Robin Ferrier – Art Quilts »

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It’s been said that it takes a storm to make a rainbow and that analogy couldn’t have been more true for life as I know it lately.  Thank you dear readers for your concern; I don’t plan on being away for so long again!

To put it simply, we moved.  As with any real estate transaction here on Maui, you never know when it will happen so pretty much for the past year, maybe longer, we’ve been hopeful that not only we could sell the big house but also buy a smaller house more suited to our needs and closer to work.  It all came together this summer and thankfully we are happy as can be in our new home!The house is the perfect blend of unassuming simplicity and quality attention to detail.  We were fortunate enough to get this restored (and improved) white house with a wrap around deck and tall ceilings.  The house sits on a half-acre parcel and is surrounded by rich vegetation and a grove of avocado trees. At night, when the noise dies down, we are lulled to sleep by the sound of water moving down the river. Downsizing was not easy, it never is, but the reality of becoming empty-nesters is approaching and our lives sorely needed to hit the “reset” button.  All this is to say I’ve not been making quilts, I’ve not had time or space to create and I am woefully behind on all those yummy quilts I’m itching to gift-away!  We have plans to build a proper studio but I’m guessing we are six months away from that reality.  Not to worry; I’ve got plenty to keep my busy until then.Work on the Hana house took a break while we were in the throws of moving and now we are back at it!
The kitchen has been installed however these cabinets are way too tall.  The Balinese people are not known for their height so were all puzzled when they got hung.  We are considering tiling the walls which would make sense in the kitchen.  At that time I guess we will make a decision about lowering the cabinets.  I have yet to pick out tile for the floor, but the subfloor has been installed and it feels solid!
Meanwhile, our beloved beautiful bathtub sits on the screened lanai waiting to be installed.  It’s all about sequence with this project.  First we need to tile the bathroom then we can set it in place.  What needs to be done after that is plumbing and electricity… easy peasy… ahem.  With all the issues with building a home, raising teens, moving to a new house and our usual day-to-day madness, it’s easy to get caught up in the turmoil.  I’m reminded tho almost on a daily basis that I am surrounded by beauty and love. As we were leaving our Hana home we stopped by Koki beach, where the island ‘Alau is visible along with hundreds of swarming seabirds called ‘iwa. The sight is always captivating and we bounced in the waves like kids.  Out here it doesn’t matter that our last child will be leaving us soon, that we’ve been working on our Hana home for years now with no end in sight, that I haven’t picked up a rotary cutter in ages or that I don’t look as good in this swimsuit as I used to… certainly my DH doesn’t mind.  What matters is that life goes on.  I plan to attend a Halloween party tonight in a last-minute costume that has yet to be determined, after that I’ll get to that tile, shower, garage… care packages for the boys… so much to tend to.  I am looking forward to decorating for the holidays! What are you looking forward to these days?

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  • robinOctober 31, 2017 - 7:59 pm

    I agree Diane! This phase of life is so exciting! I know exactly what you mean by getting your house in order! Cheers!

  • DianeOctober 31, 2017 - 4:24 pm

    You new house looks great! We moved this summer as welll. I am just now starting to quilt again after five months off. It feels great to be in my new studio! This is mixed with getting our living space in order. I’m looking forward to all three of my sons coming home for Christmas with girlfriends. Much to do before then, but I can hardly wait. Such a treat to have everyone together.
    Diane in Madison

I’m a little late with this one, but really, I have until September to finish it.  Our son graduated from High School recently and this fall he will be headed away to begin the next phase in his life.  It’s at moments like this that I want time to stand still just for a short while so that I can take it all in.  Of course it seemed like only yesterday that this little one was tagging along his big brother, making a fort out of couch cushions or asking for a puppy.

