Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shock and dismay!

I have lived my life in small towns.  I grew up in North East, MD; went to college in Boone, NC; was a senior high school librarian in Newark, DE for one year; was a senior high school librarian in Millers Creek, NC, for 2 years; earned my MA in Boone, NC (at the now famous small football power Appalachian); was a college cataloger in Boone, NC for 3 years; studied for my library science doctorate in Madison, WI (at over 100,000 a big town!!) for 3 years where I crashed and burned, but completed my coursework--back to Boone, NC for a year as a media professor; learned needlepoint and started working at Needle Nicely in Blowing Rock, NC, where "a star was born".  And then she moved to that thriving metropolis (mild sarcasm), Vero Beach, Fl. 

Yesterday one of my students stopped by for a last-minute check before she left this morning for her home in MA.  She left a bag of fibers on the table.  I thought to myself, it's a small town, after 5 o'clock, I'll drive over to the beach where she's renting and I'll be able to see them loading the car in the parking lot.  Silly girl!  I circled the parking lots for 30 minutes and then accepted defeat and drove home. 

Then, this morning, a really ugly reminder that Vero is growing.  Needle Nicely has had two planters with rosemary in front of the shop for over 17 years.  They survived the hurricanes and the move to our current location. This is what I saw this morning when I pulled up out front.

That planter was concrete and I can't tell you how heavy it was--I'm reasonably strong for a woman and I could slide it, but I couldn't lift it.  Even the pieces were too heavy for me. 

As the policeman said, were they trying to steal the planter?  Vero has had a spate of people throwing  bricks through glass doors to gain entry. However, as the policeman said to me (frighteningly, to me--I'll be remembering that at 3am in the future, me who worries about whether the sun will come up) that there were many smaller items that could be used to break the door glass or windows.  He thought they wanted to steal the planter. 

And this was my bonus day, business-wise, being Feb. 29!  On a lighter note, a customer from Irving, TX, was in who was visiting her mother in Palm Bay, Fl (about an hour North of Vero), and because of Jane's Chilly Hollow and Needle Nicely's blog made the trip south to Vero to spend some time and money in the shop.  Whoopee!

And a new canvas designed by Laurel Burch and distributed by Danji Designs:
So bright and uplifting--just the trick after such a disturbing morning. 

In Memoriam:  Judy Harper, 2/28/2011

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More bird-watching

My stitching on blog items has been curtailed this week while I work on stitching the motifs on a custom-painted needlepoint belt.  The customer couldn't see to stitch the royal blue and black items, and asked for our help.  My at-home finishing up the stitching on a pair of flamingo canvases has slowed to a turtle's pace.  While I like the look and adaptability of the mosaic stitch, I get really bored stitching it.  So instead I've been doing more chatting with my husband or working the crossword puzzle than stitching.

This heron was designed by Terry Enfield and is distributed by Quail Run Designs.

And this is a companion canvas:

And another classic design by Carol Dupree for a Christmas stocking:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Boo, hiss, television remotes

Monday night I wandered into the kitchen to start preparing dinner.  I must lay some background:  my husband believes in washing dishes as you cook, so the sink is filled with hot, soapy water.  The television set is on the counter above the sink.  Of course, I dropped the remote into the soapy water.  And naturally it died instantly.  Tuesday DH went to Comcast to trade in the remote.  It was a pleasant experience, no questions asked, no charge.  He returned home to program the remote.  No luck.  I came home from the shop, tried to program the remote ...3 times.  No luck.  Wednesday DH called Comcast and actually talked to a woman in South Carolina (not India).  After much explanation on DH's part, there is the AHA! moment when the woman says, "Now I have to activate your box."  I just wish they had put a stitcker on the package that said "You must call to complete the programming process." 
But now to a subject I know a little about.  This heron was designed by Doris Gustafson and is distributed by Hyla at The Point of It All.  What a wonderfully elegant composition.

And for a "bird" of a different species, we have this sinuous showgirl from Leigh Designs.
Next, are some Christmas ornaments from NM Arts (and my mailman was amazed that I knew who was sending me a package from Enumclaw, hope I got that right, WA).  This poinsettia is gorgeous and the snow scene looks like the mountains of NC in the snow, but probably is generic.

