Bernadine's Stillman Inn
Quilts at the Stillman Inn Part Two 19 Aug 2014, 8:25 am
Quilts at Bernadine's Stillman Inn
August 19, 2014
Wow - thank you everyone for your interest in the, Part II of the Quilts at the Inn. On the previous blog I posted about the antique quilts and unfinished quilts I bought and finished over the years. This one is even more fun because it's about, as I promised, the quilts I've made!
You may notice that a lot of them are decidedly Civil War period style. The patterns and fabrics are more muted but still interesting. I think I've leaned this way because 1) we live in Galena IL and 2) I love thinking about women as they sat around hand sewing with fabrics they had, usually from clothes they've worn out. They would have quilted with these shades of fabrics.
I have, however, pushed myself out of the box on a few occasions to use brighter colors. That was fun but not what my natural bent is. I'm working on that!
So, here we go. Hope you enjoy! Mostly I hope it inspires you to give quilting a try!
This quilt is from a book, as most are, that commemorates women throughout history that did "big things" that women just didn't do back in the days. For example, one block represents a woman who owned real estate and rented out homes. I used striped fabric as the background and hand appliqued all the pieces on. These were all from my stash of civil war era fabrics. I used the needle turn process and it took over 1 1/2 years to finish. It was a great take-along project and I started keeping track of all the places I worked on this quilt but lost the paper I was writing on. One place was on a riverboat ride down the Mississippi River. Nice to sit out on the deck quilting away. Another place was Walnut Ridge, a log cabin bed and breakfast in Platteville. Worked on it twice there during our stays.
I entered this one into the local Fair. Almost won best of show but the judge did not like the fact that I "quilted" over the applique. This was a choice I made after much thought and I was proud of that decision. Oh well.
Here is another sample of the quilt above. I believe the house is the one representing a woman from years past who owned real estate.
This was my first "Lone Star" quilt. Piecing drives me crazy. This was done using a fusible background that makes all of your points perfect. What makes this special is that my husband saw this and wanted to hang it on his office wall right away! Awwww! Dave, you are just tooo cute for me and soooo very smart! I made this one in 2003
This Lone Star was made in 2012 using the same technique as above so I couldn't mess it up. I added the eagles in the corners using a die cut from Accucut. What fun. There is a light colored background under this quilt. I chose to quilt with a dark thread on the top and bottom of the quilt - not so smart. You don't notice it on the top but the back looks kind of terrible. Should have used a lighter bobbin thread. Oh well...live and learn as they say!
Several years ago I decided to perfect piecing. I have a "how to" book that was actually quite wonderful. Can't find it now though. I especially like the middle motif. That is called "card trick". Turns out I have not been using an accurate 1/4" seam. You actually need a "scant" 1/4" seam because when you open the seam it uses more fabric to make that turn. I had these squares laying around for about 8 years wondering what to do with them. Then my friend Susan decided to teach us one of the "quilt as you go" methods which was fascinating. Now my squares are a table runner and I just love it. Thank you Susan Hunter!
Then Susan decided to teach a group of us how to make a "Bargello" quilt. Bright colors here that I just love. It was a bit complicated but fun. The more seams I had the more "unstable" the piece was so it's far from being in perect alignment but I don't care. it's beautiful!
I found this pattern around Valentines day in a quilt mazagine and as if I didn't have enough projects, I decided to throw it together. Glad I did. I used all scrap fabric and I love it! Back to the muted colors we go! I guess I love the "homespun" look of these fabrics.
Halloween is not my favorite Holiday. In fact I just don't like it. The very theme of it is dark and, well, I guess I don't like dark. So, I found this pattern for bright and perky pumpkins. Helped me to enjoy the season a bit more! This was a kit. Everything was appliqued on by machine and I used some fancy stitches from my embroidery machine to decorate the background squares. My friend Rosie inspires me to do this. She does it on everything!
"Paper Dolls" quilt design. Last year my New Years resolution was to work only on projects I had waiting to be put together. I broke that promise just once for a small table runner. I had this quilt kit sitting around waiting to be made for about two years. I had purchased it at the Paducah quilt show, the first one I ever went to (thank you Susan) and I'm so glad for my resolution because it's done and cute as can be. Again, civil war, homespun colors. Glad I bought it. This was pieced and pretty easy to do. It would be a good quilt and more precise if I had paper pieced it.
