Friday, March 30, 2012

Do You Doodle?

I was sorting through my business bookkeeping files yesterday and came across my notebook that I used for a college business class that I took about about 2 years ago. 

Looking through it, I found it funny that I had more doodles drawn than I had notes from class. 

doodle I realized when I saw page after page after page of doodles, that I really miss doodling.  I don’t do it now simply because my fingers are busying stitching or typing, or doing paperwork.

As long as I can remember, even in elementary school, I would draw on paper while in class.   In high school, I would fill entire pages full of the stippling designs that are done in quilting.  I didn’t know then that it was a quilting technique.

I would draw that stippling in the tiniest loops and curves just to challenge myself to see how much I could get on one notebook sheet of paper. 

And it’s not that I was so bored that I would resort to drawing.  Doodling helped me to listen better.  The college class that I took was very interesting.  I learned a lot about running a business, copyrights and wrongs, business laws, marketing, taxes and bookkeeping.  The doodling just kept my fingers busy while my brain was sucking in all the things that I needed to know about running the business.

I used to take my sketch pad to church meetings so that I would have really nice paper to sketch on while sitting through long and sometimes controversial issues.  The doodling helped me to keep my mouth shut and my temper under control.  I was once elected to be the secretary of the one church committee.  I really really tried to take the minutes during the meeting, but with a pen in my hand, the note-taking became doodles.  I had to give up that position. 

I have a thick sketchbook filled with pictures that I drew during a rough time at church when half the church wanted to get rid of the pastor and the other half loved him so much they fought to keep him. Bad times…..  but the doodles and sketches were really good!  

During one particularly long meeting, I drew an entire wedding party of comical hippopotamus.  The bride was as pretty as a hippo could possibly be. And I drew big fancy letters that spelled out “keep your mouth shut”. And those big fancy letters helped me keep my mouth shut.

I have sketches of both my daughters that I did from their school pictures.  I tried to sketch my husband, but the way I drew his moustache made him look too much like Burt Reynolds and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. He doesn’t really look like Burt Reynolds but after sketching him I can see the resemblance in the moustache.  :) 

I have a sketch of our sweet cat, Skittles, that I did when she was just a kitten.  I have a really nice doodle drawing of our neighbors house.  I did that long ago while sitting in the kitchen, talking on the phone about PTA business.  I used colored oil pencils for that and it turned out really nice. 

I’ve had a lifetime of doodles and sketching and even though I’d never consider myself an artist, I do have a love for drawing.

I’m going to get back to doodling.  I’m going to head off to Michael’s Craft Store today to buy myself a nice sketch book and some good pencils. 

Even the word doodles makes me want to doodle now instead of type!


Happy Day everyone!  

and… I love you ladies who read.   I gave away 5 patterns from my newsletter contest and the additional comments that I got from a lot of the entries just warmed my heart and made me so happy.   I do believe I made out better than the pattern winners. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Springtime & Spring Clothespins

Here in Western Pa, we’ve been enjoying beautiful, spring weather. Unfortunately, since it is still March, it turned cold today but the warm sunny days we’ve had have been very much appreciated.

Warm sunny days are perfect days for dyeing wool!

drying wool dyeing!

It’s so much easier to be able to hang my sopping wet dyed wool out on the clothesline to dry rather than running the clothes dryer all day.  I don’t like to squeeze the rinse water out of the wool so right from the kitchen sink, out the back door and onto the line it goes, dripping in the sun.

Drying Pastel Wools

I can look out my kitchen window and see all the pretty colors that are gently blowing in the breeze.  Days like these, I love dyeing wool.

I love clothespins too.  But have you all noticed how new clothespins are so cheaply made? People don’t hang their clothes outside to dry anymore, so I think clothespin manufacturers don’t see the need to make quality clothespins.  I’ve looked everywhere for good heavy duty spring clothespins, but no luck.  These cheaply made pins work ok for my wool but it’s doubtful they’d be able to hold a pair of men’s jeans on the line … or a blanket. 

If anyone knows where I can buy some good, tight, spring-type clothespins, please let me know.