And I'll take a step back from December and show you these personable pumpkins from Associated Talents.  I think my heart is definitely softening toward Halloween designs!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A multitude of riches

This nautilus shell with a Greek key border is from Julie of JP Designs.  She is known for her marvelous, often imaginative, borders. 

This fox by Julie is wonderfully framed by what I think is leather from horse halters and bridles.  That fox has such a fantastic look. 

These are just a sampling of Julie's canvases for cuff bracelets.  Each is more wonderful than the next.  What fun to stitch!

In Vero Beach, we have ordinances governing what lights there can be on or close to the beaches because of the turtles who lay eggs on the beaches.  If there are too many lights on the land side, the hatchling turtles will go inland rather than into the ocean.  It is a wonderful experience to be there when the hatchlings come out of their nest and head for the water.  It's a magnificent happening because they are so tiny and their movement is so instinctive. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Package address quiz, anyone?

In my attempt to be fiscally responsible (i.e., quit buying canvases like a drunken sailor), I tried to limit the amount of canvases I ordered for the season.  So some of my designers are mailing me the canvases rather than using FedEx or UPS.  Actually, I've been using the post office for the last year or so because their rates are cheaper than the other two mentioned shippers.  Anyway, the point of this is that my mailman has picked up on my increased mailings from designers and now we have a "name the designer" quiz when he walks into the shop.  He tells me the postmarked town/city and I have to guess who mailed it.  Thank goodness he doesn't confiscate the merchandise if I am incorrect (who knew Zecca was in East Barrington, MA?  not me, for sure).  Does this give you a feel for just how small a town Vero Beach is?  Don't sneeze because everyone in town will know you have a cold!!

And since I mentioned Zecca, here are several canvases I received from Karen this week.

These are for Lee's luggage tags or their purse mirrors or purses or just for a fun scissor fob or ornament.

In the past year or two I've had several inquiries about backgammon board canvases.  This beauty also includes canvases for the dice containers (what are they called again?).  Karen's designs are so bright and refreshing.

Obviously I will not be quitting my day job to become a photographer.  Still, the design manages to shine through.

And for one of my all-time favorite new acquisitions:

Yes, a yellow ducky tape measure.  While you can't bathe with it, it is fun to play with!  What will they come up with next?  

I'll be posting tomorrow or Monday so I can keep up with the new canvas arrivals.  And as an aside, someone has already purchased one of the canvases I pictured on Wednesday.  And in a gotcha, of course it's the canvas I was planning to blogstitch this summer.  Hmmm.  Will the demon order another or be a good girl and select another canvas to blogstitch?  What do you think?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

hip belt canvases and more

As I was typing my heading, I realized that the new canvases I received for belts that ride on the hips are also quite "hip".  These are from Marie of Colors of Praise.

Really gorgeous patterns.  They make me wish for the hips of my 20s and 30s where I could have worn them with great delight.  Ah, well!  As the men at Craig's Grocery Store in Blowing Rock used to say, "You've turned into a fine figure of a woman, Mary". 

This California quail is one of the series of 8x8 designs that Melissa Shirley has done on 13mesh.  And another canvas from Melissa is this pot of succulents. 

And I'll end with one of Julie Mar's wildflower bell pulls.  The individual flowers are so delicate.

This is only the bottom section of the bellpull--if I back up so it shows in its entirety, the design is too small to really enjoy. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More new arrivals, canvas-wise

Nigel has arrived along with his stitch guide from Anne Stradal (

Anne even included the buttons for me since Vero Beach is a vast wasteland of sewing notions. 

One thing Indian River County is known for is citrus.  This orange crate label canvas from Treglown Designs is a perfect fit for this area.

Those oranges look almost as good as the real thing!

This tropical bird is a natural for pattern-stitches and could be in a Vero Beach backyard.

I seem to be finding more Halloween canvases that appeal to me.  This Treglown Designs canvas has many areas where pattern-stitches will just naturally fit. 

