Monday, November 30, 2009

More Ornaments

Just passing by. I have spent the day making more ornaments. I am really loving making ornaments this year. I give thanks to Kathy from the Katbird Shop who said that they are little pieces of portable art. It gave me something to strive for. I am enjoying the act of making the ornaments(except for the stuffing which I wish I had a couple of Santa's elves to do). I really enjoyed making Santa's fur on his jacket and his beard and making the french knot sheep so I got up close with the camera so you could see the details. French knots are my favorite, favorite stitch.

Also a music recommendation. I am listening to Death Cab For Cutie's Plans which I took out of the library. Very haunting and thought provoking and the most wonderful music to stitch in a meditative way to. For those of you who are Twilight fans they sing the song Meet Me at The Equinox from the movie. I'm not a Twilight fan but I am a Death Cab For Cutie fan so that is where my interest lies. The library is a fabulous place to take out movies, books and CD's and go out of the box you've put yourself into. I've discovered so many things by just watching something or listening to something I never thought I would enjoy. Like Andrea Bocelli who is on Oprah right this very moment. I started watching Bocelli on PBS and have become a big fan. My favorites are Romanza, Sogno and Andrea. My favorite song by him is Ava Maria. Just beautiful!

Back to work soon. So keep stitchin.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hidden Beneath the Surface

This piece is called Hidden Beneath the Surface. This is the piece I started a few weeks back but couldn't put down until I did. Now I have picked it up again. It had a completely different name when I started it, but that too shall remain hidden beneath the surface.

Why is it that so much of who we really are is hidden beneath the surface like the Loch Ness Monster only to pop out at inopportune times? Why can't we be snarky or nasty or angry or disappointed? Or why is it that when we are truly truly happy there is always somebody there to point out our foibles? Why must we always put on a pretty face for others and live a blah, blah, blah existence?

Although I love them dearly even with their own idiosyncrasies, our families are always there to put us back into the place where they think we belong. The relative who has to remind you that when you were 20 you searched your way through too many jobs to count. Those who insists you put some lipstick on even when you never wear lipstick. Always, always reminding you that no matter what you do or no matter who you are nothing is ever good enough. So we leave these feelings of anger and frustration and all those other negative feelings they bring up hidden beneath the surface until the wrong person at the wrong time says the wrong thing. And then they pop out, although usually with someone who sees all the hidden things and loves you anyway.

That is the problem with being a searcher, someone who is always searching for other's approval. But I guess now that I'm 50 I've decided that is not what I want for my life. I want to be authentic, be who I am(the good, the bad, and the unlipsticked) and do what I want to do. And it's ok for them to be who they want to be too. We spend so much of our lives wanting to be perfect, but perfection is only an illusion. I don't really think there are any "perfect" people although I agree that many imperfect people think they are perfect. The true search is to find yourself and make your path and remember who you really are. All the warts and beauty marks exactly where they belong. Find people who you can be the real you around, the people you choose to have in your life who weren't preselected. And find your own joy, be it sitting for hours listening to your favorite music with your favorite diversion. Which brings me full circle. This piece speaks to the part of me that will always remain hidden beneath the surface but that comes to life listening to a great song with some embroidery thread and a piece of fabric. Keep stitchin.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh my is my life busy at the moment. I made more ornaments for the Albany Shaker Museum and I'm now knitting a few small purses. The wonderful Kathy at the Katbird sold Floating Turtles(as seen above) and the lovely Debra at Artcentric sold a couple of knit bags. And then we have Thanksgiving. So I'm sending out Thanksgiving wishes and I will go and visit my bloggy friends and then away goes the computer and out come the needles. So blessings to you and all your family. See you soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Katbird Shop

I recently went to drop off some work at the Katbird Shop and took some lovely photographs. The first photograph is the wonderful owner Kathy and her beautiful cat Ophelia. I also took a photo of Roger but unfortunately he was too blurry to be appreciated. Kathy has owned the Katbird Shop for 4 years and has a wonderful mix of unique and beautiful art and antiques. She is located on Liberty Street right down the road from Pinhead Susans a great tavern like restaurant. She is a wonderful store owner to deal with(the tops really) and if you are looking for a unique gift The Katbird Shop is the right place to go.

The second photograph is my display. Some of the pieces probably look familiar as some of them have graced this blog before gracing the beautiful shelves of the Katbird.

The third photograph is the work of my friend Cheryl. She is a fabulous glass artists and makes beautiful vases, bowls, ornaments and soap dishes. And Kathy sells beautiful hand made soap to place on these soap dishes.

The next photo is the bird, a beautiful piece of pottery which sings to me every time I visit the Katbird. I know she will look beautiful on someone's shelf(perhaps even my own). There is a photo of some paintings and bags that are to die for. And finally here is some of the beautiful jewelry which catches my eye every time I am there. So unique and some of the jewelry is made by a lovely lady right here in Clifton Park.

So there is the virtual tour which really does not do the Katbird Shop justice, so next time you are in Schenectady or the Capital region don't forget to visit. You will find unique gifts for even the most persnickety relative or friend during the Christmas holidays.

See you soon, keep stitchin!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Short and Sweet

Just dropping in to say hi. I started a piece last night. A real piece. I have every intention of sharing it, but I wasn't really planning to blog today and it is downstairs and I am upstairs. I didn't even want to stop to put it down, and it has been a long time since I felt that way. So I am going to say goodbye and get back to my piece. Please read my blog post from yesterday as I believe all the lovely ladies(and the rest of my bloggy friends) inspired the cobwebs out of my brain. Blessings and keep stitching.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A day of inspiration

I was going to write a completely different blog post tonight but the fates intervened. First off thanks to Lee I have taken pictures of two of my favorite ornaments of this batch. Probably more to come but started with my favorites, I'm really into the cats at the moment. Started making them for The Katbird Shop, made a few for Albany Shaker and now I'm just enjoying the joy of the stitch. Funny how much more interesting and fun a mundane project can become when you do it for the love the stitch.

Now onto the inspiration, first off let me mention Deb from Bee Creative. She popped into my head today because of her passion for all things green and for the needlearts. She takes the bus to work every day because of her love for the planet and she makes beautiful knit socks while she is at it. She makes beautiful dyed fabric from natural ingredients and she has beautiful nature pictures on her blog(my guess is they are a thank you gift from God for her care). Take a gander at her blog, it is very inspirational.

Secondly there is Jude Hill from Spirit Cloth, her blog was totally inspirational in so many ways today. She shared fabric from a friend(also a Deb)and a link to Deb's blog where I saw just beautiful, beautiful stitchery and news of an interview by Elaine Lipsom in HandEye Magazine which profiled Jude. Jude is very inspirational because she does something that I have loved all my life and she is a success at it. Reading her story only made her more of an inspiration. And in the process I found Elaine's blog which is about art and fibers and makers.

Now to Elaine's blog, she has such an interesting spin on fiber artist and fiber addicts and all those other monikers we stitchers seem to have. She thinks we should be called makers and I have to admit I really like that one or just "artist"(which depending on where I am and how loud I am talking seems to be a hard moniker for me especially lately). Maker seems to sum it all up and put a bow on it, not too pretentious, not too mousy, just simple and honest. If you would like to read Elaines or Deb's blog you can read todays entry at Spirit Cloth and she has links(I still don't do links well).

Of course I can't forget Mendofleur who has the most extraordinary beautiful slipper ornaments on her textile blog(which inspires me every day too). Mendofluer is not just an artist(or a maker) on her own but she shares the wonderful history of textiles and a wonderful way of showing and telling the story behind the pieces.

I have embroidered all my life(or pretty close). I started as a young girl doing kits, I started with my ornaments and pillows to make a little money while my son was a baby, years later I joined an "artist" coop which taught me what I was capable of and then during this past year I kind of hit a wall. Artistically, personally and womanly. So I am back to the ornaments for the time being but with an emphasis on the joy and peace I felt as a young girl for a skein of embroidery thread and a hobby that forces you to be focused. I simply cannot wait until the new year dawns and I can put this year of angst about artistry, craft, motherhood, womanhood behind me and for the time being I think I'll be a maker. I really like that! Keep stitchin and please visit the blogs I mentioned along with ALL the inspirational people who's blogs I follow. Blessings.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A short break

This will be a quick post as I am feeling very melancholy today and the only thing that seems to be helping is embroidering. At the moment I am embroidering ornaments. Each little stitch brings me that much closer to peace. I am trying to find as much joy out of each and every ornament as I can, painstakingly adding stitches and details until the ornament is finished. I went out and bought muslin today as this foray into knitting and crocheting has brought more purses and scarves then I could imagine. I will continue to make purses and scarves as I need them and start watercoloring and embroidering again. I miss it, I miss the creativity, I miss the way that it makes me feel, the peace, the love, my center. I have finally gotten the message that embroidery is a gift I give myself, it makes me complete.

I volunteered yesterday at the Albany Shaker Museum and happened to sell one of my new cat ornaments to a lady that bought it for her daughter as I was unloading my inventory. She asked how long it took to make one of these and I honestly told her it takes a couple of hours(or maybe longer) but I enjoy making them more the more time they take me to make. It seems everytime I go to the Albany Shaker Museum I see people lovingly looking at the stitches. Between that and my conversation with Emily about joy I realized it's time to get back to work as a hand embroidery "artist". More stitchin, less *itchin.

