Dollhouse Reveal: The Kitchen (#12)

Hi and welcome back. Today is the second room in the house to be revealed.

DSCN4933This room is my absolute favorite room of the house. If I ever do another dollhouse, the kitchen is going to be much, much bigger!

I started out with a pale yellow kitchen dining set and had originally thought I would start with that.IMG_4157I even found some mega cute laminate samples that would have been perfect… I like the checkerboard pattern, just seems like a natural for a kitchen.

My own kitchen is red and white and it didn’t take long for me to switch to that color palette. I think the first thing I bought was the kitchen, sink and stove combination. There was no going back after that.

There are literally thousands of details that can go into the kitchen. This room is like no other in the sheer number of options. Fun, fun, fun!

So, rather than put a bunch of words in here that you’re probably not interested in, I will just give you the photos.

DSCN4939DSCN4938DSCN4932DSCN4931DSCN4934DSCN4937DSCN4942DSCN4941DSCN4940If you have questions about where specific things came from or what was actually made or built by me and The Kid, please ask! Some of the things came to me when the house was delivered to me and some of the things I’ve had for some time. But what I can offer, I will.

Enjoy!

julie

Dollhouse Flooring: Lots of Options

In the process of completing my dollhouse, I found that there are many options when it comes to flooring. I think that my Dad’s intent is that all of the rooms would have wood floors, but then when he originally built the house it was supposed to be a early 1800’s house (complete with servants’ quarters). I, of course, updated the style of the house to be contemporary; I likened it to actually remodeling a real house to standards of the day (bathrooms, running water, electricity and a modern kitchen).

One thing I learned the hard way was the doors and door trim. I think even before the flooring goes in the doors should go up. I did it the hard way and now with trying to get the pre-made doors installed, I am finding that the openings are being blocked by high floors – especially where I used miniature tile. Thankfully, The Kid is tackling this job for me.

So back to floors. I have used a wide range of flooring options and even created a few that I didn’t use. Originally, the kitchen was to be a pale shade of yellow, as I had purchased this awesome fifties’ style dining table and yellow chairs.IMG_4157As you can see, there were a number of flooring options, including the checkerboard pattern in yellow. In the end, I used a red and white checkerboard pattern, which is reminiscent of the entry way and living room black and white.IMG_4155The kitchen is laid with samples that I ordered from WilsonArt’s website, but the black and white is actually individual tiles that I got from Home Depot.IMG_4153For the ‘sewing room’ I also picked up some green variegated tile samples and cutting to squares and then laying them in the checkerboard pattern.

I meant to mention this wonderful person’s name that I met in Home Depot and am just now getting around to writing the post. If you’re ever in the Kansas City area, look for Cheryl Lupton, who spent time with me brainstorming about ideas for flooring. She had inexhaustible enthusiasm for the challenge and loved the time we spent together! (Hi Cheryl! Sorry it took me so long!).IMG_3930Anywho, Cheryl was the one who showed me the tile samples that they keep in the store. These are about 2″ x 3″ rectangles and I just cut them into squares and then adhered them with E-6000 glue. I was going to visit several Home Depots so that I didn’t take all the samples displayed, but wonderful Cheryl told me to take all I wanted! Yea! Saved a bunch of time, driving and effort.IMG_3929She was also the one who told me I could order samples of the laminate online as well. And I am going to share that with you here: http://www.wilsonart.com. Just browse through all of the different types of laminate and once you find something that interests you, click the link to order samples.IMG_6154There is a limit of some of the colors or styles and you can only order 50 samples at a time. I think I went a little overboard when I found out, and ordered way more than I could ever use. (I am still trying to come up with a project that will use them!) I had ordered lots of pink samples and one in particular had a woven appearance and the right shade of pink. So, two of the laminate samples made up the nursery floor.IMG_4147So, laminate samples for the kitchen, living room/entry way, sewing room and baby’s room. Somewhere along the way, I had a package of “real wood” miniature flooring from HouseWorks. IMG_4085I wanted the dining room to have a beautiful wood floor and after taking the largest piece for the dining room, there was enough left to piece together for the attic home office. Sort of makes sense that one would do a patchwork of what is available for the floor in the attic. It turned out pretty good, I think!IMG_4149So, for the two bathrooms, they got tile. Some time back, I ran across these large packages of assorted colors of mini tiles to be used for making stepping stones. By buying three of them, after sorting I ended up with a nice selection of colors and about half of it was white.IMG_3967So in one bathroom, the floor and the shower walls are actual tile! Blue and white went on the floor in an everyday checkerboard pattern with a white row of tiles around the edges.IMG_4151

