"Needles, Needles, Needles..."

Carol Duval Episode 1 #1749

A Needle By Any Other Name...

Scissors, Getting to the Point of It All

As I Measure

So, What's a Scissor Fob?

“The Queen of Crafts, Carol Duvall” and me...Susan Greening Davis Episode #1749


This is how it happened..... I had been teaching at a weekend event, Southern Stitchin’, in Gainesville, Florida with Doug Kreinik. I hadn't checked my e mail all weekend and knew that it was going to be overwhelming. I went online to take care of the urgent ones. I scrolled down through the list and saw..”Carol Duvall Show is looking for you?” I thought this was a joke. It was from Friday and I kept on scrolling down. Then on Saturday there was another one from Kreinik , “looking for Susan”. I figured this was something to do with working with Doug that weekend so I opened it up.
It was from Dennise and she said that the producer of the Carol Duvall Show had been trying to reach me all weekend and I needed to get with her ASAP Monday morning. I was “miffed” as to what this could be about but very anxious to talk to her.

Monday, noon our time was 9:00 AM their time, I called. I got the receptionist at the filming company and she immediately knew who I was. “Gee, you’re a hard lady to get with, Lisa has been looking everywhere for you”. THEY KNEW ME AT THE FRONT DESK???? Lisa answered and the journey began.

The show wanted to feature counted cross stitch and something like this had never been done, by them, before. The segments that Carol do are mostly stay at home creators or big companies that sponsor a product. Never before had Home and Garden approved to promote a specific industry!
Karen Anacona had written an article, in CNA, that had caught Carol’s attention. The hunt began to find the person to represent this medium. Many calls were made, an enormous search of the internet, company contacts were explored, and they narrowed it down to 15 outstanding members of our industry. Then the sifting and sorting began, as Lisa explained to me. When I got the call they were down to ME! WOW!! I still can’t believe it. She explained that our window of opportunity was very small, for filming.

Could I tape on these specific dates? Many of you know that I traveled 40 weekends last year, teaching counted thread. This year is pretty much the same, so when she said in the middle of the week and I knew I was free then, YES! Next surprise, I had to cover ALL of my expenses as the show doesn’t pay to appear on it. I was caught completely off guard and told her I would need to think about it and let her know in the morning. I didn’t sleep a wink that night. I decided that no matter what, I had to do this as it was so important to the industry.

I called her noon our time (I was going nuts) 9:00 AM her time and told her it was a go as I would pay my way. Her answer was, “great, as we would have canceled it if you wouldn’t have said that!” Lisa said she would try and get a break on the hotel rooms, Burbank Hilton, and if she could do anything else..didn’t happen.

I tried to use frequent flyer miles, but it was so close and in the middle of the week, no go. You see it was only 5 weeks away! 24 hours later Lisa e mailed me and wanted the “hero” as they call the project sent over night to her. YIKES!! That hero was in my head and hadn’t come through my fingers to be stitched and charted yet. (She is used to a craft project that takes minutes to an hour to accomplish!)

I back paddled and bought a weeks worth of time.
She was going to meet me at TNNA and we would go from there. She allowed 20 minutes for that encounter. It took two hours. I must admit I “slightly” fudged at this interview. She loved the project and exclaimed “Carol will be so delighted to see this on 14 count aida.” I had used 16 count! So, again, she wanted to take it and I told her no it wasn’t charted yet...which was pretty close to the truth. Home again to restitch another model.

E-mails were flying back and forth, they needed this OVERNIGHT, they needed that OVERNIGHT. I was a regular at the post office for two weeks, and a lot of money later, it was all there except my clothes. (That’s later in the story.)

As I said earlier, I thought that I could have used frequent flyer miles for the ticket, but NO, there weren’t any seats left, so this adventure took me to flying out of Orlando. Orlando is a 4 hour drive and I had to go in the day before and stay the night after. I had already decided that none of this was going to be a “piece of cake”. I was correct!!!

My good friend, Sally Criswell had chosen to go and be my support system. (I can’t thank her enough!) She met me there.
What I haven’t told you is that all this time I have been writing and rewriting the script. Two 5 minute segments, which in television time is A LOT! But, my first 5 minutes were to talk of important needlework tools needed to stitch and then demonstrate the stitches in the second 5 minutes. I started out at 45 minutes!! I had gotten it down to 25 when Sally arrived. (I forgot to tell you that the second week of practicing I watched myself in the mirror and almost got sick to my stomach...not fun watching yourself perform!)

Sally became “Carol” and we worked on it all the way to the Bob Hope International Airport. Oh, I forgot to tell you......
We had an EARLY morning flight and we were the last terminal to be dropped off in Orlando. Got to our spot and Sally’s luggage was gone. A man had taken it two terminals back! The limo driver and I were nuts as we knew it was probably on a plane to who knows where or it had been turned into security. We drove back and there it was, sitting all by itself in the middle of the sidewalk at Orlando airport, with a pretty pink ribbon tied to the handle. Only Sally could have been so lucky!!!!!!!!!!!
We arrived at the hotel and I called Lisa, my producer. She wanted me there at 8:00 AM the next morning.
MORE concern and practicing went on that evening.

We got to the studio at 7:30 AM and no one was there, well we thought that. The lights were dim and all of a sudden a gal came down a set of steps and she was followed by Carol Duvall with a towel around her head, no make up, and in her “comfy” clothes. Hair and make-up time for Carol.

