Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stitching Trials & Tribulations

   Well, I got hold of Marj at Hinzeit and found out what the 'error/miss-print' was in the Charmed Shuttle-Believe pattern I'd stitched.  I did mine on 28ct over two.  You think I would have also gone to her website and looked under corrections, but no .. that would have made sense and I'm just not that kind of stitcher.  If you have not yet stitched any of the Charmed Shuttle designs, please note: FABRIC IS 18 CT AIDA: SUMMER KHAKI !!
   I WILL stitch this one again, but am thinking of stitching it differently thanks to Petra Dennis from NM.  Petra had sent me an email with the photo attached of the "Believe" she'd stitched.  Yep .. she did hers on 28ct too, only to find like I did, that it wouldn't fit the Shuttle frame.
She says: "I found a piece of an overdyed blue--about DMC 926--just the right size in my stash and set to stitching. Got it finished and started to put it in the shuttle, and it was too big. So, another discussion with LNS owner and I decided to unstitch the end sections and make the snowflake sections curved, and that fit. No stars but you can't have everything! I love it."
Petra .. I love it too!   I've now got a couple of colors of 36ct Linen coming, one from Lakeside Linens and the other from Picture This Plus to play around with.  I showed your pic to another stitcher, and she wants to see my colors of 36ct linen when it comes in so she can do her's like you did .. but WITH the end sections stitched.




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Saturday, December 11, 2010

.. singing .. "I'll NEVER Stitch Again" .....

well, probably I'll stitch again, probably tonight, but .... the way I'm feeling right now I could happily throw out my Q-Snaps into tonight's coming snowstorm!
I have no one to blame but for me (drat it all anyway).  There were some typos on the chart directions, but rather than triple and quadruple check, I only calculated and calculated yet again .. and instead of driving the whole 5 minutes from my house to the shop to really make sure, I picked up needle, threaded it and happily began!

Starting Hinzeit's "Charmed Shuttles" and the "Believe" design (which I've been absolutely in love with ever since seeing it stitched up in person at St.Charles Market - LOVE LOVE that shuttle frame!).
Got the fabric .. 28ct Summer Khaki Cashel .. got the DMC flosses .. put fabric in lap Q-Stand after measuring down 3" and in 3" so I'd have adequate margins.  Then, picked up chart to begin.
Wait a minute!  The design says "stitched on 28ct Aida: Summer Khaki over 1 thread using 2 ply thread."  Ok .. sitting back, 2 ply on 28ct over 1 thread is going to be waaay too thick to my way of thinking.  The pattern says 28ct Aida.  I'll bet that it was copied from another word program and instead of saying 14ct Aida, 2 ply over 1 ...it really means 28ct Linen, 2 ply over 2.
Maybe I should calculate this out .. so I took the stitch count of 18h x 153w and divided it by 14 (if stitching over 2) and also divided it by 28 (if stitching over 1).  Man, the 28ct over 1 dimensions look way too short for that frame.  I think the 28ct over 2 looks more like it ... trying to picture the frame (which is in stock in the shop!) in my mind.  Pondered, pondered, pondered .. wasting stitching time trying to figure this out. 
So .. rather than get in the car and drive to the shop and measure the dratted shuttle frame opening, I begin stitching.  And this is looking really cool!  Finished it up last night and brought it into the shop today to frame.

Got the Shuttle Frame.  My stitchery is TOO big for the opening in the frame! 

But still, when you calculate the 28ct over 1 size, it comes out measuring smaller than what the cover picture looks like!!
The frame opening is 9 1/4"l ... over one on 28 works out to be just slightly under 5 1/2"l.   That would leave 1.875" margin on either side of the design.  Looking at the cover model, I just don't see it that wide.  IF it was stitched on 25ct instead, there would be 1.565" on either side.   I don't know!!!
I'm going to have to call Hinzeit on Monday just to double check what I should be doing and what she did.
Then to decide IF I will stitch this one again.  I mean, I really really fell in love when I saw it, and really want it as a model for the shop and eventually in my home ... BUT ... I absolutely detest the idea of stitching anything more than once!
     deep sigh

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally, a Christmas movie ...

... and another completed project out of the way!
   I'd been griping about not being able to see ANY of my Christmas movies because we no longer have a VCR player (it died quite dramatically) and those tape thingies just will NOT fit into a DVD slot.  So, went over to mom's for her grocery shopping (it was another very confused day for her, sigh) and stopped at Blockbuster to 're-add' to my movie stash.
Nada .. nothing .. only cartoon Christmas movies for 'sale' ... and "Home Alone" ... not the classics I need to see every year.
   But Sunday night, "Scrooged" with Bill Murray was on, so I did get to 'stitch' while watching that one.  (I just love Carol Kane .. she's such a riot as The Ghost Of Christmas Present!  Of course, I loved her as Simka on Taxi too!)  I was able to go to sleep happily afterwards!

  Did finish my two poodles I was needle felting.  The customer had provided me with the actual 'hair' from both dogs (Mojo and Licky) .. but .. it was the clipped curls, not the brushed out coat I was expecting.  Once animal fiber has been cut, it just will NOT felt!  So, wrapped the base armature with black wool, then started 'laying the clipped curls' on the body and then, again having to pull black wool whisper thin, I had to place the whisper thin wool over the curls and needle into place.  Then when done, had to pull a bit here and there with the needle to get the curls to start standing up a bit again, but not hard enough to make them 'loose'.  That was a PAIN .. but Dave really thought they turned out pretty cool!

Black is SO darned hard to photograph.  One of the poodles has a 'smooth' muzzle, the other is 'curly' per my customer's pictures and requests.  I wrote their name on a JABCo little dog bone button and attached it to a red ribbon and a blue ribbon around each neck .. also as per the photo.   :)    Now I have just the smooth coated Dachshund to do and I believe my felting that 'must be done' will be complete!

Christmas cards, wrapping gifts and shipping some out are the next items on my agenda.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Day .. another try ...

.. for the kind of day I expect it to turn into!
Yesterday morning I'd posted on Facebook: 
Ok .. up, had breakfast & MUGS of coffee .. updated 12 Days Specials .. caught up on Facebook .. read/answered e-mails .. now to exercise for MONDO amounts of time (had pizza last night!) .. then finish felting poodle dog .. then continue stitching for rest of day! Cold outside, warm inside, life is good!


    Well, I did have breakfast and my much needed/mandatory mugs of coffee.  I did update my 12 Days of Christmas specials. I did get caught up on Facebook and my emails. THEN .. I went into the bedroom to exercise. 
   Turned on my WiiFit Plus program and once again, it was WRONG!!  On Sunday, the little person who lives inside the Wii told me that I'd lost 7 1/2 pounds (since Thursday)!!  I knew that was wrong .. obviously wrong, but how do you convince a little talking computer scale that it doesn't know what it's talking about!  So here I am on Wednesday .. being told that I've GAINED 8 pounds since Sunday, and being questioned by same little talking computer scale as to IF I knew what had caused that weight gain!  Yeah I know .. you're wrong!  So, shut it down, started it up and did weigh in again.  This time I've only gained 7 pounds since Sunday.  Took the Wii platform OFF the height extension (that I use for step aerobics), and repeated the weigh in .. same result.  Now I KNOW the batteries are good ... I just replaced them and they were part of the 8 pack of batteries I purchased (and used 4 of in the Wii already a couple of months ago) .. so ignored the whole thing.  Did my exercising but now I was in a bad mood about exercising .. and that didn't go away.
   Did finish the 2nd of the poodle dogs I was felting for a commissioned job and while dog #2 turned out a bit larger than dog #1, it did turn out well!
   Now .. to stitch! And what better than to stitch to a good Christmas movie or two?!   Nothing on tv .. any other day of the week they are showing Christmas movies already.  NOT on Wednesday!  So, into my DVD drawer to find something to watch.  NOTHING on DVDs ... everything Christmas I own is on VCR tapes.  And, our VCR no longer works!!!!!  Threw a couple of hissy fits, threw (gently) the remote controller back to Dave and told him to watch whatever he wanted, and mumble, mumble, mumble, went back to stitching. Poor Dave!  I did get quite a bit completed on Hinzeit's "Charmed (Believe) Shuttle" and then it was time for dinner.  We watched a DVD then that I'd rented ... Nicholas Cage in "The Sorcerers' Apprentice" ... and it was good!  So good I didn't stitch while that was on .. wanted to enjoy it without missing anything in it.
 
