Sunday, June 30, 2013

Free Pincushion to the Lucky Winner of July's Common Thread Give-Away

I am the featured artist of July's Common Thread Give-Away and have decided that since it is strawberry season here in Vermont, I will be giving away a small potted strawberry plant pincushion/decoration.  It is made of felted wool with delicate detailed strawberries, along with their lovely white flowers--all hand-stitched.  I love making my own little flowers and plants, and seem to be able to keep them green and blooming, unlike real ones!

You may use your little potted strawberry plant as a tiny pincushion, or simply as a decoration. All you have to do to win, is to leave a comment Monday through Wednesday, July 1st-3rd, along with your email address. A name will be randomly drawn from all who registered July 4th and the winner announced that same day.  You will be notified by email and need not be by your computer that day. In fact I hope you will be out celebrating this holiday and be surprised when you open your email!

Do visit my ETSY store by simply clicking on  ETSY on the right hand side of my blog.  Good Luck and thank you for visiting my blog and store!

P.S. I have just posted my wool, Ozark, doorstop hens.  You may want to adopt one now before they are gone.  Be sure to read to see which one fits your color decor, name and/or personality.  Each comes with its own Hatch Certificate to certify that it is made here at Little House by me and all are easy to care for, unlike real ones!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wool Ozark Doorstop Hens Now up for Adoption

I couldn’t wait to feature my flock of Ozark Doorstop Hens.  I have been working on them for two months. Never taking short cuts and doing much of my stitching by hand, they are at last ready for adoption.  I have even named them at the suggestion of The Brycer, who picked his own wools for his personally-made hen last Christmas. He told me that before he got home, he had named his hen Henny Penny and suggested that I offer them for adoption on line, complete with names, as he found it was like taking home a new pet.  He loves his and I hope my readers will find one that they enjoy as much.

I even made smaller ones, more like a Batam version of the original. I got this pattern when I was in the Ozarks over forty years ago.  I had gone to visit close friends of the family, as a girlfriend and I took a trip to Kansas to visit her brother.

I have this thing about looking at a map and seeing that only a half inch further, and there is a yet another adventure waiting! It was many hours of travel in my VW convertible in the hot summer, with my car heater on overdrive and unable to be shut off!  The Ozark hen pattern was worth the trip however!!  I have never seen another one like it.

The tail is beautifully tufted and I found that making them in velvet or wool made them an even richer than the original calico version.This time I am offering them in a variety of beautiful wools.

They are much simpler than real hens and safer than roosters.  Trust me on this one, for we have raised our own, and though I love them, they are rather messy and we had to be on the watch for predators always!  I have a friend that has a flock of her own, that now have to be cooped up due to the local fox! Our rooster was even more difficult than our hens.  Though beautiful, he was a bird of little brain, attacking the only family he knew and that had raised him by hand. I had to use a broom to keep myself safe from his spurs.  A neighbor dog was less threatened by him and so Chuck met his end prematurely when he tried to take on the neighbor dog. We were sad but safer to be sure!

Do go to Etsy and check out their names and stories. Each has their own Hatch Certificate, as each took on a life of its own in the making. Wools are all different and so no two are alike and each comes with an authentic Vermont rock tucked inside to weight it down! Hopefully you will find one that will look lovely roosted in your house.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Artist in The Common Thread Give-Away Group

The Common Thread Give-Away Group will sadly miss our artist and jeweler, Nancy Bariluk Smith though we are all happy for the new life changes she and her family are making in their upcoming move to Maine.  I am envious of her living close to the ocean, and for that reason only, I cannot wish her back with us!

I am delighted to introduce to my readers, Rachel Barlow, a writer and artist that will be joining our Common Thread Group and invite you all to visit her website, picking my I have spent my morning reading her blogs, and have had a wonderful time doing so!  I enjoy good “down home” stories and she has many to tell.  I am sure that my readers will be able to relate, as I do to her humorous and touching writings about her experiences as a wife and mother of two sons. She captures in words what many of us cannot find words to express.

Welcome Rachel to the Common Thread Group. We look forward to getting to know you better!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Almost Normal and Vermont Quilt Festival Coming Soon!

Almost Normal

Here at Little House, we are almost back to “normal”.  My husband’s lay-off from his near quarter-of- a-century job, coupled with the loss of my trusted doctor that has seen me through two thirds of a very long- term, out-of-the-mainstream treatment for lyme disease took us nearly off our feet, but I am happy to report that we are "standing" again and almost back to “normal”.  Albeit, it is a new normal.

My husband is working a part time job at one third the pay, with talk that it will turn into a full time job just short of what he was earning before and I now have a new doctor that is out of state, several hours away.  As with all big changes, new strengths have emerged, and with it creativity. A bit of re-structuring of our finances and we are ready for the next leg of the adventure we call life.  Nothing is permanent and we are going with the flow!

