Merry Christmas

It's been a magical December for all of us here at Tweetle Dee!  Our family gathered together as often as we could and enjoyed every second of it.  We had a Kiddo Christmas with just the kids was crazy elfin fun.  Then we had the family party with food, games, and an ugly Christmas Cookie decorating party.  It's a real thing at our house.
Christmas morning we woke up to a heavy blanket of new fallen snow.  It was pure magic.  If you follow me on Instagram you know that this shot of our back yard is our one of my favorites.  I take it every year, and sometimes more than one shot shows up on my feed...but this Christmas morning with the silence of the snow, it was especially beautiful.

Many of our children were in other parts of the country, so it was a more quiet Christmas than we are used to.  We miss our family, but with the different parties and Face Time we were able to feel close.  This will be Adam's last Christmas with us before he leaves on his mission, and my Mom heart could feel it.

We bought him luggage and mission scriptures and a special wallet engraved with a Mother's wish for him.  He cried, I cried and Mike had to get busy picking up wrapping paper so he wouldn't.  He is the youngest of this big family and I think all of us will miss him being with us for the next two years.

It was also Molly's first Christmas and she loved the sugar cookies and her presents.  It took her a while to figure out what to do with them, but she hugged them all.  Gracie is almost at the age to figure out the whole Santa story and had lots of faith that the giving of the Christmas season is real, no matter who the giver is.

One of the best parts of the season was the prayers that we gave asking to find people we could give to, and we found our hearts growing each week as opportunities for giving came in ways we did not expect.  I really know that we are given what we need and this year I think my Mom heart was held whole as we gave more than ever.  

Christmas morning with a house full of kids sleeping in every room, left me one quiet place, this seat on the couch.  No one wanted to wake up early, so I sat in silence and watched the sun come up over the mountain and cast a blue light through our windows.  It was the reflection of light on the new snow and I was a gift for me. 

 I love this season more now than at any other time in my life.  I recognize the calm of peace more than ever and love the stillness it brings.  I hope this season was a beautiful one for you and your family, and if it wasn't, let me send you a hug and a hope that time passes and things that are hard change in time.  I send you my love for the rest of 2019 and will see you in 2020 with an exuberance for the new year!

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Prairie Christmas Trees and Friends

Most of you know we flip houses in our family....lots of houses.  This year has been a record year for the number of old homes we have tackled and our last one just closed.  Which means the best of all the old doors, windows, knobs and trim have made their way to the Tweetle Dee storage building.  We were going though it the other day and I asked Mike if he would make some trees for my front porch that I could paint with our soon to release Prairie Paints.

Well, not only did he make a few...he made over 30 of them in all different sizes.  I love, love, love that he trimmed them in walnut and made their stands to interlock so they fit together as a grove.  But, the thing I love the most about them is the angles he cut them at to show off the moldings and door knob holes.  Seriously so cute!  They come in four sizes from 50" tall to 24" tall and, come in four colors (white, pink, light green, and dark green).  Don't delay in getting them because they will go quickly.  

Along with our Prairie Christmas Trees we also have new to our shop Fred the Snowman!  He is a dear friend of Frosty's and ours.  He loves the snow and all the fun it brings.  He stands 24" tall and is pieced with so many hand carved embellishments and ohhh, that scarf!  Crackled paint and all, he is a darling that will be with you from first snowfall to the hint of spring.

Have a fabulous Merry weekend!
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Village Square Barn Quilt

Our newest barn quilt, the Village Square was inspired by the small town I grew up in in New York.  One main street went through the center of town with beautiful old homes, a country store, a library, fire station and the community church.  No gas stations or movie theaters, and definitely no big box stores.  Whenever we visit, no matter how much time has passed, it remains unchanged.  

I love those small village squares and because I am from New York, the big pines had to be make a statement in this quilt.  I am working on a fabric quilt version of this and a pattern book too, which should be out the first of the year.  It will also include templates for wreaths, mini barn quilts and lettered signs. 

For now, this holiday season, the simple Village Square Barn Quilt is in The Shop in three gorgeous sizes.  I can't wait for the orders to come, because this is one of the funnest barn quilts to paint.  It really is magical, which is what this season is all about.  

We send our love to you and hope you are enjoying the beginning of the holiday season.  Remember to take some time to rest amid all the celebrating....a little time to dream and for sure some time to create something new.   

