• Family,  Good Things

    Pink Papaya!

    I'm a sucker for good cosmetics and skin care. What can I say? I got it honestly, as my mother is quite the cosmetics fiend herself, often hiding in a closet somewhere with her laptop, adding things to her virtual shopping cart and checking out faster than you can cry Uncle-wears-mascara. So imagine my excitement when Bre announced to me that she's discovered a new line of products that she loves and has decided to sell!

    I immediately headed straight to her website and began browsing, and oh my, I was in love! I told Bre I'd love to share it here with you all, just in case you'd like to give any of the products a try for yourself. I have to say, I'm impressed with what I've ordered so far, and it arrived on my doorstep in a very timely manner.

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    My hands get very dry in the winter, so I love a good hand scrub. This stuff smells so natural and good – actually, it reminds me of grapefruit. Very clean!

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    You just wet your hands a little and scoop some out of the jar. Then you scrub your hands together, rinse, and voila! Smooth, smooth, smooth.

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    The cranberry seeds make it so pretty, too. 😉

    And what would a Paulette order be without this:

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    Now you knew I couldn't resist something with a name like that. 😉 I expected this to smell just like coffee beans, but in fact, it's more like a sweet coffee drink. It's very pleasant, and the scrub is much finer than the Cranberry Orange Hand Scrub. The only downside is that I have the urge for a Frappuccino every time I use it.

    And finally, this is probably some of the best body cream I've ever used. It's non-greasy and very silky, and I really love the smell! (I actually keep it by the kitchen sink and use it on my hands after I've washed them.)

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    If you'd like to treat yourself to one of Pink Papaya's products, or maybe get a last-minute Christmas present for anyone, you can click here: Bre's Pink Papaya Website. I appreciate your taking the time to stop by my blog, even when I'm not talking about stitching! I just really wanted to show you all these things, just in case you like fun, new cosmetics and skin care products like I do. Not to mention like my mom does. 😉

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    ETA: I've updated the Pink Papaya link bc some of you were having trouble with error messages. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience! Thank you so much for your patience! 🙂

  • From My Kitchen,  Good Things,  Stitching

    Please Bring Christmas Back

    We have finally gotten our winter weather! I love the snow, and I've missed it terribly, so when I woke up to the beautiful snowfall last weekend, I decided to make the most of it and bake my way to a holiday-smelling morning.

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    These are gingerbread muffins, and they are the most melt-in-your-mouth muffins I've ever baked. And guess what. They're gluten-free, and if I you ate one and I didn't tell you that, you'd never know it. 🙂

    Here's what it looked like outside my kitchen window…

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    And here are the trees that line the street behind our house…

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    I went into the living room and pulled the curtains back for sweet Tilly…

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    She loves to sit on the back of my couch and look outside. I took this photo right after I took the one above, since I was standing directly over her…

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    And to make it even more of a holiday, Miss Jill Rensel sent back my framed Bringing Home the Tree by Pineberry Lane!

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    I love that etched moulding!

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    I can't get Ella Fitzgerald's White Christmas out of my head.

    I love this weather!

  • Good Things

    Balmy Addiction

    When I was at the Symposium in Mesa last week, my friend Natalia pulled an egg-shaped object out of her purse, pulled the top half off of it, and rubbed the bottom half on her lips. I watched her do this, unsure if I wanted to know the answer, but asked anyway: "What on earth did you just put on?"

    To the right of me sat my friend Tanya. Upon hearing my question, she reached with lightning-fast speed into her purse and pulled out an egg-shaped object of her own. "You mean this?" she asked.

    Then a few other friends at the table excitedly announced that they had their own as well. Was I the only one who hadn't heard of these crazy things? They turned out to be lip balms by EOS. (The "EOS" stands for Evolution of Smooth, btw.)

    When I returned to Omaha, the first thing I did (even before my suitcase was unpacked) was head straight to Walgreens and WalMart and Ulta, hunting for them. By golly, if all of my friends had them, then I was to have them as well.

    Sophie was with me when I found them, and she suddenly exclaimed, "Those are the things I was telling you about a long time ago! My friends use them, and I want them too!"

