Friday, February 23, 2024

Joy in Creating

Its been quite a while since my last post, but I've been busy trying different ways to use fabric, trims and embroidery. At one point, I was creating textile backgrounds with lace and embroidery and then adding lace and ribbon embroidered flowers on top. I think this creates a pretty effect and it's enjoyable to just create backgrounds and then later decide what to put on them.

This girl with her red cap and ceramic brooch was a long project which I enjoyed. It involved a lot of embroidery with simple stitches and the brooch was an earring  I purchased in Ireland many years ago. After I lost its mate, I could never bear to throw it out, so I was happy to find a serendipitous use for it!
I really do love to draw and stitch faces and hope to do more.

And, of course, I've made more little landscapes, mostly for cards I've been sending out. I don't think I'll ever stop making landscapes - I have a large stash of "landscape fabrics" - but I want to create some more complex compositions and include houses and maybe people. I'm not great at planning things out ahead of time. I usually just gather fabrics and place them down and cut out hills and flowers. However I had to laugh at myself recently when I realized I was repeating the same boring hills and one tree over and over on several cards. Next time I'll try drawing out a design and adding a house and a path, at least!


Something I'd like to get into this year is experimenting with collage, with fabric, paper and paint. I guess you would say mixed media! I am entering into this unexplored territory with a great deal of uncertainty, but I did a tiny bit of it with this star which I made at the beginning of the year.  


I've grown used to posting my artistic efforts, both good and bad, on Instagram (@judyhartman_artandstitch) in the last few years. But I really miss the 'good old days' of blogging! It requires more effort to blog, but I made some wonderful friends through my blog over the years, beginning in 2006. Lately I've been enjoying a wonderful blog called  Joyful Puttering  ( which is updated frequently and always features subjects I enjoy. Mary Ann Shupe shares a very positive and practical view of creativity and has inspired me to blog more often. So, thank you, Mary Ann! I hope I can follow through and become a regular blogger again!

Saturday, June 17, 2023

New Horizons

Here we are, another lovely summer, nearly a year after my last post here. I have changed the colors of my blog, and hope to write and post photos more often going forward.

This past year has been full of life lessons, most notably the preciousness of life. I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer last November. It had been 27 years since my first diagnosis, but was not a complete surprise, as breast cancer can be recurrent. I had many scans, was fortunate that the tumor in my sternum was found at all, had a fairly new type of radiation to zap it, and yesterday received the wonderful news that I am currently cancer free. I will be monitored for future metastases, but right now I can relax and enjoy my life, which I fully plan to do!!

I'm still stitching away, making little pictures with cloth, as I've done for nearly 45 years. It seems like I gravitate toward making small things and I have a few ideas for future "makes", some possibly three  dimensional. There are always new possibilities and I think I own enough fabric to create endless projects. However, too many choices are overwhelming and I'm working on cutting down on my stash.

Recently, we had a wonderful stay in a house on a lake in Maine with my husband's siblings and other family members -  a lovely family reunion. This photo was taken by my sister-in-law Tracy and shows the grandeur of the sunrise over the lake. It was taken from the deck on the back of the house, which was the perfect place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

That's about it for now. I'm looking forward to a creative, peaceful summer and wish the same for you.
Until next time...🌸🌿

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

And Then Came Max!

I recently joined in an Instagram challenge called ICAD, that is, an index card a day.
It involves making a daily index card sized piece of artwork. It's fun, but the problem is that it is DAILY!!
Some days I struggle with ideas, other days I do a slapdash job, but it is a good incentive to keep creating and, once in a while, a gem is produced. I have a stack of little pictures in a box, and that feels good, but I think I'll continue only until the end of June instead of the end of July, which is how long the challenge goes. And while I'm talking about artwork, I really appreciated the comments on my last post. Thank you Michelle, Sharon, Anne and Helen. Your encouragement meant a lot to me.

The other thing I wanted to write about is our new family member, Max the cat!

This little guy is pretty amazing. He was brought into foster care in our local PAWS organization after being hit by a car. He had no chip and his owner couldn't be found. His injuries were so bad that he was nearly put down, but a kind vet took an interest in him and performed two surgeries on him - one on his back and the other on his hip. I have a friend who was his foster parent at the time and she sent me photos of him and how well he was recovering. She told me that he had a very sweet personality and she thought Bill and I would be a good fit for him. When he had recovered sufficiently, we were ready to adopt!

Max (originally named McGregor) settled in almost immediately. He did spend the first two nights under a bed, but since then he has made himself at home, stretching out everywhere, especially in our front window where he can see all the neighborhood goings on. (As I write this I can hear him snoring in the front window!) He is affectionate, loves to play, and keeps us entertained every day.

And so, as we begin the lazy days of summer, we're happy with our new companion and looking forward to our 45th wedding anniversary in August. I'm also starting to plan some fabric pictures for an exhibit in October, put on by our local Arts Collaborative. It will be called "Creatures and Critters" - guess what kind of critters I'll be making?

Hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful summer. 
 Hopefully I'll post again before it ends!❤️

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Striving for Simplicity

Over the years, I've made a lot of "arty" pieces - landscapes and some portraits in fabric. Being a member of an arts collaborative and participating in art shows, I felt that I needed to step up my game and produce more of this type of work. Also, on Instagram, I've put myself in a category of "artist", even though I would really prefer to make small things that are cute and whimsical. This has left me a bit confused and, lately, very blocked in terms of what to create next. I imagine doing some more naive art, simple applique pictures of houses and people and flowers and trees, with no concern about realism. I would like to try some fabric jewelry and little pictures on easels and maybe even some simple little dolls. I have time, more than enough materials and a pretty good imagination, so what's the problem? Time to take a baby step and try a little thing. Maybe a bird, possibly a bunny. Time to get moving!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Beginning Anew

I haven't posted here during the 2+ years of the Covid pandemic. This was not intentional but, in retrospect, it was a time when everyone retreated into his or her own world and I guess I did the same. So much uncertainty, fear and anxiety - not the most fertile ground for creativity. Personal losses abounded, including, for me, the loss of my older sister who died alone in a nursing home, from Covid and other health problems. I could not be with her and, even though talking with her on Facetime was allowed, her dementia had progressed to the point where she couldn't really understand what was going on. It was heartbreaking. We also lost our sweet cat Perry who died of oral cancer at the age of 18. Of course, others had much worse losses and I'm grateful that my husband, my daughter, her partner, and I are in good health as the pandemic has quieted down, at least for now. And now our world is rocked by a senseless war begun by a dictator who is driving people from their country and killing many for no reason other than his maniacal desire for power. We watch, helplessly, as Ukranians - good, hard working people - flee their homes in the face of possible extinction, while bombs explode in their neighborhoods, hospitals and schools. Our news reports are filled with graphic images, leaving us sickened by Putin's disregard for human life. We donate to agencies who provide help to the victims, but it doesn't feel like enough. I've been posting on Instagram during the pandemic - little stitcheries and drawings - but right now I'm feeling the need to get back to blogging. I feel like I want to write more than a brief comment on a bit of artwork. I'd like to try some new things and add a bit more heart to my work. Unfortunately, I'm finding Blogger a bit more difficult to navigate than it was two years ago, but I'll do my best. Hopefully, my next post will include some photos!

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Reflections


Last week Bill and I went to Toronto to spend Christmas with our daughter Kate and her partner Jason. There was the usual mad rush to get projects finished, gifts purchased and wrapped, and cards written beforehand. We also wanted to make sure that Perry was all set up comfortably with a new bed and plenty of food as our neighbor would be coming in to feed him.

When everything was done and we were finally on the plane, I had a sudden urge, being away from my usual surroundings, to write down some thoughts. There was a little notebook in my purse and, in it,  I wrote continuously, for more than a hour, about the things that had happened during this tumultuous year. I spilled out my feelings about my friend Ann's death, my grieving process, battles with my brother, the death of my aunt, my sister's decline, the loss of our little Rosie cat and sadness over Jason's mom's recent death. It felt like a cleansing ritual and when it was done I could feel a weight lifted from my shoulders. I also wrote about small successes, projects I had finished and friends I had connected with. Finally, I acknowledged all the blessings I have and promised myself to appreciate them more.

That done, we had a wonderful trip, walking around Toronto neighborhoods, eating dinner at a cozy diner and brunch at the Art Deco decorated Drake Hotel. Kate cooked a turkey dinner for us on Christmas day and we all went to see the new Star Wars movie on Boxing Day, followed by dinner at an atmospheric Italian restaurant! Best of all was spending time with our daughter and hearing about her plans for the future. She loves her job and her life in Canada. so we're happy that she is happy. That's all a parent can wish for.

Now, back at home, I'm looking forward to a new year, filled with possibilities. I finished this piece right before we left, and plan to do a lot more embroidery in the year to come.

Also, before Christmas, I did a big reorganization of my sewing room/studio, but there is much more purging to do. I'll share some pictures in my next post!

I hope that whoever reads this has a very happy New Years Eve and much happiness in 2020.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Visit with my Sister

Some of my readers may know that I have an older sister who resides in a nursing home. She is unfortunate enough to have contracted Fronto Temporal Dementia, which affects her cognitive ability and moods. For many years we have struggled with this and it has been a difficult road for her and  for our whole family.

When I visit my sister, I always try to bring something entertaining to share with her - music, books, flowers, etc. Yesterday I brought her hydrangeas from my garden and photos of other flowers that are blooming now as well as pictures of our house. She seemed to enjoy looking at them.

After that, she seemed to be deep in thought and I asked her what she was thinking. Without a bit of rancor or jealousy she said, "When you get home, I want you to kneel on your front stairs and kiss them, and thank God for your home." 
It was a rare lucid moment for my sister and a moment that touched me deeply. 

Having a home and being able to live in it is a blessing.
I'm truly grateful for that privilege.

Thanks for the reminder, Carol.