Have you been thinking about doing some Improvisational Stitching, but feel it’s a bit daunting? Do you also LOVE Dorset Buttons and wonder how dorset buttons like the ones pictured below get made or if you know how to make one like this, do you wonder what you’ll do with it?
Well, in my upcoming Stitch Along, I’m combining these two ideas! We will be thinking out of the box, applying elements of my improvisational stitching style with dorset buttons that are beyond wild. So if you like this idea, sign up because there are still some spaces left. AND I have thread and fabric kits made up, that you can purchase as well.
In other news… here are my new business cards and notecards just in time for my upcoming trip to France!
My new business cards and notecards!
I was awarded a 2-week artist’s residency at the Chateau d’Orquevaux, which is about 3 hours east of Paris and about 3 hours west of Basel, Switzerland. I have a vague memory of driving through Verdun heading south with my parents when I was in my early twenties, so I’m guessing I’ve been in this part of the world before, but that was a long time ago! I’m very, very excited and will be taking my new piece that I’ve just begun working on and that I talked about in this video (which I made for my Patrons and is unlisted, but you can see it here!)
And here it is after I annotated and moved things around, sewed the left side piece down and took away the upper left bit, as it seemed unnecessary, at least for now. This piece is BIG! At least big for me. It’s about 40″ x 52″.
Yesterday I released a new YouTube Video: My Top Ten Favorite Threads For Hand Stitching.
As a follow up to that video, I’m adding my favorite materials to use, as well. Click on any highlighted text for more information.
Pat Pauly’s gorgeous hand dyed linens. My absolute favorite thing to stitch on is 100% linen and Pat Pauly’s gorgeous hand dyed linens are the best, most unique and above and beyond anything else that’s out there on the market. Pat is almost always sold out of her linens as the demand has been fierce, however, if you want to learn how to hand paint, stencil and screen print your own, take one of her workshops and you can learn to create your own. As a quick aside, I have a brand new workshop that I’m offering in 2022, which features fabric kits made up of Pat’s linens that she is specifically making exclusively for my workshop. These linens are only available to those who sign up for the workshop! Very exciting.
“Flow” using Pat Pauly’s hand dyed linens.
2. Mulberry Bark. I love layering my linen with Stef Francis’ Mulberry Bark. I stitch directly onto it. Some people have said they soak it in water, but I don’t. I prefer to pull it, bunch it up, stitch it down and let it be.
5. Stef Francis Sari Ribbon It comes in a huge hank! I couch it, ruch it, scrunch it, twist it, use it to wrap other things in it and then stitch on it. There is no end to the things one can do with it.
Wrapping with Silk Sari Ribbon
6. Old T-shirt. I love hand dyeing an old t-shirt and then cutting it up. I did a video on how to do this. See below.
7. Silk Velvet It’s fun to hand dye your own, but Stef Francis also carries some beautiful silk velvet in gorgeous colors. If you want to get really creative, you can emboss your silk velvet, as I did in the photograph below. I like using wooden stamps, like these.
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First things first… Pat Pauly! I just posted my interview with Pat Pauly on my YouTube channel. For those of you who may not be familiar with Pat, she is a brilliant, multi-talented artist, who also hand paints and dyes fabrics that she sells on her website, is a sought after teacher and does the most beautiful art quilts.
Pat’s hand dyed linens are what I’ve been using exclusively for my latest improvisational stitching pieces. They are unlike, and far superior to anything I’ve found anywhere else and are endlessly inspiring.
My improvisational stitching using Pat Pauly’s hand dyed linens.
Improvisational Stitching piece using Pat Pauly’s hand dyed linens and inspired by my Africa trip.
If these pieces are interesting to you, you should consider enrolling in my Improvisational Stitching Class, which meets for 5 consecutive Saturdays beginning Saturday, September 25th. In this workshop I cover the elements of design, use of color, incorporating other elements into the background, using things that inspire us and making them apart of our work, creating abstract as well as representational elements into a piece, finding which threads and stitches to use to create different effects and so much more.
Off we go on our grand adventure to Africa tomorrow!
Here is a little recap of the last 24 hours…
Yesterday: Wake up to find we have been sent a notification from the airlines that our flight has been cancelled. Wait, what?!???
My heart skips a beat, a precursor to the flood of panic that immediately follows. Time for some deep breathing. Logic kicks in. We will get another flight out, it’s going to be fine. I quickly send off emails to the travel agency and leave voice messages for them as well, just in case they don’t get the email, even though it’s 6am and they’re on Central time and won’t be open for at least four hours, you can never be too careful or thorough.
I practiced my french – j’ai pratiqué mon français. Still feeling some trepidation and panic, but attempting to speak another language helps. Meanwhile Richard has been experiencing heart palpitations and has an appointment with the doctor to make sure he’s in tiptop shape for our trip. I remind him that it’s important that he wear his hiking boots, since they’re new, at least once before our trip, to ensure he doesn’t get blisters while we are away. He nods distractedly.
The travel agency gets back to me, we laugh about traveling and how anything that can go awry, often does, but it won’t be a problem, she’s got this and will call me back when she’s figured out our new airline and flight.
I decide this is a good time to get some stitching done to calm my frayed nerves.
Several hours pass and I get the news that we are rebooked on a different airline departing out of a different airport, but we will make our connecting flight and all is well. Knowing that we are all set to go as originally planned I go out to get my Covid test as required by the airline and Africa.
