Snow Day

February 28, 2015

Today was a rare Texas snow day. Well, for me and the dogs anyway. The children and my husband went about their days as usual. I, on the other hand, greatly enjoyed being trapped indoors, allowing me the grand excuse to be creative. I sketched, embroidered, and painted. All in a days work.

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Sketching

February 27, 2015

Through embroidery I’ve discovered I enjoy sketching. With hand embroidery you have to sketch by hand the designs in your mind, getting them out and onto paper, and then onto fabric. I never knew I could sketch prior to embroidery. I’m no Pen and Paint but I am enjoying this new found medium of expressing my creativity.

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Yellow Crocus

I just finished Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim. I’m still having a difficult time wrapping my thoughts around the emotions this story brought up in my heart.

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father. As she grows older, Mattie becomes more like family to Lisbeth than her own kin and the girl’s visits to the slaves’ quarters—and their lively and loving community—bring them closer together than ever. But can two women in such disparate circumstances form a bond like theirs without consequence? This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity.

As Nancy says on Amazon.com – “Once I started reading the book I couldn’t put it down.” I couldn’t agree more. I ordered Yellow Crocus, the Audible edition. Not only did I fall in love with the book, the two main characters; Mattie and Lisbeth, due to the emotionally riveting story line told by the author, but also due to the voice behind the audio book: Bahni Turpin – she made the two women come alive in my mind.

WARNING —- BOOK DETAILS BELOW —– DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO KNOW DETAILS OF A BOOK YOU’RE TRYING TO DECIDE TO PURCHASE AND READ. (my friendly disclaimer that I just can’t keep all this goodness to myself.)

11024133_338489413003631_2003382726_nI cried through Mattie and Lisbeth’s stories. I cried when Mattie was taken from her son, Samuel. I cried when Samuel was sold to another owner and taken from Mattie again. I cried when he went missing and she didn’t know if he were alive or dead. I cried when she took off with her new baby daughter, leaving Lisbeth, her owners daughter she had nursed and raised since birth. And I cried when Mattie and Lisbeth were re-united in a most unlikely way.

I also was moved by Lisbeth’s story line, crying when she found her well to-do fiance having sex with a slave girl. And when she made the brave decision to break off her engagement, asking the good man, Matthew, in the story to marry her, moving to Ohio to become Abolitionists. I sobbed tears at the last chapter of the book.

And I promise, even with all those little pieces of the book I just shared, I didn’t give it away, or ruin the read. There’s so much to this book I can’t even write words to because the emotion, caught up in my throat, can’t pass through my lips. It’s a moving read, a sacred read, an eye opening read, gut wrenching read, and truly, a classic read.

If you want to listen to a sample of the book being read, click here. You can also try a free 30 trial of Audible by clicking here… I LOVE this app so much as it allows me to “read” so many more books than I would normally be able to if I were actually reading them with eyes instead of ears.

I’m currently listening to another incredible moving book named “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Kidd and narrated by two great voices! I can’t wait to review that one for you.

Truly, there’s nothing much more enjoyable to me than stitching something pretty, while listening to something moving.

This post brought to you by, Good Music.

Leon Bridges – Better Man

Wild Flowers

I never considered myself good at any form of art. I’ve never really had a knack for drawing, painting, etc. As much as I would love it, those talents seemed to have eluded me. I’ve used other skills and talents as my creative outlet.

That is, until I found hand embroidery. Some may not see that as an art, but it truly is. You’re taking nothing, and forming a design, with colors, and styles, and details, and turning it into a beautiful piece of art. Hand embroidery, unless using patterns, requires a lot of creativity, and even some talent at drawing your designs on the fabric.

I’ve been enjoying using Pinterest as a place of inspiration, YouTube as a place of learning, and my own creative mind as the thing that ties it all together. I enjoy flowers. I do also enjoy an abstract filler design – one with lots of color and filler stitches – but mostly, flowers really capture my heart.

They draw my mind to a time gone by, capturing my imagination of what it might have been like years gone by to be a girl, a woman, stitching flowers on pillows, and dresses, for the family – and maybe even for a living. There’s something romantic and whimsical about stitching flowering designs.

I’m working on the following floral design, inspired by a picture I found on Pinterest – which I cannot find now, or I would give credit to the original artist.

I’m enjoying putting my own spin on what inspires me by way of colors and what stitches I choose to use.

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The details of the flowers are getting lost in the stitches and thickness of the floss. I still have so far to go to perfect this craft, this art form, but that is truly the fun part of any creative outlet, I think – the practicing, the room for growth, always growing, always evolving your talent.

I stitched this sweet little hoop necklace to sorta match the hoop I’m working on.

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So tell me, if you stitch, which designs do you gravitate toward?

 

Embroidered Framed Art

February 26, 2015

My in-laws followed us to Texas. Although they had mentioned more than once they wanted to move somewhere warmer when our children grew up, I don’t know if they would have moved so soon if not for us, or at all, for that matter.

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They wanted to remain in close contact with their grandkids. They also have family in the DFW area as well. So whatever their reasons to move, they are here now. They left family and friends to move somewhere warmer and somewhere near us. In fact, they ended up right down the road from us, which has been lovely.

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My mother-in-law hasn’t been totally thrilled with her new home. I think it was just the shock of transitioning from a huge three level home in Missouri, to a smaller one level home in Texas. They wanted something all on one level but I don’t think they knew at the time that would mean a drastic change in space. I do believe that now that they’ve been decorating the home, and it’s starting to come together, she is beginning to like her new home more. And it’s not that she doesn’t like it – but, like I said, it was just a shock to her going from a huge house to a smaller house.

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All this to say, I wanted to do something really nice for her and their new home. Something that shows how much I appreciate them being so close. Something to say, hey I know this hasn’t been easy, but we love you all so much, and are so glad you followed us here. So I chose to embroidery a piece of art work for their new home. This is nothing I’ve ever done before – embroidering something to this scale, and mounting it in a frame. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Even though I did make a couple mistakes, they are likely mistakes only I will notice, and over all, I think it turned out beautifully, and will look great in their home.

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I hope to gift this to her this weekend sometime. And I’m praying she loves it as much as I enjoyed stitching it for her. I know they are happy here. But, I know they also miss Missouri and the people it holds for them. It’s always nice to be shown as much someone appreciates you. That is what this gift is… from me to them… a token of appreciation. And a use of my skills in doing so.

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If you’d like a tutorial on how to re-create this piece of embroidered art, just leave a comment below. If I get enough people interested, I will film one for you.