Saturday, December 31, 2011


A little joy 002 by DebraAnn813
A little joy 002, a photo by DebraAnn813 on Flickr.

I didn't want to end this year without expressing just how joyful this year was. Not the whole year but so much of it. At the end of this year I'm lucky to share my love of family, love of embroidery, love of music with masses. I've had such wonderful opportunities, such wonderful times with friends and family, such wonderful time hand embroidering and I've discovered how easy it is to be happy with a needle in my hand and headphones on my ears! I'm also crocheting a wee bit too. If this wasn't your joyful year, find what makes you joyful and start doing it NOW! Blessings and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

El Camino

First things first, Mr. Bluebird wishes you nestloads of happiness in the new year! El Camino means the path(and yes the record review will come later in the blogpost so you can read the beginning). My path to where I am today has been quite a journey. Today I am an artist with nestloads of wonderful opportunities and the peace and joy that comes with doing what you love and having other people love it enough to buy it. But my journey was hard and treacherous and some days I wanted to retreat to my bed and pull the covers up tightly. The last few blog posts have been about some of that early journey which probably had a lot more under the covers days. But I was blessed too, I had a mother who loved me unconditionally and totally and even though I lost her at a young age I know she has taken the next 20 years to shape my life and she has found living angels to kind of pick up the slack. My father was very conflicted and in the end just wanted to be happy. He might have made mistakes but all was forgiven and I love him very much and miss his charming smile.(that is the reason I took down yesterdays post because as much as he is part of the journey, a lot of my journey with him was tempered and shaped by loss).

I had wonderful grandparents and I was blessed with all of them, wonderful aunts and cousins and family friends. Then I met Peter and journeying together we have a very nice life now and hopefully my son will find his pot of gold and a girl to go with it when he is ready.

I had wonderful friends all throughout my life, very fortunate to call many wonderful people my friends. Some I haven't seen in years but thanks to Facebook you can find everyone from your best friend in kindergarten to your first boyfriend.

My trusty needles have been my finest companions, they have seen me through grief, love, death, anger(well you get my drift) although to be honest the person using those needles would have never believed she could utter the word artist and be talking about herself.

I was taught the needlearts when I was about 6, all of them except quilting, from my father's mother. I did hand embroidery kits and knit scarves and crocheted afghans. I gave them as gifts and made myself things but never really considered that my art. Then I had my son and a mother friend of another boy saw my work and suggested I try to sell some of my ornaments, so I did with very little success I must say at first. But then I taught myself how to make christening outfits and because they were so well made people bought sweater sets and I would make pillows to supplement that income, still didn't think of myself as an artist. If you read my blog regularly you know the rest of the journey is longwinded and you've heard it before.

Suffice it to say being a hand embroidery artist in the year 2011 is not the easiest line of work especially if you don't do things the way your grandmothers did(although a beautiful sampler made the way your grandmother made it is a piece of art work by my estimation) and to be fair it is probably easier to look at me and see grandmotherly work but I like bright and cheerful and happy things to look at. I love to do an occasional barn or house but the colorful bright things make my heart sing.

And now I am an artist something I never dreamed of. In all my days I never really thought something I loved so much and did all my life would be the answer to all my questions about life. I am a stitch, I like to make people laugh, I try to bring people together, I stitch up little holes left behind by mere mortals and I spend most of my happy time with a needle in my hand and a needle on a great CD(ok now you can tune out).

