"No American woman, let her speak all the tongues, and play on all the instruments invented,
can be said to be educated, if she is not a good needle-woman."
-Catharine Maria Sedgwick

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feeling Lucky

What a magical weekend! My dear friends Elizabeth Newlin, Marsha Worley, and Ruth Sparrow were here at my home. SUCH a treat! We spent several days planning and working on Trilogy designs for the coming year. It has been several years since we have been able to arrange to be together for a weekend designing retreat. So this was long anticipated. Skype just isn't the same as seeing each other in person.

This photograph is from the airport reunion when I picked the girls up on Thursday. EEK we were giddy with the delight of being together again...can you tell from the picture?!?! That's Marsha on the far left, taxi-driver me, Elizabeth, and Ruth on the far right. (Did I mention Henry Winkler arrived in Cincinnati at the same time as the Trilogy gals? I thought I was seeing things!)

We were very productive in our quest to get a lot of Trilogy designing done. I can't divulge too much, but suffice it to say there are bees buzzing, birds chirping, love stories and neighborhood tableaux in the offing!

Saturday was my birthday and it was a great blessing to be able to spend it with these friends. We took a break from designing and went out for dinner to a restaurant that looks over Cincinnati. The food was fabulous, the view from our window-side table exquisite and the friendship unmatched. A treasure of a birthday for me. I will remember it for many years. Here's a picture of our view from the restaurant.

We stayed up too late, giggled about the silliest of things, reminisced about our years of friendship, shared stories about our families, worked hard designing, and shed a few tears over the great love we have for one another. Feeling lucky today. So very lucky.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blessings Abound!

The dining room window was open the other day. The late afternoon air was crisp. The sounds of early autumn came tumbling in: neighbor twins crunching through the fallen leaves to get in a few last minutes on the swings, the crack of firewood being split by a hatchet, the high school marching band practicing after school. Where did summer go? Seems like yesterday we were sweating through the blistering heat to move my daughter from Michigan to New York City. And I still haven't been able to outwit the groundhog who likes my pots of blooming annuals. Now those leggy flowers need to be pulled out of their homes as we put the summer season to rest.

A new season of designs are being released. As we spend more time indoors, there are fresh products in the stores to revive our homes, to create as treasures for friends and family. I hope you will find something at your favorite needlework store to invigorate your home this autumn.

I really enjoyed working on the new two-part series of large leaflets, Notes to Self. These designs are all reminders I know I need frequently. I think so many of us get caught up in the rush of daily responsibilities that we forget what is important in life. Stitch this design and hang it where you will be reminded to value what really matters. Don't forget to purchase the Notes to Self  button package with embellishments specially dyed for this design.

It's a Cinch! Celebrate is a new kit intended for the celebration of life's achievements: birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and the like. It's a Cinch! kits are quick to stitch and designs easy enough for a beginning stitcher. The kit includes fabric, embellishments and the chart.

Wee Santa 2011 is the 16th santa in this series! Hard to believe there have been that many. This St. Nick was a joy to stitch. The packages on his back are certain to hold holiday surprises! This is the first year we have included the embellishments inside every Wee Santa 2011 chart. Because of that, you will notice a pricing change, but all you need is some linen and thread and you will be set to stitch!

Doesn't Wee One: Snowman on a Hill make you smile? This fellow looks downright gleeful to be standing on that blustery hill surrounded by twinkling stars. His blue and green scarf is keeping him warm and the view of the scenery below is spectacular! So much fun to stitch! Just like Wee Santa 2011, we have included the button embellishments inside each Wee One: Snowman on a Hill chart.

I hope this update provided you with something new you wanted to stitch or the incentive to go catch up on the latest releases at your local needlework store or website. Better get stocked up on new supplies, before we know it, we will be holed up in our houses looking out at the snow ourselves! Enjoy this season of bounty!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where did spring go?

