Welcome Back!


Welcome Back!

And just like that…summer is almost over! Something that seems to go by faster and faster each year. Perhaps that is part of growing older, or maybe it’s the fact that I cherish them more and more each year. There is a special hum of the heart when we can focus on a slower way of living, where you’re able to spend time with loved ones, cook delicious meals, go for late night walks on the beach, sunset golf cart rides, endless trips to Disney and the ability to carve out time with friends. It’s a treasured time for me and I love it more every single year!

Grande Stitches has been closed since the beginning of July. On our tiny island, most things sync with the Gasparilla Inn, which also shuts down every July and then reopens in October. This alone brings a sense of quiet to this island since most of the other times, it is bustling with so many people!!  It’s funny to me because I never knew that the island had a season. As kids we came in the summertime, which was even slower in the 80’s then it is now! We’d stay on the beach from sunup until sundown and never see a soul! Skip shells in the streets and never see a car!! Long gone are those days, but the special feeling an island summer brings still burns just as bright as ever!! The sunsets in Florida during the summer are some of the very best not to mention the late night tarpon fishing, the reuniting of locals at the neighborhood bars and the laidback pace all bring a sense of Zen to our beloved island. It’s a much-needed reset after a glorious season and I love being a part of it.

Summers also bring time for new projects and all sorts of creative opportunities! I loved being able to consistently work on pieces and really get into a creative zone!! It’s so relaxing!! I also helped teach my sister to quilt (from afar) and that was so much fun! In fact, this summer…I think I might have sewn more than I needlepointed!! I feel like I tend to go in between the two equally, but there are times when I am in a flow and stick with one over the other. When I think about it, I think they both bring a sense of peace to me but in different ways. For example, needlepoint is mindless. I used to teach yoga and it reminds me of a meditation in motion. You get lost in the flow of your stitching, but you can still carry on a conversation or be a part of the room. While sewing is a challenge that requires all of your attention (and then some). It is more like a true meditation; the mind focuses on one thing. Sewing is a strong distraction from the mind chatter that can sometimes be overwhelming, while needlepoint is like the rhythm of a smooth swing…gently swaying back and forth. Both are therapy for me in totally different ways!! I stitched like a crazy woman on the way to and from The Keys, on many trips to Disney and on countless boat rides these past few months! But my sewing machine stayed out all summer! I made quilts, dresses and bags! I talked Glenn (my sweet husband) into letting me squeeze a desk into our tiny condo so I could have a sewing station in our home. And while it’s totally random (and not part of any “interior design” scheme)…it feels so perfect to create there!!

Speaking of creating!!!  Grande Stitches has SO many new items that have headed our way! We are now a stock-list for Liberty Fabrics both in Tana Lawn as well as Quilt Weight Cotton!! As someone who sews, this is a dream come true!! A little magical dream come true!! The Liberty Fabrics Christmas collection arrived a few weeks ago and it is STUNNING!!  We are expecting a delivery from London this week with the Tana Lawn collection!! These fabrics are always so beautiful in both touch as well as the eye!! Perfect for lining or backing needlepoint finishings, garment sewing projects, quilting and small handmade pieces!! We also have several new Julie Pischke Designs needlepoint exclusives coming this season!! Those are expected in January and are really something special!! Woolfolk has added new colors to their yarn collections, new canvases are arriving almost daily, and we just received a new batch of our exclusive hand-dyed needlepoint threads!! I’m SO excited for this season but mostly excited to see all of you again in the shop and around town, soon!! I hope each of you had an amazing summer and were able to spend time with loved ones!! I hope you were able to create special memories and had a chance to work on projects that made your own hearts hum!! I leave you with a favorite recipe from this summer! We went lobstering in the Keys this July and dear friends of ours in Islamorada shared a favorite recipe of theirs with us! It was delicious! I also think it would be great with shrimp or prawns!! Enjoy!!

Mediterranean Lobster

By, Kathy Whitehurst

1 TBSP Olive Oil
4 large scallions, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound medium lobster (or shrimp) shelled and deveined
4 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced into 1 inch cubes
4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 TBSP finely chopped dill
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ cup heavy cream
2 TBSP parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a shallow 10 cup glass baking dish. Heat oil in a small frying pan. Add the scallions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for one minute longer. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and arrange the lobster on top. Sprinkle with tomatoes and feta.

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the dill, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Beat in the cream. Spoon the custard over the lobster (lobster should be about halfway covered with custard). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the custard is set and the lobster is cooked through. This can vary depending on the size of your lobster. Let the dish sit for 5 minutes and serve with mixed greens or perhaps linguini with olive oil & garlic!


Until next month,