Happy New Year!

In just a few hours it will be a new year…which you know already, so why am I telling you THAT? Wow where has this year gone to already? and we all seem to say the same thing. But really where does the time go to? It slips by all too fast. I normally keep very busy and never let myself waste much time… there is just way too much to be accomplished, too many places to visit, new needlepoint shops to discover, new books, new threads and stitches to fall in love with and new canvases to find. Another stitching venture to relish and ooh just so much more!

I had a wonderful holiday, how about you? I am home now with AlleyCat and she has been meowing her displeasure to me that I left her! The shop is closed for a few days for the holiday and I have been busy around the house. The Japanese tradition is cleaning for the New Year, sort of as we do in spring time.

My other plans for this weekend are ready, which will be stitching the New Year in…how about you?

I am dreaming already of new canvases already for 2018, which are not on bars, nor have I studied it for stitches and thread selections. I also would love to finish up a few things that are crying to be done. Here I thought I had all this time before Christmas to stitch for myself…well it didn’t happen, so what was I thinking? Now market is just a month away and I am sure that there will be more canvases coming home.
Happy New Years!

Do you Believe in Christmas Miracles?

Have you missed me? Did you think that I ran away never to show my face again? Well I was ready to, but thanks to my fearless webmaster LZ, she talked me down off the ledge.

See after the last post, someone asked me how to register for updates on my blog? Well I have no idea I said, but let me ask Laura. Well I did and discovered that I was #1; using a very outdated version of WordPress and #2; I needed to renew my domain and blah, blah, blah. Poor Laua, but thanks to her perseverance and after almost 2 months I’m still here!

So what better way to start out than with AlleyCat? She was very mischevious last night! She kept burying her face in this bag as I am sure that she was convinced that something was in there for her. I had to get rid of the ribbon and the wrapping paper as she just would not leave it alone!

Some fabulous finishing from Marlene. The first canvas is Debby Mumm for Melissa Shirley. I love the way that Marlene finished it. I had originally asked for a standup and she called me saying that you are “too boring!” and I answered “okay Marlene, surprise me!” and she didNOT dissapoint!

The other one is a mouse from Danji Designs. Too cute!

My Christmas Cactus, tiny that it might be is in full bloom. I had asked Santa last year for a purple one and even though that this is not purple, I do love the color!

Well I hope that everyone has been having a fabulous Hanukkah while the rest of us are getting ready for Christmas. I am headed to my sisters tomorrow for Christmas cookie baking and the Feast of the 7 Fishes, a very Italian tradition.

So answer my question, “Do you believe in Christmas miracles?” well yes I do! how about you?


The Bewitching Hour is Upon Us!


Are you as crazy about Halloween as I am? Do you know that it is the second most stitched holiday right after Christmas? Well it is! I had stitched these a few years ago to teach at TNNA Summer market. They are canvases from the Meredith Collection where they had painted single doors from their “door vignettes.” I chanelled my inner Susan Portra and gave the door some steps so they wouldn’t totally look like they were floating in the air. They were fun to stitch!

They had been languishing in my stitchy closet when I came across them over the summer and sent them off to be finished at Marlene’s. Check out the skulls that she used in the bow on the left one. The other has spiders, but they don’t show up quite as much!

I am sure you were thinking where the heck have I been? Very busy! The other needlepoint shop in La Jolla has closed (I am sorry to say) leaving us the only shop in town. So my days off are few and far between between regular business, getting ready for classes and my special projects. So I will take you backwards in my needlepoint life starting with the most recent adventure!

My latest special project has been redoing the bead spinners, especially after Sundance introduced so many new colors this year!


I snuck out of the shop a few weeks ago to take a class at Absolutely Needlepoint with Susan Portra (and more about that later) and saw that this is how they had hung their beads. It’s a 3-prong hook that holds 15 tubes across. Well I took a picture and when I got back to the shop and looked at mine, there were only 8 tubes hanging.

I ordered some hooks right away and have been working on it a few hours each day. This side that you see are part of the size 11’s.


