Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I've never had a Christmas Tree ....

AND a cat before. I've found this requires rehanging all the lower ornaments at least once each day. Usually more often. That is if the ornaments that Beaupierre has removed from the tree and scattered around the house are not found by Oliver ... in which case they can't be rehung because they are pretty much destroyed.

I'm glad my animals are getting so much "joy" from my holiday decorations :-)

Tried twisting the wire hangers several times around the branches so Beau couldn't get them off. Doesn't seem to work. When thwarted from batting them off the tree, he has somehow found a way to remove them entirely from the hanging thingies (you know, the little cap that goes on the top).

I love my animal friends ... so I've decided the only solution is to do a "search, retrieve and replace" mission several times a day to offset Beaupierre's "search and destroy" missions.

Some new charts added to the side bar ... released mid-November. A little late getting them up here but I am a major procrastinator when it comes to updating the blog. Maybe if I can figure out how to do it on the iPad ... I'll get better at it.

Book of Days was in response to those of you who told me you couldn\'t stand the thought of putting those little pocket calendars in your purse after you spent so much time and care stitching them. Voila! A desk calendar cover. It is sized to fit Exaclair's Quo Vadis Note 27 Desk Diary refill, which I personally use and love. You can purchase it on our web site along with the chart and stitching supplies or it is available from many good stationary stores. Even with all our iPads and iPhones and other ways of keeping calendars, I still find it comforting and lovely to keep a desk calendar in my own unique handwriting. For those of you who also like to do this, the Book of Days will give you a way to show off your stitching skills on your (literal not virtual) desk top.

The holidays are fast approaching and .... most of my shopping and ALL of my decorating (except whatever Beaupierre "un-decorates" each day) is finished.

Just need to wrap all those packages and put them under the tree. On second thought, maybe not. I think I'll wait till Christmas Eve. I don't have any experience with cats and brightly wrapped packages with ribbons and bows and sparklies all over them but the ornament thing has given me a pretty good idea what could happen. After the trip to Costco for all the dinner "fix ins" I'm set. I get to enjoy the rest of it. (I actually enjoy the cooking Christmas dinner part).

My new neighborhood goes all out for the decorating thing .... not only for Christmas but for Halloween which was a kick. The guy down the street had an assortment of mummies, ghouls and even a man hung from the gallows (life size mind you) in his front yard along with fog and sound effects. He hasn't gotten his Christmas decorations up but I can hardly wait to see them ... or not? Perhaps he only does Halloween? At any rate Ollie and I are planning a "Twighlight Light Walk" in the next few weeks to get a look at them up close and personal.

It's nice to be in my new home with my new and old families for the season. Lots going on in Denver. My son and I are thinking of doing the "Zoolights". He didn't want to do the "Blossom Lights" at the Botanic Garden so Zoolights was the compromise (quote ... "the Botanic Gardens are soooooo boring"). Both Ollie and Beaupierre will be having their first Christmas. I can't help but get a little sad thinking that this is my first Christmas without Sami. He was a champion package opener. Too bad they don't give an AKC Pedigree Performance Title for that, cause he would have had one. He could have been "Iamsamiam, CPO (champion package opener :-). Just loved to open packages. My daughter and I were wondering how Ollie will do with them. We will see if he gets to be "Riverwood's Oliver Twist and Shout, CPO.

My best wishes for the happiest of holidays for all of you and all of your loved ones. Enjoy! Savor the moments! We are allotted so precious few.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Please help if you can ...

This just in from "Best Friends in Utah:

She is so beautiful. Please help if you can! I wish I could take her but I live in a rental right now with a tiny, tiny yard and don't think she would do well here. Anyone out there with a farm or large yard or ? Please contact:


Monday, September 26, 2011

I totally forgot ....

... to update this blog with the new charts which were available at the beginning of September.

My apologies. I have been so busy designing and trying to get new designs to model stitchers that I accidentally left out this important step in the "new release" process.

Check them out at right.

Otherwise .... just very, very busy. Having a fun time planning new things, drawing new things, charting new things, enjoying my new neighborhood and the new additions to my family.

As predicted by many, Ollie and Beaupierre have become best of friends. It's really a joy to see them together. Ollie, such a gentle soul, lets Beaupierre use his tail for a cat toy. Beaupierre courageously puts up with Ollie's attempts to pick him up and carry him around the house. Ollie has decided that Beaupierre gets first shot at any "floor food" and first drink from the fresh water bowl in the morning. I absolutely love this delightful little dog. What a sweet-tempered personality he has! He is now a favorite at the local dog park for his playful spirit and ability to get along with even the most aggressive dogs. Beau is just beautiful, funny and affectionate. I am blessed to have these animals in my life. They bring me smiles and laughter each and every day. My thanks to whoever, up there, arranges these things.

