Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage Style Embroidery and New Fabric






On the 23rd, I told you about our monthly group meeting at Carol Ann's. One of our members is my friend, Susan. She and her Mom attend whenever possible. This time Susan handed me a bag of fabric. She had recently finished a quilt for Jean, her mom. It is just gorgeous...and in my favorite colors. No, I don't have a photo of it unfortunately. Being the nice, generous person she is.....the bag held the leftover fabrics from that quilt.

When I got home with the bag and began to put things away, I found a pattern envelope hidden between the fabrics. It was a wonderful surprise, as Susan knows how much I love vintage hand embroidery. This pattern is just full of lovely little vintage style motifs. I shall use it happily and think of Susan when I do. There are 150 motifs in it. O Happy Day!!!

I've photographed this pattern with some of Susan's quilt fabrics as a background. Pink and green...how delicious! There are enough fabrics here to make another entire quilt...and perhaps more. I'm also showing you the fabrics all together. See, I told you she was generous! Thank you Susan!

While I was looking at the motifs in this pattern, I remembered a little 'day gown' I made for my daughter when she was a baby. So, I got it out of the drawer with her other tiny little clothes and decided to show it to you also. I was twenty-three in 1967 when my daughter was born. I made lots of clothes for her....and this little gown was one of the first. The whole thing was made entirely by hand...except for the buttonholes. I've no idea why I made them on the machine! At that time, I'd never sewn on any buttons that tiny...I remember loving those! I've learned a lot about sewing since then and you can tell it by looking at this gown, then looking at things I make today. I do remember being awfully proud of myself for making it. No one in my family sewed, so I was learning seam by seam and embroidery stitch by embroidery stitch. (An additional note: the background fabric shown here is for a quilt backing...so unlike my taste...you'll see the finished quilt one of these days!)

At the time I made this gown, I had been sewing since I was fourteen.....and embroidering little pieces I bought at the 'dime store' in my little town. But, this little gown was special....made for a special little girl. And, they are both even more special now that I'm getting older.

I'm going to make some more sweet little things one of these days....and this pattern will really come in handy then. I might even sew some of them onto my special little pincushions, or a heart. Susan had no idea what memories she would stir up! Isn't it nice to have friends who pay attention and know what you like? I'd say so. Y'all take care out there....pat

Friday, August 27, 2010

Birds Around My House






Yesterday I was noticing just how many birds I had around the house. Not "real" birds, of course, but birds made of glass, ceramic, paper, fabric, etc. Many, I've found at the Flea Market and some were given to me by friends. So, today, I thought I'd show a few of them to you. Notice I said "some." Too many for one post...so I'll leave the rest for another day.

The first "bird" is my newest bird. A couple of weeks ago, the mailman knocked on my door with a package from Texas and this beautiful blue bird was in it. I had been tipped off by my friend, Deb, that a package was forthcoming, but she wouldn't say what was in it. Isn't this blue bird gorgeous? I just had to put it where the morning light would make it glow...this photo was taken on my bed early the other morning. (Ok, my house is dark lots of the time, so I get the light where I can!) I love this beautiful little bird...bet you do too! Thank you, again, Debbie!!!
(I'll see you soon!)

In my living room.......I have a clear glass bowl in which this big brown bird lives. She's a very serious bird....with a nest, of course...constantly watching. This bird was a gift from Bibi. This bird also likes to perch on the table around Thanksgiving time. Thank you, again, Bibi!

Last time I was in Texas, I found these two little blue birds at the local Flea Market in my home town. I have an old vanity sitting in my bedroom, and these two birds perch on a vintage powder jar there. Aren't they sweet?

My friend, Brenda, gave me the cat in this next photo. Thanks again, Brenda. Love the cat...and in that cool hat! Then, Bibi made the little nest with a little yellow bird perched on it, so I thought it would be cute near the cat. I see them when I wake up in the morning. Too cute!

Lastly, there are two ceramic birds on top of my red cabinet. Cabinet and birds from the flea market. I like the way the birds seem to be thinking of flying away....but can't quite decide.

