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!
Last week was a big one for the Portland White House kitchen remodel.
First, the walls got painted a soft gray and the ceiling and trim around the windows and sliding glass door got painted white:
I was originally planning to have the walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s “Metro Gray,” which happens to be the same shade I chose for the master bath remodel in 2013. At the last minute I went one shade lighter (1458) with “Silver Bells.” Gray might seem an odd choice for Portland, which gets its share — and then some — of overcast days, but I knew the bright white of the upper cabinets and the vivid blue (Valspar 4006-8C “Bluer than Blue”) of the lower cabinets would be a good foil for this elegant shade of gray:
Can’t you imagine a quilt in these colors?
With the cabinets installed, the empty shell of a room was transformed into a kitchen! Here’s the view looking southeast:
Notice the custom cover for the range hood. (Thank you, sister Diane, for guiding me to this design decision.) The tabs of blue painter’s tape on the upper and lower cabinets allow the cupboard doors and drawers to be opened. The doors are inset — that is, flush with the cabinet frames — so until the knobs and pulls are installed, the best way to open the cupboards and drawers is to pull on those tabs of blue tape.
Here’s the view looking southwest:
The narrow cabinet to the left of the refrigerator cabinet is missing as it got damaged somehow at the shop. The installer wants to wait until the cabinet is in place before attaching the crown molding as he thinks the molding should be cut from the same strip.
The upper cabinet on the north wall will have glass doors and shelves, to be delivered later:
That upper cabinet makes the wall look pretty top heavy. I’m hoping the glass doors will make it feel lighter.
I must say, Coco has remained remarkably mellow as the remodel progresses. As long as her meals arrive on schedule, she is one happy cat:
That last red scalloped frame took forever. Once I got started it didn’t take all that long to finish the needleturn appliqué. The hardest part, for some reason, was taking the first step. I simply could not make myself get going. I’m pinning the blame on our kitchen remodel, which has proven to be a mighty distraction.
But finally Domestic Bliss, Block 8 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, is ready to show you:
And here it is on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:
What next? Why, more appliqué, of course! Of nine pieced blocks, one goes in the center, to be surrounded by four flowers and dozens of leaves to form a medallion. As a reminder, here is designer Shelly Pagliai’s original rendition of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, which I was thrilled to see in person at the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky in March 2017:
At the moment, I’m having fun moving my blocks around on my design wall trying to get just the right balance of color and scale. Do check back as I will be revealing the layout, including my final choice for the center block.
The windows are traditional double-hung windows made by Marvin, replacing three casement windows we installed in 1985. This time around I chose windows that match the rest of our 1913 Craftsman house; the trim around the new windows will match the rest of the windows as well.
The floor also went in last week. I snapped a picture when it was partially in:
Before I could get a photo of the entire room, the workers covered the floor with butcher paper in preparation for the walls being painted.
The floor looks like porcelain tile, doesn’t it? Surprise! It’s actually luxury vinyl tile — LVT for short. You practically have to get down on your hands and knees to see that it’s not real tile. LVT was an extremely practical choice for the Dear Husband and me. He and I both like to cook — he makes breakfast every morning and I do dinner. I don’t want to say we’re sloppy cooks but . . . we spill stuff. LVT is easy to clean and maintain plus it’s softer underfoot than tile. And definitely warmer. (We put porcelain tile in the master bath when we remodeled in 2013; my big splurge on that project was a heated floor).
I had these tiles (each measuring 12″ x 24″) installed across the width of the kitchen rather than the length. Since the kitchen is just a little over 9′ wide, I think the placement of the tiles will make the kitchen seem larger.
Now that you’ve seen the floor, take a look at my countertop and backsplash choices:
The countertops will be quartz. I chose the pattern “Swanbridge” from Cambria’s Marble Collection. I had to laugh when I read the manufacturer’s description of the design:
“A marbled background with grays and pinpoints of charcoal summon up images of the stony beach along Sully Island where pirates walked within sight of the Welsh hamlet of Swanbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan.”
Some copywriter sure got carried away. I prefer this description I saw on houzz.com: “a mix of very light grey, silvery grey veining and small dabs of creamy white.”
The backsplash will be 3″ x 6″ subway tile by Daltile in Arctic White. I looked at a lot of beautiful tile patterns but in the end I kept coming back to this simple classic look.
Remember the pendant lights I showed you in my Week 2 post? They turned out to be waaay too big. I returned them and found a more suitable size:
These globes are 6″ wide and 4½” tall — much more suitable for the space. And they were much less expensive than my initial choice.
What’s coming up in Week 4? Paint! And on Friday we expect the cabinets to be delivered. I can hardly wait!
Well, friends, many a Friday has come and gone since my last Friday Finish so I am extra happy to show off my latest Junior Billie Bag. First one side . . .
. . . and then the other:
I’m not sure which one I like better! How about you?
In the next two photos you can see (sort of) the exterior pockets on each side:
I sure do like how the striped binding frames the front and back panels. You can see that I used it on the straps and exterior pockets on one side, too.
It’s so much fun to customize these quilter’s totes. I’ve used a variety of 12″ blocks in the nine Junior Billie Bags I’ve made and I’ve also played around with the size and number of exterior pockets. Speaking of pockets, here’s a shot from the top down that shows the interior pockets as well as the second set of handles, the smaller ones that allow you to carry the JBB like a satchel:
Here’s a shout out to Billie Mahorney, the designer of the Junior Billie Bag and my mentor. It’s easy to see why I often refer to the JBB as “the quintessential quilter’s tote.”
