Archive for the ‘Favorite Products’ Category

So stoked! Dishwasher repair and rehab! Complete kitchen re-do!

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Warning:  no art or quilty content whatsoever LOL!   So I have shared on Facebook about my kitchen re-do, thanks to the wonderful folks at Pine Ridge Carpentry of Hope, Maine.   GOSH…I didn’t blog about it I just discovered.  OK, this just turned into a comprehensive kitchen re-do post.  It’s lotsa eye candy and inspiration, not much reading…just scroll!  At the very end I’m putting some of my favorite things / details from the re-do so be sure to go down to the end for the best bits.  OK, it’s all good stuff!

The FINAL, all-fixed-up version… read on for more!  Today I finished the last bit:  repairing the handle on the dishwasher and painting the black metal front in green to match the cabinets.  I am THRILLED with how it turned out.  I can’t believe I semi-took-apart the dishwasher, changed out the front control panel and switches, re-did the door and it looks good!  Some day I may replace the totally-functional faucet with one that matches the new decor and maybe convert the recessed can over the sink to a small drop light, but that will wait.

Here is what the icky “before” kitchen looked like:  DARK.  In 2011, when we moved in, the fridge and stove were black, and there was no dishwasher at all.  So we removed a cupboard (well, the carpenter did!  Thanks JB for a great job back then!) and inserted a dishwasher to the left of the sink.  JB had to reduce the size of the corner cupboard–when he was done, you’d never know it hadn’t always been like that.  Just found this photo from our first walk-through before buying the house:

The kitchen at the very beginning…dark counters, dark cabinets, grayish white on the ceiling, black appliances…ugh.

Then, this past late spring/early summer, I took out the dark old ick which included a lot of fading of the color, down to shadow marks!.

The reddish color was the original cabinet color. The spot is from where the knob cast a shadow and prevented the light from the window distorting the color. You could actually see a diagonal (blurry) across the upper cabinets where the sun bleached it. Yuck!

I couldn’t afford to re-do the whole kitchen.  Shortly after we moved in, we got rid of the dark green formica counter (which showed every single grain of salt, mote of flour, dried drop of water) and put in quartz counters.  I wanted to get rid of the claustrophobic feeling at the sink where the upper cabinets closed in on me, and love the old fashioned whatnot shelves.  I figured (correctly as it turns out) that having these on the ends would open up the window area.  Some of the lower doors were also starting to warp…not good.

This is what the kitchen looked like for most of the past 7 years (I had already taken the drawer fronts off to start sanding in this photo). Dark. Ugh.

I looked and looked for years, and found some great semi-custom at EBS, the local hardware store.  Finding an installer that would show up  however was an issue.  One guy came out, gave a bid, shook hands on it (how business is done in Maine), then decided it was “too far” for him to come (25 minute drive!).  So I stopped in to Pine Ridge Carpentry a few miles from our house.  They asked to bid on the project instead of installing the pre-fab cabinets.  Their bid was $1000 above the cost of the pre-fab, but agreed to match the price because they had a sudden opening (in a week!) in their schedule and wanted to keep the crew working.  So I got CUSTOM, exactly everything I wanted, for the same price.  AND I ended up ordering new doors for the lower cabinets, sanded the frames and painted them myself, sanded the drawer fronts down to wood, and they painted the drawer fronts and new doors to my custom color.  So for about $2000 more than the initial cost I got an almost entire new kitchen!

I hung plastic drop cloth in the basement to contain the dust when I sanded down the drawer fronts, which Pine Ridge painted along with the new lower cabinet doors.

What a lucky day when I popped in here on the way home. I had driven past it for 7 years, but didn’t realize they build entire houses and are master carpenters. I LOVE that I was able to “buy local.”

Pine Ridge is so cool–I stopped in to drop off a check, and got to see the workroom, and Nate showed me some of my new upper cabinet fronts–these are the ones over the stove. This place is so clean you could eat off the floor!

