Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's over and we are exhausted.....

We are always excited to see our annual October Stitching event come and since we know that this is really the end of the season for us we are a little sad to see it end.  However, the older I get the more exhausted I have become by Sunday that it takes me a week to unwind and get rested.  So I've had a few days to get sleep and worked less so I'm almost feeling human again, but I have to say, it was a great event, the teachers were fabulous and the stitchers appeared to have a great it was a win win for everyone.  Theresa (Shakespeare's Peddler) taught the stitchers to do a "passport pincushion" which the stitchers loved because it brought out their creative side.  A few finished theirs over the weekend and no two are ever alike, so it was interesting to see what everyone did... using "bits and bobs" of linen, lace, rick rack, buttons, charms etc.  Very cute!  Then Belinda (Blue Ribbon) taught one of her fabulous samplers, titled "Feathers, Flowers & Fruit" which included a framed sampler, a scissor fob and an ort recepticle.  Her class was wonderful and the stitchers learned some of her best tips and secrets.   Donna (By the Bay) taught the stitchers to do stumpwork and wool work in creating an eyeglass case.  Several stitchers also finished this over the weekend and took home a finished piece...Kudo's !
So a good time was had by all.  We had 54 stitchers, which included our very own token male...imagine 1 man and 53 women...he's a great sport and even stitched his own name tag this year (I told him he really needed one last year).  It was so cute because it had his name on he front and when he flipped it up it said Token Male.  Anyway, the weather was nights but sun shining during the day so everyone could sit outside if they wanted to.  Sunday was the first exodus of stitchers with the remaining leaving on Monday except for Syd and Debbie and they pulled out on Tuesday.  But we closed the hotel part of the operation on Monday.  So now just the Salty Yarns and Sea Trader will be open everyday.  Also on Sunday our Connie worked her last day before retiring.  So I'm back on the schedule for 5 days a week.  But at least I will be taking off at least one day...I need one day in the office until Thanksgiving at which time we go to 4 days a week open.  Oh, I almost forgot, one of my favorite parts of Jamboree is seeing finished pieces that stitchers bring for show and tell, and this year was no different.  Seeing all the different projects just makes me want to go home and stitch 24/7, don't you feel the same way?  It is so inspiring, and really gets my creative juices flowing.  Oh, I had a not so creative moment today, in fact it  made me feel really stupid, I was taking my shower for work and while standing there washing my hair THE light went out.  I knew that couldn't be a good sign and mentally thought about the bill but knew I had paid it so figured they were working on it somewhere.  Fortunately I was able to finish the shower and when I looked outside saw no trucks which wasn't a good sign.  Then Brian called me to see if it was out downstairs and I said yes and told him to call DP & L.  I then walked into my bathroom, sat down and tried to blow dry my hair.  Took me a few minutes to realize I Had No Electric.  Mary called and said it was out in the south end of town (which is where I live and work)...and like an idiot I thought, no problem, I'll just take my hair dryer to work and blow dry it the south end of town.  I really felt my age when I arrived at the shop which had to electricity and realized I couldn't dry it there either.  Long story's amazing how much I depend on electricity.  I could have sat outside in the sun and it would have dried my hair...but you just know I'm not doing that.  Thank God he electric returned at 10:15 a.m.  And my hair was still wet, so I didn't drag my hair dryer here for nothing...horray!  Anyway, I have to start working now...Sara and I are alone in the shop today so it will be a miracle if we both live through the day.  So have a great day it is sunny and bright with the ocean a little darker as there must be a storm somewhere, but it's so warm I think I'm going to have to turn on the a/c.  I hope you have a great day to you later.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm back!!!!!!!

