Out Dasher, Out Dancer

The year is quickly winding to a close, and I'm still reeling from all the Christmas chaos. It was so much fun having all the family together, and I actually wish I could rewind everything and enjoy it all again. But no, I must pack away all the little things that have decorated the house for the season, back to their tissue paper and boxes, down to the basement.

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Here's the Colonial-styled centerpiece I put on my dinette table… it smelled delicious, and I loved it! That is, until Sabrina came home and stopped dead in her tracks, horrified that the oranges had attracted that many houseflies. I suppose cloves do look like flies from a distance.

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Mike and Sophie set up their Lego Winter Village, and I'm looking forward to them adding more pieces to their collection. I'm not, however, looking forward to them arguing with me when I tell them it's time to move it off the dining room table and put it away…

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I love that the little bakery lights up…

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This is one of the many candles I accumulated over the month of December… it's by Keepers of the Light, which is one of my favorite candle companies! This particular one is called Butter Maple Toddy… I also got Caramel Apple with Nuts, and Carmelized Creme Brulee from Mom for Christmas. We don't need to discuss all the Yankee candles I purchased this season.

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This Santa figure is a reproduction antique candy dish. The top half of the Santa comes off of his hollowed-out legs, where candy would have been stored… I think he's beautiful, with all of his details…

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I stitched Bringing Home the Tree by Pineberry Lane last January, then sent it to Jill for framing, and as soon as it returned to me, I wrapped it and put it away until it was time for Christmas decorating. It twas so much fun to do, I'm planning on doing the same thing this year, but with Stacy Nash's Christmas at Hollyberry Farm.

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This little battery-operated candle is on a timer, so it comes on for a few hours in the evening and then turns off until the next evening. I love that!

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This is a top view of my coffee table… you can see what's in Candy-dish Santa's bag from this angle. 🙂

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I have a hundred and thirteen Starbucks ornaments so many more things that need to be put back in their places, but the last thing I'd love to share with you is a precious gift sent to me by an old friend. She stitched this ornament for me, with PSS for Plum Street Samplers, and the year I started designing. I was so touched by her sweet gesture, I'm going to be leaving it out year-round.

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It's been a lovely Christmas season, and I'm very much looking forward to the new year! We'll be spending it in Colorado, which I'm really excited about. And that means this is most likely my last blog post of the year. Thank you all so very, very much for all of your comments and emails that you took the time to send to me. It's been so fun getting to know you, and to even meet some of you in person.

I leave you with a family picture, taken on Christmas night, using the camera's timer.We've done this the last few years, and for some reason it always makes me want to laugh… probably bc I'm always the only one that has to scramble as fast as I can back to my place before the shutter clicks.

First, however, I have to show you the outtake, which I absolutely love bc it reminds me of all the commotion our small group can make. It's amazing how loud we can get, but I love it every year.

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I hope the joy of Christmas still lingers in your home, and that you have a blessed New Year.

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Christmas Hooligans

I tried taking the Hooligans' photo recently for Christmas, and my hair still hasn't grown back yet from where I snatched it out.

"Come on, hoolies, let's do this. Sit nice for me and you can have a Wheat Thin."

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"Tasha, you need to move forward."

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"Tasha, move forward so I can take the picture. You can have a Wheat Thin afterward."

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"Tasha that's enough. I'm setting the Wheat Thins behind me. You can have one if you move forward."

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"Look at me, Tasha. Not the crackers."

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"Tasha!"

"Oh for Pete's Sake. Just have one now."

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"Thank you. Now was that so hard?"

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The Hooligans hope you're having a lovely Christmas season so far.

Elizabeth Sheffield

I finished! I've been working here and there on Elizabeth since last year, and have enjoyed every stitch. The colors were so much fun to work with!

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I love Rhode Island samplers! Elizabeth is by The Scarlet Letter, and I changed the colors to my own conversion of Hand Dyed Fibers and Carrie's Creation silks.

