Sunday, December 20, 2009

With APOLOGIES to Clement C. Moore

'Twas 5 days before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The fur-babies were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-frosted squirrels danced in their heads;

And dad in his sweatpants, and I without a cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When inside the bedroom wall there arose such a clatter,
We knew immediately just what was the matter.

To that wall I wanted to fly like a flash,
With sledgehammer in hand and a loud evil laugh.
They were playing chase the acorn and then roll the walnut began,
That squirrel and 37 of his closest friends .. at 2:30am.

But I couldn't destroy walls my husband reminded me in time,
So I turned on the lamp and read a good book (even though that doesn't rhyme).
And I heard that squirrel exclaim, before his party was through,
"Happy Christmas to all .. Deb lives in a zoo."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

it's the weekend and I'll blog if I wanna ....

Thought I'd share what I've been working on the past couple of weeks on my days off .. more scarf felting .. what can I say? It's fun!
I had made this first one (at right) this past September .. Dave called it the 'swiss cheese effect'. Then I decided it had to be a 'more' warm weather scarf and 'added' to it. I like the way it came out this way too (it's below)! Definitely looks more like Michigan weather ware than the first time around!

A bit of glitz and some funky chunky yarns woven through the wool created the brown on brown with touches of turquoise scarf above.
Then I went with another double sided scarf ... argyle pattern on one side and overlaid shades of greens, blues and blacks on the other side. It's quite thin and would make an great indoor 'fashion type' scarf .. but since it IS 100% Merino Wool, it will work under a coat outside too!
The scarf at right is predominately browns, greys, mauves and pale blues. Again, has some chunky yarns laid through it. It's another very lightweight scarf and very soft!
Then we come to my 'inspiration masterpiece'! I had the idea just spring into my wee little brain for this one while making a previous scarf and just started to play. I really had no intention of making any more, but ... ! It's a mixture of Merino wool, bits of acrylic glitz and some Angelina, and a fiber mixture (a secret mohair/merino/nylon/silk and "Bling" bits) from Pagewood Farms called 'tinkerbell fluff'. I've got a picture of the 'fluff' at far left, but my assortment - of course - was all Whites and Creams with bits of gold, silver and bits and pieces of color mixed in with it.
It took nearly 4 times as long to felt, but the result is incredible!! I've never felt anything as soft as this one - I brought some in to the shop today for Show And Tell and everyone was going crazy over this one too .. so it's not just me!! And it looks like you can see right through it to other layers too ... c'est magnifique!!!
Now I did say "I was done" ... but decided that tomorrow I'll do just one more! It's an addiction ... help me ... make it stop ... I'm supposed to be cross stitching!!!
One more .. just one more I promise!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Corrected Tech Info and Stitching

Ok ok ok ... Debbie has pointed out to me that my little freebie toy is NOT an iPod ... it's an MP3 player. A cheap one at that, but NOT an iPod. toMAYtoes/toMAHtoes

Got a bit of felting done yesterday ... but didn't turn out well. Going to have to see what I can do to rescue this scarf on Wednesday as I really don't want to start all over again. Spent the evening last night stitching on Raise The Roof's "Christmasland". Still on chartpack #1, but it's coming along.

Put the tree up .. it's a little fake one, a tall thin (can you say THIN) Alpine tree .. but it's up and decorated. Stuck off in a corner by the wood stove where I can see it from my stitching/tv chair. Why have a tree up if you can't see it whenever you look up? And that my dear, is WHY it's a fake .. it's very very hot in that corner by the stove!
Thinking about the ornaments I put on it "this" year. Decided to bring down a box of my old favorites (aka extremely breakable) as Padme has experienced Christmas trees, and really doesn't give them a thought .. as long as she can lay under it. Mocha, the very well behaved princess, could care less .. as long as the tree isn't where she 'usually sleeps', she's fine with it.
Anyway .. thinking about the ornaments and realized that .. with the exception of 4 unbreakable ornies on the lowest branches just in case the temptation becomes too great .. there isn't an ornament on it that is LESS than 20 years old. Actually, I think most of mine are in the 30-year old range, and then those from my grandmother are in the 70 to 90-year old range. And I have a vintage 1930's star at the very top! Each one has a lot of meaning to me, and to see them on my tree again, brings a smile to my mind!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Music N Felting N Stitching N Things

The "Sting" CD is gone .. sold .. thank you to my bud Theresa at Homestead Needlearts, I've been able to afford a hot Cappuccino for the past two days!! And most interesting of all ... "she" REALLY likes that CD. Takes all kinds I guess (ducking)

