Friday, January 22, 2010

The Beauty of Embroidery

FACT: Embroidery is awesome. It's a beautiful, simple and rewarding pursuit. Did I mention I love it?

A friend of mine recently decided to try embroidery for the first time and, like me, has fallen for it hard. I hadn't completed a project in a long time, but he
r excitement reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with embroidery in the first place.

And it's easy to love embroidery! It really, really is.

It is incredibly easy to learn. Yes, there are some more complicated stitches that I can't seem to master (I'm looking at you, Chain Stitch), but most of them are very simple. Like most people, I began with split stitch and was off like a rocket. Stem, lazy daisy, back stitch and even occasionally-dreaded french knots were an easy progression from there.

If I can learn it, anyone can. In fact, over the Holidays, I taught G's nephew Josh to embroider. He'd been admiring what I was working on, and asked me to show him how to do it. Look how well he did - all by himself! I did the star on top, and drew the tree outline for him to follow, but the rest is all him. He was so proud, as he should be.

Embroidery is so cheap compared to many other crafts. Yes, I splurged on Sublime Stitching's beautiful Stitch it Kit when I first de
cided to learn embroidery, and I certainly don't regret the investment. Occasionally I buy craft treats - like some beautiful variegated floss - but for the most part cost is incredibly reasonable, especially when you consider the results! For $5.00 I come away with a rainbow of floss, or a couple of hoops. Can knitting do that? Scrapbooking? Sewing? Certainly not!

I also love the quick gratification that can come from embroidery. Pick a simple design and a back stitch and you have a lovely complete project in no time. It's so satisfying!

When searching for a creative hobby, I quickly realized I needed something that I was going to be able to pick up for awhile and put down again, and something I could easily do in front of the television or while talking to friends. Again, embroidery completely fit my personality. I did the first half of this unicorn while hanging out with family at Christmastime, and the second half while watching Pride and Prejudice (the BBC miniseries, of course) with my friend Maggie. Lots of distraction, and yet I got it done in good time and think it still turned out beautifully (in my opinion).

Now, if you'll excuse me, my floss and hoop are calling.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Danse Danse Resolution

Ah yes. The New Year. Time to think about becoming a better person and to pretend, for a little while, that I have the will power to make it happen.

In 2010 I will . . .
  • Accept more invitations to social events, even when it involves being surrounded by people I don't know. I've made a few friends since moving to Halifax, but mine isn't what I would call a particularly robust social circle. The only way I'm going to start meeting new people is to move a little outside my comfort zone (ie my sleep pants and living room). So - who wants to be my new best friend!?
  • Explore more of the city. Halifax won't embrace me unless I embrace it first. I've been pretty downtown-centric so far, as my life tends to exist in a walking-distance radius from my apartment. I love downtown Halifax, but realize that it's not the 'be-all, end-all'. I'd like to get familiar with some of the other neighborhoods, especially since I intend to buy a house in one of them in the near future. I have yet to explore the Hydrostone, or much of the North End. And there's always deep, dark Dartmouth (I suppose).
  • Embrace the Year of Health. At the start of 2009 I proclaimed it the Year of Change, and it certainly was - new job, new city, new friends, new skills. Hoping for similar results in 2010, I have decided it will be the Year of Health. Contrary to my pre-moving plans, I have put on even more weight since moving to Halifax. This trend must be reversed. Weight-loss will be awesome, but it is not the sole focus of the YoH. I am making plans to eat better, find a doctor and dentist, and just make healthier choices for living my life.
  • Become a more careful sewer. I am a lazy sewer, I admit it. I 'eyeball' things that should be carefully measured. I don't press nearly as much as I know I should. My lines aren't always super straight, but I rarely go back and try again. Taking just a little more time would really show in the finished projects, and likely help with my frustration levels.
  • Revisit my former thriftiness. I used to be great at finding deals - really, really great. I was an excellent used clothing shopper, and somehow managed to find weirdly awesome stuff at dollar stores. That changed when I moved to Toronto and used (or 'vintage') stuff was suddenly cool. Having no desire to elbow hipsters over plaid shirts, I gave up. This year I will make a go of it again - particularly when it comes to sourcing cheap fabric. Also included in this category: use more coupons and take advantage of sales.
  • Become more organized. I love to organize things - papers, toiletries, files, lists, groceries, books . . . . but somehow I still end up feeling scattered and -well- disorganized. I will remedy this, or at least reduce its awfulness.
  • Be less dependent (or 'addicted', or 'obsessed' with) the internet. I am on the internet a lot. I email, I facebook, I tweet (therefore I am?). 'Google it' is my answer to most dilemmas. I am not saying I am going to give it up, but I feel I need to restrain my use a little. You know, call someone rather than writing an email, pick up a reference book rather than Googling. At least I'll give it a try.
  • Get a library card. Why haven't I done this yet? Because I'm lazy, that's why.

All right, folks - hold me accountable.