We had a little casualty with this tube! But this project has been an eye-opening experience about how many beads we don’t have! Especially when I get to the matte beads and the size 14’s. So a big bead order is in my future!


So back to my 2-days at Absolutely Needlepoint and this is my beautiful class kit! And you ask me why I go to other shop to take a class? Well I get to see other shops, meet the amazing team members that work there, pick up wonderful new ideas…such as how they hung the beads and get to know another shop owner a bit better. Thanks Lu for making me feel so welcome. Looking forward to coming back again!


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A very full class with Susan Portra teaching her interpretation of Melissa Shirley’s Red Bird Santa. and ohh did I mention that I can stitch and learn without any interruptions!



Susan is demonstrating how to make a tassel on a canvas.


Speaking of tassels, look at this one that Susan makes for one lucky student!


AlleyCat is still the only spolied child in the house at the moment and it will probably stay that way till next year. It had been extremely hot this last week and she is sitting under the lamp with her eye on a moth. Couldn’t you find a cooler spot you silly girl?

Happy Halloween to all! It’s almost time to change the store displays and Tony Minieri will be at the shop in less than 2 weeks…




Where Has the Time Gone?

Where oh where has the last 3 weeks gone to? It seems like in a blink of an eye another month has gone by! I’ve been to the American Needlepoint Guild Seminar in Anaheim and then to Dallas for the Cash & Carry Trade show with the latter being my favorite market destination! which we will save market talk for another time.


We had been here a few years ago, so it was almost like going home! And for me it was just a quick drive up the freeway, well quick in So California terms. This was going to be a short trip for a 2-day class, 1 day to play and then back to the shop in case we were busy with visitors from seminar.


There was a little beach theme going on!


A cute little shop!

At noon the exhibit opens where you can view the ribbon winners and also have a look see at what classes will be offered next year in Washington DC. I have my class picked out and I am just waiting for the registration to open up!

I had entered 2 pieces, one which I stitched a few years ago and the other was recently stitched to enter. I was told by a wise judge a few years back, never stitch to win a ribbon, which is exactly what I did and needles to say I didn’t win…at least for the time being.


The opening banquet and a great little favor to mark the occassion!


and then the dessert.

There are some welcomes, some introductions and then the announcement of the special ribbons, which for me was the real dessert!


Wearable Art! and I was totally floored when they announced my name. Little Feet by Red Thread Designs and this is the one that I stitched as I chase after that elusive (to me anyway) Princess Grace Award for basketweave. So many people I tell me that I do a pretty mean basketweave, so I keep trying and I will keep trying…but you need just the right canvas.


Then the next award was Small Masterpiece and they called my name again! Doubly floored for sure. Tibetian Boy by Amanda Lawford that I stitched a few years ago, taught in Dallas and was in the Needlepoint Now magazine.

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and here they are hanging in the shop!

I need to start thinking about what I’m going to enter next year… decisions! decisons!


oh… my class! MacIntosh Rose with Toni Gerdes.



and I need to master these oval Jessicas! I started off great, but didn’t finish so.


You haven’t seen my only child AlleyCat in a while…here we were chillin on the couch as I was watching baseball. It’s a very good time of the year now. and may the best team win…


Summer Stitching!


Shortly after I came back from Japan. I snuck out of the shop and from AlleyCat for a few days and flew to Dallas to attend a class at Creative Stitches and Gifts!


Great shop! and so much room. I have been there before, but not since Carol Eix had purchased the shop.

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It was a class with Patricia Sone with Melissa Shirley’s Wintergreen House. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it stitched on Facebook.

We had a great gift of this co-ordinating Snap-Tray made by Carol…well she used to be the one that made these and marketed them. Now she just does it for her shop.


I really loved, loved, loved the class and Patricia too! This was a canvas that I needed to get me back in my zen of stitching everynight and Sundays too…and it worked. This was my stitching progression!

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I was beading and was really convinced that no way was I going to have enough beads, but it was plenty! The tube of beads can really fool you to how many are really in there. So sorry to have doubted you Carol!


Finished! And now its off to the finishers to be made into a pillow for a shop model.


