Nautical Flag Quilt

nautical signal flag quiltAny guesses on what this quilt is saying? So… I’ve been working with flags lately after a longtime fascination with flags and more recently, nautical flags, has gotten me going about a few new projects.

Chart-of-signal-flagsFor those of you land lubbers, inland dwellers or non-sailors who don’t know yet- there’s a international code of signals used at sea for relaying communication back and forth between ships or from ship to shore, before the radio or during times of required radio silence. They are used individually or together to spell out short messages.

BVI flags Cooper IslandA recent trip to the British Virgin Islands got me thinking about my love of all flags, especially signal flags and the secret code aspect that makes them just a bit more intriguing.

piecing nautical flagsIn a recent visit, a friend and I came up with this quilt idea- our last names spelled with nautical signal flags.

nautical flag quilt piecingSome everyday math was required to get the dimensions of the flags right- within each flag and in relation to each other on the face of the quilt. Each flag measures 8 inches by 9 inches. I used a few different blues and yellows on purpose for a bit of dimension and to leave uniformity in the dust. All squares were pieced together on the machine, save the “i”  (black dot square above) which was hand-sewn (using a turn under applique method) to the yellow, and not perfectly round on purpose.

nautical flag quilt topI decided to go with a linen fabric for a plain background that made the flags pop but still has the textured, weather beaten look of a old sail bag, or a sailors face or the look of the linen shirted folks hanging out at any given yacht club… or maybe I just love linen. The dimensions of the whole quilt are 5 feet wide by 5′ 3″ long.

signal flag quiltHere is the quilt top all pieced together and ready to be quilted.  I was really curious how the linen would look once it was quilted, and how it would act in the long arm quilting machine.

nautical flag quilt with tribal eldersI previewed the quilt at Thanksgiving, a nice surprise for the family members for which the flags have meaning in their secret-code order. The family elders and even the little ones, absolutely loved the idea.

nautical flags on the wallThe finished quilt with a built in sleeve on the back for hanging. I really toyed with the idea of making the backside a bright colorful fabric to contrast the business-in-the-front look, but in the end, I kept it simple and just put the same linen on the back.

signal flag quiltingThe quilting is a super-small, wave-like pattern in gray thread throughout the whole quilt. It’s machine quilted (or it wouldn’t be finished for 50 years) and even with a machine, it took 12 hours- yikes!  Recently I’ve been going with a bigger quilting design and always wishing I’d gone smaller, so this quilt was the tiny design test.

quilting detail, nautical flagsOf course it’s hard to see at a distance, but close up and to the touch, I really like the way it turned out- even if it made the machine quilter friend of mine nearly crazy by the time it was finally finished.

quilting detail, signal flagsLovin’ the linen next to the cotton flag squares.

If you’re loving the nautical look, check out my nautical flag banners (great for a nautical themed party) available on Etsy. The fabric is hand-drawn, designed and made specifically for the banners. The alphabetical version is available in my shop but custom orders are welcome!

nautical party theme

corrugated metal fence update

fancy metal fenceMy corrugated metal fence update- the fence is now in it’s 3rd year and I like the way it’s aging over time. The patina of the corrugated steel darkens and changes bit by bit every day and I’m enjoying watching the weathering process.

ceiling tiles on fenceThe two wide gates to the side yard are so heavy and awkward to move, we needed a solution to high daily foot traffic without having to leave the gate(s) constantly open and sagging (due to the slope in the driveway) and also a solution without the wear and tear of constantly being pushed and shoved opened and closed. So we came up with the Euro-gate solution. I’ve seen many large gates with a tiny door for daily passage all over Europe and decide this was the answer to our problem.  It works well with the patchwork look of the fence. My plan is to weld a rectangle tiny door to fit the opening that would essentially be invisible when it was closed. Since we don’t have any animals to keep in right now, the tiny door has fallen to the bottom of my list of things-to-do. Soon though.

flag stone pathThe view of the gate from the backyard, looking through the side yard to the back of the gate. I put this pathway in in the spring and the ‘stepable’ plants we put in the cracks are filling in nicely. That process- building the flagstone pathway- in another post coming soon. The shipping container will also have French doors where the flagstones come up like a patio area.

