The center medallion in my Hazel’s Diary Quilt may not be progressing swiftly but it is progressing nicely. The four corner blossoms are in place and now I’m busily cutting out the leaves that adorn the vines. I’ve even got the first set pinned in place:
The goal here is to have the leaves look randomly scattered in terms of color but in fact I’m planning the exact placement very carefully. I’ll explain why in my next post.
Needleturning the leaves should be a very enjoyable experience because I finally have the technique down of turning the points. It took me a long time to master that swiping stroke with the needle when you get to the tip of a leaf and start down the other side. Now that I have the hang of it I’m eager to practice it.
I’m also thinking ahead to the next step: setting triangles with lots of little squares set on point. To show you what I mean, take a look at designer Shelly Pagliai’s original quilt:
I’m thinking about making a small adjustment to the setting triangles that will require even more squares on point. Let’s see if I can figure out the quilt math . . .
I had hoped to complete all the appliqué in the center medallion of Hazel’s Diary Quilt by now. Here’s how far I’ve gotten:
Yes, I have a ways to go but I’m pretty excited by the way the medallion is coming together. For reference, the center block including the red scallop measures 18″ square and the entire medallion measures 36½” square. It will be on point in the finished quilt. There will be flowers in each corner and leaves along the vines.
What’s happened in the two weeks since my last post? My husband Charlie and I took a road trip to Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in the southern part of the state. There we rendezvoused with Charlie’s daughter Barbie and our granddaughters Bonnie (19) and Beatrice (16) for a family vacation. They live in San Francisco and Ashland just happens to be the halfway point between our two homes. Despite being saddled with summer colds, Charlie and I had a great time with the three Bs. We saw a couple of plays, enjoyed strolling around the charming town of Ashland, and did a little shopping.
We brought Beatrice back to Portland with us as she was accepted into Oregon Ballet Theatre’s intensive summer training program for the month of July. She is in class six days a week — that’s pretty intensive! We are so delighted that she can be with us for part of the summer. We always look forward to Bonnie and Beatrice’s summer visits. Bonnie couldn’t come this year because she’s working two jobs at home. She’s so grown up now; she even has her driver’s license!
I took my appliqué project to Ashland to work on and managed to apply a few leaves and petals. Barbie was much more productive. She completed a lunchbag for Beatrice while we there — completely by hand and without a pattern. She’s very creative that way. Take a look:
The bag is made of oilcloth. Barbie enclosed the raw edges with double-fold bias tape that she stitched on to the oilcloth with lime green embroidery floss. She sized the bag to hold three plastic containers: one for a sandwich, one for fresh vegetables, and one for fresh fruit. Then she added a pocket on the outside to hold granola bars:
A ballerina dancing several hours a day needs a substantial lunch!
Look at the cute detail of French knots where the ends of the bias tape meet:
Here’s Bea on arrival at OBT for her first day of classes:
Back to Hazel’s Diary Quilt: I hope to show you my completed medallion very shortly. If I’m to finish my quilt top by the end of July (my stated goal), I need to pick up the pace.
These vines are not needleturned. Instead I used a method by Suzanne Marshall I read about a few years ago in Quilters Newsletter Magazine in which fabric is pressed and basted before being cut into skinny strips. It worked really well: the bias edges of my vines were crisply pressed with no distortion at all, which made stitching them in place quite easy.
I suppose a very experienced stitcher would be able to eyeball the placement of the vines just by looking at designer Shelly Pagliai’s placement diagram (from her book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s). I had to draw a section out on graph paper to make sure I had the curve of the vine just right:
My drawing was to scale so I just laid the medallion on top of the paper, lined up the design, and traced the upper edge of the vine.
Here’s an 8½” length of vine ready to be pinned into place. You can just barely see the line I drew to mark the top of the vine:
Here’s what the bias strip looks like from the back:
(The cut edge you see was trimmed after the basting stitches were put in place.)
Here’s the vine stitched into place before the basting is removed . . .
. . . and here is the finished bias strip in place, awaiting final pressing:
If you’re interested in learning more about Suzanne Marshall’s technique, look for the April/May 2016 issue of Quilters Newsletter. I also discovered a pdf file available online from americanquilter.com that includes appliqué tips and a photo page describing Suzanne Marshall’s bias strips method; it’s the sixth and last page of the pdf.
