It is now the first week of the seventh month of the year and, having given it a six-month trial, I think I would like to send 2016 back - and get a refund.
It has gone by in a haze of puppies, canine mastitis, more visits to the vet than I can count, rushing up to Zimbabwe for the Harare Needlework Guild’s bi-annual competition, going straight on to South East Asia for the Inspirations Mekong cruise, and then coming back to surgery for myself and – as a result of some complications - having to cancel my trip out to Australia to teach at Koala Conventions.
Apart from not getting any time to write on this blog, the people that I need to apologise to are those that had booked to do my workshops in Brisbane. I am going to admit, right here and now, that I have to take some of the blame. I should have gone to the doctor sooner than I did but I was hand-rearing puppies. Hungry mouths are hard to ignore. Much easier to just put up with some, albeit rather alarming, tummy grumbles. Once you’ve ignored it once or twice, it is easy to keep ignoring it and travel off to countries that have either doubtful medical care, or speak in a language that you can neither speak nor understand.
However. I am better, with a surprisingly clear head. I didn’t realise that it had been fuzzy for a long time. Obviously I had forgotten what normal feels like. That happens when things slowly creep up on you. We have two gorgeous Boxer Weapons Of Mass Distraction (gosh, what a delight they are), five hand-picked families are enjoying their Boxer puppies and, having found myself stuck at home when I didn’t expect to be, I am catching up.
I started this embroidery business on my dining room table. As time went on, I outgrew that space – and anyway, one needs a dining room table for family meals. Our study was not nearly big enough for all the things that were needing storage space and certainly did not have enough working room for extra staff, so I converted first one side of our double garage, then the other side, then the servants’ quarters and eventually the store room (all in the same building). If the truth be told, we could do with still more space and I will probably add a room onto that building in time but, in the meantime, I am making an attempt to go digital to the extent that I can and to that end there is now a section for Downloadable Patterns on our website.
Over the last twenty-five years I have brought out a lot of designs for both embroidery and beadwork. At the beginning I designed a lot of simple patterns, ones that are still useful to embroiderers who are at the beginning of their embroidery journey. I don’t put those out as kits anymore but, it has been pointed out to me, there are many stitchers out there who would like to have access to these. That there is still a demand for not only less complicated stitching but also, smaller projects.
Along with beadwork patterns, I am slowly converting all of my older designs into downloadable patterns. Having got far better at layout, I am updating that. Since I started doing this I have gone from hand-drawing stitch diagrams to doing them on computer, which produces a much-superior result. Even my photographs have improved. So, as my time allows I am slowly wading through the whole lot, editing, redoing the instructions, inserting better images, and as I complete each one, I upload it here.
From time to time, I get a request for a kit that I have discontinued. Those patterns are all going to eventually be available as Downloadables. Please do have a look at them. There might be something that takes your fancy, or even something that you wanted, had asked for, and was told it had been discontinued. Likewise, if there is something that you can no longer get from me, please let me know because I would probably be able to convert that pattern ahead of others.
I have been on the receiving end of dire warnings about unscrupulous customers who will buy one design and print out many copies for every member of the sewing circle, their mothers, aunties and even their daughter’s gay friend who is into needlework. I am sure that this is possible, but I have chosen to trust the better side of human nature.
Each embroidery pattern comprises the line drawing with instructions for how to transfer it to fabric, colour images of the completed embroidery, full stitching instructions with diagrams and a stitch guide, and a full list of the materials needed to complete the project.
The beadwork patterns give you comprehensive instructions on how to complete the project, with diagrams, colour images and, as with the embroidery patterns, a full list of all of the materials needed – along with a suggestion that you use the recommended beads, crystals, pearls, etc. in colours of your choice. Because there are beads and then there are beads. You don’t get the same result if you use rubbish beads. You just don’t.
And now I’m going to leave you with a photograph of Colin and Lily. Every single puppy from Brenda and Neville’s litter went to a hand-picked home, homes where I knew they would be loved, spoilt, fed properly and taken to the vet if they were sick. I’m in regular contact with all of the new owners and these delightful animals are giving their families as much pleasure as we are getting from our two. All of them are proving that the only reason to breed a litter of puppies is to pass on good temperament.
Colin is very much like his father, Neville. A huge and gentle giant with absolutely nothing between his ears. No IQ whatsoever, just galumphs around all clumsy and looking confused. And so affectionate. Lily is as affectionate, very much like her mother, Brenda. Sparky, naughty, bright eyed and convinced that she is a lap dog, even though she is now getting a bit big for that. I kept her for our son and as the weeks went by I realised that we were getting into an impossible situation. One where it would be impossible for me to let go of her, and impossible for her to leave the pack to which she is so bonded.
Then we discovered that our neighbours were moving to another city. So, we bought the house, my son moved in yesterday, I’ve checked that the perimeter walls and fences are secure, next week our builder is knocking a space into the dividing wall, which will give all the dogs access to both properties, and Lily will never leave home.
Is that not a perfect solution?