Mountain Maple Syrup

At the end of the winter season as the days get longer and the temps get a tad bit warmer, the sap in the maples begins to run.  One of my most fond childhood memories was walking the woods to check maple sap buckets with my Grandpa Lyke.  He would sneak a little cup for me and let me drink the sap and with a twinkle in his eye, remind me not to tell Grandma. 

Our First Maple Syrup Bucket

I didn't understand how valuable that clear sap was until now.  Our community in Woodland Hills, Utah is experimenting with tapping the Bigtooth Maples on our mountain to make maple syrup.  A few families have been doing it the past couple of years, and we had the pleasure of watching their operation.  So, Mike and I decided to try making some from the trees in our yard.  

Grandpa and Grandma Lyke Hugging a Very Old Maple in the Woods

Our first step was to identify the Maples on our 1 acre property.  We found four and a few little ones trying to grow in the Scrub Oak Stands.  The two biggest are two of the prettiest in our back yard, near the chicken coops.  When we moved here 13 years ago, they were just tiny things, but every year they get a little taller and their leaves turn flaming red.   I have photographed them every year in the fall and hope someday to replicate my grandparent's picture with my sweetheart. 

The Sugar Shack

A few years ago we visited the Sugar Shack down in the woods on the farm that my cousin and her family live on and got to see all the old Maple syrup making equipment as well as the new processes they began using to harvest the sap from the many, many trees in the NY woods around the farm.  I loved the patina on the old metal buckets and remember watching the sap drip out of the metal taps.  I know that the tubes and modern systems are way more efficient than the old ways, but for our little experiment and four trees, I ordered taps and buckets that looked like the old ones from the farm.   

The Tallest Bigtooth Maple Tree in our Yard

We have had a long and cold winter, so it took a little work to get out to the trees, but Mike was as excited as me to try making some syrup the old way.  Four taps, four buckets and four trees.  It has been a few weeks, and we have collected about five gallons of sap.  It's not much, but it is enough to start.

Maple Sap Boiling on the Stove

After filtering the sap to get out any "things", we got a huge pot and began the boiling process.  My Grandma sent me pictures years ago of the Maple burning party they had a long time ago.  I'll have to find them and share them with you.  Their were a lot of family around a big metal vat with wood fire burning under it.  Lots of kids and family with smiles.  

As we watched the sap boil on my stove, it made the air in our home smell sweet, and it brought all the memories back from my childhood.  Grandpa at the stove frying Fritters to dip in the dark syrup.  All of us littles would stuff our cheeks full of the fluffy pasties soaked in syrup and laugh and smile along with the old ones.  I love those memories of all of us together in that kitchen.  

Our First Bottle of Maple Syrup

Today, we bottled our first little bottle of Maple Syrup from our home on the mountain.  It took four gallons to get two of these bottles.  It was so sweet and good.  I licked the spoon, not daring to take a whole spoonful all to myself.  I'll save it for a special day when our grandbabies and children come home and we make Grandpa's Fritters (recipe in blog archive) for them all to enjoy together.  

If you follow me on Instagram, I will make a highlight bubble for the syrup making stuff and where we got our things.  I'll post the old pics as I find them, and the new ones of our family too.  I'm so happy for the four little trees on our property and the sweet fun we've had doing something new together.  It's was for sure a moment to celebrate!

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Castle Creek Furniture

Farmhouse furniture has been trending for a few years now, typically with white on white with minimal wood finishes.  Though the  exterior of the old farmhouse I grew up in was white with black shutters, the interior rooms were full of color.  The rooms all had wood, marble, crystal, and colored glass and furniture in the home had a story to tell.  

I've had this little breakfast table in my kitchen for many years, all white with white chairs, until this past week when I decided to paint it in one of my favorite Prairie Paint  colors, Castle Creek.

The inspiration for this deep green came from the colors I remember in an area of the woods adjacent to the family farm, aka The Woods.  After a hike over the corn field hill, through the woods, and along the slate gorge, you come to a small pond called Castle Creek.  It is surrounded by towering trees and vines, moss and a green field with an aged fishing shack complete with a little covered porch.  

On a recent visit to our local antique shop we found a set of black chairs from the 1870's for $100.  That find was the push I needed to paint my table dark, and I knew the best of our greens was Castle Creek.  So, we took our white chairs to the ReStore and dropped them off to go to another family and picked up our new antique chairs, threw a tarp down and sanded the top and rough spots of our white table. 

Then one coat with a furniture paint roller and a brush for the curvy parts, we let it dry and then added two more for good measure.  Let dry and then added a coat of our Prairie Paint Finishing Wax.

Our Prairie Paints Finishing Wax is made of bees wax and compounds that add  richness to our gel-chalk Prairie Paints and seal the wood and paint for years of beauty and use. 

