Saturday, December 9, 2017

Summer by Pippin

Jennifer Tan of Pippin Studio has done a series for the 4 seasons.  I have decided that "Summer" is the canvas I'll be stitching at home now that I have my stitching mojo back.  I will be stitching the kimono at the shop.  Both will be stitched primarily in Splendor.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cleaning up after ripping

Here is a picture of the lines where I ripped out the red outline of my kimono.  Notice that there is a
residue remaining along the lines.  This residue would show through the pattern stitches within the boxes. 



Next you can see where I folded over a piece of Scotch tape.  I used this piece of tape to remove the bits of residue. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Starting the Kimono outline

After I cut the recommended piece of 18-mesh canvas, I found the top center.  I also found the top center stitch of the kimono outline.  I am stitching the outline before I do any of the pattern stitches.  I am stitching the outline "in hand", but will transfer to stretcher bars when I start the pattern stitches.

This is my current status.  If you look closely, you can see the enlarged holes in the canvas indicating 10s. You can also see where I have inserted the needle to mark where I left out one section along the top.  I was wondering why I had so much canvas remaining on the left side of the design.  To my regret, I discovered the reason.  Just think of me ripping out and perhaps rethinking my stitching strategy.  Sigh! 



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

kimono class

I have finally gotten my stitching mojo back.  As a result I will be stitching a painted canvas at home and a counted Kimono at the shop.  I will have it as a class where I will offer different color possibilities from which people may choose.  The initial cost to the stitcher will be the Leaflet, the canvas, stretcher bars and the outline fiber (all will be stitched in Splendor).  I will be offering different possibilities of colorways from which students may choose.  Starting in January 2018,
the class will meet every Monday from 2-4pm at a daily cost of $20.00 ($10.00 per hour).  Students may take as long as required to complete the project, but always at the charge of $20.00 for 2-hour session.

I have always lusted after this project, but felt it wasn't commercial enough to teach.  No more.  I am 75 years old and if I am going to stitch this, now is the time.  I just decided to invite others along for the ride. The kimono is to be stitched on 18mesh canvas.  The overall canvas size is 20x24" and you may choose a colored canvas if I have it in stock.  The stretcher bars will be 20x15 so that the project will be moved and the bars will not be so unwieldy.  I have yet to do the math as to how large the finished design will be (the graph paper has no grid of 10s).

The Kimono is based upon a design by Maggie Lane.  I will be stitching it in bright, jewel tones with accents of Balger metallic.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

What a success!

Marcia and I both got a jump-start on Needle Nicely's Small Business Saturday by coming in early. She kitted several canvases while I did the math and started keying in credit card numbers for items that people had pre-selected before the day.  Some are not in town, but "up North" visiting family.  Others are in town and wandered in throughout the day to pick up their canvases.

Clover informed me by email that this was the busiest day for my Clover credit card terminal.  Of course, they are talking about a little over 2 years.  We won't tell them about the other 34 years in Vero Beach!

I started my morning by stopping by the Vero Beach Book Center, a wonderful independent book store.  I'm not positive, but I think it opened in 1975.  I always stop there on Small Business Saturday before I go to Needle Nicely for the day.  Such an enjoyable tradition!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Demolition Derby

In my continuing effort to see all area ERs and Trauma Centers, last Wednesday night I managed to achieve another best.  I had gotten a steroid shot that afternoon and knew that i wouldn't be able to sleep Wednesday night.  I started downloading ebooks so I would have a selection from which to choose at 4am.  Thank goodness I take off my glasses when i am on the computer.  I got thirsty about 10pm and headed to the kitchen for some water.  I turned on the kitchen light--and there in the middle of the floor was a creepy black water bug.  I casually took a tissue from my pocket, leaned over to wipe it up and promptly overbalanced to do a one-point landing on the kitchen floor.  Split my forehead open, with blood everywhere.  I managed to get off the floor (a really amazing accomplishment) and woke up Arthur, my husband.  He cleaned up the blood (and killed "the bug") while we waited for the Rescue Squad to take me to Fort Pierce's Lawnwood Trauma Center.  On the way, I was more concerned that my Manhattanite husband was getting lost following the ambulance--Fort Pierce is not the safest area to be wandering around after dark!

