Sunday

What's on the design wall?

After a table runner marathon month, I look forward to moving on to my other projects. Although I still have 6 table runners quilted but not bound. They will have to wait because I need a break from them - ha!
Atlas fabric
I've been working on this quilt called Just Kisses at the senior center. I discovered that I enjoy my time at there more when I have a quilt project ready to go. So this project only gets worked on when I am there which is just one afternoon per week. After a month and a half of listening to the ladies say "are you STILL working on that?" I can finally say it's close to the finish line.

I made the 67 required blocks at the center however I do need a design wall to put the quilt top together. So my plan is to do the layout at home but sew the rows columns and rows together at the center.

I am really loving these blocks. The colors are not my usual selections. It's a pleasant reminder that I need to add more variety to the colors in my fabric stash.

Friday

Pavlovas

Schaum TorteWe went strawberry picking last week and I realized that I needed to do something with the strawberries I did not freeze. They were sitting in the fridge and I worried about them getting too soft.

I've always made strawberry pies, jams or shortcakes but I really wanted to try something I never made before. I remembered a wonderful dessert I had at a restaurant during winter called Schaum torte. I've never had it until that day but my husband just raved about how his grandma used to make it for their Sunday dinners during his childhood. How lucky.

I found a recipe online for Pavlova. It looked exactly the same as the Schaum torte I had eaten except that the Schaum torte was piped into a nest shape and the Pavlova was just dolloped into its shape but flattened out in the middle to look like a nest. I had to give it a try.

As you can see from the photo, it was a great success. I had to make a strawberry topping that was similar to pie filling bit a little thinner. Freshly whipped cream was the perfect addition to make it exactly as in the restaurant. All I have to say is that this recipe is a keeper. And it wasn't terribly complicated, in fact, I had all the ingredients at hand - no special trips to the grocery store!

Individual Pavlovas with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream and Raspberry Sauce

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fresh mint , for garnish (optional)

Raspberry Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp cornstarch
  • 18 oz fresh raspberries (frozen would work too)
  • 1/3 cup water

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with cream of tartar and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and slowly add in sugar mixture (I just continuously added 1 heaping tbsp at a time one right after the other), then increase speed to high and whip until stiff glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes, adding in vanilla during last minute of mixing.
  2. Spoon and dollop meringue into 3 to 4-inch circles (depending on how large you want them) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets then use the back of the spoon to create slight dips in their centers. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes, then leave in oven with door closed, turn off oven and allow to rest in oven 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  3. To assemble, top meringues with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream then Raspberry Sauce and garnish with mint. Assemble just before serving.
  4. For the raspberry sauce:
  5. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in 1/3 cup water. Add half of the raspberries, then cook mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely. Stir in remaining raspberries. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
  6. For the cream cheese whipped cream:
  7. In a mixing bowl whip heavy cream until soft peaks form then add sugar and vanilla and whip until nearly stiff peaks form. In a separate mixing bowl, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese to whipped cream mixture and whip until stiff peaks form. Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday

Client Quilting Projects

Today I quilted two quilts for a client. It's been raining a misty annoying rain on and off all day so it's a good day to be inside. Normally being inside on a summer day is not something I like to do. Warm weather season in Wisconsin is short so I try to enjoy every moment of it. At least being indoors has made me productive in my sewing room.

Friday

Table Runner Progress

I quilted 18 table runners over this past week. I've been using up all my food-related novelty fabrics to make these.

Hopefully I can get the binding on all of them before my long arm gets delivered. I'm pretty sure that once the long arm comes I'm going to forget all about sewing for a while.

Tuesday

Husqvarna Sold

I sold my Rose today to a nice woman, MaryJo who's friend told her it was a great machine. I agree, it is a great machine. I hope MaryJo gets as many years of pleasure sewing on her as I had. She is a work horse and a wonderful machine.

Thursday

Amara!

I did it! I bought a longarmer today. I still can't believe it. It's a dream come true.

