Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanks and Giving

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays ... made up of two of my favorite words. This year I witnessed an amazing demonstration of the second word, "giving", as I watched a young chef spend an entire day in the kitchen making a dinner for a group of us that I won't soon forget. Amazing meal that took weeks to plan and prep and then an entire day to prepare and serve. That was the "giving". Since I have been the "giver" of the meal for more than 20 years, I was grateful to be able to sit back, relax and watch someone else prepare it. That was the "thanks". Watching and feeling grateful for the effort made by our chef was my only job. How nice to be given an opportunity to be truly grateful. Thanks and Giving. Two things we should probably make an effort to practice more than once a year.

And what a year. Rough year ... for many of us. And yet, I find if I take the time and open my eyes and search my heart, I can always find things to be thankful for, even in the toughest times. So after a bad day, or a stressful week, or a few dark hours, I always try to spend a few moments in the evening doing a little gratitude meditation so I don't get carried away by troubles and tribulations and end up going to bed with them (yuck! Who wants to sleep with those guys :-) It's amazing what a little "gratitude" meditation can do for your mood.

Not to mention your sleep :-)

Meanwhile, more thanks are in order. I want to thank my friend Evelyne Kaczmarek for the beautiful job she did stitching the model for "Alphabets" which is due to start shipping .... let's see ... tomorrow! A few new projects to help ring in the New Year. You can see the photos at right and of course, please visit the web site for more details. This was not an easy piece to stitch and Evelyne did an amazing job. I was so impressed that I did as many "close-up" photos as I could but they still don't really do it justice. Thank you my friend for a spectacular job ... on a difficult piece. Your help and support are worth more than you'll ever know.

After running out of wall space, I have been giving a lot of thought to designing things that are a bit more useful ... common, day to day items that can be made beautiful with a touch of embroidery. Why not show off our needlework on the little everyday objects in our lives and make them as "personal" and "special" as we can? The little calendar covers are the first of this group. They are made to cover the small, inexpensive promotional calendars given out by many companies this time of year. I've always carried one in my purse, but never liked the plastic covers that came with them and so, voila, something a little more attractive without too much work involved.

Am working on a cover for my large weekly desk calendar, for my journal, for note pads, shopping lists, coupon organizers, etc. etc. We also have another large sampler stitched (thank you Anne-Catherine) and almost ready to go and many other little objects and projects in the works. Some being stitched, some still on the drawing board and some still in my head. So, keep watching to see what turns up.

Meanwhile, it's late. Been a very long day. I need to go do some of that "gratitude" meditation so I can fall into bed and sleep like a grateful baby.

See you soon, ci vediamo a presto, à tout à l'heure, gauw tot ziens,


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

After my last post ... about crossing my fingers and hoping everything kept working ....

More bad juju. All programs crashed again. Computer wouldn't recognize printers. Talked to Adobe (for hours). Talked to Apple (for hours). I seemed to be spending most of my time making new friends in technical support everywhere in the world ... but getting little or no other work done. I love making new friends but my career was starting to suffer ...

So, the decision was made. Return the new computer with the new operating system to Apple. Try to replicate my old computer and system by buying a used one. Wait a week for new computer to arrive. Wait a week for new software to arrive then start over again from scratch. Load all new software, print drivers, etc. etc. and pray that it all works.

Prayers answered. All working. Big sigh.

This week, I re-built the web-site using the new program. Got the web-site uploaded and the email program working. Now, the last on the list "update blog".

It's been a heck of a month ... so far one that I never want to repeat. But I'm grateful to be back up and operating ... grateful to be once again functioning in cyberspace ... and able to update this blog and


You can see photos of the new releases for September on the right side. I am too tired and too brain dead to try to get the "slide show" working and besides, I've lost all my passwords for almost every on-line service I use so it would be just too stressful to attempt that this morning. Please visit the website where you can see large photos and get all the information.

