Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Am So Honored

What a wonderful surprise today when I opened Amy's September Newsletter, I knew that my NYC Santa and Stirha and Frank were in it but I never expected a full page devoted to me and to be their featured stitcher. I cannot tell you how honored I am.
I have to thank Amy for her friendship, wonderful stitch guides and creative talent and Robin King for her friendship and putting together such a spectacular newsletter every month.
I am still walking around in a daze. I am so thankful for having such wonderful and talented stitching friends in my life.
Hopefully Stirha and Frank will arrive tomorrow. When they do, I will post pictures of them for you all to see. I have not seen the finished product yet but was told that the pictures do not do them justice. Cannot wait for them to arrive.


Are we all so excited for Linda? So happy to see her excellent work featured! Denise

Monday, August 30, 2010

Linda featured at Amy's Golden Strand

You can all see Linda's beautiful NY Santa canvas, as it is featured on Amy Bunger's Photo Gallery. As soon as Linda finished it up, she sent a photo to Amy before it went off to the finisher.

The other two featured photos are the next two, also by Linda. You can see the actual finished pieces as they have come back from the finisher. Amy was especially excited as she has not actually had any of her Halloweenies finished yet. Bet Linda inspires Amy!

Hope you jump over to see them close up.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Colonial Needle, Part 3

There are a few more things about our visit to Colonial Needle last week that we wanted to share with you. One was that there were the cutest canvases introduced called "Bazooples." These are adorable children's canvases, which young parents & doting grandparents will be all all over. There are giraffes & lions & tigers....unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of these, but check with your LNS, ask for the new Lee's Bazooples, & I am sure they will get you a photo.
By the way, that's another of the many stunning handmade quilts adorning the walls all over Colonial Needle's home.
Jim told me there are always new artists being tested for their Lee's canvas line. Jim showed us canvases of some lions and snow leopards that will make a terrific enhancement to their current animals in the line; I hope they are added in. I've posted a photo of some of the current felines in the Lee's line that are on display at our LNS.

Visiting at Colonial Needle was a fascinating glimpse into the needlepoint industry. From the needles, to seeing a trunk show ship out (a lot of work for the LNS, and for the distributors, all so we can get a wonderful showcase of their goods), to the behind the scenes glimpses into what drives a good company forward, we both learned so much from this experience.
Speaking of trunk shows, our local needlepoint store, Stitch by Stitch, in Larchmont, NY, is having a Lee's leather goods trunk show at the end of September. Both the store owners and Lee's owners are excited about this event. You can reach Stitch by Stitch on line http://stitchbystitchneedlepoint.com/ or in person or by phone at 914-834-1886.

Linda & I remain especially impressed with the dedication of this company's owners to listening to their customers. We have heard the same compliment expressed by many of the needlepoint shops we've visited in our travels. They have expanded on the vision of Lee's as it has been incorporated into Colonial Needle, and we wish them much success in their future. We see plenty of happy stitching ideas coming our way!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our Visit to Colonial Needle, Part Two

I hate to bump up into such an adorable posting featuring Linda's cute stocking for Jake, & all those photos of the little man. But I wanted to give you another peek into our visit to the new home of Lee's, at Colonial Needle.

As I mentioned Friday, the Collinghams were wonderful hosts and very generous with their time. They were also very interested in what we had to say about their products. They want to hear what we think, so get back to your LNS shop owners with your thoughts & suggestions. There are quite a few new things to pique our interest. For example, you saw the photo box that I gave to Linda for her birthday; that comes in three terrific colors. For the readers of Needlepoint Now, you've seen the leather bags with the round inserts, also in three colors (I am coveting the red). Just released is the high quality Italian leather bag, in two colors, a rich black, and a luscious brown. For handbag hounds like Linda & I, this was a scintillating experience.

Especially interesting is the new leather pillows. These will allow for interchangeable canvas inserts, like the Italian leather bags, so that you can change the insert with the season. I love this idea, as finishing costs can be so high. Also, you can only make so many pillows; this way, you can have a pillow that changes. These also came in some lovely colors.

Linda & I both have e-readers, so we were eyeing the e-reader covers as well. Look at the inside of the cover.....I love it!

