Saturday, January 23, 2021


We (my daughter and I) did not let any moss grow under our needlework projects this past weekend.  Teresa even finished some and made a bad dent in others.  I accomplished quite a bit as well.  Some stitching and some class preparation.

We planned ahead and did a pretty good job of it.  We had great meals and our suite had a full sized refrigerator to accommodate what we brought.  We lacked for nothing.  The snow fell, some days heavier than others. n We did not mind, however, as we were snug, had our needlework and plenty of food.

Guess how many sweaters I have on - lol.

  I think there was a TV in the room - (I think it is that black rectangular thing on the right LOL) - but it is none the worse for wear from our lack of use. Wasn't even on nor missed! We had other priorities.

We have promised ourselves to try to do this more than once a year!


Our newest release in our Pocketbook Series - Leaping Thru Leaves - is leaping out the door.  We have already had a second printing.  

Check with your Local Needlework Shop (LNS) for your copy.  Many are on repeat orders so you may need to preorder from them.


    NOTICE:  Be sure to check this group in the next day or two (maybe tomorrow even) as we hope           to share the Optional Class Project for those participants who want to purchase them.

This week we look at days October 3 and 4 on our cruise.  We arrive at Kahalui, Maui and stay there overnight and most of October 4.  We leave at 6 pm.  I had a personal family member tell me that Lahaina was her favorite part of her Hawaii vacation several years back.

Some excursion possibilities offered include the historical district of Wailuku. Take a motor trip on the Road to Hana - you enjoy the views while someone else maneuvers the curves and twists of the highway.Snorkeling anyone?  It is stated that one of the top ten snorkel sites in the world is here. There's lots of other nature possibilities - how about seeing how lavender is added to products.. Stroll a beautiful botanical garden.  Ocean Vodka - sounds interesting don't you think? Check out how Hawaii's best-selling vodka is made.Of course the Maui Ocean Center sounds incredible - lots to see and learn.

How about if you want to just stay close in and enjoy the wonderful weather?  That is most likely what hubby and I will be doing for the major part of the trip.  He will be napping and I will be - - - you guessed it - stitching and checking on my fellow stitchers who might be onboard relaxing after exciting mornings.

Just email us at or our agent Russ at to get your own brochure.


Registration is active for the next classes in line.  Two by Two - Noah's ark is up next from Strictly Christmas. I understand that canvases have been shipped so we are ready to go. While we will be revealing the stitched piece the execution of stitches/techniques and threads are still a mystery.

This is a large canvas and has so much to offer in techniques and thread selections. You still have time to join us for this delightful piece.  There are 15 animals (sets) and of course Noah - plus the border, rainbow and background.  Even if no little ones are in your life think of the little ones at various nurseries - hospital, church, etc., and make a wonderful donation. It will be worth it if nothing more than for the delight of stitching and experiencing the wondrous threads.  If you need assistance let us know as we have shops that kits the classes to our exact specifications. 

Here's a sneak peek at one pair of animals.  

This is no bull - you will learn how to make this fabulous free flowing tail and switch - think of all the ways you can use this technique.  To register just email us at  This is an 8 session class as there is so much to cover. 

The canvases have been shipped for the American Train by Raymond Crawford also.

We plan. to start this ASAP in hopes of your having it finished in time for the 4th of July celebrations if you desire.  Just check with us at to register. This class will be 6 sessions with approximately 2 sessions a month.

Gotta go now and work on finishing the fabulous Hawaiian piece!  Stay safe!

Sunday, January 17, 2021


We are staying in Frankfort (our State Capitol for those who get it confused).  But for our purposes we are staying in our suite just happily stitching away.  It is snowing here and has been off and on since we arrived yesterday. 

I'm so pleased with how the Hawaiian Optional Class design is progressing.  Will be sharing soooooon!

NEEDLES 'N FINS STITCHING ADVENTURES - Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise

Next phase. So we've met everyone and got our stitching plans underway.  October 2 we begin our next schedule and that is to embark on the Pride of America for our 7 day sailing adventure.  The brochure states there are 15 restaurants and 12 bars and lounges.  Sounds like lots of stitching area opportunities!

