Category Archives: home dec

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

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

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

Kitchen Remodel: An Update

It’s been a couple of months since I posted photos of our kitchen remodel. It was almost complete by mid-June and for all practical purposes it’s complete now, although there are a couple of technical issues to resolve regarding a lower cabinet. I’m still planning to do a “before and after” post but for now I’ll show you pictures of the kitchen so you can see some of my decorating choices.

Here’s the view looking toward the southeast corner:

The kitchen faucet was one of the very first things I bought and I was a little nervous about how big it seemed:

My husband and I were on the same page about wanting hot and cold faucets rather than one faucet that has to be adjusted to hot and cold. Once installed the fixture seemed to fit just fine. The first soap dispenser I chose was so wobbly I sent it back and the replacement almost looks like it’s part of a kitchen faucet set.

Opting for a single sink was such a good decision. Our old sink was divided. It’s so much easier to wash large pots and pans in this one, and anything not going into the dishwasher gets washed and dried and put away.

Here’s a straight shot of the south wall:

You can probably tell from this photo that my blue and white color scheme is punctuated by splashes of primary colors.

Looking toward the southwest corner:

Here’s a peek into the broom closet to the left of the fridge:

Notice the paper towel dispenser mounted on the inside door? One less thing taking up space on the kitchen counter!

The rest of the west wall:

The blue ceramic canisters were chosen not just for their color. They are shaped along the lines of the white ceramic composter to the left of the sink (see second photo).

Circling around to the north wall:

There’s my new cookie jar. And how do you like the retro-style kitchen step stool? It arrived in a flat box a few weeks ago but didn’t get assembled until last night, which tells you something about the timing of this post. It’s a happy coincidence that the green of the step stool is repeated in the watercolor above it.

Speaking of which, I must tell you that the three pieces of artwork in my kitchen are by my talented daughter-in-law, Jeanne Ann White. Here’s a close-up of the original watercolor to the left of the glass-fronted upper cabinet . . .


. . . and the linocut print on the right side of the upper cabinet . . .


. . . and the original watercolor to the left of the refrigerator:

I love what Jeanne Ann’s artwork adds to the kitchen!

So what’s left? Well, in addition to the aforementioned cabinet issue — happily not noticeable in any of these photos — I still plan to make a tailored valance for each window. That project was put on hold while I labored on my Hazel’s Diary Quilt top. And I have something in mind for the glass-fronted cabinet I think you’re going to like.

Before I embark on those, I have a certain project to finish up that I’ve been working on periodically for months but haven’t written about yet. Although not connected in any way to Hazel’s Diary Quilt, it does involve needleturn appliqué. I hope you’ll check back in with me to see what it’s all about.

Thanks for stopping by the Portland White House to see my new kitchen!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, family, home dec, kitchen remodel, needleturn appliqué, update | 17 Comments

Kitchen Remodel: Week 9

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.”

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 12 Comments

Kitchen Remodel — Week 8

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!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, home dec, needleturn appliqué, update | 6 Comments