This is my supurr~visor! She really is a good girl and never ever bothers my threads…


Even in here where I usually keep the threads for that project… I know that when I do bring a kitten home, that will all change!

It’s been too hot for stitching this week as 100+ for San Diego is unheard of! Headed to Dallas again next weekend, so it’ll be a few before I see you again.

until then… keep on stitching



Make Something Worth Saving…

I just spent the weekend at the American Needlepoint Guild Seminar with many of my stitching family and friends, many which are from Houston. I went through the ups and downs with them as the phone calls and texts came in and the updates on social media were read. My heart goes out to each and every person that has been hit by Harvey. How could I blog about seminar? and especially after I came across this article on Facebook? I thought “how appropriate” since we spend so much time stitching. So make something worth saving and think about what’s really important…

“There was a flood in Houston, they called the storm Harvey, and the water got close to our house. We got ready to go, packed our bags, but never had to leave. Today we unpacked and put away our things. The piano where on the night we had a last bit of show tune singing at the height of the flood is safe.

We will be able to have another family sing and that is good.

As I packed, I realized how little we had that mattered. We had Father Michael’s papers and those could not be lost. He suffered enough for the faith that his words, sermons, and life should be preserved. Our pictures are mostly in the cloud, but we had a few snaps that are still paper only, but that is about all.

We have stuff we like, eccentric stuff, like a framed print of Charles Stuart on his way to execution, but none of it is really worth anything. Our adult kids might miss Party Fox, the taxidermied red fox, who got his name in ways that are none of anyone’s business. We weren’t going to take up room in our car with a stuffed fox.

Yet one battered blue notebook came with me and it reminded me of a certain truth: My kids do not want my stuff. Furniture styles change over time and both my parents and my generation are selling off our collected things at the same time. In our case, it is worse that usual, nobody wants our oak Presbyterian church pew unless it is for the wood. If the waters had swept it all away, I suspect most of the children would have rejoiced.

They want the blue notebook. Why? These are notes I took in my childhood, the oldest pages are pushing fifty hard, for a novel. The text is nearly unreadable and there was no spell check on eight and a half by eleven lined pages. I liked purple prose even then with even less restraint.

Trust me, history did not want the blue book, but my kids would have missed it, because, God help me, they love me. This was my story, written by child Dad, and they want it. My children’s children children will certainly not care for this old thing . . . if it holds together that long. It is mortal prose and ephemeral storytelling.I realized that because I love my mom and dad, the most valuable things they have are those things that recall them to me.  Just as the smell of pine always reminds me of Christmas, so certain objects bring happy memories back to me and the more they have put themselves into those objects, the more I sense them.

So here is a simple lesson: make things. When I write here, I think of my children long after I am gone reading some of this and thinking of Dad. They will pick up a Disneyland globe and think of the days spent there growing up. They will take their mom’s needlepoint to every new home, because their mom made that piece of art. God help us, let’s make things.

So what can we do? We can create. We can leave clues to our immortal souls and if they miss us, then perhaps in the Christmas ornament that says “Our First Christmas” that Hope and I got when we were married, they will recall us. They will be happy until they no longer have to remember, because we will all be there in an unbroken circle of eternal love.

Make something worth saving.”

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/eidos/2017/08/what-you-save-in-a-flood/#4uIefXJTO3IqUbU2.99




Really, this is it! Our last night here and we were headed out for our special evening. Midori had one last suprise for us as we walked our way to dinner and took a little detour through this narrow alley that led us into this beautiful garden!


You can see some of us that were nose to nose in this tiny little shop that sold hand made needles, pins, scissors and more.


We just innudated the shop owner and there were some locals that came in right after us.


You can really see in this picture how packed we were in and buying everything in site! All of a sudden a helper showed up which made paying much easier.

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Very, very nice and they spoke English too which was quite a treat! It was time to head to the restuarant as it was almost time for our reservation.



It was a cool cloudy evening that was warmed with sake, wine, great food and even better conversation. We were treated to a Wagyu steak, which was probably the best I ever had!


Our last group picture! Many were wearing clothing articles that were bought along the trip.


