New Orleans House Project

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Orange You Sad To Say Good-bye?

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge has given us 5 weeks of playing with orange!  It's been productive and lots of fun.  Today is the last day to see what orange surprises the challenge participants are sharing over at Soscrappy's blog.

I've been busy trying to wrap up my orange projects.
I finished piecing the Orange Confection quilt blocks together.  As soon as I find a backing, I'll be taking it to my local longarm quilter.  I'm looking forward to keeping this quilt for myself!

A few orange leader-ender spools were added to the collection.

And some wonky orange log cabin blocks.

I've enjoyed all this orange playtime, but I'm looking forward to a new challenge color for April.

Oh, and no new house blocks this week, but I put together a collage of this month's orange New Orleans houses for you to enjoy!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

DIY: Design It Yourself

I've been working with another of last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  Simple 16-patch blocks were my first-ever RSC blocks.  I dug into my bin of scrappy 2 inch  squares and strips and pieced a year's worth of rainbow blocks.  I knew from the beginning I wanted to set the 16-patch blocks with hourglass blocks, and in the early months of the challenge I also cut the hourglass triangles as I went along.  The triangles fell by the wayside as the year went on though, so I have some catching up to do.  

When I'm piecing a quilt by the seat of my pants I always wish I had a reference book with instructions on how to cut the blocks or block components I need.  I have a few books with great instructions for certain blocks or borders, but no one reference with everything in one handy place.  Wouldn't a Dorling-Kindersley type book on quilt block construction be great?!

The hourglass blocks were easy.  They're really just quarter-square triangles, and there are lots of methods for constructing those.  From my old standby Template-Free Quilt Making, I know quarter-square triangles can be made by adding 1 1/4 inches to to the size of the finished block.  Since my 16-patch blocks finish at 6 inches, I cut 7 1/4 inch squares and then cut the squares on each diagonal to make 4 triangles.  Match the appropriate color triangle to its adjacent 16-patch and the hourglass blocks are ready to go!

Since I had already cut batches of triangles, my method of choice for making flying geese blocks (for the end rows) was limited.  Fortunately, I had bookmarked a great flying geese tutorial on Marcia Hohn's wonderful website, Quilter's Cache.  

Geese are under construction.  I only need to make 10 more of these!  

That's OK, it gives me the opportunity to also make the 8-patch rectangle panels as a leader-ender project.

These are a no-brainer to construct, but I think we can all thank Bonnie Hunter for raising our awareness about leader-ender projects!

When it comes to Design It Yourself quilt projects - do you have any favorite reference books or websites?  I'd love to hear about them.  I'd love to compile a list and share it with everyone!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happiness Is . . . An Orange House!

Time for another sharing Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!  I always look forward to seeing what surprises the RSC participants have in store for their monthly indulgence in a particular color.  March has been the color orange, and I think there are still a good number of fun projects to be seen over at Soscrappy's blog, so do take a look!

As for me, I'm still inspired by orange houses in New Orleans.  The photo makes the house look a little more salmon-y than orange, but it is indeed an orange house!

I remembered I had this orange and blue batik fabric in my stash, so out it came to make a happy scrappy house.  I think this is my favorite house block so far - it just makes me smile!

The weather here is rather dismal today:  foggy, gray and rainy.  I think I'll go play with my basket of orange strips and make my own sunshine!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Nudging Grandmother Along

It's been one of those weeks where family and work take a higher priority than usual and little sewing is accomplished.  Even though Fabric Therapy is oh-so-important, sometimes it just has to wait!

I did finish 3 more blocks in the Grandmother's Choice BOW.  These blocks (24-26) were straightforward and fairly easy to assemble.  I tried to incorporate some of the lesser-used fabrics from the stash I had assembled for this project, which started with Alice's Washday Blues as a foundation.  I wish I could find some more multi-color, largish prints featuring the colors of red, blue and brown I've chosen.   There doesn't seem to be much out there that's not dainty prints, or the blues are more of a teal than the indigo-type blue I'm using.  I'm not running low on fabric, but it would be nice to have some more choices to work into the project!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Binding up a Rainbow Scrap Challenge Project

I'm looking forward to some time in "my" easy chair today while I hand stitch the binding for one of last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects.  
I'm going to wait for the full reveal until after the binding is stitched down.  I gave this to my local longarm quilter, Cindy Braiwick, to quilt for me.  She has an amazing ability to take my ideas for quilting and turn them into wonderful designs and textures.  I found the perfect binding fabric maturing in my stash (Kaffe Fassett's Roman Glass), so no excuses about needing a trip to the fabric store!

I haven't made time for hand stitching for a couple of weeks, so I'm cheerfully linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching in honor of St. Patrick's Day!  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Orange Pairings

One fun thing about this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge color is that it pairs so well with other lovely things!  I thought about this the other night at dinner when I enjoyed a gin and tonic flavored with orange and basil.  It got me thinking about other yummy orange pairings:  chocolate and orange, cranberry and orange, cheesecake and orange - even duck and orange!

My sewing this week has been about orange pairings as well.

