Friday, October 6, 2017

1981 Volvo 240 Interior turned into a Bag

I tend to gather odd textiles, last year a friend gave me some white vinyl that he pulled off the interior seats of a 1981 Volvo 240 station wagon. I was not sure what I would do with the fabric but I took the fabric with the though that I would turn it into an outdoor pillow or cover an outdoor chair.  The other day I was getting ready to teach a free workshop on reuse. I like to show participants how to make a bag that I found in a free Craftsy class taught by Kristin Link. Kristin ran the website SewMamaSew for several years. In 2015 she started a website called Craft Industry Alliance with another woman. I like to make her bags because they are quick and are perfect for repurposing found textiles. I have used old shirts, jeans and table runners to make these bags in the past. 

As I was looking around at all my stray textiles I saw the large bundle of vinyl. It immediately though it looked like the perfect material to reuse for this workshop. I looked at several tops and handles for the bag before settling on a simple black to make this a sleek and modern looking bag. I wanted a bit of color and found a Hawaiian print dress that I had set aside because I really liked the color and the fabric of the material. The dress was cut on a slight bias so the fabric was difficult to lay out and sew together.  
The out side of the bag is simple to cut out, I used wonder clips to hold the fabric together instead of pins which make holes in the vinyl. I also used a longer stitch length about 3.5 so that the stitching would not just perforate the vinyl and cause the seams to tear apart. 
The biggest problem I had was the interior. Since I used a dress I had issues with some of the fabric that was cut on the bias. It stretched out a little and became a little off shape as I sewed the interior together. I did manage to get it sewn together and I know of these issues are not apparent when you look at the bag. 

I like the way the bag turned out and plan to make another one. This time I will cut the interior so that I do not have as many problems with the bias. I have a Hawaiian shirt that I can cut up and this time the fabric is cut on the straight of grain so the lining should be a little easier to sew. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

3 Quilts and a Pair of Sushi Pants

My husband gave me the Legendary quilt pattern from Elizabeth Hartman a couple of years ago. I kept putting it off when it came to making it as there were sooooo many pieces. About 180 half square triangles for the background of the trees. Well I finally  cut it out and finished it in late April. I like the quilt top,  now I want to make it was a dark blue background and the  Abominable Snowman or as some people call it a Yeti in place of the big foot. The pattern actually goes together quickly its the cutting that killed me. I spent 2 days cutting and you have to be very organized and accurate or you will have issues when the whole thing goes together at the end. I saw a woman that made this same quilt but staggered the trees and had a sun in the corner. I liked the way that flowed. It had a much more organic feel to the quilt top then lining up the trees and big foot. I love Elizabeth's patterns but they are all very precise, I tend to like randomness in the quilt below. 

I love Pendleton Wool. Living in Portland I'm close to one of the mill outlet stores and I go there often to get wool scraps. I have been collecting cream with yellow and black stripes for the last couple of years before I finally got enough to make this all wool quilt. It then took me a year to figure out the back and what I was going to do to quilt the piece. It's heavy so I knew I would not need a batting. I wanted a simple fairly lightweight backing that would not take away too much from the front of the quilt. 
I found a bolt of yellow wool fabric at a place called City Liquidators, they usually do not carry fabric but they had bought out a fabric store that closed about 5 years ago. The fabric store had a strange mix of polyesters from the late 70's, batik fabric from India, Cotton Jersey and strange uniform looking shirts. City Liquidators was selling the bolts of fabric for $25-$100 a bolt. There was a lot of fake fur and upholstery fabric that was the $100 bolts.  I found a bolt of yellow 100% wool fabric (about 16 yards) for $30. I'm not a fan of yellow but I could not pass up that much wool fabric for such a cheap price, I figured I would find something to do with that yellow fabric. 
After I finished the quilt top it lived on my wall for about 6 months. Looking through my fabric one afternoon I realized that the yellow fabric would be a great backing for the Pendleton Wool Quilt. 
I decided to tie this quilt because I thought it was too thick to put through my sewing machine. My husband cals this the Canadian Winter Blanket, it has been kitty tested and kitty approved. It's a 52"x 72" 100% wool quilt.

I found this quilt top at a resale store called ReRun in Portland. I think it was about $15, maybe $20, it was 88"x88". I liked the turquoise color and the Sarah Jane  Mermaid fabric that was used in the quilt. I was going to take this to the long arm and quilt the piece but in the end decide to tie this quilt too. I used a fluffy polyester batting so it was a little thicker, but not too heavy. It's a nice bright quilt that we used at the end of summer on our outdoor bed. 

