|Happy Anniversary to Us!!!|
March 2004 marks The Silver Needle's 20th Anniversary! I opened my shop doors for business Thursday, March 1st, 1984. So many, many years and friends later... I treasure my memories of the past 20 years! During our Anniversary month... I'd like to share some of those special memories with you. |
Each day, during this month of March, we'll add a tiny story and maybe an old photo -- if I have one that pertains to the note -- to our Birthday Page. I won't go in 'time-order', because my memories just come whenever something special triggers them! Hopefully you'll love reading all my thoughts... I have a quite a list so far... so I'd better get writing!!! I guess this is sort of my 'On-Line Scrapbook!!!'
Here I am... 20 years later... on the 'Eve' of the Silver Needle's 20th anniversary.... Remembering...
(Webmaster's note: We've had to divide this page into two to speed loading. If you want to start from the beginning, go to Anniversary, page 1 and start at the bottom. Then you can come back to this page, and read from the bottom up on this one, too.)
OK... this is technically my last day for Anniversary Stories to you. In the last 31 days, I have created 'As The Silver Needle Stabs Junkies!!!' We have gotten so many nice notes, cards and phone comments from you about all this that you're making it really hard for me to stop!!! While I do have 8 hours of shop memories everyday... some days are better than others... and the best memories take TIME to live though and be made!!! I'll make a promise to you to work a few things into my 'Notes From Lindy' column every now and then. I haven't really used it for these types of things... but I think maybe I can try. Just keep checking the What's New page every time you visit the site -- that's where Mary tells you what she's done in the past 24 hours.
I do have a couple of other notes on my pad that I never addressed this month... special stuff, odds and ends... they all still make me smile!!!
I remember a Dallas market 15-ish years ago, when Gay Bowles was waiting on me in her booth. She was telling me that 'Beads are Back!' I looked around a little, because I didn't know that beads had actually ever BEEN anywhere... and much less... BACK from 'there'!!! That was the first year Mill Hill introduced those little perforated paper ornament kits. I was enchanted -- along with the rest of the stitching world!!! (You can still get those early designs in Mill Hill's Beaded Treasures book -- people are always asking us about the first retired designs...) Anyhow... she was right... I just remember it...
Years and years ago, Diane (of the Three Stooges) helped me choose new wall colors and fabrics to re-do the shop a little. Remember the pink and white stripe and the pink floral table skirts??? Remember the light pink walls??? It had taken us months of sewing, and several Sundays of painting the shop and lattice (old wood stuff -- not the white plastic you get now) on those walls. Nedra was a customer back then. She was always a favorite customer... EXCEPT when she'd remark about the beautiful new pink walls, and the glimpse of the OLD YELLOW walls above the curtain leading to the back room. Craig and I had worked on our mutual days off for months... and the back room had never gotten done. I had this beautiful new shop -- I suppose after the third expansion -- and here she is *concentrating* on that dumb back room wall -- that really did look bad... but DEFINITELY NOT a priority!!! Finally, I hired her. Upon leaving her first day... I heard these words emit from her mouth... words we laugh about till this day. "What wall??? Where???!!" We left that yellow wall behind almost 2 years ago now... that hiring did the trick!!!
I think that in my 20 past years... all these stories are great fun to remember. What I treasure most, however, are the friendships The Silver Needle has facilitated throughout the years. We've been like a 'dating service' for cross stitchers!!! We've enabled so many "stitching families" of friends! Our stitching stuff has been around the world with customers who've traveled. With the website, we've shown the world what we have in our little shop. We're just so lucky to be part of such a happy industry that occupies such sincere and special places in the hearts of our friends!!!
Thank-You from the bottom of my heart for my first 20 years of The Silver Needle!!!
March 30, Part 2
Hi... back at my desk tonight after a day of errands... I have a couple more special trip memories that are floating around in my brain!!! I hope Mary can add them to this morning's words.
Jan, our "Trip Lady," waltzed into my shop one day... offering her services as a trip coordinator. I knew immediately what she did... and out first trip was born! Jan organizes all the tickets, traveling, hotels, tours, all-day shopping excursions... everything!!! She's been to England and France something like 35 times... so she knows 'where to go!' So... here we are...
Somewhere we have a pic of Diane's (the employee of early fame... one of the three stooges with Deanna and Peggy and then Nan) daughter, Mary Beth, in Aix en Provence at a street market... holding up the TEENIEST stretchy top... it was unbelievable... they were wearing this stuff over there!!! We had been to so many flea markets and done so much antique shopping, that at one point, Sharmayne, would get back onto the bus... and we'd all chime in unison... "what did you buy this time???" Charmayne's answers always seemed to include... "but it was under 100 pounds" (which was something like $165 US dollars then)... so I bought it!!! At one point, the bus took a swerve, and something came down from the overhead racks, hit a seat and crashed. It was Sharmayne's... and she remarked, laughing... "oh, nothing new... it was just an antique!!!" You should have heard the wails of sorrow for that dish on our coach!!!
We always hit all the factory outlets of Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, Royal Winton, and Spode potteries, as well as Staffordshire Enamels in Stoke-On-Trent each trip we took. I have a wonderful collection of cool dishes... but I broke a cup the other day... so it's becoming apparent that a new trip might be in order! Some trips, we've hit the annual Spode 30% off sale... off the Seconds prices -- talk about BARGAINS!!! You can buy a $25 plate for $1.50 and pay a pittance to have it shipped home... and give somebody a piece of Christmas Spode that cost you $5.00!!! We even toured a tiny novelty teapot factory in the middle of nowhere in England... and I shipped home 8 teapots! I remember the shop gals being stunned when they told me the shipping was going to be $90-ish dollars... but I didn't CARE!!! Here we were... really right there...we watched them MAKE the darn things... never to return again... and these teapots -- shaped like toasters and espresso machines, and antique bathtubs, and little houses -- HAD to come home with me!!! We visited the Wendsleydale Cheese Factory... a very local cheese factory. I saw some of their cheese a couple of months ago at one of Tulsa's grocery stores... I was thrilled and HAD to buy it!!! I couldn't believe it!!! All the way from that little local factory to my neighborhood store -- JUST for me!!!
One of the fun memories involved Sue V from Kansas. Sue loved people. Sue talked to EVERYBODY... all the time. A rather large group of us took the busses one day in London... you know, the ones that stop at 30 different stops all day long, and you just hop on and off at all the different sites you want to see. We'd gotten off at the Tower Of London, to see the Crown Jewels. Sue just wanted to sit outside on the bench, watch people, and wait RIGHT THERE for us to come back. Well, of course, you can guess the rest of this story... we NEVER DID find her... she started talking to people, and that was the end of Sue's vigil!!! Here we come... ready to hook up... and no Sue. I'm the coordinator of the group. We're in a foreign country. Does she have money to get home? Does she even know the name of the hotel? After an hour of searching... WE ABANDONED HER there!!! Gosh, what would we tell her family, when we returned to the states... minus Sue??? We had no cell phones back then -- they wouldn't have worked anyway -- we were beside ourselves! When we got back to the hotel, there she was, talking to people in the lobby!!! We lost Sue a couple of years ago to cancer. She is the gal at the top of our Camp Wannasew page who is smiling and holding up a just finished project. Sue lived for family and friends... movies... and cross stitch. This was her last Camp before she was diagnosed with her disease. I must tell you that this was her family's favorite recent picture of her... and they chose it to grace the cover of her funeral memorial service book. Wow.
