Sunday, November 27, 2011

Using Pumpkins & Black Cats!

I loved Halloween Jack Needle Roll by Stacy Nash Primitives. 

I had this stitched using our Silk 'n Colors Pumpkins & Black Cats
I love the soft variation of color you get when you stitch with 1 or 2 strands of floss, even in a color as dark as this one is in the full skein.

I hand dyed the wool to use in finishing.  I quilted around the tree (?).  I like the effect of the quilting and it helps with the slight puckering you get when a piece this large is rolled up in needle roll style.  Originally I'd planned to quilt around all of it, but my daughter suggested that would be 'too much'.  What do you think? 

Check back soon for the 'versatile blogger award' I am giving within the next couple of days.

Until later,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Be Happy

When I found these type set blocks on etsy I had to purchase them because this is what my Mom said each day to us as we left for school.  As a grumpy teenager I hated this, but now I appreciate the wisdom in her saying this to us each day.  I believe the 'be' denotes an action on our part to find happiness in our circumstances.  Thanks Mom for your wisdom!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Witch Is In!

My Halloween Village is ready for trick or treaters to knock on each door.  Do you Dare?
After all, the witch is in. . . .

She also announces that the winner of our contest for the free bath salts and the wonderful halloween kit from Fern Ridge Collections is  Wendy!  You need to email me your answers after looking at Fern Ridge Collections website as stated in the previous post  and then I will send you your package.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All About Pumpkin & Blog Give-a-way

It's All About Pumpkins for me now that it is October.  Pumpkin plus Vanilla Hazelnut has to be just about the best pumpkin fragrance in the world this year.  Available in bath salts (pictured above) and in soap.  Now for that pumpkin recipe I promised:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
3/4 C white sugar
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 C canned pumpkin
1/4 C water
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Oven to 375-400 degrees (we use 375)
Grease and flour muffin tins or use liners
Mix sugar, eggs and oil.  Stir in pumpkin and water.  Combine flour and spices with baking soda and baking powder.  Stir into wet mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Fill muffins cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Now for the give-a-way.  I'm giving away a pumpkin bath salts plus a kit Little Witches from Fern Ridge Collection.  I love their designs!  You must leave a comment and then if selected be prepared to email me three of the Fern Ridge kits names that use our threads.  This means that you must have visisted their website at:   Look under Counted Thread kits - needlebooks.  Enjoy their website and good luck with the contest.  I'll announce the winner and ask for you to email me your response next Tuesday.

Off to the dye pots,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wool Pincushions

Three simply wonderful pincushions designed by Elizbeth Angus of Sunflower Fields Pattern Company use some of our hand dyed threads!  Liz is an amazing designer and beautiful needle artist.  She used our Silken Peart 30/3 and our Sanibel on all of these pin cushions.  She is selling patterns for these and all the threads are available from us for stitching them. 

Fall Pumpkins!  My favorite time of year.  If you'd like to see more of Liz's pincushions please visit her blog at:  You can contact Liz for ordering assistance!  

Sunflowers - summers happiest flowers and such cute ants!  Love them on pincushions and not between my toes!!  I am loving working with wool and our threads. 
Next blog post will have a give-a-way plus a great fall pumpkin recipe.

Until Later,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Winner announced!

We drew a winner this morning!  Kathy Ayotte, you are the winner!!  Please email me at: with your address so that I can send you your threads and body care products!  Thanks to all who entered and I am sorry that everyone could not be a winner this time.  We'll have a thread give-a-way in the next few days on the blog.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Itty Bitty Reminder of a Great Big Contest

An itty, bitty picture of a soap bar to remind you to enter our contest for $100 in threads and body care products (retail value).  You must enter BEFORE Sept 1st by going to our facebook page for our body care business - Mathair Earth and 'like' our page on facebook and leave a comment that you are a stitcher.  I'm a little disappointed that more of you haven't done this - but such a great chance for those that have entered to win.  (Okay Liz, you must enter now and don't worry about giving someone else the chance!)  We make the best handmade soap - sorry this sounds a little braggy - but it is true.  Shea butter, olive oil, rice bran, grapeseed, cocoa butter, coconut, palm (sustainable), palm kernel, avocado are just some of the oils we use in our soap.  Lather - moisturizing - more lather, you get the idea.  Plus, the scents are to dye for!!

