• Critters

    Foster Babies!

    I love dogs.

    I love cats.

    I love anything with fur and four legs, and I always have. And Sophie is just like me.

    Since we have enough dogs and cats for one household, we have decided that the next best thing for Miss Sophie to do is to foster kittens for the Nebraska Humane Society. When we got the email, we were able to choose the ages and numbers we could work with, which means that Sophie now has four little six-week-old babies in her charge for the next two weeks or so.

    I've decided that if we don't actually name the kittens, we may not be as tempted to keep them, but I'm not entirely convinced this plan is going to work.

    Here is the one we call The-Black-and-White-One:

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    And this one is The-Orange-One:

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    And finally, laying beside The-Orange-One are his brother and sister: The-Little-Black-Cat-That's-A-Boy-And-Has-The-White-Spot and The-Black-Cat-That's-A-Girl (yes, that is actually what we call them):

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    I find it interesting that the little orange tabby doesn't even look like the same kitten in the two photos; sometimes his eyes are a bright blue, and other times they fade to a pale green. He is a true beauty, and a very calm little boy. The black and white kitten in the first photo is the only one unafraid of Martha, and is the most active of the bunch. And the little black brother and sister pair are exact opposites: the girl (on the right) is feisty and confident, while her smaller brother is very shy and timid. (Of the four, my heart may belong to him.)(But I shall not name him!)

    Thank you for stopping by to meet the little fosters in our home! Sophie has been a very sweet foster mom, and my hope is that in two weeks' time, they will be on their way to new families who will love them as much as she has.

  • Martha,  New Designs,  Sampler Houses,  Stitching

    Sampler Houses

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments so many of you have left on my blog, Facebook, and Instagram regarding my most recent releases! It is so wonderful to know that there is so much support in our industry, and I'd like to thank you with my whole heart. 

    Martha thanks you too! (She's doing cartwheels on the inside.)


    Because I never officially did this, I'd like to introduce you to a new series of sampler houses I'm doing. Each one will feature a different house and a traditional motif found on some antique samplers, and is suitable for framing or stuffing or whatever your favorite finishing technique is! I'm thinking there will be 5 or 6 in the series, but I'm not completely sure yet. My fancy can be very unpredictable!

    Sampler House I COVER

    (I am a little obsessed with the color Deep Fennel by Classic Colorworks lately!)


    Sampler House II COVER

    I know they're old news by now, but I had this post started back on May 11, and I wanted to finally get it finished. May 11! I used to think about how organized my life would be and how much I'd accomplish, once the girls were all grown. Turns out that was a hilarious notion, as I was much more structured back when I was actually managing the lives of five people! These days I have to check the internet to see what day it is, because I'm not sure I believe the calendar is correct. The days run run run, one right into the other. 

    (How is it, with the invention of all things convenient and fast, our lives have become overwhelmed with more to do? Faster food, faster service, faster delivery – you'd think with everything being so fast for me, I'd have more time freed up for all those would-be accomplishments!) 

    So those are the new Sampler Houses.. I've got two more in the works for a release later in July, after I return home from the Silver Needle retreat. I've also got a few more releases to accompany those, so I'll get everything posted when I have all the information gathered! 

    I hope your summer is going wonderfully so far.. here in Nebraska, we've had the best mix of storms and sunshine, storms and sunshine, and I love it all! See you soon!

  • Finishing Instructions,  Nautical,  New Designs,  Stitching,  Summer

    My First Drum!

    I've never designed a "drum" before, so at the urging of a couple of sweet friends, I've come up with one as a sort of spin-off of Cape Cod Keeps. This was such a fun little pattern to design, and I hope you like it! Joy of Finely Finished did a gorgeous job of transforming three pieces of stitched linen into the actual drum, and I've included her brief finishing instructions at the bottom of this post.

    Here we go!

    Mariner's Drum COVER

    The drum was stitched on R&R Reproductions' 36 ct. Patriot's Brew by my good friend Pat Ryan.

    The colors used are all by Weeks Dye Works, but the chart does include a conversion to DMC in the key. Here are the Weeks colors you'll need, if you choose to stitch it:

    Onyx, Adobe, Dirt Road, Sandcastle, Gunmetal, Pelican Gray, Light Khaki, Deep Sea, Dove, Garrison Green, Confederate Gray, Tatanka, Teal Frost, Cinnabar, Cayenne, and Cocoa.

    You'll need three pieces of linen in the following stitch counts:
    For the side: 217w x 57h
    For the top: 72w x 67h
    For the bottom: 60w x 60h

    There is a tiny bit of long-stitching on the comb, and a small area of over-one stitching in the mermaid's mirror. 

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    The top of the drum features a pirate who has dropped his anchor in place to search for sunken treasure. If you look carefully at the photo above, you'll notice the seam joining the top of the drum to the side of the drum meets so that the chain links connect the anchor to the ship!

