Friday, July 31, 2009

That "Robin and Nest" Pincushion






Well, can you believe, I have finally finished "that" Robin and Nest pincushion? It has taken me a lot longer to get it ready to mail than I ever thought it would. Nevermind that life gets in the way...it's been way too long a process to get this little jewel to it's new home!

I showed you a drawing of this pincushion in a previous post. And, several of you posted a comment letting me know that you liked the design. I created this pattern to fill a custom order for my blogging friend, Cheryl. You may visit her blog at
cheryls-chatelaine.blogspot.com.

She had requested something with a bird and a nest, some silk ribbon embroidery, some beading and in the colors of Robin's Egg Blue and brown, if I could find it. Finding anything "special" in this area, and sometimes finding the basics, isn't easy. I ended up using a mix of linen and rayon for the center and drapery silk for the borders. It's the closest I could get. It turns out I had "just the exact amount" of silk ribbon in my stash for the leaves and roses.

I've never embroidered a bird before. Well, unless you count a cross-stitched one or an embroidered one in outline stitch. So, I got out my cute little bird book - purchased long ago and never used - "Peterson Field Guide Coloring Books - BIRDS." There are large drawings of birds and in the back is a tiny little colored picture of each bird. That is what I used to get the pattern for the bird. The bird is one and a half inches from top of head to tip of tail. I like it. I had to come up with the tree and the Nest on my own. I ripped that nest out two times and on the third try...I thought...ok, that's it...as I am not doing it again. (I painted the background fabric with black and brown paint so you couldn't see through the nest to the background, before I actually started the stitching.)

I'm very picky. This is NOT a good trait! So, eventually, I got the little square together and began the ribbon embroidery. Now, this is something I'm friendly with....all it takes is love and some time. Then, the beading of the pincushion edge. That takes lots of time as you have to count each bead. I used a mixture of three colors of beads for this "fringe." A tortoise color, a flat brown, and an almost carmel color, with a larger blue bead in the center of each loop. There are twenty beads on each side of each loop. No, I did not care to count how many loops.

I learned something from making this pincushion. I learned that I CAN embroider a bird! And, a nest! And, I learned just how important it is to me that Cheryl will love this and treasure it. I like to think I do heirloom quality work and I want it to last a long time.....at least as long as she does...as it is specially for her.

Yesterday, after sending her some photos of the pincushion, she told me that she would be "parked with my umbrella next to the mailbox until the bird arrives!" It made me smile and meant a lot to me. The bird is flying home on Monday! There you are..I hope you enjoyed seeing what became of my drawing......and take care. pat

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Cottage Cup and Something for Julie





I have a new friend. Her name is Julie Whitmore. She lives in California. She makes pottery and she is dear. How do I know?
Well, let's see...because we have talked via her blog, mine, email and because she makes the dearest, sweetest. pottery I've ever seen. In my mind, a person can't really make anything "dear" unless they really ARE "dear." She does, so she is. That's how my mind works.

I found Julie because I read Nina's blog. Check out ornamental.typepad.com. Nina is dear also. She makes lovely jewelry for sale at ninabagley.etsy.com, takes lovely photos and is a wonderful writer who will get you in touch with what's important. Like I said, she is DEAR also. She showed one of Julie's creations on a post one day...so, naturally, I just had to go see what Julie was all about. And, that is how I found my new friend. And, bought a cottage cup. It is now one of my treasured possessions!

Here's the cup! So sweet, so tactile (yes, it really FEELS good), so charming, so....delightful! It makes me smile! And, I want more! She's made cups with the sweetest birds, well, you'll just have to go take a look for yourself. So, go visit Julie at....juliewhitmorepottery.blogspot.com. And, go to juliewhitmorepottery.etsy.com to see her shop. You will be delighted also!!

Not to get goofy (no, not me!), but I love the fact that I can see where Julie's hands formed this cup. I can see the paint strokes...I KNOW a real person made this with great love. Wow! You just can't beat that!

