• Autumn,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    The Shepherd’s Bush Boutique – Part 1

    Good morning!

    First of all, for those who check my Plum Street Samplers Facebook page for updates, I am unable to log into the page because it is behaving badly. Therefore, my only updates, until and unless the issue is resolved, will be from here and on Instagram.

    Moving on! Today I'd love to share with you some of the sights from around the Shepherd's Bush retreat last week, starting with the autumn setting in which our hotel was found…


    I shared a suite with Linda from Chessie and Me, Jeanette Douglas from Jeanette Douglas Designs, and Brenda Gervais from With Thy Needle and Thread. The photos above and below were what we woke up to each morning, and it was so pleasant just chatting in the quiet hours with our coffee, before the bustle of the day began.


    The sisters of Shepherd's Bush set up a lovely boutique at each retreat, located just a few steps from where the classrooms are. It is absolutely packed with stitching treasures!










    I'll stop there for today! I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of the boutique pictures, as well as a few of the class pieces. I didn't get them all, but I'll be happy to show you what I did get!

    See you soon! And thank you for stopping by!

  • Autumn,  Friends,  Needlework Shops,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    Shepherd’s Bush! (Part 2)

    ETA: This post was written this morning, as my greeting suggests, but my computer was being ornery with me, so it didn't get uploaded. Sorry about that!

    Good morning!

    Let me go pour another cup of coffee and I'll be right back…

    Okay, I'm back! (I really did go pour another cup of coffee.)

    Yesterday we left off in the middle of the Shepherd's Bush shop in Ogden, Utah, and today we'll finish our brief tour (I say brief, because you have no idea how brimming the shop is until you've been there!). After that, we will step out onto 24th Street and head to Rensel Art Studio, about 5 minutes away!




    You would not believe all of the stitching embellishments in the shop! This is just one tiny section…



    When you look up into the rafters, you see lots of beautiful baskets hanging there…


    And perhaps a pair of ice skates…




    I actually fell in love with this little Mosey N Me design, and bought it just as Shepherd's Bush had stitched it – which is a bit different from the original.


    And now we head to Jill's, as it's fondly referred to by shop patrons. If you are not familiar with Jill of Rensel Art Studio fame, she is the one who mats and frames all of the Shepherd's Bush designs, as well as all of the models displayed in their store. Cross stitchers all over the country (the world?) have mailed their pieces to her so that she and her partner-in-art, Amber, can work their magic! I don't have too many photos to share, as I mostly spent time visiting, but here are just a few…

    Brenda and I loved the saying on the wall, which is accented by the enormous gilded frame beneath:




    These are the little welcome gifts Jill and Amber were passing out.. they went with the Shepherd's Bush retreat theme of Embrace the Journey, as each little capsule also had a travel charm attached to it:



    And finally, the lovely ladies themselves! (Jill is on the left, and Amber is on the right):


    Tomorrow, if you come back, we will head up to the mountains of Park City for the retreat itself! What an absolutely perfect time it was. I hope to see you soon!


  • Autumn,  Needlework Shops,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    Shepherd’s Bush!

    I'm home from what was the most wonderful time in Ogden and Park City, Utah! As many of you know, the lovely sisters of Shepherd's Bush fame hosted their every-other-year retreat, and it was nothing short of perfect. Everything from the cozy warmth of the blacksmith-turned-cross stitch shop to the breathtaking view of the autumn-covered mountains made this gathering one to be remembered.

    As usual, I took my camera along and clicked a time or two in the hopes of sharing with you just a fraction of what we all got to see and experience. I'll break up the retreat into a few posts, as it would take far too much of your time to post them all in one sitting!

    Here we go!

    This is what greeted the shop visitors as they walked through the doors to the shop…


    Just past the entryway door, to the left, is the shop counter…


    Immediately to the right, in front of the shop's expansive windows, is a virtual Christmas shop, brimming with every Christmas model and pillow and ornament and bauble imaginable! (The photo below barely gives one an idea of what yuletide wonders are to be found there.)


