Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blast from the past

Remember this piece.  I finished the stitching in Nashville back in March but needed to actually make it into a pillow.  I finally got to Hobby Lobby and got the fringe I wanted to use (it matches the finish by the designer which was what I was striving for).  The colors on the fringe match the colors on the pillow perfectly.  It's like it was made for this.  Anyway, it's funky and interesting with all the interesting stitches used.  My first canvaswork, in a long time...I guess I should say our project since Sara started it and I picked it up after it seemed to languish for months in the shop.  One day I didn't have a project and pulled this down off the shelf where Sara put it and worked on it when I was in the shop.  While Counted Cross is my favorite, every once in a while I like to do a little needlepoint or in the case canvas work.  Of course I do incorporate canvaswork stitches into my counted work periodically.  The stitches makes a piece so interesting to look at.  This has been sitting here forever so I'm posting this as well today.  Two posts today.  I'm making up for lost time.

Two of Val's new Christmas Ornaments done on perforated paper, just like her Halloween ornaments last year.  So easy and fast and the finish is a breeze.  The kit includes the chart, googly eyes, backing and cord for hanging.  You supply the over-dyed fibers.  The 3rd picture is the Shepherd's Bush Noel Sheep ornament which you saw finished on an earlier post and put on one of the small sleds.  I did a second ornament and put it on the paper tag included in the kit.  Also cute!  And the 2nd picture is the Needlework Press stitched tape measure which I showed you earlier.  But I gave that first one away so I wanted you to see that I actually stitched it a second time.  UGH!  I hate stitching anything twice, but Sara and I both loved this ourselves so it became a must.  I just finished stitching the ABC Spool also by Needlework Press but haven't done the finish yet.  As soon as Judy gets back and I have a day off.  Actually, as it turns out, this morning I'm not in the shop as something happened to the electric in just Salty Yarns, Sea Trader and Thrashers French Fries.  Thank God the hotel is fine (even though we are in the hotel) and the apartments attached to the hotel are fine, yes it's just us...taking a day off because we have no electric.  If I didn't know better I'd think Sara performed some act that gave her a day off, however, she's stuck helping the guys in the laundry room and she's on parking lot duty.  I'm in the office filing, etc., just getting things more organized.  When the electric company said it was our problem (thanks what a help) Buddy from Thrashers was on the phone and got an electrician here immediately.  It does pay to have friends in high places.  Anyway, they now think we will be up and running by 1:00 so I'm just bidding my time until I go back to work.  Short day for me, and now I don't feel so sorry for Sara working a double.  Things will start slowing down here as children go back to school elsewhere so not as many families can come down.  It gives us time to regroup and get ready for Jackie's class coming up in September and then our big event, OC Jamboree in October.  So much work, but so much fun and a chance to see so many stitching friends and their projects.  Well I might as well stop putting it off and get the rest of the filing done.  Hope your weekend is fabulous and that you have been able to get a little stitching done.  Talk to you soon.  I actually wrote the previous part of the post last week.  My, oh my, where does the time go.  Obviously we got up and running that same day but at 4 not one.  Half a day lost...what can one do.  Judy is now back, thank God!  I've had time off and have managed to get more projects finished.  Hopefully I will get them up soon.  Anyway, I'm posting this today so it doesn't sit around another week.  Have a great week!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We're in the dog days of summer down here....ugh!!!

