Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Door prizes and Needle Minders

My third post in a month! I'm trying to be better at staying on top of announcements. It occurred to me that I didn't post a picture of the beautiful new needle minder accessory! Okay, so maybe I was afraid to post a picture because inventory was being ordered as fast as I could make it. They were debuted at the Needlework Show, and did amazingly well. So well that I ran out, and spent many hours trying to get more made before the shops realized that I was in the weeds! Here are the current needle minders that are available:

Soon (when I can sit hubby down at the computer to update the website), I will have individual pictures on the website so you can see current availability. They will change, over time, and I can already tell you that I have some amazing new minder designs that are just itching to be assembled!

The show orders are mostly shipped, shops are delightedly opening their boxes of goodies, oohing and aahing over all of the lovely products from the many vendors, and I was able to sit down and draw for door prizes! There were five winners, emails have been sent to them, and I thank all of you who entered. The comments were fun to read and I look forward to sending out envelopes with treats to the winners.

Today I get to play with fabric, thread, and buttons for new designs. It is ornament season, which is always fun, and then there are the March releases that I have to start getting ready. I plan for March, and then get all excited when they are ready in January and I can't wait to release them... so I don't wait and then have to come up with more for March! We have a well being drilled, today, which means noise and mud. I think we'll stay inside...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gingher Wren Scissors and a furry pain

My beautiful scissors have arrived, and I was delighted to create a new fob to match. The newest from Gingher is called "Wren," and they are the most lovely purple. I have created both long and mini fobs, and am glad to make anything from my line to match. The official name is "Plum Crazy." As beautiful as the purple and white scissors are, on their own, I felt they needed an accent color, in addition to the two shades of purple Swarovski crystals, so they are adorned with the most lovely cherub pink frosted bead.
SO... last week I was preparing pics for the brand new top secret accessory that will be added to my line at the Needlework Show on Thursday. I was so excited to get them all done, the lighting was perfect, color was great, and then. And THEN. Cat hair. I was going through the images, cropping and editing, and in every single image there was a single black cat hair. And you know what? I left it there. I did not retake a single picture. Do you want to see the culprit? Here she is:
I ordered dog food, and in the box was an insane amount of brown packing paper. I probably pulled out a good thirty feet of the paper, set it on the bed in the loft, and someone turned it into a cozy place to sleep. Better the packing paper than my needlework, which is where she usually tries to make her bed. 

This Thursday will be the beginning of the fall Needlework Show and I do hope you'll stop by www.needleshow.com to visit all of the wonderful booths. I'm excited to be participating and look forward to showing off some new accessories!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

October Already? AAAUUUGGGGHHH!!!

Can anyone tell me where the past year has gone? Seriously... if you find the last twelve months that seem to have disappeared, please let me know so I can figure out where they went and how to make the time slow down!

I would like to introduce four new designs to you! There are all sorts of details at www.MyBigToeDesigns.com , but there are also some fun notes that don't make the chart.

MBT-166 Christmas Pinkies V
The fifth installment in this series is a set of four ornaments, and it includes a border so that you can make them all into one wall  hanging. I had time to stitch the ornaments, but not the compilation. It's cute, if that helps ;-) One of these ornaments was in JCS, and it needed a few friends. The little frames are from Hobby Lobby, and you can get them through their website (I had to!).

MBT-167 The Old Rugged Cross
This is the next design in the series of hymns. I love the image of clinging to the cross, where the One who is true and blameless took all of the punishment for me, for those who are lost and wretched. This piece ended up being shipped to my framer in Boise, and she did a great job selecting something unique.

MBT-168 Armor of God
Over the past year, this has been the most requested set of verses. The kids' club at our old church did a series on the armor of God, so it has been something I have wanted to do, but this year it all came together. It fits a standard size 8x10 frame, so it makes it a more affordable gift to put together. I did get a comment that it was a bit masculine, and that let to a girly, giggle-filled conversation about how to make it more feminine, "because a girl's gotta have her armor, too." After discarding suggestions of purple helmet feathers, blingy bead accents on the sword hilt, and other moments of fun, I think the best way to soften it up a bit would be to use a very feminine frame with big swirls and lots of detail, and leave off the straight line border so that there isn't the rigidness.