My mother used to always say that “need is the mother of invention”, and indeed it is the very heart of creativity.  I have also spoken about the therapeutic value of my sewing. So stress calls for more stitching and creating and I am hard at it!
I think my readers will enjoy the creations that are coming, and with them some changes in the way that I do business as well.  This year I am going to offer my creations to my on-line customers first and then take the rest of my inventory to my holiday shows, instead of the other way around.

I am signing up for local Vermont shows again and will post my upcoming holiday schedule soon.  Meanwhile I am cutting and sewing with the added fervor of one in true need of the peace and joy that comes with creating. Here are some sneak peeks of what is ahead.

In my previous blogs, I have written about my style of creating.  I have days of planning, and days of cutting or dying fabric and weeks of sewing .  I also like to start projects more than finish them and so I frequently jump from project to project, and when the deadlines loom, I begin to finish what I have started.

Other times, issues come up in the middle of a project and I set them aside until solutions come. They always do come with a bit of time, if left to simmer in the back of my brain.

I like being a fabric artist, for it seems that no two days are alike and I often work according to the energy levels in my body and brain, and interestingly enough I often work harder than I used to when I nursed or taught, though I call it play instead of work, for it is truly expressing who I am.

My writing is similar.  I never lack for things to write about, but sometimes I question what is suitable for my blogs, and so some of my writings end up in e-letters instead. Like other writers, I journal daily.  My notebook is my bosom friend where I scheme and moodle.  My writings reflect my mental processing and varies from random thoughts to do lists prioritizing what I want to get done, to silly and frivolous sketches and jottings regarding my worries and possible solutions.

Life is a journey and with it comes peaks and valleys. Physical and mental challenges are like puzzles that push me to work with and around. I now realize that all of life is like that, and realize that a problem or deficit of any kind is but a creative challenge that pushes us to more creativity. Life is good and how grateful I am for all the blessings that come with it, if only I stop to appreciate the obstacles for what they are: directions from above to make the turns and twists that make my life truly unique and different.

Vermont Quilt Festival Coming Soon

As I mentioned my upcoming show schedule, I remembered last night that I must inform my readers that the 37th annual Vermont quilt Festival is coming to the Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction, Vermont.  It is New England’s oldest and largest quilt show.  This is the one that used to be in Northfield, Vermont and I am so relieved that they finally took it to a more comfortable, air-conditioned setting.  This show includes exhibits and vendors that are NOT to be missed.  This is the highlight of every year for me.

I don my most comfortable shoes, and take my husband to photograph my favorite quilts and my oldest daughter as well and we make a day of it, though it is a three day festival from June 28th to the 30th. It is an event that draws people from all over the world, and is worth making a special trip to Vermont to see and experience.

Instead of attempting to tell you all about it all, please go to their website at for details.  Accommodations are located all around the exposition center and buses are provided to take participants from their lodgings to the show as well as surrounding classrooms ! Of course if you travel to Vermont, don’t miss Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farm to step into our New England history and do give yourself a day or two as there is so much to see! All of Vermont is a treat to the eye, and its beauty is not to be surpassed, except during Mud Season.

Do put it this show on your calendar whether this year or the next. Dates vary, but it is always in June. I apologize that I am just now remembering to tell you about it!! It is a real eye-treat whether you are a quilter or not!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

And the winner is...

And the winner of this months Common Thread Give-Away is Julie!! Congratulations on winning a free copy of The Lost Bird Sings!! Thank you, Veronica for being our guest artist of The Common Thread Give-Away!! I so enjoyed meeting you and getting acquainted with your work and hope that you will visit us again soon!

Next month I will be the featured artist of the month and am busy creating new items for my Etsy shop for the occasion!! Readers stay tuned!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Common Thread Give-Away Artist for June

I am so pleased to have this opportunity to introduce Veronica Hallisey as our guest artist for the month of June and someone will be lucky enough to win her book, The Last Bird Sings, by going to her website, From an Upper Floor and leaving a comment for her any time between Monday, June 3rd and Wednesday, June 5th.  The winner will be drawn on Thursday, June 6th. I have just become acquainted with her work myself, and hope that my readers will be as delighted as I was to visit her site, learn about Veronica, read some of her essays and poetry and see her beautiful quilted wall hangings.

I am sure that you will agree with me that her writing style is captivating! She is one of those rare authors that you anxiously wait to read what she writes next. She reaches out to her readers as she if she knows us each  personally. Her gentle and loving spirit will connect with you instantly and leave you with the feeling that she is a kindred spirit you have known all your life.

Go to her website and treat yourself to some "samplings" of her work. I think you will be refreshed and elevated by this beautiful and sensitive artist. I only wish that I could participate in the Common Thread Give-Away drawing but I will content myself instead with reading all that is on her site and add her books to the top of my reading wish list. Likely you will add her books to your wish list as well, or perhaps even choose to decorate your home with one of her lovely quilted wall hangings. They would bring the warmth of her words right into your home?  I'll be anxious to hear who is lucky enough to win her book!