I forgot to show you two models loaned to us by friends of Salty Yarns.  The first is an Ink Circles, "Wings and Things" stitched by Trudy Edwards.  Trudy always does the most interesting Halloween pieces.  Anyway, she picked Picture Plus overdyed fabric for the stitch which just hi-lights the eerie feeling you get with Halloween pieces.  Fabulous piece.  The second piece was stitched by Shiela Fitzhugh and it's a Rosewood Manor piece titled, "Spring Quaker" and stitched on Picture Plus fabric as well.  Both have been displayed this summer in the shop so if you are in Ocean City stop by and take a look.  Beautiful.  Shiela has not only Spring Quaker here but Winter Quaker which is my favorite of Rosewood's seasonal quakers.  But needless to say, I've got all 4 seasons along with the threads sitting in my totes at home (notice I said totes since I have many of them stuffed.)  Thanks Ladies for jobs well done and for letting us borrow your work.  While I try to get a lot of stitching done and models in the shop,  this summer is taking a toll on me with the web site issues and the POS, but I'm happy to report that things are beginning to calm down a tad.  Of course the heat is about to do me in, but I think I say this every year so you would think I'd get use to it. But the heat and humidity is deadly.  Last week I didn't leave my apartment for 4 days...did not go outside at all.  I was built for a/c however, I hate being closed in.  Oh, well, I keep trying to remember winter and how I hate the freezing cold....I think I need to move somewhere, but I probably couldn't find the perfect place and I'd just be trading this for something else I wouldn't like.  So I guess I'll stay put and pray Judy returns soon so I can go back to hibernating in my house.  This week Judy is off so I'm in the shop everyday until she returns from vacation...Oh, please Judy hurry back I need a day off!  The amazing part of this is I've been in the shop everyday for a shift since Sunday (when I returned from delivering Solomon to Woodward Camp....7 hrs both ways...God help me) and I've only taken 1 chart home.  I'm not sure what that says about me or about what's new, but it doesn't matter because I've got so much stash I don't need anything new.  Thank God there is no pre-stitch with Jackie's class coming up next month as this allows me to concentrate on things for the shop.  I started and finished the first 2 of Val's Christmas Ornaments on the perforated paper.  Cute and addictive...Oh, I just realized I did take 3 of her ornament kits home yesterday....oh, and I thought I was doing so well.  I guess I'm not doing as well as I thought.  Well, I've got to get on the move.  Trying to get stock put in the POS and tickets printed.  Can't tell you the frustration with the printing of tickets....we now use a DYMO labelwriter which I thought was great, however, if I'm printing tickets and someone wants to buy something I have to change the printer from the Dymo to the Star receipt printer.  Guess how many times I've forgotten to change over so the receipt is printed on dymo labels....about 20 different labels get ruined.  I'm definitely too old for this crap.  And yet the minute the POS went down in June and Sara said we were back to writing receipts I got the POS instantly so I didn't have to do that.  I'm never happy it appears.  But I couldn't imagine having an event with hand written receipts.  OH, my that would be a fiasco.  So I'm going to leave now and see what else I can screw up.  Have a great day and a greater weekend.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

