Wednesday, December 23, 2009


How is it possible that Christmas Eve is only hours away? I last posted on Dec.1 and in the weeks since my life has been a flurry of activity. It will be a quiet Christmas for us with only 1 of our 3 children home. Even my mom has left the state. While we have been busy working there have been a few moments of quiet reflection. On the evening we put our tree up it was snowing outside the window. It was a beautiful, late fall storm that dumped over a foot of snow on us. Just the presence of snow made everyone around here full of holiday spirit. I love to put my tree up. It is like visiting dear, old friends once a year. My Big Ben is new, bought in 2008  to commemorate our trip to England & Scotland in April of that year. Just above it is a hand crafted heart. The message was embroidered over 30 years ago when we celebrated our first Valentine's Day together. I was unhappy with the size of my work since I had already purchased a small, metal heart shaped frame so I embroidered another one to place in the frame and made this into an ornament. I find handwork is a gift that can be appreciated on so many levels. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) showed genuine appreciation for his gift.
As far as handcrafting gifts this Christmas they were few and far between. The days have flown by with not much to show for the hours. I made a few items but have tried more than anything to spend time in worship. Worship for the newborn King Who is my salvation and the reason why I celebrate the season. There have been moments of sweet remembrance as I attended a women's holiday dessert with my friends at their church and hosted a table for my church's Christmas Tea. It all...the gifts, the tree, the events, the family members coming home....all of it is what makes the season a JOY to celebrate. I am grateful that His birth allows me these days to reflect and worship.
Merry Christmas to all-

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Week of Giving Thanks

Like families all over we celebrated Thanksgiving with great joy...together. Since 2 of our 3 children have gotten married we have made a point of spending 1 of the 2 fall/winter major holidays a year together. This year was our Thanksgiving year. We rented a home in central Oregon and spent 7 glorious days under the same roof- 4 generations!  Since we do not live near our 3 grandchildren we relish every moment in their presence. Our precious littlest was just mastering his first steps, our lovely girls are both on a "Princess" high. We feel blessed that the kids all like each other and enjoy being together. We were happy my mom could join us and like most everyone else....we ate tooooo much!

Since we weren't going to see them on Christmas I needed to get the girls dresses done early. I had a sweet peachy-pink Eiffel Tower print that I made basic yoke dresses out of. Due to the season I made long sleeves to keep them warm. The smocking is a very simple pattern I designed. They seem to like matching dresses. I'm sure you will agree that they (the girls) are adorable .... says the doting Noni (grandmother).
I trust your holiday was a blessing as well and as we enter this season of Christmas, celebrating the birth of a King, I wish you great Joy-

The End is Near-

Dear Friend-
As of January 2010 I will be disbanding my website-
Along with that I will be eliminating 2 e-mail addresses: and
Please make a note to change my e-mail address in your file to:
To follow my latest designs please visit my blog:
Be sure to sign up as a follower to recieve notices of when articles are posted.
Thanks you for your interest-
Karen Platner

-I will be sending out my post cards with the above notice to alert friends & family of these changes. I appreciate everyone who has looked at and commented on this charming website. Thank you to Lisa Doty for making my vision a reality with a beautiful product, I will miss sending people to view it. A huge thank you also to my neice Ceirha Tripp for her exquisite artwork, she is a true craftsman. I highly recommend working with either of these 2 women!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anticipating Baby Ansel

Friday night gave our community an opportunity to welcome the anticipated Ansel. Due right around Christmas time we enjoyed showering him with gifts. Ansel's grandmother is my dear friend Brenda. Only weeks ago she was enjoying a flea market in Paris when she ran across an antique childs sailor suit. She took a picture of that suit. At the shower she remarked that it had been suggested she make a similar suit for Ansel, then she whipped out her digital camera and showed me a picture. The french garment was red and sleeveless but otherwise very similar to this one..which I already had made before she even went to Paris!!! Made of a colonial blue gingham, the collar is white pique and the trim is a beautiful navy braid. I can hardly wait to meet little Ansel. Congratulations to all-

My Favorite Things.....2

I can hardly believe I forgot to mention these essentials in my lst list. Here goes:

Miette Cakes- I once went to the Ferry Building in San Francisco just to see and taste these yummy confections. I found the website just as inspiring. Makes me want to bake and remodel my kitchen at the same time!

French General- ....A newly re-discovered source of inspiration for all the tidbits of ribbons and beads I have floating around. My daughter and I are planning a visit to the store next time I visit SoCal.

Mary Lake-Thompson Ltd. I love her cottage style and the shop located in lovely downtown Oroville, CA is a treat. When my grandmother gave me a "gift" about 12 years ago on my list of things to buy was a framed print from Mary Lake Thompson. The business has taken a different direction in recent years but her products still inspire me.

