Friday, May 29, 2015

Pillow Quilts


I have had an idea, and had to try it out. I have been using king size pillows on my queen size bed, plus one extra queen size pillow. I priced king size pillow cases and really don't like the price, knowing I have oodles of unused cottons that could cover them just as well. (that doesn't mean that I didn't have to have some new choices)
Add to this that I would love to have a REAL REASON to make some pieced quilts, but don't want to have to squeeze anymore into my closet, under bed storage, attic space, get the picture. 
My idea is to make small pillow case size quilts, and have the one side for show and the back side for plain fabric, encasing my pillows. Not necessarily art quilts, if you get my drift. 
Also my dog Tony chews my pillow corners when I am not home, or out of the room or in the garden,or actually sleeping, so these can't be precious because they will get ruined in a short time. 
But I will get the fun of making them and they won't take up too much room when not in use. Rotating pillow quilts. Yay!

 I began with an array of fabrics, three inches ripped off one edge, resulting in uneven wedge-y strips, since most of these fabrics were cut at the store. I was thinking of the new paint color going on my bedroom walls. So pretty and cool. Thanks to the Wonderful Dave for doing the painting. Thank God that it is raining and he can't golf.

I was interested in replicating the IKEA pillow shams that came with my duvet. The envelope is open, yet covers that open end with a sewn on flap. Wha? This is the inside out view. The way it is sewn is to lay the quilt face down on the lining fabric with the longer lining edge folded over the bound edge of the quilt. I used the selvedge as the finished edge of the lining, which will be tucked inside the pillowcase. 
Sew the three sides. Turn right side out and it will all become clear. Make a sample if this is not understandable.

 And then I began to feel bad about making something nice that I knew would get chewed. Until I realized that I already had a pre-chewed quilt that I could cut up and make into a pillow quilt! Here is the first of three. It has some holes in the middle, and a nice stain to match.
And here is the chewing perpetrator. 
 I can get the other two pillows out of the remaining quilt. Here's the second one, complete with patches covering two holes.

Doncha love my concrete floor?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Nice Surprise

Cozy Mel,  hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced, machine quilted, as you go. 74.5x76.5"Here's a quilt I made two years ago. 
Cozy Mel, hand dyed and commercial cottons, machine pieced, machine quilted, as you go. 74.5x76.5".
It's big but the size just didn't work on my queen size bed because the drops were short. 
But today I put it on my husband's platform bed and it works just great there. I am so happy that it is getting used and not stuck in the quilt closet.
The Dawgs like it too.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015


To say I've been busy is an understatement. Everything is happening all at once, and yet I seem to be spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. So to try and regain control, a bit, I decided to wash the slip covers on my chair and ottoman and move them into the new studio. Sigh. I watched the birds at the feeder for a full six minutes, and then back to the reigning chaos. 
Over a week ago I got some curtains and a rod for my bedroom window and the stuff sat and waited. I knew it was merely a 30 minute job but so many things diverted my attention. Today it rained and that meant no golf, and so while Dave napped I got out the ladders, drills, mollies and hammer and began to do it myself. Of course I then had to wake Dave to hold the other end of the curtain rod. It was finished in no time. Sigh of satisfaction. Only one and half years to get curtains up in my bedroom!

I keep meaning to take pictures of the garden before it engulfs the house, and in between downpours today I snapped a few images. Those tomatoes have their own zip code.
We moved the trees back to the patio in an attempt to have shade, and they are providing some...but the real reason we moved them is because I had to make space for the new fig tree bed.

 A new fig tree bed? Allow me to explain. Last year I got five small fig trees, potted them up and let them sit outside all winter, as they were good to -20, which it never got near. But the part I messed up was that the pots had poor drainage and the little trees drowned. So this Spring I bit the bullet and dumped the dead things in the field across the road. Later while walking the dogs I noticed that two of the five had developed leaves! They weren't dead after all so I wheelbarrowed them back home. They sat unpotted for over a month doing just fine, but then I bought two more fig trees and was going to pot them all when I noticed the two new ones were looking sickly. Wha? Taking no chances, I returned those to the store and got one bigger healthier tree in a bigger pot. I was not giving up, you see.
So...days later it was time to pot up the three trees and while I was at Lowe's scouting out potting options (they should pay me for how often I drop them into the conversation) it occurred to me that for the cost of the pots+soil I could build another big concrete block bed.
O.K. I did. 48 blocks and now I have a new fig bed. Woowoo! It took one afternoon to build and fill it and then the next day, Memorial Day, I finished it off with plants and the trees. Soil was on sale, of course!
And then the rain came and it rained steadily for two whole days.  Good.

