Thursday, December 13, 2012

As the Needle Points - winter 2012

Okay - I have not "blogged" lately - and now it's time for the newsletter rather than a blog.
The biggest news from the shop is not only that Doodles is still alive - but that she actually seems to be a little better. She still looks like a cat from Auschwitz, but she is eating and back to greeting the customers.
Linda got a new dog - this time a SMALL dog that doesn't tear her shoulder off or literally drag her down the street. This seems to be a true love match as opposed to the love/hate with the Portuguese Water dogs.
Randi is golfing on every beautiful day she can find - and I hate her for that.
Tasha is happy, happy, happy at College of Charleston (sniffle - we miss her here), and is working at Michael Kors there.
Megan hasn't won the lottery so she still has to work full time Family Dollar as an accountant - and luckily for me on Saturdays.
Moved Mom into assisted living, so I actually am breathing a little easier than I was and have a little more time than I had. Terry hasn't been in the hospital since August, so I consider that a coup.
Now for the sale news: TWO BIG NOTES. Not pictured on the "shop in the sky" are canvases from the 2 trunk shows we will have going on sale week: a belt trunk show and a trunk show from Dream House Ventures. Go to their website and look at all their different designers. If you fall in love with something and we have it in the trunk show, we will honor the sale price.
1) January 19th, Saturday - I am repeating the class on background stitches. It is almost full, so call early if you want to join us for that. The class will run $35.00
2) Halloween canvas of the month: Each month will have a different halloween character, so you will have a little "village" at the end. I plan to have a ghost, a vampire, a vulture, a witch, a black cat on a pumpkin, a house, a coffin with a skeleton, a mummy to start. Each month will be one canvas with a stitch guide and all the threads. They will run from $38.00 up to the house canvas which will probably be around $65.00 for the kit. I only have 10 coffins, so the size of the class will be limited and I already have 4 signed up. See pictures on website in a few days.
3) I am doing a second canvas of the month of crosses. Very fancy. Sizes will vary from 4" to 7". Some will have jewels, some all metallics, some a little more plain to allow for stitches. Costs for kits will run from $40.00. The ones with crystals will be a little more.
4) February 16th, saturday, I will repeat the class on Architectural stitches. Again. it will run $35.00
Have a safe and happy holiday season - and keep stitching!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Kay Cline brought in her latest creation - Leigh's Alehouse Annie. It reminded me of my grandmother - believe it or not. She didn't smoke cigars - only Kool cigarettes - and always wore Jungle Gardenia perfume. When she died, I wore her old mink until it fell apart because the smell reminded me of her.
My grandmother was the most blatant character in our lives - and we all LOVED her. She stood all of 4'10" tall. She was a blond - but the shade changed frequently. She was brilliant.
My grandmother and my great-grandfather were part of a group around the country chosen to write an encyclopedia. She had huge volumes she kept under her bed in her apartment above the funeral home. She worked on these every night in bed until she fell asleep. She only burned down the funeral home once from falling asleep while smoking in bed.
Mamaw had a huge Saint Bernard - Buff. Buff travelled with her everywhere. She always drove a huge Cadillac - you couldn't tell there was a driver she was so short. She always drove right down the centerline of the road - would have made a great pilot. Her cars resembled mashed beer cans from "all those idiots who hit her" in every parking lot - so she traded them in every 2 years. If Buff got hungry, she would dump a can of Kennel Ration on the floorboard in the back.
Mamaw taught Sunday School at the Methodist Church. Her class (they started with her when they were teenagers - and they refused to leave her as they grew) were all in their 30s when I was with her. She also played the organ for the services. She found most sermons to be boring. My job was to sit in the choir loft next to her and keep her from snoring during the sermon.
She had a cure for everything. I had a horrible case of poison ivy on my face when I was 12. It was a Saturday - no doctors available. She didn't want it to get into my eyes, so she took her best shot. Embalming Fluid. I not only got rid of the poison ivy - I also got rid of most of my skin. My face won't tan to this day.
My grandson just spent the last 5 days with me. I wish more than anything that he will look back on my life and laugh like we do about Mamaw's. Unfortunately - I can't hold a candle. Her piece de resistance - she bought an elephant. A real one. After the 1937 flood, the funeral home had lost all its' furnishings. There was an Oriental Rug company in Louisville going out of business. My grandmother took cash and went to buy rugs. At the same time , there was a circus going out of business and practically giving away its animals - so she bought a baby elephant. My grandfather made her return it - but to this day we all still laugh at the story. There is no way I can beat that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We just spent a magical weekend with what constituted 90% of our family - 3 days together celebrating Adam's wedding. You don't have many times like that in life where all are healthy and happy and together. It made me think back to my own first wedding ( maybe I'll blog about the others later).
When my sister and I were born, we each had our own Nanny. Mine was Lilly ( shortened to E later on). Judy's nanny was NanNan. E was with us all of my single life and some of my married life.
When I was young , Mom would rip us apart if we used the bathroom designated and built into our house for the help. Until I read 'The Help", I assumed she would get mad because she was sure we would mess up their bathroom. Is it possible to be that naive at 65-years-old???
When my Dad planned my wedding ( every single detail ), he didn't count on one important aspect - Lilly. I wouldn't get married without E there with me. E wasn't allowed in the Pendennis Club. I refused to get married without her. A truce was finally called. The Pendennis Club would allow me to take a "dresser" to help me. She, however, could not come in the front door or without me. So... my favorite wedding picture is my new husband, me and Lilly in the limo riding from the church to the Pendennis Club. I went in the back door with E - I wasn't going to have her go in that door alone.
Switch back to present. My new family. With us this weekend were my half-Chinese, half-Thai stepson Michael, his Filipino wife Roselyn, their child Garrett, our non-adopted Japanese son Ken, my daughter Jennifer, her husband Phil, and her son Andrew and step-daughter Tasha, Terry's son Brent, his wife Debbie, and  his son Brentan and step-daughter Megan. His, hers and ours for Adam's wedding. Adam's new wife - part Portuguese. She fits right in, doesn't she?
What tells me this is a different world we live in was the grandchildren. All ages, all colors of skin playing together. The best line of the night of the rehearsal dinner came from Michael's son. Garrett had been playing with Brentan. Brentan left to go to the bathroom. Garrett ran in and yelled " Has anybody seen the little white boy?"
Three nights of going to bed afterf 1 a.m. I can barely function. Who cares?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

