Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Fuchsia Heart






Early in the summer I made two crazy quilted hearts as a custom order for my friend, Deb, in Texas. She wanted to give them to two friends on their birthdays...both in August. She had seen one I had done in red at our AWOL retreat in March and I guess that red one planted a seed somewhere in her subconcious mind...so later, she made an order. It certainly made me feel good. Deb has ordered several things from me to the point that we both joke about her paying my electric bill!

Anyway, she wanted one heart in fuchsia and one in orange. If you know me, then you know that these are not in my usual color palette, but I'm up for trying them out and I'm glad I did. On the fuchsia one, she wanted me to include a flamingo charm as her friend receiving that heart collected flamingos, so she even went so far as to send the charm! She is nothing if not THOROUGH!

I made these hearts, which are approximately 4 inches x 6 inches, in the crazy quilting style I love so much and they are great fun to make. Once again, time consuming, but FUN!!! I have used a variety of simple embroidery stitches, buttons, and beads to embellish this simple heart.
Nancy Eha taught me how to do this beaded edge...it's called a Three Bead Scalloped Edging Stitch and I could just do that all day long, it's so much fun. So, with that in mind, I did it on the inner edge of the pieced heart and the outer edge of the entire heart.

As I put the heart front and back together I added a tied fabric loop so the heart can be hung somewhere neat, for instance, I like to hang them from the china cabinet door...but one of my students suggested using it for a pincushion (imagine that!!) and hanging it in your sewing area. Well, why not? As you may remember, I taught a pincushion class at our retreat this month and now have four orders for these hearts....so I guess they liked the idea!

I am leaving for Texas on Friday to visit my sister. As soon as I get back, I will post the orange heart and let you have a look at that, while I get started on those four orders. I've added some recent post subjects to my ETSY SHOP, you might want to take a look. When I get back, I'll be adding a couple more items. I have to get better at tending to my tiny 'shop' I'm told by my best friends.

So, have a lovely weekend coming up, a great week following and I'll see you late next week.....now off to some visiting and maybe even a flea market or two. Take care, pat

PS. October is my birth month....so later in the month I am planning a Giveaway...stay tuned!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flea Market Finds: More Work...More FUN!






Someone asked me why I didn't show the Flea Market Finds from our Day Trip on Tuesday. Well, there is a reason.....most of what I 'found' is meant for blog posts for next year...you know, my 'year of the basket." That's the only clue I'm giving....and, it's not the obvious....real baskets!

So, because I didn't show any flea market finds...I thought I'd show you some 'finds' from other trips to area flea markets. Oh, you know you love seeing other people's junk....especially since they aren't taking up space in YOUR studio!!!

First, I found this vintage pillow some time back....the very minute I laid my eyes on it, I knew I'd reproduce it someday. I also found an old linen curtain...the pillow is on top of it in the photo. It has a beautiful lace edging. There are lots of holes in the fabric, but there is still plenty of good, usable fabric. I intend to use this old curtain to stitch the pillow pattern on and finish it with this lace. What do you think??? Seems to me...the day has arrived to start work on the "reproduction."

Then, last week, in Beebe, I found a Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt. It is very worn, with raveled edges, but oh, so soft! Of course I bought it! (Of course, the price was right!) Years ago, I made a Sunbonnet Sue...with embroidered embellishments...can't remember where it wound up. Seeing this one has inspired me to make another one and I think one with baskets would certainly fit into my plans for 2010~~~~

Finally, I saw this old ironing board. A small one....just the kind to use for ironing little bits of lace and ribbon or doll clothes. An old muslin cover, looking kind of shabby told me to recover it....being a complete FOOL for floral fabrics...I did just that this afternoon. Kinda looking spiffy now!

So, there you are. Some flea market finds...the bits and pieces that add beauty and interest to my life! What about you...would this be something you'd do? Take care, pat

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day Trip to Batesville or "What Happens at Marshall's Stays at Marshall's"






Every once in a while you need to take a little day trip, you know....just to get away from the "everyday" and have a few laughs with friends. So, yesterday I had the pleasure of taking a day trip with my friends, Bibi and Sherry. We decided to go to Batesville, a small town northeast of Searcy. It takes about thirty minutes or so to get there and the scenery is pretty...off we went!

Our goal was to eat lunch at Elizabeth's (a nice place to get a "plate" lunch, located on Main street) then go down the street to Marshall's Fabrics. Of course, quiltmakers and other sewing enthusiasts would want to go there! We have lost many of our fabric stores in this neck of the woods, so having an opportunity to visit this one was drawing us to it like a magnet.

