Monday, September 30, 2013

We're Planning a Wedding!

There's going to be a wedding and we are thrilled.  We had a big celebration supper yesterday to toast Patience and Brian's engagement.   The date is next August and we're already having fun planning a small lakeside wedding at the cottage.  

Congratulations you two!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Planning St. Dunstan's Raffle Quilt - 2014

I met with the quilters at St. Dunstan's last week to choose a quilt for their annual CWL Quilt Raffle.   They chose a simple '30's style nine-patch from an older Marsha McCloskey book this time.  I've never made a nine patch quilt that was all mediums.  I've only made the traditional light and dark patches.  So this should be a nice traditional and old fashion looking quilt.  

Many of these quilters are in their 80's and 90's, and I think the straight line quilting had a special appeal to them this time.   I'm gearing up to do this starting in mid-November.   I like it and it should be a quick finish.   

What to do with Odd or Misc. Blocks - Give them away!

When making a quilt, I usually make a practice block.  Or when making a scrap quilt, I always make extra blocks just in case.   I gather these blocks in a box thinking I'll do something with them some day.  

I've seen lots of ideas of making use of these blocks, but I never get around to it.  There are always so many things on my to-do list that will take less brain power.

Well my friend Joan B. is an ardent advocate for Victoria's Quilts in our area.  I was lamenting on what to do with these odd blocks one day, and she simply said, "Give them to me, and I'll use them for Victoria's Quilts".   Poof ... it was a light bulb moment for me.  I couldn't wait to get home and empty out my box of odd and practice blocks and as easy as that they are gone.  I'm glad that they will be put to good use, and I'm glad they are gone.  

My Misc Blocks Box wasn't empty for long.  I contributed to the box again this morning.    I won't wait so long to get rid of them next time.  

Thanks Joan B.  for all the work you do for Victoria's quilts, but also for taking these blocks off my hands.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

There' a Puppy in the Dishwasher

We have been puppy sitting little Peanut this week during the day.  She is only about 3 months old and she is discovering new things every day that she is here.  She discovered her reflection in the dishwasher yesterday. 
 She was so curious and really was excited to see another small puppy just like her.   She went back over and over again for about a half an hour and was thrilled to see her friend every time she went back for a look.   Please please come out to play.    
The kids have been dropping in to visit with her and she loves to run in the yard with them.   She is a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Schnauzer.   Our puppy sitting days are almost over and I know we will miss her.  She is such a cutie. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DIY - Re-Usable Sandwich Bags

I finished my re-usable sandwich bags yesterday.   They were quick to do.    My advice to you , if you make some.  Rather than make one, make in multiples of 4.     Why I say that is because nylon comes in 60"+ wide fabric, and if you cut a strip, it will easily make 4 sandwich size bags.   I did not use any specific pattern, I just made one based on the size of our Smart Bread bread.  

I'm writing down the measurements and brief instructions so when I go to make more, I have the measurements documented somewhere where I can find them.

  • Outer nylon strip 7.25 and inner lightweight polyester strip is 7" x Width of fabric. *
  • Using a quarter of an inch seam, I sew both sides of lining to both sides of nylon fabric on the long side.   
  • Turn right side out to make a long tube. Press with a warm iron (not hot, because nylon will melt).  The outer nylon will show slightly on the inside.
  • Depending on the size of the bags you want to make, cut tube in sections.  I cut my 60" tube into 4 sections for sandwich bags.    
  • Fold under the ends twice, lightly press, pin (or use your wonder clips :)  then stitch these hems down.  Add both sides of the velcro and a cute patch.    All this has been flat until now.  
  • Then when all this is done, fold up the bottom and top stitch sides together.  Use your regular bread as a guide as to how much to fold up.  

Note I made my outer nylon a bit wider so that when I sewed the final top stitching, the light lining doesn't show through.

Friday, September 20, 2013

So far, I Love my Wonder Clips

This morning I was making some reusable sandwich bags out of black nylon and I used a polyester lining.  Neither fabric takes a press very well, and it's not easy to pin with regular pins.  I found the Wonder clips to be a perfect alternative to pins.  I didn't take a picture, but on the other end, I clipped in the long velcro strip.  I detest pinning through velcro so the clips were so easy.

