Thursday, April 28, 2011

At Last - A Peony Bloom






A couple of years ago, I planted a Peony in one of the galvanized tubs in my backyard. Nothing much ever happened with it and I forgot about it. Lately we have had lots of storms....and the last week and a half in particular we've had lots of rain. (Have I ever told you that rainy days are my favorite?) So, long story short, I guess the time was just right for that Peony to make another appearance.

The other day, I went out to lock up the Nest as another storm was fast approaching. As I locked the door, something made me take a look out under the tree where those galvanized tubs are, and there....in that tub was a most gorgeous pink bloom! Truthfully, I had noticed some greenery growing up quite a bit in the previous week or so in that tub, but it had rained so often, I hadn't walked out to see what was growing. In that little pink flash, it came to me that maybe it was that Peony I thought long gone. And, it was!

What a glorious feast for the eyes!!! A huge, glorious celebration of 'pinkness.' What about this closeup? Isn't this photo just divine? And, then, the whole flower...unbelievable! I'm amazed at how beautiful this flower is. I had to find a way to show you how large the bloom is, so I just held up my hand beside it. After all the tragedy from the recent storms, I feel so fortunate to have this flower under my backyard tree......to have a backyard with trees still standing, to be able to share this beautiful bloom with YOU.

I found some quotes that I thought I'd share too:

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers." Claude Monet

"Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity." John Ruskin

And, this, my current favorite:

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom -
maybe your soul has never been in bloom." Terri Guillemet

May you all be safe and 'thrilled to the very edges of your soul' by a flower near you. Take care, pat

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Chapter in the Pat Eaton Saga






By the title of this post, you are probably wondering what in the heck I'll be talking about today. By the photos, you may be confused. Not to worry, I'm telling a little story here....an additional chapter in my life story...and just so you know...I've got a talent for getting myself into a mess. (As you read this, think of Lucy and Desi...a couple we sometimes identify with....you know..he's trying to make a living...she's always getting into trouble, sometimes with hilarious results!)

The flowers were sent to me today by my favorite son, Scott. Aren't they pretty? Being a very excellent son....he called today and was told about this 'chapter.' He tried not to laugh, really, he did, but laugh he did. Then he turned serious, wished me well and had to get back to work. Later in the afternoon, a florist van arrived with this gorgeous basket of flowers. So nice, so thoughtful, as he is. I appreciate him very much.....so I've also photographed some roses he's sent me in the past. I've dried these...and don't you think they still look great? I do. The flowers made me feel better.
Thank you, Scott!!!

So, the 'chapter' he was privvy to goes like this: Late last night I was cleaning up the 'after supper kitchen mess.' It was late and I wanted to get some sewing in before I went to bed, so I was in a hurry. I had roasted some chicken breasts and had lined the pan with foil. When cleaning, I just folded up the foil with the chicken fat, to carry it to the garbage. Do you know where I am going with this??? Yes, some of the grease leaked out of the foil as I turned, and of course my feet slipped in it and I went for a short, high, flight into the air. I cannot describe what happened, even though it seemed to happen in slow motion and I watched my left foot do some very odd things. When I landed, I heard a crunchy kind of popping noise. I just laid there. The old navy man was already in bed, but I screamed for help as loud as I could..with no response.

After about ten minutes, I managed to get up off the floor and make my way to the bedroom.
There he was watching tv...but he didn't hear my screams! Yes, he's deaf as a post!!! I knew it!
What's wrong with you? He said. "Well, I said, I needed help...you didn't hear me....I've broken my foot!" (He DID clean up the kitchen floor!!) So....long story somewhat short....I went to the doctor first thing this a.m. and it turns out I have two broken toes, lots of bruising, and a very sore old body!!! (People ask us all the time how we have stayed together so long...well, he can't hear and I can't see...we need each other!)

After hearing my tale of woe....flowers were delivered. And, may I say - Scott, the doctor, the nurse and my sister, have all enjoyed a good laugh over this story. It IS funny, really it is. Chicken grease??? Who knew. (It would only happen to me!)

Now, the other part of the story. I had promised that those letters would be mailed TODAY!
Well, it never occurred to me that today was April 18th....the last day to mail in TAXES! So, after the visit to the doctor, we went to the Post Office. Yeah, I can hobble around, so did. And, waited in a very long line. Finally, I got to the clerk, only to find one letter did not have a zip code...and the clerk COULD NOT tell me what the proper zip code for that place was, he chastized me for using envelopes that had a clasp on the back, telling me not to use those any more and I'd have to remove those and find that zipcode at home....and then proceeded to enter the zips in his machine, to post those little paper postage strips on each of the 26 letters one at a time, while a crowd waited. (I had thought he'd just give me the stamps and I'd adher them to the envelopes! Guess that just isn't done these days!!) And, my foot throbbed.

