This is my first time really doing this kind of embroidery, so I’m learning as I go. When I started working on this butterfly, I stuck with the instructions and the pattern and tried to fill in some of the thicker lines. It looks … kind of clumsy. When I did the right side, it wasn’t perfect but I took what I’d learned, mixed it with my own sense of what would work, and came out with a result I’m much more pleased with.
Making mistakes is undoubtedly part of the learning process. But I’m also a perfectionist. As my career coach has helped me see, I’m often reluctant to take something on — even something I’m capable of — if I’m not sure I can execute it well. But that’s not always possible. And you can’t always redo your first attempt. So in an effort to practice accepting my mistakes, I’m going to let that butterfly stay just as it is. It’s a bit of my history, evidence of the work I’ve put in to get where I am.
Somewhat randomly the other day, I ended up browsing Etsy shops with embroidery patterns and kits. It was one of those internet rabbit holes, where a blog I follow linked to an article that linked to a bunch of shops full of thread and color and flowers and cute lettering, and all of a sudden I was questioning why I have a drawer full of embroidery supplies that I haven’t used in years.
I ended up watching a bunch of embroidery tutorial videos — most of my past crafts were cross stitch, but I’ve not as keen on those styles anymore — and I was sucked in by a YouTube channel from a fellow American expat in the UK. As I watched, I decided the techniques weren’t so hard, as long as you started with a good pattern. And then I decided that although I liked her style, I didn’t love her patterns.
So I set out to sketch some local wildflowers, things that feel familiar and yet unique, and would allow me to create an overall pattern that felt more like me. I had a great time sketching ferns, cornflowers, Queen Anne’s lace, snowdrops, poppies, lavender … I’m not much for illustrating, but the results felt good. And then I started trying to fit them together into a potential pattern. Holy cow, composition is hard. Especially the sort of abstract, fit-in-a-circle composition that a lot of embroidery has.
So I have some nice little sketches and made a great evening of it. But I might just use someone else pattern instead!
I planted a mix of annual flowers in my garden this spring, in hopes of adding a dash of extra color and fun. They were seeds and I wasn’t sure what to expect or how many would make it. So when these spots of color started popping out this week I got pretty excited! Of course, plenty of weeds are also popping up, so I’ll be busy for a while getting things under control.
I came across this poem while walking in Manchester yesterday. I have walked by here and not noticed it before, but this time I stopped to take a phone call, looked up, and found myself trying to make out the words while paying attention to the person on the line. Such a fitting poem for this city, and also just the sort of surprise art I equate with my visits here.
This is a tale of two lava cakes. One that was cooked just right, in a ramekin with just the right amount of butter and cocoa powder to let it slip out when it was done. And the other that stuck to the ramekin and fell apart into a cakey, gooey mess.
But the moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter. Whether the lava cake is intact or in pieces, it still tastes amazing. 🙂
This is the most beautiful February I’ve had in a climate that actually has seasons. I have been taking walks, working in the garden, and generally escaping outside as often as I can. This afternoon we took a trip to Bodnant Garden and had a beautiful visit. Most of my photos are still on my camera, but I grabbed this picture of some of the many snowdrops sprinkled throughout the grounds — the only kind of snow we’re likely to for the rest of this “winter”!
Last year we started going occasionally to a local pub quiz. It’s an excuse to go out and see friends during the week, and get some trivia while we’re at it. (We are also avid Jeopardy watchers.)
Last night, we won! We even did some quick global surface area calculations to win a tie-breaker question about the size of the Pacific Ocean. I’m not sure I contributed much (my knowledge overlaps a lot with the other folks we play with) but I had a good time.
Before going to the quiz, we also looked up the etymology of the word trivia. Did you know that the root of trivia is the Latin trivium? It referred to the three subjects of grammar, logic, and rhetoric that formed the basis of a classical education. So it turns out that trivia is far from trivial! 😉
During a walk last weekend, I stopped after noticing a flock of little birds looking for food near the edge of the water. It was calming to take a few minutes to just stand and watch them.
Today, I spotted another flock in a different place on the water’s edge. The tide was going out — much more quickly than I’d expected — and I captured it in this time lapse video. Apologies for the shakiness; it was hard to stay steady with the gusts of wind.