Here is my "Grandma's Garden" quilt. All hand pieced hexagons from fabrics in my stash. Wow, this one took years. A great take-along project but wow what a lot of work! Don't think I'll be making another one so this is quite special. Have you ever done these hexagons? Jo Quilter in Bellvue IA has a quilt store and she is THE QUEEN of hexagon quilts. Check it out!
Table runners are fun because you can actually finish one in less than a year or two! This one was paper pieced. Again, my dear friend Susan taught a group of us how to do it. Love, love, love the precise points you get with this method. Give it a try!
I'm cheating now because this is actually a quilt my friend Rosie is making. She saw a picture of a Lone Star quilt that looked like an Indian with headdress on. She asked me to "figure out" how they did it. That was not easy and I still don't have it right but they are turning out just great! I think she's ready to quilt hers. I still have to finish piecing mine!
Paisley Cats! This was made in 1991? So it was probably my third or fourth quilt. It's a lap top quilt and I adore the paisley fabrics and I used denim for the hearts. I was brave from the beginning of my quilting life as you can see I tried the interesting border on this one.
And last, but not lease, in fact this was my first ever quilt. I made this for our daughter, Becca. I had no idea what I was doing but just had to do it. It's actually my own heart design. you can hardly see it but I added lace around the hearts. Again, being "brave as a bear" I used the prairie points around the outside edge. I quilted a heart in the blank squares. Not bad for a first time, do it yourself project! It's been in protective custody for years because Becca is afraid of ruining it. I'll have to give it to her now that she has a daughter!
Okay, so this is technically the "last" example. I just have to share it. I went on my first "shop and hop" about 7 years ago. I bought a book at one of the first stores that had his pattern in it. I used the rest of the stores to find all the various fabrics. That was smart. Always go on a shop and hop with a project in mind to buy for otherwise you buy a bunch of mismatched, "what did I buy this for" stuff! Believe me, I know! Also a good idea if you go to a large quilt show. Know what you want before you go! I used machine embroidery on this one with the Poppies. It's an applique pattern so the possibilities are endless with it and I just love that!
What fun I have had over the years, what friends I have made and what places I've been all because of this lovely art! Want to come quilt with me? Just make your reservation at Bernadine's Stillman Inn and let me know you'd like to quilt and we'll sit down with a cup of tea and a UFO and get it done!
Bernadine's Quilts at Bernadine's Stillman Inn 22 Jul 2014, 9:13 am
Bernadine's Quilts - Part 1
Bernadine's Stillman Inn
Galena, IL 815 777-0557
Welcome to my wonderful world of Quilts! - Part 1
I have been quilting for about 27 years now. The first quilt I ever made was for my daughter, Becca. It had a variety of pink calico hearts pieced together in strips and sewn on to ivory muslin. It was so much fun and she loved it! What a blessing it was to have a daughter to make a quilt for.
The second quilt was for my son and it was a "Trip around the world" quilt using a variety of calico fabrics. It is lovingly stored because it is quite worn out from all the use.
Our kids are adopted and I started their quilts as we waited to bring them home. East square was made with a special prayer that everything would go well and that we would be happy together! We are!
I then went on to make a couple of pieced quilts. One has paisley cats on it the other is a field of Christmas trees using as many green fabrics as I could find. Right now I can't find any of these quilts.
I WILL find them and I WILL put them in part 2!
You Don't Have To Make Quilts to Have Quilts!
This is an antique crazy quilt we found at an antique store in Kalona, IA. It's unusual because it uses orange. Also, this was a quilter after my own heart as she tried many things on this quilt; embroidery, painting, ribbon work, etc. It was an unfinished top so I had to square it up and put a back on it. It is beautiful.
Another quilt, this one was finished. I found this at a quilt store. It is all hand pieced and hand quilted. I love thinking about who made these quilts. Life without cell phones, Netflix, computers and all that. This was something special to someone at one time and I continue on with the tradition of loving it.
