Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tussie-Mussie in April Just Cross Stitch Magazine

Even though it is still thoroughly winter on Gracewood (see photos at bottom of post) Just Cross Stitch's April edition is hitting the stands and will definitely put you in the mood for spring!

And the pattern for 'Tussie-Mussie' is on page 52.

My thanks to Just Cross Stitch for another very nice feature of one of my designs.

While it is still winter here, some of our four feet of snow is melting and this morning Jasper discovered that he has a new place to play -- on top of the barn!

Jasper discovers a new place to play!

It is hard to believe we'll be starting seeds inside soon, so I need to finish the ornament for this year's Christmas edition and get to work designing Traces of Lace 4.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lace Traces~Bursts of Blue Stitched! January on Gracewood

How happy am I that I have finally been able to have no interruptions and have completed the model for Lace Traces~Bursts of Blue?  Answer, VERY! lol, this poor model had to be put down so many times so I could complete other deadlines but now it looks happily back at me and makes me realize the wait was worth it.  It is a beauty, if I do say so myself 😉

Lace Traces~Bursts of Blue
This pattern is now for sale on my Website

I hope to get the fourth design in this Lace Traces series started soon, though first I need to design another ornament for this year's Just Cross Stitch special Ornament edition.  Designing something that necessarily small is hard for me, so it will surely take some time.

In the meantime, as January's last day is here and another 8" of snow is forecast this weekend, I thought I'd share what a scenic wonder Gracewood can be wrapped in winter!  I love having four seasons and will joyfully plant tomatoes as soon as possible, but oh how I love our home snuggled in for winter!  Have a lovely February wherever you are!

One gate we won't be using for awhile.

Jasper thinks all weather is frisbee weather.

You may remember the young fawn who'd losts its mother that we were feeding last year?  Well thankfully, she is back and looking gorgeous.  She still comes right up to the back porch and licks her lips to let us know she is hungry, here she is with one of her favorites - a carrot.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from Gracewood 2016

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas from Gracewood on this snowy Christmas Eve morning!
Christmas Eve Morning
We woke up to about a foot of freshly falling snow, which makes us in a most festive mood for this holiday weekend.  It is also our wedding anniversary 💕

It was so beautiful I had to venture out with the camera so here are some images I have to share.

Cheeky Squirrel Making Merry at the Bird Feeders - They LOVE Suet!

Caragana - The Chickadee's Favorite Perching Spot
I KNOW there is a ball in here

Passing Thrush Waiting it's Turn at the Feeders
Finally, it's MY Turn!

And it is great stitching weather too, the next in the Traces of Lace series, True Blue is coming along.

May it be great stitching weather where you are too!  And may it be a most blessed New Year for us all. 😊

Monday, November 28, 2016

New Free Pattern - 'Amazed'

Since my last two designs, 'Tussie-Mussie' and now 'Belfast' have been sold to Just Cross Stitch magazine, and it will be a good many months till those are published - 'Tussie-Mussie' in the May/June 2017 issue and 'Belfast' in a Fall 2017 issue - I wanted to make something immediately available to stitchers.

So if you click HERE you can download and print a pattern for free.  I've called the design 'Amazed'


Inspired by an English garden maze, the hydrangeas in the center are surrounded by meandering paths.  The colors are three shades of forest green.   I hope you'll enjoy my version of a maze!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Belfast Model Finished, New Lace Traces Design & Autumn up Close

I can't believe it but the model for the newest design in the Vintage Textiles collection, Belfast, is finally stitched!
Vintage Textiles ~ Belfast

I am waiting to decide if this one goes on sale immediately or goes to a magazine and as soon as that decision is made I'll let you know.  This is a big pattern, 213 x 213 stitch count and I have to say it turned out better than I'd even hoped it would.  Stitched on Wichelt's Touch of Yellow aida cloth with a dark butter silk mori floss from Kreinik, it truly achieved what I was after, the look of a damask table linen.

It was not hard to stitch, it just took a while at it's size.  It is either going to be framed or made into a pillow, stay tuned :)

It is good to be able to begin the next model and that will be the third in the Lace Traces series that I am calling 'True Blue'.  Below you can see why!

Lace Traces ~ True Blue

The same size as the first two Lace Traces patterns, Shades of Jade and Spun Plum, I'm still hoping to make the series into a wall hanging when I add the fourth, which is yet to be designed.

And to show you another side to Autumn on Gracewood I took the camera out to snap some close up pics of some of the smaller signs Fall has arrived.  I came across these when I went out to refill the suet cakes at our bird feeders this morning.  They've been a busy place recently since we've had storm after storm come through this month that were remnants of  Pacific typhoons.  The birds lay low till the winds die down then it is rush hour traffic at the suet cakes!

Autumn leaf among the rocks

Catnip coloring for Fall
Mountains with swathes of tamaracks turning gold and the first snow on the mountain top.
The view was a bit overcast this morning so I can't show you how brilliant the view is in sunshine, but you can see how already it has begun to feel like winter isn't far away.

Hoping all is well with you in your part of the world and that stitching is near at hand :)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

JCS Christmas Ornament & Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Yea, autumn has arrived!  This blessedly wet summer was so much more enjoyable for me, things stayed green and the garden beds boomed, but I'm always ready for fall to come.

I was again honored this year to be invited to contribute an ornament to the always anticipated Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament edition of the magazine.  It is on news stands now or hopefully you've received it if you subscribe.

Magazine Edition

My Contribution - 'Holy Night'
This edition has lots of beautiful ornaments, I hope you'll pick up a copy and find some lovely things to stitch for the holidays!

Back to gardening :)  If you too have been blessed with an abundance of tomatoes I'll share our favorite way to enjoy them in the depths of winter and beyond.  We dehydrate them and you cannot believe how delicious dried heirloom tomatoes can taste!  Dehydration takes all their goodness and concentrates it into taste bombs! lol

Here is the before -

Some of the many trays of tomatoes ripening inside picked just before the first frost

Big chunks of tomatoes ready for the dehydrator
 And here is the after -
After dehydrating, where did all those big tomatoes go?  Into tomato taste bombs!
All the flavor of those delicious tomatoes concentrates into these little tomato 'chips' which we store in the freezer.  They are sooooo very good added to soups, stews, sauces or rehydrated and put into jars of vinegar and oil to be used on pizzas or in pasta salads.  Though it is a wonder any of them make it into storage, you can't believe how good they are to just eat out of the dehydrator, the aroma of them drying is out of this world.

And the last news from Gracewood is that 'Tussie-Mussie" has been completed and sent off to Just Cross Stitch magazine for their May/June edition next year.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Winter Daybreak Design for Sale & Peach Muffin Recipe!

Winter Daybreak
Winter Daybreak was featured in the February 2016 edition of Just Cross Stitch magazine and now is for sale on my Website  and will soon be for sale through my publishers, Creative Poppy and ICG Independent Creative Group

 I love stitching winter themes during hot summer days! :)  Though thankfully, this summer hasn't been very hot and blessedly been quite wet so the garden is booming and here are a few photos to prove it.
Eden Rose

Jasper Jumps for Cherry Tomatoes!

The corn is reaching elephant eye size

Yep, I planted too many tomatoes in one bed!

Annabelle Hydrangeas love wet summers too!
And since it has been too long since I posted a recipe, here is one I make often this time of year, peach muffins.  Our Alberta peach tree gave us some gems this year and I use a basic muffin recipe that allows you to add whatever fruit is in season.  It is simple, reliable and the muffins that make it past coffee break freeze well!

Peach Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, and spray a 12 cup muffin tin with oil or brush with melted butter.  Muffin liners work well too.

2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon spice of your choice (I love the Peach Pie Blend from the Savory Spice Shop)

Sift dry ingredients together.

2 Eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs with whisk, slowly add sugar, then oil & vanilla

1 cup plain yogurt (thicker Greek kind preferred)

Add the dry ingredients to the wet alternating with the yogurt, stirring just till combined and then add 1 cup of chopped peaches (or any other kind of fruit you have, blueberries are wonderful!)

Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin pans - dust with some struesel if you like, and bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove to rack and cool.

Peach Muffins & Oolong Tea