Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Take the "Imagine It" Tour of Quilters Cottage

Imagine the Cottage with new landscaping:
bushes and perennial flowers!
Imagine the front entry with a ramp.
Okay ladies (and gentlemen), this is an imagination tour.  That means that you will need to use your imagination to see what the Quilter's Cottage will be in the future.  It will be a work-in-progress throughout 2013, with a goal of having all improvements made by December 1, 2013.

For now, however, my husband, Randy, and I have been busy with cosmetic improvements, getting the Cottage ready for the first retreat in January 2013.  This week, Randy added lots of flourescent lighting in the sewing room, and I started painting.

So come with me on the imagination tour, I'll explain what we plan to do with each room...

This is the Dining Room.  You actually enter the Quilter's Cottage in the back, through the dining room.  The room is 3 steps below the rest of the house, so you'll have to take your suitcases and machines up three stairs for now.  In time, we'll have a ramp to the front door (see pic above).

The dining area is separate from the gathering and sewing areas.  That means that you can eat any time you want without having to clear your sewing area. The dining table can also double as a wide cutting table.

The fully functioning Kitchen will be ready soon.  The kitchen has a fridge, stove, oven, microwave, & dishwasher.  It also has a full set of dishes, silverware, pots/pans, utensils, toaster, blender, mixer, everything you need to cook up a quilter's feast. 

When we first open in January, 2013, we will not have a "with food" option for leasing the Cottage.  Right now, I'm just too busy to even think about food.  But sometime in 2013, we will be offering rental of the Cottage with food. 

Just to the left of this pic, there is a laundry closet in the kitchen.  This is where I plan to add a half-bath on the main floor.
This is the Sewing Room.  Imagine it flooded with flourescent lighting.  Randy is working on the lighting now. The main sewing area is roughly 16'x24' and will include a raised cutting table with mats and (up to) 10 individual 4-foot sewing tables and chairs.  There are plenty of outlets throughout the room.

See the fireplace?  Imagine your group quilting here this winter with a crackling fire in the fireplace...
This is the Relaxation Room, just off the Sewing Room.  Imagine it with a couple of sofas and comfortable seating.  This will be a flat screen tv mounted on the opposite wall, so you will be able to watch your favorite quilting DVDs. 
Bedroom #1:  Imagine it with (3) twin beds and a fresh coat of paint. 

When we first open, the bedrooms will be sparsely furnished with twin beds and night tables, but in time, I plan to add special touches and furniture in each room.



Bedroom #2 is the same size as Bedroom #1: Imagine it with (3) twin beds and a fresh coat of paint.

Each bed will be made with 300 count sheets and a Stitchin' Tree quilt (still making these)...  Look for a surprise under your pillow!

Bedroom #3 is slightly larger than the other two.  Imagine it with a fresh coat of paint and three twin beds.

All of the beds will have comfy new mattresses and plenty of pillows.

Years ago, previous owner, Deloah Prior converted this bedroom on the second floor into a full bath.  It's a large room, but could use some updating.  It's a full bath with a tub/shower, single sink and toilet.  We won't be able to upgrade the bathroom until we have added a second full bath in the basement, so for now, imagine a fresh coat of paint, thick and thirsty towels, and a pamper basket of hair and beauty products.

The curved staircase leads from the Sewing Room to the upstairs Bedrooms -- easy access in case you want to quilt into the wee hours of the morning!  

All of the rooms have historic window casings and are covered with vinyl blinds (came with the house, not my pic).  Imagine each room with magnetic cellular shades and customized window treatments.
This is a look from the staircase into the Sewing Room.  

This is the Back Entry. Here's where you really need to use your imagination.  Right now it is a three-season room, but very useful in the winter. This spring, we plan to attach a heated/air conditioned addition (comparable to a 3 car garage).  This will be the Stitchin' Tree entrance to the Quilters Cottage.  This is where I plan to add a small full-service quilt shop and design studio.  Quilters using the cottage will be able to pick up needed supplies and get ideas for future projects.

See the large table?  This will be the main cutting table in the Sewing Room.

Well, as you can see -- Randy & I have our work cut out for us.  I plan to work a couple of days each week to get the Cottage ready for quilters in 2013. If you want to get a sneak peak, give me a call.  I'm in the Cottage on Mondays and Fridays from now until the first week of January. 

 The first group to use the Quilters Cottage in January is our staff from Stitchin' Tree, January 6-7.  There are 9 of us working in the shop now, and this will give everyone a chance to get to know each other well.  Plus, it will give me a chance to get some valuable feedback on their retreat experience.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cathedral Window Ornaments

Nancy Cook demonstrated how to make simple Cathedral Window Christmas Ornaments twice this week.  They are easy to make, and can be pieced without using a sewing machine.  Need a new lap or car project?  Try making cathedral windows!

Look What's Quilting December 2012

The elves at Stitchin' Tree have been busy, quilting 7 days a week to finish all of the Christmas projects.  They've been so busy, they sometimes forget to take pics.  Here's a few of the quilts we've recently finished.

Jacquie Dahlin, Omaha, pieced this butterfly beauty. 

Kelly Martz pieced this Christmas throw.  Love the fabric!

