Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 AQG Quilt Show Ribbons






I was asked to make the show ribbons for the Arkansas Quilters Guild show this November. Of course, I said yes. You know I like to 'do my part.' So, for months, I thought and thought about what kind of ribbons to make. Being a fan of the Stampington magazines, I thought I would make something out of paper rather than fabric and since the show is being held in a library with the theme "Quilts and Their Stories" - well, a book seemed in order. But, how to make a little book and a ribbon?

The timing is just one of those weird things that happen, but one day I was checking out a blog I like which belongs to Julie Collings. She has a wonderful blog...check it out by clicking here. If you check out her Previous Posts...click on Artful Thursday's #22 - Cupcake envelope book tutorial. I did. And just as that thunderbolt hit me, I knew I was going to 'borrow' her idea and make these little books for the quilt show. They are easy and great fun. But, how to attach the books to the winning quilts and what about the ribbon part? That's when I decided the 'ribbon' needed to be also used as a 'bookmark' and you can see in one photo how the back cover of the book slides into a slit cut into the bookmark. This holds the book in place. And, not showing (behind the right edge of the flower) is a two inch natural clothes pin which clips the whole thing into place on the winning quilts. (I tried it on one of my quilts and it WORKS!)

This took me a little while to work out in my head. I even had to ask advice from my friend, Tom. He said I had a good idea and to just 'go for it.' So, I did. Like I said, I wanted to use paper to make everything. So, I gathered some ledger sheets from an old ledger given to me by my son-in-law. It's from 1913 to the early 1920's and was in his family clothing store 'attic' for years. (I have thousands of pages as there are two ledgers here and each is six inches thick.....and not to worry, he kept the best and prettiest to save.) Some needlepoint canvas appeared in my life, thanks to Brenda, so I decided that would make a good 'base.' Natural colored coffee filters seemed like a good idea and I found some black cupcake liners at Michaels. Black crochet thread for the sewing of the books and the closure with a black bead and colored brads. Colored papers for the flower circles and the front of the books, etc. A nice vintage button from my collection was sewn on for the center of each flower. No two alike.

There is purple for Judge's Choice, in honor, and in memory, of our dear friend, Sharon Heidingsfelder. (Sharon would be tickled to see that I used the brown envelopes I saved when we helped her husband clear out things from her studio. I saved a huge box of them in several colors...not knowing what I would use them for. Well, now there are more options than I thought!) Yellow for Viewer's Choice which is our Founders Award. There are nine categories, so there is a 1st (blue), 2nd (red)and 3rd (white) place ribbon for each of those. Then, there are four Honorable Mentions (green)to be used wherever needed. 36 ribbons in all. Whew!

I suppose since I used so many 'ingredients' I already had...you might call these 'green' ribbons as I really like the idea of using things already on hand as much as possible. As you can see they are 16 inches long. The flowers at the top are large and the ledger pages DO add a bit of extra interest. I'm glad I chose to use some of my buttons as I think they, too, add a neat touch. So, there you are and I have one large job checked off my to-do list. I hope the winners like them.

If you are interested in the quilt show....or live in the area and want to enter....you may check out the quilt show information at the Arkansas Quilters Guild website here.

Oh, I forgot to say this.....I found that little typewriter stamp at Michaels the other day. $1. Ticked me to find it as I thought it would look great on the cover page of the little book. And, I placed a little note inside the front cover of each book to let the recipients know they can stash some little fabric swatches from their special quilt in the front and back pockets of the book cover...remember these are made from envelopes...so there is that 'storage' ready-made! Hopefully, each winner will 'write their own story' on the ten little pages in each book!

Be sure and visit Julie's blog and make some of these yourself. I have since made some from envelopes leftover from gift card boxes, maybe I'll show you some of those soon. At least a million things you can have fun doing with this idea. Thanks, Julie!!! Now, y'all have some fun with them too......and take care. pat

Sunday, September 26, 2010

File Folders: Just for Inspiration






No, I haven't forgotten to post....have just been busy as can be with little to no results to show you. Do you have weeks like that? During the night last night, when I'm supposed to be sleeping, I was thinking of what to post about today. My brain works in mysterious ways, I guess we could say....so I thought of my recent gift of a single file folder. A gift that has caught my imagination.

