New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Red, White, and Blue Twister Quilt Finish

 I'm still trying to stay focused on finishing my Gathered Harvest appliqué quilt, but I managed to sneak in some binding on a long standing UFO.

According to a previous blog post, I started the quilt in early June, 2012!


I loved collecting all the red, white, and blue fabrics for the quilt, but didn't love the resulting quilt top and put it away to marinate. 

I rediscovered the quilt top about 2 years ago, and inspiration struck.  I added the white (white on white scattered stars) and blue (Moda Grunge) borders and was happy with the result.

After some starry quilting by Diane Knott (Butterfly Threads Quilting), all that was needed was binding, a hanging sleeve, and a label.

 I'm still working out the label idea, but the binding and sleeve are done.
The quilt design reminds me of fireworks, so I think the name will be Illuminations - inspired by John Adams' thoughts on how American Independence should be celebrated.  In a letter to his wife Abigail, he wrote:
I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as a great anniversary Festival.  It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of Devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Monday, May 30, 2022

May Mini: Green Gumbo

 May's mini quilt was inspired by Wendy's (The Constant Quilter) April mini quilt.

When I saw Wendy's charming mini, it reminded me of the Two and Four Quilt - another quilt she inspired me to make.  

I already had the green reproduction scraps out to choose fabrics for a Blackford's Beauty block, so I decided to try my hand at Wendy's mini quilt.

Thanks to Barb's (Fun with Barb) helpful Nine Patch Tutorial, I had the nine patch blocks made in a twinkling.  The remaining strippy construction didn't take much longer and soon I had a mini quilt top!

As I was assembling all those little green scraps, I wondered what name I could give the quilt.  It struck me that all those green fabric bits were like the ingredients for green gumbo, or Gumbo Z'herbes (zahb). 


Gumbo Z'herbes is a traditional dish often served during Lent.  It's made with a minimum of at least five leafy greens.  More varieties may be used, but one must always have an uneven number of greens for the pot.  A good Creole cook might include mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, scallions, etc.

Traditional Gumbo Z'herbes is meatless, but over the past couple of years, versions with meat have become popular.  One of the most well-known versions was made by Chef Leah Chase, and served on Holy Thursday at her family's restaurant, Dooky Chase.   

Dear Hubby and I recently learned to make this wonderful gumbo, and it has become a family favorite!

I did some quilting in the ditch and added a dark, leafy green single binding.  Cutting board courtesy of Dear Hubby.

The backing fabric is an ancient one from the stash - I'm not even sure how old it is.  I love the print, but with the blue and yellow accents, it just never played well with other fabrics.  It's perfect for gumbo, though!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Just a Few Green Scraps

 I haven't cheated on my devotion to UFOs...these Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects were all completed earlier this month. 😀

The RSC color(s) for May were sage and forest green.  

I have been making two Blackford's Beauty blocks each month, one in reproduction fabric scraps and one in bright modern fabric scraps.  I decided to just make the reproduction block this month.  When the RSC focus is on bright greens I'll use the modern green scraps for another block.

Most of these scraps came from making Stars in a Time Warp blocks and from a Halloween table runner that still needs quilting.  Oh no - two more UFOs!


I did pull some sage and forest green scraps from the modern fabric bins to make 2.5 inch squares for checkerboard blocks.  I only made two blocks, but will make more when the RSC focus is on bright greens.


While I was digging through the scrap bins, I went back and pulled scraps in previous 2022 RSC colors and cut those 2.5 inch squares as well.  Now I'll have plenty of leader-ender blocks to stitch up as I'm working on other projects.


See?  They work up just that quickly!



Friday, May 20, 2022

Gathered Harvest(s)

 As I discussed last week, I have been sticking with my plan of devotion to UFOs.

The hand quilting is going slowly, mostly because I'm reluctant to stitch more than 20 - 30  minutes at a stretch.  Longer stitching times lead to hand and wrist discomfort - as in carpal tunnel symptoms.  One eagle is almost completely quilted, so that's something! 

I finished machine appliquéing the first vine block of four needed finish the Gathered Harvest BOM.  The block still needs a good soak, then blocking and trimming.


I immediately started the prep work for the next block.  

