Monday, December 31, 2007

Inspire Me Thursday - Best of 2007




These two pieces signify just how big 2007 was for me. They were both coop pieces and they are named Hope(the black hole) and Transformation(the tree and heart).

Hope came to me as I was riding home from working in the coop the first day. It was a flash I couldn't get out of my head so I drew it on a piece of paper in my car at the first stop I could make. It was my first official art piece. Shortly after I started it, the theme for our new opening in our new gallery was the black and white show. As you can see it was a divine intervention. It was also the most difficult piece of work I have ever done in my life. For many years that black hole was my life but the only thing that kept me from the darkness was the hand reaching out of it and my belief in the universe. Nobody else knew the depth of my sorrows but expressing them through hope helped me move through and away from them. Luckily I did the hand and the gold accents first to help me through the tedious black stitches(and the pain associated with them).

The second piece was called Transformation. It was a sister piece to Hope that was supposed to be the second gallery show in the new coop building. It was also an Artists at Work piece. We were supposed to work on it when we were there so people could see art in action. It signified just how transformed I was inside myself with the bright colors and the winding stitches of color throughout. It has since become my signature piece. Actually I did not sell either of them in the coop although there were many times I thought they would be sold. I guess because they are so personal to me, where I have been and where I hope to be they are still mine.

The coop was the biggest gift of the last year. I learned so much most of it good but some of it bad, what I learned the most is that I am an artist no matter what others may think. I also learned that one must accept themselves as is and not to back down even when it is easier to just go merrily along. That was also huge. I have always been the happy smiley little mouse, instead of the complicated artist with a lot of baggage that I am. I can finally look back on the year and my time in the coop with gratitude for all it has taught me about myself, my work, and how to deal with other people. It was a mostly wonderful experience that was as helpful as a trip abroad for a year.

I am also grateful for my wonderful husband, my wonderful son and my wonderful friends, especially my friend Emily who is the best friend I've ever had. I am also grateful for the introduction to the blogging world. I have seen and met the most amazing things and people and found that being an artist is kind of a universal feeling. So in closing this one out on this New Year's Eve. I hope that all of us have a lovely, wonderful, creative, healthy, artistic new year and thank you.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

Hello everyone! I feel kind of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz after a two day trip back to Long Island. I never realized just how much I didn't fit in there until I went back there for a couple of days. My stomach is in tumult because everything I ate gave me heartburn or made me queasy. I couldn't drive my car. Too many cars. Therefore I couldn't visit my best friend or my aunt because they lived 45 minutes from my inlaws and my hubby had plans both nights. The local modells made me feel claustrophobic between the racks and racks of merchandise and all the people you had to bypass to get around the store. I probably should have looked at it as some sort of labyrinth or something, instead it felt like a claustrophobic maze. I was looking for Jack Nicholson out of the corner of my eye.

It was lovely to see the inlaws though. They are so hospitable. Hopefully next time I will be able to see my friends and family. The food did taste fabulous although it didn't settle very well. And I had a lot of down time to embroider to my hearts content since driving anywhere gave me hives.

But the moral of my story is there is no place like home. Home for me at least. I am back in my house with a bit more room, my block with neighbors at a lovely distance and no through traffic with my dog who has finally stopped barking and my family is content. I am thrilled to be back on my computer and have plans later to listen to my favorite music and yes embroider some more.

I hope you soon have a chance to feel the feeling of being content in your current life with the knowledge that even though there is sacrifice in leaving all that you love(and don't love)behind you have made the right decision for you. Keep stitching and I promise no politics (hopefully nothing will inspire me to get political again) and plenty of pictures coming for the New Year.

Hoping you a very happy, very creative, very abundant New Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Want Peace!

Usually I don't talk politics on my blog because my life and my work are more important to me. Today as a New Yorker who uprooted myself and my family after 9/11 I am speaking from a more reflective and fearful place then I usually write from.

I have to admit I know very little about Pakistani politics, except that Ms. Bhutto was supposed to be a conduit for democracy and moderation in that crazy place Osama Bin Laden has called home for the last so many years. The fact that OBL had made her a target so soon after she returned to her country(and failed) meant that perhaps she was a person who was capable of change. And then today happened. It may have been Musharaff or someone else not connected to AQ but that is rather unlikely. So OBL has struck again. And I am afraid again.