One of the trips, I pulled Natalie out of 8th grade, and took her along! We did the Millennium Wheel in London before they decided to make it a permanent fixture. We were going to the theatre that night... but had gotten back to the hotel at something like 4 pm. I HATE to sit still... especially in such a magical place as London... so we rushed to the Metro, and took the train to Herrod's... and went to the food court for dinner! If you've ever been there... you know that you can just look and salivate over the beautiful displays and food for HOURS!!! It is just the most beautiful presentation of artwork on the tiled walls and ceiling... as well as cases and cases of intricately designed foods. Nat and I sat down and ate something that neither of us can remember. What we DO remember, was the atmosphere! I think the bill was something like $55 US dollars, for a quick, sit-at-the-exotic-sophisticated-bussling-counter ... but it was worth every cent!!! We made it back to the hotel with 5 minutes to spare to get ready for the theatre!!!
I do remember, too, that on that trip during Princess Diana's death, we had spent a day at an English castle, touring, eating lunch... and, of course, shopping!!! It was raining cats and dogs... and the bus SANK almost 6 inches into the mud in the parking field... because we had already been shopping for a week, and the bus was so over-loaded!!! (Castles don't have paved parking lots, you know!!!) The driver was beside himself... he'd been working for several hours to un-stuck us, while we were shopping!!!
On the trip to France, The Three Stooges -- Peggy, Deanna and Diane came... along with my Mom and sister, who lives in PA. We went everywhere and then to Eze, Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Paris... even took the Chunnel to London that trip! (Yup, the London train station in Harry Potter's movies really IS the London train station!!!) Anyway, the beaches along the French Riviera are topless. Really, MOST of these people have NO BUSINESS doing that. Oh, my goodness... a glimpse into humanity that I **didn't** need to see to believe!!! Anyway, Mom wanted a pic of Margaret, my sister, and me wading in the water. There was some T O O old woman topless and in her panties nearby... and Mom was SO PROUD that she'd aimed our pic just right -- to leave out MS Beach-Babe... and you guessed it... when she got them developed... there were all THREE of us in the pic!!! (I think that pic is in my private stash... just won't 'do' for the world-wide-web, you know???)
I remember the hotel along the beach in Nice, right on the Riviera. The bar was outside, and each night we gathered out there for drinks and the day's stories... overlooking the busy street that overlooked the beach and the Mediterranean Sea. (All because of my little cross stitch shop, and the friends... and Jan walking into the shop one day!!!) Wow... just so much to remember!!!
I have only two days left to tell you all the remaining thoughts in my head...! (Well, sort of!!!)
I know I haven't mentioned any of our European trips that we've sponsored. We've taken three trips through the shop, two to England, and another to France that ended in England. I know that we have tons and tons of pics up on the Trips page, so you'll see all the cool street markets and food, and probably a little countryside, as well. Several of the pics bring memories to mind... all the trips blend together this morning... except that I remember some really fun things.
On the first England trip, Mary M, and I were trecking along through the Portobello Road Flea Market in London. Our coach had dropped us off for several hours of shopping... and we were having a blast! People, dogs, the most fantastic flowers and produce everywhere... silver, antiques, you name it... it's there... and you want an awful lot of it!!! Someone had two full length mink coats for sale, for something like 35 pounds each (dirt cheap because it was around $60 us dollars.) I stood there and looked at them... because there is a company we'd met doing our Affair of the Heart Shows in Oklahoma City that makes teddy bears and bunnies out of old minks. Here is my opportunity to get lots of mink... cheap!!! Well, that summer, back home, Natalie had finished a horrible two months of head lice. We think they came from summer camp... and it was quite a challenge getting rid of them. (If you've ever had that infestation... you know what I mean! Clean, normal kids get 'em... and nothing short of the atomic bomb gets rid of them... even the mayonnaise and plastic bag routine doesn't work!) Anyway, all I could think of at that moment were those lice. I thought if I brought that coat onto that coach -- even the luggage compartment -- and it had even one tiny lice-thing on it -- EVERYBODY would get infested! After all, it's hanging in the middle of the street, and this is one good example of your mother's warning... 'You never know where it's been!!!' (After we got home, the fur people told me I DEFINITELY should have bought it... simply stuffed it into a trash bag... because they clean everything before the sew it anyway!!! ) So... now, a black trash bag has become a standard travel staple for me!!!
We were in England when Princess Diana was killed. We had run all over London for a few days, and had driven to Bristol late the afternoon before. When we woke up the next morning... it was all over the TV... that country was literally stunned. In seeing the footage -- LOTS AND LOTS of stuff that we didn't get to see here for a few months -- we recognized all the London streets around the palace. Just a few days beforehand I had sat in a taxi, and remarked to someone else that here we were bombing around London, always breezing past the palace in a taxi... life was grand! Every village did special newspapers... there were so many flowers everywhere... people stood in lines to sign the books... it was truly a historic time. If we had still been in London, our trip would have ended, because of the confusion and congestion. Instead, we finished a lovely trip... and I remember having just come home, my body clock still on England time, watching her funeral in bed that morning. And... remembering standing in that very church a week before!
On another trip to England... we had spent the night in Chester. What a cool city... shopping, tea rooms, the historic wall... so many neat things! When we woke up one of those mornings... the US hadn't decided on WHO had won the Presidential election!!! It's the same stuff half-way around the world... it's all the same taped coverage... everything is 'allegedly' ... and we really didn't know a whole lot of accurate details till we got home!!! I remember the hotel lobby, and how I was walking around the lobby corner when I first heard that tidbit of news! (We stayed at that same hotel a few years later on our second England trip -- THAT was cool, to remember being somewhere, never imagining you'd ever be back... and there you are, again!!!)
Anyway, I have lots of travel stories to share... but the shop is 'calling'...I'm out of time, and I need to get going with errands. I'll be back with some favorite stories!!! They'll probably go up with tomorrow's things... but if I get them to Mary early enough today... maybe they'll appear late tonight -- no promises, though!
And... HI to all of you in England and France!!! (and all those sheep and antiques... and cool shops...!!!)
We're coming up on our second Spring Camp Wannasew week this upcoming weekend. This means, of course, that the shop will be extra busy all week. The ladies start coming on Wednesday to shop ahead... and, we'll once again remember our old, teeny space, and wonder HOW ON EARTH we functioned in that space before we expanded almost 2 years ago!
You've been seeing pics of the old shop, for the most part, in my stories. The pics of the shop on the general website are of the new space... but basically everything else was in our 2000 sq ft space, and now we've 'taken off our girdle' and spread into 4,000!!! It was a Superbowl Saturday morning that I'd come early for the sale... and the sign had just gone up in the window that the space was for lease. It took till Monday morning for me to get hold of the shopping center... and a couple of months after that to finally get the lease signed... but in looking back, that whole time just flew by!
Remember last week when I was telling you that people generally have no idea what we do -- especially if they're not close friends or hobbyists themselves. Well... the shopping center leasing guy, at that point, was kind of the same way. We're a little needlepoint/knitting place hidden on the backside of the center... been there forever... just a little Mom and Pop place. (Years ago, one of the shop gals, Patty, had explained that 'Yeah, we're Mom and Pop, alright... only Pop doesn't show up for work!!!')
