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 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 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 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 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!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New stitches

Shepherd's Bush.   "Busy bees stitching tray"-  such a fast fun stitch.  I love these trays and have done a couple of them.  I usually put a piece of Weeks Wool under the piece to add a pop of color since the stitched piece, doesn't actually fill the space, but decided to try without the wool.  I'm unsure and still may put a piece of wool under the design, but either way I think it turned out so cute.  The tray is from Doodlin' Around Designs and has a bee skep on each end.  Too cute!  The next design is "Measure Twice" from Needlework Press.  The chart comes with the spool and the linen band.  I decided since the numbers were in black the spool should also be black so in my brilliance I choose the most humid day with intermittent rain to spray paint my items...Needless to say, not the best job ever, however, with the spools it wasn't a big deal since most of the spool is covered.  Anyway, in the directions, you are told if you follow the chart only, the end result will not be an actual yard, but just under a yard.  Since I wanted it to be accurate, I decided to take the time to use a tape measure and make sure each inch marking was correct.  It does take a little longer, but worth the effort.  Other than that this is easy to stitch and easy to finish.  I did want to put a backing on the tape, but after trying to back it will ribbon I didn't like how thick it looked on the spool so I never backed it.  Still like it though and then the 3rd piece is "Stitch in Time"  also by Needlework Press.  When I saw this in Nashville I thought, at first, it was for a working clock, and was disappointed that it wasn't.  In the back of my mind I always thought I would do it as a working clock, but as soon as I saw Tracy Doverspikes I could put it off no longer.  Actually Tracy stitched the hands, but she painted the silver clock black and it changes the piece drastically to me.  (We carry the clock base in the shop) So I choose to paint this along with the spools...finish is questionable at best but still as my mother always said, "You can't see it on a trotting horse," so if you see this in the shop on display, please trot by so you don't notice the imperfect paint job.  While the chart calls for black and gray, I didn't have the correct GA grey nearby and so I just used a grey I had near me (you know I hate to get up) and stitched away.  It's a one night that.  But when I got to the flower I just couldn't stitch it in grey and black so I chose Baked Apple and Black for the flower and Moss for the stem.  Also putting this together wasn't that hard.  I got the clock works at Michaels.  They had a small set of hands which weren't fancy and the set you see here.  The problem is, of course, I likes the fancy hands but they were way too long.  I solved that by cutting down the hands so they fit.  I did have to fiddle a bit to get the hands secure but it wasn't that big a deal either.  I love my working clock!  Too cute.  And I got a new tool to do it, a circle cutter that cuts paper, fabric and mat board....winner!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cross Stitch Nation was a wonderful stitch for me.  The colors were really vibrant, at least the red was and I truly loved the stitch.  But when it was finished was the best part because I like making the drum pin cushions so it was a delight to finish.  And now it is one of my favorite pieces.  When Sara first mentioned making it into a drum I thought she had lost her mind.  I had never even considered that.  But, I love to finish the pieces in different ways than expected so I thought why not and once I stitched up the back and took a look at it I knew it was a wonderful decision.  If you have facebook, go look at Salty Yarns page and you will see it... 360 degrees...Sara took a video of it and put it there.  Anyway, I stitched it on 32 ct. Legacy from PTP and stitched it using the recommended fibers.  Fun piece and fun finish.  I also got my Betsy Morgan pre-stitch done....hooray!!!!  So today I'm moving on to new.  We have now survived another car weekend....and for a while it looked like I might spend the week in jail...I swear if that man had revved his car engine one more day it was going to be his death or mine.  He chose to park that miserable car, which apparently wasn't moveable, under my window where he spent 2 days and nights trying to get it to run correctly.  He revved that thing for hours at a time.  I had no peace at all from 7 in the morning until around 10 at night.  I mean it if you can't get it running in a it a day and leave the rest of us some peace and quiet.  But after 2 days he gave up and tarped the car.  When I came home Friday from work there it sat covered and peace was restored to me once again... ...  Thank you Jesus!  The wind picked up Saturday and the rains came which ruined the weekend for the car folks, but when I arrived home to see the tarp blown off that car and the motor exposed to the rain I knew that was punishment for the owner for disturbing our neighborhood for 2 days and I just smiled and said, "Thank you God." Justice came and I didn't lift a finger.   