Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Hardware To Soft Quilt

The Project Quilting Hardware Challenge required at least 3 items of inspiration from a hardware store.

While I don't normally shop there for quilt stuff (although it has happened), I love the hardware store here in town, Knapp & Steiner True Value.   A visit to the hardware store in Chicago would generally make me uncomfortable.  I'd have to admit I didn't know what I was doing, didn't know what I was looking for, and was probably using the wrong words to describe it.  All this to a stranger.  But here, you walk in and they call you by name, help without making you feel stupid, or leave you alone if you need to look around.  There is usually a pleasantry exchanged, a smile, a laugh.  And, as often as not, you run into someone else you know.  Always a pleasant visit.

So here is how my quilt came to be....

Walking through our local hardware store I am always drawn to dowel rods. They are just the handiest thing.

I love the way they are all stacked and poking out of their holders. On this trip I also noticed all the coiled objects, all in lots of colors... the wires on spools, extension cords.

I noticed the stock had changed and Spring items were taking their places on the shelves. There were things for planting and many decorative items.

One display had oversized objects (butterflies, birds, etc.) on long poles to stick in the garden for decoration. And through it all an old wood floor worn by years and years of town people wandering the aisles looking for just the right part to fix something. Anything is possible with the right part!

The background was inspired by the wood floor. All different boards worn in different ways depending on the foot traffic, or stock placement or sunshine. I used pieces of tans, browns, neutrals and wavy line quilted with several different threads: browns, beige, gold, peach.

The flowers (inspired by those colorful coils) are biased strips of fabric gathered and stitched in circles on a stiff fabric circle background. Each have three beads for the center. Dowel rod stems insert in to bits of fabric on the back and entire flower can be removed from its holder.

Sun is a circle plus separate rays, all reinforced with heavy stablilizer. It's fashioned after a large metal decorative sun that was hanging in the store.

Sun is stiched in a few places but left free in others to highlight the 3D effect.

Spring quilt is pieced bright colors with appliqued letters and winding leaves (soon to sport flowers?). Instead of binding, ric rac is peeking out of the edges that hold the front, back and batting together. Quilt can be removed - it is hanging with another dowel rod. With the flowers and quilt removable, the entire project can be changed to adjust for the seasons. More fun!

Finished quilt measures 30" x 22" and is titled "Spring IS coming".
Head on over to Kim's Crafty Apple to see a dozen more hardware store inspired quilts.  Such variety and creativity!  You might also win a coffee cozy!
Me, I'm heading back to my sewing room as I have enough left over inspiration from the hardware store for another quilt.  Maybe when I emerge Spring will be rounding the corner.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inchie Luck

I made an inchie for WOW #8.   The theme was lucky.

My scraps yielded seven green fabrics

I started with a paper piecing pattern with seven pieces.

All the fabrics are sewn .... needs to be trimmed.

Trimmed, shamrocks stitched, edges zigzagged.  Baaaaad picture.

Finished Inchie Luck:
green fabrics, 7 pieces, shamrocks, and 7 gold beads. 

I learned again, inchies are fun. 

I missed WOW#7 as it involved spray paint.
I didn't have any and was too cheap to buy some.
And I had crafter brain freeze.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hardware Stores and Quilts

I'm starting a new quilt today. 
I need to head to the store first for supplies. 

No, silly, not the quilt shop . . .

. . . .  the hardware store . . .

. . . . for the latest challenge from Project Quilting.

Come on.  Don't you want to try this too?!

Join the fun: 

There should be some interesting entries this time.

Olde Cedar Chest Finish

I made this last spring and it's just been waiting for binding for the longest time.

Just the right size for a large table or a small baby.

Meandering quilting with a soft, dusty rose kind of pink.

And it lays flat - love that!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Party on!

Our Love... Our Life

The lastest challenge for Project Quilting is up for voting.  And there's an awesome prize for the public comments.  ;)  

As I waited last week for the new Project Quilting challenge rules I just hoped that it would be anything but a Valentine theme. The last few projects I made had been valentines and frankly, I was tired of them.  Call me a Valentine Grinch.  The rules came out and "Be My Valentine" was to be our inspiration.   Groan. Moan. Whine. When I got finished moaning and groaning I settled on a project and finally started to get into it.  Turns out I loved the process and, while it won't have a lot of public appeal, it's one of my favorite quilts.

I started with our wedding invitation.  I enlarged the graphic and traced it onto fabric with a brown pigma pen.

We chose these invitaions because that's how we felt.... like little kids playing dress up.  Little did we know!  That's just what we were.... so young and clueless!  But it sure turned out great.

Then I began creating squares that represented different parts of our life together.

We quickly became a family of five.  Sorry boys.  Aside from the button heads, they look like they are running around in their pajamas - poor choice of fabrics.

We didn't have a lot of extra money for entertainment.  Walks in the woods were free so we spend a lot of time doing just that, plus picnics, bike rides, cross country skiing, sledding.... we spent a LOT of time in the woods.

Car rides were another inexpensive form of entertainment for us.  (back in the old days when gas was so much cheaper!)  We would take long car rides and usually find somewhere to get out and walk for a while, or a park for the kids.

I rode all through my teen years and then Scott and I met on horseback. We rode for the first year we knew each other.  It got too expensive and we started a family so horses faded for a while.  When Justin was around 12 or so he wanted to learn to ride.  We took him and Adam for lessons and within in a year we were back into horses with three of our own boarded not far from home.  Trail rides, horse shows, teaching, hanging at the barn....

At some point we had enough money for a weekend home.  Not enough money for a lake home or anything like that, but we discovered that you could buy an old farm house for not too much.  Lots of room for the kids to run around and ride bikes and explore.  In the city we didn't let them roam to far at all so this was just right for us. 

