Monday, February 22, 2010

"Two Hundred Pretty Things for a 200th Post"






On February 23, 2008, I began this blog, not really knowing what I was doing. I still don't know enough, but here I am with 200 posts 'under my belt.' Who knew? I've been very busy lately and have wondered what to do for my 200th post, with no really great ideas forthcoming. I'm going to my quilt quild's AWOL (Arkansas Women on the Loose) Retreat this Friday, so my mind is working hard to figure out what all to take out there for three days of uninterrupted sewing bliss...well, except for the crazy laughter, general acting silly, fabric and embellishment sharing, etc. This has left me unable to concentrate on something worthy of a special post....so PRETTY sounded good to me.

I bought this white basket in the garden department at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago and thought it would look delicious filled with all kinds of fabrics, laces, trims, etc. There are many different items stuffed into this basket...all just screaming out for a crazy quilt! Or luscious embroidery...or beading! On the back of the basket, I clipped a rose pin....and to me, it looks gorgeous all by itself.

There is a flea market jewelry box filled with white and clear beads, buttons and trims.....I haven't counted all this, but surely it adds up to at least two hundred different pretty pieces.
Look at that pretty tin...it's filled with white and champagne colored pearls. There's some rhinestone pins, silk ribbons, dmc floss, and a little white embroidered bag. So pretty, all.

One of my favorite things of late, is a vintage 1897 calendar I purchased at the estate sale I told you about before the holidays. Every page is like the one pictured here....each month quite beautiful, but very fragile....isn't it gorgeous? All the pages had been tied at the top, but the ribbon has just fallen to pieces, so they are not attached to each other. Then, there is also two pages in the back of the jewelry box that came from some kind of little book..so sweet!

These treasures seem to say 'celebrate' to me....and make a lovely 200th post, don't you think?
I'm off to the retreat in a few days....so I probably won't post again until Tuesday of next week. Who knows, maybe I'll have something really neat to show you at that time, so take care out there and I'm looking forward to 200 more posts and visiting with you! I'll 'see' you soon. pat

Friday, February 19, 2010

"My Version of a Primitive Quilt"






Well, more hearts! It is still February, and I'm still 'into' hearts....so how about these? My guild once had a quilt challenge and one of the requirements was the use of homespun fabrics. At the time, I had a pretty good stash of homespuns and I always did like participating in the challenges so, of course, I intended to join in the fun. I also had a plaid shirt type fabric which I thought would make a good border.

After considering my options, a small quilt (27" x 32") using 4 inch blocks was decided upon and I immediately went through my 'stash' to gather all the homespuns I could find. There are thirty blocks with only a couple of fabric repeats. I knew I wanted to write names on the hearts in each block to make a friendship quilt of sorts, so I used a tan fabric for those. I used a dark brown permanent pen to do the writing of the names and the quotes in the border. The smaller hearts have no names in them, the larger hearts have names of my good friends. This was made some years ago. Some of my friends named here have passed away....others have moved away....others have found themselves moving in different social circles...so our paths rarely cross. It's the way life is. However, it is nice to read all the names every once in a while and remember what fun times we all had.

I've written things on that skinny border....you've noticed me doing that on other quilts I've shown. On the bottom border, I wrote: "They say true friends know all about you, but love you anyway. Thanks all of you for knowing and still caring...for your encouragement and support." Pat Eaton.

On the left side border: "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...it has no survival value, rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." C.S. Lewis.

Across the top border: "You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself, he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job." Laurence J. Peter.

And, down the right hand border: "The happiest moments my heart knows are those in which it is pouring forth its affections to a few esteemed characters." Thomas Jefferson.

The applique is done with a running stitch in embroidery floss, beginning and ending in the 'valley' of the heart and tying in a knot. I hand-quilted about a quarter inch out around each heart. Because I wasn't doing a lot of quilting here, I used buttons where all the squares meet, to further tie the front to the back...this also helps if your corners don't match perfectly.

Being a 'primitive style' quilt, I decided not to quilt at all in the border, but to hold all the layers in place by tying the quilt with different colors of embroidery floss. I used all six strands.

