• Friends,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    Dyeing to Stitch – Part 2!

    Where on earth did I go?

    Why did I never finish this post?

    Goodness, the days just go right on past me without my even realizing it these days. I sure didn't mean to leave you hanging.

    Let me get the rest of these photos uploaded here, so I can at least say I did it! I had such an enjoyable time at the retreat way back in September. (Shame on me! No excuses!)






    Olga's Autumn Stocking was stitched over one thread by Susan (Iinstagram: susan_414), and it was incredible! All of Susan's work is simply breathtaking.

    By the way, most people are very surprised when they see this stocking stitched over two threads, as the model was done. It is much larger than you'd think! The way the entire stocking fits on the front of the chart makes it appear to be much smaller than what it really is, so I've been told.



    And lastly, one of my favorite photos: the two Donnas! Such sweet friends…


    And that's all of them! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long. 🙁

    I'm off to try to get the rest of my day organized.. there is still so much to do, and Christmas is two weeks away! 





  • Friends,  New Designs,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    Dyeing to Stitch! Part 1

    Hello again!

    I'm just sitting here trying to wrap up my second Flosstube video, so I thought I'd pop in here and share a few pictures I took while I was at the Dyeing to Stitch retreat in Virginia Beach last weekend. 

    The last time I visited the shop, there were hundreds of models to look at.. and this time, there were hundreds more! I am shocked and amazed at how many models Ann and Pat and their team manage to fit into the shop – every single square inch of space is inspiring! Some of these you may have seen from the last time I was there, but I loved them enough to re-take their pictures and share them again!














    Hi Robin!





    Here's another view of the drum collection…



    I had such a fun time with Beth.. if you haven't checked out her new The Gobbler pattern, it's adorable!




    One of my favorite memories was when Beth gave a few of us a "dramatic reading" of the story of The Gobbler on the back of the chart – a story, by the way, that came from her own imagination… It was a lot of fun listening to her read it!

    I think I'll leave off with that for now, and pick up for part 2 soon! 

    Check back on YouTube for my second FlossTube video soon… and please overlook all the errors! 🙂

  • 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!


  • Friends,  Home,  Reproduction,  Stitching

    My Ann Rayner Conversion

    I finished this sampler a few months ago after stitching it alongside my dear friend Ann Robbins. Ann collects "Ann samplers," and when we both mentioned that we had been wanting to stitch Threads Thru Time's Ann Rayner 1839 reproduction, we decided to stop wishing and just dive right in!

    When I showed my finish on Instagram, several of you asked me for my thread conversion, so here is the blog post I promised! I apologize for it taking me so long to finally get it posted.

    Some things you should know, if you already own this chart: I'm not sure at what point this chart originally went out of print, and then was re-printed (I believe The Attic Needlework in Mesa, AZ now carries the reprints), but Ann and I noticed that we each had very different chart formats: hers was not only printed in a different layout than mine, but we had different symbol keys as well. So the key I'm posting here is from my particular chart, and may not match yours, depending on when you purchased yours.

    You'll notice some blank spaces in my symbol key as well.. these follow my chart key, and the instructions inside the chart will tell you what to do with the colors listed next to the blanks.

    I stitched my Ann Rayner on a mystery linen, but I do know it is 36 count. Ann Robbins and I both started our samplers on May 3, 2015, and we finished them just around this past May. We both then sent them to Sherri Berkman of Total Framing in Fairfax, Virginia, and she did an outstanding, masterful job, as usual! Here they are, side by side… (sorry for how crooked they are – I pulled both photos off of Instagram!)

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    You'll notice Ann's colors are a bit different than mine, but also take into consideration that because the lighting in our photos was very different, hers appears to be done on ivory linen. It was actually stitched on 36 ct French Vanilla. We also stitched our grassy fields differently: I stitched my rows horizontally, and she stitched hers vertically, giving her grass a "taller" feel to it.

    Here is my framed piece, hanging on the wall to the left of where I sit to design…

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    (Sorry for the blurred sampler below Ann Rayner.. it's a future release, awaiting its photo shoot!)

    Here is a bit of a different picture of my sampler, taken before framing, and also snagged from Instagram…

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     And finally, here is the conversion list! I hope if you choose to stitch this sampler, you can find a special friend or two to stitch along with you, as I did. 🙂 Thank you, Ann, for agreeing to stitch this with me! I'm so glad we can finally say that we have stitched this sampler!

    Ann Rayner Conversion PDF

  • Friends,  Needlework Shops,  Stitching


    Happy Monday Morning to you!

