Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Color Inspiration

May 2009 - Upstairs Bathroom Finished

I'm inspired by the color of found objects . . .

The color of the bead board was inspired by the vintage bubble gum machine.

Ok, it is a bit kooky having a bubble gum machine in the bathroom.  But it isn't about chewing gum.  Its about color inspiration. 

I painted the bead board the same vintage lake blue-green color as the bubble gum machine.  The color is called Bewitch (Valspar).  Nice contrast for white woodwork including shelf rail around the perimeter of the room we implemented and vintage white lace curtains from Reflections Antiques in Nelsonville, WI.

I bought the bird topped curtain rod holders 20 years ago.  I just liked them, but never found a place for them until after we bought The Wrolstad-Quien 1893 Victorian in April 2007. 

In May 2009 we converted the smallest bedroom upstairs to a much needed second bathroom.   It has  only one double window facing south; some privacy with the lace curtains.  You can see the barn from the tub, nice view. 

On dark winter mornings before the sun rises, I bathe in the tub using only a faint backdrop of light from the hallway.  What's that old saying, "the night was blind, but the neighbors weren't." 

Kohler claw foot tub, born May 12, 1903.
Plant Line #2, about 11:30a, Kohler, WI
according to the serial number on the bottom of the tub and great records kept by Kohler.

I'm still ga-ga over the grayed-blue-green color and use it in other projects

I found same fabric color to use in a quilt.  Yesterday I used the grayed blue green fabric to build a padded purse, with quilted front pocket. 

This purse and others will be for sale Sunday Sep 3, 2017 at Bear Lake Campground and Resort Annual Corn Roast and Craft Show near Manawa, WI.  The craft show runs 10:00a until 4:00p.  See you there!

11 inches wide by 12 inches deep

I make my purses padded, to protect and carry your cell phone.  Not just the exterior shell is padded, but the interior pockets are padded too. 

Let me show you a few more I made for this show . . .

Brown wool tweed, with quilted flying geese blocks.  Padded exterior, padded pockets inside including a hidden pocket.

11 inches wide, by 12" deep.  Colorful cross body straps

Featuring a handmade polymer clay beaded zipper pull.

Navy Blue with more Beads

A combination of polymer clay beads I make and bake, and--the tiny ones are glass.  
Beaded purses--this is the type of work I love to do. 

Experiment with glass beads, wool applique, and handmade beaded zipper pull.

Well, that's all the news today.  Talk to you again soon.

Mrs. D

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blues Shoo-Flies Quilt

Finished long arm quilting - taking quilt off the frame

I long arm quilt right to left.  So, here's the start . . .

I used four similar blue print fabrics, and four similar light fabrics to build blocks for the quilt.

The four corner units for the block are called "Shaded 4 Patch" created by Sally Schneider. 

I was bent on learning how to make this unit, even though I didn't know what it was called.

The  shaded 4 patch is so versatile, and helped me make this lovely blue quilt, an updated version of a Shoo-Fly block. 

Research paid off, when I found Sally Schneider's Shaded 4 Patch, and her incredible books--books that belong in every quilter's library.    Each book is loaded with photos, instructions, and ideas for some awesome scrappy quilts. 

I bought three of Ms. Schneider's books:

Scrapmania, More Quick-Pieced Scrap Quilts

Triangle Tricks: One Easy Unit, Dozens of Gorgeous Quilts

Scrap Frenzy: All New Quick-Pieced Scrap Quilts

Usually, I'm a scrappy happy quilt maker.  And any other time I'd be making good use of my ever growing scrappy fabric stash. 

But I can always use another blue quilt for the North Bedroom upstairs in our old Victorian.  Here are a couple of photos of the North Bedroom upstairs, with the sleigh bed dressed in another quilt I made.

The North Bedroom Upstairs with its three street facing windows.

It is difficult to see, but the drapes and walls are a dark pewter blue.  Decisions for wall colors for all the bedrooms were based on 3 things:  how much material is on the bolt, is it on sale?, and if I really like it."  All 3 of these needs were met, with one exception.

The drapery fabric stiffness . . .

It took yards and yards of fabric and piping to make the cinnamon bun tie backs, but well worth it.

The tiebacks were a last minute change . . . I confess.