I have a system worked out for prepping the appliqué pieces.  I lower my ironing board so I can sit while I'm working, and cover the surface with a large piece of cotton canvas fabric.  The fabric soaks up excess starch, and protects the ironing board cover from scorching.  I can just move the fabric around when I need a "clean" work area.

Before sitting down at the ironing board, I've already traced, cut and pressed the freezer paper appliqué patterns/shapes to the wrong side of the different fabrics being used.  I use my trusty Karen Kaye Buckley 4 inch Perfect Fabric Scissors to trim around the appliqué shapes, leaving just the right amount of seam allowance.

I mix my own starch solution using liquid starch and water.  I have no favorite starch brand, I just use whatever I can get at the local grocery store.  I mix the starch solution in the black sprayer bottle,  then spray small amounts of it in the little plastic medicine cup.  Using a very small paintbrush, I brush the starch solution around the seam allowance of the appliqué piece.

Once the appliqué piece has been starched, and while the starch is still wet, I use the cuticle stick and the Clover Mini Iron to press the seam allowance to the wrong side of the appliqué piece.  The starch helps hold the seam allowance in place after the freezer paper has been removed.

After working diligently yesterday, I've got most of the pieces prepped for the next block - even the circles!

To help keep me motivated, I cleared off the design wall and pinned up the completed appliqué blocks.  The pattern is Gathered Harvest from the book Fresh Picked by Barb Adams and Alma Allen, aka Blackbird Designs.


In other gathered harvest news, we are already in the throes of summer here, with daytime temps in the upper 80s and low 90s.  Very little rain, so we've been watering our container gardens faithfully.  

The peppers seem happy with the weather, as they've been producing like crazy!  This is just a 2 - 3 day harvest of banana and jalapeno peppers.  I sliced them all up and pickled them; wound up with 3 pints of each type of pepper.  I wish the tomatoes would come in so I could make some salsa!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Devoted to UFOs

 Two UFOs have been clamoring for attention (again).

I have blogged several times about my good intentions to finish up these quilts, but somehow life and other quilt projects (dare I say Squirrels?!) seem to get in the way.

I've come to the conclusion that it's time to focus on these two projects exclusively from now until they are finished. 

I started the 4-block eagle quilt in 2015.  It was my first major hand appliqué project.  I finished the appliqué fairly quickly, but I procrastinated on starting the hand quilting until last year.  

The background quilting is complete, so now I need to quilt all four eagles, as well as the HSTs in the quilt border.  If I quilt a little bit every day, I'll get it done in no time, right?


The other unfinished project demanding attention is Gathered Harvest - a BOM I started in January, 2018.  

The quilt is made up of nine blocks, five of which are complete.  Now I need to make four of these flowery vine blocks - identical except for different fabric placements.  Yes, each block has twenty appliquéd berries/circles!

Since snapping the above picture this morning, I've finished prepping all the leaves, berries and bias strips.  I'm using the freezer paper and starch method to prep the appliqué shapes.  

Next up, a little fabric glue and lots of machine appliqué.  

If it weren't for those pesky oak leaves, I could probably knock out the four blocks pretty quickly.  Those oak leaves take a little more concentration than your typical appliqué leaves, although I'm getting quicker at prepping them.  By the time I finish all the blocks, I'll probably be able to do them with my eyes closed!


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Pink Scrappy Fun!

 How can playing with pink scraps not be fun?!

This month's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was pink.  I had plenty of fun stitching up pink scrappy blocks, and even started a new scrap project.

The oldest batch of blocks in my current RSC collection are Antique Tiles blocks.

Blackford's Beauty was an unexpected RSC 2022 block.  I didn't think I had enough scrappy variety for multiple blocks, but one block per month (in each fabric style) still uses up a bunch of scraps!

Modern Blackford's Beauty

Reproduction Blackford's Beauty.

And thanks to Pat Sloan - I started up another RSC project.

These are 36-patch blocks, constructed of 2.5 inch squares.  After seeing Pat Sloan talk about this on a YouTube video, I pulled out my Accuquilt and started cutting.