   Now, need to exercise again this morning, then go over to mom's (don't want to leave the house, but ... !), then back home to stitch some more and/or/and do online banking/bill paying for the shop.  Ohhhh epiphany ... maybe I'll stop off at Blockbuster before I come back home and see if they have any 'cheap' Christmas movies I can buy!!!  Now there's an idea!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Day, Another Felting Job

   The woman that had commissioned me to needle felt her Wire Haired Doxie "Bean" came into the shop Saturday to pick 'Baby Bean' up.  And ... She LOVED It!!!  I had really stressed over this .. it's different if you're doing something from a picture for sale than it is from your imagination for sale.  You can only do so much with wool, and especially the color wool you need.  I had a base coat of darkest brown, then a tan/reddish that was perfect color, but since is was 'top' and not 'batt', there were all kinds of flyaways everywhere .. and you can only clip so much.  Found another brown and laid wisper thin layers over the dog, and that calmed the flyaways down quite a bit.  You can see how fuzzy it was when you look at the muzzle .. it was perfect for his whiskers!
Then she told me that she'd been telling a friend about my doing "Bean in wool" and her friend wondered if I would do her doxen for her ... it's a smooth coated standard black with tan ... and she presented me with a picture of that dog.  So, after I get done with the *2* black poodles I have to do next, I'll be doing another dauschund!  The poodles will be covered with 'their own real hair' ... which should be much easier to work with than golden retriever hair (too soft to needle felt - shows all the needle jabs in it).

Here's the picture of my Christmas tree for 2010 ... antique tin icicles, vintage ornaments and all the rest of the ornaments are stitched .. those I've stitched, those that were previously gifts to my mom and dad for their tree, those that were gifts I've received.

My favorite of this assortment is from one of the past Just Cross Stitch Ornament issues ... from Sandi at The Sweetheart Tree ... stitched for the Millennium



Kitties have not destroyed anything ... yet.
But there's time before the Big Day actually gets here!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Decorating ..

.. well, my tree is up and decorated!
     It's my tall skinny artificial alpine tree of years past, but I decorated it a bit differently this year.  Used Dave's mother's Teal Green glass ornaments, my vintage metal icicles and a few of Dave's grandmother's glass blown ornaments, and ... all of the hand-made ornaments I've either made or received over the years.  
     Some are made of felt applique, one is knitted over a glass bulb, a couple are wood and painted to commemorate our first Christmas together, or first Christmas in our home, two are Hardanger, and the rest are all cross stitched (all of the ones I'd made for my mom & dad are part of this collection too)!  My camera, of course, is at the shop .. so IF I remember to bring it home with me tomorrow, I'll take and post pictures here so you can see my Antique & Needlework Tree.
    And, when you see my pics and IF you don't happen to see an ornament you may have stitched for me ... well, it's probably because it was one that our renegade squirrel (squirrels) made off with and/or destroyed!  deep sigh   
   I also put my ceramic nativity up and a couple of accent pieces here and there, but think I'm going to 'stop' decorating with those.  I hate to decorate entirely and then have to put everything away again in just over a month.  So, I guess my stitched Christmas framed pieces are going to stay in storage, as well as a bunch of other stuffs for this holiday season.   Besides, as Dave says, I have the house covered with my Santa collection on shelves and completely in one huge curio cabinet and it already kind of looks like Christmas year round here.  LOL
     Killer headache today ... love weather changes, not!  So, am going to call mom and see if I can 'skip out of' doing her grocery shopping today ... if she has enough to get her through till Sunday, that is.  Then will do some felting in the comfort of my cozy chair parked right here by the comfy wood stove heat!  (with this headache, I don't even want to think about trying to 'focus' on linen and a chart for stitching today!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And so the year goes ...

... November 30th.  Tomorrow is the first day of December and it seems like it was just a week ago (at the most!) that it was the first day of November.  Everything is speeding by.

I have finished my stitching mini project and it's off to be framed now.

 
"Home In The Winter" from Erica Michaels designs on 40ct silk gauze.  The only thing I don't like about it is the 'numbers' beneath the alphabet ... I used the same colors as the designer, but obviously a different dye lot, as hers could be seen and mine look like 'dark clouds'.  LOL
When her "Home In The Autumn" came out, I really liked it, but didn't pick it up.  Now that I've done this one, I'll have to do that one .. and probably this one again (since this is a Christmas gift) and the rest of the seasons too.
  deep sigh
Never ending stash pile grows and grows!

 Thinking of putting up the Christmas tree tomorrow on my day off.  I'd love a 'real' tree but money is tight and I just can't see spending for something that would only be up for just  over a month.  I like my little 'stick it in the corner' tall skinny artificial tree, but .. there's just something so soothing with a real tree decorated with lights and vintage ornaments.
   I will admit .. I did give a day or two worth of thinking about *IF* I was going to put a tree up this year.  It seems such a bother (in a way) to decorate the house for just Dave and I .. as no one, family or friends, comes to our home.  BUT I didn't decorate at all one year .. and it really made the season hard for me mentally.  I'll do my tree, with Jingle Bells on all the lowest branches as kind of an "early warning cat is up to something" deterrent.  And I'll put my antique nativity scene atop the entertainment unit where I can see it every night .. that set must be at least 70 years old now .. my aunt made it in ceramics for my grandmother a long long long time ago!  And there will be a bit of Christmas in my house .. as well as in my heart.
   Trying to get out of Dave what he'd like for a gift. He's not been forthcoming with ideas.  We need to do so much work around the house, and now our oven has died so we'll need a new one ... drat it all, it's a built-in oven too!  I even suggested that we don't give presents to each other this year, but rather get a 'new oven' or 'new porch' for us instead.  We'll see.  It's always something going on!

     Still losing weight ... lost  2 1/4 pounds in the last two weeks.  And, have been trying on a pair of pants every other week, and today ... ta da!  ... they fit perfectly!!!  
    My WiiFit and I are becoming fast friends! I'm actually liking 'running/jogging' in place ... last Sunday morning I made it to 2 miles in 10 minutes!!   Nick has been bumming since I've not been taking him out for his runs.  I'm trying to teach him how to 'run in place' with me (on the carpet in the bedroom), but he just doesn't seem to 'get it'!!
  

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm still here .. really I am ..!

   Wow .. sorry for my absence!  I didn't realize that time had gotten that far away from me!
   My debut as a felting artist at the Flint Institute Of Arts First Frost show was a success!  I had a LOT of traffic to my booth, some came back the second day with friends that were not with them the first day!  And I am very pleased with the sales .. went in with no real expectations so I couldn't be disappointed, but .. sales were great (best on Saturday, low on Sunday)!  I also had many of the participating artists tell me that I needed to submit to other shows and gave me ideas of those where my items should be very well received.  That was cool too!               CLICK ON THE PICS TO SEE THE FULL PICTURE
   My booth space location was super .. I was the second space in the second room as people would come in.  And, the lighting was fantastic .. I didn't need any additional lighting as did some of the other areas.


   The 'hits' of my show seemed to be my 'bug-eyed animals (they're new and not on my Etsy shop site yet .. giraffe, purple pony and owl sold right away!) and my little trolls.  The backyard bird ornaments went over well, as did several of my vessels, and of course, my long-legged sheepsies (was told they resembled Shaun the Sheep!) and dogs!
   Had a GREAT interest in my teaching classes .. so I have a list of names to contact as soon as I can get a location and a date.  Also had 3 different people ask me if I would do custom animals for them .. they'll be sending me/bringing in photos for me to work from.
   I'll be working, after the holidays of course, on making wet-felted bags and totes, and scarves for the next years' show.
   FUN!!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shopping At Market!!

