Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last Day of August Blessing






I can't believe it's the last day of August! Time is just flying by and I don't like it. When I was young, the days seem to sometimes drag by. Now that I'm "not so young," the days seem to go by so fast I lose track of what day it actually is if I'm not careful. Oh, my! How am I supposed to use up all the wonderful "stuff" in this studio before I run out of time? I wish I could somehow make time slow down and enjoy this wonderful place forever. Well, we know that isn't going to happen, so I shall just have to enjoy it for however long I have it.

We built this little house in the backyard in August of 2004. It was much hotter here during the month it took to finish, than it is this month. I remember the day the concrete foundation was poured, it was 105 degrees. I don't remember what the heat index was, but I know I kept the ice water and sweet tea coming for the workers all day, every day. In fact, at that same time, we were connecting to the city sewer system and the city workers were digging up our front yard, etc., for about a week and a half or so. They were very hot too, so we took them water and tea also....something I don't think they are used to, but we didn't want anyone dying of a heat stroke on our behalf. That seems like yesterday!

Today I am out in the Nest, trying to not only get another post on my blog, but also to get a few things accomplished. When I am in kind of a "nervous, unsettled mood" I tend to come out here and "straighten things up." I do that it a lot, it seems. The tv is on because I am keeping track of Hurricane Gustaf and feeling bad for all those on the Gulf Coast. My youngest brother lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, another reason for me to pay attention. I am sure hoping things turn out better than we think they may.

So, I decided to post some photos taken out here today. You know, this place is special to me, so what I may think is just wonderful, you may not, and vice-versa. Because I can't possibly go into every nook and cranny....I chose three spots to show
you today. (If you'd like to see more, you can refer to my blog archives and see a studio tour in more depth.....the posts were in April.)

I have the Nest arranged in little "zones," each with a different purpose. An old computer table that I use when I applique, do other hand sewing or beading is just to the left of the entry and right under a window, so I can look out while I work. Aside from my desk and computer area or the 4' x 8" work table my husband made for me, I probably use this area the most, as I am an avid hand quilter/embroiderer. Next is the table that matches my old 50's office desk, but I use it for my sewing machine. I have a great sewing machine, but I confess I don't use it like I should. You can see lots of thread. Does it multiply during the night, or what? The button cards on the wall are also from the 50's and came from my local flea market recently.
I love buttons!

Another area I wanted to show you is part of my storage drawer collection. There are lots of them in here...these are a few.
You can see one of my quilts hanging over the drawers....this is my working wall, where I can pin quilt pieces for auditioning.
I can pin all the way from floor to ceiling, but as you can see....there's too much stuff here, so the drawers block using the entire wall. For now. I am famous for moving things around. The next time I show the Nest...it could look different.

On top of the drawers, in the center, you can see a tray full of wonderful old threads, lace, buttons, photos, scissors, etc. I love this collection. There is lots more...hidden, of course, in the drawers.

The quilt hanging there is one I made several years ago. With the exception of the outer borders, it is made from "leftovers" from other projects. Waste not, want not, and all that.

So, that's it for the mini-tour today...the last day of August. Hopefully, the first few days of September will bring us good news and I pray the quilters/embroiderers (and everyone else!) in the New Orleans/Gulf area can get back home and find their favorite places intact. As I count my blessings, that is my hope. Y'all take care. Pat

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just a Tiny Bit Crazy






It's been kind of a busy, strange, happy, sad, funny, trying, yet in some ways uplifting, week around the Nest. The best part was having my son here for four days. Nothing is better than that. I'm certainly not going to go into the rest of it...suffice to say there just wasn't anything "normal" about it. So, here's a new week and it's Tuesday already and I am feeling so very far behind. Why is it we all have so much to do that accomplishing anything less than our "whole list of to-dos" makes us feel inadequate? I wish I knew. Oh, darn, now that I've said that - I don't know about you, but, for me, there IS that obsessive/compulsive thing I have. Yeah, that's it. Enough to make me a tiny bit crazy?

I wanted to post something about quilting today, after all, that is what I do. So, I took a look around the place and decided that because I was feeling a tiny bit crazy.....maybe a tiny crazy quilt would be appropriate. I know many of you love crazy quilts, as I do, so if you do.....this one's for you!

This little quilt is 12 1/2" x 14 1/2" and was made for a little doll bed I have. I thought about showing you the doll, bed and all, but decided against it as I want to make a different quilt for the bed and probably sell the whole thing in my etsy shop sometime later this year. You can see the bed, linens and all then. This little quilt I love. I don't know about you, but the things I enjoy making the most always turn out to be the things I love the most, therefore, I have a problem parting with those.

