Friday, December 27, 2013

Unwrapping a New Year

Hello blog-reading friends! Well, it's 2 days post Christmas. The gingerbread cookies have been consumed (only 2 small ones made it past my mouth!), the gifts have been exchanged, and there's only a small bit of Christmas dinner (chicken-n-biscuits) that remains in the refrigerator.
Colvin and Molly on Christmas morning.
Colvin, Me, and my hubby Alan
Since I began designing in 2009, this time of year worries me a bit. As each year has drawn to a close, I have amassed a collection of 10-15 newly designed samplers awaiting their time to be stitched and released. Each year, I wonder silently to myself: What if no one likes my new designs? What if my creativity fails me and I turn up with a bad case of designer's block?

Am I the only slightly insecure designer to feel this way? I surely hope I'm in good company and not in need of professional help. My wish is that 2014 brings downpours of inspiration and endless design ideas. I wish to thank all of you for supporting Silver Creek Samplers over the past 4 years. Without you, this would merely be a pipe dream instead of the reality that it has become. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

On that note, let us all clear out the clutter from the past year and ready ourselves to fill the blank pages of this brand new coming year. Together, we can make it GREAT!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
from Silver Creek Samplers

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I hope there's still time.....

for you all to stitch another Christmas sampler. In a previous post, I shared a sneak peek of "Mary's Lullaby" with you. Since I'll be shipping them to my distributors very soon, I will now reveal the whole sampler to you...
Here is a list of the floss supplies needed for this sampler:
The Gentle Art..........Oatmeal
Weeks Dye Works.....Sand
The Gentle Art..........Cinnamon
The Gentle Art..........Crystal Lake
The Gentle Art..........Slate   
The Gentle Art..........Old Red Paint
Weeks Dye Works.....Hibiscus 
The Gentle Art..........Summer Meadow
Weeks Dye Works.....Deep Sea    
Weeks Dye Works.....Gold    
Weeks Dye Works.....Tin Roof 
The Gentle Art...........Dark Chocolate

Thanks for stopping by the creek!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sweet Lullabies

Did any of you have a special lullaby that you sang to your child?

I did. I used to sing "Edelweiss" to Colvin every night. It was a soft soothing tune that was guaranteed to send Colvin on his way to dreamland, as is the nature of all lullabies. I decided to personalize this special lullaby by changing one word in the last phrase. "Bless my homeland forever" was lovingly changed to "Bless my Colvin forever." I can still hear his sweet little toddler voice asking me to, "Sing Edel-mice, Momma". Even though Colvin is now WAY past the age of lullabies, my song has now turned into a prayer for him.....May you bloom and grow forever.

With the Christmas season swiftly approaching, this post has me wondering what kind of lullaby Mary sang to her newborn Jesus. Surely he cried and needed to hear a soft melody that would calm and soothe him. Perhaps it was one that had been sung to her when she was tiny.

My new Christmas sampler which is due to be released VERY soon, is a tribute to the lullabies that Mary surely sang to Jesus. It is fittingly named "Mary’s Lullaby", and here is a little peak to feast your eyes on...
May the soft soothing sounds of the upcoming Christmas season, calm and quiet your soul.

Bloom and grow my friends!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Pride...My Joy...My Baby Boy...

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I have one child, a boy, whose name is Colvin. I affectionately call him my "Gentle Giant" as he is 14 years old, 6'1", and still growing! Although he is a big boy, he uses his size only for good and not evil. He has been taught to treat others like he wants to be treated, a moral that is sadly lacking in some youth of today.

Colvin just finished up his first year in Freshman football. The Montrose Meteors Freshman Football team had a very successful season with only 2 losses. In all honestly, I wasn't flipping cartwheels when he asked if he could play football. After all, what mother wants to see her son on the bottom of the heap and potentially getting seriously hurt? But I decided that he deserved the chance to play and prayed for his safety each and every game. I am happy to report that the position he plays ensures that he will not end up eating grass on the bottom of the pile. I am one happy momma!

