Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Jane Austen Stitching Society... or should it be The Jane Austen Stitching Academy?

This morning life was very exciting for me! It was the second morning of my 'Early Morning Surprise Windows', a traditional part of my big once a year E-Week Sale.

For 3 months now (since last July) I have posted a page about a 'Mystery Jane' on my website and asked my followers to guess who she is. This morning was especially exciting because I announced in my Surprise Window 8 that my Mystery Jane was indeed Jane Austen and that I wanted to spend the new year studying and stitching related to her.

Why the new year?

Because  2013 is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice, that's why.

Our Adventure is all of 4 hours old now and already we have 75 members! If you would like to join us, please send your name and address (snail sort) plus your email to me:

Here's what will happen in the next couple of months:
I have to finish E-Week and then tackle E-Week's Mail Jail.

As soon as I finish, I will send out a short newsletter to our members with more information about our formation. After the new year, Kate Gaunt, director of Shining Needle Society, will open a classroom for us. Membership will be free.

Our first order of the day is to decide on a name. Here are our choices:
The Jane Austen Stitching Society or
The Jane Austen Stitching Academy.

If you would like to read more about our new Adventure, please go to my website:
click on SURPRISE Sun on the yellow navigation bar
click on Surprise Window #8 to learn more about our activities.

After October 25 the link will become:
JANE on my yellow navigation bar.

Hope you will join us in this new Jane Austen Adventure.

Gay Ann, most excited about it all!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

E-Week, My Annual Sale of Needlepoint Patterns Starts in the Morning

It is E-Week Eve, the night before my biggest sale of the year begins on my website and MacSoph (my trusty little MacBook Pro) and I are just putting the finishing touches on the Sale. If I can stay awake till midnight tonight, I will post it. If not, first thing in the morning.

MacSoph and I have been working on the sale behind the scenes for a month now and it is exciting to see the sale materialize. I've been clicking through it and checking all the bits. My sale this year is a mix of patterns from my archives and new projects I have made during the year: Samplers, Girls, Geometrics and Sewing Cases.

Just a couple of evenings ago I finished the last of the projects, the smallest one I have ever made. It took me a little over an hour to stitch; it took about 8 hours to write the instructions. Ce la vie!

Highlights this year? a large sampler fully kitted with beads and threads and congress cloth. This sampler is probably my single most frequently requested patter in the last two years and I decided this is its year.

Mary and Bess are in the sale. They are my miniatures of Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick. I decided to tae orders on them for delivery next May 1. It will give people a chance to save the money for them and me a chance to make the kits. Each of the kits takes me about 2 hours to put together, so it is nice not to have to rush.

A sewing case, the single most detailed one I've ever made. The instructions for it are 91 pages long. There's a novelty sewing box and there's the little project I just finished making. Also a novel thimble ornaments where I did a bit of engineering and am happy and proud to say it worked.

Now that the General Sale is almost finished and set to go, you'd think MacSoph and I would have some time off, but not so. We have to work on a tradition at E-Week, our Saturday and Sunday Early Morning Sales. At 8:00 California time on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, I will start opening Surprise Windows and I will open one window each 15 minutes until the morning's 8 windows are open. Yes, 16 of them in total, so MacSoph and I still have a lot of work to do.

And then following E-Week, Kate will sponsor E-Week's Annex; she offers beautifully-made kits to go with my patterns. Annex starts on October 26 and will last this year until election eve.

So the next few weeks will be very busy times on Queendom Website and its inhabitants.

Since MacSoph and I moved to our New Castle (aka our new website), I've inherited a little avatar. She's been on my website for a few months now, typing away furiously. This morning, when I checked, she wasn't there. Her handbag was, with a note that said she was tired of so much work and she'd gone stitching.

Watch for her. I have a feeling she'll turn up.

She's a lot smarter than I am, because what I'd like to do is have a week with my needle. I keep telling myself it won't be long till I can join my avatar.

Gay Ann

For quick reference: will carry you there too.

Friday, October 05, 2012

E-Week's History

I've decided MacSoph, my trusty little MacBook Pro, is a good sport to put up with her life right now, for she seems to have very little rest. My Apple tutor Julia has always told me that computers are like people, they need 8 hours a night rest. Alas, it is likely that MacSoph will be sleep deprived for a while this month.

The good news for MacSoph and me is, we are indeed making progress mounting our big yearly needlepoint sale called E-Week and as we work away, I can't help but reflect on E-Weeks past.

E-Week began life in 2007 as 'E-Merchandise Week' (named after Merchandise Night at EGA's seminars), when I posted a small string of projects for sale on this blog.

I remember my first E-Week well. I wrote right here that along with several patterns for sale,  I planned to post a few kits left over from seminars very very early one morning and I'd leave them up for the week. It turns out that some people had stayed up all night checking this blog and the first kit lasted 53 seconds. They were gone in 10 minutes. I think we crazy stitchers just like to shop and we like a bit of excitement.

That's how Early Morning Sales were born. As I've never removed any of the posts from my blog, I suspect the notices of my first Early Morning Sales are likely still archived. As time permits I'll have to check and see.

It was less than 6 months after my first E-Week that my little laptop then called 'iSoph' crashed and we took her to the Apple Store's Genius Bar. I remember the kid behind the Genius Bar asking if I had backed up the computer; I  remember replying, 'Back up? What's that?'

I walked out that day with a new MacSoph and a receipt for One-to-One Lessons in the Apple Store and by October 2008 MacSoph and I mounted our second E-Week on our newly minted website.

Now we are working on our 6th E-Week. My original little MacSoph has retired and my present MacSoph, a much more powerful machine, has taken over. It's been an eventful 6 years and it's true that E-Week has evolved from those early days.

Now, for example,  Early Morning Surprise Windows open at a more civilized hour (8:00 a.m. California time) and in a more orderly fashion, once each 15 minutes, on Saturday and Sunday of E-Week.

Last June MacSoph and I moved from our old website to a New Castle. For practice we held a small Castlewarming Sale in August to see if we could navigate well from the New Castle. We survived, indeed we flourished and we are now quite at home in the New Castle, but we decided we needed an overflow website. We renamed our Old Castle 'Stash Castle' and we navigate back and forth now between the castles.

This very morning MacSoph and I started work on E-Week's 2012 Surprise Windows. We have Practice Windows in place on Queendom Website and soon we will have the real windows up on both  Queendom Website and on Stash Castle too. We decided to post them on Stash Castle so that we have a back up.  In case the windows won't open on Queendom Website on October 20 and 21, we can flee over to Stash Castle and open them from there.

Yes, in the last 6 years we've learned a thing or two about Back Ups.

Gay Ann