to celebrate the publication of my new book


Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.

This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.

The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Big Announcement #3

This one is kind of cool. Our farmhouse is featured on the website Apartment Therapy. Check out the post and photos here. They have 2,000,000 readers. Gee. 

This coincides with the publication of my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. Thanks to Roost Books for reaching out to AT. And to Rikki Snyder for the gorgeous photos. 

You can order a signed copy of my book directly from me here and I will throw in some fun freebies and FREE shipping. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Big Announcement #2 - Creative Retreats for 2018 are Now Available!

What began in 2009 as some kind of crazy dream (really - I dreamed it) is continuing in 2018. I've just announced the new classes that I will be teaching here at our farm this summer. Here's what I am offering - 

Weekend 1 - July 21/22 - Decorative Furniture Painting Fabric Printing

Weekend 2 - July 28/29 - Fabric Printing + Decorative Embroidery + Ceramic Tile Design

Weekend 3 - September 22/23 - Color and Embroidery for Knitters and Crocheters + Crazy Quilt Swatch Afghan

Click on over to my website to learn more about the classes. Here is the link. 

Questions? Email me at kristinnicholas AT gmail DOT com

Hope to see some of you at Leyden Glen Farm this summer. Want to read about past classes at the farm - check out this link and scroll through where you will find wrap-ups of past classes 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Big Announcement #1 from Kristin Nicholas

Boy, life gets busy sometimes. I want to thank you all for the book orders for my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. I've been busy shipping them out and am pretty much caught up on orders. I've heard from some who have purchased with comments - thank for those. It is difficult being in a void here so any feedback I hear is awesome. On the book count, I'm up to 221. Only 279 to get to my goal of 500 books. Here is the link to order directly from me. You will receive some exclusive freebies and Free Shipping. 

Now that that's done - here's the Big Announcement #1 for Today. I'm throwing my book a


Yes - that's right. On May 5 and 6, I will be opening our Farmhouse for a House Tour and She Shed Tour. It's going to be fun. I will have it decked out with most of the projects from Crafting A Patterned Home. You will be able to see the decorative wall and fabric treatments for yourself. 

The goal of the PARTY is to inspire you to fill your home with color and pattern. I hope that by seeing the different projects in person, you will find the techniques approachable and not too scary to try yourself. And of course, another goal is to celebrate the publication of Crafting A Patterned Home. 

I've set up an Eventbrite page for the party. Check it out here and sign up for tickets. This event is free and open to the public. Can't figure out how to use Eventbrite - just shoot me an email that you will be coming. 

WHEN: May 5 and 6 (Sat + Sun)
HOURS: 11 to 4
WHERE: 31 Glen Road, Leyden MA 01301
HOW FAR FROM WHERE? We are approximately 2 hours west of Boston, 1 hour north of Hartford and 3 1/2 hours north of NYC. 
DIRECTIONS: Get them from our Leyden Glen Lamb website here
WHO TO BRING: Your friends, your Mom, your partner, your kids but NOT YOUR DOGS. This is a working sheep farm and dogs and sheep do not mix. Thanks. 

Questions - feel free to email me at kristinnicholas AT gmail DOT com

Can't get to the party? You can still buy your very own copy of Crafting A Patterned HomeHere is the link to order directly from me. You will receive some exclusive freebies and Free Shipping. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Books, Before and After DIY + The Power Of Paint

Photo by Rikki Snyder
Thanks everyone for all the orders for my new book Crafting A Patterned Home. I'm up to 209 copies sold - only 291 copies to meet my goal. That sounds pretty impossible but I will keep my fingers crossed and hope the word starts spreading. I'll be packing more orders this weekend and getting them out to all of you who will be ordering over the weekend. Here is the link to order directly from me. You will receive some exclusive freebies and I offer Free Shipping. 

The other day, a reader commented that she would like to see some decorating DIY here on my blog. Considering my new book Crafting A Patterned Home is full of all kinds of DIY on walls, fabrics, ceramics, and more, it sounded like a great idea. Lots of the work I have done in our farmhouse was done many years ago - before the days of digital photography and blogs. I did a little digging and found some before photos that I can share with you all. This is the first of 3 posts with some befores and afters. 

