Monday, June 29, 2020

It's late but for a good reason - the monthly freebie

This has been a changing and challenging time for most of us. I had an embroidery all ready to post weeks ago but after seeing so much about how we need change in this world to stop hate, I had to design a new heart. Love and peace leads to understanding which creates unity. I think this heart would be fantastic done in rainbow colors, too.

I used DMC floss for the embroidery. Here are the colors and stitches I used:
the heart - 2 strands of green 3346, chain stitch
the loop - same thread but stem stitch, then wrapped with 2 strands of 603 pink
the dots on the heart 3 strands 742 yellow gold, french knots
the flower vine - 2 strands 3348 green, feather stitch(starting at sides and meeting at loop); at each tip - 2 strands 603 pink, french knots
vine flowers - 3 strands variegated yellow 90, lazy daisy; fill in the flowers with 2 strands of 603 pink, straight stitch; at the base of each flower - 2 strands 3348 green, french knots
flowers in loop - 3 strands 603 pink, 5 petal lazy daisy with 2 strands 90 variegated yellow french knots; leaves - 2 strands 3348 green, lazy daisy
text - 2 strands black, back stitch; dots on text - 2 strands 742 yellow gold, french knots

I won't be taking this heart down. It will stay on the blog for free. Here's the pattern:

Right click on the drawing to save it to your computer.

I didn't add the flowers to this pattern so you could make your favorite ones or do the ones I did. Another option if you want to do a rainbow veraion is to skip the flower vine and keep outlining the heart with a variety of colors, or just do all the french knots in rainbow colors. Instead of flower inside the loop, you could add a bird charm or 2, turn it into a peace sign, or fill it in with multi colors of beads and french knots. I just may have to take my own suggestions and make another in rainbow :)

Edited 7-11-20
Ok, I made the rainbow version and wanted to share the pic of what I did. I used my collection of rainbow fabrics for inspiration for the colors.

Sorry if you didn't get last month's pattern. Look for another next month and remember the patterns are only up for 1 month except for this one. This one will be up for free for as long as the blog is up.
Click on the drawing then right click to save it to your hard drive.

©Billie Jo Heisler 2020
All rights reserved

I drew this design by hand then used a software program to edit it.
Please consider the drawing copyrighted. You have my permission to print copies of the drawing in any size for your own use but not to share or sell. If you want to share the pattern please link to the blog pages.
The embroidery design is my own. I have not knowingly copied anyone else's work.

Please wear a mask and stay safe.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Is blogger a jinx for my chicken girls?

Here I go again. I lost another of my sweet chickie girls. Haley was more of a pet chicken than the rest. She knew her name and would come when called. She even liked to be picked up and held. If the car doors were open she got in. Same with the golf cart. Sad to say that's how she died. Jack was driving the cart down to the coop. The girls were running along side when all of a sudden Haley darted in front. NO more naming the birds.

I'll get the next stitch-a-long up this week. This will be a June/July design.

Monday, June 22, 2020

What am I making?

As usual I've been sidetracked into stopping what I should be working on and making something else. I was inspired by an older post at to make a cover for my calendar/journal. It's a whole lot thinner than the 2 Jenny has tutorials for so I ended up doing it my way. The 2 embroideries are also from her site. I made them at the beginning of the year for 2 TAST embroidery posts. I still am doing TAST but only small samples. When (if) I can find the time I'll add the stitches to my crazy quilt and take some pics to post here and at the facebook group.

The calendar was a freebie from our Vet. She gives them out every year. Hopefully this won't be the last or I'll have to search for something to fit the cover :) I'm using blanket stitch to attach each circle to the cover. I'm planning on wrapping the pink thread with the same blue thread I used in the embroideries. I've made the decission to only work on it when I finish or get tired of what I should be working on.

Here's what I should be working on, the new version of the clothespin mermaids. I finished taking pics of both today, now comes all the editing of the directions and pics. I made up a new TO-DO List and I'm going to do my best to follow it. I have a really bad habit of finding more projects to make when I still have too many going already. Last week I decided to get out the tatting jewelry patterns I designed a few years ago and start work on the book for them. Once I realized this wasn't going to be a quick project I looked around my sewing room and seeing all the UFOs I knew it was time to STOP this habit. I now know I need to work on crafting/sewing projects that need to be done in the sewing room in the late morning to early afternoon, switch to the computer till time to start dinner, and do embroidery and other handwork in the evenings. This of course is subject to change on days my husband decides we should be gardening or he needs helps with his projects. Shopping also tends to cut out the computer time.