I'm not sure that the owner of the car felt it was a reprimand from God, but that's my thinking.  Let me assure you that I am not against the car sir, I've always appreciated the car people coming here and spending the weekend.  They rent our rooms, eat in the restaurants and also spend money in the shops, so we need them.  What we don't need is the inconsiderate car people who give no thought to the people who are in the buildings where they park.  Many of us have children and also many of us work.  We need sleep just like everyone else.  Imagine someone parking under your window revving their engine for hours starting at 7 a.m. and going until 10 p.m. and cars revving their engines in the parking space next to your room.   Just inconsiderate.  And of course the weather wasn't helping anyone.  Car people were mad Saturday as it rained all day...all day people.  Many of them still rode the streets but several of them parked their cars and sat around all day miserable.  While I understand disappointment, we are not responsible for the weather.  Don't blame us as we would rather have you out and about and  happy.  And the complaints...poor Mary...she's is the front desk person and she really took it this weekend with people complaining and then coming to her with problems.  When checking out on Sunday a tenant told her that his bag of dirty clothes was missing, and how it had been there the day before and now it was gone and he wanted something done about it.  She expressed her dismay, asked if it was sitting by the trash can (that's never a good thing as the housekeeping staff with take it for trash) but he said it was on the other side of the room so we were clueless as to what could have happened.  I mean no one steals dirty clothes,  do they?  Anyway since Beverly has been here for over 30 years we knew she didn't touch it, but we asked her if she remembered seeing the bag in the room.  She had 2 buildings to clean so she was as clueless as we were by the end of the day.  But the man continued to stand at the desk and stare at Mary until she came to me.  I asked her what he wanted us to do about a bag of dirty clothes and poor Mary just wanted the whole thing over with.  In the end she did what I would have done and said she was sorry but there was really nothing we could do.  I frankly thought his wife probably already put it in the car, but we got no where with that.  After they got out to their car Mary ran up to the room to investigate and as she looked noticed something on the bed under one of the pillows.....the bag of dirty clothes!  That man spend 20 minutes at the desk bitching and moaning and it was on the bed the entire time, exactly where one of them had laid it.  What makes me really angry is either he or his wife had to have put that bag on the bed that morning, so to waste 20 minutes of the front desk persons time, look around!  Aside from that crap, in town we had a horrific accident in which a 24 year old lost his life on Friday.  Don't think he was part of the whole car thing, but he was running from the police on a motorcycle and slammed into a truck.  So that was all anyone could talk about on Friday and then on Saturday someone took a fall off an 8th floor balcony in town and they died.  So all and all, not the best weekend we've had and I pray it is the worst we will ever have again.  So believe me when I say, we need sunshine and warmer temps to get through the next week and help us store up energy for the next hell, the high school seniors.  This is really the only time I wish I could leave Ocean City until they were gone.  Their behavior gets worse every year (or is it that I'm getting older?) All I can report is high school seniors are still not mature enough to come to Ocean City with no supervision.  Enough said!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

House work....Ugh!

Mother's Day treat from Sara, and so true for me.  I hate housework so this was the perfect pillow for her to stitch as a gift.  She stitched it on the 20 (?) ct. linen so it's a nice size.  It's approx. 15" x 8" so it looks great on the sofa or chair.  Thanks Sara, I love it!  Right now I'm letting the shop use it so if you come in to the shop you can see it live and in person.   Since I've been home a couple of days I have tried to get some housework done, especially in my stitching room.  I've been going through the piles now for a couple of days, how did all this crap get in here anyway?  I need to let some stuff go, I honestly save everything thinking I will re-purpose it.  And while I do find uses for things most people would have chucked long ago, even I couldn't find a purpose for all this.  So purging shall commence.  Since I finished "Cross Stitch Nation" which Sara has shown on our facebook page (and you know it will be here next), I'm going through the stash to pull out something new...Love to find something new.    I had pulled fibers and fabric for Hands on Design's "Wool Block Party" earlier, but I can't just stop with one project, because last night I also finished something I started a while ago that's also been released, "Button Posies" so that means I also get to pull out something that's been started before to now I'm on the look out for both new and old projects.  Of course, there are several in each area to choose that's where the trouble begins and ends.  I'm still loving the Erica Michaels strawberries and really want to stitch one on gauze, so perhaps that will be the winner but since  I have the attention span of a child in a candy store and I've got 5 more bags to look through, well I'm still undecided on new.  