Dog Days of Summer!

No I am not singling out the canines… according to Wikipedia “Dog Days of Summer are the hottest, most sultry days of summer.” Waking up this morning to light sprinkles and temperatures in the low 70’s with at least 170% humidity sure makes it feel like a hot and sultry day! Now I know that this is still much cooler than many other parts of the US that still swelters in record heat, so I should have nothing to complain about.

What perfect timing to think cool with this flip flop from Squigee. It is a custom design done in your name with such wonderful colors! I stitched it all with Planet Earth Opal, which has the glint of metallic blended into the threads. No stranding, no plying, just thread up and stitch! what a pleasure to work with, just like butter as it melts into your canvas. My local needlepoint shop sent it off to the finishers for me and I am so thrilled with the way it came back! Marlene added just the prefect touch by adding the sequin and the flower button to finish it off. This will be a new addition for this years Christmas tree!

Speaking of finishing, it is almost time to get your holiday finishing into your LNS. Where does the time go? Actually after all the years from working in a shop, I know what the holiday crunch time is like. The overwhelming amount of wonderfully stitched pieces that come in waiting to go out to be magically turned into something even more amazing! Stitch! Stitch! Stitch! It is heartbreaking for both the stitcher and the shop when it doesn’t make it back in time.

I didn’t do that much stitching yesterday, even though I did watch allot of baseball. I just needed a break from stitching, believe it or not. I am starting off my day today with a late breakfast at The Cottage in La Jolla with some dear friends. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they are having my favorite special…carne asada benedict with chipotle hollandaise! ooh I so enjoy that as I really do like the spicy!

Later in the day I am headed up the 5 Freeway to Newport Beach to see Susan Portra…as we need to work out the final touches on the wonderful project that you will see from Susan in the next Needlepoint Now. You wont want to miss this issue as there are 9 projects for your stitching pleasure! This issue will grow by 4 pages. Elizabeth, you have done amazing things with growing this magazine and as always I am like a kid at Christmas waiting for it to arrive in my mailbox! Rumor has it that this issue is so big that Elizabeth bought a new desk.

Alleycat was keeping cool as she was tuned into night time kitty tv. She was watching the bugs and hoping for a midnight snack! and until next time…keep on stitching



Searching for Just the Right Thread!

Decisions! decisions! all these threads as I search for just the perfect thread that talks to me for the Needle Deeva Hearts that I am working on. I have been keeping the Deeva busy designing them as she has been in a Halloween mood lately. We have sugar skulls, Halloween stars, witches, spiders, black birds, stink eyes and who would have thunk that one? oh and did I mention cats? there are 2 more new cats in this grouping!

After Deeva designs one, it is then whisked off to Michelle at Needlepoint of La Jolla where she paints the masters to perfection! I anxiously await the delivery of one so that I can start selecting threads and beads and thinking up of stitch ideas. These hearts are pretty small, so the scale of the stitches need to be the same, but then again I still want them to be wonderful and exciting. This was my selection progress the other day. For some unknown reason I was able to get through this without any feline supervision! Wonders never cease to amaze me.

On my last trip to the San Gabriel Bead Company for a stash enhancement experience, I discovered these new Glow in the Dark beads! I am so excited and can’t wait to use them. They are a Czech bead in a size 8, which will be way too large for these hearts, so I will need to wait for a 13 mesh canvas. The Halloween Garden series by Melissa Shirley would be “purrfect” for these new beads.

On the schedule today is a little stitching and allot of baseball or maybe allot of stitching and a little baseball. AlleyCat was working very hard last night keeping my threads warm for me. There are a million and one places you can nap, why does it have to be on my threads? and until next time…keep on stitching

P.S. the new quilt is living on the bed right now, neatly folded and showing off it’s beauty



Every Dog Has it’s Day!

A little diversion today as the felines and the needlepoint yield the floor…They say that every dog has it’s day, and the other night at Petco Park in San Diego, over 300 had theirs! The pooches showed up in record numbers with their humans in tow as they set a Guinness World Record for the most dogs in a pet costume parade prior to the Padres vs the Diamondbacks baseball game. A representative from Guinness was there to authenticate the dogs, count them, check them and double check to make sure all the pooches had at least 2 pieces of clothing to make up their costume. Petco was determined to break the record as they had hundreds of clothing items at hand for the dogs that didn’t come dressed for the parade!

There were little dogs and big dogs. Medium size dogs, itty bitty little ones and really big ones! They were decked out in their very best Padres gear, even Phillies, Red Sox and Mets jerseys, and some were dressed just like their humans. I met a Fenway and a Wrigley and a Shea and I guess there was a theme going on here, naming their pooches after the iconic baseball parks.

Okay for this feline fanatic…I don’t get it and maybe you can explain to me why is it that the really little dogs always bark at the really big dogs?

These were a few of my favorites as human and cannine were really dressed to match!

This pooch was ready for the races…

Now this guy really stole the show! He is on a specially designed Harley just his size. He was sitting there waiting to ride off into the sunset…

As soon as the remote control starts the motorcycle, he stands up and is ready to ride  as his little buddy is in tow. Trust me all eyes were on these two!

After a tough day, I guess I just need a little nap!

and until next time…keep on stitching



Team Deeva is Taking Baltimore by Storm!

Team Deeva, incase you don’t know… is made up of course the Deeva herself as without her designs, none of this is possible… then there is Miss Robin with her southern charm and hails from Memphis and myself, Vicky which Sylvester & AlleyCat allow me to share their home here in Southern California. Now there is a new member of Team Deeva, Leo the Cat, but rumor has it that he is not joining us on this trip.

We are all headed to Baltimore on August 10th -August 15th for the TNNA fall cash & carry show. Well I am arriving on the 10th as I will be teaching this Needle Deeva’s Happy Heart at Needles and Threads of Ruxton on Thursday August 11th. The rest of Team Deeva will follow up later. I am totally thrilled and honored to have been invited to teach there! If you would like any information about the class, please call the shop at 410.828.7688.They will have extra kits available for sale and I heard that she would be thrilled to send out one for you if you are interested!

Friday will be setup day and in between all the work of turning Room #618 into a candy store of canvases for your shopping pleasure , Robin will sneak away and teach Fraidy Cat, my favorite of course, from the Creepy Characters Club. This class will be in the hotel and if you are attending the show, you should register soon before it’s a sellout!

Friday night as Robin is winding up teaching, Deeva and I will be getting ready for “Early Bird Sales” with a few special surprises in store for you! We don’t have all the details worked out, but as soon as we do…you will be the first to know! You will find us in Room #618 and the door opens at 6PM. Come and spend some time with us, we would be delighted to see you.

Sunday will find Robin at Bedecked and Beadazzled teaching “Bones” an exclusive in the Creepy Characters series designed especially just for this occasion! Class is sold out, but Ruth would be happy to send you a kit ready for stitching. You haven’t lived until you have experienced having one of Ruth’s packages show up at your door! Ruth says that you don’t have to be a member of the Creepy Character Club, but once you start stitching this guy, you will want to join in on the fun! Call the shop 410.296.0405 for more information.

The cats are chilling and I will be getting in some stitching as I work out thread choices and stitch selections for many more of these hearts by Needle Deeva! Too many choices…too many ideas…The flurry of birds outside the window awoke AlleyCat as she views yet a different kitty TV channel. and until next time…keep on stitching



My, oh My! It’s Christmas in July!

Santa is done! finished! He is riding in on the Giant Panda to help us celebrate Christmas in July. This canvas is by Brenda Stofft and I worked on it for well over a year with Susan Portra. With her stitch selections and thread choices. When I first started it, I really thought the stitching gods were looking down on me as I really flew along…and then all of a sudden I came to a screeching halt. That was because I so struggled with the original bag that we were trying to create. I didn’t really stitch on it but only when I was with Susan and sort of avoided it when I was home as in my mind I was avoiding my failure of able to get it. Every time I went to class or took privates with Susan I would ask “please start me on this bag again” and every time I would do okay when I was there with her, but when I was home by myself, well that was a whole different story.

