What's on the design board?

 I used my hex n' more tool to make a few hexies out of some fat quarters that were in my 'donated fabric' bin.  The fat quarters must have been in a bundle because they matched so very well.

The only problem was that there were 8 fat quarters - certainly not enough to make an entire quilt. So on one of my work days at the quilt shop I found two fabrics that paired nicely. I bought 1 yard of each.

Now I have to trim the edges and add borders. I am so happy to start working my way through my donated fabrics. Sometimes I let them weight heavy on my mind. I guess I really want to do something positive with the stuff.

I have a 3 yard quilt kit to make in such cheery fabrics and I can't to get started on it. I'm hoping the pattern is quick and easy where I can use it again on some more donated fabrics. We shall see.


May Client Quilts

This month I quilted 4 projects for others.

This was a piece of fabric quilted and bound for a friend of a friend.

This is a Minion quilt I quilted for a friend. She has two Minion quilt kits and she finished the top for one of them so I imagine I will see another one of these sometime soon.

This quilt is for a client's granddaughter who is graduation from UW-LaCrosse. These are the school colors.

This is for the quilt shop. It's a table runner using the Wisconsin Shop Hop fabric which will be available in quilt shops this June.

This is a panel that can be a pillow cover or a table topper. I quilted the panels before cutting them apart. This is also for the quilt shop where I work.

It's Garden Time

Over the course of the last week we made cedar raised bed garden boxes with the boards we salvaged from the removal of our deck. These boards are over 30 years old. Just look at how great they look.

We made a total of 5 boxes of varying sizes. It totally depended on the length of the usable boards, but in the end we made it work efficiently where we got the most real estate from what we had.

There's a box for beans and peas, one for peppers, one for tomatoes, one for cucumbers and pickles, and the last one has carrots and lettuce planted in it.

My garden has everything necessary for success - a rain barrel is in one corner and a compost bin in the other. And lastly, there's a section with a rock border that is holding back the ever-creeping strawberries. I am so happy with how it turned out. I just hope I can make things grow.

I stacked up the empty containers that held the baby plants from the nursery.  There's plenty of empties!

Once the garden was done, I started on some small projects, like re-painting the star that hangs over the shed doors. It was so faded you couldn't tell it was red. Well you sure can tell now. Ha!

We have some decisions to make regarding the space where the new patio is going. First of all we have to decide where to put the pergola posts. So I've taken my free-standing posts and moved them around to get a visual representation. I only have 3 posts so we will have to get creative to mark where the fourth post would go. I guess a rock will do.

Once that decision is made, my husband will have to run an electrical cable underground to the spot where the post will go before the cement can be poured. It's a serious decision that we don't take lightly so it's stressing us out.

Now that the plants are in, I can see my next project; I have to paint my garden fence. It's so chipped and faded it is very overdue. These fun outdoor projects are taking up my sewing time but I don't mind. I love the warm weather and the gardening as much as I love sewing.


Quick Four Patch Quilt

I finished quilting and binding the quick four patch quilt today. I used a flower pantograph and there's a pretty purple polka dot fabric on the back.

It looks so soft and comforting, I just love the pretty colors.

It seems that quilting only happens on rainy days, so I'm happy when they occur. Gardening is fun, but it's such hard work that a rainy day feels like a day of rest. And there's nothing like resting in my sewing room!


Morning Star Quilt

I love this little 500 Quilt Blocks book. It contains examples of the blocks completed in modern, fresh fabrics which adds to its appeal for me. Another benefit of the book is that each block has instructions in two different sizes. That helps solve any math-sizing dilemmas.

I used the Morning Star block a while back to make a quilt for the daughter of a friend. I liked the result and found that it was a great block for showing off a specific print. I had a piece of cute fabric left over from a Quilts for Kids quilt I made and it could be easily incorporated into a quilt from that same block. So I dug deep into my scrap bins to find enough coordinating fabrics to go with the kitty print. I was determined to use up my charity fabrics so there are 3 different yellows in the star points of the blocks I made. I still struggled to get the 5 yellow blocks but I did it!

I had more purple solid though so making the purple blocks was pretty easy. I arranged them in a way to make them look like it was planned but it wasn't - there just wasn't enough yellows - ha! I did have to come up with a different purple for the outside border - again, all from my charity fabric bin. I also ran out of the background fabric so I found some very similar and you can't really tell from a distance.

I used a large piece of yellow flannel for the back and finished it up with a light yellow binding. It's labeled and ready to go to the Quilts for Kids local charity.


