New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Rainbow Review

I've been off in Florida, sharing some holiday happiness with my mom & sisters.  It was great to see everyone and enjoy a bit of sunny Florida weather.  They even indulged me and let me poke around a quilt shop while we toured old downtown Winter Garden!

I've returned home to more typical gloomy & chilly December weather.  We're at our camp, but I've got a couple of sewing projects here, so I can blissfully ignore the weather.

Before leaving for Florida, I was able to complete the free-form scrappy border for the 9 patch and snowball Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt.  The 9 patch blocks were made for the 2012 RSC, and I made the scrappy snowball blocks during 2013.  I just need to stitch the scrappy border to the quilt and add another white outer border and the top will be complete.

I didn't want to do a year in review blog post, but I thought it would be fun to make a collage of all the Rainbow Scrap Challenge houses I made this past year.  I enjoyed looking back at the scrappy fabric and New Orleans houses that inspired all these blocks.  I hope 2014 provides the inspiration to assemble them all into a quilt!

I hope everyone has a festive and safe New Year's Eve and I look forward to sharing more sewing and quilting fun with everyone in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Santa's Scrappy House

I couldn't resist making one last happy, scrappy house block for the New Orleans House Project.  
I really must do some serious scrap-busting of Christmas scraps.  I was planning to make a Christmas log cabin quilt for my youngest son, but DH has asked for a red, white and blue log cabin quilt.  I don't think two log cabins in one year is a good plan, so maybe Bonnie Hunter's Strip Twist pattern would make a good Christmas-themed scrap buster!

The design wall was empty earlier this week, so I threw all the Rainbow Scrap Challenge happy, scrappy houses up for a picture.  Unfortunately, I deleted the picture from my camera before saving it.  I currently have 48 rainbow-hued house blocks and several ideas for how to assemble them.  I'd like to see the houses get assembled in 2014, but for now they are marinating while I come up with a plan.

After I took down the house blocks, I put up my green Trip Around the World blocks.  This project is meant to use up some of the vintage, dark green fabric in my stash.  Other shades of green have found their way in as well.  I probably have enough green fabric to make two of these, one in dark greens and one in lime greens.  I need to make another 12 blocks for a decent sized quilt, then I'll decide on whether to mix shades or not.

In preparation for the new year, I've cleaned the cutting table and put away fabric, organized scraps and UFOs.  I won't have much time for sewing in the coming week, but I have been trying to cut some strips and squares cut for 2014 projects.  I'm looking forward to sharing all that soon!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

More Rainbow Scrap Wrap-Up

I think the happiest thing I can say about my sewing activity this week is that I've made a big dent in cleaning off my cutting table!  As the year comes to a close, it's always nice to clean up, clear out and get organized for a new year of sewing/quilting fun.  

There are a lot of project ideas running through my head, both newFOs and UFOs, but I have not committed to a plan of attack yet.  At best, I really want to make a trial block to test out my 2014 Rainbow Scrap project.  I'd like to accomplish that in the next week, but I don't know if I'll be able to carve out the time.  I should be out braving the crowds to finish Christmas shopping right now, but the siren call of fabric is keeping me home!

I did finish a chocolate churn dash small quilt top, probably best used as a table runner.  I had hopes of machine quilting this in time to give as a Christmas gift, but that's not going to happen.  It's not as wonky as it looks - I just have a problem holding the camera straight!

Another chocolate table runner, also not finished in time for gift-giving.  Plus, I need to order more of the chocolate bar fabric for the binding (see top right corner).
All three of these table runners were inspired by bonus triangles left-over from another quilt.  I learned a valuable lesson from this exercise - leave the bonus triangles loose (don't sew them into HST blocks) until you've decided how you'll use them.  Most of these bonus triangles were already sewn into blocks before I started the table runners, and I had to rip many of them apart to piece together the fabrics I wanted to use.  

I STILL have enough bonus triangles left to make another Birds in the Air table runner!

