little thief…

ellis has a flair for color

With Ellis’s invaluable assistance, I’ve been able to make my color selections for Lori Brechlin’s, “Little Thief”. I’ll be using Valdani perle cotton throughout in colors: 135 for the squirrel, PT 2 for the acorn body, P 6 for the orange accents, and 6 for the ecru background. I have yet to decide the color for the acorn cap, so I’ll be giving that some thought.

Punching the tail was a new experience for me. Lori’s directions call for a #9 setting on a Cameo punch needle to achieve a fluffy tail. This was the first time I had used such a long needle, and at first I felt a little awkward. After accidentally jabbing my leg a few times, I finally got the hang of it, and the results were worth the minor loss of blood!

love that fluffy tail!

The added dimension makes this piece unique, and the texture is wonderful! Just a little bit more punching to do……and the punching is done! In the end, I chose a pretty brown perle for the acorn cap.

I think I’ve decided on this quiet plaid for the backing.

Wishing you a simple, joyful day!


a stolen broom and a little thief…

There appears to be a larcenous theme in today’s title ~ I wonder what that says about the author?  No matter!  I’m enjoying punching these sneaky snitchers!

stolen broom by chestnut junction

I have all the elements of Stolen Broom punched and I’m ready to work on the background.  So far, I’m happy with my color choices, except for one feature.  The strap on the broom head has disappeared into the bristles, but that will be a quick fix.I pulled out the bit that was bothering me, and while I’m considering what to replace it with I get a good start on the background.  I decided to punch said background in chunks.  That is, I punched the outline of a “square” and filled it in before moving on to the next “square”.  On a piece like this, where the background is such a vast part of the whole, I want the punching surrounding the fun elements to have some personality, but not take center stage.  Besides, punching chunks adds interest to what otherwise might be a tedious job for me!  🙂

punching’s done

It’s quite late before all the punching is done, and there isn’t any natural light left to take a good photo, but you get the general idea.  I believe I’ll try soaking this in a very weak batch of coffee and see if the starker elements fade a bit and soften, too.

While I was working on Stolen Broom, Otis and Ellis who like to think they are an essential part of any project, had other commitments on their schedules….

Otis catches up on important matters

Ellis works hard, too…

Nothing gets past those two…


Next up, I can’t wait to get started on Lori Brechlin’s, “Little Thief”!

click here to visit little thief on lori’s blog


Enjoy something simple today!






stolen broom and a gift…

I’ve received some questions recently regarding a punch needle photo that has been on Pinterest.  It’s one that I punched up a year or two ago, so I thought now would be a good time to revisit it and share with you the colors I used and designer.  This is a photo of the one I’ve been asked about:

stolen broom punched (last year’s version)

The designer of Stolen Broom is Chestnut Junction, and you can find the pattern by clicking here.  It just so happens that this pattern is on sale at CJ ~ Hurray!  Here it is drawn up on my weavers cloth.

stolen broom ready to go

The first time I punched this pattern, I made it about half the size of the pattern itself.  This time, I’ll be punching it full size, which is approximately 10″x7″, give or take.

I have my colors ready, too.  They are the same as my original version with one exception (I think).

Valdani Perle Cottons #12

These are all Valdani Perle Cottons size 12, which I will thread in my Cameo punch needle using the medium tip.  I use two strands of Valdani, both from the same ball.  The colors from the original piece are as follows:


H212 ~ Cat

P5 ~ Stars

H205 ~ Moon, Broom head and Cat’s Nose

P3 ~ Background

6 ~ Narrow Border, Moon and Broom Head Outline, Whiskers, Teeth and Eyes

There are a couple of other colors in the original, as well.  I used a medium brown for the broom handle and an orange for the broom head strap.

This time around, I think I’ll try the cat in a softer brown by using Valdani O196 instead of the H212.  Perhaps, you’d like to punch along with me?


As for the gift, the other day I received such a special package in the mail from my friend, Myra.  She sent me her invention for making punching simpler ~ I just love it!

Myra came up with these simple tools to help her with the balls of Valdani perle she was using.  Because it can be difficult to find the second, inside, end of the floss, Myra was using two balls of the same color perle, which would, inevitably, become tangled.

