Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New at My Etsy Shop






The other day I mentioned that I would be adding some new things to my etsy shop. About time, I must say. I have more or less ignored it for the last few months, but have made a decision to do better this year. As I have said before, I work very slowly and sometimes forget that this "etsy thing" is a "business."

A couple of posts earlier, I showed you my blue silk ribbon embroidered rose pincushion. It has been added to the shop. I've had lots of comments about it, so I will be very excited if someone decides it should come live with them. If not, well, I'll keep enjoying it myself. Of all the things I have made, I do believe my pincushions are some of my best work.

There is a new pillow in the shop. It is made from a lovely old-fashioned rose print fabric with a purchased Battenburg lace doily appliqued to it and on top of that is embroidered an original heart design done in silk ribbon. The whole thing was then beaded on the edge using rose and green glass beads. It's sweet. At least that is what people say when they see this kind of work. So, if you like "sweet"....check it out, please.

I have a black heart pin that I wear sometimes on special occasions. One time I walked into a little shop wearing it and the light hit it just right...making it sparkle. The shop owner, standing toward the back of the store saw it glitter in the light and said "You have a beautiful heart!" Well, you know me....I took it the wrong way and said "How do you know?" Of course, I had no idea he had seen my pin. We had a good laugh about it.

So, here is another black heart pin. (Not exactly like mine. I don't like making two things "just alike" so you'll never see two identical handmade items in my shop.) I'd like to think someone else will wear this one and be told they have a beautiful heart! This one has some vintage embellishments on it....all glass. The little dragonflies are beads in metal. The other embellishments...even the ones that look like metal...are glass. There is also the neatest black and silver ric-rac appliqued to it. And, because I love leaves and vines....there are some embroidered in silver metallic embroidery thread. The whole pin is beaded around the edge with black seed beads.

So, there you are. Three items in my shop. All having hearts....look for a couple more items later in February...hearts, well, I don't know yet. But embroidered, well, surely. Hope you enjoy having a look.....take care. pat ***An update: the pillow, Pretty in Pink SOLD overnight!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

From Back in the Day






Yesterday, my grandson and his girlfriend had a garage sale at my house. I live on a street with a good bit of traffic, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Never mind that the weather was awful with a pesky wind blowing and it was COLD! But, they are young and oblivious to the things that would keep me from having a garage sale in the middle of January. In a way, I admire them for it....wanting to do something and without thinking of the perils...jumping right in. Me, I have to "think ahead" and "plan." Youth is so wasted on the young. But, I digress.

Thinking I would "help out" in some way....I went through the house looking for things to donate to the cause. My house is about to burst with "stuff" so relieving it of some of it's burden seemed a good idea. I do not easily give things up, but the time has come for me to let go of some things. Take this for instance....this crewel embroidery I've pictured here. Something I have stored since "back in the day."

In the midst of my search for donations, this item was chosen. It has a history. I got married in 1966. My daughter was born in 1967 and my son was born in 1968. It was at least a year or two later that I embroidered this piece. At least that is how I have concluded it's age. That and the horrible color!!!!! I remember doing it. It was made from a kit put out by a needlework kit company called Paragon. I remember choosing it simply because it had that wonderful lacy looking "fabric" or "paper" holding the bouquet. It was FUN to make, I do remember that, but I never did really like the colors, so consequently it never was hung anywhere in the house....at least not for long. (I have to say that since I always work in more subdued colors, my friends call me the Queen of mud! Every once in a while I break out and use some bright color, but not often. So the fact that I made this is kind of a shock.)

This piece is in fairly good shape. Probably because it was framed in an equally horrible frame....orange!!

So, back to the sale....it never really got off the ground due to the weather, so at noon, the kids started to pack things up.
The idea was to take the good stuff to the thrift store and get rid of the rest. I was helping them pack up and looked at this needlework one last time...and couldn't send it away. After all, I still love the lacy part. I could remove it from the frame and scan it to make a pattern and perhaps redo it in colors I really like...couldn't I? So, here it sits...rescued once again. Obviously I've had to save it through several moves, so it must just keep reminding me of "back in the day."