R.I.P. K'wan Yin

A few years ago my eyes were driving me crazy. I have a way of working out problems in my dreams. I dreamt that I was losing my vision, so I developed "work-arounds". Instead of reading I would use books on tape, etc.etc. I decided for something creative, since I couldn't paint, I would sculpt. When I woke up, I announced to Terry that I was going to do this.  He is the most supportive husband in the world. I found a 3-day class at the Ringling School of Art and went down to Sarasota. In 3 days, I had a 25 pound head - Roy. Move over Rodin - I was on the way to becoming famous. I loved the feel of the clay, I loved the freedom of just using my hands instead of a tiny paintbrush.
I returned to Charlotte and called everywhere to find a teacher. No luck.
Two months ago, out of the blue, I got a call from an incredibly talented sculptor - Chase Winfield - who wanted to know if I would like to study with him. Oh, my. Game on ! He told me to come to class with what I wanted to do in mind. When I told him I was going to do a 24" tall goddess  his eyebrows shot up - but he didn't utter a word of discouragement. The picture was taken after my 3rd class. I was ecstatic. When I went in for the 4th class, someone had knocked over my statue and destroyed it. I spent that class just getting the proportions back - and this time took her home to work on her. I got everything done but the face.
Last week, I drove to Charlotte. I hate wasting the time to drive there - but the 2 hours spent in class overweigh the time on the road. I got to class - teacher had his days mixed up and wasn't there. I started home. A young woman ran a red light. I had to slam on my brakes and swerve off the road. I pretty much knew what I would find when I unwrapped the statue - so I waited a day. I now have a tall mess of clay on my hands. Totally ruined - without redemption.
Here's the thing. They say there are no accidents. Was this meant to be? I have absolutely no desire to start over. I don't know if it is due to the loss our good friend, Terry's ensuing hospitalization, too much real work that has to be done, or too much going on with the upcoming wedding. All I know is that Rodin can rest in peace - I won't be stealing any of his thunder anytime soon. Notice I didn't even try for Michaelangelo status - I know better.  Maybe the accident was to tell me just to drop this for now. Sometimes I am a little dense and miss the message I should have gotten. So - for now - I'm still in business as a needlepoint canvas painter. Luckily, it's something I love doing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My!