We went to Ollies store last week and I got these books. I wish they had one for embroidery stitches, too. Books are the only things we buy at Ollies. I never have any luck with yarn or craft supplies there. It was a nice day for shopping but also a bit sad. The local Pennys is closing. Yet another store that was ruined by upper management. I really miss Kmart, too, and don't get me started on the fabric stores that are gone. We were in the local mall the same day as the Ollie trip and were shocked to see how many stores are gone. Now I admit I'm not a fan of malls, I miss the shops in town, but since it was the mall that helped kill all the downtown stores I can't help but wonder where are all the people shopping if not there?  I guess it's Target and Walmart along with the various dollar type stores.

I made some changes in my sewing room. I removed a small shelf and replaced it with another table. Now I have an L shaped work area. It's nice to have more work space. This is the corner of the table with some of my fav flowers, daisies. I also love orchids but have a hard time keeping them alive. This one has bloomed for the second time. I used to have lots of violets but they just don't like this room or the house. The only place for them is in my sewing room and they just don't do well here. If I get any new ones I'll keep them at our other house. The tin heart, star, joy, and hope are Christmas ornies that I love so I keep them up all year. I was planning on making large snowpeople to hold hope and joy but realized I didn't want to give them up.

My timer has gone off so I know my time on the computer is ending. It's a way for me to get better control over my day. It's so easy to lose track of time.

Stay safe, wear a mask-

Sunday, June 14, 2020

In the kitchen and a free pattern I found

I feel like I'm a day behind again. This time it's because I had Friday, Saturday and Sunday all planned out with a list of everything I was going to work on. I love lists, don't you. It helps me cope when I know I have way too may things to do. If I can break everything down into days, and sometimes even times, I feel more in control (and that helps with my panic attacks). Well, Friday started out good. I got up by 9, and that's early for this night owl, had a quick shower (which is quicker now that I cut my hair into a short bob) and got dressed for working around the house and in the garden.

The problem started when my husband decided I needed to go with him to our other home to get the riding mower which was going in for repairs. Since Saturday was going to be my day for working on the garden over there I was completely off my schedule. You say well why not just switch the lists but that wouldn't work since I thought we wouldn't be there for more than an hour or 2. Turned out I was at the house for 4 hours and could have worked in the garden. I didn't think I'd have enough time for all that needed done while Jack  was out on his "quick" shopping trip and would want to get back to what I call the play house. Not wanting to stop what I would have been working on outside I stayed in and cut out some fabric. Worse was that he really didn't need me there and could have gotten the mower in the back of his red wagon trailer by himself.

Now again you are going to say why not get back to your list once you got back to the play house? One, even though we could have left at 10, Jack wasn't ready to go until almost noon. Waiting around and thinking I shouldn't start anything because he'll want to leave at any time. Come on ladies, you know how husbands can be. They hate waiting for us but think nothing of making us wait for them. I did get the dusting done but not the vacuuming. Back to why, Two, it was close to 4 by the time we got back so that meant doing a load of laundry (that was on my list) and getting dinner started. Then came cleaning up, dishes, and going out to water the garden. By then it was close to 7 so I finished the laundry and hit the couch for some embroidering and TV.

Here's some pics of what I did yesterday. I spent the day baking. These are just 2 of the things I made. The bread on the right is fig walnut bread and the one on the left is a rosemary, garlic, chive bread. As you can see I baked both in old cast iron skillets. They belonged to my mother-in-law and I love to use them when baking bread. This was the second fig & walnut bread I made.

I didn't have the honey beer the recipe calls for so I used Yuengling black & tan cause it was a choice of it, porter, or summer shandy. That's what it's here and I didn't want to go out searching for honey beer. I added 2 tablespoons of honey instead of the 1 it called for. I used 1 of buckwheat and 1 of red bamboo. I also went overboard on the fig pieces and walnuts. I increased both by about 1/2 cup more. Jack liked the first one I made so much he didn't want to share any of it with family and friends. I did manage to get some to my brother and sister-in-law and a few slices to some friends. Not sure if this one will get shared either.