It seems a lot of the last 6 years have been spent in fear and anticipation of loss. The wars, the London train bombing, the videotapes. Everything propagates that fear. Will I lose someone I know? I have been very lucky. I only knew a few acquaintances not friends who were lost on 9/11 but I used to have the habit of reading obituaries when I was a kid and an adult. That changed on 9/11. It is very painful to read hundreds of obituaries a day instead of one or two.

I have to be honest I wanted to move before 9/11, very badly wasn't really a city mouse. I was a country mouse. But after 9/11 everyone I loved wanted me to move. My husband worked downtown and although he was a few blocks away on that day, he did end up walking over the bridge and coming home with dust of humans all over his shoes. My only saving grace is that he was home before my son came home from school. My son had a girl in his class that lost her father and a boy on his baseball team who also lost his father. I was so glad I did not have to explain where my husband was. It was awful living down there the grief and sadness was palpable and everywhere. I put my faith in god and somehow was lucky enough to have my dream and move to my place of peace. Everytime I reached an obstacle a little sign would let me know I was on my journey to peace.

In the last 5 years that I have lived here I have found peace everywhere. I have wonderful friends, my family is happy and safe, I have discovered I am an artist but yet on a day like today I go back to 9/11 and wonder.

I wonder if we will ever have peace. I wonder if we will ever have a leader who leads with brains and diplomacy instead of the same old, same old. A lot of the people with so called experience took our troops out of Afganistan and put them in Iraq. Now they are supposedly going to benefit from the horrible news of today and I wonder if anybody in Washington has been paying attention and gives a darn about the people they serve. I'm pretty much anti war, but I have to admit after 9/11 I saw the purpose in Afganistan and going after Bin Laden. I knew before Iraq that it wasn't really part of the war on terror, evidently the oh so experienced candidates didn't see it my way. Which to this day always begs the question that if I a meager housewife living in upstate New York with a limited knowledge of terrorists and muslim culture could figure out that Iraq was a wrong turn why didn't those so called brains running the country figure it out?

So that leaves us with now. What happens? Are we into yet another war? Are we on the verge of another attack? Will the terrorists get the nukes? I'm afraid and all I can think is I want peace. Hopefully by the next time we meet I will be able to write about wonderful hand embroidery and wonderful thoughts for the new year but today all I can say is I want peace!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Twig Heart




Hi All! This is a heart I embroidered a few months ago for the coop. I usually do twigs and berry hearts but I wanted this one to be a bit more artistic. I really should have shared it pre Christmas but I never took a picture of it before so today is the day.

I don't really have too much to say today. I'm pooped from all the holiday hooplah so perhaps you will take a look at some of the links on my blog and be inspired. They are all such wonderful inspiring sites. Enjoy! Keep stitching.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Beautiful Peaceful Christmas

Greetings and Blessings to all on this lovely, peaceful Christmas. Since I moved to this lovely peaceful place in upstate New York, I am able to spend the holiday any way I want to with my two lovely men and my one lovely dog.

I spent my entire day(or most of it anyway)listening to the new age CD's my hubby and son got me for Christmas. New Age music is something I never listened to until probably the last two or three months. I am so glad I found it, it brings me such peacefulness. I also hand embroidered the day away. I realized just how lucky I am to be satisfied and content with just beautiful music and a lovely hand embroidery project. That is also something I am very surprised to find out about myself, that I can be content just being. I'm Italian and in my not so far off past I would be sitting stuffing my face surrounded by a rather large family. That was fun but I really have to say I kind of prefer my peaceful little Christmas.

I'm not one for material things, just the things I love. Music, needlework, and books. I don't wear very much jewelry(although I love it) a simple cross and my wedding ring so jewelry wouldn't do much for me, I get as much joy from looking at the beautiful jewelry I can find on some of the blogs I read as I can get looking at it in my jewelry box. And clothing, well I'm not really much into that either I'm afraid. Just music, books and needlework and if I get to partake in them as I did today I am in heaven.

I hope your Christmas was heavenly! Keep stitching!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Love

This post is inspired by Inspired Me Thursday and the pillow in the entry below. There is no official topic this week for Inspired Me Thursday so I picked Love.

Love, what is it really? Butterflies in the belly, rubbing your Charlie's belly, worrying about your husbands belly or making sure there is enough food in your son's belly.

Does love make you dizzy or do people love you in spite of the fact that you are dizzy?