    The verse I used for Mariner's Drum comes from an old sea shanty, that goes like this:

    Cape Cod Girls ain't got no combs;
    They brush their hair with codfish bones. 

    There are actually more verses (and other variations) to this shanty, but I liked this one the best.

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    The bottom of the drum has a little mariner's compass stitched on it. But of course, you could choose to use a piece of wool in place of the compass if you'd like to be finished with it faster. 🙂 (By the way, it wasn't until after I uploaded the photo below that I noticed a little green leaf in the center of the compass. I tend to make sure there are no stray fibers anywhere, but I'm not accustomed to looking for stray greenery!)

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    And speaking of finishing, the lovely Joy Hayward has provided brief finishing instructions for the drum. If you are not an experienced finisher, be sure you read all of the instructions before you attempt any cutting. This is not a difficult piece to finish, but you want to be in control of each step! I always "walk things through" in my mind all the way to the end before attempting any of it with my hands!


    I truly thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you're having a wonderful week!

  • New Designs,  Patriotic,  Summer

    New for May

    Happy New Week to You!

    I've been working on four new releases for this month, and I'll be shipping them out soon to your local or online shop. I'm so excited that summer stitching is almost here!

    Here is a little sneak peek of the first release, which is a follow up to Hello Spring that was released in March.

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    Stitch Count: 150w x 83h

    Linen used: 36 ct. Patriot's Brew (a brand NEW color!) by R&R Reproductions.

    Threads used:
    Weeks Dye Works in Sanguine, Parchment, Grits, Oscar, Bark, and Grapevine;
    Classic Colorworks in Milady's Teal, Used Brick, and Ye Olde Gold.

    Trims used: Lady Dot Creates in Vintage Mini Poms and Vintage Silk Ribbon (hanger).

    My dear friend Pat Ryan stitched the model beautifully (thank you, Pat!), and Joy Hayward from Finely Finished did a stunning job on the finishing! (Thank you so much, Joy!)

    I hope you all have a lovely day, and I'll be back soon with more releases! Please let your shop owner know if you'd like she or he to reserve a chart for you. 🙂

  • Critters

    A Note from Me

    Dear 2017,

    I may be starting to like you after all.




    Do you know how often I think about writing something here? Every day. Every day!

    But then the evening comes, and I sit down on the edge of my bed, setting my slippers on the floor at just the right distance from my feet so that I can find them when the dark morning comes. 

    After that, I wonder where the day went. It seems like I was just putting those slippers on my feet and trudging down to the coffee pot. And now here I sit again.

    Twenty-seventeen has been a disjointed blur to me, but it feels like I may be settling back into the nice, steady rhythm of work. I love my work.

    Thank you so much for all of you who have been so incredibly supportive of it. I truly feel God has given Plum Street Samplers to me, and has allowed me to meet so many of you through it. I hope I can be better, once again, at staying in touch (so to speak) through my blog. 

    I'll leave you with a little bright spot in my day… the new Jingle Family, which has settled themselves quite comfortably in the Christmas wreath on my front porch. (I fell in love with a wreath on Etsy, so I ordered it, not taking time to measure it. When I received it, I found that it was much more enormous than I had planned for, and was far too heavy to hang on my front door. I had to hang it next to my door instead, which proved to be a nice, inviting spot for a little finch mother to build her nest. So if you happen to be in the neighborhood, you'll know why it still appears to be Christmas at the Stewart house.)

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    Thank you for stopping by!


  • Crazy Kids,  Family


    I love that I still have one last teenager left at home. Not because she's the last one, but because she's just so teenager. My girls have always filled my heart with joy, and I'm so very, very, very, very, very thankful to God that He blessed me with them. As most of you know, my older two have grown and left home to build their own lives (they practically grew up on this blog!), but my Joonbug is still home, still making me laugh, making me cry, making me pull my hair out, and making me a very happy mom.



    Marty doesn't usually embrace the camera, but on this day, she bullied her way in for some attention…


    Sophie will be headed off to college in just over a year, and I'm not quite sure what I'll fill my days with when she's gone. I mean, how does one simply fill the void left by a sudden absence of all those stray gum wrappers on the counter, the cozy hugs at any given time, hilarious Shakira impressions on car rides, too many visits to Sephora, empty peach smoothie cups left in all the wrong places, and the charming way she says "Mom?" when I know full well that that particular tone can only mean she's about to ask me a question that I will answer with a "No." And how many more times will I have to get to wash mascara stains out of the shoulders of my shirts because she needed to cry?

    I do love this teenager, and the gift that she is.



  • Gardening


    I love having all four seasons here in the heartland – icy weather included. It just means I'll be lighting candles (okay, I admit, I do that even on 100-degree-and-sunny days), deep-cleaning the house, and baking and souping and loving the day.

