Monday, August 30, 2010

Yo! Is It Time For a Giveaway?! YES, it is!



I know that it’s a little past Blueberry season.  But even so, I’m sure someone out there would like to win this cute little “Blueberry Tart” pin cushion.


I had some little wool blueberries left over from an order that I just finished, so not wanting them to go to waste, I made this.

Isn’t it cute? I even made 3 little blueberry straight pins to go with it.  It’s tiny .. measuring only about 1 1/2” high and about 2” across.

bblueb1 bblueb2


It’s  in a little black tart tin and made with my hand-dyed wools.

The blueberries are stuffed with wool roving and the tart itself is stuffed with tiny wool clippings.  (wool clippings give it a little more weight than poly fiber fill)

I’ll make this giveaway simple and easy…..

Just make a comment in this post for an entry.

Thursday night at 10pm, my time, (Eastern Standard Time) I will draw a name from those who have entered.  I will announce the winner Friday morning.

The only rule is that the entry MUST be in THIS POST ONLY.


If you have a blog, you MUST be a “Follower”.  Join up to win!

If you don’t have a blog but are a regular reader, you’re welcome to enter also.  Just post as “anonymous” but please leave your name or some way that I may identify you if your entry is selected.

I can’t leave out my lovely Canadian/international readers so this is open to all of you too. 


I also have a larger Blueberry Tart Pin Cushion listed on Ebay.

blueberry tart2

It’s listed at the starting price of only .99 so if you don’t win the little one and would like to purchase one, go HERE to visit the one on EBAY.

It’s just a little larger than the Giveaway but it has lots more blueberries along with 5 blueberry stick pins.

I’ve said this before, I love LOVE doing auctions that start out as just .99.

It’s so much fun to watch the bidding throughout the week.   I hope it’s fun for the bidders too.  I know that thrill of winning something at a bargain price and even if I don’t get the price that I hope to get for it, the fun of hearing how thrilled the winner is to get it at such a great price, is worth it.


Happy Day Everyone!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Overdyeing That Bright Wool (Quick and Easy)

If you’re a wool collector, then you should already know this easy way to tone down those brightly colored wools. 

But there are quite a few readers who are just starting out and learning to use wool so I’ll share how I used to darken those bright colors.  Coffee staining!

Here, I have a beautiful piece of red wool….


Let’s overdye with COFFEE  to get that bright red turned into a dark red!

To do that, you need a dye pot.  You shouldn’t use your everyday pots and pans for any kind of dyeing so if you don’t have an old pot, just take a visit to your local thrift store and buy one for a few bucks.


It doesn’t have to be a white enamel pot like this one, but white enamel is nice because when dyeing, it’s easier to see the dye color in the pot.  If you see a white enamel pot grab it up though!

So, brew yourself a pot of strong coffee … or tea works too. 

Pour the coffee into the dye pot and heat it until it’s simmering.

Turn down the heat and drop in your bright wool.

If you don’t have enough coffee in the pot, just add some water or more coffee to cover the wool completely.

Let it simmer for … hmm … maybe 20-30 min or so.  Make sure it’s a low simmer … don’t boil the wool.

Stir it often so that the coffee will be evenly distributed thoughout the wool.  If you want a lot of mottling in the wool, don’t stir it.

For this wool, since it’s so bright, I’m going to stir often so that it’s all one color.   I can always mottle it later.

It’ll be about this point that people will start walking into the kitchen, thinking that they will be able to get a cup of freshly brewed coffee, so be prepared to disappoint.

Once it’s done, take the wool out and rinse it with COLD water. 

Squeeze it gently to get the water out and then throw it in the dryer with a pair of old jeans or a couple old towels. 

The heat from the dryer will set the dye in.

And here we have the darker, overdyed wool!


I don’t think you can tell from the pic, but it does have a nice subtle mottle. 

Coffee  and/or tea staining gives such nice results, but just know that there might be some fading over time.  If you coffee stain white/natural colored wool, in about 5 years, the color will be faded out.

But for darker wools like this, coffee staining is great, and the fading is less noticeable. 

I think I’m going to mottle this a bit more so if I get a chance today to do it, I’ll be back tomorrow to show how I’ve done that.

Happy day everyone!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Design! New Pattern! Friendly “Jacks and Cats” !

This is my newest design called “Jacks and Cats”


This one is a smaller size measuring 12 1/2” across but it still has plenty of space in the center for a large candle, vase or bowl of candy.

