Friday, January 30, 2015

Inspire Your Heart with Art...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends ~

Did you know that Saturday, January 31, 2015 is
"Inspire Your Heart with Art Day"

I was invited to write about how Art Inspires My Heart by Patience Brewster, an artist who specializes in ornaments and gifts.  

I typically do not accept invitations such as these because (to be honest) this is my blog and I want it to be a representation of me, not a free advertisement for others. However in correspondence with Patience Brewster's daughter, Marietta, about this National Day of Art Inspiration, I felt that it did encompass me and my life, so I accepted the invitation graciously, and here we are ready to learn how Art Inspires My Heart!


what is art? If you look up the word art in the dictionary the definition is: 
something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings
Well that's sort of rigid, isn't it. I agree imagination is typically always used. Skill? hmmm...maybe not so skillful in every step of the process I employ. Beautiful? well I've created some pretty bufugly things before. Expresses important ideas or feelings? well......I'm not trying to change the world when I create. So...I guess I cannot be considered an artist.

that's not right either. Let's just say that the art that I create is one that inspires me, inspires my family and if I'm lucky it inspires a whole lot of people from all over the world that I'm lucky to have come and visit me, encourage me, right here in my little corner of cyberspace. I sure know that when I visit other little corners of cyberspace, I sure do get inspired with the art they choose to create! 

I have been very blessed with a very active imagination....
I sometimes will not be able to sleep all night long (I'm not kidding!) thinking about how I'm going to finish something, how I'm going to decorate my house, what I'm going to stitch next, how many ornaments my poor tree will be able to hold before it falls over... 

In fact I have learned that...
I cannot look at Pinterest or Blogs (of any kind) before I go to bed, if I do...forget it, sleep will never come because I'm plotting, planning, creating in my mind.

A good example of this is...
Barn Quilts. Familiar with them? If not they are similar to this: 

I don't have a barn. But I'm going to have one of these quilts in my landscaping this year. Period. I've got it all planned out, two sleepless nights and a whole lot of research proves that! I know how I'm going to make it, where its going to go, patterns I'm using - well you get the idea. In fact, last night I realized I actually could have TWO barn quilts in my landscaping, one in the front of the house and one on the side (we live on a corner) so...visibility on three sides of our home. Barn Quilts...its happening at my house this spring. Period. My husband...he rolls his eyes, shakes his head and...endures


So one way my heart is inspired with art...
 is through making things and decorating my home with my handmade items. How do I do this? Well I don't draw or sculpt, but I paint with needle and thread onto a canvas of linen and create treasures for my family to enjoy. Such as this little ornament that shall adorn our Christmas tree: 
Country Cottage Needleworks motif taken from Snow Sampler
This sweet ornament was created using a motif from:
"Snow Sampler"
I converted the DMC cottons into over-dyes from Classic Colorworks
I used colors that was in the same colorway as the DMC, but the varigation found in the overdyes makes the colors a little more interesting. 
I finished it into an ornament using rick-rack that I had hand-dyed myself to compliment the fabric I had on hand to finish it. I'm really pleased with how this all turned out.

As if you, my loyal blog friends, don't already know this fact: I love Christmas and I adore making ornaments for our tree! So that is another way my heart is inspired by art...through the finishing of my stitched pieces creatively to make the stitched piece shine to its utmost potential. I love to think up new ways to spotlight my stitching. 

My children got some of my creativity genes...
and I'd now like to share with you some of their creativity with art.

My eldest...Katie:


When she was a little girl, used to color and draw and craft up a storm! As she's grown she hasn't had as much time as she did when she was a little girl, but at 17 years old and a junior in High School, she's got places to go and people to see and classes to study for! But there was a summer where I enrolled her in a summer camp art class at John Waldron Art Center and she made me a beautiful item that sits in my corner display case top and center:Katie's Clay Bird in Nest
Katie's Pottery "Bird in Nest"
Created just for me when she was 12 years old
Katie inspired my heart with her art!

My eldest twin boy...Ian:

isn't as crafty as some of my other kiddos but this year he needed to fill a slot in his class roster and chose to take Stained Glass. I was shocked to say the least, but then he came home with some really great projects that I have displayed in our windows. When the light shines through them, they make me smile! (today isn't such a lovely day...)

"Tulip Window Pane"Ian's Clear Glass Suncatcher

"Geometrical Stain Glass Window"
Ian's Geometrical Stain Glass Window

Ian's stained glass projects inspire my heart with art!

