Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Red Clover Time

Once again, it's Red Clover time! Last year at this same time, I was writing about red clover and was shocked to find lots of it located on the back of our two acres. We are fortunate to have two acres within the city limits of this rather small town and up until last year, we had not explored the back very much, mostly since we don't mow the back, but prefer it to remain natural. Since the red clover was discovered, however, I have been back there often to take photos of various growing things.
And, now, we are once again enjoying the clover.

This time of the year, you can drive down any highway or country road in Arkansas and find loads of red clover. It is so gorgeous!!! It's not here long....so I like to enjoy it while I can. So, I hope you enjoy the photos....

First, here is a picture of my favorite tree on the place. It sort of marks where Richard quits mowing the yard. When I walk from my house out to the Nest, I always look at this tree...it always looks so pretty...no matter the season, the time of day or the weather. This photo was taken in the evening, about 6:30 p.m. Now, look at the next photo which is a close-up of this same tree. Look to the left and you can see some red clover..this is where the mowing stops and the wild flowers begin. Then, you can see a big patch of red clover. It grows in patches all over the place back there. I don't know why, but it always seems more abundant when growing alongside the highways. Simply beautiful!

I've included a close-up of the clover. See...gorgeous. I always think of my friend Sharon H. when I see red clover. We've driven many miles enjoying it. She passed away in 2007. So, Sharon...once again...seeing your "red roses" and thinking of you!!! Hope you all enjoyed the little visit to my backyard! Take care. pat

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Inspiration from "Under A Blue Moon"

One of my favorite blogs is "Under a Blue Moon" and my long distance friend who posts there is Andrea, who is dear. Like many bloggers, we have never met. We may never meet, but we are friends nonetheless. Her posts are fun, interesting, beautiful, and inspiring. Some of them are absolutely delicious looking, too, as her photos of food make me want to cook. I am not much of a cook, but I do like to eat! She has a beautiful cat named Belle and a really nice husband named Rick. I haven't asked, but wonder if his name is actually Richard? My sister and I both married men named Richard and my son-in-law's name is Rick, too. I'm prejudiced, I suppose, but I bet her Rick is a great guy!!!

Sometimes Andrea posts photos of her handiwork...quilting, embroidery, and the like. She does a much better job than she gives herself credit for and everytime she shows this work...I get inspired. In January, she showed a vintage tablecloth that was cross-stitched with a beautiful basket design. (She also loves vintage...just like you and I do!!) Well, I saw that basket and was instantly in love with it. The photo was taken from a distance too far away for me to reproduce the design on graph paper, so I emailed Andrea and asked if she could show a close-up on the blog. Andrea, being a really nice person, instantly sent me a close-up photo via email. Wasn't that a great thing to do? She has even given me permission to tell you about this vintage tablecloth of hers. Bloggers are wonderful! Well, yes, I know....maybe not all bloggers are...but the ones who do what "we" do...ARE a wonderful, enthusiastic, very sharing group!

One afternoon, I sat down with some graph paper and charted this basket. If you have ever tried to do this with a vintage piece of needlework, and from a photo at that, you know it isn't all that easy. Mostly because these beautiful things have been used and used, and so, sometimes the design is not as crisp looking as something new. But, because I like "tedious" things, I spent that afternoon enjoying the making of that chart.

The next step was to actually do the embroidery. If you read this blog of mine very often, then you know I like to paint my background fabrics from time to time. So, I brought out some white Aida cloth (14 count) and painted it in a very light pink,blue, yellow and green. (And, yes, I washed it first!) Pale, but pretty, and it probably doesn't show well in these photos, but it looks great in "real life."

The first photo shown here is the one Andrea emailed. I printed it out and made some notations on it and that's when I decided to make a graph. The second photo is the color chart I made. Then, there is a close-up of the stitched basket, and one of the bow. I added the heart...just because I like adding hearts to things and a cross-stitched heart is really fun to make.

So, there you are...the finished piece! I have no idea what I'm going to do with it...frame it? Make a pillow? It may be made into something for my etsy. I just don't know yet. But, I do know it was a lot of fun and I really appreciate Andrea being so generous. Why don't you visit her blog...the address is www.bleulune.typepad.com. I bet you'll come away inspired also! Thanks, again, Andrea!!! Y'all take care! Pat

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Things from Old: A Special Pincushion

This fall, September 10-12, to be exact, I will be teaching a class at the Arkansas Quilters Guild 2009 retreat/workshop. It will be held at the C A Vines 4H Center, west of Little Rock. This is the same place I told you about a few posts back where we held AWOL (Arkansas Women on the Loose). It's a great place and the retreat/workshop has always been a wonderful experience. If you want to see more...just go visit www.quiltingarkansas.com and you can read all about it. For those of you in the area, I hope you will consider it.