You'll notice I added the binding by using a running stitch to attach it to the quilt....no perfection achieved here...but on this quilt it 'works.' I might add that this quilt is as close as I can get to a primitive style. I have too many perfectionistic tendencies to be very good at making primitives....but I do enjoy seeing them, and making this one was 'quick' and fun.

Speaking of primitives, have you heard of the new "primitive"magazine coming out on April 1st? It is called "PRIMS" (published by Stampington) and, I for one, can't wait to see it, as I know I will like several of the pieces published in it...there are some neat looking dolls I've seen in the ads and there will be other items also....I'll be checking it out for sure.

For a better look at this quilt, if you happen to have the book "Country Friends Go Quilting" by Gooseberry Patch, published by Leisure Arts, Inc., in the year 2000, you can see it on the cover and on pages 21, instructions on page 76. They 'renamed' it the Friendship Button Wall Quilt. You can also see more of my quilts on pages 28-31.

OK, then....a primitive style quilt...some writing, some friends....great fun. take care, pat

Monday, February 15, 2010

"A Flea Market Find, Repurposed"






I have been finding and 'saving' various pieces of vintage dishes....sugar bowls, creamers, cups, etc., some damaged, some not, thinking I would make pincushions out of them...thus giving them a completely different life from what they've had before. Last year, you saw me do this with candlesticks. There are still candlesticks in the Nest waiting to be made into lovely new pincushions. You know how the collecting bug can be.

Then, last week, as I was reading some of my favorite blogs, I read that sometimes you should just stop and make something for yourself. Just because. You know how it is when you are reading several different blogs...I can't remember which one sugggested we do this, but I do remember thinking...oh, what FUN...something for ME! When you are making things for a variety of people, and with a deadline, sometimes you forget you'd like a little something too.

With that in mind, I looked through all my collected 'goodies.' Here you see some of them. Notice I said SOME. That cup with the bright pink roses is one of my favorites, so I decided that would be 'something for me.' I sat down with a piece of paper and made a little sketch of what I thought would look nice as pincushion embroidery and got to work.

I filled about the bottom third of the cup with sand, the rest with poly stuffing. I am currently crazy about Morning Glory Premium Polyester Fiberfill stuffing which I buy by the box at the local Walmart. For the fabric, I chose a small scrap of vintage dresser scarf fabric and marked a circle on it with a blue, washable pen. Then, I embroidered the stem, the leaves, and the little lazy daisy flowers, followed by random French Knots here and there. Then, I removed the blue ink by submerging the embroidery in warm water, pressing the excess out using a fluffy towel, and as I always do, ironing it dry. To do this, I place the embroidery face down on a couple layers of towels, and with a hot iron and no steam, I iron it dry. Most times I also place a piece of muslin over the embroidery as I iron. I also use this method with hand applique. This makes everything look just gorgeous and nice and smooth. Note: I do this when using cotton fabrics....you might not want to use that hot iron when using 'fancy fabrics.'

Using E6000 glue, I attached the fabric to the cup, holding it in place for a few minutes so it wouldn't come right back up. This was not the simplest thing to do, but it did work. After that, I stitched some trim around the fabric edge, almost covering the edge of the cup. My friend, Sherry, gave me that trim and I just love it. Next, I sewed in some lime green beads.....over and under the trim. That was easy and before I knew it....the project was done! Once you do the embroidery, the rest is quick and you have a finished pincushion!

I think it looks pretty cute! I'll be taking that to our guild retreat on the 26th. Guess I'll find out if it 'passes' inspection then. So, there we are....a vintage cup with a tiny hairline crack...too beautiful to throw away...now here to cheer up my day! And, with a little more work, I could have those other dishes made into something similar. I should get to work on that idea. You know, no telling what I could get done out in this Nest if I didn't have to cook, clean, do laundry or SLEEP!!! Y'all take care and I'll be back Thursday night or Friday. pat

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Flea Market Valentine"






HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!! Tomorrow is the day of hearts and chocolate....and isn't that a lovely combination? I hope you all have a wonderful day!

A month ago, I found this framed Valentine at a flea market in Beebe, Arkansas. The very instant I saw it....I knew it was going home with me to appear on my blog to celebrate Valentine's Day. It was $7.00. It is 12 inches square. There is a label on the back telling me it came from Cullman, Alabama in 1999. I often wonder what the story is behind my flea market finds. Who made this? Who for? Why is it in Arkansas? How did it wind up here? Whatever the story is...I always feel it was 'meant' for ME to find it. Yeah, I guess that's kinda weird...but remember, it's me talking here.