After a morning of running and picking up those last few things we can't possibly leave behind, we leave Honolulu in the afternoon to begin our island hopping. 

Our beautiful ship has been totally remodeled and feels like a new one.  Such beautiful decor!  You feel like you are in a great place to get spoiled rotten - as cruise crews have a way of doing.

Hmm - looks like a group photo opportunity to me!

I think we will manage to find an abundance of areas to meet and stitch and have workshops.

We'll check it all out and become familiar with our favorite spots.  First priority is to have lunch as we try to get settled in to our stateroom.  Spend some time studying the excursion options for the next morning. 

Get your copy of the brochure and have fun looking over all the fun possibilities.  Email us at or our agent Russ Dunlap at


A couple days ago we shared the lessons for some of the Online Mystery Classes.

For the sweet, sweet Lovable Llama from Gayla Elliott we did this pretty boy's face and ears.  

On our Spring Welcome from PLDesigns we started preparing and working on the butterfly stump work.

Wait till next month!  Wow!


Shipment of our new Pocketbook, Leaping Thru Leaves, has pretty much consumed our waking hours for the last few weeks.

Pre-orders have all be shipped and invoiced.  Second printing is well on its way.

Don't be left out!  Check with your LNS to get your copy right away!

So, since I am at a stitching away with my daughter - bye until next week!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

WOW!  What a week we have witnessed in this great country of ours.  I'm ready to get back to normalcy on all fronts!  Hope it comes soon.

In KY they are giving some of the vaccines now - our front line workers are being taken care of first - as it should be.  We are not to the place (at least here in my county) were Phase 1B seniors are invited to get the vaccine.  Hope to be soon.

One disruption we had this months that saddened many of us. Our annual stitch away at our area state park was cancelled.  I know it is not anywhere on the scale of what is going on the world but in our little cubicle it was important to us. It historically is on MLK weekend so we have a long weekend to stitch, visit, catch up and of course eat!  But this year our event had to be cancelled.  It is one of the few times my daughter and I get to go play without any interference whatsoever.  So, being the daughter that she is, we are having our own special stitch away.  We are meeting halfway, have a suite for easily delivered meals so we can have a smaller version of our annual event.  Big miss is our fellow friends sharing what is happening in their lives and seeing the plethora of stitching that has been accomplished during this past year. Next year hopefully!


As stated before, we are so excited to be moving forward on our upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise.  It is wonderful that we are getting so many requests for the brochures and interest in the trip.  It is going to be so lovely. 

One of my goals on the above stitch away is to finish the exclusive Optional Class model so I can share it with you.  It is going to be such a fantastic souvenir! I know you are going to love it!

We are highlighting some things on our itinerary each week.  Last week we made our plans to get to Honolulu and start our fun trip. 

After we settle in to our hotel we will check out what all is going on around us.  We will have 2 .5 days before we head for the ship.The beaches are fabulous, there is so much shopping that you might want to ship home your fantastic finds before we begin our cruise. I'm not much of a shopper and even I got carried away at the Market. Then of course there will be our first stitching class.  More about the class next week.

Generally the first thing one thinks about when hearing about going to Honolulu is the Pearl Harbor Tour.  If you have not had the privilege of visiting this Memorial you might want to seriously consider doing so.  For me it was a very emotional experience. My Daddy fought in the front lines during WWII.

The Ala Moana Center is a must for your shoppers! If you can't find it here you probably can't find it on the Island!

This center is advertised as the world's largest outdoor shopping mall and I can believe it.  Make sure you have your cell phones because you will likely get separated from your shopping friend as there is so much to see and pull you in separate directions.

Of course there are many other options our agent is recommending so be sure to discuss with them.  OR you could just chill at Waikiki Beach and leave all your troubles behind.

Email us at or our agent Russ Dunlap at for your very own brochure. We are available to answer any questions you may have as well.  


Spring Welcome has had its second lesson shared.  Look at this beautiful daisy everyone is creating.  So fun!

This class is on a shorter time frame than most others and its lessons are posted closer together.  This technique was a first for many students - the needle weaving went well.