As for old....well that's tougher since I've already worked on them and put them away, I put them away for a reason.  Now can I get beyond that, pull them out and do what I have to in order to finish them? Well, tonight will be the moment of truth as I have to pick something to work on or just sit all night watching T.V. feeling unproductive.  This is the weekend all the cars are in town and for 2 days I had one of the cars under my window revving up the engine constantly and apparently unable to actually get it in gear to move.  I was about to scream out the window and tell them to shut the damn thing off and give me some peace, but decided I might be better off just coming in to work early.  I was  bitching and complaining about this car so much I was afraid I'd have a stroke.  But God heard me and when I got home last night after work the car was covered with a tarp and thankfully the crew was done with it.  Even with the constant running of cars on Baltimore Ave. it was still quiet enough for me.  Heaven was restored!  I have to say our weather has not cooperated.  It was gorgeous, sunny and warm on Thursday and Friday, however, today it is raining and suppose to rain all day and into tomorrow....the cars don't run much when it rains so I'm afraid the car weekend is a disappointment for the folks here for it.  We still haven't had it warm enough to warrant air conditioning for which I'm thrilled.  I don't do well in heat, so high 60's and 70's is just fine with me.  And since we've got the college kids in town for a couple of weeks and then the high school seniors for a month of a different kind of hell, I really don't care if it rains every single night starting around 10 and lasts until 10 am the next morning.  All I really want is peace and quiet at night.  But I know summer weather will be here soon and then I'll complain about the heat.  Not sure if it's ever going to be just right for me...either too noisy, too hot or too cold.  Well, I really don't care as long as I've got a/c in the summer and heat in the winter and I can always close the winters against noise.....unless it's right under my window...then apparently it does matter whether the window is up or down I hear it.  Well, I'm off to the shop to look at the new charts one more time in my struggle to make up my mind.  Tomorrow I'll blog about one of the most fun projects I've done.....have a great weekend whatever you do!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I've been so busy getting ready for events I haven't had time to blog...well, that's not exactly true, although I have been busy, but Elaine cleaned up and changed displays in Sea Trader, including my blogging spot and now I can't blog in there anymore because she removed the shelf I used.  So now I'm home doing it where I should have been doing it all along.  But when I'm home all I can think about is see the problem?  Anyway, it finally happened, after all this stitching,  my behind is tired of my stitching seat on  the sofa so I've moved over to the blogging chair at the table.  I have a different chair for everything so I don't get bored in one spot. Anyway, the pictures on the left show what I got done for last weekend.  You know I'm loving that large count linen, although I did find a flaw with it unfortunately, after I had already started stitching.  I was working on "Land of Liberty," a Brenda Gervais piece and at some point I felt it just wasn't going to fit on the cut of linen and decided I had started in the wrong place.  Aggravated, I tore out the L and the Uncle Sam figure and started over.  After stitching the LIB and Uncle Sam again I thought it looked too long for the cut of linen.  This time I counted the threads per inch and found this friggin linen is not 20 ct as marked but is 16 in one direction and 18 in the other.  I almost ripped the damn thing up, but of course I couldn't do that, and thank goodness I had another piece of this linen for another project and the cut was really bigger than needed and so for the 3rd time I restitched the darn thing. What I love is after calling Sara to alert her to change the count on those linens, she called the supplier and they actually knew it wasn't 20 and still sent it out as such anyway.  What is that about?   Not as enthusiastic stitching a 3rd time, but loved it when  I finished it, so it was worth the aggravation.  And it's such a fabulous size approx. 15" x 6"  Makes a wonderful pillow for a chair or sofa.  The third piece shown is "Long May Ewe Wave" which is actually a free chart, (when you purchase the beehive button) from Shepherd's Bush, stitched on 18ct. Raw linen and then finished into a pin cushion.  Of course I changed one minor detail....I didn't stitch the bees but used the bitty bees instead (much to Sara's dismay I love the bitty bees).  Sara gets aggravated because I keep using the supplies and she runs out....order more I said...for God's sake stop yelling at me because I'm using supplies.  It's for the shop to begin with...a model...honestly I get no respect around here.  The second piece is from 2015 Nashville Market.  It's by Little House Needleworks,  and called, "Giving Thanks".  The frame is an East Side Moulding frame which we carry in the shop.  It was a fun easy stitch as were the other two pieces shown.  Today I finished another of the pieces done on the "20" (yeah right) ct. linen, I've redone "Jingle Jingle" by Plum Street Sampler.  