Myra’s floss holder

What a fabulous, but simple, tool!  The above photo illustrates Myra’s floss holder using DMC pearl cotton.  In the past, when I’ve tried using 2 or more balls of DMC pearl, they have become hopelessly tangled, but Myra’s little tool keeps them in line.

DMC 6 strand and Myra’s floss holders

Here, I used two of Myra’s holders to hold one skein of DMC 6 strand floss.  One of the reasons why I moved away from DMC 6 strand was because I was usually battling knots in the floss from pulling the floss in the wrong direction or using the wrong end, or something.  No more!  These floss holders make DMC much more user-friendly for me.

I can’t thank you enough, Myra, for your invention and your generosity!


until next time, enjoy some simple quiet today!






coffee, cats and updates…

Some time ago, in fact I think it was back in May, I started an experiment with coffee. Would coffee-stain age hooked wool as well as it ages perle cotton and other flosses.  The short answer is, no.  However, I was surprisingly pleased with the results ~ what do you think?

hooking the mat with invaluable assistance from otis

First, I hooked a small mat using un-dyed and dyed neutral wools.  Otis was a really big help here, I’m not sure I would have made it through without him (that’s it for the “cats” part of this post).


soaking the wool

I submerged the hooked mat in coffee and left it alone for several hours.  When I remembered that the mat was still soaking, I removed it from the coffee, wrung it out, laid it on a waxed-paper-covered cookie sheet and baked it for a while.  (I put the mat on the cookie sheet in a cold oven, turned it on to 250*, and shut the oven off as soon as it reached temperature.)  Because the wool didn’t dry completely in the oven, I hung the mat up over night.  Now dry, the mat went into the washing machine and the dryer with some other laundry.  It emerged wrinkled with the linen backing frayed, but in good, aged condition.

aged mat

I steamed it flat, and was excited to see that, not only had the colors softened a bit, but the wool itself appeared softer and older, and the loops themselves appeared to be happier with their neighboring loops.  I’m hoping to try this method on a larger rug, some day, though baking one in the oven would be out of the question!

As for updates, it’s the third Friday of the month (tomorrow) which is when Primitive Handmades Mercantile artisans add new items to their shops.  I have updated mine, already, so if you’d like to see what I’m offering or if you’d like to visit any of the fabulous stores on PHM, click here and then click on “Our Artists”.  My shop is The Simple Quiet.  I was hoping to have Magdalena’s Horses on the site this month, but no, so perhaps September. 🙂

until next time, enjoy some simple quiet today…


magdalena horses finished…

Here, at last, is Magdalena Horses.  What a fun, educational project this has been!  I finished this one just as I would a pillow without the stuffing.  First, I stitched the right side of the punch needle to the right side of the wool I chose.

stitching right sides together

Then, I cut along both short edges of the wool, close to the stitches.

cutting short sides

Next, I cut through the middle of the wool, length-wise.

cutting long through middle of wool

I’m left with two flaps, one on the top edge of the punch needle and one on the bottom edge.

two flaps

These flaps will become my lamb’s tongue edging, eventually.  Before I steam the flaps open with my iron, I add another piece of wool over the wool that I just stitched in place.  I place my stitches just inside those of the flap-wool stitches.

second piece of wool stitched in place

This second piece of wool will become the backing of the finished punch needle.  Now, I cut a slit in the middle  of the back of the wool and turn the whole piece, so that the flaps are sticking out and the right side of Magdalena Horses is facing front.


Front with the flaps open.


Back with the slit I cut for turning purposes.

Now I snip the flaps using pinking shears, fairly close to the edge of the stitching.  Then, using a sharp pair of little scissors, I snip between each pinking, cutting a bit of wool away from each pinking so that they are separate lamb’s tongues.

tiny lamb’s tongues

The back gets a weavers cloth label stitched over the slit in the wool.

back view with label

The entire piece gets a good, hard steam/press with my steam iron, and my Magdalena Horses is complete!

ta da!

I think I will be including Magdalena Horses in my Primitive Handmades Mercantile update this coming Friday.  🙂

Thank you to all of you for your kind comments and encouragement! If you have done or are planning to do Magdalena Horses, I would love to share your pictures!