Do you love the one you are with or do you love the ones that you miss?

It's all of the above and more. We can love people, we can love our work, we can love other people's work, we can love our laptops. We can love everything, so in honor of Inspire Me Thursday love everyone and everything that makes you feel alive and never look back in regret. If it doesn't fit into any of the categories of love or makes you feel something other then love. Walk away and find your bliss.

Love is knowing that life is too short and that we shouldn't be wasting our time looking for ways to get out of it.

Merry Christmas and A Happy, Beautiful, Prosperous, Healthy, Loving New Year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas



I'm really exhausted tonight. Too much reveling yesterday. Picking up my work from the Albany Shaker Museum this morning and then the dreaded Christmas shopping. So this post will be short and sweet, with Christmas right around the corner and the absence of time for blogging and sleeping I will share Christmas related work and Christmas wishes.

Today I heard Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Sinatra. It reminded me how lucky we are to have the people we have in our lives today and the memories of the people we had in our lives yesterday. So might I wish a Merry Christmas to all of the bloggers I know today and the bloggers I will know of the future. Hold your loved ones tight and my special blessings to all of you who are dealing with the illness of a loved one or the recent loss of someone dear. It never goes away but it gets easier and the more loss you have the more you appreciate what you have. God Bless Your or a universal blessing. You are not alone.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Friends

First off thank you to all my blogger friends for leaving comments and tomorrow when I am sober I will respond to them all and come and visit your lovely blogs(I have to say I am completely in awe of people who I feel like I have gotten to know by dropping in on their lives. It's crazy how blogging works isn't it?)

Tonight is a kinda tipsy end to a delightful day. I had breakfast with Emily and she gave me the most beautiful, wonderfully appropriate gift which she made which encompasses our friendship.

Tonight I had a ladie's night. Margaritas, great food, great friends and wonderfully baked goods which my family and I will enjoy thoroughly. I am not a baker, I'm a crafty artist. Last week I baked a box of brownies, it needed oil and water but it was basically a box. But cookies that take different ingredients and time, up there with gardening(I look at the flowers and they die).

I have a wonderful life here. Good friends, great bakers and creators. I'm a very fortunate woman. I hope you have had a wonderful time out with your lady friends or male friends. Where in the world would we be without our friends? Both the real ones and the virtual ones? I'm so glad I don't know the answer to that question.

Happy Stitching and a more substantial entry tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flowers on Silk




This is a bag I made over the summer. It has hand embroidered pink flowers on white silk. It is a reminder of the love I have for my work and for the ability to lose myself in my work. I worked on my turtle purse which is coming to a close in the next few days. I wasn't in the mood today to sew the handle onto the new knit bag, maybe tomorrow. Pictures will be coming soon.

I was working on a new artist statement which I am not ready to reveal quite yet and I realized how much my work has evolved and I have evolved over the last year. There were glimpses in the past of what I was capable of and how my soul felt while I was working but I was never able to put the two together. I say this a lot but I never knew I was an artist and I had something to self express until I allowed myself to become an artist. I read on another blog that art is rather painful because it brings us closer to God then we are ready for. It shows us how close we can be and that knowledge is painful. I'm paraphrasing so if you would like to read the lovely way it was written you can find it here http://sybilarchibald.com/blog/. Using my own word it's rather strange to be close to 50(and no I will not tell you how close) and not know what you are capable of and how joyous that makes you feel.

I think I've written enough for today, if you should ever be interested in purchasing any of my work just email me and I will be sure to get back to you quickly!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Working In Spirit

I found the best way to handle the Christmas season is to work through it. To use the gifts and the love that God has given me for my work and let it help me through this time. I realized just how lucky I am to have so much fortune in my life. I have a wonderful husband and a fabulous son, my friends and I have my work. The colors, the textures, the tangled threads that become something else, the flash of inspiration that comes out of nowhere. The last couple of days I have had several gifts of inspiration.

Yesterday I finished knitting the purse I have been making. The handle is being blocked as we speak since the pattern made it curly. I've beaded it and will put the lining in and then I will share it.

Last night I had an inspiration for a new project which I will throw myself into after I finish my turtle bag, although I think I will start it today or tomorrow and do a little bit every day. Sometimes if I don't act on an inspiration it falls by the waste side. It will be a rather large hand embroidered framed piece. I'll let you know more about it as it gets a little further along.