El Camino by the Black Keys is about their journey, the voice that you cannot believe came out of a twenty year old(maybe I feel a kinship because of the bright colors), the tortured soul music which has a beat and you can dance to it, the perserverance of ten years of constant touring and selling 700,000 records(brothers)and varying amounts much lower then that with their previous works. I think that must have been incredibly hard to do and now I want you to reward them by buying El Camino(I kind of feel like a fairy grandmother to the two of them). It's a fabulous fun CD with the influences of the Kinks(my favs), TRex(my faves), the Cars(my faves) etc., etc.,etc. All of the bands that influenced them were my favorite bands when I was their age(slightly younger actually). I can't pick out a favorite song because I like them all for different reasons. I like all the Black Keys songs, and I do mean all, for different reasons. But I guess the reason I like them so much is they are artists with a voice and a guitar and a drum. A little bit different(ok a lot different) from their peers. (They can actually sing and play their own instruments, a number of different instruments)They love music and each other(not that way)as much as I love my embroidery and all of the wonderful friendsisters I've been so lucky to have. So go out and buy their CD or some other CD that speaks to that small person that lives in your head who thinks gee I wish I could be an artist. You just have to find some music that makes you happy and do something that makes you happier then anything else in the world, combine them and then magic happens. God Bless and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Black Keys

I have nothing to share hand embroidery wise today so I thought I would address my Black Keys obsession. No I have not had some Black Keys induced mental breakdown. They are just the most soulfully, sexy, bluesy thing missing(well not missing just not found) in music today. Their early music has been used to sell people my age all kinds of things like beer, BMW's and Victoria's Secret underwear but their marketing and yes their age worked against them for so many years. I've become a Black Keys fan because anybody or anything that can make me laugh, dance, or feel sexy during this time of year when I usually listen to Christmas music and cry has to be the best.

It started with Brothers. I took the CD out of the library because they won best alternative artist at the Grammys early this year. I also liked the video for Tighten Up. It's an adorable playground video with adorable little children and it's funny(go find it on You tube). All of their videos are funny as are their interviews. Funny, really funny. I liked Tighten Up and Howlin very much but it was the soulfullness of the rest of the CD that I really liked. Went out and bought it right that day. Listened to it a lot because I thought it was great. A few months later I found the viral Lonely Boy video, which I really just got a great kick out of. The gentleman dancing appears to be close to my age and I remembered me and my friends dancing at the clubs back in the 70's early 80's. I still thought they were just a new band I discovered. A few months later El Camino was being released and I heard on the radio that it was their 7th cd. I simply couldn't believe it. 7 CD's from this excellent band, can't be. Well yes it was.

My wonderful son found them and got them for me as an early Christmas present. All of them. Their early work is what really got me hooked. Rubber Factory is the best album I have heard in years. I hope they clean it up and re-release it now that people know who they are. Dan Auerbach has a voice that could melt plastic and it's his real voice not manipulated as almost all of the singers today are. Guitar riffs galore, great drum beats. I dare you to listen to it and not move, it's impossible. I have so many favorites from those early CD's it's hard to list them all but go google Have Love Will Travel. I shared it on Facebook and nobody watched it. And I don't mind telling you that I had to search for a video that will appeal to my demographic. Most of their early video's bring out the mother in me. Cut the hair, take a shower and ZZTop isn't all that sexy. But the voice and the soulful eyes that look a lot older than their youth speaks to me. And they are even better live on Youtube if you can get past the look. I have to admit I'm kind of wishing for a day when I can see the current, more mature Black Keys sing the sexy soulful stuff from the past.

Now the most amazing part of this band is the inspirational story behind them. They formed in 2001. Just two guys with a guitar and a set of drums. College dropouts who wrote, performed and produced their early albums. They toured all over the country in a minivan sleeping in the back of the van. That is probably the reason for their look on the early videos. All of their early albums were critically reviewed. But they looked like Nirvana and sounded like Cream or Bad Company so perhaps they needed a different marketing strategy. Musicians like Robert Plant and Ike Turner took notice but people who actually buy CDs and Itunes didn't, also advertising companies did and started using their music for all sorts of things. Every year their tours would get bigger and their songs would be used to sell other things. And then came Brothers which made them an overnight sensation. Read their bio and then tell every artist or musician that yes you can be musically pure to your vision and still make it as an artist.

I sometimes wonder why I like their music so much and although I gave you quite a few reasons, I think it is because they are the happy tortured souls with insights far beyond their years and I am a happy tortured soul who has always had those insights.

