Monday, August 29, 2016

Little Black Purse

100% Black Wool Purse with Embellishments

Quickly--I want to show you a black wool purse I finished last night.  This year I purchased several long wool coats from thrift stores in my favorite colors: gray, red, teal, olive, cobalt blue, black, and mustard.  The black with tiny gray flecks coat was shorter but once deconstructed there was enough to make 2 lined purses and a number of cell phone totes.  

The assorted buttons are gifts from friend Jerry who recycles clothing to make his beautiful loomed rag rugs, and some recycled buttons I bought from thrift shops.  The zipper pull is made from Hemptique cord and polymer clay beads I form by hand and bake in the oven.

Before joining side seams, I decorated the wool with No. 8 Perle Cotton thread in several colors.  I especially like echoing the running stitch.  My favorite colors against a black background are the same as the wool coats I purchased plus turquoise, cinnamon, and purple.

I took an online Craftsy class from Carol Ann Waugh called Stupendous Stitching and learned several simple French Knot, Running Stitch, etc.  Her class is fabulous and so is she!

Taking Carol Ann Waugh's class was a turning point for me.  I used to sew everything in ivory, beige, and blah.  After taking Waugh's class I'm creating in LIVING COLOR.  It is so exciting.  I highly recommend signing up for her class on

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Blue Skies . . . smiling at me

Clear Blue Sky Colors for my latest quilt

I could say I stumbled on this one.  I was looking for contrast and grabbed the bolt of gray to frame the 9 patch of white clouds and blue skies.  Once I got going I just let the quilt be what it wanted to be.  Simple blocks and cornerstones using fabrics I like.

While picking sky colors and clouds,  I was thinking about Irving Berlin's 1926 hit song Blue Skies. Ella Fitzgerald sang it in the 1940s.  But I love it most when Willie Nelson sings it.

Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see 
Bluebirds singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds all day long

Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're in love, my how they fly . . .

I always thought the music sounded a bit sad, but the words uplifting.  Why did Berlin write it that way?  

In this photos I'm finished and rolling the quilt back to the beginning, checking to make sure I didn't miss anything.  It happened once during a bobbin change, I missed a spot and I had to reload the whole darn quilt just to take care of an obvious 4 inch space.  

There is a long list of considerations, things to watch for when doing long arm quilting.  Knowing, (feeling) just the right vertical tension so the quilt lays close to the throat plate--keeps the stitches going just right.   I crank the belly bar to snug the quilt, then backing it off to give it some slack to touch the throat plate.

Be careful, don't crank the belly bar so tight . . . doing this can distort the quilt (stretching it). 

Yes, lots of things to watch for . . . like forgetting the basic no-no rule of having the machine needle in the down position in the fabric and cranking the belly bar creates problems with the bobbin assembly . . . ask me how I discovered that???  It was a $200 repair discovery, uhhhh.  I'm long arm quilting three years now and still learning, improving.

This is the only quilt I've made this summer.  I've been so busy helping my brother on his 1892 Victorian in Wild Rose that I haven't had much time to work in the studio.  

I took time last week and this week to get it loaded on the frame with 100% cotton Warm and Natural batting, and do the long arm quilting.   Also I made four purses.  I have a show Sep 4 and Sep 17.

I like the edge to edge free style Floral Bouquet I created and use often on quilts.  It is a sequence design that is relaxing to do, and has predictable spacing.  A joy.

I'll take more photos later.  Since these photos were taken I made lined prairie points for this quilt--placed the points facing inward, around the border--between the corners stones.  Then I added the binding, hand stitched the binding, and hand stitched around each prairie point to secure properly.  

Ah, what I do for love . . . 

Back again with a photo of the prairie points installed and binding completed.  

Photos taken at 6 something this morning--looks different under lamp light than the photos taken in the studio with natural daylight.  

I really like this shade of green prairie point made with a purple-blue lining.  

If you'd like to review how to make the prairie points, check out my Toast and Jam Quilt.

