Monday, January 28, 2013

A Girl's Best Friend

One of my favorites.

Charlie was her name, actually it was Charlotte.  She was a beautiful little West Highland Terrier with a heck of a lot of spunk.  From the moment we saw her at Barkingham Palace, a little pet store a hop and a skip from North Shore Animal League she was my dog.  This adorable little white ball of fur who took her blanket from the back of her cage and carried it to the front saying take me I’m yours.  Of course we left the store without her and went to another pet store closer to home where I was less than bedazzled by the adorable little White Highland Terriers there.  So I made Peter go all the way back to Barkingham Palace and get me my dog. She was my 40th birthday present after all.

She was a handful from day one; she barked all the time, cried all the time and was pretty much lovable all the time.  Well maybe not so lovable but she grew on us all even Kelly the cat.  She chased poor Kelly all over the house so much so that we didn’t think too much of it when Kelly started losing weight, it turned out to be diabetes not Charlotte.  But Charlie was fun I’ll give her that much.

My craziest Long Island memory was when Charlie used to escape and run up and down the block giving me and whoever happened to be chasing her with me fits as we lived on a very busy road, the only way to get her back was with White Bread believe it or not.  She would always come running for white bread.  She loved it.

When we moved to Clifton Park, everyone was worried about Charlie in the snow.  Charlie loved the snow up until this morning; she used to rub her skin on the ice and had more fun in the snow than a couple of toddlers.  When we first moved into our house there was two feet of snow and I took her for a walk on the porch, having so much snow I didn’t not realize it was about 3 feet off the ground and proceeded to fall flat on my butt while Charlie ran for the hills, thankfully she ran back (she was a very smart little dog).   But she never lost her love for the snow.

She was my constant companion especially when I was embroidering; she would lie at my side or at my feet and was very content and sleepy when I was embroidering.  She was just the best.  She’s had Cushing’s disease the last few years which meant she was constantly scratching or hyped up super aggressive on prednisone(which meant eating, barking, eating, barking, peeing, pooping, eating, barking) but always in her lovable way.  She was a person wrapped up in a dog costume and I loved her dearly. 

Today I had to say goodbye to my best friend and I didn’t want to let the day go without a tribute to my sweet, sweet Charlotte.  Hug your dogs, they are part of your family and say a prayer for my little Charlie and for Peter and Brian and me.  We will miss her and her lovely little doggie personality the rest of our lives.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Grilled Cheese and French Fries

Yesterday I finally felt a little better from the flu so I got myself up and got myself dressed and went to the next town over to do a little banking and a little exercise.  I ended up having lunch in a quaint little luncheonette named JJs and had myself a grilled cheese sandwich and french-fries. 

I had a great conversation with the lady behind the counter and two gentlemen who were finishing their lunch and doing crossword puzzles.  It was a great conversation about the state of the economy in this region and how many vacant buildings there are all over Upstate New York.  I live in a beautiful part of the country, so beautiful that you can see it created in art all over the world. It is picturesque New England snow and mountains that frankly could take your breath away if you let it.  There are long winding country roads and a beautiful sensibility and kindness of the people.

There is also an ugly part of the picturesque.  All of the destruction left over from doing business in the early days when not much concern was given over to the health of the people living in the neighborhoods and on the waterways.  The chemicals that were used in everyday manufacturing and farming back in the day.  They have taken a toll on the economies of these towns and it is reflected in the abandoned buildings and storefronts where these powerful companies once stood and where farmers could sell their wares.  Still you see signs of hope, small businesses and artisans which come together and try their luck at the American Dream, a dream that could be reborn with a little bit of help and some investment.
If we worked to find  innovative ways to clean up the environment and abandoned buildings  and helped small businesses open in these vacant stores we could provide jobs for the kids and hopefully maintain some of the beauty and splendor(and downright niceness) of small town America.  Everyone you meet is nice.  It’s only an American Dream but I hope for the day my son can bring his children for a decadent grilled cheese sandwich, some French fries and an iced tea for fewer than 7 bucks and talk to people about how things used to be and how we wish they could be again.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Embroider Deb Embroider

Bird in the Hand
As I researched a political comment I made on Beliefnet I broke my own heart again.  I was a little passionate about the new gun control laws and thought perhaps Hollywood could do their jobs a little better and get rid of some of the senseless violence we see everyday on our television(movies and video games too but we can pretty much keep them away from the eyes of our kids) so I asked the question how many guns are sold like the one in the shooting and found a story saying that gun sales increased after the shooting and it just broke my heart.  It made me ashamed of my fellow Americans, not all of them, not even most of them but ashamed that as a society we have been so polluted by big money and big lobbyists that after a room full of babies get gunned down in a school room gun sales increase.  How does that happen?

