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.


Monday, December 15, 2014


A doll bassinet for my granddaughter.

I used this tutorial as a guideline for this project.
It was fun but if I make another I will tweak
the design a little more.

Have you guessed yet, I have more time than money this year.
So it's a handmade Christmas!

Back to the sewing room....

Linking up with Porch Swing Quilts.


Another Christmas finish,
this little flannel doll quilt for my granddaughter.
It's 21" x 19.5", the top picture is pressed and starched
the bottom one is washed, dried and wrinkled.
So soft and cuddly!

The 2.5" squares came from a friend's stash.
The same stash in making this quilt.

What's next.......

Linking up with Porch Swing Quilts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Completed 5 of these Coloring Totes today as Christmas presents.
The front crayon slots are each an inch wide.
I used the Crayola Twist Up short crayons.
Inside will be a coloring book and toy.
The denim is from skirts and dresses 
purchased at local thrift stores.

No instructions, just made a simple box bottom
tote.  No lining, but I did bind the inside seams
so there won't be strings.

Next project is a flannel doll quilt.

Back to the sewing machine!

Linking up with Porch Swing Quilts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Completed Barn Quilts

My completed Autumn Leaves barn quilt.
An in process picture may be found here

As with many projects, I went through several versions.
Below is my original idea, Ombre Autumn Leaves, 
but the effect didn't show well, so I repainted
as Patchwork Ombre Autumn Leaves (shown above).

This exact pattern is my own, but I found plenty of
inspiration on Pinterest.

Next on my painting table was a Snow Cardinal Barn Quilt.
This is the original version.  But in my opinion
the fussy snowflake didn't "play well" with
the freehand pine branches.
So back to the drawing board.

And a new snowflake was born, complete with shading.
Now that's better :)

The completed barn quilt.
This is my favorite so far.

 And ... taadaa ... here it is displayed on the house

Once again I was able to use thrifted wood
to make this beautiful addition to our new home.

I have more wood and some ideas but 
they will wait until I get spring fever.

Back to Christmas projects!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Stocking w/ pinwheel block tutorial

Elaina has a Christmas stocking.  With all the changes 
happening in our family last year, I didn't get around
to making her a stocking.  No excuses this year.
So this project was moved to the top of my to do list.

It's a common pinwheel block but I used this "new to me" method.

For each pinwheel, cut 2, 3" squares, one neutral, one festive.

Place blocks right sides together.
Stitch 1/4" seam around all 4 sides of the square.
After stitching I pressed using spray starch on both sides.

Cut the block from corner to corner.
Yes, you will be dealing with bias cut pieces,
thus the starch.

Press open with seams going to the dark side.
Cut off the little points, sometimes called dog ears.

And stitch the square together.
The perfect little 3" pinwheel every time.

I assembled with 1.25" sashing.  
And completed the stocking using this mini quilt.

Dug out the counted cross-stitch supplies for the name
and it's finished!

Proudly displayed with the other stockings.
That's another story......

The angel stockings are from the days of Battenburg lace.
When I made the original 2 angel stockings I had enough
of the pre-quilted red fabric to make 2 more stockings.
We didn't have more children, but I saved the fabric 
long enough to make stockings for our son-in-laws.
Even with packing and moving ourselves 3 times
(over 2,000 miles total), there are some things that
I just couldn't part with, quilters will understand!

Enjoy your day!

Powder Room Update

We finally finished a makeover of our powder room. I should say, my hubby, I was only the designer. This project required replacing par...