Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Wrap and Ship Department at Needle Nicely

You'll have to excuse my tardy posting.  Yesterday was filled with goodies like hearing about my polyps from my colonoscopy; being assured that the bump removed from my thigh by my dermatologist was not going to start growing again; and finding out that my high calcium level was not yet worrisome.  In between doctor visits, Arthur and I stopped at Target for tp, Office Depot for printer ink; and Sam's for 2 wedges of Locatelli Parmesan cheese.  We also stopped for lunch at "Robert's by the Sea" (better known as Bobby's).  By the time I got back home, I was too frazzled to think about posting my blog entry for the day.

As I have mentioned before, I have been selling some discontinued fibers and elderly canvases on a website called The Needlepoint Nation Stash Exchange.  Buyers prefer that their canvases are rolled, rather than folded.  Previously, I have used corregated paper left over from the rugs shipped from various rug finishers over the years.  I've depleted that supply, so I had to break down and buy some on line.  The rolls come in a myriad of sizes from which to choose.  After much consideration, I settled on a roll of 24" wide x 250" long paper with single corregations.  That results in a roll of 24" wide by 23" tall.  The box it was shipped in was a foot wider in one direction.  The easiest way to deal with getting to  the roll was to cut the box away, side by side.
NOTE:  That yellow you see to the right back side of the photograph is the foam I sprayed to keep water from pouring in the back door as it did last summer.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Condominium Stockings Designed by Barbara Eyre

In the ANG on-line auction I mentioned several weeks ago, there were about 9 of Barbara Eyre's  condominium stockings.  I managed to win the bidding on 4 of them.  It is hard to believe that these designs are from the late 1950s through the 1960s.  Here are the photographs that I was successful in buying.

 I also bought this canvas designed by Patti Mann.  It's a little large to be an ornament, but could be made into a standing stuff so it could be played with like a truck.
 I couldn't think of how to display the croakie--and then I spied Gunther.  They're a little large for him, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Family's Use of Basket Purses

Lori and her sister want to remember their father, who was a tremendous Florida fan.  Rather than wearing these belts, they thought it was a great idea to put them on purses so they could look at them as they carried the purses.  Other memories involve their grandmother Rose who stitched the belts for her son-in-law before she entered her Christmas red and green needlepoint period.

Here are two views of a basket purse with one of Lori's belts she can no longer wear.  I think it looks gorgeous!

These were all examples of finished belts that no longer were useable by their owners.  Do remember that you can stitch a strip and just fold back the edges, hiding the back of your stitching with the ribbon that comes with each bag.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Colonoscopy and another example of a small town

I've been dodging and diving to avoid another colonoscopy for over 12 years.  My gp has guilted me into it. After he saved my "bacon" this winter, I felt I owed him one last colonoscopy  So, tomorrow I will consume only clear liquids, orange jello, and the dreaded product that will provide the "cleansing" that isn't quite as chi-chi as some would have you believe.

This is definitely my last one.  Colon cancer is an ugly death; but I hope if I ever get it,  I will be able to find a Hemlock Society to help me deal with it.

Last week Needle Nicely had a sale with Easter eggs containing discounts from 20% to 1 60% (no one got that one, though someone did get a 50%).  It was a successful sale, but quite exhausting. I don't know why everytime I have a sale, people start lamenting that I'm going out of business.  I have 400 belts in stock and about 150 Christmas stockings and a multitude of Christmas ornaments.  It doesn't look like I'm going out of business any time soon,

This morning my husband and I went bookstore shopping.  Vero has one of the best independent bookstores, The Vero Beach Book Center.  My husband dropped me off to park our car and I proceeded to the front door.  There, I encountered David Walker, one of Trubey's nephews.  He married a Vero Beach girl, so it wasn't a surprise I encountered him with his daughter while they were exiting the bookstore.