 I finally finished the Sushi Pants for my husband. We bought the fabric in Hawaii last January and I kept putting off making pants for him as I made other things (like more quilts that we really do not need). They are a simple elastic west pant, with larger pockets. The pattern is Simplicity 3645, it very easy to sew. Needles to say he put the pants on as soon as I was finished & wore the pants the rest of the summer. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Laurel Hedges

In the back yard I had a HUGE Laurel Hedge. It was a pain to trim and had been growing since the mid 40's. There are photos of my Aunt in the back yard with a nice small hedge behind her in the photos. My husband had built a platform for our bed in the summer of 2007, it was nested into the laurel hedges. The treehouse made it difficult to trim the laurel. We trimmed it about 8 years ago but otherwise it has grown wild and HUGE over the last several years. Well last fall I made the decision to get it trimmed. We had a very difficult time trying to find anyone that would trim the laurels (they were over 40 ft tall). A lot of people would trim the walnut tree but would not touch the laurel. When we did find someone to do all the work they came and topped the hedges. They looked terrible but I knew they would grow back...laurel always grows back. 

As I stated before the laurel was quite large and when the tree person topped the hedge he left all the branches that were sticking out the towards the neighbors house intact. Only problem was they were laying on the neighbors garage. I knew we would have to do something soon the laurel was rubbing his roof and causing leaks. 
That brings us to a couple weeks ago. We had a nasty wind storm and my neighbor lost some branches from his tree onto his garage. He got up on the garage and saw how much of our laurel was on his roof and cut back all the branches that were laying on his garage. Now the hedges looked like a sick tree with a couple of green leaves left for color. It would take another year for the hedges to come back. 

I had wanted to get rid of the laurel for a long time so that is what we did. We cut one of the large tree size laurels down to the ground and replaced it with containers of bamboo. It took about 3 days for us to cut down the large laurel, our friend brought over his chain saw and even he had problems cutting into the base of the laurel. The stump was about 3 ft around. and very heavy. Several of the branches had grown into each other to make one large base for the laurel. This stump took 3 people to move it from the back yard to the side yard to be hauled away. 

Nancy wants to know where the laurel hedge went, she loves sitting in the bush watching squirrels and birds. I know it was a hunting ground for her...but it's gone. We did not grind the stump and that may come back to haunt us, but for now it's covered with landscape barrier cloth and 3 inches of crushed rock...on top of that is a 6ft long container full of rock, soil and bamboo. 

As you can see in some of the previous photos the neighbors garage was kind of ugly. Since we are outside a lot during the warmer weather we wanted to look at something nice. My husband talked to the neighbor and he agreed to let us nail cedar boards to the side. We had a canvas that was given to me by a friend and we put that up too. We are going to paint a raccoon on the white boarded up window. 

The bamboo was installed last week, on a beautiful 70 degree day. It took 3 men about 3 hours to install bamboo. We had Golden Vivax Bamboo installed in 3 container that are 6ft long. The bamboo was already about 12 ft high so we started with a nice tall background that is pleasing to the eye. You can see the cedar fencing and the painting is a nice color spot through the bamboo. Another bonus is the sound of the bamboo in the wind...a nice rustling sound. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hawaii Vacation

Kimura H Fabric Store
Kimura H Fabric Store

City of Refuge

Salt water flowing into a hot springs
Discount Fabrics in Hilo
Discount Fabric in Hilo

