Hello & Happy New Year!

Hello dear friends, and Happy New Year! We hope you had a splendid 2018. Somewhere between September and December we fell off the blogosphere, but here we are, plucky as ever, and ready to embark on a big and beautiful new year.

Of course we can’t have a proper catch-up without chatting a bit about the weather. If you’ve spent any time in Southern California, you know the seasons are a little tricksy here: slow, subtle, playful, and sometimes utterly confusing. Autumn of 2018 was wet and windy, followed by a pre-winter stint of cold and fog. (This is fog country; Our town’s first hockey team was called, “The Fog.” #YouKnowItsSeriousWhen) Watching the storms blow through the garden is always eerie and beautiful. The crepe myrtle leaves turned a fierce shade of red, and after the storm they looked particularly lovely against the fresh green clover. By now the tree is bare, her white trunk and branches looking stark and lovely against the cold blue winter sky. And just as we begin to settle into winter, spring blossoms are popping up all over town. So tricksy. I should note, we’re already sorting through the seed stash and making garden plans! Last summer was the first summer in ages we did not sow a flower and vegetable garden (for good reason – more on that later!) But this year, it’s back on, baby. My zinnia game is strong.

 

 

Dennis and I got a wee bit tired towards the end of 2018, I must admit; Just a little worn for the year and all the work we’ve done. But we got some much-needed rest, recovered from a stubborn cold, met commission deadlines, got Chinese take-away, etc. It all worked out. Oh, and I crocheted a pair of mittens! That’s been on my to-do list for years. (I promise a proper ta-dah when all the ends have been woven in.) Of course, there have been gobs of seasonal stitchery, and bunches of new kawaii cross stitch patterns at Trellis & Thyme! (We’ve had a marvelous time playing and designing in our favorite kawaii style.)

 

 

And then there’s Coolba. He’s gotten particularly pudgy and poofy this season, and nothing is quite as cozy as falling alseep with him in my arms. (He’s a wonderful snuggler and will sleep in my arms for hours. And I’m very okay with taking a long nap.)

 

 

We hope you’re as excited about the new year as we are: Trellis & Thyme has lots of magic in store for 2019! Pop back in next week to hear all about our “top secret” project – the one that we worked on all last year! We’re pretty sure you’re going to love it.

See you then!

Summer Life & ‘Welcome Fall’ Cross Stitch Pattern

Goodness, where did the time go? Suddenly we’re at the end of August. It’s been hot here – most days right around 105-degrees. But the air is dry, the sky is deep blue, and the sun shines forever and ever. The tall dry grasses on the surrounding hillsides shimmer pale and rich gold in the afternoon sun. And just yesterday I saw fallen leaves dashing along the walk. It feels a bit too soon to anticipate autumn, but the fist intimations of the changing seasons is always exciting. In the meantime, my favorite thing is watching the hot summer wind dance through the palm fronds.

This summer, aside from odd days out, we’ve become mole people. Our days are spent cloistered up in our little home, the AC humming, working long hours on a very special project. It’s wonderful and exhausting work. At nights we fall into bed with a thud, dreaming busy dreams. I look forward to more relaxed days ahead, and some time this year we’ll be able to share more about what we’ve been up to. In the meantime, we designed this little cross stitch treat for you – ‘Welcome Fall’! Just a dapper little scarecrow and his little blackbird friend. Autumn kawaii charm.



And as I rather love process pics, here’s a handful for you. (Isn’t it lovely how cross stitch designs unfold like a story?)





Keep an eye out for many more Trellis & Thyme kawaii cross stitch patterns in the coming days, weeks, months…


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The bee balm decided to flower this summer. I’ve waited three years for these little darlings, and it was so worth it.



I read The Beachside Sweet Shop earlier this summer, and loved it. Marnie and Beth became my dear friends, and I was sorry the book came to an end. Thankfully, Karen Clarke wrote The Beachside Flower Stall, and now I’m in the midst of that story (and loving it just as much!) Carrie and Ruby are just as delightful. And Megan – I rather enjoy a character that can induce a good eye-roll. Clarke’s prose is subtle and effortless. Her characters are believable and true to themselves. A pleasure to read, really.

I made a point of “lighter” reading the last few years, and it’s been a good thing for me. I take “lighter” to mean “not high-brow” and not emotionally draining. I look for stories that focus on the everyday things that make up a life – the ups and downs of relationships, making a living, overcoming challenges, and just keeping things together and making life better (with a touch of humor, of course.) It’s been so rewarding and inspirational. And there’s a big collection of just this sort of literature these days, so I’ll be busy for a while…



That little fabric bundle below the books is my next batch of pillowcases, all cut and ready to sew. I got them ready months ago but didn’t have the time to actually sew them. September will be Pillowcase Month at the Caetano Residence, I think. There’s something seriously satisfying about sewing pillowcases; Maybe it’s the fact that they’re so practical and necessary. And when you make them yourself you can create some very pretty ones. I know we’re always excited in the most goofy-silly way when there’s a set of fun new pillowcases to snuggle into.