Now I've got a new bit of technology ... my very first iPod!!! Not state of the art by any means .. it was a 'free with $100 purchase' at one of the office supply stores .. so that kind of gives you an idea of just how 'fantastic an iPod' this really is! LOL With the remainder of my gift certificate from Amazon, I purchased Rod Stewart's newest "Soulbook". I couldn't get it to 'load' on the device ... I had a customer's husband spent time trying to download it (while his wife shopped - got him out of her hair for awhile!) and he couldn't get it working. So Tuesday I had Debbie do it for me .. she's my chief techie here .. and she had problems too. But would not be daunted, and 'finally' got it on the iPod for me!! whoo hooo
She did report, however, that one of the ear buds did NOT work.
So I got to listen to a bit of it in 'mono' and not stereo on the way home ... and it wasn't loud at all! In fact, could hardly hear it over the sound of my car tires!

Pulled out the ear buds I bought for my Kindle, and listened a bit more on the drive into work the next morning. Still couldn't get that volume to go up. Obviously this device was developed by some one's MOM ... 'don't want to ruin your hearing with that loud music'!!
Disgusted ... oh well, at least this thingy didn't cost me 'anything' other than the office supplies I would have been ordering anyway!

Then .. on the way home last night .. tried to give it 'one last try'. Hey .. you really CAN get the music out of an iPod IF you have the earplug device pushed ALL THE WAY IN!
And .. even better .. I discovered on the way back to the shop this morning that ... my Kindle ear bud things even have a 'volume turnerupper/downer' built right onto the cord!!!! And to think I flew all the way home using the Kindles' volume up and down instead!
I'm so incredibly observant!!!
This means I'm now rather pleased with my little iPod freebie, AND 'most' of the songs on my new Rod Stewart. His scratchy voice was perfect for ALL of the "Great American Songbook" CD's he'd done but I think he's rather reaching on "Soulbook" .. but it's not a loss .. think I'll keep it!!! LOL

Hopefully I'll be able to stay home all day tomorrow! Worked my day off here at the shop for Debbie and that screwed up my carefully planned out schedule of (1) taking mom out to shop (2) felting another scarf (3) getting my hair cut and (4) putting up the tree. Now I have two scarves to make tomorrow as well as put up the tree. Don't think there's enough hours tomorrow for all of that though...deep sigh!!! Under a deadline here to get Christmas gifts out in time and .. once again I'm in crunch time - just when I thought I had it all together. Will have to wait till Weds. to do 'some' of it ... maybe I can put mom off tomorrow too!

Also waiting for my next installment of Bent Creek's Christmas Branch - the owl - to arrive. If it doesn't' come today, I'll be on the 'email' with BC to find out why! They 'rarely, if ever' have their newest to Hoffman and Norden even within 2 weeks of a shop getting their auto. And I've not gotten my auto yet .. HDC and NC have the new ones though! And Kathy just informed me that so do some 'other shops' ... as of early last week!!!! aarrgghhh Not like I don't have anything to stitch .. I've just started Raise The Roof's "Christmasland". I can't do scarf making in the evening at home ... not enough light to see exactly what I'm doing. Except for my two stitching areas and Dave's chair (Ott-Light Heaven), our living room is very dark.

oops .. store is open .. time to get to work!

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!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stitching N Updating

I wanted to share with you my latest, back from the framer, silk gauze 'masterpiece' ... from Blue Ribbon Designs, this is "Americana Panorama" on 40ct.
I chose a 'backing' mat board that was as similar in color as the Woodsmoke fabric Belinda chose for her model, but the ivory gauze lightens it up a bit. The frame is from Eastside Mouldings and is a deep country/brick red.
HAD I KNOWN she was going to be doing a "Winter White Wonderland" panorama (not released yet), I would have waited! I'm such a winter/Christmas junkie when it comes to stitching, and have never owned a single patriotic stitchery ... oh well, I do now .. and I really like it!!
It's on display in the shop now where you can easily 'see' it!
And I just updated my SPECIALS page of my web site with ALL the SPECIALS AND SALES that will be going on during the month of OCTOBER .. in order by date .. go take a look-see! (if you do not see October with the flying witch at the top ... hold down your CTRL key at the same time as you click on the refresh symbol!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stitchin N Stuffs

What an exhausting week last week was! LouAnn, Debbie and I were all walking attempting to talk zombies by end of the day on Saturday .. but all Market goodies had been sorted through and put out on display, boxes thrown out, and invoices stuck where invoices go. It's a good thing! Another good thing is being able to sleep for 13 hours STRAIGHT on Saturday night/Sunday morning!! Not Dave, not the dog, not the cats .. no one woke me up! That felt good .. and then I just kicked back and read/stitched the day away. And that was a good thing too!

