Oh, we've been busy the last few weeks. We love to play, but we do love to work, too, and this spring, after our hiatus, our creative juices started to flow, and we have some new products that we think will really fly off the shelves.
First of all, we have a whole new line of items - "Mademoiselle's Oak Tree Folly Accoutrements". We imagined a little French girl sitting under an oak tree and stitching with all her treasures around her. What kind of stitching treasures would she have? We started with a glove scissors pocket, complete with stork embroidery scissors;
moved on to a shoe etui, which holds a thimble, pretty beaded pins and, of course, needles;
and added a fan scissors pocket/needleminder/etui, which comes complete with dainty Storkette scissors, beaded pins, needles and a magnetic closure which doubles as a needle minder.
The thread palette, a sweet horn book needle book and matching bookmark fill up her sewing basket. Such fun!
And... ta da ta ra! We have new boxed sets! FINALLY! We started working on a nautical set last summer. As most of you know, a few wrenches thrown into the works slowed us down, but we kept at it!
We have two new boxes, on the nautical theme - The Sailor's Ditty Box - a lovely box with accordion fold pages, which we've filled up with toys and charts for you. The adorably colored fish scissors are to die for! Both boxed sets have now sold out - thank you all so much!
A companion to the Ditty Box, or just to have for traveling, is the Itty Bitty Ditty! Just big enough for a pair of Little Gems scissors, a needle threader, waxer and pin-keep, the box will hold your orts and the ribbon on the scissors, as well as the magnet in the lid will make sure you don't have any stray needles or scissors rolling down the airplane aisles.
Our boxes are all made of papier-mache, then grain-painted. That's the most fun part - we mix up our colors and make each box unique and beautiful! I just love the seafoam green we dreamed up for our nautical theme!
There are a few more new items - take a look!
Now, just where do Will and Jo come in? Not to mention a DIABOLICAL plot!
The last weekend in July, Becky and I traveled to Cedar City, Utah to attend a Swan Sampler Guild retreat. During the day, we learned finishing techniques for Betsy Morgan's Toy Chest Etui, and in the evening, we attended the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which is where Will comes in. The Swans really do things up well - we had so much fun, and met such interesting and friendly members from all over. We stayed in a gorgeous old Victorian house turned into a B & B. If you get a chance to go to Cedar City, you should definitely stay at the Iron Gate!
While we were there, we previewed our new items, including some we thought would be especially of interest to Swans, such as the Swan Lace Scissors Pocket, and matching Swan Lace Etui.
It's always so fun to show our "babies" to a new audience, and this was no exception! The Swan items are now all on the website, so if you're a Swan who missed the retreat, or just like these pretty designs, go and check them out!
Okay, you say - I don't see any diabolical pacts.... But wait!
Many of you, who are following the progress of our free Dark Alphabet will know that Jo is actually stitching it! I'm afraid, because I have been working to get things done for the Toy Box Etui, that even I have not stitched much, though I do intend to fix that now. But Jo is getting lonely... so she has devised a nefarious plot to get you all involved! Here it is in her own words:
"My plan is to invite people to enter into a "diabolical pact" with me to finish this first! I'm know people are collecting the patterns and I'm sure some are stitching but not sharing so I thought I'd challenge everyone to try beat me in finishing the letters A-Z. Not the personalised squares because not everyone will be doing those and I'm doing two! We're not halfway through the designs yet so there's plenty of time to catch up.
People would have to let you and me know they want to enter into the pact then email you a photo of their finished project. I will treat the first person to email you the completed A-Z in any format (sampler or individual ornaments) to something from your shop to the value of US$10 but only if they beat me to doing it first!
If I finish first then I take their soul or their first-born child. I'm not fussy! Seriously though, I just like the idea of having someone else to SAL with. This will not be open to Julie or any employees/friends/family who may have early peeks at the charts
They don't need a blog to take part!"
Even though I can't win, I do promise to try to keep up! And of course, In the Company of Friends will also throw in a prize to whoever finishes first! May the best stitcher win!
All that said, of course, we don't have a letter this week! But we do, indeed, have a chart for you. While we were in Utah, a few people noticed that I had stitched an extra "toy" for myself - a Ouija Board. Since a number of folks asked, and since it's my own design, we're offering that up here as our freebie this week. This is kind of an intense stitch (and of course, I did it over one to fit it into my space). But I think it turned out great!
So, click on Freebies in the sidebar or on the picture above to take you to the freebies page for the chart of the Ouija board. Choose your own colors, or look at my finished piece for inspiration. I colored it to go with the rest of my toys, but if I were doing this as a stand-alone, I'd probably do it a single, dark color on a warm brown linen, or all in muted brown threads.
Next time - back to the Dark Alphabet!