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 She was a little withdrawn the first few days, but now she barely lets me out of her sight.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


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.

Beading Beading1

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


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!”


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!


“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!


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?


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?


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.

Watermelon2 Watermelon3

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.


A little stitching to be done first before we can start beading!

Watermelon4 Watermelon5 Watermelon6

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!


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


While some embraced the concept of messy beading!


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


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!