Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sparkles for a New Year






At last 2008 has come to an end! While there have been happy events to be thankful for...there have also been horrible events to bring us all down. Personally, it has been a very trying year. I'm glad it's over! But, never one to stay "down" long....I'm looking forward to a brand new year....Yea!!!!! I don't know about you...but I'm ready for something sparkly and happy and fun! While I realize (and you do too) that the year ahead won't be all fun and games...we can still make it a point to count our blessings, enjoy each other, share our "stuff" and make it as happy a year as possible. We can do it. And we will!!

I'm going to start it by thinking of something that makes me smile. How about some of my sparkly things? You know, I'm kind of like a magpie...I seem to collect sparkly things...buttons, old jewelry, etc., and store them in this Nest. I love my sparkly things and from what I read in your blogs...you do too! So, I'm going to share with you a quilt and some other things that shine and make me feel good - then hopefully you will too. A great way to start a new year.

This little quilt (14 inches x 16 inches) was made for my 55th birthday by my friend, Jim. Jim belongs to my Knot group....we are called the Knot Crazy Beaders, but actually, we quilt, knit, bead, paint, and every other thing you can think of...and make crazy quilts too. Jim and I have been friends for a very long time...longer than this group has met. He's very talented as well as funny. He wanted to do something special for my birthday in 1999...and this little project is what he made. Jim has always called me the Queen of Everything.....so this quilt pretty much says it. He took a photo of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.....and put our faces in place of theirs. Sometimes Jim calls me the Queen of Everything through gritted teeth (we manage to have a few little disagreements here and there)...so I'm not sure he was in a totally great mood when he chose WHICH picture of me he would use. This photo of my face isn't all that complimentary, but to be honest, I've not ever seen one that was. I just have "one of those" faces. Anyway, it IS me! I notice Jim looks just fine in his photo. Whatever the choice of photo...I laugh whenever I look at this quilt.

Jim has decorated the quilt with all kinds of flea market jewelry.....sparkly indeed! I even managed to find a crown button to sew on over the crown which was in the photo.....it's a pretty nice crown button and it amazed me that it was exactly the width needed to fit on top of my head!!! More sparkles!

In another photo, you can see several sparkly things below the quilt....these are some of my "jewels." Some of them have their own photo. A tiara. It's a really nice sparkly thing. Several years ago, Jim and I happened to be teaching quilting classes at the same event in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Before my class started, he brought me this tiara and said since I was the Queen of Everything, I should wear it throughout the class....I did. We got lots of laughs out of that experience.

There is an antique black net dress yoke that has beads and "jewels" sewn all over it. It is so beautiful and very fragile. I probably should do something with it and frame the piece as it certainly wouldn't be able to last through anything where it would be worn. I have no idea what to do with it, but something will come to me one of these days. It is very pretty and I wonder what garment it came off of...as I know it was removed from a garment. (Wouldn't I have loved to have the rest of it!!)

There is a pink business card holder that says Queen. You will have to click on the photo to see it larger. It was given to me by my daughter, Kelly. It's a terrific thing.....all shiny, pink and with a finish so clear you can use it to look in and put your lipstick on. Speaking of business cards, Kelly also helped me design my cards. These use the same quilt that we used to create the banner on this blog.

There is a variety of old buttons, pins, broken jewelry, beads and "whatnot" that I have gathered from the local flea market. The newer beads I find at various places such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels. I get such a kick out of finding this kind of stuff. I'm telling you...I work in a Nest...I'm a magpie!!

Then, there is a photo of my hand and I'm wearing a crown and heart ring. I've had this a long time and rarely wear it. But, it too is sparkly and makes me smile. I bought it long ago because certain folks call me the Queen and because I tend to put a heart on just about everything I make. I'm sure it was meant for me.