Registration is ongoing for Two by Two - Noah's ark from Strictly Christmas.  We learned this week that all canvases should be shipped to the various shops next week!  This means everyone could have their canvas in plan th of time for our first class.  This is scheduled to begin mid-February.  It is an 8 session class because there are tons of techniques and unusual threads to share with you. If you don't have a LNS and need assistance, let us know as we are working with shops to provide kits that use exactly the materials we have in our stitching instructions.

While this is a 'mystery class' in that the mystery may be in how something is done, we are sharing a small sneak peak for you!

I cannot possibly explain how much fun I am having stitching this design.  Strictly Christmas has managed to pack a lot into this package! Not counting Noah I believe there are 15 critters represented!  That's a Big Bang for your buck!  If you would like to join us email us at  


I was told that our new book in the Pocketbook Series, Leaping Thru Leaves, should be ready for shipping next week!  How exciting is that?  Check with your local needlepoint shop to see if they have it on order and be sure to get your name down for one.

I'm sure I'm forgetting to share something with you that I wanted to cover but maybe next week.

Please stay safe and may God Bless America and watch over our wonderful country!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

 WELCOME 2021!  Boy are we happy to see you!

Okay, 2020 is behind us.  There is still much lingering baggage but we choose to see 2021 as a new light of hope. There is no magical wand that will cure everything but we can savor the idea that the vaccines will help us through these trying times. There is so much to rebuild but we need to take baby steps.  We must remember that as the saying goes 'Rome wasn't built in a day'.  It is difficult because we are a nation of wanting action and results now and that is not always possible.  Anyway here's to 2021!


We are so happy to share our brochure for the upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise for September 30 through October 9, 2021! Email us at and just ask for us to send it.  For some reason I am having difficulty embedding the pdf in the blog like I used to.  I also noticed that all my previous pdfs are missing from past posts.  Not sure what is going on.  We'll get it figured out eventually.

Many of us are most anxious to get back out there and enjoy traveling and revisiting with our friends.

Have a look at the above Facebook Group - Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures. If you visit this Facebook Group you can chat with many who have taken cruises with Duo Designs in the past.  I am sure they will gladly share their experiences with you so just ask.  You can also look at the Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise brochure that is on file in that group as well.

We will begin our journey by adding 2 days at the front end of the NCL cruise so we can play in Honolulu.  Read up on some of the plans in the post over at Needles 'N Fins.   This gives us time to overcome the jet lag (for those of us who are a bit older), enjoy the beach or even go shopping!  All within walking distance of our beautiful hotel.

The luxurious Alohilani Resort Hotel will make us feel like kings and queens!

Our travel agent has worked to put together some suggested excursions for those wanting to explore the island on their own in more depth. Be sure to contact our agent Russ Dunlap at to get registered and reserve that balcony stateroom before they are gone.


We have a fun class going on that we have been sharing lessons approximately every 2 weeks. This is not a mystery class.  It is the Spring Welcome rabbit from PLDesigns.

Our first two sessions have involved creating the background which included adding beads.  New technique for some.  The second session included a stump work technique of free standing needle weaving.  We are very close to start working on needle felting!  Oh boy!

We finished up another class under a different venue - the Peanut Butter and Jelly design from Art Needlepoint.

These guys were such fun!  We have even had some students finish it already.  This class involved weekly lessons - which we had never done before.  

Registration for our next class of Two by Two from Strictly Christmas is ongoing.  We had this class set to begin mid-January but some painters are still behind.  We are going to move this to mid-February.  We will begin class mid-February and hopefully everyone will have their canvases by them.

There is sooooooo much to share in this piece.  We have introduced several threads that might be new to many of you has well.  I particularly love the thread I used for Noah's beard.  Can't wait to share.  I have just about decided that we probably will donate this piece to the Shriner's Children's Hospital.  My husband is a 50+ year Mason, I am a past Eastern Star member, our daughter (and partner in Duo Designs) was very active in state level of Rainbow Girls and our son participated in DeMolay.  So to me it seemed fitting that this might be a good place to make this donation.