For today's post, I'm heading to New Jersey - to my Great Aunt Jennie's house at 1 Locust Ave. Aunt Jennie was everything a kid could want in a Great Aunt. She was kind and loving. She always welcomed us with open arms and a giant hug and a kiss. She usually had one of those old-fashioned aprons on - the kind that pretty much covered up whatever she was wearing in the front and back - like the header page on this blog all about Apron History! (Whoever knew there was a blog on apron history - fascinating.) She wore dark black leather shoes and her gray hair had a tinge of blue in it. Uncle Harry was always sitting in "his chair" watching the television. We were frequently invited for Sunday dinner. But the thing my sisters and I remember most was the sideboard in the dining room. On it there was an orange lidded dish and inside there was always some kind of candy or chocolate. We girls always bee-lined there. 

Dinners were spent around the massive table in the small dining room. Next to the table there were 3! sideboards and a set of 6 chairs. The wood was a dark oak and there was odd hardware on all the heavily carved pieces. When you sat at the dinner table, you always tried to get a place away from the massive legs that were just plain in the way. But that was hard to do because the kitchen chairs were pulled into service and there would be 11 people jammed around the table. The room was small and I'm not sure how they fit all the furniture in the space. 

When Aunt Jennie passed away, her son - Uncle Don - although he was really my second cousin - had to break up Aunt Jennie's home. Noone in the immediate family wanted the dining set and he called an antique dealer who offered him $200 for it all. He knew we had just purchased our farmhouse and so he offered the dining set to me for the cost of moving it. It cost $698 to get it from NJ to western MA.

When the furniture arrived, I knew it was going to be perfect for this house. It was big and clunky and had a handmade quality to it. I couldn't fit it all in the dining room so I moved one of the sideboards to the living room. The sideboards offer lots of storage space - perfect for a farmhouse which doesn't have many closets. From what I can tell, the dining set was made in the 1920's or so in the southern US. They copied the style of English Jacobean furniture

Once I got the furniture in place, I realized I just couldn't live with the dark brown oak color. It just wasn't my thing and so I decided to paint it. I wanted to cover the brown oak and for the dining room, I wanted it to be almost black. I decided on a oil based wash of color which I did by adding turpentine to black oil paint. I brushed it on thinly so the grain would show through. It looks like this now. 

Photo by Rikki Snyder

Photo by Rikki Snyder

For the living room piece, I painted it with Benjamin Moore's Satin Impervo oil paint in a color that looks like Fire Engine Red. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the color. That piece looks like this now. I just love how it looks in contrast to the chartreuse walls. 
Photo by Rikki Snyder

So that is today's DIY story. If you find a piece of sturdy old furniture, don't turn it down because you don't like the color of the wood. Choose a color you like and then paint it. I didn't prime either of these pieces - I just put the oil paint directly on the wood. Both pieces have held up well although the dining room table could use a refresher coat of paint. It serves as my shipping table so it gets used quite a bit. Parts of it are getting worn and maybe one day I will get to re-doing it. For now, I just throw a tablecloth on it. 

I hope everyone is looking forward to a nice spring weekend. Here in western Massachusetts temperatures are still rather cold and raw and the spring rains are sprinkling the earth. The daffodils are starting to grow and blossoms will hopefully happen soon. All I see outside is the junk left from winter that needs to be picked up and hauled away - leaves, twigs, broken branches, the dog's treasures that she brings home from who knows where. 

Hop on over to my website to order a copy of Crafting A Patterned Home which is chock full of over 30 DIY projects. You can also order it on my Etsy shop here if you like to order on Etsy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Crafting a Patterned Home Out in the World + 5 "Cover Tries"

It's official. My latest book Crafting A Patterned Home is now available out in the world. The publication date was yesterday.  It was a bit of a nothing day if you want to know the truth. Shipping and packing books. Chasing down some more books with the book warehouse. Starting to clean up the studio which is in dire need of a deep clean. 

