Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing out the year and the decade!

I though yesterday's blog post about the circle hand would be the last post of this year but I thought I would take a minute to reflect on the wonders of the internet and the blog community and inspiration.

As I mentioned yesterday this year was not the best for me but I am still optimistic about the upcoming year and decade. The beginning of the new millenium was a time of great spirituality for me. It was also a time when I could scoff at all the Y2K worries. That changed for me later that year when the election of George Bush(or whatever you want to call that election) came through at the time I had the feeling that nothing would ever be the same and 10 years later that is most definitely true.

I lived on Long Island and spiritually was being called to a simpler life, a country life. I had realized that being on an island of millions wasn't really where I wanted to grow old. So I found a dream house on Realtor.com in Kinderhook NY. It was a swiss chalet that I could never find. But later on that year we went to visit Kinderhook and stayed in a wonderful place called the Blue Spruce Inn(if you are ever in the neighborhood). It was a lovely place but a little too countryish. So my husband said I love the idea of a place more like Long Island. Oddly enough every day I would meet someone or hear something that would make me think a bit more. A lovely woman I met who ran craft shows said that she would recommend moving north of Albany. So north we came and we found the town where I live today. We came up in August of 2001 and had a wonderful time. I left my wallet in Friendlys and when I went back there it was waiting for me locked in an office. My husband said you know Deb, I think I could live there. We went home and my husband's wallet got pickpocketed and dropped and someone took his credit card and figured we wouldn't figure it out. They took the wallet right out of his pants. Scary really. But for me it was a sign, one of the zillions that lead me to where I am today. Everything down there was telling us to make the move and everything up here was telling us to come. It was so crazy that on the Friday before 9/11 I said to my friend everything is telling us to go and what does my husband need a building to fall on his head to make him realize this. Well prophetic as these things are 9/11 happened and my husband was working in downtown Manhattan on that fateful day. A great big huge metaphor of life. I don't know how many millions of people were affected on that day to make major changes in their lives but I was one of them.

It was a struggle every day after that to make my wish for a simpler life a reality. Obstacles galore, you name it, it was there. But finally my husband got a job up here, my house was sold and in January 2003 I moved into my life as it is. Not really though. I had been a crafter down there so that was my plan for the future. One day on a whim I answered a call for artists that would change my life literally and figuratively. I became an artist in a coop, and then became an artist. I suppose I always was one but the chaotic nature of my life before moving up here kept me so busy that I never really gave thought to what I am and what I was. The coop didn't work out but in a way it did. Everything it promised has become manifest through people I met when I was there. It made me an artist. And once I figured out that, I pretty much figured everything else out.

So now since you are probably bored with this story of the last decade I am optimistic again, because I am reminded that I followed a dream and found it and if it happened once(or perhaps twice) it can always happen again. My prayers to those affected by the disaster on 9/11 and the subsequent disasters following them. Find a universal being you believe in and believe in him/her, because without that belief in the universe nothing is possible. Dare to dream, dare to believe and dare to live. There are always obstacles and questions but sooner or later you realize the answers were right in front of you all the time!

And thank you to the bloggy community and the internet for inspiring me and helping me find some of the answers and inspiring me to share my story.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Circle Hand


Well, it seemed like the Circle hand was the perfect way to end this year. It is hand embroidered on watercolored muslin. This hand was a tortuous project as it was my craft fair piece from earlier in the year. I brought it from craft show to craft show so that my craft show anxiety wasn't visible to the public. After the craft shows it sat unfinished for months and then it sat unframed for months and then I figured out a way to change it's karma and I gave it to my friend Cheryl as a combination birthday and holiday gift. Cheryl was my partner in crime during most of my craft show angst, she was and is a wonderful artistic spirit that I am very, very, lucky to have in my life. Cheryl is a very successful artist and was exactly the right person to go through my endless angst with. She never lost faith in me nor this piece. There was never a phone call or an outing when she didn't ask about this piece. She kept prodding me to finish it and finally she succeeded. It's a beautiful piece but I could not think of a place where it belonged so it sat folded up and waiting for a frame. I made Cheryl another piece but then it dawned on me that if I had not had Cheryl with me prodding me to get back to what I love to do this piece would sit folded until I got over the fact that it had my angst in every stitch. So framed it I did and gave it to Cheryl last week. I couldn't think of another person who would love it like she would and the joy of seeing her face when she opened it made all the angst disappear and I too could love this beautiful piece.

So now you know the story behind the circle hand and it's unfinished absence on my blog, and I have come full circle. I started last year with optimism and joy and passion for what I did. I lost a bit of that somewhere this summer and I questioned everything about what I do, but now I am optimistic, joyful and passionate about my work. So starting over next year I am going to just work, not think. Embroidering, knitting and a dozen other things. Making my home a haven and my body a healthily working machine. And I'm going to find some new outlets for my work early in the year and maybe some interesting sidebars in art. That's my resolution. Nothing too strenuos, nothing too thought provoking, just finding peace.