    Oh for Pete's sake.

    So myself and Sophie and Breanna and Sabrina and my mom are now the proud owners of these crazy, cute, wonderful EOS lip balms.

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    They come in Summer Fruit (my favorite), Honeydew, Strawberry Sorbet, Sweet Mint, Lemon, and who knows what else. Those are just the flavors I've found locally. But trust me, if there are others… they will be mine. (And Sophie's and Breanna's and Sabrina's and my mom's. We're all completely, hopelessly in love with them.)

    Oh, and they have lotion as well!

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    Look how cute! It puts me in the mood to baby-talk to it.

    Anyway, if you haven't tried these, you must! They're only $3.29 each, and as my mother put it, "they have staying power." I will warn you though, if you have chapped lips, the Sweet Mint may make them a bit tingly at first.

    Here's the website if you'd like to take a look: Evolution of Smooth

    Oh my goodness, I'm totally ordering that Vanilla Bean stick. Be still my heart! I love a good addiction. 🙂

  • Good Things,  Stitching


    I thought I'd show whoever may read this some of the little things I didn't include in my first two Attic posts. 🙂

    Here are a couple of "smalls" I made from the upcoming Brother's Keeper chart (to be released at Nashville)…

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    I won't be putting instructions in the chart for these, as they're really very simple. The top small is simply a stitched portion of the chart, cut in a circle and stretched over the top of a pimento jar lid (with a small piece of thin batting underneath the stitched piece). Then I added some trim I found in a scrapbook store and put some of Kelmscott's mother-of-pearl hex buttons inside.

    This is another small I brought to The Attic. It's called A Symposium Keepsake, and I've got a packet of needles in the pocket…

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    Here are some of my purchases from the shop…

    I figured this would go in Bre's bedroom; it's the Token of Love kit by The Essamplaire, and I fell in love with the Colonial-looking couple on it.

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    I had to have these two charts: Elizabeth Savilles and Hannah Tingey…

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    And the odd birds on this sampler by Scarlet Letter charmed me into buying it… (Tanya Brockmeyer convinced me to give 45 ct. a try, so I chose Lakeside's Vintage Pearled Barley, which is some of the most beautiful fabric I've ever seen. The mottling is so beautiful, I could just swim in it! I'd tried 45 ct. one other time – on Jane Rees – but I wasn't using the correct needle, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. Jean told me that although I was using a beading needle, which is recommended, I needed a tapestry-point beading needle, which I didn't even know existed until I visited her shop. It truly has made all the difference!)

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    Each letter so far has been stitched by a different dear friend of mine. Jen came up with the idea, and I loved it. It makes the sampler so much more meaningful to me!

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    (Btw, I'm using my own conversion of Dinky Dyes, Belle Soie, and Gloriana silks.)

    And of course, after seeing Darlene's finished sampler in person, I had to have Scarlet Letter's Vierlande Sampler. The only parts of this gorgeous Adam & Eve sampler that aren't stitched in red are their hair-do's and the serpent…

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    I chose 40 ct. Fern Gully by Stitches & Spice for the linen, and Gloriana's Schoolhouse Red…

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    Lastly, I want to show you the gorgeous party-favors that Jean's husband, John, made for each of the attendees at the Symposium.

    Here is the coolest tape-measure I've ever seen! It's made of ebony wood, and John joked that it was his very first sampler, stitched over one on zero count. 😉

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    Each of the attendees also received one of these personalized wooden needlecases – filled with Bohin needles – that John made as well!

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    (If you like either or both of these, they can be ordered directly from The Attic for $40 each.)

    I suppose I should get off of here and go wallow in my new stash. I intend to set aside time for stitching as well, but for now I'm content to wallow. 🙂 See you soon!

  • Good Things,  Stitching,  Travel

    The Attic, Part II

    Yesterday I shared with you some shop photos of The Attic, and I have just a few left.. I also took some pictures during the actual Symposium, which was held at Hyatt Place (a fabulous hotel, with the nicest staff!)…

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    I loved this collection of beaded scissors fobs…

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    My mother's two loves: red and chocolate…

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    I'm sad I couldn't get a better angle of this red ornament; the reindeer at the bottom were so sweet!