Harney & Sons Tea How could I forget my favorite tea!!! I am hooked on the Vanilla- decaf or regular, it just does not matter. I make a lovely vanilla bean sugar to go with it. To make: Combine 2 cups sugar (I use organic from Trader Joe's) and 1 vanilla bean, split. I like to scrape out the seeds and stir them into the sugar. Place all in an airtight jar and let sit for 2 weeks. Remove vanilla bean. Use & store like regular sugar. Back to Harney Teas.....I also love the chocoalte mint and the white peach. Enjoy!

I think that may be it for now...hope you enjoy the tour.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Fashions

Baby Lola arrived last week. A fall baby. I decided to make her one of my "vintage bonnets". This sweet little denim hat is trimmed with vintage lace, embroidery, whatever I have on hand. It is available in sizes 6, 12 & 18 mos. Lola recieved a 12 mos. It will fit her right around the time of her first birthday. Welcome to the world little Lola!

A Few of My Favorite Things

I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my favorite websites. I am visually inspired so I like to check on these sights occassionally for stimulation. I hope you enjoy them as well-

For children's clothing inspiration check out Rachel Riley at Her classic style and exquisite fabrics are incredible. I think she does a line 3-4 times a year. Also, has beautiful things. These might appeal more to an outdoorsy asthetic, I know you will enjoy them.

Last year I was on the quest for the perfect sugar cookie recipe and I found it a THis beautiful sight sells supplies for cake and cookie making. They offer the No Fail Sugar Cookie recipe for free and I have used it over and over rave reviews. Also, I have purchased cupcake papers and have been thrilled with the product. for all things handmade. You can find any handmade item in any price range on this sight. Make sure you allow enough time, it is easy to get sucked in! is the home of Australian Smocking and Inspirations magazine. These beautiful publications come with full size patterns and all the instructions to accomplish any number of needlework projects.

Looking for a recipe for tonights dinner? Try and look under recipes. They have many to choose from and everything I have tried has turned out superb. Try the Zucchini and Carrot Noodles- yum! It isn't quite as inspiring as perusing a Williams-Sonoma store but it is worth a visit none the less.

For french inspired objects visit Even better, visit their store in San Francisco. Not sure what I'd do with any of it (though I'd love a pair of the Eiffel Tower embroidery scissors) but I can't help looking and dreaming.

If you haven't visited my website please do as it is one of my favorite things. is a source for exquisitely handcrafted childrens clothing. Though I only highlight a couple of items I have many more in my collection and hope to showcase some of them here.

For magazines I am loving Country Living. It has evolved over the years and seems to be fitting right into where I am in my life today. The newly re-introduced Victoria is a visual feast as well. I will pick up an occassional Vogue for design details and  Cooks Illustrated for recipes and tips to be a better cook.

English transferware touched my senses over 30 years ago and I have happily added to my collection ever since. My main source of finding additions to my collection is I have been so happy with everything I have bought and it includes alot of blue calico as well as a few pieces of chintzware. My english stoneware ranks among the top items I would remove from the house in the event of a wildland fire evacuation (we have to consider those things around here).

And last but certainly not least who doesn't love fall??? Crisp days, nippy nights, s'mores on the patio, an orange glow in the air. Fall is especially pretty here in Northern California, our town has an almost "New England" feel about it. Makes me want to bake pumpkin bread. What are you baking today?

Friday, October 9, 2009


One of my all time favorite designs is Cherries! Over the years I try to pick up quaint cherry prints to use this pattern on. This sweet little dress is made with a very fine cotton lawn. It was so fine I had to sew in a slip, that worked out great since it gave the skirt extra "pouf". The collar is made using a soft cotton pique and I used the faggotting stitch to attach the gingham trim. The smocking is a simple geometric and I used silk ribbon to form the cherry stems, adding buttons as the cherries. This version of Cherries was made for a dear friends granddaughter, Easter 2009.

In the Beginning

Here we go! Not sure how this will all come together but ..... you never know until you try. My reason for doing this? To share with like minded people whether you are a fellow designer or a parent who happens to appreciate the finest details for your little one. My love of handwork began as a small child. Both of my grandmothers worked, ran homes and invested time in handwork. One was a seamstress and a knitter. The other crocheted constantly but her family had done quite a bit of embroidery so she showed me my first few stitches and gave me supplies from her bounty. I was about 6 years old at the time and I was not very good. I like to tell people that I am not a natural seamstress but a very practiced one! All these years of practice have made me committed to a level of quality that is not found in mass produced clothing- french seams, hand-worked hems, English smocking, embroidery, mini-piping on collars and sleevebands- just to name a few. I get as much enjoyment taking the tiny stitches of a hem as I do working an intricate smocking pattern. It is my joy. Putting all that aside, you must know that I value a well dressed child. In my clothing my goal is to draw attention to your child, not my work. I have found that when a child feels pretty or handsome in thier clothing they will act like the little ladies & gentlemen we imagined they would be. Note the picture of my granddaughter above.....little would you suspect that she can throw a mean fit, she just looks so sweet (and she truly is sweet) I hope you will enjoy this journey with me-