Category Archives: Downieville house

Wednesday WIP

Here is an early morning update for you. This has been a crazy week. Last weekend we were up in Downieville working on the house while Julia traveled with the tenth grade class to Ashland, OR (about a five hour drive) to attend the Shakespeare festival. She had a great time up until early Sunday morning when she woke with a nasty stomach flu. After talking with the mom’s and her principal who were taking care of her, it was decided she really couldn’t do a long drive to come home. My husband drove up to Ashland and they hunkered down in a hotel until the worst was over. Then they drove home on Monday afternoon. She has been recuperating but it looks like she is going back to school today – luckily she has a light morning so she will just go for the afternoon classes.

Until it came to an abrupt end, we were making good progress on the living room in Downieville. This room has been fun because it really only needed some paint, new trim and carpet. Friday last week was the day of the carpet install. I drove up in the morning to let the installer in. Remember the house is very tiny (approximately 700 square feet) and I knew I would be stuck either in the kitchen or bedroom while he was working on the living room. I brought my little sewing machine and set up shop in the kitchen. (Don’t you love the little kitchen table? I found it on Craigslist and I am crazy about it.)

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It was nice to be able to sew while he was working in the living room but it was quite cozy in the kitchen! There was no other spot for the couch so he pushed it through to the kitchen. Of course because it almost didn’t fit, there are new scratches in the paint of the door trim, but that can be taken care of later.

imageHere is a before and after shot of the living room.  The left side is how it looked when we bought the house and the right is current.

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Here is another angle on the current living room. We primed and painted the paneling and Ray put new crown molding up around the walls. Ray also refinished a portion of the original hardwood flooring in front of the door so we don’t walk in right on the carpet. Hopefully this will lessen wear and dirt on that portion of the carpeting.

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Since the picture was taken, Ray also got the baseboard installed and we hung some pictures. It looks so sweet now.

While I was trapped in the kitchen with only my sewing machine and a pot of coffee, I worked on the second quilt for the downstairs bedroom in Downieville.  Remember this was the first one I made. I finished this one last February – you can check out this post for the details.

Downieville Quilt #1

Downieville Quilt #1

It is a basic patchwork using 10″ blocks. I thought it would be fun to make this one with the same fabric but a different pattern. (For the first one, I was in a hurry to get it done for winter as it gets really chilly in that bedroom.) Since I have time to complete this one (the second twin bed isn’t used all that often) I changed it up a bit and made large half square triangles using the tan solid as half of each one. I have about 40 blocks done so I am almost half way to a quilt top.

imageThe layout above mixes the green tones and the purple together in a scrappy fashion. Here is a shot with the colors separated out in a more orderly layout.

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At this time, I have more purples completed than green. I love the green tones though and look forward to playing with this when I get a few more completed. I am leaning toward the layout with alternating colors. The rest of this should go together in no time at all. The little downstairs bedroom will then have warm, coordinating quilts.

Hope everyone is finding some time to sew and staying healthy!!

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Reminder:  next week is the Handmade Halloween event here at Needle and Foot. You are invited to link up new and old posts about all things spooky! Quilts, costumes, decorations that are for Halloween will create a fun source of inspiration for readers. The link up will open on Tuesday, October 4th and stay open through Friday, October 7th. I have tons of prizes from Craftsy, C&T Publishing (makers of your favorite craft and sewing books) as well as Sew Fresh Quilts. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!!

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop this week. Links to all three can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Lots Going On!

The week is starting out with a bang! Yesterday I was scheduled to have some dental surgery today and I really, really, really wasn’t looking forward to it. Imagine my joy when the dental office called to reschedule my appointment (hopefully in another decade, another century, as far out as I can schedule it!) Anyway, Ray had taken the day off because he expected to be driving the patient home and rolling his loopy wife out of the car and into bed. Since we didn’t have to do this, we opted for a drive up to Downieville and a hike.

DV hikeThese poppies are just everywhere. Last year when they all went to seed, I collected tons of seed pods and tried to start them in our garden. Not one plant came up. I am not sure why but I am going to give it another try this fall. I know they are grow happily up here as they are just covering everyone’s yards and hillsides. I love the drama of these vivid red poppies.

