Quilts for Kids - Patchwork Quilts Completed

Daisy QuiltI've been practicing some free-motion quilting lately. Since I have some quilt tops done for a charity group, I thought I would take the time to get even more practice in by quilting these finished quilt tops using the free-motion technique.

Once I finished the first quilt, I was addicted. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I could get the entire quilt done. So I free-motion quilted the second quilt as well.

I think I will be doing a lot more of this technique. I know I need more practice but what better way to get more practice than by quilting more projects!
Capset Quilt

My Ironing Station

The end of summer is a perfect time to get painting projects. It's when the weather is perfect for the paint to dry. So it is time to get some projects done!

I've had an old entertainment center from the 80's stored away for a very long time. It held a large-screen television which meant it was a bulky piece of furniture with a fat opening for those big, heavy televisions that were so popular back in the day. That entertainment center is made from oak and the craftmanship is beautiful. It is a quality piece which is why we could not part with it. Unfortunately, we could not use it anymore either. Those flat-panel tvs we have today just don't fit.

We were going to turn the piece into a wine rack. My husband would custom-fit some bottle racks where the tv was and we would use the shelves for storing wine glasses. So I put the piece in the kitchen until I could decide what color to paint it and I absolutely hated it there. So it was on to plan ironing station for my sewing studio.

Ironing StationI measured the space available in my sewing area where I thought it should go and it was a perfect fit. And as for color, that was easy - I have leftover paint from the shelves I painted so I used that. I then had my husband cut a piece of wood a half-inch smaller than the top of the unit and covered it with layers of batting and insul-bright. I topped it off with a white duck cloth cover and there you have it - an ironing station.

Even though painting is cutting into my sewing time, I am having tons of fun re-purposing our old furniture. I even did some stenciling on the inside for a little charm. Then I added a curtain rod and made a curtain with some fabric I bought at Ikea and changed the door and drawer hardware to something a little more modern. I absolutely love it.
Ironing Station


Batik Wall Hanging

Connie, the owner of Coins & Quilts put together a wall hanging kit for her shop. The kit uses a pattern called Autumn Leaves by Thimble 'N Thread and is made up of batik fabrics. I made a sample wall hanging from the kit for her to hang at the shop.
Thimble N Thread Pattern
I used Madiera thread to do some stitching around the appliqued leaves and just a little straight-line quilting around the blocks, like the pattern designer suggested. I was pleasantly surprised how the sample turned out, especially since I'm not usually a fan of batiks. 


What's on the design board?

I changed up some of my low volume blocks before sewing them together. Some of the fabrics I thought would qualify as low volume turned out to be a bit too busy for my purposes. So I did some un-sewing and replaced the offending fabrics with some quieter stuff.

Now that I have the blocks sewn together, I'm thinking that I should make the quilt top bigger. I really started with no plan other than to dabble in low volumes. And now that I've gotten this far, I really like where things are going.

It will be fun to pull out a few more scrap pieces to make more blocks. Other than this quilt top, I haven't been doing all that much sewing. I have too many outdoor projects in the works to spend my days indoors but I do miss my sewing machine!

Plus Sign Quilt


Wisconsin Shop Hop Fabric Table Topper

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are die-hard University of Wisconsin Badger football fans. To top it off, their son played the tuba in the Badger band. That made their Badger football experiences even sweeter. So needless to say, I'm pretty certain their favorite song of all time is the University of Wisconsin theme song, "On Wisconsin".

This year's shop hop fabric line has a print with sheet music that says "On Wisconsin" on it. And although the fabric colors are a little muted from the University of Wisconsin colors of red and white, it seemed obvious to me that I had to make something for my sister-in-law out of this fabric line. Since she is coming to visit at the end of this week, I figured I better get started.

Since I work at a local quilt shop, I decided to take their free shop hop block and turn it into a table runner. I bought the last quilt block kit at the shop and added some extra yardage to it, especially the sheet music print. I thought a table runner would look good on either their coffee table or their dining room table and it would make a nice conversation piece when people looked at the print up-close. I hope she likes the finished product.
Wisconsin Shop Hop Tablerunner

Wisconsin Shop Hop Tablerunner


Re-Purposed Television Stand

I've been doing very little sewing lately. The thing is, it's the weather. Wisconsin summers are way too short so you have to savor every moment of every nice day. At least I think I do. With that said, I maximize my outdoor time with gardening, weeding, taking long walks and using the garage as a workshop.