I'm glad I bought the larger 50 pack because with making a dozen of these bags at a time, and doing an assembly line sewing, I had 36 of the clips being used at the same time.   

Another benefit that I had not realized, is that there is no chance of accidentally sewing over a pin or clip because they won't go under your pressure foot, of course.  No bent pins or broken needles today.  :)  I'll continue working on these sandwich bags tomorrow, adding the other side of the velcro closure and a little decorative patch.  

I'll show them to you when I'm done.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Another Million Steps

It was late last November when I realized I had cumulative pedometer stats on my little ipod nano.  I found the stats just in time to see it roll past the two million step number.  Well, in the past 10 months, I've got another million steps on my sneakers.  I rolled 3 million steps this morning.   Time for a new pair of sneeks, don't you think?

What did you buy with your Fabricville 50% off coupon?

I went for my weekly visit to Fabricville with an extra spring in my step.   I got a 50% coupon yesterday by email from them.  Yippee.  What would I buy?  

I considered fabric, but then walked through the notions department and saw these new Wonder Clips by Clover.  With the amount of binding that I do, I could use them!!

I like that the clips come in a perfectly sized plastic box for storage.   It's great deal for half price!!   Thanks Fabricville.    

Now, I have to find something to bind.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Small Halloween Table Mat.

I saw this little table mat tutorial and I thought it was adorable.    

If you look closely, you can see that these are square blocks made up of wonky 4-patches.   The tutorial, which is here, shows how to make these using a special ruler.  I didn't have the ruler, so I just winged it with my straight ruler and cutting mat.   I did get confused with the blocks because I was not following the tutorial as closely as I should have been.    

But mistakes and all, it got finished.  PS..You will only see the mistakes if you look for them.  (I spot five).  

I machine quilted a spider web design using orange thread. 

It was a quick finish.  Cute, eh!  


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lots of visitors this weekend

Aurora is here visiting for the weekend.  We spent a little time in the sewing room.   She loves this minky type fabric, so she is sewing straight lines.    She has such good control  of the sewing machine speed with her feet.   She never went too fast at all.

She is also learning the right way to pin.  "It's not as easy as you think", she says...  

And we have a little 10 week old puppy visitor.  Her name is Peanut.  She is going to come during the day for a few days.   The kids love her.  Caitlin, Grace and Mitchell stopped in to have a little visit with Peanut too.    This little puppy is getting lots of attention.  She likes to take the kids shoes and put them behind the couch and chairs.   

Whew, it's been a busy day so far.

And guess what, the sun's out.  I've got to get out for a walk.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Real Ladybugs

Lately on my morning walks, I've been noticing bright red ladybugs in the flowering weeds along the trail.  I can't say that I've noticed so many of them before.  Almost all the plants along that stretch seemed to have at least one little red spot.  

A little spot of red against the light green flowers really grabs ones eye, doesn't it?  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What was I thinking?

This is a blooming 9-patch.

A couple of years ago, I took a class with Cecile G. of our Cotton Mill quilt guild.     I really wanted to do the class and I loved the concept of the radiating colors.   I remember that I was stressed about not having my fabrics picked out for this class.    When I actually got down to picking fabrics for this class, I recall I was down to my last 10 minutes at Mardens.    I went to the section where they had the fabric collections.   Well I was so so on the colors, but with the collection, I can't go wrong, right?    I took the class with my 'collection' fabrics.  I was telling myself.. "just make the quilt, you'll like it better when it's done".    Well, the quilt top is done, but I can't say that I like it.... at all.  

Now, I'm wondering, do I invest in finishing it, or just give it up now!    Have you ever put hours and hours into making a quilt top, and then asked yourself, "What was I thinking?"

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Modern Oatcake Recipe

Are Oatcakes a Maritime cookie?  

I had them when I was young, and I thought they were as common as a chocolate chip cookie.  But now I realize that its probably a regional cookie.   I had not had them for a long time.   Then a year or two ago, Tim Horton's had them in their showcase and I really liked them.  I find them a nice variation, but they are a lot sweeter than the old fashion ones. 

