Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend on the Porch






Well, it's Memorial Day Weekend and people around here are getting ready for celebration and remembrance, at home, at the lakes, rivers and parks. We will be at home. It's our favorite place. We will have some relatives coming on Sunday, but tomorrow it will be quiet here. And, that's fine with me.

This time of year, we enjoy sitting on the front porch with a beverage and watch the birds, the cars going by....waving at everyone. Now, we don't spend hours doing it...just a while and it's relaxing. When you have a big front porch...it's nice to spend time there enjoying the weather, family and friends.

So, here's our front porch....up close and personal. It's not fancy, but it is long. You can sit or you can swing. When it's hot, as it has been the last few days, there are ceiling fans to add a little breeze. We've got our flags out.....Richard likes to add his Navy flag...so we are ready for the holiday weekend. If you were here...we could sit out there and have a glass of sweet tea and talk and laugh...wouldn't that be fun? Please be safe and have a lovely Memorial Day!!! take care, pat

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just for Fun: The Nest/Studio






The flower bed containing those wonderful hydrangeas I showed you earlier this week is along the wall of our garage. If you walk along that bed, you will see what I call 'the Nest,' my studio.
It's just a wonderful place. My favorite place to be. The place that holds all my 'special stuff.'
My treasures.

Other people might not consider it so. Then, again, some do and they are special people to me.
The house I live in has a porch all along the front of it...with porch swings...we are not out in the country, but I like thinking I am. So, when we built 'the Nest' we made a porch all along the front of it too. You can see it here. I have retractable clotheslines on that porch....sometimes when I know someone is coming to visit...I hang old aprons, clothing....vintage stuff, sometimes a quilt. It looks so old-fashioned that way and it makes me smile. Wish I had done it before I took these photos, but truthfully, I just now remembered I could have done it. Well, maybe next time.

You can see my little red wagon though. That old navy man gave it to me for Christmas a long time ago...I wanted one to pull around the yard. I've parked it in several places around the yard....and filled it with various things...these are just temporary...but isn't this cute!

On my little porch, I have a wrought iron table between the chairs. On that table here you see my little bird feeder which is filled with buttons rather than bird seed. Some of my relatives make fun of me for putting buttons in odd places...I just smile and keep on doing it. There is a little bird in a nest, and a vintage flower pot with the cutest zinnias in it. Nothing extravagant or elegant here, just simple things. My kind of things.....just for fun! Take care out there, pat

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hydrangeas in Bloom 2010






Wonder of wonders....I have hydrangeas blooming AGAIN this year! It's a miracle! As I've said here before...I usually have a talent for killing plants and so am surprised to see these gorgeous blooms. I think this is the third time since I planted them...a record for me. Aren't they fabulous?

As you can see, they are varied in color...I've no idea how they get that way. On the way to my daughter's home, there are some in the darkest blue...so pretty, and at my doctor's office this morning, one of the nurses had brought in some from her garden...white, pink, blue and that great lavender color. What a treat for the eyes!

Well, yes, I know you can put nitrogen on them for one color, etc., but as you know, I am not a gardener, so really can't swear what to put on them. As I always say...I can sew flowers, but I rarely can grow flowers. I think I prefer just taking a look every day to see what I get...you know...that 'life is like a box of chocolates' thing. I enjoy all the different colors. Just like in real life. Have a beautiful day out there...take care, pat

Friday, May 21, 2010

'Sunflowers and Butterflies' OR, "It Screams Summer"






I have finished a quilt! After letting this one just 'sit' for over a year, it is done. Sometimes my idea of a good quilt is a finished quilt. Well, not really, I still have some standards, but finishing anything these days is quite a remarkable thing around here. I'd like to blame the world situation, the economy, the telephone, dealing with the trials and tribulations of family life, household duties and so many things....but, really, I can't. It all boils down to the fact that somehow, I have lost momentum and it can't be blamed on anything but my current lack of self-discipline. So...boy, am I going to have to work on that one. There is a quote I've attached to the top of my computer that says "Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it." Tallulah Bankhead said that and I'm experiencing it.

