over here today….

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I’m over at the &Stitches blog today sharing how to add beaded thread to your embroidery designs. Check it out! I even threw in a free pattern for you to stitch up yourself!

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And if you love the pattern, but don’t want to stitch it – you can buy the trio yourself in the shop!

a little organizing

This Fall is going to be full of some big changes in our house. The boy is headed to 6th grade (middle school here we come) and the chick is staying home and doing 3rd grade with me. That’s right. We have entered the wild world of homeschooling. Because I’m going to have to balance my work time at home with school time with her, I had to come up with a better system for planning.

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 Enter the doctored up planner. I have a planner from Plum Paper which I do really like. I can’t say I’m 100 percent sure I’ll reorder another one from them for 2016 (I’ve kind of got my eyes on this one), but if I do I know some of the changes I’ll make (such as ordering a family style layout instead of breaking the day into morning-afternoon-evening). I knew I didn’t want another planner or anything else to carry around with me for school planning. I really wanted it to fit into this book too. But the spiral rings were throwing me for a loop with trying to figure out something to fit in there. I did a bunch of searching online for how to attach page protectors and discovered these little gems.

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They are called sticke clips and I found them on etsy. I actually had these smaller sized photo pages from another project (score!) so once my clips came I was ready to go.

my insert pages for planner

My planner is set up with one month page at the beginning of the section and then a group of weekly pages. Into each week, I will stick that weeks homeschool plan. I drafted up this planning page (which I’m sure I’ll have to adapt more once I’m actually using it) and I have one printed for the next week slipped in on the other side. Untitled

I also made this little bookmark with my goals for the week. I know I could write these on the side (and I might do that) but for some reason having this little extra bookmark in there makes me more likely to actually focus on those things (I’m beginning to understand where my child gets her ADD from). I actually made this by just cutting on of those photo pages off. The bookmark just slides in there and I haven’t had any issue with it falling out yet.

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One other thing I need to work on in the next year is blogging. Come August I have an awesome blogging related announcement, but I also wanted to get back into a better rhythm of just writing and posting in general. I found this gem of a planner here and I shrunk it down to fit into one of my photo pages and I’m planning on keeping it at the beginning of each month’s section.

Here’s a copy of my weekly planning page if you are interested.

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an embroidery update

Some of the things my hands have been stitching lately…

I’m currently working on a 50th anniversary commission and I’m so excited with how these little people turned out. It was a rough start to figure out how to do their faces, but I think I got it figured out!

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Custom embroidery on a baptismal gown

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I’m still stitching up shoes

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An animal nursery set

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I updated a version of some lyrics from Hillsong United’s Oceans song.

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Another floral birth announcement

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Continuing with my button stars series, I stitched up a portion of a song by Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings

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And I participated in the Freaky Flower Swap on the &stitches blog

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And I leave you with a picture of my silly campers. This was my first time doing a sewing camp and wow! was it ever exhausting but fun. This one was called Mustaches, Monsters and Masks.

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on fasting from social media

The end of my 40 days is near and it’s been an interesting 40 days. If you are new to this space, I turned 40 back on April 2nd and in celebration of my 40th birthday made a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 41. At the top of that list was a 40 day fast from social media and a break from my etsy shop.

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

I spent the first week finishing up open orders and completing a few other projects that were on a deadline. I have had some other projects that I’ve had to do with a time crunch during these 40 days, but for the most part I’ve spent these days with lots of space. As this time comes to a close, I felt like reflecting on a few of the things I’ve experienced and learned.

1. Fasting from social media (or even just saying no to things and reducing your commitments) is not a magic bullet to clarity. I truly had this expectation that when I removed some of these temptations I would automatically feel refreshed. So not true. Silencing all this extra “noise” in my life was truly refreshing at first, but it hasn’t been until the last week or so that I’ve really started to feel (and I hesitate to use the world feel) some clearing in my mind.

2. Removing something from your life truly makes you realize how often you run to it. Removing the mindlessness of facebook and even instagram I realized how much I went to it just to veg out. It was shocking to me how many times I would be working (like truly working) on the computer and find myself done with that I was working on and start to check out facebook or blogs. While the clarity didn’t come right away, the extra time in my day to find other ways to relax came on day one.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

3. I had to admit completely that I got a lot of good feelings (think the Norweigian dude from Frozen – “lutefisk for gud feelings?” only in my case say “social media for gud feelings?) from checking instagram and facebook for likes and comments. I really think I was in this place where I was sewing, stitching, creating etc merely because I was using it as a means to making myself feel good. And it led to a very quick burnout and creative depression.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

 

4. Take a break is a good thing. I really do think I was in a horrible creative depression. While I found myself able to design things as people were bringing ideas to me – there was little happening in the way of just my own open expression. I have to say that I’ve had such an amazing break and putting my shop on vacation for these 40 days has been so good for me. There has been great clarity and free-ness of mind when it has come to seeing art in the world around me and being able to express that. I really don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t taken a break. Everyone finds a slump in their work at periods of time no matter what their work is. That’s the whole reason we have a Sabbath! A weekly point of rest for us. It’s why vacations are so refreshing at times.

