Monday, November 30, 2009

Writing and Hurrying and .. and .. and ..

Still in somewhat of a 'turkey coma' ... don't know WHY I eat so much! Maybe it's because the ONLY time I have turkey and all the good stuffs is on Thanksgiving. Or else because it's getting colder out and my primal brain is telling me to eat eat eat so I can last through hibernation. sigh
Turkey .. it's good for you, right? Hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Well, I'm right on schedule. Here I have almost all of my Christmas gifts made and now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I'm thinking of all the other stuff I can still stitch, felt, knot or punch. Like I have all the time in the world left. another sigh
I've really got 3 more scarves to do, 2 to kind of 're-do', as I've had some other ideas as to how they 'could' look. Hopefully my re-dos work so I don't have to re-create all over again. That's what I'll be doing tonight when I get home ... re-do #1.

Saw Sting on the Today show the other morning, doing a song from his newest album (does that one word date me or what?) "If On A Winter's Night". Walked around most of the day with the song in my head. Saw I had a gift certificate for Amazon so I ordered the CD. So excited .. got it .. put it in .. HATE IT! The only song I like 'at all' is the one I'd heard on the Today show promoting the album. The rest .. ickty ick ick! I should have read some reviews. I knew it was dating back to 'olde England' but really! Every other song is slow, drawn out, and ... did I mention I absolutely HATE this CD??!! If anyone would like to purchase it from me for $4.00 (which would include shipping), just let me know!!!!

Reading? Started reading the latest from Diana Gabaldon "An Echo In The Bone" but it hasn't grabbed me. I decided that maybe it was not a 'book to read to fall asleep', but 'a book to be read only when you're going to read the day away'. So I picked up the first in the Dresden File series by Jim Butcher again ... and now I'm just about through the entire series again (and the next doesn't come out until September!! aarrgghhhh) I'll get back to Gabaldon, but ... the last few have been nothing like Outlander and the several afterwards unfortunately.

Yikes .. I should be going home ... just look at the time! Later!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November Stitch N ...

I've been recording my starts, finishes and want to stitch nexts in my newsletter updates, but decided that I really 'should' show you what they all look like .. just in case you may think I've been tryin' ta fool ya!
At left is Homespun Elegance's "Holiday Samplings II", stitched using the Palomino linen and fibers the designer used. I've got it 'thumb tacked' to the wall in the shop right now while waiting for the frame to arrive so it can get finished up properly. I absolutely LOVED stitching this one .. something about the colors really really appealed to me! The only thing I DISLIKE is the "A" of the ABC at lower right. I suppose I could have tried to alter it, and I thought about finding another alphabet and changing it from ABC to DRK (my initials) ... but since it will be a shop model for awhile before it goes home to live with me, decided to just leave it as designed.

When at Market and seeing Hinzeit's "Crystal Rudolph and Crystal Ho Ho Ho Sleigh" stitched up and framed as one, I HAD to do it too!
Of course, I didn't have the cream lugana in stock the designer used, but I did have Opalescent White .. and with the Swarvoski Crystals embellishing both, and with the sparkly white snowflakes painted on the frame, thought the Opal would really work! Of course I didn't really "look" at the chart, or I would have seen that there was a 'B5200 white' snowflake stitched on the design (in my defense, the chart photo didn't pick it up either!). When I got to that point, I played around with Splendor silks, Trebizond silks, etc to see if I could get it to stand out from the fabric .. but in the end went with the floss (the hell with it!). Still, I'm very pleased with this one .. it's all glittery!!!

Liked Poppy Kreations "Tree Trimmings III" when I saw it at market too! The little cardinal frame has a front (with opening for the design) and back (to cover up the fabric completely) and called for being put together with wood glue (and under a heavy object till set). I had wood glue, but did I use it? Noooooooooo! I used "Gorilla Glue" which would hold two trucks together and once it's 'glued' will be glued forever! Needless to say, my cardinal frame front and back do not exactly 'match' .. but what the heck .. gives an illusion of 'fluttering wings' that way!
And when Pine Mountain Designs' automatic arrived last week, I grabbed their December Frame-Up and took it home to stitch right away! MINE! It's in the shop right now too ... complete kit and comes with Aida. Since it would be a model most of the year, I stitched it as it came. I really have a terrible time stitching on Aida after using linen/evenweaves all these years! That needle goes anywhere except in that hole!!! So I guess I can say, this little Frame-Up was my most difficult of my stitching projects!