Now that my vines are in place, I have four six-petal blossoms and 72 leaves to appliqué by needleturn. Onward!
Friends, we are this close to being done. Witness the painted trim around the windows:
Did you notice you can now see the kitchen floor? It made me deliriously happy to peel off the brown protective paper and finally mop that floor!
The view above is looking southeast. Moving clockwise around the kitchen, here are some more views starting with the south wall:
What’s left to do?, you may ask. Mostly little things: cleaning up a few paint spills and spatters, doing some caulking, putting the doorbell back up, installing the phone jack cover, that kind of thing. Oh, and the liner for the hood range insert is finally on its way. Once that’s in, I do believe we will be ready for inspection.
In the meantime, I’m slowly filling the cupboards and drawers. You can see from the photo above that I haven’t finished filling the glass-fronted upper cabinet yet. And I’m thinking about the valances I plan to make for the windows. I’ve had something in mind for some time but haven’t even gotten to the sketching stage yet. I’m going for a look my sister Diane would describe as “simply elegant and elegantly simple.”
How I wish I could report the kitchen remodel is done. But no, we had a setback. On Monday morning of Week 8, my contractor inspected the crown molding that had been installed on the refrigerator wall the previous Friday and insisted that it be redone. (Is that not a sign of a good contractor?) Because of scheduling issues, the redo didn’t happen till the end of the week. That meant that the painting of the trim and the touch up on the walls and ceiling had to be pushed forward to Week 9.
In addition, we are waiting for delivery of a hood liner for the range hood insert. When I ordered the insert there was no mention of a hood liner. How vexing is that? We didn’t discover a liner was necessary until the insert was actually being installed. Result: the part didn’t get ordered till the end of May. I was hoping it would be here by now.
At least my husband and I are back in the kitchen making meals, getting accustomed to the new appliances, and admiring the new look. My twin sister Diane surprised us with a Cuisinart “Coffee on Demand” coffeemaker:
(Thanks, Nubs — we love it!) And how do you like my new ceramic canisters? I found them online and ordered them because they looked to be the same color as the lower cabinets. It’s a pretty good match!
Here’s a look at the west wall (sans crown molding):
I am loving the gleam of the stainless steel appliances and polished nickel bin pulls and the crisp contrast of the blue and white cabinets.
My sewing/quilting life may have been put on the back burner (so to speak) during this remodel but I am gearing up for more appliqué on Hazel’s Diary Quilt. I’m auditioning fabrics for the corner flowers on the center medallion and have cut out a few petals and leaves:
That’s a start. As a reminder, here’s a look at the center medallion from the cover of Shelly Pagliai’s book which contains the directions for Hazel’s Diary Quilt and several other quilts and small projects:
(You may remember I picked a different block for the center of my quilt.)
I’ve prepared the bias stems that wind around the light grey strips surrounding the block in the middle of the medallion and have cut out a few leaf shapes:
Progress on this project has been admittedly slow but I have given myself a deadline of July 31 to complete the top. That’s the day I’ve arranged to turn it over to an accomplished longarm quilter for custom quilting. Nothing like a deadline to get one going!
We’re continuing with the progress made during Week 7. The glass doors and shelves arrived for the upper cabinet on the north wall:
Here’s the same view with the undercabinet lights turned on:
The Dear Husband scoffed when I initially told him I wanted under-cabinet lights. Guess who really loves them now?
Did you notice something else? Cabinet hardware! I can’t keep from going around the kitchen opening all the drawers and cupboard doors. They’re the “soft close” kind so all it takes is a gentle push for them to glide closed.
Here’s a look at the east and south walls with the cabinet hardware added:
Looks pretty spiffy, doesn’t it? Did you happen to notice that red glow on the backsplash under the cabinets to the left of the stove? It’s the reflection of my next door neighbor’s red patio umbrella. That’s how much shine those backsplash tiles have.
Here’s a look at the west wall:
We are using the kitchen even though the counters have to be cleared every time the workers come. It’s a happy trade-off, believe me.
