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 :-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Beautiful, beautiful beads

I sit here looking out the window, thinking of the possibility of making it to town later today. We had a white Christmas. A very very very white Christmas. Now it's an icy day after Christmas. It gave me time to rip apart my office, rearrange every single piece of furniture and the industrial file cabinets, and then wonder if it wouldn't have been better if I had left it how it was.

Since it's the end of the year I have been making my bead purchases for the new year, finding all sorts of stunning glass and stone creations with my wholesalers. All of the vibrant colors inspired me to make even bigger pin sets. Now available are seven-pin sets in my Cute & Colorful line.
The top set is CCPS-001 Teardrop, and the bottom set is CCPS-002 Creativity. I think they would be adorable around an ornament, pinning the ribbon trim in place, or accenting a stunningly stitched biscornu or pin cushion. These aren't exactly rainbow sets, because pink isn't a Roy G. Biv, and I couldn't just leave out pink!

There were so many things I needed to do last week. Frame and photograph new releases, clean the house, decorate the tree, laundry, cooking, print and package charts, assemble a thousand or so marking pins, pick up straw bales for winterizing the coop, unpack things that are still in the barn. What did I end up doing, you ask? I drove eight hours to bring home five new hens for our flock. My priorities are a bit off. Hubby's response was "You only got five?" I love him and think I'll keep him. They are really cute (of course they are, they're chickens!). They will lay blue, olive, chocolate brown (wouldn't it be amazing if they were real chocolate eggs?!), pink, and green eggs, and all are between 3-5 months old. Our three old hens aren't thrilled with sharing their home, but they are creating boundaries and figuring it out. I spend time in there each day, keeping order and letting everyone get food and drink.

Some exciting news for those looking towards new design releases - they are coming. Soon! I will be packaging them today, notifying the auto ship shops tomorrow, and then will start shipping!!! There are four new counted thread designs: two are scripture based, one is inspirational and one is pet themed. There is a little bit of everything from whimsical to reproduction style. Stay tuned for that update!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Almost Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I know the reality is that I will likely forget to be back here in a week to wish you peace, joy, and comfort while reflecting on the birth of Jesus (because I know my brain!). So I pray all of those for you. Our Christmas will be quiet, with the hope of using the three day weekend to make enough tamales to last us through the next year. It is the best Christmas gift that hubby could give - at least one meal of tamales each month, ready to steam and devour.

This week I would like to share with you some new handy threaders. I ran out of them and a dear friend had some special color requests, so I did a mass assembly and am excited to share the fun bead combinations.
From the bottom left heading up: red/crystal, iridescent green/crystal, garnet/linen, fuchsia/crystal, purple/crystal, lilac/crystal, emerald/crystal, blues/crystal, spring colors, aqua/crystal, dark blue/crystal, hot pink/crystal. The two in the lower right corner: fuchsia/aqua/purple, purples/crystal.

I still have the best of intentions with new release counted thread designs. I have four models ready... for framing. All I have to do is get the cutting mat, blade, ruler, frames, lacing tools, iron, ironing pad, and all that in the same place at the same time. It sounds so simple!

We are still settling into the house and I still have not unpacked the barn. One of my wish list items was venting the range hood to the outside. The recirculating vent hood just doesn’t do it for smells and cooking oil, even with a carbon filter pad. It has been put off because, when we last investigated inside of the walls, there were issues of support beams and all sorts of things where the holes would need to be cut. 

Now we know that our walls are like onions - they have layers. Their layers have layers. First is the bead board, then drywall with wallpaper, then some type of thin particle type board, then wood paneling, then barn wood. Literally, barn wood. I joked that we could strip down to the barn wood and instantly have a $30k kitchen remodel because that stuff goes for a pretty penny and is all the rage. I also think we unearthed hundred year old anthrax spores by cutting into the stuff. *cough, cough* ;-)

The good news is I have my hole in the wall. The exterior venting is done, the holes are cut in the new upper cabinet, the cabinet is mounted and the range vent is done and working. We tested it and the smells of bacon didn't permeate the house. All that is left is to finish cleaning the wood dust from just about every surface and clear the rest of the tools from the dining room. 