While I was piecing all those chocolate blocks together, I used the 9 patch and snowball blocks of this quilt as leader-enders.  Once the blocks were stitched into rows, it was a quick job to assemble the final top.  This is my 4th quilt top from the 2012 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I'm going to add a white border to give the blocks a "floating" effect.  I was hoping the light blue fabric being auditioned in the picture would be a good way to finish the quilt, but it's not quite what I had in mind.  I may go with my new favorite border treatment:  Freeform Scrappy Border, followed by another white border.  I also thought about a border of smaller 9 patches set on point, but honestly, I'd like to finish this quilt sooner rather than later!

I was also inspired to make one more Happy Scrappy House block with a Christmas theme, but after choosing my fabrics, I decided they all needed pre-washing to avoid the dreaded running red dye.  I guess stitching that block can be my reward later today for finishing my Christmas shopping!

Today is link-up day for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so please visit Angela's blog to see more challenge wrap ups!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wrapping Up Rainbow Scraps

Time has slipped away from me, as it always does between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Two family birthdays, celebrations and socializing, shopping and cooking - plus work - it all takes me away from fabric therapy.   I think the last time I spent quality time with my sewing machine was the week before Thanksgiving!

I do have a few Rainbow Scrap Challenge loose ends to tie up before the end of the year, so I'll be posting some random Finished Objects as time permits. 

Once my kids left home, I decided it was time to use cloth napkins at mealtime.  Since it's usually only DH and I at dinner, we re-use our napkins for a week or so before throwing them in the laundry.  I've got a pretty good stash of napkins now, so if guests show up for dinner, there are always plenty of clean ones.  This brown checked fabric got pulled out of the stash for the November Rainbow Scrap Challenge color, and when I saw the date 1988 on the selvedge, I knew it was time to use up as much of the fabric as possible!

DH spotted this dog-themed fabric at Hobby Lobby and asked for some dog napkins.  They kinda go with my china, doncha think?

Napkins are easy sewing and make great gifts.  If you're feeling inclined, a good tutorial can be found here.

I never knew napkin folding could be so much fun - step by step instructions can be found here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching: More Never-Ending Quilt Binding!

My eyes needed a little break from today's Slow Sunday Stitching project.
I've been hand-stitching the binding on this Halloween small quilt.  The binding has a black background and I'm using black thread for the stitching.  It's hard on the eyes, even with my wonderful Ott lamp for illumination!

I did finish the binding on my previous Slow Sunday Stitching project.  This baby quilt was inspired by a stack of Tula Pink's Hushabye fabrics and a Moda Bake Shop pattern

I didn't want to cut the yard-sized piece of hidden owl fabric, so I used it for the back of the quilt.  Instead of a stark white background fabric, I used Kona Snow - it worked beautifully!

If you're a fan of hand-stitching, be sure to check out the other Slow Sunday Stitchers over at Kathy's Quilts.  As for me, it's time to go add some more stitches and enjoy some slow time with my family!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chocolate & Mint

Chocolate and mint have always been one of my favorite flavor combinations.
Girl Scout Thin Mints
York Peppermint Patties
Andes Mints
Mint chocolate chip ice cream

Wouldn't a chocolate and mint happy scrappy house be yummy?

I even managed to find a chocolate and mint New Orleans house.  This combo of business downstairs, living quarters upstairs is fairly common in the older parts of the city.  The panel van driving by is the perfect touch - it belongs to one of New Orleans' iconic confections:  Hubig's Pies.

Since it's Saturday, I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrappers over at Angela's SoScrappy blog.  After that I'm forgoing sewing today to attend a Geocaching event to celebrate the life of a friend and fellow geocacher.  Hope everyone has a great Saturday doing something they enjoy!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Vintage Brown

I went digging through the brown fabric stash this week, looking for the perfect brown reproduction-style fabrics.  What I found was some vintage fabric history!

I knew I wanted to use up a large scrap of brown floral fabric (top) for this week's happy, scrappy house.  I looked through the stash for coordinating fabrics and found about two yards of the brown check - from 1988!  I decided it was time for that checked fabric to get used up, so I cut several 18 x 18 squares for napkins.  I'll try to have pictures next week, as my dishes match this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color.

