Tuesday, March 6, 2018

5 Things to help get ready for Spring Break

I can't believe that Spring Break is just around the corner.  For heaven's sake, have we had winter yet?  Don't get me wrong, it's been plenty cold, but where's the snow?  No sledding days for the kiddos this year.

March is certainly roaring like a lion these days.  And like all families with school-age children, our lives are driven by the school calendar which is screaming SPRING BREAK.  I haven't even thought about it much less started preparing for it.  Today I started to make a list of the top 5 things to do to get yourself ready for Spring Break.

1. Go to The Studio for an exciting project.  There are a couple of amazing trunk shows at The Studio right now.  Stitch-its and HSN.  Stitch-its is a local needlepoint company.  I love her designs because there is no shading.  They are straight forward and simple to stitch.  If you like to add texture, these are great for using special stitches.

HSN stands for Hingham Square Needlepoint - in Massachusetts.  They have their own line of sunglass straps, dog collars, belts, and American flags.  They also distribute for a number of designers so there is a wide variety in this show.

2. Pack the Beach Bag.  Sunscreen is a must.  Don't try to get by on last year's.  Buy new so you know it is fresh and still works.  Get a fabulous wide brim hat for yourself (and everyone else)  and find one of those giant beach blankets.  Now, about the swimsuit....I can't remember the last time I put my swim suit on.  I do own one and I think I know which drawer I stuffed it into.  Better pull it out and check the fit.  If you need or want a new one, go to one of the swim suit specialty stores.  They have the best selection for all body types and have folks to help you find the right one for you.  I got mine at Swimwear Solutions in Hawthorne Plaza.

3. Download a new playlist and/or book  OR stop at Rainy Day Books to pick up something intriguing.  I found this playlist on Spotify.  I think I know every song and could sing along.

4. Get maps and travel guides.
I stumbled upon the Gallup Map & Art Co when I was doing some genealogy work.  I got some pretty cool maps of Sweden there.  Find a map of your destination and you could have a ball with the kids.  Of course, we all know we can get ordinary things at AAA.

5.  Pick up some activities so they aren't glued to their devices and don't hurt one another.  My favorite place to pick up new and unusual items for the kids is Brookside Toy & Science.  They are my go-to place for birthday and holiday gifts.  They have great puzzles there, too.

Or some great stitching projects that are very portable.  These are on #10 canvas and available at The Studio.  Give us a call and we can kit one up for you.  816-531-4466

Last October we drove to Ft. Benning, GA to see our oldest son graduate from Army Boot Camp.  While there we did some Geocaching.  We had a ball.  You can go to the App anytime and you will find geocaching opportunities all around you.  We often did the Geocaching at the rest stops so we could get, stretch our legs and go on a little treasure hunt.  It really is a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Winter Olympics 2018 Needlepoint Project

I can't believe that the first events of the 2018 Winter Olympics begin today.  For as long as I can remember I've been an Olympics junkie.  I am in awe of the skill the athletes have honed.  I admire the commitment to training and competing.  I appreciate the competition but most of all it is the team spirit that draws me in.  

I will be glued the the TV for the next 2+ weeks, but not without handwork in my lap.  It is challenging to plan this part: knitting, needlepoint, embroidery, spinning.  The knitting community has organized themselves around teams and projects in an online community, Ravelry.  You can join a team to work on a specific project or you can select your own project.  The spinners quantify their yardage or ounces of spun yarn, setting goals before the games begin.  I have not found anything similar for the needlepoint or embroidery communities.

Last week I started working on a needlepoint design that could be easily completed within the limited number of days that bookend the Olympics.  It needed to be fairly simple but meaningful.  My first ideas were similar to the Temperature Scarves that we've seen in the knitting and crochet world.

In the case of the Olympics, medals would be assigned a color - for instance gold might be assigned turquoise, silver=purple, and bronze=green.  A designated number of rows for each medal won would be knit in the assigned color.

For needlepoint I thought about stitching a square for every medal won.  In my research I learned that the USA  typically wins around 28 total medals in the Winter Olympics and are predicted to win 30 this year.  So, I think to myself, 30 boxes over a couple of weeks is very doable.  

I shared my idea with the Wednesday Needlepoint Niche weekly open needlepoint group.  We talked about it, massaged it, twisted it and the idea emerged transformed, elevated, and more interesting.

