Crafting my message, stitch by stitch

It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted my sign to say. It was important to me that it represented what I was marching for--and honestly, that list feels like it grows every day.

Should I put every issue I care about on one sign? What if I leave something out? What order should they be in? Should I focus on just one?

So I took a step back because, at the core, there are some fundamental things about this country and what I thought it stood for that are under attack in ways I didn't even understand. There are things that I believe that I need to take fuller ownership of, and keep marching for.

I believe that our differences are what make us interesting. That our blending of cultures, heritages, languages and religions are what weave the beautiful tapestry that is America. That our connections across neighborhoods, states and countries make us stronger. That we, as a people, can only truly get ahead when we lift each other up. That none of us can truly be free until all have equal access to opportunity.

My forward-facing sign was a personal expression of my beliefs. The act of stitching it was an opportunity to reflect on what matters to me and a tangible reminder for the days ahead.

The reverse was a message to my fellow Marchers, with women especially in mind. Simple words that can never be heard enough.

I am thankful that so many messages were carried on the signs of millions of marchers around the world. Some provided levity, others were heartbreaking or hopeful. I am heartened that so many issues, causes and beliefs will march on with others as I focus on the issues for which I can do the most good. The awe-inspiring feeling of yesterday, of being part of the rivers of people that flooded so many streets, brought me hope and reaffirmed for me what I am marching for. None of us are alone; we are truly stronger together. Thanks to my fellow Marchers I am fired up and ready to go.

Pretty + Practical

The history of embroidery, and evidence of basic stitches that are still favorites today, dates back centuries. And while it's not known whether those first stitches were meant to be purely practical or primarily decorative, those pretty and practical qualities have moved embroidery up a few notches on my favorite craft techniques list.

This spring I free-handed a simple back stitch and a few lazy daisies to cover some tiny stains on an otherwise awesome $5 jacket from the thrift store. Few have even spotted the stitches and the ones who have have loved the idea of "rescuing" something with a few pretty stitches. And just recently a favorite dress of mine has developed a tiny hole in the skirt and you can bet that embroidering over that spot is next on my practical crafting list.

Thankfully, embroidery isn't only for mending. I have two weddings coming up and am debating whether some monogrammed napkins for the bride and groom or a custom embroidered hoop for their wall might be good keepsakes.

I have some time yet before those gifts are needed, so I'll continue to play with different stitches and color combinations on some practice hoops (that just happen to look great on my wall) in the meantime.

And if you're itching to give pretty and practical embroidery a try, we have both an evening and a weekend class offering on the schedule. Join us!