Saturday, December 26, 2009

closing shop

This is our last month in our physical shop. We have had a wonderful 3 years here, but the economy and expense of running a shop has gotten to both of us. It will be a pleasure to spend our time doing what we love which is creating our own items. We will do some shows and markets and will be updating and improving our website online store- as well as continue on etsy and artfire. I will miss our loyal customers, it has been a pleasure working with them. I will also miss this beautiful porch and the summer days spent stitching in those rocking chairs! On to new experiences and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lavender Pincushion

A new pincushion using some of the overdyed wool from a shop in St. Croix Falls. I made two, one went to California and one went to Lanesboro. We drove down there yesterday to make a delivery-Cornucopia Art Center is a beautiful gallery. We are looking forward to being members there.
As you can see from the sidebar I will be participating in One World One Heart blog giveaway again this year. It is a great way to find and visit others blogs. Last year my giveaway was one of my pincushions and it will be again this year. I now just have to decide on the color and design! Click on the badge on the sidebar to get all the details about participating. OWOH starts on Jan. 25th and ends on Feb.15th. Thanks to Lisa Swifka for all her hard work hosting this! And please come visit, Leave a comment on that particular post and maybe win a pincushion!

Monday, November 23, 2009

catching up on projects

Things have been so busy lately. We are in the midst of closing our physical shop and, of course, the closing sale is really bringing in the customers. We will run it through the end of the year and then get our new online shop up and running. In the meantime I have been making Christmas ornaments- these are a special order going to North Carolina.

I have also been making some changes at home. I used some of the silk flowers from the shop to make this arrangement. The container is an old aluminum pitcher that I painted and decoupaged a number of years ago. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed doing that- I might do some pieces for the online shop. We might do some art fairs and farmers markets next year. There are quite a few good local ones. It will give me the opportunity to make cookies, handmade soap, and jams.

These are jars of my raspberry/blueberry jam and some of my bread and butter pickles. I also just finished some cranberry/raspberry jam and candied apple jelly. The candied apple jelly has a hot cinnamon flavor and should work well in thumbprint cookies. With Thanksgiving this week there will be plenty of cooking to do. Then it is cookie baking time!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swan Song Pincushions

It has been a somewhat disappointing fall this year if only for the shortness of color. This picture was taken a few weeks ago in October and we were looking forward to many drives in the bluff country along the Mississippi, but weeks of cold and wet(it even snowed a little) caused many of the leaves to drop quickly. We drove down to Maiden Rock to deliver pincushions to Swan Song Gallery and all the trees are bare. It is still beautiful countryside and we saw plenty of eagles, but I miss the color.
These are part of the order we left at the gallery. This is one of our consignment orders so I hope this holiday season the spending is better everywhere than it was last year. Suprisingly, even though today is November 7th the temp. is in the 60's and sunny. Apparently October and November have decided to switch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

pincushions to California

I've gotten another wholesale order! These pincushions are headed for a shop in Santa Monica called Artful. Since we have decided to close our physical shop and concentrate on wholesale and internet sales this is another step in the right direction. We drove aways down the Mississippi River on Sunday checking out possible shops and galleries and found a delightful one in Maiden Rock,Wi. called Swan Song. As soon as I can make about 12 more pincushions we will be taking them down there. Delivering them ourselves gives us an excuse to stop at the Smiling Pelican bakery across the street from the gallery- wonderful bread and the best Apple Cardamom cakes! Tomorrow we are taking half a day to visit Stillwater and look into those galleries. I love daytrips!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

early works mercantile

This is one of the pincushions I'm saving to sell as part of a set with a needlebook on a new site- It specializes in items that evoke the 18th and 19th centuries. The name of my shop will be The Needlewoman and should be up and running November 1st. I'm also working on an embroidered sampler and possibly a wool penny rug.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Piecework magazine is going to have a Heart ornament contest in the spring. All the details will be available in October and the deadline is in April. There is to be 4 catagories all involving a different form of needlework-knit/crochet, embroidery/surface design, lacework, and quilting. The maximum size is 4", so this one is too large.