tin ceiling tiles in fenceThe inside view of the gates. After getting ripped apart in a microburst in their first year, I rebuilt and reinforced the gate panels with these metal beams based on a suggestion of a very wise friend. The gates are so much more stable now and not likely to sag or get blown away. Another key element to restricting movement of these gates, that act like sails in the wind, are the pins going down into the concrete that hold the gates in place in the center. Absolutely essential.

rust on metal fenceThe tin ceiling tiles rust very easily so anywhere the paint was thin or in some way been scraped off  has been rapidly encroached upon by rust.

corrugated metal fenceRust details on the front side of the fence. This is 3 years worth of rust. This part of the fence isn’t hit by a sprinkler but it does get pelted every time it rains which explains why the rust is more pronounced at the bottom of each panel.

ceiling tile fenceThe garden side of the house and much smaller gate. As you can see the areas that are hit by the sprinkler or rain, are much rustier than the panels closer to the house. This gate was much easier to build, open and close and maintain. I never intended to leave to 2×4 across the top of the gate area, but the post on the right side of the gate is twisting and warping, and it became necessary to leave it to slow the unfortunate movement of the 4×4 post and hold things square.

flagstone patioThe back three sides of the fence around the yard are straight corrugated metal. It is aging comfortably with a beautiful patina. I love all looks and every stage. We finally got the pergola put in in early spring. It was a kit that we had to paint ourselves and piece together lego style. Once the footings were installed, a process I find stressful, it was an overall easy project. I carried over the flagstone look to this side of the yard also.

backyard pergola, metal fencePerennials, plants and trees are growing and filling in into the look I have been anticipating and looking forward to for so long.

corrugated metal fence2We found this outdoor seating on KSl classifieds, a local market for used everything, for a great price and had some wonderful summer moments and parties under the pergola in our newest ‘room’.

Note: When we were digging the trenches for the sprinkler system, we laid electrical line alongside the pipes and ran wiring to the pergola area for easy, invisible electricity.

 

corrugated metal fenceThe whole backyard is relatively small and cozy (only 1/4 of an acre) but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Just enough to have to take care of, and big enough for a party.

shipping container in backyardThe shipping container is next. We found some perfectly good, durable doors and windows at Habitat for Humanity in Park City that had been pulled out of another house, I’m assuming for a remodel, that are all ready to be installed when the time comes- hopefully soon!

For a look at the making of this corrugated metal fence DIY click here.

For a look at the fence after 1 year look here.

Handmade gifts and DIY sewing projects

Hello, I hope your springtime is off and running in the right direction and at the rate you hope for. I’ve been trying to get organized, eternally on the list… no matter what. I’ve just been filling up the Etsy shop with oodles of handmade gifts for yourself or others- drawstring backpacks and busy worker bee kid aprons, patchwork quilt panels, party banners, girls tier skirts and even dream catchers. Here’s a sampling…

dream catcher
This dreamcatcher, Peaceful Willow is actually the biggest one I’ve made. It’s 18 inches wide and 52 inches long. It’s got all the cool elements- wool felt feathers, wooden beads and a assortment of funky trims I’ve collected over the years and in all the bright colors.

drawstring backpacks
The drawstring backpacks and kids worker aprons are also available as DIY sewing projects, if you’re inclined to make it for yourself. Look on Atly for the drawstring backpack video tutorial and here for the apron tutorial.
busy bee aprons

Little aprons for the guys and gals.

worker boy aprons I can customize aprons with names (like the one pictured above) just message me on Etsy. They make great birthday gifts for boys and girls- artists, chefs, scientists and the list goes on…
patchwork quilt panelPatchwork panels now in the shop too, these one-of-a-kind quilts are more of a tablecloth or even a wall hanging. There isn’t any batting between the layers making it unlike like a traditional quilt and this makes it easy to wash over and over again.

ombre patchwork quilt panelTHIS ombre panel, is SO one-of-a-kind and would make an excellent wall hanging or throw or any other use you can dream up- like wedding or outdoor party decor.

colorful all occasion bannerHollah!   All occasion banner, teamed up with felt birthday banner my mom gave me many years ago- working together to knock this party out of the park. Valentine and Christmas banners in the shop too.

girls tier skirtsTier skirts for the young ladies too, these are super fun for me to make, combining fabrics and colors like crazy and just letting my imagination take a walk on the wild side.

Thanks for taking a look, until next time- have a peaceful and happy spring!