The hunk of vintage brown check was significantly reduced!  Back in the day, reproduction fabrics were not abundant, and I remember buying those fabrics by the yard whenever I happened to find them.  It's wonderful to have access to the abundance of repro fabrics that are available now!

I'm really happy with how this house came together!  Most of the fabrics have been marinating in the stash for a long time, so I'm happy to be using them up.  The chimneys are new reproduction fabrics from Barbara Brackman.

The New Orleans house for this week is another double shotgun, but I really loved the brown trim and shutters, as well as the ornate detailing on the gable.

If you would like more brown scrappy inspiration, vintage or modern, do stop by Angela's soscrappy blog to see what the other Rainbow Scrappers have been creating this week!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Just a Box of Scrappy Chocolates!

I have been rather obsessed with the scrappy chocolate HSTs I pulled out last week for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color.  I played with several different block arrangements this week, putting together some small, decorative quilts to give as gifts.  Even though I found myself dreaming about HST quilts all week, the chocolate therapy was great!

This chocolate mash-up was inspired by a candle mat I spied on Pinterest.  My blocks were smaller, so I added a Box of Chocolates border.  I probably could've used a little more contrast in my light blocks, but everything came from scraps, so I'm happy.  I can just picture this with a chocolate-scented candle in the center!

Next I took some inspiration from Audrey's churn dash blocks.  These used up some HSTs and other chocolate scraps.  Again, the blocks are a little small - 6 inches finished - so I'm auditioning some borders.  I may have enough scraps to make two additional blocks, so this one is marinating for a bit.

Birds in the Air is one of my favorite quilt blocks, so I decided to make some chocolate birds.  There might be enough of the pink chocolate fabric left to make two more BITA blocks, so this project could be more table runner size. 

This is an interesting arrangement of just the four BITA blocks.  I could add a narrow white border and a darker outer border.  I've checked through all the chocolate and brown scraps (and pink scraps) for an appropriate border, but I don't have anything that works.  That might mean a trip to the quilt store!

And I still have a good number of chocolate HSTs to play with.  Any and all suggestions cheerfully considered!

I felt a little like Hansel & Gretel as I made this chocolate happy, scrappy house!  Or would that make me the witch?

Doesn't this week's New Orleans house look cozy?  I love the chocolate brown color with all the delicate gingerbread trim!

If you need more chocolate therapy, check out the other Rainbow Scrappers who are linking up at Angela's blog!  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Slow Stitching: Never-ending Quilt Binding!

It seems I'm always working on quilt binding when Slow Stitching Sunday rolls around!  This baby quilt, made with Tula Pink's Hushabye fabric, was pinned and ready for quilting but got stalled.  I finally decided I needed to get the quilting done before the pins left permanent marks on the quilt!  Now I'm hand-stitching the binding and hope to finish up while watching football (Geaux Saints!) this afternoon.  All will be revealed when the binding is complete!

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching - there will be lots of other great hand-stitching projects to check out there!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Urban Retreat

A new month has arrived along with cooler weather and a new Rainbow Scrap Challenge color.  

The challenge color this month is brown, so I've been pulling out all kinds of brown scraps and dreaming of ways to use them up.

Last year during the brown scrap challenge month I pulled out a "chocolate" UFO and was inspired to finish the project.  It's now in the pile awaiting binding, so I moved that chore peaceful pursuit to the top of the "To Do" list.
The chocolate quilt produced a bunch of bonus HSTs.  I think there are probably enough for a few table runners or table toppers - quick gifts if I can snatch the sewing time this month!  I did some fabric therapy last night and trimmed the HSTs to a consistent size.  Bonnie Hunter mentioned a new-to-me technique earlier this week, so I had to try it out.  Using the Easy Angle Ruler makes trimming the HSTs a breeze!

My New Orleans house this week is inspired by log cabins.  Several years ago, my Dear Husband allowed as he had always wanted to live in a log cabin.  We began searching for a weekend getaway and to help matters along I made some pillowcases featuring log cabins with appropriate flora and fauna.  Dreaming about log cabins would surely help us find one, right?  It turns out log cabins are few and far between in our neck of the woods <g>, so we settled for a camp instead.  Pillowcase scraps make great log cabin blocks, though!