So cute, fun to stitch and a breeze to finish.  A must do for Christmas.  I'm celebrating Christmas in July by stitching Shepherd's Bush, "Noel Sheep Sled".  I'm trying to get back to my stitching and putting aside working on the POS every minute of the day.  I'm restitching (gave the first one as a gift) the tape measure from Needlework Press and while it's no big deal, I've stitched it once already so not really thrilled to have to do it again, but Sara loves it so that's reason enough.  While it isn't a hard stitch, to get it to truly measure a yard you need to measure yourself as you go along because according to the directions they assumed they measured correctly and just counted threads from the first inch.  And it doesn't work that way apparently , so you have to measure each quarter inch, half inch and inch as you stitch.  Not a big deal, just time consuming.  But I'm on inch 27 so I'm almost done and hopefully today will be the end of it.  Since it's an easy finish I'm not dreading that part.  Then I finished Part 1 of the latest Lizzie Kate Halloween Mystery Sampler.  Not a hard stitch either, and Part 2 just arrived last week in the shop so I'm moving on to Part 2.  But last night as I was sitting on the sofa I wanted to start something new and fast.  Fortunately when I was working on getting the Shepherd's Bush kits into the new POS I ran across the Noel Sheep Sled (along with 4 other kits that came home with me) and knew I had to stitch it.  It really is a fast stitch, thank God, I needed that.  But....why is there always a but for me...they didn't fill in the sky or background (I made it a sky because you put stars on it) and just left the perforated paper showing.  I know it's alright to do that but the design calls for stars in the sky which I really  felt needed a dark background.  At first I used a dark blue, navy, to resemble night sky, but you couldn't see the sheeps legs well enough so then I tried Americana blue, but again too dark.  When I tried Week's Sky and I think that did the trick.  I really think it's cute and Shepherd's Bush put a cute tag in with the kit for you to use as a hanger so you didn't have to purchase a sled, but I intend to use it for a 2nd ornament..nothing will go to waste here.  Anyway,  cute, fast and perfect for a secret santa gift.  Update on the web site, well, it's not good.  The designer doesn't seem to be able to make the corrections I want made, which they have always done in the past after they upgrade and when she passed along the  message from the person she gave the job to, I said that's it...I'm moving on (what I asked them to do is page the What's New or Just Arrived so as each new item is added it doesn't drop off the previous items into the catalog but just adds pages so you can go back easily to look at something there you saw a month ago for instance.  The person who was asked by Julie to do that sent back a message basically saying "NO because those pieces on pages wouldn't be new."  Like that's their call?   So while I'm still using the web site, I'm also working on a new one that will replace it.  My life has not become easier and retirement is definitely off the table.  But at least I am back to stitching so there is still fun to be had.  Hope you are also finding time in this heat.  Actually the only place to be is at home, in the a/c with a cold drink (tea) and stitching.   Yes, the perfect day!  Or visiting your local needlework shop to find more stuff to work on.  Have a great day Stitchings.  Talk to you soon.

Monday, July 4, 2016

New model.....getting back on track.................

