Monday, July 20, 2015

Jack, Hernando, Mike and Me

When we sold our house and moved to our "temporary" apartment home, I had to make decisions about what to bring in the "decor" category.  The decision to bring this big blue bird was EASY because I LOVE it.  It is by Jack Black, a navajo potter.  

In our "temporary" apartment home, space for non-necessities is limited.  But with determination, I have managed to find little spaces here and there for shelves or bookcases to hold a combination of pretties and functional things we use all the time.  The bird is perched on the top of a small metal shelving unit I ordered from Home Decorators Collection.  When it arrived I filled it right up with books, games, baskets, a tiny lamp, a Woodwick candle, and the bird.  For some reason, it did not feel right to set the bird directly on the metal (can't explain it - just felt wrong).

So I made this little hooked mat to fit on the top shelf.  I wanted a very simple design - something with a southwest feel.  I decided on simple rows of offset Santa Fe crosses with a hit or miss look.  The background is a mix of darks.  In real life, the background mix is more subtle than it looks here.

The shelf unit sits directly below this large photograph by my husband Mike.  The bird and this photo were my color inspirations for the little mat.   Yes, it is an old Desoto automobile, and yes, that is Hernando de Soto's face in the hood ornament.  (Wikipedia:  Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, and the first documented European to have crossed the Mississippi River.)

So my little mat turned out to be a collaboration between Jack Black, Hernando de Soto, my hubby Mike and Me!

My little camera is incapable of getting a picture of the whole deal, but this is close (can't see the bottom shelf). 

By the way, if you have never had a Woodwick candle you are really missing out!  They have a special wick that makes a crackling sound when burning!  Just like a tiny fireplace!  We have tried "Timber" and "Redwood" scents and love them both.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Aunt Maudie's Quilt

Another "rescue" project.  At least this time the item being rescued has a special place in my heart.  My Mom's Aunt Maudie is the maker of this vintage quilt.  Mom turns 90 this coming Friday.

I must admit that this quilt DID NOT have a special place in my heart at first.  I had been urging my Mom to toss the thing in the trash for quite awhile.  It was in shambles.  A mess.  I didn't even think I could wash it (and boy did it NEED it).  I envisioned opening the lid of the washer and removing 500 tiny pieces of shredded fabric and a big fat wad of batting.  In all honesty, I didn't think it was a very cute quilt.

The quilt resided on Mom's couch and she used it every day.  I was a little grossed out.

When she moved to be closer to me, I gingerly put the thing in a bag and brought it to my house.  I struck a deal with Mom - it had to be washed.  If it didn't survive, I would give it a proper burial.  If it did survive, I would attempt to repair it.  She agreed.

Aunt Maudie smiled down on this agreement. 

Three times through the washing machine did not kill the quilt.  Then the dryer did not kill the quilt.  I was amazed.  Thank you Aunt Maudie.

It was not until the thing was clean and dry that I started to examine it close up.  I got kind of interested.  About 20% of the pieces making up the blocks were in shreds.  Batting was exposed in lots of places.  The edges were poorly bound to begin with (sorry Maudie!) and they were in terrible shape.  But some of the fabrics were really cool (some not).   I picked out three new fabrics that I thought would mix in well with the existing fabrics and got busy.  What worked best was to simply cut a new piece to fit right over the top of the damaged piece and applique it on there.  I used a rounded-looking zig-zag stitch on my machine to sew the pieces on (with 1/4" turned under).  

Here's a shot to give you an idea of the quilt design.  The blocks are diagonal multi-width stripes.  This is an "after" picture.  I had so little faith in the survival instincts of the quilt that I didn't even take "before" pictures.

 The backing fabric is cute, but very loosely woven.  I had to patch it in a few places.  The striped binding is new.  I completely cut off the old edges with my rotary cutter, squared things up a bit, and put on this new binding.

This photo shows bits of the new fabrics I used.  The birds on white background on the left, the white dots on green background right below the birds, and the cherries on the right.

Sometimes there was just a minor hole or tear in a piece of the old fabric, so I got creative and made little patches like this with the bird fabric.

Just for fun, here are some of the original fabrics I thought were so cute...

 This is a big patch I had to put on the back.  My plan is to make a label with Maudie's name, Mom's name, and my name.  I'll put it in the middle of this area.

Mom was thrilled to get the quilt back all clean and fixed up, but I was sad!  I went through quilt repair withdrawal.  I loved the challenge and came to appreciate the fabrics and the fun Maudie must have had making the quilt.   

I might be ready for another challenge soon...