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


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Spun Plum Complete & New Design 'Tussie-Mussie'

Lace Traces~Spun Plum
Hooray!  Spun Plum is complete and is now for sale through my WebsiteCreative Poppy and icg crafts

*Note! if you purchase patterns, including Spun Plum, through the website through July the buy one get one promotion applies.

It really was fun to stitch in Kreinik's Silk Mori floss and I look forward to pairing it with Shades of Jade and hopefully, two more to come in this series, in a quilt like wall hanging.

But that must wait, as well as finishing Belfast :(, since I have a new design and deadline for stitching it by October for the June 2017 edition of Just Cross Stitch magazine.

That design is 'Tussie-Mussie'

I'm stitching this in shades of cornflower blue and if you aren't familiar with what a 'Tussie-Mussie' is, it is a Victorian era word for a nosegay or small bouquet.  As you can see it is also in the Assisi style of stitching only the background, a style I've come to love for the dynamic effect it gives a design.

This has been a perfect cool wet July on Gracewoods, so different from last year's heat and fires for which I am profoundly grateful!  I hope it is beautiful where you are as well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Special July Offer! Buy One Pattern & Second is Free!

Lace Traces~Shades of Jade

I've created a special offer on the Gracewood Stitches Facebook page.  For the month of July if you purchase a pattern you can choose a second of equal or lesser value for free!

If you want to go directly to my website you may do so and when you purchase a pattern just include a note in paypal comments about which pattern you'd like for free.  You can also email me directly with your choice if you have any problem, - pdf charts are sent within 24 hours of purchase.

Special note, if you've recently purchased a pattern prior to this offer just send me an email with your choice of another for free and I'll gladly send it to you :)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Another Lace Traces Design & Busy Garden June

Lace Traces~Spun Plum
This one is so close to finishing I hate to stop for anything.  I've given it the name Spun Plum since it really has so much motion in it just calling it 'plum' wasn't enough.  I think it will work well with the first in the Lace Traces series, Shades of Jade, and I'm looking forward to putting them together like quilt blocks for a wall hanging.

I had to stop stitching for a few days to get another new design together to submit to a well known cross stitch magazine, or it would have been done by now.  It is a fun stitch, but then I love stitching Assisi style.

I've also spent a bit more time in the garden, though Terry does most of the actual 'work', I am in charge of what gets planted where, starting seeds and general fertilizing schedules and all of it is such a joy.  I am always thankful we live in a place where we can have a garden.

Eden Rose
The roses have gone nutz and are blooming their hearts out and sending up massive new canes.  Eden is a beautiful rose, not as fragrant as some but oh I love their old rose form.

Heirloom Tomatoes
I admit I went insane with heirloom tomatoes this year, reading those descriptions from heirloom seed sellers on ebay who could resist tomatoes like, Siberian Black, Lemon Drop, Russian Pink (where we live the cold country seeds grow best), Jeanne Flaum, and of course we had to have Violet Jasper!  Twenty tomato plants, what was I thinking?

Speaking of Jasper, here he is on gopher duty.

Jasper saying come on out little gopher.
Snow Peas are needing picking daily and yes, more tomatoes!
Lettuce LOVES shade!
I hope you are having a good June in your part of the world and making time to stitch as well as work :)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May on Gracewood & Belfast Preview

May, is usually one of the loveliest months in the northern Rockies and this May seems to be outdoing itself!  We have had LOTS of blessed rain followed by a few days of sun then rain again, basically weather that growing things LOVE!

Terry finished building the raised beds this year and we already have lots growing even this early in the season.  I'll share some photos, but first here is a preview of the close to being completed model for 'Belfast', the latest in the Vintage Textiles collection.

And even though I hate having to stop something this close to completion, I'm going to in order to get the second pattern in the Lace Traces line stitched and off to publishers.  Lace Traces~Shades of Jade has been a hit and I need to finish the second soon to let stitchers know what to expect for the rest of the collection.

Hopefully, I'll soon be done with spending quite so much time with planting and more stitching.

May you also have had a beautiful month wherever you are ~

Jasper 'guarding' the Garden

Garlic loves rain!

Corn peeking out of the ground, the logs are 'guarding' the corn from Jasper

The bittersweet vine has run amuck this spring, full of honey scented flowers and covered with bees!
Roses are rapidly climbing the trellis and full of buds.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Productive April - Lace Traces~Shades of Jade Model Completed

April is almost gone, just a day left and I'm happy to say that stitchingwise, it was a productive one on Gracewood.  The first pattern in the 'Lace Traces' series of designs, 'Shades of Jade' model is completed.

Lace Traces~Shades of Jade

Stitch count is 123 x 123 and the model is stitched in Kreinik Silk Mori threads - #4196 Dark Jade & #4193 Light Jade.

My plan, Lord willing, is to add at least another three designs in a similar size but varied colors to this series and I hope to use them as quilt blocks that will be made into a wall hanging.  Well, that is the plan anyway, lol

This was a fast and fun stitch, the more I stitch Assisi style the more I love it.  The pattern is now for sale on my website and will soon be listed at Creative Poppy and ICG Crafts

The next design in this line will be 'Lace Traces-Plum Tones

Lace Traces~Plum Tones

May is a busy month on Gracewood as our yearly 'projects' begin and one of those this year is a plan to add more raised boxes for more vegetable beds.  When you live as far as we do from stores that carry good produce it is becoming a priority to finally complete the raised beds so we can grow a lot more of our own veggies and fruit.  That of course means more outside tasks and I doubt May will be as productive a stitching month as April.

Hope all is well in your part of the world!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Collection of Designs - 'Lace Traces'

Lace Traces~Shades of Jade
Spring, I find, truly has the effect of making me want to begin new things.  In addition to the strong urges to begin Spring cleaning everything from ceiling to floor, I also experience a strong creative impulse and this year it has resulted in what I hope will be a series of patterns I'm calling 'Lace Traces'.

The first is 'Lace Traces~Shades of Jade' and is a good bit smaller in size than the larger Vintage Textile series of patterns.  This one is a more manageable stitch count of 123 x 123 and the finished pattern on 18 count cloth is just under 7 inches square.

Many of my designs are inspired by color and this one certainly was.  I am stitching the model in Kreinik's Silk Mori floss in shades of Teal/Jade - "4193-Light Jade" and "4196-Dark Jade".

I hope to finish the model and have this one available on the website and through Creative Poppy and ICG soon.  I think it is going to be a quick stitch :)

It is Spring indeed on Gracewood and thankfully, this Winter and so far, Spring, has been blessedly wet and everything seems to be just waiting for a bit of warmer and drier weather to burst forth in abundance.

Snowshoe Hare turning from white to brown for Spring

Some mornings are still icy as this Bittersweet vine can attest

Monday, February 29, 2016

Spring Approaches & New Free Pattern!

It really looks like Spring here on Gracewood, I know it is almost three weeks away, but we've been getting blessed rains - drought busting rain & snow this winter, thank the Lord - and the snow is rapidly retreating.

Still cold and frosty at night but on clear sunny days it is warm enough for Jasper to fall asleep on the back porch bathed in sun rays.

In celebration of such days I'm posting a free design that is 'swatchable' in that there are so many variations you can create from one simple pattern.  The link to download the pattern is beneath the photos.

Pavane - Swatchable Pattern
Pavane possible patterns

Download Pavane - click here -  Free Pattern