Quilt Retreat

I recently returned from my first quilt retreat. Jo, from Jo’s Country Junction invited me. She felt that I would enjoy it, I would get to know Bonnie Hunter and people would be able to meet me in regards to my longarm quilting business. I was hesitant about attending for a few reasons, first off it would be 3 days away from home, all I could think of is, I will be even further behind with my work when I get home. Second, I haven’t pieced a quilt in almost 5 years because I have been working on other things and busy with my longarm quilting. I just could not imagine going.

I really only thought about it for about a day and then committed because I knew if I weighed the pros ands cons, I would not go. Let me tell you, I am very glad that I attended the retreat. I learned many new piecing skills and techniques, I learned all about Bonnie and met more great quilters.For those of you who have not heard of Bonnie Hunter, she is like a rockstar of quilting. She is known internationally and her retreats are booked out through 2019. Bonnie has a great backstory, is a down to earth gal and teaches quilters how to make beautiful quilts out of left over fabric, “scrap quilting”, you can check out her site Quiltville to learn more.
Jo and her daughter, Kelli started organizing this retreat in 2015 as it takes about 2 years for all the planning to come together. It was held this year in Oelwein in 2 locations, mine was at the Community Center where 58 of us attended. Here is a photo of the layout.There are tables set up for the quilters. We bring our sewing machines and other supplies needed to sew, they provided irons, ironing boards and cutting supplies. Here is a photo of my area.This may be hard to understand, but getting my sewing area situated was the hardest part of the day. I have only sewn at home, and if you have seen my photos you know I have a sewing table, a cutting table and my other sewing supplies set up in a large area. So sewing on a section of a table was challenging at first but after a while it worked out ok.
I shared my table space with two other quilters from Illinois, Mary and Luanne. You just can’t believe how kind and helpful they were, oh and very funny!
In the three days of the retreat we worked on 3 new projects. We also had a vendor show, 2 quilt trunk shows and had two speakers. I will be sharing my projects with you in future blogs as I continue to work on them. I would like to set aside 30 minutes each day to complete these, I will keep you posted!

During the retreat I was able to meet so many new quilters and was able to meet those who already read my blog, a face to the name now! Please leave a comment if you were at the retreat and let us know how you are doing with your 3 quilts.

Once again I am glad Jo invited me to the retreat and I am glad I said yes. Sometimes when we stay in our own little world, we have no idea what we are missing out on:)

A Post From Gene Anne

Hi, my name is Gene Anne Berst. I am your guest blogger for today. I am 17 years old and I go to North Fayette Valley in West Union, Iowa, where I will be a senior this year. After that I will be going on to Wartburg College. At Wartburg I will be majoring in psychology. My favorite hobbies are dancing and cheering. I also enjoy reading, writing and doing makeup.

I have been making quilts since I was in 5th grade. I have made 6 quilts since then. My favorite quilt I have made is a winter themed, flannel quilt. It was the first quilt that I ever made. My newest quilt, I made for my dorm room at Wartburg College. I wanted it to fit my twin mattress, with a little extra fabric on all sides. This will probably be the last quilt I make before college, so that is why I decided to make it Wartburg themed.

I didn’t know what pattern I wanted to use, but I knew I wanted it to be geometric. My mom and I Google searched geometric patterns and found this pattern, which is “herringbone.” The original pattern we found was too small for my twin bed, so we modified it and added a row of blocks.
My mom and I went to Quilter’s Window in New Hampton to find the fabric for my quilt. I like to go here because I have used fabric from the store since I began making quilts and I know the workers well, and they know my fabric preferences. I also know they have very good quality fabric. For the colors, I took inspiration from the pattern we found on line. They used all yellow and grey patterns. I really like how this looks, so I decided to use mainly orange and grey, with black and white accents. I wanted all the colors to match Wartburg. I chose these fabrics because I liked how they look against each other. For example, I think that the dark grey makes the orange really pop.
I started off by cutting all the fabric out. I had my mom cut the fabric because I had problems with it slipping. The oranges and grey in the middle were all cut into 6-inch blocks. This part was very easy and we had extra fabric left. Once the blocks were cut, I marked a line diagonally, using a ruler, across one of the six inch blocks, pined them together (one orange, one grey). Next I sewed down each side of the diagonal line. After that, I cut right down the diagonal block. There was then two squares of orange and black triangles. Once the blocks were cut apart, I ironed them, and snipped off the corners.
Next following the pattern photo we laid out the blocks. Then I sewed all the small blocks together and continued to sew the blocks until there were rows. In between sewing the blocks together, I ironed the seams so they laid flat. My mom helped me finish the top by sewing some of the the rows together. I don’t like sewing the rows together because I struggle with marrying the seams.
After the quilt center was done, we cut the small white and black inner border and sewed it onto the quilt. This took a long time for me to sew as I wanted it to be perfect. Once the small border was done, I began with the outside black border. We measured the quilt in three different places on each side, averaged that number out, and cut the black border to fit that number. This was done so the border would not be waving, but instead lay flat. After that, my mom sewed on the black border on the quilt. I did not want to do this because I didn’t want to mess it up.
I am excited to finish my quilt and I will not be using it until January in my dorm room. To finish my quilt, I will need to longarm quilt it and sew the binding on. I am planning on using a pantograph to machine quilt it. In the past, I have only done free hand swirls on the quilts and I am nervous about using the pantograph, but I think it will look good on my quilt.
I had a large amount of fabric left when I finished my quilt top. I decided to make a quick, easy pillowcase from the left over fabric. I did this by sewing three different oranges together in a row, and then added black on the end. It was very easy, and I finished it within an hour. I am also considering making a rug with more of the left over fabric. I have looked into it, and think it will complete my dorm room.

I brought my finished quilt back to the shop to show Denise!
The last time I was at the shop with my mom, helping her pick out fabric for her Bonnie Hunter retreat, I saw a store sample backpack that caught my eye. It was very unique and I had never seen anything like it before. It was so cute, I knew I had to make it. We bought the pattern and the fabric and I have it completed already. We took photos, so I will write another blog and show you how it turned out!

Little Brown Church Wedding

Our family attended a wedding at The Little Brown Church in the Vale located just east of Nashua, Iowa. Our daughter, Noelle was a bridesmaid for the wedding, Amanda, the bride is a dear friend and a high school classmate. Almost everyone around here is familiar with this church, but for those of you who are not please check out the link. It is a very small church and people from all over come to be married there and renew their wedding vows, it is a simple intimate setting to celebrate with your closest friends and family.
The Monday before the wedding one of the other bridesmaids contacted me about her dress. She had just picked it up, and the alteration place had hemmed her dress and it was not to be hemmed at all. I told her to come over and I would see if I could help her.
She and her mother arrived and she put the dress on, it was 2 inches too short in the front and 3 inches too short in the back. Her mother and I worked together to take out the 1/2 inch hem, yikes, how is a person suppose to lengthen this dress! The fabric that was cut off was not sent with them either. As you can see in the photo I do not have much to work with. The fabric is fraying terribly and who uses black thread on a blue dress?
The mother knew that Noelle was also a bridesmaid and wondered if we could use any of her dress. I told them that I would do my best to lengthen her dress and that the bridesmaid should paint her toenails extra pretty for Saturday because they will be for sure showing!
The first thing I did was to add Noelle’s extra satin fabric layer that I had cut off, to the back of this gown. The dresses had a corset back with very long ties. I took off as much as I could from both dresses and added that as well to entire dress hem.
The last step I did was to add the extra sheer over lay fabric from Noelle’s dress only to the back of this dress. The seam was noticeable, so much so, I felt it would be distracting if I did it in the front. When they came to pick op the dress on Friday, we all decided it was better than when they brought it and she would look beautiful for the wedding.
Here is a photo of the wedding party, from a distance you cannot tell who is wearing the dress that is to short!
Here are a few after the ceremony candid photos. These gals were all classmates in high school along with Amanda the bride.It was a beautiful day for this beautiful bride.A photo of the family, minus Victoria.And one more of Noelle.Have any of you had dress alterations mishaps like this, or is it just me? Share your story and your solutions! Happy quilting:)

Judy’s Quilt

This quilt belongs to Judy, one of my new customers, let me tell you about the quilt and little bit about her. First off when Judy made this quilt her Mother’s health was stable, and as the weeks have passed her Mom was hospitalized for a time and now is resting at home with the medical professionals telling the family her life may be nearing the end. I have been following them on Facebook and Judy is remembering the quilts she has made for her Mom which are now blanketing her in love at home. Judy also talks about a Swedish Rye Bread her Mom made at Christmas time and that they made it when she came home, reminding them of good times. Please say a little prayer for our quilting sister, Judy and her family.
Judy’s Mom taught her to sew when she was 9, and she has made over 40 quilts and has kept about 10 of them for herself. Judy enjoys quilting because she loves how a quilt feels, the creative process involved, and to give them as gifts. Making quilts has also gotten her through some difficult years, “It is good therapy to make a quilt”, I think we all can agree with her on that! She currently lives in South Carolina, but has lived most of her life in the midwest, being born and raised in Iowa. Judy learned to quilt while living in Singapore for a few years around 2000. The class she took was taught by an australian and they hand pieced that quilt.
The fabric for this quilt Judy bought because of the bright colors and she thinks her 3 grandchildren, who are all under 2 1/2 years old, will enjoy it when they come to visit. It is from Color Works Concepts by Northcott. Notice the pieced border, this is something new she wanted to try. In the instructions she sent me she tells me the borders are a bit “wonky-sorry”. I have to say, these borders are awesome! Her piecing was very accurate, the border laid flat and was easy to quilt.I asked her about the pattern and she said it is a jelly roll quilt. She would recommend this for a quick method of putting a quilt top together. I’m with her, don’t we all need a quick quilt from time to time.
Judy choose the quilting pantograph, Fluffy with white thread. It is a simple open design and I think it complements the quilt. Here is the back of the quilt, isn’t this great! I can imagine her little grandchildren will have fun playing on either side of it.
This is the finished quilt measuring 68 x 89.
Judy, I am glad you went out of your comfort zone and tried something new and that you are keeping this one for yourself. It is a wonderful quilt and will brighten your day.

Chickasaw County 4-H Fair

Last Sunday we were once again able to attend the Chickasaw County 4-H Fair. This is a time where 4-H’ers are judged and can share their experiences, projects, and livestock with the community. It is a 4-5 day event that takes place in Nashua, Iowa at the Chickasaw county fair grounds. 4-H provides youth access to safe learning environments; challenging experiences that build skills, competencies, and resiliency to address life’s challenges and to actively contribute to society; and partnerships with caring adults to help meet youths’ basic needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. We have attended this for many years because our closes friends have children that participate in this. As we all get older, we are down to to just one girl, Jessica, who is still in 4-h.

There are lots of sites and activities to take in, youth showcasing their projects, talents, animals, including cute bunnies, but I am most interested in the non-livestock projects which include sewing and needle arts. Here is a link to tell you more about it. 4-H Hot sheets.
The show takes place in an old building, which is typical of our fairs in this area. Here you can see how it is set up.
There are many 4-H clubs in each county that the youth can choose to join. They are able to select a club based on their interests and location. The clubs were named many years ago and I like that they have kept their names, some of the club names are; Ionia Rustler, Jolly Blue Bells, Utica Lucky 4’s, and Bradford Eager Beavers. If you are not from the area you are probably having a little laugh now, but around here we have grown up with these names and we love them!
Each club then has their own “booth” as we call it, at the fair. Here is Gene Anne looking at the projects in one of them. I was on the look out for the sewing projects and I really enjoy seeing what the youth have completed through the year, here is what I found.
First was this lovely apron, who doesn’t love a hand made apron! The fabrics she chooses were so sweet- bees and flowers. The apron was well constructed and the seams were finished, this young gal did a great job with her projectA tie fleece blanket and a tablecloth with cross stitching was next. Each of these projects are unique and show the interests of each child. I was especially happy to see the cross stitch as many young people have never seen this, much less know how to make them. The stitches on this were clean and even.The youth can also bring clothing for different categories, these outfits represent the fashion review. This is where you bring an outfit of yours and you are judged on how it fits on you, how it looks on you, why you choose this, the cost of the outfit, and the fabric content, along with other guidelines. The county had a nice selection here.
We also came across a beautiful pieced pillow case. Up close you can see the seams all match and the pillow case lays well, maybe this 4-H’er will make a quilt like this next year!
Look at these adorable hats, and that this gal made them. I am not sure if this knitting or crocheting, if you know the difference leave a comment so next time I will know. These cute hats have a pony tail hole in the back for the hair to go through, what a great idea!
Lastly, this was the only quilt in the entire building! There has always been more in past years, but I know the number of youth involved in this program is decreasing through the years, but just one quilt? I would have been shocked if none were to be found and I understand this may be the case next year.
When our girls were in 4-H they each made one and often times two quilts to bring to the fair each year. Are we quilters partly to blame that we are not passing on our wonderful joy of quilting with our future generations? Is it a combination of less youth and different interests? I am not sure because I am a quilter and all of our daughters quilt.
Gene Anne, myself, and Noelle
Overall, we had a very nice night! If you are a quilter, take time to actively engage our youth when it comes to quilting! We don’t want to lose this beautiful form of art. What are some ways we quilters can build interest around this?

Jenny’s quilts

I recently was able to complete 2 quilts for Jenny from Decorah, Iowa. She had a deadline for the one quilt and her regular longarm quilter was not able to quilt them in time. She stopped in at Red Roxy’s quilt shop in Decorah and the ladies there referred her to me and I was able to complete them and get the quilts back to her in about 1 1/2 weeks. By the looks of the quilt can you guess who it is for? She made two quilts for her two granddaughters who are turning, 2! I truly admire every quilt I work on, and these were just fun fabrics to quilt because these look like something our three daughters would have made for themselves years ago.Both quilts were made using the fabric from designers Me and My Sister that Jenny had purchased from several quilt shops. For this first quilt she used a layer cake and I am guessing additional yardage for the white strips. The pantograph she choose is Hearts in Bloom which I feel complements the quilt nicely. She was able to view the pantographs on this blog page and then decided which ones she liked best. We choose a white thread as to not distract from this lovely quilt.The quilt pattern is from the Missouri Star Quilt company’s Block Magazine.
Here is the cute backing she used and I would think the granddaughter will want to have this side up sometimes as well!This is a full photo of the finished quilt measuring 62 x 78 a wonderful size that this little girl can grow into.
Here is Jenny’s second quilt measuring 63 x 74 another nice twin size. Look at this cute backing fabric as well, bight green and white flowers with hot pink centers!
See how the fabrics are similar but the pattern, and borders are different. Jenny like all of my customers have exceptional quilting abilities, I mean this sincerely and all my customers quilts are easy to quilt. The piecing is spot on, there are no wavy borders and the back of the quilt tops are just as beautiful as the fronts. Kudos to all my customers for have the knowledge and the patience to create these wonderful quilts!

On this quilt she added a darker inner border. I like how it separates and frames the quilt center from the outer border. This quilt was made using a Merry’s Stitchins pattern called All A Flutter. Just a side note about Merry, her shop is just south of Jesup, Iowa about 45 minutes from here. She has a beautiful shop and creates many quilt patterns. Her daughter, Julie Wurzer from St Lucas, Iowa owns the company Patchabilites and is well known in the US. Feel free to check them both out. Wonderful people and wonderful designers.
The pantograph Jenny picked is Flight of Fancy, see how they go together with the butterfly design.
In the photo of the finished quilt you can see how the star pattern and color placement adds movement to the overall quilt design.I asked Jenny to tell my readers a little bit about herself and why she enjoys quilting? . “I am married, have 4 children and 4 grand children (all girls). I work full time at Rockwell Collins, for 36 years. (Wow!) I started sewing at about 10 and have been quilting for about 9 years and hope I have many more. “I love every step of creating a quilt from cutting it out to the binding. It is a good stress reliever and most of my 25 to 30 quilts that I have made have been given as gifts.”

Thank you Jenny for sharing your quilting story with us:)
Have a great day!

Quilted Fleece Blanket

In my last blog I talked about making a tie fleece blanket and used Gene Anne’s from 2009 as an example, well here is another option for a fleece blanket!
Gene Anne’s boyfriend, Spencer graduated from high school last month and back in April she told me she would like to make him a tie fleece blanket for a graduation gift. It is my understanding that this is a popular gift for the college bound kids if you are not a quilter. As many of you know, to make large quilt is a commitment of time and money so I agreed with her, this would be a nice gift for him. If you remember from my last blog, I am not a fan of the tie fleece blankets, so I thought, why can’t we load the fleece fabric onto the longarm frame, with batting in-between the layers and quilt it, I think that would work and be a nice gift! The stitching will keep it secure and the edges she could cut and have a fringe edging. I ran the idea past Gene Anne and she thought too, this would work!
The first step in this process was to find fleece. He will be attending the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and their logo is the panthers.This seemed easy enough as she wanted the logo fabric on one side and a matching purple fleece on the other. Many colleges and sports teams offer their logo fabric, in store and online. We were having much difficulty finding the UNI Panther fleece online and after a call to a local Joann’s fabric store I was told that UNI does not give out licensing for their logo and I will not find UNI fleece anywhere. She suggested a purple and gold plaid fleece with a solid backing. This was quite disheartening for Gene Anne but she was ok with looking for a plaid fleece to use.

We checked out many sites online and she really did not find an option that would work, and if you buy fleece online, how can you tell if the front and the back will be in the same color family? About this time, we attended a graduation party in Mason City, Ia where a Joann’s was located. It was a huge store in my opinion with approximately 450 bolts of fleece,(I forgot to take a photo) I had no idea there were so many options, I was overwhelmed! So once again here, no purple and gold plaid. She decided on a faint tye-dye pattern of purple for one side and gold for the other.

We purchased 2 – 96 inch cuts that are 60 inches wide, now I know most of you are asking, why would she need 8 feet of fleece? Well, can you guess why, this is a tall guy, about 6’5″. How many of you have experienced trying to cover up with a quilt that is too short, not fun! So she wanted to make sure this blanket was long enough.

She quickly sketched out how she wanted the quilting pattern to be done, remember, she was looking for plaid fabric and since we could not find that, a plaid quilting design was a good option. Taking the dimensions of the blanket into consideration along with how far apart the lines should be, she came up with a plan for quilting. I know it probably just looks like chicken scratches to many of you, but it was enough to give her a visual plan.
I helped Gene Anne load the quilt the long way as we quilters call it, doing it this way means you advance the quilt less, good time management. Next the batting was laid in place and then all 3 layers were secured across the top. After this, using the horizontal channel on the longarm, she started with the lines that run parallel to the frame, for spacing she used a 7 inch square ruler as a guide, I think she did a 2 inch and a 5 inch spacing pattern for her desired quilting pattern. After this she used the vertical channel lock on the machine to complete the pattern. These simple options gives the quilter the ability to quilt perfectly straight lines, super easy! When an area was completed, she advanced the quilt to the next section.

In the top photo you can see she is very pleased with how the blanket is turning out. As she neared the end she signed her name.
With the quilting complete, I helped her take it off the frame, I was surprised at how heavy it had become with the batting in-between the layers! I guess that will be a good thing for the possible chilly college apartment Spencer may be in.

As soon as it was off the frame she had to try it out, would it be cozy and comfortable? It would for sure be long enough for him.
Next we trimmed the edges where needed to make it fairly even, if you remember from my last blog, fleece is forgiving, there will be no straight edge this one will have a fringed edge. For her last step, she is simply snipping the edge fleece that are about 1 1/2 inches into about 1 inch sections. She fluffed them as she went and it gave the fleece blanket a nice fringed edging.
This quilted fleece blanket has since been gifted to Spencer and we feel he will get a lot of use out of it when he is at college.
.
Tell me what you think about a quilted fleece blanket, has anyone else made one of these and how did it turn out? Happy Quilting!

Fleece Tie Blankets

Fleece blankets can be a great option to quilts if you have limited sewing skills (as in a young person), short on time and are cost effective. Polar fleece is made from a synthetic polyester blend fabric. It has a two-sided pile, meaning the fabric is the same on both sides. It is very strong, holds warmth and dries quickly, which is why it was originally used by outdoor enthusiasts instead of wool. The structure of the pile surface of the fleece makes air pockets to keep the wearer or user, warmer than wool and other fabrics. Over the past decade this fabric has become a popular choice for the “tie blanket” projects we see. Just walking into any large craft store you can easily become overwhelmed by the 100’s of bolts available to consumers these days. For our family we have made several of these for the children and for charity. Here is a photo of Gene Anne in 2009 making her first tied fleece blanket.

