Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Big Closing

Well, we did it! My husband and I are in the real estate business, and after four years of marketing a particular building in Key West, Florida, we have finalized a deal. It will close on July 25th, and I could not be more excited and pleased. I saw a ticker on another blog this morning, and said to myself, if ever there was a time for me to post a ticker, it is today.

I can assure you that on July 26th, I will be busy. There is a particular Janome that has been calling my name for years... Can't you hear it? "...Susan....Susan...time to upgrade your machine..." I must comply. It is the right thing to do.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Scrap Happy Quilt with Borders

As promised, here is a photo of the quilt with borders and pinned, ready for me to quilt myself. I intend to use a medium dark purple 30s fabric to bind it - that will frame it nicely, I believe. For those who asked, the flower blocks are 9.5 inches unfinished, 9 inches finished. The logs in the border are 2 inch by 4 inch, unfinished. The quilt top is a total of 54 inches square.

Have a great Father’s Day everyone! May all your cookouts be rain free, happy events!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scrap Happy Quilt

Here is my latest completed quilt top (YEAH – crossed it off the list!!). I made this for my ever so sweet niece, who lives in New York. It is made entirely out of my stash. I had purchased an unbelievably large quantity of four inch charms years ago, for some project or other that I was doing at the time. As luck would have it, I didn’t use all the charms up. In fact, the Depression Quilt that is shown two posts back is made entirely out of those very same left over four inch charms. That gives you some idea as to how many charms I had laying about. That quilt didn’t even use them up!

I drew the flower pattern freehand, making sure that each four inch charm would produce two petals. Waste not, want not, as my Grandmother used to say. Then for each of the logs that make up the inner borders, I simply cut a four inch charm in half. That also helped to use up a good quantity of charms. To make the flower blocks, I used a fusible product (Wonder Under) to adhere the petals and flower centers to the white on white fabric scraps, then top stitched them all down very carefully using my machine’s blanket stitch. I like to use a rather close setting on the stitch regulator when using the blanket stitch for appliqué. This way I am sure there will be no raveling after years of washing.

To finish this one off, I plan to use a medium to dark pink binding to “frame” it up. I need to figure out what to use for the backing first. All in all, I am quite pleased with this very simple, very happy little quilt. And again, nothing but stash!

I intend to complete, before Christmas, three more quilts for her siblings (egads!). I really would like to give them each a quilt for Christmas. I probably should have started in January…

**Post Script - I just discovered that Hubby took our digital camera with him on a business trip! Rather than hold back the post until he gets back with the camera, I decided that I would use the photo of the quilt top without borders and replace it with the finished one when he returns. Big Sigh...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Appreciating All Things Old

My husband and I purchased a home almost exactly one year ago, and have been remodeling it ever since. It is a 1925 Craftsman style house and surprisingly this house was very near it's original condition. What I mean by this is that nothing had been updated since it was built, well, except for the addition of many, many layers of paint. We have tried to maintain the integrity of the original design while updating it to what I feel to be a minimum standard of living. For example, we live in Clearwater, Florida and this house did not have central air conditioning. In my humble opinion, that would be the equivalent of living in Mishicot, Wisconsin and not having heat in your house. It still had the original porcelain sink mounted on the wall in the kitchen and typical to the period, it had no kitchen cabinets to speak of. We had to completely remodel the kitchen, in addition to many other “minor” projects like re-drywalling all the walls and ceilings, rewiring the entire house, and sanding every single Dade County Pine floor….
It’s been a very long journey, but right now I would have to say that I am most pleased, not with freshly restored wood floors or the crown moldings throughout every room, and not even with the brand new kitchen. What I am most delighted with is the restored glass and brass interior door knobs! I smile every time I touch one. I can not even begin to guess how many layers of paint had built up on the key holes and brass fittings to these door knobs. I soaked every last layer of paint off (thank you Martha Stewart for you website tips), and with the help of my husband we have reinstalled them to the original solid wood doors. I even stripped the brass hinges, and honestly I couldn’t be more proud of this hardware. As I was gazing at them again tonight, it occurred to me that just as I admire the craftsmanship of the quilts of yesteryear, I feel much the same about these door knobs and doors. Back in the 1920’s when these doors were made, they were done by hand, just as the old quilts were. They were not created on an assembly line, nor was machinery used that you just “fed” the doors through to get the holes drilled out properly to fit the knobs. They really were "crafted".

Though I love the way I assemble quilts today, I can’t help but think back with admiration to the methods that led up to the way we create things now.

I had to show off the hibiscus that came with the house and grows in the front yard. It is ancient, and over the last year, with lots of love, natural pesticides and plant food, I have coaxed it back in to bloom. I do so love old things!