So, I had a CAT scan, an EKG, some bloodwork and who knows what else while they gave me 6 stitches in my forehead.  The stitcher remarked that she was trying not to mar my beauty.  I responded that at 30 I was beautiful, at 75 I had to get over ir all!

The upshot was that I was there from about  10:20pm to 2am when they released me.  No medications.  Ta!

Because of my bloodthinner, on Thursday my face was solid black with both eyes swollen shut.  Not a pretty sight.  I was in semi-shock. On Friday, Arthur and I woke up to realize that we needed to check with my local doctor. First we went to my local gp, who was out-of-town, but I saw his nurse practitioner.  His office staff then shuttled me across the lobby to see Dr. Lieberman, who told me what to do with my face (wash with peroxide and then spread bacetracin all over it).

Monday, my gp was back in town and he had me stop my bloodthinner.  Tuesday I went to the wound care center, but they declined to treat me since my wound was sutured and not open.  They also recommended that I have Dr. Lieberman remove my sutures.  Went to him later Tuesday--he removed the sutures and suctioned out what he referred to as "currant jelly" from the  gigantic knot on my forehead.  Already last night it had started to swell again, so it was good that he is having me come back next week for more suctioning. The suctioning  sounds yucky!

One positive outcome of this entire episode is that I accepted that I needed to start using a walker.  Yesterday I went to a medical supply store and selected 2, a red one for the shop and a silver one for at home.  Now to retrain my thinking to use them.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Clearing out clutter

Anyone who knows my mother's family and visits their homes, quickly figures out that they are a group of accumulators.  That is such a nicer word than hoarder!  My husband, on the other hand, is a minimalist.  I have never seen a bare surface that I didn't want to put things on.  He prefers to admire the bare surface.  We have managed to bump along for 26 years, with my still indulging myself with only slight forays on his part to sweep things away.

Until this summer when I had a long bout of recovery from a surgically-removed blood clot from the top of my right foot (and subsequent inactivity for almost 3 months).  He was traumatized by the contemplation of all that I had managed to accumulate and by the fear of my death.  Upon my recovery, he issued an ultimatum--"if you don't gather it up and offer it to various groups; when you are gone, I (Arthur) am putting all of it in a dumpster and having it hauled off".

Soooo, the purging has begun.  Thank goodness, Arthur is willing to take my bags of goodies wherever I dictate.  I accompany him to our local independent bookstore where they give minor cash credit for some paperback books.  The have a wonderful library-supported used book store that takes the remainder, including hardbacks.  Cooking magazines (I love cooking magazines), have been consigned tables at both entrances of our local library.  People know to help themselves.  Truthfully, I only suffered a twinge about all of this.  I had them, but ignored them.  I finally realized that he was right and it was time to let them go to other appreciative readers.

I bought a set of Woman's Day International Cookbook when I was in my 20s.  The set has occupied a place of honor on one of my bookcases ever since.  My mind wonders if I ever cooked anything out of it.  Therefore, there was no pain as I pulled the volumes from the shelf and sent them to our local library book depot.  Someone else will treasure the set.

Speaking of cooking, thank goodnesss that when Trubey and I opened Needle Nicely in Vero Beach in 1981, we lived together.  Trubey was then a wonderful cook (and may still be, though she lives alone now).  My mother had burned almost everything she cooked--one time she took 3 pots to cook banana pudding.   It never burned, but I had 3 stuck pans.  I have been know as "Blow Torch Mary" by my nearest and dearest.  Anyway, while living with Trubey, I cleaned up after her and managed to pick up so many little tricks.  All of that stood me in good stead when I finally got married.  My husband, a Manhattanite, likes good food.  That has led me to adquire a set of recipes with which I am comforable.  The 1961 (1st edition) of the NY Times Cookbook is my go-to refereence and contains a variation of the red sauce that Arthur now makes for our Italian entrees.  I use his sauce when I make Trubey's lasagna.  Yum!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Feed sack clothing

