Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dabbling in Design, Freebies and Spaghetti!

Hi, stitching friends!

I am so, so, so excited to share with you a new adventure! I've been wanting to design my own cross-stitch patterns for a while now, and I finally did it. Before I "retired" last year because of stupid cancer, I worked as a graphics designer, first for my hometown newspaper in central Idaho doing ad and page design, then in ad design and layout for a sports fundraising company in Boise. About a hundred years ago, I worked as a rodeo photographer and a web designer. I've had the design bug for as long as I can remember.

I wanted to do something that I could say was from me, from my imagination and from my heart. When I stitch a pattern I've purchased, it's so much fun, but coming up with something on my own has been such a rewarding, fun, fulfilling experience, like taking cross stitch to the next level.

It's a lot of work! Thinking, "How can I make this idea work? That's gonna be tough!" Silencing the internal critic. And trying to balance colors... phew! I've found that what looks good on screen often does not translate when I pick out colors, stitch the piece and find out that those colors are just... meh. Back to the drawing board again and again, but loving every second of the challenge. I remember reading on a blog by Seth Godin about approaching every challenge with one thought: This might work. Remember that: This might work. It's a great way to overcome self-doubt.

So there you have it... on to the designs!
I started by checking out a book from the local library called Charted Folk Designs for Cross-Stitch Embroidery, a selection of pattern snippets collected by Maria Foris from old samplers. It is a wonderful book. I charted some of the patterns as is, then changed them to fit my layout, changed colors (the book's original designs are in red and black only), and flat out changed some things until something in my brain went "yes!"

I stitched it once and decided that my colors were all wrong, so I chose different colors and stitched it again. That's the hardest part - choosing colors. There are just so many beautiful overdyed threads out there, it's hard to pick! But I am really happy with my final color selection. I sewed it into a little pillow, backing it with the fabric shown behind it, and attached some handmade cording - first time using my Kreinik cord maker, so be kind! It takes some getting used to.

If you would like to stitch this, here is the pattern.

Next, I wanted to try designing something more original. For inspiration, I turned to Charles Wysocki, one of my favorite artists. And, I used words from one of my favorite poets, E. E. Cummings. His poem [in Just-] is one of my favorites, and the words "Mud Luscious and Puddle Wonderful" are from that poem (and are a great example of assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds - I was an English major!).
This was so much fun to design! And that little piggy really threw me. It's hard to design itty bitty things! I finished it into a little pillow, backing it with the brown floral fabric in the yo-yo, and embellished the yo-yo with a brad from Stampin Up.

If you would like to stitch this little fella, here is the pattern.

If you stitch either one of these, would you please send me a link to a photo? I would love to see!

My son is 15 now, and it has been a goal of mine to make sure this young man knows how to cook. He knows how to make the basics, like pancakes and scrambled eggs, and has even attempted Philly cheese steaks with beer-cheese sauce. I bought him The Culinary Bro-Down cookbook by Josh Scherer for Christmas. It's full of F bombs and recipes that use beer - apparently a staple in "manly" cooking. He loves this book. If you have a young man in your life who thinks cooking is woman's work, get him this book!
He is taking "teen living" (what was called home ec when I went to school), and his teacher taught them how to make spaghetti with meat sauce. He made this for us last week, and it was so good, and so much better than any sauce out of a jar. Psssst.... don't tell him you saw his photo on my blog. When I started this blog, he said, "OK, Mom, but keep me out of it!" Whoops. Hey, proud mama here. Couldn't resist.
Later this week, my wonderful husband and I are heading to one of our favorite spots on earth, the Oregon coast. (Our son is not into scenery, so he will be home over Spring Break with Grandma. Going out to movies and dinner and staying up late to play online games - that is his idea of vacation.) When we go to Oregon, we usually stay in Newport in a hotel on the beach, but this year, we are going with friends and staying in a condo in Depoe Bay. So looking forward to showing them our favorite sites, including Nye Beach (photo above... it's impossible to take a bad photo with that light), Nana's Irish Pub and the Christmas shop in Lincoln City.

Until next time, friends! Happy stitching!


  1. MEG!! I am so impressed with your SUPER SWEET designs! Oh that pig! Well done my friend. Have a beautiful trip.

  2. Hi Meg....

    I was just thinking about you this morning and wondering how your designing was coming along! Now I know...grins...and both of your designs are absolutely, without a doubt, beautiful and terrific and just plain wonderful! I am in love with both of them! Thank you so much for sharing the patterns! The little pig in the barn is going to be a gift for a dear friend that I have grown up with who adores pigs! I know she will love this!

