Odds and Ends

I can't thank you all enough for your kind comments and emails, full of sympathy and encouragement regarding our sweet Friday. The support and friendship you showed to my family was incredibly heartwarming, and I was so surprised by how many people took the time to share their sweet condolences. Thank you!

I'm getting ready to kick off my fall season by heading to Park City, Utah tomorrow morning. I'll be attending the Shepherd's Retreat, hosted by the lovely Tina and Teri of Shepherd's Bush, and I'm very excited to do so! It's something I've wanted to do ever since they started them, but never got the chance to; imagine my surprise when they invited me to teach! I am very honored to have been asked, and I'm really looking forward to meeting those of you who are going. Hopefully I won't be too hopped up on caffeine when I get to the front of the classroom, but if I am, just touch your nose and that will be my signal to climb down from the table top.

Before I leave, however, I'd like to share a few moments from the summer… I know I haven't posted much at all, and I miss it sorely, but I'm still plagued with hip/hamstring issues that prevent me from sitting here overmuch. Anyway, here are a few things we did this summer… there was nothing spectacular, but I'm very okay with that; it was wonderful just to spend time at home with family… except for Bre, whom I missed very, very much. 🙁

Goodbye, Summer of 2012!

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I hope your summer was marvelous, despite the intense heat, and that the fall brings you as many blessings as there are leaves falling to the ground.

See why I drink too much coffee? Bc if I don't, then I start waxing pseudo-poetic and everyone rolls their eyes.

 

 

Curio

My great-grandparents' dining room suite is mine now, and I love every piece of it. Especially the tea cart, which houses my collection of Majesty magazines (given to me by my mother), and the china cabinet, which is used for everything but china.

I love how comfortable the room feels at night when the little light inside the cabinet is turned on, and everything glows softly. Like the favorite fabrics that I can't bear to cut into, and the lonely Colonial figure, purchased at a vintage-and-antique shop, even though his mate was missing.

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The photograph of my beautiful grandmother (btw, my "Beedie's Garden" pattern was designed for her)…

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The little Dutch shoes that my sweet friend Karin recently sent to me…

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Earlier this year, I spotted this adorable couple at my favorite country shop, Weathered and Worn…

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Isn't he wonderful? I love his shoes! He looks like Ben Franklin to me.

And his lovely wife…

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Of course, you-know-who is always into everything, so this doesn't surprise me in the least…

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(I'll miss her when she moves, despite her silent-yet-intrusive self.)

I love my china cabinet. And I'm fairly certain that my great-grandparents, Ola and JC, had no idea that this is how their china cabinet would spend its retirement, some 50 years after they purchased it.

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Lately.

Life goes in seasons, and I'm thankful for it. I've not found much time for blog visits, but I did want to stop in here and say hello to anyone who may stumble past Plum Street today. Here's a few of the more ordinary, in-between moments from the past few weeks – and oh, how I welcome the ordinary!

Sophie mourned for a week when she lost Loo-Loo, Bonkers' little lamb friend. But thankfully, Loo-Loo turned up in a wad of wrinkled clothing in one of Sophie's very messy dresser drawers. Lesson learned, and the drawers have been neatly organized.

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I baked these amazing gluten-free cupcakes, but my feeble mind refuses to remember what they were. I remember eating them, and feeling quite comfortable doing so, but looking back on them leaves me blank-faced and kind of hungry.

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Tasha still snores loudly and then wakes up to troll the kitchen, waiting for anything – even an ice chip – to fall to the floor.

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The Yorkie lives on.

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Tilly still finds the dogs a most ridiculous species. (And to my delight, she actually walked past the Yorkie and spanked it on the bottom, causing the Yorkie to have a near stroke as it rabidly chased Tilly across the room in a hairy rage.)

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Speaking of Tilly, I noticed a particular trend regarding cat people and non-cat people. When I shared a photo of Tilly sleeping soundly on my Dutch Beauty project in my previous blog post, it was mostly cat people who commented favorably. The non-cat people, however, were horrified at the sight, and some were led to promptly email me and let me know of their shock (all in fun, of course!). Except for Margaret, who is most assuredly a feline-lover, yet also a fierce protector of her stitching. (Hi, Margaret!)

I tend to lean more toward Margaret's way of thinking, but in Tilly's case, she was just too sweet to disturb (okay, so I may have barked at her a bit), and I decided to take the time to pick cat hair out of my project once her siesta was over. After that tedium, however, I've decided she is to never sleep on my stitching again. Sorry, Tills.

When we visited California last summer, Mike and I discovered Rubio's fish tacos, and I've dreamed of them ever since. My cravings were so strong recently that I decided to look for a copycat recipe online, and found one!

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If you've never had a fish taco bc the sound of it is just wrong, please know that you're missing out. If you don't like fish, however, then you're not missing a thing. I'll post the recipe soon.

I still haven't figured out what those muffins were.