MBT-169 Retirement Planning
Yep, I have issues, BUT, almost any crafter I know can relate to this design. Quilters, stampers, knitters (don't make me open the closet doors that lead to the stash you keep with all of those beautiful colors and textures), beaders (I see you, but am then also pointing the finger at myself)... this isn't just limited to cross stitchers and needlepointers! This design, when stitched on the 35 ct. linen, fits a 5x7 frame. This color of linen is also available in 30 and 32 counts, so don't panic with the really tiny, teeny little holes.

For new accessories: there will be new ones coming! I have an entire new line of a brand new-to-me accessory that will debut at the online Needlework Show... in two weeks! (Is it really that soon... ack!!! I have work to do!!!) There will also be a new fob to match the next pairs of Gingher scissors, and new specialty pins for the holidays with matching long and mini fobs (I really, really have a lot of work to do!!!).

Life in the woods is still life in the woods. It is challenging, difficult, strange, confusing, exhausting, magnificent, faith building, beautiful, and beyond anything that my mind could have put together. A year ago this week, our old house had just gone under contract, and I was packing up five years of being settled in to a home. My plans were for a short transition, maybe a couple of months, until we found a new home of our own. Oh, boy, did God have other plans. Amazing, encouraging, growing plans. Everything that I have missed, he has abundantly provided. Church, garden, friends, design inspiration, rest (well, this on we are still working on), He has provided.

Doodlebug is doing great. Home school lessons are moving along, and she is able to pursue her passion and gift of music. She does two concerts each month, and has started regularly participating in playing piano for worship and the offering at church. PE co-op has started up again, which is a blast. Today is a bit sad, because we had to put down a beloved chicken last night, but it is a time of growing and learning.

It has been a year. We are still looking for a house, and will continue to stalk the websites for new listings. It becomes harder and harder to leave this community that we have embraced, and has embraced us in return. God will keep us here until His job for us is done, and then the path will be made clear and the right doors will open. He is good, He is faithful. He loves me in my tantrums, in my pridefulness, in my brokenness, and reminds me of His grace and mercy each day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A NEW Free Chart Available at Wichelt

A wonderful August to you! Last month, Wichelt asked me to do a designer profile for their shop list, and a freebie that is to be available on their site for the next year. I have always wanted to do something smaller with "Amazing Grace," so I did! You can find the new design at www.Wichelt.com , look down the left side of the screen to find the link to the Free Graph. Then... have fun! The designer profile isn't there, but I'm able to share the questions and answers with you here:

Name: Debbie Booth
Company Name: My Big Toe Designs
Years in Business: 10 years
Years Designing Counted Cross Stitch: 10 years
Currently Resides: Northern Idaho

Favorite Wichelt fabric color right now: anything in the country French line. I love the feel of that fabric, and especially the weight of the 32 ct.

Upcoming projects: For designing, I have some ideas in my head for a new large design, scripture based, as well as lots of little designs that relate to where I am in life. There will be at least two new releases in September 2015: a new hymn and a new ornament set. The Building Block series will continue, for at least a few more blocks. With my accessory line, Gingher will soon have out their new Wren scissors, and I look forward to playing with beads and creating the perfect accents for their lovely scissors.

About Me: Our family is currently in a state of transition, between homes, and enjoying the temporary space of a cabin out in the middle of a forest. There are challenges, but mostly we are enjoying the lack of distractions so that we can focus on growing together, as a family, in our relationships with God and with each other. We home school our daughter, which gives us a lot of flexibility to help her pursue her passion in music. Most of our married life, over the past 14 years, has been without family close by, which has made us get into the community and create relationships with friends who become family that we choose. Designing has been an amazing journey, over these past ten years, that has allowed me to put to fabric, with needle and thread, what has been going on in my life. It has brought people into my life, through such a beautiful art, that have refined and encouraged me. I get to express my faith in a quiet way, that both gives me comfort and challenges me. I look forward to what is in store in the next ten years!