Enjoy your week!


fixing flubs and finishing…

If you are like me, punching invariably includes, for lack of a better word, flubs.  If you’ve never encountered a flub, here is a poor photo with a difficult-to-see flub:

white flub on bottom flower just above the pink ring above the dark center

Can you see it?  It’s a big one!  Here’s another not-so-great pic:

flub, again

I could just cut it off at the surface using a sharp pair of scissors.  However, I know if I do that I’ll be left with a SPOT ~ that is, a small area that will appear darker and different from the surrounding punches.  So, unless I absolutely cannot fix a flub, I don’t cut it off.  Instead, I treat a flub with gentle kindness and patience:

gentle kindness

Using the tip of my punch needle, I gently and patiently prod the flub back down, pushing it either into the weavers cloth or under the adjoining punches.

all gone!

I find fixing flubs is another advantage to using pearl cotton as opposed to 3 or 6 strand, for me at any rate.  It’s easier for me to prod two strands, but you may have no problem prodding 3 or 6 strands.

Once all my flubs are fixed, I’m ready to coffee stain.  I’m using the same method on Magdalena Horses that I used on Two Horses Six Birds.  If you missed that post and would like to see how I coffee stain you can click here to go to the post entitled, “colors and coffee…”.  I stained Magdalena Horses twice.  The first time I used more water and less coffee, and I let the piece air dry.  The second time, I used light brewed or watered-down coffee and baked Magdalena Horses in a 250* oven for a few minutes.

When I bake my pieces, I put a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet with the piece to be baked on top of the waxed paper ~ weavers cloth edges tucked under the embroidery.  I put all that in a cold oven, set to 250*, as soon as the oven reaches its temp I shut it off and leave the punched piece in the oven until its cooled.  My oven runs a bit on the cool side and doesn’t hold it’s heat like your oven may.  If you want to try this method, I’d recommend starting at a lower temp and checking your piece periodically after you’ve turned off the oven, just to make sure your punching isn’t getting crisped.

baked and ready to finish

I’ve been thinking about how to tackle the lamb’s tongue edging.  I considered punching it around the top and bottom edges, but that opened up a whole other line of questions that I didn’t have the answers to.  So, I’ve decided to try a version of lamb’s tongue using wool.  Here are the bits of wool I’m contemplating.

wool options

The top wool is a piece that I marbled.  I love marbled wool, but I think this piece may distract from the punching.  My hand dyed brown, on the right, works really well with the pearl cotton colors, but I think that may be too much brown.  So, at the moment, I think the soft grey-blue that I dyed might be just the ticket.  The question now becomes, what is the best way to attach the wool to the embroidery, and just how will I create the tiny lamb’s tongues?  Time will tell!


until next time, be cool and happy!





magdalena horses punched…

Hurrah!  I’ve finished (nearly) the punched version of Magdalena’s Horses.  After the brown threads were punched I started on the grey.

Valdani P3

Then, completed the little corner of dark blue.   Here is Magdalena’s hooked rug.

original rug


The above picture is the original from which I took my inspiration.  The photo below is my attempt.

my punched magdalena horses

Although there are always things I would change about a punched piece once I’ve finished, I’m going to leave this one alone, with one exception.  The white horse, in the original, has a pink eye, and though I’m more comfortable with a horse that has a grey eye, I think I’ll change that little detail.  🙂   After I’ve fixed that, I will do the coffee staining which, I’m hoping, will soften the hard edges a bit.

One thing I’m thinking about as I’m completing magdalena’s horses, is the lamb’s tongue edging.  If you look closely at the original, you will see that the top and bottom edges of the rug have, what looks to me like, grey wool lamb’s tongues.  hmmm….  I’m not sure how I’ll be approaching that, yet, but I’ll let you know!  In the meantime, I think I’ll take a page out of Otis’s book…

cat nap, anyone?

…and perhaps I’ll dream of rug hooking!

lovely linen ~ the beginning of the imagined rug


until next time, be warm and happy!



background work

Most days, weather permitting, I eat my lunch on the deck and I almost always have an apple.  One of my friends is delighted to share ~ she waits patiently for the core, and then nibbles delicately.

Speaking of squirrels, have you seen Lori Brechlin’s latest punch needle pin keep?  Oh, it’s lovely!  Here’s a link to Lori’s blog:  click here if you’d like to take a look.

Now, onto some background progress…

Over the weekend, I worked on Magdalena’s Horses a bit.  I began with the light blue at the edges.  One of the things that intrigues me about Magdalena’s designs is the way her backgrounds often move horizontally and/or vertically.  In her original rug, the blue edges are the only parts of the background that are stitched horizontally.  