So... we tackled the lease negotiations, plan with the construction contractor... and finally met for the blueprints and financial nitty gritty -- the build-out costs, and just what I was going to pay for. This was it. The two head-honcho leasing guys were there, and the 'higher up' of the two spreads out my plans on the table... and remarks, 'Well, here is The Glorified Wish!' I remember thinking, "Oh my Gosh... keep your cool... they have no idea how this little 'knitting shop' has grown on the hidden backside of their center in the past 18 years... and if I act like the money isn't important... bingo... UP goes the rent!" But most of all, I was TICKED! It was apparent that they thought I was some 'little chicky' who was going to start crying, and have to give up half of the amenities that I was putting into this new shop!!! We had our little discussion... and 10 minutes later, I walked out with the plans under my arm, smiling. They were still siting there... dead quiet... I'd taken everything, just as the contractor and center contracts quoted... and even made them move a wall later on that wasn't in the plans!!!
So, in May of 2002, we began construction on the bigger space we're in now. It had been children's consignment shop that was just a dirty dump. Nasty, dingy and smelly! We gutted the entire thing, and transformed it into our Stitching Heaven on Earth!!! All during the construction, we put up pics and a few words on the website. Some of you followed that every week -- like these anniversary stories -- but a lot of you have probably never clicked the little link to take you to that Construction Page! You have to go all the way down to the bottom of it, and read it backwards, up to the top. I hadn't looked at it in a while, and gosh, it was fun to read through it all again this past weekend!
We walked down the sidewalk to our space at least twice a day during the construction. Mary and I took lots of pics... the workmen started to pose for us after a couple of weeks. Then, after going home and seeing the OTHER subs on there that day... would ask where THEIR pics were!!! We hadn't tackled the customer bathroom in the lease, so I gave Diana and Kristine a budget, and they transformed that room into a tiny decorator space! Mona sewed a wonderful sink skirt, they faux-finshed the walls, beaded a frilly lamp shade... and arranged some old models on the wall of shelves! So, now... you can shop for discontinued stitched models in our ladies room!!!
Anyway, moving day came... the first Saturday in July. We closed that day... hired a team of 'muscle guys' and got EVERYTHING MOVED FROM THAT LITTLE SPACE to the big one IN ONE DAY!!! We did nothing Sunday... but then remained closed that Monday and Tuesday to arrange and organize! Wow... the pics of that shop!!! I had broken down different areas of the shop, and assigned ladies and teams of ladies to certain areas for the move. Mary was in charge of coordinating the computer moving and setting up the new computer and music networks. Terry and Harriet were in charge of the back room shelves... Linda C was in charge of getting the kitchen and bathrooms moved and organized. Kristine and Natalie were outside painting the bookshelves, while they were finally empty. Esther took care of the front cases.
Everybody had their job, which entailed packing up their area in the old shop... and either moving it down to the new spot themselves, or getting their load onto the trailer the muscle men were using. I remember Nedra caring for the Vera Bradley... and loading thousands of dollars of it into her car, and joking that it was time for her to go home now!!! After everyone got their 'area' over to the new shop on Saturday... that Monday and Tuesday was spent organizing their area. It was SO COOL to come up for air on Tuesday afternoon... look around at what everyone else had gotten done... and realize that we had DONE IT!!! My ladies were FABULOUS!!! They were MORE THAN PERFECT!!! They have, however, told me that The Silver Needle will NEVER be moving again!!!
After we were in the space for a few weeks, I had a reception for my business acquaintances. We brought in a musician, had Boston Deli, next door, cater the evening... and invited all the contractors, some of our favorite designers that we've done business with for years, Tulsa people -- like our printer and insurance man, and the other tenants in the center... that sort of thing. I know Mary has wonderful pics of the evening... a far cry from moving day and the construction pics!!! Alan and Linda Ebright from Lizzie Kate come down, and Michael from Bent Creek flew in as a surprise! Flowers and Friendships everywhere...! Such good memories!!!
Can you believe I'm still spilling my memories... and that I haven't run out yet???! It's so funny, my friends and customers are reminding me of things that I really *can't tell* on the internet... after reading all these 'issues of As The Silver Needle Stabs!' and we're just laughing, laughing, laughing every day!
I was on the phone with Sherry, from CO today, and we were remembering a 'Brilliant Moment' in our shopowner history when six of us decided to send a box of 'past shop favorites' around to each other. The idea was that you'd tuck in something... stick a note into the box telling what was yours... and take out what you wanted -- paying that shopowner for her stuff. The payments were never a problem... but that box was! It started out as a normal 18 x 18 x 18, shipping for about $8.00. Well, Sandy, Norma. Pat, Gail, Sherry, Carol and I were part of it... (remember them all from stories a couple of weeks ago...!) but we never seemed to take as much OUT of that darn 'box-morfed-into moving van' as we'd put IN!
Sherry remembers when her shop was in the basement of her Mom's house... and the poor UPS guy had to haul a DOLLY full of stuff down to her! These boxes -- half cardboard, half packing tape to hold them together -- weighed in at something ridiculous like 50 lbs a piece!!! She KNEW what is was... and didn't have time to tell him that the parking lot was just fine!!! Oh gosh... that 2-ton assortment of stuff was just a riot! Never mind that it was stuff we couldn't sell... we all just kept paying the UPS charges to send it on to the next one!!! This had been a REALLY HOT TIP we'd gleaned from some marketing class at Market!!! It was really humbling, though, when the box came back to you... and NONE of your six best friends had bought your stuff! Rules said you had to then re-claim it... and throw in something else!!! And the best part... we did this for almost a year and a half, 'cause it took a while before it came around to you again!!! (Ok... sometimes it takes a while to catch on to things...!)
I mentioned one of the consumer shows we used to do in yesterday's words... An Affair of The Heart -- held twice a year in Oklahoma City. Seven buildings at the State Fair Grounds -- full of antiques, baskets, clothes, jewelry, gardening stuff, holiday decorations, food,... just everything! Anyway, 'Affair' was just many of the shows we've done year after year. We travel around, and set up a booth -- varying sizes depending on the particular show -- and sell all our cool cross stitch stuff!!! We started with the Tulsa State Fair, and added the Affair of the Heart shows, the Spirit of Cross Stitch in PA, and weathered the storm of stitch show closings... to remain visiting Des Moines and Hershey, PA each year for The Stitching Festivals. (You guys out there are THE BEST!!!)
Anyhow... I have found a pic of Natalie, in October of 1997. The picture folio says she's 9-3/4 yrs old. We had a booth at the Fair that year... and she always came and 'hung with her little friends' on the weekends. I was the 'Mom in charge' and kept them fed, watered, and monitored rides and such -- all while manning our booth with the rest of the gals. My P-Nut had $5.00... and was totally intrigued with the Oklahoma State University Animal Exotic Animal Exhibit and 'petting zoo' just a few aisles over. Oh, my GOSH... I was presented with this lovely pic of my baby being MAULED by a MONSTER!!! She'd waited for two days to surprise me and get her pic taken with this snake... and that's what she wanted to do with her $5.00!!! You can't see the cardboard folio this pic was presented in... but it's a Mother's Keepsake forever!!!
