Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thrifting and Stash Enhancement

One day a few weeks ago, I met up with my sister in a neighboring town.  We planned to go for a walk and then have lunch and catch up.  We agreed to meet up in the parking lot of the True Value hardware store, but since I got there first, I went into the store to look around.  It'd been quite a while, maybe 10 years, since I'd been in there and I remembered there used to be a fabric section tucked back in the corner of the store when it shared space with Ben Franklin.  

Ben Franklin was a "dime store" kind of place, back before the big box stores were popular (and everywhere).  Little towns might have a Ben Franklin, where they sold all sorts of household items and other stuff.

I don't know what happened to Ben Franklin stores, but this True Value store still had the fabric section back along two short walls, and, oh my gosh, you guys, it was great!
By that I mean, not a huge selection, but what WAS there was some pretty nice stuff!  And they were having a sale where everything was 30% off—which might not sound like such a big deal, but when most of the original bolt prices are $5.99 to $7.99 a yard for popular brand fabric, that is fabulous!

Not pictured are some blender type fabrics, and I also found a 108" wide backing at $8.99 a yard, minus 30% off—plus I signed up for the True Value rewards card at the checkout counter, and they gave me another 10% off my total purchase.

(This was a thrift store find - I thought it looked like brains, at first, but it's raspberries!)
I've also been doing a little thrift store shopping here and there.  Trying not to get carried away, just looking for more useful things like fabric, thread, zippers, drinking glasses, etc.  I've driven loads TO the thrift store since the first of the year, in sorting out Dad's effects, and in general, my desire is to keep more stuff going out than coming in.

However...when your husband helpfully points out two matching pieces of mid-century vintage Royal Haeger pottery you just so happen to collect, what are you going to do?
(Vintage Royal Haeger)
That's right.  You are going to take them home.

On a different thrift store stop, I found some pretty iced tea glasses to replace the ones we've lost over the past year (let's just say "Don't break my dishes" has become a popular refrain when Somebody is loading and unloading the dishwasher). 

So I went up to the cash register to pay for the glasses, which were going to set me back a whopping two dollars, and the lady said, "Did you draw a paddle?"  

Huh? I blinked.  "Uh...no?" I finally replied.

She reached for a pail of paint stirrers ("paddles") and told me to pick one.  The one I chose had the number 75 written in black marker on the far end of it.

"Oh, 75 percent off!" she clucked.  "That's a good one!  Do you want to shop some more?"

She did not have to ask me twice.  I dashed back to the "art department" of the store and pulled a large, professionally framed and matted original watercolor off the wall.  It had a price tag of $39.99, which seemed completely reasonable for that kind of work, but it wasn't something I really needed.  Until that moment.

"You found something!" the lady said as I strode back to the register a few minutes later.

I did, indeed.  
It's signed by "Dick Greene."  I don't know anything about the artist, but I think he did a brilliant job(Pardon the reflection of my door window on the glass.)

It's now hanging on the wall in my entryway.  He's watching you!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Fall Visit to Wisconsin Quilt Museum

When I wasn't blogging much these past several months, I was still taking pictures as if I were.
(Someone plowed into this sign near the Quilt Museum - note the street name!)
And even though I wasn't doing much in the way of  making quilts, I did some quilt-related things here and there.  Like visit an exhibit at the Wisconsin Quilt Museum, attend a talk by Heidi Parkes, and take in a local quilt show.  More on those last two another time.

In late November, we visited the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts for the exhibit titled "In Death."
("Raw Emotion" by Victoria Findlay Wolfe)
We stopped in on our way through the area for another event, and did a fairly quick walk through due to time constraints.  
("Unresolved" by Ruth Marchese)
I took a lot of photos of the quilts, as well as of the information posted for each one, so I could read about and appreciate these pieces more later.
Given what was happening with my dad's declining health at the time, I also needed time to process the subject on my own terms.

("Jim's Medicine Bag" by Karen Ann Hoffman)
("Streak O'Lightning II" by Katherine Knauer)
Contrary to what one might think, it wasn't an altogether somber exhibit.  The wide range of creativity of expression and imagination on display in each of the quilts was the transcendent take-away.
("My Epitaph Quilt" by Susan Lenz)
The detail on many of these pieces was extraordinary.  Beading, embroidery, buttons, lace and other embellishments, and words, not to mention the quilting.
("Free of Bonds" by Jill Kerttula)
Oftentimes we are captivated by pretty fabrics, but these quilts really drew you in by what they had to say and how they were saying it.
("Leaving" by Jill Kerttula)
There were many more on display, but these were a few of the highlights.  I'm glad we took the opportunity to see the exhibit before it closed.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Dutch Rose Baby Quilt

I've got a finish, fresh off the machine today.  We're having round three of winter here this weekend, so it's been a good time to hole up in the sewing room and let this storm snow, hail, rain, sleet, and blow itself out.  As I write this, I hear the neighborhood starting to hum with the sound of snowblowers, so the wintry weather may be winding down as well.

My friend Kathy is going to be a grandma again soon and commissioned me to make another baby quilt.  This baby's going to be a girl.  Kathy sent me a picture of the baby's room for inspiration—pink walls, white or maybe off-white drapes, wall accents and crib, gray carpeting, and an interesting, almost vintage-looking area rug with what looked like a raspberry-colored winding floral motif.

That was enough to go on.  The cogs started turning.  I pulled some fabrics and got to work.

I decided to make a Dutch Rose block, but super-size it.  I used the tutorial HERE.  This looks a lot like the popular Swoon block from a few years ago, with some slight differences in construction.
I figured I'd double the size of it.  How hard could that be?  Just double the cutting dimensions and that should be that, right?  Wrong!
Which I found out after having sewn about half of the pieces, and they weren't matching up when I went to join them together.  It took a few minutes of stewing about it until it dawned on me that by doubling the cutting dimensions, I had also doubled the seam allowance.  Doh!

So the next day, I started un-sewing and trimming all the pieces down by 1/4 inch on all sides.  Everything went together smoothly from there to complete the big block and the rest of the quilt top.  It ended up about 45 x 45 inches square.
I had some bonus HST units left over and played around with those, incorporating them into the quilt back.
Check out the neutral gray fabric on the back.  How sweet is that!
I also used some more of those bonus pieces and scraps to make a mug rug for Grandma Kathy, something I've been doing the past few times I've made baby quilts for her.  

That way she gets to keep a special memento for herself after she gives the quilt away.