And finally that is my blessing for all of you my lovely bloggy friends who have inspired me and supported me during this last year! Peace to all, good health, abundance and most of all an artistic look at life and love and passion.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Christmas Present for me!



Well I hope this Christmas holiday was everything you wished it to be! The three of us had a wonderful time, full of fun, food and togetherness. I'm already back on my Mediterranean lifestyle. The amazing thing about this diet is that the minute you stray you pay for it. Easier to eat healthy then to eat unhealthy. I received wonderful gifts from the hub and the son. They know me so well, some gift certificates to Borders and Michaels and a CD. To read, to craft, to listen life's wonderful pleasures.

I am working on an embroidery piece for a new adventure so I can't share it at the moment, but I put it away for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and made myself some matching mittens to match my favorite scarf and mittens. I'm gonna make a hat someday too, just not right now. Before these I hadn't made mittens in years, maybe decades. The first one took so long but the second went much faster. I knit it on 4 doublepointed needles and I cannot count how many times my stitches fell off in the beginning but all in all it was a very enjoyable undertaking and made the time in between the hecticness of putting together a holiday by yourself much more enjoyable.

Before Christmas but since we chatted last, I had a wonderful lunch with Cheryl at my favorite place Panera. It was wonderful to see her and spend some time with her at the holidays. We also went to Artique the next artist coop in Clifton Park where we were lucky enough to see my bloggy friend Judy. She has a wonderful spot and her work is to die for and luckily upon luckily we were able to see her. She looks wonderful! It was so nice to see good friends and be inspired during the busy, busy, busy days before the holiday. And if you happen to be in Clifton Park please go check out Judy's display. Her lovely photographs were beautiful!

Not much else to write. Have a couple of projects in the camera and out of the camera to share after the new year. Will try to post in the meantime but just in case, Happy New Year and a healthy wonderful, creative, abundant new year and new decade to all of you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The end of the business year!





Today was my final business outing. A lovely trek to the Katbird Shop on this positively frigid day. I dropped off a few pieces so if you are in the neighborhood drop in and take a look. I also dropped off my artist statement which is based on a blog post I did last year sometime. It's a little over the top but I needed one for the Albany Shaker Museum Christmas Craft show which is now over, and I couldn't think of words that accurately describe my love of what I do better. So now that my dropping off days are done for a short while(I have some wonderful heart ideas for Valentine's day) I can relax and recoup and revamp.

I'm thinking of giving up the bags unless I can find a home for them on Etsy and I want to move in a more experimental direction. The thing about a unique bag is that it has to find a unique person who wants it and to just knit or crochet bags just to knit or crochet bags doesn't really float my boat. If I am going to experiment and grow I am going to do it embroidering. I am thankful for the watercolored fabric I've been using, which I could never use on my bags as I think they would run in the rain. And making a bag requires lots of time on the sewing machine(I'm not a big fan of the sewing machine, too much like work not enough fun)so it's time to try again to find something I love that is profitable. I've got some interesting ideas which I can't wait to try out and I can't wait to get your feedback.

On the plus side I still have the scarf and the purse that were my favorites of all the color combinations and styles I came up with this past year so I gave myself an early Christmas gift. I didn't really want to part with them in the first place so I'm thrilled that I still have them. So forging onward, keep stitching. Be happy and next year is the year to follow our dreams and make them come true, don't you think?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winding Down

Well it seems the year is winding down and frankly not a moment too soon. This year has been not the best year of my life, lets leave it at that. Too much too opine about anyway. But I am also thankful, very thankful, for my wonderful friends in real life, Emily, Cheryl, Sandy and the two Wendy's! For my hubby and my son who have been very supportive this year. For the wonderful shop owners I work with, Kathy, Debra, and Jeromy. For the Albany Shaker Museum and the lovely ladies there. And for finding bits and pieces of myself, strewn along the landscape. Ready to put this year behind me and spread my artistic wings and fly without a net next year. I have quite a few ideas in my head, some of them quite out of the ordinary for me but I've given the crafter part of my head a chance and now it's time to embrace totally the artist in me. As this year passes along, I feel much more like my given name DebraAnn then my everyday name Debbie. I've learned that solitude is wonderful and that I can get over anything with an embroidery needle and some lovely colorful thread. And to follow the beat of my own drummer, because trying to appeal to the masses instead is just too darn hard. So off we go to another wonderful year and a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful wish for all of you to have a fabulous holiday. I may be back before the end of this year but just in case I'm not I want to thank everyone who follows my blog and who's blogs I follow for the wonderful inspiring comments made while I was on my detour and floundering and for the wonderful inspiring blogs you all write! Happy Holidays to one and all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Passion