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Here's a wonky photo of the whole finished sampler. When I pressed it, I didn't bother straightening out the lines for the photo because I was planning on rolling it and shipping it off to Jill immediately. 🙂

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The verse is so beautiful! As is the turquoise bird at the top.

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By the way, any time I'm taking photos of stitching, the Yorkie comes to quietly watch me. She just sits there, intently studying my every move, like she's trying to learn how to do it herself. It's actually quite sweet unnerving.

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Yorkie, all I can say is that this sampler had me at Colonial Couple.

If you're interested in the materials I used to stitch Elizabeth, here's the list:

Fabric: 40 ct. mystery fabric by Lakeside Linens. Quite possibly Vintage Light Examplar.

Threads I used (with the pattern's listed colors in parentheses):

*CC = Carrie's Creation
*HDF = Hand Dyed Fibers
*(AVAS listed on chart pack)

CC Saguaro (2136)
CC Baja Blue (136)
CC Koala Claw (2516)
CC Cafe Ole (2834)
CC Moose Drool (3823)
CC Tiger Eye (3816)
CC Dawn Sky (2913)
CC Baby Teal (131)
CC Marina (134)
HDF 3331 (514)
HDF 1423 (1314)
HDF 4145 (2514)
HDF 3167 (1844)
HDF 4113 (3741)
HDF 3465 (2234)
HDF 4325 (2636)
HDF 3347 (3423)
HDF 5300 (Noir)
HDF 5143 (4136)
HDF 1403 (4631)
HDF 3169 (1846)
HDF 5125 (4242)
HDF 5121 (Creme)

I can't wait to get her back from Jill's studio! I may, however, avoid stitching brightly-colored samplers in the future, because both Sabrina and Sophie have laid claim to Elizabeth. (And since Sophie thinks that Sabrina will perhaps win her in the end, Sophie has decided to stalk my next project, which is The Scarlet Letter's Ruth Bacheler – also a brightly-colored sampler.)

Now that I've gotten my "fun" stitching fix, I'm back to working on the model for my January release. 🙂 See you soon!

 

 

Pink Papaya!

I'm a sucker for good cosmetics and skin care. What can I say? I got it honestly, as my mother is quite the cosmetics fiend herself, often hiding in a closet somewhere with her laptop, adding things to her virtual shopping cart and checking out faster than you can cry Uncle-wears-mascara. So imagine my excitement when Bre announced to me that she's discovered a new line of products that she loves and has decided to sell!

I immediately headed straight to her website and began browsing, and oh my, I was in love! I told Bre I'd love to share it here with you all, just in case you'd like to give any of the products a try for yourself. I have to say, I'm impressed with what I've ordered so far, and it arrived on my doorstep in a very timely manner.

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My hands get very dry in the winter, so I love a good hand scrub. This stuff smells so natural and good – actually, it reminds me of grapefruit. Very clean!

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You just wet your hands a little and scoop some out of the jar. Then you scrub your hands together, rinse, and voila! Smooth, smooth, smooth.

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The cranberry seeds make it so pretty, too. 😉

And what would a Paulette order be without this:

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Now you knew I couldn't resist something with a name like that. 😉 I expected this to smell just like coffee beans, but in fact, it's more like a sweet coffee drink. It's very pleasant, and the scrub is much finer than the Cranberry Orange Hand Scrub. The only downside is that I have the urge for a Frappuccino every time I use it.

And finally, this is probably some of the best body cream I've ever used. It's non-greasy and very silky, and I really love the smell! (I actually keep it by the kitchen sink and use it on my hands after I've washed them.)

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If you'd like to treat yourself to one of Pink Papaya's products, or maybe get a last-minute Christmas present for anyone, you can click here: Bre's Pink Papaya Website. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by my blog, even when I'm not talking about stitching! I just really wanted to show you all these things, just in case you like fun, new cosmetics and skin care products like I do. Not to mention like my mom does. 😉

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ETA: I've updated the Pink Papaya link bc some of you were having trouble with error messages. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience! Thank you so much for your patience! 🙂

Late in Posting

It was at the Shepherd's Bush retreat in October that I discovered Jeanette Douglas' charming little Quaker Pincushions and their accompanying pins and buttons. I visited the Shepherd's Boutique every day and always found myself at Jeanette's table, eyeing the models and playing, playing with those little colorful pillows. Finally, on the last day, I said to her, "Jeanette, I can't stand it any more. I need one of those patterns and the kit that goes with it."