They are also reintroducing many of the classic Lee's items, such as the credit card case, the wallets, the checkbook cover, the hand mirror, the luggage tags, the jewelry boxes (both large & small). The colors were so much fun, and I had visions of Christmas gifts to come. There were also leather products I didn't even know about, such as ornaments (stockings & circles) and the all purpose case.

There are a few more things to tell you about, so look for another post soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jake Checking Out His Stocking

Jake came over today to check out my progress on his mini stocking. He seemed to be happy with the progress. I am progressing along very nicely. Have just about all of the design done and what is not done will be done tonight - then onto the background and then the cuff. I am going to do skip tent for the background and put small white beads for the stars. I did the water with two strands of accentuate in a stitch called Small Ground #2. It is from Julia Snyder's Background & Such book. I love all her books. You can find some really interesting stitches. I think the stitch for the water really works well.
I did not move the shopping bag on my NYC Santa. Amy said it looked perfect where is was and not to chance moving it. Yesterday I shipped it off to Ruth for finishing. It will be finished as a stand-up. Ruth and I passed around some ideas and I told her to feel free to work her magic. Ruth is one of a few people that I trust to have free reign on finishing. Her choice of fabric and embellishments are always just perfect for the canvas. Stitching brings your canvas to life but good finishing really makes the canvas come alive. I have never been disappointed in anything I have given Ruth. Cannot wait to see what magic she works.
Can you believe how big my little man has gotten. He really is now a BIG man. I can hardly hold him he is so heavy. He really loves his food. Never turns away thing. He eats all his vegetables and fruits. Jake is now sitting by himself and really looks like a big boy. As of September, my life as I know it will definitely be changing with my caring for Jake every day.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Point of Interest

Just a quick note to Denise's post. The absolutely beautiful quilt behind Terry and Jim was HAND quilted by Terry's mother who is 91 years old. There are several quilts just as beautiful as this one throughout the offices, all done by Terry's mother. Hope I am as talented at 91.

A Visit to Colonial Needle, Part One

Linda & I had a very special treat today. I took the day away from my office, & we went to visit the home offices of Colonial Needle. In case you didn't know, Colonial Needle is local for us, and they purchased Lee's last year. Since then, the owners have taken Lee's to great heights, and there are clearly plans to go further. We are excited for them.

The owners, Terry, & her husband, Jim, were so gracious and pleasant with us, and so very generous with their time. Colonial Needle started, as you may have guessed from the name, as a needle company. A portion of their business still includes the most stunning wood knitting needles; they were so pretty & beautiful in my hand, that I felt a little longing to maybe---just maybe---knit something. But then I remembered my stash, & felt guilty even thinking about it....

They import a wide variety of high quality sewing, stitching, needlepoint, quilting and other needles. Their brands include Mary Arden, John James, Colonial, S. Thomas and Sons, to name just a few. I have been crafting forever, and even I didn't know there were so many kinds of needles (I hear my Nanny chastising me for not paying attention to her telling me this). I was very impressed with the efficiency of the operation. All of Colonial Needle, and Lee's, and a few other related companies are all run from five thousand square feet, with less than a dozen employees. A visit to the web site will give you an idea of the sheer numbers of just needles there are. The photos above are needles, and a mere portion of what's in the warehouse. Jim handed me a box of needles, about 1/3 the size of a shoe box, warning me of the weight, & I was still stunned.
Can you see the cute leopard box? That's a sewing box.....cool, right?
We will have lots more photos and more to report....but we wanted to give you an idea of what we saw. Did you want to know about canvases and leather goods? Stay tuned. There are big plans ahead for this company! We will share what we've learned!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NYC Santa Is Finished With Dilemma

Finished the Santa last night and as I put the last bead in I realized I made a major mistake. I put the shopping bag too low. It should be up higher so that you see all the beautiful detail work on the bottom of his gown. Now what to do? I realize that no one will ever know but I do. My big dilemma is that in removing the bag I am afraid I will disturb some stitches and the velvet will have marks in it from being attached. After a lot of tears, I think I am going to leave it alone. Aside from my major mistake (which was my own fault because I was too busy multi-tasking and not paying attention to what I was doing), I absolutely love this piece. Amy did such a wonderful stitch guide for it. She asked me if I wanted WOW and I got it. The shopping bag (sore spot) was the thing I was most timid about but it was not difficult to do at all. Since I used velvet I had to fold the raw edges under and I used a small amount of glue to hold all four sides folded in. It really worked out great.
Amy's Cook-Up Classes are the absolute best. I have such a wonderful time when I go. First I get to see Amy and all my wonderful friends at the store. I have met some really wonderful stitchers in the classes. Everyone is extremely friendly and Amy just makes you feel right at home. The classes are fun and no pressure is put on you. Amy will accommodate you if you feel not challenged enough or over challenged. She has no problem working with you to get the right stitch. I cannot wait until November 2011 to go again. Hope I can wait that long.
If you can, please treat yourself to a Cook-Up Class. It is a truly wonderful experience that you will remember always and I am sure that once you go you will be going again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Almost Finished