Since I'm going to be thinking about ornaments for Christmas now anyways I might as well think about hearts,too! I might try one for each catagory. Details about the piece above are on my lollishop site.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Citron and Plaid Pincushion

This is two views of the new pincushion. The side piece is the overdyed plaid from Merry Hooker Woolens. I love the visual texture of the plaid.

I am going to start Christmas ornaments soon and thought I might do some primitive styled ones in wool as well as my mini hanging pincushions.I'll also do some embroidered birds. It seems too early to think about the holidays, but if I don't I won't get it all done.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A new pincushion finished today. I also found another source for hand dyed wool-Merry Hooker Woolens- and bought some beautiful overdyed plaids and herringbone wool. I think they will add a nice textural look to pincushions and I plan to start rug hooking again. The blog for Merry Hooker is on my side bar, check it out!
It has been a sad day today watching Ted Kennedy's funeral. I am old enough to have seen all 3 brothers funerals( I was 7 when JFK was killed) and it doesn't seem possible they're all gone. A remarkable family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Flower Lavender Sachets

I love the scent of lavender.I've made these 4" sachets in a variety of colors and crocheted them for a vintage feel. These are listed in my Artfire and Lollishop shops.
As the retail business continues to be challenging in our brick and mortar shop we have decided to move the whole thing online. Our current,unused website will go away as a new one is constructed. Everything in our shop will be available, not just our own handmade items. This will allow us to highlight our other artists work- pottery, jewelry,wood turned bowls,handbags, blown glass,handmade cards, and much more! There will also be lots of other gift items including kitchen items, books, puzzles,and children's things. I will update here and link to the new site when it is ready.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

crocheted gifts and cookbooks

I have spent the last few days replenishing my supply of crocheted soap bags. I had a young woman in the shop who dislikes the feel of a bar of soap against her skin and was thrilled to
see the bags. An average size bar of soap(or scraps) fit nicely inside and then use it as a washcloth. The little crocheted sachets are lined and filled with lavender- smell wonderful!

We also got our restock of retro cookbooks in. These are full of recipes and helpful hints compiled from Barbara Swell's extensive collection. Since I am attempting my first jam making session with my mother and sister this weekend these have been fun to look at.Unfortunately we are experiencing the hottest week of the summer right now after what has been a very cool season. Oh well.

I think I might do thumbprint cookies using my jam. If I do raspberry jam I would do lemon flavored cookies with the raspberry center. Even with the heat I am looking forward to this!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More pincushions

This is the newest pincushion. I would have to say this is my favorite color combo so far. I gradated the colors of thread in the large flower to give it an ombre effect.

These were also finished this week and have found a new home in a shop in northern Wisconsin.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Pincushion and granny squares

Finished another pincushion. This one is a larger version of one of my mini pincushions. I am still trying to pump up my stock of these, they are still selling quite well here in the shop and online. I do try to shake things up with other projects just so I don't burn out on one thing.

That's why I am starting a granny square blanket just for fun. I have been really enjoying visiting other blogs- they are so inspiring! Attic24 has shown the most beautiful crocheted blankets I had to do one. This was something we did in the 70's and 80's and I haven't done one in years. It makes for a nice break. Of course I also have my quilt to get back to as well as many other things to stock the shop. I'm also going to try jam making with my sister and mother in a few weeks, first time ever! That's why I've added some food blogs and canning blogs to my side bar-lots of fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dish Towel in Progress

I recently sold a towel with this pattern so I decided to make another! I love the pale aqua color(or is it a pale robin's egg blue?) and the deep rusty red color together. Again I have used a flour sack towel. Next post will be a couple of new pincushions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fresh Produce

For those who don't know, we have a brick and mortar store in addition to our 4 online shops. Called 'Manitoba' it is named for the street we are on as we are in Minnesota, not Canada. Maybe not as far north, but just about- we get just as cold! That's why we enjoy the short summers and growing season as much as we can. Our shop carries many local products and works by local artists as well as our own handmade items.

Ames Honey is locally produced and single source. The buckwheat honey is as dark as caramel.There is Basswood, Melon, Summer Blossoms, Clover, and more. The honey book is full of recipes.