Yes, I've poking my head back up's the end of the season, we're geared up and ready for the event this weekend, and Theresa from Shakespeare's Peddler, just arrived.  Stitchers  started arriving yesterday, with more coming tomorrow and the majority arriving on Friday.  The piece you see here, "A Maryland Inspiration", was delivered in time for the event, along with charts.  It's a fabulous original design by Theresa Baird and  received the Frank Lloyd Wright Award for Outstanding Original Design at the 49th Annual Woodlawn Plantation Needlework Exhibit. Fabulous!!!  We're so excited that we finally got the finished piece on display...please come in and see it.  Well, I don't know how you did over this summer, but I'm much to fat and old to put up with the heat and humidity we had down here.  I thought I'd die from it.  Believe me when I tell you I thanked God every day and night for my air conditioning.  We managed to get through the summer without killing each other or any tenants, again I thanked God for that.  We are blessed to have great tenants in the hotel, for the most part, and we are also blessed to have great stitchers in Salty Yarns.  Now that doesn't mean there aren't a few stinkers in the group, but they are far out numbered by the great ones so we don't like to complain too much.  I do have to say one thing though....and get ready because it's a rant.  I'm a person who believes in tipping for good service and great service I really acknowledge, however I also believe tipping is for service above and beyond, not for those who are simply doing their job.  For instance, I was at the Alaska Stand (a hamburger stand here) a couple of weeks ago and a gentlemen handed the owner change for the tip jar, and then he began to go on and on about people who didn't put money in the tip jar (of which I am one).  Now, when you are at a fast food place, which is what a hamburger stand is here, you can't go behind the counter and get your food off the griddle, so how are you suppose to get your food if they don't give it to you.  Therefore, that isn't anything but their job.  Now, if you kept asking for special things, changes in what ordinarily they do, or extra of anything that isn't normally given, well then maybe throw a few coins in the jar, but that's iffy to me.  Anyway, my stand on hotel tipping is...if you stay one night there is no need to tip as they didn't do anything for you.  They had to make up the room between tenants yes, but that wasn't specifically for you it's their job.  However, once  you spend two nights there is a need to say thank you for cleaning up after me.  I always police my room before room service comes in, make sure all clothes are put away, trash in trash can, etc., so they can come in and do their job, so there is no extra effort needed on their part, but they are cleaning my room for me.  Now, in Nashville there are times when I'm too pooped and they haven't gotten to my room yet I just tell them to forget it for the day (there's nothing housekeepers hate more than tenants sitting there watching them work).  When I don't have room service I don't leave anything for those days as I don't have them do anything...take out trash, replace towels, nothing.  But there are only a couple of days I don't have them come in the room so I'm still tipping for all the days they do come in.  I started this rant because someone who is a regular stayed for 3 nights and tipped with "coupons  for something off a dinner at Outback" and a couple of stamps.  First our housekeeping staff does such a wonderful job and frankly that just isn't good enough.  It borders on rude frankly.  The last time this couple was here they left her a few chocolates in a bag...again, hardly good enough for someone who has cleaned your toilet for the weekend, made your bed, cleaned up your room...etc.  Mary who runs the front desk came to me and said she was embarrassed to even give the housekeeper the coupons, etc., but was afraid not to so she did.  Needless to say the housekeeper just threw it in the trash, which is the same thing she did with the candy.  As for the candy, she wasn't asked what kind she wasn't presented in a nice box, it was a few pieces thrown in a bag.  If you don't want to tip housekeepers....stay at a camp ground and clean up after yourself,  stay home, or just ask that no housekeeping be given, which you can do.  I appreciate someone making my bed, exchanging my dirty towels for clean ones, etc...I tip for that service.  But will I leave a tip at a carryout sir...if you don't want to put my food on the counter, then open it up and I'll come and get it myself.  I think I've said enough on that subject...let's move on.    Sara and Pat worked on getting the trunk shows up and they are beautiful...wish I could keep them.  And the girls are shopping, shopping and shopping so I have to end here.  But I'll try to keep in touch since I'll be working more.  Our Connie is retiring and Sunday will be here last day.  Guess who will be picking up her guessed it...yours truly.  So I'll be in here more and I'll try to let you know what's happening.  Have a great day and a great weekend.  It is gorgeous here...sunny and cool, and we've still had to put the a/c on in Salty Yarns

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Betsy Morgan is almost here!

Pre-stitch is finished and the hotel is being readied for the students coming for Betsy's class and we're all excited. This is our second class this year, the first being the Elizabeth Talledo class which was wonderful and so cute.  A couple of our stitchers are well on their way to finishing that class.  We've gotten through two retreats, Spring Retreat and Delaware Valley Sampler Guild so we've been busy.  Last night I went to C.J.'s graduation, but had to leave before he even got his diploma since the speakers were too long winded and I had to get to the airport to pick up Paola coming in for Betsy's class and Debbie showed up today so we had a really nice homecoming after finally arriving back at the hotel around 10:30 p.m.    I'm doing my part by stitching up samples like crazy. I picked up 4 new framed pieces this month and Carolyn Newman delivered 3 pillows in May so ..wheww!!! I'm stitching like a maniac and loving every second of it. Sorry these pictures are so dark....but I just had to show you anyway. Halloween by Drawn thread was such a fun stitch. Many of you will recognize it as it was such a popular piece when it came out 2 years ago...