Thursday, October 16, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE PART III

Just a quick update.  Today I went to see the progress on my table.  The wood has been cut and the sanding process of each individual piece has started.  The pieces will be glued and screwed together and the "bread board" added to each end.

While I was there Roy put me to work.  I tried to explain that I had sanded many, many times in my life (even own a palm sander just like this one), but Roy wanted to make sure I am doing it right!  That's OK!

Table will be much wide then these five boards
Love the wood, even the nail holes, which might get sanded out.

My friend, Barbara, is in the background.  June took the pictures.

Here is one of the legs  Well, the legs will not look like this.  Each leg will go onto the lathe and be turned.


It's coming along.  June and Roy tell me the table should be ready for painting and staining in about a week.  So, maybe by Halloween I will be sitting down at a beautiful farm house table to eat my cheerios!

One another note - check out all of the orbs in these pictures.  This is an older building, but full of old furniture.  For those of you who believe orbs are more than just tricks of light, there are many of them floating around in these pictures.  Freaky.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

QUILT BLOCK SWAP - CHURN DASH

I joined an online quilting group dedicated to swapping quilt blocks.  Well, that is how it started, but now we are planning much more - more swaps, blocks of the month and even quilting retreats. I see friendships forming, ideas spinning, great tips and suggestions shared, and lots of fun going on. There are about 139 of us from all over the United States.

For our first swap it was decided we would make 12" (finished) churn dash blocks.  We had to purchase Kona white fabric for the background and the "dashes" could be any fabric we wanted as long as it was bright colors.  We had to submit at least 12 blocks and we would get 12 blocks back.  Many of us submitted more than that - I made and submitted 24 blocks.  As many blocks as we submitted, we would get back.
The 24 blocks I submitted.  I used many different fabrics.
Sorry it is on an angle!
Our blocks also had to include our name and city/state attached to each block submitted.  I used address labels, but some of the ladies got very creative and included little notes with each block they made. Reading those was fun as it added a very personal touch.  We sent our blocks to Jessica (our fearless leader) and included a self addressed, stamped envelope so she could send the new blocks back to us.

The deadline was September 15 and by September 26, Jessica started mailing out the swap blocks.

Jessica sure had her hands full distributing the blocks- 510 blocks were submitted by 37 ladies from 18 different states!  Quite impressive!  I didn't envy her the job of randomly selecting the blocks sent to each of us or organizing and mailing out all those blocks, but she did it and did a fabulous job of doing it!  Each of us received blocks from different women and none of our own were returned to us.  I did get two blocks from Allison, but they were each made with different material so it worked perfectly.

I was out of town the week mine arrived, but it only made the anticipation so much more fun!  Here are the 24 blocks I received.


Aren't they beautiful?

Such great fabrics were used by the ladies
Here are some close up samples of the various materials used.

Roxanne used  fabric that is out of this world!  For 
those who know me, she couldn't have picked a batter fabric!

Denise used this very pretty fabric.  She found it in her
grandmother's fabric stash.  Love it!

Amy used magnifying glass fabric from the 
Nancy Drew fabric line (no longer available)

Laura used John Deere fabric.  How cool is this?  Great colors, too!

Some fabrics are bright and add so much to the 
overall design like this batik block made by Jessica

But, what to do with them?  Since I have several other projects going on right now I decided to be lazy and sash them together and add a border.  But, what color sashing? I went to my trusty quilt store in The Quilt Shop on Main in Jasper, GA and with the help of the quilt store ladies, decided on a subtle black batik.  I don't think you can really see it, but the fabric has waves of deep blues and grays.

Starting the sashing  process
But, I still wasn't happy.  I had 24 blocks so the quilt top could be four blocks across and six blocks down.  I needed a border, too.  I went through my stash and found the perfect border fabric that I had used as a backing on another quilt.  And, I actually had enough!  Then I got a great idea.  I could add another block and make a square quilt - five blocks across and five blocks down.  The new block I would put in the center using the border fabric to tie it all together.  Then I thought of something even better.  I would do it in reverse - like a negative of the other blocks.  The middle block would stand out and really add a punch to the quilt top.

Happy with my fabric choice

So, now to get down to business and add the rest of the sashing.

See the "negative" block in the middle?

 Finally got the sashing completed.  Now on to the borders!

I have to admit I wasn't sure about the black sashing,
but now I love it and think it highlights each
individual block.
  Reminds me of stained glass
Here is the end result.  I could not be happier with this quilt top.

