Herbcrafter’s Tarot

This is not a review, just a shout out to my friends who might enjoy the deck.

The Herbcrafter’s Tarot (see teaser video below) arrived a few days ago (thanks for the birthday present Mom!). The cards are a semi gloss but feel matte so they don’t slide too much, just enough. The art is gorgeous as always. Swoon. Can’t wait to play with it a bit more.

I have Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot and I just knew this new deck, the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, would be fabulous. The art, the spirit, the soul, the diversity… gentle reverence for The Mama’s children all around.

Funny thing about me and tarot/oracle cards. About once a week (or less) I will pull a card after asking the question, “what do I need to know right now.” I don’t do pure divination. For me the cards are just a jumping off point for personal growth but not in a See The Future kind of way. It’s rather amazing how spot on they can be for what I need to be working on that moment. I’m not what is now known as a Card Slinger.

For decades I collected tarot/oracle decks. I had dozens of them. I have most of the decks with art by Will Worthington, my favs being the Druid Craft and Wild Wood tarot decks. I’m also a big fan of the work of Jesse Reisch and Stephanie Law so I have the decks they’ve worked on too. Mostly I use them for art inspiration so when I’m considering a new project I will pick several decks from my collection and start looking through the cards for the spark. Tarot and oracle cards are a great way to collect some artist’s work and they don’t take up that much room. Sometimes I just need some comfort or direction or a meditation topic. It’s all good.

In The Great Purge of 2018 I got rid of a LOT of decks. I recently got rid of a few more. Now I have about a dozen, maybe 15, instead of 60 or more and this one had to join the curated few. It made the cut. I love that Cannabis is Strength and why they chose it.

This deck is easily in my top five favorite decks.  Enjoy and swoon, looking forward to autumn and tea!

Thoughts On Practice and Passion

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
― Malcolm Gladwell

One of the reasons I am sharing about my process on this jacket on Facebook (okay okay, I’ll post it here too) is that I want to show you what my process looks like out loud. When I was teaching medieval clothing reproduction and embroidery classes so many students said things like:

  • “I could never do what you do…”
  • “How did you get so good?”
  • “That’s lovely but I’m not good at anything I try…”
  • “I’ve tried before but I wasn’t any good.”

OMG. Oh. My. GOD.

It was like they thought I sprung straight out of my mother’s womb ready to stitch. They sure seemed to think that was what they needed to do. Since my birth mother was also an artist I’m sure that’s part of the DNA makeup of who I am as an artist but it’s not everything by any means. We dabbled in the same mediums without ever knowing each other but I was no skilled embroiderer or seamstress or illustrator at birth.

I would tell them that I started young and had been practicing for well over 40 years. Now I can honestly say I’ve been doing this work for 55 years.  Holy Schnikes!!! 55 years! My first embroidery was done when I was 5 with a kit from Woolworth’s. It was ok. Pretty straight forward. And yet still adorable. Considering I did this in 1964 (!) I’m surprised it’s actually on real linen.

No matter what I told them, their own self esteem seemed to taunt them and haunt them. Sabotage them. Every once in a while I would get someone who would take what I shared with them and run with it and create their own beautiful garments and embellishments. That was such a win! I wanted them to find their stride, to find their passion, to see potential for themselves and their works.

What did I tell them?

  • Practice practice practice
  • Make trial pieces, prototypes, mock ups
  • Experiment, dare, fly outside the box but with a solid foundation
  • Make mistakes, learn how to fix them through necessity
  • Read about the art, as many different books as you can
  • Practice practice practice
  • Measure thrice, cut once
  • Find your passion, the thing you can’t wait to work on the first moment of me time you get
  • Remember that I’ve been working on this stuff for DECADES.

So often that was the last I ever heard from them. They quit before they even got started. Guess it wasn’t really their passion. I hope they found out what that is.

I wanted to be a writer for years. My ex-husband told me once that I’d never write and I’d never quit smoking, he was such a Debbie Downer. He was trying to hurt me but he just made me mad and I left him for the last time that summer. I quit smoking in 1997 but before that I sold my violin and got a certificate in fiction writing from the UW. It wasn’t until I found the SCA and was sewing a beaded, polyester tunic with a zipper and breast darts (!!) and I couldn’t put it down, I anticipated the work all day while at work and couldn’t wait to get home, that I realized that if writing was TRULY my main passion I’d be doing it every day. Every. Day. I did eventually start writing every day but the point is we do every day what we are most passionate about. Turns out costumes and clothing and all things textile are my true passion.