The NYC Santa is almost done. I only have to finish some beading in the gold border. It will be done tonight and will post a completed picture tomorrow. Will then tell you all about my finishing idea.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ponza is DONE!!

Here it is!!

Needlepoint in History

Linda & I got a note from Tammi Flynn, the Director of Marketing of the Florence Griswold Museum. The Museum, located in Old Lyme, Connecticut, is having a fall exhibition called "With Needle and Brush:Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley ."

There are some lovely photos on the web site, & Linda & I may need to take a ride to Connecticut......

Here's the link....http://www.florencegriswoldmuseum.org/exhibitions/2010/10Needle.html


Monday, August 16, 2010

Cook-Up Class Progress

As you can see from the second picture Jen, my daughter, has finished her piece for the Cook-Up
Class that we took in June with Amy. Jen was not able to attend because of Jake but she was able to finish her piece before me.
My NYC is really coming along. I just have to finish up the beading and then attach the shopping bag. I already have the handle for the shopping bag in place. Now just to stitch the bag. This has been a really fun piece to stitch. Amy worked up a great stitch guide for this piece. I cannot believe all the wonderful stitches she came up with to really make this canvas come to life. The taxi cab looks like a real NYC cab. I have quite a bit of beading left. I have to have this piece completed by Wednesday. I am under a lot of pressure to get this piece done because I have to finish Jake's little stocking. Our LNS store informed me the other day that the finisher moved up their finishing deadline from October 1 to September 15. I thought I had more time to get Jake's little stocking done but now I am really feeling the pressure. The stocking says Baby's First Christmas - so it has to get done for this year. Also wanted to get his music box done but I am not sure I am going to make the September 15 deadline.
Better get to back to stitching. I have to take advantage of every minute.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On the Border

Finalmente!!!! The grass & rocks of Ponza are complete! Woo hoo!!

All that's left now is the last bit of the border, which will be done in two Kreinik threads, in a rice stitch. Then, a few ribbon flowers on the lower rocks....yes!

For those who inquired last week about the magnifier light, I did put a link in the comments. Here it is again: http://www.amybunger.com/catalog/item/6331829/8118994.htm

Linda will have some excellent photos for you later, I think :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Quick Reviews

I wanted to quickly review two new products. First, you may recall that Linda passed her magnifier/light on to me, as I already use a magnifier & she did not want to create a new habit. I tried the combo unit out this weekend, & I am pleased--with two caveats. The magnifier is generous, with a spot for extra magnification as well. The unit clamps onto your frame (or your stand, too, if you wanted) with a c-clamp, which makes it usuable for those Evertites as well as the "regular" frames as well. There is a LED light built into the arm of the magnifier, so the light is right there where you are looking. You can plug in the light or use the batteries.
The unit is excellent for classes or other travel situations. My first caveat, though, is that I would not use it every day, because although the light is ample, it is not the same as my free standing Daylight floor lamp, which helps me look at threads, look for dropped needles as well as stitch. My other caveat is that the magnifier should have a cover, like the Daylight magnifiers do, or it will scratch quickly, and maybe a little cloth travel pouch. All in all, though, it will be joining me at classes, as it still will be easier than my fold up Daylight lamp, which requires a plug.
You can also see Ponza's shrubbery is coming along. This week I have been stymied by broken AC at home. It's hard to stitch when it's 85 degrees in the house.
The other item for your viewing is in the top photo. It is the newest Lee handbag, which was just released in a luscious Italian leather. This is a brand new product, which was hinted about in the current Needlepoint Now issue. I had had some email correspondence with Lee about the products shown in the issue, and Tom (of Colonial Needle Company, which now owns Lee's) told me that this newest product was about to be released. Being a handbag hound, I called my LNS to order one for me, sight unseen.
I was not disappointed; this is a lovely product. You might note from the photo the two rectangles in the corner of the photo. The two rectangles come with the bag, & you stitch up your canvas & attach to the rectangles to finish. It comes with two, so you can change the canvas! What a terrific idea! And Stitch by Stitch told me that you can definitely get more rectangles, so you would be limited only by the speed of your stitching. There are ample handles, to toss the bag over your shoulder, lovely metal feet to match the studs holding the handle, & really, just well made design. What you aren't seeing in the photo is the terrific interior. The bag is ample, with a pretty interior in shades of pink--easier to find things! There are pockets to tuck items into, as you would find in any good handbag. But the secret is the zippered compartment where, by pulling the velcro, you can switch out your canvas insert. I already put my first handbag canvas on bars (I am stitching the Lee tiger for my first insert), & am anxious to get started....
You can see the Lee's products here: http://www.newleesneedlearts.com/
I love enabling ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finished Lambs

