Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's All 'bout That Tray!

It's almost October & no post since July...not gonna' apologize. It's just been that crazy getting ready for markets, teaching, kits, company, kids...ya' know - life! So, good to 'see' you again - I've got some important info!

A loooong time ago (which is like yesterday in magazine publishing terms) - I was approached to put a design in Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. If you follow me at all, you know I get inspiration from all kinds of places & often it's the finishing aspect that starts the process.

Enter - that tray!

I was at Hobby Lobby trolling up & down the unpainted wood objects aisle (I don't now what it's really called, but that's where you'll find me.)

This tray was cool. This tray was inexpensive. This tray came in various sizes. This tray could easily be painted, and sanded, and stained.

Nobody said, this tray would be DISCONTINUED!

Calls, emails, posts, instant messages - thanks for the supportive words (& I've developed a thicker skin for the not-quite-so-supportive words). At least I knew you really liked the design & wanted to stitch it! Woo Hoo!
So options:
Back to Hobby Lobby I went to stamp my not quite so little foot & ask about the secret cache in the warehouse. Being told there was no secret cache & indeed they could not help me, I went back to the unpainted wood objects aisle (it's like my 2nd home).
I found these:

That could look like this:

Of course, they need to be painted, and sanded, and stained.
The number for the rectangle tray is 130559S & the octagonal plaque is 709139.
As an option for the rectangular frame, you could sew fabric to the sides & corners to help it fit to the shape (personally, I think it would look better once the tray was painted).

Here's a shot with the idea of fabric attached.

Some more options - flat finish the piece as you would to fit the tray, but make a wall hanging. Here I've shown it with rick rack trim & ribbon hanger. (Check out my "Blissfully Unaware" design - that's I how I finished this piece)  
Enter this awesome company I've been working with lately: Retromantic Fripperies. They make those cool Thread Holder cards in all sorts of fancy designs. They've been a huge help with the [square.ology] line of designs. I'm pretty sure they are the MacGyver of woodworking.
I sent them a plea, a photo & a few measurements.

Ta Daa! (& no painting, sanding & staining!)

The big question - would it fit? I assumed I would have to restretch my piece, but after I removed it from the original tray with a spatula, it went in like like butta'! Molly & Kath - you outdid yourselves!

The Retromantic tray is a little more shallow, but the tongue in groove construction speaks to the quality of this piece. ( www.retromanticfripperies.com) Ask your shopowner to order it for you. I believe the tray will retail for $38ish - still way less expensive than custom framing!

I don't know an item number & I don't think it's on the website yet (it's that new!) - but I do know you could say Octagonal Tray & they would know what you were talking about!

Well, there you go! (thrilled to be crossing this off 'the list')

On to the next chart question: Gather a Harvest. I had a few questions about a pattern shape for the acorn cap. I will be receiving my model back from it's current Trunk Show tomorrow & will make & post a pattern.

Have a great day - I'm off to Hobby Lobby...you know where to find me.

Enjoy the Stitch, Cathy



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back to the basement for me!

Long story or short?? How about the highly edited version!
17+ years ago I opened my needlework shop. After a difficult search looking for affordable, convenient & not falling down commercial space, I dipped my toes into the retail world...in my basement.
At the time, we lived in a house with a separate entrance so customers didn't have to traipse through my home. It was a great way to build a good foundation of inventory, business contacts, and customers. 3 years later, we moved to a small building (think Cat's Meow type building for those of you who know what that is!) and not quite a year later we moved again, upping 450sq ft to 2100sq ft!
Each time we moved, I learned what was necessary in my work space. Fast forward when I closed my shop after 9 years when kid's activities took over, I created a finishing studio (different home now) in our basement.
As CherryWood Designs began, I kept the supplies & inventory at my home (basement again), but we designed out of a coffee shop, so it all still worked. Around that time, I graduated to an upstairs studio - I felt like I had been invited to the grown-ups table!
Going solo as Hands On, I was once again FT out of my home but started to discover that I no longer "fit" in the smallest room in the house (not including bathrooms of course!). Designing took place in the kitchen - not good for the diet. Shipping took place in the dining room - not good for family togetherness. Finishing took place in a room I could barely move around in - not good for my sanity.
After one of those "what if" type of conversations (my husband loves those) - I decided to take over the downstairs game room...yup, back to the basement!
Contractors, cabinets & countertops (new lighting too) - Hands On Design has a new, much more efficient home!

Cecile & Rachel of Just Another Button Company made this for me to celebrate the new digs! They are correct, this is my happy place!
A very cleaned up version of what it looked like when we started (this place saw lots of Legos, train tracks & video games!)

All cleaned out!

Day 1 progress! (Dan is my favorite contractor - we have done many projects together over the last 15 years!)

Woo hoo!

Billy helped me move all the "stuff" in!