Materials Needed:
1 6"x6" piece of blank canvas in your preferred mesh size
appropriate tapestry needle for mesh
background fiber in color of choice
kreinik or other sparkling fiber in colors gold, silver, and bronze
a yard of red, white, and blue in fiber of choice.

Find the center of your canvas.  
Using your background color, stitch one unit of the star octagon stitch.  

Make a Smyrna Cross in the middle of the star octagon stitch. Starting with your red fiber, make the x of a Smyrna cross, next stitch one vertical stitch with the white thread and stitch one horizontal stitch with the blue.  

This unit is now complete and indicates the beginning of your medal count.

The second unit will connect to the upper right quadrant of the first unit.

I am ready to stitch the first medal color as a Smyrna Cross in the middle of the 2nd unit.  
 Here's is the 3rd unit

From this point you will continue to add units to the left edge of the previous unit.  

To manage the project you could  stitch the background units as the medals or won or you could stitch background when you have a chance and fill in medals as we get them.

Will keep you posted on my progress.

The first medals will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 10. 

Friday, August 18, 2017


 WHEN: Monday, August 21, 2017 11 am-2:30 pm Maximum Partiality (approximately 98%) at 1:06 pm 

WHERE: The Studio, 9555 Nall, Overland Park, KS We will mark off parking space and sidewalk in front of the Studio for seating. First come, first served. 

SERVING: Sun and moon themed treats. 

SELLING: Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses- $2 each.* Solar Eclipse Commemorative Knitted Hat Pattern. Solar Eclipse Commemorative Hand Painted Needlepoint Ornament canvas. 

WHAT TO BRING: Your own chair, sun screen and, of course, your projects. *There has been a lot in the media about the safety of solar glasses. Please know that these glasses are sourced from the Astronomical League, a non-profit organization who supports over 270 local astronomy clubs across America and meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products. Even if you can’t join us on Monday, August 21, you are welcome to buy your viewing glasses from us. 


  • Solar eclipses happen nearly every 18 months or so around the world, often over oceans as Earth is covered by 71% water. But on a human time scale, total solar eclipses seem rare and random. Any particular spot on earth will see one, on average, every 375 years. 

  • This eclipse starts out in the Pacific Ocean and crosses into the contiguous United States at Oregon at 9:05 am, PDT. The line of totality (meaning that the sun is totally eclipsed by the moon) sweeps across the United States in a southeasterly direction, moving out into the Atlantic near Charleston, SC at 4:09 pm, EDT. Totality lasts only about 1-3 minutes depending on your viewing site; as the sun, moon and earth all keep on moving. Depending on distance people are from that line of totality will determine how much of a partial eclipse they will see. Here, the southern-most edge of the totality line runs through downtown Kansas City. Here at the Studio in Overland Park, we will be observing a partial eclipse with the sun ALMOST blocked by the moon. 

  • The good news is that everyone in the United States will see the sun from 50-100% eclipsed! 

  • It’s a BIG DEAL that the line of this eclipse crosses only the United States. Astronomers have calculated that the last time an eclipse followed such a path was in the year 436. The next time a total solar eclipse follows this same path will be in 2319. 

  • Figuring out the exact path a solar eclipse is not as exact a science as you would think. Scientists have measured the size of the moon, as well as the distances from Earth to the moon and the sun and from the moon to the sun. But the sun itself is a big, roiling ball of burning gases—making it more difficult to measure. Total eclipses provide opportunities to learn more about the sun. 

  • Just like knitting, it is all about the math. The perfect sun-moon-Earth alignment that results in a total solar eclipse is an extraordinary cosmic coincidence! The sun is 400 times larger than the moon and the moon is only able to “cover” the sun because the moon is 400 times closer to the Earth. In all of the hundreds of billions star systems in our Milky Way galaxy, few, if any, are likely to produce total solar eclipses like here on Earth. It is a coincidence not only of spatial relations but also time and motion. 

Go to this website to see a short video of what you will be able to see from the Studio parking lot: You can also use this site to look at locations all across the United States, if you have other viewing plans for that day. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Busy has robbed me

How is it possible that it is Thanksgiving already?  Anyone else feeling that way?  I was talking to Andrew (freshman at Wichita State) yesterday and realized that he's almost finished with the first half of his freshman year.  How does this happen?  I went to bed early last night  reflecting on that question as I fell asleep.  I woke up this morning with an answer - BUSY.  Could the answer be that simple?  Have I been too busy to notice the trees show their glory?  Have I been too busy to notice that Matthew's school pants need the hem let out about 2"?  Have I been too busy to get the oil changed in the van even though the light has been blinking at me for a couple weeks?  Have I been too busy to greet you in the shop? Have I been too busy to give you the attention you deserve?

