Thursday, October 16, 2014

Online Show Starting, New Accessories, the Move

The Needlework Show starts today! Visit www.NeedleShow.com to see a lot of vendors with many wonderful stitching goodies. Then, have a chat with your local shop owner and add lots of lovelies to your stash! I am debuting a couple new accessories at the show:


This little guy is adorable. Just as the Gingher "Eve" scissors brought out my snake/apple side, I saw this little skeleton charm and couldn't resist. It's a fond reminder of college days, in biology and anatomy classes, and just a huge reminder of how amazingly we are created.


Also joining our catalog is a new "Specialty Pin" line. These are our traditional marking pins, which have been a hit for the past decade, but have a more stylized bead on top. The first new friend is Hootie, and he's a hoot! These pins are packaged "by the each", so if you want a matching pair, please be specific as there is only one to a package but I'm glad to dig to find you a set. He is available in an assortment of fall colors: olive, pumpkin, ruby, cobalt, deep purple, etc.

I have spent the past couple of weeks updating inventory, which includes hundreds and hundreds of new needle threaders, with and without clasps, and oodles of the new items. Stitching?!? What's that?!?!? I look forward to being snow bound for a bit so I can get back to needle and thread.

Now on to move news. We're moving! We're really, really moving. It's amazing how many boxes can come out of one small office. Our official close date is the end of next week, and the truck is being loaded on Thursday. My office is being boxed on Wednesday, after the final online show order is packaged. We will be staying in a temporary place, until we find a home of our own, so it will be a slightly crazy time of transition. We'll also be waaaay out in the middle of the woods, so shipping to shops will be 2-3 days instead of 1-2. I don't know how long we will be in this state of transition, so I appreciate your patience and understanding as I have limited cell reception for my business line and possibly spotty email. If you need me, and don't hear back in one business day, try again. My business number and email are on the website, as is my new PO Box.

The goal is to not close down the business at all during the move, but I don't know how many rings I can keep running in this circus and not have the monkeys escape ;-)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New releases for October (yep, I'm early!)

It's that time of year for me - new releases! I had originally planned on waiting for October, but life changes. And I have the patience of a gnat when new designs are ready. I'm delighted to have several new offerings this fall, and each one has been a journey for me. 

MBT-155 The Greatest of These
Model stitched on 32 ct. Examplar linen, by Lakeside Linens, with Gentle Art Sampler Threads. It uses a LOT of thread, but it's a beautiful piece. This is the third in the reproduction style series, and is the largest of the three. It uses most of the fat quarter, and needed a couple extra pages for printing!


MBT-156 I Surrender All
Model stitched on 30 ct. Confederate Grey linen, by Weeks Dye Works, with Gentle Art Sampler Threads. This is the seventh hymn in the series, and something that I am working through - surrendering all! All control, all fear, all anxiety... Surrendering it all.


MBT-157 Do Not Weep
Model stitched on 30 ct. natural brown undyed linen, with Weeks Dye Works thread. This is my memorial piece. It's kind of twisty that I wrote my own, but I am walking with a friend while she is dying of cancer, and it was important to me to explain how I want the living to keep living, even if I'm not here to share in the laughter and sorrows. For obvious reasons, I didn't date it, but there is room to personalize it if you extend the border by a few stitches, and an alphabet is included.


Gingher Barbara Full Length and Mini Fobs
These scissors were found in a back warehouse, without too much information for what they were to be purposed. The packaging is the newer plastic boxes, as opposed to the metal tins that were really neat for a while. The blues are very vibrant. The fobs are Ziggy and Petite Ziggy. I like the fish.


The online show will be here in a few weeks, and I will have some very special pins there, as well as a new mini fob! Be sure to visit www.needleshow.com to see a lot of neat new stitchy items from oodles of vendors.

On the person front, I will wait on the Lord. And wait. And wait. And, oh, wait, no, it's all moving too fast! It's amazing how discontent I can become when I get my way. As of this morning, our home is officially under contract, pending, without contingency. Closing is to be the week of the online show (ACK!?!?!) We passed all of the inspections and the buyers are enamored with our home. They are very kind people and I pray they will have a wonderful life with my grape arbor and purple chicken coop. They even told me I could come back in the spring to get clippings of my merlot vines! My hope is to take the hens with me, but that may not be realistic. If not, they have been offered a great home at a community garden, providing eggs to single parents and the elderly, or those who need a little help for a time.

Now begins the process of finding a new place to live and packing everything up. Over the past 10 years of MBT, I have committed to extremely speedy shipping, most often within a day of it being ordered, so I ask for grace during this time as I will be in transition. There will likely be a couple of weeks when I will have to shut down, or run things on limited bead inventory, and I will post that information here. I ask for prayer, that I will be patient when things aren't as I think they should be, and that I will be kind and loving when I'm feeling in over my head, and that I will find comfort in knowing that it is not in my hands or controlled by my shortsighted self.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Gingher Eve Fobs

I'm glad to share that my Eve scissors arrived last week, as did my bead order with new baubles to match the adorable little dots that decorate these shears. As the scissors are called "Eve," all sorts of fun (and slightly dark) ideas came to mind for the charm. First thought - serpent. Second thought - be normal, use a flower. Third thought - normal is overrated, maybe an apple? I didn't have any apples... time to order charms! The apples are here!!!


What I have ended up with is a Swarovski Crystal fob that pulled out the cream and khaki colors, and plays on the black background. The standard fob will come with a stemmed rose charm, but you are welcome to explore your twisty side and request a serpent or apple. All three charms are pictured. 

