Momma's fresh-from-the-oven Spritz Christmas Cookies...
I'll take these over peas and carrots any day!
Little Avry gets her first taste of Christmas cookies and from the look of her face,
I think she gives them a thumbs up!
Hope your having a sweet cookie sort of day,


Just waitin'....

Been up since 5 bells.
Couldn't sleep.
I'm giddy,
 because Frances is framed!
So pretty.
Been just waitin' for the sun to rise...
Waitin' for dawn to break
 into a nice partially sunny morning sky (hopefully),
and then it's outside for Frances and I.
Time for a little morning photo shoot session.
After 30 or 40 photos are shot,
then a little photo editing.
 I'll then drop the photo into the pattern cover template,
 that I've created
 for Frances Pool.
I'll digitally send the photo to my big printer at work,
and let the printing begin! 
 What did I do before modern technology?
  When I started designing patterns 25 years ago,
 I was typing on an old fashioned typewriter,
 using white out,
 when the font of choice was Courier...
because it was the only font of choice!
 I really felt like I had something
 when I upgraded to a new typewriter
that had the built-in correction tape!
  And then,
 came along the digital camera,
I use my Canon everyday. 
Lots of hard work and long days
 go into a chart from beginning to finished product.
 On the upside of doing all this "stuff" myself
 (photo shoot, graphics and printing product),
I can pick a framed sampler up one day,
 and by days end of the next,
 I have charts! 
"Thank You" to all who participated in our Cyber Monday shopping event.  So many loyal customers, we are glad to be your source of stitchin' goodies...thank you, thank you!
Have a good day everyone,


Cyber Monday Savings at Country Stitches!

 tell Santa it's
Free Shipping Cyber Monday
   show him your wish list
filled with these NEW goodies
it doesn't hurt to remind him that
you've been awfully good
this year too...
Chart for a lovely antique English sampler, reproduced just for you! Design is worked on 30 count linen over 1 and 2 threads, using hand dyed flosses throughout. Chart - $16.00  (*Note - please pardon the digitally framed Frances sampler, I am picking up the framed Frances from the framer today, will show you a photo of her when she is all pretty in her "real" frame!)
A lovely little stitching companion, featuring the Frances Pool sampler, to keep your flosses organized and at your finger tips! The FLOSS KEEP category on our website has been updated, view them all here.    Be sure to check out the other 2 new floss keeps,  Elizabeth Harrison & Sarah Taylor.  These make great Christmas gifts! Hurry, this will be our last shipment of these until after the holidays.
  How fun would it be to use a Frances Pool floss keep
 while stitching
 the Frances Pool sampler?!! 
Pattern for a sweet little holiday collage. The canvas for the piece is the cover of an old book. The snow angel is a little bit of punch needle, a little bit of wool. Vintage paper scallops and angel wings adds extra detail to the piece. Vintage glass glitter snowflakes and halo adds just the right amount of sparkle. A tiny bottle brush tree finishes the piece off perfectly. Place finished piece on top of a stack of old books and you have a very interesting winter holiday vinette.  Pattern includes the weavers cloth and tracing template. Pattern - $12.00
And lastly, can't think of an idea?  Have a hard person to buy for?
Buy a Country Stitches gift certicate...
the color is always right,
 and it always fits!
  Give a  gift certificate,
 or put one on your wish list!
   Available in the $15.00, $25.00, $50.00 or $75.00 amounts.
  Enjoy FREE SHIPPING on Cyber Monday between the hours of 9:00 AM - 10.00PM central standard time.  Applies to in stock items only.   The free shipping offer applies to internet orders that ship within the United States, no phone in orders please.
December 7th - to ensure delivery in time for Christmas gift giving, orders must be placed by the 7th.
December 15th - January 6th, 2013- Country Stitches will be closed. No order taking or shipping will occur during this time frame.
Happy Cyber Monday shopping to you,


Happy Birthday Beckham!

and out go the candles...
It's official,
 today Beckham turns 4!

  We enjoyed a house packed full of Beckham's little neighbor friends and their parents,
great aunt & great uncle,
 2nd cousins,
 and grandparents,
to help Beckham celebrate his birthday,
 this past weekend.
It was loud,
 and a little chaotic at times :-)
Happy Birthday Beckam!
Gma & Gpa Gervais


Chalk on the fingers...