So do me a favor go over to YouTube, find Have Love Will Travel or When the Lights Go Out or You're the One, close your eyes and just listen. Or perhaps give a listen to Rubber Factory and then go out and buy it(that CD deserves more then a few hundred thousand buyers) Now I'm going to get back to my beloved hand embroidery and the bluesy sexy music which has made my holidays a little easier to bear. Blessings and happiness and remember any CD where a man soulfully growls is sexy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Mother the Artist

As I've mentioned before both of my parents were frustrated artists, the other day as I was washing my dishes and dancing to the Black Keys(they have become the soundtrack to my life)I thought about my mother. We would watch American Bandstand every single week and dance to it. Perhaps it was her way to make her soul a little less tortured or maybe it just brought her joy or maybe she just wanted to bring me joy. She would tell me about the days when she was young and she would listen to Johnny Mathis real low at night in her bed because when she was young things were quite a bit different. She liked the Rolling Stones because they were a dirtier version of the Beatles right down to their teeth(yes that is a an actual remembrance). Not many kids my age had a mother like that, but then again not every mother treated their kids like the sun rose and the moon set on them, which she did for both my brother Anthony and myself. If we had an interest she was interested. If we had something to say she listened to it. We were her entire world .

She was a voracious reader, she had us reading adult books at a very young age. I read Portnoy's Complaint when I was 11 or 12, didn't really understand it but I read it. She loved romance novels and when I was a kid so did I. I used to bring them to school because school was another one of those landmines and I could escape, I had a friend Glenn who used to tease me about my romance novels in the 9th grade. Nicely tease which back then was a rarity. My dad knew someone who got paperback books with the front covers ripped off and there were always romance novels to read and probably that is where Portnoy's Complaint came from. Looking back I guess my mom realized reading is fundamental to a well functioning brain and it doesn't really matter what you are reading as long as you read and comprehend.

She was the president of the local VFW Auxiliary. Every year they had a Voice of Democracy contest for the high school seniors for scholarship money and every year she made sure I wrote one even in the 3rd or 4th grade. She was often so proud of my results.

She helped me with my grade school art projects. She'd help me make my teepees and dioramas,it was a wonderful help except for the time we made my plaster of paris volcano from plaster. Now I can see the humor in that in the 6th grade not so much.

We went to the drive in movies a lot. When I was about 10, my parents took us to see The Graduate and Carnal Knowledge. The Graduate is a beautiful artistic movie and Carnal Knowledge well, as I was pretending to sleep in the hatchback of our 67 dodge charger,I heard her say I thought it was Cardinal Knowledge a movie about the Pope(I kid you not). We saw Mary Poppins and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang(which was referred to in later years as something I will not repeat).

As far as my artistic childhood, she used to bring us to Nationals which was an early day version of Walmart and seat us at the snack bar(where everyone watched over us) and give us money to spend however we wanted. I would spend my money on yarn, embroidery thread, books and music. And another perk is everytime I enter a store with a snack bar I wax nostalgic about the smell of grilled cheese. She allowed me to try and teach her how to knit which was a study of frustration for both herself and me. She never did learn but always managed to find just a little extra money for yarn or embroidery thread or a kit of some sort so that was ok.

As far as her artistry, she was a painter and a crafter. Painting was her first love and she used to paint clowns with tears coming from their eyes and say they reminded her of me and probably not just a few people but anybody who really knows me throughout my life knows it's spot on. I'm either laughing or crying or doing both at the same time. She used to send in those matchbook covers and dream of an art school education, alas it was not meant to be. She also made beaded fruit, shrink wrap ornaments, toilet tissue flowers, etc.

In the end, I read the classics in my 30's when I was a stay at home mom. I would read every book by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Walden Pond, etc. Read the great poets such as Robert Frost and I believe to this day I am traveling that road not often traveled. Listen to Classical music to meditate and Andrea Bocelli to embroider, knowing that I don't understand Italian and will never go to Italy. I came to appreciate the art of the masters and the beauty of all art, no matter how ugly. As I know we can often learn more about the human condition from ugly art then beautiful.

