VALENTINE YO-YO PILLOW

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 3.00.46 PMI realize there is not much time left until Valentines Day, but this Yo-Yo Heart pillow makes a great accessory or gift at any time of the year.  I had a few questions about attaching ruffles to a pillow edge and thought I would give you the pattern for this heart pillow that has a ruffle. It is just begging for scraps, don’t you think? The instructions include the standard techniques I used for all of my pillow designs, ruffle or not.  They make a very nice finished back with no zipper required and no special ruffle attachment needed for your sewing machine. It was always my goal when writing patterns to give the best possible construction techniques that did not require the purchase of “extras”. And over the years,  I just didn’t meet that many people who loved putting in zippers.  Notice the ruffle has the appearance of a double ruffle, but it is not. It is not as bulky and cumbersome to construct as a double ruffle.  Of course, the width of the ruffle can be changed and contrasting ruffle strips are not necessary, but the technique for gathering and attaching remains the same. The Yo-Yo Heart pillow was originally published in my Small Wonders book, still available from Landauer Publishing. This book is filled with creative, timeless, and easy small projects from table runners and wall hangings to book covers and totes—44 projects in all!

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 3.00.46 PMYo-Yo Heart pillow

Find more of my FREE patterns on Reminiscing.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

One of my favorite things to do is challenge myself to make something from the freezer, refrigerator and pantry without involving a trip to the grocery store. It’s the same as challenging myself to make something from fabric scraps in my sewing room.  I guess it is all part of the creative process that I enjoy.  I’ve been on a quest for the past two years to manage the stuff I accumulate and either find a use for things here at the house or find a new home for clothing, furniture and accessories. Managing clutter, wherever it is, makes life so much easier and that applies to my pantry and refrigerator as well.

We had house guests for the weekend and I decided to make something for brunch from goodies I had on hand.  After looking through the pantry and refrigerator, I came up with a sweet potato hash, grilled sausages, eggs and tomato relish. I had frozen cookie dough in the freezer and served freshly baked cookies for dessert.  Best thing about this menu…..no trip to the grocery store.  Sometimes my “made up” recipes are the best and become standards.  I will be repeating this combo in the future.  It’s a pretty healthy brunch if you skip the cookies, but nobody did.

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We like our hash, eggs and tomato relish served with a little Sriracha, a side of grilled sausages, and toast.  All in all a very nice brunch fare.

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SWEET POTATO HASH

with TOMATO RELISH

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP SEA SALT COOKIES

This chocolate chip cookies recipe has become a new favorite at the Jensen house.  I try to keep some dough in the freezer so that I can make small batches of fresh cookies when needed which came in pretty handy this weekend.  They also make great ice cream sandwiches.  Sorry, they were gobbled up too quickly before I could snap a picture.

Find more of my favorite recipes on YUM!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies

This chocolate chip cookies recipe has become a new favorite at the Jensen house. I try to keep some dough in the freezer so that I can make small batches of fresh cookies when needed which came in pretty handy this weekend. They also make great ice cream sandwiches.

Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
36 cookies
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Servings
36 cookies
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Chocolate Chip Sea Salt Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
36 cookies
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Servings
36 cookies
Cook Time
10-15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and incorporate them by hand.
  3. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. Dough can be refrigerated up to 48 hours if making ahead of time.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F (175C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll cookie dough by hand into golf ball sized pieces; arrange on baking sheet with at least a 2" space between cookies. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown and to desire level of doneness, 10-12 minutes for soft chewy cookies, 12-15 minutes for crisp cookies.
  5. Cool cookies 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes approximately 36 cookies.
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SWEET POTATO HASH with TOMATO RELISH

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The tomatoes I bought were not as sweet as I would have like for salads… a very common problem in Minnesota during the winter. I keep buying them thinking they will taste as good as they look. When they don’t, I make tomato relish. Salsa could also be used to top the eggs. This, too, is a “made up” recipe that closely replicates a relish I once had over eggs at a restaurant. It was a version of Eggs Benedict without the heavy Hollandaise sauce.

SWEET POTATO HASH with TOMATO RELISH
Print Recipe
We like our hash, eggs and tomato relish served with a little Sriracha, a side of grilled sausages, and toast. All in all a very nice brunch fare.
Servings
8 people
Servings
8 people
SWEET POTATO HASH with TOMATO RELISH
Print Recipe
We like our hash, eggs and tomato relish served with a little Sriracha, a side of grilled sausages, and toast. All in all a very nice brunch fare.
Servings
8 people
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
Sweet Potato Hash
Tomato Relish
Servings: people
Instructions
Sweet Potato Hash
  1. In a large pan, heat oil. Add onion, peppers and cooked until soft. Add parsnips, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. If veggies seem dry before soft, add a little water (a tablespoon at a time} to the pan. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender. Serves 8. `
  2. Serve eggs over hash. Everyone here likes their eggs done a little differently so I prepared the eggs to order.
Tomato Relish
  1. Heat oil. Saute onions and garlic until soft. Add tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape a bit and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste. While still warm, serve over eggs and hash. Season to taste.
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MOM TO THE RESCUE