I'll share pictures when I have them. Just a shout out to Lynda Lehman who has a lovely video tribute to the troops on her blog. So I'm off for a bit of peace and tranquility and I'll see you soon. Keep stitchin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Blessings Of Ovation

Today I am thankful for the blessings I have. For the family who love me. For the friends who love me. For my wondrous dog and all the pets I've loved and who have loved me. For the idea of art and creation and the ability of that medium that allows anyone to find peace. Even a tortured soul like me. And for the daily inspirations of life where no one would expect to find them.

I was watching Ovation tv the other night and they are doing their Everything is Art week. I am so inspired watching artists and designers and understanding where they come from. More from their work process then the finished project. I seem to understand their art and their process better than I understand my own. Well as I was watching Ovation there is a beautiful girl who designs for Marquesa who says in the commercial celebrating Everything Is Art week that this week highlights people who take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. It immediately and every time I see the commercial reminds me of my wonderful friend Judy (from Counting Backwards) who gave me that advice a few years back. It seems to be a theme for me lately wondering if I made more ordinary things would I be more marketable. Probably not but it does make you wonder if your vision is only shared by you. I am thankful for her advice and her guidance.

I saw my friend Emily today for our weekly breakfast and I asked her the question. Why does selling my work seem to be such a burden for me? And she answered do you create what you create for money or does it give you joy? And the answer is most certainly it gives me joy. I would spend all day doing what I am doing even if I never made a penny. Thank you Emily. That also seems to be a theme for the artists on Ovation. They create what their visions tell them to do and the universe seems to push them along(I'm still waiting for the universe but I'm pretty sure now that I am dealing with this logjam the universe will undam me.)

So much of this past year has been spent in angst over what is and what is not happening with my work. I seem to have forgotten that when something is worried about it is not joyful, to be clear and resolute and extraordinary one must get past the results and work through the process. Stop trying to please the masses and try to reach that one person who thinks pink mohair or watercolored fabric is wonderful. Or perhaps try to sell my vision and the pieces of my heart that go with it. Stop worrying about how people perceive it or how it is being accepted and be joyful about the act of giving, perhaps a wonderful gift or a moment of whimsy or even the inspiration that someone else can make it too. Whatever the secret is I think I will only figure it out when I stop worrying about what others think and worry only about what I think. The only time I will figure it out is when I count my blessings.

I have wonderful friends both in real life and on the blog. I had an artistic mother and a carpenter father(both who had real jobs). I have a great responsible husband who is great looking and thank God a good provider(or I'd be living in a box about now). A great son. A brother. And added to all that I have a joy for the thread and the needle and the yarn and how each of those fit into all the missing pieces sometime.

Sorry to wax philosophical but sometimes I do and usually that is all that's needed to remind me to count my many blessings and be thankful. Peace and blessings to you and if you have Ovation it's a great week to watch it, so darn inspirational.

PS the photos are only here as illustration to the pink mohair and the watercolored fabric, I will have more pictures soon of my new work!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A great new blog I found

I really didn't have much to talk about today. I'm still embroidering ornaments and I'm back to crocheting and knitting again but don't have anything finished(as I like to do my sewing on the sewing machine only when I feel like dealing with the technology of a sewing machine). I looked up the new gallery where I sell my work, New Leaf at 70 Beekman and found this great blog downtown Susie Brown whose link I will put on the side who is just a treasure trove of information about businesses in Saratoga Springs and all the beautiful wonderful handmade things you can find there. So I thought I would share it with you . I hope you are having a wonderfully creative day.

I'm gonna go blogging and see what beautiful inspirations I can find to pass along. Hope you are having a wonderfully creative day and hopefully some pictures tomorrow!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Hi All! These are some hand embroidered ornaments I am making for the Katbird Shop. I'm really enjoying the whole twigs and berry and cat thing. I don't really have too much to say today, too much television this week and well the news was just horrendously awful this week. Just another reminder to live our lives to the fullest and get into the process and not the outcome. We never know what the outcome of anything will be. We may wish to think that we do, but we don't. Hard to remember that on a daily basis. I think living in the moment in the process is at least a way to try. I hope you have had a great week creatively and personally. Be back tomorrow with hopefully something more inspiring to say.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just Checking In

This is my favorite tree and I took a picture on a beautiful sunny day not so long ago because the light hit it at just the right angle. I'm feeling a little under the weather, not sure if it is just too much Halloween candy or something a little worse. On the plus side I have been making pillows and ornaments for the Albany Shaker Museum and the Katbird Shop. Will take pictures and share when finished. Blessings to all. See you soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Albany Shaker Blog Site

Well I didn't think I had anything to blog about today but I woke up this morning to the sound of an interview on the radio about the Albany Shaker Museum and their annual craft show. And they have a blog. So I'm just passing it along. There are pictures of some of the beautiful wares available, information on hours, how to get there and so forth and so on. So please go take a look(if you can in person would be great) and I'll be back tomorrow with something pretty of my own hands to look at. Keep stitching!