Now for the more personal update. It has been a hot week for us, here, but we have spent time on the water and venturing out into the woods. Many of you know that we moved last summer, and part of that move was leaving the gardens, fruit trees, grape arbor, and berries that we had planted and tended at our old house. It has been a strange year for me - not planting, not harvesting, not canning. Well, God took care of that this past weekend! We were visiting a nearby forest and found plums growing! They are these delicious, yellow, small fruits and we picked a whole bunch. The past two days were spent making plum jelly. Yum! Then, yesterday we went and picked wild blackberries. Can you guess what I did this morning? The plum is a little soft set, the blackberry is a little firm, but I got to pick fresh fruit and make something tasty! Tomorrow morning I have every intention of going to get some more plums. Stitching?!? What's that?!? Okay, okay. I am working on the next hymn in the series. There's an old rugged cross in it, but I can't share any more than that.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 2015 New Releases

With the craziness of the past year, I never imagined that I would have another set of releases so soon. What is even MORE amazing is that I already have four designs lined up for September (I haven't, however, lined up the time to STITCH them!). I would like to introduce you to the four latest releases to the My Big Toe Designs line of counted thread designs:

MBT-162 For God So Loveth
Where do I begin with this design?!? I have always wanted to do something more with John 3:16. It was part of an ornament I designed for JCS, and became a Christmas Pinkie, but it cried out for something bigger. I found a 8x20 frame at the not-so-local craft store, and that was the beginning. Next came the colors, and I wanted to do something inky and dark. What came about was four shades of GAST thread on Lakeside Linen fabric, with the black frame and many hours of stitching joy. 

MBT-163 Building Block - Heal 
 Oh, no, I've ruined all of the quilt plans!!! I'm sorry, so sorry, but with some significant encouragement I just had to add to this line of designs. Everyone was so excited when I reached sixteen blocks, because it made sense for a quilt or wall hanging arrangement, and now I've added number seventeen. I guess now I'll have to add at least three more to the line...

MBT-164 I Fail at Flowers
Blame the adorable JABC buttons for this one, and my lack of gardening space. As we are in our temporary home, in the middle of the forest, it doesn't make financial sense to build a deer proof garden for just this season. Plant flowers. Deer eat flowers. Plant veggies. Deer eat veggies. I never remember to water anything in a container, but the weeds are plentiful! The top of this design has the most beautiful arrangement of flowers and the cute little ladybug. The bottom of this design is more my reality, with dandelion weeds, flies and ants. It fits a 5x7 frame.

I was sooo excited to design this piece, and started it with an 8x10 frame in mind that I already had on hand. The frame is beautiful, rustic deep red, and would have been perfect... then life happened. I wasn't paying attention, I designed the border to be a bit too large. Of course, I didn't realize this until the stitching was complete, I was happy dancing, and I went to lace it onto the foam core. AAACCCCKKKK!!!! With a panicked call to my framer in Boise, she made it all better. A series of text messages, pictures of possible frames, and two possibilities were sent this way for me to get the piece framed. I can't say enough wonderful things about Debbie, at Finishing Touch Framing in Boise, who went in on her holiday weekend to take care of me. 

All of the details (fabric, counts, thread, etc.) can be seen at www.MyBigToeDesigns.com and you can order through your favorite LNS!

For the rest of life stuff... we are still in transition. I think transition is our new state of being! I can look back at the discomfort and honestly say that staying in my comfortable world would have kept me stagnant. My passion, and desire to serve, would have been stale, going nowhere, and I would have passed that ease on to the munchkin. There are things I miss (my chicken coop, all of the yummy things we planted and grew, most of my household that is still in storage, friends...), but we have gained so much that is not of this world. 

The doodlebug had her end of year piano recital, this past month, and it was amazing. I love listening to her pursue her passion in music. She played three pieces: Beethoven's Fur Elise, a very complicated and flowing version of In Christ Alone, and A Time Forgotten. She was playing with the big kids, who were nearing the upper levels of high school, and it was amazing to see the contrast between her, the barely four foot something young girl, and the young man who played before her who was over six feet tall! She continues to play monthly at the retirement home, and weekly at church, and is sharing a lot of joy. Her current piece is Reverie, by Debussy, and she is on page four of five. Hopefully it will be mastered in the next few weeks and ready for her next recital. 

Enjoy your summer, have fun with family and friends, and give a little encouragement to someone who needs it. You never know the impact God will have on a life when you let Him use you.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 Spring Needlework Show... And NEW Accessories!