Recently, my daughter got a new job and moved into a beautiful corner office on the 7th floor of one of the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, a western suburb of  Minneapolis.  She called with some decorating dilemmas and we worked together to make her new space her own while staying within the parameters of the companies “can and cannot” office decor outline. The view from her office looks south and west over some beautiful landscapes that include lakes and woodlands with house and house tops peaking out and even including some church steeples and barns. She moved in last fall and the view was quite spectacular.  She called to see if I would paint a VERY large picture (40″ x 48″) for the one wall that was not a a floor to ceiling window or held large pieces of furniture or doors.  She found a painting on the Pottery Barn website that we used as inspiration.  It is titled, Sienna Barn by Sally Rosenbaum.   I headed off to an art supply store and got the largest stretched canvas that would fit into my SUV, which happened to be exactly what Kerry requested.  She needed a different size than was available from Pottery Barn and wanted the colors to be a bit different to coordinate with other accessories she was using.  I accepted the challenge and turned my sewing room into a painting studio one afternoon and was able to replicate it enough to fit her request.  Here is my version of the PB print.  It works with her color scheme and has the same flavor as the scenery outside.  I was comfortable taking on this task as I know from experience, if it wasn’t what she had in mind, I could always paint over it.

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Kerry purchased a hand turned wooden bowl from one of my favorite artists, Jim Sannerud. He is based in Minneapolis and makes some really beautiful items that are functional and lovely.  Check out his website at jsannerud.com.  If you have time, watch the episode featuring his process as documented for a segment on MN Original, a PBS program that  highlights MN artists of all genres. The bowl I have (below) was fondly named “Big Blue”.  I purchased it from Jim at an art fair just before Christmas.  I always enjoy meeting the artist who had the inspiration and talent to make such a beautiful item.  I have found so many places in my home where it seems to naturally fit and am glad I didn’t talk myself out of purchasing it.  I actually do not need another bowl, but this is so much more than a bowl and I am thrilled to own it.

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Kerry purchased a similar one for her conference table, slightly smaller and in a rich soft green.  She decided that since the Carlson Company is a MN based firm, it would be appropriate to feature MN artists in her office….a nice touch, even if one of them is her mom.

SCRAPS AND IDEAS JUST KEEP ON COMING

IMG_1629All quilters agree, scraps keep on multiplying.  I never seem to get to the end of them. I however, always love what happens when I set my mind to making something with the smallest amount of cute fabrics.   I guess that is why I keep scraps of fabric I love. The pieced pillow is made from a combination of older Thimbleberries fabrics and one antique fabric scrap.  I made these two pillows recently from bits and pieces from the scrap bin, trim and button boxes.  They will find a home in Ella’s room at our house.  Interesting, I have a grand daughter that loves decorative pillows, especially little PINK ones. That worked out well as I seem to love making them. A new pillow always changes a room’s appearance.  It is such an inexpensive way to change things up a bit. These pictures are really just for inspiration…no step by step instructions are really necessary.

IMG_1628 You can see I simply pieced tiny bits of 2″ wide short strips together with bias seams…just as you would for binding strips. I made the strips longer than needed, to give me some extra for top stitching. If I start out with the exact length needed the fabric always seems to shift a bit when I quilt the top and the shape can get a little distorted.  But if I make the pillow top a little larger than needed, when the top is trimmed, I have a nice, clean,straight edge for the next step of assembling the pillow.  I stitched the strips together randomly, making sure I staggered the seams… I think it is more interesting.  I then layered the pillow top onto a scrap of cotton batting and did a small decorative herringbone stitch on the seams.  I stitched rick-rack on the seam lines here and there to add a little interest.  Pillows for little girl’s bedrooms can always use a little trim.   I then trimmed the pillow top to match the pillow form I had on hand and adding 1/2″ both directions for 1/4″ seam allowances on all sides.  I added the narrow, 1″ ruffle, but I am sure just it would have been as cute without one, if ruffles aren’t your thing.

The second pillow is all about buttons, and Ella loves colorful buttons.  Children’s manufactures seem to use a lot of them to trim little girl’s tops and dresses.  This fabric base was a scrap from a decorating project I did for her room at their cabin.  Too cute…just couldn’t throw it away.  The striped binding was made from a tiny bit leftover from curtains I made for her room.  No piecing needed here, just cute fabric and leftover buttons.  Start digging…there are cute projects lurking in your sewing room right now.  They just need a little bit of creative help.

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VALENTINES DAY…ALREADY?

I guess it’s my age, but these holidays just seem to sneak up on me.  Luckily, I’m no longer orchestrating Valentine treats and cards for elementary school classrooms.  Actually, I don’t even know if they do those kinds of things anymore.  When I was a child and when my kids were in grade school, decorated Valentine boxes in the classroom for card deliveries from other classmates were a big deal.  I recall how exciting it was if I would receive a Valentine from someone in another classroom and especially someone older. Friends would deliver them to the Valentine boxes that would be identified by name, just as if they were little mail boxes.  I remember working on mine for weeks in advance.  I do now, have the opportunity to at least do a little decorating for Valentines Day because of our grandchildren who are at the prime age for the fun…even if it is only for a day.