The garage is the perfect place to paint during the spring, summer and fall depending on the humidity and the extreme in high and low temperatures. Here in Wisconsin in spring and fall the daytime temps can be perfect however the nighttime temps can fall below 40 quite often. That's not good for drying paint. It can also get well over 90 in summer during the day. Again, not good painting weather. So when those perfect days to come, I get busy.

I decided to start with an old television stand that my daughter was storing in my basement. It had a nice large cabinet that sat low to the floor with a brace that was attached to the back of the main unit. A flat-panel television bracket was attached to the wooden brace. It was a hideous looking thing made of a very dark veneer.

After reading a few articles on painting over veneer, I thought I would write about my experience. I started by taking the wooden brace off the back of the main unit. Then I removed all the hardware; the knobs, hinges, drawer slides and pretty much anything that was screwed on to the main piece. I even removed the glass from the doors so I could paint the doors easily without worrying about getting paint where it does not belong. I purchased a gallon of Zinsser Bulls Eye oil-based primer. This stuff is noted for its ability to cover any surface without sanding and I was all about not sanding.

I put a coat of primer on the piece and let it dry overnight. The next part was the hard part. Choosing a color. I've been obsessed with the teals and blues lately so I chose a pretty color called North Haven and I purchased a quart of Dutch Boy Kitchen and Bath semi-gloss enamel paint. This stuff takes a long time to dry, but I would rather have a quality coat of paint than a quick coat that comes off when you bump into it.

The paint went over the primer like a dream. It covered so well, I didn't have to give it a second coat. Although, I did miss a few occupational hazard of painting in a not-so-well lit garage. While the piece was drying I took the hardware into the back yard and spray painted it with some metallic silver paint. The hardware was originally a dark brown that matched the color of the veneer but now with my blue paint, the hardware needed an upgrade as well. The only problem I had was that one door knob was missing so I had to buy two new knobs for the doors. At least I had the drawer pulls and the hinges all in tact. I waited until a sale at the hardware store and I purchased two glass knobs for the doors.

After a few days, I put the hardware back on and moved the piece into the house. The only trouble I had with getting it back together is that the glass did not want to slide into its groove as easily as it came out. I think the extra layers of paint had something to do with that so I just took a scraping tool and ran it along the groove that the glass sat in and that fixed the problem.

Over the weekend while the newly repurposed television stand that I now call a bench was drying, my husband went on a day trip to do some wine tastings. We just happened to find a quilt shop along the way and I had to stop. As I was rummaging through the clearance fabric section, I came across the prettiest little print with beige and blue flowers. It really looked like the blue I chose for my new bench. So I bought 3 yards of the fabric.

When I got home I was amazed to find that the fabric had the exact same blue in it as my paint. I was thrilled. I knew I had a piece of upholstery foam in the back of my closet left over from an outdoor furniture project I did years ago. I wondered if the foam would be the right size for the bench. It sure would be nice to think that I kept that leftover foam all these years for good reason. When I took it out, it was a little too wide and not quite long enough to go end-to-end but it would still work. I was going to get a nice cushion for my new bench at minimal cost!

I cut off the extra 3 inches from the width of the foam and got out a bunch of leftover quilt batting. I placed 4 layers of quilt batting over the foam and put a few basting stitches in the layers to hold them in place. Then I made a muslin cover first, just like a pillow cover. The muslin would be the lining for the bench cushion and the template for the cushion cover as well. Once the muslin cover was done, I slipped the foam and batting into the muslin and sewed the opening shut. When I made the cover from the flower-print fabric, I inserted a zipper into the side seam so the cushion could be removed and the cover will be washable.

The cushion very nicely sits on the new bench, like they were made to go together. I love re-purposing pieces like this. The only problem I have now is that I don't need it. Good thing I have a son who just bought a new house. I think this will look nice in his currently empty home!

Entertainment center makeover


My Little Pony Valances

My Little Pony CurtainWith the completion of my painting project (the purple bedroom for my granddaughters), I am ready to work on the fun stuff. I am starting with valances for the windows. I have had a stash full of My Little Pony fabrics just for this occasion. So with a freshly painted purple room, I chose the most purple-ish of the pony fabrics to make the valances. I lined the insides with muslin so they would have more thickness and body to them and also to make them less see-through.

