Website & Cart Explained

Website & Cart Explained

I’m seizing this moment to explain the website and it’s checkout process since a few people have had trouble.  I’ve broken this down into steps and highlighted things that need to be paid attention to.

So let’s go over to the website, shall we?!

First when you arrive you will be greeted by me!  There I am, cheerfully welcoming you into my world of design, art, and hand stitching.

Do you see those two big red arrows?  That’s showing you the navigation bar because I’m going to go over all of the items listed, but first let’s just look for a second at the bottom of this landing page, the page with me smiling at you.  If you scroll down you’ll see a whole bunch of images and text about my past design work and then at the very bottom you’ll see this:

This is how you can get in touch with me.

Now you can also use the “contact” at the top in the navigation bar.

Either one will work.  So if you get into trouble, just know we’re here to help answer any and all questions you may have.  And most of you, who follow me elsewhere, know I’m pretty good about responding to you in a timely manner.

Okay.  Now, let’s move on to “Workshops”.

Yay, workshops!! So much fun.  This is what you’ll see. At some point I’ll change the large header image with my most recent piece, but until then this is exactly what you should see.  Scroll down and you’ll see the calendar break down of all my workshops as of today.  I’ll be adding a few more in the coming weeks, but for now, this is it.

Click on the blue link from the photo above (I’ve circled it in red).  All those blue titles are hotlinks and when clicked on, they will open that workshop!

Here we are in the Stitch Along Dorset Button Glasses Case Workshop.

Look at the drop down menu! How cool is that?!  That’s what you’ll see if you click on the button to the right of “Customize your experience”.  This is where you can add stuff.  Fun stuff like fabric kits and thread kits.  If you don’t see a drop down menu it’s because no kits are available for that workshop. But for both my Stitch Along workshops you get to add kits!!  One more thing about the drop down menu… when you choose one of the options, you’ll see that the price changes.

See how the price changed when you added the Fabric Kit?  And can we just admire for a moment those fabulous linens?  These include enough linen and lining for TWO cases – Pat Pauly’s hand dyed linens, my own ice dyed linen, a cotton lining AND a micro fiber lining, (you’ll get both) which is perfect for glasses lens, fusible fleece interfacing, again enough for two cases and enough wool for one. Same with the Stitch Along Scissor Case, but I’m getting side tracked…

So the price includes the workshop, plus the Fabric Kit, which also includes shipping and the design and the detailed instruction booklet.  “What!” you’re saying to yourself, “that must be a typo!” but no, it’s just one of the perks you get for signing up for this Stitch Along. “But what about the thread kit?” you might ask.

Here you go!

This is the workshop and the thread kit.  Please note that if you live outside the US you MUST order at least 4 weeks before the beginning of the workshop.  Even so it’s dicey with customs and covid causing delays.  Bottom line –  if you don’t live in the US, hurry and enroll now!

Here we are with the Workshop, the fabric kit AND the thread kit.  See all those beautiful threads above?  Oh!  And look!  See that gorgeous hand dyed linen underneath?  Yup that’s the whole package.  One last thing – this workshop features Dorset Buttons.  Not just your traditional Dorset Button, but really, really wild dorset buttons.  Dorset Buttons like you’ve not seen before.  Last year I gave a couple workshops called Dorset Buttons Gone Wild.  It was a huge hit.  This workshop and the other Stitch Along I’m doing in July will teach you how to create dorset buttons that are little pieces of art unto themselves.  So even if you don’t want to make a glasses case or scissor case, you can still take this workshop and create dorset buttons for something else you’re working on.  It’s all about thinking outside the box, using the dorset button as a jumping off point, but doing things you’ve never thought of doing.  That’s what we’ll be doing in both of these Stitch Alongs.

Okay, let’s keep going with the website.  So now you’re convinced this is just the coolest Stitch Along/Workshop that you’ve ever seen and you can hardly wait to sign up.  So what do you do now?   

Click on the “Add to cart” button and you’ll see the little, light blue, transparent box at the top that I’ve helpfully circled in red!  And if you look at the navigation bar you’ll see the number 1 in your “cart”, showing you that you’ve added one thing to your shopping cart. And now you can do a couple of things:  You can keep shopping and sign up for more workshops and/or designs or you can check out.

