Friday, April 4, 2014

Victorian Dusting Tour - Part I

We begin the Dusting Tour in west bedroom, a room painted in a dark olive by Valspar called Mossy.  The name Mossy reminds me of Mossy Oak hunting jackets, a brand my husband Jon wears.  When I  saw the color chip Mossy I liked it immediately and it was a good match for the bolt of drapery fabric. 

My sister Pam built the west bedroom drapes during her visit to our house.  She added 1/2 inch cotton piping to the bottom of the drapes hemmed 4" longer than floor length.  Lift up the drape panel, pull it toward you and let go . . . the drape retracts and puddles perfectly on the floor.  That's one of Pam's secrets of the trade--she's does theater costumes on the east coast.

In the photo above--I finished quilting the Diamond Quilt for my sweetheart Jon, my husband of 15 years.  There are 132 blocks and it took me a month to construct the blocks and sew them together.  

Block Construction: I sew a day or two on blocks, and then I've had enough.  It's boring work.  So I design and construct handbags and soft luggage in between working on the quilt.  Hurray for the the sewing enthusiasts who enjoy making quilt blocks.  I'm not one of them.  I'd rather be long arm quilting free-style.

After the blocks were sew together:
1 day to add the borders, 
1 day to piece the backing, 
1/2 day to cut the batting, square everything, pressing,
load the quilt top, batting, and backing on the frame rails. 

The free style design I quilted in one day--8 hours.

The design:  I chose a swirl (like a cinnamon bun), and after completing the swirl I swung out at the upper left and stitched feathers circling the swirl like a half wreath, then I made a return using echo around each feather
 until I reached the top of the swirl.

I stitch a slight arc lower and to the left of the first swirl.  I began the next swirl, repeating the half wreath of feathers and echo return.  

Several nights before beginning the quilting process, I practice drawing the quilt design on a whiteboard. I draw and erase the design over and over to develop a muscle memory.

Practice drawing study-time allows me to quilt fluidly. Once I am relaxed and in the zone with the design, quilting is like riding my favorite ride at an amusement park.  It is fun and relaxing.  

All of a sudden the ride is over (I'm at the end of the first row, and pause a moment before starting the second row).

The neutral gray background and matching thread made it difficult to see where I was stitching.  In the end I made the quilter's sin of running into a previous stitch line.  Not a big deal for me.  Makes a happier quilt. 

I soon figured out I could turn off the studio lights to see the quilt relief lines better, rather that looking for thread color. 

I repeated the above photo from the Dusting Tour so I can point out the matching Goodwill wall lamps purchased for $2.99 each.  

They have a great scroll arm feature mounted on a shallow box frame.  The box frame fits snug over a wood block Jon screwed into the wall.  

Two small screws anchor the wall lamp box frame to totally cover the wood block.  Hey, those wall lamps are there to stay.  They can't fall off the wall and knock us in the noggin.  

Originally the wall lamps were a drab yellow color.  I sprayed them with a hammered pewter color, and put on new shades.

Jon layed down on the bed and pretended to be reading while I positioned the fixture on the wall.  Soon we found the perfect height for reading and the perfect height for reaching up and shutting off the light without having to get up from the bed.  

I bid on this Bird's Eye Maple desk at an auction in Weyauwega.  

Before the auction started I had a brief conversation with the desk.  I promised if I could win the bid at $100 or less, I'd be its personal maid and publicist.  I almost choked on my own spit as the auctioneer's hammer came down and I won the bid at $100.  So far, I've treated Mr. Desk like a rock star and even introduced it
to Miss Beautiful Chair.  

My dear friend Sandy gifted us with the chair.  I think the desk and chair make a beautiful couple, don't you?

"Mr. Portis"

Sandy and I visited an Antique's shop in Galesburg, IL last December.  There I found a great bowler hat and hat box.  

I asked the antiques shop proprietor, "what is the hat's name?"  He looked it over and said, "his name is Mr. Portis."  I said, "fine--I'll be taking Mr. Portis home with me."  Neither one of us cracked a smile--but we wanted to.

The Quien Family Portrait - second owners of our house
from 1917 until 2007.  Thomas and Maren (Gurholt) Quien, and
their children Ragnhild, Gusta, Peter, and Bessie.

The Tiffany style lamp is 1 of 5 purchased over a period of time
from Brass Butterfly near Weyauwega, 20 miles from our house. 
Each lamp is quite different and lovely.  

And as I continue the Dusting Tour, I'll be
sure to point out each of them.

While dusting the west bedroom today, I cleaned the glass on framed photos.
This is one of my favorite photos of my husband Jon.

Jon's dresser.  
I tell you Wisconsin is so cold here in the winter,
"How cold is it?"
Its so cold that Jon has two drawers of long underwear.

There was material left over from making the west bedroom drapes, so I tried my hand at covering a lampshade.  
I bought a book on the subject, and over the years I've restored/recovered a number of antique and vintage shades.  It's lots of hand stitching, ouch--needle picks, and tough on finger joints.

The upstairs bedrooms are restored now.  All the wall repairs completed, and new ceilings.  Crown molding and carpeting still on the to-do list.

At some point in a whole house restoration, modern ideas creep in, and become reasonable and comfortable adjustments. 