When we were all out at AWOL, my friend, Shannon gifted me with a file folder that I admired sitting on her table. I suppose she felt sympathy for me...as each time I walked by her table...I had to stop and look again at that folder and sigh. I thought it breathtakingly gorgeous. Yeah, I'm a pushover for office supplies and this one being so gorgeous, I couldn't help myself. So, she said 'take it silly girl.' (By the way, Shannon also diagnosed a medical condition I have, for which I shall be eternally grateful. I'm sure it will help me many times during future retreats! Remember also, what happens at AWOL, stays at AWOL!)

Later, at home, I got on my computer and found the site to order some of these folders. Just in case I ever wanted MORE. It also turns out that I have been trying to make up my mind what colors of fabrics I would choose to make the sample for one of my classes at next September's "Quilt Arkansas!" I am making kits for this class and plan on finding the fabrics asap. While sitting at my desk...thinking...my eyes fell once again on that file folder. Well, look at the colors....they say FALL to me, and next September is the beginning of Fall - so instantly, I decided these would be the colors I would choose to find fabrics in for my sample and kits. Once again, I have been inspired by something unexpected that has just 'popped' into my life.

Thank you, Shannon, for that beautiful folder.....and for the inspiration! Now, if you are like me, and love this folder....you may find your own at BlueInk Studios. Click here to go there and inspire yourself! I ordered 24 for class...how's that for acting on impulse. I plan on using them for my patterns and instructions for the kits. They come in a package of twelve for $16.00....and they are #FF-151, Butterfly Plate. There is a gorgeous selection of folders...you can choose your own favorite.

(By the way, the inside is gorgeous too, as you can see in the last photo!)
Hopefully, I'll post a little something in a couple of days or so.....will be thinking of you all. pat

Monday, September 20, 2010

My AWOL Project






I thought I had finished my 'report' about AWOL....but I've been asked to show the project I worked on at my weekend retreat. Other people finished a lot of projects, but me, No. I began a project. One that will not be finished until maybe the next AWOL. You never know, though, I might be quicker than usual on this one. It's my usual combination of quilting and embroidery.
Since I work by hand, and most others are constantly revving up their sewing machines....it's just natural, if you ask me, that I am slower to finish a piece of work. Well, that's my excuse anyway!

If you did manage to find my red featherweight sewing machine in the last group of photos, then you know I did speed up my process a little bit. The squares were pieced on that machine and the borders were sewn on that way too. With one exception....the outside edge of the curved border is hand appliqued.

If you will remember from a previous post, these fabrics were given to me by my friend, Susan. They were LEFTOVERS from a quilt she made her mother. Lucky for me, she brought the leftovers to me at our last group meeting. The only fabric that wasn't included in that batch is the curved border fabric.

I TRIED to do random squares. It is very difficult for me to do anything randomly. It's just not in my brain to work that way. I can only wish. So, this is the best I could do. I wanted to use as many of her fabrics as I could, but also wanted to embroider on the plainest ones so the embroidery would show. It turned out that I could embroider on seven of the squares, so I chose seven embroidery motifs from the patterns Susan also gave me. I got four done while at the retreat.

The quilt has mitered corners. I tend to miter my corners using applique. It just works for me.
Some people look at me as if I'm crazy...but that doesn't bother me at all. So, here's a photo of a corner of the quilt. Make whatever judgements you like.

I've also included a closer photo of the appliqued border. I know you are noticing that I've marked the embroidery with one of those blue washable pens. Yes, I realize half the people reading this, if not all, will have a heart attack over that statement. I was questioned about it at the retreat. All I can say is....1) I need to SEE what I am going to stitch so they help me do that...2) I've used them since they were first available way back in the late 70's, early 80's.
3) I've sewn many, many things since these pens came out and have never had an issue with them. 4) I think it's because I wash every single item made using these pens in the washing machine. If really small, I wash them in the sink. Carefully. You cannot remove the ink just by blotting with a damp towel and such. So, consequently, I am still using the pens. IF I had any qualms about using them, as on specialty fabrics and such, I would take a scrap and test first.
And, I would NOT use them on fabrics that are NOT washable.

A word about the embroidery designs in this quilt....the motifs in the squares, the bow and birds at the top are included in the pattern Susan gave me. (I'm going to move the birds around a bit before I do the embroidery.) The border design is one of my own, drawn 'by the light of the moon...probably after midnight" when I get so much more done than in the daytime. I also have to add some little bows to the corners which will be from that pattern. Gosh, I love doing this kind of stuff!!!

