phm update…..

It’s time for October’s Primitive Handmades Mercantile update!  Here’s what I’m offering this month….

a tiny bit of merry

a tiny bit of merry

The three punched pieces are from a design by Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm (click here for Lori’s blog).  I found the wee, bitty wreath on Amazon (click here).  It’s billed as a 10″ wreath, but that is a real stretch.  The opening in the center is just 2″ across, and when I fanned the wreath out as much as I could without damaging it, I was able to get it to measure 7″ across.  Perfect for this particular application, I think.


If you’d like to visit me on PHM click here.  To get to PHM’s homepage, click here.

Enjoy the weekend!



thoughtful thursday…..

It’s a rainy day here, but the world is awash in Autumn’s palette.  I wish I could photograph the nearly neon glow I see outside my window to share with you… somehow my point-and-shot isn’t up to the challenge.  So, here’s a snippit I like almost as much as I love Fall’s brilliance…..

you were expecting a more serious thought from me, weren't you?  some days i just gotta laugh!

you were expecting a more serious thought from me, weren’t you? some days i just gotta laugh!

Laugh out loud whenever you can!



apple cider……

apples, apples, apples....

apples, apples, apples ~ macs, galas, honey crisp, pink ladies, red delicious….

Have you ever made apple cider?  I haven’t until now, and I’m not sure I can even claim to have made it at this point, though I did wash a few fruit….

christy and me washing, washing, washing apples....

christy and me washing, washing, washing apples….

Randy and I were invited to the annual Pentwater Cider pressing extravaganza by our Irish/American friends, Deirdre and Adam…

deirdre ~ irish, adam ~ michigander

whoopee!, aren’t they cute?  deirdre ~ irish, adam ~ michigander …. aren’t they the best?!  i just love them!

By golly, I’ve never experienced anything like it….

20 bushels of apples, all different varieties, all needing to be sorted/combined…

my randy and ireland's best -loved-citizen deirdre

my randy and ireland’s best -loved-citizen deirdre, sorting/combing apples

After sorting, or combining, or whatever we did, the apples then had to be washed (or “warshed”, as my grandpa would say). Once the happy apples have been sorted/combined and washed they have to be crushed, smushed, chopped and grated…..



That’s what the above machine does.  Like a wood chipper, it pares the apples down to a manageable, smush-able, crushable, press-able size…..

nobody does it better...

nobody does it better…

apple chips...

apple chips…

Adam’s in charge of the pressing….


adam…….. wow!…….

He does a great job!  Look!….

ohhhhhh, yummmmmm

ohhhhhh, yummmmmm… golden goodness….

Does that cylinder look familiar?  It’s a washing machine drum/ cum cider press.  Stainless steel…. what could be more sanitary?



It takes but a few moments from apple to cider…..

filter, filter, filter.....

filter, filter, filter…..

The cider has to be filtered before consumption…..  See that guy holding the  funnel?  He’s the one that created every single bit of cider-pressing machinery, from wood chipper/ cum apple chipper to washing machine drum/ cum apple press, all these discarded/found objects (sterilized thoroughly first, of course…. right?!) are the vision of one really creative mind.   I don’t think I could ever look at a washing machine or a wood chipper as anything but a washing machine and a wood chipper, but he has the apple cider vision!!  So, with all this genius, what do we get???



Ooodles.  I mean, oodles of Cider!  Bring On The Doughnuts!

chris and christy.... absolutely essential to the process...  no cider without C and C!

christy and chris…. absolutely essential to the process… no cider without C and C!

Chirsty and Chris are old hats when it comes to pressing…..

but what about the cats?

Okay, so there weren’t any cats involved…..

"what? no cats?" ~ ellis

“what? no cats?” ~ ellis

"no cats??? look at me! i'm sitting in a sink ~ who else could do this?" ~ otis

“no cats??? look at me! i’m sitting in a sink ~ who else could do this?” ~ otis

"no cats? not a single cat? what is UP  with that?????" ~ lilly

“no cats? not a single cat? what is UP with that?????” ~ lilly

I know, I know, I’m sorry… but there were DOGS assisting… and while DOGS aren’t CATS, they do have something to offer… right?

"u betcha!" ~rosco and molly

“u betcha!” ~rosco and molly

"are you kidding me.... cats??? what's a cat??? a cat could never press ANYTHING!"  ~suki

“are you kidding me…. cats??? what’s a cat??? a cat could never press ANYTHING!” ~suki

Regardless of cats or dogs, Randy and I had the time of our lives, and can’t wait until next year!!

Cider and doughnuts??? Yummmmm!  Bring.  It.  On!! …..





myra’s family tree…..