This is an antique redwork quilt. The detail photo is at the top of this blog. It has stains but I still love it. I imagine someone resting at night after a long days work, pulling out her sewing basket and just relaxing and loving what she/he was doing. This came from my mother-in-law.
Another unfinished quilt I found at a local antique store. The top was all hand pieced and the stitches are gorgeous. It cost $45 and I needed to try out my new mid-arm quilting machine so I didn't have much to lose by choosing this quilt to try it out on. It was beautiful unquilted but like most quilts, when you put together the layers, top, batting and backing, and then quilt it it comes to life. It is yummy and cozy looking with a feel of antiquity! Again another quilt that someone put a lot of effort and time into and I finished it for them!
I have attended a lot of quilt shows which are so inspiring. I have made many friends because of the art. I have gotten together with friends to quilt for hours on end. It is a pleasure in my life I can't imagine being without. It reminds me of the slower days when people had time to do this kind of thing and it was considered valuable. I especially like stories of the Amish young girls who have had a goal to make so many quilts by the time they were married for their home. There are plenty still doing that today and I find that refreshing.
I hope you have enjoyed my Quilt blog and will return for Part II when I share the ones I've personally made from beginning to end! They each have a story and I hope they inspire you to pick up some fabric, a needle and thread and some scissors and get to it!
If you are interested in seeing these quilts first hand, visit me at Bernadine's Stillman Inn. I love showing them off! If you are coming to stay with us and want to quilt with me just let me know and I'll meet you in the parlor with my current project!
Have a terrific Quilt day!
Stenciling Around The Inn 28 Jun 2014, 7:02 am
Stenciling Around The Inn
Bernadine's Stillman Inn!
We get a lot of very nice comments from guests about the different stencils and painting techniques that have been used around our Bed and Breakfast. So I thought I'd share some ideas and inspirations. I've spent many years pouring over stenciling and painting books because I find it absolutely fascinating. I suppose it's because it creates a one of a kind piece of artwork. Although others may have stenciled with the same stencils I purchase, the chances of them using them in the same place with the same colors, etc would have to be very rare making them unique and individual!
My Toolbox - This is one of my favorite pieces and I stenciled this many moons ago. I love the intriciate detail. I also love, love, love, to crackle my surfaces first for a more interesting background. You simply put on the paint color you want in the "cracks" of the crackling. Paint a layer of crackle medium over that following the manufacturers suggested application and drying time and then the fun comes. You take your top coat and layer it softly and quickly over the usually tacky surface of the crackle medium. This has to be done in as few strokes as possible or you will drag all the top coat off of the slick surface. When it's dry you are ready to stencil. And don't forget the topcoat. I use a waterbased indoor/outdoor sealer. There are great ones out there now! I love Polycrylic.
This is one of my favorites here at the Inn. I just love how unique these doors are now with just a little bit of effort. Here is a closer look:
Of course I crackled the background of the center panels and added a very simple stencil layout. I drybrushed the stencil very lightly so it would look aged. Then I painted the trim and door with coordinating colors. I tried to get a "milk paint" look with the yellow so it would look worn as well. I prushed on one very thin coat for this affect.
I don't understand chalk paint other than it gives you the feeling that it's an "old" looking paint with a certain satin finish. There is a brand new store downtown Galena called "Isabella's". Two of our guests just told me about it and she specializes in a specific brand of chalk paint. Apparently she has been painting furniture with it and the finish is supposed to be beautiful. Can't wait to see it! Will rush down there today! Apparently it's imported paint so it's not a local brand we are used to seeing.
This is a very simple stencil I used in our hallway with just a few colors of acrylic paints. It really makes the hallway look longer. It's subtle, fits the decor and looks aged like the rest of the 1858 mansion. There is one area where there used to be a built in bookcase that is now gone. This left about 8 inches without the stenciling. Do you think I can find that stencil to fill that in? Nope.
