Friday, August 26, 2011

Little Friends Collage






On my last post, I showed you a collage, just finished, called "The Sisters." I think that post went online last Sunday. On Monday, I received an email asking about that collage and now I'm happy to report it has found a new home in Alabama. The sisters are thrilled and will be traveling to Alabama this coming Monday. In that post, I also mentioned that I would show you another collage, recently finished, that was tiny. So, here it is. A tiny six inches square.

What do you think? Are these just the cutest two little kids EVER? I saw this photo on one of my favorite blogs, The Feathered Nest. Dawn is always sharing her vintage photos and this one I just had to use in a collage as #1, these kids are so sweet, and #2, they remind my of my own two kids, born just fifteen months apart. My daughter is the eldest...so they looked very similar to this photo...clothing would have been different, of course, as my kids were born in the late sixties. Anyway, I LOVED the photo and just had to use it.

And, it was fun finding all the 'parts' of the collage. I wanted to use vintage book pages for the background. I had that sweet photo. A couple kinds of flowers were next. As you already know...those are from two different paper napkins. And, then I found those tiny butterflies on another paper napkin. I thought they added just that special little 'touch.' Some paint here and there....and a lacy paper napkin in the corner and there it was. I enjoyed making it and now it's downtown in the studio waiting for a new home. And, again, I will take it to my quilt retreat on the 7th if it's still here.

Such sweet little people....this one may not be easy to let go of. Or, I may have to make one 'in my colors' maybe with different flowers. Or something...we'll see.
Anyway, I hope you visit Dawn, she has a fantastic blog!! Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your wonderful photos!!! And, y'all take care out there....especially if you are on the EAST coast...I'm thinking of you. pat

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sisters






I finished another collage on Friday while at the downtown studio. I'm getting into a kind of 'routine' down there. Routine sounds dull, doesn't it? This particular 'routine' is NOT dull, however, as while in it....I am finding ways to create some little pieces of artwork from whatever is on hand there and doing it in little bits of available time. It's kind of an exercise, I think. Not only to keep my mind 'going' (you know I'm not getting any younger!), but to keep me entertained. It's such great fun!

I've definitely decided to sew at the home studio and paint and "play" at the downtown studio. It seems to be working quite well and I'm not getting things nearly as mixed up as I was earlier. By that I mean I am now not confusing myself with which 'ingredients' are at home when I'm down at the studio....and at the studio when I am at home. That has been a big improvement.

As you can see, I ran across this picture of two girls I choose to regard as sisters. Aren't they sweet! So, being interested in the picture of the girls, and having thousands of ledger pages....the idea popped into my head to make this collage. Now, bear in mind that I make these for my own amusement. It doesn't really matter to me whether anyone else feels anything for them or not. Nice when it does, but it's not a requirement. I enjoy creating them and when done I will price them and add them to the inventory at the studio...if they never sell, well, I'll take some home, give some away or something. What's wrong with that? As it is....I've sold nearly all of them. Odd how that happens, isn't it? I think I will be taking some of these to my quilt retreat on the 7th. Just for fun. You never know...someone else may be inspired to have fun making these too!

So, let me tell you about those ledger pages before I forget. My son-in-law's family had a retail clothing store in Searcy for many decades. (In the early 1900's, the store sold everything you could imagine!!) It closed eight or ten years ago. There were lots of things in the building which had to be removed so the building could be sold. My son-in-law let me choose lots of stuff from it...including the sewing machine they used in the alterations department. A Singer, it still sews beautifully! Let's see, I've got ornamental tin from the ceiling. No, I didn't tear any off the ceiling...on the third floor, there were several pieces left from a tear down many years ago. Actually, the first floor still has the original tin ceiling. The new owners have had it cleaned, repaired and freshly painted...it's gorgeous!!! I have a wonderful wooden door propped up against the wall in my living room...it's from there. Two screen doors. You've seen the one going into my pantry. It's from there. All kinds of neat things here, given to me by Rick. I LOVE them.

One of the neatest things...well, two, actually, are old ledgers. He gave me two. He has several stored away that are in beautiful shape...but there were several that had not aged well and needed to be disposed of. From those, two found their way to my house. Two SIX INCH THICK ledgers from the early 1900's. Love em. And, here on this collage, behind the girls, is a page from one of those ledgers. Notice the date, Saturday, June 27, 1914. So cool!!!!!

In making this collage, I also used painted wallpaper to make the hearts...you saw where they came from if you read my post on 'the Pumpkin Shell', several posts back. I cut the little hearts from a leftover piece of that painted wallpaper. Well, waste not, want not. The little bird, (yes, it's awfully homely, but it IS a bird), I added with a rubber stamp, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get a good impression. Ended up just brushing some paint over it. We know it's a bird, so that's all that matters!

