One of the very best things about working at home is that I can stop working when something really interesting happens. Like today when one of our broad-winged hawks was hanging around our yard and woods. I heard him a couple of days ago, and he has a very distinctive cry, so I knew he was back from his winter travels. The female will arrive in a week or so. Maybe his cries are to help her find the way back. They've been coming here for the past three years so they must have some kind of sense-memory. I really should read up on their habits.

I saw him briefly this morning out on the lawn and then after he flew up into the apple tree. Just now he was perched on a dead branch up in the woods. I watched him for 15 minutes or so with binoculars while he cleaned and fluffed his feathers. Maybe they'll come closer this year and I'll be lucky enough to get a photo. I feel lucky to be able to see them at all.

It's also the time of year for wildflowers in the woods. I found a bunch of dutchman's breeches this morning, and the trilliums and trout lilies will soon follow. Aren't they cool? Like little white pants :)

dutchman's breeches


Studio Friday: Sparkle/Shine

I was saving this picture to go with a future post about vintage buttons. But, when I heard the Studio Friday theme this week was Sparkle/Shine, I couldn’t think of a more perfect picture to use for it.


I bought these vintage rhinestone buttons at an antique mall near where I live around Christmastime. It was snowy outside and they looked just like sparkly snowflakes. I sent some to a friend who uses them in her work and tucked the rest away in a drawer. I‘ll use them some day but, for now, I’m content to just look at them every once in a while. And now you can, too!


Shades of White

I’ve been selling at a wonderful little shop in Stevensville (Bradford County, Pennsylvania) called Shades of White. Owned by Monika Kennedy, it’s located in a cute space attached to her home. You walk along a path of lavender and flowers to reach the front door and you can hear the bells tied around the necks of the goats that her husband raises. (And there are 18 new babies this spring!) There’s often a line of vintage linens on the clothesline drying in the sun. Inside it’s filled to the brim with beautiful things—mostly vintage linens but some clothing, sachets, soaps, and china, too. It’s not a large space (just one big room), but she manages to fill every space perfectly.

When she called me a couple of weeks ago to place an order for sachets, she said I could ship them if I wanted to. But, the weather is nicer now, and I was up for a road trip, so I said that I’d deliver them in person. My ulterior motive in this is that she always has wonderful surprises for me – some bits of lace, a few pretty buttons, some vintage fabric that she picked up in her travels. I bought that small bluebird plate – the one I used to announce my spring collection – there last fall.

So, I thought I’d post some pictures of the shop. Don’t you just love everything and the way she’s arranged it?

That's one of my pillows at the top.

I think many of us have dreams of opening a shop of our own – I know I do. Of course, we’re thinking of the romantic side of things – how we would decorate the space and arrange products, what kinds of things we’d buy to sell. Not the bookkeeping and taxes and all the behind-the-scenes stuff. But, if I did have a shop, this is how I’d want it to look – a happy mix of pretty things!

Shades of White, RR1 Box 20A (Route 706), Stevensville, PA 18845. Hours: Wednesday 11-3, Friday & Saturday 11-6



A pretty picture for a pretty day. Our pussywillows have been out for a while but, now that it's getting warmer, they've started to burst into bloom. And I see that the daffodils I planted last fall (all 200 bulbs!) are starting to bloom, too. Time to grab the camera and get outside!

Originally uploaded by primrose design.



OK, I’m going to confess. I have an addiction to unfinished embroidery projects. You know, the ones with stamped designs and instructions for finishing them. Sometimes they come in kits with the embroidery floss but often they’ve been opened or the instructions are lost. No problem. I don’t mind choosing my own colors and often finish them to match a particular fabric if I'm making a pillow.

There’s something about the process of doing embroidery that’s very soothing and stress-relieving. Kind of like how petting a cat lowers your blood pressure. I’ve heard several people talk about how it’s gotten them through recovery from an accident or illness and that’s certainly true in my case as well. After my thyroid surgery two years ago, I barely had enough energy to get out of bed most days. I love to read but even that got boring after a while. So embroidery helped my recovery time pass more quickly.

My energy is back to normal, or at least as normal as it will ever be again, but it's still nice to have a stress reliever. Who doesn't need one of those? So, I always have a project or two in the hoops. Lately (since I have several friends who are pregnant), it’s one of the quilt blocks with birds that I make into baby pillows. I won a bunch of these on Ebay a couple of years ago and have been steadily working my way through the pile. Here’s one I’m just finishing up:

bird embroidery design

And here are a couple more in their original state:

bird embroidery design

bird embroidery design

This set was made by Vogart in the 1950s. I love the Vogart designs best, although I've bought a couple of Paragon kits for little girl aprons lately that are going to be really cute when finished. Vogart has the sweetest baby bibs, too, but I'll save them for another post. These bird blocks were sold together to be made into a quilt and I suppose I could do that. But I think they make really cute pillows, too. This is a finished version of the first block above:

bird embroidery design

With a little hunting you should be able to find original to-be-embroidered linens, too. There's always Ebay, but expect to pay a lot for the cutest designs and get into bidding wars with collectors. Or you can design your own project. Sublime Stitching has cool embroidery patterns (and starter kits, too). Pattern Bee sells iron-on embroidery transfers of vintage patterns. Needlecrafter.com has a library of downloadable vintage patterns that you can transfer yourself. And you can always make your own patterns from embroidered things you already own. Embroidery is simple to do (except maybe for French knots) and fun, and once you get started you'll see how easy it is to get hooked.