I used some glass butterfly beads on this quilt, a butterfly stamp and a glass heart bead. There are three tiny embroidered designs....one a vine with a chain-stitched heart, a small spray of three pink flowers using the lazy daisy stitch, and a single stem tied with an embroidered bow in outline stitch. Of course, it's a crazy quilt, so all the seams are stitched over. I am so "crazy" over the simple embroidery stitches we learn when we are young, that I tend to use them over and over. If you read this blog.....then you have heard me talk about them before. Simplicity is just a great thing!

One of my most favorite motifs, as you have also heard me go on and on about, is the tiny hearts I love to embroider. There are several here. There are seven if you count them. LOVE em!!!

Back "in the day" crazy quilts were rarely quilted. I, however, (being somewhat odd) like to include quilting in mine. I don't know why I do that, either, but I like doing it.

Another thing I tend to do is use only prints in my crazy quilts....a thing you probably shouldn't do. Sometimes I like to use a print that "reads" as a solid and sometimes a solid actually finds it's way into my work, but mostly I use all prints. Maybe it's my rebellious streak. Now, bear in mind, I'm not saying I never use solids at all in my work.....I said I "mostly" use prints. You will rarely find me using "fancy fabrics" in my crazy quilts. I love those fancy quilts too, but since I make other types of quilts and am lucky enough to have an abundance of cotton fabrics.....I prefer to use those in my crazy quilts. I won't live long enough to use all my fabric, so feel obligated to use as much of it as possible. Then, too, in my estimation, a little cotton crazy quilt is a fine thing indeed!

I have included a tiny pincushion here also. It's 3 1/2" square. I made it at the same time I made the quilt. Just because. I like it very much....and another tiny heart appears!

The last photo shows the back of both pieces. I love these fabrics.....the sweetness of them is a wonderful visual treat for me...especially the larger rose fabric. Makes me a tiny bit crazy.....what about you? See you soon. Pat

In answer to a comment, I should tell you that I used play sand to fill this tiny pincushion. I lined the pincushion and used a funnel to add the sand. Pincushions filled in this way are not washable. I have also used ground walnut shells to fill a pincushion. Play sand can be purchased from your local lumber yard and the ground walnut shells are available at places like PetSmart. It is used to line the bottom of birdcages. Both give a nice weight to the pincushion.....but if pressed...I prefer the play sand - it's also good to help keep the pins and needles sharpened.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Past Week in the Nest









I guess I have a lot to learn about posting on this blog. I just wrote one about the past week here....which was rather lengthy, to be sure, but explained some of the happenings around here lately concerning family and why I haven't posted in over a week. Then, I chose some photos to go along with the post.....much to my dismay and after over an hour of work.....the photos from the last post showed up rather than the ones I chose. I know what I did.....but didn't know how to "undo" it. So, I am starting over. Darn!

My son, Scott, came for a four day visit. I haven't seen him since last Thanksgiving, so was thrilled to learn that he was coming for a short visit. Now, I miss him a lot, but don't expect him to show up here real often and our budget doesn't permit travel to California, so this visit was special.

His main reason for coming home (well, other than to see his parents and his sister) was to have a visit with his paternal Grandmother. She is 91 and not doing well, so he thought, and rightly so, that he needed to see her. They had a good visit and she was thrilled to see him....we didn't tell her he was coming so she was surprised and pleased. While they visited, I took photos. Late last night, I took some of the photos and some decorative paper and "sewed" her a little "album." (She received it today and was very happy to have it!!) I emailed the photos to him too. (Thanks to my friend in France, Janine, for the idea of sewing a paper album!)

We spent some time at my daughter's home, so Scott and my grandson, Ty, went for a short ride on the golf cart with the dog, Trixie. Trixie has become addicted to riding the golf cart and if you say "go" she gets all excited and runs to the door.
I have to say there isn't a lot to do in Searcy, Arkansas, so riding the golf cart can be a fun thing. My daughter and son-in- law are both avid golfers and live right down the street from the course, so Trixie often gets these rides, and we need entertainment.

Tyler loves to clown around for the camera and loves picking his mother up whether she wants him to or not. He is twenty-three, six foot two or three and 215 pounds.....to me she hardly seems old enough to be his mom.....but, there you are. He's my only grandchild.

Scott always brings his own computer, sometimes more than one...well, I don't think he is ever without it and unfortunately for him, when he comes there are always multiple issues with ours, so he ends up being our "tech" support. He does work in Silicon Valley, but not as tech support. I really don't know if I would be posting as I am now if it hadn't been for him encouraging me. It's hard on him, I know, to have a family full of "electronically challenged" people!

Scott and his sister are close.....I just love that as I remember when they were kids....they fought a lot...like many siblings. You know what I mean...."this one is taking up the whole back seat...this one got a larger piece of cake....blah, blah, blah!" I used to wonder if they would ever get along. Most of their adult lives, they have managed to stay close even though they live far apart. Photos like these always remind me of their childhood and make me appreciative of their relationship now. They are so cute!!!!!!!

