Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Jane Austen Stitching Society

Today was very exciting for it is the unofficial launch day of The Jane Austen Stitching Society.

The official launch day will be on January 1, 2013 when Jane Austen will officially arrive on Queendom Website, just about 10:00 a.m.

Today I sent out a newsletter to about 220 people who had expressed interest at my E-Week Sale last October. Here's a copy of that newsletter and it will give you some idea about the society.

If you would like to join us, write to me: GARRogers@earthlink.net, or to Kate: KateGaunt@aol.com.
Shining Needle Society, the online needlework school, will be our meeting place throughout the next year.

Here then is my newsletter in full:

Dear Stitching Janeite,

It has been almost two months since I began compiling a list of people interested in The Jane Austen Stitching Society and asked you whether you would prefer our fledgling group to be The Jane Austen Stitching Society or The Jane Austen Stitching Academy. Almost 3 to 1 you preferred 'The Jane Austen Stitching Society' so today I officially declare our group 'The Jane Austen Stitching Society'.

What we will do:
Many of you asked what we will do for the year? In a nutshell: read, listen and stitch! 

What I am hoping to do is start some discussions about Jane Austen, and also about the artifacts to do with needlework around her. If you have any ideas for discussions and/or are willing to lead a discussion group, all the better! Please write to me with your suggestions: www.GayAnnRogers.com. Will you use the subject heading: ideas for Jane Austen.

We'll let our group evolve.

Where will our group live?
Our group will live at Shining Needle Society, a very nice place to live. Shining Needle Society is an online needlework school and its director is Kate Gaunt (KateGaunt@aol.com)

Nice for us, Kate has volunteered to house us there and shortly she will start opening the room. To belong to the Jane Austen Stitching Society, you will need to join Shining Needle Society. Happily this is both easy and free. 
You just need to send your name and email to Kate: KateGaunt@aol.com and she will add you to our classroom.

We will communicate through our room at Shining Needle Society, in the same way we hold classes there.

In addition I will keep for the next year a series of pages on my website devoted to Jane Austen, and as I post photos and descriptions they will appear there. I will post the URL for my Jane Austen pages in all my communications, so travel will be very simple. Just click on the URL.

Our theme for the year
Our theme will be 'Jane Austen Then and Now'. While I love historical references, I do not believe in being wedded strictly to the past. I think what we do stays alive if we love the past and pay homage to it, but we live in our own times. Therefore my stitching themes for the year will be about things from then and things from now. I would like to blend the two. This is not a new goal for me: it is alive, I hope, in all my work.

I think one of the reasons that Jane Austen continues to live today is that her books touch some universal themes still relevant to us today. The legacy of Jane and her world and how it impacts us today will be a continuing theme in The Jane Austen Stitching Society.

More about that as we go along.

So what will we be stitching?
I hope lots of projects related to Jane Austen, small and large. 

The first task for the Jane Austen Stitching Society will be for each of us to find a basket. I will post guidelines right after the first of the year. You may now see  two examples of baskets I've bought for Jane Austen on Queendom Website. Many more baskets will work, in fact Kate reports that she just found a beautiful example at World Market for about $5.00. My two baskets cost about $7.00 and $3.00 respectively.

To see my baskets: www.GayAnnRogers.com and click on 'Jane Austen' on the yellow navigation bar.
Kate has promised me a photo of her basket too and I will post it as soon as she sends it.

Our first task will be to gather goodies reminiscent of Jane and fill our baskets.

Jane's Arrival on Queendom Website
Jane will arrive on Queendom Website on January 1, 2013. Yes, probably about 10:00 on New Year's Day, to kick off our year.

With our theme of Jane Austen Then and Now, and with my continuing idea that we use the past as jumping off points for imagination, I have constructed a most unusual way for Jane to arrive on Queendom Website. In the days between Christmas and New Year's I will write a bit about Jane's Arrival and then she will arrive, as I said, on New Year's Day.

Jane and the Holidays
In the meantime, I have Jane Austen dressed for Christmas on my website. Now please note that this is a good example our theme of Jane Austen Then and Now.
Jane Austen would not have celebrated Christmas in the fashion that we do: most of our traditions arrive at a later date, many influenced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort.

Still, who can resist the temptation to blend the two (and why should we resist?) It made me smile when Jane was decked out for Christmas, and I hope it will make you smile too.

If you would like a copy of Jane in Christmas Finery, travel to my website, click on the photo of Jane and you will be able to download the card and print it.
It is both my welcome to The Jane Austen Stitching Society and Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Life after Mail Jail and Why it is all about Stitching

Yesterday at 3:00 in the afternoon I sealed the last package from E-Week and declared Mail Jail officially closed. E-Week 2012 is now officially over and it is time to move on. There is indeed a life after Mail Jail and today is the first day of that life.

So what am I going to do now that I am sprung from Mail Jail?

Stitch for 2 days! Yes, stitch all the way through the weekend. If I can get past guilt feelings that I still have a lot to do, I may stitch even beyond the weekend. We'll see.

I still have too much to do. All the mess that E-Week created isn't going away without my help and I can't very well decorate for the holidays until some of 'Packing Central' (which is what our living room becomes) is Packed Away.

All year I've been on a program where I watch 20 minutes of Hoarders and then I start sorting and organizing. I've never actually watched Hoarders on the television, but MacSoph streams past episodes for me. Originally I assigned myself the whole hour of Hoarders once a week; but I can't take an hour and I found that 20 minutes dose works almost as well. It does motivate me to part with belongings I would otherwise keep.

So yes,  packing away the residuals of E-Week 2012.

Midway through E-Week I ran out of Echoes of Elizabeth kits, so I began a wait list. The wait list grew too much to be feasible, so I made a new plan: to do more Echoes of Elizabeths by Feb. 1. When I started that wait list Feb. 1 seemed a long time off. Now it doesn't look so far off.  Hmmm... I'd best start work on Echoes of Elizabeth very soon.

I also have Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick miniatures. I have a list for them too and those kits are due May 1. I need to start work on those lists also, although May 1 still looks a considerable distance away.

And then there's my joy for the coming year: The Jane Austen Stitching Society. A year of Jane Austen! O joy indeed!

I have a list of people who would like to be members of The Jane Austen Stitching Society and I promised them a newsletter as soon as I finished E-Week's Mail Jail, so I'd better start work on that newsletter soon too.

And this brings me full circle: The Jane Austen Stitching Society will be about Stitching Jane Austen. I'd better get busy stitching something for The Jane Austen Stitching Society to stitch, don't you think?
So guess what: I guess I can stitch all weekend long and into the next week with a clear conscience that indeed I am working.

What about the mess? The lists? The newsletter? Well, what is the most important? Stitching of course.
I think I'll put off everything else for a while longer while I enjoy the company of my needle.

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: www.GayAnnRogers.com
www.QueendomWebsite.com 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

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Needlepoint's Creative Process

I swear, the traffic on Saturdays is getting worse than on the weekdays.

I thought this yesterday as I was on a simple drive home and was stalled in traffic.  A trip that should have taken 20 minutes took me well over an hour, but it turns out it wasn't time ill-spent and it adds an odd but all too common small twist on Needlepoint's Creative Process.

The reason for my errand where I got caught in a traffic snare was a trip to Michael's. I had had an idea how to solve a problem for one of my E-Week offerings and I went to Michael's looking for a ring or a belt buckle or something that would act like a hanger. I wanted a simple way to hang a long length of ribbon on a wall, something like a bell-pull hanger.

E-Week, my big big sale of the year, starts on October 17,  just a little over a month away and given where I am in the process (not far enough along), it is nearing time for a bit of panic.

At Michael's I surfed through the store and gathered up a small cache of paraphernalia that I thought might work for my chore: some silver rings that looked like wedding rings, a small square plaque with my initial 'G' (I usually prefer an 'R' but they were out of 'R's), some slightly larger decorative rings and a  couple of extra lengths of ribbon. I paid for my small cache and headed home.