So, my website  now have these pretty pastel wools available.  More colors will be available soon so keep watch.  I’ll start off offering them as little bundles packages, but hope to have individual colors available in a few months … I need more warm sunny days!

sprintimegarden500 Later today, I’ll be adding the wool bundles for colors to make this “Springtime Garden” design. 


If you haven’t already signed up for my newsletter, please do! At the top of this page, on the left, just type in your email address and you’ll be added to the list. 

I’m almost ready to mail the newsletter out and it will include a contest to win a pattern of your choice so be sure to sign up.


Ok, that’s all for today!  Thank you ladies for all of your support.  My newest pattern, Pansy Garden has sold unbelievably well … all because of my blog readers.  I really REALLY appreciate your friendships and your kindness.

Happy Day Everyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pansy Garden! New Pattern!

Oh how we love to see those pansies outside this time of year.

Pansy 6

This pattern will show you petal by petal, with pictures, how to make these pansies look lifelike. 

I couldn’t decide whether I liked the candle mat black background or the white background, so I made them both!  So pretty!

The pattern also includes instructions to make the pansy into lapel pins which can also be used to decorate candles, like the picture shows, or as bowl fillers … lots of different ways to decorate with the individual pansies.

Finished size of the candle mat is about 13” across.  The pansy pin is the same size as a real pansy, approx 3” across.

As usual, this pattern is available for a special price of $8.50 until Thursday evening (March 22, 2012) at which time the price will go to the regular selling price of $9.50.  This price includes shipping for US & Canada.

WOOL pansy 5

I also have wool available for the pansy.  It’s 100% wool and I’ve hand-dyed  the colors specifically for these pansies.   The wool is available on my website HERE and is $8.00, including the $3.00 shipping cost for US.   For this price, you’ll get enough of the 3 colors to make one candle mat plus lots of extra for pansy pins.


I accept personal checks for payment too.  If you don’t do Paypal or credit cards, just email me for my mailing address …


Thank you ladies!


Happy Day filled with pansies!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time For An Update

You ladies probably already know this but it’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!
Rach, my daughter brought home an entire case of Tagalongs last night.  A friend of hers buys the cookies by cases, not boxes.  He is not only generously supporting the Girl Scout organization, he is generously supporting my hubby’s addiction to Taglongs by giving Rach a case of the cookies to bring home.
The really nice thing about Girl Scout cookies is that they freeze really well so we can buy a number of boxes now and save them for later.  The really BAD thing about freezing Girl Scout cookies is that they taste REALLY good when they are frozen.  Frozen Somoas are just exceptional!
I have a really good recipe for peanut butter cheesecake using Do-Si-Dos.  I’ll have to dig that one up and give it out to you ladies to try.
My sister, Casserole Carol, has worked for the Girl Scout Organization for many many years so I know how much the organization appreciates the cookie support every year.
Last week, we had one really nice sunny day and I spent the entire day dyeing up lots of wool.
CIMG1023 Lots of spring colors and Pansy colors were drying outside on my clothesline throughout the day and it looked so pretty. 
So yesterday, I had planned to spend the day updating my website with more wool kits and some hand-dyed wool. 
But when I got up and discovered that  it was absolutely beautiful outside, I decided to take the entire day off.  No phone or computer for the entire day because we were out enjoying the weather.  On the way home last night we stopped at a little roadside country restaurant. Oh my, just delicious homemade everything!  You can never go wrong with food at a little country …. oh wait, you can go very wrong eating a little roadside restaurants…we are careful and only stop at places that have lots of cars sitting outside.

It felt so good to get away from the business for the day and we both realize now that I need to do this at least one day a week.  Perhaps it will be every Sunday from now on, we’ll see.
Needless to say, I didn’t get the wool added to my website, but it is available and sometime this week, I’ll take the time to add it in.

My website address is  . If interested in wool for a reasonable price, just click on the “wool” button later in the week. 
For you ladies who have been so kindly nudging me to offer a pattern for the pansy candle mat that I show in my icon.

