Thursday, March 31, 2011

Today's "Finds"






I'm in the process of getting ready to leave in the morning for my guild's little retreat we call AWOL. You've read about it before on this blog. We all look forward to it with great anticipation and I can't wait to get in my car in the morning and head to Ferndale!

Today I ran a few errands and while out decided to stop by Green Alley, my favorite flea market. Oh, ok, I didn't really have time, but when that little 'message' gets in my brain...well, I have to stop by there. So, I did. And, here is what I found....two gorgeous rose plates and a hat box.

Sure, I don't need anymore rose plates, but what does 'need' have to do with it. The minute my eyes fell on them...well, it was love at first sight and the rest is now history. They are twelve inch plates...large...and there is only a small crack on one of them...not bad enough to stop me from putting a great cake on it.....or displaying it on my buffet. What do you think...like them? I sure do and will enjoy them for a long time.

Then, there is that hat box. I have a 'thing' for hat boxes and those new decorative boxes you get from Hobby Lobby and Michael's. I'm carrying my projects to AWOL in a set of lovely 'luggage' boxes decorated with birds which I purchased at Michaels....just gorgeous. And, today, this hat box spoke my name too. I'm a hopeless collector of many things...and not likely to change anytime soon.

So, I hope you 'find' something you love this weekend.......if you are out and about. And, if you are going to a retreat of your own...well, enjoy it! I'll keep my ears and eyes open for something to tell you about....have a GREAT weekend! take care, pat

Monday, March 28, 2011

From My House to Yours...



OK...it's Monday night and I promised I'd let you know who would be receiving the twelve hand-written letters and my original embroidered basket pattern. I have to say that there were more requests than I ever thought I'd receive. For some reason, I thought not many would be interested in a letter from me, after all, letters do seem to be 'things from the past.' And a letter from 'me'....what's so hot about that anyway? I'm happy to say some of you ARE interested in my letters and that pattern too. Who knew?

My blog received 9 comments on the 'letter' post. And, my email received TWENTY-FIVE requests for a letter. This includes, of course, those making the nine comments. I'm just amazed. The old navy man and I have had a conversation about these twenty-five people. (He's amazed too!) We've decided that EVERY ONE of the twenty-five should receive a letter because your sentiments about receiving a letter were so wonderful. So, my dear blogging friends....I said I'd mail them next week, but I will require a bit more time to write them all and I'm going to my guild retreat this weekend...so give me an extra week or so.

There is a small issue...addresses for a few of you...so, Nicki Lee, Patti and Robin, I'll need your addresses, please send them via email for your privacy.

I've chosen to show two of the cards I'm sending out to you in this post....the two with beautiful doorways. I've decided these represent the letters leaving my house and traveling to yours.
Thank you all for your interest in my letter 'idea' and making me feel really good about an idea I thought you might find odd. So, look for your letter in a couple of weeks and I hope you enjoy them and, once again, you've 'made my day.' Take care, pat

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Twelve Letters






A couple of days ago, the old navy man and I were watching tv and one of the commercials for the Post Office came on. For some odd reason....who knows how these conversations come about....I guess one thought just leads to another...so we ended up talking about receiving cards and letters from family and friends. A rare thing these days. Rarely a letter comes our way and even cards can be sent via cyberspace. And, we, of all people shouldn't complain, as we rarely send them either. We decided this was a sad thing...but perhaps 'just the way life is' in the 21st century.

Needless to say - but here I go - it made me want to write a few letters. Just so somebody out there might receive one and know that a handwritten letter is not impossible in 'this day and age.' Because I am always trying to find things to post on this blog that might be interesting in some crazy way....I've decided to propose something....something you may actually find silly. (An even better reason for doing something!) I'm going to send you a hand-written letter!

Oh....I think I got carried away...I can't send everyone a letter even though I'd like to, so here's what I will do - if you are interested in receiving a letter from me....kindly click on my 'complete profile' on the sidebar, click on the word EMAIL and send me your name and mailing address. (I don't want you to include your mailing address in a comment!) I will have that old navy man randomly select a MAXIMUM of TWELVE names. Each of the twelve will receive a hand-written letter from me sent in one of the cards I have pictured on this post. I will also send the pattern for this embroidered basket along with a photo copy of the original, both shown here. No strings attached....just something personal from me to twelve of you.