The stuff was packed, my tables were put back in the Nest and the kids were leaving when she accidentally backed her car into the yard light...one of those old-fashioned kind that looks as if it belongs in a city park, five lights in round globes. Didn't hurt her car at all, thank goodness. The light is broken in half and lying on the ground...the husband is not happy....but gosh, we've made a memory here...amongst the ones I have of brightly colored needlework done while raising small children. Yes, back in the day....it was fun, I was young. Wasn't that just yesterday??? Take care. pat

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Pincushions






I'm in a "pincushion" state of mind. Recently, I have posted about pincushions and here I go again...more about pincushions. A while ago, I told you that I was teaching a class at our guild retreat this September with a class on pincushions. They seem to be running through my head constantly these days. I am making some for class samples (which I am not going to show yet) and also making a variety of others...for my own entertainment, for gifts, and to sell.

During the holidays, I thought a lot about this blog and decided to share some of my work with my favorite bloggers and perhaps one of my own blog readers once in a while. I am already working on some to "gift" and, who knows, during the course of the year, you may receive one of them. I'm not announcing it ahead of time...just at random times choosing the person who will get one and quietly sending it along....my way of celebrating friendship during the year.

Of course, I will also be putting some of them in my etsy shop. I have really neglected it the last few months and need to step up to the plate. I'm not very productive, as I work "tedious and slow." But, from time to time, some little things should make their way into the shop.

Recently I sent a little pincushion to Cindy at myromantichome.blogspot.com. I love her blog. My favorite thing she does is find old things, "glorify" them, then use them to decorate her beautiful home. She loves blue. So, I made her a little pincushion. You can see it right here. (Or, you can go to her blog and read the post from 1-20-09 "Gifts" and see it there.)
She was very nice to show it and I really appreciate her complimentary description of it.

Look at the second photo. This is a pincushion very similar to Cindy's. You'll notice it has a few more flowers, an extra vine, and white French Knots around the edge rather than blue. Did you notice they were French Knots and not beads? I love making French Knots and couldn't resist adding some here. By the way, the fabric these were made from is vintage dresser scarf fabric. I love collecting old linens and sometimes the embroidery, etc., isn't in good shape but the fabric is....this is a piece of linen...nice and soft and OLD. But, just to be different, I painted it to get this lovely soft blue color. Also, after painting, I swiped it a few times with a very fine sanding pad......it feels great! This one is destined for my etsy shop.

There is a brown velveteen pincushion with a daisy on it......hand embroidered. Four inches square. With a pink butterfly hovering over it. Very simple in design. And, another beaded edge. This one is done in a whip or overcast stitch with four beads each stitch in antique gold, gold, silver and copper colored beads. This one is already listed in my etsy shop.

Yesterday, I also made a sale! A nice person bought one of my pincushions from my etsy site. I believe she must have visited Cindy first! She bought another silk ribbon design.....you can see it here....pink/purple silk ribbon flowers and a basket. About four inches square. Again edged with beads, this time with that lovely picot beaded edge I love. I call it a "handerchief" edge, as it reminds me of tiny crochet edgings from long ago. (We'll talk about those soon!!)

So, what do you think? Do I have pincushions on the brain? Well, with lots to do for class, for friends, and for etsy....something better be on that brain!!! Hope you enjoyed seeing my little "sweet nothings." They are great fun to make and more fun to show...after all, none of us make these things to hide in the closet! You know you will be seeing more later! Pat

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Quilt from Old Neckties






I had a friend named Anna Lee Bush. She passed away several years ago. She was dear. Once very long ago, she gave me a black garbage bag full of men's neckties. She had planned on using them herself, but never did. For some reason, she decided I should have them. Maybe because I am hard pressed to throw things out and she didn't want to either. So, I took the bags and thanked her for the treasure.

