Monday, May 1, 2017


"Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration."
~Thomas Alva Edison

This is certainly a true statement.  It takes only a split second to be inspired by something, but it can take many hours and many attempts to bring something to fruition. Whether that is the electric light bulb or a simple cross stitch pattern.  

In fact finding the inspiration can in itself cause a lot of perspiration.  I have recently gone through a rather dry spell in which it felt as though literally nothing was inspiring me.  Then one day I was scrolling through my Instagram and came across a picture of the book below.

Colour Confident Stitching - Karen Barbé

I have long been inspired by color.  As a design student in college one of my required classes was entitled Color Design and was a prerequisite to all my other classes.  I have played with and worked with color my whole life.  However, even color confident people can use a refresher course every now and then so when I saw the title I immediately looked it up on Amazon.  There it was!  Of course, owing to the fact it is a published in the UK there was a wait time.  I didn't hesitate though and went ahead and ordered it.  

Last week it finally arrived.  I couldn't wait to open it and dive in.  Well, life has conspired in such a way that I am more or less wading in, but I am impressed.  This is a color theory book of the highest caliber.  From the most basic description of the color wheel to how to create a palette, the explanations are clear and succinct.  And at the end of the book are a few patterns that one can practice their new color expertise on.

This book has definitely inspired me.  

Other things that have been inspiring me are all the beautiful spring wildflowers that are starting to pop up in my little corner of the world.  Yesterday our family took a hike to find and enjoy as many of these beautiful creations of God.  The blues and purples were so rich!

Maiden Blue Eyed Mary - this is my favorite

Lupin - looking spectacular

Shotspur Seablush - en masse most impressive

Common Fiddleneck - the yellow is so rich
Yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel, beautiful

And my family, who are my biggest inspirations

 Above and below this paragraph are my biggest inspirations.  My family.  The picture above was a rather hilarious attempt at a timer photo on my camera which was somewhat precariously balanced on an outcropping of volcanic rock...which may explain why it is not centered. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, Tom, who encourages me daily, two beautiful daughters, Gladys and Olivia, who keep me young and a little exhausted, and a wonderful son who is out on his own and so gets his own picture.

My son, Isaac

With all this inspiration in the last few days I am happy to say there are ideas bubbling around and spilling out onto graph paper. 

What inspires you?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stitcher's Block

What happens when a stitcher has the equivalent of "writer's block"?  When no new ideas are coming?

Lots and lots of Pinterest happens. Lots and lots of pinning things that touch the heart and spark the imagination.

Currently I am in love with what I like to call Storybook Illustration and Storybook Cottages.

Illustration by Blanch Fisher Wright

This style of illustration is born out of the late 19th Century Art Nouveau Movement or Arts and Crafts Movement which values natural forms and muted colors.  In writing this I looked for a nice succinct description of this branch of art but came up with wildly varying prose.  None of which really did the art justice.  So I'm just going to add some pictures to give you an idea of what it is I am talking about. 

Art Nouveau Style Cottage Illustration - Artist Unknown

What I enjoy about this style of illustration is, to a degree, it's simplicity.  That even though the colors are muted there is a brightness to them.  The illustrations hearken back to a time when life may have been a little simpler.  They are cozy.  

If you follow me on Pinterest you will know that I have been pinning these sorts of illustrations as well as English thatched roof cottages.  Many of these can be found in the Cotswolds, a place I am longing to visit. 

Cute Thatched Cottage - somewhere in England

There was also a trend in home architecture that occurred mostly in the 1920's and 30's called Storybook Architecture.  Many examples of this trend can be found in Carmel, California.  

Carmel, CA Storybook Cottage

The question that arises from all this pinning, of course, is how does this help with the "stitcher's block" that I've been experiencing.  I'm not sure, but at least I am sketching again, dreaming of my own sunny cottage. 

Dreamy Cottage