No rain, no flowers.

Hey, how are you? It’s been a while. I hope you’re doing well, that things are okay. If you’re not all right, well then, that’s okay too. Truth be told, I think the majority of us aren’t “all right.” We all go through an ebb and flow of difficult situations that are essentially helping us grow up into better versions of ourselves, even though they seem to come in the version of 20-foot waves.

I love (yet also simultaneously despise) the saying “no rain, no flowers.” It’s reassuring that the waves of torrential downpour will guarantee growth, but nobody wants to keep getting dumped on in order to see the bounty of blossoms.

Did you know this business began over 30 years ago? Bet a dime you didn’t, and it’s likely that you may have never even heard of us until recently, or even today. See, shortly after my mom and grandma started this business, it rained. And it didn’t just sprinkle or mist, we’re talking 40 days’ and 40 nights’ worth. Could you imagine essentially being a nobody (sorry ma) that people were still so threatened by? There was wave after wave of people who sought to fight against the productivity, the growth of this little business.

The flood of legal battles have ended all in our favor (thank you God), and so seems the defamation as well. The army we once faced for nearly two decades, many of those jumped ship. However, after the water dissipated, we realized that the time lost on protecting our possessions would never be recouped. In those days of legal paperwork and continuously setting the record straight, we were outrun in the race. We had lost time investing in promoting our products. People who had just begun these crafts were already widely known. We thought the lack of interest was because of the types of products we made, so we invested even more time in design, and even less in advertising and reaching out.

Friends, can I tell you, sometimes it feels like The Great Flood is at your door. You may feel like you are experiencing tumultuous undercurrents from other people, which keep you from your full potential. Don’t look at it that way. It becomes really easy to be dismayed, trust me. To be clear, you’re not a bad person for losing faith over it.  I’ve been there. Sometimes, I didn’t want to be faithful, but I looked at it as a duty. If you focus on the bad that’s happening, you’re only going to drown yourself.

If we hadn’t experienced everything that we did, we may not have grown into creating better products, we may not have grown into becoming wiser in business relations and protecting our intellectual property. We’ve become more bold. We also relate to a lot more people now, sharing struggles. This business may not mean anything to anyone else, except those who wanted it snuffed out. But we’re here, we’re growing, and I think it’s finally showing! We are pretty dang excited with our refined designs (we’ll share more in the next few days).

Recite these, heck, stitch it on your sleeves: no grit, no pearl; no pressure, no diamond; no rain, no flowers. And just remember, you aren’t the only one who gets to enjoy your flowers!

Here’s some florals from around my house to distract you and temporarily drown away your sorrows. I hope your clouds will clear out soon!

Hugs,  Rhonda

Flowery foodie goodness.

What’s not to love about flowers? They look beautiful lining a pathway, sitting in a jar on the windowsill, or even printed onto fabrics. Another great thing: some flowers are edible! We just love the idea of having a lovely little salad that is dotted with Johnny Jump Ups, or using blackberry blossoms to garnish a cake.

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie GoodnessSo in celebration of some of these delicious florals, we’ve tested a few recipes that have become our favorites.

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness

1. Raspberry & Rose flavored Floral Ice Pops
Recipe via Chew Town (Makes 10)

4 cups water
Various edible flowers (petals retained)
1 tablespoon Raspberry and Rose cordial
Popsicle Mold

Place petals inside the popsicle molds being sure to layer them on top of each other and not compact them.

Mix water and cordial in a large jug and stir well to combine.

Gently pour the cordial mixture into the popsicle molds trying not to unseat the petals too much. Insert popsicle sticks and place in the freezer until frozen solid.

To remove from the molds gently place bottom of molds in warm water until the popsicles pull free.

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness.

These popsicles make the perfect frozen treat for any spring or summer soiree!

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness

 