The shop that I purchased it from is called The Quilting Connection and it is located in Elkhorn, WI. It's a 45 minute drive from my house and because they do many quilt shows and spend time setting up machines, their shop is by appointment only.

I called first thing this morning hoping to get in early in the day but they were out setting up a machine. They called and stated that they would be back in the shop by 3:30 and I could come then. At the time of their return call I was babysitting my granddaughter and we were swimming. I still said yes I would come today even though I felt covered in chlorine-laden pool water. The hair just frizzes up under those conditions.

I got to the shop at 3:50 and left with a signed contract at 5:05. Wow! What an afternoon. So now I await confirmation that the machine is being built and sent to the shop for setup. Then they will contact me to pick a delivery date to my house. My sewing room is ready and I can't wait!

Monday

Batik Modern Quilt

I finally hand-stitched the binding on this quilt. I completed the quilt top over a year ago and until recently, I hadn't found the time to quilt it. I even had the backing pieced together for a very long time.

The quilting went quickly; I used variegated thread to compliment the colors in the fabrics. I used a meander to quilt it. Then I sewed the binding on and again, I let the quilt sit. All I needed to do was turn the binding over and hand-stitch it down and it seemed that once gardening season came, I just could not find the time.

It's been raining and chilly outside the last few days and that gave me a moment to get the hand-sewing part completed.


Saturday

Poppy Bag

Tomorrow I am attending a veterans picnic where our American Legion Wisconsin state auxiliary leader will be honored for her successful year of leadership. She just so happens to be a member of our local post and she comments to be regularly about how much she likes my poppy bag. So today I thought I would make her one just like mine.

The funny thing about my bag is that I didn't really use a pattern as much as I just copied some dimensions from another bag. So when I made this one I just got out my bag, measured it and made some improvements based on my bag. The one thing I really wanted to change is that I wished I would have used some heavy-duty interfacing. So I got out my decor-weight iron-in interfacing and ironed it to the inside pieces of the bag.

I put the entire bag together in just one afternoon since I've made so many before this one, it went pretty quickly.

The bag has a nice long shoulder strap and some interior pockets as well as the big outside pocket. the top is zippered shut so nothing can spill out. The interior of the big pocket and the bag lining is made with pretty paisley fabric that matches the outside of this bag. I sure wish I would have taken a photo of the inside of the bag.

I hope the bag is a nice surprise.

Friday

Sewing Machines for Sale

I decided it was time to let go of some of my favorite friends today. I posted my serger and my embroidery sewing machine for sale. It was very hard to let go of them but I knew they would be better off somewhere where they would be enjoyed. I just don't use them anymore. It took less than 8 hours to sell the serger. A woman who works at a local flag manufacturing company picked it up tonight.
The embroidery sewing machine is still for sale and hopefully it will go to a good home soon. I listed them both for sale on Craigslist and on some local Facebook sellers' pages. Both have had many inquiries and it just happened that the serger sold first. I think it's because I sold it for very little money. The sewing machine has a bit higher price tag on it so that one might take a little while to sell.

The sewing machine is quite the work horse. I saw one for sale for twice what I listed it for. I just want to see it get used.


Wednesday

Client Quilting Projects

Today I have quilting projects to complete for a client. She is going to donate this one to charity so I just had to do a meander all over this simple quilt for her.


I also had a table topper to quilt for this same client. The fabric is so pretty, I wouldn't mind owning this myself. The pictures do not do the fabrics justice. I quilted it using a blue fabric on top and a red on the back. It was hard to see my stitches since the thread blended in so nicely. That's not a bad problem to have! Such a pretty print. 


Sunday

Sewing Room Update

I spent this weekend cleaning out my sewing room. After our last meeting with our financial advisor, it seems there's room in our budget to make one of my dreams come true.

I will have a longarmer in this space very soon!

I can't believe I am saying it.

Friday

What's on the design board?

I've been all about table runners lately. After I made a bunch to send to a client, I've been inspired to keep going. So far, I've started 4 new ones.

I'm trying to branch out from my favorite color palettes to broaden the appeal for these at craft fairs. I hope to have many for people to choose from by the end of summer.

