• 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    I figured with Christmas fast approaching, these pictures were too outdated to post.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!


  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Friends


    Sophie attended her school's homecoming dance this month, and she had such a fun time! She didn't go with a date, but instead went with two of her sweet friends…but of course, we had to get some Big Papa and Big Mama photos before she left for the main event. 🙂




    (I had to sneak this one in here.. don't tell Big Papa.)







    I just love their giggling, silly selves.


  • Family,  Gardening,  Holidays


    I can't believe I'm sitting here! I've missed chatting with you all!


    Is it just me and the crickets?

    I was asking on Facebook a few days ago who out there checks designers' blogs or designers' Facebook pages for new release updates, and it appears that most people prefer Facebook for the convenience of it, but they like blogs for the details – and only if a link is posted, in many cases. I really appreciated hearing everyone's feedback, although I had not really been thinking of giving up my blog; I simply have allowed my time to be consumed by other things, which has crowded out blogging (and I've always truly enjoyed blogging).

    Isn't it funny how modern technology has made daily tasks so simple that you are able to squeeze in many more tasks, which only ends up squeezing out daily living? 

    I have been so busy in such a good way around here though (technology aside). I've had such a nice summer with my last chickadee at home, Miss Sophie, and I am trying not to think about school starting up again. I always missed my girls when they had to go off to school again. 🙁 I've also been very busy with new designs, kitting, filling orders, traveling to stitching retreats, and even stitching on some fun things just for myself.

    The fourth of July was so much fun, as it always is! It's always been one of my favorite holidays because it is spent at my parents' home, in their beautiful back yard..




    Have you ever played ladder ball? It's also known as monkey ball, and I believe I mentioned it last year on my blog as well. It's truly the only time I've ever seen my mother get so highly competitive, that we all have to let her win.

    (I'm only kidding – you can't "let" someone win at ladder ball!)

    Here are Bre and Mike, taking their turns – and Bre scored a whopping 3 points when she landed on the top wrung!



    My dad is patiently waiting for his turn, while silently suffering through the smack-talk my mother is giving him on the side.


    Sophie prefers to be in the audience while the game is going on..




    I love it when my mom repurposes a fountain..






    This is a huge whiskey barrel full of marigolds.. my mother saved all the seeds last year, and there were enough for about 20 whiskey barrels! But she gave me a bunch, so now I have a barrel-full too!



    Here is the beautiful window box that is behind Sophie and my dad in the above photo..


    When Breanna was little, her favorite series was Power Rangers, and she would not allow a photo to be taken of her unless she was in her best Power Rangers pose. So for old times' sake, we all tried to strike her favorite pose. Except for Mom, who has never seen an episode of Power Rangers in her life, and except for Sophie, who would only watch Power Rangers if there was a makeup review included in a segment.






    And that was our July 4th annual cookout!

    Now that the summer is in full swing, I'm trying to figure out what my fall design schedule will be.. a little late as far as most designers are concerned, but I've always been an eleventh-hour person. I have more energy that way it seems! (I usually don't even have any Christmas design ideas in mind until the calendar page says "December" on it.)

    Hopefully I'll be seeing some of you at the Tomorrow's Heirlooms retreat on the 17th-19th of this month in Chicago! I can't wait.. and I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, as always.

    I'll see you all SOON!



  • Family,  Holidays

    The Breakdown of the Family Photo

    Each year at Christmas we try to get a family photo of all of us before we open presents, and each year my family groans when I set up the camera because I inevitably forget how the timer works, and they're left to stay in each other's personal spaces while I read menu settings.

    I always snap a few pics to see if everyone fits in the frame and is mostly in focus, which means I'm never in the first photo of the session.


    When I think I'm satisfied, I give the "You ready?" call, click the 10-second button, and scurry next to anyone who will have me (all the while asking fretfully, "Where am I supposed to go? Where do I sit?")