This is our personal bathroom cabinet. It has one of those bowl sinks on top. The first time my son saw this sink he asked why we were using a salad bowl for our sink! I used to take horticulture classes and learned the formal name for many many trees while I was creating this cabinet. So I used a metallic pen to write various tree names on the doors. Here's a closeup:
I did not crackle this cabinet. Imagine that! I used various shades of neutral tan colors along with a bit of white to "pounce" the colors on to the background. It almost looks like worn parchment paper. I love that! Then I used a gold metallic pen to write in the names of trees and added a quick rose stencil in the bottom corners. I often tell my husband that when we move we take this cabinet with us. We will see about that. But it is one of my favorites. I painted the top with burgundy acrylic paint and covered it all in the Polycrylic finish. It has held up to water spots on the counter for about 14 years.
These are the kitchen cabinets on the first floor of the Inn. We cook breakfast here for our guests and they can see these cabinets as they pass through the hallway to the Parlor. On several occasions I've wanted to paint over these and start over but then Dave rally's the troops and gets friends, family and guests to tell me not to do it. Everyone seems to love them but to me they seem to be missing something...not sure what, but they are fun! It was one stencil moved around and up and down the cabinets to make it look like on long grape fine. The lower cabinets do not have stenciling.
I used a goldish, light brown metallic paint for the vines. I ran some of the stencil off onto the cabinet frame. That worked out well I think. The center panel was just whitewashed and you can do that with any white, waterbased paint product. Simply apply it a little "full" not "dry" with a brush and then wipe it off before it dries. You can leave a little white buildup in the corners for that milky look. Be sure to seal them. We got too busy and didn't so now we have a lot of cleaning to do on them before we can seal the doors. I usually don't like one solid color. You can't see it here but I painted the light green around the rames then drybrushed some of the dark green paint over it here and there. It makes it look worn out. I did some sanding aroudn the door handles to make it old looking as well.
This is our kitchen in the lower level. I love these cabinets. I wanted a European, thrown together kind of look so I painted one cabinet on the end of this bank of cabinets a warm blue. I wanted it to look like we found the cabinet "somewhere else" and added it. Wish I had a picture of that here. I purposely used fabric to cover the doors under the sink rather than the hard wood doors. It just seems to warm the whole thing up.
This is one of the cabinets. You can tell I like these colors, especially for the Inn. I used them on the hallway doors throughout the inn as pictured above. Same thing, I just had to "crackle" the backgrounds and then add the stencils with a very dry brush creating that nice aged look. I also drybrushed the yellow trim with a bit of the background red...just a bit! These cabinets did get sealed so they have stayed very nice over the years. The base cabinets are simply painted ivory.
The stencils in the Wedding Chapel/Reception building are very unique. I did not have the time to stencil this room so we hired someone to do it and they did an excellent job. The stenciling is soft, subuded and has a nice patina. I love the color variations she used. Enjoy the rest of the pics of the restaurant and if you have any questions...please call!
Bernadine's Stillman Inn
The person we hired also created a marble effect on all the supports throughout the building.
We think they are beautiful too! These are not stencils but done by hand.
Have a great day and go out there and Stencil!
The Gardens Are In At Bernadine's Stillman Inn 16 Jun 2014, 12:45 pm
The Gardens Are In at Bernadine's Stillman Inn!
I should say - almost done, but what garden is ever "done"?:)
AND YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT DAVE HAS DONE.... Think I'll save this for the end suprise...
Clematis - I've never had success with clematis - go figure - it's supposed to be easy to grow like hosta. I think I keep putting them in the wrong location. However, this beauty is magnificent. Every year it does better and better. You must come and see it. It blooms a very long time.
FLOWERGIRLS - the beauty of creating your own blog is you can put anything in there that you want. I just have to share this picture with you. Our two granddaughters were flowergirls at my nieces wedding recently. Aren't thye just prettier than any flower you've ever seen? What a blast these two are! Now - back to the gardens!
BLUE EYED GRASS - I planted this little jewel a few years back. I'd never seen it before and I haven't seen it since at the local greenhouse but it is precious. Long blades of grass tipped with this beautiful little flower. It has a mounding habit so does not spread. Wish I had more. The blooms last a few weeks. We have it alongside the pond.
