Category Archives: Community

I am…

…among the very fortunate needleworkers of the world.  Why? Well, in addition to having the time and the resources to pursue an avocation as well as vocation, I also have the great blessing of belonging to the Needlework Guild of Minnesota.  This is a local guild, not affiliated with any national organization and, along with fostering friendship between stitchers, places a strong value on education.

In the decade or so that I’ve belonged, we’ve had teachers such as Jane Nicholas, Barbara Mayo Grass, Kay Stanis, Diane Fitzgerald, Tony Minieri, Merry Cox, Catherine Theron, Shay Pendray and many others. All of these individuals are stars in their field, most are fabulous teachers and all of them have come to Minnesota at the request of a local Guild to share their knowledge and their art.

My Guild dues are $30 a year. All I can say is…what a bargain! For that small amount, I can attend any number of meetings, I have the chance to take classes from the likes of those teachers mentioned in the preceding paragraph, I have learned so much about needlework history and technique, and, most precious, I have made lifetime friends. Monthly I have the opportunity to participate in small groups focusing on disciplines as diverse as beading, counted thread, smocking and even push traditional boundaries with experimental stitching. All of this…without traveling more than across town. I am grateful!

Why mention this? Well, for those of you who do needlework and are local to the Minneapolis area, check out the link on the sidebar for the Guild and consider joining. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Even if you live elsewhere, we have many members who are outside the metro area and even outside the state. They maintain a membership for the Guild Newsletter, the opportunity to attend our annual retreat in August (held in a small town west of here and always fabulous!) and the chance to participate in different classes and programs. If you are too far away for this to be feasible, my message is this…don’t stitch in a vacuum. Find your local chapter of the ANG or the EGA (both fine organizations with myriad educational opportunities) or if no local chapter is available become a member-at large and check out the online and distance learning opportunities.  Even something as simple as seeking out local groups of stitchers or gathering friends and forming a group of your own is an amazing networking opportunity. Put on a pot of soup, invite the gang over and give yourself the gift of a day filled with needle art and needle artists.

I have learned more from my stitching sisters (and, I will add, been talked into MORE stash) than I can say.  It is through these special ladies that I finally found the courage to enroll in Japanese Embroidery, to teach needlework and even to take the plunge with the Master Needle Artist program.

I love needlework. It creates beauty, it represents a gift of time unusual in this world and the people I know who practice the art are the best. It can be a solitary pursuit and I value that…the quiet, the introspection, the time to still my spirit and pray in rhythm with my needle.  But it is important to find a place to be encouraged and to encourage others. The Needlework Guild of Minnesota is one such place for me. What is yours?

Blessings on this cloudy Wednesday,

Julie

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Happy Fourth of July!!!!!!!!!

I am grateful for my country, my freedom and the men and women down through history who have given of their lives and energies to ‘make it so’.

May everyone who lives here in the states have a wonderful holiday and may EVERYONE have a peaceful and blessed day.  Happy Stitching!

Blessings,

Julie

The Santa Fe Outer Borders…

…are done. All I’m going to do tonight before bed is post my progress photos from the weekend. But the textures are cool, no? It is on to filling in the middle motifs this week.

Well…actually, I’m not…going to post photos, that is. WordPress isn’t cooperating tonight. So, I will post photos tomorrow.

I shared some wonderful time with stitching sisters today. A small group of us got together, stitched for much of the afternoon, then went out for dinner. It was very nice and these ladies are the best! (Read that…none of you who were here are slimy scumbags or whatever it was I said this afternoon. For the record. I WAS REFERRING TO CRUELLA’S HENCHMEN!)

Everyone who was here and who is a part of the 2008 Sisterhood Challenge is making progress on their planned stitching for the year. I have now created a page (found in the sidebar) where everyone’s goals are listed. This should be helpful since most of us have forgotten what we’d decided to do. 🙂

I hope everyone had a wonderful day that included friendship, family and stitches.

Blessings,

Julie

A personal post…

…of gratitude mixed with a bit of sadness. Please understand you will glimpse a few of my deeply held beliefs in the words that follow. If something in that idea bothers you, please simply stop reading and take no offense. This is a blog of my life and passions…my beliefs are one of those passions. For everyone who stops by, thank you for sharing my world.

Happy Father’s Day to the men in my life who are wonderful fathers. My father-in-law, Ray, my brother Tim, my brothers-in-law Ed and Bob, my cousin Bob, our great friends Derek and David and to all the fathers out there who consider their walk with their children a high and holy calling. (In this I also include my husband Dan, because, although he never got the chance to be a biological father, he has the heart of a dad.)

Today is a bittersweet day for me. I had a wonderful dad…or should say I have, because I feel as though he’s looking over my shoulder as I write this. You see he went home to be with his Lord last August at the age of 81. He left quickly, a massive heart attack on the shores of his beloved Crystal Lake. I know it is what he would have chosen, indeed did choose, for his homegoing. I know he has taken to his next great adventure with enthusiasm and his characteristic verve. I can only imagine the wonders he is seeing, the most joyous of which is to be in the presence of the Lord he loved and honored for most of his long life. I believe, with all my heart, I will have a grand reunion with him one day and I’m pretty certain he’s going to make it his task for eternity to assure that everyone in the Heavenly city is properly introduced. (I do worry a bit that he might start talking politics…or telling fish stories:-)

But although I know he is enjoying the greatest wonders of his life, I miss him terribly. I wasn’t even close to being ready to walk this path without him and if it were my wishes that governed such things he would be here with Tim and Mom and I today. Instead, I honor his memory. I want to say a very public thank you to a man who…as I wrote above…considered, considers fatherhood a high and holy calling.

Thank you, Daddy: For the love (sometimes tough), for the teaching, for the listening, for the laughter and most especially, for the gift of your time. I love you. I miss you.

(This shows his personality very well :-))

And to all the fathers in my life…thank you for touching lives as you have. You are indeed lights on high hills.

Blessings,

Julie

–My son (and daughter :-)), observe the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart, tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; and when awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light… — Proverbs 6: 20-23