A look back on 2014.. NinjasInStitches Style.

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Back in January 2014 The Daily Post asked and I responded:

When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?

Well…in a nutshell I want to be able to read through 2014 and comment “wow…what a hell of a year!” And not in the negative, I can’t wait for 2015 kind of way… I want  it to be like when you just get off a roller coaster and you’re trying to walk in a straight line as your equilibrium is adjusting way..

So how did 2014 look for Faithie and NinjasInStitches? Here’s a rundown of what I consider the top posts of each month

January:

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I finally declared Starry Night being finished!! 

February:

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My Valentine’s Snow Day: The Picture Edition

March:

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Fear Parenting

April:

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The A’s know how to have a good time 😉

May:

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My Journey As a Martial Artist

June:

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Think Happy

July:

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The D-word

August:

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The Break Up

September:

Apparently I didn’t post at all during this month… Shame on me!

October:

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Faithie The Photographer

November:

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I like puzzles

December:

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I can’t choose for December.. They were all awesome

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All in all I chalk up 2014 to be a pretty stellar year for NinjasInStitches! I’m only getting bigger and better as the years come. So 2015 is gunna be a GREAT year!

I Let My Daughter Wear Makeup…

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I often find that parenting is like politics… Everyone has an opinion and it almost never matches with your own. Seriously, if you can find friends that match your parenting style completely.. KEEP THEM AROUND <~ Because that is rare.

A few people have shared with me their distaste for my latest parenting fiasco. My mother included.

I let my daughter wear makeup.

I’m not talking a little lip gloss here or there. I’m taking make yourself be noticed in a sea full people makeup…

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I can’t help but giggle when I see her proudly display her work. It looks like she took makeup classes from Mimi

(image from community.sephora.com)

I never put makeup on with the exception of some eyeliner so people don’t constantly ask if I am sick. I have that eyeliner, a thing of mascara and some powder (which if I’m being honest I don’t even know what it’s called) and that’s seriously it… I have no idea where this sudden fascination with makeup has come from….

My daughter has quite the collection that she has paid for using her allowance:

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Girls are usually first introduced to makeup in their teens when insecurites about their bodies amd self images have fully cemented. Let’s face it.. Society makes it really hard on teenage girls to be anything but self loathing about themselves.

Society teaches them that makeup makes them beautiful and these insecure girls hide behind this mask for the rest of their lives. As such we see makeup as a tool for beauty and ONLY that. When we think of little girls wearing makeup we instantly assume that we are teaching little girls to be as self loathing and that they are hiding behind masks. We want them to feel that they are beautiful just as they are, yet by the time these girls reach teenagehood the cycle repeats. And I’ll admit that I do see this cycle happening earlier on with girls..

But I can’t help but ask… is makeup really a tool for making us beautiful? We’re told all the time it’s not, despite how society contradicts that notion…  Again: is makeup really a tool for oversexualizing the wearer? Society again tells us so by adopting the notion it’s a “mature” item.

It’s not folks.. It’s not makeup that does this.. it’s society’s interpretation of why we wear makeup that does this.

I have never seen makeup as society does.. Maybe because my own insecurities about myself knew that all the makeup in the world wouldn’t ever make me “beautiful”.. so I didn’t even bother to try…

As such, I am letting my very self confident child learn that makeup is like any other accessory she would wear. It should be used as an expression, kind of like art. She chooses the really loud and in your face colors because that’s how she feels inside. Why would I ever want to take away a part of her ability to express herself?

Just because the majority of people have only learned to interpret one way in which we use makeup? Because they want to project their own insecurities onto my daughter?

My daughter and I have discussed appropiate times to express herself through makeup. She wears nothing to school, with the exception of some lip gloss here and there. She knows that school is a time to learn and that the bright colors can be distracting to other students. Like any other accessory, there are times when it may not be appropiate to wear it.

My daughter has heard more than one adult gasp and tell her that she shouldn’t be wearing makeup (my mother included). She holds her head up high and ignores them. She is learning the world is going to have an opinion in how she does things but she has to do what is right for her. And so long as it doesn’t harm her or anyone else, I will support her and be her diligent advocate to all those that dare question her.