Now, the other bathroom, which is also the laundry room, is done in green and white tiles. I didn’t have enough of any one shade of green, so I used three different shades of green alternating with white. Viola!IMG_9260You have no idea how difficult it is tiling with 3/8″ tile! I had some issues keeping them level and straight!

Okay, that takes care of eight of the 12 rooms. For the boy’s bedroom and the master bedroom, it was always in my mind to use carpeting. Again, I had some packages of dollhouse miniature carpeting from a company called ‘MiniGraphics’ that had been purchased somewhere in the past 25 years. When I purchased it, it was for the living room along with some light blue sofas, so it must have been sometime in the 90’s. I had also made curtains, blue and yellow plaid over sheers. So much different than what I ultimately decided to use.

IMG_4156So, off to one of my many jaunts to JoAnns. I knew what I was looking for but not sure if I would find it. But of course, I did, and the tight weave and low plush made it the perfect faux carpeting. A deep grey color would work as a perfect neutral, although I only needed it for the two bedrooms. Bought enough to carpet every floor in the dollhouse!

IMG_4150So, we’re up to ten of the 12 rooms with the flooring complete. The hallway in the upstairs was one that I hadn’t planned for and the floor plan change ended up with quite a bit of square footage (inch-age?). This was a chance for me to experiment a little and having watched an online video about using Popsicle sticks and so set off to implement this for the hallway. I cut different lengths and then laid them down using the E-6000 glue, then staggered the lengths and used a wood putty to fill in any spaces. I then stained them using a medium oak color and then put two coats of clear polyurethane to seal the color. Turned out better than I expected. If I did this again, I think I would buy coffee stir sticks – they are a bit more narrow and would fit the scale better.IMG_4152(What do you think of my little clip board? Also made from laminate!!)

The last room is actually a storage space in the attic and it will remain without a finished floor, much like real attics.

So, there it is. I hope that this has helped in some way. Sometimes you just gotta jump in and do it and figure it out as you go.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back when I am finished and unveil it! It’ll be soon!

julie

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Wow! Completing the list! (I’m Really Doing It!)

I have been running around like a crazy person, completing all of my necessary pre-op work and tests while trying to complete my own personal project list.

When I realized that I would need to do certain things in my house to make it easier for me to get around once I have both my knee surgeries, I made a list. I think originally, there was about 12 or 14 things and I may have added one or two while working, but I am down to really only one big thing that needs to be done. For me, that is nothing short of amazing! Of course, I have had to pour on tons of self restraint not to pick up more projects or supplies, but I have been able to do it! Wow! I am very pleased with myself (if I have to say so myself!!)! Ha!

So, tonight, I check off three more projects. Its sort of more projects but in the end it is three end pieces, so I will call it three.

First, I picked up a dresser-styled chest of drawers a while back that I knew I wanted to keep. Somewhere in the past couple of years, a chest of drawers that I brought with me from California that was part of my quest suite got sold. It was a weird set of events that had me selling a project dresser twice – so the piece I already owned was substituted. Ever since that, I had been on the lookout for a replacement. I knew it had to be very high quality and had to have tons of personality. I had a cheap piece, more of a dresser, in the bedroom for a while, just to have a place to store crap.

So, the piece I eventually found was this:

Can you believe this? Someone gave this piece away! I was so lucky to have been watching CraigsList almost at the time he listed it. He said my email came less than six minutes after he posted the ad and he had gotten over two dozen responses!

There was only one small repair necessary and the top was in sad shape. You can’t really tell from the photos, but it was beyond saving. But since my guest bedroom is white with blue accents, it was destined to become white anyway.

RetroDresser Before&After copySo, this dresser was picked up along the way and painted white just as a place holder. So, over the last couple of days, I emptied the drawers and slowly brought it down. Trust me, when you are working with two bad knees and a stair case, everything becomes slower!