    After the red light blinks and we hear the "click" of the shutter, I tell everyone in my best Photo Nazi voice to stay put, because they all know I will need to take another one to be sure.

    More groans.

    I test the camera again, while they preen and chatter, and my brother has no idea that I've captured a real smile on his face…




    "Where do I sit?? Sabrina, is there room for me??"


    And just when they think I am finished, I capture the essence of who we really are on all the other 364 days of the year.


    I was originally planning on posting my "Farewell to 2014" post, but decided to do this one first. 🙂 I know it's a little late, but I hope you all had a really nice Christmas, filled with lots of laughter and love.

  • Family,  Holidays,  Stitching

    Winter Sampler Exchange 2014!

    Those of you who have been reading my blog (what little of it there is) for the past several years, know that each year my mother and I exchange samplers for our annual Winter Sampler Exchange. It's the most fun time of the year for us, and each year we've had different ways of doing it, all while trying to keep what we're stitching a secret.

    The only rules to this exchange are:

    1. The stitch counts need to be similar. (This rule came into effect when one of us was highly embarrassed one year when her stitch count was a bit on the lean side after her mother presented her with the densely-stitched Garden Glade.)


    2. The piece must be framed by the enormously-talented Jill Rensel of frame fame. (Jill knows that she will be hearing from us around the end of each summer, begging her to please-please-please hurry because Mom and I have ants in our sampler pants once the pieces have been dropped off at the post office.)

    This year my mother suggested we have a theme to our exchange, and she decided that the theme would be Christmas. I agreed, after which she exclaimed excitedly, "Oh this will be so fun, and I already know what I'm going to stitch for you!" Then I heard her say with coyly-downcast eyes, "If only you would design something for your mother.. that would be so nice."

    I knew then that I wouldn't have much say in the matter, especially when she looked directly at me and added the two words she knows will make my knees buckle:


    Yes, those two G-words have the ability to shrink me back down to a child in my mind…


    But I'm a grown woman now, and grown women do what they must…


    One more thing that those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know: I am completely joking when I portray my mother this way. She is truly the most loving mom in the world, and our exchange was just as fun and exciting as it's always been! My mom stitched the most beautiful sampler in red for me, and I am so in love with it! And as usual, Jill couldn't have been more spot-on with her choice of moulding for it!

    I did, in fact, design something for my mother. It's called Merry Brew, and when it was finished, I felt that it could use some of Jill's legendary hand-painted mats! Jill didn't disappoint, and I was so happy with the beautiful work she did on it!

    Here's a closer look at the gorgeous details on the frame, mats, and fillet…


    I wish I had a picture to show you of my mom's reaction.. it truly was priceless, and we both had so much fun laughing and chatting about how we chose to stitch what we did for each other.

    I may not ever make up for the Great Garden Glade Debacle (at least in my mind), but I do know my mother was very, very pleased, and so was I!

    Next year's theme was my suggestion, but it's not in stone just yet: Houses.

    Merry Christmas, and thank you for tuning in to this year's episode of our Winter Sampler Exchange! 😉

    P.S. For those of you who saw our exchange pieces on Instagram and asked about Merry Brew's release, I will most likely release it next autumn. Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely compliments! They made my day!

  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Friends

    Homecoming for Sophie

    All through the eighth grade, Sophie dreamed of the ninth grade: the new friends, the new teachers, the dances and football games, and that awesome feeling of finally arriving. The first day of school came, and she and her friend nervously walked up the long courtyard and into the front entrance, hauling their brand new backpacks and school supplies, probably trying really hard not to smile too broadly and risk looking uncool on their first day as freshman. (It was uncool enough that the moms were all waiting in their cars to see if their babies made it into the building, and didn't get bumped on the way by one of those huge upper classmen.)

    In the few weeks since school has started, I've heard no less than 1,072 times these words: "I'm not in the mood for school today."

    Ah, so the novelty wore off, and the new beginning was suddenly old routine.

