Thursday, December 31, 2020

Auld Lang Syne with Buttons and Birds

 We've been through a year, haven't we?

In some ways, it has been very long and in others, it just flew by.
All I'm going to say about it is this....
I'm not fond of having my life fly by.
I'm not that anxious to get to the end of it.
But, this year....2020, the one we have been tested just can't be over fast enough for me. 

So, tonight I tried to make a little vignette.
A little something that some might think pretty.

                       Just to take us out of this year with the hope of a much better next year.


I'm beginning to hear the strains of 
Auld Lang Syne...
and I'm wishing you a much better

 Wherever You Are Have a Warm and Happy Heart
Bird Nest Cottage


Friday, December 25, 2020

My Twig Christmas Tree

During a year when nothing seems to make sense, when stress never seems to let up, when fear is rampant, and insanity clearly right there in front of's now Christmas.  And, even that doesn't seem like any other one we have celebrated.  For instance, my children, my friends, and others have not been in my house most of this year....I live alone and that has had a more complete meaning this year.
ALONE.  So, having said all that....I decided that I would not put up a tree, or decorate in any other way.   

I've never been a big Christmas this idea didn't alarm me or made sense.
But, I did have a big container of twigs in the house.  I do gather them from the yard and have used them in bunches around the house, on the porch....and then there is that 'tree' by the fireplace, which has been in the house now for years.  I love those twigs/small branches. While thinking about having them always in the house, I decided that maybe it would be fun to at least decorate them for Christmas.
So I did.

 I had purchased some small glass ornaments from the flea and decided to use those, plus some birds I had also picked up there.  A couple ornaments my sister made for me and a beaded snowflake, a small bird in a nest, etc.  These are TALL twigs, and way over my head, so while trying to set up the flower bucket by partially filling it up with rocks, the whole thing slipped out of my hands, fell on my foot and broke some of the glass ornaments.  Everything went everywhere. And, my foot, although it doesn't really hurt, is black and very blue! So much for my bright ideas!  Anyway, I managed to clean it all up and redo it.....I did have to trim a bit off several of the twigs....but did manage to get it done.  While I had broken several of the glass ornaments, I replaced those with others.  While it could use a few more, I did decide I had done enough.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

For A Little Bit of Inspiration

In my last post I talked about inspiration.  Specifically, that provided by studying another artist's work. That is one way of getting inspired.  Actually, you can find it anywhere if you really want to.  One way I find inspiration is to look at china patterns, both vintage and new.  They can certainly provide subject matter, designs, and color choices too.

In this instance, I have chosen a few pieces to inspire me in the designing and stitching of little houses. I chose these in particular as the size appealed to me and the simple little houses are just what I like to applique and embroider.  You don't have to make them identically to what you see here....but they can speak to you as your create your patterns.  You can add some of the existing things, such as trees, flowers, birds,fences, etc., or just in the general layout of how you might like your little scene to look.
Also, you can reduce or enlarge.  I'm kind of partial to very small patterns....but you should make yours suit your ability and personal taste.

Adding or subtracting elements so though you were inspired by the pieces, yours look nothing like the thing that inspired you in the first place.  They just gave you a place to start.

Here you can see a drawing I made of the house on that little vase.  But, what you don't see is the back of the vase.

It has a lone tree and if you can make a lone tree too, or you can just add flowers around it for a different kind of scene.  And, there are dozens of ways to make the foliage on the trees for different looks.
I mentioned is the same scene on the sugar bowl....two different sizes, from a different perspective.
Once again....add or subtract elements to suit your own taste.  And, think of how you will stitch the elements too.  For instance, I LOVE using French Knots to do some of the trees...making them into blooming fruit trees.  There is a multitude of methods to make yours different from others.

Just have fun with it.  Make a bunch of drawings, adding or subtracting...remember, it's YOUR work and you should feel free to be inspired by other things, but always putting your own touch on the, notice everything...dishes, other needlework, photos in magazines, be open to visual suggestions...and "play."  It's only paper you are drawing on...not a permanent thing unless you want it to be.

                                          Wherever You Are Have a Warm and Happy Heart

                                                                      Bird Nest Cottage




Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Inspiring Stitching of Mandy Pattullo

As some of you know, I am interested in rescuing quilts and embroideries that have seen better days, some just need a little careful stitching to give them more years of life.  Then, on the other hand, many are on the verge of completely falling apart.  There are certainly others on the planet who have rescued such  textiles....using the smallest of pieces to create new life.  Fabric collage being one of the methods of choice.  I became interested is such activity several years ago when I found one of my "stitching heroes," Mandy Pattullo.  She lives in the UK and I found her through her blog and instantly became a huge fan.  I couldn't wait for her to write a book.  Eventually, she did just that, calling it TEXTILE COLLAGE.  I purchased it as soon as I could and loved it immediately.  (I'll show a photo of it below.)

This year she produced another book, her second,  TEXTILES TRANSFORMED.  And, once again, I purchased it also.  And, once again, I loved it immediately.  Her designs are so appealing....and fun. If this kind of work is "up your alley" you might want to check it out.  I'm sure you will love her work as much as I do.

The covers of Mandy's books are just wonderful.....tempting you to read further about her chosen work.  Each page giving you so much information about reusing these sometimes ragged pieces combining all manner of threads and other bits and pieces to create lovely works of art. I have read them over and over again....and never grow tired of imagining what I could do with all the rescued pieces I have.  As I said, she is very inspiring.