I know it's a little late to show-and-tell the Hallowe'en pincushion, but it's the one I chose to make, and I wanted to share it with you all! I used The Gentle Art's wool for it, as well as some lovely linen by R&R (18th Century Gold, I believe it was?)

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I have to say, these JABC pins make me smile. 😉

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This large button came in the kit as well, and is sewn to the bottom of the cushion. The pattern says to use a piece of matching wool for the fabric on the bottom, but I used an old piece of homespun I had on hand, and I like how it turned out.

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Thanks for bearing with me in my sharing of out-of-season-but-still-fun smalls. I'm very much looking forward to next fall, however, so I can pull this out of my box of Halloween decorations – and remember once again how much fun I had in Utah. If you've never had the pleasure of meeting Jeanette, you're missing out. What a sweetheart she is!

P.S. She's got Christmas pincushions as well. 😉

P.P.S. I just realized that while it may no longer be Halloween, it is still technically fall. 🙂

Coming Soon…

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This is my last release for the year, and it will be out some time in the middle of this month. I hope you all like it! Because I'm always sending out my patterns to model stitchers at the eleventh hour, there is often too little time to have things framed. But I do love this as a little pillow, as the model stitcher suggested it be made into (thank you, Rindy!), along with its charming rusty bells sewn along the bottom. (My mother has decided she'll still be framing her piece, however, as soon as she's finished stitching it!)

Here is some information you'll need, should you choose to stitch Farmstead Christmas:

Stitch count: 132 x 116

Fabric used: Lakeside Linens' 36 ct. Vintage Wood Smoke

Threads: Needlepoint Inc. silks in 993, 966, 334, 208, 203, 346, 974, and 991.

I hope you're enjoying the Christmas season so far. I'm usually just beginning my shopping at about this time, but believe it or not, I'm finished! This is a first for me, and I can't believe it! But knowing how I am, I'll spend the month basking in my own glory for having finished my shopping early, so that by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, I'll suddenly remember that it all still needs to be wrapped!

An early Merry Christmas to you all!

Fall Behind

I was sorting through some photos on the computer and thought I'd share a few moments from the fall season. With my older girls away from home, sometimes the only way they can catch up with what's going on around here is through my blog, bc there really isn't time in their whirlwind trips back to Omaha to go through all of the pictures I've taken – even if the photos are of them! So I show some here, and the rest I email to them.. if they actually open their email. 😉

On one beautiful, brisk afternoon back in October, we drove out to the pumpkin patch…

My younger girls have never matched their socks, btw. I'm not sure why, but Bre is the only one of the three who can't stand mismatched socks. Sabrina and Sophie think it's the only way to go.

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These chili dogs and root beer are a highlight of mine every October!

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We decided to go through the corn maze, but when I expressed a concern for getting lost (which happened one year), Sophie said that she'd be the leader by holding up the bag of remaining kettle corn as a spot to focus on. If any of us were to get lost, just look for the bag held high over the corn.

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That's when it occurred to me that Sophie's arm should be too short to be seen over the cornstalks, and then it dawned on all of us that the corn had already been cut for the season. Doh.

But she continued to hold it up anyway, as a beacon of hope.

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Moving into November… Thanksgiving was completely wonderful, as usual. The only thing missing was the rest of the family: Audrey, Shaun, Natalie, and my brother Paul.

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We hauled lots of food over to Mom and Dad's house, but I ended up forgetting the Honeybaked Ham. Not at my house, but at the store. What a disappointment that was! But all was forgiven when I explained that I'd pick one up for Christmas Eve this year. (Thank goodness one doesn't pay for their ham until it's picked up, or I'm not sure the Christmas Eve white flag would have worked on Big Papa.)