Counter space for shipping, cabinets for all sorts of supplies...

and a nice nook for designing & stitching!

The cats are still trying to figure out the new place - I'll have to get a bigger computer screen if Whisker doesn't stop visiting me like this!
Well, I'd better get back to work & show just how efficient I can be!
Enjoy the Stitch!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Fun Summer 2015"

Last summer was...well, not fun. Bill & I worked and worked and the next thing we knew...it was September! So. Not. Happening. This. Year.

To kick-off "Fun Summer 2015" we went "on the hunt" last weekend at Junk-Stock (think Wood Stock, but with Junk)

It was so much fun!

I kind of went with a list of certain things I was looking for & I did manage to score a few bargains. I tried to remember to snap pictures along the way:

Junk Stock is held in a huge field (in Omaha, NE) & it's been a rainy Spring! Mud boots were a plus!

"One Man's Junk"...the theme of the day!

Which way do we go? Arrows everywhere. The turquoise one came home with me for a friend!
Fun displays & booths!

Oh, I bought some goodies here!
Keeping up our strength - the pork was great - the sauce was AWESOME!

Now I feel really old. I had a Wee Wagon when I was little (& could actually fit my butt into it!) It's still in my garage & now I see one where they sell...vintage. :(

Bought something you can't lift? They have JunkHunks roaming around to help you load it in the car!
A few of my treasures!

We got home just in time to run back out the door to watch Chris play in the Fremont Open finals. 2nd place & a cool trophy.
It was back to work this week prepping to release "flutterby garden" - my Ltd Edtn Summer 2015 chartpack. We ship to shops next Tuesday, so be sure to ask at your favorite LNS. (Chartpack includes finishing cottons, woolfelt flutterbys, & bakers twine)

I would have to say the kick-off of "Fun Summer 2015" was a success!

Enjoy the stitch,

Saturday, June 6, 2015

An Afternoon Among Friends

For someone who is very "in tune" with color...I was apparently in an all "red" mood when I ordered this year's plants. It's been an odd Spring weather-wise, so some blooms are struggling. This group seemed to be bouncing back in this morning's early humidity.
I retreated back inside to grab toast & coffee, turn the Ladies French Open final on and share my fun yesterday.
I traveled about 90 miles south of my home yesterday to teach at "For the Love of Stitching" in Omaha, NE. I've known Judi for years - we were shopowners at the same time, often "talking shop" & comparing notes. She has always been a big supporter of my design work - she was the 1st shop to say "put me on automatic" which, to a designer, is wonderful!  
While classes are fun, they are a lot of work (it helps me to think about how I would feel as a student, getting the benefit of those hours of design & prep.) For me, it's always satisfying packing the kits up just before class! 
"Oh My Buttons" was the class I designed & taught. I told the students, this was the perfect combination of things I love...buttons, wool, ribbon, and pincushions!
It sounds corny, but the best thing I get out of these classes, is the camaraderie among stitchers. This day was special because I met up with some students/friends that I hadn't seen in years. We exchanged "where are the kids now" stories. I got to see a daughter present her Mom (a quilter) with a stitched piece that happened to be my "Under a Quilt" design.

I was having so much fun, I forgot to take a group photo - I swear I need to hire a photographer for these events! (can you hear me now?...Oh intern!) haha!
I usually get asked - will you release the pattern? Yes, I will, but I will wait approximately a year. When I design for a retreat, I like to feel I'm doing something extra special for the students that are coming to take my class (& putting up with my weird sense of humor!!) Give Judi a call, she may have 1 or 2 of the kits left!
Well on to the tasks of the day - the landscapers showed up yesterday while I was gone (of course) and took care of a few small projects. If the rain holds, I can finish my part of it all. In the meantime...
Enjoy the stitch,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Floraison where you are planted...

I don't do many complimentary charts - most of you know to grab my annual "gift" for my husband. Other than that, I keep mostly busy working on all of the projects going on in my head (you know that joke about a woman's mind & 2,478 browsing tabs open in her brain? - yep...that's me)

Anyway, one of my distributors was in a bind, so I obliged. I wanted to design some sweet little flowers, but feel like the word "bloom" has been done & done (hey, I've used it several times myself!). So "floraison" it is...bloom, blooming, I never did get a true English to French connection, but was assured I was design appropriate.

So here it is! You can find it by going to the Wichelt website & viewing the June newsletter (you might have to "sign up").

Quick to stitch, easy to customize colors, plenty of finishing options.

A short one for today. We are busy in the shipping department - it takes over on weeks when we have new charts going out & of course the newest chalk is shipping!
Enjoy the stitch,

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May: Sleep is Optional!

May is a welcome month...nicer weather, no coats, later sunsets! It is also a busy time... graduations, graduation parties, sports activities, moving your children...oh yes, New Releases too & prepping for Fall retreats & classes. It's a very good thing I LOVE my job!

A quick update here:

I've got a number of charts releasing this Friday- showcased in the Hoffman Distributing celebration for their 30 years in business. The next 2 from a year in chalk series will be available next week - that's July & August, but first I would like to show you Seas the Day!

Stitched on 32ct Toasted Almond from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie. I am dedicating this piece to my "beach Mom" - you know when you grow up going to the beach each summer with other families - you sort of adopt each other. I thought about her a lot during the designing stage & some of those great memories being a relatively carefree kid at the beach.

I also included another of those quilted ornaments - I have to put one in a chart every once in awhile!
On the home front, it's been a pretty typical May as well. Billy, our oldest graduated from his post High School program! He got to walk at ceremonies 3 years ago, but finally got the "piece of paper" to prove it! I caught him examining his diploma with pride several times when he thought I wasn't looking.
A few days later we traveled to Special Olympics State Track & Field where we watched him earn Bronze medals in Soccer and the 400m race.
Our other son came & went several times as he prepared to start his summer internship. This is the 1st summer he won't be back home with us...very weird. That's all I can say. (sniff, sniff)
I was able to snap a quick pic when we actually got them in the same room for dinner!

It's easy to say that I am proud of them and the men they are becoming. I also have a great respect for both of them & the choices they have made and continue to make every day.

While we were at the Track & Field events, we had an opportunity to pay a visit to the home of Yarn Tree & the Needlework Retailer. I dropped off an order (hey, I saved the postage!) and posed with Megan & Beth. I think they were afraid that I wouldn't be impressed with their warehouse...trust me, I was. A warehouse full of cross-stitch & needlework supplies...ummm, yes! Designers & shopowners are familiar with Yarn Tree, but for stitchers, this is one of the distributors that supply fabrics, threads & accessories galore to your favorite shops!
Well I need to go Seas the Day...you should too!
Enjoy the Stitch,


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear MapQuest...

I started out on a little journey last week to teach at Heart's Desire Camp 2015! Armed with MapQuest, GPS & my good friend Lorna...we somehow made a wrong turn when modern technology told us to turn on Highway 73...instead of the very well-marked Highway 75...sometimes a good old Atlas is the best reference!
Never fear - we found an alternate route - saw some lovely scenery...& these little big guys! 
Apparently word got out that I sometimes walk away with a pen...or maybe even a coffee cup...so Debbie of Heart's Desire set me up with my own!
Think I will do more of what makes me happy!
I will let the pictures do most of the talking about my terrific retreat weekend!
The theme was May Day! Here is the class project: the ort basket was pre-stitched & finished in class. Stitchers got a surprise with the matching tuffet to fill their basket. The saying is "A tisket A tasket, orts to fill my basket".
Debbie (in green) is doing her part to teach the next generation. Here she is helping the camp director to stitch her very first piece...she jumped right into linen!
Stitchers & stash - the 2 just go together. I always love to see what tools stitchers bring to camp!

I meet the friendliest people! Polly was showing me her book dedicated to Hands On Design charts! Hard to not get a big head around this group!

I meant to catch her happy dance on video when she got the final beads on this piece!
Friday morning I got to visit Marilyn at Picture This Plus in nearby Abilene. She has a bookstore on the main level & her shop & dying area in the lower level.

I got the grand tour of the dying studio but I really drooled over these rolls of linen...yes, I said rolls of linen. Trust me, I checked to see how heavy one was (in case I could hoist it over my shoulder & make a run for it!) - nothing doin'.

Those unsized rolls of white turn into this!
Saturday was class day!

They were all excellent students!

We were a well fed group - Cinnamon Roll break in the morning & a cookie break in the afternoon..all on top of 3 squares a day! (btw - I had her permission to take & post this photo!)
Time for group photos! Some (but not all) of the completed class projects!

Last year's Camp had a Love My Stitching theme - they worked on my chart of the same name & attached them to pre-made bags - even got a little tuffet designed by me!
Highlight of the weekend - I had a mini-reunion with these two lovely ladies! They used to travel north each year & visit my shop. I still do finishing for them both, but spending time together sure beats email!  
 A lovely sentiment for all stitchers, but even more so when your shop name is Heart's Desire! (this was a ltd edtn kit I made for this retreat)
A huge thanks to Debbie & the gals from the shop & of course all the Camp attendees. It was such a fun time...I'm still recovering!
I'm home for a little bit with massive deadlines for upcoming releases & classes.
While I was gone, Bill & Billy traveled to watch Chris & his team play. These were must win meets to make the post season play & they did not disappoint. I am looking forward to watching them finish out the season & then travel to State Special Olympics competition for Billy's Soccer team!
Love these guys!
Thanks for following my journey & enjoy the stitch!