Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I don't do anything the easy way.....

or how to drive yourself crazy in a few easy steps.

I realized that I don't do anything the easy way. They say to start small and work your way up, but I find myself diving into things head first.

I started doing needlework at 10 years old. I began with knitting and gradually learned most of the various needle arts. Once I started quilting, though, I knew I'd found THE one for me. I still occasionally pick up the others, but quilting is my passion.

My first quilt was a baby quilt and along with it I made a matching changing table pad. They were completely hand done as I didn't get along well with the only machine I had at the time and, well, I thought you were supposed to do everything by hand on a quilt. I'd bought a book several months before and had been perusing it, studying it, absorbing it...I wanted to be sure I really understood what I was doing.

I picked the attic windows pattern. I fussy cut the squares and added the side pieces. I was too naive to know I'd picked something rather hard (inset pieces) for my first time out. From the first seam I was hooked. I was 6 months pregnant at the time with our third baby and while our older two played, I'd sit on the couch and work on that quilt. Three weeks later both the quilt and the changing table pad were finished.

But what to do next? My brother-in-laws wedding was coming up and I REALLY wanted to make him a quilt. I agonized over the only book I had, trying to find just the right thing for him and his fiancee, both whom I loved.

Then I found it. I knew it was THE quilt for them. It was a large 8 pointed star, the star points alternated with two different fabrics and there were little spots of background within the points to give it some interest. It was made out of squares....little squares....1 inch squares. LOTS of them. 4,761 of them. I could do that...it was 'just' squares and the pattern page looked like a cross-stitch pattern.

After seeing that pattern, nothing else would do. So I went to the store, bought some fabric and began to cut it up in tiny little squares. Then I sewed it back together. By hand. Then quilted in the ditch. By hand. For 5 1/2 months in late pregnancy and then with a newborn I worked on their quilt. I finished at 1am the morning of her bridal shower.

I painted my house the same way. We'd been watching Trading Spaces and our house was in desperate need of a makeover. All the walls were white and I'd never painted because I couldn't decide what to do. (and I REALLY didn't like to paint.)

Once I decided, I wanted to paint the whole house. I did, with the exception of our boys room and the lower level bathroom, which got done while they were away hunting a few months later.

I started with the kitchen and dining room. The picture is cross-stitched, I worked on it for two years while our oldest was a baby.

To the left is the backsplash in the kitchen, the walls are much the same as the dining room walls, but there is some pink featherpainted on in the kitchen.

Once I got started, I was so excited! During the course of painting each room, though, I was kicking myself, knowing that if I'd have just picked a color and painted (each room has some kind of extra treatment)...I'd be done! While painting each room, I looked ahead to the next, choosing colors, what extra technique I could use, how to rearrange the furniture, etc. Designing the next room while I painted was a great way to get through the more mundane parts of the room I was working on.
To the right is the upper part of the family room wall. I hand painted on quilt blocks in camouflage colors as my husband and sons are all hunters.

Here is the lower part of the family room wall. I hand painted "pinstripes" below the shelf all around the room (it's a lower level family room) and the table was an old end table whose top was getting rather beat up. I used the same colors to paint a checker board on top and the kids' games are stored inside.

This is the upper part of our sons' wall, the lower part is pinstriped like the family room as it is located off the family room. They have an interesting array of antlers, skins, bullet casings and fish tanks in their bedroom.

This is Lucas and Ruthie's room, they are our two youngest. The blue stripes go up the wall, across the ceiling and back down the other wall. The end walls are green.

And finally our room on the left. (Our girls have since repainted their room, I'll leave theirs for another day, it's a story all it's own!) The wall was painted white, then I added a bit of white to the green and the blue from Lucas' room, the purple from painting the girls' room a few years prior, and the red from the kitchen. I used a sea sponge to dab them on the wall. The storage boxes I built after all the painting was finished, and I chose applique patterns to paint on the front of them.

I actually hate to paint. But it was time. My husband didn't really have the time to do it, so I mustered up the courage, the energy and the desire and marathon painted.

This got VERY long! But still I have to bring it back to quilting. I'm testing a block for a friend who designs and sells patterns, you can see her site at Tyquilt's Designs. My quilting bee is tonight, I plan to bring along the UFO in the hoop for some relaxing time of quilting and catching up with friends. Hopefully, some time at the frame will fit into my day, too.

And just for good measure, a picture of a quilt.


Linda said...

I think you need a vacation in Oklahoma, well a working vacation. Those storage boxes are wonderful, how creative and your painting was so different and interesting. It's amazing what can be done with a can of paint when you put your thinking cap on.

Pieces From Me said...

Those were the days!!! Thanks for reviving old memories for me. We sure had fun!

Lynda (Granny K) said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and the lovely comment on the blue and white quilt.
What fantastic energy you must have to achieve so much AND raise a family! Awesome!