With the fall in full swing, it came time to capture Colvin's smiling face for school pictures. This is the third year that I have taken his photo and it's getting to be more of a challenge each year. But I was able to FINALLY capture a moment that looks so "naturally Colvin"......
The setting for his 9th grade picture was upstairs in the old horse barn at my Grandpa's old farm. Colvin grew VERY impatient with me while I scrambled to get "THE" perfect picture. But I persevered and I am extremely pleased with the final results. I am proud to say that it was a successful photo session and that I managed to complete it without inflicting any harm to my lovely 14 year old. Even though I was very frustrated, all I have to do is look at that face and I am reminded just how much I LOVE that boy. End of Gush!

Thanks for visiting!


I have not been kidnapped, abducted by aliens, or entered into the Witness Protection Program. I've been going through CHANGES! Not "The" Change...(heavens, I'm MUCH too young for that!) but changes nonetheless. My husband Alan, started a new job about a month ago, at a book distribution company. We are all happy with this new job. The pay and benefits are terrific's second shift. So we are 2 ships passing in the night. or morning, whichever way you choose to look at it.

The second BIG change is ME! On September 21, I decided to turn over a new leaf. After many years and almost (gulp) 75 extra pounds, I've once again bought my one-way ticket for a trip on the weight loss wagon. I hope this will be my LAST trip. I'm sure you all understand. As of this long overdue post, I am proudly down 30 pounds.

I've had every excuse in the book.....and I'm done and ready to burn that highly overused book.

I also started a love affair with Ted Mill. He and I meet up every morning, 6 days a week, on the outskirts of my sewing corner in the basement. He graciously accepted my apology for neglecting him for sooo long, and enjoyed the thorough dusting that he so desperately needed. I aim for 2.75 miles each morning beginning around 6am. Ted is quite amazing. We've had an on-again off-again relationship for the past 10 years and even though I walk all over him, he is always waiting for me to return the next day. Alan has been very supportive of my time spent with Ted and although I spend a lot of time with him, he's really not my type. He's a bit too mechanical for my tastes. But we will continue to remain close friends until he plum wears out.

Because of these changes, I haven't been stitching much. So hang in there friends... there's more new designs yet to soon as the dust settles from all these changes.

Thanks for stopping by. We'll talk again soon!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know....

where the heck I've been hiding..............................................
I know it's been a very long time since we visited last, and for that, I'm so very sorry. I was busy living the good life. August brought forth our 156th county fair in Harford, Pennsylvania. I entered 3 samplers. Dare to Fly and Sing a Sampler series earned first and 47 Hearts placed third. I entered a pint of maple syrup which didn't place at all, but will still taste yummy, and a digitally altered picture from Gettysburg which earned a third place ribbon.

Colvin took maple syrup for his 4-H project this year. He was the only 4-Her in the entire county to enter maple syrup, which he proudly earned a blue ribbon for. It was a very successful year at the fair!

Colvin started back to school on August 28. He is now a freshman, all 6' of him! Shoe shopping is getting more and more difficult with every passing year. He is wearing a 13! I told him if his feet keep growing like they have been, he'll have to wear the shoe BOXES!
The apple trees have been VERY gracious to us this year. I've been busy making applesauce and will take a stab at canning apple pie filling. While making my first batch of applesauce, I received a sweet reminder of God's love for me....
Which leads me to my next order of busy-ness.......NEW RELEASES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Johnny Appleseed"
"Old Black Clock"
These 2 new designs are on their way to my distributors as I write this. I hope you like them. I'm busy stitching a Christmas sampler in hopes of releasing it sometime in October. Maybe I'll share a peek in my next post.

I also forsee in the near future, another give-away of some sort. I'm almost up to 100 followers, so perhaps then.....

Whew! I'm out of breath now that I've caught you up on all of the "goings-ons" here at Silver Creek. I'll try to not stay away so long next time! Thanks for stopping by and an even bigger thanks for not filing a missing persons report!

We'll talk again soon,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Standing in the need of prayer....

