Chain Reaction Quilt

I completed this 3-yard quilt called chain reaction using some charity fabric I got from Quilts for Kids. They seem to have lots of fabrics with fish prints so I thought I would grab some to help get rid of it. It's quality fabric but it's been around for so long I'm pretty sure everyone is sick of working with it. I added some prints from my stash to give the fish some extra pop of color.

We made the decision last week to get an artificial tree. We've haven't had one since we had kids and the kids are way over 30 now so it's been a very long time. The reason for the change is the kitten. Our sweet little girls has so much energy we're pretty sure she would climb on the ceiling if she could. She gets into so much trouble sometimes we wonder what we were thinking. So a real tree would create quite a mess if she were to knock it over. 

She's hard to see, but she's in there. That's halfway up the tree. We put very few ornaments on the tree so she had less temptation. I think we made the right decision.


Sweet Sundays Quilters

My church quilt group met this week for our annual Christmas luncheon. We celebrated this year's work and enjoyed a nice lunch together. Our leader, Judy gave us each a gift bag with a homemade ornament and a few other little goodies. It was so very kind of her. I always find it amazing that we always make more than 100 quilts for our charities. This year was no different. 

Before I headed to lunch I stopped at church to drop off some pet beds I made. Each December I take my leftover batting scraps, cut them into small pieces and stuff them into beds I make with denim on one side and flannel on the other. 

At church we have a Christmas dedicated to the pastor's first dog, Harley. Since the dog passed away there's been a tree put up in memory of him. All the gifts and monies collected around the tree go to a local animal shelter in Harley's name. It's a wonderful thing. 


Hillside Coffee House Holiday Bazaar

I set up my space at the coffee shop first thing the morning of the bazaar. I usually like to do these things a day ahead of time but there was a snow storm on Friday.  It was just enough snow to make it miserable while trying to unload stuff from the truck. I was surprised how easy it was to do everything just a few hours before opening. Usually I would panic at the possibility of not being ready on time but I guess over the years I've learned to relax.

The bazaar is a wonderful event and I've had the most success there. I sell aprons, wine gift bags, bowl cozies, pot holders, table runners, table toppers, gnomes, quilts, bags, zipper pouches, and other homemade items. It's a great way for me to make some money to help support my quilting habit. Sort of a self-supporting hobby. So the bazaar is worth my efforts.

The hard part about working at the bazaar all weekend is that it's December. I have a tough time thinking about crafting and prepping for the upcoming holidays at the same time. I guess I have to learn to manage my own stresses better. 

Once the weekend was done, I was happy I attended and yet happy it was over. Now I can think about Christmas without distractions. Tomorrow we will put up a Christmas tree!


Girl Scout Quilt & Minecraft Quilt

I finished these two quilts just in time for the holiday market. I've been hanging on to so much cute fabric that I really needed to start using it up. Sometimes I let my charity projects get in the way. At the last two events where I had a booth I sold more lap sized children's quilts than bigger ones so it makes sense to make some more.

I took a Girl Scout panel and just put some borders around it. It is so cute that it didn't need much embellishment or fancy blocks around it. 

I quilted it using a pantograph that has a lot of swirls and curls adding to the cuteness.

I found some cool swirly purple backing fabric at the quilt shop. It's a perfect compliment to the quilt top.

If it doesn't sell at the market I will probably find a reason to give it to a Girl Scout.

I got Minecraft themed fabric from our local Ben Franklin Store. It was going out of business and I spent two hours just loading my cart with lots of cute fabrics. I hate that it's not there anymore. I chose an easy pattern called Favorite Things that had large blocks to show off the focus print. 

Favorite Things Quilt Pattern

I have a really fun pantograph that was a perfect match to the fabrics. The backing is green shadow blush that picks up the many shades of green in the Minecraft print. 

I really enjoyed digging into my stash and feel inspired to make some more. 

Outside there's a hawk hanging around the back yard. We can always tell when it's near because the birds and squirrels all disappear. I spied its hangout - on the very top of a tree! What a pretty sight.


Old Projects

I have a few small projects that were quilted over a year ago and I just never took the time to put the binding on. Well I finally got them completed. I don't know why I procrastinated for so long, it's not like putting binding on is difficult. 

So here's a table topper using some whimsical fabrics and a Lori Holt block pattern. I can't remember which one of her books I got the block from, that's what happens when you wait so long to finish something. Ha!

