Category Archives: family

On the Town with Bonnie and Beatrice

Beatrice and Bonnie, July 2015Bonnie (15) and Beatrice (12), the youngest of my six granddaughters, left for San Francisco yesterday morning after a weeklong visit here in Portland with their grandpa and me. I wish they could have stayed longer.

We managed to make the most of our time together. The highlight for all of us was seeing the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Broadway Rose Theatre Company. It was terrific!

millie-web-3

Bonnie has performed in youth community theater for several years and is studying classical voice at School of the Arts, a public high school in San Francisco. She’ll be a sophomore in the fall. Beatrice is a gymnast and ballet dancer; she’s going into the seventh grade. Both girls love the theater, so we always try to incorporate at least one play or musical into their annual visits.

What else did we do? Let’s see . . . we went for walks in the neighborhood, swam at a community center pool, baked Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies, enjoyed a picnic in Millennium Park with my dear friend Anne, and got in some school clothes shopping.

The girls always do something special just with their grandpa. This year he took the girls to Lan Su Chinese Garden followed by a walk on the Eastbank Esplanade, a pedestrian and bicycle path along the east shore of the Willamette River. They were pretty tuckered out by the time they got home. Fortunately, I had dinner waiting, which we ate out on the back deck. It was a lovely midsummer evening in Portland, made extra special by the presence of our girls.

A sewing project is usually on the agenda when Bonnie and Bea visit. Beatrice was keen to make a fabric basket like the birthday baskets I made for two friends, based on the 1 Hour Basket tutorial from Hearts and Bees. She picked two colorful fabrics from my stash and got to work.

Here she is pressing the basket straps . . .

Bea ironing
. . . and topstitching them:

Bea topstitching handles
The instructions call for interfacing the outside fabric with fusible fleece. We decided to interface the lining fabric and handles as well to add more body to the basket.

Here Beatrice is boxing the corners of her basket:

Bea boxing corners
After sewing the outer basket and the lining together, she was ready for the fun part — pulling the basket through the hole left in the lining:

Bea pulling basket through lining
The “aha” moment:

Beatrice pulling basket through lining
Now all that was left to do was tuck the lining back inside the basket, press around the top edges and topstitch them. Because the extra layer of fleece added bulk at the top, Beatrice topstitched ½” away from the top edge.

Here’s Bea with her finished basket:

Bea with her basket
It measures about 9½” wide, 6½” tall, and 5½” deep. A look at the inside:

Bea's basket inside

Bea used ¼”-wide Steam-a-Seam 2 to fuse closed the opening in the center seam where the basket was pulled through the lining. It gives it a nice finished look.

Here’s a close-up of Beatrice’s basket:

Beatrice's basket

Didn’t she do a beautiful job?

And what was Bonnie doing while all this sewing was going on? She was making beautiful music! Out of storage came my trusty Yamaha guitar, bought in the 1970s when I had long hair and played folk music. (Yes, friends, that was a long time ago.) The guitar is still in great condition, and it was a pleasure to hear Bonnie playing it — she’s teaching herself how — and singing. I’m sorry I didn’t get a picture of her doing both.

Next year, I trust.

 

 

 

Posted in family, tote bags, update | 5 Comments

Twinship

Twinship — the perfect kinship! I’ve just returned from a 10-day trip to Atlanta to visit my twin sister. Diane was supposed to join me for part of my recent trip to Paris but had to bow out at the last minute when one of her family members became seriously ill. Happily, the family member is well on the road to recovery. The only thing Diane and I could think of to assuage our mutual disappointment was for me to make a visit to her home, so just days after my return from Paris I was back on an airplane winging my way from Oregon to Georgia.

We had a lovely time! I usually wind up with a home dec project when I visit Diane but this time my trusty old Elna, which I took to Atlanta a few years ago so I could sew there, stayed put. We did get in a bit of antiquing, though. My visit happened to coincide with the Scott Antique Mall, open just one weekend a month in Atlanta, so off we went.

I wasn’t planning to buy anything but . . . you know how that goes. Minutes after walking through the entrance at Scott’s I spied a collection of vintage buttons. If I had found just this one thing, I would have been delighted:

Scott find vintage Luckyday buttons on cardThis little 2″ x 3″ card will go up on the bulletin board in my sewing room.

