Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Strawberry Patch

    My third son loves strawberries. Always has. Back when he was a toddler our strawberry patch occupied the lower portion of a significantly large garden. He toddled down the hill to the garden every morning hoping that the strawberries were ripe. He'd sit in the dirt and walk around in his bare toes talking to the plants, waiting. One morning I brought down an old chippy paint chair and put it at the edge of the strawberry patch so he could watch the berries from up high, and more importantly to the crop, in one place. Oh, he was so excited to have his own chair! I loved watching him sit on that chair as he talked to himself or the worms and kept watch over the berries.

     Recently, I designed a chair pad after an old wooden butter mold that had been decorated with a strawberry plant. The whole time I was hooking it, the memory of the chair in the strawberry patch and the brown-eyed boy who held vigil over it kept coming to my mind. It's one of my favorite gardening memories.

The PDF pattern is available in my Etsy Shop.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Walking in the Snow

   It's nearly midnight and I just shook the snow off my boots and hung my coat up by the fire to dry after a walk in the snow. Walking at night in the snow is one of my favorite things to do. Stella is upon us and I am looking forward to being snowed in by morning.
    Vintage photo, maybe 1966, of my brother and I walking up our driveway in Chester County, Pa. The car was at the bottom for sure. I've been walking up snowy driveways my whole life. Swapped one hill as a kid for another as an adult. Bring on the snow!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Old Blue and White

Old blue and white on the clothes line with fresh March snow all around. The coverlet isn't antique or even vintage old but it's been around for quite awhile. It's a beautiful wool reproduction from Family Heirloom Weavers. They do beautiful work and this coverlet is no exception. I love the pattern and the hand stitching that binds the two panels together.

Not to be out done by my much loved gray blue agate pail with wooden. Now this is very old. I picked it up years ago in an antique store. It has hung by my door on a wooden peg filled with clothes pins for many years. It's one of the reasons I like to hang out the laundry.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Flock of Robins

Every year it happens and today was the day. Once again a flock of robins flew in and overtook our hillside. Not just one, two, or three to let us know Spring is on it's way. A whole flock.

 I've been expecting them.

Several years ago, their arrival inspired a new rug hooking design.

Because the pussy willow bushes are always open when they come, I included a few branches in the design. However, the rug is centered around a beautiful orangey-red over dyed wool perfect for a robin. I finished the rug as a pillow but it will also make a nice rug. 

The pattern is available through my Etsy shop in both in paper format and hand drawn on
unbleached primitive linen.  I'd love for you to stop by www.myWinterCottage.etsy.com.

Friday, March 3, 2017

March: In Like A LIon

Here in Berks County PA we have made it to March without any significant snowfall. I'm lamenting a winter without snow but it's time to move on with the year. Of course, there's always hope that a March snow storm will hit. March came in like a lion yesterday with the wind kicking up and branches swaying. The birds might have even been flying sideways!

The hooked lion is from a new Sunday Rug that I designed. It tells the story of Daniel in the Lions' Den. The story reminds me that in the face of uncertainty, even death, God is our deliverer. We can trust Him!
On a lighter note I'm reminded of the old adage "in like a lion out like a lamb". If it holds true we should be in for a milder end to the blustery start of March. The daffodils are up and ready to open, the lilac buds are pushing out, and the larkspur volunteers are already up and growing taller, all due to the extremely mild winter for it's quite early for those things to be happening already.

I wish my grand daughter lived closer so she could come and touch the cottony softness of the pussy willows growing out back. I showed her via FaceTime a bouquet of pussy willow branches that I had gathered. She picked out her favorite branch so I'm going to box it up with a few extras and send it to her. I remember my grandfather bringing me pussy willow branches when I was young and being mesmerized by their softness. I love that I get the chance to do the same for my grandchild even if it means sending them through the post.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Just sitting without any handwork going almost scares me. Ha! What will I do? Just sit there? Some of you may know exactly what I'm saying. Often, before heading out the door or joining the family to watch a movie, I'm in a scramble trying to assemble a small enough project to fit in my work bag. Today when I dug into the bottom of my workbag, I found a pinned stack of little house pieces. I don't remember what my plan was when I cut them out or if I even had a plan (more likely) but I do remember I was on my way to babysit the grandkids. I settled in on this cozy wintry day and hand stitched the house together. It's a very humble house, plain, and not even straight but I love the look. Still not sure how I will finish her. I thought of adding her to a quilt block or small pillow or maybe onto a drawstring bag. Still thinking about it but I'd love to show her to you and see what you think.

Oops! She needs a chimney. Chimney or no chimney, it was the perfect day to stitch. The boys were home, thick snowflakes falling, laughter, coffee, fires in the fireplace and in the wood stove, and the day gave way to one of those January days when time stands still and peace gives hope of life and more life to come.
Wintertide is here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hanging Laundry on the Line

Hanging out the laundry is a regular chore around here. And yet I have found that in the midst of the very hectic schedule of the last couple weeks that I have looked forward to taking the extra minutes needed to hang out the laundry. The mindless pinning, unpinning and folding have given me many opportunities to slow down, take a deep breath and appreciate the day. The crispness to the air, the honking of geese overhead and the brilliant colors across the hill have renewed me as I carry the full laundry basket into the house to continue with my day. A chore and yet so much more.