Our walk back to the hotel through the streets of Kyoto. Back to packing and getting ready to leave tomorrow. We had the entire morning, so a few of us did a little more shopping including going back to the needle shop whereas we would have the entire shop to ourselves, which we did! Picking up a little lunch as we had a 2-hour drive to the airport at Osaka before we would catch our flight.


All checked in and ready to go through security. I am sad to leave, but on the other hand it will feel good to be home, sleep in my own bed, see my AlleyCat and have some tacos!

Thank you to everyone who has followed my experiences through Japan, which was really the trip of a lifetime! It probably felt like I was there for ever.


Sayonara my dear Japan, but I will be back!


Sayonara…well almost!


You know that Miss Kitty is very big in Japan. We passed this on our way to the bus that would take us shopping! First stop was the .99 store, yes they have them in Japan too! a fabric shop, Nishiki Market and then onto Takashimaya department store.

Known to locals as “Kyoto’s pantry”, Nishiki Market is easily the best traditional food market in the city!

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“Running between Teramachi and Shinmachi, one block north of Shijo, Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s largest traditional food market. While modern food shops and souvenir shops are starting to move in, there are still enough traditional shops to give you a glimpse of what a traditional shotengai (shopping street) must have looked like.

You’ll find all the major ingredients of traditional Kyoto cuisine on display here: tsukemono (Japanese pickles), fresh tofu, Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetables), wagashi (Japanese sweets), tea, and fresh fish and shellfish. Some shops sell takeaway food like skewers of yakitori or sashimi, and a few sit down restaurants can be found amid the shops. Those with sharp eyes or the ability to read Japanese might pick out whale meat for sale at a few of the stalls.”

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This is just a sampling of the pictures that I took! I have since read that there are tours of the market, which someday when I go back I would like to do. Many stalls offered samples, but not knowing what things were, I was not brave enough to taste!

We had a few hours here and then we went to a shibori shop just outside the market area.


Pat seems like she’s in a lot of my pictures? Well she’s a great friend and usually hung out together, so she was often times right in front of me. I tended to walk a little slower as I was always looking for that perfect Kodak moment! Pat was a great mentor to me on this trip, since she had been to Japan before.



It was absolutely beautiful! We all shopped for remembrances for ourselves and for gifts.


Debby, Midori and Mary Alice! Debby was a great travel buddy and of course Mary Alice and Midori put this fabulous tour together!

We walked onto Takashimya and had the rest of the day to ourselves. Trust me, this was no ordinary department store!



Look at the gorgeous kimono and obi!


That afternoon after a busy day of shopping, Pat, Janet and I decided it was an American type lunch so we stopped at Burger King on the way back to the hotel.


A stop for me at Starbucks. I was told that the merchants in Kyoto encourage the wearing of kimono as these kimono clad ladies would recieve discounts on their purchases.

Many of us would start packing when we got back to the hotel as we had 2 weeks worth of treasures and memories to pack in those suitcases! Midori had a special evening planned for us with 1 more special shopping stop.

and for now I will say…sayonara


Gold to Silver!

Our bus was ready to take us to our next destination which was the Kawashima Textile Factory. “It is one of the most respected textile companies in Japan. For decades Kawashima has been entrusted with creating some of the country’s most precious fabrics, including the interior of the Emperor’s train carriage. As a student of the school I was lucky to be given a peek behind the doors of the factory, including the secret room where they make drapes for some of country’s most important shrines.”

Funny thing is that it was requested of us to take absolutely NO pictures, but if you follow the hotlink at the top, you will see the machinery and everything else that we did! It was rather fascinating and the size of the tapestries that they were working on were rather large, overwhelmingly so. We were able to shop for some beautiful textiles before we left!

So today we started at the Golden Pavillion and the next stop was Ginkaku-ji “(銀閣寺, “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺, lit. “Temple of Shining Mercy”), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto. It is one of the constructions that represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period.”


Ashikaga Yoshimasa initiated plans for creating a retirement villa and gardens as early as 1460, and after his death, Yoshimasa would arrange for this property to become a Zen temple.The temple is today associated with the Shokoku-ji branch of Rinzai Zen.

