crafts, cross stitch, friends, Uncategorized

a good luck poke

The pincushion tomato was most likely introduced during the Victorian Era.  Folklore tomato-pin-cushionteaches us, that by placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits.  If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust.  The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose – a place to store pins.

20170102_213250-1_resizedI made this lavender pincushion in 1972.  I was 10 years old and this was my first project in my sewing 4H club. I am not sure the light purple blob has any good luck or not.  I can say, with certainly, it has kept all evil spirits away from my sewing basket for more than 40 years.

In theory it is a sweet idea, however, it doesn’t work. The pins don’t stay pushed in.   The material is double-knit, the filling feels like cotton batting, and it doesn’t have any weight to speak of. I made it using a canning jar lid and ring.

A pin cushion that doesn’t work, isn’t very useful.  However, I have kept it all these years because it makes me smile to remember the beginning.  It doesn’t work, but for some reason, it whet my appetite for more to come.

You all remember my 2017 goal of making a pin cushion for every sweet person I need a gift for?

You thought I was kidding?  No, not kidding.  I am on a mission to make  at least 12 pincushions this year.  Let me be clear:  pincushions that are equally pretty & useful. While I do wish for them to be keepsakes (and full of good luck), I honestly don’t want them20170102_213305_resized stuck in the bottom of someone’s sewing basket never to see the light of day.  It is my hope that the cushions will be poked over and over and over again.  I hope they are loved and used and become worn with happy use.

First pin cushion of 2017 is finished!!!!  She also comes with her own designer pins.

I made several pins last night.  I wanted to include something unique or pretty or charming to poke into each cushion. Some look like dragonflies, some have hearts, a few have stars, while the rest are glass stacked beads.

My first pin cushion this year,  is for a retirement gift.  The recipient is a crafter and does lovely work with beads.  I thought it might be the perfect small gift to offer up as a celebration.  I wanted to make something special.

I ask you, who among us wouldn’t want to receive a hand stitched cushion with our initial highlighted?

In addition to using buttons from my button jar, I stitched good karma, love, prayers, kindness and oodles of good luck into this piece.  I am sending it off into the world stuffed with pure goodness (also known in some circles as crushed walnut shells). I also included a loop for her scissors to be tied with a ribbon.

May this new year be a time of bathing others in small gifts of thoughtfulness.


In this together, friends.

We could all use a little poke to remind us to be more thoughtful.

cross stitch, gifts, pure goodness, Uncategorized

secret clues stitched

Today being Thursday,  I will finish this, (28 count linen) “Sepia Sampler” by Notforgotten Farm, designed by Lori Brechlin……….right between Work in Progress Wednesday and Friday Finish.20161222_075541-1_resized

Once again, in years to come, when the kids are deciding which things to sell at a yard sale for 25 or 75 cents, I hope they hang on to a couple handiwork pieces.

As you know, I hide clues in my work,  fingers crossed this piece will be chosen by our youngest son.

By changing the year to 85, highlighting the initials GW & birth date 20, I am hoping to catch the attention of Gabe.

This particular piece is fashioned after an original sampler from 1863.   So you will note:  a missing letter J and Q.  (Unlike written samplers were to teach the actual alphabet, stitched samplers were to teach the shape of letters and you can garner those shapes from other letters.)

Yes, I have already given framed pieces to both Daughter in Laws.  Some  pieces I keep and enjoy for a time.  Those particular pieces I stitch initials or dates or secret clues. In the last few years, in place of my initials (who stitched it) I chose a family member and use theirs.

I enjoy the stitching process.  I love the planning, the choosing of thread.  You know I am giddy with that first X.  Then like a really good book, I am thrilled and a little bit sad to put the final stitch in place and put that particular pattern away.

Oh, look, what a pretty little bird in a nest………. and just like that, a new project has begun.

Love to see what you are creating.  Please share.

In this together, folks.

PS.  After I published this post, it has been brought to my attention that not only is there a 25 and 75 cent table, there is actually going to be a $2.00 table for the “good stuff”.   Does a mom’s heart good to know.


crafts, cross stitch, gift giving, gifts, sewing, Uncategorized


I have decided to stick it to my friends this coming year.  Just kidding, well no, not really.

I have decided to make pin cushions for every single man, woman and child I know.

What does that mean?


2017 will be……… the year of the pin cushion!

