10 List

I am in the processing of finishing my first embroidery portrait. Not bad for my first attempt, although I feel that it falls far short of my grandmother's adorable charm in the photograph. The more I look at this photo at her, the more I am struck by how uniquely beautiful she was. The final step is to applique the piece to fabric and frame it, and I have a few prints in contention for the job. A lovely butterfly print left over from an apron that I made for my sister; a simple turquoise polka-dotted print; and a flower print with greens, browns, and turquoise. I think I really bit off a large challenge for this first attempt because of her smile. It's so unique and toothy, and I probably would have had an easier time if I'd chosen a photo with a closed-mouth smile.

Here's what I am grateful for this week.
1. Both of my grandmothers, Rita and Eva. Aren't those both beautiful names as well?
2. Spring break begins today!
3. Green, blue and purple signs of spring.
4. The amazing massage that my friend Dan gave me yesterday, during which I was able to enter a deep state of relaxation.
5. Creative projects!
6. Dreading going on a run and then having a wonderful run during which I can process stress and develop ideas.
7. Watching students grow.
8. The fact that my class is over!
9. Celebrating the end of my class at Dove ViVi! Yum! Deep dish cornbread pizza with amazing local sausage!
10. My chickens and their wonderful eggs. And if I'm not wrong, I think the creatures are becoming more affectionate. I swear they love getting petted and nuzzled when I go outside to visit them.

In addition to finishing my grandmother's portrait, my next project is this Luck Jackson pattern that I purchased from her shop. I've read that great writers will sometimes, in moments of writer's block or frustration, copy the writing of those who inspire them. They will type out poems or entire chapters, and doing so will help them learn the rhythm and cadence of other writers. Annie Dillard says in The Writing Life:

On break, I usually read Conrad Aiken's poetry aloud. It was pure sound unencumbered by sense. If I ever caught a poem's sense by accident, I could never use that poem again. I often read the Senlin poems, and "Sea Holly." Some days I read part of any poetry anthology's index of first lines. The parallels sounded strong and suggestive. They could set me off, perhaps.

This is one of the reasons I bought Lucky Jackson's pattern. Not only do I like it, but I feel that I can learn some techniques by copying and sewing from another's design. That's the hope. The pattern is smaller and more detailed than the portrait outline of my grandmother, so that alone will be a good challenge.

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