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Really deep and crystal clear, the river is running so fast.  Ray and I are curious to see how high it remains this summer. Last year, with the drought, it ran quite low. I suspect this summer will be a different story. Monday was a totally different day than the one I expected. Hurray for small blessings like dental appointment cancellations!!!

This weekend I was able to catch up on the FMQ quiltalong that I have been doing with Lori at The Inbox Jaunt. This project just gets cuter and cuter.

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Those sailboats make this whole project shine! I love them and kind of want to make something for a child that features the boats. I think they are just adorable. It is with mixed feelings that I watch for today’s post from Lori. This week we will be quilting the last row and adding some finishing touches. Overall, this was a fun way to practice my FMQ.

In support of the May is for Makers theme this month, I purchased my second indie pattern of the month. Yikes, it was hard to choose. It sort of reminds me of when my youngest son was little. (Ok, even now at 25 years old, he is still like this.)  He had such a hard time making choices – picking out an ice cream flavor took such a long time. The donut shop was even worse. When he grew to be a teenager, I dreaded the hours we would spend shopping when it was time to get new shoes. It looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Here I was, shopping for a pattern-just for fun, no parameters. I was buying a pattern only because I wanted to support someone in their creative efforts. And I just COULDN’T DECIDE! Finally, I made my choice and bought a newly released pattern from Kirsty over at Bonjour Quilts. It is called Fleur.

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This mini finishes at 11″ square though she also sells a pattern for a jumbo size Fleur which works into a queen size quilt. I am thinking this mini would look great with four blocks so that it finished at 22″ x 22″. It is a sweet, summery look and will be fun to put together.

Finally, guess what! I am working on my first tutorial for Sew Mama Sew! I am excited about it and a little nervous because I really want to get all the details written up clearly and concisely. The tutorial is for something I have made so many times that I can do it without thought. Now I am making a few of them and trying to take good notes of the steps necessary. It posts in three weeks so hopefully I will have it all worked out by early next week.

I hope your week has started out as happy as mine!!

Linking to my usual favorites. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Craftsy Update:  In a continued celebration of their birthday, Craftsy is offering some of their most popular classes for 50% off. Sale begins Wednesday, May 18th! Check them out. I have taken some quilting classes purchased at Craftsy and feel that that the caliber of the classes is first rate! (I am a Craftsy affiliate, meaning if you click through my link and make a purchase, I will receive a small payment.)

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Downieville Quilt Show Weekend

This weekend I had the pleasure of working at the quilt show up in Downieville. I recently joined their quilt guild, Mountain Star Quilters, so that I could meet some of the women in town and get to know more quilters. One cannot possibly have enough quilting friends! The MSQ guild holds a quilt show every other year. On the alternate year, the guild hosts a quilt retreat in Downieville. It was at this retreat last fall that I found the little house we bought and have been renovating. (You can read about that experience here and here.)

This quilt show is such a nice event. MSQ is a small guild located in a charming small town. There are about 25 active guild members. This year’s show held over 100 quilts which is impressive considering the size of the group. In addition to local quilter’s showing their pieces, we also had the treat of hanging a traveling collection of challenge quilts from a 2014 Hoffman challenge. This is the second show we have had where we shared a traveling collection. I think it is really wonderful to have access to collections like this in such a rural area. It is a long ways (maybe 2 hours?) to the nearest large city so it isn’t easy to attend the larger shows that might feature quilting from artists such as these.  Here are two of my favorites from this collection.

This one, titled Big Top, held my attention for such a long time. The quilting on it is spectacular.

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Some of it must have been done with an embroidery machine but other parts were thread sketched. The precision of her stitching is fantastic.

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Titled, Free Floating, this piece features appliqued jellyfish that sparkle. The quilter used great thread choices and placed tulle over the top of this piece. It exudes a peaceful feeling. I especially love that the coral extends into the border.  Just lovely.

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Looking at the quilts, I was surprised that my favorites were really the simplest quilts. This blue and white quilt with clean, crisp lines is gorgeous.