And, one more little item. Sometimes friends (and new acquaintances) seem to get the idea I do everything perfectly. On the contrary. And, just so you know this.....I'm telling a secret. While adding the borders onto the squares....at the retreat....I really mismeasured those borders. So, when I got home and put this quilt on my working wall...I realized it would never lie flat! Don't you just hate doing that? Me too. So, yesterday, I took the borders off, remeasured correctly, and sewed them back on. They are now nice and neat and flat! So much for talking and laughing and having fun at AWOL. But, you know, I wouldn't give that up for perfection...not at all.

This little quilt may not be finished until the next retreat in April. But working on it whenever I can will remind me of Susan, for her generosity and friendship, and my friends at the retreat who gave me fun memories I can fondly recall as I embroider and quilt it. I'm very lucky. Take care out there. pat

Saturday, September 18, 2010

AWOL Part 3, "What Happens at AWOL, Stays at AWOL!"






OK, then. The last of my AWOL posts. Oh, there could plenty more....photos...stories....highlights. We are quite a diverse group with different likes and dislikes. So, life at AWOL can be kind of interesting. Why go if it isn't, is what I say. It's really great fun and quite stimulating. The one thing I always take away with me is a lot of good memories. Those, and inspiration......a great energizer!

In the first photo, which I think was taken on Friday morning, my friends, Sherry, Marilyn and Debbie are getting ready to begin working.....you can tell it's early because the tables are fairly neat. As the day goes on, our tables will get messier and messier and all our 'stuff' kind of merges together on it's own. The empty spot is for Mary Lou....she has to drive a long way and was later than the rest of us, but she makes up for the loss of time somehow and always manages to get a lot done. Most of 'my peeps' accomplish a lot more than I do at these events. I'm too busy talking and laughing!

Then, there's Jim. In this photo, he is putting the binding on a quilt. He brought a quilt to work on for his granddaughter....binding this one is taking a 'break' from the other one. And, yes, he's always this relaxed.....I tried to sweet talk him out of some of his orange/green/pink fabrics you can see on this table. It didn't work...usually doesn't, but a girl has to try! He managed to sew through his finger on the sewing machine this day, but lived to tell the tale. He got all the blocks done for his granddaughter's quilt at this event...and the binding job too....

Well, here's a photo for you....all focusing on their work. This isn't the 'quiet' room. This is the room with me, Jim, and others I could name who like to talk and work at the same time. It can get kind of rowdy. I love it! No matter how many times we lose our breath from laughter, or how many questions we answer about how to do this and that....LOTS of work gets done and several quilt tops will be sewn and taken home from this weekend. (Not from me, though. I work too slow! And, I don't care!) Click on some of the photos to see things (including quilts) much closer up. There are some beauties on the wall!!!

Here's a photo of Eddie and some serious quiltmakers in the "Quiet Room." This is the computer room at the 4H Center, but they remove the computers so we can use the space....nice, isn't it? Eddie comes prepared to make several quilt tops during the weekend. And, most of the quiltmakers in this room do the same. They are serious about being able to focus and accomplish something. And, they DO.

Me, well, I can work quietly at home, so my idea of a great weekend is being with my friends who like to work and talk at the same time.......and being at the 4H Center for the weekend is a rejuvenation. I spend so much time alone in my studio that hearing people talk and laugh is a real treat to my ears. And, I love seeing them having a good time too. Fortunately, we have room for the 'quiet' ones AND room for those who enjoy...shall I say...a bit more of an enthusiastic atmosphere. We also can use the Conference Room...which sits between these two larger rooms. It will seat about 8-12, depending on what kind of work they are doing. Nice if you have your own 'group' thing going....or just want to be in there working on your own some of the time.

Now this last photo......this is how things look not too long after we all arrive.....neatness does not count here. And, this is just a portion of it. I haven't even mentioned ironing boards, cutting tables, and SNACKS! There are two tables (one in each room) loaded with snacks! I was told not to mention that....

Can you see the little red Singer Featherweight in this photo? It's kind of like "Where's Waldo?" Well, that's my space. I like sitting here and listening to the conversation going on all around me. I love hearing people laugh. And, talking "quilts". And, other things. Yes, a GREAT time was had by all. Our next AWOL weekend will take place on April 1-3, 2011, at this wonderful place. Maybe you will want to join us....so, remember, what happens at AWOL, STAYS at AWOL!!!! take care, pat

PS. I'm not crazy about how these blog posts turn out sometimes......the placement of the photos and the text somehow often aren't arranged to my satisfaction. And, of course, I love to talk so there's always way too many words!