Remember we will have classes on:

       from Raymond Crawford


We are thrilled at the reception of our new addition to the Pocketbook Series.  Leaping Thru Leaves has been pre-ordered by many shops so  check with your local needlepoint shop and pre-order your copy before they are gone.  Shipment is expected within the next couple weeks!


For some reason Etsy was having difficulty with our shop and our customers couldn't process their orders for their downloadable stitch guides.  Hopefully this has been corrected.  Just email us if you continue to have any trouble.

Gonna have to go for this week - please stay safe and check back in next week!Q

Saturday, December 26, 2020


One thing is for certain - unquestionable - without any dispute - beyond description -this year - Christmas 2020 - was different! 

Big, huge, difference for us was the absence of little ones.  This was in respect to us as we are in that 'touchy' category - you know - old and not 100%.  Our children took turns spending some time with us on  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that was beyond wonderful albeit not all together.  Of course with today's technology (even though we do not know how to fully utilize it) we did get to 'see' the babies.  They are at that magical age!  Santa came to see them and their excitement is contagious. WOW! Sad how quickly they will outgrow this magical phase. BTW I saw some very strange dolls and goodness the boy's playroom looks like a MacDonalds place to play!

Some of our highlights were the hot cocoa bombs that Teresa made - such fun -  and the fabulous prime rib that Tim made - such deliciousness!  Say whatever you will about the Arthurs one thing for sure is they do not lack in the eating department!


We have just announced the release of our newest pocketbook series:  Leaping Thru Leaves.  This new pocketbook joins our previous Can Do Hairdos.

Check with your LNS  and be one of the first to have yours! They should be available in the next few weeks!  So excited!


Posted the 7th session of the Nutty Professor today.  I fear I got a little lax on this super cute guy and almost forgot him.  To help make up for that slack I will be posting Session 8 in the next few days so you all will have the complete guide for him before we bid 2020n adieu.  This class was one of those 'I'll post when I get to it' and I don't think those type classes work too well for me.  But nothing ventured nothing gained right?

Registrations are coming in for the Two by Two (Noah's Ark) from Strictly Christmas and the American Train by Raymond Crawford.  

This will be an 8 Session class with the lesson packet of $200.  Class scheduled to begin mid-January.
This will be a 6 Sessions class with the lesson packet of $175.Class tentatively to begin mid-March with 2 sessions a month.

Email us at to join the fun.  

I need to cut this short today - lots of after-Christmas stuff to attend to.
Please stay safe and have a great New Year!  

Saturday, December 19, 2020


Decided to be distracted and work on our Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise.  So fun and can't wait!  Our brochure is in the final proofing!  Will be sharing so very soon.

We will begin our journey by arriving in Honolulu a few days before the cruise begins.  This affords us the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful beaches and rest up from the flight.  So the first day we'll be entirely on our own with optional excursions planned by Russ our agent ( The second day we will have our morning free to roam, shop and do whatever as well.  We will all meet after lunch and have a little reception/welcome gathering.  We will get our goody bags, name tags, etc. and have our first official class.  Those who chose to purchase the optional class kit will begin the lessons for that piece. The design is almost ready to share!  Those who brought stitching from their stash and who might have a question or two will be able to ask questions or get suggestions from the two of us if desired.  We will take a dinner break and meet back in the conference room for more stitching.

There are two shops on the island and they would love to have you visit - Needlepoint Etc and Fiddlesticks Too.  Unfortunately neither is large enough for us to hold a class on their premises so we'll utilize the hotel's conference room. At this time I am not sure how far away they are from our hotel but we'll find out. 

Hotel?  Oh my!  We will be staying at the beautiful Alohilani Resort! Go have a look!

Next day our morning adventures will be on our own to get in that last minute shopping.  Then after lunch we board our motor coach and head for the ship!  It will take some time to get settled in, cross all the t's and dot all the i's and follow the guidelines that are provided to us prior to sailing.  At some point we will be provided with information as to when our additional 'formal' stitching get togethers will be. This is totally at the Captain's discretion (so be nice and patient please).  That is for our formal stitching meetings.  In my mind, anytime we are on the boat and not eating or sleeping then it is stitching time.  We'll have plenty of areas to gather into groups to play.  Teresa and I (aka Duo Designs) will be milling around assisting where needed or depending on the setup we may have an area that has been provided for us where we can gather throughout the journey. Doesn't matter - really - as we always manage to get our stitching in. Remember that we are there for you so you are not disturbing us.