I thought today I would share a little bit about the making of Crafting A Patterned Home. I worked on this book for a year and then some. I thought it would be easier than my first craft/interior decorating book Crafting A Colorful Home but it was actually a ton more work. In the first book, some of the projects were already completed - over the years - and thus I only had to write the directions and build templates. This time round, I had to do all the work with the exception of three painted wall treatments.

When it came down to photographing all the projects, Rikki and I set up three different multi-day shoots. Since we had been down this book road together once before, we tried to anticipate what extra images we could give the publisher to make the second book even better than the first. 

We decided to give the publisher - Roost Books - several cover tries so that they would have lots of image ideas to pick from. It is hard to determine what the publisher will like best so we tried to make them varied. The idea was, as with the first book, to show several projects from the book in a setting in our farmhouse. 

With cover shots, you have to think about leaving space for type. A title, a sub-title and then the author name and photographer name. That space should be relatively free of visual clutter. Of course, lots of magic can happen with clever layouts but that isn't up to me - that is up to the cover designer. 

Here are the four alternate cover shots we took:

This one is in the living room. 

This one is also in the living room against a dragged wall treatment. Do you see the kitten on the arm of the chair.

This photo is taken in the library. There was lots of possibilities with this image - type on the ceiling, type on the woodwork above the mantel, type below the woodstove. I liked the warm glowing quality of the candles and the woodstove.

This kitchen image was much lighter and brighter. It featured lots of space for type on the ceiling and on the textured wood floor. I thought they might like this one best because it was lighter and brighter but for me, the colors looked similar to the first book cover. 

This image was shot on a wall in the library. We gave an option of white space on the top via the ceiling. We took the artwork off the walls to give more of a blank space too. And the rug would be a perfect place for some knock-out type. 

This one was the winner - it was definitely Rikki and my favorite but we had no control over what the publisher might like best. I guess you could say we got lucky this time. Here it is with the type laid onto it and the cropping done. I like how the title block has a bit of a translucent look to it so that there is a bit of the wall treatment coming through. 

I am super happy with the cover - I think it speaks for what is inside the book. I think it looks really colorful and full of warmth and personality and handmade goodness.

Hope this post is interesting to you and brings a little of the behind the scenes of book production to you. You can order Crafting A Patterned Home on my website or on my Etsy store. I will include some fun freebies and I will pay the shipping. Thanks for helping to support my family, my art making, and work. 

Thursday, April 05, 2018

No Spring Yet + Lots of Packing Boxes

Kate waiting for winter to end - Photo by Rikki Snyder
We are supposed to have snow tomorrow - again. It is April 5th and it is still snowing. Yuck. It won't last long but still! 

Wow - thanks so much for all the Crafting The Patterned Home book love. Orders are coming in and I am packing and packing and packing. I am up to 166 books ordered so far -- 334 to go to meet my goal of 500. Slowly but surely. I have to order more books and packing supplies but that shouldn't slow me down too much. 

This book cycle for Crafting The Patterned Home, I thought I would automate labels through Paypal's service with the USPS. A couple weeks ago, I gave it a try. Failure. I called Paypal twice - yes they do answer their phone. They were very nice - twice. Bottom line - I spent 3 hours on the phone w/ 2 different people and neither could get my account to generate shipping through the USPS. They told me to call the USPS which I did. But I was going to have a 45 minute wait to talk to someone. At that point - I threw up my hands and said screw it. For all that time spent talking and waiting, I could have written out all the labels myself. So that is what I decided to do. I'm getting writer's cramp! Now the post office has to generate all the labels and I have to stand and wait. Progress? Yes and No. I tried. Maybe someday I will have the time and patience to get the USPS to make it work with my Paypal account. 

I can't wait until Crafting A Patterned Home get into reader's hands. I am looking forward to the comments and seeing if any of the projects look appealing to anyone. It is really scary for me. Every time a book is about to come out, I start losing sleep. I also get crazy little aches and pains that I know are all from the stress of waiting to see how people react. I know it sounds like I am a crazy person but that is always how it is - just before a book gets out to the public and also -- just before a photo shoot. Stress does funny things. I know it will all be okay soon once I get these boxes emptied and envelopes filled and I start hearing comments - good or bad. I know I have done the best job possible and now it is up to the book gods to see its fate. 