My youngest twin boy....Jacob:

used to sit for hours and draw and draw! I have a beautiful Nativity Story Book that was made by Jacob when he was just a little boy. His pictures portraying the birth of Jesus are beautiful and I enjoy pulling it out and looking at it every Christmas season. But when Jacob was in Second Grade he won Youth Art Month for his school and his work was displayed in a month long showing at the Indiana University Art Museum! Jacob's Second Grade experience wasn't so joyful. He had a lot of learning problems and sadly he and his teacher just didn't "jive". In his Third Grade year he was diagnosed with a learning disability and things really didn't even out until he was in Seventh Grade. Those handful of years and the struggles that we faced as a family was made better by allowing Jacob to create. I sent him to art classes for drawing and cartoon creating at John Waldron. To focus on something outside of the classroom was a blessing to Jacob, as he had a lot of negativity at school. So between Art, Karate and Boy Scouts we got Jacob through some tough times. When he was chosen as artist for the second grade representing his school...that was the most jubilant wonderful thing that could have happened. Here is his wax and watercolor painting:

Jacob's Swim With the Dolphins
"Swim with the Dolphins" 
a self portrait by Jacob Pfeiffer

Jacob inspires my heart with his spirit, but he also inspires my heart with his art!

Bringing up the rear of the Pfeiffer clan is....Miss Ellie:

Out of all four of my children, Miss Ellie is the most creative by far. She is constantly creating. Her venue of choice is drawing. She watches You Tube videos of drawing techniques all the time, she checks out drawing books at our local library, she saves her allowance to purchase drawing books, she is drawing, drawing, drawing! 
Last year, following in her brother's footsteps, she also won artist for her school and her art work was on display at the Indiana University Art Museum the entire month of March. Here is her winning submission:
Ellie's At The Circus
"A Day at the Circus"

I have been the recipient of many lovely handmade gifts from all of my children, but Ellie has made the most gifts. When she was in first grade she made me this lovely plate...I love how I am pencil thin and tall and my hair has that perfect curled and flyaway look that I always strive for :)
Ellie's Family Plate

Last year at Christmas she made me a pinch pot for my scissors that was glazed and fired to match my stitching chair (arm visible in picture)!
Ellie's Scissors Pinch Pot

Like I said before, Ellie is always practicing her drawing...
Here is a picture I snapped this morning of her toy box with her write-on/wipe-off board on top with this gorgeous Mermaid. Look at that tail detail!

Ellie's Mermaid

I'll admit.....
sometimes I get tired of picking up papers scattered all over the floor....but an artist has to have their creative times at a moment's notice! She's really trying hard to learn how to draw portraits...can you tell?
Ellie's Art

Last night...
 I was gifted this self portrait of Ellie walking home from school. See the house and the sidewalk? Ellie has a doggie sock-hat that has button eyes and muzzle with bows on the ears and long braids that come down the side and ends in puppy dog paws. I love the detail of that hat, not to mention the gorgeous shirt detail and the skirt that she's wearing.Ellie Walking Home From School

Ellie is just 9 years old...and her art inspires my heart!

You know what other kind of art inspires my heart?
The art of my creator...I look out my window and whether I see sunshine with big cottony clouds billowing by, pouring rain with slashing lightening, silently falling snow powdering the ground, angry churning clouds heralding an upcoming storm, blooming spring flowers dotting the greening grass or the world painted in colors of autumn matter what the season or time of day or heart is inspired by the art of Mother Nature!

I also am lucky...
 to live in a college town and have access to beautiful art in museums. 
I've already mentioned the: Indiana University Art Museum
but also in my city of Bloomington, Indiana we have a second art museum that showcases art of primitive and past peoples found in the study or archaeology at: Mather's Museum Of World Cultures. In fact Bloomington is home to many artists and there are many artist colonies in the surrounding counties. The famous artist T.C. Steele was born in Owen County and his adult home (that he shared with his wife) is in Brown County, Indiana. Brown County is just a quick 20-25 minute drive from my doorstep. In fact, Brown County is a well known artist colony and highly visited during the autumn season because of its scenic rolling hills and beautiful fall foilage. Learn about it here: Brown County, Indiana . 

Just north of Bloomington is Indianapolis, Indiana and it is home to some very wonderful museums of art:
and the Eiteljorg Museum of Art which is the countries leading museum of Western art.

I am surrounded by art....and it inspires my heart!

So there you go....
Saturday, January 31, 2015 = Inspire Your Heart with Art Day!
A fabulous day to think about art, what it does for your heart and what you can do to inspire your heart with the art that surrounds you and what you can create to inspire your heart with art!

Until next time...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and heart to God, just like always, inspiring my heart with some art!

Love in stitches,
Vonna  xxxx

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hello Peeps...

~ Greetings Friends ~ 
I have been a busy little beaver again and got lost somewhere between January 6 and January 28... Ha! 
I will be back in a couple of days with a more updated and content rich post for a very special day, however I wanted to introduce  you all to a new blogger and cross stitch designer! 
Please meet Holly of Misty Hill Studios.

 She has released her first design:

 Crow on Snow

 isn't it so darling?