Lunch was wonderful! My favorite part was the homemade rolls....absolutely delicious!!!!

You can see the FABRIC sign from the front door of Elizabeth's, so a short drive and we were there...here you see the photo I took right from the car as we drove up in front of Marshall's.
A pretty nondescript kind of warehouse building. Years ago they were closer to Elizabeth's but they moved to this location which is larger...gosh, I don't remember when, but it's bigger inside than it looks outside.

We can't shop in the wholesale section, but the retail section is plenty big for us....here you see rows of fabrics....I've caught some other shoppers between rows. It's kind of like a treasure hunt to tell the truth. You may visit for yourself at www.marshalldrygoods.com.

I took a photo of Sherry's purchases....see the size of her sack! She was very conservative, but pleased with what she found.

Then, there's my sacks.....plural......plenty full of delicious new fabrics, calling my name to take them home with me! I've plans for some, but like every devout fabric lover, some of it "I just wanted" because I like it a lot.

Here is my friend Bibi...with her loot! She had never been there before, but Sherry and I had.
Bibi managed to find several pieces and already wants to return sometime. That's what happens at a place like this.

I could get into the story of who spent the most, who had the most pieces of fabric, and all that, but we have decided that "what happens at Marshall's...stays at Marshall's!!! It's the only way to do it....

Then, of course, no trip would be complete without stopping at a Flea Market, which we did. We even managed to shop at a Flea Market that was closed!! One of the vendors just happened to be there, moving some things to another location, and allowed us to shop for about half an hour or so. Need I say that several things came along with us on the ride home?

A great day trip....a fun time with friends....and just the right amount of "loot." What a FUN day! We will definitely do it again sometime soon. Take care, pat

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Red Tomato Pincushion "Re-Do"






Last Tuesday, I told you about my "Special Pincushion Class" at our guild retreat and mentioned to you that in my next post I would tell you about something you can do with your "stale, red tomato pincushions. Of course, that's assuming that you have "stale" red tomato pincushions. You may think yours is just fine. I have always thought they needed a "little something," but never gave it much more thought than that. Until I saw a blog featuring a lovely red tomato pincushion or two.

These red pincushions have been around for a very long time. I have had several, ultimately getting rid of them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought little of disposing of them when they became worn and tired. Not any more!

I visited a blog...you know how it is....you go to a person's blog you visit often and there is a comment or you see an interesting "favorite blog" listed, etc., or you visit the blogs of those making comments on your own blog. Next thing you know you see something interesting and you learn! Isn't this one of the really grand things about blogging?

I was "visiting," scrolling through a blog when I saw red tomato pincushions....these really caught my eye. Turns out they were in the collection of the blog owner and were made by her grandmother...oh, yes...just my kind of thing....vintage, with bits of tatting, buttons, etc. I loved them immediately and wondered what had made this grandmother "decorate" her red tomato pincushions. Thinking we all need to add some beauty (wherever we find it) to each day and knowing that this grandmother didn't want to waste a thing (I'm pretty much of the same mind)....I imagined what was running through her mind when she pinned these bits of beauty to her "stale" red pincushion.
Link
Yes, she had taken tiny bits of handmade lacy things, buttons, etc. and embellished her pincushions.....making them beautiful to my eyes when I found them out in cyberspace week before last. Her decorations were pinned on! Oh, what a simple embellishment, so easy, so beautiful. I emailed the granddaughter and asked permission to copy this idea and show the class I was to teach later that week. Permission was given and the rest is history. So, go visit for yourself....robin-giftsyoucanfeelgoodabout.blogspot.com.

When you visit the blog....scroll down to her post on August 26th, entitled "It's RedNesday @
It's a Very Cherry World" and check out her grandmother's pincushions. See you if love them too.

So, I went out and bought several pincushions, embellished them with bits of lace I had on hand and took them to my class, drawing names of three students and presenting them with their own embellished tomato pincushions. One also went to the whole group as one of the door prizes. I also brought one home...the largest one you see here. They are ingenious really, you can look at the "bits" of decoration all you want to and when they get "stale " to you...unpin them and add something else. Or, if you love them, as I did the grandmother's....well, then, you can leave them as is and hopefully, they will enthrall someone else down the line.

So, having had a seed planted in my brain....and embroidery being one of my passions...I set about this weekend to do my own "thing" with some tomato pincushions. Here you have a blue one (I've just learned they come in different colors!!) and a red one. (And, yes, Deb...I have a purple one, just not decorated yet!) On the blue one, I removed the thread "ribs" completely, on the small red one, I replaced them with floss the color of the flowers. Also, on the blue one, I stitched the "strawberry" down flat, on the red, stitching it down in an upright position. Simple embroidery stitches....all in variegated threads.....my version of embellishing these everyday pincushions....just not removable.

Also, working on these pincushions made me wonder...just what really is inside these?
I was under the impression that emery powder was in the strawberry so as to sharpen your needles and pins when needed. And, I've always heard that the tomato was stuffed with sawdust. Turns out the tomato IS stuffed with sawdust, covered with a papery plastic, but the strawberry is stuffed with sand rather than emery. Interesting.

So, there you are. Red tomato pincushions...not so stale after all. Who knew? (Thanks, Robin!) Take care, pat

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Quilting Arkansas '09, Part Two: A Special Pincushion






As noted in the previous post, Quilting Arkansas '09 was held this past weekend. And, as you know if you visit this blog often, I have been preparing to teach a class there. I've done so for many years and always look forward to meeting some really wonderful people, making new friends and spending time with old ones. (And, you know "old friends are best." Until you make a new one!)

I always send in a class proposal, usually two or three, so the retreat staff has a selection to choose from. This time they chose my class entitled "A Special Pincushion." I was really happy about that as I knew I would spend lots of time making and talking about pincushions in 2009.

Here is my class description: "Historically speaking, there are many different types of pincushions. The Victorian examples elevated the every day act of sewing into something special...what a great idea! So, do you find that red tomato pincushion just a little stale? In this class, you will applique and embroider a floral design onto a background fabric, assemble the pincushion, then bead the edges. This is one of the more "glamorous" items you may have in your sewing repertoire, so why not go all the way and spend some time making a special one for yourself...or someone else."

There was a small photo in the class brochure....so I wondered if anyone at all would want to do something like this...after all, I am known around here for being one of the last holdouts for doing things all by hand. To my surprise, enough quiltmakers signed up to "make" the class. As it turns out...the class was so much fun! Those who signed up for it seemed to have a good time and actually took to it like a duck takes to water. I was so surprised and happy to know that it didn't turn out to be "tedious" after all.

So, here you are, my class samples. I made a kit for the class and they could choose from several different fabrics.....and everything they needed was in the kit. Oh, what a good time we had!! By the way, the largest pincushion is five inches square, the next is a three inch square and the last one is two inches x four inches.

The fabric we used for the applique is organdy......the stitch is a simple chain stitch with one strand of DMC floss and the edge is beaded using a simple whip stitch. Before class was over,they were already wanting to know what my class was going to be in 2011. I consider the class a success when that happens!

So, there you are....a fun time was had by all and I was so proud of the work my students did..every single one of them. And, now....anticipation is already mounting for the next retreat!
You should join us. Take care, pat

PS. Next post I hope to tell you a story and show you a way to rejuvenate your "stale red tomato pincushion!!

Quilting Arkansas '09, Part One: Venue






Quilting Arkansas '09 was held this past weekend at a very special place to Arkansas Quiltmakers. Every other year we all descend on the Arkansas 4H Center, located ten scenic miles from Little Rock. This may be the very best retreat we have had....take my word...it was WONDERFUL!!!

I thought you might want to see what this place looks like...just out of curiosity. You know Arkansas sometimes gets a bum wrap in the media, making everything and everyone out to be on the hillbilly/dumb side. And, on occasion, goofy things do take place, however, it's places like the 4H Center that makes us want to show off and say - "See, there are many beautiful places and wonderful things happening here in Arkansas!" And, something else to boast about is the large number of wonderful quiltmakers who call Arkansas home.

I didn't really have time to take any photos, but I did manage to take a few as I was leaving on Sunday. I hope you can see just how beautiful this little spot is. I sat out by the gazebo for a while and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet while admiring the lake which sits behind the conference center. There is a rose garden out there as well....it's a very secluded place and a pleasure to visit.

My favorite photos were taken from my car as I drove away....past each wing of the center...seeing the rest of my friends packing their cars to leave. We are always reluctant to go home...it's so much fun to be with friends in such a lovely place. And, notice the bits of fog around those Arkansas hills....just beautiful!

Yes, we hate to see it end...but you know what...plans are already underway for Quilting Arkansas 2011!!! Hope you enjoyed this little view of one of Arkansas's little secrets!! take care, pat

Monday, September 14, 2009

The "Hansel and Gretel" House on the River






Well, I'm back from the quilting retreat!!!! As promised, I'm posting after returning from my guild's retreat at the 4H Center in West Little Rock. Boy, am I tired! I didn't get to bed before two o'clock any of the nights I was there. It is huge fun to sit and talk and laugh with my friends, old and new. A wonderful time was had by all...this being just about the best retreat we've ever had!

I'm not quite ready to post about my class, etc., so look for that later in the week. Instead, I am going to show you the house next door to the cabin I was at when I told you about visiting the river week before last with Larry and that old navy man. I just love this little place......

The first time we went to the river with Larry, I saw this house and instantly thought of "Hansel and Gretel"....you know, the house in the woods! There are all kinds of trees growing here, and at the right time of the year...flowers are in abundance. There is a wooden walkway down to the river which stops at that dock I showed you last time with the flag reflecting in the water. There are tiny windows, all kinds of pots with things growing...a deck, etc. When you drive by, you can hardly see the house for the trees, shrubs, and vines. It's rather secluded...just like "being in the woods." Do you think this tiny little house is cute? I sure do. I would love to have a place like this...but, truly, I'd NEVER get a thing done for being out on the dock just drinking in all that natural beauty and peacefulness!

So, hope you enjoy seeing it and I will be presenting my class samples, etc. for you to see in a couple of days....so much to do....so little time...my Knot group comes on Thursday! Do take care til then...pat

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Off to See the Quilters






Today, I'm working on preparations for this week's Quilting Arkansas '09. The Arkansas Quilters Guild has this retreat every other year at the 4H Center located west of Little Rock. It's a lovely place. I'm sorry this is the only picture I have of the center...I took the photo with my trusty little camera, directly from my computer screen, so it's not the best...but hopefully you can get an impression of just what a nice setting this is. I plan on having a great time...but truth be told...just the ride to the center is pretty great...and everything else is icing on the cake!

I've been attending these quilt retreats since 1984 and always look forward to being there with 150 of my "peeps." It's always FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!

Notice that PT Cruiser....it's my own personal ride of choice and will hold all I need to pack into it. I say that because when I'm ready to leave here on Wednesday, it will be totally full of quilt "stuff" with no room to spare. I get excited just packing the car!!

I'm teaching a class there on making pincushions - what a surprise?? Here you can see what kind....more on these when I get back. I don't know if you can tell in the close-up photo or not, but these are appliqued, then embroidered with a chain stitch, then beaded around the edges.
A simple project really. Hope my students enjoy making an heirloom pincushion...because I think when they are done...they may not want to stick pins in them! (But I will insist!) We'll see. (Sorry about the blurry photo!)

I'm also showing you the prize ribbons I made. Actually, I forgot all about making them til last week....wouldn't you know? So, I had to play "catch-up" even more than usual. We are having two challenges....one a quilt challenge, the second a mask challenge...so there is a set of ribbons for each challenge. They are all purple, green and gold because our theme for the challenges is
"Mardi Gras." They are much brighter than these photos show and if you can see it clearly enough....you'll notice my handwriting in each circle, surrounded by dark purple irridescent beads.

So, lots to get done by Wednesday noon, at which time the cruiser and I will leave for four days of fun......so, you will not hear from me until Monday, the 14th. Take a look at this aerial photo and imagine that little lake...there is a gazebo right at water's edge, where you can sit and observe and enjoy. There is a rose garden too. The facility is just wonderful and the people are too. I'm SO looking forward to being there....but I will think of you....and you will hear from me asap.....take care, pat

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Afternoon, Two Men, The River and Some Birds






There's a river not far from here called the Little Red River. Our friend Larry's son has a cabin on the river and once in a while, Larry gives us a call and asks if we'd like to go there and spend a little time. We'd always like to go, but often, have other things going on. Wednesday he called and invited us, once again, to drive up to the river and spend some time. As you already have read, if you are a frequent reader of this blog, I am preparing for a quilt retreat next week and there is still lots to be done.....but, Larry caught me needing a little R & R, so we accepted his invitation to visit the river.

We left around 1:00 in the afternoon. It's a pleasant drive up there....and with two men in the car...well, you know there was lots of talking going on. Yes, me and two men in my little PT Cruiser off to see the river. (I decided to drive....mostly because Larry took his car last time and to be fair, it was our turn. Then too, the guys would probably have a beverage or two, so as the designated driver, I'd rather drive my own car.)

