Monday, May 9, 2022

Ornament Diamond Drops - Updated 5/9/22

May 9, 2022--Now there are three.  I've just stitched ornament number two, but this time with white thread on gold paper.  Here it is:

Ornament Diamond Drop Two with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed

Ornament Diamond Drop Two with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed Side View

Ornaments Diamond Drop One and Two with White Thread on Gold Perforated Paper

The left photo below is ornament number two stitched with gold thread on white perforated paper.  My next ornament will be number one stitched with gold thread on white perforated paper.

March 30, 2022--Now there are two.  I completed stitching the gold Diamond Drop Ornament on white perforated paper with gold threads and beads (the piecing of the paper is explained below on 3/24/22).  I'm very happy with how both look and plan on stitching another set but do the opposite--stitch Diamond Drop One with gold thread on white paper and Diamond Drop Two with white thread on gold paper.  They both have lots of sparkle with gold and white beads.  Here are some photos:

Diamond Drop Ornaments Two (gold on white) and One (white on gold) Completed

Diamond Drop Ornament Completed

Diamond Drop Ornament Two Side View

March 24, 2022-- This project has been fraught with issues--not getting the right size bugle beads, one of the gold threads is too light for the project, AND the white paper for ornament number 2 sent as part of the kit is 18 count, not 14 count as needed.  The second ornament I partially stitched (blogged about it below on 2/19/22) is on 18 count paper--too small for placement of the kitted beads and won't match the size of the first ornament.  I wrote Kurdy Biggs, the designer, about this and she told me she had to order 14 count white perforated paper since all she had was 18 count.  To date that paper hasn't come in.  Glad I ordered some from eBay and received it a few weeks ago.  I also ordered a darker gold thread RG Elegance 901 to replace the RG Elegance 900 included in the kit.  Kurdy tells us she could not find color 901, but I had no problem ordering it.  

So that's three worthless items paid for in the kit--wrong size perforated paper (needed 14 count white, not 18 count as sent), wrong size beads (needed 6 mm white bugle beads. not 12 mm as sent), wrong color thread (needed RG 901, not RG 900 as sent).

Then I made a monumentous error in stitching ornament 2 on the correct size 14 count paper.  I must have been asleep when I calculated how low to start stitching on the left side, wanting to have enough room for another ornament on the right side.   Below is a photo of how much I stitched before I realized what I had done--duh!

Ornament Diamond Drop 2 Problem--Too Low

So I took the paper off the stretcher bars, cut off a few inches from the top and taped it onto the bottom to add length.  Then remounted it on stretcher bars.  Yes, that did the trick.  The edges won't show when stitches are done and the paper is cut to the ornament's shape.  BTW, I normally stitch "in the ditch", but because I needed access close to the stretcher bars on the left side to maneuver my needle when working up the Jessica stitches, I'm stitching this project "above ground", so to speak.  And yes, I do use a lot of tacks--keeps the canvas (or in this case, paper), from stretching.

Ornament Diamond Drop 2 Problem Fixed

Ornament Diamond Drop 2 Problem Fixed and on Stretcher Bars

February 19, 2022--Have begun stitching the Diamond Drop Ornament number two--gold threads on white perforated paper.  The designer of this project, Kurdy Biggs, had to swap out a number of threads in the kit I ordered from what was used to stitch the project photo, so what I have are threads that are a lot lighter than the original ones (see project photo below).  I think darker gold would be more dramatic but am not going to repurchase threads and perforated paper to start over.  I'll live with what was sent as part of the kit.

I changed the order of stitching.  We are instructed to stitch the Bracket Crescents (upper and lower stitches) first then stitch the Center Rhodes inside the Bracket Crescents.  I've learned from experience to always stitch the inside design first, then do the outside stitches.  Otherwise, you're unable to locate where the needle should go up and down because the outside stitching covers up a portion of the inside area.  Hope this makes sense.