Gayla Gross, Earling

Margaret Grote, Harlan

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Paper Pieced Christmas Tree

A small, but festive, group joined Delores for her paper-pieced Christmas Tree Make & Take. 
Judy Knott, Harlan

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paul Bunyan Goes to Work at the Quilters Cottage

The bigger they are the harder they fall...  That is how this story started.  The Quilters Cottage has two huge pine trees that suffered from pine disease and died.  It's too bad, because they were really beautiful trees.  Anyone who knows my husband knows that in a previous life, he was Paul Bunyan.  There's no tree to big or challenging for Randy!  He dropped the first tree between the evergreens, exactly where he wanted it, but the second tree proved to be a little more challenging.

Here's Randy (aka Paul Bunyan) sizing up his opponent.  The pine was BIG and twisted at the top.  The wind was from the south, so Randy was "pretty sure" it would drop in the ditch to the north...

 But, just to be sure, he parked his pick up far to the south.

Randy had me park the car to the north and stand on the edge of busy Highway 30 -- prepared to stop traffic in case the tree dropped in the highway.
 Before he started cutting, Randy sized it up again.  Because with that twist at the top, the tree could turn and fall where we didn't want it...
Our neighbor, to the immediate north, is Moores Portable Toilets.  If Randy was wrong, the tree could fall on the neighbors property and ruin a nice fence, couple of portable picnic tables and quite a few porta-potties...

And we want to be nice to the neighbor, cuz who know when we might need those porta-potties.

Okay, then, relatively sure that the tree would miss the porta-potties, Randy began his notch-cut.

(still not sure that it wouldn't fall in the highway)

It takes a big chainsaw to cut through a tree this size, and Randy had the right saw for the job.

But even with the biggest saw he had, Randy had to cut each side individually to cut clear through the tree.
Once he made the initial cut, about 3/4 through the tree, Randy cut above it to make a notch.  This is supposed to help guide the tree so that it falls the right direction, but of course, the wind continued to gust, so who knows....
On the backside of the tree was a large blight-blemish. Once Randy cut the notch, the bark along the blemish started to stretch. I could physically see the tree top start to turn and move. It was looking like the tree might twist and fall in the highway after all...

So Randy told me to get ready to clear the highway, and he made an emergency call to his good buddy, Randy Barry, who had an even better tool for the job...

Randy & Randy conferred about the project, while I stood in the highway...

With a little pressure from the payloader, the tree should fall on it's own...  Or does it need more help?

Yep! Even with the payloader giving it a little push, Randy needed to add a cut from the back side. This looked a little dangerous, but he couldn't hear me caution him with the ear protectors on.

CRASH!!!  The debris scattered as the tree crashed to the ground -- exactly where it was supposed to!  My work clearing the highway was over!  Phew!  That was a close one!


The two Randy's took some time to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

Randy Barry counted the rings on this historic tree.  As best he could count, the tree was over 85 years old.  He could see where the rings were close together during the depression.... 

The black areas are the disease that killed the tree.
But the job wasn't completely done yet.  Someone needed to clean up the fallen tree....

That's where I came in....  Now, I could have cut the wood and put it in a burn pile, but I had a more creative plan...

In a few short hours, I had a fun fort for the grand kids!

(and if you believe this ending, I have a fabulous barn I'd like you to invest in :-)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Look What's Quilting -- 11/1/12

Lisa Ulmer, Soldier pieced this modern quilt.  She found a quilting design online and asked us to load it for her quilt.  Spiral Squares was the perfect complement to this quilt.  When we got started, we didn't like the thread color, so we ordered in a new gray that was a perfect match.

Lisa pieced the quilt as a gift for her uncle.  Lucky guy.

The Hunt Begins

.Let the hunt begin!
On our way home from Quilt Market in Houston, Nancy Cook and I stopped in Wagoner Oklahoma at Crossroads Treasures.  We were in search of an iron chicken (seriously).  We never found our chicken, but owner Carol Hixon-Sherman helped us find these three treasures.

Now, you're probably wondering why we were looking for an iron chicken... 

That's a story for a future blog.....  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Monnie Louise

 I snuggled under this manufactured quilt at Louise & Bobbie King's house.  It's big, bold and simple.  I'm going to try to create a similar design and call it the Monnie Louise (Bobbie's pet name for his wife).

Louise is a collector -- everywhere you look, you see one of her many collections.   Her primary collection is a Coca-Cola collection.  I doubt that there are many Coke items that haven't found their way to Louise's collection.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Playing Trader's Dice at Houston Quilt Market

Robin Hoffman had cut over 1000 5" squares for us to play Trader's Dice at Market.  Nancy must have played with over 300 people in the 3 days of market.  Every player was unique, and it was a lot of fun to meet them all.  We were surprised at the number of international shop owners that took time to stop and play.  Seated at the table here is Switzerland and France.  They thought we should be playing with wine!

Probably the most unique group was this group from China.  They took pictures of each other playing the game.  Nancy helped them understand the English words on the dice (they spoke very limited English).  They had so much fun playing, they took 20 sets of dice back to China with them.  At the end of play, they took individual pictures with Nancy.

This was a wild group from Brazil, with one lady from Australia.  What fun.

The Australians got so loud playing, that soon we had people crowding in the aisle to see what was going on.

This was a single shop -- fun to watch how competitive they became.

Yes, the bear played the game.

His color sense was quite good.