These are some of my favorite birds 'around the house.' Of course, the best birds are the ones outside. I have yet to catch many of them in photos. But, I'm still trying and that old navy man and I enjoy watching them every morning and evening. Two of our favorites are Mr. and Mrs. Mourning Dove. They waddle on our deck every day. Love 'em! Speaking of which....I need to go feed the birds....Y'all take care out there. pat

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Beads, Cake, Pets and Carol Ann"






Well, I've survived the last week with the two Richards...or, maybe they survived the week with me. At any rate, we are all tired, but wanting to get back to our normal routines. The brother-in-law is home safe, the old navy man has his tv back and I am back in the Nest. We're set.

Last Thursday, I did manage to escape from town and go to my friend, Carol Ann's house in North Little Rock. It was the August meeting day for our little group of beaders, quilters, knitters, etc. There are eleven of us.

I hadn't been in the house ten minutes when I spotted one of Carol Ann's latest creations. It's this pincushion, or pillow, or whatever she wants to call it. The pincushion/pillow/whatever it is, is about six inches square, the beaded fringe varies in length from about 1 inch long to five or six inches long. The fringe is thick with beading and it's heavy.....and gorgeous....and very tactile. I couldn't put it down. I LOVE IT!!! I lust after it!!! I am inspired to start one of my own.....just to add a few beads to every once in a while in between other projects. Thanks, Carol Ann, for letting me hold it nearly the whole time we were there...

Amongst her other talents, Carol Ann is a really good cook! She made a pound cake for us which you see here. I went into the kitchen before everyone knew there was a cake in there and snapped this photo. It was a beautiful cake!!! Bear in mind that I am not a 'sweets' person. So, if I tell you this cake was irresistible....then you must know it really was. Beautiful and irresistible....double whammy! She also made homemade chicken pot pie...a huge one....another 'over the top' item. Thank you, Carol Ann!

Carol Ann is quite creative and always busy. I don't think she sleeps. You can see her here showing me her fabric closet. The latest tip she gave...using large salad containers from Sam's Club to house her fabric pieces. A really neat idea. Rest assured, there is fabric in a few other places too. She makes things that require MANY beads, MANY yards of fabric, MANY yards of thread, etc. Like me, she likes some things that are tedious. She thinks they are simple...so 'no problem'...others think her work is too tedious for them to do...until she shows them they are wrong. I identify with her in that regard. Of course, they won't all have her drive to finish so many things, but they can do a version of some of it. She does all her quiltmaking on a longarm. That's where we differ. I admire her work very much though and wish I had her energy. You can check out Carol Ann's blog HERE.

There are pets in the house at Carol Ann's.....Mac, the huge dog....my friend. I don't know how big Mac really is, but I'm guessing he weighs in around 125 pounds or so. He's really big. And sweet. And he loves to be petted. So, he comes to me. I like him a lot. You can see us here.
Me and Mac....friends. There is another dog, Thelma. I didn't get a photo of her and she is more aloof, not so interactive, but she is a nice dog too.

There is a beautiful cat living in this house. At this very moment, I can't think of it's name...I always call it 'kitty.' Isn't this a beautiful cat? I love petting 'kitty' as lots of cats won't let you, but this one does. It's fun to be an 'animal person.' Well, ok, I don't think I would pet a snake or something like that...but dogs and cats...yes!

Thank you, Carol Ann, for a lovely day shared with our friends in your home! A good time was had by all......next month we meet at Brenda's......can't wait!!! take care out there...pat

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Memories of Laura," a Quilt






I've just been visiting with a friend via telephone and she was inquiring as to whether I was well as I hadn't posted for a while. She's right....it's been several days. I am fine. What with the hot weather and things happening around the Nest, I've just been kind of slow. It's nice to know someone missed my posts, but on the other hand, it adds to my 'guilt' when I fail to post often.
So, to you out there who take time to see what's happening at Bird Nest on the Ground....thank you so much. Hopefully when the weather cools and FALL, my very favorite season, arrives...well, I'll be all energetic again. What about you?

