Saturday, October 31, 2015


The "Surviving Wilma Sale" was so successful that I was exhausted each evening this past week.  That means there was almost no stitching accomplished.  So I looked around the shop for some canvases that I hope I haven't shown you before.

This is one that we came up with when we were still in North Carolina with its twice-yearly furniture markets.  I understand that some furniture making is returning to North Carolina after a hiatus in Asia.  It seems that shipping costs are swinging the balance in the favor of US production.

 I love this combination of coral and bamboo from Associated Talents.  Florida breezes require lots of door stops!
 And to be ahead of the season, try stitching this funny from Associated Talents.
My mind just went blank on the designer of this nifty Halloween canvas.  Duh! I'll check and edit so everyone will know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 Festival of Trees donation

Every year the Riverside Children's Theatre in Vero Beach has a Festival of Trees weekend of activities as a fundraiser the weekend before Thanksgiving. Needle Nicely has participated for more than ten years.  In the early years of our participation, we pattern-stitched ornaments and then finished them "in-house" to keep costs down.  The first year we participated, our tree was the first to sell at the full asking price.  What an honor!  Our donations have varied over the years.  This year we are donating 4 needlepoint purses.

The first has an admittedly limited audience since it has a W on both sides of its barrel shape.  Still, it is so attractive I have hopes someone will fall in love with it.  Trubey designed it for herself years ago.

The next purse is one that I had a wonderful time blog-stitching in the early days of this blog. It's a Stitch-Its design.   As a shop model it has been a dud (that is, it hasn't sold one similarly-shaped canvas for finishing in this style), so I feel no pain parting with it.  I just love the flowers and its smaller tote-size.
I stitched this purse about twenty years ago from a free chart.  Now I'm not even sure that the chart was heart-shaped.  It utilizes watercolors and utilizes fun stitches.  I've always enjoyed looking at it.
Buy this to give to your valentine?
The last, but not least, purse is one that took me over six years to stitch.  It contains squares stitched in basketweave utilizing all of the colors of Kreinik's ombre.  It took me that long to stitch because I was working on it during the years when Needle Nicely left its Florida shop open for the summer months while it reopened its shop in Blowing Rock, NC.  Every summer I completely unpacked the shop inventory I had transported in a U-Haul trailer.  However, my belongings usually stayed in suitcases.  This canvas was misplaced (lost) several times for a period of two years one time.  I think it was worth all the trouble.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Credit card chip readers

I received Needle Nicely's new credit card chip reader before I attended the Dallas show.  That trip was a good excuse to walk around the unopened box.  Another excuse was the dire-sounding emails from Clover saying how to go on line for installation directions and making it sound like a really big deal.  Also, an article in the New York Times talking about the transition didn't help encourage me to install it.  Rather, it mentioned that boutique shops rarely have problems with credit cards and so it was less essential to install the new technology.  And admittedly, Needle Nicely has had only one chargeback in over 30 years and no fraudulent transactions in that same time period.  Still, the equipment had to be installed by October 31, 2015, for businesses to be "compliant"; and therefore not legally responsible for fraudulent transactions.  Soooo, Friday afternoon I installed a Clover mini that utilizes wi-fi to conduct its business. Piece of cake to install.  The only down side was that I discovered that it didn't include Amex.  Why would a company send equipment that wasn't set for the cards I have taken with their previous equipment?  Does the right hand talk to the left in corporate business?  Anyway, it will take several days for me to be able to once again take American Express cards.  Now to find out in the coming week what glitches are going to appear.  I just know it can't be this easy.

Here's the beauty in all its glory:
Of course, I forgot to take pictures yesterday so I had to stop by the shop this morning to do so.  This is perhaps a better view.  Profiles often are.  In this view you can see better the slot on the top right where the card is inserted into the machine, chip end first.  You can also slide magnetic strip cards along the top edge of the white front.
Let me also take this opportunity to remind everyone that the Needle Nicely "Celebrating Surviving Hurricane Wilma Sale" is this next week, Monday through Friday.  All regularly-priced merchandise is 25% off; all sale merchandise is an additional 10% off.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 9

First, I must share the gorgeous finished model I received today.  It's the Clara Wells purse I blog-stitched this spring.  
I'm really pleased with the finished product.  The red gussets totally make the purse!

Secondly, today was the occasion of moving my shop stitching stocking on the stretcher bars.  I had completed everything I could before moving the canvas.
I finished stitching the black inside of the fireplace using DMC perle 5.  Then I added the sparks from the fire in silk lame braid in Smyrna crosses and continental stitches.   Next I finished the candlelight around the candle flames in two shades of DMC perle 5 in the Nobuko stitch.  I also completed the last angel's robe along with the French knotted edging.  

