Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Rest. We all need to. We all need to sleep and rest and restore. Somehow the universe doesn't seem to have gotten this message. So many people in my universe are having problems going to sleep and staying asleep. My friends, my facebook friends and almost everyone I run into lately is having problems sleeping.
But why? Is it because our days are so hectic we can't wind down, or is it just the general state of unrest around the world? Wars, school shootings, politics, unemployment, every single day something horrible happens, not just horrible but catastrophic. So many people are in just a general state of despair. Is it hormones or the planet turning the wrong way on it's axis. I'm not a scientist so I don't really know the answer to that, but I do believe in the bigger picture.
Most of my friends are artists nowadays. Overly sensitive to the universe. We laugh louder and longer than "normal" people and we cry and get sad more easily then "normal" people. We need the universe to be working and turning so that we can keep working and turning. An artist can never stay in just one place, we always have to be turning and changing. And when the world is kind of crazy like this we just bounce around like a pinball machine. Going on an hourly basis from peace to frenetic activity. Tears to smiles in a split second and then we are back to the tears again(that could just be the hormones). Or perhaps all those weird variations are because the planet isn't very happy with us and all these sleepless nights result in a massive universal state of unrest.
People do crazy things when they haven't been sleeping but then again if you time everything perfectly you sometimes find ways to rest without sleeping. You embroider, you read, you chat with friends on the computer so you know you aren't alone at 5 AM or you listen to music. Sometimes if you are very lucky you laugh, that hysterical crazy laugh you laugh when you haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks, or months or years. I guess it's the universe's way of throwing us a bone. Perhaps it's because artists through the ages have been known to be vey poor sleepers who are always dreaming of their next masterpiece. Their masterpieces make it easier for us to rest and to process the unrest so we know we belong to something bigger than ourselves.
The song of the day is Rest. It is sung by Michael Kiwanuka(cut and paste it's easier that way, perhaps with a good night's sleep I could spell it). I listen to his music every morning now just to ease my worried mind and inspire me. Blessings. Go listen to music (his song Tell Me a Tale is inspirational too)your music and do something that will ease your weary mind and perhaps make it easier for you to rest if you can't sleep.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The lower picture is a picture of Anthony and I with our cousins(who we saw so often as children they were kind of siblings). We were all incredibly close and this was my communion day. If you look closely at the picture you will see the Anthony I remember. He is wearing my communion cape and has a huge space in the middle of his bangs because he cut his own hair. He was always doing silly things like that. Anthony is one of those boys who actually put a bobby pin in a light socket and I dropped a lit match on the couch once. Birds of a feather and all. And Anthony is the kind of guy who has all these humorous cats and gizmos that he makes people laugh with on his Facebook page and well myself if you know me well enough you know I will say just about anything to make someone laugh. I think that is where I will leave my brothers for today.
Which brings me to my obsession with the Black Keys. Sometimes even a somewhat spiritually evolved person can be listening but not really hearing. I thought my obsession was of the god's gift to menopausal women kind(Listen to When The Lights Go Out, it is gods gift to menopausal women, growling and pleading and word lingering swoon). But actually my first CD by them was Brothers. I listen to all of their CD's for different reasons and I just kind of missed the linkage. I was 6 after all. It is the most beautiful soulful cd I have ever owned. It just goes right into my ears, swims around a bit and then goes right into my soul. There is even a song called Unknown Brother which was written because
Dan Auerbach's wife lost her brother also and the song is about her brother. Even then I was kind of too dense or maybe the pain was just so deep I couldn't find the meaning. It was easier to laugh about my craziness, then to think about my craziness. I've been in therapy for a long time and even then I was so bottled up and the pain was so deep nothing penetrated it. My therapist has become sort of a friend therapist and finally the walls started coming down. One day while leaving her office I saw a magazine that discussed childhood trauma, I brought it home and realized that I was normal, for a child who lost her brother when she was 6. We become creative searchers who can never find the missing piece. Also on that day my beloved son downloaded the first of my secondary Black Keys cds which clearly muddled up the spiritual awakening and healing that was going on. But you know what it made me happy, it made me laugh, it made me sing to my dog and laugh, it made me question the way I was living. Did I want to be happy or did I want to just live the same dreary muddied existence? I chose the happy route and I will continue to say anything that comes to my head to make people laugh. Certainly not enough laughter in the world, not enough music in the world and not enough joy in the world. So I guess you could say all of the therapy and all of the art and all of the wonderful people I've met on my life journey have healed me and that oh so sexy voice is just the icing on the cake or that Wicked Messenger(in case he ever happens to read this)!!