So, some "sparkly" fun things to look at on New Year's Eve. A brand new year coming in a few hours. Hope for a brighter day! I'm going to enjoy looking at these things tonight......and thinking of all the wonderful things that are going to happen to YOU and to ME in the coming year. I will look forward to hearing from you and sharing with you.....and I'll be wishing you the happiest and most glorious year yet! Stay safe, warm and happy and have a wonderful NEW YEAR!!! Pat

Friday, December 26, 2008

Some Embroidered Bits






The day after Christmas. It's "funny" outdoors....feels as if we are going to have a storm. One is predicted. How weird has the weather been this year anyway? So, I suppose a thunder storm would just fit right in. I have been out in the Nest nearly all day and gotten precious little accomplished other than making one of my "famous" lists. Hopefully in the coming year I'll be able to cross some of the listed items off. O Happy Day when that happens!

Meantime, I am looking forward to a New Year...while looking back at this one. 2008 has been particularly trying here and I will be quite happy to cheer in a new one in a few days.

One of the good things that happened this year was when, in February, I decided to begin a blog. I barely knew what blogs were when, there I was....sending words out into the blogosphere for who knows who to read...if anyone. It was a stretch for me, but I did it and although I wonder if it makes sense...I'm still doing it and loving it. I have a list of Favorite Blogs...see it over on the right and go "visit" some of them. There you will find a wonderfully diverse, fascinating bunch of bloggers who keep me entertained and interested in everything they write about. I've been told that some enjoy mine and I love hearing from my "readers."

Finding things to include in a post isn't easy. So, mostly, I just choose some photos and go for it. I get some helpful comments and I DO love them. I like that connection with people out there I would have never heard from otherwise. And, I like that somebody, somewhere is seeing what I do and responding to it. How great is that?

It's now the end of this awful, but interesting, year and I wanted to just look back a little by showing you some "bits" of photos previously shown. Some of my favorite parts of some of my favorite works.

An embroidered basket made into a button and added to a pincushion. A tree embroidered on an appliqued sampler quilt.
A section of an embroidered silk ribbon crazy quilt. A black, square "wreath" embroidered on a nine patch quilt. And, finally,
some embroidered flowers with an appliqued house on a quilted postcard.

It's seemed like a long year from my vantage point, but when I look at these little bits of my work that I've shown you on this blog...then I realize that a whole year DID actually FLY by!!!! Take care, Pat

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas Crazy Quilt






This is the last of my Christmas quilts. Remember, I told you I would show you all of them in December. I love crazy quilts, probably because you can sew all kinds of "embellishments" on them such as beads, buttons, fragments of old linens, doileys,
wonderful embroidery stitches, pins, etc. For me it is hard to decide when to stop sewing things on my crazy quilts...I just reach some point and say to myself..."Ok, STOP!"

I loved the fabric for this quilt the minute I saw it in the store. All those precious little children....so I just had to have it. The idea for the quilt came later. Naturally, being a hunter/gatherer, I had all kinds of things to use as embellishments, so all I had to do was decide how to start and the rest took care of itself. I have a friend who says after she puts on her makeup, she has been "glorified." I suppose that is exactly how I think of my crazy quilts when they have been embroidered, embellished and beaded. This one really has been, notice the fringe!

I used new and vintage doileys, lots of embroidery stitches, beads, pins, silk ribbon, lace and buttons to embellish this little quilt. It is 21 and a half inches square. The fringe at the bottom is four inches deep - give or take- as I chose to do random lengths of beaded fringe. It took exactly eight hours to bead the bottom fringe, not counting, of course, the other three sides of the quilt which are also beaded with seed beads. Those are hard to see in the photographs. It was GREAT FUN!!!

There is a bit of lace around one of the borders. The odd thing about that is it took me a bit to go through my stash to find the "right' piece of lace to use and when I made my final choice...it fit around that border perfectly with only ONE INCH left over. Was it meant to be? I think so. I basted the lace in place, then embroidered a Herringbone Stitch over it to anchor it down. If you click on the photo, you may be able to see these stitches. Well, I hope so anyway.

I named this quilt "A Christmas Eve Prayer." I figure all children are "praying" for that "certain toy." I hope they get them too..wherever they are. And, YOU too! Have the best Christmas ever!!! Take care. Pat

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Grandson's Christmas Quilt






When my grandson, Tyler, was six years old, I decided to make a wall quilt for him for Christmas. He loved being in the studio with me, calling each piece of fabric a quilt. I still have some yardage with animals on it that he made tents with, napped under and always called a quilt. I suppose he just didn't get the concept of the three layers, etc. He is going to be twenty-four on his next birthday and even though the quilt lives at my house....he still knows it's his and expects to see it every year.