Bre picks up my camera once in a while to snap photos, and I love it when she does this bc it's always when I'm not around, and I can see what I missed. I love these moments… In the kitchen commotion of getting all the food wrapped and ready to load into the car, Sabrina cleared a space and painted her nails. Bre took her picture, and even though the focus is a bit soft, I love it anyway… (Bre is going to be mad at me for posting this with the soft focus, bc she really does know how to take an amazing photo!)

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One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving this year is that Josh joined us!

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Have I mentioned that Josh is a very patient man?

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Only once in a while does he break his silence.

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I just love these two.

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And now we've come to December, and I can't wait to see what the month brings. I love this time of year… all the comings and goings, gift-shopping and wrapping, and mostly family members coming back home.

May this season bring you much joy!

Winter Sampler Exchange!

Oh my goodness, you have no idea how giddy Mom and I have been about our annual sampler exchange, and it finally happened yesterday! We were only waiting for the boxes from Jill's studio to arrive, and as soon as they did, my plan was to run every red light bw here and Mom's house in my excitement to swap samplers at last!

As soon as the UPS man rang the doorbell, I knew it was time. I felt like that Target lady from past Black Friday television ads…

With brute strength I snatched the box off the front porch, yanked the phone up to my ear, then dialed Mom's number, informing her in a breathless burst that she needed to immediately stop watching tv and eating petit fours working and open the front door with her Jill-box in hand, bc I'd be there in a single bound or less.

After squealing insanely and having a supersonic conversation that I can no longer remember the words to, I loaded up the package and headed out. When I arrived, I found that Mom had the same wild-eyed look in her eyes that I had, so we decided it was best to begin the exchange posthaste.

I'm laughing in the photo below bc I was trying to scramble back in time before the timer clicked the camera shutter…

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Mom had the fun idea to exchange boxes rather than the opened samplers (which we usually wrap in Christmas paper… except for the year I didn't know she was wrapping hers, and mine was just in wrinkly brown kraft paper).  Those of you who order from Jill know that unwrapping one of her packages can take a few hours, so when we finally got to the sampler inside, we removed the packing paper without looking at it, and turned it so that it was facing away from us. This way, Mom could see what she had stitched for me before I saw it, and I could see what I'd stitched for her.

(See how much effort goes into this process? It takes a very clean diet and weeks of steady gym workouts to prepare for.)

Then it was time to turn the samplers around, and after a brief, suspensful silence, our reactions were identical:

Gasp.

Gasp again.

Say "OH MY GOSH" in unison.

Cover our mouths with one hand while holding our samplers with the other.

Crawl across the floor and give each other big hugs.

Here's what my wonderful mom stitched for me:

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(The verse is amazing!)

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Hannah Cummins, 1828
Reproduced by Ellen Chester of With My Needle

Mom said she chose it for me bc she loved the verse on it. I couldn't be more thrilled with it, and it now proudly hangs in my George & Martha Suite! (And is that moulding not absolutely amazing?)

Here is what I stitched for my mom…

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I stitched my name and the year in place of what was originally charted, bc this is not a reproduction sampler.

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Sarah Spurr
Carriage House Samplings 

I chose this sampler for Mom because of the red bird, and because she had mentioned in the past wanting to stitch it for herself. I absolutely loved every stitch of it, and fondly remember working on it with my coffee in the early mornings during the Shepherd's Bush retreat, while Pat from R&R worked on her sampler on the couch next to me. We'd have long chats in the peace and quiet, and I loved watching the sampler slowly come together. I have no idea what linen I used to stitch it (although I suspect it's by Lakeside Linens), and I used my own AVAS conversion because I didn't have the NPI on hand that it called for.  

Jill, you did an outstanding job on our framed pieces, as usual, and we can't thank you enough!  I think this was our most fun exchange so far, and I'm already looking forward to next year's. 

Mom, you are the most perfect mother in the world, and I thank the Lord that you're mine. And not just because I got this amazing sampler.


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Merry Christmas!