Anyway, gotta get back to the dye pots -
Until later,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Follow Us On Facebook Contest!

I really had trouble with blogger on my previous post and could not get it to edit the post. Thus this picture was not included nor was our contest!
Pictured is our soap rack at the farmers market and below is our Juniper Mulberry Soap with Juniper Essential Oil and Mulberry Fragrance Oil to slightly sweeten in. It is smelling like a sweet forest as it cures.
Now for the contest. Would you like to win $100 retail value in a combined gif basket of hand dyed threads, soap and body care items? It is easy to enter. Simply go to our facebook page for our soaps which is Mathair Earth (Mother in Gaelic)
and 'like' our page. You also must leave a comment and somewhere in your comments note that you are a stitcher. Thus, 2 things to do - like our page and leave a comment that you are a stitcher. If you comment here you will not be added in the contest as we are trying to get 100 people to like our facebook page for Mathair Earth. We don't fill your inbox with posts. My daughter did say that you can choose an option to not receive posts if you wish. I'm not very good at Facebook so I'm not too much help in this area. I hope several of you will enter this contest - it will be an awesome gift basket!
Maritta will check the facebook comments daily and enter you into our 'drawing jar'. We will choose the winner on Sept 1st.
Still dyeing - threads that is until later. . . .

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dyeing Rainbows

I've been away for a long while. . . .time seemed to pass so quickly since my last post. I've been dyeing. . . .threads that is. As you can see we also hand dye knitting yarn to sell at our local farmer's market during the summer. Color is the driving force in my life whether stitching, quilting, beading or making soap. We also hand dye the ribbon we tie our hand dyed soap with. It has been interesting to watch the color of the dyed yarn bring people like a magnet into our booth.
We are also working on some exciting new colors to be added shortly to our Silk 'n Colors line.
We just released our fall scents in soap last week at the farmer's market - gingersnap, caramel apple, tobacco flower (a favorite), eggnog, pumpkin nog, coconut mokalata, huckleberry lavender, frankinsense and myrhh, and juniper mulberry with crushed mulberries on top! Something for everyone in warm, inviting, spicy or sweet. We also made some hemp milk in our soy milk maker and made hemp milk soap. This is similar to the finest goat's milk soap you will buy with a rich, creamy lather. We made a fun soap using Hemp Milk and Hemp oil - Mary Jane's Flower (Cannibis Flower). It sold out at the market and I have to make more! I have to admit that I didn't have a clue at first why my daughter wanted to name if Mary Jane's Flower ( I get it now). I think I might be the only one on the planet that was clueless to this slang term. . . .

Monday, May 23, 2011

Persistence Pays Off

Sometimes persistence pays off!  I saw this antique rack at an antique store being used to display old linen hand towels.  I literally begged to purchse it for months.  One day I got a phone call that a rack in much better condition was available and she was holding it for me!  People were wanting to buy it left and right before I got down there.  Isn't it interesting?  When I launder and then cold mangle my handwoven linen towels I hang them on it to dry.  Today I took pictures with some  wool skeins hanging on it for you to see.  Those legs stick out quite a distance from the base - so far that if you aren't paying attention you can trip over them and hurt your knee quite badly (this took some of the fun out of this antique for a bit!)  Maybe I'll learn not to chase the cat without watching what is around me!!
Now, for the winner of our recent Chocolate Contest:
Margaret, you are the winner of our Chocolate colored (brown) Silk 'n Colors and a tube of German Chocolate Bath Salts!
so I can mail out your prize!

Still dyeing - threads that is,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mocha Cream