(yes it laid around in my bag for 2 years before I finally got to it.) The second picture shows Hinzeit's Beach and Maryland with charms....cute and fast to stitch. And the final picture is Hillside Samplings "Quaker Alphabet", which I have loved for many years before stitching. As you can see I mix old charts with new charts when I stitch...I love pulling out an older chart out of my to do pile...don't you? And finally, "Scatter Luck" by Shepherd's Bush. I love their Scatter series and have stitched a couple of them, but was trying to figure out what to do with them...and in the end I do love them framed since framed you can switch them out on your walls for the different seasons, etc. Honestly, you would think that after 50 years of stitching I'd be bored, but it's like I got a second wind and I can't seem to get enough of it. Some take longer than others, and some take more thought. Like "Beach-y" Mood by Cricket Collection. I took one look at this one and knew it was going to be stitched. First, I love Cricket Collection designs, had just finished "Summer" and at the time was working on "Spring" so this went immediately into my stitching tote.  5 weeks ago it came out after I finished "Spring" and took it to be framed. I knew there were a couple of things I wanted to change colorwise on this piece but I didn't realize how much trauma I would go through. I have learned if I don't like a color on something I need to change it right away as it will "bug" me forever. So I knew instantly I had to change the red crab to blue as we are a blue crab state. But the blue crab is actually a green and blue color so that was the first problem for me, which frankly got settled rather quickly by going with 2 different Weeks Dye Works colors. But then I wanted a light blue in the claws and legs as well and there had to be orange/red tips on the pincher claws. I must have redesigned the claws 3 times before deciding to leave them the way they were designed and just change the colors. (Blue crabs don't have fat pincher claws they are more long and narrower...but then as Sara kept telling's not suppose to be an exact I decided for the sake of finishing to let it go). After making that decision the crab was stitched quickly and I love the little guy. I did use beads for his eyes and he was done. Then I had to move on to the shells. Why did it make such a difference to me I don't know...perhaps it's because we run a shell store here and have for years, after all we are at the ocean. So I had Sara run down to the shop and get me shells so I could replicate the colors. Once I finally sat down and said "get your butt in gear on this so it can get to the framers) it all happened very quickly. I did drop the clam shell off the "B" and just went with the scallop because I had been traumatized enough and didn't really feel the clam shell was necessary and I was done. I hope that Cross Eyed Cricket likes my version if they see it and don't mind my "messing" with it. I love the finished product which it hanging in the shop.   My framer has done an exception job with the framing of all the pieces and so has Carolyn with the pillows.  I did the May wordplay, again as I did with April, I stitched on 18 ct. Davos over 2 threads so it's count becomes 9.  The pillow size is fabulous and will look great on my new sofa.  Anyway, I wanted to let everyone know I'm still here and as high as before, but I'm still kicking.  The day is beautiful, sun is shining here and it's hot and humid (not my favorite, but then I'm in a/c) so life is good in Ocean City.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend....maybe next class you can join us. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Glorious Day here...

My God, it's like summer....the temps are so warm people are in the ocean (I didn't say they were brain trusts) and the boardwalk is filled with walkers, and bikers. There are all kinds of sunbathers and yet, the sand fences are still up. I guess the city is still expecting storms... I actually had to stand in line at the A Stand to get my lunch (but naturally that didn't deter me from waiting....after all a girl has to eat). We are actually open, even though we weren't suppose to be open full time until Friday, but the weather was just too nice, and the schools are on Spring Break...don't even get me started on that one. Renee is due back in house this weekend and should have her annual in hand so that's exciting. But right now it's just Sara and yours truly manning the fort...oops, shop. Too bad you weren't here, the people haven't gotten to Sara today...yet...and she's actually pleasant to people...sorry you are missing it. Bless her little heart she's been wearing her last year's Easter gift all week now (the peep necklace I made her), so I have to give her credit for even being able to find it. (I'm not sure where mine is...I think I put it away for safe least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) Today I have spent the better part of the day working on the web site...whew!!!! Added a few new items and then played my usual games on the computer hoping Sara wouldn't notice. She didn't! Then UPS delivered 6 boxes that weren't suppose to be here until June....I'm livid now and ready to kill my favorite salesman...I always put ship dates on all my orders and he usually ignores them, then I have my round of nasty e-mails, my accounts are credited and life goes on, but why the hell do I have to go through this every year. My first and last words to every salesman is I don't want this until.....and it's never before June since in Sea Trader that's when I need it. Now Salty Yarns, well that's a whole other story. There are no ship dates because we always want everything "yesterday". Anyway, my wrath today is saved for Michael and his unending stupidity when it comes to my ship dates for Sea Trader. But with the gorgeous weather...well, I'm still in a good mood. Can't wait to get home to continue working on Beach-y Mood. I love this piece, just wish I didn't have to tweak it since that always takes me longer to finish. But I've been a finishing fool here lately. Picked up Hinzeit's Maryland and Beach, Drawn Thread's Halloween, Hillside Samplings Quaker Sampler, and Shepherd's Bush Scatter Shamrocks from the framer and dropped off Cricket collections Spring, and a couple of others (my God, I've forgotten what) and I've got a Drawn Thread finished last year to take over and my Beach-y Mood next week (hopefully I will have figured out the changes by then). Carolyn picked up 3 pieces to make into pillows on Sunday so I'm rolling right along. We got in the new Loose Feathers today and Blackbird has used another box from Hobby Lobby, so I'm going back over to get one... or two. When I was there last week I picked up extras of the box used in the Stitching Parlor piece so we'd have some for those who don't have a hobby lobby. All of these boxes can be used for many projects and make such wonderful gifts. I love working them and finishing them. Usually fast and fun. Sara has taken over the responsibilities of Salty Yarns now...I'm still going to be the worker bee, and I'll help her, but she's now doing mail orders, answering the e-mails, etc., so I can focus on the web site and stitching. Yes I'm slowly moving to retirement...which in the case of anyone in Ocean City means you will be working only 1 job instead of many. I can't wait. I might actually get more blogging time in, although don't count on it as I can't say that I have anything of interest to say, but I'll try to let you know I'm still here and not planted in the ground. Well Michael, my 11 year old grandson, just came in to see if he could spend the night (oh, school breaks...) so my day has just gone downhill (as far as stitching is concerned) just a tad. Michael loves to come to my house because he has free reign. Looks like I won't be working on my Beach-y Mood tonight. Well there is always tomorrow. Hope you have a great night as well, and an even better tomorrow. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

There's a change on the horizon....