Delphinium - These perennials were planted last year. I obviously found just the right spot for them because they are doing better than any other ones I've planted. Here's the trick. Plant it anyway. If it doesn't work, plant it somewhere else the following year. It's not rocket science...it's a lot of fun. I suppose you could cut your losses by reading the plant labels. That would help!
FALSE SUNFLOWER - I have three of these bushlike perennials and they never fail me. They will be covered in what looks like palmsize sunflowers. They droop a little in full sun but then bounce back when the sun leaves them. This is a no spreading, moundlike plant that reaches 12-15". You would just love it. Come see for yourself!
GARDEN LOOM - I saw this, or something similar in a gardening magazine. I was so excited to get this going thinking guests would pick up found objects on their walk and "weave" them into my loom. Well, it hasn't worked and I think this year I will go ahead and weave something fun with wool roving. If you come to stay with us and fill this loom I will personally give you a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant. It really needs attention!
LILIS FOR MY LILI - This area of the garden is dedicated to Lilis because of my granddaghter "Lili". She doesn't get it yet but she will. The tall ones in the back will be taller than her for a few years yet. They will be exploding with color in the next 2-3 weeks. Lilis are great and easy to grow. Get some today!
MARIGOLDS - Okay they aren't so great now but these are the 15" marigolds that our guests just love. You have to have an oldie but goodie in every garden. Not many people plant marigolds but we just think tey are the best growing plant we have. They bloom for a very long time. This is one of the things we still need to finish - the fountain! I think it's on the list for today or tomorrow! I bought this fountain near Crystal Lake, IL. I stopped into this Great Greenhouse - wish I could remember the name, it's huge. It was on a trip back hometo see my Mom. They had a "Spin your Deal" going on so I took a chance and spun the thing. I landed on 60% off my entire purchase! I had eyeballed this fountain during my shopping and quickly let it go as it was well over $1000, I think $1,500. You could imagine the surprise on the cashiers face when I chose this fountain to add to my two flats of flowers at the register. What a deal...and they came and installed it too for free!
POTTING TABLE - This is where it all happens. This handy little Walmart potting table. It is constantly a mess but I just love it. You can see my tool box I painted probably 18 years ago. It is great because it has about 5 of everything, cutters, declumpers, pokers, diggers, scissors, etc.! It's great! I'll give you a closer look here since I am so very proud of it!
Oh My Gosh - I have to paint something!
COMPANION PLANTING - This intrigues me so I do it. This year I am trying some basil with my large tomato plant. Let's see how it works. In the other box I have tomatoes with cabbage. Hope they don't choke each other out but there always seems to be plenty of room at the foot of the tomato plants.
FRONT COURTYARD PLANTERS - Here's our little statue I named "Karen". She moves around the Garden throughout the summer. You can see I've planted the white urns (3 of them) and blue planters (3 of them) alongside the benches with Red Geraniums and The Wave Petunias. They always turn out nicely and by the end of the year our guests will be photographing themselves amongst these bushy flowers!
CONTAINER PLANTS - We have several container plans throughout the gardens. I purchased this one this year at Gassers. They've been selling them for a few years and I usually splurge on one item. This was it this year. Don't you just love the brightness of the watering can? It keeps moving around as well as the statue mentioned above. Love it!
Square Foot Garden - For those of you who have been here before and were fascinated over my square foot garden I decided to add this pic. I just planted Bok Choy, Cucumbers and some extra tomato plants I had. You can see the chives are thriving and come back every year. I used to have this garden separated into two square foot gardens. They didn't do too well. I think they weren't tall enough for the heat of the brick patio I placed them on. This year I put one on top of the other and we will see how it goes. I think these should actually be on grass, not brick! It's been fun learning what not to do!
BASKETS - This is one of only 2 baskets I have this year at the Inn. Seems if I go away for a couple of days they don't get watered and are dead by the time I get back so I am trying to do without. This one is a beauty though. I will have to remember to call my friend Rosie to come water my baskets while I am away! It's okay Dave - I still love you! Hey, maybe you'll go away with me this year!