Nice to visit with you again.  See you later.  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Railings for the Wrap Around Porch

This past week/weekend Jon installed new rails for the wrap around front porch.  View looking west

He installed the stair posts and rails first.
It's been so suffering hot/humid, Jon works a little bit each night.  At some point in the future, Jon will trim a little off the tops of the posts to add four caps and finials that I purchased.  

 New rails for the porch - installed at original 1893 height.  

Back in 2009--My Mom Lorraine and I repaired the salvaged/decaying spindles from the original porch railing design.  Even after we labored to repair missing areas with wood putty--in the end the spindles were wafer brittle and dehydrated/light weight, feeling more like cardboard replicas after 120+ years of exposure.  Jon chose to replicate the original rail moldings, and present the vertical styles without the spindles.  

Standing L-R: Leon Pasternacki and his wife Bessie Pauline (Quien) Pasternacki, Donna Quien, Ruth Quien, and Ragnhild Quien.  Seated is Maren (Gurholt) Quien.  

Photo: our front porch modified into a screened in porch - about 1938.  Maren's husband Thomas is missing from the photo, and looking at the young Donna Quien center, I'll guess this photo was taken August 1938 at a gathering after the funeral of Thomas Quien.

This photo shows the front porch's original railing, spindles, and vertical pieces.

Maren Quien and her husband Thomas Quien bought the house December 1917, and lived
there with their children Ragnhild, Bessie, Gusta, and Peter.  Peter's wife is Ruth (Danielson) Quien and daugthers Mary Jo and Donna.  Leon and Bessie lived in Ohio, until 1967 when they moved to Scandinavia and lived next door to our house.

Front Porch Photo taken about 1925 - Thomas Quien and his granddaughters R-Donna and L-Mary Jo Quien.  Thomas and Maren Quien's son Peter, his wife Ruth, and their two daughters Donna and Mary Jo lived together.

Photo of our house about 1905 - 2nd from left is Mabel Wrolstad daughter of John Olson Wrolstad (the man who built our house in 1893).  Photo's age is based on clothing, and Mabel's age.  I've seen other photos of Mabel and she is easy to recognize.  Mr. Wrolstad died at home here in December 1907, and his widow Mathea moved to Gillette, WI to live with her oldest daughter Sina.  Mathea passed away in 1909.

West side of Wrap Around Front Porch.  New flooring, new rails, repaired original column bases.  Ready to prime and paint.  I hear someone calling my name . . . . . .

Monday, July 11, 2016

Repairing Front Porch - June/July 2016

July - 2016
Jon repairs columns on the front porch

When we first bought the house back in April 2007--we had to work on the house a full year before we could move in.  During that year--one of the first tasks was to repair the front porch.  

Below are photos of the front porch as it was when we bought it, and repaired it in 2008.

Peeling off the decay.  Photo of my father Gale and husband Jon (both professional contractors) as they discuss rebuilding the porch structure, saving the columns.
rebuilding/restoring the columns

New front porch structure 2008

Rebuilt/Restored Front Porch

Front Porch Summer of 2009

Jon replaced the front porch ceiling, and he and dad built new stairs as well.  And, we continued on and on with repair of the other two porches, and long list of projects inside the house.  For the first 5 years--there was never a stopping point--just moving forward one project at a time. 

2008: Jon rebuilt the East Porch with salvaged original spindles, and rails fabricated from new stock. 

West Porch - new floor structure and newly painted 2008

Note: we scraped, primed, and painted the exterior of the house Light Green with Orange and Brown Accents during the summers of 2007 and 2008 while I was still working full time.  

Then in summer/fall of 2014 we scraped primed, and REPAINTED the exterior of the house again changing to a darker Mossy Green (Sherwin Williams).  

Back to the topic of his post . . . Repairing Front Porch - June/July 2006

In a perfect world, you repair porch floors and they last forever, right?  But that didn't happen.  

The 2008 new porch boards began to cup,  and in June 2016 we could no longer rock in our rocking chairs on the Front Porch (north side).  This summer Jon tore off the old boards and replaced with a quality stable PVC decking.  

Sometimes, you have to go with modern technology to make repairs that will last--even for a historic house like this.  Our goal is to make this house a home for us, and the family who follows us.   We purchased enough decking for the East Porch too.  

