A Little Inspiration….

Wow, the summer is almost gone and I still have so much I wanted to accomplish.   However, I had a great summer so I’m not complaining.  I promise to get back to more regular posts this fall.  Everyone deserves a summer break, don’t they?

In order to get inspired for writing up some new patterns and tutorials, I decided I needed a little inspiration.  The sewing room is looking a bit drab because I haven’t made the curtains yet (which will be in a very vintage and cheery looking Minnick and Simpson fabric).  So I decided to create a sewing machine cozy!

Sewing Machine Cozy

The tutorial is from Strawberry Patches and I figured this would be the best way to bring in a dash of cheer and inspiration to the room.  Once the cover was completed, it seemed like it was missing something, so I decided to applique my favorite sewing slogan on it – and voila! –  a constant and fun reminder of how to approach life.

For the applique, I used Steam a Seam 2, which is double-sided fusible web.  I cut out the letters, fused them on, and then did a basic zigzag stitch around the edges to hold them in place.   I love how it turned out!

Keep it Thimble!

Giveaway – Can You Spot the Mistake?

I’ve been working on a table topper from the Summer 2012 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects that features both piecing and applique.  The background pieces were cut out a few weeks ago and I spent the past week piecing them together.  I felt really triumphant when I completed it on Saturday.  The plans was to start work on the applique part on Sunday.  However, after looking at it closely, I spotted a mistake….

Can you spot the mistake?

I felt I could live with it, but after sleeping on it I decided I couldn’t!  I spent a few hours Sunday fixing it, but it was worth it.  Below is the corrected background.  The applique work can wait until next weekend.

Corrected background.

Just for fun, let’s turn this into a giveaway.  The prize is a cute little cupcake pincushion (color may vary).

Figure 6 - Finished Cupcake
Giveaway Prize – Cupcake Pincushion

Post a comment below with what you think mistake is and how you would fix it.   All comments will be included in the drawing (even the ones that don’t have the correct answer).    Deadline for comments is Sunday, August 5th.   Winner will be notified via email and announced on the blog.

Keep it Thimble!

Recipe – Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberries have a special place in my heart – not only are they delicious, but they also remind me of summers picking strawberries with my Grandpa. His sister lived on a farm, and every morning he would take my brother and me to the farm to pick a bushel of berries.

Yum! Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

Most of them would be sold at the farm’s roadside stand (I believe we were paid .25 cents for each quart we picked), but he always brought at least one basket of fresh berries back home. My grandmother would spend the summer making homemade strawberry jam, strawberry pies, and of course strawberry shortcake. I never got tired of eating strawberries, but I sure did get sick of picking them!

Picking Berries

In the spirit of family tradition, I introduced my son to the joy of picking strawberries. Of course, we only picked for about 20 minutes – not 2 hours :). He really enjoyed it, and was happy when I poured some of my berries in his bucket so he could have more than me (the things we do for our kids). We picked about 10 quarts and only paid 6 dollars, definitely a bargain.

Delicious Hand-picked Strawberries

And of course we had strawberry shortcake for dessert that night. In my opinion, you can’t beat the Bisquick shortcake recipe. I grew up on it and it still tastes the best to me! You have to use Original (full fat) Bisquick for the tastiest result, although I have made it with the reduced fat kind and it still tastes good. You also have to use REAL whipped cream. I like to add about 1/4 cup of powered sugar to my whipped cream to give it a hint of sweetness.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake
(original recipe from Betty Crocker website)

  • 1 quart (4 cups) strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick® mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Heat oven to 425°F. In large bowl, mix strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and the butter until soft dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 6 spoonfuls.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
4. Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.

What are some summer desserts you like to eat?

Keep it Thimble!

April Flea Market Finds

Here’s the current stash reduction report (through today):

  • Used the last month: 3 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 8 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 25 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 57  yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 49 yards

The reason there was such a huge leap in what I added this month (I have to justify this) is because there was a big sale on Civil War fabrics and I purchased a bunch of half yards to use in my quilts.  I also have to take 1 yard of Civil War fabric to my monthly sewing circle and I will need at least 20 more yards for the duration of the club (so I am all set for the next two years!).

I haven’t been as productive in the sewing room as I would like.  I’ve done a lot of traveling and the spring weather makes it difficult to stay inside.

Antique Spool Chest - Front

Of course, I always have time to go to the thrift store and flea market and have soem great finds to share with you this month!  The best find this month is this antique spool chest.  Make of oak (I think) with 4 drawers.  It is small enough to set on a table.

Antique Spool Chest
Antique Spool Chest

I have a  huge antique postcard collection – it’s a hobby I had when I was younger, so do keep an eye out for good postcard bargains.  Most of the good cards are at least $5 these days (I remember paying 50 cents for the same cards 30+ years ago), so I don’t usually get them.  However, I find a treasure trove of some Thanksgiving and Valentine cards (some of the harder holidays to find) and got the whole lot for $2!

Antique Postcards

This is a great old tool carrier –  probably from the 40’s.  I may put some plants in it, or wash it off a bit and arrange some mini quilts on it.

Antique Tool Carrier

This is a sweet little handmade basket.  It is signed by the maker and was made in 1980 – so it is over 30 years old so it qualifies as vintage!

Handmade Basket

Here is a real find – some vintage Hawaiian fabric from the 1950’s.  There is enough here for me to make making shirts for my husband/son and a sundress for me.  Family picture time!