     What a fantastic time I had at the St. Charles Market!!  Not just because I had the best roommates a gal could wish for (Penny Franz from Ewe Count in Wyoming and my BFF since 9th grade Sharon from Missouri), but just the Market itself.
    I think it was one of the best Markets I've attended in a long, long while and wish that those shops who didn't attend could have experienced the same 'shopping/friendship joy' that I did!  Apparently there were some shops who did not attend as Shepherds Bush, Blackbird Designs, Jeannette Douglas Designs and R&R were not going to be at St. Charles this year.  There was a time scheduling conflict and these designers were involved in SB's annual stitcher's retreat. Since St. Charles is a relatively 'new' show and since we (The National Needlework Association) do not have enought 'senority points' with the hotel site, we are still be shuffled around date-wise.  It takes minimum 5 years of booking the same hotel space at basically the same time of year each time before you can begin to get the dating scheduled just to where you want it to be.  SB DID try to change their retreat date when the Market date was announced, but they were locked into it at their end, and Just Nan also was not there because of scheduling differences, so .. there we were!  As one of the designers said in the member meeting re shops not attending because the 'big guns' weren't going to be there  - "what are we? chopped liver?".  I think I personally made up for those who didn't attend with my own shopping purchases!
     Arrived on Thursday early afternoon and got settled in the room.  Penny arrived later in the day.  Did dinner, and chatted at 'happy hour' with some of the other 'early birds' already in attendance.  EARLY Friday morning Penny dragged me, somewhat kicking and screaming, down to the exercise room and planted me on a treadmill while she enthustically worked on a stair climber or whatever they're called.  Now I have a treadmill at home, at least that's what I think it is .. there are boxes on it and a jacket or two .. but it's no where as techie as this one was.  Took a few minutes to figure out HOW to start it, and then minutes longer to make it go a bit faster and faster and faster until I felt I was at the level of walking speed I'm doing when Nick the Golden takes ME for a walk.  I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing until I noticed there was a place where it showed how many calories you were burning, and I found out that after 15 minutes I could now safely eat 2 blueberries without gaining weight!  Linda and Alan from Lizzie Kate came down and were working out too .. they could converse with Penny, I was able to speak, but only in gasps.
Then went to breakfast .. did the official registration and got our show guide that let us know what designer was in what room and what new stuff they 'might' have with them.  We then figured out our plan of attack for when shopping began the next day.
     From noon till 3pm, Penny and I took tickets for one of the classes we were both in - A Visit With The Designers - with Patti from SamSarah, Judy from JBW Designs, Sharon from Crescent Colours, Linda from Lizzie Kate, and Linda from Erica Michaels.  They each had about 20 minutes where they introduced themselves and talked about their companies or whatever, and present a special kit to each class participant.  A fun get-to-know the person behind the design name and how to either do the stitching or present the kit and stuff like that - and the class received rave reviews from all who attended with demands for more classes like this at other markets!   Then Sharon arrived and I got to greet her before it was time to get to the next class.  From 3 till 5pm, I was part of a panel (with Sharon from Crescent Colours, and Matt and Katy from Norden Crafts - major needlework distributor) on "Using Technology In Today's Business World" - think social networking.  This class also went over very well according to the participants reviews turned in, and also with requests for another class like this in the future.  (when I got back to the shop and told Debbie - computer/e-mail Debbie - that it was successful, she said ... "that's great .. wait a minute .. YOU were on the panel?" .. I guess she was referring to my own techie skills and that the only way I know how to get a photo off my phone and ON my computer is to throw the phone AT the computer!  That evening we went out to dinner and then ... THEN there was 'early bird' shopping from some of the designers who opened up early!
      Hit La D Da first .. LOVE Lori's designs and she always has some neat limited edition specials - picked up three of one, then changed my mind, thought no .. I'll just get one for me (it was a wool scissor sheath kit and no picture and decided it would be my treat to myself!  (Someone called yesterday to see IF I had any of the scissor sheath kits coming in, and like I almost always do, gave a DEEP SIGH and told her I only had one coming, it was to be for me, but I'd sell it to her.  I've Got To Stop Doing That!!!)   Then hustled over to Val's Stuff .. also LOVE Val's designs and of course she had limited edition frames packaged with some of her new designs that I had to have!  Trying to remember now just where else I went that night ... the whole trip quickly becomes a blurr ... and I know there were other designers we shopped from, heck .. we walked all 4 floors to see 'who' was open!  Got back to the room around 9pm and the three of us chatted until we couldn't stay awake any longer. Penny and I had a Counted Thread Group Meeting at 8am the next morning before the 'official Market' opened for business.
    Saturday morning early, grabbed breakfast, off to the meeting, then out of the meeting to stand in line at the elevators to get to the show floors.  Sent Sharon off to The Primitive Needle (what a madhouse was going on there with Lori's specials and all!) and I was off to Shakespeare's Peddler with my list of gotta haves!  Of course to Amy Brueken's room because even though I'm on her auto, I had to see her stuff 1st in person.  Check out ONE of Amy's new designs here -- the cover photos for her new 'stack of' series doesn't show that it was framed in a Olde Colonial Designs Mirror where you could pop a design out with each season -- so I had her position herself so her reflection in the mirror would show!  As far as my shopping plan there was 'some order' to the places I had to get to first, depending on the amount of requests I had for a designer or if they had something special I didn't really know about and had to check out; other than that, we'd do a few places on one floor, then up or down to another floor to shop at one or two, then down or up to another floor, and on and on and on.  Sharon dragged me back to the room around 2 to eat something (she needed to, I didn't want to)  Many of the places I'd place my orders and then, rather than wait with all the selling confusion going on around us all, would make arrangements to come back 'later' to pick up my purchases and pay at that time.  Sharon would pack as much as she could carry into her big Stitches N Things teal/lime tote bag, and then with other bags in hand, would leave me to take those purchases back to our room.  That night, the ONLY way I could get to my laptop on the table in the corner, was to crawl OVER the table .. underneath and around the table were nothing but bags and bags and bags, and more bags!   That night, feet aching like you wouldn't believe, we ordered pizza in, drank Sharon's bottle of wine, and started going over stuff.  I took some pictures to put on my website, but lighting in the room is so terrible most of them just didn't come out .. so that would have to wait till I got back home and to the shop where I'd have my scanners going non-stop.  Penny started pricing her purchases; Sharon had brought cardboard boxes to me and we started packing product so it could be shipped home.  Then bed .. Penny and I had another early morning meeting that next morning.
    Early breakfast and then off to the TNNA Members' Meeting .. then back in line at the elevators for the final hours of shopping (9am till 4pm).  Today's plan was to get to every designer I hadn't been able to get to on Saturday and go back and pick up purchases from the day before that I'd not gotten back to yet.  Rather than wait for elevators, Sharon and I took the stairway to each floor - but on the return trips to the room to stash the goods DID take the elevators .. somehow going from floor 4 to floor 9 on stairs just didn't cut it for me!  Sharon had to leave to go back home around 1:30pm and I was so sad to see her go .. we have such few chances to get together.  She did go back home much poorer, as she'd purchased some of the new stuffs from me in our room.  Her biggest regret over the shopping was that Homespun Elegance was not in attendance at this show and she's a huge fan .. actually, that was also her biggest joy too as she MUST have the "Year Of Halloween" that Sandra is doing and would have found her wallet in serious trouble if she had been able to get into that room!!
     You can see some of the pictures from Market here .. courtesy of The Needlework Retailer
     After Sharon left, I walked the floors, into each room again.  This time to check out needlepoint places that were there to see if I could find any little gidgies or gadgets that I had to have for my shop, and also for more extended visit time with designer friends old and new.  Of course, that got me into PERSONAL trouble at one room ... in the show book a company called The Cooperage (who does the most wonderful little punch needle designs) was to be showing some of their designs converted into cross stitch!  Got in there and found that the cross stitch part just didn't happen the way they'd planned and they still only had punch needle to sell.  So .. there I was .. looking at punch needle and found 3 or 4 new designs that I just HAD to have for my own punching pleasure, and as long as I was going to punch them, would have to have extras for the shop as I'd be displaying the finished pieces there!  My Last Check was written there - you can see their blog and a picture or two here http://www.flew-the-coop.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Market & Dieting & Stitching, oh my!