I painted the vine....fun. And, yes, I know it's not all that great, but like I said...it's for my own amusement, so it works! I have a zillion old postage stamps, so chose one of them for the lower corner...and the flower is actually a paper one from the scrapbooking section at Michael's craft store. I painted it to change the color, however.

Then, there IS that frame. Oh, I LOVE making these frames...thank you so much, Claudine Hellmuth, for writing the book that taught me how!!!! I've tried painting the frame AFTER I added it to the canvas. I've tried painting it BEFORE I added it to the canvas and then, this time, I painted the frame at the same time I painted the canvas. Guess what....I like all three methods! For some reason, making these frames makes me feel like a 'woodworker' of sorts. It doesn't take much effort, no special tools, and is pretty much 'easy as pie' but, since I've never made frames before....I feel I'm "building" something. And, they look good too. So much fun!! (By the way, these frames are made by actually nailing the wood pieces one side at a time to the actual canvas. FUN!)

Did I say this piece is 7 inches x 14 inches? Just so you know. And, oh yes, Mr.G, if you read this, I know you will be wondering what the words mean, as you have expressed wonder at me adding words to my artwork without explanation. "To the near and distant, to the present and to the past," well, the truth is the words don't really mean anything unless YOU want them to. I choose them 'at random' and just think they sound "pretty and rather poetic." I hope you enjoyed my little 'collage' story. I'll be showing you another one before the week is over. It's tiny. Meantime....I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday....and have a wonderful week! Stay cool...pat

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Surprise from a Friend






Recently I received a box in the mail. It wasn't a complete surprise, as one of the dear readers of my blog had emailed asking for my mailing address. Seems she felt the need to send me something in appreciate of my blog. Wow! So, when the box arrived, I was excited to say the least...how thoughtful of this person I have never met! Much to my surprise, the contents of the box just blew me away.

How could this person who has never met me...."get" me? But she did. The box was filled with beautiful needlework 'right up my alley.' Such a beautiful gift....it brought tears to my very appreciative eyes.

I must say that maintaining this blog is something I enjoy doing...in fact, I think I do it for my own 'therapy.' Knowing that at least one person on the planet has read it brings me great pleasure and makes me want to share everything I get into at Bird Nest on the Ground! When it is pointed out to me that there are lots of fellow bloggers visiting me from time to time...just makes my day and therefore, I feel an obligation to do my best. Receiving a comment or an email directly to me about one of my posts is thanks enough...but a package like this one is a very DEAR thing!

I'm only showing you a small part of the gift. There are many doilies, some trims, old beads and buttons, beautiful lacy and completely gorgeous. One of the doilies I'm showing you is one I've never seen the like of....kind of a woven tape with stitches holding the tape together win a wavy pattern...looks like tiny crochet on the outside portion. It reminds me of battenburg lace tape in a way. It is so wonderfully made I can't get enough of looking at it. Never in a million years would I cut that up!
A wonderful crocheted doily. There are several. Some linen scalloped edge coasters...oh just many beautiful things. There is a square tablecover with the most wonderfully perfect ruffle around the edge. I LOVE and I'm very grateful.

I'm also showing you the note that my friend sent all the way from Maine. Thank you so much, dear Linda!! These things are precious to me...the note priceless!

For all of you who visit here from time to time...thank you too! take care, pat

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My "E" Quilt






Earlier this year, I remarked to a friend that "if I don't finish a quilt someday soon, the Quilt Police will come and take away my quilting license." Well, of course, there are no Quilt Police....this was just my way of saying I had really neglected my quilt making, spending all my time making all those embroidered and beaded pincushions during the last year and a half, or so. I was feeling kinda guilty.

Like everyone else....well, nearly everyone else (there are always exceptions!), I have a drawer full of UFO's. And, this quilt was one of those languishing away in a drawer just waiting for me to get 'in the mood.' Or, make the time to finish. And, finally, this little quilt is now completed. I call it my "E" quilt.

If you will notice, there is a small embroidered letter E in the center block. I thought I would keep this quilt for myself, so decided to monogram that "E" in the center....for Eaton, of course.
This little quilt is approximately 36 inches square. It is hand embroidered, appliqued and quilted, but machine pieced. I prefer to do everything by hand, but sometimes I give in and go to my lovely Bernina.....just so I can get on with it. I'm always imposing deadlines upon myself....even though I resent deadlines and would prefer to do my work with not a thought of getting things done....just enjoying the process. I am totally a 'process person.' That might also explain the need for a UFO drawer or two!!!