To any and all prayer warriors out in blogland: please pray for my friend Holly. She is the face behind Misty Hill Studio cross stitch designs (another talented PA designer!). I won't go into detail (God knows them all) but she is experiencing some very difficult and discouraging storms in her life. Let's lift her up and pray that the Son will shed light and love on Holly and her whole family.
Matthew 18:20: For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Thank you all. I know Holly will appreciate it. 

Blessings from the creek,

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Canon in G... (long post with many pictures)

The 'G' stands for Gettysburg. I just returned Friday from a 5-day camping trip with our Boy Scout troop. This year marked the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. I couldn't have asked for better camping weather, although it was VERY humid. We only had to endure a few brief showers which fortunately made their appearance after we had turned in for the night.
Our Boy Scout Troop 50. We may be small in number, but we are BIG in fun!
On July 1, after partaking in a hearty breakfast of eggs and sausage, we began our almost 14 mile hike, which took us all throughout the park. We walked across the field where so many men, both union and confederate, had lost their lives fighting for our freedom. It was a chilling and moving experience. We passed by many of the memorial monuments, old homes, and barns which were witnesses to the battle that occurred in 1863.

The Pennsylvania Memorial

 On July 2nd, my body was unhappy with me and the EXTENSIVE hiking I had put it through the day before, so while the rest of the troop went on yet another hike (this one being ONLY 10 miles) I stayed at camp. I took a small opportunity to put a few stitches into my patriotic sampler which is a tribute to the Civil War. Here are a couple sneak peeks...
July 4th brought the highlight of the trip....the re-enactment. Thursday was VERY hot and the prices of cold beverages were at a premium, so we filled our hydration packs, leaving us a bit more money to spend on other non-essentials. I came home with a fife, a small pair of reproduction scissors and 3 t-shirts. I felt like I had traveled back in a time machine. The soldiers as well as civilians young and old, were dressed in period attire...
The battle included over 11,000 re-enactors. There were horses, canons, muskets, drummer boys and fifers. On the battlefield, was a horse pulling an ambulance wagon to recover the "wounded and dead". The battle was about 50 minutes long. This was the actual length of the original battle that took place in 1863.
The Confederate Soldiers identified by their gray uniforms
The Union Soldiers identified by their blue uniforms
In the upper left corner you can see the "ambulance wagon"
It was an amazing experience to be part of history. I came away from Gettysburg tired and sunburned, but filled with pride and appreciation for what had taken place there exactly 150 years ago. No matter where you may be from, north or south, we are ALL Americans. One Nation under God and united we will stand. Long may she wave.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stakes and Hot Dogs

Recently I received 2 new orders from Hoffman Distributors. The total quantity consisted of 216 patterns. With summer vacation here, and LOTS of idle time to fill, Colvin was recruited to stuff the patterns into bags. I thought I was doing him a favor by providing a great source of "entertainment" which would make the summer hours pass by with great speed. He accepted the assignment and was polite enough to wait until I was out of the room before rolling his eyes in true teen-age defiance.

After arriving home from work, I found the stuffed patterns in neat stacks on the dining room table. Colvin helped me pack them into the shipping box. I tried to get him into the box too, but soon realized that I would never be successful, as his weight FAR exceeds the 70 pound limit of the United States Postal Service.

After adding the ship to/from labels, Colvin commented that the "S" in my logo, looks like a snake. I assured him it wasn't and that it was he who inspired the fishing boy who sits on the "S" of my Silver Creek Samplers logo. Colvin then asked if that meant he had a stake in the company. Without missing a beat I replied, "A hot dog maybe, but no stake!"

This time, his eyes rolled BEFORE I left the room!

Thanks for visiting with me down by the creek,

Friday, June 21, 2013

...and you thought ALL blue-haired ladies were OLD?

That's right dear blogger friends.......I've gone blue!