People started arriving at a feverish pace. There were three other segments that were being taped that day. Helen Gibb was there, the “altered books” gal, and two other creators of polymer clay and glass. It was a madhouse of activity. Each designer had their own set up table and their own “people” to help them. One of these very talented artists (most of them knew each other as they had been on the show for 8 or 9 years) spoke to me. She wanted to know who my “people-helper” was. I said Lisa. All of a sudden everyone got very quiet and started coming over to talk to me. I had not realized that the show’s producer..was MY producer. She doesn’t do that for anyone. They were all intrigued about the segment and understood that this was a special one!!

Let the rehearsing begin, with Lisa. I worked for four hours with her, on the first 5 minutes! Every time I got done, with the stop watch going, she would change 4 or 5 things and say, “do it again”. (Sally and I believe that there were over 500 changes made during my two days of practice.) All logos had to be covered. I was so sad when they cut my “topper” off from my pattern. I couldn’t say this, I had to hold my hands like that, had to look here, couldn’t do this, must do was endless. All of the supplies they had wanted sent, kept getting cut, one by one. Get rid of 7 seconds here, 4 seconds there, it ALL MATTERED! I got back to the room in the afternoon and was EXHAUSTED. Had room service and went to bed!

OH, I forgot to tell you about the clothes. They asked me to bring 4 outfits. Now, they knew how I dressed because they had seen lots of pictures on the internet. They, also, approved my colored nails manicure instead of a french one. Lisa went and showed the camera men my clothes, none of them worked except my “plain jane” purple sweater. YOU ALL KNOW HOW I DRESS!!! I couldn’t wear my eyeglass leash, my “Still Stitching” pin, my watch, they stripped me of ME!!

I was up and down all night sick to my stomach!
Next morning off to television recording land........
You are supposed to come with hair ready and all make-up applied as they don’t do that. I got to my dressing room, had my name on it, and took a deep breath.

Act 2 practicing. This was the one I was the most worried about. I then found out that I had to stitch upside down! I hadn’t practiced that. 6 hours of practice, yes they fed us a good lunch.

Then they surprised me and said that Carol’s make-up artist was going to do me. (I thought that I must have looked really bad.) Well, not so. She just applied more intensely what I had done. She had just gotten done doing people for the music awards!! It was time to go to the studio and practice with Carol. This was my first time working with her and who knew what she was going to say? They never did write a script for her (like they do for everyone else.)

I was the last tape of the day, as they say. (Helen Gibb had taken 1 and 1/2 hours earlier.) The camera crew, (8 cameras) stage manager, sound gal, Carol’s TelePrompTer person, (she had one but I didn’t!!), and EVERYONE, was as nervous as I was. A newbie.

Let me back up a minute and fill you in on what Sally had been doing. Before I arrived I had to stitch 11 models showing different progressions of the project. Of course these had all been discussed and I did them EXACTLY as I was told. Got there and NO to all but one of them. Sally was restitching “hero helpers”! For those of you who know Sally you know how she is. She jingles when she walks, (that glorious necklace), snorts when she laughs...that makes the rest of us join in and is just a terrific person. Well, it was time for practicing with Carol and Lisa came into my dressing room. She had Sally’s people, Kate, there. Kate was a baby-sitter for Sally as they weren’t going to let her be in the recording studio. I have never heard such masterful “groveling” in my life. Sally took off ALL the jewelry. In she went and put on her headset and watched the monitor. I haven’t even seen it yet, and she watched it all! (She had to cough so bad during the first segment, but waited until her “people” said she could breathe.) Okay, “it’s practice time”! Here comes Carol, they roll in my setup table. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO. We got through the first take in 4 minutes and 52 seconds...very good they said.

Second act practice...half way through Carol asked a question about starting with knots on the back of the fabric! I knew we were pressed for time and here it was. Did I answer her completely or just say no and slide on? An executive decision was to be made, but I wasn’t the “executive” she was. I decided to answer her the correct way, on the spot. We started going over, the crew was nuts and Carol said, stop those stop watches I want to know!! (She is the boss and why they all have their jobs!) When I was done she stepped back, looked at me and I knew that she respected me and that I had done the right thing.
Off she went to do promos for future shows.

10 minutes later, it was SHOW TIME!!

Act 1...ONE TAKE Act 2...ONE TAKE!!!!

The crew was crazy. This hadn’t happened in years and never with a newbie. I was so excited I could have cried. The crew had bets that they would be there until late into the night hours. You can’t begin to imagine what it costs for each hour of studio time. (That was part of what was making me sick the night before.) Everyone was shaking my hand and patting me on the back. I had done it!
Carol was so kind she allowed pictures and autographed the “heroes”. Yes, even the 16 count one!

Sally and I flew back to Orlando, got in at 2:00 AM and I had to get up at 8:00 AM to drive two hours to teach a class. Just another day in the life of me, Susan Greening Davis...NOT!!!

I want to thank DMC Corporation, The International Needlearts Retail Guild, The National Needlearts Guild and “Susan’s Groupies” for helping underwrite some of my expenses. I cannot tell you how much it helped.

Still Stitching, Susan

Click on the link below to get a free copy of this chart,1789,HGTV_3265_3740090,00.html

If you want to stitch the design on linen, 28 thread will work. Also, the beauty of this creation is that it can fit around any size basket. If you don't have a long enough length of linen, secure a button to both ends of the linen. Take your favorite ribbon and "lace" it back and forth, and around the ribbons..tie in a bow and ENJOY!!!



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