Also up and coming will be three new designs. I had anticipated four, but life happens. I'm still hoping for four, but I'm praying for our house to sell and for me to need to spend all of my time boxing up stuff and cleaning for the new owners. Yesterday, I dropped off the final two designs at the framer, I will pick them up Friday, get all of the pictures and formatting and printing and packaging and marketing done, and then they will be out for the end of September. I'm hopeful that I'll also be announcing a move at that time... a girl can dream! ;-)

For what I'm learning right now - I will wait on Thee. I will wait, and wait, and wait, and prayerfully learn the lesson of patience that I have failed to learn in my decades so far. I will wait with grace, live with mercy, have an occasional fit of tears, and appreciate with gratefulness all the many blessings while accepting the experiences that are not so pleasant. I will wait on Thee.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A quick update for August

It's hard to believe that it is almost September! Every year I get to the end of summer, and wonder where all of the time has gone. This summer I can definitely say where it has gone - a move! We are in the middle of a move to northern Idaho, which is a great blessing and a complete change of mindset. We've been in our current home for five years, and I haven't envisioned anywhere else. God has given us a new path, clearly laid out before us, and we are starting on this journey. Our house has not yet sold, but I trust that the right buyers are in His hand and our future home is also being prepared.

One of the biggest chuckles in this adventure has been preparing the house for market. Our agent, ever so gently, suggested that we "depersonalize a bit, and take down a few of the wall hangings." That brought quite a giggle! I had well over 100 cross stitch pieces hanging on the walls. I did remove a couple dozen from the front room, leaving only Beatitudes hanging over the piano, but my office is... well... staying as my office. For obvious reasons.


As a disclaimer: this is not the normal state of my office. I am grateful for the invention of the wide angle lens, and the fact that there weren't pictures taken of everything shoved into the closet! The rule I had for the photographer - don't open any closets or look behind any of the shower curtains.

This entire update was prompted by an inquiry about if and when I would have new fobs for the Eve scissors. Thank you for that nudge! My scissors were ordered last week, and should be arriving shortly. I have been stalking both the mailman and the UPS trucks. As soon as they are in my hands, I will be matching up beads and making a striking creation to perfectly accent the beautifully spotted scissors. As for a stitchy update, the model is done for the third installment in the reproduction style series! My framer brought it to the EGA Ice Cream Social on Tuesday night, we all ooohed and aaahed over her talent for framing, and I will work on a picture this afternoon. Then it's formatting, printing, packaging, and prayerfully one or two more new releases for early October.

Through it all, I can say it is well. He is good and faithful. His timing is perfect, although it hasn't yet matched my own. There is something that I'm supposed to learn in this transition, and I pray that I learn it willingly on my knees. I pray that I can use this transition as a time of peace, and not just waiting for it to be done and over with and constantly looking for what's next.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New releases June 2014

Summer is almost officially here, the weather has been up and down, and I had the joy of stitching for an hour today! The garden is growing well and the little green tomatoes are now medium green tomatoes. Tomorrow we harvest peas, which will be tasty with dinner, and we should be able to start using the fresh onions soon. Yum! It's a lot of work to start with seeds and tend the garden, but it's nice to have home canned produce in December and fresh greens on the table throughout the year.

There are four new releases this month, and a new batch of threaders, so here we go:
Four Blooms
I have a fantastic bead supplier who got in these beautiful floral beads. I couldn't decide on just one color, so I went with four. Beads are almost as bad of an addiction as thread or scissors. They have a nifty clasp, to attached to your scissors or a chatelaine, and are super sturdy.

MBT-151 Christmas Pinkies IV
This chart has two designs that were previously released in JCS ornament and preview issues, and two brand new ones. Since the joy for me is in designing, not in finishing, I chose to use some cute little frames that I found at Hobby Lobby. 

MBT-152 Building Block Power
Here it is, the sixteenth block!!! There are only five scripture verses on this chart, but each one has great meaning. There will likely be a few more blocks in the series, so stay tuned! I don't have too much more wall space where that series is hanging, but I can wiggle in a few more ;-)

MBT-153 Hens and Chicks
It's no secret that we have chickens. We currently have 13 hens, 7 laying and 6 pullets, all different types, and I'm often found in the yard, talking to them and singing (please, don't commit me!). It started with 2 little bantams, a used coop, and a "Chickens for Dummies" book, and it has turned into a big flock and a fun coop that hubby built last year. When asked what color I would paint the coop, a few things went through my mind. I could be conservative, and paint it to match the house. I could be traditional, and paint it barn red. When asked what I woudl choose if it could be any color I wanted, I chose purple. DMC 3041 purple. WDW Purple Haze purple. With white trim. SO, with that, the coop in the chart is purple, and is named "The Egg-plant," and I fully encourage you to change it to the color of your coop and stitch in your coop's name (an alphabet is provided). The three eggs in the picture are from our hens - Goldie (bantam) laid the small one, Black (Ameraucana) laid the blue one, and Zebby (barred rock) laid the tan one. No hens were harmed in the making of this chart.

MBT-154 Not How Many You Finish
Another not-so-secret secret... a lot have stitchers have a LOT of projects started - AND NOT FINISHED!!! I have a box of decade-old WIP's, and I'm not ashamed. I had every intention of finishing them, but life happened, and so did new projects. For those of you in the same spot as me - unite! It's NOT how many are finished, it IS how many you start. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! hehehe

Now we return to life as normal. School is going well, ups and downs, but still glad for the journey we are on as a family. We still have studies during the summer, but we also do more play dates and fun outings. God is there in the sunshine and the storm - I'm choosing to see the rainbow and jump in the puddles.

Monday, June 9, 2014

My very first needlework

A few weeks ago, my mom sent my daughter the most delightful little package. It had pictures from her last trip here (the real, printed ones!), an empty photo album, sugary treats, and this:


My very first needlework. Can you tell that I was quite the french knot expert? hehehe.

It's officially summer here because it's getting too hot to want to be outside in the afternoon. Today I spent most of the afternoon braving the sun, getting cover pictures done for new releases! There will be four new charts out in a few weeks. One of these charts is the much sought after, sixteenth Building Block. For those of you (and me!) who want a 4x4 grid of these designs on their wall, or a quilt, or wall hanging... you'll have it in a few weeks. Please promise not to throw scissors at me when I release the seventeenth.

Our chicks have officially turned into pullets, and have joined the hens in the big coop. There have been few pecking order issues, and when they free range during the day, then tend to keep to their separate groups. It's fun to watch them all run around the yard.

