Saturday, December 5, 2015

So I'm sort of a doofus

I sit here, working on Christmas cards, and for the first year ever I have self sealing envelops. It is such a strange process for me that I keep trying to lick over the removable paper that is covering the sticky stuff. I may change things up and let the doodlebug do the rip and stick while I stick to the personal notes.

The doofus-ness doesn't end there. When I thought through the needle minders, I was thinking of everyone using them how I do. I put them on a metal screw top in my stitching stand, on my magnet board, on the sewing machine, or on the fridge, and just about everywhere but on my fabric. You see, I am a cross stitcher, and I use qsnaps with softer fabrics. The weight of the minders can cause my fabric to be a little slack (not much, but enough), which drives me nuts (it's a short trip!), so I don't think about needing a second magnet so you can put them on your fabric. Silly me... SO, there will be a change in the packaging process and the minders will now come with a second magnet. There is a slight price adjustment, because those little magnet pieces are pricey, but it isn't too bad.
Except for that hiccup, the needle minders have been doing well. I have listed them in individual pictures on their own page at . You can see current availability, which ones are limited, and then pester your favorite shop for your favorite minder! There are some new ones, including the pink roses with music notes.

We are heading into Christmas, which tends to be our quieter time of year. We have family visit for Thanksgiving, and then it is just the three of us for the Christmas holiday. I have all sorts of design ideas going through my head, am almost done with two coordinating pieces that will just need to be framed, am almost done with a new large poem design, have a hymn in the wings, and then oodles of notes for new ideas! I joked that I wanted to be snowed in so that I could have more stitching time, but I think that may be pushing it a little far. Doodlebug wants to learn how to make a rag quilt, and to knit a small bear, and to do wool needle felting, and to paint, and play baseball, and read, and draw, and go hiking, and, and, and... This past year, we were't planning on being at the cabin for too long, so we didn't set up a tree (ornaments in storage, me allergic to pine...). This year, I think a tree is in order. We won't have the historical ornaments and all of those memories tied to them, but I think we will get a few small ones and create some new memories.

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 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 , 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 , 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 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 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.