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.