Quite often I have emails from readers who either request or suggest different ideas for designs.

One request that has come up quite a few times is to make a “friendly” Halloween candle mat…one with friendly faces instead of those scary big tooth primitive pumpkins and cats.

You know the ones, don’t you?

!Bult0H!EWk~$(KGrHqN,!iMEv1 z1J3HBM!-wE1)-w~~_3

Now these are really cute … (this is a picture taken from Google images) and I’ve nothing against the cute, scary faces, but as some have suggested to me, we need some normal looking faces!

100_4375 This design is great for the beginner stitchers too because it’s pretty easy to make and just uses basic stitches and not a lot of detailed embroidery work.

The cat’s eyes are what I like most about this. The shiny white buttons make the eyes glow. I remember my husband used to have laying around here an old stuffed cat that he played with when he was little. It had button eyes and a friendly face just like this.

I need to look for that cat just to see how close this face comes to my memory of it.

I did my best to keep this candle mat simple and resisted the urge to add details.

I’ll have the pattern for sale starting today at the special presale price of $8.00 which includes shipping. (this price is for everyone, even my international customers!)

If you wish to pay by check instead of Paypal, just email me and I’ll send you the mailing info.

Wool kits are available for this too. $32.00 which includes all 100% wool, including the backing, the pattern and shipping cost (for US customers only, international customers will pay a small additional shipping charge) Email me if you're interested in purchasing the kit.

The pattern is being printed today so I hope to have orders filled and mailed out tomorrow, if all goes well with the printing.


Monday, August 23, 2010

The Men and Their Toys

So hubby was on vacation last week.  He started back to work today so my daily routines will go back to normal now. 

When he’s home, I spend much less time stitching and at the computer but we get a lot done around the house.

At my suggestions a while ago, he decided to buy a power washer.

We really do have a lot of things to use it on so he went online to find the best prices to go along with the best reviews.

He decided on the one that he wanted but …

Naturally it was the most expensive one.

So he decided that he really didn’t need a power washer after all because once he saw the best, there was no settling for the lower rated ones.  He told me that he would just borrow the neighbors to get the job done.

But then …

Saturday morning, he woke up and told me that we’re going to Home Depot to buy his power washer.


This is what he brought home.  Notice how well it blends with my marigolds!

Gosh, it was like Christmas.  The man was so excited to play with this. He even called up a couple of his friends and invited them to come over to see it.

And they came!

Men watching other men using power tools must be something that only men will understand.

So the guys stood around and admired it for a while and exchanged stories and ideas and tips about the hows and wheres to use it along with the “whats” to use it on.  They talked about the different soap solutions to use for extra cleaning powers. They admired it’s spraying capabilities and compared their own power washer PSI’s to hubby’s PSI’s.

I offered up the beers and then went inside to do some stitching.  I’d been around testosterone for long enough, I needed a break.

Maybe this is the secret to a good marriage. 

Allow your hubby to purchase an expensive, gasoline powered power tool/equipment every once in while.  It keeps him happy and content.

I always joked about his mid-life crisis when he was in his 40s’.  Some men get little sports cars in their mid-life crisis.  Hubby bought himself a wood chipper.  And he was happy.

The new power washer will be stored right with the wood chipper, the air compressor, the leaf blower, the chain saw, the WeedWacker, and the Bobcat.  

He’s wants a generator next … “in case our power goes out”, he says.  We have well water here so if the power goes out, we have no running water and I admit it is pretty inconvenient.  But in all the years that we’ve lived here, our power has never been out for more than half a day or so.

I told him that if our power goes out for so long that we’d need a generator to live here, I’m going to a hotel. 

I’m pretty sure though that in a few years, I’m going to be showing a picture of his new generator in my blog.


In stitching news, tomorrow I’m hoping to show a brand new pattern. :)

Happy Day everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Turkeys are (almost) Here!

Well, I did say earlier in the week that I was hoping to get the new Turkey candle mat finished and shown by the end of the week. 

Here it is, the end of the week already and I’m not finished with it yet.

I’ll show the almost finished one though, just so all of you can see what’s coming soon.

100_4364 I still need to attach the leaves in the center and then stitch on the larger scalloped backing.  I’ll show better pictures once it’s finished.

I’m making this one to sell as finished, I think.  I’ll make another one in lighter colors for the pattern to sell

I really love the darker colors in the turkey, but it’s going to be difficult for customers to find the wools for it shown this way so I’ll do another version with easier to find colors, I think. 


