Ready, Aim, LAUNCH!

Woohoo! I just posted my new needlepoint designs on Etsy! I wish I had time to complete a finished version of each one. I have so many ideas for different types of thread and colors! The small circular designs are perfect as luggage tag inserts or ornaments. I love sewing needlepoint designs, but have found that the cost of most handpainted canvasses is really high (rightfully so, it does take skill and patience), the materials can be costly and that I wanted more exciting designs (no offense to any artists…I just wanted something to satisfy my peculiar sense of humor and appreciation for the cultural zeitgeist). I really hope that my pieces will appeal to a broad range of folks who like fun, edgy designs.

The canvasses are handpainted (by me, of course) on 18 count cotton canvas in acrylic paint. I’m having to learn as I go along about the process (like using #2 pencils is a bad idea because they smear) and the difference between painting individual intersections (which makes for pinpoint accurate stitching and easier stitching so you don’t have to make decisions about confusing intersections) and taking a more inaccurate, painterly approach (what I do thus far). I’m quite open to anyone who has great advice on creating more aesthetically pleasing canvasses. 

When it comes to choosing threads, I’ll admit that my favorites are the velvet threads (they stitch up beautifully with texture and dimension, plus the stitches blend in together for a really solid look) and the single ply silk threads (I hate plying threads…I’m lazy). My least favorite so far has been a delicate ribbon thread, which frayed horribly and split a lot, and a furry thread, which looked fantastic when finished, but was troublesome to work with. 

I’m hoping to take a class or two soon to learn better needlepoint sewing techniques (and hone my canvas painting craft). Until then, I’m gonna crank away and paint more fun stuff! Please feel free to let me know what you think and check out my Etsy page at Littlebirdsews. 

Posted in Accessory Design, art, Etsy, Gift ideas, Needlepoint, Ornaments, Painting | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Puppery Posting

I got some really sweet shots of the boys recently (and some other pup related pics), so enjoy…

Skyler is exhausted from ransacking the house. Toys everywhere! Blankets dragged around! Mayhem! Chaos! Running Amok!

Biscuit has the best skeptical face. He’s not putting up with these shenanigans. At ALL.

You’d never guess that he’s 12 years old…

Skyler, on the other hand, looks and acts like a sweetly grumpy little old man.

Still a puppy at heart and in his sleep…

Shades of Mr. Winkle here…

I recently repainted the headstones for two precious family dogs…Hunter and Whiskey Brooks. Dad has created a beautiful pet cemetery in their front yard, surrounded by stone pavers and covered in slate chips. Hunter, Lucy, Whiskey, Maggie, Ling Ling, Sunshine, Prissy and Thomasina are all interred there (plus quite a few of Patrick’s beloved betta fish). I’m so glad that we honor them in a special way. They brought so much joy to our lives, and still do, with the happy memories we shared.

I know…I’m bouncing around a lot. I was really impressed with Skyler’s most recent dental cleaning at the Paces Ferry Veterinary Clinic! Apparently, Chihuahuas have terrible teeth that need regular dental cleanings (every 6-12 months).

More sleeping puppehs…I love Skyler when he’s prancing in his dreams!

Such a sweet boy…

I love his pink belly and the pink insides of his ears!

Heather and Skyler…BFFs Forever! Heather takes great care of the boys when I’m at work!

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Bitsy Brooks…going for the nose shot!

Look at those moist brown eyes and that butterscotch nose! MWAH! Love you, Miss B!

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You Crafty Fox

I’ve been working hard on some new projects, hence the lack of writing. I love doing needlepoint and decided to make some of my own edgier, quirky pieces. They might appear on my Etsy site soon.

The circular designs are just the right size for luggage tags. Or small ornaments. I’m working on a peach version of the Panda canvas to frame for myself…

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Curves Ahead…

Happy New Year, Everyone! I’m finally getting back in gear after a lengthy holiday break. Spent lots of time with the folks, spent way too much time eating sausage balls, and spent the rest working on gifts. 

I’m starting 2017 off with a challenge for myself. My goal: to complete one quilt a month for the entire year! It’s not just ambitious…it’s absurd. Especially since I began the marathon with a tough design, one I vowed never to attempt again–curves! This arabesque design isn’t too difficult since it doesn’t require S-curves. The toughest part was cutting out all those little pieces. Most of the quilts are gifts for special people (but a couple are for me). 

The quilt below was created for Miss Veronica, one of the most gorgeous babies EVER! Her nursery is decorated in lavender, so I thought this beautiful bird print in mint, purple and lavender would match perfectly!

This big block quilt was my gift to Patrick for Christmas. I made him a small lap quilt a year ago, but I wanted to create something larger and more dynamic for him. I used Parson Gray fabric. The pattern looks complex, but is really very simple, using a 9 patch in the center, half square triangles and basic squares. I love the mod background with huge ovals!

Oops! Out of order! This is the front of Veronica’s quilt! The birds were all fussy cut. Dena, my long arm quilter, chose a gorgeous leaf pattern for the sandwich quilting. I love these colors!

Mom, Bam and I worked on these felt ball ornaments from Purl Soho. The kit was a little confusing at first, but they turned out so cute! I wish I had time to make dozens of these! They’d be perfect in a ball pit!

Skyler got into the ‘Nog. Look at those droopy eyes. Just kidding. We don’t drink nog in our house. He’s just being his usual sweet, yet grumpy, old self. The pups loved this spot under the Christmas tree!