Some major "thanks" are in order here. First to my daughter for putting up with a very hysterical and depressed mother for the past 3 weeks. No excuses but it has not been easy to deal with disaster after disaster while trying to keep the house clean and be "out of it" for 2 hours at a time roughly 15 times this month. Without your support through the computer crisis, I think I would have given up.

Thanks to my dear friend Anne-Catherine Seres for stitching our beautiful model of "To Everything A Season". Perfectly executed in an amazingly short time and delivered to into my hands way before deadline. Thanks in advance to Evelyne Kaczmarek .... for the soon to be released "Alphabets". These two friends have given me so much of their time ... time that I didn't foresee that I would desperately need once the computer crashed. They made it possible for me to focus on the computer issues I needed to focus on ... and still get design ideas onto linen and into chart form. Thank you both for your love, generosity, friendship and support. There is no one else quite like you two!

And to all others who lent their ears and sympathy when I thought I really wanted to give up. Thanks for not allowing me to!

Now ... onward ... to the next challenge ... or maybe a reward? I could use a little reward :-)

See you soon, ci vediamo a presto, à tout à l'heure, gauw tot ziens,


Friday, August 20, 2010

What a month ....

so far :-(

Last Friday my entire hard drive crashed. I couldn't believe it.

My daughter raced over to the Apple Store in Denver and brought a new one up on Wednesday. Meanwhile I took the old one in to a place here in Steamboat called "MacRanch" and a very patient, persistent and bright young man named Chris retrieved all my files from the hard drive ... and we thought all was well.

We got the accounting program and all its data back up and running on the new computer... retrieved the software for the mailing list, though I had to rebuild most of the data files ... and we thought all was well. All the data files for the new and archived charts, as well as the web site were rescued and in their proper places and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, none of my Adobe application files would load on the new computer. So, though I had retrieved all my data, I couldn't access any of it :-(

Apparently the new computer also has a new operating system that the Adobe programs haven't quite caught up with. After a very, very long, stressful week and many hours on the phone with Adobe Support, it still wasn't working. I had really pretty much given up. Went to bed last night saying to myself, I'll just deal with it tomorrow.

This morning I got up and gave it one last try. Inserted the Adobe CS4 disk in the new computer's drive and tried loading a few programs. They loaded!!! Then a few more ... and they loaded too! And now, knock on wood, they all seem to be functioning and stable.


The only glitch ... the old program I used to build and upload my website will not function on the new operating system, so I need to convert the web site into a new program this weekend and I will be back to normal. It will be a long weekend. It was a long week.

So, if your orders were a little slower going out than usual, you will know that we were struggling to salvage a whole computer system and all the data that accompanies a small company at the same time we were trying to keep up with orders, keep inventory stocked and keep kit manufacturing on target.

I think we did an okay job of getting through this. I have a great big hard drive sitting on my desk and an automatic backup program is doing its thing every hour on the hour. I have learned what is critical to back up and what is not. I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about computer operating systems and programs and how and where data is stored.

I want to thank my daughter for her help and support while all this was going on. She went above and beyond ... traveling to Steamboat from Denver with a new computer, sitting for hours on hold with Adobe Support systems ... filling orders and cutting fabric and making runs to the post office while I struggled with programs that wouldn't load and data I couldn't find. Without her, I would have been inclined to give up the ship ... but she kept it steadily moving forward in very turbulent waters. Thank you Hana. 

Wish me luck this weekend getting that website converted! It's the last thing that needs to be done to get us back up to "pre-crash" speed.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I hope everyone ....

had a fun and festive fourth! It was cool and rainy here but that didn't stop us from celebrating with our annual Steamboat Springs 4th of July parade and, of course, a giant fireworks display. Was it my imagination or was it just a bit shorter than last year ... the parade and the display?