The recipe came from a small cookbook I bought at a store checkout counter a few years ago. This was the first recipe I made from it. It's all about cooking with beer. I have a big collection of cookbooks and hate to admit that I haven't made anything in a lot of them.

This is a peach shortcake recipe I adapted from one posted here:

Since the recipe measurements are in grams and we here in the states still use cups I had to get out my scale for measuring. It was good and a fun way to use up canned peaches.

These are somethings I've been making as I get sidetracked easily. I came across the free pattern for the tea towels while researching how to make prairie points. Those are the little triangles in case you don't know what they are. I of course made a few changes like making the triangles smaller so I could have more and adding a second row. 

 The pattern can be found at

The sunflower one I made into a cover for my sewing machine with ties at each end. I had made the mat using seashell fabric. I'm thinking I may have to dig out that fabric so I can make a matching tea towel cover.

This one covers my keyboard and mouse. Needed something to keep the cat hair off it. I was using a plain tea towel so this is much nicer.

The owls are hanging in my sewing room for now. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I know people do use them to dry dishes not to just hang and look pretty. I'm not ready to let them get used yet. Next I'm going to make 2 mat/runners for the kitchen table and island. Everything's ready to get going, I just need to do it. Guess I better get off the computer and go sew :)

Friday, June 5, 2020

Was is a coincidence or fate kicking me in the heart?

Yesterday I wrote about losing 2 of our ducks to some animal and now Nefi was taken last night. She was in a photo I posted with Jingles sleeping on the basement garden wall. We were late getting the chicken coop closed up and something, maybe a fox, went in and pulled her away. I was hysterical since I was the one who went to close up and saw all the feathers. Today, no one is getting out. I can't take losing another since the girls are so tame. The coop is pretty big and has wire windows so at least they can look out and get air but they are making a fuss wanting out. They have a fenced in yard area but Jack likes to let them free range. The fence is definitely not high enough. He also has 2 rabbits so we're worried about them, too. We'll probably move them into the large duck pen, again. It even has the roof enclosed. There was a female turkey who was coming to the wild bird feeders but she stopped last week so maybe she and her chicks were killed, too.

With all the sadness and stress I'm going thru over covid and George Floyd this was not something I needed to deal with right now. I'm fighting the depression I feel and will work to keep from becoming fully agoraphobic but it's going to be hard.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Updated Mini Clothespin Patterns

Here's another of my mini clothespin doll patterns. This one is for a topsy turvey doll! The pattern has been updated with new photos and mistakes I found have been fixed. I can't believe I never had the tiny heart in the patterns :( If anyone wants to make her, but doesn't do any wood working, I'll make up a kit like the ones I have at Etsy for the regular dolls. 

Two days ago the weather people on TV in Pittsburgh were warning of really bad thunderstorms and even possible tornados but the weather has been good with no rain so here. We could use the rain for the gardens but heavy storms could break the delicate plants. I'm not a fan of summer any more. It just means so much work. Between cutting grass and having gardens at 2 homes I'm always so tired I can't get much sewing done. So here it is the beginning of June and I'm longing for October.

Jingles is loving the weather. A fav spot is on the walls of the basement garden. I call it that because the garden is inside what was the basement of the original house on this property. One side is collapsed and that's the way in. We had to put up a makeshift fence to keep the ducks and chickens out. They ate all the beet seedlings and dug up the lettuce seeds.

The place were Jingles is in the photo below was a leaning part of the wall. Jack knocked it down because it was dangerous. There's fencing across it, too though you can't see it in the picture. Something else you can't see in the picture are the small snakes that live in the wall. Not a fan, but understand they won't hurt me so I can live with them. Nefertiti is also in the photo. She a silver laced chicken, very pretty but a bit standoffish compared to the rest.

Sadly I have to report that we have lost 2 of the female ducks. Not sure what's taking them but for now the rest are staying in their large pen. Only one female has a name, Bangles because she has 2 bands on her one leg. The rest are too similar to tell who's who. I pray everyday none of the chickens disappear. They all have names and I'd miss them so much. Jack says we need to sell off one of the male ducks now. It will be hard since we've had both for a couple of years. We have Glen, the campbell duck and Blade, the runner. Yes, I named them :)