I’m planning to hit the keyboard more often this year. I’ve missed it a lot (and my typing skills have suffered). And I’m hoping 2017 is going to be a better year, a healthier year, one spent outdoors and not in hospitals. “It’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright, sunshine-y day…”

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Merry Christmas…from the elevator…


Merry Christmas, Everyone! Regardless of what you celebrate, I love that this time of year, we can celebrate the people we love and share our joy! To all my family and friends, know that I love you, I appreciate you, I’m thankful for you. This year has been full of scary medical problems, but the love and support we received carried us through the hard times. 

Our family gathering last Sunday was wonderful, albeit fraught with peril during the preparation phase. Mom and Dad’s Christmas tree was still sitting outside on Sunday morning, an eight foot tall, full-bodied, live monster. The house was hopping like a stomped ant hill. Dogs running pell mell. Chex Mix flying around. Anarchy. 

Mom–ordering pizzas and prepping the kitchen with snacks, etc. 

Beth–driving to the store and running errands for Mom. 

Dad–full steroid mode, blowing leaves, barking orders.

Bo–following the general’s orders. 

The tree was moved to the corner of the main living room. Dad took my brother up to the attic to get the ornaments. While Bo was rummaging through the attic, Dad decided to load the cart up with items from my mother’s studio (the attic stairs come down into the hallway leading to the studio), but the attic stairs were IN HIS WAY. He pushes the stairs back up to the ceiling, trapping my brother in the attic. Dad wheels into the elevator, hits a button…and gets trapped between the second and first floor. He calls Mom from the elevator and tells her to get the key to manually release the elevator. Mom isn’t tall enough to reach the key atop the sill. Bo, my brother, IS able to, BUT, he’s trapped in the attic (insert R. Kelly song here). Mom can’t open the attic stairs because she’s not tall enough to reach the ring to pull it down, even with the pull stick. So, now Dad is trapped in the elevator and Bo is trapped in the attic. Mom can’t help either one of them. 

I am still not really certain how they were freed, but Dad and Bo were both running around again when I arrived a few hours later. Somehow, the tree was fully decorated, garland haphazardly draped. Mom and Beth erected the twins’ Christmas gift, an adorable teepee, and decorated it with a faux fur rug and soft stuffed animal pillows. I heard the entire story when I arrived with Bam and Papa, then spent several minutes giggling, especially while army-crawling under the tree to adjust the tree skirt. 

The Brooks/Cox/Saxby families noshed on New York Pizza Exchange Pizza (and Mellow Mushroom), various nibbles, and swigged delicious wine, Scotch and cocktails. And just so you know…no one else got trapped on the elevator. 

Enjoy the happy photos and have a FABULOUS NEW YEAR!!! 

Posted in Bam, Christmas, Family, friends, grandfather, grandmother, holidays, Mom, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Long overdue photo post…because, why not?

Howdy, y’all! Lots going on, so I haven’t had much time to post. Dad and I planted probably 10-15 flats of violas and dusty millers in the backyard near the fountain, in window boxes and in pots around the front of the house. We had such a good time jamming out to music…The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Otis Redding, U2. This photo was taken not long before a swarm of yellow jackets decided to, well, swarm. I’m mildly allergic so I had to quit for the day.

A gorgeous sunset view from Piedmont Park…

Silly Biscuit!

My most recent quilt project is progressing nicely despite a rather confusing pattern. I love the mustang fabric from Cotton + Steel.

Dad and I had such a great time planting flowers the first day. Gorgeous weather for gardening!

Patrick came home for Papa’s 85th birthday party! Handsome young man!

Biscuit getting love from Auntie Coco! (Yes, Skyler is there somewhere. Licking the floor, or the sofa.)

Mom and I snuck off to Nordstrom for some early holiday shopping…

Curtis looking like a little man!

McKayla is full of girly mischief…

I carved the heck outta that bird!

The two greatest Thanksgiving chefs EVER!!!

Skyler found a leftover birthday cake milkshake in the backyard. My little billy goat…

My brother got engaged to this gorgeous young lady, Becca! We are so thrilled that we met her parents and sister, and that our families will be connected by this adorable couple! Congratulations and best wishes for a lifetime of love and happiness!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

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The Wild Monkey Rumpus and other Halloween Shenanigans…

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m really late posting this. I have been slightly busy. Halloween is possibly my favorite holiday. On to the photos!

Danny and the Japanese Selfie Swan (lookup the video on YouTube–it’s priceless!) or Duck Dick. Whatever you wanna call it. So.Many. Innuendos. LOL.

Carrie (OG Sissy Space version, NOT CGM version) and the Selfie Swan

Carrie and Dark Shadows’ Barnabas Collins

How much fake blood did this take? One pint of stage blood initially. Three pints of acrylic paint. Two cans of spray blood. Four vials of wet dry blood. I’m a walking crime scene. 

Prince, Carrie and Vanity (what do we have in common? only one name each)

Orange flavored cake cupcakes with neon icing and tons of sprinkles!

SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM! Macho Man Randy Savage

Ready for Round Two! Suzy Bishop and Sam Shakusky running away to a wild monkey rumpus…

I don’t know who this lady was but she is so elegant…possibly a SUPREME. 

Kitten in fishing creel. Check. Binoculars. Check. Saddle shoes and lace top knee socks. Check. 

Oh, and blue eyeshadow, because Suzy is twelve. 

Precious capuchin monkey, not in costume. Loves grapes. 

Miss Veronica! OMG! In love with this gorgeous baby supermodel! 

Melody make Curtis and McKayla these adorable Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf costumes herself! 

MY, what BIG eyes YOU have!

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