Saturday, February 29, 2020

FEB 29

End of February already!  Yep!  That's what the calendar shows.  Next week we head to LaJolla, CA for the annual Needle Nook of LaJolla Retreat.  Always a wonderful adventure.  So many canvases and so many techniques, ideas, new friends, visiting already friends (notice I did not say old), and all in a beautiful location.

Etsy Shop - duodesignsbySandra

We have lots of stitch guides for many of the fantastic Leigh Designs canvases.  Check them out.  Don't have them all posted as yet but we are working on it.

There is Christmas, Halloween, Lovely Ladies and much, much more.  Check it out.

Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures

Are you following Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures?  There is no cost and it is a private group - only those who ask to be there are present.  Here is where you learn of some of our upcoming stitching adventures involving mostly riverboat stitching cruises.  Be sure to ask to join as we will soon be sharing information about our upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Adventure!  Not a riverboat but we are limited to what we can do for this adventure.  Only one cruise line provides the island hopping so . . . Promises to be fun and beautiful.  Stay tunes.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z Sampler - free weekly stitches

I love this stitch!  It is so magical when using 2 colors or 2 textures, wherever your imagination takes you.

Next week's blog may well only be the stitch of the week.  We'll be very busy so just be forewarned.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

FEB 22


NAN Assembly is March 20-24 in Troy, Michigan. The online brochure erroneously listed one of my classes - Winter Cardinal - as being on Congress Cloth. It is actually painted on 18ct. Although registration is officially closed I have been given permission to accept a few more students in this class if more want in. Just contact us at NAN registration or email me at Must receive by March 8.


Oh boy! Oh boy!  Canvases have arrived!  YAY!  Our optional class kits are being finalized!  We have invoiced those who expressed the desire to take this class.  Kits will be mailed as ready and as payments are processed.


                         THIS    +   THIS  +  THIS   =   THIS!
There is still time to join in this class if you wish to participate.  Otherwise be sure to bring a doodle cloth in case you want to experiment.


We will be off soon to Needle Nook of LaJolla for their annual retreat.  Always so much fun and almost like an annual reunion as so many return each year.

After LaJolla we teach at the NAN Assembly.  Although registration closed mid-January I understand that it might be possible to still get into some classes.  Don't give up yet if there is a class you would like to attend.  This event is held in Troy, Michigan on March 20-24.  Lots of fun and diverse classes!

I just notice a terrible oversight on my part on my Winter Cardinal class.  In the brochure the ground is shown as Congress Cloth which is incorrect.  The ground is 18ct mono canvas.  You can still get in this class if you would like to join me in Troy.  (I can 'borrow' a kit from the next schedule of classes for this guy.)

Go check out the classes and registration form at

April, of course, has our Tulip Time on the Rhine riverboat stitching adventure.  Sold out and can't wait.

Then in May we head to Florida.  The Black Sheep in Orlando is taking registration for two classes we are teaching.  First is a 2-day techniques class on hair!  This is May 14 and 15.

On Saturday and Sunday we play with Wacky Flamingos!  Boy does the name fit this design!

We play with silks, ribbons, beads, funky threads and funky stitches!  Fun, Fun, Fun.

Contact Anne at and sign up to play with us.

In August we head to Tucson and teach at the ANG National Seminar. This is held August 6-10, 2020.  Registration opens in just over a week - MARCH 2! Wow!  That is just around the corner!

Flags of Glory will be taught on August 6 and 7, 2020.

We have ribbon, beads, wonderful threads and techniques to share.

Crazy Quilt Journey is taught on August 8 and 9th.

Again there will be ribbons and beads.  This piece is named because of the stitches used - places such as France, Netherlands, Paris, etc.   Visit the site and be sure to register early beginning March 2!

From the ANG Seminar we go directly to Minnesota for a retreat beginning August 12.  We will be teaching a couple of one-day techniques classes:  Conventional Techniques using Unconventional Resources and Can Do Hairdos.  We will begin the retreat by opening with Winter Cardinal for 2 days, Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday and Saturday will be for the techniques classes.

September we hope to be able to participate in Destination Dallas this year.  We have tried to do so for a couple of years now so maybe this is the year!  Fingers crossed!

And in October we have the opportunity to help introduce a new adventure.  A Maine Retreat right on the Coast in the Fall nonetheless!  This promises to be such a beautiful escape and we are very anxious to participate.

Register right away as there are limited spots! You also need to cast your vote for the pieces you'd like to see offered for classes.

