Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shop stitching for customers

This is a belt canvas that Needle Nicely custom designed for a customer at least 4 years ago.  Vision problems and lack of time plagued the owner who wanted to give it as a finished belt to her husband.  Enter Needle Nicely and our stitching service.  I assured the customer that she would have the belt to give her husband this Christmas.  I personally am stitching it at the shop.  With larger projects I have several local women who are eager to earn "pin" money by stitching for me.  In fact, today I took in an 18mesh Alexa Christmas stocking that was about 25% stitched and a Melissa Shirley canvas (the large two sea horse canvas) that was about 20% stitched.  Though I would love to personally stitch both of them, I will pass them on to others who have more time and will finish them in a timely fashion.  And, no, the Christmas stocking won't be hanging on the mantle this year but it certainly will be next year. 

I have already received back from the finisher the two First Christmas mini-stockings that I stitched earlier this month for a customer.  I apologize for forgetting to take a picture of them and will take one tomorrow for Saturday's blog. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pelicans everywhere, v

The background is finished--hooray!! 

I didn't attempt to continue the background pattern in this little area between pelicans.  Life is just too short for that headache.

Now I've started stitching the individual pelican heads, top-knots and beaks.  Beak doesn't sound right.  The head is basketweave and I'm using the diagonal mosaic for the top-knots and beaks.
EDIT:  I remembered--pelicans have bills.  Glad I finally remembered that!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Several finished pillows

Yesterday I received a box of finished items from one of my finishers. The first I blog-stitched on 7/31/13 and 8/17/13. 
This pillow was originally stitched in Paternayan persian wool and various metallics in 1979.  Its original backing was a blue plaid taffeta that had faded over the years (as have I!).  I took it apart and sent it to the finisher for a navy moire ruffle and backing.  You'd never realize that the needlepoint was over 30 years old.

The "summer sunflower" canvas is be Ewe and Eye designs and arrived at Needle Nicely today.  It looks like a fun stitch.

This Shi-Tzuh  is a Barbara Russell design.  I think the eyes are especially natural.

And I just have to share a telephone conversation I had this afternoon.  A lady called, inquiring about Christmas stockings.  Yes, I told her, we have a stack of stocking canvases.  In the subsequent conversation, it transpired that she had a 4-month old grandson and she wanted to do him a Christmas stocking for THIS Christmas.  I told her no way.  She didn't believe me.  I'm not sure if she'll come in to pick one out or kill the messenger and go elsewhere.  Time will tell.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pelicans everywhere, iv

I've been trying to persist in stitching the background of my pelican piece.  I do at least 2 strands every evening.  And I'm almost finished!  The gold on my beaks and top knot will be stitched in the diagonal mosaic.  You can see on the right that I have just done enough to make sure the stitch will work.
 This week I received a shipment of Walker bags.  I ordered only the multiple zip bags.  The colors are so gorgeous and bright! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The joys of small business ownership

I would like to learn more about the innate patterns of species, whether they be insects or what we think of as animals.  I know that in the 8 years Needle Nicely has been in its current location, I have had to destroy a wasp's nest in front of one of the decorative columns at least once a year.  It's in front of the facade and not somewhere you would naturally look.  But I try to check on this area about every six months.  And when like today I see wasps  feverishly working on a "cone", I run back inside and grab my super aerosole can of bug spray.  First I spray the developing cone and then after the wasps have flown away (hopefully to die), I use my metal yardstick to knock the cone away from the building.  There's a small bit of dodging the fleeing wasps (they seem to aim for your cheek). There is a similar location under the front eaves of my home.  My husband is extremely allergic; so periodically I do a tour around the perimeter of our home looking for "varmints".  Usually there is a growing nest just outside our kitchen window.  I know the wasp builders can't be the same ones as 10 years ago--how do they infallibly build in the same spot?

Of course, my purpose in telling this story is that just once in my retail life I would like to have a landlord who has a staff (chuckle, chuckle) who notices things like wasps' nests and knocks them down before I have to do it. I do accost the "maintenance worker" while he's making his rounds and I point to the spot and mime in very bad Spanish  that he should destroy the nest.  I don't think I'm a very good actress and I know my Spanish is weak--so we do a lot of miming.  Sigh!  Or, after you repeatedly request it, replace the stop sign that some vehicle knocked down.  "No, it isn't on city property--it's in the shopping center", you report to no avail.  Alas!  It's still not replaced. 

Among the new canvases arriving this month are these angels:

This is one of a series of angels done by Melissa Shirley.  Melissa has angels on 13m (which I think this is, she says forgetfully), 18m as well as angels on stars on congress cloth.

 Several years ago I stitched another from this series of angels done by Melissa Shirley.  I especially like the border and wings.

The next three angels are from the multitudes on every possible subject done by Painted Pony.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gunther in all his glory, finished

He's home from his travels to the finisher and looks gorgeous! 

This side view is so you can see the backing and cording. 

 After finishing the stitching on the congress cloth angel, I decided I needed so quick satisfaction.  I selected this giclee ornament canvas from In Good Company.  It's colors look very Halloweeny, but I want it to be a Christmas ornament.