Now, about the finished quilt....here it is. It all began with some old neckties my son-in-law gave me. If you look at the very center of this quilt, all the piecing in that block (except the very center square which is the same as one of the borders) is made from two of the neckties. That got me started on this odd little 36 inch square quilt! First I made the center block, then decided to 'grow' the quilt, adding borders. After the borders were added, I decided the quilt was "too simple" so added some appliqued sunflowers and butterflies, all embellished with beads, crystals, and embroidery. You have to look closely to see them all and I suppose this quilt shows that sometimes too much is never enough for me!

Oh, gosh yes, I know the quilt is too busy! It just turned out that way, so I've decided to chalk it all up to the fact that for years, I have enjoyed making quilts that have to be looked at 'up close'
to see all the elements, thus giving those doing the looking a small 'reward' for their trouble.
Maybe I overdid it this time. But, hey, it's FINISHED!

If you look carefully, you can see that I did embroidery on the leaves and the bud, beaded around the center of the flowers and added crystals to the wings of the butterflies. The crystals sparkle nicely when the lights hit them 'just so' and I like that. I hand quilted around each flower, leaf and butterfly along with some meandering quilting in the borders. Plus, I machine quilted each border 'in the ditch' as it is called.

This quilt may go to Second Saturday Studio, or on my etsy unless someone 'out there' is interested...contact me if you are. Y'all have a good weekend and I'm going to get back to work on that self-discipline! take care, pat

PS. Today, after publishing this post, I received a comment from my friend, Francien from Holland, regarding this quilt, saying "it screams summer." Loving that as a title, I added it to the quilt label on the back of the quilt and then here as part of the title of this post. It does absolutely SCREAM summer. Thanks, Francien!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bird Nests






I'm out in the Nest this morning hoping to get some work done....see the sign here at my door.
"Work in Progress" it says. The sign was a gift from my daughter. She thought I'd write witty little messages on it for my own amusement, leave notes for people, etc. Not much wit contained in the phrase 'work in progress.' However, had I written "well, not always" underneath, there would have been a tad of humor there.

So, this morning, let's just say I'm out here mulling things about in my head, while enjoying some of the 'stuff' I have out here. I suppose from my blog name "Bird Nest on the Ground" you can tell that I appreciate birds. And, I have a little selection of bird's nests in here at the moment. They have stories.

The one on the left we found just recently. Richard went out to the front yard to check the water in the bird bath we have under a tree out there. No water....but a bird's nest sitting right side up in the birdbath. Naturally, he called me out there and I immediately took possession of the nest. It's just perfect! There were some pieces of egg shell on the ground....Robin's egg blue...so I hope the little ones learned to fly and safely flew! I notice there is a new Robin's nest in the tree now. The egg in this nest, we found lying on our deck a couple of weeks ago. There isn't a tree within twenty feet of the deck, so how did it get there? It's a speckled egg...I've no idea from what bird.

The one on the right isn't a 'real' nest. It was given to me by my friend, Bibi, just last week. Isn't it cute? And, it's complete with a very sweet painted bird on an egg. I'll find just the perfect place for it and enjoy it for a long time. Thanks, Bibi!!!

The little nest in the front has a neat story. I was at one of our quilt guild retreats, busily getting ready for a class, when one of my friends walked in with a surprise for me. Laura held out her hands, one held over the other, palms together, and said "Guess!" Well, of course, I had no idea what it was. Well, she said, "I was out on my early morning walk and found this on the ground....knowing you had a 'bird nest on the ground', I thought you should have it." She opened her hands and there was this tiny nest. And, I've had it ever since. The egg in it, I found in my backyard. Aren't they sweet? This nest is about three and a half inches across. The large one on the left is about eight inches across.