I apologize for not remembering where I read this last week (on the Facebook feed? or NY Times), but I read an interesting blurb about how during the depression people make clothing from the cloth covering flour sacks.  The article said this stopped during the war because of rationing.  They started making the flour sacks out of paper.  I found this personally interesting since I was born in 1942 and
grew up on a dairy farm (though during the war years my father left the farm to weld in Virginia).  He had a keen eye and welded a straight bead, later working on the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel.  He hated farm life but had too many children to move away from the family farm.  Anyway, I digress.  I vividly remember as a 5 or 6 or 7 year-old accompanying my father to the local feed grinder.  We took our own dried corn--and honestly I can't remember another component.  However, I do remember that my father had orders to bring back at least 2 feed sacks in a pattern, 3 being better.  We had a herd of about one hundred, so there were many feed sacks.

My grandmother took the feed sacks and made me 3 dresses a year with a gathered skirt and short, puffy sleeves.  The collar, sash, and trim on the sleeves were from about a 1/4 yd of purchased solid fabric.  I was a skinny child and that full, gathered skirted dress with puffy sleeves made my spindly arms and legs look far thinner than they actually were.  Sigh!  This was my annual wardrobe until I entered the 7th grade.  Then my father gave me an allowance and I was allowed to plan my own wardrobe, much of it purchased at Wilmington Dry Goods or from the Sears, Roebuck catalog.  Ah!  such freedom!

Today, I attribute my desire for many outfits to this lack of choice in my younger years.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

No-Nos for customers

I talk a lot about what shopowners should be doing for their customers and tips on running a needlepoint shop.  Several things have occurred in the last few weeks that have pointedly reminded of things that customers should NOT be doing.  I know there is that old adage about the customer's always being right.  WEEELL--maybe.  Some customers have heard about that adage and are trying to take advantage of it.  But, my response is:  Get real!  You can't be rude, you can't be imperious, and you certainly can't be obnoxious.

These are a few general rules for customers to remember when patronizing any retail establishment; and especially a specialty shop, such as a needlepoint shop.

1.  Don't ever play the "good customer" card unless you really are a good customer.  A regular customer is not necessarily a "good customer".  At Needle Nicely, if you spend less than $500 a year, you are not a good customer. (Note:  at the cost of needlepoint canvases today, this could be one canvas and its fibers or one finishing of a purse.) Mary Agnes will recognize you and be pleasant and helpful, as she is to someone she knows; or, also a new, unknown walk-in.   But buying an occasional skein of fiber does not entitle you to status as a "good customer".  I will recognize you as a regular customer and be genuinely happy to see you.  I really like my customers and enjoy chatting with them.

2.  I have been in this business over 40 years. I have a good eye for color and quantity.  When you come in and ask for my assistance with color selections or quantities,  I will offer my suggestions.  If you reject them, I will back off.  You are the customer, so I offer my advice; but then, I defer to you. It doesn't hurt my feelings if you don't like my advice.  I really don't mind charging you for an additional skein, even though I told you that it wasn't necessary.  I also don't mind if you select colors other than the ones I recommended.  You know where you are putting the canvas.  However, don't keep insisting on my input so that you can continuously reject it.  Not a game I play and I will pointedly step back.  (A friend of mine says I am as subtle as an air-raid, though I say nothing.)

3.  Don't call or email multiple shops for the price of the same canvas.  Shops now have a resource known as the Facebook Brick and Mortar Shops group.  Shopowners can ask for needed dye lots of fibers there. They can also compare notes about occasions like this.  Also, needlepoint is a small world and when shops call designers, the designers will share if they've recently had multiple calls about a certain canvas.  You either want it, or you don't.  Don't waste my time comparison shopping.  I definitely won't consider you a customer!  And after all these machinations, I don't want you as a customer.  I have many other things to deal with involved with the running of my shop.

4.  Two weeks after a sale (or the week before), don't ask for the sale discount.  Would you expect to go into Macy's or Sax and get the sale price early? Although in these days of constant department stores, perhaps these are poor examples.  Please don't ask your local dress shop to give you their sale discount either before or after the sale.  It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.  In these internet days, most shops will honor emails or phone calls during sales.  But NOT before or after the actual sale.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that needlepoint is a very personal experience.  Most shopowners want the experience to be a positive one and are willing to work with you, the customer, so you receive the maximum of a positive experience during your transaction.  Please try to do your part in the transaction to ensure that it is positive.







Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Small Business Saturday

Once again, Needle Nicely will be celebrating Small Business Saturday.  It is November 25, 2017, from 10am to 5pm.  All in-stock merchandise with be 20% off.  Remember to register with American
Express to take advantage of any discounts they may be offering.  Also, please remember that I will mail things ordered on that Saturday.  The sale is 20% off ALL in-stock inventory.  It can't hurt to ask if we have it in stock.  I look forward to hearing from you.

I wanted to share a Christmas stocking for which Needle Nicely completed the stitching.  The original stitcher did the cowboy hat in suede and then discovered that she had macular degeneration.
Macy and I combined to do the remainder of the stitching.  I think it turned out beautifully.  It is a Jalapeno pepper Santa by Liz of Tapestry Tent.  It finished up beautifully.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

No more bare walls

Slowly things at Needle Nicely are returning to normal.  Mary Agnes' foot is now "open to air" which means no more bandaging.  And she is almost walking instead of hobbling.  Hooray!  We only have another 3 weeks of hurricane season, so we are starting to relax.  But I'm still waiting until December 1 to order the new air handler for the roof. 

Macy put up canvases on the walls this week.  One of my favorite designers is Jennifer Tan of Pippin
Designs.
 I discovered some doorstop canvases, so Macy rearranged the canvases as they were shown below.



Someone, upon seeing the Halloween section, commented that I had obviously forgotten that Halloween was over for the year.  And I retorted that many of our Halloween canvases would require the next year to complete the stitching.  Nothing like a head-start!  I must admit that I was surprised
at how many witches and such Needle Nicely has in stock.

The next wall section is devoted to wild animals.  They're always interesting to look at.  Notice that mixed in are some oldies but goodies.


On the opposite wall, I went with landscapes.  These canvases are rarely noticed, which is a shame since they are very attractive.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

75th birthday sale

I'm kicking and dragging toward 75--but decided to celebrate my birthday, my release from my foot surgery, and the need of $4000. for a new air handler on the roof (I at least nursed it along until the end of hurricane season!)--from October 16 through October 27 everything at Needle Nicely will be 25% off. This excludes finishing and special orders.  Sale items are an additional 10% off.   Hope to see or hear from lots of you over the two weeks. 

And just a reminder, I can still finish ornaments and standard belts for Christmas up until mid-November.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Consequences of Power Outages

So many people today have cell phones, they forget that they can run out of charge when the power is off for 2 or more days.  The same is true of the landlines that many homes have with portable phones.
During Wilma, I took my blue dial phone of lo, these many years, to the shop so that the telephone company had a phone to forward phone calls to our new location.  Regrettably, I had to leave it to the mold culture, but it served its purpose.

Thank goodness, I remembered and went to KMart and bought a princess phone for future hurricanes.  We have used it in our house several times and I just pulled it out for use this weekend.  Its always nice to receive calls from concerned friends and relatives.

It cost less than $20. and was definitely worth it.

We recharged device in the house Saturday night just to give us a leg up on no electricity.  I especially did my kindle and ipad.  We now have out accordion shutters closed and are watching a football game.  It is awful when the power goes off--primarily because of the air conditioning, but also because we have no boob tube.  I have my fingers crossed that we get to see the men's US open final tomorrow at 4pm.  (this was written Saturday pm)

Friday, September 8, 2017

What could be worse than a visit from Hurricane Irma?

You might well ask, what could be worse than a visit from Hurricane Irma?  What is, is a visit while you are supposed to keep your right leg elevated because of surgery on it.

