Sunday, August 20, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen Bock #7: Oh My Stars

I'm still plugging away on catching up with Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen, but Here is block 6, Oh My Stars!

Pat's inspiration for this block was the way her grandma would say, "Oh My Stars! as an exclamation.

This block was released while we were in the Netherlands with my mom and aunt, so we were able to brainstorm Gramma's sayings.

Hello, doll!
Work is what we do when there's no fun to be had.
Sh#t @ss!
This too shall pass.
Bluff your way through.
Pour a glass of wine and we will laugh about it.
Walk like you have a quarter in your butt.
I am beautiful, I am loved, and I have a secret!

I took the "words" theme of this block as my inspiration. I printed the italicized phrases above onto light blue fabric for the center squares. I printed each one twice in case I had any smears. Of course, this meant they all turned out perfectly. You can see a slim piece of freezer paper I used to stabilize the fabric on the bottom. 

I designed the blocks on my computer. You can see that I have faint outlines of the 2.5" starting size, as well as the 2" finished size. 

I had to tweak my first square a little because my 2.5" square was slightly small which mean some of my lines showed at first. 

And done.

I'm using the same white background in every block. I chose the Scrabble because Gramma raised five Scrabble players. Here's a picture of Gramma playing with my aunt.

The funny thing is that when I showed the finished block to my mom, she said, you know, "Gramma didn't actually like playing Scrabble much." Cards were her thing, and they will be featured on a future block for sure. I do remember Gramma working her crossword puzzles though. She told me that word puzzles keep the brain sharp. And it worked for her, she stayed sharp until her 90s!

I ended up ordering some cute crossword fabric I found on Etsy last night. 

Since Gramma was full of good words, I'll make an extra block when this arrives.

In the meantime, here's how my quilt is shaping up.

Previous blocks:

If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:
Pat Sloan

Grandma's Kitchen Block #6: Wash Day

While we were in Europe, I missed 3 blocks in Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen. Now that we're back I'm playing catch up.  Block 5 is called "Wash Day."

Pat's inspiration for this block was the old-fashioned wringer washer her Na-Na used. I don't remember much about my Gramma doing laundry, other than that the laundry room in her old house was in the dark basement with a shower I thought was kind of scary!

Since I have been using some of Gramma's clothes for this quilt, it seemed ideal to use clothes for this Wash Day block. Although, mine is sort of an anti-wash day. Gramma's clothes haven't been washed since she wore them, and even though it's been a few years, I can still smell a faint scent of her as I work.

I used fabric from the green shirt on the last block, but it goes so well with her pink oxford that I'm using it again.

She really liked this shirt, and another one that was just like it except it had some embroidery on it. 

This shirt was one of the last she wore. I love that she's wearing in this photo of her in her assisted living apartment shortly before she died. She is surrounded by so many of her favorite things: the memory quilt I made her hanging on the wall,  Betty Boop, art from her great-grand children, photos of family, mesh for the scrubbies she crocheted, and on the counter you can see part of a statue of a saint from one of her travels.

She also wore the shirt in one of my favorite pictures of our family. Here we are with my mom, brother, nephew, and son.

Gramma Ann loved babies. I am so glad that she was able to spend time with my baby boy. He was 5 when she died, so he's old enough to remember her, but I fear the memories will fade in time.

I was feeling very sentimental at this family gathering, my first since becoming a mother. 

I don't write much since sustaining my brain injury, but that weekend I wrote a poem.

Four Sets of Hands 

four sets of hands 
lay still on the green cloth
four sets of hands 
representing four lives 
intersecting, intertwined. 
the great grandmother’s hand 
still wears the ring of her late love 
a testament to her years, 
the depth of her heart, 
and the fullness of her life. 
the grandmother’s hand 
is marked with rheumatoid bumps 
her life has not been easy 
and her hand shows the marks 
of a life filled with dream-chasing 
and dreams fulfilled. 
the mother’s hand is reaching out
first to her elders, 
gleaning wisdom from experience 
and then to her son 
as she learns to nurture him. 
the baby’s hand is curled up tight 
life is too new to fully embrace yet 
he is drawn to hands: 
the safety of his mother’s hands 
the delight of his grandmother’s hands 
the serenity of his great grandmother’s hands. 
he reaches to them 
drawing their hands to his own. 

- Jen Abbas de Jong 7/30/09

Here's a look at my quilt so far.

Previous blocks:

If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

Linked to:
Pat Sloan

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Quilt #85: Lindsey's Gymnast

I made three quilts to deliver during our recent trip to the Netherlands. I already shared Celtic Midnight and Fireworks for Ingrid. Today I'm sharing about the last, very-last minute quilt, which I'm calling Lindsey's Gymnast.

The very first quilt I made with a real binding--not a rag quilt or my own clumsy attempt at folding over the edge to make a binding--was a quilt along quilt I gifted for my then 3-year-old niece, Lindsey. It was my 5th ever quilt. 

When I first started planning for our trip, I wanted to make a quilt for my sister-in-law. While she wanted a quilt, she really wanted me to make a quilt she could give to a friend who has been a huge help in the last few years.  I made that quilt (Celtic Midnight) and had a little extra time, so I also finished her quilt (Fireworks for Ingrid). 

Because I can't sleep before a big trip with my mind racing, and I finished Ingrid's quilt with two days to spare, I decided to whip up a new quilt for Lindsey. Her favorite colors are pink and purple, so I went through my stash and started cutting. 

And then I put it up on the wall and realized I didn't like it, so I put it in my Oops box to mess with later. 

Since time was of the essence, I knew I needed a quilt with big blocks. I remembered a baby quilt I made a while back and knew it could easily be expanded into a nice lap size. 

