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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Twister Jack

Photo: Twister jack wall hanging done except for quilting. back and binding. More on blog

Well the front is done and at this point I'm seriously adding this to a new series called "Would I do this again?"  This has been over a year in the making and I'm still not done with it.  Part of it is the seasonal aspect of it.  I've said before that I work best with self-imposed  deadlines.  I got the twister tool last summer (2013) at the Row by Row and looked at it for months.  Once I found the twister jack pattern I started accumulating fabric for the squares.  As always, trying to make something with what I already have in my stash leads to more purchases.  It's inevitable that I needed a little more black and at least one more shade of orange.  I didn't start cutting my squares until after Christmas when my other projects were done.  In the spring my hubby was planning a trip to the blue-white game and I thought that would be the perfect time to bang this project out at the cabin.  I never realized how big this project would start out to be.  It covered the whole top of our full size bed and then some.  I didn't anticipate the problem with my machine though.  Part way through the sewing of the rows, it started to squeal.  What an awful sound that was!  It did push me to get the machine serviced.  It wasn't until June that I took the strips to my daughter's house to use the tool and create my twister jack.  A couple more months go by and now, faced with the looming Halloween season, I needed to finish it. When I do finish it I intend to add both the triangles for use on the wall and strips to use it over the railing, either at home of the cabin.  As a final note, since I won't post anything more about jack, the backing will be black and the binding will be orange with block dots.  Done and done!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Trio of PS Accessories

Photo: My Penn STate accessories for the game. More on blog

I just finished my Penn State floppy hat, necklaces and purse to take to the game this weekend.  Of course I learned some things along the way and thought I'd share my 5 things I learned by making these.
  1. I started making the necklaces first while I was on a roll after the Brown's training camp.  I'm getting down to the bottom of my pile of wooden beads so I ended up enlarging the holes in most of these.  In case any of you haven't made these before, here's the drill.  Cut a strip of material, sew length-wise and turn right side out.  Then you proceed to stuff it with a marble and feed the bead on the outside of the tube.  Mine were pretty tight so the last one stayed in place.  I used my glue to help attach the crimper to the end.  What I learned from this part is not to use any more glue than I absolutely need.  I had to clean it up and put new jump rings on after the first ones broke off. 
  2. The next thing I did was make my floppy hat.  I've made one before but scaled back on the brim.  This time I left it as long as it came.  With this hat, once you get the pattern made, you're home free.  I did have one glitch and from this I learned to always store my grommet tools together with the grommets in one place, duh... 
  3. The purse was what I put off the longest, mainly because I was trying to work it out in my head first how to do it.  The pattern was only for part of it.  I wanted to add an inside pocket and an outside flap to hold cards.  All that thinking seemed to help because once I started it, I just took my time and worked through it.
  4. Believe or not the one thing I messed up on the purse was the part that was the easiest.  The strap was supposed to be 31" but that didn't seem long enough so I cut it at 34".  Well, I should have left it the full 42" like I had originally cut because it was too short.  Luckily I had another long tube that was left over from the necklaces that I could use.  Always make sure before you cut.  Remember the carpenter's rule  -  measure twice, cut once.
  5. I might be just on a roll but things are working pretty well for me lately.  Or maybe it's the attitude that I can do anything that has helped.  Every since the little landscape, I've been empowered.  I learned to keep that positive approach to my projects.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pillowcase Trick

Ok, so sometimes I feel like I'm the last one on the planet to find something out.  This will be the best way to put on a pillowcase, ever.  I think I read about this in a magazine.  I don't have any trouble putting a case on so I've never really thought about it all that much.  However,  for the cousin's weekend this past summer, I recruited the grandkids to help me get the loft ready.  One of the jobs was putting pillowcases on the pillows, which I gave to Braden.  Oh my, he was totally lost.  I knew girls are always much better at stuff like this and I also knew Audrey would have no problem figuring it out, but I wanted him to learn and accomplish this task.  I really didn't care how it looked as long as it was done.  Whew, that seemed awful hard.  Then I read this article and it said how putting a pillowcase on could be tricky for the first time and here was the tip.  Turn the case inside out and put your arms through to the corners.  Grab the pillow through the case and inch your hands down the length of the pillow, turning it right side out over the pillow.  I just tried it this morning and by golly it works great, even for me.  So next time I see the kids (or whenever Braden gets his cast off), we will have that lesson in putting on a pillowcase.  Maybe the adults can even join in. 