And yes my unknown brother(for the most part) gave me a gift on his birthday. An epiphany(a real one for my friends who know what that means to make them laugh)!
This is a beautiful soulful song taking on one of the most important messages of life. “Live your every day like you're running out of time” and “Try to find you something that won't fade away in time” Please listen. It's kind of a beautiful soulful way of saying find your black keys and your embroidery .Have a great day . Be back tomorrow with pictures.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I live to be inspired. No other way around it. In the past year I have been so blessed. This is Garden Tree. This is the piece that started the wonderful journey I have undertaken. The piece that started the realization that I am an artist. Sometimes you can make art and not feel like an artist. Artist is such a loaded word really. It means you see the world through a different lens. You have to be thick-skinned, inspired, tenacious, and positive and sometimes in real life those attributes are hard to find in yourself.
When you really start to express yourself, your world totally changes. When you finally decide this is who I am and this is who I want to be, the world accepts your uniqueness and you move forward into the life you've imagined. Simply all those wonderful inspirational sayings are inspiring for a reason. Because until you believe them somewhere in your soul they will just never happen. No matter how hard you try.
Every unique individual has a unique path that they have to follow. Doing the work is the hardest and most rewarding part. There are a million reasons every day why we don't reach our potential but most of it is because we just don't realize that it can be done. That it's about the work more than the reward. It's hard to try to find your own path in a world where talent is not always rewarded and a pretty face can make you much more important then you deserve to be. But then we have to become artists again and just block out all the suggestions about who we should be, what we should make, and most of all how selfish we are to spend so much time doing something we love. Yes selfish is the real word, the word that stops us dead in our tracks. I guess for those who love us they want us to be happy but they really don't want us to change or slip back into the cocoon we have to live in to create. But since they loved us when we were broken, I guess we have to give them a break sometime. Hopefully they adjust.
Being a hand embroidery artist means I need a lot of focus. Most of the time I live between my headphones because that blocks out the outside noise and the other voices who want to play when I want to work. As you know most of the time that music is provided by the Black Keys, who frankly I wonder where they have been all my life as I enjoy every single song they play, a different one for every day and every mood. But I digress.
The song of the day is I'm Getting Ready. It is sung by Michael Kiwanuka. A beautiful, soulful, inspiring artist who sings as beautifully out in a field as he does on a stage or on a recording(go look for him on Youtube). He's also young, I so appreciate young people who realize they are artists and don't have to go through the years of searching to find themselves. So give him a listen and hopefully we will be hearing his beautiful music for decades and decades to come.
Have a great day and find something that inspires you, if you look closely enough you will find it. Blessings.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
This piece is called Tree Hand. It's currently available at Valley Artisans Market in beautiful Cambridge, NY. Thursday I worked up in the market and had just a marvelous time. I love to work there and Thursday was a total embroidery day. I worked on my latest project and brought my Christmas gift embroidery books with me and of course met the coolest people. I always meet the coolest people when I'm there, maybe because all that beautiful art by so many different artists just brings out the artist in all of us.
Sometimes I just have to pinch myself when I think of how blessed I am to have my work in so many wonderful places and all the wonderful people I've met on my artistic journey. There are just too many of them to list each one but I think each of the artists I've met and the shop and gallery owners I work with all have that one special thing. The love of art. The love of music and literature and interest in the world around them. The ability to look at a tree or a muddy river and see the beauty and lucky for us they share it with the world.