I know, right?  You can feel the excitement, the enthusiasm.  The air seems electric.

Would you like to know what brought this on?

One gift.

springtime-messenger-coverI decided to make a beautiful pin cushion for a retirement gift.  I have gathered the thread colors, the linen, antique buttons and the pattern.  Next, I needed the filling.

Of course you already know that you can’t just stuff a pin cushion with fluffy fibers.

So, I went looking for crushed walnut shells. Yes, they are the perfect solution.

The weight of the crushed shells keep the pin cushion in place during use.  Perfect reason number 2?  The crushed walnut shell texture keeps the pins & needles sharp.

My local quilt shop has 4 ounce bags of shells for $7.00.  Because I think I will need two bags to fill my pin cushion, It seems rather pricey for filling.

I should be able to do better.  um.

Enter a national chain pet store.  They sell crushed walnut shells for the flooring of desert dwelling animals.

So, I bought a 5 quart bag (weighs about 8 pounds) for $10.00. 20161204_092943_resized

Quite a bargain.

I was tickled to purchase such a HUGE bag, for such a good price.

Now, the trick is to make enough pin cushions for birthdays, retirement gifts, thinking of you surprises, just because gifts, a gift for the UPS man……… that my “fabulous” frugal buy ends up being well worth the money.

I am rather puffed up about my great find.

I am anxious to begin stitching & filling.

However, if this blog post encourages your creative juices and you too, want to make beautiful pin cushions……….

I will gladly share the bounty.  Seems there is enough for everyone and then some.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

PS.  please act surprised when you receive your pin cushion next year.  “Oh gee, I wonder what she filled it with?”

cross stitch, gifts, love, Uncategorized

a secret stitch

By noticing the dates worked into my counted cross stitch pieces you can tell where I was in life and what I was doing. 20161130_080450-1_resized

Some pieces are dated during those Home Schooling years.  I would pull out my stitchery and sit at the table while the boys were working on writing projects or reading.  They didn’t really need my help, more they needed direction and for me to be quiet so they could flourish.

As an Army wife, while the movers took an entire day to pack our belongings at each duty station, I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, so, out came my stitching.

In the days, long before the TSA had their silly rules about tiny scissors, oh and as well as me needing bright sunshine or my stitching lamp, I used to stitch while I waited in airports or while travelling by plane. (yes, I can use a dental floss holder to cut my thread.)

Today, nightly, Mr. Right spends an hour making juice for the next day.    I sit on the other side of the counter and we talk about the days events.   His hands are busy washing and preparing vegetables and fruits.  My hands are kept busy with needle and thread.

Yes, I have made beautifully large pieces for my daughter in-laws.  I have given many pieces away.  Believe it or not, a few years back, I started keeping a couple of pieces for myself.

I tease my kids, that while I enjoy and use my china & beautiful pieces of Wedgwood, I am quite sure some of the “priceless” pieces  will be sold at a yard sale for 25 cents, fingers crossed some will go for $1.00.

20161130_074613-1_resizedHowever, when it comes to pieces of stitchery, I hope that because I have secretly slipped in a birth date, or highlighted certain family members initials into other pieces…..that those will be kept as treasured heirlooms.  A snippet of family history that is theirs to keep and tend to for a while.

Pieces of thread that binds them as a family and their history.

Today, a six-year-old little grandgirlie is not interested in a20161129_113122-1_resized stuffy sampler.  30 years from now, when she spies her birth year under glass, stitched into a beautiful piece…..she will know it was stitched with her in mind….. A few more evenings of stitching the flower and this piece will be ready to be framed.


I love stitching special pieces for a celebration or person.

20161130_074654-1-1_resizedA pin cushion to celebrate a retirement

An ornament to celebrate a life

A beautiful bird for a Christmas treasure

A pillow for a birthday gift  ………….

I use samplers to celebrate my family.  Every stitch, making the ties that bind so tightly woven that it will be nearly impossible to take apart.

I know it is not popular.  I understand there is no glossy advertisement about buying fabric and thread.  My guess is that you are quietly making things for your family.

I would love to see what you are creating.

Secretly we are using needle and thread to stitch a piece of our family history.

In this together,

Chat soon.








cross stitch, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

I spy, 30 threads per inch

I just got done writing a thank you note.  To my eye doctor.  Silly?  Not to me.