That's when I got caught in the  traffic snare. So there I sat, creep, crawl, creep, stall, creep crawl, creep stall, with nothing to do other than watch the road ahead and either panic about wasting-time-in-traffic-which-I-can-ill-afford-because-I-have-way-too-much-to-do or reflecting on what I'd just bought. More productive to think of what I'd just bought.

 My mind drifted over my small cache and I tried to figure out how I might put it together . I was thinking up all the alternative mixes, as in 'I could use this with that, I could attach it in this or that way' and so forth. This went on for at least a dozen cycles of trying to get through the stoplight at the bottom of the hill.

And then it came to me, a great idea how to do just what I wanted. I mentally clicked my heels together and thought, yessss!!

Of course, my idea involved none of what I'd just bought.

But this I have learned: if I hadn't bought my cache, likely I wouldn't have thought up my idea. Maybe if I hadn't been caught in traffic on the way home from buying that which I will now likely never use, I never would have thought up my idea.

So one of my important remaining tasks for E-Week got solved by buying a bag full of odds and ends that I will likely never use and getting caught in traffic long enough to figure out that I would never use what I just bought.

Go figure. But that's the way it often works.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Castlewarming Party and Needlepoint Sale on Queendom Website

It is the happiest feeling! I feel like MacSoph and I have truly settled Queendom Website in our new home. We just finished putting up our first sale from Muse and it is working grandly!

We made this sale to test whether we could work Muse well enough that we could do our big fall sale, E-Week, from it. In many ways E-Week is my Ring of Fire in that it is large and sometimes difficult and I need to be at my best for it, and so does MacSoph.

Tomorrow morning (that is, Saturday morning August 4) is our big test, for at 8:00 a.m. sharp California time we begin opening 5 Surprise Windows.

Surprise Windows and Early Morning Sales are an on-going tradition at E-Week. There for two mornings I open a series of 8 windows with surprises behind them. To manage them, MacSoph and I need to be our very most nimble selves.

If indeed we succeed in opening them, then we will congratulate ourselves, spend the following two days celebrating, and on Monday morning start preparing for E-Week. We will know then that we can do it all.

If you would like to take part, go to Queendom Website right before 8:00 a.m. California time on August 4: www.GayAnnRogers.com/index.html

So what's worth coming for? A sweet little freebie that is a small thank you for putting up with our transition in the last year, and a glance toward E-Week, now just about 2+ months away. E-Week starts this year on October 17.

It has been a little over a year since I found out that Apple is discontinuing iWeb as I knew it; just about a year since I learned that Adobe had planned Muse. It has been a year of learning and moving.  I've learned about C-Panels and FTP stuff, and other stuff I'd never thought an aging lady could learn, but here we are, with all our ducks in a row, at least until tomorrow morning.

If indeed our Surprise Windows open successfully, you will hear MacSoph and me shouting in joy across the country, and then the celebration! An afternoon and evening of stitching, nothing but stitching! I plan on stitching and chatting and partying in my general classroom at Shining Needle Society.

If you would like to join our party, join Shining Needle Society and ask to be in my general classroom there. To join, write to Kate Gaunt who is director: KateGaunt@aol.com. Membership is free and we plan to revel into the night!!

Wish me luck for tomorrow morning and come party with us tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Gay Ann and MacSoph

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Dress Rehearsal Sale of my Needlepoint Patterns

MacSoph and I are finally (FINALLY!) settled into Queendom Website's New Castle and we are happy there. A bit wobbly but basically happy, with the distinct feeling that we will grow more competent with experience.

It is with experience in mind that we are having a small sale on Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4. We decided we need to try a small sale before we are centered in the ring of fire that my big autumn sale called 'E-Week' can become.

So on Friday morning, August 3, early as can be, we will post a small selection of patterns for sale in hopes that someone will want one or two and click on the buttons to see indeed if she can navigate through the sale items and if our PayPal buttons and email buttons work well.

This Dress Rehearsal is also our chance to try out Surprise Windows of the sorts we have on Saturday and Sunday mornings at E-Week. There will be four windows for Saturday morning, August 4 at 8:00 a.m. sharp, California time, and MacSoph has already got quivering keys over the idea of how speedy we must be to connect everything in a short time.

We will see how we do, MacSoph and I, and if we do OK, we will head into the E-Week Season with much more confidence.

Right now, on Queendom Website's Home Page are four 'Practice Surprise Windows'. If you travel to Queendom Website's Home Page and practice, you will find they take you to faraway places, each window.

People have been emailing me to ask, what am I selling? Well, it's a secret! It will be here soon enough.

Meanwhile, all next week, if you click on the Practice Surprise Windows you will find tiny hints behind each.

If you do travel to click on the Practice Surprise Windows, will you let me know if you find any irregularities? Write to me: GARRogers@earthlink.net. This time it is all about MacSoph's and my practicing our skills so that we are indeed swift of key come E-Week in mid-October.

Gay Ann

Friday, July 06, 2012

Summer Needlepoint Loafing

Every morning first thing in the morning I think to myself, OK, today diligence will reign and before I fall asleep tonight I will have made significant inroads into my too-long To-Do list.

Such was my resolve yesterday morning. I'd had a nice holiday on Wednesday and my plans were to conquer The To-Do List on Thursday.

In reality what happened doesn't set a good example.

On Queendom Website I have a new mystery. It's 'Jane'. I've asked my followers to guess who Jane might be and a number have written guesses; one suggested to me that the Guesses might in fact be a Wish List. Interesting notion. Has anybody guessed the identity of 'Jane'? Maybe. That's all I'll commit to right now.

My friend Natalie came up with the idea of 'Jane' and it is all I can do to keep from working on Jane. Yesterday I succumbed. I spent the entire day working on my Jane plans. By early evening DH put in his two cents and I went back to the drawing tablets. I sketched my way into the wee hours last night, with all the mess of linen, threads, pencils, sketches, books, xeroxes, cards etc. surrounding me.

That's the trouble with my job: the most engaging captivating part of my job is the invention. The imaginings, the puzzles, the what-might-be's, the dreams, and right now I am in High Dream mode.

Meanwhile the 'To-Do' list grows longer. Queendom Website still needs a lot of attention, Stash Castle (my old website) is in disarray and badly in need of decoration and organization, E-Week is only 3 months away, I have a stack of instructions to write, and then there's my New Year's Resolution of cleaning up my hoarders mess. Not to mention my Elizabeth class at Shining Needle Society and my General Classroom there too. And I can't forget the daily slog of homework from my Apple University lessons. See, it goes on and on and on.

So this morning I am filled with remorse that I loafed away an entire day immersed in Jane Dreams.

Really? Well, most of me feels remorse; a part of me enjoyed myself hugely.

Last night I tucked Jane and all her trappings away in a box and put her out of sight, so that I would tackle Work instead of Temptation today.

Sigh, it was a lovely day.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Queendom Website and Stash Castle

Slowly MacSoph and I are settling. We returned to our old site yesterday and redid much of it. MacSoph and I had the idea of turning it into Stash Castle, thereby moving all our stash (such as eBay auction recommendations and auction results there.

Of course, soon as we had a part of the work completed, we went shopping and found a few goodies worth writing about. Couple of very nice thimbles, and a few thimbles for fledgling thimble collectors too. We still have to do cameos.

After posting the thimbles and a needle case, we went back to work and established a quick way to travel between the two sites. I posted buttons on Queendom Website for a quick trip to Stash Castle, then just close Stash Castle and you are back on Queendom Website.

It will eventually all come together, in fact I don't think it will be long now.

Soon as we are even 80% settled MacSoph and I are planning to have a housewarming party with a couple of surprises.

Soon, very soon.

Gay Ann much relieved that this stressful year of shopping for a new Castle, moving and settling in is almost behind us. Long may Adobe be happy with Muse!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Wonderful Whitework Embroidery!

I can't help it, I just love beautiful examples of whitework embroidery! I love the fineness of the tiny stitches and the beautiful motifs, and lately one such example fell into my lap.