We had the excitement of helping Beckham create an art wall in his playroom this past weekend.  Mommy & I painted, while Daddy & Grandpa worked on the mill work to frame the chalkboard and art wall. 
Have you tried the chalkboard paint? 
 It is pretty cool,
 two coats and three days of waiting
wa la
 you have a chalkboard!
  I think the three day wait
 was harder for Mommy
 then Beckham!! 
This little chalkboard "thank you" note
 came via email
 last evening.
  It's a little grainy,
probably taken with Mommy or Daddy's phone...
but so cute, I had to share!
The blue half of the wall is where Beckham and Avry's artwork
 from daycare
 will hang.
  Mommy is still working on that side
will add wall words above the crown moulding
with a verse about children and art... 

I had to laugh. 
 The 3 days of waiting were up
 and it was time to write on the blackboard
 Beckham told Mommy
 that he wanted to write on the blueboard...
oh, no,
 I was worried about that!
As a kid,
 I loved chalkboards.
The sound of the chalk on the board,
the chalk dust on your finger tips...
Being a farm kid,
I was always envious
 of the town kids
 that got to stay after school
 to wash the chalkboards...I so wanted to do this!
I did get to be the eraser monitor once...
anyone else? 
 The monitor was in charge of taking the erasers
 to the janitors room
 to be cleaned. 
 There was a big and noisy machine just for this. 
   And then there were the naughty kids...
who had to stand with their noses against the chalkboard.
Mom, if you are reading this, I wasn't one of those kids.
Oh dear,
teachers probably aren't allowed to do this today.
the newer schools probably don't even have chalkboards...
A few weeks ago I was with my the two sisters in an antique shop in Minnesota
when I found this...
I think I might have screamed out loud,
 with excitement,
 when I found it...
An item I had forgotten about,
but yet,
 how much I thought these
 Do you remember these?
Now do you?
I may be dating myself here,
but for you younger readers,
these were used by the music teacher to draw a music staff on the chalkboard.
I can hardly wait to draw music staffs with Beckham on his new chalkboard
and with any luck at all,
I might get to stay late to help wash the chalkboard!
Have a good day,


To answer your question...

I'm getting quite a few emails in regards to some out of stock items on our website and if we will be getting more of these items back in stock.
To answer your questions...
 these items will be restocked as they become available. 

The linens (Fine Ariosa & Cafe Kona), twill tickings and flosses are all in transit to us.  There were some internet orders that got through before the items were pulled as out of stock.  For those of you waiting for orders with these items, they will be shipping as soon as we get theses items (late this week/early next).  For those of you wanting to order the linens, flosses, or material kits for the newly released cross stitch charts, we will get these listed, as back in stock on the website, as soon as we take care of the orders that are being held for the items.
And in regards to those of you looking for the below chart on the website or inquiring about release date on the Christmas Sampler...
This piece is going to be my winter project, it will take me most of the winter...look for it's release date in early autumn 2013.
Some new charts arrived, a couple quick stitch holiday charts from Pineberry Lane and a lovely sampler from Heartstring Samplery...check them out!  Also, the Christmas issue of the Folk magazine is here! 
Have a good day,


To be glitzy or not to be glitzy...

is currently the contemplation of my day.

First off let's set this straight,
I'm not a glitzy girl.

