Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Again!  YAY! 

Okay, it sneaked up on me.  I have nothing for my blog today.  I can recap some of the upcoming Online Mystery Classes for those of you who have recently joined us and are not familiar with these projects.

Upcoming mid-October we have:

Lesson 6 of Songbirds by Danji:

Lesson 6 means this will complete these beautiful birds and we will be looking to add another new design soon.

Lesson 4 of Cupcakes from BB Needlepoint:

These cute little cupcakes are affording us the opportunity to play with many different threads, embellishments and techniques.  Stay tuned to see what we will be sharing next.

Lesson 3 of Steampunk Cat from Brenda Stofft:

Background is done and we move on to lots of different techniques.

Lesson 2 of Santa Wreath Ornament from Raymond Crawford:

Like Cupcakes above this design gives us the opportunity to experiment with lots of different techniques, threads and embellishments.

In the near future we are adding to our Online Mystery Classes:  Registration Ongoing

Gingerbread House from Rebecca Wood:

Steampunk Witch from Brenda Stofft:

Moon Gazer from Brenda Stofft:

Reindeer Series from Raymond Crawford:

Snow Happy Trio  from Love You More:

Christmas Stars - 12 Days of Christmas from Raymond Crawford:

The wonderful Series from JP Needlepoint - Catitudes, Dog Gone Good and Every Bunny:
In addition, we have some ongoing projects that do not have deadline schedules.  These include Arctic Parade from Brenda Stofft:

And Professor Hooty from JP Needlepoint:

In between we squeeze in some fun Quickies from various designers.  They are smaller projects and are dealt with in a two-lesson schedule.  Stay tuned for what's coming up next in that venue.  In the past we have had USA Star, Eagle Star  (Raymond Crawford) and Uncle Sam (Pepperberry) .

 And, of course, the icing for it all is our upcoming Riverboat Stitching Cruise 'Party on the Po" which will begin October 19,2017!  Almost here!

Once we begin this adventure we will be taking registrations for our next Riverboat Cruise 'Stitching Down the Danube', October 2018.  For more information on these adventures follow our Facebook page Needles 'N Fins.  A brochure has been downloaded with the pertinent details for you to review. We'd love to have you join us.

The Online Mystery Classes generally - not always - involve 6 months of lessons - one lesson posted mid-month.  Most 6-lesson packets are $150 and are invoiced through PayPal.  Lessons are posted in a secret Facebook page.  If you are interested in participating in any of these classes or have questions, please email me at

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Can you think of anything more fun or relaxing?  Well, anyway, based on a lot of discussion out there I thought I'd throw in a plug for the classes I'm teaching at the ANG Seminar in DC held in August 2018.  Apparently registration will be open to first come-first served and participants don't know quite what to expect as yet as the class descriptions and/or pictures are not ready for posting on the webpage.  So, all I can share with you are the 3 classes that I am responsible for.
              Come on folks, these are volunteers who have a life and just finished with
              a major seminar.  Give them a little breathing room.

I am teaching 3 classes, all techniques.  The first I'm sharing is an encore and it is called Can Do Hairdos.  This was taught in ANG Seminar 2016 in New Orleans and was well attended.

We will stitch as many hairdos as we can in the 1-day time frame.  The stitch guide provided will be the Can Do Hairdos book.  I think the following is the description that will be in the brochure.

"What can be more fun than playing with hair all day? We will create hairdos for all ages!  Techniques such as stitching, ruching, couching, padding, twisting and knotting will be covered. Threads include such delights as Wisper, floss, silks, wools, etc.  A canvas sampler will be created in class.

Proficiency Level:  All
Design Size:  Sampler
Kit Cost:  $80

Kit Contents:  11” x 16” Line-drawn 18ct canvas, threads for exercises and complete instructions"

I will be providing a canvas that has rectangles drawn for playing with the different hairdo techniques.  There will be extra rectangles for more experimenting if desired.

The second and third class are the same but broken down into either a one-day class or  you can sign up for two-days.  That gives you a little flexibility of your time.

Stitching  Solutions

With Sandy Arthur

Puzzled by a particular technique?  Hit a wall on what to do next?  Wondering where to start?  This one-day workshop may be just the solution you are seeking.  Bring your design problem to class and discuss possible solutions.  Is it the thread?  Is it the color?  Is it the stitch?  Is it a mental block?  Stitch at your leisure and ask questions as you need assistance.  Share in brainstorming various parts of  different designs as plans are discussed with Sandy and possible solutions are agreed upon.  Store these ideas away for some possible projects in your future or currently in your stash.

Here's how it might appear in the listings for the classes:

So I would love to see you in DC to play with our needles f2f! If these are of no interest to you, there are a wide variety of class offerings so please try to be patient with your volunteers as they try to manage through some very large changes in the system right now.  Sometimes we tend to forget that these members are just like us who love to stitch and love our group but additionally they offer up (volunteer) their time to try and help the organization continue to be a viable one.