I have been collecting bits and pieces of lace and whitework for a new mystery, and as a part of these pieces, I bought a large but somewhat tattered handkerchief. The handkerchief is large and plain except for an embroidered motif in each corner and truth to tell, I was somewhat disappointed because the shapes of the motifs weren't what I had hoped for.

Disappointed until I checked the quality of the embroidery when disappointment turned to excitement. For the motifs are among the best quality whitework I've seen in a long time.

This morning I posted two photos (one a closeup) of one of the corners, a sprig of pansies in pulled thread and with padded satin leaves, on my website.

I hope you will travel there and see if you don't think the pansies are worth the trip.

For quick reference: www.GayAnnRogers.com/index.html
When you arrive, click on 'Collections' on the yellow navigation bar.
And be sure to scroll down on the page to see the closeup.

Nice, very nice treat, on an early Sunday morning in July.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Welcome to Queendom Website's New Castle

Here's a new URL that will take you directly to the New Castle:


www.GayAnnRogers.com  will also work.
If you type the URL and your computer adds '/site_2.html' you need to eliminate this.

You can also visit the Old Castle by going to www.GayAnnRogersAnnex.com


MacSoph and I have a TON of work to do still and you could help me greatly.
If you visit Queendom Website, will you click through the pages and let me know if you encounter any irregularities? And I will welcome any suggestions.

The New Castle is a work in progress and I am learning as I go.

Well, it has been a long 10 months, and it has certainly had its ups and downs, but we're here.

Gay Ann

Monday, June 18, 2012

Update on My Move

For the time being my website is down and it looks like it won't be up and running for some days.
Sometimes things just don't work out as one plans.

Gay Ann

Update: Moving Day for My Website

I just heard that you cannot now access my website at all, neither the old one nor the new one.

I thought I would post my progress here, that we have moved my domain name but it isn't yet pointing to my new site. This may take a few hours; it can also take 2 days.

I am going back to Apple for more help this afternoon and will report in this evening.

Gay Ann

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Queendom Website will Move on Tuesday, June 18, 2012

Moving day is almost here: MacSoph and I plan to move Queendom Website on Tuesday, June 18, 2012.

That's our pan, but you know how the best laid plans go.

If indeed we succeed in moving on Tuesday, Queendom Website's URL will change slightly and this will influence people who have bookmarked the site.

Whatever happens on Tuesday, I will immediately post news here, on my blog, including an updated URL.

Will you keep your fingers crossed for us that all goes well? Whew, I don't know about all this technology at times, but we'll hope for the best.

Gay Ann

Thursday, June 07, 2012

More on Thimbles

After my last post, I started a new page on my website for fledgling thimble collectors.

I set about looking for good quality thimbles at very reasonable starting prices on eBay and I've posted the listings on my website. I don't have any financial interest in the thimbles, in almost all cases I don't know the dealers, but I love trolling for thimbles and other needlework tools.

Last week I found a pair of very pretty and very good quality silver thimbles with tiny landscapes on the bands. Little miniature scenes so carefully worked out on the tiny band of a thimble. Each thimble had reached the final day of its listing with no bids, at $9.99. Almost scrap value of the silver!

So I posted them on my website and thus began 'thimbles for fledgling thimble collectors'.

Yesterday I posted a series of excellent quality thimbles with starting prices of less than $15.00.

As I have written number of times, thimble prices have tumbled in the last few years, so that many great thimbles are now about 25% of the price they were 20 years ago.

I am by nature a contrarian collector, that is I like to collect something not at the height of fashion, and now is a perfect time to look again at thimbles. In fact, in the last year and a half I have bought a small stash of thimbles I've long admired but never thought would come my way. At the top of the list: a very rare Untermyer Robbins thimble that went begging. A delight indeed!

Yes, the prices have fallen, but the thimbles haven't changed. They are still tiny trifles of a bygone era, beautifully worked and a delight to the eye. I have always thought of them and the other beautiful sewing tools as a needleworker's jewelry. Go and have a look at the little thimbles on my website page and see if you don't agree.

For quick reference:
click on 'Thimbles' on the yellow navigation bar
then click on the red button 'thimbles for fledgling collectors'

Let me know what you think of them.
Gay Ann

Sunday, June 03, 2012


In the last year and a half my interest in thimbles has revived and slowly I have bought a small number of thimbles I thought I would never own.

Since the heyday of thimble collecting in the 1980's and 1990's, thimbles have tumbled in price. In the years since I wrote 'American Silver Thimbles' I hadn't followed the prices of thimbles. I hadn't realized quite how far they had fallen until I stumbled on a thimble listing on eBay, followed it and discovered oh how the mighty have fallen!

Being a bit of a contrarian, the fall in thimble prices revived my interest and  I started following and posting eBay listings for thimbles on my website. Each time I have followed listings on eBay I have been surprised at the reasonable prices that some of the great American silver thimbles fetched. Of course, there are still the thimbles that fetch over $1000.00, but this week, for example,  I found a handful of wonderful collectable thimbles that look as if they will fetch only a fraction of what they were worth 20 years ago.

And for fledgling thimble collectors, I just found two very pretty American thimbles with little scenes. Their auctions end today and so far the price for each is $9.99. One has a single bid; one has no bids. Given the quality of each of these little thimbles, the price is very reasonable if they go anywhere close to $10.00.

Is it a smart financial move to collect something that has fallen so much in price?

I don't know about the financial end of it all, but I do know that these are wonderful little collectables from a bygone era and they are suddenly affordable again after a long spell where they cost a fortune.

So here I am again, watching thimble listings on eBay and hoping that a few more come my way.
It's great fun to revisit a hobby I thought was long dead for me.

So wish me luck this week. I have my eye cast on two thimbles in particular and the rush of the hunt is well under way.

Gay Ann

To visit some recent prices for thimbles, visit my website, www.GayAnnRogers.com and click on 'Thimbles' on the yellow navigation bar.

I have some recent listings, but I have also posted pictures and  prices that collectable thimbles have fetched over the last year and a half.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Exciting Day for MacSoph and Me

Today turned into a very exciting day for MacSoph and me: our new web program came out of beta and into general release, new today.

In a scant couple of weeks I start my Elizabeth class and I expect my Elizabeth class will run until it is time for my windup to E-Week, so MacSoph and I won't be moving Queendom Website anytime soon, but the program is here and it is ours now, and MacSoph and I can learn and practice lots, and then one day we will indeed move Queendom Website.

I considered staying with iWeb on a third party server indefinitely, until Apple's OS no longer supported it,  but I confess I love the look of my new website. It is a lot like my old one, but with some new twists and graphics and a bit of a face lift, and it should work more easily for most people. It is a more powerful program and I love the flexibility. It is just more difficult and we have to study, MacSoph and I.

Exciting! Geeky, I know, but exciting nonetheless.

And to it add the new versions of PhotoShop and Illustrator.

So this weekend I plan to stitch and study, stitch and study, and maybe go to the movies with DH. Maybe.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Decisions Decisions Needlework Style

I finished making the Elizabeth kits for my upcoming class at Shining Needle Society. Finally, yesterday I put the last strand of silk in the last baggie. I still have to pick up and assemble the instructions and pack and send the last of the kits, but for the most part it all ended about 4:00 pm yesterday afternoon.

Over the course of making these kits for my class at Shining Needle Society:
I counted more than 23,000 beads into small baggies.
To these I added strands of pearls and tiny seed beads which I measured.
I counted and labeled more than 10,000 strands of silk.
To these I added more than 1400 spools of metallic threads.

Kit Hell is over for a while; Mail Jail won't last past the end of this week and a bit of freedom is in sight! 

What am I going to do with actual free time? 
That's easy: stitch, of course.

Right now I have five designs I've started; they're in various stages. I know for many people, five is not a great number, but for me it is a lot. I usually work on a maximum of three at a time, usually one big one and two smallsters. But right now the number is five, and it will soon be six and perhaps even seven.

So what are they?
One is a heart. Small and I am so close to finished with this heart that it's shameful I don't sit down and take the last stitch.