The new piece was painted carefully with the most purest white in a high gloss finish. To get it even and covered, it took five coats! I didn’t want to rush it though and wanted to do whatever it took to get it right. This piece was for me and I want it to last a long time.

I went back and forth with how to paint the top of the chest. To keep the drawers working the best (behind the doors) I finally decided to keep the wood stain. But in figuring out how to paint it so that it was all white with the doors closed, it took a bit of figuring. But at long last, it was done and moved into its home back in the guest room.

2016-01-23 22.44.13Here are a few more photos of the finished piece:DSCN4296

With that done, I need to get rid of the first dresser. Because the pink scheme sells well and I have all the necessary paint and tools, it was an easy decision.

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(In the middle of writing this, I had to upload all my pictures from my phone and camera and then organize them! It can take so long to get a single post written!)

Next up is a cute little end table that I had hoped to become the base of a small cabinet. It didn’t quite work out, so I opted just to paint it and I’ll get rid of it on CraigsList.

DSCN4323.JPGNext, is the little cabinet next to this table in the photo above.

It started life as a blonde desk:

2015-07-16 19.54.53With The Kid’s help, we were able to convert it into just a cabinet, sans desk and legs. It was finished in my favorite shade of glossy red and fitted with new legs and matching cup holder pulls.

DSCN4319Well, this has been a long day and an even longer week. Still so much to write about too! And I am nervous about next week and the dual surgeries and important that I get lots of rest. So I am going to put my feet up and watch some mindless television while I go get some more ideas from Pinterest!

julie

Overdosing on Pink? Can’t Happen!

I love pink. It is such a happy little color and is feminine and yet, can be tough. I wear lots of pink. Which is kind of funny, since growing up surrounded by brothers, the last thing I wanted was to be “girly”. My mom tried a few times, but it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I remember one time she hung these gauzy pink curtains in my room and I just hated them. They didn’t hang there long – not sure what happened to them, but I am sure my complaints about them quickly became old. I was a tomboy from the get go and still am, I guess. But I like pink a little more now. (Not enough to decorate my bedroom with it, but love working with it!)

So, I had mentioned in an earlier post that we restocked the garage with furniture pieces. I am in the midst of doing a little test: I want to see if I can really earn enough money from the furniture makeovers and projects to allow me to skip the normal ‘nine to five’. I’ve never been one to sit around all day, but this sabbatical has shown me that I am a little more ready for the slower pace, even if I am not ready to actually “retire”.

So, in this experiment, the first pieces to be completed and be listed for sale are, of course, pink. There is something so sweet about the pink ombré color style that just appeals to people. It is so happy and fun! So, here we go:

We actually picked up four of the pieces from one place. I love happy coincidences like this. My general approach to these giveaways is to be kind, considerate and make it convenient for the giver. So, by replying and telling her that I wanted the pieces and that I would be able to pick up at her convenience, I was the receiver! We scheduled the pickup for the next day at noon and when we arrived, we were greeted by two young men who helped us load. I love when things go like this… feels like good karma.

So, there was a six drawer dresser and a matching nightstand and another five drawer dresser also with a matching nightstand. We had picked up a four drawer dresser a couple of days before, so in all, these five pieces became a single project.

Everything was primed… previously, I had purchased a good primer and had it tinted pink. It turned out a little darker pink than I had really wanted, but it has turned out to be a great color; it is more than obvious if you’ve missed a spot!

DSCN3604Here was the garage following the priming. The weather has turned very hot and even our unusually cool garage has heated up. So much of the painting occurs either very late in the day or very early in the morning. It doesn’t take much to work up a good sweat!Five Before&After Three Before&After Four Before&After Two Before&After One Before&AfterThen it was just a matter of painting the bases and then I organized the drawers to be painted by color. One drawer on the six drawer dresser would have to be painted the same color as the base, since I have just the base and five colors. I did the same on its matching nightstand, well, to make it match!

As the drawers go, there was one drawer to be painted the base coat, five to be painted Pink 1, five to be painted Pink 2, four to be painted Pink 3, three to be painted Pink 4 and two to be painted in the deepest shade of Pink (5). I use Behr Paint from Home Depot.photoThese have been my much used paint colors. The base coat is the Barely Pink, skipped Be Mine and then used Scented Valentine, Pink Chintz, Springtime Bloom, Fuchsia Kiss and Hot Pink. I originally started out using a matte finish, as early on the sample colors only were available in matte. But as I progressed, I found that I preferred the High Gloss finish – not only did it add a shine to the pieces, but I believe it would be better as far as fingerprints go. I still roll on the paint, I love the soft finish it leaves behind.