PAINTED EVERGREENS ? - Here's the surprise at the "end of the blog"! Winter has killed a lot of evergreen bushes around town. Ours were all brown until Dave came up with the bright idea of "spray painting" them! My sweet husband lives outside of the box! Well, I have to say it is better in contrast to the brown ones until we can get them pulled out and replanted. I do believe, as I explained to Dave, that now that the dead needles are covered in paint they may actually fall off sooner rather than later. I could not believe it when I pulled up to the Inn and saw him spray painting these. He is tooooo funny for me! I guarantee you, you will not see this anywhere else so come check it out before it's too LATE!
NEW PLANTINGS - Let's end this on an up note! This is one of our new plantings this year. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. Any ideas?
Watch for my next blog about an exciting new Nature Area coming to Galena, IL
Horseshoe Mound Park - We were there last weekend for a "sneak preview". It is located on a mound coming into town. It has breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys for miles and miles. The Conservation Foundation, I hope that is the name of it, purchased this land to protect the view so we locals and our guests can enjoy it. They had live music and activities for the kids. I cannot wait for this project to be done. They are set to be open to the public September 28th, 2014! I plan on blogging about this location as well as the many other Nature Areas Galena has to offer!
You are going to love it!
Have a great week!
Bernadine's Stillman Inn
Grant Park - The Place Where It All Happens 28 May 2014, 7:22 am
Grant Park - The Place Where It All Hapens
Galena, IL 2014
The City of Galena has done and continues to do an excellent job with our showcase park, Grant Park. We are so fortunate to have this beautiful park which includes plenty of benches to enjoy an awesome view of the historic downtown, a railroad track, 3.5 mile walking path and Fever River for starters. I do not know what this breed of "kayak" is called but they are pretty fun to watch go by underneath the bridge that leads to Main Street.
The local business "Fever River Outfitters" provides rentals for your enjoyment to include canoes, kayaks, bikes and scooters that you can drive out to a local winery.
Great location and the site for Country Fair Weekend, Fourth of July Fireworks, Picnics, Music, Private Parties, Prom photos, Weddings, Family Fun and Romantic walks.
This is the bridge that crosses over the Fever River and lands one block from Main Street. Great photo ops here of downtown architecture as well as the aforementioned river bike path activity. Show up here around dusk and you will see a bevy of bats coming out atop the buildings for their nightly dinner. I know it sounds icky but really - no mosquitos and the bats aren't interested in you at all. I've never had one come close to me here.
Here is the arbor which, in summertime, is covered in greenery. Very romantic for an evening walk!
And of course, being a town centered around General Grant and the Civil War, we have cannons. I was just there yesterday and I can't remember if it's 5 or 6 of them but they are all different and very cool.
And of course you can climb on them. It's not just kids that climb on them either. Quite often, while strolling the park, I will see one or two adults posing as well!
Ah, the Gazebo. Lots of wedding ceremonies, Prom photos, Bands and engagements happen right here!
This Monument is always a good reminder of what people have sacrificed so we can be right here right now enjoying all of this goodness. And of course we have a stature of General Grant.
The house he lived in when he became President is right up the hill, across from our inn. It has a garden with a statue of his wife, Julia Dent, who is pointed towards his statue below. Sweet!
We also have this gorgeous fountain. In a couple of weeks the planters will be filled with flowers! It is surrounded with benches so you can sit and enjoy a picnic lunch right there. See the Pavillion and war monument in the background? The Pavillion is used for many things including weddings, local group picnics, bands during country fair weekend, etc.
Great recreation for the kids. We've enjoyed bringing out kids and now our granddaughters there often. Gorgeous green space. Always something for kids to do during the fairs.
This is one of the many paths leading to the breathtaking views of downtown Main Street. I have sat and enjoyed these views many times. Sometimes I take a good book and sometimes I take my knitting. Great way to relax. Back in the far distance is the top of the original High School. It is now filled with condos.
Thank you for taking time to view this blog. I hope it entices you to come visit Galena. If you live here already, I hope it entices you to pick up a good book and your dog and come sit for a while!
The "Grant Park" sign is embedded on a hillside. A couple of years ago, during the heaviest storm we have ever seen, the word "Grant" slid off the hill. As you can see they are now replacing it and it looks better than ever! Way to go Galena!
Come see us soon!
Bernadine & Dave
Bernadine's Stillman Inn