Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Along I-81

Finally slowed down enough to share the past few weeks with you . . . without being rain soaked . . . although it's not looking too good out there.  Between the hubs and I, we are wearing-out the road surface of I-81.  He's been spending time driving back and forth to Allentown, PA with work and I recently went to Connecticut to visit our daughter and another quick trip to help my parents move back to their condo from their apartment in a retirement home . . . AND I have been a printing fool filling more orders for Hoffman!

On my way up to Connecticut I stopped in Middletown, VA at Valley Needleworks.  I had received an email from the owner (Jennifer) who was interested in carrying my designs.  I took a chance that she would be there and just dropped in.  She wasn't in, but I left each of my patterns with Karen and the finished pincushion from "My Garden" saying I would be back that Saturday on my way home to see if they were interested.

I also stopped in Scranaton, PA to walk around The Christmas Shops (not at all just a Christmas shop) and stay the night (just can't do 12 to 13 hours in the car in one day).  On to Connecticut in the morning . . . just 3 hours more!

I LOVE mother/daughter time!  We had a lot of fun simply running errands, eating vegan food, watching movies, and painting pottery at one of those "paint your own" pottery places . . . can't wait to see our final products!  When we checked out, the woman who owns the place commented that she didn't realize we were mother and daughter . . . she thought we were just friends.  I LOVE our "friend time" together!

On the way back I stayed with the hubs' cousin near Harrisburg, PA and had dinner with her, her mother and her mother's grief counselor (having recently lost her husband . . . a sweetheart of a man).  Back at her house we enjoyed an evening of card games (with her hubs as well) . . . 7's and Golf . . . I'm a great lover of game nights!

The next day I again stopped at Valley Needleworks and got to meet Jennifer . . . instant friends!  They now have my charts for sale and we're discussing a trunk show and possible teaching weekend this fall.  It's a cute shop in an old building in a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Looking forward to stopping in to say hello on our frequent drives along I-81.

Got back in the car last weekend and hit I-81 again to visit my parents and help them pack.  I'm not happy that they are moving out of the retirement home they've lived in the last 14 months.  Their condo hasn't sold and it makes more sense financially to just move back there.  In their mid-80's and progressively losing their physical and mental abilities this is not where I want them to be . . . they have not lost their stubbornness however.  I just don't know how much longer they will be able to live without some form of assistance.  I may be making this 2 1/2 hour drive a lot more frequently!

Dinner at the retirement home dining room (meals and housekeeping are included) was a sad comedy.  The parade of walkers make their way in and find their "usual" tables.  The residents that share my parents' table also share a similar degree of dementia and the conversation was almost like a stuck vinyl record . . . I was asked 3 times by the woman sitting next to me where I lived.  None of them seemed to be aware that the conversation kept repeating itself.  It is very painful to watch your parents decline when they were once very active, sharp and vibrant people.  There is something to be said for dieing young!

I don't want to end on a sad note . . . so . . . since I've been home these past few days I planted some flowers to greet us at the back door (the door we generally use to enter and exit our house) . . .

. . . and the hydrangeas, knock-out roses and butterfly bushes are blooming their hearts out!
 Have a nice day . . . now where is my Tennessee sunshine?


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rain Kissed Leaves

Decided to run errands today . . . get more printer ink . . . more card stock . . . general office supplies.  Needed some groceries.  Bath and Body Works was having a huge sale with some of their discontinued scents.   (Don't you just hate it when they discontinue one of your favorites?  Rain Kissed Leaves . . . why? . . . I can't be the only one who liked it.)  Rain Kissed . . . that should be a clue as to how the day would be.

I got an email from Staples saying that you'd get 20% off of everything that would fit in one of their reusable bags . . . okay . . . worth the hour's drive to the closest Staples.  Got there . . . without the coupon.  I don't have a smart phone or even internet service on my dumb phone.  Luckily the cashier took pity on me when I told her I live an hour away and used her smart phone to access my email and get the coupon code.  Whew!

I just hate using an umbrella with your hands full . . . it was an effort getting that heavy bag in the car trying to stay dry!

Decided to go to Bath and Body Works before the grocery store.  Yet another heavy bag with 6 Rain Kissed Leaves shower gels and 6 body lotions . . . it's discontinued . . . gotta stock up!  Well . . . it was pouring now . . . like monsoon pouring . . . blowing . . . pooling and puddling . . . more like a rushing river in the parking lot.  Made it back to the car soaked from the shoulders down . . . feet squishing.  Got the heavy bag in the backseat.  Got in and tried to close the umbrella.  Why did I try a new hand lotion ! ?   My hands were so slippery I couldn't get the umbrella closed.  More soaking from the rain . . . the rain running off the umbrella on me as I pulled it into the car across my lap.

I can't go to the grocery store like this . . . I'm soaked!  Forget it . . . I'll pull something together for dinner . . . we'll survive!

Home now and had to change my clothes . . . all of my clothes . . . everything!  I'm dry now . . . fresh ink in the printer . . . lots of fun office supplies (don't you just love office supplies!) to put away . . . and smelling like Rain Kissed Leaves.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Playing In The Big Leagues

I've hesitated going with a distributor in this business because I was afraid I might run out of ideas for patterns (not a problem . . . my head is overflowing!) . . . and I'm a control freak . . .  I admit it.  But one thing I'm not . . . is a sales person.  I love visiting the shops, meeting the owners and shoppers,  feeling the good vibes of the shop and knowing my patterns will have a good home there (yes, they feel like my babies).  Then . . . I'm no good with the follow-up.  Do people like them?  Did they sell?  Do you want some more?  Remember me?  Am I afraid of rejection?  YEP!  Luckily I've had re-orders, but it's not because I'm a go-getter!

So, I've decided to try the Big Leagues!  I'm going with Hoffman Distributing Company.  They can reach many more shops then I could find the time to visit . . . not that I wouldn't enjoy visiting them all!  And they can handle the rejection without sharing it with me . . . chicken little that I am.  Of course, if they never re-order any that would be rejection in a big way!!!

So here is my first Hoffman order awaiting the trip to their warehouse!  I've been a printing fool!  I've worn off my fingerprints, and nearly blistered each tip, printing, folding, bagging and bundling 336 patterns!  It's been a sweat shop around here this weekend!!!
Bye-bye little ones.  Hope you find a nice shop to await your final adoption . . . a good home with a loving stitcher to bring you to life.  I hope they share your picture with me!

Your mama loves you . . . ~*

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The New Forty?!

I've heard that 60 is the new 40 . . . well . . . right now I feel about 90!  I've been outside . . . in the heat . . . gardening all day . . . and feel every bit of my 63 years and then some!

The previous owner of our house was into shrubs in a big way . . . all planted too close together.  I'm more of a "flower child" and prefer cutting gardens.  So, out comes a few bushes and in goes a few flowers.  I moved one boxwood and dug out 3 other bushes, grass, clover and Bermuda runners until my hands and back ached.
Then I planted some peonies . . . that I'm sure won't do much this year.  They're still so small.  My dear friend Diane, who recently came to visit, brought me a very pretty hanging basket that I have nowhere to hang . . . so I divided it and planted it at either end of the peonies and put a few more petunias and dusty miller in there for color . . . mulched . . . wiped the sweat that was running in my eyes with a towel I soaked with the hose . . . yeah, it was hot!   And may I say I was filthy in the end and it will take days to get my nails clean!  I did wear gloves most of the time, but there's just something about the feel of dirt in your hands that I just can't resist.  It doesn't look like much right now . . . but, give it a little time!

Last week I took the weedeater to a small front garden . . . again full of shrubs . . . that I'm expanding.  Cut the grass as short as possible, dumped a heavy covering of grass clippings and covered it in cardboard.  The hope is that it will smother the grass and then I can rent a tiller (and save my back) and dig up the expansion . . .  move some more bushes and plant some BLOOMING FLOWERS!!!!  I attempted to dig it out last summer . . . it was just too hot last summer!  
See my little fig tree still caged in there on the right.  It has now reached the top of the cage and I'm going to have to buy some taller fencing!!!

My daddy made this sign for me several years ago . . . I love it!  The butterfly bush next to it is getting so big (along with the one next to it) it's covering up the bunny and about to overtake the sign.   Guess I'm going to have to move them too!

The hubs gave me an old tool caddy that I planted with impatiens and diamond frost for the back porch . .  I love those tiny white flowers!
I put the diamond frost in with more impatiens on the front porch too.
The hydrangea are starting to bloom . . . can't wait.  They look like they may be even fuller than last year!
My friend Holly (of Misty Hill Studio . . . check out her cross-stitch designs at: said she thought a lot of stitchers also liked to garden.  I find that to be true along with being readers . . . I know all my stitching friends do all three.  How 'bout you?

Gotta go put my feet up . . . sit a spell . . . and stitch!             ~*

Monday, June 3, 2013

Frames, Critters and Gardens

I picked up some framed pieces from my framer (The Carriage House, Kingsport, TN).  She does such a great job!  I also found a vintage oar at an antique shop in Kingsport.  I've been looking for one ever since we moved to Boone Lake.  It will be hung above the sofa in the living room as soon as I find the right mounting hardware . . . looking for just the right brass oar mounts.
All are Blackbird Designs.  The first one and last one are from their Honeysuckle Manor - Samplers and Projects in Vintage Style book.  The last one is called Honeysuckle Manor and is an adaptation of Louisa Bell's sampler.
I actually changed this one quite a bit.  I wasn't a big fan of the asymmetrical look and moved some things around.  I'm pleased with the way it turned out.

This design was inspired by Louisa Bell's sampler using the same border.  I personalized it with where we used to live in PA.

This one is Winter Wonderland.  I did my initials in the alphabet in red instead of the random letters they did in red.
Now to find wall space!

We've had a critter problem.  A groundhog decided he wanted to live under the outbuilding and dug himself a big hole under the cement slab . . . right next to the door!  The hubs has always enjoyed that movie Caddy Shack and decided he'd pick up some smoke bombs and relive part of the movie . . . I'm not a fan of the movie nor the smoke bomb scene!!  Luckily instead he called in the professionals who set live traps and has . . . so far . . . caught a groundhog and a raccoon at the site!  They suspect there may be another groundhog and are continuing to monitor the trap.
 Now if they could just come catch some of the buzzards!

My new design is printed and packaged and ready to go!  I changed the door hanger a bit . . . wasn't crazy about the finish . . . like it better now.  Please feel free to be creative in your finishing and send your photos to me . . . dieing to see what you come up with!