Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And now ... for some blogging

Spring is here! Mother's day is right around the corner and I have finally gotten the new charts uploaded to the web site. They are available for shipment now and can be seen, as always, at right.

And yes, the "Memory Garden" can made into a scrapbook album cover OR it can be stitched and framed. Either way, very nice. See the web site for a framed version.

Along with my linen and silk gardens, everything else around here seems to be growing like weeds. I have my porch geraniums out and have planted a "real" herb garden, in pots for the patio. I am a renter now and don't yet have my own "plot" for veggies and herbs .... soooooo ... I found the cutest little plant stand and some wonderful (and inexpensive) pots at Ikea and voila ... a small herb garden. Now to find recipes to use them all in :-)

and ... speaking of growing like weeds ... those two rascals that live with me seem to have grown up while I wasn't looking. Turned around the other day and I had a full grown dog and cat living with me. Took Oliver to the vet and he is now 51 pounds of wiggle and wag. This guy has the energy of 10 dogs and thus I spend a good deal of my time walking, riding my bicycle, running around after him at the dog park etc. etc. trying to burn off some of his energy. I'm a reluctant exerciser at best so he is a good influence on me. I've lost 10 pounds just trying to get this little (not so little anymore) guy worn out. I'd love to take him to agility classes since he is fast, fast, fast and can turn on a dime ... if only I could get him to "come" and "sit" when I ask him to (sigh).

And then, of course there is Beaupierre, beautiful Pierre, who has no energy at all. The most "laid back" cat I've ever encountered. Confident, secure and not afraid of anything, including the giant ball of fur that tries to pick him up and carry him around the house in his mouth. Luckily, Beau has also gotten bigger. Big enough that Ollie can't really carry him around any more (much to his relief I'm sure). He has a little bed beside my desk and this is how he sleeps in it:

And ... he snores. Geeezzzzeee. I thought when I got divorced I wouldn't have to listen to that anymore :-)

My Hana got a new job with the Denver Public Library. I am thrilled for her and don't think I've ever seen her so happy. Best thing? It's at my local branch, just a few blocks away. I now have my own personal librarian within walking distance and for those who know me and know how I love to read, this is super. Life is good.

Just to try to keep up with the pirates sailing the cross stitch seas, I've started a new series of charts "for the cure" and made them all available as digital downloads from our site. For a small donation, you can enjoy some new lingerie while helping breast cancer charities. We are trying to make it easier for those of you, near and far, to get your hands on these charts without having to beg, borrow or (gulp, I'm going to say it!) steal them and no shipping charges. So please, my dear friends, and those who are not so friendly, make a tiny donation, for the cure, stitch up some pretties and you will feel sooooo good about doing so. I promise :-)

Enjoy the new charts! Enjoy mother's day, hopefully surrounded by family and friends. Enjoy spring. Enjoy everything that grows ... and changes. Enjoy life because it's whizzing past more quickly than you realize. Every moment is precious!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sharing The Bra Band

Five special women and I worked together to design and stitch this piece. I was so sad to see it available for free download when that was not our intention.

For those who have inquired, you can have your local needlework shop order it for you. We donate $5 for every wholesale purchase by a shop. Or you can purchase a digital download (PDF) from our site:

The Bra Band Digital Download

It has been downloaded illegally 53 times so far from the "sharing" site. That would have been $265.00 for Breast Cancer Research. Not a fortune, I know, but something. It is a shame that those women were not willing to "share" with other women in a meaningful way.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I have just witnessed ...

I have just witnessed the most shameful copyright violation! I promised myself that I wouldn't blog on this anymore but this is just horrible, unacceptable, shameful!

Someone has uploaded (to the site mentioned in my earlier rant) a copy of "The Bra Band". It was done by someone with the screen name "Gladstone". No other information.

All proceeds from this chart are donated to Breast Cancer Research. How horrible that someone would upload it for free download. How much more horrible that people are downloading it for free. Is that what we have come to in this industry? Stealing from women with breast cancer. Stealing from women who can't afford mammograms?

For heavens sake if you can't afford to donate the $10 to Breast Cancer Research, just don't stitch it. How could anyone stitch this after downloading it for free is beyond me. And this is beyond discouraging for me.

I found the Bra Band up for download after reading all the laments about The Gift of Stitching going out of business from folks who were downloading copies of it for free from this site.


I guess it's just stupidity and ignorance.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

New releases ... new snow ....