Each season brings new challenges, learning new things about the house and figuring out how it all works. We have made it into the first snow and are doing okay. Next week we get to see how things do with the single digit temps. Another stage in the process. The community is still amazing and we can see God's plan unfolding. The relationships are growing and we are grateful for friends and fellowship. 

Merry Christmas to you. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

And the show is over...

I'm hanging my head in shame that I didn't get my update done the first day of the show. We had the incredible blessing of having family in town - my aunt, uncle, and grandfather came from out of state - and my time was focused with enjoying their company. It had been fourteen years since we had visited with them and it was a treasure. We have spent so many years without family close by and I am starting to get used to (and crave!) the company. SO, the show has concluded for the year, but my accessories have been flying out the door and into your favorite shop! Here are the newest additions for the accessories:
 Emoji - so many smiles! I giggle whenever I look at them. They are little but mighty.
 Specialty Wedgewood - bright and brilliant blues.
 Perfectly Pretty Pin Sets - four coordinating pins in bronze and garnet.
 Scissor Hugger - the little octopus will snuggle your scissors!
Funky Chunky V mini fob set - It's pet themed! The adorable little sleeping kitty, tweety bird, heart with best friend pawprint, and the pawprint charms are just too cute. I was feeling very multi colored when designing these so they are a beautiful variety of Swarovski crystals and glass beads.

I had fifteen minutes about a week ago and tried to put some of my design thoughts into the pattern program. It felt wonderful to be working with x's again and I really hope for a few hours of focused thought as soon as I finish catching up on Needlework Show orders. My inventory mostly held for the show, but several items were wiped out. I have trays of beads awaiting my attention with lots of fobs and chatelaines to assemble.

Today we are hosting the monthly craft group for the home school girls, again, and I am so excited to share with them in their finishes. Some have taken to it and can't wait for their next project, others  don't see this as their favorite activity, but the time together is a blast and the new friendships that are forming are a joy to behold. The moms are having a good time, too!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Almost the Needlework Show!

I'm so awful about keeping things under wraps, so I figure I can update things here and not update the website, and then I'm not really releasing anything early. Or I'm just too overwrought with technology at the moment (my color printer died...again!) and am afraid that I'll break the website. I'm not going to share everything coming up, but here are a few teasers...
Fall is a time for lots of trunk shows and gift items, and I was picking through merchandise to see what was going out to shops. I got to my pins and thought they had become a little bit bland. Soooo many new beads have  been added to my stash  been released by my wholesalers since I started designing the pins years ago. I decided to redo every. single. marking pin. set. Every single one. It has been a lot of fun to see the colors come to life and the new combinations now available.

I'm also adding new specialty needle minders to my line! There will be more than these available, but here are a couple of them... you'll have to wait a whole week until I showcase the other new sets.
Persian Tapestry
Mod Floral

There are a couple other sets that will be official in a week, as well as a new scissor hugger, and a new perfectly pretty pin set, AND a new funky chunky mini fob set with a pet theme!

We are still settling in with the house, but I am making progress in the barn. Two whole more boxes came in the house for me to put away! My plan was to do a box a day. I should have been more realistic and set my sights on a box a week. Maybe a box a month. 

