W.I.P. Wednesday – Blackwork

Just a reminder : You only have 3 shipping days left until my birthday (it’s the 9th). :)

I have so many things I want to work on and create during 2009 – I don’t feel like I can concentrate on any one project there are so many I want to begin! (Please reassure me, this happens to you, too, right?).

To kick of the New Year I’d like to share this amazing book I picked up last autumn, but only recently made something from :

blackwork

Until happening upon this book, Blackwork : Technique et modèls by Sonia Lucano, I’d never heard of blackwork. This ancient form of embroidery dates back to the XVth century, even earlier according to some things I’ve read on the Internet. According to the book, Catherine of Aragon practiced blackwork in the XVIth century – who knew?

black

This inspiring book is beautifully photographed and would be eye-candy for anyone, even if you’re not particularly interested in embroidery.

composition

Blackwork is traditionally black thread embroidered on white cloth, but there are examples of white on black which are also gorgeous.

motifs

There are so many beautiful ideas in this volume, I found myself pouring over the pages for weeks, just for fun, but never knowing what I wanted to try. I decided to jump in by trying some of the mixed motifs from the book. I didn’t actually cross-stitch them, I actually just embroidered them using back and split stitches.

I opted to use my first attempt at blackwork to embellish my 2009 Diary.

before

Before : boaring, pleather-covered 2009 Diary. Ho-hum.

leaves

leaves2

finished

After : Groovy blackworked (albeit off-centre) design on some cream coloured muslin. It’s already nice & wrinkly from bouncing about in my bag.

I’m not sure what I’ll be making next. I’m still looking for some good PIF ideas, and there are some great ones in here. I know Tacha and Natlaia have already found their future PIF recipients, so I want to get them their goodies out soon.

There are more and more of you joining in the W.I.P. fun – please don’t be shy – don’t forget it can be about any work in progress be it textile, prose, culinary – you name it! You can also highlight things you’d like to try or crafty ideas. If you know you’ll be participating next week, drop me a line & I’ll add your link to my post. I’m hoping to get a list of participants in my sidebar…but please, no stress about posting. It’s on a ‘if you wanna’ basis only!

Other W.I.Ppers:

Check out:

Jessy’s knitty goodness

Jessica has some groovy knit stiches happening

Kittee is rocking the canine embroidery scene

Bianca is subverting the dominant embroidery theme

Don’t forget – it’s never too late to join in on the World Yoga Practice Month fun!

woyopracmo1

Your Karma & your joints will thank you!

Whatever Happened To Sunday Dinners? Celine’s Amazing Quiches

Before the fantastical deliciousness, just a reminder :

woyopracmoIt’s never too late to join in the yoga fun!

One does need sustenance in order to properly practice yoga, n’est-ce pas? Good thing there is so much deliciousness to chose from amongst the test recipes for Celine and Joni’s 500 Vegan Recipes! Honestly, the most difficult thing about being a tester (oh, woe is me) is deciding what to make.

I took advantage of our last lazy holiday Sunday to fix a lovely Sunday dinner. The crazy unusually cold temps seemed to suggest we make a big ole late lunch and stay in our jammies : -5c was the high!?! What the heck is up with that? I know, that doesn’t sound like much for some of you, but we are just not equipped for that kind of cold!

celinesquiche

I made some cheater green rice (thawed frozen spinach tossed in with rice), and a green salad to round out the meal. I hardly was able to snap a photo as the Fish School was starving!

These quiches are the easiest I’ve ever made – and the most convincing, too. This isn’t the first time I’ve made these. Monsieur Fish, not terribly loquacious, has requested them 3 times over the past month!

The first time I made these he didn’t get in until well after the dinner hour. I’d just left everything out so he could help himself, and he actually had to wake me up to ask me if I’d decided to start eating eggs! He thought they were that authentic tasting! Let me reassure you, no eggs were cracked in the making of these babies!

Happy New Year : A wine, an update & WoYoPracMo

Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

I know, it’s already the 3rd, but we’ve only just returned from our little holiday. We had a wonderful time celebrating with family, but it’s always nice to be home, isn’t it?

I’m a very goal-driven individual, and usually the thought of embarking on the adventure of a New Year inspires me. There’s a “clean slate” feeling that comes with each new “year diary” I purchase : yet to be filled pages of dates where I’ll be noting and scheduling everything. As I fill in the pages with birthdays and anniversaries (lest they be forgotten), I find myself thinking about the things I’d like to achieve during the coming year, as well as taking stock of all that I did the previous year.

January 1st also usually means calculating my yearly running mileage and training information. It’s fun to compare my averages, the long runs and speed work, and see how I’ve improved. I just can’t bring myself to do it, at least I haven’t yet. Being out the last 7+ weeks of 2008 hit me pretty hard (as you know and are probably sick of reading about!) and I feel so frustrated not knowing when I’ll be able to get back to training, which goes back to me being a goal-driven person. I can’t schedule a new race or set any goals for myself as I’m dwelling in the purgatory of the injured reserve. Alas.

There is some good news on the “My Left Foot” front, however. I can now go up and down stairs. Very exciting stuff indeed. For the past four days I’ve seen a real improvement, and hope that with PT beginning on Monday I’ll be running (maybe) sooner than later. I’d hoped to be running by my birthday, the 9th, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

The exciting news is that I was able to try a little yoga, and it was ok! I knew WoYoPracMo (World Yoga Practice Month) was coming up, and I’d planned on participating pre-foot breakage.

woyopracmo

I managed a 10 minute practice on the 1st, and worked up to 25 minutes yesterday! How exhilarating it felt to be moving for the first time since November 12th! If you’re not familiar with WoYoPracMo, you can find out anything and everything with a Google search, or just click on the above logo. Yoga Mum created this specific community last year (I got in just after January) and it’s a wonderful resource. There’s also a supportive community of yoginis & yogis to help you stay motivated if you’re thinking about giving WoYoPracMo a try. I’m really excited that I can participate, even if I’m rather shy of my usual 45min to 1 1/2 hour practice. Some yoga is better than no yoga at all!

And now for the resolutions! I know many find that the idea of a New Year’s resolution is foolish, even hypocritical : why not change when we feel we need to? Why wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar to take action? Me, I like resolutions. I like to think of them more as goals to be cultivated and nurtured throughout the year. I’ve managed to make many positive changes thanks to deciding to cultivate a new habit on January 1st.

When I was 13, I decided to write my Grandfather once a week so I’d be sure he received some happy mail. Poor man probably grew tired of reading the same adolescent drivel, going on about dance, school, and of course boys, but with a few exceptions I continued writing him (in addition to calling of course!) until he died in 1996.

Another successful resolution was to stop biting, playing with and otherwise disfiguring my fingernails, resolution January 1995. My mum still laughs when she sees my now mostly-taken care of hands as she remembers the way they looked when I was young.

I feel a bit disappointed in myself, because I don’t really have a resolution for this year. I have many things I want to accomplish, but I can’t pinpoint one thing I want to change. I guess the list is too long! I’d like to be a better person : a better wife and mother, a better vegan and teacher…laudable, but vague. This is the first year that I don’t have something concrete, and it’s a little strange. I’m giving myself a little more time, because I’m sure something will come to me!