On-Demand Housewives

I guess I get desperate about my TV watching and start looking through the on-demand stuff.  That's what I did yesterday.  Most of these summer shows are over such as The Last Ship, Major Crimes and  Rizzoli and Isles. Of course I always have my Housewives which are pretty much continuous.  However I was caught up with all of that, except the ones from Melbourne.  I didn't know about these ones at first but I'm good with them now.  The same thing happened a while back when I was trying to watch every old Biggest Loser show ever.  I found some in the UK and Australia, I think.  I remember the weights being different so I considered that an educational learning experience.  Anyway, It'll be a long time before the new shows start and thank goodness my on-demand is finally working well.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Little Landscape

Photo: Little landscape project I just finished. More on blog

This appliqued landscape was a workshop I took this past Sunday with instructor Lee Paylor.  To tell you the truth I'm really surprised I finished it.  I felt overwhelmed and frustrated when I started it.  I wasn't happy with the path it had taken and didn't know if I would complete it.  Then on Tues. I decided I'd bang it out and get it done, one way or another.  Something happened that afternoon and I found myself enjoying the process and even not wanting to stop.  I couldn't get enough of it.  Then the biggest surprise of all was that I liked the finished project.  It is all the things we have in the field below  the cabin.  Of course you can't see the snakes because they're under the rocks, duh. I also tried a new, to me anyway, way to add hanging loops.  Each of the top corners has a square folded to a triangle sewn in.  That way the dowel rod is slipped inside to hang it up.  That was neat to do.  It is amazing to me how one's attitude can determine what they can accomplish.  I personally thought I was not good at applique  -  no way, no how.  I even thought for me to have any proficiency in this, someone would have to die because there are only so many people in this world who are good at it.  Maybe that's what happened and in that case it needs to be treasured.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Best Super Glue Remover

Here's another in my best of ... series.  I finished up a couple Penn State necklaces that I wanted to make before the first game we're going to.  I used some jewelry glue to hold the material while I clamped the end shut and, like usual, got it all over my fingers.  I tried goo-gone, paint thinner and lacquer thinner to no avail.  Then I looked it up online and found super glue's kryptonite  -  nail polish remover, aka acetone!  Wow, does that stuff work great.  Hope no one out there knew this trick and never told me before.  I didn't even have to soak my fingers in it.  A quick wipe and I could feel the glue melt and then everything evaporated.  Now I won't have to hesitate to use this glue.  I still don't think it was real super glue based on the size of the tube and price, but once I had it on me, there was no mistaking its traits. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mac and Cheese Directions

I love mac and cheese  -  let's start off there.  When I'm in the hospital, my favorite thing to order is mac and cheese.  While growing up my mom would make it occasionally with velveeta cheese, unlike the stories of my sister saying she used to make the box mix.  I never tried the box until I was grown up and wondered why I missed out on this.  So I made the box for my family every now and again but I really hated cooking the pasta first and then mixing in the butter, milk and packet.  I guess I don't have a problem with cooking pasta but I felt it was too much trouble for a side dish.  Anyway, years ago I found microwave directions on a box of mac and cheese.  It said to put the uncooked pasta in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 3/4 c. of hot water.  Cook on high for about 10 min., stirring every 3 min.  The water gets boiled up with the pasta so there's no draining.  This works great and I've used it since.  Then last night I was making a box of mac and cheese (pizza flavored which wasn't the greatest) and found stovetop directions.  In a saucepan, mix 1 c. each of water and milk, 4 T. of butter and whatever is in the box, including sauce packet.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-12 min. until pasta is cooked and sauce is thick and creamy.  This also worked great but there was the need to stir so it wouldn't stick in the pan.  I guess I just couldn't get past that pizza flavor.  I think I still like the microwave directions the best but it does give me an alternative if the microwave is not an option. As far as my all time favorite mac and cheese recipe goes I have to mention the Recipe Starter cheese sauce.  We find this at Sharp Shopper for .50 and it is the best with bacon.  You still have to cook your pasta but then you add cheddar and velveeta cheeses plus some milk and bacon to the sauce and bake it. It has the best cheesy taste and the bacon sends it over the top.    Hope this helps someone.