Julie tagged me yesterday - to tell her six SILLY things that make me happy. Well, silly to one person may be serious to another, but, just off the top of my head I wrote my list:

1. colorful socks
2. a comfy nightgown
3. fresh cherries
4. a haircut
5. toast
6. a cup of tea

Just in case that's not "silly" enough, there is:

7. those huge bubble wands
8. hearing kids laugh
9. birds in the bird bath
10. licorice
11. doodles
12. empty boxes

Ok, Julie, there you are...my silliness for the day. And, not silly, but true, you, and your sweet cottage cup, make me very happy too! Take care. pat

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Art from Germany






A few posts ago, I showed you an ATC card and pincushion that I had made for my friend, Gaby, who lives in Germany. She makes beautiful ATC artwork and has recently become involved in making assemblage boxes. I hope I am calling them by the right name...they are going to become some of her finest work, I think.

I consider Gaby my friend, even though we have never met. Just like I consider you one. (Isn't blogging great!!) This week, I received a package from her and got so excited about it that my husband thought something was wrong with me. Oh, oh, oh! was all he was getting from me. Finally, I slowed myself down long enough to explain to him what was going on, then he understood. Not knowing a thing about ATC's or mixed media, etc., he really didn't "get" what the excitement was, but he did say that my gift was really pretty and he thought it very nice of her to send it. Later, after looking at my gift several times, he agreed that it was very special, indeed. And, it is.

Gaby has a blog...colorfuladventures.blogspot.com. She, like so many of you, makes the planet a much happier place.

She made two ATC cards for me....I just love them! And, they arrived in a lovely little journal! She must have paid a lot of attention to my blog posts, because the journal is a lovely green (my favorite color), I adopt old photos of people all the time and these kids are precious. The birds and flowers...well, I just can't get enough of them. Even the paper she wrapped the journal it looked like a bird egg...it's in the background in the photos. Just wonderful work, Gaby, you made me very happy and I will treasure my "art from Germany!"

As I told Gaby, I lived in Germany in 1952-53, as my Dad was stationed there in the Army. I don't remember all of my time there, but I do remember going into a very quaint doll shop....I can still see it in my mind. Visiting Heidelberg, having a cherry tree in the back yard...and riding a train through beautiful countryside. And, oh yes, those little red boots with fur inside, I remember those too! Isn't it funny what a kid remembers?

Thank you, my German friend! Now, the rest of you go check her out...you won't be disappointed! Take care, pat

Monday, July 20, 2009

DMC Embroidery Thread - Organized to the Nth Degree






Have you gathered yet that I LOVE DMC embroidery thread? If not, then let me tell you....I LOVE DMC embroidery thread and have for many, many years. I've pretty much used hundreds of skeins of it over the years....and own hundreds of skeins now.
It's so beautiful.

It's even more precious to me now because "all of a sudden" it's no longer available in this town. How horrible is that? I'm just insulted by the whole idea. There were only two places to buy it here...Walmart and Hancocks. Well, we know about Walmart...all things "sewing" have left their stores. And, overnight, Hancocks went from having nearly all colors of DMC to all the colors of a replacement brand. I'm not sold on it.

Consequently, I decided that after all the trial and error of organizing my DMC floss in an efficient way had to stop and a better way of storing and finding the color I wanted had to happen. Up to this point, after trying many unsuccessful organizing methods, all my skeins, and I DO mean just about every color there is, some in mulitples, just had to be accounted for and appreciated to the utmost. After all, now when I go out of town to shop or go online, I can know instantly what color I might need.

So, the first thing I did was sort them - you know all #866's together, etc. Then, I purchased six boxes of Ziploc Snack Bags. There's one hundred bags in each box. I may have fifty or so empty bags leftover. I then cut card stock into the proper size to fit into the bags. If you don't do that, then the bags just sink down into each other and I needed them to stand up.

Next, I wrote the number of the floss I was putting into the bag on little sticky labels you can get at the office supply place.
I also wrote the number directly on the bag with a permanent marker "just in case" the sticker came off.....and the thread had lost it's label. Into a bag went each color.

I "made available" three drawers (which means I cleaned them out and moved stuff somewhere else). They are the top three drawers across in this photo. Next, I put that mesh rubber shelf liner in the bottom of each so the bags would not slide around. With foam core, I then cut drawer dividers to further stop the sliding around problem.

It works perfectly. I have a DMC color card to find the perfect color for whatever project I am doing....all I have to do is go to my "thread file", find the number and am set! I since have found that the bags have an extra advantage...I can just slip all the extra threads I've cut from the skein, but didn't use, right back into the bag, thereby helping keep things organized.

Oh my....I love it when a plan comes together!!! Yes, it's work to get it done...but so worth the effort. (Then, too, it's easier to get the job when you are confined to bed with pneumonia and can't get out to the studio. A bed looks glorious when it's completely covered with DMC floss!!!)

Yes, I know it's obsessive, but isn't it efficient in the end? Take care, pat

PS. My color card has actual floss samples of each color. I've had it a very long time. Nowadays you can purchase a color brochure (no actual thread) of all the floss, pearl cotton, etc., wherever DMC is sold. It's $9.95 or so. You can also go to www.dmc-usa.com and print out a version of it.

Update! For my friend, Christine, and others who are concerned, I'm sorry I wasn't clear...I don't have pneumonia now....that was months ago and I am just now posting about it. A person just has to save some subjects for future posts...right? At the time, I truly did have cardboard boxes of DMC, plastic bags, markers, etc., piled up on the bed...and sorted them out right there. And, the bed did look glorious with all that color! Later, when I was better, I cleaned out the drawers and "filed" my embroidery thread. Thanks to all who were concerned. Gosh, isn't that one of the nice things about bloggers!

Update #2. To answer a reader's question....Yes, the plastic drawers came from my local Walmart store. I have noticed that the same drawers are not always available, so I would suggest that if you are interested in setting up much of a storage system, you measure your space, plan it out on paper, and, if possible, buy all the drawers you need at the same (or close to the same) time, so they stack properly. I didn't do that and so could not get enough matching drawers. To solve that issue, I have two banks of drawers across the room from each other and it works out fine. There are also some really nice ones that fit on shelves...I'll show you those one day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Embroidered UFO's






Well, today has been "one of those days." My husband and I drove to Little Rock so he could get a CT Scan at the VA. It's an all day thing. It was HOT and HUMID. Afterward, we went to Hobby Lobby and Michaels where I hoped to find some beads in a color I badly needed. They were nowhere to be found. (I expect I'm going to have to resort to online shopping!) And, you know the next thing I'm going to say...."don't go hunting and gathering with your husband!" Indeed. He wants to help. And, you know the rest. Anyway, we used up a whole day, which wasn't a surprise, and both came home tired. He took a nap. I tried to get some work done, but my brain wouldn't cooperate....I know you know.

What I intended to do was work on this bird pincushion I am making. It turns out that this bird may be one of my most favorite things ever. And, it's taking much longer than I anticipated. I've never sewn a bird before. Not like this bird! To describe it...let me say I have used one strand of DMC floss throughout. It's tiny. It's so cute!!! That's all I can say at this time. And, with my focusing power being non-existant today...I've decided to wait until tomorrow to continue with that piece.

So, what to post about today? I decided to show you some more UFO's. Does it make you feel better about your UFO's when I show you mine? I hope so. Here are five little pieces of embroidery....which will turn into five lovely little finished pieces someday, hopefully in the not so distant future.

There is a silk ribbon embroidered basket. I've photographed these with my thimble beside them...hopefully to give you an idea of their size. I try to remember to post the sizes of what I make...but sometimes I forget. This one is 5 1/4 inches x 6 1/2 inches. I've no idea what I will do to it...we'll see that later. The same for the rest of these pieces.

How about a painted "clay pot" with geraniums? It's 1 3/4 inches x 3 inches.

A French Knot bouquet? 2 inches x 3 1/2 inches

Well, then....a tiny cross-stitched vase with a heart. (Love these hearts, as you know!!) 1 1/4 inches x 1 1/2 inches.

And, last, a somewhat larger cross-stitched vase with a heart 1 3/8 inches x 2 3/8 inches. (Wait til you see where these came from...well, when they are finished.)