On August 11 I was looking in the back room of Needle Nicely trying to locate a string of faux pearls that are back there so I could send them to the finisher for a mermaid pillow.  I couldn't and didn't find the pearls, but in the process I knocked down a well-balanced pile of things which unbeknownst to me contained a board that had been the end of one of Needle Nicely's counters.  Very heavy, about 15x18 and 3" thick.  It hit my right knee and skidded down my leg.  It peeled a flap right below my knee that miraculously healed itself.  However, it pounded my foot.  It didn't break anything, but I had a large hematoma and a massive blood blister formed.  I, of course, with my trusty needlepoint needle punctured it several places, but it didn't drain much.  I developed an infection and called my doctor (the next week--I'm tough).  He prescribed an antibiotic and sent me to the wound clinic where the next day a doctor cut a 3x2.5 cm opening in the top of my foot to release the blood clot (thank you, eliquis).  They rewrapped it twice, but it wouldn't stop bleeding.  I went to the emergency room and spent that night under observation in the hospital.  That was 8/18/17.


This is the cross-stitch pillow where I prop my foot on the coffee table.  I do turn it over so nothing will damage the design.  By the way, it is a Creative Needle design.
This shows the Needle Nicely inventory either in plastic  bins or covered with black trash bags.  All of the stitched models are in the cabinets that are around the walls of much of the shop.  Marcia, Toni, Lois and Arthur performed yeoman duty while accomplishing this with me reluctantly sitting and directing.

Yesterday Ray came and put the shutters up, so everything that can be done, has been.

EDIT:  It occurred to me that many may wonder why I am so paranoid.  The roof went off our last location and if I hadn't  covered everything up, I would have been out of business.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Blogcation

I'm going to take a few weeks vacation from the blog.  It's primarily because my stitching mojo has left me and I can only tap dance for so long.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Back soon.  Mary Agnes

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Data Pro Inventory Program

Over 25 years ago, Needle Nicely purchased an IBM computer with a dot matrix printer.  We hired a computer guru from Palm Beach to install an inventory program.  He selected one from Data Pro in Tampa.  We are still using that program today.  About 15 years ago, Data Pro started charging a yearly licensing fee.  They were shocked to find out that Needle Nicely had the first version of the accounting program.  We have long since replaced both the computer and printer for HP products.

I have difficulty with the technicalities of dealing with a computer--so when June comes around every year, I call the company in Tampa and someone there takes control of my computer and upgrades the program for another year.  It's a strange sensation to watch the cursor move with my touching anything.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Feather purse flap, finished

This wasn't much of a stitching project--doing a long-short feather on this Sophia purse flap.  However, with my current ho-hum approach to my stitching projects, I feel thankful that I completed the feather today.  And stepping back from it, I do like the appearance of the feather.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

destination dallas 2017

Several months ago, information was sent out about the independent trade show run by Destination Dallas.  It was time to register to attend the show.  And coincidentally, to register with the show hotel.  I did not dally as I had two years ago when I had to stay a shuttle away--bummer and time waster.  I immediately booked my hotel room at the show hotel.

Then I booked my airline ticket with Dallas, which I paid for with Capital One.  About two weeks later, I checked on line to check that the ticket charge was posted.  Then, I called and the amount of the ticket was eliminated through Capital One's points for miles program.  I next upgraded the ticket with Delta frequent flyer miles, once again paying for the cash charge with Capital One Points.

I also reserved the Super Shuttle round-trip to the hotel and checked with the gentleman here in Vero who I use to drive me to and from the airport.

Last week, we selected the classes we wanted to take.  I signed up for a class on various hair techniques by Carolyn Taggart.  The other two classes I selected were a Melissa Shirley Halloween house taught by Patricia Sone; and Artist Collection's Santa on a sleigh taught by JaneAnn Sleeman.  My fingers are crossed until I hear that I got my choices.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer arrivals

With the temporary lull in customers that comes when snow birds have gone North; and before school lets out and the children and grandchildren of snow birds appear for summer vacations, I get bored with the shop inventory and start slipping orders in to some designers to fill our gaps.  These are some of the new canvases that have arrived in the past few weeks.

This is a new addition to Susan Roberts' "stripe" stockings.  Great for anyone interested in transportation.
 Alice Peterson has added a series of small travel trailers with various purposes.
 I chuckle to myself when I see scenes like this barn--it is supposedly a barn.  I grew up on a dairy farm and our barn was white CBS and the house was yellow clapboard.  But this is a good stereotype!
 Another of Alice Peterson's travel trailers, obviously in ski country.
 Kathy Schenkel is always adding new designs to her mini-stockings with inserts.  These are a few of the ones I just received.



