Saturday, December 31, 2011

Push the Restart Button

Hi everyone,

Resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep.   I reviewed last years and I am making progress on two out of three but I am keeping soup making on the list for 2012.

My new ones for 2012 are:

1.  De-clutter - a big one for me because my stuff is all over the house.
2.  Work more on my photography skills
3.  Have more fun!

I tend to get all caught  up in the things I have left to accomplish and I am going to try and let that go in favor of having more fun and living in the moment.

Right now my "needlepoint" moment is getting some things finished so I can work on some really exciting big projects.  Here is my progress on the Gingerbread Village sleigh.  Another week and I'll have those tacks!

And here is a photo that I took yesterday of Bougainvillea at Ocean Reef.  Yes, it's warm and sunny here.

Tomorrow I delete all those finished projects for 2011 and start a new list for 2012!

Happy New Year,


Monday, December 26, 2011

The Perfect Gift

Hi everyone,

We now have 364 days to go to come up with those perfect gifts for the loved ones on your list.  I wanted to share the gift that my husband gave to me this year.  No, it's not needlepoint (he's smarter than that).

Damaged tail rotor

Hairline crack

This is what was wrapped up under my tree.  Well this is the damaged one so I could see what it looked like!  That crack is about an inch long and you can see through it  (barely)  into the inside of the rotor blade.  He didn't have to tell me what could happen if it opened up in flight. Maybe I don't want to know. Losing your tail rotor is NOT a good thing.  So when you see the pilot fussing over the fuselage of the plane don't get irritated - let them take their time!

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Harvesting Tacks

Hi everyone,

I am all ready for Christmas and have only an airport pickup left to do today.  I have been to all the holiday parties for every activity that I am involved in from flying, golf and of course needlepoint.  Part of my needlepoint present was a new canvas that we will do as a group project.  Guess what I need besides thread and stretcher bars?  TACKS!!

Now I am sure that I have plenty of tacks and where do you think they are?  On all my unfinished projects!  So I have chosen 3 of them to finish so I can harvest those tacks for the new Halloween group project.

Caroline's 2012 ornament

Sleigh for Gingerbread Village

Halloween Cone 
The ornament can be finished this year because now I know how to do the present, the sleigh has to be done because it goes with Mom's Village and the Cone has a twin already finished.

Voila!  And then I will have tacks!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Trees

Sew Much Fun Christmas Trees
Hi everyone,

Here are my Christmas trees in their beautiful tray.  I should have taken the picture of them before finishing but oh well!  They make a beautiful display tray.  Only a few of the beads got smusched  by the glass but at least they are protected.

I had planned to serve champagne on the tray but I'm having second thoughts about that!!

Happy stitching,


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Off to Grandma's House

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to post a photo of the gingerbread boy along with his house.

They have moved in with my mother.


Now the pressure is on for next year's "Village People".

Keep stitching,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wrapped Presents

Raymond Crawford Present Train Car

Hi everyone,

This is my second train car (of three) of Raymond Crawford's Christmas train series.  The presents and the tree were great fun to stitch.  It was my first experience with Memory thread.  It gives a great 3D effect.  Just remember to add a little glue to the cut ends when you finish!  Maybe next year I'll have all three cars finished.

This tree actually looks better than the one in my living room!  Although mine does light up!!

Hopefully I'll be able to post some more Christmas finishing now that I have survived the flu.  Kids bring the flu home even when they're 29.

Keep stitching,


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It Takes a Village

Rebecca Wood Thanksgiving Village
Hi everyone,

I recently posted a photo of the log cabin that goes with my Village and here is the whole set.  There are two more Indians than Pilgrims but that is probably the way it was at the original one!

Have a great day with your family,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Early Thanksgiving

Hi everyone,

The first canvas in the Kelly Clark Elegant Thanksgiving arrived today and it is beautiful. Yes, Virginia, UPS does deliver on Veteran's Day.  I have always loved her painted canvases and this is my first chance to also use her stitch guide.  I previewed many of her posts on her blog so I know that this will be a gorgeous series.