Many have commented on my cryptic "finishing" statements. Let me elaborate what the last 6 months have been like:
1) the wonderful shoe finisher in San Francisco finished a pair of mules for a customer size 5 1/2 instead of 7 1/2. We sent them back in March to be redone. They fired the shoe finisher who did them and have yet to find another finisher. The shoes are in limbo
2) Leatherprize - a purse finisher I have used for 35 years - finished 2 monogram satchel bags for me to the tune of $500.00 each. One problem - she switched the monograms on the ends of both purses. I have had sobbing customers, one threw up ( the purse was a wedding gift for her daughter). I had the finisher take the bags apart and I personally restitched new ends. Sent them back. The finisher wouldn't redo without being prepaid. We wouldn't prepay since we wanted to see the finished corrected product first. Had to dig up someone from the past I had thought was dead - he is redoing them.
3) sent a belt to the stitching service  we usually use with Merino wool for the dark background. Somehow the stitching service switched background yarns on me - stitched with a wool that has not been produced for over 20 years - no coverage. I now have to restitch that belt to get it to the customer by her son's birthday.
4) sent rabbit piece with silk background to another stitching service. it came in with the background dirty and streaked - looks like they spilled something on it and tried to wash it out.
5) I sent a belt to the finisher who does the Eliza B stuff to be finished a size 41. They called - their leather guy had mistakenly cut it down to a 31. That is now being restitched.
6) We took a bench cover to the man who used to be the most wonderful upholsterer. I sent Tasha with a check to pick it up. It was horrible. Turns out the finisher was actually so sick he was a week from dying. His sons decided to try their hands at finishing and failed. No way th get that money back for either the labor or the fabric.
These are the things that I worry about late at night - things I am responsible for but have no actual control over. I am beginning to think I should accept only finishing that I can actually do myself if all else fails. This is why I sounded so frustrated in the last blog. Next blog will be all positive - I promise!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

As the Needle Points

I had a fond desire to sit on my back porch and read a book. Having been stopped in my tracks for a few days after minor surgery and reading 6 books, the desire lost a little of its luster. I did, however, realize that I have far too little time to spend just being lazy and enjoying the company of my husband. So, I have reworked my new fondest desire: I would love for someone to buy my shop. I would love to have more time to paint canvases for customers and to teach  more classes. I would love to continue working in the shop a day or two a week, but not have to go home and paint canvases until after the 11 o'clock news every day. If any of you would like to buy a going business, I will entertain any serious offer. The business could be moved anywhere.
Check out our upcoming classes on the link on the website. I will try to get the photos up today.
Doodles is going downhill, but we are staving off the worst. I found that if I take her in for a cortisone shop monthly, the pain in her hip goes away and she will eat. I can tell the day it wears off. Grooming has fallen off her list of "to-do" things, so we try help her with that. She doesn't tolerate it for very long.
As you may have noticed, we have a new member - Megan Doboze. ANG and EGA stitchers know her mother Deb to be one of the finest stitchers around. Megan is a full-time accountant elsewhere but is working here on Saturdays. She is not only an accomplished stitcher - she is learning to finish. Hooray!!! We may be able to get through Christmas without crisis of the proportion of last December.
Tasha is in college at College of Charleston. She has been in and out this summer but will be here for the sale. Linda is back now on Fridays - that helps tremendously - and Randi is here on Wednesdays. I am praying that they all stay healthy - I depend upon them a lot. We'll all be here working through the sale.
Thanks to all of you for your continued patronage and friendship. I really do love my customers and this business. I can't imagine doing anything else for a living. I have met the most wonderful people.
Just in case: Mom has surgery scheduled on Tuesday, July 3rd. K obviously have to be there  - a 92 year old can't go alone to the surgery center. I am not sure if anyone else can work that day. Call before coming just in case.
Have a great summer, stay cool, and keep stitching!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