Jon attended to additional repairs to the front porch columns.  This time, Jon inserted a rubber boot at the base of the columns.

 The new decking is great in dark gray color.  Now I can rock in my chair on the front porch again.  

Jon measures white PVC material to cover repairs.  He's gonna bevel the edge to create a proper drip edge.  This shroud material can be painted ivory like the rest of the house trim.  

Last weekend--Jon repainted the front steps.  The rails will go on the porch and steps soon.

Jon had his cousin Lloyd Durrant reproduce the hand rails to match the original rails.

Here's a photo of Dad--working on the front porch restoration

Who is this masked woman?  I think it's me.

Mom--scraping paint on the front porch.  She delicately hand painted the (4) bird medallions at the front porch doors.  

Photo of our house c. 1905
Everything takes time and Jon doesn't get much of an opportunity to rest.  He puts in 60+ hours a week at work--then spends his weekends working on our house and yard.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Restoring Another Victorian House

Good News--for my Brother Will
He bought an 1892 Queen Anne Victorian in Wild Rose, WI
And it needs restoration.  I jumped on board to help him.

I hope you will follow the restoration of WILD ROSE VICTORIAN HOUSE.  It is a beautiful home with original woodwork and stained glass windows!

Use the link above, or look to the right margin of my blog--see MY OTHER BLOGS.  Click on the link,  Wild Rose Victorian House.

Be sure to submit your email to follow us daily/weekly to see photos and hear about our progress.

Standing in front of the vestibule/front entrance, my brother Will is repairing hairline wall cracks in the living room, covering strips of web tape with Durabond.

I am working the perimeter of the living room, from the chair rail upwards as far as I can reach on my small 4-step ladder.  

When we first looked at the living room with 7 doors, we could see large bumpy, lumpy wall cracks under layers of wallpaper.

We opened those poorly repaired cracks--scoring and cleaning away the bumpy repair with a 5-in-1 tool, then re-filled them in several stages with hand mixed Durabond.  Once the wounds were closed and hand sanded, strips of web tape are embedded with a skim coat of Durabond.  No more bumpy lumpy. 

Will and I spent the better part of June here in the living room steaming layers of wallpaper. 

 Removing wallpaper is tedious even with a steamer.  One thing is for sure, you get to see every single hairline crack as you scrape stamp size bits and bigger hand size pieces of wallpaper.  
The paper was stuck down tight.  

First day, we thought spritzing water infused with fabric softener would remove the wallpaper quickly, but it didn't.  We switched to a steamer and the paper came off better, not great, just better.

Paint was flaking off of these beautiful stained glass windows in the office.  I removed the 1980s shutters, then put on my mask and brought out the shop vac with hepa filter to start scraping.

 2 of 4 Stained Glass Windows in the office.

Below: brother Will has some incredible stained glass windows and doors in the front entrance

He removed the interior door #1 to the living room, giving me better access to removing wallpaper.

Lots of weighted wavy glass windows to remove, re-glaze, reinstall.  

The first window I dismantled and re-glazed--the ropes and weights worked well.  I hope this is good sign for the remaining windows.  I re-glazed with Dep 33 glazing compound.  My first attempt to re-glaze looked terrible, so I  did it again, and again, and 3rd time it looked great--smooth and the bevel angle really nice.  I let it the glaze cure for a more than a week, now I'm ready to prime and paint it.  

I ordered some canvas prints of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin--my brother's favorite statesmen.  Those art pieces will arrive next week for his Living Room and Office.  In the mean time I brought over my copy of a framed print of George Washington.  Ha. Ha.  I brought George over for a visit.  

Sometimes I hear brother Will giggling, and I hear him tell himself what a good jobs he's doing.  
Then I start to laugh.  

This is repetitive, but relaxing work.  I never get used to the idea the room looking a whole lot worse before it turns the corner and starts becoming lovely.  We can see past the mess at this point, and are excited about the next steps.  Hope you'll follow WILD ROSE VICTORIAN HOUSE blog.