This week we are finishing up a bunch of different parts to our curriculum, and next week we will be starting new material. Third grade is almost officially done, some subjects we are solidly in fourth, and some we are moving on to fifth. It's nice to be able to go at our own pace. We've been trying to get lessons done early in the day so we can enjoy time outdoors, walking the dog. She (the dog) has determined that it is necessary to follow me around the house all day, so here is my office carpet-weight ;-)


I wish you all a wonderful week with lots of joy and peace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Needlework Show

Today is the final day of browsing at www.needleshow.com ! It has been another fun day for me. I have a door prize offered on the "What's New" page of my website, and will do a drawing for ~5 people for goodies from my line. There are many new vendors at the show, and a gorgeous selection of stitchy stash. Each year it amazes me how much talent is out in the stitching world!

Life in ID - rainy! We are in for a full day of rain, followed by most of the week of rain, and I am thankful for the watered grass. The chickens will be thankful for the worms, and the doodlebug will be thankful for the mud puddles. I will not be thankful for the wet dog. Tonight is the local EGA meeting and I am looking forward to an hour of stitching and chatting with friends. And a couple hours of escape ;o) Time out of the house with people over 4' tall!!! Woo hooo!!!!!! Was that too much excitement?

Stitching projects are moving along. Two of the models are done, and I started working on the third. The two completed models are companion pieces, cutsie ones, and one of them has the most fun button accents. I look forward to sharing it with you in a couple of months! So far I'm planning on an ornament chart, a whimsical chart, a cutsie chart, and a building block to round out the batch. Fall releases should include another repro style, another ornament set, a small scripture and something fun, but don't hold me to that... September is a loooong way away.

Exodus 33:14 My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Up and coming in 2014

I had a question about designs that have to do with our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus (and I haven't figured out how to reply directly to that person!), and if I have any designs that will be coming about for that. The "Grief and Sorrows" design is probably the closest I currently have that deals with that, and if done with spring colors, separating out the florals from the stems from the rest of the design, I can see it as being stitched as a remembrance of this event. Here's a little preview of what I could see with colors. I always welcome the encouragement towards new designs, so please don't hesitate to email me directly with any scripture that you would like to bring to my attention. To me, this design is an encouragement that He has been there through it all, worse than I could imagine or experience, and borne it all for my salvation. There is nothing that He hasn't gone through first, no agony that He hasn't suffered, and the struggles that I go through are weights that He will take, if I'm willing to let Him.

Yesterday was a *great* day for designing. For the quilters who are asking for a workable number of blocks in the Building Blocks series - number 16 is designed!!! I still have ideas in my head for a few more, but this will give you a concrete number that makes sense in a quilt layout. The rest can always be made into pillows :-) You'll have to wait until summer for the official release (and the small detail of stitching the model), but it will be coming soon. I've been working on a few scripture charts AND another witty, stitchy design, that goes along with the "Stitch All Day" style of chart, AND some fun button accented charts AND, AND, AND!!!! It is so strange to have new stuff just come out, and already be excited about SIX more! Now to find where I hid that stitching time.....

On the home front - SPRING IS HERE!!!!! It's raining a lot, but there is GREEN stuff growing and I got to mow the yard. It's always an answered prayer when the mower starts the first time. The hens are still laying ~5 eggs per day, and we get to share the little orbs with the neighbors. The chicks are a month and a half old, and in their awkward tween look. They love meal worms, but not spinach. I am much happier now that they are in the garage, and NOT the guest room. I will be even happier when they are outside. I used an old dog crate, ratty towels, a piece of a wooden tomato cage (that had been disassembled and turned into a tiger pit cover), and office binder clips to make their temporary home and I'm quite proud of myself ;-)


It's not that clean anymore, but it is working out quite well. They are getting used to the sound of the shop vac, as I obsessively tidy up the wood pellets that they take joy in shoving out of the kennel.

Home school is going mostly well (echoes of Princess Bride - he's been mostly dead all day!). I'm thankful we have the opportunity to choose curriculum and move at a pace that is workable for our family, and it keeps the doodlebug challenged. I'm thankful for the relationship we get to work on as mother and daughter, the scripture we can put in every lesson. I'm thankful that I get to witness the excitement when a new concept is mastered, a science experiment spews goo up to the ceiling, or a story comes to life. At the end of the day, I'm grateful for the movie "Frozen," and the two hours a week that it gives me to regroup and remember to "Let it go" (hahaha!).

Sunday, March 23, 2014

New releases for March 2014

We have passed the official first day of spring, and I have to say I am enjoying the sunshine and all things green! I may not be as enthusiastic about the sun when the temps are triple digit and I have to mow and edge the yard, but I am really good at sticking my head in the sand and ignoring what is inevitable.

MBT-147 Our Father
I greatly enjoyed stitching on The Apostles' Creed, and loved the tradition that style of design represents. This version of The Lord's Prayer has the scripture reference, the introduction to the prayer itself, and a place for personalization at the end. The model was stitched on 32 ct. Lakeside Linens, "Pecan Butter," with Gentle Art Sampler Thread. There are three frames in this series, one blonde (this design), one brown (The Apostles' Creed) and one black, so you will see at least one more design in this style!

MBT-148 I Need Thee Every Hour
This is another design in our hymn series. The model is stitched on 32 ct. Belfast linen, "Platinum," with Weeks Dye Works thread. The chart is printed over two pages, so the symbols are large and clear.

MBT-149 The Best Things in Life
I have to have a whimsical one!!! This is the 'cutsie' design for this batch of releases. It fits in a standard 5x7 frame, can be done in any floral colors you like, and is just fun. The model is stitched on 32 ct. jobelan, "Ivory," with Weeks Dye Works thread. I did it in two colorways, for both the spring and fall feels, and really loved stitching this design.