A few Christmases ago,
the faux Mercury ornaments and decorations
started to showed up in stores
like Pottery Barn
and such.
I was intrigued,
but didn't know if they were "me"...
 or if they would fit in to my type of decorating.
I liked them though. 
   I plan on using some of my old silver bulbs to add a little sparkle to little vignettes around the house this holiday season.
Faded old silver tree bulbs
have become my new favorite tree bulbs.
See those silver sleigh runners at the top of the photo?
They belong to this guy....
I treated myself to him a few days ago....
He is sort of old,
sort of silver and glitzy
 all at the same time.
It reminded me of the faux mercury decorations.
I plan on filling him with fresh cedar pine,
dried red berries
this holiday season.
Maybe even a few clementines
studded with cloves....
we'll see.
With my reindeer purchase,
I think it could be official,
I'm starting to like a little glitz,
a little sparkle,
in my life...
So much so,
that I thought
 a little sparkle of  metallic floss
would add a nice touch
to a Christmas sampler
that is currently in my hoop.
I'm thinking just a small hint of sparkle and glitz would look lovely...
Don't you?
Do you like to add a little sparkle,
a little glitz
to your stitching?
I've done the test run on the metallic floss. 
 I need to get my beeswax out...
hoping a little wax will keep this slippery thread in my needle.
 I've stitched one snowflake in metallic onto the sampler and I love it!
Makes me think of a cold winters evening after a fresh snow
and you see an occasional snowflake sparkle in the moonlight.
It will be the perfect touch to this piece.
  Before I had one snowflake stitched,
I  begin to think
 how lovely a whole piece
stitched in
 mostly metallic floss could be...
silver metallic and winter white flosses,
I might just be
goin' a little glitzy
on myself...
Have a good week everyone,









Thanks Rush...

No pictures this post, just a shipping update.  We use stamps.com, and postage all your packages for shipping, right here at Country Stitches.   The packages get dropped off at the post office each day around 3:30 - 4:00-ish.  They are ready to go, no work for the folk who work the counter there.
  For 3 days we experienced issues logging on...couldn't. 
 This means no packages were able to ship for a few days. 
This means packages were starting to pile up.
I went to the post office to give them a heads up that I just simply couldn't hold packages any longer, and I would be bringing in a few days worth of mail for them to put postage on.   The lady behind the counter
basically told me that they couldn't do it. 
  They are too busy.
After trying to phone stamps.com and using a few "not so nice words"
I googled this...
why can't I login to stamps.com?  
Thanks to "dr google"
 I was able to find out that their servers are down. 
It would be nice if stamps.com would have copied us,
their customers,
on this memo...  
 The google search also took me to their Facebook page,
 my oh my,
 there were some hostile people there.  
One commenter said stamps.com website server issues
 had something to do with their sponsorship
of Rush Limbaugh radio.
If so,
 makes me want to find a new online shipping source...
With this stamps.com issue,
 and the shipping delays from hurricane Sandy
(for those in these areas),
 your packages are taking longer to arrive.
I apologize.
  We thank you for your patience
 and are doing everything to get them to you
 so you can begin your stitching.


Anyone else?

It seems as though
 I'm always struggling
 with locating the right shade
 red embroidery floss.
I know the color,
I can find it in nature,
 in faded velvets,
time-worn corduroys...
See that little pincushion?
That shade of red makes my heart flutter...
I want to use it in everything I make.
Anyone else?
I just cannot seem to locate it in hand dyed flosses...
Is it just me?
Anyone else?
For lack of a better word,
I call it faded red. 
Yea, I know...
real original!
 See those dried up berries?
That's the color...
See the light and darker tones within those berries?
 wouldn't that make a lovely
 hand-dyed floss?
Not too
not too
 not too
Just perfect-ish...
Someday when I feel industrious,
I'm going to take a skein of,
 DMC 355.
I'm going to spill some watered-down bleach on it...
to take a bit of the color out,
fade it...
(works when it's not supposed to)
and then,
spill some coffee on it,
to slightly yellow it,
 mellow it
and give it that dirty & grungy look...
(works when it's not supposed to)
whatcha think?
will it work?
I'll let you know when that someday happens...
With thy Needle & Thread,


Hoping for Calmness...

I have been thinking about all my customers in the path of Sandy, and hoping and praying you are all safe.     I, like so many others was glued to the TV last evening, following the news on this devastating storm....so many states are affected, so much damage, it makes your heart ache.  Stay safe everyone, and we will hope and pray for calmness and a speedy recovery to normalcy, once again, for you and your communities.
I've been  going through "stitcher's withdrawl"...all my WIP's are finished.  While watching Sandy coverage last evening, I started working on a Christmas sampler that I have had charted, with intentions of a 2012 release...that didn't happen.    It is a large sampler, and with my casual stitching habits, it will probably take me until autumn of 2013 to get it stitched.
the antique reproduction, Frances Pool sampler is done!!
 I've really enjoyed stitching this piece.  I started her in February and Frances was one of those projects that I picked up and put down several times over these past several months...casual stitching.  I like that kind of stitching...no rush, no holiday deadlines to meet...just a few minutes of stitching a week.
She is beautiful in her "jewel-toned" flosses, tones of flosses that I don't usually use when designing.   It was fun to work with a different range of colors of flosses.   Framing is next...  I'm thinking she would look really pretty in a cherry wood frame of some sort, with perhaps a silver beaded insert...
Tentative plans are for a  holiday-time release for this sampler. 
 So, if you need an idea to put on your wish list, keep Francis Pool in mind! 

