Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Next Generation!

I've just returned from my vacation in Florida where I visited my eldest daughter and her family.  She and her husband are parents of a darling little boy, aged 5.  It had been a year and a half since my last visit...far too long!  As beautiful as Florida is, my real enjoyment came from being with family!  And I have to say,  all the statements made about the joys of grandchildren are TRUE! 

My grandson insisted on helping me needlepoint.  He called it 'sewing', and was intent to learn.  Of course, when he saw my supplies, he was smitten!  It was almost too much for him...the colors, the threads, the beads!  And the design that I was working on...."So Bootiful, Grandma!"  He had to do it too!

There was no needlework shop in the area where my daughter resides, so we only had Michaels and JoAnn's to obtain supplies for a child friendly design.  After much consideration, we opted to buy plastic canvas, some 'real looking' large tapestry needles (which were really some kind of plastic I think) and a huge package of off brand pearl cottons with 24 colors!  We bought a little plastic case to hold his stitching, and it was perfect.  Sadly, I neglected to photograph this little kit, so I hope you can 'get the picture.'

Next, I drew simple designs on the canvas with Sharpie Permanent colored markers.  We had tried other types of things, but the Sharpies were the only things that really worked.  When he came home from kindergarten that day, we showed him 'the surprise'.  I wish you could have heard his enhaled breath!  He was thrilled! 

I showed him how to thread the needle:

Next, I doubled the thread and tied a knot so the thread would stay in the needle.  This is an ideal way for children to use a needle and thread.  Plus, the doubled pearl cotton filled in the large holes of the plastic canvas quite well.   He was eager to learn, and paid close attention to my instructions.  At one point, he said, "I've got it Grandma!  You can leave now."  When I didn't, he told me I was annoying him!  Hahaha!  I don't think he was being rude...just honest as only a five year old can be!  Anyway, he worked and worked, until he was forced to stop for dinner, bath, and bed.  He announced that he was going to get up before school, and finish it in time for Show and Tell.  Which he did! 

Ahhh....I don't have a photo of the finished piece either!  But you can be sure it was Bootiful!

Now, this blog entry would not be complete without my featuring my 7 year old granddaughter who belongs to my youngest daughter.  We had a sleep over at my house before I left for Florida, and she too always wants to paint and stitch when she visits.   I've given her little kits before, which she has enjoyed.  This time, I gave her a piece of Zweigart 18 mesh and some fabric markers.  I told her to design her own piece.  Here is she is with her beautiful composition.   (Actually, SHE is the beautiful composition, wouldn't you agree?!)

She too has the same intensity to learn to stitch as my grandson has.  I gave her an actual needle because she is older, and I knew she could handle it.  She has been handling scissors like a pro for years now too!  Anyway, seeing her sitting in my stitching chair, with my Dazor lamp, oblivious to everything else, was really cute!  What's a little slobber and steam when you are creating!

             I gave her leftover pieces of Caron's Watercolour threads.  She LOVED them!

Teaching my grandchildren to stitch, or in the least, giving them a glimpse of what I love to do, has been one of the most satisfying teaching experiences of my life!  No national seminar teaching stint can equal this joy!  And I have two more grandchildren yet to convert!  Lucky me!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Softer Side of Halloween!

Here it is October 3rd already!  Fall is in the air, even here in the desert Southwest!  For many people, this month means only one thing:  Halloween. 

I was surprised (no..shocked!) to learn that the most popular canvas designs in the handpainted needlepoint business are Halloween designs.  Really?!  Yes!  They outsell every other type of canvas out there, including Christmas stockings!  I learned this when I designed my first EVER Halloween design in Witche's Chandelier.

This canvas is large..23"X25", and is part of my fantasy chandelier series.  I do want to stitch it, but have not yet found the time.  I know that there are a number of people 'out there' who have purchased this canvas, and I only hope they are stitching/have stitched it to their Halloween love'n heart's content!  That would not be a black heart, mind you, because this design is rather sweet, don't you think?

I am not a blood, guts and gore person.  I don't like horror movies or scary things.  I do like fantasy however, and the cuter, the better!  Like Mary Englebreight type Halloween things! Or Libby Sturdy's Adorable Halloween canvases!  Or like my friend Janine Holtzman's Dead Cat Quilt, based on cats she has known and loved.  Perfect for Halloween, this quilt has brightened up her kitchen wall for years.  (Janine, I've put my watermark on the photo, but I'm not claiming it as my design...just so you know!) 

The dead cats are featured in the black and gray bottom border, barely visible like ghosts.  It's a pretty clever and wonderful design, Janine, as are all of your quilts!

I'm currently working on a new Halloween canvas which I will debut in January at TNNA.  For now, though, I'm offering just a peek.  I'm enjoying working on this so much!  The colors and stitches, beads, silk ribbons, embellishments, etc that I'm using on the piece have really given my creativity a boost!  Maybe it is the cooler weather, but I could stitch for hours on this, if I in, if the rest of life didn't get in the way!

Obviously, this doesn't even look like Halloween yet.  Aqua?  Yes indeedy!  Here's another glimpse that has more Fall in it:

Before I go, I'll show you a scary spook that recently 'appeared' on my studio floor!  This could have FREAKED me out, but I laughed when I saw it!

Can you guess how it got there, and what it is?

The FIRST one who submits the correct answer in the comments section of this blog will get a "Trick or Treat!" from me.

Bye for now~  Get Stitch'n!