Now, back to what is going on now here at Duo Designs. 

 I am less than a month away to host the exciting riverboat stitching cruise Party on the Po.  Everyone is getting really antsy to get to Italy and start playing big time.  Our tickets and travel packs arrived yesterday and we are sooooooo ready!  Margarita Pizza!  Gelato!  Wine!  Pasta!  Oh, and beautiful scenery and wonderful historic spots as well.  My biggest goal is to see The Last Supper painting.  We have tried before but something always interfered.  Hopefully this time we will be successful.

One of my really big concerns is to make sure I do not drip my gelato on my needlework!  Other than that, I'm good.  I have so much to share with this group and I can't wait to dive in.  There are 50 actively in our stitching group and some non-stitchers as well so we will have a lot of new friends to add and stitches/experiences to share, etc.

On this cruise as well, our travel agent, Liz of Viking Travel, has decided to join us (boy she has no idea what she is in for!).  But she is sharing with us all the news about our upcoming 2018 cruise - STITCHING DOWN THE DANUBE.  Four (4) countries!  WOW!

The brochure has been loaded in the files section of the Facebook Page - Needles 'N Fins.  If you would like to keep in touch with what is going on just hop over.  If not already a member of that closed group just request to join and we'll get you fixed right up. Or email me at and I'll send out an invitation to you to join the group.  No obligation.

Liz will be sharing lots of discounts and specials for those on the current tour and who will make a commitment while in Italy.  There will be more specials to follow I'm sure as Viking Travel is always giving us some new carrots to chase after and I don't think this cruise will be any different.  We will be on a new, larger ship - River Beatrice - and I can't wait to enjoy what she has to offer.

With four countries on the itinerary I am trying to focus on what will be an exclusive canvas for the trip. I may have to do more than one.

Must be off and work on those Online Mystery Lessons because mid-month will be here before I know it and between those and the cruise I am a bit busy.  LOVE IT!

Happy stitching and have a great week!


Saturday, September 16, 2017


Yes, this week our Viking Travel Agent, Liz, posted our itinerary for the 2018 Stitching Down the Danube riverboat stitching cruise!  We will visit 4  countries right in the heart of Europe.  How exciting!  Mark your calendars!  October 21 - 31, 2018.

River Beatrice

We will begin our adventure in Prague, Czech Republic  and spend 2 nights in these fabulous surroundings.  Touted as one of the most beautiful and romantic locales of Europe, the skyline offers up spires and turrets galore. And, we will begin our first stitching by having a class with me on an exclusive design created just for this trip.  From Prague we go to Nuremberg, Germany and board our ship. We leave Nuremberg and cruise the Main Danube Canal - 16 locks - then arrive in Regensburg.  Next day we cruise through beautiful Barvarian countryside going to Passau, Germany.  The most leisurely day on the trip will be onboard as we pass through wonderful scenery.  More stitching opportunities, or just hang out and have a massage.

We will arrive at Spitz, Austria  going through beautiful gorges through the Bohemian Mountains.  Stroll the village , enjoy wine tasting or visit the Melk Abbey.  Next, on to Vienna!  (The brochure tells us that Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here.) There will be a city tour with Vienna state opera visit or an exclusive "Vienna, City of Arts" tour.  And there is a private early-morning viewing of the acclaimed art collection of the Kunstkammer Vienna.

On down the river a bit we come to Budapest, Hungary.  The Danube divides the city into the old and the new - Buda and Pest.  Then sadly, we will depart Budapest the next day and head by home.

If you would like to keep up with the happenings, see the exclusive needlepoint piece (s) that are created and learn more about this adventure, come join us over on Needles 'N Fins.  There will be a full brochure there in the files for you to review the itinerary, the staterooms,  and the various prices. You must request to join this Facebook page as we do not want to assume everyone has the same interests as we - lol.
Email me at and we'll see to it that you can follow along.  Once registered we will have a secret Facebook Page just for the cruise participants.

 The riverboat offers such an intimate setting.  It is so peaceful and relaxing and has an ambience that cannot be enjoyed on the larger cruise ships.  The River Beatrice is a new ship and slightly larger than  River Countess that we will be cruising next month on the Po.


And, boy am I in trouble. Raymond Crawford has really outdone himself at this market!  Or at least as far as I am concerned he has.

First we have the Grinch!  Or as Raymond refers to it 'Who Has the Joy?' How do you say no to the Grinch?

A stitch guide is well on its way - more to follow.

As if this wasn't bad enough, look at those wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Stars.  These guys have made it to the Online Mystery Class schedule for 2018.

I'm seriously considering them for the Quickie Series - 1 a month beginning January 2018.  Let me know if you would like to join me in this adventure.  Email me at  I'll provide more information as I decide on the various threads and embellishments. 

