My husband and I are still in Georgia, enjoying a few more days with my sister Diane and her husband Ed. With memories of a fabulous Thanksgiving feast behind us, our thoughts are now turning toward the next big holiday.
Diane has been decorating their home for Christmas, with a few items chosen to delight their seven-year-old grandson. In the dining room, for example, Santa reigns:
The garland on the built-in buffet is adorned with sparkly fruit and berries:
Suspended from the light fixture in the hallway is a pair of kissing balls the size of bowling balls:
In the living room, the mantel is decorated with an elegant lighted garland:
Also in the living room are a couple of simple but elegant additions. . .
. . . and a tiny tree next to the piano:
In the kitchen you’ll find this charming vignette above the range:
The front and back doors have large wreaths:
Even the powder room gets the holiday treatment:
Every day I notice something new: kitchen towels decorated with snowmen, jingle bells and tiny needlepoint pillows hanging from doorknobs, Christmas-themed bowls and spreaders for hors d’oeuvres displayed on the counter, a nutcracker standing guard on the fireplace surround.
I really do think Diane has a knack for decorating. Her home is graciously appointed all year around but right now, decked out for the holidays, it is especially beautiful.
It’s Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful to be here in Georgia at the home of my twin sister, Diane, celebrating with her family and my own DH. After six days away from my sewing machine, however, I am eager to get back behind the wheel. (A sewing machine has a flywheel, after all.)
Many years ago I brought my old Elna sewing machine (purchased in 1975) to Diane’s home, and I have worked on many a quilt and home dec project since then. This year I brought a few small projects from home to work on, including a new sewing tool caddy using some favorite fabrics I have used on other quilting accessories:
The pattern (Travel Case by Pearl P. Pereira of 3designs.com) calls for three pockets on the inside to hold tools but I am adding a fourth pocket:
My fabrics are cut and ready to sew but I am putting everything away for now to help Diane with Thanksgiving Dinner. The air is already redolent with the smell of pumpkin pie, which just came out of the oven. The turkey goes in next!
For those of you who celebrate American Thanksgiving, I hope the same good smells are permeating your home and that you too are spending the day with loved ones.
Do you play bridge? I like to play poker and pinochle but I must confess that bridge completely mystifies me. My stepmother, Shirley, is a champion bridge player. She qualifies as a Ruby Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League’s masterpoint ranking system, so she must be pretty good. She’s actually gone on cruises where she taught bridge and had all her expenses paid. Sweet!
So what’s an avid bridge player to do when she has arthritis in her hands and finds it difficult to hold a full bridge hand of 13 cards? If she has a stepdaughter who likes to sew, she asks her to make a card holder. And that’s exactly what I did for Shirley. This is what it looks like:
The cardholder measures approximately 14″ x 8″. The bottom is divided into two sections, with each section easily holding two suits.
The top of the card holder is divided into four sections, each of which contains some evenly divided #12 shot to weight the holder at the top.
On the back of the card holder, at the top, I stitched a length of anti-skid grip-cloth fabric (the kind used on the bottom of children’s pajama feet) to keep the holder from slipping on the table top:
When Shirley sits at the table to play her bridge hand, this is what it looks like:
Shirley’s cards are out of sight of the players on either side of her but easy for her to see and pull out to play.
I didn’t just dream up this design. A friend of Shirley’s had made a similar one for her but it didn’t have the gripper fabric on the back and was made of just one layer of fabric. I used two layers, interfacing one layer for additional stability, and made a couple of other small changes at Shirley’s request.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and my stepmom is delighted. As my sister Diane would say, “elegantly simple and simply elegant!”
The “someone special” is my stepmother Shirley, aka the Irish Princess. That’s what my dad calls her. They’ve been married well over 50 years, and I think she has earned the title.
Shirley asked me to make a quilted case for her new iPad Pro. She got the 9.7″-inch size, the smaller of two sizes the iPad Pro comes in. When I asked about fabric colors for the case, she simply asked for “something with green.”
“No problem!” said I, knowing I have more greens in my stash than any other color. I picked a brightly colored leaf print on a black background and then chose four other prints containing green for the lining, pockets, and binding.
Here’s a look at Shirley’s iPad Pro cover along with a mock tablet measuring 6⅝” x 9½” that I cut from a piece of foam core similar in thickness to the real thing:
When folded, as in the photo above, the cover measures 8″ x 10½”.
