Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nothing so homey

As a cat amongst the pillows.

Tomorrow is the 12th anniversary of when we brought Max home. He was a scrawny feral kitten, between three and four months old. Now he's fat and happy--and mean as a snake. But we love him, and he totally rules the roost!

My sister, Ginger, wrote a poem for me about Max a while back. I posted it a couple of years ago, but, in honor of the anniversary, I thought I'd copy it here along with the pictures from that earlier post. (As you can see, Max does like the pillows!)


As darkness fell
I knew that I must
Try to find some food.
I crossed the road and down I went
Into the neighborhood.

First house was dark, 
As was the next
One sitting right next door
So on I trudged with hopeful heart.
Oh, my, how many more?

I finally caught a glimpse of light.
It was just down the way.
So off I went to see if it
Would serve me food today.

It was October, long ago,
When I ventured out
One lonely night to find some food.
Who knew how it'd turn out!

They sat behind their dinner plates
O'er at the sister's house.
I heard the laughter from inside,
Stayed quiet as a mouse.
Then all at once, I saw the thing
Its hair was long, and then
She ran for me, and I was scared;
Around the house, I went.

We hissed and spewed
And meowed and pffffft,
Made lots of noise, and then
I heard the door;
It opened wide,
And then it shut again.

Oh, yes, it closed...most right away,
I heard the whisperin',
"This door, I will not open 'til
You promise to take him."

How could she know,
My person, then,
That I would be just right
To change her world and curl right up
Within her bed each night.

She'd lost her love of many years.
He was her soul-mate fellow.
Imagine her surprise to see...
Came in yellow.

Well, it was tough to get to go
Home with my chosen one.
Her family begged and pleaded with
That grumpy, big ol' one.

He finally let her take me home.
I tried so to stay calm.
I later learned to love him, though.
You know, his name is Tom.

Well it was tough to get them trained
To do just as I bade.
But now it's sweet and happy times.
Oh, meow, I've got it made.

We've moved just once,
But that's okay.
I really love it here.
Although they tick me off sometimes
By sitting in my chair.

It didn't take me long to get
That door to slide my way.
And now when they're not looking
I'll slip outside to play.

They do their best to keep me close.
You oughta see that gun.
That water squirts at least a mile.
Oh, my, oh, my, it's fun.

I run inside to get away.
I hope that I can make
It to my chair before they do
Cuz then I'm finally safe.

They think it scares me, but oh, no.
No better time have I.
Water stream is closing in.
Oh, me, oh, my, I'm sly.

And even when they let me out
I have to stay real close.
I wave my tail high in the air
and sniff with my pink nose.

The morning is my favorite time.
The land is cool and still.
I'll slip away if there's a chance.
I know I'm such a pill.

She just won't let me go out far.
Imagine her dismay
When I sneak off
All by myself;
It really makes my day.

Don't think it's always easy, though,
That I live without a care.
Sometimes I have to get real tough
When there are strangers there.

There was a little lady that
used to come to clean.
She came into my person's room
I had to act real mean.

Geez, I wouldn't really hurt her,
But she sure got really sore.
It took her thirty minutes to
Come out that bathroom door.

She's no longer with us,
Killed two birds with one stone.
Maria comes and shines our place
I'm never left alone.

One time I thought my person
Was a booger bear that night.
I saw her walking to the back.
She gave me such a fright.

I growled and hissed and scared her off.
Imagine my surprise
To see her coming through the front.
Could not believe my eyes.

I felt a little bad for that.
Was I wrong? Oh, I suppose.
But when I think back on that night
I get to laughing so darn hard
That milk comes out my nose.

Oh, yes, I love my persons,
My mom and big ol' dad.
I am the luckiest yellow cat
This world has ever had.

I'll be sitting right here forever.
Nowhere I'd rather be
Than sitting at my window sill
Just him - and her - and me

Friday, October 11, 2013

Buttons and Such

I love embroidered fabrics, love embroidering fabrics. There are so many ways one can use them.

Years ago, my sis and I visited an upscale fabric shop in Austin and found a silk with hand-embroidered bullion roses. I fell in love with the fabric, but it was too rich for my budget so I grabbed a sample and have mimicked it several times. Here's a pillow I made as a gift.
This began as a plain silk pillow found at the thrift store. Adding the roses notches it up a tad, don't you think?

Lately, I've been doing embroidery in smaller patches for covered buttons.
This started as a simple linen onto which I stitched french knots. When I saw it in my head, I thought understated would work, but once it was done, it didn't for me so I tossed it into the button box. A couple of years later, I decided to amp it up. The stitches aren't my best--bullion stitches are a tad difficult on an already-covered button. Still, I like it worlds better than I did.

