Tag Archive: creativity

Printed Linen + Crewel Embroidery Project

This summer I am teaching 3 different weekend Creative Retreats here at our farm. You can read about the retreats here. This year I have made the option of coming for only one day – not two days – as an experiment. I already have several people signed …

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Orna’s Way to Play with Color

Many of us tend to feel uptight about color. We want formulas, rules, and guidelines so that we pick the “right” color. Orna’s recent post takes colors from the piece pictured above and plays with them to get some very creative results. It’s inspiring and a great springboard for your own color experiments. Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2017Original content […]

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Ideas to Customize your Stitching

Although written for cross stitchers, this post by Nicholas Pell has lots of fantastic ideas to customize your needlepoint. Some, like adding a quote give you an easy way to make a painted canvas individual. Any easy change for most canvases is the addition of a border. Others, such as isolating a motif, might work […]

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Upcoming Creative Retreats at Leyden Glen Farm with Kristin Nicholas

Last week, I announced my 2017 Creative Retreats to my newsletter readers.  It wasn’t the most opportune time to do it – 6:30 p.m. the day before the Easter holiday began but it is what I could do. This year I hemmed and hawed about classes to run…

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Life + New Pots + Vanessa Bell Exhibit + Book

March and the beginning of April have been very difficult weatherwise for the sheep and the humans. We seem to be over it hopefully — yesterday it was 80 degrees. Farm chores continue everyday. The lambs are growing and soon the grass will be too. The…

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Thought Process + Some Links

I have been typing away all week on the keyboard of my computer working on the re-writes for my editor. It is a slog. Many years ago, I read a quote from Patricia Wells, one of my fave cookbook authors. She said something about you have to just sit the…

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Back At It + Some Links

Welcome back! Happy 2017 everyone! I want to thank everyone who comes to this little space of mine on the WWW for all your encouragement and support over the years. I’ve been writing this blog since March of 2006. I can’t believe I have kept it up for so long. Some of you have been here since the beginning which is quite incredible to think about. Things have come and gone on the web but I can’t say this blog has changed too much. That might be bad for some but for me “I’m okay with that.” So many people who were blogging many years ago have given it up. I understand that because it takes a lot of time but for me, I’m still interested in doing it and keeping a conversation going. Thank you all for popping in and reading and commenting. 

I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and are ready for whatever 2017 has to throw at all of us. We had a lovely time this holiday season – visiting family and friends, seeing some things in NYC and Boston and also doing a lot of nesting at home. The weather has been cold, then warm, now cold again. We’ve had snow many times. It’s winter in western Massachusetts.

Julia is back at school. The Farmer is getting the barn ready for lambs (February this year). I’m settling back into a routine. I must admit it took me a few days to get back into it this week. It always does. I hadn’t been in my studio in a couple weeks. When I got back into it a couple days ago, I realized how much I missed it. It’s my own special space (except when I share it with students) and I really just feel more creative there. It’s not that I don’t love the rest of our house – it’s just that that space is mine only and no matter how messy it is – it feels so welcoming to me.

Every year, I hear about people making “New Year Resolutions.” I remember trying to do that when I was a teenager – making a list of things that I certainly would never accomplish. As I have gotten older, I have realized that that practice doesn’t work for me one bit. So I don’t even attempt it. 

What I did do is write a list of some of the things I would like to accomplish this year. Besides finishing up my next book, I want to paint more. I would love to do a daily painting challenge (do you know Jennifer Orkin Lewis’s work?) but I know I don’t have the time for it right now. Book deadlines first. I will try to do some more quick paintings though. 

I also want to work more on surface pattern designing on my computer. I’ve never had much time to spend on it but I have the basics down. Last spring I took Jessica Swift’s Pattern Camp on-line class and it was helpful and a refresher for what I already knew. I just signed up to take a class on SkillShare called Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design. We’ll see how that goes. 

Other things I am hoping to continue doing are blogging, making pottery, making things to sell in my on-line shop and who knows what else. And I have to think about what kinds of classes I want to run here at the farm this year.

Do you have anything plans and dreams, hopes and desires for your upcoming year? 

Here are some interesting links I think you might like – it is a bit esoteric but so am I in my interests. 

•My Farmer has watched all the Lambing Live Shows from the BBC on YouTube. It is a great show and as we say – only the Brits would make such a show. He is sad that he is done with them but as he says “We’ll have our own Lambing Live soon.” I haven’t had a chance to watch them all but I have listened as I have been cooking and washing dishes. 