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness

2. Lovely Little Lollies
Recipe via Sprinkle Bakes
Yield: 10 lollipops

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup water
1 dram bottle candy flavoring oil (such as LorAnn, I used Blackberry)
Violet gel food coloring
10 organic whole voila flower heads or pansy petals, washed and patted dry
10 lollipop sticks
    1. If you are using a lollipop mold (recommended), lightly grease it with cooking spray.  If you are not using a mold, pour 2 cups of powdered sugar into a baking pan with a lip.  Create indentations with the bottom of a glass or other flat-bottomed object. Set aside.
    2. Stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water in a small saucepan and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
    3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.  Continue to heat without stirring until the bubbling mixture reaches the hard-crack stage (302 degrees F). Remove pan from heat.
    4. Stir in flavoring oil and a small amount of gel food coloring. Be extra careful because the mixture will bubble and sputter with these additions.
    5. When the mixture has stopped bubbling, drop it into molds by the spoonfuls (or powdered sugar indentations) using a metal spoon. Carefully place a viola flower head or petal face down on the hot candy. Use the end of a lollipop stick to slightly press it into the candy.  Quickly pour just enough hot candy over the flower head or petal to cover the backside, encasing it completely in the candy.  Place a lollipop stick in the candy and turn 1/2 turn.  Allow the candy to harden, then remove from molds.  If using powdered sugar to mold, you may choose to rinse off the excess sugar under a thin stream of warm water – either way, the flower will become more visible once the lollipop is being enjoyed.

TIP: WORK AS FAST AS YOUR LITTLE HANDS CAN MOVE. The candy mixture cools VERY quickly.

 

 

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness

3. Blossoms and Berries Ice Cubes

4 Quarts of Distilled Water
Arrangement of Organic Edible Flowers, Berries, Mint Leaves
Ice Cube Tray

Boil distilled water and allow to cool completely.

Pour water into trays, filling molds halfway. Place flowers, berries, and mint in each cube and place tray in freezer. Once completely frozen, fill each cube with the rest of the cooled, boiled water and continue to freeze completely. Fill up your cups and enjoy!

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness.

And once your ice melts, you’ll have pretty little blossoms floating around in your beverage.

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness.

 

 

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness

 

4. Limoncello Lavender Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from here!

Yield: 12-18 Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons limoncello
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon crushed, dried lavendar (optional)
Dried lavender sprigs for garnish

For the lemon curd:
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

For the limoncello buttercream:
1/2 stick butter
6 oz cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons limoncello

Beat softened butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the limoncello and beat until well mixed. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Alternately add flour and buttermilk to butter mixture. Mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and crushed lavender just until combined. Pour into prepared cupcake pans, about 3/4 full and bake at 325 for about 17 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

For curd: Mix lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar of medium heat until boiling. Whisk egg and egg yolk. Whisk lemon mixture into eggs off the heat (to temper). Add all back to sauce pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Cool completely.

Use a melon baller to scoop a hole into tops of cooled cupcakes. Fill with cooled lemon curd

For buttercream: Beat butter and cream cheese. Add limoncello and beat until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar until desired icing consistency is obtained. Ice filled cupcakes. Garnish with dried lavender.

Now, inhale!

Also, don’t do as we did and forget to add the sugar–one of the most important ingredients! The first batch was the equivalent of lemony, unsweetened cornbread, hah!

Out of the Thistle Blog, Flowery Foodie Goodness.

We hope you enjoyed this bevy of blossom-decorated recipes! Just remember to be sure to verify which flowers are edible and safe to use, and we recommend using only organically grown flowers. Enjoy!

-The Out of the Thistle™ Company

A Pair of Hares.

If you are like me you are probably shocked that Easter has somehow snuck up on you, that it is in TWO WEEKS. I’m pretty sure that it was January last week, so how did this happen??

Lucky for you, we’re giving you a heads up! If you knit and like giving one-of-a-kind gifts, then our “Claire the Hare” PDF knitting pattern is right up your alley. It’s available on our website, on Ravelry, and on Etsy (all of these links can be found to the right of this post).

If knitting isn’t your thing and you still love giving one-of-a-kind gifts, then these are for you! I have created a few rabbits using my pattern and they are available for purchase!

Instead of wearing the knitted overall dress, they are dressed in a couple of short-and-shirt outfits I created specifically for them. These took some time to make, especially sewing these tiny little shorts! But I just love the way they turned out.

Rhonda Potteet "Claire the Hare" doll

This first little bunny is wearing cotton, jade-colored high-waist shorts with a crisp floral, lace-trimmed tank top tucked in.

IMG_1294 Rhonda Potteet Claire the Hare doll

The shirt was sewn using a high-quality Liberty of London cotton. She was hand knitted from 100% wool and has a wool embroidered face.

This second little rabbit was also hand knitted from 100% wool, with a wool embroidered face.

Rhonda Potteet Claire the Hare doll

Rhonda Potteet Claire the Hare dollI designed and knitted her flutter-sleeve tank using 100% pure virgin wool. She is also wearing bubble shorts that were sewn using a high-quality Liberty of London cotton.

