...and not eating bon-bons.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Paper Pieced Christmas Ornaments

I have been making paper pieced Christmas ornaments the last couple weeks. I always look forward to making ornaments to put on gifts and gift bags for friends and family . The reindeer ornaments are from a pattern in Quiltmaker magazine Nov/Dec 2001. The pattern is called Pocket because there is a pocket on the back of the ornament to hold a gift card.

My aunt made several of the these ornaments for my kids a few year ago. I liked them so much I had to ask for the pattern!

What I really like about this pattern is the construction. There is no opening to hand stitch at the end!

Here is what the back pocket looks like. I added a special note in each one.

This is a paper pieced house that I found as a free pattern online. I thought the window was perfect for a snowman who wants to be inside for a change. And at the last minute I added the house number of the person who is receiving this one. My hand embroidery is wanting; next time I'll use the numbers on my Bernina. I hardly use the alphabet and numbers on my machine that I forget they are there!

These are not ornaments, but juice glass blocks that are paper pieced. I started this project a couple years ago and wasn't sure what to do with the blocks once I finished. I finally decided to make them the centerpieces of these drawstring bags (pattern here by Jeni Baker). I added rubber stamps and ink pads in each one to give to the girls.

Happy paper piecing and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

This is our family room Christmas tree full of handmade ornaments. Well, not all are handmade but most have been lovingly made over the years by me, the kids, and extended family.
This is one made for me by my Grandmother in 1976 (as you can see). I was 3 years old. I really wish I had done this for my kids when they were little. It would look kind of silly now… large hand ornaments all over the tree!

Every year my Aunt Barbara makes ornaments for my three kids. Here you can see a stocking ornament and some mitten ornaments. She always puts their first initials on them so they remember which ones are theirs. They will have a nice collection of ornaments to take with them when they have their own homes. 

This is my mouse in a hammock ornament. He is sleeping in a blanket made with the cutest fabric of little Santas. This fabric reminds me of my Grandmother because it was in her fabric stash years ago. The pattern for Mouse in Hammock is on my etsy shop. 

And look at Nick today! He is getting into mischief again. He has kidnapped one of Sarah's stuffed animals (a hedgehog) and climbed up the chandelier. 
Happy holiday decorating!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Salad Plates, Table Runner, and Coco

I have been collecting the Bordallo Pinheiro pottery off and on over the last few years. Marshalls and TJ Maxx carried lots of pieces many years ago but not so much anymore. Now, I find pieces at thrift stores. These salad plates are my latest find. I found 7 (I'm guessing it used to be a set of 8 and one  was broken or lost) at Goodwill in great condition…

Here is a table runner I finished using a pattern called Arrowhead Square by Quilts Remembered. I pieced it together and the owner of a quilt store called Quilt Merchant did the quilting. It was simple to piece together and I can see myself making more in different color combinations.

You can see the quilting on the back of the table runner…

I found the perfect spot for it…

Our rescue dog Coco who had his photo in the local dog magazine. Credit to my dad for taking the picture.

Julie B

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pesto, Pillows, and Books

Finally, the basil grew enough in the garden for us to cut our first batch. We always make pesto to freeze for the winter. 

Basil, pine nuts, parmesan, and salt in a food processor with olive oil make for a good pasta sauce. I freeze the jars for winter so I don't add garlic until heated in a pan for a quick pasta dinner.

Latest and greatest Savers find…
Two needlepoint pillows handmade by a very talented person. 

I reorganized a bookcase in the family room. Does this book series look familiar? 
It's a Readers Digest series started in 1982 called World's Best Reading. The series was distributed as a mail order membership club. It began with single annual volumes and then, expanded to bi-monthly editions. Each volume includes a small pamphlet with a biography of the author. I believe the series is still in print. When I spot one at a resale shop I always buy it. I'm at 23 volumes and there are over 150!

Happy thrifting!

Julie B
ps Do you like the framed needlepoint bunny on the books? Another thrifty find I fell in love with.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vintage Bed Sheet Fabric

Newly posted vintage bed sheet fabric on my etsy shop…

So pretty… they make great baby blankets when backed with super soft minkee. Also, they are great for burp pads, pillows, cafe curtains, doll clothes…

Happy summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dresden Lace and Scrapbooking

This lovely ballerina was once my Grandmother's many years ago. Along with a few other figurines sent to me after my Grandmother died, this piece has been in a curio cabinet on display. She is in great condition. I did not know much about her until this past week when I started doing some research after finding a couple other similar pieces. Her ballet tutu is called Dresden lace and was made by dipping cotton lace into a porcelain paste and fired until the lace disintegrated and a hard porcelain shell remained. This process began in Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. This particular figurine is stamped with a crown and the letters MV under it which stand for Muller Volkstedt. You can find more info here 

This one I found last week at a resale shop for $3 in great condition! She is playing a mandolin.  The stamp on the bottom of the figurine is one from Aelteste Volkstedt pottery. 

I found this one at the same place for $5 in great condition. She is picking flowers and her stamp is a crown with the letter S. This stamp was used by a factory in Sitzendorf, Germany. 

This is all I know about these pieces so if anyone has more information I would love to hear from you.

