A present in a pear bowl.

Dear friends,

Last week was grueling. I worked six straight days that each spanned 12-14 hours, leaving home before anyone else had awakened and arriving home just as my boys were bedding down.

One night I came home and found a package awaiting me on my kitchen desk. Carefully wrapped in brown paper and sent by USPS from my friend Maridel, I had a hunch what it contained. Given my schedule, though, it was yesterday morning before I even had a chance to unwrap it.

It was totally worth the wait . . . A trio of pears to complement my own (featured here), each more lovely than the last. Here’s my favorite:

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It’s made from a vintage fabric kitchen calendar. It’s beautiful, and charming, and perfect in a way I never could have imagined before it landed on my counter.

Here’s all of them, in a bowl on my kitchen island as if I might wish to choose one to eat.

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I couldn’t be more delighted with my quartet of stitched pears. If you’d like to know more about the artist, just click here.

With gratitude {for gifts from the atelier and from the heart},

Joan, who thinks presents made by hand and sent through the mail are a brand of 0ld-fashioned divine that can’t be matched

First I swooned. Then I stitched.

Dear friends,

While searching the internet recently for embroidery inspiration, I stumbled across this creation . . . so charming, so lovely, so startlingly original that I swooned.

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Source: Etsy

For days, I was obsessed with the notion of a stuffed pear. In the same way I get obsessed with an elaborate dessert and plan it over and over again in my head, I was inspired by this delightful combination of crazy quilting, embroidery and fiber art. I was determined to replicate the design.

So I spent Saturday afternoon making a prototype. Because I had no idea if I my experiment would be a rousing success or a colossal failure, I kept it simple — where simple equals starting at 1:30 pm and finishing at 7:30 pm. So, yeah, even simple art takes time. But I was happy with the result.

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I had no idea before today that six hours stitching nothing more than a pincushion (or a windowsill tchotchke) could be such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Had I adorned my pear as lavishly as the inspiration photo, I would have spent two or three afternoons stitching. Today, I just wanted to finish. To know whether or not my fading eyesight and increasingly stiff fingers could pull off such a thing. The answer, apparently, is yes, so next time I’ll take all the time I need to bling my baby up.

Speaking of next time, I recently ducked into a flea market on my way home from work and found a vintage quilt for a song. It was terribly tattered around the edges and ripped down one side. But at $17, enough of the quilt was intact that I couldn’t pass it up, especially since the top was made from a lovely shade of faded cotton the exact color of Jadite. (If you read this post last year, you know I have a kitchen full of Jadite dishes. The serene seafoam color associated with these vintage dishes is a shade I simply can’t resist.)

I envisioned cutting up my tattered quilt for a number of craft projects, including another pear pincushion. But before I cut into my vintage treasure, I had to know I could pull it off.  Today’s prototype pear made from inexpensive fat quarters purchased at Wal-Mart gave me the courage I need to stretch my sewing wings a bit more.  Now I’ve got more designs than I can keep up with swimming through my mind, all competing for my limited weekend  crafting time.

The good news is I won’t be bored for pretty much the rest of my life.

With gratitude {for my kickin’ new sewing machine, limitless inspiration, and enough spare time to pursue my textile dreams vigorously},

Joan, who thinks the internet is the coolest thing ever for crafters and is especially grateful to the lovely people who post free patterns and tutorials like this one