New Orleans House Project

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yet Another Painting Project

I feel like I could be writing an essay on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation", as I keep talking about DIY projects that afflicted me this summer!

This little cabinet was another piece of furniture that came with our camp.  When I decided to repaint the shelving unit white, I thought this guy needed a little bit of color.  He had already been painted once in his life, the gray-green beige you see in the "before" picture above.  This picture was taken around the time we bought our camp; since then the cabinet had become our bar.

Originally, I wanted to use a shade of blue slightly darker than the walls.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a color that worked.  Instead, I went with a pale yellow.  The beige paint had not been well applied and was peeling, so I wound up doing some stripping and sanding before the new paint could be applied.

I also sanded down the top and re-stained it, then added a topcoat of polyurethane mixed with tung oil.  The dots you see in the picture are just reflexions.  Like my shabby-chic silver (plate) tray?  Five bucks at the local antique mall!

Here's the final happy shot, with all the bar-keeping accoutrements returned to their usual places.  I'm really pleased with how this turned out, but I think McKenzie is pretty bored by it all!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wrapping Up Grandmother's Choice

I have been trying to finish up all of the blocks from Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice BOW.

Block #46, Barrister's Block, was straightforward machine piecing.  I like the look of this block; I can see it in a completely scrappy version - good way to use up scraps!

Block #47, Heroine's Crown.  Another favorite block!  I opted to use the fusible applique technique with this block, as I wanted to finish more quickly than hand applique would allow.  Instead of machine blanket-stitching around the fused shapes, I decided to do the blanket stitching by hand.  Maybe I didn't really save any time, but doing some Slow Sunday Stitching today may wrap things up!

Block #48, Fair Play.  Completely hand-pieced this one. 

Block #49.  An Arc:  Bending Toward Justice.  Also hand-pieced.  I don't care much for the design of this block, but I thought the sentiment was a perfect conclusion to the series of history lessons on women's suffrage.  The block symbolizes a quote from Martin Luther King:  "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Once I finished block 49, I had to circle back to a block from early in the series that I had not completed.  Block #4, Kansas Sunflower, was a nod to early suffragettes from Kansas.  I also hand-pieced this block, and although a little wonky, it came out better than I had any right to expect as I was rather cavalier about making my original templates.  If I were to make the block again, I'd definitely use freezer paper templates for greater accuracy.

At this point, I'm going to lay my Grandmother's Choice blocks aside and contemplate how I want to assemble the blocks.  I need to focus on some other projects and come back to these with a fresh perspective.

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching today as I put the finishing touches on Heroine's Crown.  Hope you'll stop by there and see what other hand-stitching fun is underway!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Of Red Lights and Cities of the Dead

This week's Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitching involved some log cabin therapy.  I never get tired of the soothing work of sewing strips around and around until I've made a useful sized block!  I don't start with a plan, I just pick up some scraps and start sewing.  Sometimes I get traditional light and dark blocks, sometimes I just get random color and pattern.  They all make me happy!

This week's happy, scrappy house block relies heavily on my collection of red and black prints.  I initially thought of doing the main body of the house in the black and red cat print, but I decided I really didn't need a "cathouse" for my quilt.  

A bit of history here:  New Orleans had a legalized red-light district for about 20 years prior to World War I.  One of the more famous proprietors of "The District" was Josie Arlington, who at one time owned one of the most lavish sporting houses, known as The Arlington.  Josie was quite a successful business woman, and built an elaborate tomb for herself in Metairie Cemetery.
Most New Orleans graves/tombs are above ground and are often called "Cities of the Dead".  Josie Arlington's tomb was built of red granite, and was said to have an unearthly red glow on certain nights.  There are lots of stories about who the young woman represents and even stories that tell of the young lady wandering the cemetery at night.  Josie is no longer buried here, as her family had her body moved when the tomb became thronged by tourists.  

Leaving things on an upbeat note:  jazz funerals are another New Orleans tradition.  On the way to the cemetery, the band will pay somber hymns, but once the body is laid to rest, the band plays celebratory music to honor the deceased's life.   

Now that your toes are tapping, do wander over to Angela's Soscrappy blog to see what other red scrappy inspiration has happened this week!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler Shop Hop v.2

The second weekend of the Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler (Let the good times roll) shop hop was pretty low-key for me.  I had more fun just visiting with fellow quilters and didn't do a lot of stash acquisition.  I even stopped at a local estate sale, hoping to find a treasure or two, but all I bought was a heavy duty vintage food mill.  I've been watching John Besh's Family Table on public television - he convinced me I needed a food mill, although I've got a perfectly good food processor!