All my see-through project boxes are currently occupied (imagine that!), so I pulled out a tin and a wooden cigar box to keep the pieces tamed.  As soon as the next RSC color is announced, I'll cut another batch of squares and pair them up with light squares to use as leader-enders.

I've been waiting for just the right project to use this Crabtree & Evelyn tin.  This makes me smile every time I see it!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

A Time to Finish

 This week I got motivated to try to finish some languishing projects.  I was tired of unfinished projects taking up valuable space on the flat surfaces in my sewing studio.

I had cut out the materials for this crossbody vinyl bag last fall.  At the time, I didn't have the hardware (swivel hooks, D-rings, and strap slider) needed to finish the bag, so I set everything aside.

Dear Hubby and I attended a college baseball game last week, and I needed to take a see-through bag to the game to hold some essentials.  I had a smaller bag I also made last fall, but a roomier bag was definitely preferable.  Time to assemble the prepped bag!

 I used a regular dressmaker-type zipper on this bag; next time I'll be sure to order a zipper with a larger zipper pull.  Happily, I found this cute zipper charm hiding in my jewelry box!

Another project leftover from last fall - zipper pouches designed to use up the unused Dallas Cowboys fabrics from this pillow project.  I had cut out the parts and pieces for three zipper pouches, but set them aside when I decided to order donut pull zippers.

I finished one pouch yesterday and hope to finish the other two today.  The pattern is the Sotak Handmade Essential Pouch in the medium size.

No more bags, just strings!

I had a lot of pink, green, and flamingo scraps leftover from my Flamboyant Flamingos quilt.  Because the fussy cutting made such irregular holes in the fabric, it seemed like a good idea to cut the scraps into strips.  The strips inspired 60 degree diamonds, and the diamonds inspired stars.  

All the strips and diamonds were stashed at our camp, where I could piece them on weekends with my treadle sewing machine.  Last weekend I finally finished enough diamonds for four stars, so I brought them all home to start the assembly process.  The star blocks will definitely need some sashing and maybe some cornerstones.  Luckily, I have plenty of fabric to finish the project, so it shouldn't get stalled out and languish for months!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Two Rainbow Scrap Finishes

The month of April has just about blown by, but I figure I can still get in a few blog posts before May pops up!
It's been a busy month.  Dear Hubby and I drove to Kansas City for his 50th high school reunion.  The reunion events were actually fun, and in between we managed to do some hiking and attended a KC Royals baseball game.  Shortly after returning to New Orleans, we walked in our first 10K race.  Dear Son David also came home to run in the same race (Crescent City Classic), so we got to spend time with him and our granddog, Jozy.  In the midst of all that, I entered two quilts in the Gulf States Quilting Association Biennial Quilt Show, won a third place ribbon, and celebrated another trip around the sun!

Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend the quilt show.  Long story short, the show conflicted with Dear Hubby's reunion, and he neglected to tell me about the rescheduled dates until after I had registered my quilts in the show.  Fortunately, local quilting friends took care of my quilts and made sure I got pictures of them hanging in the show.  The ribbon was awarded to Windblown Wishes, which I consider a team win, since Diane Knott wrote the quilt pattern and did the quilting!
And speaking of Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts - the inspiration for Windblown Wishes - I finished two more RSC quilts this month.  They are both destined to be gifted, but I did a quick photo shoot yesterday to document them. 

 I didn't give this quilt a formal name, but it started with Bonnie Hunter's Easy Breezy blocks.  I started piecing the blocks in July, 2020.

 The Easy Breezy blocks are only six inch blocks, so after working through all the rainbow colors I went back and made rainbow framed squares to bump up the number of blocks available for a quilt.  The finished quilt size is 66" x 78".
Circular design quilting by Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting.

The backing fabric has been marinating in the stash since 2017 or 2018.  It's a Fabric Finders print commemorating the 300th anniversary of New Orleans.   Yay for using up the stash!


I started making these pinwheel blocks in 2017 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The setting idea came from a vintage quilt I saw in a decorating magazine.  Again, I didn't give this quilt a formal name, but I've seen quilts with this design called "Flutter Wheel".  This one finished at 64" x 75".

 Same quilting design as the Easy Breezy quilt; also quilted by Diane Knott.

