My Christmas Tree Farm

Earlier this month, my husband made me a large pallet Christmas tree for my front porch. I loved it so much I think it inspired him to make some more. So here are smaller versions:

I call this my Christmas tree farm. It's so very cute. I can't wait to decorate the little trees. I think he might be on to something for the craft fair next fall.

By the way doesn't my refrigerator look nice?

I'm ready for the holiday week now.


Large Print Fabrics - One Pattern, 4 Quilts

My church group received a very large fabric donation this past summer. Us ladies spent some time going through all the beautiful fabrics. I prefer to be the last one to dig in since I have plenty of donated fabrics from other sources that I haven't worked my way through. What was left for me were large print fabrics in 3 yard cuts. I held onto them wondering if I would ever think up a good way to use them. Then I found a pattern called Sidelights by Mountainpeek Creations.

I knew this would work on the large prints. It didn't matter that I wasn't using a panel like on the pattern cover, with a 3-yard piece of fabric I could cut a chunk the same size as a fabric panel and have some fun making the blocks for around the side and bottom.

Floral Fabrics

For the first one I fussy cut the flowers that went in the side and bottom blocks. I also used a large piece of green fabric that was donated to the senior center to make the background.

Christmas Fabrics

I fussy cut trees and snowmen and placed them alternately in the side and bottom blocks. What fun!

Safari Fabrics

I fussy cut different parts of the scenery in this safari print. I like this one the best.

Batman Fabrics

After I finished with the church group's fabric I remembered that I had this collection of batman fabrics in my Quilts for Kids fabric bin. I immediately dug out the fabrics hoping I could use this pattern once again. By now, I didn't need to read the instructions. I know the measurements by heart. Ha! I used the biggest print for the panel piece and the coordinating fabrics for the side and bottom blocks. There was enough to make the nice border  and with all of these quilts, the leftovers are on the backs. I love when I use up the stuff that was donated. 


Sign Painting

Our friend Kevin owns a bar not too far from our home. He hosted a make and take where we painted signs. I asked my husband if he wanted to come but warned him that he might be the only guy doing this. We headed to the bar for a good dinner - luckily the food is really good at this bar. We ate at the bar like usual then headed to the banquet area to pick our designs. I made a sign for the kitchen. I chose an unusual paint color - not sure I really like it but I didn't want a common color. My husband made a sign in our favorite "Green Bay Packers" green. We had a good time sitting and painting together while enjoying a beer and each other's company. We really do work well together. And I was right, there were 20 women there besides us. Good thing those kind of thing don't bother him.

Here are our finished products:


Olaf Quilt

Quilts for Kids
I finished this Quilts for Kids quilt today. I used a panel I got at one of our QfK meetings a few months back. The panel is so big, I just added an orange border and some scrap pieces of Olaf print fabrics that I found in my stash. A nice big blue border finished it off.

It was quilted with a snowflake pantograph that adds a nice touch along with cool blue and white striped fabric for the backing.


Flurry Blocks

I am making a bunch of "gift" blocks based on a pattern called Flurry. They are fun to make and I'm planning on using them for a pillow cover and a table runner. There are enough to make an entire quilt but I just don't want another Christmas quilt.

I think I will get a Christmas themed pantograph to use to quilt the pieces once I have them completed. I'm using my Sweetwater fabric collection to make these. I have two years' worth of their Christmas fabrics and I don't want to save them any more. It's time to use them for cute things! I've collected so much of their fabrics that I could make quite a few small projects.


Pallet Christmas Tree

I came home from the quilt shop today to find this little gem on my front porch. Apparently while I was away my husband got a little creative. I showed him some pallet Christmas tree photos and mentioned that I would love to have one. He decided to whip one up and I love it. Monday we will go out shopping for lights to put on it. 

While cleaning the living room to prep for the Christmas tree, I discovered that we sure do get a lot of magazines. I was surprised at how many there were. I did order a few subscriptions for my husband when he retired and a few for myself as well. I guess I thought we would actually have time to sit down and read. Boy, was I wrong! 


Crazy Christmas Tree Table Runner

Cut Loose Press Oh What Fun Sandy GervaisI've had this table runner called the Crazy Christmas Tree Table Runner by Cut Loose pinned to my Pinterest board for a very long time. I finally purchased the pattern in October and bought a layer cake a few weeks ago that would work well with the pattern. The fabric line is called Oh What Fun by Sandy Gervais. The background was made using pieces from my low volume fabric collection.

