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

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!

These Are the Days

I was born and raised in the concrete wilds of Los Angeles, where nuanced is a fancy word to describe the imaginary seasons. After 25-years, I never noticed much between warm and warmer, and so the longing in my heart kept growing. Seasons. Some day.

Where we live now – 2 hours north of Los Angeles – there is a greater accent on the cold. Sheets of ice sparkle on the lawn on winter mornings. The afternoon sun is pale and frosted, and nights are frigid, blanketed by thick moorland fog. We experience the seasons more richly, more noticeably, and for me, more thankfully. (Not in the least because, unlike our southern compatriots, we get to wear hand-knitted scarves, gloves, and hats.)

If March was a lioness, with raging storms and torrents of rain, then April is a chameleon. The morning before last dropped to a chilled 42-degrees. The following afternoon soared to a balmy 81. Every evening the winds pick up, climb the hills and break against the south-facing garden, scattering rose petals across the lawn. Spring in all her effervescence. We’re positively mad about it.





I love all the roses in our garden, but these burgundy climbing roses are my favorite. Their petals are frilly and feminine – casually elegant, like a woman who’s unconcerned with how beautiful she really is.


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I’m thankful my work is also my pleasure (though not solely, and that’s important, too.) Stitching is comforting. It’s soothing. I was never a numbers person, but I find the counting in cross stitch to be the perfect antidote to monkey mind. It keeps me gently focused. More than ever I look forward to the sunlit hours I get to spend with needle, thread, and my ‘Succulent Wreath’ cross stitch pattern.





We designed this wreath to look lovely in any season. The darker aida (chalk board black by Wichelt,) adds a serene and dramatic element to the design. With each stitch a new petal unfolds, urging you to stitch the next. It works up with a quiet enthusiasm, perfect for the days when you need something tranquil to focus on.

After this design was complete, D and I realized how much we loved the entire process. Needless to say, we will be designing more botanical wreaths to cross stitch.


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For Easter we baked Italian Easter Bread – a recipe we love and bake every year. It’s so buttery-soft and light, even ’till the following day (if there’s any left by then.) This year we left out the colored egg in the center, and found it no less charming. A cup of tea, this bread fresh from the oven, my loved ones smiling (and purring) – I’m in heaven right here on earth. Life is so sweet when we learn to cherish the simple things. This has been my big revelation, anyway. Want less, love more, cultivate beauty where you are.




Wishing all of you a beautiful spring, a Happy Easter, and all good days.

‘Till next time, cheerio!

Busy As Bees

There are two approaches to spring that I notice in the animal kingdom: The first is to get up and do all the things. The second is to go back to sleep. Keeping pace with nature becomes a funny thing. I’m all for spring-induced over-activity, but I also love stopping, pressing my face into the giant red roses in our garden, and breathing deep.



Much of March passed by in storms. (I love the heavy rain-soaked drape of lavender and coreopsis over the garden stones.) Hot Ceylon tea with hints of cardamom have been a balm for my over-eager, sometimes over-anxious, spirit. That and needle & thread. Always needle & thread. Even on a perfect day the mind will dig and sort through reasons to feel not quite at ease. Does that happen to you? To counter that tendency, we try to focus on the things that bring comfort and harmony: a potter in the garden, design-work, stitching, painting, reading, baking…



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D and I are firm believers in working until the Muse arrives. (None of this waiting around for her nonsense.) From small simple designs to large complex ones, there’s so much going on at Trellis & Thyme, it makes me giddy to think of it. I’m excited to share everything, and irked that I have to be patient.

The ‘Little Microbus’ cross stitch patterns really won me over. I couldn’t decide between an orange-based colorstory or a green one, so we made them both. Choosing the right combination of colors out of hundreds of possibilities is one of my favorite jobs.





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Hope you’re having a delightful spring.

‘Till next time, cheerio!