Hubby is on vacation this week so it’s a bit harder to get the time to stitch when he’s around all the time.

The house ….

100_4359 Is coming along quite nicely.  The new siding is almost done and the workers are hoping to finish up by either Monday or Tuesday. 

I wanted the windows to be framed so that took extra time but I’m so happy with how nice it looks.


The only problem now is that the original shutters that we had for the windows are now too small so we’re going to have to purchase new ones which amounts to quite a bit more $$.

I wanted hubby to ask John, our Amish worker to make us new shutters but hubby scoffed at the idea.  I get my ideas scoffed a lot but it’s always worth a try.  Sometimes I’m right …. like my idea to frame the windows.  So it might be a scoffable idea to have our shutters custom made simply because the cost would be outrageous, but they sure would look fabulous.

We have been so fortunate to finally find someone to do work for us that we’re happy with … that is comparable to hubby doing it himself.

John is so careful and such a conscientious worker that  we’re going to use him for everything, as $$ permits.

Anyone who might live in the western Pa area and needs any kind of work down on or in their home, I highly recommend John.  He’s from  Harrisville, Pa, which is a little over an hour north of us but he’s willing to travel. 


Ok, it’s going to be a hot one today.  Thank you air conditioning for making my life pleasant!

Happy day and Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blueberries! (and learning from my mistakes)

Ever since I did the giveaway for the Blueberry pinkeep, I’ve been getting requests for the finished ones.  I just don’t have the time right now to fill those requests but I did manage to get one finished.


I always enjoy making these but it is time consuming to make each one of those berries and stuff them so it’s difficult to get just one pinkeep finished.

Anyway, I’ve decided to list the finished one on Ebay with the starting price of just 99 cents.

I used to do a lot of 99 cent Ebay listings just because it’s so much fun to watch the bidding wars.  Every once in a while I would get stung with a low final selling price but even then, the winner is soooo thrilled with their marvelous bargain, that I can’t help be happy for them.

I only wish I had the time to do more 99 cent auctions…they’re so much fun.

If you want to watch and see how the bidding goes on this, just CLICK HERE to find the listing.

The auction ends next Monday, so keep an eye on it to see what happens.  If you want to bid on it to help it along, I certainly wouldn’t mind that either!


Ok, now.  UP there in the Title heading it says “learning from my mistakes”

Gosh, I made a big one yesterday in my post. 

Now, see, I’m really careful about not saying BAD things about people on here.  (you Ebay sellers who steal my designs are considered POO though)  But, I was saying good things yesterday and STILL got into trouble with my precious Rachel.

I learned right from the start to not post pictures of her on here without her approval.  Not that I would show any pictures that would depict her as anything but lovely, charming and delightful, but you know how females can be and I certainly understand why she would not want certain pictures shown to the entire internet world so I do respect her wishes, (even though I’m so tempted to someday show that one from middle school with her on the school gym floor with a death grip on a basketball that another player was trying to get from her.)

So yesterday, without thinking, I posted a little something about her finishing her internship at a certain particular place that has lots of animals and which is located in a large city just a little south of our home. 

Little did I know that the marketing department where she worked has a cute little program on their computers that brings up any and all mention of their establishment  during that day.  I marvel at that ability, because really, how cool is that to have a program that will show everyone in the world who mentions your name during the day?

So, naturally, when I mentioned the place where she worked in my blog post yesterday, at least one person in that marketing department and quite possibly the entire marketing department, read my blog and what I said about my precious Rachel.

Rachel found out about this when she read the email from the someone in the marketing department, which, I think, teased her about her mom’s blog.

I found out about it when I came home last night from the store. 

The minute I walked in the house, I got a very stern “Mom” and then silence, which was a very clear indication that whatever it was that she wanted to tell me, was not going to be good.

So anyway, hello marketing department and all those who have worked with Rachel in that very large establishment that has lots of large animals in a large city just south of where we live.  Rachel loves every single one of you and loved it so much there, she’s willing to work there forever, for FREE!  Can you set up a bed for her somewhere?

Sorry Rach.  I do and will learn from my mistakes.

……But really, writing nice things about her that get me in trouble does NOT mean that I have to be required make it up to her by massaging her sore feet.


Happy Day everyone!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scarecrow Jack is Everywhere!

Brenda over at Pumpkin Patch Primitives has shown how to adapt the Scarecrow Jack design into a cute little pincushion. This is Jack from the "Scarecrow Jack in the Pumpkin Patch" pattern of mine.

