Saturday, November 10, 2018

WHO HAS TIME FOR JET LAG?

It is hard to accept the fact that Stitching Down the Danube has come and gone!  Wow.  We work for over a year planning and anticipating and then in what seems like a blink of an eye it is history!  But what fantastic memories.  Refreshing friendships and adding new ones are the best!  I always come home tired but refreshed and eager for the next one.  Speaking of which

Plans are in full steam ahead for our Mediterranean Stitching Memories 2019!  October 24 - November 4, 2019.  This one is a little different as we are going out to Sea (not ocean - sea).  We will be on a slightly larger ship than our riverboat but still not the massive monstrosities that cruise the ocean - been there, done that.  Anyway the Azamara Pursuit is gearing up to host our next adventure.




Follow Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures Facebook page to keep up with updates and additional information as it develops.





Reservations are flying in and we are thrilled at the acceptance of this new adventure.


Look at all these ports.  We begin our journey in Rome and will finish in Barcelona!!

Looks like there is a lot to get into along the way between the two! Hubby's walker might need new treads on the tires at this rate!







I'm busily working on an Optional Exclusive stitching project for our adventure.  It is in my head - I just gotta get it on the canvas and off to the painters.

Also working on various surprises for all my participants because I never want you to be disappointed! You cannot imagine the amount of administrative chores that are involved in the background for getting the stitching end laid out.  Forget the travel - I leave that to our expert agent Liz at Viking Travel.  I have a full schedule trying to get things organized on the stitching end of our fun trip.  We need to arrange rooms at hotels for stitching and then the real challenge is working with the ship to get some fun space there.  Supplies need to be decided and ordered. But, hey, that's part of it - right?  But if you check with those who have travelled with us before I think they will say that my efforts on their behalf have been rather successful. I have fun doing it and I think it shows!

My ultimate goal is that we have fun!  We travel, see new things for many of us, stitch a bit and truly enjoy each other's company!  I am so proud of the new friendships that have developed on this adventures - especially since they have spilled over into future trips with us!  Isn't that wonderful?

Well, I'm not fully recovered from our 2 weeks spent around the Danube in spite of what my heading might indicate.  Still sorting out things and getting papers together to be filed away. At the same time, I have been polishing off the next series of lessons for the Online Mystery Class postings around the 15th of the month.  These are great fun and I am loving how they are developing.

If you would like to join us in any of our classes, look to the right of this space and there is a link to the 2019 Online Mystery Class Agenda.  Just email me at duodesignsinc@yahoo.com if you would like additional information or want to join us.  

Additionally for more information on our upcoming Stitching Adventures, be sure to follow our Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures Facebook Group.  For particular questions on our upcoming Mediterranean Stitching Adventures 2019 contact Liz at lwolak@vikingtvl.com for anything to do with traveling and me for the stitching part at duodesignsinc@yahoo.com.  I will share a little something with you - this last trip we actually got Liz stitching!  I have proof!


So even though we play a lot we do get some fun work done as well.  Please come join us on our next adventure!

Until next time . . .





Saturday, November 3, 2018

HERE WE ARE - ENJOYING OUR STITCHING DOWN THE DANUBE ADVENTURE!

We may have gotten off on a rocky start - Mother Nature decided to share a drought with the wonderful people and the water level was dangerously low.  Our travel agent - Liz - worked feverishly with the cruise line to mitigate the damages as much as one can when dealing with something totally out of your control. Low water - different ship.

This resulted in our needing to change boats only once and cruising to different locations than originally planned. Our first boat was the River Duchess - she had to step in because the SS Beatrice was stuck in Budapest and could not make it to the beginning of our trip - we will meet up with the SS Beatrice in a couple days. (Original change had us switching 3 times - thank goodness for small miracles that did not happen.)


The crew and staff of UniWorld River Duchess did an outstanding job making our experience as pleasurable as possible under the circumstances.  I had a great time!  Anyway I'm ahead of myself.

We landed in Prague where we spent 2 nights in the fantastic Imperial hotel.  First night was what I refer to as 'corporate orientation.'





This is a picture of the incredible tile work around the clock in the dining room of the hotel - the chef if quite well known - tv shows, on fronts of all the magazines, etc. Chef Zdeněk Pohlreich.This is stitching friend Nancy and her hubby Phil joining us for their first cruise with us.

Then we open the next day touring the fantastically beautiful city of Prague. Wow!  If you follow our Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures Facebook page you will see some fantastic photographs shared by some of the participants.  Not only do we have great stitchers!  We also have great photographers! Here are some teasers.


 View from the top of the hill.

 I loved the identification icons above the doors of houses - this is the house of 2 suns for instance.

And the astrological clock!  So glad it was operating again and we got to witness it making the change.

