Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Round Table!!

At this point in my barn quilting career, which goes back to 2009, I have only painted a guilt pattern on one unusual surface.  That was on a piece of slate.

For my next unusual surface, I decided with the encouragement from my wife, to paint a Mariner's Compass pattern on a 6' round picnic table that we had for about 25 years.  The table was showing signs of age and probably might have been thrown away.  However, the table was made by a good friend of the family, who had passed away last year.  So, the table had a lot of sentimental value attached to it.  The process of restoration had begun.

The old stain and paint was sanded down to the bare wood.  I also took the time to clean out all the old leaves, twigs and dirt from between the slats.  I then applied two coats of an exterior primer/sealer to the top and sides of the table.  The Mariner's Compass pattern was line out on the surface and the first set of colors was applied.  If  you closely, you can make out the compass pattern

The next photo shows the completed Mariner's Compass pattern.   Normally, I will not apply a finish/sealer coat to the pattern.  However, because this is a picnic table and will get used in our backyard, I will apply some type of durable finish to it, so that items placed on the table will not scratch or damage the pattern.  Of course, when used I will put a table cloth over it.

This was undoubtedly the most interesting and fun barn quilt (on a table) that I've made.  My next project will be a 6' rectangular picnic table that my wife and I bought, 40 years ago, when we were married.  Before I work on it, I have to replace several boards due to rotting.  But, this will be done over the next several weeks.  So, stay tuned for another picnic table barn quilt creation!!


A Little Patriotism!

This 1x1 barn quilt, which I made for my wife's cousin, has a patriotic theme to it.   Just in time for the 4th of July.   Hey, that's today!!!  This one is slightly different from the other BQ's that I've made in the past.  Most of the time I will put an edging along the outside of the frame, either 1/4" or 1/8".  If I don't apply an edging, I will usually bring the entire pattern to the edge.  If you will notice, the star pattern is set back, about a 1/2" from the edge.  I liked this so much that, if the client is not specific or doesn't want it like that, I may incorporate it into future designs.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Flora update

Several blogs ago I wrote about the British Rose and Hibiscus barn quilts that I made for a co-worker.  The barn quilts were delivered and I was awaiting a photo of them hung on their shed.  At first I thought that they would hang them on either side of the Puerto Rican/British Flag.  They decided to hang them on the main doors to the shed.   I do think they look better there.   What do you think?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Play ball!!

Since I started making barn quilts, back in 2009, the pattern have always been the traditional quilt patterns, i.e:  Mariner's Compass, Double Aster, Log Cabin, Lamoyne Star, etc.   The wine themed barn quilt that I made and blogged about was the most unusual.
A past customer and now friend, Gail Links from Illinois, told me, after seeing the wine themed barn quilt, that she thought I had enough talent to replicate the St Louis Cardinal's logo and was I up to the challenge!
I told her that I wasn't sure about replicating the cardinal, but, I could give it a try.   I told her that, with my luck, it would end up looking like a pigeon!!!  Much to my surprise, the logo came out quite well.

Shortly after starting this one, I was contacted by the lady who I made the wine themed barn quilt and asked if I could do the logo from the University of Kentucky Wildcats.   Am I sensing a branch of my barn quilt making?  Again, I said 'why not' and gave it a try.  This is a progress photo of that barn quilt that I'm currently working on.

There will be a UK logo in each of the four corners.  When I'm done with this one I will post a photo of it here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's a wine theme!

This year has been interesting one, as far as the variety of barn quilts that I've done.  I received a request from Tracey in Sturgis, KY, asking if I could make her a 2x2 barn quilt for a friend of her's who was in the hobby of making wine.  Tracey wanted to know if I could put a wine bottle and two wine glasses in the design.  As you know, most of my barn quilt, or for that matter, the majority of barn quilts that are made usually replicate existing quilt block patterns.  I told Tracey I would see what I could do and let her know.  I searched the internet for quilt pattern that had a wine bottle and/or wine glasses.  Surprisingly, I did find one, however with only one wine glass, and sent Tracey the link to the pattern.  She approved the pattern and was hoping that I could still do two glasses.  I told her that wouldn't be a problem.