As you can see (click for closeups), there is embroidery around all the hearts and the narrow border. The center block does have that "E" surrounded by an embroidered ribbon bow. Loved doing that! Once I finish a quilt, I can always go back, take a good look, and manage to find something I'd like to change. On this quilt, I'd like to change the blue fabrics for other colors. I am not a "blue" person, so I wish I had used other fabrics for the triangles. (What was I thinking?) Yes, this means I don't really care for this finished quilt. And, it has an "E" on it!!! So, yes, it also means I will take it with me to my quilt retreat where I am teaching next month and offer it for sale....think there will be anyone there needing a small quilt with the letter "E" monogrammed on it?? Yes....highly doubtful.

One good thing....I can say I finished a quilt....maybe even saving my quilting license! Ya'll take care out there....pat

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Last Tree Standing






On Monday, at my house, we had a storm. Well,here's what happened. I had worked at the studio until 2:30 p.m., then was driving out to WallyWorld to pick up some prescriptions. I could hear thunder. No rain, no sign of rain, no drops of water, nothing. That old navy man called and said, "Watch out, there's a bad storm coming your way...it's here now." I heard thunder, no rain, no sign of rain, no drops of water, nothing. So I went about my business. An hour and some minutes later, I turned into my driveway and first thing I saw was the tree in our front yard....most of which was on the ground. I felt so bad about it....as it is the LAST tree left in our front yard.

Have I ever mentioned to you that I believe that "trees are Nature's version of lace"? I love trees. When we bought this house, there were FIVE trees in the front yard. A very nice, shady yard it was. Two days after we moved in....we had a storm. It was a Sunday. We lost a tree in the backyard to that storm. Along the way, during these ten years....we have lost four of the trees in the front yard in the same way. And, now there is one....well, half of one. I'm sorry, I know it's terrible of me to whine about THIS one tree after the year we've had on the planet....thousands of trees everywhere perished in tsunamis, earthquakes, and fires. Not to mention what happened to PEOPLE. I can't help it though...as this was MY tree....the only one left. The remainder of this tree will have to be taken down....as soon as it cools off, I'm thinking. It can't live as it is....but I will try to enjoy what's left of it until that day.

I looked it over to make sure there weren't any bird nests that needed rescuing. None. So, thankfully, the birds that feast at our feeders in the backyard evidently live in the other four trees back there. Oh, yes, the tree nearest my own Nest is suffering from some disease...we can't figure out what....and this storm took several large branches from it and politely dropped them onto my roof. No damage, really, just lots of branches to cut up and take to the curb. Eventually, I guess that tree will be gone too. Sigh....

The old navy man isn't physically able to use a chainsaw anymore.....so I wondered what I would do with that downed tree in the front yard. The very next morning at 6:30 a.m., a truck and some guys from the city were out there cutting it up and loading it onto a truck. We never called them....so I don't know how they knew...but there they were, solving one of my problems for me.
Thank you, City of Searcy!

So, I'll sit on the front porch - when the weather cools - and just REMEMBER the trees - Nature's version of lace. And, then, I'll go out back and look at the remaining trees out there....oh, just after sunset....and really SEE the lace. Y'all take care out there and stay cool. pat

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"The Pumpkin Shell"






And, now, for something completely different! OK, I know it is over a hundred degrees, HOT and HUMID.....and I'm showing you a collage that looks like FALL. No, I've not transported myself (and maybe you) to an alternate universe, although it isn't a bad idea....I'm simply showing you the latest project I have finished at the downtown studio.

It's a gift. At our guild retreat in September, I wanted to surprise one of my friends with a small piece of my work. It's an 8" x 10" collage. Late last night, I decided I'd post her surprise instead. I know she sometimes reads this blog and I thought it might be fun to REALLY surprise her this way. Of course, if she sees it here, she still has to wait to get it. Well, so OK, it's kind of a weird way to surprise someone, but, if she doesn't see it here...she'll still be surprised at the retreat. Did that make sense?

My friend has a farm. She has chickens and other farm animals. We were talking one day about such things and she told me she now has a little 'place' out back where she can work. I haven't seen it....like most of my friends....she does not live near me....but I knew she was pleased with it and so, I thought, I'd make her a little collage with the name of her place on it. Don't we all know how important it is to have our own SPOT? So.....here is "The Pumpkin Shell."

I painted a canvas, then embellished it with painted wallpaper and paper napkins. Then, I made the frame to 'match.' Did you hear me say I LOVE making these frames?? My friend's birthday is October 31, so that and the idea of pumpkins led to my color scheme for this piece. (Now, friend...and, you know who you are...I hope you like it!)

So, that's it for this post....hope you are staying cool out there...safe and happy too! pat

PS. Yes, I still have not managed to figure out how to show my photos in the order I meant to present them...hopefully one day soon that will happen!

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.