And my thanks to the many of you who offered your stitching services. Rest assured they will be disbursed as soon as they are off the computer and on to the printer. One is going out today ... four more to go. Anne-Catherine and Evelyne ... your packages WILL arrive but am holding onto them until I have some special things completed for you.

Life is good. I read something the other day that struck a cord, supposedly a quote from Rodin:

"The more simple I am, the more complete I become"

Life is short. Enjoy ... everything,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sneak Peak

Our final Calendar Covers are finished and waiting for photography. We apologize for the delay in getting them out but ....

The move, the move, the move!

How aggravating certain aspects of moving are! There are always some things that mistakenly get shipped to the old address and, as Murphy's law would have it, this is exactly what happened. We have two other pieces in addition to the Calendar covers that we want to release at the same time and the frame and mat for one and the finishing fabric for the other are waiting for me on my old doorstep in Steamboat. So I will leave early Monday to make the drive to pick them up. Back on Tuesday so we can finish the final pieces and get the photography done. After photography, thanks to our wonderful new digital world, it is only a few hours of work to insert the photos into the charts and print. It looks like it will probably be after Labor Day when we can start shipping. We will get the photos posted to the web site as soon as they are downloaded from the camera.

In the meantime, while you wait for me to get back from Steamboat and get our new releases back on track, I have a sneak peak of the Calendar Covers in a special format. I know that many of you are stitching them all together on one piece of linen instead of making them into calendar/check book covers. (One customer mentioned that she was horrified by the idea of putting one in her pocket book after all the time it took to stitch and finish.) I thought it would be fun to take all my original drawings for each month and photoshop them into one piece. The result:

Click for a larger version. If you are stitching them all together or have considered doing so, this is pretty much what they will look like.

Be back soon. Until then .... happy trails,

Monday, August 22, 2011

On a happier note :-)

My little family ... playing in my office while I work. They share toys, a water bowl ... and romps around the house. Ollie is starting to use his paws like a cat though. Funny to see this big-footed fur ball playing like a kitten. I think I know who is going to be the "Alpha" in the house ... and it isn't me and it isn't the big furry guy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sad ....

commentary ....

I woke up this morning to find an email informing me of yet another cross stitch "sharing" site. A little "members only" site run by a large Chinese conglomerate. You can join by simply entering a user name and your email address and then .... you can upload cross stitch charts so that everyone else who is a member can download them.

There I found that just by posting enough comments I could earn "gold coins". And what could I do with these "gold coins"? I could download almost all of my charts for free. I could also earn even more "gold coins" by uploading any chart in my collection.

Trouble is ... I can't pay my rent or buy groceries with these "gold" coins. And I'm going to have trouble paying my rent and buying groceries if my charts continue to be pirated on these kinds of sites.

They call it "sharing". On this board people are actually thanking each other for "sharing". They are posting comments like "thank you for sharing this beautiful chart". Sharing? Strange new definition for "sharing". Stealing is what it is actually.

I don't know about you but I don't think I would enjoy stitching a chart that I know I had stolen. It would nag at me constantly with each stitch I took. Same reason I don't steal movies or music over the internet. Something would just bother me about listening to that music or watching that movie.

Everyone says ... "Hey, you're just taking from a big multinational corporation.... Sony Pictures, Universal, NBC. They make millions of dollars. You're just taking one song, one movie ... and times are tough. What difference will it make?"

It will make a big karmic difference! Because then that attitude starts to seep down into everything we do. We justify downloading free cross stitch patterns over the internet to save $8.00. We justify stealing from a fellow stitcher who earns her living designing the charts that give us so many hours of pleasure. Pretty soon we're justifying not returning that extra change that the cashier gave us by mistake. Pretty soon we don't bother to return that wallet we found on the sidewalk. Pretty soon every thing we do is about "us" and what "we" want or feel entitled to. Pretty soon we don't care about what happens to others anymore.

Karmic quicksand.

And it's not just me. There were thousands of charts there. Everyone from Lizzie Kate to Miribilia. All your favorite designers .... available for download .... for FREE!! Yahoo!!! They'll never miss that little bit of income you stole from them .... right? Right?

