Sunday, November 30, 2008

Checking IN


Well, it's Sunday night and I haven't posted in quite a while. Life around the Nest hasn't been so great. If you come here often, then you know my mother-in-law passed away.....then all the relatives came for a week....then I caught "the bug." You, know - the one that takes over your head so that it feels as big as a truck, affects your breathing....and makes your throat so sore you can't swallow and you ache all over. A week of that and I'm just about done in. Today is the first day I've felt any kind of good in two weeks. So, I had to say Hi.

I've thought of all of you often.....just didn't want to come out here in the cold to write anything, but tonight, thought I should at least let you know I haven't forgotten you are out there. My best to you and please stay tuned for a post on a subject much more interesting within the next few days.

I'm including a picture of my backyard. I took this photo about a month ago.....my son was here last week and I noticed he had it on his screen saver.......(I tend to send him my favorite photos). To me, this photo is sort of like watching fish in an aquarium....makes my blood pressure go down....it's kind of soothing.

Hope you are all well.....I'll post soon. Pat

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'll Remember Her






Sunday around 2:30 p.m., my mother-in-law, Alleen Hogg, passed away. She was 91 years old. She always wanted us to have fun and laugh. That's kind of hard right now, but later, we will all gather again and remember...and laugh.

I told her one time that after she was gone, we'd all get together and read her cookbooks. That sentence sounds kind of funny all by itself. However, Alleen used to write notes to herself in the margins of her cookbooks and sometimes they were funny. I remember one that just said, "snowed today" but no date was written. She said, "promise you will laugh." See, I'm already doing it.

She received some flowers from a friend the other day. Too late for her to notice them. She loved roses. So, when we came home on Sunday, we brought them with us and naturally, I had to photograph them. My sister-in-law, Sandy, said she would like to paint them, so I took photographs while I could remember to do it before they faded away. So, here they are...beautiful aren't they?

So, enjoy the roses...and remember to laugh. For Alleen. See you soon. Pat

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Whitework on a Chilly Day











It's chilly here today, with the wind blowing the trees this way and that, although the sun is brightly shining....I'm thinking winter isn't far away. My friend, Sherry, and I have had a couple of discussions the last few days concerning vintage garments, laces, and embroideries.....all in white, by the way. So, with it being "chilly" does that mean our subconscious mind is equating our thoughts of Whitework with the possibility of snow somewhere in the future? Well, that's a little far out, but we really don't know, do we?

Do you like vintage Whitework items? My daughter calls it that "old-fashioned stuff," so if you feel that way too, then this post isn't for you. Several of my friends love it....well, maybe not as much as Sherry and I do, but they appreciate all the work that has gone into making beautiful things out of some simple fabrics and white thread. I am constantly amazed by it, in fact, finding bits of it at the flea market is, to me, almost a religious experience. There are many of you out there who share that feeling...I know it.

Being a "hunter/gatherer" of old things.....I thought I'd share some of my beautiful found pieces with you. And, then, there are ones I made myself mixed in here too. Since I'm not smart enough to get the photos on this blog to actually appear in
the order I wish...I shall just tell you about these things and you can find them in the photos.

There is a white dress I found at the flea market....it is made of organdy and quite thin...the skirt is made of an embroidered organdy in a circular flower motif and has a scalloped hemline. It is quite pretty and whoever wore it was very small. I'm guessing it was made in fifties, but who knows.

There is a small doll quilt I made.....it's in the background and underneath the baby dress hanging in the right of the photo. That baby dress was made for me by my mother. The only thing I am aware of that she ever made. I'm sixty-four, so that pretty much explains how old it is.

Behind my baby dress is an apron that my friend, Jim, gave me for my birthday. The fabric is kind of a windowpane check (white on white, of course) and the bottom is crocheted lace about six inches wide. I just love that crochet pattern and would like to reproduce it someday.

There are buttons and lace in a frame with a linen background. My husband gave me that and a box of buttons...even the box was old, just a couple of years ago for Christmas. He says I am hard to buy for.....but he seemed to know exactly what I would love!!!

There is a white pillow embroidered in a kind of chrysanthemum design done in satin stitch. I found that at the flea market one day and just fell so in love with it. It was $2.00. How could you leave that in the store?