Test-driving various greens (painted on primed cardboard so I could move them around to see the colors at different angles/in different light)

I sanded the lower frames down to bare wood, then primed and painted with the same paint Pine Ridge used for an exact match. And boy did I test-drive a lot of samples to get the perfect-for-me green!

De-installation, by me with muscle from Paul. I wanted not to rip off the old cabinets. They are currently in the garage for future use out there, with a couple in our store/work room in the basement.  Note the large bulky microwave plus toaster on the counter.  The cushion was knee padding as I removed screws.

LOOK how much better it is without those awful dark cabinets closing in on the window!

Voila! Mo’ bettah! Paul even admitted the kitchen looked SO much bigger and lighter already.

Installation day!

Nate really is that tall, about 6’5″…he could reach the crown moldings without a stepstool!  He can also make ANYTHING.  Impeccably!

Finished by Mother’s Day. I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the results, my design, and Pine Ridge Carpentry’s outstanding responsiveness and quality. They aren’t inexpensive, but they are worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I told them if I win the lottery, they are building my dream house!

The only thing left to do once I had **finally** selected the hardware and they installed it was to do the dishwasher.  Thanks to Bosch and YouTube, I was able to repair the cracked handle and get the door panel off.  Thanks to my friend Deirdre Abbotts for helpful hints on painting metal. I was disappointed that on a quality brand like Bosch the handle / panel cracked to the point of needing to be replaced, but glad that you could actually replace JUST the handle (not the whole door) and that they told me about good video tutorials on DIY on YouTube.  As I was about to order the new handle, I realized I could order silver, not black!   AND that I could order a new stainless steel full door panel.  But that panel cost $180.  Leftover paint:  free.  Help from Deirdre:  free and appreciated!

New handle and buttons installed, black panel removed for painting. It was literally plug and use!  Like clicking in Legos!

Before removing little stuff like this plastic panel, TAKE PICTURES so you can get it back exactly. The videos don’t do close-ups of all things.

Painting the door panel in my utilities room, where I dye fabric. I figured it was the least dusty part of the house, but the floor joists permit air from the rest of the basement in. It is IMPOSSIBLE to paint in a dust-free, pet-hair-free environment in this house. Oh well. I did my best!

Installed this morning…I just about squealed I was so excited!  The finish isn’t perfect, using Floetrol in the paint (thank you again Deirdre) was essential, and next time I will buy cheesecloth and strain the paint.  But it is as good as I can get it in this environment, and I am thrilled with the final results.

The FINAL, all-fixed-up version… one more time.

Here are some of my FAVORITE things in the new kitchen:

I LOVE these rounded shelves. My gramma had them in her Southern California bungalow home. I designed them into our dream home in Friday Harbor and loved them there. And I love them here. That is Joshua’s about 8-year-old hand on the yellow cup, a UK National Trust Teapot on the middle shelf I ordered while living in Gabon circa 1990, and Eli’s about age 4 hand on the cup/teapot thingie on the bottom shelf, with the Ulu bought in Alaska last year and used often.

The Pine Ridge guys asked if I wanted a pullout for trash. Um yeah!  I had initially looked at DIY options, but they wouldn’t work with the old cabinet base. They made a box to fit and installed bump out glides. I can use my toe or leg to open the garbage–ya know how you crack an egg then realize you didn’t get out the trash can? No longer an issue! Because of this feature, we opted to put the pulls horizontally on the three doors under the sink.

When JB retrofitted the cabinets to install a dishwasher in 2011, we had him build two pull-outs for the pan cupboard. We decided to screw the new door to the pull-out so it functions similarly to the trash, but because we used the existing hardware you pull it (not bump)…which you can do with one finger!

Speaking of retro-fitting….