This morning I spent the day picking up beads(and a whole lot more) from my studio rug and underneath the loveseat in my studio. I also tidied up a bit and found a wonderful reason to smile in the shape of a photo album with pictures of my son and other people's children from holidays that have passed and school pictures from preschool. My son had(and probably still has) the most beautiful smile. I am so very proud to be his mother. It was a wonderful surprise to find this photo album and his smiling face while I was picking up beads. Which I must tell you is very meditative(and time consuming). I also found 4 scissors(is it any wonder I can never find them when I need them) and about 7 crochet hooks which probably fell during my foray into freeform crochet(which I intend to take up again more seriously in the new year).

Well since I have no pictures and I have nothing else to really say. Dig around your studio floor because you never know what you will find. Perhaps there is a smiling face in a photo album mixed among your magazines. Or 4 scissors you have been looking for. Or yourself somewhere in that morass. Happy Stitching.

By the way the InspireMeThursday challenge is giving and I guess since I was lucky enough today to recieve gifts from the great universe, it may inspire someone.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Wonderland




Since I am hearing Icy pitpats on my roof, I figured I should blog before the electricity might go out and get myself back to the wonder of fibers and threads. This is a picture of my beloved Charley in the snow. It is actually a few years old but not much has changed especially today(sorry I don't have a current picture of Charley in the snow but it's cold and I'm not going out until I have to, neither is Charley).

I moved here from Long Island 5 years ago next month. When I moved my mother in law told me I should knit Charley a sweater. Now I know that Charley should knit me a sweater. My tiny little westie loves the snow. She rolls around in it, she chases it, she licks it, she just loves it. Myself I'm not quite so taken with it but it is lovely especially when it is falling and Charley is very lovely when she is rolling around in it.

Funny thing is we don't have a heck of a lot of snow where I live in upstate NY. The fronts either drop below us or fly above us on the geographical weather map and we just don't get all that much snow. But when we do we get a lot of snow and it stays most of the winter so I won't be seeing my green lawn very much. And amazingly enough they get more snow on Long Island but it really lasts so much less time. They get a heck of a lot more weather patterns down there.

It appears at the moment we are getting freezing rain or sleet, that is not a good development. Hopefully we won't lose our electricity but we have a package of hot dogs and beans and peanut butter and a bunch of self lighting logs. I won't be around so if I don't see you for a few days you know why. Now I am taking my wonderfully planned snow day into my studio to keep myself joyfully happy knitting and embroidering two different purses(still no pictures). Keep safe and keep stitching.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Looking Forward

I know that Christmas hasn't come and gone yet, but I decided to look forward to next year anyway(the closer it gets to Christmas the better I like it anyway).

In the next year, I want to have my own web site and find an on line outlet for my work. I also want to find some nice little shops that will carry my work locally.

About my work, I want to get a bunch more experimental and show the talents I have. I have been doing needlework since I'm a wee little girl and I'm way past the wee little girl stage. I also want to embrace my differences. Oddly enough although this season wasn't a gangbuster like last year, I did sell the things that I walked out on the limb for.

I'm also going to work more. I'm a bit of a procrastinator so I'm going to play less work more(which is more interesting and fulfilling then playing anyway).

I'm going to make more for myself. As much time as I spend making the pieces I make I always try to sell them. It is time for me to embrace myself and become a walking billboard or just a trendy lady.

I am going to send my work into a magazine. I've started pieces and somehow never got the nerve to take that next step. Now is the time(or next year is anyway).

I am going to paint the rooms in my house. They are badly in need of a paint job and I am such a procrastinator I just plain haven't done it.

And last but not least. I'm going back to the Y. At least 3 times a week although I would love to get back to the schedule I was on before the coop. Longevity doesn't run in my family and therefore I have to do the hard work to keep myself healthy!

My family life was a blessing this year, so I am just going to hope for another blessed year with my hubby and son and of course the dog.

Keep stitching. Be hopeful!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Sampler



Hi All! Feeling better. We had a snow storm and I've been sort of snowed in so life is much better today. I've been knitting up a purse(no pictures yet) and embroidering a purse(no pictures yet) and I've managed to creatively get myself out of my slump.

There is always a day somewhere in the middle of the holiday season when I dwell on what is lost and I guess we can say I had that day. I've decided to enjoy my family and to make plans for my business and be creative for the next three weeks.