Once I got the valances done I couldn't wait to get some new curtain rods and hang them. I also wanted shades for their room. It seems like I spent the entire summer cleaning the blinds in my house so I thought my daughter would appreciate the shades over blinds as well. As luck would have it, our local hardware store just happened to have wall decals on sale for half-price at the same time I was purchasing curtain rods. I used that opportunity to buy some My Little Pony decals I've had my eye on for some time. They are so cute but a little on the expensive side so the only way I was going to get them was on sale. Perfect timing!
My Little Pony Curtain

My husband happily hung the new shades and the curtain rods on the windows and all I had to do was put up the valances and stick the decals on the walls. Since I wasn't sure where the furniture was going, I thought it was best to put the decals above the windows. They certainly would not be hidden behind tall furniture there!

I am happy with the results and I can't wait until my granddaughters see their new room. They have no idea we've been upgrading their new room. It will be quite the surprise.


My Little Pony Pillows

My daughter is moving closer to us. She has until the end of August to get the move completed. Since she is going from an apartment to a townhouse, she now has the freedom to paint and decorate the rooms as she sees fit.

I volunteered to help her. That actually translates to I want to paint my granddaughter's new room purple and decorate with My Little pony stuff. She was happy for the extra help.

I purchased 2 gallons of Dutch Boy Dura Clean Satin paint in the color, Prairie Sky. I love this color. It is just the right shade of purple to meet my granddaughter's obsession with the color of Twilight Sparkle a.k.a. the purple pony. So I painted the ceiling white and then the walls. I was totally surprised when I only had to use 1 coat of paint. Even though the can did say it was primer and paint in one, I just never believe that claim. That meant I have way too much paint...a whole extra gallon. I predict many purple paint projects in my future.

After I painted, I made the girls some valances from 3 yards of My Little Pony fabric I purchased last year. I also made a banner to hang in their room. As soon as I have those things hung I will post about them here.

The leftover fabric went into making these two pillow covers. Each one has two pockets so the girls can put their little goodies in the pockets. They were so thrilled when they saw them. I was hoping to save them until they see their new room all done but I just couldn't wait.


Garden Sunflowers

The sunflowers in my garden have finally started to bloom. Here are a few of the beauties I get to enjoy every day. There are many more that have yet to bloom. The next few weeks will be incredible.


My Garden Vegetables

Many of my sewing days have been replaced with harvesting days. This week I am lucky enough to be picking a large bowl of green beans and peas every-single-day. I love it.

The raspberries have also been plentiful over the last few weeks so I've been freezing them as soon as I pick and clean them. By fall I will have enough to make a batch of jam. Yay!

I tried growing kohlrabi this year and the results are fantastic. I have six very large vegetables ready to be picked. They are my husband's favorite so he will be happy to find them sliced up and ready for snacking tomorrow. But for today, we will be roasting green beans on the grill with our dinner tonight.


What's on the design board?

Crosses Quilt Blocks
As we start the month of August, I realize I've been pretty busy during the last few weeks. Busy at starting things, anyway.

I started a Wisconsin-themed table topper for my sister-in-law who is visiting us from Marinette at the end of August. My nephew was in the UW-Madison Badger band during his college years and it just so happens that this year's Wisconsin Shop Hop fabric has a print of sheet music with the lyrics "On Wisconsin". That song is oh so familiar to any and all Badger fans. So it seems appropriate to make her a little-something with that fabric. I guessed how much fabric I would need and as it turns out, I do not have enough for the backing so I will have to get more on my next trip to the fabric shop. For now, it can hang nicely in the center of my design board.

I also started a cross block quilt. I really wanted to do something using low-volume background fabric and this was my attempt. I see now that I look at the photo I have some re-work to do on some blocks. There are some backgrounds that are way too busy to qualify as low-volume backgrounds so I will have to adjust those.

I also have some leftover scrap vortex blocks on the end of my design board. I will use those when I make the backing for my scrap vortex quilt but as of right now, I haven't decided what to use for the backing fabric.

Usually in summer I slow down on the quilt-making process. I tend to save up the finished quilt tops until fall when the weather is cooler. It's much easier to work with quilt layers on my lap when it's not so hot outside. Especially since I hate air conditioning which means if it's hot outside, it's hot inside. So far, I have 6 quilt tops that need to be completed. Whew!


Table Topper WIP

Using the 2015 Wisconsin Shop Hop fabric, I put together a block from the pattern given out at the local quilt shop. I added a few extra borders to make it into a simple table topper.

This block took me about an hour to put together but it looks like a lot more work than it really was. In fact, I was pretty surprised at how easy it went together.

I like the nice muted colors used in this year's fabric collection. It is a tribute to our University of Wisconsin Badgers only with less bright red. :)