I want to share two separate but connected stories.
One of a magical getaway with my love. And the other of a hand-stitched postcard exchange with a kindred spirit across the globe.
Let's start with the postcard. I signed up for the The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap and had the chance to do something different with my art on a global scale. I had to create a "stitched" postcard with a "discover" theme and then exchange it with someone. My someone is in Australia.
This is the idea of Beth Nicholls, Founder of Do What you Love. Beth has lots of amazing ideas. She is a self described "adventurer, wanderer and seeker of knowledge and beauty, currently living in Kyoto, Japan." She runs wonderful e-courses and organizes these stitched postcard swaps quarterly, each with a different theme.
This is the fifth stitched postcard swap. This is my first time participating. And I cannot wait for my next.
So, I had this project in my head when my sweetie and I loaded up the Jeep Wrangler, took off the hard tops and headed to the very tip of Long Island. We spent four magical days at The Surf Lodge in Montauk. This beckoning bed sits right on their beach.
At The Surf Lodge, you will find little "nests" all over that invite you to curl up with a book by daylight and later snuggle over a glass of wine and have close conversations by moonlight. We enjoyed lots of these moonlight conversations.
So how does a couple run off on a adventure when they have two children, two dogs, and seven koi? Thank goodness, what goes around comes around.
Michael and I used to take my sister's two boys for a few weeks each summer. They are all grown up with wives and families. Now my sister and brother-in-law return the favor each July and my son and daughter spend ten glorious days in Texas (the dogs and fish required a house sitter), which allowed us to spend a few glorious days at The Surf Lodge. And a few more wonderful days in our own nest, at home, just "being" together.
The Surf Lodge inspired me and I knew I so wanted to paint that beach bed on my stitched postcard...and a few other places as well. But before I take you to that creative mind space, I just want to sit here a bit and share about these special days in Montauk.
We have built this amazing life around ourselves filled with our children (a 17-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter), their friends and our friends. Our close friends are the parents of their close friends. There is lots of activity, joy and teenagers running in and out of all our homes daily.
But for this magical ten day stretch, there was quiet around us. And while in Montauk, it was simply us.
One day we fished, caught dinner (I caught a big flounder!) and then took it to a local restaurant. They cooked all of our fish and we purchased green beans, rice and a bottle of wine and ate our dinner on a towel at the beach. As the sun went down, there were bonfires all around us and people singing. But mostly it was just us, on a towel, beside the sea. Talking and laughing while drinking wine from the bottle because we had no cups.
That was just one of many moments that are still with me right now.
It is hard to choose, but if I had to I would say my favorite moment came on the way home. We were leaving the Hamptons and traffic was moving along very slowly. Michael spotted a vintage consignment store, "Out of the Closet", and just pulled in with no prompting so I could check it out. For me, that simple act of thoughtfulness says "I so get you and I love you" louder that anything.
When we returned, I went back to my studio inspired and with an approaching stitched postcard deadline. I started drawing, coloring, tweaking, painting, sewing and really looking at that beach bed from all angles.
I so wanted to fold up my amazing few days of "rediscovery" in a postcard and send it to Australia. Here you can see my first sketch done in markers, the stitched postcard almost done and a picture to keep me on track.
Here is the finished postcard with "by the sea they rediscovered each other" stamped on the front. I used mistake paint purchased from home improvement stores being true to my "reusing" philosophy. I needed a bit of help from my daughter with the sewing machine but I love to hand stitch. See where I sewed in the twine that holds the branches together?
This is the back of my stitched postcard. I made this side using a print of one of my original paintings on glass. I gently tore it and created pockets to leave a surprise note or two for my postcard exchange partner across the world.
I love when a moment in my life inspires my art, like that bed on the beach and a few days away by the sea with my love.
And I love the challenge of sending a moment in a hand-stitched piece of art as big as a postcard across the world.
As I am entwining these stories, a package arrives for me in the mail from Australia. My postcard of a perfectly stitched girl skipping stones is in my hand, along with some extra goodies.
On the very back of this lovely postcard, Dudley Redhead writes, "discover the possibilites...". I so love this.
I sealed a few days of my life in an envelope headed to Australia and I received a joyful piece of art filled with hope in return. And I made a new friend.
And I gave my love my complete attention for ten magical days. And got so much love in return.
It is all one big circle of giving , isn't it?
ps. A big thank you to Kayte Terry for writing about her visit to The Surf Lodge here. So happy I read her blog. She writes about things I need to know.