Here are all five pieces completed. There are so many times I’d wished that I had a reason to keep these pieces (or simply make them for myself), but alas, a daughter is not to be. I am very happy with my son, and he let’s me decorate his room to my heart’s content, but there is nothing like these gorgeous shades of pink!

DSCN3629These five pieces aren’t exactly the same style but very close. I believe that they are circa 1950’s, and are mostly made of wood. The tall six drawer and its matching nightstand are Broyhill brand, so you know that they aDSCN3637re quality. I really like these pieces for a number of reason, including that they are sturdy and quality made yet inexpensive enough to appeal to folks on a budget. Making them over is a breeze and doing 5 pieces at the same time is like a small assembly line for me and The Kid.

Because we’ve done this before, we had all the paint and rollers ready to roll. For some odd reason, I had been on eBay and come across these round ceramic knobs and had ordered 30 of them (they came from four different Chinese vendors) and took a while to get here from overseas, but were ready and waiting to be installed on these pieces. Kind of a coincidence, as I needed 29 – I could have used the final one on the top five-drawer dresser (the right-most piece in the photo above) but elected to use these faux lock piece instead there as well as on the four drawer top drawer. I really kind of like them and will need to hunt down more of them. They were the original “dirty brass” color, which I have come to dislike a great deal. I think all of those old hardware pieces are just too common and cheap looking.

As a side note, I have collected an almost insane amount of old hardware. Most come with this familiar and ubiquitous “bat wing” pulls, which I have actually come to loathe. I have to find a way to unload these easily. Not only are they bulky, but they are heavy as well and sometimes trying to sell them online ends up costing the buyer more in shipping than the hardware itself is worth. As a consequence, they often do not sell.Batwing Dresser HandlesI love to use updated hardware on the furniture pieces that I refinish. And I love the simplicity of the ceramic handles that I’ve used here and the ones I have used previously, which are just slightly different. But the pop of the white against the pinks are wonderful, especially the darker pinks.

Okay, I’ve rambled on enough for today. I still need to write the ads to list the furniture for sale. Wish me luck that they go quickly. I already have another five projects started in the garage… but these will be other than pink! I am even thinking of some black!

julie

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share.

Large, Long, Medium, Small and Too Small: Let’s Talk About Scraps!

Seems some days I just cannot get inspired. Doesn’t it happen to everyone? I walk around the house and look at projects planned, started and unfinished. I make lists of work that needs to be done. I review and re-order the lists and I watch CraigsList and pick up more potential projects. I clean, re-arrange and organize. I even cleaned and organized the garage; vacuumed the carpets.

Whenever I see carpets for free on CraigsList, I try to pick ’em up. Most of the time the rugs are dirty or smell or just plain ol’ ugly. Once in a great while you get a nice one. Hasn’t happened in a long while, but you can get lucky. Anyway, I like to pick up carpets when they’re available, ’cause I like to have them on the floor in the garage. Serves a couple of purposes… 1) makes it more comfortable to stand on, 2) helps reduce the noise and 3) I can walk around in the garage without my shoes on (either barefoot or stocking-footed) – well, as long as it is kept relatively clean. I have the great shop vac that can suck the color right out of the carpets and I usually try to do it on a regular basis.

IMG_7258Okay, back to the matter at hand. Trying to get inspired. I follow several other blogs, blogs of all different crafts and ideas. Of course I do follow a couple of different quilters and quilt makers. One is currently doing a “scrap-a-long” which got me thinking about my scraps. One other website has talked about what is the smallest scrap that one would keep and use. I recently did a bunch of cutting for another quilt (see above pic) and I got a lot of new scraps. Okay, I’ll admit that maybe I cut a little so that I was able to get a decent stash of scraps. I had pretty much used up all my other scraps and the barrel was almost empty.

So, sometimes when I can’t seem to get into a groove or lack the proper inspiration, I will sew scraps. I always have 8″ and 6″ squares of muslin sitting for just such times. I set up and I can sew scraps together without ever really having to think. I watch old movies and sew to my heart’s content.

