fancey blackett day 2…

I’ve made a start on Fancey’s flowers, as you can see.

Orange is a color I use often, especially this time of year. This particular selection is my favorite Valdani orange, O 505. It’s a soft color with streaks of subtle almost-brown which makes for beautiful (in my opinion) pumpkins and other delights.

Having come this far, however, I’m having second thoughts. Though I love this neutral orange, wouldn’t Fancey look nice flanked by creamy ecru flowers? Perhaps Valdani M 49, which is a lovely, and very quiet combination of just that hue. I think and I ponder and I hum and I haw and, at last, ask my friend Ellis what he thinks I should do. His response?

“Sleep on it”. And so, I do.


May all your decisions be simple ones, today!


fancey blackett…

Fancey ~ I love that name, don’t you?

This Pineberry Lane design, Fancey Blackett ~ The Gathering Basket, simply called to me, and so I made a start on it this morning. I’m not doing any color planning, just picking as I go.

So far, I’ve used Valdani perle cotton size 12 in colors H 212 for Fancey’s hat, dress, and boots, and 6 for her face, hand and legs. The way the H 212 punches up in vertical or horizontal stripes, (depending on the direction one punches) means I can use just the one floss for both the body of the dress and the sleeve. I won’t need to outline the sleeve or use a different color for the sleeve, unless I want to!

P 9, my new favorite brown, is Fancey’s choice for her hair, and green perle tweed works nicely for her gathering basket.

The very last of my green tweed ~ time to order more! ~ I used for the four large flower centers.

Now, it’s time to ponder a while, look through my Valdani and decide which color to thread my needle with next!

Would you like to visit Pineberry Lane? Click here to find patterns, supplies, and other fun stuff!

Simply enjoy, today!


making do 3…

wrestle fest

Lilly and Ellis decide to help me make do today, and so choose to wrestle in my lap as I settle down to work. (Is it any wonder that I work outdoors, on the deck, whenever possible?)

little witch

A witch, named Wycked, is on the agenda. I don’t want my witches to take themselves too seriously, so whimsy will play a role here today. Evidently, I changed my mind, more than once, while drawing up this little face and hat.

easy peasy

Since this is a witch from my imagination, the color scheme is simple. Valdani perle tweed in green and Valdani perle cotton in variegated black are all I need. Oh, and a touch of Valdani P 9 for the features, too.

all punched?

I thought I was done punching, but on reflection decided that I’d like to hang something (what?) from her hat… what to do, what to do?

adding on

So, I add on to her hat, which, at this point, looks ridiculous.


I persevere, and am happy I did.

buttons and backing

The addition of some eyes and a backing selection helps considerably.

creating the post

Because I want my Wycked to look like she’s atop a fence post, I have to construct said post, some how. This I do with a piece of window sashing, a long nail, a wood dowel, and a pipe cleaner. The nail is tapped into the sashing and the wood dowel is adhered to the nail using glue and the pipe cleaner. The dowel will now fit inside the witch head and add stability.


The hat has a sharp angle, which will be very difficult (for the likes of me) to stuff, so I opt for crushed walnut shells for filling. The walnut shells are very small and will make stuffing around that angle much easier. I got this large bag of walnut shells (aka: bird litter) at a pet supply store.


Introducing the shells into the head is a bit of a challenge, particularly because I want the dowel in the head at the same time.

Whew! I’m stuffed!

I stuff the head tightly because I don’t want her to sag, although some sagging would be interesting and possibly more true to life!

all done and stands about 12″ tall

I add some rusty picture wire and a tiny skeleton key to her hat. A punched tag that reads, “Wycked” adorns the “fence” post as a finishing touch. You can visit Wycked at Primitive Handmades Mercantile by clicking here.

Time for a cup of hot tea. Won’t you join me?


making dos 2…

Otis gives me the Thumbs Up

Here we are, again.  Otis is on his concave cat condo…


…while Lilly and Ellis settle in for a nap.  So, inspired by my feline friends, I get to work on another make do.


I know from the get go that this make do will be perched on an antique porcelain door knob, probably black, but possibly white depending on the floss I use.