Allow me to explain....... Thursday night I finished up a week of fun and folly at Vacation Bible School. The theme was Everywhere Fun Fair, and what fun we had! I was "Telly Ticket" the Assembly Leader. It's a great job that allows me to use my God-given big mouth! The kids learned all about who their neighbors are and that they need to be friendly, giving, bold, welcoming, and forgiving....just as Jesus is to all of us! I also worked with my friendly little neighbors by teaching them many new songs and dancing up a storm! It's a tiring week (leave work at 4:45pm, arrive home at 5:20, change clothes, grab a bite to eat and arrive at VBS by 6:00pm!) but the rewards are SO VERY WORTH IT!

Ok. On to the blue hair. I presented a challenge to the VBS kids. If attendance reached 35, I would dye my hair some crazy color. They came SO close, but not quite close enough. Therefore, I decided that I would include all of the teachers and helpers in that count. The kids were quite amazed, as were the adults, that I actually went through with it! Hey, just because you're an adult, doesn't mean you still can't have fun, right?! Colvin was my technical teen, helping run the laptop with the DVD as well as giving life to our puppet mascot, Godwin the Bird! He wanted in on the blue hair fun too....
His hair is so short and dark that the blue chalk dye didn't show very well, but he still enjoyed being included in the crazy hair challenge! I do so love that boy!

Vacation Bible School may be over for yet another year, but the pictures and memories will linger and won't ever wash out......(much like the blue tint that now clings to my white bath towel!)***sigh***

Thanks for being a friendly neighbor and visiting me down by the creek!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stripping in my spare time.........

PAINT.......jeepers, what did you think I was talking about?! But, hey, I got your attention didn't I? Anyway, I just finished refinishing an antique blanket chest that has been in our family for a very long time. She is simply built with square nails, but possesses so much charm. After the basement beautification project was finished, I thought it would be nice to have something by the basement door to sit on while removing shoes. Mom said I could have this old beauty. And she You see somewhere in her lengthy past, someone thought she'd look nice with a coat of grass green paint...

 Knowing that under that green paint, there would be wonderfully aged pine, I decided to remove all of the paint. If you've never used a heat gun to strip paint, you're missing the boat! What I thought would be several weekends worth of stripping, turned into just a few short hours. Miraculously, there turned out to be only 1 coat of paint to strip! After baring her pine board soul and massaging her with various grits of sandpaper, she looked so different.....
Now came the hard part....deciding on what her new colors would be. I chose an old barn red for her trim, and I used the same mustard-brownish color that I painted the loveseat with, for the rest. I didn't want to lose all of her wonderful character marks under a thick coat of paint, so I watered down the paint so it was more like a color wash. I held my breath, said a prayer and completed the final step of her facelift....
Her slightly green cast from the past can still be seen, but I think it gives her more character. All of the dings, dents, and scratches are still visible, just in nicer colors. It was a challenge keeping the colors looking authentic. My goal was to have it look like it has always been in these colors. And I think I achieved that. I believe that every antique has a story to tell as long as someone is willing to listen.

Thanks for visiting with me at the creek!

Friday, May 31, 2013

I Believe I Can Fly......

A few posts ago, I shared a sneak peek of my soon to be released "Dare to Fly". I would like to now share the complete sampler with you...
It was stitched on 32ct "Summer Sky" jobelan by Wichelt. The design size is 144x71. This sampler was inspired by a poem written by A.A. Milne.
“Time is swift, it races by;
Opportunities are born and die...
Still you wait and will not try -
A bird with wings who
dares not rise and fly.”

This new pattern, as well as part 3 of Sing a Sampler are on their way to my distributors as I write this.

I'm still plugging away, stitching slowly on my new patriotic design. I don't think there's a snowballs chance in Arizona that it'll be released this year. It's so very hard to stitch ahead of holidays and seasons. But I will continue to press on and soar with the eagles!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

The G.B.B.P. is DONE! Complete with pictures too!

