"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Keeping busy indoors

Since it's mostly been rainy here, there hasn't been a lot I can do outside.  That is aside from continuing to keep refilling the yard waste container every week with the piles of branches and buckets of cut back plants that I have.  I think I finally cleared the last bit and the huge pile is gone.  That means once Christmas is over I can go back to cleaning up my garden.  Most of the "decorative" seed heads and "winter interest" have already lost their appeal thanks to the huge amounts of rain.  Now they are mostly just slimy and picked over by the birds.

Winter always feels especially long when it's raining and I'm tired of doing housework and other chores to keep busy.  But I had no idea what I could do.  I learned how to do all sorts of needle work from my mom when I was younger.  In fact when I was around 12 or 13 my mom and her friend started a 4H group, and they taught my sister and me and some of our friends all sorts of different skills that I'm so glad to have learned.  We sewed, baked, canned, embroidered and more.  We entered or projects in the state fair, and I even baked in front of judges once.  Most of the skills I sort of ignored as I grew up.  But I'm so glad now that I have at least the basic knowledge to fall back on as an adult.  I can still thread a sewing machine and have helped Sweet Pea on some small projects.  
Over the years I've been interested in many bloggers other talents and hobbies that keep them busy year round.  I've always loved seeing Flower Lady's needle work, and she inspired me to try doing some myself .  Last winter I was in a craft store and found myself wandering the embroidery area.  I bought a very basic pre printed kit.  It was fun to relearn the stitches.

This winter I've started doing a couple more projects.

  One is a pillowcase for the Littlest Gardener.

 Then some chickens on a flour sack towel.  Technically I think the one of the left is a rooster, but I'm calling it a chicken and did colors matching our loudest chicken Tina Fey.  I can't wait to work on more.  I love these vintage style patterns and have ordered some cute garden ones to try too.

And here's something else keeping me entertained indoors.  I have a couple of Amaryllis getting close to blooming! 

I wish I would've started doing embroidery again earlier, it's really fun and relaxing.  I also need to make sure my daughters learn some of these skills.  Sweet Pea learned how to knit from my mom years ago and now wants to try embroidery too. 
If any of you have any suggestions or recommendations on good websites or good places to find interesting fabric to work on I would love to hear them!
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It


  1. Your bunnies and chickens are adorable! I've never been very good at embroidery, so I appreciate the skill it takes to produce something that good. It is interesting how some of the skills we're taught as children, even if long ignored, can become interesting to us again as adults. That happened with me with knitting. As a child I found it to be a chore, and I went years without doing it, but then picked it up again in my late 20s, and loved it!

  2. Such cute patterns. Embroidery is one of the hobbies I enjoy once in a while, and cross stitch. So fun to bring the images to life. Enjoy!

  3. We've had a lot of rain throughout this year, so it's good to have indoor work to do! Most of my time is taken up with my professional art work - however I do sew occasionally and this year have made costumes for some of my work as a live event artist. One thing you may like to try with your kids is painting things onto canvas and then cutting them out and applique-ing them to fabric. I did this with my 'artist's cloak', painting shapes of pencils and paintbrushes and sewing them over the cloak, with stars also! You can see a photo of the cloak on my News blog http://ingridsylvestreevents.blogspot.com

    1. Those sound like some really fun ideas! I will check out your other blog.

  4. Your embroidered pillowcase and tea towel are so sweet. I have some similar to that from my grandmother. Handiwork like that isn't as common anymore. I taught both my girls how to use a sewing machine, how to cook, in addition to jumping a dead battery, changing a tire, fixing a toilet....etc.

  5. wee people in Florida have a hard time with constant rain...and no sun...,,,we are spoiled!

  6. The chickens are sooo sweet. Great job! I think I've seen odetoinspiration do fabric work. If I may say, you could always stop by my spot, loveliveandgarden.com, to learn how to 'cook' a great pot of tea with cardamom :-) I'm posting tomorrow. I love a good hot cup of tea indoors when its raining in the garden..

  7. Dear Catherine ~ Your chicks and bunnies are so cute. I love embroidered bits like that. They are so homey and comforting. Thank you for your kinds words about my work inspiring you. Reading that was just the inspiration I needed this morning. Thank you.

    Enjoy your Amaryllis.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic new year.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  8. Your embroidery pieces are so cute Catherine. I use to do stuff like that all the time and over the years I have stopped about everything like that. I think I done so much of it that I got tired of it all. Or maybe I just and getting old and lazy.LOL! Have a wonderful week.

  9. Your tea towels are cute, Catherine! I can tell you are enjoying your chickens! Have a Merry Christmas!

  10. I love your projects. I do lots of sewing and knitting and am teaching myself to crochet at the moment. You could try Sew Daily http://www.sewdaily.com/

    Maybe you should set up a 4H like your Mum did and teach your girls skills

  11. Nice to see you back Catherine! Having hobbies is a good thing I believe. I love to knit and now make my own socks.

  12. I lost my needle skills years ago from lack of practice...you have encouraged me to pick up those artsy skills once again...

  13. Hi Catherine and girls! It's been so long since I have visited you. I am sorry to read about your father's cancer.
    I love all the light you are getting in your back yard with the tree down.
    Your embroidery is great. That's a hobby I always enjoyed.
    I wish you all a blessed Christmas. Mildred (Nalley Valley)in Georgia

  14. I immediately thought of Lorraine, aka FlowerLady when I saw your work. I love your vintage look too. Will they be Christmas presents for the daughters? I embroidered when I was younger but haven't in several years. I should have been better about teaching my daughters. Kudos to your mom and her friend for starting a 4-H group. You were very lucky.

    All of the rain and gray sky can be a bit mind-numbing for sure. I'm trying to do as much reading and writing as I can. I'd like a few of my projects to be finished by spring so I can more fully devote myself to gardening.

    Congrats on the Amaryllis. My sister gave me two of them for my birthday in November and they're still in the box. Dang. :)

  15. I could never do needlework or knit, or sew. And it is in my genes to as my my was great at all of them. You did some nice pieces. Like mom like daughter in your family...

  16. I love that embroidery, just like my mom used to do. I also have an amaryllis about to bloom! Anything to keep us gardening during the winter!

  17. I love your embroidery; you make the difficult look simply adorable!

  18. Oh I love, love your needle work. I have and still use flour sack dish towels that my grandmother embroidered with each day of the week and a little scene. They are the best! Your needlework reminds me of them!

  19. The passing on of skills is an act of love. My mother in law spent many precious hours with my children sewing and cooking. Why I didn't take the opportunity to learn from her I'll never know. I can embroider and after seeing your lovely work I'm in the mind to take it up again.

  20. I like to do embroidery too and have been using my knitting looms quite a bit this winter. The old yard debris routine sounds familiar as well.

    You just became a garden hero to me. I deeply admire that your loudest chicken is named Tina Fey. That woman is fantastic.

  21. Oh those skills we learned as children come back to us as adults - I thought I'd forgotten how to do some of these things and then surprised myself!
    I've been crocheting a bit and my sister sent me a family sewing machine to learn sewing again. There are things to do inside, I just prefer outside! But you are right the rains make it no fun and honestly the rain and cold just makes me hurt if I work out in it.
    I'm hoping for an excellent gardening spring/summer/fall!


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