The new biggest hurdle, for being settled, has been the mice. Oh, the joys of an old farm house! About six weeks ago we had a mouse in the house. The cat found it to be the greatest new toy, killed it, and left it for me in her food bowl. Not a big deal. She puts everything she steals into her food bowl; my needle threaders, fob wire, thread pickers, pipe cleaners, hair ties. My cat is a thief. I did my best CSI impression, found where she had 'played' with it in my office, and cleaned everything up. Then a few weeks ago I start towards the office at 5:30 am. It's dark, lights are off, again not a big deal. See the shadow of the cat, avoid tripping over her. Head down the stairs, hear squeaking. Now it is a big deal. I turn on the lights to find the cat being backed around the coffee table by a mouse! You read that right - my CAT was being chased by a MOUSE! And here I thought the chickens were all out in the dog kennel (another story for another day). She is the biggest chicken! I grab a towel, catch the mouse, return it to its field outside, and the cat spends thirty minutes pouting and howling that I took away her friend. Dear hubby has plenty of time to ruminate over the cat drama, so he comes home with this line... "While the mouse was chasing the cat, was it saying 'Halo, my name is Inigo Mousetoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!'" One of the absolute delights of our marriage is the humor in these walls. Fast forward a week and I wake up to find the cat has redeemed herself and left a dead mouse on the coffee table. I found where they are coming in and fixed it. I hope I fixed it.

I did find a few boxes of stitchy goodies and am more excited than ever to have the craft group back at my house next month. A few of the girls have chatted about new projects, some have picked them up, and then I had to order a few new stitchable items (the wooden die cuts are cute!). One of their projects was entered in the county fair and won a ribbon!
The design is a modified version of MBT-188 Alphablooms. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

September New Releases

September?!?!? I think every year I get to this time and wonder where the months have gone. This year I'm wondering where my stitching time has gone. Oh, yeah, it went into the yard and house ;-) I did manage to prepare three beautiful new releases for you!

MBT-201 To Everything There is a Season
I've been promising this design for months, but then the house happened. This is a companion design to my other large pieces, with scripture selections from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. I used a Needlepoint Inc. silk thread that is the most beautiful, deep shade of gray blue. My NPI has been in storage for years and I forgot how amazing it is to stitch with silk.

MBT-202 I Will Not Forget Thy Word
When I designed this I had a very specific reason in mind... and then I forgot! Seriously. I forgot what event had spurred this to mind and brought about this creation. But I still love the design! My initial stitching had it laced to be an ornament, but then I couldn't find trim that I liked. I restitched it and framed it in a similar frame to Grateful Every Day and Seek the Lost. The frame used to be turquoise, but there is something to be said for a good can of camo green spray paint. The stitch count is 71x71, so it is a companion design to the above mentioned designs but I stitched in on a higher count fabric than the other two pieces.

MBT-203 Let Us Be Thankful
This is my theme for this year. In all of the struggle of our new home, the challenges that have come up, I am thankful. I'm thankful for every ache and pain, as it reminds me of the beautiful eternity to come when this body is gone. I'm thankful for the dishes and laundry, as it means food to eat and clothes to wear. I am thankful for the family that loves us, the friends who have made us their family, and a God who loves me. This design has fall colors, so could be Thanksgiving themed, but it is neutral enough to hang year round.

I'm busily working on accessories for (another!) custom event order and have new beads on their way (they are in my post office box now and awaiting my trip to town!) to start working on new pretties for the October 1 Needlework Show. I'll have new *everything* to showcase at the next show - needleminders, pins, fobs, oh, my! So many sparkly things to make people smile.

Yesterday I had the joy of hosting our first home school craft group, at my home. It was so much fun. I had the adventure of teaching six young ladies how to cross stitch (the seventh, doodlebug, already knows how to stitch). Each one took on a project, chose their fabric color and threads, got a pair of their own pretty scissors and a hoop, and learned the basics. My plan was that each month we would learn a different craft. Their vote was to continue with cross stitch next month! The two hours went by way to fast and I think I'm more excited about next month not getting here soon enough. Just think of the stash they will have by the time they are our age!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

It's still August... barely

My goal was to update at the last online show, but life happened. It does that sometimes. The house settling in has been good. I have models on the walls, thanks to the visit of a friend who wanted to see everything hanging. It was a good encouragement to finally make it feel more like a home. Since then we have been hosting friends and family for food and fun, which has added a joy that I had been missing. Good times! I have a few accessory items for update, and then next week I will be adding new designs!

