Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Much Needed Simplicity . . .

Current needlework project

I feel the extreme need at this time in my life
to live with a more simplistic pace.
I have been in a major pursuit these past few weeks
to purge out my studio, clean, simplify,
get rid of unneeded "stuff"
and simply concentrate on what
gives me a sense of pleasure,
a sense of peace
and a calming of my heart.

Our lives can get so complicated
with saying "yes" to more than we should,
working, family demands, "television",
time wasters (social media for one!)
difficult relationships
and so much more.
So for me, and I only speak for me,
I choose to say change needs to happen.
I started in my studio . . . donated books to the library
that I no longer interested me,
gave away art supplies I no longer wanted,
threw away clutter and yes even old art projects!
I asked myself the tough question . . .
"What do I really want to do with the little free time that I have??????"
I only kept what would make me happy.
I now enter my art studio with a sense of

I have scaled down my art supplies,
looked at my "talents"
and decided just what it is that makes me happy,
and concentrate on those arts.
Let's face it, we all want to do everything, right??
We can't ... art adventures cost a lot,
require a lot,
and we just can't do everything that we see out there.
I do believe social media has made it harder for us,
we are seeing what everyone is doing on a daily basis
and we want to jump in and tackle it too!
I fell into the trap too, believe me!

I always return to my weaving ... can't wait to play with this one

So for me I want to continue my passion
for watercolor painting and sketching,
tapestry weaving and my needlework.
There will always be a Zentangle® pen in my hand.
Trust me, there still isn't enough time to do even that!
I actually have three or four needlework projects
going right now,
I love the stillness that holding the linen and needle gives me.

My current needlework palette

My life is full and as I am reaching for 60 years young
this summer,
I want my life to be rich, rested, fully engaged
and loving what each day brings my way.
As you know I have three grand babies (right now)
and soon number four will be here!
Annabelle and Grayson are old enough now
to come into their Grandmommy's studio
and play,
all the while I hope I am instilling in them
a love for being creative.
My little Dylan will get there shortly!
I want to enjoy every minute of their little lives!

 Annabelle weaving at the loom in her Cinderella Dress

Grayson creating a masterpiece in my art journal

So for now I choose to slow down,
enjoy life as it comes each day,
never dreading or wasting a moment!
In order to do that ... I need Simplicity
in all that I do and in all that I AM!
Summer is here,
my fourth grandchild will be here in a matter of weeks,
my n-laws are aging and need my help,
demands are everywhere I turn.
Finding those quiet moments will be difficult,
but oh life is so rich right now!
I truly believe that not having as much,
or doing as much
will walk me through the busy times.

This week I ask you to take a look at your own life,
what can you purge away?
Look for moments to live simply,
it may just be cutting off the awful news everyday.
Think of just one thing you can do
to simplify your life.
Choose only the things that satisfy your heart,
calm your spirit
let you just breathe.
I promise you won't regret it.

My three munchkins and hubby,
life doesn't get any better than this!

May your life be full of joy and grace,
may you walk with a lighter step this week,
may your find ways in your own life
to live simply!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Retreating with Needlework Women

A Small Portion of the Sampler we were stitching

Oh my goodness this past weekend was
a wonderful experience for all who attended
The Needlework Seminar
hosted by
here in Virginia Beach, VA.
They featured the Sampler Designs 
from Beth Twist,
She is a talented designer who came all the way from 
her homestead in Oregon 
to lead us during the weekend!
You can follow her sweet blog HERE

It started Friday afternoon with an Open House
at Dyeing to Stitch,
our premiere needlework store
(don't be jealous ... it's just five minutes from my house!)
I had the sincere pleasure of greeting the attendees,
giving them their name tags and first kit giveaway of the weekend.
These ladies came from all over the country to attend.
Shopping, browsing, laughing, getting to know each other,
inspiration, delicious food and so much more
was going on all afternoon.
Many bags were filled with stitching goodies
on Friday afternoon!
I must say we are so fortunate to have such a
beautiful stitch shop in our area,
Ann Robbins and Pat Ryan are the owners,
and they do everything possible to keep us
fully stocked with the latest and greatest
needlework supplies.
I don't ever want to take that for granted!

The shop was full of excitement and anticipation

Beth is the designer of
"His Eye is on the Sparrow",
the original of hers was on proud display in the shop
for all of us to oooooh and awwww over!
Stitched on 28 count dyed linen, one thread over two,
it was so inspiring and so beautiful!

