Friday, February 22, 2019

Just tinkering

It has been one of those seasons. Trying to figure out where things are at (metaphorically and literally). For example. This morning I finished up the next big design for release. Reproduction style prayer that has been often requested. I bought a frame for it before the move. It's a 16x20 frame. There aren't that many places it could be hiding or boxed or placed!!! It is likely somewhere in the garage, but at this point I'm justifying a trip to Hobby Lobby to replace it because I can't put my hands on it right now and I'm anxious to get it framed. I probably unpacked it and put it somewhere completely logical (at the time).

I've also been getting things ready for the new year of trunk shows and fun with models. I've been updating charts, correcting information for companies that have sold or moved, and playing with colors on some of my older small designs. I'll take those along as car projects. This beauty will be travelling in the 2019 trunk show:
It is MBT-213 Choose Joy, done on 30 ct. Weeks Dye Works linen with red, green and bronze threads. I wanted to show this design in a square frame, instead of the round on the model, and show how much the feel of a design can change by tinkering with the colors. The original:
The floral round series has been so much fun for me. The simple phrases reflect what I am going through and what I am holding to.

It has also been the time of preparing new inventory for the trunk shows assortments and testing out new accessories. The rabbit regal pins have been a great success and I just started working on a new pin - oh, deer!
It isn't the web ready picture but he's just so cute I had to share :-)

Friday, February 1, 2019

February New Releases

February sneaked up on me... It seems like January was just yesterday. Oh, wait, it was! Would it be fair to say that it seems like January of 2018 was just yesterday? Our year is speeding by. Doodlebug is taking on new projects and it is keeping me out of the house for most days of the week. My truck has become a mobile office and I am getting a lot of stitching done on smaller projects. I do miss working on the big prayer design that is on my stand at home. Today I managed five whole stitches on it before I was distracted. That's life :-)  Now, on to the new!!!

MBT-219 Still Waters
I just don't think there could ever be enough of the 23rd Psalm hanging on my walls or saturating my life each day. When I'm feeling bone weary I know I can find restoration in Him. Model stitched on 28 ct. jobelan with Weeks Dye Works thread. It is a companion design to MBT-183 Trust in Him, MBT-192 Hope and a Future, and MBT-211 My Soul Finds Rest.

MBT-220 I Should Quit
Am I the only one with days like this. The days when you have major car repairs, pay the bill, and a coupon for the repair place arrives in the mail that afternoon (no kidding, that was my day today)... Today may be a good day to just quit! Through the move I have felt like I am always three steps behind. Yet I keep striving to get ahead of it all. At some point I should probably quit while I'm behind and just stitch. Model stitched on 32 ct. jobelan with Weeks Dye Works thread. It will perfectly fit a 5x7 frame when stitched on 32 ct.

MBT-221 Cherish Friends
The past few months have been pretty raw with leaving a lot of friends in Idaho. It is a good thing we now have unlimited text because I can't go a few hours without pestering one (or more!) of them. This design, the third in the circle series, reminds me to cherish each friend and the time with them. Model stitched on 32 ct. linen with Gentle Art Sampler Threads. It is a companion design to MBT-213 Choose Joy and MBT-217 Love Completely (and a fourth one was started this week!)

MBT-222 Fowl Friends
And back to the snark. Oh, boy, does this design have a story behind it. It all started with a coyote attack. This past summer my chickens were doing their free range chicken thing - eating bugs, fertilizing the yard, and being happy. In the middle of the day a dear friend came over and interrupted the destruction of my flock. Out of my eight hens, we found three dead, one severely injured, and three in the coop. One was missing. Dear friend gave me the best comfort she could - hope. She told me about Schrodinger's Cat. It is the idea (on the most basic level) that without confirming that the chicken was alive or dead, I could believe that it was alive because I couldn't know for certain. The missing hen did find her way home, much to my relief. For the injured hen, one friend brought her husband over to give the bird eleven stitches while the friend who helped me scour the property for an hour to locate the birds assisted that day and came back every day for a week to help me give her daily antibiotic injections. For a chicken. This brings us to Schrodinger's Chicken. I got a mood in early December that I needed to do something special for my two fowl helping friends. I made this little framed piece for each of us. Above the hens are vibrant and alive, below... well... It is a little twisted but that is why it comes with two other very sweet designs! I miss my chickens, my fowl friends, and this is a celebration of them. Chicks rule! Models stitched on 32 or 36 ct. linen with Weeks Dye Works thread.