There are two ways to check out.  The first is to click on the button that I’ve circled in red in the image above.

Or you can click on the the “Go to cart once all items are added?” button, which is right below the “Add to cart” button. Do you see it? ⬆️

Once you click on “view cart” or “Go to cart once all items are added?” you’ll be asked to login, if you haven’t already done so.  This is for your security and this is what you’ll see

If you remember your user name and password you’re good to go.  If you’ve forgotten your password, like everyone else in the world, you’ll need to click on “login” and you’ll see this image above.  Do you see the dreaded “Lost your password?” No problem, we can help you with that.  I can’t remember my middle name, much less every password I’ve created for different websites, oh wait, I don’t have a middle name, but you get the point…  Click on “Lost your password” and you’ll get an email to reset your password.  This is so that no one pretending to be you can get in here and make mischief.

Once you’ve created a new password and logged in, you’ll see this page above… wait, what?  Coupon???? I want a coupon!  I can help you with that too.  If you signed up for my newsletter you will have seen that I give one to everyone who signed up.  If you missed that, you can join Patreon where I also gave a different coupon just a few weeks ago!  Lots of coupons, lots of different ways to get one.

Once you’ve entered your coupon code or decided you just want to get enrolled because the workshops are filling up fast, you’ll click on “Proceed to checkout” and voila, you’ll be taken to this page.

A couple things here – there’s yet another reminder to use a coupon, if you have one (upper left corner circled in red) and don’t forget to un-click “Ship to a different address?” unless your credit card info is different than your shipping address.  For the kits, the shipping address is really important because this is what will be given to me to ship all that beautiful fabric and threads to, so make sure it’s correct.  I cannot tell you how many times I go to the post office only to be told “that address doesn’t exist”.  So please, please, please, double check and make sure it’s correct.  And include you’re phone number so that we can call you to verify, if we run into problems.

Once you’ve filled out all the credit card info, you’ll get an email welcoming you to the workshop and then you’ll get another email from me asking you to choose which kit you’d like.  Make sure you have my email address in your contacts so that your email security doesn’t block me, thinking I’m spamming you.  I promise, I would never do that. ❤️

Congratulations you are now successfully enrolled in my workshop and the fun has just begun!
But wait!  What about the rest of the website?
Okay, okay, here’s the Stitching Shop:

After that is the blog, which is where you’re reading all of this.  But have you looked at the right hand side bar?  You haven’t!?  Well let me show you around because there’s some cool stuff.

So above the red circle there are all the social media icons which you can click on and follow me in various places.  And then there’s the Subscribe to this blog! That’s where you enter your email address so that you never miss one of my blog posts.

But there’s more!

When you sign up for my newsletter you’ll get lots of other things stitching related. I wrote my first ever newsletter just a few weeks ago!  And I’ll be writing another every month or so.  I’m not really sure how often I’ll be writing one, but it won’t be daily or even several times a week, because I don’t have the time, but it will certainly be once a month.

So now that you’ve subscribed to this blog AND you’ve signed up for my newsletter, I want to point out something else: the Translate button.

If English isn’t your first language or second or third, you can have this blog translated to the language you’re most comfortable with.  How great is that!

Okay, we’re in the home stretch…  Along that top navigation bar after “Blog” and “Contact” (remember I told you about the Contact tab earlier?) then there’s “Account”.  And if you hover your mouse over it, another drop down menu like this one will magically appear.

Click on “Account Details” and the image above will appear.

Lost Your Password is the next item on that drop down menu and where you can make a new password.

“Orders” is where you can see all the things you’ve signed up for and purchased and the next item “Downloads” is where you’ll find any and all downloads that came with anything you’ve purchased and finally there’s the “Logout” button.

So that’s it!  You are now a pro at finding, ordering and navigating all the different things on my website!

Oh!! and I added another The Basics Workshop in July, since the one coming up, sold out quickly, so don’t wait and grab your spot now!

Finishing a Project is Like a Tiny Death

Finishing a Project is Like a Tiny Death

I’m just about finished with my big improvisational stitching piece that I’ve been working on for the last 7 months or so, and it’s bittersweet.  It always feels like a tiny death.  There’s sadness and a kind of grieving that happens.  Sometimes I just leave it up on my design wall and look at it from time to time, knowing that eventually it will need to be stretched and framed or mounted, floated or somehow “finished” as in ready to be hung on the wall or made into a pillow or whatever I’ve decided I’m going to do with it.  But often I just can’t and so on the design wall it stays until something else is begun and necessitates that I take it down to give room for the new piece.

Also there’s the feeling that I’ve done my best and maybe this will be the pinnacle of my creativity.  Maybe everything from now on will just be a rehashing or versions of the same thing; I won’t progress as an artist beyond this, is the thinking.  But I don’t know that to be true.  It hasn’t been so far, so why assume it will be now?  I keep growing, exploring, investigating, learning, trying new things, new ideas, why invite trouble? as a friend of mine used to say.

The stoics are big on living today as though it were your last, being kind and recognizing that every action we take is a choice.  So today I’m choosing to just keep going.  I know I’m nearing the end, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less joyful working on it.  In fact, savoring each stitch, knowing that I’m almost finished makes it all the more wonderful and magical. Taking joy in the process is always the answer and boy, have I loved working on this piece!

Yesterday I had my monthly, scheduled livestream for my Patrons.  We had such fun!  I was talking to them about some ideas I had for this piece and everyone was chatting and I had a moment when I just stopped and savored the joy of stitching, of this piece, of all that’s happened since I began it.  And that’s the thing, each piece carries with it so many memories as life continues going along.  This piece came with me to Africa. It was with me when I learned of my mother’s death. I took it to Egypt and Jordan. I carried it in my backpack through countless airports and airport security.  It’s been put up on my design wall hundreds of times, only to be taken down again to be stitched, added, stretched, pulled, manipulated, torn, cut into, bound, sewn and even stuffed.  It has my tears soaked into its very fibers, I’ve painted, stenciled, appliquéd and stitched and stitched and stitched, culminating in this piece.

Now it’s almost done.

A tiny death.  What’s that cliche about one door closing and another opens?  This piece will give way to the next one and the fun and joy and magic will begin all over again.

And there’s beauty in that.

Favorite Fabrics & Threads to Stitch With

Favorite Fabrics & Threads to Stitch With

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.

Fabrics:

  1. 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.

Adding Mulberry Bark

3. Hand Dyed Cheesecloth.  There are places to purchase already hand dyed cheesecloth, Stef Francis being one of them, but I like to paint my own, using Caran D’Ache Neocolor II Water Soluble Pastels.

Hand dyed Cheesecloth and Silk Throwsters

4. Stef Francis Silk Throwsters.  I love this stuff.  It’s a bit like wool roving, but it’s silk and has a beautiful hand and texture to it.  I needle punch it and then stitch on top of it.

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.

Embossed Silk Velvet

To see my Top Ten Favorite Threads to hand stitch with, go over to my video and be sure to scroll down to see the links I’ve provided for everything I discuss and demonstrate.

❤️

*Disclaimer: Ariane is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com at no additional cost to you.⁣

Pain, Grief and Showing up Anyway

Pain, Grief and Showing up Anyway

So here’s the thing…  I feel a whole lot better when I show up even when I feel awful, even when I feel things are rough and I’m tired, even when I don’t want to.  I’ve also learned that showing up anyway is the single best remedy for not continuing to feel that way. Except that it’s also really hard to do.  That’s the thing.  It’s really, really hard and sometimes… sometimes it feels impossible.  I know it technically isn’t, but it sure feels that way.

Marcus Aurelius wrote about pain a great deal.  And in his writings about it he consistently focusses on choice and responding, rather than reacting.  I’m a huge fan of Marcus Aurelius, not just because he was wise, but because this guy was one of the most powerful men in the world and yet he continued to do his best to remain humble, to avoid arrogance, to nurture self awareness and to treat others with respect and kindness.

So yeah, showing up anyway.  Easier said than done, so I have found ways to do so that aren’t quite so laden, that make it a tiny bit easier.  I call it setting myself up to succeed.

Here’s what I do:

  • Thread up a whole bunch of needles with different types and weights of thread.  I use both Chenille needles and Milliners Needles.
  • Grab a needle, any needle, it doesn’t matter which one, and begin stitching.  I have a couple of mindless go-to stitches that don’t require any thought.  They are the meditative stitches like french knots, bullion knots, colonial knots, seed stitch, chain stitch, fly stitch, straight stitch and then I riff on them, which means I start exploring every aspect of that stitch.  How many wraps can I make on a french knot before the whole thing begins to fall apart?  (It turns out a lot more than you might think!). What ways can I stitch a straight stitch to create different patterns?
  • Exploration
  • Investigation
  • And before you know it, I’m playing!

Stitching, more than anything, changes everything, even grief, even pain.

If you’re curious to know how I did this, I made a video about it and you can watch it here:

The Wisdom I’ve Gained From Hand Stitching

The Wisdom I’ve Gained From Hand Stitching

In 2015 or was it 2016(?) things were in flux. I was re-evaluating what I was doing, where I was headed, what I wanted…  There were a number of things going on that led to this, but it was one of those moments that didn’t seem particularly extraordinary or even interesting, but in hindsight I see that it was a pivotal moment. A moment when I re-found hand stitching.

My mother taught me to embroider with crewel and a hoop at an early age. This is the Christmas creche we made together. It was while making one of those sheep that I came to truly appreciate the diversity and beauty of the simple French Knot done hundreds of times.

Christmas Creche embroidered with my mother

Since then I have gone down many paths, but the hand stitching path is perhaps the most surprising, to me.  While at Parsons School of Design I would do anything I could to avoid hand stitching. And then I discovered draping and for a time it was my new love.  Draping is a whole art in and of itself.  Cutting fabric on the bias and then draping it onto a form and manipulating it so the fabric falls in specific ways was something I loved, but it was also time consuming and I was young and impatient and so my love for draping was set aside.

Funnily enough when I moved to Los Angeles straight out of high school and before I went to Parsons my first job was in a tailor’s shop in Beverly Hills.  My favorite thing to do was to sit in the back room with the master tailor, an Armenian man who tried to teach me the fine art of tailoring.  Hand stitching hemlines and buttonholes was something I never quite mastered during my time there, but I loved it never-the-less.

Hand stitching can be slow and arduous and very, very time consuming, and it can also be meditative, serene, calming and restorative, depending on one’s perspective.  These days I find hand stitching to be all of the latter and none of the former.

A detail of my most recent work hand stitching on Pat Pauly hand dyed linen using Stef Francis threads, Painter’s Threads, House Of Embroidery Threads, Mulberry Bark from Stef Francis, Sari Cording from Stef Francis and wool roving.

When I began hand stitching again I followed other people’s patterns and instructions and while that was interesting and I learned a great deal, it wasn’t completely fulfilling. I have always gone off script and the farther I go, the happier I am.  So when I began doing what I call “Improvisational Stitching” I knew I’d fallen into something important.  Not only was I creating original pieces that didn’t look like other things I was seeing out in the hand stitching world, but it was an expression of my moods, my thoughts, the things that were going on in my life.  Hand stitching is the way I express myself.

A few things I’ve learned through hand stitching, which can be applied to the piece I’m working on, but also to life:

  • Any emotion is fair game and can be expressed through stitching.
  • Any emotion is okay and when expressed through stitching creates a vibrant, interesting piece.
  • Impatience is a frame of mind and a choice.
  • When I don’t know what to do, stand back, take a photo and get a new perspective on the situation.
  • Compare and despair.
  • Everything has its own timeline.
  • Divas can be fun, but they also can silence everyone else.
  • Diversity makes anything and everything better.
  • Rules are helpful, until they’re not, in which case, break them or ignore them.
  • Explore!
  • Be curious!
  • Engage and show up for the work.
  • Don’t squelch what makes you unique.
  • Be courageous!