I was thinking about the upcoming A Stitchalot Weekend Oct. 16, 17 & 18 .. and have decided NOT to teach the witch felting class I was thinking of doing.
INSTEAD ... you will have the opportunity to purchase a kit or kits ... and learn the technique right there so that you will have a completed project to take with you when you leave the weekend. You'll get me to answer questions and assist or teach the technique to you as you do it ... kind of a one on one, but FOR FREE (yep - I'm free that weekend - LOL), and when you want to learn it.
I'll have a variety for you:
Needle Felting (1) with the new Mitten Kits, either go free style and artistic yourself, or follow a paint stencil for your design.
Needle Felting (2) with the kits from Lorna where you start with a pre-felted body egg shape and go from there.

Artfelt Felting .. where you'll be creating a small purse pouch/pocket with your choice of fibers and embellishments. aka = wet felting the EASY way using your creativity in laying out the wools AND using a dryer!
Needle Punch .. from a new designer I found at Market are the most adorable little Angel Face PINS to make and wear. There will also be a little "Snow Girl With Holly" available as well!

All you need to do is purchase your kit or the supplies needed (and I'll have everything in the SNT Boutique there at the hotel, and then I'll take it from there for you! All 4 types of projects are very quick, incredibly easy, and you can take one or two or all whenever the mood suits you - not at a scheduled time!
We're gonna have FUN!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Buying N Flying N Things

Phew! Sorry for the so late blog about Market, but this morning is the first chance I've had to catch my breath (and also the first chance to get to the shop hours before anyone else so that I CAN catch my breath)!

MARKET WAS PHENOMENAL!! What more can I say? I honestly think that this Market was perhaps the best one in a very long time .. less rushed, quality designs wherever I looked, and more fun! There were not as many shops attending that there should have been (IMHO) and four of the scheduled vendors/designers were not able to attend due to health issues or duplicate booking issues, but .. we had 5 FLOORS to peruse! And besides the counted threads and needlepoint, there were some knitting, some punch needle, some accessory bags or embellishments or gadgets or lighting supplies, and a couple that carried felting supplies. I managed to get into every room there I believe .. of course I hit my cross stitch rooms first, and then on Sunday, after my 'scheduled shopping rounds' were completed, I got to do some "deb shopping" just for me!

I taught my Silk Gauze Class Friday morning and I do believe it was a success! That's what I was hearing that is, from not only the participants later on the shopping floors, but also from some other shops AND from Kreinik ! That afternoon I took a felting class from Judy Bielec .. just for fun .. where we created a 'witch head' .. that was another FUN fun FUN class!!

My BFF Sharon (who lives in Jackson MO, just above Cape G) arrived on Friday afternoon. So after a bit of dinner, we were able to do some of the 'early bird' shopping with those designers who decided to open early for us.

I also had some of my gauze models with me, so offered them for display to La D Da ("Friends Forever", "Leaping Cat", and "Girl In Red Dress)), Carriage House Samplings (look at her blog link from here you can see her room; the 3rd picture down shows my "Happy Hallo'ween" laying down flat, with hers' standing up at the left), Erica Michaels (her "Random Threads" in an Olde Colonial Treasure Box), and Michelle Ink's "Outside The Lines" (she had her stitched piece there and hung mine above it .. how cool to see them together like that!)

Saturday we shopped together like fiends, and ordered pizza in that night so we could sit in the room and I could start adding to my web catalog while she started packing boxes she'd brought for me. Sunday Sharon had to leave before noon. Hugs all around - it was SO GOOD to be able to spend time with her!!

I borrowed a 'flat cart' from Matt at Norden Crafts about 3:35pm with promises that I'd have it back in their room by 4 minutes to 4:00 (when Market officially closed), and hauled butt up to my room, loaded up *5* (count em .. FIVE) Boxes of merchandise, and off I went to the in-hotel UPS room .. where I was leaving them to be shipped home to the shop. No way could I bring them back with me, not flying like I was! I did have some items 'in one suitcase' (I'd brought an extra inside my first suitcase just for that purpose). Some shop owner in the elevator when I was heading to the UPS room made a comment about my 'breaking my room down early' (which is a no-no IF you are a vendor) .. I told her I was a 'shop' but apparently she didn't believe me as she reported to the Show Staff that there had been a vendor all packed up before 4pm ... sigh).

Baggage costs on flights now is crazy .. Delta/Northwest charged $20 for the 1st bag, $30 for the second, and IF a bag was 50# or over, it would have been an ADDITIONAL $90 fee! So .. it cost me around $83.00 to ship product via UPS back to Michigan, and $70 just to get my suitcases back and forth!!! Dave suggested that next year, so I could still spend time with Sharon, I should fly only ONE-way, and then he'd drive to MO and pick me up along with all my purchases and bring me back home. That sounds like a winner .. and a major money saver too!!

Flying back .. got on the plane to head back to Michigan and the first thing that's announced is that there is some 'problem' with the plane and as soon as they get that fixed, we'd be on our way. Comforting! Then got on the connecting flight from Detroit to Flint where I got to 'argue (nicely) with the flight attendant about my Kindle .. I had a book on tape and also a book to read downloaded to it. They had announced all wireless electronical devices be turned off. She walked by and saw me reading .. I told her it WAS off. I even pointed to the icon that SAID off. She said I had to turn it off anyway. I told her since it was off, I would be unable to make it any more 'off'. She said it was on. (sigh) I told her that even though she could see words on the

page (screen), the device was off, it was a memory battery operated, there was no wireless .. that I could put the screen saver on, but it would still be the 'same off' that it was right now.

I won.

Then we were told by the pilot that dye to weather conditions, it would be a bumpy trip, and that we would be flying 'low', under 4000 feet, to try to avoid most of it. Then he told us there would be about a 25 minute delay on the runway due to the amount of planes taking off. After sitting on the runway in position for about 20 minutes, he came back on the speaker and said there was a problem with the passenger door not closing properly and we were ordered back to the gate to have that fixed/checked out. (I kind of figured since we were going to be under 4000 feet anyway, there wouldn't be any worries IF the door blew off .. it was a 20 minute flight anyway so we'd just be a bit chilly, but .. I'm not the pilot so back to the gate we headed.)

A little vehicle pulled up to the plane (I had a window seat near the front) and this guy gets out .. comes on board, and after about 2 minutes I heard him tell the pilot he couldn't see where the problem could be so he was 'signing off' on the flight and we could resume. THEN .. this guy walked back to his little vehicle, got in and closed his door .. which immediately popped back open! He jerked it closed .. and it popped back open again! He pulled it closed again and reached for his cell phone, and the door flew back open! It took him 6 attempts to close his OWN door .. and he said 'our door' was OK?? I was laughing out loud.

Dave picked me up, I got back to the shop Tuesday morning and started on the stuff I'd flew back with me. Yesterday (weds) UPS delivered my 5 boxes full (123# off needlework stuffs) and the unpacking began in earnest with me unpacking, LouAnn entering into our register system, and Debbie beginning stuffing your order bags. Today LouAnn will be ringing through some orders, I'm still unpacking (1 and 3/4 boxes are sorted), and Debbie will still be sorting the items into the appropriate order bags. We were all totally exhausted last night .. tonight will be more of the same I'm sure!

But .. this was FUN .. and it really still is! I had such a great time at St. Charles .. visiting with shop owner friends, with designer friends, chatting with new friends .. I love going to Market and this one was not one to miss!! You can see what Carriage House and Blackbird Designs' rooms looked like at Market if you follow the links to their blogs from this page. You can see what is all new on my "What's New" page - you'll have to look at every page (as it will show by date added there, not alphabetical). I have to go unpack more now!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's MARKET Time!

... singing ... All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go ....... I'm leaving on a jet plane , don't know when I'll be back again ....
Well, not really .. I AM leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning and my bags ARE all packed, but I DO know when I'm coming back. I'll be in the shop on Tuesday with all the new stuffs I've purchased from market and was able to put in a suitcase (I've packed a suitcase within a suitcase!). The rest will be shipped UPS and .. hopefully will not trail too far behind me!
I teach a class on silk gauze on Friday am, take a felting class on Friday afternoon .. and then get to start shopping where I can (depending on who is open for early hours) on Friday night!
My BFF Sharon (who lives just south of St. Louis MO) will be joining me either Friday late afternoon or early Saturday morning. I'm hoping for Friday .. we just don't get many chances to share time with each other anymore. I'll put her to work on Saturday shopping with me!