Friday, September 17, 2010

AWOL, Part 2






It's time for Part 2 of my AWOL 'report.' As you may remember, yesterday, I attended my monthly group meeting and thought I would post when I got home. Well......friend Bibi and I managed to spend way more time "out and about' than we planned, so it was after 7:00 when we returned home. Listen, when you have to go to Little Rock for your group meeting, then try to shop for all the things you need to work with in just a few hours....getting home promptly just doesn't work sometimes. Yesterday was one of those times. So...posting just didn't happen. (Neither did finding everything we needed, but that's another whole story!)

Tonight, I am showing you some more photos of the 4H Center were we held our AWOL retreat. Just a few more. I'd like for you to see what a lovely place it is. Tomorrow, I'll finish out the report by showing you our classrooms and let you see the group at work. Such fun!

The first photo is of the Rose garden. The roses are all miniature.....there is a water fountain, benches to sit on.....and a view of the lake. It's just beautiful....although at this time of the year, here, the roses are looking a bit 'done.' It's a sunny spot and has several tables and chairs to sit at and watch the wildlife....birds, of course.

There is a wonderful gazebo near water's edge. I like to go out there at least once during my visits and quietly sit. It's very calming. To the left of the gazebo are boats. I expect they take the kids out on occasion and fish. While sitting there this time,I saw a huge fish leap out of the water. Kind of like he was saying HELLO! Loved it.

From the gazebo, you can see the rose garden which is right outside the cafeteria. It's also nice to be IN the cafeteria and look out at the lake, the hills, etc. The whole place is just beautiful and outdoors, where these photos were taken...it's very PEACEFUL. I just love it.

Between two of the lodging buildings is what I call "The Quiet Place." You see it here. It's pretty secluded. I just love that little tree! I don't know if anyone other than staff, and those lodging in the last building, know this tiny little place is here. It's another place to go when you need to relax....well, you know...quilting with lots of friends, working hard and laughing a lot, sometimes requires that you visit a quiet place at least a few minutes each day.

I'm leaving you tonight with a quick glance at my friend, Marty. I noticed her working off to herself in the conference room...one of our 'overflow' rooms during this event. So, I snapped a photo quickly and said not a word.

Tomorrow I will show you more quilters and what they were doing. I think you might enjoy seeing
what a few quilters can do to a large, very nice room!!! Meantime, enjoy your Friday and Saturday! pat

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

AWOL, Part #1






Well, this week has just flown by....I returned from my AWOL weekend around 6:00 pm on Sunday night and I've hardly sat down since. It took me two days to get unpacked and put everything away! A good time was had by all....but especially, ME. I hadn't realized just how much I needed to 'get out of Dodge' and I had some really good laughs....laughter is the best medicine, and I got a good dose of it. It's so nice to have friends who spread joy around. Quilters are just the best!

I thought I'd do a three part post on my AWOL weekend....remember that means Arkansas Women on the Loose. (Actually, we have two guys there too.) Tonight, I just want to show you some photos of the actual site where all this fun takes place. It is west of Little Rock at the Arkansas 4H Center. It's the most wonderful place and we are so lucky to have it available to us.

This is the first thing you see upon arrival....a sign by the spring and the gate....there is a "water feature" here, but a brook to the left of it. When I see this sign I know that FUN is on it's way. The grounds of the 4H Center are really beautiful...more of that later, I think. And, may I say, the drive out there is really pretty too!

I took a walk up the hill to take the photo of the entry and right side of the building. The walk was steep, but I made it ok.....there are two levels of parking where I was standing to get this photo. (I'm only mentioning the steep walk because the dr told me to walk everyday for fifteen minutes....which I've been doing. I'm not in great shape, so overestimated just how good at walking I'd be on those hills.)

You'll see the corridor along which you'll find the classrooms, the cafeteria, and the auditorium. There is a 500 seat auditorium with state of the art electronics, lighting etc. Lends itself very well to quilt lectures when we have "Quilt Arkansas" there every other year! Our classrooms (for this event) are at the end of this corridor.....and they are very nice....lots of electrical outlets, light and windows. It's a pleasure to work here.

The cafeteria can accomodate 500......there were about 80 of us....counting our quilting friends from Ft. Smith who have their own little get-together there too.

This isn't the best photo of the lodging rooms, but it's what I could get that day. There are three beds in each room......2 twins and one double. And a private bath. I LOVE staying at this place!