Yesterday I got a call from my sister saying my brother-in-law, (who has a very bad ankle sprain and can't work) would love to come here for a few days so he and the old navy man can visit. How he is traveling on a train with crutches and a 'boot', I don't know, but he is, as of this moment, on the Amtrack train from McGregor,Texas to Little Rock. We will pick him up around midnight tonight. (What a crazy schedule...he leaves at 3:15 a.m. on Sunday morning!) Never having ridden on Amtrack, the timing was a shock. But, we will deal with it and hopefully, the two Richards will have a nice visit. (Yes, my sister and I both married men named Richard!)

Anyway, I thought I should post something before the day was over, as I'm sure another post is not going to happen around here until maybe Monday or Tuesday. Just so you know. And, don't worry....I'm ok.

Here is one of my favorite quilts. I made it in 1988. It is the first quilt I ever made without using a pattern designed by someone else. I don't recall showing it here before, so if I have...well, just pretend I haven't! This quilt is 45" x 52" and is entirely hand made. It is named "Memories of Laura" because I thought of Laura on "Little House on the Prairie" as I designed it. The blue of the hearts and ribbon, plus the sky, were fabrics hand-dyed by my friend, Mary Morgan. She is no longer with us, but I think of her each and every time I take this quilt out of the quilt closet. She always encouraged me to do things "the way I wanted to" and I've always appreciated her advice. She was a great quiltmaker and I learned a lot from her.

When I was working on the borders of this quilt, I thought that blue print border would be the edge of the quilt....after I decided that binding that edge would be a pain....well, I just appliqued it to the solid fabric and called it done. I like the way it turned out. One of my other favorite things about the quilt is the little pocket on the pinafore....you can actually place a tiny thing in that pocket...like a favorite button or some such. I never have though, preferring to embroider a stem of flowers there. I also love the cat.

So, there you are....another quilt from my heart to yours. Hope you stay cool and safe and come to visit again!!! Thanks so much for taking the time to check on me and I'll be back asap. Take care, pat

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Painted and Embroidered Quilt Batting






The last several days around here have been 'different' as that old navy man and I have been dog sitting with the daughter's dog, Trixie since last Friday. She is a very nice house guest...but must be taken out several times a day for a walk....if you know what I mean. We've no fenced-in yard...so walking we go. She went back home yesterday afternoon and I'm still not back to normal. On top of that, it's HOT and we could certainly use some rain. Right this minute it is thundering and I'm hoping some raindrops fall any minute!

I did finish that project mentioned in my last post, but have been unable to show it to the person it is intended for...she's away til later in August and I want her to see it before I show it to you. I've been wracking my brain all day trying to thing of something to post about and I ran across some things in my UFO drawer I thought you might enjoy seeing.

Here is a little embroidered 'painting' of a swan......made from quilt batting. (Approximately 6 inches square.) I used Warm & Natural batting....it's thin and works well for this technique. It is painted with watered down acrylic paint. I do dampen the batting a little bit first. As I've said before...I'm certainly no expert.....so this can't be all that hard to do if I did it. And, gosh it was fun! (I air dry these...preferably outdoors on a nice day! I also put a piece of painter's canvas...or something you don't mind ruining, on the ironing board, put the painting there face down, cover with a press cloth...and press. This sets the colors. Then I embroider. And, repeat the pressing after all the stitching is done. They turn out so crisp and neat that way. Although it isn't essential!)

First, I paint the batting. After it dries, I take a good look at it and decide what I will be embroidering on it....this one said 'swan' to me! Never having embroidered a swan before and not having a picture of one made it a bit of a test....however, when you are working with something this small....(the swan is one and a quarter inches from tip of beak to tail), things seem to look more realistic than they might in a larger size. I think this one turned out ok.
Naturally, I had to have a tree....some French Knot flowers and a few birds.

I plan on either using this in a collage on canvas, in a small crazy quilt, or in a frame. At this point in time, I don't know which. Notice there are more painted squares pictured here to play with....wish you were here to play along with me!