He listened and took me serious. I wanted to take a moment to be grateful.

A bit of background:  A fellow counted cross enthusist, told our group, that she took her stitchery with her to the eye doctor.  No, not to pass the time in the waiting room.  She took it to show her doctor what she actually does as a hobby.  She is thrilled with her new glasses.  The doctor told her……I have never seen cross stitch before,  those are tiny stitches.  So beautiful.  I can tell it makes you happy.  Let’s see what we can do to help you.

As much as I respect and like our eye doctor, let’s face it, he can’t possibly know every single hobby or work every single one of us enjoys.   Sure, sure the “get to know you” form asks if you work on the computer or have any hobbies.  It doesn’t really have the space to explain in detail what exactly you do.

So, I put on my big girl boots and worked up my courage and took a couple of samples of my work.

The staff and doctor put my fears at ease.

They each explained they have had people bring in their guns. They needed to show exactly what they need to focus on.   One patient brought in her knitting.  He has one patient who asked for multiple pairs of glasses and bought in his cards.  He is a poker player and wanted glasses just for that reason.

You see, I enjoy counted cross stitch.  The fancy light I use just wasn’t helping as much as it did 25 years ago.

To be more exact….  I stitch for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes a day.  I stitch on linen that has 30 threads to an inch.  I stitch over two threads at a time. 

I also do embroidery.  I also quilt and sew and mend and garden.  I bake and read and type on the computer.

So while I have oodles of hobbies, one in particular is extremely fine work.  I needed to show him what I do, so the perfect solution could be found.  He had me hold the actual fabric and stitch. During that time, he measured how far I hold it from my eyes and he made the notations.

Here we are a little over a week later.  I am ONE HAPPY STITCHING GIRL!!!!

While I am told, the glasses are cute, I am thrilled to be able to see well and stitch without being frustrated or my eyes becoming tired. My hobby is a pleasure again. 20160805_122200-1_resized

I wanted to share this idea with you.  I thought if you are having a dickens of a time crocheting a granny square or tying a fishing lure…..there is a solution out there.

Try and be brave (oh, believe me I know, it takes courage to show your work and explain its value) and take a sample of your work.  It is mighty important to you. When you take the steps to have the courage to show what you are proud of, as if by magic the professionals want to help find the perfect solution for you.

If you need me to go with you or send some good karma your way, speak up!  I will gladly hold your hand.  You will be so proud of yourself for sharing and asking for a little help.

In this together friends,

Happy Stitching, Happy Knitting, Happy Shootin’, Happy Poker playing!!

20160804_211432_resized_1PS.  I must give a 5 star shout out to the “Thread Heaven” product.  It is a fine product that helps condition your floss to lay down smoothly while working embroidery.  (If you already know about this fine product and have been using it for years…..this begs the question…..why didn’t you tell me about it?)
















cross stitch, goodness, grace, Uncategorized


Every single solitary time I see a new construction site, I make the comment, “Oh goodie, it might be a cross stitch shop!” Even if the site is quite obviously 3 stories tall.  “Jeepers, that is going to be a cross stitch emporium!!!!!”

Sadly, it never is.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t embrace shops that cater to handicrafts.  Sure, sure, there is a small quilt shop here or there.  In a very strange twist of the business world, somehow, The Tandy Leather shop still keeps going.  The popularity of counted cross stitch has faded and that means the brick and mortar stores have gone by the way side.

Thank goodness for the internet.  I visit cross stitch shops regularly.  I put on background shopping music and quietly slip into the shop and look around.

I belong to a counted cross stitch group on-line.  We share patterns, ideas, tips and pictures.

Ah, the pictures.

I am learning.  I LOVE to look at others hand work.  I admire the time, the skill level, the creativity.  I gather such inspiration from their pieces, I know in my heart of hearts that I must share my pieces now and then as well.  It is just like show n tell.  We all like to be in the audience. However, every now and then, it is our turn to be up in front of the class.


hahahaha….cross stitch humor…….“Cross stitch for the times when you need to stab something 10,000 times”

It is the polite thing to do.  Think of it as grace & goodness.  Work up your courage and be kind enough to share with others.

If I don’t share a picture, a suggestion or a review now and then……..well I am just a taker, a stalker really.  A person who skims through, pushes “like” now and then and flits away. I don’t want to be a taker.  I sincerely want to be a part of the group.  One that gives and takes.