Hope all is going well with all of you. Still time to order a book from me. And thanks to all of you who have. Thank you thank you thank you!

Here is the link to order a signed copy Crafting A Patterned Home from me. Some nice little freebies will be included. (You won't get that from the big old company in the sky.)

Of course - if you are lucky enough to have a local indie bookstore, please buy from them to help keep them in business. Bookstores struggle as much as authors do to make a living. It is your choice but if you do purchase from me - thank you so much - from Julia, Mark and I here at our farm. Here is the link to purchase from my website

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

One Week til Launch + Some Book Biz Thoughts

Hi Everyone. Thanks so much for placing the orders for Crafting A Patterned Home. I am up to 122 books that I will be shipping out by the end of this week. I am in the process of packing them now. The official release date is next Tuesday April 10th. Only 378 left to go to hit my goal of 500 books.  

I was speaking with a person this morning who will be interviewing me for a podcast I had never heard of. She was asking me about how I would like the link to point when she adds the book to her show notes on her podcast's website. I said I would really appreciate it if she pointed everyone to my very own website. She asked why so I explained. She was fascinated by the explanation I gave her and she said she never realized how little an author made from writing books nor how Amazon sales affected an author's income. I thought it would be good to explain it here since you too might be deciding to buy my new book on Amazon versus directly from me on my website - even if I do throw in all the goodies. 

I received an advance for this book. I got two checks - one in 2016 and one in 2017 - each for $7500. I also paid my agent her commission of 15%. I used the advance to fund all the projects in the book - there are 30. For most of them, I had to purchase new supplies. My advance was to help cover the cost of the supplies and to help me live during the book production. 

This book took me about 1 1/2 years to do, write, illustrate and edit. There are a lot of very big projects in this book that took eons of time. In between I did other projects to help pay the bills. I ran classes at our farm, sewed tea towels, made pottery, did Farmers Markets. We live pretty simply and try to keep our expenses low. 

By now, the advance payments are long gone. There are 2 ways I can make more off of this book. The first is to earn back my advance and if by some miracle I do earn back my advance, I will get a check twice a year for a very small amount. I will say that in all of my 12 books that I have written, there is only one book that I have earned my advance back on. Writing craft books is not the road to riches. I'm not complaining - I like to conceptualize, make, write, illustrate and do all the work that goes into making a book. 

I know that my only good chance of earning any more money off of Crafting A Patterned Home is to sell books myself. I purchase the books wholesale from the distributor and then I sell them direct to you. I have costs associated with this. Here is how I have broken them down.

Book Cost:                        $ 12.48
Bookplate:                         $     .04   (my own handpainted design for you)
Postcards (set of 5):          $     .50   (goodies from me)
Postage via Media Mail:    $   3.17   (I am offering free postage for a while)
Shipping Label:                 $    .04
Envelope:                           $    .28
Tissue Paper:                     $    .16
Plastic Bags for goodies    $    .05
Paypal Fee                         $   1.02
Ink and paper for printer? Who knows

My total cost:                     $ 17.74
My profit:                            $ 7.21 per book

This does not count my time designing postcards, painting the bookplates, ordering supplies..... nor packing the books. Lots of planning and time goes into this. 

If I sell you the book for $24.95, I am making $ 7.21 per book past my advance that was received in 2016 and 2017. This will really help me keep my business alive this spring. Once again - it is not the road to riches but it is a help. 

If you buy the book via Amazon, the purchase of the book will go towards the book count towards my book advance. Amazon will make the spread past the cost that they pay the publisher for the book. I am quite sure they receive a larger discount than I do. As we all know - they are the largest bookseller in the world and most books are now sold through them. 

My agent Linda and I met the other day for lunch. I was telling her how I would be selling copies of the book. She said "I always tell authors - the person who puts the book in the hands of the purchaser is the one who makes the most money. Past the author, the editor, the book designer, the photographer, the distributor. " 

So thanks for purchasing from me. Here are the four different bookplates that I have designed. I am randomly packing them in envelopes but if you want a certain one, please note it on your order

This is my collating station where I stack up the various postcards and goodies and bag them up to go with each book. 

