On the 12th Day of Christmas!


The 12th day of Christmas is celebrated on January 6th and the holidays are already just a memory. The decorations have been packed away, the holiday stitching finished up and already it is time to start exciting new canvases with fun threads and great ideas.

January 6th is also the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Three Wise Men finally completed their trip to see baby Jesus and deliver their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Many people think of the 12 days of Christmas leading up to the holidays, but it is really the 12 days after Christmas! Growing up, we usually took down our decorations on this day, but today my house has long been undecorated!

As I decked the halls this year, I realized that I have no nativity, no creche’ set, no manger, none of that, wether it be a stitched set or something special that was purchased. I really would like to stitch one for myself.

What do you think about this fabulous new nativity by Strictly Christmas? Isn’t it fabulous? okay I digres…

In Italy, on the eve of Januray 6th or the night of January 5th, it would be the day of La Befana, a lovable good witch who brings presents for all the boys and girls.

When Christ was born, The Three kings passed the house of La Befana on the way to Bethelehem to see the Christ child. They invite her to take the journey with them to find the Christ Child. She says she is too busy. Sweeping Constantly.

She goes to sleep and the Christmas star wakes her up. She changes her mind and wishes she went with them.

She goes to find the three kings and angels come and help her fly. She brings her baked gifts to all the good children and looks for the three wise men. To the bad children she brings coal and ashes. Now every year in Italy the good children wait for La Befana, their version of Santa Claus.

Now in New Orleans as they ready for Mardi Gras, it is King Cake that is plentiful during this day. A little treasure is tucked inside and if you are lucky enough to find it, it allows you certain privileges and obligations.

In Mexico it is Dia de Reyes or Day of Kings. When I worked in the restaurant the guys would bring in Rosca de Reyes or King Cake. A sweet bread braided and loaded with fruits and if you were the lucky one to get the little baby hidden in the cake…well you were lucky enough to host the party! As the host or hostess, you are the one to bring the tamales to the party traditionally held February 2nd which is Dia de la Candelaria. This is the day that candles are brought to the church to be blessed. February 2nd is also the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox and if you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and spring training as I am…you know that it is only a few short weeks till pitchers and catchers report! I still need to make the trip east for my first experience with Spring Training. One of these years! and again I digress…

Triptych triptych

This beautiful nativity I really want to stitch this. I think about it, I dream about it. I can see lots of beads and creating the stain glass windows at the top of the canvas to really be a show stopper. We had one in the shop and it sold as soon as I placed it on Facebook, so we wait for another canvas.

The rich golden frame is made by Deux Bijoux Bijoux and really sets the piece off. Strictly Christmas is working on different triptych canvases, more contemporary and all that stuff. I suggested something for Hanukkah, with a silver frame. Well lets see what they come up with. There really is a very sweet story attached with this canvas…I want to see if Kathy and Karen of Strictly will have any problem if I share it with you. And that I will save for another day!


Happy New Year!

In just a few days it will be a new year…which you know, so why am I telling you THAT? Wow where has this year gone to already? and we all 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! Off to the shop tomorrow and then we will be closed for the New Year weekend.

My plans for this weekend are ready, which will be stitching the New Year in…how about you? I do need to do a little grocery shopping too, since there is nothing here, seriously!

I have my eyes set on new canvases already for 2017, 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 finished. 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 few weeks away and I am sure that there will be more canvases coming home.
Happy New Years!

Dear Santa…


Dear Santa,

I’ve been a very, very good girl this year…seriously! The shopping is finished, the packages are wrapped and shipped, the cards have been mailed, the stockings hung by the chimney with care, the cookies baked, the menus planned, so now it is time for me to ask Santa what I would love, love, love to have you leave for me under the tree?


A class with The Embellishment Squad at A Stitch in Time in San Marino, California! A fabulous class with Suzanne Howren, Debbie Steihler, Tony Minieri and Meredith Willett.

If you’ve never taken this class, you really don’t know what you are missing! Four fun filled days packed with the most amazing stitch ideas, laughs, stash enhancement and so much more. I have taken this class more often than I can add up, and I always look forward to the next one…whether it be at a shop or at the annual ANG seminar.





This is my background stitch which I am absolutely in love with!


Really you should ask Santa very nicely for this… remember he only comes once a year!

Give Alison a call 626.793.5217 or sign up on line with this handy-dandy link… http://www.needlepoint-knitting.com/classes.htm

Merry Christmas … Happy Hanukkah and a great stitchy New Year to you!



Celebrate the Poinsettia!


I am sure that you have bought one or two already for your home… a gorgeous blossoming plant with colorful foliage. They used to be just red…but now we have white, pink, coral, mixed variations and even

curled leaves!

Although the plant is native to Mexico, a majority of all the plants are exported from the US. The Aztecs considered them a symbol of purity because of their gorgeous red color. Joel Poinsett, the fiirst US ambassador to Mexico introduced them to the states after discovering them growing on the hillsides while visiting Taxco in the early 1880’s.

But actually the poinsettia can be traced back even further than that. The flower produced a red dye and the sap was known to control fevers, so Montezuma had poinsettias delivered to his home to what is now known as Mexico City.

In Mexico, they are are known as “La Flor de la Nochebuena”-flower of the Holy Night or Christmas Eve. Use of the plant to celebrate Christmas in Mexico dates back to the 17th century. As the legend is told, a young girl had nothing to honor baby Jesus in a procession and an angel tells her that any gift given with love will suffice. She gathers weeds by the roadside to place around the manger, which miraculously transform into the beautiful red starflower we know as the poinsettia.