Sunday

Time to Plant

Our visitors are back again this year.  We've had a pair of sandhill cranes hang out with us all through the summer last year. They did disappear for a little while though and when they returned there were three. Let's see if that happens again this year.

The weather was cooperative enough to put in my vegetable garden. Ha! Actually it was a record high of 95 degrees for Milwaukee today. It felt good to get everything planted even though the sun was so very hot. I can't wait to snap another photo in a month to see the garden's progress. 

Tuesday

Table Runner Frenzy

I made this table runner using my small 5-inch tumbler ruler. I really like how this turned out. It is a bit smaller than most that I have been making lately but it would look nice on an end table or a coffee table.

This was made without a pattern, I just used a sampler pack from a designer collection of fabrics.

I have a few more table runners to make but for now I think I need to take a break from these before I get sick of looking at them - ha!

Friday

Table Runners

In an effort to make some everyday table runners, I whipped these up today. They are basically made with two coordinating fabrics and then I added a third fabric to tie things together to make the binding. I like how quick and easy these were to make and I think they would make a good addition to my craft fair items. They measure 44" x 15" which is a nice size. 




Tuesday

Wedge Table Runner

My friend's sister likes my table runners so whenever she goes to visit her sister she asks me for more table runners. This time the request was for every-day table runners. I really didn't have any that weren't holiday-themed so I decided to make some.

I found a pattern online that used a template that looked a little like my 10-degree ruler. So I took the online pattern and modified it a bit to get to my version. It was fun to make this sample, however I'm not sure I like the directional text fabric that ties it together. I just wasn't sure which direction to place the fabric while cutting. In the end I made it all face the same direction.

It was fun to choose coordinating fabrics from my stash to make this happen. I used the leftover text fabric to make the backing. It now looks quite reversible.

Friday

New Fabrics

It's a crappy, rainy day today which makes me feel like cleaning my sewing room. Earlier in the week, the weather was fabulous. I started cleaning out my garden and looked forward to keeping on going. Since I can't be outside today, the sewing room is a perfect place to be. I just finished making some cute quilted bags that contained teacher appreciation gifts for my granddaughters' teachers. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a photo of them before they got delivered to school.

Before cleaning off my sewing table, I took a photo of my purchases from last weekend.
 

Last Friday I went to a sale called FabricPalooza at a local quilt shop. It's a great sale where selected fabrics are $5.99 per yard. That's a really good deal for some high quality fabrics. And the selection is amazing. My friend, Sue and I got there a few minutes before the shop opened and we left there almost 2 hours later. It's a very popular sale so there were lots of people there enjoying the deals. I went there with the intention of buying fabrics for quilt backs. I have 3 finished quilt tops and now I have some pretty fabrics to make backs for them.

Sue and I also attended the It's a Stitch Quilt Guild quilt show at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, Wisconsin on Sunday. There were so many quilts on display that we spent more than a few hours there. It was a nice, relaxing event so shopping the fabric vendors was easy. I must admit, I spent way more $$ than I had planned. But it's always nice to touch the fabrics and get the opportunity to shop with vendors that come from further away from home.

Wednesday

Plaid Camping Quilt

I've had this nice, patchwork quilt top finished for a very long time. I just never found a backing fabric that I liked for it. Then I received a generous fabric donation from two ladies who lost their mother. From their mother's stash, I found this cute, camping-related fabric and I instantly knew it would go together well with my patchwork quilt top.

The amazing thing was that there was just enough fabric to make the back. I quilted it on my home machine and I was lucky to find some matching fabric to make the binding from the stash too.


Monday

Ikea Visit

I live in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the newest home to an Ikea store. In fact, the new Ikea store is so close to me, I can literally walk there from my house. Although why would I want to? I wouldn't be able to purchase much if I did that. Ha!

