1!

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And here is Winner #2!

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And finally, Winner #3!

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Congratulations to each of you, and thank you to EVERYONE who wrote in. I wish I could send every single one of you something! If the 3 winners will email me at paulette71@yahoo.com, I'll get your patterns out as soon as possible. You can either have them emailed to you as a .pdf or I can snail-mail them to you. Whichever you prefer! Just FYI: I'll be heading out of town on Monday (July 25) and won't return until August 2nd, so if you email me during that time period, I won't be able to send your charts until I get back home.

Before I leave…

Bre and one of her roommates went to the humane society yesterday and brought home sister kittens.. they'll be living with the girls in their apartment in a couple of weeks, but in the mean time, Tilly will have to keep her sweet self in Bre's room bc of my cat allergy and the 3 crazy pooches that live downstairs – who at the moment have no idea she exists; the Yorkie, however, knows something is up…

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Tilly is such a sweetheart! I made the mistake of laying on the floor to watch her yesterday, and she immediately approached me and rubbed her little face right on my left eye. For those of you who are allergic to cats, you know what this means. :(  Needless to say, I exited the room about 5 minutes later and had to wash my face and hands! I LOVE cats, so I'm very sad for these blasted allergies (that didn't show up until after Bre was born, for some reason)!

She was just spayed a couple of days ago, so her little belly is shaved…

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Bre, your new kitten is adorable! I know you'll make a wonderful pet-owner. And good luck getting that collar on her. 😉

Friday Feature!

This may be more like "Creature Feature" to some of you, but I'm honored to be Hoffman's featured designer this week. If you care to check it out, here's the link:

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This was a fun interview! 🙂

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Blog Fodder

When I first started blogging back in 2004, I had intended to write just about my stitching endeavors – sort of a way to keep myself motivated by posting my plans and progress reports. Then I started designing, and it went from my "Cranberry Crossing" blog (the name coming from the primitive/folk art craft business I had for a few years back in the '90's) to my Plum Street Samplers blog, where – again – I had intended to write strictly about my stitching, whether it be my own designs or others I was working on.

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Soon, however, I became bored with my slow progress reports, and decided to branch out and start sharing a little bit about my family, although I was afraid it might annoy some people. Seven years later, I'm amazed at how many people have written to me to ask about my family… you show your concern when I express mine, and you share in my joy as well. You have no idea how much that means to me! I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are annoyed, as I'd feared, but that's what makes us all different; it's nice that everyone is not the same, or there really wouldn't be anything at all to blog about, no matter who you were.

So now I have a stitching/designing/dogs/family/cooking/photography/andsometimesTraderJoe's blog. And I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share it all with you.

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Today is my blog's anniversary, so if you're still reading, I'd love to have a giveaway to celebrate! Just leave a comment (and if you don't like comments, your name will do – or you can email me) in the comments box of this post for a chance to receive 3 currently-released Plum Street Samplers charts of your choice*, as well as an e-voucher for any one future Plum Street Samplers release through December 31, 2011.  The winner will be announced this Friday, July 22nd.

*This is the fine print: I'm sorry, but I cannot give away any current or upcoming Just Cross Stitch magazines, nor can I give away anything that is or will be released as a retreat or shop exclusive.

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Thank you so much for always taking the time to stop in and see what we're up to. I feel like I've gotten to know many of you, whether it be through your own blogs or emails, and I'm thankful for this new, "modern" way of making friends!

See you soon!

Breanna

Bre was heading out to have fun with friends this weekend, and before she left I made her pose for me. I love my girl… she's grown into a beautiful young woman, but I still see my baby girl in there sometimes.

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I'm so proud of you, Bre. I hope you have a fantastic first year out on your own.

PB&J

While recently discussing the possibility of Jaime and Bre and I going into the business of photography together, someone suggested we name ourselves "PB&J Photography." I doubt anyone would take us seriously if we called ourselves that, but I thought it was a clever suggestion. 🙂

Last week, we three got together and shot another wedding. What a perfectly fun couple, with perfectly lovely families. I don't have any of Jaime's photos to post, but here are some from Bre and I…

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Outside, the groomsmen were a lot of fun…

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And the groom's mom was awfully happy to see her son looking so handsome…

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Here's Bre, hard at work shooting details…

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And this is Jaime, trying to coax a smile from the flower girl…

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There was a water table set up at the ceremony bc of the heat outside…

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Later that night, we went outside to test our flashes (it was getting to be pitch black out!), and Bre was our model…

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(She's probably going to be really mad at me for posting that photo, but it just cracks me up.)

Here are a few of Bre's photos… I didn't ask her if she minded if I posted them, so I only chose a few to edit. But as usual, it's amazing to me how she sees things through her lens…so romantic!

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There's something about this last one that makes it my very favorite photo of the day… Bre didn't like it, but I just loved it!

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Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Butler! And Jaime? Hurry up with those edits, will ya? Come on, how long could it possibly take to edit a measly 4,000 photos?

Toffee Josh

Like many kids, Sabrina spent her childhood trying out different sports and musical instruments, seeking that certain something that she could excel at and call her own.

I think, after all these years, my girl has finally found her calling.

Earlier in the year, she decided to teach herself to play the guitar, which is something she's always wanted to do. Breanna had gotten a guitar for Christmas several years ago, but had never taken to it. So Sabrina picked it up, logged onto YouTube, and got to work.

