Monday, May 31, 2004


Blogging in via cel phone connection today. Libby and I are on the road to Rockome after flying to Wichita. We've avoided tornados except for the tacky souvenier tornado in a snowglobe that Libby found at the Wichita airport.

We've visited the territorial capitol of KS, Truman's home here in Independence and today it's on to Huck Finn country and then Springfield for a few days.

We've been gathering up heaps of stitching/designing inspiration on the road. Everything from waving fields of wheat to fields from the air to patterned bricks to ironwork.... the possibilities are endless.

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Saturday, May 22, 2004


Just a few words from CATS show in Santa Clara. I had a wonderful couple of days with Robin/Sabrina and Will and what an enthusiastic bunch of goldwork students.

Then off to Santa Clara where we have lived through setup and the first day of booth adventures. Lots of great new stuff out there, but our booth is right across the aisle from Dawn Lewis and her antique tools and saplers are SUCH a temptation. I only bought one thing though. More on the subject later.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

(More like fast hobbling with my knees)

Lots to do. Thank heaven for that much larger than a breadbox new printer. I wave a few strokes and say "print 16 sets of handouts" and it spits them at me before I can go get a drink of water.

I was in Kelly Paper this morning and the guys all said "um show season must be starting." Then they helped me fill the back of the van with paper, labels, cover sheets, binding coils and colored paper for class handouts.

I started using a plastic cover protector for our self-published booklets when we were photocopying them as the covers tended to rub and needed some care. Now I like them because they tend to give a booklet substance and help it stand on a shelf or in a shop rack.

Have all the pricing labels for the bits and bobs printed and most of them affixed. Most of the thread bobbins wound for the EGA ornament class, most of a lot of things done - it's the last bits that can be daunting.

All the running and jumping up and down gave me permission to eat two Krispy Kreme's today though - so it's worth it!

Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have several finished projects to report.

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Sunday, May 09, 2004


I didn't take a formal class in embroidery until quite late in life and relied on my mom and grandmothers for instruction in needlearts.

My mom was born in 1921 and was a child of the depression. She had a childhood of very slender means and little to be spent on embroidery supplies. That didn't keep the women of my family from being creative however. Flour sacks were to be had and quilts were made of used clothing as well as inexpensive fabrics from the local stores; one of which was Skinner Brothers.

Once in a while printed embroidery designs were bought at the local shops and these little dogs embroidered by my mom when she was about 8-9 (to the best of her recollection) was one of them.

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Saturday, May 08, 2004


I am, of course, a sucker for all things vintage needlework. When I heard of a local distributor offering a bone bead that was in fact for us needleworkers a thread winder/bobbin I ordered a few of them last year and sold them at Rockome. When Nashville trade show approached, I ordered several hundred of them and gave them out to customers and nice people of all sorts.

They created a furor of interest at the show and I even sold some of them wholesale and had interest from a national sewing catalog and shops in obtaining more of them.

I thought, fine, so I go into the bone bobbin biz. WRONG!! NOT EASY!!! My source dried up. They had about 10 more bobbins in stock and it would take them 6 months to have more from their Indian manufacturer. Bribes, whining, nothing produced a workable solution as I NEEDED these for summer shows and for a potential wholesale market.

Bless the internet. Google helped me find a plethora of Indian bead manufacturers. Off went the e-mails "please sir, could you look at this item # and can you manufacture something similar?"

One response only, but the right one. Aamir of Utter Pradesh works far too late into the night. I began getting the e-mails he dispatched at midnight Indian time. "Yes they could do this". The price was higher than the original source and a bit of negotiation ensued. The price remained higher, but the quality of the samples I received was also higher than the original.

I asked for 1 sample of a protype and in my mail came the 6 samples seen here. Aamir and his craftsmen took this assignment far beyond what I had envisioned. He also decided I might like a bone needle and whipped up a sample of that as well. This is a businessman who knows how to please a potential customer.

I have the initial order of several hundred of each winder in the clutches of UPS and hopefully it will arrive in California this next week. I will put the little bits of art on our website as soon as I have them in my hands. Then it is on to having Aamir turn out something else as special for us to import.

I never thought to wind up in the Import Biz - but the need seems to be there and I seem to have a marvelous resource in the craftsmen of Uttar Pradesh, an area known for artisans in bone and metalwork.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004


Perhaps foolishly, but I'm beginning to think I just might get everything that needs done finished in the next few weeks.

Our busy show season starts soon, off on the 18th of May to teach goldwork at Robin's, then CATS Santa Clara, then EGA to teach blackwork, then home for a few days. Then off to Kansas for Memorial Day and on to Rockome for over a week, then teaching pulled thread in Peoria, then home for a few days and back to Kansas City to teach goldwork at the end of June.

Bless FedEx Ground services and keep them strong because they are going to have to shift a lot of stuff pretty soon.

I am so looking forward to seeing lots of friends as I travel about and I really dig teaching.

On another front, merchandise is coming in for the booths we will be staffing. Carol Leather's parcel arrived and within 10 days or so the new thread winders I have commissioned for manufacture in India should be here. They have been shipped. Other than importing from UK manufacturers this is my first adventure into the wider range of importing but the MD of the firm in India is a charming gentleman and his craftsmen turned out 6 different reproduction thread winders for us and an exquisite bone needle.

We are stocked up on silver bodkins from Bill Dawson and wait until you see the handcast tiny, tiny, tiny rose thread cutter for airline stitching.

Back to printing and assembling and cutting fabric and all that stuff.

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Sunday, May 02, 2004


The dayjob has been taking up an inordinate amount of time as has printing for the upcoming season of events. Webpage as well.

The finger is better, likewise both bruised knees and arm. Still not completely left hand recovered however.

Merchandise for the upcoming season is coming in apace and we've added a goldwork class to the agenda whilst "up North" later this month.

Now to get back to stitching. More later.

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