There is a strip of old, gorgeous lace. I have about a yard of it. It used to be attached to a garment...who knows what...and I also bought it at the flea market. So beautiful!!! There is a bit of old lace on the shoulder of the dress....then there is a dresser scarf in the center that is another floral design done in satin stitch...with a wreath embroidered with little dots that represent some kind of berry. Beautiful! A handkerchief monogramed with the letter "P".....couldn't turn that down either.

Speaking of monograms......there is that button with the appliqued letter "E" surrounded with embroidery and trimmed in crocheted lace. I just LOVE that button! One year when I was at the Houston Quilt Festival, I found that pretty thing in a booth and couldn't walk away without it. It cost way too much....but well, it's only money, right?

There is a doily with an edging that is just remarkable. It looks like it has some kind of wrapped trim used with crochet to create a very complicated design...love it. It's about two inches wide.

There is another framed piece. It is done in Drawn Thread work....spectacular. It was a gift to me from my friend, Susan, who bought it this year on a trip to Chicago. The piece came with proof of age....a note written by Martha Wall Herring, born in 1903, stating the piece was made by her mother, Naunie May Wall, at age sixteen, in 1898. Wow! A sixteen year old made this wonderful work of art! (Imagine a sixteen year old doing this kind of work!!!) It truly is wonderful! And, Susan was dear to bring it to me....I have truly wonderful friends.

Then, lastly, there is that crocheted table cloth. I made that myself. When my kids were four and five, I crocheted it at the swimming pool while they took swimming lessons. Yeah, that sounds kind of weird, doesn't it? As it turns out...I have a very deep fear of water and do not swim. However, I wanted my kids to like being in the water...so insisted they take swimming lessons. ( As it turns out, they both love the water and so does my grandson. I am so glad.) It made me nuts to watch them at the pool, but parents had to be there....so I worked on this table cloth while they learned to swim. Then, after they learned, I continued to take them to the pool for the summer and continued to work on the tablecloth. I think it took six weeks.
I'm sure this is probably the only table cloth made entirely at a swimming pool! Ya think?

Ok....now I have decided that I'm not subconsciously thinking of snow......I'm just reminding myself how much I love hand embroidery, crochet and quiltmaking....and it's actually making me warmer....how neat is that? Take care, Pat

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Autumn Leaves Applique






If you've seen much of my work, then you know I do most of it by hand. Machine work...not so much. To me there is just nothing better than sitting with a needle and thread, sewing quietly and with purpose. It is a great joy. I have some really nice friends who tend to do all their work using the sewing machine....ALL of their work. Naturally, I get the usual jokes about being "archaic" or a "dinosaur." I don't mind. I admire their work....it's really wonderful. I like my work...it's wonderful too...and sometimes the more tedious it is, the more I like it.

One time we were in one of those discussions comparing handwork to machine work. My friend, Jim, challenged me to make a totally machine made quilt. So, I set out to do just that. This basket full of autumn leaves is the result. Well, OK, I failed the test because I handquilted it. But, the TOP was totally made on the machine!

I drew it out on paper, cut out the leaves and the basket and went to work doing machine applique. It was kind of fun figuring out how to place the leaves. Did I enjoy doing the machine applique? NO. But I did it anyway. (I appliqued these using a very small zig-zag stitch...it's ok...but it always looks better to me when someone else has done it.)

Notice the flies? Jim gave me two of them and dared me to sew them to the quilt, so I did. They are plastic.

After I did all the applique and added the plain borders....I decided the quilt was just that...PLAIN! So I played around with other leaves to see what I could come up with. At that time, my son was home. He walked into the room as I was talking to myself and asked what I was doing. I explained. In my hand were five leaves and I was having a difficult time choosing their placement. Scott said, "Well, don't fret over it...just throw them down like playing cards and wherever they land will be the right place." Simple for him to say...difficult for me...I fret over the least thing. So, I told him to go ahead and throw them down and wherever they landed, that's where I would sew them on. He did. And, so did I. So those five leaves on the border were added by my son that day. A lesson for me in spontaneity. Also in "not sweating the small stuff." (I really should listen to him more often!)

When I put the quilt up on the wall to check it out...I thought it still needed something....but what? Of course, my mind always goes to "more hand stitching" so I decided to embroider a line using the Herringbone Stitch....in a meandering design. I really liked that!

Then, of course, next came the quilting and that's where I really, really failed. No way could I try to machine quilt this. So, my friend Jim won that challenge...I couldn't make a quilt that was totally done on the machine. He just loves to win!!!