You may be most passionate about embroidery or car engines or bass playing or reading. What is your passion? Do it every day. If you aren’t doing it every day (or almost every day, life is life), it probably isn’t your PASSION. It’s just something you like a lot but aren’t dedicated to.


Try something else. Or keep at it. Maybe it’s your lack of skill and technique that is holding you back. What do you do about that? You PRACTICE. As I said, I didn’t come out of the womb knowing any of this. I was a beginner just like you. I still make mistakes, sometimes ruinous mistakes. I can still be afraid to cut into a luscious bit of yardage. You can do this if it’s what you want. I do some kind of art work, be it embroidery or knitting or drawing, every day. I no longer have to focus on just one thing because I’ve been doing all of it long enough to be able to go with the flow.

I thought writing, music, reading, drinking, fashion, drawing, designing houses, were all my passions. Turns out I like them an awful lot (except the drinking) but textiles are my passion. If it has to do with textiles, I can’t help myself. I must create something. I do it fairly often and except for the occasional dry spells (I’m trying to get out of one right now), I do some kind of textile work every day. The dry spells are necessary. It can be exhausting to keep at a passion for a long time without a rest to let things flow again and coalesce.

When people think what I do is sew I laugh. This jacket is a perfect example. I can tailor the heck out of something and it will fit perfectly etc. This jacket used to fit well once. With a linen pirate shirt and a velvet corset and 36D breasts under it. It doesn’t fit any more. It never will. The embroidery makes it almost impossible to alter because it covers seams and areas that need cutting. I don’t really care for sewing, I consider it a necessary evil, but alterations? I frikking hate alterations. They must happen if you want something to continue in your life but Sewing Is Not My Passion. I will put alterations in the Punishment Pile and there they will languish until I’m in the mood. I just happen to be in the mood right now. Sort of. The navy wool jacket does fit and doesn’t have all the embroidery I had planned for it getting in the way. So it’s going to be the work in progess, not the turquoise. Embroidery and velvet ribbons and metal are in its future. Yum!

So why am I writing about the jackets right now? I want you to hear me thinking out loud. I’m not asking for input or praise or solutions from you. I’m trying to show you how the thought process of a piece happens. It’s very organic. You must listen for the whispers. That it’s full of twists and plot turns. That there will be mistakes, sometimes major mistakes. I’m not even kidding. I’m not looking for you to tell me my work is beautiful although praise is always welcome. Who doesn’t like praise? Who’s a Good Girl? I’m not looking for support to finish although support in general is very healthy. I want you to see that the finished piece that I show you didn’t just manifest perfectly. It was a process, sometimes a long process fraught with angst. It’s like giving birth. The end result is usually fabulous but the process is messy and full of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. There were times I had to rip stuff out, sometimes many times. Times I had to erase. Or in some rare cases, throw away. You don’t usually get to see all the work in the background that I had to do to get it to a place where I could show it off. I’m letting you into my world.

So. I’m not upset about the jacket not turning out the way I envisioned. It is what it is. It’s been sitting in my closet for a decade, for a reason, sadly being ignored, not sparking joy. All will be well even if it ends up in pieces for something else. I don’t need help. What I would love is for you to see my process one day at a time and think to yourself, “man, I saw that coming” or “maybe I *could* do that too.” I would love it if you said to yourself, “If this woman can make that mistake and continue on to the end, maybe I can make mistakes too and still succeed” or “maybe not finishing isn’t the worst thing, maybe wasting my time is worse.”  I’d like you to see how I think myself out of a mistake, how I can be so pleased when it works out but not dismayed when it doesn’t. I’d like you to see the real hard work and think to yourself that maybe you too can get past that to the final beauty.