This beautiful soul did not even graduate from high school(humorous story about that too but that one will stay hidden) but she was the smartest, most artistically loving person I will ever know. My son often reminds me of her, he has many of the same traits that made her so wonderful to me. Most of all she taught me how to love everything, even the imperfections of the humans we live with.

To all the mothers out there the education system can only do so much and even less today then back then, so find your children's interests and nurture them even in unconventional ways. And realize that even when a loved one is gone they leave you with so much in your heart and your soul, you just have to find it which can be so darn hard.

I started this blog post with a different idea, but I think I'm happy I was able to pay tribute to the wonderful person who knew everything that was important to me, taught me what is really important for everyone, and who left such an indelible mark that it has taken me half my life to get over her loss.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Real Job

This is my favorite piece. It is called The World As I See It. It is now in my private collection but it proves the point of this post better than any other piece I've made. Being an artist is a real job. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing better in the world then when someone looks at piece of work and they see the intention that was in your head when you created it. At that point it doesn't really matter whether they buy it or not.

I bring this piece to craft shows to show people what I am capable of, I thought of actually selling it but you just can't put a price on it. It took so many tiny little stitches and so much blood, sweat and tears(creative license I didn't literally bleed or sweat on it) I can't sell it.

It was started in 2007 during my first opportunity to be a working artist. I joined an artist coop that turned out not to be a very good fit for me and rejection can be a very depressing setback for an artist. So it was stopped probably three quarters of the way done and sat in a draw until last year after I became comfortable seeing myself as an artist. I had already worked on it for months and months and might I add I'm a pretty prolific embroiderer and I still had worked on it for months and months at that point. I would look at it every now and then wistfully, but until I was ready to sacrifice my self worth, my artistry and my soul it sat in a draw.

The next few years as an artist were very difficult as I catapulted myself from one medium to another hoping to catch that financial benefit that comes from being a successful artist. You can ask any of my artist friends how many tears I shed those few years. That being said there were definitely some sunny skies. I was lucky to meet my friend Cheryl who is an out of this world glass artist and very successful. She is my friend first, but she also happens to be my mentor of all things art related. Not only is she an out of this world glass artist but she is also very good business person, which frankly I'm not. She introduced me to Kathy at the Katbird Shop who liked my work and made me see it in a different way, she also sold my work. All of it, she rocks as a chooser of fine art and the clientele she finds or that find her to buy it. It allowed me to go out on that branch and have a safe place to fall without losing my soul or my sanity to do it.

Fast forward to 2010, which seems to be the year of the persistent artist. So many successes in so many venues after years and years of blood, sweat and tears. It could be because the general economy was so bad that people who lost their "real jobs" followed their hearts and dreams. Or perhaps people looked at art as the only true thing left in a world of fakery and deceit and decided art wasn't so not a real job after all.

The world as I see it saw the light of day and it came out of the drawer, it took a couple of months to finish it. I framed it in a crappy frame which is probably a godsend because it is also the most beautiful piece I have ever made and the frame doesn't really enhance it which to me makes it even more beautiful and easier to keep it myself since no matter what frame I put it in, it just doesn't fit. Boy that's a powerful metaphor isn't it?

I brought this piece to Valley Artisans Market to be juried and the rest is my version of a successful artist. Happy to be doing what I love and happy to be a more business oriented artist with a thicker skin. I love the essence of the building, the beautiful artistry of my fellow coop members. Every day I am there I have a moment of the best thing about being an artist from my first paragraph. Someone gets it, maybe they don't purchase it but they "get" it.