He used to go through his days stuffing little things in his pockets, so much so that I remember I had to check his shorts before I did laundry.  I found things like stones, marbles, legos… the tire of a hot wheel, green army plastic guy… string.  When he got a little older he used to marathon read chapter books with his younger sister. They would patiently wait their turn when a new book came into the house, handing it over and politely not divulging the plot.  Older still and it was all about the sports.  We went through soccer, hockey, basketball, track, cross country, football, paddling and now his favorite, surfing.  It’s been a joy raising this one!  And now it’s done.  So to celebrate, I’ve decided to make him a quilt!  Like the one I made for his brother on his graduation from High School, I’m using old aloha shirts that once belonged to his dad and my father.  I’ll certainly throw in some of my hand-dyed fabrics and maybe even scraps from my scrubs.  I want to infuse into this quilt memories of our family, believing the scraps hold some sort of magic within the weave, hoping somehow to create a quilt that will protect him as he travels away. It’s bittersweet really. I’m both sad to have him go but excited to see what’s next! I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he’s become, and I know in my heart (and maybe he would agree) he will always be my little man!

 

This may look like a scene from “Sanford and Son” but to me it’s sheer beauty. This was our make-shift kitchen for nine-months while our real kitchen was being worked on.  I remember not caring if a drink was spilled or crumbs fell, the promise of this place was that someday my dream kitchen would be a reality.  I did my best to decorate and keep things warm and cozy, with candles, banners and tiny quilts on the wall.  We had everything one needed to cook, serve and eat meals!  There was a part of me that did not want to leave this space because our life in our garage was simple and easy but time marched on and we did indeed shift back into our house.  I’m grateful to have had such a wonderful set up during renovations!  It was a refreshing step out of our ordinary lives!

  • DianeMay 17, 2017 - 10:04 am

    I am touched by your gratitude for a home series. My husband and I have decided to move from our home that we love. It is not ‘old person’ friendly particularly in winter. However, now that it is spring we are enjoying our beautiful, private yard and having second thoughts. Your recent series is a lesson in how to be grateful, release it and move on. Thank you!
    Diane in Madison

One of the things I was grateful for with this home was the wrap around fence and hedge.  We had an electric gate and although we replaced the driver a couple of times, it works very well to keep the dogs in and unwanted cars out.  Being in a neighborhood where all the lots are large and neighbors scattered, I felt safer being surrounded by this gate.  The hedge is schefflera and for years we needed to water it, but now it thrives without irrigation.  It’s a very full and thick hedge, and it ads beauty and greenery to our large lawn.

One of the things I’m so grateful for is that our children grew up in a place where they could be kids.  The boys loved tromping around in the yard, doing things that boys loved to do!  Jamey built a tree fort around one of the trees in the back and occasionally I would catch them perched up there carrying about in an unencumbered fashion.   At one point we installed a zip line that ran from this fort to the yard below.  The kids would zip down at speeds that made me nervous but nobody ever got hurt.  It was as if they too appreciated having this space to expand that they tested the limits but never went to far. Those boys were silly, they were fun… at times the mother in me would worry about that random bird or my laying chickens, but thankfully these boys spared them.  Here now, years later our boys are gentle, kind young men and I cannot help but be thankful to have lived in a place where they were free to explore and thrive as only young wild boys know how.

I have such gratitude for this lovely gas stove with interesting backsplash.  My windowsill served as a cheerful place to keep small potted plants, ceramics made by the kids at school and photos that brought me happiness.  The view as I washed dishes was of our backyard and occasionally I could watch horses and goats that our neighbors kept from where I stood.  I was truly grateful to have raised our children in this peaceful rural place.

Having a large yard meant having access to fresh firewood.  Not a year went by that some tree needed to be trimmed or removed.  The yard thrived like that!  Of course I had many opportunities to display those colorful vibrant quilts I made at that time!  I’m grateful to have had this massive yard where my husband could cut firewood like a man and I could decorate those piles of wood like a woman 😉

I’m grateful to have had a hedge of red torch ginger surrounding the house, and clumpy zoysia grass in the mix.  The kids enjoyed riding their bikes in our large driveway and sometimes “off-roading” it in the two-acre yard.  To the right of the front porch is a large night-blooming-jasmine bush and I can remember how sweet the air smelled in those cool Kula evenings.  Finally, I was always grateful Jamey let me paint the front door red!  It gave the house a warm cozy feel and it looked sharp with those torch ginger in the foreground!

