by Marisa Marcantonio

Depending on how deep your DIY strain goes, there is something for every level of engagement at AMH Designs. Connecticut - raised worldly gal Amy Holbrook's needlepoint embellished journals, animal kits, gift tags, dog charms and and key chains are a low commitment way to see great results with very little effort. All of her kits are quick and easy, with clear instructions. She recently debuted some great new additions to her journals and albums at the Gift Show. Her clean aesthetic is fresh and appealing, but then again, so are the needlepoints.

Poppy notebooks with inset initials are fun to give and to get.

Gift giving gets personal with these sweet needlepoint tags. Choose from hearts, border designs or initials.

Her iphone and ipod kits are a great way to show some style on the move.

It is hard to choose which pattern to tackle first..

A mod geo pattern and classic monogram made note taking memorable.

If monograms are not your thing, maybe keeping it simple is the best way to go.

Great hostess gift alert! Key chains are always welcome, especially when they have a personalized touch.

When you buy a kit, you get the contents below and low stress instructions:

Courtesy of AMH Designs
1. Color picture and design pattern: Included is a color photo of the finished needlepoint and a pattern chart for easy reference while stitching.
2. Photo album/journal: Choose between a linen photo album or journal to display your finished needlepoint piece. The photo album holds 20 4x6 photographs and the journal has 100 unlined pages. Finishing your project is a snap. Just trim down the excess canvas and slip the needlepoint into the front pocket of your linen photo album or journal. These useful items will display your needlework beautifully.
3. Tool charm bracelet: Never lose your tools again! This fun stretchy bracelet has a pair of folding scissors and a needle threader attached. Wear your tools when not using them. The scissors when folded are 1.5 inches long and the sharp tip is protected.
4. Needles: The kit comes with 2 tapestry needles (just in case you lose one, you'll have a backup).
5. Canvas: Color pattern is printed onto 14 count Zweigart interlock canvas making it simple to stitch.
6. Threads: The kit comes with plenty of lustrous single-ply cotton thread (more than enough is included so you won't run out).
7. Instruction booklet: A simple instruction booklet with large easy-to-follow diagrams for both right and left handed stitchers.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Oh this is good! Vintage needlepoint pillows by the dozen! Kate Hersch finds amazing needlepoints in and around her hometown of Austin, Texas. She started her company, August Morgan, when she realized she could find enough top quality vintage canvases to make a business out of it. She scours shops for clean and well designed pieces and then backs them to create pillows. Quirky, kitchy and graphic patterns make her collection a knockout. Seeing the plethora of color and pattern together is mesmerizing. Needlepoint is finding a new generation. From belts to keychains, people are turning to needlepoint to create sentimental gifts with personal details added in the design. If you want to take the DIY route, check out the custom canvases available from Stitchaus, Needlepoint Inc and Nantucket Needleworks. If there are special needlepoint places you love, let me know and I can add them to this list!

Kate holds a Partridge Family- perfect pillow.

Matisse's Odalisque from 1923 on a different type of canvas.

The Walton's John Boy might have wanted to sew this in is spare time.

Butterflies, flowers, mushrooms -- the 1960's is channeled through a pillow.

A Peacock Wicker Chair, potted geraniums, a spider plant and a cat equals 1970's kitsch.

This one reminds me of Swenson's at The Miracle Mile in Manhasset, Tiffany lamp and all.

Johnathan Adler helped usher in the graphic geo renaissance that David Hicks triumphed. This pillow design is from back in the day.

Pop Art in pastels.

The array of outrageous finds all in a line.