Saturday, June 29, 2013

Best laid plans

So last Monday I planned to spend the day blissfully watching tennis and cheering on my picks.  It's hard to stitch when the people for whom you are rooting are deeply in the weeds.  Yes, Rafa lost, ignobly.  (I'll have to check that spelling--hmm).  And Stan Wawrinka also lost to, of all people, Lleyton Hewitt.  GRRR. 

As if that weren't enough angst for me, I realized about 9am that something was happening atop the accordion hurricane shutter on our kitchen window.  We have doves in Florida and a pair of them has obviously decided that the ideal nest location is atop that hurricane shutter.  I noticed last week that there was a lot of dead weedy material around the window.  I wondered how it got there since it is recessed and in ten years hasn't been evident as a gathering place for debris.  Well, this couple was bringing stuff in to make a nest.  I had to go out about 5 times to break the nest up.  I felt cruel, but it would be crueler to destroy the nest with eggs if a hurricane were to approach. 

I felt better about the doves this morning when I noticed she is nesting in one of the pygmy palms right outside that same kitchen window where I evicted her.
 This is the view from inside the kitchen.  The nesting dove is in the nearest palm on the right up in the bulb.  She is hard to spot since her colors blend in so perfectly.  Here is a closer view of her.
 These are the starfish airing out.  I found these through a shell wholesaler and they smelled a little strong when I opened the box.  I'll be adding several of these as accents to the starfish garland.
 Most of my shop stitching this week was doing the black on a penguins belt for a customer.  She couldn't see to stitch the black, even while using a magnifying lamp.  The light at Needle Nicely makes it easier to see the black.  I have finished the main part of the purse ribbon and have started again on the bow stripes. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What was your name again?

I recently read a blog entry from an online seller justifying her merchandising position in which she emphasized the tremendous expense of maintaining her website.  So far as I know, there isn't rent on a website (yes, a fee for monthly appearance--nominal, I might add.  Nothing like rent for a store-front.).  Nor does she have to pay for insurance on her website (like flood insurance, hurricane insurance, liability insurance, etc., etc.).  And I am assuming she doesn't place a yellow pages ad.  No air conditioning or electricity or pest control or--by now you should be getting the idea.  Almost no overhead such as what is faced by brick-and-mortar stores.  Sure, I could sell things from the 3rd bedroom in my home and at very little cost, but is that really a store?  And who are my customers?

Twenty or thirty years ago, needlepoint customers were truly loyal.  When Needle Nicely had a shop in Blowing Rock, NC, during the summer, we would have people come in and look around.  They would leave without purchasing with the remark that "if Louise (in Hickory, NC) doesn't have such and such an item, I'll   be back to purchase it from you."  That's customer loyalty, and I can appreciate and admire it.  I cannot admire the attitude encouraged by the current internet mentality.  Wherever it is cheaper, buy it.  No personal relationship, no communication, no personality.  I like when I answer the phone and I recognize the voice.  And my customers appreciate that I recognize them.  What a great relationship!  And it is even more wonderful to have someone come into the shop, introduce themselves, and I can call up in my memory their mother or grandmother who was a customer. 

Recently I saw a program on 60 minutes where a woman had no visual memory so she couldn't recognize the faces of her own children.  How horrible.  Think about it--not knowing your husband when you saw him.  I have a marvelous visual and audio memory so that I recognize many previous customers both visually and over the telephone. Until that television program I didn't realize how fortunate I am.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I love Vero, 5

I knew I'd do this--once I stopped working on the background, stitching in other areas, I haven't gone back to the background.  Yes, I am one of the people who "love the one I'm with".  I did manage to finish all of the sand.   For the water I've done the top edge in the slanted gobelin.  The remainder of the water is done in the mosaic stitch.  Most of the design motifs are stitched in DMC perle 3 as a contrast to the silk 'n ivory used for the larger areas. 

The yellow of the beachball is Byzantine variation #2 and the sling beach chair is the diagonal mosaic.  The beachtowel is just the continental and the hull of the  sailboat is again in the slanted gobelin. 

I'm looking forward to accomplishing lots of stitching in the next 2 weeks as Wimbledon starts.  Much of the stitching will be done in the early morning hours as television coverage starts at (I think and hope) 6am.  That way I can watch matches before I leave to open Needle Nicely at 10am--I'm lucky that in the summertime I'm only about 7 minutes away from the shop!  (Traffic, of course, is much slower in the winter.)

And somehow I need to fit in time this weekend to check out the Facebook and web pages of those shops and designers who are at the Columbus market.  While I won't be ordering now, I will be making notes of canvases and accessories to order in the fall.  It's also time for the procrastinator to think about doing another Needle Nicely Newsletter.  Maybe next weekend.....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The last of the sale rugs are listed and Carmen!