MBT-150 Griefs and Sorrows
This design was one of those 'unplanned' surprises. It all started with a frame sample. My framer did a kitchen project for a lady and had a bunch of this moulding left over. I fell in love with it and was determined to do a design for it. She let me borrow the corner, so I could select fabric and thread that went well with the colors, and then the design came to life. God put this scripture, from Isaiah 53:4, into my head and would not let it go. From design to framer it was four days. Since the moulding was a bit chunky in size, the design needed a little umpf, so I stitched it with three strands over three threads on 30 ct. linen. It was so much fun! It looks chunky and earthy because of the size of the stitches, but elegant and delicate because of the linen. If you want to stitch it over two threads on 28 ct. it will fit a standard 5x7 frame.

That is all of the MBT stuff! For life in general - I like our dog. She has become family, is leaving fur everywhere, and is now sleeping in our daughter's room. We are her pack, and she is completely intertwined in everything we do. She did try to herd the chickens, once, but has since learned that they are not her job. We added six chicks to our home, first in the guest room and now in the garage, and I look forward to them being outside. They are cute, but they are LOUD. Hubby is working on a pit greenhouse, which means a big hole and a lot of dirt being moved. It will be nice to have fresh tomatoes in December, and it's a great at-home science project for doodlebug, but it is a big project.

This morning in church we talked about thorns (2 Corinthians 12), and how we pray to have them removed, but sometimes the answer is 'no' or 'not now'. We grow to depend on God more through the pain, the humility, the weakness, and learn that His grace is sufficient. It was encouraging to be reminded that it is in His strength that we live with our thorns, having grace through the challenges instead of despairing that they aren't removed. Thank you for all who have shared not only their joys and blessings, but also their thorns with me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

New releases for January 2014

A very Happy New Year to you! Every year we come to this point and I wonder where the last year has gone. I have already started my annual protest to only write 2013 on everything, my statement that the last year shouldn't yet be done and over. Okay, the reality is that it will take me until August to remember to write the new date, and by then, what's the point since 2015 will be here soon?

The best thing about winter is that the yard doesn't need as much work. There's still firewood to haul, chickens to feed, and show to shovel, but there's also a LOT more stitching time. The idea is that I get to catch up on inventory, while we hunker down at home, but these last few months have been busier than I'm used to for this time of year. It has been a time of family, new friendships, catching up on old relationships, and time at church, so it's not like I haven't enjoyed the time, but it has been different in a good way. On that note... let's get to the new MBT stuff! There are three new designs:

MBT-144 Early to Bed is stitched on 32 ct. jobelan, "Antique White," with Weeks Dye Works thread and JABC accent buttons. This design snuggly fits into a 4x6 frame, which makes it a much more affordable piece to finish and have in your home. The frame I used is from the current collection at Hobby Lobby, and was under $5. Yeah!!!

MBT-145 Bless the Lord - Psalm 103:1 is stitched on Fabric Flair 32 ct. linen, "Iced Coffee (ODE)," with DMC thread for the main model and Caron Waterlilies 063 for the single color piece in the corner. This design comfortably fits into a 5x7 frame and I bought it at Hobby Lobby (it's one of my favorite stores for frames!).

MBT-146 Building Block - Serve is stitched on 28 ct. linen, "Cream," with Gentle Art Sampler Threads. I'm running out of wall space where I have this series hanging, above the kitchen area and in the dining room, so it will probably be winding down in another couple of blocks. I've greatly enjoyed the series, but I don't want to rearrange everything on my walls to fit more in! I have the entire series framed in 11x11 openings of various frames that are done by the local framer (Finishing Touch in Boise).

Non-MBT life is a lesson in contentment during this season. In all of the uncertainties of our physical world, the discomfort of our physical bodies, all of the turmoil and chaos, I am praying for contentment right where we're at. We added a dog to our family, a 2 year old retriever, and it has been a big adjustment. I've never had a dog, let alone a 60 lb. creature who sleeps in our room and bounds down the stairs, but we've discussed it for the last 2 years and prayed about it seriously for the last 6 months. She is a ball of energy and a joy to have around the house. The cat, who has had the house to herself for 5 years, is not amused (that may be the understatement of the year).

Thank you for another wonderful year of new friends, encouragement, and sharing your stitching and lives with me.

Monday, September 30, 2013

October 2013 New Releases

I am so excited to share with you four new designs! The website is updated, orders are being shipped, and newsletters are going out, so I get to update the blog :-) The thread details are at www.MyBigToeDesigns.com , but here are the more interesting tidbits that go along with each one:

MBT-140 The Apostles' Creed
This design was encouraged by a lovely lady who emailed me a couple of years ago to see if it was something that I would design. After over a year of prayer and nothing coming of it, I was inspired to do it in a reproduction style. The creed has been used for centuries and is currently recited today in many churches. The design process was surprisingly smooth, with lines of words lining up perfectly at the end, and then I started pulling thread colors and stitching. I haven't fought so awfully with colors in a design in a long time! The end result is exactly what I saw in my head, and I love how it turned out, but I ripped out almost as much as I stitched. The chart comes with a little history lesson on the design, and a conversion for some of the wording.

MBT-141 Blessed Assurance
Hymn designs have become my new favorites. It is a joy to be able to sing along with my stitching! I've been back in a purple mood, and the new GAST color "Amethyst" was perfect for what I was feeling with the colors for this one.

MBT-142 To Stitch or Not to Stitch
There has to be a whimsical design in each batch, and I was feeling a bit pensive with this one. It is in the same design line as "Normal Family," same color families, and same attitude :-)

MBT-143 Joyful, Patient, Faithful
Romans 12:12 tells us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. I need so much of all three of those each and every day! The border is a tangle of flowers, and it could easily be brightened up a bit for spring colors, or stitched in one color, OR add in more colors for the flowers!

Thank you for sharing in this stitchy journey with me. I appreciate all of the kind words, encouragement, feedback, and prayers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Seeing spots!

I had the joy of a bead 'trunk show' a couple of weeks ago. One of my wholesalers sends around a big van, loaded with goodies, and I get to dig and dig and dig, to my heart's content. It's soooo much fun! I came away with a lot of new needle threader bead offerings, and here are a few of my favorites:
Lots of dots! The flower in the middle is a deep violet color. I wish I could get a backlit picture that could better show off the color, but it's beautiful. New designs will be coming out in a couple of weeks. There will be four new ones: one large reproduction style, one whimsical, and two inspirational. Keep an eye out for the next update!

