Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Snow and a Giveaway Winner"






Well, it's Sunday night and time to announce the winner of my 2nd Anniversary/Valentine giveaway. Since I last posted, we had a 'storm' leaving us under a blanket of ice covered with snow, so I have not spent a lot of time out here in the Nest. It's still kind of dicey walking from my house to the Nest, but, gosh, I've got things to do, so took a chance - after all, I have to let you all, out there, know who has won.

The winner is: Linda, from Cypress, Texas! Linda,I will mail these 'goodies' to you asap. Please send your mailing address via my email. I'm just sorry I couldn't send something to each person who commented!

I'm including some photos of the Nest here. We get snow once in a while...usually a half inch or so. Rarely do we have more. In fact, we moved to Arkansas in 1981 and I doubt we've had four or five really difficult episodes with snow. I can remember a really bad ice storm in the nineties...that was very difficult for the whole state. We live in central Arkansas, so we can't complain at all about difficult winter weather. Some do, of course, but really, we have been lucky. Now, THIS time, we had a bit more than what our 'normal' would be...especially with that layer of ice underneath, but I think we are handling it pretty well...

I'm showing you my house in the snow....I like looking at the snow until everyone walks all over it, then it just looks messy...especially by the sides of the streets. I'm also showing you my little studio in the backyard...things look so bleak in the winter. And, I thought I'd show you the cute, white, house of my next door neighbors, Wilma and Jimmy. They are in their seventies and and work circles around us...their house always looks good and especially nice with all the white snow surrounding it.

See my Nest out back...I'm in it now writing this post. I could spend all my time out here, but of course, that's impossible, so I just spend as much as I can.

I appreciate each of you commenting on the giveway post, I hope y'all will visit again. Now to think of what I can giveaway for Easter...hmmmn. Y'all take care out there! pat

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Second Anniversary - Valentine Giveaway"






I have something to give away! Valentine's Day will be here soon...did you hear that?
I said SOON....wasn't it just New Year's Day a couple of days ago? It's disturbing to me to see the days just fly by...along with my life...just flying by and I can do nothing about it. I'd love to slow things down a bit, take more time to smell the coffee, the roses, etc. Oh, well, what's a girl to do?

Also coming up soon is the second anniversary of this blog. I can't believe it! Two years have come and gone and I still like having a blog. Can't imagine not having it, to tell the truth. Who knew?

Because a celebration of some kind is in order, I want to give my heart away, so to speak. So, what I'd like you to do is make a comment on this blog post. (Make sure I have a way to contact you should you win!) One of you out there will win the following "goodies" on Sunday, January 31, just in time to celebrate Valentine's Day:

1. The February issue of ROMANTIC HOMES magazine

2. One of my flea market finds salt and pepper shakers filled with Martha Stewart's "Garnet" glitter

3. Two silicone bakeware hearts (oven safe to 450 degrees)

4. Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate

5. And, last, but not least, one of my hand-embroidered, hand-beaded pillows (5" x 9") made especially for this occasion.

I always love Valentine's Day... mostly because I love sewing hearts. And I am especially excited to celebrate this blog's anniversary, so,please, do make a comment on this blog post and on Sunday, one of you will be chosen as a winner....daughter Kelly doing the honors, then I will happily send the goodies along to YOU. OK, comment away and stay warm out there! take care, pat

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"A Basket, A Heart, A Quilt"






Do you remember that I said 2010 would be my year of the 'basket?' Well, I said it and so far, this month, I've barely mentioned it. Not a good start. So, let's see if this post might make up for a little unintended neglect.

Here's a good example of what I mean by 'my year of the basket.' An appliqued example.
It seems my quilting has suffered also the last couple of years...oh, how I need to be more productive. This quilt was made around 2003. I very rarely use a pattern designed by someone else, but Robyn Pandolph was coming to Little Rock to teach a class and since I LOVED her fabrics, I took the class...and later made this quilt. The fabrics are wonderful!! And, before I forget, while making this quilt, I couldn't decide which fabric to use for the borders...so, that old navy man chose this fabric for me. I think he chose very well!