Am I the only person who doesn’t mind playing with yarn in 100+ degree weather? Crochet (and sometimes knitting) are my non-stitchy passions, and I really don’t feel their enjoyment should hinge on the weather. So I sat down and crocheted granny squares for my (Karen Clarke-inspired) Sweet Shop throw in 107-degree dry heat, in the shade. I had an iced coffee to keep me company. And Cuddles, who blends in so well with the sun-washed garden stones.





Also somewhere along the way I finished my Rock Candy scarf. Now it’s ready for winter walks (whatever those are.)



It’s back to designing for me (for us.) This time of year there are so many autumn and winter patterns to work on, it’s a bit of a whirlwind! But we absolutely love it, so there’s that.

I’ll try harder to blog more often. Story of my life. Hope you and yours are doing great these days.

‘Till next time…

Mid-spring

So here we are in the heart of spring, another lovely April gone by. I used to have a favorite month, though I don’t remember what it was. These days I try to focus all my love on the present, on the current month and season. Somewhere along the way I learned that this makes me happier.

I’ve been admiring our tousled little garden. It’s messy and busy and just so perfectly pretty right now. The dandelions are growing wild alongside the borage, which is popping up through the wild strawberry, which is overrun by clover. Nasturtiums continue to grow everywhere, over everything, and especially up the crepe myrtle and the mandevilla trellis. (The mandevilla aren’t too excited about this.) The camellias are that delicious white frosting and bubblegum pink, unfurling and dropping to the ground in armfuls. (Oh, why do their blooms drop so quickly?) And of course, there are the roses – magnificent as always.




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As much as I try to blog more frequently, I always find myself on the once-a-month schedule. So much life happens, it’s hard to pause sometimes. Is it that way with you?

Our latest design for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine is now available in the States (issue 241.) We loved designing this! Stylistically, it was a bit of a change for Dennis and I, but very good for the creative muscles. (We can’t take credit for the gorgeous mobile itself; It was created by the talented designers at Crazy.)



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All Weather Friends stitched-up delightfully swiftly. (I need to finish it properly before I show you the all-done photo.) We’re so excited to debut other cross stitch designs in this series! I should mention they are holiday-themed, and will arrive at the shop in mid to late summer. I’ll keep you posted, of course.



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My Coney Island granny hexie throw continues to grow in that slow and deliberate way that I love. I’m a very swift stitcher when it comes to needlework, but quite the slowpoke at crochet. And I’m totally fine with that, because it means I get to really enjoy the process. Yarn is still one of my favorite things in the world, and working with it involves so much pausing and squishing and admiring. (Am I alone in this?)

The colors of this project delight me to no end! It really does remind me of a seaside carnival, and all the lovely flavors, sights, colors: Hot fudge, cotton candy, and banana splits are represented, along with cool overcast skies, sand, and salty seawater.



A few years ago I bought the most deliciously soft merino/alpaca blend yarn – Rooster Almerino, from LoveCrochet. I’ve held onto it, never knowing quite what to do with it. Until now. It occurred to me I needed an instant-grat project, what with the two hexie throws stretching on to eternity. Enter Saltwater Taffy, a simple granny shawl with a lavish trim/border. (See the free pattern here.)

I have about five skeins of the color “Shimmer” – a pale dove gray – and as it goes rather well with my skin-tone, decided it would be the main color. I chose the very sassy “Brighton Rock” pink for the trim. It has a summery feel to it. Summers here are too hot for cotton, much less alpaca and wool, but my hope is we’ll finally take that day-trip to the seaside this July, and I’ll have this lovely shawl to wrap around my shoulders against the chilly ocean breezes.




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I had to share a couple photos of this boy of ours (the indoor one.) This poofy, floofy, round-bellied snowcat whom we adore. Coolba turns seven this year, and ohmygosh it makes me want to cry. You know how it is with kids & pets – Don’t grow up too fast, you little monsters.




I kiss that nose about twenty times a day.

And on that note, have a light and lovely day! ‘Till next time…

The Ways of March

Weatherwise, March has been moody. Early in the month an arctic storm blew in, which left us feeling like we were stranded on a soggy, drippy, melty iceberg. A few days later it was back to 76-degrees and marine blue skies. Rain, sun, rain, sun. Fickle, wonderful spring! Nasturtiums are climbing all over the garden, rosemary and lavender are in full-bloom, buzzing with honeybees and hummingbirds. Everyday I alternate between my favorite tee-shirt and thermal jammies. Through it all I find a bubbling teapot and a floofy cat (or two) particularly comforting.

