New for May

Happy New Week to You!

I've been working on four new releases for this month, and I'll be shipping them out soon to your local or online shop. I'm so excited that summer stitching is almost here!

Here is a little sneak peek of the first release, which is a follow up to Hello Spring that was released in March.

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Stitch Count: 150w x 83h

Linen used: 36 ct. Patriot's Brew (a brand NEW color!) by R&R Reproductions.

Threads used:
Weeks Dye Works in Sanguine, Parchment, Grits, Oscar, Bark, and Grapevine;
Classic Colorworks in Milady's Teal, Used Brick, and Ye Olde Gold.

Trims used: Lady Dot Creates in Vintage Mini Poms and Vintage Silk Ribbon (hanger).

My dear friend Pat Ryan stitched the model beautifully (thank you, Pat!), and Joy Hayward from Finely Finished did a stunning job on the finishing! (Thank you so much, Joy!)

I hope you all have a lovely day, and I'll be back soon with more releases! Please let your shop owner know if you'd like she or he to reserve a chart for you. 🙂

A Note from Me

Dear 2017,

I may be starting to like you after all.

Sincerely,

me

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Do you know how often I think about writing something here? Every day. Every day!

But then the evening comes, and I sit down on the edge of my bed, setting my slippers on the floor at just the right distance from my feet so that I can find them when the dark morning comes. 

After that, I wonder where the day went. It seems like I was just putting those slippers on my feet and trudging down to the coffee pot. And now here I sit again.

Twenty-seventeen has been a disjointed blur to me, but it feels like I may be settling back into the nice, steady rhythm of work. I love my work.

Thank you so much for all of you who have been so incredibly supportive of it. I truly feel God has given Plum Street Samplers to me, and has allowed me to meet so many of you through it. I hope I can be better, once again, at staying in touch (so to speak) through my blog. 

I'll leave you with a little bright spot in my day… the new Jingle Family, which has settled themselves quite comfortably in the Christmas wreath on my front porch. (I fell in love with a wreath on Etsy, so I ordered it, not taking time to measure it. When I received it, I found that it was much more enormous than I had planned for, and was far too heavy to hang on my front door. I had to hang it next to my door instead, which proved to be a nice, inviting spot for a little finch mother to build her nest. So if you happen to be in the neighborhood, you'll know why it still appears to be Christmas at the Stewart house.)

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Thank you for stopping by!

 

Teenie-Bopper

I love that I still have one last teenager left at home. Not because she's the last one, but because she's just so teenager. My girls have always filled my heart with joy, and I'm so very, very, very, very, very thankful to God that He blessed me with them. As most of you know, my older two have grown and left home to build their own lives (they practically grew up on this blog!), but my Joonbug is still home, still making me laugh, making me cry, making me pull my hair out, and making me a very happy mom.

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Marty doesn't usually embrace the camera, but on this day, she bullied her way in for some attention…

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Sophie will be headed off to college in just over a year, and I'm not quite sure what I'll fill my days with when she's gone. I mean, how does one simply fill the void left by a sudden absence of all those stray gum wrappers on the counter, the cozy hugs at any given time, hilarious Shakira impressions on car rides, too many visits to Sephora, empty peach smoothie cups left in all the wrong places, and the charming way she says "Mom?" when I know full well that that particular tone can only mean she's about to ask me a question that I will answer with a "No." And how many more times will I have to get to wash mascara stains out of the shoulders of my shirts because she needed to cry?

I do love this teenager, and the gift that she is.

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Ice

I love having all four seasons here in the heartland – icy weather included. It just means I'll be lighting candles (okay, I admit, I do that even on 100-degree-and-sunny days), deep-cleaning the house, and baking and souping and loving the day.

A couple of days ago, however, I paused all that and headed outside to slip-and-slide my way across the back porch and out into the yard. I am by no means a great gardener, but I have a few areas of my yard that I'm in love with when they're awake and fully dressed in their greens as well as when they're bare and sleeping away the winter…

The branches of my lilac tree, which is about 10 feet tall now…

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One of the birdhouses affixed to the fence…

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(By the way, here is the bird house next to it… I ran across this photo yesterday; I had forgotten I had taken it last spring, and it made me look forward to March and April, just before everything wakes up. The little tuft you see in the opening is not, in fact, a bird nest, but rather a mouse nest, as I discovered when cutting back the foliage.)

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And lastly, the Black-Eyed Susans (which I repeatedly and mistakenly call Brown-Eyed Susans – there is a difference!) that are so full and vibrant in the summer… who knew they could also be so quiet and beautiful?

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We're no longer iced in, but I may need to bake and soup a bit longer, as my girl is home today with a fever. I'm sure she is wishing for a different season to get here already, as she is not as much of a fan of the winter as her mother is!

Thank you so much for stopping by… it's been so much fun "visiting" with you all this week, and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every comment you've left for me!

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…

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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!

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?

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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!

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!

Our Savior’s Birth

I am so thankful for the Gift that God gave to the world that He loves so much.

Please accept this small gift from me to you, and if you choose to stitch it, my hope is that you will be able to slow down and reflect on why we celebrate this beautiful season of Christ's birthday.

Merry Christmas to you! (And please click both of the links below the image, or your pattern will not print out correctly!)

Our Savior's Birth 2

Our Savior's Birth

Download Our Savior's Birth CHART

Download Our Savior's Birth INSTRUCTIONS

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!

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