Ornament Diamond Drop Gold Part 1 Closeup

Ornament Diamond Drop Gold Part 1

February 11, 2022--Completely finished the stitching of one Diamond Drop Ornament (white threads on gold perforated paper).  Love the shine and dimensions of the different threads and beads.  

Had one problem, though--the designer, Kurdy Biggs, wasn't able to send the 6mm bugle beads called for in her stitch guide when ordering the kit for this project--instead, she sent 12mm bugle beads which are waaaay too long for the project.  Fortunately, I had the right size in both the white and gold bugle beads in my stash, so it's not a serious problem.  Hopefully she'll be able to order the right sizes for future kits she sends out.

Next up:  stitching the ornament with gold threads on white perforated paper.   There's enough room on each sheet of paper, and I have enough threads to reverse the colors, to make a total of four ornaments.  Yay!

Ornament Diamond Drop Number One with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed Closeup

Ornament Diamond Drop Number One with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed Side View

Ornament Diamond Drop Number One with White Thread on Gold Paper Completed

January 27, 2022--I have had the pleasure over the last two years to work on ANG's Stitch of the Month (SOTM) projects with the NJNA Chapter.  This year is a little different.  Rather than work on the 2022 SOTM designed by Kurdy Biggs, I chose instead to stitch her Diamond Drop Ornaments (one in white on a gold background and another in gold on a white background) being offered as an ANG Workshop by Mail.  I love these ornaments, having done three others offered by Kurdy which were published in the 2015 November issue of Needlepoint Now Magazine (click here for more information).  Like those 2015 ornaments, this project is stitched on 14 count perforated paper.  

Luckily for me, a few NJNA Chapter members are also working on this project and/or others designed by Kurdy Biggs and have formed an online monthly stitch-along group called KBZers (Kurdy Biggs Zoomers).  This is going to be fun.   I divided this project into 12 sections (6 months for each color) so that I'm not feeling overwhelmed.  So far, I'm a little ahead of schedule and my progress to date is below.

Ornament Diamond Drop Number one with White Thread on Gold Paper Part 1 Closeup

Ornament Diamond Drop Number one with White Thread on Gold Paper Part 1

Below is a photo of the project as designed by Kurdy Biggs.

Ornaments Diamond Drops Designed by Kurdy Biggs Project Photo

1 comment:

  1. That's some journey! Looking forward to seeing more.


Saturday, May 7, 2022

Heart My Patriotic - Updated 5/7/22

May 7, 2022--This patriotic heart worked up quickly, especially since the groundwork had already been done by Vicki T (silver outline and horizontal separation line).  The stitches were fun and as always with Nancy Cucci's designs, the beading makes it all pop.  

My Patriotic Heart Completed

April 29, 2022--In 2020, I purchased this project from the estate of an old friend and co-member of the Northern Virginia ANG Chapter.  She and I were seminar roomies for a couple of years, and I miss her dearly.   

This heart, designed by Nancy Cucci, is called My Patriotic Heart and is just the kind of piece I like to work on.  Nancy's instructions are very detailed and easy to follow.  Below is a photo of what my friend had stitched while taking this at an ANG seminar class years ago.  It'll be a pleasure to finish it for her.

My Patriotic Heart Partially Stitched by VT

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Bargello Fun - Updated 4/26/22

April 26, 2022--Done the stitching on this really pretty bargello project.  I'm imagining this as a purse with a Kumihimo cord and shoulder strap and two large tassels on the right and left bottom corners.  How cool will it look with dark wash blue jeans and a white blouse.  

Bargello Fun Completed

January 30, 2022--I have the blues and am loving it.  The blues I'm talking about are in this project and look wonderful.  The first quadrant of Section 2 is done and actually worked up quickly.   Please ignore the "thread spaghetti".  Will deal with that in the next quadrant.

Bargello Fun Section 2 First Quadrant

January 5, 2022--Getting well into the new year now.  Lots of planned stitching to do, but for now, this is the project I'm very much enjoying.  I believe I've completed about 50% (this calculation includes the time it took to work up the outline in Smyrna stitches).  So here it is with the center and Area 1 completely stitched.  Loving the blues.