Of course poinsettias are part of our holiday stitching! This was a canvas designed by Terry Enfield and then became part of the Jane Juell line, but not sure if it still being painted…it is one of my favorite ornaments to hang on my tree!

December 12th has been designated as National Poinsettia day as it marked the passing of Joel Poinsett, an American botantist, physician, minister and ambassador to Mexico who in 1828 sent cuttings of the plant that he discovered in Southern Mexico to his home in Charleston, South Carolina.

This day also honors Paul Ecke, a southern California native who is considered the father of the poinsettia industry. It was his discovery of a technique to propigate these plants that has turned it into a multi million-dollar business!

Are poinsettias poisonous to your kitties? Not really, unless they eat the entire plant! But I usually don’t tempt fate since certian people in this house and not mentioning any names, do chew on a plant or 2 of mine from time to time…
I came across this picture of Sylvester when he was just a little bitty one. It would have just been 19 years that he did come here to live with me and Felix. I remember cause I was in the midst of wrapping and decorating and they were so instantly enamored with each other, that they could have cared less what I was doing!
and this was AlleyCat yesterday. I told her that Santa was not going to leave her any good catnip!
Happy shopping, wrapping, card writing, baking and party going!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! My countdown to the big day gives thanks for the fact that I don’t have to work on Thanksgiving! After 30 something years in the restaurant business and cooking 100’s of pounds of turkey, peeling and mashing bags and bags of potatoes, making gallons of gravy, baking dozens of pies…well you get the idea. I get to enjoy a wonderful and I know what will be delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

I am thankful for that I have so much to be thankful for. I truly am very lucky.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday…the kids and I, Mutts included will be back with you after, after Thanksgiving.

p.s. I couldn’t resist adding this!

Thank you to everyone for the notes, cards, texts, phone calls, orchids, plants and so on in Sylvester’s memory. It really means so much to me, more than I can ever put into words.

AlleyCat is an only child now. And you know what? she’s never been on her own. She was a little withdrawn the first few days, but now she barely lets me out of her sight. Sleeps on me, sleeps under the covers and so on!


Here she is being quite the comedian! yes we will get another cat, preferably a pair of bonded kittens as I have way too much love in my heart for just one cat. Kitten season has been declared officially over, so it will be a while.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Let the Christmas shopping begin!


While I was Away…

Rainbow Bridge1

A very tough week at the casa de gatos… 19 years was a long time to have had Sylvester in my life and the time came. I wished that it wouldn’t but then I understand that their lives are short and sweet so that we can rescue more cats. Just imagine how many homeless cats (and dogs) there would be if they lived the years of a human life.

I had last weekend off from the shop and spent the time home doing some fall cleaning. I knew that Sylvester was aging, but in the last few months, weeks and days really I saw such a decline in him and realized every night when we had our bed time snuggles that the time was coming very soon when we would have to say goodbye.

Tuesday morning was a very bad morning and it was a painful wait for the vet to open and get an appointment. I knew that he was telling me that he was ready.


I told AlleyCat to say goodbye to her brother as he probably wouldn’t be coming back home.

Rainbow Bridge

A painful decision, but one that is made for the love of the cat.

One of my favorite pictures of Sylvester where he shows off his beautiful tuxedo coat and those really long white whiskers. And a gift for me from Nordstrom’s too! What could be better than that?

yes I will get another baby as I have way too much love in my heart for just 1 cat! just not sure when. Watchout AlleyCat…


I’m Baaaaaaack!

A day late and a dollar short… that’s the story of my life! This is my niece (in the center) when she came back into San Diego aboard the USS Nimitz. I want to say that was about 6 years ago…maybe more? maybe less?

Well I was there to greet the arrival of the ship and of course my niece. It was a very special moment. Her sister was also aboard with her as this was a “Tiger” trip, where a family member or BFF could join in for the last 3 days. But what the Navy girl didn’t realize is that her Mom was there too as a total surprise! and surprise her we did! It was a great weekend as we got to do lots of girl things.

Okay and you were probably wondering where we went to? blog and all? well the domain name came up for renewal and I went back and forth on a daily basis… yes I will renew or no I won’t, yes I will, no I won’t…well I think you get the idea. So it looks like you are stuck with me for at least another year!


The Bewitching Hour is Almost Upon Us!

Somebody was in the shop the other day and commented that it’s been a really loooooooooong time since I last blogged! and yes it has been and where has the time gone? It seems like it was just yesterday when I did the Halloween decorating at the shop and in a few days it will be time to take it down! The World Series will be over all too quickly and before you know it Thanksgiving is here, then Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years.

I have been working way too much and I think that I have had but just 2 days off this month. Yes you read that right and one of those days was driving up to San Marino at A Stitch in Time to spend a day stitching with the Divine Ms. M!

Meredith was in the Halloween spirit at A Stitch in Time teaching her magic on canvas a few years back…but I still love this picture!

Mr. Boo from Melissa Shirley! This picture was from Melissa’s Halloween display at market. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to stitch this as a model few years back.

Now there’s a new Mr. Crow in town, which I would love to stitch too!

A few new canvases that we saw at the Dallas Market. This is by Love You More. They asked me if I wanted to stitch it and write a guide…but I need to learn to say no! which I did, much to my chagrin.

Another great Halloween canvas by JP Needlepoint.


Mooch and Earl have been having fun getting ready for Halloween too!

and with a black cat in the house, you are always stylishly decorated!


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!



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