It also came with a sweet painted magnet - all the craze these days....

And my friend Lisa of Mag Friends made me a fabric Thanksgiving bag that exactly fits my canvas!  Is this a new business opportunity?  Magnets and project bags that match???

I can't wait to go through the stitch guide this weekend and look at all the cool fibers - love Planet Earth silk!

Have a great weekend - reach out and thank a veteran!  I thanked mine - my friend and helicopter teacher  Ron is a Vietnam Vet and he is the coolest guy I  know.

Keep stitching,


Monday, November 7, 2011

'Tis the Season

Rebecca Wood Thanksgiving Cabin

No, not that season.....

Sew Much Fun Christmas Present
Not that season either......


Florida Jumbos

Stone crabs are a Florida delight!  We have a 6 month season that starts October 15.  The crab fishermen set traps in Florida Bay and as the crabs are caught one claw is taken and the crab is returned to the wild to "grow" another one for next year.  So no one is hurt in the process (well it might hurt a little when they pull off that claw).

And they taste as good as they look!  Just add mustard sauce and key lime pie!!

Keep stitching!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Southern Hospitality

Hi everyone,

I know that some of my readers come from small towns....I do not.  In Miami when we leave home we double lock our doors, turn on the alarm system, shut our front gates (which have "bad dog lives here" signs), get in our cars...lock those doors and THEN go to the grocery store.  I have been known to search far and wide to find a purse with lots of zippers to protect my wallet.

When we took our trip from Miami to Tennessee to see the fall leaves we encountered a different America from the one we are used to.  Let me introduce you to Elberton, Georgia.

Elberton, Georgia

This is Elberton on the aviation chart.  My main job on the trip was navigation.  Even though I have been taking flying lessons, I am still not 100% comfortable flying while my husband watches.  He is however very confident in my map reading skills.  So here is little Elberton in northeastern Georgia.  It has a solid purple circle which means it has a paved runway and little points coming out the sides indicating it has fuel.
We stopped here for fuel before crossing over the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Smoky Mountains to get to Blackberry Farm.  No one answered at the FBO when we called so we landed to check it out.

Elberton, Georgia

The office was WIDE OPEN so after looking around and generally announcing ourselves I called the number on the sign to see where they were and when they were coming back so we could get fuel.  And that's where I came face to face (or phone to phone) with HONESTY, TRUST AND SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY.  Randy answered and told me (I kid you not) that the pump was on and to take as much fuel as we wanted and we "would settle up later"!  He told me he had NEVER had a problem! And so we did and we have a story to tell for the rest of our lives.

Eric fueling up
And lest you think that I have forgotten that this is also a needlepoint blog, here is a photo of my Indians that go with my Rebecca Wood Thanksgiving Village.

Keep stitching,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Farm Cat at Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm Kitty

I joined Stitcherie yesterday and posted this photo of the farm cat from Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.
I had several comments that there was a white bar across the photo so here she is again!  When we first met she came up to me and curled up right on top of my shoes.  Smart cat!  Knows how to pick out the cat lover!!

More tomorrow,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Put Away the Halloween Candy and Bring out the Turkey!

Hi everyone,

We are back from a six day helicopter trip to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee to see the Fall leaves.

Cades Cove, Tennessee

We had beautiful weather (! ) and got back just in time before the bad weather set in.  Have you ever gone on vacation and taken too many projects?  No kidding - I didn't put in one stitch - hit the bed each night and was OUT!  Well, my hands are rested and ready to go!

Here is the Halloween candy that I "thought"  I was going to whip right through on my trip. (Just finished last night)

Halloween Candies

Yesterday I put away all the Halloween needlepoint and brought out Thanksgiving....

Absolutely Needlepoint Turkey
I love Thanksgiving.  Especially the part where we make everyone at the table say what they are thankful for.  I am going to start with the amazing coincidence that my kids are arriving from LA and Chicago within one-half hour of one another!  THANK YOU!!  Let's hope the airlines stick to that schedule.