But, guess what...it's only a 'chapter' so it ends and another chapter begins. I'm happy I got my letters in the mail....and hoping my friends enjoy them. I'm happy I didn't hit my head on the cabinets, as my kitchen is tiny and it's a miracle I didn't injure myself in a much worse way. And, I'm happy to receive such glorious flowers. Then, too, I've given some people a good laugh. And, laughter is the BEST medicine. Even I am here, not laughing exactly, but smiling in a very large way! The saga continues......take care, pat

Sunday, April 17, 2011

27 Letters on Their Way Home






They're finished!!! Twenty-seven hand-written letters are ready to go to the Post Office tomorrow morning. Yea! It amazed me to hear that so many wanted to have one of my letters. I think I was shocked. In the beginning, I planned to write TWELVE letters, but as you know, I'm a softie and when the number passed twelve I started to think I should just write a letter to each person requesting one, after all, they were nice enough to WANT one. So, here we are...all are now written and waiting for me to drive them to the Post Office tomorrow so they can go home.

Included in each letter is a verse I found. It seemed to me it should be included...as it seemed so sentimental...just like me. Just in case you can't read it in the photo...here is the verse:
"Letters are a silken thread
That runs from heart to heart,
Weaving a web of things unsaid
When we must be apart." (unknown)

Would you like to know where these letter requests came from? I was pleased to see requests from all over the country....one of the good things about cyberspace...we all mix up out there somewhere and find folks we identify with in some way...fascinating. And, then, there was that one international request...such a surprise! So, here's the gist of it all:

International....The Netherlands 1, Arkansas 5, Texas 2, Tennessee 2, and seventeen states with one each: California, Washington, Florida, Maine, Illinois, Kansas, Utah, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Isn't that cool?

Thought you might want to see where these letters are coming from. Here's a map of Arkansas. If you don't know where Searcy is...(and why would you?)...we are about forty minutes from Little Rock, well, depending on whose driving! It's at least forty minutes if I'm driving, less for others. I had this funny little idea of using a tiny cookie cutter to point out my town! Cute, huh?

So, there you are....letters are going on their way to my new friends. I feel good about it. Hope they do too! And, if you are one (of my new friends!), thank you so much for reading my blog...hope you will return again and comment when you so wish. And, the rest of you also. You know you 'make my day.' Take care out there, pat

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Quilt Story






Here's my story and I'm sticking to it. The present day version of this quilt story goes like this:
the other night I was walking up the front steps into the entry way and the light from the entry just grabbed me in a certain way...and the quilt hanging there...well, just made me stop and look and remember. I like the way it looks here in the entry. I just put it there a few weeks ago when I moved the buffet from the living room into the entry. You know how it is - you have to move a piece of furniture from 'here' to 'there' every so often. So, I took this quilt out of the quilt closet to hang over the buffet, then decided I had to also add that framed applique too. I made these pieces in 1990 and '91.

Then, there's the 'historical' version of this quilt story. It goes like this: Way back when - my quilt guild was having a class on a machine pieced Lone Star. You'll remember that I don't care for working by machine, so I had no intention of taking the class, then ALL my friends started harassing me because THEY were all taking the class, while I was not. I gave in, signed up and showed up on time expecting to be totally frustrated with the work. Of course, I really didn't want to miss being in the class since my friends were going to be there. It turned out better than I thought and I actually did make a wallhanging in that class, to hand quilt later. Not only that, but I thoroughly enjoyed my friends.

There is more. It turns out...I'm the only one of my 'group' who finished the quilt. After the handquilting, I decided to enter the quilt in the Houston Quilt Show. It was accepted and the quilt ended up winning 1st Place in the Traditional Handquilted and Appliqued Category. Now, really, you know yourself that nowadays...this quilt would not even GET INTO that quilt show.
But, back then it was a different story, and when I look at this quilt, I remember that class and how much fun it was to show off that quilt that I initially didn't even want to make!

That appliqued framed piece was just an extra block, so I decided I wanted to write on it, then frame it. I had named my pattern "The Wild Rose"....a version of many quilts back then. So, I found this verse and thought it would fit the block perfectly. As you will remember, if you read my blog often...I love writing on fabric.....and paper too, as I'm in the process of writing those 27 letters to some of you! Here is the verse:

"There's a rose looking in at the window, in every condition of life -
In days of content and enjoyment, in hours with bitterness rife
Where there's the smile of a woman, as bright as a beam from above,
'Tis the rose looking in at the window, and filling the dwelling with love."
Paul Mason James (1780-1854)

Well, that's my story. Even all these years later, I can enjoy that long ago class with friends, the quilt show and it's prize ribbon, and these days the quilt hanging in my entry. And, I do enjoy it. Hope you enjoyed my story. take care, pat

PS. I still have the ribbon....just didn't want to climb a ladder to get it out of a box on the top shelf....maybe another time I will.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Great 2011 AWOL Heart-Shaped Rock Hunt






Well, as I'm beginning this post, I've become aware of the fact that this is my 300th post. I knew it was coming, of course, but really, I hadn't actually made plans for a special subject to talk about or anything. Now that I'm sitting in front of my computer needing to acknowledge this important occasion, I find myself without any real profound thing to talk about. Imagine that!

