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.

IMG_20180129_172831506

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

IMG_20180201_112916707

IMG_20180201_142451902

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

IMG_20180131_093017.jpg

IMG_20180131_132515346

IMG_20180131_134339636

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

IMG_20180130_115315881

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

IMG_20180307_151048908

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.

IMG_20180307_151030891

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.

IMG_20180307_151137705

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.

IMG_20180307_151200770

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.

IMG_20160728_141144606

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.

IMG_20170927_173231315

IMG_20170927_173227317

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:

IMG_20171109_110939039

IMG_20171109_130040336

IMG_20171109_140520575

IMG_20180220_143346383

IMG_20180221_173652509

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.

IMG_20180222_113452183

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

IMG_20180222_184126.jpg

IMG_20180226_183952910

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

IMG_20180228_111820.jpg

IMG_20180228_120826957

IMG_20180228_140158146

IMG_20180301_122331264

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

IMG_20180302_170743694

IMG_20180302_170809946

Complete with Nancy Drew mural!

IMG_20180302_170707740

IMG_20180302_170725604

And a newly curated landscape artwork wall.

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

IMG_20180303_104824721

IMG_20180303_104906546

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.

IMG_20180103_113258597

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.

IMG_20180103_143935289

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

IMG_20180103_144404.jpg

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

IMG_20180105_111006.jpg

IMG_20180105_123231.jpg

IMG_20180110_140620986

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

IMG_20180110_151508877

IMG_20180125_111928192

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

IMG_20180118_131420253

IMG_20180125_095840053

And here's the finished quilt!

IMG_20180306_144120

IMG_20180306_144020621

IMG_20180306_144030135

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.

IMG_20171120_134845817

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

IMG_20171124_175927095

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

IMG_20171220_111109062

IMG_20180109_113940188

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.

IMG_20180123_094550555

It's sort of like a mystery.

IMG_20180123_171335895

A Spider Sapphire Mystery.

IMG_20180126_223518.jpg

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


Hypers! (As George Fayne would say)