Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Yo-Yo Garland Wreath






Today I thought I'd show you a wreath that I made long ago. I'm surprised it looks as good as it does because it has been on display in my home (off and on) since 1994 when I made it. Pat C., the lady that 'toured' my home and studio a few weeks ago remarked on it, so I figured if she enjoyed seeing it, well, maybe you would too.

It all started with that wreath. I found it in Hobby Lobby on a shopping trip.....and it's shape got my imagination going, so I brought it home. One day, while trying to come up with something different I could 'write' on....I thought of the wreath...and this is the result. Figuring out how to embroider a garland, write a verse, and attach it to the center of a wreath was a real experience, calling for some creativity on my part, but, I managed to do it and have really enjoyed having it.
Sometimes what we can think of to do is quite amazing.

I used a plain piece of muslin and DMC embroidery floss to make this....using the Fly Stitch for the leaves and a simple Chain Stitch for the vine. The flowers are yo-yo's which I then stitched into little petals. It was easy....after gathering the yo-yo, with your needle and thread, come up from the back into the center of the yo-yo, carry the thread over the edge of the y0-yo into the back and pull the threaded needle to the front again. Repeat and this makes one petal. You can make as many petals as you'd like. Five is a good number and is what I did. I think I used two or three different sizes of circles to make the yo-yo's, but at this point in time I can't remember and there is only a slight variation in the finished flowers on this piece....so, really, you could use all one size.

Oh, and I need to tell you that sewing the beads in the center of each flower is what anchors the flowers to the background. Also, I used a permanent pen to do the writing. (Always make sure your pen is permanent before doing this....scribble on a small scrap of fabric. Take it to the kitchen sink and put it under running water. You can even soak it for a bit if you feel the need. If the ink runs...it's not permanent. I always test pens having found many times that just because they say they are permanent....doesn't mean they are.)

I used a piece of cardboard to make the embroidery stable....covering it completely by sewing the front and back muslin together around the edges. I also attached ribbon on four sides, looping it over pieces of the wreath to hold it in place. You can see that on the back of the wreath. I also added a hanging loop of ribbon.

It's certainly an 'original' piece and I'm really surprised it's in fairly good condition, considering it's age. If I were to do it over today....I'd want to use acid free cardboard or acid free foam core for the inside.

Every once in a while, I get the idea I should get rid of this wreath....but, then I look at the stitching and think..."Nah!!!" I really did enjoy making this piece. Ok, y'all stay cool out there! pat

PS. Just so you know....I found the verse on an antique card....and thought it would be marvelous on this wreath.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Downtown Studio






Hey there! A Happy Friday to you all....especially Mr. G....who has appeared in several of my recent posts. He turned 60 today. Many happy returns of the day, Mr. G., in good health and plenty of quilting and laughter!

I wanted to show you some photos I took earlier this morning at the Downtown Studio. For those of you new to my blog....I work several days a week at Second Saturday Studio.....which is in Downtown Searcy. Since I have a studio in my backyard (which I call "Bird Nest on the Ground"), I have taken to calling Second Saturday Studio....'my' downtown studio. Just to keep myself straight. I must admit, sometimes I have to remember where I am....and, sometimes more importantly....where my 'stuff' is. So, as I mentioned in my last post....paint downtown, sew at home.

As you can see, it's early....there's no traffic at all yet. The best time to get a photo of any kind on this street is very early....or very late. And, it's HOT, so the earlier, the better. Notice that these buildings are old. The one we are in is very old, but has been 'modified' over the years. I've managed to take photos with my precious little PT Cruiser parked at the curb. So, if you look toward the back of the car...that's West Arch. If you look past the front of the car....that's East Arch. Looking East, the building with the green awning is the 'old' Coca Cola Building. It hasn't seen a coke in many years. Right now it houses furniture from the store on the corner....on the right hand side where you see the Stop signs. On the left side of the street, just past the Stop signs, is the White County Courthouse. It's the oldest Courthouse in Arkansas STILL being used as a courthouse. That makes us one block away from the center of town.