I also found these green glass buttons dating back to the 1940s:

Scott find green glass buttons and back of card

How do I know how old they are? The back of the card is marked “Germany – U.S. – Zone,” indicating they were made between 1945-1950.

And look at these fun clock buttons:

Scott find vintage clock buttons

I have no idea how old they are or even what I will use them for. Hmmm, let me see. . . . What if I were making a mini quilt with buildings on it, and what if one of the buildings were a clock tower? Wouldn’t one of these buttons make a fun clock? Something to think about.

Toward the end of the day I spotted this charming ironstone lidded jar:

Scott find ironstone jar

What is it? A large sugar bowl? A biscuit jar? It measures about 7½” tall and 7″ wide. The maker is John Maddock & Sons, one of the many potteries located in Burslem, Staffordshire, England. Here’s a look at the bottom of the jar:

Scott find ironstone jar bottom makers mark
I haven’t found information on this specific mark but judging from other maker’s marks from this pottery that I read about on line, my jar may have been made between 1870, when the mark changed from “Maddock and Son” to “Maddock and Sons,” and 1896, when “Ltd” was added to the mark. The pottery continued to produce until the 1960s, though, so perhaps my jar is not as old. It doesn’t really matter; I bought it because I loved it, not because of its age.

I thought it would be perfect on the narrow table opposite the clawfoot tub in the master bath but it turned out to be a little too small in scale. Now it’s in the guest bathroom where it does double duty as a Pretty Little Thing and as a holder of cotton balls:

Scott find ironstone jar in guest bath

Diane found a couple of Pretty Little Things, too. For some time she has been looking for a slotted spoon small enough to scoop fruit from a can or olives from a jar. She finally found what she has been looking for:

Scott find silver slotted spoon

A pleasing combination of form and function. As Diane would say, “Elegantly simple and simply elegant!”

She also found the perfect container to corral the various and sundry remotes for the TV, the DVD player, the sound system, and who knows what else. It’s a round paper maché box covered with vintage wallpaper:

Scott find round remote holder in place
The colors match her living room scheme and go well with the reversible table runner I made her a few months ago:

Scott find round box for remotes in place
(That narrow quilted table runner was made to cover the “seam” created when Diane put two chests back to back to create a larger surface area between the two chairs in her living room. You can see the reverse of the table runner and read about the making of it in this post.)

Diane’s final find of the day was made from a recycled Reader’s Digest Condensed book:

Scott find recycled Readers Digest book E
The vendor had laser cut old volumes into letters of the alphabet. In this case, E is for Edward, Diane’s 6-year-old grandson (named after his grandfather, Diane’s husband Ed). Young Edward is a frequent overnight guest at his grandparents’ home, so much so that he has his own room. Here the letter E is displayed with another of his grandmother’s marvelous antique store finds, a vintage appliqued wall hanging:

Scott find recylcled Readers Digest book vignette
Can you tell we had fun at the antique mall? The entire visit was fun. Now I’m back home and eagerly anticipating getting back to my quilting projects. My sewing machine is not used to being idle.

 

 

 

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We’ll Always Have Paris (Part 1)

Hello out there, hello. Or should I say, “bonjour!”

I’ve been home from my woooonderful Paris trip for over a week now and have yet to get back into my sewing/quilting groove. Oh, I’ve washed and ironed several pieces of fabric pulled from my stack of recent purchases, and I’ve started prepping for a new class. I’ve even taught a class. But I have yet to sit down at my sewing machine. Unusual, most unusual. I usually return from a trip raring to sew.

I’m sure my sewing mojo will return shortly. In the meantime, since I’m still basking in the glow of all those happy Paris memories, I’ll share a few photos. My husband and I were there for three weeks, exchanging housing with a friend who stayed at our home and took care of our little cat Theodora while we took care of her big cat Buddy. The exchange worked out splendidly.

