Thursday, January 07, 2016

In the New Year: Finding Stitching Time

Here it is, a New year and I am busy trying to keep resolutions and one of my resolutions is to find more stitching time. This morning I wrote this post for my Catherine the Great Stitchalong Room at Shining Needle Society. I started out to write a different post and it just evolved into this one. I like it so much I ended up posting it in all my Shining Needle Society classrooms and I decided to post it here too. I'd be interested in hearing if it works for any of you.

Happy New Year!

Finding Stitching Time
Needlepoint is my full time job and as such it follows that I should be stitching all day every day, doesn’t it.
But that doesn’t happen that way, too much else to do to keep my little business running and I have to do what you do, find the time.. 
Stitching isn’t a task, it’s a joy and as such I save stitching time so I can savor each stitch. Then I run out of time and another day passes without my needle in my hand.

Sound familiar?

So what can we do about it: find the time. I see finding time in two ways:  the first is Carving Out Stitching Time, that is, setting aside definite stitching times. 
Watching Downton is a good example of Carving Out Stitching Time. I know every Sunday night for the next few weeks I will be stitching while I watch Downton Abbey.

The second suggestion is Snatching Stitching Time Little snippets of time that I don’t plan on but try to take advantage of when they present themselves. 
I have a perfect example.
I’m one of those very prompt people. I’m married to DH who has never been on time to anything.
So I’m always ready and DH is rarely ready (although over the years he’s gotten much much better).
What does this mean? Perfect Snatched Stitching Time.  Even for 5 minutes; even for 2 minutes. Hey, three stitches stitched in Snatched Stitching Time is three stitches stitched.

So this week try both: plan Carving Out Stitching Time. Think of it as a date with your needle, and how it is terrible to stand up a date (am I dating myself? I suspect….)
And Snatch Stitching Time as the opportunity presents itself.

Keep track of both by drawing a line down a page and noting Carved Out Stitching Time on one side and Snatched Stitching Time on the other side.
Do this for a week and see which adds up to the most stitching time. The results might surprise you.

Now I am going to violate a concept I just hatched: I’m going to put this in all four of my stitching rooms because I think it pertains to all of them.
And if some of you have to read it four times, maybe it will result in some good productive impulses.
Think so?

Gay Ann

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Stories

I have not written a post for my blog in the longest time. My work life has been in a bit of a whirlwind: I've been stitching madly and last October I ran a small sale that turned into a larger sale than I had expected. My stitching plus Mail Jail kept me too busy through the autumn.

Now here it is, time to decorate my website for Christmas.

In the past I wrote two Christmas stories about the power of friendship through our needlework. The first was the story of a woman I knew back in the 1980's, the second a story of two friends and Twelve Santas.

This morning I posted the story of the two friends on my website. I can't believe that it has been five years since I told the story, and now I've brought it back.

To read the story of The Twelve Santas, visit Queendom Website:
The story is on my home page.

Later on in the week I will post the first story called 'Marian's Christmas Box'.
I think it is 7 years since I wrote it.

Now I am writing another Christmas Story and I will post it when we are closer to Christmas.
This story will double as my Christmas card this year.

Happy Holidays to everybody. Remember to take a bit of time to sit, relax and hold your needle in your hand.

Gay Ann

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Summer Has Passed Me By; What Does This Title Have To Do with Needlepoint?

Here we are, still in the heat of summer, but Labor Day has come and gone and soon there will be autumn's nip in the air.

Summer is my least favorite season. I could say it is the summer weather, too hot and too humid, but that's not the worst of it. The worst of summer is the traffic in and around where I live. The roads are crowded and parking in the places I like to park (as in near the post office) is impossible. And worst of all this summer, I got sick.

Yep, this year I spent my summer, or at least most of it, with a wretched disease called shingles. At first I was quiet about it, just suffered all the itching and pain (it was awful).

Then I decided I should make myself a public example in my world of needlepoint and here's why:

I had had the shingles shot. About 50% of people who have the shingles shot get shingles anyway, and I was one of those. But, said my doctor to me, the vaccine would likely help me: my case of shingles would be lighter and most important, the vaccine would likely protect me from the post-shingles nerve damage. My doctor proved right: my case (although thoroughly miserable) was lighter and I did escape post-shingles nerve damage.