Beth's original sampler she shipped for the Retreat

(It has been on my "want to stitch" list for awhile now)
My sister completed hers this year and had it framed.
Several ladies who were attending the retreat,
brought their finished works to share with Beth.
They had worked on a "stitch along" together
for 20 months to finish the sampler before Beth got here for the retreat
Here is their photo with Beth . . .

Amazing completed works!

Later in the evening,
over 60 women gathered at the Hyatt Hotel,
around tables with their needlework projects.
WOW these women are amazingly talented!
Everyone was sharing their current projects,
show and tells, laughter and a sincere love of the needle together.
I loved seeing everyone's supplies, lights, magnifiers,
stitching bags, linens and thread color choices.
I stayed till 9:30pm and was wiped out,
Day One was a success!
I was so excited about the next day,
I could hardly sleep!

On Saturday, my sister and I started with a quiet breakfast
at Baker's Crust (a local favorite) before heading to the retreat.
Gotta get that coffee in the system!!!!
 I took the morning session,
it was held at the beautiful Greenbrier Country Club.
As we settled into our seats at the tables,
we pulled out our supplies, lights,
magnifiers, needles, scissors, eyeglasses and everything we needed.
We were so ready to get our "stitching on"
We got to see the original sampler we would be working on,
take pictures and just socialize with each other.

Kit surprise from Friday check-in

My stitching mates for the day!
Norma, Stasi and my sis Angel

How delightful all of the women were who attended!
We were happy to be together sharing what we loved.
 I enjoyed every minute of the day!
On our name tags was a place for us to put our "Instagram" names,
(This was such a great idea)
and everyone was finally able to put a face with a name.
Some of us had been following each other for a long time, 
admiring each other's stitching projects
and now we were all under one roof,
it was fun connecting!!!

Our name tags designed by Donna Rae Barrow

Just one table of women, very special women for sure!

My Instagram Collage of friends!

Beth Twist is such a beautiful soul and I immediately connected with her.
She lives a life of joy, peace and love of family.
In her spare time, she creates beautiful needlework patterns,
for others to create and enjoy for their homes.
She is a soft, loving and oh so very talented needlewoman.
Some people you just know are good folk,
she is definitely one.

Grabbing a selfie with Beth on Friday at the Open House

She had a beautiful slide show of her life in Oregon
with her precious family.
Her kit was handed out to all attendees
we were all so excited with what was inside!
Her sampler design is beautiful,
the colored threads were vibrant,
and there was more goodies inside.
Presentation was everything
and she hit a home run!!!

"I could use a little more stitching in my life"

Thread Colors for our project

 The Sampler Kit we were given on Saturday
Here is Beth's Original to inspire us

Friday's Kit Surprise at Check-In
How adorable is this!
"Stitch or Die"

I was so thrilled to meet her and spend time
 getting to know her.
I have stitched other designs from Beth,
and I love her designs.
I recently completed her
Needlework Roll ... Pat Ryan and I did our own "stitch along"
and we finished just in time for the Retreat!

My completed Needle Roll

I was even able to spend time with Beth Friday evening,
She was stitching at our table on her own piece and I
noticed she was stitching so effortlessly!
I showed an interest in the way she was stitching
and she began to show 
 me how to stitch with the "sewing method".
 I am still practicing and getting used to it this week!
I am going at a slow and deliberate pace,
it is so worth it.

Learning the "sewing method" ... One stitch at a time

Needle women are beautiful, caring,
and so willing to share their ideas,
designs, supplies and smiles with each other.
I made new friends, re-connected with old friends,
and deepened current friendships.
How blessed I am to know Ann and Pat so well,
spend time with them and call them friends.
Their love of the needle shows in everything they do!
Thank you so much for such a beautiful weekend!
We were given amazing gift keepsakes
that I know we all will cherish!
I was overwhelmed by their generosity.

Pat and Ann ... How I love these true needlewomen! 
Blessed by their friendship and love for sure

I have returned to everyday life this week,
and in my quiet moments I continue to  stitch on my retreat sampler.
With each stitch I am reminded of such a special gathering
of women this past weekend,
it was kinda hard to say goodbye!
I hope I don't forget this wonderful experience
for a very long time.

I am fortunate to gather with my local stitching sisters,
whenever I can, on Thursday Evenings,
around the table, at Dyeing to Stitch.
Laughing, sharing, talking about everything and anything,
just being together,
because there will always be "fellowship of the needle"

Morning Session Students
photo credit by Beth Twist/Donna Rae Barrow

Donna Lee
aka Yogiknitgirl

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beauty in Nature

I am in love with this time of year!
There is so much beauty all around,
my camera has been very busy!