When he leaves to return home, which, of course, is inevitable.....the last I see of him is the ride up the escalator to check in at the security gate at the Little Rock airport. It is a place of great sadness for me. Until, one day.....he returns. Then it is a place of great joy. ( I'll see you soon on iChat, Big Guy.....Thanks for coming, stay well and we love you lots. Mom)

As for you, my friends out there in blogland, I'll be back in a couple of days or so with more quilting/embroidering and such. I did think of you this past week and knew you would understand my absence. You stay well too! Pat

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Prettiest Embroidered Basket











Just this week I read a post written by Andrea at bleulune.typepad.com regarding a beautiful silk ribbon embroidered jacket she owns. In her post, she mentions that she tried doing silk ribbon embroidery in the past. One of the comments she received (in addition to one from me) was from Cindy at romantichome.blogspot.com. I read the blogs of these two girls regularly and they are listed as two of my favorites here on this blog. Through their posts, they have become two of my good friends, even though we have never met. If you haven't visited them.....please do so as they are wonderful!!!

Now, about that embroidered jacket! It got me to thinking about things I had made, so after reading Andrea's post, I decided to get out a piece I did some time ago and show it to you and also to Andrea and Cindy. I love doing silk ribbon embroidery...well, let's face it...I love doing embroidery period! Several years ago I designed this basket of flowers and decided to make it into a pillow with a beaded edge. Yes, I also love to add beads to my work whenever the mood hits.

The background fabric used here is a piece of damask that was in a sack of remnants I bought at the flea market. (You know how I love finding that kind of thing on my 'hunting trips.') The basket is woven onto the fabric first, followed by the stems, then the leaves, the feather stitch greenery, the tiniest flowers, the roses, the French Knots, the beads and then the bow. It has also been "touched" with a bit of glitter paint here and there. It was great fun to design!

The edge beading was done last and took the most time. You have to count every bead as you make the fringe, so it isn't quick, but I like tedious things, so it was fun to me.

I added a line from page 82, "Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady" by Fanny Robinson (1802-1872) just because I liked the "old-fashioned-ness" of it.

Also this past week, I have been reading about people trying to get beyond making "pretty" art work. I can see their point. But, me...well, I like pretty a whole lot, so as long as I can come up with something like this pillow...I'm not going to worry about getting beyond it. I intend to enjoy the process and, therefore, I will enjoy the product. It is what it is...I am what I am and there you have it.

So, Andrea and Cindy, thanks for keeping me entertained with your wonderful blogs. I hope you enjoy seeing these flowers as much as I enjoy everything you show me!! Pat

(My photos are not in the order I chose them to be - darn! But, you get the idea!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"The Quiltmaker"



My husband is retired from the local power company, Entergy. He has a friend, Larry, also retired. Both of them are great guys. Larry comes over once in a while to visit with Richard and me. We enjoy the visits. Larry also likes to visit the Nest to see what is going on....he's very interested in history, therefore quilting, and then, too, he sorta thinks I'm funny. These two guys laugh a lot and talk about the "good old days" at work and elsewhere. I enjoy hearing them tell of times gone by. Larry is somewhat younger than Richard, but still, they have some stories (and people) in common.

The other day, Larry called saying he wanted to 'bring me something." And, so he did. Usually, around here, when someone says that...they bring you some squash or tomatoes. Evidently Larry likes surprises because he brought a poem. Not just any poem, but one about a quiltmaker. He said he saw it and knew he was going to print it out and make something for me. I had no idea he knew how to do this kind of thing. Not wanting to give away his "recipe" I can only tell you that he printed the poem on resume' paper, boiled water, added tea (plus some secret ingredients), and soaked the resume' paper in it, then ironed it, making the poem look like a gorgeous page from an antique book. I was thrilled to death. So here's the poem:

THE QUILTMAKER
By Alma Edmonds

I saw in summer
A coverlet of meadow flung upon
A steep and rocky Ozark glade.
The earth was grays and greens,
A blend of growth, maturity, and death.
The theme was Chicory, Aegean thing,
A perfect rambling of purpled blue,
With blocks of Blackeyed Susan here and there,
And stenciled umbrels of Queen Anne's lace.
Embroidered clusters of Butterfly Weed
Enflamed the point at left, mid-distance,
Where rivulets converged and drained into the trees
Along a creek that whispered among stones.
A meadowlark flushed whistling from the flowers
And, flashing white, glided into the vault.
Now I will stitch a cover for my bed
Of blue and gold, puff-quilted white,
With French knots flaming on a fall of field.
A binding of green for the trees at creekside.
And, the wing curve of summer's sailing lark
To quicken my pulse in winter.

Isn't that wonderful! Not tomatoes and squash (delicious as they can be) but something that celebrates the thing I most love to do....stitch designs into fabric...which, in turn, quickens my pulse in winter. Thanks, Larry, you are a good friend! 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.