Some of the landmarks beginning (of course) with the Eiffel Tower, viewed on a rainy afternoon from the Trocadéro:

Paris Eiffel Tower
La Tour Eiffel

 

The Arch of Triumph (photo taken on the 70th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day:

Paris Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

 

The Museum of the Army of France (Napoleon’s final resting place):

paris les invalides
Musée de l’Armée, L’Hôtel national des Invalides

 

The doors of Paris! They could be the subject of a photo essay. Here are just a couple of those pretty portals:

Paris portal 1

 

paris portal 2

 

Stately old buildings, so many of them beautifully adorned with wrought iron balconies:

Paris bldg balc 4

Paris bldg balc 1
Paris bldg balc 2
Paris bldg balc 3
paris bldg balc 5

 

We ate our share of what the French call “sandwichs,” our favorite being jambon et emmental (ham and cheese) on baguettes, often enjoyed on a park bench after a museum exhibition or other outing. I also sampled French onion soup:

Paris food onion soup

Carpaccio di manzo, in a French-Italian bistro near the Bastille Métro stop:

Paris food carpaccio

Cafe crème, our favorite mid-afternoon pick-me-up, never served without a square of dark chocolate on the saucer:

Paris food cafe creme

Standing in front of French patisseries eyeing the offerings in the window was a form of entertainment in itself:

paris food patisserie window

 

We visited a number of small museums and saw some fascinating temporary exhibits, most of which were not the least bit crowded. An exhibit at the Biblioteque Nationale de France (French National Library) celebrating the 100th anniversary of chanteuse Edith Piaf’s birth:

piaf exhibit
Au Temps de Klimit: La Sécession à Vienne (In the Time of Klimit: the Vienna Secession), tracing the development in Viennese art from the end of the 19th century until the first years of Expressionism:

Klimt exhibit

Inside this beautiful building, Palais Galliera, also known as the Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, a wonderful exhibition on milliner and couturier Jeanne Lanvin. She died in 1946 but her house of fashion survives, the oldest French one in existence:

lanvin exhibit

 

I see now that I need to break this post up into two parts. I hope you will indulge me. Please come back to see several more pictures, including a few images that I took because of their potential as quilt blocks or quilting motifs.

À bientôt!

 

 

 

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Ball Games 6, Quilt Shops 0

More than a week without a post. Are you wondering what happened to me? This is what I’ve  been up to:

tix

I’ve been in sunny Arizona following the Cactus League. For the uninitiated, the Cactus League is comprised of half of Major League Baseball’s teams, here for a month of spring training before the season officially opens next month. (The other half of the MLB teams are in Florida playing in the Grapefruit League.)

The DH — that’s Dear Husband, not Designated Hitter — and I came to Arizona for a five-day Road Scholar program on Spring Training that included tickets to four San Francisco Giants games. By tacking on games with other teams before and after the Road Scholar program, we’ve turned our eight-day trip into an eight-game marathon. Six down, two to go.

At the Giants-White Sox game Thursday evening at Camelback Ranch, comedian Will Ferrell dropped in — literally — to play for both sides. At the top of the ninth inning a helicopter descended into center field and deposited Ferrell, already decked out in a Chicago uniform. He went right into the lineup for the White Sox and hit a foul ball before striking out.

will ferrell
Before the bottom of the ninth began, Ferrell had been “traded” to the Giants. He emerged from the San Francisco dugout in catcher’s gear and took a short-lived turn behind the plate. Ferrell made appearances at four other parks on Thursday, wearing the uniforms of 10 MLB teams and playing all nine positions — quite a feat! His appearances, all part of a program to raise funds for cancer research, will be featured in an HBO special later this year.

I had hoped to visit a few quilt shops during the week but our Road Scholar program was packed with lectures and other activities along with the games. The program is over now, so my plan is to hit a couple of shops today and tomorrow before we fly home to Portland.

You know it’s a good weekend when it combines baseball and quilt shop hopping!

 

 

 

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Diane’s Table Runner in Situ

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a reversible table runner I made for my sister Diane’s living room. The runner was made to cover a seam (for lack of a better word) created when two chests were placed back to back to create a larger table surface between two chairs. Here’s a look at the single chest Diane started with:

dks liv rm before photo
Even with the lamp placed at the very back of the chest, people sitting in the chairs had to crane their necks around the lamp to see each other when talking. The limited surface space made it difficult to have multiple items on the chest at the same, items such as a TV remote, a glass of wine, a cell phone, a book. In addition, the drawers in the chest were difficult to open from a sitting position because the chest was positioned so far back. You can understand why Diane considered this a design dilemma.

Her solution was to take a matching chest from another room and place it back to back with the first one, doubling the surface area, making it possible to move the lamp farther back toward the windows, and making the drawers in front more accessible. Sounded like a win-win-win to me. The only issue was the seam where the two chests met.