When I made the quilt for him, I worked on it when he wasn't around, as I wanted it to be a surprise. When he came over for Christmas, I made sure the wall hanging was in place over the sofa, as I knew he'd notice it there first. He came into the room, immediately looked at the quilt and said, "Grandmother, you made a CAR!!" Well, I thought to myself, I could have just made a tiny quilt with a car on it and he would have been completely happy. He loved the quilt, still does, and that's all that matters, and I still love to tell how he reacted to his own Christmas quilt.

It is 48 inches square. I hand appliqued all the features of the quilt and it is hand quilted. There is a bunny rabbit on the bed and that was made by a friend, Donna McConnell. Her daughter, Micah, made the little photograph on the wall. Everyone always asks me if the two women in the photo are relatives. No, they are not, but sometimes I make up stories about them anyway. There are embellishments on the quilt....you just have to embellish, you know. The car is there because like lots of boys, Ty always was playing with tiny little cars. The cat in the wagon is not the cat we have now...but Ethel looks like this anyway.

It's a fun quilt....hope you enjoy seeing it and I wish you all a Merry Christmas! (One more quilt to go by Christmas Day..stay tuned!!) Do take care, stay warm and safe and have a lot of fun! Pat

Monday, December 15, 2008

"My Prairie Christmas"






I hate to say I hope to make this quick...but I haven't had the heat on in the Nest today and just remembered to post...it's freezing in here! However, I said I'd show you my Christmas quilts during the holidays...and so I must. It is sleeting like crazy right now and my deck is freezing over, so in order to get myself back in the house safely...I need to be a person of few words. Well, you know that won't work......

Several years ago I found the book "My Prairie Christmas" by Brett Harvey. Illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. It is dear. About Christmas on the prairie and Dad going out to find the tree, disappearing in a snowstorm, all the consequences of that..then the wonderful ending. Just loved it. Have I ever told you that "prairie" is one of my favorite words? I have no idea why.

I loved this book, so decided to make a quilt with it as inspiration. The wall hanging is 26" x 35" and is hand appliqued, machine pieced, and hand quilted. The footsteps were done with a permanent pen. One of the photos I have included shows a photo of the book. I love this little quilt.

Sometimes I write on my quilts...front and/or back. This one has writing on the front...with a quote from the book. I hope you can read it.

So, hope you are safe and warm, that you enjoy the quilt shown here, and that your holiday season is "Merry and Bright!!"
Take care. Pat

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Log Cabin Quilt







This morning I sat down and thought about my posts for the rest of the year. Well, those should be about Christmas, right? So, I went to the quilt closet and pulled out the ones I thought would make good subject matter for my posts. While doing so, I thought these may be quilts that show up every year I blog, as who knows when more Christmas quilts will be made here. I do so tend to get sidetracked these days with embroidery and such!

Now, bear in mind that I have not decorated one thing in the house......and may not. It all just seems like too much to worry with at this point, at the Eaton house, this year. You know, it doesn't help that there are no small children in this family. Sure takes some of the fun out of the season when there are no little kids. (No, I don't want to borrow any right now as there isn't enough energy to handle them. But, I DO like remembering all the small children we used to have here.)

Now, on with the quilts. For this post, I chose to show you a (48" square) Log Cabin quilt that I made when we still lived on the farm. I chose red/green fabrics (in some of these photos, the red looks pink!) and actually machine pieced the blocks. That meant I actually got the top made "in no time." I took all the blocks and placed them on my working wall, trying to find the most pleasing layout. This step takes a while, as I could move the blocks around "til the cows come home" as they say. It's almost impossible to chose a layout, there are so many options. Finally, I just chose my favorite Log Cabin design of all and left it at that.