I just happened to look up from my computer and saw the lovely(I guess you would call them lovely) Russian men in tutus swimming. It was a sight that made me smile. Hopefully you have seen it too.

The picture is of a sampler that is currently in the Albany Shaker Museum. I enjoyed making it as it has lots of twigs and berries! Lots and lots of french knots. My work will be there until next Friday. The Albany Shaker Museum is such a wonderful place to be involved with. The people are wonderful and wonderfully creative. There is also a wonderful spiritual feeling to the building which was the meeting house for the Shakers and where they held mass.

If you are in the area give it a look. It truly is a wonderful collection of talented people and a wonderful feeling.

Keep stitchin.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Blues



Ok, I know the picture is another repeat but pretend I am a member of the Television Writers Guild. The only reason my hand is here is because it is my hand and I am blue. What I'm going to write is probably a repeat too but when I wrote about it last it wasn't the Christmas season. Here is where I will insert my disclaimer if you are a Christmas loving, carol singing, purist who adores everything Christmas this post is not for you.

How does one get through the entire Christmas season without getting melancholy or blue? Everybody I love(except for my hubby and my son and my friends)has ties to the holiday season and they are gone. Either they died during the time surrounding Christmas or they had their birthdays or anniversaries or some other reason to remember them and to remember that they are not here. Add that to the sappy Christmas music and the wonderful Hallmark movies and well I guess you can figure out the rest.

I know I'm not alone in my sadness and melancholy. In fact I think probably most people feel this way during the Christmas holidays but yet everywhere you go people are pretending to be happy and joyous(or if they are really lucky they are happy and joyous). Today as I was driving to the supermarket I heard Josh Groban's version of I'll Be Home For Christmas, the version with the soldiers giving holiday greetings in the beginning which is why I didn't see it coming and change the station. Of course it made me cry and then because I was driving and I was out in public I had to put a stiff upper lip and pretend I wasn't crying or thinking of those who aren't home for Christmas. And then I wondered why is it necessary year after year to remind people of what is lost instead of what they still have? Why do they write such sad sappy holiday songs and tearjerker holiday movies anyway? Although to be honest if I'm in the right mood I can cry to Frosty the Snowman also. The funny thing is I know that they are coming and I try to avoid them at all costs, but it's just impossible. I was just driving my car to the supermarket minding my own business and wham.

What's even worse is you aren't really allowed to be unhappy or sad at Christmas, it rubs people the wrong way. They want to be joyous and thankful(and truly I am joyous and thankful as long as I'm not being reminded that it is Christmastime). They seem to be angry when I tell them that my mother is gone 25 years and my dad is gone 10 like my grief is going on just a little too long. But it's there and even though I try to take care of myself every single year I end up feeling miserable when I hear a Christmas carol or watch something heartwarming on tv. It's a reminder. I have a wonderful son and he manages to make Christmas day a most joyous occasion because I love to see him happy and he is always happy on Christmas day. My husband goes out of his way to make sure I have a wonderful Christmas(and you can check back I will have had a wonderful Christmas day) but there is nothing anyone can do about the 30 something days between Thanksgiving and the first week of January(when both my parents died). The landmines are set and there is no escaping them. There is just no place for unhappiness in the cheery Christmas season.

There are so many things I want to do with my business and I just can't do it. Although I have been able to knit or embroider all day as long as I stay away from the radio and the television. Next year I might just go to a Tibetan mountaintop for the 30 something days or perhaps just stay in my pjs and be mournful on my own. But that is next year and this is this year. I hope I didn't depress you too much or perhaps I helped you to feel not so alone. But my blog has become my life and my work and my little window to the world. You will find very optimistic posts in the future and many beautiful new works that you will hopefully like, but for now all I have to offer of any substance is my blue hand with a star in the middle.

Hold your families very tightly and love them with all you have, especially during the holiday season. Blessings to all, and thank you if you took the time to read my tale of woe!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Angry Bag



Read entry below for explanation of angry bag and yes it is very similar to happy bag!

Happy Bag



This is one of my happy bags. They are my favorite thing to do. I love to hand embroider but when I embroider a lot of other variables go into my work. But when I knit I'm usually doing it for fun. That's where the happy bag comes in. First a little background.

