Saturday, April 25, 2020

The end of April is drawing very near.

Many years ago on this day I was full of vim and vinegar!  I couldn't find enough floors to mop! We had a 4-room house at the time. I was very restless and energetic.  My mother was visiting with us at the time and she was watching me like a hawk.  Finally she could stand it no longer and demanded of me ' Sandy, are you in labor?'  Well, h_ _ l, how was I supposed to know?  I had never been pregnant before and I was a mere child myself.  Anyway, sure enough the energy began to be replaced with pain.  By daybreak we were now a family of three.  Happy Birthday tomorrow to our beautiful daughter, my bff and my business partner Teresa! We are very proud of you and the woman you have become!  Keep up the good work! Love you forever!


During these trying times of being quarantined or self-isolated it is more important than ever to keep our minds active.  How lucky are we to have such a wonderful passion of needlework.  We are very fortunate to have fantastic shops that are there for us as well.  And feeding these shops are the fabulous thread distributors, canvas manufacturers/distributors, designers and creators.  Please place orders during this time so that our wonderful suppliers can keep going.  As a teacher/designer I have had no problem obtaining needed product at this point.  My shipments have been timely - which surprised me.   There are a few that have taken longer than normal but not many.  I believe the reason is because of limited hours for those few.  So don't hesitate ordering that wonderful thread that you think might look good on that particular spot on your canvas design!  Your LNS can use your help and will thank you.


In a few short weeks we will have our first posting for the ever cute Kissmas Eve canvas !

Still time to sign up!  The shop has put together the kit materials and is ready to help those who need assistance.  If you join the class the materials list will be posted in the secret Facebook page so you can browse your stash and visit your LNS if fortunate enough to have one.  Sure they may be closed but you can always call or email your order.

Don't forget Lovable Llama from Gayla Elliott designs in mid-July, Two by Two from Strictly Christmas in mid-September and Just Add Water from CBK Designs!

WOW!  Still lots of fun and excitement for 2020!  

Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures - private group for stitching journeys

I think the dust is settling from the cancellation of our Tulip Time on the Rhine stitching cruise as most people have gotten their funds for the cruise part taken care for the most part.  Many of you chose to slide over to our Tulip Time on the Rhine 2022 and we thank you very much for doing so.

In the meanwhile, we are gearing up for our Hawaiian Island Hopping Stitching Adventures.  This trip is slated for April 15-24, 2021. Some of us are going in a couple days early or staying over a couple of days extra as well.

Now, as many of you know the travel agents have a couple major setbacks going on currently.  First many have had to cut back staff drastically and work with a skeleton crew; or have had to shut down their office completely; or have agents working from home.  Next they are absolutely covered up with trying to mitigate the damage caused by this virus to recover for their clients as much travel dollars as they can - be it cruise ships, vacation villas, side excursions, air fare and/or insurance.  The point is please, please be patient and we will get through this!  I know not as quickly as some would like but remember that we do have staterooms reserved and they will not be sold until we release them.  Some are saying the NCL is stating over half full already.  So browse through the brochure, day dream, and email with your wishes.  Please copy us at so we can follow up for you. Russ (our agent) is on furlough and not currently able to work with us.  We have had several already send in their reservations which makes us very excited. If they (your paper work) are at Platinum Travel they will be processed once the offices reopen.  Our Governor has not allowed that to happen as yet.  Like many states we are in lockdown for self quarantine.  We have been requested to wear masks when outside our homes - but more importantly not to leave home unless for health reasons or essentials such as groceries and medicines. Things are predicted to ease up a little beginning next week or so - but, baby steps.

Now, if we could get the canvas painters back to work we will be able to breathe a little sigh of relief!