I hope everyone has emailed the shop to let them know what preorders they want placed! I'll be in touch with the shop by phone on Saturday .. then I'm on my own!
See ya all upon my return!!! Stitch Happy!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Felting IS Over - for this next week anyway

I had meant to post here yesterday, but Saturday at the shop was an incredibly busy day! Not complaining .. no no, not me .. just lots of customers in the shop all day long (fun people too!), lots of orders coming in all day long too. LouAnn and I were able to help everyone AND process all the orders, but didn't get to ring too many through. I guess that's what a Monday is for! To give you another idea of how busy it was, LouAnn brought me a Med. Fr. Van. Cappuccino before 10am and at 5:30pm, I'd still not had the chance to 'finish' it! Fun day .. tiring day .. Love Days Like This Though!

Anyway, this past week I had finished my felting sculptures and managed to 're-do' one scarf/shawl and make two more! PHEW
The Dogs were created with a Wool core, but 'covered' with felted dog hair the dog owner had combed and given to me so that each dog would be made with the real dog's hair! The really fluffy one IS Golden Retriever hair .. fuzzy! Mixed with a bit of beige Harrisburg wool AND 100% Camel wool! (yep real Camel - it's really too fine for needle felting as it shows every single needle poke. I bet it would be fabulous for spinning though!

Of course, it's really really hard to get any good Dragon 'hair' these days, so I had to turn to hand-dyed Buffalo (very expensive!) to cover the wool core base here. The horns and claws are 100% dyed Merino.

I'd created the pale blue scarf last week but it turned out really crappy looking. So, I decided to lay it out and re-felt over most of it - Dave has named this one "the scarf the mouse nibbled on" (as opposed to the others I had made which he called 'swiss cheese scarves")! Oh Well ...!

The green scarf was made with two different shades of wool, one that was dyed green and then over dyed, and one that was natural and then dyed .. the wool color is called "Leopard Frog" and has bits of yellows and some splattering of deep purple and bright turquoise in it. I'd purchased some wool yarn at the local
Knit shop that was also in shades of yellow-greens and greens, and laid that out on one side in rows with the two greens, and then in an argyle pattern across the stripes on the other side. The one side doesn't show well here, but it really reminds one of those old argyle sweaters you used to see. It's somewhat reversible as far as pattern goes


This last is my first attempt at a completely reversible scarf ... I used a Merino Silk blend so it's quite shiny ... black on one side, deep purple on the other. The black side was cross-hatched with a 100% acrylic yarn .. all different colors and glimmery. The purple side has some other yarns, some with sparkles in it, just patterned out ... and a few brighter purple 'curls' too. I'm quite proud of this one!

Well that's that .. I fly out Thursday am for Market and have to make out my LISTS so I won't forget anything. I can't even pack 'underwear' without having it on my list .. and listed for each day that I'll be gone. Can you say ... a bit too Detail Orientated???? sigh

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Day, More Market Hints Posted!

I wish I could come to terms with my adding all these advance Market notices .. it goes against 16 + years of my going to Markets. I'd be surprised when I got there, and couldn't wait to share my surprises with my customers upon my return!
But these days .. with designer blogs and websites .. there's too much being put out there in advance .. so why not add to my site? Plus, this way I'll know just what amounts of certain items to make sure I come back with. And I guess I shouldn't feel too bad .. there's always surprises the designers have for us that they don't tell us about in advance. So that, and the social/business interactions with the designers and other shop owners, is what makes a Market perfect!! So .. I'm still a adding!


Waking up, drinking enough coffee to actually know where I was when I fully woke up, and turning on my Kindle to find that the NEWEST book from DAN BROWN had been downloaded to my Kindle overnight while I was tossing and turning and trying to sleep!
Whoooo hooooo .. I can't WAIT to read it! But .. if I start it tonight, I'll never get my felting pieces finished and I'm on the final animal right now. And I have to do more outside scarf felting while this warm weather holds. And .. if I read it now, what will I read on the plane trip to Market??? I guess I'll be trying to 'learn patience' over this next week (and that will be a hard one for me .. miss no patience whatsoever!).