It was great to see David--when he was about 12 or so, he was going to marry me because he didn't want me to be alone.  He and his brother spent summers in Blowing Rock along with their parents and Trubey's son and daughter.  They would spend all day roaming the streets of Blowing Rock, and especially the town park.  They knew they could always come to Needle Nicely for candy or cookies, a telephone, and more importantly, Mary Agnes to take care of bullies.  The fact that in those days I weighed about 120 lbs at 5'6", I don't think that would have struck fear in the heart of any bully.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Croakie finished, a feather purse flap, and Easter Eggs for a sale

The finished needlepoint croakie arrived on Monday.  Though I stitched several inches longer than suggested, I still think it is a little short.  But individuals can determine length for themselves.

Currently, I am stitching a feather that we painted on a purse flap.  The customer stitched the background and then asked me to stitch the feather.  This is the flap for a Sophia purse.

Lastly, this week Needle Nicely is having an "egg" sale, where we have plastic eggs with different amounts of discounts from 20% through 1 60%.  It has been fun to watch people's reactions to what percentage they get off.  Much more fun than a set percentage announced ahead of time.

So many eggs left, so many discounts remaining.  "Come on down!"

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Can You Guess Ages? Obviously Nothing to Do with Needlepoint

Jennifer Tan of Pippin Designs blogged this week about watching her children playing sports when they were young.  I smiled to myself.  To me, Jennifer is young and I was mildly surprised that her children were mostly out of the house forming new lives.

 Of course, this blindness to age in others, also includes blindness to my own age.  I am always amazed when people defer to me because of my grey hair.  Of course, you must realize how long it has taken me to realize that is the reason.  I finally gave up  carrying on a bag when I was flying to markets.  People insisted on helping me.  NOTE TO THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE--wait until you are asked for help.  I practiced and practiced beforehand to be sure I could handle the suitcase over my head and was insulted that no one considered I might be capable of putting it into the bin under my own steam.  Now I check my bags (Thanks Gold Amex!).  That is a lesson for all of us!

I'm getting ready for the week-long sale at Needle Nicely starting Monday (through Friday).  You are welcome to call about fibers or canvases and we will draw your egg while you are on the phone.  Discounts vary from 20% off to 4 50% and 1 60% off.  Go for it!

And if you haven't checked it out, go to the ANG frogs auction which ends tomorrow.  Some great canvases available.  I have bid on some Barbara Eyre Christmas Stockings.  WooHoo!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sale Celebrating Needle Nicely's 40th Year Selling Needlepoint, April 9th through April 14th

Needle Nicely is having a store-wide sale of our entire inventory April 9th through April 14th.  We will be filling plastic eggs with slips indicating what the discount it, one per customer.  The discounts vary from 40 20% off slips to 4 50% and 1 60% slip.

When I mentioned the sale to a customer this afternoon, she thought it meant Needle Nicely was going out of business (AGAIN!).  The truth is that January was a disappointing month, business-wise.  Most people don't realize that businesses in Vero Beach must make enough money during the "season" to carry them through the "off-season".  Thus, while this sale is celebrating NNs 40th year in business in North Carolina and Florida, it is also an effort to build a war chest for the summer.

Our remaining rug inventory is now on sale for 70% off.  There are still some beauties remaining.  And if you purchase the yarn for anything during our sale, it will be whatever percent you find in your chosen egg.

Hope to see you next week!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Season's Coming to an End

Today was Needle Nicely's annual employee luncheon.  We snagged a window table at the Ocean Grill on Vero's beach.  The view was like a documentary of beach life.  There was  a group of 8 people wearing identical t-shirts collecting trash of various types.  Then there was the older woman sitting at the water's edge letting the water pour over her, but also getting lots of sand in her bathing suit.  One man obviously thought it was a naturist beach since his bathing suit was almost non-existent.  An added touch were the vees of pelicans swooping through the scene.

The snow birds start leaving beginning March 31st.  That's when the 3-month leases end and I-95 North is bumper to bumper.  The next departure is before April 15 and tax day.  Then Easter, whether before or after tax time.  In latter years, many people have realized how beautiful April and May can be; so they stay longer.  It is also nice to be to eat out without long waits since the crowds have thinned out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Remnants of past inventory

There is a box of "stuff" near my chair at "the" table where I have been balancing items like magazines to be read during lunch and items I need to rewrite or in general do something with.  That latter does not mean ignore, but that seems to be what has been happening.  I just discovered a Facebook page for selling cross stitch materials (Cross Stitch Buy and Sell).  So I decided this afternoon to empty the box and sort its contents into categories.  

