Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Favorite Room

Good morning.  Do you have a favorite room in your house?  I do.  It is my sewing room.   I know I have shared this room in a blog post before.  But today I wanted to share with you some things INSIDE my sewing room that I am working on.  Come on in, and I will show you.
I just love this room.  It is feminine, calming, and quiet.  It overlooks the pool and orange grove beyond.  I come in here at night, turn on my music, and just escape to a wonderful place of creativity. 
I have been searching for something in my sewing room that I have put away for safe keeping a little bit too well.  Yesterday I took that room apart and found these things I had lost.
Several years ago, a dear friend gave me these blocks that had been done by who she thinks is her Grandma.  They are HAND stitched.  Tiny two inch blocks, hand sewn together, with authentic 30's fabric, to form these Scotty Dog blocks.  Each block measures 23 inches in
width, by 19 inches in length.  There are 12 gorgeous blocks!  A true treasure! 
Thankfully, my friend knew that these would be something that a quilter would love to have.  And I was the lucky recipient!  The fabrics are just beautiful.  Each dog done in an entirely different print.
Being a quilter, I know just how much time goes into one block.  And one block of this size, with those small pieces, cut out with scissors no less, would take hours!  Each of these small pieces were sewn together by hand!  Not a single machine stitch was used on any of these blocks!!!
Look at those perfect teeny tiny stitches!  It just amazes me!   I will be making 2012 the year to finish this quilt.  I will be looking for the perfect 30's reproduction prints to border and back this.
Next, are two different sets of blocks that were also begun in the same era of time.  Perhaps a bit older.  These were given to me by my dear neighbors Carl & Sue.  Carl's Mom passed away a few years ago, and upon cleaning out her home, they found these unfinished projects.  They gave them to me to do with what I wanted.  I have taken them out and admired them so many times.  On one set, I did make a template to finish the hand stitching on them.  But then I put them away and lost them!!
These are beautiful butterfly blocks, all done in original 30's fabrics.  Each butterfly is perfectly cut out and pressed with a 1/4 inch seam, and ready to be hand stitched to the muslin background fabric.  Six of these were already done.  But there are 18 total!

Aren't they gorgeous?  Here is the template I made to mimic the exact pattern of hand stitching with the black floss to define the butterflies.
Oops, wrong one, but this is the one I have started.
Next are a set of smaller blocks, also done in 30's fabrics.  They are bow tie blocks, and they are partially hand sewn as well.  These are probably the oldest of the lot.
I think there are 20 of these blocks.  What a thrill to have these in my possession.  As I look at these blocks, I try to imagine the woman behind the needle and thread.  Were these fabrics cut from the clothing that their children had outgrown?  Were they flour saks?  Were these ladies making these blocks for utilitarian purposes?  Did they quilt with other ladies together as a social outlet, while stitching these works of art for their families?  Do you wonder these things too when you admire a quilt that was made long ago?  I am lucky enough to have three of my great grandmothers quilts in my home.  One is in perfect condition, a Grandmothers Flower Garden, done in soft pastels of the 30's with minty green being the primary color.  This quilt used to hang in the bedroom of our family cabin in Big Bear.  Mom gave it to me when they sold that cabin a few years ago.  I keep it folded and on display in my family room.  I also have her butterfly quilt, also on display in my home.  And the third one was in very bad shape, so I removed what I could to use for something later, but it is really not sturdy enough for much.  I also cut the authentic flower sak fabric she used in the border. This quilt was very, very old.  My Grandma, Nana, who I mention a lot here on my blog, is 97 years young.  These quilts I have were made by her mother, Clara Eliza Wright.  I remember her well.  She passed away in her late 90's when I was about 12 years old.  I plan to use this on an upcoming project.
So in my search for these treasured quilt blocks, made long ago, I gave my sewing room a thorough cleaning.  And now I know exactly where everything is.  I even found a few projects that I had forgotten about and will now finish.  This first one was my first lesson in needle turn applique.  I was enjoying it, but then the group of gals that were meeting to learn this disbanded due to some family emergencies, and I put it away and forgot all about it.
My cutting table is now organized and on it are some of the current projects I am doing.  Those three patterns were recently purchased at Joann's on their 99c pattern sale!  They run upwards of 15 dollars each, for some of them.
Snap wallets, zipper make up bags, new Bloomie colors, some holiday towels, ipad covers, they are all waiting for me to get in there and sew, sew, sew!  Now all I need is some time!!
My wing back chair and ottoman where I knit and crochet is all organized by project.
On the ottoman is a wool project I wanted to do for Fall.  However, I need freezer paper to make the pattern for the scalloped mat and cannot find it anywhere!  I mean anywhere!!  I have searched every market within a ten mile radius to my home.  Do they not make this anymore quilters????  I need it for applique!!!!  Help!!!
Here are a couple of photos of the vintage sewing notions I like to collect.  That small gold tin is filled with hooks and eyes.  Probably cut off of garments as women did to be frugal a long time ago.
My vintage real wooden spools of thread.
Oh, and before I forget to mention this, I want to show two books that are just excellent for the home sewer, or for anyone new to sewing, who wants to learn how to make some gifts and things.  These books both give excellent directions, patterns, and easy step by step photos of how to complete each project.  I am NOT good with following patterns.  Most of the time, I wing it my own way.  Dyslexia much?  But some of you have asked me about books I could suggest and such, and these are two that I would highly recommend!  Both can be purchased at Joann's using a 40% coupon.  Although on this first one, I ordered off Amazon.
This next one is so delicious!  I have a real love of all things Cath Kidston!   And British!  So if you do too, get this book first.  It is beautiful!
Here are some of my other Cath books and catalogs.  LOVE her!!
So I have a cleaned out my stash.  Organized my closet, and clearly labeled everything so that I can easily find things.