Carpet is one of those modern adjustments.  I've drawn the line in the sand, and decided that carpeting will add warmth to the bedroom floors and will do much to dampened sound between floors.

The wide pine board floors painted by the previous owners need restoration, but I'll let the next keeper of this house handle that one.

I'll continue to post about the Dusting Tour.  How about next week?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Front Porch Gets New Ceiling

Lots of ladders on the front porch -- Jon installed new ceiling.
 New tongue and groove to cover holes in old tongue and groove ceiling.
Here is our house and front porch.  Second gal from the left is Mabel Wrolstad, (1887-1969), daughter of our house buider/owner John Olsen Wrolstad.  In 1902 Mabel would have been 15 years old, so I think 1902-1907 is a possible range for date of this photo.  In 1907 John Olsen Wrolstad passed away here at home, and his wife Mathea died in 1909 in Gillette, WI. at the home of their eldest daughter Sina Wrolstad Johnson.
During the summer months of 2008 & 2009 while scraping, priming and painting the house I found traces of dark red (burgundy) in the ceiling molding of the Juliet balcony.  I wonder what was the body color of the house.  During my scraping/priming/painting of the exterior during the summers of 2008 and 2009--nothing but white appeared on the clapboards--and there wasn't much paint on the clapboards either. 
Photo taken of our house from the street the week we had the driveway regraded and rebuilt with recycled asphalt mix.  Jon promises me that next summer we can take down the ugly leaning tree.  We decided for every tree we removed we'd replace it with another tree. 
To the left of the house is the new garage with second story studio (my girl cave).  Since this photo was taken we painted the garage/studio barn red.  Ok, ok.  I know--you would have liked me to paint it same as the house, but I have my reasons.  To the left of the two-story garage/studio is the old two-story barn that I'll be painting barn red also.  (Scraping and painting barn is next summer's work--as we now have a 45ft. Cobra lift). 
Back to the story of Jon's new front porch ceiling . . . more photos.
There is a Juliet balcony above the porch roof.  Jon laid down new floor on the Juliet balcony above, and sealed it with a rubber membrane to stop water leak that was destroying the front porch ceiling. 
Since these last photos were taken I painted the new steps.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Circus Circus Quilt (Just Finished Today)

Everything but the kitchen sink went into this colorful queen size quilt.
I call it, "Circus Circus"
because I don't know what else to call it.
Perhaps you can think of a better title.
I auditioned a number of fabrics, including scraps from other projects.
I made some flying geese with the scraps.
After sewing a number of blocks, and strip sets, I started to assemble the quilt top.
I quilted simple swirls in various sizes edge to edge
 using a variegated thread of red, green, turquoise, and blue.
I really let er' rip not worrying about lines touching sometimes.  It is important to stitch fast to get into a fluid motion.  I try not to over think the process. 
I stitch an open ended circle, swirling to the center, then back-tracking (stitching backwards) out of the circle and immediately moving to the next swirl. 
I loosened the tension on the frame to better see the stitch pattern.
Look at the backing fabric on the top take up rail.  Another Goodwill find--6 yards cotton print for $5.99--such a deal.  I couldn't pass it up.
I used Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting.  This quilt is heavy--a nice warm winter quilt.
I spent the evening hand stitching the binding, and the quilt is already on the bed in the north bedroom downstairs.  It looks good.
Tomorrow--I start another quilt.  Probably a chevron quilt.
(I'm supposed to mow the lawn tomorrow
but life is so much happier in the studio w/air conditioning).

The Purple Quilt

When the long arm machine arrived in May, the first project I quilted was sheets.
Not just ordinary sheets, but Goodwill sheets purchased on yellow ticket day at half price.
Washing up the sheets made them smell lovely. 
I made this practice quilt for my nephew Devan--he loves bright colors
My studio--a Grace majestic quilt frame and Babylock Crown Jewel long arm quilting machine.
Quilting of the purple sheet begins. 
Three layers: orange bottom sheet, batting, purple flat sheet for the top.

And then there was the fitted sheet . . . I deconstructed it, and made myself a blouse.
Not just an ordinary blouse . . . I made my own polymer buttons for the blouse.
Let me know if you'd like to see more polymer clay buttons and beads.   
I've been making lots of them.
I feel guilty showing my sewing/craft photos as this is a Victorian Farmhouse website, but honestly--there's more to my life than plaster, paint, and dust pans of debris.  No wait, maybe not. 
Oh, I don't know. 
Let me think about that for a while.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunburn on the Beach Quilt

Color Challenge - making a quilt using bright primary colors on a field of white.  I call it "Sunburn on the Beach" remembering the early 60s and fun summer days on the beach, cool water, blue skies, my first 2-piece yellow and orange swimming suit.
As I quilted I imagined solar heat (flames) radiating from the sun and heating up the surface of inflated blue beach balls. 
I used poly batting for a light weight summer quilt.  I like how the poly batting puffs up.
Problems and Solutions:

I didn't have enough white cotton for the backing, so I added yellow printed cotton squares in the corners.

Didn't have enough blue cotton to making binding so I alternated blue, green, fabric strips to make enough.

Having to substitute other prints added more life and vibrance to the quilt. I'm glad it turned out that way.
I'm working on new quilt right now--with the working title Circus Circus. 
I'm going to try my best to have it quilted and posted by the end of the week.
Ha. Ha.  That ought to give me a challenge.