That’s where the table runner (and I) came in. Consulting by phone between Portland and Atlanta, Diane and I selected fabric from my stash and I proceeded to make this reversible runner that measures about 9½” x 41″:

runner completed

It was very easy to make: two cotton prints, a layer of batting, simple cross-hatching for the quilting, and traditional double-fold binding. Soon it was on its way across the country. Here it is in place:

dks liv rm after toile

See how much farther back the lamp is? Much easier now for folks to converse. The toile fabric is in the up position in the picture above. Here’s another shot with the floral vine in the up position:

after with vine 2

While auditioning fabrics, Diane and I kept the sofa pillows in mind:

dks liv rm couch (2)

Look how well these fabrics go together. I especially like the connection between the floral vine fabric on the runner and the pillow on the left:

table runner and pillows
This home dec mini makeover came with a bonus: because the chests are positioned back to back, there’s a set of drawers on both sides. Diane and Ed’s 5½-year-old grandson Edward gets the exclusive use of the drawers at the back for his own little stash of treasures and playthings:

in place 3

 

 

 

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Design Dilemma

Earlier this week my twin sister Diane called me with a home dec design dilemma. The small chest that sat between two red leather chairs in her living room was so narrow that people sitting in the chairs couldn’t see each other around the lamp at the back of the chest. Her solution was a clever one: she claimed a matching chest from another room and placed it back to back with the first one. Then she had a piece of glass made to fit the top. The only problem was that you could see under the glass where the two chests met in the middle.

Could she commission me to make a table runner to cover the middle section? Of course she could. She wanted something very simple — no piecing required, just a rectangle about 9″ wide and long enough to extend down both sides of the chest. We talked about colors to match her living room — deep red, tan, forest green. I was ready to charge off to a fabric store to look at home dec fabrics.

Diane was incredulous. “Don’t you have some fabric in your stash that will work?” she asked. Well, of course I did. A little stash diving resulted in this group of fabrics sent from Portland to Atlanta via iPhone for Diane’s inspection:

fabric choices

She liked the print in the center of the photo — the one with the red flowers and vines on a tan background — and the red and tan toile on the right side. No need to choose between them. By making the table runner reversible, we could use both fabrics.

I pulled a red leaf print from my stash for the binding:

the winning combo
The only thing I needed to buy was topstitching thread. It had to be just the right color to look good on both fabrics, as the backgrounds are similar but definitely not the same. In no time at all my quilt sandwich was ready. I decided to quilt a diagonal 1″ grid across the surface of the table runner, using my walking foot and this light taupe rayon thread by Madeira that has a beautiful sheen:

topstitching thread
I cut the binding strips on the bias, by the way, because I knew the leaf print would look better that way. Here is the runner quilted and ready to bind:

ready to bind
Notice that the table runner isn’t just a rectangle? It wouldn’t be much more work, I reasoned, to make the ends pointed, and it would be so much more elegant. It didn’t occur to me until later that I would have six corners to miter and that four of those corners would be angles greater than 90 degrees. No worries, though. Heather Peterson of Anka’s Treasures has an excellent tutorial on her blog, Trends and Traditions, that shows how to bind outside corners greater than 90 degrees.

Once the binding was stitched on, I tacked it down on the other side using Steam-a-Seam 2, a double stick fusible webbing. At the top of the photo you can see how the webbing is positioned right along the folded edge of the binding:

fusing the binding

(Steam-a-Seam 2 comes in ¼”-wide rolls. All I had on hand was ½”-wide. Easy enough to cut it in half to make ¼”-wide strips.) The fusible webbing made short work of finishing the binding. All that was left was tacking down the mitered corners by hand. I was on the last miter when I noticed I had missed three rows of quilting:

tacking down the binding (2)
Now doesn’t this look better?

stitching corrected
Here is Diane’s reversible table runner (measuring 9-3/8″ x 41″), ready to be boxed and mailed:

runner completed

This little project was a pleasant diversion from binding Toile Story. I do enjoy binding quilts by hand but was ready for a little break. Diane said she wasn’t in a hurry to receive this but was hoping to get it before she hosts a cocktail party later this month. She’ll be very surprised to get this in the mail so soon — unless she sees this post first.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, mitered corners, update | 3 Comments

Planning Ahead

Our wonderful two-week visit with family in Atlanta is coming to a close. On Monday morning I’ll be back home in Oregon, in my sewing room, and I’m already thinking about what I want to work on.

