• Stitching,  Sunday Mystery Sampler

    Mary’s Sampler, Part 1

    I cannot express how overwhelmed I was by the incredible response to this mystery sampler! You all have been so kind and generous with your encouragement, and I am very thankful. And I'm very  excited for all of us to begin!

    I worked ahead a week or two, and will continue to do so (hopefully), in order to work out any kinks and give you a heads up to anything I may do differently than what the chart calls for. But again, you're all free to make your own design and color decisions, because this will be your sampler anyway!

    If any of you decide to stitch on black fabric, here are a few things to keep in mind (this will apply to those who have never stitched on black before, or have heard how challenging it can be).. stitch in natural light, or use a daylight light bulb (you can find these in Walmart or Target or home improvement stores.. they specifically say "daylight" on them, and emit a whiter light than regular bulbs, which are yellow). A hoop is also helpful for opening up those holes, and I find that placing something white on my lap – like the chart page – is helpful to see through the fabric holes.

    As I said, I will be trying to stitch ahead of you; and that being the case, I've already found a change you may want to make if you're stitching on black… I'll list any changes at the bottom of the post each week. If you happen to find any errors or problems with the chart as you're stitching, I'd like to apologize ahead of time. There are definite advantages to having model stitchers who will tell you what does and doesn't work, but in this case, I'm jumping in with everyone else!

    Let's begin! And thank you again for all of your kind words this week!


    IMPORTANT: The images below will not print properly if you click and print from them. Please use the links provided at the very bottom of each post to download the PDF for printing. You may also choose to use your monitor as your chart and forego any printing at all. (This will allow you to make the chart as large as you need it to be!)

    ALSO NOTE: While some motifs may be identical in both samplers, please keep in mind that their placement is different. Remember to check to see that you're printing and following the correct chart each week.

    Week 1 Scripture





    Mary's Sampler II INSTRUCTIONS



    Here is my progress from this week.. I've had to blur out the bits from next week! The changes I made were these:

    1. My particular skein of Portabella was a little too light to be used next to Sea Gull in Joseph and Mary's robes (this doesn't apply to those of you using the original color key!), so I switched to the color Old Hickory for this motif and like it much better.

    2. Mary's hair flows right into her robe on the original key, but on black fabric, the Sea Gull makes her look like she's got gray hair. I changed her hair color back to Espresso Bean/3371 and am satisfied. 🙂

    3. This isn't so much a change as it is an error: I miscounted and stitched Joseph one square too far over to the left. Instead of removing my stitching, I decided to compensate and stitch each of their hands with two Adobe/3773 stitches instead of just one.

    SMS wk 1 tp


    Download Week 1 Scripture

    Download Mary's Sampler INSTRUCTIONS AND KEY

    Download SMS Week 1 PRINTOUT


    Download Week 1 Scripture

    Download Mary's Sampler II INSTRUCTIONS AND KEY

    Download SMS II Wk 1 PRINTOUT


  • Stitching,  Sunday Mystery Sampler

    Are we ready yet?





    As I was saying on Facebook, here are a few answers to some of the emails I've received this week:

    1. Anyone can participate, no matter where you are, as long as you have internet service. There is no need to sign up for anything – just grab your supplies and join in!

    2. The colors I listed originally will work for both Mary's Sampler I and II, but if you're going ot use black linen, I suggest following the substitutions I posted or coming up with something of your own choosing, as the original colors may not show up well on the black fabric.

    3. Sections for both Mary's Sampler I and II will be posted each week. Although they look identical, their placement is different, so print out the chart you want to follow. Both charts will remain on the blog for as long as my blog exists, and will not be published for sale.

    See you tomorrow!

  • Freebie,  Holidays,  Stitching,  Sunday Mystery Sampler

    An Announcement!

    Please see the ETA at the bottom of this post…

    Mary's Sampler II Announcement tp

    ETA: Both Mary's Sampler and Mary's Sampler II are nearly the same. However, the second version requires a bit more stitching time to complete. Both versions are the same size, but if you'd like a simple quick-stitch project, you may want to opt for the first. If you'd like something a bit busier, then the second version may be the one for you. I hope this helps clear a few things up! 🙂

  • Family,  Travel

    The Arch

    Hi there!

    I thought I'd hop back on here and show you all just a little bit of what we did as we were leaving the needlework market a couple of weeks ago… Mike grew up in St.Louis, so he was excited to visit the city just a bit and hopefully take us down memory lane.. needless to say, Sophie and I were dreading very excited about this, and he glanced over every half-mile or so while we were on the interstate, wondering if he should take this exit or that in order to get to his alma mater, Garfield Elementary School.

    "Do you think any of my old teachers still teach there?" he would ask occasionally.

    Most likely he was fantasizing about how he would run (in slow motion) through the school yard, waving a bright shining apple over his head like a trophy, and have old Miss Elderpants greet him with open arms and exclaim affectionately, "Mikey! You haven't changed a bit!"

    And that's when I'd say, "No, he hasn't; he still talks too much," throwing a heavy wet blanket onto his whole daydream.

    Och, it wasn't that bad. We never found Garfield, but we did head toward Jefferson Park, following Mike's lead to the Arch.

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    Sophie had a pretty bad blister on her foot, so she decided to go barefoot.

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    The day was incredibly hot and muggy, but the park was still very pretty, which made the long walk enjoyable.

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    I had no idea that there was a very cool museum under the Arch! I really enjoyed it, and could have spent much longer there… most of these pictures are of quotes I took for my mom, because she loves to read anything related to the pioneering of America…

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    Mike and I loved the spelling!

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    These are all excerpts from the diary of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark)…

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    The last sentence of the following clip was my favorite… I wonder if he was specifically referring to God's creation of what he had been journaling about, or just the natural structure and beauty of everything?

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    This was a replica general store, which had lots of fun things in there.. repro cookbooks, ladies' housekeeping books, quil and ink sets, and Sophie's favorite, saltwater taffy. (I'm not sure who that lady in the photo is.)

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    We had to keep an eye on the clock because we yet had 7 hours to drive in front of us, and Sophie had school the next day. So we hurried to the loading station to ride up to the Arch.

    Here was the door we were told to stand in front of. It was only about 4 1/2 feet high..

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    If I'd known that we were going to be crammed into this little pod for roughly 5 uncomfortable minutes, I'm not sure I would have been on board.  By the way, what you see in the photo looks like a toilet seat, but it's not.. its just the back of one of the tiny seats available to sit on. There were 5 seats per unit, situated in a very tight  circle…

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    And to add to the discomfort of the tight quarters, Mikey had his chatterbox turned on, all the way to the top.

    I will admit though, it was a pretty neat sight up there. 🙂

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    And it will be our secret that while we were up there, I may have spotted Garfield. 😉

  • Market,  New Designs,  Stitching,  Travel


    I am finally coming up for air! Thank you for being so patient with me for orders and emails and now this overdue blog post.

    I accidentally typed "blob post," and I probably should have left it like that because that's what I feel like today!

    Market was such a wonderful, exciting time for me, and I am so happy I finally got to meet so many of you in person.. what a pleasure that was! Especially for Sophie, who got to hear more than a few dozen times, "You're Sophie! I know you from your mom's blog!" She loved every bit of it though, and still teases me that we weren't in the hotel for a solid minute when someone called out her name. (Hi Mona-from-the-Silver-Needle!)

    Here are a few pictures from around the suites I visited… I never made it off my floor except one time, and I didn't have my camera with me then. I'm really bummed because there were so many people I didn't get to meet, let alone take pictures of their new designs. But the few booths I did make it into were gracious enough to allow me to photograph their lovely things, so here they are, if you'd care to take a look. (I'm sure you've seen several of these types of photos around the blogosphere lately!)

    We'll start with my next-door neighbor, who is new to market this year. What a fabulous designer she is, with an equally-fabulous family!


    Her room was wonderful, and Sophie said it smelled delicious, like green tea. I was too taken with her displays and the banjo music in the background to notice the aroma, but she did have a very cool corner with chocolates and beverages (that I didn't get a picture of)…





    A little farther down the hall was Needlework Press… (Vickie's precious grandbaby was there as well, and what a little doll Zoe is!)




    Chessie and Me's room was gorgeous… and there's something about her models that makes them so photogenic! I think I could take pictures of her models all day.





    Let's go back the other way down the hall now…


    Walk faster…

    Here we've come to The Purple Thread… This was my first time meeting Sharon, and I just loved her!


    This was so cute!



    Hang on, Mike, we'll be in shortly…


    By the way, that lens he's holding is actually a very cool coffee mug that my sweet friend Connie gave to me! Isn't it the neatest thing?


    It came in very handy that weekend. Thank you so much, Connie!


    Next to The Purple Thread was Blackbird Designs. It's always a treat to go in their room!



    This hooked rug, in front of their "fireplace," made me swoon…






    I'm super disappointed I didn't make it to R&R's room earlier in the day, because I could have shown you linen nirvana… but I did manage to take a picture of the little bit that was left…


    Pat and Ann were kind enough to send me home with some of their hand-dyed trims and some beautiful linens,  and right now I'm loving Old Towne Blend. What a beautiful, soft color.. I'm in love! Thank you, Pat and Ann!

    And of course, what's a market without Shepherd's Bush? Sophie loved their room best, bc she was taken with the rows of bags waiting to be claimed by their owners. She said, "If I was a shop owner, I'd buy stuff from them just to get their bag."



    My very first linen project, back in 1992'ish, was a Shepherd's Bush design. I've been a fan ever since!


    I probably should have broken this post down to two days, but I'll keep going…

    La D Da! Love love love La D Da!


    My heart loves this one best, and I was lucky enough to be gifted with the chart and silks by a friend that is very dear to me. (Thank you again, my very dear friend…)




    Another neighbor close by was Dames of the Needle/Fingerwork. It was my first time meeting Elizabeth, and what fun we had!



    This was just the cutest thing…




     And finally, we have my room… I hadn't been to a market since 2007, so I forgot about how challenging it was to make everything fit where you need it to fit!


    My dad built my shelving, which I was very grateful for!



    I brought a few older things too…


    I had Salem Sisters III hanging over a lamp, and I loved the spooky light that was cast on it. But I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who noticed the way the spooky light was shining on it. Ha!





    And there you have it! Hopefully I'll get out to other floors next time, because I can only imagine all the fun I missed. But I couldn't stay away from the room too long, because Big Papa tends to tell tall tales in my absence; I even had someone tell me it was awfully nice of me to do the stitching for all these patterns Mike designed.

    Say what?

    Until next market! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂


    P.S. On Sunday evening, there was a knock on our room's door, and sweet Teri from Shepherd's Bush was holding one of their booth's bags for Sophie, complete with a Shepherd's Bush purple t-shirt inside. 🙂 Now that's a very sweet thing!