Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Destination Dallas market

I have written before about how expensive attending wholesale markets can be (11/15/13).   Many  shopowners are from small towns, so when we reach the market city we want to really experience it.  You seek out wonderful restaurants and look for your special interests-- I look for book stores.  If I'm in San Diego I go to Balboa Park where there are many small museums adjacent to the San Diego Zoo.  I used to look for bead stores until I locked my beads away and refused to allow myself to purchase more.  (Note--a large box was retrieved when I closed the Needle Nicely storage unit this spring, but I haven't been allowed to open it!!).

Sunday night, June 7, I made my reservations to attend Destination Dallas in September.  Since the show is being housed in a Hilton hotel that was already booked;  and I am a Hilton Honors member, I managed to obtain a reservation in a nearby Hilton hotel for roughly $190 for 4 nights.  What a deal.  I used my Hilton Honors points to obtain that cost.  Then I made my reservations to fly on Delta.  It was a toss-up whether to use my Delta miles or purchase my ticket with a Capital One credit card and then redeem it later.  I opted for the Capital One card because I still entertain thoughts of going to Europe on Delta miles.  Once the charge ($250.) is entered on the card, I can call and have my points credited against the charge.  So my stay in Dallas will cost Needle Nicely $190 plus what I spend on food and drinks.  Then I need to add the cost of the ride to and from Melbourne airport. I thought there was a hotel shuttle, but wound up taking a regular taxi from the Dallas airport to my hotel.  There was to be a shuttle from the Embassy Suites to the other hotels, but it took about 1 1/2 days to really get it going smoothly.  However, the trip was really a cheap date for something that usually costs a minimum of $2200.

This market was different for me.  Due to the neuropathy in my feet and my recently diagnosed
 asthma, I am exhausted after walking a market for several hours.  This time I decided to rent an electric scooter.  I did well on the straightaway, but getting into the elevators was a trial.  I had to have someone hold the door--and then I had to pray I had judged it correctly and didn't hit the back plexiglass wall.  The first day, I encountered a very nice gentleman who thought I should turn around inside the elevator.  Talk about a nightmare!  He appeared twice.  The second day I decided to go straight in and then back straight out.  Much better, and definitely easier on my nerves.  The third day I only had spot orders to make so I left the scooter at the hotel front desk! And I must mention that I had it on tortoise rather than hare.  No one would have been safe  had it been on hare!!  The market took up 4 floors of the hotel, so there was a lot of elevatoring.  Sigh.

I had to laugh every evening when I returned to my hotel room.  There was a king-sized bed with 4 down pillows.  I love pillows and pile all of them up to sleep on.  But here's what the maid did each day:

Here's a sampling of canvases that I brought home from market:

This is one of two Sandra Gilmore mermaids I brought home.  The other is holding a turtle.
 These two canvases are from Creative Needle.  The first is reminiscent of William Morris.
 The second is an attractive shades of blue design.

More wonderful buys Saturday!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 6

My shop stitching this past week has been consumed by putting the finishing touches on two additional stockings that we are stitching for another customer.  Thursday afternoon was the last shipment I made to my pillow and stocking finisher for Christmas finishing.  Both my regular belt finisher and my ornament finishers' deadline is the 3rd week of November for Christmas finishing.

 I've only been able to stitch an hour or two a night on the Rebecca Woods stocking for London that
obviously isn't making the finishing deadline this year.  I don't take customer's canvases with me when I travel since too many things can happen, none of them good.  I spent some time Thursday trying to decide what I would bring along.  Truthfully, there isn't much stitching time at market since you need to be thinking about which canvases you will order or bring home.  It is truly sensory overload.

Here is my progress on the Rebecca Wood "London" stocking--I have completed the third garland, stitched one red metallic ornament,  and started on the angels.  Rather pitiful!
 Usually when I go to market, I try to make something for me to munch on.  This is my biscotti.  I do always share with my husband.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DMC dye lot numbers, hooray!

Last Thursday, while demonstrating to a customer that DMC only put dye lot numbers on the bottom of the box of perle cotton (and I assume 6-stranded floss), rather than on the label--when, lo and behold, there under the skew (barcode) was a teeny, tiny number that actually was the same as on the bottom of the box.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Here's the number on the bottom of the box:
Here is the number on the skein label.  I apologize for the clarity of the photograph but if you squint and have a great imagination, you can detect the same number on the skein paper.
This is a marvelous step forward for DMC and will greatly aid everyone in matching dye lots --but only if stitchers will keep the end paper with the information.  And, of course, DMC didn't bother to tell us they were going to do this.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 5

My progress seems to be at a snail's pace this week.  I made several stitch decisions.  The red ribbon garland on the tree is stitched in the woven stitch using DMC perle #5.  I'm simplifying the shading because my customer wanted the entire design to be "brighter".  I've started the top angel, using slanted gobelin using Balger metallic for the wings and the halo is continental. DMC perle #5 is stitched in diagonal mosaic for the dress and cap of the angel.