Bre has been working hard at learning the art of photography, and is doing a tremendous job, even if I do say so myself. 🙂 Her goal is to be able to travel and shoot live shows, and I think her talent will get her there. (For you photo fiends, she used a Canon 7D and a 24-70 f/2.8L lens.)

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Sabrina has taken up longboarding, which is a variant of skateboarding. I find her interests and hobbies to be so much fun – she's such a girly-girl on one hand, yet she can hang with the best of the boys who videogame (thanks to Big Papa, who raised the girls on gaming consoles and remote controls), loves organizing sand-volleyball games on campus, taught herself to play the guitar, and will soon be adding longboarding to her list of undertakings.

However, since Sabrina has to spend most of her time studying or working, Sophie has been secretly "borrowing" Bean's longboard and having a go of it herself.

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Lastly, Nicole has finished a wee model for me (in addition to all the other crazy stitching she's been finishing lately), which will be released at the April online needlework show.

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Btw, Bre has also been designing quite a bit lately, and Hodgepodge Cottage will have a few new releases as well in April!

And those are just a few of the in-betweens that have been going on around here. To those of you who have emailed to check up on me, I can't tell you how sweet it was to hear from you. I'll try my best to not be such a stranger. 🙂

Blog Fodder

When I first started blogging back in 2004, I had intended to write just about my stitching endeavors – sort of a way to keep myself motivated by posting my plans and progress reports. Then I started designing, and it went from my "Cranberry Crossing" blog (the name coming from the primitive/folk art craft business I had for a few years back in the '90's) to my Plum Street Samplers blog, where – again – I had intended to write strictly about my stitching, whether it be my own designs or others I was working on.

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Soon, however, I became bored with my slow progress reports, and decided to branch out and start sharing a little bit about my family, although I was afraid it might annoy some people. Seven years later, I'm amazed at how many people have written to me to ask about my family… you show your concern when I express mine, and you share in my joy as well. You have no idea how much that means to me! I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are annoyed, as I'd feared, but that's what makes us all different; it's nice that everyone is not the same, or there really wouldn't be anything at all to blog about, no matter who you were.

So now I have a stitching/designing/dogs/family/cooking/photography/andsometimesTraderJoe's blog. And I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share it all with you.

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Today is my blog's anniversary, so if you're still reading, I'd love to have a giveaway to celebrate! Just leave a comment (and if you don't like comments, your name will do – or you can email me) in the comments box of this post for a chance to receive 3 currently-released Plum Street Samplers charts of your choice*, as well as an e-voucher for any one future Plum Street Samplers release through December 31, 2011.  The winner will be announced this Friday, July 22nd.

*This is the fine print: I'm sorry, but I cannot give away any current or upcoming Just Cross Stitch magazines, nor can I give away anything that is or will be released as a retreat or shop exclusive.

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Thank you so much for always taking the time to stop in and see what we're up to. I feel like I've gotten to know many of you, whether it be through your own blogs or emails, and I'm thankful for this new, "modern" way of making friends!

See you soon!

What Lurks

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook page that I had a dream about zombies, and kept sending Sophie out of the room to check on the status of the house – how much they'd damaged the outside. In the end, Martin Sheen and I boarded up the windows.

Today I stumbled across this little doo-dad I made years ago. It was stuffed in the taxes drawer, which could be an omen, but I've decided not to dwell on it.

I really don't know what zombies and doo-dads have to do with each other, besides the fact that both of these particular areas in my brain are rather spooky.

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A resting place for pins… which my mother would consider appropriate, considering how much quilting I'm not getting done.

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With doo-dads like this, it's no wonder I dream about zombies.

His Number is Up.

After several days of gloomy skies, the sun graced us yesterday. Its loveliness was so welcome, I decided to head out to the back yard and enjoy the crunch under my boots and the sparkliness of the snow.

I love it that God gave us evergreens. They're so reliably happy when all other color has faded.

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And this guy has kept his color fairly well too…

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The sky was a gorgeous blue!

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And I wish you could have seen all the glimmer on the snow…

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I'm very excited for this mulberry to come back to life. This year, I vow to get to the fruit before the birds do!

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As I looked around the winter landscape, imagining birdsong and harpists, I was thankful for ——- wait a sec.

Back up.

Stare.

Still staring, suddenly speechless.

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(If there were any crickets around these frozen parts, they'd be chirping.)

The birdsong stopped, the harpists left my head, and cold reality settled over me.

I crunched my way back inside the house, and this guy chose to stay outside enjoying the day's loveliness.

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Four Things.

First, I wanted to address everyone who emailed me about the crazy owl hat that Sabrina was wearing in the Park City post. I really wish I knew which shop we were in and what the brand name of the hat was, but I don't. I'm so sorry! If only I'd known how popular that hat would be, I would have just bought it! It was awfully cute, but hoo knew?

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Secondly, here's a wonderful finish from GingerCat! She showed me her framed Olga, which she said reminded her of a black cat she used to own named Ninjakitty. I love that! Great frame, too!

