Do You Know That Today is National Coffee Day?

This canvas is a Linda Carter Holman for Melissa Shirley Designs CH116 “Chuck Wagon Coffee.” For many of us coffee is a natural part of our day to day ritual. Mornings are powered by a cuppa, whether it be brewed at home, Starbucks, Pete’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at any other of your favorite coffee spot’s. Our local favorite by the shop in La Jolla is Brick and Bell and they make absolutely the BEST scones!

You know come to think of it, I think the Italian’s were way ahead of this coffee thing. Growing up I remember the corner coffee hang out with the fancy imported steaming espresso machines spouting out delicious cappucino’s and enjoying that with some pastries…Italian of course!

This canvas is by Maggie and it would be a fun stitch for your coffee corner!

Another Maggie canvas! Come to find out that the Cuban Coffee that I fell in love with when I was in Miami starts out with espresso. My gracious hosts told me how to order it at Starbucks…now if they will understand “solo wet macchiato” here in San Diego, I will be all set! If not I might just order the Salted Carmel Macchiato instead….but I will wait till the weather cools down a bit.

Ronda Ahrens canvas with a more colorful interpretation! Coffee derives from Arabic word meaning to “to put one off” or as if you are putting off sleep. Legend has it that a shepherd noticed that his goats experienced a higher level of energy after getting into the wild coffee berries. He sampled the berries himself with the same stimulating effects and word of it quickly spread to Arab regions. Coffee became a popular import in Europe and slowly made its way to the US. It didn’t experience much success until the Boston Tea Party, when colonists rebelling against the tea taxes, developed a taste for the coffee. Consuming close to 400 million cups of coffee daily, America now consumes the most coffee in the world. How many cups of that do you account for? Are you the type that absolutely has to have a cup as soon as your feet hit the floor?

I am not one that needs coffee or caffeine that soon in the am….but sooner or later. I am a tea drinker and most of the time it is iced variety. I do enjoy a hot cup of tea in the colder weather or after a wonderful dinner out and with a delicious dessert. How about you?

BTW…some of these canvases may or may not be available anymore as these pictures have lived in my photo library for a very long time!

Now we need National Tea Day…what do you think?

AlleyCat’s most favorite nap spot! It used to be a skinny box, but not so much anymore!

 

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In case you haven’t noticed I have 3 passions in my life…my baseball, my stitching and my feline children. The order is not necessarily significant as on any given day I will be more passionate about one than the other, depending on my whims.

At this time as we arrive at the 15th anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever… and do you realize for the first time that the history teachers will teach this to students who weren’t alive when it happened?

Okay and now back to the beginning as I start with my stitching. We were in Washington DC as that was the city of choice for that years American Needlepoint Guild’s annual seminar. It was a wonderful seminar, with amazing classes, a great venue and lots of sightseeing. I rented a car for one day and drove to Camden Yards to see a baseball game! Went to the White House, the US Capital, the Washington Monument, Lincoln & Jefferson Memorial, National Church, Smithsonian, Korean & Vietnam War Veterans Memorials, just about everything… Jo Christensen of “The Bible” fame gave me a private guided tour of all the monuments at night, which was a sight to remember. We reminisce about that evening every time I see her.

I left for home on September 10th, well what I consider to be home now after all these years, even though I am originally from New York. At that time in my life I was working as a chef for a large west coast restaurant corporation and every Tuesday we would report to work at 0dark30 to take inventory. I walked into work and Dave, our general manager says to me “I think you better come into the office and look at this” I was absolutely speechless as I watched the events on tv unfold and sat there mesmerized thinking I just don’t believe what I am seeing.

My heart ached for the city that never sleeps, and then our nation’s capital and then the city in Pennsylvania and all that were touched by this senseless act of violence. Some of our stitching friends never made it home from Washington DC that fateful day and many of our/your family, friends and loved ones never did either. I spoke to my mother later in the day and I remember her telling me “well you know George is okay” …”well Mother yes I know the President is okay, I just saw him on tv”… “no I mean your cousin George” who worked at the Pentagon.

The healing began and really for some of us, we will never be healed…but it was time for baseball to be there, to try to help us forget just a little bit, even if it was for just a moment. It was time and I so remember the game at Busch stadium when Jack Buck gave that amazing speech, so moving, so memorable. It was time and again I so remember the game at Yankee Stadium when the some of the rescue workers threw out the opening pitch. It was time and again I so remember the game at Shea Stadium when Mike Piazza hit that towering home run and the place erupted. Oh and the World Series that year…that was considered the best ever…

This is one of the classes that I took that year at seminar. The Washington DC teapot designed and taught by Tony Minieri…yes I will never forget

 

While you Weren’t Looking!

This post was from a while back and I am just updating it!

Yes, while you weren’t looking…I actually finished something for myself! It is amazing the color change from taking this picture under my stitching light to the other one which was taken in natural light.

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I beaded the words and the lotus blossom. Lots of trial and error till I got just the right colors.

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Then the Kreinik that I wanted to use became a discontinued color! Luckily my stitching buddy Debbie had left over from hers and gave it to me.

The plan was to basketweave his face, but as I started I realized that it was not the #4 as marked, it was too heavy and covered up the shading too much. Oh no, what to do?

It needed to be an open stitch, so I just worked a darning pattern, actually stitched up much quicker!

I probably started this 2 or maybe 3 years ago, as I remember bringing it to the Blue Bonnet Retreat the first time I went to work on the beading of the words. I could also tell by the tape that I used on the edges too!

So what was I to do next? well bring it to the framers of course! New Creations in Pasadena, California where the brilliant Nancy and Andrea frame, and frame they do brilliantly.

I took some pictures as we worked away. It helps you see things in a different way when taking the pictures. I also had a friend on the other end that was giving me a thumbs up or not! The gold frame was quickly ruled out by all of us, but the frame on the left is a good possibility.

This mat is not quite right…

This frame is great, but too heavy with the piece. It overpowers it.

Found the right mat, which is the one on the left, with the first frame that we looked at. Now  all I have to do is anxiously await that phone call “your framing is ready to be picked up!”

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And the next best thing is someone telling you “do you know you won a ribbon?” Well I was busy walking around the French Quarter and not there when they opened the doors. Now what do I stitch for next year? I better get busy!

AlleyCat loves, loves, loves these coffee carry out holders. She tears them up, pushes them all over the house and often sits on it, in it and then naps on it. Silly girl!

 

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!

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“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!

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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!

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

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While some embraced the concept of messy beading!

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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We are anxiously awaiting for class to start.

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

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

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Beading away!

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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We were all quite smitten with him!

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He really did follow us around quite a bit.

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

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The gardens were so beautiful!

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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

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then in purple…

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and then yellow.

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

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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.

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I just love finding these phone booths!

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

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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!

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Everything was absolutely delicious!

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I could get used to this afternoon tea break!

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

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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…

AllStar

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…

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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!