Besides vintage shopping this summer, I've been busy catching up on the kids' scrapbooks. I am officially only 2 years behind on each child. I should be able to get the rest done by end of summer. Creative Memories (a scrapbook company) went bankrupt a few months ago which threw me for a loop because I've been using their products for the last 15 years! I bought enough supplies to finish the albums I already started but switched to the top loading style of scrapbooking for the new ones. Below is the start of Andrew's middle school scrapbook which will probably fit high school too. The amount of pictures goes way down after the age of 10! Ha! But, I love to have all the report cards, concert brochures, artwork, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia in one place. 
We just celebrated Andrew's 15th birthday yesterday. It's hard to believe he's starting driving lessons this summer and getting ready for his sophomore year. In another year, we'll be looking at colleges! Yikes!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Yard Sale Season

It's May and the yard sales are popping up everywhere… along with the bulbs and spring flowers. Here are some of my recent finds…
Scallop Handle Large Oval Platter by Wilton Armetale 

The platter was a special find for me. It goes along so nicely with the shell sauce and hors d'oeuvre server pictured below which was given to me by my paternal grandparents for my wedding. 

This one is a Small Oval Au Gratin dish which is part of Wilton Armetale's Gourmet Grillware collection. Yes, it is made to go on the grill. By the way, their products are ovenproof.

Here is a vintage le Creuset saucepan 14 with spout and wood handle. The handle has the word TECK imprinted in the wood handle. You can barely see it in the picture if you look closely. Does anyone know what this means?  (Added 5/16: a customer service rep from Le Creuset told me that the word TECK indicates the wooden handle style). Once I got home I realized it was missing the lid. O'well!

Lastly, I found 5 of these yellow beauties - Bordallo Pinheiro salad plates with a celery, carrot, and tomato pattern and a raised scalloped edge of lettuce. These were found at Goodwill - no chips or scratches.

Happy hunting!

Julie B.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

501 Blocks, a Birthday, and a Gnome

Several months ago, I started sewing 12" quilt blocks from Judy Hopkin's 501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks book. I started out playing around with my scraps and sewing together blocks that looked appealing to me. This has evolved into the beginning of a Christmas sampler quilt… 
Sarah's Choice Block

Mosaic #8

The bulbs are coming up and Mr. Gnome is outside again. This spring he has acquired a sheep to keep him company. 

Emma has turned 12 years old! One more year until she's a teenager. The whole family went to Kiku's, a Japanese steak house where the chefs cook the meals right in front of you.

Happy spring!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hot Dog Pillowcases, Civil War, and most important Warm Weather

Just about everyone who quilts has heard of Kaffe Fassett, a brilliant artist and designer who works with color in amazing ways. Based in London, Kaffe works with Westminster Fabrics creating fabric lines that his fans can't wait to get their hands on. Recently, I played around with some Kaffe fabric to make a couple pillowcases for my daughters.
Now do you see what I'm talking about??!!

The method I used to construct the pillowcases is called the hot dog method, or sometimes known as the taco method. Funny names that will make sense when you put one together. I love it because all the raw edges are tucked in nicely. If you would like to give it a try, I have included my own hot dog pillowcase tutorial in the tutorial section of my blog. And you get to do French seams!

Lately, I've been looking into Civil War reproduction fabric. Barbara Brackman is well known for her research on fabric and quilts from before the civil war to present day. Her blog is amazing with tons of history and pictures of vintage quilts. She has a brand new line of fabric called Ladies' Album. And Barbara has a free online Block of the Month called Threads of Memory that started in January. The theme Threads of Memory refers to the Underground Railroad. Each month, she blogs about an important story in the network that assisted slaves to freedom and provides a free 12" star quilt block pattern. And if you really are a quilting machine, Barbara is starting a Jane Austen weekly quilt block on Sunday, April 6th. You will receive free 12" quilt block patterns for 36 weeks. The blocks are not authentic for the time period but chosen for their 20th century names as "patchwork in Jane Austen's England rarely included a sampler of blocks."

Last week, I visited Quilt Merchant, a quilt store in Winfield, IL that specialized in Civil War reproduction fabric. Here is a quilt pattern called Four Score by Quilts Remembered done in Civil War repro fabric. I have the pattern and fabric kit and hope that my quilt turns out this awesome! I have only started cutting the fabric but I am so excited to start sewing. 

April is in two days and the weather has finally started to warm up. I don't remember the last time the kids were outside without jackets. It's going to be in the 60's tomorrow! I think we'll spend all day outside. 
Happy sewing and quilting!

Julie B.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Briar Rose Quilt

 My Briar Rose baby quilt is finished for Sarah's teacher who had her first baby girl. Briar Rose fabric collection is by Heather Rose for Windham Fabrics and the solid green is by Moda Bella Solids called Amelia Green.

The frogs, bees, and strawberries are sweet. This bee is knitting.

I had fun playing around with the decorative stitching on my Bernina 330.  I added 
baby's name in each solid green row. 

 I found some inspiration here from Rita at Red Pepper Quilts to start what she calls an Economy Block Quilt. Traditionally, this block is known as a Square in a Square block. I have a nice collection of novelty prints to fussy cut for the centers. Also, I have a charm pack of dear Stella dots for the outside corners and a good sized collection of solids for the inside corners. Only 76 more to go!

My "second chance" find this month was a beautiful crochet blanket in great condition and perfect for Emma's room. I see a lot of these blankets but not as vibrant and soft as this one. I found one for Sarah in her colors a couple years ago. Here is the link. Wow! Time flies!

Happy day!
Julie B.