Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #8: Grandma's Apron

At long last, I am all caught up with Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen. I'm slightly out of order with this block for reasons I'll explain below. Say hello to block # 8, Grandma's Apron.

Pat's inspiration for this block came from her followers, who overwhelmingly shared memories of their grandmother's aprons.

I don't really remember Gramma in an apron, although she is wearing one in the photo I shared at the beginning of this project, of her in her old kitchen.

Ashley Lungren, who is also participating in this quilt along, shared her take on Grandma's Apron, which is Grandma's duster.

I was immediately smitten with this idea. Ironically, I only learned the word duster a few weeks ago when my Aunt brought my Gramma's duster with her on our trip to Europe.

As I looked through my photos of Gramma this week, as I do after the reveal of each new block, I found several photos of Gramma in her favorite duster.

Talking to a loved one on the phone, probably one of her daughters on Mother's Day.

And this one, where she is listening to my son chatter about something. At that stage, probably Thomas the Train.

My fabric stash leans modern with a lot of tonals and geometric patterns. My selection of pastels and florals is extremely sparse. I found one tiny scrap that I thought might work.

When I posted the block on Pat's Facebook page, it generated a lot of discussion, plus one comment that I forgot the sleeves. Argh....

I didn't have enough fabric to cut out a new duster, so I decided to go to my local Salvation Army to see if I could find a similar duster.

What I discovered is that Gramma was a smart old lady. I've been occasionally wearing an apron to keep threads and scraps from sticking to my clothes. But little bits would still fall down the front of the apron or around the side. A duster is just what I needed! So I bought this one to wear and not to cut up.  (We watched the solar eclipse earlier in the day so I have my NASA shirt and galaxy leggings on under my duster).

This is a good time to add that I bought a new car a few days ago. I started driving my 2006 Ford Fusion ever since I took it over from Niels when  I was pregnant with our son in 2008. It's been a great car and for years, I figured I'd buy a new Fusion when the time came to replace it. 

Living with a brain injury and dealing with vertigo and vision issues means that driving isn't a whole lot of fun for me. We decided to prioritize the things that would make me more comfortable driving, like blind spot monitoring, a rear camera, lane change alerts, and a quiet ride. As we looked at what was available in our area, I fell in love with a 2014 Buick Verano. I have never in my life felt so immediately comfortable in car.  Welcome to the family, Sparkles V!

And just like that, I became a duster-wearing, Buick driving quilter. The new joke is that I am 45 going on 80. But I have no regrets. I love my duster and I love my new car!! With a NASA stick for my little rocket scientist, an NL sticker for my Dutch hubby, and a new purple license plate holder for me, I'm ready to ride!

I did make another purchase this week that is a little more in line with my age. I love leggings and have been looking for a quilty pair forever. I found these at Joann and they hopped right into my cart!

Back to my block and my fun Auntie Lori--who also wears leggings--and Gramma's duster.

When she heard of my dilemma, Lori generously offered up Gramma's duster for me to include in the quilt. 

I had a bit of a moment making that first cut. But Gramma watched, and I think she approves.

I ended up making six blocks because I wanted to make the most of Gramma's duster. The other five are for a secret purpose yet to be revealed.

With that, I have two hours to spare before the next block in the mystery quilt is released! Here's where I'm at with nine blocks of 24 complete.

Previous blocks:

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen, block #9: The Kitchen Window

It's Wednesday, which means that I'm working on Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen. I'm nearly caught up from our trip. Block #8, Grandma's Apron has been put on hold while I wait for a special delivery.

Block 9 is called The Kitchen Window.

I don't think anything could be more appropriate for this block than an attic window. 

When I first started brainstorming theme I would incorporate into Gramma Ann's memory quilt, I knew I had to have something about Arizona. She and my grampa started splitting their time between Arizona and Minnesota in the 80s and then moved down permanently in the 90s. Gramma lived in her own house down the street from my mom in a retirement community until she was 90, when she moved up to Wisconsin to be closer to some of her daughters.

I've been collecting fabric for this quilt for the last few years since Gramma died. This mystery quilt has been the perfect opportunity to remember grandma and use the fabrics in my big "Gramma tote."

I bought this cactus fabric a few months ago. When I first read about the new block, I thought, "This will be a quick block!" Gramma loved sitting on her porch and admiring the Arizona scenery.

But then, I thought, "Why make things easy?" It's the Arizona sunsets that everyone raves about.  I dug through my scraps to make up the sunset.

I used the white I've been using as a background on the other blocks for the sun.

I cut the cactus from the print in my original Kitchen Window block, and used Heat N Bond Lite to secure it to the sun, and then used a teeny tiny zig zag applique.

While I was working on this block, I got thinking about windows. This is the kitchen window in Gramma's last house.

She didn't spend much time looking out this window, because she would rather sit on the big porch with friends and family.

She loved company and she loved family. This is my son the last time we visited her in Arizona. He was 3 at the time, but knew the way from Gramma Chi's house to Gramma Ann's house. He didn't even want to unpack!