Keep in mind that any 'scheduled' stitching events are planned around the ship's excursions so you do        not need to be concerned about missing anything.  (Private excursions are another matter of course.)

Easy to see why we are so excited right?  So we are hopeful to have the brochure posted late Monday or Tuesday.  Keep tuned in!


This week we shared our first session for our felting on needlework project -Spring Welcome from PLDesigns. 

One of the first things learned by my students is that the model may be a little different from the final canvas received from the painter. Nothing major of course but different.  This is something I try to stress with students all the time.  Don't get so hung up on the picture of the finished piece.  A thread could have been discontinued; a dye lot could have been changed, and who knows what.  But it can all be worked through! Anyway we are on our way and I am anxious to share the many techniques on this piece.

Scroll on down to the past 2 weeks postings to visit the upcoming classes for which we are taking registrations.  You want to be sure and not miss out.

This week and next week we will be rather brief in our postings with the Holidays and all.  Be sure to watch for the brochure and we will be posting it in various places this coming week as well as on the blog next Saturday.

Have a wonderful Holiday however you choose to celebrate and a very Merrry Christmas. Try to focus on the good stuff and be thankful of the blessings we have and above all please, please stay safe!

Sunday, December 13, 2020


I know, it is kinda hard to think of cruising and wonderful tropical weather during this time.  Even the thoughts of mingling with friends is getting fuzzy.  But when I get to thinking on those lines I just go pull up my albums of the past stitching cruising trips we have shared together and the magic returns.  That's what it is all about - making memories with instant friends who share at least one passion but generally many more - one being traveling.  There is history, many quilters, knitters, historians, collectors - just a wonderful variety and we all fall in love and come away enriched with more beautiful friendships and memories.

We are getting so excited while awaiting the brochure for the upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Cruise!  Look at this map! Is that Hawaiian music I hear in the background?  I just say the word to myself and the ukuleles start strumming!

While waiting for the brochure you may contact Russ, our agent, direct and discuss some preliminaries with him.  He has the info - just waiting for the polished brochure.  Email:

There is lots more to share concerning the upcoming stitching cruises so stay tuned.  Also, if you have not already done so, sign up to follow the group Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures.  This is a private group of individuals who love to travel and stitch!  We share ideas and welcome suggestions for upcoming adventures.  Most all my previous cruisers are in this group so feel free to ask questions. Join right in!


Holiday celebrations have kicked in and it is beginning to 'sound' more festive.  Hanukkah is in full swing and Christmas is less than 2 weeks away.  We watched a lovely Hallmark movie last night where two families were blending and honoring the beliefs of each other.  I found it very endearing.  I would be interested to know how my friends who know more about the Jewish beliefs felt about the things shared in this 'entertainment.'  I thought it was lovely but certainly have no idea as to the authenticity of representations. I think the movie was more of coexisting and thus easily watched.

We have not exchanged gifts for the last couple of years as the young families have extended families of their own and it is difficult to work all the 'gotta' go sees in place.  A few years ago it was decided to cut back and have a dollar limit and do stuff for the stockings - hmmm is that why they are called stocking stuffers?  Anyway I don't like that.  But who I am?  The mere matriarch that who! So I told the kids to do whatever you want but Poppie and I are having presents under the tree.  I am having so much fun! Nothing extravagant but fun!

Shopping is kinda weird as I am doing everything online - even the local stuff.  But this is right up my alley because I do NOT like to shop - even online.  I don't know where my kids got that gene - must have been from their daddy and my mother  because it is not in my blood. I'm one of these that if I need milk I go get milk and do not see the millions of bargains between the front door, the milk cooler and the register. Hubby goes in to get a gallon of milk and comes back and hour later with 20 grocery bags of stuff - and there are just the two of us! Well that is one of his vices- we know what mine is!