Still, it was lovely with lots of sparkly explosions and a massive finale. We watched from high up on a hill at the Colorado Mountain College, which was a bit of a change for us. Usually we're down in the park with a picnic and wine, looking up at all the lights. This year it was just too rainy to do the picnic thing, so we had the fried chicken and salad and strawberries at home and then, just as we knew they were about to begin (almost missed the "begin") we made our way up the hill to see the display.

And now, finally, no more snow. I need to replace that dreary May picture with a lovelier view ... of my Siberian Iris blooming in the garden:

Much nicer than snow, don't you think? I've always planted these beauties in every garden I've owned for the past 30 years and, though I now live in a Townhome and have few formal gardening areas, I still found a space for them. I can't imagine a summer without the pleasure of watching them bloom so I was thinking ... when and if this place ever sells, perhaps I should dig up a few bulbs and carry them with me to the next nesting place.

And, just in case I don't, or can't or for some reason never plant another garden (god forbid) I was happy to find a chart of these same treasured blooms by one of my favorite designers:

Iris de Siberie by Marie Thérèse Saint-Aubin

and decided I had to add it to my stash ... and so I did, along with a few other designs ... and now I've also added them to the web site so you can enjoy them too. If you love stitching flowers as much as I do, check out the new ones by Marie Thérèse that we've just added to her page:

We've also added some new designs by Sampler Cove:

and some "new to us" Beardie Designs charts:

and I bet you think I've forgotten all about our "Christmas in July" ornament, but I haven't. It is sitting right here on my desk just waiting for it's final photograph. The kits are almost ready to go, the chart is just waiting for the photograph and then we can print it. Unfortunately, we have been backordered on the beautiful bell pull hardware that we ordered for it and need to put those in the kits before we can begin shipping. No word from Germany yet on their status but we will keep you updated. Hopefully we will still be able to do this "Christmas" thing in July. If not, think Christmas in August. Christmas in September? We've got our fingers crossed.

In the meantime I am honored to be the "featured" designer in the "Gift of Stitching" in August and I can't wait to see how they photograph the project we sent. We are also moving along on new releases for September. Two nice samplers and a small calendar cover to go along with one of them ... and who knows what else we might come up with by then. I'm getting some very strong "Halloween" vibes right now so perhaps I should say adieu and get back to the drawing board.

See you soon, ci vediamo a presto, à tout à l'heure, gauw tot ziens,


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 9:30 a.m., May 15, 2010

Yikes! Tired of snow. Can you believe this?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's been a while ...

... since I've been here. It's been a very busy couple of months and I have no excuses for not keeping in touch other than that the blog kept being pushed down a very long list of things that needed to be done.

But now, with a few quiet moments this morning, and new releases to tell you about, I have taken it from the bottom of the list and put it at the top. Other things can wait a few moments while I take some time to get back in touch.

First of all, new releases are on the slide show at right. "When I Am Sewing" also took a while to get to the top of the list but when it did, I enjoyed every minute of it ... and the little saying on the back of the portfolio seemed so ... appropriate? The days DO pass quickly when I am sewing. And the seasons have changed from cold, windy February to the beginning of May gardens ... at least in most places. Here? Well, here we had snow again last night as we have had 4 or 5 nights out of every week for all of April.

Snow is so lovely when the first flakes begin to drift down in November (or October if you live in the Colorado mountains), but by May it's lost most of it's charm and is just "not appreciated" any longer. And I can't seem to tamp down the urge to plant something ... vegetables, flowers .... anything. I am having these incredible urges to dig in some dirt ... but when there is still snow to shovel off the back deck ... well ...

Just one of the many reasons I have been spending a good amount of my time trying to get the house reorganized and "de-cluttered" so I can put it on the market next month. Time to move to a slightly less snowy environment I think. Some place with a growing season of more than two months. You know, somewhere where we're not getting hard freezes the first week in June.