So, yesterday, I took all (4) the plastic bins and hit the sofa. I dumped everything onto the ottoman and set the four plastic boxes around me. It seemed like a never-ending supply of scraps. I finally came up with the categories: large, long, medium, small and too small. Everything that was too small went into the trash. Two movies later, I was pretty much done.

So, this morning, still in the uninspired and goal-less, I headed to my sewing room and snuggled into my position behind the sewing machine. In this situation, I’m not going to try to use the small pieces, rather, I have that set aside for a special project that I want to try.

So, four hours/2 movies later, here is what I have:

photo 1And here is my setup:

This is but a step in a direction. Now I have to cut apart all of those pieces in the chain and then get ready to do a second round of chain piecing. I am trying to be random, allowing the pieces to be put together as I pull them out of the bins, but occasionally I will substitute another color if it is too similar in color.

IMG_6475Here are the 8″ squares waiting to be trimmed, lying on the cutting table. I have a stash of these squares too numerous to be counted, but I am conservatively guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 200. I won’t start sewing these squares together any time soon, as I already have about 150 quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Technically, I guess the scrap bin will never be “finished”, but I am still on the kick to not start something new until everything started is completed. It can be difficult at times.

julie

Another Round of Dressers and Benches

Sometimes it seems that if I didn’t stay organized, I could easily be tempted to just kick back on the couch and watch streaming movies and work on my cross stitch. And speaking of, I have managed to get more completed – I figure I am about 30 – 35% completed. I have to make sure that I did a little work on it continuously, I don’t want it to go unfinished.

Today, The Kid and I worked on the head- and foot-boards, turning them into benches. They are turning out pretty cool, although I am having some difficulty in figuring out what color to paint them. I briefly entertained the idea of sanding them down and refinishing them, but they have those round spindles and I don’t particularly enjoying sanding, staining or painting anything round… so, painting it is.

2015-03-26 13.41.54I picked these up in an auction for a mere ten dollars. I totally could see the potential. I am now getting probably thirty or forty percent of my pieces through this auction business.

2015-04-02 19.53.18I love working with The Kid. He is so talented when it comes to wood working and he has experience with all different tools. Thankfully, we continue to purchase better and new tools all the time; with funds from sales of finished products.

6961-1This piece is a very nice dresser purchased from the auction site. After we started taking the drawers out, we found that three out of the five drawers needed serious attention. In fact, on the of the drawers actually came in five pieces; thankfully all of the pieces were there and in good shape, just a matter of gluing it all back together.

2015-04-02 19.53.47Tomorrow I get to start sanding. This purple paint on the cabinet and drawer fronts is peeling badly and I need to get all of that knocked down before I can start priming.

Another little project that I’ve been working on is another faux stained glass. I keep an eye out for interesting material; mirrors, glass, unique wood pieces, what have you. This project was a result of a large slab of glass I picked up.

First, I picked out some wonderful clip art, worked with it a bit until I had a design I liked. Then had the design printed onto a full size sheet of paper and laid the glass on top. (This has been sitting on my kitchen island for at least two weeks and I am sure that my family is getting tired or working around it!)3Hearts 17.5x43

Then it was a matter of laying down the faux leading… this turned out to be a lot of exacting work. I made it a point to lay a few pieces every time I came into the kitchen.2015-03-26 15.51.18

Finally! The leading is done. Whew! I thought I would know what colors I would want to finish this piece with by the time I got to this point, but I am conflicted on whether doing them all red or all pink. Or maybe one pink and one red and one white. Perhaps two red and one pink? I am still thinking about it.

DSCN3236And speaking of colors, here is how the paint chip cards look in the morning light. While I was leaning to the left bottom color in evening light, this morning I am leaning towards the right middle color this morning. I am planning to just live with the chips for a while. Would love to hear your comments!

photoWell, I need to update tomorrow’s list and get ready to hit the hay.

julie

Started A Hundred Things… But Getting Nothing Completed!

Ever have one of those days or weeks or maybe even months? Ever since I’ve been back from vacation, it seems that I have been having the hardest time keeping on track to completing projects.

