Friday, February 22, 2013

The City of Brotherly Love

We Love Philadelphia!

There are so many perks to living in Philadelphia. There's great music, theater, arts, food, sites, and traditions. Like many cities
Summer is a very popular tourist season. Philadelphia is no different however many of our tourist attractions that are best seen during the summer are historical sites. Independence Hall is one of the most important and frequently visited attractions in Philadelphia. It is in the center of Independence National Historical Park which is located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th street here in Philly (it's only 12 blocks from us!). It is a very important spot because it is where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. * It is listed as a World Heritage site, for which we are very proud!

The image above was designed by our in-house painter, Jim Boyle. It is called Declaration of Independence. As the title suggests, it is inspired by the Declaration of Independence and Philadelphia's involvement in that historic event. It is stitch painted on 13 mesh canvas, which makes it a perfect canvas for beginners and advanced stitchers alike! Click on the Declaration of Independence link to see the canvas on our website.

Another famous spot in Philadelphia is the Museum of Fine Arts on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It is famous not only because of the museum and it's fabulous collection of well known and beautiful
artwork, but also because it has been featured in movies. You may remember the scene in Rocky where Sylvester Stallone runs up the museum's steps (this is a popular training exercise. It is common to see people running up the steps for exercise and training). There is a statue in front of the museum that immortalizes that scene. Our canvas above called Rocky Balboa (also by Jim!) was painted from that site. It is also done on 13 mesh canvas, so it is a great canvas for beginners. You can also get it on 18 mesh if that is what you prefer!

Rittenhouse Square is one of Philadelphia's most popular parks. It is a great place to walk your dog, sit and have lunch, or during the
summer watch live performances. At night the lamps lining the park give it a great ambiance and make it seem almost magical. Jim's painting simply called Rittenhouse Square. Like most of our store originals it comes in both 13 and 18 mesh.

Philadelphia has so many landmark buildings from over the years that we really wanted to create a canvas that featured some of them. Philadelphia Old and
New is a beautiful canvas. We have had it finished into a pillow for the store, and the colors are so bright and vivid that it really draws your eye right to it!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour and history lesson of Philadelphia. We hope to see you in the shop. We'll be happy to give you some pointers for other great Philadelphia attractions that you can visit!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Decorate Your Home

 You can find so many decorative needlepoint canvases already painted and ready to purchase. However, our painters can help you to design the ideal one that brings you a better mood in your everyday life. Email your idea to We love hearing from you!

Come visit our store to take a look. We also have numerous frame and mat samples for you to choose from. I'm sure you will find the best frame for your piece.

It's always fun to see the different ways you can embellish your house with needlepoint. Even if these pictures don't illustrate your home, you can see how a custom needlepoint canvas can really add that little bit of uniqueness and fun to a beautiful living space.

Email us at to discuss creating a piece for your home today!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Custom Woodworking

A few months ago we started using a fabulous woodworker. So far he has made trays, boxes and ottomans for us, and they have all been gorgeous! 

There are a lot of beautiful chair and ottoman cushion canvases out there to stitch. This past summer we were the exclusive shop at the American Needlepoint Guild's Seminar here in Philadelphia. For the week we had many trunk shows in shop so that we could provide all of the attendees with a fabulous selection of threads, canvases and accessories. One of the trunk shows (and a line we ended up keeping because we loved it so much!) was Planet Earth Opal by Tilli Tomas. Tilli Tomas was very generous in loaning us a beautiful ottoman (shown above) that they had stitched and finished to show off this fabulous fiber. That ottoman was one of the inspirations for having our woodworker create special custom ottomans to fit canvases. Tilli Tomas ended up commissioning us to construct one for them using our special fabrics as the side panels (and her beautiful stitched canvas of course!). You can see the ottoman before being sent for upholstery at the top of this post. The ottoman was finished and upholstered in time for Christmas and came out fantastically! See a photo below for a shot of it with our upholsterer!

Trays are another fabulous idea for finishing, whether they are smaller trays or large statement pieces. Our woodworker has made a few different trays for us so far. The ones below are simply stunning! This customer had 4 large Bargello pieces that he had not finished yet. When we told him about our woodworker, he decided to have 4 huge trays made for his living room.

Each is 28 x 28 and are beautiful mahogany. These are exceptionally large, but you can have them made in any size you wish with any stain or color that suits your purpose.

Our woodworker has made a number of wood boxes (a few of which are shown above) that have spaces  on the top where you can insert your needlepoint. Like any of the projects done with him, you can indicate the size and color of the box you require if one of the pre-made boxes doesn’t work for you.

The options are endless! Contact us at for more information
about our fabulous woodworker. We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

How We Paint

If you've been keeping up with our blog you will have seen a few of our painter's posts about some of the services they offer. We don't mind talking our painters up because they really are very talented! They can take pretty much any of your ideas and make them into spectacular needlepoint canvases. 

