These Are the Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Till next time, cheerio!

Busy As Bees

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

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

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

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

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Hope you’re having a delightful spring.

‘Till next time, cheerio!


In one moment, winter was gone. Icy blue skies are now filled with warmth and sunshine. The garden is flowering with bright orange nasturtiums, creeping daisies, violets, camellia, rosemary, and lavender. We’ve been stealing moments away from work to go outside and tend to the garden: pulling weeds, raking old wet leaves, mending trellises, and turning the soil. After such a cold and dreary winter, nature’s invitation is impossible to ignore.

We find ourselves growing envious of the garden cat sleeping in lush tufts of spring grass. (Incidentally, I think this longing is what inspired the picnic blanket. Natural but civilized. I want to have a lot of picnics this year.)

I’d rather be stitching than most anything, and thanks to all the wonders of spring, there’s no shortage of design ideas. ‘Little Onion’ is the latest addition to the kawaii garden. Like the others he’s quite sweet and takes only a few hours to stitch. (I never grew a vegetable that didn’t smile back at me.)


Another recent design is the ‘Amanita Mushrooms’ cross stitch. We love the storybook quality of it. It was soothing to create, and I really enjoyed the way the little details of shadow and light unfolded with each new stitch. There will be lots more in this new botanical series.

Spring is such a hopeful season. She makes you believe anything can happen, even after a cold dark winter. We’re letting her work her magic on us, like she does every year.

The garden calls again this lovely Saturday morning, so we’re off to prepare more beds for sowing. Then I’m looking forward to a hot cup of coffee and some felt softie embroidery (because there’s much newness, and like spring, I’m terrifically impatient.)

Wishing you a wonderful day, filled with the little things you most enjoy.

‘Till next time, cheerio!