Saturday, March 28, 2020

Is the dust going to settle anytime soon?

In Kentucky our numbers continue to rise.  One note of encouragement was that day before yesterday we had 50 new cases and yesterday we had 54 new ones - quite a difference in the speed of acceleration.  However I am not one to put too much on the numbers.  How many tests are being conducted?  How many results are coming in?  How many have the virus and don't even know it? I fear we are just at the tip of the iceberg - and I'm an optimist!

Hubby and I have been self-isolated since at least 3-18-20 and I have been even longer than that and we don't mind at all.  We did get in the car and drive to the bank drive through one day for a change of scenery.  We walk to the mailbox and back each day which is a whooping acre+ - lol.  Mailbox at end of the looooooonnnngggg winding driveway. Don't want to overdo it. We're not 'isolated' just cautious of the idiots amongst us.  Who knows - maybe they were in that beach mob in FL!

We have now had the pleasure of adding the wonderful experience of ordering our groceries online and having them delivered.  That exercise in itself has been quite entertaining.  I learned the hard way that you can request 'no substitutes'.  Did you know that a gallon of milk is a viable substitute for 2 cans of Carnation evaporated milk?  Who knew?  Live and learn.


We have had some unseasonably warm days (high 70's) so hubby has been able to get out on his tractor and mow.  In other words he is in heaven.  I sit and do what I always do - stitch and write. We never have been much social butterflies so it hasn't been all that difficult for us. Pretty much life as it is except for the eating out every now and then and just getting in the car and running here or there as we please - not.

Peek behind the saucer magnolia and he is behind the tractor wheel banging on something - lol.

I do hope you all take this situation we now find ourselves in very seriously.  I look at it as an event that if we screw up we likely won't get a second chance to make it right.  I still have a lot I want to share with you so Sandy's butt is staying on Arthur Acres!  Please stay home and take care of you and yours.


With all the news conferences and orders and regulations and-and-and going on I did not share the last lessons with you.

On our Fall Welcome Wreath we added more background - this time in the form of various leaves.

At The Seashore gave us the window scene.  That in itself was a canvas!  

We had sky, clouds, water, sand, seagrass and even the architectural touch of the window framing! Phew!

Registration is still active for Kissmas Eve.  We will start sending invoices out for this cutie sometime in the next week or so.  The first scheduled lesson is mid-May so don't miss it.

Also being registered is the Lovable Llama!

I cannot help but think this is a stinking cute guy!  Look at that personality.  He's has those eyes that look deeply into yours with promises of who knows what.  Look at that seductive smile drawing you in even more.  And of course he has style!  He's not afraid of color or flaunting his assets!  This is going to be great fun!  This class is scheduled to begin mid-July.  The 6-lesson packet is $150.  We will be invoicing around the first of June on this one.  Just email us at to sign up for classes.  Get that canvas ordered through your LNS.  If you need assistance we can direct you to a shop that will be ordering and kitting as well.

Face-2-Face Events

Gosh!  Who knows. We've had so many cancelled. Currently registration is ongoing for the ANG Seminar scheduled for August in Tucson, AZ.  We are scheduled to teach and are praying that life will be returning to normal by them. Check out the classes offered at Lots of wonderful options.  Of course I'd love for you to join my classes if they are to your liking.

May has us teaching in Orlando, FL at The Black Sheep.  We're doing the hair techniques class and then the project of the wonderful Wacky Flamingos.

Contact Anne at the shop for details.

NEEDLES 'N FINS STITCHING ADVENTURES  - ask to join the Facebook Page

We are exploring the possibilities of rescheduling the Tulips cruise for sometime March-April 2022.  But there is a lot going on and we seem to be moving at a snail's pace.  We'll keep you posted on the FB Page - Tulip Time on the Rhine.

On a much sunnier note - the brochure for our Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Adventure has been released.  I think it might need a little tweaking but at least the agency has been able to provide us with the important stuff so we can plan.  We have several already registered and that is encouraging.  Here's the thing, apparently with all the cruises that were canceled people are scrambling trying to get ahead of everyone else to get the staterooms they want.  So keep that in mind when considering this cruise.