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Thanksgiving Pie in a Lid

As you know, I am soooo in love with pie anything.....pies in a jar, pie pops, pie bites, pie...pie...pie etc.!  I thought I had mastered them all until I thought of "pies in a lid".

They are the easiest most simple way to make a little individual pie I have ever seen!  All you need is a wide mouth canning jar lid and ring, a baking sheet, non-stick spray, your favorite pie dough and filling.  Lay the rings on a baking sheet and place the lids inside the rings.  Spray with a coat of non-stick spray and press your pie dough into the lid.

I found the easiest way to do this was to find a round "template" to cut the dough out.  I used a round plastic bowl just a half inch larger than my wide mouth rings.  This allows for extra dough to pinch into a lovely crust.  Pour in your filling and bake at a normal temperature.  I have found that these little pies bake in a quarter of the time of a regular set your timer accordingly.
Once they are finished baking let cool a few minutes and pop the ring and bottom off the shell and serve! They come out perfect every time.  I am busy making some up for our family's Thanksgiving feast...a little apple, pear & cranberry, and of course pumpkin!  I hope you have fun with this new little idea!!!

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Watercolor Embroidery

After weeks away teaching at conferences and filming upcoming projects (to be announced later),  I am so happy to be home and to have everything put away and to be able to play with my favorite things - paint & fabric!  To be more specific watercolor and embroidery on fabric.  Did you know you can watercolor on fabric just as you do on paper?  If not, you are in for a crazy, fun surprise.

You all know I love to paint and I especially love the way color blends and fades in watercolor.  You also know I love to paint florals and trust me when I say that nothing mimics the color of naturals flowers than watercolors.  So, one day I was wanting a background for a floral I was planning to stitch and I got out my watercolors and painted the background I was dreaming of on my fabric, and fell in love with it.

All you need for watercolor is available in most craft stores, and the fabric and hoops are there too, so one stop and you can have it all.  You will want watercolor paints, brushes, a tray to mix on, fabric, a hoop, and of course your thread and needle.  We will talk about that later.

Just look at those colors.  Seriously so pretty.  You will want to choose in your mind what type of watercolor application you need for your stitch.  Meaning, do you want an all over landscape or sky scene where you float colors across the fabric or do you want a more controlled pop on color such as a leaf or a specific flower.  

Once you have decided, place your fabric tightly in the hoop.  You can paint on anything that is smooth (such as a cotton or linen)  don't use a velvet or minky.  Make sure your fabric in "drum tight".  

If you are planning on an all over color, you will begin by spritzing the fabric with water.  This will help with getting your colors to move and blend on the fabric.  Place the colors you want in a tray and mix a little water in them to get them ready to use.  You will want to wet your brush.  Use a large size watercolor brush for all over color.

Begin by dipping your brush in water and color and then on your fabric with light soft strokes across the area you want color.  You can add a little extra water with your brush to float the color across the fabric.  Add a second complimentary color if you want above or below the first color and blend together with your brush and a little water until your landscape or sky scene is all across the fabric area.  Let dry and then it is ready to stitch on.

If you are wanting a small specific area painted in, I draw out my design first with a Pilot Frixion pen that comes off with heat.  Do not spritz your fabric for this type of watercolor as you do not want your colors spreading beyond your design element.  Load your brush with a base color and fill in the element your are painting.  Wipe your brush and paint a second color and shade using a little water on your brush.  

Have fun with trying different colors and blending them.  It doesn't matter if the lines are filled in because the heat will remove them after we are done.  If you want specific detail added, use watercolor pencils over the fabric.  Just as you would on paper, the watercolor pencils work beautifully to shade and blend colors.  

On this little flower I want to shade it in softly, so I used my watercolor pencil and gently added color to the fabric.

I used a damp brush to soften the lines and edges of the pencil.  I can't wait to add embroidery floss to this holiday design.  Multi-medium projects are so fun.

This is the finished Joy Watercolor Embroidery Wreath!  I love the pop of shaded green in the leaves with the detail of pine needles made with embroidery floss.  We will be adding this kit and a few more to the shop in time for Christmas.  So, watch for the announcement next week.  In the meantime, get out a scrap of fabric and your watercolors and paint yourself a gorgeous November sunset.  