This morning I shipped the Shepherd and Lambs off to Amy's for finishing. I had such a fun time stitching the Lambs. Amy's choice of thread and stitches for the lambs really brought them to life. The wool on the lambs actually looks real. Amy's choice of threads and stitches accomplished this so easily. I have learned so much from the Home Study Classes. You are introduced to new threads, stitches and techniques just about every lesson. You are challenged and are amazed at how well you are able to step up and complete the challenge. I have looked at some of the stitch guides and thought there is no way I can do that - but then you look at the stitch diagram, reread the directions and go step by step and before you know it you have a finished piece. I have become a much better stitcher and am not intimated by a challenge anymore. I know techniques that I never thought I would be able to do let alone accomplish with pride. Between Amy's stitch guides, support and DVD's I can now accept a challenge and know that I can do it.
I was introduced to a new thread that I want to tell you about. It is Vineyard Merino Wool. I am not a big fan of wool thread but I have now changed by mind. This merino wool is so soft and stitches up beautifully. I had no problem with the thread knotting up or getting thinner as you stitch. It was just a pleasure to stitch with.
I am now working on Kelly Clark's NYC Santa that Amy did a stitch guide for me at the June Cook-Up Class. I want to have it finished by the first week of September so I can meet another Christmas finishing deadline. Jennifer, my daughter, already finished her canvas from the Cook-Up Class. I just picked it up from the framer today and hope to post a picture of it tomorrow.
Off to conquer more challenges.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

End of a Wonderful Birthday Weekend

Here are pictures of the Lee Photo Album and the canvas insert that Beth Hunt painted for it.
Denise purchased the album from Amy's and asked to have Beth Hunt paint a canvas with the name Jake on it. What a wonderful birthday present! I already started putting Jake's pictures into the album. Have to get started stitching the canvas.
I am almost done with the Nativity Lambs. Just the last details on the background. The Shepherd and Lambs should be in the mail to Amy's by Tuesday. Then onto the NYC Santa from my Cook-Up Class. I want to have this finished before I go to Ruth's so I can give it to her finishing. Once the NYC Santa is done I have to finish Jake's tiny stocking, his name for the album and the baby carriage to be made into a music box. I better get busy.
The food at Tarry Lounge was good. My husband and I both were happy with our dinner choices but felt something was lacking. I think it was the fact that we were expecting the most delicious meal ever and that was not the case. The food was good, the atmosphere was very nice, and the service was good. We would go back again but without such high expectations.

Linda & Denise Take a Mini Road Trip

Going to New Jersey from New York does not actually qualify as a road trip, even though a bridge was crossed in the process. Nevertheless, in this summer of the continuing evil economy, our road trips have been seriously curtailed, and so we had to have some kind of fix. Last month's Needlepoint Now provided the excuse.

You may recall that the back cover of last month's Needlepoint Now featured a canvas by Pepita Designs, which Linda & I both said we needed to add to our stash. I remembered that the owner of Pepita had been featured on Gone Stitching's weekly radio podcast, & so we decided to order the canvas from them. Then, once it arrived in, Gone Stitching has evening hours, allowing me to get there during the week. This would then allow for a tiny road trip and allow us to visit a new store, an adventure we love so much.