Now for the accessories:

Funky Chunky VII

Regal Pins - Spring Tulip
Regal Pins - Bunny Love
Specialty Bead Fob Bunny Love
Regal Pins - Elephant Dance
Specialty Bead Fob Elephant Dance
Bronze Rabbit Hat Pins in Pink and Green

Needle Minder Art Deco

Mini Needle Minder Bronze Butterfly

Needle Minder Valentine
Mini Needle Minder Flamingo

There is life in a nutshell! Blessings to you in your stitching endeavors.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

December New Releases

What is the most normal thing to do while in the middle of boxes and mess, trying to figure out where everything is both in the house and in the new town?!? Release new designs and accessories! Of course that was the most logical thing to do when I can't find half of the kitchen stuff and still have boxes everywhere :-) 

Part of my theme for this batch of releases is sacrifice, the other part is prayer, and lots of struggle. Each one a reminder to myself. These were designed during that first week of our house being sold, knowing we would be leaving an amazing community and my struggle with doing what was clearly God's plan while being selfishly tied to things and people that I loved. Having to take the action of rejoicing, when I wanted to tantrum, take the action of love, when I wanted to be closed within myself, and not letting the troubles of this world keep me from seeing the greater glory that is in the next.

MBT-216 Pray Without Ceasing
Verses from I Thessalonians 5:16-18. Model stitched on 32 ct. Queen Anne's Lace jobelan with Weeks Dye Works thread. This fits a 5x7 frame that I found at JoAnn's.

MBT-217 Love Completely
A companion design to MBT-213 Choose joy. Jean at The Attic, in Arizona, got a preview of this design and stitched it on 56 ct. linen. It is an amazing finish and gave me such a smile (check out her upcoming newsletter)! Model stitched on 32 ct. Cafe Mocha country french linen with Gentle Art Sampler Threads.

MBT-218 Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled
Verse from John 14:27 and a companion design to MBT-109 Revelation. Model stitched on 35 ct. Parchment linen by Weeks Dye Works and stitched with Weeks Dye Works thread. The frame is one from Hobby Lobby that I spray painted matte black.

There are also a few new accessories

Chatelaines Sassy, Bluebird, Bluebonnet:

Whimsy Full Length and Mini Fobs (perfectly match the adorable pin set):

Needle Minders Kitten, Minis and Unicorn:

There are already new designs in the works, each reflecting a lot of what I'm going through. The next snarky ones should be very entertaining! I spent three days alone in the truck, on the drive down, and that time within my head led down some strange rabbit trails. All I'm lacking is time to do the stitching.

We are settling in. We have a lead on a new piano teacher, although it comes with a drive to Austin. The house has had some issues and it has meant a lot of time cleaning just to get our stuff in. We are waiting on delivery of a dining table and bookcases, so we are joyfully using the camp table and just ignoring the stacks of boxes. Thanksgiving was a hoot as we reconnected with family. I haven't laughed so hard or so much in a long time. The cousins all hit it off and it was all blessing.

Some great news is that we are settling into a new church. It felt like home the first week. The fellowship was sweet, the teaching was Bible based, and I'm grateful. It was so strange to sit next to my husband for worship and teaching. Usually I'm up front for worship and then he is up there for teaching. To be able to hold hands while listening to the Word was beautiful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Closing for two weeks

It is time for us to get packed up and headed to Texas. I've been busy ignoring the packing, instead spending my time working on new releases, so look for some new designs to come out in December. It is so strange to think of how in just five weeks time our life has taken such a dramatic turn. I am trusting God, that it is His plan, but there are moments when my humanness comes out and I struggle with the loss of being in such an amazing community. There have been a lot of goodbyes, a lot of tears, and a lot of hopeful expectation for the new steps in our journey of faith.