To watch a tutorial on the prep and painting go to the Tweetle Dee Design Co. You Tube Channel.  The video will be uploaded this weekend.  You can also catch today's Fresh Living segment to see the gorgeous sunset Kari made.  

I hope you have a fabulous weekend and be sure to take care to rest and refresh however you do it.  For me, we will be watching the lighting of the town tree tonight and maybe a movie.  Tomorrow is a full day with teaching at the Corn Wagon in Springville.  I can't wait.  I'll check in with you next week to see what you did to celebrate, dream and create,

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Coffee Filter Wreath

You know those little white coffee filters that are right next to those yummy coffee beans in the supermarket isle?  Well, they are not only great for filtering coffee grounds out of your cup of Joe, they make beautiful vintage inspired paper flower wreaths.  To purchase these wreaths you will spend upwards of $120.00 to $175.00.  I'm not kidding!  However, to make one yourself, you will spend under $10.00.    Today on KUTV Fresh Living we demonstrated how to make a DIY Coffee Filter Wreath, Garland, Pom, and even a Christmas Tree.


2 Packages of White Coffee Filters
1 Foam Wreath Base
Dressmaker Pins
Hot Glue
Instant Coffee (optional)

These wreaths are so simple to make that anyone can make one...even little hands.  There are some tricks to getting a boutiques look and I'm about to share those secrets with you.  To make a Winter White DIY Coffee Filter Wreath all you need is the white filters and you can skip the coffee dye step.  

If you want your wreath to have an aged look, then coffee staining is the best way to get the variation in color to each of those filters.  I have a simple way to accomplish this.  You can hand dip each one and let them air dry.  It works, but is super time consuming.  My favortie way to dye these filters is to take a stack of filters and dip them into a large pot of dissolved instant coffee.

To make the instant coffee, fill a pot about half way with water and dump into it a couple of cups of instant coffee.  Heat and stir and there is your dye ready for dipping.  Take your stack of coffee filters and dunk them into the pot of coffee.  You can separate them into 1/2 inch chunk sections and lightly wring them out.  The wringing will keep some of the filters darker than others with the coffee settling in to creases.

Set your wrung out filters on an old towel and then place into your cloths dryer.  Dry for 10 minutes on a delicate cycle.  That is all it takes to dry the filters.  In addition to drying the filters, the moisture and heat makes the filters crinkle and soften to almost a translucent texture.  This change in the texture of the paper filters makes for gorgeous "flowers" when layered into a wreath.

To make a petal.  Take one filter and fold in half.  Then fold in half again to make a quarter fold.  Then, fold again to create a little "pie" wedge.  

Once you have your wedge, fold the bottom or point up just a little about an inch from the point.  This is where you will pin it into place.

Use a dressmaker pin and a thimble to pin the petal into place.  You will only need to cover the sides and front of the wreath.  Leave the back plain so your wreath will lay flat against your wall or door.  So begin by pinning one row from the outside edge to the inside edge.  Place the petal edges close together so there are no gaps where you would see the foam base.

One layer, then two, then three, then a hundred.  Push the paper petals back and keep adding more rows and just when you think it is enough, add more.  You want your wreath to be full of petals which can then be fluffed to look like paper flowers.  You can see how they begin to form after a few rows.

I love to place petals that have more coloring on the outside and up front where they will be seen.  Sometimes I will fold a petal with one edge sticking up more than the other to give the petal more depth and add it in next to one that is perfectly folded to give the wreath a more textured and realistic look.

Continue adding more filters until you make it all the way around your wreath form.  

Your back will not look too pretty, but no one will see your back.  When it is full all the way to the top and you have added even more, turn your wreath over and fluff or adjust the petals in a manner that looks full and beautiful to your eye.  This is why using pins is so helpful versus hot glue.  It allows you to adjust your petals to be what you want them to be.

To create a hanger, clip a piece of wire about 5" long and push both ends into the form.  Use a dot of hot glue and the push-in point to secure the hanger in place.  Your wreath is ready to embellish and hang.

To embellish your DIY Coffee Filter Wreath, drape ribbons over the wreath hook and let them flow down.  I love to have one large bow at the top.  You can also find word pieces such as Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays to make even more of a holiday statement.  Switch out your ribbons with different colors for different seasons OR leave them plain for a beautiful Farmhouse inspired everyday wreath.