The snowman stocking cuff and toe are done in the Byzantine mosaic using DMC perle #5.  The background of the stocking is alternate rows of slanted gobelin and continental.  The Snowman is stitched in the diagonal mosaic using Balger metallic.  The snowman's scarf is slanted gobelin in Balger metallic.  Black impressions French knots are his pieces of coal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One-of-a-kind needlepoint

About 30 years ago a customer in Needle Nicely's North Carolina shop asked Trubey if she could design a canvas to be applied to a mirror that would act as the headboard for her bed.  She brought in her duvet so Trubey could replicate a motif or design a canvas that would coordinate with it.  After she stitched the design, we sent it to a finisher who finished it "flat" with a backing and cording.  Then we took it to our framer, Royal Palm Frame Shop, to have it attached to the framed mirror.
When our customer later sold her condominium; and knowing it wouldn't fit into her decor in her Florida condominium, she took the needlepoint off the mirror and gave it back to Needle Nicely.  People rarely notice it today even though we have it attached to the side of a bamboo etagere that sits next to Needle Nicely's belt basket.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 4

The houses are completed with the wreath bows stitched in tent stitch with Balger metallic.  I've started stitching the large wreath using basketweave.  Next I did the garland on the mantle in varying lengths of slanted gobelin in two shades of impressions.  I'll finish the garland off next week with a sprinkling of French knots done in gold and red Balger metallic.

I stitched the two gold packages in checkerboard mosaic using gold Balger metallic.  The red stocking I stitched in the slanted gobelin alternating with row of continental stitch.  The tree on the stocking was stitched in continental stitch using Balger metallic; the ornaments are gold metallic French knots.  The cuff and toe are Byzantine mosaic in impressions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Travels with Mary Agnes and Trubey, II

In the course of a conversation about who knows what, Trubey's father discovered that I had never traveled outside the US, except for the Bahamas.  He decided to change that.  He decided that we should travel to Paris and from there to Italy, where we would board a cruise ship for the United States.  Before he could book the passage for himself, his wife, Zoe, and Trubey and myself, terrorists took over the Achille Laure in Italy.

This caused him to consult his travel agent in Miami Shores, FL about alternatives.  They came up with a transatlantic cruise on the QEII.  Bill Walker figured if the British could handle the IRA, we would be safe  against terrorists.  He booked us for a matched sailing cruise (matched sailing in those days meant you went east to west --NY to England-- and then 6 days later went west to east for the price of one-way, but you pay your bar bill!)  We were fortunate in the people randomly assigned to our table in the dining room.  Jack and Martha Wingert became family friends with the Walkers and Trubey to this day visits them in California after the January California TNNA market.  Amazingly they had also signed up for the matched sailing so we sat with them on the return voyage.  I think our voyages on the QEII were atypical.   On the way to England, on the 3rd night at dinner, we noticed a change in the motion of the ship.  Bill Walker, an experienced yachtsman, commented that the ship was turning around.  (NOTE:  In Maritime law, if a person is thought to be overboard, the boat/ship must turn around to the supposed point of the person's entering the water in an attempt to search for and possibly rescuing the person.)  We ultimately discovered that a man and his wife and her lover were sharing a cabin.  The husband was hoping the voyage would result in a reconciliation, only to discover that his wife had brought her lover along.  The ship was full so they shared a stateroom.  They drank and quarreled for over two days, throwing luggage in and out of the stateroom.  On the third day, their surrounding passengers were fed up with the disruption.  That was when announcements on the ship intercom called for the husband, wife, and lover (named individually) to report to the purser's office.  Only the wife and lover appeared.  Hence the search. Of course, if someone is tossed 12 decks from a cruise ship into northern Atlantic seas in late October, either the impact or the cold of the water will be deadly.  When the ship passed the Isle of Wight, a helicopter with Scotland Yard detectives landed on board.  The whole matter was kept very quiet by Cunard and we never heard about any trial.

It was a surreal experience at our hotel, the Intercontinental.  As we discovered, it had an Arabic owner.  This was confirmed in our room's bathroom where the instructions for using the hair dryer were first in Arabic, then French, and then English.  This was also where we had our introduction to purse searches, daily at our hotel upon reentry and at the Tower of London and at our other tourist stops. After 5 or 6 days, we sailed home.  It was November, and we encountered a massive storm in the North Atlantic. The damage to the ship's contents was massive as the captain continued on the set course.  Many passengers were seasick.  The contents of the crystal shop were broken on the deck (or floor?).  The stancheons holding the machines in the casino were broken and on the ground (these were repaired quickly!).  The bookshelves in the library were on the floor and the books scattered helter-skelter.  (In the "old" days, they used to have straps to hold the books in the shelves.  Obviously, not so for our trip, though even the bookshelves fell down.)  The QEII served tea or bovril twice a day, once about 10 am and then again about 4pm.  There were tea carts and tea cups hidden in cubbyholes all over the ship.  These careened everywhere.  It seemed that millions of tea cups had been smashed.