I LOVE the hearts, of course. Also that paper doily....the butterflies...well, all of it. I like it so much, I am inspired to try to make something similar for NEXT Valentine's Day. Heaven knows, there is tons of frou-frou in this Nest to make one....mine would have to have not only paper, but fabric, lace and beads, don't you know. Hmmmm.

So, I hope you like my flea market Valentine and that you receive a lovely one tomorrow! Do have FUN and enjoy that chocolate for me, will you? Take care, pat

PS. Next time, you will see another flea market find....and what I've done with it...a clue - Pink roses!

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Pioneer Road in Blue and White"






I must tell you this story. It happened just this morning. Well, actually, it started last night. I was out in the studio working on a 'special project' going to a new home on the 26th. I can't show it to you yet, as the recipient might 'see.' Wouldn't you know I ran out of beads. Actually, there are millions of beads in the Nest...I just ran out of the ones I needed. You know how it is. I know you know.

So, knowing there are no beads in this town...well, except for the ones I already own...I knew I would have to get up this morning and head to Little Rock to find that certain color needed. Well, we've had snow here. Because I am famous here for not being able to see a darn thing more than five feet from my body, my husband decided that I wasn't going to drive to LR, perhaps wrecking my precious PT cruiser, the only car I will ever own now that AIG has lost us much of our precious NestEgg. So, he, after all, being the man of the house, decided he would drive me to LR to visit Hobby Lobby and Michael's stores. Off we went.

This is what everything looked like when we left. Snow White and Sky Blue. Not bad, but I've sort of seen the white part now, so it can go. Here's my house in the snow, the Nest in the snow, my path to the back door, our backyard, and the snow as we drove down the street. And, it looked just about the same when we returned.

I had a conversation with a friend who lives in Alaska early this morning. Of course, I was whining about Searcy not having a place to buy beads...and all my most necessary items. She kindly (and correctly) reminded me that there are those who live much further than I do from those kinds of lovely shopping places....she being one, so maybe I was better off than I thought.
Well, she didn't say it like that, but you know what I mean. And, well, I WAS whining. She told me to go ahead and go get those beads...and perhaps because I had to drive ALL the way to LR, I might have some unexpected pleasure awaiting that I was not aware of....in other words, just go get the beads and good things will happen, why, I might just find "the next big thing", who knows.

Guess what? No next big thing. No giant bargain. The same/old, same/old. But a wonderful thing DID happen. I took my current special project into Michael's with me so I could match beads to fabric. I shopped. I paid. I deposited my basket in the proper parking space like I always do. I returned to my car. As I was putting my little sacks in the car, I realized I DID NOT HAVE the special project!! Horrors, I have a multitude of hours involved in that piece and it's not for me...it's for someone else. What to do? I ran back into the store! Well, actually, run is not a word you could associate with me...let's just say I walked very fast. No basket. So, I went up to the lady who checked me out and said..."Did someone happen to turn in a time-consuming piece of embroidery?" "Oh," she said....picking up my special project...."a woman brought this over to me saying it was much too important to have been left behind, so surely someone would be back in soon to get it." OMG!!! I was so relieved, you just don't know. Now, I mean, really, can you believe someone not only returned it, but SAID that? I just knew I had lost many hours of work all because I was careless. So, THANK YOU LADY OUT THERE...WHOEVER YOU ARE!!!! And, the checker also!!!

So, ok, we had to drive 40 minutes to go get beads. I'm so over it....and so very lucky there really are NICE people left in the world. Like that lady. Like the old navy man. Probably YOU are one of them too! take care, pat

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Three Hearts"






Well, it IS February, what I call "Valentine month." Maybe this year we will call it "SNOW" month instead though. Today, I am feeling bad for you on the east coast...blizzards and all that happening. We just thought we had a lot of snow here.

This morning I received a call from a lady in the area. She was looking for the A/C repairman who happens to have the same last name as I do. She had a phone number, but no one was answering it and as her heating system wasn't working, she thought maybe we had another number for him. As it turns out, I DID have his cell phone number, as he works on our system when it's needed and although we aren't related, he always calls me his cousin, because I get a lot of calls for him. I sure hope he could help this lady. Taking that call this morning, plus seeing the news of so much snow elsewhere, makes me feel very fortunate indeed.

