Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Four Hearts" Quilt

As always, I intend to post much more often than I actually do....but life takes over and I end up going many more days without a post. All day today my brain was telling me to 'get out in the Nest and post something,' but there were things to do that needed doing....you know how it is. I know you KNOW.

Anyway, the hour is late but I just have to do something for you...so I'm posting my "Four Hearts" quilt. I may have shown it to you before....if so, I don't remember, so I'm betting you won't either. And, then again, maybe there is a new reader out there somewhere who might enjoy seeing this quilt. It's an applique quilt...and other than crazy quilting, a specialty of mine. I LOVE applique!

This quilt is approximately 49 inches square. And, a quilt made entirely of 'leftover' fabrics from other quilts. The challenge I proposed for myself was to make a quilt entirely made from leftover fabrics, batting, thread, etc. It actually worked.

If you click on the photos, you can see more detail...I hope the photos are not too blurry for that. I used ribbons, beads, an antique button on the large flower center in the lower right hand block, and some embroidery to complete the embellishment of this quilt. I tried to keep it simple. The blocks are approximately 12' square. There are some Nine Patch blocks...one in the very center of the quilt and four in the center of each vine border.

All the applique, embroidery, beading and quilting was done by hand. Fun!!! Great fun!!!

So, there you are....another quilt from the Nest. Hope you enjoyed seeing it...whether for the very first time...or once again. Thanks for visiting! take care, pat

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh, My...He's 25!!!

Well, it's Saturday, July 24, 2010....and it's my grandson Tyler's 25th birthday! How is it possible? He's at the lake for the day....we celebrated this day on Monday because he wanted to go to the lake with his girlfriend and his mom and step-dad were involved in a golf tournament today. You know how things like that go.

The first photo is Ty at age three or four. Naturally, I don't remember exactly, but judging by his size, that's what I'm guessing. He was a big boy....weighing 9 lbs. 5 oz. at birth, blonde as could be.
The next photo was taken in Branson, Missouri, when Ty was about six years old. It's my favorite photo of him.....when he saw that bear he just immediately sat down beside it and grinned like crazy....so cute. I carry this photo in my day-timer.

The next photo was taken the morning my daughter (Ty's mom) married her husband, Rick. Ty was twelve years old. It was a lovely morning.....and Ty was so excited. He loves Rick. Then, there is a photo of Ty with his mom......he's grown a bit, as you can tell....6'2", 190 lbs.

The last photo is a recent one of Ty.....still cute and our only grandchild. We've been through a lot with this young man and we're proud of him, though many stories could be told, some good, some bad, some happy, some sad. I'm thinking of him a lot today and hoping he has a wonderful 25th birthday...he deserves it. Take care out there....pat

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Collage to Show

Since I'm behind on my quilting/embroidery projects I have no new things to show you and no news to tell, so I'm at a loss today on what to post. Bearing that in mind, I thought I'd show you
more of the small collages I have been making lately. (Remember, I don't really know what I'm doing...so be kind!)

The first one shown here is a 12" x 12" canvas..painted, then collaged with paper napkins and other paper items...a bird, a cancelled stamp. I seem to really like the poem, as I've included it in several pieces of late, so here it is again. I wrote it out on white tissue paper, then glued it to the canvas using matte medium. This piece was made for an auction tonight benefiting "Main Street Searcy." Some of the artists from Second Saturday Studio are contributing work....so I have to do my part.

The second one is another "Birds of a Feather" piece. I made one similar which was auctioned at Second Saturday Studio on our last opening. That auction benefited the Sunshine School in Searcy. One of my daughter's friends bid on it, but lost, so she asked Kelly if I would make another one. They aren't identical....hopefully, she will like it. This one is 8" x 10."

The third one is also similar to the tiny bird collage at the same auction. A 3" x 3" canvas. Not identical either. So much fun! This one will be available at the next opening of the studio on August 14th for $20 (with easel).

You can see the previous collages in my post of July 8th called "My Made for Saturday" Artwork. So, that's about it for today....I've got to get sewing!!! Y'all stay cool out there and take care, pat

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Cereal Box Journal

On Friday, I told you I would show my fun little cereal box journal on Sunday. Well, Sunday is nearly over, and I've finally gotten out into the Nest to post the photos for you. As you will remember, my last post was about the cute little paper bag journals I made. They were so much fun to do...so simple a concept...so hard for an 'uptight' person like me to do. But, try them I did and it was so much fun...I hope to do more. I'm certainly getting older, but I'm still eager to learn a few new things now and again!!

I thought it would be fun to have a little journal featuring the embroidered bird pincushions I have been making. Well, so far, I've only made two bird pincushions and this one book. I hope to make more later, but the little book now holds photos of the two pincushions, with some extra pages for future birds.

