Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roses on My Table






"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds round my neck," is a quote by Emma Goldman (1869-1940), a Russian-born American activist. I ran across this quote a long time ago and wrote it down, thinking it is one I would never forget...and I never have. At some point in this quiltmaking, embroidering, embellishing, writing, adventure I am involved in, it seems, the idea of using this quote in a quilt popped into my head. Well, popped might be the wrong word. Let's just say the idea presented itself to me in one of those "aha" moments.

I am one of those "what you see is what you get" people and that fact seems to extend into my quiltmaking and embroidering "style." This is a fact I am not proud of as I would love to be one of those carefree, adventurous, devil-may-care types when it comes to my artwork. But, alas, I am not. Since I DO believe you should be true to who you are...I guess we are stuck with me the way I am, so, add in the fact that I tend to be obsessive/compulsive and somewhat anal. It's a curse. But here I am. I don't really try to explain my work, other than I like to make things I feel are "pretty." The work only has to mean something to ME so I don't get into the "what does it mean" or the "why did you do it" questions.

So, here is "Roses on My Table." It's approximately 28" x 31." Let me tell you about the "ingredients." I always get excited about finding what I call the ingredients for my pieces. Remember, I do call myself a hunter/gatherer of these little bits of fabrics, buttons, beads, trims, and assorted found objects. Nothing makes me happier than finding, or being given, the tiniest of little inconsequential things. They may not mean much to other folks, but to me they are priceless!

Let me start with the border. The bottom border is a leftover from some other project...and there was "just enough." The leaf border was actually a double leaf fabric and I cut the design in half to have enough for the four sides of the quilt. The dress and hat were bits of leftovers, the drapes....a really neat plaid...leftovers too. The black lace, which I got out of a bag of scraps bought at the flea market was just right for the drapery trim and wouldn't you know - I had those glass leaf beads for the finishing touch on the drapes. They came from Hobby Lobby, I think.

I had lots of that chiffon and ruffled quite a long piece of it to create the table cloth, then gave the rest to a friend who admired it. I painted fabric for the vase with markers, then appliqued it onto the table. The picture frame is a scrap and the writing is done with a pigma pen on muslin. The roses were appliqued using the needleturn method, as is most of my applique. Then a spiral design was embroidered on each rose to represent the petals.

The hat is embroidered with silk ribbon roses, the bow on the dress is leftover silk ribbon from another project and the bracelet is beaded.

One of the neat things on this quilt....is the butterfly on her shoulder. It was given to me by Elizabeth Ritter of Little Rock.....an excellent tatter and her work, here, is one of those little "bits" that make whatever they are applied to special!

I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but I used an assortment of scrap fabric to make the binding, which for me, is one of the fun touches on this quilt.

The quote, well, I think it's pretty special. The quilt....I don't really know. It was fun to make and I enjoy having it on display every once in a while. What I like most about it is one of my nephews (one of those thirty-something entrepeneurs you think wouldn't even notice something like this quilt) said to me......"Aunt Pat, I just love that quilt...it's so meaningful!!" Well, yes, it is....I WOULD rather have roses on my table.....and a nephew who notices such things!!! Pat

Thursday, July 24, 2008

4" x 6" Art - 'BIRDSONG'






A few posts back I mentioned that I was making a weekly piece of art (???) because I had received, in a roundabout way, a challenge to do so. Well, I'm not exactly keeping up with the "weekly" thing, but have made more than one or two and will keep on doing it, as I am making a journal of these pieces. Pictured here, also, is my journal page regarding this piece called "Birdsong." I took this one to my Knot meeting last week and my friend, Brenda, asked me to write about it on my blog, mainly because I had used a "wierd" ingredient....wallpaper paste. So, let me tell you how this came about.

