Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections on 2011

As 2011 comes to the end and we ring in 2012, I would like to reflect on the past year.  I started the year with good intentions and enthusiasm about continuing to make barn quilts.  I did start the year by making the New Year's barn quilt.  This was a challenge presented to me by my friend, Suzy Parron from Stone Mountain, GA.  I have a link to Suzi's blog here on my blog.  I finished the New Year's barn quilt in about a week. 


I thought that it would be a neat idea to make a barn quilt to comemorate all the holiday's of the year.  If you've been following my blog, you will see that the idea never materialized and I went into dormency (for a lack of a better word).  Other activities came up through the course of the year which didn't help.  To be honest, that really isn't a concrete excuse.  I should have found time.  When autumn came I told myself that I had to get back into the game.  Halloween was coming up, so I made the Halloween Pinwheel.

This project got my creative juices flowing again and I was looking into what to make for Christmas.  In the meantime, I received a much needed adrenaline boost from a lady in Illinois who wanted me to make a barn quilt for her mother, as a Christmas present!!  I couldn't believe that one of my creations would be hanging on someone's house, out of state!!!  As of this writing I'm awaiting photo's from Illinois of the barn quilt hanging.  When I receive those photo's I will post it on my blog!

I now had to think about what to make for Christmas.  My thoughts were answered by a good friend of our's, Sue Messinger, who I had made a door quilt (1' x 1') back in 2010.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of it to show.  Sue wanted me to make a Christmas door quilt for her.  I didn' take long to come up with a pattern!!

Does it look familiar?  That's right!  It's the same block pattern that I used for the Illinois barn quilt.

Now that the creative juice's are flowing, I ordered new business cards AND door magnets for my pickup truck, so I can catch the attention of all the lovely quilting ladies traveling on the roads to their favorite quilt shops!!!  I've been commissioned by a lady who I work with to make 2 barn quilts for her.  One for her summer cottage in New Hampshire and one for her home her in Connecticut.  So, hopefully, 2012 will be a great year for Barn Quilts by Dave!!

I want to take this time to wish all of you a happy and healthy New Year!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Door quilt update

Several posts back I featured my latest 'door' quilt (1' x 1') that I made for a friend, Sue Mesinger.  She already had a door quilt that I made for her last year, but wanted something with a Christmas theme.  She sent a photo of the door quilt that is now hanging on the front door that I recently made for her. 

It's amazing how the colors pop out at you using a dark colored door as a background. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Traveling Advertising!

Connecticut is blessed to have a large number of quilt shops around the State.   Just ask my wife.  She has visited everyone of them.........and more than once!!!!  I've been to several of these shops with her and I was amazed at the steady number of customer's that come in and out of these shops.  So, how do I take advantage of this customer traffic?  The online printing company that I use to print out my business cards, also offer door magnet's.  Fantastic!!!  I had them make up two for me to put on my pickup truck, so that the quilting ladies, traveling the highways of Connecticut, hopefully will take notice and give me a call.  Or, traveler's who have no idea what a barn quilt is may just call me, or visit my website, to see what they are.   Should be interesting!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When you think about Christmas in New England your first thought is snow covered fields, a definite nip in the air and the sounds of snow blowers and snow mobiles.  Not this year!!!!  We have had temperatures in the 50's and 60's for the last month.  The fields are still green and I've heard the sounds of lawnmower's, weed wacker's and leaf blowers!!!  So, how can you get into the Christmas spirit with these conditions?
Last year I made a door quilt for our friend, Sue Mesinger.  I call it a door quilt because it's 12 inches square and hangs on your door.  Several months ago Sue wanted to know if I would make another one for her.  I told her that I would.   Being close to Christmas I decided to do one with a Christmas theme.
Coping the pattern that I used for my last barn quilt that I shipped to Illinois, I proceeded with picking out the colors that I would use for this one.  I would also add details to the door quilt, to make it more Christmasy.  Is that such a word?!

I stuck with the typical colors of Christmas for the design which are red and green.  Once the board was painted, I started to think about what type of patterns I would add to it.  I had purchased a package of rubber stamps from my local A. C. Moore craft store.  There was a stamp in the package that looked like a star burst.  But, when I did a sample stamping using white paint, the impression looked like a cluster of snowflakes.  Fantastic!!  I then taped off the dark red and became stamping my impression using white paint.  I was very happy with the result!  I didn't want to leave the white area's left barren, so I thought holly's may look good there.  I went on the computer and search out line drawings for holly and came up with what you see here.  I sized the drawing down to fit the area, placed the design over the spot it was going to go and then, with a pen, I traced over the picture making a line impression onto the board.  That impression became my template to apply the paint.  I did the same thing with the silver bells and the large snowflakes.  This next picture give you a better look at the designs.

 I then finished the board by painting the border.  This border was painted silver to match the silver bells.  
This quilt was a lot of fun to work on.  It gave me a chance to hone my skills on detail painting and my first time using Folk Art paints.  This quilt also got me into the Christmas spirit, even though it's still mild outside and no forecast of snow for, at least, another week or so.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!     

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Barn Quilt Spotted

My wife came home, several weekends ago, from a visit to her local quilt shop to inform me that she saw a 8' x 8' barn quilt hanging in front of their quilt shop.  Wow, another barn quilt in Connecticut and it's not mine?!?!  I just had to check it out.  So, I stopped by today, with camera in hand, to look at it. 

The design pattern is called Lone Star.  I was told that the barn quilt was made using floor underlayment, which is usually a very thin material.  According to the owner's husband, who made the barn quilt, said that the underlayment was ease to work with and handle.  The next photo is a closer view of the barn quilt. 

This is the first 8' x 8' barn quilt that I know of in Connecticut.  If you are in Connecticut and would like to stop by to see this barn quilt, it is located at Lisa's Clover Hill Quilts, 27 Webster Hill Rd, Berlin, CT.   With any luck, there will be more quilts like this appearing around the State and we could have an OFFICIAL Barn Quilt Trail!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

I finally made the big time!!!!!!  Well, sort of........ I received an email last month from a lady in Albany, IL.  She had see my blog with my last posting from the beginning of the year and she was wondering if I was still making barn quilts, as she was interested in having me make one, so she could give it to her mother for Christmas.  I wrote her back stating that I was still making them and would make one for her.  She, her name is Becky, told me that she would look for a quilt block pattern that she liked and would email me a photo.  About a week later, I received this photo.

My first reaction was, "OH MY GOD!!", she wants this entire pattern duplicated on a 2' x 2' board!!  Well, I figured if that's what the customer wants, I couldn't refuse.  Besides, MY barn quilt would be going to Illinois!!  After receiving the photo, I emailed her and, to my relief, she said that she just wanted one of the star patterns duplicated.  Phew!!!  Becky would leave it up to me to use whatever colors that I suggested.  I told her that I would email her photo's showing the progression of her barn quilt.  The next photo that I sent was to show her how the pattern would look on the board.

She approved the pattern layout and I commenced with applying the colors.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  When these boards are cut, they are not a true 24" x 24" square.  One side my be slightly off by 1/8th of an inch, due to the thickness of the saw blade that is cutting the board.  What I will do is draw the border lines from the edge of the board inward is such a way as to create a true 23" square.  I then calculate and plot out my design pattern using the 23" square.
The next photo that I sent Becky was showing the colors on the board.  If you notice, I don't have the border painted on yet.  I usually paint that on after the pattern is painted.

After receiving Becky's approval, I told her that I would like to add some embellishment's to the pattern to make it unique.  I gave her some of the idea's that I had in mind.  She left it up to me to do what I wanted!  The following photo's are a result of that.

Using some everyday household tools, I created the spackling effect on the corners.  What those tools were, I will leave to your imagination.  I shouldn't give out my trade secrets!!  The lady bugs are from a rubber stamp.
I had a lot of fun making this quilt.  Actually, this is the first one that I've done using an actual photograph of a quilt to work out the pattern and not just a line drawing. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Going Bat-ty!!!!

For the past week I've been going bat-ty, as you can tell from the photo of my Halloween Pinwheel.  It took me several evenings to complete the painting of the bat's, as well as, the pumpkin's.  I bought a set of halloween themed rubber stamps made by Martha Stewart.  I stamped the impressions of the bat's and the pumpkin's on the barn quilt and then, using them as a templated, painted over them.   All in all, I think that it came out quite well, if I do say so myself!!

