Monday, August 29, 2011

Photo Session with Lana, Leo and the Creeps

Hi Everybody... Robin here.

Has everyone survived the hurricane? Irene was a doozy. Glad she's gone. So sorry for all of the damage and lost lives. I did enjoy spending my moments with Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel. He's dreamy. And, did you know he is Vicky De Angelis' cousin? How cool is that?

While I am waiting to hear if TNNA is going to select me for teaching at Phoenix 2012, I have been tending to other deadlines. I am designing an ad for NeedleDeeva/Creepy Characters for the November/December Needlepoint Now magazine.

I had two helpers during the photo shoot: Lana and Leo. This was their first "official" photo shoot.

Lana was very busy checking out all of the props.

Lana loved the Feather Wreath.

Leo chilled. He knows how to work the camera.

Initially I set up my tall Halloween Tree for the Creeps backdrop but changed my mind to a different tree. Yes... I have 4 trees (!) plus a black feather wreath so it was easy to change things out. In fact, I ended up using my Martha Stewart Halloween Tree. Looks good. You'll see the ad in the magazine. Later, I might be able to preview it here and on the Creepy Characters Facebook page, too.

Here's a picture of the tree with all of the Creeps. Many of you will be participating in the full series... others of you will select your Creeps to do. Either way, it's a fun time.

I'll be back soon with the TNNA teaching update... fingers crossed. Thanks, Robin

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jean Smith Designs and the Movies

Hi Everybody... Robin here.

My bags are unpacked and the laundry is done. Kittens have been hugged. I'm back home in Memphis.

Reflecting on my trip to Baltimore, I wanted to share a bit of Needlepoint News with you.

Jean Smith Designs attended the Fall Market Baltimore Show. I have had the chance to meet her at previous markets. She is a lovely lady. Very stylish and elegant. Jean had some fun news to share: her needlepoint canvases and stitched models will be used on the movie set of The Big Wedding. How cool is that! This bit of news was also printed on page 24 of the Needlework Retailer/Fall Market Preview issue (July/August 2011).

The Big Wedding has a tentative release date of October 2012. It is a Lionsgate Film with actors including Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and Ben Barnes. Susan Sarandon's character is an avid needlepointer. This movie was written and directed by Justin Zackham (The Bucket List) and is being filmed in Connecticut.

Finally! Some needlepoint/product prominent placement! What took them so long?

Jean Smith is known for her large florals designs...

And her fruit designs...

She also has nice children designs...

Several years ago, Vicky R., from Memphis, attended my Saturday canvas enhancement classes and her project was one of the Jean Smith Designs rug, Friendly Beasts Rug. It measures 46" W x 34" H on 10 mesh. Affectionately, Vicky called it "The Big Guy"; now finished, it lives with her daughter and grandchildren. (Lucky grandchildren!)

Many needlepoint shops are now having "movie nights" where they invite their customers to sit/stitch and watch a movie. Seems like The Big Wedding will be a natural fit... oh, and then, have a Jean Smith Designs Trunk show, too. (OK... the seeds have been planted.)

Again, congratulations to Jean Smith. You can see her designs on her website, Jean Smith Designs and then order them from your LNS.

Thanks, Robin

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good bye Baltimore. Hello Memphis.

Hi Everybody... Robin here... with Baltimore memories.

Monday was a travel day. Leaving Baltimore. Heading to Memphis. Saying good bye to Team Deeva... until the next time. Wondering if my suitcase will be over the 50 LB limit.

I went to the airport several hours early. The delayed departure was also several hours. (Rainstorms really upset peoples travels!) My non-stop was OK. Just late. Luckily, I listed Pat's phone number with Delta and they informed him about my pending arrival.

I brought my perennial travel stitching piece. The one with the black cat sitting at the table, eyeing what's in the cup. This canvas wins the Travel Trophy award. It has been to Long Beach, Columbus, Long Beach, Columbus, and now... Baltimore.

Crab Tour 2011 is also over. But, the memories will continue for sure. Here's a special photo from Pat. What a funny guy!  Thanks, Robin

P.S. Oh, and by the way... the suitcase weighed 49 LB. Sweet!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teaching at Bedecked & Beadazzled

Hi Everybody.. Robin here... with more Baltimore memories.

On Sunday morning, time in the NeedleDeeva room went quickly. You could tell the Shop Owners had picked up the pace going from room to room. It was their last day of shopping. I gathered up all the Creeps and Halloween Tree to travel with me for my next destination. At 11:30AM my ride (Pat, a nice lady/employee from B&B) arrived to bring me to Bedecked & Beadazzled for my teaching gig: Skeleton (ND 0467-J) the 10th Creepy Character from NeedleDeeva.

What can be said about Bedecked & Beadazzled that hasn't already been said? All I could say was WOW to the bright LIME GREEN walls and Leopard spots carpeting in the class room. Her displays are fresh. Excellent lighting through out the shop. Her models are beautifully finished, each with that special "Ruth Schmuff" touch. I looked/shopped for fun things to bring home as mementos from this trip.

