Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More monogram ornament

The rug sale ends at midnight!  I've sold one wall hanging and one rug this afternoon.  Tomorrow I get to do editing work to eliminate the sale prices.  So can't you save me labor, and buy one?

I'm motoring along on this ornament and feel quite confident that my blog Saturday will show a completed stitch (fingers crossed).

My new computer seems to swallow letters between my typing them and posting them in messages.  I thought it was only Northeasterners or Cockneys who swallowed letters??  I also seem to magically hit some secret button which either reduces or enlarges the font.  I now know where on some screens to find a remedy, but email font changes are still a mystery.

Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances were in 2004 and Wilma 2005 (my "moving" experience)--may the old saw that it takes 10 years to recover from a major disaster prove to be true for Vero Beach and my needlepoint shop.

Hope everyone's 2015 is a healthier, wealthier, and wiser new year!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Rug sale end and monogram ornament

This is just reminder that the Needle Nicely rug sale will end at midnight, December 31.  I will leave the photos here on the blog, but will eliminate the sale prices.  My original reason for the sale was because of the demise of Paternayan yarn.  Now that it is back, it's possible to kit rugs with it.  Hooray!

I've been chasing my stitching blahs with a monogram ornament canvas.  I'm making progress, but am not up to my usual stitching diligence.  Here's my progress up to Christmas Eve.
 This is my current progress.  That is one card of silk lame braid.  Of course, I had only brought 2 cards home.  Fortunately, I had another at the shop and brought it home Friday afternoon.  So no dye lot problem on this baby!  The purple is Kreinik Balger.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The shipping of needlepoint

There are 3 categories of needlepoint when it comes to shipping options.

The first is the unstitched canvas.  It should be rolled and placed in a tube or kept flat and placed between 2 pieces of cardboard or if small flat in a padded envelope. As a last resort, fold it. Some people are quite particular about the canvas not having been folded.  It actually doesn't affect anything and will disappear with stitching, but if it is a concern, merely press the back of the canvas with a steam iron to smooth things out.  After all, canvas is just a combination of woven cotton threads that are heavily starched with then a painted design applied.  Also, I almost forgot, put everything in a plastic bag, whether a trash bag or a ziplock bag.

The second is the stitched, unfinished canvas.  Again, place in plastic and cardboard.  Whether you ship flat or rolled or folded entirely depends on the stitches and embellishments used.  Rolling or flat are usually preferred, but always in cardboard.  Never in a padded envelope.  I've had people fold a stitched belt and mail it to me in a regular envelope.  Dangerous!  You only have to see one envelope that has been caught in conveyor belts to never try this again.

Lastly, we have the finished product.  I always ship in plastic in cardboard.  I also always insure for $300. via the US post office which necessitates that the recipient must sign for the item.  I've had one or two postal clerks tell me that $201 in insurance calls for a signature, but others contradict this.  Just to play safe, I always purchase at least $300. in insurance, though for  Christmas stockings and pillows I increase the insurance.  I stress to my customers that this is my method of shipping, but it amazes me the number of people who do not hear me say that someone must sign for the package. Otherwise the postal carrier will not just drop the package on the doorstep. They do leave a printed slip advising that the item can be picked up  the post office; or, I think, can be redelivered upon the receipt of a phone call to a stated post office phone number.

I received an email Monday evening from the owner of a Christmas stocking that just made the finishing deadline.  After a  few hours of angst on my part (since I have shipping records at the shop, not at home) and after I emailed her to try the post office, she emailed that it was waiting for her at the post office.  Sigh.  Similarly, I received a phone call at the shop today about 3 creche figures that I mailed to a stitcher's daughter the end of October.  After several phone calls, I found out that it is indeed on a back shelf (one assumes since it's since October) at her daughter's local post office.  The post office officially states that after a certain period of time they will return the item to sender, but don't specify a time period.  In my experience, it is never.  You have to take the initiative and hunt the item down!  Like the trunk show I returned to Whimsey & Grace this past year.  Somehow its zip code was entered incorrectly by the postal clerk and it arrived in Alaska.  It was then placed, literally, on a slow boat to the "mainland"--which took 3 weeks--before it arrived at its original destination.  If I hadn't already had gray hair, that would have produced some!!

Almost forgot--I hope everyone has and has had a joyful holiday season!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bad case of stitching blaaaahs

Since just before Thanksgiving, I have had a bad case of home stitching blahs.  I haven't stitched anything.  I've tried to entice myself by resurrecting the incomplete 5" tree canvases--Ho, hum!  Then I looked closely at my Clara Wells purse canvases--Yawn!  I've put several brightly colored small canvases on stretcher bars--and there they languish.