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summertime in Vero Beach

Needle Nicely always starts its summer hours on Memorial Day.  That is our first Monday of the summer.  So our summer hours are from Tuesday through Friday.

Macy has already gone North and is working part-time for Threads in Charlottesville.  Marcia is
whipping her yard into shape so she can leave town for Michigan soon.  Hopefully, she will be back in August.

Someone, obviously new to the area, came into the shop Friday.  I was waiting on a customer, and while I acknowledged her, it was obvious I was occupied.  She spotted Lynn (my volunteer fiber clerk) through the swinging doors into the back room.  She commented that "can't she help me".  I had to tell her Lynn only does restocking, not customer service.  And that she does with her hearing aid off!

When I sent my rent check for June 1, I requested that my landlord have someone clean out the swale behind the row of shops where Needle Nicely is. Over the year, debris collects in the swale--like a large tree branch from a wind storm.  During a massive rain storm last year, all of the drains clogged and the swale was stopped up.  The water behind the shop came in the back door everytime a car drove by.  The water in the parking lot was about 15" deep. I had to wade through it to get to my husband, waiting on a side street.  So I warned the landlord to be sure the drains are clear (as well as the swale).

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Feather purse flap

I've been taking my time stitching the feather purse flap.  Which is a good thing since I need to stitch a bit and then contemplate the finished stitching.  This is where I was in my stitching last week.
 I've been taking my time stitching this, because I have to get used to the brightness of the colors I used for the right end of the feather.
After a lot of consideration, I decided to add a single strand of medium taupe splendor to tone down the brightness of the feather tip.
I like the effect of the 2nd feather, so now I can proceed with overstitching one ply over the orange and yellow and then stitching the remainder as I have started.

Do you agree with my choice?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lost and Found Departments in Needlepoint Shops

Ten days ago, I had a long-time customer leave her i-phone when she left a pillow canvas for finishing.  The irony is that in this day and age, all of my customers seem to have i-phones, rather than land lines.  And while I have an i phone, I have no clue how to do any detecting work.
The funniest thing that happened was that Marcia looked at the phone # on the finishing order--she dialed the number and of course, it was busy!

Then, last week, a customer came by to get pointers about stitching long/short split-stitch on an animal canvas.  She was working with whites and we just threw the tans and greens on the counter.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered these threads (that is the CURRENT TERM).  I put that in caps because I still believe in fibers!

For years, I have had customers who leave various and sundry items essential to their stitching.
Betsy  Crawford  has been a prime example.  She and her husband moved back to Philadelphia and I miss her.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Long Island, Bahamas

Several months ago, 60 minutes on CBS had a segment devoted to the deep free-diving being done in the Blue Hole on Long Island in the Bahamas.  What really aggravated me (other than they seemed to be promoting the senseless sport of free-diving) about the piece was that they neglected to mention the name of the main (for over 40 years) resort on Long Island, Stella Maris. And I feel they were doing a disservice to Stella Maris.

I first went to Stella Maris in the mid-1980s when I was vacationing on Great Exuma Island and the gentleman I was dating flew me and another couple there in his twin-engine airplane for lunch,    which in those days included a leafy green salad (believe me, unusual that far down in the Bahamas at that time).  The owners were Germans and insisted on fresh salad greens for their guests so they had them flown in at least twice weekly from Nassau. The entire experience was wonderful.