My first happy bag was actually an angry bag. I was having an argument with my husband that I was losing(but of course)and instead of fighting him I took out all the colorful yarns I could find and made my first happy bag. It's a lime green(i love lime green) hot pink, multicolor concoction. Rather small able to be finished in one night(at least when I'm angry anyway). I tried to sell it but nobody bought it(I guess they could tell it was an angry bag)so it's still mine which is wonderful cos I love it. Truly love it. I used my favorite colors and knitted myself into a good mood while making it so I'm kind of glad it's still mine.

Then I made one with checkerboard and a basketweave pattern. No pictures. I wasn't very good at taking pictures when I started making my creations. Then there are the green bags with flowers(another favorite but once again I don't think there are any pictures) and then there are the big ones. I love to make these cute little bags with flowers, without flowers, colorful little bags of wonderfully colored nothingness in all different types of yarn and textures. Love to make the big ones too. I love to bead them and make bead closures and even bead the linings. Just pure unadulterated fun. When you spend days or weeks hand embroidering a piece that you are not sure will capture the imagination of anyone but yourself, the loveliness and simplicity of knitting in your favorite colors just is wonderful FUN! I guess you can tell I love to make them huh?

I am a bit of a perfectionist about my work. When I hand embroider, every stitch must be perfect and completely filled in. When I crochet if a stitch is not just right I rip it all out(perhaps that is why I don't crochet all that much) but with knitting I just keep it simple(or make it complicated) and have fun. And for some reason that seems to make all the difference. The only problem with my happy bags is if I finish them and they don't come out exactly the way I want them to, they end up in my drawer(come on you all have a drawer or a closet you put your insecurities into)so I have quite a few I have to have the courage to finish at the moment.

But since I love to do my happy bags, I'm sure you will be seeing pictures of them when they are finished and loads of new happy bags too.

I hope my little jaunt into happy land made you happy. It made me happy to think about it and I think I'm gonna look for those knitting needles now that I am free as a bird with my work anyway.

Happy Stitchin. And to all those who are feeling a little blue because of this time of year(and afraid to tell anyone) make yourself happy some how some way because as George Harrison used to say, this too shall pass. Blessings.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A little cheer




Ok I need a little cheer myself. It's cold and I'm cranky and I need a little brightness and cheer. This is an eyeglass case I made for my friend. It is two butterflies and her initials. She really liked it and so did my other friend who asked for a pink one with purple flowers for her beautiful little girl who just got glasses.

I decorated the tree, including the lights(which were a little scary from the top step of a step ladder). The menfolk really liked it, which was a nice surprise. But other then that not much to talk about. I worked on my turtle bag still no picture. And I read a little bit of Celebration of the Stitch. A wonderful, inspiring book about embroidery. And that's about that.

Hopefully tomorrw will be a more talkative day with more to share. Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Lifelines Part 2



I didn't think this photograph was on my laptop but miraculously it was. As you can see it is a bit glaring to have two glaring lights in the middle of my project but I think you can see the details a bit better.

Today is one of those days when I am fighting off a cold. I've finished the first half of my turtle bag(photos to come soon). It's hand embroidered using my tangled thread technique(the word technique makes it sound so more interesting then pulling threads out of a knotted mess don't you think?) although I think I added more to my knotted pile then I took out of it. I haven't decided whether I'm going to do the bead thing. I'm not really a bead gal myself and I am making it for myself. But I'll finish the back and then decide.

My hub is home and we put up our Christmas tree(yesterday actually but it fell over, so we had to redo it). No lights or ornaments yet, I like to do that by myself and my hubby is glad and my son well he's 16 he doesn't care. We are doing a bit of a mellow Christmas thing this year. Not too many outside lights, just a lit wreath and one of those metal lit Christmas tree. Although I love to look at other people's lights I don't really like to do them myself. How totally uncreative but in case I haven't told you I'm not really the outdoorsy type.

Nothing much else to talk about, my real life is kind of delightfully boring at the moment because we are waiting for a snow storm. So I think I will bid you all adieu and hopefully tomorrow I will have something more interesting to talk it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lifelines



This is one of my tangled thread embroidered hands that I had hanging in the coop. The picture doesn't really do it justice but it is a rainbow colored hand with green accents. It got a lot of interest in the coop and people who saw it used to love to run their fingers down the threads which was exactly what I wanted them to do. I have another picture of it but that one had glare from the lights, the colors in the hand were more visible so if you want to see a better look and can forget about the glare let me know.

