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 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 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 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, , 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 . Also mark your calendars for the which starts October 18th! We'll have oodles of new accessories in beautiful new colors.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Maybe it's just me

Yesterday morning I cleaned the oven. Not just the quick wipe down of the front of it, but I took apart the front door and completely cleaned out the glass section. Is it strange that every time I've passed by the oven since then, I have had this compulsion to turn on the light and admire my handywork? Or that I'm planning meals around the microwave so the oven can stay clean?

This past weekend we spent it canning the most yummy treats. We made home made grape juice in the steamer and it is incredible. We only processed about half of the grapes on one vine and came out with 10 quarts of juice. Now for the other 17 vines.... can you guess what our days (and nights) will be filled with? It was also time for us to learn how to pressure can. I made a vegetable soup with potatoes, corn, garlic, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, soy beans, zucchini, and celery. All but the soy beans were from our own garden and it is delicious! Tomorrow I go to pick up another box (or three) of peaches so we can get those canned and ready for winter. We did have peaches off of our trees, but they were eaten fresh or went into a few pints of jam. I never imagined that I'd be able to get so much from our garden!

Now for the reason you all visit here - MBT stuff! There will be four new releases for October. The first is the Books of the Bible. It is home from the framer, but we're having a slight stain color issue on the moulding, so we're working on that. Thankfully I have a fantastic framer who is working hard to figure out how to get me the perfect frame. A second new design is a whimsical one, perfectly sassy and completely me, and it fits a standard 4x6 frame. I took the cover picture just a few minutes ago and will start printing tomorrow. The third new design is based on the Psalms. The main design is quite large, then there are three smaller designs pulled from it. The fourth new one is optimistically about 3/8 complete and I hope to work on it more tonight at the ANG meeting.

If you are going to Celebrations then I hope you will stop by the booth for the Stitcher's Workshop and browse through all of my accessories! She'll have a great assortment of all things beaded and sparkly. I wish I could attend, but Boise to St. Charles is a bit of a hike during the school year.

Have a glorious and blessed day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New for July 2012!

It's time to share the exciting new release pictures with you! The shops and distributor have their orders and the website has been updated. It has been a bit of insane here, with new release prep, figuring out new curriculum for the coming school year, and the yard/house, but it is all good. There are four new designs:
MBT-124 Bloom

MBT-125 How Great Thou Art

MBT-126 I Love You

There's a story to this one. The munchkin and daddy have this daily conversation of I Love You's. It starts with "I Love You", with the response of "I Love Your More." It went on this way for weeks, and then there was the addition of "I Love You Best." We decided that it had to be charted and it would be something she could stitch for his for Father's Day. Her piece was started a couple of months before the big day, and like a true stitcher is is a slooow work in progress. It will be done for Father's Day, but we won't say which YEAR. This one does fit a standard size frame!

MBT-127 Building Block - Teach

All of the fabric and thread details are at and the charts are available through your favorite needlework shop. If you get one of them finished I would love to see a picture!

We are already starting to work through new accessories for the fall needlework show. I have found a bunch of new beads and am looking at some limited run threaders with a coffee theme as well as a new cat fob and a PINK frog! This afternoon I'm pulling threads for the next cutesy design and it will be a perfect fit with the last few. Have a great weekend!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Home and resting?

We just finished up a trip to northern Idaho to stay with my family and visit Deb from Tempting Tangles. It was a great trip, we arrived home safely, and no one was injured during the days in the mountains or on the lake. Some trees had to come down on the property and we were able to help clear slash and haul wood home for the winter. The munchkin spent hours on the lake and enjoyed running around the woods, getting as dirty as possible. There was wildlife everywhere: deer, turkey, moose, and lots of birds in the trees. God's creation at it's finest!

Speaking of wildlife... we had a visitor in our yard a few weeks ago. A skunk! It was adorable from a distance, waddling about, eating clover, and being cute, but we had to be extra careful not to startle it. I've never been this close to a live skunk and it was no more than 20 feet from our backdoor! We've also had two successful nests of killdeer and it has been a delight to watch the eggs hatch, the little fluffballs emerge, and the babies grow into full grown birds. The adult birds aren't as cute. They're loud. At 5am they're loud. Not so cute then.
Today has been church, errands, and catching up and laundry and cleaning. Not as much rest or stitching as I'd like, but that is life. We spent a bit of time outside, collecting plums from the trees and gathering berries. We had about 1.5 cups of fresh berries and I couldn't help but turn it into a jar of jam. It's a mixture of golden raspberries (yummiest berry ever!), red raspberries and blackberries. It made one lonely little jar of jam, which will likely only last a few days, but it was worth it! We're trying to work through last year's canned fruit and tonight I'm hoping to make a peach cobbler. I'm telling myself that I'm working off the yardwork that I'll be doing later this week :o) Just a few more weeks and the peaches will be ripe for the picking. I can hardly wait!

Keep an eye out here in the next couple of weeks for new release pictures! I have four new releases back from the framer and ready to start printing. Yeah!!! There's an adorable story that goes with one of them, munchkin related.

