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In Yiddish my mother says...

Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht, which means: Man plans and God laughs.  
We sometimes think too much of ourselves, we think we have it all mapped out and we can anticipate the future, no problem. So we make plans for this and that.  Meantime, God is looking upon us and laughing because he/she has a plan which trumps ours. 
Now I'm a great believer in making plans, I love the anticipation, the before is almost as wonderful as the actual happening.  But I try to remember that things happen, and I'm not "all that", I try to be flexible, and humble enough to know I can't control everything. I try to keep things together, even if they don't go my way.  

I love that expression, Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht, it says so much in just a few words.

The plan was to take Bella out to lunch on this beautiful spring day, meet with a few more friends and sit at a nice restaurant at Rittenhouse Square, overlooking the park.  Instead we need to go in to get a CT scan for Nina who is having some severe pain on one side of her face.  It started as an ear infection, but didn't seem to heal.  After spending hours at the hospital yesterday, they think this may be as a result of some jaw issue.  So today it's CT and Oral Surgeon, hopefully getting to the bottom of this and on to recovery.  I'm thankful we were able to get in today, they are amazing at CHOP, (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia).  We will do lunch some other time.  Bella is cooking, and will make lunches for us since it is most likely to be a long day in waiting rooms.  She will keep us company and along with a few books, we will be fine.

I was also going to come home and chart, write instructions, answer many of your emails, but I don't think that will happen.  Please be patient, I will get back to you this weekend.

I managed to get a little smile from my sweetie-pie.  Kisses, my baby!



Talk to you soon!
xo
Orna

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Not so good news, but on the bright side...

I got "the" phone call.  One of my three seminar classes did not make the cut, meaning not enough people signed up.   :(

The Village I Built will not be at Seminar.  I'm sad, I love this design, the petite images, the geometric quality.  But I must look on the bright side which means that I can offer it to all of you as soon as I get the final corrections from my pilot stitchers.

Chins up, Orna!



My new design, Victory Gardens, is being proofed by two of my favorite stitchers and friends.  Here's a little peek from one of them...


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One of my very favorite people of all times is visiting with us.  My aunt Bella, who has been a special person in my life through thick and thin, is visiting from Israel.  She is one of those people who makes you feel special and safe when she's around.  What a treasure!

I love you, Bella.






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It's all about me. (not really but sort of)

I am in love with silk gauze.

So poking around the internet to find someone who can do a top notch job blocking one of my silk gauze pieces, I came across a blog entry. On the Kreinik blog.  About me.  HERE




I love silk gauze and nice surprises!!

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Colour from Canada.

Recently, while cruising on Etsy, I came across this shop:



Of course I stopped to stare at the colors of these fabulous fibers, read about the owner and then felt compelled to write to her and ask about possibilities of using her threads in my designs.  We decided that she would send me a sampling of her different threads and I would get a chance to play with them and decide if they were right for me.  

Yummy!  Within a week I had a small package from Lorraine in Canada and in it were these lovely threads!




Just take a look at the colors, the combinations, the beauty of the contrasts.  Lorraine does mostly one-of-a-kind dying, your thread will be like no other.  I decided to try the fibers and establish my feelings for them.  



Here is some playing with one of the cotton blends on 40 count silk gauze.

Can I stay away from new threads that coming out these days and keep to what I'm playing with already?  I think not!

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57 is the new 57.

It's actually pretty cool that today is my 57th birthday and I was born in 1957!
It's been such a wonderful day and it's only 9am!

Here is what Reid got me for my birthday...


It's a painting by one of my favorite artists, who happens to be a friend as well, Ira Upin.  The painting is traveling in Europe at the moment, but will be here at the end of the month. I'm SO excited! (You've seen his work back in 2012 on my walls here).

Shiri wrote the most amazing birthday message for me on Facebook, (Imma is mother in Hebrew).


Reid woke me up with fresh orange juice and coffee, Nina came into bed with a funny card with a beautiful personal message in it, friends and family have been calling and writing and I'm so happy!


PS. here is photo of those turkey-loaves from here.


PPS. do you have a Silpat?  They are amazing!!

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What have I been up to, you ask?

Busy with this and that, organization in the studio, paperwork for some Cyberworkshops I'll tell you about very soon.

I bought a new/old mirror that works perfectly on a narrow strip of wall in the loft.  It's about 7 ft. tall and has the worn out look to match the other elements of the building.


Remember that new design I was telling you about back here and here? It hasn't disappeared.  It's in the computer stage.  I've been working on the Master Chart which is where I always start.  The individual charts stem from the main one.  



























Next I sourced the AMAZING frames in orange, green and white. They are a heavy solid resin and painted in strong matte colors. I'm working on some ideas for a perfectly sized piece of needlepoint.