About the book: the cover is made from the cereal box and the pages are made from watercolor paper from Walmart. They could be any kind of paper, really. Micah taught an art class to a group of children every Monday in June, the first lesson being a cereal box journal. Later that day, I saw what the kids did. All their books were just wonderful....made me wish I was a kid and had been in class with them. So, I made up my mind I was going to try it. Which I did....GREAT good fun. I have to say I think the kid's journals were so much better because they are so uninhibited. But, I'm glad I tried it anyway and do want to make more of them. I'll try some different 'ingredients' with the next ones.

OK, the first photo is the front of my journal. I used paint, napkins, a paper flower, a rubber stamp, some printed text, a scrap of crochet, and a little vine drawing done with a permanent pen. I stitched the journal together using a three-hole stitch, using vintage seam binding and then decorated the ribbon with some beautiful beads......the outside looks very similar to the paper bag journals I showed in the last post...but those had empty pages inside. This one has photos of my bird pincushions, some poetry, quotes, a copy from an old bird book, and more of my funny little vine drawings. I named this little journal "Bird Stitching."

The quote on the back is from one of my readers who said: "You're so lucky to have a Bird Nest on The Ground." YES, I am very lucky.....not only to have the Nest, but to also enjoy being able to make things from something as simple as a paper bag or an empty cereal box. Very
lucky! Hope you are well out there....take care, pat

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Grocery Bag Journals

Before I talk about the paper bag journals, I'd like to thank all of you who sent comments regarding the lost of my cat, Ethel. It meant a lot to me that you took time to send your sympathies...THANK YOU so much.

This has been a crazy week, so not much work has gone on in the Nest. I did manage to make three collages on Wednesday. I will show them to you on Sunday. One day last week, I made a couple of 'grocery bag journals' and had so much fun making them, I thought I show them to you today. As I'm not really qualified to teach you how to make journals, if you Google "paper bag journals" you can find all kinds of instruction....then you, too, will be having all kinds of fun.

First, you must have a paper grocery bag. Around where I live they are hard to find, so I guess they will be another thing I end up 'collecting.' I made two journals. Now, you should probably be told that I wanted to make LOTS more than two, but I did not have the time to 'play' and make more. I think they could very well be addictive. And, if you have kids around...well, more's the better, you can all play together. (The second photo is the back of the large journal and the third photo is the back of the small journal!)

Here's the two I made...the large one is approximately 6" x 8" and the small one is 4" x 5." So cute!!! I brushed on a bit of gesso, a bit of paint, and then used paper napkins, some paper flowers from Michael's, a copy of a button card, then drew on leaves and a tree with a permanent pen. Oh, and I also used a hot fix crystal in the center of each flower. Just for fun.
After they were finished, I brushed on a couple coats of gel medium. I used a linen thread and sewed the pages together using a running stitch, first stitching one way, then back the other way..which makes a nice line of stitching on the outside. You could use any kind of thread or yarn. (I punched the holes using a screw punch, but it made holes in my self-healing rubber mat, which I did not like, so next time will use an awl.)

So much fun....so little expense involved...addictive....a perfectly FUN thing to do!! Hope you enjoy seeing my cute little paper books. Have a great weekend!!!! And, take care, pat

PS....I learned how to use the paper napkins from my friend Sharon. Try them....you'll have fun too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remembering Ethel

I feel the need to tell you all that Sunday night, our great old friend and family member, Ethel, our cat, died. He hadn't been well and we knew he didn't have long. He got much worse in the evening and we knew he was quietly breathing his last breaths. We weren't watching the clock, but somewhere near midnight he died. He had lived with us, or should I say...he allowed us to live with him, for sixteen or seventeen years. We are all in some disagreement about what year we got him...but the thing we do agree on is he was a terrific friend and a member of the family. And, yes, I know you noticed right away that he was a HE, yet his name was Ethel. So, let me tell you his story.

Somewhere during the early 90's, my son was at a friend's house. The neighbor's cat had just recently had a litter of kittens..eight, to be exact. The boys were told that the kittens were going to be 'disposed' of and that really bothered my son. We were away visiting my sister in Texas at the time, so he quietly brought two of the kittens home with him. He said later, he should have brought all eight home, but he knew we couldn't deal with that many kittens....so he picked two. Then, we arrived home. Right away, I knew something was up when I heard the tiniest meowing sounds coming from 'somewhere.' Then, down the hall, walked two tiny kittens. They were taken from their mother way too soon and were really little. We looked them over...thinking we had a male and a female.