On Saturday I had to opportunity to attend a by invitation only shopping event at our new Ikea store even though it doesn't officially open until May 16th. My family and I were pretty excited to go and check it out. We are familiar with the 3-story Schaumburg store and the 2-story Minneapolis store but this one is one level. It was a maze of a store where the aisles zigged and zagged in a way that we weren't sure which direction we were going. Thank goodness for the little guide arrows to tell us which direction to go. After 3 hours in the store, we took home a few good purchases.

I got this 79-cent trash can for my sewing room.

I also purchased 3 of these toy boxes with wheels. I thought they would make perfect fabric storage bins. Since they have wheels, I could easily move them around if they got heavy from too much fabric. They also have a slot in the cover so the fabrics can breathe since it's not a good idea to keep fabrics in sealed containers. I like that I can see what's inside too. And in the end if they don't work out, I can actually use them to store my granddaughters' toys too.


Thursday

I-Spy Quilt

I put together this quilt from my larger scrap pieces and once I finished the quilt top, I totally forgot about it. I don’t know why I just let it sit there unfinished. The poor thing didn’t deserve to be left behind. So, I dug through my stash and found a nice simple print to use for the backing and quilted it. I liked how the backing looked next to the top so much that I also used the same fabric for the binding.


The pattern for this quilt is called Ashley's Journey and it is from a layer cake friendly book called Piece of Pie. I think I would like to make another quilt using this pattern with fabrics that have a much more cohesive look. Since I used leftovers with no real plan I decided that it looks much more like an I-Spy quilt than anything else. It’s cheery look makes me think it would be a good donation to a charity group.

Wednesday

Tag-A-Long Quilt WIP

I'm working on this pretty quilt and I think I have the layout down. I am going to a big fabric sale this weekend where I hope to find some fabric for the backing.

I love the nice spring colors. And the weather is finally warming up here so it feels right.

This is one of the kits I prepared for my quilt retreat last month. I made 7 quilt kits to take along but I didn't get to this one. I didn't get to half of them - ha!

Tuesday

What's on the design board?

Currently there is nothing on my design board. I know that I've tried to track my quilting progress from month to month by whether or not the same stuff is on the design board on the first day of the month but since I've attended a quilt retreat, there's so many quilt tops completed and not quilted that I really have to concentrate on that. 

Here's my progress over the last week:


I also purchased a pretty bundle recently and look forward to using it in an upcoming project.

It's from Patched Works quilt shop in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. They are having their Fabricpalooza big sale this Friday and I plan to attend in order to buy backing for 3 quilts. Any chance to get a deal on fabrics is a good idea - especially since I need very large pieces.

Sunday

An Amazing Fabric Donation


My brother-in-law works with a man whose mother-in-law passed away a few years ago. The man’s wife has been distraught since the loss of her mother and has saved the last chore of cleaning out her mother’s sewing room until now. She needed to find a place to take her mother’s fabrics where they would be used in a meaningful way. So my brother-in-law mentioned me to his co-worker which was really very nice of him. After a phone call from the wife where I explained my involvement with some quilting groups, I received this donation of her fabric collection. What incredible generosity!



As I worked my way through the bins I pulled out this little cutie and knew instantly it could be used as a backing for a quilt top I had completed a long time ago. The quilt top sat around for the exact reason that I did not know what to use for backing. As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it was a perfect match.

It was very rewarding to know that I was going to be able to do some good rather quickly with one of the fabrics. I even found a nice tan fabric piece to use for binding. I can’t wait to quilt this one.
The bins contain some quilts that have been started and I am certain that some of the ladies at the senior center would love the challenge of completing those started projects. My friend Sue will be coming over tomorrow to see what she can use for her charity projects and she will help me decide which groups would benefit from these fabrics. Between Quilts for Kids, the Veterans quilts, the Hope House quilts, the church group quilts and the senior center quilts, I am very sure nothing will get left behind.

I cannot thank the generous donor enough for her thoughtfulness and I hope she knows her mother’s legacy will live on through the comfort that these will give to someone.

Friday

Serendipity Woods Etsy Shop


I ordered some fabrics and patterns from a new shop. When I say new I mean new to me, not that it hasn’t been around for a while. I really wanted to get a pattern called Churning Fourteen and this is where I found it.