Soon she reached a point where she couldn't progress any further without a real teacher's help, so we headed to Guitar Center. She had been in a few times before, and knew right where to go – which was straight to the climate-controlled guitar room to speak with Josh, the manager. He answered all of her questions, no matter how foolish they seemed, and before the day was over she had signed up for 4 lessons and came back the next day to purchase her very first classical guitar. As a matter of fact, she's even named it. Toffee, bc of the color, and Josh, bc he is one of the nicest people we've ever met. Truly!

She had her first lesson today, which was absolutely thrilling for her. And from the sound of things, I think I'm going to love Toffee Josh as much as she does. 🙂

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Framed!

I finally got around to taking some pictures of my Frances Eden, framed by Rensel Studios in Utah. I love the moulding Jill chose!

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Because of the angle it's hanging, it appears crooked, but trust me – it's not!

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Remember, this is the sampler passed on to me by Kim. She wasn't fond of the fabric (Glenshee) and fibers (DMC) she chose, and decided to one day start over.

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I'm so happy with it! It's hanging over my bed next to Paradise Lost, as my goal is to fill my bedroom with Adam and Eve samplers.

Kim, I noticed your SDW sampler is progressing nicely. But if you ask me, it doesn't look like the type of fabric and fibers you would like, so…  just sayin'.  😉

Little

Around the age of 10, Miss Sophie pleaded with me so often to let her wear mascara that I finally gave in. After all, it's tough living in a house with 3 other girls who love their makeup, and you're the only one who is unfortunate enough to only need 2 minutes to get ready to go anywhere.

Now that Sophie is getting ready for middle school, she's decided that mascara is just a bit too elementary for her, and has begun the arduous task of convincing me that she needs to have a bit of an older look about her before school begins. She believes that this would be accomplished with a little harmless eyeshadow – and perhaps a smidge of eyeliner – but nothing too crazy, of course. Despite the fact that images of Mimi from The Drew Carey Show keep appearing in my mind's eye, I have agreed that some very light eyeshadow would be acceptable, but I'm not ready for eyeliner on my little girl  middle-schooler yet.

Especially after seeing her recently with no makeup on at all. Oh my, how I love this child's face…

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She was sitting at the breakfast table with her older sisters, and they were all having a real conversation, with no arguing whatsoever…

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Pretty soon her sisters started telling her that she needed to smile with her eyes more open, so she gave it a try…

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"No, no, no!" they cried. "You must open your eyes and smile bigger!"

So she tried again…

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(I do, in fact, have photos of their demonstrating how one must smile properly, but like their baby sister, they aren't wearing any makeup. And trust me when I say, if I want to keep peace with my older girls, I had better not post any of those photos.)

Sophie, your smile is perfectly perfect, and you were quite a good sport about it when they teased you. Which is a good thing, since you may be needing their advice on makeup soon.

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P.S. I doubt that you will, but if you ever get the notion to apply more makeup in the girls' restroom once you get to school than I allow you to leave the house wearing – and I find out about it?… I will suddenly show up at your school to have lunch with you, and I will be looking like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show.

The 4th

I hope you all had as much fun as we did, celebrating Independence Day this year! We got together at my parents' house for a barbeque and lots of other fixins (sans the potato salad), and then headed out front to the driveway to watch the fireworks.

Mom and I had a few different salsas this year, but we both agreed that the Trader Joe's corn salsa was the best…

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Major was in the house – against his wishes – to save his sanity from the noise of the firecrackers, so Sabrina kept him company for a bit…

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But not even a sweet, nervous puppy could keep Bean from racing her little sister to catch the parachuters that fell from the sky…

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Sabrina and I thought this was really funny at the time, but now it's just kinda disturbing…

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Bre was in Boston for the holiday (we missed her so much!), but her old friend Cody was in town, so he stopped by for a visit…

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Mike was in his element…

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Btw, I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of my dad, bc he was the Head Pyro Guy that night.. we won't mention to my mother how he almost set an entire load of mulch on fire. Or when something in the street was on fire, and he casually walked over and patiently poked it with a large stick until the flames died down. (He used to be a firefighter, so I suppose flaming mulch or unidentified burning objects don't bother him much.)

Anyway, I hope you all had a fantastic July 4th celebration!  Cody, if you're reading this, thank you for stopping by to visit the fam! :)  And Bre, if you're reading this, hurry up and come back home bc we miss you!

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Dads and Daughters

In about an hour we'll be heading to my parents' house to celebrate Independence Day, but before we leave I thought I'd share some photos from last night. Mike, Sophie, and my dad and I went to a Stormchasers game at the new Werner Park, where we watched a brilliant fireworks show afterward.

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And now it's time for a little game called "Who is happier to be with their dad?"… Good luck in your guesses!

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Later that night the cameraman came by, and guess who got to be on the Flex-Cam?

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Here's a closer look…

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That's my camera on the left, Mike looking at the big screen on the right and wondering how he got to be so handsome, and Joonbug in the middle, flexing her muscles for everyone in the stadium.

After the game we headed down onto the field to watch the fireworks show…

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It was a really enjoyable night, and I think I speak for all the daughters in this post when I say that we love our dads very much.

Happy Independence Day!

P.S. I was supposed to bring Puny's Potato Salad to my parents' house for the cookout tonight, but I left the potatoes to cook too long, and now we're having mashed potatoes. I went ahead and added the bacon drippings though (and a dash of garlic), and they're delicious! But if any of you out there are making Puny's Potato Salad tonight, please eat an extra helping for me. And Mom, who will never let me live this down.