Myra sent me this picture of her Family Tree quite a while ago and I’ve been meaning to share it with you for some time….

myra's family tree

myra’s family tree

Myra has such a great eye for color and I love that she added the moon and stars…. and, can you believe that background?  Wow!  Love it, love it!

You can click here if you’d like to find the freebie pattern for Family Tree.

be happy today and every day!



meet george and gracie….

My sister recently rescued two adorable kittens ~ I thought you’d like to meet them.

george on the left, gracie on the right

george on the left, gracie on the right

They are busy, busy, busy and they have a lot to do, so getting a clear photo of either of them is nearly impossible!



Gracie is a gorgeous, tiny, bit-of-a-thing.



George is a big, beautiful kitten who is  going to be a big, beautiful cat.

….and, those are the only clear (ish) pics I have of the hundreds my sister and I have taken of George and Gracie.  3 out of 300 isn’t too bad, is it?


enjoy the day!




ticking horse pattern….


ticking horse

Bonnie wrote me earlier this summer and asked if I had a pattern for Ticking Horse.  The answer was, of course, no.  (I don’t know why it is, but I never do draw patterns on paper, at least not until someone writes and asks me to.)  However, I told Bonnie I would get to work on the design and let her know when it was ready……. MONTHS later, here it is, the simplest of simple sketches which you are welcome to use as you’d like, except of course for copying and selling the pattern itself or for mass production.

ticking horse pattern

ticking horse pattern

I think you should be able to grab the above image and drag it to your desktop where you can fiddle with the size and dimensions, if you’d like, before printing.

You may be wondering about the riders head.  “Why”, you may be asking yourself, “does his head look like the Tin Man’s in the Wizard Of Oz?”  Well, I’ve discovered over time that it’s helpful to have something to attach the hat to ~ something more substantial than just the very top of a head.  So, that pointy-funnel-type thing gets punched just like the rest of the head, and when it is stitched to the backing fabric, turned and stuffed it will fit nicely inside the hat giving one something to stitch hat to head.

For the original Ticking Horse I used the following Valdani colors:

left to right:  Valdani 5, blue, and H212

left to right: Valdani 5 ecru, o 575 blue, and brown H212

Here’s a better photo of that blue:

valdani o 575

valdani o 575

I used Valdani 5 for the head, hand and lighter portions of the horse, Valdani O 575 for the blue part of the horse and Valdani H 212 for the rider’s suit and hat.  I also used white for the rider’s collar, shirt front and cuff.

As with most of my punching I used my Cameo needle on the lowest (#1) setting and two strands of #12 Valdani perle cotton.

The fabric I used for the backing looks like this:

vintage-inspired ticking

vintage-inspired ticking

See how it has a thick blue line, a skinny white line, a thick blue line, a thicker white line, a skinny blue line and a thicker white line.  I punched that pattern like this:

Two rows of blue (O 575)

One row of ecru (5)

Two rows of blue (O 575)

Three rows of ecru (5)

One row of blue (O 575)

Three rows of ecru (5)

You can visit this post to see a little bit more about the original Ticking Horse (and some fun kitty pics).

You can visit this post  to see how I make a make-do.

There’s thunder in the air, today.  Some of us hide in bags during storms….





… and some of us need our paws held.

"it's ok rebecca, the storm will soon pass" ~ the oatbran

“it’s ok rebecca, the storm will soon pass” ~ the oatbran

Until next time, enjoy those sunny skies!





Hello, hello, hello!  It’s so nice to see you again!   If you’ve tried to contact me in the past 3 or 4 months and I haven’t responded, please try again!  I’ve been computer-less.

Just after my last post my laptop expired.  I’d been nursing it along for several months, trying in vain to somehow save my photos, contacts, messages, etc.   After my computer drew its last breath I found that I’d lost everything… EVERYTHING!  Oh Woe!  However, there are worse things in life than losing three years of photographs (*sob!*), etc., and I have put my despair behind me and moved on…. sort of….  *sigh*

So, here I am with a healthy (I hope) laptop and an external backup (it’s about time), ready to begin life anew.

Would you like to see some of the things I’ve finished this summer?  Yes?  So would I.  Unfortunately, I haven’t finished one single thing as far as punch needle or rug hooking goes.  What have I been doing?  I’ve been frittering away my time in the garden:  planting, watering, dividing, transplanting, watering and planting some more.  It’s been an absolutely perfect summer to work outdoors!

Though I can’t show you anything I’ve accomplished lately, I do have three FABULOUS finishes to show you from some incredibly talented needle women….



Betsy created this stunningly beautiful “Family Tree” for some friends of hers.  She incorporated all the family members, human and otherwise, and mounted her work on a hornbook using little tacks.  How much do I love this finish?  I love it so much that I want to come inside from the garden and finish my own family tree!



Sharon shared this, almost, finished hooked rug ~ isn’t it gorgeous ~ I just love her colors!  It’s from the Magdelana Horses design I shared with you a while back.  Did you miss that design?  Click here to view that post.



Marion punched this antique-rug-inspired mat from a design she said I’d shared.  (I can’t find it in my archives to link to, but that doesn’t mean a thing… it’s probably there somewhere…. I’m not known for my organization skills or for my adeptness at this whole blog thing.)  This is a pattern I’ve been wanting to punch and I love Marion’s finish!

As far as  Lilly, Ellis and Otis go, it’s been a successful summer…..

"not you, again!" ~lilly, ellis, otis

“not you, again! and with your camera, too.  there’s no peace in this house!” ~lilly, ellis, otis

Next up, I’ll be sharing a very, very, very simple pattern for “Ticking Horse”, which I promised a follower many moons ago.  Until then…

be well and happy!




finishes and a finish…

louise's family tree

louise’s family tree

I couldn’t wait to share this finish with you!  Louise sent me this photo of her punched version of Family Tree and I just LOVE it!  Isn’t it gorgeous?!  It makes me want to punch another one for myself using her color scheme.   lovely lovely lovely….  Thank you for sharing, Louise, and thank you for allowing me to pass on your beautiful work!

The weather has alternated between torrential rains and summery days.  The rain always makes me want to nap, but I haven’t been completely immersed in sleep… I have finished a few more things….

polly's moby dick

polly’s moby dick

Here’s Polly Minick’s, “Moby Dick” from the front and….

moby dick back

moby dick back

…from the back.  I’ve finished all of the Polly Minick pieces with this vintage ticking which I purchased online.   This was a smallish piece of ticking fabric which came well used and with a few holes.  I love the authenticity it lends to my embroideries.  Plus, the ticking is so beach-y ~ just like Polly’s pieces.

polly's sampler

polly’s sampler

I love samplers.  They always make me wish I liked to cross stitch.  I’m so glad there are designers, like Mrs. Minick, who create them in other mediums.

polly's boy on the beach

polly’s boy on the beach

I honestly did not think I would like punching Boy on the Beach, but it was SO much Fun!  Typically, I’m intimidated by lots of details, like the stars and stripes, but once I got going on this one, it was a delight.   Thank you to Polly Minick for her continued creativity!  By the way, Polly has NOT retired from her pattern making business…. OH JOY!

All three of these finished Polly Minick pieces are available in my etsy shop.  You can click here for more info and photos, if you’d like.

Have you been doing any punching lately?  I’d love to see what you’re working on!


best wishes for a happy day today, and every day!



oh my goodness…..

I actually finished something!  Just in the nick of time, too.  The Primitive Handmades Mercantile update is today, Friday, and here’s what I have to offer….

two sheep cookie cutters

two sheep cookie cutters

The sheep on the left has short/shorn fleece, while the one of the right is a bit fluffy/unshorn.  Put another way, the sheep on the left was punched on my usual Cameo #1 setting, and the one on the right was punched at a #4 setting.


I’ve finished a few more things, too ~ amazing ~ here’s Early Bird, a Lori Brechlin design:

early bird front

early bird front

I made this piece into a pillow stuffed with organic lavender.

early bird back

early bird back

I’ve also, nearly, finished my Steif-inspired sheep pull toy….

steif sheep

steif sheep front

steif sheep back

steif sheep back

However, I’m not sure I like the porcelain wheels, and am considering replacing them with metal wheels, which would be more in keeping with the traditional Steif pull toys.

You may be wondering what is up with the pockets on the backs of my pieces.  Well…. here’s the story:  I really dislike making and stitching on fabric tags ~ I don’t know why, I just dread the whole process.  But, for some reason, I really like making and sewing on little pockets with buttons.  I know… I KNOW! crazy, irrational and undeniably weird.  I mean, it’s a lot more labor intensive to make a little pocket than it is to make a tiny tag, but, there you have it, I LIKE making pockets, I DETEST making fabric tags, and life is too short to go around making tiny fabric tags, after all.  Right, Ellis?

"you betcha.  i love photo bombing, it's what i do best.... everyone should express their talents like i do." ~ ellis

“you betcha. i love photo bombing, it’s what i do best…. everyone should express their talents like i do.” ~ ellis

Do you have any thoughts on the subject of doing what you love, Otis?

"thoughts? me?" ~ the oatbran

“thoughts? me?” ~ the oatbran

May we always have the option to do what we love…. it makes life so very grand!