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    Friday evening the Symposium began, with Vickie from Needlework Press presenting a history of Arizona samplers…

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    Then Darlene Andersen showed us some of her gorgeous Christmas ornaments…

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    And she even handed out 10 prizes to 10 lucky ladies. All 10 prizes were Adam & Eve smalls that Darlene had stitched!

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    After Darlene had spoken about her ornament collection, I presented my Lady's Trimkeep workshop. Earlier that day I had spent a couple of hours in my room kitting everything up and listening to Justin Bieber on my iPad (which made me work faster)…

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    The next day Darlene presented a powerpoint presentation on her Adam & Eve sampler collection…

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    And my dear friend Tracy Riffle brought the most beautiful Amish boxes to be painted, along with a tutorial on how to make a darling little teacup from cardboard and strips of paper, and a Symposium Snowdrop chart with the supplies for stitching…

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    Finally, Catherine Theron presented her stitcher's envelope project, which was accompanied by a stunning collection of other workshops…

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    Back at the shop that night, Jean had lots of delicious desserts for us…

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    And this is the room where we gathered after our shopping to pull our purchases out and start stitching (and eating). The sweet man in the foreground is Jean's husband, John, who made us the most amazing party favors (which I'll share soon, along with my stash acquisition)… I've met John before at a past needlework market, and he is a soft-spoken, charming man with a clever wit. When he first entered the Gathering Room, all of us looked up at him at the same time. He answered our stares with a calm, "If you look very very closely at the pattern on my shirt, you'll find an American flag."

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    And I wasn't going to post these next photos, but since Katrina did, then I will too. Each morning we made a Starbucks run (I believe I've met my caffeine soul sister in Miss Katrina, btw) and brought our goods back with us.

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    I found myself being spellbound by that iconic green mermaid being flashed at me on the paper cups, and could barely focus on the samplers in the room (think Death Star Tractor Beam, pulling me in)…

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    And here's Natalia (who made me wish I was a hot Spanish stitcher)…

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    Some of my favorite memories from the weekend will always be the time I spent with some very dear friends of mine. Each of them is like a sister to me, and I truly hope that I'm able to spend time with them again some day very soon. As I was telling sweet Jen and Tanya, needlework is a joy on its own, but so much more pleasurable when one is able to find a friend who enjoys it also.

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    Thank you again to Jean for inviting me to the Symposium, and also for her warm hospitality and desire to make sure everyone – designers and attendees alike – is more than satisfied and happy with their experience in the desert. 😉

  • Good Things,  Stitching,  Travel

    The Attic, Part I

    What a wonderfully perfect time I had at The Attic's 2012 Sampler Symposium! It has always been a dream of mine to visit this sampler oasis in the desert, so when Jean invited me to present a workshop there, I couldn't email my RSPV fast enough.

    For those of you who have never had the pleasure of being there in person, here is a glimpse of what the shop looks like…

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    Tracy Riffle  of Hands to Work fell in love with this one, by Midsummer Night's Designs…

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    Everywhere you look, you can find samplers with their Attic silk conversions next to them…

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    I love the details around the shop…

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    This is My Handworke, stitched by Jean on 45 count!

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    Half of The Scarlett House's Hannah Tingey, up close (one of my favorites)…

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    More samplers…

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    This one is by Threads of Gold…

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    This was the shop's gorgeous collection of sampler books, right behind a rack of Scarlet Letter charts…

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    And there was the most beautiful collection of fibers, everywhere one looked! To the east…

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    To the west…

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    The the south…

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    And to the north…

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    Another sweet design by The Scarlett House (this is Maddie Button)…

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    Here's another look at Sarah Munday, pictured above…

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    And still more samplers…

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    Here's a very small fraction of The Attic's gorgeous moulding selection…

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    I'll close with a photo of a sweet little bird, but I'll be back tomorrow with more photos from the shop and the Symposium. I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour so far!