I started working on the draft for the pattern, when I received another email from her.  She wanted to know if I could also add the name on the bottle, which was Fowler Family Wines.  I told Tracey that I wasn't very good at calligraphy, but, I would see what I could do.  She didn't care if it was block letters or whatever.  She really wanted the name somewhere on the barn quilt.

Laying out the pattern and painting the background commenced.  Here's the first photo of the process.  It shows the wine bottle and two glasses.
The next photo shows the wine glasses painted and the bottle and the area for the label taped off and ready for paint.  It's interesting to note that the color used for the wine in the glass is called 'Madeira Red'!
The next photo shows the bottle and label area painted.
Before I made to attempt to work on the lettering, I began to dress up the board with grapes in the upper corners to fill in the large empty space.  I found a grape line drawing on the internet, printed out the drawing and then traced it onto the board.  I then finished painting them.  The wine themed barn quilt was now taking shape. 

Judgement day finally arrived.  I had to start working on applying the name to the label.  I turned to my MSWord program and found an appropriate font to use, then size it up to fit the space within the label.  Once I decided on the proper font and size, I traced the lettering onto the label.  Using the newest Sharpie pens, called 'brush tips', I filled in the lettering and this is the result.  I was quite impressed!!!!!

I also adding more grapes to the bottom.  The entire barn quilt looks fantastic.............if I do say so myself!!!!

As expected, Tracey was very pleased and can't wait to receive it.  I will post a photo of the barn quilt hanging at it's new home as soon as I receive it.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another barn quilt challenge!

For those who follow my blog you will recall the flag barn quilt I did, in which I super-imposed a Puerto Rica flag over a British flag, to honor the heritage of a co-worker, named Nellie, and her husband.  This was a challenge to take the British flag, which is rectangular, and re-shape it to fit a square board.  I copied and pasted an image of the flag onto my microsoft word program on the computer and did my re-shaping.

Nellie then asked me if I could do two 1x1 barn quilts, one depicting the British side and the other the Puerto Rican side.  She wanted me to replicate a british rose!  I came up with a photo of a quilted british rose and used it as a guide.  There was a lot of intricate taping involved to come up with a suitable likeness of petals.  All in all, in came out fairly good.
Now she wanted a image to remind her of Puerto Rico.  She said that the hibiscus flower is very coming there and asked if I could do that on a board.   I scoured the internet for an image of a hibiscus in a quilt pattern.  I came up with nothing.  I then searched under 'hibiscus line drawing' and came up with a line drawing of a hibiscus.  I printed out the drawing and, with an Exacto knife, cut out the petals and drew the petals on the board.   The rest of the painting was done free-hand.  The result came out better than I expected!
I've now been commissioned to make a barn quilt for someone who makes home-made wine.  I'm taking a series of photo's as I progress with it and will do a blog showing how it was done.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Double Aster

I like it when I receive an order for a barn quilt, that it is to be used as a gift to someone, without their knowing it.  This barn quilt, named 'Double Aster' was a gift from a mother, in Florida, to her daughter in Illinois and I scheduled it to arrive by the birthday.  This one really stands out on this garage!

An interesting point about this barn quilt, is the fact that the pattern was plotted out to be hung 'squared.'  However, this pattern is still stricking being hung 'on point.'