Yes, I love these cute nests.....and as I'm working on a bird pincushion for a reader far away....I can look at them for inspiration. How lucky I am!!! take care out there, pat

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Oh, Hail!"





Yesterday was another day of storms around here. I'm not complaining as I actually like stormy weather. Yes, I know...I'm weird. We had thunder and lightening, with the kind of rain that comes straight down and looks just gorgeous. I always want to walk in that kind of rain and would except for the lightening.

When I was a kid in Texas, other children would go outside after a rain and walk in the water at the curbs. Up and down the street, laughing and splashing. I always want to do that, but my mother always said "YOU are not playing in that water...YOU will get polio!" So, I never got to do it. I can remember watching them with my nose pressed to the window glass, thinking "are they going to get polio?" Fortunately, none of them did.....I never asked my mother why I would and they didn't.

Anyway, yesterday, during all the thunder and lightening and looking out the window...it began to hail. We don't see that very often, thank goodness, so I got out my trusty camera and took some photos. In fact, I stepped out the back door to snap these, looking toward the Nest. The hail stones were about the size of marbles. Right afterward, I came out here to do some work....a rather nice afternoon from my viewpoint.

A stormy Monday afternoon topped off by working in the Nest with the door wide open so I can hear the birds and the weather....can it get any better than this? take care, pat

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Fifty Cent Treasure






Today "that old navy man" and I decided we needed to go somewhere to walk. Well, it's rainy around here these days, so we decided that we would drive over to Beebe and 'walk' through a couple of flea markets. It was a 'light' day, find-wise, but I did manage to find something I consider a 'treasure.' It's the bird tin you see here. And, the price was right...fifty cents!

I really can't tell you what I look for when in a flea market. I never have a certain object on my mind....just something that strikes my fancy. Usually, something quilted or embroidered, an old book, old photos, dishes (of course), birds, flowers or old hand written items. It really doesn't do any good to try and list what attracts me...as I can get excited about a number of different things on any given day. Today it was this tin. Well, just look at it....dainty birds, beautiful flowers and writing!!! And, Richard was excited too...he loved the 'fifty-cent' part of the deal. So, I floated through the flea market, knowing I had found something I loved to look at and will use with great joy!

Maybe you can read the poems....especially if you enlarge the photos....I especially love this one:

"Drops be on our cheeks, O world, they are not tears, but dew." E.B. Browning

Sweet, isn't it? Yes, a very nice walk we had today....with a new 'old' treasure to boot. Have a good weekend...take care, pat

PS. I know someone will ask......yes, I found this crocheted doily today also. It was safety-pinned to three other crocheted items...$2 for the lot. It told me to take it's photo with the bird tin! And, oh yes, my next post will highlight a sweet bird and nest...a recent gift from a good friend, so I hope you'll check back.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quilt: "The Way to a Friend's House is Never Long"






Early this morning, I was in the quilt closet, trying to choose something to show you. As you know, I'm not getting any quilting done these days, but really need to, so I thought a trip to the quilt closet would sort of spur me along into at least thinking about quiltmaking.

So, here's the quilt I decided to show you...one made for a quilt challenge at our quilt retreat...way back in 1991. It is 28 1/2 inches x 30 inches. The rules of the challenge were to use a floral print fabric 'somewhere,' to which you could add up to five other fabrics. I used the reverse side of the house roof to make the girl's hair. And, I used the reverse side of the 'wall' to make the one inch border and the inside of the arch.

The 'theme' fabric...that floral print required....is what the bushes up front are made of, along with the leaves, the dress, the hat, the basket, and the house.

My favorite part of the quilt is the shoes and the overskirt. I appliqued the legs and feet of one piece of pink fabric, then painted the shoes on. I needed to 'touch up' the shoes with a bit of paint....wouldn't you know I'd accidentally get a dot of black paint on the path! That is why there are embroidered flowers on the path....to cover up the black dot. Even after that, I still loved the shoes! The overskirt is a wide piece of lace which I sewed into the bodice of the dress, then appliqued the sides, leaving the hem free so you can see the dress beneath. It was fun.