My first hop took me to The Quilted Owl, my local reproduction-loving quilt store.  I bought a few things, but these three fabrics are my favorites:  two cheddars and one Halloween print.  No particular project in mind, just stash enhancement!

Next, I hopped over to Mes Amis Quilt Shop, my other local quilt hangout.  The vibe at Mes Amis is much more modern, as you can tell by the fabrics above.  The fabric on the right (lightest pink) is one of the Grunge fabrics by Basic Grey for Moda.  I really like those fabrics and collect new colors whenever I see them.  I think they would make a great Hopscotch or Paintbox quilt.
I bought the green and pink floral (above) as one of the fabrics for this bag.  I wasn't thinking about using one of the pinks above, but now that I see them together, I like the possibilities!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Inspired by Red

I have been having lots of fun playing with red scraps this week.  The thing that strikes me the most about my red fabric stash (scraps and yardage) is how well-aged most of my red fabric is!  It makes me wonder if good old-fashioned red is being pushed aside for the current "modern" colors like aqua, pink, yellow and gray?  

All my red fabrics were clamoring to get made into something scrappy - red and white four patch variation, nine patch variation - something!  Alas, that will have to wait for next year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Lots of scrappy pieces were stitched into leader-ender spools.  I find I'm about burned out on this pattern, but I will probably continue making them until the end of the year, depending on what Rainbow Scrap Challenge colors still await us.

I also put together a new sunglass case, as my son's dog (we're dog-sitting) ate the previous one.
I was able to salvage the metal spring closure bars from the damaged eyeglass case.  I studied the damaged case and realized I could easily recreate a new version.  

The red Asian print fabric was already out on the cutting table from building red scrappy houses, so I just sliced off a few more pieces for the new project.  I was pretty pleased with the results AND I used up some more red fabric!

This week's happy, scrappy house is inspired by a Greek  Revival home on St. Charles Avenue.  
Long ago, when I was young and single, my landlady lived in this house.  I never got to see the inside of it, but it's still there, as dignified-looking as ever.
This is where I lived.  Haha - just a small apartment, downstairs on the right.  When I lived there it was obvious this had once been a single family home, but it was broken up into apartments somewhere along the way.  About 20 years ago, the home was returned to its original use as a single family home.  I'd love to see the inside now and compare it with my memories of apartment days!

As per usual on Saturday, I'm linking up with the other Rainbow Scrappers over at Angela's blog.  Do make a visit there for more red-inspired scrappiness!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Paisley Parade: A Finished Flimsy

Paisley Parade, designed by Laurie Simpson, using the Prairie Paisley line of fabric by Minick & Simpson.  Pattern published in the Spring/Summer 2008 Quilt Sampler magazine.

I first saw this quilt at Sister's Choice Quilts.  Nicole added two additional borders to her quilt, which gave it a bit more size, as the original finishes at 56 inches square.  

This quilt has been my camp quilt project for the past year.  I was surprised to see I blogged about starting the quilt almost exactly a year ago!

I love the fabrics in this quilt - lots of paisley designs and a great red, white and blue color combination.  I think this might have been one of Minick and Simpson's most popular lines of fabric (for Moda), because they released a very similar line about 2 years later!

I contemplated hand quilting this, since it is not real large.  OTOH, I have several other quilt tops that are calling out for hand quilting and I don't want to keep this one in the queue forever.  I'm already daydreaming about how this will look hanging on the wall at our camp.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler Shop Hop v.1

The annual south Louisiana quilting shop hop started this past weekend.  I haven't really participated in shop hops in the past, as I usually had to work or had other family responsibilities on the designated weekend.  This year however, all the stars were in alignment and I was able to hop & shop.

Not being a quilter of small stash, I knew I didn't need to participate extensively, but I thought it would be fun to do some visiting and support my local quilt shops.  On Saturday I decided to take a drive to Bright Hopes Quilting, located across Lake Pontchartrain - a shop I only visit a couple of times a year.

I had a great time checking out all the fabrics and projects at Bright Hopes, but in the end came away with some fat quarters and just a little bit of yardage.  I know I've mentioned before I have a weakness for blue and white, so it was easy to snap up the top group of fat quarters by Dear Stella.  The bottom two light blues were just because a blue and white quilter always needs a range of shades, right?