I love to use lots of colors and different hues of the same colors in my hands. And then of course there are always the lines that go off the beaten path. Just like myself. I hope you enjoy looking and reading and hope that you appreciate all the twists and turns of my work and my life. Although to be honest I could really appreciate a rather straighter life at the moment. But if my life went in a straight line to my goals and aspirations I don't think the journey would be half as interesting.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ice

I am inspired by InspireMeThursday. The subject is ice, so therefore I need to be inspired.

Ice is wonderful in a cocktail.

Ice is a wonderful reason to stay home and embroider or knit.

Ice is beautiful when it hangs off my gutter or during an ice storm when it just begins to hang off the trees.

Ice makes me laugh when my dog takes for me an impromptu ski lesson down my front lawn.

It also makes me laugh when I'm backing out of my driveway and I stop just in time to miss the basketball hoop.

Ice makes me happy when it melts on a freezing cold day just from the sun.

Most of all ice makes me think of all the warm things that make the ice bearable.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dancin



My husband is back and so is my laptop and this piece is called Dancin. Still not really in the dancin mood but feeling much better then yesterday!

Dancin started out as a cross but I kept adding to it and adding to it and soon it looked like a dancer. It is varied threads of blue done in my favorite kind of hand embroidery where I use my needle as a paintbrush. It may have a new owner soon, a friend really likes it but can't decide between it and one of my hands(embroidered that is). So it's mine for a little while. Dancin also was a coop piece that never really had an opportunity to hang on my walls. So that is where it will be until whenever.

I hope you all had a wonderful day and you spent some of your day dancin. Happy Stitching.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A blast from the past


Well if you care to go back to June or if you were reading this blog back then, this purse will look hauntingly familiar, but since my husband has my laptop and I loaded all my new pictures onto that computer this blast from the past will have to do. This purse was in the coop the past few months and it has returned to me anyway. It is freeform thread crochet. I love to crochet with thread almost as much as I love to embroider. There was a time when I would just spend all my days crocheting with thread and making purses and baby sweaters and christening outfits, ornaments. I loved it. I used to put on Andrea Bocelli and take out my crochet needle and crochet the day away. I had a pretty good business when I lived on Long Island crocheting to my hearts content. Now I find my center in hand embroidery, but I am tempted to make another thread bag and put on Andrea Bocelli just to remember yesterday.

Yesterday, or more accurately, years of yesterdays were so much tougher. I found the beautiful angelic voice of Andrea Bocelli when my dad was in a coma for eight months back in 1997. Sometimes when I listen to him now I think of my dad and how painful my life was back in 1997. My dad had a mild heart attack, but was out of oxygen for so long that he was practically brain dead. He was remarried and his wife could not let him go and I could not find the strength to make her. He recovered enough to be able to open his eyes and tears would go down his face. He lived in Florida and I lived on Long Island and had a very fragile 5 year old that I couldn't just abandon so I went through months of optimistic phone calls followed by the devastating reality that he had the mental capability of an infant(or less). I was a mess. The only thing that could calm me was thread crochet and Andrea Bocelli. My needlework has been a lifelong friend in times of tragedy.

In September of that year I got a part time job in a pre school. I loved the children. They were life. My friend got a job as a secretary in the church where the school was located and I met a wonderful friend Paulette while working there. I was able to pretty much hide my anguish but my brain was mush. They used to give me the art projects to prepare. Cutting construction paper is very calming. I think that job probably kept me alive to be quite honest. At a time when death was so constant in my life seeing those children brought me back from the edge.

Life went along, seeing life during the day and getting devastating updates during the night. By mistake one day I told my grandmother that my father loved her very much and she would see him soon in heaven. I didn't realize how prophetic those words would be. Right after Thanksgiving, my grandmother was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer and she only had a short time to live. She is the grandmother who taught me all my needlecrafts therefore giving me the greatest gift in my life.

The holidays were truly awful that year and my dad had sepsis and was actually brought back to life several times during that holiday season. A few hours into January 1, 1998, my dad died. I thought it was a gift. Because of the holiday I wasn't able to go to his funeral but knowing my dad he would have shielded me from it anyway. He was with my mother who ironically also died the first week of January in 1983. Her death was unexpected even though she had terminal cancer, we were naive enough to think that it could be cured when it couldn't. My father's death was a gift. I went back to work on January 4th and acted as though nothing had happened and I loved being around the children so much they probably cheered me up. Three weeks after my father died, my grandmother died. That is when I fell apart. Everything in my world became different. I still remember the feeling of being a photograph, being ripped into tiny pieces, put in a bag and taped up in different places. It is something that stays with me even today(obviously).

