Mindful Stitching

Day of the Dead Mermaid     WP_20150906_15_07_19_Pro 2

There are times when my mind is racing and not always with thoughts of projects and fun things to do. It projects horrible outcomes for everyday events, it swims in hurtful comments from acquaintances or ridiculous posts on FB – and I find myself overwhelmed by depression and anxiety.  During those times my “go to” method of self soothing is hiding in my bed, but I’m trying so hard not to let that happen.  It’s worrisome to me and to my family.

So last time it happened I dug out an old pattern, one that requires hours of hand stitching. Repetitive stitching of sequins and beads. Nothing challenging because I’ve made this before, just stitching.

I’m so pleased with the outcome, the bright colors, bold lines and that little heart beneath her ribs, all make me smile.


I realized that I haven’t posted a picture of the fish that I (got carried away) making. These are fun little guys to stitch – fairly simple, sequins, organza, big eyes… what’s not to love.  These need to be mounted on stands, which will happen as soon as I can find our drill (did I mention that after a year here in El Segundo we’re still unpacking boxes?).


Bluebird of Happiness

I love working on reverse applique projects because they are ridiculously detailed and the stitching is painstaking. Here is a little timeline of the creation of my latest piece.

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A few years ago I made a very large mosquito, a piece that I still have and still love, Looking at her I decided that I wanted to do another winged insect, a dragonfly.  In my usual way, I found pictures to paste in my sketchbook then began working on a pattern. I wanted to duplicate the unique shape of the body as closely as possible. I had the perfect fabric, sequins and beads in my stash.

The finished piece is 18” wide by 22” long. Completely hand stitched. I love her.  I’ve already picked out fabrics for my next one.

                    dragonfly4       dragonfly2


I love vintage linen tea towels. I usually buy them with Vera Neumann designs but now and then something else will catch my eye and I must have it.  Or sometimes I will buy a bundle of tea towels at a great price and end up with something odd.  This one came to me that way but honestly, how could I resist?


What I really liked was the lettering which is the Gettysburg Address. I thought it would like nice as a reverse applique piece. But the more I looked at it the more I knew I had to include Abe’s beautiful visage.  This is the result.  I like his little stovepipe hat.



Everyone knows that you’re never sure where or when inspiration will strike.  What is certain is that it won’t hit you if you’re not looking for it.

Like the other day while dropping off some flour at a friend’s house. In the driveway a neighbor had dropped the cellophane and organza from a bouquet of flowers.  And there it was. A goldfish.  Away to my sketchbook, some photos and drawings of goldfish from the internet and my design was decided. A quick pattern made, supplies gathered and away I went. Okay, the supplies gathered was a long frustrating venture into the depths of the garage and many, many unpacked boxes labeled “garage” that contained everything from art supplies to electronics, papers, books, bike parts, fabric etc. etc..

goldfish 3

goldfish 1

goldfish 2

aaaand, I’m back

It’s so hard to blog when you really don’t feel like you have anything to say. I’ve been struggling with a massive creative block.  I’ve read books about it, tried aromatherapy, setting up a little alter, hours online looking for inspiration but lately two things have happened that seemed to have helped me to turn the corner.  No wait, three things…

esmoa cyanotypeThe first is volunteering at the El Segundo Museum of Art. I cannot begin to explain what a unique and impressive museum this is. Each new installation is called an “Experience” rather than a show because it truly is something you submerge yourself into. The current show, which ends in a week or so, is called “Spark” and is based on the Mirrorworld books by Cornelia Funke, an author for young adults. Within the museum you’ll find her writing studio (complete with pieces from her home), a greenhouse, an ogre’s tavern, a bottomless tunnel, digital art, and art pieces both by Ms. Funke and other artists that fit the theme.  How can you not be inspired by something so amazing. Working on Family Day I helped visitors to create cyanotype prints, something I’ve not done for ages.

The second is finding some like minded friends to hang out and discuss art with. I’ve really really been missing my friends in Washington. I’ve realized that I need a community within which to work. I need the feedback and  the encouragement.  I can’t work in a vacuum.  Over the weekend I was feeling particularly anxious and my friend, a creativity coach (!) messaged me, “anxiety is the relief actually that everything has shifted. So it’s brilliant, a little scary, but know you are loved and supported creatively.”  How can I go wrong with Narelle in my corner and Kelly cheering me on? It has made a huge difference.

The third is getting a brand new sketchbook, pens and pencil case from my kids for Mother’s Day.  As my daughter said, “It’s just a cheap sketchbook and you can tear out the pages so don’t worry, just go for it!”  What would I do without my two biggest cheerleaders?

So yes, I’m back on track. I hope. I’ll keep you posted.