Lovely Spring & Kawaii Cross Stitch

Spring has been warm and blustery and filled with activity. The nasturtiums have gone mad. They vine and bloom this way and that, over the Mexican heather, through the lavender and clover, and up the trellis. I found a new variety hidden behind a patch of knee-high rye grass. It’s yellow with burgundy markings – so lovely. The hummingbirds adore the nasturtiums, hovering loudly in and amongst them. Oh, if I cold be a hummingbird for a day…

Our blood orange tree blossomed this year! We’ve had it for over seven years and nearly gave up hope, when suddenly this March it was covered in nectar-scented blooms. I smoosh my face into the blossoms, which isn’t a good idea, as there are hundreds of bees about. But the scent is heavenly, and it fills the bedroom when the windows are open and the wind is blowing.

 
 

In typical spring fashion, I’ve brought out all our gardening books and spread them out on the living room floor. (That’s where I always sit, my back against the sofa, to read or crochet.) We’re planning on a small veggie patch this year – nothing as big or diverse as we’ve previously grown. The below photo is one of our garden’s past. Isn’t it lovely? It was taken around June. By the end of July, it was madness. We’re not doing that this year. This year, it’s going to be very small. (“You’ve said this before,” says Dennis. “This time I mean it,” says I.)

 
 
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Our Kawaii Cross-Stitch Kit was recently released! We designed this last year, along with our book, Kawaii Craft Life. It’s part of the Running Press Minis collection, which recently had its 30th anniversary. (They make the most adorable mini-kits – I was a fan long before this wonderful opportunity to design one came along!) The kit materials are oh-so-lovely. It includes silky-soft cotton floss, a lovely sky blue hoop with golden hardware, 3 aida squares, 2 needles, and a full-color mini book with instructions and patterns.

 
 

The ‘fruitie cuties’ are bright and cheerful and happy, and perfect for when you’ve had enough of digital technology and need to work with your own lovely hands. Pretty Pineapple was my first pick, but not because I was craving pineapple (okay yes, because I was craving pineapple!) I just adore their precious kawaii faces, and the way they stitch up so effortlessly.

 
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Kawaii Craft Life will be published on Tuesday, May 14th! We’re beyond thrilled! This is the inside front cover – isn’t it pretty? (The inside back cover has a bunch more project pics.) There are so many cute things to stitch in this book. Some of these projects are swift and only take a few hours. Others take a lot more time, and will definitely provide a satisfying challenge for your stitchy skills. No matter your skill-level, we know you’re going to love browsing this pretty book! Did I mention it’s filled with full-color illustrated instructions?

 
 
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In Trellis & Thyme news, we’ve been super-busy designing new cross stitch patterns! The one below is a perfectly cheerful ‘Happy Birthday’ design. (How precious is that slice of rainbow cake? I actually baked one of these years ago for a friend’s birthday, and pretty though it was, I prefer the cross stitch version. Takes a lot less time, too!) This design would make the cutest birthday card, banner, or ornament. As far as when it will be available, we’ve got some big news on that, which I’ll be able to share more about in the coming weeks. (We think you’re gonna like what we’ve been up to…)

 
 

There’s heaps more to share, but I’ll pop back later to catch you up on it. ‘Till next time!

Kawaii Craft Life (our book!)

Warmest hello to you! How has your winter been? (Or summer, for our dear friends south of the equator…?) We hope you’ve been keeping busy with all the good things in life: family, friends, work, play, naps, books, pretty magazines, daydreams, baking, decorating, and of course, crafting!

If you follow us on Instagram, you probably already know our big/exciting/awesome news: Dennis and I wrote, designed, and stitched a book! Kawaii Craft Life – it’s a sweet, sparkly, and utterly adorable collection of needlecraft projects! (Think kawaii sweets, adorable critters, rainbows, unicorns, and general super-cuteness.)

 
 

Projects in Kawaii Craft Life are divided into three needlecraft categories: feltcraft, cross stitch, and embroidery. And ohmygoodness, I can go on and on about how darling these projects are! There are 35 projects, with over 50 individual quirky-cute designs to stitch. And of course, lots of full-color step-by-step illustrations. (If you’ve ever bought any of our Trellis & Thyme patterns, you know this is how we roll; Love those full-color illustrations!) There are some pretty previews up at your fav online booksellers, so you can catch a glimpse of some of the projects in advance!

:: Pre-order Kawaii Craft Life here! ::

Dennis and I are literally skipping about these days, in anticipation of Kawaii Craft Life‘s forthcoming release. (We were walking hand in hand the other day, and Dennis, normally a try to act normal in public type, suggested we skip! I was taken aback, naturally, but I love skipping – why don’t people skip more?! – so I said, “Okay!” And so we did. And it was as ridiculous as you might imagine: two grown-ups skipping hand-in-hand. But it was serious fun, and I fully intend to do it again, even if D’s come back to his senses and tries to pretend it was the result of too-strong coffee with too much sugar. Whatever. The boy’s happy about his book and I love that.)

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Back on planet earth, I’ve been keeping calm(ish) with long hours of crochet. At this time I have, goodness knows, about 10 wips: the two delightful hexie throws I’ve previously shared (here and here,) and a few more projects at varying stages of progress. I love picking up an old project and adding to it (which is what I love about granny patchwork – just make new squares or hexies and join-as-you-go.) And I love starting new projects, and dreaming up new projects, and deciding on colors for new projects, etc. At the moment I’m into some modern eclectic doilies. You can never have enough doilies, I always say!

 
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It’s been raining a lot this winter. We’re grateful for it, of course. Rain doesn’t come too often to Southern California. The garden’s loving it, too. Nasturtiums are growing everywhere and climbing everything. Even though it’s quite cold at nights, the afternoons have become mellow, and you can feel that spring is right around the corner. Many of the trees in town are in full fluffy bloom. Oh, that reminds me – we have two beautiful ‘Welcome Spring’ cross stitch samplers coming to the shop! Very soon…

 
 

We hope February is being good to you. Remember to be good to yourself, always. Until next time!

PS: Cuddles sends his love.

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 Beside the Seaside 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…