And here we have a Charley Harper egret.  It is so elegant in its simplicity.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

A little couth and more new canvases

You'll have to excuse the detour, but I just arrived home from a 6-hour marathon at the opera.  In case I haven't mentioned it before, our local movie theater (across the parking lot, hooray!) carries the Metropolitan Opera HD simulcasts on select Saturdays.  Today was the Gotterdammerung, the 4th in Wagner's Ring Cycle.  There were 2 intermissions so the fanny fatigue and bladder issues weren't a problem.  The production was absolutely wonderful and it really didn't seem that long.  The soprano, Deborah Voight, also happens to have a home in Vero and she gives local concerts each year to support our local opera group.  And what a voice!  If you have the opportunity and even if you don't know anything about opera, check into this.  The live performances are $25, there are subtitles, and while you expect good singing, the good acting is a definite bonus.  Most HD venues also show a "rerun" on Tuesday evenings for less money than the live performance.  There are also reruns in the summer from previous years.

And now to what pays the rent.  Among the canvases I received from Amanda Lawford was this beautiful blue heron canvas.  Someday I'll post a photograph of the blue heron who is a regular in our backdoor "lagoon".

I'm going to have to do some off-blog work with my new camera.  I posted these canvases on a blank wall and bent my knees or stood on tiptoes or whatever to stay level with the middle of the canvas and the perspective is off.  The top is wider than the bottom.  This was a problem on all of them, even the smallest.  Grrrrrr. 

This next canvas is from Alice Peterson but is a perfect fit for Amanda Lawford's round boxes with a 4" opening.  The boxes come in black or white.  I would have photographed one but my new, replacement camera's unrechargeable batteries decided to die before my planned ending of my photo adventure.  So next week I'll show you the boxes because they're easy to put the needlepoint (or whatever) in and they're inexpensive. 

This beauty by Gayla Elliott is also distributed by Alice Peterson.  I'm in love with her, so much so that after this canvas arrived I called and asked Cathy (owner of Alice Peterson) if I could have a canvas that showed just the center with Miss darling mermaid of the year.  I think she'll be great on a tote bag or as a stand-up
or doorstop.  My fingers are itching to stitch her, so we may see her again.

This in-your-face is so reminiscent of Georgia O'Keefe.  My photograph doesn't do justice to the richness of the colors.  It's from Alice Peterson and is just yummy as you can see.

This scene is from DJ Designs.  I ordered a pair from a series by the same artist that Dale represents.  I just love all the details.  I was so brave when I ordered this and its companion after seeing them mentioned on a TNNA market report.   Dale asked if I wanted to know the price and I replied, "No, I just have to bite the bullet."  There are just some canvases you have to have, no matter the cost.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A special visit and some canvases

Monday I had lunch with Meredith (, her mother Kari, and Kari's former business partners Rose and Sandy.  They were in town to visit Rose, get some sun (it has rained the entire time!), and shop at Needle Nicely.  I totally forgot to take pictures, even after Meredith mentioned that she had taken some.  Duh!  It was really great to talk "shop" with fellow professionals (they used to own a needlework shop and can remember the highs and lows).

Each day I'm eagerly greeting both the UPS driver and the mailman in hopes of more new canvases.  Today I received 6 boxes--belts from the finisher, some purses from Lee's Needle Arts, and 4 huge boxes of imprinted plastic bags in three sizes.  Not quite the adventure I was anticipating!  Monday was better when I received a shipment from Ruth Schmuff.

The colors are so crisp in this canvas from Eye Candy.  It will really lend itself to lots of different stitches.

And then I bought a series of "season" samplers.  This is the one for July Fourth.

While Trubey was designing canvases for last fall's 30th anniversary, I had her add to our series of 5x7 canvases.  I hope to blog-stitch these this summer and fall...or maybe next year?