You can see our little sidewalk sign indicating where the studio is....made by Micah's Dad. It's a blackboard, so we can change it to say different things. You can see Second Helping to our left. Our friend, Allie, owns it....a very sweet girl. The smells from there, thank heaven, have no calories! It's a delightful place to pick up delicious casseroles, etc. Upstairs we have a couple of really cool photographers at Zoe Portrait Art. Cheryl and Maggie. So, there are three businesses in this building....all run by women trying to maintain families, a business (sometimes two) and add a little something to the life of downtown Searcy.

I've also chosen to show you one of the latest paintings in the studio. However, this one is not for sale, as my son, Scott, painted this a while back and I just framed it last week. Kelly and I are having a discussion as to which of our homes it should go to. I just love it....but truthfully, it does 'go' with her house more than it does mine. He painted this one on a whim.....Kelly and I decided that her Dad, her brother, she and I, should have a little paint fest in our backyard and he painted this one and one more...I'll show it to you after I've framed it. It was a fun day! I think he should carry on with the painting...although I haven't talked him into it yet.

So, there you go, some photos to show you just what I'm talking about when I mention the 'downtown' studio. Y'all have a wonderful weekend...stay cool! pat

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Choosing the Rose" a Collage






I have recently figured out that having two studios can be a bit confusing. For instance, one thing I've had problems with is when do I work on fabrics and when do I paint? Are the 'ingredients' here, or are they there? It has become quite obvious to me...after dwelling on it a bit...that fabrics are for the home studio and paint is for the downtown studio. Being easily confused....this seems to make things work better for me and I think I'll stick to this idea.

Just in the last few days, I have finished three pieces while working at the studio downtown. As you have already figured out...I can't seem to do anything quickly....so I'm not even going to get into how long it took me to finish these....just know it takes me longer than it probably takes anyone...I can be so slow! Anyway, they were great fun!

I've chosen to tell you about one of the pieces....."Choosing the Rose." To create it, I used paint, water soluble oil pastels, a black pencil, vintage pattern pieces, lace, copyright free clipart, scrapbooking paper, paper napkins, and phrases cut from a vintage book. (Oh yes, I can now spend HOURS cutting out phrases from books and setting them together in various ways....who knew this could be such FUN?) I am NOT a painter, of course, but since the other three artists, with work spaces in the studio, DO paint...creating a collage makes me feel as if I am a part of what they do. It works!

One little tidbit about two of these collages that you might be interested in. They were done on canvas board. I've discovered I don't care for canvas board. I wanted to frame these collages and could not find a frame that would hold a 9" x 12" canvas board. What to do?? I remembered that I saw a neat way to frame pieces in Claudine Hellmuth's book "Collage Discovery Workshop." So, I thought this would be a great way to frame these pieces. One problem...they are THIN. Not to be defeated, I decided to glue the collaged canvas board to a stretched canvas...and then, I could go about framing the piece as Claudine instructs in her book. The frame is actually nailed into the canvas as you construct it. As you can see, it worked as you end up with a pretty cool frame, made especially for your original piece of art. And, it was FUN!!! You can purchase Claudine's book at amazon. com. You may also visit Claudine at her blog, HERE.

This was a wonderful project to do at the downtown studio...and I plan on doing more. If you like them, please give me a word of encouragement...everyone needs them, you know. And, because I really loved searching for the words/phrases from the vintage books...here is what I chose for this particular collage:

"Choosing the Rose
The bright moment flew on
Amid illumined gardens rich with summer."

I love that I could find these three lines separate from each other and now they are living well together on my simple collage. Take care out there...stay cool. pat

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two of My Favorite Things (at Mr. G's House)






This will be my last post concerning my friend, Mr. G., his quilts, studio and home until we next visit his place late this coming Fall. Or, unless I find myself snapping photos of him, his students and projects at our guild retreat in September. We'll see. But, I DID tell you I'd show you 'my two favorite things' at Mr. G's house.