This is usually the time of year when I'd be posting lots of yummy garden food updates, how the canning process is going, and what we're planning for winter seeds. A few weeks ago we had a bad storm come through, it had lots of hail and winds, and we sustained a lot of damage. If it was outside and green, it was shredded. The hail came down so hard that it went through the fruits and veggies, destroyed all of their leaves and vines, and left the grapes and berries looking like it was already December. It broke a skylight on the house, ruined some window screens, "textured" the aluminum trim on one side of the house, flooded the front and side of the property (including the hen house!), and worked down into one of the bathroom vents and made a wet mess. Our neighbor had hundreds of dents in his vehicle, and another one had the paint stripped off of his house! It is nothing compared to what some CO towns are experiencing, and they are all in our prayers. We still ache for the lost food, but I'm counting the blessing that God freed up a lot of my time this fall and I'm waiting to see what He is going to do with that time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gingher Julia's are here!

Technically, I guess they're here again, since there is another pair of Julia's already in existence, BUT the new ones are here! It was an early surprise because they're usually not out until late September. They are lovely, with lots of vibrant colors, and it was a treat to sit down with the beads today to make fobs. The fob will be officially named "Chasing Rainbows" because of the adorable butterfly charm and the rainbow of colors.


New design releases won't be out until October, but I can share that I just dropped off the big one at the framer yesterday! I'm restitching it in a solid color silk, and then need to work on a few smaller designs. Most of life has been taken up with camping, family in and out of town, the munchkin's schooling, and the yard. Oh, the yard. Good news - canning season! Bad news - canning season! Yesterday I made a dozen jars of jalapeno jelly, and it is hot and tasty. Today was canning peaches and peach jam. Tomorrow will be apples. Monday will be pears.

Personally, it has been neat to see how God is revealing Himself each day. The past couple of months have been of new friendships, new ways to serve, and continual encouragement that this is where He has us and we need to find joy in each day, instead of trying to get through the day. He is showing me a lot of shortcomings, refining me through trial (or through seven year old), and letting me see how great He is in that He loves someone who sins so wretchedly. Lots of things to praise. He promised it's for our good, not for our comfort :-)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Release for the Columbus Market

First the good stuff: a new release!!!

MBT-139 Words of Wisdom, is stitched on 28 ct. Lambswool Jobelan with GAST threads. The poem is something I've been working on for a while now, and it came together this spring. The poem says:

read your Bible every day
use kind words, often pray
keep the Lord above all things
joy and peace is what this brings
tell the truth, help a friend
be faithful to the very end
make time to stop and take a rest
daily give your very best
be respectful to your mom and dad
(OR be grateful for the life you've had)
all these things will make God glad

An alternative line has been provided for "be respectful to your mom and dad," even though I think that line should be stitched in bold letters, with bright sparkly thread, and accented with flashing neon lights. The alternative charting is "be grateful for the life you've had," and depending on where you are at in life, it may be a better fit. I'm in the world of an almost third grader...

Now for the rest of the stuff: It's almost summer, technically the day before it starts, and the weather is beautiful in Idaho. We had a high of 68 today, and a blue sky with huge, puffy clouds. The cooler weather is helping the spinach and lettuce to stay around longer, and we have really enjoyed picking fresh greens each day to have with dinner. I had my annual run in with the ants and the edger, because it seems every year I forget where their hill is and that they don't appreciate when I go over them with yard tools. A few weeks ago we had a nasty frost, which killed off most of the new grape vine growth and what produce had started on the trees. It will be a sad harvest for those things, but the berries are more than making up for it!

The chickens have gone broody. And they're molting. We haven't had an egg in a month, and I plan on adding a couple more hens in July so that we can have eggs again. So far, the threat of making them share the nesting box with strangers has NOT had the desired effect. Hubby built an extension to the coop, just finished the door to it tonight, which will give us room for a few more hens.

I am stitching some, but not much. I have a new big design in the works, and I'm stitching two versions of it. The monochrome one is in black silk on 40 ct. mottled linen, and I love how it's turning out. It's just a LOT of little x's. I have a new beady friend who will be joining the frog fobs this fall, but you'll have to wait to see what it is at the online show!

Have a wonderful summer...
Debbie

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New releases for April 2013

Yes, it feels like I just had new releases... And I did! This year we are trying something new for the online show, and having new designs debut for the show. It has been SO much fun to design and stitch these. 


MBT-136 It Is Well ~ Stitched on 32 ct. Belfast linen, "Limestone", with Gentle Art Sampler Threads. I loved stitching on this one, and chose a deep blue for the main color because of the depth of the oceans color that is such a key part of the author's life. In the midst of great loss on earth, he could say that it was well.


MBT-137 Love Always ~ Stitched on 28 ct. jobelan, "Lambswool", with Weeks Dye Works thread. The most frequent question I get with this one is "Where did you get the frame?!?". It's from Hobby Lobby, and is made by Greentree Gallery. I bought the frame first, fell in love with it, and designed to fit the frame and match the colors. This design is also charted with the words "Love Always Hopes," and will fit a standard 4x6 frame.


MBT-138 All About Me ~ Stitched on 32 ct. jobelan, "Antique White", with Weeks Dye Works thread, and accented with JABC buttons for the eyes and mouse toy. We own a black cat, she thinks she owns the house, and she probably does (see the previous post on how she 'helps' me stitch). This can be easily stitched with thread to match the queen of your house.


Pink and Blue Froggie Fobs ~ We've added a couple of hoppers to the line! Our rainbow class of amphibia didn't seem complete without these! The frogs are now available in green, cobalt, sunflower, purple, pink, and blue.

The website has been updated with all of the details! Have fun stalking your favorite shop :-)
Debbie

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ornament Preview... Shhhhhh

This is my reality while stitching. It's the reason I end up frogging so much. It's the reason I can barely get any x's done. Her name is Bones, and she thinks she is the queen. She doesn't just do this when I'm under a deadline, or when I get a precious solid hour to sit and stitch, she does it ALL THE TIME when I have something on the couch. Her determination to keep surfaces clean means that she knocks everything to the ground - cups of water, scissors, paperclips, pens, car keys... She also steals needle threaders, thread pickers, skeins of floss... Cats!!!