We kept doing the Tulsa State Fair for a number of years... and Natalie was the only one bummed out when we stopped. This meant she and her friends had to start paying to get in, instead of being an exhibitor, and getting in free!
I know we have several Show Shots to present... the first year in PA, the back wall of the booth almost fell in, because of the weight of stuff we'd hung in it. I remember stitchers being so thick in the booth, nobody could move!
Most of the booths from show to show, technically, look the same. I can tell the years they are, based on the models hanging on the walls.
There is a special group shot here of several of us... that I want to tell you about. It's in a hotel room at Affair of the Heart in Oklahoma City, at least 5 years ago. I'm the high one in the back. Janice, your Camp Wannasew Thursday Hostess, is in the front row, in the black overalls. Karen, who's taking time off from working the shop right now, is due with her second child in a few weeks (not pregnant here...just clothes leaning funny!). Behind and between Janice and Karen, is Linda Goodman -- the gal who owned My Friends Count in Overland Park Kansas for almost 2 years.
(See a column a few days ago.)
The other 5 ladies in the pic are very special, too! Far left is Linda B... from Phoenix AZ... who found us overhearing a conversation in an AZ needlework shop about Camp Wannasew... CJ Z... part of her group of friends... and skip over to the gal wearing the checkerboard on her shirt -- that's Mary B from AZ, too! The other two ladies in the pic and Lynn H and Suzie S from the Oklahoma City area that come to camp every year... and gals I never remember NOT shopping in the shop!!!
I'm back to my thoughts about our stitching bonds. I've brought this up before in my words this month. This group of gals is still connected, years later, because of our stitching! How lucky we are to have a hobby that brings us friends... how lucky we are to have a hobby that we love... and one that has brought friends to love!!! (all while ripping out something!!!)
I have two fun things to share today... neat and fun moments... they've been in my list of stories.. but didn't seem to fit into any particular day... so that's a good reason to share them on the same day!!!
Three years ago, we had our annual New Year's Eve Day Sale... it was a blast, as usual!!! (only now they're more fun in the new space... because I have room to bring a huge spread of food that we 'graze' off of all day long!) That night... I walked my dog, Twinkles, and fell on the ice we had had for several days, and broke my wrist. When I showed up for work to process the orders... I was definitely at a dis-advantage... because I broke my writing wrist!!! The month went by... I still come across things I'd written during that time -- with my left hand! -- and it's just so much fun to see! We joked in the shop, that you'll never talk to some of the gals over the phones on sale days... because their handwriting is so atrocious... we'd never be able to read their writing! I BEAT Gale's writing -- by popular vote -- while I was writing with my left hand!!! Angie was definitely a close second!!!
Anyway, the Superbowl Sale arrived... and we made it though.. something like our 16th annual one!!! The shop is always majorly trashed after a big sale like this. Nobody's fault... there's just so much traffic and pillaging, everything just 'moves alittle' and needs tender-loving-care to be replaced, straightened, and re-stocked. On top of all that, we had just returned from the Affair of the Heart show in Oklahoma City... the shop was a MESS!!!!! Karen Keith, a local TV personality called, to reinforce a 'reservation at some point in the future'... she wanted to come the next day to do a story about the shop, as a successful Tulsa business!!! OH MY GOSH... we STOPPED processing mail orders, and SANDBLASTED the shop!!! She showed up Tuesday morning 1/2 an hour after opening... and we filmed a wonderful 6 min spot!!! I know we have a pic or two... complete with that cast!!! Wow, talk about chaos!!!
My other story, is about Kristine... one of the shop gals. She is so talented... she is a painter... and has done all our wonderful handpainted furniture in the shop. Kristine answered a sign in the window for help... and I broke my rule of never hiring Non-Stitchers... and hired her! Oh my gosh... she fit right in the first day!! Well, I have to share an e-mail she sent to Mary last August. Understand, in all this that Kristine and Mary don't stitch. They both have other talents... but stitching isn't a passion like it is with so many other of us. We had just gotten the Punch Needle things in... and I was SOOO excited!!! She'd sent this to Mary via the Silver Needle e-mail address... as they were 'kindred spirits!' It is absolutely word-for-word!
This message is for you because I thought you might be the only other person that could understand what I'm going through. I work at the shop, and though I'm not a "stitcher" per se, I get "caught up" occasionally in the excitement that the other girls exhibit when something "New" or 'exciting' comes into the shop. Thus I let Lindy whip me up into the wave of "Igolochkoy" fever that swept through the shop last week. She sent me home with my little kit with the pretty little plastic hoop and the lethal looking "hypo" needles. She even gave me a little lesson before she sent me out the door. All weekend I have neglected my family, friends and household duties to punch, punch, punch the little needle through the fabric. Today I had a "vision" as I punched, punched, punched. I saw a peasant woman, in some cold, industrial Russian city, sitting in a gritty, dimly lit apartment. The woman is hovered over something, and then I hear! the humming sound. She is happy as she uses her new, modern electric sewing machine to make little designs on fabric. She is so happy that she no longer must use the old "Igolochkoy" method of embellishment. The same method that robbed her mother and grandmother of their sight and finally their sanity. But what can I do? I can't go back to the shop next week with a "half finished'" design. It's now a matter of pride. I think I'll go next door and see if I can bribe my neighbor to finish this thing for me. The thought of spending one more minute punching that **** needle through that fabric is about to send me over the edge. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
(Of special note: Kristine did go on to finish that particular project... and get it custom framed for her family room!!! It's quite lovely, and she admires it... especially while she's punching her SECOND project!!!)
Don't you just have to smile???!!!
Greetings from our Cross Stitch Shop! It's so nice to talk to people who KNOW what we DO here!!!
I have to share my beginning experience with the website, because, of course, it's a big part of our past 20 years!!! This is mostly Mary's remembrances... but it's a funny story, and she tells it everywhere we go, it seems...
Silver Needle has always been busy, from that first day on, when I did the $181... instead of the planned $25! There never seems to be enough time to get everything done... then somehow... you do! We were chugging along doing lots & lots of mail order and walk-in trade... happy as little clams... and we didn't have time for a website! (Actually, I didn't even KNOW how to turn on a computer... and I wasn't about to learn, Thank-You-Very-Much!!! Deanna always said, the minute a computer found it's way into that shop... she'd find a way out the door!!!) I was really getting sick of people nagging me that we needed a website. I had this perfectly wonderful shop... how much more can one do???
It was really John Caldera's fault. He called on a particularly busy morning... and I have no idea what he actually said... but he got me on a really good day! He referred me to the local internet provider he and Nan had used while they were in Tulsa. (By now Nan had relocated to her present GA home.) He said, "these people know what they're doing... so just go in there!"
So... on my day off the next week... I waltzed into Galaxy Star Systems, the little-hole-in-the-wall ISP! (Definitely NOT Nan & John's type of place... so I figured they really MUST be good... if John is sending me here.) The gal at the front desk sent me into an office down the hall, and I looked at the woman at the computer, and announced, "I'm going to be your worst nightmare! I need a Website!!!"