There is a tree in the back yard of the second country home we had with our initials carved in it.  By this time the kids were getting older and didn't want to leave their friends to hang out with mom and dad miles away in the country.  Read 'boring'.  Sold the house. Sad dad.

Bird watching was one of the things we did in the woods.  The kids didn't quite share our enthusiam but did learn a lot about birds anyway.

This led to buying birds and then raising birds.  We had all kinds...  Cockatiels, parakeets, Nanday Conures, a Timneh Grey, Love Birds, and several different kinds of finches.  

 And then there were the other critters.  A stray dog and a stray cat started us off.  Then another stray dog joined with the first (literally!) and started a family.  They had two litters and we kept four of the puppies.  So at the farm we had six dogs and one cat.  Poor kitty sometimes thought he was a dog too.  Our pound is a wee bit smaller these days - but not much.

The farm.  Another old farm property we purchased just before retirement.  A place big enough to bring our horses to.  We turned it into the horse farm of our dreams, renovating the buildings with new stalls and other horsey things, added an outdoor and indoor arena, a few small fenced pastures and filled it with horses.  Even a few babies.  We lived our dream.  Awesome.

And this is how our family has grown.  An additional daughter and son came to us through marraige. And five beautiful grandchildren.   So blessed.

Our future is a blank canvas.
I can't wait to see what our Lord paints for us next!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Toddling Around Chicagoland

If you have kids and live near Chicago, OR if you ever visit the Chicago area with your kids, OR have grandkids near Chicago, then you must follow this blog: Toddling Around Chicagoland

The blog author, Sarah [my daughter :) ] is always exploring new places with her two little ones.  On her blog she gives the nitty gritty about each place. 

You'll find answers to all the questions you didn't know you had but can't always find out about on the attraction's website.  You know, things like 'what are the bathrooms like?' and 'is it convenient to use a stroller?' and 'is there a place to nurse my little one comfortably?' and 'what is the parking really like?' and lots more.  

She also highlights the different areas of a particular place and lets you know what her kids (the real experts) thought of it.  

Sarah is a bargain hunter and rather frugal so you won't be breaking the piggy bank as you entertain your kids. 

Check it out.  You can thank me later. ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Park Hours: Dec to Feb

Flurry Park

The Iron Craft #6 Challenge was all about Winter.   This was lots of fun to do...... probably 'cause I put a bird on it.  As usual, I was working on it late and pushing the deadline.  I finished with a couple hours to spare, shot a pic and headed to the computer.  No internet.  grrrrrr.  Thought it was my computer and spent thirty minutes trying to fix it before I realized that it wasn't just my computer.  Our service was down.  I tried uploaded a pic with my phone.  Tried that for 30 minutes and learned lots of ways NOT to do it.  Finally decided I'm just too technically challenged for that.  I missed the deadline. 

So, just for fun, here is Flurry Park. 
Open Dec to Feb.

A couple skaters on the ice.  A pair of sledders who look like they are on a collision course with the skier.  That's an optical illusion though because they are on completely different slopes so they'll be okay. However, Mr. H.D. Snowman thought he could sit on the wall and look what happened to him!  Not to worry, Bluebird is calling for the King to send all his horses and all his men.... they can fix things, right?

UPDATE:  I just read the rules and I might not have missed the deadline after all.  This challenge is going to be open for voting and says it needs to be posted by Thursday at 8:00 pm to be included in the contest.  Usually it's by end of the day Wednesday. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bag It

The WOW #6 theme was "Travel".

I don't travel much these days but when I do head out for a few hours or for a day trip, I inevitably bring everything that I might possibly, in the biggest stretch of the imagination, need..... as if I'd be away for days.   And lots of things get lost in my purse, or lost in the bottom of the extra bag I need to bring for all the stuff I think I might need. Often the bag comes back home untouched.  But, hey, you never know!  So, for all those little items, I made a set of bags. 

All three bags are zippered pouches.
All are black and white.
And all are lined with the same fabric.

Now.  Where can we go?

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Foundation Has Been Laid

...... for the next home on Periwinkle Lane.

In the past I used a black pigma pen for the first step of tracing the pattern.  I found that the black was sometimes visible after coloring and after adding the embroidery floss.  I thought I'd try a brown pigma pen.  I love the way the tracing looks with the brown. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

14 Reasons

This week's Iron Craft challenge (#5) said to make a valentine.  I sewed this happy looking, heart and flower filled fabric to a piece of colored paper using a heart stitch and red thread.

Inside I wrote "14 Reasons I Love You" and then wrote 14 reasons.  This idea came from a post last February on Tea Rose Home.    She was brave and actually showed her list.  Me, I'm not so brave.  I wrote my list but I smudged the picture.  Yep, I'm a scaredy cat.

Tune in tomorrow for the Krafter Show challenge which will consist of a valentine, a new-to-me technique/project and, from the Brown Paper Bag, crayons.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Box o' Bobbins

This week's WOW challenge said to try something new, and to use letters.  I've never done decoupage so that's what I tackled.  With no Modge Podge in the house and not even any white glue, I used flour and water paste. 

This empty box had been sitting in a drawer forever.  I thought there might be jewelry in it.  But no, just a lonely quarter.
After mixing the flour and water I cut bits from old quilt magazines and dragged them through the mixture.
 It still needs to be sealed but that will have to wait for another day as it will require a trip to the store. The blizzard is raging.... I won't be going anywhere for a day or two!

Look at all those pretty colors!

Are you snowbound too?  Check out the next challenge and join us!  I'm learning by doing and having fun too.