It went together quickly although I found the instructions regarding cutting some of the background pieces rather confusing. In fact, I'm not sure I did it correctly but I made it work. I also learned about color placement while making this. Next time I will be more careful with how I sort the pieces that get sliced into sections. That way I won't have the same colors next to each other. like in the tree on the far right.

Another table runner I had saved in Pinterest is this one made using a half hexagon ruler. I decided to take a crack at it without any instructions. I took scraps of 4 different green fabrics and cut 2 half hexagons out of each piece. I then cut the same size half hexagons out of white background fabric. I cut the white half hexagons in half down the center of each piece. I sewed the white pieces to each side of the green tree pieces and then sewed them together in columns. I added an appliqued star to the center and a red border. I think it turned out pretty well considering I made it from a photo off the internet - ha!


What's on the design board?

Missouri Star Pattern
I cut out the fabrics for a bordered nine patch quilt during the summer. I used a jelly roll from the Saturday Morning by Basic Grey fabric line. I shopped for some of the colors of Grunge that were in the jelly roll to use for the background but since the fabric collection is a few years old, it was impossible to find.

After a few months of looking, I found something that worked great for the background. I packed up my little quilt kit and took it to the senior center where it took me a few weeks to chain-piece the fabrics. When I went to sew the rows together, they didn't quite fit. I discovered that my quarter-inch foot on my traveling machine was off. I just had to re-stitch the pieces to get the proper and accurate quarter-inch seams. Now they started to fit!

I sewed the blocks and added them to my design wall. I counted the blocks and recounted the blocks. I was one short. After looking everywhere I could think of for the missing block I decided to concede the loss and just make another block. As luck would have it, I can't find the leftover fabrics. It was summer when I started cutting the blocks and now I have no idea where to start looking.

This project has been quite the disaster from the beginning but I am not giving up. I do know where the yardage is to make the borders so I can always cut another block from that fabric. But I think for now I will just let this project sit for a while to see if I run across the leftovers somewhere I haven't looked.


Mini Charm Bench Pillow

I had some leftover charms from one of last year's Christmas projects and I thought this mini charm bench pillow cover would be a great project to use them up. I cut the charms into 2 and a half-inch squares and found some white linen to use for the sashing/background.

The tutorial I used for this project can be found here. Luckily I have 2 long bench pillow forms available to cover. It was so quick and easy I think I might make another one with everyday fabrics for after the Christmas season.


Gnome Pillow

Gnome Pillow
This is a cute pattern I got at my local quilt shop. I used some Sweetwater Christmas fabrics I had on hand. I love Sweetwater fabrics so much, whenever they come out with a new collection, I have to get it. I'm happy to get to use some of this collection on such a cute project.


Midge's Winnie the Pooh Baby Quilt

Today my friend Midge came over and I quilted her Winnie the Pooh baby quilt for her. She stayed and chatted with my while I quilted it. I loved having the company and she said she really needed to get out of the house; her husband was driving her crazy. It's not even winter yet and I understand how close quarters can drive you crazy when you're stuck in the house. Ha!

The quilt Midge made was simple squares with a nice border made with a twister tool. Midge is a garment sewer so making a quilt is not in her wheelhouse. She did a great job and the quilt colors are so nice and soothing. I'm sure our friend Mark and his wife will love it.

Midge chose a variegated pastel thread and a butterfly pantograph for the quilt. There are butterflies in the Pooh scenes on the fabric and the baby is a girl so it's a perfect selection. I got Midge involved in the project by showing her how to attach the zippers to the top and bottom of the quilt in order to put it on the frame. The only struggle we had with the quilt is that the outer border was cut on the bias so it was a little stretchy when loading it.

Midge and I had a nice afternoon of chatting while getting her little beauty done. Those were a nice few hours of quality time with her.


Mary's Fish Quilt

My friend Mary brought this baby quilt over to be longarmed. Since the theme is fish, I used a pantograph called ripples to quilt this one. It has a really nice look of moving water over the quilt. I used a nice complimentary blue variegated thread which adds a nice look to the ripples. I love having the opportunity to help her complete her quilt projects.


Fall Church Craft Fair - Success!

Yesterday I did a craft fair at my church. The church has held this craft fair for more than 30 years in a row. It is very popular.

In the past, I've had some success at this fair. But I never thought it was that great.  I never took the time to figure out how to do better until after I retired from my full time job.  Now that I have more time to concentrate on my hobbies, I started researching how to do better.

