Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Baker’s Heaven: King Arthur Flour

Sunday, May 15th, 2016
Viewing window, the King Arthur Flour bakery. An air vent nearby was exuding the heavenly scent of rising bread.

Viewing window, the King Arthur Flour bakery. An air vent nearby was exuding the heavenly scent of rising bread.

During Eli’s Spring Break, after visiting his college, we decided to visit a Nature center in Vermont on the way home–a rather circuitous but enjoyable route.  And I discovered two places I totally love were on the way:  King Arthur Flour and Ben & Jerry’s!   Today, it’s baking:

Framed and in the hallway at the beautiful facility King Arthur has where they make flour, bread, have a cafe, a store (swoon), and host classes/workshops!

Framed and in the hallway at the beautiful facility King Arthur has where they make flour, bread, have a cafe, a store (swoon), and host classes/workshops!

The view as you drive up:

Turning in to the drive.

Turning in to the drive.

From the parking lot. Busy even on a mid-April weekday! Buildings are gorgeous!

From the parking lot. Busy even on a mid-April weekday! Buildings are gorgeous!

Panorama shot on my iPhone of the bakery

Panorama shot on my iPhone of the bakery

Panorama shot with the bakery at my back, of the cafe, hall to the shop, etc.

Panorama shot with the bakery at my back, of the cafe, hall to the shop, etc.  Jacquie–lunch here in June!

I’m happy that I’m taking a brief foray to Vermont Quilt Festival in late June and will stop and visit my friend Jacquie, and she’s agreed to go on a drive up to Norwich and visit.  She’ll be more amenable to browsing than my guys LOL!

 

 

Visiting Franklin & Marshall–dream studio inspiration

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Well, I took remarkably few photos during this visit, because I figured I’ll have other chances, and this weekend was really for Eli.  As part of his AP Biology class this year, his teacher assigned them a major research paper in Fall for which they had to find a published article by a professor at the college they hoped to attend.  Eli contacted Professor Blair, who did a paper on a biology topic that was a subject that some might find dry but Eli really enjoyed.  She offered to give him a tour if he made it down to the college, so we took her up on the offer.  She took us around the science building before the official “visit day” activities became–really wonderful.

So what do I do…spot furniture and stuff in the science labs that I think would be AWESOME studio furniture and additions!

This drying rack is PERFECT for where I dye my fabrics!   So I'm going to go troll companies that supply stuff to science labs.  I could make something easily using wooden dowels, but I want something that has plastic since it won't absorb the dye.  And the white bits will show if any residual dye  is on them so they can be easily cleaned.  But isn't this perfect?

This drying rack is PERFECT for where I dye my fabrics! So I’m going to go troll companies that supply stuff to science labs. I could make something easily using wooden dowels, but I want something that has plastic since it won’t absorb the dye. And the white bits will show if any residual dye is on them so they can be easily cleaned. But isn’t this perfect?

And lookit this lab table...with the outlets on the end.  Wouldn't you love a STUDIO (as well as kitchen) island with outlets on it?

And lookit this lab table…with the outlets on the end. Wouldn’t you love a STUDIO (as well as kitchen) island with outlets on it? With one of these chairs, too….

or…..

Here's the teacher's table.  Good quality.  Attractive.  Nearly indestructible top.  On casters.   Furniture lust!  Stand up, sit down....sigh....

Here’s the teacher’s table. Good quality. Attractive. Nearly indestructible top. On casters. Furniture lust! Stand up, sit down….sigh….

I’ve got a table I love, an old IKEA kitchen table with a drop leaf, for which I made a platform of plywood with casters, so I don’t need the above.  I love the history of my table (has scratches on it from my first beloved cat, Cassie), but this is a mighty fine looking piece.   So hope the ideas might help some of you, dear readers! But I really, Really, REALLY want that drip-dry for containers thingy!

 

Life Happening: a college visit

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The brilliant news is that our younger son, Eli (the athlete), has been accepted at his first choice:  Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  It has the perfect academics for him (he wants to major in Animal Behavior), is not too big and not too small, in a small city (not rural like here and not a huge, overwhelming city), and…drum roll:  has a Division 1 Wrestling Team!  Yes, Eli will (oh please let him be less injury prone in college!) wrestle in college.  His teammates are *very* impressive, the coach is wonderful, and we are thrilled that he already has a group of like minded souls to be his first “college family.”  So we went to the “Closer Look” day the Friday before Maine’s Spring Break weekend in mid April.  Here are some pics from the way down:

About an hour a half from home, Paul said "Oh oh."  He realized he was still wearing his house slippers.  And had no other shoes.  So we made a quick detour to Freeport to buy something for him to wear as we were too far from home to turn around. LL Bean had this totally awesome clockwork thingie...LOVED it.  Could see a fab steampunk-ish art quilt inspired by this.