Busy has been robbing me of joy and friendship.  Busy is the cause of my anxious gut.  Enough! 

Since I'm pretty sure Busy is also robbing you of "me" time, I invite you to claim some "me" time this weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Are we there yet?

That phrase you know you are going to hear on a car trip with the kids.  On our trips to St. Louis, Marc and I used to bet how long we would be in the car before we heard that question from one of the boys.  As they got older, we could get to Columbia, then we could get to Jonesboro, and now they say it just to annoy us.

In the last couple of weeks, all I could think about is, "Are we there yet?"  Lets get this election over so we can get back to normal.  And now that it is here, I am filled with thankfulness.

I am thankful that the election is finally here.  I am thankful for the opportunities I've had with my big boys to talk about values and how to make decisions about candidates.  I am thankful that tomorrow we will know the direction of the journey our country will take for the next four years. I am thankful that my phone will stop ringing.  I am thankful that the most annoying TV commercials will be about siding your home. 

Aren't you glad to be back to normal?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Our Place

Tax Season marks the beginning of the end...the end of school that is. It is also the green flag for “get those summer plans wrapped up. Kids to summer camp, car trips to the National Parks or your favorite beach. Every family has that “Place” that defines their summers spent together, that is the cradle for years of family time. Ours is Lake Vermillion, MN.

Our first trip there was in 2005. Matthew was only 2 ½. I remember being scared to death that he would end up in the lake and drown so he was not allowed out of the cabin without wearing a life jacket. 


Early on, Marc and the big boys would spend two days on the lake with a fishing guide, catching all the walleye they could. 

 Matthew and I would stick together at the cabin; stabbing crawdads with a stick, digging giant rocks out of the earth, searching for frogs. 

He got his own kiddie fishing pole and I taught him how to put worms on his hook. Really, I put them on and he said, “Ooooh, gross, Mommy.” But he eventually started doing it for himself and could sit long enough on the dock, leading to his invitation to the boat. 

This left Mommy at the cabin by herself for two day. Poor Mommy ------ Are you kidding – lets do the happy dance. Two days of hearing the lake lap on the shore. Two days of watching the loons. Two days of lake air. Two days of knitting, needlepointing and spinning. Ahh, heaven.

Hoping you will find a spot this summer where you will experience a little bit of heaven.

Your summer journeys might require a new project. We've put together some needlepoint canvases that are travel related - places, animals and beaches as well as a couple yarn projects. The knitting project is a little girl sweater that Cindy knit up called Helena. It only takes 3 skeins of Co-Ba-Si to make a 12 months size. Heading to Baltimore, check out this super cute crochet top.

PS - These pics are from 2008.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I delight in the days when babies are in the shop. I am a baby nut and have been my whole life. I am the oldest cousin on both sides of my family and loved getting new cousins. I even have cousins the same age as my oldest two sons.

One of my fondest memories of my childhood is the family baby showers. All of the ladies in the family would gather to celebrate the new life in our family. I felt like such a big girl to be included in these gatherings of the wisdom and support. Often it was the only opportunity for me to get to know my parents' cousins and my great Aunts. And of course, I delighted in the crazy shower games and butter mints.

I treasure the special hand made gifts of crochet blankets, embroidered burp towels, knit hats that I received as gifts for my babies and the special hand written notes that accompanied each gift. "Baby Shower Season" is upon us and I thought I would share with you some of our ideas for this season.

is fluffy, soft and absorbent, a quick-knit microfiber yarn perfect for washing, drying, cleaning and more! The ball band includes two patterns - one for a cleaning mitt and one for a basket weave washcloth. But our favorite pattern is Squeaky Clean Toddler's Hooded Towel. Lynn loved it so much she knit up a sample in 24 hours. It took every inch of 2 skeins.

Cuddle Bunny Blanket is an awesome
quickie for crochet.

Needlepoint offers some birth announcements, baby sleeping signs, and
1st Christmas Ornaments and other canvases for Children.

Baby Showers are the perfect opportunity to create memories with those you love.