    I recently visited my local cross stitch shop, Reflections Framing and Stitching, which was re-opened a short time ago after moving locations. What a lovely shop it is! Julie and her crew have done an outstanding job of creating a bright and airy-yet-cozy stitching place for anyone in need of a handwork respite. I took my camera along, and here are some things I loved from around the shop…





    Julie not only frames her customers' stitched pieces, but is quite creative and talented for those who need different types of framing done..



    Here's a closer look at Julie's beautiful arrangement of Little House Needleworks' Little Sheep Virtues…




    A different view of what's in the case in the first photo…









    As I looked around the shop, my eyes beheld the most beautiful sight.. as a matter of fact, everything else melted away when I saw it…


    Ahhh… the magical marriage of stitching and coffee… do you know how much stitching I've gotten done on that combination?

    Not a whole lot, because I have difficulty sitting still, but that's beside the point.




    I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Reflections. If you're ever in the Omaha area, stop by! The door is almost always open, and there are always new stitching friends to be made. And if you aren't in the area, check out their gorgeous website!

    Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope you all have a fantastic day! It's sunny and bright outside, albeit chilly, but Martha and I will head to the lake anyway. The success of my magical combination is in peril if Miss Mary-pants doesn't get her daily sniffy field trip.



  • 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.


  • 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!

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    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.

  • Class Pieces,  Friends,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    Fall Back

    I have no idea why I don't post photos when they're freshly-taken, but I tend to stay away from my computer for long periods of time. Every day I think to myself, "I really should post the Shepherd's Bush retreat pictures," and every day I put it off… again, my hip issues hamper my enthusiasm for blogging!

    But I've culled the retreat photos and edited them in batches, and here they all are, finally! Well, not all… I seem to be missing some important folders that contain the other designers' teaching pieces in their entirety, and I'm completely missing the Just Another Button Company's pumpkin project they taught! (I sincerely hope you've been able to see it elsewhere online, because it's so sweet!)

    I'll just start posting in no particular order… you've most likely seen all of the projects and boutique designs presented here, but just in case you suddenly get the urge to add one or two to your Christmas Wish List, then I will be thrilled that I posted them!

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    The famous sisters… one can't help but be very happy around these two!

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    I wanted to know what these girls were laughing so hard at…

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    … but when I saw who was sitting across from them, I immediately knew. Anywhere these amigos are, there is bound to be a lot of laughing!

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    Aren't these miniature versions of the His & Hers Thanksgiving Stockings amazing? Three adorable friends made them and wore them, and of course, I was very impressed (and honored!)…

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    Here they are, and such lovely friends! I had so much fun being around them! Their stories and tattle-tale adventures are quite hysterical.

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    Another close-up of Chessie and Me's class piece… stunning!

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     The Giving Season pinkeep (pictured above) was part of R&R's class.. here are some closer looks at their main sampler. Again, I've got several photos missing that show these outstanding class pieces in all their glory! I'm so disappointed!

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    From around the boutique, set up in one of the resort's large meeting rooms…

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    Okay, I have to admit that I was sorely tempted to stitch this using Shepherd's Bush's conversion and the JABC buttons – not to mention the outstanding frame job that Jill Rensel did on it!

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    More class piece close-ups…

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    The pincushion exchange for the heifer project was a huge success! What fabulous little works of art!

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    On the last night, Tina and Teri organized the most bountiful banquet for all the attendees! The fun included a delicious dinner and dessert, Thanksgiving Bingo, prizes, and a whole lot of laughter and friendship…

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    I love this picture.. she found something awfully surprising!

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    One of the prizes was an entire frame and mat set from Rensel Studios for the Shepherd's Bush class piece! What an outstanding prize, and the recipient of this generous gift from Jill was more than thrilled…

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    One of the attendees stitched one of the mini pieces from my class while she was there (so fast!) and had some of the teachers sign it with a Sharpie, which I thought was such a fun idea! We were all nervous about putting permanent marker to linen, but it all worked out beautifully!

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    The kit for this beautiful project was a parting gift from Tina and Teri to all the attendees…

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    The 2014 Shepherd's Bush retreat was a highlight of my year! It was such a wonderful time spent with old friends, new friends, lots of stitching projects, and the beautiful scenery, all at the Canyons Resort in Park City. My hope is that Tina and Teri will continue this every-other-year tradition, as it wouldn't be an every-other-year without it. 🙂 I'm so thankful for the time I spent there.

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  • 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.

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    Checking the mirror…

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    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.

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    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.

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

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

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

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

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    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.

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