I also thought of the windows in her Arizona room, where so many mementos of her life were stored.

I took this photo the last time I visited her in Arizona. My mom had taken her to the hospital because it was the beginning of her decline. My husband and son were playing at a park. I had a premonition that I'd never have the opportunity to soak in the lives of my grandparents after that day, so I spent about two hours walking through the house, looking through photo albums, and remembering.

Windows make me think of memories. A window is a view to another perspective. Listening to someone's memories are the way we learn to understand another's life from their point of view.

The last time I saw Gramma was about a year later, when she was settled into her assisted living apartment in Wisconsin.

I brought my iPad and showed her the photos I took at her home and she told me stories. How I wish I would have recorded our conversation!

I will always feel bad that I didn't get to say goodbye when the end was close, but I am grateful that on our last visit, she was having a good day and was able to tell me more about her life.

My quilt so far. Missing #8 for the moment. My new block is a bit dark. I used the brown from block #2 (to the left) as well as the same background white. I'm very curious about the final layout, but I have an idea percolating on how I can pull everything together. 

Edited: As much as I liked this block, it was too dark, so I changed it. 

Previous blocks:

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

One Monthly Goal :: August 2017 Update

We're back from Europe and I'm happy to say that I succeed with my August OMG: I visited quilt shops in the Netherlands and Ireland! 

Quilt Shop #1: Quilt It & Dotty, Overloon, NL

The first quilt shop I visited was Quilt It & Dotty in Overloon, NL. We stopped here six days into our trip when everyone was ready for a low key day. I had been in bed with a headache all day the day before while everyone else went to visit the War Museum in Overloon. So the next day, while the ouders stayed in Helmond, Niels, D and I headed back to Overloon. I walked around town while the boys went ziplining, and on the way home we stopped at the quilt shop. 

The owner's mom was sitting at a table hand quilting a scrappy quilt with tiny pieces.

As I looked around the shop, I noticed that teeny tiny scraps were a theme with her quilts. 

I forgot to take photos of the store because I was in awe of her work. 

My favorite of her scrappy quilts was this one, called Baksteen (paver stone) Scrap Quilt.

A lot of the fabric in the store was imported from the States, which meant it was pretty pricey, or a little too traditional for my taste, so I bought the baksteen pattern.

Quilt Shop #2: Bird Blocks, Amsterdam, NL

The next day, we headed up to Amsterdam before our flight to Ireland. We met up with a quilting friend, Els, I met online a few years ago when we sent a couple blocks to Sew It Forward, the FB group I started to collect blocks for quilts for my dad, stepmom, and stepbrother after their house burned down. By the way, one of the members of Sew It Forward has stepped up to manage the page. It makes me so happy to know that other fire victims will be receiving quilts. 

Els took me her favorite shop, Bird Blocks. The shop owner, Merel, has packed a whole lot of awesome into her little shop. 

I had so much fun admiring all the Dutch-themed minis on display. 

 It was a good thing that several were out of stock because I may have bought them all!

I learned about the Dutch equivalent of Color Catchers,  which I was able to pass on to my SIL, to keep Celtic Midnight, Fireworks for Ingrid, and Lindsey's Gymnast looking bright and new.

I couldn't resist bringing home the pattern for this fabulouse row house quilt. 

I can also make this wall hanging with the same pattern.

I giggled when I saw this book in the shop because here in Ohio, I live very close to Amish country. For a moment, I forgot I was on the other side of the world!

I love the fabric in this shop, but I limited myself to some Delft fabric I can't get in the States, a blue bundle for my row house quilt, and because my son was with us, some more blue prints, plus one purple for me. 

In addition to the "Little Amsterdam" pattern, I also bought mini patterns of tulips and a windmill, as well as a metric ruler. 

Since I can still cut strips with my regular 6.5" x 24" ruler, I bought a smaller metric ruler (60cm x 40cm) that would fit in my suitcase better. 

Quilt Shop #3: den Haan en Wagenmakers, Amsterdam, NL

Right next store to Bird Blocks is a more traditional shop called den Haan en Wagnemakers. I stopped in for just a minute, but the natives were getting restless--especially after they saw my bags from Bird Blocks. Alas, no souvenirs or photos from this shop.

Quilt Shop #4: Home Focus, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland

The next two shops are found in beautiful Ireland. It was a dream come true to finally see the land of my ancestors after so many trip to visit Niels' family in the Netherlands. That said, it's a bit of a nightmare to find a good quilt shop! Especially one that was open when we were passing through town! My first attempt was Home Focus in Tralee.

It's not so much of a quilt shop as a fabric store that focuses on home decor--drapery fabric, furniture coverings etc. They did have this little tiny section of quilting fabric and notions.

I didn't end up buying anything here, though if I could have figured out how to get this one in one piece, I would have.