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The quilt below won Best of Show in its size category (visitors voted for their favorites since this was not a juried show.)

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The quilter appliqued small. roughly circular pieces of floral fabric and then hand stitched embellishments and outlines to define them into flowers. The entire background is hand quilted with random stitches which provided a great texture. The background thread was lightly variegated for a fantastic effect.

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I kept coming back to this piece to look at all of the hand work. I can’t really imagine doing something this intense. It was gorgeous and the viewers kept returning to it as well. There was a short story posted alongside of the quilt explaining the the quilter made this while sitting with her father who was very ill. He helped to pick out the floral fabrics and shapes with her. I am sure this quilt holds a great deal of emotion for her.

The show was a lot of fun and I met so many appreciative people, wandering the show and oohing and ahhing over all of the work put into the quilts. One thing that really impressed me was when I went back to the show at the end of the day to help tear it down. As I said, this guild is quite small. I was truly surprised to see how many people came to help at the end. There must have been at least 25 people (including many guild members’ husbands) there to take everything down and sort the quilts for return to the owners. It took about 30 minutes to do. Amazing.

While we were up there, Ray and I took a hike. It was a gorgeous fall day. While walking along the river, Ray spotted this Blue Heron standing oh-so-quietly off to the side. He was gorgeous.

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We watched him for a long while and then I asked Ray to make some noise so he would fly off. It was spectacular to see his wingspan. The picture below doesn’t do him justice, but I am sharing it anyway.  🙂

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Wishing everyone a wonderful week with some creativity mixed in!

Linking to Connie at Freemotion by the River and Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts. Both sites have links above, click on Link Ups.

Downieville Progress

We just got back from a long weekend in Downieville. It is finally starting to come together! Remember we bought this little bungalow on the river last November? (Read more here.) Built some time prior to 1930, it needed a lot of TLC. My husband quickly started to work on the bedroom and bathroom as they were in the worst shape. This weekend was spent painting many pieces of crown moulding and trim pieces for the bedroom door, closet and window. (That was my job.) Ray was installing it as quickly as I could paint it and get them dry. Drying actually took very little time as it is really hot this week. What a huge difference Ray has made in the house so far. He has transformed it.

Ray had a helper when he installed the crown mouldings.  You can see there are two more windows to replace (on either side of the alcove.) Ray hasn’t decided exactly what he wants to do there so that project is on the back burner for now.

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Here is another corner of the room (the closet.) This picture was taken last February when Julia was pulling nails from the studs for Ray.

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Here it is now! Nice work Ray.

IMG_20150728_3630Gorgeous, isn’t it? New drywall with actual insulation in the walls (prior to now the house only had minimal insulation in the attic.) Does it get better than that? Oh yeah. New window, paint, trim and carpet. After countless weekends, it is a bedroom!

Did you see that cute chair in the picture above?  Ray and I found that chair at a thrift store that supports Habitat for Humanity. My dad and I spent a fun morning together taking it apart, sanding the wood and staining it.

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Can you see that the seat is covered with plastic? Lovely!
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There were approximately 567 billion staples holding that fabric to the seat. Yikes!  We got it 80% done and then the chair sat in the garage for several months. I am sure you know how that goes. Ray and I finally found some time, weeks down the road, to put some polyurethane on it and reupholster it. Much as I loved that pale pink floral fabric covered with plastic, I like this better!

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It looks so cute in the house as it fits the style perfectly. It is comfortable for reading but I do want to put a foot stool with it. I saved some of the fabric so that I can make a matching one someday.

Now that the home is coming along, we don’t have the pressure to work long hours on it when we are up in Downieville. The pace is more reasonable which allows for some time to play. Over the weekend we had a great time on the northfork of the Yuba river.

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Julia’s version of Stonehenge.  🙂

IMG_20150727_3611We also took some time to hike around a bit at Sardine Lake which is about 15 miles up the road from the house. It is gorgeous. Next time we will spend the day there and play on the lake.