One is an ornament, a pretty ornament, but barely started. Still, how difficult can one ornament be. Never mind. Bloody difficult if it feels like being. Let's hope this one is benevolent and benign.

One is a medium-sized experimental design of a garden view. Three good stitching sessions and I'd finish it for certain. I'm glad to be near the end of this one. I've struggled with each and every stitch.

One is a fantasy. It's very large and I've not had time to concentrate on it. It's in the beginning stages, the very beginning stages and that is when a piece takes the most energy and concentration. I need a good block of time to sit down and get to know it. Anybody know where I can steal two weeks of guilt-free time to sit and stitch on this one? No? No, I don't know either. I'll limp along till mid-summer.

One is a friend for another piece of mine. This one's almost finished. Two good stitching sessions and I'd see the end of this one. It was a dream to stitch and I'll miss it. Am I the only person sad to see the end of an enjoyable piece? 

In addition to the above I have promised a sampler constructed from the bits and pieces of my Six Samplers website game. Although I've asked for advice from my general classroom at Shining Needle Society, I know exactly what I want to do. If time permits, I'll try to make more than one of these small samplers recycled from the large samplers. I love doing it, a bit like working jigsaw puzzles.

All of this is fine, except that my friend Natalie threw a monkey wrench into my stitching plans: she gave me an idea for a sampler that begs to be designed and stitched right now! I mean, right right now! I mean, steal the next week, don't move, don't finish the Elizabeth kits, don't leave the house, sit and work on this design!

So what am I to do? Sigh. Double sigh.

Happiness is being able to contemplate such problems!
Freedom is almost here. At least for a short while.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Elizabeth 1, A Portrait, my needlepoint class at Shining Needle Society

I just finished putting 40 Elizabeth kits in their boxes. DH has gone to the post office with 20 of them; he'll take the next 20 to the post office tomorrow morning. That will mean I have mailed the first 60 of them. Now I have to go to the print shop and order the paperwork for the next 60. Happily the threads and beads are all assembled.

Whew! I'm part way there.

This year has been a roller coaster ride for me, most of the roller coaster due not to needlework but to website issues. Apple and Adobe have driven my life since last summer: I set all the details of my needlework life to revolve around my progress on my new website.

Around Christmastime I thought I would be moving from iWeb to Muse and starting life on my new website. Expecting May and June to be rather frantic computer months for MacSoph and me, I planned the details for my Elizabeth 1 class around MacSoph's schedule.

Of course it didn't turn out that way. Muse is still in beta; in my tensest session ever at the Apple Store, my tutor Cody moved Queendom Website away from Mobile Me, to a third party server called DynaDot.
MacSoph is moved to Lion and now all I have to do is move to the cloud.

So now, after I've been advertising the schedule for my Elizabeth 1, A Portrait Class at Shining Needle Society, for at least 6 months, of course it has changed.

I plan to keep registration for the class open now till either May 7 or May 15 (it's up to Kate); that's one or two weeks longer than I had originally planned. And now because MacSoph won't have computer problems all through June, I would like to start the class as soon as I finish mailing the kits. I think that will be about mid-May. We will start on June 1, not July 1.

If this sounds confusing, well fair enough, it is. I think the details are all clearer on Queendom Website (which is functioning fine on DynaDot).

Life doesn't often go as I plan. You'd think I'd have figured that out by my stage in life, wouldn't you.
But it is clear I haven't.

Oh well, I am ditching work for the rest of the day. I am very close to finishing two needlepoint projects right now and my needle beckons. It is all a bit much and I want to chill for a while by stitching.

Gay Ann

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Organization and My Needlework Stash

It is the fourth month of 2012 and time to reflect on my New Year's Resolution Progress. My top New Year's Resolution is always the same: organize my house. And now it is organize MacSoph also. I have endless needlework stash everywhere in my house and everywhere on MacSoph.

More than a quarter of this year has gone by and how am I doing? Not as well as I hoped but better than I feared. I have a way of starting out the year all enthusiastic about organization and then about 2 weeks into the process, life takes over and I fall off the band wagon.

Well this year is different in a couple of respects: I've fallen off any number of times but I have picked myself up and started again.
So what has made the difference?

My mother-in-law who was one of my favorite ever people taught me a trick: don't try to do it all at once, do a bit a day. She was fond of saying, clean out a drawer a week and at the end of 52 weeks, you will have cleaned out 52 drawers.

A couple of years ago I made up a small program for stitching based on my mother-in-law's idea: 12 Stitches a Day. I usually double or triple the number of stitches, or simply stitch one strand, and it has helped me get through very tedious parts of any number of projects.

A bit a day works too for organizing stash, except I get bogged down: I begin sorting a box and I can't decide what to keep and what to toss. Oh, I say to myself, I can't decide this now -- and that's how I abandon organization.

Now I have found a supplement for my mother-in-law's notion: MacSoph streams the program 'Hoarders' for me. If I watch an hour of Hoarders on MacSoph, and then within 24 hours I tackle a box or two, it is amazing how quickly I can decide to get rid of things. So I've been watching Hoarders on MacSoph and then sorting and tossing. I am supposed to watch an hour of Hoarders each week and then work on stash control for 5 short sessions during week.

That part doesn't work. I can't bear the program so I treat it like an ill-tasting medicine, and like a child I find all sorts of ways to avoid it. But when I look around and reflect on the state of my still out-of-control needlework stash, I sit down and watch, and then I have a flurry of clean-up activity.

Is there much difference around here? Well, not a lot but definitely some. Does my cleaning lady still stand in the doorway and cry when she looks into my work spaces around our house? Yes. But there is a bit of progress, and I still have almost 3/4's of the year to improve.

Reflecting back over the first quarter of this year, I would give myself a grade somewhere between C- and D+. I know that might look dismal to many, but this is the first year my grade by this time hasn't been an F.

Hope springs eternal.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Here's What I Did with My Winnings from Adobe

It's all gone. My followers advised me not to save my winnings from Adobe, but to spend the money.
I did.

In fact I got a little carried away and spent MORE than my Adobe winnings.
Here's what I did with my little windfall plus:

First I bought Starbucks cards for my tutors. A friend of mine said that's what I should do, because it really belongs to them anyway for I would never have entered anything Adobe if it hadn't been for my Apple lessons.

Next I bought Kate a Starbucks card because she helped me sort out whether the email announcing I was the winner was for real or one of those fake contests.

I also put some more money on my own Starbucks card.

I bought MacSoph a present: a jazzy PhotoShop plug in. MacSoph loves it!

I phoned one of my favorite needlework suppliers and treated myself to the new book on Elizabethan Embroidery (spectacular photography!), some scissors and some more skeins of Soie d'Alger (who can ever have enough Soie d'Alger?).

I bought myself a charm I have wanted for quite a while.

And there it went, poof!

All I have left is the official letter saying I'd won, plus the check stub.
It was a great little windfall!

Gay Ann

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Sewing Tools and Thimbles on eBay

For a long time now I have been surfing on eBay and posting links on Queendom Website to sewing tools and thimbles I find so that my followers will have a bit of a guide. I don't have any financial interest in the listings, in fact often I have no idea who the listing dealer is, I just like old sewing tools and am interested in the auctions.

This morning I checked on the listings I had posted recently and found a shock: an English filigree thimble, c. 1830, fetched only $65.00.

That's the lowest price I've seen for a filigree thimble.

One time in a Sunday sale in London, I found one for 15 pounds (at that time probably about $25.00), I bought it and swapped it with a dealer friend of mine and she sold it for many hundreds of pounds. I swapped it for a Brighton Pavilion thimble which at the time would have cost me several hundred pounds also.

So a price tag of $65.00 was a big shock to me!

Admittedly, the thimble had some damage, and condition always plays a huge role in price for an antique item. Still, at the height of the thimble craze, a filigree thimble with some damage but not disfiguring damage, would have fetched 10 times the amount of this one. In pristine condition, it would have cost $1000.00.

But that was at its height, and thimble prices have tumbled.

So what to do?