Everywhere I Go is the song of the day. It is sung by the Black Keys and is on the Thickfreakness recording. I have to admit Thickfreakness is one of my favorites and I included it here because the enjoyment I have singing Have Love Will Travel at the top of my lungs as I drive back and forth on my actual artistic journeys. Everywhere I Go is a little more bluesy and sedate and is a remake of a Junior Kimbrough song. The whole CD is just chock full of fun songs and beautiful bluesy music to just laugh and sing and be joyful to. Great traveling music. That's it for today so have a great day and keep on stitching.
Friday, February 24, 2012
This is Tallulah. I went up to North Creek with my traveling artist companion Cheryl to drop off some of her beautiful glass and Tallulah and a few of her friends to Nancy at Seven Sisters Gift Shop in North Creek. We had a great time laughing and gabbing all the way up and all the way down the mountain. And yes it was even misty and raining and ice pelleting. But thankfully Cheryl drove and she is a pro at driving in adverse weather conditions and yes it is as beautiful in North Creek when the weather is not snowy or sunny.
I am such a lucky gal to have met such great artists and friends in the last few years and yes it is great to reconnect on Facebook with older friends too. You never have too many friends and they just make your life wonderful. They fill in all the little pieces of you whether they be the first boy you danced with, your first real boyfriend and his wife, the girls you went down the shore with and drove up rt 9 with , all your shake your booty girl friends from younger days and the pals you accompany back and forth to all the wonderful places you can go in upstate NY. And of course your Tuesday morning steady with the wonderful Emily! I'm so blessed really.
Now as far as Tallulah I will be making more little birds and little colorful fish as they make me quite happy and gleeful. Kuku the bird and her orange pal Cha,Cha are together up at Valley Artisans Market enjoying the wonderful artists they get to see each and every day all of them a delight.
As I was talking about my friends I just wanted a happy blog post with no lessons except to enjoy each and every one of your friends in whatever way you can. And no Misty Mountain Hop wasn't my song of the day but it fit the day anyway(which I guess makes it my song of the day). Blessings
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Beauty and Joy are vastly underrated. This little love pillow is beautiful in it's simplicity yet joyful for the wonderful french knots it contains. I can appreciate the beauty and joy of simplicity in all things. The crow who struts across my front lawn is beautiful and he is joyous when he finds a nice tasty worm. My dog is beautiful because she is a little furry soul and her joy is when she can convince one of us to play squeaky ball with her. There is beauty in trees and joy in the knowledge that soon there will be buds.
There is beauty and joy all around us but somehow we are always to busy to enjoy it. This morning was an April morning in February. I had all intentions of working all day and then on my way home from the market I decided to take a short walk. On my walk I was thrilled to notice the sky, blue with grayish white clouds. I was thrilled to feel the spring air on my cheeks and the unexpected warmth with just a tinge of cold to make inhaling even better. I was thrilled to see the trees with all their individuality and just how many little twigs go into making one beautiful tree. And lastly I was thrilled that I decided to take just a little walk to enjoy the beauty and joy of the warmth.
After this blog post is done I will retire to my studio and hand embroider which just makes my heart sing and hopefully make beautiful things that other people will think beautiful. I will have my trusty dog at my feet and my headphones filling my head with beauty and joy.
My song for the day is Meet Me in the City by the Black Keys. It astounds me with it's beauty, the beautiful sounds of the guitar, the beautiful voice that lingers on just about every word, the subtle drum beat in the background and the wonderful pleading by a man to a woman(that's just to make you laugh, perhaps). You may not hear those things when you listen to it, but listen to something that brings you joy and share it if you wish. Share everything that's joyful and beautiful about your life at the moment as other people's joy and beauty are always inspirational. Blessings.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
This little bird is named Kuku! I absolutely adored making her and couldn't wait to stuff her. She is several different colors of red and orange and her stars are lime green with orange french knot centers. I am going to make her lots of friends and hopefully someone will buy her and a friend so that she is not ever lonely.
