Saturday, June 28, 2008

ATC Cards, Specially for Friends










Once I heard about ATC cards, I just had to try and make some. The idea of something that small with a lot of detail in it really interested me. I love "tedious" work......just don't like the word. Maybe we should just call it "time-consuming work." While I am involved in making something like this...I do lose track of time and later wonder where all the time went, as it just seemed to disappear.

Anyway, when I found out about ATC cards, I knew I would make cards like this. I told several friends that if they made me one...I'd return the favor. Life got in the way and it took me way too long to complete them, but here you see what I made for these folks. They have finally received their cards and I hope they are not disappointed. I did enjoy thinking of what to make each person..... and, with one exception, they are truly original. My friend Susan, and I, are fans of the quilt and book "Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale" by Sieglinde Schoen Smith. However, Susan lived in Germany for a long time and had actually seen this fairytale book long before the quilt version was made. Knowing she loved that book, I decided to make a little version of it for her. The rest of the cards are totally original designs from me and the Nest.

There is a book called "1000 Artist Trading Cards" by Patricia Bolton (Quilting Arts Magazine) published by Quarry Books in 2007. One of my ATC cards is in it. On page 151. In the photos, here, you will find the cover of the book, plus my ATC card of a little house. I was so happy to have a card included in this book. The cards I made my friends, also pictured here...were all made after the book came out. I have made other cards and traded them, but do not have photos of them. I scanned them and stored them in my computer, but they aren't the best quality. (Pre-camera days.) Also, I have received some wonderful cards in this trading.....and may show those in the next week or so.

I dedicated a lot of time to making them because I wanted them to be special for those receiving them. It also meant that they were late in the trading....so, for those of you who waited...thanks for your patience. You were on my mind every minute of the time it took to dream them up and make them. They are each one of a kind because you are each one of a kind.
Pat

Thursday, June 26, 2008

SRE Basket


Some years ago I learned how to do silk ribbon embroidery. It became one of my passions...just like all the rest of the techniques that have come my way. There is no telling how much ribbon I bought and used. I still have a "stash." It's an expensive thing to do if you are creating a design that requires a good amount of ribbon and SRE designs, if they are elaborate, use a lot of ribbon.

At some point, I'll be showing you some of my other silk ribbon designs, but today, I wanted to show you a piece I made for my friend, Jim. He displays it in his dining room. (In this photo, the walls look pink...they are RED!) I was over there last week and took photos of his house, which I plan on writing about also. The basket is done with a wonderful gold ribbon in a simple woven design. There is a variety of flowers, roses, etc., and also a variety of stitches.

One of the things constantly amazing me is how, with a needle and some thread or ribbon, you can create such different looking, beautiful work. From a simple line drawing, like Redwork, to the most elaborate, luscious things...well, like this basket of flowers. It simply amazes me. I did a book for Leisure Arts, Inc., called "Teach Yourself Silk Ribbon Embroidery." I have one copy available at my etsy shop (www.birdnestontheground.etsy.com) and several more to list. It's also available at some stores, if you might be interested.

SRE is great fun to do and you get beautiful results quickly. And, by the way, this design is not in the book. This I made for Jim and is, like most of what I do....an original, one of a kind, design. It was FUN!!! You have a good day! Pat

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 25, 1966 to June 25, 2008


Forty-two years ago, on June 25th - it was a Saturday, Richard and I got married in Meridian, Texas. A nice Methodist minister officiated. The entire family was there. I didn't know it, but there were bets being made as to whether it would last.
Little did they know! Determination will get you a long way and we were determined to make it last....neither of us like to go back on our word. So, here we are forty-two years later.

People sometimes ask me how we have managed to stay married so long, considering the divorce rate and all. Well, my theory is this...we care a whole lot about each other, divorce - not so much. My other explanation is he can't hear and I can't see, so we need each other too! It's been part joy and part guerilla warfare....I don't think we would have had it any other way. One other thing you should know...he's always been my hero!

He fancies himself kind of a poet....we all agree. Yesterday he wrote this little poem for our anniversary. I love it. Hope you do too.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY..AN UNBELIEVABLE FORTY-TWO

There were many people watching on our happy wedding day,
betting that it just won't last, but they won't have their way.

We made it last this far I think, because we really care and
now we end up hunting things that always have been there.

I know we've had our ups and downs and lately mostly downs,
but we'll spring back up again before that next one rolls around.

We're really very lucky to have two kids that care,
and glad that we can help them out when things don't work out fair.

I know we're really boring folks and that's just fine with us,
it's just that we like simple things, so there's nothing to discuss.

Yes, we've been married forty-two, and I'll surprise my wife..
we'll make it to the golden one and call it a great life.

Richard Eaton (I love you Patricia - Happy Forty-Second Anniversary!)

Now, really.....how could you bet against something like that? One day I was working out in the Nest and in he walks with some yellow flowers in his hands. I snapped this photo...just the sweetest thing! Love you too, Mr. Eaton!!!! Pat

Monday, June 23, 2008

Norah'S Challenge



I am a BIG fan of Sharon Tomlinson. She's a wonderful artist who has a blog that I read several times a week. When you read her blog...you sort of get two for one - as her muse, Norah'S, always tags along. It's delightful! Read it at: www.allnorahsart.blogspot.com.

This weekend, Sharon (and Norah'S, too, if you get right down to it) challenged readers of her blog to choose a piece of Guztav Klimt's artwork and use it for inspiration in a piece of their own. Always up for a challenge, but not being a painter, I thought it would be fun to try to paint something. I chose "The Kiss." (One thing you should know...I love Klimt's use of flowers...love it. But the truth is I love Sharon's art more!!)

So, here it is. Now feel free to laugh. It won't hurt my feelings. Or be bored with it. Whatever. Remember, a challenge is a learning experience!!! You may learn what TO do and you may learn what NOT to do. You may also learn what you don't WANT to do or what you LOVE to do. All very important.

While creating this little piece of "artwork", I also wanted to try one of Sharon's "secrets." Of course, she doesn't keep it a secret, or else I wouldn't know about it. She uses paper napkins and gel medium to add lots of detail to her artwork!!! I love it! The idea of it is so appealing that I was compelled to try that technique in this little "piece of work." IT'S FUN!

I sent a photo of this piece to one of my friends whose opinion I value. She was quite nice about it, as she always is. One of the things I like about her is she doesn't issue forth compliments on your work just to avoid hurting your feelings. She can give you an honest appraisal of what you have done. That way, when she is complimentary...you know she means it. She said she found the use of the "Klimt elements" somewhat of a shock when used with the heart. You know, she is right! Did I think of that when I made it...of course not! It never entered my mnd...I was just having fun. I was somewhat "uncomfortable" about the two though. But, now I know...and can see it. I believe that to be a learning experience.

Of course, the truth of the matter is...the "heart part" of this work is really ME and the Klimt part is well, more Klimt!!! What I didn't do is use Klimt's elements in a totally different way....something I will retain for future reference.

I am starting a journal and intend to fill it with small (4" x 6") pieces of this and that...whatever I decide to work on during the weekend. Inspired totally by Sharon and allnorahsart. Not to try and work as she does....I could never do that..but to make my own little designs as an exercise and teaching tool. A personal spurt of growth..perhaps. (Notice the word GROW on this work.) These little pieces will not be named, but numbered. I can look back then, at lesson #14, for example, at some point in the future, to see what I learned on that particular weekend and use the information over and over.

So, Sharon......thanks for all you do. And, all you make me want to do. It's good to be challenged and with people like you and Norah'S to inspire us, there's no telling what we might do! Pat

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy 40th, My Favorite Son!






Forty years ago, Saturday, June 22, 1968, at 3:08 a.m. my son, Scott, was born. He weighed 8 lbs.5oz. A pretty big boy.

I can remember the very first time I saw him......well, it wasn't at birth...ether and all that. During that Saturday and Sunday, I kept wondering why they didn't bring him in to me. I thought there was something dreadfully wrong and was too afraid to ask. (That wouldn't happen now, I'll tell you for sure!!) The nurses had a mix-up and each thought another was bringing him in. No one did. The first time I saw him was when we were being readied to go home on Monday morning. He was the most gorgeous baby I had ever seen! And, laughing with his eyes completely open!

Now, it sounds like I'm prejudiced, as he does have an older sister, Kelly. They are fifteen months apart. But, bless her little heart....she didn't want to be born yet, I guess, so they had to use forceps. She was red, skinny, and her little face was bruised from the birth. She DID get really pretty in a couple of weeks, though, and still is!!

