Friday, December 31, 2004

My Stitching Goals for 2005

I was inspired to think of my stitching goals for 2005 when the gals in the Margaret Sherry Cross Stitch Group started posting on them. One in particular caught my eye. It's by Karen F. She writes about her StRIP (Stash Reduction Implimentation Program) and about starting to do rotations. It's all in her stitching blog which is at:

So here's my list:

1. Set up a stitching nook with my new magnifying lamp.
2. Stitch one to two hours a day and listen to books on tape while I'm doing it!
3. Participate in some round robins on RoundRobinCrazy. Get them done on time. My first one is a Millennium Cats RR. Also on my list: Margaret Sherry RR, Valerie Pfeiffer RR, Dragon Dreams RR, and "I love being a girl" RR.
4. Two SALs -- Dragon Dreams' "Why Hoard Gold" and a Mike Vickery bookmark.
5. Silver Lining's Baby Roses (3 of them in pink) for my MIL for her 80th birthday in May.
6. Mike Vickery's Fish for my dad for Christmas 2005.
7. Keep up my stitching blog.
8. Organize my stitching stash.
9. Stash up on fabric and specialty threads (I've already got enough patterns, LOL!).
10. Stitch on evenweave and on higher count linens.

Valerie thinks my list is ambitious. I think Valerie's list is even more ambitious than mine! Anyway, if I don't get it all done, except for the RRs, it's not going to kill me. It might make me anxious, but what else is new?

I also have some non-stitching goals:

1. Get both sewing machines fixed.
2. Learn to quilt.
3. Do more origami.
4. Organize the house (yes, that one is ambitious).
5. Redecorate Camille's room.
6. Decorate the sitting room.
7. Replace the plants in the vestibule.
8. Get my medications straightened out.
9. Go to the gym.
10. Eat right.
11. Take care of my diabetes.
12. Add plants to the garden this summer.
13. Spend less time at the computer.
14. Spend more time with Daniel.
15. Have a family dinner in the dining room every time Mark comes home.
16. Keep up my friendships!

Now those are ambitious!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


My daughter Camille. She just turned 13. I am already fending off the boys! She doesn't like cross stitch or origami or really anything to do with her hands -- except she does plenty with her hands at computer games, video games, and Game Boy games! She is in the 8th grade and will be starting high school in the fall. Posted by Hello

Monday, December 27, 2004

Origami Model 1: Modular Cube

Modular cube (designed by Lewis Simon). Posted by Hello

Origami Model 2: Butterfly

Derudas butterfly. Posted by Hello


The word "origami" means to fold paper. Origami became popular in Japan in the 19th century, although it is much older than that. There is also a paper folding tradition in Spain. Nowadays, origami is popular all over the world.

I made my first origami models on a plane trip from London to Zimbabwe in 1997. The airline had given the children small packs of origami paper to keep them busy on the plane. Instead, they kept me busy. When I got to Zimbabwe and ran out of paper, I made my own using wrapping paper and a sharp knife. Eventually I discovered that I could buy paper online and ordered it over the internet. I also found a fair number of books in Harare bookstores. When I returned to the US, I had an arsenal of models under my belt and was a fairly proficient folder.

Most people interested in origami fold casually, buy a book here and there, and learn simple models such as cootie catchers and paper airplanes as children. However, there are the totally obsessed who buy hundreds of origami books, design their own models, fold for hours and days on end, and participate in origami lists online.

I am marginally obsessed. I own 75 origami books and boxes full of origami paper that take up an entire shelf in my office/art room. I buy my origami paper at an art store nearly every time I go to St. Louis to visit my in-laws. Boxes of origami models are stacked neatly in one of my closets, and there is a large basket of models out for display on the staircase landing. I have taught origami at libraries and bookstores. I belong to two origami associations, OrigamiUSA (OUSA) and the British Origami Society (BOS).

Right now, I haven't been doing much folding. I'm in a journal round robin at RoundRobinCrazy and I have folded models for each of the journals. I am also folding some models for a friend in New Zealand. The next thing I'm going to take up is fabric origami.

Friday, December 24, 2004


The dictionary defines ephemeral as "lasting a remarkably short time." Its Greek root means, "lasting only a day." I tend to think of ephemeral as something fragile that disappears quickly into nothingness. A vision is ephemeral. Life is ephemeral. A moth is ephemeral.