I loved doing it the first time and this time I changed the color of the horse to greys and still love it.  I've also started "Cross Stitch Nation", (since I'm certainly a member,) but for this I went back to 32 ct.  Sara wants me to finish it as a barrel pin cushion, so I'm going to give that a go....and I'll post it when it's done.  But I must mention the last 3 events.  First was our Sheri Jones class and we love Sheri so we knew it was going to be fun and she didn't disappoint.  Friday she had a finishing class for any of her pieces that you might not have finished.  You were able to bring in previous class pieces and she would assist in the finishing.  It was very successful and Stacy Stinson went home with her Patriot Patty completed.  Kudos to her.  Sara worked on her Hare pocket and with Sheri's help she did get it completed.  I'm so proud of her and she really did a terrific job with the finishing.  So Thank You Sheri for all the time and attention you gave the stitchers.  That's why your classes are so popular, because you care about the stitchers, and they sure do love you.  I saw that Bernadette has finished her Garden Long Pocket and several had the band almost completed before they left for home.  Such a gorgeous piece and well worth my struggle (of course trouble made by myself not by the piece.)  The hardest part of the weekend is always what to pick for the next year.  And I can't recall if they chose something and what it is going to be.  That's always up to Sara and Sheri, I'm out of the loop (as usual).  The next weekend we had the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild and many of these ladies shop with us so we are familiar with them and they are always fun.  But this time I got a really good hint from the Jersey ladies who attend.  Three of the ladies stitch a project a year together.  Last year they picked The Flying Santa from Artist Collection.  They brought it into the shop to ask a question as they were putting the pieces together and then mounting them on one of the "Stix" we sell.  But it's how they put them together to use with the stick that is so interesting to me.  I have done pieces which I have mounted on pointed things like the mini oil cans, etc. and this never ever occurred to me.  They fastened a straw(regular drinking straw) inside the piece so instead of fighting with the sharpened point of metal against the stuffing, polyfil whatever, you simply put the metal stick inside the straw already sewn in.  No muss, no fuss.  They secured the straw so it wouldn't come back out of the piece so you can remove the piece from the display if you wanted and easily reinsert the stand.  Fabulous idea.  And that is the point of stitchers getting together.  It's the sharing of ideas that is so wonderful so I thank Carol Wentzel, Robin Thompson and Pat Lerch for sharing.  I will be using this technique in the future I can assure you.  And then last week I got a really nice gift in the mail....Vera Means who was in the shop when her group, The Tangles, were in town and she found a kit that went missing and was later found while she was packing.  Since she already had repurchased the same kit, she sent me her lost one, so I got a Boo Moon witch pin cushion kit from JABCO, which you will see as I am going to be finishing it next week.  Thanks Vera...I love it.  During Sheri's weekend, Stasi Buhrman gave me the most beautiful bone china tea cup and saucer and the pattern was I believe called petit point.  It looks like cross fabulous is that.  As if that wasn't gift enough, Stasi then charted a floral pattern that matches the tea cup design so I will be stitching that up as well.  She also brought me a bag of the old mason jar lids which I use for pin cushions. Thanks Stasi, I really appreciate the gifts.   And Cynthia McCann brought me 4 of the 4" red tart pans which are going to be fabulous with some Christmas Designs I have.  Oh, my I have been blessed. Thank you Cynthia....I love the colored tart pans.  I'm even thinking a patriotic design would look good in it and Plum Street just released another one so perhaps that's the one I'll use.   It's a stitching bonanza down supplies, etc.  And then this past weekend we had 66 stitchers for our May retreat.  The weather did not cooperate at all, and it was in the 50's and rainy and cloudy every day except Sunday when it was high 60's and sunny.  But as stitchers we don't really care because it's about the stitching and friendships we treasure, although it would have been nice to be able to sit on the front porch to watch the ocean.  But we still had a wonderful weekend.  Sara made some fabulous appetizers and the lasagna dinner was wonderful, and Vernon spent the weekend behind the bar making the ladies orange crushes.  Yes, food, drinks and stitching for the just doesn't get any better than that.  So thanks to all the stitchers who came to the first events of the year.  We appreciate your patronage and can't wait to do it again.  Of course we have Betsy Morgan here in June so I guess we will be doing it all again.  I need to get the prestitch I go again! Have a great week and I'll try to post more often so you won't think I've died.  And for the stitchers who couldn't attend this past event due to a fall down the stairs and back problems, and the flu we missed you all and hope you are well on the road to recovery.  We'll see you hopefully at another retreat.