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
 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.