One of the things I noticed in most articles I've read is not to have too many items. People get overwhelmed if there's too much to look at. Keeping it simple seems to be the way to go. I am working toward that goal by limiting my inventory to less things. I also sorted my inventory and display it differently so more like things are together.

I used some bins to display all my baby items. They are all in one place now.  I used my display rack to hold all my bags and pouches. Everything is viewable in one spot.

For a change, I brought along some quilts. I never expect to sell any since the price point is high. It seems most people attending our fair are looking for small, reasonably priced items.

An amazing thing happened this year....I sold more than double than I have ever sold before. My marketing strategy worked. The advice worked. How wonderful!

I also sold a quilt. What a happy unexpected surprise. For the first time in a long time, I am excited to enter the craft fair vending world. I will definitely look for more marketing tips before the next fair.

Some of the items I sold include:
  • Baby Blankets
  • Burp Cloths
  • Boo-Boo Rice Bags
  • Quilted Gift Bags
  • Zipper Pouches
  • Bowl Cozies (sold out)
  • Hot Pads (sold out)
  • Table Runners


What's on the design board?

Starting this month off with a design board full of new projects is just not going to happen. I have a craft fair coming up in 2 days and all my spare time has been spent on prepping for that day.

I decided to experiment with some new ideas and whipped up some hot pads. Another new item is the bowl cozies I made earlier this year. If they sell I will me making many more.  

My hot pad experiment includes a copy of my favorite recipes printed on pieces of fabric. I cut fabric to 8 1/2" by 11", just like standard printer paper and ironed it onto a piece of freezer paper cut the same size. It just amazes me how the fabric sticks so well. In fact, sometimes I have trouble peeling the fabric off the paper after it has been run through the printer. 
Once I print the recipe on the fabric, I set the print with a hot iron. That should keep the print nice and crisp on the fabric. I did some patchwork sewing around the recipe until I got a piece that measured around 9" square. I backed it with Insul-Bright and a piece of cotton batting and added coordinating backing and stitched all around. I also added a loop to hang the hot pad. 

I hope they are popular at the show because they sure are fun to make.


Halloween Week

Our city held trick or treat on Sunday. It turned out to be a beautiful evening and there were many trick or treaters at our door. My husband wore his Curious George "guy in the yellow suit" costume that the grandkids enjoyed. He sat on the porch enjoying his evening of chatting with all the kids and handing out candy.

This year we made some fun decorations for our yard. We made Halloween tombstones. We already had made ghosts and the grim reaper yard art years ago and felt we could use something new.

We started the project at the end of September and with all the rainy/windy/frosty/downright crappy weather, it took a very long time to find a day to spray paint the fake tombstones. It was probably a week after we started before we could finish painting all the sayings we wanted to put on the stones.

Our granddaughters were excited about the project so they each painted one of the ten tombstones we made. After they did one the novelty wore off and they were done. The rest were up to us.

After some thought we finished them with a few weeks to go until Halloween. It was a fun project that should last for a few years at the least.


Happy Trails Quilt

I'm on a mission to get rid of all my donated fabrics as well as my old stash. I took out some pretty browns from the donation bin and decided to pair it with some old beiges from my stash. There were enough of these fabrics to make a Happy Trails quilt.  It's a Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern that seems like a quick and easy project.  I couldn't believe it when I looked at the selvages of the background fabrics I pulled. The years were 1992 and 1997.  I sure was right about needing to use up my old stash - ha!
Missouri StarWithin the last few weeks I made the quilt top, backing and quilted the quilt. I also stitched 2 large leftover pieces of batting together. It feels good not to let 100% cotton batting go to waste. I think it turned out rather nice. I'm happy that I could sew the binding on using the donated fabrics too.

This will make a nice donation to our church group for a shut-in or someone else in need.

Missouri Star

Missouri Star


Frere Jacques Quilt - Work in Progress

I'm excited about starting this quilt. I will use it on my bed. The quilt that's currently on my bed I made more than 15 years ago. It's still in great shape and looks beautiful but ever since I painted my bedroom and replaced the flooring, I want to upgrade everything in the room, including the quilt. The quilt is under a bedspread which makes me think I am making it last longer.

I found this pattern called Frere Jacques which is a version of an Irish Chain. I saw the pattern on Pinterest and saved it, then when I went to a Quilt Expo in September, a vendor had it in her booth. I jumped at the chance to purchase it.

That's when the fun of picking up fat quarters for the project. I took this photo of the art that hangs over the bed with me in order to color match to the painting. I picked up fat quarters wherever I went. I chose a white Moda Grunge for the background.

I ordered a hexagon ruler to cut the centers and while I'm waiting for it to come I thought I would start sewing the 9-patch blocks. I made 312 of them. I might make more to make the quilt bigger. I'm not sure about that yet; if it seems too hard to make - that will change my mind. Haha!


Patchwork Acorn Pot Holder

I found a photo of these cute acorn pot holders on Pinterest and I couldn't resist following the link to the free tutorial.

The free tutorial for this is on the Therm-O-Web website. I used the pattern and instructions found there. The link for the tutorial can be found here.

Last year when organizing my sewing room, I threw all my fall fabrics into one plastic bin. It was so easy to pull out some scraps to make a bunch of these. Some of the fabrics I used I picked up at my local quilt shop. They have some pretty fall fabrics that I've added to my stash.

I made a whole bunch of these and I think I will take them with me to a craft fair I am attending at the beginning of next month.


Fall Goodness

Table TopperI've been admiring Cori Dantini's Fall Goodness fabric collection for a while. So I finally purchased the cute panel and some coordinating yardage of the fabrics.  My plan was to make a table topper and a pillow cover for the bench in my foyer.

I cut the panel into manageable pieces in order to make a square table topper. After adding sashing, I was pretty much done. I did the same for the pillow cover, just sashing and an outside border.

Pillow Cover
I bought a pumpkin pantograph just to quilt the table topper. It's hard to see in a photo, but it turned out really cute.

There's lots of fabric so I made some half-square triangles with the leftovers. I'm not sure what I will do with them. Since there's not a lot of contrast between the two fabrics, it's hard to imagine turning them into something usable. I think I was just sewing them together for something to do. Maybe if I leave them up on the design wall for a while, something will pop into my head. There's enough panel pieces left that maybe I just need a solid fabric to throw into the mix to help.


Aviatrix Medallion Quilt

My husband purchased this fabric bundle for my birthday a few years back. I think it took me this long to make it because I was a afraid of the tiny little diamonds in the center. They were quite the challenge.

I started making the quilt at the beginning of summer. I took my time and completed some smaller projects in-between working on this one. Sadly, when I opened up the bundle there were some fade marks where the fabrics were folded. A definite sign of taking too long to work on this.

Once I completed the quilt top, I set it aside in search of the perfect backing fabric. I found a print I liked but the color selections were many and I just couldn't choose one color. Then I went on a shop hop with a church group not looking to find anything in particular. And lo and behold, there was this nice gray fabric with text printed on it. It was perfect. I bought 5 yards.

I made the backing and loaded it on my longarmer. It's pretty big and it took me 3 days to finish quilting it. I used a variegated thread and a pantograph called Leaf Crown.

Last night I finished sewing the binding on using the same fabric as the backing. I was watching the Green Bay Packers game and happily by the time the Packers won, I had the binding done. Ha!


Gobble It Up Pillow

Quilts N More
I recently purchased a new issue of Quilts N More Magazine. I bought it just to get this pattern. I thought it was so cute. And I liked the fabric that the designer used too.

Now that I work in a quilt shop I have a better knowledge of what's in the shop. As a customer I just went to get what I needed, I never really browsed much. I knew that my shop has the All Hallowed Eve fabric line which was used in the magazine. I purchased the brown and off white from the shop and used my scraps to complete the project.

It didn't take very long to complete. I even quilted it just like they did in the magazine. It always helps to make a project go quickly when I don't have to make the decisions, just follow the instructions in the pattern. Ha! Now all I need is the correct size pillow form and this one's ready for later this fall.


In Between Projects

I like to make quilt kits to take with me when I go quilting at the senior center. It makes it so much easier when I get there. I know what I will be working on and I don't have to worry about packing up a project to take along; it's already packed and ready.

The problem is that I have no idea what to make into a kit. I started going through my sewing room for inspiration. The first thing I came across was my box of leftover binding scraps. It's pretty full. So I took out some of the shorter binding pieces and cut them into strips for my next scrap quilt project. That diverted my efforts to make a quilt kit. I'm easily distracted lately.

The woman in charge of the quilt group at the senior center loves to share her love of Missouri Star quilt patterns. I came across one she gave me so I thought I would make it into a kit. It requires some charm packs so I dug mine out. My kitty decided to get in on the action. After auditioning some fabrics, I finally cut my next kit.

It was a fun adventure around the sewing room and a reminder that I really don't need to shop for new projects. I have plenty of beautiful fabrics all around me.

I'll start my new project next week - another quilt for the church charity.