We decided to plant a few vegetables in pots behind the shop. I've been able to harvest these over the last few weeks even though it has been cool and dry. We placed the pots on the edge of the parking lot where the heat reflected up on the plants and they have done very well! I'm headed up to my sewing room to stitch pillows for my bedroom and porch out of some lovely bark cloth..
I almost forgot- we were the featured artisans on handmadenews. The link is Thanks for visiting!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finished Pincushions

The pincushions I started the other day are now finished. The pink one was a real departure for me colorwise, but it's good to work outside the norm occasionally.

This one is also a little more pastel than usual, but I did use my favorite citronella green and a very light orange. I have quite a few more cut out and ready to work on- this is pincushion month!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pincushions in Progress

Recent sales have depleted my pincushion supply so I have put other projects aside for awhile to restock. I do enjoy going through my stash of wool and coming up with new color combinations. Most of them will have 3 to 4 colors of wool and some with silk plus coordinating or contrasting colors of thread for the embroidery and crochet.

One of these will be for sale on my etsy and artfire sites and the other in my lollishops . I will post pictures of the completed ones later this week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Candy Colored Potholders

I have always had a bit of an obsession with vintage style kitchen items, so I decided to do a little crocheting and make some colorful potholders. These sell well in the shops and I have found some people like to collect them. I hang them from little magnetic hooks on the side of my fridge near the stove; they brighten up that corner nicely! I'm also going to pair these with embroidered towels and crocheted dishcloths for gift sets. I have started working on the border of the tree quilt and will post pictures soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cotton Print Tree Quilt

I started this wall hanging size quilt awhile ago to use some of my stash of pastel cotton prints. They have such a soft, old feel. The base fabric is, again, a flour sack towel. I just love the texture of these towels and at a dollar apiece a real bargain.

Of course I can't leave it alone at this stage , so I plan to add birds and flowers before I start quilting. I haven't quilted in a number of years and was very meticulous about perfect, tiny stitches (or at least that was my goal). I may loosen up a little with this one and embroider and quilt with floss instead of traditional quilting thread! Radical departure!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kitchen Sets

Another method used on flour sack towels. Some of these are adapted patterns from old embroidery magazines and others are original designs. I love the look of what I think of as farmhouse or cottage style, especially in the kitchen.

I plan to do more of these sets in a variety of colors and patterns. Some will have the nailbrushes and others will include a pack of recipe cards, handmade soap or maybe a vintage kitchen item. These are for sale in our lollishop and on etsy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

flea market finds

We went to Buffalo, Mn. for a look around the markets and antique stores a couple of weekends ago. The above packet of bird prints was too good to pass up. My favorite, the baltimore oriole, is included (orange again!)

I did not personally purchase the above linens, a good friend of mine who works many local estate sales has been getting me bags and bags of embroidered pieces and lace. It will be a new experience to work with items I have not crocheted or embroidered myself- should be fun! I think I'm going to have to redesign my workspace to include more storage space- some open shelving because I like to see all my materials and not have to dig for things. Unfortunately my room is not that big, will have to get creative.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More applique towels

When I start appliquing flour sack towels it can become addicting! The towels themselves are such a pleasure to work with, such a nice feel to the cotton. The one above is in more subdued(for me) colors and the one below uses my favorite orange.

I will be posting all these towels on either or I am also working on some farmhouse gift sets which I have already posted two of on lollishops. I'll show them here next time along with some flea market finds.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Blossoms

It felt like time to do some summer themed items and work with something lighter than wool.I love using flour sack towels and the batiks work nicely against the white.

The pots we planted outside the shop are coming along nicely.

These pots should be even fuller come the middle of July. You can't beat sitting on the porch and stitching towels as part of your workday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Magazine Photo of Pincushion

Another way to use small pieces of left over wool. These also work up fairly quickly and I can do as much or as little crochet and embroidery as I want.
The newest Artful Blogging magazine came out this month and I am thrilled that my pincushion giveaway for OWOH was included in the wonderful article about Lisa Swifka. The entire magazine is beautiful and very inspiring.