In my case, the time is here to look for thimbles. I've known this for some time and have profited greatly. I have bought a handful of thimbles I never thought I would own, sometimes at a fraction of the price they were when I wrote American Silver Thimbles. In a couple of cases, the thimbles so rare that I have only seen 1 or 2 in all the years I've been interested in thimbles.

When I was writing American Silver Thimbles all those years ago, I didn't buy many thimbles; I bought more sewing tools in those days. Now I haven't been buying many sewing tools; I've been looking for thimbles instead.

I am by nature a contrarian, and I am delighted to look for thimbles I would love to have when the prices are way down.

Will thimbles ever again reach their lofty prices of yesteryear? I don't know, but at the recent prices of $36.00 for a Simons Raised Grape thimble and $65.00 for a filigree thimble, it doesn't matter to me. I enjoy the thimbles, think they are beautiful little treasures from a bygone era and enjoy collecting them. Since I don't imagine I will sell them again, I don't consider them an investment except in enjoyment.

Tis a fun market to follow!
Gay Ann

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Adobe's Survey Contest Outcome

DH and I escaped outta Dodge. We ran away, just overnight, and when we got home again, we fetched our mail.
In the mail was a check from Adobe's Survey Company for $250.00.

I guess I can't be absolutely positive about the check until I cash it, but it sure does look authentic.

So my guess is, the 'congratulations-you've-won' email was for once real.

So what do I plan to do with these funds?

I thought I should buy Kate a Starbucks gift card for sorting out whether it was real or not;
likewise I thought I would buy each of my favorite tutor-kids a Starbucks card also,
and I would take DH out to his current favorite place for dinner.

Now, DH's current favorite meal comes from a tiny restaurant where we go quite frequently and where dinner for the two of us costs about $16.00, so that won't eat through my $250.00.

What about the balance?

Should I save it?
Should I spend it?
If I spend it, what should I spend it on?

I could spend it on thread.
Or beads.
Or something for MacSoph.

Any ideas for me?

Fun indeed to have a little money earned in an unexpected way.
I'll let you know what I decide to do with it.

Nice end to an uncertain saga.
Gay Ann

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Prize from the Almighty Adobe?

As those of you who follow my blog know, I have been in high angst over Queendom Website's move for months on end now.

Almost since the first day of its beta release, I have been following news of Adobe's new website program, Muse. I've followed it, read far too many articles on it where I understood maximum about 20% of what I read, been to far too many computer classes on how to do it and whiled away days and days trying to figure it out, and so forth. Angst and determination make a powerful couple.

Some time earlier this year, in my nearly-daily checking Adobe news, I found a survey on Adobe's site; click here, it said, and answer the following question: What two or three features or functions, if added to Muse, would make you use it more often / start using it?

Now I cared passionately about one feature, so I sat down and crafted as carefully as I could about 5 sentences explaining what I hoped for and why. I spent more time on those half dozen sentences than I ever remember spending. I was so centered on the message and the hope that somebody would read it that I forgot it was a contest with a prize for the best entry.

I simply clicked and sent my slaved-over words into cyber-space and moved on.


Yesterday morning an email arrived in my inbox saying, Congratulations, you are winner of the Adobe contest, please send the information to claim your prize money. Please reply before March 28.

Now how many of you reading this would think, yeah right, for sure someone is going to send Gay Ann prize money. How many of you would warn me, delete it, above all don't send any personal information because for sure this is a scam.

I looked at this email and thought, oh my, what chance is this for real? zip to zero, I figured!

Now Kate is always wise about things like this, so I forwarded the email to her. She told me, let's google the company. She found a general phone number, I phoned and guess what, after phone calls, emails and much assessment, it turned out to be for real!

OK, stop right now. How many of you are thinking, Gay Ann is indeed VERY naive!


I think it was for real, maybe I just want to believe it is for real, so of course I decided I had proper crowing rights and I crowed.
And here's the interesting part: not a single person to whom I crowed was anything but skeptical, as in 'are you sure it isn't a scam?'

The glory of my win (if indeed it was a win) was all lost, sinking in a sea of skepticism.

I am still crowing! I just talked to my framer, and after conducting our business, I said 'oh by the way....' and she replied, well, let me know when the check arrives; till then we'll see....


Are my friends right? What do you think?

Tell you what: I'll let you know for sure if and when the check arrives....

Gay Ann


Monday, March 26, 2012

Daydreaming in Painting Class and Its Results

In my last post I described the pleasure of sitting in painting class daydreaming.

When I wrote that post I had been in painting class for about 6-8 sessions, actually I can't remember exactly how many sessions, but I know I didn't accomplish much, unless you count mixing paints, dabbling a bit and daydreaming as something.

In the end all the mixing paints, dabbling and daydreaming added up to a new idea that hit me like a thunderbolt. Result: I've abandoned all work ethic and fiddled with my new idea for days now.

The problem is, work is breathing down hard on me in the form of unfinished kits, incomplete Mail Jail and of course endless streams of unanswered email. Now I'm back to an age-old scheme: I have to work so many hours to earn playtime.

But I cheat. I've succeeded in putting off work for 4 days now, all in the interest of yet more play.

Oh self discipline where are you when I need to access you?

Picture me looking around and not seeing self-discipline anywhere nearby.

Will my idea work?
Too early to tell yet, but it is terrifically captivating.

What if it doesn't work?
I'll have had days of creative frenzy and the amusement a good creative frenzy brings. That can't be all bad, can it? Excitement makes the endorphins flow, and aren't endorphins a sign of good health?

See how one can justify just about any escape from what one should be doing?

What if my idea does work?
Well, more excitement, more creative frenzy, more work avoidance.
It's all such a vicious circle isn't it.

But an entertaining one. Entertaining indeed.

And a nice thought that all my daydreaming and tinkering in painting class added up to a very big idea after all.

Gay Ann

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What I've Learned in Painting Class

Whew! What a couple of tense days MacSoph and I had! Well, part 1 of Queendom Website's transition is over; now I have to do that 3 more times. Actually I'm going to see if I can talk my tutor Cody into doing it again next time.

I've been so tense and I'm working too much, and Natalie, my friend who is trying to help me widen my horizons, gently nudged me to go to painting class for certain this week, even though I have too many deadlines right now and too much stress in my life.

So I packed up my painting gear and off I went to painting class. It's about a 5 minute drive from my house.

When I arrived, I parked myself in my favorite spot, and I spent a lot of time gazing around the room and thinking. Finally my sweet young teacher said to me, when was I going to start painting? Soon, I said. She asked me what I was doing. I said I was thinking. She said I spend an awful lot of time thinking and not much time doing.

I've been in painting class now for about 8 weeks of actual class time and so far I've produced 3 variations (all unfinished) of one design, 2 variations (also unfinished) of a similar design and that's all.

You know, I spend my whole life working and producing things. I work toward goals and try to achieve them, I spend endless hours working on instructions and beads packets and endless endless hours on MacSoph, all producing something, getting on with work, finishing things, keeping up Queendom Website, writing in my classrooms at Shining Needle Society, and last year, in 2011 I stitched 35 designs which I sold at my hearts sale, my Royal Wedding Extravaganza and of course at the madhouse in my life, my E-Week Sale in October..

In painting classI don't have to try to be the best student; I don't have to paint a painting every time I'm there, I don't have to finish anything. I can just sit back, ask a few questions and reflect on various ways I might do something if I were so inclined and think. I don't have to work hard and produce something. I might just mix some paints and see what colors I can mix. I like to mix paints a whole lot. And I like to daydream about them.

I've thought up so many ideas in painting class! I make notes about them. I dab the paint sometimes onto paper, sometimes on to needlepoint canvas and I think what I might do if I redid it. How would I change the colors? How would I change the lines? How would I do the patterns if I were to stitch on top of the paint? I usually get about half-way through a painting, then painting class is over and I go back home to work again. Back to the grind of turning out work, the push to produce.

So in painting class I've proved a big disappointment.

But it's been a gift. No pressure, no stress. By the end of painting class last time I was so relaxed and sleepy that I came home and instead of working, I had a 2 hour nap.

