Category Archives: home dec

Happy Mail #2

It started with this:

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.

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, update, vintage quilts | 4 Comments

All Quiet on the Sewing Front

Say what??

You know it would take something major to keep me out of my sewing room.

For the last few weeks I’ve been distracted by a looming project: a major kitchen remodel. It all started with the decision to replace three windows that look out onto the back yard. The windows were installed in 1985 and while they have held up very well given their age, they are now cloudy.

Replacing the windows would require redoing the tile backsplash around them. Might as well replace the counters at the same time. I’ve been wanting to replace the laminate counters we have now with quartz. And oh yes, the flooring has plenty of dings in it from dropped knives so it’s due for an overhaul. The refrigerator is fairly new but the stove and dishwasher are nearing the end of their life expectancy so this is the ideal time to replace them.

You see where this is going, don’t you? It’s the domino effect.

I had really hoped to keep the kitchen cabinets as they’re only 20 years old. They are made of cherry but the stain has not held up well. In fact, the finish is completely gone in places from too much scrubbing, especially around the knobs. I’m afraid the original stain wasn’t applied very well and I haven’t been careful enough in maintaining them.

I looked into having the cupboard doors sanded and restained but they would not match the rest of the cabinetry, which has darkened over time. Having the cabinetry painted was an option but in the end I decided against it.

Going with all new cabinetry adds considerably to the final price tag but it means we can address some design issues. It also means that everything in the kitchen will be updated at the same time, an important consideration when it comes to selling the house down the road.

Far down the road, I trust. The Dear Husband and I have lived in this house our entire married life, almost 38 years. While I hope we have many more years here, it seems prudent at this stage of our lives to be thinking about what will make our house more attractive to potential buyers. The return on investment for kitchen remodels is quite high — around 80% according to some websites — so the DH and I took a big gulp and decided to go for it.

I’ve been poring over kitchen design magazines and photos on Houzz.com, walking the aisles at appliance stores, reviewing options for flooring, counters, backsplash tile, pendant lights — and lying awake at night thinking about it all. Usually when I can’t sleep my mind wanders to quilt projects. You see how distracted I’ve become.

I wonder how many kitchen remodels start with replacing one thing and end with a complete overhaul. In our case there’s a second domino effect. I’ll tell you all about it soon.

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, kitchen remodel, update | 14 Comments

Looking Back on 2018

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2018 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of last year. It’s a fun way to look back over the past 12 months and identify some of the high points.

Finished projects are always high points for me so that’s where I’m taking you now, showing you five projects in random order. Clicking on the links below will take you to the original posts where you can read more about the finishes and see more photos.

Number 1. Quilt Finish: Checkerboard Curves

This 44″ square quilt was made from the pattern Dancing Churndash by Jenny Pedigo and Helen Robinson of sewkindofwonderful.com. I’ve made several quilts using their Quick Curve Ruler; this is one of my favorites.

Number 2. Quilt Finish: Hip Hop

A lively print featuring kangaroos was the inspiration for this wall hanging made using my pattern Full Moon Rising. Finished size: 16″ x 59″.

Number 3. Quilt Finish: Bluebirds for Bethany

Scraps from another quilt went into this lap quilt for granddaughter Bethany featuring Karin Hellaby’s method of making pineapple blocks. The quilt measures 57″ x 58″.

Number 4. Project Finish: Junior Billie Bag #8

The essential quilter’s tote, designed by Billie Mahorney. It’s 14″ wide, 17″ tall, and 7½” deep. I’ve been teaching Billie’s design for three years now and make a bag every time I teach a class. This one is a gift for a dear friend.

Number 5. Quilt Finish: Spokesong

I became quite enamored with Corey Yoder’s pattern Idyllic and taught it at a quilt retreat last year. This quilt was my class sample. It’s a lively design so I simplified three blocks to give the eye a place to rest. The quilt measures 53½” x 67″.

Joining the Best of 2018 Linky Party has been a useful exercise in reviewing my quilting accomplishments over the last year. I’m also inspired by looking at the work of other  quilters who blog. Take a few minutes right now and join the party! Clicking on the link will transport you right there.