I know, I know it is a retread. I have been relaxing myself with several projects none of them finished so here comes passion. Hand embroidery has become a passion again for me. Perhaps because it is the holiday season and I don't do the holidays very well or perhaps because I have been having a bout of insomnia I have been giving myself the gift of hand embroidery, no framing, no sewing on the machine, no deep thought just embroidery. I put the soundscapes channel on my television(new age music) turn off the politics, turn off the family(they know enough just to avoid the new age musical) and just retreat to my embroidery. It takes so little to make me happy and I've been giving myself the gift of happy. Oddly enough reading Whiffs and Glimmers, that seems to be a trend. Finding happiness in needles. Oftentimes people think about what they would need on a desert island, myself it would be a suitcase full of embroidery thread on an island full of silk worms so I would have a more embroidery thread then I could use in a lifetime and a never ending supply of fabric. Of course an electrical outlet and some music would be nice too. But that is all that it takes to make me happy. Thats about all the words I can write with the energy and brain power that I have(because of insomnia) so I'll hopefully be a little more verbose and a bit more ambitious tomorrow and be able to share a new project. Happy stitchin.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Handmade Gifts/Inspire Me Thursday



This is just a little inkling of my handmade gifts for this holiday season. There are hand embroidered and hand knitted and hand stitched and even a couple of hands thrown in there this year. I'm still in the process of figuring out which home they will go home to. Some are no brainers and others require a bit more brain then I have at the moment. I'm a last minute Molly so I probably won't know a couple until I am ready to deliver them.

There is a big push this year for handmade gifts and I personally hope it keeps going. There are always gift card years, but I don't think this is one of them. Our economy and our spirits are broken, this is the year to buy something that comes from the heart and is made with love. Be it a beautiful hand embroidered hand or a beautiful wooden train, or a lovely crocheted scarf. Crafters and artists do what they do because they love it, so every hand made gift you give means you are giving something that someone loved enough to finish or even to start in the first place.

And even more importantly this year, give the gift of yourself because that is the greatest hand made gift! Blessings and happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Trip to the Katbird Shop




Today I made a trip to the Katbird Shop where I dropped off, Lotus and Mighty Sun, both hand embroidery on watercolored muslin fabric. I took the glass off of Mighty Sun to see how it would be received, as I am thinking of the endless possibilities for embellishment. It is always a wonderful time at the Katbird seeing the lovely Kathy and today she had an artist there making a beautiful painting of a horse. There are so many talented artists and artisans represented there it is definitely worth a trip. I also took some Christmas Ornaments, which Kathy is selling like hotcakes. One woman bought a whole bunch of them and it always heartens me to see that some people admire my work that much.

I am starting a new endeavor(or a revisit to an old one) at the Katbird making personalized childrens pillows and birth announcement pillows. When my son was very little I used to design them, the first one being a train which is what I brought to Kathy, and I would ask my two year old son what it was and if he knew it I figured it looked like what it was supposed to look like, even to a two year old. He was my muse. Now he's a little too old to be my muse and my critic(or supporter) but he sort of inspired me to go backwards and give it a try again. When I did the craft show circuit on Long Island I sold a lot of those pillows so maybe lighting will strike twice. I made cars, and bugs, and trains, and flowers, and well I think you get the idea. I never thought of myself as an artist back then but now I'm ready to be a maker of personalized pillows.

Tomorrow I am volunteering at the Albany Shaker Museum, at least at the moment. We are supposed to be getting a snow storm with some measurable snow but that remains to be seen at the moment.

Thank you to all for your comments on my latest posts, they were a pleasure to write and it was nice to see them well received. I am working on another project not so dark as Hidden Beneath the Surface with pictures to come. Blessings to you and your family and keep stitchin.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Meditation



Meditation is something that is so good for you. Only problem with that is that I cannot sit still without my hands doing something. I've always been a fidgety person who has to have my hands busy. So recently I decided to make my stitchery a meditation. Repetition, prayer and music. I think the holidays are just a stressful time, you can almost see the energy bursting out of people's eyes. Too much shopping, worrying about money, missing those who are not with you, eating too much, drinking too much,not sleeping enough and that leads to smiles, big empty vacant smiles. Happy, happy, happy.

Well that being said, I sat down with a very small piece of fabric and my tangled mess of thread and started a stitching meditation. It had no rhyme or reason. It started with a pair of spirals and then I just added stitches until it felt done. Now that it's done I'm going to have to put it away for a few days, because of it's size it won't fit in a frame but it came out so lovely that I want to do something with it. Because it's a meditation it has to somehow have a spiritual background, maybe some kantha stitching or french knots, I'm just not quite sure. I will meditate for a solution while making my next meditation project(on a much larger more colorful piece of fabric).

Speaking of fabric, I have been busy watercoloring and tea dying so when the next inspiration comes I am ready. I hope you too have a wonderful way of meditation and finding your center during this holiday season, as real peace is so much better then fake happiness. Keep stitching.