Today I was sent a picture of a finish by a kind lady named Joanna. She merged two of my patterns together to make a completely unique and stunning gift for her mom. With her permission I am delighted to share her finish:
With that I say...
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night,
I want to stitch, but will pack the boxes tight.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu,
Adieu, adieu, to leave just makes me blue.

But I will trust and count the many blessings with gratefulness :-) I will be closed until November 21 in order to make the transition. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

On the road again...

In the words of Willie Nelson... On the road again.  I just can't wait to get off the road again. Saying goodbye to another batch of friends. And I dread having to get all unpacked again.

Oh, wait, that was MY interpretation of that song based on my life experience. It's that time again - we are moving! Life is life and we have much for which to be grateful. Hubby has a severe allergy in this area of the country that is causing massive damage. It is attacking his joints and insides and has become life threatening. We figured we would have to move before next summer, but God had a very different plan. In the past four weeks we went from planning our holidays here to having our house sold and planning a move. We weren't on the market, we had barely begun to think of staging the house and readying the property, but God had a plan. In two weeks we will be making the journey back down to Texas.

I am grateful that we now know what has been causing so many issues for so many years. I am grateful that we know what to look for in doodlebug because she is showing some of the same issues. I am grateful that God is revealing the very next step we need to take (although I tend to be a five step planner so that would be helpful...). We have a rental lined up that is abundant for our needs. We will be fifteen minutes from family. There will be two amazing needlework shops within a short drive (I haven't lived by a LNS in seven years!). As doodlebug starts thinking college and career, there will be great schools in her areas of interest (concert piano, home design and animal science). 

I've been working on new designs this past month, trying to get things ready for me to stitch while we are in transition. I figured something really big would make sure that I wouldn't finish the project too soon...
I did also create three new smaller designs and already finished two of them. Now I have ideas for another small one and may try to get that ready for the move. The JCS ornament issue request came early this year and I have finished up that ornament and have it ready for mailing. From the sound of all of that stitching you would think I'm trying to avoid packing or something ;-)

All that to say I ask for your patience over the coming weeks as I am packing, shutting down for a bit, moving, and trying to resettle. MBT will be closed from November 7-21. I don't have a new work address yet but will work on that for when we get there. We are trying to spend as much time with friends and family before we leave and it is hard. So many lasts - last time leading worship at church, last time volunteering, last piano concerts, last home school PE, last time hubby preached at church, last craft group. We are going to miss so much but are trusting that there will be good in all things. They may not be comfortable things, or easy things, but ALL things work together for the good of those who believe. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

September New Chart and Accessory Releases

Hold onto your hats, we've got a lot of new goodies! I've been working hard on everything in life - home, family, community - and I managed to squeeze in some stitching last month. Since May I've been averaging an hour per week of time with needle and thread, and that just wasn't enough. The last week of August I set my mind to finishing up projects and ignored all things housework. My vacuum's response to that brief strike was to break the very next time I used it. Ugh! So go grab a cup of your favorite tea or coffee and settle in... you may be here awhile :-)

MBT-212 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
This has been my piano lesson piece. I've been working on this steadily since I designed it in April. Each week I worked in one hour of stitching, during the doodlebug's lesson, and it slowly came together. The border is beautiful and I love how perfectly it works with the frame. Fabric is by Lakeside Linens, 32 ct. examplar vintage. Thread is by The Gentle Art. Frame by Green Tree Gallery, a standard 8x10, and found at Hobby Lobby. Stitch count is 135w x 103h.

MBT-213 Choose Joy
I found these adorable round frames at Craft Warehouse in Boise, when we were visiting there last month. While going through various craft stores I've noticed a lot of round frames available so keep an eye out for those perfect finds! The thread colors are easily adjusted to match your frame and I listed different fabric count finished sizes so you can adjust it to fit your frame. Fabric is by Wichelt, 32 ct. country french linen, Mocha. Thread is by The Gentle Art. Stitch count is 63w x 63h.

MBT-214 My Soul Will Rejoice - Psalm 35:9
The past few months have brought a lot of changes to our future plans (more on that later) and this verse has been my cry. I will choose to rejoice. In the struggles and discomforts I will keep my eyes on God and know that His plan is perfect. Fabric is by Wichelt, 28 ct. hand dyed jobelan, thyme. Thread is by Weeks Dye Works. Stitch count is 69w x 69h.

