Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gunther, 20

Today was the annual Needle Nicely luncheon.  We met at the Ocean Grill where we had a table by the window so we could see the tiny bikinis, kayakers, and many tourists in the 71 degree water.  Brrr!
That's Macy, Marcia, Helen and Lynn, my crack sales team.  Though Helen retired this year and Lynn reminded me that she's not an employee, but a volunteer stock clerk.  But all part of the gang.

Wednesday Saco River sent out their email announcing their new colors of persian yarn.  (That's the new name, I gather--not Paternayan, but PERSIAN).  I didn't count, but about 12 of the colors were repeats of the original offering because they originally underestimated the demand.  I question some of the color selections in both offerings.  I won't name them here, but I voted with my order--they weren't there because I still have stock after over 2 years.  I was amazed to discover that they still had some Paternayan stock--which I ordered.  I probably should check more colors that I want.  Tomorrow.....

I took Gunther to the shop so I could stitch some on his black boots.  I didn't make much progress because this was our busiest week of the season.  With Easter coming so early, people are gearing up to head North.  That includes buying new needlepoint projects, thank goodness.
Still, I'm on the homeward stretch.  Just another couple weeks of stitching and Gunther will be done.  This evening and tomorrow I get to check off the Maggie trunk show and get it packed up for shipment back Monday.  DH took the price tags off while I was luncheoning, bless his heart. 

EDIT:  Just realized that I didn't say what stitches I was using on Gunther's boots.  The black is the byzantine #2 from Stitches to Go and the greys are various widths of the slanted gobeling.  The black and greys are stitched in silk lame braid and the golds are Kreinik metallics.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The master gardener NOT

I want to honor Roberta Reba, a kidney transplant recipient, who was a customer and a friend and died yesterday at the young age of 61.  She fought the good fight and was a friend in need and it distresses me that she won't have a public memorial to honor what she has given to her communities and friends.   She first came to Needle Nicely in a taxi-cab (in Vero Beach at that time a real rarity).  That day happened to coincide with our spectacular sale where we started at 7 am for 40% off and added 10% off for each hour ending at 10am with 10% off each day. That was after her kidney transplant and she wasn't allowed to drive.  Hence the cab which sat out front for two hours while she shopped--I don't even think it had a meter!  After Hurricane Wilma, Roberta was one of the first to appear to help us get Needle Nicely organized for opening.  She was so giving and accepting.  Thank you, Roberta, for being such a friend.  All of us will miss you.

I live in a wonderful little community in Vero Beach that has an HMO that takes care of almost everything for us for a truly small fee each quarter.  My husband and I are amazed that they haven't raised the maintenance in years and still services are being maintained at a high level.  We are only responsible for our individual plantings like shrubs and plant beds.  We are not responsible for irrigation, mowing, and general maintenance.  One of the benefits of that is that all mowing is done one day a week, not any old day as it was in our previous neighborhood where everyone was responsible for their own grass.  And, yes, one guy always mowed at 8am Sunday morning--across the street.  Here it's Wednesday about 9 or 10.  Thank you.  

My husband and I have a wonderful woman who trims our shrubs and weeds and puts out mulch, etc., etc.
I'm at work when she comes so my husband (that infamous New Yorker) has to convey my wishes.   He is clueless about plants, mulch, whatever.  I grew up on a farm and love to putch around with plants, but let's face it, I usually work 6 days a week at the shop (now 5, thank you Jesus) and spend another day doing book work, so my energy level is low when I think about getting on my knees to weed.  

However, a dear friend of ours who helped us install fans, verticals, etc., etc., before we moved in to our new house 10 1/2 years ago gave us a plant as a house-warming gift.  He planted it immediately outside the front door in the bed against the house.  It resembles lariope, but is darker (and more sinister). I don't know its name.   Lariope is a marvelous decorative plant that grows larger, but is not invasive.  This plant sends out suckers and takes over the world. 

After asking my husband to have our personal "gardener" get rid of this plant for at least 5 months, I realized that the problem was with him, not her.  He thought it was pretty and green and what was my problem?  