Tomorrow a post about a special place in Georgia where gas is on the honor system!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Helpful Hints

Everyone loves to give a helpful hint.  Remember all those hints and "suggestions" your mother gave you as a kid?  I'll bet they are burned in your memory.  When I was little, one of my mother's favorites was..."Don't you think you should brush your hair?" which has now segued into "Did you put on makeup?".

My helicopter instructor is CONSTANTLY giving me helpful tips which he has to repeat every week because quite frankly I am still too terrified to allow them to sink in to where I can recall them at will.  Last week my tip for crossing over a line of telephone poles was to "cross at the pole".  Of course my first inclination was to stay AWAY from the pole!

And why do we cross at the pole?  Because the telephone wires will never be higher than the pole.  DUH...

As we stitch our way through life we also pick up helpful hints from our stitch guides.  Amy Bunger is probably famous for her TIPS! in her stitch guides.  If you are new to her stitch guides I HIGHLY recommend reading and re-reading these before proceeding.  A few favorites... always make a color copy of the canvas before stitching on it and if you want to use leftover thread be sure that it is from the same dye lot!

I just got the Spyglasss Seahorse by Dede Ogden and Dede has helpful hints too.  The background is skip tent and she recommends stitching on the vertical intersecting thread to keep the stitch "high" so it will show up better.  My addendum to that would will always know where to put the stitch even if you move to another section of the canvas if you follow that rule.

It has stopped raining finally and winter is almost here!

Off to Tennessee


Monday, October 17, 2011

9 weeks to Christmas

Can you believe that!  What happened to 2011?  We are still in tropical summer here in Florida so the only way to check on the seasons is to go shopping and see what the store decorations are.  Halloween has been up since Back to School was put away and you can bet that Christmas decorations are around the corner.

With those 9 weeks to go I know I won't get quality stitching time so I have picked out 2 projects that I hope to complete before New Years.

Sew Much Fun Christmas Trees

A lot of shops have been doing this canvas and we are too at Absolutely Needlepoint.  This has been finished as a beautiful tray and I have told my husband that we will have champagne for Christmas Eve!  My friend Mary and I worked on this on Saturday because we are having such Beautiful weather here...NOT...well at least no mosquitos.  It is still raining - day 3 and counting.  It's one of those projects that you need to count carefully and we did so much counting ( to 4 ) out loud on Saturday that we were both exhausted.

And then there's Joseph.  Mary and Jesus have been waiting....

And I remember when I thought the background was challenging!  Why did I never finish this?

Time to start the Christmas list!

Keep stitching!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Hermina goes out a winner!


Last night Hermina won the Spooky Halloween contest by a squeaker (one vote) but who's counting!  A win is a win.  She is grabbing her winnings and retiring to the Florida Keys...

Ghost magnet by Mag Friends

Her winning magnet however will not retire but will work with me on the Halloween candies.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Feet

Hi Everyone,

Ok maybe I stole that tag line but it totally applies to my Roo Bear.  I have been working on his feet and ears and I have come up with a formula for gathered Sparkle Rays...
Original unstitched canvas
Covered design
Gathered Sparkle Rays

The gathered Sparkle Rays makes great lettering on the blank canvas.   However, I always had a question as to how much to use for each letter.  So I did a test....

20 inches of Sparkle Rays laid flat
3 inches gathered Sparkle Rays

So my formula is approximately 7 to 1.  You need 7 inches of Sparkle Rays for each inch of lettering.  That  should make it easier each time you use this technique.

And Congratulations to Lisa of Accoutrement Designs on her web radio debut!  LOVE YOU!

Keep stitching,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Magnet Craze!

My magnet collection
It seems that the needlepoint world has gone CRAZY for magnets!  Well, since we are part of the original "friends" of Mag Friends our stitching group has been magnet crazy for quite a while.  I recently decided to  gather all my magnets together just to see how many different kinds I had.  I found this white magnetized board at the Container Store that sets up like an easel so I can display them in my stitching room. FUN FUN FUN!!