Lots of things started… between the new furniture pieces and my quilting, it would seem that I have a hundred irons in the fire. But there seems to be so many things preventing me from getting the projects completed.

So, first up is the blonde bedroom set we picked up about a hundred years ago (it sure seems like it!!). We had a chest of drawers, a dresser with a mirror and a head- and foot-board. All was in pretty good shape with the exception of a missing drawer and another drawer broken (but it at least had the drawer front). In trying to determine if we could recreate the missing drawer (we had taken the head and foot boards for just that purpose), we determined that it would be too much work. So, we’re going to cut the dresser in half, going from a six drawer to a three drawer unit.

2015-03-02 17.37.32While The Kid works on that, I have taken the other drawers and chests and head- and foot-boards and given everything a nice sanding and patched holes and gouges. It is really a very nice set, well built. I remember my parent’s having a similar set, I would place it sometime in the 50’s, when blonde furniture was all the rage.

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Here’s the headboard… I think this is going to be finished in pinks, they seem to sell well. I think the wood corner pieces will be one color and the remainder of the drawer a lighter color.2015-03-02 17.38.20In addition to this piece of furniture, we have a three drawer dresser with a different feature. Originally, there was a large slab of granite on top, which had broke. We’ve fit the top with a bottom and then it will have a clear plastic top, in essence creating a narrow shadow box. I think it will also be the pale pink, and for photos I am going to use doll clothes or something to show off the use of it. I think that this will sell quite quickly.

One more piece that we’re working on is a media cabinet that will become just a three drawer dresser. I really like this one, mostly because it was made using mostly wood and not a lot of that junk fiberboard. We’re going to cut at the top of the inside drawer and once again, sand, detail and paint it. This might be a more neutral color, perhaps white.2015-03-02 17.37.57Oh, what else? I feel like I’ve been so lax in writing lately, and that there is so much to get caught up. Let me show you a couple of pics of the garage:

2015-03-06 18.44.29 2015-03-06 18.44.19Oh yes, I won two sets of headboards and footboards from an online auction place, we’re going to use them to make those cute little bench seats. The last one I did sold very quickly and had a lot of interest and was so easy to put together. You can see them in the photo above to the very left.

At least the weather has been very nice the last few days. Which was great timing since we just ran out of kerosene for our garage heater!

In the house, I have a couple more projects in the works. Of course, you all know about the cross stitch. I suppose you are all just sick of hearing about that! I warned you!

But I also started digging through the junk in my home office recently. You all know that at times I will get frustrated with a mess and will stop working just to get things organized. Well, my home office had finally reached mission critical!

I have two boxes of the stuff that I take to my “real” jobs… the kind of things that make computer work just that much nicer. For instance, I have a custom keyboard and mouse, photos of The Kid, my own pens and markers and calligraphy pens. When I finish a job, I just throw the stuff into a box and wait for the next job. But they’ve started to drive me crazy, as once there is one or two boxes, they seem to just invite more clutter.

One of the things I had under all that clutter were my Lego Mini-Figs. If you are not a Lego fan, just do a Google search on the words “Lego Mini-Figs” and you will see what I mean. Along with PEZ dispensers, it is one of those things that The Kid and I collect together. He plays with his, mine are meant to be showcased.

So, now that I had a decent amount, I started to work on putting them into a shadow box. I ordered black 2×2 blocks for the mini-figs to “stand” on and once they arrived, I started working on the layout. Ever notice that when you’re anxiously awaiting the delivery of something it seems to take so much longer than it should?!

2015-03-06 18.44.57I’ll give you an update when I get closer to being done.

Another collection: cut glass crystal. I found that I had some pieces without lids and some lids without bottoms. So, now I’ve begun this whole other search to find mates for these pieces. Yeah, like I don’t have enough to do already. <<Sigh>>

2015-03-06 18.44.48I did manage to find the right pieces, though, for another small cake/cupcake tray. That ostensibly was the reason for looking for doomed lids, in order to create these small cake/cupcake plates. But I don’t really need a reason. Now do I?2015-03-06 18.45.07And of course, the faux stained glass jars. I’ve done quite a few of these, and because we tend to find these bottles when we’re out abandoned house hunting, it is fun to turn them into night lights or ambient lighting. I thought I would do one in shades of pink. Offer it up when someone buys the furniture pieces we’re doing in the ombré style using pink. I like it even more with the micro-glitter with the faux stained glass.

