Monday, September 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-27-10

I'm still working on Front Street Memories so my design wall has not changed much, just moved to my dining room table so I have more room to work. I did, however, spend quite a bit of time updating my quilting scrapbook. I have a record of every quilt and quilted items (like tablerunners) I have made along with a photo, and in most cases I even have a photo of the recipient if it was a gift. I am so glad I've taken the time to assemble this simple scrapbook and I love going back through it and remembering the various pieces I've made. It was was overdue for an update. I include photos and a brief paragraph describing the piece, the title and date, the inspiration, who machine quilted it if it was machine quilted, if it won any ribbons at a show, etc. Once a quilt is given as a gift, sometimes it's very difficult to go back and try to get a photo.
Am linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times today. Her blog is such a source of inspiration for not only quilting, but cooking and just enjoying life in general.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Fabulous Dream

This is Fletch. Fletch was 2 years old when he came to live with us in 2002. He was supposed to be my son's dog, but ended up being my delightful, big, sweet, stinky baby. Fletch was a very big guy - about 110 lbs but not overweight. He was smart and wanted so badly to be a lap-dog. He loved to snuggle. He was a gentle beast in every way. He passed away during Christmas 2008. It was very unexpected as I didn't even know the big guy was sick - he hid it so well or maybe I just didn't want to see it. It broke my heart to have to kennel him on Christmas Eve 2008 because we were going out of town and it was one of the few places the big guy just couldn't go with us; I kept telling Bruce that I felt just awful that Fletch wasn't going to be with us for the holidays. 2 days later the vet called to tell me Fletch was seriously down with lung cancer. We left Atlanta right away but it's an 8 hour drive and Fletch died 2 hours after the vet's phone call. Not for an instant when I left him at the kennel did I think I'd never see him again.
Well, last night I had a most delightful dream. I was sitting on my living room floor and had called Fletch to me so I could put his collar on. He came up to me and sat down, then scootched in real close which is what he would do when he wanted a hug. I wrapped my arms around his big neck and could smell his oily skin, feel the roughness of his fur, feel the substance and warmth of his body. We sat like that for a long time but gradually the dream faded. I did not want to get out of bed, trying to keep that feeling alive for a little while longer but eventually reality called and Charleston was asking to go outside for his morning constitutional, reminding me that it was a new and wonderful day.
It was a delightful way to start my day, with an unexpected but most welcomed visit from my big guy. I still sorely miss him.

Front Street Memories

It's rocking right along. This has been such a fun project. I've spent this week adding the "gingerbread" and imaginging and dreaming more things to add to it. Am working on the store fronts now and thinking about printing some images and words onto fabric for iron transfer. Does anyone have any suggestions about that technique?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-20-10

On my design wall this week is Front Street Memories. It is a 22" tall x 6-foot long applique wall hanging that is a whimsical tribute to my hometown of Beaufort, NC. I've named the buildings after the businesses that existed when I was a little girl - some still exist but most have since closed up shop. There is a ton of detail work left to do: shutters, flowers, flower boxes, boards, window panes, maybe a cat or dog, dressing up the store front windows, shop names. Even though there is a lot left to do, it is all fun stuff. I'll satin stitch around as much of the detailing as I can. I will use the sewing machine and embroidery for some of the detailing as well. For the building names I plan to use a transfer. And I may even use pen & ink for some of the detail work.

Speaking of sewing machines. Thursday I packed up my machine and took it to the shop for servicing. They had it ready Friday and Saturday I gave it a work out. It runs like it's brand new! Now I'm just sorry that I waited so long to take it in for servicing. Oh well, live and learn. It's now working well.
I'm linking up Monday to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My House - I Love My House

And it's really a nothing special house. It was sort of a track-home in a nice neighborhood. You know the saying - don't buy the most expensive house in a crappy neighborhood, but buy the cheapest house in an expensive neighborhood ... that's kind of what I did. Initially the house was a 3 bedroom-2 bath-one floor very plain but open design 1550 square foot home. It's probably one of the smallest homes in the neighborhood, and one of the most plain homes - at least it was!