Everywhere all over the world there are artists, who even if they are successful, sacrifice time with their families and most especially their kids. They put their souls out on display for the chance that it will touch someone. They suffer abuse, bad reviews, insulting comments no matter how beautiful or heartfelt their work is,or for that matter how successful they are. I try to remember that myself whenever I hear a really crappy song or see a really crappy movie. I guess because the perks of an average bar band are better then the perks of being a hand embroidery artist, it's easy to forget how many hours go into any artistic endeavor and easy to understand why some people don't think of art as a real job. But that doesn't take into effect just how hard it is to be creative instead of getting a steady income and the respect that a good paying job entails. But in the end if Michaelangelo would have been a judge or Shakespeare would have been a plumber think how much the world would have lost.

So the moral of this story is the next time you buy an album and it doesn't really rock your boat, look at it as an investment in the next greatest hit. The next time you go to a craft show and see something you could make yourself but will never make, don't say it. There are hours and hours behind that one piece. Think of it in terms of your real job, you can have a bad day and maybe your boss hates you, but you have the stability of a paycheck. If you are an artist and you have an off day, it's everythihg.

By the way, this is not a knock on those who have "real" jobs. They allow the dreamers in all of us to follow our dreams and perhaps some day find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are artists of their own making also, they just get paid better for it.

This piece is dedicated to my family, my artist friends, my non artist friends, my fellow artists and to dreamers everywhere who are ready to sacrifice anything to make art.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Present to You

Merry Christmas! OK so there is no picture. Mr. Cardinal is tired from way too much eggnog. I am working on a special piece I can't share because it is for the Reflection show at VAM and it will not open until January 12th. I would share a YouTube video but being a woman of the seventies I don't know how to do that and my son is sleeping.

So first off, whatever your current atmosphere is I hope you can find some peace and tranquility and love with your family and friends. Your family and friends are really the gift you give yourself if you are able to give and receive.

I guess if you read my blog you've realized I'm just a wee bit eccentric(to say the least). You probably also know that most of my adult life the holidays were a struggle(to say the least). Both my parents died in the first week of January. My mother who was the most wonderful person I will ever know, a beautiful artistic loving soul who never quite recovered from the death of my brother when I was little, died on January 3,1983 when I was 24. My dad, who was a carpenters apprentice in Bermuda, before moving as a teen to Brooklyn NY died a few hours into January 1,1997 when my son was 6. I never really talk about it in those stark terms but rather oozed it from Thanksgiving to the first week in January every single year from 1983 until this year. The other important thing about the both of them was that they were frustrated artists. My mother painted, my dad made cabinets and other wonderful things. And they were both really talented. But my mother put her dreams on hold to be a mother to my brother and me and my father's apprenticeship was ended by circumstances.

Even as a child Christmas was an issue. Now as an adult I look back and realize that Christmas involves the dead as much as the living and perhaps it was just too much for their broken hearts to bear. I did have wonderful, wonderful Christmas memories with my wonderful big Italian family with hearts and love big enough for the world. Cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, kids food love. Great memories. As a kid though you don't really realize the complications of life.

And then we reach the true gift of this post. This year was the year I healed all those scars. I became an artist. Perhaps I was one before this year but I personally in my head, and my heart and my soul became an artist. I learned to appreciate the sacrifices and work it requires to be an artist. I also learned to appreciate art in many different forms, with the word, with the clay with the rhythm.

I also learned that being super busy during the holidays is a great way not to wallow in the past. Wallowing is not good and it really doesn't do justice to all the wonderful people missing from your holiday table. But that being said if wallowing makes you happy, wallow away.

Around my birthday I discovered the Black Keys. I thought Brothers was their first CD and it made me smile and put a little pep in my step and was great to embroider to. A great birthday present for myself although I didn't really know it at the time. Then I found the Lonely Boy video, that man dancing reminded me of a time when I was a carefree girl that loved to dance and didn't really give a darn whether people liked it or not. I had a great time during my late teens and early twenties before 1983. Ok so I'll move along, it turns out the Black Keys are 2 guys who made their first 6 albums in their basement. Made them, produced them and toured all over the country promoting themselves before being breakthrough since 2001. They did it all themselves because they wanted to make a certain kind of music that really wasn't in vogue. They sing, they play their own instruments and they sound exactly the same way whether you are seeing them sing live on Youtube or listening to a CD(although the early CD's are a little raw as they produced them themselves in their basement). Now what the heck does this have to do with my Christmas. Their music reminds me of a time before. I can't sit still when I listen to them. I want to dance, I want to sing and I don't really care what anybody thinks about it(I am from NJ after all). They bring me joy. Joy is the gift you have to give yourself. They give me an inspirational story. They give me the ability to tune everyone else out. They make me move. They made me remember myself. They are the soundtrack for my life, love, loss and a great beat behind it.

