Monday, May 06, 2019

Christmas Quilt...

There's something appealing about a bunch of pets dressed up in Christmasy frocks, scarves, knitted sweaters, and woolen caps. It seems to bring out the Christmas spirit in us all. This Ink and Arrow, "Mingle and Jingle Pets" fabric became the inspiration for my latest Christmas quilt.

I paired it with a few other coordinating and playful patterns...

... and brought them all together to make this fun and lively quilt!

I imagine this quilt will be appreciated by some of the little ones (who love puppies and kittens) in our family!

The back of the quilt is an entirely different fabric from those shown on the front, but the colors and theme of animals and Christmas blend nicely.

The quilting pattern on this one is the snowflake I've used on a couple of the other Christmas quilts I've made. Love this pattern...

Here's to another quilt waiting to be wrapped up and sent to a family I love for Christmas!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Refinishing an Oak Table...

When we moved to Massachusetts, we decided to rent an apartment at first. We didn't know exactly where we wanted to live, so we decided to research the lay of the land before we bought a home. I thought it would be only a few months before we found a home, but we ended up deciding to build, so here we sit still in the apartment ten months later. We should move into our home in about two months. Here's the  dreamy view we will have out our kitchen/eat-in-nook in our new home. {It's dreamy not because of the workers, but because of the trees. 😁 Although, I'm sure the workers are "dreamy" to someone -- just not me.}

Anywho, one of the things I've really missed about being in a home is being able to spread out and work on a big project. I've been able to sew, but that's about it. I am itching to refinish a piece of furniture, so I've been looking for a particular project to work on soon after we move into the new house. I found it the other day.

We have a loft in our new home. Part of it is a "bridge," with railings on either side. In the model home they had a grand piano there. My seven years of piano lessons never "took," so that's not an option. It's a tricky space to figure out what to do with. Here's a picture of how the space looks now. These railings, of course, are temporary so workers don't fall off the side... (Although, these rickety railings wouldn't keep anyone from a serious tumble.)

At the end of the room we'll have a couch and TV area, but I've been trying to figure out what to do with the space in the foreground. We finally decided to put a game table and chairs in the area. It's plenty wide, and we enjoy playing games in our family, so I think it will work beautifully.

For the last month I've been looking at tables. I wanted a round pedestal table about 45 inches wide. I looked at new tables, but I was more interested in an antique solid oak table. I love these tables, and they are beautiful. I was in the habit of looking on Facebook Marketplace every day to see if one came up and finally last week I came upon one just 30 minutes from our place. I quickly messaged the woman and a couple days later we picked it up. This is her picture, and it doesn't do it justice, but you'll get the idea...

This table was everything I wanted. Solid oak. Beautiful craftsmanship. Forty-two inches wide, and in as pristine condition as an old table could be. The best part of this little project is this table cost $50. Fifty. I was so thrilled! I had been looking at tables that were anywhere from $1000 (veneer) on up (solid wood), so this was a find of monumental proportions. So happy!

I want to refinish this table to give it back some of his former glory, but I have a dilemma.  Do I refinish him with a gray stain, something like this...

or a dark walnut stain, like this...

Either finish would be beautiful.
I'm curious.
Which finish do you like better?

Update: Someone asked for a picture of the flooring and asked about the color of paint on the wall. Here's the flooring (the wood on the left) and the paint color leans toward a beige color.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Christmas Quilt - "Ornaments"

I just noticed it's been a month since I last posted. Lots going on in our neck of the woods! I don't know if I've mentioned that we're building a home in Massachusetts. Last June we moved from our home of 30 years in Colorado to northern Massachusetts. My husband had been working for a company here for about a year -- flying back and forth from MA to CO every weekend. When they asked if we would be willing to relocated, we thought about it (for about two seconds) and jumped in with both feet. We've love it here! This has been a really fun adventure at this empty-nest-stage of our lives. Our home is a few months away from being finished, so we're excited to move into it and get more permanently settled.

In the meantime I finished another Christmas quilt. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm making these for each one of our kid's families for Christmas next year. A couple of years ago I made a quilt for every member of our family and a couple more to boot. It was exhausting and last year I couldn't look at my sewing machine without feeling queasy. I'm over that now, so I decided to make a Christmas quilt for each family and give them with a few other things I've picked up as a Christmas/Pre-Christmas gift for each family. We have 45 kids and grandkids in our family, so Christmas is beginning to get overwhelming. If anyone has suggestions on what we can do for gifts for Christmas for our kids and grandkids, please advise.

I've used a lot of aqua and red in the quilts I've been making because a number of our kids have those colors in their Christmas decorations. I love those two colors together anyway, so I'm drawn to them by choice also! The fabric for this quilt was built around this ornament fabric, "Vintage Holiday Ornaments Aqua, by Bonnie and Camille for Moda." The other fabrics are from the same line. Love all of the complimentary fabrics -- so crisp and clean!

I chose a poinsettia quilting pattern for this quilt. It mimics the red fabric on the border which is filled with poinsettias. Usually, I like the quilting pattern to fade into the background, but this time we chose a gray/silver thread and I love it! It makes the pattern pop a little more, and for this quilt it's a nice change...

I can't wait to move into the new house for about a million reasons, but one of those reasons is so I can take pictures of my quilts outside again! I always used to take photos of my quilts against my fence in natural light outside. It shows off the colors and patterns better. In the apartment it's easier to take the photos inside, and the pictures are pretty horribaaaalll... ugh.