Just as I'm getting used to the wonderful spring-like weather we've been having the past two weeks, I hear this morning that 12" of snow is heading our way this evening. The weather here in Denver is so flakey (no pun intended :-) and so different from what we had in the mountains. There we would get our first snow around Halloween and then it was snow, snow, snow from there on out until late May. Never melted off ... and I mean FEET of snow, not inches.

Here we get four or five days of spring, then two or three days of winter, two or three inches of snow. Then winter passes, the snow melts away and we get a little spring again. I have to admit, I like this a lot better but the little reprieves between the snow storms are tricksters. You think "Ahhh, spring has sprung. I won't have to get those boots out again" and then ... you get zapped by another snow storm. Though the weather report calls for 12" of snow starting tonight, next Thursday is supposed to be sunny and close to 50. A little of this, a little of that. Flakey once in a while ... but nice.

Meanwhile we got the new designs out and they have, for the most part been packed up and shipped. There is always a little delay, I'm afraid, between releasing the "new releases" and getting them posted here. We are always so busy getting the emails out and printing and packing and shipping that the last thing on my mind is updating my blog. Then it slows down a bit and I can finally get a chance to chatter away here.

At any rate, I have posted them, as usual at right. Butterfly Garden is a return to "gardening on linen" as is "Year of Flowers" come to think of it. The model for Butterfly Garden was stitched by Nataly Koplovsky in Massachusetts. I have to say that when I opened the package, it took my breath away. Looking at the "real thing" is always so different from trying to visualize it with drawings and computer images. Nataly did an incredible job of bringing those drawings and images to life. Every stitch was absolutely perfect. Thank you Nataly.

A Year of Flowers portfolio was stitched by my friend Anne-Catherine Seres in Bordeaux, France and the cushion was done by Darlene Dunat in Florida. Again, both incredible stitchers who I am so grateful to for taking my imaginings into reality. I don't think I've ever come across anyone who can stitch so quickly (and so accurately) as Darlene. I am super glad to add her to the roster of model stitchers that I have been so fortunate to work with this past year. I literally can't keep up with Darlene. She is patiently waiting for the next package and has been for a while. Sorry Darlene :-( Even on a computer, I don't work as fast as you :-)

And ... I stitched "B My Valentine". Yes, I do still stitch some of my own designs :-)

Got to visit a lovely little cross stitch shop here in Denver. Fanci Mats and More in the "old town" section of Littleton is hosting a trunk show for us. Bright, cheerful and well-stocked shop with lots and lots of beautiful models to get those stitching juices flowing. We delivered the trunk show and couldn't resist spending some extra time perusing all there was to see and (we admit it) touch. Cindy, the owner of the shop, will have the show through the weekend so if you live anywhere near the Denver area try to get over and see the new things. Yes, she has the Butterfly Garden along with the Year of Flowers cushion and folio and B My Valentine. An extra bonus ... on the left side of the shop is a yarn store, on the right, an antique shop. What more can you ask for folks?

Oliver was 1 year old on January 29th. How time flies! We spent the morning at the dog park then stopped by the local pet store on the walk home. He got to pick out several treats and a little toy. He doesn't care much about the toys and treats but loves the store because it's always full of people and other dogs. He's turned into a wonderful companion with a sweet temperament and clownish personality. I am sure that Beaupierre is probably around the same age, though we don't know exactly when he was born, so I decided to celebrate his birthday the same day. Though he didn't get to go to the dog park with us :-) he got a few special treats and a new toy.

He's now about 30 or so pounds ... about 22" tall at the hips ... so that's going to be it I think. Right on target for a Beardie. They tell me his coat can continue to change (drastically) in color until he's about 3 years old and will get much longer as he matures but I sure hope he's going to be a "stay black. You never know with this breed. He has beautiful big brown eyes which you never get to see unless you know him very, very well.

So enough bragging mom. Back to the drawing board so I can get new things out to those wonderful, patiently still waiting model stitchers. It's a long road from conception to completion.

And as I glance out the window I can see that Mr. Squirrel is waiting for me to fill the bird feeder so he can knock it down and eat all the seeds before the birds get to it. Better get out there and get it filled before the snow starts to fly :-)

Have a great day ... Enjoy! Sit and stitch a bit.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy New Year and a Big Thank You!

A big thanks to all of you who purchased "The Menagerie" this year and made our contributions to "Best Friends" possible. I received this "thank you" email from them this morning but it really belongs to all of you who contributed by buying the chart and enabling me to send the donations to them.

Thank you all for helping me help these angels.