My class is entitled "A Special Pincushion." (Remember, I told you this year was my "year of the pincushion!") I knew I wanted to do a class on pincushions, so in rummaging around in my old linens stash, I came upon a little pink piece that was done in applique and chain stitch. I've no idea how old this is, and it's in pretty bad shape, however, I was fascinated by the chain stitch and thought it would be fun to reproduce it by reconfiguring the design and using new fabrics. Which is precisely what I set out to do.

The whole pincushion was pretty simple to do. Not only is the design simple, but doing the stitching is too...it actually looks more complicated than it is. And, yes, it IS done by hand! I've been asked that by many who have seen this little blue gem. Some people seem to think it is machine made, which I find amusing. No machine, just one heart, two hands, two eyes, one needle, one strand of floss! A lot of fun! And, then, the seam is beaded in a soft, iridescent white bead...so much fun to do!

I haven't finished yet, but will have by class, two more blue samples using the same technique. Here you see them. The large pincushion is 5 inches square. The small square is 3 inches and the rectangular pincushion is 2" x 4." I've also already stitched the same pincushions in pink, but haven't gotten those stuffed and beaded yet either. I'll be using a different bead on some of these.

I'm looking forward to the class and will also have some of my other pincushions there to see and some for sale. If you are interested in this kind of work and aren't in this area for the class, go to your local flea market, as I did, search out an old piece of needlework, sit down with some paper and a pencil and try to find ways to reconfigure and reproduce the design using new "ingredients." You will enjoy it!!! And, boy, will you have something different to "show." I plan on doing this type of thing again.

A vintage piece of needlework inspired a NEW piece of needlework...what fun it is! Take care, pat

Monday, April 13, 2009

There's A Quilt in Here Somewhere!

Well, it's the day after Easter...laundry, bills to pay, etc., but I wanted to post something today. If there were kids here, I would be showing you photos of the egg hunt yesterday, etc. But, no little kids..just a couple of old big kids. So, I thought I'd show you the quilt in my dining room and I'm going to take the long way 'round to show it to you.

Yesterday I made dinner for hubby, father-in-law, the 23 year old grandson, his girlfriend and myself. Not a large group.
To tell the truth, I am not big on decorating the table and all that. I'd rather be out in the Nest "doing my thing." But, it was Easter and sometimes you feel the need to try and make things nice. So, I tried. After setting the table, I got out the camera thinking a photo or two might turn out good enough to post. I haven't shown much of my house...mostly because it is small, I have too much "stuff" and it is crammed with my collections of "this and that" to the point that my friends and family make fun of me. Sometimes, I even make fun of myself, but it doesn't stop me from "gathering."

I took the photos and being the photographer that I am...some did not turn out too well, but maybe you can get the idea of what my little dining room looks like. First of all, it IS small. I just had Richard help me measure it and it's exactly 9' 10" x 11' 10." Small. Especially considering all the "stuff" I have in it. Of course, there is the table. This table extends to seat eight...but not in this room!! The window is on the front of the house...if the curtains were open..you'd see one of my two porch swings. (Wish it was warm enough to sit there and watch the traffic go by!!) And don't you love this bunny!!

Then, there is the china cabinet...did I tell you I love dishes? There are two china cabinets in the kitchen....one day I will show you what's in there. I also love little chairs...they are all over the house. There are three of my favorites on top of the cabinet.
There is a wall of mirrors I have collected. Do not ask me why I like the things I like...it cannot be explained.

There is the buffet...with plates and other china pieces featuring roses. Oh, how I love those!!! Some of these I collected, and some were gifts. This buffet is wonderful and holds all the linens, candles, etc. I usually have the dessert here when the family is over....unless the whole family is over...then there is dessert everywhere! This dining room has two doors, one to the kitchen to the left of the buffet and the other to the entryway...to the left of the quilt which I think makes the room even smaller! And, oh yes....that quilt!!!

I made this quilt several years ago. The center is a checkerboard, which you can easily see. Each plain square of the checkerboard contains the hand-written name of a member of our immediate family (mine and his!). I did not know in advance that I was adding names, so when there was exactly enough squares it was a pleasant surprise! We have had several additions and subtractions since this quilt was made...but isn't that the way it goes? (I'll have to figure out who to "leave" this to at some point...maybe I'll just let 'em fight over it!) It's a nice quilt and one I loved doing the writing on...maybe I'll get further into this technique in another post. I'm proud of it and the family seems to enjoy looking at it. Also, there's more of those little chairs. They are in the way, truth be told, but I'm not moving them as I just love seeing them all lined up there. (Remember, there are no little kids...guess something deep down in my brain just has a "thing" for small chairs!!)

