Stitch Therapy

Discovering me … one stitch at a time

Tag: art

Louvre Love

Dear Diary,

For our Summer vacation, we visited the Louvre. It was big and breathtaking.

We saw the Mona Lisa.

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We read a crazy statistic that 80% of people who go to the Louvre just look at the Mona Lisa and then leave. That seems like such a waste because there was so much more to see.

Those of you who have read my blog for awhile know that I love history and have a mild obsession with Henry VIII of England. Well, you can imagine how much I nerded out when I spotted this painting!

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Do you know who this is? It’s Anne of Cleves! Henry the VIII’s fourth wife! Back in the day, you couldn’t just ask someone to send a selfie when you were checking them out to be your 4th wife, so Henry dispatched Hans Holbein to paint Anne’s portrait. Henry liked the portrait enough to commit to marrying her, but when she arrived in England he was not pleased with her looks at all!!! So, what’s an obnoxious spoiled King to do but marry her anyway then annul the marriage in 6 months in order to take up with that trollop, Katherine Howard. What a jerky diss! But the best part is that Anne won out in the end. She got a nice settlement from Henry and they actually ended up becoming friends and confidants. She outlived him and all of this wives. Go Anne of Cleves!

Anyhoo, this is the ACTUAL PORTRAIT of her painted by Hans Holbein that started all of this drama. I just about died standing next to it!!!

Speaking of disses. I had to take a picture of this painting. It’s nice enough, right?

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Until you see the title which is “Portrait of an OLD LADY at 44 years old”. This 44 year old was not pleased.

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Tom liked this one. I wonder why? (insert eye roll) But look at the lady in the background embroidering. That’s redeeming.

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This has always been a favorite of mine.

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And this. Swoooon.

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I can’t imagine what it would be like to paint something so huge.

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Some of the halls were truly over the top.

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You can definitely picture this guy galavanting around in these rooms.

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You can’t tell from my sucky photo, but these colors were so rich.

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And, of course, Rembrandt.

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And check out the size and detail of this tapestry. Perhaps inspiration for my next project? Ha!

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Next up… Parisian cross stitching adventures…

Until then, hope you’re having a great weekend!

All in a day’s work

Helloooooo Friday!

Yesterday the boys came to work with me for Take Your Child to Work Day.  We have a big art department, so they got to spend their day sculpting and painting and creating various works of art.

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When I stopped in to check on them, my little joker was eager to show me his sculpture of a poop emoji. #proudmommoment

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It was a little sad to go into the office today without my little buddies, especially since they left behind reminders of their visit such as:

a portrait of Charlie on my drawing table

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a very brightly painted fox on my desk

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some kind of Pokemon sculpture

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and a little polaroid to remember them by.

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Have a great weekend!

A Simple Home

Hi Blog!

Where did this week go? Last night we had crazy thunderstorms. Thunder is kinda cool, but it keeps me up, which is not cool. Insomnia = baking.

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Stephanie and I went to an antique place last weekend. I got this.

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At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but the sales ladies were staring me down as I was making my decision and it was only $14, which is something a bargain shopper like me could not resist. It’s growing on me now, but I feel like I am walking that fine line between decorating my house with “vintage character” and decorating my house “like a granny.”

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I also made a second batch of deodorant bars. So far, they are working really well. The true test will be when Summer comes. They will have their job cut out for them.

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The other night, during a different bout of insomnia (do I sense a theme?), I wrote down all of the things that we have been doing towards our goal of living more simply and naturally. It included fun stuff like making our own deodorant and soap and cleaning supplies and basic but useful stuff like recycling old tshirts into rags and using cloth napkins. I felt really proud once I realized how many of these things have become part of our daily routines.

Speaking of daily routines, Sammy has found a new favorite napping spot… the hamper. He seems to prefer it when it is filled with the smelliest boy socks.

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And then there’s Charlie. This is his favorite place these days, sitting and watching the birds flutter by. I think he’s as excited about Spring returning as I am.

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And as for me, I’ve been sketching…

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And stitching. I finally tackled frogging and re-stitching the ghoulish lady.
Remember all that fuss over her skin?

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So that about sums up the latest around here. What’s new in your world?

Discovery

Many, many moons ago, I went to art school. I loved to draw and would tote my sketch book everywhere I went. That’s what art students did (in addition to wearing flannel shirts and Doc Martens— it was the 90s, after all). I ended up majoring in Industrial Design, because though I was an art student, I was still practical. Major in Design, I told myself. You can get a good job in Design, my parents said. But really, I just loved to draw.

So I graduated and got a good job in Design (designing washing machines, of all things!), and the years passed, and I had many good jobs, and got lots of promotions, and eventually there wasn’t much drawing anymore, and I told myself that I didn’t really care or miss it.