Here's what painting class has taught me: I understand now why people collect needlework patterns, sort the threads and pet the design and imagine what wonderful things they will make.

I understand about the fantasy now. It's wonderful! Don't let go of it! Ever!

Gay Ann

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Transition Part 1

Whew! Three very tense and stressful hours and Queendom Website is moved.
You know, moving anywhere, whether it be for real or in cyberspace is always stressful.

But for nowIt's over and finished and I don't have to go through this again till Muse comes out of beta. Then I will finally move away from iWeb and to my new site. Yes, I decided to stay with my original plan of keeping iWeb with a new server until Muse is in general release.

For now, everything at Queendom Website looks the same and seems the same. It is a bit different behind the scenes, but up front it seems much the same.

If you find any differences or problems, will you please email me and let me know?

Thank you!
Gay Ann, much relieved.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moving Day for Queendom Website

I thought I would start moving my website yesterday, but moving day is tomorrow.

Soon as I know everything is up again and running well, I will post here and on my website.

Guess what day Queendom Website is moving: on the Ides of March. No matter what happens, Queendom Website's fate won't be as bad as Julius Caesar's, so all is looking up.

I am taking 6 deep breaths every hour and keeping my needle nearby for a dose of calm stitching when necessary.

Gay Ann

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Queendom Website: Transition

The time has come for Part 1 of Queendom Website's move.
In the next few days I will move my website from one server to another.

What does this mean?

Right now I publish Queendom Website on 'Mobile Me'. We are moving from one publisher to another, from Mobile Me to DynaDot.

What might you notice?

Hopefully you won't notice any difference.
There is a small possibility that it will be a rocky move. If this happens, I will post my progress here, on my blog.

If there are any irregularities, know that it isn't your computer, it's a period of transition for me, that's all.

Gay Ann

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sometimes Needlepoint Saves Me

I've had a bunch of stressful days. Nothing serious, just all website related.

Indeed all website related, and yesterday afternoon I spent most of my classtime very near tears.
I left class feeling frustrated, disappointed and directionless, as I face starting over yet again and learning another program for my website.

It will be my third one.

The first one was terrible. No, that's not fair to say; it was a great program but it is for people who live well in a box.
It forced me to line up everything in a tidy fashion. I know, I know, everything about web design is better when the elements are all lined up. But one can't go against one's grain and I was unhappy with everything I did in that program.

So I left it.

Then last summer along came a new program that was everything I wanted. I followed its progress and I played around with it from time to time, then In the last 3 months I began work on it in earnest.

I've worked nearly daily on it and I was so excited, I got exactly what I wanted, all on my own, no templates, no lined-up boxes, no unalterable padding and margins, etc.

And then it all came crumbling down around me. The program is in beta. Now in beta 6. It was supposed to come into general release in 'Early 2012'. I've followed its progress and my guess is, it will come into general release way too late for me. So with colossal disappointment I made up my mind I have to change programs yet again.

Now I've found a program which looks great. The tech support is unreal! I asked a question yesterday morning and had an answer back, as promised, in less than an hour. Remember, I was asking on Sunday morning. Amazing! Friendly, to-the-point and helpful. I took a short course as an overview and it looks very much easier than the other two programs I tackled. The company is large, ergo it's going to be around for a while, what's not to like.

Only one pretty hefty disappointment: it is totally template-based.

So here I am again, back to little boxes, all lined up in a row.

I guess the web world is so strongly in favor of little boxes all in a row that I can't fight it any longer. There simply isn't time.

So I came home yesterday from class very disappointed. I took a deep breath and picked up my needle, and it all came flooding back why I love needlework so much. I have some canvas, I have some thread, I can do anything I want. It's personal and up to me and there aren't any boxes and I learned long ago in my needlework career not to pay any attention to The Rules. I chilled and relaxed and left it all behind in the company of my needle.

A nice end to a frustrating couple of days and a reminder what an important role my needlework plays in my life.

This morning, the beginning of a new day, I see more options. What I may well do is move iWeb (my present website) to a new host and simply wait for the program I like. I still have nearly 3 months to decide. And I will learn the new program too, just in case I can come up with something I like.

Meanwhile, 12 Stitches a Day. Every day. My daily reminder that at least a part of my world belongs totally to me.

Gay Ann

Thursday, March 01, 2012

All the Beads for My Needlepoint Portrait of Elizabeth 1

Yesterday I finished writing instructions for my needlepoint miniature portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots. It was an arduous task, writing those instructions, and I was happy to see them come to an end. So happy, in fact, that I emailed Kate that I had finished and asked her if she could hear me shouting with joy all the way from San Diego to Dallas.

Yes, one task complete, but no rest for the wicked. Today I decided was the day to tackle the bead packets for my Elizabeth 1 class at Shining Needle Society which begins in a couple of months.

Elizabeth 1, as I stitched her, has a complex collection of beads and today I began the first stages of counting little beads into little baggies. Today I counted 34 (+ 2 extra) little gold balls, plus 1 green teardrop bead, plus 1 pearl teardrop, into 157 2" x 2" baggies.

After I finished my 157th baggie, I stopped and figured out how many little gold balls I have counted into 2" x 2" baggies since I first taught my Elizabeth portrait at Callaway a year ago, and when I did the math, the sum was 11,200 little gold balls.

In addition to little gold balls today, I counted 17 metal bugle beads along with 4 red beads, 4 green beads and 4 slightly larger gold balls into another 157 2" x 2" baggies. That was my day's work. In all there are 7 such 2" x 2" baggies that fit into a 3" x 4" baggie.

I didn't do the math for any more beads because I thought the totals might overwhelm me.

So why did I begin tackling the beads today? Because I want to go tomorrow morning to a bead show in search of... yes... more little gold balls, more red beads and green beads and also more slightly larger gold balls. I discovered my supply of them didn't extend as far as I needed. Oh, I have enough for my Elizabeth kits, but on Elizabeth's heels are Mary and Bess and they need all the same beads also.

I think my fate in the next year is to count another 3000-4000 little gold balls into more 2" x 2" baggies.

Such is my life right now, and probably into the future. I don't mind, for there are worse things: I could spill all those thousands of little beads. That would indeed be much worse.

It is always satisfying when little beads are all safely fitted into their little baggies. Then they can't spill, can they.
Unless the baggies rip, but that thought is too much for today.

Gay Ann

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tomorrow: the official end of my needlepoint hearts sale

My actual hearts sale ended a week ago and Queendom Website came alive with Hearts Sale Annex as Kate Gaunt sold the supplies packets for all the hearts. Tomorrow is the last day for hearts supplies; tomorrow evening or early Wednesday morning Queendom Website will change -- and for me it will mark the beginning of Queendom Website's transition. Yes, a new castle is coming, a new home for Queendom Website. We hope.

It has been rocky. I know the rocky ups and downs come from using a website program in beta. Just in transition from beta 5 to beta 6, poor MacSoph was brutalized. She and I are up and running again and hopefully it won't be more than a couple of months more.

So what about Queendom Website in the next couple of months, during the period of transition?

I would like to bring back my 'For Beginners' articles and perhaps add a couple of techniques columns.

I will definitely write about more from eBay if eBay comes up with collectors' goodies worth bidding on, hopefully lots of vintage and antique scissors and thimbles and stilettos and little hemmeasures, all sorts of goodies for sewing cases. I hope to write about cameos again, and some bits of laces and linens as I have an idea what to do with them now that I am a linen devotee.

Ahh, yes, linen! The focus of my spring will be on Legacy Linen as I continue work on a spot sampler and what else but a couple of new hearts. Mostly my linen pursuits are aimed at my Elizabeth class at Shining Needle Society. I stitched my Elizabeth portrait on congress cloth but now I am curious how it would work on linen. Maybe some brave souls will try.

Why the linen fetish of late, after a lifetime on canvas and congress cloth? A while back I had an idea for a sampler that I became convinced would work best on linen. I tried a 25 count linen that was simply too wiggly but now I have found Legacy Linen 25 and it is a joy to work on! I have all sorts of plans ahead, just need chunks of time to work on them.

