Quilts for the Art Fair

I whipped up two quilts for the Art Fair that will be held at church tomorrow. I used some of the plaids I had found stashed away. They are old vintage fabrics from the 80's and after making these two quilts including the backing, there's still plenty more to use up!

I quilted them both using a pantograph called Arboretum making the quilting part quicker since I didn't have to change out the design between quilts. I think it complements the fabrics pretty well. I was really hoping that I could squeeze out enough of the white-tailed deer fabric to make a piece large enough for the back but no matter what technique I used, there just wasn't enough to get a complete piece. Thus, the little green corner on the back. I hope they are good enough to actually sell and if they do I hope they get a good home.

While working on these quilts my nephew Edward needed a little sewing project completed. He had custom made patches done and he even created the design on his own. I sewed them on the left arm of the shirts that were ordered. They are for his group of co-workers who are all lifeguards at Bradford Beach near downtown Milwaukee. It's the toughest gig to get as a lifeguard in the Milwaukee County area so he must be really good at his job. I was happy I could help.

It's been in the 90's here and way too hot to go outside. So it's been a good week to get indoor things done like quilting and house cleaning. After last weekend's family reunion and a house full of guests there were many bath towels, bed sheets to wash as well as floors to be scrubbed and outdoor tables and canopies to be put away. We did the outdoor stuff at 7 in the morning before it got too hot. One benefit of the heat is that tomatoes in my garden are starting to turn red. I can't wait to take that first bite.


Reunion Weekend

We hosted my husband Jeff's family reunion at our house this weekend. That meant lots of fun, food and frivolity. It was lots of prep and lots of people as guests at our house for a few days but I wouldn't change a thing. We partied and played all afternoon and into the evening. I was pretty busy hosting so I didn't have much of a chance to take photos. Frankly, I would have taken a photo of my desserts which included individual pavlovas and cheesecake. Yum! They sure were pretty as well as delicious. It seems that no one went away hungry and the weather was absolutely perfect. 

Here are the photos I snagged from some of our guests:

The day after the party that we hosted we went to Miller Park and tailgated then enjoyed a Brewers game. They didn't win but we enjoyed being there as a group. It was a fun weekend and after all the prep and anticipation, I can't believe it's over. I think we made some great memories to add to the many photos we shared of the past. 


Work in Progress

I loaded this quilt on my longarmer today knowing very well that I won't be able to finish this any time soon. We are hosting a family reunion at our house next week and all gears will be shifted to cleaning, prepping and hosting not only the reunion but some of the family members that are coming from out of town.

The reunion is for my husband's mother's side of the family. His brother and sister and their spouses will be staying with me. My son and his fiance will be here as well. My husband's cousins are staying at another cousin's place on the other side of town. We will have people here from Washington state, the Phoenix area, Denver, Fayetteville, Arkansas and Marinette, Wisconsin. It's going to be a very busy time since we will attend the Milwaukee Brewers' baseball game the day after the reunion party. It should be great fun.

This week we had a new little visitor. We're not too happy to see him (or her), but it sure is cute. We've only seen him once so hopefully he moved on to where ever he came from.


Shirting Fabric Find

While cleaning out my sewing room I came across a plastic storage bag filled with plaid shirting fabrics. They are beautiful fabrics, some were leftovers from a quilt I made for my son while he was in high school. Well he is 36 now so I have to admit that they've been lying around here for way too long. Instantly I thought they would make great charity quilts for the veterans.

Some of the fabrics were cut into 3.5 inch squares and 6 inch squares. So I ironed up the fabrics and cut some more squares in those sizes. Some pieces were so big I also cut 10 inch squares. I think I will easily get three quilts out of these fabrics.
I used up most of the 3.5 inch squares making this panel. I added an inside border and now I have to choose a plaid for a bigger outside border and viola! ...a completed quilt top. In my charity fabric bin there's a large piece of fabric with a white tailed deer print. I think that would make a great backing for this quilt.