Remember this kaleidoscope block that I made back in June?

photo
Last month I made two more blocks. Here are the three of them together:

three kaleido blocks
I’m going to make them into a table/runner wall hanging using my Season to Taste pattern. I’ve made a fall and spring version; this will be the summer version. Just before leaving for Atlanta two weeks ago I ordered some more of the yellow polka dot fabric — it should be waiting for me when I get home.

Also on my mind are these luscious fabrics:

fabricsI have a plan for them but will make a test block or two before sharing it.

I’ve been in home dec mode this last couple of weeks so it will be good to get back to quiltmaking!

 

 

 

Posted in family, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

Fabric Facelift

The ottoman in the master bedroom at my twin sister Diane’s house got a facelift, a new custom cover I made for it:

ottoman 1
It looks right at home in front of an easy chair in her bedroom:

ottoman 2
Here’s a view that includes a peek at Midnight in the Garden, the quilt I gave Diane for her 60th birthday:

ottoman 3
The newly covered ottoman actually has a fraternal twin (hey, just like me!):

Custom ottoman slipcover by Dawn White

This is the slipcover I made four years ago when I was visiting Diane over Thanksgiving. My goal was to make this look like an upholstered piece, since I’m not a fan of slipcovers. It was a real seat-of-the-pants project, since I had never made a slipcover or upholstered anything. When I started working on the new one, all I had to do was look at the old one to refresh my memory on how I had made it. No need to reinvent the wheel!

 

 

 

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A Home Dec Project for Diane

Every year when I visit my twin sister Diane over the Thanksgiving holiday, I work on a home dec project for her. It’s a small way to repay the generous hospitality she and her husband Ed show my husband Charlie and me on these annual visits.

This year I’m making a slipcover for an ottoman that goes in the master bedroom. This is what it looks like now:

1

Ed and Diane’s dear departed cat Alexis (Alex for short) liked to sharpen her claws on the ottoman, and she left the evidence behind:

2
Alex  was an equal opportunity kneader. She managed to work her magic on both sides of the ottoman:

3
On my visit last year, Diane and I found this lovely basketweave fabric which we thought would be perfect to recover the ottoman with:

4
This year we found the perfect trim for it — 50% off — at Frugal Fabrics:

5
Today I got the fabric measured and cut. Here is the top with boxed corners pinned and ready to sew:

6
Tomorrow I will get out my trusty old Elna sewing machine (bought in 1975), which now lives at Diane’s house, and will start sewing. It will be good to sit in front of a sewing machine again!

 

 

 

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Diane’s Dream Kitchen, Part 3

My sister Diane’s kitchen renovation (subject of the this post and the previous one) included the creation of a built-in buffet in her dining room. It’s almost nine feet wide! Check it out:

buffet viewed from the left
The buffet replaced a standing sideboard that was just under five feet wide so you can imagine all the storage and display space she gained. Here’s a closer look at the top of the buffet:

buffet top view
Diane and I had such fun rearranging her “Rosalie” Spode china! It was given to her about 30 years ago by her mother-in-law. Thanks to antique stores, estate sales, and ebay, Diane has added to her collection over the years and, I am happy to report, uses it often.

The top cabinets of the buffet are glass-fronted without panes to show the china to its best advantage. Here are close-ups of each cabinet:

upper left cabinet 800upper right cabinet 800
Four of the six cabinets on the lower cabinets are also glass-fronted:

buffet, lower cabinets-001
A few years ago our stepmother Shirley gave Diane her yellow Fostoria glassware in the “Baroque” pattern, which features the fleur de lis, a favorite motif of mine. Every time I came from Oregon to Georgia to visit Diane, I would tuck a few carefully wrapped pieces of glassware into my luggage. It took a while for all the pieces to get here but the effort was well worth it. The Fostoria and the Spode look elegant together, don’t you think?

I must confess to being a little green with envy over these wonderful changes to my sister’s home. But I’m also very happy for her. After 40+ years in the working world, she recently retired. She has earned this renovation, and I know she will enjoy it for many years to come.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 7 Comments