I've been saving this box of greeting cards for a long time and would enjoy using them in this way. I love the thatched roof houses and all those flowers, they so remind me of my beloved French Knots! The embroidered basket piece was done several years ago and the original was given to a friend, but the copy looks pretty good, so maybe you can 'imagine' how to use it in some way. What do you think? You in the mood for some 'real' mail?

I will select the names Monday, March 28th, at 10:00 p.m. and will actually mail the letters April 6th-7th. (I'm willing to send these letters anywhere in the USA, or elsewhere on the planet, if you are interested in being one of the twelve!)

This could be considered a weird kind of 'giveaway' if you think about it and now I'm wondering just why I think anyone 'out there' might want something written in my hand...so surprise me!
take care, pat

Friday, March 18, 2011

Leaves of Green/Red Roses Too






This evening I went to North Little Rock with my daughter, and friends, Micah and Cheri. We met my sister-in-law and her daughter, Gina, had a lovely dinner, then strolled around galleries, etc., at the ArtWalk in Argenta. A really good time was had by all.....lots of talking and laughing. And, of course, inspiration. Truly, though, I believe I was more inspired by the artists I was WITH rather than by what we saw. Although the art was very nice, the music on the street was quite catchy and the food was good, these five women just 'made' the whole evening.

I knew when I got back home that a blog post was long overdue and I also knew what I was going to show you. Even though I made this little mixed media piece of art.......I'm kinda pleased with it. I don't always say that. This is an 8 inch x 10 inch painted canvas......upon which is mounted a piece of painted and embroidered quilt batting. Yes - quilt batting. I'm not sure how many quilt batting painters there are, but I'm pretty sure the idea is fairly unique and I know my design is....it was great fun to make.

Last fall, I was asked to make an item for the HGTV Forum event taking place in April and this is what I decided to do. I want to do more, but I never do two identical projects, so this is the ONLY one of it's kind and will remain that way. This was mailed today and it was hard to pack the box...as I knew I would never see this little piece of work again....but then, I also like the idea of some unknown person getting this and enjoying it.....hopefully for a very long time.

I'm thinking I could tell you how to do your own version of this.......perhaps in a little tutorial.
If you'd like that...let me know and I might see what I can come up with. For now, let me say that I used a primed canvas and a scrap of thin quilt batting....like Warm & Natural. I painted the batting first, then the canvas. I looked at these two items for a very long time before an idea hit me. Once that happened, I set about doing the stitching. By now, of course, if you read this blog often, you know that my favorite part of my work is the actual stitching. You embroider the batting before sewing it to the canvas. Well, I can explain that later.....just know that it's done in steps....and the sky is the limit, I guess, in what all you could do with this idea.

I knew before I made it that I wanted some of the lyrics to "What a Wonderful World" (that beautiful song!) to be written on the piece, as the song is what inspired my idea. So.....to inspire YOU...here are the lyrics:

"WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD"
Robert Thiele and George D. Weiss

I see trees of green....red roses too
I see them bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself...what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue...clouds of white
Bright blessed days...dark sacred nights
And, I think to myself...what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow...so pretty...in the sky
Are also on the faces...of people...going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying...I love you.

I hear babies cry...I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself...what a wonderful world.

Because of the events of the last week....these words mean even more to me and the planet and my blogging friends (wherever you are on this earth) are ever so much more special. Life is so fragile.....take care out there. pat

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Special Gift






I am blessed to have some very special friends...each a wonderful person, all with talents different from the others, and all adding a much appreciated and cherished embellishment to my days. They keep me going when the going gets rough....make me laugh when I think I can't, and loved when I feel down. Where would we be without friends?

One of my very special friends is one you've heard me talk about often...my friend, Jim. A very talented person, indeed. Jim is an art teacher, teaching in the public school system for over thirty years, and now in a private school. You just never know what he will show at our monthly quilting/beading group meeting, but you can bet there will be a lot of it....he tends to be an 'over-achiever.' We tease him unmercifully about that. One day soon, I may show you some photos I took at a recent meeting at his home....this will be a treat for you....as it always is for me.

In my last post, I showed you one of the little 'alcoves' on either side of my house's front entry.
One of my readers....a very observant person....emailed to ask me about the framed piece over the wicker chair in one of the photos. I thought it funny, since I had already decided to make that piece the subject of my next post. So, here's the story of this piece and how I came to own it.