This is the unstitched portion of the bottom of the stocking left to stitch.  I was disappointed to realize that I am about half done, because I can't forget that I still have to stitch the cuff with the name.  One plus is that this half of the stocking doesn't have the details that I encountered in the top half.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hurricane Wilma, 10 years later

Hurricane Wilma started as a tropical storm in the Atlantic on October 15, 2005.  She headed for the Yucatan Peninsula and then abruptly headed for the lower Florida Peninsula.  She entered Florida just north of Ft Myers and did a straight shot across Florida.  She veered North approaching Palm Beach as a minor tropical storm.  However, she straddled the east coast of Florida as she went North.  That means that her eastern side was over the warm waters of the Atlantic--that helped to speed her up; and she was a Force 3 hurricane when she hit Vero Beach on October 24, 2005. She took the roof off  the  two-story building at 23 Royal Palm Boulevard, then the home of Needle Nicely. Prior to 2005,  I thought Needle Nicely was safe because I had purchased hurricane shutters (the only shop in our building to do so--the one on my right put up plywood; the one on the left had no inventory, so didn't care).  But the summer of 2005, the flat roof of the building started leaking, copiously.  Florida's rainy season is July and August.  That year thunderstorms occurred about 6:30 to 7:30 each evening.  That meant that I would be cooking dinner when the storm arrived.  I would turn off the stove and my husband and I would go to the store to try and save inventory from leaks streaming from the upper floor.  The first alert happened because the store next to me had an alarm system that was activated by the water rushing in from above and somehow called the fire department. The manager of that shop called me and my husband and I dashed over, thinking fire, only to be met by gushes of water streaming down the walls of the shop.

 Anyway, because of the constant leaking, I prepared my inventory for what I thought would be tropical storm Wilma.  I put all the models in black trash bags.   I put the rugs, Christmas stockings, and Christmas ornaments in plastic bins and taped black trash bags to the sides of the canvas racks so water would run off and not hit the canvases.  I also double-checked that there were no loose canvas threads hanging down that might "wick" up the water that might come in.  The roof went off on Monday.  They put several tarps on the building, but a prolonged rain storm came and water poured in.  After a few phone calls, my employees ran in and helped me take the canvases to a storage unit.  We also stripped the fibers hanging on racks into black garbage bags and took them to the storage unit.  The only things left in the shop to sell were a rack of sale canvases, DMC in cabinets, and Paternayan yarn in a sheltered case.  On Wednesday, we did $1600 in sales from those items while standing on squishy carpeting.  I think people thought I was going to be out of business.  All of my employees brought in boxes from local grocery and liquor stores.  I ultimately lost only $1500 worth of inventory, but much more in fixtures.   On Tuesday afternoon I left the shop to check out another location since my landlord didn't think there was a problem that needed immediate action.  There were lots of empty locations because of Frances and Jeanne in 2004, but many didn't have sufficient parking.  Since we are what is called "destination" shops, location is less necessary for needlepoint shops than for other businesses.  Stitchers will hunt us down.
 I met with my current landlord on Thursday morning.  After we talked a while and I selected the space I wanted, he handed me the keys and we agreed that we would work on a lease after I moved in. Amazingly, no money changed hands.  I went to the electric company to get the power turned on--even though I was a current customer, I had to pay a $500 deposit.  They did rush the turn-on and the shop had electricity on Friday.  The move of everything still in the shop (including our damaged cabinets) happened on Saturday from 9am to 5pm.  I paid the movers at ten minutes of 5 and tried to lock the door.  I had to call my husband to come help me get the door to lock.  (A locksmith had to make two trips to correct the problems with the lock--my theory is that the sun shone on it in the afternoon and the components expanded and wouldn't move.)  Talk about exhaustion!

The next week involved retrieving everything from the storage unit, getting our name and hours on the front door and window, and trying to get telephone service.  I left an old rotary dial phone* in the old shop and the phone company forwarded calls to my cell phone.  It took two days for the phone company to get the phone working and it is a quagmire of wires along the walls in both the front and back rooms.  When I recently had wi-fi installed, the AT&T technician muttered to himself all afternoon.

Regrettably, in the last 11 years, I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about hurricanes.  I now know that if there are lots of thunderstorms in Florida forming a front, the hurricanes can't get "into" Florida and will bounce up the Eastern seaboard as Sandy did to arrive in the New Jersey/New York area.  I tell people that I am sitting with my feet against the Eastern coast of Florida, trying to repel any storms.  Perhaps a slight exaggeration.  I cannot watch the television coverage of storms when they make landfall.  I was at a needlepoint market when Katrina hit New Orleans and I just could not watch, because I knew what they were experiencing and it was excruciating.  Vero went through that to a lesser degree in Frances and Jeanne and the next year with Wilma.  Frances was the worst on everyone's nerves because she moved at an excruciating 6 miles per hour and she was large.  It took forever (I think a day) for her to move over Vero Beach.

