Wednesday, April 4, 2018

It's a Junky Quilt Top, Charlie Brown!

One of the things I do each winter to improve my quilting skills is buy cheap, unfinished, vintage or antique quilt tops from Etsy  For usually around $60 I get a big quilt with beautiful fabrics that I didn't spend days piecing.  Heck.  I can't make a quilt top for less than $60.  I get to simultaneously hone my skills and build my collection of quilts.

This winter I thought I had finally picked a top that was a little *too* cheap.  When I unfolded this thing to see what damage would need to be repaired I was aghast at the condition.  This top had been assembled with little to no attention to overall composition, the piecing was inaccurate at best, it had gaping holes where it hadn't been finished, and it was rife with what I am pretty sure are cigarette burns.

Determined to at least get my practice out of it (and then maybe give it away later) I set about finishing off the unfinished blocks using some glitter fabric I really love.


I patched all the cigarette holes with sweet little star fabrics using gold thread because I've been thinking a lot lately about kintsugi.



And I bought a little tulip stencil for it so I could practice my free motion quilting.




I also quilted this little string of pearls design in the orange peel shapes.


And you want to know something? This turned out to be one of my absolute favorite quilts.


It's never going to be a beautiful show quilt, but it's got so much history and personality and all it needed was for someone to love it a little.


I left some of the unfinished edges rounded and oddly shaped to preserve some of the interesting shapes that the quilt had when I got it.


And I washed it immediately after I finished binding it to get rid of all the grime and to give the quilting that crinkly, worn-in look.


It's the quilt form of that little Christmas tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's going to live in our car so we can use it for picnics and outdoor movies. So hurry up and get here summer! *shakes fist at rain*

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

They Wore Blue Velvet

You guys.  I'm learning upholstery.  Our scrappy, mildly-neglected library started out with these sloppily upholstered chairs we got for free on Craigslist.


They were in such rough condition that the first thing I did when we got them home was patch them just so the stuffing wouldn't hang out.



They're actually a his and hers pair, so each chair is slightly different. They sat in our sad, unloved library like this for a looooooooooong time just waiting for me to get up the gumption to learn upholstery. Finally:






And all that was just building back the seats and structural components. On a side note, when I bought the velvet for these chairs, the woman at the cut counter called it "dreamy."  I can't agree more.

Next came the inside arms.


Then the backs, which in this case are channel backs.



Then came the fun part: using this Rifle Paper Co. fabric to close up the outsides of the chairs!





Finally, I finished the pair and moved them up to our now much-loved library.



Complete with Nancy Drew mural!



And a newly curated landscape artwork wall.

It felt way great to spend our first lazy Saturday enjoying our brand new library!



We read The Spider Sapphire Mystery, of course!

Tons of people on Facebook expressed an interest in upholstery, so here are some links to Kim's Upholstery, which is basically how I learned every single thing I needed to know along the way. She's incredibly generous and helpful as is the community of upholsterers you will find on her various pages, so feel free to check her out!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The NyQuilt

I was sick pretty much all of January and spent most of the entire month begrudgingly confined to bed.  In the middle of the night, fueled by a large dose of NyQuil, I had what can only be described as a vision in which I designed and created a quilt for our dining room table.  My NyQuil brain remembered a fabric background that my conscious brain had long forgotten I had squirreled away, it designed the overall layout of pink hexagons against a green field, and it designed all of the golden quilting.  When I returned to the world of the living in early February, I set to work making the quilt exactly as I dreamt it.

Here's the fabric I completely forgot that I owned.


It took me about half an hour to find it packed away amongst my bag-making supplies.

Next I quilted this N + E decorative motif on the background fabric.


It's actually a little hard to read in this picture. This is what it looked like in reverse.


Next, I set to work making approximately one gagillion fussy cut hexagons.




Then I began attaching them to the background in the arrangement given to me in my cough syrup hallucination.



Here's an in-progress shot or two of quilting the hexagons.



And here's the finished quilt!




My first quilt of 2018 and it came to me in a dream! *makes ghost noises while backing slowly away*

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Mural in our Library

This spring one of my goals was to finally give some attention to our library upstairs. We've always really wanted a library space where we could sit and read together, but we've just never quite gotten it all the way together for one reason or another.

My first project in this room was to create a mural. We deliberated long and hard over what to paint and finally settled on an image from The Spider Sapphire Mystery from the Nancy Drew series.

It's always been one of my favorite images from the series and we've both gotten really into collecting and reading the books over the years. Here's the blank wall we started with.


First, we borrowed a projector from Eddy's workplace over the Thanksgiving holidays, which seems to be a tradition for us!


Then I set up in our library for a few weeks with tons of gold metallic paint.



The metallic nature of the paint means that it's difficult to get a great picture of the final result, but it also means that as the light changes throughout the day and as you change your position in the room, the image changes as well.


It's sort of like a mystery.


A Spider Sapphire Mystery.


Here's an hypnotic gif of what it looked like as it went up.

Hypers! (As George Fayne would say)