In the middle of January we went to Hawaii. My husband wanted to see about buying property on the big island. I guess you can get some decent land for cheap. Turns out the reason the land is cheap is because no bank will lend on the property because of the lava flow. We also learned that if you leave a house vacant the locals will take everything. We heard story after story of stolen solar systems and houses that were broken into and everything taken...doors, windows, cabinets and rugs. So even though we found cheap land, it's not worth it because if we leave nothing will be there when we come back.
The best thing about going to Hawaii was it was WARM. This winter in Portland was terrible. Lots of ice and snow this winter making us hibernate. I had already looked up the two things I wanted to see in Hawaii...crushed penny machines and fabric stores. 
We happened on the first fabric store by accident. It's called Kimura H Fabric, I had written the name and address down but did not know exactly where it was on the island. We stopped to at a thrift store and it was across the street. I loved the place. It's a little dusty looking from the outside but the fabric inside was beautiful. I bought a beautiful red and white hawaiian print that I want to use to make a sun dress. I bought a brown and black hawaiian print to make a shirt for my husband and some sushi fabric to make pants for the husband too. I like the selection of the fabric at Kimura, it was not too expensive and I found some bark cloth that was quite cheap too. But I had to stop myself from buying too much fabric...I already have a large stash of fabric. I just can't resist hawaiian prints. 
We spent most of our time in Kona and Captain Cook. It was warm and the water was wonderful. We had some magnificent sunsets, only thing was as soon as the sun went down it was DARK. There is not any light pollution, which was really nice. We ate a lot of fish and sat at the beach and read. 
We went to Hilo on the 'wet" side of the island. Everyone said it was the wet side but I had no idea how wet. It rained the 3 days we were in Hilo. In fact Hilo flooded, a couple of the streets were closed. I did find the fabric store in Hilo called Discount blew my mind. I had to buy more fabric. The hawaiian print selection was incredible. I bought some lovely turquoise & gold with a nice tropical theme, it was about $7 a yard. A steal if you ask me. I also bought a beautiful dragon print that was on sale. I got out of Discount Fabric for less than $50. 
My husband does not like to do tourist things, so we didn't go to see a lot of attractions. We did go see a black sand beach, the volcano and the City of Refuge. We drove all over the island to get a feel for the place. We also saw a lot of beautiful birds. Sitting on a deck in the morning drinking coffee and listening to the birds blew my mind. It was very soothing. 
So the food was good, the water warm, the scenery was beautiful. Next time I would stay on the warm side the entire time, skip Hilo except for maybe a day trip. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Road Trip

Last October my husband & I took a road trip A friend had just bought a bar in Doyle California and my husband wanted to drive down there to see the place. So we loaded up our 1978 Fleetwood Cadillac and hit the road. I had never been to Crater Lake so we decided to stopped there for an afternoon. I was amazed, the photos do not do it justice, everyone should go to Crater Lake at least one time in their life. We sat on the balcony of the lodge drank some beer and ate some snacks as we watched the sunset reflect over the water. We had looked into to stay at the hotel but it was booked according to the on line system. While we were there we decided to ask if there was an opening, there was one room for $185 located over the kitchen refrigerators...there was a slight hum but the hotel clerk said it was not that bad. We decided that was a little pricey for us and went on as planned to Klamath Falls. On the way down to Klamath Falls from Crater Lake it was quite and we we almost hit a HUGE cow that was in the middle of the road & a deer ran along the side of the car for a few feet. I was very happy that we did not get in an accident with an animal. Did you know that several businesses in downtown Klamath Falls is heated by underground geothermal energy that was installed in the early 1900? Neither did I. After a night in Klamath Falls we went to Doyle California. Our friend Steve Heck bought a bar called the "Buck Inn". We wanted to see what it looked like and see the small town. It's cute and about 40 miles northwest of Reno. Steve is known for building sculptures from pianos. He was not in Doyle when we arrived but we stopped and had a drink. It's a cute little town, with a population of about 650 people. There is a small grocery store and the Buck Inn…that is really all that is there. We left Doyle for Reno. We were only going to stay for a night but while in Reno our breaks went out and we had to have them fixed. So we spent a couple of days looking around. I kind of like the large neon signs but walking through the casinos was ver strange. You enter one corner and end up exiting the building 2 blocks later. It's difficult to tell where you are as you can not see outside. We found a few crushed penny machines and wondered around Reno but were ready to leave after 2 days. We headed east to San Fransciso (well really we stayed in Oakland)!!! It seems that our Friend Steve was finishing up a sculpture for an artist community warehouse. Steve had installed a large sculpture with about 18 pianos as you pull into the space and was installing another smaller piece in the community kitchen area. We met up with Steve and spent the day helping him work through the process of moving and playing with the 4 pianos he was using to make the sculpture (mostly handing him supplies and beverages to stay hydrated).Since we were so close to SF we took BART into the city and wondered down Fisherman's Wharf. I collect crushed pennies and there as a place Musee Mecanique that had about 13 crushed penny machines. So off we went…the place is amazing. Musée Mécanique, one of the world's largest (over 200) privately owned collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines in their original working condition. We later met up with our friend John Law who has a office on top of the Tribune Tower in Oakland. John also repairs neon signes…the Tribune clock and the SF Port sign are a couple that he keeps in working order. 
We took a ferry into Sf on a different night with friends and had dinner. I was a able to go to City Lights Bookstore and see Brian Goggin's sculpture "Language of Birds". The morning we left we had one last stop Childerns Fairyland located on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland. They had a crushed penny machine…only problem is you have to have a child to go into Fairyland. We had no kids with us, I was able to see the crushed penny machine from the gate and the nice woman let me go get my crushed pennies. I would have liked to see the park but alas I was only able to get a photo in front of the old ladies shoe.