I tried to take a picture today of one of my Father's needlepoints. Once he learned, he took off. It was to be expected. If there was ever a Renaissance man - it was Dad. He went to Med school and had to drop out during his internship because of incurable osteomyletis. He went to embalming school and took over as the 5th generation of Hardys in the funeral business. He was called from all over the country to reconstruct faces  and became President of the National Funeral Directors Association. Because of that, he was called to work on  the body of JFK and help conduct his funeral in D.C.  As president of that organization, he helped found Hospice. He was an interior decorator . He collected Oriental art. He loved Classical music and Jazz. He gave me all the love music and the arts to make me the person I am today. I thought he was perfect. Of course, he wasn't. He was temperamental and moody. My mother is a saint to have lived with him.  Without him, I would not be painting or singing.
So - here's to my Dad and also to the very best father I have ever known - my present husband. Two wonderful men. Will try for photo of Dad's  needlepoint another day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


On the way to sing in the choir. Just had a few "non stitching" thoughts this morning. I had to sing yesterday for a man I sang in the choir with - a caring and giving person who died suddenly. Then we went out last night with our amazing group of friends to eat, listen to music at an outdoor concert and dance. Somehow, the night seemed more special because of the funeral. It takes something tragic to sometimes stop you in your tracks and get you to "smell the roses".

Now, for today's needlepoint - Julie Pischke's Conch House tote. Note the beaded palm leaves on the purple house side.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a late Memorial Day thought

Since the main topic is needlepoint, I have enclosed a picture of what has become my favorite stitch - to be stitched either vertically or horizontally. Looks great either way. This was stitched over blank #18 using single-ply of Vineyard silk, so you can see it is a stitch that covers well. Triple Cashmere.
Now, thoughts on Memorial Day. Luckily, Memorial Day doesn't apply to my Veteran husband. I do, however, remember vividly my Uncle George - a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima and Saipan. He was awarded 2 purple hearts the day they gave him a dishonorable discharge. He was apparently fearless and saved many of his fellow soldiers time and again. However, the war made him a little crazy. Pre - post traumatic stress syndrome diagnoses. He came home. His exploits are the fodder of many many family stories. The one that I remember most clearly:
My wonderful grandfather - a devout Baptist, active in his church and in his community - had chosen to have a fling with a slightly sleazy woman who lived close to one of our funeral homes. The woman and her equally sleazy boyfriend decided to blackmail my grandfather. It would have been ruinous in that era.
The woman was awakened in the night with my uncle astride her and a bayonet at her throat. His words" You didn't hear me come in this time. The next time, mine will be the last face you see". The woman and her boyfriend left town.
Uncle George was handsome, fit , brilliant and tortured. He committed suicide. To me, he is a victim of combat. Here's to all the other victims who fell in war - one way or another.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Musings

OMG! I just downloaded a picture! How amazing is that! I won't tell anyone how long that took, but I think I did it!
This is what I accomplished during my forced "down time". I had been avoiding it because it is pretty big - a customer wanted to fill a wall and this was one of her favorite prints. See what a little surgery will do. The piece had 61 colors in it. I needed several days back to back and never could find them. Now I can share this way instead of just telling people "I promise - I really really did accomplish something this week." I am just glad that I don't have to stitch it!
Am leaving the shop now to deliver a canvas. Eunice - a love of a 90-year-old woman - has had her car taken away by her children. All of us understand this obsession - no needlepoint canvases to do, no stitching. How else to spend the time? Something none of us stitchers can imagine without cringing. So - I deliver.
Have a great weekend! I heard my friend Jerry (he has stage 4 lung cancer) say to his brother who had told him to have a wonderful day - "EVERYDAY IS A WONDERFUL DAY".

Thursday, May 24, 2012

getting started

All my customers know how much I hate computers. However, there seems to be much gained by blogging. Having had to stop in my tracks for surgery, I learned several things:
1) going to the bathroom at will is highly underrated
2) never pay bills or balance tour checkbook within a week of anesthesia
3) count on friends to feed you - not your husband
Today is my first day back in the needlepoint shop - HOORAY! I miss the day-to-day contact with my customers. I did however finally catch up on my reading - 6 books in this last week. If you want a laugh, read Georgia Bottoms. Good summer light reading.
I am actually going to start posting some of the canvases I do for customers. Noone but me and the particular customer ever sees those and they are usually the best ones!
Will try not to bore either of us. More later!