Applique is what I am known around here for and I loved making this quilt. Robyn's applique pieces are pretty large and easy to sew..very good for beginner's. And also fun for an experienced, old quilter, such as myself. Other than her fabrics, what attracted me to this quilt was three of the motifs...that very long, skinny heart, the very large basket and the birds. I was hooked the minute I saw the pattern! And, have fun, I did!

For years I had saved a very large, floral fabric, figuring I would eventually make a quilt and probably use it for the back. (I like the backs to look good too!) This quilt just screamed for it, if you ask me...hopefully, you can tell how great it is in this photo with my quilt label. Love it. Oh, and just in case someone wants to know, I like using a Micron Pigma pen, #01 or #5 for making my labels. And, I like ironing the label fabric to freezer paper, then writing - it is so much more like writing on a sheet of paper rather than wiggly fabric.

I always end up putting a heart on my quilts somewhere...if not on the front, then on the back or the label. This quilt is one example of doing that. Gosh, it was fun to make, and yes, it is handquilted. I just love it.

That basket really got to me...it's age has not decreased my enthusiasm for it and hopefully, throughout this year, I can show you more baskets. I'm getting excited just talking about it! Take care out there...pat

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Three Cakes in a Week"



Imagine this....I've baked! Well, ok, I've baked before, but I don't bake as much as I used to because that 'old navy man' can eat those sweets as fast as I can make them, so I don't do as much of it as I used to. Until now.

One of my favorite activities these days is reading the blogs of other people. It's amazing what you can LEARN by doing so. On one of my favorite blogs, my new friend, Tina, has been baking and sharing the recipes. I found her blog by chance...and it has become not only one of my favorite blogs, but I feel I've found a new friend, too. I love seeing what she is doing to decorate her home and craft, but to my amazement, I am excited to see what she is cooking! You can read 'all about it' if you visit Tina at her blog, Cherry Hill Cottage. You will certainly enjoy any time spent there.

A couple of weeks ago, she made, then posted photos of a chocolate cake and gave the recipe for the frosting. It was a beautiful cake and since the navy guy loves chocolate, I thought I'd surprise him with one. (Well, listen, it was really not a surprise because he is retired, has no hobbies and has become very interested in every little thing I do, so he was watching!) Then, too, his little tv/computer room is practically right in my kitchen, making it difficult for me to do anything remotely resembling a surprise.

So I made the cake. He and everyone who had a slice, thought it was divine. As I've mentioned before, I am allergic to chocolate, so all I can tell you for sure is making the cake and frosting was easy and smelled divine! I forgot to take a photo though, so the one you see here is the one I made TODAY to take to my group meeting tomorrow. The first cake turned out prettier because I wasn't taking it anywhere (you know how that goes). Today's cake doesn't look exactly perfect...but he says the frosting is wonderful...he always gets to scrape the bowl and spoon! A side note: I bought that antique cake plate at the Flea Market last week for $6....it's really pretty. (For some weird reason, I think a pretty cake plate makes cakes taste even better!)

Tina also made a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Beautiful and delicious looking. I haven't made one of those for years. She baked hers in an iron skillet. I have one, so thought it would be a good time to bake that cake myself, after all, I can eat that kind of cake and he likes them too. Needless to say...I baked one. It was delicious and disappeared quickly. I remembered to take a photo of that one...looks good, doesn't it.

So, I've set some kind of baking record in this house - except for the holidays...three cakes in a week. I enjoyed baking them too...so thank you, Tina, for sharing your recipes and letting me visit your home via the blog. It's a delightful place and I can't wait to see more. The old navy man says THANK YOU, too. Take care, everyone. pat

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Hearts to YOU!"





It's a Monday..it's winter...things in January seem to be kinda gloomy (no matter what year it is) and the world is trying to deal with the shock of the earthquake in Haiti.
Watching tv to keep up with what is going on is both depressing and uplifting. Depressing because the situation is so overwhelming and we feel so bad for the Haitian people. Uplifting because I saw this morning on CNN where Dr. Sanjay Gupta did brain surgery on a little twelve year old girl upon a US Navy ship...saving her life. And, more people were found alive in the rubble. We'll take whatever good news we can get at this point, but hoping for more.