Yes, I went into the office yesterday and found Mary knee deep in dust and trash bags. While for some this may have caused alarm, for me it was a wonderful moment. My office honestly looked and in some places still looks like a paper bomb went off. My desk looked like the homes on hoarders really, but that is changing now. Mary had mentioned that she was going to start cleaning up the office and I said, "Go on...I'm fine with that." I really didn't care if she threw everything away....I was sick of looking at the mess, but couldn't get around to going through every item. But Mary has taken a lot of that decision away from me, which I really don't mind. By the time I got into the office she had cleared off and dusted the shelves and the top of my old roll top (which is so huge it's impossible to move which is what I'd really like to do...move it the hell out of the office and get a new desk without all the cubbies)...and I was thrilled. She did save everything and ask if I wanted to go through it, but I'm so sick of it I said to just trash it, even the stitching magazines that have be housed there for 20 years. Yes, folks, I'm cleaning out.....and organizing. We even put my stamps in a little stamp holder...oh, yes, organization is the way to go...I feel like I'm on hoarders. Anyway, after a few more days in the office we should have this job finished...whoppee!!!! And the finds....found a Walmart gift certificate that I lost around 10 years ago....2 address books, which we were going to go buy since I didn't remember they were there...yes, everything but a body and I'm thankful for that, because I've never been sure what was up on the top of the desk or on the shelves since I can't reach any of it. So it looks like we're getting it together at the girls are trying to take all jobs away from me (and they aren't getting any fight out of me over that either). They took the control of events away from me last year....Thank you!! Sara has taken over the mail orders...oh, my I can hear my retirement coming... ah, to get up every morning and try to decide which project to work on...yes, that's my dream. Anyway, it's a good feeling to know that my office will be clutter free...O.K., perhaps that's too much to ask, but at least we're getting closer. I came from a family who recycled everything. My father never threw out a piece of paper unless he had used every conceivable space, back front and sideways, and I got that from him. I save all paper and to throw it away just feels wrong. But if someone else throws it away I really don't have a problem with it. Well, Mary doesn't throw it away, she's very "green" so she's hauling all of it over to the recycling bins at Walmart. I'm just so grateful....I've wanted to be paper free but couldn't do it myself. Well, let's face it hauling to Walmart just isn't me...I'm more hauling home from Walmart...but I sure don't mind someone else doing the heavy lifting. So now I'll be proceding in a better space. This means that both home and office are getting organized. Well, home is organized...although I'm still going through my life is getting a whole lot better. Now I come home everyday and stitch until I fall asleep, and then get up and stitch some more. I've got several projects in rotation. I'm always changing this system but for now I've got a birthday gift for someone that I work on one day a week (it should be done next month).., the Cricket Collection "Spring" which is worked on one day a week (and should be done this week) and then I get to pick out a new project .. whoppee!!!). Part of the week is dedicated to a small shop sample...something that can be completed in just a few days and then usually I have 1 day to work on anything I want to work on like the Betsy Morgan Toy Chest, and I try to make sure I'm working on something that has been started in the past and stuck in a bag. That means that every week I get to pick out a new project...always a thrill....and some weeks I get to pick out another large project (Like next week when Spring will be completed). I've really never had so much fun with stitching. You simply cannot get bored when you have so many projects in the works. Soon I will start working on Christmas gifts...this will be a first starting this early....all part of my new organizational effort... Now, aggravation...I had it the other day with old nemesis....before leaving for Nashville market I received a new phone bill that instead of reading the normal $33.00 for Salty Yarns it said, $180.00. I trying to decipher what created the jump I saw internet charges, call waiting, etc, all kinds of things I didn't have on the shop phone, so today I decided to call them and get this matter in hand. After punching several buttons in answer to their automatic answering system (which I hate) I got the wrong department and just started punching "0" which always gets a person...and explained my problem. Now I called number on the statement, however after giving the person my account name and number I was informed that my account did exist. So while trying to stay calm, I said, "well I've got a bill that says I do have an account so I'd appreciate service." So she asked me to hold on and she'd transfer me as she obviously didn't have the authority to look at the account. (not sure why she would be answering phones listed when she couldn't answer questions because she didn't have authority, but well, it's verizon). So I start explaining the problem to the next person and she asks for the number and name on account and then comes back with...these don't look like our numbers...and after assuring her that it was the number on the bill she asked where I was located. Apparently in trying to just get me off her phone, the first woman tranferred me to New York. So now I get transferred again and after explaining the problem to the 3rd person, I am thrilled when she informs me that she has my account and goes back 3 months to see that my bill was normally $33.00 and explains that someone authorized the additions to the account but she would delete them. Whoppee....after 20 minutes the problem is possibly solved...won't know definitely until the next bill comes this may be a premature Whoppee!!!! Anyway, my life goes on. Must get back to stitching so I'll end now...have a great day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whew.....I'm definitely getting too old for the computer age...