The Grick Basement Beautification Project has come to an official end! Signal the marching bands, cheering crowds, and confetti throwers! I know you're all just chomping at the bit to see the pics, so without much further ado..... it all began with an idea from Pinterest:
Seeing this pic, made the wheels in my head begin turning. "I should build these bookcases to surround the basement loveseat. Perhaps that would be a good way to disguise the ugly print of said loveseat...
While perusing Pinterest, I discovered a way to makeover the loveseat, and give it an updated look:
The wheels in my head were now turning so fast that they were beginning to produce smoke. Ok. The loveseat will now be painted. Off to Lowes (my favorite store!) to pick out paint. After the first coat, I began to doubt if this was going to work, but I persevered and painted a second coat. and a third. and a fourth. Yes, it took 4 coats to make the ugly print of the past disappear. Then things began looking up:
I LOVED the transformation! It was then decided that the piping should be painted white for an added bit of pizazz. I did not paint the cushion, so I made a trip to another favorite store...Joann Fabrics! With paint chip in hand, I carefully selected an outdoor upholstery fabric (that was on sale for 50% off!) which would compliment the paint color...
Now with the loveseat makeover completed, I could build the aforementioned bookcases:
By now, I'm doing cartwheels! It looks just like the Pinterest photo, minus the oversized fish sculpture! These new shelves provide a perfect place to put clear totes full of Silver Creek Samplers inventory. You can also see the new floor tiles too. This complete transformation was 3 weeks in the making, but I couldn't be happier with the finished product! And to think this all began with something as innocent as cleaning my sewing corner.

We've all heard or said "A clean house basement is a sign of a wasted life", but my life has been everything BUT wasted! Thanks for stopping by our new and improved basement. It's getting hot here in N.E. Pennsylvania, so I'll have a cool and clean place waiting for me to escape the heat and humidity. Please stop by again to see what's new down by the creek!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Atom is Doing the Neutron Dance!

This June it will have been 23 years since I donned my mortarboard and white gown, and marched proudly down the auditorium aisle to Pomp and Circumstance. I left the halls of Montrose Area High School, educated and ready to take on the world. So glad I was that my test-taking, project making years were now behind me. That is, until I had a child.....

Colvin was required to make an atom model for 8th grade science. He chose Boron (as in: Science is very Boron!) Knowing Colvin like I do, he chose Boron because it was the easiest element to model. But don't tell him I said that! (He'd probably agree though.)

He asked for my assistance and buttered me up by saying that I was more artistic than he is. So, out came the craft containers that live in my Hoosier cabinet. He did the research and together we located the correct number of protons, neutrons and electrons. A bit of wire and hot glue (no craft project is complete without it), one wooden ball, one small screw eye, 5 pink buttons, 6 black beads, and 5 clear buttons later, his Boron atom model was born...

After we cleared the dining room table of all craft paraphernalia (including dried hot glue boogers) I asked Colvin, "We've just made an atom. Now when do we make Eve?" All I got in response was a smirk, complete with teenage eye-roll. I thought it was funny!

How many of you have been roped into projects like this? I guess it goes with the territory of being a parent (but I don't remember reading that part in the fine print). Oh well, atom is complete and memory #2,479 has been made. Yup, it's worth it!

Thanks for humoring this high-school educated gal by reading this far. I do hope you'll visit me again.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Going the extra mile and laying some tile....

Yes my dear friends, the basement is STILL a work in progress.
The loveseat and new bookshelves are painted, but I still
have to sew a new cover for the loveseat cushion.
However that won't happen until I finish laying the tile.
I have been struck by the ever-growing home improvement snowball.
You know how it goes.... 
one thing leads to another...
which leads to another...
and still yet another!
Our basement has had a bare wooden subfloor for close to 15 years, 
and I thought it was high time to finish the darn thing.
Being the cheapskate thrifty homeowner that I am, I decided to take 
the most budget-friendly route and use the sticky-back tiles which cost a 
VERY economical 38¢ a piece. Armed with 2 Lowes giftcards that were 
burning a hole in my pocket, I purchased 4 boxes of tile, donned my 
very hillbilly practical syrup-making bib overalls, and got down on my knees
for most of Sunday afternoon. My knees may never be the same again....
So hang on my dear readers. Pictures will be coming in the near future
as soon as I can pick myself up off the floor to retrieve my camera.......


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The proof is in the pictures!