Here’s what the cover looks like on the inside:
The striped pocket on the upper inside holds the charger cord; the lower pocket in the leaf print is divided. The wide side is for earphones, the narrow one for a stylus or pen.
Now for the back of the cover:
See those two green elastic strips? They come around to the front to hold the case together when it needs to be closed, say for travel:
In their original position the elastic strips help hold the iPad Pro in place if Shirley wants to lay it on a flat surface to use it. The back of the cover is fortified with Peltex, a very stiff interfacing.
Shirley’s iPad Pro cover is modeled on one I made in 2013 for my iPad Mini. I made a few other versions, pictured here, for family and friends:
All I needed to do to make this one for Shirley was to change the dimensions.
Here it is, my first test block using a new grouping of fabrics I wrote about in my last post:
The pattern is Refresh, designed by Deb Mulder for Anka’s Treasures. The instructions were written for an 18″ block but I resized it to 16″. Wonder why? Well, I like to make my block components — in this case half square triangles, flying geese, and hourglass blocks — slightly oversize and then trim them to just the right size. The directions for Refresh didn’t call for that, and I found it easier to figure the math for a slightly smaller block.
The other pattern I am considering for this fabric grouping is Swoon, surely one of the most popular patterns in the quilt universe. The original Swoon pattern, designed by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms, creates 24″ blocks. She has since added three other versions in different block sizes: Swoon Sixteen (16″ blocks, of course), Mini Swoon (8″ blocks), and Patchwork Swoon, one huge block that finishes at 72″ square.
I bought Camille’s Mini Swoon pattern last year but wanted this block to finish at 16″, the same size as my Refresh block, so I resized it as well. Here is my Swoon test block:
What do you think? Do you like one better than the other?
I’m making two baby quilts, both for little girls. I can either make both quilts from one pattern or do one of each. Because the blocks are so large, each quilt takes only four blocks (plus sashing and borders). I could be a fourth of the way done if I opt for both patterns.
The Dear Husband and I got back yesterday from a three-day trip to Seattle, occasioned by the Detroit Tigers coming to town to play the Seattle Mariners in a three-game stand. The DH, a Michigander by birth, roots for the Tigers. I root for the Mariners, but both of us appreciate a good play in baseball, regardless of which side makes it.
We boarded Amtrak in Portland Monday morning for the relaxing 3½-hour train ride to Seattle’s King Street Station. It’s been three years since the grand waiting room in King Street Station was restored to its original 1906 glory but I never tire of taking in the view:
Here’s a close-up of the ornamental plaster ceiling . . .
. . . and the fluted Corinthian columns:
Did you happen to notice the glass mosaic tiles on the column in the picture above? That design on the edge of the column would make a striking quilt block, don’t you think?
If the design shows up on a quilt of mine, you’ll know where I got the inspiration.
More quilt inspiration can be found at Union Station, right next door to King Street Station. Originally a train station, the building was restored about 15 years ago after sitting empty for three decades. It’s now the headquarters of Sound Transit, providing express bus, commuter rail, and light rail service in the region, but the grand hall can be rented out for weddings and other events:
What about that quilty inspiration? Look no farther than your feet:
On Tuesday we visited my best friend from college, who served us an elegant lunch in her gracious home. We were in a suburb of Seattle but I felt like we had stepped into a bistro in Provence:
Here’s a look from the other side of the room:
Isn’t that a beautifully set table? Sandy served an elegant cold spinach soup made from a Julia Child recipe. We sipped wine (Vouvray) and water from vintage glasses, which of course made them taste that much better. The roses on the table are from Sandy’s gorgeous garden.
No trip to Seattle would be complete without a stroll through Pike Place Market, so the DH and I did that on our last full day:
I always make it a point to visit Undercover Quilts, which recently moved to a new location at the north end of Pike Place Market:
Did I support my local quilt shop? Why, yes, I did.
A few blocks away I stopped in at AllSaints, a clothing store on Fifth Avenue — not to shop for clothes but to admire the décor. Over 500 vintage sewing machines line the exterior windows and interior walls of this store:
I was in my element!
Mindful that our sojourn to Seattle was for baseball, I took this picture of Safeco Field from our hotel room, directly across the street from the stadium:
On Thursday morning, we were homeward bound on Amtrak. It was a terrific little getaway, and we’ll do it again next year when the Tigers come back to Seattle to play baseball. Oh, by the way, the Mariners won all three games.