Fall is my favorite season......I love the falling leaves, the chill in the air on a clear, bright blue sky day, the crispness. It's such a brief season. Here in Arkansas, at this very moment, it is raining and chilly. I sense that autumn is quickly slipping away and winter will be here soon. Too soon. Maybe that's why I love Fall so much....it's never here very long. Sort of like the time I have in the Nest..time spent out here is never long enough. Enjoy autumn, wherever you are!!! Pat

**I forgot to mention the fabric on the back of the quilt is a wonderful leaf print...and you can see the hand quilting there. No matter what I do...my post photos seem to never show in the order I placed them...so aggravating...I really didn't want you to see the back of the quilt first! Well, have a great day anyway!

Monday, November 10, 2008

HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY!





"AS WE EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE, WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT THE HIGHEST APPRECIATION IS NOT TO UTTER WORDS, BUT TO LIVE BY THEM." John Fitzgerald Kennedy

On this Veteran's Day, I wanted to show you two of my favorite Veterans. I have a brother that was in the service, three brothers-in-law, a father-in-law, friends and more, who have served. Every one of them are special. Just as all Veterans are special. Where would we be without them?

My husband, Richard Eaton, was in the Navy from 1961 to 1965. He and his brother, Bill, joined on the same day. Richard served on the U.S.S. Sperry AS12. He served during the Cuban Missle Crisis. He loved the Navy. Just look at this photo of him. Cute, huh? Yes, these sailors....gotta love 'em. I didn't know him then, but when he got out of the Navy, he went to work at Rocketdyne in McGregor, Texas, where my Dad, retired from the Army, worked as a guard. Richard loved the Navy and sometimes I think he'd still like to go back and join again. He's just a great guy and my hero.

Then, there's my Dad, Cyril Joseph Williams. He was born in Philadelphia in 1909. Joined the Army when he was sixteen. He was in a orphanage and his older sister, Marquerite, lied about his real age so he could join. Just as Richard loved the Navy, my Dad loved the Army and stayed in until 1953. When he retired, he went to work as a security guard in my Mother's home town, where he worked until he passed away in 1973. He was a great guy, too. I have photos here of him when he was very young.

Then, there's this photo taken when he was around 34 or 35 years of age. Behind this photo I found one of me as a baby, so I figured it was taken not too many months after my birth in 1944. We are not sure when the photo of my Dad and General Eisenhower was taken, but I know it was a while after I was born. I love these photos.....all I have left to remember my Dad by. And, remember, I do.

My two great guys.......now how many times do I multiply by to know how many other men and women I owe a debt of gratitude to? So many. So, whoever you are out there.....to all who serve...and to the families of those who serve......I THANK YOU. All of you. You are just the BEST!!! And, I remember you always...especially today....of all days. Pat

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Victorian Knitting, Sewing or Shopping Tote






Last year when I went to Houston to take part in the Quilt Festival, I bought a kit and pattern for a "Victorian Knitting and Sewing Tote"by Sue Spargo. I fell totally in love with the sample I saw there, so was determined to make it. The kit included everything except the lining, the batting and the buttons. Well, I thought....someplace to use some of those vintage buttons I have been collecting!

Shortly after the trip, I decided to make the bag and decided it would be a great bag to take to Houston this year to carry all my shopping items. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to Houston this year. So, my bag is unused to this point. Not to worry, it will go around now holding my knitting and sewing projects....it even looks great hanging in the sewing room...or where I have it - in one of my bedrooms. It's a large, wonderful bag.

If you are interested in making one....go to www.suespargo.com...and there you can purchase the pattern. Sue also has a blog.....SueSpargo.blogspot.com. She has lots of other types of bag patterns.

This wonderful bag is made from wool fabric which is pieced on the front, with wool applique and embroidery in the center square. I actually bought it because I liked the style and went nuts over the upholstery fabric that makes up the back of the bag. It is simply gorgeous! The bag is 21" wide, 14" high and 5" deep. Huge! It will hold lots of wonderful "stuff." I used vintage buttons that are 1 1/2" or 2" in diameter. There is one button at the top center of the inside pocket. It is a beautiful 1 " leaf button, so pretty, although you won't be able to tell it from this photo. Everyone always remarks on the buttons.

With winter coming...just touching this totebag will be a pleasure, not to mention using it, or even just looking at it!
Hope you enjoy it too! Have a great day! Pat

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

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.