It makes me feel we are doomed, that our freedom to watch blood and guts and tote our guns is more important than our kids.  Not really surprising, we frack our water, we put toxins into the air for centuries, we gut our social programs, anything we can to keep our lives the way we want them and the hell with the kids and the future.  As long as I take responsibility for my kid it shouldn't matter.  Well I took responsibility for mine(and still do now that he's an adult) and it still makes me feel doomed.  So my passion for politics has gone.  No wonder we eat all day and watch the Kardashians because paying attention is painful. 

Yeah I know we are supposed to remain positive and wish for a better world but how can we?  I wish I could go pray on a mountain in Tibet because voting doesn't seem to be helping.  But I am an ashamed American who is going to try to remain calm and embroider.  I should have been embroidering anyway in the first place and I"m gonna find feel good things to blog about like pie(stay tuned) and bread pudding(samantha's cafe) and Kim Kardashians butt(only kidding)along with the embroidery. 

Really what has happened to us, I yearn for a turn back in time not all the way back but back to a time when we took responsibility for our actions and the influence it had on our future.  Kids are our future and I think I will try to find a way to impact them positively without bemoaning a political system that is too corrupt to change.  Does anybody want a television and a lap top?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Kinder Gentler Nation

In honor of the new gun control laws in New York I would like to ask Hollywood to clean up their act.  Many of the artists singing songs and making movies are among the leaders in asking our government to limit assault weapons and their availability at the same time they are accepting a paycheck for creating “entertainment” which glorifies death and exploits it in more violent, gruesome ways.  

The same celebrity who goes on twitter and bemoans the latest school shooting and than collects a paycheck for making a movie where numerous people are blown up, shot down and shown in all their dead glory should look in the mirror and ask themselves what is my responsibility?  If I really want to end gun violence perhaps I should take a stand in stopping to glorify it.

I’m not saying ban that sort of entertainment, which would be silly.  But perhaps just take a stand with the graphicness of those moments which makes it easier for the fragile mind to go to places where it just doesn’t belong.  Don’t make it so easy to imagine a dead body, I may be of a time long gone but I don’t think Dragnet actually showed how a real dead body looked numbing us to the reality of a real dead body.

So if we are going to look at the horrible gun violence and figure out a solution to it, it has to involve all of society not just gun owners.  There have to be more  mental health initiatives, gun control and yes Hollywood has to take responsibility for itself.  It would be nice if there was at least one Little House on The Prairie(no I’m not saying bring that one back) for every Revenge.  Don’t glorify the death and destruction.  We really don’t need to see how to build bombs and plan crimes and how dead bodies really look.  It only makes us harder individuals when the real thing happens.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Sometimes angels don't come with wings they come with mommy jeans.  I have the flu and I have all these voices in my head telling me what to eat and to just relax and embroider.  I haven't been giving myself permission to do what I love because there are other voices in my head telling me embroidery is not a job.  And you know what embroidery is not a job it is a calling.  Hand embroidery is doing something the old fashioned way.  Making thousands of little stitches and turning them hopefully into something beautiful.  In the crazy world we live in there is not enough beauty in the world.

I especially miss my mommy angels today but I've been thinking a lot about mommies and their roles in our lives.  I'm having a hard time taking the full time mommy off my moniker myself.  If you had a good mommy then you miss her even 30 years after she is gone.  If you have a bad mommy you can't wait till her hold on your life is over.  Everyone seems to want something they can't have, no mommy is ever good enough until they are gone.  That is when you realize just how wonderful they were and how they taught you to be a good mother even if they weren't a very good one themselves.

Now I've spoken countless times about my mother the artist and how she nurtured me as an artist and a writer but I've never really mentioned how her coddling kind of stunted my growth as a person.  I never learned how to get back on the bike or quit a job gracefully(my mother used to quit my jobs for me).  I didn't quite unlearn that lesson with my own son and find myself wanting to fix all of life's problems for him.  I love him very much but I can't really do that for him so all I can hope for is that he grows up to be someone I am so super proud of where ever I am.

I've decided it's time to take care of myself and for the moment taking care of myself means embroidering and writing.  If I have anything to share I will but in the meantime, hug your mom if she is still with you.  Let her know you love her.  Hug your father too.  Someday they will not be here to hold your hand and tell you everything will be all right or watch Bette Davis movies in the middle of the night with you. 

And a special honorary thank you to my mother in law and my aunts who supported me have been there for me during the last few painful months.  I am glad they are alive so perhaps they can read this and realize I really do appreciate everything they've done for me.  And thanks to the mommy friends who really helped out when I needed help the most. If only I had listened sooner.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Scarf Like Butter

This lovely scarf is now available on Ebay.  It is a hand knit lace scarf made from mohair yarn.  It is listed without a reserve and bidding starts at .99.  The scarf is 48 inches long.  In my quest to do work that I love, I have found that  knitting scarves is a challenge.  I much prefer to crochet them. I do love the softness of the yarn and the beautiful neutral yellow color.  The stitch is rather dense so it will keep your neck nice and toasty and it is long enough to wrap around your neck but not Isabella Duncan long. 

