Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Embroidered Surprise

The other day, I heard the doorbell ring.  Rarely happens here, so I wondered who was dropping in.  Turns out it was the mailman with two boxes.  One was from my sister and the other did not have a sender named anywhere on it.  A mystery.  I do so love a mystery!  I will post my sister's package in a few days, but for today, let's talk about the mystery.  You can see it above...but WHO is it from?

 Naturally, I couldn't wait to get the box opened and when I did, I found myself momentarily at a loss as to where this lovely gift came from.  So, I stood there a minute and thought...."now who would do this?" Sometimes my brain just doesn't quite function...why, I don't know....maybe too many things going on for efficiency of the thought process.  Well, that sounds like a pretty good reason, doesn't it?
And, then, it hit me!  Who do I know doing this kind of work?  Oh, YEAH!!!!  This has to be from my new old friend, Brian!!!!  Isn't this embroidery just gorgeous?  YES, it sure is!  This little envelope bag is so wonderful....what was in it...you'll see a few photos down.  LOVELY!

 Also there were these three hearts.  You KNOW how I love hearts....guess Brian does too.  Am I lucky or what?  Brian is known for his crazy quilting...more on that further down this post too.  These hearts are just wonderful.  All the pieces are made from a wonderful felt....and hand stitched, as Brian is known to do, with crochet thread and/or perle cotton.  Spider Web roses abound...beautifully designed and stitched by Brian himself. 

 So, here are the hearts one at a time.  Well, I'll begin with the one on the envelope bag.  So much detail in a small area.....Brian is a stitcher after my own heart, as they say.  Love the various sized French Knots.

And the first individual heart.  So pretty.

 And, now, the second heart.  I like the addition of that curve of French Knots on the upper right...adds such a special touch and detail to this heart.  Again...just beautiful!

And, the third heart....the smallest with the biggest roses...definitely special.

A closer look.....

 Another close look....

 And, now a look at what was in the envelope bag.....a wonderful vintage photo...oh, how I love these!  And, this one has been specially glorified with some of Brian's drawings...the drawing would be beautiful stitched on something special!  Hmmm....just maybe I'll do that!  Then, a lovely beautifully sentimental inscription specially for me.  LOVE IT! (Yeah, I'm just a sucker for sentimentality too!)

And, when I turned it over....GUESS WHO!!!  By then, I already knew, but what a fun thing anyway!!

If you've read my blog over a period of time, you have seen Brian's work here before.  He has two books in publication and you can find them at Brian's blog,  The Creative World of Brian Haggard.
If you wish, they can also be found at amazon.com.

Now, here is the back of both books....and you will love every page!  Brian, will there be book number three?  They are delightful to look at and really showcase his talents.

Now, I have to tell you this....Brian will be teaching here in Arkansas in just a week or two...at Quilt Arkansas!   Also, I just learned by visiting Brian's blog today...he will be hosting and teaching at The International Quilt Festival of Ireland, June 3-12, 2014.  A ten day trip and wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from Brian and also feast your eyes on the beautiful sights of Ireland! You might want to go along on this trip...check it out at his blog and make your plans NOW. 

So...a lovely surprise for me....and great news for you who may want to travel to Ireland along with Brian!! 

Thank you, my dear new old friend...for sharing you beautiful work with me...I'm so happy to now own something from your heart and hands! Well, including your beautiful books, of course!!  And, for you readers out there...as always, take care.  pat

Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Cut or Not to Cut? That is the Question.

Here is a wonderful quilt...and I DO mean wonderful!  Before we put my blackboard up, this spot is where I displayed quilts from time to time...and this photo is an old one.  But, I decided this week to show you this quilt one more time.  I do love it so!  The quilt and I first met in a flea market (of course!) several years ago.  My eyes landed right on it and it was love at first sight.  After taking a closer look at it, I realized that it was completely unusable.  It is basically falling completely apart.  However, that fact only made me love it more.  I wondered who made it and where it came from...as you know, I often have those same thoughts about other items I pick up at the flea market. 

It is, as you already know, a Log Cabin quilt.  Maybe my favorite quilt pattern of ALL time.  The quilt is ten blocks by eleven blocks, all the same except that row of 'pineapple' blocks down the left hand side.  The 'logs' are a tad less that 1 inch wide....except the pineapple 'logs' and I guess because of use and age, they are not all the same width at all.  I have wondered why that left hand strip of pineapple blocks are there.....thinking maybe the maker started with those, thought it more work, then went on with the log cabin blocks...after all, they do look pretty darn good together.  Who knows, there could be any number of reasons why it was made this way. Maybe they had the pineapple blocks leftover from another quilt and didn't want to 'waste' them.