This cabinet opening is a skinny 8 1/2″. Useless for almost anything other than cookie sheets (which are on the other side of the kitchen in the mirror image cabinet). It originally had a half-deep shelf. Useless. So I asked them to make a pull-out for the bottom and a full depth shelf. The shelf is installed at the very top and my rolling pin, stick blender and rolled-up non stick cookie mats are in there. Easy to pull out and return. The guys found a slab of wood and installed it on the bottom with glides. We used a handle I had ordered but decided wasn’t the right style to pull it out. Now I can get the Cuisinart in and out easily without knuckle mashing.

Hidden, accessible, perfect! You’d think I would want to take on something as easy as a paper towel holder installation. But I was leery of screwing through my new doors. Nate has a brilliant way to help with that: a brace of wood that extends to the thick frame part of the door, then apply the holder. The latter I ordered from amazon and has a ratchet so you can pull and tear off a single sheet one-handed. It really works. Link here. I painted the wood green to match before Nate installed it. LOVE!

A “leg” on either side of the fridge makes it look like the fridge is built-in, extends the hallway visually. Before, it was just the side of the fridge next to the hall–not so attractive. Pine Ridge milled baseboard trim to match, I stained it, they installed it. I did drywall mud to join the new panel to the existing hall and when I painted this summer, it looks seamless.
I LOVE that they were able to match the curve on the top of the cabinet that I requested to the curve on the top of the hallway. We planned to ditch the old big microwave (which died shortly after installation of the cabinets), so had a smaller opening made to get a small microwave OFF the countertop.  Cereal goes in the cupboard on top.  And OH…all the hinges are soft-close.  Didn’t think I needed them, but it is what Pine Ridge does standard.  LOVE them.

So what was going to be a short post on painting the dishwasher panel has turned into a long, LONG post.  But I hope that you find some ideas that you could use…some of the last “my favorite” bits especially can be done to an existing kitchen without too much fuss.  To my local peeps, I can HIGHLY recommend Pine Ridge.  They are fair in their pricing, honest, hard working, superior quality, responsive.  Like I said:  If I ever win the lottery, they are getting some of the proceeds whether I build a new house or do “pie in the sky” upgrades to this one.  I am a HAPPY CAMPER!

 

 

 

 

An Apple for your favorite teacher

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Recently made up a VERY quick and easy project for Janome America which is free for you to use… a felt apple pin for your favorite teacher.   Of course you could also make it in woven cloth, a lovely wool, anything you like, but a wool felt is fast, Fast, FAST…and fun!

 

A quick and easy project by Sarah Ann Smith for Janome America ©2018

I used leftover bits of felt–you could use black for the backing instead of the oatmeal felt I had, anything you want!  Including drafting the apple and sewing on the pin backing I think this took all of an hour to make.

The blanket/buttonhole appliqué stitch on my Janome 9400 make this quick and easy.

To find full instructions with more pictures, details and tips, visit the Janome blogpost for this project, here.

Thanks as always to Janome America for their support.  I’ve sewn on Janome machines for 15 years now, and they are the best.  Currently I’m using the 9400 and it is my dream machine!

 

Teaching at IQF Houston 2018: Collage the Garden

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Interested in trying your hand at art quilts? Not sure where to start? This class has proved a perennial favorite at IQF Houston (and elsewhere)–sign up soon!

Yes, registration is OPEN for classes for International Quilt Festival Houston 2018, including my four classes.  I’ll recap my four classes (well, three full day classes and the Machine Quilting Forum). My first class, Birch Pond Season,  is already covered here.  Today, I’ll share about Collage the Garden, one of my newest classes and proving to be one of the most popular.  I hope to see some of you in it!

This workshop is all about how I –and now YOU– can create imagery from a photograph to create your own fused, collaged art quilt.  In Houston, this workshop is offered as a one-day class.  I’ll provide photos to teach you how to use a photo to map out your shapes and values, then you will start (and maybe finish?) creating the pink water lily or the orange tiger lily.  For this outing in Houston, you will be bringing and fusing up your own fabrics (or bring them pre-fused–I prefer Mistyfuse and will have it available in class–it has the lightest weight and softest hand of any of the fusibles).  This is a no-sewing class, but we will talk about how to quilt your fused artwork when you get home.