We let it dry and then a light wipe of a soft cloth and it was ready to place these beautiful black chairs around our deeply moody breakfast table.  Putting them all together it was clear that they had belonged together all along, like two peas in a pod.  

The Prairie Paints we used were Castle Creek, and the finish is the Prairie Paints Finishing Wax.  Both of these are available on Our Shop.  We hope that this post inspires you to add a little color to your farmhouse.  We love ours and know that you will too.  

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Wilde Bloem Collection

Our newest collection is so close to my heart and I am beyond excited to begin the introduction of Wilde Bloem.  With whispers from the meadows surrounding our beautiful farms, each block is a flower with a message.  We are so happy to focus on one flower and message the next nine months of 2023.  Introducing Wilde Bloem which translated in Dutch is Wildflower.

Wilde Bloem Barn Quilt Block of the Month

Nine florals, a gathering vine and two adorable quilted bees come as monthly kits to paint, sew or embroider together.  As we discussed which of our favorite wildflowers to add, and create quilt blocks for, we choose those that had messages of hope, belonging, community.  We hope you will join us this year to create Wilde Bloem meadows all over the country.

Wilde Bloem Bee Barn Quilt

In addition to the BOM we will add individual blocks of these original designs for purchase to those who want them in larger sizes for outdoor sharing.   The first this month is the Wilde Bloem Bee Barn Quilt.  This singular bee was designed with beautiful wings to give flight and light.  The points of the stars shine in it's wings.  I am so very in love with this bee and I know my bee loving friends will be too.  It is available for order in five large sizes.  

To subscribe to the Wilde Bloem Block of the Month, go to The Shop and register.  You can pay monthly, or all at once.  The kits will ship the first week of each month and will include everything you need to paint a darling 12" Bloem Barn Quilt Block.  We will have a Monthly Zoom Class link in your kit to join us in a how to paint a Bloem Block class with lots of tips and fun all year. 

We hope you will join us in celebrating, dream and creating a beautiful Wilde Bloem meadow of your own this year.  

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Farmhouse Nesting Benches

One of my most loved pieces of furniture in my home is my collection of Farmhouse Nesting Benches.  I use them for seating, tables, bookshelves and planting towers.  I have stained and painted so many of them over the years and can never have enough of them.  We wanted to bring them to our online shop this spring and I am so happy with the style we came up with to make these available for you.  

Farmhouse Nesting Benches

We have two sizes that fit perfectly together.  Each come sanded smooth, with pre-drilled holes and hardware to assemble.  They are unfinished, ready to paint or stain.  They ship flat to save shipping costs for you and are super easy to put together.  

They are beautiful unfinished too, very Scandinavian in style and look.  If you want to watch me assemble and paint one watch my Instagram Stories this week.  We are hoping for snow to melt and to begin assembling our big greenhouse.  These Farmhouse Nesting Benches will be lining the garden and table in it soon.  

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BOGO Spring Workshop

Our Spring Workshop is set for Saturday May 6th in our beautiful Woodland Hills, Utah.  This is our all day workshop where you can paint any size barn quilt, any shape and any pattern.  This week only we have a huge sale with a BOGO for our Tweetle Dee Spring Workshop.  

At our Tweetle Dee Workshops you learn how we make our barn quilt boards, how to pattern a design, how to prep the wood for different styles of barn quilts, how to paint, and finish your barn quilts to look beautiful for many years to come.  You also get to paint with our Prairie Paint line of vintage inspired paints.  All materials are included, lunch too!

So, gather your friends and family and register this week!  Be sure to use code BOGOWORKSHOP.  This is the first time we have offered this type of sale on our workshops and we anticipate that the spots will fill quickly, so don't wait.  

To register go to Our Shop and be sure to use code BOGOWORKSHOP.  We hope to see you all there in May!

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Prairie Petals Barn Quilt

The long months of winter are almost past, and with new sunshine comes the growth of new life in vibrant color.  We just couldn't wait any longer to release a few of these painted flowers to bring a whisper to spring to your heart.  Prairie Petals is now available in our shop in painted barn quilts, kits and patterns.

Designed with the whimsical folk style that we love so much, and hand painted on very old reclaimed wood.  I am so excited to see these finished and to see so much of the dark wood come up during the finishing.  I know the two samples I painted will be perfect on our greenhouse this spring.  

Prairie Petal Barn Quilts measure 16.5" x 3o" and are available to order already painted in custom colors from our Prairie Paint Collection.  I'm already dreaming of all the combinations that can be painted using our 64 vintage inspired colors and don't be surprised is a little bee shows up amid these petals soon!