I have Elizabeth Turner magnets, Zecca magnets,  Kelmscott Designs magnets,  Puffin magnets, handpainted magnets, handmade felt magnets and of course Mag Friends magnets. That's a lot of magnets.  I think I used that word 15 times in this post!

 I may have to get another board!

I'm off to gather Sparkle Rays for Roo Bear's feet...

Keep stitching,


Monday, October 3, 2011

The Meaning of Split the Needles

As I await the arrival of Hermina I thought I would take today to explain the real meaning of Split the Needles.  It really does have something to do with needles!

Checking that your engine and rotor needles will "split" is an important part of the pre-flight in a helicopter.
If they do not split you are not going anywhere and are calling the mechanic.  The engine of the helicopter powers the rotor system which turns the rotors providing lift allowing the helicopter to take off.  The rotor tachometer (top right of instrument panel)  has 2 needles... one for engine RPM (E) and one for rotor RPM (R).  These 2 needles are supposed to be "married" in flight as an increase in the engine RPM results in a speeding up of the rotor RPM.

Startup - E and R needles at 0

In pre-flight the pilot runs up the engine to check that the needles stay "married" and then "chops the power" quickly to see that they "split".  This simulates a sudden loss of engine power.  If the needles split this is an indication that the clutch has disengaged and the rotors are spinning freely allowing the pilot to land safely in an "autorotation".

Needles "married"

Needles are "split"

And as Martha Stewart would say ..."That's a good thing".  And so, I complete my first 25 hours of helicopter lessons.  According to my husband 40 more to go before I am comfortable! (Or he is!!)

Keep stitching,


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Halloween Body Parts

OOH Sounds Scary doesn't it.  But actually the only scary part is how far behind I am on The Roo Bear!

Roo Bear Leg
Roo Bear Arm

Top of his head
Roo Bear's other leg

I have two more half done canvases and four that I have never looked at.   One of the good things about the Recession is that you get a chance to dive into your stash!  Plus this is fully kitted with Amy's stitch guide!  Extra sweet.

My "so called" friend Susan from Washington DC just called me and would you believe it asked how the Nativity was coming along.  Guess I'll have to find Joseph.  Susan can be such a pain- always reminding me of stuff.

Keep stitching!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Story of The Little Needlecase

Whimsy and Grace Needlecase

I just finished my needlecase- the last of my basketweave projects for a while.  Supposedly this should have taken me 26.25 hours to stitch since it is 3 3/4 inches by 7 inches and I've been told the default stitching time on 18 count canvas is 1 hour per square inch.  It seemed to take a lot longer, but that could have been because I added in the time I THOUGHT I should be finishing it along with the actual stitching time.

Oh well,  it's done now and I plan to use it to store my chenille and beading needles to keep them separate from the regular ones.  They seem to be more delicate and prone to bending and breaking.

We have our ANG meeting in a few weeks and everyone is going to bring in their "Go To" and "Can't Live Without" tools and gadgets for needlepoint.  As you can imagine I am struggling with this since I have all kinds of gadgets spread out around me when I stitch.  Plus, in my tool stash I have 3 kinds of laying tools, probably 5 kinds of scissors, lights, magnifiers, 2 table stands, 1 floor stand, several kinds of needle threaders, tweezers for loose threads and pullers for threads that are jammed in the back of the canvas.  I have punch needles and felting needles and it goes on and on....

The Wall Street Journal used to have a column about what's in the CEO's briefcase which I always thought was a lot of fun- everyone had some unique personal item beyond the usual keys and phone.  (Maybe no phones - this was a long time ago- even before the internet when people actually read the paper.)  Here's a picture of my tool kit that I carry EVERYWHERE.

Contents of my tool bag
These must be my favorite things.  How can I choose? - Oh, and it's good to have a store coupon in there too!!!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Days are Here Again...the link

Happy Days are Here Again

This has nothing and everything to do with needlepoint.

 I have FINISHED my taxes!  More time to stitch!!