So, on to my latest selection.  A Needle Nicely customer requested that we paint an oval monogram ornament for her to stitch in lavendar for her granddaughter.  That gave me the idea that we could do these as special requests in the shop.  To try and engage my attention, I'm using a bright slime green in silk lame braid for the background.  The monogram will be dark lacquered purple Kreinik balger.
At least I've started stitching.  Now to see if I persevere.

The photograph of my stitching start is floating around somewhere in this new computer.  Hmmm.

At the shop I am continuing with my assigned projects.  I finished attaching a Lee canvas as a pocket to a Dash and Albert bag.  There is a leather strip  3" deep all around the inside bottom of the bag (if you look closely you can see the line of machine stitching where the bottom edge of the needlepoint falls.  You can't penetrate that leather with hand stitching so the pocket has to fit above it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

500 smackeroos--that is, blog posts! Wow! Just count 'em!!

This is my 500th  blog entry.  It took a smidge over 4 years and lots of soul-searching.  I just counted on my fingers (that's an inside joke since I am known for my mental math skills) and I've been selling needlepoint since 1977 (I think--it may be 1976--shoot me if I'm wrong!!).  Now, I don't want anyone to believe that longevity in an activity connotes expertise.  We all know people who've been doing something for what seems like centuries and they are still dumb as posts and their needlepoint is incredibly bumpy.

I was fortunate to have a marvelous mentor, Trubey Walker, one of the first owners of Needle Nicely. Trubey has a marvelous sense of color that few can claim.  She also has a wonderful memory for design.  So what better person to be your tutor in such a sensory business?  Admittedly, she isn't the best at bookwork or balancing her checkbook, but her design concepts and use of color are superb. And it is always a delight to stitch one of her needlepoint canvases, because she paints for the stitcher.  Her flowers and shells painted on needlepoint canvas cannot be equaled by any  needlepoint artist.

When it comes to blogging, I've had more than one mentor.  The first was Judy Harper (go with God, Judy--we miss  you); then there was Anne Stradal of the Cape Stitcher (who is always there for me). Jane of Chilly Hollow has been a wonderful confidante and adviser.  There are many more who offer encouragement and advice such as Ann of Stitching Foolishness and Anna (a pseudonym) of Stitch Bitch.  I knew Ann 35 years ago in Blowing Rock, NC; and  Anna and I share a birth day (though not a birth year, for which Anna should be grateful since I think it is a 25 years or so difference).  In my experience, blogdom is a very sharing and generous world. Thank goodness!

 For everyone who blogs and wonders if anyone is out there reading what you are writing---the answer is a resounding YES!  Too many blog-readers are lurkers, so bloggers need to be self-motivators.  It is sad to say that the majority of commentors on blog entries are themselves bloggers. So maybe the entire world should be writing blogs so everyone will be commenting? What a concept!!  Whatever, I have definitely caught the blogging bug and now even my husband realizes that "tonight is a blogging night".  I don't want to say that he is a slow learner, but it has taken him almost 4 years to realize I was glued to the computer every Wednesday and Saturday night.  You gotta love 'em!!  So I'll be here blogging this Saturday and many more weeks to come.  I hope you'll join me, and even more earnestly I hope that you will feel a connection to what I have said and feel the urge to COMMENT.  Go on, do it!!  I'll revel in whatever you say because you did it!!  Thanks for everything.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

5" tree XI

After reading Anne Stradal's blog yesterday  where she is finishing the stitching on an Amanda  Lawford santa canvas, I resolved to resurrect the last two canvases from Susan Roberts' 5" Christmas tree.  These photographs show where I left off.  As you can see, I really don't have much to do.  I stopped because I had run out of one of the fibers.  Please think fast stitching thoughts for me tonight as I stitch on these while watching Boo Weekley play in an Australian golf tournament.  He's starting the final round one stroke behind the leaders.  One piece of trivia:  I gather Australians eat a lot of meat (mutton?) pies.  In his first two weeks "down under" Boo reportedly consumed over 20 of them.  He's now on a non-pie diet!!  Of course, this is quite a contrast to how I spent my day--I was at my local movie theater watching the HD Metropolitan Opera simulcast of Wagner's The Mastersinger of Nuremberg.  Six hours.  Doubt that I would do it again.  The voices are always magnificent, but obviously no one thought to edit Wagner.  There were definitely some draggy moments!!

This beauty is where I ran out of neon rays.