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Number three: I must introduce you to my new friend David, from Germany. His mother, Heike, stitched the latest hare freebie, which David is holding. Please give a warm welcome to his cute self! (And thank you for sharing your finish with me, Heike!)

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Fourthly, I just wanted to say that I still get the urge to watch The Empire Strikes Back every time Tasha is around. Not sure why.

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Oh, and there's one more thing. Which would make that filthy. Fliffy. Fifthly: I apologize for the dumb owl joke at the top of this post. I tried to resist, but the force was too strong.

Teehee.

Thin Chance.

A few days ago I tried, yet again, to get a portrait of the three hounds together. I thought a box of Wheat Thins would be the way to go, since all three of them crave the things. So out I went with the bright yellow box, and out the three of them followed.

They stood very still for me individually, knowing that after roughly 4 or 5 clicks they'd get a reward. Here's how their portrait session went…

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No-no, Yorkie – don't look at the box. Look at me!

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Much better.

Don't look so inconvenienced.

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Besides, you look cute with that snowflake on your face.

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Okay, I want all three of you together. Together now, okay? Come on, let's go!

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Thanks, Tasha.. now you come here too, Yorkie!

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Oh, okay.. um, that's great Friday, but I called the Yorkie, and I need you to back up a bit.

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Yes, good boy. I know you're waiting. But I need the Yorkie.

Yes! Thank you! Progress.

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Perfect! Stay there! (Tasha, why is your eye twitching?)

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Okay, Friday, come on over!

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That means you have to get up and move.

And don't look so inconvenienced.

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This is the best you can do?

I give up.

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Did you dogs ever see the Beethoven movie? The one with the killer vet? Yeah, I'm calling him to do your rabies shots.

This isn't over.

Disses

Discombobulated, disorganized, discontented…  the past month has been quite a hectic one, leaving me with little time to respond to emails or keep my blog updated. And amidst the chaos that was October, my computer decided to go comatose on me. That's when I realized that I broke two very important rules of mine:

1. Don't rely so heavily on technology that you can't function without it.

2. Since you will break rule #1, make sure you have everything backed up.

Yesterday the shop called to tell me my computer was ready for pickup, so I'm doing my best to get back on track.

In the mean time, I wanted to share with you a lovely rendition of Halloween Hornbook Sampler, finished by Karen V. She finished it into a cube, and I love what she did with the trim!

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This is wonderful, Karen! What a great way to reorganize those squares. 🙂 Thank you for sharing it with me!

Speaking of stitching, I've been working on The Flood as much as possible in order to have it ready for the Nashville market in February. I'd say I'm about 1/4 of the way through it, but my goal is to be at the half-way point in the next couple of weeks. Today I'll be working on a tree and a hippo and some bees. And a crown, of course. 🙂

Poor Mrs. Noah. I imagine she would have traded places with me if she could. After all, cleaning up all those droppings would leave one feeling disturbed, dismayed, and surely disgusted. Do you think she broke her two important rules?

1. Don't rely so heavily on dry land that you can't function without it.

2. If an elephant raises its tail, back up.

Fowl Play

Ever since I started keeping my bird feeders filled, I've had birds in my back yard that would make Alfred Hitchcock envious. (Nevermind that his movie wasn't called The Finches.) However, lately I've noticed a peculiar absence of fowl at my feeders. Nary a feather can be found, except for the stray one on the ground.

Don't worry, that verse will not be made into a sampler.

So the other morning, I discovered why my feeders are still full…

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Why, oh why must I be plagued with one oversized Golden Retriever who couldn't catch a ball if it were sitting still, and 2 tiny ankle-biters who can only jump as high as my kneecap?

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I think he heard me think that.

Actually, I love cats, so I didn't mean that anyway.

As a matter of fact, Sophie was the first one to spot him – on our porch, earlier that morning. So I let her put some cream (okay, half-and-half) on a saucer like you're supposed to do, but after a couple of drinks, the cat disappeared. (I'm sure it was bc there was no coffee in the half-and-half.)

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Later on is when I spotted him up on the fence.

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I think he noticed the dogs inside the window, who were completely oblivious to the fact that a would-be mortal enemy was in their yard, looking at their birds.

And then he saw me.

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He quickly vanished into the trees behind the fence, but was back again the next morning, waiting patiently for breakfast.

My sister used to have a cat just like this one, named Sinbad. He used to laze in the grass, enjoying his life, until, one day, a bluejay spotted him and started dive-bombing him on a daily basis. He decided then that he didn't like lazing around anyway.

I'm off to buy some peanuts, bc I think my back yard would be pretty with some blue in it. Orange and blue don't really go well together, unless you're a Denver Broncos fan. And thankfully, I don't have any broncos in my back yard.

It just looks like I do, thanks to my oversized Golden Retriever.

Needless to say, I've spent the latter part of this post thinking out loud.