Enjoy the video


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Halloween in my Mailbox

Halloween Candies #1

Hi everyone,

It is definitely not cool outside, but Fall came early to my mailbox!  We are just back from the EGA Seminar in Naples and while I was tempted... I was able to resist most of what was put in front of me.  Now I am back home and a NEW CLUB has started!  I am going to love these Halloween candies from Bedecked and Beadazzled...yes I am!

 I am going to come clean about my "Club involvement" right now and maybe add a new column in my blog.  We travel a lot and it is so nice to have a project with stitch guide and threads ready to go all the time.  I have Halloween clubs, Christmas clubs, Flower clubs, Heart clubs and Village clubs.  Sometimes when we are tired of stitching, we sit around and count our clubs and how many canvases we have left.  OOH that is not such a good idea.  But we are still signing up and cranking them out!

Do you think the designers have caught on that we like clubs? and series?

I think so!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11

Like most of you I spent this morning watching the tribute to the victims of the September 11th attack on our country.  We were all changed by that day whether we knew a victim or a New Yorker.  We have two friends who worked for Merrill Lynch at the office building across the street from the twin towers and often had meetings in the World Trade Center.  As we watched the buildings fall we wondered if we would ever see them again.

For the longest time, my youngest daughter couldn't bear for me to leave her alone unless she was at
school .  When she interned in New York as a freshman in college we saw the site for the first time. It was overwhelming.  Today there is a beautiful memorial with all those names so we will never forget how many people were lost.

Vickies's Mostly Needlepoint blog today has an entry about a "survivor" that I never even considered.  It will take your breath away.

A day like today puts your life in perspective.


Friday, September 9, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Santa Parade
Last night was the UFO Throwdown meeting and I presented my choices for the project that I should be able to complete by June 2012.  I picked three projects from my list.  The autumn candle, the 4 Roo Bear half done canvases and the Santa Parade.  (Note that these are all on my list)

The comments ranged from:

1.  You must be kidding- the Candle
2.  Finish it already!- also the Candle
3.  and my favorite - Do the whole Bear why stop at 4 canvases

I think everyone had a great deal of fun at my expense and in the interest of time they finally decided that I should finish the Santa Parade.  It is about half done and I really can't even remember why I stopped unless it was for a class that I signed up for and probably never finished either.

So when I finish the candle I will reacquaint myself with the stitch guide for the "Parade".  It is very sweet and it has a great guide!

Wish me luck.


Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Time for the UFO Throwdown!

David McCaskill Autumn Candle

This coming Thursday is our September ANG meeting when we choose the unfinished project that we will TRY to finish in the next 6 months.  This year a new category has been added...Project Half Done.  I have quite an extensive list of those so no problem there.  It also must have an incredibly sad story to go with it as to why you never finished it.

I have chosen my Autumn Candle by David McCaskill (pictured above).  Now it may look like it is more than half done, but if you have ever done a "David" piece you will know that I did all the easy parts and broke down when it came to compensating around all those leaves!  It also has a SAD story...

This was a class at our local needlepoint shop in the fall of 2007.  My youngest daughter had just gone to college and we were "empty nesters" for the first time so why not a challenging needlepoint piece to while away the hours!  Not long after the third class my husband had a medical emergency involving his leg (it's fine now) which effectively transformed him into my third child- a 200 pound child in a wheelchair.  This lasted for 2 1/2 months and I was way too exhausted to do any COMPENSATING.  He was still in that wheelchair when my baby got mono at college and was hospitalized.   I contacted a few of my friends and asked them to feed my third baby and I flew out to take care of the REAL baby in California.  (She's fine now).  Are you crying yet??  When I flew home with the REAL baby 3 days before Christmas that year I had abandoned the candle.

Since then I have learned many things that will  help me finish the candle.  First, from Amy's creche I have learned to baste the canvas to help with the counting for compensating.

Basting stitch

I have also learned how to read a graph much better and figure out different pathways for the same stitch.

Lastly, I learned that you need to have an emergency needlepoint tool kit and project ready to go!  And the easier the project the better!

Happy Labor Day,