So, I took my trowel out last week and attacked the front flower beds.  Oy!  Definitely not a big enough weapon.  So I asked Marcia if I could borrow a shovel (Marcia is a big-time gardener and has all the tools).
She brought in a short version and last Saturday I began my assault.  First I dug up the existing lariope and separated the segments and replanted them, spreading the wealth.  Giddy with my success, I approached the interloper.  Dug the shovel in.  Moved it around to the other side and dug it in again.  And again.  And again.
It only took about 1 1/2 hours to enable me to remove about 2 areas totaling 8 square feet (and 2 black trash bags).  Whew!  I dragged the trash bags to the curb for pick-up.  When I got the 2nd one there, my toe hit the first bag and I did a slo-mo forward roll so that I wound up with my forehead touching the turf and my knees on the trash bags.  While I was rolling forward, I  had time to think about how hurt my body was going to be when I finally stopped moving forward.  And would I break my glasses?  My center of gravity was way forward when I stopped moving--now, how do I get up?  I rolled to one side like Arte Johnson on his tricycle on Laugh In and managed to get up that way.  Whew!  I don't think I'll be gardening again anytime soon.  Of course, my husband was clueless to my plight--he was inside watching European golf.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wimpy women

I am a fan of Jeopardy.  I have watched it for years.  I watched it 40 (I think) years ago with Art Fleming, who I really didn't like--too smarmy.  In those days I lived in small towns where I had no chance of becoming a contestant and it is one of the frustrations of my life that now that there is the internet and I can try to qualify on-line, I am older and my reflexes are slower.  Sigh.  Ah, well, but I keep on clicking.

Monday night (3/18/2013), I reached the extent of my patience.  I am really weary of women who manage to qualify for Jeopardy and then wimp out.  There is no other word for it.  Why would you be there if you didn't intend to bet enough to win?  Women on Jeopardy consistently make wimpy bets.  Get over it!  Why are you there?  This is your chance in the sun--you ain't getting a call-back.  Why don't these women figure out ahead of time that they need to "bet the ranch"?  If they did their homework and watched previous Jeopardy programs, they would notice the pattern--women wimp out. And the male contestants have figured it out and continue winning. Because they bet to win, not to lose.  Women seem to bet to lose, or even worse, finish in 2nd place.

So, if I ever manage to appear on Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, I can guarantee that I will bet the ranch because this is my one shot to be there and, win or lose, this is my best shot at winning.  I'm all in, baby!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gunther, the standing nutcracker 19

I've been making tremendous progress on Gunther and am hopeful that the end is in sight (perhaps 2 or 3 more weeks--notice how I hedged my bets there).  But I must first devote myself to some serious kvetching.

Florida's sales tax is due on the 20th of each month.  The powers-that-be have decreed that to get the 2.5% discount for paying on time, businesses must file electronically at the latest the business day before the due date.  Easy-peasy, we all say.  Except when life gets in the way.  Monday night I was feeling my creative juices and decided I needed to do the Needle Nicely newsletter NOW.  So I did.  And I forgot about my sales tax payment.  Tuesday morning I checked email and my favorite blogs and decided to eat breakfast.  While eating I had a Eureka! moment and ran back to log on to pay my sales tax.  EXCEPT I couldn't get on the internet.  No email, no nothing.  Mumble, mumble.  After much fumbling, I packed up my laptop and stopped by my computer gurus.  Before I dumped it in their laps, a kind gentleman suggested that he would just check if it were my computer or my internet provider.  AHA!  No charge, thank you very much.  So I stopped by the public library to use one of their computers to pay the tax and then went back to work knowing that a phone call to Earthlink was in my evening's plans.

Fast forward to 5:15 and I'm talking to NdeeYah.  And talking...and poking paperclips into the reset button on my "modem" to no avail.  It took an hour for the gentleman advising me to call uncle and decide I needed a new modem.  I wanted it overnighted (the modem is free, the shipping is another matter between me and my credit card).  However, by living in beautiful, bucolic Vero Beach it is impossible for anything to reach us overnight and so my gentleman suggested that I pay for 2nd day shipping.  So I mentioned the dreaded words--dial-up.  How do I achieve a dial-up connection?  He led me to the proper screen and then told me to enter the incorrect telephone number.  I suspected that and pointed it out (it was my home phone number--I promise I'm not an internet server).  He hung up, anxious to move on to an easier problem.  I did eventually achieve a connection to the internet after talking with 5 techies and one supervisor.  