This second night was when the real fun began for me.  This was the night we (Sandy's Stitchers) got together to meet each other. There were several repeaters with us  so it was like having a mini reunion with your most select friends.  But the new people that joined us were fitting right in and we became one almost instantly.
Mary and I are showing the way to the stitching room at the Hotel.

We donned our name tags, gathered up our goody bags and sat down for a fun-filled night of stitching.  Those who opted to take the Optional Danube Class were given their stitch guides and we got to work. Others were welcome to bring personal stitching and we played with those too.

Notice how beautifully Judy shared her goody bag with us!


BUT WAIT !  (Does that sound like one of those TV ads for  buy one, but wait for just blah, blah you get a second?) There was a surprise kit compliments of me and Teresa- Duo Designs, Inc.  We created a special fob for all participants. It had a canvas I designed featuring the flags of the 4 countries we were to visit - Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary.  The flags were laid out in order of our visits as well.  The kit contained everything needed - stretcher bars, tacks lining, backing ribbon, threads and instructions as well as the clasp.  We also shared how to finish the project once the stitching was completed.


I think it might have been a hit!

          Please please join the Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures FB group so you can
          enjoy all the fabulous pictures taken of the various visits we made.  I cannot begin
          to cover them all here!

An unexpected treat was a trip to Salzburg and we had such fun stirring memories of The Sound of Music film.  Our guide shared many facts with us of which we were not necessarily aware.  One was that we got to tour the Wedding Chapel in Monsee where the movie wedding took place. (It did not occur in the movie Abbey).  What a special visit!  Did you know that the VonTrapps left leisurely in a train and were not 'escaping while fleeing over the mountains at all?"  Hmmmmm.

Since this was a stitching cruise we did actually stitch.  We had fantastic stitching accommodations.  The hotel had set up a private room and we even had the ability to use our slides through the TV - that was a huge plus.

On the first boat we had a lovely section in the dining room with lots of windows and lights.

This is where we had our beginning kumihimo class.  I think this was well received as it was something that could be completed and as we shared elsewhere on FB some of the bracelets that were completed~


I think Lauren might have been first with Dawn, Judy, Debby and several others following right behind!



Either I am a very demanding instructor or some work way too hard!























You can tell these are different class periods as I have on different clothes - lol.

Another fabulous stitching surprise was a lovely Luggage Tag kit provided compliments of Planet Earth Fibers.  They included some of their fabulous threads.  It is no secret that Pepper Pot Silk is one of my favorite threads!



On the Beatrice we had a wonderful room that was surrounded in glass.  Our own bartender as well - wonder if stitches will need to be removed and redone?  Doesn't matter - it was fun anyway.




 These two snuck outside to watch going through the locks (I think that is what they were doing).




Of course, there were nightly drawings for door prizes as well - here are a few shares from various nights.






I will share one last picture with you here and that is of the new boat we boarded -  the SS Beatrice. She was slightly larger than the Duchess and much newer.


Oops!  Okay I lied!  Here is a picture of most of our group as we enjoyed our farewell dinner together.


This picture was taken in the lobby at the staircase.  We met a fantastic young man - Connor - who did the honors.  He is into photography big time - studying to make it a profession.

I am not a good historian, tour director, etc., so for more thorough information and pictures be sure to visit Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures FB page as I suggested earlier.  So many fantastic pictures.

Okay, I am still not home so need to pack up from here in Cincinnati (got in last evening and spent the night to rest up before the drive home).  Nasty weather here!

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

IT'S HERE!  IT IS TIME TO GO SOON!

Yep, tomorrow we head out!  We board this big bird and head to Europe.  First we drive to Cincinnati, Ohio.  From there we go to JFK.  Then from there we land in Prague!  WOW. House sitter is lined up, kitty taken care of, mail taken care of, pool closed for the winter - all systems go!

First day of business in Prague will be getting settled in at the hotel.  Next will be to prepare for the second day.  After our touring we will work on preparations for our first structured class!  This is when we all get together as a stitching group, meet each other and get to work.  This is also when I get to let go of lots of 'stuff'!  Stay tuned!  We'll try to share on our FB page as much as we can.

Mother Nature has forced our cruise line to make some changes in our Itinerary.  While it is a bit disappointing, it is still exciting for me.  I have never been to the areas we are going to visit and I look forward to seeing all new sights and experiencing the unique surroundings.  Of course, there will be stitching as I go as well!

Reservations are being made for our October 2019 cruise - Mediterranean Stitching Memories.  This is a slightly larger vessel (640 +/- still intimate) because we'll be on the Mediterranean Sea.  Reserve early to get your preferred stateroom.  Just email our agent Liz (lwolak@vikingtvl.com) for details.  Also request a copy of the brochure if you don't see one.  It is posted in the files section over on Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures Facebook page.



ONLINE MYSTERY CLASSES

Mercy!  Here we are at mid-month once more.  That means we had such fun sharing more lessons for the selected designs.