While at the Nashville market I tried, as I always do, to blog and let you know what was going on....but was unable to connect to the internet. When I called the front desk to get instruction they just said, "use this password" which I did and still couldn't get on. Unlike prior years I simply just gave up. I no longer have the energy to deal with this computer age. And everyday I'm reminded that I'm racing into old age. Friday C.J. came to me and said his Blackberry no longer worked. I had told him when I gave it to him to come to me when and if anything happened to it as I took out insurance on it. So I explained to him that I was going to Salisbury on Tuesday and would take care of it then. So yesterday I traveled to Salisbury, went into Verizon where I was told I needed to take care of this myself. What the hell happened to customer service? These are the things I can't stand. I have been paying for the insurance monthly since getting the phone. Insurance to me means when you have a claim, you let the company know and then they take care of everything else. But no more...I had a number to call, and when called I'm told by a machine that the wait time is going to be long and I should go on the internet to file the claim. I was in the store where I could have purchased a new Blackberry, because repairing phones is apparently no longer being done. But no...that's not the way it works...I had to go on line, answer the questions after which they assure me they are sending me a phone overnight and then with the deductible I still have to pay $100. And the final screen tells me if I don't return the other phone I will be charged another $100. O.K., I was standing in the friggin store with the old phone in hand, you could have taken the phone then, had me pay for the new phone then and this would have been a done deal. Honestly, why can't common sense ever enter the reality of my world. But I digress...I was speaking about the Nashville market. First, we got the 2nd teacher confirmed for Jamboree...Theresa from Shakespeare Peddler, so we are thrilled we now have 2 confirmed...Blue Ribbon and Shakespeare Peddler. Thank God!!!! Now we have 1 more to go and I'll keep you posted. I also have Sherri Jones confirmed for April 2013 so again, whoppee....we are so thrilled she is going to be here...we already have 2 signed up for her class and we haven't even posted it yet. But Crystal and Cynthia were having a mini retreat here this past weekend and were standing beside me when I read the e-mail. Anyway, Crystal and Cynthia arrived Friday afternoon and we had such a nice time with them last weekend. I use to only see them at Jamboree but last year they decided to take a mini retreat and now make it an annual event. Coming right after Nashville market allowed them first look at all the new "stuff" we brought back. I always love to see what stitchers are purchasing...and find that many of us love the same things. So they went home with plenty of stash to hold them until we see them again. Thanks ladies...we had fun with you and really appreciate your spending time with us. Sara and I have worked hard to get all the Nashville market items out on the racks and I believe we finished the last bags on Monday...always a good feeling. I love buying the stuff and love actually going through it again when we get home. Needless to say I pulled a few things to stitch....what a surprise. I've been stitching like a mad person since the holidays, well even before the holidays so I'll have plenty of new models in the shop. Took 5 things over to the framer yesterday...can't wait to get them back. And I have a few more ready to make into pillows or whatever....yes I've been really productive on the stitching front. As for the market...I'll start getting things up on the web site today. I finally switched out the computers so I can work from home on the days the shop is closed. And finally, the weather down here. Did you have winter, because we've yet to see it. While I was doing mail orders on Monday Sara called me in the office and said, "It's snowing!" And yes, there were fat snowflakes falling....for about 1 hour and then it turned to I suppose that was our winter. It was short and sweet. Today it's suppose to go up to 60....yes, this is my idea of winter. I've only worn a winter coat one time this winter....but my fear is that we'll have 32 degree weather and snow at Easter. Frankly by this time of year I expect winter to be over, so since we haven't seen it yet....well there is reason for concern. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed that winter has come and gone while I was sleeping....which gives it plenty of time since I seem to nap a lot now. Nap and stitch..oh yeah, and eat...that sums up my day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19...something is still wrong...

I've been trying for 2 days to get a picture of the Elizabeth Talledo class, Maritime and can't get it into the website, so I'm going to try getting it here. O.k. it works here...obviously Julie didn't get everything fixed on the web site....I'm back on the Julie trail.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


The first of our retreaters arrived last night so the fun has begun. Today several more of the ladies showed up and tomorrow will see the return of everyone else. Sara is busy getting ready for the reception she throws every year for the ladies and I've spent the day, well, I'm suppose to be baking, etc., but I've managed to finish the "Maryland" project and pull fibers and fabric for 2 more projects. I'm on a roll people and I am having a ball. When I checked the blog last night I noticed that the pictures are really dark (I'm still getting use to the difference between the Mac Pro and my trusty HP...and I think I'm losing the battle but unwilling to give up) so I'm showing you the GPA. Sampler Doll Pin Cushion so you can see hopefully what a wonderful job Briar Rose did with the doll torso.
