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Embellish-ology - the science of making beauty more beautiful.

One of my favorite parts of designing and stitching a needlepoint cuff comes at the very end.  After it's stitched and constructed comes the last part, the embellishing.  I have a large, (well, very large) stash of beads, pearls, gems, and I study them carefully to determine what would be an  excellent last touch for my cuff.  It's a delicate balance, it should be rich, bring another layer of beauty, but not over do it!  It should be a promotional tool, one that promotes the cuff to it's full potential.

I've put together a lovely 3 page instruction manual on different ways to embellish a cuff.  Along with the instructions, each package gets a compilation of seven different elements that can be used to embellish.  The package has enough to embellish 2-3 cuffs, the combinations are many.  I've listed them on our Etsy shop, ($19).  Take a look --

Copper Cuties
Golden Golds
Teal Terrific
Purple Pretties

Silver Stunners

Here are a few sample close ups of embellished cuffs --

Pay a visit to the Etsy Shop, you will get a great injection of color! 



An expensive lesson learned.

I've always known that you learn lessons no matter how old you are.  Yesterday I learned one.  Do NOT leave your bag under your seat at a movie theater. Do NOT.  Reid and I spontaneously decided to go see a movie, (A Most Wanted Man, in case you were wondering),   Those are the things we can do these days,  with Nina being away, just get up and go.  The movie ended, we walked to the car and my bag felt light.  I opened it and sure enough, no wallet.  Dash back to the movie theater, all the while thinking that I've become so careless, why can't I keep things together?  I ran into the theater, up to our row and sure enough, on the floor under my seat, I found my wallet.  Whew!  It took me a few seconds to open it, and that's when I saw that all the money I had in my wallet was gone.  Over $200.  The theater manager told us we were not the first to have this happen to and the police officers who came in explained that it is a very frequent occurrence. We all realized that I was lucky to have my id and my credit cards still in the wallet.

Moral of the story, lessons can be learned at any age and keep your bag on your lap!  In the scheme of things this movie was expensive, but the lesson wasn't really.  And here, I'm passing it on to you for free!  That's what friends are for!

Coming attractions...  coming to a theater near you soon!


At long last, an introduction and a WINNER!

I have been working with Orna for almost a year now, and I have not yet introduced myself. Here I go... Hi! My name is Rae! Some of you may know me through emails, Etsy, or explanations sent with packages. I spend much of my time attempting to make the kits that we send out look as beautiful as possible and organizing/reorganizing the studio so it can be used to its full potential. I have also started the Instagram @adornbyorna, which is quite fun to do, although at times I forget to post (don't tell Orna). It has been wonderful learning from Orna for the past year. I have many new talents: 

 I can make tassels now!!!

It is wonderful to have a job where I can be surrounded by fantastic materials and someone who has the patience to teach me how to use them! I have always embroidered on my own, but now I have a whole new love for needlework with the knowledge I have gained from working with Orna. 

These are a few things I made before working with Orna: 

I don't have any recent new work to show yet. 

It is nice to meet you all! I am sure that I will have some sort of correspondence with many of you in the future! YAY!

First of all thank you for giving us great tips on what to bring to Merchandise Night and what you like to see when you go shopping at needlepoint seminars.  It's been a great help!!

AND!!!!  Congratulations to our winner of a fabulous thread pack....   Velia Antila.  This is the awesome thread and bead gift going out to you, Velia!


New Class - Cyberworkshop

Registration for my ANG Cyberworkshop has begun.  

Check it out HERE

I want to aggressively do some self promoting, well, not self, rather Grecian Glory promoting.  This is a great cuff and a wonderful class.  Not only because of the aesthetic of the piece but also because of the unique learning opportunities the cuff affords.  What do I mean?

  • AMAZING threads!  AMAZING array!  The cuff uses only silks and one wool but they are in different weights, they are used in different ways, and they are combined creatively.  Learning how this is done goes with you at the end of the class, it doesn't only stay on the cuff.
  • The design is stitched on the diagonal, it's a different angle with very interesting results.
  • You will get very detailed, step by step on how to finish a cuff without having to send it out to the finisher.  It's very doable, really!  Again, this goes with you, it doesn't just stay on the cuff.
  • You will learn how to embellish using fine jewels, pearls, beads to make your piece of jewelry rich.
  • The colors...  ahhh, the colors you will combine.  (Three colorway options, all stunning, if I may say so myself). 
  • You can use the design for more than just a cuff, it can be multiplied into a belt, a curtain tie back, a shoulder bag strap.  Again, it goes with you beyond the cuff.
  • You will  learn how to adjust stitching to different wrist sizes.  Goes with you beyond the cuff...