I'm not sure why more authors don't take the opportunity to sell their books directly. Perhaps they would rather be writing books rather than packing and shipping them. Perhaps they don't have an e-commerce website and don't want to bother. Me - I like to have my income come from many streams. I like the variety and the planning and the scheming and the physicality of shipping orders and going to the Post Office. I'm going to be thinking about all of you kind people as I wrap and package this new book - Crafting A Patterned Home

Here is the link to order Crafting A Patterned Home from me. Thanks so much. 

Of course - if you are lucky enough to have a local indie bookstore, please buy from them to help keep them in business. Bookstores struggle as much as authors do to make a living. It is your choice but if you do purchase from me - thank you so much - from Julia, Mark and I here at our farm. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thank YOU + Thank Barbara Jacobs at the ALA

Hi Everyone! Busy busy here. I am on the way to Boston this morning to take Julia to see her eye doctor. It is a long ride but he is a fantastic guy and he fixed her strabismus when she was 4. Forever grateful for the talent and knowledge of surgeons. Seriously. 

Photo by Rikki Snyder
(This is Charlie - our head cat - in the photo above. If you are a fan of cats and kittens, you will have fun looking for them on the pages of Crafting A Patterned Home. And that is a photo by Rikki Snyder who did all the gorgeous photos in my last two books. Such a talent she is. Follow her on Instagram here.)

I want to thank you all for the orders for Crafting A Patterned Home. Books are on order and should be in at the beginning of next week. I will be signing and packing them and getting them out by the end of the week.  

Since I decided to be transparent with my number of books sold - Drum Roll - I am up to 96 copies. Only a little more than 400 to go until I match the 2015 sales amount of Crafting A Colorful Home. Thank you to all who have ordered. Pub Date is 4/10/18. I can't wait for you to see this new title. I worked on it for over a year and a half and to see it going out in the world is so exciting but terrifying in its own right. I think it is good but the jury is out. 

Are you wondering who Barbara Jacobs is? I don't know her but I know of her. She just wrote the most wonderful review of Crafting A Patterned Home and it was published in the American Library Associations' Booklist. Here's what she said......

Many might recognize Nicholas from her colorful retinue of knits (e.g., Kristin Knits, 2007; Color by Kristin, 2009). More recently, she applies her creative hues to embroidery. With this latest, the western Massachusetts crafter declares subtly that all crafts are her province, especially when directing home-design projects. Her thirtysomething patterns feature color washing and stenciling, other painting gigs, knitting, crochet, and ceramics, all with intricate directions and upfront notations about pattern, style, repeat, and techniques. Don’t skip to the designs. Start at the very beginning, where she shares insights on patterns and combinations. It’s clear, from the abundance of color photographs and her occasional sidebars on topics like Charleston, the Bloomsbury group’s English house, or Canadian folk-artist Maude Lewis, that sharing knowledge is the next best thing to providing colorful art. A worthy successor and companion to the likes of Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett, and Tricia Guild. Includes 20 pages of templates.— Barbara Jacobs


Did you read that last line? Gee whiz - I am in good company. Seriously psyched and humbled. 

And here is what my book got - a Star! 

In publishing circles this is a big deal. It means that many librarians will order the book to keep on their shelves and share with their clients. There are a lot of libraries in the USA so that should help book sales. I am so over the moon about this. I am a very frequent library visitor and user and to know that those who cannot buy their own copy may have the opportunity to view my work - it is awesome. 

Thank you Barbara Jacobs. And thank you to longtime reader Sally from Ohio for letting me know. Sally is a librarian and she gave me the scoop.