And here is my 'nearly completed' first part (O Christmas Squirrel) of Bent Creek's newest series .. The Christmas Branch. They did theirs on normal old everyday 'browns' ... I knew I was going to stitch it on something else ... but hadn't decided until Kathy stated she wanted an Opalescent Blue so it would look more like a snowy Christmas sky. I pulled the colors and decided, with help from Picture This Plus, on 32ct Crystal Dwarf. All I have left to stitch, right now, is the 'tree' word at the top and the verse at the bottom. It was a bit hard to pic fabric NOT knowing what the finished design would look like (colors used that is), but ... so far I'm a'lovin it!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Still Blogging .. Still Here!

I think I know what had pushed me so far 'over the edge' with the recent theft in my shop.

It has been medically proven that women who keep their hands busy, particularly in challenging time in order to relieve the stress of their daily lives, actually DO reduce their stress level. Actually lower their blood pressure! We are so busy now that just sitting down for an hour makes a big difference on the stress impact to our bodies. And so does being able to walk into a cross stitch store .. where you can look at other stitchery, plan another project, talk to other stitchers about your craft, your current project and forget about all those problems outside that shops' door that exist in your 'real world'. We all need that bit of stress relief (fondling new fabrics and fibers helps big time!) and that's what a 'store front shop' offers you.

For the past several months, I have had so many NEW stitchers wander in ... who saw my sign and wondered what we were all about. And once through the door, they were having So Much Fun being in a cross stitch shop again! I was answering questions, sharing their laughter, offering tips, feeding off their enthusiasm .. that when I'd go home at night, I was going home on a HIGH! That is what having an actual 'walk in store front' needlework shop is all about .. that is what makes everything worthwhile! And of course, my 'regular' in-shop customers as well as my 'regular' Internet customers .. some who we have come to know so well .. all add to that feeling!
The Internet is here to stay of course .. and I (unfortunately for Dave) fully realize that "shopping in the comfort of your chair" is here to stay. But when making the decision to leave my 'big' shop in Davison and move to this smaller location, I so wanted to be able to have a 'store front' instead of an Internet shop out of my house or warehouse somewhere. I wanted THAT interaction with others .. with other stitchers. The smile of delight, that shared interaction, when someone comes through the door is what MY business is all about for me!

There are those in the world that so easily bring a 'high' crashing down. I try to avoid those who just exude negativity and ill will, and then, one of 'them' wanders into my shop, or walks in deliberately. I've come to terms with it. I can't dwell on a wrong-doing that has been done to me. You need to 'find the good things to hang onto' each day.
Someone sent me the following .. and I'm so glad they did:
Do not be discouraged or dismayed by the besetting concerns of this day
For upon the threshold of this day stands the Lord who made it.
This is the day that the Lord has made
Rejoice and be glad in it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Debby, Squirrels and Thieves ...

. .. kind of like a song isn't it? But even if "Cher" were to sing my new lyrics, I doubt I'd want to sing along.

What has happened to personal integrity? Honesty? Common sense? Is it OK to steal from a business but not from a friend? What would that difference be? Perhaps we steal from where we work but would never think of going into our spouse's pockets. I don't know. Is it because 'if you own a business, that person must be wealthy and if no one is the wiser, then it doesn't matter? Or if no one sees you, you must not be stealing? So many things in the world ... you can't afford it, but you want it so you just take it.
There are hundreds of ways to steal, and dozens of excuses for stealing, but only one way and one reason and one law of integrity: That way is honor; the reason is a clear conscience; and that law is God's. He says, "You shall not steal." That means Never. Not in any way. Not from any one. That goes for those of you who come into my shop and leave as thieves. I don't want to be around you. And today, I nearly wasn't going to be ever again. Had Debbie not been here in the shop with me, I would have left ... and I wasn't going to come back. I don't understand those with no morals or scruples. Those who feel exempt from the rest of the world. And those who 'call themselves stitchers' and then do what they do in needlework shops! You are not the people I wish to be around.
IF I could catch you, I'd drag you halfway through the squirrel-gnawed-out-hole-in-my-garage-door and leave you there!

Calmer now, I thought I'd show you two more scarves .. from Sundays felting:
And this picture is of the 'cat tent' I had to make out of one of my two working tables .. so Mocha and Padme would be otherwise occupied and stay away from my bits of wool and yarn:
It's still 'up' in the living room .. the felines are having way too much fun with the battles on either side of the sheet. And besides, I'll be doing some more felting tomorrow so will need 'it's help'!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Back To NORMAL ... huh???

As you will have seen by now .. my shop newsletter updates are 'back to normal' with stuff about Deb's life that shouldn't be considered 'normal'. sigh .. I live in a zoo!