  How did it get to be the last day of summer?  How did it get to be time to leave for another Market?  Sitting here at the shop, wrapping up some stuffs; will be back here sometime tomorrow to get my 'shopping lists' all together for taking to St. Charles with me so I'll know what I absolutely MUST buy for the shop or else never ever come back here again!!  And I have to get my hair cut tomorrow and I have to go over to mom's to do her shopping for her (she's not left her apartment to go outside in over 2 1/2 months!).  Then make sure I have my suitcases down from the attic; make sure there are no left over squirrel nut stashes in them; get my clothes together and pack one suitcase inside another one!  That way I'll be able to bring some stuff home with me on the plane on Monday, even though paying for another piece of luggage, without having to wait for it ALL to arrive via UPS sometime the middle/end of next week.
My BFF Sharon will be driving up to help me out over the weekend, and she'll be bringing empty boxes so I can pack stuff up.  I wonder if I can talk her into bringing a 'bathroom scale' with her?  That way I can make sure my suitcase is under the overcharge limit (not like last year!!!).  I can weigh me on it too!  LOL

 So far have lost 3 1/2 pounds and have to admit I'm not at all hungry on this Medical Weight Loss diet ... er, excuse me ... beginning to my new lifestyle!  The thing I have the most problems with is exercise .. my body was not made for exercise.  "They" say that exercise energizes you ... no even remotely true ... I can work out for an hour and drop right off to sleep!  Exercise puts me into a little panting puddle of limp bones.  Nick has been working out with me twice a day this past week (for the most part, some days only once a day).  We're going for 'fast brisk' walks .. he's loving it!  I give him his head, let him be Alpha and take the lead .. he drags me in his wake tripping and stumbling and gasping for breath.  Funny thing though .. we go about 23 - 40 minutes a walk, and by the time we're a third of the way back home, Nick is ready to heel perfectly!  He's sleeping really well too!   I'll be packing my 4 time a day 'shakes' and 1 time a day 'protein bars' in my suitcase too .. and trying to ignore dessert and eating out and ... oh gwad help me ... wine in the evenings!!!!!!!

   Then the stitching pressures begin.  It's not like I don't have enough to stitch at home, much less here at the shop in my 'box of stash' in the back room.  And there are things I wanted to stitch from Nashville that I don't even remember what they were now!  So I'll be in and out of rooms, seeing charts I must do now or die, and finding fabrics for them, and planning which one I'll do first.  Then I'll get back to the shop, start adding everything to the website and totally, in my panic to get everything done, most likely forget which ones I wanted to do!  Maybe I should make a plan for this year:  actually STICK THE CHARTS ASIDE so I won't forget them!!!!!

  Downloading a couple of books from Audible.com to my Kindle so I can listen to books while traveling on the plane and sitting in airports.  Like stitching where I bring 3 projects for a weekend trip, I've got 3 books downloading right now. Can you say 'over achiever'??  I won't have time while in St. Charles for stitching, reading OR listening to books on tape.  Shopping will take all of my time .. and then some.  That's why I'm so thankful that Sharon is going to meet me there.  I'll give her a credit card and a list or two and send her on her way to places I have to get to first ... while I'm getting to the others I have to get to first (and still, fingers will be crossing that we get there in time for limited edition stuffs that must be purchased!).  She'll get into trouble there too .. she's a huge Primitive Needle fan, and wait till she sees Prairie Moon's crypt club stuffs .. she'll be cussing me out, but with a smile on her face!

   Downloads are nearly done .. then I'll have just enough time to get home, harness up my personal trainer to his leash, and get a bit of a walk in before it's too dark.
Tomorrow is another day!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Remember?

September 11, 2001 - my generations' Pearl Harbor

    That morning I had reported for my first day of jury selection and after being excused from one case, was accepted to be on the jury for a another trial.
    We had been sent into a little room awaiting the beginning of the trial, and one woman from the jury knocked her purse off a tall cabinet where she had placed it.  Checking inside to make sure her cell phone was ok, she told us of a 'scrolling report' going across the screen that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  Assuming it was a small plane, like a 4 seater or something, we were all trying to figure out how a pilot could fail to MISS the tower and decided that it must have been a student, but then .. why would a student be flying in that area, so maybe the pilot had a heart attack at the controls.
    The room we were in was off a hallway in the courthouse ... and we started hearing people getting louder and louder, and .. since no one told us we had to 'stay' in that room, walked out and into the next office where workers were gathering, they had a tv.  That's when we found out about the 1st tower.  The bailiff came in, found us in our 'new room', and told us we were going to begin in about an hour.  So we were allowed to go down to the cafeteria if we wished. That's when I went running for a phone .. called Dave to find out what the hell was going on and heard about the 2nd tower at that time.  So I'm letting everyone in the immediate area know what was occurring -- we're all in shock but cannot get to anywhere we could hear or see the news and know anything more.
    The trial began .. so our attention HAD to be turned elsewhere (and that was not an easy thing!).  Broke for lunch .. but we were not sequestered .. so I went running for a phone again and called Dave.  While we were on the phone, the first tower began it's collapse.  That I 'yelled' out to anyone and everyone that was in the court corridor.  Had to repeat it, and then everyone started running for the doors.  There was a 'shopping mall' across the street .. and they would have banks of tv sets on in one of the electronic stores!   I didn't leave the courthouse.
    Then, we're excused early due to what was happening (we hadn't heard about the other incidents yet), and I'm in the car going home with radio on .. no music playing anywhere, just news reports and reporters trying to make sense of what had happened/was happening.  That's when I heard about the Pentagon .. and burst into tears behind the wheel as Dave's granddaughter was interning with the FBI in Washington DC and had been going back and forth to the Pentagon.   (she was fine)
    Got home, ran into the house, and sat glued to the tv in shock for the rest of the evening.  I don't remember eating, but I do remember calling Betsy Stinner as her daughter worked in that area of New York city.  (she heard from her the next day - no way to get calls through on day 1.)
    The next day trying to get INTO the courthouse was quite the event ... everything was on high alert.  The trial went on an extra 2 days as the main witness was coming from California and of course .. no flights .. he had to drive.  And from the second day on, we were sequestered and not allowed to talk on cell phones while on breaks there OR leave the building.
    All in all, I was in this trial for a full week .. 2 days of it was spent totally in deliberation as we could not come to a verdict easily (at one point we jurors were yelling at each other so loudly they could hear us up and down the hall and the bailiff had to come in to see if everything was ok .. we were stressed to the max!).

   It was so surreal.  I think it was because we were 'outside' of our normal lives during the whole tragedy. Nothing seemed real  - I was home glued to the tv by night.  I was in a courthouse in close proximity with 11 other strangers during the day, no one we knew and outside of our work/home surroundings.  We actually grew quite close to each other, yelling aside, and even had hugs and tears when jury duty was finally through.

   The things I've really noticed since 9/11 ...   we don't fly flags and show patriotism like we did for those days; we don't look out for each other (strangers) like we did for those days (at airports, etc); we don't pay attention to details like we did for those days;  we no longer 'come together' as a nation like we did. 

Apparently this will never happen again.     ??????? 
Do you remember .... OR .... did you forget

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer Vacations and Lost Minds!

