Saturday, November 24, 2018

THANKSGIVING has come and gone - already.

 I think we have officially gotten to the point of 'passing the torch' on to the next generation.  For years we hosted the huge Thanksgiving festivities at our home - including overnight guests, etc.  We loved every minute (and hard work) involved.  Grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, close friends, siblings occasionally, etc. Over the years with some of our older relatives moving on to a better place and the younger ones growing into a life of their own, and friends families expanding their own events, the attendance numbers continually diminished.  It got to the point where it was so difficult to try to get a group together from far and wide that we finally threw in the towel and accepted the fact that we were going to need to downsize in that department and realize that others had extended families now that they must appease as well.

So, this year, our daughter and son-in-law - totally without a request - decided that they would have us at their home for Thanksgiving.  Now keep in mind that to my husband Thanksgiving is the works - turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans in some form, corn pudding, cranberry salad, macaroni and cheese, rolls, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc., etc., etc.  No small task.  But I will add that Teresa and Mark did a fabulous job!  You would have thought they were entertaining an army (well we might eat like one so . . .).  Food was everywhere.  And for her first turkey - she aced it!  Great job.  We had a wonderful quiet time and visit with our children and it was a rare occasion to be able to all spend time together with their hectic schedules.  Thanks again Teresa and Mark!

Of course, afterwards we had to have our cut throat games  -  right?

So now with Thanksgiving behind us another year, that means that Christmas is just around the corner!  Boy this year has really flown by.  We are in the process of putting up our tree.  What used to be a full day just for the tree in our younger days has now become a week's chore.  We have cut back tremendously on the decorating too but still need to have some.  Mainly our tree and the fireplace - my favorite.  It always looks like a carbon copy because I always do it the same - I know, I'm boring.  Next year I might add the 12 Christmas Stars to the garland - we'll see. Here's last year's picture.  You can appreciate why I can get lots of stitching done as I look into this -my feet are on the coffee table in the bottom left corner - stitch, snooze a little maybe, look at the fire, repeat.

This week I shared Session 9 on the long-running Arctic Parade design.  We worked on the Moose.  I must say I really like how he turned out.  I think he is quite handsome and BIG!

Don't forget to register for any of the upcoming Online Mystery Classes that pique your interest. They are always fun.  email interest to me at  You can scroll down to the full agenda on 9-1-18.  The link is on the right column but I have lost the link somehow.  Maybe I'll get it figured out soon - if anyone has a hint how to fix it I am open to suggestions.

And be sure to follow us over on our secret FB page Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures.  We are full speed ahead for our upcoming Mediterranean Stitching Memories 2019.  There are so many choices on this upcoming trip. This one is a little different as you pick and choose the excursions you want and pay accordingly.  Lots more flexibility going this route.  Trying something a little different.

I'm so excited about this adventure.  I have already put paint to canvas for one project.  It is a secret, of course, so I won't be showing it but I know everyone will just love it!  Just email our travel agent Liz at with any questions on the travel part.  Would love to have you join us.

So off to finish the tree, light the firewood in the fireplace, stitch away when I can, and hope you all enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2018


You know these postings are getting closer and closer.  So close sometimes that it is scary!  We just started some of these and here we are almost finished with many.

We bid farewell to Moon Gazer, a Brenda Stofft design.

This was an experimental class with a couple of others where we offered to do the lessons every other month instead of monthly.  I think once we are through all these I will go back to the traditional once a month type class except for the special Quickies, etc.

The Pipers are Piping loud and clear on the Raymond Crawford Christmas Stars series.  Can you believe only one more to go?  Unbelievable.

How about those bunnies in Every Bunny Loves Some Bunny from JP Needlepoint?  This time we feature Miss Flower Power.

It is no secret that I am thoroughly enjoying stitching these cuties.

Then we have the third session of the Raymond Crawford Reindeer Series - the Candles Blanket.

Busy month!


We are taking registrations for the upcoming January 2019 Classes - the Penny MacLeod piece - Dana - Life of the Party.

We'll also introduce the first of our new Butterfly Quickie Series from Burnette and Bradley

We hope to share one a month of these 8 beauties.  Each class is all inclusive - handprinted canvas, thread, embellishments and stitching instructions - all in one package!  And we strive to keep each kit $150 or under.  Email to join us at

And the last of the Raymond Crawford Reindeer - Poinsettia Blanket- will begin.

Remember to look at the link on the right for the 2019  Online Mystery Classes Agenda if you would be interested I joining us.  -  For some reason this link isn't working now so scroll down to 9-1-18 posting for the full 2019 Scheduled Agenda.


It is still hard to believe that Stitching Down the Danube is now over and only fond memories.

I so loved my group.  Had many repeaters and several new to our adventures that were special additions as well.  What a great way to see different parts of the world with wonderful people feeling safe and looked after and all have the love of needlework as a gluing foundation!  We have many couples join us and many singles - some even pair up and share a stateroom.  Lots of possibilities.

Please try to consider joining us on our next journey - Mediterranean Stitching Memories 2019.  We will be doing a different cruise line as we need a slightly larger boat for the Mediterranean Sea than our favorite riverboats. But Azamara has the fantastic Pursuit at our disposal and we have heard nothing but great things about her and the company's service.

Join our Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures Facebook page and shoot off any questions you might have regarding travel to our agent Liz - - or stitching questions to me at  We'd so love to have you join us. 

Okay, gotta start thinking about Thanksgiving I believe!  Have a great one everybody (as I stare frowning at the snow on the ground - brrrrr!)

Saturday, November 10, 2018


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 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 for anything to do with traveling and me for the stitching part at  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


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!