My twitter stream and Google reader are both abuzz with comments about Downton Abbey.  I am completely in love with this show and those that know me will be un-surprised to hear that I am captivated by the costumes.  So, for all of you that love it as much as I do, here is a set of free embroidery patterns just for you, inspired by the costumes of Downton.  “Mary” is inspired by a black beaded choker.  It would make a nice edging embroidered on something with french knots for those beaded chains.  “Anna” is a detail from the edge of a tiny lace collar. “Dowager Countess” comes from a green and purple ensemble with ribbon embroidery.  “Sybil” is inspired by the embroidered bodice of the infamous “harem pants” outfit.  “Edith” is from a detail on the sleeve of a black and gold evening dress. These aren’t exact replicas, but my take on the design.  Click the image above to download a full sized .pdf you can print and use.


Me n’ Beth (and great grandma), ca 1977

I have two very cool sisters.  This one has been my very best friend since the day she was born.  (We don’t pay any attention to those years around junior high school when she was a lowly elementary school kid and I thought she was annoying.)  We frequently run across a book or cute something on etsy and send it to each other, only to find the same thing in an email from the other one crossed in cyber space.  We know all the same words to all the same songs (R-E-S-C-U-E, Rescue Aid Society, Heads held high, touch the sky, you mean everything to me…) and can carry on a conversation via text message that no one else would be able to make any sense of.  She is smart and funny and has a nearly endless supply of patience and compassion.

Anyhow, it’s her birthday today and I just wanted to say Happy Birthday little sister.


I just learned about a new e-zine all about embroidery that launched just in the last week or so.  It’s called &Stitches.  I am not really up on all of the embroidery blogs (I am not sure why not!), so I am glad I heard about this!

The blurb on the &Stitches website says:

This issue (the first one!) is all about colour! How to find colour inspiration for your stitchy projects, a bit of colour theory and of course we have patterns too. One pattern is by our guest contributor and first interview-ee, Corinne McHie of SeptemberHouse.

We also asked a few other stitchers where they find their colour inspiration and we also manged to fit in a couple of book reviews.

&Stitches is written by Carina Envoldsen-Harris (Polka & Bloom) and Nicole Vos van Avezathe (Follow the White Bunny), both avid stitchers and embroidery pattern designers.

I was intrigued and so I bought a copy.  (You download it as a .pdf.  Super handy. )

The verdict:  It is beautiful!  The color theory article is worth the price alone.  I know color theory pretty well, but trying to explain to other people is sometimes a challenge and this is a really visual guide.  I am going to add a link to this “Colour” issue to some of my class handouts as a reference.  I also learned a new embroidery stitch that I didn’t know and I really like Corinne’s fishes pattern (but you know I am pretty fond of fish).  I am really looking forward to future issues.

A few months ago, my friend Donna tweeted about this software called “Repper” for making repeating patterns.  I checked it out, thought it was cool and got busy and forgot about it.  While working on something else last night, I thought of it again and decided to call it a business expense and purchase the software (It’s priced in euros, but it worked out to about $38.)   It is a really fabulous tool that lets you create repeating patterns based on triangles, squares and hexagons from any starting image.  Try out the free demo!  I promise you will have fun.

I love finding the perfect handmade thing for someone special.  These are a few of the gorgeous things I found this year.  Big thank yous to Omar, Jacqueline, Bethany, Denise & Paul and Tom for creating these great pieces.

My youngest sister and nieces got custom initial rings from  He was lovely to work with and the rings are awesome.

My sister-in-law got this bowl from MorrisPottery for her birthday (in December).  She is devoted to her horses and I knew she would love it.

My geeky sister and equally geeky best friend each got Pixel People pattern by weelittlestitches.  One each Serenity and Princess Bride.

Andy got this beautiful beautiful glass shark from sanctuaryglass.  Did I say beautiful?  He wants to hang it in the window at his office, but then I never get to see it.

And finally, my daddy, the architect, got a blueprint tie from Cyberoptix Tie Labs.  He hates to wear a tie, but on those occasions when you really just need to wear one, I like for him to have something fun.


My parents are plagued with ditzy deer.  The deer come right up on the front step and eat flowers out of pots.  I am pretty sure they would let themselves in the house and sleep on the couch if the small schnauzer that lives there would let them in the door.  I saw this pattern on Kirie’s Shape Moth blog and knew my mom had to have a something with that deer on it.  It was supposed to be a rug.  She says she’s not putting it on the floor, she’s going to hang it by her desk at work.  It’s made from faux suede, which has been paper pieced, and a nice upholstery fabric.  (The photo is from my phone, I forgot to take a decent one.)