Bargello Fun Center and Area 1 Completed

January 1, 2022--Happy New Year!  Wishing everyone the best in 2022.

I've started stitching a new project being led by Delaware's Seashore Chapter member Pat vdA called Bargello Fun designed by Carol Algie Higginbotham.  It's taken from the ANG Chapter Project Book for 2015-2016.  So far, I've stitched the outline done in Smyrna Cross Stitch.  

Bargello Fun Outline Completed

I'm not stitching this in the pink colorway as shown in the project photo.   Instead, I've chosen to work this up in blue colors listed below.

Name/Type Color Number Color Name

DMC/Floss 791 12-13 V Dk Cornflower
DMC/Floss 797 12-11 Royal Blue
DMC/Floss 798 11-07 Dk Delft Blue
DMC/Floss 799 11-06 Md Delft Blue
DMC/Floss 800 10-03 Pale Delft Blue
DMC/Floss 809 10-04 Delft Blue
DMC/Floss Blanc White

Now on to the fun part of doing bargello stitches.

Here's a photo of the project as stitched by the designer.

Bargello Fun Designed by Carol Algie Higginbotham Project Photo


  1. Miłego wyszywania !Czekam na postępy,chętnie będę oglądała.Ładne kolory dobrałaś.
    PS. Przepraszam piszę po polsku bo nie znam angielskiego.Posługuję się tłumaczem internetowym żeby przeczytać Twój tekst

    1. Thank you for your nice comment. I also use a web translator to read your comments. It works very well. Happy New Year.

  2. That is a lot of Smyrnas!! You are working on all those projects? They are on bars? How do you decide which to work on in a given day? By the way, I stitched Bronze Purse but never "finished" it - can't decide what to do with it. I have Fire and Ice on bars but haven't pulled it out in a while.

    1. Ah, I can tell you looked at my In Process Projects page. All of them are on stretcher bars with various amount of work done on them. I choose projects by whimsey or chapter commitments, not worrying about what's not getting done. My Fire and Ice project languishes still and I'm not sure I'll ever finish it. The Bronze Purse is definitely one that I want to get done now that the Let the Good Times Roll purse is finished. As far as my Planned Projects, most of them are fully kitted and mounted on stretcher bars. I'm slowly weaning them out by selling what I know I'll never get to--tastes do change. You should see my "dream list" of projects I would love to stitch that I have on Pinterest. Posting photos there instead of actually buying and kitting up those projects has saved me a ton of money. LOL.

  3. Too many on bars cause me anxiety. Process, Planned, and Dream projects! Good way to handle them especially the Dream projects. Thanks for sharing.

  1. Love the blues too!!! Great piece - looking forward to your progress.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Peyote Beaded Needle Case - 4/23/22

April 23, 2022--While on a Rhine riverboat cruise a few weeks ago, I learned a new technique taught by Sandy Arthur, the trip's host, called peyote beading.  She designed this adorable needle case cover as a trip memento and taught us how to work up the peyote "stitch" and cover a wooden case.   I had always wanted to learn how to do peyote beading, but there are no local bead shops near me for classes in Delaware, so assumed it would never happen.   The results are far from perfect, but I'm pleased nonetheless.

Peyote Needle Case Finished Side 1

Peyote Needle Case Finished Side 2

Peyote Needle Case Finished Bottom

Peyote Needle Case Before Finishing

Friday, April 22, 2022

Stacked Rectangles - Updated 4/22/22

April 22, 2022--Last January I mailed this bright and colorful project to Rittenhouse Needlepoint in Philadelphia for them to finish into an acrylic serving tray and got it back a few weeks ago.  I love it.  I made the Kumihimo cording with 4 colors of ribbon (dark blue, turquoise, burgundy and gold) and it complements the rectangles beautifully.  

If I so desire, I can slide the Stacked Rectangles out of the tray bottom and insert a similarly sized project.  