The real estate industry tells us that in order to make the house ready for sale and to appeal to potential buyers, we need to make it look as if "no one lives there". Good concept but have you ever tried to actually live, day to day, in a house that needs to look like no one lives there ... when you actually do ... live AND work there? Hmmm. It's a struggle, and I do miss the huge collection of framed personal photos that I built a bookshelf around (all packed away in boxes in the garage now) ...

but I just keep telling myself it's only temporary and, with some good karma and lots of prayers, it will sell quickly and I will be nesting again somewhere else before too long. Somewhere I can grow little lettuces and carrots and a few flowers for the table.

In the meantime, in between stitching and drawing and packing away all my personal effects, I have attended a very special graduation ceremony ... an especially important event for me and all those involved. My daughter graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, this month with a degree in Political Science. Four years of hard work and dedication on her part made the celebration possible ... and we had a wonderful time. I cried at her high school graduation and I cried at this one too. I suppose I will cry at the wedding whenever that occurs, and have the same kind of happy tears in my eyes when I look at my first grandchild, but then I am a sentimental old fool and take these milestones very seriously. She was lovely. I was proud. I never cease to be amazed at her strength, resilience and drive. She always finishes what she starts. She always keeps her promises. She always does her very best and she always manages to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing. So, she is graduated from college now. Onward and upward. Enough bragging for one blog.

Now that "When I am Sewing" and "Button Boxes" are on the press and ready to ship, I am working on our July releases which should come out in July (ideally) unless of course the house sells in the meantime, in which case I will be in the middle of packing and moving. One can only hope, but I am proceeding as if that happy event won't occur for a while, so ..... planning another limited edition Christmas ornament for "Christmas in July" and there are some lovely, skilled fingers both here and abroad, stitching some samplers that I am pretty excited about. Some things have been on the drawing board for a long time and would never have gotten to the "stitching" stage without all of you who offered to become "professional" stitchers. It's working out rather well. I still work on things that need to be "worked out" little by little, but those things that come to me "whole" and can be drawn and charted complete, are slowly but surely going out to stronger, steadier hands. For those of you who wrote, and haven't received a project yet, I ask your patience as it takes time to work out the colors and fabrics and of course the stitch diagrams and charts. But they will arrive eventually (Candace, I promise :-) I have all of you who offered to stitch on a list and as projects become available, I am contacting each of you. I can't tell you how thrilled and appreciative I was by your response to my request. It's just a long road from conception to completion ... as all of you who have children know :-)

I am also working on several special "teaching" pieces, as when the dust of my life settles, I hope to be able to travel more and teach and meet as many of you as possible. So far, my experiences with those in the stitching community, have shown me that it is a wonderful little "village" of kind and generous women (and men, let's not forget our male stitchers!) with a shared passion that somehow spreads beyond and overflows just the actual stitching part. I am happy and grateful to be a part of that "village".

So, I will try not to push this blog to the bottom of the ever growing "to do" list from now on. Perhaps just a little "I'm here and still kicking folks" once in a while instead of a full blog will be all I can manage, but I will try to keep up with it and keep in touch with you all and hope you all keep in touch with me too.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interesting Weekend ...

helping my son rent his first apartment .... and stocking it with food, pots and pans, toaster, microwave, etc. It was bittersweet nudging the last little duckling out of my nest and into his own. Now I'm just hoping that all those vast quantities of bagels and hamburger patties and frozen chicken nuggets don't perish from not being stored in the freezer (as I kept reminding him over and over on the way back to the new apartment ..... puleeezzze remember to put these things in the freezer! Puleeeeezzzzzeeee!). Hopefully it will get him through the next month or at least till he gets his first paycheck. I'm not an advocate of frozen chicken nuggets and burger patties and boxed pancake mix ... but, hey, that's what he wanted and I figured that's what he'd eat. I know if I had bought fresh veggies and fruit and free-range chicken .... those, for sure, would still be sitting on the counter going bad. I know that the huge case of instant mac and cheese, though not particularly healthy, will be zapped in the new microwave and eaten. He won't be hungry.