A couple of days before leaving for Seattle, I went over to the Oregon coast with my quilt group, the Quisters, to see the 26th annual Quilts by the Sea show presented by the Oregon Coastal Quilt Guild. In my next post I’ll show you some of my favorite quilts from that show.
Oh, joy! It meant Coleen, an award-winning longarm quilter (the Quilted Thistle), was working on my quilt WanderLust, made from Heather Peterson’s Spinners pattern (from the book On the Run Again).
Later in the day Coleen let me know she was finished, and off I rushed to claim the quilt. It’s actually a king-size bed runner (measuring 20″ x 88″ after quilting) so it was a bit difficult to photograph. Here are a few shots taken on my back lawn yesterday afternoon:
I liked the floral fabric so much (it’s from Joel Dewberry’s Wander line, which is how this quilt got its name) that I made the bed runner reversible. Because of that I won’t put a label on it — but I may write some information on the back in very tiny letters.
Coleen’s free motion quilting is spectacular! Here are a few closeups:
Coleen and I chose a pale khaki thread with sheen. Because the quilt is reversible, I asked her to use the same thread on the back:
The fern-y batik I used on the front of the quilt is all but gone from my stash. Fortunately, I have enough of the dotted batik from the back to use for the binding:
Getting this bed runner bound is top priority, as I am teaching the Spinners pattern at the Pine Needle retreat this weekend, and I want to show a finished quilt. After that, I am sending WanderLust off to my sister Reigh, as it will look perfect at the foot of her king-size bed.
The baby quilt I sent off to be quilted recently is back, and I’m tickled pink. Make that blue, as this quilt is for a little boy. Longarm quilter Sherry Wadley and I picked a modern swirly edge-to-edge design that echoes the waves in the sea-themed fabric.
Here’s a close-up of the quilting that also shows off some of the prints in the quilt, including a stylish seahorse sporting a bowtie:
On the back, the quilting motif shows up well on the batik stream that flows alongside the jellyfish fabric, part of the Into the Deep collection:
Here’s a close-up of the stream that shows off that organic-looking quilting:
I’m going to bind and label this quilt as quickly as I can so I can deliver it to Baby Stefan. Here’s hoping it will keep him warm and wrapped in love well beyond his toddler years.
In other happy news, there’s a new resident feline in the Portland White House. My husband and I had planned to visit the Oregon Humane Society yesterday but last Friday night I got a call from my friend Colleen, who lives out in the country. A calico cat, obviously hungry, had been hanging around her house all day, and was I interested in taking a look at her? Yes, please!
I picked the kitty up Saturday afternoon, and it was love at first sight. She was thoroughly checked out by our vet on Monday, who thinks she is about one year old. She’s gotten all her shots, been treated for ear mites and fleas, and been microchipped and licensed. She is ours.
And she’s a beauty, don’t you agree?
What a mellow cat she has turned out to be, especially for a stray! Now that she knows there will be a next meal, she is totally relaxed. She absolutely adores my husband. This photo was taken on Sunday, the first full day we had her:
We have named her Cordelia, after the daughter of King Lear. (We name all our cats after royalty and I figure literary royalty counts, too.) We call her Coco for short.
Four of nine blocks for my Mini Rings quilt, made using the QCR Mini (mini Quick Curve Ruler), are done.
I’ve run out of background fabric, a white-on-white Michael Miller pindot. I could make more blocks using one of several other white-on-white prints in my stash but I am holding out for having all my blocks the same. A little obsessive-compulsive, perhaps? Now I have to hope that the fabric I ordered on line is from a similar enough dye lot that no one can see the difference between the old and the new. You would be surprised, even with white and black fabrics, how much dye lots can differ.
Working on these blocks has helped take my mind off the loss of my little cat Theodora, subject of my previous post. Thank you so much to those of you who wrote consoling comments on my blog. I cried the entire time I was writing that post, and I cried while reading the comments.
In the 35 years my husband Charlie and I have lived in this house, we’ve never been without a cat. If one of our cats died, there was at least one still at home to help ease the grief. Not so now, since Theo’s last feline companion, Elfie, died three years ago.
Charlie and I are going to the Oregon Humane Society next week, hoping to bring home a cat (maybe two) in need of a “forever home.” Although it seems a little disloyal to Theo’s memory, I’ve already been on the OHS website looking at pictures and descriptions of available cats. There are some very sweet looking ones! We’ll choose an adult cat, since the older ones are not considered as adoptable as kittens.
By the time of my next post, there may be a new resident of the Portland White House.