    Had the best time going with Debbie to the Michigan Fiber Festival over in Allegan the weekend of August 20-22.  First time I've been camping there .. we took Debbie's pop-up camper and were able to park across the 'drive' from our friend Ree. Our feet were beat by the end of the weekend, but we really had a blast.  Of course, I spent more than I planned on spending .. even after I did an inventory before I went of all the wool I found I still had in stock (who knew?) .. but did spend my monies on wool I got a really great deal on and some hand-dyed silk blanks for doing nuno felting scarves on.
    Got back home and asked Dave if he wanted to see my 'finds', and being the great guy he is, of course he said sure (not very enthusiastically of course, but it was a positive response!). So I'm putting all the wool out in front of him, and telling him all about each batt and why I had to get it (two balls of wool were totally Debbie's fault .. she MADE me make 'eye contact' with them!), or why it was such a bargain,for me not to pass up, and showing him this and that, and, and, . Of course he's paying total attention to every word coming out of my mouth, not.  When I get done with my little 'show', I ask him ... "so what do you think?".  He looks at me and with a huge smile says .... "OMG!".   After I finished laughing and choking, I went upstairs and put it all away.

   Got back for one day at the shop and then left for Cheboygan and the wonder of Northern Michigan .. to be spent primarily in one of the huge stock barns at the County fair grounds 'sorting used clothing' from 40 gallon trash bags and huge cardboard boxes with my sister. Here I am .. the one who (will not go alone and who) cannot go into a Salvation Army store without holding my arms tight against my sides so I won't 'touch' anything .. willingly driving 340 miles one-way to put my hands into these bags and boxes without knowing exactly 'what' I may pull out along with clothing!  It's for the animals  .. I keep repeating .. it's for the animals ... and besides, I get a NEW tee shirt from the Humane Society for doing this!  And I'm such a tee-shirt whore .. I'll do just about anything if I'm going to get a tee shirt out of it!
   Up at 7 each morning to be at the fairgrounds by 9, then out to dinner with family or friends and then, back in bed by 10 back at my sisters house so that we can start the day all over again the next morning.  Feet aching, hand sanitizer, hot showers, but lots of laughter and actually 'some' fun! 
   I reached into this one trash bag of clothes, and under some jeans and shirts and socks, grabbed hold of ...... satin?????!  Pulled a bit and looked at it ... yep, satin, white satin with lots of jewelled sparkly stuffs embroidered on it.  Carefully pulled the rest of it up.  It was a wedding gown.  You probably already figured that out, right?  But did you think that it would be a brand new wedding gown that still had the price tags attached to it?  And did you think that it started out priced at $895.00 and was sold marked down to $703.00?  And that it was in impeccable condition,  other than somewhat wrinkled.  The storage bag was crumpled into a much smaller bundle beneath  the gown ... can you say this was "probably one really ticked off bride not to be"???!!! 
    Everything that is sorted and put out for 'purchase' is sold by 'donation only' .. whatever you feel it's worth, and hopefully knowing that the monies go directly back to the animals at the Humane Society, you'll donate generously.  There is one barn that is a 'priced' barn .. where the better items are assigned a small price instead.  We put the bridal gown in there rather than in the clothing barn with a $30.00 price tag on it.  I don't think it ever sold!  Long train, was 2 years old - so not that out of style.  If I could have fit into it, talked Dave into getting married again, and could convince people I was ABLE to wear white once again,  I would have had it in a heartbeat!!  It was so lovely! 
  Ok, so I was saying .. donation only.  One lady came through with two older daughters ... bagged up 3 40 gallon bags full of clothing (you couldn't close the bags) AND 2 huge boxes of clothing.   Gave us $5.00 for the lot.  There's people with a lot of gall out there!
 
   I decided to stay one day longer since they were short handed and really needed the help, and apparently that was my one day longer than I should have stayed.  That morning my throat started hurting.  That night I couldn't get to sleep it, and my left ear, hurt so badly.  I took a sleeping pill hoping to be able to sleep ... and around 2:40 am wanted to get in my car and quietly, without awaking my sister and Ken, drive myself in to the hospital.  Only problem .. I was sick.  I'd taken that damn pill and was woozy from the effects of it.  My cell phone didn't work  out where I was staying, so I had no way of calling the state police to tell them  I was on the highway somewhere heading 20 miles towards the hospital (or so I hoped!) and to come find me before I crashed.  So .. stayed in bed tossing and turning and moaning softly to myself.  
Managed to make it the 3 1/2 hour drive home where I collapsed into bed as soon as got there.  Went into the DR on Monday, severe ear/throat infection  calling for antibiotics and tons of water and lots of rest. 

    Tuesday I suddenly realized that I'd never made arrangements for my Camp Stitchalot 2011!  What WASN'T I thinking?  I guess that Ken Stinner's health crisis was weighing on my mind more than I realized .. and as soon as Camp was held  and over, I lost my mind and didn't realize I'd not scheduled anything for next year!  I LOVE Mary at The Comfort Inn ... called her and asked if I'd blocked off rooms for next year and she laughed, said no, but that she had made the block arrangements for me anyway!  LOL
    Now to find a designer/instructor who doesn't have anything already scheduled on her busy calendar for that weekend in March 2011.  Got a feeler out to one, and Debbie just gave me a good idea for a possible backup.  This is almost like the first year or so I was in business and doing retreats and didn't realize that you really needed to do the scheduling a year or so in advance instead of in 3-4 weeks.   sigh
 
   Going back into the shop tomorrow .. first time in what .. nearly 2 weeks?  Feeling better but still wipe out easily .. will take it slow anyway.  And will finally get my delinquent newsletter out on time .. with the end of summer holiday upon us all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I JUST WANNA STITCH damn it!!

   So there I was in the shop on Saturday close to closing and this wave of  "I gotta stitch something tonight or I'm going to die .. I must stitch .. I must cross stitch" swept over me.  OK .. this is good.  I've been felting for way too long - it's time to get back to my 'true love' and what better time than when you really really WANT to stitch something!  So .. this is good .. there are designs I've wanted to do!

  Opened up the book drawers and pulled out Lizzie Kate's "Eek Boo Hiss".  We'd just gotten in the prefinished banners for these designs from Stitch A Gift and I have been in love with that crazy cat ever since the chart came in!  That's it .. I'm going to stitch "Hiss"!   Pulled the fibers .. cool!  Went to get fabric ... what?  I'm out of 30ct Chestnut??  Dug through all the fabric .. no chestnut to be found.  Put the fibers back. Put the chart back.
That's OK .. the one I've really wanted to do is The Trilogy's "Sneak Peek Halloween" series .. and part 2 has already been released.  Oh no .. we're out of the 32ct Lime Belfast linen that Debbie chose to do hers on .. and it's a really cool color and I just have to do this design on that Lime green.  Looked up at the shelves in the back .. there's Debbie's "Stash Box" .. and well well lookie here ... there's a piece of Lime Belfast cut just for this design peeking out at me!  Being the kind benevolent shop owner/boss that I am, rather than just take the fabric, I called Debbie at home and whined about wanting to use her fabric until she gave in and granted me permission to 'steal it' from her box . as long as I'd reorder it for her.  Yes, I will .. cross my heart and hope to die . I'll reorder it!!  So happy once again ... pulled the fibers and the embellishment pack for the design and then went to the book drawers .. GONE!  No Chart!!  Oh shoot .. that's right .. I'd just reordered it on Friday!  This is not going well.  I have to stitch tonight and it has to be something I really really want to stitch or else I won't finish it (I may not finish it anyway .. I have 'ending' problems), but ... it has to sing out to me!

OK .. last night just saw for the first time The Stitcherhood's "My Cauldron" design.  I was going to order it on Monday morning ... but now .. I want to stitch it NOW!!  What to do, what to do. Thinking that maybe I can get an idea, if I can find a picture big enough, of where to start stitching ... and yes, I know .. that's like SO illegal!  But I am going to buy the chart .. I just want to start stitching it tonight!  And feeling guilty as hell, went to The Stitcherhood's website ... where ... what to my wondering eyes does appear ... but a button to click on to purchase a down loadable pdf chart of "My Cauldron"!!!!  Saints be praised .. now I don't have to sin in a stitcher-y way (which I really would never ever do, honest, but I just wanted to stitch in the worst way and ... sigh!).  Pay Pal is my friend .. purchased the chart, printed it off, and ta da .. I'm happy!!!

