A trip to the County Fair

A trip to the County Fair

John and I went to the final day of the Evergreen State Fair. It has been quite some time since we have spent the entire day. Our first stop was the needle arts building. (Of course)  There were a few quilts that really caught my eye. This first one was made by LaVetta. She has used my Celtic Dragon pattern for the center of the quilt. The tail section has been turned so it looks like the dragon is in flight. I like the fussy cut dragons that she added around the center and I especially like the use of the gold fabric in the celtic knot work in the border. It is always fun for me to see how quilter’s make my patterns their own by making their own design changes. Nicely done! As you can see, the judges thought so also.

LaVetta's Dragon

LaVetta’s Celtic Dragon

The next quilt that I really appreciated seeing is a Dear Jane. I envision this being a multi-year project. Goodness knows it would be for me. The quilt was hanging from the rafters, so it was hard to get a good picture. I think you can still get the just of it. I would guess that this quilter loves working with her/his hands, appreciates miniatures, and would rather spend time on the process than getting it done quickly. The work that she/he had lovingly done was beautiful.

Dear Jane Quilt

Dear Jane Quilt

At our fair we also have other kinds of needle arts. I love this little Raggedy Ann.  She is made entirely from yo yo’s, even her hair!  What fun!

Yo yo Raggedy Ann

Yo yo Raggedy Ann

This last picture from the needle arts is a great antique looking shadow box. I don’t think it actually had glass, but certainly could have if you wanted. It had lots of antique notions, a couple of doilies and lots of old buttons. I have some of my grandmothers notions, threads, buttons, and some needlework she had started. This looks like a great way to display them. I am going to have to get busy and pull everything together one of these days and do a shadow box tribute to her. She is, after all, the one who got me started in the needle arts all those many years ago.

Shadow Box

Shadow Box

Yes, I did see other things at the fair. There were lots of animals. We even went into the petting zoo. There was a little kangaroo in there that we both wanted to see up close. The pig barn had a sow with 15 little pigletts that were less than one month old. Why are babies always so much cuter than the adults? There were long lop-ear rabbits and some really cute ones with short ears and lots of spots. The pigmy goats were pretty fun. There was this little one who had gotten himself up on a slide and just couldn’t seem to figure out how to get down. He just kept looking down and spinning in circles.

Little goat is "stuck" on the slide

Little goat is “stuck” on the slide

One of my all time favorites are the chickens. They are so much fun to watch. I found some inspiration in the fowl section also. Look at the beautiful coloring on these pheasants. I would never have guessed that they could be so vibrant.

Pheasants

Pheasants

And yes, we did eat. Boy did we eat! There is just something about being at the fair that makes all food taste good. We listened to live  jazz music during lunch. After lunch, we moved onto more displays and vendors and finished the day with some drag races. It was truly the best fair I have been to in years. I can’t tell you if it was the fair, or just spending the day together with John that made it so good.

 

Wonderful things come in small boxes

My daughter, Apryl, came over to my house some time ago. She had this brown box tucked under her arm. Ohhhh, I love surprises!
I opened the lid, carefully peeled back the paper and look what was peeking out at me from the box…

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I am trying to piece together some history on this old quilt top. What I do know that my former sister-in-law sent it to Apryl. She thought that because Apryl is a quilter, she might enjoy having it. We know that it was made by someone in my family, and both of my grandmothers were quilters.

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I shared these pictures with my mother to see if she recognized any of the fabrics. Unfortunately, none of them seemed familiar. That leads me to believe that my paternal grandmother was the quilter.  I know that this is a traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden design, but have no clue as to its age. Some of the fabrics are fairly old and fragile. Others have survived quite well.

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Here are some close-ups of some of the flowers. As you can see, she used whatever green fabrics she had in her sewing basket. There are several different green fabrics including what looks to be denim. I guess it was not easy to get fabric back then. Grandma never did learn to drive and they were never wealthy, so I imagine it was a big deal when she got new fabrics. With 4 children, I doubt that she had much money or free time left for herself. I envision her sitting in her chair in the evenings after supper, hand piecing this quilt.

Apryl and I hope to restore this treasure. Some of the seams need to be re-stitched and some of the fabrics need to be replaced where they are too worn to save. Then we would like to hand quilt it. This is a quilt which spans the generations. It is a real treasure!

If you have a words of wisdom about the fabrics or the restoration process, please feel free to share them with me. I appreciate any help in identifying it’s history.

Graduation Quilt for my Nephew, Brandyn

Some time ago I said that I was working on a new quilt. I wanted to share it, but it was a surprise. Well, the quilt has been delivered so now I can share and without spoiling the surprise.

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This is a graduation quilt for my nephew, Brandyn Bayes, pictured at the right. His mother, Wendy is the one holding the quilt on the left.  I am one proud Aunt! He graduated with his High School Diploma, and his Associates Degree, both at the age of 17. I wish that I could take some of the credit, but it belongs to his parents, Wendy (my sister) and Douglas (my brother-in-law). They have encouraged and assisted both of their sons through their lives. I am pictured with Brandyn in the picture at the right.

I love to appliqué and I wanted this quilt to really be something special. So, I choose to make a story quilt which would include several items which are important to him. Brandyn has been on his school’s robotics team for a few years. I managed to make it to one of the competitions this year and snapped several pictures. It was so much fun. There were not too many of us there from his school, but I think I cheered loud enough for 10 people all by myself. Here is a picture of his ‘bot and team. They are a group of pretty awesome young people. The robotics program builds good problem solving skills, gives the kids confidence in themselves, and teaches them to work together as a team.

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As you can see, the ‘Bot became the centerpiece of the quilt. I never did find anything that I felt would work well for the lights that flashed blue and orange-red. But at least you can tell what it represents.