Of course, we would keep them. We had to think of names....the father and the son said they couldn't think of a thing....so I took one look at them and said, OK, let's name them Fred and Ethel Mertz. We did. Over the next few weeks, they seemed to recognize their names and we were shocked later to find that Ethel wasn't a female...HE was a male. Who knew? However, he came when his name was called, so we just kept on calling him Ethel. Over the years we've heard many remarks about it and we all just smile. Ethel didn't seem to mind what you called him...as long as you called him.

Fred we lost long ago. A neighbor poisoned him with antifreeze. We don't know which neighbor and it could have been an accident. At any rate, we still miss him and I know Ethel always did.

Ethel loved to sit in the old navy man's lap to watch tv. Me, well, he came to me when he was hungry or wanted outdoors. The funny thing is...he NEVER bothered any of my sewing or beading. It was strange. And, he would never volunteer to come into the studio. You'd have to pick him up and bring him in...then, he'd want to leave immediately. He'd talk to us, but if other people were in the house...he'd go hide. He was afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Sometimes if no one would listen to you rant and rave...then, he would...he was a good listener.....we're sure going to miss him!

So, here are some photos of Ethel. He was a very serious cat. I'm so glad I made a little quilt with my friend Ethel appliqued on it.....now, even more than when I made it.

Yes, Fred and Ethel, our cats, were a very important part of the family. We won't forget them.
Ever. And, like Ethel, thanks for 'listening.' Y'all take care out there. pat

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Birdy On A Perch"

On my previous post, I showed you my two collaged pieces made for an auction at Second Saturday Studio. That happened yesterday. (Both my little bird collages now have new homes and I'm happy about that. And, today, I received a request to make another of the "Birds of a Feather." Cool. Of course, it won't look exactly like the first one because I try to never make two things exactly alike....and then there's also the fact that I might not remember what I did on the first one. I'm pleased, though, that another is wanted.)

The highlight of the day was the children's art auction, we had ten children participate. We were very pleased they wanted to donate the proceeds to the building fund at the Sunshine School. And, also pleased that $660 was raised for the school in this little auction. The kid's art was just priceless...and so cute. We were proud of each of them and, rightly so, I think they were pleased with themselves. It was a great, fun day all around.

The painting shown on this post is a mixed media painting created by my new best artist friend Claire, daughter of Micah. She is eleven years old and already a wonderful artist. And, you know, I had to have this piece for my Bird Nest on the Ground studio....I just love it. She named it "Birdy on a Perch." It is 14" x 18" - LOVE it!! There is no telling what that girl will do next and I hope to be able to watch as she makes more art....and she will. Thank you Claire!!!

What do you think? Isn't this a precious painting? take care out there, pat

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My "Made for Saturday' artwork

This Saturday we will have another day for art at Second Saturday Studio here in Searcy. As you may remember, if you read this blog often, we now have a co-op of artists here in town, led by two special women...my daughter, Kelly, and her great friend, Micah. They open one Saturday per month and have provided the citizens of the area with a great place to find artwork made by twenty-two artists from our area. It's a really 'cool' place.

This first photo is a hand-appliqued and embroidered little landscape I will add to my little corner of the studio this weekend. I've framed it in a very rustic frame. You can click on it to see a close-up, but I'm afraid this photo isn't the best...reflections from glass and all that, but you get the idea. It's a 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece of handwork, but framed it is 10" x 12'. If one of you 'out there' is interested...$50 plus postage...otherwise...it's joining my other work at the gallery early Saturday morning. I'd love for it to find a new home somewhere.

In addition to the wonderful artwork offered each month, this month's studio opening will feature an art contest for kids under 18 years old. The winners will receive prizes and the art will be sold in a Silent Auction whose proceeds will benefit the Sunshine School building fund (a local educational facility here in Searcy for special needs children).

The co-op artists are also contributing artwork for the Silent Auction, so it ought to be a really FUN day. Not wanting to be left out, I have created a couple of collages to add to the mix. I've dabbled in this kind of thing before, but not much, so I have felt 'challenged' to come up with something.

Here are my contributions - an 8' x 10' collage along with a tiny 3" square one (both on canvas using paint, paper napkins, rubber stamps and vintage postage stamps and dictionary pages). I can't say they are all that great, but they were certainly FUN to make. Kelly had given me four of the little 3" canvases with easels, so this was a perfect time to try one. I'm looking forward to seeing all the available artwork, both from the kids and the co-op artists. And, well, you know I have to bid on one or two myself and with kids showing their artwork there will be even more excitement for all of us. I can't wait!

