Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brand New Me

Oh Dear. It has been so long since I posted. I hope you all haven't forgotten me. I've been on a bit of a journey. Not literally, but spiritually and psychologically.

I have always been a gardener. For the past 20 years or so I have gardened professionally doing design work for garden resorts. It was a wonderful career and I loved going to work every day. But almost a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I worked part time through my chemotherapy and radiation and thought I was doing just fine until one day, after my treatments were done, when I realized I didn't feel like the same person anymore. I didn't want to garden. I still love walking through the garden and looking at it, but I needed a break from working in it. Luckily, with the economy in the crapper, new design work in the gardens halted and I was laid off. I still do a little consultation work, but there isn't a lot of that either.
So I am home and have found a new passion. Beading. I LOVE doing bead embroidery and have been collecting beads for years. Now I have the time to do something with them all.
My grandmother (Ruth) taught me how to embroider when I was very small and I've always loved it. Doing it with beads adds a new dimension. I started out making beaded brooches for all my friends and family while I was going through Chemo. It was part of my therapy and I made over 125 of them and gave them all away.
Then I started getting a little more elaborate and making necklaces as well. I set up a store on Etsy and started selling them. I joined a Beading Circle and it's the highlight of my week.
I feel like I'm reinventing myself. I decided I'm sick of wearing t-shirts and jeans and went shopping for new clothes. I reorganized my studio. I changed my eating habits (for the better) and I'm starting to exercise.
I even changed my name! All my life I have never liked the name Cindee. It sounded like a little girl and too plain. I wanted something unusual, exotic! So I was researching my family tree and was looking at the Russian side (Flora's side) and was told by a friend that Cynthia in Russian is Xenia (pronounced Sen-ya). I loved it and realized that this was who I am. I changed the spelling - didn't want to constantly explain to people how to pronounce it (and also didn't want to be confused with the Warrior Princess - Ha). And I wanted to keep my initials, So I now go by Cenya.
I know I will return to the garden one day. I think I just need a break. But I know it's in my blood and in my soul. For now though, I'm a beader.
Please check out my Etsy store here.
I also have an art blog - mostly about beading, here.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I just spent Easter with my parents and brothers and extended family. My sister-in-law has been doing an online Family Tree and asked if I wanted to be involved with it. Of course! We sat for a couple of hours going through the relatives and arranging dates, but the best part was the pictures. She had many pictures that I didn't have and I have some that she doesn't have, so combining them has been great. We found pictures of my great, great grandparents from Russia. Recently I found this picture of my mother with her Swiss father and her siblings, when she was just a little girl. She is holding a china doll and looking a little sad. She's the oldest one, on the left. I don't think she had a very happy childhood. Her father was murdered not long after this picture was taken.
How is it determined who has a happy childhood and who doesn't? My own childhood was idyllic. I wish I could have given some of that to her as a child.