SandiAfterBrendaCloseUp Isn’t he cute? Look at that cute little bumble bee down on the bottom!

Nice job Brenda.

Quite often I get pictures from customers who want to show me their finished candle mat made from my patterns. I’m always thrilled to see them especially the ones that are done a little differently than shown on the pattern picture.

I hope to soon start a picture gallery with all the customer’s wonderful pictures of their finished things.

So if you happen to have a picture of something that you’ve made from one of my patterns, send it to me! I’ll start up a collection and with your permission, I’ll put it in a picture gallery to share with everyone.

So, hubby is on vacation this week. We won’t be going anywhere simply because we still have the construction job being done on the house. They are making good progress but with a small crew, it’s going to be at least the rest of this week with hammering.

The picnic that hubby had on Friday went really well. I neglected to mention in my last post that I was not invited to the picnic in which I spent many days making food for. haha …

Nope, it was for employees only, no spouses. It was a very manly picnic. I was permitted to drive over afterwards to help bring all the stuff back home and wash all the roasters and help him take all the leftovers to the local women’s shelter. I’m not complaining though simply because he put in so much time and effort to plan this through so that guys who haven’t seen each other for years and years could all get together.

I’ve a few special orders that've come in so I’m on super fast stitching mode to get them done so that I can finish working on a new fall turkey candle mat design. I hope to have turkeys ready to show by the end of the week. I also hope to have the house cleaned, the laundry done and lots of wool dyed by the end of the week, so we’ll just see how good I really am at completing things!

Oh … and it’s our wedding anniversary today! My husband and I have been married for 35 years! Wow, he’s really amazing to have put up with me for all this time. Seriously. :)

Happy Day everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Under Construction and My Quiet Excuses

Goodness gracious it’s so nice to know that people are concerned about my quietness.  I have been rather quiet lately and it’s been due to several things going on around here.

House renovations:

100_4334 Our Amish guys are back to do the work on the house.  Instead of their black felt hats, they’re using their straw hats.  They hung their hats from our tomato stakes and I couldn’t miss the photo op. 

New siding … replacing the old aluminum siding with vinyl …100_4336

The original wood on the house is still in excellent condition.  Once the aluminum siding was all pulled off, I do admit to considering the idea of renovating the old original wool siding but then I came to my senses and realized that vinyl would be much easier to care for in future years.

100_4332 I did want all the windows to be framed, so they’ve used their own Amish hand-cut planks for the window frames.

I’m looking forward to the end of this week because the noise of hammers, saws, pounding and shaking is making me just a tad bit crazy. 

These guys arrive at 7 am in the morning which really messes up my morning wake-up routine.  Instead of a quiet cup of coffee on the side porch swing, I’m huddled up on the sofa sipping coffee surrounded by loud pounding.  It’s certainly not a good way to wake up.

There are other reasons for my quietness too.

I’ve been fighting a cold so it makes me a bit lazy.

We can find a cure to prevent tomato blight but we can’t find a cure to prevent/fight off a cold virus.  How wrong is that?

I’d much rather have tomato blight on my tomato plants than a cold.

Thankfully, we don’t have tomato blight on our plants yet, but from what I’ve been told, it spreads just as quickly and easily as a cold virus and it’s coming to our neighborhood very soon.  I have sprayed for the tomato blight so we’ll see how well $8.00 worth of fungicide works.

How did I so quickly get off the subject?

Ok, the next reason why I’ve been quiet is because of my husband.

For almost a year now, he and some of his co-workers have been planning a picnic get together for all the employees who work or have previously worked in their department.  My husband somehow became the one in charge of organizing this picnic.

Originally, it was estimated to be about 40-50 people.

That’s a pretty manageable number so I offered to make some cabbage & noodles and baked beans to go with their wieners and burgers and hot sausage.

Well, as word spread throughout the retirees, the phone calls started coming in … and the number of picnickers has grown to a little over 100.

That’s a lot of food to prepare!

The picnic is this Friday. I’m amazed at how well hubby is organizing this without becoming stressed.  If it were me making all of these decisions, I’d be crazed right now.  As it is, hubby tells me what he needs done and I help him get it done.

So the past couple days have been spent baking hundreds of brownies and cookies and shopping for all the things that are needed to make a picnic a picnic.

After Friday, I’ll have my time back.  As it is now, I better quit typing and go bake some brownies!


Happy Day Everyone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Pattern is Ready!

Scarecrows have been in my head for so many weeks now, I think I’m finally ready to move on to something else because ….