The Spring Needlework Show opens in just a few hours! I am excited to share with you four new accessory items. The first three are all matching, in vibrant spring colors, and a lot of fun. Check out www.NeedleShow.com for a lot of new designers and great projects.

Flutterby Fobs (I couldn't decide on my favorite colorway, so there are two!)

Flutterby Gift Set (packaged with the thread picker and matching pair of pins)

Flutteby Specialty Pins (packaged individually - the Hootie Pins were lonely)

The next new accessory has been quietly debuted with a designer who is using them with a class piece. Her exact pin is just for her, but I am thrilled to release these first four that are available. I can do just about any color assortment, and with any charm from my line. These four are ready now (the one on the end is dark purple and emerald)!

On the stitchy front, I am working on a new design!!!!! I don't usually have something new to stitch, so soon after chart releases, but it was bubbling in my head and had to come out on fabric. Here is the teaser: it is reproduction style, 7x19 on 32 ct., and fits an 8x20 frame that I picked up at the local craft store. The colors are all inky and dark, GAST, and shine beautifully when the light hits it different ways. I'd tell you more, but that would take some of the fun out of the anticipation!!! I'm through page one of four and will soon be heading into a band of motifs.

On the home front, I am drooling over a new cookbook and can't wait to go grocery shopping, tomorrow. It is the "Big Book of Home Cooking", by Gooseberry Patch, and oooohhhh the recipes look yummy. We found it at the farm and garden store this weekend and I couldn't resist. We still haven't found a home, but that is okay. We are still looking and the right one will make itself known. Doodlebug had a piano performance this past Tuesday, and it was amazing. It was her third time for this group, and each time the crowd has grown! She is tackling some new piano pieces: Moonlight Sonata, the first movement, and Beethoven's Pathetique. Add in the songs from Frozen and we have quite the variety!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2015 New Releases

New releases are ready!!! They were ready yesterday, but I didn't want to confuse things by updating on April 1st ;-) Without further ado... here they are:

MBT-158 America the Beautiful
Stitch count 115w x 147h
Frame 8x10

By living in the woods these past months, it is some of the most beautiful country I have seen. We have driven around, looking at nearby towns, and I am in awe at creation and how His majesty is revealed. The sunsets and sunrises (when I see those), are new each day and unique in their colors. It is a joy to behold.

MBT-159 Wait Upon the Lord
Stitch count 56w x 56h
Frame 4x4

I won't joke again about waiting, and then things going to fast! We still wait on a home of our own, but are at peace with where we are at. I am learning to draw closer to God, not inactively waiting for Him to make something happen, and turn this into a time of togetherness instead of impatience.

MBT-160 Walk by Faith
Stitch count 97w x 65h
Frame 5x7

This is a design that I have been working on for the past year. It seems like such a small piece to take so much time, but it is one that I struggled with the colors. It had started with jewel tones, and then I put it to the side. A month ago I pulled it up again, and I could clearly see soft colors on a neutral linen. I am thrilled that it has come to life, right before we celebrate the resurrection, because we are walking in faith.

MBT-161 Cross That Stitch
Stitch count 83w x 55h
Frame 5x7

It wouldn't be 'me' without something a little wacky or whimsical. This was a fun stitch, with bold colors, that reminded me that it will all get done in time. The important things will be first, like stitching, and then vacuuming will eventually happen...

Needlework show is coming up in a couple of weeks. I will have some really neat new accessories, an entire new line of pin thingies, and door prizes!

On the personal side - It is just after 7am, and doodlebug is practicing her solo for church this Sunday. I am getting my own, personal concert of "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" and I can't imagine a better way to start the day (yes, there is coffee involved, too).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New releases... almost here!

Pleasant wishes to you from a rainy and cloudy Idaho wilderness. We have been enjoying our time at the cabin, battling colds and bronchitis, and having family visit. There isn't a house in sight for us, but we have broadened our search and will see what God reveals. In the meantime, the cabin is getting new electrical, which leaves my computer running off of extension cords from other floors. It is ALL good. Humorous, entertaining, messy, but good.