And I didn’t really miss it, until lately.

It’s funny that when I started cross stitching (and this little ol’ blog) three years ago, I didn’t realize what an impact it would have on my life. Something about the slow steady process of cross stitching opened up the floodgates of self exploration for me. Maybe all those hours sitting there stitching, with only my thoughts for company, got things percolating in my head. Somewhere inside of me, the idealistic art student started to feel stifled by the frustrated Corporate Creative Director.

Suddenly I wanted to create all kinds of things; with thread, in the kitchen, through music, in the garden, and even… maybe… drawing again? (eek!)  It’s scary to even say (write) that out loud. Weird and crazy and kinda neat, right?

So after many, many years I am cracking open a sketchbook, and picking up a pencil, and seeing what these (rusty) sketching fingers can do.

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And isn’t it funny that flannel is back in style again?

Embroidery, Fajitas, & FUN!

I should start every post with “I went to NY yesterday, ” because that’s basically my work life these days. It feels that way, anyway.

I know that some people feel energized and alive in the city, but not me. I feel overwhelmed and overstimulated and overcrowded. I like space and quiet, clearly not a city mouse.

Yesterday was especially bad because it was 1. a Monday, 2. FREEZING(!), 3. a long day, 4. dark before I even got home. By the time I got home, Tom had already fed the boys dinner and Littlest and I headed right back out for karate. I was all kinds of frazzled by the time I got home again (officially) for the day. Le sigh. 

But on to more fun things…

Our weekend was reaallllly fun! Last week, I made a resolution to spend the weekend doing enjoyable things and not worry so much about the day to day drudgery.

On Friday, we went with some friends to a party at an antique gallery. It’s hard to describe this place but I will try. It’s basically a huge, huge space filled with art and artifacts from around the world. There just happened to be a display on embroidery and veils. It was sooooo cool.

Check out this little gem about a woman’s value being determined by her ability to embroider. We’d be totally valuable in Central Asian tribal culture, right?!

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The garments were seriously out of this world. I, of course, was drawn to the ones that were done in cross stitch.

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Look at that! Actual cross stitches!

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Seriously! Cross stitched!

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Can you believe that women made these… by hand… a long time ago… with no artificial light… and limited supplies? My mind was blown.

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There were big cool wall embroideries too. Why can’t I be that free and creative? I am officially inspired.

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Tom was not as interested in the embroidery as I was. He wandered over to look at the paintings.

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Artistic people being arty.

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There was music! And food! And people breaking out in spontaneous dance! It was a neat change from our suburban life.


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Saturday we went out AGAIN! Can you believe it? We tried a new Mexican place. I ordered the steak fajitas. Is it just me, or do you agree that the whole point of fajitas is when they bring out the sizzling skillet and everyone looks at you wishing that THEY had ordered the fajitas because the smell is just out-of-this-world delicious? Needless to say, I was mighty disappointed when my fajitas came out ON A PLATE. NO SIZZLING. NO SMOKING. They were still delicious, but BLAH. ON A PLATE. What’s the point?

Sunday I went to a fabulous outdoor market with Stephanie! It was cold, but fun. See? NO DRUDGERY, just FUN! Unfortunately, now we have no groceries or food or clean clothes for the week, but it was WORTH IT!

The artist as a young child.

My 8 year old has really been interested in money lately. The other night, he mentioned that he’d like to do some chores in order to earn money.

I told him that there are certain chores that he has to do just for being part of the family, but that we could consider other ones that he could do above and beyond for cash. Tom told him that the best way to make money is to do something for someone that they can’t or don’t want to do for themselves.

He considered what we said and then we brainstormed some ideas. (His comments in parenthesis.)

Take out the trash (Too messy! )
Take out the recycling (Too dangerous! Sharp cans! )
Tidy up the bathroom after he and his brother brush their teeth (Too gross! )
Put dishes away (Can’t reach the shelves! )

There were many other suggestions, but in the end he decided that he would feed the dogs and also “sell his art like that guy who painted big stars (Van Gogh).” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Van Gogh was destitute his whole life and, of course, there was also that whole prostitute and cut-off ear thing. He spent the evening working on his first masterpiece entitled “The Fire” and talked Tom into buying it for 25 cents. He is quite the wheeler-dealer.

This might be worth a lot more than 25 cents some day…

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Not much stitching going on this week but here’s a sneak peek at the threads that I picked out for my project. I’m having trouble getting the colors right in this photo. I was going for “cheery and modern” but am worried that they are coming across “overly cutesy.” Maybe I can talk my budding entrepreneur/artist extraordinaire into doing a collaboration with me. Maybe we can even talk Tom into buying it.

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