Initially, I had thought I would make this a stripe-y cat, but decide, instead, that patches are what I feel like. I’m using two different Valdani perles for the body ~ H 212 which is the darker color and a gorgeous new one, to me, P 9.  P 9 is a sort of carmel-y brown ~ very rich and deep!

patches Cat and Wytch Way?

Now that the punching is done, I decide on wool for the backing.  Stuff it with snips, mount it on the door knob, add a tag or two and voila!

finish is about 8″ tall x 8″ wide

Next on my list is, I think, a little witch.

keep it simple, today!


making dos 1…

otis waves

Before beginning any project I have to find someplace to sit.  This is a game that never grows old, apparently, and I am required, daily, to remove several bodies from my chair.  I call this my chair because it offers the best lighting, but there is much dissention amongst the ranks as to whom the chair really belongs.  I typically admit defeat and move to a less comfortable and dimmer seat.

the life of a beloved cat

Otis has adopted the top of the cat condo (cardboard box) as his favorite perch.  He has his own little hooked rug and, due to his somewhat vast weight, the condo is taking on a nice bowl shape.

wytch way?

Now that we are all comfortable, more or less, I can make a beginning.  I’ll be working on make dos (because they’re fun to make and hold much scope for the imagination, I find) and will start with Wytch Way?, which is one of my designs.   I’ve free-handed onto the weavers cloth, with much erasing, as is typical.

finished rug and punch needle in progress

I’ve made this pattern into both a rug and a punch needle piece before, but this will be the first time as a make do.  I’m not sure how I’m planning to make do, but surely some idea will come to me…?

Wytch Way? and Cat

After I complete the punching, I decide to add some embellishments in the form of these vintage glass beads.  I hope they’ll add a bit of night-time glimmer to an otherwise plain piece.

stuff, stuff, stuff

It takes an extraordinary amount of snips to stuff this relatively small piece ~ That’s okay by me!  I have bags and bags of snips.

closing in

At this point I have to make a decision.  Am I going to mount Wytch Way? on a base of some kind, which means leaving a small opening here, or close her up completely so she can be a bowl filler?


I opt for stitching the opening closed, but instead of displaying her in a bowl, I add a length of fishing line and let her hang from a nail.

A vintage crochet covered (I think) metal band makes an admirable hanger.    Wytch Way? measures about 7″ across and 2″ thick.  She’ll either be in the Primitive Handmades Mercantile update this Friday or in my etsy shop (more decisions ~ oh no!).


Are you making do, today?








how much room does one hooker need?…

I think the answer to that question is, “an infinite amount” or possibly, “how much wool is there in the world?  that’s how much room I need”.  However, few of us have access to the infinite and so we make do.


My work-space is like a grapevine, it’s stealthy and unrelenting, it creeps and grows and spreads.  I have already commandeered one bedroom for punching, now, it seems, I have sprouted a new branch in another bedroom for hooking!

“I’m just going to use this little corner.” I say to my world at large (which consists of a husband and three cats).  “That’s all I need, just this little corner of this little room, and then I’ll be satisfied ~ ’twill be enough…”  And, so far so good, I say to myself.  I have room for a chair, and wool, and scissors, and, of course, a couple of vintage windows….

perfect wool storage

…and some rugs and crocks ~ one never knows when a crock will come in handy.  In fact, I’m using the below crocks to hold my snips!

perfect snip stashers

Vertical space is key when strictly confining ones self to a corner, and regardless of what the man of the house may think, the more nail holes in the drywall, the more inspiring the space!

why not nail a make do to the wall?

Junk yard finds are paramount!  I’ll bet that whoever threw away the below storage-drawer-with-hinged-window-lid had no idea that a hooker would see a potential object of  beauty, perfect storage, and a surface on which to set a cup of tea!

one man’s junk is another hooker’s treasure

I’m sure that this small corner of this small room will suffice.  I will have no need to sprout tendrils of wool in other areas of our home…


come to think of  it there is a nice unused corner in the man-cave.  I’ll bet the-one-who-wears-the-pants-in-the-family would never notice a small, a very small pile of wool… and maybe a few dye supplies, too?