IMG_1625The Love Triangle Runner is the perfect Valentine’s touch for my dining room table.   Many years ago I would keep my eyes open for antique Valentines that had images of children that I thought were charming.  I think they are from the 30’s and 40’s and more elaborate than any I had received as a child.  Many have movable parts that are now very fragile but still hanging on.  I have an antique wire heart basket that I put my collection in for easy viewing while sitting at the table. They are always fun to look through.

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The Love Triangle Runner is part of the Fons and Porter Love of Quilting Project of the Month going on all of 2016.  Please check out their site at FonsandPorter.com for detailed information on how to order the kit for this runner.  It is made from the Home Again fabric collection and has a sweet heart shaped edging. It is fun to try a new technique when the project is a manageable size.

A number of years ago, Thimbleberries published a very popular Sweetheart Table Runner pattern. If you haven’t already made this runner or have misplaced the pattern, check out the Reminiscing section for this FREE pattern and many more.

GARDEN CHARM QUILT

Shortly after being coaxed back into the fabric design world I was encourage by the staff at RJR Fabrics to submit a design for a quilt that Craftsy could be used for a Block of the Month class for 2016.  Well, here we are.  The class materials are ready, the filming for the class sessions is completed, and the kits are ready to go.  This quilt pattern and kit is an exclusive for Craftsy and you can register for the on-line class at Craftsy.com.

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I used the Home Again fabric collection as the inspiration for the Garden Charm Quilt. It is bright and airy…perfect for the beginning of the year when many of us are looking forward to spring and summer in the coming months.  For those of you who experience warmer weather all year long, the colors probably fit right into your decor. The quilt is queen size and the design is what I am calling a modified medallion quilt. There is a central design with pieced sections and pieced borders radiating out from the center.  There is a touch of very easy appliqué that is machine appliqued.  Of course, those of you who love hand appliqué will probably choose to add that special touch to your quilt and with interesting quilting in those border areas, the appliqué could be optional. There is a colorful pieced piano key border that marches around the outer border just before the quilt is finished out with the large floral border that ties all the colors in the quilt together.  The quilt is divided into 6 class sessions, so you will be following the classes on line for 6 months.  We thought you might like that rather than stretching it out for a whole 12 months.  As with all my patterns, I tried to make the piecing as easy and straight forward as possible.  No special tools are required…only a rotary cutter, cutting board and wide acrylic ruler.  Those same dependable tools all quilters use.

Garden Charm Pillow Shams

I also designed Garden Charm Pillow Shams and selected a group of thread that are perfect for the suggested appliqué fabrics in the quilt and pillow shams.  These items are also available from Craftsy.  The pillow shams will complete the whole bed ensemble, a nice finishing touch to a beautiful quilt.

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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

I’m having friends over this morning for a holiday brunch.  Yes, I know the holidays are over, but we just couldn’t find a day in December that worked for all five of us, so we settled on January 4th.  Soon winter vacations will start and then we miss the opportunity to get together.  And I think that is the most important thing, not the date.   I left my Christmas decorations up and we now have some snow and every twig on every tree, bush and pine bough is covered with light frost that is glistening in the sun that is breaking through.  All in all, a good day for a holiday brunch.

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2016-01-04 10.55.21I pulled out placemats and napkins made from some of my Thimbleberries holiday fabric collections.  Now that you have time to spend doing things other than preparing for the holidays, you might want to stitch up a few from your scrap stash either for yourself or for up coming gifts. You know they will always come in handy.  The napkins are reversible with a contrasting fabrics, giving them nice weight, interest and very versatile.  Check out the instructions for these placemats and napkins from the project books Christmas Punch and Pine & Rose Cottage, if you have these books in your sewing room library, or download the FREE patterns from the Reminiscing section. 

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IMG_1614The placemats are not pieced using the small squares that you see here, but rather they are a printed patchwork fabric that was in that collection.  You will notice when you check out the instructions, they are technically the back side of the placemat that is simply pieced using two fabrics.  I use both sides, depending on the dishes I am using and the occasion.  Something to think about when choosing your fabrics.  You could actually have one side with fall fabrics and one side with holiday fabrics and get two sets of placemats for the same effort and half the storage space.

Today I’m serving Brunch Egg Souffle’, Mustard Roasted Potatoes and a mixed green salad.  The recipe for the egg dish is a staple for many family brunches and came from one of my co-workers at Thimbleberries a number of years ago. It’s always fun to find new recipes, but some of the older ones seem to be the ones we count on having regularly.  I promise, you will be making this one often.  The Mustard Roasted Potatoes are from Ina Garten and always a great hit and so easy to prepare.  They really make the house smell great.

2016-01-04 11.45.25Mustard Roasted Potatoes

2016-01-04 11.45.39You can find more great recipes on YUM!

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