 One of the flower beds, which I am calling the Japanese garden is so lush, that it actually seems a bit crowded. Lots of nasturtiums which take up so much space, but soon they will be tumbling over the edge and trailing down the side of the trough.
At the edge of the patio we have three volunteer watermelons, plus one hard to see dillweed plant. Be aware of where you spit seeds this summer. They might take up residence.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The New Studio

Even though the floors remain bare until June, I can move some things into the new studio in the meantime. My contractor promises to come for an evaluation by Memorial day.  My first thought was that could I return to painting, since it won't matter if I should drip on the concrete, but then I thought mounting my design wall would help me define the space, so I can determine the new light setup. (that fan is going!) I washed the batting that was previously on the styrofoam, so I could begin fresh. 

 The easel, table, chair and canvas were already downstairs. The rolling shelf of painting supplies was all I really needed to bring down this morning. Initially I put it all in front of the window but changed my mind, as bird watching  in a comfy chair is preferable.

After lunch I decided to organize all my threads by color and put them in a handy rolling cart, one of many. It if has wheels, I love it. The first drawer would be neutrals and I arranged them neatly, but by the time I had done drawers of red, purple, blue, green, the orange and yellow threads just got tossed in and the cart was shut.

The previous storage containers were worn out, falling apart and a pain to use, so I am much happier with this new arrangement.
Outside my studio window is a beautiful foxglove, one of three in bloom currently.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This Just In....

So much is happening here at Chez Johnson that I have hardly had time to post anything. Luckily I did take pictures of the work, which began on Friday. Here is the master bedroom with 'My Big Mistake' red couch and the queen bed. That couch is now gone to Goodwill Heaven, and I am so relieved. Without missing a beat, we disassembled the queen bed, and Dave began ripping up the BEIGE carpet, pad and tack strips, nailed into the concrete foundation. This is going to be my new ground level studio, and my old upstairs studio is now Dave's music room. We are both so happy with this plan. My new studio will be 16'x16', smaller than the 25'x13.7' of my previous studio, but I have the master bath, and master closet adjacent, which more than makes up for the space I relinquished. Less floor to sweep, no stairs to climb and water so much easier to obtain, for my painting projects. And my windows look out on my garden, so inspiring. Just now we spied a couple of orioles at our feeder.

 We finished clearing out that room and began moving out the furniture from the two other carpeted bedrooms.
My bedroom stuff filled the hallway and that carpet came up quickly, so onto the last room, Dave's bedroom, which also got cleared into the hall after returning my furniture. Here's Dave sleeping in his new queen size bed which we got for him 1.5 years ago. It's about time he enjoyed it. His twin bed got moved upstairs to a corner of the music room, as a daybed. When we have guests, they will sleep in my bed and I will go upstairs. What an easy solution.
Our new bedroom & studio floors will be the same Pergo as my old studio, as it is white, impervious to dog nails, spilling accidents etc. Dave has all his stereo stuff, speakers, wire, four guitars and a ukulele, TV, laptop, lounge chairs and privacy. All of it out of sight and needless to say, inflicting less clutter on the main floor decor.
All that carpet ripping up and furniture moving was finished in one day, and we were shot. Our friend Carl came and took away all that carpet and pad and the next day, Saturday, Dave was feeling like painting, so I didn't stand in his way.
This house came with an almost full 5 gallon bucket of semi-gloss white ceiling paint. Woowoo! That saved us a bundle and it will more than cover this room. This morning at 6 am, Dave the Wonderful was applying the second coat.
I love a white studio.

In other news, we sold the van to Dave's sister (while they were down here visiting last week) and are now down to one car and one driver, me. Yay! So much more room in the garage. Dave rides his bicycle to golf, which in itself is amazing, and it gives him some modicum of independence.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

For My Next Act...

 Now that the garden is in, and watered, I am ready to tackle my next project. Out goes all the beige bedroom carpeting and in comes new Pergo floors. We will also be moving around some room functions. The upstairs studio will be taken over by the wonderful Dave and I will have a new studio downstairs in the former master bedroom, off the great room, and much closer to water for painting.
Speaking of painting, all the rooms will be painted and made glorious, in our humble opinion.
The house will be in an uproar as furniture gets moved out and painters and flooring guys take over.
If I could send Dave away to a rest home for the duration I would. Or maybe make sure he is busy golfing...
 I'll be keeping the blog updated as things move along...or not.
 Adios for now.