The trip begins April 15 through April 24, 2021.  I'm going to try and copy the header from the brochure and insert below so I don't mess it up:

The cruise begins with 2-nights in Honolulu, followed by 7-nights on the Pride of America! 
Only Norwegian Cruise Line visits four islands in seven days with overnight stays in Maui and Kaua'i, so you're on an island each and every day. Which means you'll have plenty of time to hike up a waterfall, take a helicopter ride over an active volcano or just enjoy stitching under a palm tree. Who wouldn't want to spend 7 days on a cruise to explore paradise?
 Enjoy special amenities when you book a balcony stateroom, including an unlimited open bar, shore excursion credits, 3 nights of specialty dining, wifi credit, and a $100 onboard credit! An optional class kit for an exclusive design will be offered. Those wishing to do so may bring a project from home and seek assistance if desired. '

As stated in the brochure there is an optional class kit.  It is at the painters as we speak.  And, like the rest of us, the painters have been quarantined too.  So we wait.

As it stands now, Norwegian has not released the hotel at which we are staying.  As soon as we have that bit of information we shall share it.  We can still select our staterooms and make plans while we await that announcement. Gives us something positive to think about and plan during this world upheaval.

To discuss the trip particulars contact our agent Ruth Ann at Platinum Travel here in KY.  Her email is .  Please keep in mind that they, too, are understaffed at this time.  In KY we have a mandatory business shutdown and the travel industry falls into the unfortunate category of that group.   However, this does not stop us from planning and getting our ducks in a row.  You can register, pick your stateroom, etc. for now as we look forward to a wonderfully peaceful, colorful, warm and relaxing stitching adventure.  I hope you choose to join us.

I'm so glad I do not work in the Travel Industry at this time!

PAY IT FORWARD - Heart's A to Z Sampler - freebie

Here's this week's freebie stitch.  I am so happy to see more and more designers jumping on the band wagon to share ideas with you.  And to think we've already been doing it for what - 12 weeks and this go round?  And a couple years ago we shared stitches every Wednesday - anybody remember that? Sheena James, Mary, so many have been doing it continually for quite some time.  Technology can be great sometimes (when it works).  Explore and see what you find.

The Leaf stitch is so versatile.  This can be used for leaves (kinda obvious), backgrounds, fills, accents, etc.  Have fun!


Saturday, March 21, 2020

What a different world we are sharing today!

Who would have thought 2 months ago most of us (at least those in my age bracket) would be sitting at home, self-quarantined, enjoying our time without feeling guilty that we should be 'out' doing something?  While it is a very scary time it is also a peaceful time.  I have been quite ill with a cold!  Very annoying! My doctor graciously phoned in an antibodic so I would not need to come in. I'm sure  because I had no fever, chills, dry cough nor recent exposure to the listed countries had a great deal to do with his willingness to do so. Especially since I am considered to be in that 'vulnerable' group as well.

I'm sure you think this must be the greatest of problems especially since all I want to do is sit and stitch anyway.  Well there is a deal breaker in this scene.  My eyes will not focus!  I keep drops in them because they get so dry, etc.  So here I sit looking at my wonderful floor stand with mounted canvas needing my attention and I can't see the holes.  I have magnifying lights of every size and description - no help.  It is very frustrating.  A truly sad problem to have - right?  Wrong! In the overall scheme of things I do basically have my health, my hubby, family and I could go on and on about my bountiful blessings.  The Lord is good to me and mine and I don't want to sound like a complainer! So, this is not a whiny fussing, it is just a statement of what is going on here at Arthur Acres.

Hubby and I got a beautiful, generous gift from our children.  They insisted on providing us with Home Chef and stated that this means we cannot leave the house maximum of 1 time a week.  We also had our neighbor check on us via phone to see if we needed anything.  Keep in mind that we are still in an agricultural zone so we are not within 'hollering' distance of each other so it is great to have them call and  reconfirm what we already knew - they are there if we need them.


Things have drastically changed in the world of Needles 'N Fins as well.  As I told you last week our Tulip Time on the Rhine stitching cruise was cancelled by the cruise line.  What a mess!  A blessing but a mess nonetheless!  We cruisers are so out of control here.  It is hurry up and wait.  It seems that in this new situation most all cruise lines have a policy of providing cruising credit - not a refund!  Disappointment #1 for many.  Next because of the volume involved the travel agents apparently are not moving quickly enough for some cruisers.  Third is the airlines - what a nightmare.  And fourth is the insurance.  Personally I know there is nothing I can do - or what I can do for my personal situation (and I, too, am a cruiser) may upset the apple cart of what the travel agent is trying to accomplish on the group's behalf.  So we sit and wait as she works through the logistics and frustratingly wait for feedback from the various suppliers they deal with.  Oh my gosh!  Think of all the side trips, the days of extension, the various upgrades, and on and on.  I am getting a headache trying to imagine what they are going through.  So I have been asked to wait as they try to work their magic as we still have time on the cancellation clock.

They are trying to have a group rescheduling.  This may not work for many but at least it could be an option.  Otherwise we will need to explore various options individually as the opportunity presents itself.

Just try to be patient!  That is very difficult when we are actually talking $$$$.

On a more positive note, our Hawaiian Island Hopping Cruise had its introduction ad appear in the recent issue of Needlepoint Now.    April 15-April 24, 2021 is the date to mark down.  This stitching adventure promises warm sunshine, cool breezes and lots and lots of color!  We will explore Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii (aka The Big Island).  Contact Russ at to get yourself registered for this next adventure.  We will be sailing on the Norwegian Pride of America.  Slightly larger than we generally travel on but if we want to hop the islands it is our mode of transportation!  We hope to spend 2 nights in Honolulu, one day of which will be an exclusive class.  Canvases are at the painters as we write this!  There will be so many options available on this wonderful way to visit all the islands of our very own Hawaii!


Nightmare #2.  Domestic events are being cancelled left and right.
Our wonderful NAN Assembly to be held in Troy, Michigan had to be cancelled.
The Spring trade show in Orlando, FL had to be postponed.
The Royal School of Needlework summer classes here in the US had to be cancelled.

All the above events were bringing in a multitude of stitchers from all over so I can see these precautions were necessary.  Many individual, smaller events are still being held and are reviewed on a day-by-day basis.

Our next event is in Orlando, FL at The Black Sheep.  This will involve a small group and, to date, will go forward as planned. We will be sharing two classes for participants to sign up for.

First is the techniques class of Can Do Hairdos.

The stitch guide for this 2-day class with be the book from our Pocketbook Series. There may be some additional surprises as well.

The second 2-day class is the fun and colorful Wacky Flamingos from Amanda Lawford with our stitch guide and different approach.

Craziness abounds with these guys.  There are crazy threads, crazy techniques, bling from threads, beads and gems!  You don't want to miss this one.  Contact Anne at The Black Sheep to reserve your spot.  Space is very limited!

          Contact Anne at and sign up to play with us.

Next on the agenda will be the ANG Seminar scheduled to be held in Tucson, AZ in August.  We are teaching several classes there and would love to have you join us.  Registration is now open! Don't wait too long to register!

We are teaching the Crazy Needles Journey  -  Journey because of stitches named for various countries/nationalities - French, Dutch, Paris.  Our second 2-day class is 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!

After Seminar we go directly to a private event in Minnedsota.


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 is my hands down favorite.  Look at those sweet faces.

          The beautiful coast awaits us.

Be sure to register right away as spaces are very limited.


Next new class to be added to the agenda will be Kissmas Eve.  