Little did she know that I was serious, and that I was too embarrassed to admit that I didn't even know how to turn on the machine! So, I KNEW this was going to be bad! So Mary looks up at me... and regales, to this day, that her "DITZ ALARM" went off!!! Some little 'chicky,' probably totally clueless -- whatever!!! She did, however, have a few years of a good working relationship with John and Nan behind her... so she actually DID have an idea of what we sold!!! (WOW!!!) For me, this is really cool... she's already graduated WAY PAST Rosie Greer!!!!! OK... this is business... so I listened as she assigned me 'homework' to do and bring back the next week.
Mary tells how shocked she was that this Ditz came back the next week, with the homework DONE! Weird!!! Ok... she'll give me one more week of work... that'll be the test... I'll either come back and this is a *go*... or I'll fade back into Ditzland, and she'll never see me again! I remember our first couple of photo-sessions and the first time she made me turn on the computer at home, all by myself, to look at my new 'background'... but that's it! She says by the end of the first month... she had disabled the 'Ditz Alarm'... I'd passed the test!!!
So... all of you can see just how far we've come with all this! Deanna didn't go near the computer for those first years... until her girls wanted to start sending grandbaby pictures over the internet... and several of the other shop gals started to bring in E-Bay bargains! Terry came to work one morning, asking what a "food pusher" was... it was sterling, and it was in her pattern... and she didn't buy it! *She didn't buy it,* and has never seen it since! Deanna, however, has graduated to buying entire sets of chairs and things on-line!!!
A couple of years ago, Mary's Aunt Muriel died. We went to the funeral in Kansas together. During the family get-together afterwards, one of Mary's gentleman cousins asks me what I do. Oh, boy... here we go. Just how specific do I want to be??? Since this was a solemn occasion, and these people really did have a right to know just how Mary and I knew each other... out of my mouth came the answer that I owned a Cross Stitch Shop in Tulsa. (which -- i mentioned in yesterday's words -- is a once in a blue moon answer!!!)
You could see something happening in his head... he has a cousin that owns a cross stitch shop in Washington! Really??? Who??? I must know her from the markets...? Well, lets go ask his sister, Marlene. No... it's Oregon... Elizabeth... no, I think she closed a shop... I think she just does it... but I don't remember her last name now... only her maiden name... Well, to make the long story short, it turns out that Mary is related -- they keep telling me how, but I get confused in all of it -- to Liz Turner Diehl! They're cousins, grew up 45 miles from each other... and Liz remembers playing with Mary when they were little! After lots of catch-up sessions at the shows we do together (Markets and the Stitching Festivals)... they even remember lusting after Phil -- the lifeguard -- at the summer camp they both always went to!
Talk about a small world!!! So... out of our little website... a whole extra side of Mary's family was re-connected!!! Mary has had the wonderful experience of getting to know Liz and her sister, Cathey. They hadn't seen or heard of each other for years and years!!! Pretty cool!!!
It's amazing what a 'little ditz' can do!!!
A note from Mary:
I know that, to Lindy, Galaxy seemed like a hole-in-a wall. But it really wasn't. Mike Lester, owner of Galaxy Star Systems, was the first public internet provider in this part of the country. He broke ground in the internet world, even though he wasn't good at getting the floor swept every week... and the place did look kind of like a dungeon. No matter how busy he was, he would patiently take as much time with you as you needed to help you get your internet stuff working, and make sure you understood what was going on. We often referred to him as an internet missionary.
Lindy reminded me this morning about the morning I went back into Galaxy's server room and beheld 3 "geeks" struggling to put up a new, cool set of shelves. These guys could build computers and servers and networks from individual components, but it took them 3 hours to assemble this set of shelves! I took Lindy in the next week and showed them to her, and Lindy immediately bought identical shelves for her back room. (This was right after the flood she told you about earlier.)
When we moved the shop to its new location, Lindy bought lots more sets of those shelves, and the gals got it down to about an hour apiece to assemble them.
There are several rows in her back room now, all full of inventory and supplies.
We lost Mike last year, and he is sorely missed in the internet community, and by the many customers for whom he provided cutting edge service for a lot of years. (Among many other things, Mike was the first provider in this part of the country to offer virus and spam filtering, as well as being the first one with a fiber-optic bundle coming directly into his server room.) We all miss him, and there are very few days I don't look up and tell him thank you for something I learned from him that I'm using that day. (Just as I never stop thanking John and Nan for sending Lindy my way!)
Our little Industry... just like Disney's 'A Bug's Life'... it's so big to those of us involved in it... I sometimes wonder how much impact we have to the rest of the world. I like to think PLENTY... because we make so many people happy every day... and that IS a good thing!!!
I learned long ago, not to be too specific describing what I do, to casual acquaintances -- at a party or somewhere -- because the general public has NO IDEA Counted Cross Stitch exists! I'm sure I speak for most designers and shop owners out there... someone politely asks you what you do -- just making conversation -- and when you answer that you're a Cross Stitch designer, or a Cross Stitch shop-owner, their eyes glaze over... and they move on to the next passer by, and the food. They can't even ask another question, because they have N O I D E A what in the world you have just told them!!!
In my experiences... I now tell them that I own a 'retail business'. The articulate ones ask me just what I sell. I now tell them "Needlepoint" -- which is a total LIE! You can easily measure the astuteness of your listener, at this point in the conversation, by the next phrase that emits from their mouth. If they reply that Rosie Greer does that... *BINGO*... you are talking to someone with really good long-term-memory-recall! (Rosie did that something like 25 years ago!) This is actually a good step... there is recognition!!! If they haven't heard about Rosie yet, and they still have the deer-in-the-headlight-look... I regress to Knitting! I Own a Knitting Store!!! ( an even bigger lie!!!) Watch the light bulb turn on there... they GET what I do!!! Now, on the other hand... if they know Rosie... I test the waters... and throw in embroidery... mixed with the knitting... the knitting saves me every time!!! (even though I have no idea how to hold the needles or ANYTHING!!!)
Over the years, Silver Needle has been responsible for several gals entering the Needlework Industry in some form or another! It makes me proud to tell you about them... I don't look at it as bragging... because I didn't give these gals the talents they have... I just facilitated their exposure a little, and watched them run with it and blossom!!! I'm sure they all had the hurdle of "what do you do?" to overcome, too!
Melinda Gorney/Billam has retired from Lindy Jane Designs. We met as she was publishing her first four leaflets in 1984. She was my first designer showing and trunk show! She retired once... and got back into the industry after working one summer in the shop. Now, she's retired again... and working permanently in the shop!!!
Lou Ann Nichols opened a quilt shop in Tulsa in 1983... Quilter's Nook. We were in a weekly stitch group together... and she told me that when I started to get so busy that I brought paperwork to stitch group to work on.. that she wanted a shop too(!! ) Quilter's Nook has changed hands several times throughout the years... and has finally announced it's closing... an ending for me.
Sue Marshall of Camelot Designs started out at Silver Needle's Camp Wannasew! She was into castles, and stitched one from start to finish one weekend... and began designing from there! She'd designed at least two dozen castle charts in the next few years. She's retired now, too... but Fantasy Crafts still distributes her things!
Diane Tolle of Cross Stitch Crazy in Bentonville, AR -- also known as DKT Originals met my printer, Helen at our Camp Wannasew Weekends. They became close friends, and Helen and Diane opened CSC 15 years ago! (Diane has just retired, too... and closed CSC....) Kind of cool that our Weekends have created those kinds of lasting friendships!