As you can tell, I'm a fairly good quiltmaker, but not that great at decorating, either a room or a table, but try, I do. Yesterday was a nice day...the quilt is hanging in a small, but nice room, and some more memories have been made. Not bad. Hope you enjoyed the visit. Pat

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter from a Friend

Today, on this Good Friday, I received an Easter card from my friend, Jim. To celebrate Easter, I thought I should share his little watercolor with you....isn't it sweet? It was totally unexpected and is so appreciated, as I know Jim is preparing a wonderful dinner for his entire family this Sunday, so is very busy. Thank you, friend Jim, may you, and yours, share a wonderful weekend. And, to those of you out there reading this, remember what Jim says - "Some bunny loves you." HAPPY EASTER! Pat

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Inchies and a Fabric Floral Arrangement

Last month at our First Thursday Art Day, we made Inchies. You know, those tiny little pieces of art one inch square. I was so busy flitting around, mine are STILL not finished. But there were some really neat ones made that day. I don't have pictures of them as I often get excited about what is going on and forget the camera. Which is what I did this time. Or, sometimes my photos just aren't good enough. Mary Lou made a great piece of art with her inchies and so did Brenda. Maybe I'll show them some other time if I can remember to always have that camera!!

My sister-in-law, Sandy, made some inchies that day. However, I didn't see these! I think she made them after she went home and just take a look! She took several pictures of my family...me, hubby, son, daughter, son-in-law, grandson, even the "grand-dog" and made this wonderful little wall-hanging. (It's approximately 4" x 6"). I love it. She even made that fancy little scalloped trim at the bottom. Cool, or what? I am amazed. Sandy, who recently joined our little Thursday Art group is really enjoying it, she says, and I'll say that she sure adds something special to the group. We are enjoying her too.

My friend, JIm, is a member of the Knot Crazy Beader's Group which meets once a month also. We don't all bead, but we all do some kind of fiber art and we have lots of fun too. Jim has been a quiltmaker for many years, teaches art in a private school, and is our resident "over-achiever." He's funny, too. One year, he made this gorgeous fabric flower arrangement for me as a birthday gift. Don't you just love it! (The design area is approximately 5" x 7"). He used the fusing method and inked on the details. I'm especially fond of this particular piece of artwork he has made, but to be honest...it's just one example of what he does. (Jim, thanks again, for this really neat gift!!! But, don't let this praise go to your head, Big Guy!!!)

So, there are two monthly meetings I attend, and these two items are examples of what I see being made or shown at Show and Tell. Can you tell why I am inspired by these people? Just love it...hope you enjoyed seeing them....take care. Pat

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Paper Dolls Just for the Fun of It

On the First Thursday of each month, some of my friends meet in my Nest with the soul purpose of "making art" and having FUN! And, we certainly do have lots of FUN.

Each month, we choose something neat to do. One month it was abstract painting, one month it was Inchies, another month it was journal pages and this month, it was paperdolls. We don't kid ourselves....this stuff is very loosely translated when we say "art." But, what we are serious about is the therapeutic value of what we are doing, plus the sheer enjoyment we have of getting together and trying to make art. I think we do pretty well, considering how much talking and laughing we do. What we do accomplish, I think, is to get each other really enthused about what we individually want to do when we are alone in our respective studios. It's a fun group, anxious to try things together we might not tackle alone. And, when we leave each time...we feel good. That's important.

We didn't start out with any grand ideas of making THE paperdoll of all time. We knew we were "playing" paper dolls. And, just in case our "paper doll wells" went dry, I bought some cute little balsa wood dolls for kids, which we could paint. You'll see some of them mixed in here. We just thought they were too cute not to "color" and play with.

The first photo is of the dolls Brenda made. She was really determined to make several dolls. The smallest one is a "self-portrait." Our friend, Jim, sent us all a small paperdoll body upon which he had placed photocopies of each of our heads. Kind of weird, but funny. We were to dress them, which we did.

My sister-in-law's paper doll is in progress in the next photo. She is new to our group and I believe she is having a great time. Of course, one of the things she is learning is that her sister-in-law is more odd than she ever believed. Sandy is really talented and not having ever made a paper doll before didn't stop her...this one is just beautiful. We enjoy seeing her get excited too.

Bibi is cutting out her doll in the next photo...this one is articulated....and dainty. Bibi always makes tiny little things just perfectly.

Another photo of Sandy's doll. I love her feet!!!

The last photo needs some explaining. The doll on the back row, left is the one I made. Next are two dolls made by our friend Jim, who didn't come to the meeting, but loaned two of his paperdolls to "show." As I've said before, Jim is our resident "over-achiever" so even though he couldn't be here...he felt obligated to send paperdolls. His are really nice and dressed "to the nines" as only a doll made by Jim could be. The next doll is me, but made by Brenda. On the first row is a small "me" made by my friend, Jean, isn't this one a hoot? The smallest one is "me" again...and made by me also. (These are kind of freaky if you ask me!!!!)

So, some paperdolls just for FUN. Great FUN. With a great group. You never know what we will do and neither do we, but, therapy....boy, have we got lots of that!!! Take care til next time! Pat

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.