Stacked Rectangles Finished Side View

Stacked Rectangles Finished Top View

May 6, 2020--Have now completed the stitching on this really cool pilot stitch project designed by Susan Hoekstra for the now canceled ANG Seminar (note this may be available as a future online class).  I would like to place it in an acrylic serving tray, thinking all these electric colors and shiny threads will look great on my outdoor furniture (and better yet holding a bottle or two of wine and glasses).

Later I'll write about my experience on locating a tray and what I need to do to prepare the piece for insertion, or if they want to do it themselves, etc.

Stacked Rectangles Completed

April 22, 2020--Earlier this month I began pilot stitching a project designed by Susan Hoekstra called Stacked Rectangles in advance of the ANG Seminar which may, or may not be held in Tucson, AZ in August.

Originally this was going to be a two day June pilot class taught to participants of the ANG New Jersey Needle Artists chapter, but because of the virus, the class was canceled.  So Susan mailed the kits to 6 of us pilot stitchers to begin immediately, and so far I am thoroughly enjoying the process of putting these challenging, yet fun, stitches on canvas.

Below is a status photo as of April 16th.  The metallic threads make each section pop.  I chose the Rocky Coast colorway with lots of turquoise, gold, navy blue and root beer colors.  My plan is to complete the stitching by month end.  Only eight more days to go.
Stacked Rectangles Status as of April 16, 2020

PS... Susan Hoekstra has approved the posting of this blog.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Blog Reader Recommendation - 4/20/22

 April 20, 2022--I can no longer recommend Bloglovin' to use as a blog reader.  They have been "down" for nearly a week now, so I set up my favorite blogs to read on Feedly   The account is free if you follow less than 100 blogs and it's easy to set up.   Feedly also offers lots of tools and options for the more ambitious readers.   Have fun.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Magnetic Notes - 4/19/2022

April 19, 2022--I'm writing to share information about Magnetic Notes by Tesla Amazing, a most useful placemarker sheet.  Unlike Post-It Notes, these thin sheets have no "glue" or sticky surface.  Instead, they magnetically stick to a smooth surface (including my iPad) and can easily be moved around.  Thanks, Sue Reed, for sharing this find with those of us in the Tulip Time stitching class.   

They come in various sizes, and I prefer Size L, 7.87" x 3.94".

Monday, April 18, 2022

Tulip Time Rhine River Needlepoint Cruise - Updated 4/18/22

April 18, 2022--I've returned from one of the most eventful trips I've ever taken and after a week of recovering from a horrific cold, days full of catching up at home, hosting a wine club event, doctor visits, financial meetings, etc., etc., etc., I'm finally able to sit and write about the experience.

Firstly, the Rhine River Cruise by Uniworld is definitely first class all the way.  From the beautiful riverboat with well-appointed rooms to the delicious meals with unlimited wine, friendly and efficient service, well designed tours, etc., I lacked for nothing.   I met some wonderful fellow stitchers with whom I shared meals and touring adventures--the best part of the trip for sure (a shout out to Nancy, Charlotte, Melanie, Mike, Deedee, Sue and Ellen).  I didn't take many photos because a few fellow travelers (Bruce Hart in particular) posted lots of gorgeous shots on the Tulip Time Facebook page set up by our host, Sandy Arthur, a fantabulous needlepoint designer and instructor.

Lunch in Amsterdam

Bruce and Ginger Hart (the taker of marvelous photos throughout the trip), Ellen, me and Liz, our travel agent)

Our Amsterdam canal cruise boat.

Photos from the Keukenhof Gardens:

Sue (Sandy's co-host), me, Deedee and Ellen)

Yes, it was friggin' cold!

My room on the riverboat, the S.S. Antoinnette

Three riverboats tied together (my boat is in the middle) at a dock with limited space.

Menu for the last dinner on board.  Delicious offerings.