I have to chuckle to myself at the memory because the next time I was on Long Island, staying at Stella Maris, was about June of 1988.  I was working in the Blowing Rock, NC, location for Needle Nicely when I received a phone call on Thursday from my gentleman friend inquiring if I could come to the Long Island Regatta that weekend. (Silly man--he thought I was in Miami or Nassau-- the mountains of North Carolina don't even begin to qualify for a quick airport for travelling to the Bahamas).    I dropped everything and drove 2 hours to Charlotte where I took a plane to Ft Lauderdale.  The plane I was to take from Ft Lauderdale was cancelled, so the airline taxiied the few of us 1 1/2 hours south to Miami where we took off for Georgetown, Great Exuma.  There my gentleman friend met me with his plane and we flew to Long Island where we spent Regatta weekend in a cottage at Stella Maris.  The regatta was a truly memorable Out-Island regatta made perhaps more memorable to me because on Friday morning,  while walking on the coral rock roads observing the sunrise and being offered a fresh passion flower blossom (so romantic), I  looked at the blossom and stubbed my toe.  Thus doing a 3-point  landing, one of the points being my right collar bone.  At that time there were no doctors on Long Island, Bahamas, on a regular basis--and this wasn't their rotation week on the island.   I spent the rest of the weekend in immense pain (I really have a high pain threshold), with Scotch as my anesthesia.  When I returned to "the States", I checked with my gp and he remarked that collar bone fractures were too mundane to be strapped or xrayed or anything.  That's why even today when a front passes through, my right shoulder just ACHES. And at certain times, I can hear a clicking as the bones hit each other.    But it also reminds me of a weekend in Paradise!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pronunciation of names

Last Friday evening in southern Florida, there was some weather turbulence.  The weather computers interrupt programming to tell you that there a tornado alert or watch in Pom-pain-o Beach.  In human speak that is Pomp-a-no Beach.  The weather name for Oka-cho-bee is O-kee-cho-bee.  It reminds me of a friend who was driving from a dog show in Baltimore, MD, to Blowing Rock, NC.  When she arrived, she informed me she had seen a new river--the Pot-o-mac, which to everyone else is Po-tome-ac.

I must admit that I love to repeat O-kee-cho-bee.  It has such a nice cadence!

I have two degrees from App-a-lach-ian State University.  Even when Appalachian beat Michigan, the sportscasters mispronounced it App-a-lay-chin.  Irritating.

And, while I'm on the topic of pronunciation, my name is Mare-y, not Murr-ay!




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Some Tardy Canvases

This week I received some tardy canvases.  One, I think was ordered last September.  However, it is so gorgeous, who can complain?
Melissa Shirley and Trubey are the two artists who I believe do the most gorgeous shells.  These are by Melissa.

 This is an 8x8" swallow-tailed hummingbird canvas.  It is the central design from a larger canvas that Melissa does with about a 3 inch border.  It's for those stitchers who don't want to commit to an 18x18 canvas (or 20x20). Melissa has a series of about 20 designs with the original being the large version, followed by the 8x8 on 13mesh and then the 3rd size of 5x5" on 18mesh.
 I saw this "bird" canvas by Charley Harper last week on Facebook.  I decided that I just had to have it--called, and about 5 days later it appeared at Needle Nicely.  Now if I were stitching (which I am not at the moment), I would drop everything to start stitching this.  I just love it!
 This is one of Stitch-Its newer sweater designs.  I love the construction of those tennis/running shoes.
I bought this pretty doll canvas, designer unknown, from Pat Miller's Stashing/Destashing Blog last week.  I think she is gorgeous and I would love to stitch her, but I have no little girls in my life.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Line of Tote Bags

I received an email 10 days ago concerning a new line of mesh tote bags.  The seller is a needlepoint designer who had designed a line of canvses to fit the pocket on the front of the bag.  However, that size canvas is the one (or ones) that I love to buy, but cannot sell.  Anyway, I purchased the bags without canvases and had Marcia go through our stock to supply the canvas for each bag.  I took the photos after we had hung the bags for display in the shop.







Of course, I neglected to measure these.  The opening for needlepoint is about 6x6" and the overall size of the bag is about 20x18".  I love the mesh and the bright colors.  



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Credit card processing equipment

Last October, Needle Nicely switched our credit card processor to one handled by PNC, which has our checking account as well as my personal checking and saving accounts.  The bank sent a representative to set up the Compass equipment.  It took several months for my customers to notice that their American Express statement showed the charge as one for "The Big Needle" rather than for Needle Nicely.  After several people asked if I had sold the business, I realized I needed to contact the bank.  The representative changed my machine's entry to Needle Nicely; but American Express did not change their entry so the problem persisted.  They have been contacted and I assume they have changed things.

