Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Power Launch!

So much for a soft launch of The Nebby Needle.  It has taken off like a shot!!!  I really wasn't going to jump into this until after the first of the year.  I wanted to have enough designs ready to go so that I would release a new one about once a month....and stay well ahead of the game.  Well...I've released 3 designs in just a couple of weeks! 
(You can find my designs at:  Dyeing To Stitch in Virginia Beach, VA; and Just Cross Stitch in Lederach, PA)

The first release was Cabin In The Pines
Then came True Friend

And just today Nanu's Hankie!

It's all very exciting...and exhausting!  Think I'll breathe a bit...oh wait...there are two more currently in the time to breathe!!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nature Nerd

I'm a nature nerd.  Luckily I have a friend who shares my excitement for large acorn caps and such.  On my walk this morning I resisted picking up fall leaves for about a block and a half.  Once I started I couldn't stop.  Embarrassed to encounter a passerby as my bouquet grew, it didn't stop me from adding to it!

Nature's color palette is so inspiring!  

The veining of this selection caught my eye!  Nature just knows what colors look great together!!!

So many shades of yellow and reds!

Even the browns are beautiful!  Would they think I was crazy if I strode into Nordstrom with a leaf and said "I want a pair of boots this very color"?

Go take a walk!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Soft Launch

About to "soft launch" my new cross-stitch design company:  The Nebby Needle!  I have one design packaged and ready to go...will deliver it Thursday.  I wasn't going to jump in quite this soon...I wanted to have more ready to go...but an opportunity presented itself and...well...HERE I GO!

This is the first design from The Nebby Needle:  Cabin In The Pines

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cross-Stitch Design

Just returned from the Shepherd's Bush Cross-Stitch Retreat in Utah.  If you're not familiar with Shepherd's Bush, they are cross-stitch designers extraordinare!  They have a shop in Ogden, UT to die for!  The retreat is held every other year in Park City and is just heaven for stitchers!!!

This retreat the "Fun Girls", as my friends Jenny, Barbie and I are called (we were dubbed by Ann from R&R at a previous retreat), were in the track with the teachers:  Shepherd's Bush, R&R, and The Thread Gatherer.  Our projects are fabulous and I can't wait to finish them (will post those pictures when I'm finished).

I was able to show the gals from Blackbird Designs some of my "enhanced" work.  Two pieces I "tweaked" of their's.  They were impressed and told me I was ready to do some designing of my own!  It was like receiving permission to go ahead and do it!!!!  What have I been waiting for?

Here is a picture of a design of my own that I made up as gifts for my Fun Girl stitching sisters (didn't show Blackbird these...don't know why?):

Spent yesterday charting out another design idea.  I'm on my way!!!!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fig Success!

I found more figs!  I bought 10 figs...again, at 79 cents each. (I've got to buy a fig tree!)  The next morning I used the Fig Pickle recipe from the Ball Canning Book and...delicious!!!  This is the amazing taste I remember from last summer.  Nothing like Fig Newtons...which is what I think of as the taste of figs.  You can Google "Fig Pickles" and get pretty much the same recipe I used.  You gotta try it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I guess it was last summer while visiting my in-laws that I tasted the most amazing spiced figs that a friend of theirs had canned.  This friend has a fig tree with an abundance of figs!  I have been in search of this recipe since then...this friend seems to think no one would want to take the time to make these so hasn't shared the recipe.  Well...I found, what I thought was the recipe.  Finally found some figs at the grocery posted price.  There were 15 figs in a box and we took them to the check-out.  Of course the price didn't scan...they looked them up...the green figs didn't they rung them as black figs...79 cents EACH!  Whatever...these spiced figs were amazing that I had tasted.  Three days later when I had time to make the recipe, five of the figs were too mushy to use...threw them away...79 cents each.  Put together the recipe and read that you had to boil the figs in this concocted syrup 10 minutes a day for 3 days...okay, did that.  When they cooled the third day, I just had to try one!  THICK syrup...super sweet...not the same amazing spiced figs I had tasted at my in-laws house.  On with the recipe search.  Bought the Ball Jar Canning Book and there is a spiced fig recipe in there that I will try when I can find figs again!!!!!  Hope they're cheaper this time!