Collage the Garden: I’ll teach you “how did she do that” so that you can create your own art from your own photos

Detail of the Pink Water Lily

Here’s the Tiger Lily option fused in batiks

And the tiger lily done in hand-dyes….it’s the same but different. What fabrics will you choose?

You can see the supply list here.

Click on this link to sign up for Class 339 and spend Wednesday playing with me!   Class ends at five–just in time for IQA member preview opening at 5 (and general public preview at 7).

In other venues, a guild can book this workshop over to two or three days to allow students to bring in their own photographs and begin work on their own artwork with Sarah to help guide them.  The workshop can be booked in conjunction with Quilting the Garden:  Thread-Coloring the Flower to create a three-to-five day workshop.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Lupines: the quilting begins!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Ever so slightly ahead of schedule, I have begun quilting on the Lupines. Luckily (and one reason I chose this imagery) this will be easy quilting.  And yes, once again, I LOVE MY BERNINA Q20.  Crazy expensive and worth Every. Single. Penny.   Lots and LOTS of pennies.

This morning I finished basting the Lupines quilt.  I decided to try something I haven’t done before:  a double batt.   I definitely wanted to use wool, but I haven’t been able to find a source for my favorite Matilda’s Own Wool-poly blend batt in the US recently, and I’m hoarding my last batt.   So I used  Quilters’ Dream Wool which is much fluffier; I fused my top to that.

BUT I was concerned about distortion because of the fluffiness–it just didn’t feel like it would hang well and be stable.  Dreamy (pun intended) in a bed, lap or snuggle quilt, but by itself on a densely quilted wall quilt?  Not so much.  So I took the only cotton batting I had, Quilters Dream Select, and layered that underneath the wool.  If I had had Request, the thinnest, I would have used that instead.  Finally, spray basted the backing and safety pinned intermittently.  I am using up long lengths of print fabric in my stash when they suit the quilt–time to move them along.  Will have to dye something to match for facings and hanging sleeve.

I also selected thread yesterday afternoon and this morning.

When I choose thread for a quilt, I “test drive” it by drizzling on the surface. If it works, it goes in the shallow box. I probably won’t use all of these, but will use most of them–about half the solid greens and almost all of the rest. And I added a medium purple this morning and will likely not use the dark purple in the box at all.

Things I have learned so far:

  • Painting a nonwoven is a good thing.  But if that nonwoven is Pellon 65 heavyweight interfacing, it is somewhat like using construction paper.  Will do the non woven thing again, but will look for something softer yet still dense (so no shadow through).
  • Mistyfuse is by far my fusible of choice.  But it behaves differently on the interfacing than it does on cloth.  If I fuse this particular interfacing again, I will use TWO layers of Mistyfuse–it is plenty fine and easy to stitch, and it will help this painted interfacing stick better–see photo.

Because of the difference (in porosity maybe?) between fabric and interfacing, my fusible isn’t sticking quite as well as usual. So I have re-fused various spots, and in a couple of cases tucked snippets of Mistyfuse under the stubborn lifting petals. I found, luckily, that if I am careful I can still quilt those lifting petals because the interfacing doesn’t wobble around like fabric.

And to my astonishment, I quilted almost five of the six purple lupines today.  I have a couple of the tops where I will use pale lilac or cream unstitched as of this evening, but I am definitely farther along than I thought I would be.

Quilting in progress…done on the right, not done on the left. Using just one purple thread to stitch down the petals/quilt down the petals is working out OK despite the value changes from petal to petal.

That means the “after Eli goes back to college” period may be less frantic than I had feared. YIPPEE!  Barring catastrophe, I will be one and able to take photos and submit then ON TIME.  Stay tuned!