This month we say goodbye to Dog Gone Good by JP Needlepoint Designs.  These cuties were such a joy to stitch.  Beads, ribbon, fuzzies, lots of stuff that I love to include when I stitch. I love happy, colorful pieces to work on.




We also say goodbye to Steampunk Witch from Brenda Stofft.  This class and one other were experiments into trying lessons every other month instead of every month.  While it was kinda nice in one way, it was not much fun administratively.  We won't be seeing many more of this type class in m future.


The Reindeer Series from Raymond Crawford had us sharing the second lesson on the reindeer with the Candle on the Blanket.  This involved stitching the reindeer in a similar manner to the previous ones.

Christmas Stars 12 Days of Christmas fun series from Raymond Crawford had the athletic Ten Lords a Leaping - although only one came forward.


Next is the fun design of Every Bunny Needs Some Bunny from JP Needlepoint.  This is our second lesson on these cuties.



Remember that registration is ongoing for all the upcoming classes so be sure to email me at duodesignsinc@yahoo.com if you are interested in joining some of them.  The agenda link is in the right column at the top.  The most active at the moment is the Penny MacLeod Dana - Life of the Party.  Such fun planning the threads, stitches and embellishments.  Just email us if you want to participate - still plenty of time as the first lesson will be mid-January.  The shop has the optional thread/kit and embellishments details ready for those that need assistance.



Wait until you see her hair!

I'm not sure if I will be able to make a blog post next week - hard to tell what I will be doing so don't get mad at me if I post a short one or maybe miss altogether!  I'm hopeful that I can get some pictures to share but we'll see.

We'll be sharing what pictures we do manage over on our Facebook page Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures.  If you do not follow go join in now.  We'd love to have you.

Have a great week!






Saturday, October 13, 2018

COUNTDOWN BIG TIME!

In just one more week we will be leaving for our Stitching Down the Danube stitching adventure! Preparing for this journey has been so much fun and going on for over a year and yet it feels as if we just left Party on the Po in Italy and only started planning for this year.  I love this part!  Once I lock the front door and head out it will be all fun for me over the next couple weeks.  The hard work is over. I hope my participants feel it has been time well spent!

I am tying up loose ends.  Getting those last bead packets put together.  Taking some extra threads, etc., just in case, making sure I have something to stitch on myself. For hubby the most important thing is to be sure he has snacks!

Working on the "make sure" lists this week:  medications, chargers, cPap, needles (stitching kind that is), scissors, more needles, etc.

While this is all going on, there is a great deal of activity over at the travel agency setting up reservations for our Mediterranean Stitching Memories Cruise 2019.  We are keeping our Miss Liz hopping! This fantastic cruise has been so well received. We are very excited.  October 24 to November 4, 2019. We are also able to make plans for 2 extra days in Rome - where the trip begins - and 2 extra days in Barcelona - where the trip ends- for those interested.  There are some very exciting ports of call and the beauty that is in store for us is unbelievable!

I know that a year away sounds like lots of time however there is much to do in preparation to make it a very wonderful Memory. My mind is going around and around with design ideas for the exclusive optional needlepoint class.  So much to choose from!  Then, there are the little extra surprises I try to develop as well.  I have some that are already wanting to know what we will be stitching!  I gotta get the Danube behind me before I can really focus on for this new adventure.  That does not mean that it is not whirling around in my head though.  Wish these techies would come up with a device that you could look into and specifically direct it to transfer certain data (such as sketches in the mind) over onto paper!  Wouldn't that be cool.  But it would need to be so that you could restrict what it sees in your brain - wouldn't want all that stuff up there on paper - ye gads!

Our ship is a beauty! She holds approximately 650 - YAY!  I don't care for the larger ships and try to avoid them whenever I can.  I taught on my last ocean cruise ship about 5 (?) years ago and have never looked back.  The intimacy of the smaller group is so wonderful.  We have developed some fabulous friendships.  But that is not difficult when we all share the same passion and speak the same jargon!

Azamara Pursuit

Our stops are amazing!


If you missed out on getting to join us on the sold out Stitching Down the Danube riverboat stitching cruise don't make that same mistake twice!  Join us over on our special Facebook Page that showcases our stitching adventures and future plans:

Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures

ONLINE MYSTERY CLASSES

Just a gentle reminder that registration is ongoing for January classes -

We'll have our first lesson on the Reindeer Series from Raymond Crawford - the Poinsettia Blanket:


Our first lesson in the Penny MacLeod - Dana Life of the Party - what fun she is developing into!


And the beginning of our Butterfly Series from Burnette & Bradley.  (These all inclusive butterflies classes will include the canvas, threads, embellishments and lessons - all under $150 each.)

Oh, and we are having custom ornament stands created for this series for those who desire to make them stand ups.  More on that later.  I have seen the prototype - so excited.

To be placed on the notification list (no obligation) just send me an email so I have your email address in order to be able to notify you.  Send to duodesignsinc@yahoo.com