Once the stitch for the bag was redesigned the stitching really moved along with few problems. I learned so much from Susan, so much about technique, so much about how to think out your thread and stitch choices. Yes, I could have stitched this canvas on my own, but never ever in a million years would I have thought of the stitches and effects that you see on this canvas. Never ever!

Well the stitching lessons didn’t stop there. I can remember finishing up the last parts of the canvas with Susan as she asked me what kind of frame did I have in mind? Ooh I said that I had picked out a great red frame, but wasn’t sure of the mat color. I thought Susan was going to come out of her skin as she says “are you out of your mind?” Then I got a great education in framing from Susan and from Peggy who is the owner of Newport Needlepoint as they sent me on my way to see Bob the Framer in Santa Ana.

The frame that you see was my first selection as to me it makes me think of a brick stitch. The gold in the frame is a perfect match to the gold on the beads that I used to make the fringe on the blanket. I had selected a dark celadon green mat with a black liner and being pleased with my choices I merrily went on my way. In the meantime Peggy of Newport Needlepoint  fame, where I take my lessons from Susan, went to the framers to check on my selections of frame and mats. Oh no the mat would never do, too dark, too nubby, too many lines, so Peggy scooped up every mat available in that color family and headed back to the shop.

Peggy and Susan sent me on a fabric shopping spree as I scoured the Internet for shops. I was lamenting the fact that it would be great if I was closer to Marlene’s and Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. Maybe a quick trip would be necessary, but a dear friend who works right in Union Square quickly volunteered that she would be my personal shopper. I gave her the numbers of the Needlepoint Inc Silk that it needed to match and off she went! What you see is the final results and the piece is now on its way to San Antonio to be on exhibit at the American Needlepoint Guild Seminar this year. My wish is that it will come back to me graced by a ribbon from the judges.

A special thank you to Susan Portra, Peggy of Newport Needlepoint, Bob the Framer and Kathy my personal shopper. I really can’t thank you all enough…I couldn’t have done it with out you! You will be the first to know if it takes a ribbon. Wish me luck! and Brenda Hart, I haven’t forgotten about you as I have my canvas in mine for the next time I am in your class! and until next time…keep on stitching



It’s not about the Needlepoint!

I left my sister just a few short days ago in upstate NY and while she is now vacationing somewhere in New Hampshire with her husband, her daughters and their families, I am back in home in America’s Finest City. I had a wonderful visit, but it always good to be back home. I have lived here in California for over 30 years and even though I am from NY, this is my home now.

My sister really spoiled me during my visit and showered with lots of gifts while I was there. First and foremost is my new nap quilt that will live on the couch. Many times when there is a picture of the cats with you will see them on a quilt that is sort of crumpled up in the corner of the couch…well this is the new one that you will see! It is called Fortune Cookie and I fell in love with the design when last I visited “The Joyful Quilter” over the holidays. My sister is very generous accommodating my wishes and what beautiful work she does! She worked on it over the months at the pajama party that they have once a month.

Also she gave me this great little magnet! I love these by Elizabeth Turner Collection and is a great way to add a little fun to my canvas!

A new Laurel Burch Bag…


There is another bag too, from the Vermont Quilt Festival and I just realized that I don’t have a picture of it…thank you very much Sis for all of my gifts and especially for my new quilt. Sylvester settles down for a nap in the box. You wonder how I tell them apart? well it’s the white whiskers. and until next time…keep on stitching…and stay cool!


Team Deeva is Headed to Baltimore!


I have to say that this is not one of my best pictures as I am really not sure how the h*** I was standing when I took it?! I sometimes just randomly take pictures to see how colors and stitches are working out as it will show up in the picture what you don’t see with your eye.