I have been digging out some unfinished projects and contemplating additions to some of them. I haven't done any quilting for a while and have one wallhanging size I might pick up again. It needs more applique and some other embellishments. Will post the work in progress next time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mini Pincushions Group

We have been very busy trying to decide which direction to take our shop. The slow economy still is an issue, yet this past week has been very good. We were contemplating a move to a location with better traffic but hate to give up on this little cottage. Especially with Spring upon us and our pots planted on the porch it would be hard to move. The internet sales continue and we are testing the possibility of selling some of our items wholesale- anything to keep ourselves self employed and making our handcrafted items!
I am trying my pincushions in a smaller size( actually, I made some similar as ornaments for Christmas) which would be perfect size for sewing baskets. These are available in our etsy shop, . I'm also working on bookmarks and bracelets which I'll try posting next time. We also have been taking our Sunday day trips down to bluff country along the Mississppi River birdwatching and wildflower searching. I recently got a flower press my mother had 30 years ago and hope to put it to good use. Will post pictures soon!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tropical Colors on Deep Blue Sea Pillow

This is the finished pillow. It measures 14x14. I don't usually use much blue, but this hand dyed color is called 'deep blue sea' and I think it sets off the bright batiks perfectly. I had to add my favorite little bird in the corner. I think my next pillow will be geometric-circles again- using wool, silk,and the batiks. I'm also thinking of doing one with embroidery and all crocheted flowers. Also need to finish some pincushions and maybe some floral crochet bracelets for summer. I found out from Lisa Swifka, organizer of OWOH, that there is going to be an article about the OWOH event in Somerset Studios ' Artful Blogging" magazine and that the pincushion I offered for my giveaway is going to be included. It should be in the summer issue that comes out in May! Back to sewing!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Group eyeglass cases

Another use for the abundant amount of hand dyed wool I have. These work up fairly quickly and I can do the crocheted flowers and as little or as much embroidery as I want. I might add buttons or beads to some of them. I have added fleece to the inner lining to give it some padding.
The batik appliqued pillow is underway, I'm doing the blanket stitching now. Slow work,but relaxing. I also just picked up 'A Homemade Life' by Molly Wizenberg and plan to spend some nonstitching time reading it. She writes the blog 'Orangette' at which I stumbled upon by accident and just love. A great food blog!
Hopefully I will have the pillow done by my next post. All these things are available at our etsy, artfire,1000market, and lollishops sites.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


My order of batiks arrived yesterday, such gorgeous colors! I use these (plus some silks) for the appliques on pillows,etc. I have a pillow in mind- a pretty deep sea blue hand dyed wool for the background and appliques in all the yellow and orange batiks.I am not much of a 'blue' person, but my favorite colors of yellow and orange go so well with it I use it when I can. My other plan is for a simple, pieced table runner that I hope will somewhat resemble an enamel on copper piece I recently saw. Beautiful! My problem is getting started. I hate to cut into such gorgeous fabric until I'm absolutely positive.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

OWOH winner

The OWOH giveaway is over and what fun! I want to thank everyone who participated and those who visited my blog. Big thanks to Lisa for all the hard work sponsoring and organising this event. The winner of my pincushion is Niki at Nostalgia at the Stonehouse. If you haven't seen her blog you must take a look, especially if you love a vintage cottage look, which I do. I have included her in my Blogs I Like on the right sidebar so just give a click. Again, thanks! Debra

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crochet Tutorial

My current project is a crochet tutorial on 1000markets in the Village market blog for next week. I custom made this bag for a customer awhile back and thought I'd make a smaller version I can put up for sale. Crochet and embroidery are two of my favorite things to do and combining the two makes for wonderful results. I'm going to give the instructions for two of the simpler flowers including materials used on the Village blog.Check it out next week by going to , click on markets and visit the Village or just click on the Village badge on the right sidebar here. Hope everyone is enjoying the OWOH event, I've visited lots of blogs I will be returning to and thank everyone who has left a comment on mine. Such fun!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One World One Heart Giveaway

I am participating in this year's One World One heart blog giveaway. Leave a comment on this post (and this post only) for a chance to win the handmade(by me) pincushion above before Feb. 12. Giveaways are happening all over- there are already over 600 participants from all over the world. The only requirement to enter is that you have a blog and you can leave a comment on as many as you like! Click on the One world one heart logo above to see the list of participants or go to By the way, the pincushion measures 4"x2" and is made of hand dyed wool. Good luck!