Welcome to my blog. I'm probably very much like all of you who love the needlearts. My life revolves around family, friends, home and all things that help to make for a more contented life. When time allows; cooking, gardening, decorating, and collecting are my joys. I look forward to sharing all of these things with you. I also hope to keep you up to date on what is going on at Homespun Elegance, in regard to the needlework designs and the "Plain & Fancy Wares" that we offer.

Wishing you "Many Happy Stitches".

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh Happy Day!!

Hello Everyone,
I've been complaining so much about the heat that I just had to say what a wonderful day we are being blessed with.  I keep opening the door to see if it still feels that way and so far, so good.  Knowing it won't last forever, I'm going to go outside in a little while and enjoy watering my half dead flowers.  But before I do that, I wanted to share a few more sneak peaks of upcoming designs.  Here goes . . . .
Continuing with my 2010 Annual Ornament Series, here is a little of 
"Snowmen 'A Gathering" -
Several years ago I started a Collection called Majestic Christmas.  This next design is one I have been working on with my daughter, Hollis.  We have had a great time working together again.  A while ago she was doing more designing, but has been taking quite a long break.  Starting a new job and getting married became a little more important.  I'm hoping we'll be doing more again.  She is currently graphing an antique sampler for me that should be ready in a few months. 

Below is a sampling of "Pomegranate Holidays".

This publication will have multiple projects.

If you like to recycle and be good to planet earth, I have a project for you.  Not only is it cute, but useful and so easy to do.  It would also make a great Christmas present for those that practice - 
"It's Keen To Go Green".
I just did a Proclamation to my website of the just released publications with all of their particulars.  If you have never been to our website, there are hundreds and hundreds of my designs and other products.  You might want to allow a little time for a visit.  Thirty plus years of designing results in a big web page.  Hope you enjoy it.  Many of our products are not carried by shoppes anymore because they cannot carry everything forever, but they are still available from me.  Just email or call if you would like more information.

Have a glorious weekend with "Many Happy Stitches",

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Strawberry Goodness

100 degrees plus in Fredericksburg, VA.  I believe it will be a record setting temperature.  Are you as ready for Fall as I am? But before summer is over and the fresh strawberries are gone, I just had to share this recipe.  A group of us gave a baby shower for my best friend's daughter recently.  She is having twins, so believe me, she needs a shower or two.  It was my assignment to do the desserts, something I truly love to do.  One of the recipes I made is a cookie called Strawberry Shortcake.  I'm pretty sure it is a Martha Stewart recipe, but because I rip recipes out of magazines and just stuff them in a chest that has drawers full of recipes, I'm not sure.  Anyway, it is beyond delicious.  If you love strawberries you must give this a try.  You won't be disappointed.

(Makes about three dozen)
12 ounces of strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (2 cups)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3 ounces (6 tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
Using a 1 1/2" ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes.  I set the baking sheet on a cooling rack for a few minutes before taking them off.  Then I let them cool completely on the cooling rack.  They are delicate, so be careful.  Serve the same day if possible, but they will keep a day.  I put them in an air tight container and stored in the refrigerator.  I don't know how long they will keep, because they didn't last long.   The recipe said to store at room temperature, but I put the few that were left in the refrigerator.  ENJOY!!

"WITCHVILLE" is coming along nicely.  Will share soon with another new design.

Many Happy Stitches,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Designs Are Finished

Just checking to see if any of you have melted yet.  I really am sick of talking about the heat, but really, this is just ridiculous.  I am just drained and so is my yard.  Oh, well, enough about that.  Let's talk about something much more fun.  My designs are finally ready.  They will be shipped to our AUTOMATICS and our Distributors tomorrow.  Hope you can find them, if not just let us know.

Here is "DELIVERING TRICKS".  This is the start of a new DELIVERING SERIES. It is stitched on Weeks Dye Work's 30 Count "Straw" linen with an assortment of fibers and embellished with our Mini Black buttons and our Rusty Tin Star.
The frame is ours as well.  It is a 5 X 7
Gently Swirled Grained frame.