We stayed up late, sewed for hours and hours, ate, talked and laughed our heads off. Wish you'd have been there too! I'll post more about the retreat in a day or so (monthly group meeting tomorrow). Probably late Friday, then some more over the weekend. Y'all take care out there...pat

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Nine Year Old Pin






In October, 2001, I made this pin. Well, I made a pin exactly like this one. It was made to wear to the Quilt Festival in Houston. My way of being patriotic after the horror of 9-11. At the quilt show, in the auditorium, or in the hallway, waiting in line, I realized my pin was missing. I looked all around and couldn't find it. I had just looked at it a few minutes before realizing it was gone. I checked everywhere, including Lost and Found. No pin. Unknown to me, my dear friend, Jim, went back later and searched everywhere he could think of...he didn't find it either. Wasn't that a nice thing for a friend to do! Needless to say, I just had to make another pin. This is it. I keep it in a little wood and glass case that houses some of my little treasures. It's a reminder to me not only to remember, but to appreciate the country I live in. And people. My people...Your people. For life is fragile, the planet is small.

This Saturday, Sept. 11, I will be at a retreat in the exact same place I was on 9-11-01. I will have this pin with me. I will remember. And, I'll also remember my blogging friends from all over this planet. The planet is small. But, being friends with people from all over America and many different countries is big. Really BIG. We are all better for it. Take care out there....pat

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Maya's ATC and Postcard"






Last month I mentioned to you that I had just finished an ATC card and a Postcard for a friend in India and I would post them for you to see after she returned from a trip she was on. Naturally, I wanted her to see them before you did. Well, I've heard from her, as she is home now, and since she has seen the photos...now you can too. My friend is Maya. I didn't want to mail these pieces to her until I knew she was back home, so they will go into the mail on Tuesday.

A very long time ago, she and I discussed making these cards. And, as I sometimes do...I procrastinated, time got away from me, and Maya did not receive her cards. I certainly hope that when she actually gets to hold these in her hands, she will not mind the wait, bless her heart.

Let's start with the ATC card....2 1/2" x 3 1/2." Maya wanted an ATC with a heart, so this is what I came up with. The background is painted...a tiny remnant of painter's canvas. The heart is hand appliqued and I've used my favorite 'simple stitches' to embroider it. Once again, I have added some of my favorite teeny embroidered satin stitch hearts and beaded the edge as I was taught by my good friend, Nancy Eha, whose books you can find here.

I'm sure I've mentioned, but you may not have read that post, another of my ATC cards appeared in the book, "1000 Artist Trading Cards" by Patricia Bolton, published by
Quarry Books. Should you already have that book, you can find my card on page 151.

Then, there is the Postcard. Maya wanted one with the subject of Home. Since there really is "No Place Like Home" I decided this postcard should say that. And, you know me and trees!
This is 4" x 6" in size. Again, I have used painter's canvas for the background. I'm not a painter....but I LOVE making these backgrounds for my embroidery!!! The little house is appliqued, with the chimney, windows and door painted. The trees have painted trunks and branches with embroidered leaves. And, then, of course, one of my favorite stitches...French Knots make up the flowers. The writing and the birds are done with a permanent pen. The beaded edging, again....just like the ATC card.

I really enjoyed making the address/message side of the post card. I painted a small piece of muslin for this side. I stenciled the gold design dividing the post card in half (I think there is a name for that, but I don't remember it)....used a permanent pen for the writing, and took, from my stash of old postmarks/stamps, this one from Evening Shade, Arkansas, 1972. I wonder whose mail it was on? I don't know because this one came from a gallon jar of old postmark/stamps I bought from the flea market a year or two ago. They are such fun to look at. I trimmed it to fit, then applied it with a thin coat of gel medium...adding a thin coat over top.

So, there you are! Maya will be receiving these in the mail soon. I really did enjoy making these two little things. Hope you enjoyed seeing them!

I'll be posting again....probably on Thursday, as Friday I am leaving for three days to sew and visit with friends at our (now twice yearly) AWOL meeting. Yes, AWOL...."Arkansas Women on the Loose." (Well, it makes sense to us.) So, look for a special HEART on Thursday....take care out there. pat

PS. Also, after I return from my three days of FUN....and get myself together, I will be posting something special regarding flea market finds....as my blogging friend, Karen, from Houston, is wondering what I've found lately...stay tuned.

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.