What we like:

Longing for a splash of color after the browns and grays of late winter? Stop by Fireside Stitchery in Frazer, where embroidery thread in seemingly every hue is displayed.

On the wall are canvases begging to be sewn into needlepoint pictures. And standing by with help is teacher Marianne Frost. This is not your grandmother's cross-stitched sampler she's offering.

While baby boomers were busy with careers and children, needlepoint became needle art, made by laying down stitches to form different textures and patterns on canvas.

The finished work can be framed for display on the wall. Or it can be made into belts, stuffed animals, luggage tags, key chains, oven mitts, bracelets, pillows and Faberge-style eggs. All materials, including tapestry needles and 270 types of thread, are for sale at the store.

Owners Maria DeSimone and Tony Bartolini, her father, opened the shop in 1996. They offer online support and a magazine called Canvas Quarterly. They host workshops with expert stitchers and canvas designers from elsewhere.

But novices attend Frost's classes of 10 to 12 pupils.

"We don't care whether you've ever stitched before. We're user-friendly," Bartolini says.

Cost: Frost's classes cost from $50 to $250, depending on the project; workshops are more.

Where: 490 Lancaster Ave., in the Frazer Shopping Center on Route 30, just west of Route 352.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Sunday.

- Bonnie L. Cook