Only two colors of DMC floss.  DMC floss?  I don't want to stitch with regular old floss, so I pulled the two colors and matched them up to GAST Gold Leaf and WDW Onyx.  Now, onto fabric.  WHITE?  What is it with designers stuck in a box with boring old fabrics .. I want color, I want some splash, I want to have stitching fun!  So, went to the 30ct hand-dyes to select my shade. Nothing to be had!  Honest .. Diana was standing there laughing at me, but also offering suggestions.  Nothing worked ... oh, some went with the Onyx with no problem, but the 'gold' was going to be my problem child.  And others that would have worked, I didn't have a piece the size I needed!

OK .. lets look at the 28ct hand-dyed fabrics.  Are the forces of the universe working against me?  Will I have to turn to felting forever after all and give up stitching ... at least for tonight and tomorrow???  Nothing to be found.  Diana said that she couldn't believe we didn't have a purple of some kind, and a light went off in my head!  Jobelan!  I have hand-dyed Jobelan and I wonder if Lavender Sunset would work?!   ICK   But then ... there it was .. it was like a little fabric epiphany ... Stormy Grey!  I've been wanting to do something on that fabric but hadn't found the design for it yet ... and laid the two colors out ... and THIS WOULD WORK!
Happily left the shop for the night and went home.
Had to start the design in the center as the fabric wasn't 'quite' the size it should be to give me 3" all the way around, and I didn't want to be off center so .. counted up and over and inserted the needle.  I'm having to stitch words.  Did the  OVER  then counted up to  RUNNETH  and stitched those letters.  Now, starting at the very end of the world   CAULDRON (since it had the least counting to do that way), stitched that word.
Then .. gave myself a break from black and started to stitch one of the swirls in gold.  THIS IS FUN!!!

Looked at the design Monday night ..... and apparently Christmas was on my mind, even though it's way too early for Christmas thoughts ... but  NO L!   The word said   CAUDRON.   See .. no   L!
I'm sure someone would notice that, so started pulling out the CAU.  I'll start remedial spelling again tonight and maybe this time actually LOOK at the chart ... and the fabric .. as I'm stitching.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Felting At The Art Fair

   ..  of course I WAS felting while AT the Art At The Center ... figured that most would not have any idea of what my 'art' was all about otherwise.  And it was a good thing too .. heard so many comments on the order of ... "you knit and then throw it in the washer and dryer" (um, no washing machine or dryer or knitting involved here) ... "you make these out of felt" (thinking you'd buy sheets of felt and sew them somehow) ... and best of all ... "hey look, she's making something right now" and in they'd come to check it all out!  Did several mini lessons and garnered a lot of interest in not only the technique, but in the shop here in town too!  Quite a few took my card .. we'll see if they follow through.  Got some inquiries as to if I would do 'custom orders' too, and told them .. call me and we'll talk!

  Friday after work Dave and I went out to get the tent set up .. it was pretty breezy so we drove home and then drove back a bit later to make sure the tent hadn't flown off somewhere.  You could tell those who follow shows like this from place to place .. they had tubes of cement to attach to the tent poles to keep it where it was!  We figured that if we drove back again to check on the tent and found it was blowing around we'd just tie it down to that tent next to us!
 
  Saturday morning, got to the Community Center around 8:30am to start the display set up.  That's when I realized for sure that I WOULD need the two additional card tables Debbie would be bringing with her .. and came to a screaming halt. I didn't really think I had that much to bring, but in checking it over the night before found that with pincushions and all, I had 111 felted things!!!
 Luckily Debbie got there an hour or so later and I had time to do my thing.  People would be walking around while we were doing set up and coming in  to look.  A bit of a pain, but also a lot of fun.   :)   
  I will say that my 'sign' got a lot of attention! 
It was breezy but HOT ... so the sides were not attached to the tent, just the overhead for shade.  Every time the breeze kicked up, fairies would go flying, Santa tried to fly without his reindeer, bowls would roll .. kept Debbie and I busy (and well exercised) sitting down then leaping up to pick up felted peoples and put them back and then sit down only to jump up again as "Baaaabs" and "Frankie" tried to run away.  That's how we spent the day .. from noon till 8pm. 

Early afternoon, two women came into the tent to AWARD me a 2nd Place ribbon and check for $75.00!  I'd been voted as 2nd best at the art fair .. and they told me that their artist judges 'overwhelemly' voted for me!  What a thrill .. how cool is that?!  I'm still up in the air over it!
    Sunday, got to the Center around 9am.  It was pretty windy that day .. and Hotter!  I tried to get things set up leaving the sides of then tent and part of the back wall 'down'.  Things were a shakin'!  Finally got boxes that had some weight to them, and set them over the sides of the tent as well as tried to get the sides underneath the table legs (that was 'almost' a disaster .. but finally worked!).  While my creations didn't 'fly' away like the day before, they did try to run around the tent a bit.  LouAnn got into the catch and release game of it pretty quickly.  The sales on Sunday were with people who had been in on Saturday and kept hearing a felted scupture call out their name to them all that night .. so they had to come back to get it!
Also had two people come in who had been called by friends to come see what I was exhibiting .. they wanted to give me information on applying to show at two different art fairs that were coming up.  One at the Renaissance Fair, the other at the Flint Institute of Art!    wowsers

Although there were more in attendance on Saturday than there were on Sunday, it would appear that when the 'sides were not up', more would actually come into the tent to look around.  Something else that was interesting .. on Saturday, just about every man who came in, picked up one of these two bowls.
On Sunday, forget about the bowls .. it didn't matter whether a guy came in or was just walking by .. "Ivan and His Bunny" got all the male attention that day!  Go figure!

All in all .. it was a fun experience (with the exception of an hour or so where Debbie and I looked at each other and said ... "so this is what boredom feels like!"    :)  I didn't sell out  but I did do $230 in sales, so I paid for the tent AND the space rental plus had a bit left over.  I did get 2nd Place!  I had interest in felting classes and showing what felting was all about; Had people find out I had a needlework shop here in town;  and was asked to submit entries for other shows.  I even got some sun!!   
Now I have the task of taking pictures of everything left from different angles so I can add them to my etsy store!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Kindle Incident Experience

Ok .. so I fried my Kindle.  Apparently one should never have their Kindle turned on AND plugged into the hard drive and hit reboot on their computer.
Live and Learn ... Dave doubt's I'll ever learn!  BUT I HAVE with this experience.  So had to get a new Kindle .. what to do, what to do ... order a brand new one at the super sale price of $189 OR order a factory refurbished one at $90.00.  Decisions, decisions .. wait, I have no money ... ok, factory refurbished it is!
What was so INCREDIBLE about the "Kindle Incident" was Amazon support!
Went into their website  to see what I could do, and after attempting their often requested solutions to problems such as mine, found where you could e-mail for live tech support help.  A small form to fill out and a place to CLICK that says:   e-mail me     or     call me.
Clicked on CALL ME ... and the phone immediately rang! I mean immediately .. my hand hadn't even left the mouse yet!  And there was Amazon Kindle Tech Support on the line for me!!  The nicest woman to talk to ... I told her "hottest day of the year and I do this to my Kindle and now I was going to go home and kick my dog".  She says .. "no no no don't kick your dog.  If it's that hot out, get one of those water guns and shoot at him .. you'll feel better and he'll cool down getting wet!" .. and she had a sense of humor too!
Of course, the outcome was I needed the new Kindle.  She double checked my payment info and put the order in.  That was on Wednesday .. the Kindle arrived on Friday.  And they shipped it BEFORE I even put the 'toasted' one off in the mail to them .. with their prepaid return postage, I might add!
I hate that I did what I did .. but I am more than astounded with the quality of Amazon's tech support!
Almost Surreal!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No - no - say it ain't so!