The house itself is just about finished with just a few more bricks waiting to be stitched. I am so loving stitching with the Dinky Dyes. It was suggested that I should just do a darning stitch over the ducks to give the feel that they are behind the windows.Well first of all I really don’t see those are windows, just openings in the Easter Egg House. Secondly I think that the ducks are too much a central part of the design not to pay individual attention to them. Team Deeva conferenced…is that a word? well if not I just made it up…and concurred that the ducks should be stitched, but very delicately of course. Amy’s Golden Strand came to the rescue and sent out a lovely package of Petite Pelouche in several colors that I will stitch the ducks with. I just need to dig through the stash for a few floss colors for the bonnets.

Keeping with the thinking that I see the Easter Egg House with openings rather than windows, I am trying to achieve the continuation of the sky through the openings. I am doing the same stitch as the sky was done in, but only using a single ply of Gloriana Hydrangea. I am not sure though when I get to the bottom 2 blue ones if I should stitch the openings the same? or continue with a 4 way Continental that I did in center the door. I look at that the area is too small, will be very difficult to get a good flow of the stitch and the compensation stitches…well it might be way too challenging. But then again would it not work if I do something different? Decisions! decisions!

In only a few short weeks, less than 3 to be exact, Team Deeva will be headed to Baltimore for the Fall TNNA Cash & Carry Show. This is a new venue for us and I still don’t get the idea of fall show in the middle of August? Anyhow Team Deeva will be there and we are thrilled to be at a show on the East Coast. We will be selling and we will be teaching! Lots of fun things and surprises are in store! Come visit the Deeva herself, Robin and me of course in room 618 at the show hotel. Stay tuned for lots more details to be coming soon. and until next time…keep on stitching



I am Lion, Hear me Roar!

Well I arrived back in America’s Finest City late last night to a very busy airport and oh such a cool and pleasant evening. I am sorry, really I am for everyone who is sweltering out there. I hope that Mother Nature has some relief in store for you. Left a 97 hot and humid upstate NY only to change planes in Baltimore where is was only 99! My flight came in about 45 minutes early so I was home an hour sooner than I had planned out in my mind.

I was anxious to get in to see the kitties and as I came upstairs I could hear AlleyCat yelling at me through the door! I didn’t even bring my stuff in, just opened the door to lots of meows and demands for love and attention of of course Feed Me Now! I made time for lots of TLC for the kids last night as I drifted to sleep on the couch with the tv on…oh well! Missing me lasted for just about 37 seconds. Sylvester is always the first to the kitchen in the morning and AlleyCat kind of shows up when she is good and ready. I had been up for quite awhile this morning and with no sight of her, so I  started looking and this is how I found her. “You are disturning my sleep” she roars!

This canvas by Maggie is so AlleyCat. Yes another cat canvas in my stash! Now you wouldn’t expect anything else? I also have one of the wonderful handmade frames by Jim and Lisa Krause that says “Talk to the Paw” that this will be framed with. I promise a picture of it one of these days.

I am headed out for breakfast at the Cottage, a little retail therapy at two of my most favorite shops, Adelaide’s & Warwick’s in La Jolla, pick up the Needle Deeva Hearts from the painters with a quick stop at Needlepoint of La Jolla for some threads.


It’s good to be home and until next time…keep on stitching

Pretty Woman!

Pretty Woman is absolutely one of my favorite movies of all times! I am thinking that AlleyCat is looking at herself in the mirror and admiring her cuteness just as Julia Roberts did in the movie. My favorite part is most definitely the ending when Richard Gere drives up and sweeps her off her feet!

I am starting with a picture of one of the kids today since I am really missing them so much, especially AlleyCat…also lovingly known as Miss BB or Miss Busy Body. I know that as soon as I open the door later tonight that she will meow her little head off as she voices her displeasure with me for leaving her all alone for so long! ooh poor baby! I know that Rose gave you and Sylvester lots of love and attention and probably way too many treats.