The exciting news is that I'll be in the Just Cross Stitch magazines again this year! Yeah!!! It was an honor to be asked, and what started out as a single ornament turned into two, then turned into two ornaments and a Thanksgiving design. SO, later this summer, check out JCS! I'll be in three of them!

For the rest of MBT news - here's an early teaser on a release for Thursday. There will be three designs debuting at the Needlework Show, and some new froggies! The whimsical design is pet related, and soooo fits our home. You'll understand when you see it. Make sure and check out the show and check for door prizes. If you'd like to see the colors of the new hymn, here's a sneak peek:


This morning we woke up to snow, after a very chilly day yesterday. The weather is so wacky. Our chickens aren't minding it too much, and they're blessing us with about a dozen eggs per week. Grandma is visiting us this week, which is a delight, and hopefully we'll get in some good family time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

With a chick, chick, here


We are just a couple of days away from Spring, and enjoying the warmer temps of the 50's. Last week we added two new family members: Goldie and Gloria. They are our new hens! We found a used coop, a knowledgeable breeder, and added two bantam egg laying hens to the yard. They are about 8 months old, with speckled feathers, called Mille Fleur d'Uccle, and have funny personalities. I better understand the phrase "being pecked to death by a chicken" now that I have watched them eat.





We decided against starting with chicks, because of the impossibility of getting ANY school lessons done while they were in the house. They have already provided us with three eggs, which made the yummiest chocolate chip cookies. These two enjoy banana and cantaloupe, don't like grapes, and will enjoy free range of the yard as soon as we're outside gardening more. Due to the predator population around our house (hawks, foxes, raccoons, cats...), they won't be able to forage without us being outside with them. As soon as it is a bit warmer, I plan on stitching outside while enjoying the company of our little clucks. You can definitely tell the dominant one - Goldie! The breeder said they were 'friends', and spent most of their time together, which sold the munchkin on them right away. Our coop will comfortably hold two, and after seeing them in there I immediately wanted more.

Now onto the My Big Toe stuff. A new design!!! BUT, you'll have to wait until it is unveiled at the needlework show next month. I put the final stitches in it over the weekend, and it will head to the framer tomorrow afternoon. I'm hoping for a second new release, but my design/stitching time is currently filled with inventory stock up. My line of fobs, needle threaders, marking pins, and thread hoppers are topped off, and the 500 thread pickers are in progress. I had a big bead order come in and spent the morning putting all of the pretties away and thinking of new accessories. So much fun! There will be a couple new froggies joining the family - pink and blue - along with a gorgeous new selection of needle threaders with clasps. I found a frosted glass cat bead that is the perfect size for a clasp needle threader, so look for that April 18th at www.NeedleworkShow.com!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February 2013 New Designs

The new designs are officially released! Emails have been sent, auto ships have been shipped, and you are now welcome to pester your friendly local shop owner for new projects :-) Without further blabbering, here they are:

Nothing But the Blood
Stitch count: 127w x 127h
Thread by Weeks, Fabric by Lakeside Linens


Stitch All Day
Stitch count: 135w x 114h
Threads by Crescent Colours, Fabric is Jobelan


Rejoice and Be Glad
Stitch Count: 85w x 57h (fits standard 5x7 frame)
Threads by Weeks, Fabric is Cashel linen


Name of Jesus (it's finally here!!!)
Stitch Count: 238w x 390h
Threads by GAST, Fabric is Belfast linen


Thank you for letting me share in all of my happy dances! We are enjoying a beautiful day of blue skies, cold temps, and strong winds. The plus is that the wind clears out the inversion, and we can enjoy sunlight again. Munchkin's fish had babies last week - 30 little guppies. The piano is going well, and I am finding peace during her practice and a house full of melodies. Have a blessed weekend, stay safe, enjoy some stitching...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More stubborn than the weather

Idaho, like much of the country, has been experiencing some wild and abnormal weather lately. We spent several weeks in negative temps, highs in the single digits, with snow staying on the ground and sheets of ice on the roads. Since our van died (affectionately known as the snow toboggan), I've been driving the truck. I AM that person who can't park a truck, being relegated to the very last spot, taking up two because I can't pull in straight, and has to do a 13 point turn to get out of said spot. My deepest apologies to those who try and park around me - I deserve your head shakes and grimaces as you wait for me to get turned around :-)

For the past few years, new release pictures have been taken in my backyard. Even in winter, I've been able to set up the wreaths and florals on the grass, and bundle up in a heavy coat to get just the right shot. Since the snow has been hanging around, I haven't been able to do that this month, and I have been putting off cover pictures. Yesterday, I could take it no more! I disassembled my dining room, set up every portable light I could find, and got the pictures done!!! The cat ran off with most of my florals, and sat on every new release model that I left on a flat surface, but they're done!!! I'm not ready to share all of them, yet, but will give you a quick preview of one of them:

 
The fabric and threads are all here for the next big design. I have been happily stitching away on the fat half of fabric. Putting in that first stitch, on such a big canvas, is always intimidating and exciting! The fabric and thread creators have all been warned about the yards and yards and yards that I am using, and I am excited to share the new designs with you... in a few weeks. Some teasers: it is a companion piece to a design from the 'early days', I have been promising it for years, and it will be stitched in GAST thread in brown and red.

Last weekend I had the reminder of how much I respect single parents. Hubby went on a men's retreat, and the munchkin and I had a few days together as mommy and daughter. I have been getting through an awful cold, which meant we had movie day on Saturday. All day Saturday. One of our favorite movies is "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", and I giggle while the munchkin is singing along with the songs, and counting which brothers are in the scenes. She got to watch "Singing in the Rain" for the first time, and she laughed out loud through much of it.

