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.

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…

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 Beside the Seaside. (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

Borage

After a bit of rain the sun returned and the bees are all over the borage blossoms. I love the gentle hum of bees. They are the heartbeat of the garden, truly. And you won’t find a busier community of bees than that around the borage.

They say borage isn’t the prettiest of plants, but I find it enchanting. The first time I saw it was during a visit to Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley. We walked through their kitchen garden, and there beside the flush of chamomile blossoms grew a tall and prickly green plant with the loveliest clusters of purple-blue star flowers.

We sowed borage last spring, but they languished and never grew taller than a foot. This spring we were surprised to find a single, stalwart volunteer. Amidst a thick tangle of weeds and dried sunflower stalks, he grew mighty as a four-foot oak (now bound in a beautiful love-tangle with the pomegranate.)







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The pumpkin seedlings sprouted two weeks ago and are growing quickly. I’ll need to thin the mounds of two or more seedlings down to one. (This part I do not like.) The more robust of the seedlings is the one to keep, of course. The one most interested in growing up, we like to say. (If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that dilly-dallying with anything or anyone who refuses to mature is not a good idea. Garden lessons are life lessons, to be sure.)

The tiny zinnia seedlings are also growing, and will have to be thinned momentarily. We’ll sow another round of zinnias in a week, to ensure a steady burst of blooms until mid-December. Gardening is all about tomorrows. And who doesn’t want their tomorrows to be filled with flowers?





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And as with every other green thing, my ‘Succulent Wreath’ cross stitch has been growing. This project has been a delight. I look forward to it every day, and it always leaves me in a place of calm. But truth be told, I’m a little anxious about finishing it; So much life and love is involved in every stitch – it’s hard to come to the end of it.

I plan on framing it simply, in an 8-inch wooden hoop. I’ll share a bit more about that soon.





We’re looking forward to introducing Trellis & Thyme’s first cross stitch sampler. The design is truly heartwarming! More on that very soon.

We hope these days find you with hope and in good cheer.

‘Till next time, cheerio!