Anway, Spring has sprung. Days are getting warmer and there are blossoms all over the place, so life is good! Wishing you a great day!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday's Fabulous Finds...

March was a very busy month with a new grandbaby's birth which created the opportunity for a trip across the U.S.! I'm home now and I'm sure to get back to sewing and other projects very soon. In the meantime, here are some little lovelies I found on Etsy.

I spy with my Etsy eye some...

Clockwise, starting top left:

Wishing you a beautiful spring weekend!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Monday, March 04, 2019

"Deer Me!" Christmas Quilt...

I'm making a number of Christmas quilts this year to give as gifts next Christmas. Here's the second one I've finished so far...

I took these photos yesterday in a bright afternoon sun, so the colors are a little brighter than they should be, but you get the idea. These are such cute fabrics. They are from the "Rustic Winter" line by Emily Herrick Designs for Michael Miller. 

I love the colors in this fabric, the not too over the top Christmas theme, and the majestic deer. Who doesn't love deer?

I used the same deer fabric for the back...

Buying Christmas fabric is a bit of a challenge this time of year, but, at the same time, the fabrics are often marked down a little. I've found some really cute offerings, and I'm excited to make these quilts throughout the year!

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Baby Quilt and Newborn Baby...

Our newest grandchild, a girl, was born last night. She arrived safely, and mother and daughter are doing well. I feel such a profound sense of love and gratitude when a new addition comes into our family. This week, in the nick of time, I finished her baby blanket. 

This is a slightly different half-triangle pattern than I've made before, and I love it.

The fabrics are a favorite of mine too. {Stof Fabrics Denmark from their Wooly Bear line.} We have a thing for bears in our family. My mother used to make fully jointed bears out of a variety of beautiful fur fabrics. They are works of art and each of my children have at least one of her creations. When I saw this cute fabric filled with bears it reminded me of my mother, and I wanted to pass that love of bears down to this little one.

So, I made this bear quilt, and I got some bear books and other little beary cute gifts for her. I love to give gift baskets or bags that have a theme. Bears are a perfect theme for a newborn -- girl or boy!

I filled the back of the quilt with more bears and scraps from the fabrics on the front...

The quilting pattern is rounded bear paws -- very cute and appropriate!

I can't wait to fly to California in a couple of weeks to help out with the new baby and her two-year-old sister! So excited for this new addition and the love and joy she will bring to our family.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Christmas Chickadee Quilt...

At first when I finished the top of this quilt I was a little disappointed. I thought it looked waaaay too busy with all the small prints, but I have to say it is growing on me. I finished it the other night and decided I just might keep this one for myself...

When you look at all the fabrics up close, you notice that there's a lot going on, but when you give it a little distance, the inspiration fabric (gray background with berries) turns into a soft gray and melts into the background...

I used the inspiration fabric for the back of the quilt as well, and put a strip down the back of coordinating fabrics to make it big enough.

A leaf and berry pattern was used for the machine quilting. The pattern is more noticeable on the lighter fabric at the bottom of the picture below. This reflects the leaves and berries on the fabric...

It just goes to show that pretty much anything goes when you're quilting. Some quilts might be a little easier on the eyes than others, but putting colors and patterns together is part of the fun!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My "Swedish" Quilt...

When my mother would tell us stories about her grandmother, she always called her "my little Swedish grandmother." My mom's grandmother was petite and immigrated from Sweden when she was a young woman.  She passed away before I was born, so I never got to know her. Her given name was Amanda, but I'll always think of her as my mom's "little Swedish grandmother."

According to my genealogy and dna, I have a big chunk of Swedish dna in me, which explains my love for anything Swedish. Beautifully designed Swedish furniture, dala horses, and Swedish meatballs are just a few things from Sweden that I adore. So, when it came to making a quilt for myself, I naturally gravitated to some Swedish folk art fabric by Rebecca Reck...

It checked so many boxes for me as far as color {I adore blue and white} and design, so I knew this would be the inspiration fabric I'd use for the quilt I made myself. {I'd made a quilt for every member of my family in 2017 for Christmas, but I never made one for myself.} I ordered some and yesterday I finally finished it...

I wanted the folk art fabric to shine, so I paired it with two neutral smaller scaled coordinates and a blue and orange border.

I chose a fluffy, swirly cloud-like design for the quilting, and it turned out so pretty...

For the back of the quilt I used fabric that was left over from the front of the quilt. I love to use this pattern because it uses almost every scrap of fabric!

This quilt reminds me of my mom's "little Swedish grandmother," which makes me think of my mom, which makes me love it all the more.

It's turned into a c-c-c-cold snowy day in Massachusetts, so there's definitely going to be some snuggling on the couch in this blanket tonight!

Monday, February 11, 2019

BAM-ana Corbread...

Last night we had some friends over for dinner, and I made enchiladas and cornbread. I've always used mashed bananas in my cornbread recipes because it not only adds a little bit of heavenly banana flavor, but it also adds moisture. {Some cornbreads are soooo dry.} I've tweaked the recipe over the years. Yesterday I used a little cake flour, and it was delish. I also use more almond milk than regular these days, so that is reflected in the recipe. I love serving this with honey butter that I make myself. Just beat 1 cup of butter and honey to your taste (around 2 - 3 tbsp.) in an electric mixer till it's light and fluffy. Yum! The cake flour gives the cornbread a wonderful texture, but if you don't have cake flour just use all-purpose.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups unflavored almond milk (or milk)
2 ripe mashed bananas

1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
7 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish.
3. Bake in a preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.