• Crazy Kids,  Critters,  Family,  Gardening,  Holidays,  Home,  Martha,  Photography


    Dear Paulette,

    Remember when it was January? Like, just yesterday? And everyone was telling you Happy New Year, and you were in your usual blissful state of all-things-are-new-again?

    And let's not forget all those New Year's Resolutions, which included this beauty:

    Blog more.

    And this one:

    Take pictures of things besides pets.

    It's probably best if you stopped resolving things. That's all.

    Yours Truly,



    I was going through my photos from 2017, and I thought I'd share a few of the in-between moments that either never made it to my blog, or maybe found their way to Instagram instead. Mostly though, they're just pictures that made me smile… and yes, the majority of them are probably of pets.

































    I hope you all had a really lovely start to your new year, and that the remaining eleven months are filled with lots and lots of moments that make you smile. Even if it's mostly your pets. Or fosters. (I don't actually own 1,284 pets, despite what it may look like.)

    I'll see you soon!




  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Christmas,  Holidays,  Home

    Slowing Down

    What a whirlwind this month has been! I need to slow down and take it all in.. if only I could turn the clock back and enjoy all the twinkling lights and favorite Christmas movies just a bit longer.

    Every year, I try to get my Christmas decorating done in one afternoon, but this year I just pulled a few things out of boxes whenever the mood struck (usually in between sending out orders).  Here are just a few of the places in my home I've tried to make festive and jolly, before the kids get home. 🙂

    I posted this on Instagram, but it's one of my favorite decorations. My feather tree, filled with vintage bird ornaments…

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    This is on my dining room table.. I cut off a bottom branch from our tree this year, and mixed it in with some artificial greenery and berries…

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    I've been collecting annual Starbucks ornaments for years! I have a banister that separates my family room from the dinette room, and every year I've hung a garland on it, filling it with my Starbucks treasures (they're just so much fun!). These are just a few of them…

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    Here is this year's ornament – the coffee delivery truck!

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    My mom has done a hot chocolate bar the past couple of years, and I joined in the fun this year, making one for Sophie – since she always seems to be asking for hot cocoa in the evenings lately. 🙂

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    I have to include this picture, bc it makes me laugh; I was trying to take a picture of Poor Martha standing outside of the glass door, and I forgot to adjust my camera. She ended up looking like The Little Matchstick Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen…

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    My parents dropped this beautiful boxwood wreath off on my doorstep this year! I love it hanging in my window…

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    My dear friend Bonnie stitched me this darling ornament! I have a banister in my entryway as well, on which hangs another garland and lots of stitched ornaments, but this one was so unique in its finishing, I hung it on the greenery in my bathroom!

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    This sparkly Kringle is also in my bathroom…

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    I found these wonderful, jumbo-sized white jingle bells on Etsy (The Bead Hutch), and I placed them in a dough bowl with some soft, glittery leaves (also from The Bead Hutch; she had them displayed this way, and I loved it!)…

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    Ever since I discovered Rae Dunn on Etsy several years ago, I've loved her style.. I couldn't resist this mug, especially since I absolutely love A Christmas Carol!

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    Here's another picture I posted on Etsy: the nutcracker Mike got for me last year. He sits in my kitchen, right next to my coffee pot…

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    I'll wrap this up with a couple of my favorite pictures… the first is Dusty, who will be moving to Dallas with her big brother Maji, when Sabrina drives them to her home after Christmas… this was actually taken back in October, when I was trying to get a photo taken for one of my releases…she jumped in the greens and I couldn't stop myself from quickly taking her picture!

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    And lastly, my Miss Martha, who is a very big girl with new bows on her ears. I just wish you could see them in this picture!

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    I hope you all are having a beautiful December so far!

  • 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

  • Family,  Home

    Rainy Saturday

    I'm so happy to see the rain, instead of just the gloomy, dry grey that we usually get around this time of year. All of the trees are starting to get their little baby leaves on them, the grass is greening in spots here and there, and this "little" one (who is just up and eating her breakfast) is just as ready as I am for spring to be well underway…

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    I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. I've made cinnamon rolls and am ready to do a little cleaning and stitching. Tomorrow is Easter!


  • Critters,  Home

    Beautiful Sunday

    What a lovely day it's been so far. After church, we headed to a favorite little restaurant for chicken crepes benedict, and then home to walk Miss Martha. The sun doesn't want to make up its mind about whether or not to shine, but regardless, I love good-mood-days like today.

    Here is Martha, always by her favorite window…

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    And here is sweet little Kamaji (or Maji, as we call him), who is usually very hard to get a picture of! Maji is Sabrina's little baby, and I don't think I've ever met a cat that loves dogs as much as this little boy. He and Martha are the best of friends.

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    One of these days, I may actually get a picture of them together!

    Back to my Sunday.. I hope you're enjoying yours as well. I'm off to stitch!

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  • Home

    This Morning…

    This sampler says exactly how I feel today… and the kind of mood it puts me in when I finally get a few moments to work on it…

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    (It's Mary Roe, by The Scarlett House, which is one of my favorites of Tanya's reproductions.)

    I also took time to walk around outside this morning, and I love that the lilacs are waking up.. they are my very favorite part about the spring!

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    And something that made me laugh today was little Lady Martha, playing hide-and-seek. To see her pop up from behind the bed in the George and Martha Suite was so cute to me. (Because she knows she's not supposed to be in there!)

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    Lastly, I peeked into my Sophie's room, and felt very blessed to know I have three beautiful, God-given daughters.

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    The morning is almost behind me, so I should probably get busy preparing for the afternoon, and all the things there are to do today: preparing the shop newsletter for the next BYOF release, placing a print order, taking Martha to the lake for a walk, and doing laundry!

    I hope you all have a lovely spring day today!

  • 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…

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    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. 🙂