I originally got inspired to try these little pieces of "art" by the blog, allnorahsart.blogspot.com. Then, while reading several blogs....I ran across someone who said....they used wallpaper paste to make paste paper. All I could gather is that you mix paint with liquid wallpaper paste, paint it onto paper in two layers, then run a comb or various other kinds of tools through it to make designs, let it dry and you have decorative paper. I tried it and didn't like it at all.

I don't like to waste things like mixed paint (or really, anything else for that matter), so I used the paint on some untreated canvas I have. It gave the canvas lots of body and looked pretty cool to me, so I painted lots of "odd" little leftover pieces of canvas to use as backgrounds. I thought they would be nice for some of these 4" x6" postcard size pieces I had been inspired to make or ATC cards, etc. I liked the result.

Not being one to know when to stop.....I also painted some 100% cotton resume' paper, just to make it more decorative and it looks really good too. I wet it first, wrung it out to create wrinkles, then painted it. A very delicate process, as it is easily torn when wet. But, neat when painted. Well, it's no longer useful for a resume' but I don't need a job, so we're ok. Next I painted some muslin. The paste/paint certainly gave it more body, not near as much as the canvas, of course, but enough to use it in some as yet undiscovered way. Paper towels came next....well, they ARE paper. They turned out really well also. How about cross-stitch fabric....yes, fabulous results if you would like a "different" background for your stitching. Lace, yes, did that too! So, there you have it.....something new for me to play with!

I used about a teaspoon, sometime a half teaspoon (or so) of Folk Art Acrylic paint to about a quarter cup of wallpaper paste and mixed it well. I also dampened the fabrics and/or paper before painting, but not much. You should just experiment as I have NO idea what you're really supposed to do. Oh, yes, I also added a dab of Lumiere 562 Metallic Olive Green and 555 Halo Pink Gold (LOVE this) to several colors. Gives it a glorious golden/green or golden/rosey sheen.

As for the piece here.....I painted the background (canvas) with this paste/paint mixture. I'm not a painter, I just brushed the fabric or paper with some colors I liked. The flowers are paper napkins....what a great, fun thing to do!!! The lace was snow white and, of course, I couldn't have that...so painted it also......lightly. The little paper bird is one of three birds I retrieved from my late friend, Sharon Heidingsfelder's, studio when I helped her husband sell her things. I have two left and will use them on something fun. She'd love this.

Last, but not least, I just had to add some of my tiny embroidered hearts and other touches. I thought the stitching down the right side "sort of" looked like bird tracks. I know nothing about reading music, so just scribbled some "faux" musical notes so we would know the bird was singing. That's how this little piece came to be and that's really all I know about wallpaper paste. I do know it was lots of FUN!!!

"Birdsong".....this one's for you Sharon!!! pat

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back Road Flowers on a Hot July Day






Last Thursday, my friend Bibi and I drove to our monthly Knot meeting. It was time to visit our friend, Mary Lou, who lives in Dennard. I haven't a clue how many miles it is to her home.....as the way to a friend's house is NEVER long. However, just so you have a clue - it takes me about an hour and twenty minutes (or so) to get there. It never feels like a long drive because it is very scenic.....like much of Arkansas happens to be. This time, though, it took longer. We have lots of new folk here involved with the gas/oil industry and they have created lots of extra traffic. We eventually got there, safely, enjoying the scenery all the way.

Now, most people would probably stick to the main roads on a drive that long, thinking they would get there faster. And, they probably would arrive sooner. However, I have learned to take the "back roads" from Searcy to Dennard. Oddly enough, on a good day...they take about the same amount of time, but the back roads have lots of interesting things to SEE.

So, here I am driving along one of these roads when I spot the biggest flowers I have ever seen. Red ones! Bibi didn't quite see them as she was looking over my way, so when I slowed down to a crawl.....she thought something had happened to the car...or there was something in the road. So, I pointed them out to her and at the same time, we both said "let's stop here on the way back home!" You know, the cars behind you don't appreciate it when you slow down to a crawl...even on those back roads!