This sachet was made of a piece of ribbon embroidery I did ages ago and never put to use.
And here, I've used a hand-embroidered covered button to accent a pillow I whipped up from an old Battenburg lace tablecloth.
A closer look at the button:
Does it look like a bird to you? 
How about now?

I think it does, think I'll have to try doing one that more definitely is cuz I like thinking of a tropical many-colored bird on a button.

I'd like to hear what you have to say about embroidery--on a button, or a pillow, or a sachet. Is it something you'd use in your home or does it feel too old-fashioned? All comments appreciated, y'all.

I've linked this post to Timewashed's Blissful Whites Wednesday. Check it out here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Checking In

Things have been pretty hectic around here for a while. We've had illness in the family, and all my attention has been on that. That's in a holding pattern right now so I thought I'd post on my current projects.

First some background: about a year ago, I was approached by an author regarding a book she was writing about tea cozies. She wanted to use a picture of one of mine in her book.
I gave her my permission for the one pictured above, and then again when she asked to include the one  below.
In our conversations, she mentioned the Pearly Kings and Queens of London and wondered if I'd ever thought to use them as inspiration for a cozy. I'd heard of them but had never been so inspired. Ah, but once she mentioned it....
It's a loose interpretation, and I don't love it, but it took hours and hours of work, and I'm not about to start all over with something that might please me more.

The final thing I have to show today is also button-related. I've seen--and admired--embroidered buttons on Etsy and thought I might try my hand at it. So I did one that was all over French knots. I was so underwhelmed I let it sit in my button box. The other day I came across it and wondered what I could do to kick it up a notch.
And yes I know my bullion stitches aren't to brag gable--barely showable--but I claim the difficulty in embroidering an already-covered button! I'm thinking this one I'll use as an accent on a matelasse pillow. More to come later.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pinterest Copycat

As I've come into a lot of doilies recently, I've been scouring the 'net for ideas for them, concentrating on pillows. I'm not that fond of those with a doily stitched full-on onto the front. Because I had one in the '70s, which I loved, the idea now seems dated to me. Anyway, I found this one that I really liked.
It's from a Turkish blog called Moab Like Braids. I liked it so much I decided to try one myself.

The pillow I made from a discarded matelasse bedskirt, ergo the size: 12"x12".  The doily was one of a pair I picked up at a thrift store.  I think they're gorgeous with the bunches of pouffy grapes. To that, I added roses leftover from another project, the lighter one of felted cashmere, and the two darker of felted camel hair. The images in the pocket are from Graphics Fairy--naturally.
So how'd I do? Is it bothersome that my pillow comes out lighter than the original? Shall I do a muslin for the next, since I still have another grape doily? (The doily shows up lighter in this pic than it actually is.) I'd love your comments.

I'll be linking to The Graphics Fairy Brag Monday and later in the week to Timewashed's White Wednesday.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Shades of White

I'm not a frilly person, but I do like things a little bit girly sometimes. The only places I try this, though, are my guest room and my studio. The studio, as usual, is so messy that I may never show it online,  but the guest room is normally relatively clean. (I say relatively cuz I cleaned out the closet in there over the weekend and still haven't found places to put the stuff I dragged out. But I can keep that stuff out of the photos!)

First I found a vintage matelasse spread on Etsy. (Because of the height of today's mattresses, vintage coverlets don't fit.) It works well with the bedskirt and the lamp shades I made earlier, and it started me on a search for more white.
In this shot, you can see both the graphic lamp shade and the one with the button band.
Another angle. (The green chair I hope to slipcover in the fall.)
I've been acquiring pillows all year. This one came from the thrift store. I cut a down bed pillow apart to make the insert.
This also came from the thrift store. I used the remainder of the bed pillow for this insert as well.
 This one I made last year. All those rolled roses. and I ran out of the felted cashmere before I had enough! Hence the red rose. I would have liked to have covered the entire pillow with roses, no gaps, but needs must when the devil drives.
Another one I made, more or less. I found a lovely hand-embroidered cutwork dresser scarf at the thrift shop and made a linen pillow to wrap it around. The blue glass is a button I made wrapping sterling wire around the glass. This one's on offer at my Etsy shop. 
 To close out, here's a close-up shot of the pillows on the bed. (The yellow pillowslips behind I had to add trim to make them long enough. Again, needs must. Or--necessity is the mother of creativity!) The doll in front was made for me quite some time ago by a dear friend. Isn't it gorgeous!