Gingher Lauren has arrived! And she is beautiful! Her bold blue geometric design was just needing an equally bold color choice and adorable bird charm. They are now available (as soon as I make more than the one of each that I did for the picture!) to adorn your favorite snips.
Coffee fobs were introduced as a very limited item and I had no idea how they would do. They sold quickly and I ran out of beads! The good news is that I found another wholesaler who had them in stock and I bought as many as I could. It isn't enough to last for decades, but it will get me through for a few more of the coffee addicts (like me!).
Best Friends mini fobs are the new must have for you and a stitching friend. I have them in all sorts of colors, even more that are pictured, and I am glad to make you something with colors that are personal and unique to you. These come packaged as a matching set and will be great for holiday gifts.
Life in our house tends to revolve around the child, cat, dog, and chickens. Not always in that order. The cat and dog run the show inside, the chickens are outside for obvious reasons, and this is what I walked in on the other day. The dog was pouting about not getting enough play time, and the cat was tired of my vacuuming so staging her protest by sleeping just five feet from her own bed - and on my coffee table!  It's a good thing I love them so much.
Come back to visit in a few days when new charts are available!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Three brand new designs and... a house!

It is July, it is hot, it is the perfect weather to sit inside and stitch, but I can't... we got a house! We've been in it for just over a month, and it has been a roller coaster. There is joy in a place of our own, and a twisted satisfaction in the noise a pinecone makes when it is run over with the lawnmower. We have found all sorts of surprises, are starting to unpack things that have been in storage for 2.5 years, and are settling in.

The plan was that my office would be upstairs. Dear hubby said downstairs would be better, but I insisted. SO, upstairs went everything. The desks, file cabinets, drawers, totes, boxes... everything. He was right. There isn't enough room upstairs and it makes more sense to have it where he first envisioned it. What is sad is that he can't take joy in being right because he has the un-fun task of helping me move it alllll back downstairs! I say this in jest, he is being a great sport about my being indecisively decisive. Bless him.

NOW, on to the stitching!
MBT-198 More Than Coffee
This one really shouldn't need explanation. It shouldn't, but... My morning coffee is a very needed thing. The little jolt of caffeine brings happiness and a little extra pep. Flavored creamers are an addiction. I love my child, my husband, friends that call, people that stop by, but there is a certain added civility if it is after I have coffee. This design, when stitched on 28 ct., fits a standard 8x10 frame.
MBT-199 Christmas Pinkies VI
I see this design as a series of events. There is something for every stage - a gift, a marriage or anniversary, a child, and a memory. Included is a charted alphabet for personalizing the designs. Each one could easily be extended by adding additional blocks on each side and then you could add a name, date, year, etc.
MBT-200 Amazing Grace - How Sweet the Sound
I agree, the name is long, but I have the full hymn version of Amazing Grace, MBT-088, and a freebie with just the title. The hymn series didn't seem complete without a shortened version of this incredible song that sets my heart soaring. This left me with a quandary of how to make the name unique, but not too far out there. I do hope you enjoy it, I did. This design, when stitched on 36 ct., fits a standard 8x10 frame.

The Needlework Show is coming up again, August 1-3, and I will be featuring some new mini fobs. My new Gingher scissors, Lauren, are on order, and as soon as they arrive I will make a stunning new fob to be a perfect companion. I have been teasing about a new big design, along the lines of The Lord's Prayer and I Corinthians, and it is coming! Just not at this exact moment. Life/house/family/life/community happened and it hasn't received the attention it needs.

Thank you for stopping by to see what new stitching treasures await your needle. Things here are good, albeit physically and emotionally tiring. God is faithful to give faith, grace, and mercy, and for His strength to shine through when mine is incredibly weak. He is good.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New releases for May 2017

MBT-194 Seek the Lost
I will seek that which was lost. This design comes from scripture in Ezekiel 34:16 and it has really spoken to me over the past few months. I love the sheep buttons from JABC, but I have also included stitched sheep in the chart for those who would prefer to not use the buttons. The frame may look familiar, almost just like the "Grateful Every Day" frame. It is the same frame but I spray painted it with camo paint. 