We had a great time at Mary Lou's, A GREAT TIME. but advance to the trip home......as I was getting close to the place where we saw the flowers....I remembered that my camera was in the very back of my fabulous little PT Cruiser and not in the back seat where Bibi could reach it. This would require some touchy driving as there ARE those gas/oil trucks behind us. Quickly, I spotted an entrance to someone's pasture and pulled into it, got out of the car, hurriedly opened the back end, fished around in my tote to find the camera, jumped up to reach the back door to close it, slammed it shut and dashed across the highway to take some photos of these giant flowers....all while these trucks are bearing down on me. What will an aging quiltmaker/embroiderer, like me, do to get photos of flowers??? Evidently, of all things...take my life into my hands!!! It was kind of fun to see the looks on those truck driver's faces...don't you know they thought I was crazy!

Across the street - where the flowers were growing on either side of a driveway - I ran! That fact conjures up a funny picture all by itself! The sun was really bright and HOT! But, as you can see, I got the photos!!! I thought these flowers might be hibiscus.....but, if so, huge ones. I'm sure they were bigger than a dinner plate. I don't really know what kind they were, to tell the truth, but close up, they reminded me of crepe paper. How funny, I stood there long enough to be reminded of crepe paper! I am crazy!!!

It was a hot, sunny, beautiful, funny, July day in Arkansas. How cool is that? Pat

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Embroidered Hearts: The Teeny-Tiny Kind






One of my favorite shapes to embroider is the heart. There is a myriad of heart shapes and styles that can be created with a needle and thread, not to mention the unlimited amount of embroidery stitches that can be used to create your own personal heart design. My favorite heart to stitch is what I call the Teeny-Tiny Heart. Stitching these is sort of like eating potato chips...you always want to sew one more! Well, that's how I see it anyway.

When I am teaching a class on embroidery I always teach the simplest stitches there are.....the ones I call "schoolgirl stitches."
You know.....the ones you learned as a kid. Using these stitches, you can create designs from the simplest to the most complex.....and mastering them is easy. Just using these few stitches, you can entertain yourself for the rest of your life!
And, you know what they are: outline stitch, french knots, running stitch, lazy-daisy stitch, buttonhole stitch, backstitch, chain stitch, straight stitch, satin stitch, plus feather stitch and Herringbone stitch. With these few stitches, you can make a multitude of designs and not be overwhelmed.

The piece you see in the photo that is round in shape with stitches and writing on it is like one of my stitch "demo" pieces I make in class. I always have a piece of muslin in a hoop so that I can show my students how to do these stitches. Many times I have more than one hoop per class, so sometimes I give them away afterwards. This one I did in the middle of the night, removed it from the hoop, trimmed it, labeled the stitches and placed it on my working wall for my own "visual pleasure." This is one that just happens to have some of these gorgeous teeny-tiny hearts that I love.

I usually use DMC floss for these, using two strands. If they are smaller than the small ones you see here, I may use one strand. Sometimes I do a backstitch around the heart before doing the satin stitches. They are also pretty in perle cotton. I like to use a very thin needle to do the satin stitch...my favorite would be a #10 Milliner's needle. You could use a #12 if using one strand of floss. It is sometimes tricky to keep the stitching smooth. It will be helpful if you don't let the floss get twisted...just let the needle dangle in the air every once in a while and as it goes 'round and 'round, the thread will untwist itself. Also, try to make each stitch as close to the previous one as possible.

Rather than show completed projects here, I decided to show only the little hearts.....they are so "precious." Don't you think? Don't be afraid to try them....and then, you, too, will say making them is like eating potato chips! I have a habit of wanting to include one or more of these hearts on just about everything I make....whether the work needs a heart or not. Sometimes I just have to make myself refrain from adding one or two. Sort of like those chips, huh? Pat

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm an Award Winner???