Help me get to my goal of 500 books. Here is where you can order directly from me and I will ship it out along with some goodies. If you prefer to order on Etsy - you can order from my Etsy shop here

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Julia Flying, Working Hard, New Bookplates + More

This past week, I went to my Mom's house and stayed with her dog Lola. Julia and Mom went on a trip to visit my sister who lives in Florida. It was a big trip for Julia - she was going to have to fly all on her own on the way back home. Her Dad and I have been anxious about her doing this all by herself. She is the kind of kid who you worry about crossing the street by herself. In parking lots she veers all over the place and I have to frequently remind her that the world may not see her. Luckily, my Mom and she travelled together down on the plane and so she had a bit of practice. Newark is a huge busy airport and I know I am sometimes overwhelmed at all the commotion and people. 

Luckily my sister Laurie gave me a good tip that the airlines will help out people with disabilities. I never would have known this. I made a call to United and Julia was able to get wheelchair service from door to door. She flew back without a hitch and met me at the curb with the lovely woman who helped her. 

Julia had an absolutely great vacation with her grandmom and my sister. She wants to go back. I had a great time because I had lists and lists of things I have been wanting to accomplish but never seem to get done. Every time a new book comes out, there is a process of working on promoting it on different platforms and in some old fashioned ways too. 

When Crafting A Colorful Home came out in 2015, the internet was a bit different. People weren't as comfortable buying on-line. The tide has turned now - especially with books  - click click easy peasy. I had a larger following than I do now - I guess I was more active on the internet, my blog had more readers and I was still more associated with my knitting peeps. Back then I sold over 500 copies of CACH! That was a real miracle and it really helped support my family and our farm. I really doubt that I will be able to do that good with Crafting A Patterned Home, but I'm going to try. 

While Julia was away - I painted 2 new Bookplates using gouache - that is them above. One will be included with each book order that I ship out. Here is what they look like now that I have added the type on them in Indesign. 
I'm also including a set of 5 beautiful assorted postcards printed from photos that photographer Rikki Snyder took during our shoot. These will be a surprise for whoever orders from me. 

I thought it would be fun if I include you all in on the number of books I am selling. So far, I am at 48. Only 452 more to go to hit my sales of CACH. Will you help spread the word? That would be cool and I will be thankful. It will help support my work, my family and our farm. 

I couldn't believe the amount of work I got done being on my own - well not exactly alone but with Lola! Lola is the best company. She sticks right by your side. She barks like crazy at anything she sees that moves outside. She sits on the sofa back looking for intruders. She loved the new afghan. I can see why Mom is so crazy about her. She is 6 now. 

I did a bit of marketing work for Crafting A Patterned Home. I was also able to get a whole bunch of new fabric designs finished and ready to test. I'll be sharing them with you soon. I couldn't believe how much work I could get done because I was on my own and only had to cook for me and clean up after me. 

I'm glad to be home and am trying to stay focused. Distractions abound. Ugh. Thanks for all your support and orders for the book - spread the word. XO

• You can order my book for $24.95 directly from my website here. I will pay the shipping costs and I will be including a Kristin painted bookplate and a set of gorgeous colorful postcards. 
• You can also buy it on my Etsy site if you are a fan of shopping with Etsy. Here is the link to that. Same price, same deal. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Two Books You May Enjoy by Emma Bridgewater

Whenever I am working on a book, I always turn to books to give me glimmers of ideas of how I want to proceed on a project. Writing a book is like one long term paper. It always begins with research. It is a whole lot of work but once I hold my book in my hands, I forget about all the sweat and tears and hours of work it took me.

After finishing writing and illustrating Crafting A Patterned Home, I have remained interested in pattern - maybe even more so than when I began. I have always loved looking at patterns - as a little girl and still now so many years later. A few years ago, I read a Book Review in World of Interiors about a book called Toast and Marmalade and Other Stories by Emma Bridgewater. It was published in 2014 in the UK and I couldn't get my hands on it. Somehow, I remembered it late last summer and looked it up and was able to find a copy of it in the US. 

I have a few pieces of Emma Bridgewater's ceramics and I have followed her company and career as her ceramic range has expanded over the years. Toast and Marmalade is the story of how Emma got into making her ceramics in Stoke on Trent. Emma is not a potter - she doesn't make her ceramics. She and her husband Matthew Rice own a factory in Stoke on Trent. But real people do make the pottery. It is slip cast and decorated by hand using sponge stamps and decals. It seems like their company has changed the fortunes of Stoke - by bringing back a dying industry and giving people work who might have soon been out of a job if Emma hadn't come along. 