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, approximately 33% of Needle Nicely's sales in Blowing Rock were cross-stitch related.  When we eliminated cross-stitch because it didn't justify its space in our Vero Beach shop (too labor-intensive, space-taking to pay for its floor space), I kept a copy of some cross stitch books, primarily those dealing with alphabets or borders or classical designs.  These include booklets designed by Gloria & Pat; Graphique Needle Arts; Rose Ann Hobbs; and others.

In the boxes, I also discovered charts of several figures representative  (nearby in Boone) of
Appalachian State University.  

This is "Yosef", symbolizing "yourself", and is the mascot of the Appalachian Mountaineers.  He usually appears with a  flint-lock (I think) rifle at all sporting events.  

And a doorstop utilizing a logo of the university circa 1980.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Floral Gift

Thursday, a customer came in with a gift for Needle Nicely.
It was to thank us for locating a replacement Trubey Christmas stocking canvas.  She had stitched the stocking about 20 years ago and given it finished to one of her daughters.  Recently her daughter's house burned down and the stocking was lost.  Since it was a Trubey design, it was reasonably easy for us to locate a photograph and have a similar, but not identical, canvas painted.

But what a pleasant surprise to receive such a thoughtful gift.  Thank you!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shop Customer Stitching

I will differentiate this project from my home customer stitching (the Jalapeno Santa stocking) by referring to it as my "Customer Stitching", while this will become my "Shop Customer Stitching".

This canvas is a doorstop designed by Village Needlecraft on 18mesh canvas.

  I am stitching the bottom basket area in the woven stitch using DMC perle #5.
Because this is 18mesh, even doing a pattern stitch, I'm going to be doing woven stitch for a looong time.  I'll try to vary it by throwing in a flower or leaf, but the basket is my life!

I don't usually show canvases that our in-house painter does for customers, but I must show this one.  It is so unusual and magnificent.  This will be made into  man's wallet.  It will be a gift from our customer to her father-in-law.  We had to paint it on congress cloth to be able to reproduce the signature of the Secretary of the Treasury so that it would be readable.
Can't wait to see it stitched!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jalapeno Santa

This is going to be excrutiating to watch happen.  I am stitching this at home and Wednesday I will show the customer's canvas that I am stitching in the shop.  My projects have been tucked away for another day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Macy has been determined to clean up various areas of the back room that contain:  recent price lists; items she removed from "the sales floor area"; unfinished canvases from past classes I have taken (thankfully, I was sensible enough to fasten the fibers to the back of the frame); and just general things I thought were of interest and dumped there.

Here's the table today:
Those white rectangles are the reflections of the overhead lights on the glass on top of the table. Notice that I am not showing what is under the table.  One step at a time!

Macy and I also had to redo the cording for two rugs that are already at the finisher (we had sent some, but the finisher called and said they were too short).  We also crossed our fingers and twisted the cording for a rug that needs to be refinished.
The Paternayan yarn colors are 500, 100, and 715.  Cross your fingers that we did it right this time.  My finisher uses 3x the perimeter for the length of strands to be twisted.  I had previously done 2.5x.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stitching for Customers

My business plan is intent on depriving me of stitching time.  Recently, I've been selling items on Facebook's NNSE (needlepoint nation stash exchange) and the care and feeding of the entries is time consuming.  I'm allowed to have listed 25 items at a time.  They stay listed for one month, being reduced after 2 weeks and further reduction after 3 weeks. Their lifetime is one month, then they are removed.  The sold items stay listed until payment is received.  Then the process begins to list more items.

I also do Needle Nicely's daily bookkeeping and report filing.  My accountant takes my figures for the yearly tax returns.  I enter the weekly sales each weekend.  And one weekend a month I balance the checkbook.

All this is an attempt to gain your sympathy as to why I have managed to stitch so little this week.
You can barely see my progress.  The outer rows are basketweave.  Then there is a slanted gobelin over 2 threads.  It's going to be gorgeous when it has been stitched--and the deadline is the end of August.  Cross your fingers for me.