Another development on the quilting front. I am a pretty prolific quilter but recently the woman who does the longarm quilting for me, my friend Gloria, opted to retire from providing this service to me. I’ve been doing some searching and also some investigative work into whether I might just invest in a longarm machine and do the quilting myself. I pulled together all the incomplete quilt tops that I could find and I have just over 50 tops (with their matching backs) ready to be quilted. This doesn’t include 6 denim quilts that are a special challenge. And today, I uncovered a bunch (maybe as many as 20) of tops that don’t have their backs prepared yet. And I know that I have blocks cut for probably another dozen or so.

Okay, so, I think I found a young lady kind of local who I am going to take for a test drive. I’ve sent her two fairly large quilt tops and backs and given her carte blanche to do what she wants with them. If it works out – and she does seem to have the most infectious energy! – then I am going to drive down and meet her, delivering to her another 50! (Hi Becky!!) I have such good feelings about this.

Whew! After almost nothing from me for weeks, I think I might have gone a little overboard! Ha! Feast or famine! I will try to do better about providing more consistent updates.

Oh, one more thing and then I will be done. Promise. One of the cut glass crystal pieces that I found and bought was for trifles or layered meat dishes. I had always thought they were called “truffles” but I am wrong. I have a recipe for a potato and roast beef thing, but of course, I started with a trifle. Oreo Cookie Trifle.

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This has Oreo cookies, vanilla cream, crushed Oreo cookies, whipped cream, mini Oreo cookies and an Oreo cookie crust bottom. This should probably be called “Death By Oreo Cookies” or something. My blood sugar is rising just thinking about cutting into it!!2015-03-06 18.26.05Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Final Quilt Wrap Up (For Now)!

So, even though The Kid and I are not home, but out on the open road, I uploaded photos of all the quilts that I spent the previous last ten days completing.

Here is a quick rundown of them. The first one is a very fun piecing project. Gave me a chance to dig deep into my green fabrics. The great thing about green is that there is such a variety of choices: light, dark, deep, yellow-green, blue-green, kelly green and of course, all of the patterns and designs.

 

 

DSCN3104This one has an awesome backing fabric, totally the opposite of the front. Sort of. Its a kind of camouflage in shades of green.

DSCN3103To be able to just sit and sew strips is so therapeutic and allows me to watch old classic movies and really be able to zone out. Might not be for everyone, but for me, this is pure relaxation.

DSCN3102Up next is this strippy quilt. These were the left over pieces from another quilt (still yet to be quilted) that I wanted to use up. Simple and easy around a large red center.

DSCN3100A leftover star block ended up in the middle of the back which really shows off the quilting.

DSCN3101Another “mini” quilt made up of the leftover blocks of a larger quilt (and also another one waiting to be quilted). This turned out so well, I am so anxious to see the full sized quilt.

DSCN3097This one also had an orphan block end up on the back. And as before, the red solid backing really shows off the quilting.

DSCN3098And one more courtesy shot. I took these photos the day after our “blizzard” in Kansas City. It was forecasted to receive 2 to 3 FEET of snow and I think we had a grand total of two to three inches. And by the next day, most of it was gone.

DSCN3096And drum roll please:   tatatatatata dum! The last quilt in this series.

DSCN3095This was done mostly with a pre-printed fabric and some piecing in the middle. A wonderful little patriotic quilt.

DSCN3094I was gifted this fabric and I really didn’t know how I would use it. I really felt like I couldn’t cut the flags – so I wanted to use them whole and I figured what better way than as the border.

DSCN3093It might be hard to see, but the center quilting is sorta a flag motif. The blue and white represents the stars of the flag and then the results of the red and white stripes. Okay, I know it is a bit of a stretch, but hey, it is the thought that counts right?

Okay, since we are on our adventure and far from my sewing machines, I will probably not post for the rest of this week. But I will be back at it sooner than I will realize.

Thanks for taking this ride with me!

julie

Binding: How Do You Do It?

I think I’ve talked about this before, but for those new, this is an old habit (?) of mine. Every now and then I get stuck and don’t seem to have any forward momentum. When this happens I do one of two things… either I clean and organize or I jump head long into finishing up long overdue projects.

Well, over the past week and a half, I have been doing some serious finishing. I vowed to not start anything new (even though I went out and bought some new triangle templates and even some fabric. Let me just tell you that I have not bought new fabric in forEVER – at least a full year. But you also know that I have a small store of my own upstairs in my quilting room. Ha.

The guest bedroom’s bed was covered with quilts that had been quilted but needed binding. And my design wall has been covered in at least two layers of orphan and test blocks.

So, almost without a break, I have been binding and finishing quilts. And finished two orphan quilt tops.

But first…. we have to talk a little about binding. I recently posted the question about binding on a DIY site called HomeTalk about preferred methods of binding (you can see it here). As a self-taught quilt maker, I never knew exactly how to approach binding. My earliest quilts were bound by using the pre-made, pre-cut, pre-packaged binding pieces. That got costly quickly.

When I started quilting, the internet was still very much in its infancy and I guarantee that no one was talking about quilts on what was out there. It was either books or other quilt makers and I didn’t really know any quilters. So, I tried some things. First, I thought if I could fold each layer in on itself and make a seam, that would work. And it did, but seemed like a lot of work. So then I went with making the back larger and folding it over to the front. That worked much better. Sometimes I thought that I had ‘invented’ it.

Recently I posted the question about the preferred or better way to bind quilts. A serious debate ensued. I left the post with my opinion that everyone is entitled to bind their quilts in whatever way suits them.

I had come to this crossroad in a kind of funny way. See, Gloria – my long time long-arm quilter – parted ways with her equipment – and she retired. Actually, I think one of my denim quilts broke her machine and she saw it as a sign to quit! But she had a friend of hers finish what I had sent.

In the process, I think it wasn’t communicated to the newest quilter that I did the fold-over binding. You see, the quilt top needs to be centered onto the backing material or there isn’t enough material to fold over. So one of the quilts didn’t have the requisite material and I thought I would give (separate) binding method a shot. Someone in the online discussion had posted a good tutorial about how to do such binding, so I jumped in and completed this quilt in just that way.

Let’s just say that I am still not a fan. I purchased pre-fold binding and attached it to the back and then hand stitched the front. It was supposed to be invisible stitches, unfortunately my skill was somewhat lacking and invisible the stitches are not.  And it seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to do the hand work and this was a small baby quilt. I couldn’t imagine working on some of the very large quilts I do… I think I could have been there for days!

Here is the baby quilt with the separate binding:DSCN3090

The backing is a solid pink and the binding is white, which I think gives it a nice contrast while still coordinating.

DSCN3092

And one more courtesy shot:

DSCN3091

Notice the last vestiges of our “blizzard” two days previous. I think we ended up getting like 3″ when they were predicting 2 – 3 feet of snow. Temps today reached into the low 50’s. And who said Mother Nature doesn’t have hot flashes!

Over the next week or so, The Kid and I will be doing some sightseeing. We are headed south (from Kansas City) and the ultimate destination is The Alamo in San Antonio Texas. I have uploaded all of my photos of the finished quilts and will post one every day while we’re traveling. I know I have been absent as of late, but I was just not feeling up to sitting behind a keyboard after being at the sewing machine most of the day. You understand, I know.

julie

Sea of White (Primer)

Work continues on projects, but at least I am moving forward. There is a HUGE part of me that is ready for this bunch of projects to be done so I can do something else. As I was taking photos, I counted now, 8 projects (or 7, one project is questionable whether it is one or two). And completing these, means I will finally (almost) have my garage back. And just in time, too, as I hear snow is in the forecast in a couple of days.

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2014-12-17 14.44.28I’m now in the possession of ten or twelve quilted tops – fresh back from my friend in Arkansas. Now they have to have binding done. I understand that there are another four or five, I forget, in transit. I’ve not been in my quilting room for some time and I am anxious to head there. Sewing is so relaxing and a real catharsis for me, as I don’t really have to think while I am piecing and my brain can chill.

Another advantage? Paint and primer are reeking havoc on the skin of my hands. Not to mention the weather, as well. The dry air coupled with constant washing are drying my hands almost to the point of cracking. When I am done with this particular group of projects, I am going to indulge myself in a manicure and wax dip.

julie

 

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