    Enjoy your trip to the Oregon coast! My favorite place ever is the California coast....San Diego up to Carmel...anyplace is beautiful with many happy memories!

    I loved English and English Lit! If I hadn’t wanted to be a teacher so very badly I would have been a I dabble in children’s stories from time to time!

    Sending hugs and live your way!

  3. Meg, Your designs are adorable! Enjoy your trip to the coast!

  4. WOW Meg you really did it. Both of your stitches are creative and adorable and so darn cute!!! You are a very talented lady. And you learn very quick because I think your cording looks fabulous. Both stitches are very special but the barn stitch is my favorite. I truly love it and will definitely be taking your gracious pattern. Love that saying! And look at you designing, cording, yo yo's. Your colors are great and look at that hay...perfect. Great job all around. Have a super wonderful trip. It sounds like pure bliss. RJ

  5. I forgot to say that the spaghetti looks great and your son is a doll. Great idea to teach him how to cook. RJ

  6. Congratulations on both of your designs! The plate of spaghetti looks fabulous. Care to share the sauce recipe? I hope you have a wonderful trip to the coast.

  7. Great designs Meg! I live in Eugene and love the coast from Florence to Lincoln City.

  8. Hi Meg,
    Congratulations, you have achieved two great motives, you really have talent.

  9. Well done with your designing, I love the mud luscious and puddle wonderful design. x

  10. Congratulation.
    Your desgins are wonderful. You have talent.
    Have a nice vacation.
    Best wishes Manuela

  11. Meg, Congratulations on creating two wonderful designs!! I love them both but the Mudluscious and Puddle wonderful design is totally charming. I love barns and pigs and your design is too stinkin cute!!! You certainly have an eye for color too! Did you use a cross stitch program to make the charts? You did great on the cording, I have tried to make cording and still haven't gotten the hang of it, great job on that!
    Your so smart to encourage your son to cook!! That's a cute photo, did you use photo shop to get that neat effect? I hope you have a glorious vacation on the Coast!! Happy Easter to you. Mary

  12. Thank you for kindly sharing your wonderful patterns!

  13. Both of your designs are excellent! Thank you for sharing them with us, and I do hope that you will do more. I do think that you original design is fabulous and I love the hay spilling from the loft, what a great detail. I had not read that poem before now, it's quite lovely and very fitting for your design. Enjoy your lovely vacation - I too love the Washington and Oregon coasts.

  14. Hi Meg! Your designs are delightful and the second one is so "on-trend" with the interest in farm stitching that seems to be taking over the cross-stitching world :) I love the way you stitched the long lines of the hay--too cute. And that piggy--oh, my :)

    Your cording looks great--it will become second nature to you as you make more and more. I LOVE making cording and love the way it finishes off little pillows so nicely.

    Good for you for teaching your son to cook--wish I had done that as mine didn't know anything when they left home. The oldest has turned into quite a cook and even more of a baker (like me) and the middle one helps out his girlfriend. The youngest? Hopeless--I think he eats every meal out except breakfast...

    Hope you and your husband have a lovely relaxing holiday! It looks so beautiful in your photo. I've never been to the Pacific northwest at all so I hope you'll take lots of photos and share them with us :) Enjoy!!

  15. thanks so much for sharing your patterns! Absolutely love the barn and will just have to stitch it up..
    You put a smile on my face this morning, thanks again! Love the patterns

  16. Oh, girl, I’m so proud of you! You’ve had a wonderful beginning and I wish you many more years of design. Judy

  17. Beautiful designs. Thank you for sharing. I'm still getting to grips with my Kreinik corder. Enjoy your break.

  18. These are adorable designs, Meg. Thank so much for sharing. I wish you all the best of luck with your designing career.
    All of my children learned at home how to cook by watching me cook and by cooking together with me. Now they are better cooks than I am, by far.
    I hope your time out in Oregon has been wonderful. You are right, the Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful places in your country.

  19. What fantastic designs! I agree with Carol, the piggy barn is very on-trend and so cute! I'm hiding it from my 9 year old son as he really loves pigs and it will be added to my ever-increasing must-stitch list.


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