The next photo is a closer shot of the bat's and pumpkin's so you can see the detail.  I left the lighter pumpkin color untouched, to give a break to the pattern and not make it look too 'busy'.

I had fun doing this one.  Now, what to do next.  I would like to make a barn quilt for all the holiday's.  So, I guess that the next one I should do, will have a Thanksgiving theme.  I'll start looking for patterns now. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mark Twain once wrote "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated!".  I suppose that I could use that line here, as I haven't posted on my blog since January!!!!!  What's up with that!  I don't have a good excuse for it.  Just laziness on my part, I guess.  
I received a jump start to my barn quilt making when I was contacted by a local newspaper reporter, Carrie MacMillan from the Republic American, out of Waterbury, CT.  She was doing an article on barns quilts, saw my website and blog, and asked me if I would be willing to contribute information for her article.  A photographer came out to the house and took photo's of the 3 barn quilts that are hanging on my house, which are the Christmas Star, Mariner's Compass and Daisy Rose.  He then took a picture of the barn quilt hanging on my neighbors tool shed, the Double Aster.  The article appeared in the newspaper on October 7th.  Although I didn't receive any calls from reader's of the article, the fact that my name and website were printed, gave me that spark to begin making barn quilts again. 
Coincidentally, I received an email from a Lady in Illinois about a week ago, who saw my blog, and asked if I would make a barn quilt for her.  I wrote her back to say that I would make one.  She then wrote back to me, a week later, saying that she found someone in the area who could do one for her.  Well, I guess it fell through, because she emailed me again today to ask if I would be able to make one for her!   WOW, another spark!!
I am now finishing up on my latest barn quilt.  This one I call 'Halloween Pinwheel'. 

  It's not quite done yet.  I went to my local Michael's craft store and found halloween themed rubber stamps, made my Martha Stewart, that I will apply to this barn quilt, similar to what I did on my Crazy Log Cabin barn quilt.  You can see a photo of that one on a previous blog post.  Once I apply the images, I will post a new photo.
It feels great to get back into the groove and have the satisfaction of applying paint to wood and be able to create a work of art! 


Saturday, January 1, 2011


I wish all the best for my family and friends in 2011!  The hustle and bustle of the holidays are now over and we can now settle down to the normal routines of life.  January and February, here in New England, can be very snowy and cold.  We survived a major blizzard last week in Connecticut, which dumped about 17" of snow!  However, as I'm writing this, the sun is shining and the temperature could possibly reach the 50's!!  We are now experiencing a steady melting of the snow.  I can actually see large patches of my lawn!!

During the blizzard I was finishing up on my latest barn quilt.  After completing my last one, Christmas Star, I wanted to continue that idea and create barn quilts with Holiday themes.  Naturally, New Year's came to mind.  I researched quilt patterns with a New Year's theme on the Internet and came up with only one.  I didn't care for the block design that I found and, unable to find any others, I decided to use the pattern.  The result was the block pattern you see here. 


The quilt pattern that I found on the Internet used the same colors that I used.  However, they used a darker purple.  Initially, I wasn't thrilled with the pattern.  At first I thought it was just a collection of triangles set in a loose type pattern, until I took a closer look.  As you look at the pattern, a star appears.  How cool was that I thought! 
I wanted to make the star a focal point in the block and played around with different colors to make the star stand out more.  The more that I played with the design, the less thrilled I was with the outcome.  I decided to leave the original colors as they were, but, use a lighter purple.  I was happy with the results.
After I took this photo, I happened to hang the board 'On Point' and was amazed, like I did with the Christmas Star, at the subtle change in the pattern.  I took two photo's 'On Point' hanging the board in two different positions.  As you can see, the opposite corners are slightly different.  Each position give the quilt pattern a different look!  The next two photo's reveal those differences.

 I have to admit that this pattern was fun to do.  Although there were only two colors involved, it was very time consuming with a lot of intricate taping between painting.  The added time though was well worth the effort.
Now that this one is done, I'm now planning on what to do next.  It will be much easier to plan out future designs and colors, because I received the Electric Quilts 7 computer software for Christmas.  No more pencil and graph paper!!