If you haven’t found your passion yet, keep looking, it’s there. Don’t give up. Keep practicing. If something turns out not to be what you want (I will never play bass), try something else on your Wouldn’t That Be Cool List. You should have a list. Lots of lists.  Never give up. Keep trudging. We all have creative desire in us. The one thing we are all born with is potential and a creative spark. If I believed in God and the concept that we are all divine, I’d say that we are all gods with the ability to create. You just have to find out what you want to give birth to. Sometimes that is literal and your passion is being a fabulous mommy or daddy. It’s ok if you are someone who loves to clean a house and gets great satisfaction out of creating a warm and loving home. A warm and loving home is one of the most important things we can have in life. It matters. Some people totally can’t do that nor do they want to. Thank goodness for YOU. You’d be surprised how diverse the field is for passion. It’s all good. Life is short, do what you love, and don’t let anyone tell you it should be something else. Remember, the only person you truly need to please is you. When it flows over into the lives of others, there’s nothing like it, even if it’s just a perfect grilled tuna on rye. If you’ve had one, you know that’s no small thing.

We can all have passion and creativity and contentment in a job well done. Practice brings that out in you. Every. Day.

Decision to be free

Those of you who have been entertained enough to follow me for some many years now will know that this is not the first incarnation of my blog. I started many years ago in livejournal then in 2005 moved to wordpress, Weaving The Web, because I wanted freedom of expression and to get away from folks I thought were trying to limit me. God/dess knows I do that enough my own self, don’t need any help.  Then in 2008, though staying with wordpress, I created this third incarnation, Love Not Fear.  I brought all the old posts over, even a few from livejournal, so this site is a mostly complete record.

The name Love Not Fear overrides the actual account hidingplainsight.  I’ve been Hiding in Plain Sight for a few years now. I have written a lot about my own personal process.  At times it has been, ahem, CHALLENGING, to stay honest when I am not presented in a flattering light. Like most of us, not all of my personal growth has been pretty. Some felt hurt by it. I’ve had a lot of growing pains in the last 5 years, more intense and deeper than usual.

One of the things that has also been difficult is that I have indeed been hiding in plain sight. My ex, The Forgiven, and my brother were very upset with me over some things I posted. Some of my friends in the SCA would write, oooh don’t say that because imortant  people are watching and you might not get a Laurel (Big damn award, uh huh). I said no to the SCA, no to the Laurel (not that it was offered but I stopped yearning for it), and no to the friends. I refused to be censored and that is how my current incarnation here began.  Hiding to be free.

All of this might lead you to think I’m going away.  But I’m not!!!  I have, however, decided to start anew.  I want to be able to share my work and my thoughts and my writings with people who are close to me and have been for years.  I have not wanted to share all of my process with them.  I have been considering for some time that I have a book in me and I think of it often.  One day maybe I’ll do it. For now though, I want to be able to continue writing and teaching and creating and I want to be visible.

When I was going to the channeler of Jeshua with the ex, it was quite validating.  One thing Jeshua said to me was that I had spent many lifetimes feeling invisible and that this was the lifetime where I overcome that.  I want to be seen and it hardly supports that when I am hiding my self away afraid that those who know me shouldn’t read my thoughts.  I’m still not sure I want them to read the archives.  I’m not ready for that but I am ready to have them see me now, as I am now.

As you know, I have reconnected with old friends through facebook and for me it has been very uplifting.  I don’t friend just anyone, only those I know and with rare exception those I would like to know.  But many of them I will never send here.  I don’t publish this url anywhere.  I want to share now.  My latest status update said this:

As I get to re-know my friends from days long past, I realize how inherent my feelings of separation are. How I never knew anyone loved me. I see now that I was wrong, I was loved for sure, but it kind of blows my mind how different my life would have been if I had believed from the start that I was lovable…

We pick up from where we stand…

I’ve been uncovering myself this past year. I have purple hair now!  It suits me. I’m drawn back to some of my roots.  That free spirited girl I used to be, the one who thumbed her nose at conformity and the status quo wants to fly again.  The self-destruction isn’t welcome but there was much that was good about me and the way I lived my life and refused to conform for the comfort of others. It calls to me.  But in a healthy, embracing, loving, and creative way. Something that builds… If you build it they will come.

Reveal #1…

I have this fear of heart attack.  Two of my women friends have had massive heart attacks in the past 3 years. Serious widow makers.  They both survived, one of them quite amazingly since the hospital was a long drive and a ferry ride and another long drive away.  They are both disabled for the rest of their lives.  With that in mind,  2012 I want to nurture my spirit more than my body, work the muscles and see if they remember my hurdling track and field days. My God, I do not have a double chin, it just happens when I reach back to look up at the guy and laugh, but boy I do have some extra pounds.  Introducing MR. FURNACE! Who loves me just as I am as I do him.