One of my favorite Saturday gals, Carol Marquiss, opened What A Stitch in Fishers IN in the early 90's. Carol's shop was wonderful... I remember one day she was scolding me on the phone, because she said I had 'made it all look so easy!!!' Carol's shop closed to open a bed and breakfast in Indiana... but she's holding out for another shop someday...! She was the one I 'roped' into being on the INRG board with for a few years... we had so much fun together!!!
Sheldon Padawer from Artisan Design -- the Gazelle, Ergo and Elan guy -- did ALL his research in our shop... bugging us to DEATH every time he was in!!! A friend had put her hand through a glass door, and needed a needlework stand... and Sheldon was the Guy to make it happen! He asked us questions for MONTHS... he never, NEVER went away!!! He still comes in ... drives us nuts... 'cause he just wants to hang and chat... and I still tell him what a *pain in the rear* he is... but he's still here making frames and stands!!! (He was just in last Friday... I got an entire trunk show unpacked and displayed while he was talking to me!!!) He really is funny, and it is fun to talk to him... I can always get something else done at the same time!
Linda Goodman opened My Friends Count in Kansas City a few years ago, and sad-to-say, has closed already. She's been coming to my Camps for years and years... and we'd worked a little together in the prior year, planning, before she opened... she had a beautiful, charming, cheerful shop... just not the right time for her family!
Diana Hudson from Fancy Mats in Co is someone who has been a customer for years and years... she'd done wonderful framing for Artists Collection for quite some time, till she bought her local shop... and has created a miniature Heaven-on-Earth!!! I haven't helped her a bit... but she always insists I have through the years... so , it's been an honor to watch her grow, too!!! (She has lots of framing credits on designer's patterns... watch for her!)
Mona of Magic by Mona, Devra, and Sharon have all worked in the shop... and have all balanced a booming finishing business!!! Who says stitchers never finish anything??? These ladies will tell you otherwise!!! Mona is knee-deep in her finishing right now... we always do some fun technique every Camp Wannasew. They all started out doing finishing for my shop models, then gradually took on customer's things!
Pam Hoops, currently producing finishing kits for Just Nan designs, worked in the shop while Nan was still there. A lasting friendship evolved... and included a very special lady, who is now deceased.. Kathy Kalagian was a really fun, favorite customer. When Mill Hill introduced the first 6 Christmas Button & Bead kits... Kathy bought them, and brought them back in the next week... stitched on linen, and finished into little hanging pillows!!! Well... for us... the rest of that is history!!! We've done all 225 kits on linen so far!!! Anyway... Kathy started as a regular customer -- every few days or so. Graduated to turbo model stitcher. Graduated to finishing the models she stitched! Graduated to finishing some of brand-new-designer-Just-Nan's smaller designs... and finally Nan's main finisher, and Market booth helper... along with our main shop finisher! Kathy was one of those people in your life that touches it for a short time, and makes a wonderful. everlasting memory in it. She had a sudden heart attack at age 51... the very day after her husband announced his retirement. When we lost her, Pam had been there to take care of her things... and remembered something like 600 projects waiting in line for Kathy's talents. We think of her so often... she's still a part of Silver Needle. Words aren't enough...
Of course, I have to mention Nan of Just Nan... I told you about her first design way back on the first Anniversary page!!! And... I have to mention Linda Stolz... I told you about her and Secret Needle Night blossoming into Erica Michaels Designs... and finally Lynda Watkins... who is Full Circle Designs. Lynda, who is so talented just like all the rest of these ladies... just welcomed my shop... loved coming in... loved everything about stitching!!! I am so very proud of all these ladies... (and sort of Sheldon, too!) They'll tell you things about me.. but I can tell you better things about each and every one of them!!!
Then, there's Mary -- our Webmaster! She was a technical support person at the local ISP... I 'rescued' her out of there... and now she's a full time Webmaster for several sites in the needlework industry and a few outside the 'fold!' She loves to laugh when we do the shows and Camp and such... because she KNOWS she's the ONLY person in the room who doesn't stitch!!! (She says it's because I keep her too busy... and that she'd just stab her finger anyway!)
So... we're all still stitching (or coding web pages!) ... always... even Kathy!!! More tomorrow! My list is still nice and fat of untold stories!!! L
Happy Monday Morning! I don't know the history of why Mondays are always supposed to be dreaded... maybe it has it's roots in grade-school-aged kids... I never did my homework on time... so Sunday Night was always stressful... dreading that Monday Morning!!! Oh well!!!
I've had 20 great years... and remember several 'Shop Situations & Catastrophes' over the years. Seemed like a Monday Morning should be the perfect time to 're-live' some of them, because surely, they all had to have happened on a Monday!!!
My first horrible experience (that I remember) dealing with customer service came from a woman named Jean. 1985-ish. I'd been open a year or so. (SURE, I remember her last name!) She purchased our $99.00 Lanarte China Doll Kit. (In retail... you should always have something in your shop that is totally 'un-reachable' in your estimation... something that is so outrageous, you'll never sell it in million years! Of course, it has to be something you LOVE... because the plans here, are, to present a really cool, upscale image... and then, later take it home and love it forever!!! (My friend, Sherry, at Country Crafts in Greeley, CO has a whole case, and calls it her Museum!!!) Jean bought the China Doll Kit. Jean was a problem. Jean didn't like the gorgeous linen included in the kit... and insisted that Peggy and I TAKE that awful linen out... and replace it with AIDA that she could see! Whatever! After she left... Peggy and I cut the huge piece in half... and each of us took our half home, because it wasn't something we carried in the shop, and would never match again! And, best part, Jean was GONE!
Oh, a year-ish passes... and Jean comes in on a Saturday morning... I'm teaching a FULL class... and we're absolutely PACKED in the shop, because it's our first "Nesting Sale!" (I'm pregnant by now... and this was my gimmick for a really cool sale!) Jean is mad! Jean is like a rabid freight train! Even though the pattern calls for one strand of floss throughout, Jean doesn't like that and has chosen to use two! It's now MY fault that she is out of thread... and I HAVE to give her one of each darn skein FREE!!! I CAVED! I'm still ticked at myself for not standing up to her... new shop-owner-lesson-learned! (Over a whole silly 20 skeins of DMC!!!)
So, as I'm coming out of my classroom to finish dealing with Jean... there on the floor is a 'charming' child of a customer... who's tiny hands have opened a jar of stencil paint (I opened carrying stencils and paint... but here it is, 3 years later... and that's on sale!) GREEN paint... and is quietly smearing it all over my carpet with those 'darling' little fingers, that we all count when they're born... and thank God for every single one he gave them!) WOW!!! Mom was miffed that I was miffed... and totally shocked when I handed HER the wet towels to clean it up! I never remember Jean leaving!!!
We were next door to a dog groomers for a while -- other side from the Pizza Place. Diane -- one of the early shop gals, (She wore the painted sweats with Peggy and Deanna, before Nan...story about that is in those first few days, on the other half of this page.) Anyway, Diane had come to work with a beautiful new pair of Italian leather shoes. Beautiful shoes. (Diane has a gift for spending... so these were $400 shoes!) A darling little toy-something trotted in our front door, freshly groomed, complete with new bow and owner following behind... went straight to Diane... and peed on her shoe!!! OOPS!