Monday, April 8, 2013

Barn quilts by the lake

One of the drawbacks of conducting a business via the internet, is the absence of direct, one-on-one, contact with your client.  All of my contacts with my past clients has strictly been through emails.  On rare occasions will I talk with the client over the phone, let alone having a direct meeting with theme.  In most cases, the collaboration between myself and the client is sufficient through emails.
That wasn't the case with my last barn quilt order.  I was contacted via email, through my website as is the norm, from a lady in Sturbridge, MA who was interested in having two barn quilts made for her.  Her name is Gaye.  One would be a 4'x4' Mariner's Compass and the other would be a 2'x2', Love in the Mist.  I gave her an introduction about my barn quilts and how their made.  She asked if I wouldn't mind if she drove down to actually see the barn quilts that I have hanging on my house.  Sturbridge is about a one hour drive to my house.  We scheduled a visit on the following Saturday.
Gaye arrived, quilt pattern book in hand, and we began to finalize what the color options would be.  I took her around my house and showed her the barn quilts.  She and I then sat down and came up with the color options for her barn quilts.  She then asked if I could make a third barn quilt about 18" x 18".   Although I don't advertise an 18" square, I agreed to make one for her.   That was three barn quilts that I would be making for one order!!  Now, if you read on my website, I state that I will deliver free within the State of Connecticut.  Because Gaye ordered three barn quilts and lived just over the border of CT, I waived my rule of delivering free within the State and told her that I would deliver the quilts to her home in Sturbridge.  She told me that the Mariner's Compass would be hanging on the side of home which faces a lake.   She wants it there so that all the boater's passing by will see her barn quilt.  Here are the three barn quilts that I delivered:

This one is the Martha Washington Star and is hanging at the front entrance of their home.  The next barn quilt is called 'Love in the Mist'.  The lighter yellow in the photo was a special blend that I whipped up.  From this photo you can see the lake in the back.

The last barn quilt is the large 4'x4' Mariner's Compass.  I think that I've created more Mariner's Compass barn quilts than any other block pattern designs. 
As a result Gaye's visit, along with her husband Bill, we have sparked a friendship that I hope will last for a long time.  I'm already planning on take a drive up in April or May to see, first hand, Gaye's barn quilts!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reflections on 2012

Here it is, March 17th, and this is my first blog post for 2013.  How sad is that?  I'm always reminded by my sister-in-law to continually post to your blog, to keep it fresh and keep your follower's returning, while adding new follower's to your blog.  I will try to do better this year!

2012 was an interesting year for me.  I completed a total of 22 barn quilts, which worked out to be about two per month.  I wasn't overwhelmed with orders, so I was able to keep my promise of completing a barn quilt within 2 weeks.   I'm still employed full time. My work on barn quilts is done in the evenings and weekends, so the 2 week time frame worked out just fine.  Retirement is in the works for 2014!!  Then I will be able to devote more time to barn quilts!! 

I had a number of 'First Times' in 2012.  I had my first order for a 4x4 barn quilt from a lady in Russellville, KY.  It was in the Christmas Star pattern.  What was challenging for me was getting it packaged for shipping.  There are no standard boxes larger than  4x4.  I purchased two 'guitar case' boxes from UPS and cut them apart to fit the barn quilt.  Although, this brought on quite a challenge, when I received a photo of the barn quilt hanging, made all the sweat-equity worth it!!

My next 'First' was when I received an email from a lady in Great Britain, who wanted me to make a barn quilt, in the Bear Paw pattern, to be sent to her friend in Washington, at the time that she would be there to visit her.   The recipient had no idea that it was coming and the following photo confirms that!!

Since I've been creating barn quilts, I've always used existing quilt patterns.  I have never taken the time, nor have I had the time, to create a unique barn quilt pattern.   Well, a co-worker of mine, who has Puerto Rican and British ancestry, asked if I could create a barn quilt that would honor that.  We discussed using flags in the design.  This is what I came up with.  Of course, she loved it!!

Now that 2013 is well underway, how successful and busy will I be in the coming year.  I just might exceed 2012.  To date, I've completed 4 barn quilts and I'm currently working on 4 new ones.  I will post the 4 new ones, as I complete them.  They will be a Mariner's Compass, Martha Washington Star, Love in a Mist and a Bonnie K Hunter design (Easy Street).

 Mariner's Compass
 1x1 English Rose
 1x1 Shoofly (note the difference in color arrangement).  My 'Cardinal Rule' is to make no 2 barn quilts exactly the same!