Monday, August 2, 2010


One of my priorities for a new home is to have a porch.  I have been hauling around an oak porch swing I bought when I lived in Blowing Rock (northwestern NC) in 1979...have not had a porch since!  A year or so ago we actually ran into the guy at a street fair in Hendersonville, NC that made it .  He is still in business...expanded quite a bit.  I told him I had one of his swings and it turns out that it is one of his first swings.  He was very interested in it and offered to give me a brand new one for the old one...he would love to have some of his firsts.  There is no way I could part with this swing I have been hauling around for 31 years! 

The house we want has a very nice porch!  Along with the coveted oak porch swing, I will hang this cross-stitch piece I just finished.  I'll be taking it to the framer this week.  The buttons in the piece are from my grandmother's button box.  In case you can't read the saying it says:  "You don't have to have tickets to listen to crickets"  Is that not perfect for a porch?!?!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Was out in the gardens all day yesterday...weeding.  Gardening is my yoga.  (Of course, we don't have an acre and a half.)  I have been "studying" shade gardening for 6 years now coveting my ferns and moss.  (The Waynesville property is ALL sun.)  It's also been 6 years of fighting with the "critters" (deer, bunnies, moles, chipmunks, ground hogs...and whatever else invades my gardens in the night).  The deer must be hungry...they are eating some of the things they don't usually barberry bushes.  They've nibbled the black eyed susans and the monk weed.  Time to spray the deer fence!  Shredding Irish Spring soap around your plants helps as well. (my father made the cute sign )

My hydrangea has bloomed after two years of nothing!!!!  Isn't it cute!!!!  It is my fault for the two years of nothing...I pruned...actually, cut it back thinking the bare woody stems were dead.  It's important to know that mophead hydrangeas do not have to be pruned back - EVER - unless they are very old. Removing dead stems is the only pruning that must be done for the health of the plant, and these can be removed at any time. Dead blooms can also be removed at any time. Guess I didn't "study" this info.

Did you know that gardening and home canning can lower your grocery bill? Burpee Seed Company ( estimates that for every $50 spent on seeds and fertilizer, a gardener can yield $1250 worth of produce. As it’s not feasible for a family to enjoy all of that fresh produce all at one time, home canning allows you to preserve that fresh, home grown flavor from your garden for use all year long, and saving on your grocery bill.  Will be "studying" canning (I did can some homemade soup once for my daughter to take back to college with her)!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our New Adventure

I've decided to blog about our new adventure...moving to the mountains. Well, at this point, it is hoping to move to the mountains! I enjoyed "blogging", via email, about our 3 years in Europe (2 in Slovakia and 1 in Serbia - 2001-2004) and my journey through breast cancer (2006). Friends have encouraged me to write here's the latest in my life:

Since my husband has been out of work for a year (and not finding anything worthwhile in his field), we are moving on to "Plan B". Our intent is to create our own "job" a Hobby Shop in Waynesville, NC. The "hobbies" at this point are mainly model trains. This may become a his/her hobby shop and include needlework (cross-stitch, etc...dabbling in cross-stitch design as well)...we'll see if we've bitten off more than we can chew! We'd also like to "drop off the grid"...become as self-sufficent as we power, rain barrels, composting, plant our "food", can that food...ala "Animal, Mineral, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Mail-order chickens are not out of the realm of this pursuit! See what I mean...a lot of chewing going on here!

Waynesville, NC is a small town about a half hour west of Asheville nestled in a valley between the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains. Very appealing! Cute shops, great restaurants...haven't seen too many signs of economic downturn since our first visit over a year ago. We put our current house (near Pittsburgh) on the maket about two weeks ago. We have found a house we like in Waynesville with 1 1/2 acres and an awesome view of Cold Mountain. They rejected our offer, contingent on the sale of our house, but we're hoping it will still be on the market when our's does sell (their's has been on the market just over a year now).

This is the view of Cold Mountain from the front porch of the house we want! A nice place to sit and sip a glass of wine after a long day of gardening, canning, designing, running a shop, shipping trains for internet sales...feeding the chickens (?)...cutting the acre and a half of rolling hills of grass! We must be OUT OF OUR MINDS!!!!!