Makes 20 cookies.  From March 2002 Bon Appetite and recipe is by:  Elinor Klivans
1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C whipping Cream
1 T instant coffee granules
3/4 C powdered sugar
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1 C all purpose flour
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 large egg
2 t water
1 t vanilla extract
1 t instant coffee granules
2 C semi sweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)
1 C chopped pecans
For filling:  stir chocolate chips, cream and coffee granules in heavy saucepan over medium heat until chocolate melts and coffee dissolves.  Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.  Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and vanilla in bowl until blended.  Beat in chocolate mixture.  Refrigerate until beginning to firm up about 8 minutes.  Can be make ahead and refrigerated.  If you make it ahead you will need to allow it to stand at room temperature until just soft enough to spread. (2 hours)
For cookies:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into bowl.  Using electric mixer, in another bowl beat butter and both sugars until well blended.  Add egg, 2 t water, vanilla and instant coffee.  Beat well.  Stir in the flour mixture.  STir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Drops by tablespoonful onto prepared sheets, spacing about 2" apart.  Bake until tops are  just tirm to touch and no longer shiny, about 13 minutes.  Cool on sheets 10 minutes and then transfer to racks to cool.
Place half of cookies, flat side up on work surface.  Spread with 1 T of filling, leaving a 1/4" border.  Top with second cooking, pressing to adhere.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.  Serve cookies cold.
Now for the blog give-a-way.  Add a comment regarding your favorite chocolate and if a specialty chocolate where you purchase it.  Spread the chocolate love by sharing a website if possible.  The random drawing will give the winner a few of our Chocolate/brown Silk 'n Colors and a tube of our German Chocolate Bath Salts.  It smells SO GOOD that you may want to eat some good chocolate after your relaxing bath!!  I'll do a random drawing on Friday!
Until Later,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate & Lace

I've been learning how to make Bobbin Lace with a group of friends from my Weaving & Spinning Guild.  I'm still at the baby-step beginning stages of learning so I can't show you any wonderful lace, just yet.  However I wanted to share these beautiful bobbins that I just had painted by an artist in the UK.  She called them 'Chocolate & Lace' because they have the wonderful chocolate swirls with lace painted on the top.  Notice the tiny painted bead on the spangle.  In addition, I had the bobbins inscribed with my Mother and Father's names and birthdates.  There is hardly a word to describe their beauty.  They are a true keepsake that I will enjoy using as I make bobbin lace.  In case you are interested you can see other work by this artist at:    Now a glimpse of my lace pillow and my current lace lesson which is called 'spiders'.

Notice all the different bobbins I am using.  You also use many, many pins in the making of lace.  I'll be excited to show you some real lace sometime in the future.  It is all about thread I guess. . . .in stitching, lace making, weaving and of course all about color. 
Do any of you also know how to make Bobbin Lace?
Watch for a delicious recipe for Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Mocha Cream tomorrow and a chocolate give-a-way!
Still dyeing - threads that is,
Until Later,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Back to Colors - Simply Orange Today

During Elizabethian times people who could wear orange were dicatated by English Law - called the Sumptuary Laws.  Social standing and wealth as well as religious, biblical and Christian symbolism was reflected in this color which we call Orange.  Orange is considered a symbol of courage.   I love burnt orange, orange peel, peach, persimmon, phoenix rising, and orange essential oil.  There are several types of orange essential oil and they all smell different from one another.  Orange is the national colour of the NEtherlands.  Orange Sun designates good weather on the Queen's Birthday which is coming up April 30th.  Perhaps you've heard of William of ORange, the protestant English kind (1689-1702)  who was the great-grandson of William the Silent (now isn't that an interesting title!).  Orange is a sacred colour of Hinduism.  We think of Orange and Brown when decorating for Thanksgiving.  Orange is a favorite color around here and the orange hand above is our new logo (designed by Mariah, my daughter) for our line of exquisite Shea Body Butter.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hope. . . .for Spring

Hope. . . .If winter comes can spring be far behind?

One of my favorite quotes and spring is here in Idaho!  I loved smelling the spring hyacinths on my hands and knees as a little girl.  I still love to smell them this same way - now I just make sure none of the neighbors are looking in my direction first. . . .I'm not as dainty as I used to be!  I'm getting the garden seeds ready to plant also, starting a favorite black plum tomato variety and several kinds of hot and sweet peppers that you only get to enjoy if you start the plants yourself.