 

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

Knits, Sergers, Cover Stitch machines, and more at Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #7

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Thursday was a whirlwind as we finished up at lunch time.

Me with my Summit t-shirt (we also did some iron-press decals…this was a basic shirt with an altered neckline also done at breakneck pace) with my skirt tucked underneath. Even my lime suede sneakers go with it!

In that morning we had a presentation on My Fabric Designer Software by Eileen Roche and made a knit skirt using sergers and cover-stitch machines thanks to Girl Charlee.  The amount of machines and work Janome America put into having them onsite for us all to test-drive and learn was amazing–huge kudos to Janome America for such a great Summit!  And of course major thanks to the sponsors and presenters for all the goodies and best of all the learning!

Today I am actually wearing the skirt I made (photo above)…the project was to make a pencil skirt.  I’m afraid that pencil skirts and my body and lifestyle are not a match made in heaven, so once again I was the disobedient child and made a gathered skirt.

The fabric I chose…other choices were a solid denim look and a blue floral print. Heather Peterson’s Girl Charlee site is here, with a wide range of VERY reasonably priced knits. This particular fabric is still available as of early July 2018, here, and is only $8.50 a yard! It’s a lighter t-shirt weight skirt (so not too heavy for a full skirt) and is soft and comfy.

Owner Heather Peterson showed some of the fun projects she has made and gave us tips for sewing on knits.  For those who don’t have a serger, even the most basic sewing machines have an overlock stitch that you can use to whip up these fun things on your domestic machine.  What I learned:  don’t be afraid of knits!  You can do it!

Heather holding up a comfy knit dress

And on the screen behind her, tips:

Different types of knits….I had never heard of Vegan Leather….but it looks leather-ish and it actually stretches! I don’t think leather leggings are in my future, but maybe this might work on a quilt….hmmm…….

Some of the delectable fabrics at Girl Charlee

A couple knit projects up on the front table

The ladies who DID make the pencil skirt wore them and fell in love–the entire time I was thinking “I wish I had Ashley’s (DIL) measurements” because this project was ideal for her.  When I showed very petite Ashley the pattern provided (here) she was delighted and said “OMG, a pencil skirt that would actually FIT!”  The pattern has you start with your measurements, then subtract a bit, calculate the length, and presto, nearly instant skirt.   I used the full yard of fabric to make a nearly ankle-length skirt.  I didn’t have time to be afraid…we had to work FAST, so I serged up the side seams, serged the elastic (my first time ever doing that!) to the top, then switched over to the cover-stitch machine to stitch down the elastic and hem the skirt.

The hem of my skirt. I’ve never used a cover stitch machine before–I love the look of this three-needle hem. On a domestic machine, you can simulate the look of a cover stitch machine (or setting on a serger) by using a twin needle. The bobbin thread zig-zagging on the bottom side gives stretch to the hem, which means the threads don’t break.

After the summit I did some noodling around on the internet: the one issue I had was the fabric curling at the top edge of the hem.  Terial Magic would take care of that by stiffening the edge, but there is also stuff called wash-away tape that is 1/4″ wide.  That, placed on the cut edge, would hold the hem in place AND keep it from curling (which it does between the pins).  Thanks to Heather’s workshop I’m determined to take the fabric I bought to make leggings 2-4 years ago will be MADE UP into leggings this summer!  I’m not afraid any more!

Back to Eileen Roche– her company prints your designs (similar to Spoonflower) on a wide range of base goods (cottons, knits, poly, etc).  But she also offers software that works on PCs (sorry, not on Macs which is what I have) that helps you design repeats.  I could see having a lot of fun with this!

Here’s the print fabric website: https://www.myfabricdesigns.com and here’s where you find the software: https://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-software/my-fabric-designer/

Although I’ve returned to earth after the rush of the Summit, just revisiting these photos has brought back what a great week this was.  A TON of good stuff packed into 3 full days!