American Goth(ic)

Not pitchforks! Cake.  The cake has got to go…

Reveal #2

With that in mind, I’ve created a new blog.  A place where I will share some thoughts, some tutorials, and lots of creativity!  I won’t post as often as I have before but more than lately.  I think that what I do post will be worth the waiting for.  I thought that since I own stitchwitchcottage.com I might as well continue in that vein. Maybe I’ll even update that site.  I have a few tutorials in the thought bubble. While the blog won’t be entirely witchy there will be some of that too.  Right now my spiritual path is in flux,weaving and bending and flowing and I’m not worrying too much about what to call it or me. But I do have projects galore to share.  And joy! I have joy to share!

So.  Watch for a new post in a couple weeks (I have a LOT to do to get ready!! like new masthead and site design and a couple posts in the queue)…  Stitch Witch Cottage is coming soon to a puter near you!

Nephew’s Birthday

One of my fondest memories of time spent with my nephew is the time we spent last October and November on his last visit from France.  He and I spent some time making things and one of the things he made with Sculpy was a tree with an owl in it and the sun.  It was too fragile for him to take back with him so I have it.

While trying to figure out what to do for his birthday, I thought I would memorialize that day in such a way as to make it last a lifetime.  The creativity has really helped me get through the challenges of Dad’s stroke mixed with diabetes and alzheimer’s.

This is a cool bit of wood, framed up like a canvas with a 4-sided wooden frame but instead of covering it with canvas it’s got a wood cover so I can do woodburning… All that’s left to do is the oiling/varnish


Did You See That?

Was it so quick, so subtle, that it passed right over your head? I know it passed right over MINE.

In the previous post I wrote:

I can afford it…

Now mind you I was talking about acrylic yarn that I got at Joann’s and I used coupons and a sale on yarn to do it (I bought 20 skeins) but man, I said it.

I. Can. Afford. It.

I really can’t remember the last time I said that.  And guess what?  This Friday??  I get paid. AGAIN!!  What a novel and fun idea.  Twice a month like clockwork I am going to get paid. Who knew that would feel like wide open spaces instead of not enough.

I love my job. I love the people I work with. I actually do have the nicest boss.  They think I’m doing a great job.  No nasty comments about my competence. This job was made for me for exactly where I am right now in my career and personal growth. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit. Oh. Wait. I guess I did!!!

And I am in love. LOVE LOVE LOVE.  And guess what? We still have not had sex. I know. ME. It took a man like Mr. Furnace to inspire me, try me, wait for me, to organically let everything happen when it feels perfect.  We celebrated our first Valentine’s together with friends eating sushi and whatever you call it when they cook japanese style in front of you with flaming volcano onions and stuff. And cake. Heh. Low key. Very nice. Perfect. I am looking forward to the very new experience of actually having sex for the first time with a man I already know loves me, who has fought with me, cried with me, laughed with me, knows me, trusts me, and I him. For some people that is a given.  For someone with my background not so much. To do this consciously as a gift to ourselves. Of course with life you never know, maybe it won’t happen but I don’t think so. I think it will happen in my core. I have no idea when and I’m okay with that. Completely okay. Because I’ve never felt so fulfilled with a man just holding hands and twining legs, shoulder rubs and head massages and a smooch here and there. FULFILLED.

Our favorite activities?  Watching “stupid tv” (Cash Cab and Jeopardy and the Rick Mercer Report and The Daily Show being our favs), eating, holding hands, laughing, and sometimes me crocheting.  Just enjoying each others company, letting things unfold as they will with full faith everything is perfect. Last weekend I spent the night. This weekend I’m going to Portland to see a dear friend for gab and cheer and sushi and Powell’s Books.  And because it is a 3-day weekend, I’m coming home to do it again.  Spend the night with Mr. Furnace. Holding hands.

Life is very, VERY, good right now and I deserve it.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy, partly because life has been life and partly because I wasn’t who I am now.  Someone who finally learned to enjoy herself come hell or high water but who got heaven instead.

And because this is my favorite movie of the year….