It may not look like much but this is a photo of our mantle and tiled wall over the fireplace.  I loved how mid-century the tile looked and it was the perfect backdrop for photos and artwork.  The mantle (wish you could see more) was milled from a tree harvested near the sugar mill in Wailuku.  It’s a solid richly hued piece!  I was so grateful when it was installed and we enjoyed it for many years!

One of the things I was grateful for in this home were those huge walls!  They allowed me to hang many of my beautiful quilts as well as this giant chalkboard!  It was actually used in the school our children went to!  I used to post schedules, photos important papers, lists and notes on it.  Sometimes it served as a convenient way to plant a little seed into the minds of our young ones!  I’m grateful to have had this centralized command center if you will, and it helped me keep track of our busy little family!

This series would not be complete without mentioning that fabulous kitchen!  For years we had a stubby common kitchen that was fine, but not this!  From hiring an architect to using quality materials, we did this one right!  I love the honed marble, the retro pulls and lights, the little nook in the corner and of course that giant 4″ slab of wood that serves as a built in kitchen island.  I remember when they installed it; the thing used to be a table-top to a large dining table from Indonesia.  It was too big!  Our contractor and three guys took four inches off each side with this giant skill saw… everybody carefully working together so as not to damage themselves or this lovely piece.  I’m told the wood is monkey pod and we finished it in a lovely durable type of varnish which makes it smooth and easy to clean!  I am so grateful to have had this lovely kitchen and it was truly a joy to cook, gather and eat in!

One of the things I was grateful for was this garden on the side of the house.  Years ago, we installed a cedar fence to provide the backyard with a little privacy.  After some time, the fence was removed and we were left with piles of useful planks so we installed raised beds and kept a small garden.  I was grateful to have fresh spices, vegetables and occasionally flowers.  This place too served as a backdrop for my colorful quilts and I’m sure I’ll find more photos of quilts in this space while revisiting photos of this house that was once home. To see the listing click here!

I realized quickly on that my gratitude for this lovely house would have to include that stunning studio!  For years it served as my workshop, where I created and explored during my life as an at-home mom.  The carpet was a soft low-pile wool and I never grew tired of walking in this space.  We’ve replaced the carpet with hardwood and all of this quilt-related stuff is moved but when I return I am still filled with happy thoughts of working and playing in this  peaceful space with large design walls, lot’s of natural light and high ceilings.  With the birds cheerfully keeping me company, I can honestly say I loved this space and am grateful to have had such a wonderful studio!

One of the things I LOVED about this house was the walls in our son’s room.  I had originally painted the walls a most lovely color of sky blue, but I used a glossier paint than I should have so the walls really shined!  Wanting to keep that beautiful hue, I hired a guy to come in and airbrush wispy clouds all around.  This served us well for many years!  The solid blue below was added years later when we replaced the carpet with wood flooring, replacing the molding in the process.  I loved photographing my quilts in this room because it was the perfect backdrop to a peaceful child’s room!

  • robinMay 9, 2017 - 4:29 pm

    Lots of painters tape!

  • PaigeMay 9, 2017 - 9:01 am

    Yes, very lovely! How would you temporarily attach the quilt for photographing?

I’ve decided to start something new today… a photo essay about our family home.  This house is currently on the market and I’m so excited to share it with you!  While I admit there are some bittersweet feelings to see this chapter of my life come to a close, these feelings are overshadowed by the immense feelings of gratitude for a life well lived and the inspired feelings of hopefulness for the life yet to come!  Moving on is what people do!  It’s a cause for celebration!  With that in mind, I thought I’d share with you some of the fantastic photos I’ve taken over the years with this lovely house as a backdrop!  We are hoping to find a buyer soon and you can see the listing here!  Check back daily for more lovely shots of this beautiful place!