We have been blessed with wonderful weather for this weekend and then the bottom is supposed to drop out.  Weatherman won't make a commitment on snow for Christmas yet but it is what it is and a much Greater Power has control over that stuff.  We'll adjust and be thankful to be here to participate.  We recognize each day how blessed we are and even more so during this pandemic stage of our world.


We are in the proofing stage of our next new pocketbook!  I can't wait to share details with you but you must be patient with me.  Hopefully next week I can share more.  


I need your help. Is there interest in doing this cutie for an online class?  

This is Jeweled Puff Hearts.  I have been asked to consider as a project. As with most designs now it would take 8-12 weeks to get the canvas but that doesn't stop us from making plans. There may be some shops that have this in their stock so keep your eyes open.  You would be ahead of the game.

If you are interested in the class you must let me know right away and it will require a deposit of $100 so we can get the canvases ordered for those needing assistance.  Email me at and we'll get to work right away.  The class would not start until at least Fall or Winter 2021. 

Just considering the name of the design makes all kinds of things happen in my head - 'Puff' oh my just gotta do some dimensional stuff right?  'Jeweled' - look out! The beads and sew-on gems are going to be all over the place.  I already see bugle beads  and I've never seen the canvas in person. The design is listed as 14" x 14" on 18ct canvas.


BESTIES from Duo Designs is gonna be the new kid on the block.  She is one of the Long Neck Friends Series of canvases. She and her Friends - Girl Friends, DragonFli, and Best Friends were introduced at the virtual market just passed.

Such cuteness.  Well we already know she has to be somewhat fuzzy - right?  But look at those adorable eyes!  Full of wonder and love.  Eyelashes ain't so bad either.  Whatever will we do with that purple hair bow on the side and polka dots no less!  Then look perched upon her beak.  Her best buddy - Froggie. This class will probably  be four sessions and is slated to begin mid-February (mid-March at the latest).  The costs for the sessions packet is $150.  So email us to get on the notification list and get those canvases ordered - I see some shops have begun calling and ordering so going to be lots of fun!  Email

This coming week we will begin our first lesson in the Felting on Needlework class being executed on the adorable Spring Welcome bunny from PLDesigns.

Everyone has their canvases and kits and are ready to begin.  I'm excited to share this class of felting, appliquéing, beading and stump work with them!  YAY!

January brings another new class to the forefront.  Two by Two from Strictly Christmas. This piece has been such a joy to stitch.  

The plan is for each pair of animals to have their own session.  A couple of the smaller ones will share but the point is that when a lesson is done - that section and another pair of animals on the project is done! 

We are featuring the next adorable pair on the Ark- the Hippos!  OMGoodness such hugeness, I mean cuteness.  Who doesn't love a purple hippo?

The next new class on the agenda is Raymond Crawford's American Train.

The first train is scheduled to hit the classroom mid-March.  Now here's the catch.  The painters have promised to try and have the canvases out by mid-March.  We have personally reserved 10 sets and some are already spoken for so don't drag your feet on this one if interested.  Let your shop know so they can get them ordered as well.  

        A little caution here - the USA car was designed specifically for this class but we did not
        request an exclusive (I don't like to do that) - so when ordering make sure to ask for the
        USA car and not the wreath car.  

The reason we are starting the class mid-March is to allow time to have them finished by the 4th of July hopefully.  That means the 6 sessions will be covered approximately one lesson every 2 weeks.  The 6 session packet for this class will be $175.

That's all the new class activity for now.  Let me know your feelings about the Jeweled Puff Hearts so we can get the wheels in motion on this one if there is enough interest. As always, it is your call!

ETSY shop -  DuoDesignsbySandra        

From the activity in the online shop you can tell people are sticking close to home and browsing the Internet.  For those of you who do not know, this shop is where we market our Stitch Guides.  There are a few odd and ends canvases but these are extras from classes we have hosted and when they are gone they are gone.  No reorder type of stuff there.  Also no DuoDesigns, Inc. canvases are retailed here.  You must order those through your LNS.

Okay, I have a pair of animals to get stitched and determine the threads so the shops can prepare.  Until next week please stay safe and healthy!