Here is an old pic of one of the Superbowl Sales. For a couple of years, we dressed up a little, and put mascara under our eyes -- to look like the football players! One year, we were again, PACKED! Nan had finally gotten away to get some fresh air outside... only to come back in immediately, laughing her head off! Someone had vomited right outside out door... and left it there!!! I imagine it had gotten too hot in the shop... but here's Nan, needing a little air... and you go out to find THAT! I suppose customers had been walking right past that all morning!
Another year, a pregnant gal fainted in the check-out line! HOLY COW! We're busy at the counter, and down she goes!!! Nobody would get out of line to help her, but Pam Hoops was there, and her nursing background immediately surfaced. She pulled her into the back room where Nan was on the phones. Someone had a black and spotty banana in their purse and gave Pam the banana for the poor gal. The really funny part, however, was that the smell of ripe bananas makes Nan absolutely sick to HER stomach! What a Mess!!!
Remember the new carpet pics from last week??? A few years before that, the shopping center and resurfaced and sealed the parking lot. Even though everything was roped off, I remember some gal walking RIGHT THROUGH it, into my shop, and announcing, in a very condescending tone -- after checking out her shoes, and footprints on my carpet -- that I was going to need new carpet after this was all done!!! (No thanks to her!!!)
None of these thing can hold a candle, however, to the mess we had, just three months AFTER that new carpet we'd waited 14 years for! A friend had come to town... I'd taken the rest of the afternoon off, shopping in my favorite gift/dress shop, when I get this phone call from Diana. Lindy, we have a problem..." The sewer system for entire building had backed up... into OUR space!!! The shopping center didn't believe us that the toilet had overflowed EVERYWHERE, and it was still coming. They just thought we were hysterical women with a puddle on the floor! By the time I got there... the girls were trying to bale 3 inches of yuck ... we KNEW it was bad... and when the Center Maintenance guy finally came... he instantly became a believer, and got us out of there!!! We were closed for 2 days, while they cleaned up everything.
The funniest part, but most embarrassing for me to tell you, is the fact that this came at a point when we had no organization in that back room, and were in DESPERATE need of it. I had just met Mary a few months before... and I think she might have a horrible picture of that old back room. I don't know how it ever got that bad... I was really the only one back then who made an effort to keep it clean, and I guess I'd given up! We'd had no shelves... it was a total mess... totally un-cleanable!!! Those poor insurance guys cleaned up years and years of junk... and we were left with a wonderfully clean room -- and started all over fresh and clean! Way Cool!!! (Now, in the new space, we have shelves and shelves, and ALPHABETIZED inventory in our back room!!!)
Finally, I close with shoplifting. Something every business deals with, unfortunately. I've heard incredible stories from other shopowners at Market... so I'm sure as some of my friends read this... it'll raise their blood pressure a little!!! It seems the wall behind our old sales counter was always a hot spot!!! Right Under our Noses!!! In the early years, we carried denim jumpers that had cross-stitch insets in them... you guessed it... gone from right behind that sales counter, a $54 jumper!!! Afghans were big for a while. We had just expanded for our third time, and had an emergency exit (aka shoplifting exit, for those who chose to use it like that!) down by the fabric shelves. 'They' got 5 or 6 afghans -- between $50 and $80 each in the space of 2 months, before we were smart enough to figure out what was going on! The alarm we had on the door had a dead battery...so it didn't sound when you opened it... they were shoving afghans out the door to waiting friends!!! We even lost a $120 Santa model that belonged to Mill Hill, and an entire Lavender and Lace huge stitched piece!!!
The most exciting one, however, happened just last spring -- in our new space! It's Tuesday... my day off... and I get one of 'those calls!' Gale is whispering... there is a woman in here stuffing things in her bag... we can see her doing it... OH MY GOSH... WHAT do we do??? She's helping herself to the Vera Bradley! Then she goes down to The Shepherd's Bush area!!! (a shoplifter with good taste!!!) My seven 'Charlie's Angels' swing into action!!! Someone is on the phone with 911. Two others are following her in the shop -- while the one who originally discovered her is shaking with shock in the back room. Nedra has gone outside to get her license plate number... when Ms Slippery Fingers asks to use the bathroom. BINGO!!! When she comes out... Police still aren't here.. so 'Dirty-Harry-Gale' confronts her because we know she's 'decided to take a few things!' She denies it, and shows the gals an *empty* bag... no keys, glasses, anything!!! At this point, Diana visits the scene of the crime... under the sink of the customer bathroom... and emerges with seven pieces of Vera Bradley, and some Lavender and Lace -- all stuck to the bug strip the exterminator has left!!! Ms S. Fingers is bolting from the shop, with Gale following closely behind shouting the now immortal words: "and don't you EVER come back here!!!"
Talk about adrenaline!!!
I brought my 'Charlie's Angels' sheriffs badges and handcuffs (from the party store) when I got there!!! What a team!!!
So... I'm sure after my March memories are over next week... I'll remember lots of other funny things we've endured! A lot can happen in 20 years, but I still have quite a list to go!!! More tomorrow!!! (and an e-mail newsletter Tuesday or Wednesday! I was supposed to be writing it, and did this instead!!!)
We're having Spring Break here in Ok this week. My daughter, Natalie, is a sophomore in high school... and is having quite the boring week!!! We'd asked a few weeks ago if she had any ideas -- about making some plans for this week -- to go somewhere... take a girlfriend, whatever... and simply received a 'non-interested' response. OK... we've stayed home! (Heaven help a teenager who makes plans ahead of time... they might miss out on something better down the line!!!) Turns out ALL of Nat's closest friends have gone somewhere this week!!! (oops!) Well, she came by the shop yesterday, to get her nails done at the salon next door... and I wanted to show her the baby pics I have of her in the shop... and realized that I hadn't written about that yet! I probably have way more pics for this day's memories... but it's my baby, so what can I say? You just have to live with looking at all of them!!!
You'll remember, from letter #1 or #2, that I had to make a decision to open the shop, or have a baby. Between a shop and a baby, or a baby and the shop! I made the right decision... because this is the wonderful baby that resulted!!! I opened in March of 1984, (did I ever mention that the intersection I'm on was CLOSED for construction that spring... and that March is typically the beginning of the S L O W season for needlework shops??? I was SO LUCKY to have business -- and was pregnant by March of 1987. I remember coming back to the shop after my initial Dr appt... still in shock/awe about my news. Kaye S, who was just in last week, was in there shopping... and I started to cry, and said that I didn't want anything to change! She looked at me and smiled... and said, "Oh, Honey... EVERYTHING'S going to change!!!" It did... for the better!
Here I am... tummy-in-the-plaid!!! (I loved that outfit... I wish it had been a normal outfit!!!) I had to turn backwards to pass in behind the sales counter... the way they were situated, I couldn't get through normally!
Remember Gail's messy desk (My shop-owner friend from AZ???) Well, here is 'Tubbo Lindy' at my messy desk in November of 1987!!! Wow, what a professional work station!!!
I have a pic of our Baby Pool! I really don't think Mary can get it all up on here... it was 6 huge white poster boards -- my pics are so white... we don't think it'll show up on the web. I decorated these 6 sheets with rules and 'family statistics, due date', etc... and gave the customers spaces to choose the day and time the baby would come. Each time they came in and spent at least $15... we handed them a blue or pink marker ... and they went over to the wall to fill in their name in the proper slot! (I STILL have my Baby Pool Sheets!!!... and I recognize lots of names on there!!!) Anyway, everybody who guessed the right day got a gift certificate... but since nobody guessed the right time... we gave the hospital a picture for the wall in the baby ward.