Enjoy the photos and video:
Dear Cynthia,
I just wanted to thank you again for your love and support. Because you made miracles happen for so many animals in 2011.
For some – like Rhubarb,who came to Best Friends with a serious condition – your gifts provided the miracle of love. For others – like Snowy, a cat who was adopted from Best Friends after being rescued from sickness in the freezing outdoors – it was the miracle of lifeand love.
VideoIn fact, you made so many miracles happen over the past year, that we wanted share with you a video tribute to your kindness. So please enjoy this special video, highlighting many of the animals living happily ever after because of you.
StoriesPlus please take a moment to enjoy the2011 Guardian Angel album online, spotlighting some of the most special stories of all.
And remember, these are just some of the animals whose lives you’ve touched this year. All around the country, your support of Best Friends saves lives every single day.
All of these triumphs, all of the stories you enjoy on the Best Friends website, and so many more happened only because of your caring. For that, I am deeply appreciative. Thank you for your continued support … and for helping us all move closer to a time when there are No More Homeless Pets.
Gregory Castle

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I've never had a Christmas Tree ....

AND a cat before. I've found this requires rehanging all the lower ornaments at least once each day. Usually more often. That is if the ornaments that Beaupierre has removed from the tree and scattered around the house are not found by Oliver ... in which case they can't be rehung because they are pretty much destroyed.

I'm glad my animals are getting so much "joy" from my holiday decorations :-)

Tried twisting the wire hangers several times around the branches so Beau couldn't get them off. Doesn't seem to work. When thwarted from batting them off the tree, he has somehow found a way to remove them entirely from the hanging thingies (you know, the little cap that goes on the top).

I love my animal friends ... so I've decided the only solution is to do a "search, retrieve and replace" mission several times a day to offset Beaupierre's "search and destroy" missions.

Some new charts added to the side bar ... released mid-November. A little late getting them up here but I am a major procrastinator when it comes to updating the blog. Maybe if I can figure out how to do it on the iPad ... I'll get better at it.

Book of Days was in response to those of you who told me you couldn\'t stand the thought of putting those little pocket calendars in your purse after you spent so much time and care stitching them. Voila! A desk calendar cover. It is sized to fit Exaclair's Quo Vadis Note 27 Desk Diary refill, which I personally use and love. You can purchase it on our web site along with the chart and stitching supplies or it is available from many good stationary stores. Even with all our iPads and iPhones and other ways of keeping calendars, I still find it comforting and lovely to keep a desk calendar in my own unique handwriting. For those of you who also like to do this, the Book of Days will give you a way to show off your stitching skills on your (literal not virtual) desk top.

The holidays are fast approaching and .... most of my shopping and ALL of my decorating (except whatever Beaupierre "un-decorates" each day) is finished.

Just need to wrap all those packages and put them under the tree. On second thought, maybe not. I think I'll wait till Christmas Eve. I don't have any experience with cats and brightly wrapped packages with ribbons and bows and sparklies all over them but the ornament thing has given me a pretty good idea what could happen. After the trip to Costco for all the dinner "fix ins" I'm set. I get to enjoy the rest of it. (I actually enjoy the cooking Christmas dinner part).

My new neighborhood goes all out for the decorating thing .... not only for Christmas but for Halloween which was a kick. The guy down the street had an assortment of mummies, ghouls and even a man hung from the gallows (life size mind you) in his front yard along with fog and sound effects. He hasn't gotten his Christmas decorations up but I can hardly wait to see them ... or not? Perhaps he only does Halloween? At any rate Ollie and I are planning a "Twighlight Light Walk" in the next few weeks to get a look at them up close and personal.

It's nice to be in my new home with my new and old families for the season. Lots going on in Denver. My son and I are thinking of doing the "Zoolights". He didn't want to do the "Blossom Lights" at the Botanic Garden so Zoolights was the compromise (quote ... "the Botanic Gardens are soooooo boring"). Both Ollie and Beaupierre will be having their first Christmas. I can't help but get a little sad thinking that this is my first Christmas without Sami. He was a champion package opener. Too bad they don't give an AKC Pedigree Performance Title for that, cause he would have had one. He could have been "Iamsamiam, CPO (champion package opener :-). Just loved to open packages. My daughter and I were wondering how Ollie will do with them. We will see if he gets to be "Riverwood's Oliver Twist and Shout, CPO.

My best wishes for the happiest of holidays for all of you and all of your loved ones. Enjoy! Savor the moments! We are allotted so precious few.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Please help if you can ...

This just in from "Best Friends in Utah:

She is so beautiful. Please help if you can! I wish I could take her but I live in a rental right now with a tiny, tiny yard and don't think she would do well here. Anyone out there with a farm or large yard or ? Please contact: