Thursday, April 29, 2010

6 Years Later~

Ever wonder when you will finish some of the projects you started, with all good intention of actually doing so?  For many stitchers, UFO's are just a given fact of life.  They "exist,"  just as threads, canvas and other materials reside in a stitcher's studio.   Recently, I was a guest in the home of a wonderful avid stitcher who chose to display her unfinished works on the walls of her entry way!  It was purely delightful and looked ever so stylish!  There they were, on stretcher bars, threads dangling where the home owner/stitcher ended her last stitches on portions of each design.  Unfinished, certainly, but, an interior decorator could not have chosen better works of art!

My UFO's do not enjoy such distinction.  I have them stashed in cupboards, in baskets, in closets, on shelves.  Some I have forgotten.  Some I put aside until inspired to take them up again.  Some I worry and fret over..wishing to get back to stitching on them, but never finding the time.  Such was the case for a UFO that became my urgent priority.  This last week, I finished it nearly 6 years after I started it.  It is a gift to the parents of my grandson.  It is his birth announcement, for goodness sakes!  The child is in school now, and I know his mother doesn't believe that she will ever receive it!

But I have news for her!  It is done, and she is getting it for her birthday next month, all framed and ready to commemorate the cherished birth of a much loved child!

I had designed this canvas many years before as part of my needlepoint line of painted canvases which I market to the trade.  This canvas was inspired by a dream I had, as are many of the pieces I design.  In the dream, I saw a tiny dress hanging on a clothes line.  It was a dress one of my daughters wore when she was 3 or 4 yrs old, with a precious smocked bodice.  I featured this dress in a birth announcement canvas, and a year or so later, designed one for a boy, using a tiny knit onsie that my son wore as a baby. 

When I started stitching the piece for my son's baby, I decided to use the simplest of materials:  all cotton floss.  Sandy Jenkins was my inspiration for this choice.  She stitches her designs almost entirely in floss, and they are so elegant!  So, that is what I decided to do too, because floss is readily available, comes in thousands (maybe an exaggeration) of colors, and can be quite versatile, depending on the stitch. 

In the girl's version of the birth announcement, a butterfly is the featured 'critter', perched on top of a clothes pin securing the garment to the line.  For the boy's announcement, this little wren spreads the news!  Barbara Mayo Grass was my inspiration for the stitching technique I used on him.  He called for a delicate hand and fine shading.  One ply floss is perfect for needlepainting, which is Barbara's specialty.

Here are a few more close ups from the piece.  One shows a leaf I missed stitching!  I didn't notice it until I took the photos for posting here on my blog!  So...that is a good thing, right?  I'll get right on it before putting it in the frame!

Finally, here is a photo of the piece which awaits the custom mat and frame, which I am picking up tomorrow. 

My grandson is not a baby anymore, and he is the first one to tell me that!  But as any mother knows, her baby will ALWAYS be her baby!  And, as another saying goes..., I will say this to my daughter in law...."Better Late Than Never!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am back from my glorious trip to San Diego.  I stayed with my friend Cassie Prescott in her beautiful home by the water for a full week!  Being by the sea, savoring the cool moist air every day was pure pleasure and quite the change from my dry high desert climate.  San Diego is paradise indeed!

On Tuesday evening, I presented a program for the San Diego ANG's annual Open House.  That was quite a challenge for me as I was asked to speak for about an hour.  But, I think it turned out fine, and I was happy to do it.  Also happy when I completed that assignment!

Wednesday and  Thursday were play days for Cassie and me.  She took me shopping, of course, because that is always fun!  And also, we toured the Balboa Park's Botanical Gardens.  Oh what beauty!  Sadly, we didn't have enough time to really linger and immerse ourselves in all the flora because we had a dinner appointment to keep, but I did capture some beautiful photos with my cell phone camera. 

Below is one of the many magnificient coy fish in the surroundings ponds which will be laden with gorgeous water lilies later this summer.

Next, is the historic wood slated arboretum.  Such a beautiful structure!  Very Victorian, and it houses all kinds of tropical plants.

Here now, are photos of some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen.  I am just entranced by their exotic nature!  

Seriously now, do these flowers incite inspiration and the desire to stitch something beautiful?
I just want to study them in depth, re-create their colors  and intricate patterns with needle and thread.  Which is what I did..(but long before I saw these beauties in person.)  Here is my rendition of a lady slipper flower, rendered in my Painted Threads technique.

On Sunday, April 18th, I did teach this technique to 11 members of the guild.   This is my absolute favorite stitching and painting technique!  The subject is pre-stitched in all white threads, then soaked in water, and paint applied, to bleed and run into the threads and surrounding background.   I'll post more about that in a few days.  But right now, I have to work on one of my UFO's!  I'm determined to get it done in the next day or so.  So close to many stitches, so many colors, so many ideas, so many many things to do!  Ain't life grand?