I actually didn't completely realize I'd slipped away from my 'chatty format' until I received that email from another stitcher. I knew I wasn't happy with my newsletters but ... the obvious reason was totally overlooked! I think part of the problem came from having to write them here at the shop 'after hours'. At home, my wireless no longer works (Verizon says it does though as they show me within their 'area' .. yeah right!!!) and regular dial-up connection is so slow. And with hubby, cats and dog seeking my attention, I'd be at the computer for up to 4 hours (or more!) trying to get the newsletter completed. Then here at the shop, while the connection is SO fast, I'd be here till 8pm with no dinner, blood sugar dropping which meant I'd be wandering around looking at stuff instead of typing (and not really realizing it!) and getting grumpy because I was still at the shop. LOL ... Guess I just got to the 'gist' of the product info and ignored 'me'. But .. back to 'normal'.

I've been stitching like a mad woman, and also felting scarves like crazy! I did two on Wednesday .. and here they are:

I used dyed wool and some really clunky funky yarn that had bits and pieces of curly locks and metallics and other neat stuff woven into it. Found the skeins at the St. Charles cash & carry Market .. that's the only way I could have afforded to get 'that' yarn' .. expensive even at wholesale, phew, but worth it!

I'm felting the 'easy way' now that the weather has turned and I cannot 'wet felt' outside (or in the garage ... the squirrel throws nuts at me!!!). I'm using the ArtFelt method! It's not as 'zen' as rolling, rolling, rolling by hand, but you still have the 'artistic layout' bit going for you. Here's the FIRST one I did with an ArtFelt KIT:
All materials and easy step by step instructions come in one easy kit! Really! Check it out here!
That's how I was able to do two in one day. And with some 'inventive thinking' on my part.
I have two 5' long tables that I had put end to end
so I could do the layout. You start with a piece of the ArtFelt paper 72" long, so it seemed easier to try it that way, rather than just have the 'ends' of the paper hanging down on either end of the table.
Problem! As soon as I put the tables up and turned my back ... two, count em! TWO CATS immediately took up residence on the tables and would NOT leave. Ever tried to lay out loose wool and yarn strips with cats right next to you. I don't think I need to say more on that! EPIPHANY!!! Went into the linen closet and got an old fitted sheet. Put two of the fitted ends over the end sides of one of the tables with the sheet hanging down .. instant TENT! Cat city! FUN!!!!!!!!!! Mocha and Padme spent most of the afternoon attacking each other from either side of the 'tent' and I was left to my own creativity in peace (somewhat). The Tent Cat City was such a hit, it's still up and in the living room. Told you .. I live in a zoo!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Why Did You Change?"

I received the following e-mail yesterday morning ...
"What has happened to your friendly and homespun newsletter? Where is news about your mother? I always enjoyed your refreshing description of your week and all you did and your latest projects. Now this epistle is so cold, just like all the other impersonal newsletters whose only aim is to sell their ware. I always looked forward to Fridays and "words" from you.
How about returning to your old way at least once in a while?
A sad subscriber "

What was so interesting about that e-mail was this ... I woke up 'wide awake' Saturday at 3:00am (gwad I hate that!!!) and while trying to convince my brain to shut up and go back to sleep, that very thing was what was running through my head. I'd just written such a cut and dried newsletter that it was bothering me! The last few newsletters had the same impersonal feel (or lack of feeling) to them too! I totally agreed with her!!!

Newsletters are a funny thing. If I make personal comments or talk about (well - ramble, as I tend to do) what's going on in my life, I'll get e-mails from those who remind me that I am a 'shop' and should only talk shop stuffs. If I only talk shop stuffs, then I get emails asking me about my mom's health or if I've been 'hit with a mattress lately' .. well, you get the idea!
That was one of the reasons I started this Blog .. to keep the newsletters about the shop and this more about me and what I'm doing. Then I don't post here as often as I would like to because I want to stitch instead of sitting at a computer. And at the shop, I rarely have time to just sit and yammer about stuffs.

I will still post here .. this is different than my shop newsletters and I will make every effort to keep that difference going. My newsletters WILL return to the 'old way I used to write'. I'm a 'stitcher', I'm a 'shop', I'm an 'individual as well as a shop owner' .. and I should never have tried to SEPARATE the two. My shop newsletters will hopefully bring 'me' to your computers, with chatter about my life, my stitching, shop information, what the gals are doing in the shop, what's happening with market, my dog and my cats. My shop newsletters will return with that personal touch that so many of you have complimented me on; where stitchers have told me that reading them makes them think they 'know' me as a real live stitcher and not just a 'brick and mortar' building that holds needlework within its' walls.
Criticisms ... bring them on. Kudos .. those are welcome too! The worst that can happen? I'll lose some subscribers. The best that can happen? You'll enjoy your newsletters again and I'll possibly gain some new subscribers.

Stitches N Things IS me ... the shop reflects my personality .... and I'm sorry for forgetting that!