I guess you can tell from my posts and my work that I am very happy lately. Being able to work so much is definitely the best thing in the world. Having a soundtrack is lots of fun too and having wonderful friends and loved ones and seeing(or Facebooking) them often is another reason why. But I think the difference is finding happiness between the ears. Finding the ability to love yourself no matter what is going on in your life, laughter, dancing, and a little bit of crazy really are the best medicine. I think if people just tried to make themselves happy and gave themselves permission to be happy it would be the greatest gift to themselves, their loved ones and the world.
I spent most of my life trying to be normal and trying to hide the inner chaos that was in my head, my heart, and my home. I was really only comfortable around the people I loved and out of my home although no one probably knew it. I was always smiling and happy out in public but my despair and uneasiness with my differences probably kept me in some sort of a virtual coffin most of my life.
A coffin is the most metaphorical description I can give it. Death surrounded me as a child, dead brother, dead birds, dead mice, dead pets, deadened hearts. Although now if a child and her family had that particular circumstance therapy would have been a given, but it was the 60's and mental health was something that was talked about behind closed doors never to see the light of day.
Living with all that death meant that I never had a normal childhood except at my friends houses where death never really came to call. Also if you look at all that death, you see depression and neglect. That too opens up a new can of worms, because except for your friends kids are basically quite cruel. You can't really blame them though because what does a 10 year old snotty boy know anyway. He knows not of death and sadness and grief.
So that childhood kind of led me to be very guarded about the differences between myself and other people. Smile and they will like you, don't cry because they will laugh at you and then you spend your whole life inappropriately laughing and crying at all the wrong times and you get so used to being guarded that it takes an awful lot to figure out who you are. And then you meander through more death and more grief and you end up at menopause which is the time when you open the metaphorical window and say I'm sad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore.
I deserve to be happy! That is where I am today. I listen to music, I dance around my house, I embroider all the time and I laugh, and laugh, and laugh. And I am honest about who I am and why I'm not normal. And you know what you realize when you finally figure out that there is a reason to not be normal, you realize nobody is normal. Nobody has a charmed life not even that snotty 10 year old boy. Everyone has their crosses to bear, everyone has a reason why they aren't like everybody else. Life gives us a bowl of cherry pits and we have to find a way to let something grow in there. And we don't talk about it, perhaps we dredge up our sorrows when angry or totally distraught but god forbid people have pity for us(and yes sorry to say that makes us pitiful without a reason). We only have a limited time on this earth and it's time to start planting cherries.
If my story hits a chord(and I find that when I read these far too personal blog posts of other people I realize I am not alone) put on a tune, dance around your house, sing at the top of your lungs I'm sad and I'm not gonna take it anymore and LIVE! I deserve to be happy. It may freak your friends and family out and may make other people wonder what the hell happened to her/him but in the end even that doesn't matter and they adjust(I can swear to that, everyone loves to laugh).
Todays song in my head when I woke up was Ain't No Sunshine(when shes gone) by Bill Withers. And today there is very little sunshine but there is a nice sunny little Kuku that says hello. Blessings to all.
Monday, February 20, 2012
This piece is called Sunny Sampler. I hope you like it. Sunny Sampler was done a while ago and it is available at The Katbird Shop. It is one of my favorite pieces. It's bright and cheerful and orange. The color orange is such a wonderful color to work with, it's hard to be blue or gray or anything other than happy when whistling a happy tune and embroidering with a cheerful color. And to see bright blue skies with beautiful fluffy clouds is also the most wonderful thing. Something about the winter sky when it is blue makes it just magnificent.
Today I'm working on some hearts to replenish my supply and as a gift after embroidering in gray for a few days. I'm working this morning on a Bluebird of Happiness, actually just a bluebird but bluebirds are the official bird of happiness, or at least I think they are. And the other wonderful thing about making bluebirds is that part of them are orange. Blue and orange no wonder they are the birds of happiness.