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, free motion quilting, home dec, Idyllic, pineapple quilt block, Quick Curve Ruler, quilt retreat, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

In the Lap(kin) of Luxury

Many years ago my sister Diane and I found a set of four oversize napkins at a vintage linen shop in Portland. The proprietor told us they were called “lapkins.” Measuring around 27″ square, each lapkin is beautifully monogrammed with the initials KMG and has a lace insert and faggoting around the edges. We imagined them tucked away in a hope chest as part of a young bride-to-be’s trousseau or laid out at an elegant dinner party where splendidly clad ladies and gentlemen sipped champagne from crystal goblets.

We split the set. My two napkins are still neatly folded away in my linen closet. Diane’s, however, are part of an updated window treatment in her dining room. That window treatment was my home dec project during this two-week visit to her home over Thanksgiving:


As projects go, it seemed simple: all I had to do was make two squares of fabric that could be draped on point over a curtain rod before the napkins were added. But Diane wanted the fabric seen from the outside to be yellow to match the paint color on the exterior of the house. (Does this sound a little obsessive-compulsive? Like something I would do? It’s a twin thing.)

The solution was a two-tone square:

I had brought these fabrics with me — part of my stash of quilting cottons — thinking the colors would work well in Diane’s dining room. Isn’t that a gorgeous paisley? Although most of the paisley print is covered by the lapkins, enough can be seen to tie the window treatments in with the rest of the dining room decor:

The dark print is also a good foil for the detail on the lapkins:


Here’s a look at night, with some sparkly Christmas decorations reflected in the windows:

Now I’m inspired to get my lapkins out of my linen closet and transform them into a window treatment in my own home.

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 10 Comments

Grateful

What a lovely Thanksgiving feast we had yesterday! Although my sister Diane and her husband Ed have hosted upwards of a dozen people at Thanksgiving in previous years, it was just the four of us this year. My husband Charlie and I look forward to our annual trip to Atlanta which has stretched to a two-week visit since I retired 10 years ago.

Diane sets a beautiful table. She got out the Rosalie Spode that belonged to her mother-in-law and some vintage glassware that could have come directly from the set of Downton Abbey:


Normally the Christmas decorations don’t come out until after Thanksgiving but a few days ago Diane and I were shopping in downtown Norcross and she spotted a gorgeous one-of-a-kind Christmas tree at a home and garden shop called Good Things. The tree had to come home with us. Diane couldn’t wait to try it out on the built-in buffet in the dining room:

It made our Thanksgiving dinner extra festive.


I’m so thankful Charlie and I were able to spend this holiday with my family in Georgia. For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you also got to spend it with loved ones.

Now, 24 hours later, I am looking forward to the second best thing about Thanksgiving: leftovers!

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, update | 7 Comments

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today’s the day. My twin Diane and I complete another trip around the sun. Though we live 3,000 miles apart, on this birthday I am at her home in Atlanta to celebrate with her and our Dear Husbands.

And look what was waiting for me when I arrived!


It’s not really a birthday present. I bought it in Portland a couple weeks ago and had it shipped to Diane’s home. I always do some sewing on my extended visits and the vintage Elna that I brought to her house decades ago has reached the end of its long life.

I chose this Janome 3160 because I sewed on one in June when I taught at a Pine Needle quilt retreat and absolutely loved the way it performed. Montavilla Sewing Center provided four new 3160s for the students to try out and all four machines were purchased before the retreat was over.

And what will be my inaugural sewing project? Well, Diane and I have a couple of small home dec sewing projects planned. I brought several pieces of fabric with me that are candidates for this project:

I also brought some of my Hazel’s Diary Quilt blocks to work on. Please drop by again soon for an update.

 

 

Posted in family, Hazel's Diary Quilt, home dec, update | 10 Comments

Little Labors of Love

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my last post about my father’s passing. I don’t often write about my personal life on this blog but in this case my connection with my dad intersected with my quilting life in such a meaningful way that I wanted to share it with my readers. I appreciate your words of comfort so very much.

My big project for 2018, the sampler quilt known as Hazel’s Diary Quilt, has been on hold the last couple months while I worked on small projects for friends and family. I think of these projects as Little Labors of Love.

In the past I’ve shown photos of pillowcases made for my sisters Reigh and Diane. Recently I made pillowcases for another set of very special sisters in my family, Jenny and Tracy. I asked them to let me know their color preferences and then selected fabrics from my stash I thought they would love.