Vintage Hawaiian Fabric

There were some good book finds this month.  I usually find one or two sewing/quilting books each month (note, I will never have time to read them all), and they are always fun to look through for ideas and inspiration.  This month there were a ton of books at one of the stores – someone must have been doing some major spring cleaning!

Stack of Quilt Books

Finally, the treasure of the month is this special seashell toilet seat!  My son saw this and had to have it – he is obsessed with sea creatures.  What he doesn’t know is that I am re-doing his bathroom this summer with a Hawaiian theme.  This will be a perfect match!

Seashell Toilet Seat

Hope you are having a great spring.  Keep it Thimble!

March Flea Market Finds

Here’s a smile for you – my son holding up this love bug mask and saying “Hello Spring”!  How can you resist?

Hello Spring!
Hello Spring!

I had some good luck with flea market finds this month and found some great knick knacks.  I’m not sure what this first item is; it is some type of souvenir tray from Florida.  I think this might be for carrying drinks?  If anyone knows, please tell me!

Souvenir Tin
Souvenir Tin

This is a handmade Raggedy Ann doll.  Her face is hand embroidered and she is stuffed with fabric scraps (very old-fashioned).  I figure she was probably made in the 60’s or 70’s based on the fabric used for her dress.  I plan to make a new dress for her from my plethora of civil war fabric.  She looks perfect sitting on the school desk I found a few months ago.

Handmade Raggedy Ann Doll
Handmade Raggedy Ann Doll

Here is a wooden bread box.  It needs a bit of cleaning (there are crumbs in it), and I may end up painting/distressing this.  It would make a perfect sewing box – especially since you can see your project through the window.

Bread Box
Bread Box

When I saw this piece with the handcarved star and the little drawers, I had to have it! According to the signature on the back, this was made in 1986, which makes it 26 years old – so it just qualifies as being vintage!

Handmade Drawers
Handmade Drawers

Lastly, here is a very clever tote bag.  This is made from a paper-pieced quilt block that shows a girl jumping rope.  Do you see how her rope is actually the handles of the bag?  Also, I love her braids!

Jump Rope Quilt Block
Jump Rope Quilt BLock

Good luck with your flea market finds!  If you find something fun, let us now by posting in the comments.

Keep it Thimble!

Two Pillows – Finally Finished!

First off, here’s my monthly stash reduction report for February 2012:

  • Used the last month: 4 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 5 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 2 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 32 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: +28 yards

As you can see, I had a much better month then January, since I actually used more fabric than I bought.    My overall net went down by 1 yard, so surely by the end of the year my net fabric used will be running in the negative (that’s the goal).

Wool Rabbit Throw Pillow
Wool Rabbit Throw Pillow

I also had time to finally finish two pillow kits that I’ve had for at least 4 years!   The first is a cute little wool bunny – perfect for Spring. This kit is from a LQS (local quilt shop), and I think the owner of the shop drew the bunny pattern.  This is wool applique on top of one of those colorful cotton dishtowels.  The trim is a cream colored fringe that sets off the pillow perfectly.

Fourth of July Pillow
Fourth of July Pillow

The second pillow is from a Crabapple Hill pattern (I think it was a freebie pattern she offered a long time ago).  It is stitched with Red, White, and Blue perle cotton.  I love the fireworks!

What projects have you been able to complete this month?  What are you working on for Spring?

Keep it Thimble!

January Flea Market Finds!

Back by popular demand – Flea Market Finds!  At the end of each month I will post some of my better “finds.”  Some months I do really well, other months I don’t have much luck!

This is a cute little house box I found at the local thrift store.  It is handpainted and the colors work great with the vintage red,white, and blue color scheme I have in my sewing room.  The roof lifts off and you can store treasures  inside.

Little House Box

Next up is an antique school desk.  This one is in exceptionally good condition – only one piece of gum stuck to the bottom!  This particular model (Model 101) was manufactured by the American Seating Co. in the early 1900’s.   There is an fascinating history of theater, school, and bus seating on the American Seating Co. website.   The frame is made of steel and the seat flips up for easy storage.  This may go in the entranceway – the perfect place to sit while you put on or take off shoes.

Antique Schoolhouse Desk

There is a store in downtown Apex called The Rusty Bucket owned by Pam and Mack Thorpe.  They carry all types of antique and primitive items and I go there all the time to see what “new” things they have.  I was lucky enough to be in town last week when they hosted “The Gathering”, a huge sale that featured all the wonderful antiques that Pam and Mack found when they went “pickin'” in some old barns.

Barnwood Cupboard

The biggest thing I bought was a wooden cupboard made out of old barnwood.  I needed something like this for the house to add some height to my living room.  I’m not sure how old this is, but it definitely has some authentic distressing and works great with the other primitive things in the house.  This thing is very heavy and so once I find a place for it – it won’t move!

Vintage Flag Trunk

The last thing is my most favorite find (sorry Barbara, you can’t have it!).  It’s a vintage trunk with an American Flag carved into the top.  There are 50 stars on the flag, so I assume it was made in the 1960’s.  It is made of a nice heavy dark wood, and there is a tray inside that lifts out.  Not sure where this is going yet, but I am sure my decorator (Liberty Rose)  can help me figure it out!

In other news, I have a few sewing things I am working. I will also be posting a tutorial next week for a fun Valentine’s project.

Keep it Thimble!