    Last weekend, however, the homecoming football game and dance finally made their appearance on the calendar, and all was well again. If Sophie had been dreaming happily of her first day of high school, then she was positively enraptured by her first homecoming dance.

    Tp 1

    Tp 2

    Checking the mirror…

    Tp 3

    Tp 4

    Tp 5

    Tp 6

    Tp 8

    Tp 10

    I can never resist a flower-sniffing photo that makes no sense whatsoever, given that these blooms have no fragrance, and I don't know of any 14-year-olds that will stop and smell the zinnias.

    Tp 9

    This is probably my very favorite picture of Sophie, because she had just gotten a text message from a boy, telling her that the homecoming dress selfie she posted looked pretty.

    Tp 12

    Her exact words, after reading the text, were "Awww!"

    Tp 11

    Soon it was time to go to her friend's house to pick her up (the girls were each other's "dates")…

    Tp 13

    …and then I drove them to the house where they would meet up with some of their other friends…

    Tp 14

    Tp 15

    Tp 18

    Tp 16

    Oh, to know what those girls were looking at! A text? A cute picture?

    Tp 19

    When I picked up the girls at precisely 11 pm, they were full of chatter about the evening. I asked if anyone had on the same dresses they did, and Sophie said that two other girls had on her dress, while her friend said "About forty-five girls had on mine!" (I love this age.)

    Later on, I asked Sophie if the evening – from getting ready to coming home – was everything she thought it would be, and she said it was. And she was free to smile as broadly as she wanted to.

    Tp 7

  • Critters,  Family,  Holidays,  Home

    This Summer

    The brown-eyed susans are starting to open up, Sophie had her high school orientation yesterday, and the fall market is just around the corner – which means summer is nearing its end for this year, and I truly have no idea where it went!

    Thank you to so many of you who kindly emailed to ask about how Mike's broken leg was faring. It's been a long summer for him, but he's managed to keep himself as busy as one can when they're not allowed to walk for 8 weeks. (It was supposed to be 12 weeks, but his leg was healing nicely!) He's now hobbling around with a cane and a boot, and I'm sure in a few more weeks, he'll be fully balanced and maybe ready to ride his bike again.

    Anyway, I have hardly been at the computer this summer, but I took some much-needed time off from Plum Street Samplers (at my mother's urging, which I'm very thankful for) and decided to get back to the therapy of tending to my flowers (which I used to love to do so long ago!), cleaning out closets that desperately needed it, and driving Mike to-and-from wherever he needed to be.

    So here is a little of how my summer went, if you'd like to take a look. 🙂






    I love the little garden flag Sophie made for me when she was in the 3rd grade!





    Sophie got a surprise birthday party…





    Fezziwig has grown into a handsome boy who loves nothing more than to watch the birds outside…

    IMG_0759 tp

    And he loves to hide behind the couch too.


    And he loves to lay on top of model props.


    The July 4th holiday was quiet this year… Bre was unable to make the drive home, Sabrina was out of town, and Mike couldn't participate in the usual fireworks fun, but we still got together with my parents at their house and had a very nice evening. Here are some pictures from around their yard and deck…











    My dad and Mike played monkey ball, despite Mike having to sit down for the entire round. (By the way, my dad builds all the wood things you see in and around the yard; and he built their deck as well!)




    While the boys played in the back yard, Sophie lit her smoke bombs in the front, and caught some of her favorite little parachute firecrackers as well…




    We also had our usual cookout buffet, but I didn't take pictures of that. 🙂

    So that's a little of what we've been up to around here these past several weeks. We've had the perfect balance of rain and sun this season, and I've enjoyed going outside in the mornings to look at the new blooms. However, I've made the mistake – more than once – of sitting down on a porch chair to have my coffee, only to realize my pants are suddenly soaked because the morning dew has been so heavy on everything.

    And now it's time to move into fall, which means I need to get back to Plum Street and get ready for market. It's almost time! And I'm feeling refreshed, thank goodness! And thanks to Mom. 🙂