I have discarded a bunch and am donating it to Erika's upcoming garage sale.  And everything is neat and tidy and it's proper place.
Even underneath my farm table!  GASP!!!
I have just enough room to slide from machine to machine and get my foot up underneath there to the foot pedals. 
To the young gals who have expressed an interest in learning to sew.  I say go find a modestly priced sewing machine.  You can find one at the Goodwill for that matter!  I see them ALL the time!  You really only need a straight and a zig zag stitch.  Pick a simple project.  And go for it.  I would be happy to host you here at my house.  My girls have both said that they would like to do that too.  I am certainly no seamstress!  And there is so much I don't know how to do.  But I can help with what I do know how to do.  I have ALWAYS had a desire to learn to sew.  When I was a 19 yr. old new bride, I bought a Sears Kenmore sewing machine.  I paid 10 dollars a month for it.  It was 99 dollars.  I used that to death!  Making simple things like cafe curtains, pillows and making small repairs to clothing.  However I didn't really know how to sew.  About 13 years ago or so, I learned to quilt.  And I gained confidence and began to tackle other things as well. But even still, I am not a garment sewer really.  I just wish I were!!  But you can learn to do anything you want with determination, and U Tube, and online tutorials and well illustrated books like those I mentioned.  So go for it girls!  And you are never too old to learn!
Find a table to lay out your project, and just sew!
I am off to take Noah to school, then to meet the Knitty Bitties for lunch at Panera.  And this afternoon I will go to the cemetery with my Mom to bring my Dad a pumpkin as I do every year this day.  I can't believe it has been 8 years since we lost the greatest man I have ever known!   I have received so many calls, texts, and emails from dear friends.  Thank you!  He was truly the finest, most special man to so many, and mostly to us, his family.
Go out and make it a great day!

XO  Kris


Neicee said...

Love those blocks Kris! Cannot wait to see the finished quilt. I also love my creative space. I go there every day for some me time!

Lauri said...

I think I would love to come and sit in your comfy chair and and visit with you while YOU sew. Yours is a great sewing room. I love mine too. I think what is missing, though, is a comfortable chair so I can enjoy the room when I'm not at my sewing machine.

Pammy Sue said...

What a wonderful post, Kris! I loved reading it and seeing all your things. And I love that you take your dad a pumpkin every year! How sweet! I'm so lucky to still have my daddy here.

NanaNor's said...

Hi Kris, May memories of your dad bring you smiles and comfort today.
I well know how it is to lose the first man in our lives-I lost mine 21 yrs ago.
Loved seeing your sewing room-girl now that is a great place to sew. I have a very small table that just holds my machine and I also have a wing back chair and that's about it-so I cut downstairs on our kitchen island.
Have a wonderful afternoon and evening.
Hugs, Noreen

by Teresa said...

Kris, a wonderful post! I love your room. I have a room too, but I need desperately to organize it. I have a bad habit of stacking things in there when I clean and organize the family room. :-)

I lost my Dad about 10 years ago and I miss him too.

((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Bethany said...

What an excellent post!! I love poking around in my grandma's old things! I would do exactly what you do with those old blocks - who made this? why? did they see it as imperfect and not finish it? How long did one block take? I should think of all those teeny hand stitches the next time I have to rip out one of my machine sewn ones and be thankful I'm not doing it by hand (though my grandma wouldn't quilt any other way). It must have been ridiculously fun to lay eyes on those vintage fabrics the first time.

Debbie said...

Oh Kris your room is just perfect...all organized and with everything you might need just right there. I was ALWAYS going to have a sewing room someday but it never did happen. By the time my kids were finally gone and out of the house, I made a grandkid room instead. And now I only have two bedrooms so the extra one serves as a guest room. It is where I have my sewing cabinet set up though, and usually stacks of my latest project sitting on the floor, haha...Oh how I wish I knew how to quilt!! I was always going to take a class in that too, but never did. If you ever decided to give some lessons on that I would just LOVE to be on it.

I hope all your memories of your dad warm your heart today and bring a comfort to your soul...

Jill said...

So many beautiful pieces! I have always wanted a quilt. When we travel through the Amish areas I always love their hand made quilts. I tried sewing a few times but the thread keeps finding it's way out of the sewing machine and it drives me nuts so I gave up (for now) that and finding the time. :-) I like scrapbooking too.
You have quite a talent. Do you have your own etsy shop yet?
Have a great afternoon!