As I'm getting ready to release new charts, this was particularly discouraging. I began to think "what's the point?" Months and months of work and then people will just upload them to these sites. It really doesn't seem worth it anymore. It's too difficult to try to keep up with these "pirates". A few weeks, sometimes just a few days, after the new designs are released they are available for free download on the internet. I'm a very, very small enterprise. One person. I don't have the strength or endurance or resources to hunt down and fight these "pirates".

So what to do? Perhaps look for a job where people can't freely and easily steal part of my paycheck each month.

I am not so much angry as I am discouraged. I have this talent for designing these patterns and I love doing it but it is time consuming and tedious work. There comes a point when you have to decide if working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week is worth it. If I'm not earning enough to pay the rent or buy groceries, then I need to find a job where I will.

I wish these people would stop and think for just a moment before they hit the "download" button. Do they understand that what they are doing is stealing? Do they realize they are stealing part of someone's monthly paycheck? Do they realize that they are contributing to the demise of their own favorite hobby. This kind of pirating does not hurt just one designer. It hurts hundreds. It hurts the entire industry. Each time someone downloads an illegal copy of a chart a designer loses part of their income, a distributor loses part of their income and a shop owner loses part of their income. It adds up quickly.

Why are so many shops closing and why are so many good designers quitting the business and moving on to other occupations?

Because so many thieves are shoplifting from them that they can't afford to stay in business any longer.

What goes around comes around,


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick Update

For those of you who were rooting for Beau, he now has a new home with us here on Quitman Street ... and sort of a new name.

I decided to keep the name he came with, much as I did with Mister Oliver, but when I got him home my son started calling him "Pierre". Go figure. At any rate I call him Beau. My son calls him Pierre and it just sort of naturally melded into "Beaupierre".

Been a very, very long time since I've had a cat but I've always wanted to have both a dog and kitty living with me. So far so good with Oliver and Monsieur Beaupierre. Oliver is still learning to restrain himself with the little guy. He likes to lick and clean him but sometimes that big furry mouth opens up just a bit. Luckily he has what is know as a "soft mouth" (or soft bite) and is a very gentle soul with little prey drive. Monsieur Beaupierre, on the other hand, knows no fear and is already running around the house, perching on bookshelves and tables and tauting Mr. Twist. I think he is going to be pretty darn good at taking care of himself and won't need me to watch over him for long. As soon as I can get them both to sit still together ... a few minutes a day Ollie decides to lay down with him and clean him up ... I'll try to get some pix of them together. Meanwhile, may I introduce Monsieur Beaupierre:

All in all it's quite wonderful to have these two lounging around in my office as I work ... or scampering around the office while I try to work, depending on the time of day and the energy level of one or both. Beaupierre has a love of the desktop and, just as many of you warned me, is frequently draped across the keyboard. Good excuse for not getting much work done this week.

I can't stop watching them. So cute! So funny!

Happy little family :-) Now if I can just teach Beaupierre to run along side the bicycle with Ollie ..... :-)


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Has it been ...

more than two months since I've posted? How time flies when you are NOT having fun!

The move is, for the most part, completed. What an undertaking. I'm having trouble reorienting myself to a normal life right now. No boxes to pack? No boxes to upack? What????

Almost everything is in it's place and we are functioning quite well given that we only had two weeks to get this thing done. There are a few items we can't find yet but I know from experience that they will turn up eventually, a few weeks or a few years from now ... or not ... but all the little necessities and knicks and knacks are settled. One more trip up to Steamboat in August to have a garage sale and do the final cleaning and then I am ready to leave that part of my life behind and fully concentrate on this part.

And it is sooooo good to have a little free time that isn't taken up by packing or unpacking something.

This weekend I had a few spare hours to get the old Bianchi fired up and ready to go. Two nice sized panniers for the back. Was considering a front basket but someone recommended these and they will be perfect for my errands. They snap on and off the bike rack and open up into nice size shopping bags. Sturdy lock ("I don't think we're in Steamboat any more Oliver" :-) and a pump. I'm ready to roll:

Decided to try to train Mr. Twist (Oliver) to run beside the bike as there is a lovely, large park with a bike path running around a lake just a few blocks from here. A little run every evening could burn up some of that crazy excess energy that seems to pop up around 9 or 10 pm. He took to it like a champ. Beardies are bred for agility and herding and it really came out when I gave him a task to focus on that required quick thinking and concentration. Only six months old and he worked it like a pro! Never once stopped to look up at me (a big problem when you need to keep the momentum going) and never once ran in front of the bike. I was very proud of him ... especially given the lack of attention he shows in all other activities. He is definitely NOT going to be a fetcher :-) But he's going to be a great bike dog.