Can't believe spring has come and gone. It was a busy one around here. Our oldest daughter graduated with her Master's degree from the University of Michigan and got engaged all in one month! Exciting times. We had her recital to attend and end of the year events that kept us on the road north. Now she is readying to move to New York City. She's always dreamt of living in "the Big Apple." It's finally happening. This photograph of our two daughters was taken on the occasion of Elise's Master's recital in April.

Heart in Hand has released a design that has been requested by many over the years: Pocket Sampler: Daughter. The Pocket Sampler series provides small samplers filled with specialty stitches and always embellished with a sterling silver word charm. We have released Pocket Sampler designs for Mom, Dad, Friend, Baby, Boo! and now Daughter. Despite the specialty stitches, these designs are quick finishes and wonderful gifts for those close to you. The photos show the piece matted and framed, and a little closer version so you can get a better idea of the design itself. What a wonderful surprise for your daughter, or someone who has become like a daughter to you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Today....Tomorrow?

Winter warriors are giddy this week here in southwestern Ohio. We actually hit 78 degrees within the last few days. My daffodils are dancing in the cool spring breezes. What joy! Tomorrow? High predicted to be only 42. Ugh. Ah well, Randy and I are off to Michigan tomorrow anyway. Ice and snow in their forecast today. Our daughter Elise is singing the role of Beth in the University of Michigan's opera Little Women. Cannot wait!

Wanted to quickly share a couple photos of new Trilogy designs we have released. Do ask your needlework shop to order them in if they haven't yet. Wedding Lineup is a perfect gift for your favorite newly married or not-so-newly married couple. Can't you just hear the tin cans clinking at the back of that getaway vehicle? ha! Instructions are included on how you can personalize the stitched design for the happy couple.

Spring Sneak Peek is the next in our popular Sneak Peek series. Bugs, gnomes, flowers and all things spring are peeking into view in this design. With the blizzard-of-a-winter Marsha endured in Oklahoma this year, I feel confident she just might be the most gleeful of all the Trilogy designers about spring! Elizabeth is our thread and fabric picking guru for the Trilogy. I think she did an awesome job with this one. The colors just make me happy. Hope you are finding time to stitch something that makes you happy this spring!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer

I hope you have friends who rekindle your inner spirit. I know I do. I have written before about my friendship with my Trilogy partners Ruth, Marsha and Elizabeth. We have Skype sessions together a couple of times a month. I love hearing their voices. Inevitably one of Elizabeth's sweet children joins us and we all delight in hearing her precious voice. Ruthie's doggie sometimes needs to go outside so we patiently wait for her return. (Our Skype sessions, you see, are much like spending a few precious minutes in each other's homes.) And Marsha is often quiet. Well, quiet until she has surveyed the situation and makes a profound comment which explains why we lovingly call her "Pearl" for the pearls of wisdom she imparts. It is comforting to know that no matter how many miles are between us, we are there for each other no matter what. We have shared a lot together. Births, deaths, illnesses, and maybe more birthdays than we want to admit. I look forward to all there is still to share with these wonderful women friends of mine.

There are other friends in my life who are also great blessings. Kathy is my walking buddy. We have been walking together for years. It all started when our daughters were applying for college and we walked and talked through the process together. Elise is about to graduate with her Master's degree so that means Kathy and I have probably been walking together every week for 8 years. Wonder how many pairs of shoes I have worn through in that time? Then there is my pal Polly. She is a nut! I cannot spend five minutes with Polly without laughing. She has a zest for life that may be unmatched. Then there is my internet confidante Betsy. We met online through our daughter's like interests. She lives in Philadelphia. I live in Cincinnati. After corresponding online for a couple of years we were finally in the same city at the same time and shared a meal together. Our connection began because our daughters were involved in the same field. But we soon found out there was more to our connection than our offspring. Interestingly, Betsy is a fiber artist. She combines beads and knitting into breathtaking jewelry. My dear friend Betsy is insightful, thoughtful and forthright. Nancy has been my chum since the 1st grade. THAT is a long time! She is the graphics designer for Heart in Hand. What a gift her many talents have been to me over the years of running my business. But Nancy is also godmother to my oldest daughter, so our friendship runs deep.

I imagine many of you have special friends who have stood by you through the trials of life. We learn so much about ourselves through our friendships. I have celebrated friendship in my designs over the years. Here are pictures of some of my favorites. Maybe one of them is a perfect gift for one of your friends.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart in Hand History

Happy Presidents Day! I thought since we are celebrating a part of our country's history -- our Presidents -- I would take this opportunity to blog a bit about Heart in Hand Needleart's history.

I learned to cross stitch at an early age. My grandmother, Ferrill Shay, who was known to her grandchildren as Ben-Ben, taught me to cross stitch in elementary school. Ben-Ben lived in southern Illinois and I was raised in southern Ohio so we didn't see each other but once or twice a year. But when we did, she always had a project going. This was in the 1960s and 1970s so cross stitching was stamped on pillowcases and quilts. That was Ben-Ben's specialty.

Once I was in high school I was more involved in theater and music so there wasn't much time for cross stitching. But when I finished college and started my first "real" job, I had free time and so I began cross stitching again.

In 1985, I was working in television news in Cincinnati. Randy and I had been married for 3 years. I gave birth to a beautiful red-headed baby boy on Labor Day. Matthew died within 15 minutes of his birth. The death of our firstborn devastated our lives. I turned to my needlework for comfort. I stitched dozens of Christmas ornaments that fall to give away to friends and family. I don't know what I would have done without my needlework. It truly was my therapy. Many of you understand this because you have written me over the years and told me your story. You have shared with me how stitching has brought you through illness and sorrow. I truly am honored and humbled each time a stitcher shares his or her story with me. What a touch point this commonality gives us.

I started creating some of my own designs eventually and entered a "design a heart" contest sponsored by a needlework magazine. Winning the contest gave me the confidence to design even more and eventually, after being encouraged by others in the industry, I published my first designs in 1994. And here we are 17 years later and I am still stitching and designing.

Needlework buoyed me from grief when I needed it. Losing Matthew helped me realize what was important in my life. My daughters Elise and Allison are everything to me. With my heart in hand, I have raised them alongside Randy. Running my own business allowed me to work from home to be near the girls as they were growing up. Heart in Hand Needleart has allowed me to live my life and my work with my heart in hand.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 2011

I love designing hearts. I guess that's one of the reasons why my company is named Heart in Hand Needleart. There are a lot of new heart designs to share this month. I've had many calls from people wanting to order the 2011 Collector's Heart kit. This is the 13th Collector's Heart kit published by Heart in Hand. Several are no longer available but many are still in stock so don't hesitate to ask your favorite needlework shop to order some of the older kits for you. We'll be happy to send them out. Isn't it time you dedicated a corner somewhere in your house to hearts?

This year's heart has the word "Smitten" on it. What do you think of when you see the word "smitten?" The time you were infatuated with the curly-headed boy who sat in front of you in elementary school? How spellbound you were when your first child was placed in your arms? The bewitched feeling your husband gave you when he slipped your sparkling engagement ring on your finger? Smitten. Stitch this for someone you love this year. Someone who leaves you, well, smitten.

What Makes it Love? is a design fit for all year, not just February. Lots of colorful hearts, sweet treats, cupid's arrow, hugs and kisses leave us yearning for happily ever after. Red, pink, and purple threads along with several sizes of colorful round buttons makes a playful but strong statement about LOVE!

If you are looking for a quick but heartfelt design to commemorate a wedding or anniversary, I Do just might fill the bill. The design gives you a spot to insert the date of the wedding you are celebrating. You could change the color of the heart to better match the decor of the couple's home or the wedding colors. Feel free to personalize I Do in a way that will create a real treasure for the couple.

Love Triplet is the latest in our series of Triplet leaflets. I am so enjoying stitching these designs. Because they are so bright and colorful, they lift my spirits when the skies are grey and the news from around the world is troubling. Don't we just want something bright to cheer us all up and remind us of our many blessings? That's what the Triplet designs do for me. Love Triplet contains three designs: Crush, True Love, and Be Mine.