Category Archives: home dec

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

April in Paris — er, Portland

April is my favorite month of the year. It’s the month when the promise of spring in Portland is fully realized. Lawns are emerald green, and the profusion of colorful azaleas, tulips, and other blooming things makes my heart sing. Today is a gloriously sunny day, one of the first of the year warm enough for Portlanders to open all their windows and let the fresh air in. I can hear the sound of a lawnmower starting up and if I’m lucky it will be followed by the scent of new-mown grass.

In honor of spring I hung Under Paris Skies in the master bathroom:

This is the springtime version of my pattern Season to Taste, designed and made four years ago as part of a series based on the four seasons. The summer and fall versions are done but I must confess the one for winter hasn’t been made yet, though I do have the perfect fabric for it in my stash.

This is the first time Under Paris Skies has been on display in my house. All this time it’s been hanging in the Pine Needle, the quilt shop in Lake Oswego where I’ve been teaching the last eight years.

After 25 years running the Pine Needle, owner Geri retired and closed the shop at the end of March. Several of my quilts had been hanging in the shop, and all of them got to come home with me. (Happily, Geri is still involved in the quilt industry and the Pine Needle location is being taken over by a local family-owned sewing business. More on that in a future post after an official announcement has been made.)

Back to Under Paris Skies for a moment. First you have to imagine April in Paris. Think of Ella Fitzgerald singing “April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees . . .”

Those are real chestnuts in blossom, taken on my trip to Paris three years ago this month. If you look carefully you can see the Seine in the background. Now imagine clusters of people sitting outside at cafe tables, taking in the fresh air while sipping a citron presse or café crème, like the two below (apparently still waiting for their order to be taken):


All three blocks in this kaleidoscope quilt contain two different images of outdoor Parisian life, carefully fussy cut to fit in the confines of the triangles. Here’s another scene that always makes me smile:

When the rains return (which they will, because it wouldn’t be spring in Portland without them), I’ll look at these bright and cheerful scenes of Paris in anticipation of the next sunny day right here at home.

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, Paris, table runner, update, wall hanging | 7 Comments

Hip Hop: Almost a Finish

Earlier this week it hit me that I’ve finished only one project since 2018 began. Only one! Plenty of things started, of course. I decided to spend some time this week addressing that rather pathetic record.

I quilted Hip Hop, the wall hanging/table runner pieced in January using my Full Moon Rising pattern. The quilting motifs were suggested by the fabric, a lively aboriginal print featuring kangaroos hopping around in the bush. The kangaroos were fussy cut and centered in the circles, which are inset (not appliquéd).

Here’s a look at the entire quilt, measuring 15¾” x 58″ after quilting and trimming:

All told I used four different quilting motifs. You can see three of them in this close-up of Blocks  1 and 2 bordered by the end piece:

Block 1, with the turquoise background fabric, was quilted with uneven wavy lines patterned after the wavy lines in the fabric design. Block 2 was quilted in a simple loop-de-loop design suggested by the dotted batik background fabric. For the end pieces I quilted angled straight lines at random using my walking foot. All the quilting in the other blocks is free motion.

Here are Blocks 3 and 4, stippling in the dark blue background of Block 3 and a repeat of the waves in the turquoise fabric in Block 4:

Here are Blocks 5 and 6 and the other end piece, with repeated quilting motifs:

Still to do: outlining the kangaroo in each circle using white thread, just following the lines on the fabric. I already did it in Block 1, though it’s hard to see in the photos.

My binding is already cut and sewn. I’m using the turquoise fabric, cut on the bias to show off the wavy herringbone pattern to better advantage:

I’m very happy with this little piece and will be even happier when it is bound and labeled. Only then can I claim my second finish of the year.

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, home dec, table runner, update, wall hanging | 2 Comments

Old Fabric Crushes

I happened across one of my posts the other day that was written in October 2012, a little over five years ago when my blog was in its first year. I was writing about three fabric groupings in my stash that I was wild about even though I hadn’t yet decided yet what to make with them. What a pleasant surprise to discover that I have, in fact, used all three groupings!

The first was this one, a mix from several lines anchored by the red and aqua floral print in the center from Denyse Schmidt’s line, “Flea Market Fancy,” reissued earlier in 2012:

Several of the fabrics wound up in this sewing machine dust cover . . .

. . . and this set of king-size pillowcases, both made in 2013:


The second group was this one, primarily from the “Ainsley” line by Northcott Fabrics:

From this group came a small project, a kaleidoscopic table topper made in 2014 . . .


. . . and a large project, my queen-size sampler quilt Catch a Falling Star, completed in 2015:

The third group was from the “Scarlet” line by Pamela Mostek for Clothworks:


These fabrics remained in my stash until 2017, when I used them to make my current Junior Billie Bag . . .


. . . and matching accessories:


Now when I see a new group of fabrics I just can’t live without, I’ll remind myself that the fabric in my stash is indeed getting used. I’ll just need three additional lifetimes to sew my way through all of it. Can you relate?

 

 

 

Posted in Billie Bag, home dec, Junior Billie Bag, kaleidoscope quilts, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, roll-it-up pillowcases, sewing machine cover, sewing tool caddy, table topper, update, windmill block | 5 Comments