And, yesterday was mid-September so that meant posting lessons for the ONLINE MYSTERY CLASSES.

The Songbirds from Danji has Lesson 5 distributed this month.

She seems so regal to me for some reason.  

Lesson 3 was shared in the Cupcakes from BB Needlepoint.

This is one of several cupcakes that was included in the lesson.

Steampunk Cat from Brenda Stofft received Lesson 2.  

We worked on more background and some pumpkins this time.

And a new design was added this month!  Santa Ornament Wreath from Raymond Crawford.

Lesson 1 had several ornaments included in the mix.  I'm sharing one with you here.

There are so many wonderful ornaments in this design that it is difficult to pick one.


I have received some delightful pictures from some of the ladies of the Piney Pointers Chapter.  They had me come teach to their Guild in May 2017 the fun Heloise Hooty from ACOD.  They are really cranking out these gals.  They have also graciously allowed me to share their end results with you.  Thank you ladies!  I thoroughly enjoyed the class and the wonderful environment.  Always love to come to LaTorretta Resort in Conroe,TX.

Galia Moral has her Heloise back from the framer already!


                                                                        Chris Hook


                                             Mary Schumaker


Aren't they all pretty?  Great job ladies!  I love my students!


ANG Encore! 2018

I am fortunate to have been asked to teach at this great venue.  2018 this will take place in Houston - April 7-8, 2018.  We will be teaching an exclusive design just for us by Leigh Designs - Beijing Butterfly.

A REMINDER:  One of my upcoming retreats is teaching at the Winterthur Museum in March 23-25, 2018 in Delaware - registration is active now - do not be left behind.
When I was approached and asked if I would teach at Winterthur Museum, the carrot for me was that youngsters from 10-18 could attend the retreat at no cost and could learn along with their attending adult.  To me, this was HUGE!  If you are a parent of a youngster in this age range, how could you not take advantage of this opportunity.  We need to get our youngsters more involved in our passion for this art and what better way than create a memory of attending a retreat with Mommy or Daddy? This retreat is embracing all skill levels. 

I will be teaching the class for Fruit and Flowers.  We will be doing techniques such as thread painting, reverse chain, round Rhodes, stem stitch, buttonhole, Cashmere, leaf stitch, and many, many more.  Design is stitched using beautiful silks.  I am sharing a sneak peak of one of several flowers showcased on the canvas.  

For details visit:

This Retreat is hosted by Art Needlepoint.  I was attracted to this venue when invited because of the inclusion of our youth.  The brochure states that participants may bring a youngster between the ages of 10 and 18 free of charge to attend class with them.  And the youngster will be given a canvas upon which they may try stitches to learn as we go.  Isn't that fantastic?  For more details check out the various links that are available.…
Here's an early registration link:
Contact Art Needlepoint right away to make your reservation.  And even more exciting plan to bring a youngster along to share the experience.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


This past week spent with my sister has really pulled our riverboat stitching cruise to the forefront.  And it has made me realize how close we are to heading to Italy! Party on the Po is in full swing!

When we started planning this stitching cruise it seemed ages away.  Not so!  Lots to do in putting this together and I have loved every minute of it.

I have gotten everything in order to the point where I have been able to reclaim our guest bedroom.  Don't have any guests but have a bedroom in case.

Well, that's not entirely true.  I have now placed on the bed the suitcases that my husband and I will be taking to Italy.  I have a phobia about overweight luggage and things get kinda testy at my house when hubby starts packing 10 pairs of slacks and I need that space for my stitching and class stuff.  Really!

But once we are on the plane and there is no last minute adjustments I completely change.  It is what it is and we will have a fantastic time.

Special order ornaments have been shipped.

Custom ribbon tassel kits have been made and shipped.

We'll have fun with these  - lots of other combinations as well.

And the exclusive design for the optional class kit has been packaged and in the participants hands ready to mount on the stretcher bars and hit the ground - Italian ground that is - running!

I am going to love sharing these ideas with my students as we enjoy the surrounds of Italy - Oh the scenery, the music, the food, the gelato, the art, the history - and on and on - did I mention gelato?

But as we wind down one wonderful adventure, we begin work on the new.  

Check out our Stitching Down the Danube! trip scheduled for October 2018!  Join us at the Facebook page Needles ' N Fins for details as they develop.  Our Viking Travels agent will be sharing all the particulars on the voyage in Italy and will be offering up some early bird specials that we don't want to miss.  This riverboat is a little larger than the Countess we're taking down the Po but we will still have the wonderful calming journey of gliding down the river and the intimate setting that the smaller riverboats provide.  So personal!  Love it.

In the meanwhile, I'll work on the Online Mystery Class lessons that are scheduled to post next week!

Have a great week and keep all our friends in harm's way in our prayers and thoughts - Washington, Oregon, Montana, Texas, Florida - much, much going on placing many in danger.