ETSY Shop - duodesignsbySandra

Felting is becoming more and more popular as people become more comfortable with it.  I introduced needle felting on needlework in some of my classes many years ago.  One of the most popular designs was the Wizard of Paws design by Brenda Stofft.  The cat was totally needle felted except for the eyes.  Many do not know that there is a great variance in wool roving.  My go-to roving is distributed by Clover.  It is beautifully soft and works well into the needlepoint design.  Go have a look at the colors we have available in our Etsy shop - duodesignsbySandra.  Also have some of my favorite tools that we use in class listed as well.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z Sampler freebie

This week we share the horizontal variation of the Greek stitch.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

FEB 15

Valentine's Day !  We used to make our valentines with paper doilies and red construction paper.  Our teacher could buy enough supplies for every student to be able to make multiple valentines for the amount of money one spends on one store-bought valentine today.


Today is the magic 15 number!  We share our February sessions with our students.

First up is At The Seashore from Sandra Gilmore.  This month we worked on the flooring.  I love, love the rug!

Fall Welcome Wreath  made its debut this month for its first session. We completed the background in a solid stitch for those who like such coverage.  Gotta mix it up a little because I tend to use a lot of open background.

We threw a little excitement into the mix when we worked on the wreath.  

Some new challenges for the stitchers on this section of the canvas!  I'm willing to bet you haven't seen a wreath like this one on a canvas! What fun!

Registration is going well for the next classes in que.   Mid-May will have the introduction of a new class - Kissmas Eve.

Lovable Llama registration is for his class which will begin mid-July.

                    Both classes are going to be 6 sessions and the lesson packet is $150.

Bathing Beauty  now has a name:  Just Add Water:

I suspect t this gal was chosen because of so many similarities to the first one Just A Sip and the desire to have a companion piece to hang as a pair.  There will be several duplicate techniques for those who took the first class.  I notice there are several new people too so these will be new to them.  

Two by Two - by Strictly Christmas

WOW!  Would you look at all the work we are going to have on this precious piece?  I understand it is off to the painters.  I can't wait to get my hands on one. Wherever will we begin?

Once I get this piece broken down into sections I will have a better feel for the number of classes I want to present it in -- gut feeling is at least 8 - maybe 10 max.  More later!  Anyway we are starting a list of those who want to be notified when the class starts.  At the moment this cutie is slated for mid-September.  Send your desire to join us to


We are excited to be teaching at NAN in Troy, MI.  Hope you got registered and we will see you there.

In May, after we get back from the Needle Nook of LaJolla retreat and after our Stitching Cruise down the Rhine we will e hosted by The Black Sheep in Orlando.  We have a 2-day techniques class and a 2-day project class.  Just look at these fun guys!


The response to the Maine Retreat is very, very exciting! Have you placed your vote in the poll yet?  Visitors who register are asked to mark their first, second and third choices for their class time at this fantastic venue. Be sure to register early as space is limited. Can't wait to see what you have chosen for possible classes.  I, of course, have a few that I am partial too - Peanut Butter and Jelly, Summer Rain and the Row Boat just to name a few and, and, and . . .

The feedback I am getting has Peanut Butter and Jelly with a slight lead!  Be sure to cast your vote!

There's gonna be lots of thread painting on these guys.  I also see some ribbon involved as well as beads! Threads are on their way to be auditioned for our fun time in Maine!


Each week brings a reminder that we are getting closer and closer to our wonderful stitching riverboat cruise Tulip Time on the Rhine.  Our agent kindly reminded us that we need to get our registration in with the cruise line - UniWorld.  Check!

I also got word this week that my painted canvases will be on their way shortly!  I am so excited!  I'll be sending invoices this coming week for those who want to participate in this optional class. Still time to join if you don’t want to miss out.  A wonderful reminder and memory maker!

Windmill and Tulips

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

I love the activity my shop is experiencing.  It is great to be able to place some of these class surplus items into the hands of others and get them out of the drawers where they become obscure and forgotten.  Be sure to hop over and check it out - there may be something there you are looking for.

Currently we have one canvas left from The Songbirds by Danji and one canvas for the current Online Class At The Seashore by Sandra Gilmore.

The major purpose of this shop, however, is to share various Stitch Guides with those seeking them.  Each week I try to go back and add another from the archives.  Slowly the inventory is building.  But at least they do provide instant gratification in that they are downloaded right away.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z Sampler 

These weeks are just zooming by!  Hope you are enjoying the sampler.  I am not getting much feedback so don't know if it is worth the time I am investing in providing these or now.  We'll just wait and see.

Weekly free stitch share.


If using stranded threads for this stitch it is very important to lay the threads to get a beautiful finish.  This stitch makes great baskets, blankets, solid backgrounds, etc.

Saturday, February 8, 2020


Our weather here in Central Kentucky is enough to drive you batty!  One day you freeze and the next day you think it is spring.  One night we have a fire in the fireplace and the next day hubby is sweating as he shovels the ashes.  Then the last few days it has been raining and foggy. Today we have everything snow covered and dreary.  I have heard 'them' say that if you don't like the weather in Kentucky just stick around a couple days and it will change totally.  That has definitely proven true this past week. Go figure.

I had a little hiccup this week.  I ended up in the hospital with the flu of all things.  But not the viruses going around today, no I had to be different.  My strain is the 2009 strain. I always knew I was running behind but didn't realize it went over in my health category also.

Exciting News!
We are going to be teaching at a Maine Retreat in October!  I can't wait.  October!  Really!  Leaf peeping on the coast of Maine!  What beauty are we going to encounter.  And it sounds so quaint and cozy!  I am bursting at the seams for this great face-to-face event.  Go look it over.  If you register you are requested to select class choices by first, second or third.  There are some very pretty and diverse designs so there surely is something there to interest you.  I'm kinda partial to Summer Rain and Peanut Butter and Jelly (sweet donkeys) - who can't love those faces! And the location!  I'm over the moon!  The coast of Maine in October. Check it out and come join us.  Here's direct link in case there is an issue with getting through below:

Spaces are limited so jump on this right now.

Before we head to Maine we are doing the exact opposite!

March 6-9 we are fortunate to be teaching at the Needle Nook of LaJolla annual retreat once more.  This is always a sold out event and such great fun.  Keep your eyes open next year for any possible openings as soon as registration is open. Attendees get first choice to pre-register than after that postings are made for any open positions.  I believe they do make a wait list also.  Great event.  You are well taken care of - they do it up right!

April is our Tulip Time on the Rhine riverboat stitching cruise - also sold out.  Check below for more upcoming travel details.

May 14-18ish we will be in Florida!  We will be visiting The Black Sheep in Orlando and teaching a couple techniques classes and this wonderful Wacky Flamingo by Amanda Lawford for a 2-day project.
Contact Anne at The Black Sheep and get signed up!  We are going to have a great time.

Then after Florida we are heading to Tucson for the ANG National Seminar where we are teaching the Crazy Needles Journey because of stitches named for various countries/nationalities - French, Dutch, Paris - and Flags of Glory.  Both these projects offer ribbon, beads, silks and many beautiful threads and techniques out the wazhoo!

Go to under events - seminar - and register.  We'd love to have you join us!


Next week we will be sharing stitches in our current classes, At The Seashore by Sandra Gilmore and Fall Welcome Wreath by PLD designs.  All invoices have been forwarded and processed.  All invitations to join the FB group have been sent to those who processed payment.  If you believe you have paid and did not receive an invitation to join the group please email me right away to  If you paid and did not receive your invitation to the secret Facebook Page please email me right away at (get that, same address, hmm). Don't want you to miss anything.  Session 1 for At The Seashore has been posted and thread list and legend has been added to the Fall Welcome Wreath group getting ready for Session 1 in a few days. Yes, you may still join us if you desire.

We have active registration for Kissmas Eve

Lovable Llama  (be still my heart)

Noah's ark

                                 PICTURE SOON - WORTH WAITING FOR!

Bathing Beauty 


Well everyone is busy in this group.  We have been selecting our excursions, deciding what to bring to play with (I mean stitch on), waiting for us to send you your invoices for the kits and getting the kits out.  On the travel side also it is time to double check that you have registered with UniWorld.

Conversations are back and forth with Hawaii and excitement continues to build.  We are still waiting for hotel information from the cruise line - more on that later.

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

Have you checked out our Etsy Shop at duodesignsbySandra?  We have been bringing over more and more stitch guides to the selection.  There are also surplus canvases from previous classes and some of my favorite items that my students cannot readily fine such as the great quality roving wool from Clover!   Right now JP Needlepoint's bunnies, kitties and doggies are running up front in the stitch guide category.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z Sampler

Free stitches for you to experience. New stitch posted each weekend.


Here I have used two different thread colors.  You could also use maybe a metallic and silk for different textures.  A good stitch to give you a directional focal line. Play!

Until next week - be sure to check out Maine!  It is a wonderful opportunity and a new venue.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 1

Really?  February already!  Here we go 2020!  Don't forget Valentine's Day!


We completed another in the Butterfly Quickie Series this past few weeks. As each one is completed and added it becomes more difficult to decide which we like the best.