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

Time to share another super, duper special as our Blog Special for the upcoming week. Needle felting is really becoming more and more popular in our medium.  I taught how to needle felt on canvas many years ago and was almost run out of the country for such an idea!  But it has prevailed.  I fear that many do not have access to the wonderful wool roving that is out there and must depend on the big box stores.  This week we are featuring the wonderful roving wool distributed by Clover!
 Once you work with this fantastic wool you will wonder how you ever managed with the rough texture and unappealing colors offered by the big box stores.  Hop over the the shop - DuodesignsbySandra - and give these beautiful wools a try.  The blog special this week is free shipping on purchase of any 3 packages of wool. Free shipping will not apply to orders that contain tools or items other than wool roving. When taking advantage of this offer email us at and request a custom listing and notify what your color choices are.

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


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Spring is in the Air (I think!)

One week the crocus and phlox are peeking out and the next there is snow!  Maybe Mother Nature is trying to keep us entertained during this time of confinement. Yesterday we saw a pair of Goldfinch. My goldfinch have been gone for 2 years.  We were very excited!  Doesn't take much to excite me and the beautiful birds feeding at our feeders entertain me throughout the day. I can see them out the corner of my eye where I stitch so it is easy for me to turn my head and enjoy them for a period of time.  I especially love the male cardinals and watching how they take care of their ladies.  The little chickadees and titmouse just flitting all over the place are also a joy.  The woodpeckers concentrate on the suet trays. We are also blessed with an annual visit of a rose breasted grosbeak but they don't linger and usually only stay for about 3 days.  But we still love seeing them and glad they visit with us on their journey. We use seed that attracts songbirds so we don't see many bluejays, red winged blackbirds, doves at the feeder but they do hang out on the fences and barn roof taking it all in. Sometimes they come in for cleanup as the grounds crew.


Lessons were posted this week for our Online Mystery Classes.

At the Seashore by Sandra Gilmore has a ton of stuff going on.  This week we concentrated on the two smaller tables, the various items on the tables and the books on the floor.

The Fall Welcome Wreath with scarecrow has started getting more color.  This session we included the purple mums and the red and gold zanias or marigolds (I am not known for my flower knowledge.)

Registration continues to go well for Kissmas Eve and Lovable Llama.

This precious couple is joining us mid-May for the first session.  That is next month!  YIKES! They are so cute and I love working on them.  Yep, you can still join us by emailing us at

Lovable Llama

Okay, this sweetie has created a little rumbling in the classroom.  I see this as a devil may care young man feeling his oats and being quite frisky as he flaunts around in the herd.  However one of my students see this as a cute young lady with her tassels on her ears and her colorful necklace.  Hmmmmm.  This class is scheduled to begin mid-July.  If you want to play with us just email us at

For our 2021 Online Mystery Classes we have added the patriotic Raymond Crawford American Train series.

 These 3 guys will likely be at least 8 sessions.  We'll see once we get the canvases to study.  I'm thinking of stitching each car independently but at the same time there will be common threads and stitches that go from one car to the other.  The current plan is to have this begin mid-January but a lot depends on how the painters will fare after the quarantine is lifted. If you are interested in being added to the notification list (no obligation) send email to

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

It seems the limited time sale went pretty well so I'll try to continue to do it.  I am going to call it a Blog Special.  The limited time will usually be for one week in duration (unless I forget to remove it - yikes). So tomorrow I will remove last week's special if there are any left and post a new one. That special is of the travel canvas class from a couple years ago cruise down the Danube by guest designer Kate Dickerson.

This week's Blog Special feature is a canvas of which I only have a very few. So it is first come-you get it.  It is the wonderful Songbirds from Danji.  This online class featured a lot of bling and some different stitches for many of my students.  As with last week we will include a stitch guide for a very limited time with purchase. The stitch guide alone is an $85 value.

PAY IT FORWARD - Hearts A to Z Sampler - Free Stitch


Stay safe and well all!  Stitch to occupy those empty hours!  We are surely on the downhill slide!

Saturday, April 11, 2020


Who would have ever thought?  We aren't too bad as this is quite similar to our normal lifestyle when I am not traveling on the road.  The fact that we've had pretty nice weather also helps because Hubby can get outside in the yard and piddle around and play on his tractor.  My norm is stitching of course.


