September 21, 2011

Rose's Quilt!

Just before we left for Oregon this summer, I finished Rose's quilt!  I was so anxious to give it to her and packed it away, it taking up most of one of the suitcases (the Under Armour stuff taking up the other half).  Rose joined my sister's family this year, from China and makes a wonderful vibrant addition to my sister's family.

Here is the finished product...

One of my objectives was to use fabric mostly from my stash.  All the color and even the linen backing was what I had on hand.  I did purchase all the white - Kona cotton - for the background.

I designed the quilt, which took a lot more thought and dimension figuring out than I anticipated.  Real quilters must be quite the mathematicians I've decided.  The squares each represent my sister Ann's children/family, from oldest to youngest, with Rose having a little heart on her special square.

The pink flowers were for the girls, and the blue for the boys.  Up top I appliqued a momma and daddy flower growing together.  They have nine children in their family - nine!  Which made a perfect nine patch and a top border.

I actually forgot to take a full picture of the backing.  this shows the border and a strip of pink squares with the same fabrics I used for the flowers.  I machine quilted the layers using a flower design.  This was a risk since I had never tried any other machine quilting besides stippling.  But I loved the result right away.  Little subtle flowers and waves throughout.

I bundled it all up and tied it with a ribbon. 

I hope she enjoys it and gets much use out of it as well!

September 13, 2011

Mr. Hal

While we were away this summer, we got some very sad news.  Our 89 year-old neighbor, Hal passed away.  He loved the kids and was a most interesting man, doing everything in his life from being a world class ballroom dancer to managing a bank.  He was a hard worker and always willing to help out if we needed something.  The kids loved Mr. Hal too, always waving to him on our way to the bus yelling out, "Hi Mr. Hal!" although he could hardly hear at all.

One time I locked myself out of the house and sure enough, he had the keys.  Around here, he was known as "Mayor of the Garth", referencing the court we live on.  Another time I need help putting in the drywall in our bathroom and he brought over his jig saw and nearly scared me to death as I watched him try to saw a board, the saw blade coming so close to his leg.  He was a tough man and had been through a lot, orphaned at a young age.  Someone to respect and admire.

He was hospitalized earlier this year and during his stay decided he needed an iTouch so he could play Solitare.  I helped him hook up his email and find his way around the modern gadget but really all he wanted to do was play games.

Mr. Hal will be missed greatly by all of those who knew him.

September 9, 2011

Hallway and Entryway Takedown!

It was me vs. the wallpaper in our hallway and entryway.  I'd like to think I won, although it did do a number on my fingernails.  This wallpaper was thick and stringy.  Probably good quality and professionally done but it seemed dingy to me - cream with strings of subtle pastel blues and pinks.  Yuck!  This sort of shows you how it looked before.

The wallpaper removal was work - hard work!  I used a steamer borrowed from a super generous neighbor.  It got such a workout that it stopped working halfway through and I had to go and buy a new one at Lowe's.  It was worth the price because it made it so much easier than spraying and scraping.  I did more peeling instead and then steaming some more and peeling some more (usually with my fingernails - hence the yucky nails but I could see the light and again, it was worth it).

After the wallpaper was completely off, we were left with damaged walls with longer than I care to admit.  It was patchy and of course we seemed to have more visitors and company during this time when it looked the worst.  The walls were very papery themselves and sometimes came off with the wet steaming.

It probably took me so long to do this because I knew the next steps would be even harder and messier than what I had just gone through.  Spackling.  This gooey mixture of vinyl spackling must be applied with a trowel/spatula, set to dry, and then sanded.  The sanding part is terrible.  White dust everywhere and while I wore I mask, I worried about the mess for everyone during this stage and tried to get it cleaned up quick.

Of course, I also decided the wrought iron banister needed to go.  Why not add another (major) project to the list, right?  It just reminded us too much of an outdoor porch and I had visions of a square wooden post instead (Calvin's working on this one - more to come later.  Perhaps much later).

The doors (bifolds and front door) were all cream so they needed a fresh coat of white.  We also wanted to replace all the hardware - see the brass floor vent cover.  Now silver.  Hardware on the door?  Now oil rubbed bronze.  Love it.  Also, no more Fort Knox.  The upper locks weren't needed and we removed them too.

I went to replace the doorbell and then realized that we had a quality one with real chimes inside.  I couldn't just throw that away because I wanted a different color.  So, I spray painted it white.  Saved some money and it already was wired perfectly.

This is the before picture of the upper hallway.  Dingy and yellow.  Needed to be freshened up.

Here is a "during" shot.  All ready for a fresh coat of paint.  Oh, and that light fixture?  Gone.  I moved the one from the entryway up and sprayed the chain and crown around the top black.  I love it now.

Okay, ready for the results?  Ta Da!

Fresh coat of paint - all white!  White trim, white walls, white ceiling.  Yes, I love the clean modern look of white.  The yellow door and new hardware pop and make me smile.  It's yellow from the outside too.  We decided to remove the wrought iron on the storm door too, for a cleaner look.  Calvin spent a good part of half a day just taking that down.

The new light is from IKEA and doesn't quite sit flush against the wall.  I still need to work on that. I spent hours searching for a new rug online and was completely overwhelmed.  Then I went to Target and this one was right there.  Perfect for what I wanted.

Here is that light that used to be brass and is now a polished looking black.  Yay.  Oh, and you probably can't see from these pics, but the light switches all had to be changed out - from black to white.  And new switch covers.  It's the littler things that take all the time, and ultimately make a big difference.

Here's a shot of the hallway now.  Lots of white but when we get some pictures up, it will balance it out.  We also replaced all the doorknobs and door stoppers and light switches here.

I am so pleased with the results.  It was sooo much work but really worth it.  I haven't tired of the white yet and it really works for us.  Now we just need a banister for that climbing/running/curious baby.  Calvin's working on it and it will look fabulous I'm sure of it.