All of a sudden, about 2 am you could tell the ship had changed course.  The captain had been trying to reach New York for our scheduled docking, hence all the damage on board.  He finally changed course and we were told we would be going into Boston.  Scratch that as we discovered when we arrived in New York as scheduled.  However, there were no cabs on the pier as they had been told we were going to Boston.  Trubey's tall, blonde, actress daughter was meeting us.  She managed to commandeer a sweet man driving a woodie station wagon who had delivered something to a relative in the crew.  The five of us, with our masses of luggage, piled into this man's station wagon and went to the Plaza Hotel.  The look on the doorman's face was priceless as we started climbing out of the car--it really was like one of those clown cars!!!  But the moral of this story to me, a 5-foot 6inch brunette, is that to travel without a hitch, one must have at least one  6-foot blonde along!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Shop Stitching, RUSH job 3

I usually stitch a canvas starting in the upper right-hand corner, and move down.  On this canvas, first I did the basketweaved tree in hand and then put the stocking on a frame.  I tried to work from the top down, doing the row of houses.  But I put in green metallic French knots on the wreath of the first house.  They were just too bulky and looked like a green smudge.  Metallic French knots on 18mesh are a real pain to cut out!

I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the large wreath.  I want to eliminate all of the shading, but still preserve the holly look.  I have done most of the taupe wallpaper.  Now I'm doing white for the edge of the mantel.   I'm anxious to get to the garland resting on the mantel, but I need to finish the white so the shades of green can "hang over".

Yesterday I had a customer in picking up finishing.  A thunderstorm erupted in the area.  While Lisa was remarking to me that she hadn't had any power outages this summer (to my husband's irritation this happens often during thunderstorms here), when there was a loud crash and the lights went out. The lightning had struck the transformer that is somewhere close behind the shop.  That was at 2:45pm.  It's difficult to select colors of yarns  with no lights.  I waited for a customer who had called to say she was on her way.  Then, I called my husband to come get me.  To my surprise, the shop phone worked, though it wouldn't let me put on the answering machine.  I had to stop and think and retrace my morning opening steps to be sure I turned all the lights off so they wouldn't come on and be on all weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Travels with Mary Agnes and Trubey

The first trip I took with Trubey was to a TNNA market in New York City.  I was there to help Mary Duckworth, a designer from Northern Virginia,  in her booth.  Peggy Rente from the Naughty Needle in Miami Shores was also traveling with us.  We stayed in a suite at the Al-Rae hotel in the Germantown section of New York.  It was a great small hotel that offered personalized service and not long after our visit went condo.

My duties working for Mary were essentially to be a go-fer.  The first day I was sent to the deli across from the hotel (who knows what its name was, but it was a famous one--I don't even remember the name of the hotel where the show was held!).  Anyway, I was sent to pick up lunch for several of us.  At that time in my life I didn't really consider myself Southern--until this experience.  By the time I told the man behind the counter what condiments I wanted on the sandwich, I already had the sandwich.  Oops!  I'm not a coffee drinker, but I don't think that would have helped.  You had to specify black when you ordered, otherwise New York coffee came with cream.  Oops!  By the time I reached the end of the line at the cashier, I had no idea what I had or had ordered.  With a look of disgust, he charged me the max!

I still remember heading back to the show floor, going up on the escalator.  At the top, George Reagan (a yarn rep from Reynolds Yarn) spotted me.  He asked if I were okay, since I was white as a sheet.  When I told him where I had been, he remarked that they should never have sent me there, being a nice Southern girl!!  They didn't let me go again, not out of kindness, but because I screwed up the orders!  Black coffee drinkers definitely don't like coffee with cream!

The last afternoon of a show has always been slow, so Mary gave me the afternoon off.  Outside the hotel was a bus stop where I was told to take a bus that went all the way to the Cloisters.  I sat behind the driver, after making sure that's where the bus went.  It was wonderful riding through Manhattan looking at everyone.  I spent several hours on my own admiring, among other things, the unicorn tapestries before Trubey and Peggy arrived.

One evening we had dinner with Pru diVenzo, the original owner of Tapestry Tent and her darling husband Tito at Giambelli's about 40th street (there were two Giambelli's owned by branches of the same family--I don't know if they are still open).  It was a delicious meal followed by zabigione prepared at the table.  One other memory is that the bus boy was quite taken with the senorita (me).  I was embarrassed as everyone at the table enjoyed his antics, offering me bread and anything to gain my attention.

I've been wracking my brains, trying to remember what year this was.  It was the late 1970s since we opened the Vero Beach store in October, 1981.  The late 70s would make me in my mid to late 30s.  As the guys at Craigs Grocery in Blowing Rock would say--"a fine figure of a woman".