So, back to the hearts....as you know, I LOVE hearts and make them often. Here are two "old"ones and a new one. Isn't this Valentine card pretty? I bought it quite a few years ago and gave it to that old navy guy. He said...'You'd better save this one." So, I still have it. On a trip to Paducah, Kentucky, I purchased this card at a downtown bookstore. Several friends and I used to make a pilgrimage to Paducah regularly to visit that wonderful Hancock's Fabric store and the quilt museum....not during the show there, usually the week before. If you go a week ahead of time, you can shop Hancock's til you drop with virtually no one bumping into your cart! Anyway, I have enjoyed this pretty card every year and so does the navy guy.

Then, there is a large felt heart. I can't remember if I've shown this to you before. It's seven inches from top to bottom. I really like the embroidery on this one and intend to reproduce it in regular fabrics and maybe other colors....well, it's on the "list" anyway. I've used 7MM ribbon on this, beading the flower centers and using some random French Knots, "just because."

Last, a small heart I made just the other day from one of my vintage dresser scarf backgound fabrics. It's four inches long, with a simple beaded edge. One of my favorite motifs to stitch is the tiny little heart embroidered in Satin Stitch on this piece. The hearts are tedious, but so cute!!! I have it in my head to make a basket full of hearts this year.....of various fabrics, designs, etc. Who knows...I may actually do it!

Sure hope you are well and your day is safe, warm and happy. I'll see you again for Valentine's Day.......take care out there, pat

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Four Hearts I've Just Made"






From time to time I have someone request a 'special order' for something they have seen that I have made. I have to explain that I prefer to never make two identical objects....it's a quirk that I happen to have. For instance, last year before our AWOL retreat, I was asked to make one of my special hearts for a friend's long-time friend' birthday to be given to her at the retreat. I did. When she received it...another friend requested TWO to give to her friends for their birthdays. When we had our workshop (Quilt Arkansas 2009) in September, I had one of those hearts to show in my class. FOUR students requested a heart each. OK, I said, but there's a lot on my plate, so it may take a good while for them to arrive at your door. (As you can see, they are definitely four hearts, but NOT identical...that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

So, here's the four hearts. The first one is a red heart for Vivian. When I finished it, I sent her a photo via email for approval. She approved, sent a check and now has her heart. Word from her is she loves it. I am so glad. I tried to make it rather on the Victorian side.....at least in my own mind.

The second heart I made for my friend, Debbie, in Texas. Her favorite color is purple, but she requested a red one. The whole time I was making this one, I had to remind myself who it was for....as she and purple are a team in my mind. She also received a photo for approval and she did. I still have hers, as we are both attending this year's AWOL retreat, at which time I will deliver it into her hands. I sure hope she likes it when she sees it 'in person.'

The third heart is for Chrickett. She requested the color fuchsia. Sometimes the colors of my blog photos don't look exactly like the real items, so this IS fuchsia. And, it was fun to make.
She approved and her heart was received yesterday. She said she couldn't take her eyes off of it and that makes me feel good. I'm sending her good wishes as she is facing back surgery.

Then, my friend Sharon, who is also a blogger, requested an orange heart. She has recently begun the task of turning her garage into a studio and so her heart will hang there, hopefully cheering her along as she quilts with her new long arm quilting machine. When I was nearly though with the heart, I got the idea of stitching the name of her blog on it, so emailed her to ask if that was ok. It was, so I did....you can visit Sharon's blog - fiberdoodles here. She received a photo and approved the heart. In her words - "It looks so happy!" Well, I like that and hope she will spend countless happy hours in that new studio. She will be receiving hers at AWOL also...gosh, we're going to have fun out there!!!

Crazy quilted, button and bead embellished, hand-embroidered, made with love, I hope these pieces of my handwork bring my friends lots of pleasure....I know I spent many happy hours making them....just one of the things going on in this Nest of mine! Hope you enjoy them too!
Take care out there.....pat

Friday, February 5, 2010

"That Little Glass Case"






In my last post, I mentioned that I would show you the 'little glass case" my 'little bitty pretty things' are kept in. A year or so ago, during one of my flea market escapades, I found a wonderful little glass case which I thought would be a great place to store some of my smaller 'treasures.' I have a low chest of drawers in the entry and I could just see this little glass case there, so immediately set about choosing what should go in it. That was FUN.

