Category Archives: Store

At last, at last


The sleigh my grandparents found buried long ago in their backyard in Greenwich is back from the upholstery place.  I’ve  had a place by the front left of Needlepoint Land reserved for it for over a week now.

I had the tech crew slap some funky colored chalk paint on it, and I selected the fabric with an eye to coordinating with the house parrot.

Isn’t it grand?

Should come in handy as a hubster parking area, not to mention being a conversation piece in its own right!


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016


The thing is said….



Remember Miles Drentell (David Clennon) in Thirtysomething?

I still recall one of his lines in that once era-defining show:  The thing is said, the thing is done.

Here’s something from an email I just received:

Dear Merchant, We are pleased to inform you that your new Merchant Account has been established.

Credit card terminal on its way.

Any day now!


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Img from

Water Works

Cutout of NPL's electricity bill statement

Cutout of NPL’s electricity bill statement

Okay here we are at midweek, early on Wednesday.

I’ll just jot down a few to dos that have to be accomplished over the balance of the week:

swivel chair1. The office door situation has to be resolved.  More on that delightful saga in a future post.

2. Second custom platform is needed for the second thread tower. Have to find out what’s up with George the installer as I have not heard from him in a few days. [Note: Pedestals being installed tomorrow; custom shelf/rod canvas display units may be ready by Sat.]

3. Still haven’t ordered the cork board for the wall area behind the counter.

4, Need to keep tabs on why AT&T is finding it so difficult to use the correct billing address for my smartphone.  This will be the subject of yet another amusing but head scratching post in the near future.

5, The tech team needs to stop playing useless computer games and get motivated enough to finish assembling the desk, not to mention putting together the swivel chair and file cabinet.

file cabinetBut the first thing I have to do this morning is digitize my water bill and send it as an attachment to the credit card processor. [update:  sent out electric bill instead.]

This may complete the application process.

Normally they would want a copy of the Business License I need to operate the premises on an open-to-the-public basis, but with all these various delays, the fire marshal has yet to set foot in Needlepoint Land.

Apparently a utility bill will do, though.

I wouldn’t bet the house on a credit card terminal arriving before July 4th.

After all, it does say somewhere in the fine print of the 800 page application process (which cost me $22 at Office Depot to fax back to them) that the underwriter may have “additional questions.”

Maybe they want to know what size clothes I wear next.

Well, that’s it for now.

No time to watch the grass grow, although I do tremendously enjoy writing these often snarky little posts.

In fact, they are part of what makes this jumping through these enough-already hoops so tremendously worthwhile!


© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Desk Job


Reward for job well done

Here’s a pic of my reward to the Needlepoint Land tech crew for a job well done!

Basically we had to buy top grade plywood and some good nails and some sturdy metal angle brackets and basically put everything back together so that the left cabinet  stands solidly and is not held together by a flimsy piece of veneer and some plastic screws.

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It’s all Ingvar’s fault

amish comp desk

A real desk

It’s Monday morning.

I’m suffering from what feels like a psychological hangover from yesterday’s nightmarish experience of watching my tech team attempting to assemble a flat-pack desk from Office Depot. I probably should have read these reviews prior to purchasing this item.

Here are some things I learned about this particular experiment:

1.  The diagram did not always exactly match the many pieces that came out of the box.  You had to infer in certain cases what was what. It was confusing, and very time-consuming to figure out.  Time is money, as the saying goes. Office Depot can recommend installers, but these charge 60 an hour (or more) to put these things together for you , which can add hundreds to the total ownership cost of prefab self assembly items.

2. The actual bookcase segments were very poorly made: one cabinet stand lined up more or less square up, the other did not, no matter how much the tech team tried to jig the thing.  Some holes were in the right place; others were not.

3. The material the bookcase was made of was almost entirely synthetic. The sides were particle board with veneer. The desktop was some unknown oil-derived substance that had some distant resemblance to wood.  Not only was it far uglier than I remember it looking at the sore,  but the screws and other little thingamajigs did not tighten properly in the fake wood — not to mention that  I have some real ecological concerns about the messy process of manufacturing particle board in general.

4. In the end, this excuse of a desk turned out to be flimsily constructed, with no architectural support at the top part of the cabinets (it was all held together by a sheet of veneer), which cracked and caused the desk to partially collapse when the tech team and I tried to move it a few inches to lay flush against a wall.

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Getting there…


Here is a gallery of humongous pics that show the good progress made on Needlepoint Land today.

I’m sure big time stores do store layouts using software and merchandising specialists but what I am finding with my B&M is that you start out with a general idea, see how it goes, and then improvise!

George the carpenter / installer (he was actually a shirt maker in a previous life up North!) showed up today with the most awesome custom-built pedestal for my wooden pegboard display towers. He wanted to make sure I liked it before building the second one. What a lovely surprise!

I really did not want to have my customers sitting on the floor to see the threads at the bottom of the towers. As part of the improvisation thingie I just mentioned, George and I came up with a solution to make sure the thread towers are nice and stable.

I now have about 20 – 25 feet of thread space on my walls and one additional Homasote board set up for more canvases (we had to cut out a piece of it for the electrical outlet; I will fix that cutout later with tape to make it look nicer).

I made some other changes.

The wooden cube bookcase went from the center of the store to the back right hand side.

Now it’s front of the large mirror that is just taking up space (and which I did not want to pull off the wall) and the pegboard panel that I salvaged from the L-shaped counter’s shipping palette is now hanging next to it.

George is building a custom canvas display rack which I previously discussed here — a more efficient use of space, which is becoming an increasingly precious commodity: just last week the store could have belonged to Mother Hubbard!

The  custom-built unit on the right hand side of the store will have two bars plus shelving on top to display models.

The one on the left will be under a pegboard for threads with just a single bar.

The shelf overhangs will be rounded.

Meanwhile, it was really nice to come back home to this email from Marianne:

I have just had a chance to catch up with all your activities at the shop. It actually looks like a needlepoint shop! I am so proud of you!!! Can’t wait to see the actual thing on July 1.

Thanks, Marianne! And thanks Von and Sandy for stopping by the store today!

© Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016