Thursday, February 24, 2011


Strata: Layer of material, formed either naturally or artificially, often one of a number of parallel layers placed one upon another.

As winter settled in I found myself longing for warmth - even the appearance of warmth was good enough.  And so this punchneedle piece came to life.  These warm colors layered one after another made me think of desert canyons and of the layers of rock on which this world is built.

Thread change after thread change defined this design.  Punchneedle uses its own unique needle which requires two steps for each thread change.  Once you add in the process of pulling yards of each color, blending colors and changing colors, the process of punching itself pales next to the constant thread changes.  It was a very good learning experience and you might be able to see the more frequent changes and my growing abilities to blend threads as you go from the top of the piece (where I started) to the bottom.

My goal for this year is one doll figure a month, one folk art punchneedle bird a month and one punchneedle picture a month.  So far I'm behind by only one picture so I guess I'd better get busy and draw up the next design and start choosing colors.

"And Life is Colour and Warmth and Light and a striving evermore for these..." - Julian Grenfell

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seeing the Light

Finally the sun has come out!!  After what seemed like endless days of grey clouded over skies, the sun has made an appearance.  As I walked around the yard I realized that I could actually see a reflection in the small pond outside my studio.  What joy!

Although the rhododendrons aren't convinced that winter is over (they are still bent over - each leaf like an old woman sheltering herself from the cold) I know that they were feeling the sudden warmth of the sun.

Surely our winter is not over yet -- for that would be a minor miracle.  But for today - this sunny, glorious day - I'll say 'thank you'!!

"The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within". - William C. Bryant 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The "Flying in Circles" Bird

This colorful fellow is obviously 'going in circles'.  Round and round go the colors and surrounding them is a deep purple color. I suspect this is probably a pretty rare bird -- for purple and orange are not commonly seen (together) in the natural bird communities. 

My inspiration for this color combination (purple and orange not being two colors I would normally even consider) was this skein of 'Wildflower' cotton.  When I saw this I thought 'wouldn't I love to see this color combination flitting outside my studio window?'  For now I shall have to satisfy myself by having one nesting in my studio with me.

"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?" - Rose Kennedy 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

As you know, from earlier posts, this is a holiday that is dear to me.  The history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint is shrouded in mystery and there are several versions of the St. Valentine story.

One legend is that Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

Another legend says that Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison it is believed that he fell in love with a young girl, who may have been the jailor’s daughter. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter which he signed ‘From your Valentine’.

Poor St. Valentine – none of the tales I found gave him a ‘good’ ending as prison and death were his reward for being a romantic. Thankfully his name lives on in all that is good – caring, love, romance.

This is a day for hugs and kisses, for cards, candy and flowers. This is one of my very most favorite holidays of the year!

"Love is the poetry of the senses". - Honore de Balzac

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Taking Flight"

Here I am, taking flight!!!  It seems that this year is turning into 'the year of flight' for me!  First my punchneedle bird series (still ongoing) and now an art doll with wings.  I love the idea that I can 'fly' anytime I want to - I just have to grab my needle and thread and take off.  I love the ideas that keep flitting into (and out of) my brain.  What if I do this or what if I do that?
To get technical, "Taking Flight" has a fabric base which I overstitched.  She is covered in a variety of embroidery stitches.  I hemmed and hawed over what I would do with her wings when I realized that the feather stitch would be oh so apropos!  However they seemed to be grounding me because it took so very long to stitch and overstitch all of these feather stitches.  And no, I didn't count them *smile*.

I'm excited about the possibilities for more 'abstract' body patterns and I'm sure you'll see more of them flying out of my studio as the months pass by - although not all of them will have wings.

"Flying dreams mean that you're doing the right thing with your life". - Doug Coupland

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And the winner is...

I've put all of your names into a hat and asked my husband to pull one out.  Thanks to all of you who left a comment and I wish I could give each and everyone of you a special Valentine.

Our winner is: Deborah of While I Was Waiting.

Deborah your Valentine bag will be shipped out today, hopefully it will arrive before or at least by Valentine's Day.

It was great fun creating something to give away.  I'm sure there will be more 'surprises' in coming months.

"So I show appreciation for the little gifts that have been handed to me". - Terrence Howard

Friday, February 4, 2011

Work Awaiting...

This is what I like to see -- stitching work waiting for my hands to take it up and create something new.  I have filled to the brim the small table in my studio.  There are two punchneedle projects (a bird and a picture); there are two art dolls (one all ready for embellishing, the other languishing upon a pile of fabric that will one day become her body). 

I have finally come to a point in my life where seeing all of this sitting here doesn't bother me.  I don't feel compelled to get busy and 'clean off that table'.  This is a big break through for me.  Now those piles of fabric and thread and floss and fibers are gifts waiting to be opened and they are all for ME!! 

One day soon I will want to add another pile to the table but that will mean that I have turned one stack of goodies into a finished piece.  I'm so thankful for this small space filled to the brim with 'pieces to be'!

"We can only be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures". - Thornton Wilder

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Art Journey Blog Giveaway

Let's welcome February!  I'm thinking Valentine's Day, are you?   With that in mind I've created my very first blog giveaway.    

Pulling out threads in rosy pinks and soft greens I've created a punchneedle 'ditty bag' which I've filled with chocolates (of course).  My very favorite holiday is Valentine's Day!  A holiday that is devoted to love and a holiday filled with pink and red, during the dreariest part of the year, what's not to like?

The design for this punchneedle bag is a variation on a 'freebie' pattern generously given out by Robin.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and your name will be put 'in the hat'. And to all of you 'quiet' ones -- this is your chance to step forward and say 'hi'.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you.  I'll announce the winner next Tuesday.

Be thinking rosy colors and sweet treats!

"Each day provides its own gifts". - American Proverb


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