Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm so far behind....

I'm so far behind not only with the web site but the blogging as well, I'm embarrassed, however, I've decided to discuss our stitching retreat first and then go back to Jamboree. We pulled out of Ocean City around 8:15 a.m. on Thursday to make the drive to South Carolina and Hilton Head where our retreat was taking place. The sun was shining, Sara and I were in good spirits and Sara was driving so I spent the better part of the trip sleeping off and on, and occasionally stitching. But we were both so excited that we could hardly contain ourselves...that is until Sara was pulled over in Virginia for doing 72 in a who the hell knows what speed it was suppose to be zone. Of course as she is dealing the state policeman, I'm on the phone calling Vernon and Mary to tell them what was happening. But even that did not deter us from having a good laugh. Of course when we find out what the ticket is going to cost us perhaps it won't be as funny, but on Thursday we chose to see this as part of the great adventure. We stopped for our first meal at the Cracker Barrel in Emporia and we were less than thrilled with the service and the food, and decided that we wouldn't be eating there ever Emporia, not in a Cracker Barrel which we have always viewed as acceptable fast food. But...we purchased some crap out of their store and moved on. We hit Hilton Head around 12 hours after we began our journey and finally got settled into the Marriott, which I have to say is a lovely property. The grounds are huge and the rooms spacious and accommodating. Sara and I had two rooms next to each other and we made my room headquarters for the weekend...which means we stitched together in my room, ate in my room when we did room service...then parted company so everyone had some privacy. Friday morning we got up, went down to eat and then sped to the Moss Creek shop...oh, boy did we ever. We use to carry the Moss Creek kits in Salty Yarns back when Rae and Ron were into wholesale, (they have since sold their own kits only on line through their web site.) However, when we carried them I did several of them and they are without a doubt the best teaching kits I have every stitched. I always enjoyed them because Rae did such a wonderful job of illustrating the stitches she used and using stitches you just don't see anywhere else. Anyway, they had all of their kits there and some of the charts from Sherri Jones (Patrick Woods). We were just oohing and aahing all over the place, and of course grabbing whatever we could. We were early enough that we really were able to get everything we wanted and like our events, they had shopping bags waiting for us to load up. You weren't allowed to take anything away however, as Ron hadn't set up for that as yet...that about drove me crazy since I wanted to take it back to the room and ooh, and ahh, over it all night. Anyway, Friday afternoon we had our first class. Now, before I say another word about the classes I have to tell you Sara and I both enjoyed ourselves and have every intention of going back again in 2009 so please understand that what I'm about to say is not a criticism of the class, just an observation. The Friday class we were taking was a paint on linen class taught by Catherine Jordan. What we noticed first about the class was the noise level. At our events we strive to have quiet rooms while the teachers are teaching(don't always achieve it, however it is our goal), however in this event at one point a group was singing a show tune while the class was taking place. They spoke over the teacher, under the teacher and around the teacher, which Sara and I found rude on their part and really distracting at first...we learned to ignore it and move forward. I have to say none of it made me fall behind...I just found it rude. The problem stems from a group of friends taking the class together I think...but anyway, that was really our only problem with the classes or the entire retreat actually, and like I said, we learned to ignore the noise. The paint on linen class was fascinating. I really didn't think I'd ever want to do this again, however, as soon as the class was over I ran over to the Moss Creek shop and purchased the paints and the brushes so I could do it at home. We painted the background on linen to put on a small box, and then we stitched a design over the background. Many were worried they wouldn't be able to paint, but it's nothing precise and no matter what you do or how you do it, the design works out. I'm a I looked at Catherine's box and tried to replicate it, but the woman sitting next to me...let's just say her's will be a one of a kind. When we finished the box and got back to the room I worked all night on the ship (two of the classes centered around nautical designs...whoppee!)