I've shared this post with Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday and Timewashed's Blissful White's Wednesday

I'd love to hear comments, and thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools Day and other miscellanea

Thirty-five years ago today, I married my husband for the second time. It's not an anniversary we celebrate, aside from a quick remembrance, since we were simply correcting a mistake I made in divorcing him in the first place. Well, I call it a mistake now but I'm sure that neither of us would be the people we are today had I not done it, nor would our relationship be quite what is either. At any rate, despite the naysayers. it's the best decision I ever made.

What else is happening this April 1st? Well, bluebonnets are blooming in our back pasture.
Actually, they're blooming all along that back road and in all the empty lots on our street.  It's a very pretty time of year in central Texas.
My jasmine is beginning to leaf at the bottom. I think the freeze killed all the vines from last year and I don't know how long it will take to get as full as it was, but it'll be fun to find out.

With that, I'll say goodbye. Y'all come back, ya hear?

Friday, March 8, 2013

And Yet Again

I've been working on a pair of tassels by request. I finished the first but wanted to run it by the client before I complete the second as I changed a few things from the one he referenced.
 The tassel head up close. (What appears to be white paint spots on the top bead is glare from the camera.)
The completed tassel. (The skirt appears darker than it is--again, lighting issues.)

So--done and done. This is me, back to the grindstone.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Done and Done

For the past year, I've been working on a couple of brooch bridal bouquets for my Etsy shop. Actually, at the start  I intended to do a single mixed metal bouquet, but that didn't float my boat so I separated it into two. That meant I had to search longer for pieces than I thought I would, but who doesn't love searching?
Here's the gold one as I was working on it. (I removed all the masking tape before I finished, but it's a handy way to hold things for a while.)
Here it is completed. Do you love it or am I just blinded by my own shining self?

I even added a decoration to the bottom of the handle.
Cool, innit?

To make the bouquet, I followed a number of tutorials I found on the 'net but they only took me so far. From there, I improvised. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, but think I'll take a break before working on the silver. (Finding silver tone pieces has been much more difficult than finding gold tone, perhaps because with the silver I want rhinestones. As a result, I've got a lot more money invested in the silver than in the gold.)

This is me, dusting my hands in satisfaction!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tassels Heard from Again

It's been awhile since I worked on tassels, but I recently had a request for a couple. I thought I'd use this blog to present ones I've already done. So here goes....
This is more formal, sort of elegant. I used bits of sample fringes to make it, bits I no longer have. It's not in the colorway the client wants, nor are any of the others I show here, but hopefully they'll give an indication of what I can do.
Only in the past few years have I been adding ruffs to tassels. I like the look of them, but they detract from the heads, which I consider the most creative part.
On this one, the ruff I added was more sparse so it doesn't completely obscure the head.
I like the ribbon yarn I used on this one, not that crazy about the ruff. If I try that technique again, I'll have to tweak it. (The yarn's in shades of blue and green. In this one, I emphasized the green more than the blue.)
This is probably my fave yarn. It's strips of silk cut from saris and sewn together. The colors are random but I like how they work together.

The tassel the customer referenced was made before I started adding ruffs. See how much more striking the head is without the ruff?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Button Lampshade and Thrift Store Lamps

I finally finished my button lampshade! It was a lot of work, and I can find oh so many things I don't like about it, but it's done. 'Nuff said.
I actually don't have problem with the shade as much as how it suits the lamp that bothers me. 
The lamp is formal, the shade feminine. Sometimes the difference bothers me, sometimes not not so much.

But finishing the shade got me thinking about thrift store lamps. I started thrifting years ago and found the lamp above in the late eighties in a DAV store in Oak Cliff, a Dallas neighborhood, for around $15. (Actually my friend found it and let me buy it. She's got the best eye of anyone I've ever known!) It's getting harder to find lamps of this quality anymore. Not impossible, just harder.
This one came from a junk shop in Mesquite, a Dallas suburb, around the same time. I paid $4 for it, but it had had its electrical bits removed. Isn't she gorgeous? A friend says she looks like Elizabeth Taylor, and maybe she does a bit.
The friend who found that first lamp found this one as well. As I said, she has an eye. Anything Margie finds is either beautiful or worth a lot of money, often both.

This was painted gold when she found it, though I think the original finish might have been bronze-like. I stripped as much of the gold paint as I could, but it'll never be what it once was.
Here's a closer look at the details. Cool, huh?

Several years ago I found a lamp for my sister and posted about it here.
I fell in love with it myself and if I hadn't already promised it to her would have kept it. Wouldn't my button lampshade look terrific on it? Ever since I've wanted one just like it, but they sell for several hundred dollars if you find them on the 'net. So I bought this one for about thirty dollars.
Similar but not the same quality and much larger. Hmm, wonder how my button lampshade would look on it. Maybe I'll try switching things around tomorrow.

I'm sharing this post with Chic on a Shoestring's Flaunt it Friday.  Check it out!