How does anyone deal with dial-up?  It is so slow I read the newspaper this morning while things were downloading.  Thank you DSL, thank you, thank you.  

Shall we see if Gunther's picture will download in a timely fashion.  Drum roll--Tonight I'm starting the stitch for his boots.

Wow! downloading that photograph onto my blog took about 20 minutes, during which time I started a pot of water on the stove, powdered my nose, ,,,you get the picture.  Perhaps this experience is good for my soul and will make me appreciate blogger more. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Maggie Co Trunk Show

Well, the canvases all have been checked off and priced and thanks to the father of my teen-aged wall-climber (she's in Indianapolis at a high school band clinic), they're hung on the walls at Needle Nicely.  He came Thursday afternoon and stayed until 6 pm so we could finish.  

Maggie sent some models to help with sales, including some specialty frames that coordinate with the accompanying canvas.

Well, these two refuse to be side-by-side.  Sigh.  Blogger is a continuing learning experience for me.

Anyway, you need to click on the cat fish to see the wonderful stitches and fibers that were used in the stitching.  It's gorgeous in person (can a cat/fish be a person?).

Miss Mermaid hasn't been stitched yet, but it's easy to see possibilities.

As Vicky DeAngelis would say, "Just love, love, love..." these frames. 

I don't think there are many woman who can't identify with this shoe canvas with frame.  Sorry I cut off the right side!
 This is the unstitched canvas for the finished pillow
just below.  There is a stitch guide available.
Just love that bobble fringe, though I'm sure it gave the finisher fits.

Here again they aren't going to be alongside each other.
It would be so much easier to look at them that way.

I think it's interesting how the finisher wrapped that fringe around the jumbo cord.

Again, there is a stitch guide available (see the unstitched
canvas below)


Obviously this summer I will need to be studying how to NOT leave all this white space on a page. It really insults my sense of design and balance!
The last photographs are the canvases we tried to group on the walls. Maggie represents many artists and it is delightful to look at the different styles.  I haven't picked my favorites--yet, but I'm sure I will by the end of the month when I need to ship these home to San Francisco. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ode to my beautiful sinuses

Monday I made my weekly trip of adoration to my local GP.  I adore him because he has the power to prescribe medicine to transform my head full of unmentionable fluid and discomfort into a delightful witty conversationalist par excellence.  Add a dose of cortisone and I'm a fluid, mean, dancing machine.  Until the prescription runs out.

Monday I went to have my 3rd in a series of sinus xrays.  This week I only have slightly swollen membranes, but I am beginning to demonstrate that marvelous personality I've shown since my birth (only slight sarcasm there).  So, I thought I might throw in a plug for how wonderful last week had been without pain in my hips or fingers.  I didn't arise from my chair with a lurch or hesitation, but rather I did it fluidly like days of old.  So, I mentioned that prednisone was perhaps not such a terrible thing and could I possibly at some future time entertain more in my system.  Bless you swollen membranes--I have another week of bliss,  but with the admonition that it won't be repeated because cortisone is a dangerous thing.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I'm like Scarlett O'Hara--I'll worry about that tomorrow or next week, but for now I will luxuriate in the sublime feeling of fingers moving without pain and getting up from a chair without conscious impetus.  Sigh!  Ain't life grand?

And another rug found a happy home.  People don't realize how much time it takes to kit a rug.  Sometimes people want to try to use yarn they have at home.  I heartily support that when there are many flowers or birds with a little of this and a little of that.  I also don't mind telling people how much yarn the background or border will require.  The customer who bought one of our rugs last week (a round floral Jean Smith) asked me to kit it.  It took me about 3 1/2 hours and the use of the formula for the area of a circle (the radius squared times pi).  Today Macy finalized the colors for this new sale so tomorrow I get to determine how much of each color is required.  The Paternayan supply has caused a problem in rug kitting--some colors just are not available.  Someone emailed me for a color for a rug she was stitching--but only wanted the "old" Paternayan.  She should be grateful that it is one of the colors available in the new Paternayan since I haven't had it in stock for almost 2 years.