Our floss keeps inventory was replenished last evening.
With thy Needle & Thread,



Thread your needles...
'cause NEW PATTERNS are here! 
"Merry Yuletide"
10" x 20" pillow
worked on 22 count Fine Ariosa, over 1 & 2 threads
Rusty jingle bells sewn to ends of pillow adds extra detail & charm.
-model stitched by Suzanne Garber-
"Letters for Santa"
10" x 22"
The use of jumbo sized rick rack & candycane striped twill ticking is the perfect finish for this pillow!
-Model stitched by Susanna Baker-

"Heaven and Nature Sing"
12" x 12" pocket pillow
A pillow with a pocket to fill with fresh cedar pine, tallow berries, vintage sheet music, Christmas cards...or whatever makes your heart sing!

"Winter Stocking"
6" pine-filled hanging stocking
And as always, we have the necessary supplies available to support each new pattern.  A big "THANK YOU" goes out to model stitchers, Suzanne & Susanna...
your work is the best!
With thy Needle & Thread,


Pretzels & Brazil Nuts...

A few birthdays ago,
my dear husband gifted me with this rustic outdoor bench
 that wraps around our crab apple tree,
 a tree that sits next to our front door,
 I. love. it.
(you done good honey)
  Summer time you will find it full of various potted plants,
old bird houses
other ditties that I have found over the years. 
 At Christmas time
you will find potted sruce tips,
 fresh pine, winter berries
 perhaps an old pair of ice skates.
Here is my Autumn version of the bench...
I filled the bench with various size, shapes and colors of these... 
with freshly picked bittersweet entwined throughout...
are you getting the picture?

This years harvest of hedge apples
 were really too big
 for my various ironstone bowls
 or platters
 for indoor decorating.
Darnit, now what am I going to do with all these hedge apples?
 I had this brilliant idea...
I'll tuck some of them around the pumpkins
on my tree bench...
orange & green, wonderful contrast,

If you aren't familiar with the hedge apple,
 they sort of stink,
 they ooze a sticky substance.
 Old wives tales say they are suppose to repel spiders,
 if you keep a few cut up in your basement
over the winter months.
maybe they would repel those damn little bushy tail varmints?
{she thinks with a twinkle in her eye}
Brilliant idea,
I thought...
And the photo above pretty well sums
up my latest research...
The pumpkins are now gone,
not because I made pumpkin pies with them...
The bittersweet is finding it's way
to the ground.
Not because I put it there...
poor little bushy tail
only has hedge apples to snack on....

Sort of like
 when you
get down
 to just
 the pretzels and Brazil nuts
in the bowl of Chex Party Mix....
you soon realize
they aren't so dry
and bad tasting after all...
 so much
for my
 hedge apple squirrel repellent theory!
Maybe I should stick to pattern ideas
 forget about a career
 in pest repellents...
You win squirrel,








Bath Time!

Each day, after my work day at Country Stitches ends, I come home to sit at my kitchen table and enjoy my last cup of coffee of the day and watch the birds come in for their late afternoon feeding. 
 It's a quiet time for me, a time to reflect upon the day and what needs to happen tomorrow, think about what's for dinner, or just to simply sit and sketch...putting ideas to paper.
My kids often times call me at this time of day,
it is my favorite part of my day...
Yesterday,  I was entertained by a group of congregating/migrating robins.     They weren't all that concerned about using my backyard bird bath as a watering hole, or doing their acrobatic moves to pluck berries from the bushes,  rather I sensed some urgency that they were in need of a bath.    My photos are a bit fuzzy, as I was taking these through my kitchen windows, and at this time of year are in need of cleaning...
Six birds a bathing...
And then I spotted this... 
and at this point I think know I was more excited then the bathing robins.
 A pair of Cedar Waxwings!
 My first sighting of this bird in my yard, ever.  They are common to this area, just have never spotted one, as we don't have the cedar trees in which they like to feed in.  I'm guessing they may have been feeding on Viburnum berries, along with the robins.
Today is going to be another Indian Summer type of day here in Iowa.
It's going to be one of those "wish I didn't have to work sort of days"...

