Thursday, March 5, 2015

I SPY ..... SNOW

Since I completed this I SPY quilt during
our snow storm today.  I decided to venture
outside for photos.

It's 48" square and each block is unique.
Made totally from my stash, the backing
is a thrifted polka-dot sheet.

Not much more to say, 
except I sure hope spring arrives soon!

Cabin fever = quilting!

Saturday, February 28, 2015


The blocks are completed and on the design wall.
Now to move a few blocks around then stitch it up.

I'm hoping be finished before Easter.

Friday, February 13, 2015


I started working on an I Spy Quilt for my granddaughter.
Here's the beginning of this fun quilt.
I'm hoping to have it finished by Easter.

These blocks are waiting to be pressed and trimmed
to 5.5" square.  All together I have more than 80 blocks.
And all the fabrics came from my stash.  Although,
some fat quarters were purchased over the past
3 years in anticipation of making this I Spy Quilt.

And I now have a "design wall".  It's just batting tacked 
to a sliding closet door, but it does the trick.

Enjoy this beautiful day,
it's bitter cold here in southern PA
but the sun is shining :)


Friday, February 6, 2015

Will you be my Valentine.......

A few years ago I purchased a kit to make a quilt 
featuring this adorable vintage look 
novelty Valentine fabric.  
I believe the fabric is by PamKitty.

I used the same basic pattern and instructions but instead of
one quilt I made 4.  One for me and each of my daughters
plus a tiny little gem for my granddaughter.

I added fabric from my stash
to finish the backs and binding.

A fun little project to share my love
with my family.

Happy February!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


The end result.......a lovely wool purse
that began as a thrifted skirt.

I used a little different technique this time,
binding (like that of a quilt) is securing 
the end panel to the front & back.

A fun project and first finish for 2015.

I also recently completed this doll sized diaper
bag for my granddaughter's 2nd birthday.

It was made from the scraps of this doll bassinet.

Happy Birthday Ellie!

No resolutions for 2015.  After last year's huge
events (buying a home, moving, remodeling, daughter's wedding, etc.), I'm hoping for a more relaxed year!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Completed this set of Appliqued Christmas Placemats
recently for a relative.  The designs are my own, although
I get plenty of inspiration on the web.

I used a fusible web to adhere the pieces to the background
fabric.  And then use a combination of satin stitch,
raw edge applique and thread painting to achieve
my designs.  The fabric and thread were from my stash.
The backing is a prequilted cotton in cream and
there's a woven iron-on interfacing attached to 
the inside of the backing.

I'll basically let the pictures do the talking.
The first set is selecting the threads for each design.

It's nice to have a wide variety of colors on hand.
Although some of these threads are old, I've
loved machine applique since I was a teen.

The next set of pictures are of the completed fronts,
a close-up of each design and the backs.
I did the thread work after the placemats were made
so there's a secondary design on the back.
Depending on your taste they could be reversible.

The meander quilting was completed after the
detailed thread work.

That completes my handmade Christmas gift list.
Still have plenty of projects to work on,
including a new purse for me.


Friday, December 19, 2014

SAND TARTS - the Tradition Continues

The "whole" view of the process of making sand tarts.
This recipe has been passed down through my father's family.
The process has evolved even throughout my time of making them.

I'll share the recipe at the end of the post and some tips
along the way.  And of course this is just what works
for me, I'm sure each has their own preferences.

A few things to keep in mind, the dough must be cold and remain
cold throughout the process.  I refrigerate the dough over night
and only remove a handful at a time from the frig to work
with.  I also turn the house heat down and open a window
or door a little and run a ceiling fan to keep the 
kitchen from getting too warm.

The idea is to keep the butter from melting until it's in the oven.
So the colder it stays and the less you handle the dough
the better.  Makes for a thinner, crisper cookie, not the
kind you ice after cooled.

This is my set-up, the island in our new home is a great
place for making cookies.
I use a marble rolling pin, my mother used a wooden one, they 
both work.  We both roll on a cotton cloth, feed sack
to be exact, this one is over 30 years old.  Only
gets used once of twice a year so hasn't worn out.

I like this cloth because of the bright design.
I know the dough is thin enough when I can see the cloth design
through the dough.  Takes plenty of flour on the cloth and
on the dough, but not so much that it looks solid white like on the 
left in the picture below, I would brush off that flour.

The soup bowl of flour is for dipping the cutter and for
spreading on the cloth and dough.
I also primarily use metal cutters they make a much
sharper cut which is easier to pick up to put on the
cookie sheet.

I decorate the cookies with colored sugar and
Holiday sprinkles.

The cookies are cooled on white flour sack fabric.
This is about 1/2 of the cookies from 1 batch of dough.

Ellie helped to decorate a few of the cookies.
She was very serious, didn't say a word just
kept working. 
Note:  she's not 2 yet, must teach them early!

She was intrigued by the little red balls and wanted
to pick just those out to decorate this star.

With some direction and encouragement from mommy,
she moved onto little pinches of decorations for the rest 
of the stars.

She worked hard on this process and didn't try
to eat the dough or decorations. 

Then we worked on the fine art of patting down the
sprinkles so they don't just roll off the dough.
This was a harder concept.

Oops, this cut out slid on top of another one.
Good sign they won't stick to the cookie sheet.
Mommy to the rescue.

And the final inspection before it goes into the oven.

The final product - 264 cookies.

Grandma Horst's Sand Tarts
2 cups white sugar
1 cup margarine (I use butter)
2 eggs
pinch of salt
some vanilla (can you tell this is an old recipe)
4 Tbsp water
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Cream sugar and softened butter together, add eggs, salt and vanilla.  Add flour one cup at a time along with baking soda and cream of tartar.  Add water as the mixture becomes too dry.  Form into a ball, place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight.

Roll thin with flour, cut with cookie cutters, decorate and bake.

Bake 325 to 350 degrees until light brown.  Cool, store in air tight container.  Enjoy!

This is a labor intensive process but the cookies are DELICIOUS!
and a staple for our Christmas celebrations.
I only remember one year not making these cookies,
that's when my left wrist was in a cast and I couldn't
use the rolling pin.  So we had Valentine Sand Tarts instead.

Please comment if I missed something or you have a question.