I've started cooking for Passover.  Yes, I know it's early, but freezing chicken soup for two weeks only makes it better!  Tonight I'll make a few of my turkey-loaves, which are, seriously, the bomb!  (Sauté chopped up mushrooms, onions and shallots, once they cool down add them to the ground turkey along with spices, some fine chopped fresh herbs and a couple of eggs. The mushrooms promise to prevent the turkey meat from being dry, it works like a charm.  Then shape the loaves, roll them in Panko if it's a regular day and in broken small pieces of Matzah if it's Passover. In a hot pan with a bit of oil sear the loaves on all sides.  It makes the outside crispy and keeps the inside moist.  Shove the lot in the oven and when the inside of the loaf is absolutely positively cooked thru and thru, take out and serve. Or freeze).

and then I'm also doing some mundane dusting.  I love this little guy, one of Shiri's past birthday gifts to me.  The glaze color is wonderful!


and that's what I've been up to.  And you?

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My students are the BEST!!

Since the Pilot Class I had here at my home/studio, I have received some photos of completed pieces and I am so darn proud!!

Do you know the Yiddish word Naches?  Here is the definition...
nach·es
ˈnäKHəs/
noun
noun: nachas
1. pride or gratification, esp. at the achievements of one's children.

Debi Shiozawa completed her Samburu piece and even jazzed it up with her own little tweak, (see beading on tassels).



Karen West completed her Samburu in a different colorway, and added some beading along the edges.



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Today we added another new lacquer box/needlepoint insert to the ETSY shop!
Hamsa in brushed bronze lacquer box.
Back later!
xo
Orna

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La la la Lacquer

New lacquer boxes, new designs DAILY  here!






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I'm furious and I'm gonna say it!

Every now and again, when I have 15-20 minutes of time to pass, I will pull out an old needlepoint magazine and read some of the articles I passed over when the magazine first arrived in my mailbox.  I like reading the humorous articles or ones that have some interesting stitching information. This morning I had a few such moments.

I read an article by a very well known, well respected designer/teacher, who will remain nameless. The point of the article was to explain that needlepoint "rules" are important, they have reasons and that they should be followed.  In attempting to explain this, the designer slammed a few people along the way, generalizing segments of the stitching population and on the whole being quite smug.  For instance, there was a generalization about stitchers under the age of thirty, how most of them did not learn needlepoint at their mother's knee, and being that they learned as adults, they had a tendency to skip certain lessons as well as be impatient when working on a piece.  They also, as the article explains, look down on advice from those that came before them.  I am not exaggerating, I am almost quoting word for word.  
Next came the example of a stitcher, a customer, no less, who brought in an "atrocious" piece of needlepoint with patches of Continental going every which way.  Great detail went into describing just how bad this piece was.  The customer apparently was silly enough not to know the name of the stitches she used and stubborn enough to be proud of her work.  

I found this article to be infuriating.  What is it about needlepoint that brings this type of attitude about?  My immediate reaction to any negative generalization about the young is to disregard. I think to myself, "Really? What are you attempting to accomplish by these remarks?  What good are you trying to bring about?"  You know, that attitude of lamenting how the younger generation is not up to our standards, it's the oldest trick in the book.  It's been going on since forever.  We heard it from our parents, they heard it from theirs, etc, etc.  Again, it's a generalization and it really doesn't do anybody any good.  
When I started to needlepoint and design I was in my early 40s.  I was one of the youngest stitchers in any setting that I stepped into.  I had never felt so young, a spring chicken, as I did in any needlepoint gathering.  Can you imagine the same situation had I decided to start learning how to paint, or how to sew, or how to make pottery?  In all of these situations people would have asked, "what made you decide to start doing this at your (late) age?"  I would have been among the older crowd.  But not in needlepoint!  No, no!  So what do we do to encourage a younger stitcher to join in? We generalize, we put them down for being less serious, less knowledgable, less patient, just less!  When I began my journey in needlepoint, I was definitely looked down upon by the old guard!  I had not "paid my dues", ( I swear I heard this comment), I was, (OMG), self taught, and I was designing? Who did I think I was? (I heard that one as well).  



Let's go a step further.  Embroidery is having a golden era of popularity in the past few years.  A young crowd, teens to people in their 30's and 40's, are into embroidery.  The new designers of embroidery have become rock stars, (Sublime Stitching is a good example).  I challenge you to find one article about how things "must" be done when doing "good" embroidery.  I challenge you to find the "holier than thou" attitude in that world.  What is going on?  Embroidery is as much an art form, as intricate and detailed a fine craft as needlepoint.  So why?  WHY?  


SO listen to me, you needlepoint geniuses, you dogmatic elders, you "putters downers", you need to lay off.  We need young people, we won't be here forever, not you, not me.  We need to appeal to a younger crowd, and I don't care if they know which path to take when doing basketweave!  I don't care if they lick the ends of their threads when they thread their needles!  I don't care what they call the stitches they are stitching!  I want them to try this wonderful art and I want them to get hooked.  I want them to love it and to keep it alive.  You guys are keeping them away, and I won't take it! Lay off!!  



And as for that customer who came into the shop with "the most atrocious conglomeration of stitches you have ever seen",  she came in feeling pride, you wanted to have her leave feeling ashamed.  To that I say, shame on you.

Whew.  I feel better now.  

xoxo
Orna

PS - the designer I mention in the above rant is not to be singled out.  I've never met her and she may be a wonderful person. But her article the part of our needlepoint world that is unhealthy and unappealing. 

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©Orna Willis
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