We also have made these into kits so you can paint your own garden of Prairie Petals.  Our kits include the board, pattern and paints.  If you have a ton of wood and want to order just a pattern, you will love our color patterns with instructions on how to paint a barn quilt, color diagrams, paint lists and all the helps you need to be adventurous in painting these darling barn quilts. 

This week use code Petals20 to save 20% on all orders.  We hope to see a field of these gorgeous folk art Prairie Petals all across the country by summer.  xoxo

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From Broken Pieces

If you've been with me for the past few years, you know that the January Quilt of the Month is always the Broken Dishes Quilt.  It is so symbolic to me of what the beginning of a new year feels like.  The taking down and packing up of the previous year and the sorting all the experiences into patterns that resemble something with order and beauty from fragments and broken pieces.   I wrote a blog post about it earlier in the month that you can scroll down to.  

Our moto for Tweetle Dee is Celebrate + Dream + Create.  When I began this company, it came at a big transition time in my work.  I had dabbled in design for embroidery and quilting for a few years, worked in a couple of quilt shops, but had spent years working in finance and real estate.  I had a dream that someday I would be able to leave that steady work and make a living sharing and creating with people who loved to paint and sew.  

I had been to the International Quilt Market and had 30 wholesale embroidery accounts with shops in the US and set a goal that I would walk away from my 9 to 5 job when the wholesale monthly profits equaled my paychecks.  It took awhile, but that day came and it was a moment where I took all the pieces of a long journey and puzzle pieced them into the "pattern" I call Tweetle Dee.  

My first International Quilt Market in 2008
(yes...Tweetle Dee used to be Gigglee Designs)

There has been so much growth and so many experiences we've had since then.   If you look at the corner of the picture above in the pink frame you will see my original Celebrate Dream Create embroidery sample.  It was published in a few magazines and sold like crazy in many shops.  

The meaning of Celebrate Dream Create is set to remind me that everyday there is something we can celebrate, even if it's that we are alive and got our feet to move int he morning.  That we should always have a dream or a simpler explanation is something we are working towards.  Something we want to learn, grow through, a place to be.   And, the gift of creating has been what helped me survive in my toughest times and truly helped me to find joy in moments where I struggled to have a dream.  

Celebrate + Dream + Create has been with me my whole like and I love that I get to share it with you here.  In a way, Broken Dishes comes from the celebrating what was, the hope that there is something beautiful that can be made from the broken, and that in creating or moving our lives, our hands, our minds...we can find the patterns and beauty-joy in our own life.  

So keep at it!  January is January.  The beginning of a new year.  The Broken Dishes Mini Barn Quilt Kit is a small creative project that is so calming to paint.  The kits comes with the brush, pre-scored design board, paints and a color guide.  I love being able to have a small project I can do with my hands.  I hope you find these as fun to paint as I do.  

This month you can save 15% on your Tweetle Dee orders in our shop with code Lovey15.  Sending you a big hug!  Have a wonderful week. 

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Paper Hearts Barn Quilt

Our newest barn quilt design is the Paper Hearts.  Inspired by the paper chains we made in elementary school to decorate the windows and chalkboards of our class rooms.  I loved making them as a child, and I loved painting this barn quilt to hang on my front porch for the month of February.  

Paper Hearts Barn Quilt

The design pictured above is a 33" framed in reclaimed cedar in a white distress which compliments the soft colors in Paper Hearts.  Painted in our Prairie Paints colors, (Homestead White, Poppy Pink, Indian Paintbrush and Lambs Ear).  Each barn quilt is sealed in our beautiful finishing wax to last for years to come.  The barn quilt already painted is available in our shop in three sizes, (22", 33" and 44") all framed in reclaimed cedar.  

Paper Hearts Barn Quilt Pattern

For those of you who love to paint our barn quilt designs, the Paper Hearts Barn Quilt Pattern released today.  The pattern includes a full color pattern, diagram, paint list, and our How to Paint a Barn Quilt instructions.  Patterns are available as a PDF download or a paper pattern that ships to you.  Either way, you get all the instructions to make one of these beautiful Paper Hearts of your own.

This week you can save 15% on your orders with code Lovey15.  We hope you have a wonderful week and find something to create that brings you joy!

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Sodus Point Prairie Paint

If you were asked to close your eyes, and imagine a calming blue, my guess is that you would imagine a color very close to our newest Prairie Paint color, Sodus Point.  Our Prairie Paint Collection feels a little more complete with this beautiful color in it.  

When I saw this color, and closed my eyes to imagine where in my memory bank this soft grey-blue had been experienced before, my mind went to Ontario Lake and my childhood days on the sandy beach of Sodus Point.  The water colors range from grey to soft blue and fade into the skyline with these colors in reflection up to the clouds.  