So I will oooh and ahh over her makeup sessions. Ask her why she chose the blue today over the purple and let her know that I think she looks fantastic. And every time I will end that conversation with “It’s not the makeup that makes your beautiful Miss.” And she will smile and say “Oh I know mommy, I just wanted to be colorful today.”

Merry Christmas To All!

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I finally finished Merry Christmas to All which was designed by Heaven and Earth Designs

I am a bit bummed by how blobby Santa’s face looks, but I’ve also had a few years to get over it lol.

I started this five years ago and only worked on it during the winter seasons.

This was my very first, and only HAED. For those not in the stitchy know, Heaven and Earth Designs takes a lot of well known artist’s pieces and generates them into charts. Merry Christmas to All, for example, is the artwork of Ruth Sanderson. A lot of people get really absorbed with the HAED designs and they are known in the cross stitch community as HAED-cases. A lot of their designs are drool worthy…I think I’m more of a closet HAED case.. I can keep it together for the sake of my wallet but I looove getting updates on others stitching them..

This was also my first large piece that I did in 25 count. The count refers to how many holes there are within an inch of the fabric. I usually work on 14-18 pieces for large projects. It took some getting used to, and I definitely will NEVER stitch 25ct with 2 threads again.. It was really difficult in some spots because it was so thick… Lessons learned 😉

My husband wants us to keep this piece up all year long. He doesn’t think that something I worked so hard on should be left in a closet for the majority of the year.  I, however, am planning on it being just another holiday decoration that goes up during the holiday season. That’s pretty much how it lived its life being stitched, so why would the it’s “afterlife” be any different?

What do you all think?

Family Traditions

Family Traditions

 

One of the things that I look forward to when it comes to the Holiday Seasons are the family traditions!

Here are a few of the A Family’s Awesome Framily Traditions:

Every year my father in law turns his living room into a gigantic Christmas Village. There are hundreds (I dare even say thousands) of little people and buildings all aglow this time of year in his house. He creates it like the landscape that is Connectcut; winding hilly roads and trees. I tried to get a decent picture of the village when we visited this weekend but it had only partially been set up, and with the lack of lighting and or tripod to accomodate the lack of lighting, most of my pictures didn’t come out.. Bummer :/

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My children of course have fallen in love with seeing the magical village each year. So much so that my son begged that we start our own village.

A few wayward free spirited people decided to debark from their native lands of Walmart and settle down in the A family frontier. They don’t have much; just a train station and antique shop, but they have love and a lot of Santas.

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My son decided to make his own snow (ie the devil in styrofoam form.. that crap is EVERYWHERE)

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Another tradition we have is cookie making! We always make cookies by scratch for Santa each year on Christmas Eve. This year we had what is possibly my work’s very last Christmas Party. To honor this we made our super special cookies:

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Speaking of work and holiday traditions, there’s one I absolutely can’t stand!

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When I was young and dumb and wanting to contribute a piece of Faithie into the hotel holiday spirit, I accepted the responsibility of stitching the names of employees onto stockings. But what I really did was add a big load of pain to my already big Christmas to-do lists. Stitching the names on is ok, but I use waste canvass to make sure my stitching is neat. That stuff is a pain in the butt to get off. I’ve learned a few tricks, as we all do when we do something consistently.. but I forever find the waste stuff around for weeks:

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Every year becomes a reminder of who has come and gone at the hotel. When I open the box filled with employees past and present I get a little sad and nostalgic. Then I get a little angry because those people were placed with people who didn’t have the same name…. whhhhhyyyy!

Another tradition that always starts out seemingly fun but usually devolves into a chaotic stress endemic is my yearly homemade Christmas Cards .

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I had no time to breathe or sleep let alone stitch cards.. so this tradition was put on the back burner this year… 😦

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What are some of your family traditions?

If Only Godzillas Did Dishes

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A good few of my readers followed me this summer where I faithfully endured handwashing the dishes until my husband returned from sea. The dishwasher had broken,and the part my husband had ordered didn’t arrive until he was long gone… I COULD have paid someone to install the part but I knew how manly it made my husband feel to be able to fix things around the house. He already feels like crap because chaos inevivabtly happens when he’s away. We’ve had a myriad of leaks, broken lawnmowers, acts of nature (hurricanes/blizzards).. All he can do is sympathize through email and let’s face it… that doesn’t help me solder a leak much. To remind him that he is valued and I truly to appreciate the effort he makes when he’s home, I decided to leave the dishwasher in need of repair until he was able to come home and complete the job.

