Friday, January 29, 2010

Breakfast in Bed

It was May 1977...

I needed a spring wall hanging for the fireplace so I decided to make a second quilt. This time I chose a nine patch pattern which I believe that I got out of a magazine. It was so long ago I can not remember for sure. I found some great purple and green plaid fabric at my Dad’s store in Michigan to start with and since my favorite color is purple it was a perfect fabric to start with. After getting a new sewing machine and completing my first Quilt, I had started to visit fabric stores again. Fabric sure had changed from the days of making baby sleepers and kids clothes and the way people were sewing had too! Gone are the days of making clothes and welcome to Home décor and Quilting. I was able to find a great purple and green floral to use with the purple and green plaid. Next I realized that I had the solid perfect purple to match in my stash.

What sewing I had done in the last few years had been Home Décor like everyone else. I had made a Valance for my bathroom a few months before. I was looking for a scalloped edge valance which reminded me of my visit to Rome. In Rome, at the Trevi Fountain, there was a man selling flowers with a wooden cart. He had beautiful flowers and the cart was covered with a yellow and white scalloped awning. That is what I wanted for my window but mine needs to be in purple and white. When you go to the store looking for some thing so specific, you will likely not find it. And of Course I did not! So I made it.

Add a white fabric and now I have the perfect set of fabrics for my wall hanging.
I am surprised that I still have some of the fabric left! So after a few days of sewing the top was complete. It tool me a bit longer to Quilt it.

I decided that I would quilt it in Purple and White.
So here you are "Breakfast in Bed". 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Lighthouse for starters…

In the 1994, I had moved back to the Midwest to get closer to my family. In 1995, we had decided apartment living just was no longer for us so we decided to get into a house. We had hoped for a medium sized house since most of the time there would probably be just Greg and I but there just wasn’t much on the market when we were looking. What was on the market was either too small or big. There was nothing in between which would work for our blended family. Greg had three young daughters and I had grown sons. While rarely were we “all” together, his and mine, but it did happen on occasion and we wanted enough room for when that happened. So we ended up with a fairly large home which was built in 1902.

Our house as it looked in 1995

In the dining room, on one wall we have a fireplace, a big huge white brick fireplace. The previous owners decided to paint the brick so we have this big white wall. I was struggling with what to do with the “white fireplace”.

The company which I worked for had a photo contest every year, and the photos which were deemed the “best”, were made into a calendar. I always hung it in my office because it was a really nice “free” calendar. All company employees got a calendar for Christmas. When I turned the calendar from June to July, there it was, a really great photo of the “Chicago Lighthouse”. “What a prefect fit”, I thought. I had just moved from Phoenix to Chicago a few years before and I have always loved lighthouses. People probably thought I was a bit strange, when they walked into my home in Phoenix and saw that I had used lighthouses to decorate my kitchen in the desert. When you really love something you can’t just throw it away because you changed locations…I loved the desert and eventually did do some desert type decorating but…for a time I had lighthouses in the desert. Now I am back in the Midwest and my lighthouse fit again! When I saw the Chicago Lighthouse in the calendar it was like a “lightbulb” came on! I just knew I could make a wall hanging out of it.

I went my local newspaper office and bought a bolt end of news print. When a newspaper gets close to the end of a bolt of paper and they know that they cannot complete a run of the paper, they switch out the bolt of newsprint for a new full one. The remaining partial roll is set off to the side and they will generally sell them to the public. The bolt ends work great for people who need a large piece of paper to make a pattern out of or if you want to make a really big picture. I have found many other uses for this paper; covering large surfaces when you are painting, painting for small children, table covers for a messy project, drop cloth for spray painting, You get the idea. It is a cheap solution. A newspaper will sell them for a couple of dollars. I try to keep one or two handy all the time.

Anyway I got side tracked, so my very first quilt was born from a photo taken by a coworker. I kept the picture from the calendar for the longest time but right now I can’t find it. I drew out the pattern and hunted for fabric. I really had no idea what the heck I was doing but I needed a light house to hang on my fireplace and I was gonna get it!