School lessons are back on track, new curriculum has started arriving for her 3rd grade year, and I am ever so grateful for the inquisitive, thoughtful, and downright BUSY child that the Lord has given. She is teaching me love, patience, understanding, patience, encouragement, patience, compassion, patience, to laugh at myself... and a true appreciation of grace and mercy.

Next week - I go coffee free. You have all been warned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Insanity is the sound of a metronome

Recently we added piano lessons to the munchkin's weekly school plan. We found an old piano on craigslist, set it up in the living room, and brought in the most fascinating little battery controlled black box. It's not one of the older metronomes, with the swinging pendulum - I could see the cat tackling that and it being a short lived part of our home. It's one of the ones you can spin the dial to change the tempo and then flip a switch to change the tone. It goes fast, slow, fast again, REALLY fast, then quiet, loud, kind of in the middle, REALLY loud, and then it goes up on a shelf. A high shelf. Turned off.

One joy of the season in our home is sugar cookies. This is the only time of year that I make them, because I could eat dozens of them in one sitting. Royal icing is too tempting for me to resist. I love the fun of rolling out the dough, then playing cookie-cutter-tetris, trying to fit in as many shapes and waste as little dough as possible. Who am I kidding - dough doesn't get wasted in this house. Somehow we ended up with pastel green trees, and yellow gingerbread men, but they were all tasty.

This past year I have decided to experiment more in the kitchen. Tonight it started with a pork taco recipe that was done in the slow cooker, topped with queso blanco crumbles, and served with a fresh diced mango salsa, all on warm corn tortillas. It was really yummy, and reminded me of a mutton dish I had in India (a couple decades ago). Rich flavors, a hint of sweet, but a LOT of work to prepare the sauce for the crock pot. Hubby was a fan, and went back for seconds. Munchkin gave me another "meh", sideways thumb, but did manage to finish her meal. We're trying to encourage her to try new things, within reason, and if it's not too spicy (or something that the cat wouldn't eat), then what is served is what is to eat. Thankfully she is a good sport, and has found quite a few things that she enjoys and to which she will give an enthusiastic thumbs up. We haven't had to resort to frozen pizza, yet!

Stitching has not been a priority over the past week, even though I would have loved to make more progress on the new hymn design. The end is in sight, and I likely have only 8 or so more hours to work on it. At this point, on the second stitching, I have the border mostly memorized and don't have to look at the pattern often. The two pieces at the framer should be done this week, and it's exciting to be that much closer to new releases!

Last week I added a note to the end of my post that I wanted to do a giveaway, and would love to hear from you about your favorite holiday memory or stitchy story. Thank you to all who emailed. I laughed, cried, felt comforted, and shared in a lot of your lives. I couldn't pick just one, so I'm picking two. Congrats to Tricia and Brenda! This was so much fun for me, keep an eye out and I'll do these again throughout the year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas - a day or two late

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, reflecting on the season and His wonderful creation and humble beginnings. Our December 25th started out with a surprise - a power outage! My water for coffee had just finished in the microwave (yes, I drink that powdered vanilla-flavored-not-really-coffee-but-definitely-caffeine-stuff-in-a-box), and 'poof', the power went out. At least it knew that I needed the coffee to deal with the outage :-) We explored our stockings by candlelight, got a fire going in the wood stove, and a few hours later we had power again. Being on a well, no power means no water, which is what gives me the most anxiety. Thankfully it wasn't long, and we don't often lose power often, but I can tell you we had lots of jokes about the 12-21-12 being a few days late!

This morning we have a beautiful blanket of snow outside, gentle flakes still falling, and the dreaded black ice on most of the roads. Like I needed another excuse to avoid leaving the house, and staying in to stitch. I have two new designs at the framers now, am working on a second colorway for one of them, and have spent the month of December playing catch up with inventory. This is my slowest month of the year, which gives the extra blessing of more time doing church and family things.

We did have a 'cooking' funny this past month. I decided to try and make homemade macaroni and cheese. It was a labor of love, with six cheeses, all hand grated, a beautifully tanned roux, fresh minced garlic painstakingly sauteed in butter, and baked until perfectly browned and bubbly. Two hours later, the munchkin's response, with a thumb sideways (instead of thumbs up or down): "meh, it's all right". The blue box would be cheaper, and less work.

Homeschool lessons are going well, but I've found that the little one is determined NOT to read instructions. Even when I highlight them! So here's my little experiment: If you are reading this, send me an email to sales@mybigtoedesigns.com BEFORE January 1st and be entered into a drawing for a chart or fob of your choice. You can send a quick "hello", or I would love to hear your favorite Christmas memory or stitching story.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Home from Texas

This past week we took a trip down to Texas to visit both of our families. It was a good time, but too short. I consider the many blessings - easy flights, no injuries, incredible food - and look forward to making the trip again. My biggest dread were the airports, but everyone was kind, professional, and understanding of a traveling family and all that goes with that. We were able to visit 3 Stitches, in Spring, and I did a little stash shopping. The scissor addict that I am, it was necessary to pick up a couple novelty pairs. We met with my old stitching group for a time of feast and fellowship, went to the Houston Zoo, the Butterfly Museum, and chased chickens and fed cows at the grandparent's farm. The chickens were so much fun that I think we're going to add them to our lives this spring!

Just before we left, there was a flurry of excitement as Gingher released a new pair of scissors to the Joann's stores. Her name is Jennifer, and she has a funky paisly swirl with the colors of deep indigo, black, green, and all shades of blues. A fob has been created for her, both a long and short version, and they are available to order through your favorite LNS. The standard charm on them is a swirly star, which is a great accent to the swirly design, and the end beads match the deep blue of the scissors.
Last month, there was the release of Gingher's Emily to the local needlework shops. She is white, shades of pink, and black, and perfectly paired with a cute flower charm on both the long and short fobs. As always, if you want a loop on the end instead of a clasp, so you can put it on your 8" shears or your rotary cutter, I am happy to do that. 
I stitched very little on the trip, but did work some on the "Books of the Bible" short version for the 2013 trunk show. I need to get it to the framer this week - I've got a lot of x's to go! I'm also working on the next hymn piece, and love the colors that it will be worked with. The next cutsie design - don't love the colors I picked as much. I may need to order some different ones... Things to ponder.

 Thank you to our veterans, their families, and those who love them. Your sacrifices are appreciated more than I could put into words.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Needlework Show is open!

Today is the first day of the Fall 2012 Needlework Show! Check out www.needleshow.com to see all of the great offerings, from oodles of vendors, and enter for some fantastic door prizes. This is the first year that my door prize comes with a "comments" section. I have been howling in laughter over some of them (you *know* who you are) and really touched by others. If you haven't visited - go! I have SIX new fobs and a few caffeinated needle threaders. Here are the new froggies, in cobalt scroll, blue sunflower, and PURPLE:


I'm looking forward to the next week being tied to the office. The cold that the munchkin had a couple of weeks ago is now making its rounds through the house. I'm about 10 days into it, and hubby is just hitting the worst of it. She's running around, healthy as a horse. I comforted myself with peanut butter kiss cookies today. Little fluffy peanut butter delights with chocolate - you can't go wrong.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MBT has a new website

If you visit www.MyBigToeDesigns.com you will see a new look! We have updated the site, changed technologies a bit, and are working on making it more tablet and smart phone friendly. The "where to buy" section now has a US map and it will show you with little pins where the shops are located. Very fun! The images are all updated, it's easier to find the designs and accessories, and hopefully you will enjoy it. The gallery section has been updated - but we are still working on getting the details of each image to be in the pop-up. If you have pictures of any of your MBT finishes, and would like them to be added to the gallery, send them to me and I'll get it taken care of. Also, be sure to check out the tutorials and see pics and details of how to make all sorts of stitchy goodies. We have trunk shows out at many shops, have goodies currently at the Tour de Stitch, and will have goodies at the EGA Santa Fe seminar.

That is our big news for this week! I'm still working on inventory for the online show, www.needleshow.com , and I think you'll fall in love with the new accessories and their colors. Hint: purple frog. Okay, so that wasn't stealthy, but he's really cute!

The doodlebug is doing great with her studies and looking forward to an evening with friends. The garden is officially done for the year, the boxes gleaned and cleaned (except for the carrots), and I'm anxious for spring planting to start (already). There's nothing tastier than a fresh picked tomato. I have two grape vines to still clear of fruit, and we have decided that the juice from the merlot vines is the best. No, it's not fermented. It's incredibly rich and sweet, with very little sugar added. This weekend I'll be trimming back all of the berry and grape vines and mowing for the last time - I hope.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy some time with your stitching.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New releases for October 2012

Without further ado, here are the new releases that are currently in stock or available to order from your favorite needlework shop:

MBT-128 Books of the Bible
Stitched on 28 ct. hand dyed linen, "Thyme," with Belle Soie silk threads in Espresso, Herb Garden, and Velvet Rose. Stitch count 145w x 297h.
This project has been a long time in coming. My original plan had been to stitch it on 32 or 36 ct. fabric so it would fit perfectly in the frame of my 11x11 qsnaps and I would be able to stitch straight through the book names, in order. Then I fell in love with the "Thyme" hand dyed fabric. I could no longer fit it all in so I stitched the top border, then down the side and the whole bottom, and went back up and filled in all of the book names and florals. The color is beautiful, it is a perfect match for the Herb Garden thread... so much for my plans! I'm going to stitch the bottom section only for the trunk show and can't wait to be working on the beautiful green fabric again.


MBT-129 I Barely Survived
Stitched on 32 ct. jobelan, "Antique White," with Weeks Dye Works threads in Amber, Blue Jeans, Monkey Grass, Romance, Plum. Stitch count 85w x 53h.
Based on the response to this one at the local ANG meeting - I'm NOT the only one who feels like this some days! This was such a fun project, and it fits a 4x6 standard frame when stitched on 32 ct. fabric. The frame I found at Hobby Lobby, for the perfect price of $7. The single button floral accent is by JABC.


MBT-130 Remember Not
Stitched on 28, 32, 36, and 40 ct. linen, "Flax," with Thread Gather Silk N Colors thread in Aged Plum and Cypress Umber. Stitch count varies, but the main design is 49w x 284h.
This design has selections primarily from Psalms 25. The main design says "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions. According to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness sake. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me for I wait on thee." I wanted to have a long design, but didn't want it to take up a whole wall, so I chose a 40 ct. linen for the main design. Stitching with one strand, over two threads, it was a surprisingly easy project to work on. It also meant that it took only one skein of silk for the entire main project; a delightful splurge. There are three accent pieces to go with the main design: an ornament or pincushion, a scissor fob, and a small 'gift' type design.


MBT-131 Be Strong
Stitched on 32 ct. Belfast linen, "Limestone," with Gentle Art Sampler thread in Carriage Black, Dungarees, and Old Purple Paint (I love this color!). Stitch count 119w x 87h.
My sister-in-law encouraged me on this verse and I am grateful for that. I can see the possibilities in this piece as a gift for a college student going away for the first time, stitched in pinks for a woman battling cancer, for a friend who is struggling. If stitched on 32 ct. fabric it will fit evenly into an 8x10 frame with one inch of fabric showing all the way around.


Now that this batch projects are released, I don't have any other stitchy projects in the works. I hope to have some time to sit down and work on another hymn in the coming weeks. The top priority now is preparing the garden for winter. Tonight we will have our first freeze and we need to pick what we're going to keep, cover what we want to have continue growing, and then get things canned as quickly as possible. I've been working on getting all of the grapes juiced, and it has been a BIG job. I'm not even half way through the vines and we've already done around 40 quarts. It's really yummy, and will be great for making jelly throughout the winter, but I could do without the earwigs that like to hide in the clusters. Ick. We're trying to do an all natural garden, but I'm starting to understand the appeal of something in a spray bottle that will keep those nasty little bugs away.

That's all, for today, folks! If you want to check out the full length and mini fobs for the new Emily Gingher scissor, head on over to www.MyBigToeDesigns.com . Also mark your calendars for the www.NeedleworkShow.com which starts October 18th! We'll have oodles of new accessories in beautiful new colors.