Two long months….

I obviously had a lot on my plate.. (hahah get it?) and dishes were the least of my concerns: Ailing parents, summer chaos, writing papers about whether I exist or don’t.. (do the dishes actually exist?) I’m surprised I didn’t fall apart…

I’d like to thank the never ending pile of dishes for keeping me sane…  seriously….

Doing dishes became my time to control the choas I found myself in. With some hard work, time, and the computer propped up beside me to watch sappy reality shows (don’t judge me), I was able to break away from it all and focus on a task that has the ability to be accomplished. To be controlled if I’m being honest.

This may be because I was in fact studying philosophy, but I saw that the kitchen sink was a great metaphor for my happiness. It wasn’t just me that was throwing dirty dishes into this sink. It was my children and mother too. And I didn’t see any of them taking two seconds to rinse them; let alone wash them. This task was purely my own.

In the grand scheme of things, isn’t that the way happiness comes about in life too? Life is constantly throwing things your way that can ruin your clean sink of happiness. Some of that misery is self inflicted. Some is caused by those you love. At the end of the day, however, only you can decide to let the misery pile up. I chose not to. I didn’t seek to keep that sink sparkling clean but instead just did what I could and enjoyed the process.

That mess is never going to be completely gone. I can wash and put away EVERY SINGLE DISH. Seriously grab a camera and take a picture, because that empty sink almost never lasts. So long as I and my family have healthy bodies that requires nourishment, and we are blessed to have food to nourish it.. dishes will continue to pile up.

I can choose to be overwhelmed and feel hopeless and want to quit.. or I can accept that this is the way it is and find a way to make the situation enjoyable.

I chose to acknowledge that happiness is a state of mind that is caught in the process of cleaning those dishes not in obtaining the empty sink… (although to be fair when I see my sink completely clean I do feel pretty awesome) And even though my dishwasher has been functional for awhile I find myself washing a few things by hand to remind myself of this process when I’m feeling low. To dare I say even be thankful

Oh.. and after those two months washing my dishes my hand..it took my husband a whole FIVE MINUTES to fix my dishwasher…. Go figure right?

Godzilla Eats Other Photo Entries for Breakfast

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Did I ever share that I took a Digital Photography Course? I think may have touched on it when I discussed choosing my plan of study…

One thing that gets asked to me often: “So if you’re in Digital Photography… where are all your photos at?”

I thought about that question as I stared at my laptop screen during my last class. My final project for digital photography had been turned in and I was just killing time (wasting it sounds more like it) while the rest of my classmates continued to work.

My professor does an end of a year photography contest for his students. We all vote on the best and those who win get some photography prizes… I had no intention of enterting the contest but he insisted because I had time to kill…

I looked at all my portfolios for the week….

And I got sad..

As the weeks flew by in the matter of folders… I saw that my love for photography, my love for my OWN photography, degraded.

This class made me dislike my own work.. HATE even.

So much so that I have rarely shared any of my photography that I have taken for the class. I told my proffessor that I had previously had no intention of submitting anything for this contest. Enter Professor boosting the ego moment by saying “but you’ve submitted a lot of GREAT photos.” why wouldn’t want to submit one?

I looked at the last semester’s set of entries that he’s had posted on the wall for some time. The majority were outdoors photos that by right were beautiful. But they certainly weren’t me. I want a photo that best reflects me as a photographer. Not just my technical skill with the camera but has a message I want to share with the world…

I hated this class in a way that I have hated no other.. Every other one has felt like I was growing and progressing… this one always felt I was skating by just trying to pass… And it’s art.. who doesn’t love art?!

My photos are largely clinical and forced I guess. A reflection of just wanting to get throguh this class..

The above Godzilla pic was taken back in the second week of this course. Not the best of my work by far… but it reminds me the most of myself. Not perfect, but full of untapped potential.

One of my goals for myself is to  take the basic tools that I was taught and use them to take photos I actually like…To make this course count for something more than just my art elective.