New Stuff, Earlier Stuff, Stitching Stuff!

My Newest Santa Experiment

Happy Monday to all of you! It's a sunny November day and the temps are expected to be in the mid 50's. That's quite warm for this time of year in the northern part of the U.S.  The weather makes this post seem out of season but Christmas is just 6 weeks away so it's time, or maybe even a little past time, to start thinking about holiday stitching.

First up is a brand new experiment for me. I tried my hand at wool applique and embroidery. I drew this Santa maybe ten years ago and he just sat waiting patiently in my sketchbook. My friend and neighbor, CB does this type of work and I relied on her for guidance and even some fabric. I blew the design up and stitched away. It was fun to work on this thick wool because there is little drag on the thread. It stitched like butter. I intend to turn it into a pattern but if you look closely (not even very closely) you can see I have some things to work out. While I'm puttering away with this, here are some holiday PDF patterns that you can get started on now! Click on each photo to take you to the pattern page in my Threads of Inspiration shop.

Christmas Sweater Ornaments

Scandinavian Inspired Star

Redwork Santa

Dickens Christmas Spiral

Happy Stitching!


More Color Inspiration


Maple Leaves

As promised, I have a few more color inspirations from my wander the other day. We are having another glorious sunny fall day and I have the most gorgeous maple tree in my backyard where these leaves are from. When looking at objects for color inspiration it is always so interesting to note, especially in natural objects like leaves, rocks and sticks, just how many hues and values can be found. These leaves range from a deep yellow all the way to a dark brown, with many colors in between. Of course, sticking with a few keeps stitching a bit easier.

DMC 720, 728, 801, 920, 922


There are a few plants in our garden that have great seed heads and we leave them all winter for the birds. Since we get so much snow, they also are an interesting contrast in color and texture against all of that white.

DMC 869, 898,938, 3032

Autumn Color Palette

When seen as a whole, all of the colors from the this post and the last create quite a lovely autumn color palette. 

Row 1:  351, 922, 921, 920, 945, 720

Row 2:  3822, 728, 726

Row 3:  472, 471, 320, 3052

Row 4: 316, 917

Row 5: 3781, 869, 801, 938, 898, 3032

What are the ways you come up with color palettes?


Backyard Autumn Palettes

Backyard Color Inspiration


Autumn Greetings!
This time of year is so beautiful as the trees change their wardrobe and show off their brilliant colors. The changes inspired me to think about fall embroidery. I am frequently asked how I choose colors for my stitching. Often it’s intuition, but I think finding new ways to experiment with color choice is helpful, so I took a walk in my yard to see what inspiration I could find. The trees have only just begun to turn here so I wasn't expecting a lot but I was surprised to find pink in the Autumn Joy Sedum and drying hydrangeas along with reds, oranges, yellows and browns of leaves, berries and seeds.

You can never go wrong with color choices when you let nature take the lead. I looked closely at what I had gathered and used my trusty DMC color card to pull out colors that matched. A note, my color card has actual thread in it, as opposed to printed color patches, so you can see the true color. If you design your own embroidery it is a tool I highly recommend! Even if you don’t, it would still be useful. You can find it here.

Here are a few of my color palettes and their inspirations.

From a distance the fruit on this crabapple branch looks bright red but on examination, it is various shades of orange.

DMC 351, 921, 3052, 3781

Again, from a distance, Yarrow looks so grayed out and dusty, but looking at it closely shows sparkles of vivid yellow.

DMC 320, 472, 726, 3822

Autumn Joy Sedum is the last inspiration. I was surprised that this fuchsia could still be found in the garden. 

DMC 316, 471, 917, 945

I am saving a couple more for the next post, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you are looking for some fall inspired embroidery projects I have two in my shop you might have fun making.

Autumn Trees Pattern

Tis Near Halloween Pattern


Redwork Santa Pattern

Redwork Santa

 Hello again! I hope you are all doing as well as can be expected and have stayed healthy during this unprecedented year. I have discovered that I am more of an introvert than I realized and have found many house projects to keep busy. There were some new projects as well as some I'd put off for a good long time. 

As far as studio work goes, I completed two new patterns since I last wrote. A Halloween spiral, which can be seen below and here.  The newest pattern is a Redwork Santa at right. It was a lot of fun to make because I used one color of thread for most of it (red, of course) with just a touch of green. My other patterns are fun and full of color but when keeping track of it all to write a pattern it sometimes gets to be a bit much. To see these patterns and all of the patterns I've designed click here to go to my etsy shop!

Halloween Spiral

Two years ago we bought a house in great need of renovation. It had dashes of the 50's (pink kitchen countertops), a lot of 70's including gold and orange carpet and lots of dark paneling and just a touch of 80's wallpaper border.  The carpets and some of the paneling have been replaced. Among the things accomplished in these quarantine months are some newly painted rooms, we changed all of the interior doors and are in the process of adding new molding. I surprised myself and whitewashed the fireplace last week. I thought that was going to be a project I dreamed of but would never get around to doing because, frankly, I was a bit scared to try it. I think it turned out really well though and it only took a couple hours.

