I have returned from my short time away. Although I didn’t really go ‘anywhere’, in my mind I had left on a wonderful adventure. I find that there are many ways to change things up – by reading and exploring and perhaps learning new things.
To me, every time I learn something new it is an adventure.
I am not sure why I was born with the yearning to make things. I remember being as young as seven or eight years old, sitting on my grandmother’s porch learning embroidery from a neighbor in her south side Chicago neighborhood. We used old tea towels and iron on patterns, and I learned all the basic stitches from my grandmother and her friend, Mrs. Kuba.
I don’t know what we did with the towels that were finished. I don’t think it ever really mattered. What mattered to me was that I was creating something and how the beautiful colored thread always thrilled me.
Recently a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that brought these memories to the surface once again. It was a link to a site which teaches beautiful embroidery. The artist is very talented and has many books, videos and kits available which teach these outstanding techniques.
As if I needed anything new to entertain myself with, I ordered the book “A Perfect World in Stumpwork”. I received the book on Christmas Eve. I felt it was a gift to myself, and over the next few days I read through it and decided that I wanted to learn more about this beautiful art.
When I initially ordered the book, I also ordered a cheaper kit and some supplies from Ebay to practice with. Coincidentally, they also arrived on Christmas Eve. I was thrilled because I would have the means to try some of the techniques taught in the book and refresh my own needlework skills at the same time.
Over the next few days, I played around with the ribbons and thread and began my sampler. While not perfect, I am happy with the result so far.
I plan to explore this type of creating more, as I have ordered more supplies and look forward to learning some of the beautiful techniques in the book.
I also spent a portion of the day yesterday changing my little all season tree to its winter theme. While it looked nice for Christmas, I love the cool aqua and silver theme, along with the glass snowflakes and icicles that I have. To me, the cool aqua tones are soothing and relaxing.
I had found some cute flocked polar bears and penguins last year in our travels, and they adorn the tree as well.
I also made a matching bow for my pretty mohair polar bear that I designed several years ago, and brought back with me from Chicago this October. He had been in storage all these years, and it is one of the bears that I couldn’t part with. I had named him “Boris” (which I thought was fitting) and I show him here with Edgar:
So many people get depressed during winter. They don’t like the cold or the snow or the inability to do outdoor things. I find that it never really bothers me, as I have learned to make my surroundings here as pleasant as possible and use the time to explore new and creative things. The quiet time that winter brings can be used to ones’ advantage if one chooses, and made into a wonderfully positive season.
While these things that I have been doing may not appear to have much to do with woodworking and painting on the surface, they are all instrumental in my own process of creating and designing. Many times I am asked where I come up with so many different types of designs, and where I get my ideas from. My answer to those who ask is that I try to live life to the fullest, and I do that by keeping busy and filling my days with many different sources of inspiration. Seeing the beauty of the world around us is not a difficult task. All we need to do is to open our minds and observe.
Reading others’ thoughts.
Trying new techniques.
These are all things that stimulate the imagination and jump start our own creative ideas. I find that because I fill my life with creating and living it to the fullest, I don’t have time to worry about winter or other things that I can’t control. And I believe that makes me a happier person.
We are almost to the end of the year. As I reflect on the year that has just passed, I am pleased with all that I have accomplished. However, I feel that it pales to what I have yet to experience and enjoy. It is because of that, I wake up each day and look forward to what it will bring.
It is Monday today, and that is the beginning of a new week. I have said many times that Monday is my favorite day, because it is a chance to start fresh in a small way. I have enjoyed my time away from designing, but my head is full of ideas. Many of these ideas have come during this short time away, and I do believe that there are may still to come.
Although we are only on the first week of winter, I am going to be working on some designs for the magazine that will have a spring theme to them. My brief absence from designing has made me long for it even more. It was just the jump start I needed.
I hope you enjoy today, and every day. For those of you who despise winter, keep in mind that spring and summer will soon follow. They always do.
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Have a beautiful day.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"