Category Archives: family

Throwback Thursday: Marta’s Quilt (2012)

Continuing my look back at quilts I’ve made over the last 10 years, we come to Week Three and this baby quilt I made in 2012 for my great-granddaughter Marta:

This is the first of 10 quilts I’ve made using the Quick Curve Ruler designed by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful and one of her very first patterns, Urban 9-Patch. The fuchsia diamonds in the interior of the quilt were my additions to Jenny’s design.

Three of the fabrics are from the “Party Dress” line, Portlander Mo Bedell’s debut line for Blue Hill Fabrics. Lucky me, I still have a few pieces from the line that I’m saving for other projects.

Marta’s quilt finished at 47″ square. I quilted it myself and bound it in the same fuchsia fabric (polkadots!) used in each block:

Did you happen to notice one of the blocks is different from the others?

 

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, Quick Curve Ruler, update | 4 Comments

First Finish of 2020: Kitchen Valances

This project falls squarely in the “why on earth did it take me so long to get it done?” category. After all, last year’s major kitchen remodel — faithfully documented on the pages of this blog — was essentially completed by the end of August. (You can see one of my last posts about the kitchen here.)

The only thing left to complete the remodel was making valances for the three new windows. I already had the fabric, a vibrant Jacobean floral that had been in my stash for a few years. The fabric (from the “Breath of Avignon” line designed by Sandy Klop for Moda) inspired my choice of paint color for the lower cabinets:


I also had a picture in my mind’s eye of what the valances would look like. No simple ruffled valances like I’ve made before. I liked them well enough but this time I wanted a more tailored look. I envisioned valances that curved upward from the sides with an inverted pleat in the middle made with contrasting fabric.

Since I had covered the back wall of the glass-fronted cabinet with yellow fabric . . .

. . . I decided to use fabric in the same shade of yellow for the pleat. And for extra pizzazz, I decided to insert a navy blue flange between the pleated part of the valance and the top band.

After taking very careful measurements, I drew up a pattern on freezer paper . . .

. . . and proceeded to fashion the first valance.

Alas, it was not a success:

First of all, I measured incorrectly; the valance wasn’t wide enough. You’re not supposed to see the end of the spring tension rod at the top of the window. Second, when the valance was placed at the top of the window, you could see the bottom of the pleat. That was not the look I was going for. Third, instead of folding the ends of the upper band in to make a rod pocket, I sewed the ends shut. (What on earth was I thinking?) In order to audition the valance on the window, I had to add a sleeve on the back.

The valance isn’t a keeper but it was very useful as a prototype. With some valuable input from my sister Diane, I nixed the pleat and changed the flange from navy blue to yellow. Here’s a close-up of the updated flange:

Can you see the pattern of tiny little flowers? It’s very subtle.

I’m much happier with the look of the yellow flanges:

I fussycut the second and third valances to match the design on the first, simply because I thought it would look better than having each valance cut at random from the focus fabric.

The lining of the valances is a blue print pulled from my stash:

Before the valances went up, the globes of the pendant lights blended into the white woodwork. I really like the way they stand out now. Here’s what the kitchen looks like at night:

I can now declare the kitchen remodel officially complete. One of these days I’ll do that “before and after” post I promised last year.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update, valance | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Dianthus (2010)

First things first:  Happy New Year!! Can you believe it’s 2020?

I’m taking a look back at some of the quilts I’ve made over the last 10 years, starting in 2010. (I got the idea from Thelma at Cupcakes’n’Daisies who posted on Instagram yesterday with photos of 10 gorgeous quilts she made between 2010 and 2019. Check out her beauties at instagram.com/thelmacupcake.

For 2010 I chose this quilt, Dianthus:


The pattern is 4-Patch Stacked Posies by HD Designs. I had recently discovered the four-patch kaleidoscope block and was having great fun investigating the possibilities with other fabrics and other settings. Here you see a large strip of the focus fabric as well as the blocks that didn’t make the cut for the front of the quilt:

I quilted this one myself and I don’t mind telling you I was a bundle of nerves during the process. Here are a couple of close-ups:

I used a variegated thread of green and lavender. The color variation is very subtle, which is just what I wanted.

Why the name Dianthus? The fabric is a gorgeous melange of blossoms including tulips, hydrangeas, and carnations. Dianthus is the Latin word for carnation. The quilt wound up at the home of my twin sister, Diane. ‘Nuff said.

When Diane’s grandson Edward was a baby, the quilt was used in his bedroom at her home:


Edward is now 10 years old. (How did that happen?) He’s still a frequent overnight visitor but as you might imagine his room looks very different today. The crib has been replaced with a trundle bed, for one thing.

And the quilt? Nowadays it’s folded at the bottom of the bed in the first floor guest room and is often pulled into service for a lap quilt while watching TV. The 57″ x 67″ size makes it a good candidate for that.