More Fabric Finders 300th anniversary fabric for the backing.  This print is just slightly different as the colorway is red and it has soft pink magnolia blossoms in the mix. 
Both quilts have been given their respective labels and had storage pillowcases made.  They'll be traveling to new homes next month, where I hope they will be used and enjoyed!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Azaleas for March

This month's mini quilt was planned to use up scraps of New Orleans 1850 fabric from my Beautiful Crescent quilt.

I had picked up a copy of Doug Leko's Tabletastic at my Local Quilt Shop.  


 After looking through the patterns for months, I finally decided to give "London Wall" a try with the purple and gold scraps.


 However, when I pulled out the actual bag of scraps, I realized I had forgotten about the yards and yards of border print scraps from the New Orleans 1850 collection.  I decided these border print strips deserved to be the focus of their own quilt, and the other purple and gold scraps needed to stay with the border print.

It wasn't difficult to find some other happy fabrics in my stash that would work for the London Wall table topper.  

I was inspired by the current bloom of azaleas all over New Orleans.


Finished size:  18" x 18"

I call my version "Azaleas on the Avenue" - a nod to the masses of blooming azaleas all along St. Charles Avenue.  St. Charles is one of the main thoroughfares of the city, lined with historic homes, universities, and parks.  It's also the path of the iconic St. Charles streetcar line




Thursday, March 24, 2022

Finishing Details

I'm still feeling too distracted to work on any quilt projects that require major concentration, but I have managed to add some finishing details to a couple of items.

Our recent weather has not been conducive to quilty glamour shots, so I resorted to indoor photography. 

Harmony Flannel Quilt 
Finished size:  70" x 70"
Quilting by Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting.

Note to self:  avoid black binding (even if machine-stitched) on all future quilts!
The quilt is already winging its way to my oldest son, who lives in Denver.  Their spring weather is still a ways off, so I think he'll get some good use out of it.  As much as I disliked working with the flannel fabrics, the quilt turned out very snuggly - and it's heavy! 

The New Orleans 1850/Pyramid quilt is finally finished!
Fabric:  New Orleans 1850 by Jean Ann Wright for New Castle Fabrics
Pattern:  Pyramid by Monique Dillard
Finished size:  54" x 68"
I love that purple paisley fabric!

And the border print is really amazing, too!
The backing fabric came from my stash.  It features antique maps of New Orleans.  We are blessed to have a regional fabric design/manufacturing firm - Fabric Finders - that specializes in fabrics with regional themes (and their fabrics are 60" wide, so they come in handy for quilt backs!).
I decided "New Orleans 1850/Pyramid" wasn't a particularly good quilt name, so I labeled the quilt as "Beautiful Crescent".  New Orleans is known as the Crescent City because the original city was founded at a sharp turn - or crescent - in the Mississippi River.
I also finished up another Goody Goody Binding Kit.
The fabrics are from a collection by Lella Boutique called Farmer's Daughter.  They play together so nicely for these binding kits, I think I'll have to make a couple more and use up more of the fabrics!
The original Goody Goody Binding Kit was designed by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique.

 Sherri McConnell (A Quilting Life) asked Vanessa if she could make the binding kit just a little bit bigger, which resulted in a taller version.  Sherri calls her version a Simple Sewing Kit, and she put together a video tutorial demonstrating how she made it.

Now that I've made two of these, I think I can quickly stitch up a few more and keep them on hand as gifts.
If you're still reading - thank you!
You may have heard that New Orleans was hit by tornadoes on Tuesday night.  
Thankfully, the primary storm was not particularly organized as it passed near us - we just had lots of wind and some rain.   As the storm moved east, it jumped across the Mississippi and now more organized, did plenty of damage to a downriver suburb called Arabi.  As many as 150 homes and businesses sustained damage.  With the storm coming at night, it's amazing there weren't more fatalities, but only one death has been reported.  
Thank goodness weather forecasting has gotten better at predicting severe weather, so communities can at least be aware of what's brewing.  Our cell phones blasted out the tornado warning, and since the power didn't go out, we were able to tune to local TV stations for real-time mapping of the tornado!
As always, folks in south Louisiana are resilient and the community is already pitching in to help clean up and take care of those affected by the storm.