Monday, November 30, 2009

Death in the family

Yesterday our nephew Nolan passed away from cancer. He was younger than me, and he had a family - a wife and a three year old son.
I have never met Nolan, so my grief comes from seeing Joseph grieve. Even though we knew about Nolan's diagnosis, his death came as a shock to us - somehow it seemed that "the end" was going to happen much later, after he has completed everything he wanted to complete in this world.
Friday Joseph is flying out to New York to see family and to say good bye to his nephew. What a sad event to finish the old year with...

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Dollar a Stitch? Or not...

It looks like my dreams are starting to come true (oh-oh, beware what you wish for :) . Often I used to say, " I wish I could find a job that would pay me for sitting in my chair and cross-stitching." Well, I went on Etsy Alchemy recently, placed some bids on the embroidery and cross stitch work that needed to be done, and.... (take a deep breath) two of my offers were accepted! I have been paid to stitch - now that's exciting, it may even signal a career turn for me... well, let's not get ahead of ourselves, says my other, less excitable half of the brain. We'll see what happens.

On the other hand, Headstart just informed me that they are cutting down on expenses and use their substitutes "only when absolutely necessary," so that just may be an opportunity to make a name for myself in stitching and embroidery. Who knows? As my cousin told me, "today you make six bucks - tomorrow it may be six hundred..." All in good time.

Speaking of bucks (these green pieces of paper that make all of our lives so interesting), they come up in my mind when I place my bids. Somebody told me that I have to calculate how much my time is worth, how long it would take me to complete a project, and set my price based on that. But, I thought, if they did not pay me anything, I would be stitching at home for free - it's what I do... The only difference is - now I do it for someone else other than myself. So, right now I am just making sure that I do not put out any extra expenses - as long as the shipping and supplies are covered, I look for "what's fair" and always try to put "price is negotiable." I mean, if I wanted a custom item made, I would not be able to pay 100+ dollars for it, even if it took an artisan two whole days to make it.

So, for now I've got my "stitching orders" and am ready to start. I hope that there will be more opportunities like that in the future...

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For the past two nights I have been watching "Californication." I have heard a lot of nasty stuff about it - "Lolita" story based out of Los Angeles, a crazed sex addict running around sleeping with everything, etc. So, when I sat down to watch the pilot, I was expecting very little - but, I was pleasantly surprised. Hank Moody - the main character - is a writer who moved from New York and is trying to "find himself," for the lack of a better term, in Los Angeles. He is dealing with personal situations, financial problems, moral dilemmas, and he looks honestly lost in the sea of all the events. Yet, when compared him to other "well - adjusted" characters in the show, he seems... less fucked up, if that's the phrase. He has not lost his sense of right and wrong; his "indulgence" in sex comes from the need to fulfill something he has lost - a sense and feeling of love, of a true connection. Once he finds that again, or, rather, once he knows what he wants, he gets away from his "sexual exploits" and reflects. That's one thing about him I like - he is capable of thinking and is searching for an intellectual connection, not just for a cheap thrill. And the Lolita character who the whole buzz was about - (oh, no, he slept with underage girl) - in the story is nothing by a thief and a sociopath. Of course, on the surface she is a "perfectly well adjusted young lady," while Hank is a crazy "sex bulldog." But, it's an insane world the characters of "Californication" live in.
I forgot to go to sleep that night, watching one episode after another. Can't wait for the new season!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More on beading and blackwork

During the past two weeks of my - self-imposed - vacation I had time to think, to learn new embroidery techniques, to improve on the old ones, and... to work on some projects. So -

First of all, Blackwork. It is totally awesome! This is the first time when the front and the back of the stitching came out exactly the same (except for a few knots on the back). The Pears project is the example of the Blackwork technique. - By the way, the pattern is taken from the Needlework Tips and Techniques site, by Carol Leather. I find her instructions very easy and helpful.

Second technique I had a chance to improve on was beading. I am getting addicted to it. Since I first tried it on the Mandala Garden project, I have been looking for opportunities to use beads again and again. So, here's a new completed project - a headband for my daughter's fairy Barbie doll. It was created from scraps of Aida cloth leftover from the Pears project and from beads leftover from the bird. My daughter said she liked it.

Hmmm... tomorrow I am going back to work. But, I still have a Sampler project in the works - hopefully, it will be completed within the next two to three weeks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to me! And to M! And a New Beading Project

Today is my birthday. I "turned" 31, as George Carlin would say - like sour milk. My husband quickly corrects me - "More like fresh cream, " he says. That is, of course, a matter of opinion. I may be only 31, but I feel much older.

Also, in two days it's my very good friend's birthday. I thought of what to get her. Then, I thought I would make her a present - that way, she can never forget me. Ha, ha. Also, it's small and can fit anywhere. And, it's my second attempt at beading.

Happy Holidays! Happy Birthdays! May the Blue Bird of Happiness visit your home.