I'm sure all the fabrics used were from old garments or scraps of new garments at the time of construction, but whatever the circumstances, the quilt is now quite worn out, or, as I prefer to say - 
"well-loved."  It truly is falling apart.  Perhaps if you look closely you will see some holes, unraveled seams and fabric in shreds.  One whole block is completely gone.  As I looked over this quilt  at the flea market, I knew I would take it home, no matter it's condition...like I said, it was 'love at first sight.'  When I found the price tag, I KNEW it was going with me....$6.  Now, some would say even that small amount might be too much for a quilt in this condition, but not me....I was thrilled and decided to enjoy it until it's last days.  Or mine, whichever comes first.

Every now and again, I take it out of the quilt closet and look it over and enjoy  it one more time.  The back is homespun fabric and there is no batting...it isn't even quilted just sewn to the back every now and then.

I have never been one to 'cut up' a quilt...especially one I loved like this one.  And, IF it were in a stable and usable condition, I wouldn't even suggest cutting it apart.  But,  I have an English friend who uses vintage quilt pieces in her work and I have to say, I love what she does.  Again, the quilt pieces she uses are well loved and coming apart too.  You can visit Mandy at her blog here and see (be sure and look up her birds!).  I also have a small collection of other quilts in this same condition and am just now coming 'around' to the idea of using them to make other pieces of art and sharing them on my etsy shop...long empty...at 'some point' in the future.  As with all artists, mine would look nothing like Mandy's as we have very different ways of working and 'seeing' things...but I like that she is giving old pieces new life and keeping things from the landfill, as I like to do also.  If and when I manage to start on this kind of project, I will probably share a bit of this great quilt with her....fitting, I believe, to share it with her, as she has inspired me to dream of my own 'cutter quilt' art.

The quilt is all hand-stitched (just the way I like to make them!) and the logs are sewn to a fabric foundation with the entire top just basically 'tacked' with a running stitch here and there...no batting, as I've already said.

Here you can see the homespun backing.....and some logs have almost disappeared.  There is no binding as the backing is folded over to the front and sewn down.  And, the quilt itself is quite heavy.

So there you have it.....a very old, but still beautiful Log Cabin Quilt.  I've always wanted to reproduce it, but don't know if I have that much quilting left in me....we'll see.  But, I do think sharing pieces of it and letting others enjoy those bits and pieces of vintage fabric is not a bad idea.   Would you do that?  I figure some of you would and some wouldn't.  Me, I've changed my mind about a lot of things as I have aged, so spreading the love around makes sense to me!!!  Mandy, you will be the first to know if I separate these blocks!!!  

Last week, I thought Fall was on it's way...it was so beautiful here...but up in the nineties again yesterday and today....so no, the cooler mornings and evenings are not here yet, but getting closer.  Fall is my very favorite time of the year....hope we all get to enjoy it for more than a week or two before winter sets in (or, summer stays).  Does it feel to you as if the year is disappearing before your very eyes?  Does to me.  Take care out there.....pat

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Swinging on "Billy Goat Hill" - San Francisco

I was short on time this evening, so thought you might enjoy this scene. I think this is a fabulous photo!  Of course, this is my favorite son, Scott, on a recent hike up "Billy Goat Hill" in San Francisco.  On a beautiful day, I might add.  Now, I would never have the nerve to actually swing on that thing....but Scott thought it was great fun.  I don't think many in his hiking group wanted to try it though.  Would you?  Aside from seeing my favorite son, I enjoyed the view from this hill.  I LOVE San Francisco!!  It is AWESOME!  Just take a look at 'downtown' over on the left.  Such a gorgeous city!  Hope you enjoyed it and I hope to do a longer post later in the week.  Do take care out there. pat

Sunday, August 11, 2013


 OK...now, you are in for some 'THIS and THAT' which means I couldn't think of one good thing to talk about....instead rambling on about as assortment of 'stuff.'  I really have been meaning to show you this nest.  The larger one you've seen recently, it's a gift from a robin making her nest on the drain pipe of MY Nest this Spring.  The little one...well, it has a little story.  (Of course!)

 One day, a couple of months ago....my daughter called to ask if I could go to her house and take Trixie, her cute Jack Russell, for a walk as she had some house showings and couldn't get home at her usual time to walk the dog.  Of course, I could go...so promptly went out to visit my 'grand-dog.'  Trixie is a sweetheart.  While in the course of walking her, we went around to the side of the house and I saw something on the ground, shining in the sun.  On approach, I saw that it was a TINY bird nest.  

 It only measures 2 1/2 inches across and is just full of the tiniest bird feathers, dog fur, which I think is Trixie's, grass, and lots of other stuff.  It is just the sweetest little nest.  I love finding a 'bird nest on the ground' which in Texas, where I grew up, means you are having a lucky day, and why I chose it as a name for my studio and then, my blog!  I'll say.  One question though....what kind of bird do you think made this nest?  I've no idea, as I don't think it's like one a hummingbird would make, which was my first thought.  Let me know if you recognize it.