The problem arose because Trubey owned Needle Nicely, Inc., doing business as (dba) Needle Nicely.  When I bought the business from her,  I had the choice to incorporate as Needle Nicely II or some such, or have an entirely different corporate name.  One of my employees always referred to me as "The Big Needle", so that is the name I chose for the corporation.  Again, we are doing business as (dba) Needle Nicely.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Make Way for Ducklings

Yesterday afternoon, Marcia and I saw this parade booking it in front of the shop.  It was a mother duck and five ducklings.  They were being escorted (directed) by 2 employees of Goodwill.  They didn't know from whence (I had to say that!) the ducks came , but they were huddling at the Goodwill dropoff area 5 shops east of Needle Nicely.  They traveled down the front of our shops and then rounded the end of the building and were guided to the swale behind the shop.  It is so full of debris that it is difficult to pick out the ducks.  Of course, I didn't think of my camera until they were ready to slip through the fence to the trickle of water residing in the swale.  You have to look really closely to see them (it was about 4:45 facing into the sun, not the ideal perspective for a photo op).
You can barely discern the mother just in front of the 2nd from the right fence upright.  The 5 ducklings are in tight formation behind her.  The lady Goodwill escort has a pair of rhinestone-studded flip-flops in her right hand that she used to guide their journey.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Canvases from Copy Painting Services

Many needlepointers are unaware of the presence of professional copy painters of needlepoint canvases.  It was a phenomenon that developed about 15-20 years ago.  Canvases are now painted in the Philippines, mainland China, and the United States, by companies whose sole purpose is to produce copies of the canvases sent to them by needlepoint designers.  In the past there have also been (and may still be) companies in Haiti and Mexico (Petei notably used Mexico, Trubey taught painters in Haiti and sent designs there for years).  

Needle Nicely, as a by-product of having Trubey as its owner, developed in-house designs.  Trubey brought two people with us from Blowing Rock, NC, to assist her in helping her paint her wholesale line.  They also produced copies of the Needle Nicely designs; which, when I purchased Needle Nicely, were considered part of the business since I had participated so much in their development. Trubey was preoccupied with her developing wholesale business, so I located a company doing copy painting (Susan Treglown Designs).

Another thing not widely known is that some designers and copy painters specialize in stitch counted designs.  These range from sayings to more elegant designs.  Many of Needle Nicely's designs are stitch counted, so Susan Treglown as a copy painter was a perfect choice for us.  Examples of non-stitch painted (free-form painting) designs are those by Edie & Ginger, Strictly Christmas, and Barbara Eyre.  NOTE:  Stitch painted canvases have the intersection of the threads painted.  It isn't a graceful swoop of the brush, but a stitch-by-stitch progression on the canvas.

Years ago, designers did their own copy painting or had in-house painters.  Sometimes after wholesale markets, there would be a wait of 6 to 12 months.  I vividly remember the first market where Painted Pony, A Collection of Design; and a third designer who was a friend of theirs shared one booth.  If my memory is correct, each designer had one wall (the 4th being the aisle and entrance to the booth). They had such fresh-looking designs, they were the hit of the market.  It was almost impossible to place an order.  I heard later that one of the designers shipped the last orders when she left home for the next year's market!  She was so new, but she was determined to paint everything people had ordered before she went to market to take more orders.

I was reminded of this change in production today when I received a shipment from The Meredith Collection with some new designs for Needle Nicely.  More about them Saturday.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Few New Canvases

A few new canvases trickled into Needle Nicely this week.  These would be so delightful to stitch.

This tree stocking is on 13mesh.  There are so many possibilities for doing pattern stitches.  Melissa Shirley designed this beauty.  It arrived so late in the season because Melissa's stockings usually point to the left.  The ones pointing to the right have to be specially painted.  At market I have to remind myself to specify right pointing, though some designers won't change the direction of the toe.
Ashley Dillon has done a series of "march" canvases.  Her latest is the barnyard march, led by a bull.
I love every one of these and wish I could take the time to stitch each one.

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.