I also snapped up this watermelon fat quarter packet because it reminded me of summer.  The gadget at the bottom is a luggage tag that swings open to reveal a miniature mending kit - a thank-you gift from the shop.
Since I always seem to making scrap quilts, I also got two white on white prints (if you click on them you should be able to see the design) and this great Moda multi-colored batik.  I love that batik - I hope I don't kick myself for not having purchased more!

After my shop hop stop, I took the back roads to our camp in Mississippi.  It just so happened I passed a Hobby Lobby store on that leg of the trip.  We don't have any HL stores in New Orleans, so I usually try to stop for a quick look when I am in the vicinity of a store.  Usually I'm disappointed, but on Saturday I really lucked out!
I had been wanting a blue & white porcelain vase for the dining table at the camp.  There it was at HL - AND - it was 50% off !  The hydrangeas were 50% off, too!
But wait - there's more!  This cute blue & white lantern was also 50% off, so it came home with me, too!  I was a happy camper, let me tell 'ya!

The Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler (Let the Good Times Roll) Shop Hop continues next weekend.  I'm looking forward to a little more shopping and hopping - wonder if I'll be just as lucky?!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back to School Memories

Time for another Saturday of joining in for some Rainbow Scrap Challenge fun!

Lots of vintage scraps were used to create this house.  I'm pretty sure the small print in the body of the house is well over 20 years old.  The bandana print is from a black and red quilt I made for my oldest son about 15 years ago - he's got it at his apartment or I would've snapped a picture to share.  The best memories come from the little girl in the window, though.  She's from a quilt I made for my youngest son's kindergarten teacher.  I helped all the kids in the class transfer their handprints to fabric squares, which I assembled using this wonderful red, white and blue print of children.  Great memories of my boys' school days!

Some leader-ender spools in red were added to the collection.

This week's New Orleans house is a townhouse in Faubourg Marigny.  The neighborhood is located on a former plantation on the downriver side of the French Quarter.  An interesting detail about this house is the memorialized X-code to the left of the door (click on the picture to enlarge it).  The X-code was used by search and rescue teams after Hurricane Katrina to denote when the building was searched, by what rescue team and what was found during the search.  Most X-code markings have been painted over by now, but some people choose to save the marking as a memorial.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pinterest Strikes Again!

Another Pinterest-inspired project has come to fruition.  A few days ago, I shared my repainted Ikea shelving unit - a project I might never have undertaken if it weren't for Pinterest inspiration

Last night, I transformed a 35 lb birdseed bag into a re-usable grocery bag.  
I'm on a roll! (insert self-mocking chuckle here)

Inspiration/instructions here.  I followed the instructions as written, except I didn't add batting to my grocery bag handles.  According to the author, the handles last longer if they're made with batting, but I didn't see the need.  My bag is apparently a little smaller than the author's bag, but I'm pleased with the finished proportions.  My new-to-me vintage Singer 15-91 did a great job of heavy duty stitching on this project, although since I used upholstery thread, had to tweak the tension several times to get everything looking OK.

My original birdseed bag isn't as pretty as the bag in the instructions, but that's OK.  We go through these 35 lb. bags of birdseed pretty quickly at the camp and I'm pleased to be able to recycle them.  Now if I could only remember to consistently take my re-usable bags INTO the store with me when I go grocery shopping!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Month of Red

As it turns out, despite being a city full of rainbow-hued houses, it is not easy to find houses painted true red in New Orleans.  There are lots of variations on a color that's somewhere between cooked shrimp and terra cotta.  There are also variations on the color burgundy.  There's just not much in the way of red.  I will have be be creative to continue with the New Orleans House Project!

My first red "house" is a little different.  This is the home of the David Crockett Fire Company, the oldest continuously operated volunteer fire company in the country (since 1841).  The firehouse is now a museum, although it does house some antique fire equipment.  It's located in a small community across the Mississippi River from New Orleans proper.   

It was no problem to design a very red happy, scrappy house this week.  I recently used the red batik as a quilt border, and the scraps just sang out to me to put them in a house!  The cow jumping over the moon fabric goes back about 20 years; I've just about used every scrap of it.

I had to clean up last month's teal/aqua/turquoise fabrics before I could cut loose with the color red.  I had these spool blocks already cut, so they were easy to finish.

I forgot to play along with Bonnie Hunter's link-up for showing off one's leader-ender spools.  Here's my current stash, about 200 spool blocks.  I plan to keep making them through the end of this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

And speaking of Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I'll be linking up with other challenge participants over at Angela's blog.  Please join us for some scrappy red quilt inspiration!