It bothers me that a blog is ephemeral. I would like to have a permanent record of my blog somewhere, so that when it disappears, the energy I put into it would not disappear. I want to save every piece of my life, every moment, however it manifests itself, in some kind of permanent record. I want my creativity to be a record of my life that lasts beyond me. I especially want my writing to last.

I love origami. I have been doing origami since 1997 -- eight years. I virtually stopped doing origami when I started stitching. I wanted to do something more permanent. It bothered me that origami is made out of paper. Paper is easily crushed. It gets dirty -- dust settles on it if you leave it out for a while. It fades in the sun. It is easily blown over. Eventually, after a long time, it crumbles. Origami is ephemeral.

I suppose it is very Zen to make something that lasts only a short time, and then to let it go. Some Buddhist monks make intricate mandalas out of sand, and destroy them when they are finished. There are no earthly attachments. The mind is trained to be always in the present. Each moment passes, is comprehended in its fullness, and then there is a new moment. It is always "now."

The ephemerality of human life doesn't bother me so much. I am bothered, though, when a life is cut short. I am bothered by the fragility of the human body, that in a moment it can be destroyed. I am saddened that rats live only two or three years, that so quickly their sweet faces are gone. We have had many rats, and are heartbroken by the death of each one. They are small objects of love. Human beings, on the other hand, can live long enough to fulfill their lives, and when they go, there can be a kind of joy in that.

Stitching Obstacles

I haven't been able to stitch much lately. Every time I sit down to stitch, I fall asleep. I take medication for bipolar disorder, and I have suspected that the meds are putting me to sleep. Until this week I was taking four different meds, but my psychiatrist has been reducing them to see if we can't solve the problem. So far the lower doses haven't had much effect. He finally decided to take me completely off one of the meds. I am so happy about this. I am hoping I finally wake up.

I think the magnifying lamp is going to change the way I stitch. I am going to move my stitching headquarters from the bed to a rocking chair near the window. I used to be able to stitch on the bed with no problem, but now every time I sit down on the bed I fall asleep. Yesterday I slept most of the day. It's ridiculous. It has taken me one month to get halfway through a simple Christmas ornament. That's how bad it is. And there isn't enough light (or privacy) in the rest of the house to find another place to stitch. So now I await the arrival of the magnifying lamp. Three more weeks or thereabouts.

Here I am up again in the middle of the night. Well, if you sleep all day... But, I don't sleep at the computer, and I don't sleep if I'm up and walking around. So I have been sitting in front of the computer more, and just not sitting down anywhere else.

It all seems so complicated to me. I hate being incapacitated by medication. I hate not being able to stitch...and not being able to do a lot of other things. Not only do I sleep, but I have no energy or enthusiasm. I have so much I want to do -- this problem must get fixed quickly.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Mini St. Francis, again

Roxi suggested I cut my losses on the mini St. Francis and just toss it. I don't think I'm going to toss it because it is from a particular era in my life that I want to remember, but I am willing to forget about reproducing it and completing it. Maybe I can make another St. Francis miniature. In my travels around the internet I saw other St. Francis charts, and I can make them miniatures if I want now that I am getting my magnifying lamp. I saw one in particular that I liked, but I can't find it now. There are others I don't like: St. Francis of Assisi by Vermillion, St. Francis and Friends by Kooler Design Studios -- he is a bear surrounded by animals -- too cutesy, and St. Francis by the Stitchworks. But I have enough to stitch...

Magnifying Lamp

This is a picture of the Ultra Slim Fluorescent Magnifying Lamp that I am getting. I has a 7" lens and 3x magnification. There is a fluorescent bulb that lights up the lens. I am also getting the stand. It is my Christmas present and it should be here in four weeks. I am so excited.  Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Mini St. Frances UFO (What was I thinking?)

I made this design four years ago. It is a miniature on 18ct Aida. I never finished St. Francis and I stitched it on such a small piece of fabric that I ran out of room on the left side. One of the birds has unravelled. There is a shadow across the face in this picture but it is really nicely done (unfortunately it didn't scan well). I have been looking for the pattern but I can't find it anywhere. The library has updated nearly all of its books since then. I think I will be stuck reproducing the design from what I have already stitched and filling in the spaces myself.  Posted by Hello