As promised, I am starting to work on it.  It’s not going to look exactly like the picture above though.  I changed up the design a bit.  Here’s a little sneak peak….
I hope to have the pattern ready to print by the end of the week and have it available for purchase by the beginning of next week, so keep watch ..  It really is glorious!  And, just working with the pretty pansy colors and stitching the  petals gives me that spring is in the air feeling.

And one last thing before I end this…. My website has a special page that is devoted to the works and art of my customers.  If you’ve made a design of mine and wish to share a picture of it with the world, please send the picture to me and I’ll post it.

I used to have a small collection of pictures from my customers in a file on my computer, but I’ve searched and searched and can’t find those pictures.  So if you don’t see your pictures that you sent, please resend.  Let’s help to make a big gallery of art on that webpage!

Happy Day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Needles & Threads !

I get asked quite frequently for recommendations for what size/type needles to use and what threads to use for stitching with wool.


It’s really just personal preference and how much money you wish to spend.  There are lots of different choices and the picture above shows just some.  In the picture is wool thread, DMC embroidery floss, DMC size 8 Pearl Cotton, and DMC size 5 Pearl Cotton.

My personal preference is ….


DMC size 8 Pearl Cotton thread. 

It’s doesn't tangle as easily as floss and you don’t have to mess with pulling apart strands.  The thread is tightly twisted so it makes it a stronger thread than floss. In my own opinion, I think it holds up better over time which is important if you’re making heirloom penny rugs.

The downside of pearl cotton is that it’s a lot more expensive than floss and it tends to be more difficult to find.  I have a really large stockpile of it but if I need particular colors, I keep watch on Joann Fabrics website for sales on it.  If bought with a free shipping coupon, it’s an excellent price.  Joann’s makes it really difficult to find the colors you need but the price makes it worth the time.   It’s on sale now! (March 10, 2012)


This is the thread that I most often suggest for stitchers to use.  It’s inexpensive, comes in a ton of different colors and most important, it’s really easy to find at any craft store.  I don’t use this much in my own stitching because I prefer the size 8 but I do use this if I don’t have the right color in the pearl cotton.  This floss seems to breed like bunnies in my thread bin.  I don’t know how I can accumulate so much because I really don’t use it that much! 

If you do have a big stash of brightly colors threads that you don’t use, throw the threads into a dye pot of hot water and a little Tan colored Rit Dye.  It mutes the colors nicely, making them more primitive colors.


This is a thicker thread than the size 8 pearl cotton.  I like to use this size for my outside edges because it lays so nice and is just the right thickness  for the edge.  I don’t normally use it for the appliqué stitching because generally, it’s a little too thick.  Like the size 8 pearl cotton, the thread is tightly twisted so it’s strong.  It’s a lot easier to find colors of this than the size 8 .  The basic colors can be found at craft stores.


I really love working with wool threads.  Because it’s wool fiber, the colors are so pretty…muted and soft.  I’ve found that the wool threads that I’ve used generally tend to be not as strong as the cotton thread. But just the feel of the wool thread going through wool is soo nice. :)

It’s costly too but try looking for vintage spools of it.  I’ve have a pretty big collection of them with wool thread. Anytime I’m out at an antique show, I look for the spools with woolen threads and yarns on them.  Just the cost of wool thread alone makes these vintage spools a bargain!..usually $1-$4 a spool.  I’ve never paid more than $4 for one.

Of course there are lots of other types of threads that can be used.  Let me know what threads you prefer to use….we can compare!

Now for needles…

NEEDLES I honestly don’t pay attention to what size or type needle that I use.  I have about two dozen of them planted in my big pincushion and just grab one up without paying attention. 

I’m pretty sure that most of them are like this package of Chenille needles.  I use an assorted size of needle eyes though, not just this 24 size.   It’s all personal preference, really.  I prefer to use a needle that’s worn in a bit… I stab myself too much so the brand new, really sharp needles injure my fingers too much.   The pincushion that I use is filled with natural wool roving so the lanolin in the wool keeps my needles and pins in really nice condition.  I can use the same needle for years.  I get a lot of stitching mileage out of those needles!


Happy Day Everyone!