Anna Lee was a lot of fun. She was older, wiser, more talented, funnier and just a great person! She made me laugh and also inspired me to do good work. With all the best of intentions, I sorted out the ties and then safely packed them away til I could get to work on a quilt using them. You know how it is...I would think of the ties often, but I never got around to actually making a quilt with them. They were there....in the back of my mind...but I always found something else that "had" to be done.

Then, one day, I heard that Anna Lee was very sick. I called her on the phone and we talked....she, still funny, said she remembered me back when I was "quiet." Well, possibly, because at one time I tended to be quiet....but that time had passed. We both laughed and talked about old times. It was fun. I wished her well and said I'd call again. Then, a couple weeks later, she passed away. After her funeral, several of us from the quilt guild decided to celebrate her life by going to the local quilt shop to buy fabric and to spend some time "remembering." We each bought fabric that she would have liked. I still have my little bundle, untouched, and when I see it, I think of her and smile.

One day after that, I got out the long packed away neckties and made this quilt in honor of my generous friend. It looks like a crazy quilt, but actually, it is just a simple fan pattern, embellished with embroidery stitches and then beaded. You know by now that I love to do both. I decided to use all black embroidery thread and jet beads, just to keep it simple. Alll that pattern in the ties kind of decided that for me. And, I wanted to use jet beads because not only do I love them, but I knew Anna Lee did too...all that drama and sparkle when the light hits them "just right."

I like to write on quilts from time to time, so I decided I would write on this one...in the border. On the bottom border it says:
"In memory of a wonderful quilter and friend, Anna Lee Bush, who gave me much encouragement and a very large bag of old neckties."

And, because I knew she would love this quote from Linda Otto Lipsett (and I do too), I wrote: "It was not a woman's desire to be forgotten. And, in one simple, unpretentious way, she created a medium that would outlive even many of her husband's houses, barns, and fences; she signed her name in friendship onto cloth and, in her own way, cried out, REMEMBER ME." I will always remember Anna Lee. Take care. pat

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January Sunset


I took this photo on January 11th. I happened to be walking from the house to the Nest, looked out across our two acres and saw this. Sunset was almost over.....but it was beautiful nonetheless. I ran and got my camera, hoping to get a photo. Sometimes these gorgeous happenings are over instantly, but I managed to get this shot. It shall be one of my favorites taken in my back yard.

Love the sunset....love the trees. For many years I have loved seeing trees in contrast to the sky. I'm known to say over and over that "trees are nature's version of lace." Can you see that? Well, if you can...thank you. If you can't...well look a little closer at the trees near you just about any time of day, but especially in the evening....see lace now? Enjoy your backyard sunsets whenever possible and take care. Pat

PS. I remember when I got my first pair of glasses as a small child. Up until that moment, I thought trees were made of one big green shape....I had no idea there were millions of tiny leaves on each tree. I've never gotten over that revelation!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Home Sweet Home Pincushion






Last July, I wrote to you about the pincushion I had made for the Piecework Magazine Pincushion Contest. The magazine had just come out and I had been notified that I won an Honorable Mention. So, I showed you the layout in the magazine. You can check my archives on Saturday, July 5, 2008, if you'd like to read about it.

Just before the end of the year, I was happy to get my pincushion back from Piecework. So, I thought I'd show this little pincushion one more time...I am so happy to have it back in my own greedy little hands again.

The rules of the contest were simple....design a pincushion and keep it under 4 inches in size, using any of several needlework techniques. I thought long and hard about what to do.....and since I love to make tiny little landscape appliques...that's what I thought I'd do. Of course, since I also love to embroider and bead - I decided to include those kinds of details also. Because I was doing a little landscape applique, I chose to call it "Home Sweet Home" and added those words on with a backstitch.

I used a silk dupioni "scrap" to make the pincushion, cotton fabrics to do the landscape along with DMC embroidery floss and silk ribbon, one of my favorite "ingredients."