 

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

5. Social media isn’t all bad – there is community there. I have to say that I have missed my stitching community on instagram so much. I’ve missed seeing what other people are stitching, having conversations with other makers and just the encouragement that I do find there. I’m super excited to jump back in and the same for facebook. There are people on there that I don’t ever get to see and I do love seeing their faces and I’ve missed that. I guess ultimately it’s all a matter of using it wisely and with balance.

 

dragonfly - Flying Menagerie @ Urban Threads

 

I’ve been in a book study these last few months reading Tara Owen’s book Embracing the Body. I’m still wrestling through my thoughts on it, but in essence it’s about being awake to the world around us. Probably my favorite part of this book so far is what she wrote about creativity and making.

creation is the act that declares the physical world and can bear the weight of glory – glory expressed through us, in us and with us. Glory manifest through beauty…{the idea that} simple threads can be redeemed to physically bear messages of goodness and kindness.

Last year at this time I was really wrestling with being real. With taking a jump and being brave. I had read a  speech that Roosevelt had given about stepping into the arena. Not just being a spectator, but being brave and taking that jump. I’ve been amazingly blessed and I’m so glad that I did take the jump last year. But now, I am moving more towards being alive and aware of why I’m creating and for whom. There is nothing I love more than running my hands over something that I’ve just stitched up. I am always amazed that simple threads can be combined with stitches to make a picture of something. And I want the work of my hands to be nothing more than a message of goodness and kindness.

**photos are of a dragonfly embroidery I just finished. Pattern is from Urban Threads and it will be available in the shop soon!

following your heart’s cry

Without a doubt, every Spring I start to go into panic mode. All the local school systems start hiring for the next year, our tax return money has run out and I start to seriously doubt what I’m doing. I convince myself that what I need to be doing is working in a “regular” job and earning “regular” income for our family. And so, every spring I apply for jobs and every spring for the past 5 years absolutely. nothing. happens.

a pocket full of thankfuls

All of this makes me question and doubt and struggle and end up frustrated and in need of a massage…weekly.
But this Spring it’s made me ask myself “why do you keep striving for the thing that isn’t really the cry of your heart?”
And I think it’s a super hard thing when the cry of your heart changes.
And even harder when you are truly able to do the thing that your heart cries out for.

For nearly ten years I taught special education. I worked at residential schools for the deaf and in public school systems and I absolutely loved it. I have amazing memories of all my years teaching and I cherish all that time. And at that time, it really was the cry of my heart to teach these students and move and work within a school. To sit and work on communication skills with a sweet little girl named Lilli. To watch Tanner draw square by square the latest movie was obsessed with. And to joke around with Connor as he wheeled himself around and asked for things he couldn’t have with his Dynavox.

But, as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that this is still the cry of my heart – it isn’t. I’m so thankful for all the closed doors that repeatedly have never opened because I truly think it’s taken this long for my stubborn heart to admit it.

Vintage embroidery contest 2014

I read a really great post this week by Abby Glassenberg about becoming a writer. How she never really thought of herself as a writer and I’m sure she never thought into the future she would be impacting so many with her words. It’s that weird thing when you start doing what you thought you never really would do and it ends up being the thing you wanted to do all along.

I never, ever thought I would remotely be considered an artist. And I still have a really hard time considering that what I do with a needle, thread and a hoop is art – but I’m coming around to the fact that it is and I am. I never thought that I could take a hobby like sewing and combine it with what I know about classrooms and consider myself a teacher – just not one in the “traditional” sense. But I am.

I am working to embrace what the cry of my heart is right now. I know the experiences that bring me alive and excited and I’m beyond humbled that I’m able to pursue those. My business has undergone so many rabbit trails and changes over the last couple of years and I’ve never fully embraced it. I’ve kept on the edge of it, treating more like a fun little hobby and a way to bring in a little bit of money for dance lessons and field trips. I’ve ignored that part of me that goes crazy over planning and designing and making. And I have come to realize how difficult it is to be an “artist” and think of it as a real job. No, not a job that brings in gobs of money, but a career none the less.

Today I had a a business lunch with two women I had never met. A friend set it up for me and encouraged me to go if only to make connections. It was amazing. Nothing big happened, but it was amazing to sit and talk and be moving in a direction that I am supposed to be going. It was a learning experience to be sure, but I realized sitting at that table that this, this is the cry of my heart and what an amazing thing to be able to follow it.

product announcement {new bookmarks!}

I saw a photo a while back on Pinterest of this stack of books and these dangling bookmarks made with vintage jewelry. About the same time, Ms Sonia of dandelyne mini hoops fame introduced a smaller size of her round wooden hoops and also some oval ones. Immediately a new product came to mind – dangling bookmarks with some little hoops hanging!

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I bought up some fat quarters of some fabrics I had fallen in love with and got to sketching and stitching and I absolutely love how they turned out.

Here’s each one that is up for purchase coming in May.

