Friday, August 7, 2015

An Interview with Cheryl from Glendon Place Cross Stitch Designs

By Pamela James & Terri Parsons

MM2: Cheryl, I love Glendon Place Patterns, material , and everything else that you have. First give us the backstory on you and how Glendon Place was started and why?

Glendon Place opened for business in August of 2005.  Prior to that, I spent 25 years in the banking industry in a variety of different roles, beginning as a teller and working my way up to branch manager.  I then moved into backroom operations activities, then to training, and finally spent the last 10 years in marketing, advertising and communications.  However, during all that time, I always cross-stitched.  It was truly my stress reliever and allowed me to escape.  I looked at stitching not only as a hobby, but a way to relax after a hectic day at work.  I have stitched so many beautiful patterns created by incredible artists and designers over the past 25 years.  They are my idols! 

For years I have had the incredible urge to design and stitch my own work.  I actually developed a few designs before taking a leap of faith and making the decision to leave my banking career.  Perhaps I had what they call a mid-life crisis!  And I am happy to say without an ounce of hesitation or regret, that it was the best decision of my life.  I have never been happier!  However, I will say that the skills I acquired while in marketing, advertising and communications have aided me tremendously in my cross-stitch business.

MM2: I especially love the Halloween Cross Stitch Patterns. Tell us about those designs, your new designs and about your typical day?

Although I love all the holidays, when it comes to designing, Halloween is my absolute favorite.  There really is no “one” reason for that.  For me, designing for Halloween is like putting on a costume or a mask. It gives me the opportunity to be somebody else, really get out of my box, take creativity to the next level and just have a lot of fun! I put a focus on the word “fun”. I like my Halloween designs to be fun, cheery and colorful.  I make it point to stay away from the dark, scary and gory side of the holiday.

A typical day?  My goodness, no 2 days are alike. When you have your own business and your flying solo, you have to be ready to put on many different hats at a moment’s notice.  I will say that I get up every morning with a plan.  I can say that I have never made it through the whole day and stuck to the plan. Hhhm, a typical day … I usually get up around 7:00 a.m. and that’s because I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning designing or stitching. The very first thing I do is wash my face, brush my teeth and then take be beloved Jeter (the miniature Bull Terrier) for a walk.  If he doesn’t have his walk, then neither one of us has a good day. Next thing on the agenda is I whip up my special greens drink and gulp that down with my supplements. At the same time my first cup of coffee is brewing in the Keurig.  Honestly, could there be life without coffee?
I then hit the computer and catch up on emails, handle any orders, and respond to any immediate customer issues.  Oh, did I mention … customer service is my highest priority.  That’s why I never stick to a plan.  If a customer calls, that is the priority.  And, if the customer feels like chatting, we chat. I want to answer all their questions, and more importantly make them feel like their call was the most important one of the day. I also want to know what they think and truly value their input.  Many design ideas have bloomed out of a customer conversation.

At the point, if the day has not taken off and the morning has not gotten away from me, I will usually go take a step, Yoga, or Pilates class.  Or, just do some weight training for an hour. I try to fit these things in at least 3 times a week.  I really find that it controls my stress levels and just makes me a better person. Once I return from the gym, I usually whip up a quick breakfast or lunch and eat at the computer while I am responding to emails again.

Whew … I can now think about designing or stitching for the rest of the day. Did I mention this is my favorite time? Well, that favorite time flies by fast and before you know it, it is 5:00 p.m. At which time, I have to think about getting my butt out the chair and making dinner. Bless his heart, I am married to a man (Allan) who could not boil a pot of water if his life depended on it.  So, usually around 5 or 6 I have to stop for a couple of hours and make dinner.  Yes, I cook at home a lot. I do try to maximize my time whenever I can by cooking in large quantities and freezing in 2-person portions.  I love those days when I can take a container out of the freezer in the morning, thaw it out, reheat it at dinner time and walluh!

Once I cleanup from dinner, I usually jump in the shower, put on my jammies and then sit down so I can resume my designing or stitching. At that point it is already going on 8 or 9 p.m. I will then stitch/design until 2 or 3 in the morning. Sounds like a boring life, doesn’t it?  Not in the least … I absolutely love what I do! After working for others for 30 years, nothing could be more gratifying than having control over your day, your life and your destiny!

MM2: I love your website because it is so easy to find everything and navigate to where you want to be and order. Who does your website?
Can I first say … I LOVE YOU! I maintain my own website, so you have just paid me the highest of compliments.  However, having said that, the website was originally set up by my favorite web designer, Christine Abela of Gecko Gully Websites, out of Melbourne, Australia. She uses the WordPress framework and them customizes it to meet the needs of the customer.  As far as the organization of it all, that’s all me.  I add and delete products, write copy, take photos and ready info for the web.  I think I take “one-man-band” to a whole new level! LOL

What I love about the ordering process on my website is that once you have items in your shopping cart and you are ready to place your order, it takes you seamlessly from my website to PayPal (which is secure as they come) in order to make payment. I love that because then I do not have to assume the responsibility for a customer’s private and secure information. I prefer “not knowing” their debit and credit card information unless they place an order by phone and I have to take their payment information.

MM2: What advice do you have for designers?
How much time do you have? … No, I am just kidding. I guess my biggest piece of advice would be:  Before you even start, be extra-extra sure that your heart is in it.  The road is not paved in gold and very few of us make a “good” living at it.  Most of us struggle to pay the bills and what keeps most of us going is that we have “a passion” for it. Now that I have been at it for 10 years (this August 2015) I truly can’t imagine doing anything else.
MM2: Who gave you the best design advice you received?
Oh, what an excellent question. He probably does not remember this, but early on after I started my business (in probably 2007), Rod Client, the General Manager at Hoffman Distributing said something to me that has stuck with me every since and I think about it each time I sit down to design something new.  He basically said to me, “Do not try to design things that people tell you they want or try to second guess what you think they want. If you design what is in your heart, and it’s good enough, it will sell”.   Although I do listen to what customer have to say, I find that heeding Rod’s advice and designing from my heart almost always yields a better design.
MM2: Without giving away any secrets tell us about your
future plans?
My plans never go beyond 3 or 4 months.  It’s funny, the first couple of years I did a business plan but found it just frustrated me because I rarely could stick to the plan.  So, I quit making detailed plans because it was just driving me crazy.  I kind of know in my head what I want to do.  The big caveat here is when I sit down to design, whatever it is that is in my head, I must be inspired by it. If I am not excited about it, then I am not ready to do it, so I set it aside and perhaps change direction and work on something else that does excite me. Sounds kind of flighty doesn’t it? I guess we are like any other artist.

I will, however, give you a little insight into what I am presently working on that will come out in the next couple of months:

1.       Gourds and More Gourds – A small 7”w X 5”h piece of my vision of a country “Pumpkin Stand”.
2.       The Christmas Tree Lot – Another small 7”w X 5” piece depicting a eclectic display of different pine trees.
3.       Jazzy Jack – Can you say bling? With the flair of a Mardi Gras mask, this is a pumpkin face with lots of texture, color and pizzazz. Size is 10”w X 10”.
4.       Glitzy Gourdelia – The female companion piece to Jazzy Jack. Size is 10” X 10”.
MM2: What is your favorite piece you have ever cross stitched for yourself?
Oh Wow!  That is a very tough question. I have several.  I really can’t pinpoint one design.
MM2: I spent last night over on your webpage and I love all the new patterns. How many years have you been in business?

I began my business in August of 2005.  I came out with my first 3 pieces GP-101 Lady Erin, GP-102 Maiden of the Harvest and GP-103 Preparing for Christmas.  Those first three pieces were very large and since I was new to the scene, very few shops purchased them. My first time out of the gate, I was quite disappointed and deflated. What I later found out is that most shops do not want to take a chance on a newbie.  They would rather wait and see if they have the gumption and/or the skill to stick around.  However, it is kind of a catch-22.  It hard to “stick around” if no one is buying your charts. Thank goodness I had the capital to persevere for 2-3 years.  It wasn’t until my 3rd year that things started to really look up. So, I guess that would be another word of advice for someone thinking of starting off in this business. Like most new business ventures, don’t expect to see a profit until year 3.

MM2: What was your very first cross stitch project?
You mean before I even went into business?  Like when I took up cross-stitching?  I don’t remember exactly what the project was.  The earliest thing I can remember is some Christmas Ornament kits that I purchased from a Herschner’s catalog back in the 1980s. I did every single of them and gave them away as Christmas gifts to my family members.

MM2: Tell us about your family and where you live. In other words be our tour guide?
I currently live in Valrico, Florida with my husband Allan of 24 years and our 11-year old Miniature Bull Terrier by the name of Jeter. I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for 35 years.  I was born and raised in Brunswick, Ohio (roughly 20 miles southwest of Cleveland).  I am the 2nd oldest of 8 children (6 boys and 2 girls).  My needlework background comes from my grandmother who passed away many years ago. I believe that is how many of us learned.

As I was growing up, I still fondly remember the two weeks each summer I spent with my grandmother in Broadview Heights, Ohio.  While most children my age were outside playing, I preferred to be at my grandmother’s side.  From her I learned to sew, knit, crochet and embroider.  I just couldn’t get enough.  I remember her spending the entire day with me either at the sewing machine or with an embroidery hoop in her lap and one in mine.  Her patience with me was incredible.  Each evening while I stayed with her I remember her sitting in her favorite chair effortlessly crocheting fancy lace on the edges of handkerchiefs.  She would then embroider beautiful initials and other designs on the face of the linen.  And to this day, I don’t recall her ever using a pattern, the creativity just flowed naturally from her.  I’d like to think that it was either good genes or osmosis that God blessed me with “some” of her talent.
MM2: Do you have favorite colors you like to work with and favorite characters, animals, seasons ?
Geeze … you gals really ask some hard questions. My favorite colors in terms of clothing are red, pink and blue (I can’t decide which of the 3 I like more).  However, when it comes to designing I get the greatest satisfaction working with fall colors.  They just make me happy and all warm inside. Autumn Ala Round (which came out in the fall of 2014) is one of my favorite pieces.
MM2: Now for fun off beat questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, place to vacation, song, movie/s books or authors? Television series you follow?
Now, these are the kinds of questions I like.
·         My favorite meal is a Petite Filet grilled medium, with a side of steamed broccoli and a Caesar salad.  My favorite place to eat that meal is Ruth’s Chris.
·         My favorite place to vacation is the Beach Haven on St. Petersburg Beach.  It is a small mom and pop kind of motel right on the beach that has efficiency-type rooms on the ground level. We spend a whole glorious week there each July where I lay on the beach, lay at the pool, read my Kindle, eat, drink, take naps and basically do nothing else.  I don ‘t even take any stitching with me.
·         Favorite song … ewe, that’s a tough one. You are going to think this is weird, but I think I will have to say my favorite song is “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder. It’s kind of my theme song.  When the going gets tough, I sing that to myself.
·         One of my favorite movies is “Ruddy”.  I love those feel-good-movies when the underdog and the guy with heart wins!
·         Favorite authors … Stephen King, Michael Creighton, Dean Koontz.  Love reading the weird and spooky stuff. But, I also like a good mystery too.
·         Television series … of my goodness … there are so many.  A girl has to do something while she is doing all that stitching:
o   Game of Thrones (favorite)
o   Ray Donovan
o   Penny Dreadful
o   Halt and Catch Fire
o   True Detective
o   The Last Ship

o   An American Horror Story
o   The Dome
o   Extant
o   The Americans
o   America’s Got Talent
o   American Idol
o   Gold Rush
o   Bearing Sea Gold
o   Wayward Pines
o   There are many more, just can’t think of then all right now.
MM2: PBS always has quilting, crafting show is there any chance we might see a cross design show or even a cross stitch show that you would be happy to be a part of?
Being a TV celebrity is not my thing.
MM2: Do you ever take suggestions on what friends, family or customers might want to stitch?