Yesterday I received two awards from my blogging friend, Gayle, at SPARKLEJARS.BLOGSPOT.COM. She is dear. I have never received an award on my blog before, so am taken somewhat aback by the experience. The mere fact that she thinks my blog worthy of an award just makes my day and so I thank her from the bottom of my little blogging heart! The awards are shown here and on my sidebar. How neat is that?

Here I am, with this blog that I love writing, surprised by the whole "award experience" and find there are "duties" to perform in connection with this honor. I have been in touch with Gayle with a confession because now the "cat is out of the bag." My confession: while I have been blogging since February, I just hate to admit that I have been doing so in complete ignorance of most of the conveniences my Mac computer has to offer....therefore, the duties I now need to perform will suffer. I don't know how to hypertext and many other things I should know. I am a whiz at typing......I can add photos without too much trouble....and that's about as technical as I can get at the moment. My son, who is my own personal tech person.....well, I just refrain from asking him too much because he has precious little time to help me with my myriad of questions....and besides, I don't want him to really know how totally awful I am at this stuff. My daughter, who is helpful but very busy also, has a pc, so she doesn't understand my Mac....you get the picture? So, be patient with me, please, and I'll try to get all the information in this post that needs to be here.

Duties when receiving these awards:

1. Put the award logo on blog sidebar.
2. Link to the person you received the award from.
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4. Add links to those seven on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people I nominated.

So, here goes....if I make an error...well, you'll understand, I know you will:

The BRILLIANTE AWARD, from what I understand, is for blogs you enjoy reading, find wonderful and want to share with others.
I need to choose seven. That's hard to do, but here are my choices:

Andrea, at UNDER A BLUE MOON (bleulune.typepad.com), you should read her post today....entitled "Heat".....it will give you lots to think about and make you more appreciative, not only of your life, but the lives of those we take for granted.

Lisa, at A THING FOR ROSES (athingforroses.blogspot.com), she's always tempting me with things I can't possibly have...makes me long for more flea markets in my area.

Suzanne, at PINK ROSES & OTHER PASSIONS (suzanneduda.typepad.com), she is always interesting, the photography is great and I love the way she includes her kids in her blog.

Cerri, at LITTLE PINK STUDIO (littlepinkstudio.typepad.com), she's fun, interesting, and I like her "stuff."

Tracey, at A COTTAGE INDUSTRY (acottageindustry.typepad.com), gosh, she's always got lots to show and tell. Wears many hats and shares a lot.

Marlene, at STITCHIN BY THE LAKE (stitchinbythelake.blogspot.com), she's become a good friend, though we never have met in person. A fellow Arkansan, a quiltmaker, and counselor to many, she's witty also.

Kelly, at KELLYVANHOOK (kellyvanhook.blogspot.com), she's my daughter......I've been amazed at her blog. She's talented, paints abstracts and is funny! Does my heart good and maybe yours too.

The ARTE DE PICO AWARD, I understand is translated to mean something like this - Wow! The Best Art...Over the Top! Well, I'm for that and here are my choices:

Sharon, at ALL NORAH'S ART (allnorahsart.blogspot.com) has one of the most fun blogs. She is so creative and shares it all. I am constantly excited by what she shows us and her "paradise" is wonderful to see also.

Nina, at Ornamental (ornamental.typepad.com).....she's a wonderful jewelry and mixed media artist. But, actually, I love reading her blog because I consider her a poet of sorts. She makes me appreciate nature and all the wonderful little daily surprises in our lives...if we learn to "see." She will help you do that.

Mary Ann, at DISPATCH FROM LA (dispatchfromla.typepad.com)....a teacher of wee folk, she also teaches a person reading her blog.....you must see today's post....a neighbor and her art....I should have a neighbor like that! And, one like Mary Ann too!

Amy, at IN THE FOLD (in-the-fold.blogspot.com)...she taught me to make the greatest little beaded flowers in a tutorial on her blog....and I know there is more greatness to come!

"Embellisher," at MILLION LITTLE STITCHES (millionlittlestitches.blogspot.com)...she is embroidering the most wonderful sampler in the form of book pages!