I discovered the pieces of this stalled project when I did some cleaning in the sewing room last week.  After making two Bento Box quilts a few years ago, I had a stack of scraps that were already cut in 3 inch widths, so I started making 9 patches with 1 1/2 inch squares.  There were already a good number of 9 patches made, so I just made several more to round out a small (22" x 18") quilt top.  I love how the orange and blue color pairing just vibrates with energy!

Another goal for this week was to get these orange and white blocks on the design wall so I could start assembling them into a top.  This quilt pairing was inspired by the Orange Quilt at Cluck Cluck Sew.    I'm happy with the block arrangement, so I'll be sewing rows together for the rest of the afternoon.  

Another pairing that caught my eye this week is the combo of orange and green.  Whether traditional New Orleans shotgun houses with gingerbread trim or something more modern with clean lines, the orange and green color combo really highlights these homes!

I tried adding some green trim to Bonnie Hunter's Happy Scrappy Houses.  It was a fun experiment! 

And now I'm going to link up with Soscrappy to see what orange pairings other Rainbow Scrap Challengers have been playing with this week!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Grandmother's Lessons

I'm still not managing to stay caught up with Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice BOW.  These three blocks (21-23) are some of my favorites so far.  I enjoyed the Parasol block the most, as I hand appliqued the parasol and blanket stitched the handle and tip after fusing them to the background fabric.  The two pieced blocks - Girl's Joy (left) and Jack's Delight (right) were a little fiddly to cut and piece, but I love the result!

Much to my surprise, this BOW quilt-along has inspired me to get over my dislike of sampler quilts.  I have never been a fan of sampler quilts, maybe because they were so plentiful and predictable and boring back in the 1980s when I was learning to quilt.  Sampler quilts are a great learning tool though, because the variety of blocks give quilters the opportunity to practice different quilt-making skills.  I think I had forgotten that aspect of the sampler theory and have been re-discovering the fun of taking small bites of a variety of designs and processes.  I joined the Grandmother's Choice BOW because I wanted to tangibly participate in a history lesson, but the secondary benefit has been a new appreciation for the benefits of making sampler quilts!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Trade Card Tuesday: Barbour's Irish Flax Thread

Alas, I have no sewing machine trade cards with adorable Irish lasses or lucky leprechauns.  No St. Patrick's Day greeting postcards, either.  On the other hand (ha!), I do have an Irish card that will teach you palm reading!

(click on the image for a larger view)
Advertising for Barbour's Irish Flax Thread purports to instruct the reader on Character as Indicated by the Hand.  The hand shapes illustrated are (left to right) Square Hand, Square Hand, Pointed Hand and Spatulate Hand.  The card is copyright 1893.  

The reverse of the card explains the character traits associated with each hand shape and describes the qualities of different lines on the hand (see the second Square Hand for a map to the lines).

Barbour's Flax (or Linen) Thread Co. was founded in 1784 in Ireland.  The thread is still available today, although apparently somewhat difficult to obtain.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Orange Memories

It's another scrappy orange Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilters.  I haven't done much orange sewing this week, but I have had orange on the brain!

I grew up in the middle of Florida citrus country.  In fact, my neighborhood was a former orange grove.  We had orange trees in the yard and an abundance of fresh-squeezed orange juice all winter.  My mom was always trying out new recipes featuring oranges and orange juice.

One childhood favorite was Hot Orange Coffee Cake (original name, eh?).  I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so I made one this morning.  Here it is, ready to go in the oven.  Doncha like the juxtaposition of coffee mugs on my kitchen counter?

I did do just a tiny bit of orange stash enhancement this week.  Hancock Fabrics had this orange bandana print - and I'm a sucker for bandana prints.  I limited myself to a half yard, but I may have to go back.  They had other colors as well!

Some orange spools were created using Bonnie Hunter's Spoolin' Around pattern.

A scrappy orange house, also a Bonnie Hunter pattern.

And of course, another orange New Orleans house!  The upstairs front only looks yellow because of the sunlight - it's just as orange as the rest of the house.

Now I think I'll try out my coffee cake and enjoy a cup of coffee while I check out what the other Rainbow Challenge scrappers have been up to this week!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fabric in the Crescent: The Quilted Owl

New Orleans area quilters have two great local quilt shops to help suppor their quilting obsessions inspirations.  Last week I took you on a virtual tour of Mes Amis Quilt Shop; this week we're going to stop by The Quilted Owl.

The Quilted Owl is located in suburban Old Jefferson, just a few miles west of New Orleans proper on historic Jefferson Highway.  The store is a cozy, Craftsman-style bungalow, typical for this older neighborhood near the Mississippi River.  Owner Angie Jeanfreau named the shop in honor of an owl decoration on the roof of the house.  Now owls are a highlight of the shop, as evidenced by this mascot sculpture in front of the store!

The Quilted Owl features reproduction and traditional quilting fabrics.  Angie particularly enjoys hand work, so the shop is also full of embroidery supplies.  You'll find fabrics by designers such as Jo Morton, Judie Rothermel, Kim Diehl and French General.  There's also a large selection of wool fabric and embroidery threads.