Edit:  Anne's comment reminds me to re-post the original photo of the Christmas stocking I am in the process of stitching for a customer.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blowin' in the Wind

The past week or 10 days have been quite breezy in Vero Beach.  Someone told me last week to expect a windstorm--well, it was windy; but definitely not a windstorm.  Since we are on the ocean, people often forget that breezes can be intense.  You forget that you had the door of that slider open, and you open the front door.  Every door in the house will slam emphatically, and create a tremendous thunderclap that threatens your hearing.  That's when you need needlepoint brick doorstops.

I noticed two doorstops today that people tend to ignore.  The first is a lion designed by Jane Nichols.  She includes the stitch guide.  It's stitched in persian wool and the brick stands upright when finished.

Years ago, I taught this house doorstop to other shopowners at a TNNA market.  It was a design by Sally Luedke of Canvas Connection.  I say "was" because she discontinued the design about 2 years after I taught the class.  I still have canvas and fiber kits left over from that class.

This is the front door side of the doorstop.
And this is the back of the house.

And one side of the house.  I always like looking at the stitches I selected for the foliage.  That was fun!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Croakie, IV Finished

Managed to finish the stitching on the croakie shop model today while watching the golf tournament in Mexico City.  I had intended to stitch 15 inches, but someone was in the shop yesterday who had had several finished at 12".  I stopped at 13 1/2".  I guess I keep thinking about tall people!  So, Monday off it will go to the finisher.  Can't wait to see the finished product!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

 This is a design by Devon Nicholson done as an offshoot of the recent women's march.  She has done it in several color combinations.  The others are lavender & mauve; and pinks.

This floral reminds me of Victorian pieces with its dark background.  Melissa Shirley designed it.
 I love the symmetry of this design.  I've wiped the designer's name out of my memory--I'm guessing Ruth Sshmuff.
 This is such a clean-cut design.  Especially attractive are the designs within shapes.  I apologize because I am blanking tonight on designers--I think this is from Ewe and Eye.  I'll check tomorrow and enter any corrections.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Croakie, III

I've managed to stitch 9 1/2" of the 15" I am aiming for.  Tax season is eating into my evening stitching time. Now Needle Nicely's information is turned in and I am starting on the expenses for our personal taxes.  The medical mileage is a delight to reconstruct!  I always feel a great feeling of accomplishment when I have completed the w-2s for Needle Nicely's employees--all 3 of them!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Is there a needlepoint shop--wherever?

Every week I see people on the Needlepoint Nation asking if there is a shop in Knoxville, TN; or Blowing Rock, NC; or Wilmington, DE.  Is this lack of shops due to the age of possible shopowners or the lack of customers?

When Needle Nicely was in Blowing Rock, NC, we drew people from all over the country as word spread about us. This was definitely before the internet.  Several summers I put a large US map on the wall of the front porch and asked people to mark where they were from.  It was amazing to see how quickly every state was represented.  It also served as a way to keep those restless husbands occupied while their wives shopped!

Today I am shocked when there isn't a shop in Asheville, NC, but there is one in Lancaster, PA.  Mentally, I go through the states in my mind--I can only think of 4 shops in South Carolina:  Rock Hill, Greeneville, Lexington, Charleston.

I had someone in the shop today who told me there were no longer any shops in Chicago.  Yes, there are some in the "burbs", but not in the city.

Different areas of the country have different concepts about how far away is too far.  Last week, a customer of mine on the barrier island (10 minutes away), asked me if I would do a trunk show in her gated community.  The next person in the shop that day routinely drives 1 hour and 45 minutes from south of Vero to shop at Needle Nicely.  I know many Californians think nothing of commuting for 45 miles each way daily.  Three years ago Needle Nicely had an employee who drove that far three times a week to work here.

The TNNA (shopowner's professional organization) publishes a membership list annually.  It is possible to check in the list whether what type, if any, needlework shops are in Iowa or New Jersey.  I often consult it so I can recommend a shop to customers who plan on traveling in a new area or to see if there are new shops in their home area.  Several times I have encountered a certain shop owner from New Jersey.  After I say hello, she always asks me why I am sending people to her shop.  In my mind, we are in this together, not competitors.  I'm sure her inventory is different from mine, if only because of the geographical locations.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Some alphabets and two destination canvases

If I had my druthers, I'd stitch this canvas by Rebecca Wood.  There is so much going on that it certainly wouldn't be boring.  I can't decide which would be the most fun area to stitch.

