Time to Help my Veterans

As you know I am A very giving crafter. In that vein, I will be working on a new project. I have started the American Legion Convention Quilters project. We will be making and accepting donations of quilts with the goal of giving 100 quilts to the 100 oldest Vetrains at the 100th Wisconsin American Legion Convention in July of 2018.

The rules for this are simple if you want to help send a quilt Lap size or larger any color any style we will never turn down a quilt.

We will be setting up in a booth at the convention to gift these quilts to the veterans that wish to receive them.


Orphan Quilt Blocks Have a Use

Every quilter has those stray quilt blocks left over from completed quilts. Some come from trying different color ways,  others find their way to you from rummage sales and boxes of fabric you forgot about. The Question becomes what to do with them. Here is a simple pillow that uses those blocks and gives them new life. I hope it inspires you to do something with those forgotten treasures.

The supplies needed are:

  • A quilt block
  • A pillow form the same size or slightly larger
  • 2 pieces of matching fabric, the same size as your quilt block
  • Sewing supplies : I use a sewing machine, my sister dose these by hand, either way works
  • Pins
  1. Start by laying your quilt block face up.
  2. Next lay one of your pieces of fabric over it right sides facing.
  3. Fold over 1/3 of the fabric and pin down. 101_0688
  4. Now do the same with the other piece of fabric in the opposite direction101_0689
  5. pin around the whole pillow.
  6. sew around the pillow with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. 101_0691
  7. turn right side out
  8. now insert your pillow form. 101_0694

Once you have this done stand back and admire your work.



Don’t limit yourself to just quilt blocks. I have done this with treasured T-shirts, old hankies baby cloths, any thing I can cut into a square or rectangle. They look great on spare beds or even in the living room. Pillows are a great accessory and very easy to make. Give this quick idea a try for the holidays, these are great gifts.

Glitter and Napkins: From Old Ornaments to New Lights

Many years ago I remember my mother and her friends gluing printed napkins to styrofoam balls and sprinkling them with glitter to make ornaments.  The memory is so old I think it must have been in the early 70’s. That’s when parties for any reason were big right? Anyway, I wanted to do an update on this idea and came up with a votive holder for a battery operated candle. Here is what I came up with, a glittery Santa candle holder.

Please Note I Do Not Recommend These for Real Candles. 




mod podge


  • Santa napkin or any design you like.
  • Mod Podge Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Glitter
  • A globe style votive holder (any clear glass item that will hold a battery operated T-Light will work)

Wash your glass container and allow to dry completely. Carefully paint on the Mod Podge.


My container was small enough to cover all at once, you may need to work in sections if you are using a larger container.

Place your napkin on the container, smoothing gently with your brush. Keep the brush wet with the Mod Podge so you do not tear the napkin. Work carefully smoothing it as much as you can as you go.


After you have the napkin smoothed down, use your scissors to trim the excess from the top.


Then put on another coating of the Mod Podge. While this coating is still wet sprinkle on the glitter.  I do this over a piece of parchment paper so I can put the excess back in the bottle and use it later.


Allow to dry then gently dust off any glitter that is still loose. Put a small Battery operated T-light inside and enjoy the glow.  These will make good teacher or exchange gifts as they look like they cost a lot more than they do. I am sure if you search your house you can find many glass items to decoupage and glitter.  With the battery operated lights coming in so many sizes now I think I will be doing a lot more of these as Christmas Gifts.

I can see using them at Valentines and Easter too.  When you find a napkin you like the possibilities are endless. The glow of the light is so soft it is sure to please anyone who sees it.  I have some clear glass ornaments I will be trying this on. I have a feeling my husband will be glittering for a few days, the glitter does love to stick in his beard.

This is also another great craft for youngsters to make gifts for the holiday season . Let your children try a few. They can help and you can have a good time being unplugged.


The dinner was over, everyone was visiting and the phone rang. In most homes on Thanksgiving. this would be a happy thing. In my home, it is the start of the list of things my family wants for themselves or to give as gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love this ritual in a perverse way. This year so far has been easy if you can say five quilts by Christmas eve is an easy task. I will do them, my sister asked for them for her children and I can not say no to her. Also, knowing this happens every year I have a stash of partially made items and even completed things ready and waiting for just such requests.

So having that stash of quilt tops and blocks ready to go here are some of the quilts she will be getting:

I call this one Gold and Black

I found the fabric already cut in pieces in a rummage sale and designed the layout for this and a second one myself. Two down 3 to go.  I am thinking that these two will go to two of my sister’s daughters. That will be up to her.


Next up was 40’s Chevrons 


I can see her giving this to her oldest daughter. That daughter lives in a restored bungalow with her two sons. She could use a bit of girly softness in a house full of boys.