So, let me just say I can't believe I've written all these posts and you are STILL HERE. It's amazing!!! I don't know what keeps you returning, but I'm glad you do return and I hope you are enjoying what I choose to talk about and show you. I'm doing my best to be ME and at the same time publish something of interest to you. I'm assuming you are interested or you wouldn't be here which just makes my day!

Since there is no really deep subject for this 300th Post.....I've decided to tell you about last weekend...remember, I attended my guild's AWOL retreat. You all know what happened. We all got together at the 4H Center at Ferndale, brought all our really 'cool' stuff to work on for three days and proceeded to eat, talk, laugh, share, quilt, embroider, and basically wear ourselves out. Oh, what FUN! The first photo here was taken from my lodging room about 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning....pretty, isn't it?

When I left home Friday morning, I decided that I had to make myself take my daily walk, no matter what. So, I did. And, here's what happened:

I walked for 25 minutes each day....good to get outdoors, get some sun, some fresh air, observe the ducks, and relax, especially since I know we are all going to stay up well into the night. Have I told you that I'm not an exercise fan? One look at me and you would automatically know that, but since the doctor made me promise to go walking for at least fifteen minutes a day....I'm obligated to do so...rather I want to or not. OK, I'm willing, but I need some encouragement. During these daily walks and knowing there had to be some inspiration to keep me walking....I decided to search for heart-shaped rocks as I walked.
It became my GOAL and if exercise was the result...well, fine. The routine: walk briskly, slow down and look for rocks...walk briskly...slow down, look for rocks, and so on.

And guess what - I found some!!!! Now, you don't really know me, so you've no idea how excited life can be when I FIND something...whether it's rocks or a really cool item from the flea market...or that book, pattern, ribbon or whatever I've just spent three hours searching for. I can get excited and I actually FOUND a heart-shaped rock. On arrival back into the classroom, a bit of bragging and showing off of the rocks had to be done. You can see them here. The second photo is of the FIVE rocks I found....four hearts and a BIRD! Can you see it...ok, WORK WITH ME HERE...not perfect hearts and birds, but with a little imagination, well, the rocks do become hearts and birds! I was met with some doubt when showing off my new treasures, after all, not everyone can see a heart or a bird in the form of a rock....but I know YOU can.

Friend, Jim, who became smitten with the idea and enjoys the thrill of the 'hunt,' decided to launch a search of his own. So, out he went for his own personal walk. Back in he came with the rocks in photo three. Very nice. Inspiring even. And, another bird, too. He was quite pleased to present these rock to me. We evidently speak a different language than the rest of the group so lots of eyebrows were raised in wonderment at our apparently strange interest in gathering odd looking rocks and then getting excited about them. Jim likes to be an overachiever, so to find as many rocks as I did...he chose to cheat and presented me with the rocks painted with hearts. They almost look like cookies! Well, the hunt was fun. We laughed and so did everyone else. Laughter is the best medicine. And, now I have a wonderful collection of heart-shaped rocks. I will treasure them and you can bet, the search will continue.

Don't you love the last photo - the two rock birds. I outlined the rocks and drew a little branch with some leaves...making a little paper souvenir. Two cute birds from a weekend with dear friends....now, I don't know about everyone else at the retreat...but, I sure did enjoy the weekend and I will ALWAYS remember the Great 2011 AWOL Heart-Shaped Rock Hunt!!!
take care, pat

PS. As for posts 301+, who knows what I will share with you....we'll see...and thank you so much for your continued interest and support as I live my life at the Nest.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Great New Crazy Quilting Book






I've been meaning to show you this book (Allie Aller's Crazy Quilting) for weeks now and tonight is a good time to do it. Have you seen it? One of the blogs I read often belongs to its' author, Allison Ann Aller. You can visit her blog here. Why don't you drop by and see her work for yourself, especially if you are a crazy quilter...you'll love the visit.

I pre-ordered the book before it came out, which means I had to WAIT for it. A very hard thing to do as I love to get a new book, especially one I believe will be a great one. When it arrived in the mail, I was overjoyed as it is BEAUTIFUL! Well, the wait was certainly worth it...as I've enjoyed this book very much. I think you will too. Wonderful examples of crazy quilts, as Allie has many, and she shares so much in the making of these quilts. This book is billed as "The New Crazy!" It is...you will be very interested in how she creates these beautiful wonders.

Here you will see the front cover, several photo examples of her stitching, flowers, butterflies, etc.
Then, the last photo is of her favorite pincushion (and the back of the book)...oh, my...it's one of my very favorite pieces in the book. So, enjoy.....you might want to order one. Mine came from amazon.com. When you get yours, make a cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy some time in crazy quilt heaven!!

I hope you will come back for a visit later in the week. You might get to hear about my weekend retreat and see some of my favorite FUN things found there. Til then....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.