So after many other recipes, I've made this modern recipe at least 6 times this year and my search for the best oatcake recipe stops here.  A lesser amount of sugar and the addition of the 7 or 9 grain cereal gives a classic, yet modern touch to these nostalgic cookies.  

Let me know if you have Oatcakes where you live and if you have a favorite recipe.  

Modern Cape Breton Oatcakes
3 cups rolled oats (I used the quick cooking oats)
2 - 3 Tablespoons of Speerville Saint John Cereal (like 7 or 9 grain cereal)
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter (I used margarine)
6 tbsp cold water

Stir rolled oats, Speerville cereal, flour, sugar, salt and soda in a large mixing bowl.    Work in soft margarine, and room temperature shortening until crumbly.  I used a hand mixer for this part, but you could use your fingertips to work it all in.   Sprinkle with the water and form into a ball.  It will still be really crumbly.  Roll out onto a floured surface.  You will get cracks, so using the sides of your hands, push in reshape.  Cut with cookie cutters or cut squares with a pizza roller.  Bake on a Pam sprayed pan (or I use a silicon sheet) at 375 degree for 11 to 13 minutes.

Yield - 3 dozen...more or less...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Half Square Cookies?

I was making my oatcake cookies this afternoon.  I normally make little rectangles with the pizza cutter but I thought I would try a different shape.  

Can you tell I have quilting on the brain today?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Make your own Kimono Slippers

Its sure feels like fall in the air.  I saw this little tutorial for kimono slippers this summer and thought they would be cute to make and keep in my purse. Well, with the cooler weather this week and because  I had a bit of time, I thought I'd make up a "practice" or prototype pair to see if I could follow the tutorial.    And here they are.  I just think they are sweet.   This is not a beginner project.   But if you follow the steps one by one, you'll get through it fine.

I know now that I would add a little padding in between the bottom layers. There is a perfect opportunity to slip in some padding before you sew up the very last seam.   And I also know that the warm and natural batting that I used for the quilting top of the slipper was just a perfect weight for me.  And my next pair will have the grippy non-slip stuff on the very bottom of the slipper.

I plan to make another pair or two.    Do you want to make your own, go here for the free tutorial and pattern.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star Light, Star Bright - a BIG quilted bag

I finished my giant quilted bag.  it's called Star Light Star Bright.  It's a really old pattern from the Button Bush Quilt company.  

See, guilds are starting up soon, and I mentioned before that my friend Connie F. came to guild last spring with her big quilted bag.   The minute I saw it,  I knew I wanted to cross this project off my list. I had a kit cut for this and it had been stashed away for a long time.    After seeing Connie's bag, I took the kit out and so it was top of mind when I was looking for something to work on.      

With all my pickling done, and routines seem to be getting back to normal, I decided to spend a few hours and finish my big bag.   I finished machine quilting the back of the bag and last night I hand sewed  the buttons on last evening.  I really like it.   There's a little more hand embroidery to do, but I'll do it when I get a chance.  Or maybe not.   I like it the way it is.

Now I'm starting to put things in it so I remember to take to my two up-coming guild meetings.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Linda's Lady Ashburnham Pickles

It's a drizzly afternoon here in Freddy Beach.    But I don't mind.  I'm doing a few things today.  A few days ago,  iLinda H. picked me some giant cukes from her garden.   I was so glad to get them because I wanted to try her Lady Ashburnham pickle recipe.   They are a well known relish around here and  for 5 to 7 dollars, you can pick up yourself a nice freshly made bottle of these pickles at any local vegetable stand or at the market.   But the truth be known, they are pretty simple and cheap to make.   Of course the cutting and dicing of the cukes and onions takes about an hour, but other than that, these were really easy to make.
Linda H. did a nice little blog post last year on the story behind the Lady Ashburnham pickle.  I always thought they were called Lady Ashburn, but it's short for Ashburnham.    Click here for Linda's story.    It's a really interesting to read about this local recipe.  

For my batch this morning, I used 6 giant cukes and 5 large onions and it yielded me 5 pints and a smaller jam jar size.  I couldn't believe how much they cooked down.

So, do you want to give them a try yourself, the recipe is on Linda's blog here.   Now is the perfect time to get your cucumbers from your friends or neighbors or the local markets.  

So, that's it for me.  I think I'm done with pickling for this year.