That was in 1999.

Since 1999 I've made some major changes. First thing was finishing out 3/4 of the attic and adding 400 sq ft of living space - one big open family room and a half bath with a beautiful wooden spiral staircase that leads to the upstairs space. However, lesson learned about using a contractor that might not know what the heck he's doing ... the job took 6 months and I had to call and fight every step of the way to get the contractor and his workers to my house to do the job - 6 months was waaaay too long for this job. Also, the top of spiral staircase met up with the slant of the roof so there was only about 5 feet of clearance space - you had to really duck and almost crawl to get into the space - this is definitely a major design flaw that the contractor should have warned me about so we could look at placing the spiral staircase somewhere else or doing a totally different stair design. After some haggling-fighting-threatening-nagging the contractor did add a dormer over the spiral staircase that corrected the problem and actually added a lovely additional window and look to the space. That contractor has since gone out of business ... doh! The spiral staircase ... I love it - it is like a piece of art just hanging out in my house.

Then I added a sunroom onto the back of the house in the space where the little useless pre-fab "deck" used to be - that added 160 square feet of wonderful space and is a 3 season room although I use it all but maybe 30 days out of the year - yeah, it gets a little cool (okay COLD) in the winter but I still love it. I bought a portable A/C unit specifically for that space. Were I to do THAT over again I would upgrade my main A/C unit and have duct work run to the room. Again, the contractor that did that job should have suggested that because I was very vocal about how I wanted to use the room every single day. It's especially fabulous to be out there during a thunderstorm. And my cat thinks I had that space built just for him. Of course, he also thinks I had the spiral staircase built just for him.

I've also painted, added granite countertops in the kitchen, added a whole row of countertop space and cabinets in the kitchen with shelving over it, remodeled the master bath, redone all the landscaping, added a beautiful and large deck space off the sunroom and then added a pergola on the deck. I've repainted the front door and shutters from red to a blue color. Oh yeah, I removed the stupid cheap-o front door that came with the house and installed one with a large oval glass insert. I've changed out light fixtures and ceiling fans. I'm sure there are many other things I've done to the house to personalize it but those are the major things that come to mind.

There are still many things I'd like to do to my house - that saying, "House Done - Man Dies" scares me out of my wits! hahahaha I'd like to add crown moulding in the living room and hallway. I'd like to put down new flooring in my kitchen/dining area. I'd like to rip up the only carpet that remains in the house (the bedrooms) and put down wood floors. I'd like to remodel the 2nd main floor bathroom into something a bit trendier (I'm formulating a plan for that now). I'm getting a bit tired of the paint color so I'd like to repaint. Whenever my son is out on his own and totally moves out, I'd like to reclaim the upstairs space that is now his "man cave" and change it into a humongous craft and sewing room. I removed the door on the entry-way closet making that a more open space and mini-mudroom, which has just shown me that I now want to totally remove that little closet space and make the whole living room area open. And the "wants" and ideas just keep rolling.

But the house is soooo imprinted now with my style and the way I live, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. I've named it The Burrow because that is what it is to me. A safe and comfortable burrow that totally reflects my style - it's a space that I look forward to coming home to.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-13-10

I'll be linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

I had a very productive week quilting-wise. I finished two quilt tops. The first one is Ocean Mist made with the Ocean Mist jelly roll by South Seas Batik; the pattern came from their website as well. I added my own take on the borders. Overall it went together well.

The second quilt top was one I had not intended to finish so quickly. Saturday I finished Ocean Mist so I decided to start cutting out the fabrics for Cabin In The Orchard (from the book Patchwork Comforters, Throws & Quilts). Usually I put my own spin on fabrics for quilt patterns that I like, but I loved the fabrics used in this piece. The focal fabric was the apple fabric. I found a great match for it and immediately knew that I was going to make this quilt. I love the color red, so that is probably what appealed to me about it. So anyway, Saturday I started cutting out the fabrics and by the time I called it a night half the quilt top was finished. Well, I couldn't wait to get up Sunday and get back to work on - 5 more hours of work and the entire quilt top was finished - and I love it! This one obviously went together very easily. I love the Log Cabin block anyway - it's so versatile.