I'm here in the Nest, warm, safe, with food, clothing, a dr when I need one, and all my favorite possessions near me. I know where my kids are, friends and family too. Despite all the moaning and groaning that goes on in this country....it's still the most wonderful place to live on this planet.....I am feeling both lucky and very grateful.

This weekend, I found these cute little gel hearts at WallyWorld. In the aisle with the Valentine decorations, paper plates, etc. They made me smile. You know that hearts are the universal symbol of love. I've put them on the door to the Nest and you see them here. I even added one to my computer.

So, I'm hoping these hearts make you smile too! A silly gesture, of course,but just my way to 'send out some love' to anyone out there who needs it...that, and a donation to Haiti relief. It's all I know to do. Take care, pat

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"White Work and Blue"






It's warmer today, so I'm out in the Nest trying to figure out what to do first...posting always comes to mind, so here I am. One of the things I have been terrible at the last few months is minding my etsy store. Hopefully, I'll improve on that in the coming year. I think I told you that I seem somewhat capable of managing (you might think mismanaging) my blog on my own. Not a small thing for someone as computer "illiterate" as myself. However, when it comes to my etsy store, my daughter usually does that for me and I just hate to interfere with her life, as being a real estate broker...her time is very precious. But, today, she did me the favor of renewing some items I had allowed to become inactive and she also listed that whitework pillow I talked about on October 26th, in a post entitled "A Satin Stitch Reproduction." You can read about it in the archives...and see it HERE, if you are interested.

One of the things I wanted to show you as soon as I could stay in the Nest awhile, was my sudden acquistion of some beautiful blue 'ingredients.' It's funny, but last fall, on one of my trips to Marshall's in Batesville, I bought some beautiful blue fabrics, noting that I should include more blue in my repertoire. Then, in December, I was gifted with a gorgeous assortment of BLUE! One of my friends (and YOU know who you are!) happens to be a very thoughtful and generous person, to the extreme, I might add. She sent me a huge container of lovely blue ingredients, much to my delight. Can you imagine?

The minute I began to look through all this treasure, I knew I'd have to organize and display it somehow in the Nest...and because I love any kind of little storage containers such as old jewelry boxes, etc., I set out to find something to put the lovely blue treasure in. And, I did. Here is a jewelry box I bought at the flea market. I've added as many of the blue things in this box as would fit. (And, another funny thing - the inside of the box is BLUE!)

Notice on top of the box is a stack of blue fabrics, silks, cottons, lovely. There was also a guest towel....she knows I LOVE this kind of embroidery. Also, a delicate little plate and a tiny teacup. Does she know me, you think? Within the drawers are
beads, buttons, lace, floss, perle cotton, silk ribbon, yarns, even scissors, pins,
needles, tins, too many to fit in the box.

Some of the beads were in salt shakers, which I removed and put in a bead tin containing little round tins with clear lids that I had been saving, they look wonderful. Also, there was a plastic box with little round containers for beads and I've filled it too. I don't have those pictured here, but they are wonderful to look at! Several posts back, you can see what I did with the salt shakers...filled them with my collection of colored glitter...what a turn-on those are! (And, I've since bought more at the flea market...I figure I can fill some for kits or something later!) It's a cool idea, one I did not think of on my own.....

I don't deserve such a gift...so I'm especially grateful for her thoughtfulness and generosity. One day soon, I will spend some quality time figuring out how to mingle some of this delicious stuff with the blue fabrics I purchased at Marshall's. Funny how things come together, isn't it?

So, thank you so much, my special friend...for treating me so well. The Nest is overflowing with GOODIES,and I, and those who enter here will enjoy the BLUE - thanks to you! take care, pat

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Visit with Kay






Well, FINALLY, I am back out in the Nest. The last week has been very COLD! When the temperature gets down into the twenties and into the teens, I stay in our house. It's not because I can't get to the Nest, it's just I hate to heat the place if I don't intend to be in it most of the day. So, when I know it's going to be really cold, I make sure to take something in the house to work on during the cold weather and I kinda hybernate in there. Of course, the computer is in the Nest....so you haven't heard from me in a week! It's still cold here, but a bit warmer - for instance,we might actually make it to the thirties today and that horribly cold wind has died down somewhat. Yea!