It was a gift from Jim. He sometimes presents me with a gift for no apparent reason at all. Just the kind I like. Once, he presented me with a rhinestone tiara as I taught a class in another town where he was also teaching. Another time he gave me a child's vintage dress and slip. For my 55th birthday (long ago now) he made a small pictorial quilt for me.....showing me as Queen Victoria and himself as Prince Albert....well, you'd just have to see it. We are all still amused by it. I have several examples of 'envelope art' sent to me by Jim. I want to make a little book from them. See, you just never know what he will do. This piece was one of those gifts. It is beautiful. The design area of this little 'still life' is 5 inches x 7 inches. Jim sometimes teaches a class showing students how to make a similar still life. Being a collector of fabrics, as all quiltmakers usually are, he has a large fabric collection and so can make a piece like this. Of course, the pieces are so small, it hardly makes a dent in his fabric supply. (One of our jokes is we continuously use up fabrics, but never seem to run out of it. Of course, we are also continuously sharing and/or buying fabric too.)

One of the beautiful aspects of this type of fusible applique....is the embellishment of these tiny pieces with permanent pens to further enhance the design. Jim isn't the type to sit and embroider these details in....and he certainly doesn't have to....as this method gives him a chance to add complexity to his designs without the expenditure of time it takes to embroider. Notice how he chose to embellish each flower, and leaf, etc., with penned details. Jim will be teaching at Quilt Arkansas '11 this September. You can check that event out HERE. I'll be teaching there also....

This is a very special creation, indeed. Made especially for me....how lucky can I be? And, by a dear friend...which makes it even more special. Jim is currently away to attend the quilt show in Dallas. I hope he has a wonderful time.....and I bet he comes back with even more inspiring ideas. I'll keep you posted!

Hope you enjoyed this post....and I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. take care out there, pat

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Some Re-Arranging and a New Blogger






I haven't posted for longer than I intended as I have been busy re-arranging some things in the house. It's fun when you don't have to do it....but I HAD to do it....so it seemed more like WORK! The grandson and his wife got a new apartment and since they did not have much in the way of furniture....and my house could burst anyday....I gave them several pieces from the house.
This led, of course, to said re-arranging. I've been at it all week as I move lots slower than I used to. All the work is done now (except for some cleaning...oh...it never stops, does it?). So, I decided today that I would show you a teeny bit of it. Teeny.

When you walk inside my front door, there is a little alcove immediately to your left and another on the right. This one is on the left. Just last week, there was a little dresser here...which now resides in my dining room. The little red chairs used to be in the dining room - sitting beneath a family quilt I made with lots of red in it. My friend, Jim, always said those chairs were in the wrong place, so when I needed to move something old/but new into the alcove I chose these chairs. The quilt wound up in the living room. Confusing to you, I know.
Hanging over the chairs is a heart quilt I made quite a while ago. I bring it out every once in a while and hang it for my own enjoyment. I think it looks pretty good hanging over my little chairs. Also in this alcove, are several kid/doll chairs. I seem to collect them and these are a few from the collection. My friend, Judy made the doll and gave it to me. She 'goes' with everything I have.

On the opposite wall, there is a framed quilt block belonging to my late friend, Sharon. Her grandmother made it long ago. Above it is one of my favorite things....a framed print of a quilt. You have to look really closely to see that it's a print and not 'the real thing.' I'm inspired by it and one day, hope to make one similar. The squares are six inches...and I think it would be fun to design sixteen six inch blocks of my own for this wonderful 'look.' Who knows...someday I may actually do it. (This photo was taken from the side as those little alcoves are only 55 inches wide...hard to take a proper photo and get the whole quilt in the picture and without a reflection in the glass!)

A heart....a closeup of one of the blocks in my wall quilt. This quilt was made with 'leftovers' from other quilts. It's one of my favorites.

Now for that new blogger I mentioned. I have a dear friend. Tom. For years I have wanted him to have a blog of his own to show you all his wonderful work. He loves to share with others the design ideas, fabrics, threads and techniques he puts into his quilts. They are WONDERFUL. You may have seen him on HGTV back when Alex Anderson had the show, Simply Quilts. I'm betting you will enjoy his blog, as I know I will, so why don't you stop in for a visit HERE.
Tell Tom I sent you!

Hope you are all well and that March brings you lots of wonderful days! 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.