Believe it or not, these "houses" are actually located with the New Orleans city limits!

The houses are all located on an estate downriver from the city center, in an area known as Lower Coast Algiers.  Most of the land in the area was originally plantations and is still very sparsely populated.  The owners of this property created a retreat known as Studio in the Woods where artists can go to nurture their creativity.

And now my coffee cup is empty and it's time to get on with the day.  I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrappers; I have a feeling they will nurture my creativity!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Scraps

One more week of working with black scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!  I saved these for the last Saturday of the month since they're Halloween-related.
I finished up my black leader-ender spools.  These Halloween-themed mini clothespins were perfect for keeping the spools clipped together!

This week's Halloween happy, scrappy  house is made from scraps from an October baby quilt.  My niece was born in October, and I thought she should have a Halloween-themed baby quilt.  I found some wonderful fabric based on old-fashioned Halloween postcards and used that as the main theme for the quilt.  Scraps from the postcard fabric are in the door and window.  For the quilt back I found a fun monarch butterfly print, which I used for the chimneys on the house.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the quilt, although my sister promises me it was well-loved and well-used.  My niece is already 10 years old; it seems like only yesterday I was making that quilt!

My New Orleans house for the week doesn't exactly fit this month's color scheme (although it has black shutters!), but it was such a good mate for my scrappy Halloween house I had to share!  This is another one of those fabulous mansions on St. Charles Avenue, but the real treat is the Halloween decorations. If you click through to the slide show, click through the ads because there are 39 punny pictures in all.

This month has really helped me develop a new appreciation for using black fabric in my quilts.  I gained lots of inspiration from the other Rainbow Scrappers every week who linked up over at Angela's blog.  I see lots more black fabric showing up in future quilts!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Fun

I have always been a fan of Halloween.  I think it's a nostalgia for the naive Halloween celebrations of my childhood.  Carving jack o' lanterns, roasting pumpkin seeds, trick or treating in a great costume - all these things are my idea of a fun Halloween!

I used to do a fair amount of decorating for Halloween, but now that my kids are grown, it's just not as much fun.  
I did bring out my collection of Halloween dolls and toys, though.

One of my favorite collectible toys (souvenirs, really) are push puppets.  You know - the little gizmos with a spring that collapse when you push the bottom of the figure.  I don't know why they appeal to me, but I always buy them whenever I find them.
Black cat push puppet.

I also collect wind-up toys.  They are irresistible!

Mr. & Mrs. Frankenstein - Madame Alexander dolls from several years ago.  It's hard to see, but they're actually joined at the wrist by a chain!

Some Madame Alexander trick or treaters.

More trick or treaters; the mini figurines are Madame Alex dolls that were in McDonald's Happy Meals many Halloweens ago!

My Halloween celebrations have grown pretty tame lately.  We have very few trick or treaters in our neighborhood, so Dear Husband and I often just go out to dinner and celebrate by having pumpkin creme brulee or pumpkin cheesecake for dessert!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Black Scraps for a Rainy Saturday

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain on the roof.  The rain, mixed with fog, has continued all morning - a great day to stay in and play with scraps!  
The Rainbow Scrap Challenge colors for October are grays & blacks, and I've had fun digging through the scrap bin to find just the right combos for scrappy house blocks and leader-ender spool blocks.

I found some bright colors on black backgrounds that made good spools.

The red pepper fabric has been in my stash for a long time.  I bought several yards of it and it has found it's way into many of my scrappy quilts!

I couldn't find a black or peppery New Orleans house to share this week.
On the other hand, a famous pepper-growing family is associated with New Orleans.  The McIhenny's recipe for pepper sauce, better known as Tabasco, is a world-famous condiment.  Members of the McIlhenny family have lived in New Orleans for years; the former president of the company was Rex, King of Carnival several years ago.
Tabasco peppers are grown on Avery Island, a salt dome in southwest Louisiana.  The pepper sauce has been made and bottled there since 1868.  I think it would be fair to say Tabasco sauce is part of the fabric of our life!

And on that spicy note, I'm going to go check out the other Rainbow Scrap inspiration at Angela's blog!