So there you have it for today. Something pretty to look at after a long, tiring day. Do have a good weekend!!! pat

PS. I forgot to mention...all of these are original designs...except for the silk ribbon basket, which is a adapted from a vintage pattern.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Silk Ribbon "Re-Do"






I have two drawers of items that need to be completed...some in there for quite a while. I also have a drawer of things that were once "something" and need to be repurposed into "something else." I went there early this morning. Right in the middle of making the Robin and Nest pincushion...I decided the Nest just "wasn't right" so ripped it out. This afternoon I am spending time figuring out how to make it "right".....I like to piddle around when doing this. So, out of the repurpose drawer came this box.

I made it a long time ago. It has never been used as a box...only as a sample in silk ribbon embroidery classes...when I sporadically teach them. And, it's a pretty neat box. However, if you can see it...there is a stain in two places....one about middle right (in the margin) and another bottom center...more faint. Just ruins the piece. This is the kind of thing that can happen when you allow people to handle your class samples. A shame, too. But, when I think about it...I'd rather this happen than to have no one interested in touching it in the first place.

In case you may be interested in what the writing says (from the book "The Country Flowers of a Victorian Lady", by Fanny Robinson, Harper Collins):

"Thus musing in a garden nook
Each flower is as a written book.
And rich the stores of holy thought
That by these blossoms fair are brought."

So, I've spent a bit today looking at this box, trying to figure out how to repurpose it. I know I will have to remove the embroidery from the lid....and cut away most of the rest of it, leaving only the silk ribbon "circle" and a seam allowance. What will it be? I am clueless at this moment, but will "ponder" and soon....it will tell me what to do. Meantime, I now feel like returning to the Robin and it's Nest.

I LOVE the roses on this piece....most of the work done by the beauty of the ribbon itself. The loop flowers are fun to do and the tiny, varigated flowers are great to fill an area. A few beads, some French Knots....what's not to like?

So....a mystery to solve....do you have any clues? Take care, pat

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Are There Only Seven Things I Love that Aren't Obvious?






I have been tagged by Gayle, at sparklejars.blogspot.com. Yesterday she tagged several of her faves to list "seven things they love that aren't obvious." I'm not fond of these kinds of challenges....but, I'm fond of Gayle, so therefore, I will try to list seven things I love that probably aren't obvious to you. My question is this...why would you care? But, I'm kind of a sarcastic person, so just forget you read that and try to make sense of my list...if you feel like it.

Seven Things I love that aren't Obvious:

1. Moonlight
2. Reading in Bed
3. Watermelon
4. Chocolate, but I'm allergic
5. Making lists (how ironic is this?)
6. Tall people who reach things for me at the grocery store
7. Sitting in the porch swing, watching cars go by

Ok. That's seven! Hardly seems worth taking the time to list...there is so much more in life:

8. Trees, especially blooming ones. They remind of French Knots
9. Movies with kids and animals
10. Milliner's needles
11. Things in a row...you know..ducks, books. etc.
12. Pink and yellow together
13. Handwriting
14. A good BLT sandwich
15. Chairs, big, small or tiny
16. Toast with jelly or peanut butter, but never both at the same time
17. Rainy days and nights
18. Baby shoes and bonnets
19. Vintage dresser scarves, tattered and torn
20. Old doll dresses

Now see, does this really tell you anything? Perhaps that I really am rather obsessive? 'Cuz there's more:

21. Teacups
22. Silver rings
23. Fog
24. Puttering or piddling around
25. Willie Nelson singing "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground."

Ok, Ok. I'm done. There's lots more...but I refuse to tell you anymore about myself! You can figure me out on your own. And, Gayle, thanks for thinking of me...you really are DEAR, which is why I made this list just for you. Take care, friend. pat

PS. For anyone interested....that Teacup Pincushion I showed earlier in the week.....it was purchased this evening and will be on it's way to a new home in Texas on Monday.....thanks, D.C.!!! And, thanks to you who sent me wonderful comments on it, I always appreciate what you have to say about my work...keeps me going!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Robin and Nest Pincushion