This one was made from a Creek Side Stitches pattern called Entwined Pinwheels. It's all red, white and blue - very patriotic. I planned on having it completed by the fourth of July but I forgot about it.

This is one of my favorite wall hanging projects. It's made from more Sweetwater fabrics. I love how it turned out.  I remember that the pattern was free from a fabric designer but of course, I can't remember who the designer was. I sure hope I run across the pattern again sometime.

It really feels good to get all these UFOs done. It's like a weight lifted off my shoulders. 

And now I look forward to making a new stack of UFOs (tee-hee).


Gnome Ornaments and Table Runners

I made up my own version of a gnome Christmas ornament. I've been working on it for the last month. After cutting various sizes of yarn beards and little hats I think I've come up with the exact size that I want to make. They might be a big hit at the upcoming holiday bazaar this December. 

I'm also working on a few table runners. Last year's bazaar was so successful that I sold all the Christmas themed runners I had and have none left. What a nice problem.

I have a few more in the works and hopefully I can get them all completed before the month end. Sometimes the issue is the kitten. She just loves to help! 


Client Quilts

I longarm quilted a black and white quilt for a friend who will donate it to a PKD charity event. I'm always happy to help her complete her projects for this annual event. 

Now that we've come to the end of the harvest season here in Wisconsin, I thought I would try my hand at making a batch of chicken stock. I read an article from America's Test Kitchen about how homemade stock is healthy, easy and more economical than buying it in a carton from the grocery store. So using ATK's recipe I made a batch. It was definitely easy but not so cheap. I buy organic chicken stock by the case from Sam's Club for under $10. Just the chicken parts for this recipe cost me $18 at our local meat market.  

I got 5 quart jars of stock. The one thing I did not prepare for was the freezing part of this recipe. I had to make lots of room in the freezer for the large jars. I just hope I remember to plan far enough ahead to thaw a jar when I need to use it in a recipe. 

A client asked me to longarm her king-size quilt. I wasn't so sure I wanted to take on such a big project for more than one reason. I had other obligations to get out of the way first and there's been lots of issues with her projects in the past. Sometimes she gives me a chunk of fabric that needs to be made into backing and sometimes the backing she made isn't big enough. 

With this project, the backing wasn't big enough. It was a wide-back piece that wasn't long enough. It was so wide that I could have cut some of the width down and stitched it to the bottom but the fabric was directional so it would look really dumb. So she asked me to buy a bigger piece from the shop where I work. I had a co-worker help me choose something we both liked. It turned out nice when it was done. 


A T-shirt Quilt

I have to get better at saying no. I find it a real struggle. I end up getting myself in stressful situations because of it. I always have too many charity quilts to finish, too many client projects to finish and too many quilt groups that take up time and energy. Quilt groups are supposed to be fun. And they would be if I wasn't saying yes to so many other quilt projects. But I'm working on it.

I started scheduling client quilts. I do just one per month. If someone asks, I let them know the first available month and they get to decide whether they want to wait or ask someone else. Surprisingly they usually wait. So I am booked until February. 

With that said, here is my client quilt I finished for the month of October. It's a t-shirt quilt for one of my co-worker's nieces. She did a beautiful job of piecing the quilt and I love the way she laid out the blocks. 

I quilted it using a modern all-over quilting design.  

With a little extra time on my hands I thought I would do some decorating for halloween. 

My husband built me the most awesome pallet bar this summer so I couldn't resist putting Sally behind the bar. Ha! I'm already feeling some of the stress I've been feeling disappear.


The Glam Bag

My sister used Peanuts fabric to line the box of the Christmas gift she gave me last year. It was such a cute idea. Today I used the Glam Bag pattern from Pink Sand Beach Designs to make this toiletry bag with some of the fabric. The pattern required fusible fleece interfacing and decor bond as well. I thought I was never going to be able to sew through all those layers but the bag sewed up like a dream. At first I thought the directions were going to be a little complicated, after all they are 4 pages long. But there's a method to the madness and when followed, you get a perfect bag. I still have lots of Peanuts fabric left so I am looking forward to making something else with it. 

Peanuts Fabric


Exploding Heart Quilt

I've been planning a wedding quilt for my nephew and his bride for quite a while. I wanted it to be special so I searched and searched for the right pattern and fabrics. Once I decided on the exploding heart pattern, it still took me some time to find the right fabrics. I wanted some nice colors without the fabrics coming off too feminine. During the time I was searching I straightened up my sewing room and came across a layer cake I purchased a few years back. It was perfect. 

I did have a problem to overcome if I used a layer cake. It would waste lots of fabrics with the process of making quarter square triangles. That's where working in a quilt shop really came in handy. I explained the problem and a coworker suggested I borrow one of the Accuquilt cutters we have at the shop. There's a die cutter for the triangles and I could manipulate the 10-inch squares through the cutter to get more pieces than if I did the traditional QSTs. I couldn't wait to give it a shot. 


I cut and cut and cut then I cut some more! It was so fun, efficient, and I really got a lot of triangles out of the 10-inch squares. In an afternoon I cut enough pieces that I was ready to make the entire queen-sized quilt top.

I began sewing the triangles together and I really thought I would be sewing them for days. But once the chain-piecing started it went really fast. It was all going together so well. I was loving the process. And the colors were so gorgeous it never got boring.

Since it's a queen-size project I had to use the living room floor to lay the quilt out. Each row had to be laid out before the next to get the quilt right. It was a challenge moving the blocks around with a cat in the room. He loved to plop down in the middle of it all. Once I had all the blocks sewn together I chose a nice green for the backing. 

I chose a nice flowing pantograph to use on my longarm. With all the white space I really wanted the quilting to have a bit of drama. 

My next challenge was making a label. I'm not that experienced with my embroidery machine so I was a little concerned about how to make the label. In fact, my first attempt was way too large so I had to start all over. At least I got the lettering aligned with the heart motifs I used - haha!

I took this photo right before I wrapped it up in pretty wedding themed wrapping paper. I absolutely love how it turned out. 

And here's the happy couple on Sunday after the wedding.

Lemon Drop Martini Table Runner

I love yellow. It's my favorite color, so bright and cheery. What's not to love? 

I love lemon drop martinis. It's the cocktail I order every time we go out for a fancy dinner. I doesn't hurt that the martini is yellow. Haha!

I really wanted to make a table runner that pays tribute to my favorite martini. I purchased some yellow fabrics and whipped up this little beauty just to pay tribute to the cocktail.

Yellow Table Runner

It's a perfect table runner to celebrate the first day of summer. The two go together perfectly!

Lemon Drop Martini Table Runner


Bunny Bag & Other Little Things

A while back I made a cute little bunny bag for Easter. It required a hand embroidered nose, mouth and eyes. I did not want to do that. I don't what it is about hand embroidery but it's just not my thing. So I searched the internet for a .jef (machine embroidery) file of a nose, mouth and eyes. Lo and behold, I found the perfect fit. The pattern for the bag was a free pattern that can be found here. I really like how it turned out and I had planned on making more of them but life just got in the way.

This year I've been trying really hard to say no. But on occasion I will say yes. I quilted this charity quilt for my Sweet Sundays sewing group. It's a pretty big quilt but I got it done in one day. 

I also sewed some patches on my neighbor's kids' taekwondo uniforms. I don't think the word 'uniform' is correct for whatever these outfits are called. I just don't know. Haha!


My Other Projects

Last year my neighbor asked for advice on fixing some cushion covers for their camper. I gave them some advice on what to do however, I think they figured out that it was a bigger project than they could handle. I know he sews but I can't say I blame him for not wanting to tackle this project. So he brought me some canvas yardage and the cushions. I decided to reuse the zippers because they were the only part of the cushion covers that were in great shape. Plus they would be very expensive to replace and I am all about repurposing things. It wasn't a tough job, it only took one afternoon to complete. I hope they get years of enjoyment out of them.

I longarm quilted a charity quilt. for a friend from the quilt shop. It's very pretty and I recognize the fabrics because I used them in a quilt a long time ago.

I refused payment for the quilting so next thing you know, I get a Starbucks gift card from her for my efforts. It really wan not necessary. It seems now that I've learned to say no to most requests for quilting I really get to enjoy the process for the ones I choose to do. I love not having to stress about deadlines for other people's projects. 

My daughter is moving to a new place where my granddaughters will have their own rooms. They've shared a bedroom forever so we wonder if they will miss each other when they move. With more time to spare, Jeff and I volunteered to paint our granddaughter's new bedrooms. They both chose some interesting colors.

I guess after seeing this, they will be ok with being in their own spaces. 

I made some balsamic reduction. I think I should have used the entire bottle of balsamic vinegar considering how little is left after cooking. I don't know what I was thinking since I make this stuff all the time. We go through lots of it.