Basement Beautification......
 Enter into evidence picture #1.....(please forgive the ugly red metal pole and the breaker box in the right corner!) The dark brown piece of furniture is an antique sideboard that came from my grandpa's farm. My sewing machine has a place on honor atop the old singer treadle.
Enter into evidence picture #2.....the antique wood ironing board also came from my grandpa's farm. The unsightly but functional bricks underneath the legs give it added height for more pressing comfort! Two of my new shelves are located above the ironing board and are supporting many plastic boxes of cotton fabric. All of the miniature quilts shown were made many years ago by yours truly.
and the final piece of evidence.....picture #3. Here you see my cutting table which is an old enamel top table that was in the basement when we bought the house in 1996. I added the shelf above the cutting table, which holds more decorative rather than functional items. The big wooden scissors were a garage sale find and the 3 wooden boxes were found at a flea market. The blue carpeting you see on the floor was recycled from my childhood church after new carpeting was installed in the vestibule. Just call me Second Hand Rose! In case you're wondering "What's behind the louvered doors?"....Relax, it's not more fabric in plastic containers. It's just our washer and dryer!

I hope you enjoyed your 5 cent tour of my sewing corner. I sure did!

Stay tuned for more pics where I'll unveil the newly built bookshelves which surround the freshly painted loveseat. I'm sure you can't wait! Such an exciting life I lead down by the creek!


Basement Beautification and a Flying Lesson

Hello friends!
It's been WAY too long since our last visit and for that, please accept my most heartfelt apology. I have been spending quite a bit of time in our basement here on Silver Creek Road. It needed a MAJOR overhaul and hoeing out. My sewing space is located down there, and it looked as if a very large block of dynamite had exploded, leaving EVERYTHING in a state of disarray...and I couldn't stand it any longer! I re-arranged, hung shelves, organized fabric, replaced burned out fluorescent ceiling lights and decided what "stuff" had overstayed its welcome and needed to be "re-homed". It was a very long and tiring, yet gratifying project. BUT my sewing corner has never looked better!

Then I decided to build bookshelves to surround our basement loveseat.

Then I decided that I had stared at the ugly fabric on the loveseat for long enough, and I began painting over it. I figured painting was much easier than trying to sew a slipcover, and NOTHING could make the fabric look too much worse, so why not give it a try?!

If you've never been on Pinterest, you're really missing out on some GREAT ideas. Our basement will never be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but I think it looks pretty darn good and I'll share pictures with you soon (but only the AFTER pics. If I showed you "before" pics, the Hoarders cameras might show up on my doorstep)!

With all of this basement upheaval taking place, my stitching has been put on the proverbial back burner. But fear not, as I have a sneak peek of a new release to tantalize you with.....
"Dare to Fly"
"Dare to Fly", as well as Parts 3 and 4 of "Sing a Sampler" will be shipping to my distributors in the very near future.

And that my dear stitching friends, is where I've been hiding. It's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks for stopping by and please come again!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Music You Can See!

Hello friends!
I thought I'd drop you a quick NOTE!
I have had a request to show the entire Sing a Sampler project....and I have decided to oblige! The sampler is SO long that I couldn't figure out a way to include it on the pattern cover. So, without much further ado, here is the ENTIRE song!

I hope those of you who are singing and stitching along are enjoying the series. There are still 2 more parts to be released, so hang tight! They're on the way!

Thanks for spending some time with me down by the creek.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Lion ATE the Lamb!

Well, March is over, and all I can say is GOOD RIDDANCE! The lamb was nowhere to be seen the entire month (well, except for the ONE Saturday we made maple syrup.) This year, spring's arrival seems content to follow the example set forth by the birth of my dear son Colvin....LATE! He was "scheduled" to arrive June 5, but decided to FINALLY arrive, (but only with the help of induction) on June 16th at 11:00PM! If it wasn't for the pitocin, I'd probably still be pregnant!

April is following March's poor example and doesn't seem to be off to a great start either. I am so over with winter and cold weather. I'M READY TO HUNT DOWN AND KILL THE LION! So be on guard Simba, I'm gonna find you! And so goes the circle of life.....