I have been flower pressing for awhile now,
everywhere I go I love to collect fresh flowers,
take their pictures and then into the press they go!
I got mine from Etsy years ago,
all you have to do is visit Etsy
and search "Flower Presses"

Watercolor sketching is a way of life for me,
and I love having lots of new things
to sketch and paint!
So here is a little inspiration for you,
flowers I have collected
along my way in just the past few weeks!

I love pressing flowers! I encourage you 
to give it a try if you haven't done so!
You can use them for so many things!
It's always wonderful to learn something new.
Whenever I travel, I love collecting
momentos and treasures that I can use later.

Here is my most recent treat . . .  It's what's on my nightstand.
"Plants are Magic"
Rebecca Desnos
I found her on Instagram a long time ago
and she helps you fall in love with Botanicals.
I fell in love with her first book
"Botanical Colour at Your Fingertips"
you can find her HERE

I hope that your week is filled with
beauty, love and all good things.
Take time to observe Nature,
certainly in all of it's beauty right now!

Donna Lee

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What has my attention lately!

A treasure found while visiting Edenton, NC

Well I certainly let a whole week go by without posting!
I told myself in January I would try to post
regularly, every Wednesday on my blog.
I made to March 29th, 2017!

One thing I have learned for sure,
is that life is full of unpredictable moments!
Moments that take your breath away,
Moments that occupy your time in ways you never dreamed of,
Moments that just fly by.
Moments that keep you from accomplishing
all that you want and need to!

I have been weaving a lot lately,
I am currently weaving on my beloved Mirrix loom
and creating a Tapestry Woven Pouch Necklace.
I am blogging from start to finish
for the Mirrix Loom Blog,
this project is amazing
and the hand painted silks are beautiful
to work with,
I am having a wonderful and creative time.
The first post is posted on the Mirrix Loom Blog,
you can follow my journey HERE . . .

Currently on my Mirrix

Adding in some Beads

I have been reading a lot of blog posts
about building your own pipe loom,
either from copper or galvanized pipe!
The weaving community is so generous
and always sharing knowledge with each other,
for that I am truly grateful!

My weaving mentor, teacher and friend
Rebecca Mezoff
wrote a great post HERE ...
So I went to the hardware store
and bought what I needed ...
if you want to know exactly what to buy,
HERE is the link that Tommye Scanlin so generously shared!
I actually bought the pipe pieces about a month ago,
and have just gotten around to building it on my day off today!

I thought it was going to be overwhelming,
but opening the pipe pieces
actually took longer than building the loom itself!!!
Cleaning the scanner price tags
took longer than building the loom!

So here is the finished product!
Tightened up with my hubby's strong hands
and a really good wrench!!!

My finished loom

So I immediately wanted to get a warp on the loom,
I used my 12/6 cotton seine
sett at 8 ends per inch
I plan on weaving a small tapestry diary
and getting used to the loom.

I am totally in love with Washi Tape,
so I marked off inch and half inch increments on my tape
and then added it to the loom.

Setting at 8 ends per inch

So as you can see Tapestry has gotten
a lot of my attention lately,
and I think that is a good thing.
In order to do anything well, we must spend time with it.
Sometimes I spread myself too thing,
doing way too many things.

This morning was quiet, the birds were singing,
the breeze was blowing through the window
and I was weaving before work.
Thoughts often come to me while weaving,
this morning in honor of National Poetry Month,
I wrote a poem on Tapestry!
It was a very good morning indeed!

Poem Writing while Weaving

May your week be filled with
love, creativity, happiness and joy!
Thanks for being here

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


What is currently on my floor loom

Every moment I enter my studio,
my loom Welcomes me ...
I sometimes run in for a paintbrush,
a quick sketch,
look for a certain book or journal,
and I wish I had more time
to sit and weave ... just weave more!

I have been weaving on my Mirrix loom
and my Hokett looms for smaller projects,
but I haven't spent a lot of time
on my larger floor loom.
I have owned it almost a year now
and I'm not getting very far!

I created this current weaving project 
almost seven months ago,
and I ask myself "Where has the time has gone?"
I created a watercolor cartoon,
(from a watercolor original of mine)
set up the warp
and my weaving is slowly
working itself up the warp.
Progress has been so slow it sometimes disturbs me.
How I admire current day
tapestry weavers that accomplish so much!
I now realize they devote their time to their art,
not spread out their time in so many different avenues!
In order to do something well we must spend quality time
devoted to it ... learning, experimenting and discovering.

