Author Archives: lindam55

Bling in the Holidays – Day 1


Today finds me at the Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge, MA. I am attending the Stitcher’s Hideaway fall retreat – Bling in the Holidays with Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler.  I am a big fan of Thea’s pieces and she is a fabulous teacher, so I try not to miss any opportunity to take her classes.

We received our pre-work package in early September. Somehow I actually managed to finish the pre-work well ahead of schedule. Here’s the project when I arrived. This is stitched on 28-count Clay Cashel Linen.

Project Prework

Today we concentrated on all the specialty stitches – Partial Rhodes, Smyrnas, and Mosaics, to name a few. Thea provides videos of the stitch demonstrations in the class, which she then posts as YouTube videos for future reference.  It really helps a lot when there is a large group as everyone can see the demonstration.

So here is the project after today (and I am, thankfully, all caught up).

Project Day 1

Tomorrow we decorate the tree with all the bling!

Tonight we also had a gift exchange – those who wish to participate bring in a handmade gift. However, there is no stealing!  These are all the lovely gifts that were part of the exchange.

Ornament Exchange

This is the gift I received. I love these little ornaments and aren’t the scissors just adorable?

Christmas Tree Ornament

And here is the pillow I made. The recipient was appreciative of my effort. I am pretty pleased with it, considering that I could be categorized as a pre-beginner seamstress.

Merry Christmas Pillow

Tomorrow night we will have Show-and-Tell, which is always exciting. Stay tuned for more progress!


Bling in the Holidays – Day 2


Today was a beautiful clear New England autumn day. It was delightful walking about (even if it was just from my room to the stitching room) in the crisp dry air. For those who have not been to Sturbridge, I’ve included a few pictures of the Publick House grounds.

Today’s class was all about the bling! Thea handed out accessory packets with beads, sequins, gingerbread cookies, and other embellishment goodies. Her videos this morning provided tips on attaching the various pieces to the tree. We were then left to our own creativity to attach the bling.

We started with Gold Rush couched with Kreinik for the garland. We then laid out our own bling scheme, taking pictures as needed so that we had a reference for attaching later on. Here is what mine will look like (more or less). I may still move a few pieces around before finally attaching.

Project Proposed Layout

Here’s my progress at the end of the day today. I did get my garland attached as well as all the beads in the snowflakes surrounding the trees. And I attached my lights, which are a little big so we’re considering them ornaments.

Project Day 2

I’ll attach the rest of the bling when I am at home where I can see the beads and have a large space to work on.

After dinner many of the attendees brought in pieces for Show-and-Tell. As always I was blown away by the fantastic projects and gorgeous stitching. Here’s just a sample of the pieces that were shown.

These retreats really are a great deal of fun and I look forward to attending more in the future.

Tomorrow I am heading to Bush Mountain Stitchery in Palmer, MA (just down the road), which had its Grand Opening last weekend. After that I’ll be heading to New Jersey for a night at home (after the NJNA October Meeting, of course). I’ll be blogging about Bush Mountain but it will likely wait until Thursday.

October SOTM


Fall has finally arrived – it was a cool day with the sun finally breaking through the clouds as ten of us gathered to work on our Stitch-of-the-Month projects. Barbara and Ellen got away without having their projects photographed. Next time, you two!

Progress on Autumn Kaleidoscope designed by Lorene Salt has been steady and we are coming to the end of this fabulous project. The colors on every piece are spectacular and we have had a lot of good conversation about color choices – even those of us who opted for the original colorway notice differences because of the overdyes and how we each stitch.

So, without further ado, here are the progress photos (drum roll please).

October - Diane



October - Janice


October - Jill


October - Linda


October - Noelle


October - Rosie


October - Sue C

Sue C

October - Sue R

Sue R

Don’t they all look fantastic!!!

Noelle is a recent addition to our group, having joined in mid-August. How great is that! She told us that she has been stitching as an antidote for some stressful days at the office.

Happy Stitching!

September SOTM


Fourteen of us gathered this weekend for our monthly session of stitching, chatting, and eating! It’s hard to believe that we are three-quarters of the way through the year, and our projects.

Take a look at the progress on Autumn Kaleidoscope and Stars for the New Millennium.

Barbara is continuing on her Stars piece in between travels to California to visit the grandchildren and getting ready for her daughter’s wedding here on the East Coast.

September - Barbara

Margaret is also working on Stars but she packed everything away before it could be photographed.  Next time, Margaret!

And here is our progress on Autumn Kaleidoscope. It is amazing how different this piece looks in the various colorways. Even those of us who are stitching the original colorway have variations because of the overdyed and variegated threads used.

From left to right – top row: Ellen S., Janice, Jill; second row: Joan, Linda, Mally; third row: Marge, Nancy, Robin; bottom row: Rosie, Sue C., Sylvia

October and November we’ll be working on those last boxes; December we’ll be putting in the border and the beads!

We will be discussing the 2019 SOTM project in the next couple of sessions and once again we will have a hard choice of which project to choose. We have some fabulous suggestions, so stay tuned! I think everyone in the group agrees that SOTM is a great way to spend a Saturday – we have a lot of fun, get a project completed, and learn from each other!

Happy Stitching!


Seminar 2018 Wrap-Up


Today was the last day of Seminar for me. I started out this morning working the Hospitality Desk, which is a great way to meet other stitchers. Mr. M met me there and we toured the Exhibit together. He even cast a “People’s Choice” vote!