And speaking of Sandy Arthur--we managed to get in some stitching classes given by her with a few surprises and goodies.   At our first class while still in Amsterdam, we received the stitch guide to the Tulip Time canvas designed specifically for this trip (windmill project photo is below).  As usual, the stitches are imaginative and perfect for the project.   Then at other stitching events during the week, Sandy surprised us with a tulip themed eyeglass case kit with canvas, threads and stitch guide; instructions to put together a peyote beaded needle case (my favorite which I will write about in a future blog); and lots of adorable charms handed out each day to place on a chain.  Each charm relates to various tours and places visited along the Rhine.  I won a few prizes too--a beautiful painted canvas from Duo Designs and two beautiful, zippered needlepoint tool bags from an anonymous donor.  

Eyeglass Case Project Photo

Peyote Beaded Needle Case Project Photo

Charms:  2022, Tulip, Stein, Bicycle, Bar(?), Castle, Laraly Rock, Diary of Ann Frank, Germany, Riverboat, Wooden Shoe, Windmill, Cuckoo Clock, Fleur de Lis, Airplane

Below is a brief itinerary we followed:

Amsterdam for 2 nights to visit the Rijksmuseum, go on a canal cruise, and walk the Keukenhof Gardens.

Then 7 days aboard the S.S. Antoinette riverboat to cruise the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland.  Even though we traveled south along the river, the river flows north from the Alps to the Netherlands, causing us to travel "up river".  We had the pleasure of visiting the city of Cologne, walking tours of the towns of Koblenz and Boppard, wine tasting at Castle Vollards in Rudesheim, a Mannheim vineyard tour and tasting, viewing many ancient castles situated along the river,  Strasbourg panoramic tour, and finally a visit to two Alsatian villages.  There were additional tours and trips available for the more adventuresome among us, but not for me.

OK, there was a downside--the flight home.  I got up at 3 am on Sunday, April 10th to get my suitcase outside of my room by 3:30 am, then prepared for the transfer to the Basel airport for a 7:15 am flight to London.  After a six hour layover, I boarded my 2:00 pm flight home to the Philadelphia International Airport, arriving at 5 pm (11 pm Amsterdam time).   By the time I got home and into bed, I had been up for over 24 hours (and didn't get much sleep the night before).  The walking that was required in both airports definitely put my back out of whack and I believe that's where I caught the nasty cold that laid me up for a week when I got home (two COVID tests were negative)😰.  To top it off, I lost my iPhone when my husband picked me up at the airport.  I thought I had securely placed the phone in my purse, but somehow it fell out and was picked up by someone who took it to San Francisco with them (I could see this using my "Find My Devices" app).  A new one was ordered but doing without a phone for a few days is an eye opener as to how dependent we are on the darned things.


March 18, 2022--I am so excited to be going on the March 31 to April 10, 2022, Uniworld Tulip Time Rhine River Needlepoint Cruise hosted by the famed designer and instructor Sandy Arthur.  I've been eyeing her trips for a number of years now and am finally able to do one.   The cruise starts in Amsterdam, Netherlands and goes down to Basel, Switzerland along the Rhine River.  Two days in Amsterdam and seven days on the river boat.  Wonderful!

Now, I've been to Europe before (granted, my past four trips were over 20 years ago) but I have never had the amount of paperwork to do as I've had for this trip.  There are volumes of contracts to read and tons of economic issues to contend with that I should get collegiate credit for dealing with it all.

I comprised the below list of everything that needs to be taken care of.  The last few items are tongue-in-cheek and I'm sure I'll have more before I get on the plane.  How does your list compare?