Awesome!   Sam and Lady like it, too!
So glad I did the "negative block in the middle!  Thanks to my
great neighbors, Valerie and Phyllis who are hiding behind the quilt!

It is hard to believe that all of those different blocks, different materials of all different colors and patterns would come together to make such a fabulous quilt top.  All due to the ladies who made each unique block.  How blessed am I to have participated in this swap?

We also decided to do a Christmas theme block exchange.  Those blocks were due October 15.  Rules were the same - at least 12 blocks had to be submitted and as many as you submit, you will get back.  I made 20 blocks before I ran out of fabric.  Can't wait to see the blocks I receive for this swap.

Special thanks to the following 23 ladies from 15 different states who made the very beautiful and special blocks for my quilt:

Josephine H., Carver, MA           Jessica L., Toledo, OH                  Kristy C., Greenfield, IN
Martha M., Quincy, FL                 Pam G, New London, OH              Erlinda R., Goodyear, AZ
Allison H., AK  (2 blocks)           Sheri P., WY                                 Donna B., TX        
Alberta M., Sunbury OH              Rita S., Terrell, TX                       Amy G., Tallahassee, FL
Tricia H., Kingman, AZ               Kaitlin D., Athens, GA                  Laura R., Council Buffs, IA
Darlene R., Pearland, TX            Judy Wilson, Brazoria, TX            Mary B., Northern VA
Denise O., Centerville, TN          Emeli P., Hampton, VA                 Roxanne L., Kokomo, IN
Margie H., Milton, WI                 Carol M., Big Fork, MT                        

Sunday, September 21, 2014

HAPPY FALL Y'ALL

I am sitting in my screen porch sipping iced tea (not sweet tea!) and enjoying the breeze and 85 degree weather.  The wind chimes are singing and the dogs move from my feet to outside to check out what critters are on the slope.  It is lovely.  When I am done posting this blog page I will go make a sandwich, grab my book and return to this spot for most of this lazy Sunday afternoon.  Starting tomorrow this will all change.  The temps will fall into the 70's - much welcomed relief!  And, it comes appropriately on the fall equinox.

I have always really liked fall. My first 55 years were spent in Wisconsin.  After fall, came winter. Winter consisted of lots of snow, ice, cold, shoveling, bad driving, scrapping car windows, layers of scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, boots - ah - the list is endless and exhausting to think about.  So I never really allowed myself to enjoy fall too much because of what came after.




Here in northeast Georgia fall is different.  It lingers.  And I love it!  When winter does come, it is more gentle, calmer.  Yes, winter in Georgia is calmer.  However, in my four plus years down here we have had a couple dozy ice storms that are extremely dangerous.  Fortunately, we prepare for them and just stay put.  Well, at least we learned from last winter when this didn't happen.  But, I digress.

Driving up to the mountains in fall is wonderful.  Since I work part time I can take the time during the week when the "leafers" (weekend people flocking to see the fall colors) are all at work.  A few years ago my friend, Martha, came down in October.  We decided to check out Amicalola Falls.  The drive up there was spectacular .  In fact, we turned around and drove back up just to view it again and did the same a few days later.

There are many beautiful drives to take in the fall in the mountains.  The best are not well known and I am going to learn more of these.


I haven't been up to Anna Ruby Falls in a couple of years, so that will go on the agenda, too.

Fall is the time for crispy apples, pumpkin pie, Halloween (my favorite), light sweatshirts and the return to baking.  My bins of fall decorations will be pulled out this week, but already fall colors are showing up in my house.  Outside flowers that became too spindly have been pulled from the flower beds, sad tomatoes plants disposed of and more yard work done this coming week since it will be cooler.  Like spring, fall makes me want to be outside puttering away.

I love the four seasons and look forward to the equinoxes every year.  Spring and fall are my favorite, but fall - well, it is the best.

Happy fall, y'all!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE - PART II

Today my friend, Barbara and I went to pick out the wood for my farmhouse table.  So exciting!  I have been wanting a farmhouse table for so long, but I never actually thought I would be able to pick out the wood for it!


I am ordering this table from a great store in Woodstock, GA called One Unique.  But, we had to go to their warehouse/shop to pick out the wood.

Goodness - this shop is full of fabulous stuff!  But, I did pick out the wood with the help of Roy, the carpenter making my table.

Roy sweeping wood shavings off
the wood so we could see it better.