Downloaded Jim Butcher's latest Harry Dresden "Changes" to my Kindle and started reading.  Went through it like a little whirlwind ... and then I got to the ending.  Went forward ... no, that was the end.  Went back a couple of pages ... still the same ending. Dave had been impatiently waiting for me to get through it .. I deliberately didn't tell him I had it downloaded until I'd started reading .. he would have laid claim to the book device before I got to it!  So when I announced I'd finished it, he pounced!
He was nearly through it this morning and couldn't stop reading!  I took a look-see and saw he'd be through in a little while, so stayed home waiting for him to finish.  I wanted to see his face when he got to the ending.  Needless to say, Debbie beat me to the shop this morning!  Dave felt the same way I did ... ".. Butcher had better come out with another book within the next week or so - we can't wait!  This had better NOT be the end of the series!"  I'm sure we'll be discussing this further when I get home tonight.
Ok .. now I have a phew and a not-so-phew.
Not So Phew:  Just found out Changes is NOT The end of the series!
Phew:  Next edition isn't due out till March 2011.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Stuffs!

   New Stuffs just poured through the door of the shop today ... Pine Mountain Designs, Samsarah Designs, Just Another Button Company, Rosewood Manor, and .. Lizzie Kate!
   Now I'm in trouble .. I HAVE to stitch her new Christmas Rules series .. I must stitch it! And, upon looking at her Giggle Boxer - All You Need Is Love And Chocolate - have decided that I must stitch that one too.  I'm going to turn it into a 'wedding/anniversary' design by putting (or trying to put) mine and Dave's name where the squiggles are at the very bottom.  We're both such huge chocoholics ... we hide chocolate on each other.  He puts his stash on the top shelf in the pantry .. I'd have to haul a chair over and stand on tippy-toes to get to that shelf.  Don't tell him .. I hide mine in the bathroom linen closet.   hee hee hee
And I got a good look at "Eek Boo Hiss" and that CAT is just too too funny!  Dare I say it .. another addition to the stash pile?

And got a brochure catalog today from Shepherd's Bush of all their new kits .. will have to scan those tomorrow and add them to the website so you can see too!  I love SB - always have since even before they were 'SB' and were designing for Vanessa Ann!
    And .. I want to FELT Samsarah's Hip Hop Moo ... with the cow jumping over the moon!  That would be a stitch (so to speak) in wool!
   That's what I did today .. brought in a huge box of felted sculptures to the shop where the light is good and there's a flat table with no cats strolling around to get in the way.  I took pictures of each one .. from 4 different angles.  Have decided to put them up on my Etsy shop FIRST to see if they sell there .. and if they don't, they're going to the Art Show anyway .. and if they do sell, I'll just have to make more!  Now to find the time to reduce the images, check the brightness/contrast of each, get the text written and put in all the keywords and then upload them to DebFeltIt on Etsy.  After I figure out pricing of course.

You should see the lump/bruise/slight break in skin by my knee where that dratted pony kicked me!!!
Have no idea IF they were found or are still running free .. hope they're fine though wherever they are! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wild Reading Too!

A friend (Thanks Cathy!!) turned me on to an author's (J. A. Konrath) series (Jack Daniels mysteries).  I LOVE them!  A bit too 'gorey' for late night in bed reading, but so far I've not had any nightmares where the story continues in my brain.  (read them in order to have them make the most sense!)  The problem with a series is ... when you get to the last one, you have to WAIT for the next to come out!  Someone should do something about that!!

I DO have a book to start tonight .. a real live paper turn the page book,  not on my Kindle.  When I was in Columbus for the Trade Show Market, Theresa and I took an afternoon cab ride to this really cool book store - The Book Loft In German Village - that is located in a former 'house' and is nearly a block long!   32 ROOMS of books .. each room a different section; each room having different music playing in it.  You'd think there would be a cacophony of sound, but you only heard "BOTH" musics as you were leaving one room and entering another.  I guess the 'books' absorbed the sound ... pretty cool!
Anyway ... the book I had to buy for myself is "Three Bags Full" .. A Sheep Detective Story!  I read the first paragraph and broke out laughing .. all alone in a room full of books and laughing till I nearly cried!  I'd try to read a piece of the book to Theresa and don't think she could understand me through my giggling!
Here's the 'review':  In this refreshingly original detective story from debut German author Swann, a flock of sheep investigates the murder of their beloved shepherd, George Glenn. Leading the effort is Miss Maple, considered the cleverest sheep in the Irish seaside village of Glennkill. She slyly "pretends" to graze while eavesdropping on suspects who come to search George's caravan for something he may have died for. When a long-lost ram recounts an incident that occurred upon his departure years earlier, Miss Maple uncovers the catalyst for George's death. The wooly troupe reveals the crime's solution in a near-Shakespearean mime at the annual "Smartest Sheep in Glennkill" contest. The author's sheep's-eye view and the animals' literal translation of the strange words and deeds of the human species not only create laugh-out-loud humor but also allow the animals occasional flashes of accidental brilliance.
I LOVE BOOKS!

Welcome to my WILD Life!

First off, you'll be amazed to know that last night, after I wrote my Friday update Newsletter and after 5 days of hysterically searching for that lost tote of 'stuff' .. I found it!  In a large SEE-THRU tote bag I'd brought back from Market with me, under several skeins of wool yarn and some felting batt. Dave just covered his face with one hand and didn't make eye contact with me (without giggling) for about 20 minutes.
sigh

This morning started off with my being forced off my country dirt road by three wayward ponies. Called 911 and got Genesee County- they forwarded me to Oakland county's 911 because that was the cross road. After 20 minutes of holding the only one who had a halter on, and being kicked (slightly), turned him loose to rejoin his 2 other buddies (it was a glorious reunion!!). Since we're out in the 'boonies', the State Police are the ones who will be coming .. and it 'could' take them the better part of a day to come out on that call.
Last I saw, they were gleefully trotting across a 30 acre tree/field area ... going who knows where.
Did call local police when I got to the shop .. was told it wasn't their jurisdiction.  sigh   They forwarded me back to 911 again!  We had quite the windstorm last night and I'll bet you that's when they must have gotten loose.
I told 'everyone' that I just wanted to notify them the threesome were heading out of one county into another in case someone called looking for them.
At least the ponies didn't head for my garage to bunk with the squirrels!!

Then, once I turned onto the main pavement which is 45 mph but everyone tries to go 55 mph, I put the brakes on as there was a HUGE snapping turtle right in the middle of my lane heading toward the lake.  The cars coming up behind me did not appreciate my caring about nature and it's critters (I was NOT getting out of the car and picking up a snapper that had a shell wider than a basketball who was intent on getting to where he was going!).  After oncoming traffic cleared, I was able to cross over the center lane to avoid Mr. Yurtle The Turtle .. and as the car behind me swung out and passed me AT THAT TIME and gave me a 'salute' of one kind .. I waved and gave him a HUGE smile!
Now .. at the shop. No sign of wildlife here today!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Designers are people too!