I hope this written tutorial helps you feel ready to make one of these for your own home.  I have the two white ones that hang every year on my double black doors for the winter months and my coffee stained one hangs in my bedroom over a vintage window.  It is perfect. Don't forget to check out the segment on KUTV Fresh Living and message me if you have any questions. 

Celebrate, Dream and Create a little joy in your life today.

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Yarrow Flourish Embroidery

Everlasting love is the meaning given to one of the most beautiful wildflower/herb in the garden, my garden.   Bushes of yellow, red, orange and pink grow in every garden around our property.  They grow each year as our perennials sprout and keep the deer away.  I'm not sure if that is why they are called the everlasting love plant, but I pledge my love to them for keeping my gardens protected.

Yarrow is one of the oldest herbs recorded in history and was used for protection and to ward off dangerous spirits, not saying that deer are dangerous, but I suppose they are to my other flowers.  I love the deer at our home on the mountain.  

Besides it's symbolism, the vibrant little flowers come in all of my favorite golden colors and even when dried, they fade into a warm amber and stay through to the first snow.  As a embroidery artist they look like tons of little French Knots all piled together in the formation of a cloud.  

As I designed this month's pattern, I wanted the simple lines to stand tall as their stems and all of the dots to be the millions of golden to amber buds on each flower.  It is a simple pattern to transfer and to embroider.

To transfer the pattern right click on the photo at the end of this post.  Print on your home computer.  Place the paper on a light source (window or light box), lay your stitching cloth over the top of the paper so that you can see the design under the fabric.  Trace the design onto the fabric using a heat sensitive pen.  

Choose green floss for the stems and petals.  Use three to six strands when stitching to get the maximum texture.  Use a variegated floss to increase the natural color variations.  DMC has beautiful variegation, as does Cosmo and Wonderfil.  Stem Stitch the stems.  Laisy Daisy the leaves.  and lots of French Knots for the flowering buds.  All of the stitches can be watched on the Tweetle Dee You Tube Channel.  

I'm crazy in love with this flower/herb, and I hope you enjoy stitching it too. Watch my Instagram stories for how I used one of my Yarrow plants to dye some stitching fabric to make a individual Flourish Botanical piece.  The fabric is soaking now into a gorgeous golden color.  I can't wait to share it.  

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Coneflower Flourish Wildflower

We woke up this morning to crisp air and a momma deer on our back steps searching for breakfast, which for anyone in the mountains means it's fall.  We are exuberant this year to have fall come and to be home, in our home, where last year we were sleeping in our daughter's guest room and praying continually that our community would be spared from a wall of fire.  We spent all of September away from our home which makes this season, this year even more abundant.  Which make our next Flourish Botanical "sew" extra special.  

This month is the deeply blue little wonder of the field, the Coneflower.   This annual little button of blue is gives a burst of color to our Flourish Botanical Embroidery Collection.  Originating in England and spreading to Australia and around the globe, we all enjoy it's summer grace.

The Coneflower symbolizes abundance.  It was a gift to show compassion to those who had lost much through war.  In fact through WWI and WWII the only flower to survive the trenching and bombs was the Cornflower.   Which is why it was used as boutonnieres for veterans during parades.  I remember them on the lapels of the aged soldiers, decorated in their patriotic colors.  Though I didn't know the significance of the airy little blue petals, I loved to gather them up from the picnic tables in the park after the festivities were finished.

The Cornflower is a simple symbol of the abundant gifts we can find even through loss and the sustaining blessings we keep.  It is also, a simple stitch to add to your collection.  To print the pattern simply right click on ink image at the end of this post and print to your printer.  Trace the pattern onto your fabric with Frixion Pen.

The stitches are a simple woven back stitch, a few french knots for the centers of the flower and the thick straight stitches to make the layered blue petals.  Begin with stitching the stems, then the leaves, then the petals, the light blue center and then finish with a few french knots in the center.

Use simple ECRU thread to stitch the "abundance" and use a little steam over the design to remove the pen lines that may show.  All of the stitches are available on the Tweetle Dee You Tube Channel for you to review.

I know you will enjoy this little pop of blue to your Flourish Garden!  The next one will be available the first of October so get your blues out and stitch this sweet little "abundant" flower this week and remember to look for the abundant blessings in your own life.  We love you all and count you as one of ours.

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Farmhouse Gratitude Beads

When I was a little girl living on my grandparent's farm, my grandmother's gave me a gift that became a way of living and a true blessing in my life.  My Grandmother Dorothy was Catholic,  I was sprinkled with water to be baptized Catholic as well and was given a beautiful Rosary by her.  It was long, too long for a little girl to wear, but I so wanted to wear it.  It had shiny smooth black stoves, cut into angles to let the light bounce,  aged silver links, and at the tip, a black cameo rose cross.  I cherished that necklace, long before I knew it's lasting value.

I lived with my Grandma and Grandpa Lyke on their farm settled on the rolling hills on upstate New York.  They saved my life after my parent's divorce and taught me some of my greatest lessons.  Every night after the evening milking, we would sit together around her table and devour the sharpest white open faced grilled cheese sandwiches.  My stomach could never get enough of them. 

After we caught up on the adventures of the day, and a little Lawrence Welk, they would get me ready for bed.  One summer night my Grandmother pulled out the other Grandmother's Rosary and asked me to kneel down beside her.  She took my hands in her's with the glistening black beads around our hands and taught my how to pray.  She told me to hold one of the beads in my hand and think of something I was thankful for.  

I stumbled to think as a little girl of what I could say, but slowly the thoughts came.  I am thankful for, my dog Mitzi...the new calf,  for the sun, for my cousins...  The thoughts came to me as I took one bead after another.  She told me I would be finished with my prayer to God when I reached the Rose Cross.  Which I did night after night.  It became a practice that has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life.  It seems no matter how deep the struggle, I can always find something to be thankful for.   

One of the newest trends in Farmhouse Style decorating is simple wood bead garlands, commonly called Gratitude Bead Garlands.  You can find them in most decorating stores, hobby shops, and in my shop as well.   They can be hung as fireplace garlands, looped over vintage jars, draped over knobs and in small ways as necklaces and key rings.  

They are used in the same way my Grandma Lyke taught me, one bead = one gift.  Simple and sweet, we love them however they are used.  I strung a couple over my fireplace mantel, and added a few unpainted leaves for the fall season.  I draped a strand with the word "hope" over some Texas loved jars, and of course my Rose Gratitude Necklace, sits on my night stand.

To make a garland you need to find wood beads with a hole large enough to string twine through.  Yes, simple twine is all that is needed.  You can use yarn is you like, as well, you can paint or stain your beads!  There are so many variations that can be used to make yours personal to you or a season.  

Basically .... Wood Beads + Twine + Scissors = a Farmhouse Gratitude Bead Garland

After you have your materials, you will want to begin by making a tassel.  This will be the stop point for your beads as you begin to string them.  To make the tassel wrap the twine around your hand enough times to make a thick tassel.  Before you slip it off your hand, take the piece of twine the length you want your garland to be, and slip it through the twine that is wrapped around your hand.  Tie a knot at the top of the wrapped twine with the long piece that you are going to string your beads to.  Trim off the access tail.

Then take a piece about a foot long and leave a couple of inch tale out as you wrap the piece around the top of the tassel.  When you've wrapped it around enough to look secure and thick, knot the two ends tight to secure your tassel.  Snip the loop at the bottom and trim ends to look even.

Now it's time to string the beads onto your long piece of twine.  I like to use a plastic tapestry needle to help get the twine through the hole in the beads.  If you purchase one of our Farmhouse Gratitude Garland Kits the needle is included.   You can sometimes find them at a hobby shop.  If not, you can wrap a piece of tape around the end of the string to give it a little stability as it goes through the hole.

 I like to mix the sizes of the wood beads to give it a more rustic farmhouse style look, so I will string five to ten small beads and then add a medium bead and alternate big and small across the length of the garland.  When you have finished stringing your beads, leave a four to five inch tail of twine and make another tassel for the other end or you can tie on a wood cross, plaque of wood, or any other embellishment that you like.  Tie it close to the last bead to keep your beads from sliding and showing gaps.

These garlands and gratitude bead necklaces are so simple and easy to make.  They make a perfect rainy day craft for hands of all ages.  As I mentioned, we do offer the kits on our website for both the Farmhouse Gratitude Garland and the Rose Gratitude Necklace.  They come with everything you need to make one of your own.  

To watch me make one of these, tune into KUTV Fresh Living and watch the four of us have fun creating a gratitude bead garland.  I hope this has inspired you to add a little bit of light and thankfulness to your life.  It truly is a daily gift.

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