Friday, April 4, 2014

Victorian Dusting Tour - Part I

We begin the Dusting Tour in west bedroom, a room painted in a dark olive by Valspar called Mossy.  The name Mossy reminds me of Mossy Oak hunting jackets, a brand my husband Jon wears.  When I  saw the color chip Mossy I liked it immediately and it was a good match for the bolt of drapery fabric. 

My sister Pam built the west bedroom drapes during her visit to our house.  She added 1/2 inch cotton piping to the bottom of the drapes hemmed 4" longer than floor length.  Lift up the drape panel, pull it toward you and let go . . . the drape retracts and puddles perfectly on the floor.  That's one of Pam's secrets of the trade--she's does theater costumes on the east coast.

In the photo above--I finished quilting the Diamond Quilt  There are 132 blocks and it took me a month to construct the blocks and sew them together.  

Block Construction: I sew a day or two on blocks, and then I've had enough.  It's boring work.  So I design and construct handbags and soft luggage in between working on the quilt.  Hurray for the the sewing enthusiasts who enjoy making quilt blocks.  I'm not one of them.  I'd rather be long arm quilting free-style.

The design:  I chose a swirl (like a cinnamon bun), and after completing the swirl I swung out at the upper left and stitched feathers circling the swirl like a half wreath, then I made a return using echo around each feather
 until I reached the top of the swirl.

I stitch a slight arc lower and to the left of the first swirl.  I began the next swirl, repeating the half wreath of feathers and echo return.  

Several nights before beginning the quilting process, I practice drawing the quilt design on a whiteboard. I draw and erase the design over and over to develop a muscle memory.

Practice drawing study-time allows me to quilt fluidly. Once I am relaxed and in the zone with the design, quilting is like riding my favorite ride at an amusement park.  It is fun and relaxing.  

All of a sudden the ride is over (I'm at the end of the first row, and pause a moment before starting the second row).

The neutral gray background and matching thread made it difficult to see where I was stitching.  In the end I made the quilter's sin of running into a previous stitch line.  Not a big deal for me.  Makes a happier quilt. 

I soon figured out I could turn off the studio lights to see the quilt relief lines better, rather that looking for thread color. 

I repeated the above photo from the Dusting Tour so I can point out the matching wall lamps purchased for a song.  

They have a great scroll arm feature mounted on a shallow box frame.  The box frame fits snug over a wood block Jon screwed into the wall.  

Two small screws anchor the wall lamp box frame to totally cover the wood block.  Hey, those wall lamps are there to stay.  They can't fall off the wall and knock us in the noggin.  

Originally the wall lamps were a drab yellow color.  I sprayed them with a hammered pewter color, and put on new shades.

We found the perfect height for reading and the perfect height for reaching up and shutting off the light without having to get up from the bed.  

I bid on this Bird's Eye Maple desk at an auction in Weyauwega.  

Before the auction started I had a brief conversation with the desk.  I promised if I could win the bid at $100 or less, I'd be its personal maid and publicist.  I almost choked on my own spit as the auctioneer's hammer came down and I won the bid at $100.  So far, I've treated Mr. Desk like a rock star and even introduced it
to Miss Beautiful Chair.  

My dear friend Sandy gifted us with the chair.  I think the desk and chair make a beautiful couple, don't you?

"Mr. Portis"

Sandy and I visited an Antique's shop in Galesburg, IL last December.  There I found a great bowler hat and hat box.  

I asked the antiques shop proprietor, "what is the hat's name?"  He looked it over and said, "his name is Mr. Portis."  I said, "fine--I'll be taking Mr. Portis home with me."  Neither one of us cracked a smile--but we wanted to.

The Quien Family Portrait - second owners of our house
from 1917 until 2007.  Thomas and Maren (Gurholt) Quien, and
their children Ragnhild, Gusta, Peter, and Bessie.

The Tiffany style lamp is 1 of 5 purchased over a period of time
from Brass Butterfly near Weyauwega, 20 miles from our house. 
Each lamp is quite different and lovely.  

And as I continue the Dusting Tour, I'll be
sure to point out each of them.

While dusting the west bedroom today, I cleaned the glass on framed photos.
This is one of my favorite photos of my husband Jon.

Jon's dresser.  
I tell you Wisconsin is so cold here in the winter,
"How cold is it?"
Its so cold that Jon has two drawers of long underwear.

There was material left over from making the west bedroom drapes, so I tried my hand at covering a lampshade.  
I bought a book on the subject, and over the years I've restored/recovered a number of antique and vintage shades.  It's lots of hand stitching, ouch--needle picks, and tough on finger joints.

The upstairs bedrooms are restored now.  All the wall repairs completed, and new ceilings.  Crown molding and carpeting still on the to-do list.

At some point in a whole house restoration, modern ideas creep in, and become reasonable and comfortable adjustments. 

Carpet is one of those modern adjustments.  I've drawn the line in the sand, and decided that carpeting will add warmth to the bedroom floors and will do much to dampened sound between floors.

The wide pine board floors painted by the previous owners need restoration, but I'll let the next keeper of this house handle that one.

I'll continue to post about the Dusting Tour.  How about next week?


  1. So enjoyed the tour! The quilt is beautiful. In IL my husband has so many long johns I can hardly get the drawer shut!

  2. I love that desk! I agree with you on the carpet issue. Sadly, my husband doesn't so I have no carpet in the bedrooms nor will I anytime soon. When I look at victorian photos I see carpet all the time. I think the right carpet can really finish a room off.

  3. Dear Mrs. D.,

    It's good to see you posting again! I was about to send out the National Guard.

    Your diamond quilt is gorgeous. I like that you have been able to combine a feel that is both traditional and contemporary, and I like that the diamonds are electric in color — beautiful!

  4. Great job of the quilt! The quilting part is gorgeous! I luv the boring part of making the blocks, over and over and over until I'm done. Long-arm quilting is a challenge for me but I'll be there someday. Luv your idea of spray painting the lamps.