So now I have nothing on my design wall - yet! My next few projects are all applique starting with an original design by me that I'll post next week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Wedding Quilt - pondering the borders

The main part of the quilt is together and now I'm pondering the borders. I like the purple-red border; it gives the piece a little extra pizzazz. And the wide blue border makes the blue "flag" pieces on each block pop. I'll probably go with this design but I'm leaving it on the design wall for 24 hours so I can keep walking by and looking at it.

What do you think?

I Love Autumn!

I know it's still 2 weeks away, but I am so excited to be seeing the signs of autumn. The corn fields are ready to be tilled under. The farmers are busy harvesting soybeans and peanuts. Tobacco harvesting is just about finished. Cotton harvesting will begin soon and the little white puff balls are starting to peek through the green foliage. The air looks clean ... it's clear and feels crisp in the mornings, and has a delightful fresh scent.

I love moving a little slower during the autumn season ... taking a little more time to hang the clothes on the line, sweeping the front porch and sidewalk every day instead of just a couple of times a week just as an excuse to be outside, preparing some of the houseplants that have vacationed in the shade garden during the summer for their journey back into the house for winter, fixing a sandwich for supper and sitting outside on the deck and just staring at the creek and the trees as the leaves begin to fall.

This photo was taken in my hood last autumn the day after Thanksgiving and is one of my all-time favorite photos.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Design Wall Monday 9-6-10 - The Wedding Quilt Continues

Monday I will be linking to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

The wedding quilt ("Ocean Mist") is coming together nicely. In fact, so far it's gone together beautifully. There are 7 more blocks to piece, each one becoming a lighter and lighter hue. It will be framed with a border of the white fabric. A 2nd border will be purple-red batik and a 3rd border will be the same dark blue batik that all the blocks have in common - what I'm calling the little "flag pieces". It should be ready for Lilly Lucier to machine quilt in about a week. I'm pondering whether I should send it on to Lilly or be patient and wait for her to come to the quilt shop in a couple of weeks ...

This quilt has been my first foray into the world of jellyroll fabrics. I would buy another jellyroll in a heartbeat. What a great way to get to sample a whole collection. In this jellyroll there were 2 strips of 22 different fabrics.

My next quilt will be a lapsize quilt called Cabin in the Orchard. It is from the book Patchwork Comforters, Throws & Quilts and features my favorite color - RED. I can hardly wait to get started on it. I need one more dark red then I'll be ready to start cutting. After that I plan to work on several applique projects that will not require my sewing machine's services ... since my machine and I are still having a love-hate relationship, when I get to that point I will pack it up and take it to the shop for some much need maintenance.

I hope everyone had a delightful Labor Day holiday weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Sunshine" Wall Hanging

This is a foundation paper-pieced star ("Maryland") from Carol Doak's book about the 50 stars of the 50 states. After this paper piecing project, I believe I will set that technique aside for a while. I enjoy it but am a little burnt out on it right now. I am pleased with the way this turned out. The photos don't do it justice because the "sun" is comprised of 4 different yellows and golds that don't really show up. It's approximately 42" square. My quandry now is whether to send it to Lilly Lucier for machine quilting, or quilt it myself. Lilly always does such a beautiful job; I'm leaning that way. Plus, this will be a piece I enter in our local guild's 2012 quilt show.

Next, Laura's and Ruben's wedding quilt is begging me to "get 'er done". It's comprised of white and varying hues of blue and green batik fabrics from South Sea Batiks Ocean Mist collection, hence the name of the quilt will be "Ocean Mist". I don't know the name of the block - once it's on the design wall and I post a photo, maybe someone can tell me. The quilt pattern came from the South Seas Batik website and it was easy to look at it and figure out how to make it. It will be 4 blocks wide and 5 blocks deep. The block in the bottom right corner will be the darkest hue and the colors progress to a gradual light blue in the top left corner. I hope to have several blocks on the design wall in a few days.

After that, an apple quilt. Then 4 applique wall hangings.

Gosh, I love quilting ...