    A couple of days ago, however, I paused all that and headed outside to slip-and-slide my way across the back porch and out into the yard. I am by no means a great gardener, but I have a few areas of my yard that I'm in love with when they're awake and fully dressed in their greens as well as when they're bare and sleeping away the winter…

    The branches of my lilac tree, which is about 10 feet tall now…


    One of the birdhouses affixed to the fence…


    (By the way, here is the bird house next to it… I ran across this photo yesterday; I had forgotten I had taken it last spring, and it made me look forward to March and April, just before everything wakes up. The little tuft you see in the opening is not, in fact, a bird nest, but rather a mouse nest, as I discovered when cutting back the foliage.)

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    And lastly, the Black-Eyed Susans (which I repeatedly and mistakenly call Brown-Eyed Susans – there is a difference!) that are so full and vibrant in the summer… who knew they could also be so quiet and beautiful?


    We're no longer iced in, but I may need to bake and soup a bit longer, as my girl is home today with a fever. I'm sure she is wishing for a different season to get here already, as she is not as much of a fan of the winter as her mother is!

    Thank you so much for stopping by… it's been so much fun "visiting" with you all this week, and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every comment you've left for me!

  • Critters,  Family,  Home

    Meet Luigi

    My Marty-girl has quite an array of toys… my mother can't stop laughing when she comes over and Martha presents her latest acquisition. With names like Tan Man, Lunch, and Mad Bird Dog, Marty's toy chest has become full of some very odd characters. (However, the spoken word "toy" is reserved strictly for her Frisbees, and I always warn visitors to not use the "t word," as that single word will trip a trigger in her brain, her eyes will glaze over, and she will savagely bolt to all corners of the house, madly scouring for her flying discs in a take-no-prisoners fashion. Once the t-word has been located, she will return like a wrecking ball,  frantically begging to have it thrown for her. "No" is not an option.)

    We have a little dog-and-cat shop nearby called Three Dog Bakery, and when I happened upon a barrel of these frightening little Italian chickens while visiting the shop, I knew it would be love-at-first-sight for Marty…



    Of course, she loves Luigi, and the long, sad squawk he makes.

    I found a female version of Luigi a few weeks later (in a wild purple floral number), and I took her with me to give to my sister's dog, Ranger, when I visited her this past summer. We named her Isabella, but she is no longer with Ranger, as she did not survive his exuberant affection for her.

    I supposed I've yakked pointlessly enough for one day. I hope you all have a wonderful week – we're iced in here in Omaha, which makes Sophie a happy girl (no school!), but the dogs very sad, as they don't get to go on a neighborhood jaunt.

    Thank you for visiting!

  • Antique Samplers,  Reproduction,  Stitching

    Forget Me Not

    Antique samplers are so soft and curious, and I love nothing more than to look over every inch of them, wondering what the young stitchers lives were like when they created them.  I've acquired several of these samplers in the past few years, but sadly, once I've marveled over their details and beauty, I put them away in their acid-free paper and all but forget that I have them. So when I ran across some pictures I took of this one in my photo library, I didn't really recongize it. Isn't that just a crying shame?


    I am drawn to a sampler first by its verse – much more so than the motifs it offers… I tend to want a great verse to come live with me because its wisdom is such a treasure, and I don't want to simply read the words; I want to keep them! (Something I grew up learning regarding Scripture, and something I'm grateful to my parents for.)

    I suppose I'll go hunt down where I've stored this sampler now, so I can read the verse again.

    If you'd care to leave a comment (I know filling out the fields is an inconvenience!), I would really love to hear what your favorite thing is about samplers – antique or modern. What draws you in?

    Thank you so much for stopping by… I'll see you soon!

  • Family,  Food and Drink,  Holidays,  Home

    A Day with My Niece

    Happy New Year!

    Sort of.

    You wouldn't believe how often I think about blogging.. I miss it so much! But as I was telling someone today, I spend so much time in my mind organizing my to-do list and then chasing new ideas that I forget what was ever on the list to begin with. I can't seem to stay in one spot long enough to get anything done because I'm spending too much time being inspired to do things!

    Anyway, I was looking back through some pictures I took over December, and I wanted to share with you just a few moments that I had the pleasure of spending with my precious niece, who turned 10 this past year. She was visiting with my sister and brother in-law for Christmas, and I invited her to come over to help me make "reindeer eyes," which are basically round pretzels that have been filled with melted white chocolate bark and then decorated with a red-or-green M&M before the bark hardens.

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    After she and I finished the pretzels, she went outside to play with the bits of snow here and there that were left over from a brief snowfall the week before. Since she lives in the south, she rarely sees snow, so she had fun picking up any handful she could find and tossing it into the air… Martha was a bit intrigued with what she was doing, staring at her curiously as she played. Eventually though, Martha was able to go catch the frisbees my niece threw for her that were flipped upside down and filled with snow – a new invention she dubbed "The Snow Launcher."

    I had such a fun afternoon with her! It was sweet having a "little one" hanging around the house again, with all of her giggles and love.

    So my sweet niece, if you ever stumble across your favorite aunt's blog, thank you for spending the day with me, and I sure do love you!