Mother hen .... doing the best she can long distance.


Missing him today. It seems like just yesterday he was running down the stairs to show me the lego model of the space shuttle he had built Christmas morning. It's an oft-told family story ... about how, excitedly running down the stairs to show us his master piece, he tripped and ....

yup, you know the rest.

I want to thank all of you for your enthusiastic orders of the new designs. We have had many, many requests and were a little behind in the shipping department for a while (especially with the little break for the apartment move in) but seem to be catching up now. So, if you haven't received yours yet, a whole pile of them went out this afternoon. They should be on your doorsteps by early next week.

Since I doubt I'll have the time to get back here before Sunday ... I wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day. May your day be filled with love .... all kinds of love ... brotherly love, romantic love, a mother's love, filial love ... sibling love (does that actually happen sometimes .... maybe later in life?) and, of course, don't forget to love your pets.

I heard the funniest song yesterday. It's from a Norah Jones CD. Obviously she has a dog (cute St. Bernard on the cover .... wonder if that's him?) ... and well, I just laughed and laughed when I heard it because .... I sure know where she's coming from :-)

Man of the Hour - Norah Jones

See you soon, ci vediamo a presto, à tout à l'heure, gauw tot ziens,


Monday, January 25, 2010

Is it too late ....

to wish everyone a very happy new year?

I have been so busy I haven't had time to sit down and think for even a few moments. Seems like since Thanksgiving I have had house guests of one sort or another and I am grateful for them, but once things settled down and everyone went back to their respective lives, I had so much work backed up that I've had to keep my nose pretty much to the grindstone every minute since.

But, all the 12 and 14 hour days have paid off and we are ready to release three new designs ... all printed up, packaged and all the supplies for the stitching and finishing kits and thread packs and bead packs are neatly stacked in the shipping room. In addition to our own new patterns, we are happy to be offering a selection of designs from cross stitch artist Marie-Thérèse Saint-Aubin .... AND ... Friendly Embroidery finally arrived to join his companion Tiny embroidery. Now I am just working on getting the website updated and plan to upload that on Wednesday evening ... so check it out Thursday ... or Friday ... or over the weekend.

whew .....

.... on to the next round.

It never ends. Glad that I love what I do. I find I am happiest when I'm busiest ... when I'm designing, when I'm stitching even when I'm just putting beads into little plastic bags ... I love what I do and when I do it, it leaves little room for worries and ruminations. I go to bed tired and happy. I wake up eager to get back to it. My thanks to the career gods. My thanks to all of you who stitch my designs. I am blessed.

I should note that I had to cancel my classes at Celebration of Needlework this year. I found out several weeks ago that my daughter's graduation from college is the same weekend. Sorry folks, but graduation from college trumps all other events. Though I will really miss the fun and games and friendships of Celebrations, I am so very proud of her and wouldn't miss it for the world. I can't wait to see her smiling face in that cap and gown!

Good place to mention that I am also actively recruiting model stitchers. If you are interested in stitching Drawn Thread Designs for not many $$$, please send an email and I can give you details. You need to be a fairly advanced stitcher, very deadline and detail oriented and ... of course ... not too concerned about earning a living :-) We pay industry standards for model stitching but suffice it to say .... you won't be able to quit your day job.

Not too much else to report. Snow, snow and more snow and lots of sub-zero temperatures here. The snow is beautiful ... but gosh I am tired of shoveling that front walk and the back deck. You have no idea how much snow we get here. We average over 300 inches a year. I think most of it has settled on the back deck. There is no where left to shovel it, so now I am just sort of arranging walls of it around the deck ... building a large igloo of sorts.

That's all for now folks. I hope your new year has started off well and my best, though a little late, wishes for a happy, healthy 2010.

See you soon, ci vediamo a presto, à tout à l'heure, gauw tot ziens,