I absolutely had to peruse the shop once I had the pattern in my cart and I ended up with a few fabric bundles. I love the color combinations and the way I could buy many smaller pieces for my scrap quilts. The bundles are so very cute. And just look at the packaging. It’s so pretty I hated to have to open them.

But of course, I did open them. In fact, I couldn’t wait to tear into them. I love the bundles. They are full of so many cute prints I look forward to using them in my Jen Kingwell quilts.



Thursday

Simple Sudoku Quilt

I love Sudoku puzzles. They are quite the challenge. I’ve read studies where it’s been shown that doing these mind puzzles can help stave off Alzheimer’s. I sure hope that’s true because I love doing them and the bonus of thinking that I am exercising my mind takes away the guilt of spending time on them.

I found a free pattern online called Simple Sudoku Quilt. The pattern is at Craftsy and you can get it here. To understand how it works you have to know the sudoku concept where the puzzles have the numbers 1 through 9 that appear only once in a row across and once in a column down and once in a 9-patch grid. And there are 9 9-patch grids that contain a set of the numbers. The way it works is you cut 9 squares of 9 fabrics, number each fabric 1 through 9, solve the sudoku and place the fabrics on the appropriate number from the puzzle. There’s no thinking about fabric placement, the solved puzzle does all the work for you. What fun!

So here’s my sudoku quilt using gray fabric for the sashing to distinguish the 9-patch grids and some nice bright fabric on for the back.

I had a great time putting this together and it was the first quilt top I completed at the quilt retreat I attended a few weeks ago. All that is left to do now is to put a Quilts for Kids label on the back, wash it and send it off to the charity. I think I will make many more of these when I need a simple pattern for a quilt.

Sunday

Bird House Village

My wonderful husband built a bunch of bird houses for me last fall. Over the winter, I painted the bird houses and sealed them with some environmentally friendly paint products. I wished we had a better spring so these could have been installed earlier but the last month has been pretty terrible. So it took until yesterday to finally get these little cuties up!

Friday

Reveille Quilt

I made the Reveille quilt top at the quilt retreat last weekend and today I finished quilting and binding it. It is a cute little baby quilt that measures 31 1/2" x 31 1/2". It's a great baby quilt and a great use of some of my charm packs I've had saved.


Tuesday

Ben Franklin Crafts spring Fling Quilt Retreat 2018

I had the opportunity to attend a quilt retreat at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin this past weekend. The craziest thing happened that had never happened before. An April snowstorm hit the state like never before. There was so much snow that we had to stay until Monday just to get out of town. Ironically, back home in Oak Creek, we had just a few inches of snow fall during this storm. I can't complain, the resort was gorgeous, even covered in all that snow.

So this retreat was the first one I've ever attended. I was invited by a fellow quilter that I worked with over at Coins and Quilts. She never attended a retreat either, so I wasn't going to get much advice. The retreat coordinator email everyone an instruction sheet which helped greatly. I followed the instructions to a tee, including bringing my own chair. That was a tough thing to do since I drive a Mini Cooper. My car was packed so tight I had very little wiggle room.

The retreat was held in a conference room at the resort where more than 60 quilters had their own space to sew all weekend long. The retreat included some fun group activities but the group I shared a table with wasn't interested in participating. I was OK with that since I really wanted to do some selfish sewing of my own. Scrapbookers were also at the retreat and they shared the room with the quilters. It was a buzz of creativity all weekend long. I really loved the event. Here is a collage of some of the projects quilters completed during the weekend stay:

As for me, I completed 3 entire quilt tops.


We all had an opportunity to pick a door prize and I chose a fabric bundle with matching thread.


The theme of the retreat was 'quilt university' so at the end of the weekend we all got our quilting 'diplomas'.

The entire weekend was great fun. I met some wonderful people and I would love to have another opportunity to do a sewing weekend with them again.

The retreat was sponsored by Ben Franklin Crafts in Oconomowoc, WI and I have to admin, I've never been to the store. I now feel compelled to drive out there to check it out.