Water has a calming sense to my soul, running and moving water even more.  As I have painted with Sodus Point, the color remains true to it's name, an old calm blue.  This past summer we had the chance to spend a day at the beach with my family, walking the beach, collecting rocks and visiting the light house.  It was a fun day, and refreshed the childhood memories of the colors and feelings I experienced there as a child.  

This color brings the total in our Prairie Paint Collection to sixty four.  It has become a collection of vintage inspired colors that have been inspired by the colors and memories of my home in Upstate New York.  We have painted with these paints for three years now, using them in classes and workshops in all four corners of the country.  I am very proud of this collection and the formula that makes our gel-chalk paint so smooth with amazing coverage.  

We have used the Prairie Paints on interiors, exteriors, furniture, fabric and of course our extensive barn quilt collection.  It is my preferred paint, and I can say that our customers have loved it too.  There is nothing like it, in composition and in color.  

We hope that you will find the colors that speak to you in your soul, in your color memory bank, in our Prairie Paint Collection.  They are all available in our shop

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Flying Swallow and Fellowship Star Patterns

Two of our most requested barn quilt designs are now available at Tweetle Dee. The Fellowship Star and the Flying Swallow are in the shop as both a PDF download and a paper pattern to ship.  Our patterns allow you to paint your own barn quilts on any surface in any size.

The Flying Swallow

All of our patterns include color diagrams, Prairie Paint color suggestions, a black and white design grid and our How To Paint a Barn Quilt instructions.  Our instructions include board selection and paint/finishing instructions to get the very closest you can get to our design looks.

Flying Swallow & Fellowship Star 
Barn Quilt Patterns

The Flying Swallow is a traditional quilt design, which we designed as a colorful rainbow prism with white and black as an anchor.  We have painted many of these and shipped them all over the US and Europe.  It is one of my all time favorites.  

The Fellowship Star

The Fellowship Star is also a traditional quilt block that we designed to encourage community and gathering.   The points of light on the tips bringing in all under it's light.  Now, you can paint your very own.  

This week we are sharing the love with our annual Lovey Heart Sale with 15% off all orders.  Use code Lovey15 to save on patterns, kits, ready-to-paint barn quilt boards, embroidery kits and all of our painted quilts.

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Broken Dishes in 2023

Happy New Year!  We are so excited for a new year.  You know how you just get those feeling sometimes that tell you something so good is headed your way?  Those feelings come once in a while to me, and I feel this about 2023.  It feels like the beginning of a new adventure, and like all adventures, there are all kinds of experiences we have.   So, as this new beginning is here, I am feeling all the hope that this will be a good adventure we will celebrate together.

Broken Dishes Barn Quilt

As we head into January I love to hang my Broken Dishes quilt.  It is a daily reminder there is beauty in things that are broken.  When I think about the previous year, there are good days and challenging days that when summed up, become a part of the beautiful adventure of the previous year.   

How I came to love this design was looking in an old trunk in a Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse.  In that trunk, we found an old hand stitched quilt with a note attached saying "Broken Dishes".  The origins of the Broken Dishes pattern date back to the 1790's and is one of the earliest recorded designs in quilt history.  Half-square triangles are arranged to form the pattern of this simple design.  We aren't sure of the dates the quilt we found was sewn, but it was evident with with hand stitching throughout that many hands worked this together to make one special quilt.

Broken Dishes Hand Stitched Quilt

Many of us have broken pieces from the previous year that are left in a swept up pile.  When a new year begins, we all look back at our experiences of the previous year and make plans or goals for the new.  For me, what has been so helpful through therapy is to look clearly at what was "broken" and place it in healthy frames to heal and make something good again.  

Broken Dishes Blue Willow 
Barn Quilt

We have the Broken Dishes Ready-to-Paint Barn Quilt Kits available in two gorgeous color-ways.  We have both the Geranium with all the gorgeous reds and pinks and the Blue Willow inspired by the old Blue Willow dish collection.  All of the colors used come from our Prairie Paint Collection and are available in paint sets in our shop.  

In Our Shop this week we have the painted Broken Dishes Barn Quilt with kits, patterns, paints, frames, and already painted barn quilts in Geranium and Blue Willow . 

In addition to the painted barn quilt, we also have a live class available for this design on Saturday, January 28th.  To register for this class go to Our Shop and sign up.  Our vision statement for Tweetle Dee is to Celebrate + Dream & Create together.  We hope you will jump into this new year creating with us in our online classes.  

To celebrate this new year use code CelebrateDreamCreate and save 23% on all orders this week.   We hope you had a beautiful holiday season with your family and friends & best wishes for an amazing year.  Let's make it a year to celebrate and create a little more joy in our lives in 2023!

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