A constant theme in my embroidery is the use of flowers, trees and simple embroidery stitches. That's what I've done here...the simplest of embroidery stitches. I love the way they embellish the applique. Also, recurring in many of my original designs is the ribbon bow. So, for a finishing touch, I added one. I don't know about you...but I have a horrible time deciding when "enough is enough." This pincushion being only four inches square, I sort of ran out of room before I ran out of ideas.
And, so - it told me to stop!

I stuffed this one with a combination of sand and polyester stuffing. It's on the heavy side, which I like, but it also means it can't be washed. I don't think I will actually USE this pincushion, so that doesn't matter too much.

I hope you enjoy seeing this little piece of work. It's one of those things I make which I consider a "sweet nothing" - not all that useful, but a joy to make, look at and touch! Til next time, Pat

Friday, January 9, 2009

First Thursday Art






As I mentioned in my last post, I would be having my first attempt at First Thursday Art to take place on January 8th. Well, of course, yesterday wasn't the first Thursday...but we delayed it a week due to New Year's Day being the first Thursday this month. And, even though I plan on having these fun days at my Nest....I planned this particular day to be held at my daughter's house....because, SHE does abstract art and also because I thought it would be fun for the more mature in my group to spend some time with a younger chick. And, good for the younger chick too!

Kelly (my daughter) and I set everything up on Wednesday, so that when we arrived.....some serious painting could begin. Well, of course, I should have known better than that!! First of all, we were late, but only because #1, we got side-tracked, and #2, we ended up waiting for one of our group to arrive at my place so we could all follow each other out to Kelly's house.
Several of the group had never been there.

One of our group drove up to my Nest with a van full of fabric sample books which she wanted us to look through, then take off her hands. It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull...naturally, we all dove into the back of the van like we were young and in shape!! We certainly enjoyed that experience. Naturally, her van was picked clean by the time we finished!!!

We waited for the tardy one of the group and by the time we had picked the van clean...decided she wasn't coming...so off we went to Kelly's house.

Thank goodness we had set up the day before. After a bit of encouragement from Kelly, and more direction from me (I am the resident control freak of the group and always tend to try to "manage" them....an exercise in futility) we got busy. Have you ever tried to herd cats? Ok, then, you know how it went. Then, about an hour later, here comes our tardy friend. She had gotten mixed up and drove to Kelley's house rather than Kelly's house. (That's a whole story in itself which I won't tell!!) But, we did have a lot of fun with much laughter and that's the best part.

We did learn a few things....how much about abstract art....well, truthfully, not much. But, it was fun. Even Kelly enjoyed it. We did paint! We now know a few things to do and even more not to do. And, some of the "paintings" really are kind of neat!

You can see Kelly, here, talking to all of us, but explaining something to Brenda. My friend, Kelley, is laughing along with some others....I love to see this happen. Bibi's hard at work here...she has a very soft touch with paint. And, then, there is the whole group showing their handiwork....from left to right - Kelly, Susan, Brenda, Bibi, Jean, Mary Lou, Sherry, Carol Ann and seated is Kelley. Then, afterwards, Kelly and Mary Lou reading about art...well...when you run out of steam to do it...you can still read about it. Trixie, my daughter's dog, is adding her two cents. She participated all day long and in the most ladylike way....sharing her stuffed toy with all of us. These are not my best photos...but hopefully, you get the idea!

If you'd like to read my daughter's version of what happened...go to her blog at kellyvanhook.blogspot.com.

A great day was had by all!!! Next First Thursday Art day we will be making a journal page (hoping to inspire some of us to do journals) and that will be "a whole 'nother experience." Take care. pat

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Painting at the VanHook's Home






I think I probably need to post more things about the family....after all, I don't live here by myself. At some point, I decided that I didn't need to mention anything real personal.....and I probably won't get REAL personal, but, since I do want you to know that I don't exist in a vacuum and have a life that includes more than quilting, embroidering and beading...a little more from time to time about what is going on here, outside the Nest, might prove to be a good thing.