Last night, after the sun had gone down, I put the last stitches into my latest sampler.  I told our golden retriever.  She lifted her head and with sleepy eyes, gave what I thought was a look of “good job” before she put her head back down.  It was a bit anti-climatic.  I texted a couple of friends.

Before I started the next project (fabric cut, thread chosen, needle threaded) I took a couple of pictures.  To share.

20160623_080312I saw “him” on a wall in Victoria, B.C. last summer.  I was with Mr. Right and Miss Florida on holiday.  As those two meandered through the shop, I meant business.  I was so thrilled to be in an actual handiwork shop, I was giddy.  I was picking and choosing charts like there was no tomorrow.  The shop lady said, “oh Boris.  He is popular.  haha”

So yes, I stitched my way around Boris.

Here are the details:  32 count linen (what that actually means, there are 32 threads per inch on that particular piece of linen)….. I stitch over two threads….. I use two strands of hand dyed thread for each X.  The pattern is a Plum Street Sampler design. 20160622_185530-1

Everything about Boris makes me giggle. I love his  early Monday morning attitude.

Sharing bits and pieces of your soul though your art makes me fall in love with your being just a little bit more each time.  Every single time you share a painted rock or a bottle cap glued to a peace sign, every cookie you bake & decorate, every poodle dog toilet paper cover you crochet, every quilt you make, every single cross stitch you do backwards, every apron you sew a Superman S upon, every single jar of honey lotion you make… heart expands just a smidgen. You splash a little goodness on me & I get a glimpse of the extra sparkly, gooey part that makes you, you.

It’s hard to dislike someone when you know about the extra gooey part of them. That my friends is how the world becomes a better place.

If you share, I promise to share.

Cross my Heart.



cross stitch, grace, Uncategorized

grace in progress

The very moment, the numbers on the safe dial all align and CLICK!, the vault opens.  In this case, my brain CLICKED and I finally “get it”.

Yesterday, I almost didn’t share a counted cross stitch picture with a private cross stitch group.  It was Wednesday.  They call it WIP Wednesday.  Work in Progress.  The idea is to share the piece you are working on, sharing inspiration or an idea.

When you join a group like that, you have to be willing to share & trade.  No, you may not sit on the sidelines and judge. If you do, well, you are a wall flower and NOBODY wants to go sit with the judgey wall flowers.  A huge, beautiful part of the group is to gain confidence and be brave enough to share your art.  Being a beginner or expert, it matters not.

Almost daily, I take.  I take inspiration from other members projects along with Work in Progress Wednesdays as well as Finished Fridays. I take ideas and I take the goodness they are sharing and it helps carry me through the day.  I smile thinking of some of the remarkable creations that are offered up.

The ying to that yang is, I have to share.

Like I mentioned, I almost didn’t share.  Then I thought, gee whiz, he is so cute, I want to share my happy.  As a recovering perfectionist, I am taking huge strides. 20160120_083136-1

I counted 6 mistakes in one little stitched dog.  Would anyone judge me?  Would anyone point out the mistakes?  Oh sure, maybe the folks sitting on the side lines not willing to take a chance themselves.  However, for me, leaving in a couple mistakes makes me proud.

Oh don’t get me wrong, this piece alone I have taken out several stitches and tossed around some swear words like a crusty, old sailor.

Speaking of the military, I recently learned a VALUABLE lesson from some current and retired Air Force pilots.

There is no such thing as a perfect mission.

“The goal is to have the number of take offs equal the number of landings.” 

Click, I GET IT!

Um, what is my goal?  My goal is to delight in a hobby I really enjoy.  My goal is to spend an hour or so a day creating.  My goal is to look for and find the joy in making something with my hands.  My goal is to sometimes make a gift to share.  My goal is to try new fabrics and new threads and stretch my limits.   My goal is to enjoy the process, learn along the way, go easy on myself.

In other words, sometimes it is not the perfect piece, it is the process.

Some days I feel myself buckling under immense weight of self-induced guilt.  The need for perfectionism.

I am learning to bathe myself in Grace. It is a process.

Vanessa from (in) courage said it beautifully-

“Truly giving yourself grace isn’t about giving yourself anything.  It’s about being open to His grace & fully accepting it, not just for the big hurdles , but for the tiny every day stumbles.”

onward my dog lovin’ friends, onward.