There was a nice assortment of sequins, brads and buttons from Doodlebug Design, Inc. I HAD to have them. Here's what I brought home. Don't know exactly when I will use them or on which design, but knowing they are in my stash gives me great pleasure.

I also picked up the Stitch Landscape book by Little Shoppe Canvas Company. This was my first time to really study it. Each page has 6 stitch diagrams. 75 pages, spiral binding. Numbered, too. You do the math... there's a lot of stitches in this little book. I have a feeling this book is going to be my next "new best friend" when I resume stitch guide writing.

Finally, look at the darling magnet I found. Actually, Vicky De Angelis found it first, and then, I had to have one, too. You can see wonderful photos of the Bedecked & Beadazzled store taken by Vicky De Angelis posted on her blog, Mostly Needlepoint.

Ruth took a lot of photos of me teaching. You can see them on her blog, It's Not Your Grandmother's Needlepoint. The class was full. I met new folks and met stitching buddies from Stitcherie and Facebook. The class was from 1PM-4PM and the time just flew by. Everyone got to see the entire group of Creepy Characters in person. I used the white eraser board for things needing further explanation. I signed the visiting Teachers Board. How exciting was that! Previous names included Tony Minieri, Brenda Hart, Meredith Willett, Julia Snyder... and now, me. (Somebody... pinch me, OK?)

After class, we went out to dinner at  Razorback's Raw Bar & Grill. Ruth, Pat, Kathy Balthrop (Stitching Studio & Gift Boutique/Richmond, VA) and I had more of the local fare (everyone say it with me...): CRAB CAKES. I was in my happy place.

It seems the favorite 2 sides with Maryland Crab Cakes are French Fries and Cole Slaw. Nothing wrong with that! The servings were plentiful; I brought half of the meal home for Monday's lunch before heading back to Memphis.

I had a wonderful time in Baltimore. Next will be the plane ride home to Memphis, Pat, the Mews and the Kittens: Leo and Lana. I sure do miss all of them. Thanks, Robin

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baltimore Market: Saturday... part 2

Hi Everybody... Robin here... with Baltimore memories.

The time passed so quickly in Baltimore and my blogging eventually got out of sync for a real-time experience. But, play along with me... let's pretend it's still Saturday... OK?

Saturday was the first full day of the Cash & Carry Market. I stayed pretty close to the NeedleDeeva camp; writing up orders and handing out Fraidy Cat canvases. I did get to step out a bit and enjoyed visiting the Amanda Lawford/DC Designs room. It was good to see Amanda and her son, Derek, again.

I picked up a few canvases for myself. They are small and sweet. Two are from the artist, Mariko King (no relation... drats!) and one is from Amanda Lawford, her very self. I will enjoy working on each of these.

I visited the Rainbow Gallery room.  Sally (from Rainbow Gallery) was in my Fraidy Cat class. She showed the class the NEW Petite Silk Lamé Braid. It comes in all the same colors as the Silk Lamé Braid 13 and 18. When I stopped by the Rainbow Gallery room, Sally gave me these samples: Pink (SP26), Black (SP01), and Purple (SP22). I can't wait to use them. Thanks to Rainbow Gallery for their wonderful array of threads. I really appreciate their thread kit donations for the Fraidy Cat class, too.

I also visited with Anne from Gloriana Threads. She has samples of her newest Gloriana Silk Floss including: Jubie's Pink (#225), Jersey Shore (#224), Thistle Purple (#215), and Thistle Orange (#214). Anne was especially pleased with the new HOT PINK. Can you see it on either a Zecca canvas or an EyeCandy Needlearts canvas? I know I can.

Anne also gave me some of the new Florimell Silk Floss including: Jubie's Pink (#225), Holiday Green (#016), and Emerald Green (#226). It is a hand-dyed Soie d'Alger. Very nice. Thank you, Anne, for your wonderful threads and generosity with the Creepy Characters.

My last visit (geez... I sound like such a social butterfly!) was to Dream House Ventures. Linda had supplied the Soy Luster and the Baroque Silk for the Creepy Characters. I stopped by to say hello and thanks. I noticed the full display of Empress Elite Blend just inside the door. It is a wonderful blend of Ultra Fine Merino Wool, Cashmere, and Silk. (Can you say YUMMY?) Linda let me pick out a color to bring home with me. Decisions... decisions. I finally chose the Heliotrope (#8026) which was the same color as the Baroque Silk used in the Creeps.

The rest of the evening was spent with friends and more feasting. I'll spare the meal photos... this time, OK? Let's just say there was plenty! Teaching at Bedecked & Beadazzled on Sunday will be the next topic. Until then... thanks, Robin.

Baltimore Market: Saturday... part 1

Hi Everybody... Robin here... in Baltimore.

On Saturday the Market began. Yes, there were the Early Bird sales on Friday evening from Participating Designers, but the main hustle and bustle began on Saturday morning.

The Embassy Suites was an interesting location for this Cash & Carry Market. I liked the atrium feel of the place.

The Designers were mainly on floors 5, 6, and 7. Many banners were hung to announce their location.

Also, the windows were decorated with lights and signage.