At this time she would have been 9 years old, and in her 4-H club they made these for charity and she wanted to make one for herself and take it to the county fair as a project. Here are some guidelines to consider when choosing fabric and how to make yourself one.
Choosing the Fleece. We typically find a print we like and a contrasting or matching solid. For this one, she liked the pink and brown plaid and used a solid white for the backing. She felt it was a good combination of colors for contrast. Some patterns that don’t seem like they would go together actually complement each other quite well. I feel you will know what looks good when you are out shopping and lay the fabrics out side by side.
Decide How much Fleece to purchase.
What will be the use of this blanket, is it for a little tot, then a 60 x 60 inch square would be a nice size. Typically fleece is sold in 60 inch widths, so if this blanket will be for a teen, you may want a 60 x 80 or 90 inch blanket. Also consider how you are tying the edges, if you are using the fleece of your blanket and not adding ties, this will decrease the size of the finished blanket.
Line Up the Two Fleece Pieces
Lay out the fabric on a large flat working surface, 2 tables set up side by side works best here. The softer or more brightly colored sides face out, matching both up at one end and the sides so they lay flat, trim if desired. We feel the fleece does not have to match up perfectly because the edges will be tied, and tend to curl, so when it is complete there will be no straight edge.
Preparing to tie.The typical way folks tie the edges is not how we have done it. I can remember years ago seeing tied blankets that others had made and after a few uses they would be coming apart, they would not last. Also, I did not like how the blankets would curl around the edges, not lay flat and just seemed to be a “ball of a blanket”. I felt there needed to be a better way of tying them and came up with this.
I am hopeful you can see what we are doing, we are using the rotary cutter to simply make slits through the two layers of fleece. I would estimate it is about two inches from the outside edge. For Gene Anne’s project she used the width of her hand to measure the space between each slit.At age 9 we want the fabric projects to turn out well, but we need to be careful as to not overwhelm or frustrate them to the point of not returning to “sewing”! Fleece blankets are forgiving, so when you get close to the end of cutting the slits, you can adjust the space to make it come out fairly even.
Cutting the fleece ties.
Next we cut fleece strips to make seperate ties, that’s right, we don’t use the fabric from the blanket for the ties. The advantages are, the finished fleece blanket is larger, it lays flat and does not curl at the edges and I personally feel it looks more finished. I am not able to tell you exactly how much extra fabric you will need, it will be an estimation based on your blanket size. On this one she alternated brown and white strips that were cut in two inch widths and six inch lengths.
Tying the strips.
Well this is the best part! Much time has been spent on choosing just the right coordinating or contrasting fleece, using our math skills to make sure the finished blanket will be the correct size and that we have enough fabric for the ties, and then preparing the fleece to this point. At this time you can pull up a chair and tie. If you estimated the number of strips needed a few more may need to be cut if you run out, so keep the mat and rotary cutter close by. The ties are simply double knotted. A square knot would be the best, but here again at age 9 we have to decide if the child can tie 60-70 square knots without frustration. Gene Anne looks pretty relaxed in the first photo, so I think she just did double knots!
Here she is with the finished fleece blanket and if you can believe it, this same blanket is at the foot of her bed now as she has many quilts and we try to switch them from season to season.

Here is a preview of what my next post will be about, can you guess? If you said a fleece blanket on the quilting frame you are right, and it was made by Gene Anne just a few weeks ago!
Share your thoughts on fleece blankets with us!

Saturday at White Barns

Last Saturday we were able to go over to the White Barns event to check out the vendors. The farm is about 4 miles from me so it is a quick drive. Barb, Kim and I were able to go as Dawn was working on getting ready for her daughter’s graduation party the next day.The family that sponsor this does a wonderful job at setting this up, it is clean, organized, rides from the parking field, food and drink available, music, restroom facilities, handicap accessible and just $3.00 admission. They have it in the spring and fall, and this year there were many more vendors. The vendors sell homemade items, refinished furniture, vintage items and collectibles. I will share a few with you.
Our favorite gal to visit is Bonnie, you can check her out on Facebook! Squeaky WindmillWhy is she the main reason we go to this event, well it is because of the homemade soaps she makes. They are fragrant, have beautiful texture and color and the scent is true to name, such as “Herb Garden” and “Cotton Candy”! Bonnie is a wonderful down to earth, honest and hard working gal. Their farm was just across the gravel road from ours and she is a few years older than I, so in the spring she and her sisters would come over and help pick rock, they were “good help” my parents would say. As a young girl I clearly remember they got to wear bikini tops and my parents said I had to wear a shirt! Funny how that was a big deal to me at the time!This is how Bonnie displays all of her soaps at events, (chicken nesting boxes) a super cute idea.
Another vendor who has always been there is Marilyn who makes these lovely tatted cards, like the Happy Birthday one on the first photo.She has such a nice assortment of white cards with black sketched images and a little pop of color with the tatting. I feel it is a beautiful special card to send to those who you know will appreciate the handiwork. You can contact Marilyn at mheitman46@gmail.com. When I was just a teen I worked the night shift at the local nursing home and when we had down time a co-worker, Clara, who was in her 60’s would tat. I was so amazed at how she did that and I loved to watch her old dark wrinkled hands create something so beautiful and delicate, I will learn how to do tatting someday.
Across from Bonnie was this lady who makes and sells the american girl doll clothes, can you see how many there are! There were so beautiful and such an assortment, anyone with a little girl would be sure to find an outfit for her doll.

We came across an old iron, I sure am thankful for my Oliso iron I use on a daily basis as this one looks like a lot of work!

Here a couple of photos of the vendors on the farm.
Robin at Volga Lake Vintage is an old friend and she has been refinishing furniture the past few years, when I talk with her I can tell she truly enjoys doing this, to the point where she has done so many pieces she needs to sell them. Here she is on a beautiful church pew that she has painted and the piece behind her, she and her husband designed, a unique piece.I was on the lookout for textiles, old quilts and hankies, but it seems like a few of those vendors were not there as in the past, maybe next time. I did meet Lauren, a new vendor, she was a peach to visit with!Look at what she makes, these cute vintage inspired pillows, she had lots of them. I enjoyed looking through them all, but what I really liked was her passion for design and creativity. I love meeting people who are excited about their craft and are willing to chat about it. I feel she has found her niche and wish her well with it. Please check out her page, The Patina Patch.
During our time shopping we also had great folk music in the background, a young gal playing and singing beautifully, I am not sure of her name but her father was with her and you can find them at Bruce Bearinger.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our vintage Saturday, we had as much fun chatting with each other as we did checking out the vendors! Here we all are the next day at Dawn’s daughter’s graduation party. We had lots of fun chatting that day too:)
I have not been blogging as much as I would like to and the reason for that is, my longarm customers come before the blog, and if you are one of my customers, I know you appreciate that. I am thankful for all your business and pride myself on quality work and completing your project and returning it to you as soon as possible. So, if there is no blog, I am happily working on a quilt! I hope my readers understand:)

German Potato Salad

Can she really write a whole blog about potato salad, and what is so special about german potato salad and what is it you may ask? Well, let’s talk about this beloved special side dish. In our family, that is the Clem and Mathilda(Tillie) Kuennen family I have been eating this at our get-togethers as long as I can remember. You know how it goes, Aunt Donna brings the home-made sausage, Aunt Lori brings the corn and Aunt Geneva brings the german potato salad. Well what happens when these aunts and uncles grow old, become ill or sometimes pass away, someone needs to carry on the tradition and continue to bring these dishes. It’s like passing on our family traditions, just through food. At our gathering last summer in St. Lucas, two of us cousins brought the german potato salad, both are very good and I think we both knew the importance of passing down these recipes in the Kuennen family. So let me tell you more about the recipe.This “salad” is served warm and it has a sweet and sour taste to it, I feel like it’s one of those foods if you grew up with it you love it, and if you were brought into the family you love it or you don’t. As you can see there is an interesting list of ingredients, you can add others or omit some of these, I do not add the eggs, parsley or pimento. Also I don’t really measure, I just cook up a pan of potatoes, fry a pound of bacon( yes, lots of bacon is good!) and the rest is by taste and consistency. First I boil the potatoes cutting them all about the same size..Red skinned potatoes add color to the salad and hold their shape, be sure to undercook them a bit, or you will have mashed potato german salad. While the potatoes are cooking, I cut up the bacon and fry it until it is fairly crisp, this helps to render off some of the fat but I don’t fry it to the point where it is crunchy.I Chop the onions, set out a heavy pot and my other ingredients and by this time the potatoes are done cooking, give them a quick drain and leave them set, lid off(so they don’t continue to cook). The bacon will be done, so place this on some paper towels and add some of the fat to the heavy pot, add the onions and fry until soft. The next step is like making a roux, or a thickening sauce. I whisk the flour into the fat and then quickly add the water and vinegar, because if you are to slow you know what happens, lumps and we don’t want that. Next add in your seasonings and sugar and taste, is it too sour, add sugar and cook until it’s fairly thick. Also is it too thin then add more flour, or is it too thick, then add water. The photo above is what mine looks like. This next part is the best, you mix the sauce, potatoes and bacon together, I usually use the large pot I cooked the potatoes in to mix this all together. You can check the taste again at this point and see if it needs anything else.Here is the finished salad! This can easily be made the day before and just warmed up, I do this often, it also works well to bring to an event in a crock pot. I am sure your family has favorite food traditions as well, share them with me and my readers. Have a Great Day!