Au Revoir!

American Needlepoint Guild Seminar in Washington DC was a world wind of stitching with friends, visiting, chilling and dining out with an international flair. Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Lebanese and American! More about seminar later.

So I came home to work and repack like a fool and now I’m at the airport again waiting for my British Airways flight to ??? Well after a layover in London, I am onto Toulouse France where I’m embarking on a stitching week with none other than Tony Minieri. Our week was put together by Frances Jue who owns Stitches in Time shop in Houston. I never thought this day would get here…and well AlleyCat is probably very upset with me by now.

See you in a few!


So What’s New Pussycat?

So by now this should be finished, but it’s NOT! I wasn’t happy with the middle cat on the right side. Take it out? or leave it? you know when you leave it and after it’s framed, you will question your decision every day! Right? I had a few of my stitching friends try to talk me off the ledge, but I did find a mistake in the pink stitches. Of course this was the most difficult pattern of all of them!

I started taking out the mistake and then there was no stopping me and out it all came. I’m sort of relieved and glad I did it! I changed the ear color and the cat is all back in, except for the inner pattern, which I changed to stitching it with 2 strands instead of the 3 it called for. Much happier!

So why is it not finished? Welll it’s been way tooooooooooooo hot to stitch. Way too hot as this kid has no ac in the house. Between the heat from your stitching lamp and then if AlleyCat even thought about getting on my lap and sweaty hands which could discolor it all, well I’m just not stitching at all! Period!

Now I’m getting ready for ANG seminar in Washington D.C. where there will be no shop this year in the hotel. I’ve been working extra hard pulling lots of possible threads that I might need, cause what class am I taking? Embellishment Squad class! But before I depart for seminar, Brenda Hart will be in the shop for a sold out class, so I have that to look forward to!

There will be no time for a baseball game in Washington D.C. this year, and I was able to go a few years ago when our summer trade show was there. I will come right back after seminar is over for a few days, unpack and pack again, do payroll, sign checks and then off to the south of France with a small group. Tony Minieri will be teaching a specially designed piece for us! Coming back through Paris and London and home and followed up by another weekend trip. Will AlleyCat ever forgive me?

This is one of her favorite poses! She loves those beverage takeout containers! Such a silly girl she is.


Another Finish and an Almost!

Where has the time gone to? It seems like it was just the 4th of July the other day and here it is almost 3 weeks later! I will blame it on the fact that I have been stitching up a storm these days, kind of like I used to. I make a great effort to stitch at least a few hours every night.

The canvas is by Thorn Alexander and I loved how she designed this of Veuve Clicquot, one of my favorite celebratory favorites. There is a fascinating book out there on the life of Madame Clicquot which I read many years ago. Maybe I need to read it again! We have sold about 5 additional canvases since people have seen it stitched!

Susan Portra selected the threads and stitches for me. I did need to change a few things as either the threads did not cooperate with the decided stitch, or the canvas count didn’t agree or I just liked this better. I totally respect what these amazing teachers come up with, but you need to like the end result! It is your canvas and you need to be happy with it! And I am over the hill happy with this!

I took this to my framers New Creations in San Marino and of course the frame that we selected has been discontinued, but we came up with a plan B just in case! I love the creativity of Nancy and Andrea and even though we have a framer across the street from the Needle Nook of La Jolla, I would feel like a traitor if I didn’t head up their way.

This is my almost finished! which I really tried so that I could bring it along to the framers at the same time…but it wasn’t meant to be. This is an older design by Chottie Alderson that I have always wanted to stitch! I was able to find this partially stitched and available for sale on Facebook Needlepoint Stash Exchange, so I grabbed it. I need to finish the pink cat, even though I’m not happy with that one…thinking about taking it out and redoing it, but that stitch was so challenging it just may stay as is! I just need to add the whiskers, outline the ears and the green kitty needs a little tassel that it ican swat!

It’s going to be awhile before I check in again as there are some busy times ahead for me! Headed to Cooperstown next weekend to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the induction ceremony for Trevor Hoffman of the San Diego Padres. My jeans, hat and baseball T-shirt’s are out, I need some better sunscreen and I’m ready to go.

Then Brenda Hart comes to the shop and a few days after she leaves it’s ANG seminar and then there’s more after that too.

I think AlleyCat is all packed and ready to go with me!


Putting on the Red, White and Blue!

What are your plans for the 4th of July?

A little barbecue?

A picnic?

A parade?

The beach?

Or some baseball?

Another picnic?

some stitching? Or all of the above? Whatever you decide to do… enjoy every moment! I will be staying home (by my choice!) watching every moment of baseball that I can and stitching my fingers to the bone! I’ve laid in plenty of good summer eats such as hamburgers, cherries, watermelon and some adult beverages. Have a great 4th, whatever you do!