My personal shopper Linda called in the order. To our delight, the three (one for me, one for Linda, one for Jennifer) canvases were ready in just a few days. In fact, we had to wait a week to get there, as my schedule wouldn't let me get there right away!

Gone Stitching, located in, to quote Renee, one of the shop's owners, "downtown Bergenfield, New Jersey," is a fun and comfortable shop. You can tell when you walk in that their customers love them, & they love their customers and their business. Linda & I both wanted to change some of the threads suggested by the "Summer Garden" stitch guide, and both Renee & her partner Michelle jumped in to help us select new colors, threads & ribbons. They are a talented team, Renee and Michelle, and they, and their customers and family members present, made us feel very comfortable. I am sure you've all experienced walking into a new store, & having a table full of stitchers just give you "the look." Very unsettling. Not at Gone Stitching. Right away, they knew who were were, grabbed the canvases, & showed us around. I was exceited to see where Renee conducts her weekly podcasts, & I told her I was pleased that I could now visualize her as I listened to her each week.

You can see some of the threads & ribbons I selected. Linda selected more vibrant colors for her flowers in particular (I was found to be "muted" in my color selections--probably the only thing mute about me ever).

I am looking forward to working this canvas, although when that will be, I have no idea. I want to wrap up the Ponza canvas, then I have a gift to make, then I have the last Ponza to finish, that I did with Tony Minieri in the spring, then the Positano door that Amy did the fabulous stitch guide for. Oh, yes, & the Tony Minieri class in November.

It is nice to have goals :)



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Completed Rocks

Thank God, the Ponza rocks are DONE!!! Woo hoo!! Linda told you about our wonderful lunch (mmmmm). I always am smiling when I come home with hanging out with Linda, even when our plans go awry (not often), as we just enjoy each other's company. We could be together all day. We probably would not stitch much, though, as we chat & chat & chat.

More posts to follow. I actually have a lot to tell you about. Will try out the light-magnifier tonite & let you know.


Day Two of Birthday Weekend

Lunch was soo good. I do not go to Cheesecake Factory that often because you just eat too much but when I go I really do enjoy it. They even have catering now. Denise and I thought that was a great idea for our Christmas get together. I had an absolutely wonderful day with one of the people I love most in the world. Thank you Denise. Denise gave me such a wonderful gift. It is a Lee leather photo album with a canvas that says JAKE for the opening on the album. Will post a picture tomorrow since we are not getting ready for round two of eating. We are going to Tarry Lodge for dinner. Will tell you all about it tomorrow.

The magnifier light is really great. Unfortunately, I realized that I really could not use it. I do not use a magnifier and really do not want to get use to using one because I know that I will always need to use one when I stitch. I thought I could use just the light part of it but you really have to look through the magnifier in order to use the light. Denise took it since she always uses a magnifier. She will be posting a complete report on how it works. One feature that I really liked is that it turned so that you did not have to keep changing its position. Denise will tell you all about it.

Off to more good food.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Well my birthday got off to a great start. I went off the the gym and was told about the new restaurant Mario Batali, Food Network Star, opened in Port Chester, New York. We are going there for dinner tomorrow night. The name of the restaurant is Tarry Lodge. Will let you know how it was. Everyone was raving about the food. When I got home, I found a beautiful bouquet of flowers and the confirmation receipt that my IPad was ordered from my husband. I also found a beautiful message from Denise, my stitching sister, on my phone . Tomorrow Denise is taking me out for lunch to one of my favorite places, The Cheesecake Factory. Tomorrow is going to be a day of feasting between lunch and dinner.
I saw Jen and Jake in the afternoon and Jake gave me the best present of all. A big hug and kiss plus the cutest picture of him. I had to post his picture for you all to see. Just love the drool.
I had ordered some needlepoint accessories from Amy's and they arrived today. It was just like opening a birthday present. How I love getting things in the mail. I ordered a light magnifier that has a "C" clamp . It will clamp onto a table or your frame. I wanted something that would clamp onto the evertites and this is going to work perfectly. I have not taken it out of the box yet but plan on doing so tonight and will let you know how it works. The light magnifier is both battery operated and plug in. I am hoping that this will be a good thing to take away when I travel for hotel rooms and for classes.
Well off to enjoy my evening and looking forward to the celebration continuing all weekend.