 I did the octagonal Rhodes stitch for the circles and took this picture to show how high they stand off the canvas.  I wish I had done the basketweave stripes in the new peppermint stick white from Balger rather than their lacquered silver.  Too late to change.
The red I did in nobuko, though the detail of the stitch disappears in the shimmer. 

 And the finished product all ready to be sent to be made into a shop model.  I really like almost instant gratification!

Speaking of gratification, this is a shot of our
resident blue heron on the march with his eye on

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stitching for customers--a finish

I think I have previously mentioned that a customer had contacted me earlier this year to see if I could have the stitching on a Dede 2-sided angel on congress cloth (that she purchased from us in 1987) completed and then have it made into a tree-topper.  About one-third of the angel was unfinished in addition to the face, hands and hair.

Congress cloth stitching definitely calls for the amount of illumination present at Needle Nicely, rather than my home stitching area.  I've been working on completing all the unstitched areas of the angel's costume.  Helen, my now retired right-hand, is the best in the world for stitching faces and hands.  So last month when I went to see the National Theatre's HD transmission of Othello, Helen worked for me and stitched the angel's face and hands. The last thing to tackle was the hair--my customer had requested bullion knots.  After my success several months ago with my mermaid's hair, I felt ready to tackle this chore.  May I mention that the 2-ply of DMC floss were definitely not as cooperative as my mermaid's watercolors.  DMC floss has little body and tends to tangle.  However, I completed her hair and mailed her to the finisher this morning.  Here she is:

 I might add that the lightest shade of aqua was a DMC fiber that was like colored monofilament.  UGH!  It was a pain to stitch with and I definitely wouldn't stock it or recommend it to anyone.

Some more canvases have arrived.  These first four are from Associated Talents.

This canvas comes with a choice of background
colors.  It has such a fresh, crisp look.

 The next three canvases are ornaments.  It's hard to resist
stitching one or all of this series!

And this sporty canvas from Needle Crossings just look so Florida, Hawaiian or Caribbean.  Bring on the fun!

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Often people walk into Needle Nicely and remark, "I can't do this, I have no patience."  I chuckle to myself upon hearing this because I am not a patient person.  There are different levels of patience.  I feel very tolerant (patient?) with beginning needlepointers who are sincerely trying to grasp the concept of stitching.  I am very tolerant of young children who are eager to do something for themselves with your assistance.

I am not patient with people who continuously whine that they can't do it--while not even attempting to do it.
I'm not patient with women who play the role of the grande dame and can't deign to wait their turn.  Lincoln did free the slaves, my dear. And please don't tap those false fingernails on my counter.  I do see your diamonds, but as Marcia (one of my seasonal assistants) could tell you, Mary Agnes doesn't know the difference between one and five carats, so don't waste your time trying to impress her!  On the other hand, Marcia can tell you the retail value of that diamond or your car parked outside.  I am constantly amazed and appalled at the breadth of her material knowledge.

Recently, as 5 o'clock rapidly approached, a young customer remarked that now that her mother had made her selection, she could take her time with hers.  I agreed, and then quietly mentioned that my husband did expect me to prepare dinner for him that evening, so perhaps our time wasn't unlimited.  Thank goodness she made her decisions more quickly and everyone was happy, including my "starving" husband.  

Canvases have started arriving for the Florida "mini-season" in October.  These are from Melissa Shirley:

You can never have too many witches around!

 I'm not sure if this is a heron or an ibis--both are white and love to catch fish.  We have several regular ibises who fish in our backyard "water retention pond". 

 And another citrus canvas for those in our area who make their living from the citrus industry.  Though most lemons aren't grown here (Indian River specializes in grapefruit and oranges), the growers have the distribution system and import lemons from off-shore countries like Costa Rica and the Bahamas. 

  And a nice little "weiner dog" for dog fanciers.
This was intended to be a purse canvas but can be easily adapted into a pillow.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ho, ho, ho finished

Saw my first car carrier of the fall season yesterday--hurrah!  That means that people are shipping their cars back down and will soon be here.  It is wonderful to be in Vero during the summer because there are fewer people around and the traffic is sparse.  But you can't make a living from empty streets. 

Last month I put "Ho, ho, ho" aside while I waited for supplies to finish the Os.  First I thought the metal forms for covered buttons would be great painted like peppermints with metallic paint.  Wrong!  Even multiple coats were streaky and yucky looking.  Anyone interested in some unused 2 1/2" covered button forms? 

Then I thought of using wonder ribbon since I had brought some home from the St. Charles market.  But of course by the time I made my purchase they were out of red and white.  I made several phone calls about ordering these, but I think the company was on vacation since so answer and no answering machine.  Note to self:  Remember to try again since I'm sure I'll find a use for this and people will want red & white. 

So, that great fall-back position was:  basketweave.  The swirls didn't seem to lend themselves to pattern stitches.  Too much compensating for mosaic or diagonal mosaic; too short and then too long for satin stitch.  So I did them in basketweave using Balger metallic--the red lacquer and the peppermint white.  Both so glisteny and pretty.