Tulip Time Rhine River Cruise Preparations

  • Read all available literature about the tour, ship, etc.
  • Reserve room on the ship (fill out reservation form paperwork) and make airline reservations with travel agency
  • Purchase travel insurance (17-page document)
  • Pay for all of the above (ka-ching)
  • Renew passport because it expired within six months of trip’s end (expired 9/22 and needs to expire no earlier than 10/22)
  • Insert TSA KTN on tickets via airline website (unable to get global pre-check number—interviews not available locally and those at distant international airports were too busy—waste of $100 application fee)
  • Read health requirements of Netherlands
  • Fill out Netherlands Health Declaration for Travelers Intake Form
  • Fill out Netherlands Vaccine Information Form
  • Fill out Medical Information Form to give to travel agency
  • Read Uniworld’s Cruise Companion
  • Register on Uniworld's website and fill out personal information forms
  • Review itinerary, docking information, etc.
  • Read travel tips sent by travel agency
  • Sign travel agency Terms and Conditions form
  • Note:  Am concerned the name the travel agency is using for my airline reservation won’t match my passport (have been told if they don’t match, I won’t be able to get on the plane).
  • Note:  Have questions about Uniworld cruise ticket/contract having items not covered by travel insurance—questions to travel agency
  • Read IMO Athens Convention as it pertains to loss of luggage, life, limbs, etc. and amounts to be paid based on SDR as referenced in Uniworld’s Ticket/Contract document
  • Order Passport holder with window pocket for vaccine card
  • Put together packing list—what will go in checked luggage and what will be taken aboard the plane.  Place liquid items in separate, clear, one gallon zip lock bag
  • Put together list of needlepoint stuff to bring
  • Place cruise stitching project canvas (photo below) on stretcher bars
  • Purchase TSA luggage locks
  • Arrange for COVID PCR test to be administered 1 day before leaving
  • Purchase travel purse with slash proof sides and straps.
  • Find local bank that sells Euros, open account with said bank in order to purchase those Euros
  • Call cell phone carrier to arrange for international calling and data plan
  • Call credit card companies to put them on notice that cards will be used overseas
  • Copy important documents (passport, KTN, driver’s license, COVID vaccination card, credit cards, etc., etc., and have available on iPhone.  Download for offline use on iPad.
  • Setup WhatsApp on cell phone for communication with travel agency – review how to use it and test with husband
  • Set up American Airlines Verifly App to confirm COVID vaccinations
  • Download PressReader App for free access to international newspapers and magazines
  • Show husband how to use clothes washer and dryer, dish washer, etc.
  • Leave information for husband to deal with housekeeper
  • Confirm that husband knows what to do when picking up my exhibits from Woodlawn at the beginning of April
  • Worry about the effect COVID and Ukraine will have on the trip
  • Learn to speak Dutch and German--ha, ha
  • Build up leg muscles with an exercise program so the walking tours will be effortless--yep, well, it's going to take a lot of effort to do those tours.
OK, I'm all set to go now--I think.

Map of Rhine River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel

Tulip Time on the Rhine Project Photo

May 26, 2021--I'm happy to report that I've signed up for the Tulip Time Along the Rhine Needlepoint River Cruise hosted by the wonderful Sandy Arthur of Duo Designs.  I've never done a river cruise and since I'm traveling alone (hubby hates cruising), doing one with a needlepoint bent is absolutely perfect!!  This cruise takes place in early April, 2022.  

Here's a photo of the project Sandy developed specifically for this trip.  Love it!

Additional information and lots more can be found on Sandy's blog at:

Sandy's Stitching (  

I'm so excited that I've already "packed" using my Stylebook app.  If you want more info about this app, let me know.  It's a really fun way to keep track of clothes you own and wear.  Here's my first stab at mix and match outfits for the trip.  The app migrates the pieces of clothing into a "packing list" for you--easy peasy.  Note:  I'm certainly not a style or clothing obsessed person, but after losing a lot of weight and buying new clothes--the app gives me a  lot of fun putting together "looks" and will show me what I wear a lot and what I'm not touching.  

My Stylebook of What to Wear Each Day on the Cruise

Stylebook Packing List

I'm not the best photographer of clothes, but the pictures are good enough for my purposes.  Can you imagine the possibilities of working with an app like this.  PS  I have no affiliation with Stylebook, just having fun with it.

  1. That's a lot of work! I'm exhausted just reading it. Enjoy and safe travels. Say Hi to Sandy from me.

    1. And the list keeps growing. LOL. I'll say hi to Sandy for you.