Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's Here!

You can see that we have been busy working on getting our samplers framed (Julie's is ready for the framer now, but not quite there yet).  And while we've kept ourselves busy and working away on some surprises for January, our advance copy of what we now refer to as "The Book!" (the exclamation point is essential) arrived!  It's beautiful - everything we'd hoped for!  When we started on this journey, a little over a year ago,  we never dreamed what was in store for us.  It's been an up and down, roller-coaster of a ride as we "learned  by doing"!  We do have to say that it would not have been possible without the mentoring of our wonderful friend, Jacqueline Holdsworth of Needleprint.  She guided us through so many new avenues and saw us safely on our journey!  If there's another person more generous with her time, energy and spirit, we don't know who it could be!

We are thrilled with the results of our labors, and in this picture it's a little deceiving - this is a big book!  350 plus pages, filled with years of research, biographies, and pictures!  Over 100 girls' work is shown here in glorious color!  And the work done by the author - Joanne Martin Lukacher - is incredible!  She draws the reader in to a world gone by and shows how a unique sampler style came into being - how it is the result of the time and place it originated.  A fascinating study...

Here's a sneak peek!

Many of you have kindly been asking to be contacted when the book was ready for pre-ordering - we had lots to consider and finally we received all the shipping information as well as everything else we needed to price the book, and we are now ready.  

Imitation and Improvement will sell for $92.95 plus shipping and handling charges.  We are taking orders on our website and will be shipping in the second half of January, if all goes well with customs.  Naturally, any pre-orders will be filled first and you will receive your book as soon as we get them!

We will also let you know who, among your favorite needlework stores, and other sources, is carrying the book so you can save a bit on the shipping (it's a heavy book!)  So far, Attic Needlework in Arizona has ordered some.  As others do as well, we will let you know!  

In the pictures above you see two samplers that are "in the Norfolk style", and that, at first glance, look exactly alike, but they are not.  The chart to this original design is included with the book - and we hope you truly enjoy stitching it.  The classic Norfolk sampler, as shown on the cover of the book, is absolutely gorgeous, and we loved making our own chart with all the elements that go into the classic style.  Ours is shown stitched two ways.  Becky's is all counted work, except for the satin-stitch bows, while Julie tried the free-embroidery for the outside floral border.  The chart includes both ways so you can personalize the sampler the way you would like.  

Now, Santa would bring it a little late, but wouldn't this make a marvelous Christmas gift?  Sending this link to a loved one who might be wondering what to get you could be a good idea!

If you're a member of a guild - good news!  We are offering a 20% discount to any guild that places a group order of 8 books or more to one address (you'll save on shipping, too).  This is a great way to either pass on the savings to guild members (a wonderful perk for members) or to raise funds for all the guild does!  Either way, everyone wins!  

Now, of course, this is not the only thing we've worked on this year though it's certainly received most of our attention!  But we don't want you to forget that there's only a few weeks left to enroll in the Tokens of Friendship subscription!  Who doesn't want to receive a wonderful surprise in the mail, all gift-wrapped and ready to please!  Multiply that by four times in a year, and you have a gift that will really wow someone special!  

For a brilliant glint of gold - try our Gilded Swan - the latest in our line of boxed sets - something really special for yourself or someone on your gift list!  This hand-painted set comes complete with all you see here - so wonderful!  Each one is unique, as we make them up by hand.  The grain-painting is glittering with gold, and the special needlework tools inside are ready and waiting for you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


There is very little we like as much as Christmas, so we decided to take a pre-holiday jaunt to San Francisco, and we had a lovely time.  In fact, we thought we should show you!  Becky had found a Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco, and we decided it must be the perfect time to visit our friend Marian in the Bay Area.  Here we are enjoying a night out with her.  

Marian Soss, whose sampler collection is the subject of our book "Let Love Abide", is all things delightful, and we had a wonderful time visiting with her.  It was so good to just sit and talk - you know how that goes....

We also did a little shopping, of course, but one reason for our trip was to get away from the dreary Seattle rain and find a little sun!  Well - torrential rains and winds met us and kept up until we left, so that was not to be, but we did manage to find a few bright spots!  Here's Becky shopping in Berkeley, where she found "her restaurant"!

This little movie also shows how enchanted we were with the Christmas lights the shops featured.

But the piece de resistance was, of course, The Dickens Fair.  Come with us into the street of London during  the Dickensian period....

First, you will be met by Maudie Hawkins, whose little dog is "the very best ratter in all of London town!"  She also sells bits of lace and fabric in case you are in a buying mood...  And if later on, you decide you do want her services after all, why, just "send a telegram to Maudie 'Awkins in Grey's Lane and she'll come round to your 'ouse straightaway!"

You might also be accosted by a chimney-sweep, or some of the "ladies" down by the docks! 

We were invited to a tea party by the Mad Hatter, which did not best please the Queen of Hearts, who had NOT received her invite!  

But all ended well with Alice and other children enjoying their tea and riddles very much!  "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" you might well ask.  You won't get an answer, but you might well ask.

On we went to enjoy the entertainment (country dancing in this case), and later to peruse what there might be to eat.

We visited Mr. Dickens' home, and were told the great man himself would be there later in the day, but alas, we missed him!  

We thought about the local pub,

but the Cornish pasties in a shop window were calling us

another bakery featured gingerbread and other delights  - we were spoiled for choice!

We continued through the streets of London

listened to a speech on temperance

tried on hats in a lovely shop

marveled at the signs of the shops!

We  noted that the fair was in town and thought about seeing the Bearded Lady and other Wonders...

or riding the carousel....

Becky even convinced Julie to pose for a picture!

Perhaps not her best side....

There was a pretty little Tea Shoppe, 

with an excellent kitchen...

and we peeked in at an afternoon soiree.

Victorian rooms are just filled with so many interesting things to see....

Speaking of interesting things, this fellow seemed to be an inventor of some sort - very scientific!

We ended the day with some wonderful Christmas carols, before we were whisked back home by jet!
It was a lovely stroll back in time, and we hope you've enjoyed the trip as much as we did!

This trip certainly pointed out that I am NOT ready for Christmas!  Are you?  If you have any stitching friends you still need to find things for, why not take a look at what's new over at In the Company of Friends?  

Tokens of Friendship is a wonderful gift - for your friend, your spouse, or yourself!  The deadline for signing up for this year-long extravaganza of gifts is coming up - don't miss out!  

All of our Golden Splendor Casket boxed sets are gone now - but we do still have some of the very nicely priced Gilded Swan Sets - we hurried to get these done for Christmas giving because we knew how much fun they would be.  Get yours while they last!

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