Here, all the photo needed was Mandy's new book.  But, I wanted to add a little extra color to the photo....that painted vegetable can is full of painted book pages I have cut up to use as book marks.  It can hang from a hook somewhere, anywhere.  Of course, I like to use lots of paper to mark the places where I find all the things that catch my fancy.  There is also a little creature that you met in my last post.  I'm mentioning that now because Birdy will be showing up in a few odd places now and again and I may not mention it....just see if you notice though.

Here the book is open to show you a bit of what you might find inside.  Make it larger so you can really get a good look at what she has done here.  Log Cabin, one of my favorite patterns...and what she has done to add so much life to such a varied selection of 'pieces.'

And, here is one of Mandy's own pieces.  This was given to me several years ago.  I consider it one of the most "precious" items in my home.  That sweet bird.  And, my funny bird!

Mandy rarely buys new fabric, preferring instead to use vintage and antique fabrics along with her rescued quilts or embroidery.  Yes, inspiration, indeed!!!

And, here is Mandy's first book.  So filled with stitching goodness!  There is a little trick I do when I don't feel well.  I can get a book or two or three....a comfortable quilt, and a nice hot cup of tea....and "pile up" on the sofa, studying the photos, reading the text, feeling the inspiration, and before you know it...I feel better.

           FYI:  I ordered my books from   And, here is more information on Mandy:

blog:  etsy:

                                                                        Wishing you a


Have a Warm and Happy Heart


                                                                     Bird Nest Cottage



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Time to Knit

Today I went to Hobby Lobby....a quick trip, thinking it would be quite a while before I visited it again.  You just don't know these days.  Among my other purchases, it seems a little bird flew into my basket and came home with me.  So, tonight while trying to decide what to post, the bird caught my attention and made it's way onto my work table.  I had already decided to use this gorgeous piece of fabric....a segment of a curtain I made years ago.  

This watercolor painting, given to me in 1981 in Silver City, N.M. by my next door neighbor and artist,  Arlene Foster, had been calling for my attention the last few days, so it became another element of my little 'scene.' 

A small piece of knitting....intending to be a scarf of some kind was next.  I love knitting a simple scarf....not much thinking involved and keeps your hands busy while your mind wanders, considering all kinds of things....while you "just breathe."

Notice the bird seems to have flown into the knitting needle basket, perhaps becoming interested in learning another thing or two about how humans might warm their nest.  I love these needles...the longer ones are antique, the shorter ones new bamboo.  I like knitting with wooden needles.

Well, seems the little bird flew away.  Ready for an adventure somewhere else, I suppose.
So....the cold is coming....who knows if we will have snow as in the painting. Whatever happens, I will be under some quilts, perhaps knitting away...and watching for a little bird. 

                                                           Have a warm and happy heart
                                                                       Bird Nest Cottage


Monday, November 9, 2020

A New Fabric Selection and Happier Days

So, new to me, a selection of Waverly Fabrics I purchased from the local Walmart Store recently during three different visits.  I hadn't purchased fabrics in a very long time and walking by the aisle with this display of fabrics available in one yard or fat quarter pieces....well, they made me think of Spring and a breath of fresh air, something I am very much looking forward to in 2021 after this sad and very stressful year.  An "investment" in the future, I suppose you could say.  And, that is my hope...for all of us...better, happier and healthier days.

Wherever You Are Today 



Bird Nest Cottage



Monday, October 26, 2020

Another Day.....Another Door (#2)

So, can you see it?  There on the right of the fireplace.  Door #2.  When I moved into this house, I placed the door right there until I could figure out where to put it.  And, it's been there ever since.  I love that door.  And, it is surrounded with lots of previously loved interesting goodies.

There is that round table....and a chair.  They are there now, but sometimes other things take their place. I like moving things around...but, I don't do that as much these days as well, you know....I'm older now and sometimes energy escapes me.  They are there now and probably will be all winter the way things seem to be going.

Here is a wonderful and very special gift I received several years ago.  It was made by Dawn at The Feathered Nest.  It's lovely and smells good too.  Notice my last name is there.  Extra special.

I found this mailbox on one of my hunting and gathering outings.  Perfect color for that old door.  Sometimes I even put mail in it.  Christmas cards, all kinds on occasion.  It's fun.  I have a habit of placing old photos in sometimes crazy places.  Here, I have placed an old photo of these soldiers Dad right there in front...second on the right.  I wish I knew where it was though.  I spent ten years of my life "in the army with Dad."  That's what I used to call it back then.  If he were here now, he would be 111 years old.  And, I just turned 76.  Makes that a very old photo!

Also on the table is what I call my "crystal ball."  Just for fun.  And, there is picture frame on the table where I have placed a candlestick.  I love candlelight...and it looks quite cozy when one is lit here.

I found that "tree" in what I call "Two Pines Park" the empty lot behind my house.  It's eleven feet tall.

I dragged it into the house the first winter I lived here.  I'm sure everyone thought I was nuts.  I don't mind...and I love the tree.  So much so, that I have not been able to talk myself into getting rid of it.

If you look at that letter E, underneath that bottom corner, you can see a vintage glass bird ornament on the tree limb.  It's adorable! cute.

Well, a close-up of that photo.  
These bells belonged to my mother-in-law.   They are tied to one of the door hinges.
There is also a key tied there too.  That key belonged to an old house in Little Rock, which was my son's first home when he moved out of our home.  Seems I have a huge habit of saving "stuff."
So, there you are.  Door #2.  One more to go.  It's really in a different place.  You'll see next week.
See you then!
Wherever You Are Today
Bird Nest Cottage


A Bit of Heaven

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