The heart at the top has inked words and a leaf drawing. The leaves hanging on the vine are tiny and appliqued from the theme fabric....the vine itself done in embroidered chain stitch. I'm thinking if I did this piece over again today...it would look completely different. I know I would use more interesting fabrics....but, hey...it's what I knew to do then.

And, the way to a friend's house...never really seems long, does it....so from my house to yours, my friend, have a really nice Monday! take care, pat

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Quilt" Dishes, 1944






Here's my dining room table set with my 'quilt' dishes, circa 1944. We rarely use the dining room, so about a month ago I set the table as you see it here, thinking I would post about these great 'quilt' dishes...and tell you their story. Today is the day!

Long ago, in Nebraska, a lady named Grace McCance Snyder made a quilt using a set of dishes given to her by her daughter as inspiration. The dishes were in a petit point pattern of roses and other flowers in a basket, so Mrs. Snyder set about making the quilt with 13 basket blocks, each one 18" and measuring 25" from corner to corner, diagonally. There are 87, 789 tiny triangles in the quilt! Her quilt was named The Flower Basket Quilt and was finished in 1944, the year I was born.

In 1985, I bought a book entitled American Patchwork & Quilting, published by Better Homes and Gardens. Inside, I found photos of this quilt (pages 294/295) and some instructions and a graph of the block design (page 309). You can also use the graph for cross-stitch, if you'd like. Although I knew I'd never attempt this quilt, it grabbed my attention right away and that's how I learned the story of how this quilt was made. I'm sure you can find out more by doing a Google search if you are interested.

I have many pieces of these dishes...finding some of them over several years and piecemeal at flea markets here and there. The pattern is "Basket P.P", made by the Salem China Co. in the USA. A friend, Carol (also known as Crayola) gave me some serving pieces...a very kind and generous act indeed. That old navy man saw a whole box full of the dishes at a flea market and immediately bought them, as it was my birthday and he KNEW I'd want them to add to my growing collection. One of my best presents ever! Then, my friend, Jim, found the coffee pot you see here and gave it to me...what a gem it is and I'm so glad to have it. Another fine and generous gift! I am very lucky, indeed.

Enlarge the photo of the set table and you can see near the coffee pot and plate a small version of this flower basket sitting on a tiny easel I made from wire....that is a pin made from one of the coffee cups. I found this pin at the Houston Quilt Festival...in a booth called "Broken China Jewelry." I'm sure you could Google them to find out more.

Well, though I will never make anything like this quilt...I will continue to search for the dishes....there is that 'thrill of the hunt" and I might even find some pieces I don't have.
Aren't they just gorgeous!!! Hope you enjoyed the story....take care, pat

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Good Time was had by All






Thought I'd post about the son's surprise visit.....a good time was had by all!!! As you might expect, the last few days were just wonderful. It was so nice to have my son at home and I was happy we could spend the time with him and his sister too. It would be impossible to show, in photos, just how wonderful the visit was...nor would you care about that anyway, so I thought I'd just post some of my favorite 'shots' of the goings on in the Eaton family this last weekend.

One thing we like to do is eat....here is son-in-law, Rick and that old navy man making tacos. This was taken in my daughter's kitchen....and these guys were ready to eat! I LOVE this photo of Scott and Kelly hamming it up....aren't they just the cutest! A photo taken at the airport of me, Scott and Richard. Kelly and Scott saying goodbye....(when they were children, I never thought we see them so affectionate toward each other....does a mother good to see it!!!)

The last photo was taken as Scott went into the airport to fly back to San Jose. It was so sweet of him to come and visit....and the visit, although wonderful, seemed to fly by. I am grateful to have had him here for those few days and even more grateful that he made it back home safely.
Yes, a good time was had by all...but most especially, ME! take care, pat
(A message to Browse, who commented on my last Post: It was so nice to hear from you - hope you and Mags are well!!)

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.