There are always plenty of shop samples for inspiration!  You'll find books with traditional and primitive quilt patterns as well as plenty of embroidery patterns and books.  

Angie and her staff keep lots of kits on hand as well.  The purple and gold quilt above is a kit based on Newcastle Fabrics New Orleans 1850 line of fabrics.  If you're a visitor to New Orleans and want a special fabric souvenir, Angie just might have the perfect kit for you!

The black and gold fleur de lis quilt is a shop original BOM called Crescent City Charm.  It features embroidered versions of favorite New Orleans icons.

I think I've mentioned before how much New Orleanians love Mardi Gras.  Here's the Quilted Owl's version of a Mardi Gras lap quilt.

The Quilted Owl also has a nice selection of batik fabrics (this is just a small representation).

And here's some batik inspiration!

Visitors to the Quilted Owl are greeted by this friendly fellow at the front door.  If you're visiting New Orleans, you'll definitely need to come by car or cab.  It's about an 8 mile trip from the French Quarter, but Angie and her staff will give you a warm New Orleans welcome!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trade Card Tuesday: Threading Up

Sewing thread was another popular advertising topic for Victorian trade cards.  Thread companies often used fantasy themes to illustrate the qualities of their thread.  Imaginative vignettes touting the strength, smoothness and colorfastness of thread were common themes.
Here an adorable puppy is reigned in with Willimantic thread - For the Safety of the Public.
The reverse side explains that Willimantic thread is especially designed to be used with sewing machines, as it has the softest finish, and is the "smoothest and most elastic cotton on the market".  Of interest to modern consumers, the card also emphasizes Willimantic thread is made from combed Sea Island Cotton and "is purely an American production", offering sewists the opportunity to "patronize and sustain Home Industries".   

J & P Coats imagined their thread was used by the Lilliputians to tie down Gulliver.  Of note is the extra-large spool near Gulliver's feet that is being used like a winch and the wagon load of spools near his right hand.  J & P Coats thread was manufactured in Paisley, Scotland - not an American product at the time!

Clark's also has advice on How to Keep Husbands at Home, Nights.
The name "Salanger's" appears to be stamped on the card and was probably a store that sold Clark's thread.  The reverse of the card notes Mile-End thread came in a large variety of colors and the black thread was particularly color-fast.  It is also described as the Standard for use upon all Sewing Machines.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Orange on Low Volume

The March color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is orange.  As it happens, there is a certain appreciation for the color combination of blue and orange in my family (think SEC), so I have a lively batch of orange scraps.  And during last year's RSC, I was smitten by a certain frozen confection quilt and wound up adding even more orange scraps to my stash!

I really haven't had time to get into the orange scraps yet.  I need to get a few other things wrapped up or at least off the cutting table and design wall so I can do justice to the month of orange.  Today's scrappy house is kind of low volume, just like my amount of sewing this week!

This week's house is kind of a low volume orange, too.  It makes me think of orange sherbet!  This was  kind of a cheat, as I already knew about this house.  A friend of ours lives in the downstairs apartment.  The picture doesn't really do justice to the color - it's a lovely soft orange and the trim is a dark, orangey terracotta color.  

I'm sharing my scrappy results along with the other Rainbow Scrappers at Soscrappy's blog.  There's so much creativity among the challenge participants - I really hope you'll stop by to see what everyone is doing!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fabric in the Crescent: Mes Amis Quilt Shop

New Orleans quilters are doubly blessed to have two wonderful quilt shops!  The focus of each store is different, so the variety of fabrics, patterns and classes makes a great palette of quilting choices.  I'm going to give each shop their own blog entry so you can get an idea of what influences quilters in the Crescent City.

Mes Amis Quilt Shop opened for business in April 2010.  The shop is located in a small business area in a largely residential neighborhood near Lake Pontchartrain.

Owner Denise Taylor has worked with fabric in one way or another for most of her life. 

Denise loves color, and her shop is stocked with traditional to modern fabrics that pop!  She carries lots of well-known designer fabric, including Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler and Kate Spain.  There is also a large selection of juvenile-themed fabrics and a section of black and white fabrics.  If you need batiks or textured solids/blenders, Denise has that, too.
New Orleanians love to celebrate Mardi Gras and their NFL football team, the Saints.  Mes Amis has a great selection of purple, green and gold fabric for Mardi Gras-themed quilts.  There's also plenty of black and gold fabric - just right for a Saints-themed quilt or a carnival costume!

A Mardi Gras-themed quilt shop sample and pattern.  In front of the quilt is a rack of animal prints.

The shop also has space for classes and other gatherings.  Hanging on the wall behind Denise is a special block of the month quilt featuring famous New Orleans landmarks.

Mes Amis has a very active Facebook page, too.  Denise loves sharing pictures of new fabrics that have arrived at the shop, as well as pictures of customers and their quilts.  She loved my Greek Square quilt!

If you're visiting New Orleans and want to stop by Mes Amis, your best bet is to have your own vehicle or take a cab.  The shop is a little over 6 miles from the French Quarter, but worth the trip!  It's also possible to use the city bus line to visit the shop; call ahead for instructions.