Speaking of happiness, I am still enjoying my Black Keys cds, but after careful reflection and a clearly silly act I've decided to let you find your own unique music to sing to, dance to, or embroider to. In the category of just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. I probably should not share this with the internet either but I realized I was spending too much time on the computer when I could twitter world famous rock stars and tell them they are my muses. Now I am amused and mused and probably just a bit crazy(but if you read my blog regularly you've already figured that one out). Twitter is probably not my social network(or anybody's for that matter) because the ability to say stupid things to people you don't even know is too great and much too easy. I also like to talk, blog, facebook, and twitter without a filter, which is all well and good when you at least have a few minutes to think out a cogent reply or sentence on your social media and your friends and family love you anyway in real life. But world famous rock stars are a different story, they probably should not be contacted by anybody over the age of 13 so apologies to them if god forbid they ever happen to read my blog. Use this story as a cautionary tale before you write something stupid on your Facebook page, or your blog or twitter. I think sometimes people forget that what they say can be read or disected or talked about long after the words hit the keyboard. Now in my case I've realized this is just who I am and I am bound to say or write something stupid at least once a day, everyday and I've made peace with it. I also enjoy silly where ever I can find it because life is much too short.
But keeping that in mind it's not the silly things you have to keep to yourself, as they are what makes life worth living and gives you and your friends something to laugh about. It's the cries for help that are the most worrisome. Whenever I read a post like that I want to find the person give them a big hug and tell them life is short, find something you love, that makes you laugh, that makes your heart sing and do it. Just do it. I know this because I've had to learn that lesson myself. Although as a word of caution, try very hard not to twitter your favorite band, although I'm sure you, like myself will laugh at how silly you are for hours.
By the way let the sun shine in is the unofficial name of the song named Age of Aquarius by the Fifth Dimension and that probably was a song I listened to a lot when I was really young instead of just young at heart. I will be sharing some of my favorite pieces from the past to intersperse while I am busy working on new pieces. Blessings and virtual hugs to all those who need them.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
This is the current piece I am working on. It is going to be several different colors but at the moment I am working on the gray. Not very inspiring but I'm sure that lack of inspiration will be lost when I move on to the other colors. I guess in a world where you are what you eat, you are what you stitch also.
Even though the weather has been exceptionally mild, that hasn't erased that particular color of gray that is present when the sky isn't a beautiful blue. It sort of permeates my soul if I let it. But to counter all that gray I have used tiny bits of blue in the gray in the stitchery.
It's kind of amazing what color or the lack of it, does to a piece and does to your psyche. It's important to break up the gray in our lives also, imperative really. I feel at my best when my outlook is bright and sunny and whimsical so I'm also working on some tiny little bright and cheerful hearts which brighten my mood. Also ever present are the headphones which keep reality at bay while I create. Todays selection is Grey Street, it is on the CD Busted Stuff by Dave Matthews . Not very sunny or bright but it's a great CD. Blessings to all!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Put on your work shoes mama and your morning coat. That is the song in my heart for this morning. In reality it's more like slippers and fiberfill(still stuffing hearts). But every morning I wake up with a different song in my heart and then I listen to it to cement the mood. Lately I've found that the morning really does set the mood for the rest of the day. I've also found that music can soothe even the most savage of beasts. The one in all of us before our morning coffee.
I used to watch a lot of television, but my friend Cheryl doesn't own one(well she owns one it just never gets turned on)and she is the most prolifically and inspiring artist I know. She listens to classical music, I listen to the Black Keys. I just love to embroider to them, high energy but not too overwhelmingly loud(except for El Camino which I listen to in my car). I've also taken to listening to the blues which are also great for embroidering. The most important part of this paragraph and my life is embroidering. In joy. Just embroidering in joy(yes I said that twice to emphasize).
