Happy Birthday Friend and Thank you Friend

I can share this with you today; the gift has been delivered and you will see it  was a surprise and well liked. I’m sure everyone has a friend that is difficult to find a gift to give them, but this is not only about my gift receiving friend but also about my new beading mentor and friend.

I have been very fortunate in my life to have met a handful (maybe a dozen) of people who I consider mentors or inspirations to me. To be a mentor or inspiration to me just means that I want to listen to them lecture, teach, or just watch them create…and I always hope some of their creativeness falls off onto me AND I always learn something from them and I treaure their friendships. This is true of every teacher and mentor I have met and interacted with…all except one.

Cath Thomas is a bead designer and she lives in Switzerland. We have never met in person, but I not only consider her a mentor but also a friend. Let me tell you how we met…

Back in March I happen to be online when Cath posted a picture of her Octavio.

Cath Thomas Octavio

Cath Thomas Octavio

Immediately my friend sent her a message: “Is there a pattern for the octopus? I would like the instructions.”

Cath: “No I’m sorry, very difficult and just haven’t had time to write them. There is an article on my blog, https://samohtac.blogspot.com/2018/05/meet-octavio-or-how-to-take-design.html

My friend:  “Can I purchase the octopus?”

Well I knew the answer to this and so I immediately sent a private message to Cath, explaining who I was and how I knew my friend and that I would love to tackle this project to give to her for her birthday. Cath responded and said to give her a couple days and she would send me some pictures and notes. She also suggested I purchase her design “Tulip Tassel” from her web shop https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/.

Over to the web shop I went and immediately knew this was meant to be. I was working on a beaded rope that was just getting longer and longer with no intended use. But when I saw the tulip I knew that this was going to be my focal point for the rope. I immediately purchased “Tulip Tassel” downloaded and printed a copy.

I read the instructions and knew I had just crossed over from a novice beaded into deep water; I felt like the kid who barely knows how to swim and finds herself in deep water. I knew this was going to be my first really hard challenge, but I gathered up beads and tried making a tulip. Took it apart and started over again…several times. Finally, for some reason I tried using a dowel I had in my tool box and voila it worked. I made my first tulip. I knew I needed to make another and since things usually work best in threes, three tulips was my goal. Amazingly I had the three tulips completed and the necklace completed in time for Easter, April 21,2019.

In the meantime, Cath had sent me notes and pictures. I had compiled all in a file, printed them, read them AND knew I was in way over my head.

Yet, I persevered. I decide rather than order beads online, sight unseen I would buy locally. This would prove to be my first good choice…if I ran out of beads I could just pop over to the bead shop and resupply. Andrea, my bead shop owner (https://beadboutiquekc.com/) helped me pick out beads and I was on my way.

On my way is a relative term, since I had no idea what I was undertaking. I was lucky, my friend had no idea what I was up to and was living in Florida. I was bound and determined to try to make this for her and so…about Mother’s Day, May 12th I took the plunge. Working the tulips had been a big help but they were in different colors and easier to keep track of the correct order…all these beads were pink. After a couple false starts I finally got the hang of it and was comfortable stitching the head. I even got the eyes in the correct places and she didn’t look cross-eyed .

Wrong size

Then came the legs. Cath had said each leg had taken her about 8 hours, that meant one or two days, maybe three for me. This also took several days because I can’t look at pictures correctly. The legs are 6 beads stitched in a Herringbone round for most of the leg; one end tapers off to a point and the other will be enlarged to connect to the head and beak.   I didn’t see or read this so my first leg was too large, and never curled like it would when stitched correctly.   My second leg was beaded incorrectly and as I was about to write Cath and tell her I gave up; a light went on. I was on my leg making journey. Each leg did take me several hours and I knew there would be more to come…I had decided not to add the suckers until after I had joined the legs to the body thinking I wouldn’t be catching the thread on them.

 

I had a deadline July 25th and so I stitched on. I would look at the head and had decided the legs would be joined in two groups of four. I decided I needed to stitch the beak in its ring so I could get a better visual in my mind of how the attachments would work. My beak is not the way it should have been beaded but it was beaded.

By July 4th I was beginning to feel the deadline fast approaching and I was nowhere near ready to assemble. I put everything else aside (housework included, but that was the easy part) and morning until night worked on the octopus. All this time I am sending updates and emails to Cath. Her patience is amazing and her advice invaluable!