The summer drought has put forth some of the prettiest leaves, ever.

One lonely little leaf...
just daring to be different.
Makes me think of a favorite autumn-time verse...
Autumn is like a second spring,
when every leaf
becomes a flower.
I just wish it didn't have to end...
Have a good day everyone,


Meet J.M. Gardner, 1888...

Here she is,
isn't she sweet?
Worked on 35 count linen, over two threads, the JM Gardner
measures just a mere 7" x 7". 
   This is a relatively quick stitch, in terms of sampler stitching, and will look extra special at Christmastide in her red and green flosses.   
Floss kits and linen will be available for purchase too.
The ever popular floss keeps will also be available in the JM Gardner design.   These floss keeps keep your floss organized and at your fingertips while stitching.
These make wonderful gifts...think Christmas gifts!


And lastly,
the JM Gardner Brooch...
a tiny 1" gold plated pendant is home to a color photo of the sampler.
A glass like resin protects the piece.
The pendant dangles from a filigreed-style brooch pin.   
A perfect addition to a big woolly sweater or jacket lapel.
Items will be posted on our website later in the day for purchase.
With thy Needle & Thread,


New found treasures...

I enjoyed a "sister's weekend" with my sisters and their dear husbands. We traveled to our home state of Minnesota and took in a relaxing weekend in the Mississippi river valley towns of Red Wing, Wabasha (yes, Grumpy Old men) and Lake City.  
A visit to an antique shop in Lake City turned up a couple of "antique treasures" for me
that I couldn't resist.
No, not the sampler,
nor the buttons.
a rusty hook,
and these...
 not the thimbles,
those clam shells. 
Silly purchase isn't it?
  A couple of old clam shells with holes in them...
 When I showed them to the dear husband,
 he gave me
 "the look"
 like I must have holes in my brain....{sigh} 
In the 1800's the Mississippi was full of clam beds
 the button business
 was booming along these river towns.
  The rusty hook (1st photo)
 was used on the clamming boats. 
 By nature, a clam likes to sit at the bottom of the river,
 with it's mouth open,
facing up river,
just waiting for some morsel of food
 to find it's way into it's mouth.
These hooks,
 that were drug across the bottom of the river,
would find their way into the clam's "mouth"
When these hooks touched their mouths,
 they would clamp down on it
the rest is history for the clam.
The clams were then dumped into large boiling pots of water,
they died from the heat of the water,
the meat was then recovered
 the shells were used for button making!!
See the holes in the shells?
The men would punch out the blank buttons
and it was usually the younger boys
that did the finishing work.
Button making often times
would involved the whole family,
women would sit in their homes
sewing buttons onto the cards.
I've found myself,
 a time or two,
 sewing buttons onto old cards and photos...

I think I grew up in the wrong century...
Anyone else?
I'm happy as a clam with my new found treasures
and love their history!
And another thought,
schoolgirl samplers?
How fun would have school been,
if it would have involved stitching samplers?
I definitely grew up in the wrong century!
With thy Needle & Thread,



to get my ducks in a row!
The JM Gardner antique reproduction sampler is back from the framers,
it is lovely! 
I always try try try to be prepared
 ready for the releasing of a new chart,
with all the necessary goodies needed to support the chart,
available and in stock.
Floss shipment for the chart arrived,
received only partial shipment on one color,
none of another color, backorderd.
 as it is,
I'm just waiting...
waiting for threads and linens,
before releasing JM Gardner...
trying to get all my ducks in a row!
In the meantime,
I'm putting the finishing touches on a couple of
NEW Christmas designs.
For those of you who have stitched
the "House of Blues"
"Hilda's Alphabet Brew",
there is a Christmas version of this pillow coming!!
Have a good day,