Here's the little Halloween Tree with all of the Creeps. They got peoples' attention, for sure. The kittens, Leo & Lana, picked out the right tree.

Team Deeva wrote more orders for the Creeps. As a Cash & Carry Market, shop owners were able to come in and purchase canvases for their shop to begin stitching their own Creeps. It was fun to put names with faces of the shop owners. It was a good day. I'll be back soon with more about Saturday (part 2) as well as my teaching experience at Bedecked & Beadazzled. Thanks, Robin

Monday, August 15, 2011

Teaching and Feasting in Baltimore

Hi Everybody... Robin here... in Baltimore.

On Friday afternoon I taught the Fraidy Cat class to the Shop Owners attending the Baltimore Fall Market.  Yes, what you have read on other blogs is true: the arrival of the Fraidy Cat canvases were delayed one day beyond the teaching class. ( Déjà vu 2, anyone?) Luckily, this time we had  advanced notice and were able to devise a Plan B. Practice canvases were provided to the students thanks to Ruth Schmuff/Bedecked & Beadazzled, and we stitched our way through the stitch guide. Judee/NeedleDeeva came to the class and gave each student a Hooty Owl canvas as a "we apologize" gesture. Fraidy Cat did arrive the next day and all is right with the world.

Friday evening was a lovely dinner spent with a great group of people including Leigh Designs, Be Stitched Needlepoint, Sharon G, Team Deeva, Missy G and beau, and Stitchers Inc. We went to Kali's Court; ranked high on the Missy G favorites list.

My quest for crab continued. But I also tried some other food as well. I ordered off the Appetizers Menu: Cheese Tray, a chilled Gazpacho soup with Lump Crab meat, and Sea Scallops with Crab Ravioli & Goat Cheese. HEAVEN.

Oh, I forgot to mention the cocktail of the evening: the French Martini. I'm gonna do some more research on that drink. Ooo la la...  I really had the best time, and it's only Friday. More days to come. Thanks, Robin

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'd like the Crab again, Please

Hi Everybody... Robin here... from Baltimore.

Crab Tour 2011 continues. Let me tell you... Maryland people know how to do Crabs!

Friday morning I joined Missy G (from Baltimore), Sharon G (yes, the designer!... not related to Missy G), Vicky De Angelis (yes, the stitcher/Team Deeva compadre) for breakfast at Miss Shirley's Cafe. It was one of Missy's favorites restaurants. I was a Missy-lemming. I KNEW I didn't need to re-invent the wheel... just ask Missy what she has had in the past, and go with that!

First off was the Breakfast Cocktail... a Spirited Beverage, if you will. I had the Pink Lemonade with the Blues. I live in Memphis. I know the Blues. Let me tell you.. this was wonderful. Here's the direct description for those playing along at home:

Pink Lemonade with The Blues
Strawberry Lemonade & Stoli Blueberry Vodka
Garnished with Blueberries, Strawberry, Lemon & Rock Candy Swizzle Stick with a Sugar Rim

Missy ordered a plate of Fried Green Tomatoes for the table as well as Sweet Potato French Fries with Lemon Aioli for one dipping sauce and Mango Ketchup for the other dipping sauce. Heaven.

I could have stopped there... but I didn't. Next, we ordered our main dish. 

(Wait for it... what do you think I ordered?) I ordered the Crab Cake & Green Fried Tomatoes Eggs Benedict. I'll break it down for you:  Poached Eggs, Mini Jumbo Lump MD Crab Cakes on top of Fried Green Tomatoes,  Corn & Tomato Relish with Asparagus & Old Bay Hollandaise Sauce. So plentiful. So wonderful. I ate what I could and brought the rest home for lunch. 

It was a great way to start the day. Big thanks to Missy G. She is the ultimate Hostess, indeed. Next on the agenda was to check in with the Deeva as well as prepare for teaching the Fraidy Cat canvas. I'll report on it later. Thanks, Robin

Friday, August 12, 2011

Be sure to try the Crab Cakes!

Hi Everybody... Robin here... in Baltimore.

The flight from Memphis to Baltimore was bumpy but that didn't stop me from making Bullion Knots. I brought this Kathy Schenkel piece, "Mummy & Spider" as one of my travel pieces. Needlepoint Study Hall readers might remember it was mostly finished except for the Spider. Here's the link to Mr. Mummy goes to Nashville.

I think the Frosty Rays Spider Legs look nice. His body is stitched with Fuzzy Stuff. I changed up the original design to give him a red smiling mouth and pumped up the volume for his eyes. Remember... it's all about the EYES.

Team Deeva arrived at the hotel and finding a dinner location was next on the agenda. Greg, the Deeva's husband, picked a fabulous restaurant, G&M Restaurant and Lounge. OMG. What a night. It was packed; you could tell it was the place to be.

Our waitress recommended the crab cakes, and I am glad she did. I got a single crab cake (bigger than my fist, it was!) with cole slaw and french fries on the side. The bar has now been set for the ultimate crab cake. YUM.

Here's a pic of Vicky De Angelis, Judee/NeedleDeeva and me. Team Deeva is in the House. Let's get this show started. More to come... from Baltimore. Thanks, Robin

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