Thursday, May 20, 2010

Central Design Revealed: the May Pole

I've completed almost half of my central design, and I thought it was time to elicit some feedback.  When I started planning for this project, I knew I wanted some sort of central design that said "blessings," but I wasn't sure what it should be.  I did some sketches -- none of which I liked very much -- and then I was struck with this idea to do a may pole, with ribbons coming down that would spell the word "blessings."  Here's what it looks like at this point:

I like the way it's coming together, though to be honest, I'm still not really sure that it "works."  I mean, can you tell that it's a may pole?  Does it look weird with those letters at the end of the ribbons? 

Regardless, I guess I'm committed to the design at this point -- way too much stitching done to change the plan now!  :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Square 15: Neighbors

Neighbors can be a blessing, or a curse, and often it's nothing more than luck of the draw.

When we were first married, and living in an apartment, the woman in the apartment under us would play her music so loudly that the floor of our apartment would vibrate -- literally.  Our china and glassware rattled in the cabinets.  I was afraid that pictures would fall off the walls.  Later, in our first house, we lived next to a man who would have violent arguments with his girlfriend at all hours of the night.  Then he abandoned the house completely, and left it to fall into complete disrepair.

So, I know what it's like to have bad neighbors, and how much neighbors impact the quality of our daily lives.  Lucky for us, for years now we have been blessed with wonderful neighbors. We live next to families with young children, so my kids have playmates right next door -- and that, in and of itself, is a blessing.  But in addition, our neighbors are responsible, caring, helpful people, really the definition of what a "good neighbor" should be.  And that, my friends, is a huge, continuing, daily blessing!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Square 14: Patience

Patience is a real blessing.  To be frank -- it's not something that I have in abundance.  I am rarely a patient person, though I strive to be more patient.  I could be much more patient with my kids, other drivers, the world at large....   But that is not why this square is about patience.  It's about patience because it was not supposed to be the next square.  This was:

It's supposed to be a square about books.  I stitched it and ripped it out twice last night; it's giving me fits!  Books are a really big deal to me, and I want to get this square right.  Finally, I gave up and moved on.  I took out some of my favorite tatting and stitched it onto another square -- and poof, a pretty square.  Not a technically difficult one, but one that sorta restored my sanity (and kept me from flinging my super-cute Cath Kidston sewing basket across the room in frustration). 

So, here's to patience!  And may I have the patience to return to the "books" square soon.  :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

L is for Laughter

I've gotten a wee bit behind in my stitching of late, with sick kids, Mother's Day, and general end-of-the-school-year craziness.  I'm hoping to get back on track today.  But in the meantime, here's my next square for the word "blessings." 

This one I'm calling "L is for Laughter," because laughter is such a blessing.  A child's laughter is particularly wonderful.  But also laughing with one's spouse -- sharing a smile over an inside joke -- can really lift your spirits.  I think we'd all be a lot healthier if we laughed more.  :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

B is for Blessings

Part of my overall design is to have the word "blessings" incorporated into my sampler.  This is the first letter.  When I'm a little stumped about square to do next, I turn to this part of the design and stitch on that while I wait for inspiration to strike. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Square 13: Louisiana

I am a Texas girl -- a native.  I love this place, its various folks, its particular culture of individuality, its vastness.  As silly as it may sound, this place is home, and is deep into my bones, a part of me.  So naturally, I expected to do a square about Texas at some point.  But this week my mind has really been on Louisiana, my other home, and so this square had to come first.

My entire extended family is from Louisiana.  My mother's side of the family is French Cajun in origin; my great-grandmother lived in the country in a tiny house surrounded by sugar cane fields.  She and her friends spoke French (though it was nothing like the French I learned in school).  They had huge Catholic families, who in turn had huge Catholic families.  My parents met when my mom was still in high school and my dad was at LSU.  They graduated from LSU and married, and promptly moved to Houston -- away from virtually all of their friends and family.   I was born shortly thereafter. 

Many, many hours of my childhood were spent on Interstate 10making the 5 hour trek between Houston and Baton Rouge.  Since all of our family was there we spent a lot of time there, and it seemed to me like a second home, with an incredibly rich culture of its own. 

Lately, Louisiana just can't catch a break, what with hurricane after hurricane, and now this massive oil spill.  I worry about the fragile ecosystem there, about the future of the barrier wetlands and marshes, and about how it will all impact the economy of a state that was already on the ropes.  I hope and pray that it will not be as devastating as people are predicting.

So, Louisiana has been on my mind, and hopefully Texas will understand.

For this square, I attempted a padded stitch.  Hmmmm....  is about all I can say about that.  I think it turned out okay, but not nearly as neat looking as the examples in my stitching book.  I guess that's usually the case, though.  :)  I'm glad I tried something new, though I couldn't resist adding a few French knots on top! 

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Square 12: Rainy Days

Rainy days aren't always a blessing: like when there have been a few too many of them in a row, or when you have a long list of errands to run.  But on that perfect day when you don't have to do much of anything, and you can slow down, drink hot tea and finally concentrate on that book you've been dying to read, there's nothing quite like a rainy day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Square 11: Health

I realized pretty soon into this project that I do not have the stitching skills nor the boundless imagination needed to stitch a complete picture for each of 100 squares.  Also, I really like incorporating lace and other little bits of things into my sampler, like I did on my 39 squares sampler.  So, here and there I will have a collage square, and this is one of them.

For this square, I stitched two rows out of this delicate vintage lace, and then put yellow French knots on top.  It's going to stand for the blessing of health.  I try not to take my health for granted, but there's nothing like a little speed bump (or a herniated disk!) to wake you up and make you appreciate having a fully functioning, healthy body.  I'm slowly getting back to normal now, with less and less pain from the back issue, and now I'm planning to re-dedicate myself to being as healthy as I can be, each day.

So, for today I celebrate the blessing of health, and wish all of you much health and happiness!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Square 10: Mystery Square

This square is part of my central design.  I'm not quite ready to reveal the overall design yet, because I'm still not sure that it's going to "work."  But I do really like the way this part of it looks -- very colorful and crowded with flowers!  As far as this "mystery" square goes, while it's not devoted to a specific blessing, I'll say that I think it's a blessing to be able to create with color.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!