Thanks to all who wrote and took part in the blog contest honoring my Dad.  A few wrote me privately about taking in dinner to a neighbor in need and other kind gestures.  I agree with one comment that we should live each day doing nice things for others that take us to that higher level of living.  I still believe in 'random acts of kindness' and 'paying it forward' when we either make an opportunity to give or take advantage of a situation we see as we are about our week.  I put those names in a jar who either wrote on the blog or emailed me privately and the winner is. . . . .JoAnn of Des Moines.  She wrote:  "Our quilt guild is currently making quilts for the veterans at the Des Moines IA Facility.  I was not personally acquainted with anyone there but I did have a good friend, Vernon Spinner, at the Marshalltown facility who passed away recently.  His roommate, Henry Williams, came to the funeral bringing a letter he wished to have put in the casket.  It stated:  "Vernon Spinner was the world's best roommate."  He also felt that Vernon was a gift from God.  So in makng the quilt of red, white, blue and gold, I quilted "in appreciation for service to our country" and also included his other comments down the side.  Yes, Henry and I both had tears in our eyes when I gave him the quilt last week."

I have JoAnn's Address since she wrote me an email privately  and I will be sending out the Silk 'n Colors to her!  Congratulations on being the winner of the contest. JoAnn.  I imagine my Dad is smiling a big smile right now! 

Keep stitching & giving.
Until later,

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Wish You Enough

I Wish You Enough. . . .
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess
I wish you enough "hello's " to get you through the final "Good-bye"
We just buried a great man yesterday. The military honors were very touching. I had the great priviledge of having Gale Armond Allen as my Dad for nearly 56 years! He was 95 years old when he died. He was a 'pay it forward' kind of guy. Always generous, dependable, honest and always giving of his time and wordly goods to better someone else's life. In his honor I am giving away $95 (retail value) of Silk 'n Colors. However, the contest involves some 'pay it forward' on your part. Do some random act of kindness over the next couple of weeks and then return and share it on this post. I'll put those names who share their experiences in a jar and we'll do a random drawing. Spread some kindness in your small corner of our world.
Until Later,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dyed On A Whim Packs - Inspiration

December's Dyed On A Whim Pack with
Mary Klein's Stump Work!

Isn't  this  breathtaking!  Mary belongs to our Monthly Club and this is what she did with December's Pack.  I have never tried Stump Work, but now  I am intrigued.  Thanks Mary for sending in this photo.
Now a little information on the packs. This year I am selecting a photograph, piece of wrapping paper, paint chips, or anything else that catches my fancy as the color inspiration for that month. We always include Silk 'n Colors in each pack (at least one, but often two). Other ribbons and threads from our other lines are added. Sometimes I dye a special limited edition color, or hand dye lace. When I include beads they are a selection of many types and colors that blend with the threads. We figure the costs of the pack by taking our regular wholesale prices on the threads/beads/other items and adding $10. If the pack is selling to you at $35 then you are getting regular retail pricing of $50, for a savings of $15. Shipping is an additional $5 per month in the US for priority mail. You also have the choice of fabric included in the pack. This is quilting batiks, hand dyed velvet, silk dupioni etc. Crazy quilters love this option. The fabric is usually a size that would work to line a small needle book. Special offers and occasional little gifts also find their way into the packs. If you would be interested in joining us you can phone me at (208) 387-2641 or email me at: We'd love to have you join the fun!   Also, Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Miss Beatrice Hedgerow

I guess I just used that womanly trait of 'changing my mind' today. I decided to go ahead and post the picture of Miss Beatrice Hedgerow. Truthfully, Picadilly Paisley and I (we're one in the same if you haven't read my previous post) have a couple of other offerings as well for market. More on them later. . .
Beatrice charms bees and gathers flowers. . . .sounds like a relaxing life if you ask me! Maybe not the bees, but I do love honey butter on fresh baked bread. I've been day dreaming of my vegetable and flower gardens. It is almost time to order my garden seeds. I hope to do this over this weekend.
Still dyeing - threads that is!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Who is Beatrice Hedgerow & Picadilly Paisley?

