Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Progress at the Hill Country House - April, 2015

Wow! This has been such a busy spring! After the Hawaii trip, I spent a couple of weeks sick with bronchitis. Now I leave again tomorrow for three weeks taking care of grandkids!
We did manage to get a little done on the house during that time. I'm still playing with furniture placement in the living room. I have two thrift store recliners. (They are the "Stickley" style chairs you see on the right in the photo). One is black and one is tan, so I would love to have them reupholstered. I haven't checked into that yet and I'm really intimidated about doing it myself. If it doesn't cost too much, I would love to have them done in cowhide.
 The two portraits are hung and I've found some antique books and a few other things to put on the buffet to tie everything together. I found the old watering pitcher in an antique shop for about $10. Everything else, except the flowers, was from a thrift shop. I'm sure this arrangement will change, but for now it makes me smile.
Here's a view from the dining room end of the room. We are going to replace the ceiling fans with some in wood tones. I haven't found the ones I want yet.
 My island cabinets had been painted gray, but I wasn't happy with how they turned out. (I know that when the red cedar top is put on, it will make a big difference!)
I decided to put a glaze on them. If we don't like it, it is only paint!

Here is a photo during the process.
Here they are finished, except for the island top. 
We are also waiting on bids for the countertops in the pantry. We haven't decided yet what to call that area - prep kitchen, working pantry, butler's kitchen, dirty kitchen. All of these are names we've found for a pantry that you can actually work in. We had planned to reuse the Corian countertops in that room, but found that it will cost more to have someone come in and seam them than it does to buy new granite!
I also went "estate sale" shopping. I found this Raku vase. Inside is a receipt and a note from the potter about how she did it. If you know Sunee Rakowitz, tell her that her beautiful pot will be appreciated and loved. As a young art student in college, we made Raku pottery. It is a fascinating process!
I also found this Mexican casserole "dish". I love the simple beauty of it! I even love the clay color on the inside!
I hope to do some posting while I'm away, but I'm about to enter the lifestyle of the "young and restless"! I don't know how these young families keep up the pace! What a privilege to be part of their lives for these coming weeks!

Monday, April 6, 2015

I'm Back from Paradise!

My husband and I have been in Hawai'i for the last couple of weeks. It was a dream vacation that we really hadn't planned for. Wow! What a wonderful experience!
A quick picture taken with my iPhone)

 We stayed in a hotel in Waikiki, just a walk across the street from the beach. We ate breakfast on the beach most mornings. (There were covered pavilions and picnic tables.) 

We experienced TWO luaus!

We watched our grandkids learn to surf! (Fast learners!)

They talked me into going parasailing even though I was terrified! It was fun! (Yes, our legs are snow white!)  My sons have teased me about the look on my face. I'm afraid of heights and of swimming in the ocean, so this was a stretch for me!

 (Our view of the boat from the air.)

We did a lot of other things while we were there:
We saw the Dole Pineapple Plantation and  a macadamia nut farm.
 I hiked up to Diamond Head and saw the panoramic view.
 We paid our respects at Pearl Harbor. 
We drove around the coastline of Oahu and saw the beaches on all sides. 
We watched fireworks on Waikiki from the beach. 
We took a submarine ride to see sea turtles, plane and ship wreckage, and lots of tropical fish.
We shopped at a flea market as well as the International Market.
We tasted Spam flavored macadamia nuts!

I am still a little jet lagged. It was a long flight. I made yo-yos (Suffolk puffs for some of you) when I needed to do something with my hands during the flight. I have a nice start on a little coverlet. I like having something I can grab up for times when I know I will be sitting for a while.

To my friends in Hawai'i, you really do live in a paradise! Wow!

I came home and bought a couple of albums by the late Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwo'ole. I have always loved his renditions of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and It's a Wonderful World, but I also appreciate his Hawaiian traditional songs. If you haven't heard them, you should check it out.
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meet and Greet - This is Me!

"Coffee Time"
Applique is the closest thing to painting with fabric that I have found. (except for actually painting ON fabric!)
I love finding fabrics that have textural prints that I can use to give the illusion of other things - sand, leaves, sky, etc. I tend to keep a box of "Textures" that I go to first when trying to create an applique. 
The quilt below used only solids, but many shades of each color.

Roses in bloom on a quilt I made for a blog hop in late 2013

 The bookcase quilt below was a custom quilt made before I started blogging. Every item on the quilt, including the words, were of importance to the recipient of the quilt. I hand dyed the variegated ivy leaves for realism.

I have a very unusual method of applique that I came up with when I first started quilting. (I have since seen this method in a couple of other places as well. Great minds think alike!)  In actuality, I was having so much trouble with needle turn applique, I HAD to come up with something else. I also wanted turned under edges so my pieces would be more durable. Note: This method uses freezer paper, but it is NOT ironed to the BACK of the fabric!

Thank you for joining me today!!
You can see what others are doing by going to the list here!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bird Tree Blog Hop - My Day!

appliqued and embroidered pillow case border

The sun finally came out, but shadows couldn't be avoided!

Welcome to the Bird Tree Blog Hop! I really like birds, so I was very attracted this beautiful fabric by Tracy Lizotte for Elizabeth's Studio! It's called "Beautiful Birds". I decided to make a bedding set for a twin bed with fabrics from this line.

appliqued nest

I chose to cut the fabric into squares and sew a simple patchwork quilt with an appliqued border. This quilt fits a twin sized bed.