Jennifer Edwards – Knitter and Artist – is doing a new newsletter called An Artful Lifeline. I have signed up and look forward to what she has to say. 

Salley Mavor (of Wee Folk Studio) is adding a political slant to her work. I’m interested in where it will take her. She is a brave woman to put her political views out there – I think she will gain a lot of followers (and lose many too). Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes. Go Salley!

•Spoonflower has a new series on their blog called 12 Days of Design. It is good. Videos and brief instruction with links to help you learn.

Macy’s is closing 68 stores and laying off 10,000 people. (Sign of the times?)

Thanks so much for reading everyone. I wish you the best for 2017.

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Open House 2016 Photos – for those who couldn’t attend

We had a great weekend here at Leyden Glen Farm hosting our 2nd Holiday Open House. Saturday was a bit slow which was the complete opposite of last year. (And it made me very worried!) We had a great turn-out on Sunday – folks drove from far and w…

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Busy Bee – Things I Am Making

Thanks so much for all the comments about Thursday’s post. I hope I have opened up some more conversations within the world of hand knitting designers, yarn shops, yarn companies and the industry in general. Read the comments on the blog and on my FB p…

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Why I’m not Designing Knitwear Right Now by Kristin Nicholas

If you are a knitter and follow my blog because you knit, you have probably noticed that I’m not publishing new knit projects right now. I’ve had people say things to me like – “You could be making a fortune designing knitting patterns now.” and “Knitt…

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Autumn Farmers Markets + Creative Things

Tuesdays I do the Northampton Farmers Market behind Thornes Marketplace. Commerce was incredibly slow in July and August but Tuesday it picked up a bit. I guess folks are back from vacation and getting back into the routine. Thank goodness because I fi…

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Fabric Printing + Embroidery Class Wrap Up – Day Two

Day Two of the Fabric Printing + Embroidery Retreat was all about embroidery. On Day One, the students had designed their base cloth. They printed their motifs on 100% linen fabric using motifs they designed. We spent the morning learning embroide…

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Fabric Printing + Embroidery Creative Retreat WrapUp – Day One

The second Creative Retreat here at Leyden Glen Farm was this past weekend. I had a small group of 4 students but we all had a fantastic couple of days together. Although I prefer a larger group for my income stream I actually do enjoy the dynamics of …

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Colorful Creativity, The Farmer + Lucky Me

A few days ago I received a lovely email from a reader who discovered me through my latest book. Here’s what she said…..Hi Kristin – just to let you know you are inspiring me! a few years back we purchased a house to DIY on a lake up in northern…

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Easy Personalized Needlepoint

We all know that outlines can be the basis of easy personalized needlepoint. A great source of these is cookie cutters. But Jean Loffredo had another idea. She decided that she wanted to use her son’s hand for the outline. He came up with the flag idea. She put the field for the stars in […]

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You’re Going to Be Inspired

I just found this new video produced by the fine folks at Houzz. You’ve just got to watch it. This is the house of artists/sculpters/mosaic artists/painters Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran in Venice, California.You can learn more about the artists Cheri a…

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This Past Weekend’s Hugely Successful Open House at Leyden Glen Farm

Well, we made it through! We weren’t sure what to expect, or even if anyone would come to our first Open Farmhouse/Open Studio Event here on Glen Road in little old Leyden in western Massachusetts. Last week was a whirlwind of activity, decorating the …

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From Sketch to Canvas

It’s always an area of fascination to see how artists work. Facsimiles of the notebooks of famous artists and writers are still in print centuries after their deaths. We get excited when a DVD comes with “behind the scenes” footage. Why? I think it’s because in some sense the creative process seems like magic. If […]

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OPEN HOUSE – Celebrating Creativity + Farming + A Giveaway

This weekend is our First Ever Open House. The house is almost ready and we are awaiting the arrival of Deborah Garner and her textiles and jewelry. Across the street, Alicia is busy spiffing up her art studio and packaging all kinds of artwork. I…

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Yikes Stripes! My Readers and I Love Knitting Stripes

I’ve received a few emails from readers over the past few days. I thought it would be fun to share them with you all. 

Dear Kristin,

When I first leafed through my autographed copy of Crafting a Colorful Home, I knew that I needed to have your striped afghan in my home.  I had been collecting colors of your yarn for years (how did you create an exceptional brown?  I mean it’s just brown!) and I took the enormously generous gift card from my child and their partner to Webs.  I’ve worked on it off and on for many months, and earlier this week I finally finished miles of mattress stitch, and spread it out on my sofa.  