A Proper Finish!

Isn’t everything English “proper?” This was from my trip 2 years ago when I went to London with the Needlepoint Now tour! One of the highlights was a class at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court, which was on my bucket list!  I would like to go back again for another class, specifically in silk shading.

This was a goldwork class that was selected for the theme of the exhibits “Peacocks and Pomegranates.” It was a great class and my seat was at the end of the table so I could look out the window at the gorgeous view! and daydream a bit too while I was stitching.

Thanks to Nancy at New Creations Picture Framing that turned this into a showstopper!

I’m absolutely in love with it and I would say it is very proper in an English sort of way!

It found its place of honor on my cat wall…I know it’s out of place, but it was the color! Mixed in with some stitching, a special cartoon that my sister had done for me when we were a 3-cat household and many snips of Mutts cartoons. A few special cards and other purr~fect cat cartoons that Nancy at the shop has a keen eye for finding for me. I give them to New Creations and the other Nancy just comes up with some fab ideas!

AlleyCat and I were chilling the other night while I was watching a little baseball!


Baseball and Stitching!

I’m sitting here relaxing and enjoying one of my favorite pastimes, watching baseball! I do love my local hometown team of the San Diego Padres, but I sure wish that they would put a competitive team on the field! And soon I will settle in for a night of stitching with AlleyCat! I’m trying to get something finished to enter in the ANG seminar in Washington DC. Then I can go back to a few pieces that I started a bit ago to hopefully finish those too! Don’t you love that word, finished?

My post from a few weeks ago about supporting your local (or not so local) shop sure got a lot of press! It was shared a few times on Facebook and picked up on Chilly Hollow Blog, which thrilled me! I can’t say it enough about supporting your shop(s) as did you think about how it has a trickle down effect… and let’s see where shall I begin?

1. How about the teachers that travel round and teach the most amazing techniques and make threads and stitches come to life?

2. The thread companies, do you think that they would have as many threads coming out if there were less shops meaning less sales? For me at the Needle Nook of La Jolla, ordering threads is like painting the San Francisco Bridge, as soon as I get through the shop and get everything ordered, it’s time to start all over again!

3. How about the canvas designers? Do you think that there would be as many canvases out there to pick from if there were less shops? And we have lots of new canvas designers out there now too, which is so exciting! And I thank the canvas vendors that only sell to brick and mortar shops (and you know who you are!)

4. What else? There really is so much more that I can say, but seeing the amount of messages and comments, I can see that I got many of you to think! And I thank you.

I didn’t forget about the Tulip Needles, that’s coming! And I have a piece of stitching to share that I just picked up from the framers today.

It’s almost first pitch, so it’s time to pick up that needle!

She loves these carry out containers! The girls are always saving them for her.


Needlepoint Stitchpirations!

A brilliant name for a brilliant new book! By none other than Carolyn Hedge Baird. Have you addd this to your stitching library yet? Well I finally was able to buy one and take it home the other day so I could check out every page. I am sure, no I’m positive that it is a great undertaking putting a book of this size together!

At  the shop I always make sure that all of our stitchers that wish to enhance their stash get to do it first and I also encourage the rest of us to do the same! In all my years in the shop off and on I’ve never EVER seen a book sell this quickly, or in the amount that we’ve been shipping out, NEVER! When I placed my 4th reorder last week, Carolyn emailed me back and said “you’ve got to be kidding me?!” in which I answered her “no I’m not!”

It’s a great conglomeration of layered/combination stitches, which I love doing,  Blackwork and more. But my favorite part of the book is the “Stitchpirations” which are quotes from her friends, students, stitchers, designers and there’s one from moi! I was so flattered first to be asked and second to be actually published in the book!

Thanks Carolyn! My favorite Stitchpiration quote was the one from her sister, who talks about when they stitch together now it’s still like little sister and big sister stitching together! Now how special is that?

Have you been following the discussion of Tulip Needles on Facebook these days? They are made in Hiroshima, Japan and I’ve been using their beading needles for years now, which I absolutely love! As with anything Japanese, the presentation of the packaging is just superb and that’s what made me pick up a package in the first place… and I’ve been using ever since. I really do need to try some of their tapestry needles now since they’ve been selling like crazy! We did sell out of 22’s, so I’m hoping my order will be waiting for me when I get to work Tuesday morning. I will try and do a photo shoot of the needles for the next time we get together!

I’m enjoying a quiet weekend at home, doing some downsizing of “stuff” in the house and enjoying some baseball. Some certain person doesn’t know why she needs to share my lap with the iPad?