This gal displays her sew-on gems on her wing tips as she flutters along.  Glass tube beads have been added to the mix along with size 11 and size 15 seed beads.  There are only 2 designs left in the series for us to complete.  For those who have missed out and are interested there are a few canvases available along with stitch guides. (I do not have the full set and would have to order for missing ones if requested.)  Email us at  Scroll back to older files to view the ones that have been done so far.

Up next is this cutie:
And then this one last but not least.
Online Mystery Classes
I am very excited about the upcoming lineup for 2020.  As always we have lots of fun pieces to pique our creative juices.
At The Seashore by Sandra Gilmore has the wallpaper completed. See last week's post for the stitched area. I can't wait to share the flooring with the participants in a couple weeks.  I love it and I think they will too!

The first session for Fall Welcome Wreath with Scarecrow from PLD will also be shared.  This lesson includes the background and a very out of the box technique for the wreath.

 Joining us soon will be Kissmas Eve from PLD Designs and the delightful Loveable Llama from Gayla Elliott.  Registration is in progress for these guys.  If you would like to join us just send an email to and ask to be placed on the notification list.  They promise to be fun! 
Interest is brewing to add another Saturday Night Bathing Beauty to the line up.  This will be later in the year - probably Fall.  So far we are looking at this cutie.

Just email us at to join and if there is enough interest we will place her on the schedule.

BULLETIN!  I am so excited that Strictly Christmas shared a new design with us.  It is just the cutest Noah's Ark.  Wait until you see all the animals - and there are even hippos!  So excited!  It will be approximately 3 months before we get the canvas from the painter so I'll try to add it mid-September.  The design is 13.5" tall and 10.5" wide.  We have zebras, turtles, lions, birds, giraffes, yaks, elephants, bears, mice, penguins, piggies, cows, sheep and of coarse Noah.  Oh gosh, every time I look at it I see more - frogs and doves too and a beautiful rainbow.  Can't wait until the painting is completed to share with you.  Be sure to mark this one down.  I'll see if it is feasible to do in 8 lessons - might have to stretch out to 10 to do it justice but we'll have to wait and see.  Just stay tuned!  Precious, precious, precious for those little one's rooms. Of course you may register anytime for the class - it will be either $150 - 175 and begin mid-September.  Send email to

Etsy Shop - duodesignsbysandra

We are trying a new category in our Etsy Shop.  I shockingly discovered that I have more stitched models than I will ever use and more than my family can use as well.  Tragically they have come to live in some dresser drawers.  So I made the difficult decision to let some of them go.  While I love them and loved stitching them I feel it is a shame to have them stowed away in a drawer.  It dawned on me that there are people who might enjoy them so the new category was born.  I am listing items that have been completely stitched as well as some items that are mostly stitched but still need some finishing stitches done.  All areas have stitching on them for the class demonstrations.  For instance Steampunk Witch just needs the rest of the trees stitched, and areas of her skirt.  Most other major areas are stitched.  Anyway just watch and who knows maybe something will strike your fancy along the way.  Oh, I have not signed the pieces so that would be between just you and me if you get my drift.

Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures

Our time for this adventure is being consumed with class preparations and deciding what excursions we want to take.  Since they are included in the price a few years ago we took them all.  Mother Nature has told us we need to be a little more selective now and realize that we can't do it all.  That does not stop us from soaking in the beautiful scenery, smells, sights, cafes and shops however. We somehow manage to find a few things we just must bring back with us.

We are working on class kits for the optional exclusive class - Windmill and Tulips - as supplies dwindle in.  Once everything is received the kits will be mailed to those who have signed up for this fun piece.  We'll be doing a plethora of stitches and techniques.  In additional to silks we are going to play with ribbons and metallics. All you need are stretcher bars and personal stitching items - such as magnification.  Lighting on the ships is generally great with no need to pack a light.

Still time to join us - just send email to for details. I'll start invoicing this weekend so watch for a PayPal invoice if you have signed up.

Kits will be mailed to individuals in plenty of time to get your personal stitching supplies together and get your canvas mounted on your stretcher bars.

Pay it Forward - Hearts A to Z Sampler

I have always liked this stitch. It is a great background stitch as well as fill for certain areas. The main difference in this stitch and a tied oblong cross is that the vertical stitch is much longer and tends to provide more coverage.

Well, I typed a bunch of stuff but I don't know where it went!  Anyway I said to stay warm and dry if you were experiencing weather similar to what we have here in Central Kentucky.  Until next time . . . remember to stitch with a smile!