What do you think? Does this give you an idea of what you can do with those odd leftover pieces of quilt batting? Stay cool out there.....and take care, pat

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"She Walks in Beauty"






I'm currently in the midst of making something for a friend in India.....and you'll be seeing it soon. It isn't a huge project, but does take some time. I thought I'd be showing it to you before the weekend, but no...once again...it is taking me longer than I thought. So, meantime, I thought you might enjoy seeing this collage.

Even making a collage takes me quite a while....as I have to stand at my worktable and 'figure' things out. Have you noticed that I am NOT a very spontaneous person? I'm always 'figuring.' This 12" x 12" collage came about because my friend, Jim, gave me this vintage print of a bride. It was not in good shape, but even back then, I knew one day I would use it for 'something.' What, I had no idea. So, it was saved until now. (Well, actually, it is still saved, as I made a copy of it to use for this collage.) Back when Jim gave this lovely lady to me....I knew nothing about collage. Now, I know 'just enough' to be dangerous.

The minute I received this gift, the poem "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron popped into my head. (I've no idea how that happens.) I orginally thought I would copy her on fabric and embroider something, somehow. It never happened. The other day I decided she would make a pretty nice collage, so I set about finding the appropriate flowers, etc., in paper napkin form. I wrote the poem on a piece of white tissue paper, found several words with 'beauty' in the dictionary, etc., painted a canvas with the background colors, and made this collage. Well, now...I KNOW it's not perfect...but it was FUN. If you click to enlarge, you can see that I've added some butterflies here and there. Not so simple to cut these tiny things out of napkins, to tell the truth. I love how her hand looks with the butterfly hovering near it. I've put several around the piece. I also really like the way the crystals highlight the candles. When the light is right...well, you know what that does. The flowers are from several different napkins.

So, there you are. Another new thing inspired by something old. How I love that!!! And, when I get the urge, I can still print her on fabric and embroider to my heart's content. Thanks, again, Jim! In a couple of days, or so, you will see what I have been sewing.....well....it involves paint too, so I hope you will look forward to seeing it. Take care out there. pat

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Tables are Back!






At the beginning of the summer I showed some photos of my studio and told about the tables and chairs I have in the Nest for students and friends who visit. I mentioned that they were 'on loan' to Second Saturday Studio for a few weeks. Well, they're back!!

I thought I should show you what the studio looks like when the tables and chairs are set up. In this configuration, I can seat eight....works out pretty well when it's my turn for my monthly group meeting. I can also rearrange the tables (4) and seat more (I have 16 chairs altogether) or, I can remove some chairs and a table or two and seat fewer for a more intimate, more roomy, gathering. While these tables and chairs were out on loan, I kind of enjoyed how much larger the room seemed, but I must confess, it is nice to have 'my people' sitting in here on occasion! I once had a group of seventeen in here to work on their own projects. It was kind of crowded, but we had a lot of FUN anyway. Then, one year, I had Thanksgiving dinner out here in the Nest...there were 24 people. Later that night, we had our 1st family art show here....we moved lots of things out of the way, set the chairs in a semi-circle and each artist got up to show their artwork. It was fun!

Yesterday, I was out here working and got into one of those 'moods' when all I want to do is MOVE something....so I rearranged my desk with it's resident computer and the table I sit at to do my handwork projects. If you've seen my Nest photos before, you might notice they have been moved back into an arrangement I've used before. I get 'antsy' once in a while and have to move SOMETHING. So, this time I've placed the desk and my table 'backsides together' and they will stay that way until I get the 'next big urge.' One of the photos was taken looking across the room from my desk......it's kind of hard to get the proper perspective, but you get the idea, I know.

I also wanted to show you this doll I purchased on my last 'hunting and gathering' expedition.
Did I need a doll? NO. But this one said..."please take me home...you know you love me!" So, I did. I looked her up on Google and she is "Emma, the Gardener" a Carmen Manago doll. She's just so darn cute...and there is a bird on her hat! Not to mention that dear coat she's wearing.
I'm enjoying looking over and seeing her sitting in that old chair I've put out in the Nest from another flea market trip.

That's all I've got for tonight. I'm working on a couple of projects I may show here soon, so I hope you will visit again....meantime...enjoy your own personal sanctuaries and I hope you find some treasures of your own when you are out and about. 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.