All the time. One of my most recent designs “Come Said The Wind” was inspired by a customer’s suggestion. She sent me the old poem and I just had to do something with it.
MM2: For your work how much traveling do you do?
Very little actually.  My biggest trip is the Nashville Needlework Market which is a wholesale show that takes place at the end of February/early March each year. I am, however, planning a trip to St. Charles, MO this September to help a friend who is hosting a booth at the Needlework Galleria Sept. 24-24, 2015.  That is a retail show. Wish I could travel more.  It’s not always in the budget.
MM2: What are your current design projects and do you have a stitching WIP?
See the question above regarding future plans.
MM2: Lastly what would like to say to your subscribers?
I’d like to simply say “Thank You”.  Because of you I can continue to do what I love so dearly. I pray that you will continue to support Glendon Place designs and that each Glendon Place design you stitch finds a special place in your home or the home of one of your loved-ones. If nothing else, if stitching one of my designs puts a smile on your face and gives you pleasure while stitching, then I have accomplished by ultimate goal … to make others happy.
MM2: Tell us how important frames and the right cloth is when stitching your designs?
To sum it up in one word … CRUCIAL.  I have a very talented framer (Cindy Dunlow Frames in Ocala, FL), who approaches framing like it is an art form in itself. It is important that framing compliment a piece, but also that it not overpower a piece. Choosing a fabric is one of the toughest parts of a design project. Many times I have a vision in my head and can’t find just the right color of fabric.  Thank goodness I have an excellent working relationship with a couple of my fabric manufacturers who are more than willing to try and meet my needs.
MM2: What about floss ? Can you tell beginners how you pick the right material, color and pattern?
Floss is to a designer like paint is to a artist. Today there are so many wonderful fibers out there in which to design with. It is often a very tough decision.  I try as much as a can to give stitchers fiber alternatives for those that do not want to spend the money on expensive fibers and embellishments. I personally prefer Sullivans Floss when using a solid color of floss.  However, I always provide DMC and Anchor comparables for those stitchers who utilize those lines for the most part. For example, if I use Weeks Dye Works, I will also provide The Gentle Art and Crescent Colours (Colorworks)  comparables as close as I can.

I guess I could provide one suggestion to beginners when selecting a fabric.  There are so many wonderful over-dyed fabrics out there.  Try not to let the fabric drive the design.  I often see stitchers select a beautiful piece of over-dyed fabric that totally overwhelms the stitched design. However, please do not let this discourage you … you should experiment and make the final piece your own.
MM2: Leave us with one of your favorite quotes?
My goodness, you gals are really tough!  Most of my favorite quotes are political in nature, but we won’t go there. Otherwise, one of my favorite quotes is also one of my cross stitch designs, I just don’t know who said it:  “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Another one I like is by Roy L Smith – “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”


  1. Cheryl - I really enjoyed this interview and absolutely love so many of you designs! Hope you keep it up for a very long time to come!

  2. I want to thank you doing the interview. I love Glendon Place Designs. I have a suggestion for you.
    How about designing a 'Haunted Library.'? I love the idea and I thought I would at least ask?
    Anyway I just ordered Spellbound. I hope everyone goes over and takes a look at your website.

  3. Terri and Pam, you are very welcome. A Haunted Library ... what an excellent idea! I will have to put than one on my list. Thanks girls!

  4. Wow what wonderful incite. I love how open and engaging you were. Very nice. I love how easy your patterns are to work and love doing them.


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