If you are a Facebook User, please "LIKE" her page: Misty Hill Studio 
but even if you don't do Facebook, please load her Blog into your reader and go on over today and give her a welcome to Blogland. Here is a link: Misty Hill Studio Blog

See you in a couple of days!
Until then, I'll be keeping my hands to work and heart to God, just like always!
Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Winter is here...

~Happy New Year ~
and a very warm, wintery Welcome to you, my friends!

Come on inside and sit a spell with me...

Would you like a tour of our wintry decorations?
Well let's take a look...

January's Calendar Girl from Little House Needleworks popped out of the 'ol ironstone bowl and got to make her month's debut. December girl...all worn out from her month long party, jumped back in the bowl and to the back of the line, waiting for her return to shine. You can see February and March patiently waiting their turn..

LHN_January Girls

Have you ever noticed...
that I hang things in my windows pertaining to the seasons? Well for winter...of course it is big silver, glittered *SNOW FLAKES*...
the glitter hangs to the outside and you ought to see them shine when the sun hits them! I do it for me really, but you wouldn't believe how many neighbors stop and tell me they love to see what is hanging in my windows. 
(at Christmas it was Peppermint Candies... then snowflakes for winter... Easter I have eggs and then summer stars...)

Living Room Windows and Hearth

Here's some more wintry things on display....

~my Uhl crock is filled with white lights and then I made it into a "snowman"~ 

Over the River
~Over the River and Through the Woods by Little House Needleworks~

Snowman Pennies 
~A sweet Snowman on a penny rug both gifted to me years ago from my dear friend Marie P ~ 

  Snow Guy on my Pie Safe
~A happy little snow guy hanging from the knob on my pie safe ~

Tree and Sled
~A sled leaning against the sweetest pine tree ~

Winter Hearth
~ Ellie and I made clothespin snowflakes to hang on our Winter Wonderland mantle ~

Winter in the Entry
~ And the top of my Grandmother's china cabinet (filled with my great-grandmother's china,I might add) is topped with a snowy saltbox village ~

There you have Winter at the Pfeiffer House :)

Now on to some stitching, I know that's why you stopped by.....
On the very night of New Year's Eve, I slipped the very final stitches on:

"Christmas Carols"
by The Little Stitcher
from the design pack entitled "Red Christmas"
stitched on 32 ct. Vintage Examplar
using DMC as charted
Little Stitcher_Christmas Carols from Red Christmas

You will have to wait...
to see how I finish up "Christmas Carols" next December during the 25 Days of Christmas with
The Twisted Stitcher! 

On January 1, 2015...
in the very, early morning I slipped the first stitches into my New Year start and just last night I finished the stitching and just this afternoon I finished the *finishing*. 

So may I present to you, my first stitching finish and *finish* finish of 2015:

"North Pole Express"
by Little House Needleworks
stitched with Classic Colorwork cottons
on 32 ct. Natural linen

LHN_North Pole Express_with wintery pick

Do you like it? 
Well it can be yours by simply telling your Local Needlework Shop OR your favorite On-line Needlework Shop that you would like the North Pole Express pattern, that is a "FREE WITH PURCHASE" of the needed Classic Colorworks cottons to stitch the design. 

When I was thinking about how to finish this design...
I wanted it to work with my "winter" decor. So I pulled colors from the design and also played on key motifs from the design in little details to make the finish special. Its truly all in the details.

A big snowflake silver jingle bell with a twist of burlap ribbon...
Jingle Bell detail

Something I've always wanted to try was reverse applique...
so I tried it and it worked! Along with a "divider" of burlap ribbon and chocolate colored rickrack and a sweet bow tacked on just because...
Reverse Applique detail

Do you decorate with your Cross Stitched items?
I sure do, as I am sure you know by now.
But there is variety in decorating with cross stitched pieces.
This piece can be displayed like I have above, with a sprig of wintry mix or you can:

add it to your favorite chair...

LHN_North Pole Express_cozies up a chair

Or twist some jute twine and take a safety pin and attach the jute cording to each corner and ....


make a wintry door decoration!
Winter Back Door

I think...
that's pretty perfect right there...hanging on my door where I can see it and smile every time I pass.
Next year, if I don't want it as a door decoration, I can remove the safety pins and tuck it in my chair or pretty up a spray of wintery greens, it all depends on my creative mood that season!

Thank you for your visits...
have I told you lately how much they mean to me? 
Well they mean a lot! Thank you! 
thank you too for your kind comments and words! They make my heart smile.
for those of you that commented or e-mailed me after watching my "vlog" from the post before...
Yes! I do have a Southern twang. I grew up near Evansville, Indiana in a very small town and the proximity to Kentucky influenced the speech dialect down there. Or heck, its just hick, I don't know. But maybe you can just look at it as a little dose of added charm? 

 although I'll admit I was trying very hard to tone it down in the video, but it still wormed its way in. 
....ha ha ha...

Until next time...
I'll be keeping my hands to work and my heart to God, just like always. 
Join me!

Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx