Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer on the Porch and Other Things

This is our front porch.  We purchased 6 of the trough planters and railing brackets at Fleet Farm. 

3 planters in a mossy green that matches our house color, and 3 in medium gray to match Jon's Mom Betty's house.  I filled them with purple and yellow wave pansies, short yellow marigolds, and bib lettuce. 

Perfect spot for lunch time meal, usually a salad for me.  Many times I sit at this rocking chair to do hand sewing projects--like sewing bindings on scrappy over-sized potholders. 

All together I made 4 dozen oversized potholders last month.  They sell well at craft shows. 
100% cotton prints and batting, washable. 

I spent the month of May downsizing and sorting through 4 Large Bins of Fabric Scraps. 

Much of the fabric scraps I gave to a friend who weaves rugs, and I used leftover quilt blocks and cotton batting to build dozens of oversized potholders. 

Multiply this pile of 2.5 scraps by 100 and you'll have an idea what 4 full storage bins of scraps looks like. 

Ever Growing Piles of Scrap Fabric and Why They Grow:

As I finish a quilt project I always have leftover quilt blocks, and lots of  2.5" wide strips.  The fabric scrap bins were getting ridiculously full.   

I used the leftover quilt blocks --sewing padded purses and cell phone carriers that I sell at craft shows. 

Often I combine hand stitched wool penny medallions for decoration

This is my design--I created the carriers with  a large swivel metal clip-on to attach to the waistline, or at the neckline.   

Back to the flower troughs--marigolds, pansies, and bib lettuce . . .

Its been a great year for munching, harvesting bib lettuce on the porch.  I'll be using these trough planters many years and I can see already--they'd be great for planting fresh cooking herbs.  Nice!

From my three planter boxes I harvested. 

This is what I love to eat for lunch everyday.   Lettuce with yellow peppers and bits of sweet onion, sliced white mushrooms, blackberries, two ounces of dill cheese, a few croutons, and not shown drizzle with dressing, a raspberry balsamic vinegar.  

 There is an amazing tea and vinegar store in Stevens Point called Diversi-Tea.  Yummy.  I've tried the strawberry, blueberry, but raspberry balsamic is my favorite!  Great marinade for chicken too!

Second rocking chair - Front Porch

East Porch (summer kitchen entrance)

East Porch
As I was planting the flowers--I labeled each trough planter with name tags, so Jon would take the just the gray planters I made up for his Mom Betty.  

Actually the gray and green planters are difficult to see a  color difference in the bright outdoor light. 



Ok--back to my story about downsizing and sorting scrap fabrics . . .

Last week, I used some leftover quilt blocks to build a couple of padded purses.  I was looking through the scrap bins hoping to find dozens of  flying geese blocks I made back in 2013 for my Circus, Circus quilt.  

After sorting and downsizing the bins for two weeks I didn't see any flying geese blocks.  What???   I made dozens of them.  Where are the flying geese blocks?????

The flying geese blocks were hiding in the BOTTOM of this basket, topped off with rolls of 6-8" lengths of 2.5" wide fabric strips sewn end to end. 

I randomly selected four flying geese blocks and made a padded purse, then added more UFO blocks and leftover blue quilt binding . . .

First part of making a padded purse . . .

Finished Purse
Featuring hand made polymer clay beaded zipper pull . . .

 The best part of this purse is its padded exterior, and padded pocket. 

Padding is a good feature when you want to carry and protect your cell phone.  Underneath that pocket is a HIDDEN POCKET--a place to hide a passport, or folded receipts you don't want swimming around in your purse
I used only a small amount of those flying geese blocks for my Circus, Circus Quilt, 2013. 

I cannot explain to you why I make so many extra blocks.  The Circus, Circus quilt I made up as I went along--adding this and that.  What I really wanted in this quilt was COLOR COLOR.  

For me, the design process is--I get an idea, and build quilt blocks and use what I need, store the rest for other projects.  Lately, I've been using a little bit of math to better plan my quilt tops and art panels for the backing.  I'm attempting not to make too many extra blocks. 
I used a few of those flying geese blocks to create front of this Navy Corduroy Upholstery laptop carrier.  It was experimental, free motion quilting, and beading.

While sorting through scrap fabric bins  I found one hunk of this upholstery fabric left--a fabric I loved and made lots of purses from.  I was sad to see it go. 

There wasn't enough to build a full purse, and certainly not enough to make cross-body straps.  But I was sure I could combine other fabrics and build something fun!  I added two cotton fabrics to the margins, free motion quilted it to a layer of cotton batting and decorative cotton living. 

Built a padded pocket for the interior, with secondary hidden pocket beneath.  Added hand made polymer clay beaded zipper pull, a wool medallion hand stitched with seed beads, and finished off with batik orange/yellow appliqued circles.  This is a full meal, all the bells and whistles.  Anything more and I would have ruined it.  I almost did.  Ha. Ha.


Hope you have a great day.  Ugh, I have to do some laundry before I get to sew today.  Bummer.

Drop me a line.  Tell me about your summer . . . . please.


  1. What a delightful and inspiring post! I love your potholders and padded bags. Such creative use of leftovers, of which we all have plenty! I always like to think of them as building blocks, and you have certainly used them as that here! I know envy is a sin, but I'm tempted to envy your outdoor spaces. Here, mosquitos are a never-ending problem. Mr. Muddling sprayed some homemade recipe we saw a facebook yesterday and so far, so good! Yay!

  2. I see you just keep staying busy. Do you ever just sit and loaf? I'm so impressed with your purging of scraps and the organization of your supplies. We find that we know we have it but can not find it so buy another. We need your organizing system. I like how you can even make so many different thing using scraps. Your creativity is unending. Your brain must never stop! Hope you do well at craft fairs. All your items are so inviting. Keep up the good work! Your front porch looks beautiful. Enjoy your summer.