Love it!
Love it even more!
Barbara and I had to dig around in this place.  We found some good finds in that warehouse!  Barbara had been looking for a desk for her office and two patio chairs and guess what?  We found them buried under stuff, but just want she was looking for.

So what is a little dust when the desk
is exactly what you want?  Barbara
had to purchase it and she did!
First we could only find one of these cute little chairs for Barbara's patio, but after
a little digging we found one more.  Perfect! A little cleaning, a little spray paint,

 a little fabric and she will have exactly what she wants.
And, I have been looking for a new stand for my television.  Guess what I found?


I think this card catalog will make a fabulous TV stand.  Roy will build an "apron" on the bottom and four legs to get it to the height I need and it will be perfect.  Since I work part time in a library and am an avid reader, what could work better?  But, keep in mind what this old card catalog is sitting on for just a moment.

June is the owner One Unique, the store I am working with.  Just happens she  lives a mile from my house.  The other night she dropped off the two "head" chairs I wrote about in a previous post.. I am thrilled with the results.  Remember how they looked before?


Well, look at them now!  I am thrilled.  


Painted, distressed (just a little), cushions added and upholstered.  How cute are they?  I think Sam and Lady really like them, too.  June did an amazing job!

But, wait a minute.  Remember from my previous post on this project, June told me she only had one of each chair?  OK - no problem, the paint and fabric along with the curves of each chair will make this perfect for the head and foot of the farmhouse table.  But when looking at the card catalog above, I noticed the chair it was sitting on looked a little familiar.  Scroll up and look at the legs!  Yup! Another chair that matches the one of the left.  

So, now what do I do?  I love the two mismatched chairs and think they look darling together.  But another chair is available.  June said I could bring the unmatched chair back, she could easily sell it. She would paint and add a cushion and fabric to the one at the warehouse and I would have two matching chairs.  After thinking about it I decided to just keep the two chairs I have.  I don't need them to be "matchy, matchy" and I certainly don't need any more chairs!

So, the wood for the table is picked out, two chairs are completed and I will soon have a new TV stand.  Barbara has added two patio chairs and a desk to her furniture.  We are both officially broke!  But, happy!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

FAIRY GARDEN

I don't consider myself a "cutzy wootzy" type of person.  However, the past couple of years little "fairy" gardens have become extremely popular and I found myself very attracted to them.  But, I really didn't want one in my house and there was no place outside that I thought one would work.

The other day I went to my favorite garden center, Autumn Hill Nursery - Four Seasons Gift and Garden and saw this:



I loved this!  I didn't want to use a Buddha, but it gave me an idea.

This is how the bird bath looked
in the corner of my yard in Milwaukee.
I have had this beautiful bird bath for years.  It is great looking, but the birds hate it.  The center "ball" can be removed and I usually place it on the ground near the bird bath.  I tried putting a large rock in the middle of the bird bath for the birds to stand on, but they didn't go for that idea, either.    They avoided it when it was in my backyard in Milwaukee and they avoid it here in Georgia where it is in my front yard.  I think it is just too deep and slippery for birds.  I finally decided to just sell it in the spring and get one better suited for the birds.

But, the Buddha I saw at the garden center gave me the idea for a perfect place for a fairy garden! The useless bird bath would work very well!  And, they sell fairy garden pieces in the gift shop.  So, I purchased a few pieces with a "fall theme."

After putting gravel in the bottom of the bird bath, I added dirt and some small plants.


My sweet little neighbor girl, Meredith, came over to help me decorate. I think she did a great job, don't you?


Meredith loved the two fairy friends.  Me, too!  She is welcome to come over any time and rearrange the pieces.


There are probably hundreds of pieces you can purchase for fairy gardens.  I have already gone back to Autumn Hill and purchased some pumpkins and several pieces I can put out for Halloween.  They had just gotten in a whole Christmas setting.  Well, that will work, too, when the holidays come around.   I will try not to go too crazy purchasing pieces!

Sometimes being whimsical is a lot of fun.   My little fairy garden makes me smile and I hope my neighbors feel the same.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

ECLECTIC LIGHTING

I tend to see things I like - mostly junk I have to confess - purchase it and then haul it around with me for years.  Eventually, I either repurpose it and use it or I pass it on to someone else.  After all, one persons junk is another's treasure!