You should be able to predict what happened.....my son walked through the studio. (In all fairness to him....at that particular time, you had to come in through the studio door if you were on the carport side of the house.) Now, y'all know from my writing that Scott has given me lots of quilting advice over the years. He seems to have a talent for helping me make design decisions, etc., without even thinking about it in advance. On this particular day, he walked through the studio and said, "Oh, a Log Cabin quilt!" "Yes", I said....."now if only I could think of what to call it." "Virtual Log Cabin," he said, and quietly walked out of the room. Yes, I thought - for my computer geek son - a virtual Log Cabin quilt.

You should be able to see that I chose to quilt the "logs" right down the middle of each one. I love doing that. Not only do I avoid quilting in the ditch, which I find a waste of time, but it also 'sort of' looks like there are twice as many pieces, depending on the light, etc. I say 'a waste of time' because if I take the time to hand quilt something....I want the stitches to show!! I suppose if I machine quilted I'd think differently.

I used two different print fabrics for the centers of the blocks.....just because I liked them both and used a wonderful rose print for the back of the quilt. Just loved that fabric!!!

It was a fun quilt to make and we have enjoyed it for a long time. Scott knows he can have it at any time......a virtual log cabin quilt for my virtual favorite son!!! Y'all take care. Pat

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Basket, A Button, A Pincushion






Here I am, back in the Nest, after an absence due to a death in the family, then a bout with "that bug." I am still not feeling great, but am better and that is a big deal. It has been a few weeks since I have spent any time in the Nest and of all things, I have felt guilty about it. So, now, I am back in my precious little studio and feeling desperate to post something that might be of interest to somebody.

Since I never know who is reading my posts...if anyone...I try to write about things that interest me....after all, on any given day, I could be the only person reading my blog posts. Since I have not been productive the last few weeks, today I wondered what to talk about. I have a pincushion class coming up at the next "Quilt Arkansas 2009" (September '09) and have not made the class sample. It's important that I get it done by Dec. 15th, as samples are needed to photograph for the retreat booklet and the deadline is looming. So, today, pincushions are on my mind.

This one will be traveling to a friend in France after the first of the year. It's simple, really, and was great fun to make. Let me tell you a bit about it.

I began with a small scrap of an old dresser scarf in a linen like fabric. I think I used the original scarf to make one of the aprons for the dolls in my etsy shop. I save scraps like that. There was just enough to make two pincushions. (I have yet to finish the second, but I will soon and it won't be identical to this one.) Being old fabric, I thought it needed a little updating, so I painted the fabric. After the paint is dry, I sand it lightly with a very fine sandpaper. It's so cool to see the very faint difference it makes in the fabric...but, oh, so nice! And, by the way, I used a watered down acrylic paint (on damp fabric) and when dry, ironed it to set the color. I don't know if you can tell in these photos, but it's a really cool thing to do...this one is in pink/green/yellow/blue. Very pale coloring, almost like watercolor. I like it very much.

I knew I was going to embroider a basket on this fabric, cover a 2 inch button form with it, then bead the edges. After, that...all was up for grabs. So, I embroidered the basket and made the button. As you know, I love baskets and I also LOVE sewing French Knots. I just don't think you can beat a tiny basket filled with French Knot Flowers...so simple and so much FUN to sew! With pale yellow seed beads, I then beaded the edge of the button. This step, also, is so much fun to do! Next, I cut out two 5
1/2 inch circles of the same painted fabric, added a lining on each, sewed the circle and turned it right side out.

Stuffing came next. My least favorite step in making anything is the stuffing. I just hate it, but it's a necessary evil. I don't know about you, but, to me, stuffing a circle was difficult, since I want my circles to stay circular. Because I also like things to look as if they were made by a human hand, I didn't stress too much over this part of the work. I did want it really firm though. After stuffing the pincushion, I sewed the embroidered button in the center, using a small button on the backside of the pincushion to prevent the thread from tearing the fabric.

Next, I sewed the blue glass butterfly bead to the top, just to the right of the basket. It looked so very plain, I decided a pretty edging sewn around the center seam of the pincushion would look great. And it did. But, I wanted to go another step and add some beads in a little scallop design. There you have it. A basket, a button, a pincushion!

Hope you are well and take care til we meet again....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.