Before you know it we will be sharing another series of lessons for the Online Mystery Classes.  Coming up this week will be:

At The SeaShore -  Session IV

 We will work on the side tables with their accessories and the books on the floor.

Fall Welcome Wreath with Scarecrow - Session III

This week we feature the purple flowers and the orange/red flowers. I choose to call them mums and marigolds but what I know about flowers you can put in the lid of a soft drink.

We continue to concentrate on registration for our Kissmas Eve - first lesson mid-May.  Invoices have been sent and processed.  Still time to jump in! Email us at if you did not get your invitation to the secret FB group.

 Lovable Llama:

This adorable design is 12x12 and on 13 ct canvas.  It will be 6 lessons with the 6-lesson packet being $150.  First session scheduled to start mid-July.  Email us at to be added to the notification list.  No obligation.

 Two by Two:

Waiting for the canvas for this wonderful design.  Don't have any little ones to make it for?  How about considering a donation to the local hospital, favorite nursery, Ronald MacDonald House, etc.  Not only can you enjoy the fun of stitching these cuties but feel the enormous satisfaction of cheering up someone's day.  

And Just Add Water:

This will be a companion piece to the Just a Sip by the same artist we recently completed.  There will be some duplicate stitches/threads to stay consistent so should be fairly easy for those who took the first class. All with be new for those just enrolling.

ETSY SHOP - duodesignsbySandra

We have a few surplus canvases that we over ordered for our classes.  I always order extras for those who change their mind at the last minute, etc.  We have marked down some and some we have included a free stitch guide for a brief period of time.  Is the canvas you have been watching one of them?  Hop over and see!

It is our goal to highlight something in the Etsy Shop but I have managed to forget it each week. Here is one of the featured canvases with a free stitch guide for a very limited time!

This is a Kate Dickerson design for our fabulous adventure down the Danube (typo in ordering number - lol).  Kate shared with me that this is her rendering of an abandoned castle on the River.

NEEDLES 'N FINS STITCHING ADVENTURES - Facebook Group of interested traveling stitchers

The travel industry is still in an upheaval trying to sort out changes, rescheduling, refunding, crediting, etc.  In the meanwhile our Tulip Time on the Rhine was rescheduled for April 2022 and our Hawaiian Island Hopping has its first brochure available.  Email us at if you cannot download the copy in the Needles 'N Fins Facebook group. Several have begun the registration process and have forwarded their deposit to insure a hold on their stateroom of choice.  Our agent - RuthAnn at Platinum Travel - will be happy to assist you with this process.  Keep in mind that they are on skeleton staff and very much overworked so try to be patient -

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


This is one of my all time favorite stitches.  It is great as a background stitch, filling stitch, etc.  It can be stitched in different angles, double and triple sets, etc.  Play!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

We made it through April Fool's Day - I think.

Here on Arthur Acres we managed to have another uneventful week for which we thank God!

Needles 'N Fins Stitching Adventures

Since our sold out Tulips on the Rhine riverboat stitching cruise was cancelled, our agent managed to get it moved to March/April 2022.  We will have more details as we get closer to the time.

Hawaii brochure has been made so if you would like your own copy email us at or go over to Needles 'N. Fins Stitching Adventures and get it from the files.

Please keep in mind that the travel agents are up to their armpits in alligators right now so try to be patient.  Most offices are closed - some allow work from home, others do not.

Online Mystery Classes

Invoices are being processed for the upcoming class Kissmas Eve.

If you think you are enrolled in this 6-lesson class and did not receive a PayPal invoice just email me right away.  If you would like to join us you may do so by sending an email to and ask to join.

Next up will be our Lovable Llama!  We are taking registration now.

Down the road:

 Tentatively mid-September 2021

Tentatively mid-November 2021

Face-2-Face Events

As things stand now, all f-2-f events have been cancelled or postponed up to August.  Stay tuned!

Pay it Forward - Hearts A to Z Sampler - Freebie


I chose to use different textures on this one.