Dining room chandelier
Lighting seems to be one of these things.  I purchased my dining room chandelier over 20 years ago. After I moved to a new house here in Georgia I did not care for the basic builder's light fixture in the dining room, so I hauled out the brass chandelier, spent hours cleaning it up, had it rewired and hung it up.  I love it.  I probably paid under $40 for this piece years ago.  I now see similar fixtures in antique stores for $300-$400.  While the rewiring cost me around $35, I had electricians hang it while they were here doing other work.  I also had to purchased additional crystals for around $10.  So, I probably spent around $125 total for a chandelier I love.

When Christine from Front Porch Indiana decided to switch out a lighting fixture in her old house she offered it on her blog for whoever wanted it for the cost of shipping.  I grabbed it.  For under $16, I received a box with a brass rimmed light fixture with a zillion glass prisms most unattached.  I took a look at it, moved it to a plastic bin and stored it in my garage for at least two years.

Pretty much the way this light fixture arrived
A couple of weeks ago I was in a junk/decorating store in Cartersville, GA.  As I was leaving my eye was drawn to a lighting fixture laying on its side in a corner.  A ceramic porcelain fixture with a beautiful glass shade in perfect condition.  I dug it out and fell in love with it.  For $35 it came home with me.

Just could not resist

Where to start?  Original
owner must have been
a smoker
Detail 



Now, what to do with two old light fixtures?  I knew the porcelain fixture would work great in my quilting room.  I thought it would offer me better lighting when I wanted to sew at night.  The prism light would be pretty in my guest bedroom.
Reattaching the prisms was challenging!  I balanced
the fixture on a decorative piece I had.
Luckily, I have a great guy in my subdivision who is a jack of all trades.  Tom has done work for me before including installing all of my wood floors.  Tom was able to rewire both fixtures for me as the wiring in both was highly questionable.  I then needed to clean the fixtures before he could return to install them.
Detail work on fixture

The prism fixture was the most challenging.  The prisms not attached were soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water, rinsed and then dried in the sun.  The ones that were attached were carefully wiped clean with the same mixture.  I purchased a small jewelry making pliers to help in the process of attaching the prisms back onto the fixture securely.  The $3.99 investment made it much easier!

Porcelain fixture hanging in my
very messy quilting room
A few days later Tom stopped over and hung both fixtures.  The fixture in the quilting room is perfect. The light it projects makes it much easier to work/sew in the evening.

Yes, I need to touch up the paint where the
fixture meets the ceiling!  LOL
So much more light and isn't
the glass shade just beautiful?
While the prism fixture hangs a little wonky, it still looks great.  It makes my guest bedroom a little more "girly."
Looking good!  

So pretty
Both fixtures add a sense of the unexpected to each room.  After paying Tom approximately $120 for the rewiring and installing, my total investment for both fixtures is around $175.  They aren't "cookie cutter," fixtures seen in houses like mine.  The are unique and eclectic.  I love them!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

AVIARY / EGG QUILT


I've been living in Georgia for over four years now.  I still have quilt tops or quilt fabric or quilt kits I purchased in Milwaukee that I have to either start, finish or have quilted and complete.  It's a little overwhelming considering I am still quilting like a maniac.

One of the quilts tops I actually finished in Milwaukee is what I call my egg quilt.  I believe the fabric is from Three Sisters aviary fabric line.


The fabric is soft and girly.  I loved the "egg" fabric.  It is all bird's eggs with the names of the bird printed underneath.  According to pictures of the quilt top, I was making it in 2009.

I decided I needed to get my quilt tops quilted.  Taking them in to have them professionally quilted in chronological order seemed like a reasonable way to do it.  However, gifts come up and other projects I want done first, so this idea didn't always work.

But I finally took the egg quilt to The Quilt Shop on Main to have Karen work her magic on it.



I love the finished quilt.  It makes me laugh, though.  I was a "newbie" quilter when making this quilt.  I loved it, but wanted it longer.  So, I just kept adding borders!

Pink border print border, blue border and "egg" border!  I
think I got a little carried away!

Four borders later I felt the quilt was long enough!  And, it is a good queen sized quilt.

Now that it was quilted, I could not remember if I had purchased fabric to bind it with.  I dug around in my stash and really didn't think I had anything.  However, while downloading pictures for this blog, I found this picture.


Guess I found my binding fabric!  And, I think I know right where it is!


I also love the backing fabric which was picked out at the The Quilt Shop on Main.  I think it is pretty and has birds in it!  You can see the beautiful quilting job.

Quilt tops are slowly getting done, but now I see another problem arising.  How will I ever get the binding done on all of these quilts?  LOL