I have told my daughter that she could have the chest of drawers if she wanted it. It belonged to my dad, so after my mom passed away and we had to clean out the house...the chest came home with me. I always knew I'd bring it home. Now, I live in a very small house and have way too much stuff in it and my daughter has a big house with not-so-much stuff in it. She's a minimalist. Go figure. But, she expressed an interest in the chest, so when she wants it, she can have it. I'm only telling you this because I figure one day soon I'll be looking for something else to put there because she has taken the chest and I'll post photos of another "new, old thing" that has taken it's place and you'll know that I just couldn't stand to have an empty spot there.

The little glass case is pretty neat, I think. So, I've gathered some of my favorite little things to put into it. On the top shelf are two rose needlebooks, one given to me by friend, Sherry, and I found the other one. There is a little pitcher, a bird pin given to me by Kay in Mountain View. I've shown you photos from her place before. She had that pin for 30 years then gave it to me...I love it! There is a rose pin given to me by friend, Jim...and a tiny frame with a photo of my grandson in it, taken when he was a toddler. He's going to be 25 this year!

On the middle shelf is a ceramic rose necklace...another flea market find...thought I use it somehow in a piece of my work...but as so often happens, I just enjoy looking at it! There are some old buttons, a tiny dish full of buttons and an odd rose off of something, I don't even remember where I got it. There's a pink heart pin there, too, but it isn't facing you in the photo.

On the bottom shelf is a little wooden doll from Germany given to me by my friend, Susan, whose daughter lives in Germany. When you have a friend who visits Germany, you sometimes get something pretty you'd never see here. There is a small vintage button and a 3 inch button which is covered with a vintage hankie monogramed with the letter E, for Eaton, of course! I am particularly fond of it, and 'just had to' purchase it at Quilt Festival in Houston one year. And, then, of course, there's the pretty little basket, crocheted pin cushion, and the little rose dish I talked about in the previous post.

All treasures. I like to stop there once in a while and enjoy looking at all this treasure. By the way, that guy in the middle photo...that's my dad, an old army picture...fitting, I suppose since the photo sits on his old chest of drawers. If he were here, today, to see this, he would be 100 years old. Knowing my dad, he would approve of all the little treasures I've collected here.
I like knowing that. Well, y'all stay warm and safe out there....see you soon. pat

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Little Bitty Pretty Things"






Today I want to show you three little bitty pretty things. Oh, yeah, I know "pretty" is in the eye of the beholder, so you may not find these things pretty at all. That's ok, you can just kindly step aside and let me visit with those who do find these little things pretty. I know you are out there!!

From the first photo, I bet you thought "Is this a little bitty thing?" I started out with a closeup photo of this tiny stitched basket on purpose. Isn't this basket a most wonderful thing! And, it's shown with the other two little bitty pretty things in the next photo...so here's the lowdown:

First the basket. I bought this at a flea market at least five or six years ago. The minute I laid eyes on it, it was mine! It's a locket. I thought I would incorporate it into a crazy quilt, but, to date, have not done it, as you can tell. It's just so pretty as it is. Maybe someday I'll give in. If I do, you will be the first to see what I do with it! (Isn't the detail amazing and it's only a bit over one inch wide!)

Then, there is the little crocheted pincushion. Another flea market find. I haven't washed this, but need to. When I found this dainty little 'pillow' or pincushion, whichever you prefer, I just knew I'd reproduce it, but you know about good intentions. So, it sits in a little glass case I have (along with the locket) waiting for me to do something with it and I just keep enjoying looking at it. Maybe I'll show you the little glass case next time....

Look at this little dish...isn't it sweet and beautiful! This was given to me by the same person that gave me all the blue beads and things I told you about a few posts back. She knows I also love old dishes..specially ones with roses...and this one is so SWEET and delicate. I love it!

Three little bitty pretty things....may be small and uninteresting to someone else....but they count for an awful lot in my book.....everytime I look at them, I go....."awww." How about you? take care out there, 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.