Jim Boyle started as our head painter when our shop first opened back in 2009. He had the great fortune of being trained by Trubey Walker of Trubey designs. He was able to take those lessons and use them to paint many gorgeous needlepoint pieces. Since then we've gained another painter, Jia Qian. She is a very talented painter who Jim trained himself. Together they really make our painting services very reputable.

If you've ever thought maybe you'd like to have a piece custom painted for you, but weren't really sure how we do things here, I'm showing a sample of how we go from design to finished project. 

When you have a piece that you're interested in sharing with us and seeing how much it would be to complete the project send it to our painters at Jim or Jia will take a look at it and depending on whether you want the piece painted exactly like the photo or if you want an interpretation of it they would either give you an estimate of how many hours it will take and start painting after you give the go-ahead, or else they will do a sketch and send it to you for approval.

The sketch above is a basic sketch Jim can do. This was for the Declaration of Independence canvas that he designed exclusively for our shop. This kind of sketch would be helpful if you sent us a bunch of images and just wanted a basic layout done to make sure the composition is to your requirements.

The photo above is a much more detailed drawing on graph paper. This kind of sketch would be good if you wanted to approve all of the details beforehand. This kind of sketch is what Jim or Jia would use right before they started painting.

Above you can see the finished product and how it evolved from the first sketch to this beautiful piece celebrating Philadelphia's history! 

If you have any questions or would like an estimate of how much it would be to paint your piece please feel free to get in touch with our painters. You can reach them at You can also check out our painting website to see more examples of different painting projects we've done in the past and see the painting rates and different ways we can paint your canvas depending on your budget. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Custom Painted Stocking

It is never too early to have our artists design your next stocking. No matter what your interests you deserve the perfect one!

The stocking below is one of this month's custom painting projects. We received a request to create a romantic Swan Lake ballet stocking for a lovely ballerina. To make sure everything was perfect, our artist emailed back and forth with the customer to finalize the design of this ethereal and soft painted stocking.

Our artists have also developed a Philadelphia sports stocking for the Philly sport fan in your life. It comes in three different sizes. You can also email us at to get your favorite team logo on your stocking. 

We also design traditional Christmas stockings. Below is a moonlit night scene with a handsome wolf in front of a Christmas tree. You can't always find that kind of scene on Christmas stockings, but by contacting our painters they were able to create it for this customer! You can also have a special Christmas stocking created just for you!

The Star of David, Dreidel and Menorah can also compose a sparkling night scene stocking for your Jewish family and friends.  (You may not think that this is a popular request, but we've done it a few times already!) 


Feel free to get in touch with us and get a conversation started about a custom piece. We would be happy to sketch up your next stocking!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Children's Canvases

We've seen a lot of adorable canvases made for children: Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, booties, tooth fairy pillows, baby sleeping signs, and many more. The great thing about stitching all of these designs is that you can add your own flair to them, whether it's a fun thread or stitch, to how you finish it.

Last spring one of our customers had us finish a really special
project. Her granddaughter's baptism was comping up, and she wanted to stitch a pair of booties that her granddaughter could actually wear! The bootie pattern came from Danae Designs, and it was so sweet to begin with that it was no surprise that it finished spectacularly. As you can see to the right, we finished these with
an adorable elastic ribbon to secure the shoe on the foot, and Vicky supplied the pink ribbon, which our finisher gathered to fit on the front of the shoe. We've had slipper ornaments finished here before, but it was a first to have a pair of real baby booties finished. It was great to see them come to life, and I'm sure they will be a special memento for the rest of that little girl's life. We have another of these bootie designs in stock. You can see it to the left. Vicky stitched hers in Soie D'alger, so that is a definite option for stitching, but you could easily use a non-strandable thread like Pepper Pot Silk, Impressions, Vineyard Silk, or many others!

Another cute project came in our Princess & Me trunk show this
spring. It is this adorable little "Sweet Pea" ornament. The great thing about Princess & Me is that their designs are all really sweet, and they all come with stitch guides and pictures of how they look finished! This really helps if you don't know what stitches would look good with that piece. It really takes all the guess work out of it and helps you really enjoy the project.

One of my favorite Disney movies as a child was Alice in Wonderland.
Since then I've grown an appreciation of the tale, both in the original and Disney versions. There are a good amount of Wonderland themed canvases, but Labors of Love really hit the nail on the head with their Alice series. This piece is one of my favorites. I love her expression and the colors. It is also stitch painted, which makes the actual stitching part a lot quicker and easier. Any of the threads mentioned above for the booties would look great with this canvas. If you're feeling adventurous, you could also try some ribbon for the flowers as well as the pig's bowtie.

One piece that we all like a lot is this Bear Birthday Party scene by
Cooper Oaks. It really is begging for special threads. Perhaps something fuzzy like Peluche for the bears' fur, ribbons for the streamers, something shiny for the different patterns of gift wrap. Use your imagination and this piece could really pop (even more than it already does!).

There are a lot of choices when it comes to stitching something for a child. These are just a few of the really great ones we have in stock. If there's not a link to the website for any of the canvases above, get in touch with us at the shop. We'll be happy to give you some more info about that particular piece.

Happy stitching!