what is the oil rainbows?

It seems unfathomable, but I began this blog, The Oil Rainbows, in January 2006. 15 years have passed in a flicker of sunlight, and also slowly. Time is like that, I guess.

Recently a few friends have asked what the oil rainbows means, and where I got the name. They wonder, is it because I love essential oils? I do, but that’s not it. Is it because I love rainbows? I do, but that’s not really it either.

On my old-old blog, which was sporadic at best, describes my vision of the oil rainbows as “Well, you know when you’re walking down the street and you’re only half paying attention when something like the rainbows in an oily puddle catch your eye and you’re like “whoa that’s beautiful man.” Yeah, like that.”

Even though I’d write it differently now, that still basically sums it up.

The oil rainbows is about fleeting moments, captured in heart, on film, and in spirit. The oil rainbows is about finding beauty in seemingly un-beautiful moments, like a rainbow in an oily puddle on a dirty city street. The oil rainbows is about seeking contentment, and taking joy where we can (thank you Tasha Tudor & Fra Giovanni Giocondo). The oil rainbows means that by choosing to collect the good in our lives, whatever that looks like in the moment, the sum of that will make for a good life. And no joy is too small or too weird to call our own and allow us happiness.

I don’t know if that answers the question, what is the oil rainbows? But hopefully it acts a a finger pointing to the moon. Take care, friends.

with open hands :: another stitching pattern

With Open Hands cross stitch pattern

Inspiration. One has to enjoy the times when creative inspiration is flowing, to bolster one during droughts. In that spirit, I offer another free cross stitch pattern to my fellow stitchers.

With Open Hands is a reminder to give and receive openly; material things, love, attention, opportunity. I’ve found that in difficult times, when I try to hold a tight grasp on anything, whether it be time, money, affection, that the situation seems more and more dire. And to release, especially releasing control, allows for new possibilities to present themselves. That’s the idea behind this design. That, and to honor the artists, of all mediums, that give their work so generously to make life for everyone more beautiful. Thank you!

If you do decide to stitch this, please tag me @theoilrainbows so I can see your wonderful work. I’m going to try to stitch this during June as part of Cross Stitch Camp hosted by Sheri, aka Colorado Cross Stitcher, which you can learn about here.

Take care, friends, and here’s to living life with open hands.

With Open Hands cross stitch pattern

stitch what you love

pattern is linked at the bottom of the post
My Sweetie Pie ABCs by Alicia Paulson
Kind and True by Pineberry Lane, from the Quaint Country Ladies Stitching Club
Joyful World, free patterns by Snowflower Diaries
White Christmas by Not Forgotten Farm

One of my greatest comforts of this past year has been cross stitching. It came as a surprise to me; I’d written the craft off as boring and tedious, and was even beginning to grow jaded about my beloved knitting and crochet, as the world of expensive, elite craft materials seemed less and less attainable, and more and more unnecessary to me at this phase of life.

Years ago I’d purchased two cross stitch kits from the delightful Alicia Paulson. I’d started one right around when my daughter was born, and then both sat in a closet. Last year when we all were sent home, and thought it would only last a few days or a couple weeks, I picked up one of those kits and started stitching on it again to busy my hands and calm my mind. Threading a needle, the gentle flow of each stitch, and following a pattern was bliss.

And, of course, when crafting, one gets excited and starts googling other patterns and projects. Or is that just me? And I stumbled across a thing called “flosstube.” Flosstube is a term for an unofficial network of YouTubers who talk about all things stitching – cross stitch, embroidery, quilting, design, and so on. It’s a community where fellow stitching addicts can see what other folks are stitching, check out new patterns, take part in stitch-alongs, and, for me, a place to find a warm, comfortable virtual place where one can rest when the world seems too much to bear.

I’ve learned a lot from flosstube. How to stitch in-hand from Crosshatch Quilts (absolutely liberating!). How stitching in-hand feels prayerful (meditative, mindful), as Celeste Creates describes it so perfectly. And that life is short and everyone should stitch what they love, as the adorable duo of Brenda and the Serial Starter remind us in each of their delightful videos. I’ll link a bunch more of my favorites at the bottom of this post.

So as a thank you to craft of stitching, to all the designers and stitchers, and very much to all the folks taking their time to offer community through the world wide web, I’ve made a little pattern to share. I wanted a stitchy reminder to spend the little time we have here in this realm giving our attention, time, and love to the people and activities that bring us life and joy. It’s also a prayer to anyone out there needing healing and love, especially Brenda, whose videos with Laura have just been such a comfort and happy spot for me this past year.

If you do decide to stitch it, please let me know! I’ll be using the hashtag that’s already started, #stitchwhatyoulove, and #fortheloveofbrendasal.

Also, thank you to my coworker, who just happens to have a mother who is a famous cross stitch designer(!). When I told this coworker that in another life I’d love to be a cross stitch designer, she said, why not be one in this life?

It’s my first time trying this out and I don’t know what I’m doing, in true DIY fashion. I think I’m going to stitch it on 32 count Belfast linen from Hobby Lobby in natural, with Weeks Dye Works thread in Terra Cotta – all stuff I have already. And it may turn out to be about 5×5.5″, but who knows! I highly recommend using what you’ve got lying around, or go to your local stitching shop.

Keep stitching, knitting, crochetting, reading, biking, baking, hiking, meditating, sleeping, painting happy little trees or whatever it may be that gives you peace and makes you happy; whatever is your version of STITCH WHAT YOU LOVE. Take care, friends!

Some of my favorite stitching places


Cross Stitch Designers: