Wednesday, July 10, 2019

November~Bounty Completed & Combat Gardening!

Yes, it took me a while longer than usual to stitch the latest design, but I'm happy to say it is indeed complete!  I am very happy with how it stitched and I think it captures the feel of a vintage placemat that might have been saved for use on that special family gathering on Thanksgiving Day.

It is posted for sale on my web site and will soon be available through ICG's Everything Cross Stitch and Creative Poppy.

This year we've filled the huglebeds Terry made in the garden last fall and this far into July they've been as fruitful as we hoped they might be.  Here are a few pics of our raised beds and huglebeds in what can only be called 'Combat Gardening' style.  What is combat gardening?  It is putting LOTS of plants everywhere and then letting them fight it out! lol

Like this -

Borage & Nasturtiums battling it out!

Two huglebeds planted with corn, beans, squash and Lots More!

My dear Terry, the one who does all the work!

Brussel Sprouts & Fennel and I think the Sprouts are winning!
July has also brought some additions to the Gracewood family.  We had a pair of black and white 'Tuxedo' cats for many years that were littermates and terrific hunters that kept the pesky critter's population low.  We loved them loads and couldn't bring ourselves to replace them as they aged and passed on. 

Until, a few weeks ago when we saw chipmunks disappearing under the truck and we know that chipmunks/mice, etc., can do expensive damage to a vehicle.  So we knew it was time to look for a new generation of hunters and were so happy to find another couple of Tuxedo's who are also brother and sister. 

Meet Nan & Bert (I'll send some Gracewood calendula salve to the first poster who knows the literary source of those names :) - at 8 weeks they are still inside till they are big enough to head outside.  They were very quiet the first days, she had an eye infection and he was extremely shy, thankfully, now they are all well and are having a ball playing with each other and learning how to hunt.  Definitely a couple of rascals!

Bert is on the left and Nan has the black nose
Hoping all is well with you in your part of the world!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

November~Bountiful Progress & Visitors

It is definitely Spring in the Rockies~!  That means some days rain, some days snow, some days warm and last night we had a heavy frost that took some of our early plantings.  The forecast was for a good bit warmer so we didn't put our covers on, oh well, such is a gardener's life.  Thankfully, it is early enough to get some things started again for our short growing season.

I'm finding that November~Bountiful is a fun and rather easy stitch so far.  Photos don't do the color justice, I'm using Rainbow Gallery's Splendor silk floss in their most deeply purple shades.

Spring always brings hungry visitors to Gracewood, like this pair of Canada geese that stopped by for a snack on their journey north.  Aren't they beautiful?  Noisy, but beautiful.

Canada Geese
And the deer who have had a tough winter with a lot of snow are SOOOO enjoying the grass of Spring.  Every morning there are at least half a dozen deer gorging themselves in our meadow and then they lay down and snooze like this young one.

As we enter the busy time of year when chores call from every corner and I do enjoy all the loveliness of April, I also am going to miss the more mellow and cosy time of being indoors and not feeling guilty about something being done in the garden!  That's why I love four seasons, just when you are tired of one the next one arrives, lol

Wherever you are, spring in the north or fall in the southern hemisphere, I hope you are enjoying your days and of course enjoying some stitching!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

New Design in Calendar Series & How Terry Spent His Winter

Hello all, hope everyone is well and getting stitching time!

After finishing 'October~Homespun Oak' I went through the usual feeling of going crazy without something in my hand to stitch so immediately sat down to try and create a pattern that would both catch the feeling of our Novembers and also play well with the first four designs.

It always takes a few days of drawing in ideas on the software only to remove, reshape, polish and tweak my ideas into the next new design.  I think I was successful in translating the themes November brings in the northern hemisphere of bountiful times when we can finally rest from all that storing up of what we grew all summer.  So here is the next pattern and hopefully, since vintage textiles are the basis of much of my work, this one will be reminiscent of a placemat that might be used on a festive table, especially at Thanksgiving!

Created in shades of pure purples, here is 'November~Bountiful' and so far it is a fun stitch, hope you'll find it so as well.

And I wanted to share what my talented husband, Terry, was working on this winter when his inside days were long.  You may remember early last year that I posted some photos of chickadees at our feeders?  Well Terry is attempting his own series of work and using the four photos I posted to turn into some wonderful watercolor paintings.

These photos can't capture all the detail of his work, but it will give an idea of what he created.

First two chickadee paintings
I know I'm prejudiced but I think these are so finely done, I look forward to having professional photos taken so we can upload them to his Fine Art America page and you can get a really much better idea of how beautiful they are.

Not much time for art these days as he is dealing with spring weather, one day plowing snow and the next getting seeds started to be ready for the day it is finally and truly spring and warm enough to begin planting things.

Life on Gracewood is about to swing back into outdoor action, hope it is lovely wherever you are~

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Homespun Oak Model Stitched!! And Snowpocalypse Happens

October~Homespun Oak pattern's model is complete, yeah!! and I'll have it up for sale on my website and through publishers in a few days, but I wanted to get a quick blog post of it up first.

I'm very happy with it, hope you like it too.

Thankfully, it plays well with the first three months of this series.  I'll post a photo of the four of them together soon.

October~Homespun Oaks

It must be frustrating for my publishers that my designs don't always (make that rarely) 'match' the time of year they come out and so may not catch the mood of the season they are promoting at the time, but I'm afraid it is the only way I can work.  Even if I design them at the right time they don't get stitched till the next month/season comes along.

