In 2018, I am trying to be a little kinder to myself. I am trying to make sure that I take at least an half hour each day for creativity, even it that means I am just doodling. I have put a few stitches in my cherries needlepoint over the past week, a little each evening. While overall I am enjoying working on it, I suddenly remembered why I put this piece away. In cross stitch, things are exact, what with all the counting and all. You know exactly where a stitch of a certain color is supposed to go. With mass produced needlepoint, the color is not always clear and the graph may not match exactly the canvas. This piece also has a lot of confetti type stitching, which gives great detailed results, but can be a pain to stitch. So while it not totally comfortable for me, I am super impressed with the results, and will love having it around for a long time. I will also say that I am impressed with the quality of materials in this kit. The threads are all wool and Persian wool. It will be pretty when it is done. My sweet baboo, even commented that he had noticed it when he walked by it the other day on the sofa and thought it was really pretty.
I had been looking forward to a day of puttering around the house today, and getting stuff done. Alas, it was not to be. I had forgotten that our handy neighbor was coming to install a new quiet fan in the bathroom this morning. (I have awesome neighbors!) I had the noisiest bathroom fan, which sounded like a jet taking off. I would avoid turning on the light because the noise would drive me nuts. So a few months ago, I bought a super quiet one at Home Depot. When I bought it, we mentioned it in conversation to a friend, who said he knew how to install it. He had it installed in 30 minutes. It is now whisper soft and makes less noise than the heater. I am a happy, happy girl.
Before he arrived, I decided to take Liesl with me on errands. True to her schnauzer nature, she is a watch dog and she gets all huffy puffy if she hears knocking. (Like if there is hammering.) She will either bark relentlessly, as if the house is on fire. Or she assumes that whomever is here is a loyal subject who has come to pay attention to her, and will not leave them alone. So, off we went to Trader Joes. It was a brisk day, and the sun was shining brightly today. So while I was out, I decided to take Liesl for a walk at her favorite park, Lake El Estero in Monterey. It was so peaceful and beautiful out. After we walked, we just sat on a park bench. Liesl likes to sit and watch the ducks swim there. She is not generally a lap dog, but will lay down on my lap on a park bench to watch the ducks. Today, there was an egret sitting all by himself. I took this photo of him, but I think I was too far away. I also saw a crane there today. I have never seen a crane in this part of California before and he was a truly magnificent creature. The crane flew around the lake, and when he did so, his wings made this quiet whoosh, whoosh sound. It was incredible. It was such a blessing to have these few peaceful moments.
Sadly, it seemed like there was a string of bad crafty news for a while in the Fall. Thread Heaven has stopped production. While I have not used it for cross stitch, I do use it for quilting. My understanding from a quilting teacher is that TH uses static to keep thread from knotting. It does work well when I am hand quilting. The next item of bad news is the closure of Nordic Needle. I was pretty bummed out by this news. I loved their catalog and had long dreamed of attending one of their stitching retreats and visiting their store in Fargo. I am hopeful that after all is said and done, that they will be able to maintain an online store, because there are some hardanger supplies that can not be sourced elsewhere. They had a great selection of Valdani perle cottons which were superb.
The last bit of bad crafty news was local. The local craft store in Salinas, Beverly's lost their lease on Main Street. I loved this store. It had the old timey wood floors that echoed, and it just had a nice hometown vibe. It was fairly close to where I work, so when I needed a certain item for a project, I could zip over there to pick it up on my lunch break. But no more...
I was pretty sad about Beverly's closing, and watched the signs advertising the going out of business sales over several weeks. I could not bring myself to go in for several weeks. One day, I happened to be over in that neck of the woods for lunch. I made a quick dash in, just to see what was left. A fellow quilter and I have talked a lot about the high cost of thread, so I could not believe it when I saw that the small spools of Gutermann and Mettler were 50 cents and the large spools were a dollar. I picked up mostly neutrals. If I remember correctly, the rick rack was 75 cents. I think the bag of stuff came to about 13 dollars. I did feel a bit guilty though.
All of these businesses closing really made me worried about the future of needlework. I started to worry about the needle arts truly being an art form which is slowly disappearing. My opinion has changed, however, now that I have found Flosstube on YouTube! Wow, I feel so inspired when I watch these videos. If you have not yet discovered Flosstube, I encourage you to do so. A great series to get started with is The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch. Priscilla does amazing finishing on projects. She is so creative and her finished projects are making me think a bit more outside of the box. The videos are 15-20 minutes and are a lot of fun to watch.
My former boss and I use to talk about how wonderful people are on YouTube that will take the time to record a video which will help someone else, generally with no benefit to themselves. This includes car and small appliance repairs videos, or cooking or crafting. I have benefitted from watching a number of videos which have been so helpful, from repairing an issue with my refrigerator, to learning how to do a certain crochet stitch. So I am really grateful to those who invest the time in creating these videos to help someone else out. I am also grateful to those on Flosstube who take the time out of their busy schedules to inspire someone else. I think that the future of needlework will be fine.
May your week ahead be filled with blessings.