Then there is Spotting Deer  


I have always found it hard to quilt or craft with men in mind, but this fabric made that easy.  This one and one based on packer fabric have been waiting for just such a phone call.








So with all these from my stash, I will be okay in the long run. Just one more to find and it is going to a girl, so I think I will use my floral fabric stash for that one. I love being the big sister that helps everyone. At least most of the time.

So now I just have to do the quilting and binding, make the gifts I plan on giving for the Holidays, decorate the house and wait for the next phone call. I love the Holiday Season.


There will come a time in every crafter’s life when someone says you can sell those. That person will by one and then the ladies in the office start to buy some. All at once you know you can do big money at a craft fair or in a mall.  We all start our dreams out this way. Then you start and find out when you have to make things it is no fun anymore. This pattern repeats itself over and over in my life.

Right now it is a shared booth in a mixed mall, called Ye Old Goat  at 1919 C East Calumet Street  Appleton, WI 54915,  Info@YeOldGoat.com. I share two booths with my Sister and my father, selling a mix of handmade, upcycled, and new items.  This is one of the few malls I have see that allow this mix and it has a great following.  Check them out they just expanded into 2 more locations with even more great things to look at.


Malls will always be easier than the craft fair circuit,  while you have a fee every month you do not have to move your “store” every weekend to find customers. My father is still working craft fairs at age 72 and the work is slowing him down. It will get hard even for a young person so consider that route carefully.

Now for the fun. We do a bit of everything which means we never burn out on one thing and the booth always looks fresh. One of the tricks for doing well is constantly changing things around. As grandma used to say “moved inventory is new inventory” and she was right as always.

Here  are a few of the seasonal items my sister Sue did:


The decorated sleds are very trendy for front porch displays during the holiday season.


Here we make sure the booth looks seasonal and full. One of my favorite pieces is the faux window arrangement.


Here you can see a new wire rose piece of my dad’s an antique spice box and a Christmas arrangement, all set out for easy viewing.

So if selling is in your blood give it a try. A booth at a local church show can lead to a career if you have the drive to keep going even when things get rough. I have to admit my family has been doing this for 45 years in one form or another. Truth is, I will always make and sell, it’s what I have been trained to do.










True Fan Quick Scarf Gift


Well, crafters here in Wisconsin it is the only season that counts, Packer Season. Which in crafters language means the green and gold rule.  I have a few Packer fan go to gifts in my arsenal that is always well received and work well for any Team or character fan I have on my list, (don’t tell but some of my family are Viking Fans). The best one for female fans here in the cold north is a polar fleece scarf. This one is a single layer with minimal sewing and mimics an infinity scarf.


  1. 1/2 yard of polar fleece with your favorite theme I am using Packer fleece, but Walmart and other craft stores carry a nearly endless variety of themes and colors.
  2. Rotary cutter and mat or scissors
  3. Ruler
  4. A way to sew it together either by hand or machine

Measure and cut your 10 inches wide by the width of the fabric. You want to have salvage on both ends. The selvage is the white edge in this case. What you should end up with is a piece of fabric 10 inches by about 60 inches depending on the width of your fabric. Other than cutting straight don’t worry too much. I have made these as narrow as 8 inches for little girls or as wide as 12 inches, for that sister of mine who is always cold.

Once you have the width cut cut off the salvage edge, with the packer fleese I chose is looks like this:


Now sew this same edge together. I used my sewing machine and a 1/4 inch seam allowance. When I make these with the nieces and nephews we do them by hand with a running stitch and about a 1/2 seam allowence.


Smile you just finished a Christmas gift that will be loved by your sports fan in under 15 minutes. I do this one with  young people just starting to use a sewing machine. It is easy for them to succeed at and looks great when it is done. I find for beginning crafters success is the most important thing.  What they make may not be perfect, but if it works, it is a great step to self-confidence in all areas of their lives.

As you are crafting these simple scarves let your imagination run wild, change the width and the length. Maybe add some beads along one side. Make this scarf your own. You are the designer of everything you craft, don’t let instructions hold you back.


Aunt Donna’s Bejeweled Butterfly


This is Aunt Donna’s bejeweled butterfly. She gave it to me a few years ago because we made it together when I was 8 or 9 years old. The last piece I did was actually a Christmas tree that I did as a gift about 5 years ago. As ornate as this looks it is a fun project to do with your youngsters. Little girls love to play with all the treasures.

The supplies are:

  • Lots of beads and jewels, old costume jewelry is a great place to start, old buttons, rick rack and sewing notions.
  • Straight pins from the sewing department
  • White glue such as tacky glue, this is one of my favorites it holds well and washes up with water.
  • Styrofoam, I use the pink stuff from the building center, it is meant to be insulation so look for it in that department. Have I mentioned I don’t like to spend money?
  • A serrated knife to carve the styrofoam
  • A picture frame to display it in.