Why, you ask am I on this rant about lions? Well, there's more to it besides the lack of warm weather. This is where the skies open up and sunshine pours onto my little piece of blogland... I want to share my new release with you. Please welcome, Dare to be a Daniel. It is boxed up and ready to ship to my distributors tomorrow.
I am now working on a patriotic piece I call Seeds of Freedom. I hope to have it finished in time to release, perhaps in June. That is, if I'm not incarcerated for killing the lion!

Hakuna Matata!


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Plague of Frogs...

has descended upon my sampler! Holy Moses! I have removed more stitches than the Israelites moved bricks! Well, maybe not that many, but it sure feels like it! It wasn't that I made any counting mistakes, but rather that I wasn't happy with how the colors looked. It took three tries to FINALLY get the color exactly how I pictured it. I must admit, choosing colors can sometimes be a pain in the behind and on occasion, is my LEAST favorite part of designing. I feel very guilty when floss is wasted and ends up as little balls of fuzz in my ort jar instead of small X's neatly stitched into a row.
A sneak peek of "Daniel"
But, it's all worth it when I cross over into the promised land flowing with floss and linen!

It's almost time to release Part 2 of my Sing a Sampler which looks something like this...
I'm not sure what's next on my stitching list. I've designed 5 new samplers since January and it's SO HARD to pick which one I should "breathe life into" next. I'll have to decide soon....

Until then, thanks for dropping by and I hope this snowstorm that's coming in doesn't overstay its welcome.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nectar of the gods and a sneak peek too!

Hello again friends!
Yesterday here in N.E. Pennsylvania, we experienced a BEAUTIFUL spring day. Not a cloud in the sky, no wind and SUN, SUN, SUN! Truly a welcomed thing after a long winter, and perfect conditions for spending the day cooking sap. We started the process at 9am by building our cinder block fire pit and starting the fire....
Next we emptied our refrigerator of 11 gallons of sap. We added to that 2 more gallons that we collected off the trees in the early afternoon hours.
As you can see, we use the best technology available to us in our sap collection by hanging recycled milk jugs on the trees. Just slice a small hole in the side and hang it on the spile (that's the metal thingy that gets pounded into the tree that the sap drips out of).

Next we sit around and watch the sap boil...and boil...and boil. We also enjoyed a lunch of baked potatoes with ham and cheese, cooked in the hot coals. YUMMY!
Yes, I know I look a bit redneck in my bib overalls and ski cap, but all fashion rules go out the window when you're making syrup! I swear, we really are making syrup, not moonshine! As you can see, we use 2 pans. The one in front of Colvin is the warming pan. We get a good boil happening there and then bit by bit, we transfer it into the next pan to cook some more. Then something magical happens...
it begins to change color. This means that we're getting closer to syrup. We were outside cooking for about 8 hours. After the sap is mostly evaporated, we then filter it through some muslin clipped to a pot with clothes pins...

Then the pans need to be soaked by melting any available snow into them...
After the fire is out, we retire to the comfort of the indoors and wait for our transition lenses to return to normal. But wait, we're not done quite yet. Now we actually finish it off into syrup on the stove...
Whoever said a watched pot never boils apparently never made maple syrup. The end is now near. After digging around in a kitchen drawer and locating 2 canning lids, it's time to cross the finish line...
That's right. This is what 13 gallons of sap turns into after 9 hours. 2 1/2 pints of pure Pennsylvania maple syrup. It's just that simple! Can you almost taste it?

Now, before your eyes glaze over and you slip into a syrup-induced coma, I've got a sneak peek to share with you. Once again, I've been invited to have a sampler appear in the Halloween issue of Just Cross stitch magazine. Now I just hope the frame arrives soon as I need to get the sampler shipped out this week. Feast your eyes on this and may the curiosity begin....
At the risk of sounding "sappy", I'd like to thank each and every one of you for "sticking" with me. Wishing you a day sweeter than maple syrup!