I have two very grown children....Scott, who lives in Silicon Valley, and Kelly, who lives here. She is a realtor and artist. Kelly and her husband, Rick, live out by the golf course. They are avid golfers....usually you can't keep Rick off the course and in good weather...she's the same way. But, a year or so ago, she took up painting abstracts. Out of the blue. She always said she had no talent, but, of course, when people say that...it is never true. So, she paints a lot and has sold several in the last few months. You can see her work at her blog: kellyvanhook.blogspot.com and you can see what she's selling at kellyvanhook.etsy.com.

I'm tickled that she has gotten so "into" painting. I have always thought everyone should have something they really love to do. It turns out that her enthusiasm for painting is catching and my son-in-law decided one day (again "out of the blue") that he would like to try it. He did and he's having a ball! And, she is too! Now, when we call...they are always busy painting away. (Golf....what about golf?) They both say they've never had so much fun. Who knew???

The photos in this post are of my daughter's home. They built it and have lived there for about two years now. It's a great house.....if you notice the back patio....that's a great place to paint, or as I do on occasion...sit and sew. Rick and Kelly are often found at the kitchen island, painting to their heart's content.....and I'm sure when the weather gets warmer they will be out on the patio all the time....well, except when they have to go to work. Odd how we all have to make a living! And, then now and again when they have to play golf!!! That large abstract you see in the photo with the lamp...well, that one was painted by Rick...he's doing great, enjoying it and we get a kick out of watching him enjoy it.

There is a little side story here. About a month ago, I decided that every Thursday is going to be my Art Day. A day totally devoted to my little attempts at art. Shopping for ingredients, going to the book store, painting fabric, sewing, beading, locking myself in the Nest, if necessary, to get work done....and then, since I really need some contact with others of a like mind, I decided to begin a First Thursday Art Day and invite some friends to participate in making some art here in the Nest. We will try all kinds of different things. We will be meeting the First Thursday of each month and tomorrow is our first get-together. Yes, I know tomorrow is the second Thursday of this month, but the first Thursday was New Year's Day. So, for this month only, we will meet the second Thursday. And, guess what we are going to try? Abstract art! And, just to add to the fun, we are going to my daughter's house and she is going to lead us in this little exercise. How fun is that?

Mostly, friends coming to this funfest belong to my Knot Crazy Beaders group, however, sometimes we may be doing something that not all of them want to do...so possibly we won't have a "group", but one or two. And, that's ok....it will still be First Thursday Art Day. If I can get some good photos, I'm going to let you know what happens tomorrow.....but I do know this...we will have a really good time! Not only that, but we will also enjoy my daughter and her great home.

So, now you know a bit more about what happens here...both out of the Nest and in it. Stay tuned! Take care. pat

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Friend's New Book





Recently I purchased a copy of Nancy Eha's newest beading book entitled "BEAD CREATIVE LIKE CRAZY." If you love beading and you love crazy quilts...this is the book for you! It's filled with gorgeous photographs of Nancy's crazy quilt beaded designs along with great instructions. Just makes you want to get out the beads and get started on a project.!

Nancy and I are friends. And, she is dear. We became friends on September 11, 2001. You can read "our story" in my post archives....look back on Thursday, 9-11-08 under the title "Remembering 9-11." It's a really wonderful story of how a bunch of beaders handled a really traumatic day in our nation's history. Nancy and I have corresponded ever since, meeting once in a great while at the Houston Quilt Show. Also in that particular post, you can see some work that we have exchanged as we learned we were each featured in the book "1000 Artist Trading Cards" by Patricia Bolton.

It's so nice to see friends do well and this new book of Nancy's is a treasure. I hope you will go to her website...www.beadcreative.com...and take a look. She would be happy to have you inquire about it and I know she would get a kick out of hearing that you saw it on my blog. So, go...look...enjoy. I promise you'll want to start stitching beads on your crazy quilts immediately! Take care. Pat

PS. Yes, once again, my photos did not show up in the correct order......naturally, the front of the book should have been first....well...best view last, I suppose.

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.