Now these two guys are just great! They can be very entertaining seeing as how they both like to recall stories about work, family, etc. They are both former Entergy employees and have other friends in common. They are never at a loss of subject matter and it's quite fun. Also, always under discussion is how to solve all the problems of the world...you know how that goes. I enjoy it, though, and I think they do too.

So, we drove to the cabin, which is right on the river...a beautiful spot! An avid reader, Larry took a book. Not likely to work out that he would be able to read with us along...but you never know...we might fall asleep or something. Richard took a fishing rod. Not likely to catch a fish either, but again, you never know! I took my camera.

The last time we went to the river, it was way up from all the rain in the late winter/early spring, so the walkway down to the dock was level all the way down. This time, the river is pretty normal, so the walkway was nearly vertical, a hard thing to walk down when you are short and out of shape!!! But, I got down there. Now coming back up was really difficult, but not to be shown up by two guys....I eventually made it to the top.

The river was flowing slowly, as rivers sometimes do, and that alone calms a person. The view was just beautiful. Take a look at these photos....the dock next door is really neat and I love the way the flag reflects in the water. Look down river...isn't it pretty?

It turns out both men took a turn at fishing...remember, we have ONE fishing rod between the three of us. No luck, but we didn't really care...it was just nice to sit there and look and listen.

There were lots of geese across the way and down river too. It was fun to watch them as they went through their daily activities. They didn't get too close to us, so my photos of them aren't that good.....but, my memory is pretty good, so I'll just remember what all we witnessed. (One of my favorite quotes, although right this minute, I can't recall who said it: "God gave us memories so we could have roses in winter.") We also saw a hawk and a couple of herons. I'm not really quick on the camera "trigger" so just couldn't get the camera aimed and ready fast enough to take any photos of them.

We left around 5:00 p.m. Even the drive home was pleasant. A lovely afternoon on a peaceful river, with great company....R & R, indeed! Thanks, Larry and Richard, for letting "an old quilting lady" tag along!!

Hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Take care, pat

PS. Larry is the one who gave me the poem, framed, about a quiltmaker. You may go back and read it in my archives...."The Quiltmaker" posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2008. You may also click on the word "writing" on my labels list, then scroll down. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shopping Carts: All Dressed Up and Somewhere to Go






Sometimes I wonder what I can possibly have to say on this blog. And, then, I set foot in the Nest and something just says...."write about THIS." So, today, I am going to show you two of my flea market finds. Well, actually, only one is a FIND, as I just happened to see it in Melanie's booth at Green Alley a couple of months ago. I bought it immediately, then told Melanie if she found any others to let me know. She did. Last week, "something" told me to go to Green Alley that day. No kidding, this is how it works! So, I went and found she had another "find" for me. O Happy Day!!

What wonderful objects are these, you ask? Well, commonplace to some, but beautiful to me, take a look at these objects and let me tell you this story.....

I have been admiring the shopping carts that Lisa sells. She has a blog and that's where I saw them, (a thing for roses.blogspot.com). I've been looking for one for months...and that's when I came across that first one in Melanie's booth. Now there are two. The first one was the red one. So cool. Like Lisa, I wanted to line my cart, so I did. Not really knowing an easy way to go about making the liner, I just plowed on through and I think they turned out pretty good.
I am planning on taking them to my retreat and selling at least one of them. (I'm kinda fond of that red one though, so it may come back home with me.)

I have quite a lot of fabric so finding something I thought suitable didn't take very long, but making the liner is, (to me anyway), quite labor intensive. This sounds really funny coming from a person who loves tedious handwork. Well, go figure! Anyway, for what it's worth, they are done and I think they are kinda cute, not to mention handy. If you ever have to carry a lot of things with you to someplace like a quilt retreat....they are wonderful to have. Next week my car will be loaded with "stuff" and having a cart to transport it all, when I get there, will be very helpful. (I drive a PT Cruiser....there will not even be room for an extra piece of paper in that vehicle next Wednesday...and a cruiser can hold a LOT of stuff!!)

Speaking of "commonplace things," since some of you really liked that poem I put in my last post....here's another:

I HAVE FOUND BEAUTY
by Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey

"I have found beauty
In commonplace things,
In a blue gingham apron
With crisply tied strings.

In freshly washed windows,
With checked curtains brief,
In the mottled rose gray
Of a frost-bitten leaf.

Ruby red velvet
In a tiny toad stool;
Silky green plush
In a polliwog pool."

Til next time....I know you'll find beauty in some commonplace things too! 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.