About an hour a half from home, Paul said “Oh oh.” He realized he was still wearing his house slippers. And had no other shoes. So we made a quick detour to Freeport to buy something for him to wear as we were too far from home to turn around. LL Bean had this totally awesome clockwork thingie…LOVED it. Could see a fab steampunk-ish art quilt inspired by this.

We got back on the road, I got caught up on a mountain of magazines (mostly art and quilt related to keep up on inspiration and industry news), Paul drove, and I took occasional photos.  It is a 9 1/2 hour drive, and we needed to be in Lancaster, PA by about 7 pm, so we had to make good time.

This is in NY, I think, but I love the look up to the just-about-to-bud-out trees.  I also really like the ghost silhouette of Paul in the reflection on the window.

This is in NY, I think, but I love the look up to the just-about-to-bud-out trees. I also really like the ghost silhouette of Paul in the reflection on the window.

The landscape changes when you get into western NJ and then into the farm fields of Pennsylvania.

The landscape changes when you get into western NJ and then into the farm fields of Pennsylvania.

more fields and hills in

more fields and hills in Pennsylvania

Finally, nearly there!  Next post I’ll share some inspiration I found at F&M.

ten hours after leaving home, with only VERY brief pitstops, we are at Lancaster, PA!

ten hours after leaving home, with only VERY brief pitstops, we are at Lancaster, PA!

Painting…the house

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

So I have been hideously absent from blogging.  Basically, lots of life happening.  One of the things I’ve been doing is painting the house.  In particular, I needed to get two walls done when the temperatures were at or above 40 degrees, but the perennial beds were still low enough that I could get the ladder in without damaging the plants.  Luckily, we haven’t had a super rainy spring or I’d be out of luck.

The house is brown.  Dark brown.  That may be fine on some houses in the right setting, but on a ranch house in the middle of a big open space it looks like a dark  hulk.  So we decided on a medium-light gray with white trim when we built the garage.  Now it is time to do the house, which has "solid stain" on it (the dark brown).  The stain holds up a LOT better than paint, but along the bottom was peeling, so it was time.  In this image, I'm testing various mixes to see what best matches the siding on the garage (resting on the ground).  The answer was none of these!

The house is brown. Dark brown. That may be fine on some houses in the right setting, but on a ranch house in the middle of a big open space it looks like a dark hulk. So we decided on a medium-light gray with white trim when we built the garage. Now it is time to do the house, which has “solid stain” on it (the dark brown). The stain holds up a LOT better than paint, but along the bottom was peeling, so it was time. In this image, I’m testing various mixes to see what best matches the siding on the garage (resting on the ground). The answer was none of these!

Luckily, I had purchased only sample amounts.  Finally, we got a match that is as good as you can get.  Here it is in progress:

These two walls and the trim are now almost done (one more coat of white on the wood just under the roof shingles).  Then I'll take a break to work on a new piece!

These two walls and the trim are now almost done (one more coat of white on the wood just under the roof shingles). Then I’ll take a break to work on a new piece!

Temperatures have dropped again, with mornings in the 30s (just above freezing), so I am working inside a couple days.  Once it warms up, I’ll be distracted outside finishing this area and the porch (on the right in the photo above).  Then I’ll get back to the house once the quilt is done and submitted by the deadline.  Phew!  I’m tired!

A labor of love–a quilt from A grandmother’s wardrobe

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
A snuggle quilt

A snuggle quilt

I honestly don’t know how long I had the fabric for the two lap quilts I just made.  Maybe 18 months ago (?) Joshua’s sweetie Ashley asked if I could make a lap quilt from some of her Grandmother’s clothes.  Of course I said yes!   Her gramma had died recently, and Ashley’s mom, Sue, was really missing her.  I looked up some quilts on the internet, hoping for a pieced pattern that would work for a scrappy quilt, look good, yet not take a ton of time to assemble.

When Thanksgiving rolled around and her mom came up to Maine for the holiday, she brought with her….gulp…three white kitchen garbage bags FULL of clothes:  turtlenecks, sweatshirts, fleece tops, a fleece bathrobe and a couple of nighties.   Oh.  My.  Not a single woven anything.  Wish I had taken pictures before I began the deconstruction process!