Cheryl said...

This is such a wonderul post!! I see why that's your favorite it!! And that comfy chair is so inviting. All those wonderful vintage blocks...LOVE well as your vintage notions. I have a thing for them too. It has been 27 years since I lost my dad and reminders of him are always around. It's so wonderful to carry all those great memories with us through out our lives. Thinking of you (((hugs))!

The Garden Bell said...

100% on all the above charming comments. But, I do have to say, I'm going to need to dental work now. My jaw dropped to the desktop and I started drooling the minute I saw that fabric stash. I do could live in that cabinet. No wonder yarn comes second, but if I had that stast of fabric it would around here too. I just love that room.... Can I move in? I don't take up much space. I promise to be quiet as a mouse.

Linda said...

No wonder you love your sewing room so is filled with such that even a word?? much goodness in there!! I adore the Scotty blocks...what a fabulous quilt they will make!!

❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ said...

Your sewing room is wonderful, the bunting is so cute hanging around the room. I would die for the vintage quilt squares. My favorite are the bow tie ones. I can't wait to see the quilt completed. It is amazing what is found sometimes with a good reorganization. Wonderful tour, thanks:)

Jennifer said...

I love your sewing room, too! I know why it is your favorite - I don't even sew but it is filled with so many treasures! Treasures of memories and treasures of great projects ahead! Just like a gramma's attic...what fun! And so stinkin' cute:)

Janna said...

wow - it does look like a pretty happy place, even though when looking more closely at your precision quilting ability and sewing appliances, it's as intimidating to me as our server room at work.

Kerri said...

Your sewing room is so pretty! I can feel your enthusiasm for sewing in your post....everyone should be so lucky to have a hobby that they adore. I bought a sewing machine 4 years ago and tried to teach myself a few things and then gave up. Awhile back, I got it out and I couldn't even remember how to thread it!

annielizabeth said...

Has the wind reached you yet? Still as can be here in the San Gabriel Vly right now.

Miss my dad, too. He hasn't been with us since 1983 :(

Congrats to getting so organized, don't you love the feeling of knowing where everything is? I betcha found some stuff you forgot you had (that's what happens to me)! Love your special room and the view you have of your patio and grove. I have an old quilt piece of a great aunt from my mom's side. Gonna do something with it, where did I put it?

Angela@MyTastyLiving said...

What a great room! My favorite room us my dining room, we have a great clock in there and some plants that complete it. :)

Genn said...

I've always loved that sewing room.
It makes me smile. I loved it as my bedroom.
Thinking of you this afternoon at the cemetery. I can't believe it's been 8 years either. I love you. Hope you are okay.

Lemon Lane Cottage said...

What a beautiful post. And how I envy those gorgeous blocks you inherited. Now that your sewing room looks so organized can you come and organize mine. I really need to find a place for a comfy chair like you have. Then I might never leave!

deb said...

Gosh theres so much here....I adore all the cool blocks, very lucky to get those and how fun to complete them!!!! you r sewing room looks that comfy chair!!!
I will look for those books, I love Amys other one, cant remeber the name of it tho? were so blessed to have such an awesome dad.....having had such a bad one myself....I can only imagine how hard it is without him....but what a blessing to have had him for so long!!!!
great post!

terry said...

What a wonderful sewing retreat. I can see that you planned this room with lots of love.

By the way, have you found freezer paper yet? If not, I get mine at Stater Bros. Grocery Stores. I live in Murrieta and my store always has it in stock.


Teresa said...

Oh I just love your sewing room Kris~
Love the bunted flag hanging...and those quilt pieces...are beyond adorable!
What a happy place to sew!
Love that it faces the pool~
I'll be following along to see what you do with those quilts.
HaPPy sewing!

kpaints said...

Are you tired yet? Wow, what a lot of wonderful projects you have going! I can't even keep up with them...let alone do them. More power to you! Good luck and have a ton of fun. It's great working in an organized space.

Jann Olson said...

Hi Kris,
I love this post! I too love my sewing room, although it is much smaller than yours. It is a room off our master bedroom. On our house plans it shows it as a nursery/library. I choose it for my sewing room so that I didn't have to run up and down stairs all the time. Your quilt blocks are such treasures! How lucky are you to have been given them. I love vintage quilts. Yes, I do wonder about the woman who so patiently sewed all those blocks together by hand. 30's fabrics are my favorite. I am taking a 6 mnth. class making one called Grandma's Garden Party. It's a row quilt and we are on row 2. Can't wait till it's finished. I am making it for my bed. It has applique on it also. I had a needle turned choc. bunny quilt that I just finished last Spring. Started it 5 years ago. I know what you mean about unfinished projects. I've got a few I need to finish! Seriously, if you need me to mail you some freezer paper I will. So much more I would love to say, but I've rambled on long enough. Your dad must've been a wonderful man! So need to reorganize my sewing room!

Whosyergurl said...

LOVE the vintage sewing notions! Envy you...your own room...
xo, Cheryl