The weather has really heated up in upstate New York the last few days and we have been staying inside in the deep freeze. The fabric folding frenzy has been finished, well almost, so we have been enjoying some lazy time stitching away. My sister has been stitching on a Lee canvas with Silk & Ivory while I have been working on the Pischke Pocket “Savannah”. The magnolia flower and leaves are  finished and I have left to do is the background. Didn’t quite meet my own deadline on this, but soon it will be finished!

Waiting for me when I get back will be lots of new hearts from Needle Deeva along with AlleyCat & Sylvester that will speak their minds to me. I will need to pick up the canvases from the painters on Friday and then Saturday will be a road trip to buy threads and beads. I will remind you of one of my favorites and the next time you will see it, it will be finished. The background is all stitched in basketweave with Kreinik #100 and I love the way it looks! It is just needing some fun stitches in great colors to finish it up.

My visit here has been quite memorable, from the start of my visit with such picture perfect weather, to the enjoyable day at Caroga Lake to the gourmet meals, fine wines and Orangecello aperitifs prepared by Chef Michael, to visiting The Joyful Quilter and learning what Quilt Camp is to finishing up the last few days with the arrival of my niece Miranda and her daughter Isabella. I will go home with lots of great thoughts of enjoyable afternoons spent with my sister and a brand new quilt for the couch! I leave for her an early birthday present of a Quilt Camp weekend. I still say those ladies are out of their minds! and until next time…keep on stitching



From East to West!

So much to do and so little time! This week kicks off the 6 week racing season in Saratoga New York, probably one of the most beautiful tracks in the US  for horse racing. Years ago when I lived here it was only for 21 days in the month of August when the town would be mesmerized by these horses, the jockey’s colorful silks and all the people that would flock in for the races. It was a treat for us as kids to go once a year and I would make a little $2 bet, not based on the best horse, but by the name of the horse! Sometimes I did great and sometimes not so great.

My sister and I continue to work on the fabric stash. I think that we now have everything sorted, folded and ready to go back in the storage bins. We have red bins for Christmas fabrics, orange for Halloween, purple for spring time and so on. These are just a few of my favorite fabrics!

or this one!

or how about this one? I love Miss Hiss! can’t you see her on a needlepoint canvas?

My trip to the Joyful Quilter which is my sisters favorite shop, was quite interesting. “Quilt Camp” was going on which I learned is just like one of our needlepoint retreats with a cute name… except that these ladies will sew till midnight! are they out of their minds or what? Quilters use the acronym “UFO’s” as needlepointers do, but I  heard a new one! “PIGS” which is Projects in Grocery Sacs. I can honestly say I have allot of projects in bags, but can’t think of any in grocery sacs. I learned what a design wall is, which is a wall covered with batting and the quilts are layed out on the wall to check for design flaws, symmetry and flow. Brilliant!

The day at Caroga Lake was a delight and learned that there is quite a bit of history up there. I guess it was quite the summer destination years ago to get away from the heat in the city with cool breezes and scenery beyond expectations. The summer home of our dear friends was built in 1920 and just oozed with charm!


Those are glider chairs! and there is also a glider couch and what a trip down memory lane as I sat in the chair and remembered summers on the porch from long ago.

The heat and humidity came steamrolling in yesterday, but we stayed inside in cool comfort of the air conditioned house and keeping busy with the fabrics. I have done little to no stitching while I have been here, but will soon be making up for lost time! I head home in a few days. I am sure that the airport will be bustling with activity as I arrive as Comic Con will have started. It is the best economic boon for our city and you can absolutely get in the most amazing people watching in by being near the Convention Center!

How could I forget that opening day at Del Mar for their racing season is tomorrow? Del Mar, California that is!

I miss the feline children and hopefully they didn’t leave me too many surprises for when I get home. I am anxious to see them! and until next time…keep on stitching.