I throw on an old pair of sandals and walk briskly over to the CityMD nearest us only to be told that they’re swamped and test results will take 3-5 days. Yikes! They suggest a different place that is about a half a mile away. A true New Yorker, I walk over to this new place, which is actually a folding table set up on the sidewalk on 14th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. It feels as though I have pebbles in my sandals, which I cannot find or get rid of. Never mind, there’s no line and so I fill out the various online forms to register and they assure me test results will be delivered within 24 hours. Perfect! “Go easy on me,” I plead to the young man, who I swear couldn’t be older than 22. He assures me that he’s known for his gentle touch and before I know it the deep nasal swab has been deftly done and is over. “That’s it?!” I exclaim. “Yup, you’re good to go,” he says.
I have a brief moment when I consider whether it would be worth purchasing another airline ticket for this young man so that we can bring him with us and have him perform the 9-10 Covid tests we will have to get throughout our trip. I voice this thought in a joking tone. He laughs and says something like, “I wish.”
He has no idea how serious I am…
The pebbles in my sandals are now really quite painful and I’m having a difficult time walking. I stop at a random pharmacy, purchase some bandaids only to realize that there are no pebbles; I’ve developed large quarter-sized blisters on the bottoms of both feet. How does that even happen?
I hobble home grateful that I can stay put and not go anywhere else.
Upon arrival back home I am confronted with more forms that need to be filled out no more than 48 hours before leaving. I can feel my anxiety rising. Oh and weren’t we supposed to start taking our malaria tablets? Oh no, that can wait until Friday.
New email comes in from the travel agency reminding me to print out our Rwanda visas. Wait, what?Rwanda visas???? I did that, didn’t I? I’m sure I did, but never received confirmation that our applications were approved. I search for and eventually find the email saying that our visa applications are “pending.” I forward all of this to the travel agency with the subject line: HELP!
I have a Zoom call with my “Ask Me Anything” Patrons, which is really more like a party, very boisterous and lots of fun. I show off my latest stitching project and we discuss stitching, techniques, different ways of doing things, piecing backgrounds, and other things, including my next two workshops coming up end of September. The Zoom party is lots of fun and distracts me momentarily from all that’s going on travel-wise.
The Zoom party ends and I see another email from the travel agency. I call them instead of emailing back. She’s taking care of the whole visa debacle and assures me it will all get sorted out. I check my credit card and see that the money has been removed for our travel visas. She tells me there’s one more form to be filled out, but she’s having her assistant do it because while I was on the Zoom call she spoke to my husband who, it turns out, is having heart palpitations due to stress and she doesn’t want him to get any more stressed out.
Richard tells me he loves his new hiking boots, wore them all day and guess what? Not a single blister. I admit that I wore sandals that I’ve never had issues with and now can barely walk.
We laugh. Because seriously, what else are you going to do? We haven’t even left yet and this trip is feeling epic!
Today: I wake to see that my Covid test has been emailed back to me and I’m negative, thankfully.
After I finish writing this post I am double checking that all our various documents are printed out multiple times. I swear we have added at least a pound to our baggage weight with all the documents. We are only allowed a small duffel bag and cannot bring more than 33 pounds including carry-on each. I will be weighing my various tech equipment & computer, finish packing and will try to remember to breath.
Breathing is important. Wish us luck!
And remember in five days we will be hiking with these guys.
As it turns out the bobbin winder on my new Bernina is broken. Silly me, thinking I could wind the bobbin upside down, I didn’t realize this until it was too late, and it did us both in. Off to the shop it will go, but in the meantime, I continue to fine tune my newly organized working space. In between stitching, reorganizing and preparing for our upcoming trip, I did manage to do a livestream for my YouTube followers.
Some love the livestreams and others dislike them. Part of what’s fun, in my opinion, about livestreaming is the interactive aspect. It’s really what sets these videos apart from a recorded video. For me it’s fun to hear from all of you as I’m working. There’s an easy going banter that is often funny, there’s lots of laughter, with the added plus that I’m able to answer questions in real time, demonstrate different things as I’m working and in general have fun. However part of the livestreaming experience is that I also greet people when they say hi, sometimes get side tracked, but usually am able to stay on target, and try things I might not otherwise try because of things suggested by others.
In preparation for our trip I found the following video.
This is where we will be going. In fact, in one week from today we will be in Rwanda! Hard to believe.
I just can’t tell you how thrilling it is to go to my website and write a new blog post! For those who may be confused, last week I was still posting on my old site, which now is housed under the umbrella of my new website! I know, I know, I’ve already talked about all of this at length and I’m not going to do another post all on the fabulousness of my new website, however I just have to say that as I sit here typing this I’m silently bouncing up and down and squealing with joy. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It’s been such a long time in the making!!
So. Now that I got that out of the way, what are we going to talk about?
Oh! Before it slips from my mind, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. It’s just to the right of this post. ❤️
The other thing that leaps to mind is that I just released a new video on my YouTube channel.
This video begins with an 8 minute riff on life, aging, Merlin, facial recognition, the results of my MRI and whatever else flew into my mind as I was recording. So yeah, there’s that. However don’t despair, I did some stitching too.
In other news… okay there IS no other news. This is my life in a nutshell. It’s evidently a very, very tiny nutshell. 😂 So I will add a few videos of other people’s lives that came up when I went to schedule this video. The first is my favorite Golden Retriever, Bailey and his new best friend.
And then I had to share this one, because going to Africa to see the gorillas has been on my bucket list for decades now.
I wasn’t familiar with Keith Urban and his music until I saw this pop up and hit play while waiting for my video to finish uploading. How great is he? And Nicole Kidman? Love them both.
Enjoy the weekend everyone and don’t forget to check out my upcoming workshops!