So... here are baby pics! I had Natalie with me in the shop for the first two months or so... till she stopped sleeping so much... and it just got too hard to have her there and get anything done!!! We had a wrought iron double bed in the shop -- a fantastic display for the afghans and pillows... can you see the little head peeking up??? She used to startle the customers, they expected to see stationary pillows... but they started to move!!! There's even another one... she's even littler... sleeping on her stomach.
Then, we used to hang her from the doorway into the back room... in one of those Johnny-Jump-Ups!!! There she is... happily dangling! (How they don't smash in their skulls running into the walls... I'll never know... she was really good at sling-shotting that thing straight back and forth through that door!!!)
Three years later... there's the same bed in the background... and she's picking up the shop toys that she used to play with when we'd come in on my day off, and I'd bet busy.
A couple of years later... we'd had the original carpet cleaned... everything is shoved on one side of the shop... you can see the fabric shelves way in the background... and here's Nat wearing one of our old -- but then current -- Camp Wannasew Sweatshirts!
And, finally... another shot of my P-nut... between dances at a dance recital... again wearing an old Camp Wannasew T-Shirt. I'd day, she is definitely posing for the camera, here!!!
Over the years, several of the gals have had babies... Devra's, Sharon's and mine really grew up together! We'd send them to 'Zoo Camp' every summer... and I know I have pics of 5 or 6 sweaty, smelly, knobby-kneed little kids lined up outside in front of the shop after Camp! One of us Moms was the driver... and we'd deliver them to the shop for a drink, snack, and further distribution home!!! On two different occasions, Devra had Natalie over at her house playing with her girls, when tornadoes hit Tulsa!!! Those girls all still remember 'playing Camp-out' in Devra's closet!!! We've even had babies 'delivered' to the SN for 15 minute mid-day feedings!!!
I won't be ready for grand-kids for several years... but lots of the other ladies are 'prolific' right now!!! When Deanna came to work here... her girls were exactly the age of Natalie... Deanna now has 10 grandchildren!!! Sue's daughter just had a baby... Terry's daughter was in today... tubbo tummy and all... and Angie has a daughter who's been married for only a year... they're trying to calm the baby-fever for at least a few more years!!! But, you know... we need younger, and new stitchers... so I say GO GIRLS -- to all the ones but mine!!! These pics aren't old enough yet...!
Remembering Secret Needle Night's early days has made me remember the 'olden days' when we were able to bring teachers to town for special classes. We've hosted quite a few.... mostly in the days before the consumer Spirit of Cross Stitch Shows... and those that have followed.
It was always quite a big deal... and we always had a really good response, always between 90 and 100 stitchers! We've had Eileen Bennett from The Sampler House, Darleen O'Steen from Needles Prayse, Tina Richards from Shepherd's Bush, Nan, -- of course, Kris Kahoutiak, who represented Kreinik, Jay from Rainbow Gallery, and most recently, Gay Bowles from Mill Hill. (I don't have pics of everything... so it's hard for me to remember!) I did unearth some shots, though... so I'll talk about those classes!!!
Darleen O'Steen came to teach in the early 90's... and I can't even remember which piece she taught us!!! You will note, however... that there is Nan -- before Just Nan -- being a real stitcher and taking the class!!! I don't even think she was working here yet!!! And, there is a moment of Silver Needle Fame... a pic of Darlene SHOPPING in my store!!! Way Cool!!!
Nan taught her Silver Needle design for us in the Spring of 1993, (I think!) It was a leaflet she'd held back from release, so that she could teach it in Tulsa! No pics of Nan standing there teaching... but we had colorful balloons and really good food for lunch, not to mention a pretty project and really fun day!!!
Jay, from Rainbow Gallery, came about 5 or 6 years ago... the website was JUST beginning... and Mary came to take pics. We had another really good turn-out for his thread notebook class... the man has stitched more projects than any 6 or 8 or 10 people that I know! He is incredible... and his class was great!!!
Here's Gay, when she came a few months ago, showing us one of the actual molds the craftsmen in Bavaria, Germany use each day to make the Treasures out of molten glass!!!
My favorite story, however, comes with the Tina Richards/Shepherd's Bush class. We had booked it... but it conflicted with Christian's 2nd birthday. (I think he's like 15 now!!!!) To avoid canceling the whole thing... we bought her airline ticket without a Saturday Night stay... so it was something astronomical like $600.00!!! She taught The Dartmoor Sampler -- still new and unreleased at that time. We were sooo busy in the days before the class -- the silk hadn't arrived for the kits! Here's Nan, working in the back room that Thursday, laughing at me -- not because life was fun (OH NO!!!). She was laughing because we were SO FAR BEHIND that the kits weren't even put together yet!!!
We had two days of ladies... must have been Friday and Saturday... register for the class. In the pics, you will notice a gal in the middle with short hair... that's Judy Bielec from Mosey 'n Me!!! She'd called quite late in the registration... hoping there was a space... because she'd already made plane reservations for her and her friend!!! (Boy, we were glad we had room!!!) She wasn't Mosey 'n Me yet... this class was what got her stitching!
Tina came to town. Everything was in place... customers, about 50 the first day, were all there... sitting at the tables. Our little Shepherd's Bush model display is arranged... they're r*e*a*d*y... when Nan gets the urge to go check on her in her room! Now, telling no secrets about the SB Sisters... true to form... it was 8:45 -- we started in 15 minutes -- and Tina is still in her PJ's collating the kit instructions on the bed!!! She wouldn't let Nan in to help her!!! CHAOS!!! All of the sudden... about 9:15... she breezed in dressed, groomed, and kits in hand, ready to teach! The day was saved!!!
That Friday Night, my husband, Craig, and teeny-weeny daughter, Natalie, and I took Tina out for dinner. We were driving back to the hotel, and had to pull over THREE times for emergency vehicles. Sooo strange! We get to the hotel... and it's 'swarming' with police cars, ambulances, lights, guys running everywhere... the whole nine yards... and some drunk slumping in the door vestibule. (We're in a pretty respectable part of Tulsa... so this is really weird!) Tina has to walk right past the 'passed-out deadbeat' to get into the hotel... and because she's the quiet lady she is... goes straight to her room!!! We really don't think too much about it, because it seems the police always over-react about stuff... and you never see anything about it on the news that night, even though at the time you're dying to know what's going on. Well, the next morning... we find out -- on the news(!) that some guy and his girlfriend had a big fight... she stabs him... he staggers across the hotel parking lot... and lands in the vestibule of this hotel, slumping over because of his wounds!!!!! (He died!!) So here I am... my TEACHER is staying in a hotel where a murder has taken place... NOT TO MENTION gals like Judy staying there... THE NEWS that this happened... would it scare all of them away... and 'gee'... what would my customers who called home tell their husbands??? "Gosh, uneventful and wonderfully relaxing as I'd hoped???!" What an impression!!! We all laughed the next day... nobody was flustered... we'd come to STITCH!!! Everything else paled in comparison!!!
Oh the days of those classes!!! Always super stressful for me... unbelievable busy for the shop... but always fun! They've made some of my special memories!!!