We then walked up Connecticut Avenue to the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, one of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s homes. She purchased this home in 1955 and spent two years renovating it into a 36-room Georgian mansion to house her collection of French and Russia porcelain, furniture, and art. When she died, she left the estate to the Smithsonian Institute but the expense of operating and maintaining the property was too much for the Smithsonian so it was returned to the family. A private foundation now runs the estate.

We were just in time for one of the docent-led tours (you can also tour on your own with a mobile app tour or just walk through with a comprehensive guide book). Our tour took about an hour and was very informative. The French and Russian porcelain collections were spectacular. I don’t know how we never visited this site in the past.

One room that was particularly impressive was the dining room. The table was set for 12 people but can be extended to seat 30 people! Wouldn’t this be a great room for our SOTM sessions!

B91A71E4-0754-49B6-AE84-35A6210535B4.jpegOur docent told us that all of the guides keep complaining about the tablecloth as it hides the magnificent table. There is a leaf on display at the end of the room and I have to agree with the docents.


That is just one leaf! The table was originally located in another one of her homes, which was considerably larger than Hillwood. Consequently, the table has never been fully extended in its current location as the room is too small.

That other house was her Florida home – Mar-A-Lago – and it has 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms! We learned on our tour that Marjorie Post wanted to leave Mar-A-Lago to the federal government to be used as a Winter White House but the gesture was refused due to the expense. I’ll let that irony sink in …

Tonight was my last Seminar function – I attended Expo! which is a huge shopping event at which designers and chapters sell project charts, canvases, magnets, totes, and many other goodies that we all crave. I did purchase a few items, including the name-tag kit for the 2019 Seminar in Houston, a souvenir magnet, and some snap trays. I don’t do well in crowds and my tolerance is limited at these events (I told Mr. M that there is nothing I need that desperately to have to body-check another stitcher). I tried to patronize chapters who were there to raise funds and I think I succeeded in purchasing something from all the chapters who were there.

Tomorrow we are heading back to NJ. I truly enjoyed my time at Seminar and hope to be able to attend next year. I’m already trying to figure out class schedules!

Happy Stitching!

City Lake Conclusion and More Seminar


Today was Day 2 of my two-day class with Gail Stafford. I really enjoyed this class; I learned a few new techniques that I will be able to use on future projects. Gail is a great teacher – very relaxed – and her instructions are comprehensive.

We stitched the gazebo today as well as some of the greenery. At one point during the day Gail passed around puctures of some of her attempts during the design process showing different stitches and threads she experimented with before finalizing the design. She even had a photo of her doodle canvas showing thread combinations. It was a valuable insight into the design process.

We also cut out the “trees” (they are crepe myrtles which I think of as a bush despite their size). While I won’t attach the trees until more stitching is completed we did practice with some scrap ultrasuede.

I really like this piece and plan to finish it soon. Here’s where I stand as of the end of today’s class.


And here are my trees, ready to be attached to the canvas.


During  lunch Sharon B and I visited the Exhibit and saw all the wondrful pieces that were entered. All of the entries are fabulous and the ribbon winners are spectacular. Be sure to check them out when they are listed in Needlepointers magazine. We also saw the new Chapter Project Book and Group Correspondence Projects, as well as the projects being offered for the 2019 seminar in Houston. I’m already thinking of possible choices. There was even a hint for next year’s SOTM – it is another mystery piece, this time a collaboration by four designers (I believe the same ones who do the annual mystery retreat).

This evening I attended the Cyberpointers meeting and ran into two stitchers from CT I know from the Stitchers Hideaway retreats. Their ANG Chapter folded so they were looking into joining Cyberpointers. I also attended the Teachers Showcase at which I saw a number of pieces that I woul love to stitch. At what age do I finally not need to sleep more than a few hours? Surely I must be gettinng close!

Tomorrow I will be volunteering at the Hospitality Desk in the morning. Mr. M will meet me after my shift to tour the Exhibit after which we will do some touristing. Tomorrow night is Expo!, which I’ve been told is a must-see shopping event.

We will be leaving DC on Sunday to return to NJ. I have really enjoyed my first Seminar and have met quite a few new people. I even met Lorene Salt, the designer of our current SOTM Autumn Kaleidoscope! She told me she has been following our progress and was really impressed by the different colors. Great praise for our talented stitchers!

I am sorry to be leaving this Seminar and hope I can attend next year in Houston.

Happy stitching!


Seminar 2018 – Day One


Today was the first day of my class – City Lake taught by Gail Stafford. It turns out that Sharon B is also in the class and is the Class Angel.

We were given a line drawn canvas with a few areas already painted. One of our first assignments was to paint the sky using acrylic paints. Painting is not one of my accomplishments so I was particularly intimidated but it turned out okay. We started on some stitching and then had to draw the outlines of the trees onto ultrasuede using carbon paper. Who actually remembers carbon paper?

Here’s my progress at lunchtime today.

D40F657B-4487-4C57-B477-A35EB1CC0D8CAfter lunch we painted the trees we had traced onto the ultrasuede. If I characterized myself as intimidated by the sky I would have to say I was traumatized by painting trees! We had to shade the trees and get some color variation as well. We will attach the trees tomorrow.

The rest of the afternoon was spent stitching other areas and there was a lot of random stitching, again not my specialty. But I think I’m off to a good start. So here’s my piece at the end of Day One. I’m going to clean up some of the spaghetti tonight to prepare for whatever Gail has in store for us tomorrow.