Whenever I look at this travel poster montage, I envision it as the side of a tote bag.  It's available from CBK, but I can't remember the name of the specific artist.

 These are two more styles of alphabets available from Associated Talents.  If memory serves me, this is the McIntosh plaid. Or, is it the MacKenzie?  Time out while I go check.  Boy, I was really wrong--it is Royal Stewart.   It's bright and colorful.

I have a customer who each year stitches 19 ornaments--one for each of her grandchildren.  It's becoming increasingly tough to come up with ideas, but maybe one of these will interest her for next year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Croakie, II

A friend of mine commented the other day that I should be finished stitching my croakie by now.  I guess she thought because it was just "plain old" nobuko, it should be super fast.  Wrong!  18mesh is 18mesh is 18mesh.  I am making progress and am pleased with how it looks.  So much so that I'm thinking a belt would look great done in this pattern.  The possibilities are endless!

Here is my progress:
That is tiny--yuck!  I wonder if it gets much larger when you click on it?  Time out while I investigate.

Well, I got it larger--I hope you can see the pattern.  Sometimes blogging is a real pain!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

How to layout a saying for yourself

There has been a lot of discussion on the Needlepoint Nation this past week about people wanting a saying charted for needlepoint.  I won't go there since it is political; and I try not to talk politics, either in the shop or on this blog.  In this blog entry, I'm interested in the mechanics of doing your own chart of a saying for stitching in needlepoint.  I went through some steps on NN, as follows:

1.  Decide how big you want the finished canvas to be
2.  What font do you like (upper case, lower case, sans serif, whatever)
3.  What mesh do you want to stitch on.  Regrettably for some people, long sayings need to be on
4.  Get a piece of graph paper (you can download some from the internet) and start charting the
     wording.  Now you are down to a mathematical problem where you try to fit your letters into the
     space you have allotted for the saying.  At this point, changes may need to be made to the font, the
     mesh, or the overall size.  Good luck.
5.  To finish off your saying, you might look on line for a border to add to your piece.

As you see, this is an involved process that many people cannot master.  That is why there are designers who specialize in sayings, or shops that do custom designs.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Few New Canvases

I'm trying to restrain myself this season in my ordering of new canvases.  Shops must constantly add new inventory, but it can be more like a sprinkling of diamonds than a deluge of gold dust.  With the increase in designer websites, many of my customers call me to order canvases for them.  That eliminates my trying to guess what designs speak to them.  Several of the following canvases are ones I have just received for customer special orders.

This is a small Susan Roberts ornament.  It looks like so much fun to stitch.
 We have  a lot of sailboats (and stink pots--i.e., motor yachts) in Vero.  This would make a perfect gift for someone's Christmas tree.  It is also a Susan Roberts design.

Susan Roberts designed this as a frame.  I envision it as either a birth sampler, a monogram pillow, or a frame for a photograph of a new-born.
 Diamonds are a girl's best friend.  This is a wonderful stash buster and looks like fun to stitch.  Thanks, Susan Roberts.
 We all need to spend some time relaxing after a stressful day.  This canvas by Labors of Love is a fine example of what we should do--though we could change the champagne for vodka (hint, hint!)
This ornament is from a 12 days of Christmas series by Shelly Tribbey.  It comes in either 18 or 13 mesh.
Stitch-Its has a series of 10mesh canvases for beginners.  I selected this one to show you from the shipment I just received.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

How about stitching a croakie?

I've been procrastinating for the last two years about designing and stitching a shop model croakie.
I didn't care for some of the designs that were available commercially.  Finally,  I decided to select a stitch and do it in various colors.  Here are the beginnings of the Needle Nicely croakie.  It is the nobuko stitch done in 3 shades from fuchsia to lavendar to pale lavendar.
I'm going to stitch it one inch wide by 15 inches long.  It takes surprisingly more time to stitch than you expect!

This is a photograph of a non-needlepoint croakie.