This sweet. couple will have its first class to start mid-May.  Invoices for the $150 lesson packet will be mailed in early April.  Watch your email boxes if you have indicated an interest in the class.  There is still plenty of time to join so just email us at  Be sure to have your LNS order your canvas and get ready for the posting of the material list in the secret FB page.  If you do not have a LNS and need assistance I will be working with a shop that will kit exactly what we list and use ourselves for the design.  You may request that we provide them with your contact information so you can work together getting the materials you may need.  I am not involved in anyway with the relationship between you and the shop.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z - Hearts Sampler - free stitch each week

Last week someone (cough! cough!) messed up and posted the wrong stitch.  So, to save face we decided to just post 2 stitches and move on. We should be back on track now.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

March 14

Gosh that week in LaJolla sure did fly by!  Weather was wonderful and it was great getting to see everyone again.  Next year will be here before we know it.

Since returning home much has happened and events have drastically changed.  NAN Assembly in Troy, MI cancelled; the wholesale market in Orlando canceled and near and dear to my heart, the Tulip Time on the Rhine Stitching Adventure was cancelled.  Like everyone else we sit here waiting to hear options, developments, etc.

I have very mixed feelings about these cancellations.  I always look forward to the events that I contract for - if I didn't I wouldn't schedule them.  So like many of you I am heartbroken that things have turned out as they have.  We can all speculate that in a month it will all blow over - but . . . what if it doesn't?  From that standpoint I am relieved that others made the tough decision for us to stay home and try to stay safe.  Hubby and I are in that 'elderly' category where we have been warned to not travel.  I, however, would have been right there unless forced to do otherwise.  Hubby maybe not so much.

So we sit here - stitching as usual - but feeling confused and unsettled as we await word for our next move.  Delta has asked not to be contacted unless flight is within 72 hours so that is on hold for a couple days as my next flight was set for next week, March 19.  I was looking forward to a lovely friend picking me up at the airport and our maybe sneaking off for a fun dinner before starting the formal part of my trip.  But it is for the best and something to be considered in the future.

I am so sympathetic to all those in the travel industry!  I cannot imagine the nightmare they are all going through and I ask that those involved in any of my events please try to remain patient with them as you have been.  They so appreciate it.


Almost time for our Online Mystery Class lessons to be posted.  Seems like we just posted these a few days ago!

Second lesson for the Fall Welcome Wreath
At The Seashore has the third lesson to be shared.

Registration is very active for Kissmas Eve which is scheduled to begin mid-May:

Lovable Llama will begin in mid-July

Two by Two mid-September hopefully:

Just send an email to if you would like to be added to the notification list for any of these classes.  No obligation.  About a month prior to the class you will get an email stating that invoices have been sent to those who expressed an interest in the class.  If still interested just pay the invoice - if no longer interested just ignore.  Once invoices are processed you will receive an invitation to join a secret Facebook group.  There the first draft of materials will be posted and you'll begin meeting others who are joining the class.  Lessons will be posted to this group according to the schedule of that particular c lass.

ETSY Shop - duodesignsbySandra

I am amazed at how many people do not read postings in Etsy thoroughly.  For instance, we state that the item is a Stitch Guide in the heading (listing), we state that it is a Stitch Guide in the description, we state that it is a Stitch Guide only and state that since PDF downloadable format the purchase is non-refundable as we have no way to determine if in fact the product was downloaded.  I get at least one-two emails a week stating they thought they were purchasing a canvas or a full kit.  I am at wits end trying to figure out how to be any more plain or direct as to what is offered.  Oh well always a challenge - keeps life interesting.


As stated above our Tulips cruise has been cancelled.  So we turn our thoughts to our next adventure.

We have our ad in the recent edition of Needlepoint Now for our upcoming Hawaiian Island Hopping Cruise.  This is going to be such fun.  We are 'forced' to use a little larger ship (approx. 2200) because there is only one line that does a cruise to all the islands.  But I'm sure we can adjust this one time! Brochures are being finalized.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z  Sampler - Free weekly stitch


For my square I chose a metallic and a plain thread.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

OOPS!  Apparently I did not post last weekend so we skipped the letter 'I'.
Here it is for those who caught it right away!

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z - Free Sampler

As promised here is your free stitch for the week.

I Stitch