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