..which was one over one. The stitching was straight forward, cross stitch, padded satin stitch and long very do-able. And by morning I had the clipper ship stitched and was ready to do my grass and tree work. Saturday morning brought us to Sherri's class which was a gorgeous mermaid design done in two colors of silk on a gorgeous color of linen. When completed it becomes a holder of needles, scissors, etc. When closed the project looks somewhat like a scallop shell. Anyway, it was a glorious kit to behold and I was really excited to stitch this one as well. We worked on a scissor fob in class, just outlining the fob and then trying to work a scroll stitch, which I tore out so many times I swear I had to set a record. To tell the truth, I never got it the way I wanted it and at night ended up tearing it out one last time. I still haven't put it back in, but wanted to practice on a spare piece of linen with a thread that came out of my stash so I didn't waste the kit thread. While we kept practicing the stitch Sherri had done her homework on mermaids and gave us the history. Very interesting, but then it was time for lunch and the next class. The afternoon was spent in Rae's class which was a Celtic piece which becomes a holder of needles, fob, etc. Here again we started working on the fob using a few interesting stitches while Rae gave us a history lesson. I am thrilled to announce that I was able to finish my fob Saturday night as Sara and I were drained and so excited that we rushed back to the room, skipped the dinner (O.K., we skipped the banquet but ordered room service), and stitched into the night. What fun that is. And after pestering Ron (who I know got sick of us going to him every couple of hours for our bags) way too much, when we went down again to the shop around 8:00 he gave in, added up our stash and we were able to rest easy knowing that it was paid for. The kits we purchased are gorgeous...and so well put together. Rae has such a knack for not only designing but assembling. Saturday brought a storm to the island so it was great to just sit and stitch. An observation regarding this hotel...the staff is unbelievable upbeat and you can't pass them without their acknowledging your presence with a good morning, or good afternoon. And if you approach the desk they fall all over themselves trying to help you out. Sara is planning on taking a class from them as she see's that her attitude in the summer is less than Marriott worthy, in fact it's down right rude at times. Having said that, I doubt if any of the employees we encountered work 18 hours straight...7 days a week for 6 months. So I think we can excuse Sara if she gets a bit testy...until she gets testy with me then that's a whole other story. Anyway, even the staff who delivered more than one room service meal to us always asked how we were enjoying our stay, where we were from...etc., etc., etc. Very pleasant. It was amusing to us to see the stitchers flock to the beach once the weather straightened that was something we didn't even look at. While all beaches are not alike, the view is the same...beach and ocean...when you've seen one you have seen them all, and since we see our beach and ocean everyday, we didn't even look for it. Sunday was so gorgeous if we were staying we might have gone out there, however, we went to the brunch, and got out of there early to start our trek home. Sara drove and I slept as sense in disturbing the balance we had achieved. I never slept so much...I'd doze off, start snoring and wake myself up and five minutes later did it all over again. We made it back without Sara getting another ticket so we're calling it successful. By the way, we ran into Carol B. when we were at the front desk registering and then periodically over the weekend, but she was the only one there that we knew. But what a wonderful weekend, great teachers, great shopping, a huge success. Ron and Rae Iverson do a great job. I highly recommend this event. Oh, yea, while the class times are approximately 3-3 1/2 hrs in length, they give you plenty of breaks (during which you can get your choice of soda, tea, coffee or whatever to drink and cookies, lemon bars, etc. to eat). Also once the lecture or the demonstration is over and you know what you are doing you can also leave. They do have the classrooms open at night for anyone who wants to sit and stitch there. We took 2 days to drive home and that really worked out better. So we arrived home on Monday and I took Monday and Tuesday off to unwind and stitch. And now I'm back. And you's great to be home.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm back.....

Whew...I've been buried under paperwork since the Jamboree ended plus I was physically and mentally exhausted. However, I'm almost back to normal (my normal, not anyone elses) and I'm ready to talk about it. Coming off of the Delaware Guild retreat we were a little tired, but set up for the Jamboree to come so that made it a tiny bit easier. We always close the hotel after the Delaware Guild retreat (not because of anything they did but to ready us for the Jamboree), however as we were about to breath and lock the doors Fran C. arrived early for the Jamboree. Unfortunately, we have to close for our own mental state to get ready, so Fran decided to go to another hotel and come back on Wednesday when we reopened. Debbie L. & Phyllis Y. came down on Tuesday to spend some time with Stasi B. before she left for home so we already had Jamboree attendees on site on Tuesday. Debbie and Phyllis come down a lot to it's like 'old home week' when they are on site. We have little retreats and stitch with them, well Sara does I'm usually home sleeping. Anyway, we worked all week getting food prepared. Sara was in charge of hors d'oevres and I was in charge of the lasagna dinner. I made so many pans of lasagna I don't care if I ever see it again, and the pasta salad...well I've had enough of that as well. It didn't help that all Wednesday night I was elbow deep in pasta only to find that I hadn't prepared enough so I went back to the store, bought more ingredients and started all day again on Thursday which is why I made the faux pas of "not picking up Jane Timmer from the airport." Yes, I said it, it was my