It was a challenge and I made several mistakes and realized that I had no clue what I was doing! But I made it and decided that I liked quilting enough to really go learn how to do it correctly. I signed up for my first class!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How it all started ....

When I was 7 years old, my Dad worked for a department store in Rochester Michigan, a place called "Mitzelfelds". He was the manager for the store for years. One of his many responsibilities was to design and setup the displays in the windows. Often on Sunday, we would take a drive to Rochester to open the awnings over the display windows to protect the clothes in the window from fading in the direct sunlight. I remember doing this with him  most Sundays in the winter and spring.

Usually a few weeks before Easter, Dad would take all the girls with him when he took care of the windows. While we were there he would show us a rack of dresses and ask us to pick one out from this specific rack for our Easter dress. Most often we could find something that we liked. I did not understand why we only had that rack to pick from. I found a dress on one of the other racks. I cried when Dad told me that I could not have a dress from that rack. I pleaded and eventually Dad told me why, “Honey, I can not afford to buy you that dress. Mom and I have to buy four dresses today.  I just can not afford it”.  As a seven year old, I just did not understand the “concept of not being able to afford something”.  We had everything that we needed. We were never lacking for anything so how could we not afford it, I wondered.  I was heart broken as my Dad tried to explain how much it cost to raise 6 children in a way that a 7 year old would understand. Until that day I never knew that money was tight at our house!  I eventually settled for a dress from the rack that he could afford.

He watched me closely when we arrived home. He asked me to come sit on his lap so he could cuddle and hug me in a effort to make me feel better. We talked and he came up with and idea. He told me “Spend time with your Mom. Let her teach you how to sew and I will buy you all the fabric you want! You will learn how to make dresses that are even prettier than the one you wanted at the store today!”

So I did learn to sew from my mother and so did the rest of my sisters. Before long we were learning new techniques from each other. With his four daughters all sewing we had to schedule time with the sewing machine and while it was not tolerated, fights would sometimes break outing over who got the sewing machine next! Eventually Grandma Smith would give us her sewing machine so now we had two but they both ran almost constantly. Mom had to stopped sewing because the girls were always using both sewing machines. In middle school and high school, my sisters and I sewed all of our clothes. I do not remember buying anything except sweaters, underwear and shoes.

My Dad always followed through with his promises. He provided me with fabric from the time I was 7 years old until the day he died 34 years later. Bless you Dad for planting the seeds of my obsession!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dog Days Nine Patch Sparkle

This is a Quilt that I recently gave to my sister for her birthday.  I called it "Dog Days". The Quilt pattern is called a Nine Patch Sparkle. I was facinated by the look of this quilt.  The blocks are small; either 2 3/4 inches or 3 1/2 inches.  There is one nine patch and one plain square of one of the fabrics from the nine patch.  There are 15 squares in a row.   This quilt had 4 fabric which were used in the combinations in the nine patch blocks and each fabric is used in a plain square. There were  alot of blocks but it looks more complicated than it is.  When I saw this book at " A Touch of Amish", a fabric story in Barrington, I just had to have it. 

Aren't the faces adorable? Sue picked the dog print and the rest of the fabric came from my stash except the tan fabric and the back and binding fabric. I just knew I was saveing those great fabric for this special project. I found a real cute fabric for the back too.  

This is the fabric I used on the back. These dogs are so cute. The longer you look at it the more that you see. I made sure I had extra fabric because I am sure that I can find another use for this fabric.  I have three sets of fabric waiting for future projects. They will be very different then my first project.  Hope you enjoy!  If you have any questions, give me a yell!

Happy Sewing!


Design came from the reference :

Radiant Sunshine and Shadow 23 Quilts with Nine Patch Sparkle
by Helen Frost and  Catherine Skow 
Published by C and T Publishing