• Needlework Shops,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Summer

    The Silver Needle Tour – Part 1

    Last week I was in Tulsa, teaching with my sweet friend Linda from Chessie and Me at the Silver Needle Summer Stitching Event, and what a fabulous time we had! Lindy and her team did a wonderful job, and I was really overwhelmed with how welcoming every single person was. What a huge group of attendees! And we all had fun chatting, stitching, eating, laughing – all the good stuff!

    Just around the corner from where we were gathered was the Silver Needle shop itself, and I thought I'd give you a little look-see, in case you've never been! (And if you're ever passing through the Tulsa area, you have just got to stop in and visit!) I took a lot of photographs last week, so I'll need to break up the blogging into a few different posts. 

    If you see something you like, give Lindy a call, and she'll be happy to help you out!































    I'll stop here for now, but I hope you enjoyed the first part of your mini tour! I'll try to get back here soon with the rest of the shop pictures and a few from the actual retreat itself. And by the way, Sabrina drove up from Dallas and arrived during the last half hour of the fun – just in time to help tear down and clean up! But afterwards, she and I spent the next couple of days doing a few things around Tulsa, and then driving up to the Pioneer Woman's Mercantile. And let me tell you.. I was in caffeine heaven!

    Until next time!

  • Martha,  New Designs,  Sampler Houses,  Stitching

    Sampler Houses

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments so many of you have left on my blog, Facebook, and Instagram regarding my most recent releases! It is so wonderful to know that there is so much support in our industry, and I'd like to thank you with my whole heart. 

    Martha thanks you too! (She's doing cartwheels on the inside.)


    Because I never officially did this, I'd like to introduce you to a new series of sampler houses I'm doing. Each one will feature a different house and a traditional motif found on some antique samplers, and is suitable for framing or stuffing or whatever your favorite finishing technique is! I'm thinking there will be 5 or 6 in the series, but I'm not completely sure yet. My fancy can be very unpredictable!

    Sampler House I COVER

    (I am a little obsessed with the color Deep Fennel by Classic Colorworks lately!)


    Sampler House II COVER

    I know they're old news by now, but I had this post started back on May 11, and I wanted to finally get it finished. May 11! I used to think about how organized my life would be and how much I'd accomplish, once the girls were all grown. Turns out that was a hilarious notion, as I was much more structured back when I was actually managing the lives of five people! These days I have to check the internet to see what day it is, because I'm not sure I believe the calendar is correct. The days run run run, one right into the other. 

    (How is it, with the invention of all things convenient and fast, our lives have become overwhelmed with more to do? Faster food, faster service, faster delivery – you'd think with everything being so fast for me, I'd have more time freed up for all those would-be accomplishments!) 

    So those are the new Sampler Houses.. I've got two more in the works for a release later in July, after I return home from the Silver Needle retreat. I've also got a few more releases to accompany those, so I'll get everything posted when I have all the information gathered! 

    I hope your summer is going wonderfully so far.. here in Nebraska, we've had the best mix of storms and sunshine, storms and sunshine, and I love it all! See you soon!

  • Finishing Instructions,  Nautical,  New Designs,  Stitching,  Summer

    My First Drum!

    I've never designed a "drum" before, so at the urging of a couple of sweet friends, I've come up with one as a sort of spin-off of Cape Cod Keeps. This was such a fun little pattern to design, and I hope you like it! Joy of Finely Finished did a gorgeous job of transforming three pieces of stitched linen into the actual drum, and I've included her brief finishing instructions at the bottom of this post.

    Here we go!

    Mariner's Drum COVER

    The drum was stitched on R&R Reproductions' 36 ct. Patriot's Brew by my good friend Pat Ryan.

    The colors used are all by Weeks Dye Works, but the chart does include a conversion to DMC in the key. Here are the Weeks colors you'll need, if you choose to stitch it:

    Onyx, Adobe, Dirt Road, Sandcastle, Gunmetal, Pelican Gray, Light Khaki, Deep Sea, Dove, Garrison Green, Confederate Gray, Tatanka, Teal Frost, Cinnabar, Cayenne, and Cocoa.

    You'll need three pieces of linen in the following stitch counts:
    For the side: 217w x 57h
    For the top: 72w x 67h
    For the bottom: 60w x 60h

    There is a tiny bit of long-stitching on the comb, and a small area of over-one stitching in the mermaid's mirror. 

    Tp 3

    The top of the drum features a pirate who has dropped his anchor in place to search for sunken treasure. If you look carefully at the photo above, you'll notice the seam joining the top of the drum to the side of the drum meets so that the chain links connect the anchor to the ship!

    The verse I used for Mariner's Drum comes from an old sea shanty, that goes like this:

    Cape Cod Girls ain't got no combs;
    They brush their hair with codfish bones. 