Now that kid, Scott.....always funny with a fine tuned sense of humor, and very smart, has grown up and he's 40! Where did that boy go? As a teenager, he was an avid computer lover and wanted to work in Silicon Valley. He does. We only see him once a year, sometimes twice, but I happen to have - thanks to him - a lovely camera gizmo on my iMac with which we can "see" and "talk" with each other often and we will do that sometime today. He's my favorite (and only) son. He amazes me and also makes me laugh. He is one of my two most important accomplishments. His sister being the other. Nothing else comes close or even matters. He is dear!!! Happy Birthday and many more, Big Guy!!! Love you.....Mom

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Those Trees on My Banner






For those of you who may have wondered what piece of work those trees on this blog's banner came from...I thought I'd give you a little history. It's from a small wall quilt I made called "A Bit of Heaven." The quilt is 22 inches square. Actually I have written about this quilt before...on February 28th, however that was BEFORE I knew how to add photos to my posts, so I thought today I would show you this quilt in more detail.

Those of you who know me never expect this kind of work from me. The leaves on these trees are machine appliqued. I sort of have the reputation of being the dinosaur of quiltmaking, as I love doing all my work by hand. And this applique, well, I'd hardly call it applique - it's more like "simply held in place." I really didn't know what I was doing to be honest. I like to surprise myself once in a great while, so I thought I'd give my sewing machine another try, as I, one of the few hand applique people left around here, just hate to admit I can't do this machine embellishment type stuff. I see other people do this and I am crazy about their work, but when I do it..well, no fire is lit, for sure. This is the result. You'll notice that all the other work is done by hand. That's because I fell back into my old habits....what's that about old dogs and new tricks?

My son-in-law loved the quilt, so it's now in the VanHook Family Collection!! I actually liked the quilt enough to use it for the banner on this blog.....for several reasons...Rick liked it a lot and so did my daughter. She's always kidding me for being "old-fashioned" and for a bit, she probably thought I was changing my spots. Nah!!! I do kind of like the funky colors and I love the embroidery!!! To my way of thinking, some really nice embroidery makes up for a lot of shortcomings and I really LOVE DOING IT. Then, too, I did NEED a quilt on the banner and my kids say this one is "special."

Well, yes, it is special, because it will be one of the FEW I make on the sewing machine. Those trees. Yeah, they're ok. Colorful. But, that old-fashioned embroidery.......now, that's what I'm talking about!!! Hope you enjoy the photos! Pat

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Two Texas Girls and Their Art






One of the most interesting things about having a blog is you spent a lot of time reading the blogs of other people. You know how it is, if you want someone to read yours...then you have to read theirs and make comments. I've been doing that. I've learned a lot and hope to continue to do so, plus I've made some new friends and that is always nice.

Currently there are lots of ways to find these interesting blogs. Magazines, these days, are filled with wonderful stuff and if that artist you just read about has a blog, the address is most definitely listed there somewhere. My favorites, at this point in time, are Artful Blogging and just about all the Stampington publications. There's also Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors, two great magazines. Romantic Homes is one of my very favorites too. Lots more are out there, so look around.

It was in one of these magazines that I ran across Sharon Tomlinson whose blog address is www.allnorahsart.blogspot.com.
Norah'S her muse. The one responsible for all this fun stuff, I guess you could say. I never thought of it til Sharon mentioned it in a post, but Norah'S is Sharon spelled backwards. Interesting. She is so much fun, is a mixed media artist and paints the most beautiful sisters. Wonderful colors and lots of detail. You can almost watch her do it as she posts very helpful photos showing how some of her paintings are done. Also, you can see photos and read stories of her "paradise" - the land on which she lives, complete with bird stories, flowers and whatever crosses her mind to share with you. I just love it!

Sharon lives in Marlin, Texas. What a coincidence! I grew up in McGregor, Texas...not that far from Marlin. A connection. I have been reading allnorahsart since March....and find Sharon and I have a lot in common. In fact, reading blogs from all over the planet makes you realize that we all are "connected" in so many different ways. As they say, we're all in this together! She's a Texas girl and so am I. You know what they say - you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl! So true.

Sharon has a shop on etsy, so I went there to see more of her art. You must visit....www.allnorahsart.etsy.com. Beautiful. So I bought a painting.....it wasn't in the budget, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do and this one called me by name. Sharon sent her right away and when I opened the box I knew I was supposed to have her.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about one of my quilts resembling Mary Ann Moss's vacation photos in Italy. (You can look on my archive list and read "A Free Vacation to Italy.") Mary Ann sent me a very nice comment via email saying it really did put one in mind of Positano, Italy. I was so happy to have shared that with her. Sharing is another byproduct of blogging. When I received "My Heart is Fluttering" from Sharon, the colors reminded me of that quilt, so I got it out, hung it on the studio wall, hung the painting right next to it.....and what do you know...they go together very well!!!

