Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!


“Laissez les bons temps rouler” is a Cajun expression meaning “Let the good times roll!”  It strongly conveys the “joie de vivre” or “jof of living” attittude that pervades south Louisiana and is mostly assocaited with New Orleans…which they think is the best city in the world. Obviously they have not lived in San Diego!

So guess where I’m headed? That’s right! New Orleans and no, the awful rains and floods have not hit New Orleans…and of course my heart breaks for them in areas more north such as Baton Rouge et al. And just why would I be going to New Orleans? along with 500+ of my closest stitching friends? well the American Needlepoint Guild Seminar of course!

I am thrilled for this location this year as so many of our group didn’t go last year to Myrtle Beach…so we’ve been planning and counting down the days till take off. Where I’ll be meeting up with and stitching with Denise from Vegas, Joanne from Chicago, Kristen from California, Pat, Chris and Elizabeth from Oregon, Katie from Washington DC just to mention a few!


I am doing the 5-day Embellishment Squad class with Tony, Meredith, Suzanne and Debbie and this is my canvas by Zecca! This was the day when they were working on the canvases, and I was lucky enough to get this text from Meredith of Tony being Tony! As soon as I signed up for this class, this is the canvas that I knew that I wanted to do. A fun city like New Orleans needs a fun canvas!

I have lots of threads and beads selected based on their suggestions, a few added by myself and lots to be added when we are there of course! I need to get busy packing and just where did this weekend disappear to? I will be taking my laptop, but not sure if I will be blogging or not… a lot will be the amount of time I have or don’t have!


Where Has the Time Gone?


Okay where were we? I was tauting that it was watermelon day, which was supposed to lead into our watermelon class with Sherry Bray. Someone was in the shop yesterday and commented that they were missing my blog! Wow that always make me feel great to hear that, but then I realized it’s been awhile! Really where does the time go?


We had a wonderful class with Sherry Bray! A fun filled 4 days  of 2 groups of 2 days each of laughing and stitching and laughing some more…isn’t that what needlepoint is supposed to be all about? This is the canvas laid out with all the threads in their glory. John Johannsen artwork for Melissa Shirley Designs.

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We had little magnet designed to accent the canvas, thanks to Nancy who found a great polymer clay artist. Brenda, a speacial friend of ours and the shop made the tins, which will be used when we get to the beading.


A little stitching to be done first before we can start beading!

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We needed to section off our watermelon first. Did you want perfectly even in 4 wedges? off center? 3 wedges? vertical slices? Everyone’s was different!


Some laid their beads out very orderly, counting out the exact amount used in each area.


While some embraced the concept of messy beading!


Of course I couldn’t resist this floral arrangement that I found at the local market.


After a tough day of stitching, of course dinner and adult beverages were on the horizon. This was the view from George’s…a great way to end the day!

Next up for me is heading to New Orleans for the ANG Seminar. I have a 5-day class with The Embellishment Squad…and I better get busy and get my threads selected that they suggested that I bring!


Do you Know What Day it Is?

Today is national watermelon day! It is my absolute favorite fruit and has been ever since I was a little girl… nothing’s changed and I usually have some cut up in the fridge for that refreshing summertime snack and pick me up.

This is a Charlie Haper canvas called “Watermelon Moon” Is this not the cutest? I really do love Charlie Harper pieces and there probably isn’t one that I wouldn’t stitch! How about you?

Do you know that there are over 300 varities of watermelon? Red, pink, white and yellow in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is great as is, in savory salads, cook it on the grill, blend it into margaritas…

Doesn’t that look great?

or make it into ice cream!

How about this beautiful John Johannsen artwork for Melissa Shirley designs? now that is allot of watermelon!

Even Mooch wants to celebrate National Watermelon Day!

Except these days you really don’t need to worry about the seeds. I find the best ones are the personal sized ones that I get in Costco… always sweet!

I see something! I hear something! says AlleyCat.

and until next time…I will continue Watermelon Day with our Watermelon weekend!

The Quintessential English Tour…Day 10!


