Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Embroidered Thanksgiving Wreath Card

This weekend I decided to make my mom an embroidered Thanksgiving wreath card.  I had seen several embroidery designs I liked on Pinterest and decided to design my own.  In the past I have had good success sewing on cardstock (corn, pumpkin, valentine, valentine pattern) but it is always risky because you have to put a fair amount of pressure on the card when pulling the needle through the paper.  In order to avoid tearing the paper I usually make the holes with a hole punch first. This is especially important when using thicker thread like I did on this card. 

One thing you can't tell from a photo is the feel of an embroidered card.  Usually when you are done the sewing stiffens the paper and with this card it began to feel almost basket-like.  Another thing you can't see from the photo is the whole card is rather thick.  I usually either sew a card to the back to hide the "wrong" side or, in this case, I used tiny brads to attach it to a thick cardstock.  You might have to use extra postage if it gets too thick (since this card is square, it did need extra postage).

If you would like to make this card you can download the pattern here.  Print on 8 1/2 x 11'' cardstock, trim to size, punch your holes, and you are ready to start sewing.

Image from Stitch, Craft, Create

The night I started this card I went to bed after sewing for a couple hours.  I think my brain was still thinking about this stitch because I woke up at four and had the most profound thoughts about it.  Now, not all my four o'clock revelations stand up to the light of day, but I thought this one was interesting. 

The stitch I used on the wreath is a form of "Lazy daisy" stitch.  It is a very clever and beautiful stitch because the loop on the surface is held in place by the exact same thread that goes below and pops up in another place to catch the loop and hold it down.  And when I woke up in the middle of the night I had the thought that our lives are just like this stitch.  We are the only things holding ourselves down. It appears that other people or things are holding us back, but really it is just ourselves if we look below the surface.  It is quite ingenious because once you see this you realize you have the power to untangle your knots and set yourself free.

I never knew there were such insights to be gained from sewing!  But aside from my four o'clock musings I also wanted to tell everyone who reads this blog that I am so thankful for you.  I send you much joy and love and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mutter Gottes Church Sketch

Last week I met up with my "sketchy" friends to draw Mother of God Church in Covington, Ky.  The name of the church in German is Mutter Gottes Kirch.  We sat really close to the church so the perspective was challenging.  In the end I thought my turret looked like a stack of wobbly pancakes.

It is always fun to see everyone's different style of drawing.  You can see Christina's sketch here, Jeb's sketch here, and Robin's sketch here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Water on Leaves

"When you see a diamond in a drop of water you realize that being rich is a matter of perspective."
-V. Sorensen

Today on my walk I thought I saw a leaf with something sparkling on it, but I kept walking and thought it must have been a leaf with water on it.  And then I passed another similar leaf and had the thought, "I should stop and take a picture," ...but I continued on my way.  Until finally I saw a leaf that truly made me stop in my tracks.  The whole leaf looked like it had diamonds laying on it and was so brilliantly lit by the setting sun that I had to kneel down to make sure what it was.  And to my amazement it was simply water on leaves!

After I photographed the first leaf I took a few more steps and there was another one.  And then another and another!  They were all around me shimmering in the setting sun.  I must have looked like a crazy girl running from one to the next, kneeling down and admiring them up close.  And when I looked closely at the water on the leaves I could see that each one was like a miniature magnifying glass revealing beautifully intricate leaf patterns.

I have walked this same route around my neighborhood hundreds of times and never seen such a thing.  Each leaf was truly a delight to behold.  Some were brilliant and showy...

while some were subtle and muted. 

When I finally arrived home and looked at the photos I felt such gratitude for the experience.  What greater joy in life can there be than to see a diamond in a drop of water... to find the extraordinary in the ordinary?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tip-toeing through the Ginkgo Balls

You in the very immediateness of your present awareness, are in fact the entire world, in all its frost and fever, in all its glories and its grace, in all its triumphs and its tears. You do not see the sun, you are the sun; you do not hear the rain, you are the rain; you do not feel the earth, you are the earth.
- Ken Wilber

I think that makes me a stinky ginkgo ball!  But I am happy to be one because they are quite beautiful with their soft blush-pink skin and golden yellow mouth.  And laying on top of the gradient green-to-yellow fan-shaped leaves...it is quite a visual feast! If they weren't so stinky you would want to eat them! 

After tip-toeing through the ginkgo balls there were other treasures to be discovered on my walk.  A mushroom cap, a star-burst seed pod, and sunlight pouring through tendrils of grass so fine it looks like cobwebs.  These slow, fall walks feed me in so many ways.