Thanks for stopping by on this second day of the New Year. Do come back for next week’s Throwback Thursday to see a quilt I made in 2011.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, baby quilt, family, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 4 Comments

Christmas Pillowcases All Year ‘Round

Now that Christmas is over, I can show you the pillowcases I made for my twin sister Diane and her husband Ed:


The cases are made for a king size bed so they measure a generous 20″ x 33″. I am so in love with that floral fabric; it’s from a 2010 line for Henry Glass Fabrics called “At Home for Christmas” designed by Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures. It’s been in my stash for years. Knowing I would be using most of it, I scoured the Internet looking for more and even contacted Heather to see if she still had some in her shop; alas, it is gone.

I confess it was really hard to cut into that fabric but I knew that pillowcases made from it would look wonderful in Diane and Ed’s master bedroom:

The colors are Christmas-y but the prints are not, making the pillowcases appropriate for use all year round.

I had one other thing in mind when I chose the fabric. In the picture below you can just get a glimpse of a quilt on the wall:


It’s Midnight in the Garden, one of my very favorite quilts, made from my pattern 4-Patch Wonder:

I gave the quilt to Diane for her 60th birthday a few years ago and I get to see it whenever I travel to Georgia to visit her. I figured the pillowcases would complement her quilt very nicely. And they do, don’t they?!

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, family, faux-kaleido quilts, home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, roll-it-up pillowcases, tutorial, update, wall hanging | 10 Comments

A Bathrobe for the DH

My sweet husband has a new bathrobe:

Just in time for Christmas, though it’s not a Christmas present. The one I made him several years ago was completely worn out. I’m chagrined he had to wait so long for a new one.

Somehow I wound up with three bathrobe patterns. The one I ended up using was the Palmer/Pletsch one (lower right), with a few modifications:

And I didn’t pull my serger out of the closet after all. I decided to try finishing the seams with the overlock foot on my Janome, a foot I had actually never used before. The results were just fine:

It did take longer to finish the seams this way. And this frequent visitor to my sewing room caused additional delays in the construction process:

 

 

 

Posted in cats, family, update | 6 Comments

More Simple Sewing

It’s been almost two weeks since the Dear Husband and I returned from our annual Thanksgiving trip to Georgia. I’m afraid I don’t have much to show for it in terms of sewing. Quite ironic, as the few things I have worked on fall squarely in the “simple sewing” camp.

I converted a one-pocket long-sleeved shirt for the DH into a two-pocket short-sleeved shirt. The pockets were made from the bottom part of the sleeves:

I hope you can see the pocket! I matched the plaid pretty carefully.

New napkins for the Portland White House (we don’t use paper napkins):

Pillowcases for the Portland White House featuring the same toile fabric I used in the pillowcases made when I was in Georgia (which I wrote about here):

These are ready to go in my linen closet. Judging by the look on Coco’s face, I may not get them away from her:

That simple paisley table topper I made for sister Diane over Thanksgiving is getting a re-do. It was just two pieces of fabric sewn right sides together, turned, and topstitched around the edges. Trouble was, the two layers of fabric didn’t lie completely flat. I convinced Diane I had to take the table topper home and remake it, this time stitching the layers together and adding a simple binding.

Here’s the paisley fabric with two choices for binding pulled from my stash:

We’re going with the one on the bottom left. Diane and I both like the way the linear squares play off the paisley, and it’s a better color match. I think the binding will look even better cut on the bias.

Once I’m done with that, I absolutely must make the DH a new bathrobe. The one I made him several years ago is practically in tatters. I picked up a cotton print a few months ago with his bathrobe in mind. I’ll trim it with a navy blue blender from Maywood:

It’s been a while since I made a garment. I’ll be pulling my serger out of the sewing room closet and refreshing my memory on how it works. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, mitered corners, roll-it-up pillowcases, table napkins, table topper, update | 4 Comments

Simple Sewing

My sister Diane has a new table topper and four generously sized napkins made from the same paisley fabric I used last year to update the window treatment in her dining room:

(I wrote about the window treatments in this post from a year ago.)

Simple sewing. Even so, I found it necessary to revisit my own tutorial on mitering the corners of the napkins.

Diane just happened to have some enameled napkin rings shaped like umbrellas that go perfectly with the napkins:

Aren’t those fun? They add just the right amount of whimsy, don’t you think?

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, mitered corners, table napkins, table topper, update | 6 Comments

Giving Thanks

Greetings from Norcross, Georgia, the Atlanta suburb where my twin sister Diane and her husband Ed live. My husband and I are here for our annual Thanksgiving visit spanning two weeks. We’ve already been here a week. The time is going by way too fast!

Before we left Portland, Diane asked if I would bring fabric to make a pair of what she calls “Dawn pillowcases” as a thank you gift for a friend of hers. These are pillowcases made in such a way that all seams are enclosed. You may know them as burrito or roll-it-up pillowcases (see my tutorial here.) I love to have a sewing project to work on while I am here so of course I said yes.

Diane figured I would have something appropriate in my stash. (How well she knows me!) I texted her photos of possible fabrics and she quickly zeroed in on this lovely sage and cream toile from Timeless Treasures that I’ve had for a few years:

I brought several other fabrics as candidates for contrast strips, flanges, and bottom bands. Diane chose a narrow stripe for the flange and a small leaf print for the band, deciding against a third fabric for a contrast strip between the flange and the body of the pillowcase. This is the result:

The pillowcases are pictured on the bed in the main floor guest room, whose bedspread and quilt (the latter made by moi several years ago) match the cases perfectly.