    I fell in love with the newest Prairie Schooler Santa, which the girls at Shepherd's Bush made into a pillow. Of course, I left with one of their kits, as I picture mine finished just as they have it, to be propped up in one of my guest rooms for the holidays. We shall see! 😉


    Over the shop counter that I mentioned earlier is their collection of pillows from years past..


    As we move throughout the shop, there are autumn pieces in every place your eyes rest!











    I think we'll stop here for now. But grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's head back into the shop together soon!

  • Autumn,  Crazy Kids,  Family

    Before the Fall is Officially Over…

    I figured with Christmas fast approaching, these pictures were too outdated to post. But we're having fall-like temperatures around here, so why not? It's been sunny and windy and 60's-ish here, so here I go! 🙂

    Sabrina and Sophie and I took a trip to the pumpkin patch just a couple of short months ago, and as usual, we had way too much kettle corn and chili dogs and root beer. But it was so much fun! I sure do miss my girls being little, but they manage to giggle and be silly just the same.










    Okay, I guess I can loosen my grip on fall now. Bring on the winter!


  • Autumn,  BYOF,  New Designs,  Stitching

    New Releases for Fall!

    I'll be shipping the following three releases to all shops on my automatic very soon.. hopefully next week!



    This was originally released at the Shepherd's Bush retreat in 2014, and the model was stitched and framed by the wonderful, lovely, darling Sherri-Berkman-of-Total-Framing-in-Virginia!

    The stitch count is 182w x 164h, and it is stitched using all cross stitch over two linen threads.

    The model was stitched on 36 ct. Vintage Light Examplar by Lakeside Linens, and the threads used were by Classic Colorworks in Milady's Teal (DMC 169), Cayenne (300), Copper Penny (402), Fool's Gold (435), Deep Fennel (598), Stepping Stones (611), Pebble Beach (642), Ye Olde Gold (833), Weeping Willow (3011), Hickory Sticks (3021), Timber (3781), River Rocks (3787), and Tennessee Red Clay (3859).



    These three little cushions are fast little stitches, and if you have an autumn tree (like my sister, who decorates a small tree for any and every holiday!), you could easily attach hangers for them to be hung there, or on the handle of a cabinet, or even a door knob. Or maybe in your car's rear-view mirror. Or maybe not.

    Here are the stitch counts for all three cushions:

    Goodness & Plenty: 113w x 38h
    Alphabet Sampler: 59w x 50h
    Harvest Bird: 74w x 57h

    The models were stitched on 36 ct. Stars Hollow Blend from R&R Reproductions, and the finishing was done by my Pike's-Place-Partner, Donna Otlowski. She did such a beautiful job!

    The threads used were by Classic Colorworks in Roasted Chestnut (DMC 400), Hazelnut (420), Brandied Pears (434), Wilderness (830), Manor Red (902), Caterpillar (3371), Cinnamon Toast (3772), and Antique Lace (Ecru).

    The stitches used in these cushions are cross stitch and back stitch, all over two.


    This is the fourth of five Sampler Lessons that will be released. (The other Collection in progress is A Bowl Full of Merries, but Merry Two is still being worked on; there will, however, be brand new Collections coming to the Serial Bowl family next year!)

    The kit is a BYOF (Bring Your Own Fabric) kit, which means it includes the threads and trim to complete the project, but you will need to supply the fabric you want to use. The model was stitched on 36 ct. American Chestnut linen, by an extremely kind stitcher with the most perfect x's: Jean Hohulin.

    The stitch count for Sampler Lesson Four is 83w x 81h. All stitches are cross stitch over two threads, but the chart says "except where noted." This was an oversight on my part, and should not have been there. I apologize for that!


    Please remember that all of the Serial Bowl Collection kits are limited in number; all prior kits have sold out, and for that, I thank you tremendously. (You all have no idea how sweet and encouraging it is to get such lovely feedback from you. Stitchers are truly the best kind of people!)