I don't get much time to read blogs, but when I do, I turn to 'my blog list' first. That's where I found the incredible Halloween designs that The Primitive Needle will have at Market! (They're already posted to my what's new page)
And, have you seen the designs that Donna from By The Bay has been doing? They're not released yet, but ... !
I absolutely love this stocking ornament! How cute is this? And, if you go to her current postings on my blog listing .. you can see her Poinsettia design .. It's stunning!!
And in reading Ladybug Lane's blog, I found that there is a free Halloween design you can download courtesy of Just Cross Stitch -
And .. if you've not seen the free Halloween design you can download yet from The Cross Eyed Cricket Collection, go here:
(I'll have their newest Christmas freebie as one of my 'complimentary charts of the month' for October next month!!)
oh oh .. nearly got caught fooling around on shop time .. gotta go back to work before that evil boss I have finds out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too May Lows and Not Enough Highs!

Sunday, I so looked forward to Sunday .. I was going to get my banking stuffs in order and get bills paid, go to the orchard to see if the Honey Crisp apples were in, and was going to create another felted scarf.
I guess the 2 highs of the day were getting my banking stuffs in order and bills paid AND going to the orchard and actually getting a huge bag of Honey Crisp Apples!! And .. they now have a Winery on site -making their own wines and you can sample taste each before you purchase. I HAD to get a Cranberry Wine .. you can't really taste cranberry, but you can smell it .. and there is a warm after-taste left in your mouth - DELICIOUS!! I'm going to take my mom there on Thursday to see if she likes it too .. she's liking wine these days .. and I will try a tasting of their semi-sweet Riesling (maybe their Cherry too!).

As for the scarf ... yuck! It didn't turn out .. it didn't turn out right at all .. I hate it .. it's disgusting .. did I mention it didn't turn out? So .. perhaps on Wednesday or Thursday I will FELT OVER it and see if I can rescue it that way. Can't hurt I guess ... I started the fulling process and just didn't have the energy to work on it when I hated how it looked. So it's only been felted and dried .. I'll let you know IF it does or does not turn out later!

And that evening, I tried to download purchased photo shop software (mine was lost in the great crash of '09), and while I did pay for it, the site would not recognize me to allow the download. So .. I decided to work on my laptop and do some adding to the catalog .. on DIAL UP! My Verizon Wireless does not EVEN work any longer .. we're not in the area for reception, even though THEIR RECORDS show that we are in a good area. Perhaps they should come to my house with their little devices and see for themselves? Dial up and downloading images are not two terms that can be used in the same sentence. So ... !

When I went to bed AND when I got up this morning, I just KNEW it was going to be a great day! It just felt that way (and besides, it had to be better than Sunday was!).

Got into the shop where I find emails and calls that my website is not working .. I had no idea (but that's fixed now .. thanks to Patrick, webmaster extraordinaire). Then got some more 'sneak peeks' of stuff that will be showing at Market to put on my catalog , only to find that my computer here at the shop was not actually on the same thought page with me either ... kept locking up. Didn't matter if I was on AOL or Internet Explorer, and no matter that I'm on broadband here .. Debbie's computer worked fine .. mine, not that well! Let's put it this way, I added about 6 items in just over 5 hours!!

Tomorrow is another day! And since I just found some more stuff I can add as sneak peeks, I will look forward to tomorrow!

This 'advance notice' of items to appear at Market is something 'new' for me. I've never been fond of the idea of being able to see what is going to be introduced until I actually GET TO Market .. kind of spoils the excitement for me. BUT .. with this economy and my finances .. I don't have the available cash just spilling out of my pockets to go shopping with. So, where I can, I'm putting the new stuffs up on my site for ALL to see .. and am gladly taking pre-orders! This way, I know I'm at least making 'most' of the right purchases. And besides, there will always be stuff to see at Market that aren't being 'leaked' to us now .. there's something to look forward to as well!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nick and the Squirrel Dispenser

Do you remember several blogs ago where Nick was 'telling you' all about the current squirrel epidemic and about his 'squirrel dispenser'?

Well, the Squirrel Fairy must have visited over the weekend and filled his dispenser up with squirrel again .. when Nick went outside, he went right to the dispenser at a dead run! He was overjoyed! Put in his quarter, pushed the button, and ...... wait a minute .... my squirrel didn't drop out! So ... let the game begin.

One hard push with his nose .. another push .. then push upwards so that it makes this huge clanking noise .. race to the other side and push again .. back to the first side, no squirrel yet, push it up and down a couple more times, then run around it barking!
(the pics were taken one after another .. these were the best, some he was just moving too fast for the focus to come out)

Then ... when all else fails ... run around like a fool as fast as you can with a stuffed toy carcass in your mouth! That'll let that darn squirrel know ... this is what could have happened to you!