Toast and Marmalade is a beautiful book that shares the beginnings, the struggles of an entrepreneur's life but it is more. Emma writes beautifully about her Mom, growing up in the UK, of being a sister and a Mom and wife to Andrew Rice (who is her business partner). She writes about food and serving it. She includes favorite recipes from her family. 

I was so surprised at this book - at how good it was. I guess I thought it might be more like a giant advertisement for the company. It was anything but. Emma writes from the heart. She writes about loss and struggle, about love and children and roadtrips, about remembrance and pattern. It was a really good read - one that I couldn't wait to go to bed for each evening. And it all "circles back" to her pottery. (I hate that phrase "circles back" but it seems to work here.)

The photos were done by Andrew Montgomery. They are gorgeous and interspersed throughout the text. These photos are taken from Andrew's website. He is a fantastic photographer and a look around his website is worth your time

I discovered that there is a follow up book to Toast and Marmalade called Pattern and the Secrets of Lasting Design. I ordered the paperback version which is not nearly as lush as the full color version of T&M. It too was a good read. Emma organized Pattern into chapters about all the different patterns she designs for her pottery - flora and fauna, fruits, veggies, lettering and more.

As I read both of these books, I learned that Emma is married to Matthew Rice - he himself an amazing illustrator and a chicken collector. Matthew now runs the company which now does several millions of British pounds per year. And then I learned that Matthew is the son of Pat Albeck - a longtime textile designer whose work I have admired for many years. For many, many years, she designed tea towels for The National Trust of Britain. You can read her fascinating obituary here (she died in September of 2017), see her house here and read a nice interview with her here. Here is a feature on Pat's house on The Bible of British Taste - one of my very favorite blogs. 

What a talented family who have brought so much beauty to the world. Here is an interview with Emma. You can also watch a TED Talk with her here

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring? The Story of My Life..... The Peddler

Tomorrow is the first day of spring and we are expecting a snowstorm. Again. We have had more snow in this last part of winter than in the really cold part of winter. And it may not be over - there have been snowstorms here in April and sometimes as late as May. Thank goodness it didn't warm up too much in the middle of winter to cause the fruit trees to leave dormancy and begin making buds. There will still be peaches and apples and pears this summer and fall. Yay. 

Today I want to share something super exciting with you - the cover of Crafting A Patterned Home. If you are a newsletter subscriber, you may have already seen it. This is the first time I am showing it here on my blog. 

I am in love with the cover. When Rikki Snyder (the photographer) and I were working on "cover tries" we both thought this image was the strongest. Just because we did, didn't mean the publisher and their marketing team would. But as luck were to have it -- this time -- my fave won. YAY.

The book will be available on April 10th - the official pub date. It's a Tuesday. Why are pub dates always on Tuesday? They always seem to be. 

I am selling copies of Crafting A Patterned Home on my website and in my Etsy Shop. I would love to ship you your very own signed copy. If you would like me to write an inscription, please let me know in the "notes" section of the order. 

For the next few weeks, I will be giving you all some previews of what is inside CAPH along with some backstory to the production and making of the book. 

I'm hoping to sell a lot of books. It is going to be hard to ship as many as I did with the last book Crafting A Colorful Home. It came out in January 2015 and if I remember correctly, there was no Amazon Prime then with options for free shipping. Three years is a long time in our fast paced internet world. A lot has changed - including the public's comfort with buying on-line. 

BUT - I will not take this lying down. I am fighting back against the giant. Here's what I am offering the people (maybe you) who chose to buy from me to support my family, my creative work and our farm......

1. Free shipping (within the USA)
2. An exclusive bookplate designed and handpainted by me.
3. A set of 5 assorted postcards featuring photographs by the lovely + talented Rikki Snyder. 
4. An option to have each book inscribed to someone. 
5. A signed title page

You can pre-order over on my website here.
You can also pre-order on my Etsy Shop here. 