Spread out and enjoy some space today!


what ever happened to stolen broom?…

This is a question that was posted to me, recently.  Yes, what did happen to Stolen Broom?  Like many of my projects, it found itself in the “what shall I do with you” pile.  So, I got it out and decided to keep it simple.

choosing wool

I determined that Stolen Broom would make a nice mat and so, chose some complementary wool for the backing.

Then, things got dicey.

I waffled between coffee-staining and not coffee-staining.  Coffee-staining conquered, as it usually does, and as it sometimes does, it came with disastrous results, which, I did not photograph, being too dismayed to think about recording such a dreadful, yet illuminating, experience.  In a nutshell, “Stolen Broom”, had become, “What is That? I Can’t See Any Details”, instead.  And so, it went into the, “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I ruined it after so many hours of punching” pile for a time.

Reason eventually won out over despair and the next few days found Stolen Broom soaking in a bubble bath.

cleaning up its act

I swished it around in the mild dish-soapy solution every once in a while and changed the water from time to time.  Once the water became mostly clear, Stolen Broom was hung out to dry.

no coffee for you!

Now, Stolen Broom, after being backed and edged with wool, happily resides in my etsy shop, looking forward to the day when new horizons will open and new adventures will await!

Maybe you would like to punch, hook or stitch Stolen Broom ~ click here to view the pattern on Chestnut Junction’s website.

would you like to visit Stolen Broom on etsy? click here

All in all, a good learning experience, but there’s something to be said for cutting back on one’s coffee consumption!

enjoy a caffeine-free day today!


do you ever feel like just punching something?…

I do, especially at this time of year, for some reason.

just get punching!

Perhaps, it’s because Autumn is such a free spirit, so un-constructed, that I jump outside my self-imposed constraints and just punch!  Or, perhaps, it’s because there are so many wonderful, fabulous primitive patterns for Fall that I cannot decide which one to do first and so I put pencil to weavers cloth and, a quick sketch later, I’m off!


My favorite things to create, by far, are make dos, and I may have gotten carried away this time.  I have five in the works ~ three jacks, a cat, and a witch ~ and two more in my mind, just waiting for a hoop to free up.  I’ll probably be working on Fall well into Winter and start on Santa and Snowmen around Mother’s Day!

cat ~ looks like a caterpillar, doesn’t it?

It’s so much fun making color choices, especially for a piece with lots of potential for lots of different colors.  However, it’s so very restful and so very simple to make only one or two choices ~ a cat? antique black.  a pumpkin? orange.  a witch? antique black. ~ see what I mean? Simple!  Less brain work, fewer needles to thread with different colors, just one needle, maybe two, and GO!

what is that?

Have you ever watched little children coloring in a coloring book?  ~ Of course you have, in fact, you were probably one of those pint-sized people once. ~ There are all those shapes on the page, neatly defined by lines, highly manufactured and perfect, but little children are interested in one thing ~ putting color on paper ~ me too!  At this time of year, I get to “scribble” as much as I want.  Weary of punching a circle?  punch a square.  This spot getting tiresome? pick up the needle and start a different patch.  Ah, Freedom!

a bunch’a boos

Autumn is such a messy and forgiving season, that I feel like I really can’t do anything wrong, at least within the sphere of fiber art.  So, life feels almost like all play and no work, especially if I turn a blind eye to the amount of dust and kitty fur piling up ~ what’s a little dirt, anyway!

Ignore the dust and play today!


details, details ~ making tags…

would you like to visit “little thief’ on etsy? click here

Having finished Little Thief and needing, desperately, to revamp my neglected etsy shop, I decided today it was time to get started, and I chose to start with a seemingly insignificant detail ~ new tags for my work.

I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to stamps and ink, but I had a clear vision of what I wanted my tags to “say”.  I wanted them to “say” that they looked old but not dirty, primitive but graceful, I wanted them to be soft on the eye and above all simple to make.  6 hours later, I had my tags all done.  6 hours may seem like a long time to spend on such a trivial detail, but, fortunately, art is about process and journey, and besides this project was FuN!

