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Tutorial Tuesday

One of my embroidery tutorials is featured today on Indie Fixx! Jewelry designer Jenn Wallace of Tilting Swiftly fame runs this blog that features the best in indie style and design. And every Tuesday there's a tutorial from one of those designers. Worth checking out for that alone. But there's also a shop and special holiday and seasonal-themed gift guides, too!


you can never have too many strawberries

Seeing all those pillows again in my last post got me reminiscing about some of the linens I used to make them. The two pillows on the top shelf at the far right were made from a set of embroidered tea towels that I bought on Ebay. And they had some of the prettiest examples of cross stitch embroidery I've seen. The colors were bright and the stitching was perfectly done—and tiny, too. The finished pillows were only 14 inches square so that gives you an idea of the size. The towels had some stains that I couldn't get out so I didn't feel too bad about cutting them up.


I love anything with fruit—fabric, embroidery, buttons (and to eat, of course!) and anything I make with them (especially cherries and strawberries) seems to fly off my website. So, I guess I'm not the only one feels the way I do about them.


I wish I'd kept a closeup picture of the raspberries so you could see the stitch that was used. It's sort of an interlocked chain stitch that makes little round loops—the perfect thing for a berry. I'll see if I can find it somewhere in my embroidery books.

I did make a pattern of the strawberry design right before I sold the pillows. And you can download your very own copy here. (You'll need Acrobat Reader to open the file and be patient—it may take a while to open.) The pattern sheet also includes the border design of strawberries and leaves that ran along the bottom of the towel. I used that section across the back of the pillow. For some reason I didn't make a pattern from the raspberries (maybe because of that weird stitch that was used). I'll see what I can do using my photo as reference.

Have fun with this pattern, which is perfect for tea towels but makes a pretty cool pillow, too!


in good company

In a very roundabout way I found out that a picture of my pillows appeared in the December issue of Romantic Homes magazine. I only occasionally buy this magazine and, with the holiday bustle, I guess I never picked up an issue that month. But I did buy the March issue and the picture appeared on the Letters to the Editor page. I did a double take when I saw it because it seemed to go with a letter from someone who makes pillows and I couldn't figure out why hers looked exactly like mine.

So I called the magazine and had a nice chat with one of their editors and found out that they had done a feature on the shop that I had sold the pillows to. The photo first appeared with that feature and was reproduced at a smaller size to fill space at the end of the letters column. None of which makes me famous or anything since my company wasn't mentioned. But hey, I'll take what I can get.


Romantic Homes has been evolving over the past few years and has a younger, fresher vibe—something that the older, long-time readers don't always like but that's a good strategy for attracting new readers and future subscribers. And they've featured several of my fellow bloggers in the past year—Susan (The T-Cozy) in January 2007 and Alicia (Posie Gets Cozy) in both the February 2007 and March 2007 issues.

Maybe someday I'll get the chance to join them. With a credit, of course :)



Some goodies from my trip to Weil Antiques Center in Allentown last Saturday:

Aren't these just the best buttons? In all my years of collecting and selling buttons I've never seen these before. And, no (don't even ask), I won't be selling these! I'm not even sure I can bear to use them myself.
pink swirls

A vintage Vogart embroidered runner/dresser scarf. Sure hope he's not going to tomahawk that cute little doggie. He does look a little worried, doesn't he?

Lil' Injun

A vintage border print fabric with bright red daisies was made into a curtain panel. I'll probably use it for something diffferent—maybe an apron.

red daisies

It was good to get out and do some hunting—antique malls are great for that this time of year. Except for a few Ebay purchases I really haven't been buying much this winter. That's OK—my cash flow is better and I'm getting the chance to use what I have on hand.


happy valentines day

valentine card
A vintage valentine from my collection. And this is unusual for me in that I usually go for the colorful 1940s and 50s kitschy ones—like these. But I love the 1930s black line artwork and the little touches of color brushed in on this one. And the fact that it seems more adult and serious—the kind you'd give to your spouse rather than your classmates.

If you'd like to see more vintage valentines, check out the almost 700 of them posted to the Flickr Vintage Valentine group.


and we have a winner

A quick thank you to the 31 readers who commented and it's nice to see some new names among them. There's nothing like a contest to bring out the lurkers - hee!

When I got up this morning I put all the names on little scraps of paper and threw them into a hat (a vintage one of my great grandfathers actually). And we now have a winner! Congratulations to Danielle.

So, girl, email me your address (janet@primrosedesign.com) and I'll get your towel packaged up and on it's way.

And speaking of contests I'm thinking of doing one that's a little more complicated and one that involves the chance to show off all those embroidery skills you've picked up from my Stitch School posts. You'll actually have to send me a finished product but it will be something small and easy - like a bookmark perhaps. There would be three winners (chosen for quality of the work and creativity not randomly as I did today) and better embroidery-related prizes. I haven't worked out the details yet but it's been on my mind for a while. What do you all think? Would you be up to something like that?


sharing the love

As I mentioned in my post last Friday I made a couple of embroidered tea towels especially for Valentine's Day. Well, it's been a week and they haven't sold yet so ... lucky you ... let's do a giveaway for one of them!

kitten towel

Same deal as last time I did this. Leave a comment on this post. I'm going antiquing tomorrow so will pick a winner on Sunday morning and post their name here. And if I get the winners shipping address by Monday morning, I'll mail the package that day and the towel should arrive in time for the holiday on Thursday. Unfortunately, because of the high costs of shipping to foreign countries, I can only make this offer to readers in the U.S. and Canada.

The second towel will remain for sale on my website so, if you fall in love with it and don't win, you'll still have a chance to own one. And the 20% off discount (code HEARTS) is good until 2.15.08.

Good luck!


so many books, so little time

I'm heading to the library this afternoon to return my last batch of books and to see what new things I can find. I've been reading a lot this winter. Maybe it's the writer's strike and the fact that none of the shows I watch are on regularly. And the ones that are on are getting kind of weird (costumes for the WWE on Project Runway - what's up with that!) I find that I'm not missing much. I had some really good books this time so I thought I'd share my list:

These Granite Islands by Sarah Stonich

Chocolat by Joanne Harris. This was so much better than the movie which I saw when it first came out and loved but didn't like as much on second watching after I'd finished the book. Not even Johnny Depp as a gypsy could save this one for me. Too many things were changed for no good reason, the ending included. I should know better than to compare but it was an interesting experiment.

The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart

The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck

The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer (her first novel—I read her second Songs Without Words first)

I'm not going to do book reviews except to say that I liked them all. You can check out the descriptions on Amazon for more info if you're interested. I'm a big library supporter and don't usually buy books (except for craft books that I keep for reference!) but I do a lot of research on Amazon.

And if anyone has suggestions for good books you're reading this winter, please share in the comments. Don't worry, I like just about everything!


valentine goodies

Look for a writeup about my valentine specials today at Vintage Indie, including a discount code for 20% off your order. You can click on the cute kitty valentine to go directly to the page on my website.


There you'll find heart-shaped buttons, valentine hanky pillows and sachets, a couple of tissue cozies, and just about everything on my site that's red and white and has hearts on it! I've also created two tea towels trimmed with a valentine-themed fabric, hot pink rickrack, and an embroidered kitty from my Year of Cats vintage embroidery pattern. Isn't he cute?

kitten towel

Since I haven't been blogging much these past few weeks you may think I'm just sitting around goofing off. Not! I have five new pillows for spring on my work table and the paperwork for my taxes is just about done. Yay! It's also been really cold here and I do have a tendency to burrow in for the winter. I've been reading a lot, too!