Begin by deciding on the shape you want. Aunt Donna used a butterfly but anything you want is okay. Some shapes that work well are Christmas Trees, Crosses, abstract shapes, and landscapes. With the advent of the computer age, we get to do the next step with the computer, find the image you want and print it out the size you want. Aunt Donna had to draw her shapes by hand.

Begin laying out your jewels and treasures in a pattern that pleases you. I do a dry run at this stage so I can rearrange things if I need to. When you have decided where everything belongs start gluing them down use straight pins to hold larger pieces in, and tiny seed beads to  fill in space between things.

Aunt Donna used rick rack and ribbon to cover the sides of her pieces and that works very well. I have also beaded the sides of some pieces, this takes a longer time as each bead has to be glued and pinned in place.


Once you are happy with your artwork glue it to the mat board in your frame and assemble your frame without using the glass. I don’t use glass on these to stay true to what I was taught and because really deep frames are really expensive. The dimension really adds interest to these pieces so try gluing a few layers of the styrofoam together before you carve. In the butterfly, two layers  were used.


Start collecting a box of treasures and try this project with a little girl. She will love playing with the treasures and have a treasured piece of art  for her room when you are done.

Cold and Flu Season

It never seems to fail when we have the least amount of time to be sick is when we get the dreaded cold or flu. So once again I dip back into Granny’s bag of tricks to make myself feel better.  Chicken soup, that old standby that always makes you feel better.

Grandma’s chicken soup:  this is a very secret recipe so shhh… Open the box of Mrs. Grass Chicken soup, cook according to the label directions. When the soup is ready to serve beat one egg and strain through a fork into it. This makes egg noodles. Best sick soup ever. I mean who really wants to cook when they are sick.

Now for that tea she always made me drink. Into a cup of  hot water add 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This tastes awful and I do not know if it really works, but grandma said to drink it so we did.

We all remember Vicks Vapor Rub, so that goes on your neck and chest. My grandma wrapped our neck with an old sock so “it can work”.

The last thing she did was tuck us into bed with a glass of orange juice and a big comforter she made. I am betting that was the real medicine. being wrapped in her love. Well, I followed all the steps lets hope I feel better tomorrow.


Homemade Clay Memory Ornaments


Some of the most cherished ornaments anyone can have are those that capture a moment in a child’s life.  One of the easiest ways to do this is with a clay handprint ornament.

We start with your favorite clay recipe. I have two go-to recipes for this project, either will work. For me, it is a matter of what I have on hand as to what I use.

Number one is Cinnamon Clay, the air dry version.

Mix the following ingredients together then knead adding more flour as necessary  until you get a dough you like:  1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of cinnamon and 3/4 cup of warm water. This creates a scented dough that is a light shade of brown.

Number 2 is bread dough clay

I use is 3 pieces of white bread torn into pieces with 3 tablespoons of glue kneaded into it. Just knead together until it forms a dough.


Once you have the dough mixed roll it out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into the shapes you want and have the little one press their hands into it. Before you set them aside to dry for a few days be sure to use a straw to make a hole in the top.

As I work with the dough ideas flow and I have used many things to turn this dough into ornaments. Children’s handprints are cute. Try giving the little ones regular stamps to use on the pre-cut shapes. Both of these doughs are paintable too.

Have fun and create great memories with your favorite children.

Inspiration and a New Ornament Design

I like many of you, tend to look at something in the store or online and say, “I can make that”.  Well, that is what happened to me yesterday. I was window shopping and came across a Christmas ornament that sent my mind whirling into design land.  A simple glitter card type ornament I just knew I could make with things I already had at home.


The original ornament from World Market

So for supplies:

  • A piece of fabric with a well-defined image.
  • Modge Podge (or the homemade version of half white school glue and half water)
  • glitter
  • tag board (I used an old shirt box)
  • ribbon for a hanger
  • and Stickles glitter


Start by cutting your fabric image out as carefully as possible. If it is not perfect it will still be okay, the Stickles will cover it up in the end.

Modge Podge the fabric to the piece of tag board. Here is where I used a shirt box.


Cut the tag board so it leaves about 1/4 inch around your image.

Now add another layer of the Modge Podge and while it is wet sprinkle the entire ornament with the glitter.

When everything is dry use the Stickles to outline the fabric edge. Paper punch a hole in the top and add your ribbon.

If you like you can do both sides for a complete look.


I am sure you can do a better job than I did. But it is not bad for a first try. I have an assortment of fabric to play with as I am sure you do too.