The fabric and piping was made for the hem, 

but the drapery fabric being so stiff--it wouldn't puddle nicely.  So I abandoned the idea of fabric piping for the hem, and instead made cinnamon bun handstitched tie backs.  It was the best use of all that fabric piping.

The 1/2" piping in the hem of the Mossy Green drapery fabric for the master bedroom had worked out so well--it worked like magic.  It's a little theatre trick my sister Pam designed.  She sewed the drapes for me during a week long visit.  She's a theatre costumer on the east coast. 

Pam added 4 inches to the hem to make the perfect puddle using 1/2" cotton piping at the hem. 

Here's Pam's Trick:
If you pick up the drapery panel, and pull it back slightly (like the train on a wedding dress), then let go of the panel and allow it to fall back into position, it makes a perfect puddle. 

Pam did a beautiful job sewing these Mossy Green drapes for the master bedroom. Satisfied my request for something Victorian looking with tassels and fringe valance.

With leftover fabric and fringe I made a matching lampshade. 

Note:  later on, we repainted all the floors upstairs a dark expresso color, to update the scuffed butterscotch paint color that had been on the floor for decades.  And in the fall of 2014 Jon added crown molding to each room upstairs. 


Back to my story about building the Blues Shoo-Flies Quilt

I was half way through long arm quilting the Blues Shoo-Flies Quit, when I saw it . . .

One of the blocks was pieced wonky. 

I can't believe I didn't see this until now.

I can't sell a wonky quilt.  But I could use it in the spare North Bedroom upstairs and close the door. 

Lately I've had a bit of bad luck regarding my quilts.  Our puppy Buddy chewed holes in three bed quilts, one bathroom rug, and destroyed two pairs of sandals so far. 


This wonky block had me scratching my head--what to do.

At one point I decided I'd have to rename the quilt.  Here are some names I thought about

I've Got the Blues Quilt

A Likely Excuse Quilt

I Can Explain This After a Few Beers Quilt

Crystal Blue Delusion Quilt

Try Looking at it Upside Down Quilt

For Beds Facing A Wall Quilt

It's a Bird--It's a Plane--No, But You're Close Quilt


With nothing to lose, I decided to repair the block without removing it from the long arm frame.

Risky business.  Never tried this before.

I flipped the quilt top, up and over the frame to get to the wonky block's seams.  Took out the seams, and turned the offending piece around to the correct position.

Pinned the seams one seam at a time;  hand stitched each seam twice over.

This is the repaired block, quilted. 

View of quilted row including the repaired block

Thanks for Stopping By my Blog.  Leave me a note if you can.  I love hearing from you.


I will be selling my queen size quilts, baby quilts, and fancy purses in September at:

Bear Lake Campground and Resort
Manawa, WI
Annual Corn Roast and Craft Fair
Sunday, September 3, 2017
10am until 4pm


Art in the Park
Pfiffner Pioneer Park
Riverfront, Downtown Stevens Point, WI
Saturday September 16, 2017
10am until 4pm

I'll be handing out flyers at those events, about our
Annual Halloween Weekend Victorian House Tour and Craft Show
255 Mill St. - Scandinavia, WI  54977
Sat/Sun October 28-29, 2017
$2 admission at the door goes directly to The Humane Society of Waupaca County

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1933 Singer Featherweight

End of July while browsing through Featherweights on Ebay . . . something exciting caught me by surprise.   An early 1930s Featherweight. 

From the seller's photos--I could see the chrome hand wheel, an early machine feature on machines between 1933 through 1947. 

Then,  I saw the pale teal green interior of the black case and tray.

Note the cutout circle in the tray, to allow for the spool pin to clear when putting machine and tray away in its case.

The seller provided no statement of condition (didn't mention if it still sewed). 

Didn't mention if it had its original bobbin case.    I didn't ask.  I didn't want to look too eager about  my intentions to bring this machine home to Wisconsin.  It came from an estate sale in Maryland. 

Another Clue:  
The school bell style bobbin thread guide on 1933 and 1934 models, and some 1935.  I understand the school bell bobbin thread guide was fragile, and by the end of 1935 was replaced with different type.  But also there was a portable table being manufactured for the early Featherweights, and Singer relocated a new flatter style bobbin thread guide, so it would fit the table.

Bottom right of photo - the unique school bell bobbin thread guide.