If you’d like to see the other ones I’ve made, clicking here will take you to the Junior Billie Bag page in my Gallery.
There’s just something about blue and white kitchens. I adore blue and white quilts so it makes perfect sense. The kitchen we just demolished was primarily blue and white. My new kitchen will be the same — but quite different from its predecessor.
This fabric swatch — and the accompanying paint swatch — were my color inspiration:
The fabric is from the “Breath of Avignon” line designed for Moda Fabrics some years ago by Sandy Klop of American Jane Patterns. It’s been in my stash for years. I’ve even used some of it: for an apron and a Quiltmaking 101 class sample. Happily, I have lots of this fabric left because I want to make a big quilt out of it someday.
And I may want to use some of it for tailored window valances in the new kitchen. That’s why I looked for shades of blue paint that matched the fabric. After some searching I found the perfect shade. The blue on the far right (“Bluer than Blue” by Valspar) will play a prominent role in the new kitchen. Walls? Nope. The lower cabinets will be painted this medium dark blue (actually a bit darker than it looks in the photo above), with white upper cabinets.
This is what my kitchen looked like at the end of Week 2:
Looking toward the southeast corner
Looking toward the southwest corner
By the way, the full autograph on the chimney surround was revealed last week and it is indeed C. Schmidt:
Looking at the north wall
A team of three HVAC guys came early in the week to prepare the venting for the range hood insert, which will be covered with custom cabinetry (one of the splurges on this project, for which I can thank my twin Diane).
The outside walls are newly insulated and the drywall work is almost complete. We were hoping to have the flooring installed by week’s end but the mudding on the walls and ceiling was more extensive than my contractor had anticipated.
If you look back at the first photo, you’ll notice three small circles in the ceiling above the windows. We are going to have mini pendant lights there! Behold:
Isn’t that gorgeous? I’m a little worried about the size of the globe — almost 9″ long and 9″ wide — but the salesperson at the lighting store assures me the size of the fixture is suitable for the space. I sure hope so because these lights were another splurge.
This week the walls will be sanded and painted and we will have a new floor. I’ll tell you all about my flooring choice after it’s in and you can get a good look at it.
Last week marked the official start of our kitchen remodel. This is what the kitchen looked like Monday morning before the demo crew arrived:
Looking toward the southeast corner
Looking toward the southwest corner
In the first picture, you can see that the trim around the windows has already been removed. My contractor did that a couple weeks ago to get the exact measurements he needed for the new windows. You can also see what looks like a hole in the upper right side of the soffit over the kitchen sink. It is a hole. We needed to confirm that the soffit could be removed and the best way to do that was to knock a hole in it to look inside!
(I really wanted that soffit removed in the last remodel but my then-contractor was strangely reluctant to take it off. I wish now I had insisted on it because I would have gained much more storage space on the south wall. That’s one design issue that is being rectified in this remodel.)
Here’s a look at the kitchen after the demo:
Looking toward the southeast corner
Looking toward the southwest corner
My contractor determined the original ceiling was dropped about 10″ at some point, perhaps when the soffits were installed. Raising the ceiling to its original height now would be an expensive proposition because of existing second story plumbing so we’ll leave it as is.
On the west wall the demo exposed writing on the concrete surrounding the furnace. We knew the house was built in 1913. Now we have an exact date . . .
. . . although we don’t know what it signifies. We also see a partial name: C. Schmi. I’m guessing it’s Schmidt. Could he be the worker who encased the chimney in concrete in a “Kilroy was here” moment? I guess we’ll never know.
By the way, I completely forgot to take a picture of the north wall of the kitchen. Here it is before I emptied all the cupboards and took down the wall decorations:
The electricians were here all day last Thursday completely rewiring the kitchen and doing some rewiring in the basement pantry. The electrical inspector came Friday and gave his stamp of approval.
The old refrigerator has been moved down to the pantry and is already in use. And the new refrigerator? We plugged it in last week — in the dining room! It’s the logical spot for it as we have set up a temporary kitchen there.
I hope you’ll come back soon to see what happens in Week 2!
Isn’t that a pretty teapot? The pattern is called English Scenery. It was made by Enoch Wood and Sons, one of the many Staffordshire potteries in the United Kingdom. This teapot probably dates to the middle of the last century. At one point, about 25 years ago, I thought I might start a collection. Ultimately I decided not to — because I was already collecting English Scenery in the blue and white version! I have almost a full set and use it every day.
Now I’m in the process of paring down (yes, Marie Kondo had something to do with that). My pink and white teapot was among the items I was prepared to part with. I was getting ready to donate it to charity when I thought of Jera Brandvik.
Jera is a quilter, author, and fabric designer living in Seattle with her husband and two darling boys. (Her website is Quilting in the Rain.) I follow Jera on Instagram, where I occasionally catch glimpses of pink and white transferware in photos of her lovely home. It occurred to me that Jera might like to have this teapot. I asked her and she said “yes!” immediately.
As we corresponded via email, Jera asked me if I had her books. No, I replied, though I’ve been on the lookout for them. It seems that the quilt shops I’ve visited in the last couple of years don’t carry many books. Although I sent my teapot to Jera without expecting anything in return, a few days later look what arrived in the mail:
Not just one but both of her books! She even inscribed them to me — such a thoughtful touch. I have been thoroughly enjoying reading through the books and have decided that I really need to give Quilt-As-You-Go techniques a try now that I have these great resources.
Thank you, Jera! I hope you enjoy your teapot as much as I enjoy my books.