So often we have a list of things to do and people to do for. But we have to find work that we love and ways to keep us working. That is what the world is really all about. We spend more time working then we do anything else, whether it be as normal 9 to 5'ers or say a hand embroidery artist. If I'm not embroidering I am quite sour, my balance is off and my attitude kinda stinks. So in comes some musical inspiration and my world works a little better.
As those who read my blog regularly know the sewing machine is the bane of my existence, so while I was sewing my eleventh heart I hit the metaphorical wall, and on my zune Stop, Stop came on and I just grooved into the falsetto part and finished my sewing. So you see music can even make the most tedious of jobs fun with the right song playing.
So go find some music, find something you love to do and rock your world and combine them. If you are interested in what song the lyrics in the title come from it is Modern Times on Magic Potion by the Black Keys. Lots of great songs! Give it a listen.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Hi All! The name of this piece is Orange Drops. It is currently residing at Samantha's Cafe waiting for a more permanent home. I really love the color orange lately. So cheerful and bright. It's been a very strange winter season up here in the Northeast. Good for the people probably not so good for the planet. But it's kind of a weirdish early spring vibe that keeps asking the question about whether global warming could be a possibility or whether it will snow in May.
My life kind of feels like that lately too. Kind of a weirdish vibe. Creative and busy and kinda stuck at points too. Can't put my finger on it really, except I guess to say when I'm working I'm totally engrossed in my projects but it's kind of easy to break my attention stream and lose hours at a time.
I am so fortunate though that I am loving what I am doing and loving all the outlets I'm fortunate enough to have my work in. So life is good and kinda boring which makes for a more boring blog post. I hope all of you are well and hopefully the next blog post won't be as blah as the weather(but kind of springish). See you soon, Blessings!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
This blog post is written on a really gloomy day outside, but a good day to wish for sunshine inside. This lovely sun heart is at the Katbird Shop in Schenectady waiting for a home if you need a little sunshine inside.
This post is also an ode to my mothership. I finally went to the doctor last week and my mothership is doing well, except for a little too much sugar and certainly not enough Vitamin D(really not enough). The sugar can be improved by diet and exercise, both badly needed. The vitamin D is a megadose once a week and a little bit of sunshine and some vitamin D enriched foods the rest of the time.
I kind of think of this vitamin deficiency as my vampire weekend. I am a hand embroidery artist who would rather be inside embroidering than just about anything else. No I don't have a coffin but I do have a hand embroidered cocoon. And I don't collect blood but does red embroidery floss count? Even as a kid I would love to be inside doing some needling instead of outside playing tag or just about anything else outdoorsy.
So I guess the moral of this story is to go to the doctor about any and all of those nagging worries you have and perhaps you too will be lucky enough to realize that all that is needed is some sunshine, some good food, some vitamins, some booty shaking and something you love to do all the time. Happy Stitching!
Saturday, February 4, 2012
It seems I've been tied up in French Knots lately. This is called Sailor's Knot and the coloration is more like the larger picture but I thought the small one was kind of cool and it does show the details.
I love French Knots for many reasons. First they are the most mindful stitch in the hand embroidery handbook, you can't be doing 10 different things at the same time as you are doing one french knot. it gives incredible texture to the pieces it is stitched on. Its very versatile, it can be used as one single stitch in the middle of a daisy or you can go hog wild french knotty and make an entire piece out of hundreds and hundreds of french knots. I also think they show the definition and subtlety of each color when colors are changed after a few french knots as illustrated here. But mostly I love them because they are my favorite stitch. If I ever do manage to hand embroider a cocoon for myself, the french knots will have a prominent spot.
Sorry it's been a while but I've been a little knotted up myself. Taking care of all those medical appointments that the beginning of the new year is made for. Great travels with friends and just plain french knottery. I'll keep this brief as I am reading my friend Serena's blog the Artful Vagabond(she's a gourd artist and a fabulous one at that) and her blog is short and to the point. So while I'll still ramble on occasionally(or more often then that, why say something in ten words if you can use dozens). But every once in a while I'm going to try the short and sweet blog entry way(just like myself). See you soon.