They say that it takes ten years to recover from a major catastrophe, and it seems to be true.  Of course, Vero's hurricanes also happened at the height of the real estate collapse so it was a double or triple whammy.  This past 6 months, real estate is selling and new people are appearing in town.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of our "moving experience", Needle Nicely will be having a     25% off storewide sale.  All previously marked sale items will be an additional 10% off.  The dates of the sale are October 26 through 30, 10 am to 5pm.

NOTE: for Needle Nicely it was a blessing that Vero had had Frances and Jeanne the previous year because there were many empty businesses.  The location I found had had its roof removed during one of the previous year's hurricanes.  My landlord bought the shopping center in the spring of 2005 after the previous owners had let it be foreclosed by "the bank".

*NOTE:  Rotary phones work when the electricity is off.  They can still be purchased at places like KMart.  The one I left in Needle Nicely was the baby blue one I had owned for over 35 years.  Ah, the pain of separation!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 8

I've started stitching the inside of the fireplace in basketweave using DMC perle 5.  I also stitched the left-hand wall beside the fire place.  I've finished the second angel and only lack the French knot trim on the 3rd one,  The candle glow is nobuko, again using DMC perle 5.  The flame is silk lame braid.  Now that October is here, my stitching time is reduced, both by working an additional day, and having the snowbirds drifting back to open their homes for the winter.  Marcia's back in town with her new puppy.  She always takes several weeks to get settled and get her lawn in shape before she starts working.  She'll be in the shop the end of the month.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Some finished models and several more canvases

Anne Stradal of stitched this canvas from Needle Crossings for one of her columns in Needlepoint Now.  In return for my selecting and buying the canvas, Anne did the stitch selection and actual stitching, used it for her column and then gave me the stitched canvas.  I just got it back from my pillow finisher.  I like the neutrality of the backing fabric. And I like having friends like Anne!

These alligators by Treglown Designs, I blog-stitched ending in April, 2015.  I waited until mid-summer to send them to the pillow finisher to keep my summer expenditures down.  I wanted to accentuate the navy outlining the alligators.  I also felt the need for a change from the many green-backed and aqua-backed pillows I currently have on display in the shop.

Next are two canvases I brought home as possibilities for my stitching them for shop models.  Howev er, the reality of the Christmas stocking I am stitching for a customer reminds me, stitching these right now is just a dream.  This first canvas is from Zecca.  I love its whimsicality.

 When I look at this ornament canvas from Derek, Amanda Lawford's son, I can already see the stitches I would use on it.  Ah, well!  Perhaps next year.  Thank goodness, there are always canvases that beg for me to stitch them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Shop stitching, RUSH job 7

I've been whittling away at basketweaving the large wreath on the mantle.  I also stitched the features on the top angel.  I stitched the trim on her hood in continental with kit kin (whisper); her cuffs stitched in cashmere stitch, alternating the direction, also in kit kin; and the trim on the bottom of her robe in French knots, again in kit kin.  Her hair (bangs) are French knots; her facial features and hands are tent stitch using DMC perle 5.

 The "snowflakes" are Balger metallic in a combination of Smyrna crosses, slanted gobelin, and tent stitches.  The red ornaments are basketweave, again in Balger metallic.  And I remembered to backtrack and stitch the snowman's carrot nose in orange DMC perle.

I'm anxious to shift the canvas so I can work on Santa, the doll and her carriage.  But first I have to deal with the fireplace with its fire and black background.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Some magnetic toys from Destination Dallas

Most of the clientele of Needle Nicely does "traditional" needlepoint--that is, basketweave, stitched in hand rather than on a frame.  So they have been tardy in adopting magnets to hold your needle on the canvas you are stitching.  However, I am trying to make up for their lack of interest.  Below are photographs of the magnets I bought in Dallas, including one I purchased in duplicate so I could take home what I think may be a coffee cup and saucer. Since I take my tea with milk, the contents of the cup resembles my morning tea.

 I apologize for the glare off of the plastic bags covering the magnets.  I tried several angles and this was the least "shiny".

I think Susan Roberts read the memo concerning my tote bag collection.  She handed out a clear plastic one in January to those shops placing orders.  Now, at Dallas, she added a kaleidoscope of color tote for order placers.  Isn't it pretty?