So I started cutting again.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the letters of Lindsey's name and the gymnast.

I used a teeny tiny satin stitch for the applique rather than the blanket stitch I've always used before. I like the look better thought it was a challenge on such small curves. The hardest part was figuring out the best setting.

I was proud of myself for remembering to applique before piecing the whole quilt. So much easier to maneuver!

I didn't take a lot of pictures as I finished it because, time crunch! But you can see that I used simple straight line quilting. For the back, I used a soft chevron minky. 

We weren't at Oma and Opa's house 10 minutes before my son brought our suitcase of goodies. 

I love this picture of her as she takes it in. 

It was a big hit!

What a difference four years makes--for little girls growing up and quilters improving their craft.

As much as loved seeing Lindsey love her new quilt, the best part came the next day when she asked if she could pass her first quilt on to her second cousin. How sweet is that?!

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #LindseysGymnast on Instagram.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen Quilt Along, Block #5: Glasses & Cups

While we were in Europe, I missed 3 blocks in Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen. I was in the Netherlands when block #5 was announced. It was two days before we left for Ireland. My mom and aunt came with us this trip, and our side trip to Ireland crossed off the #1 item on Mom's bucket list. She has wanted to go for as long as I can remember, at least back to the 80s, when my gramma took a trip to see the land of her great-grandparents. And in case you are wondering, Ireland is even more stunning than I expected.

My gramma was a fiery redhead who was fiercely proud of her Irish heritage. I knew that I would use Irish prints on this block

The name of this week's block is glasses & cups, inspired by her grandmas' aluminum and collectable drinkware.

When I think of Gramma Ann, I think of her drinking Bailey's Irish creme, so my theme fits with Pat's inspiration. One Christmas, I remember that someone bought Gramma a bottle of Bailey's. We have the tradition of opening one gift at a time so we can see what each person received. As the gifts were opened that Christmas, many surreptitious sips were snuck, and by the time the extended family finished opening gifts, Gramma's bottle was empty!

When Gramma passed away, Niels and I bought a bottle of Bailey's for each of her daughters.

Rather than use brown and creme for my Bailey's themed block, I opted for Irish greens instead. I started with some leftover pieces from the quilt I made for the memory quilt I made Gramma shortly before she passed. 

Here's my sweet boy under Gramma's Irish chain memory quilt while the adults were planning Gramma's memorial. 

For my light fabric, I used a green shirt that was gifted to me when Gramma died. I'm trying to use fabric from her clothes where I can.

For the dark green, I used a shimmery green and gold print I bought at the cutest quilt shop in Ireland.

My blocks now take two doors! 

Previous blocks:

Grandma's Kitchen Quilt Along: #4: Half A Modern

We are back from Europe and I'm back in my craft room catching up on my social quilting! Before we left for the Netherlands, I finished the fourth block of Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen, but I didn't have time to post about it.

Here's my version of Half a Modern.

This week's block is called Half a Modern, named because her grandma used to say she had half a modern kitchen. I drew inspiration for my block from this photo of my grampa in the kitchen of the home where they raised their 5 girls.

Gramma and Grampa moved into a smaller house next to this one by the time I arrived on the scene, so I never stepped in this kitchen. What caught my eye was the Delft design. This block was announced as I was up to my eyeballs preparing for our trip to the Netherlands so it seems I was meant to use some Delft fabric from my last trip to the Netherlands on this block.

I did modify Pat's block slightly. I was inspired by fellow quilt-alonger Linda Kennedy, who rotated a few pieces to make a windmill shape. Perfect for my prints!

When I look at all the block together, this one sticks out to me so I may try a different version a little later, but for now I have lots of catching up to do first!

Previous blocks:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Quilt #84 Fireworks for Ingrid

When I first started quilting in March of 2013, I made a goal to make a quilt for every immediate family member. I have a bit of a family bush on my side with multiple divorces and siblings. Niels' family is much more simple.

The only person I had left was his sister, Ingrid, who told me years ago that her favorite colors were black, pink, and white. I've played with many, many patterns over the years but never found the one that inspired me. When I mentioned that I wanted to make her a quilt a few months ago, before our trip to visit her in the Netherlands, she asked if I would make a quilt for friend instead. That's how I ended up making Celtic Midnight.

I finished it with a few weeks to spare, so I decided to try to get Ingrid's quilt done as well. I've been doing a fair amount of paper piecing this year as part of Blossom Heart Quilt's Milky Way quilt along, so I started playing with designs on EQ7. Each of these designs uses the same block. I decided on the bottom right, which I'm calling Floating Fireworks, with Ingrid's version called Fireworks for Ingrid.

It was the first time I made a paper pieced pattern on EQ7. I'd like to figure out how to adjust the shading because the dark sections could discolor light prints.

I fold freezer paper when I paper piece so I can my templates over and over. Here's a great tutorial if you are new to paper piecing.

I had to do a little scrambling with my fabric choices because I initially pulled fabric 3 years ago and all three prints were out of print when I learned I needed more of each. 

The blocks came together quickly. The hardest part is that my design wall in our narrow laundry room, which makes taking photos difficult.

I have to step up on the counter most of the time, and even then, I can't get a full picture of anything over a full quilt. Does anyone else find that patterns appear better in a photo than real life. 

Once my quilts are pieced, I get a chance to find any errors, though it takes a little more time to fix them at this point.

I continued the spiral theme in the prints with my quilting. 

Of course, the best part of quilting is delivery day! 

It's always fun to surprise someone! And I figured if she didn't like it, I love it and would have taken it right back home! But alas, she wanted to keep it!

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #FireworksForIngrid on Instagram.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House

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