One of my blogging friends has commissioned me to make a pincushion. She wants a Robin, a nest, silk ribbon and beads.
She's going to get just that....here is the drawing, sketch, pattern, whatever you want to call it. I just finished drawing it, after "thinking on it" for at least a week. This is all you're going to see right now...you'll have to keep watch for the finished pincushion. You can bet I'll post about after it's done. And, my blogging friend out there...you KNOW who you are...I sure hope you like it. Stay cool out there!! Take care, pat

Saturday, July 4, 2009

TeaCup Embroidery






Happy Fourth of July!!!!!! Sure hope you all have a wonderful weekend! At the moment it is raining here and is so needed. I really love rainy days. It's probably messing up a lot of picnics and fireworks shows, but I'm at home and loving it. Well, you want growing things..you need rain. Wherever you are...I hope you are loving whatever is happening there.

Last post I said I'd show you a teacup embroidery. I embroidered this little cup a long time ago and recently decided to make it into a pincushion. You know how I do....one with a beaded edge.

The teacup is inked on the background fabric, then embroidered. You can see that I embellished the teacup and saucer with some simple stitches. Why? I've no idea, just at that moment liked the idea. You know how it is.

Of course, the cup needed to be filled with flowers, so I brought out the silk ribbon and here you see the result. (I do love my silk ribbon!!) A few beads for some sparkle, a line of my favorite stitching around the design, then the beaded edge. How much fun is that? If you've never done silk ribbon embroidery, you may not know how much fun it is....let me tell you....it's GREAT fun! And, easy too. Why don't you try it? One tip....if you don't like doing hand sewing...you probably won't like it. If you do....then you'll be crazy about it like I am!

I am probably going to take this to Quilt Arkansas and have it for purchase in my class there...should anyone there be interested. I'm hoping to have some things to offer for purchase...unless it's gone before then. You know I sometimes have a hard time letting go of my things...a trait that is not good if you want to be in "business." My friend, Sharon, always told me I was lousy at business...I tend to think with my heart rather than my head. Anyway, here it is...for your enjoyment this special holiday! See you soon....take care, pat

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

As Promised, An ATC Card




In my last post, I said I'd post an ATC (Artist Trading Card) later in the week. Well, here it is - later in the week, and here is the card. When I showed you the pincushion earlier, I told you I made it for my friend, Gaby, and that the ATC card was for her also.

I don't have a lot of experience in making ATC cards. Granted, I have made several, but, I'm certainly not an expert in making them. Although, I am lucky enough to have one in the book, 1000 ARTIST TRADING CARDS, edited by Patricia Bolton and published by Quarry Books. If you have a copy of that book....mine is on page 151. I loved making that card and recently heard from a person who traded for it at Quilt Festival in Chicago this Spring. It was nice to know who actually wound up with the card, as I had no idea what Quilting Arts magazine had done with it. The person who got it was very nice and I hope she enjoys it for a very long time.

While I don't have vast experience with ATC's...I have with sewing, so, of course, when making the card for Gaby...I had to sew it. Many of them aren't sewn at all...I'm particularly taken with some of the mixed media ones I've seen.

So, having said all that....here's what I'm talking about.....an embroidered flower for Gaby. I used Satin Stitch for the flower and back-stitched around the petals. That was fun! In the center I added a sequin and bead for a small amount of glitter.
The leaves....well, you've heard me go on about leaves lots of times...you know already how much I love stitching those. I just had to add the heart....again in Satin Stitch. An ATC card is about 2 1/4 inches wide x 3 1/4 inches long, so you can imagine how small that heart is...one of my very favorite things!!

I don't remember exactly what threads I used..I know I used DMC floss for the heart. And, completely out of my area of expertise...I machine stitched around the edge....it just seemed the best way to do this particular card.

It was a fun thing to make and I'm glad it has a nice home in Germany. In my next post, I'll show you a painted and embroidered teacup.....well, you'll just have to check back to see what that's all about!

One of my readers said she felt like I was talking to her personally when she read my blog!! Oh, gosh, I hope so! And, I am gratified to know that. So, know that I FEEL as if I AM speaking to YOU personally too.

For all of you giving me "feel better wishes" this week.....thank you so much. You know...I am feeling better. Thanks to those meds, the doctor, and you kind people. See you this weekend....take care. 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.