The two-storied Kannon-den (観音殿, Kannon hall), is the main temple structure. Its construction began February 21, 1482 (Bummei 14 , 4th day of the 2nd month).The structure’s design sought to emulate the golden Kinkaku-ji which had been commissioned by his grandfather Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It is popularly known as Ginkaku, the “Silver Pavilion” because of the initial plans to cover its exterior in silver foil; but this familiar nickname dates back only as far as the Edo period (1600–1868).

During the Ōnin War, construction was halted. Despite Yoshimasa’s intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never realized before Yoshimasa’s death. The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it. This “unfinished” appearance illustrates one of the aspects of “wabi-sabi” quality.

Like Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shogun. During his reign as Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa inspired a new outpouring of traditional culture, which came to be known as Higashiyama Bunka (the Culture of the Eastern Mountain). Having retired to the villa, it is said Yoshimasa sat in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens as the Ōnin War worsened and Kyoto was burned to the ground.

In 1485, Yoshimasa became a Zen Buddhist monk. After his death on January 27, 1490 (Entoku 2, 7th day of the 1st month), the villa and gardens became a Buddhist temple complex, renamed Jishō-ji after Yoshimasa’s Buddhist name.

After extensive restoration, started February 2008, Ginkaku-ji is again in full glory to visit. The garden and temple complex are open to the public. There is still no silver foil used. After much discussion, it was decided to not refinish the lacquer to the original state. The lacquer finish was the source of the original silver appearance of the temple, with the reflection of silver water of the pond on the lacquer finish.”


This was the map of the Silver Pavillion. We really didn’t follow it, but rather explored on our own. It was quiet and serene and so beautifully presented as is everything in Japan.

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My travel buddies Janet, Pat and Lizzie (from left to right.) We had a very, very busy day so we were all happy to head back to our hotel and have the evening to ourselves!

Only one more day left in Japan. I might be able to finish it all in one post, just depending on how many pictures I use!  So for now I will say…sayonara


From Gold to Silver!


We left our hotel in Kyoto and today our public transportation was our very own charted bus! What a great treat this was. The young men met us at the door and held umbrellas out for us as it was raining! I was sure glad that I had bought that little umbrella at the Ohara Museum the other day. Today would be a very busy day for us.


Meticulously grooming the walkways so that not a stone was out of place.


We walked our way through quite a long line to enter the Golden Pavillion.


“Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, literally “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”), officially named Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺, literally “Deer Garden Temple”), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually. It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is one of 17 locations making up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which are World Heritage Sites.”

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“The Golden Pavilion (金閣 Kinkaku) is a three-story building on the grounds of the Rokuon-ji temple complex. The top two stories of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf. The pavilion functions as a shariden (舎利殿), housing relics of the Buddha’s Ashes. The building was an important model for Ginkaku-ji or Silver Pavilion Temple (where we would go later.) When these buildings were constructed, Ashikaga Yoshimasa employed the styles used at Kinkaku-ji and even borrowed the names of its second and third floors.”



It was really very beautiful!

Next we would head to Kitano Shrine Flea Market, which is held on the 25th of every month.


We were the “Midori Embroidery Tour” with Mary Alice and Midori posing for us in front of the bus.

I was fascinated with the beautiful shrine and the surroundings… Fleamarket Fleamarket1 Fleamarket2 Fleamarket3 Fleamarket5 Fleamarket6

First I investigate and then I shopped! Just never enough time to see it all! There were some great little stalls where they were selling food, kimono and obi fabrics and pottery. I bought a few pieces of hand made pottery that were no more than a few hundred yen, which was a great way to use up my change. 100 yen and 500 yen would be a coin, which was pretty much the same as $1 or $5.


and there was entertianment too!

and all too soon, it was time to go! Next stop would be a textile factory.

I am really sorry if I am boring some of you out there, but I do thank everyone who have complimented me on the posts, the pictures! Remember that flattery can get you everywhere. We just have 2 more days and then that’s it! so for now I will say…sayonara