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    I'm off to stitch my guts out now. 😉

  • Good Things

    Sunshine and Ice

    In just a few hours, I'll be heading off to Arizona to attend the Sampler Symposium at The Attic. I've been waiting all winter long for cold, snowy weather to arrive, and now that it's at our doorstep, I'm leaving Omaha! (I love winter weather.)

    Earlier in December, we did have one sunny, icy day, but since then, we've had only warmer, spring-like temperatures. I'm happy that I took the time to pull my boots on and head out back, bc it's one the most magical transformations to wake up to…

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    I should probably go find my flip-flops and put them in my suitcase. But I really look forward to the morning I can pull my boots back on again. 🙂

    See you all next week! And to my family – if you're reading – I love you all so much, and I'll miss you terribly!

  • Good Things,  Stitching

    A Friendly Gesture

    I was recently contacted by Dawn, a Pennsylvania-based stitcher who has extra copies of the Just Cross Stitch 2011 Ornament Preview issue and the Just Cross Stitch 2011 Halloween issue. She has graciously offered to pass them along to a fellow stitcher, if anyone is interested.

    For those interested, her email address is  medspell1970@comcast.net

    Thank you so much, Dawn! What a sweet offer!

    Speaking of stitching, it's been ages since I picked up my beloved Elizabeth Sheffield (from The Scarlet Letter). Mom and I started this as a stitch-along in the latter part of the summer, but then things got in the way and I had to put it on hold. I thought I'd be put off by all the over-one stitching in this piece, but it turns out that I'm addicted to doing it! I'm so excited to get back to it, but that won't be until some time in 2012, most likely.

    Here was the last progress picture I took, although I actually am a bit farther along than this…

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    I started the over-one stitching with the bright blue bird up at the top. I had intended to do full crosses since I was working on 36 ct linen, but I noticed that the farther along I got, the more cramped for space the threads were. I couldn't figure out why the stitching was so laborious for me, and that's when I realized that the stitches looked awfully small… so I took out my ruler and did some measuring, and it turns out I had been stitching on 40 ct the whole time.

    I finished the bird in full crosses (which is a normal thing for many stitchers, but not for me!), but as for the remainder of over-one stitching on this sampler, it will be completed in tent stitches. Phew!

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    I've stitched down to the row of Colonial couples so far, and the first lady is finished. I left off with most of the man stitched, and am very excited to pick this lovely project back up again. It has truly been one of the most enjoyable things I've ever stitched!

    When it's finished, it will go in Bre's room, which you may remember is being re-decorated in a Colonial Couples theme. And when Bre comes home, she'll just have to put on a lace bonnet and do her homework with a quill and inkwell, by candlelight. 😉

  • Family,  Good Things


    The way that the leaves turn from green into red…

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    Baking muffins on Sunday for those still in bed…

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    The way Sophie smiles when she's having some fun…

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    Bacause Dad likes to play so the work's never done…

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    The peppermint cocoa that's good for the heart…

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    The bright orange bag that fell into my cart…

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    The thrill of the jump before one is too old…

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    The way that the leaves turn from red into gold…

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  • Good Things

    Ordinary Surprise

    It goes without saying that autumn leaves are a wonder to behold. To see them gently fall from their branches, cloaking the ground in preparation for the winter ahead is something I find utterly fascinating; God, in His Glory, has simply thought of everything.

    I marvel at that. I asked Sabrina once, "Who thinks of putting leaves on top of sticks and have them come up out of the ground?"  Trees are the most odd, amazing things, if you think about it long enough.

    As I stood under our giant maple tree recently, I looked up to find a particular leaf twirling above me, but never leaving its place. I waited for it to fall, but it didn't.

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    It just danced.

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    And then I saw it… another one of God's ideas.

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    Polka dots.

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    And because God also thought to give some creatures the ability to spin fine thread, this leaf was able to dance and spin in place while the spotted visitor figured out how to hide from me, the one who wondered at these odd, amazing ideas.

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    I decided to leave the little ladybug and her spinning perch in peace.

    I looked down, and that's when I got one last giggle.

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    Who thinks of green legs?

    Isaiah 55:9 – "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (KJV)