MBT-195 Battle Hymn of the Republic
This is a new design in the hymn series. It has a bold upper and lower border and stitches up quickly. The frame is by East Side Frames and is a great accent to the stitching. 

MBT-196 Warped Humor
I have a warped sense of humor and I'm not afraid to use it. Enough said? There are days when humor is the balm that gets us through the rough parts. I've been known to be a bit off kilter (remember the skinny jeans design?) and am glad God gave us the gift of laughter. We can laugh at ourselves, our pets, our kids...

MBT-197 Love
This is a companion design to MBT-097 Peace... just 100 designs later. It has a similar border and style but is a unique creation that will look lovely on the same wall as my Peace whenever I get it out of storage.

On that note... we found a house!!! Yep, we found one!!! AND it passed inspection. AND it has wild fruit trees. Prayerfully we will close in the next month and be settled in by the middle of summer. WOO HOO!!!!! We still have to get through the appraisal and all of the paperwork, but since it passed the home inspection I am allowing myself to get excited. I have changed over to an Orofino post office box, so if you need to update the address please do so.

My Big Toe Designs, PO Box 2452, Orofino, ID 83544

Did I say WWWOOOOO HHOOOOOOOOOOOO yet? We have so enjoyed the blessing of the past two and a half years, being in transition and being worked on in our spiritual walks. Being drawn to this community and putting down roots has been amazing. It is more than I ever thought I wanted and I can't explain how much each struggle has become joy. Thank you for all of the prayers and emails of encouragement - we still need them!

Friday, March 31, 2017

And now for new Doggy Fobs!

The April Needlework Show is almost here! In just a few hours the show will open and vendors from all over the world will be sharing their new and favorite items. It is sure to be a delight for the stitchy senses and I hope you will take a look. There are a few new things that I am introducing at the show...
I have been ever so neglectful to the dog lovers - myself being included - and am hoping to make up for that by adding three new dog mini fob styles! They are mirrors of the recently added cat mini fobs, except they have larger belly beads and some slight color changes.
Joining the line of specialty pins and mini fobs are Tropical Hooties. These vibrant little owls are just too adorable not to fly right over to your favorite pin cushion or pair of scissors. The mini fob charm is a perfect match for the pins!

Today was the most brilliant blue of skies as spring has finally come upon us. It was a peaceful feeling to stand in the sun and soak up the warmth that has been missing for months. Even the hens took advantage of not being surrounded by feet and feet of snow. Our four little gals are starting to come out of their hibernation and are, once again, giving us a bounty of eggs. It is a blessing to focus on the little miracles of life, the little joys, and smile at each day (even the cloudy ones!).

Sunday, March 12, 2017

New kitty fobs!

I started making these new color creations in the last couple of months and they have been a hit! My adorable little cat mini fobs are now available in "Spring," "Summer," and "Patriotic." They are joining their friends "Black/Orange," "Black/Purple," and "Winter." I guess this means I will need to do a "Fall" cat later this year!
The Needlework Show is coming up in just a couple of weeks! Set your calendar for April 1-3. I've started to prepare things for my pages and work on new inventory. I've also had a great time designing during the last few weeks. I ignored housework and have 7-8 pieces waiting for my stitching attention. It's rare that I'm not scrambling to have a few ready, so this is fantastic! As soon as I see the new GAST colors I will figure out the thread for the next Building Block (there is another one coming!). I have a small inspiration piece stitched and it has the most adorable sheep buttons, Christmas Pinkies VI is awaiting a frame, a snarky/whimsical one in progress as my sitting-in-music-lessons piece, and a large hymn on the floor stand. There is also a big scripture design in the works and I am pondering thread colors. It is a companion to the line of The Lord's Prayer, I Corinthians and The Lord is My Shepherd, with a similar style and stitch count. There are a few more, but that should be enough to drool over for now.

The new Gingher scissor picture has been released! They are beautiful and as soon as they are shipped out I will match up beads and come up with the perfect fob accent for them.