I had the fiber for the stitches fitting into those circles, but my mind rebelled at what I thought was their unnecessary complexity.  That's the difficulty with stitching shop models--they must follow the  stitch suggestions or painted colors.  Otherwise, too many customers are  confused by the changes.

I really want to knock out these two canvases because I just got an email from Don of Associated Talents that a monogram canvas is ready.  That will jump the stitching queue for my home stitching.
My shop stitching  currently is attaching a pocket to a tote bag (I'll post a photo when finished) and stitching a 1st Christmas ornament for a customer whose 17-year-old granddaughter had her ornament eaten last week.  She won't have the replacement this Christmas, but will have it for next year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fourth blogiversary

It's hard to realize that I've been blogging twice a week for 4 years--yes, count them--Four years.  As one of my customers remarked to me, "how wonderful that someone your age is blogging!".  Her body is buried behind the shop by the gigantic swale.  And I don't regret it!!

This is the progress that I've made on my "doctoring" stitching project by Pippin Studio.  I don't know how people can just stare into space in doctor and dentist waiting rooms.  One of my doctors even asked me if I was almost done with my "crochet".  I didn't bother to correct hin--at least he realized I was doing handwork!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


A few weeks ago Wednesday morning I registered for the Phoenix TNNA show in January, 2015.  I also signed up for two classes scheduled from 7:45 to 9:45 Saturday and Sunday mornings, taught before the 10am opening of the market.  I'll be honest, in my younger days, I would never have made such an early class, or not without a lot of angst.  (When I was a college professor and taught an 8am class, I told my students they only had to wait 15 minutes for me to show.  But would one of them please call and wake me up on their way out of class!!  It never happened, fortunately.)  One class I signed up for because I've heard lots about how wonderful the teacher is.  The other is offering techniques in which I am particularly interested. Realistically, I doubt that I will complete either of the canvases.  I'll probably come home, pick out my stitches, and add them to my inventory.  But much more valuable will be the stitch and fiber information I will have garnered from the classes.  As a shopowner, one (that ubiquitous one) must always check out the things teachers are promoting and practicing.

That interest in the latest in teaching ideas is one of the reasons I encourage Dotty to stop by when she is in Vero.  Dotty is a long-time customer who loves to travel all over the US taking classes from the top teachers.  I enjoy reading the stitch guides those teachers provide because I pick up tips on how to ruche certain fibers or how to manipulate other fibers.  You get the picture.  While I'm reading in order to help Dotty, I am also assimilating the information for later use in future projects.

No photos of my stitching projects--one is a gift and the other is for a customer. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Windows 8.1--Whoopeee???

Aaaah!  While it is a relief to once again have a computer, I'm hoping the learning curve isn't too steep.

As I feared, my computer indeed died at approximately 8am on Thanksgiving Day.  Ironic, since I had checked emails and blog entries at 7am and then put the computer to sleep  while I ran a few errands.  So imagine my surprise when I returned home, clicked on the computer, and a black screen greeted me with the message "Boot device not located.  Install an operating system."  This was followed by a grinding sound.  Even I could figure out that that wasn't a good sign.  Of course, my computer gurus were closed for the long weekend.  Such pain, such agony, such withdrawal.  I did manage to post the information about the crash via my i-phone (a minor miracle!).

Early Monday I stopped in at the gurus' office to drop off the suspected dead computer along with all the program discs.  After confirmation of the death, I hied me to the store where I purchased a new laptop, which I dropped off at the gurus on my way to Needle Nicely.  Thank goodness for kind people, because they called about 4pm with the news that my new darling was ready for pick-up.  I'm sure I'm not the only person who puts off  until push comes to shove about replacing a computer.  I knew my laptop was old.  So am I.  At least I had backed up the Quick Books program, though that was the only back-up I had done.  The main thing I regret are all the lost photographs.  Ah, well, toujours gai (as Mehitabel would say).

Some new canvases that have come in recently are:
This is a gorgeous witch from Shelly Tribbey.  She is on 18mesh and I really want to stitch her.

That is as far as I got Wednesday evening when I then managed to hit something and my information was blown up gigantically.  I couldn't access the scroll.  I could reach the publish button which explains why there was a blog post with no content.  I'm weary of sliding around on the learning curve!!  After hours of clicking on this and touching that, I managed to click on something that popped up as 300%.  I put it on default and here I am back to "normal".  Cross your fingers for me.

I think these are ladies.  They are designed by Christine Klacko and distributed by Maggie Co.  They are just such fun images.