Upcycle/Recycle – LeMaisonBelle

Shop #2 in my series of Etsy artists using upcycled and/or recycled items.  Meet LeAnn from LeMaisonBelle.  She has graciously offered a coupon to my readers for 10% off, use the code QUILTYTHERAPY.  Below is an item that may be coming to my home.

Tell me a bit about you and your Etsy shop…
My name is LeAnn Cooper, and I was born and raised in Mississippi. I started out 6 years ago selling large-scale painted furniture pieces, and just recently opened Le Maison Belle at Etsy. I focus mainly on small home decor pieces using vintage and upcycled elements. I also offer limited series black and white photographs, alphabet photography, and signs made from reclaimed wood with original artwork.

To most the name Le Maison Belle means “The House Beautiful”, but the shop is actually named after our Great Dane, Belle, who basically owns our house…so to us the names means “The House of Belle”.

How did you get started using upcycled/recycled products?
My grandmother was an avid sewer – and she never threw even the tiniest scrap of fabric away. When her pile got too large to handle, she’d begin making quilts. I think you’d probably call them crazy quilts today. I was always amazed at the beautiful quilts she made from sometimes the ugliest, tiniest strips of fabric. I think that’s where my “I know I can use this for something” mentality comes from.

We live in a house that was built in 1856, so we have lots of scrap wood from years of remodel projects. That’s how the painted signs venture got started. I also owned an antiques shop, so I have lots of small decorative items just waiting to be loved!

What do you like the most about using those products?
A lot of old items can have so much character – even an old piece of wood. You just don’t seem to find that in a lot of the items manufactured today. I love taking castoff items and imagining them as something completely new and different, and then seeing them take on a new life.

What do you like the least? Challenges?
When incorporating antique pieces into my designs, I take great pains to maintain the integrity of the antique pieces themselves. Even if a piece is rusted beyond having any monetary value, I find myself wincing as I paint it. I usually end up glad that I did though.

How do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by so many things…it’s hard to pick just one. I usually let things tell me what they want to be. I’ve found that if I try to force it, I don’t always end up pleased with the final product.

I find tremendous inspiration in other artists. The idea for the “Love is all You Need” sign that I painted came from graffiti that I saw painted on a building. “Love is all you need” was painted on the front; then, when I rounded the corner, “yes it is” was painted on the side.

What feedback do you have from others about using these products?
I spend a lot of time making freebies for friends and family. They’ll see something I’ve made and say, “Oh, can you make this for me in that color?” And I always do. I have so much fun making all of the items that I sell at Le Maison Belle, and I hope that everyone loves the products as much as I love creating them. I get a thrill when someone actually appreciates an item enough to purchase it.

Favorite upcycled/recycled item. Please include picture or link.
Oh, that’s a hard one! I love how the Ships in a Bottle turned out, and I really enjoy making the painted signs; but I’d have to say my favorite item would be the red magnetic bulletin board – red is my favorite color. This is also one of the items most requested by friends and family.


Weekend Blitz of Quilting

Fridays are my day off from my grown up job and are usually spent in the sewing room.  Has to be one of my favorite parts of the week.  I have around 8-10 hours to just get projects done with the occasional interruption from the assistants.

Last Friday my goal was to finish a couple of projects I had laying around that I just hadn’t quite finished yet.  One quilt top had been on the design wall for some time.  Top complete but having creative block with the backing.  I had taken left over squares to a number of quilt stores looking for the perfect fabric for the back.  Some time last week I started going through my big scrap pieces and stash for another project and found some fabrics that could work.

I decided to just make a back with what I had, the colors were close and coordinated.  Turns out that I LOVE the backing more than the front.  Also love the binding fabric.  It’s a hodge podge of fabrics and prints, but isn’t that would quilting should be?   Check that one off the list last Friday.  It was completed right before hubby got home from work.

Throughout the day on Twitter on Facebook I had been showing another quilt I was working on, the Square Scraps.  It felt wonderful to make 4 quilts out of a fabrics that were already in my stash.  There is enough left over to make a cute mug rug or even some potholders.  Who knows what is next for those scraps?

Here is the final project.  The cream fabric strips really added some pop and size to the quilt.  It was pinned prior to the start of Sunday Football after cleaning the house.  It was a really busy morning.  After football ended the depression started at my house.  Both the Giants and the Colts lost, not a good way to start our seasons.  Off to the sewing room I wen to try to quilt this before the start of True Blood.  Quilting done but the binding wasn’t done until about 9:10.  Luckily it’s programmed to DVR.  Binding was finished during the episode and completed Monday morning.

Overall it was a productive weekend.  Wonder what I can do this week when hubby works all day on Friday and some on Saturday??

Rose quilt for sale here in my Etsy shop

Quilted playmat for sale here in my Etsy shop

News Thread 1.28.11

My list of projects is continuing to grow.  It’s a good thing but time management is becoming ever so important.  I’m going to need to put up a calendar to keep me on track.  Here is a sneak peek of the items I am working on this week.

Sycamores Quilt

This is a special project for a friend that wants something to represent his alma mater.  Designing the quilt was the hardest part.  Now it’s on the borders and and keeping it masculine.  Finding blue fabric that isn’t feminine is difficult.

Just a corner

Mother’s Day Quilts

I have a block for inspiration on this quilt.  This weekend it’s a priority that I get the fabrics picked out for these blocks.  They will be traveling with me in March for an added touch!  Here are the blocks I’m thinking of adding to complete the quilt, Mother’s Dream.

Eva Curtains

I was asked to make curtains to match the Moda Eva Baby Quilt. Luckily I was able to find a large amount of the fabric requested.  Time to get those laid out, pressed, and started.


Last week I was able to spend some time getting a variety of potholders one step away from being available.  Just the topstitching needs to be completed.  I finally figured out a way to get my white background for my Etsy photos.

2011 Project Week 3

Using some of the Recs triangles I cut out for last week’s block, I decided to make my own.

Okay now what to do?  Let’s just play the match game and put the white with the black.

Not off to a good start, my points are off.  Should I have matched them differently?  I matched point to point.

Looks great minus the bottom half being off.  Doesn’t look bad if I was trying to make a jilted A.  Good success of making my own block.  It just needs some work.

2011 Project Week 2

Yes, I am behind, but Week 3 will be out by this Friday.  For these next two blocks, time to go into my stash of tools that are very rarely used.  A couple of years ago I added the Tri-Recs tool to my arsenal.  Challenge of two different triangles that work together.  Last week my points were okay.  After making this block, I know I have lots of work to do to match up points. (more…)