fault, I left a designer standing at the airport so long that the security people at the airport asked her is she had missed her flight. She finally called the shop and when Debbie L. & Phyllis, who were standing there and heard the call, found out what I did they offered to go pick her up. When Sara called me at Food Lion and asked if I had the flight information on Jane, I knew I was knee deep in %$#@. I was so embarrassed, can you imagine inviting someone to your house, and then leaving them stranded. I just knew I was going to catch hell from Jane, but when I finally saw her and admitted that it was my mistake she was so gracious and kind and said it was alright (which we all know it wasn't but I'm grateful she didn't have any hard feeling towards me.) Anyway, that was the start of the Jamboree and as my mother always said, "a bad beginning makes for a great ending." And folks, it was the best. While we were hopping all weekend, it was such fun. Several stitchers arrived Thursday night and the drinking..oops, I meant networking began. In the lobby everyone met, had some wine, and talked needlework. And they brought food as well, Jody King brought her wonderful "honey bun cakes" and her potato chip cookies..., Pat Eaton brought her delicious pumpkin breads (9 loaves) for everyone to have some plus she brought rice krispie bars. Kay Owens, Judy Brunclik, Sue Quigg all brought the most delicious cookies to share with everyone and thankfully Sue let me keep the tins which I love to have at Christmas. Carol Reither brought pizzelles which reminds me of my dad as he loved them and Cynthia Radley brought me a gorgeous plate of cookies piled high and topped off with the cutest shortbread mold...a hornbook. While I didn't share that particular plate with anyone at Jamboree, I did share it with my home stitchers when we had our Stitch 'n Bitch on Tuesday following the weekend. I've also gone on their website to look at all the hornbook take you's amazing. There was plenty of show and tell with many of the ladies allowing me to display them all weekend in the shop: Jackie Janosky bringing her Stitcher's Treasure box smalls (Jeannette Douglas designs), Stacie Stinson and her mother Caroline, including M Designs "Christmas" and several Elizabeth Designs blue ribbon winners. Phyllis Yurack brought her "Bethlehem" from Imaginating that was striking, as well as the "Raven" by Cross Eyed Cricket and an On The Bay piece. Debbie Liming brought the first piece designed by Crescent Colours, "All in a Moon," Candi Whitehead brought in M Designs "Halloween Tree" and her mother Linda Wimbrow brought in Little House "Snowflakes", so we had quite a display in the shop and some of the stitchers brought show and tell and I'm not sure what anyone brought except Jean Crockett who brought in "Red Thread Series" by Bent Creek, beautifully framed ...good to see it finished...(I started it and that's about all I can say). Anyway, we had a great time during the weekend and the weather for both events was gorgeous...simply gorgeous...sunny and warm..bordering on hot...and we had several new stitchers attend. Remember the Fran I spoke of at the beginning of the blog...she turned out to be the designer behind "Legacy", and also in attendance was Patty Yergey who is the designer behind "Samplers Revisited," so we were hopping with designers. And the classes, oh my they were wonderful. Everyone loved the classes because they were taught new techniques (new to them) on putting smalls together. Lauren designed the cutest pillow for a miniature adirondack(included in kit) chair with a nautical theme along with the Md. State Flag done on a lumbar pillow for the mini chair. The ladies were stitching this long after the class ended so I know most of them will have this finished in no time. Jane Timmer did a nautical hanging pocket which was so perfect and continued with the nautical theme we love since we live on the beach. Several of the stitchers were also stitching away on her piece in the lobby after class. And Eileen taught different stitches, blackwork, pulled work, etc., on two smalls which rounded out the weekend perfectly. In fact, the stitchers all requested all 3 of these ladies back, and many requested a weekend with Jane teaching her 2 day notebook course. Which, by the way, I have contacted Jane and she is available so I will be setting this up for spring. I also intend to have all three join us again if they can, for another Jamboree. I managed to get my exchange gift with Theresa Wood's done...I took the design off of Shepherd's Bush "Sail Away" and put the scene on the top of a box, lined the inside of the box with "When this you see remember me" along with the date and OCSJ. I stitched her initial and a motif on the bottom of the box along with an over one scissor fob (the sailboat from the scene) and a girl holding a spy glass was on the front of the needlebook. The biggest thing for me was in the finishing which as we all know I hate doing. But I completed it by end of day on Saturday and exchanged with her that night. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of my pieces for you, but I do have her pieces to me to show. Which I will do upon my return from the Moss Creek Retreat...O.K., I'm on the darn phone with IRS so you can only imagine the fire coming out of every pore in my body...I'm multitasking like crazy so I can get out of here before midnight. Anyway, I've received notices periodically from IRS regarding what they feel I owe regarding a 940 form from 1998. Yes, I said 1998. I have sent them copies of every form from 1998, numerous times, think it is straight and in a couple of years get the same letter. I've been playing this game for several years but lately it's been coming more frequently. In August I sent them the forms yet again, along with letters from April 2008 and 2007 letters. The first of October I got a letter saying they were looking into the situation and would let me know. A couple of days letter I got a letter of intent to levy the assets. So today, I thought it might be prudent to call them. You can imagine the response I've gotten. Paul answers asking me if I'm having a nice day. Now really, if I'm calling IRS you can bet it is not a great day for me...or I dare say anyone else. So I tell Paul what my problem is...after answering 15 questions to verify I'm actually who I say I am...and he looks into the problem and says "What forms were you sending?" To which I replied, "Every form I fill out, not only federal but the state forms as well, just so you can verify the same figures are being reported." To which he says, "there is the problem." We aren't saying you didn't pay your Federal taxes...we are saying the State of Maryland shows you didn't pay your state taxes for 1998. So then I ask, "wouldn't the State of Maryland have been contacting me regarding lack of payment if I hadn't paid them? And why are you contacting me for State money?" Now it's not like IRS isn't confused enough, now they are monitoring the wonder our government is so slow. Anyway, he informs me that I have to get recertification from the State showing that I've paid the 1998 taxes. And then he says, we have monies of yours which we don't know what to do with from 2006 (I notice they never contacted me on this) which shows it is suppose to be put toward the 943 form which is agricultural, are you a farm? I said no, that can't be...I make quarterly payments to PNC and they must have processed it incorrectly and that should have gone on Form 941. Well, for some reason that didn't work for him so he kept saying "you need to let us know what we are to do with that money." I kept saying put it into the fica account to which he replied, you need to let us know what to do with that which I wanted to reply, "shove it up your butt...however, I could use the $1000 so I remained silent and said, "Look, I can only deal with the first issue since there is an intent to levy...I'll deal with that money issue later." Then I call the State of Maryland (oh, yea, my day just gets better and better) and I go through the whole explanation with her and you could have knocked me over when she said, "So you need a recertification letter?" Yes, I said, exactly, by the way, if I owed the State money would they not have contacted me? To which she said, if they felt you owed it they would. So while this is complete absolution...I do think we're getting close. While I was on the phone with IRS they did mention they didn't get my 2007 940 form and I should send that along. This is the first I've heard of this....perhaps I'll be hearing about that in 2017. Anyway, I've got to run and start coping all my IRS forms so they don't levy my I'm ending here and of course tomorrow I head off to Hilton Head for my Moss Creek retreat with Sara so wish me a Bon Voyage and I'll let you know when I return what a grand old time we had. Have a great weekend and keep those needles moving.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What fun we had...sorry if you missed it!

Delaware Valley Guild is now just a pleasant memory, but what a good time we had. Some new faces were with the group, but many of the old faces were here so we felt right at home. I had been warned by my Sara that I wasn't to intrude on the guild since it wasn't an event we were hosting so I tried to restrain myself, but they were very kind to say that I was invited to sit with them and stitch if I wanted...which I wanted but had no strength to do but you can believe my mouth was flapping (I know you all find that hard to believe). The projects that these stitchers were working on were fabulous....big pieces, like Long Dog Samplers, no little one night projects for these stitchers. The weather was gorgeous...sunny, not real hot and during the day not too cold, so the stitchers were able to sit outside on the rockers for a while each day to stitch. All the stitchers were excited to meet Ruth Sparrow (designer Behind Twisted Threads) who along with Stasi Buhrman (she ran Ruth's shop when she lived in Ohio) were having a mini retreat here and helped Sara and I with this retreat. In fact, Ruth and Stasi cut fabric for me during the retreat (thank God!). Debbie H. from Enfield, Ct., brought me the most gorgeous roll-up for needlework...the colours were so lush, deep burgundy prints...wonderful which I've already got in use as we speak. I had admired hers last year so was surprised and thrilled when she brought me one as a gift. There were some new faces this year at the retreat and it's always nice when newbies are included. Our own Linda W. joined Stacy S. this year and Jean M. a firecracker in her 70's was attending and she was the spirit of the event. She was so much fun to be around. While I had warned everyone about my Thursday night T.V. schedule, I slipped out early exhausted which was a good thing because Sara told me the next day that they didn't even watch Survivor they watched Ugly you know if I was there that would not have happened. Good thing I left. Anyway, ladies it was a pleasure to have you here and a lot of fun to boot!