IMG_20150728_3625While we were up in Downieville, a large forest fire started right on the edge of Nevada City (maybe 15 miles from my house and probably less than 5 miles from my parents’ house.) It is a bad one – not to be unexpected with the dry, hot, drought conditions we are dealing with. The fire is about 60% contained and is burning some 2,300 acres.  Currently there are 1,952 firefighter personnel working the fire. It is amazingly complex to control and battle fires of this size. The smoke is in the air but it is lessening each day. I am so grateful for the teams that are working diligently to contain this fire. Because this fire is consuming rural properties, many animals had to be evacuated and there are teams of volunteers taking care of them at the county fairgrounds. This is a great community. Yesterday a popular, local burger place fed firefighters for free during the day. That is a big undertaking as there are lots of hungry firefighters in town right now.

In case you are worried about my lack of stitching this week, fear not. I did bring up assorted fabrics and Insul Bright to cut and prep a stack of Chemex Cozies. I will be ready for a sewing marathon next week creating more Etsy product. I do love when I have projects all cut and pinned.

Enjoy these last weeks of summer everyone! We are headed to the coast for a long weekend with family to celebrate my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. It will be a great escape from the triple digit heat and the smokey air!

Linking to Finish it up Friday (I consider the bedroom trim and the chair our finish for the week!)

Squeaked in a Finish

Crazy busy around here this week. We are definitely making progress on the house up in Downieville but it takes time and effort. Much more on Ray’s part than mine but still… On Wednesday I took a drive up to the house (it takes just over an hour’s time to get there) to let in a guy to finish the drywall. He textured the walls which took the better part of the afternoon. While he was working, I took advantage of some gorgeous weather and went for a hike. I was a little bit nervous about hiking alone. I don’t have cell reception and no one knew where I was going. I played it safe and didn’t go too far down the trail. I did find a new one though and the water was gorgeous. With the drought, the river is extremely low. Even so, it was breathtaking in spots.

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Spending the afternoon on my own up there was really nice. I haven’t honestly spent very much time alone. Four kids will do that to a person. When I got back to the house I was texting with  Ray and sending progress pictures of the work being done. We decided I should spend the night so I could: 1.) Continue this alone thing that was going so well – and – 2.) prime the bedroom once the texturing dried. The only issue was that I didn’t bring extra clothes as this was completely unplanned (spontaneity isn’t my strong suit either, so this was a good thing for me to do!)  My husband had extra clothes up there. He is a planner and is always well supplied with whatever he needs. I dug into his stuff and came up with a lovely pair of jeans and a tshirt of his to use for painting. Just as a point of reference, he is 8 inches taller than me and probably 80 pounds heavier. As long as no one came to the door, I was pleased with the look I was sporting.

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I know, it was an amazing look. I got the room primed and ready for paint. We will go up later this afternoon and finish up the painting. One step closer to having a bedroom. Wahoo!

While all of this was going on, I did manage a quick finish. I completed the chevron table runner.

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The quilting is inspired by an older quilt along on www.christaquilts.com. I reversed it though and pebbled the white sections and straight-lined the chevron. I didn’t want to pebble over the print fabric or it would have been too busy. The pebbling looks great on the white though. I combined the two stitches and ran some straight lines along the border with circles interspersed on those lines.

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You might remember that the chevron fabrics are from a Joel Dewberry line. The backing is  called Sphere, a part of Moda’s Zen Chic line. That was scored during a 50% off sale a while back.

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As usual, the binding is my favorite part. I used Daysail, by Bonnie and Camille. I love the stripes. I had originally planned to make a bias cut binding but decided I liked the standard cut better for this project. It is adorable; the blue and red stripe plays well with the Joel Dewberry prints. This is one of three table runners that I am making for my April goal for ALYOF.  The second one is nearly done as well, so I am making progress. This table runner is listed in my Etsy shop.

Saturday is my 17th wedding anniversary. Time has flown by. We are celebrating in high style, because that’s the kind of couple that we are. The plan is to paint the bedroom and hopefully finish up some electrical work in there. Jealous, aren’t you? Enjoy your weekend, whatever the plan!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Let’s Bee Social, my two favorite linky parties. You’ll find these links at the top of the page, under link ups.