     As soon as these ship out, it's back to the drawing board for me… Enjoy the weekend!

  • Autumn,  Market,  New Designs,  Sneak Peeks,  Stitching

    The Online Market!

    Good Sunday morning to you!

    I thought I'd let those of you who haven't heard know about the Harvest Market Hop, which will begin on September 10! This "market" was the idea of the girls at Shepherd's Bush, in an effort to fill a void in the industry when no physical trade show for autumn was available to shop owners.


    Keep in mind that this is not like the Online Needlework Show, in that it is only visible to shops who register. This gives shop owners the opportunity to bring the market to you, just as they would if they were able to physically attend!

    I'll have four new releases for this market, and I'm very excited to show them to you. Here is one of the sneak peeks I showed on Facebook..


    I hope if your shop hasn't heard about the show, you'll let them know!

    The day is very drizzly and cool outside, so I've got a couple of candles burning, and I'm going to contemplate what I'll be baking today. It's Sunday Morning Baking time, and the weather is perfect for it.

    I'll see you soon!

  • Autumn,  New Designs,  Stitching

    Jack’s Sweet Shoppe: Olga’s Tart!

    I think this is my favorite tart of them all. 🙂

    Olga's Tart Cover

    Olga's Tart
    Stitch count: 71w x 67h
    Fabric used: 36 ct. Plum Street Blend by R&R Reproductions (NEW!)
    Threads used: The Gentle Art in Mulberry (DMC 300), Black Licorice (310), Pumpkin Pie (435), Deep Forest (646), Nutmeg (780), Weathered Barn (814), Old Hickory (869), Dried Thyme (3011), Raspberry Frost (3773), Caramel Corn (3828), and Oatmeal (Ecru).

    The stitches used in this tart are cross stitch over two threads and some back stitching, where the whiskers and pumpkin tendrils are concerned. 🙂

    As with the other tarts, this chart comes with the instructions for putting together your tart using Wilton's 4.75" tart pans (available at www.amazon.com in sets of 6, or from www.wilton.com).

    I hope you like my new releases! Olga's Tart, Blackberry House, and the third Sampler Lesson kit will be shipping to shops on August 7th!

  • Autumn,  Contest Winners,  Freebie,  Friends,  Stitching

    The Winner!

    Goodness gracious, I've had a terrific time trying to get an internet connection this past week.. I've been struck with Intermittent Internet Syndrome, I'm afraid, which means my modem will suddenly decide to take a nap at the most inopportune times, and I've had to resort to using my phone to get a few things done, but that didn't bode well for me either.

    But instead of rambling further about my personal technology woes, I should take advantage of this small connection window and announce the winner of the Brew Haha kit!

    I had so much fun reading all of your comments about what your perfect fall day looks like.. I read each and every line, and smiled at all of the different memories and descriptions. I've put together a little "word collage" below that highlights some of the comments you all contributed; but trust me when I say, this is only a very small sampling of all of the wonderful descriptions! Thank you all so, so much!

    Fragments tp


    Rita, please email me your address so I can get your fabric, floss, and pins sent to you! I hope you enjoy stitching on the Stars Hollow linen.. it's the loveliest color!

    Thank you all again, and I'll see you back here soon! I've got the next Serial Bowl Sampler Lesson almost ready to preview!

  • Autumn,  Freebie,  Friends,  Stitching


    Oh my, all I've wanted for weeks is for the sun to come out and warm the place up. It finally does just that, to the tune of 100 degrees and wilting flowers, and now all I can think about is fall…

    Orange leaves, bittersweet, masses of bumpy gourds on wooden carts at the pumpkin patch, and pumpkin spice lattes… opened windows for sleeping, fire pits and s'mores, new autumn designs, and new linen to stitch on.

    Fall is perfect.

    And when R&R Reproductions told me about a beautiful new linen color in their lineup, I got a really fun idea: I wanted to come up with a new autumn-themed design to go with the linen! And I wanted to have a pre-autumn celebration giveaway!