 At last!  I just finished listing the last of the 69 rugs and wall hangings that Needle Nicely has put on sale.  The majority are 40% off, a few are 50% off.  Sometime in the late fall, prices will be reduced further.  Please check out the two Sale Rug Pages on the upper right hand side of my blog.  There are some beauties there.  And everyone who has stitched a rug, wants to stitch another since it is such a satisfying experience.

This next week, movie theaters across America will be rebroadcasting a High-Definition telecast of a Metropolitan Opera performance of Carmen.  Please do your best to locate a venue.  It is such a marvelous occasion.  Elena Garanca is magnificent as Carmen.  Not only can she sing while flat on her back being carried around the stage, she can sing while sensuously taking a tangerine from between her bosoms, taking a bite from its unskinned being, spitting the bite out, while still singing  belligerently at a Spanish officer.  What a moment!

The Vero Beach rebroadcast will be Saturday, June 22, at 10am.  I encourage you to discover when your local movie theaters may be offering it.  My local theater charges $12.50  for rebroadcasts.  Quite a bargain considering prices for live performances at the Metropolitan Opera! I purchased the DVD of this performance, but I'm still planning to see it again Saturday on the "big screen".  Can't wait.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I am so couth....thank you, National Theatre (& the Metropolitan Opera)

Thursday afternoon I experienced Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Audience" presented on High Definition internet transmission to movie theaters throughout the world.  It was actually being performed at the Gielgud Theatre in London as part of the National Theatre's productions following the example of the Metropolitan Opera's HD operas.

What a deal!  Helen Mirren recently won an Olivier for her performance in "The Audience".  She and Meryl Streep have to be the world's best actresses (this considering that I absolutely love Susan Surandon).

You must do anything you can to see this performance.  The theatricality was absolutely marvelous.  Mirren was on stage all or almost all of the production.  She managed to disappear left or right when it was necessary to perform a costume change--which she seemed to do invisibly.  She wore 5 wigs (I think), but I never saw her changing them.  One of the theatrically difficult aspects of the production was that it wasn't performed historically, i.e., in sequence.  So Mirren was a young Elizabeth, then an old Elizabeth, a middle-aged Elizabeth, etc.  Amazing acting performance since it wasn't done sequentially.  But done flawlessly.

I want to see this again to pay more attention to the costume changes.  And I'm off to the library to read up on the British prime ministers who appear here.  Not Thatcher, Blair or Churchill, but Wilson, Eden and Heath.  So many questions were posed by the dialog.  I'm sure British historians (or Brits) understood the references, but I didn't.

On another topic, I have started posting photographs of the rugs and wallhangings that Needle Nicely has put on sale.  Most of the canvases are 40% off the original price.  I will be happy to discuss any of them.  All sales will be final.   Please keep checking back --I have about 60 photographs to post.  Enjoy!

And I apologize, but I cannot get that first Sale Rugs icon to delete.  Sigh!  Blogger tends to keep one very humble.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I love Vero, 4

Anne's comment on my last post compelled me to start stitching something other than the sky on my Vero pillow.  So I started the sand using the woven or t-stitch, also in silk 'n ivory. 
The sand painted on the canvas stopped at the base of the palm trees.  I thought that looked funny and so I started my sand at what was the "marked" bottom of the canvas.  I think it will look more balanced. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I love Vero, 3

Tropical Storm Andrea came to visit this week, leaving just under 3" of rain on Thursday in Vero Beach.  And so begins the Atlantic Hurricane season in Florida.  I must confess that I didn't pay attention to the number of "named" storms (as though that gives them more power over us because they are named) issued by the powers that be--I believe in the power of positive thinking and that Florida is back in its old weather pattern with afternoon thunderstorms and no hurricanes.  For years they went North; and I apologize to everyone North of Florida, but so may they continue! 

I've been making great progress on my Vero canvas--it helps that I've been glued to the action of the French Open on television. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ribbon purse, II

Just wanted to show some of the colors of Paternayan yarn that I received last week.  There are still missing colors, but it is definitely easier to kit canvases now than it was last month!

I've been stitching on the middle ribbon on my trifold clutch purse.  The metallics really glimmer and show off the design.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I love Vero, 2

Here's the progress I've made on the I love Vero canvas.  I like to stitch the background and then go back and add design elements.  However, I couldn't resist starting that big heart.  I'm using silk lame braid in a combination of alternating rows of basketweave over 3 and slanted gobelin over 2, all slanting in the same direction. 

And in a "ain't life grand" moment, I broke down 2 weeks ago and subscribed to the Tennis Channel so I could watch the French Open.   Of course, television coverage this past week was at 5am on, you guessed it, ESPN2.  The Tennis Channel coverage started each day at 10am when I was safely at work.  I did set the alarm and watched every morning.  It's marvelous to watch all those muscles ripple in HD!