So as Kate begins to pack up Annex from my hearts sale, I raise a champagne glass filled with orts and toast the coming months of transition as we begin to move Queendom Website, MacSoph and I.

Drugery? I am sure. As anybody connected with them knows, computers can drive one nutsss. But not only drudgery; there will be joy too! To me months ahead with at least some time to stitch always bring joy.

So for spring this year, my favorite time of year, I need some luck -- a lot of luck -- and my needle will provide a lot of joy.

Gay Ann

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just two more days of my Needlepoint Hearts Sale

I can't believe how quickly the week of my hearts sale has flown by, and here it is, almost the middle of February. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Just two more days and my hearts sale for 2012 will finish.

Of course activity on Queendom Website doesn't stop because as soon as my hearts finish, Kate Gaunt will be here with all the supplies my hearts. Yes, the first time that Kate's Corner Annex will be on Queendom Website during my hearts sale. Two years ago Kate started suppling threads and canvas for my designs during E-Week, simply because I couldn't do it all. Hers is a separate little business and I have no financial interest in her supplies. They belong to her.

This year I am particularly excited about supplies because Kate has squares of Legacy Linen 25 count for sale as well as congress cloth squares. I am hoping that people in my Shining Needle Society general classroom and also those in my Elizabeth 1, A Portrait class will try experiments on the linen. And ultimately I am wondering if brave souls will decide to stitch the portrait on the linen. One fine way to decide is to stitch Heart of Elizabeth on the linen and see how it looks. Heart of Elizabeth is essentially a little practice piece for the portrait.

In general Hearts are such a great way to experiment, for many of them are just a few evenings' work, not a months and months long project. Why not experiment and then end up with a stitched heart.

I am so excited about the prospect that I am already eyeing my miniature portraits of Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick. I am wondering: could I make Mary's and Bess's Hearts on congress cloth and then again on linen to see what happens.

I should be packing heart patterns, I should be working on my new castle, I should be doing dozens of things, but I ditched it all for a couple of hours today and drew hearts for Mary and Bess. Slightly smaller than Heart of Elizabeth, I am hoping it won't take much time to stitch them.

I'll save the stitching for when my classrooms start working on their hearts. I drew the drawings; I cut the canvas and mounted it on stretcher bars, and I had a look at the designs under the canvas to see if I thought they would work. Now I think I'll see if Kate will send me two squares of linen, then I'll set all the makings aside till we start work in Shining Needle Society.

Do I want to wait? Of course not. But I've had a little holiday, now it is back to work again.

Gay Ann

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

My Needlepoint Hearts: the Power of Imagination

Today has been a very busy day on Queendom Website for my annual Needlepoint Hearts Sale started in the very early a.m.

This year I have 8 new hearts. I had planned to have 5, but then at Christmastime I played a game with my general classroom at Shining Needle Society. I gave them a short description of each of the 5 hearts

Heart #1 The dominant color is charcoal. This heart has beads
Heart #2 The dominant color is rust.
Heart #3 The dominant color is periwinkle. This heart has beads.
Heart #4 The dominant color is periwinkle. This heart has pearls
Heart #5 The dominant color is pink. This heart is smaller than the others.

Based on these descriptions I asked the class to conjure up what they thought each heart might look like and vote for one.
Obviously there weren't enough hints for anyone to guess accurately (although a few people came close). The idea wasn't to guess what the heart did look like but to use the hints to help imagine a heart they would like.

I promised to post a photo of the heart with the most votes on my website on Christmas morning.
#4 heart was the one they chose. It is called Periwinkle Roses and Pearls Heart and it has Bullion Roses, Ribbon Roses, some typical needlepoint patterns and a sprinkling of pearl. It's a very Girlie Girl heart which seems to me appropriate for Valentine's Day.

Heart #1 was the second choice, mainly because everybody wondered how I would combine charcoal with a heart motif.
As people know now, I took the bodice of my Elizabeth 1 needlepoint portrait and made a heart so that my students could practice several of the techniques before they stitch them 'for real' on their portraits.

Heart #5 which is really the subject of this post received many votes from people who like pink; they also said they liked the idea of a small heart and imagined it must have pink roses and pearls. One person even said that she would love a series of small hearts, quick to stitch, with pink roses and pearls.

In actuality, Heart #5 is rather geometric, a little scissors case with tiny scissors on its backside, in short nothing like the hearts my classroom members conjured up, but I loved their ideas.

I immediately started three small hearts, smaller than my normal hearts, and graduated in size. The motifs were of course pink roses with a sprinkling of pearls.

And that's why I planned 5 hearts for my yearly sale but actually have 8 hearts in the sale.

It wasn't important whether my classroom guessed what my hearts looked like; much much more important the power of their imaginations, even if the end results of their conjurings were nothing like the actual heart #5.

I have to say thank you to my general classroom at SNS for the ideas. In fact, I bundled the three hearts and made them a special price for my classroom as a small thank you.

The needlepoint hearts in my annual hearts sale are now posted on Queendom Website,
They will be there through Valentine's Day.

Gay Ann

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happiness Today!

You wouldn't think today would be a great day in my life. That's because I have a terrible cold, the kind where you have to sleep on your face so everything doesn't drip down your throat, make it even sorer and clog up your lungs.

I slept on an off all yesterday evening, then, naturally, was wide awake in the middle of the night and miserable. What's there to do if you're too miserable to sleep, but get up and tackle something to take your mind off the misery. Or in my case new misery to help convince me that the old misery wasn't really that bad after all.

Misery these days = new website.

I've been struggling. I've struggled with my attitude (I'm still angry at Apple for ditching iWeb), I've struggled with finding a new website program (they're all too fixed for me -- I don't like living my life in a box -- or they're too difficult).

I chose my new one based on no templates, ie I could do it all from scratch, down to all my drawings in Illustrator, everything else in PhotoShop, and to boot it was supposed to be easy.

Only guess what: it wasn't all that easy, and I've struggled and struggled, almost to the point where I thought I can't do this and was ready to quit, yes, pack it in.

But the Apple kids reminded me it's not like me to give up. They pointed out that I conquered PhotoShop (sort of), learned some code (operative word there is 'some'), etc.

So complete with weary spirit, basically to save face with a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings, I've soldiered on.

Last night in the middle of the night I decided, what's to do to cope with the misery of a bad cold? Find a counter irritant/misery and work on it, and right now at the top of my misery scale is a bunch of computer stuff I don't understand.

That's what I did.

Who knows why sometimes the forces of the universe unite at certain times and make life sweet!
Whatever and whyever, that's what happened to me: I rounded the corner today, it finally made sense to me (FINALLY!) and in a matter of hours I finished my navigation bar, drop down menus and all, and constructed enough pages to know for certain that Queendom Website will indeed live on after the demise of iWeb and Mobile Me's hosting service.

Even if I am dripping at every pore and sneezing and coughing and wishing I could chop my head off, it is a grand day and I am full of celebration. Am I dancing around and cheering? Nooo, not quite up to that. Instead I am on my way to steal a small glass of port from DH's supply, then have a nap and hope I feel up to stitching for a while late this afternoon. Celebration enough, and besides that, what's a better way to celebrate than place a needle in one's hand?

A memorable day indeed.
Gay Ann

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The 'Work' in NeedleWork

In my last post I wrote about painting and needlework and I mentioned needlework as ‘work’ for me.
After the post, I received this note:

...your 'work' is most people's hobbies. Nobody pays you to work on MacSoph like you do. And needlework...is also a hobby for most. It is work for you because you enjoy designing needlework.

Yes, you make money doing your work, but do you do it for the money or because you love it?”


Sally’s post made me chuckle and I decided I would enjoy writing an answer.
Here’s my answer to Sally's post:

The parts I love about my work:
I love drawing and designing and stitching and waiting to see if what I plan works out.
I love fitting all the parts of the puzzle together.
Most of all I love the dream of what the design might become.
What's not to love!