I cannot remember when I started my Annual Ornament Series,
but it was a long time ago.  I am kicking off the 2010 series with
Santa - "Stitching Joy".  Included is the Open Star brass charm.  
It is stitched on R & R Reproduction's 30 Count "Mink" using
an assortment of fibers.  The sampler and snowman ornaments
will follow soon.  To view many years of ornaments, just go
to our website.

Here is a sneak preview of "Witchville". 
Stay tuned, it will be ready soon!!

Stay out of the heat and do "Many Happy Stitches",

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Stuff!

Hello everyone.  Hope all is well in your part of the world and that you aren't suffering with the heat as we are here in Virginia.  I planted four rose bushes and a variegated boxwood this spring and I am so afraid that I might lose them.  When you water, which we are having to do almost daily, the water just dries up so quickly. We came back from vacation a few weeks ago and had lost a number of potted plants and some of my perennials.  I wanted to replant but if this continues we will have water restrictions soon.  Thank goodness for air conditioning!!

Well, here it is, a sneak preview of my next "DELIVERING" series - "Delivering Tricks".  It will start with Autumn - the beginning of my favorite seasons of the year.  There will be four seasonal designs in the series.

Also, the first in my
ANNUAL ORNAMENT series is just about ready.  It is called "Stitching Joy", which is what I do every time I pick up my needle.  Here is a little snippet.

Stay cool.  A great time to stay inside and make
 "Many Happy Stitches".

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Time to share with you

Time to share with you what I worked on during my vacation.  Quite a while ago I started talking with The George Washington Foundation about doing a piece of needlework to commemorate Ferry Farm, the boyhood home of George Washington and his family.  The original site of the Washington house was excavated in July 2008.  Exciting times for sure. Many, many items have been excavated from the grounds before and since then.  It is an ongoing adventure.  This summer the archeologists will be investigating areas believed to be the location of some of the farm's outbuildings.  For all of the exciting details, visit their wonderful site.

During the archeological digs, many enameled creamware fragments were found, dating from 1765 to 1775, dates which coincide with the end of Mrs. Washington's residence at Ferry Farm.  The artifacts represent pieces from such vessels as teapots, tea bowls, saucers, slop bowls, milk jugs, and sugar pots.  The ceramics are hand-painted over a lead glaze with red, black, yellow, and green floral designs.  Believe it or not, shards were found with a "cherry" motif!  I'm sure you remember the legends about George and the cherry tree.  To have found a "cherry" on a ceramic piece is just perfect.  This was the inspiration for the cherry at the center of the sampler I recently designed. 

 Here is a picture of the shards that I worked with.  Note that the colors are not as bright as they probably were at the time of their use.  Having been buried all this time has softened them.  The colors I chose are more like what the shards look like today.  Even with all the DMC floss available, I was still not able to match the shards perfectly.

  The design is based on a typical 18th century sampler style.  It features the initials of all family members that lived there, the dates of residence, and other motifs of the period.  The center oval contains my interpretation of the cherry and cherry blossom motif.  I feel so honored to have been involved in this project.  I am also working on needle necessaires, such as a scissor and needle case and a pinball 
featuring the "cherry" motif.

If you are ever in the historic Fredericksburg area, you might enjoy the tour and all the artifacts on display.  Visit the website to find out all the interesting things going on at Ferry Farm.

The Ferry Farm "Cherry" Sampler will be sold for the first time at the July 4th festivities, actually the festivities will take place on July 3rd in Fredericksburg this year.  The actual sampler will be displayed at the gift shop at Ferry Farm.  I do not know if this design will be available in your area shops because of the subject matter.  So, if you would like to have it, please email me or call me at 540.371.6377.  The price is $11.00 plus postage (the frame is also available) and a portion of each sale of this design will go to The George Washington Foundation to further the wonderful research and many activities that will continue at the site. 
Here it is!   

Just so you know, I will be starting a new "DELIVERING" series really soon.  A sneak peak will be in my next Blog entry.  It will be seasonal starting with Halloween.  If you would like to be on an Automatic for this new series, just let us know.  I think you'll like it. 

Wishing you "Many Happy Stitches",