Our latest cross stitch design is available in issue 240 of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine! Isn’t it so cheerful? Dennis and I had so much fun designing this last summer. At the time it was hot and dry and spring seemed impossibly far away. But that helped our imaginations all the more, I think. The motifs include all our favorites: hummingbirds, butterflies, spring veggies, colorful blooms, and poofy round sheep. (Oh yes, hearts and bunting, too! Because I love hearts and bunting…)



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We’ve really neglected the garden thus far, but that hasn’t stopped it from doing its gorgeous thing. It’s in dire need of weeding, raking, and pruning, but it’ll be a while yet before we can tackle all the chores. Still it’s so wonderful to see all the life going on. And I am really looking forward to May when we sow our zinnia seeds.





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My granny hexie obsession has increased a million-fold. I’m hooking two different granny hex throws at this point, and this is the latest: Midsummer Carnival. She’s growing slowly, as I alternate between it and Coney Island. (I’ll share more on that one next time; I love its salty seaside vibe.) Needless to say, this project feeds my passion for color. After winter I wanted something very intense, very pretty, but not brash. It’s easy to get over-excited and toss in every color; The palette is actually quite controlled here, without getting boring. Every ten or so hexies, I pause and weave in ends. (I’m definitely going to appreciate that once it’s all finished and I don’t have a few thousand ends to weave in!)





I love how it looks draped over the lemongrass armchair. I think that will be its home when it’s all finished. (Ivar agrees.)


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Trellis & Thyme HQ is positively buzzing with activity these days! Oh, I wish I could share some of the fun projects we’re working on, but they’re very hush-hush for now.

We launched our latest cross stitch pattern last week – All Weather Friends! Kawaii-style has always been our favorite, so we’re making a happy return to our roots. Lots more sweeties like this to come!



We hope you’re enjoying spring (or whatever season you’re in!) Remember to do a bit of what you love each day. It makes all the difference.

xo
Sosae

End of Winter

January was a glorious month of storms, fog, and frost. These days we still cozy up in socks and sweaters at night, but by mid-afternoon the windows are open for gentle breezes and warm sunshine. Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted another six weeks of winter, but here in Southern California we’re well into spring and halfway through autumn. (Half the trees in town are still dropping bright orange and yellow leaves, while the other half are covered in poofy white blossoms. No one knows what’s going on, and that’s totally normal.)

Into the New Year we’ve been busy with deadlines, designing, sketching, stitching, planning – all the things that go into new patterns. And we’ve even had a blissful spell of introversion – few social obligations, lots of quiet time to work, read, stitch, crochet, tinker, potter, and just regenerate our creative energies. After the bustle and madness of the Holidays, it’s a blessing to be able to sort one’s self out this way. (A quiet January with a cup of tea is the true holiday…)

I’ve been stitching one of our latest designs, Somebunny Loves You, and having a really lovely time. This happy bunny always brings a smile to my face. I’ve got plans to stitch up his cheery Happy-Go-Duckie friend, as well.




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On the crochet front, I’ve been having a wonderful time hooking hexagons. I’ve always been enamored of crochet hexagons, and this sweet granny hex pattern is my favorite. It’s quick and simple and fun. It’s delightful in multi-color, but I’m really loving solids right now, and wondering about pretty ways to bring them together.

I fiddled about with joining techniques; Whipstitch has been a favorite of mine in the past, but I wanted to give the single crochet join a go. Turns out, I’m not fond of it. It’s pretty, and the ridge creates a lovely texture to the fabric, but sadly, the process just wasn’t fun for me. It’s a bit tedious, actually. (And not in that fun challenge sort of way.)





Enter, join-as-you-go. (Why had I not tried JAYG yet?!) It took a few tries before my fingers got the hang of it (because it’s always about establishing muscle memory, isn’t it?) Once things got going, it was love. JAYG is fast, fun, utterly darling, and efficient. After hooking up 200 squares/hexies/whatever, you’re not suddenly left with the monumental task of piecing them all together, (although some of you may actually enjoy that – you lucky ducks!) Bringing everything together as you go is just my thing. A quick internet search of ‘join as you go crochet’ will open up a world of tips and techniques, if you’re so inclined.

Below is one of my latest projects: An afghan inspired by and named for Coney Island. I wanted all the bright and vivid colors of a seaside carnival, mingling with pale and salty sea air. It’s growing rather quickly, though my crochet time is split between it and another afghan project. (More on both later.)



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We’re delighted our first set of designs for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine came out recently. The designer’s life is rather funny – working on seasonal projects six months in advance is a curiosity at first, but thoroughly enjoyable once you embrace it. You’re always so far ahead of the season, you never feel rushed or hurried. And best of all, you’re always early.




It’s back to work for me. (Or maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee and some stitchery first. Yes, I think so.) We hope the days are treating you kindly. Otherwise, do remember to treat yourself kindly. Do a bit of what you love, whenever you can. It works wonders.