OK I'm getting to the point. When Aunt Sally drinks a little too much eggnog because she misses Uncle Louie, love her. When Debbie cries while listening to Have Yourself a Merry Christmas give her a hug. When you burn your ham or forget the beer relax, there are worse things in the world, you can write me an email if you want proof. Life is ugly but it's the love that we share and we give and the soundtracks of our lives. Find your Black Keys, love your family in their imperfect way and embroider your own peace. There is light at the end of the tunnel, If you are sad remember the good things, if you are more than sad get as much help as you need. Your ghosts want you to be happy even if it means ignoring the world by putting your headphones on. Enjoy your dinners! Enjoy your gifts especially the ones made by an artist. Love the tortured souls. I will make lasagna which doesn't compare to my grandmother's. I will sit with my wonderful son and husband and listen to the dog bark about her wonderful new toys. I will spend a lot of my day embroidering and listening to the Black Keys. And if you happen to be a woman about 52 say and you remember the bar scene fondly go buy yourself Rubber Factory. It's great, better than Brothers and El Camino which are great too.

And finally if you read this book from beginning to end, you are a kind soul who deserves a nice holiday hug. Smooches and love.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Inspiration of Music

Hi All! I know it's Christmas time and everything everywhere is Christmas music, but this post is going in a different direction as Christmas music inspires me to cry and that's not such a great thing. That being said music does calm the savage beast and inspires me daily. I have really diverse musical likes. Right now I'm into the Black Keys whose Brothers CD made me go out and buy it after one listen to the one from the library. Much to my surprise I discovered they had 6 cd's before that,my wonderful son got them for me as an early Christmas gift and I'm listening to them 24 hours a day. Their bluesy, rock music makes hand embroidering abstract pieces and crocheting funky scarves and bags(I appear to have gotten my fibery mojo back)so much fun. Although I guess to be honest embroidering and crocheting are fun to begin with. Before them it was the Killers or Dave Matthews for that kind of work. I guess the inspiration gotten from them is that they make me feel young or remind me of my twenties when all of them were toddlers. When I'm moody I listen to Death Cab for Cutie. Doesn't that name just scream out moody? They write beautiful reflective songs which you can relate to when you are moody and for the most part make you less moody. Years ago when I made christening outfits and my early hand embroidered pieces it was Andrea Bocelli. I still listen to Bocelli when I make christmas ornaments as they need to come from an otherworldly place I don't understand, the way I don't understand Italian. But then again music is a universal language.

Today I was at Valley Artisans Market which is located beneath the legendary Hubbard Hall. They have many musical events there and you can feel the artistry and musical energy when you are there. Jim at Desolation Road has open mike night and often has musical guests. I think visual art and musical art compliment each other in such a wonderful way, whether music is being played at the moment or not. Music leaves behind such a wonderful energy.

All that being said, for all you fellow non-christmasy music types there is one cd I would recommend it's YoYo Ma's christmas cd. It's beautiful and classical and it brings peace instead of tears.

So what's on your IPOD and how does it inspire you? I hope if nothing else this post inspired you to go out and buy some Black Keys or Andrea Bocelli CD's as a Christmas present for yourself or at least gave you a chuckle. Merry Christmas from me and mine to you and yours! See you soon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Life is good!

Yes it's my friend the cardinal once again. I figured with Christmas next week, the cardinal's days are numbered so I thought I'd give him one more look as my Christmas icon.