    There are actually more verses (and other variations) to this shanty, but I liked this one the best.

    Tp 1

    Tp 2

    The bottom of the drum has a little mariner's compass stitched on it. But of course, you could choose to use a piece of wool in place of the compass if you'd like to be finished with it faster. 🙂 (By the way, it wasn't until after I uploaded the photo below that I noticed a little green leaf in the center of the compass. I tend to make sure there are no stray fibers anywhere, but I'm not accustomed to looking for stray greenery!)

    Tp 4

    And speaking of finishing, the lovely Joy Hayward has provided brief finishing instructions for the drum. If you are not an experienced finisher, be sure you read all of the instructions before you attempt any cutting. This is not a difficult piece to finish, but you want to be in control of each step! I always "walk things through" in my mind all the way to the end before attempting any of it with my hands!


    I truly thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you're having a wonderful week!

  • Antique Samplers,  Reproduction,  Stitching

    Forget Me Not

    Antique samplers are so soft and curious, and I love nothing more than to look over every inch of them, wondering what the young stitchers lives were like when they created them.  I've acquired several of these samplers in the past few years, but sadly, once I've marveled over their details and beauty, I put them away in their acid-free paper and all but forget that I have them. So when I ran across some pictures I took of this one in my photo library, I didn't really recongize it. Isn't that just a crying shame?


    I am drawn to a sampler first by its verse – much more so than the motifs it offers… I tend to want a great verse to come live with me because its wisdom is such a treasure, and I don't want to simply read the words; I want to keep them! (Something I grew up learning regarding Scripture, and something I'm grateful to my parents for.)

    I suppose I'll go hunt down where I've stored this sampler now, so I can read the verse again.

    If you'd care to leave a comment (I know filling out the fields is an inconvenience!), I would really love to hear what your favorite thing is about samplers – antique or modern. What draws you in?

    Thank you so much for stopping by… I'll see you soon!

  • Christmas,  Freebie,  Holidays,  Stitching

    An Ornament for You

    My goodness… has it really been since October 20th? I haven't chatted with you since before Thanksgiving? And I just left you hanging with only the first part of the Shepherd's Bush boutique! I am so sorry!

    There has been an awful lot going on in my household this summer and fall, and believe you me when I tell you I can't believe I lived to tell about it. Not because I was in any danger, mind you, but because I've had one plumbing/remodeling/everything disaster after the next, and I think at one point I was near to squatting in a corner and rocking back and forth.

    But let's not relive that. I sat down today and designed a little ornament for you, in case you were all out of things to stitch. 😉 I've been drawn to lighter colors these days, so that's what I designed with, but if you choose to stitch this ornament, please feel free to stitch it in your favorite palette! Or whatever color scheme you're drawn to this season. (Sometimes mine changes from year to year.. one year I'll want lots of deep, antiqued hues, and other years I prefer lighter-colored decorations… like this year!)

    Anyway, I hope you all are having a beautiful Christmas season thus far… it's my very favorite time of the year!

    Merry Christmas!

    P.S. Remember to click the link below the image to print out your chart! 🙂

    Holy Night tp

    Download Holy Night PRINTOUT

  • Autumn,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    The Shepherd’s Bush Boutique – Part 1

    Good morning!

    First of all, for those who check my Plum Street Samplers Facebook page for updates, I am unable to log into the page because it is behaving badly. Therefore, my only updates, until and unless the issue is resolved, will be from here and on Instagram.

    Moving on! Today I'd love to share with you some of the sights from around the Shepherd's Bush retreat last week, starting with the autumn setting in which our hotel was found…


    I shared a suite with Linda from Chessie and Me, Jeanette Douglas from Jeanette Douglas Designs, and Brenda Gervais from With Thy Needle and Thread. The photos above and below were what we woke up to each morning, and it was so pleasant just chatting in the quiet hours with our coffee, before the bustle of the day began.


    The sisters of Shepherd's Bush set up a lovely boutique at each retreat, located just a few steps from where the classrooms are. It is absolutely packed with stitching treasures!










    I'll stop there for today! I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of the boutique pictures, as well as a few of the class pieces. I didn't get them all, but I'll be happy to show you what I did get!

    See you soon! And thank you for stopping by!

  • 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!


  • Autumn,  Needlework Shops,  Retreats,  Stitching,  Travel

    Shepherd’s Bush!

    I'm home from what was the most wonderful time in Ogden and Park City, Utah! As many of you know, the lovely sisters of Shepherd's Bush fame hosted their every-other-year retreat, and it was nothing short of perfect. Everything from the cozy warmth of the blacksmith-turned-cross stitch shop to the breathtaking view of the autumn-covered mountains made this gathering one to be remembered.

    As usual, I took my camera along and clicked a time or two in the hopes of sharing with you just a fraction of what we all got to see and experience. I'll break up the retreat into a few posts, as it would take far too much of your time to post them all in one sitting!

    Here we go!

    This is what greeted the shop visitors as they walked through the doors to the shop…


    Just past the entryway door, to the left, is the shop counter…


    Immediately to the right, in front of the shop's expansive windows, is a virtual Christmas shop, brimming with every Christmas model and pillow and ornament and bauble imaginable! (The photo below barely gives one an idea of what yuletide wonders are to be found there.)


    I fell in love with the newest Prairie Schooler Santa, which the girls at Shepherd's Bush made into a pillow. Of course, I left with one of their kits, as I picture mine finished just as they have it, to be propped up in one of my guest rooms for the holidays. We shall see! 😉


    Over the shop counter that I mentioned earlier is their collection of pillows from years past..


    As we move throughout the shop, there are autumn pieces in every place your eyes rest!











    I think we'll stop here for now. But grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's head back into the shop together 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!)

    Tp 3

    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…

    Tp 2

    (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…

    Tp 1

     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

  • BYOF,  New Designs,  Serial Bowl Collection,  Stitching


    The loveliest rain just fell after a very hot morning, and now the sun is back out again from its siesta. I can't remember the last time our day had a sudden break in it like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! (My family and I still talk about how interesting the weather pattern was in Florida, when we were visiting Disney World in 2001. Every single day, at 4:00 pm, it would suddenly pour for about 1o or 15 minutes, and everyone would scramble out of the open and inside the nearest souvenir shops. After the third day, we stopped being worried about our vacation being hampered and just enjoyed it! We would always laugh at the people who wore the plastic yellow ponchos to keep the rain off, thinking that they looked like a bunch of rubber ducks walking the park. But on the last day, the deluge was so great, guess what we ended up buying? I should post a picture here some time.. we still have those plastic yellow ponchos, and still laugh at the "karma" of it all.)

    It's been a very busy and enjoyable summer here at Plum Street, and if you haven't seen them by now, I'll show you my three releases from earlier in the month.

    As you may know, last year I released the very first "BYOF" (Bring Your Own Fabric) kit, also known as the Serial Bowl Collection, called Sampler Lesson One. I've decided to release it as a chart only, for those who missed out on the kit!

    Sampler Lesson One COVER

    Sampler Lesson One
    Stitch count: 144w x 69h
    Classic Colorworks floss in Barn Door, Cherry Cobbler, Cinnamon Toast (one of my favorite CC colors!), Pea Pod, Sunkissed, and Timber.
    Linen used: 36 ct. Olde Towne Blend by R&R Reproductions
    Trim used is cream chenille that has been coffee-dyed.

    The threads that went into the kits were so beautiful, I just had to post their photo again!


    My second July release introduces Miss Babushka, tending to her pumpkin blossoms. I originally had a Mr. Babushka designed in the piece, but as I stated on Facebook earlier, he was a doppelganger for Willie Nelson, so I removed him and gave him his own blank canvas, possibly to be revisited some day.

    Babushka's Blossoms Cover

    Babushka's Blossoms
    Stitch count: 139w x 130h
    Classic Colorworks floss in Rose Petal (very few stitches in this color), Brown Sugar, Ye Olde Gold, Bean Sprout, Just Rust, Hickory Sticks, and Colonial Copper.
    Gentle Art in Gold Leaf, Oatmeal, Heirloom Gold, Lambswool (very few stitches), Espresso Bean, and Wood Trail.
    Linen used: 36 ct. Vintage Examplar by Lakeside Linens.
    Framed by Sherri Berkman of Total Framing in Fairfax, Virginia.
    Thank you, Jean Hohulin, for stitching the model, and restitching my error!

    Lastly, I have a brand new Serial Bowl Collection to introduce! It's an autumn-and-Halloween-themed one, and I hope you like the first design in the series!

    Scary One Cover

    Scary One
    Stitch count: 124w x 71h
    The kit contains threads and chenille to complete the project once on 28, 32, 36, or 40 ct. linen or Aida.
    Threads included in the kit are by Weeks Dye Works, and the chenille is by Lady Dot Creates, in the color Vintage.
    The model was stitched in Pat Ryan's usual light-speed style. Thank you, Pat!

    These kits are only shipped to shops that request them, so if you're interested in purchasing one, let your local or online shop know!

    Thank you so much for stopping by my oft-neglected blog. Every time I vow to do better, my time gets absorbed by other things, and I really miss blogging! Here is a picture of Sophie and I from the Fourth of July.. I miss her so much! She's in Texas right now, visiting her sister Sabrina, and she comes home tomorrow. I can't wait!


    Enjoy your day, and I'll see you soon!