Fireplace after painting but still has green tape around it.
We're also trying out some new paint color

I have also been going through boxes and boxes of old family photos and scrapbooks. The images of those who have passed are filled with emotion and more than a few tears were shed, but there was also laughter and joy. 

I hope you have been able to find time to breathe, accomplish some home projects and perhaps a little stitching during this odd time we all find ourselves.


Spring or Easter Cards

Eggs Waiting to Become Cards
How are you all doing? I have been, for the most part, enjoying my home time. I've been organizing, playing with Dave the kitten, and, of course, stitching. One day last week I was feeling bonkers and I decided to change things up a bit and put aside my embroidery. I got out some water color paints, pencils and markers and made some egg shaped Easter/Spring cards. There was an odd size piece of watercolor paper in my stash and I painted stripes of color in soft pastels. Pattern and detail were added with watercolor pencils and thin Micron markers.
Decorated Paper

Next I made an an egg shape template on an old manilla folder and cut the shape out with an Exacto knife.  As you can see from the photo I removed the egg and used the remaining outline of the shape. That way I could see the placement of the designs on the egg. I traced the pattern onto the watercolor paper and cut out the eggs.
Tracing the Template

I thought about writing greetings on the back of the egg but decided to create a card that would open. As you can see, I folded colored paper in half and glued the egg very near the fold.
Egg Positioned Near Fold

I cut around the egg but left about an inch an a half of the fold intact. so it could be opened.

Card Opened
Egg Cut Out With Border

Next is writing some notes and getting them in the mail! Then I will get back to those birds and some other stitching projects I've got going.

If you're feeling bored with your projects try something different for awhile. It keeps your creating time more interesting!
I'm wishing you all the best of health, peace and contentment as we navigate this new way of being. 

Here's a little Dave to make you smile.


Dave and Embroidery Floss Storage

As I write this I hope you are all healthy, practicing social distancing and going out only when necessary. A couple weeks ago we got a six month old kitten and that has made staying in a lot more entertaining. We named him Dave!

 Aside from playing with Dave, I've  been doing a lot of organizing and cleaning up and out. One of the first projects I tackled was my embroidery floss storage. I keep my floss on those little bobbins with the numbers written on them. I had them in a plastic storage bin with drawers and I rigged up a system to keep them in nice neat rows. Unfortunately, about a month ago I dropped it and since it was pretty old the plastic had gotten brittle and the outside structure that held it all together smashed into bits. I was able to keep it together, sort of, until I found something to replace it.

I wanted something other than plastic and my husband offered to build a wooden set of drawers for me. I appreciated the offer but I knew it would be awhile before he would get to it. The day before the dire warnings about Covid-19 hit I was in Home Goods and found these three drawer boxes in the Office section. The drawer height seemed right and so I bought two of them knowing I could return them if they didn't work.

When I tested them out the bobbins were just a bit too tall but I decided that I would trim about 1/8" off of the bottom of each one because I loved the look of the chests and they were so functional. That seems a little crazy since I have so much floss but really, it was about two hours of snipping while watching TV to complete it.

The inside of the drawers weren't divided so I got some balsa wood and cut dividers to go the depth of the drawer and then some smaller pieces that I placed against the front and back walls of the drawer to hold the longer pieces in place. I filled one of the chests and the other one will be divided differently for other embroidery supplies like needles, thimbles, scissors, etc.
Balsa Wood Divider

Dividers for the Rows

There are so many different ways to store embroidery floss and each one works best for the person who uses it. My grandma stored hers in a big jumble in a Wonder Bread bag! How do you store yours?
Three Drawers Organized and Filled


It's Just Too Precious

I have been making little fabric birds for awhile now. I've made them in various ways and out of different materials. I've never embroidered on them though and decided it was time to try that out. I made two out of a nice dark blue and a tried new shapes for the tail. I was really pleased with them. Then came time to stitch on them and I got stuck. I wasn't sure what to do. No, that's not really true, I wasn't sure of the perfect thing thing to do. So they sat and I occupied my time with making cat blankets for the local Humane Society. That was a good thing to do but really it was a way to avoid making a decision. I have been in this place before, too many times to count and frankly, it's getting annoying.

I was pondering my inaction as I was showering (often my best insights happen in the shower) and I was reminded of my friend Susan. She is a textile artist that I am in a critique group with and she thrives on experimentation and her work changes, expands and gets more exciting every time I see her. I realized that I was thinking of those two birds as the only birds I will ever make. They had become precious. If you saw my fabric stash you would know how absurd that was. I needed to make more birds and try as many things as I can think of so I headed to the studio.

As I was going there I remembered all of the vintage embroidered pillowcases in my stash. They are very worn and not good for anything except recycling into something else and the embroidery was the perfect thing to use for my birds. I made two and then found some commercially embroidered fabric so I made one with that too.  It is white on white and doesn't show up very well so I'll add to it with some of my own stitching. Realizing I can make more took the preciousness away from those two little blue birds and allowed my mind to free up to more possibilities.

Today I will make more birds and perhaps start embroidering those polka-dots I'm thinking about for one of the blue ones.