For the new things in life - my parents are officially here and settling in. It is good to have them around. Doodlebug loves the attention and all of the card and board games they enjoy playing. I must say, one of the top ten things I never want to say again: I have now finished vacuuming the ceiling. Log cabin, beam ceilings, long hair dog, flies and cobwebs. Enough said, moving on :-) Spring time in the mountains brings on a flurry of homes for sale and we continue to look for a great fit for our family, while making sure to take time to enjoy where we are. I've been doing a study in Exodus and have learned a lot from the life of Moses. God steps into our brokenness and uses it to perfect us. We can't do it on our own, no matter how hard we try! We had the plague of snow this winter, and now all I can think about is forty years wandering in the wilderness ;-)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 2017 New Releases

2017... I have to remember that it is a new year. A couple of weeks ago I wrote November 2013 on a check. Think I lost a few years? This has already been an exciting year for our family. My dad was given a retirement date that was earlier than we had anticipated and they will be joining us here, in their retirement cabin, in about two weeks. Two weeks!!! SO, instead of waiting until March 1 to do new releases I have decided to start sending them out now. Without further ado, here they are:

MBT-190 Disturb Us Lord - The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake
This was my focus piece for December and January. It has been a reminder of the joy of being molded and changed over the past few years even though it has been a very uncomfortable season of life. The realization that my plans aren't what is for my good and I need to let go of that desperate need for control. I needed to be disturbed from my routine and nearsighted dreams. It was constantly on my stand, waiting for me to put in x's whenever I had a spare minute.  I simply loved working on the 36 ct. linen with one strand of GAST. The final look is so delicate and lovely. When finished on 36 ct. linen, this will fit a standard 16x20 frame. The one I used was from Hobby Lobby and only $25 after a coupon. Woo hoo! I do have to say that I would have paid just about anything to have anyone besides me do the lacing. The chart is printed with large symbols over nine pages. Thread needs are also listed for those who would prefer to stitch on 28 or 32 ct. fabric with two strands over two.

MBT-191 I Found the One
This scripture is found in Song of Songs 3:4. When stitched on 32 ct. fabric, without personalization, this design fits nicely in a 5x7 frame. An alphabet and set of numbers is included for personalizing it for a wedding, anniversary, or memorial.

MBT-192 Hope and a Future
Years (and years and years!) ago I did a design using part of Jeremiah 29:11. As of late, it has been put on me to do a full version of that scripture and I love how this one turned out. It is a companion design to MBT-183 Trust in Him. They are the same stitch count, style, and frame type.

MBT-193 Grateful Every Day
A week ago I started tinkering with a new design. It was one of those things where I could see it in my head and it came easily out onto the grid. I had the frame in mind, which made it easy to decide the size of the pattern and the colors of threads. That afternoon I started stitching and stitching and stitching. After a night of cereal for dinner, and then very few hours of sleep, I started stitching again, then lacing and framing. Within a 24 hour period it all came together, including framing and photography, and this design was born. So much fun and so little sleep! They very rarely come together like this and I absolutely smile every time I see it on the ledge above my desk. It is a reminder of the attitude I need to choose - choose gratefulness.

On the personal stuff - we're still looking for a house. It has been a very difficult winter, locals say one of the worst in fifty years, and there were many days when we couldn't get the truck out of the drive and hubby had to work from home. The dog and doodlebug loved it. There were times of beauty, when it looked like the entire world glittered and all the trees were frosted white. There were also times of "get me out of here!" New priority for a house - flat driveway :-) We have had a period of lots of rain, which has washed away feet and feet of snow, revealing the most beautiful and non-icy gravel driveway I have ever seen. I'm not-so-secretly hoping that lots of houses will be added to the market in the coming weeks. Until we find a place we will enjoy a multi-generational home with my parents and treasure the days together.

Doodlebug is heading into eighth grade. EIGHTH!!! She also has her first broken bone in the little finger of her right hand. Dodge ball. Enough said. It means a few weeks of no piano but she should be ready to go before her next scheduled concerts. Church will lose their worship lead for a couple of Sundays. It will all work out but the house is way too quiet without her music.