Right now the calendar is telling me it is time to get some plants started indoors if I want them to be of any size to go into the garden, however, the actual weather - which has been termed 'SNOWPOCALYPSE' this year in the northwest - is not allowing me to even get to the area where we mix up soil, make soil blocks and get seeds planted.  Photos below will prove the point -

Peat Moss, Vermiculite and Compost waiting to be made into soil blocks.

Looking out back door, the snow is higher than the porch.  The ghostly humps are garden beds.
Icicles Galore!
So I'm sitting here with $200 worth of organic heirloom seeds for everything from tomatoes, beans, corn to melons, strawberries, and asparagus to get started and it is completely impossible.

Oh well, things have a way of getting done somehow if you don't give up.  At least the huglebeds we made last fall are getting a great dose of moisture before we plant them.

Hoping all is well in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Winter Arrives!

I'm hoping everyone had a wonderful Christmas, whether you celebrate in the heat of the Southern Hemisphere or in the chill of cold in the Northern. 

The ornament for next year's Just Cross Stitch magazine's special Christmas Ornament edition is completed and off to them, yeah!  And I can turn my attention back to 'October~Homespun Oak'.

'October~Homespun Oak'
I'm about 2/3rd done with this stitch and am really enjoying the plaid and fall colors.

Besides stitching I'm spending a lot of time online looking at seed/plant catalogs.  We're hoping to greatly expand the garden with the new hugelbeds and I know I am going to end up ordering way too many seeds!  But whoever has had the pleasure of sitting with a Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog, or SeedSavers or Territorial catalogs could blame me?

Next to food magazines there is nothing more drool worthy than these seed catalogs!  Terry looks over my shoulder and asks 'how many types of melons are you planning on planting?'  But with names like Charentais, Kajari, Gingers' Pride, Kiku Chrysanthemum, Hearts of Gold, Rich Sweetness and Petit Gris de Rennes, how can I only pick a couple????? lol   

Hopefully, reality will set in before I hit the buy button!

I send my hopes to you all that the New Year of 2019 will be a very blessed one for us all and leave you with something lovely to watch.  Our local photographer with a drone has made so many beautiful videos, but this is one of my favorites.  If you can't see it in your email or mobile you can go to this link to view it.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Frosty Mornings & Hugelkultur

Yesterday morning we woke up to a hard freeze and brilliant sunshine so I had to take some photos of Jack Frost's handiwork.

Frosty Rose
We had just put the raised garden beds to bed the day before and covered in deep straw they were just so beautiful covered in frost!

Our newly created 'Hugelkultur" beds were also thick with frost.  Here they are waiting for lots of berries, veggies, flowers and herbs to be planted in them next spring, God willing!

Hugelkultur beds prepared for next spring's planting
If you aren't familiar with hugelkultur gardening ~ and we certainly weren't but thanks to you tube we discovered the interesting way many of our ancestors made their gardens ~ and have decided it just made a lot of sense and thought it worth a try. 

Here is a video that shows exactly what we did and they explain its merits.

Today we woke up to snow!  A lovely snowy day that left a few inches on the ground and put me firmly in the mood for making soup and stitching before the woodstove.

I've gotten a bit further in stitching 'October~Homespun Oak'
October~Homespun Oak
And it is a good thing I've gotten this far, because I have to set it aside to finish an ornament for next year's Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament edition.  I received the invitation for this year's magazine the day I got home from the hospital after the emergency surgery and had to decline.

I was surprised to get the invitation for next year's special edition so early.  They want the submissions a good two months earlier than usual so I'm guessing they'll be on the news stands and in mail boxes a lot earlier as well.

I'm about a third of the way done stitching the design, and hope it won't take too long to finish it and then do the part I find most difficult, actually sewing it into an ornament!  I am no seamstress, lol and will keep it as simple as possible.  Sorry I can't show you the pattern, but I will tell you 'October~Homespun Oak' is part of the inspiration for it ;)

Hoping all is well in your part of the world whether it is frosty, snowy or hot!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

"October~Homespun Oaks" New Calendar Collection Design

It surely looks like autumn on Gracewood.  The mountain's have swaths of yellow aspen, birch, and tamarack and the maple, ash and cottonwood trees we planted when we first moved here are all dressed in their fall colors.

"October~Homespun Oaks"

One of the things that make this time precious is that all that color is fleeting and with each storm that passes through the leaves fly off the trees and the landscape gets bare preparing for the snow to come.  Passing things we love are really more precious to us, aren't they? 

Oak isn't a tree that grows here but in my mind they are definitely part of the year's succession and what says fall more than acorns?  They became the inspiration for this next month's pattern in the Calendar collection.  I've also had the picture in my mind of homespun plaid fabrics for October's background.  At this cozy time of year (in this half of the world) I reach for warm throws and flannel sheets and wanted to bring that feel to this pattern.

I'm stitching it with Kreinik's Silk Mora floss in their dark buttercup shades along with a bright pumpkin for a highlight.

It has been a happy stitch so far, probably having to do with my delight that this time of year is here.

Another subject my mind turns to in October is stocking up the pantry and freezer for winter and we are blessed to have a wonderful family nearby who raise the most fabulous meats for stocking that freezer. 

Although the work of maintaining over 200 acres of pasture and raising the healthiest most chemical free animals is daunting, these hard working people do it with the utmost capability and joy.

You can read more about Ramstead Ranch here and below are some of the livestock they make available to very happy customers like us!

They also make many spinners happy by raising some of the most beautiful fleece anywhere.

I'm ready for winter with a few dozen of their chickens and some of their beef and bones for stocks tucked into the freezer.  The stock I'm making from last night's roast chicken is filling the house today, I hope you have such a source somewhere in your area, though I doubt they'll be any tastier than Ramstead's!

Happy Stitching!