And I do think of all those who gave it all so we could enjoy our freedom of today…


Support Your Local Needlepoint Shop!!!

Or even your not so local Needlepoint shop! Please! As if you don’t sooner or later we won’t be here. What are you going to do then?

I spend a lot of time on Facebook in Needlepoint Nation and I’m so tired of reading “I bought it on Amazon” or “you can find it on Amazon” why don’t we think that way about our shops? Well we need to!

I don’t want to hear that I don’t have a local needlepoint shop as many shops have a great online presence. We spend $1000’s to keep our websites up to date, adding, deleting and tweaking. Yes it is impossible to have every canvas in stock at all times, along with every thread, stretcher bar, Evertite and so on… but speaking for the Needle Nook of La Jolla, we have a huge inventory! We are happy to order if we don’t have it and I ship worldwide EVERY DAY!  We place orders for books, canvases, threads and more EVERY DAY! so that we have product to ship to you.

I love Amazon as much as you do and I order from them frequently, but needlepoint I order from a needlepoint shop, PERIOD! Are you going to find someone at Amazon who will spend an hour with you on the phone going over threads? Are you going to have someone pick out the perfect needle, the correct this or that for you?

Carolyn Hedge Baird’s newest book “Stitchpirations” I have shipped around 30 books and I have more on order. When I turned in my 4th order on Saturday, Carolyn emailed me back saying “you’ve got to be kidding me” and I said no!

So please support your local shop or even your not so local shop. We need you and you need us!

Now I will step down from my soapbox and go and stitch with AlleyCat!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone! Wether they be 2-legged or 4-legged kids or even somewhere in between, hope it was a great one! I worked for a few hours at the shop this morning. Brenda Hart has been teaching this weekend and I wanted to prepare lunch for the ladies as a Mother’s Day treat! Where were we going to order lunch that wouldn’t take forever? Thanks to Hillary who brought in the most delicious croissants!

I finished my ornament last week in remembrance of my trip to Japan. Canvas by Kathy Schenkel. It was just a year ago that we left on a trip of a lifetime! And 2 years ago was my trip to London with Needlepoint Now.

I haven’t been stitching much this last week, but we’re going to rectify that this week! Not sure what I’m going to work on, but I’m picking up that needle!

Notice the orchid with the silver sticks…well a month or so ago, it sprouted a baby orchid plant from one of the nodules. I have had that happen before, but never develop a bud! And the baby bud “bloomed” and just in time for Mother’s Day!

I really don’t have anything else too exciting to share with you..and a lot of it has to do with getting pictures transfered from my phone. Maybe I just need to break down and buy an IPhone as I hear that the pictures automatically transfer to your laptop for you! And that’s a decision for another day.

Here’s AlleyCat in all her glory who must join me while I’m my stitching. Love it as she keeps my lap nice and warm!


Where does the Time Go?

I’ve been getting back into the old time swing of things as I make time almost every night to stitch at least an hour or two! It makes AlleyCat very happy as she parks herself on my lap and snoozes away. She doesn’t ever bother my threads, but her shedding…well that’s a different story!

I liken her to “Pigpen” in the Peanuts comic strip as she is always shedding and her fur just surrounds her in the air. Just hope that I am not working with white threads and if then, I usually do banish her from my lap as the white threads don’t stay white!

I’m working on this canvas by Thorn Alexander of my favorite bubbly! Stitch selection by Susan Portra and she had me extend the gold border to all 4 sides! It has been properly padded with #3 pearl cotton and then satin stitch over that with 1/8” Kreinik ribbon. It’s the first time I’ve used the 1/8” ribbon and the only way it’s getting through the canvas is by pulling the needle with a pair of pliers! As I say “no pain, no gain!” Usually Kreinik is spooled with 10meters, but this is only 5, of which I didn’t expect that!

I still have plenty more in the working pile, such as my Tokyo ornament, the Perfume Bottles with a Susan Portra stitch guide, a special ornament for a dear friend and so much more…but who’s counting? How about you, are you able to move anything to the finished pile?

 My orchids are doing mahvelously! Note this one that has the silver branches… well it has sprouted a new little plant from the bloom stem and not only that there is a bud in the middle of that little plant. I will be anxious to see it when it flowers!

AlleyCat is waiting for me to settle in for a night of stitching. Almost time little one, almost time.

A dear friend of mine had to say goodbye to her dear Ollie today. He left us all too soon as he lost his battle with cancer. My heart aches for her and her family as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He will be waiting for you…

Ollie was a very special poodle and I quickly fell in love when I dog sat a few years back. He became my poodle blanket when I would lay on the couch to watch tv. Found out after the fact that they weren’t supposed to get on the couch, but I loved every minute of it. You’ll be missed…