The threads are all Gloriana silks and one Lorikeet wool.  Have you stitched with them before?  It's the "soaking in a glorious bath with a glass of champagne" of needlepoint fibers.  

So, go on over there and check it out.  Hope to see you in class!!


My life in extremes - OMG!!!! I just read this post and realized you might get the wrong impression!!!

I don't want to sound dramatic.  As things go, we are fine.  However, it hit me this morning how strange my life is right now.  

Nina is in Israel, and has had some "maturing" moments with which she has coped beautifully.  She is well taken care of and is having an amazing time.  Still, I know where she was at 3 am this morning, and that's one extreme.  

What I meant is that Nina is in Israel and has had to run to shelters twice when the rockets landed in the vicinity of her camp.  One of the times was two nights ago at 3 am.  OMG, the way I worded that last paragraph could have lead you all down the wrong path...  I can't believe how dumb I can be!!

On the other side of my life I am preparing letters and material to send out to my students for my Color Inspirations class in Chicago next month.  I couldn't help myself,  I needed to send the letters out in colorful envelopes!

It makes me dizzy at moments, these extremes.  But we are all fine, we are all good.

Have a wonderful weekend.


What to bring?? Tell me and participate in a give-away drawing!

The house is very quiet.  Nina has been away for a week now.  She is having a fantastic time, learning so much about fashion and jewelry design, 3D printing, music editing, (yes, this is a camp! I wanna go too!). 

My summer is busy with prep for Chicago.  We have hundreds of skeins and cards of fiber in every possible shade and hue ready for my Color Inspiration class.  We have beautiful kits of threads, beads, semi-precious gems, jewelry findings, ready for the Samburu class.  We have kits coming together, so many, as well as many other offerings for merchandise night in Chicago.  
Every time I prepare for merchandise night, I feel I am able to anticipate what you, the stitchers, will be looking for.  I get this sunken feeling when I need to tell a customer: "It's not here, but I can ship it to you when I get back to the studio".  I know it's not a big deal, and I do ship for free, but from my own experience, I like to walk away with my purchase.  Nothing quite like opening a shopping bag in my hotel room and rummaging through my purchases.  Anyway, every year I make a list of what to bring and inevitably I find that there is a big surge of interest in something I don't have multiples of.  Big :(

So, maybe you can help me?  What would you like to see at the tables that night? What type of items do you tend to look for when away at a stitching event?  There is never enough room on the tables for everything I'd like to bring, so choosing the right items is crucial.  

Write your ideas and thoughts in the comment section.  We will have a giveaway next week, an amazing fiber pack, in thanks for your efforts of helping me think this through!  Let me know what you like to see, what you don't like to see, what your past experiences have been, what works for you and what doesn't.  Don't hold back!!  Bad experiences in previous events?  Great experiences as a result of what? 
Next Friday, July 18th, we will draw a winner, a recipient of a beautiful group of fibers that will grab your heart and not let go!!

Thank you again, my friends!  I know I can always count on you!!


It's in the detail.

The work is gradual, one stitch at a time.  No intention of being fast paced, no long strokes.  Just little dots, tiny lines, bit by bit.

It is what I love.


She's there!

My delightful, wonderful, goofy daughter left on a big, big plane to Israel last night.  Our Nina will be there for 6 weeks, with the family and at camp.  She arrived safe and sound this morning, and of course, not until I heard her voice, was I able to breathe again. 

As Nina, Reid and I were sitting in the airport last night, I kept thinking about the time we sat at the airport with her on our way home from Cambodia.  She was 9 months old.  In 10 days she will be 13. It was very emotional for me, (deep inside of me, so she wouldn't notice), to send her off.  There she was, a young lady, sitting with us, chatting in Hebrew, getting ready for an adventure from which she will, no doubt, come home different, in a very good way.  

What joy this child brings us every single day!

Nina posing with a duck-face, clothes shopping with me the day before she left on her adventure.
You little goof ball, Nina Willis!


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