Here’s what I did:

gathering materials

For someone who knows very little about the stamping/scrapbooking world, I seem to have lots of supplies.  So, I got out my Distress Inks, of which I have a plethora, and narrowed them down to two colors I really like ~ Walnut Stain and Antique Linen.  I also needed plain tags, which I purchased some time ago at an office supply store, and some stamps.  Does anyone else accumulate things like stamps?  I seem unable to resist purchasing stamps, they’re just tiny works of art and so whimsical….  I feel sad for the stamps that are sitting on store shelves unused and unloved, I just have to bring them home!

cinnamon and coffee ~ who can resist?

Coffee and cinnamon are two heavenly aromas, so I use them whenever I can.  For this project, I put a splash or two of coffee in a small frying pan and added the stark white strings from the tags.  They’ll soak for several hours and, hopefully, come out of their bath a pleasing tan color.  The cinnamon will be used to sprinkle on the tags, once they’re stamped, which will add a layer of depth (I hope).

little tag on a big stamp

With my supplies at hand I started stamping.  I have to admit, it took me a good long time to figure out that life would be much simpler if I placed the small tag on the ink-loaded large stamp rather than the other way around.  I’m hoping that the image on this large stamp will lend the grace I’m looking for to the end result.  For these tags, I used Antique Linen on the background stamp.


After trying several different methods of aging, I finally came up with the idea of using shiny tissue paper as the ultimate ink-rubbing tool.  I wanted something that wouldn’t absorb the ink or leave brush strokes or stippling.  I found some shiny tissue in a shoe box and it worked very well.  I dabbed the ink pad with the crumpled tissue and rubbed it onto the stamped tags, starting at the edges and working in.  I did a layer of Antique Linen ink over the whole tag first, and then used the walnut stain just on the edges.

before and after

It was exciting, for me, to see how the rubbed-on ink pulled the stamped bits to the fore.  I’m hoping that the tags now look aged, but not too grungy.

Stamp 2

Next, I centered my custom stamp, which has my info, on the tag.  I used the Walnut Stain ink for this bit.  Though I used the background stamp and aging technique on both sides of the tags, I used the custom stamp on one side only.  Now, I’ll be able to write things on the backs of the tags like the title of the piece and the name of the designer.

cinnamon bath

The final layer is a dusting of cinnamon.  The tags were the tiniest bit damp from the rubbing of ink, so, even though I wiped them well after the cinnamon layer, there was still just a hint of aroma to the tags and a bit of visual softness, as well.


And so, another day passes in simple quiet fashion… a lovely day, filled with lovely fragrances and soft colors, and time ~ time to reflect on how the smallest of details can bring peace into the main…

I hope you found some simple beauty and quiet peace today.

happy labor day,






little thief finish…


little thief

Little Thief is punched and aged and ready to be stuffed.  I stitched the wool I chose for the backing all the way around the punch needle, then cut a slit in the back for turning.

ready for stuffing

I like the way the colors in this piece of wool echo the colors of perle cotton in the punch needle.  I’ve had this wool for several years.  It had started out as a camel color plaid before I dyed it this soft orange.  I haven’t known what to do with it until now ~ Serendipity, for sure!

crushed balsam smells heavenly!

I decided to use crushed balsam and snips for stuffing.

stuffed and stitched

After stuffing and stitching the opening closed, I’m ready to add the “pocket” that will slide over the tin pin cushion holder.

i love this part!

Adding the beaded edging takes time, yes, but I absolutely love the process.  There’s something very soothing about beading, and the addition of these little loops makes a big impact.  They really finish this piece!

I used vintage glass beads which I found online.  New beads, or plastic beads, would have been less expensive, just as using only snips or only fiberfill would have been less costly for the stuffing.  But, for me, using quality vintage things, like these glass beads, or using balsam for stuffing as well as snips adds to my enjoyment and I always do a better job when I enjoy the process!

all done!

Here’s Little Thief in his final glory.I just love the tin pin cushion holder!  I added a vintage wood spool with black thread as a finishing touch.I’m so glad Lori Brechlin came up with this fabulously prim design, and that Ali Strebel offers these wonderful tin holders!If you would like to visit Little Thief on Lori’s blog ~ Not forgotten farm ~ click here

If you would like ordering information for the tin pincushion base available through Ali Strebel ~ click here


Until next time, live Simple!