Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tessa Perlow's Inspirational Hoop Art




I love sharing the work of embroidery artists. I stay inspired this way. Tessa Perlow's beautiful blooms can be found in her Etsy Shop. A wonderful interview with Tessa was done by Sarah K Benning in her Craft With Conscience Series. I hope Tessa's work inspires you too! Until next time...Happy Stitching! xx ~ J

Saturday, April 15, 2017

French Rose Bouquet


Hello Friends,

I promised to share a photo of my framed French Rose Bouquet Cross Stitch Pattern. The design was stitched with silk thread on white linen. You can learn more about this petite French bouquet by visiting my SHOP.


I Hope You Had A Happy Easter & Passover!
xx ~ Jilly 


Thursday, April 6, 2017

French Monogram


Hello Friends!

Many of you have written to me about this French Monogram. Thank you for your interest. I stitched the design about ten years ago. The monogram remains one of my favorite pieces. I had such a relaxing time working on this pattern. Cross stitching allows us to slow down and make something with our own hands. With each stitch, the stress of the day fades away.

It's also amazing to me how a simple piece of handmade textile art can turn up the charm in a room. Everyday, I admire the gentle scrolls, flourishes and quiet elegance of this French monogram. Fresh roses in mint julep cups and pearly-shells are part of the decor here too. I was schooled in the simple elegance of flowers in julep cups by a high-end florist I worked for in Philadelphia. Julep cups make garden roses and even supermarket flowers into something elegant and special. Effortless flower arranging at its best.



Anyway...back to the monogram. I cannot recall the exact color of the linen I used to stitch this monogram. I think it was 32-count Confederate Grey Belfast Linen made by the Zweigart Company. The color is a very light blue-grey. I usually stitch all my pieces with 32-count linen made by Zweigart. They have a nice range of colors. I used French white silk thread to stitch this piece. The French silk thread is available in my Shop.

I've contacted the French company that makes this monogram. If I can offer the monogram in my shop, I will. I'm waiting to hear back from them about whether I can sell this pattern by itself. The chart is clear. There's an alphabet of letters for personalizing the design. At present, the company only sells the pattern as a kit with natural linen. If you're interested in their kit, it's available at Rouge du Rhin. Click here to go to their website. 


Happy Stitching!
xx ~ Jilly 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Madeline Bellerose French Schoolgirl Sampler







Hello Friends!

It has been a week since I deleted my Instagram account. I feel refreshed and creative again. I know people use Instagram as an escape and a source of inspiration. There are many wonderful Instagram pages. Oh how I loved the Danish Instagrammers who posted photos from their little, snow-covered cabins in the far North. Their cabin interiors were always glowing with votive candles and firelight. They shared recipes for simple, Nordic Christmas treats like rice porridge. My husband loves the rice porridge. It's like rice pudding only much lighter. You sweeten the porridge by sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top. I'm always amazed how something so simple can be so good! As you can see, I get lost on Instagram. I get stuck there. I stop designing. I stop stitching. My husband noticed this too. I don't regret my decision to delete my Instagram page, even though my Shopify analytics gives me daily reminders that Instagram is a great social media outlet for my small business. That may be true. But the pros of leaving it behind outweigh the cons.




I love embroidery because it gives me a chance to move away from a computer screen and enjoy stitching something with my own hands. My Madeline Bellerose Sampler is currently in my hoop. The photo above is a computer generated image of the design. Once the sampler is stitched and framed, I'll post a photo here and in my shop.

Don't you just love vintage samplers? The kind that little girls stitched at school while learning the alphabet. My vintage-French schoolgirl sampler has a modern edge when stitched with white linen and beautiful, Paris-pink silk thread. I love to stitch with silk floss, but DMC embroidery floss comes in 400 colors and DMC thread is found at most craft stores. The pattern can also be stitched with white floss on colored linen.

The colors of seashells and flowers always inspire me. I keep both on my desk when designing my patterns. This is the largest pattern I've designed, measuring 9 by 14 inches. The beauty of cross stitching is the slow and meditative process. So I'll take my time and enjoy each stitch. You can learn more about this French sampler by clicking here.  Until next time...

Happy Stitching!
xx ~ Jilly    


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Moroccan Vegetarian Stew



Hello friends! How are you? I'm sharing another Moroccan stew with you. This recipe is one of my favorites.  

I love making Moroccan stews in winter. My husband and I live two miles from the Atlantic Ocean, on the North Shore of Boston. When the cold wind whips the salty sea air, this stew makes us feel cozy. If a blizzard is in full effect I play some Van Morrison, putter in my kitchen, enjoying the snow-globe-view from my window and the warm aromas from the simmering stew. Vegetarian stews comfort us with their wholesome and healthy nutrition.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Frontier Flapjacks


Hello Friends! I'm excited to share another pancake recipe with you. Unlike my usual recipes, this one relies on a box mix called Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix Non GMO Whole Wheat, Oat & Honey. The company writes that flapjacks were the hearty mainstay of frontiersmen from the Yukon to the High Sierra. These mountain men and homesteaders relied on a traditional flapjack that combined the rich, substantial taste of whole wheat with the mellow taste of whole grain oats. The flapjack has protein, fiber and very little fat. Kodiak Cakes have been featured in Weight Watchers, Vegetarian Times, Martha Stewart Living and a bunch of other publications. The ingredients on the box are all natural. (I'm not being paid to write this review. I stumbled upon this product while looking for a good, whole grain pancake mix).

