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My Journey as a Creative Designer

     From now on, all new blog posts will only be posted on Wordpress. This makes things easier for you and for me. You can sign up to be notified when I blog at: (The "follow me" link can be found at the bottom of that page)

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Yesterday was a difficult day. Most of you who read or know me know how much I love kitties. Cats and kittens have always been such a big part of my life. Most of my life I have had at least one cat and most of the time more than that. To me, they aren't only pets but valued members of my family. 

Many of you remember that this past December, I suddenly lost my dear feline friend Pancakes to illness. He had gone into surgery that was intended as 'exploratory' and never made it back. I was devastated, and have still been struggling with his loss to this day. While I love all of my cats, Pancakes may very well have been my "pet of a lifetime." I don't think I will ever be able to 'get over it' fully. 

Earlier last year, Keith's mom had lost her beautiful little kitty, Lacey. That has hurt as well. I still kind of look for her every time we go to their home. While Lacey was older and we knew she wasn't feeling well for a long while, it still hurt tremendously to hear of her passing. Another piece of my heart went with her. 

I have mentioned our good friend Lee several times here in my posts. Lee was our neighbor at our old apartment and has a heart of gold. He travels down to the wharf every single day to care for the feral cats that people abandon. He feeds them, cares for them, and to most of the kitties, Lee is the only human they will allow to have contact with them. He has adopted several kitties of his own - all 'misfits' that would otherwise certainly not survived. To me (and many others) he is a hero, and a couple of weeks ago I had the honor of attending a dinner the village had to honor 'unspoken volunteers' that helped our community. I was so pleased that Lee was recognized for his kindness and dedication to the kitties. 

Last month, though, one of Lee's five kitties became ill and passed away. It broke my heart to say goodbye to Doobie, who was a beautiful creamy beige boy. I went with Lee to the vet that day and while it did bring many of the sad feelings of losing Pancakes back (not that they ever diminished really), I found comfort in that Doobie passed in peace, with calm dignity. 

Since then, Lee has adopted a new kitten that he calls "Gibbs", and Gibbs was settling in nicely with his other four. 

But yesterday morning, I had some terrible news. Lee had messaged me the night before that his youngest kitty, Loki, had become ill. He was only seven years old and was just a kitten when Lee got him, right around when he moved near Keith and I. I remember the day he brought him home and Loki could fit in your palm. He grew to be a big boy and I grew to love him dearly. When we lived at our old place, we kept our washer and dryer in Lee's apartment (it was larger than ours) and we went over weekly to do our laundry. There wasn't a time when Loki didn't come out to greet me when I came by. I fondly called him "my boyfriend". Even after we moved, I still came by just to visit him every couple of weeks. He always loved to be fussed over and had a personality that I loved.   I was so sad to hear that he wasn't feeling well.  

As I got ready yesterday morning to go to the vet with Lee and Loki, I received a message from Lee that Loki had passed away. It crushed me. 

I couldn't help but think that a year ago, between us, Keith's mom, and Lee (our inner circle here) we had nine kitties. Now four of them have passed away. We all live in different areas so it isn't anything in the water or environment, but just a matter of circumstances. But I have to admit that my heart is in tatters and I am truly struggling with keeping my positive attitude some days. I don't know what to say. 

As a designer, creativity is an important factor in success. These past several months, I have been fortunate to be working with other designers and doing more 'production-type' work. It keeps me busy when my heart is just not happy. It keeps me connected and knowing that I am providing pieces that make others happy helps. It is a good stepping stone to keep me moving in a positive direction, even when I don't feel like thinking. I am ever so grateful. 

Little by little I feel my own creativity returning. Yesterday, as you can imagine was not a good day. Thank goodness I was 'caught up' for the first time this year and had nothing imperative hanging over my head. I had a good cry in the morning, took it easy most of the day, and by evening I felt like moving forward on my sheep projects. I had to do something to get my mind in a better place. 

The sheep are something that I just wanted to do for me. I don't know if I will develop them as a project. I haven't decided yet. I have to think a bit more about the logistics of them, but they are something I just wanted to do 'for no reason at all - other than to just do them.' I wound up finishing the third one last night. I was grateful for the concentration it required. 

The first one was done in all Bullion Knots:

. . . the second in Bullion Knots and pearls:

. . . and the third sheep is done in all glass stones, beads and pearls. I think it looks pretty cool:

I began by encasing a clear, glass cut cabochon in small glass seed beads for the center of the sheep. I built around that using various sized glass beads and pearls. I think the look is different and fun:

As a group, they look pretty nice:

I still have other ideas for 'different' sheep. I will continue to show them as I work on them. I haven't quite decided as to whether I will make them as individual lapel pins or apply them as stumpwork to a larger piece. I am still thinking it over. 

I am probably going to lay low for the next few days. I just feel the need to step back for a couple of days and try to heal and cope. While I have many ideas and projects on the go, I don't know which direction I feel like going. Maybe I just need a little rest. I am sure I will be picking up projects and working on them over the weekend, but I don't know which ones yet. I have some things to do here around the house, too and it may be a good time to do that. 

I hope you enjoy seeing these little 'versions' of my sheep. For some reason, they make me happy. 

I'll take it. 

Have a wonderful weekend. 


  1. Barbara Jones Hoag on June 16, 2017 at 2:50 PM said:
    These are totally cool. What is a bullion knot? Must be a knitting term since I don't knit. But I love these.
  2. Sheila Bergner-Landry on June 19, 2017 at 9:32 AM said:
    Hi, Barbara: Bullion Knots are stitches in hand-embroidery. They are somewhat like French Knots, but you wrap the thread maybe 15-30 times around the needle before pulling it through the fabric. This makes a long spiral of thread around the center core thread. This is what makes the sheep look like they have "wool". To make the knots curve, you put the needle back into the fabric closer to where it comes up, causing the knot to curve somewhat due to the over-abundance of thread and wraps. There are many ways to use these fun and decorative stitches to create interesting designs. Check on Pinterest (keyword - Bullion Knot) and you will see how it is done. :) I hope this helps - Sheila
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