Two Texas girls and their art. How cool is that? Pat

Monday, June 9, 2008

Feather Quilting Design Class






Do you like to quilt feathers? You know, those luscious twisting and winding designs on wonderful old quilts. Do you? I like them very much, but I must confess, I don't care for the quilts that have been machine quilted so closely with feathers and other such designs that they have become stiff. Enter, my friend - Judy Rush - a great longarm machine quilter, determined to show me new methods, and actually, soft quilts!

Judy, who does a fine job of longarm machine quilting and designing, invited me to attend a class she was giving at her house last Saturday, June 7th. Now, normally, I would have said thanks, but no thanks, as everyone here knows that I am not a machine sewer...however, Judy assured me that this would be a design class only. with no sewing, and it would be a fun day. Since I have been kind of cooped up lately and no one here speaks the same quilting language I do....I thought it might be a great day to go for a drive and visit Judy and the others in the class. She lives in North Little Rock and it takes me about 40 minutes to get to her house from here, so it would be a nice drive, I'd have some nice conversations with quilters, then another nice drive home, making a good day out for me. Away I went.

She was right....it was fun! There were ten of us, counting Judy. Sitting around her dining room table was cozy and we enjoyed each other's company. Along with Judy, I got to visit with Georgia, Charlotte, Toni, Sharon, Geannine, Wilma, Ann and another Judy.

Judy had an easel set up with a dry erase board upon which she drew feather designs in all kinds of configurations, from simple to intricate, large and small, straight and curvy, round, square and every other shape. We all decided it would be fun to keep a sketch book in which to "doodle" these designs at odd times such as waiting in the doctor's office, while watching tv, while on the phone, waiting in line, waiting in traffic......well, maybe those two - not so much, but you get the idea.

As it turns out, last night I spent most of the night at the hospital emergency room. My mother-in-law was taken there at
1:30 a.m. from the nursing home, so my father-in-law, husband and I waited. Wouldn't you know that I had a small sketch book in my tote bag. A life saver. The men slept. I doodled feather designs. And, it IS a good thing to do while waiting in certain places, but much more fun to do with like-minded people at a friend's house!!!

Hopefully, in these photos, you can see the designs that were being drawn during the class. There are Judy's on the easel, and two of the photos show the hands of Toni and Sharon drawing their great feather designs. I took photos of everyone and some of Judy's work, too, but the light was too low to provide me with adequate photos for this post. I chose the best ones and hope they are good enough for you to see what we were doing. I also included one photo of Judy's machine quilting....it's just great! I must say this - She has been using wool batting and wonder of wonders, the quilts don't feel stiff....they feel like antique quilts and nothing beats that feeling!! (To see more of Judy's work, go to my 'favorite shops' list on the right side bar of this blog, click, and you'll be taken to her website! Or, go to www.JudyTiptonRush.com).

As a hand-quilter, I managed just fine amongst all the machine quilters and because they are very nice people...they didn't give me too hard a time about it...it was a great day! And, Judy, my friend, you did a fine job...thanks for the invitation. Drawing feathers and getting a therapy session all at the same time...it couldn't have been a nicer day! Pat

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Garland Fair" Wreath






Many happy hours have been spent by me in this little "nest." My Bird Nest on the Ground. My sanctuary. One of the things I do a lot is embroider, applique or quilt LEAVES. I have mentioned this multiple times here in the blog, and am very likely to mention it many more. Leaves are one of my favorite motifs to stitch.

The other day, I caught myself standing in front of this wreath, thinking it might be a good thing to post on my blog.

It has leaves! I can remember making this and enjoying the making of these flowers and leaves. But, probably the most interesting part (to you) would be what inspired this piece to be made in the first place.

I was asked to make "the Arkansas portion" of the Blue Room Christmas Tree skirt in the Clinton White House. A person from every state (and the territories) was chosen to make a specified size piece which would be made into the skirt for that particular tree. Actually, someone else from Arkansas was asked to do it and they didn't. It was suggested that I might, so I was asked...and I did. If you are ever at the Clinton Library and that skirt is displayed, you will see my handiwork. I don't have a photo...that was before my "camera" days.