After punching the light blue part of the edge, I moved to the center and punched the brown/black, then the light brown and onto the medium brown.  (When I listed my colors in my previous post, I forgot to mention that I was using a medium brown, too ~ Valdani 853.)  You can start your background anywhere ~ I always decide to start mine based on what color I already have threaded.  In this case, I had the brown/black and the light brown pearl cottons ready to go

This dark brown is the last patch of brown in the background, then I’ll move on to the grey and the dark blue.  While I’m doing that, I should be thinking about how I’m going to finish this piece, and the last three pieces I’ve done, which are waiting to be transformed….  However, I’m not very good at thinking about what I should be thinking about.


How are your projects coming along?  Whatever they may be, may they bring you joy!




colors and coffee…

Hello!  I think my friend, in the below pic, is laughing at me.  She reminds me a bit of my late grandmother….  I can just hear her, “tee hee hee hee”!

I have had a few questions about the colors I’ve been using for the Magdalena Horse’s, so thought I’d provide a list, in case you’re interested.  These are all Valdani Pearl Cotton #12, with one exception, which is noted:

pink horse:  JP 5
white horse:  5
inner star:  P3
outer star:  6
lt. blue background:  M1001 (118 would be nice, too ~ It’s a solid lt. blue/grey) background:  O 578 (or 120 as a solid alternative)
black background:  H 212 (or 8112 ~ solid)
lt brown background:  851
dk brown background: O 196 (or 8121 ~ solid)
cement grey background:  P 3 (or 222 ~ solid)

for the flowers I’m using the same colors from the other elements in the design, except for the flower centers and outline of the middle flowers for which I’m using 841.  This happens to be a 3 strand Valdani which I’ve had for a year or two, but I think it’s available in a pearl as well.

I hope this helps!  DMC makes 6 strand floss in colors very similar to these, though without the variegation.  However, I don’t have a list of DMC color codes, unfortunately.


On to coffee!

two horses and 6 birds

I’m ready to stain Two Horses, 6 Birds with some left over coffee.  For this particular piece I will be brushing the coffee on so that I can better control the depth of staining.  First, I’ll start by brushing on some plain water…

just H2O

I find that by saturating the threads with water before adding coffee I get a lighter more consistent effect once the piece has dried.  Next, coffee…

good ol’ jo

I brush the coffee on so that the punched bit and the weavers cloth around the edges are covered…

no cream or sugar for me, please

I happen to be using Starbuck’s Blonde which is a light roast coffee that I brewed on the weak side.  The Blonde tends more towards yellow than red/brown, which I like for this piece.  However, I don’t think it matters too much what one uses ~ coffee is pretty much coffee, and I’m definitely over-thinking things, here!

covered in coffee

I could let Two Horses dry now, but I think it will be too dark for the look I’m going for, so I’ll go back in with more H2O…I load my brush with water and let it drip onto the piece.  This way the coffee moves away from the drips but doesn’t go away altogether like it sometimes does if I brush the water on.  If I were really unhappy with the way the coffee looked I could rinse the punch needle under the tap and it would come out, almost, completely clean.  Once I feel like the stain is where I want it, I let it air dry over night, and bake it @ 250* for just a few minutes in the morning.  Here we are, another project punched, stained and ready for finishing ~ and therein lies the rub… I ask the question which I ask of all my pieces…  What on earth shall I do with you?


until next time ~ wishing you a decisive day!





white horse…

I’m making some progress on my Magdalena Horses, the finished dimensions of which will be approximately 10.5″x4″.  I punched the white horse using a simple ecru pearl cotton from Valdani ~ this is Valdani 5, which is the color code.  I also started on the center star using Valdani P4.  So far so good!  However…

…when I filled in the outer part of the star using Valdani 6 my inner bit disappeared!  So…

…out came the P4.  One thing I really like about the pearl cotton is that, if I’m careful, I can pull it out without breaking the strands and then I’m able to reuse my floss ~ that’s a happy thought at $4.50/ball!  Now, I’ll punch in using a darker shade:  P3.

So much better!  Now, with the flowers, star and horses done I can get to work on the background.  🙂


Wishing you quiet progress on whatever project you have planned for today!


See you next time!