Quilt Shop #5: The Sewing Shed, Ballyarkane, Keel, County Kerry, Ireland

It was pretty comical--to everyone else--who difficult it was for me to find a quilt shop open on the day we were in town. Ireland has a lot more to offer knitters than quilters with all that amazing whole. But, I have a fun story about the Sewing Shed.

Every search or message board or recommendation list for quilt shops in Ireland mentioned The Sewing Shed in Kerry. Alas, the website showed it as closed when we were in Kerry. I was pretty bummed because we were headed back to the Netherlands the next day and I hadn't found one real quilt shop to browse in five days of looking. I was feeling a bit discouraged as we headed to our AirBnB for the night. My husband, in an effort to cheer me up, decided to stop at the shop so I could at least get a picture.

The shop itself is on the second floor, above a gas station. I climbed up the stairs so Niels could take a picture of me peeking in the window. When I got to the window, I noticed the door was cracked open. Intrigued, I pushed it in and called out, "Hello?" I didn't want a thief in the quilt shop!

I heard voices, so I tip toed inside, not sure what to expect. I gazed at some of the quilts lining the hallway, trying to make out the sounds.

The voices were friendly and I heard laughter. When I turned the corner, I saw a room full of quilters! It was open quilting night!

Check out the cool bias tape applique Celtic designs!

The owner of the shop, the talented Nikki Foley greeted me and invited me to look around.

I admired more quilts. 

When I saw this one, I sheepishly asked if she would be willing to open her register so I could buy a few things, including the pattern for this mini.

I saw that she was about to kick off a new block of the month inspired by the Ring of Kerry! It kicks off in September and you don't have to live in Ireland to participate. Nikki has details on her Facebook page

It's not the greatest picture, but I think you can still tell what an amazing view she has out the window.

And I left with a very big smile on my face.

I bought a few souvenirs. Darn luggage restrictions got in the way of me getting everything I wanted.

Quilt Shop #6: van der Vorst Modestoffen, Helmond, the Netherlands

After a whirlwind five days in Ireland, we returned to the Netherlands. On a low key day at home, Niels and I went into town to visit a local shop, van der Vorst Modestoffen.

A lot of the big fabric shops in Holland have fabric not only for quilting but also for Carnival as well.

This mermaid fabric was very popular. I'll have to look for it at home. 

I did buy this canvas Dutch postal print. I saw it a few years ago and regretted that I didn't get any. I was so happy to see it was still here!

Quilt Shop #7: Utrecht Stoffenmarkt

The only "shop" I re-visited for our last trip is the Utrecht Stoffenmarkt, or fabric market. It's an open air fabric event with more than 100 stalls. It has been part of Utrecht for 400 years!

The stalls are arranged in an L-shape, down two streets.

The majority of stalls focus on drapery or apparel fabric. I wish this awesome design was in quilting cotton. The vendor made a jacket out of it.

This looks like a paper pieced pattern waiting to happen. 

I did find a few flatfolds.

And grabbed two meters of this fabric. I've never seen anything like it. It's minky on one side and terry on the other. I couldn't pass it up. I think I'll use it for an appliqued towel for my son.

Quilt Shop #7: Quilt Puzzel, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

On our last full day before heading home, Niels and I drove to Einhoven for a few last minute purchases. We try to get back to the NL every other year, but this time it had been four years. We wanted to make sure that we had plenty of our only-available-in-the-Netherlands favorites in case life gets in the way.

Before we headed back, we decided to check out one last quilt shop, Quilt Puzzel.

It was small, but filled to the rafters with awesome goodies. Plus, they cater to supportive spouses. Niels enjoyed coffee and tea while I looked around.

I found lots of great things in this shop, especially on the clearance shelf!

I am especially excited about the two on the right below. The marbled one is going to go into the Grandma's Kitchen mystery quilt I am making in memory of my Gramma Ann. Turquoise was her favorite gem. I'm not sure what I'll do with the blue hearts but I couldn't leave them behind!

I also bought this canvas fabric. I have the same print in white cotton. It's discontinued in the US, so I was thrilled to find it. 

The one place I did not go was my favorite quilt shop in Holland, closed on July 15. I just missed all the closing deals. The day we got home, it was announced that de Greef would be re-opening in September. Next time...

In case you are wondering how I got everything home, I delivered three quilts to the Netherlands.

The new owner of Celtic Midnight, the one on the left is a talented seamstress and a bit of a quilter herself. She gifted me this vintage Laura Ashley fabric!

It was a good thing we saved the vacuum sealed bags. We used them again to shrink down my fabric so our suitcases would close!

We did have to do a little switching around at the airport, but the real trick was getting all our luggage in our car!

Oh but wait, we had one more stop to make! We had to pick up my new travel sewing machine! I'm a Pfaff girl through and through. I've been waiting a second machine as a backup. I thought I would get another Quilt Expression 4.2, but I test drove a little Passport 3.0 at the Quilt Canada a few weeks ago. It has everything I love about my QE, but is more portable so I can take it to my quilting group easier. 

So now I'm home, working on getting unpacked, and happy with my fabric memories of a wonderful trip. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...