"Button Posies", a pinkeep and scissor weight by The Scarlett House was a somewhat fast stitch, considering the fact that I waited over a year to start it.  Originally part of club piece, I put it in a to-do bag and there it sat.  I was amazed that I finished it about 1 month before it's release for resale.  But also thrilled because it meant a model was done just in time.  Stitched on 36 ct. Espresso linen from R & R and stitched with Gentle Art fibers.  I used a medium sized black button for the middle of the flowers, but you can stitch the center  as shown on the chart.  The original piece showed rick rack as the scissor leash so I also used the small rick rack for that.  I did change a couple of things....the blue flowers to the left of the center flower was changed as the Gentle Arts fiber called for was soot and I wanted blue like the picture.  (with overdyed thread it's not always going to look like the picture as the threads are so multicolored).  I didn't change the center flower and wish I had since I think the white doesn't really show up and would use a shade a little darker or lighter than the Country Redwood used as the second color.  I love the bowl colors and think it's probably my favorite part of the piece.  Anyway, a cute new addition to my pin cushion and fob collection. It's been a while since I have had the energy to stitch.  Working day and night on the POS is draining my energy (which doesn't take much), so by the time I get home from the office or shops I'm really too tired to do anything but lay down and hope tomorrow's better.  But I have to say, Judy, Elaine, Sara, Pat and I have pulled this together very well and are managing to get the merchandise in the system.  When I'm not in the office or working the shop I'm home working on the system as I can access it from anywhere.  That is a mixed blessing for Sara and as I'm constantly texting her to tell her how she's doing compared to the other shops, or commenting on what has sold.  It's like Big Brother or in this case Big Momma is always watching.  I've tried to let up on this since it was driving her crazy, but I sit with my IPad so I can check it every few minutes and then the minute the stores close I'm in the system correcting anything that needs fixing.   Some of the items didn't have costs put on them so the reporting isn't quite what it should be so that is my main focus at night.  Since it doesn't shown up on anything the ladies are doing they really aren't concerned with that part.  But all in all, we've done an unbelievable job.  At the beginning of June I never thought we'd be where we are today thanks to the hard work everyone has put in.  I originally figured we would use the old system for a great part of the summer but when Judy had hers up and running in two days and was able to function, we all said, What the hell let's go live with it and we did.  And Judy, still our rock....she was taking things home and while she couldn't sleep was working on the system til the wee hours of the morning.  And still brought in homemade blueberry muffins and fruit salad for me.  Man you have got to love an employee like Judy.  But like me, she has been unable to get her stitch on.  Two night ago I told Sara I was brain dead from all this and really needed to get back to stitching when I'm at home.  So I put about 25 stitches in before I said , "Crap I'm too tired to do this."  Oh, I forgot to mention, Mary and Brian are making the boys spend about 1 1/2 hours every day working on school work.  I felt it would be more focused if I gave them worksheets, so now I'm also getting worksheets from the internet for the 5 children (Mary's 2, the step daughter and then the babysitter's 2 children) 4 different ages.  So that occupies my weekends since I hand them over on Sunday night.  But last night when I got home, and realized I had a full 2 days off (unless there is an emergency and I told them not to have one), I became determined to get my stitch on (which I did although I struggled) and today I'm working on the web site and the blog.  So the only thing I'm not working on....cleaning the apartment...and it looks it.  But perhaps I can get to that before I go to work on Wednesday (although I doubt it).  I did finish the pastoral sampler pocket, but haven't put it together...surprise surprise.  I also finished the Block pin cushion, of course also not finished but at least it made it to the ironing board.  And now I'm working on multiple pieces all at once as always.  I'm doing another Needlework Press stitched tape measure as I gave the last one to Renee for her birthday because she loved it so much.  Then I pulled out some large count to stitch a Shepherd's Bush santa on...love the large count.  I've also pulled out the Shores of Hawk Run which I was stitching a few years ago, took it to a retreat to show it to the ladies and stuck it in a bag and didn't find it for a few years, and then once I found it the chart wasn't with it so then I had to find it.  So now I have to find the fibers and then I'm ready to get back on that horse.  In the meantime I'm trying not to look at anything new, however with the new Lizzie Kate Halloween Mystery Sampler part 1 in house, well I pulled that out, along with the fabric, and embellishment pack and started that.  So I'm working on a full load of projects, just not often enough.  Hoping that changes as I start to let go of my POS obsession.  The worst part of this is as we unload racks to get the inventory in the computer I'm finding charts I like and starting taking them home....like I don't have enough.  Sara is having the same problem.  When I did the Shepherd's Bush rack I really had to contain myself.  But it was a sure sign of determination...I should have that same determination when I'm in front of the refrigerator. Anyway, just letting you know we are on track and moving forward at a great rate of speed.  So I hopefully will be able to get the web site and the blog moving again.  Thank you all for your patience and understanding.  I hope your summer is fabulous and you are able to fit your stitching in around all the outdoor activities.  Hope to talk again soon.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Computer Crash Update................f