First up this fun balloon fabric by Sarah Jane’s Children at Play

 

It’s a Bird’s Life by Heather Rosas

 

 

Snapshots by Riley Blake

 

Mustang Arrows by Cotton and Steel

 

Playful Memory by Cotton and Steel

 

Distrik Greenway by Erin McMorris

 

 

And here they are all stacked up!

custom wedding vows

Last year I was approached via email by a husband wishing to gift his wife with a custom embroidery of his wedding vows to her. There was a catch to it – they had been married in front of this amazing tapestry that hung from the ceiling behind them in Adelaide, Australia. He wanted this design to incorporate portions of the tapestry.

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It was such a joy to create this embroidery for him to gift his wife with on their anniversary last year.

Custom wedding vows - tapestry inspiration

 

Then something so lovely happened – his wife approached me in December asking if I would create the same sort of embroidery for her with her vows to him for their half-annivesary. I can’t tell you what it means to have a customer come back and request another embroidery. So humbling and amazing.

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We decided to keep the design pretty much the same, but had to work around the fact that her vows were a little bit longer than his. She also wanted to incorporate portions of the tapestry, but we decided to use different squares and I ended up adding this one wavy portion to the top.

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I had such fun crafting these tapestry squares and working on my satin stitching skills!

And I pray an amazing half-annivesary to them both.

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I’m currently not taking any custom embroidery orders while I’m having a little bit of a break. But please check back or contact me concerning future custom availability.

a little back history

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More than 7 years ago I opened an etsy store and had to come up with a name. I had started selling some embroidered items locally and etsy was new on the scene so I took a risk and opened a shop. I bought a clip art image that I loved and went from there.

Daisyeyes Logo

Fast forward and I actually started selling some things. I knew I needed a better logo design so I had a dear friend do some graphic design for me. My logo has gone through a million different changes since then and the growing a business learning curve has thrown me for so many loops.

 

Etsy Shop Banner

 

It’s truly only been in the last year or so that I’ve really stepped back, slowed down a little bit and given some good thought to the direction I wanted to go with daisyeyes. 2015 has been the first year that I’ve really been doing what I wanted to do all along – custom hand embroidery. It’s been a bit of a challenge and a change, but it’s been a welcome change.

The other thing that has been happening was my desire to start teaching sewing lessons and what I thought was a really strong desire to have a brick and mortar shop. I talked about nothing else for at least 2 years. Again, it was a steep learning curve and probably one of the greatest things that happened during that year was my relationship with our local parks and rec department. If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would love doing pop up/mobile sewing classes I would have laughed at you. But I love it.

crookedstitch logos

I realized about 3-4 months ago and that the dream of a brick and mortar shop was not something I wanted to delve into at this point in my life. I also realized that trying to build two separate businesses and brands at the same time was making me crazy. So after a lot of thought I’ve decided to “close up” the crooked stitch. In all honesty all it means is that I’m building my sewing lessons off of the brand that I need to focus on : daisyeyes handmade. I’m taking out the idea that my embroidery business needs to be totally separate from my sewing education business and combining the two. It seems like such a small thing, but it has released so much pressure off of me. It has given me space in my mind to work on being a better blogger, to start that newsletter that I’ve been wanting to start and to work on more tutorials and online lessons in this space that I’ve been wanting to do. It’s probably one of the best business decisions I’ve made in this whole journey.

custom birth announcements

The last few years I’ve stitched up quite a few of these original birth announcements mixed with embroidery, felt flowers and vintage buttons.

Birth announcement: flowers and vines

I had a customer approach me via etsy to ask if I could design a completely embroidered version of this spring flower version for one daughter with a matching winter themed one for her other daughter. Always ready for a challenge I eagerly accepted and I’ve spent the last month or so having so much fun stitching them up.

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Here’s a view of the set together. I ended up ordering some custom hand dyed threads from colour complements on etsy and they are amazing. I love them so much and I’m excited to have found another source for unique threads.

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For Willow’s spring themed embroidery, I stitched a mix of flowers and vines around the tops and sides.

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For Winter’s winter themed embroidery, I started with a pinecone and added a mix of evergreen and holly.

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Interested in a custom birth announcement of your own or for a gift? Contact me for more information!

a pocketful of thankfuls

This past Christmas I went to hear Ann Voskamp, Ellie Holcomb and Amena Brown during their Gift of Christmas tour. Amena Brown recited one of her poems and I was struck by the line “a pocketful of thankfuls.” So much so that I didn’t even hear the rest of what happened after that moment. I immediately went digging around for a pen and paper and starting sketched this image that just came into my head. I’ve been sitting with it since then and yesterday had the joy to actually bring that sketch to life.

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I grabbed a 9 inch wooden hoop and all along I wanted to create the look of a snippet of a shirt or coat with a pocket. Then out of that pocket came little hearts floating out. These hearts are a few that I needle felted myself and mixed with some wool felt.

In my mind, it was the idea of sticking your hand in your pocket and instead of finding chapstick or pocket fuzz or any other ordinary things you might find in a pocket, you would pull out a heart. And instead of seeing that chapstick, you would see a point of gratitude for all the little things you carry around.

Because we all have them. We all have little ordinary things that we can turn into pocket’s full of thankfuls.