And what canvases will tomorrow bring?  As suspense builds!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Flamingo sandal, panel 2 progress

It seems like my stitching mojo has gotten lost.  I've been trying to remember what I've done with my time this week that I accomplished so little stitching.  I seem to have been preoccupied with w-2s, quarterly reports, and other year-end matters.  I have a total of 5 employees and I can't justify to myself the expense of an accountant for things like w-2s or sales tax reports or quarterly tax reports.  Math has always been one of my specialties (I scored higher on the math section of the GRE than the verbal, a really unusual occurrence for a librarian!).  However,  I am more than willing to give my accountant the information so he can prepare Needle Nicely's annual tax return (and my own personal one).

And then for the icing on the cake, I received a scam letter today purporting to be an official request for me to report the minutes of Needle Nicely's annual corporation meeting.  Say what?  I was to fill in the blanks and send the form with $125.00 to a named non-governmental entity who would prepare my report.  It took me 2 reads to realize that it was a wonderful way to make money.  Where do these people come from?  And how many businesses have fallen for the scam?  And I will be calling someone Monday to report this.

On a happier note, here are several of the new canvases received at Needle Nicely this week.

This is such a fun nursery rhyme canvas from Susan Roberts Designs. It's large enough for the seat of a child's chair, but would also make a colorful framed piece or pillow.

Sandra Gilmore designed this and I took a class at TNNA several years ago learning how to stitch it with unusual applications.  It looks so homey.

These parrots from AGA are so Florida.  But as I type that I remember the wild parrots that inhabit an area
of San Francisco--is it Telegraph Hill?  Anyway, the large areas of color just cry out for pattern stitches. 

And I'll end with a photograph of some of the Pische Pockets.  I have a great selection of these kits in stock but can't photograph them because of the reflections off the plastic of the packaging.  I also have a selection of these tote bags without kits so you can carry them "bare" or select your own canvas to apply for a pocket.

The suspense is killing me to discover what canvases will arrive next week.  May I repeat that I requested shipment on February 1?  I have also ordered items that I gleaned from everyone's TNNA market blogs.  I called one designer who knew I hadn't been at market and when I ordered a brand-new design, exclaimed "But that isn't up on my website yet, how did you find it?"  The shadow knows.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A trickle of new canvases

Vero Beach is "at the top of the Tropics", which means it has foliage that grows at the blink of an eye and constant trimming is necessary to keep the landscape under control.  However, I love the Southwest and the canvases that depict that area.  My customers obviously feel differently, as every time I add some Southwestern canvases to my inventory, I reluctantly have to move them to the sale area.  So I was delighted several weeks ago when a new customer came in looking for desert canvases.  I referred her to the internet with trepidation.  I like to help people but don't want to shoot myself in the foot and lose a sale.  However, she came back with several items  and a preferred canvas.  Thank goodness the website that showed it didn't have it in stock and she remembered that I had offered to order something for her.   So I had the opportunity to order this gorgeous stitch-painted canvas from Quail Valley for her.  This springtime scene is so restful.

I've seen much discussion on the web about the next canvas.  David McCaskill in LaJolla and Meredith Willett in Lexington are both teaching classes.  I'm not crazy about Halloween as a needlepoint subject, but this canvas just grabbed me (maybe it's because of my own shoe collection?).
This canvas is by Share One's Ideas and everywhere you look there are either stitch or fiber possibilities.  Yum, yum.  Now can I resist stitching it?

This canvas is an oldie, but goodie, from Susan Roberts.  Years ago we had this as a pillow model with multicolored perle cotton cording and the same multicolored perle in huge tassels.  It was such a hit with grandmothers that one of them eventually purchased our model.  It's also ideal for a footstool or a child's chair seat.

Vero is separated from Vero Beach by the intercoastal waterway.  If you have the opportunity to take a boatride up or down "the river", you may encounter our local porpoises who will often accompany boats.  These canvases from Princely are so reminiscent of those porpoises.

Another Princely canvas is a reproduction of a William Morris design.  The flow of the acanthus leaves are so sinuous and pleasing.

My last selection is a doorstop design by Melinda McAra.  It is a depiction of the swan boats in Boston.  The ducks from "Make Way for Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey form the sides.

And tomorrow I have more new canvases arriving.  I promise to share with you.