My Original Watercolor
inspired from Jeanne Carbonetti

When we are allowing ourselves growth and progress with our passions,
we must first realize how important it is
to devote time to our art or endeavors.
I don't want to spread myself too thin
in an already full life.

Tapestry weaving is important to me,
I have been distracted with knitting,
sketching, playing, 
working, needlework and writing . . .
all wonderful pursuits for sure.
Yet each pursuit has pulled me away
from my Tapestry Weaving,
what I truly love the most.
I do realize that in order to show progression
in my Tapestry Weaving,
I need to devote more solid time with it.
Progression in our work 
comes when we concentrate;
when we devote time to a certain thing,
when we set aside moments to grow.

My current work

I find myself saying yes yes yes to what I am writing
and agreeing with every word I have written here.
When we are passionate about something,
whatever it is for you and for me,
we must devote time to it.
I want to grow in my knowledge of weaving,
I want to see progression in this beautiful work
I currentlyhave on my loom.
I don't want to waste any more time.

So I ask you my friend ... 
What is it that you need to show more progression in your life?
Are you spending quality time doing what you love and need to do?
Are you spreading yourself too thin
and not getting much done anywhere in your life?
I think it is a question we have to ask ourselves
from time to time for sure.

Spring is a season of new beginnings,
at least it is for me.
My new beginning is carving out time
to just sit and weave,
quietly and meditatively in my studio,
my private and very special place.
My loom is calling me,
what is calling to you?

I know I am going to love this when it's finished

Donna Lee

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Creating My Own Art

Created this morning

I have been on an Art Journey for quite some time now.
With each new day I grow as an Artist.
I am inspired by so many others,
their techniques, style, color choices,
designs and their own personal journeys.
I have taken some wonderful classes,
in person and online
with some pretty spectacular teachers!
I have learned one technique here,
one there
and all the while I was developing
my own personal style of art.
Implementing the skills and techniques I had picked up along the way.

I am grateful that there are so many artists
out there willing to share their style of art,
write books along the way
and teach creatives like me!
I myself have taught many classes,
I have loved sharing my process to others.
I feel I now have something to share.

I think it is important to learn from others.
We are all together on this artistic walk of life.
Fellowship with other creatives is a must!
Whether just getting together as friends,
going on retreats, taking a workshop ...
certainly whatever works for you.
We need to be with like minded souls.
It fills our vessels for those times we can't be together.

I have learned a strong lesson along the way ...
I needed to take what I had learned and 
create my very own style.
I don't want to copy someone else's work or style,
I want to create my very own.
I do believe I have ...
I finally am comfortable in my own creative skin!
I create only what I want to create now,
and that is such an important lesson to learn.
My wonderful hubby reminds me all the time
that my work is unique,
my colors choices are great
and he loves my work above others!
(It is nice to have your own personal art cheerleader)

I created this small watercolor journal to play in
and created the cover work this morning

Early morning play on the art table

I began with a small sketch,
added watercolors,
then ink, then splatter, some oil pastel,
than pen and just kept going!
I wanted to just play and see what I came up with
for my blog post this morning.
It is all about the process for me,
not always the end result.
I have learned to create from Intention.
I needed the process to speak to me ... and it did!

Art is a way of life for me,
whether I am creating with inks, paints, 
or even my palette of threads.

A peek at my Tapestry table in progress

I create my art for ME,
(sometimes as a gift of love)
no longer for sale.
I went down the Etsy Shop journey years ago,
and found great success; but I wasn't happy.
I was creating just to refill the shop.
I was even part owner in an Art Gallery,
again I found myself creating to fill my little area ...
Art wasn't fun anymore, it had become work.

Now I create mainly for me.
I need to create ... it certainly calls to me.

Handpainted silks by Mirrix Looms
for my next Tapestry Project

I create because I need to.
Because I am called to it
Rather than filling my mind with
mindless television and wasted time,
I return to my studio ...
over and over again.
Each time might not be perfect,
or I may not create a beautiful work;
but I am there
granting myself the gift of peace,
quiet and serenity.
That my friend is worth it's weight in gold!

I don't want to copy anyone else,
trust me with social media these days
it would be easy to just imitate what I see.
There would be no originality in that.
I create my own art
because I love it,
I am finding my own true voice
through my work.
It has taken me years to like my work,
trust me ... there were times I did not!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
What inspires you?
What is your creative process?
What does your Art mean to you?

We had a beautiful 62 degree day here yesterday
in Virginia Beach,
today is very windy and dropping to 30 degrees!
I feel my studio is calling me ...
wonder what else I will create today?

Donna Lee