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I of course had to add Luke, one of the family’s Boston Terriers. They have two, but I could only figure out how to fit in the one. Generally I can tell the difference between the two because Luke will be the one with the ball in his mouth!

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And I needed to include the North American Eagle. I can’t even begin to adequately describe what is done there. Brandyn has worked with a group of men as their IT Director for a few years. I met a few of the men at his graduation party. Pretty awesome! You can read more at: www.landspeed.com. They have set some new world records and contously strive for more.

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The Possibilities design at the top came from a t-shirt that Brandyn designed when he was in sixth grade. It was a competition, and his design won. It had cogs and gears on it, even back then!

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This is a picture of Brandyn with his proud grandparents. Pictured in the back, from left to right are Don Bayes, Barney Spielman, on the couch; Nadine Spielman, Brandyn Bayes, Wilma Bayes, and Sitka – everyone’s favorite dog! Actually he belongs to Barney and Nadine (my folks) but he thinks he needs to be in the center of everything.

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The other things I choose were his Tae Kwon Do Belt – his name is printed in Korean on the right side. I also included school emblems, GK Eagle (high school), Pierce Community College (AA degree), UW Husky – next 2 years of education, and the First Robotics emblem. The last pieces of applique and the ones that made me smile the most were the strawberries. They are Brandyn’s favorites. I have never seen anyone put away as many berries as he can.

I am pleased to have passed this quilt on. It is going to a good home and will hopefully be a reminder of the success that he has already achieved. I am already working on my next quilt – well, mentally anyway.

 

Woolley Fibers Quilt Show and a street festival

I am sitting in my booth here at the Woolley Fibers Quilt Show in down town Sedro Woolley, WA.

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There are a couple of young people just outside of our building playing the fiddle and a guitar. They are pretty good. I find myself tapping my toes to the beat of the music. I half expect to see some of the little ones dancing to the music. The is a street fair complete with vendors. And tomorrow there will be a classic car show. Something for the whole family.

Twice a day they are doing a bed turning with 14 antique quilts. Definitely worth sitting for a spell and learning some quilt history.

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They have a collection of doll quilts. Some are miniatures of full sized bed quilts, with lots of piecing, only a much smaller scale. Others are old doll quilts that haves been loved throughout the childhoods of the some guild members.

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This is one of my favorites of the bed quilts. It is an Orange Peel design made with yellow and white. The hand stitching on it is beautiful!

Then later this afternoon they held the drawing for the raffle quilt. It is the Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt hanging in the background. The drawing was very fun. A little girl, named Jocelin J. from Sedro Woolley, drew the winning ticket. Judy Johnson gave her instructions on how she needed to pull the ticket. Jocelin was very careful to stir up the tickets and did not peek as she drew the ticket. My fingers were crossed, but it was not my name that she drew. Oh well, maybe next time! Here she is stirring up the tickets.

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We are nearing the end of the day for today. If you are looking for a fun afternoon tomorrow, take a Sunday drive up to Sedro Woolley and check out the festival, car show, and especially the quilts.

Working on my machine quilting skills

Back Porch Quilts & Designs

I have been busy over the past few months putting together new samples for the shop. I love putting the tops together, but like so many other quilters, machine quilting is not my strong suit. I send larger ones out for quilting. This one I thought I would be able to handle myself. It is made from 17 different batiks with a solid black for the sashing and binding to make the batiks pop. I decided to do an overall quilting pattern. Here is a sample of my quilting.

20140528-202158.jpg I shaded it in grayscale so it shows the quilting better. I have a long way to go in building my machine quilting skills, but I am fairly satisfied with how it turned out. It took me a couple of days to finish quilting it. Here is a picture of the finished quilt.
If you are wanting to make this quilt

View original post 16 more words

Working on my machine quilting skills

I have been busy over the past few months putting together new samples for the shop. I love putting the tops together, but like so many other quilters, machine quilting is not my strong suit. I send larger ones out for quilting. This one I thought I would be able to handle myself. It is made from 17 different batiks with a solid black for the sashing and binding to make the batiks pop. I decided to do an overall quilting pattern. Here is a sample of my quilting.

20140528-202158.jpg I shaded it in grayscale so it shows the quilting better. I have a long way to go in building my machine quilting skills, but I am fairly satisfied with how it turned out. It took me a couple of days to finish quilting it. Here is a picture of the finished quilt.
If you are wanting to make this quilt for yourself, I have kits available on my website at http://www.BackPorchQuiltsandDesigns.com.
Until next time,
Happy quilting!

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Phase 1 of the kitchen remodel

John and I have been researching, looking and dreaming since January about remodeling our kitchen. At first we thought we were going to replace the cabinets with new ones. Our kitchen got its last update back in the early 50s, so it needs some remodeling. We have considered refacing, replacing and all manner of things. After sticker shock, we have decided to do as much of the work as we can. We are planning to do it in stages. Phase one is a new pantry and 2 replacement cabinets on the shortest wall. Depending on how well we do, we will either press on, or hire help. Here is the before picture of the wall we are working on now.

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Here is John doing some of the demo work. We had to remove the cabinet above the refrigerator, the range hood and the ‘box’ above the range hood. How many other houses do you think have a pipe from the bathroom above hanging down through the kitchen ceiling?

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And here is where we are after day 2 of demo and rebuild. We now have a much smaller box covering the offending pipes. Yea more space for cabinets and storage!

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Tomorrow morning I am headed back to McDaniel’s Hardware store for more joint compound. I have a lot of tape and putty work to do. And I don’t even want to consider the dust from sanding. I just keep thinking how beautiful it will be when we are done. One can dream, right?