Next clue:
Confirmation - its serial number AD549140.  Commission Date 3 October 1933

First 10,000 Singer Featherweights were manufactured in 1933, with commission date of 3 October.
The first machine serial numbers were: AD541546 through AD551545.

Of this run, a couple hundred were pulled intermittently off the line and fitted with a red and gold badge to be introduced and sold at the 1933-34 Century of Progress Show in Chicago, (Chicago World's Fair).    Machines with the Chicago badge can fetch up to $5,000.

At the height of the Great Depression in 1933:  20% unemployment, a loaf of bread cost 8 cents, and a gallon of gas 10 cents.  The Singer Featherweight cost $125.  The red and gold badged machines at the Chicago World's Fair sold for $150 each.

The Singer 221 Featherweight weighs 11.25 lbs.  It's a tiny machine, that proved to be a workhorse.  Favorite machine of quilters in quilting groups.  Very portable, very reliable.


How did the nickname Featherweight start? 

I read one theory.  In 1916 the Indian motorcycle was introduced.  By today's standards the 1916 Indian was little more than a bicycle with a motor.  It was called a 221cc Featherweight.  Perhaps one of the Singer designers was inspired by this.

When my 1933 Singer Featherweight arrived, there were pros and cons about its packaging:


After all the careful bubble packing . . . the metal foot control is not wrapped and is sitting metal to metal in the harp area on the bedplate. 

Not wrapping the foot control will chip and scratch the bedplate.  I'm going to say it out loud . . . "this was such a dumb thing to do." 

Worse, it was put in the harp area upside down, with its cushion feet up in the air, and its metal speed control button touching, scratching, chipping away the enamel on the bedplate.  

Recently, I purchased a 1935 (commission date 30 Dec ) Singer 221 Featherweight shipped to me in the same reckless way, with its unprotected metal foot control sitting in the harp area on the bedplate. 

Spread the word: To avoid chips and scratches . . .
make a polar fleece pouch to wrap the foot control when storing or traveling.

I have an upcoming appointment with R & L Electric to discuss what to do about the scrapes on the power cord.   Perhaps he'll suggest a repair, but I have a backup plan to install a new cord replacement.  I confess, I haven't plugged in the 1933 yet.  I am waiting for a cue from R & L to drive to their shop to evaluate the machine/motor/power cord.  They are really busy right now and I am behaving and being patient, waiting for my turn. 

Update:  Scott from R & L Electric looked over my machine, then slowly added electrical current.  The 1933 is running fine.  No smell coming from the motor.  The power cord has a bad scuff, but fixed with electrical tape.  

I'm busy everyday working in the studio sewing things for shows.  My next show is Shiocton WI August 19-20. 

Patience, and Reminiscing:
Grandpa Bert used to tell me, "a place for everything, and everything in its place."  Likewise "a time for everything, and everything takes time."  Wicked Witch of the West, "all in good time my pretty, all in good time."

Here are the photos I took as I unpacked the 1933.  The decals are awesome.

Things that make my 1933 different from others:

Early Featherweights like mine have Singer logo sitting high on the light bulb housing.  First hundred or so first run Featherweights  had a single bud decal, where as my machine  7594th manufactured has the enhanced center bud decal with arms.

Unmarked bobbin wheel (Singer number added later)

Wheel housing has decal ending in a single loop

1933 Slight curve in the take up thread guide.  By the end of 1935 the guide was straight, no curve.

Subtle differences in decals, single loop

School Bell Bobbin Thread Guide

(right) Decals wrap around the bedplate ending near the light bulb switch.

Hey, here's a good fix.  A band aid. 

I put my granny shoes on the table, so you can get an idea of how little this machine is.
Granny shoes found at Goodwill.  The shoes are two sizes too big for me, but I'll figure a way to make them snug so I can wear them to our Halloween Weekend Victorian House Tour and Craft Show Sat-Sun October 28-29, 2017. 

Inside the machine--its original bobbin case 45750

Unpacking the machine; the spool pin cover ajar.   That's strange.

Original Black Case with Brass Closures

Minor gluing repairs to be done.  Fabric is gauze thin.

I'll post again later, after I make the repairs to the case, add new belt, light bulb, 4 rubber cushion feet and complete my appointment with R & L to check out electrical.

Look at the smashed cushion bed feet (upper left and right of the photo).

I suppose the smashed rubber feet are caused by the person sewing, leaning on the machine?  What's your guess?