These are just a few of the leftovers!!!! Yes, that is one of those huge IKEA bags. I started with the equivalent of three of those!

These are just a few of the leftovers!!!! Yes, that is one of those huge IKEA bags. I started with the equivalent of three of those!

And Sue asked if I could make two quilts, not one–one for her and one for her brother.  Sure!   I showed Sue the images of quilts I’d found and she picked the square in a square design you see above.   The original was quite scrappy, and went from lights in the center to mediums to darks, with a half-drop on the columns.  Alas, I seem to have deleted the original photo, plus I don’t know where I saw it anyway!

The second quit, on my sewing table. It is about 60x66 inches finished.

The second quit, on my sewing table. It is about 60×66 inches finished.

Well, let me tell you–the lesson is to make sure FIRST what the fabrics are.   Then see if you can ask (I didn’t) if you could buy and use something woven for the back.   I didn’t fully realize how much time it was going to take to prepare the fabrics.  First I had to cut apart the shirts and sweatshirts and nighties.   Then I figured out how I could maximize the fabric in the body and sleeves.   I cut those bits a bit oversized and, having made a trip to Joann’s Fabrics with a fifty percent off coupon to buy a bolt of tricot interfacing, I starting fusing the interfacing to the stretchy turtleneck fabric. Then I made another trip to Joann’s and bought another bolt (almost used up).

FINALLY, I could start cutting out the pieces.  I decided given the fabric, it would be best if I used a 3/8″ seam (from needle to edge of walking foot) and pressed the seams open.  And I decided to use only turtlenecks and nighties for the top, leaving the sweatshirts I had deconstructed for the backs.   I sorted and stacked.  I sewed blocks, trying not to duplicate any pairing of fabric.   I realized that I had lights and darks, but no mediums.  OK, the point of this quilt is love and family, not duplicating a picture from the internet.  Mental adjustment.

Once I got to sewing, it went fairly quickly:  sewing the blocks for and assembling the two tops took less time (by quite a bit) than prepping the fabric!   I divided the blocks into two pretty equal piles and started plopping them on the design wall.  Turned out I had enough for two very similar quilt tops six by seven blocks (they are about 9.5 inches finished).

Next:  backing.  I laid out the sweatshirt fabric:  enough for one backing.  So I also cut apart the fleece tops.  I decided to make one quilt with only sweatshirt fabric, the other with only fleece, to avoid “bad behavior” on the part of the fabrics.

Laying out the fleece for the second backing

Laying out the fleece for the second backing

I cut batting (poly needle punched from Quilters Dream) a little larger than I needed.  Then I sewed the larger squares to the batting batting by overlapping the edges and using a zigzag to join the “seam” and attach it to the more stable batting.  Regular seams would have been ridiculously bulky and stiff.  I didn’t interface the backing as the quilt was going to weigh a ton already, plus I didn’t think the interfacing would stay stuck long enough to do any good.

I used the walking foot (thank heavens) on my Janome 15000 (thank you again to Janome America for their support and the loan of this phenomenal machine) to quilt a spiral from the center out, then switching to straight lines in the dark border.  I used a variegated light color for the center, and a purplish variegated for the outside (Superior Threads).

Quilting in progress....it was a workout

Quilting in progress….it was a workout

The two lap quilts, the one with the sweatshirts on the back is on the right, back side up. Can I just say it weighs a flipping TON!

The two lap quilts, the one with the sweatshirts on the back is on the right, back side up. Can I just say it weighs a flipping TON!

The two quilts, the one with fleece on the back folded and on top of the other one.

The two quilts, the one with fleece on the back folded and on top of the other one.

The only thing from those three big bags I did not use was the green fleece bathrobe!  I have a few sorta larger pieces of fleece left, and then stuff like the cuffs and top of shirts left.  And oh….I used a dark blue solid for the binding.   Done!

The slivery bits too small to use for anything else

The slivery bits too small to use for anything else–yes, my garbage in my studio is one of those big garden tubs!

I’m so glad they are done, and so glad I was able to make them.   It will be a while, though, until I do another something like this–I may need to lift weights to be ready for the quilting process!  Eli may want a t-shirt quilt for college, but I’ve already told him, it must have woven cotton sashing on the front and a regular quilting cotton on the back!   I’m really looking forward to being able to give these to Sue (or have the kids take them down to Connecticut to her) and really, really hope she and her brother like them and enjoy being snuggled in a “hug” from their mom / mom’s quilt!