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If you are interested in purchasing one of these bunnies, please feel free to contact me privately for details via email. rhondapotteet[at]gmail[dot]com

Happy Easter!
Rhonda Potteet

Cozy tees!

I cannot rave enough about the “Immie Tee” and “Camilla Babe” patterns that Carrie Hoge has designed for little ones. The pullover design is practical, yet they have a simple but beautiful pattern up the front panel of the body. These patterns are easy to follow, which is why I have used them over, and over… So, I have decided to keep a few of each of the sweater (shirts) that I have made following these patterns, and I will sell the rest. First available, this mustard yellow, short-sleeved, cozy Camilla Babe:

Camilla Babe Tee created by Rhonda Potteet, Thread Bears®This cozy sweater-shirt is a perfect Fall/Winter piece, and is worthy of being passed down for many generations. Since it is a pullover, it is easy for little ones to wear.

Though it is short-sleeved, it is warm and serves as a good transition piece from Summer into the cooler weather.

IMG_9531It features a boatneck design, a patterned panel up the front and a garter stitch around the body. It was created from the “Camilla Babe” pattern created by Carrie Hoge, and was knitted from a high-quality Quince and Co. American Wool.

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Click here to purchase this lovely tee!

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Second tee is this lovely laced, lightweight-yet-warm knitted shirt. It was knitted from a bright teal Merino/Silk blend and features a lace floral pattern up the front panel of the tee. It is short-sleeved and lightweight and serves as a good transition piece from Summer into the cooler weather.

Immie Tee by Rhonda Potteet of Thread Bears®

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It was created from Carrie’s “Immie Tee” pattern. This tee can be purchase here!

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Thanks for looking!

-Rhonda Potteet

 

He is risen!

We thought we’d share some of our favorite snapshots from our Easter preparations! We used a white paint pen to draw on farm fresh eggs, and we love the way these turned out! Although, it really isn’t a craft geared towards young children. It can tend to get really messy!Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen! White paint pen on farm fresh eggs

We also did a round of royal-colored dyes on farm fresh eggs. We used a RIT dye color guide, and these deep colors were just what we were looking for!

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen! RIT dye royal-hued eggs

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen! RIT dye royal-hued eggs

We made some of these carrot-shaped candy wrappers from coffee filters. The filters were dip-dyed in some of the egg baths, then laid out on kraft paper to dry before wrapping up the candy. These little “carrots” only held about 1-2 pieces of candy, which is great because we really aren’t big on candy at our house (we’d rather eat cake!). So they got less, though it looked like more. Another bonus: no plastic eggs hanging around for years! We stuffed about a dozen of these carrots in their baskets with books, movies, bubble toys, etc.

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen! Coffee filter carrot-shaped candy wrapper

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen! Coffee filter, carrot-shaped candy wrapper

Speaking of cake…some of these “carrots” were used as a decoration on the naked carrot cake.

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen! Carot cake with toasted coconut

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen!

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen!

Thread Bears® Blog / He is risen!

Although, this day is not just about coloring eggs and eating delicious cakes. Words cannot begin to describe how grateful we are for this holiday, that we may come together as a family and celebrate the importance of this day–the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is because of this ultimate sacrifice that we are able to spend this joyful day with our family, that we have hope for the future and eternal life through knowing Him. We find peace in knowing that Jesus fulfills the promise He made on this day: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.” He is risen!

 

 

Our time for harvest.

Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

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Thread Bears® Blog

Thread Bears® Blog

Spring is always such a glorious time of year. The warmer, longer days make way for more time in the garden, enjoying the flurry of flowers that arrive. This time of year is so coveted after the long, cold Winter.  Those short, grey days of Winter make the bright blooms and warm washing of sunlight even more enjoyable when Spring arrives. The wait builds anticipation of new growth, new opportunities.

Now is our Spring. We see the lushness and peachy glow out our windows, and we see the freshness and thriving potential in our business. We’ve had a long, hard Winter–both out our doors, and in business, and we are welcoming this Spring. We are welcoming the newness. We are welcoming the growth.

As you may know, we’ve come a long way in business. We’ve acquired much and learned much, only by the help of our Lord. We’ve had battles that other small, family businesses don’t endure. Those bitter, burdensome battles have made way for us acquiring Intellectual Property. They’ve strengthened our faith, and our confidence. From those experiences, we believe our business will continue to grow and flourish. During our experiences, seeds have been sown. We thank God for the patience and understanding during our time of tilling the soil, watering, and waiting for the new growth. Now is the time for our harvest.