There hasn’t been a sunny day since I finished, but this pic gives you an idea.  Color, entertainment, beauty, I knit it myself, and as an added bonus, I’m going to be warm this winter.  Many thanks!


Here is the afghan that Anne has finished from my book Crafting A Colorful Home. Outstanding job Anne! It is an heirloom for sure. And from what I hear from Anne – her family is fighting for who gets to snuggle under it. 

Signed copies of my Crafting A Colorful Home book are available here. It will make a great Christmas gift for crafty friends. 

From Patty, a long-time reader and commenter, I got this note…..

Hi Kristin,
Years ago, I could not afford Classic Elite Tapestry. I would buy left overs that were on sale. Those left overs eventually became the attached sweater. Thanks for your inspiration. This sweater one keeps one of my most favorite co-workers warm.


I love the sweater Patty made. It looks like something that I could use everyday here in our chilly farmhouse. I love all the crazy colors mixed together! Thanks for sharing Patty. 

And lastly, this is what I have been knitting lately. It is a pair of Christmas Stockings for some little people. These stockings will hang together for many years. I wanted to design them so they looked good together and the kids would be able to know whose was whose. 

They aren’t done yet. Must be washed and then I will add some embroidered ornaments to the trees. 

The patterns I used are available on my website here and here.
Or on Ravelry here and here
I mixed the two patterns together. Lots of designing options and fun. 

Hope you all are staying calm and taking care to travel safely if you are visiting friends and family. 

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Open House in Leyden Featuring My Friends Alicia, Deborah, Gail, and Debbie

Popping in tonight with some quick words. We had a great Thanksgiving holiday here at the farm. It went so quick. After that was done, I had to quickly move on to the next project – our Holiday Open House which is in only 4 days! Yikes. Julia and …

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2015 Gift Guide for Creatives

  The holiday shopping season is here and the pressure is on to find just the right gifts for friends and family. I always appreciate a solid recommendation of what to choose from someone who really know what they’re talking about. I don’t know a lot about power tools or neckties or fine wine, but… 

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Cheryl’s Sunflower + A Question for You All?

I’ve been trying to figure out how I can have a place on the web where people who are inspired by me, my books, farm, garden, art, or something I write here on the blog and other things could live. I know that if folks knit or crochet, they can post th…

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Sunflowers and Van Gogh

I flipped the coffee table top over on the porch a few weeks ago for the Country Home photo shoot. We laid down one of my plates and placed some pretty sunflowers on it. What a cheerful way to celebrate summer. The other side of the tabletop looks like…

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Colorful Knitting Retreat Wrap-Up

We had a fantastic weekend here at the farm with four knitters who travelled from CT, NJ, AZ and VT. From the moment they walked in the french doors into the living room, I knew we were all going to get along and have a blast. We started the day o…

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Visit to the Deerfield Valley Pocumtuck Memorial Hall Museum

In my summer quest to expose my teenager to art and craft and culture, Julia and I headed off to Deerfield MA on Friday. There is a gem of a museum called The Memorial Hall Museum. It features old things from our New England area. What was most in…

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Loose Ends + Vincent at The Clark

You probably guessed it but I love to work. I love to make things and create products to share with others that they can then too make. When I was a kid, I was the one doing the making of the products that were out there for sale. I spent all summer se…

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Advanced Crewel Embroidery Farm Retreat Wrap-Up

Two weekends ago, I hosted a fantastic group of students for an Advanced Crewel Embroidery Retreat at our Leyden Glen Farm. It was a gorgeous weekend – we lucked out once again. Clear, sunny days with no humidity. What a treat. The group spent two days…

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Advanced Crewel Embroidery Farm Retreat Wrap-Up

Two weekends ago, I hosted a fantastic group of students for an Advanced Crewel Embroidery Retreat at our Leyden Glen Farm. It was a gorgeous weekend – we lucked out once again. Clear, sunny days with no humidity. What a treat. The group spent two days…

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Printing on Walls with Foam Stamps – A New Video with Kristin Nicholas on Houzz.com

When Rick and his crew were here from Houzz.com in May for the video shoot of our farmhouse and family, he asked me if I would demonstrate one of my decorative painting techniques for a video tutorial. I chose the Stairwell above which was one of the f…

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