Category Archives: General

Random musings, thoughts, and news

Purple Craze


Delray Beach artist Suzanne Overstreet is the founder of Purple Palm Designs.

Recently, Suzanne teamed up with West Palm artist Ellen Negley.

Primarily a water colorist, Ellen was delighted her art work could be adapted to needlepoint.

With exciting needlepoint designs that evoke the French Riviera and Key West, as well as other South Florida locales, Purple Palm Designs certainly appears to be poised to make waves in the needlepoint world.

By the way, Suzanne just became a member of the TNNA.

She’ll be attending her first show as an exhibitor, next month, in Indianapolis.

If you happen to be there, drop by booth #1307.

Tell her Erin sent you!



Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Fishy business


The Little Blue Heron (Egretra caerulea) is an unusually quiet bird.

Here’s one being fed at Twin Rivers Park in a section of Port Salerno known as Rocky Point.  The vid was taken on the boardwalk that you see top right in this aerial view.

And here’s a vid, taken in the same location, of a White Heron eating a piece of bait fed to him by a fisherman who was done for the day.

At first I thought it was a lesser Egret, also known as a yellow-billed Egret, but I would venture, after looking more closely, that it’s actually a Great Egret.

I added a snippet of Kamal’s Ripples to the audio track for dramatic effect.

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Perfectly Polar

needlepoint penguin


I received this in the mail yesterday. It seems à-propos to post it today, given that the temps are in the upper 50s here in South Florida.  All the locals are walking around in Uggs, wool hats, layered clothing and down parkas.

Me — I’ve got my lined Zamalek Beer hoodie on.

This will be a wedding gift for a couple that loves penguins. Their initials will be stitched on the left and right side hearts with an ampersand in the middle.

A heart-warming canvas for a cold day!

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

The Genius of the Macabre

raven needlepoint canvas

Red Wine Nevermore

The Raven is a classic B movie by Roger Corman, but there’s nothing but A-List written all over this needlepoint design.

It’s on 18 mesh canvas, and is 5″ x 6.25″.

In addition to the red wine Nevermore canvas, there is also a martini version.  Between me and you and the NSA,  I have known a few people (no stitchers of course!) who just drop the “N” entirely, whether it’s shaken or stirred, or by the barrel.

Btw, I worked for many years not far from the house where Poe wrote his famous poem.  As they used to say in the Big Apple, that and 10 cents will buy you a cuppa caw-fee.

Edgar Allen Poe Street NYC

84th St Street Sign in Manhattan’s UWS, from Ephemeral New York

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Snoopy from the Land of Down Under

needlepoint snoopy

Snoopy’s Tennis Lesson

I’ve made a miraculous recovery, after being laid up in traction yesterday from walking oodles of miles on the beach last week.

Glad Pete Carroll’s team won last night, btw (as some of you know from this post, I’m a semi-rabid American “footie” fan) … he was never given a proper chance to guide the Jetsonians.  Plus this manic Jim Harbaugh character always acts like he skipped his morning Zyprexa on game day.  What a headcase!

Anyway,  I’m off to play tennis this morning.

retro tennis racket

Woodie, at rest

I’m going to have to part with this fabulous wooden tennis racket, which I used recently as a prop on my blog, and return it to the tennis pro who usually lets me win a couple of games.  And, no, it’s not Fedberg.

Needlepoint tennis racket covers were big in the 70′s, and occasionally you will see them available on those auction web sites.  Now with squash rackets so big, perhaps you could house your squash racket in an old needlepoint cover.  People are big in Florida on stitching needlepoint socks for their golf clubs.  Don’t mind me:  I’m just free-associating at the comp, as I have my morning coffee before leaving!

Perfect tennis weather this morning:  brilliant sunshine in a cloudless sky; high 60s to low 70s — which is what draws the snowbies this time of year.  It’s like money in the bank.

Despite the pleasant weather, though, I seem to be  having be having strange and unusual Frank Dancevic-type Snoopy hallucinations.

Is it the subtropical latitude, or I am just obsessed with needlepoint stitching?!

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016

Who’s Squawking Now?


Here’s a loooooong clip from this morning’s beach walk.

First you see a willet hanging out with what I’m reasonably convinced were a couple of noisy American Herring Gulls (Larus smithsonianus, for those into taxonomy).

The gulls are in their winter plumage.

One has a sand flea in his beak, and the other one is walking slightly ahead of it, but does not appear for some reason to be trying to snatch the morsel away.

Herring or Ring-bill

Herring or Ring-bill

You can’t really make out the red spot on their lower mandible, which is famously distinctive to the species. I wish I could spot it on this still frame of the vid, to be certain.  Looks awfully similar to the ring-bill, but there seem to be subtle differences, despite the similarity of the black subterminal mark on their bills.  I’ll just have to go back and get conclusive proof of that red spot.

At any rate, as one of them chows down the sand flea, the other makes a show of trying to shake out something edible in rotting sea weed.

Meanwhile, the willet realizes the gulls are not the sharing type, and turns back to the lapping waves to find his own brunch.

Suddenly the gull shrieking intensifies.  At first I think it has to do with their annoyance at my intruding on their territory. This is, after all, their home.

Mr. Thinks Himself

Normally, though, this does not happen. In fact there’s a ring-billed gull that follows me around from time to time.  He seems to like to strike poses and have his picture taken.  I’ve decided to name him Mr. Thinks Himself.

Just like that, a nearby flock of sandpipers fly off — a sure sign something’s up.

The seagull shrieking intensifies, and the seagulls split up.  I follow one of them around for a few seconds, and then I catch the shadow in the sky swooping over us.

Sure enough, it’s Ozzie (or perhaps one of his friends:  I actually saw five ospreys circling around each other today in a kind of graceful, slow-moving, aerial ballet.  Here’s a blurry screen grab of three doing a Vol de trois).

Ozzie quickly fades into the distance, but is soon followed by some other shore birds overhead:  a couple of large seagulls, another osprey, and then a frigate bird flying high above.

The putative herring gulls are not happy about any of this.

To top it all off, a helicopter puts in an unwelcome guest appearance; I guess there is no other way to get to Stuart airport through what  is largely empty airspace except to fly directly over a bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge.

And so it goes:  another mini beach drama just unfolded, almost unnoticed.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the herring gull bar code, which I found by chance on the Encyclopedia of Life’s website.

Wouldn’t it make a cool needlepoint belt?!

herring gull barcode

herring gull bar code

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016