What's on the design board?

There's not much going on on the design board this month. Or last month really. Once summer comes it's hard for me to stay indoors. Plus my time has been hijacked because we are hosting a family reunion at our house in 2 weeks. That part is easy. The hard part is that my husband's brother, his wife, husband's sister, her husband, my son, and his fiancee are all staying at my house over the 4-day weekend during the reunion. That's a lot of entertaining and a lot of figuring out where everyone is going to sleep. It's a fun problem to have.

I am making slow progress on my gypsy wife. I have sections 1 through 7 completed and section 8 is on the design board. Plus a few extra blocks I made that I do not like. Don't know what's going to happen with those. 

Sections 1 through 7 are sewn together and now it's too long to hang on the design board. So here is the best photo I could get without having to lay it on the floor.

I made a chocolate ganache pound cake from a recipe I found on Pinterest. It was not great. It wasn't bad, just not good enough for me to make it again. It sure was pretty though. Click for the recipe if you care.


Vegetable Garden Tour

This is a tour of my vegetable garden. This was a difficult year due to the bad spring weather and our trip to Europe. Our trip fell right smack in the middle of the best time to plant. So I took a risk and planted early not sure if the plant would survive the very cold spring nights. So far, the risk is paying off.

A few years back I planted 4 strawberry plants. I've never had much success with strawberries but for some reason these 4 plants went crazy. I had to build a rock border to hold them back. The plant were growing so wildly that I had to dig some of the up and replant them within their new boundary. They are coming in beautifully. I think the compost helped.

I decided to cut back a lot on plantings in the garden this year. So I purchased bean and pea plants instead of growing them from seed. In years past I was overwhelmed at harvest time so I think less plants will mean less stress later this year.

 My husband loves kohlrabi so we always have those planted. I wish they would take a little longer to be ready for harvest. I think I could pick a few already and I just planted them a few weeks ago! The cabbage is starting to form heads already too. I just love cabbage and look forward to making spring rolls at the end of summer.

 I've always planted 10-12 tomato plants in the past. This year I only planted 5. I hope that's enough plants to keep my family in homemade salsa-we shall see. In place of tomatoes, I chose to add a tomatillo plant this year. I look forward to fresh Mexican dishes later this year.

I planted 2 cucumber plants. One is a burpless and the other is a mini cucumber plant. My granddaughter cannot get enough of the mini cucumbers. I think she will enjoy picking them when she wants to eat some. 

I always plant a variety of peppers. I have 2 bell pepper plants growing. One is a red and the other green. I also plant a poblano and jalapeno pepper plant. It is so fun to cook by just heading out to the yard to pick my ingredients. There are already jalapenos forming on this plant.

Since I am trying to cut down on the work of managing a large garden, I planted less vegetables and added more flower pots to fill in the empty spaces. We do a lot of composting - we have 2 compost bins so the garden gets lots of nutrients. I also have a soaker hose connected to a rain barrel so watering in a breeze, especially on very hot days.

So that's my tour for now. I can't wait to take some July and August photos later in the year to see the progress. It's hard work but totally worth it.


My Little Free Library

The girl next door's mother did some summer cleaning right after school let out for the semester. The result was that I got a nice donation for my little free library. It is so generous of her to supply all these books. The neighbor is my best library steward.

My little free library gets lots of visitors who are children so I am always in need of books for young people. Sometimes I swap some of the books I get with other little free libraries in order to keep up with the demand for kids' books.

It is a fun hobby that I really love.


Sweet Sundays Quilt Donation

I made this quilt from a pattern I found in a magazine. It went together quickly and since there were butterflies in the fabric prints, I used a butterfly pantograph when I quilted it.

The quilt is made from fabrics that were donated to my church group. So I thought I would only use the donated fabrics to make it. As it turned out, our group leader wanted to make a quilt for the lady who donated the fabrics. When I showed up at our last group meeting with this, it was just what she was after. Mission accomplished (without even knowing it - ha!).