Here are Tracy’s cases . . .

. . . and Jenny’s:

(I followed my picture-heavy tutorial to make these burrito-style pillowcases.)

Another labor of love is this mysterious item made from quilted fabric:


It measures about 18″ square (not counting the straps) and is doubled in order to create four channels, each about 4″ wide and open at one end. On the inside it has Velcro strips along the sides:

When folded in half the Velcro strips close and it becomes a carrying case:

Can you guess what this is for? Only if you are a Mah Jongg player! In addition to being a champion bridge player, my stepmother Shirley is an avid Mah Jongg fan and plays regularly. She asked me to make a carrying case for the tile racks in one of her sets.

My guide for this rack carrier came from another Mah Jongg player named Dorothy Huotari who posted a photo on Facebook in June of one she had made and graciously gave permission to other crafters to replicate it:

I have enough left of the quilted fabric to make Shirley a matching bag for the tiles similar to the one shown in the photo of Dorothy’s carrying case.

Last month I put the binding on a beautiful quilt made by my friend Virginia Hammon:

The quilt was one of many made by Virginia that were featured in a special exhibit at Northwest Quilting Expo last month. The quilts illustrate a book she has researched and written about the U.S. monetary system. With the text finished, Virginia can now concentrate on finishing the quilts. Since I truly enjoy the binding process, I was happy to add the binding to this beauty.

I get so much pleasure working on these Little Labors of Love, sandwiched as they are between longer term projects.

 

 

 

Posted in family, home dec, roll-it-up pillowcases, tote bags, update | 1 Comment

Autumn Reflections

Happy first day of fall! This year is flying by way too fast.

After our unusually hot summer in Portland with a record number of days in the mid to high 90s, many folks are relieved that fall has arrived. Me, not so much. As a native Oregonian I don’t mind the rain and cooler weather that fall brings but I do miss the long days of early summer when the evening light doesn’t fade till close to 10 pm.

The official change of seasons is my cue to change the wall hanging in the master bathroom. Off the wall goes Sun Flowers . . .

. . . and up goes Autumn Reflections:

Both quilts were made from my pattern Season to Taste. They measure 18″ x 55″.

Here’s a look at Autumn Reflections in situ:

Of course I had to buy coordinating hand towels!

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, update, wall hanging | 4 Comments

Salute to Summer

I was out of town last week on June 21, the Summer Solstice. That was the day I was planning to switch out the wall hanging in our master bath. Back in April I hung Under Paris Skies, the spring version of my pattern Season to Taste, so named because I envisioned a table runner or wall hanging for each season of the year based on fabric choices. (You can see my spring version here.)

Up went the summer version today and it couldn’t be more, well, summery:

Sun Flowers, 2015 (18½” x 55½”)

For a fun little touch I added a “flower” (two stacked buttons) in the center of each block:

I finished Sun Flowers in 2015 but it’s been hanging in a quilt shop. Now I get to gaze at it every day in my own home. I’ll enjoy it until it’s time to change to the fall version, made in 2014.

I never got around to making a winter version, though it’s been planned for years. If I’m going to have one ready by the time this winter rolls around, I’d better move it up on my project list!

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments

Hip Hop Hooray!

Rally ’round the maypole, folks — I have a May Day finish to report. It’s Hip Hop, my kangaroo table runner (or wall hanging — I haven’t decided which). There was just enough late afternoon light left on this overcast day in Portland to snap a photo outdoors:

In a prior post I described how I quilted the background of each block, some with a walking foot and some with free motion quilting.

The last thing I did was stitch an outline around each of the five kangaroos. I was lucky that the fabric (from the “Walkabout II” line by Paintbrush Studios) included five separate ‘roos so I could put a different one in each circle. In these close-ups you may be able to see the outline stitching as well as the stitching-in-the-ditch around the inset circles:


Last but not least, the label:


The label is a finished edge appliqué circle, my preferred method of making quilt labels. It’s fused in place but I will also appliqué around it by hand to make it really secure.

I’m really happy with my choice of turquoise for the binding. The acid green fabric used between the blocks would have been too strong, I think.

Hip Hop measures 16″ x 59″.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, table runner, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments