Holiday Market at Hillside Coffee House

My friend owns a coffee shop and she offers up events throughout the year. This weekend she held a Holiday Market where she invites crafters and artists to sell their items. I purchased a table space for the event. I sort of regretted it - at first. All I could think of is it's the first weekend of the Christmas season and I have so much to do and this was a distraction. But I persevered.

I set up my booth on Friday afternoon. After years of attending craft fairs I have learned to relax throughout the process. Years ago I fretted and did not sleep the night before worrying about whether I had everything I needed. Now I don't even think about it. I am so lucky for that.

The holiday market ran for 2 days, both Saturday and Sunday. It was a pleasant surprise to meet new customers. Of course, I did my own social media posts and quite a few of my friends and past customers stopped in to see me. I am so grateful for all of them. I was also happy to see my best quilting friend, Sue. I can always count on her stopping by.

What a weekend! I made 24 gnomes and I sold all but 2. I made so many sales I couldn't believe it. After I got home I inventoried everything, packed up my craft fair bins and stored it all away. Even with all the hard work that goes into setup and teardown, in the end, I have no regrets for attending this event. It was exhausting and rewarding at the same time. 

See you in spring, Hillside Coffee House!


Fall Craft Fair at All Saints Church

Each spring and fall my church holds a craft fair. Yesterday was the fall craft fair. It's a very popular fair. The people in charge only allow actual crafters to rent tables. No Scentsy, Pampered Chef, ThirtyOne, etc....none of that. Only crafters. The craft fairs are extremely popular. So much so that it makes the top ten lists of craft fairs in southeasters Wisconsin. The tables are difficult to get. You must fill out your table rental requests almost 2 years in advance to get in. I've been renting tables from them for almost 30 years. It's also my church so I love that.

Since the pandemic the church only allows about half of the crafters to rent tables. So we are spread further apart and from a vendor point of view, it's much nicer. People seem more willing to stop and linger since they aren't crammed so close together. It just seems more relaxing for everyone. However, the desire for homemade things seemed to have increased. There are more people attending than before and they are definitely purchasing. My sales have tripled which is really nice for me. The funny thing is that I don't really care if I sell much, I just like attending the craft fair. 

This year besides making the usual table runners, aprons, bowl cozies, and pot holders I made use of my embroidery machine to make things. I've learned over the years that it's not a good idea to wait until the last minute to start making things so I make crafts all year long. The week leading up to the craft fair is spent dusting off my display racks and setting things up to make sure everything goes together like I want. Price tags are pinned to products and signs are made to make items easier to find. 

Here are some zipper pouches I made.

Embroidered Zipper Pouches

I also made some mini zipper pouch stockings.

Mini Zipper Stockings

I used up leftover holiday fabric to make some reusable gift bags. 

Reusable Embroidered Gift Bags

I had a great time at the craft fair. Many of my quilting friends stopped by and even one of my clients came to say hi. I just finished making a quilt for him a month ago. It's funny that now the fair is over, I'm not sure what I want to work on next. I'm thinking about Christmas gifts or maybe finishing a UFO. It's fun to imagine what comes next.


October Client Quilts

This month I quilted a Christmas quilt for a coworker. It's such a pretty quilt. It seemed appropriate to quilt snowflakes on it. I would love to have the pattern. I think I will have to ask her for it.

I quilted my friend Cindy's charity quilt. Each year she makes a quilt to support PKD research for a cure. It's a charity she is pretty passionate about because her step-daughter-in-law has the disease. The quilt is modern so I quilted it using a pantograph that had lots of lines adding another modern dimension to it. 

I also quilted a charity quilt for my church group. I absolutely hate quilting these. The fabrics smell like a musty basement and the quilt tops aren't very pretty. They are string quilts so there's lots of seams which makes them difficult to quilt. The thread breaks a lot and I struggle to get through all those seams. I get that they are utility quilts but it's not much fun. I have to remind myself that they are a worthy endeavor because someone needs them.

I will continue to quilt them as long as necessary. The nice thing is the feeling of satisfaction after they are done. 

On another note, I can't believe how unseasonably warm it's been this month. Here we are at the end of October and I still have roses blooming. Aren't they gorgeous?


Ron's Quilt

This summer I met a man who asked me to make him a quilt. He was pretty vague about what he wanted. He asked for a twin size quilt that he could use to cover himself in his recliner. I asked him what he liked (modern, traditional, colors, prints, etc.). All he said was that he liked blue and green. That's about all I could get out of him. I did tell him I could do it but not until September. 

I sent him a photo of some fabrics I found that I thought would meet his easy requirements. I told him I was a little behind but I had a pattern picked out and these fabrics and he said no hurry. 

I used the Yellow Brick Road pattern to make the quilt top. It's a pretty easy pattern and with this fabric line and a few solids, I think it will be a great quilt. I finished the top in just a few days and decided to quilt it using a pantograph called loophole. The swirls in the pattern were a nice contrast to the geometric prints.

I used green fabric for the backing and binding, the same green that can be found in the blocks. 

Ron will pick up his quilt later this week. I hope he enjoys his homemade quilt.


September Client Quilts

I quilted this baby quilt for the shop. It has really cute minky on the back that has little ballerinas on it. Sue from the shop made the top and she plans on keeping it when it comes down. 

I also quilted another string quilt for my church group. Every month when we meet I take home another quilt to longarm for the group. The group leader gets to put the binding on them and I am so happy that she is willing to do that. 


Yellow Brick Road Quilt

I fell in love with the fabric line by Dan Dipaolo called Lemonade. I knew I just had to make a quilt. My boss asked me if I would like to make a sample for the shop. She wanted me to use the pattern Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs. 

So I came up with this:

Lemonade by Dan Dipaolo

Lemonade by Dan Dipaolo

Lemonade by Dan Dipaolo

I love it! And here it is hanging in the shop.

Lemonade by Dan Dipaolo

Once the fabric is all gone, it will come down and I will take it home. 

This week I also had the opportunity to help a neighbor. His sister decided to get married with 3 weeks' notice! Everyone in the family was scrambling to find proper attire for such a fine event. Anyway, my neighbor could not find pants in his exact size without ordering them and waiting for them to arrive which would have been too late. So he found a pair that needed to be lengthened. I took the hem down and then I had to get out my instructions for sewing a blind hem. After three tries I think I got it. Ha!

On the home front, my kitty decided to become a mouser. Every couple of days he brings us back a prize to show us what a good hunter he is. Poor little mouse.

Zipper Pouches and Other Stuff

I've been experimenting with making new zipper pouches. I started by embroidering a few designs on some linen fabric. Then I matched them up with some fabrics to make the pouches. It was really fun to put these together. 

I'm thinking these would make nice gifts or something fun to sell at my next craft fair. 

The flowers are blooming like crazy around here. Aren't these pretty?

I love the detail in this photo. I was pleasantly surprised I could get this close without this little guy getting spooked and jumping off the leaf. 

August is my favorite month. Nature's beauty is apparent and I love the hot weather. 

Last week we bartended at Irish Fest in downtown Milwaukee. And we saw Maroon 5 at the American Family Amphitheater on the lakefront.

It's hard to tell, but trust me, that is Adam Levine in the middle of the stage.

I went with a friend to a June Tailor warehouse sale this week too. Judy Gauthier, who is featured at the event was there. She is a quilt book author (3 books actually) and a quilt shop owner. I've known her for a long time and I looked forward to seeing her again. I made sure we got a photo together while I was there. 

A Busy Summer Week

I love the television show The Office. It is my constant companion while I sew. Since I can find it on a cable station almost any time of the day it's easy to have it on even if it's just background noise. So I wanted to make a project bag using The Office themed fabrics. I got it started this week.

At this month's basement quilters group I finished up the baby blankets and burp cloths I started at the beginning of summer. I am so happy to have all these done before my next craft fair. I completed 18 blankets and 38 burp cloths. I think I won't have to make more for a little while - haha!

Our beloved Milwaukee Bucks are world champions and we've been dying to go downtown and take a photo next to the Fiserv Forum. We chose to do so this week because there's an art fair in the Deer District. What better time could there be? 

I sold a quilt on Etsy so I decided I would spend some of my earnings at the art fair. Sort of a pay it forward kind of thing. At least that's how I justified my purchase. I bought this cute little business card holder from a welder who repurposed old metals into new things. The "hairs" on this little guy were made from political yard signs. I'm so glad those are something else now. Tee-hee.

On another note, I picked these vegetables from my garden this week.

It's hard to tell but the entire bottom of the bucket is full of carrots. My garden is doing pretty well this month. It's hard work, but I love it.