As I was finishing the legs I was formulating a plan for assembly and I received an email from Cath saying the beak was not connected to the head. My first reaction was “WHAT!” Not connected, whoever heard of a mouth not connected to the head! After much though and looking at my parts I knew I had to make a decision. I decided I had in my mind seen the

beak connected to the head and the legs connected to both, so I went with it. I stitched the first leg on and it seemed to act okay (flow freely), so I continued. I did realize that not attaching the suckers before assembly was a mistake so I stopped attaching legs and attach suckers to with a 1/2 inch of the ends. I remembered reading in Cath’s notes that she attached more suckers after she assembled all the legs.

I finished my Octavio late July 23rd, two days before I was going to give her away to my friend. I bought a box, sent pictures to Cath and received the nicest complement ever. It brought tears to my eyes and still does!

Takes breath away! I swear, when I saw the first picture, I was moved and really sighed of happiness! You can be really very proud! It is just perfect!

I am very much looking forward to seeing your photos, and to learn what your friend thinks about it.

A huge bravo! I’m truly proud of you, of me, of us!

I will treasure my friendship that I have built with Cath through emails forever. Cath is a remarkable woman and bead artist. She designs constantly, shares her gifts with others and moderates three beading groups on Facebook:

Cellini Peyote Freaks (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2158100991128070/?ref=group_header)

From Petal to Pod: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/PetalToPod/?ref=group_header)      International Bead Week            https://www.facebook.com/groups/internationalbeadingweek/?ref=group_header

She has a blog (https://samohtac.blogspot.com/)

And a store (https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/)

Thank you Cath; I forever in your debt.

Please keep Cath in your prayers, she is having some health issues and prayers are always helpful. Thank you!

And before anyone askes, I cannot share more than I have here about Octavio. She is not my design and without Cath’s permission I have shared all I can.

And my friend, well I think she was as surprised as I have ever seen her and I know Octavio will have a great new home.  Happy Birthday,Nancy!

And that’s why we create. For the friendships we have, the friendships we make; so we can share our time, our talents and our gifts. Thank You for stopping by.  I hope you have time to stitch today and every day.

ttfn…sue

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Friends, Stitching and the holidays

I read somewhere (not sure where) that today is National Stitching Day…so I hope everyone gets to stitch some today.

Since this week and week-end are big religious weeks for me and many of my friends, I want to take this time to wish everyone a Happy Easter and a blessed Passover.

And on this same train of thought I want to take this time to thank all of you for being my friend. I have been giving this a lot of thought this week and each of you contributes in some way to my stitching success.

17-04-14 lunchOver the past year I have been stitching with friends at their homes, at shops and guild meetings. I have learned that we all do not stitch the same way. Some of us use stretcher bars and others will never use stretcher bars; some of us strip threads (when applicable) and others have never heard of this method, nor do they want to do it after you explain it. BUT…17-04-14 sitching anone of this makes any of us less of a stitcher! We enjoy what we do, we enjoy the process that works for us, we are happy with our stitching level and most of all WE enjoy the time we share and the company.

The women I stitch with influence me the most! They are designers, teachers and enthusiastic  stitchers whether they know it or not. They have creative minds and I learn from them every time we stitch. We are like a team, they support and encourage me and I hope I support and encourage them too.

The other day, one of them showed me a canvas she had painted from a line drawing…First canvas she ever painted, it was very good. There were a few places she had drawn between the lines but for the most part it was painted on the threads correctly, she will have no trouble stitching this. I was very impressed, I know I can’t do that well.

We all offer ideas for threads and stitches, we share recipes, talk about our families, and generally just have a good time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a new stitching and computer tool. One of my friends is concerned about my health…she bought me a timer so I do not sit for more than an hour at a time. (I am supposed to walk for my knees every hour) It also reminds me to take a drink of water…I never drink enough water either. At first I sat the timer across the room, thinking I would get up and reset it, but that didn’t work…I just ignored it and another hour would go by…So I have it sitting next to me whether I am computing or stitching and I am more aware of it. I hear it ticking for 55 minutes and when it rings I hear my friend say, “Walk!”

My friend has an alternative OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmotivation; she wants me to name her in my will to inherit my needlework. I always thought she meant my stash, but after she gave me the timer she said she was thinking about my health and wanted me to live “a long and productive life.” It dawned on me, she wants me to do the stitching too. Smart lady, Thank you Margaret, it’s time for me to get up and walk.

Happy Easter and Passover to all my friends…Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have time to stitch today and all week-end!

ttfn…sue