Monday, June 4, 2012

You'd think I'd learn

I managed to find another ant hill with the weed whacker. Ack! June is here and we had a beautiful day with temps in the 90's. It's being followed by tomorrow with temps in the 50's, and a night of strong wind and dry lightening to usher in the storm. I hope the little fruits on the trees survive the storm and we don't lose all of the peaches. At least this will test out the siding and roof before the warranty expires :-)

There's a lot going on here with play dates, house stuff, and family visiting, so here is the quick version: Grandma came and left and will be back in a few weeks, dwarf African frog in the munchkin's fish tank had tadpoles (go figure!), she is also learning to ride a two wheeled bike and has the bruises to prove it, enjoying gymnastics, also playing soccer and getting ready for VBS, dropped off four new projects at the framers (new MBT's soon!!!), am stitching on another new one, learned a new bread recipe to make hoagie rolls for steak sandwiches, planning some camping trips, picking fresh sweet peas and broccoli and lettuce and strawberries, trying to get rid of a gopher in the yard (I understand the Caddyshack commercials now!), looking forward to learning how to use a steam juicer, learning to enjoy time to sit in the backyard and stare at the sky. Phew!

If you're still with me and not exhausted just reading about it - check back in a couple of weeks for preview pics! There's a fun and sweet story for one of the new designs and I can't wait to share it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The ants go flying one by one

With all of the beautiful sunshine we've been having it's been too much fun to be outside! I'm still managing to get quite a bit of stitching done on new projects, and likely won't have the patience to wait until September to release them. So far I have two projects ready to go the framer (including the new Teach Building Block), a new hymn project just a few words from being completed, am part way through a large design, AND working on a special project with the munchkin. We're both working on perforated paper for the first time and it's a lot of fun. I can't share pictures yet, but I hope you can rejoice with me!

Garden-wise, things are going well. All of our seedlings are now outside and I have my dining room back. The plants include tomatoes, beans, peppers, onions, peas, cilantro, leeks, herbs, garlic, melons, squash, and probably more that my brain can't remember. The tomatoes are thriving outside but the green beans aren't adjusting well. Tomorrow I hope to get the cantaloupe in the ground, and then we'll continue to add new corn seeds every few weeks. One thing I learned, and think should be shared, is that ants don't like the weed whacker. It seems that when you unknowingly come upon their hill, and they go airborne, it's like they know that they weren't designed to fly and instantly bite whatever they land on. I recommend against trying that at home. I also haven't figured out if the weed barrier fabric is worth it - or if it just gives the weeds something sturdy to anchor their roots into. The good news is that all of the trees and bushes survived the winter and the strawberries are starting to come in! We should have a great almond harvest and I'm looking forward to all of the fresh berries. Yum! I'll be searching for a good steam juicer and figuring out a pressure canner this year.

We've been meeting new friends through co-op and church, and met a family who has a dozen chickens. Now I've been more seriously looking at plans for chicken coops and trying to figure out if it's a project I can tackle. It's something we have discussed for years but haven't quite made the leap. I love the idea of fresh eggs, and natural pest control (see flying ant experience above), but worry about providing the right home and everything they need. Add to that knowing how the munchkin chases around the cat and I could only hope that they'd chase her right back!

Work stuff is going really well and I feel blessed every day through emails and calls from stitchers all over the world. God knows when to send the right encouragement, new friend, or humbling note, and it has changed my life. I'm learning to appreciate the blessings of the busy times as well as the slow times.

I wish you a wonderful weekend with lots of x's, sunshine, and peace beyond measure.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Showers...

It is still April, right? We are enjoying a beautiful month here in Idaho. Lots of rain earlier this month, but now there is a lot of green! My dining room has been turned into a greenhouse and the little plants are finally being transitioned out into the raised beds. In a week or so we should have fresh lettuce, spinach and broccoli to pick. So far this year I've been working on becoming more efficient, and I've found that there are some things that must be done in order. Like waiting until the vehicle is OUT of the garage before closing the door. Making sure the cutting board is completely IN the sink before turning on the faucet. It's the little details that seem to make everything work - and getting them in the right order!

Since we last chatted I have had a lot of great experiences for MBT. So far for 2012 I've had eight new releases and am working on another few for the fall! The Needlework Show is now in full swing and keeping me tied to the office chair. If I didn't have a cat playing with chenile stem toys under the desk, or a munchkin who is supposed to be asleep but is dancing about in her room upstairs, it would be kind of peaceful in here right now. You can view close ups of the designs at My Big Toe Designs , and I'll put my favorite two here:

I was blessed with a TNNA scholarship to attend the Phoenix Winter Show in January and share a booth with some wonderful and talented designers. The time spent meeting shop owners and distributors in person was well worth the 18 hour drive - each way. A dear friend of mine volunteered to drive me down there and help out in the booth. Another friend who lives in Phoenix was also able to help and my mom came up to watch the little one. It was a very busy time but I was able to visit Stitcher's Paradise in NV and The Attic in AZ. Both are amazing stores with oodles of stash. I could have spent days in each one. Throughout the trip God clearly revealed His purpose and I could see His hand on it all. I was keeping hubby up to date on where we were at throughout the trip. The texts were pretty entertaining:

Me: In Vegas.
Him: Don't spend it all in one place.
Me: We just left Stitcher's Paradise.
Him: You DID spend it all in one place!

It's like he really knows me!

For the next few weeks my goals are many, but mostly I want to rest and enjoy a peaceful moment each day. I'd like to start a new project (or two), clean out the rock beds on the side of the house, clean out the raspberry bushes and tidy up their vines, go through the totes in the garage and donate baby clothes (gasp! I'm ready to let it go!) and start cleaning through closets. I think I'll finish up sometime around... um... June? We won't discuss which YEAR, however :-)