For those of you that follow Jenny Bean - she now has a new friend, Beatrice Hedgerow, who charms bees and gathers flowers. She grew up in an old stone cottage in the English Countryside.  She is designed by Picadilly Paisley (who also happens to be me).  I'm designing a pattern here and there when not dyeing. . .threads that is. There is a larger companion sampler that will introduce Beatrice. I'm not showing it until market. This is Beatrice's Sewing Tray - "Now I know My ABC's". I have to give credit for the idea of the sewing tray to the Blackbird gals when they showed a sewing tray at the Shepherd's Bush Retreat!
I found the antique looking draw pulls at a restoration hardware online source and I think they are the perfect addition to give the sewing tray- handles! I'm working on some additional pieces to the sewing tray. It is stitched in Silk 'n Colors on 28 count Wheat by R&R Reproductions.
A slightly odd designing name I've chosen in Picadilly Paisley. I have a beloved Brittany Spaniel named 'Paisley' and Picadilly, well I just liked how they sound together!
Until Later,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Berryhill's Tomato and Basil Soup

I love good recipes. I love to share them as well. I also love to receive a good recipe from someone, it is one of the best presents!! Today I'm sharing a recipe from a local catering company that was in our newspaper. It is truly a delicious Tomato Soup. Hope you enjoy. . .
Berryhill's Tomato &  Basil Soup
2 ounces butter
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C yellow onion, diced
1/2 C leeks, finely diced (white part only)
1/2 C celery
2 ounces flour
1 pint vegetable or chicken broth
1 pint half and half
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 15-ounce can italian tomatoes crushed or diced
1 Tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
Basil, fresh coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
In medium suacepan melt the butter over medium heat and add garlic, onion, celery and leek. Cook until tender. Add flour to make a roux, cooking a few minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and add broth, cream and worcestershire sauce, whisking together. REturn to heat and add tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper, basil and rice vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with additional basil chiffonade (finely shredded basil leaves).
I have also added a roasted red pepper chopped, thinly sliced zucchini and rice to this soup. This time we used fat free half and half which changed the 'look' of the soup but not really the overall taste. Real Half and Half gave it a more rich, even creamy look.
Until Later,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Needle Arts and Handmade Books

Do you combine needle art with other creative interest? This book is something I taught at the Shepherd's Bush Retreat last September. It combines handmade fabric books, hand-dyed ribbons used in embellishment, cross stitch, pictures, pockets, favorite papers. Sometimes I even include needlepoint and punch needle! I will show more of the inside pages in another post. How many pillows and framed wall pieces can you have at one time in your house? If you are like me, wall space is at a premium at my house and I like to have other things on my walls besides all stitched pieces. So what to do with all the stitching you are doing? Some of it can find its way into handmade books that the recipient (or yourself) will treasure for many years to come. If you can't stand to put one actual piece in a book then take a good color photo of it and put it in the book! Some of you will have a heart attack here, but pick yourself off the floor and just consider that sometimes you have a framed piece that you no longer want to hang in your home. Cut it up and put it in a book!! Maybe this is enough for today!! I promise you that if you have a handmade book sitting on a coffee table or arranged on a shelf in your home on an easle type stand that people will simply 'have' to pick it up. They cannot stand it until they have looked inside!! More on these handmade books later. . .
I'm off to the dye pot. . .still not dyeing white!!

p.s. would you like to learn this concept?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is White A Color?

White as Snow. . .
White light. . . .
Winter White. . .
Snow on snow on snow. .
Walking on eggshells. . .
White fever. . .
White Sale. . .
White Creme de Menthe. . .
White Feather. . .
White as A sheet. . .
White Elephant. . .
White Friars. . .
White with Fear. . .
White Lie. . .
Phrases and words of white. But is white a color? Read an interesting discussion of this and yes white is a color. If you google "Is White A Color" maybe you'll get the same site I did on where there is an interesting article on this.  I was unable to get the link to work.  Sorry. Mary O'neill says this about white in her book: HAILSTONES & HALIBUT BONES
" White is a Dove
And lily of the valley
And a puddle of milk
Spilled in an alley -
A Ship's sail
A Kite's tail'A wedding veil
Hailstones and Halibut bones
And some people's
White is marshmallow
And vanilla ice cream
And the part you can't remember
In a dream.
White is a pair of
Whispers talking.
White is the beautiful
Broken lace
Of Snowflakes falling
On your face."
I love white work, white lace edgings and all the 'shades' of white if you believe that there are 'shades of white'!!
I'm starting to plan my stitching projects for the coming weeks. Some are in getting ready for market that is in February. Others are for my pure enjoyment.
Do you think white is a color?
Our 3 winners for the Dec drawing are: Elizabeth Ann, Wendy, and Sudukc! The first one to email me also wins the extra item! Please email me your addresses so I can send out your items!
Not dyeing white today -