Finally, I have the “Scarecrow Jack in the Sunflower Patch” ready to sell now!

Before you know it, fall will be here so now is just the absolutely perfect time to get started on your fall decorating projects.

Here’s the special deal:

For the next few days, the pattern will sell for a special price of $8.50 each. That includes shipping.

Friday, the price will go up to the regular pattern price of $9.50.

This price is good for all of my lovely Canadian friends too. All other international customers will just have to pay $1 more for shipping. (email me for the revised invoice please)100_4309aaEBAY The finished size is 15” round. The pattern picture shows it made with 100% wool but this can very easily be made with woolfelt to save on expense.

Wool Kits

Thanks to my daughter Jennifer, I will have wool kits available for this also.

The kit will be $38 which includes the shipping cost and also the pattern and all of the wool that is needed to complete this candle mat including the hand-dyed green background wool, the black background wool and the black wool backing.

If you don’t wish to purchase the entire kit but only wish to purchase certain colors, such as the gold for the shirts or the red-brown tweed for the pants, just email before you order and I’ll send you the prices along with a revised invoice.

My email is International customers, please email me before purchasing so that I may send a revised invoice

To purchase either the pattern or the kit, just click on the Paypal button over there on the left. I accept personal checks too so just email me to get my mailing info.

Thanks to all!

Happy Day!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Scarecrow Jack In The Sunflower Patch (Tutorial Part 2)


We’re going to make some Sunflowers today.  I love Sunflowers.

The road that runs along our house used to be called Sunflower Road. I always envisioned planting Sunflowers along the whole length of our property, but…. well … poison ivy and big tree roots make me lazy.

But I use a lot of sunflowers in my designs. 

So I’ll finish up the tutorial for my newest design “Scarecrow Jack in the Sunflower Patch” today.  I’ll try to have the pattern ready for sale for either tomorrow or Wednesday, for sure.  I ran into some computer problems yesterday, which kept me from finishing up the writing of the instructions. 

The previous post was the tutorial to create the scarecrow.

100_4315 The sunflower grouping is a cinch compared to the scarecrow.

There are die cutters out there that easily cut flowers so if you have that available, then certainly use it to cut out the sunflower shapes.

Personally, I prefer the hand cut flowers because I like the look of imperfect flowers.   But the die cutters do save a lot of time especially if your fingers have trouble cutting fine details.


The instructions included with the pattern will give the exact measurement for the sunflower placement.  The sunflowers are attached by whip stitching around the centers.  The larger sunflower leaves are stitched on and now I’ll draw in the lines for the stems.

I prefer to use a chalk pencil to lightly draw in the line.  I’ve found that if I stitch without the drawn line, my stitching tends to get crooked. 


I stem stitched along the line and then I measured and drew in the line for the smaller sunflowers.

Remember, the instructions that come with the pattern will include the exact measurements for placing these stems.


Once the stems are finished the little sunflower leaves are stitched in place.

The outside edge blanket stitching is all that needs to be done now to finish the candle mat.


I do want to mention that this candle mat has a few different options for finishing.  I’ll show some pictures now so that you get the comparisons.

If you love those scarecrows but just want a simple, easy candle mat to show off the cute Scarecrow Jacks …..


Here’s the mat with just the scarecrows and the sunflowers.  The sunflower stems and the green scalloped background are left off.

It looks so very cute this way, with a lot less stitching and it saves on the cost for the backing.

Instead of costly wool, woolfelt can be substituted instead.  When the pattern instructions suggest steam pressing though … do not steam press that woolfelt.  Otherwise, the felt is a terrific alternative …and it’s more easily obtainable just by visiting your local Joann fabrics store.

Ok, moving on …


Here’s how the candle mat looks with the added green backing but without the sunflower stems and leaves.


And here’s the final option is all it’s detailed glory!

And you know what?  … Just the sunflower grouping without the scarecrows would make a really nice candle mat too!

As a pattern designer, one of the worst things that I would want to hear is that a customer started, but never finished one of my designs.

I think that a project sitting incomplete in a closet somewhere should be illegal! 

I want to give you options so that if you do happen to grow weary of stitching, you can still finish it and have a perfectly lovely candle mat without adding so many details. 

Ok, this completes the online pattern tutorial. 

The pattern for this, should be available for sale tomorrow or for sure by Wednesday, depending on how quickly I can get this to the printers today. 

I’ll also have a wool kit available for this too.

Happy Day everyone!