This would be our last day on The Quintessential English Tour. I am sad and I am happy. I am sad to leave, leave new and old friends, leave these beautiful English people and the wonderful countryside. So much more to see and I would love to go back to Harrods, the Victoria and Albert Museum and on and on. But yet on the other hand I am looking forward to going home, sleeping in my own bed, snuggling with the kitties, a tall glass of iced tea and baseball!


We were scheduled to spend the entire day stitching! What a wonderful way to end up our stay. I think that Rosemary, our teacher did a fabulous job putting our kits together and setting up the room. It just made me feel so special! And I love purple.


We are anxiously awaiting for class to start.


Just such special touches. We even had matching purple scissors!


This was our project, stitching a little scissors case with a beaded something, something… now why can’t I think what to call this?


Beading away!


Even Jeremy joined us! Paloma is directly to his left and she is the one that made those darling little boxes with the flowers on them, which held our thumbtacks.

After lunch we would have another new project!

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A blackwork sampler of the Woburn Abby gate. Again the attention to details were so very special. Now why don’t I remember seeing that yesterday?


We would break for dinner and a little adult beverages. During my visit, I also learned that Pinot Noir was pretty much unheard of in these parts, so most of the time I opted for Spanish Reds.


After dinner, there would be yet another stitching project waiting for us! By I opted for just picking it up and heading upstairs to pack. I really had so much to get into my suitcases along with my memories of a fantastic trip.

I will go again in a heartbeat with Elizabeth and Jeremy. Check it out here Jeremy & Elizabeth’s Wild West Tour of the United Kingdom if I have peaked your interest!

I have 4 days of classes in the shop with the amazing Sherry Bray…so probably won’t see you till next week. Maybe I will have some wonderful pictures to share with you.

I hope you have enjoyed reliving my English Tour with me as much as I have had sharing it with you.


The Quintessential English Tour…Day 9 cont’d!

Okay don’t get used to this regular like blogging! I am having a hard time getting to sleep and I am thinking that I must have brought that 100+ weather with me from Austin. Nothing good on tv, all the baseball games are over for the evening, too hot to stitch, so instead I am sitting at my desk with the fan in my face and it is actually quite pleasant. Remember I have no AC and opted to take my London trip rather than fix it. Next year! next year!


Time to tour the lovely gardens at Woburn Abby. Our tour guide was the head gardener and he told us at one time there were about 18 of them, but with the the use of fancy equipment that only 2-3 gardeners are employed now depending on the time of the year.



I am still so fascinated with the wisteria. I have never seen in growing before. Notice the skies, they’re not so picture perfect blue anymore!



Meet Larry! A very friendly chap as one of the gardeners started giving him treats. One of the ladies on our tour, Michelle researched as to what kind of rooster he is. I have requested that he be immortalized on canvas and Jeremy is working on that, so I’ve been told!


We were all quite smitten with him!


He really did follow us around quite a bit.


This was a most fascinating tree and they had recently planted many new ones.

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The gardens were so beautiful!


and all too soon, it was time to go back to the hotel. It was early yet when we returned and thought that I would walk around and check out the shops in Woburn.


The skies were darkening and I got back just in time!


And wow did the skies open up! Pat thought that I got caught in the rain… thanks for worrying about me.

Later that evening we would hit a local pub for some brews and burgers. Great food!

We have one day left and it would be an all stitching day with Rosemary. It’s gone by all too quickly.


The Quintessential English Tour…Day 9!


Okay, where was I? Oohh now I remember…we had checked into the Woburn Hotel which is located in the county of Bedford on The Quintessential English Tour. Today would be a tour of Woburn Abby, where the Duke and Duchess of Bedford reside.


But first we had time to walk around Woburn abit as I admired the flowering trees. First in white…


then in purple…


and then yellow.


Note the picture perfect blue skies! for now that is…


It was a short drive away and on the approach, we saw lots of deer which were mostly in the water. When we stopped for that Kodak moment, most of them moved away.


I just love finding these phone booths!


We would tour the Abby, but again no photos allowed inside. Lots of tapestries, fine china, silver, collectibles and oil paintings. Beautiful!


After seeing the inside of the home and before viewing the gardens, High Tea was scheduled. I learned from Jeremy that the macaroons served on the Bakery Bus Tour the other day were a French influence and usually not part of traditional High Tea!


Everything was absolutely delicious!


I could get used to this afternoon tea break!


In the center of the courtyard stood this stately Cedar of Lebanon Tree.



And here we all were… well all excpet Jill Rigoli. She is missing as she was under the weather for the last 3-4 days and stayed behind. Your smiling face was missed and you will just have to take this trip again to catch up on all that you didn’t get to see!

So many pictures and so little time… so the rest of the tour which are the gardens of Woburn Abby will be the next post!


We Interrupt the Regular Scheduled Programming…


It seems like a little event like the All Star Week sorta kinda got in the way of me finishing the last few days of our London trip! This was last night during the opening ceremonies of the game where 300 or so Navy men and women from the USS Reagan “manned the rails” which they do whenever a ship comes back into port. Something that we see in San Diego quite often…


Just as I experienced when I welcomed my niece back home a few years back.

So I really did want to finish up the trip before I leave for Austin for 5 days for a class with the Embellishment Squad at The Needleworks, but it’s not happening. Needlepointing with no phones, no emails to answer, no questions…heaven! and I will have more to share with you too.

Now if you’ve been following along and would just love, love, love to experience a trip with Jeremy and Elizabeth, they are planning not one, but two in 2017…and rumor has it there will be more…so check it out here Jeremy & Elizabeth’s Wild West Tour of the United Kingdom and I would sign up in a heartbeat to go again, but the dates aren’t good for my work schedule. Why they didn’t check with me before the dates were set in Stone(hedge)?????

So it will be at least a week before I can get back to it…and it might take 3 postings since I have over 20 pictures ready for Day 9 already!

BTW the All Star Weekend was pretty fabulous and so glad that I was there!


The Quintessential English Tour…Day 8!


After a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast at the Grande Hotel, we boarded the coach for a 2 1/2 hour drive to Woburn in the county of Bedford. Jeremy is telling us all about what our day will be like.

Now if you’ve been following along and would just love, love, love to experience a trip with Jeremy and Elizabeth, they are planning not one, but two in 2017…and rumor has it there will be more…so check it out here Jeremy & Elizabeth’s Wild West Tour of the United Kingdom and I would sign up in a heartbeat to go again, but the dates aren’t good for my work schedule. Why they didn’t check with me before the dates were set in Stone(hedge)?????


We stopped about 1/2 way in for a little break where we got to meet Freddie (the dog!) Chris and Richard along with Jeremy were our tour guides throughout the trip.


Left to right Jeremy, Chris, Richard, Elizabeth and Paul


Back on the road to our destination of Woburn. We would check in, have a bit of a time to rest up and get ready for our evening festivities.


We were introduced to Rosemary Sherman who will be teaching us some lovely stitching projects during our stay.


Our welcoming gift from Rosemary!


We would gather for dinner and of course a little wine.


Sunday Roast served with Yorkshire pudding.


Eaton Mess for dessert! according to Wikipedia Eton mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries or bananas, pieces of meringue, and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College’s annual cricket match against the pupils of Harrow School.

Okay there are 2 days left to the trip and I am hoping that I can get it finished before I leave Thursday for The Needleworks in Austin for 4 glorious days with The Embellishment Squad. You say what? Thursday, that’s almost a week away… well you see there is something called the All Star Game that is in San Diego this year. A game, well that’s only 1 day? No its not (as I tell Missy!) It’s an event that goes on for 3 days, plus I need to pack, get my stitching stuff ready and then there’s a little thing called work.. where I need to redo windows and displays, count beads (that’s a long story!) did I say count beads? well count lots of beads, order threads, get ready for a class at the end of July and so much more!


The Quintessential English Tour…Day 7!


We are at the Grande Hotel loacted on the English Channel and France is right over yonder! It was a overcast morning and we were having a lazy day on our tour. You could stay at the hotel and explore or stay in and stitch, or you could take the late bus to today’s destination. I chose the latter…but in the meantime we had at least a few hours to kill.


A group of us explored around the hotel in the morning and walked along the coastline. The beach is very rocky and can’t imagine that it would be very comfortable laying on it and it sure wasn’t easy even walking on it!


A view from the coast to the Grande hotel. We still had plenty of time to explore some more, but there was a steady drizzle, so we all opted to go back to our rooms and get jackets and umbrellas. No more pictures as I didn’t want to get my phone wet! and soon it was time to board the bus.

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Our first stop was the white cliffs, no not the White Cliffs of Dover… but instead these are the Seven Sisters, which is a series of chalk cliffs  on the English Channel. They form part of the South Downs in East Sussex, between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne in southern England. This is Elizabeth in this picture and the middle 2 pictures she shot.

Next up was to travel to the nearby Berwick Church to see the gorgeous murals painted by the artists from the Bloomsbury artists. They also created the artwork that is part of the Charleston Farmhouse where we were yesterday.


If you want to learn more about these artists and the Charleston Farmhouse look for this book. It is out of print, but you might find it in a used book store as I did!


As we got off the bus, I just loved seeing the phone booth in the middle of all of this green!

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And this house with the thatched roof. Doesn’t this remind you of a Peter Ashe canvas?

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The light wasn’t condusive to a lot of great shots, but I did take a few. Being that my niece spent 20 years in the Navy, I was especially drawn to this mural.

Time for our next stop!



We visited the old town of Lewes, where we enjoyed some retail therapy…


and tea and scones with clotted cream! This is Elizabeth and Richard. A dear friend of Jeremy’s who was on tour with us most of the time to answer questions and offer info!

The day ended all too quickly and it was back to the hotel, where we were to dress again for dinner!

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Richard is on the left and Paul is the other “chap” who was our coach driver. We all loved him!


Our menu for tonight.

Tomorrow we would check out of the Grande hotel and travel to Woburn. OMG this trip is going by way too quickly!


The Quintessential English Tour…Day 6!


We were saying goodbye to the Carlton Miter and boarding our coach to the next destination. Heading to the seaside town of Eastbourne with a few stops along the way.


Of course the bus ride is a great place for show and tell. Katie had finished her goldwork piece from the other day at the Royal School of Needlework. It was being passed around to be admired by all. Don’t you just hate those overachievers? (this is not Katie in the picture, just an admirer of her work!)


Our first stop was this darling art community of Charleston where we toured this darling home. Needlepoint, art and so much more and no pictures were allowed inside! We all enjoyed some serious retail therapy as they had a fabulous gift shop with many hand made goodies of jewelry, pottery and more pottery.

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The ground were beautiful and we enjoyed a picnic lunch of lox and cream cheese on bagels, tea and dessert. All too soon it was time to get back on our coach and head to Eastbourne where we would check into the Grande Hotel… and might grande she was!

Located on the English Channel with a view of France.


Shortly after we checked in, we headed to our stitching area.


Just a wonderful afternoon stitching along the windows and trust me we were quite the conversation starter as people walked the hallways!

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We were getting our canvases on bars with lots of help from Elizabeth!

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Look at this beautiful canvas! I love the colors and it was generously kitted with Appleton Wool. Well that’s what they use over there!

There was quite a downpour while we were sitting there stitching, which really added to the ambience. All too soon it was time to clean up our stitching area so we could freshen up and change before dinner.


Our menu in the dining room! we actually had to dress, no jeans and the gentlemen needed coats and ties.

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This was my appetizer and dessert… guess I forgot to photograph the main course! Absolutely delicious.

Sunday would be a lazy day with a late start. Sleep in, stay in the hotel, walk the boardwalk or travel with Jeremy and do some sightseeing. I chose the latter.

Speaking of a lazy day…I’m taking a few of those, so see you sometime next week! Have a great 4th.