Wish you could be here to be excited along with us.....have a lovely weekend and take care, pat

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Please, No More Fertilizer" A Quilt

As I have mentioned here before....I do not have a green thumb and tend to kill plants rather than grow them. I can make flowers all day long, as long as they are appliqued or embroidered. I regret this fact, but own up to it. So, that means that I LOVE to applique and embroider the things I cannot grow. And, here is an example...a 36" square wallhanging I made several years ago.

And, yes, it leaves the quilt closet once in a while to hang in various places...just as my other quilts do. This week, the quilt will hang in the Nest, as I am being visited by a fellow Arkansas blogger on Wednesday. We have never met and I am looking forward to the visit. I thought this quilt would look great in here for the visit, as, for sure, there isn't much in the way of flowers growing in our very hot yard...we've had no rain for way too long.

I designed the center square for the guild, many years ago, when I was presenting a block a month, with patterns, as a little 'special interest' thing. After making the square, I decided to make this wallhanging, and it sort of just 'appeared' one little bit at a time. During that time period, I suppose you could say I was in a 'leaf frenzy' as everything I made seemed to consist of various leaves and lots of them. I'm still kinda crazy about them! I had a problem finding the 'right' red for the flowers, so I took the print you see on some of the flowers and turned the fabric to the backside for the other flowers, including the buds. I like using fabrics like that....giving you two fabrics for the price of one, so to speak. Can you tell I love doing applique?

The center of the quilt looked rather bare to me, so I found a verse I really liked taken from a vintage valentine card and designed a little floral motif around the writing. I LOVE doing this, and I think it made a pretty nice addition to the quilt. And, you also know I like writing on fabric very much.

As you can see, the quilt is hand-appliqued and hand-quilted....one of my friends said I was 'archaic' because everything I do is 'old-fashioned' and I'm not very 'up-to-date' on quilting methods these days. Well, who cares? I love what I do and will continue doing it....shouldn't we all do what we love to do? Fortunately, for me, having people like what I do makes me feel good (them too, I hope), but, I don't feel the need to impress or 'keep up' with others...thank goodness!

So, now we come to the quilt naming part of making this quilt. It is always difficult for me to name my work, so sometimes I enlist a friend or family member to help out. Often, we don't reach an agreement and I just stick with my own gut instinct. On this quilt, however, I was stumped...so I asked the old navy man if he could help with a name. "Sure", he said, "but you won't use it." I brought the quilt and placed it in front of him so he could get a good look.
Now, this is the part when I say...I should have known better. I had assured him that 'this time' I would actually use the name he came up with...and I did (it's on the label). So, as you can guess, after reading the title of this post, he chose - "Please, No More Fertilizer." Well, I had to use it, after all, I promised. Usually when I tell people the name of this quilt....there is laughter. And, I don't mind a bit, but, can you see why I don't ask for naming help these days?

This quilt was fun to make and I enjoy showing you some of the contents of the quilt closet from time to time. I hope you enjoy it too! And, by the way....here is the verse:

"May flowers of love around thee be twined,
And the sunshine of peace shed its joy 'ore thy mind."

Just lovely, isn't it? You take care out there. pat

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July - My Flag Quilt

Well, the year is half over now...and boy, did it go by fast! And, Sunday we will be celebrating our independence...what a great day....so HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!! There is no better an object to show on a blog on this particular holiday than the American Flag. Now you know I have one on the porch of our house and also this studio...but I wanted to show you one I made.

This is my flag quilt....I actually made this quilt for a class I taught at our guild retreat several years ago. I chose this version of our flag because 13 stars are fewer than 50 and I wanted them to be able to finish the top in class. We were to learn to draw our own feather designs. It was a big hit and we all enjoyed every minute....several of these were made by my students to be sent to their husbands away from home with the military, which made me very proud.

So, here you are.....this little quilt (24" x 36" approximately), is rather quick to make...well, the top is anyway. It took longer to applique the stars than to piece the flag. Yes, the stars are hand-appliqued and the quilt is hand-quilted. And, it was a pleasure to quilt. (By the way....there are also some wavy lines quilted in with the feathers...I thought it would signify the wind kind of blowing the flag.)

While I was working on this quilt, I wondered what I would do for a label....and for some reason, the Gettysburg address popped right into my head. So, I looked it up, wrote it out on muslin and appliqued it to the back of this quilt. (Notice the fabric on the back...Lady Liberty...chosen specifically for this quilt...I thought it was so appropriate.)

Every year, I hang this quilt either in my house, or, in the studio.....and, as it is in mint condition, I suspect I'll be hanging it every year I'm alive. Then, hopefully, someone else will do the same. So, all of you out there....please have a lovely 4th of July and enjoy it in good health, especially all our troops doing their very best to keep us free! take care, pat

A Bit of Heaven

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