I'm also adding a couple more pictures of finishes I did for Christmas because it's a first for me to have stitched so much and they were such fun to do ...that doesn't always happen for me, and I think some of you stitchers might
want do them as well. They make wonderful gifts. I'm showing two of the boxes I did, the first one you see I actually did 2 of and then wanted a change so used Houseworks Needlework's woolen Woolen Sheep design. Anyway, the Initial design is the original design from Blackbird's "Stitcher's Journal". The box is a card box which comes from Hobby Lobby. You paint it (and all the directions are in the book) and finish the box by waxing it (this is a must for a finished look), why I even dyed the binding that I used in the finishing (directions are also included in the book.) The directions are excellent and anyone can do it. While I'm
always leary of having to do painting, etc., to finish something, I swear it comes out exactly like they say if you follow their directions. Fun, Fun, and more fun. And you pick out fabrics you have in your stash, or use it as an excuse to make a run to your favorite fabric shop. I also used Shepherd's Bush New pincushion ...just perfect for a Christmas gift. And again, I tailored the fabrics, etc., to suit the colors of the design on the top. There is one spot on the inside where you have a stitched piece, so I did pull a piece off of both the sheep design and the stocking design to use in that one section, but it wasn't that difficult. Anyway, you will love stitching these and believe me, your friendwill love receiving it. Oh, yea, it also gives you a reason to use the new chenille's that R & R and Crescent Colour have put out. We used Crescent Colours but either would work...just make colors to your stitched piece. I just finished stitching for a different box out of Blackbird's "Christmas Garden" book which they call a "gift box". You are using a paper mache box which is embossed, painting it and then putting the design on top and using R & R's new overdyed 1/4" rick rack to finish it off. Again, I loved stitching was quick and easy and I do not mind painting these boxes. It would make a wonderful added gift and then you could put a special treasure inside. When I get it put together I'll post it. Right now I'm working on several finishes...I stitch faster than I finish...darn it. But I'll have them up soon. And as much fun as I'm having with my stitching Sara is having an equal amount of fun with her knitting. Sara is new to the knitting world but she has taken to it like a duck to water. She's even getting confident enough to answer questions in the shop. I gave her a couple of purchased knitted headbands for her to wear in the winter so her ears don't get cold. They were just plain, but she loves them. She's been busy knitting a sweater but decided to start a new project and knit some flowers that she then would attach to the headbands. She did that all by herself with no help from anyone....and it looks cute. Now, of course, she's busy knitting flowers, flowers, and more flowers. I swear she's become a fanatic. It helps that we have the Noro supplies with includes "bling" for the flowers so she added a little bling to the center of her flower. That's our Sara.....leopard print and bling! She did pull out a piece to stitch with me in the shop which she had the "balls" to put the date on back in 2007 which still isn't complete, but it's getting close to completion...but I can assure you she will never put the date on anything again until it's finished. She's going to add 2012 in small numbers somewhere else on the piece. She's also working on an Erica Michaels gauze piece, one of the larger ones...poor thing always picks big projects and since she's a working mother can't work on them as much as I do so it takes a lot longer for her to finish anything. WEATHER REPORT....where is winter? We haven't seen it yet, but you just know it's coming. Two years ago our retreaters for Superbowl were snowed in and we weren't sure we'd ever get them out. We ended up bringing food into the shop and we all stayed in our P.J's and just held the retreat in there (what fun to retreat inside a shop). For the past 2 days it has been in the low 60's here. People are back in shorts for God's sake. It is such a wonderful surprise....I do love seasons so I don't want just hot fact I don't like hot, hot. But to have 60 be your high in the winter is wonderful. And we're not even mentioning the "S" word. I'm just afraid I'm going to see that word in March or April. I remember one Easter where we had was an early Easter, but still no one wants to see that. Well, Brian just delivered my dinner so I'm leaving now....they worked the grill out is good! By the way, Solomon seems to be doing well....he's back to having dinner with me a few nights a week and as active as he was before his incident. But we will always now have to be worrying about his heart...goodness...I'm too old for this! Talk to you later.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Not a good beginning.....