Here's a photo of what the Nest looked like just a few days ago......cold and lonely, don't you think? The snow is gone now and 2009 is gone also. And, hard to believe, but ten days of the New Year are also nearly gone! I'd like to begin the New Year, by showing you one of my favorite days from last year.

Do you remember me telling you I went to Mountain View, Arkansas, to visit my friend, Kay? That was one of my favorite days from 2009, so I thought I'd show you some more photos. Kay is so cool...I love her and her home...here she is telling us something funny...in her lovely great room. I love her kitchen....you can see it here...and all the 'special things' she has collected over the years. Can you see the baskets over top of the cabinets? LOVE those!

We had a mini-quilt show....here's just one of the wonderful quilts I saw that day.
Everyone brought something. Isn't it fun to see what other people are doing? I think we moved all Kay's furniture around to get better 'views' of the quilts. Lots of laughing and talking about quilts...you couldn't have a better day!

One of my favorite spots at Kay's house is the screened in porch.....and here it is.
I could spend hours out there just looking at the view....having a cup of tea with her...talking...laughing....maybe even quilting!

While there, I just HAD to take a picture of her collection of 'tiny' baskets. These are just the sweetest things....I imagined washing dishes at her sink...all the while admiring these little baskets. They are DEAR! And, like our quilts, someone made them with their own two hands. Precious! Do you remember last year was my year of the 'pincushion?' And, that I have chosen 2010 to be my year 'of the basket?"
So, Kay's tiny baskets are my first choice to show you. During the year I will show you lots of 'finds' in the basket category. Also, I will be sharing with you my collection of basket embroidery patterns and baskets I have stitched myself. Only time will tell what all I can show you with that theme in mind.

Mixed in with all the baskets, I will still show pincushions, and anything else I deem worthy of mentioning to you. I sure hope you have a lovely 2010 and will continue to 'visit' me here at my little 'bird nest on the ground!" Take care, pat

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Rather than Resolutions"






Well, here we are...January 3rd already! Do you make resolutions? I don't. It's extremely hard to keep them and when you fail to keep them, it makes you feel lousy.
At least, that's the way I look at it. I'd much rather just make an effort to accomplish something...no matter how small...so I will feel GOOD about myself. None of these profound, grandiose resolutions for me! You and I both know I will not lose that weight, I won't make a monthly list of menus to save time and money, I won't clean the house every day, and it's pretty likely I will also not blog everyday, etc. So, I don't make a list of resolutions.

Do I have goals? Sure. But I prefer to keep them between me, myself and I. That way if I fail...no one knows but me. When I meet a goal, I like to tell about it and when I fail...well there we are again...no one knows unless I choose to tell about it. Sometimes I tell though because confession is good for the soul, they say.

What I do find myself doing around this time every year, is getting things in the Nest in order so I have a better chance of getting work done. I like to start off the year with high hopes of accomplishment and remember, I am obsessive/compulsive, so getting things in order so I can think of what I WANT to do rather than what I NEED to do is important. This weekend, I spent some time making things in this little house all neat and organized...including my list of "to-do's." Now, I can just dive right in and work/play/study/dream without too many distractions over where things are, etc. So, I'm all orderly now and ready to get to work.

Here you can see much of the Nest! When I am in the midst of 'making things' this place can really get into a mess, but I love to start out 'fresh' with each major project. Right now it looks pretty good. This can change!

My friend, Brenda, gave me this little pillow. Immediately, I knew it was telling me to make up my mind what I wanted to do for 2010 and go for it! After all, the only thing really stopping me...is, well, ME! So, what about you? What do you want to do?
Well, whatever it is...go for it...we'll encourage each other.....meantime, take care and enjoy this new year. 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.