On a recent trip to the flea market, I found a few neat things and didn't spend much money...a good thing since I'm trying to limit the amount I will spend there.  (It's like going on a diet...hard to do!)
I found this lace doily there and thought you might like to see it.  These days, I find myself absolutely nuts over ecru and white needlework....so elegant and maybe VINTAGE, although I'm not so sure of that these days.  I plan on doing more stitching in these colors when I can manage a bit more time to work on something...in what I call 'the heirloom embroidery' style.  I'll show you a pillow I made....which pretty much shows what I mean...well, maybe in the next post.

This is just so beautiful and delicate looking.........LOVE!!!!!

 And, more of it.  By the way....this piece is seventeen inches from point to point....and weighs almost nothing.

This is one of the things I also found....there is now a 'paperweight collection' going on in the Nest.  I have been given some and FOUND some and made some, therefore a collection is born!
Fitting that I would find BIRDS!

This one is 4 inches from end to end.  And, lovely.

 Found this little cabinet.  It's eight x eleven inches...so cute.  

This is the inside which I find a bit bare....so will try to find something different to do to it...at some point...crying for a bird picture of some kind inside that door! 

 Something I rarely buy - this needlepoint, but couldn't resist this one.  It's very pretty.  The design is six inches x eight inches and just delightful.  Normally, I would prefer old well worn ones to use in some way in other pieces, but this one interested me because...A, it was only $5 and B, I have decided I want to try and use it in a totally different way....perhaps in a mixed media piece so as NOT to require the background to be stitched.  Now to figure all that out!

 The entire background canvas is nineteen x twenty-three inches....lots of canvas there.

And, here are some close-ups.  Really pretty!

I think I like this little 'vine' the best!


 I also found this little set of Demitasse spoons.  So sweet.  I've no idea what to do with them, but will give them some thought......I may include them in some mixed media pieces....or...well, NOT.  We will see.  Aren't they cute!

 And, in the original box!

I cleaned one so you and I could see the difference.    The pattern is called "Amsterdam.'  Set is from Sweden.  Paid $8.

Such a dainty design....and of course, my favorite thing - floral!

 I'm trying to decide if I want to clean them all....or leave them alone.  You know how I love things to look old and "previously loved".... we'll see.

Also found was this little paper file box.  Just like the larger expandable ones you use for bills and such.  This one is so cute and small...recipe file size.  Complete with blank cards and alphabet dividers...$1.  Couldn't resist!  And, then, on a trip to WallyWorld  on Friday, I made a quick walk through the school supplies.  No, I have NO ONE in school....but I always make at least one trip through the school supplies at the beginning of each school year...just because I have to treat myself to some of them....one more time.  So....I purchased three Composition notebooks for .50 cents each and a tiny set of three for .88 cents.  Remember the tiny ones were a base for the little quote book in my last post.  Cheap enough and now I am 'restocked!'

 A peek inside.

Dear friend Jim gave me this tiny little baby shoe.  Isn't it cute?  So...at some point, this will become a pincushion.  So dear!

These little buttons are just wonderful...they have a lovely glow to them.  Glass and milky white...so pretty!

To finish off this blog, I'm showing you this lovely old GREEN wooden box.  Actually, the other day when I bought it....I chose it first, then found the other items.  You know I have an awful time turning down something in my favorite green...especially when it's in this condition...yes, my favorite 'previously loved' state.  The box is six inches deep and twelve inches x seventeen inches.  Perfect!

So, there you go...a little trip to the flea - hunting and gathering - and walking the dog....amazing what you can find when you take a good look at your surroundings.  Hope you enjoyed the 'trip'!!  Now, do take care til next time.  pat

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Little Book of Quotes

 Searching for something to post tonight, I decided to show you a little book of mine.  It's quite small and every once in a while I read a quote I'd like to save, so I write it in this little book.  I'll show you what this book started out as a few photos down.  Anyway, I wanted to decorate the book, as well as write in it, so this is what I did.  I took a clean paper towel, got it damp, painted it with watered down paint, and ironed it dry.  (I always lay a clean paper towel both over and under the painted one before I iron.)  Then, I drew on it, took some fabric and rubber stamped some butterflies on it, glued it to the little book, then added a strip of yarn, "Words for the Day" on a small piece of paper and little flower sequins for the flowers and there it was.  I also added a length of ribbon with beads for a marker and my cute little 'quote' book was ready to write in.  Great fun to do!  (Oh, I did add a couple of coats of Mat Medium to keep the paper towel from fraying and wearing out!)

And, yes, sometimes when I am painting and wiping up with paper towels, I save them.  Waste not, want not!

 Some of the quotes I am fond of....and which I always look for..here, there and everywhere!

A better look at the little sequins.

 Here is what the little books started out as....these came from WallyWorld....just like the big ones we used to have in school....only tiny....and cheap, so you can play around with them.

A close up so you can see the size and so forth.

And, there you have it.  I have made my own little books before, but these are easy to find and fun to do without spending a huge amount of time on them.  You could also make a little address book this way, a gift-giving list book, and so forth.  Any thing you can think of.....you can usually find a pretty creative way of doing it without spending lots of money.  Hope you enjoyed it!  take care, pat

A Bit of Heaven

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