 

Gratitude – Part 4

We’re home!  My husband and Julia and I spent a long weekend up at the Downieville house working. It was really productive and, consequently, tiring! We made so much progress though.

Over the weekend Julia and I painted the basement level bedroom. It had dark paneling on the walls – ick. It made it feel like a cave in there. We primed the paneling and then painted it a sage green. It looks wonderful. I forgot to take a finished picture but do have this (iPhone) picture which portrays the wonder of having a 13 year old that is already 5′ 7″ tall.  She did a great job rolling the top half of the walls. Made me jealous of her height.

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Also got the valances and pleated window shades installed in the kitchen.

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Another project that I tackled was painting the picket fence that runs along the front yard. (Yep, I felt like I belonged in a Mark Twain story.) It was in terrible shape. Most of the fence needed to be scraped paint and then primed and painted. This took up the better part of two afternoons but was well worth it. Here is a before picture.

IMG_20150330_3017And after:

IMG_20150331_3031It looks so clean and fresh. We did a relatively good job of not getting paint all over the little rock wall.  See the little orange tulip peeking out? It is the only one in a sea of iris. Gorgeous though.

IMG_20150330_3036Photo credits to Julia for the three pictures shown above!

The best part of the weekend, and my gratitude focus for this week, was the new friends we met. You might remember that this is a tiny town. At it’s peak, during the California Gold Rush in the 1800’s, the population peaked at about 5,000 people. Now there are about 300 people that live there full time. From what I can tell, the school district there has about 50 students (grades K through 12). Pretty tiny. Spending the afternoons outside working on the fence gave me the opportunity to meet a few new people and everyone was kind and gracious. They seemed to truly appreciate that we were fixing up this little house.

The day after painting the fence, Julia and I checked out the library. It is adorable. Tiny but with a reasonable selection of books and because it is part of a larger library system, the patrons have access to a much larger selection. People can “order” books from the larger library and they are delivered to the local library. But best of all was chatting with the librarian (Cheryl) and guess what? She is a long arm quilter. What do you know! Immediate connection there as we talked all about quilting. The local guild, the Mountain Star Quilters, keep a library of quilting books in the public library which is a fairly impressive collection considering the size of the guild. As we talked quilting (and bored Julia) another woman (Linda) came in. I remembered meeting her briefly when I attended the quilt retreat in Downieville last October. (I posted about that here.) The three of us visited for a bit and and Linda showed me a book she had brought in. It was Tula Pink’s City Sampler book. We talked about it and she said she had decided she didn’t want to use it, and would I like to have it? I love Tula Pink and have looked at her beautiful book numerous times, wondering if I would ever really make the blocks in it. Seems like fate, right? There was the book falling into my hands. Clearly I am meant to make these blocks.

IMG_20150402_3034This adds another project to the list. I will use the 1/2 yard collection of Floriography, a Riley Blake fabric that I won from Doe Street Fabrics a few months ago.

I need to add a few solids to it but no problem there. I think making a block or two a week will be a fun way to use the book and the fabric.

Back to the kindness of these women. It never ceases to amaze me what a friendly group quilters make. Meet a quilter in the store, instant rapport. Run into a few in the library, new friends. Both women talked about the local quilt guild. They have about 30 members and meet one afternoon each month. I am going to attend the April meeting and see if I can start participating in their guild. I belong to our local guild as well and it is a challenge to get myself to the meetings, so we shall see. Luckily the schedules of each of the guilds seem to be opposite of each other (quilt show dates, challenge quilts, etc) so that will help. For sure, joining this second guild will be a great way to meet new friends and for that I am thankful.

Finally, just so you don’t think the weekend was all work and no play, here are some pictures from a hike along the river that Julia and I took. It was a gorgeous morning.

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We are fortunate to have found our place on the river. It is a treasure for which we are so grateful.

Linking to Quilting Jetgirl’s Thankful Thursday and Needle and Thread Thursday and Let’s Bee Social (links to these are at the top of the page under Link Ups.)