With the new year upon us I am going to try many different things and see which things make me feel the most positive and uplifted so there will be many challenges and many Ebay treasures.  It really is a beautiful scarf one I might enjoy wearing myself if there are no bids but nothing would make me happier than to see someone wearing it happily. 

Off to the next project, I am thinking of working on The Long and Winding Road for a while because although hand embroidery is a labor of love, it is a labor of love!  Have a great day and find a labor that you love.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Focus on the Positive

The stitch is a bit tangled lately and needs to focus more on what’s important.  She’s really let the things that matter most in her life take a back seat lately.  It’s not that I’m not working.  I’ve written a couple of poems and songs that may or may not see the light of day.  I’ve started a few projects which may or may not see the light of day.  The problem is I am having an issue sticking with just one project long enough to finish anything even the smallest piece.

I’ve moved into a new apartment, leased a new car($250.00 worth of gas in December was just too much), almost gotten a divorce but still feel like I’m stuck in a hole waiting to get out.  I guess big changes mean big doubts and a conscious effort to remember to do what you love at least for a short part of the day.  I still think I want to go back to school and may need to get a job but can’t seem to focus on which of those options is the best idea so at the moment I’m still an artist and a writer.

On the plus side, I have spent some quality time with my son and am very proud of his efforts to take care of himself with his mother not always around.  He’s changed in remarkable ways and has taken over as the main caregiver to the trusty dog Charlie, who I really miss a lot if truth be told.  I can’t have dogs in my new apartment and I’m not quite ready for a cat. Although to take Charlie from the home she’s loved for the past 10 years would be a terrible thing to do anyway.  She’s a great old girl and I know she is being taken well care of.

As for the hand embroidery part of my future, I am working a bit here and a bit there.  I’m feeling a little blocked probably because the idea that it has to be somewhat profitable has taken the fun out of being an artist.  I still think one can be whatever one wishes to be in this life be it a doctor, a lawyer, an indian chief or an artist so I’m hanging on to the dream even if it is only by a thread.  I’ll share my latest works just as eye candy for whatever I’m writing until I get a better handle on which direction to go in.  I’m using more of my talents and switching from one medium to another until I figure it all out.

My blog is going to be a bit more of a hodgepodge for a while until I get a better handle on which artistic direction to go in.  Reality has taken a slightly stronger hold although I still think I am capable of following my dreams and doing what I love to make a living.  But that requires focus.  So if I really wish to be a writer I really have to write so this blog will be my main focus and will be where I will share what’s important to me and how I am finding new and exciting ways to express myself both in art and writing.  I have 68 followers (if they still follow me) so it’s a good start. 

It’s the beginning of a new year and a new life so becoming untangled is of the upmost importance.  Hug your kids (they are always your greatest creation).  Find ways to be happy and get focused and get back to work.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Katbird Shop

This is a piece sold by the wonderful Katbird Shop located on Liberty Street in Schenectady, NY.

I am writing to ask you to support the American Dream of a very strong lady shopkeeper and the wonderful artists she has assembled in her lovely store.  The Katbird Shop has been open for seven years and is thinking of closing it's doors.  With the closing of the doors the dreams of a very strong shopkeeper and a portion of every artist she gave a chance to closes with it.

This isn't the way the American Dream is supposed to work.  We are all given a dream and some are not satisfied with the corporate world but prefer to make or be surrounded by beauty and artistry.  Kathy has tried everything to get people to come into her beautiful store but for naught.  She's fought a good fight for every single artist in her shop, she runs the shop by herself, creates the displays, meets the customers, finds the talented artists and artisans.  She's advertised and put all of herself into her store.

Imagine finding beautiful glassware by an artist from Scotia, beautiful embroidery by an artist from Clifton Park, beautiful baby sweaters from a lady in Schenectady.  Most of the work in the Katbird Shop is made by local artists.  Kathy also carries antiques.  There are gifts for everyone in every price range. It is truly one of the most beautiful collections of functional and visual art in the Capital Region as Kathy has an artist's eye and is very good at picking talent.

She won't write a blog asking you to shop in her store and maybe it is too late to make a difference but before you miss out on a gem of a store and a collection of beautiful things to look at and purchase please support Kathy and her American Dream(and mine) before it is too late.

Not only will the artworld and gift givers lose out on a gem but Kathy is very community minded and her loss will be felt by the Schenectady business and local community also.  It's a beautiful store just go and look I'm sure you can find something to make your or someone else's heart go pitter patter.  Please let her know you are out there and you appreciate things that are made right here in the Capital Region and not shipped in from China!  Thank you!