This has been such an incredible year! It started out great with being accepted to Valley Artisan's Market and ended with an incredible holiday shopping event at Samantha's Cafe where they are carrying my ornaments and scarves and soon my little framed pieces(not to mention the fantastic food, try the Thai chicken salad). So exciting. The Katbird Shop is celebrating it's triumphant 6th anniversary and the Albany Shaker Museum has had a great year too. I hope all this good news is a harbinger of good things to come for the arts and the artists.

My family is well too. My hubby is doing great and happy in his job. My son had a great year in college and completed his first job. My dog is reasonably healthy and life is good here too.

I had lots of fun driving all over the upstate region with my friend Cheryl. We did so many galleries and cool lunches all over the map. And my friend Emily has her kids nearby and one of them is getting married next year so there is something to look forward to next year and we had lot's of good Tuesday mornings at Panera's. My friend Debbie got married this year(they are the perfect couple of the bear). And I was delighted to find many old friends on Facebook and running into a couple of unexpected friends at the track. It was great reconnecting with them.

And then there is the whole embroidery thing. This is the year I realized just how lucky I am to have such a beautiful meditative passion. The world disappears when I am embroidering. I become silent(quite a feat), peaceful and if I work to music(like the Black Keys who I just discovered have been around a lot longer then I thought) I am just so joyful and happy. And thanks to both Kathy at the Katbird and Jennifer at Samanthas I can knit and crochet every once in a while too. Such a wonderful thing to love what you do and to be able to do it.

So that's why my life is good, what great things have happened to you this year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Little Peace

Hi All! It's been a little longer break then I wished it to be. I misplaced my usb cord in with my embroidery supplies(the obvious place really) and after a few days of looking in all the places it should have been it miraculously showed up in with my embroidery supplies. It's become quite obvious that after this wonderful holiday season dies down a good organizing session(or several) will definitely be in my day planner.

I'm having a tremendous holiday season as so many of my artist friends are. I think the buy local, buy handmade emphasis has made such a difference. And I'm hopeful that perhaps so many people will love their beautiful handmade gifts(and ornaments) that a tradition will be started and that there will be as many people shopping at their local gallery or gift store as there are camping outside Walmart on Black Friday. It's a pretty optimistic hope but a good one.

Since this blog is supposed to be about hand embroidery and not a sales pitch, that will be my last commentary on the business side of my business. I am sleeping, eating and breathing embroidery at the moment and I'm happy to say I'm happy. A tall order due to the melancholy nature of this particular time of year in my life. I don't think it's the wonderful business(although that is really wonderful) I think it is the reality that if I embroider every day I am a happier person. It's wonderful being so busy that you can't really ponder anything more then how many more ornaments you need or how much you enjoy the french knots or tiny little stitches. It makes all the little stresses disappear with each tiny little stitch. Talking to Em this morning we were talking about a letdown after Christmas but I think the last few months(most of the year)have shown me that you just have to do something you love, have great pride and care doing it and let the universe have it's way with you. It's not about the business it's about being passionate enough about something to do the hard work that is required and following through. If I had to pick one thing different this year that would be it. To make the most beautiful ornament or piece that I can, something I am proud of and then let it go and start the next hopefully beautiful piece. It's really just that simple. I love making these things and my only hope is that someone else will love them too. And I'm happier so life is good.

About that melancholy time of year, it is the time when all the losses and regrets seem to rear their ugly head, just do something you love whether it's baking cookies, painting a landscape or embroidering an ornament and it may not make that melancholy time of year disappear but it will make it easier for you to deal with it. Make that a gift you give yourself. If you don't know what that missing piece is give yourself the gift of learning something you've always wanted to learn. Spanish, Italian, pottery making, knitting whatever it is. We all have some kind of answer to our woes sometimes we just have to look for them. If my pep talk doesn't work then look at the ornament at the top of this page and I hope it gives you a little peace and a little bit of happiness. Best wishes and blessings. Back to the embroidery.