    This is the little design I came up with to go with this brand-new linen from R&R Reproductions:

    Stars Hollow Blend

    Isn't that fabulous? Love love love the name!

    And here's another fun new item: Just Another Button Company has come up with the most wonderful little coffee bean pins!


    Now here is the giveaway part: One winner will receive a piece of 36 ct. Stars Hollow Blend linen to stitch Brew-Haha!, along with the overdyed threads (listed in the post-script) to go with it, and some coffee bean pins!

    All you have to do is answer this question:

    What does your perfect fall day look like?

    The winner will be chosen from the comments left here or on my Plum Street Samplers Facebook page, and will be announced next week – some time after I return from Chicago. Probably next Tuesday. 🙂

    And surprise! The Brew-Haha! chart is yours for the downloading! You'll find the link at the bottom of this post. 🙂

    Good luck, and I hope you all have fun with this little giveaway – even if you're in the middle of a heat wave!

    P.S. The Brew-Haha! chart calls for DMC, but Dyeing to Stitch in Virginia Beach has come up with a fun conversion to overdyed threads in these colors: Classic Colorworks' Timber (3021), Eggshell (Ecru), Pumpkin Harvest (3776), Brandied Pears (434), Straw Hat (3863), and The Gentle Art's Gingersnap (400),  Endive (3011), Grecian Gold (680), and Nutmeg (3826).

    P.P.S. This is the bottom of the post. Download Brew-Haha! 🙂

    ETA 7/15: The original color conversion called for Classic Colorworks' Gingersnap, but the correct color is The Gentle Art's Gingersnap.

  • Autumn,  Class Pieces,  Retreats,  Stitching

    Autumn Gifts

    Sweet Rindy Richards told me that she saw my Shepherd's Bush class piece on the net today, as Sue Ream (Hi, Sue!) had stitched it… and that's when I realized that I've never shown what my class piece was!

    My friend-and-framer Sherri Berkman was the model stitcher for this one (hence, the SB initials at the bottom, which several people thought stood for "Shepherd's Bush"), and once again, she surprised me with the moulding. I could not have asked for a more beautiful frame to go with this piece, which features a rabbit dashing through the woods, and crossing over a narrow thread of river. 🙂 The retreat's theme, as you may remember, was "Over the River and Through the Woods," and I loved how each of the teachers interpreted it.. what a warm and cozy theme it was to work with!

    Tp preview

    The little scissors fob to the bottom left corner of the model was also stitched by Sherri as a surprise to me. I was so thrilled to receive it, and will always remember her kindness and generosity, as she was going through a very difficult time in her personal life when this model was being stitched. I'm so touched that she would do that extra thing for me.. both sides of the fob are stitched over one linen thread (the reverse side has an acorn and leaves taken from the design). Thank you so much, Sherri. It meant so much to me.

    The scissors attached to the fob are the gorgeous work of Paula Sibbald from Kelmscott Designs.. I begged her to come up with something special for my class kits, and her response to me was, "Well I was just working on a new pair of scissors, and wasn't sure what I'd put on them!" This was certainly good news for me, and she took my "OH PLEASE DO ACORNS, PLEASE DO ACORNS" to heart. Thank you again, sweet Paula! They turned out beautifully, and I was thrilled to be able to include them in my class kits!

    I suppose the rabbit is now crossing a frozen river through barren trees at this point, as fall has moved on to another year. And as usual for me these past couple of years, I'm running behind it, hollering, "Wait! Wait! I've been so busy, I never got to say goodbye!" Because of this busy-ness, I decided last month that I wouldn't release any new designs for the remainder of 2014, but rather I would take some time and enjoy the season for a while. My next releases will be in Nashville in February. I truly hope to see lots of you there, and I hope it will feel like Christmas all over again, only with spring colors!

    Now, I think I'll go ask God for some snow, because that truly is one of His winter gifts to us – especially when topped with a red cardinal.

    Wait… Did someone say winter gifts? I see a new sampler in my mind…