Thank you for sharing the joy with me in the new releases!!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

December New Releases

I was going to wait until January to release this batch, but, again, I have no patience when things are ready to go! Then I got hit with a nasty cold and am about a week behind on life.

MBT-186 Quaker Peace
This is a companion design to Quaker Seasons and Quaker Harmony, each released many years ago. I have always wanted a third in the series and with all of the turmoil in our world this seemed like a really good time to have a reminder that it is all in His hands. It has selections from scripture in John 14:27. Model is stitched on 32 ct. linen, "Latte," with WDW threads. Stitch count is 137w x 236h. Frame by East Side Frames.

MBT-187 Faith, Laughter and Coffee
Coffee really is a love and addiction for me. Sometimes I even put some coffee in with the flavored cream and sugar that makes it oh, so, tasty. This design is also charted for faith, laughter and love, for those who don't share my morning requirements. Model is stitched on 28 ct. linen, "Golden Needle," with GAST threads. Stitch count is 95w x 123h. This fits a standard 8x10 frame, this one I found at Michael's.

MBT-188 Alphablooms
Over the years I have done many ornaments for the JCS Christmas issues and created an alphabet that I use for signing my initials and date on the back. It has been requested and I figured it would be fun to release it as its own design, complete with border and smalls! Main model is stitched on 32 ct. jobelan, "Queen Anne's Lace," and small framed piece on 32 ct. linen, "Chalkboard Black," with Weeks Dye Works threads. Main frame from Hobby Lobby and small frame from Michael's.

MBT-189 Storms Bring the Rains
I have found many times in my life that it is when I am least comfortable that I am most growing in my walk with God. Through these storms in life, some (okay, okay, many!) of which I have brought on myself through my human nature I am drawn closer to Him. Closer to His word. Closer to His people. It is when my self is put aside that I can live life in his strength, instead of trying to do it on my own. This is when we bloom - when our lives are a reflection of our God and His great and loving kindness. Model stitched on 32 ct. jobelan, "Queen Anne's Lace," with WDW threads. Stitch count is 63w x 95h. This fits a standard 5x7 frame and this one is by East Side Frames.

For accessories, the new prints of needle minders have been doing great! The vibrant colors of the owls and trees have me going back and forth on which are my favorites, so I have them everywhere around the house - on the light box, the fridge, my stitching stand... These make great gifts! More variety is shown on the website but these are some of my favorites.

Also recently released is the fourth batch of Funky Chunky mini fobs. From left to right: soft lavender and olive beads with a clock charm (time to stitch!), bright bubble gum colors with candy charm, fall harvest color beads with the most adorable scarecrow charm, Christmas red and green beads with silver accented glass accent bead and heart charm.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents visiting. It was our first major gathering that was wheat-free and I can't speak highly enough about the America's Test Kitchen cookbooks when it comes to excellent recipes (yep, a plug for them but the cookbooks have made wheat-free not quite so limiting!). Doodlebug is doing great with her piano recital pieces. Last Wednesday she decided to add "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" to her pieces and almost has it down... in just five days!

I have already started working on the next batch of designs. There will be a new wedding/anniversary piece, for which I plan to pull thread and fabric today. I have a new reproduction style design that I can't wait to get started on but don't have the fat half of 36 ct. fabric on hand (I heard you mumble under your breath... it may be huge, and on high count fabric, but it's really pretty!). Mostly I have been working on custom accessories for shops and enjoying family and friends. I don't think I've touched a needle in three weeks but that will hopefully change today.

On that note... I wish you a Merry Christmas and many hours of x's.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Four New Designs for September!