 I made pillow cases from some of the fabric and embroidered and appliqued a purchased sheet and pillow case to coordinate. I added a ruffle to the border of the sheet along with a verse and coordinating flange.
 I made throw pillows of the tree panel and a bolster pillow from the lining. When the top sheet is turned down over the top of the quilt, the ruffle and verse show.
Sugarplum was suddenly on "hunter alert" and was very fascinated with the birds! (That's how well they're illustrated!)

She finally settled down and relaxed.

Because of all the rain we've had lately, the days have been a little gloomy and dark. I found the sewing machine LED lighting kit by Inspired LED made my sewing a de-LIGHT!!! You can't imagine just how much easier it is to sew when the lighting is really good. This kit is easy to add to your machine and you won't believe the difference it will make to your sewing. You will be able to see so much better!!! You can read about them on their website here. For about $30 you can actually see to sew! I strongly recommend it!
Sewing Machine LED Lighting Kit
photo from the Inspired LED website showing how bright the light can be!
Before you go, be sure to visit my friends on the hop today!

                                  Monday, March 16
Sew Peace To Peace
Moose Stash Quilting
Buzzing and Bumbling
I Piece 2 Mary
Quilt Doodles
Just Let Me Quilt
Les Quilts
A Stitch In Time


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Is Here!

Doug and I have been walking three miles a day to prepare for an upcoming trip. Down the road from my parent's house is a field where we found longhorns grazing. This guy watched carefully, hoping we might bring him some fresh hay or something. Just up the road, on my parent's acreage, wild flowers are just beginning to bloom. The bluebonnets are there, but not open yet.
My neice picking wildflowers
Only a couple of weeks ago we were in the hill country without outside temperatures in the mid 20's.

We were snug inside with a fire in the fireplace!
I think all that weather is behind us now and we are ready for spring. I hear the birds singing outside now!
Speaking of birds, join me Monday, March 16, to see what I made for the Bird Tree Blog Hop. 
See you then!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A "New" Old Quilt to Cherish

We returned late yesterday from East Texas, where we attended my grandmother's funeral.  I returned with a treasure! My grandmother made this quilt and quilted it by hand. It appears to be of scraps from whatever she had - feedsacks, clothing, scraps from sewing, perhaps even an old curtain or two. This quilt makes me want to cut up old clothing and make a quilt!

 She most likely made this during the late 20's or early 30's. This quilt was made to keep her family warm. If a piece wasn't big enough, she pieced it. She didn't worry too much about mixing colors and prints. The batting inside was made from East Texas cotton that she carded herself. One year I picked a little cotton that was left in my brother in law's field and after spending HOURS picking seeds out, I decided I was no purist. Buying commercial batting is just fine with me!

My grandmother became an excellent seamstress.

 I also came home with two photos of myself in new dresses. Do you remember the thrill of new clothing when you were little? 

Me, in 1955, showing off a new dress. I was 5 years old.

My sister, on the left, and I showing off new dotted swiss dresses. I remember twirling around in these until my daddy made us stop! We're probably about aged 5 and 8 here. (The date on the back of the photo is 1958 or 59.)(Isn't my sister adorable!) We were beside my grandmama's garage here, I believe.

I'm going to go cuddle up in my Grandmama's quilt now! Stay warm!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saying Goodbye to a Special Person

In Memorium

Irene Laden Duncan August 16, 1908 - February 25, 2015
Aged 106

I'm reprinting this post from 2011. I have edited it a little to be more current. It is a tribute to my grandmother who passed away yesterday at aged 106.

Me on the left, my grandmama in the middle, and my sister on the left. (She would probably not be pleased that I posted a photo in which she was not "fixed up".  This photo was taken in 2011.

My love of quilts began with this sweet lady, my grandmama.
My grandmother was born in 1908 as a twin. This is her on the left and her twin on the right. They were named Irene (my grandmother) and Pauline (my aunt). 
This is a picture of a photo that was sitting on her dresser.As a young woman, my grandmother's twin eloped. Their daddy, who was a little harsh, was so afraid she would also elope, he nailed her windows shut and locked her in at night. She eloped anyway when, after a church service, the sympathetic preacher called her in to talk to her and performed a marriage ceremony right then and there! She and my granddaddy left in the preacher's wagon!   Again, my grandmother is on the left and her twin on the right. (She was slim all her life!)

    Her "world famous" chocolate cake recipe  can be found here.

It is the fudgiest cake you will ever hope to find! Her story of this cake can be found at the link above.  

My grandmother had "spunk". She once chased a burglar out of the house with the broom to protect her babies! (She had three sons.) 
Her purse always smelled like juicy fruit gum and she always had embroidered handkerchiefs that she knotted into "hanky babies" during the sermon (to entertain my sister and I). She also showed us how to make carnations out of Kleenex tissues and a pipe cleaner. We made carnations until we sat in a pile of torn tissue edges!
Her popcorn was the best I've ever had. She made it in a big heavy pan and used butter instead of oil. The butter browned as the popcorn popped, so it had a wonderful flavor!
And this is a peak at the quilt that started my interest in quilting. It's a Little Dutch Girl quilt that my grandmother made. The little socks and ribbons at the back of her neck have been carefully colored in with something (I am guessing crayon) to make them match the dress. I used to pretend the sashing was a road. I would go "visit" each little girl on the quilt by driving along the road and turning into their block. I was a little shocked that her panties were showing as the wind lifted her dress. I wanted to grow up and make a quilt just like that! Sadly, I haven't done that yet, but if I can just live as long as my grandmother did, there is still time! 

Grandmama, We love you!

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