Thank you so much for your support of me, my family and farm, and our work. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

12 Years of Getting Stitched on the Farm And Now --- Onto Year 13

Today is the first day of my 13th year blogging here at Getting Stitched on the Farm. It is a miracle that 12 years have gone by and I am still at it. Think about how things have changed on the internet since 2006. Blogs have morphed into professional websites and businesses employing many people. Children have been born who will never know the days before access to on-line businesses, information (and dis-information), and video streaming. 

Here at our farm, some things have changed and some things haven't. That is the nice part about living on a farm. There is a real routine to the seasons on a farm. We base our lives on what happens around us with our animals, the weather, and the cyclical nature of the planet turning and years going by. In the beginning of this blog, I used to chronicle a lot of the activities that we did and still do. It was my mission to inform people "out there" in the world about the daily goings-ons on a small family farm in western Massachusetts. 

Our daughter Julia was young then - only 7 years old. I was an isolated country woman and Mom - with extremely slow dial up service trying to keep my sanity living away from my family and friends. The blog world was a friendly one back then. Bloggers all over were sharing their children's activities, their baking, their meals, their projects. It was a sweet and innocent time on the internet. 

But with as with all things, the internet has changed. Back in 2006, people were fearful and intimidated by the internet. Now, people aren't afraid to put their personal information on their computers and send it into the ether. The possibilities for on-line business seem endless. I worry that people won't leave their houses one day and just live inside with Amazon delivering everything they need to their door. Will Amazon own us all one day? I think about my sweet little grocery store closing up shop because no one buys toilet paper and cat litter from them anymore. It worries me. How will children be able to learn to communicate with adults if they are just learning everything from an on-line teacher? What will help them with social skills like eye contact and conversation? Will all the small public schools in the country close down because there won't be money to fund them and teachers will become irrelevant? Oh gee, I really hope not.

Don't get me wrong - the internet is a beautiful thing and I take much advantage of it. I mean really - how are you here reading this past middle aged woman's ramblings? I'm trying to stay current - because if I don't - I might as well cease to exist. I want to keep learning new skills. I want to keep sharing them with others. 

This blog - Getting Stitched on the Farm - has given me you dear readers. Those of you who have been here since the very beginning. Those of you who are new here. Many come and go. Some move on. Some return. I really don't know much about you all. Perhaps that is the way it should be. I think about you a lot -- as individuals and as a collective group - my reader friendsWhat would you like to hear about? What can I inspire you with? What can I teach you? What can I share with you that you might be interested in learning? What can I do for you?

As the years have gone by, I am less interested in sharing the day to day life on our farm. Frankly - sharing it bores me because I have written it over and over again. The farm and natural year cycles around. We have lambs. The sap starts flowing. The grass greens up. We move sheep, I plant a garden. We do farmers markets. I develop recipes and take photos. The sunflowers bloom. The leaves turn colors. It starts to get cold. It snows. And then it starts all over again. I feel so fortunate that I get to see it all happen over and over again. 

I have watched friends get older. I think about that a lot now - as I too am getting older. Seriously - how did it happen? This year I am turning 60. I don't feel 60. That seems like a big number. I think about how many more springs I will get to see. I don't dwell on it but every once in a while I think about it. You know - that beautiful day when the sun is shining and all of a sudden the leaves on the trees unfurl it seems in an instant. That color - that beautiful spring green color that makes me feel so optimistic and happy and makes me want to shout and smile and tell everyone who will listen what a beautiful color it is. And I watch my daughter grow and learn more about the world. I try to help but I know I have to step back and let her find her way. It isn't easy letting go. But then if you are a Mom - you know that too. 

This isn't exactly what I had planned to write as I sat down this morning, thinking about beginning the 13th year of my blog. I thought I would write about the release of my upcoming new book and maybe bore you all with self-promotion. But no - this has turned out to be from the heart - my heart - to all of you who have read and continue to read. 

Thank you for coming here. For sharing. For making me feel relevant as I have typed and photographed and rambled. You make my "professional life" possible - as odd as it is. I will continue to write on. Happy 13th year to all of us!