I've been teasing about new designs, and now it is time to show you what all of the excitement is about! This month I am releasing four new cross stitch designs. All of the thread/fabric details can be found at www.mybigtoedesigns.com and you can get a bit more of the personal details here.
MBT-182 Love One Another
A companion design to "Saved by Grace" and "Walk by Faith", this design has the same stitch count as the other two, 97 x 65, and fits a standard 5x7 frame. The moulding I used is by East Side Frames and I chose the fabric and thread colors to best accent the frame. This verse is from 1 John 4:7. Every day there is more strife, more anger in our world, and more opportunities to show the love of God, which is so far beyond what we can do in our humanness.
MBT-183 Trust in Him
I simply love stitching borders that become a frame for the piece. This is one of those borders with delicate leaves, beautiful flowers, which surround scripture from Romans 15:13. As our journey through the past couple of years has gone on for a bit longer than I had planned, I have been praying for peace while trusting that God has a much bigger plan than anything I could see. 
MBT-184 Kids Leave Handprints
I have a dog and a cat, hence then paw prints designs from earlier this year, and decided that the child couldn't be left out. Each day there is a trail - it is like marking territory. Hair ties, books, notes, legos, pencils, laundry, dishes... And then there are the good things. Surprise hugs, giggles that turn into snorts of hysterical laughter, smiles... This design has lots of vibrant colors that could be accented in the frame, depending on the needs for the family.  The bottom border could be lowered so that the name and birthday can be added to make this a birth announcement.
MBT-185 You are LovedThis was the final piece to come together for this batch of releases, and I just love the finished product. The thread colors are so vibrant, but this could easily be a monochromatic design. The frame is a 5x5 round tin tile style that I found at Michaels and I used the thread colors to match. This design would also be so sweet as an ornament, pin cushion, box top, or finished in many creative ways.

This summer has been one of very limited stitching time, but I am so glad with what has come together. I have already started on a piece for the next batch of releases. It is a larger design that will be a companion to my earlier Quaker series (Harmony and Seasons), which is a design that has been on my mind for years. The next Christmas Pinkies chart didn't get finished for this batch, so it will also be a project on which to work.

We continue to look for a home, but still God has not moved us forward into one. Hubby has developed some allergies that have made it difficult to be around wheat, which is pretty much the entire area where we have been looking for the past two years. So we continue to wait on Him, serve as best we can, and slowly stocking up the kitchen with gadgets we miss that are still in boxes. Two years ago I argued against getting internet set up at the cabin, because we wouldn't be here long and I didn't want to be locked into a two year contract that would mostly sit unused. HA!!! Now the contract is almost up! I never imagined on releasing a single set of releases while here, and I have spent these years pouring out my heart with needle and thread, sharing what we are going through. It has been good. It is all for our good. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Oh, drool.... scissors

There is something to be said for a good pair of scissors, and it is even better if they are beautiful! Gingher has released their Sawyer scissors, and they are stunning in person. I was planning on red, but they are the most lovely shade of ruby. The leaf detail on the white background has an amazing simplicity, which I have matched with both a long and short fob. The fobs are Ruby Lyre and Petit Ruby Lyre, and are a perfect adornment to Sawyer.
 What made the week even better is that in the same box with my Saywers, was a brand new pair of ring lock scissors! These are my absolute favorite scissors for every day use. I have a couple of pairs (in storage) and decided that since it has been almost TWO YEARS since my plans of being settled in my own home in a couple of months, I was going to treat myself to scissors. More scissors. They are a great weight and pivot so nicely. I have them dressed up with a fob from the Funky Chunky Minis III set. Sadly, since my cat is a fob thief, I can't keep them on there or I will spend more time hunting down my scissors than stitching.
Also, keeping me busy, are custom needle minders. This is Flossie, available through The Heart's Content, and she is a lovely little stitcher. I pictured her with the Sawyer items because they were on my desk already, but isn't she adorable?
Charts, you ask? Oh, yes, stitching!!! That little thing that I do during guitar and piano lessons, or for the fifteen minute chunk during the day that I can grab between playing with beads, housework and the cat getting into everything? Well, you'll have to wait until tomorrow for that update. I will have four new designs going live on September 1. I might decide that I want to sleep in until six tomorrow, so keep an eye on the website tonight if you want first glimpse!