Grief Comes in Waves

Grief Comes in Waves

Grief comes in waves.  People say that, and I know what they mean.  The other day I was happily working away on a new piece, trying to get the elements to behave themselves and talk to each other nicely, when suddenly I thought of my mom.  It was a tsunami of emotions. I had to sit down and just be still while the feelings crashed over me.  And here’s the thing… this blog? It reminds me of my mom, because when I first began blogging more than a decade ago, my mother was its biggest supporter and commenter.  I think she commented on every single post or nearly every one of them.  That blog was called Emma’s Hope Book. It eventually reached a massive audience with thousands of views per post.  And then it was time for me to move on.

I started this blog: Where Art & Life Meet. I wanted a place where I could write about my work and art and life and everything in between.  And so my mother began commenting here too.  I miss her so.

During the last few years of her life she began sending videos and funny quotes to a few lucky recipients, of whom I was one.  I loved receiving them, especially because it was right when COVID hit New York City and all of us were reeling.  The city was in lockdown, I’d just started my YouTube Channel and often Mom’s videos and messages were the one thing I could count on to make me laugh, so I’d post them here for all of you to enjoy too.  I miss her so.

Whenever I see a funny video on Youtube I think of her.  Sometimes if I’m doing a couple of things at once, I’ll catch myself thinking – Oh!  I have to send this to mom!!  She’d love it. And then I remember that I can’t.

Her favorite video of mine was this one that I’ve added below. One of her caregivers told me she watched it multiple times.

 

So when I saw the video I’m posting below, I thought, Mom would have loved this. This one’s for you, Mom. It won’t let me share via this blog, so you have to click on the highlighted text instead.

This is a message I’d pay attention to!

And this is another one that she would have liked because… cute animals. She loved animals.

Cute and funny animals

I miss her so.

 

Coping During The Pandemic

Coping During The Pandemic

Since launching my YouTube Channel Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand on February 20th, I have gained close to 550 subscribers! Much of this is due to the enthusiasm shown to me by the members of the private FaceBook group, Friends Who Like Sue Spargo Folk Art Quilts (thank you everyone!) and my friend Anna Bates, who has been so generous and thoughtful in giving my tutorials a plug. I met Anna at one of Sue Spargo‘s not-to-be-missed workshops held by MISA (Madeline Island School of the Arts) in Tucson, Arizona. Anna has a blog and a popular YouTube Channel, Quilt Roadies, as well as a weekly blog on Alex Anderson and Ricky Tim’s The Quilt Show, which has a massive following of devoted sewers. So if you don’t know Anna, go check her out. She’s wonderful.

The Email I received last week from YouTube

Since that launch, (my first tutorial – needle turn applique for left handers) I have fallen into some semblance of a schedule. I’ve been posting new videos Monday, Wednesday & Friday. I try to post one tutorial a week devoted to an embroidery stitch from Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching Book specifically for Left Handed Stitchers. The other two videos are either focusing on sewing techniques such as How to Make Hexies, How to Make Perfect Circles and How to Needle Turn Appliqué or tutorials on stitches that are not hand specific, in other words for both left and right handers. In addition I am blogging Tuesday & Thursday. (At least that’s what I did last week and am planning to do moving forward.) I still haven’t figured out how to squeeze in time to design new products, but am hoping to do that too, once I get better and quicker at shooting these videos and editing them.

Since life as we know it has ground to a halt, here in New York City, I realize that I’ve been managing my stress by working and am working pretty constantly these days. Between preparing, shooting and editing new YouTube videos, making masks, and coming up with new video ideas, I have taken on the task of revamping my various websites, including this blog, with the intention of eventually containing everything under one roof. As I have disparate sites: Ariane Zurcher Jewelry, My Etsy Shop, this blog and my YouTube Channel, it’s tricky to figure out how best to house them all under a single site. Added to this is the fact that I am not a computer geek and not only do not know the terminology, I also don’t know how to do any of that, but I’m learning. And what better way to spend this time of self quarantine than to do all of that or at least this is what I tell myself. I also am not sleeping much…

At some point this blog will get folded into a larger site; until then I plan to keep posting Tuesdays and Thursdays here.

Stay safe everyone and, if you’re like me, keep stitching!

Fly Stitch Sampler
Coping During The Pandemic

YouTube, Blogging, Stitching & Life

Things have been busy around here. I had the idea to start a YouTube channel over a year ago. My thought was to go through Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching book and demonstrate every stitch (but for left-handed stitchers) featured in her book, one stitch a week. I discussed my idea with Anna Bates, my friend over at Quilt Roadies, who encouraged me to go for it. But I knew I couldn’t do anything until I’d gotten Sue’s okay. Not only was she okay with my idea, but we then discussed launching YouTube channels together, each doing the same stitch on the same day, linking our channels to each other’s, and we even filmed a couple of episodes at her store in Ohio.

In Tucson where my YouTube idea first took root!

But life has a funny way of inserting itself into the best laid plans. Things happened, we had to delay the launch and then finally, last week, Sue told me to go ahead with my channel without her. For those of you who do not know Sue Spargo, she is one of the most hardworking, dedicated and talented artists I know. She has an extremely successful business, both brick and mortar, as well as online site over at Sue Spargo.com. She teaches all over the world, has a wildly popular Block of the Month club – this year she is doing TWO, one for those who desire something a little simpler and not quite as time consuming, and another, which features more advanced stitching. All of this is to say – everything she does, she does incredibly well.

Whew! Okay. So…

Last week I took a deep breath and took the plunge. I launched my YouTube channel. I knew it was going to be a fairly steep learning curve, but I hadn’t taken into account just how steep! I had to teach myself how to edit video on iMovie. Then I learned all about banner art and thumbnails, which required downloading a couple different apps (that I also then had to learn how to use.) I read all about how best to monetize your channel once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers and a ton of watched hours. I then had to read about monetizing your blog, because if one is already monetized, it makes monetizing the other a lot easier. I watched hours and hours of YouTuber’s videos and finally my husband, Richard, who for years owned and ran a very successful ad agency, and I sat down and brainstormed. He came up with “On the Other Hand” for my channel, which is just so brilliant. Love that, and him. He also helped me design my YouTube banner. It looks pretty good, right?

My YouTube Banner

Finally, I began taping and, I’ll admit, feeling kind of old, because, while I would be far more comfortable keeping the camera zoomed in on the stitching, I also get that people want to see the person behind the hands. Looking at yourself during the editing process is a lesson in humility. Most of the up and coming YouTubers out there are young and beautiful and most definitely not almost sixty years old. Did I just say that? Yup. I did. I’ll be sixty in another six months. Pretty much clinging to these final months while still in my fifties. As in seriously white knuckling it… But it’s all relative. I know, twenty years from now, I’ll look back and think – Wow! I was so young.

Photo of hands stitching a Pekinese Stitch is far more preferable than a photo of myself

So yes, it’s ALL relative.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week or so.

I now have three videos on my Channel: Ariane Zurcher – On the Other Hand. The first is how to needle turn appliqué left handed.

My first YouTube Video on my new channel – Ariane Zurcher – On the Other Hand

The second video is how to whipstitch

Notice the thumbnail here? I’m getting better!

And the last one, uploaded Tuesday evening, is how to stitch the Pekinese Stitch.

The Pekinese Stitch (I had to delete the first one and redo the music as it had copyright issues! Learning… lots of learning…

All the videos are directed at left handed stitchers, because we left handers have to bush whack our way through most tutorials, figuring it out on our own. I have, in the past, come up with some very creative looking hand stitching that in no way resemble stitches in any embroidery book known to mankind. Yelp!

I also give tips on how to thread a needle, thimbles, which needles to use for which stitches, how to make a quilter’s knot and, as time goes on, I’ll discuss all kinds of other things as well. In my Pekinese Stitch Tutorial Merlin, our mischievous kitty, even makes an appearance, wreaking havoc with my attempts to stitch and teach! So watch and stitch along with me. Don’t forget to give a thumbs up, and subscribe because I’ll be posting at least once a week, and not just content for left handers, but for anyone who loves art, design, stitching and life! Hopefully there will be some laughter in there too. Laughter is good.

Yup, that’s me…