 Oliver before and after bike training :-)

So, we are both adapting to this urban life-style quite well. I spent most of my young adult life in Los Angeles and San Francisco so I'm no stranger to this. Will miss the beauty of the mountains but I know it will lessen with time ... especially when the snow starts to fly. Love the close proximity of EVERYTHING. Can walk or bike to food, shopping and entertainment not to mention the dog groomer and a really, really cool pet store :-) In fact we walked up there today to get some new "chewies". They have the sweetest kitten up for adoption (they are working with a homeless pet shelter so NOT a mill cat) named Bo ... and it was great to see that Oliver likes cats. No prey drive whatsoever ... and Bo ... well I've always wanted a puppy and kitten that could grow up together. Bo is thin, petite and long legged. A real cutie pie. Hmmmmm ... you'll have to wait and see what happens. I don't even know yet :-)

But, I digress. This blog is supposed to be about Needlework, at least some of the time.

Just before the move I received some lovely new charts from Marie Thérèse Saint-Aubin. If you're a fan, check out the designs on our web site.

At the same time I received another package from France with some stitched models. Lovely job Anne-Catherine and Evelyne! I finally got my spare bedroom (also known as the "finishing department") set up yesterday so I can finish what my friends have started. October, November and December calendar covers are being stitched now which should give me enough time to get them finished and out by the end of August. Couldn't resist another little Halloween piece which I managed to stitch when not packing or unpacking boxes. New christmas piece is being worked on in Massachusetts. Thank you Nataly for taking that one on! So, between the four of us, we should have some pretty interesting things to release in August and then again in October.

And many more on the horizon. Going back to the garden, both literally and figuratively, with a new series and working slowly and lovingly on a teaching piece as when the dust settles here, I hope to get out there and meet some of you in person. The Denver Airport is now just a 25 minute drive instead of 3.5 hours (or up to 10 when the pass was snowed under) and I have loving siblings close by to look after Oliver when I leave.

We are busily preparing for the Rocky Mountain Regional Seminar's Merchandise Night on August 5th. Hope to meet and greet many of you there so please stop by and say hello if you're attending!

Lots to look forward to.

We are busy. We are content.

Off to the park so Oliver can practice being a bike dog :-)

Then maybe walk to Parisi's for Pizza and gelato????


Sunday, May 15, 2011

At last ...

Spring time in the Rockies.

I am so grateful that the glacier in my back yard has finally melted. Now of course, I have mostly mud instead of ice but there are a few little green strands coming up here and there through the muck. The Iris are just peeking out of the mulch in the flower bed and we've had three or four sunny days in a row. Though I would never discount the possibility of snow in May in Steamboat ... I'm beginning to think Spring has arrived. This has been the roughest, coldest, longest winter I remember in a long time but it gave me the extra push I needed to move without too many regrets. There are many things I will miss about this beautiful, quiet place ... but another winter is not one of them. Maybe this past year was nature's way of telling me it really IS time to move on.

At any rate, it seems petty to vetch and moan about ice and snow when so many of you in other parts of the country are dealing with much bigger issues. My heart goes out to all of you dealing with flooding, tornadoes and of course the other storms life brings. The loss of loved ones, the economy, unemployment. My prayer today is that we all find the strength and purpose to forge ahead. I was listening to the sound track from "Parenthood" recently and the words to one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs struck a chord (no pun intended) so I'm keeping it on instant replay in my head ... and in my heart:

May you build a ladder to the stars
and climb on every rung
and may you stay
forever young

It has not been all gray and snow and rain here. A very special little light came into my life in April and ... for the most part ... he is a brilliant one. The antidote to a long, cold winter. Makes me laugh. Makes me exercise. Relieves stress. Well maybe causes a little stress too. Okay, a lot of stress. No one told me that having a puppy was sort of like having an infant. Only difference seems to be mopping up instead of changing diapers. And of course babies don't jump on you, chew on your hands and then the legs of the dining room table. Nor do they try to make off with bulk skeins of Waterlilies. He bites. He chews. He barks when I put him in his crate. He drags all the mud from the back yard into the kitchen. He is also the cutest little cuddle monster I've ever seen.