So, I thank you, Gayle, for giving me these awards....you mean a lot to me and so do these other great friends I have made, thanks to this great experience we now enjoy called blogging. To complete my "duties" I'll now make sure all these great people are notified that I have nominated them for these awards.

Amid all the hardship and strife we face in life...isn't it wonderful to know we have friends out there to share our thoughts, our dreams, our art, our everyday experiences with....certainly adds a positive note to my life and I appreciate you all. Pat

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Piecework Magazine 2008 Pincushion Winners, and more











This year Piecework Magazine sponsored a contest they call their "Excellence in Needle Arts 2008 Pincushion Contest." The jury is in, the news is out and the magazine may be on your newstand shelves now...or shortly. It hasn't become available at mine yet, but I'm watching, as my entry was given an Honorable Mention. I was hoping for more (don't we all!), but am happy with what I got, as the pincushions entered are wonderful and forty-four of them, including mine, will be exhibited at the Embroiderer's Guild of America headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, from August 1 through November 30th. That is an honor, indeed. (For information on the exhibit and hours and location, visit www.egausa.org or call (502) 589-6956). To view the winners online, visit interweave.com/needle/NWOY/default.asp. These pincushions appear in the July/August Issue of Piecework Magazine, as I said....probably being placed on your local newstand shelves now.

My pincushion, named "Home Sweet Home,"a miniature landscape, made completely by hand, is appliqued, embroidered and beaded. In one of the pictures I am showing here, you can see it without the beaded edge, then in another, the completed pincushion. I wish the photos were better. I used DMC floss to embroider the trees and wording and silk ribbon to do the wreath around the appliqued oval. The wording is done in back stitch, and the bow is beaded onto the background. The red fabric is silk also.

Also included in this post are some photos of pincushions I have for sale in my etsy shop. (birdnestontheground.etsy.com).
I thought you might want to see some others I have made....as you can tell, I love to embroider, but of course, if you've been reading my blog and saw the ATC cards a couple of posts earlier....then you know I love it. All my work is done with original designs I dream up here in the Nest. They aren't always great, but they are mine and I enjoy "figuring out what to do."

I hope you enjoy looking at these and if you have any questions...just ask. Go out and get the magazine...their photos are so much better, of course. And, try one yourself. They are small, again like the ATC cards, so you don't have to dedicate your whole life to making one. Well, they aren't instant either...at least the way these contest entries were made...but as my other examples show...they don't all have to be real complicated. Do have FUN!!! Pat

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sharing My Flag Quilt, July 4, 2008





HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! May you have a wonderful Independence Day, all of you.....especially our men and women in uniform throughout the world. You are thought of in the kindest and most sincere ways as you give your all on our behalf.
There are not really words to convey the high regard we give to you. We pray for your safety and look forward to the day you return to your homes and families. God bless America!

Several years ago I taught a quilting class in which the students made their own version of the American Flag. It was a great class with lots of enthusiasm. One of my students had a husband who was a fighter pilot in the Air Force. She was making her flag for him. Later, she told me that his flag flew in his plane with him over Afghanistan. That made us both very proud.
Her for making the quilt, me for teaching her to make the quilt. We loved that he took it with him.....and all of us happy that he came back - himself and the flag intact.

I'm showing you the quilt that served as my class sample. The students were invited to make the flag of their choice, either the current flag.....or a historical version. The stars are hand-appliqued, the quilt hand-quilted. The quilt design is the traditional feather design. I thought it sort of made the quilt look like it was being blown in the wind. (Well, use your imagination, ok?)

I had this wonderful fabric for the back of the quilt...all quilts should have a great backing. While making the quilt, I decided to write the Gettysburg Address on fabric and add it to the back also. If you click on the photograph, it should be large enough for you to read the entire address.

I'm pretty proud of this flag/quilt. So, again, Happy Fourth of July and LONG MAY SHE WAVE!!! 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.