Well, a bad beginning is a good least that is what my mother always said, and I'm sure hoping that is true. My 4 year old grandson spent a week in the hospital with something no one seems to be able to diagnose. We thought he had some sort of flu, as everyone else had already caught it from him and we thought it was just circling back around....however, he never got better, had a high temperature and a swollen tongue and his head hurt. He wouldn't eat because his tongue hurt and he just wasn't getting any better and after 2 visits to his doctor with no decline in his temperature which was around was decided to take him to the emergency room. So we were all on high alert and taking over Izzie duty (the almost 2 year old) who wanted no parts of any of us....of course. Thankfully for 2 days he went to daycare, but that was only 2 days so Sara was put on duty while I opened the shop. Back to Solomon...apparently he had 3 of the 5 symptoms for Kawasaki disease ( never heard of this before) so that's what they treated him for. Of course Solomon was scared to death, couldn't sleep in the hospital since the friggin machines went off everytime he moved...and if he got some sleep they woke him up to take his temperature...oh, my it wasn't pretty. He rallied and then his temp spiked again, so they put his medication back up to a higher dose and finally sent him home with a "if the temperature goes back up rush back." He was thrilled to have all tubes disconnected and to come back home, where he is being watched like a hawk. Mary must take him in for EKG's on a regular basis, but aside from that he should be able to return to play and school. And as long as Mary has his heart checked regularly we're hoping and praying this is behind us. Other than that....things are pretty normal. I've had a few issues I was dying to tell you about because this is really a public service. Right before Christmas I made the mistake of ordering yarn bowls from Cats Paws Pottery and while that wasn't the mistake, having them shipped by USPS was the mistake. As you know I use the Post Office all the time and have had very few issues, but then most of my shipments don't contain breakable objects. The potter has a place in Chincoteague, but I didn't know that so I had her ship them. Actually this started December 2nd. They arrived through the Post Office and when I opened the carton 4 out of the 6 bowls were broken. Normally anything like this would be handed off to one of the girls, but since Sara had the nerve to go to Jamaica for 10 days and leave me to handle this kind of crap. I figured I could handle this....oh, God, what made me think that. MaryLou had sent me the insurance slip so I hauled the double carton (she had packed them with bubble wrap and popcorn in one box and then put that box in a bigger box filled with popcorn), to the Post Office, stood in line and when it was my turn the gentlemen said, "Oh you need to mail that?" To which I said, "no I need someone to inspect this as there is breakage! And he said, "is it liquid?" Like what the hell difference does that make...but I remained a lady (and believe me it wasn't easy) and I informed him that it arrived with 4 out of 6 bowls broken. He then asks, "was it insured?" I mean he really didn't want to deal with this I was starting to notice, but I remained calm and stated that it was and I had all the information. By now 5 minutes had passed and then he says, "Well, I'm afraid the news isn't good for you. We don't do inspections here.... you have to take it to the other branch" (which is on about 70th street...I was standing in the 6th street branch). Then he informed me that there was only 1 person who inspected, but she is not in every day so I should call them and ask when she will be there. So I hauled the box back out and decided to just leave it in the car until I was able to connect with the inspector. The next day I was going to go Christmas shopping with Mary in Salisbury. She was running late so I decided with 20 minutes to spare I'd run up to the uptown Post Office and see what I could find out. So I go into that office...left the carton in the car....and announced to that clerk that I needed the postal inspector. He asked why would anyone need the inspector...and I explained the problem and after asking a few more stupid you have proof of insurance....etc., he informed me that the woman who inspects the packages is out and won't be back until after the holidays as she's had an operation. (and we wonder why things are going downhill at the post office). Apparently while there is only one person in Ocean City that is capable of inspecting a box, you also have a time limit to put in the claim. This was just not going well for me, but did I give up...hell no....I kept it up. I asked for forms or whatever would have to be filled out so I could be ahead of the game. But apparently he was never given the key to the forms box...So he went in the back to speak with "Chuck" who apparently held the position at one time but no more. He came back and said I'd have to wait 15 minutes as Chuck was speaking with the carriers and Chuck was the only one who could download the forms. (my this must be the most important job in the post office...) So I told him I'd have to come back as I would be late for my very important appointment (he didn't have to know the truth). So we're in Salisbury trying to shop with Izzy since Brian wasn't feeling well and couldn't take care of him. So I knew it would be a short day and after spending 5 hours shopping I ran over to the Post Office in Salisbury to try this once again. I go into the clerk (there were actually 3 in there) and lay on the counter and started my tale of woe. I explained that this was my 3rd post office in 2 days and I needed help with inspecting a package. To which this angel of mercy said, "Oh honey, you just do that yourself on line." I looked like a deer in headlights as I said, "are you serious...I've been in 2 other post offices and they never told me that. So I haul the carton back home, go online, where I entered the information from the insurance slip, downloaded pictures of the broken bowls, and in 2 weeks I had the money. Now, while that was almost too easy...I have to say, when you pay for insurance for something....if they break 4 out of 6, I do think there should be some reimbursement on the breakage as far as the insurance goes. After all, it costs with shipping and postage around 18 dollars....for 6 bowls. Since there were 2 bowls delivered I think they should have paid back a percentage of the postage and insurance, don't you? Well, they didn't, but MaryLou and I decided that we would both be better off if she just drives them over the next time she's in Chincoteague. But the 2 bowls we got are pretty and Sara is already using one as she knits, and loves it's a win here. When my postal carrier Mike came into the shop don't think he didn't hear about my issue though. While he sympathied with me he said, "Sally, that he didn't know that behind the counter tells you that we have had nothing break before so that's a good average." I told him I didn't give a damn and he was to take a message back to the clerks on 6th street for me...which he did so if you have to declare breakage there now at least they know what the hell to do with it. Good luck to us all!Christmas was the usual hubbub for me. Without Sara here for most of the time before Christmas I was just going nuts. She is on altar duty with me in December so that left me alone, plus shopping alone except when Mary helped out a couple of times, and the shop...well it's just to much for me to be honest. Especially with my feet issues, etc. I'm pooped in just a couple of hours...but I was determined, used the internet as much as possible and somehow got things done. My sister was coming down with my niece so that was pressure. She has managed to screw up 2 Thanksgivings and 2010's Christmas so I wasn't really up for another mess, so I was dreading the visit especially since she was bringing a gentlemen friend (she's in the middle of a very nasty divorce) and my niece was bringing her boyfriend. My sister is like having a tornado around and when she twirls back out you are left wondering how you survived. But this year, with a gentlemen friend in tow, she arrived early evening Christmas Eve and left 1 hour later for the casino. We didn't lay eyes on her again until dinner time Christmas Day and she left right after was the best Christmas I've had with her in years. Since I had 14 people for dinner this year there was so much noise and confusion...dinner and opening of gifts, I barely had time for anyone. In the middle of things Sara and Mary delivered their gift to me....a new sofa with the end sections which recline all the way back and it's electric so it's really easy to move. Wonderful. That was only one gift, they showered me with all kinds of wonderful things. I had a wonderful Christmas....all my family, plenty of food, and on the 26th a day of rest. I did experience my usual trauma on Christmas day while preparing the dinner. Since Izzy is allergic to glutin and dairy I decided to do 2 turkeys as I love a turkey basted with butter and I still stuff my turkeys. So Izzy's turkey was basted with veg.oil and his had no stuffing, which the 2nd turkey had everything. I was determined to get things done myself and on time this year so I started a couple of days in advance. I made the New York Cheesecake and the Dulce de Leche cheesecake along with the Chocolate Pecan pie 2 days ahead of time, as well as my pickled beets and peaches. I actually made the pickled peaches so far in advance I kept eating them and had to do a second batch, still done in advance. I did the coleslaw dressing a day ahead and got my yeast bread made and made into cinnamon rolls a day ahead. Oh, yes I was large and in charge. After the stuffed turkey had been in about an hour I went to baste it it looked finished. So I called Sara and said, "I think I have an issue with the oven. The top oven seems fine, but the bottom oven is going to burn my turkey." She said, "Mom, what temperature do you have the oven on?" I said, "don't be an idiot, I look it up every year since I can't seem to remember from one year to the next and I set it to 450 degrees." She said, "Mom, I'll be right have that oven too high." I pull out the cookbook and low and behold I had read the wrong temperature (obviously) I immediately turned down the oven and foiled the turkey and prayed. Izzie's turkey seemed fine and not overdone, which I can't explain, but thank you Jesus! And I have to say, everyone said both turkeys were good so I guess it worked out fine. Anyway, it was a wonderful day with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (with both butter and cream cheese...yummo), picked beets, picked peaches (another yummo), sauerkraut, my mother's special cinnamon yeast rolls, cranberry muffins, brussel sprouts au gratin, a new asparagus/puff pasty dish that was yummo and will be served at one of the events and new this year, frozen applesauce (I use to love this as a child and my grandchildren loved it so much it was one of the only things Solomon would eat while he's been sick). And for the first time in years, well perhaps ever, I stitched like a maniac and made many of my gifts. It was a source of great pride for me. As I finished each one I was so busy patting myself on the back I could barely get anything else done. I absolutely loved giving them to those I stitched for. I wish I could stitch for really was fun. I finally stitched the Sampler Doll for Renee. She thought she was getting it for her birthday in June, but I didn't get the doll torso ordered in time. In fact I have to say, I was late again and didn't order it until the first of November and was informed that once again I probably waited too long. So I started working on another piece for Renee and was moving right along when the company called and said they were shipping out the doll torso. So I stopped working on the sampler and started on the sampler doll and it went together. If you are thinking of stitching this I have to tell you, the people I ordered the torso from were wonderful. They have a web site and you can go and pick out which torso you want and they will paint the dress, head piece, whatever, the color to match the DMC you are using. They did a wonderful job. Good prices and great job and delivered in wonderful packaging. It was a wonderful stitch.
I had a problem understanding the directions for putting it together, but in the end realized it was just a stand up like so many others I had done so I stopped stressing over that and just finished it my way. I loved it and hated to part with it, but knew Renee would love her also. I then stitched the over one on 40 ct. gauze "Be Merry" once of the Erica Michaels designs. I just love stitching these gauze pieces. They are so much easier than stitching on 40 ct. linen and so cute. Anyway I stitched it for our Pat Weker who works for the shop. She doesn't really enjoy all the needlework hanging around her house (she stitches all over ones beautifully so I don't understand it, but love the fact that she stitches for me)...anyway, I decided to stitch her an ornament for her tree because she does have handmade ornaments out every Christmas. I opened her gift before she opened the gift from me so I was astonished and really amused to see that she stitched the same thing for me only framed it. I couldn't wait to see her expression when she opened the box with her
ornament in it. This was a first for me. No one has ev
ery given me the same thing I gave them in stitching. It's given us both a chuckle for weeks. I used metallic wrapped wire to make the hanger so it would look glitzy....loved the finished product....and I show the back so you can see I've learned to put the info on the back. Lots of fun....I'll try to write more tomorrow as I have more pictures but my back is killing me as I'm all bent over doing this.