MBT-215 Stash Today, Stitch Tomorrow
So many days all I get to do is look longingly at my threads and fabric and plot all sorts of creativities that can come from them, but not actually do anything with them. That has been most of my summer. There are also the times when pulling together the materials is as much or more satisfying than finishing the piece. That is this design! Fabric is by Wichelt, 32 ct. hand dyed jobelan, queen anne's lace. Thread is by Weeks Dye Works. Frame is by Green Tree Gallery, a standard 5x7, and found at Hobby Lobby. Stitch count is 97w x 65h. This is a companion design to MBT-149 The Best Things in Life.

SO... notice a theme? "What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer," "Choose Joy," "My Soul WILL Rejoice." Part of our spring was the delight of settling into our new-to-us home, building my dream garden and tending to the wonderful fruits it is producing, raising our chicken flock, and continuing to be blessed by the community in which we live. This coming year we are looking at another move, due to family health issues, and, while knowing that there is greatness in His plan, there is grief for what we will be leaving behind. Another step on a journey of faith.

Ready for accessories? There are bunches of new one (how was that for a slick change of topic?)

Rabbit Hat Pins

Floral Hat Pins

Lights of Christmas Needle Minders

Cute and Colorful Pin Set Anemone

Perfectly Pretty Pin Set Whimsy

Gingher Scissor Fob for Eleanor - Ellie's Dance and Petit Ellie's Dance

Regal Pins Angels - also in pink and purple

There are even more new accessories shown at in the What's New section, but these are the highlights! All of these are available through your favorite needlework store and I hope you find something just right for your own stash or as a gift for a friend. God bless.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Beautiful new fobs and chatelaines

I've been trying for months to get together some new chatelaine offerings, as well as a new Funky Chunky mini fob set. Months!!! What happened, you ask? Spring happened. Spring. The desperate need for a garden area that is safe from deer, turkeys, and chickens. My cry out to dig in the dirt and plant seeds. It has been a crazy rush to build the structure in time for planting, but it is done! I have a (prayerfully) deer safe enclosure with nine raised beds and oodles of the most adorable little green things popping out of the soil. I even got a goat!
He's a cutie. Doesn't eat much, keeps to himself, and is very quiet. We live below the road, so everyone driving by can see just about everything we do in the yard. I move the goat from box to box so I can take joy in the expressions on people's faces while they think we have a live goat eating everything in our garden.

My update for My Big Toe is accessories!!! I have updated all of the chatelaine pictures on the website, so you can better see all of the beautiful bead colors. Three new creations have been added to the chatelaine line.
Chatelaine - Flutterby

Chatelaine - Java (matches the coffee mini fob!)

Chatelaine - Fuchsia

Also new is a set of Funky Chunky Mini Fobs. From left to right, there is a pink Hawaiian flower with a circular 'hope' charm, fall colored beads with an acorn charm, shades of blue with a circle of dolphins charm, and soft purple and green with a floral charm.

I look forward to the release of the new Ginghers and will post a pic here when I have a fob ready for them. Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New patterns for April 2018

A wonderful spring to you! We have had an uncommonly wet spring this year, but the sun is starting to shine regularly and I've been able to spend hours and hours outside. Our hens are loving their freedom from snow and are doing their best to help with pest control. Both our string mower and push mower started up without issue after their winter hibernation, so the yard is all mowed and the weeds sure look pretty when they are all the same height ;-)

A blessing of the rain was more time inside to stitch! This batch of releases has four designs that all work into a series or have a companion design. I have already put the first few stitches in the next batch of releases, but now we have sunshine and it is beautiful so the stitching will likely take a back burner for a bit.

 MBT-208 Let It Begin With Me
This design was so much fun. It is a take off on "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me," but it better fits my personality. With the saying "Let there be caffeine on earth and let it begin with me" it fits for coffee, tea, or soda drinkers. A dear friend saw a preview and told me it was great, but she had one of those days and needed wine. Wine. So I needed to make that work for her. This led to an alternate version "Let there be cabernet on earth and let it begin with me." It is a companion design to MBT-198 More Than Coffee. Model is stitched with Weeks Dye Works thread on 28 ct. linen, which fits perfectly into an 8x10 frame. Info for the cabernet version is in the chart.