DIY Hand Sanitizer

I made this homemade hand sanitizer about a month ago and I'm sharing it today after using it for a while. I didn't want to talk about how I made it until I tried it out. And I really like it. It smells very clean from the alcohol yet it has a nice fresh scent from the oils. The aloe vera gel does settle to the bottom of the bottles when it sits but after shaking it up, it's just fine. The gel adds a nice softness on the skin after spraying the sanitizer. I really like it. I spray it on my hands, on shopping carts, on my face mask, on my car steering wheel and door handles. I spray it everywhere!

Normally I would share the link to the recipe I used but I actually combined more than one set of instructions. One recipe I liked because it had aloe vera gel in it. I thought that would help counter the harshness of the alcohol but it didn't have any peroxide in it. I though peroxide had some value so I found another recipe that had peroxide in it but it was missing the essential oils and the aloe. So I figured out a formula to keep the ratios from each recipe the same so I could come up with this version:

150 ml Isopropyl alcohol 99%
20 ml Witch hazel
30 ml Aloe vera gel
20 ml peroxide
10 drops sweet orange essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops tea tree oil

kitchen scale
small spray bottles

Measure all ingredients using a kitchen scale.
Mix ingredients together and stir well.
Add more oils to adjust scent as you like.


Whole Cloth? Project

I understand whole cloth quilting as a way to do intricate detailed quilting on a single piece of fabric. I did not do that with this quilt.

What I did to is take a single piece of fabric that was pretty large. It measures 50" x 50". I don't know where it came from and how the owner ended up buying fabric where the WOF wasn't 44'-45" wide. All I know is that I was asked to quilt it for a friend.

Now the back was tricky because the purple solid had the standard WOF.  So in order to make the backing the same size as the top fabric I had to cut a piece 56" long and turn it sideways to fit across. The I had to take the rest of what was given to me and cut it into thirds then sew the thirds together to get another piece that was 56" long. I sewed those 2 pieces together to make the backing fit. It was perfect. Good thing...math.

I quilted pretty butterflies on the quilt using variegated pinks/purples/white thread on the top and a solid light purple thread in the bobbin. I like the results. The lesson I learned is that I can easily make charity quilts just by sandwiching batting between two pieces of fabric and get an amazing result. 


Our (Once Upon a Time) Beautiful Deck

I have always loved my backyard in the summer. Especially my deck. It was a place of solace on warm summer evenings and a fun place to hang out with friends and family. Now it has become old and worn out, just like its owners. Haha.

We hired a contractor to make us a new patio. Although it will be beautiful I will still miss the nice feel of the deck under my feet. So today we have to start to tear it out. We were going to take this on last year but we had so many other plans (lots of travel) that we couldn't squeeze this project in. It was in desperate need of staining last year and we let that go and this year I actually fell through at a rotten spot. That's when you know it's time to say good-bye.

So here we are tearing it out. We still have quite a way to go but we're getting there. We are taking the cedar pieces that are still in good shape and saving them to make raised bed garden boxes. Nothing will go to waste.

Once the new patio is in, we will be putting in a pergola - a project that will take the two of us . I can't wait!


What's on the design board?

I've had some fabric samples that were used by fabric distributors to sell fabric to shops. They come in a grouping with a large swatch of each print available in a fabric collection. I wish I would have taken a photo of this collection. It seemed like a very small amount of fabric. Some of the pieces were a little smaller than a fat quarter and a few of them were a little larger. I think there were 9 different prints in this collection.

So I took the pieces and laid them out. Then I got inspiration from the quilt tutorial found here. I realized that I really liked this tutorial, sadly, not so much for the content but because it was not full of ads! I understand that people make money with their blogs by linking to ads but I absolutely hate having to scroll through the ads to read a blog post. And frankly, I refuse to click on any of them. Not even to remove them. I think that counts as a click that gets the blogger paid and I won't do it-that's how I boycott the ads, lol. As if anyone cares. Haha!

After doing some math to get a common width of the fabrics in my little collection, chose to cut the pieces into 3" strips. That minimized waste. I sewed up the little 4-patches in less than 2 hours. It was so fun. And I can't believe how many I got. The funny thing about these is that I put them on the design board in a random pattern. I just plopped them up there and I don't think I will rearrange a single block. 

I will add white sashing and a large white border and it will be ready to quilt. What a fast and fun project.

Here are all the blocks I made:


Read With Me Quilt

Making this quilt has been on my to-do list for a very long time. It's from a free tutorial found at the Moda Bake Shop. If you want the tutorial, here is the link.