I'm making great progress on Gunther.  I can foresee being able to start on his boots next week (and I'll do the big stitch reveal then, Anne!  It isn't basketweave.).
I just love admiring how much of the background I have stitched.  Yeah!  I intend to finish it before I put the last stitch into his boots.  
There will be no stitching tonight, though.  I received my Maggie Co trunk show and at this moment my husband is attaching price labels.  Then I get to check the canvases off the shipping list and price them.  Here are a few of the canvases:

A darling frog princess designed by Kim Bowles.

And another canvas designed by Kim Bowles.

And this canvas by Corinna Luyken make me laugh and remember my freshman year at Appalachian.  This happened to me twice before I gave up buying umbrellas for life.  I have one for Florida's torrential rains, but usually I just go bareheaded!

I'll show more canvases Saturday, I hope after they have been "hung" at Needle Nicely. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

gunther, again 18

The past two weeks have been marvelous in terms of rug sales--we sold two each week, so the total sold is 14 and the remaining rugs/wallhangings total is 66 (though technically 65 since we have one tucked away for a customer to buy before she goes North for the summer--she's good for it!).  In May I plan to photograph and measure the remaining rugs and list them under that 40% off heading that I established on the right side of my blog entry.  Then in about August I will lower the price to 50% and further deductions will be taken in increments until they are all gone.  Someone asked when I would start buying new rug canvases--she who is looking toward retirement (that's me!) retorted, NEVER!  I will be officially retired as a needlepoint rug saleswoman when I sell my current inventory.  I love them and love kitting them, but enough is enough.  And I ain't getting no younger. 

I've been whizzing along on the left-side of Gunther's background with a smidge of trousers thrown in.  Here's my progress (almost to the bottom of his feet--well, maybe 3 inches away).
 I thought a close-up of the kalem stitch would be informative.  In person every other row looks like a slightly different color/dyelot.   

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

the last of the new canvases (I think!)

This is a belt canvas I received this past week from Stitch-Its.  I love the colors, though it would look good in any combination.
And there were some really "Florida-y" or "beach-y" designs from Associated Talents.
And a take-off of their Funky trees bolster pillow design as a full-sized Christmas stocking.
And, a canvas definitely appropriate for the weather now in the Northeast.

Saturday I'll show my progress on Gunther.  I think I've arrived at the stitch for his boots, so that won't hold up my progress.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

standing nutcracker, 17

I had a debate with myself about the # on this nutcracker posting.  It's actually the eighteenth, but the last post which contained information and a photo wasn't titled "nutcracker"--so a technicality!

My progress seems to be accelerating, but I think it is only because the bottom portion of Gunther is much narrower than the top.  I love the effect of the kalem stitch, but it is a slow stitch.  And I see another few days of it in my future!  You'll notice that I have done much more on the background on the left side as compared to the right side of Gunther's legs.  I decided that I would speed ahead on the left so that I could count up from the bottom for the area of background between his legs.  You understand that I am accepting on blind faith that the backgrounds will line up when they meet at the bottom (or I promise that I will "make" them meet.)

If you click on the photo, you'll see that I did finish the interlocking gobelin between his legs.  Hooray, while an attractive stitch it's as slow as the kalem.  I must prefer something like the Diagonal Triple Hungarian.  But I am sacrificing myself for the beauty of my art!

I'm happy to sit and stitch since my sinus infection (non infectious, thank goodness) refuses to leave town.  Yesterday, upon hearing my voice and seeing my sad demeanor, Marcia insisted that I call my doctor for another visit.  So, an extension on my antibiotic with the addition of steroids.  The doctor even offered me a sleeping pill, but I'm hopeful that I might find the energy to clean my closet this weekend (yes, that's sarcasm since I expect to be a latke for at least another few days.  I don't really expect to clean that closet in this lifetime, and you would understand if you could see it.  It looks like a bomb went off in it.) 

I spent 6 hours (well, technically, 5 hours 53 minutes) viewing the Met Opera's High Definition broadcast of Wagner's Parsifal.  Beautiful music and talented singers.  TOOOO long.  I lasted until the end because the music was so wonderful, but many people bailed after 2 or 4 hours.  As my friend Toni commented, it won't be on the list of things we want to see again.  But an instrumental of the music would be a nice addition to my CD collection.  I loved Rene Pape but the others were just okay--and I resented their singing and overpowering my listening music!  You'll have to excuse my amateur music criticism but I am nothing if not opinionated!