MBT-209 Guide Me in Truth
This scripture is from Psalm 25:5, "Guide me in truth and teach me." The model is stitched with Weeks Dye Works thread on WDW 35 ct. linen. On 35 ct. it will fit a standard 5x7 frame. It is a companion design to MBT-160 Walk by Faith, MBT-176 Saved by Grace, and MBT-182 Love One Another. 

MBT-210 Building Block Abide
Finally, finally, finally... block number 18!!! This is the eighteenth block in the Building Block series. Each one has the same stitch count, is stitched with Gentle Art Sampler Thread, and is on 28 ct. cream linen. My goal is to get to twenty in the next year. Each block is a deep dive into scripture and a conversation piece when I have it as a project at different meetings for 4H and home school group. 

MBT-211 My Soul Find Rest
This scripture is from Psalm 62, "My soul finds rest in God alone, from Him comes my salvation." The model is stitched with Weeks Dye Works on 28 ct. jobelan. It is a companion design to MBT-183 Trust In Him and MBT-192 Hope and a Future. The frame is by East Side Frames. 
Hat Pins!!!
I've had these pins around for a while, but marketing them hasn't been a huge priority because of time constraints. Time is still constrained (isn't it always!), but I just have to show these little beauties off a bit. They are available in any color requested and are perfect for picking out stitches, if you want them to be useful, or for adorning a pin cushion or biscornu, if you want them to just be beautiful! I want to put them in my potted plants, just as that little sparkly surprise for anyone who cares to look past all of the dead leaves (I have a truly black thumb when it comes to houseplants).

You are officially up to date with all things My Big Toe! My hope for myself in the coming months is to focus on contentment. I want to enjoy the songbirds that are perching themselves on the sills of our window and doors. I want to sit by the pond and watch the frogs try to hide from a curious child. I want to enjoy the beauty of creation as things cast of the dormancy of winter - and before it is so hot that I don't want to be outside in it! God's blessings to you.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pickers, pickers, and more pickers!

Part of my beginning of the year work stuff is assessing my inventory and making updates. At the end of the year I stock up on all sorts of fun beads. I can't tell you how much I enjoy looking for the most unique, bold and fun stones and crystals to add to my line. I stalk the delivery drivers, not even waiting for them to get out of the truck before I am at their door, and am usually breaking open the boxes before I reach the office. This makes now - right now! - the perfect time to stock up on your favorite colors and pieces.
My most recent assembly marathon was thread pickers. These neat little gadgets are perfect for removing 'oops' stitches, counting out your starting place, and my cat thinks the ones without needles are the perfect toy. I've been told that they are helpful for English paper piecing, but I haven't tried it myself because I barely have time to stitch models as it is!

Speaking of stitching - I am doing that whenever I can! I've been asked to participate in the JCS Ornament Issue for 2018 and, as of tomorrow, my finished ornament will be in the mail. It is always a joy and an honor to be asked and I hope you enjoy my design as much I as do. I am working on a new Building Block and am 1/3 of the way done with the stitching. Another small design, in the line of MBT-160 Walk by Faith, MBT-176 Saved by Grace, and MBT-182 Love One Another, is stitched and ready to be framed. There are two more designs awaiting my stitching time and I hope they can all be released in mid-April. I have frames for all of them so the only thing holding me back is time.

We are experiencing a heavy snow storm this weekend and it is beautiful to look outside. My day yesterday was dedicated to all of the housework, just in case we lost power, and today I will go sledding and snowshoeing. We have had a very mild winter and I want to enjoy this snow as much as possible!

Yesterday we had a small crisis in our home. The coffee machine stopped working. For the last couple of years I have nursed her along, doing cleanses and updating parts to bring her back from the brink of death. I thought we had surely lost her yesterday when she wouldn't put out any water for tea. While deciding how long the mourning period would need to be I did a quick search and found a possible solution. With minor surgery (removing a few screws and tubes, and cleaning out a check valve) she is back to working and we should all be glad for that ;-)  My husband laughed as I did a cheer when she gave me clean, hot water, and then I followed up with a happy dance. Little joys.