I've enjoyed all the people I've met over the years; even now online, I think of how many people I have met through emails and classes at Shining Needle Society, and in some cases the friends I've made online are thousands of miles away from me, yet here we are, connected by computers and a mutual passion for our needles.

In my E-Week sale last October, to my surprise, I sent patterns to people right round the globe. It is an awesome feature of the internet, how small our world has become.

MacSoph and Little MacSoph, my two MacBooks, have become my nearly constant companions. I love going to Apple University (as DH calls it) and I've decided I have school-girl crushes on the kids, Andy and Cody, who teach me, and I think my tutor Julia is beautiful and clever and smart. I so enjoy learning what these clever, smart, sweet kids teach me.

Most of all, I love the actual stitching. I love that my needle makes me relax and helps the stresses of life recede. My needle allows me to curl up into my own little fantasy world, dream the dreams of creativity and watch them unfold.

All these parts of my job are terrific, but mistake not: needlework is ‘work’ for me. It is my job.

Here are the parts that account for the 'Work' in 'Needlework'

Deadlines. They're self-explanatory. When I was a travel-teacher, my deadlines kept me awake at night.
It's not the same now, but I still have deadlines. I say I will do something, I'd better do it. Consistency is part of any job.

Last fall, for example, in preparation for E-Week, Kate and I got behind. we started on the morning of E-Week Annex Eve, at 4:30 a.m. and we finally finished at 7:30 p.m., Kate at her computer right along with MacSoph and me for the whole time. It was a very long work day for us both.

Instructions. It takes me longer to write the instructions for a piece than it does to design and stitch the piece and correcting the errors that the proofers find is just plain tedious.

Kit Hell and Bead Mania. These days Kate does much of my Kit Hell; I still do the beads.
To understand Bead Mania, you have to have the experience of spilling 10,000 beads.

Right now I have a special brand of Bead Mania: one of the hearts for my upcoming sale has over 100 beads on it.
I have to count most of them into little baggies and keep from spilling them. The first few hearts' worth aren't bad; by the end it can grow very old.

Organization. The bane of my existence. I have too many beads, too many threads, too many rolls of canvas, and way too much paper! I try to keep some order; every year I make it my main New Year's Resolution. I made the same resolution this year, it lasted for 15 days and I've already fallen off the organization wagon (in the last few days I am happy to report that I have climbed back on the organization band wagon; maybe it will be better by the end of 2012).

Mail Jail. Most of my followers know all about Mail Jail, so I don't need to add anything.

Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. Mark one side 'JOY' mark the other side "WORK'. The lists would be about the same length, but Sally is right: the joys far outweigh the tedium.

Now, next time I spill the beads, or lose paperwork, or simply grow tired of Mail Jail, will someone please remind me of this post?

Gay Ann

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Newest Needlepoint Adventure

My newest needlework adventure isn't a real needlework adventure at all.

My friend Natalie told me that my life is too narrow, that I work and I go to computer classes, and that's about it.
She said I needed a hobby, something that broadened my horizons and got me away from (1) work and (2) MacSoph.
(This is a false dichotomy since work and MacSoph these days are inextricably linked)

On my way home from the Village where I live, I drive by a small shop /artist's studio and one day I stopped by.
To make a long story short, I signed up for a painting class.

Now I haven't painted on anything other than needlepoint canvas for at least 45 years and I remember squat about painting. I mean, in school I took 5 years of Latin (a fetish of my father's) and all I remember now is 'arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris'. Anybody remember this, the first line from the Aeneid? Now why I would remember that one thing after all these years is one of my life's great mysteries.

I remembered snippets of painting also, but not much. Not much more than the painting equivalent of a single line from the Aeneid.

Remember, I decided to do this as recreation, not as a part of work. Well, I lasted less than 2 hours into the first class before I had an idea how to incorporate it into work (aka needlepoint), and I have been painting up a storm ever since.

My teacher is a very sweet very young woman who has a great artistic way of seeing the world, ie she is open to almost anything. Together we are concocting a sunset and it is quite an adventure. I love the idea! I don't know that I love painting: after my first 2 hours I came home with paint from one end of me to the other, and all over everything surrounding me.

I just went to my 6th class and I've made progress. I am back to painting on needlepoint canvas after a beginning on canvas and a segue onto paper, and it is great fun, indeed a bit of a wild adventure for me.

But after 6 lessons, I still have paint from one end of me to the other.

Does anybody know how to paint and keep the paint only on the painting? Or is that one of life's mysteries also?

Gay Ann

Monday, January 09, 2012

Missing Callaway, My Favorite Needlework Seminar

It is January, almost time for Callaway School of Needle Arts, and I won't be there this year. For the first time in 20 years I won't spend 10 days at Callaway.

I've been on a clean-up campaign, a sure sign it is January, for organization is always at the top of my list of New Year's Resolutions. This year 'clean up' includes not only my physical space, ie all the nooks and crannies of needlework and bead stash that overwhelm my house, but also MacSoph. Poor little MacSoph struggles under the weight of too many disorganized computer files and photos. And Queendom Website isn't exempt either. Last count I have close to 650 pages of Queendom Website, past and present.

As I have been deleting MacSoph's files, I have come across all my photos from Callaway, reminders of the good times and friendships from my years there. I was planning to delete many of them. It was my assigned 'clean up MacSoph' task for this morning, but in the end I couldn't do it. Not any of them. Maybe next July or August, but not as my friends prepare to leave for Callaway. It's all too close.

So why did I stop going to Callaway? I retired from travel-teaching last January simply because I couldn't do seminar preparation and online commitments. I had to choose, a tough decision, but in the end I chose Queendom Webstie.

There were lots of reasons for my choices, but one reason was at the top of my list: I felt I could spin a little magic on MacSoph that I couldn't spin in person. I have a little dream of making my own little online community with a drift toward creativity in needlework. I've had the dream for 4 years now and I still hold hope that I will be able to do it.

First MacSoph and I need to build a new castle for Queendom Website. Happily the blue prints for the castle are underway and soon it will be time for an e-hammer and e-nails.

So I will miss Callaway, I will miss the early breakfasts and the jokey classes and the evenings up in our classrooms stitching with friends, but I have to look ahead. More time at Apple University and more steps toward a little dream, that's what it's all about.

That and time for my needle in my hand.

Gay Ann

Friday, January 06, 2012

A New Year, A New Castle, and Eight New Needlepoint Hearts

I see that it has been almost a month since I posted on my blog; a month almost and now it is the New Year.

This year promises to be a very busy one for me, as MacSoph and I are busy building Queendom Website's new castle.
Yes, in just about 5.5 months, Queendom Website is moving, and moving is always stressful. I am hoping MacSoph and I can hang together and it will be easier than I think.

For now I am working on the blue prints for the new castle.

And I am working on hearts for my annual February hearts sale.

I did 8 new hearts this year and I played an interesting game in my general classroom at Shining Needle Society: I gave a hint about each of the first 5 hearts: I gave the dominant thread and the dominant color and asked people to use their imaginations, concoct an idea for the heart and vote on one.

They did, and I posted the heart on Queendom Website on Christmas morning.
I took it down on Christmas night -- it was meant as a little present, but I didn't intend to leave it there.

My friend Natalie told me she thought I should repost it on Queendom Website, so on New Year's morning I did just that -- and if you want a peak at it, it is still there:

www.GayAnnRogers.com and click on 'Surprise Heart'.

It isn't made into a heart yet -- Sandy is going to do that in the next month, along with its 7 sisters, and then hopefully they will look super and I will photograph them and add them all to Queendom Website.


I didn't intend to make 8 hearts; I intended to make only 5, but in the midst of my Christmas Game on Queendom Website, one of class suggested a set of three hearts with pink roses and pearls, the hearts graduated in size. How could I resist! So that's what I did.


One of the hearts turned out to be of particular interest to my classroom: the one where the dominant color is charcoal. A charcoal heart?

Yes, a charcoal heart.

But that heart is still a secret. We have to have some surprises in life, don't you think?

Gay Ann