As it happened, I didn’t have quite enough of the leaf fabric to make two bands without having to piece them. I used strips of the toile to do that. Take a peek inside a pillowcase:

Here’s a close-up of the inside:

I stitched the seam allowances down so they will stay flat when the pillowcases are washed.

Diane arranged the cases in a lovely gift box:

They’ll be in the mail tomorrow.

I had five yards of that toile; perhaps I was thinking of it as a potential quilt backing. There’s enough left to make two more sets of pillowcases — one for Diane’s guest room (since we know how well the pillowcases go with the furnishings) and one for the Portland White House. I’m thankful for that!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, roll-it-up pillowcases, tutorial, update | 7 Comments

Egg-ceptionally Creative Crafting

Meet the newest resident of my sewing room:

This Scotch lassie is only 3½” tall and less than 2″ wide. Isn’t she adorable? She was made from an egg — an egg! — by my husband’s daughter Barbie when she was a young girl.

The Scotch lass joins two other little egg dolls, also made by Barbie, that have been gracing my sewing room for several years:


When Barbie’s mother died in 2008, these little treasures were found tucked away in a box in her home. Happily for me, Barbie brought them to the Portland White House where they have been lovingly displayed on a shelf in my sewing room. The latest addition turned up recently in a box at the home of my husband’s son Mike, no doubt brought there after his mother’s passing.

(I should note that Mike and Barbie are just a few years younger than I am. I married their father when I was 30 and they were in their 20s. That was almost 40 years ago. . .)

I asked Barbie how she learned to make these dolls and how old she was when she made them. It turns out Barbie and her best friend Bonnie — namesake of Barbie’s older daughter, now 19 — made dozens of these around the time they were in 7th to 9th grades. This was in the mid to late 1960s, which means these dolls are around 50 years old.

“Bonnie and I always enjoyed doing crafty things,” recalled Barbie. ‘We used to make little one-inch dolls out of felt for our bigger dolls. These tiny dolls were stuffed and had embroidered eyes or eyes made from beads. We used ‘weaving loom loops’ made for kids and shaped them for hair.” Barbie noted that the flowers on the hat of the doll above right were made from weaving loom loops.

(Weaving loom loops. That rang a bell. I remember making a potholder for my grandmother with one of those weaving loom kits when I was a kid. It was red and grey, a color combo I love to this day.)

I am amazed at the artistry and creativity behind these egg dolls. How did they do it? “No one helped us,” said Barbie. “All logistical problems we solved ourselves. I think Grace may have shown us how to puncture and blow out the raw eggs. But that was it.”

The detail on these dolls is amazing. Look at their hair, their clothing, their hats. “Bonnie’s mom Grace sewed so there were always plenty of fabric scraps around,” said Barbie. The girls drew the faces on with watercolors although Barbie thinks they may have also used crayons and felt tip markers.

The care with which Bonnie and Barbie created their egg dolls extends 360 degrees. Look at the backs of the dolls:

 

As I examined these egg dolls again today, I realized that the shoulders of the dolls are made from egg cartons.

“That’s right,” said Barbie. “Cut and upside down, with felt cut and glued on the bottom. We may have added something for weight on the inside.”

These three dolls are all that remain of the dozens that Bonnie and Barbie crafted together. It’s pretty miraculous that they have survived half a century. I love having them on display in my sewing room but I know they are not mine to keep. As I reminded Barbie today, “You know these belong to you. I consider myself a lucky temporary custodian!”

 

 

 

Posted in family, update | 9 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: The Glass-Fronted Cabinet

When I showed you pictures of my newly remodeled kitchen last week, I mentioned there was something I wanted to do to the glass-fronted cabinet. Today I did it:


Do you see what I did? Here’s the before picture:


Yes! I covered the back of the cabinet! It needed something. The clear glassware didn’t show up well against the white walls and the spots of color from the dishes on the middle shelf didn’t add enough pizzazz.

I was originally planning to use a scrap of wallpaper left over from another room. It was the right shade of yellow but it was too formal for the kitchen:


My twin sister Diane suggested I use fabric. Of course! With medium-weight interfacing fused to the back, it would have just the right amount of body to attach to the back wall. I had what I thought was the perfect fabric in my stash but when I went to fetch it all I had were scraps. Fortunately, there was enough yardage of another tone-on-tone print to do the trick.

I cut the fused fabric and interfacing slightly oversize. After fusing them, I trimmed the sides with a rotary cutter to fit the back of the cabinet. Nice raw edges with no raveling, thanks to the interfacing. I applied double-sided tape to the back of the fabric at the top edge and pressed it into place with my fingers.

I figured the glass shelves would hold the sides in place, and they do. Along the bottom edge I glued a piece of braided trim, also from my stash, to provide a nice finished look:

Am I pleased with the outcome? You bet!

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 13 Comments