We have also had so much rain in the past few days, it has changed up my plans for cover pictures. All of my photography displays are... in storage! So it has been time to get creative. The pile of rocks that will become a drain field for the hillside... it is the backdrop in a couple of pics. My daughter's black piano bench and the yarn from her plastic canvas project... also a backdrop. It has been a treasure hunt to find ways to make it work, and I WILL make it work. 

There will be four new releases, all framed in standard size frames that I picked up a couple of months ago at Michael's. In the middle of lacing them, I called my old framer and told her how desperately she was missed, valued, and appreciated. Lacing and pinning is not my forte. But again, lemons-lemonade, rain-rainbow, puddles... nevermind, that just brings a wet dog and more laundry. Back to the new releases. There is one hymn, two scripture, and it wouldn't be me without one stitchy-whimsical-snarky-sarcastic.

Have a blessed day, full of seeking His purpose.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A not-so-quick update

The quick MBT update - no new designs to release, no new accessories to list.. :-)

The not-so-quick everything update - Here we are in the middle of January! We are settling in to a transitional stage in the move. Our house sold at the end of October, and we moved to northern Idaho. Every door we tried for a new home of our own, both purchase and rental, was shut. We are grateful that my grandparents had a cabin, which is still in the family, about 1.5 hours from hubby's new job, and we were able to move in. It isn't a fun commute for him, but it is where God has us. What I had planned on being a month or two, of living out of boxes, has turned into almost three months and there seems to be at least a few more months with most everything in storage.

For MBT, I brought most of my beads, the bare minimum I need to keep up chart inventory, two lines of thread and my linen and evenweave totes, and one work in progress. Until today, I haven't designed since last July or August. So much of life at the cabin has been focused on the daily part of living - splitting wood, hauling wood, stacking wood, keeping the fire going for heat, shoveling snow, trying to unpack a few things to make this more of a home for us, teaching the doodlebug and keeping things tidy after a dog who finds a mud puddle almost every time she goes out. Laundry is in the basement, we live two floors up, and there are days when I sprint up and down the stairs more times than I can count! The hens are in the dog kennel, and we only have five, now. I have grown to appreciate how spoiled I have been with modern conveniences, and I will never again take for granted things like trash pick up, a dishwasher, garbage disposal, running water, electricity, pavement, central air and heat, not needing four wheel drive to get up the driveway, internet...

But there are things I treasure that have come from being completely uprooted. We unplugged. We have spent hours and hours listening to sermon messages from our old church. My daughter craves the time listening to them, while we craft and look out at the nature around us. We have sat and watched deer, elk, turkeys, and all sorts of birds go right through the property and on the roads around the house. We have made a commitment to join the community where we are, and doing the things I always put off because "there wasn't enough time." Our relationships with one another have grown, matured, and are great blessings. It is a big hike to get to the town, so we eat at home all but once or twice a month. Our health has improved. We found a new church, with great people from the neighborhood.

Now, back to the not designing thing... I designed today :-)  I have honestly been dragging my feet on new designs. The stress of not having a close framer, not being able to focus on the computer, not knowing if it would really matter if I took off six months or a year, not knowing where we would be in a month or two, not having a house with my 'stuff' and walls filled with stitching inspiration. This weekend, I got a letter from a lady in PA. It was like God spoke through her and then gave me a little hand pop on the back of the head! I shared the letter with hubby, cried a bit, and then felt peaceful. We went to Moscow this weekend, found a Michaels, and I bought frames. I took away the excuse of not having frames easily accessible. Today, I sat down and designed for those frames, and I am so excited to have something to stitch! Tomorrow, I will await the sunshine and then pull out the fabric and threads, with great joy.

Life has continued on a grand journey.  I cannot whine for the struggles, because it is truly all God. It is all in His hands. Every house that we have wanted, and tried for, it was revealed (in God's time!) that there would have been significant problems with us being there. With each failure to find a place of our own, I keep in mind that His vision is much greater than my own, and He is abundantly providing for all of our needs and most of our wants. If He gave me everything I wanted, I would have missed out on what I needed.

 Thank you to those who have prayed for our family, my company, and His will over our lives. Thank you for the encouragement and love. Thank you for the patience in new designs coming. Thank you for the support. Thank you.

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...