    Had a customer the other day quite outraged that it was taking 3+ weeks to receive the items she had ordered.  She wanted two hand-painted frames to go with specific much older designs, and several charts that needed to be ordered directly from the designer and not through a distributor.  Even though the frames were quite a bit older, she just couldn't figure out why the designer (1) didn't already have them made, and (2) what was taking the charts so long.  It should only take a couple of days she'd figured.
    In our needle art Industry, we are really the 'mom and pop' businesses of 'yore.  The designers do not have warehouses in which to store thousands of charts and frames.  They have a spare room in their home, or part of the basement.  When they run out of stock, they do not automatically 'make more' ... it's a supply and demand business.  If a chart hasn't sold in 8 years lets say, and the chart needs to be re-printed, it probably won't be.  At least, not immediately.  Why pay that kind of money in the hopes that someone, rather many hundreds of someone, will now want multiple charts of that design?  The same for 'custom hand-painted frames' .. when out of stock, another will be made when there is that call for it.
     Plus, in this mom and pop industry we know and love so well, designers do not have 'people' sitting around manning phones waiting for orders to be called in, people packing up orders.  They have 'themselves'.  They do not have a design studio they 'go' to .. they design in their homes.  And, just like you and me, the designers have a life.  Sometimes a family illness or tragedy befalls. There is no one in their 'office' to take over in crisis times like that. (I remember one customer who was calling us daily about her order .. and the designer had had a major heart attack.  The customer was informed this, but that didn't seem to make a difference .. she wanted her order!)  Sometimes a designer is planning for their childs' wedding or college .. and the design part of the business has to be put on a back burner until they can get back to it. Sometimes a designer goes on a vacation. There is no one left at home to run their business for them. It all waits until their return.  In this customer's case ... the designer was on a business trip in Europe.  We didn't know she was.  And said designer didn't have to tell us that she was going on a business trip and since I'd e-mailed the order in, there was no answering machine message advising me of this.
    Illness, death, divorce, weddings, college, babies, vacations .. just like us, the designers have these happening in their daily lives too.  And since they are a 'designer', it's up to them to balance their business with their life events, just like we are forced to do.
    Just thought I'd put in a good word for the men and women that keep our fingers so stitchingly entertained!  Designers - I appreciate you!

    And just a side line that has nothing to do with this blog ... at the top right hand side of this page is the LINK to my Etsy store - Deb Felt It ... the little 'black sheep with the big Etsy heart'!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I'm Gonna Go To A Concert!!!

     Carole King and James Taylor are coming to the Palace Of Auburn Hills for their one-night only "Troubadour Reunion" concert ... Thursday May 27.
 
  I have been pondering this for the past week (ish) ever since I heard the announcment.  Now I don't know WHY I had to ponder it as  (1) Carole King is my all time most favorite ever in the whole entire world singer;  (2) I've seen her in concert 3 times;  (3) I own ever single album, cassette, or cd she's ever released;  (4) I know just about all of her songs word for word and tune for tune (I'm not yet quite a stalker); (5) James Taylor is my most favorite male singer even though I've never had the opportunity to see him 'live' (Simon & Garfunkle rate as best duo, and of course, the Beatles reign supreme as my most favorite group!).
  
  So Saturday, once I got the computers back up and running here at the shop, I went into Ticketmaster to see about tickets.  Of course, all the 'really great' ones were gone, but .. tickets WERE still available!  I thought about calling home to ask Dave if he was interested, but then thought no .. he'll have to ponder that question and if he wants to or not for the next several weeks .. at the shortest.  Grabbed my trusty, unfortunately not so dusty, MasterCard and hit PURCHASE TICKETS!  ta da .... two tickets purchased ... done!
    Then I left for home ... told Dave what I'd done and asked if he'd go with me, and stood there with my arm around his waist ... for the longest time ... while he pondered. (told ya so!) Then he asked me, how long would the concert be from when we got there till when we left. I should have known! Dave won't go any place where he'll be forced to go 2 hours (and one minute) without smoking a cigarette. deep sigh


So there I was with two tickets for the concert ... and no one to go with.
   :(

WAIT!   I'll check with some friends first to see if one of them would like to attend the concert with me ... I'll 'gift' that extra ticket out!  Then I realized, that if someone was going to go with me, even if it was for free, certain requirements would have to be met first .. as that person would be sitting right NEXT to me:
(1) They would be attending AND realizing that I am now like a small child counting the days down till Christmas morning and am absolutely beside myself awaiting this event.
(2) I will probably spontaniously break out into song (although softly) even though I've never been asked to record anything using my own voice.
(3) I will be excited. See #1
(4)  And if riding together, they would have to listen to me talk all about the concert we'd just seen all the way home .. in all that concert traffic.

    Kathy, with a very LOUD e-mailed  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! agreed to all conditions and even said she has a 'lighter app' on her phone so we can show JT and Carole just how much we love them at the end of the show!
    I saw where Amazon has the Toubador cd available for purchase of today and .... decided to wait.  I want to be surprised first at the concert, then I'll purchase it so I can hear it over and over and over again!
Whooo Hooooooo

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Felting and Banging Head Against Computer Screen

Computer down .. main computer of course - the one all our emails are accessed from - and we can't get on line.  This has been all day and still the problem continues.  Wish I was a better computer geek, but so far .. have done everything I can think of.  Oh well.  There's always Monday!

Did some felting this past week ... waiting for Dave to cut down this huge dead tree limb so he can then cut 'disks' about 1 1/2" thick for me to 'mount my birdies' on.  Been asking him for 3 days now ... did you cut my wood for me yet?  sigh  I'd do it myself, but somehow the idea of 'me' with a chain saw in hand ... well, we'll just say the visual of that would involve probably self-dismemberment.  Maybe tonight they'll be waiting for me when I get home for glue and acorn embellishing?

Not sure how long leggedy they'll be when they're mounted, but the legs will still be long!

I've added the rest to my Etsy store ... bunny, frog, and goose girl. 
The man - Ivan - needs a bit more work still needs a bit more work.
His legs were too skinny so I gave him baggy pants.  Now his feet look too dainty, so he needs to go 'shoe shopping' for bigger boots. And of course, the armature I used wasn't the kind I normally use for 'free standing' sculptures, so he's a bit wobbley.  Perhaps a fence support or something?  His jacket is absolutely marvelous ... thick and soft .. alpaca wool ... so it looks LIKE a fur coat!
More later!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Felted Bowls and Forgotten Design

Thought you might want to see how the "Saturday In The Shop" wet felted vessel came out! Took it home to dry in front of the woodstove Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon, picked and played a bit with the mohair & wool yarn (from Ozark Handspun) I'd used in the construction. Got it a bit fuzzy and ... well, I'm quite proud of it. Calling it "Fuzzy Plums"!

And .. I remembered in time to actually order one for me .. the chart I'd seen on the Needlework Show ... from Ladybug Designs and entitled "Want Some Milk" .. it's the stitch version of one of my framed art posters by Steinlin.  (mine, mine .. it'll be all mine!)

Added a couple more items to my etsy store this late afternoon too.  We'll see what happens there.
Dead day at the shop today, customer wise .. but that was ok!  Shorthanded today AND had to stay chained to the computer in the back (dungeon) most of the day while I sorted, compiled, and placed orders with The Needlework Show.  Tomorrow will be quite a bit busier .. shipments to get out!

Hey .. does anyone know how to spell check on blogger now?  The text box has changed and I can't find a way to do it at all!  (as you may have noticed)


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday in the shop ...

... doesn't feel like the 4th of July!

Sloooooow day today.  Hope it's because everyone is shopping The Online Needlework Show and making their selections to send to us before the show ends at midnight Sunday/tomorrow night.  I know I've found several new designs that the shop CANNOT live without having .. and one that I must do .. now (yeah, like that's going to happen).  I collect the poster art prints of Theophile-Alexandre-Steinlen and found one of my larger framed posters converted into cross stitch!  Now if I could ONLY remember WHO it's by!!  I'll have to cruise the entire show designer listing again to find it (note to self .. should have written it down.  where's the paper?  what happened to my pen?  what was I doing??)

Did get creative though.  I had some wool batting here and .. showed LouAnn how to create a wet felted vessel - bowl - container - whatever.  It's drying in the bathroom right now.  Didn't have my steamer with me but managed to 'create' some defination to the sides without it.
it's quite plumy-purple and is shown here "upside down" while drying out.

I also decided to open an Etsy store (today) with some of my felted sculptures, pincushions and vessels.  Just a few things in there right now, but more will be added as they're created. 
I have such second thoughts about an Etsy store ... it makes ME think that by doing so, I "think" I'm really good, and I don't feel that way about me at all.  Don't know .. maybe this will bring some extra monies into the shop, maybe not.  We'll see.  My store name is   Deb Felt It   and the address is http://www.etsy.com/shop/DebFeltIt