I finally decided to make it for a teacher at my granddaughters' school. We just love her and Teacher Appreciation Day just so happens to fall in April so it seemed like a good time to make it.

I used mostly scraps left over from other projects with a few new fabrics mixed in for color balance.

I didn't want the 'books' to be too bright and cheery. After all, books in a bookcase usually aren't very bright, especially if they are loved and used.

Making the letter applique was way easier than I thought it would be. I don't usually do this much applique on anything so I wasn't so sure what I was in for. And wouldn't you know it - easy peasy.

I used a totally different fabric not found in the quilt for the backing but I think it goes together pretty well.  I quilted it with a rainbow variegated thread so the colors would show up on the white background.

The quilt should have been gifted earlier this month but because of the pandemic, I don't know how or when we will get it delivered. Because of the quarantine, I took time off from finishing this to make masks. I'm happy that I still finished it before the month ended.


April Longarm Projects

I quilted 2 quilts for work this month. They will be used as samples that will hang in the shop. One is a beautiful Quilts of Valor quilt and the other is a king-sized quilt.

I also quilted 3 Easter wall hangings and a Frozen-themed quilt during the first week of April. I also sent along 2 face masks when returning the projects to their owner.

There were 2 other quilt projects I quilted. One was a beautiful floral and the other was a sock monkey quilt. 

As always, I enjoy helping others complete their projects and I hope they like the final results.


Dresden Neighborhood Wallhanging

Here is my Dresden Neighborhood wallhanging. The original pattern has the 'neighborhood' in a circle. But if you take some of the dresdens and turn them upside down you get them in a straight line instead of the  circle.

I used Moda Grunge in a blue and green to make the background look like sky on top and grass on the bottom. I also made sure my houses were stitched down in a rainbow effect.

I used many of the stitches on my sewing machine to stitch around the houses and roofs as well as to sew on the windows and doors. It was so much fun.

I can't wait to hang it in my sewing room. I also made sure to put a rod pocket on the back in case I enter it in quilt shows.


My New Bathroom

This is my ugly bathroom. It's the private bathroom off the master bedroom suite. Outside of changing the paint color over the years, not much else has changed in the room.

Then we decided to replace the bedroom carpet and include the bathroom, closet and hall so there was a consistent floor throughout.

As we worked through our options for floor, I found this piece of art. It is an oil painting from a local artist from the Lake Winnebago area. I absolutely fell in love with it and I instantly knew what I wanted to do with it.

Yes, it's going in the bathroom. My bathroom. So I took the painting to the store to pick out a new bathroom paint color.

My husband was taking the old sink and cabinet out so the new floor could be installed where the cabinet was. It was all good timing, then I could paint the walls where the cabinet was. And it was good I was painting before the new floors came so I could be messy.

Somewhere along the way my husband found a brand-new-in-the-box Kohler vessel sink at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. He had to have it even though he didn't know where he would use it. I think he wanted to re-do the powder room and make it fancy but I had other ideas. I drew up a plan where he could take the old cabinet, make it smaller in both width and height. I really wanted a new cabinet to have legs and not be up against the side wall. And I wanted a drawer on the bottom.

Amazingly, he did it. He cut the base off, took the doors off and made the frame smaller. We picked out milk paint to coordinate with the flooring and he sprayed the cabinet with our new custom color. I had some fun buying new crystal knobs for the cabinet too. We looked for antique ones but couldn't find any but that's ok, most of the project was a repurpose project.

We considered making a cement countertop but I think we were both ready to call this a finish so we went a shop less than a mile away and had a custom quartz top made for the sink to sit in. It is so beautiful.

Once the cabinet was finished, my husband took the old large mirror to local glass shop and had it cut down. He used scrap wood to make a frame and used the same milk paint to finish the frame.

I bought a waterfall faucet to install over the sink to finish the entire thing off. I love the end result and I totally enjoyed the adventure getting to this point. Now I get the fun of picking out new bathroom accessories and towels.


Butterfly Patch

Lollipop GardenThis quilt is called Butterfly Patch. I made the quilt from the same fabric collection that was on the pattern. I loved it that much.

It took me some serious shopping to get all the fabrics found in the quilt. I ordered from 3 different shops in order to have everything I needed. That's how committed I was to making this happen.

Lollipop Garden
The pattern is basically made up of 4 different simple patchwork blocks. They were made in matching pairs so the same blocks could be used on each butterfly wing.

When it came to the backing I just chose a close match at my local quilt shop. It was pretty and looked great in one big piece.

Lollipop Garden

Lollipop Garden

Lollipop Garden