Oliver Twist - 12 Weeks

Found a house to rent in Denver. A great place with plenty of room for The Drawn Thread, a fenced yard for Oliver and within walking distance of Sunflower Market and Parisi's (my favorite restaurant, deli, pizzeria, gelatoria). I'm very relieved to know I have a place and have set a moving date. July 1 - 7 will be moving week ... so fair warning. We will probably shut down operations here at the end of June ... start packing up my personal stuff and The Drawn Thread ... and hand it over to the movers on July 7. I figure it's going to take a couple of weeks for us to get everything put away so we will be closed for orders from July 1 through the 15th. I know that seems like a long time ... but to move, personally, and at the same time dismantle an entire business, move it 100 miles and then reassemble it in a new location is going to be a daunting task so please bear with us during this time and get any orders you feel you will need before the end of July in before the end of June.

Speaking of orders, in between selling a house, trying to raise a puppy and spending most of my time in Denver searching for new digs, I've only managed to come up with 3 new designs for this quarter ... and that only because of those wonderful ladies in France. I didn't want to cause anyone working on the Calendar series get behind in their project so we managed to get those out on time. You can view the photos at right. The web site will be updated shortly and we will begin shipping next week.

Wanted to also note that we will be at the Rocky Mountain Regional 2011 EGA Seminar Merchandise night - August 5th from 7-9 pm with a table full of goodies. If you are attending or are in the area, please stop by and visit. More information available at:

Many more things on the drawing board, sitting by my stitching chair and in France ... so we hope to start (or finish) August with quite a few new surprises. For those of you who just couldn't bear to put those pocket calendar covers in your purse, we are working on desk calendar covers, a stitching journal, a sampler tribute to "My Little Town" that I will soon be leaving, and many other little surprises. Stay tuned and have patience while we make this move and .....

Stay forever young,


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's all good ...

Good news, that is.

Thanks to the generosity of stitchers, we have begun our sponsorship of some "friends" at "Best Friends". Since it is your dollars that are providing these sponsorships, I wanted to share with you what we have been able to do with the funds from "The Menagerie" so far ... I say so far because we are hoping we will be able to continue these sponsorships with the profits from this chart.

Here are our three new "best friends":

And last but not least ... for all the cat fanciers that bought "The Menagerie" ...
the loveliest kitty we've seen in a long time ... just look at those eyes!

You can read their stories by clicking on their names ... then scroll down the page to find them.

One other special photo:

There is a litter of these little cuties being born in Loveland, Colorado on March 21 or 22 and I am trying to think of a name for mine. Any suggestions? There will be 5 to 7 puppies in this litter. The mom is a beautiful black and white beardie. The dad is brown and white. I have requested a black and white male ... for obvious reasons. I'll keep you posted.

And last, but not least, I have sold my home. Unfortunately, part of the deal is that I rent it back for six months. Okay. Nice slow move. So I will also keep you all posted as to when the move will occur and if we will have to shut down operations for a few weeks to accomplish this task.

I promised good news. I delivered :-)

My thanks to all of you for your support of "The Menagerie". You are a very generous group of people.

Love and peace,

Monday, February 7, 2011

... but the show must go on

And so today I am releasing 8 new designs. I hope you enjoy them. You can click on the photos at right which will take you to their respective pages on our web site.

I did want to note this special release:

In Sami's memory I am donating profits from the sale of this chart to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. They have a wonderful program where you can sponsor an animal, or many animals, so Sami is going to sponsor as many friends as he can, to make sure they also have a chance for a quality life and a "forever" home.

I thank you so much for your continued support of our efforts and hope to be back here soon ... with happier chit chat and/or better news.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thank You

I want to thank all of you for expressing your sympathy and support. My Sam was a blessing ... and a gift. He never held a grudge, never regretted the past and did not fear the future. He was never mean or spiteful, never felt sorry for himself and forgave quickly. He never passed judgement. He just noted what worked and what didn't and then moved on. His mind was unencumbered by hate, prejudice or stereotype. His heart was open to the potentials and possibilities of each person, place or thing he encountered (a porcupine encounter comes to mind here :-). Each day was a gift to him. He was just as happy to respond to an invitation to play a bit of catch or take a long hike along Fish Creek as he was to sleep beside my chair for hours while I stitched.

Though I miss his physical presence every day, following his example by living life happily in the moment and loving unconditionally will keep his spirit alive and serve to honor his memory more than tears and grieving. That was my promise to him as we parted and I will do my best to keep it. I'm sure I will never be as good at it as he was.

Thank you all for your beautiful words. Hug your pet today. If you don't have one, think about going out and rescuing one. You'll be amazed at what they bring into your life ... literally and figuratively :-)

Cynthia and Sam

Thursday, February 3, 2011

1996 - 2011
Loyal friend and faithful companion.
You will be missed.