Each piece was to have elements on it pertaining to the state it was made in. Our state bird is the mockingbird, so I added one of those. The state musical instrument is the fiddle, the state tree is the pine, we have the only diamond "mine" in the U.S., and our biggest crop is rice....the state flower is the apple blossom. You get the idea. OK...the apple blossom. More leaves to make, but what to do for the blossoms? To make those I made yo-yos in various sizes and then took stitches in them to look like individual petals. They turned out to be a very nice representation of apple blossoms. I was very proud of what I made and still am.

A little time went by and I kept thinking of those blossoms, so decided to make something else using fabric yo-yos. I made this wreath. If I remember correctly, I used a fifty-cent piece, a quarter, and a nickel to cut the circles for these particular yo-yos. I think they are pretty cool. And, notice the leaves.....a chain stitch stem and fly stitch leaves....so simple, so much FUN!

One of the things I also like to spend time doing is writing on fabric. I found this verse, attributed to an antique valentine, and thought it would go nicely with the embroidery. After making the oval shaped embroidery, I decided to back it with the same fabric, making a cover for some foam core. To attach it to the wreath, I sewed some ribbons to the back of the covered piece and tied it to the back of the wreath, as pictured.

The verse: "Would that this garland fair Might weave around thy life, a spell to shield from care, a guard from every strife."

Kind of a weird thing, this wreath, but I have enjoyed it for a long time and it does make me remember my apple blossoms for the White House. Pat

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Stitched Miniature Landscape Exemplar






In my last post, I showed you my latest etsy shop item, a small landscape quilt that was appliqued, embroidered and quilted. Early this a.m., I decided that this would be a good time to show you my miniature landscape "exemplar." Ok....I looked up that word and found, according to the Oxford American Dictionary, exemplar - n. 1. a worthy model or pattern. 2. a typical example. So, I think I can use the word. It sure sounds better than "here are some landscape quilts I made."

In one photo, you will see five pieces all hand appliqued and embellished with embroidery. Three of these are 5" x 7", one is 4" x 6", and the smallest is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2." If you haven't tried anything this small, well, give it a try...it's much easier to have something tiny look "real" than it is on a larger project.

There is a house with a flag in the yard, flowers and an arbor at the fence. I love adding the American Flag to my work, when appropriate, and this little scene really needed a flag pole in the yard. It's my opinion that when you work on little things like this...the scene "tells" you what it needs, so it did. I felt my friend, Mary Lou, would like to have this one in her home, so it lives with her now and that makes me pretty happy.

In one photo, you see me holding the smallest of these landscapes in my hand. Also on the table you can see the small quilt in my last post. This was taken in a "previous bird nest on the ground" studio. My thread is no longer hanging on the wall, but this is one of my favorite photos.....as it looks so "crafty." This photo was taken to advertise my classes at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. I am no longer doing those classes, but sure enjoyed being there. Mary Agnes, if you read this...a big Hi to you!!!

The barn piece has a funny story. First of all, when making a scene, I like to find fabrics that work well to make "sky." You'd be surprised which fabrics work for sky...for instance, the fabric used as sky in this piece was actually a large beach scene with lots of water and sand. When I was auditioning fabric, the water looked like sky to me...and so it is! The sheep in the scene were a part of that green fabric...so cute. When I appliqued the barn, I took the piece to show Richard. He took a look, you know how husbands do, and said it was "nice." Then, he took a more careful look and said, "That barn will never have light in it...there's no power line along the road." Richard is retired from Entergy Corp., which used to be Arkansas Power and Light. He was a substation repairman. So, in order to please him and get light to that barn, I stitched the power lines and a tiny transformer!!! Let there be light!

There is that same church I put on the quilt in the previous post. Just smaller. And one of my favorite things...a tree. This one has an embroidered "mat" as I just love embroidering leaves. And, of course, the sheep fabric...so much fun!

The last photo is of the tiniest of the landscapes. These are my very favorite ones. This is about the same size as a Artist Trading Card, if you are familiar with those. Very little thread or fabric is used in the making of these tiny things, but to me, they have a lot of visual appeal. Oh, yes, I used that same beach fabric for the sky in this one too!!

I have taught classes on these little landscapes in the past and it's always fun to see what people want to include on their pieces. I distinctly remember one lady who had never done any embroidery before, yet her finished landscape was absolutely beautiful...she was proud and so was I. On that day, in that class, she inspired me rather than the other way around.

So, there you have it. My "exemplar" on miniature landscapes. A worthy model or pattern, a typical example...only you can really say. Have a great day! pat

The Bird Nest on the Ground Studio

The Bird Nest on the Ground Studio
Right in My Backyard

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.