Time for sledding... The snow is calling!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year - Happy New Designs!

New designs are ready! There are some good stories behind a couple of these, so grab a warm drink (if you're as buried in snow as we are) and get ready for some giggles.

MBT-204 Better to Dwell - a Journey Through Proverbs
This is my favorite design out of all of them in this batch, for the season of my life that it represents. This past summer I was really struggling to adjust to a new normal. We moved into a new home and I had created a picture in my mind of all that life would be. Reality was far from my ideal. There were the hiccups of finding 'surprises' in a new place, but also the acceptance that we aren't going back to where we lived before - where I had dear friends and an incredible church. That isn't to say that God hasn't blessed the journey to where we are, and that I'm not surrounded by a community of friends and family in our new home, and not in a wonderful church - the people here are amazing and our church is beyond blessing. BUT, it was a hard realization for me to accept and it hit me hard. I struggled. During that struggle my husband was ever so patient, praying for me, encouraging me. He was willing to fulfill the most ridiculous demands and draw me in when I was prickly and could have easily been pushed away. I was quarrelsome - he had every right to be on the corner of a rooftop, it probably would have been safer!

The design is stitched over 2 on 28 ct. linen, with GAST threads. The border is designed to go into the side of the frame, in a reproduction style, with a gap at the top and bottom. When stitched on 28 ct. it will fit perfectly in an 8x10 frame. There are many many many Proverbs that could fit my life on any day, and I hope you will join me on a journey through them, with needle and thread, in the coming year.

MBT-205 Beware of Dog (and cat!)

Oh, my cat. My silly, silly cat. During our most recent move we have experienced a lot of adventures with our animals. One of them is not being able to trust our cat to do her job - keep mice out of the house. She not only watched as they helped themselves to her food, I woke up one morning to find her being chased around by a field mouse!This is why I had to add a rat button to this design - a taunt to our cat. She did end up redeeming herself by catching a mouse a week later, and then leaving it on the coffee table for me to find. I could have done without her proud display of bravery. 

The design is stitched over 2 on 32 ct. jobelan with WDW threads. Will fit a 5x7 frame and we used one from East Side Frames Crazy Daisy line. Adorably accented by JABC buttons. This is a companion design to MBT-171 and MBT-172 (cats/dogs leave pawprints, the snarky versions).

MBT-206 Be of Good Courage
This was a recent challenge piece for me. It was a challenge to my mindset, to focus on the blessings of life, being grateful, and getting back to what I am called to do - share the gospel and serve (even when there are mice in the house and the roof is leaking...) 

The design is stitched over three threads with three strands. This sounds really strange, and it is kind of weird to do, but the look is beautiful with the chunkier threads on the fine fabric. It could also easily be stitched with two strands over two threads, or on aida, or however you would like!

MBT-207 God Sustains
Along with my current theme of struggling and refocusing, it is building faith. Remembering that God has brought me through trials and challenges to build my faith, and that He will continue to sustain me. Are there days when he gives me more than I can handle? Absolutely! That is so that it is clear that it is by His strength, not my own. But I can look at His record in my life - He is always there, leading me back to Him, building me through trials and blessings with things that are for my good ( just not always my comfort!).

The design is stitched over 2 on 28 ct. jobelan with WDW threads. It is a companion design to MBT-193 Grateful Every Day, MBT-194 Seek the Lost, and MBT-202 I Will Not Forget Thy Word. They all use the same frame - and spray paint! 

Those are the four new designs that give you my life in a nutshell. It has been a wild, bumpy, joy filled, love filled, hard, easy, blessed ride through 2017. I have no idea what is in store for 2018, but I hope it involves fabric and thread. And maybe chocolate and coffee. Definitely coffee.

Last week we experienced what much of the US was dealing with - snowstorms and bitter cold. We also found out that what we thought had fixed the roof last month didn't, and we leaked. Again. A lot. I volunteered to climb up and shovel it off (it was a much easier job than shoveling off what I pushed down onto the deck) and this was my view from the rooftop.
I wasn't feeling quarrelsome that day :-)