After researching 3 different systems, I finally decided to pick one and get on with it.  I am happy to report we have a new POS system in place.  It's fairly simple, once you make your decision.  There's no waiting for something to come in the mail, you just pick a plan based on the number of registers or stores and start learning your system.  First I got a trial copy and played with it for a couple of days, however, I hate trials and just want to get on with it, so I decided to stop playing around and just get it.  First, you pay by the month and if you don't like it you can just cancel it.  And even after loading the product you can still upload it to a new system easily...so I signed on with the new system last Thursday and Judy was using the sell part of it by Saturday and Sara started on Sunday.  We have  Elaine, Sara, Judy, Pat and myself all loading inventory in it.  And may I say, how things have changed since my first and only POS previously. First, the POS I had for 20 years cost me a total of $81.00 plus cost of the equipment which came to less than $500.  Todays POS system can cost anywhere from a few Thousand a year to several Thousand a year.  I figure after 20 years of  no monthly payments I couldn't complain, and frankly with my new system I didn't buy one new piece of equipment.  Some of the systems said I'd have to purchase equipment but the POS I picked said to try my old equipment with it and see if it would work and thank God it did.  The cash drawer didn't open right away but our Judy knew just what to do.  (she solves all our technical issues now)    Because these are cloud based POS systems today, you can work on them from anywhere.  I've been working on adding inventory from home, and Saturday night I was in Pennsylvania taking Solomon to Camp Woodward, and at night in the hotel loaded inventory there.  Judy e-mailed me Saturday to say she had worked on it at her house (she wasn't even at work and still was working on the POS on her own time, God Bless our Judy) and was busy writing instructions for anyone else loading inventory, etc.  giving tips and short cuts.  At any time we can have multiple people working on the POS.  I was in the office adding inventory, Judy was in the shop, Elaine was in the Shell Stocked...all systems were on hyperdrive.  Anyway, it didn't take Judy 24 hours before she was fully using it to ring up sales.  I'm leaving the old POS up as well until we are fully loaded so the foreign students working don't have to figure out what's going on.  Trying to explain what's happening to them is just too much trouble.  But I did want to thank everyone for their prayers for our sanity.  We needed your help to get us over the initial "oh crap" moments and we now can see the light at the end of the tunnel (don't even think about an on coming train!)  We're working like beavers, have a lot of inventory to get in the system but by the end of summer we should be all set, since I don't think you ever get every single thing in.  But even at this point we have just about all the new inventory from January thru June loaded and I've been working on loading pre-2016.  There's been a lot of advancement in POS systems and it's fun to learn new ways of entering inventory that are more efficient than our last POS.  I also love working on it without having to be in the shop.  That makes me feel like I'm still helping out.  I'm also in charge of reading how to do things so Sara doesn't have to and then I just show her how it's done.  We haven't had to call the company once.  Between Judy and I we are figuring it out.   So, we're certainly back in action (not that we weren't before), not as frustrated as we were a month ago and we are functional.  Thanks to Judy who has worked on it non stop like she was being paid as a tech (and we all know she isn't paid anywhere near what a tech would get paid), so Thanks Judy for hanging in there and helping us get back on track.  Now that we are getting this straightened out I can get back to the web site which was updated the first the month so it went out of wack in places, and I couldn't even get into the site to change anything without calling Julie (the tech for that site).  But I've slowly been trying to get that worked out (God it never rains but it pours).  Just know we are working on things and will be back to normal soon.  Thanks again for hanging in there with us.

Friday, June 10, 2016

OMG....can this week get any worse?

I came to the hotel on Wednesday to find that our computers had a major attack and our tech people would have to take the main computer from the hotel and from Salty Yarns back to their offices.    OMG, both shop and hotel work off computers, our reservation system is computer generated, no computer, no way to handle rooms, reserved or in house.  And Salty Yarns means we can only do sales the old way, hand written receipts.  Needless to say with the problems we've had over the course of the winter with Salty Yarns computer (which Judy figured out a month ago the problem was there were 2 different data bases being used...crap...but she refigured things out so everything was almost O.K.) this is the last straw.  Yesterday Sara called me to say we needed a new POS system for the shop.  Apparently, while we do not have the hotel system back up and running the techs could get it back (we're hoping for today), Salty Yarns computer is fine but the POS can't be recovered.  Now I'm hunting for a new POS system.  I started the hunt before all this happened as our system is out of date, but now it's urgent and that brings on a whole other level of anxiety.  Anyway, we are scrambling down here....poor Mary is about to have a stroke with no reservation system in play, but I just keep saying the same thing, "Just thank God this didn't happen in July or August."  Somehow I don't think they are finding this very comforting.  But I hanging on to that and spending hours researching systems...(in college research was my forte, however, when it's urgent it's no fun).  Anyway, if you call or come into the shop and ask a question which requires a computer search of inventory....well we're back to paper and foot work so it won't be fast, but we will get there eventually.  But the thought of reloading all this inventory one at a time again is just exhausting to even thing about.  But with Judy, Sara and myself doing it perhaps it won't take more than a few months (OMG...just to read that sends shivers down my spine).  Wish us luck!