I'm not quite sure why I am discussing this but perhaps it is the time of year and the relation that my work has with my life. The reason I am a person who takes tangled threads or pieces of threads and makes something out of them. A mish mash of different patterns and different interests and the ability of somehow putting them all together. Those threads I use heal my soul as well as hopefully touching others.

Today I was volunteering at the Albany Shaker Museum with a lovely grandmotherly woman named Madeline. Her name is important because my godmother is Madeline and her love of fibers is important because she made the most beautiful hand knit Norwegian sweater that she is selling there because it didn't fit her grandson. My father was norwegian and my grandmother taught me how to knit. Perhaps that is the reason for my melancholy today. Perhaps I am just feeling sorry that I don't have my own grandmother or my son doesn't have my mother as his grandmother. Or perhaps this is just a step on the journey of healing. But here it is.

The purse in this picture was made with love and a Dave Matthews CD and for the coop so it's relation to my story is basically just the medium and not the heartache. But I guess for a moment it was for me a blast to the past. Thanks for reading. God Bless and Happy Stitching. I will spend the rest of my night stitching my beloved turtle handbag and watching mindless television.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Summer Dreams



Since it is a freezing cold day and summer is no where in sight I decided to amuse myself with a little sunshine. This purse is called Wisteria on Silk. It is hundreds of purple french knots on a summery green vine on White Silk with a beautiful beaded handle. It is one of my favorite purses especially since it took so long to make.

When I look at it, it reminds me of weddings, proms and many other joyous occasions during the summer. It has a lovely pale green satin lining and it really is a lovely piece. Perhaps if I have a joyous occasion this summer I will keep it for myself. But I am at the age where most of my friends are married and none of us have children old enough to get married. So perhaps it will be used for someone else's special occasion.

Now to the art of it, which really is the point I suppose. It is interesting in it's simplicity. Basically it is green outline stitch with hundreds of purple french knots embroidered all the way around the top. I am a lover of details, especially little details both in life and in art. And french knots are one of my favorite stitches. Therefore I melded the simplicity of the green outline with the more detailed and complicated french knots. The photo may not show the depth and detail of the purse, but I think it is beautiful up close.

I'm kind of at a loss as to what to write about so I guess I will leave it with the french knot for today. I will ponder summertime some time closer to summer when it doesn't make me so melancholy. For now I will leave you all to happy lives(especially those who love winter) and happy stitching.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Transition Day

I don't really have much to share. My digital camera needs to be charged as does myself. Friday I picked my work up from the coop. No hard feelings, no tears, just a quiet resignation. The end of a learning experience. All in all I am very grateful for the time I spent there. I learned a lot. I could have done without the last month but now I'm sort of resigned to the fact that I really wasn't meant to be there any longer and if it wasn't so obvious, perhaps it would have been sooner or later. As I left I wished them a successful holiday season and surprisingly I meant it. Not so surprisingly, it was a big part of my life for the last year.

I had a wonderful time yesterday at a Christmas luncheon at a local country club selling my wares. The people were wonderful and I sold a few pieces that I had picked up from the coop on Friday. All in all not a bad day. The highlight being a lovely girl who bought my mohair madness purse. Sorry no picture but it was a hot pink, lime green, pale pink, cabled purse. She liked it so much that she started using it the moment after it was purchased. It was wonderful to see the happiness one of purses brought someone. Also there might be another opportunity right around the corner, but I'm waiting to see what happens.

So today I am pooped. To the gills. It's cold and I'm sleepy and it's snowing. I'm still making ornaments and I cannot tell you how much fun it has been. I have been doing twigs and berries, which I adore and making one ornament at a time whichever way the wind blows me. Every single one is different and I sold a bunch of them yesterday too.

I don't know what tomorrow brings and I know that yesterday is over, but I guess my thing for the time being is to do what I love and let God take care of the rest. I've learned during the last year that the hardest part of life is not being true to who you are or accepting less then what is possible. I love what I do and feel peace when I do it, so everything else is gravy. Happy Stitching.