So I set about telling my needlepoint friends of a certain age to ask their health providers if a shingles shot would be appropriate and if the answer was yes, march themselves right in for the shot.

And guess what: they did! Many reported to me that they even took their husbands along.
This was great news as it might help people escape a lot of misery.

As I was recovering and people were writing me their shingles tales, I stitched 'Shingles Ornament'.
No, it isn't all full of red rashes and scabs, although I admit for a short while I was tempted to see if I could make Bargello Rashes and round Rhodes-Stitch scabs. Happily that temptation only lasted a minute or two.

Shingles Ornament as I stitched it looks a bit like a ribbon (rosette) you might win in an needlepoint show. It is intended as a 'Badge of Courage' for stitchers who survived shingles or as a 'Badge of Intelligence' for stitchers who got the shingles shot, or a 'Badge of Love and Friendship' for stitchers who helped a friend or loved one through the dreadful experience.

It is small and takes only a couple of hours to make. I made three in three evenings: one for me because I survived, one for my doctor because she helped me and one for DH because he went to CostCo and got the shingles shot.

Where are Shingles Ornaments now? They are being made into ornaments and I will have them at my Autumn Sale. No, Shingles Ornament isn't sale, it's a gift to anybody who writes me her personal shingles story, be it personal survival or helping a friend or marching yourself in to see your health provider.

If you write to me after October 15, I will send you a link to a downloadable file for the pattern.
Worried about forgetting the date? I'll remind you in another post.

So the summer is past, and I survived, slowly my stamina is returning and I've returned gently to work. Yes, I've returned to preparations for a smaller sale in October and I'm stitching again and life is a whole lot better! I'm happy it's unofficially and almost officially Autumn now.

Gay Ann

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Tribute to Diane Clements, a Wonderful Needlewoman

Today is my favorite day of the year, the Summer Solstice. Why? It is the longest day of the year and I love all the daylight hours, a great time for stitching.

Today was also Diane Clements' birthday and today I would like to celebrate Diane's needlework.
I have posted a tribute to Diane on my website and if you travel there you will see so many photos of her wonderful needlework. Diane specialized in whitework and Reticella, and she was a master of the difficult technique.

To see Diane's work:

The needlework world lost Diane in May this year and we will greatly miss her and her wonderful way with a needle.

So today I hope you and your needle will join me and my needle as we pay tribute to a wonderful stitcher.

Happy first day of summer.

Gay Ann

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great: last two days of my sale

How did the time go so fast! It seems like my sale just started and here we are, today and tomorrow and the sale is over. It finishes tomorrow evening, May 17.

I will leave it open until Monday afternoon so that people have time to mail checks to me,

Catherine is part of a Stitchalong Class at Shining Needle Society and entrance to the class is included with the kit. You just have to write to Kate Gaunt (

Before she vanishes, I hope you will make a trip to Queendom Website to visit Catherine.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Diane Clements, Needlewoman Extraordinaire

Yesterday marked such a sad day in the needlework world, for we lost the enormously talented and charming Diane Clements.

Diane had to be one of the most exacting and wonderful stitchers I've known and how much our needlework world will miss her. It simply won't be the same without her.

Diane's birthday was on my favorite day of the year, the Summer Solstice and I would like to use that day this year to celebrate her life and the wonderful contributions she made to our world.

I will be back as the magic of the Summer Solstice grows closer, but for now I wanted to mark her loss. It is so sad, but as her friend Merle wrote today, she is in a better place now.

Gay Ann

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Witching Hour: My Needlepoint Portrait of Catherine the Great arrives tonight

Yes, as close to midnight as MacSoph and I can stay up, my portrait of Catherine the Great arrives on Queendom Website:

While we wait for Catherine's arrival, we are having a party in my classrooms at Shining Needle Society. If you would like to come and eat e-blini and caviar and have an e-glass of champagne,  bring your stitching and come!

If you don't belong to Shining Needle Society, contact Kate. Membership and entry to my classroom is free.

See you tonight, I hope.
Gay Ann