Here’s a look at the kitchen in full use mode:
It looks almost finished but there’s quite a bit left to do starting with painting the trim, scheduled for the beginning of Week 8. The end is in sight!
What a difference the backsplash makes! I went with simple subway tile for a classic look and I’m so happy with the outcome:
The electrician and plumber put in appearances last week, too. More fun things to see, like light fixtures and faucets:
So nice to have running water in the kitchen again! And how do you like the pendant lights? I’m quite enamored with them myself.
As you see, the refrigerator got moved into place — hooray! — along with a cute little microwave:
Please excuse the fingerprints on the fridge. I hadn’t wiped them off before taking photos. And most of the protective film on the stainless steel appliances hasn’t been removed yet. My contractor wants me to leave it on until after the painters have come and gone. I did remove it from the dishwasher so I could use it. No more doing dishes in a bucket in the bathtub!
The tall cabinet to the left of the fridge arrived last Friday (the original one was damaged the previous week while being loaded onto the delivery truck so a new one had to be made):
Coming soon: Part 2 of Week 7, with lots more photos.
They certainly dress up the kitchen, don’t they? The countertops are Cambrian quartz in a pattern called Swanbridge. I’m very pleased with the look of the pale gray counters against the blue lower cabinets.
The space currently occupied by the handtruck in the photo below is where the refrigerator belongs. The fridge has been in our dining room for the last six weeks. (One more week till it gets moved to the kitchen. Believe me, I am counting the days.)
Last week my contractor and his assistant started working on the trim around the windows and doors:
The millwork matches the trim in the rest of our 1913 house, a vast improvement from the previous remodel.
The subway tile backsplash is also underway. You’ll see that transformation in my next kitchen remodel post. Do come back for that!
When my twin sister Diane saw the photos in my last kitchen remodel post of the range hood cabinet above the stove, she asked if I would use the ledge for display.
“Maybe,” I replied. “What should I put there?”
Her response was immediate: “Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme!”
But of course. Twenty-some years ago I bought a set of Spode spice jars in the Blue Room pattern and have used them in my kitchen ever since. As soon as I auditioned them, I knew they were perfect for the spot:
Surely you noticed the new stove is in place (having been moved from its temporary home in my living room). It will be a while before I can cook on it but it needed to be installed so the template for the quartz countertop could be accurately made. That happened last Tuesday.
The new appliances — stove, fridge, and dishwasher — are stainless steel and all three have a brushed finish with some polished accents. Those design features helped me decide pretty quickly on the finish of the cabinet hardware:
Can you tell the knob and drawer pull are polished nickel? Polished nickel has a slightly warmer cast than polished chrome and adds just the right amount of bling to the kitchen. See how good the hardware looks alongside the stainless steel?
It looks mighty pretty against the blue cabinets, too:
Before I show you the arrangement of my nine pieced and appliquéd blocks in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, let’s review the blocks in the order in which Shelly Pagliai introduced them in her book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s (C&T Publishing/Kansas City Star Quilts, 2016).
The blocks are set on point, as they will be in the finished quilt:
Did you notice Block 2 is missing? That’s because I haven’t made it yet. The block, called Summer of ’51, is a vine of flowers and leaves around a square that will create a medallion in the center of the quilt. One of the nine pieced blocks will go in the very center of the medallion. To see Shelly’s original quilt, click here.
Shelly designed this quilt in memory of her mother, Hazel Ilene, who received a little red diary as a Christmas gift in December 1950 when she was a freshman in high school. Hazel wrote in the diary every day for almost four years, with her last entry written the night before her wedding in October 1954.
The blocks Shelly designed were inspired by Hazel’s diary entries and her life as a teenager growing up in rural Missouri during the early 1950s. For each block Shelly chose a traditional design, sometimes modifying it a bit, and added a floral appliqué in the center. Then she added a scalloped red frame around each block, appliquéd in place.
Without further ado, here is the final arrangement of my blocks:
The last block I pieced, Fair Weather, turned out to be my favorite, and that’s the one you see in the center.
There’s a lot left to do on this quilt but it’s very satisfying to be at this point!