Friday, March 3, 2017

Freestyle Embroidery & My Instagram Addiction

Cinder And Honey
Cinder And Honey
Cinder And Honey

Sew And Saunders 

Sew And Saunders 
Sew And Saunders 

Sew and Saunders 

Sarah K. Benning 

Sarah K. Benning 
Sarah K. Benning 

Hello Friends! How have you been? Sorry I've been MIA from the blog for awhile. We all need breaks to recharge our batteries, right? During my hiatus, I was involved in helping a few homeless folks in my city. Together with that, I spent way too much time on Instagram swooning over the work of freestyle embroidery designers and other cross stitch designers. I bought some beautiful hand-dyed pink wool from my cross stitching buddy, Jacob, across the pond. I followed his Instagram page. But instead of concentrating on my own work, I was dazzled and bewildered with the amount of beautiful Instagram photos available 24/7. There was no end to my viewing photographs, exercise videos or glimpses into kitchens, gardens and livingrooms. Instagram was my addiction. I was distracted. I was annoyed by my lack of focus. There were a number of people who shared politics along with their arts and crafts. Like bitter pills, I take my politics in doses. Sometimes I avoid politics in order to stay serene and sane. I get enough of local politics in my work with the homeless here. All of this Istagram information was a very strange brew leading to burnout. One Instagrammer said she was getting death threats for posting her opinions on various subjects. I suggested that maybe she take a break from Instagram in case she might soon suffer from burnout. Ohmigosh did she (and her other family member) let me have it! They went bonkers. After using too many exclamation points and all caps in their responses to me, they suggested that I was the one with issues. How dare I share such a self righteous and ridiculous suggestion about burnout? How dare I lecture her or assume to know what she needs?! Did I know she had support? Did I know she was an athlete? Did Mother Teresa of Calcutta take a break?! Why should she?! She loves social media! It's her calling! She knows what she is doing. According to her, I had no clue whatsoever. Maybe that's true. I should have stayed in my own lane. I have done some pretty ridiculous things in my life too. Like the time I wore pink lipstick and my pink and white polka dot sweater for a social work job at a maximum security prison. The hardened interviewer took one look at me and said, "This interview won't last more than ten minutes." I was relieved. I had no business going on that interview in the first place. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. On the way out, I asked to use the ladies room. A woman with long gray hair was bathing herself in the sink. She was naked from the waist up. I count that prison job interview (along with the outfit I wore there) as one of the ludicrous things I've done in my life. The best part of that day was the gigantic chocolate chip cookie I bought myself at a local bakery on my way home. But back to my Insta-story... this gal accused me of other untrue things. It really went too far. But I didn't take the bait. I swallowed my self-righteous-pride and sheepishly wrote "I'm sorry." I felt like I was in internet crazytown. The encounter left me hurt, angry and confused. I didn't even know this person. What made me comment on her post about breaks and burnout? What made her react in such a harsh way? I mean, it was a bit over-the-top. She was right about me needing a break. I was burnt toast. I took this weird and tense interaction as a sign to sign-off for good. She did me a big favor. That's why it's important to pray for those who hurt us. I know it's hard. But often these difficult encounters are blessings in disguise. They can lead us in the right direction or teach us an important lesson. That instant, I deleted my Instagram page. I prayed for her. I prayed for me. I made room for more offline-time. When I told my husband I deleted my Instagram he said, "Thanks be to God!" My petite shop and blog are enough for me. I missed reading the sweet and generous blogs that I used to love to follow before the Instagram-craze hit. Pinterest still inspires me. It's a peaceful place. Thankfully, I have a steady stream of readers/business from Pinterest. I'm very grateful. I kept my Twitter account because I don't use it much. I don't get sucked into Twitter. Less time on social media means more time for prayer, reflection, long walks with my dog, quiet dinners, charity-work, daydreaming and stitching. My first day away, I was in Insta-detox-mode. I was cranky. I longed for my daily fix. But then I began to enjoy the things that make me truly happy. The activities (and inactivities) that spark my creative joy. Instagram wasn't right for me. Neither is Facebook. For some people, social media is a passion. For me it's a distraction. Different strokes for different folks. I find it hard to control how many brownies I eat. I can't seem to manage how much time I spend ogling Instagram photos or reading endless comments or watching videos of folks who exercise five hours a day or live in vans or eat vegan Australian food or journey around the globe. I'm rambling too long here. It's cathartic to write this. Thank you for your patience. I suppose everyone must find their own way in life, both online and in the real world. The journey continues....

Before I said goodbye to Instagram, I was drawn to the work of Cinder And Honey, Sew And Saunders  and Sarah K. Benning. Sarah is a traveling artist. Plants are her thing. You can read more about how Sarah quit her day job, at Whole Foods, to travel to Spain and pursue her embroidery passion on The Everygirl.  (As a side note, if you're looking for some cozy comfort food, The Everygirl also shared my Butternut Squash And Apple Bisque, along with many other delicious recipes here. Sorry for shamelessly plugging my recipe.)