He certainly knows what my two favorite things are....as everytime I stand in front of these things I am compelled to say 'these are my favorite two things in this house!' So, you can see them here. Jim, as I've told you, has a zillion collections. And, at some point in time, he decided to contain all these tiny little treasures into shadow boxes. There is an oval one (my VERY favorite) and a square shadow box, both filled with many items collected by my friend, who treasures each and every item. I just love that! And, of course, I just love them too. Bet you do too!

While I was into my photos taken at Mr. G's house, I thought you might also want to see one of his studio. This photo was taken the same day as the photos in my previous post showing him with quilts hanging over the railing of his balcony. This was taken from his kitchen door right next to the balcony....looking down into the studio. It's a very interesting place to be....notice all the mobiles.....maybe next time I'm there I'll take some photos so you can see the whole place.

I had intended to show you a couple of chairs. Old chairs. Tiny chairs, for kids and dolls. I thought I had some photos...but, no, it turns out I had failed to get those, so that's another thing I must photograph when next at his house. There's always something to see there, so I'll try to get some really good photos then.

So, my two favorite things at Mr. G's house....til I visit again......by then, well, I may have two or more additional favorite things. Take care out there....pat

PS. Oh, yeah.....I totally forgot to mention his beautiful vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machine....so, OK - my THREE favorite things at Jim's house!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mr. G's Quilts






In my last post, I promised to show you Mr. G's quilt closet. Now, I can't take quilts out of there and show them to you individually....but I can show you the closet and one or two of Mr. G's wonderful scrap quilts. Easy Peasy.

After years of storing quilts here, there and yon....Mr. G. decided to make a more suitable home for his many quilts by re-purposing the large closet in his front bedroom as quilt storage. A wise move it was, as now he KNOWS where they are. Which means I also know where they are....a fact which I think has not sunk into his head yet. Hmmmm.

As you can see in these photos, Mr. G. owns lots of quilts. I should not mislead you into thinking he has collected these quilts over the years at flea markets and the like. Well, he HAS done that, but also there are many,many quilts in his collection he made with his own hands and a very over-worked Bernina sewing machine. He is a prolific quiltmaker. Now, I believe just looking at the closet full of folded beauties is a turn-on for any quiltmaker, but I've also chosen to show you a couple of photos of Mr. G in action - "Show and Tell" from his studio balcony on one of our group meeting days....this one in February of this year. Yes, he has a balcony in his studio....one of his brilliant ideas to provide more storage....little did he know when planning this that the balcony would make a great place to 'show' a quilt.

Jim loves to make scrap quilts. In fact, I believe he is on #30-something for the year. People just seem to love giving him old or unwanted quilt pieces, squares they don't wish to complete, or even completed squares and the leftover fabrics they used so he can have a variety of 'scraps' to make these quilts. He doesn't turn them down and seems to be pretty darn creative in setting all these blocks together to invent 'new' quilts. Well, you'd just have to know him to understand the whole story...let it suffice to say that his goal for the year was 50 quilts and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he meets the goal. Now, having said that....I should also explain that many of them remain quilt TOPS. He does not always choose to quilt the tops or sometimes has a long-arm quiltmaker to do that step for him. Not to say he couldn't quilt them...he certainly is capable of doing that...but, he's a busy man and time runs out...as you well know.

I've chosen a couple of photos, from that day at his studio, to show you a sampling of these scrap quilts. It's pretty amazing how he manages to come up with so many ways to put all these scraps together. I bet you are amazed. (Me, too, but don't tell him I said that!) If you'd like to see more of Mr. G's work....you might want to visit his blog....click here. Just remember this...I've warned you.........

It's HOT here....have I mentioned how much I love and adore the wonderful invention of air-conditioning? Thank all you ENTERGY employees in my area for keeping me alive during the summer!!!!!! Take care out there, pat

(PS. While I LOVE getting comments from those who read my blog....I also like to respond to each one. If you have commented and have not received a response from me....it means you commented 'anonymously' or left me no way to send you an email. Just so you know...I'd love to say thank you and/or give you more info, if you are interested!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mr. G and the Great Petit-Point Purse Collection






Earlier this year, my monthly group meeting was held at the home of my friend, Jim. I affectionately call him "Mr. G." He has a very interesting home filled with collections of many kinds. And I DO mean MANY. One of his collections is made up of petit-point purses. He has collected these beautiful purses over many years. Some he found at quilt shows, flea markets,
garage sales, on-line, antique shops and by word of mouth. I would say he has a strong penchant for hunting and gathering. He is not really a person you want to go hunting and gathering with, as he will find all the things you would love....before you find them. If you know what I mean. (Well, actually, it really is fun to go hunting and gathering with him...because even though he will find "IT" before you do....he is a character and a FUN person. You will laugh a lot and that is always a very good thing.)

He called this evening just to 'catch up' and afterwards I thought I'd show you his petit-point purse collection in tonight's blog post. Well, part of the collection anyway. There is a closet in his house dedicated solely to these purses. It also contains many drawers containing small items done in petit-point. Look carefully....I'm not kidding....this collection is amazing!

You can see Mr. G in one of these photographs. Accompanied by my friend, Mary Lou. These photos were taken just a few days after a massive 'reorganization' of the purses....and we were all completely amazed at the sight. I bet you are too!

I've chosen one photo of a close-up.....isn't this purse just gorgeous? Aren't they all?

As time goes by....I may choose to show you more of the amazing Mr. G's collections. He has a quilt closet 'to die for' and lots of other interesting things to see. I may even show you MY favorite things in Mr. G's house...which would include a small chair or two, some shadow boxes filled with many ancient, interesting and beautiful things....well....you'll see.

Y'all take care out there and stay cool. pat

Saturday, July 2, 2011

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!





This post is just my way of wishing you a very HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!! This is a quilt I made several years ago and have shown on this blog before. I never get tired of admiring our flag, and this version is one I love to show. The stripes were machine pieced, the stars hand-appliqued and the whole is hand-quilted. I also love the fabric on the back and especially enjoyed writing the entire Gettysburg Address for the label on the back. So, I hope you enjoy the holiday weekend, celebrate with those you love and wave the flag safely!! take care out there, pat

PS. Once again, I've not been able to put the photos in order. I hope you enjoy the quilt anyway! And, if you click on the photos...especially the full view of the quilt and the written label, you can see all the details. ENJOY!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Do You Remember the Shorebirds?






Do you remember the Shorebird Pincushions I showed you earlier this year? Two 6" x 6" painted, embroidered and beaded pincushions. If you do remember....Thank You so much. If you don't, that's ok....here are some photos of those pincushions. My blogging friend, Vicki, had seen some of my pincushions and asked if I would be interested in contributing one to an auction she was working on for the Ronald McDonald House in her area. I had been reading her blog regularly and was so impressed with her, her knitted bird nests, and all the lovely photos on her blog, including those of the "Gardener" and their travels, that I just had to say yes. So, the Shorebird pincushions were born here in my backyard studio...one for Ronald McDonald, one for Vicki.

If you haven't seen these before...well, I hand paint vintage linen fabric, embroider the birds and whatever I think 'goes' with them, make the pincushion, then bead the edges. It's a long process.
I absolutely love doing the beading and in this post, I included a photo of my 'bead tray' (which is a vintage glass square plate lined with a square of an old Velux blanket I use as a bead mat.
You can buy bead mats in most craft stores these days....but I bought that old blanket from my daughter's garage sale and had enough to make several for myself and all my beading friends, with some leftover.)

I also wanted to show you one of Vicki's knitted bird nests. They are beautifully made with an absolutely glorious array of knitting yarns and other embellishments. You will definitely want to visit Vicki at her blog. It's a delightful place to spend some time. There you can see all the wonderful artwork donated to the auction and perhaps find something you'd be interested in yourself. There were several artists involved...all contributing their time and talent to a great cause, not to mention the many hours Vicki devotes to this event.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend......maybe spending a wee bit of time visiting Vicki and her artist friends. Do take care and have FUN! 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.