October 11, 2013

Furry Friday, Finally

Ok, so here's a "keeping it real" moment. I took this photo a couple weeks ago for the Moda Blog Hop, and to be totally honest, nothing has changed much...
...well that's not entirely true. There are actually more fabric scraps on the floor. But that's ok, because someone loves scraps:
Most of the time, Lou likes to "help" me.
And despite that, i managed to get all these squares cut for the quilt i'm working on.
Franny is more of a planner, so she helped me pick the strike offs for Daydream (way back in April):
Chin rubs help her think better:
Lou also likes to supervise my sewing from above to make sure all those seams are lining up:
And if they aren't, you know what that means...
If you don't have one of these in your sewing box, you might want to think about getting one! It's a seam ripper made by Tacony, and like none other. That little rubberized beehive thingie at the end is used like an eraser to grab and pull out all the small threads in a ripped seam (see it in action). No more picking them out by hand! Which means Lou can spend less time supervising and more time napping.
More soon. This quilt isn't going to sew itself! Hope you have a beautiful weekend.

October 8, 2013


Sometime over the summer, i posted a photo of our little bathroom cabinet on Instagram/Facebook. I asked everyone if they thought i should paint it or leave it as is and really wasn't expecting anyone to care to chime in. But i was wrong! If you were one of the people who shared your opinion and even suggested techniques and paint applications i had never even heard of, thank you.

There's nothing really ground-breaking here, but i thought some of you might also be curious to know what became of my cabinet makeover. Like many of you, i had been leaning toward leaving it as is, but wanted it to be functional enough so that when you pulled a washcloth off one of the shelves, you wouldn't get paint chips in your eyeball. That's not too much to ask for, right? Some of the inside shelves were watermarked and discolored too, so i got out the ol' Minwax® White Wash Pickling Stain and gave it a very light coat on the interior only:
Then finished the inside (only) with a satin polyurethane. I took some of your other suggestions too and lightly sanded the outside to even the wood color a bit ...then gave it a couple shiny new brass hinges...
...and replaced the knob with this cute mercury glass one from Anthrolopologie...
...and voila! Finito!
Oh yeah, and then i painted the whole bathroom!

October 7, 2013

Sewing, sewing

Happy Monday! Already off to a fun-filled week of sewing here in my studio. The International Quilt Market  is coming up in a couple weeks and i've been working away on a quilt to bring. This one will feature my upcoming fabric line for Moda called, Daydream. Here's a peek:
It's a good thing i don't have to use this kind of sewing machine:
Copyright American Society of Mechanical Engineers 
That's a drawing of the first U.S. lockstitch sewing machine that was patented by this man (or rather, a statue of him) in our hometown, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Photo from CT Monuments.net
"Elias Howe, Jr., (1819 – 1867) obtained a patent for the first practical sewing machine in 1845. In 1865, Howe opened a sewing machine factory on the Pequonnock River in eastern Bridgeport, where as many as 400 machines were manufactured a day." -Excerpt from Images of America: Bridgeport on the Sound by Bruce Williams and Mary K. Witkowski, Arcadia Publishing.

Though Elias Howe, Jr. was not the first to invent the sewing machine, he refined the machinery significantly. He was the one who put the eye of the needle at the point (instead of at the back like on hand sewing needles). And i'd have to say my favorite part of his contribution is the automatic feed. Without that, i'd never get this quilt done in time for quilt market!
An aside ... three cheers for our neighbor Bruce Williams. Bruce recently gave us signed copies of two terrific books: his Images of America: Bridgeport on the Sound book and another on his father, Man of the Waterfront: The Story of Kaye Williams and Captain’s Cove by Ralph Harvey (self-published). In addition to being an author, historian, and nature painter, Bruce continues to manage Captain’s Cove Seaport in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. It’s a marvelously unique place that Bruce’s dad, Kaye Williams, envisioned, while he was a lobsterman out of Black Rock Harbor, and then built piece by piece. A good chunk of the Story of Kaye Williams book is about this. Some other funny stories on Kaye and his adventures were in a Connecticut Post article from last year, just a couple days before Hurricane Sandy hit in October: Captain's Cove founder no stranger to storms.

Back to Elias Howe, Jr.. Here’s how the Howe “Sewing Machine Manufactory” appeared:
This page came from a circa 1870 history of the State of Connecticut. My parents happened to give us a few already-separated pages from the old book last December. And, from the same book, a close-up of a map of Bridgeport showing the multi-block “E. Howe” plant and facilities around Noble St. and Howe St.
Today, the locale is...a parking lot. Sad! But you'll notice in the lower right corner that Howe St. is still there.
Photo from Google Maps
For more on Elias Howe, Jr., check out:
• Alex I. Askeroff’s history of Howe . Points out a funny fact that at end of the Beatles film, Help, there is a dedication to Elias Howe, Jr.
• The American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ brief bio of Howe

Ok, back to sewing. Thank you, Mr. Howe! And thanks to my assistant too: