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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. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Folded Star Ornament

Photo: Finished my folded star ornament. Five things I learned from this to be posted on my blog


Well, it's done.  The colors in the picture look more purplish and blue than they really are but you get the idea.  Here's 5 things I learned from making this.
  1. Fabric selection is probably most important in this project.  I used the same striped Christmas material in the hotpad but with 2 different results.  By the way the back has white in the center, then the same fabrics in the other rows.  The center of this is an old counted cross stitch design I made and found in a drawer.  It worked perfectly I thought.
  2. Another thing that is important is being precise but with this I felt it wasn't necessary to be fanatical about it.  I could have been more particular with better results but this was fun.  I enjoyed pinning instead of all that sewing for a change.  You can always cover up the pins, which I found out 2 rows in.
  3. For the first time I used some tube turners that I bought.  I saw them on one of my sewing shows and thought the purchase would be helpful.  Boy was I right.  I was still turning things with a safety pin.  This consists of a cylinder which is pushed inside the tube of material then a rod is used to push the material down through to turn it right side out.  What an improvement!
  4. To finish off the ornament and cover up the 1/2" of Styrofoam that wasn't covered by the material I put a strip of red, then a narrower strip of the striped material.  I hot glued this in place and learned to make the tube with one end sewn shut which will be glued on first.  I started gluing about 1/2" in from the end so when I came around with the raw edge, I could tuck it under and hide it.  Worked out great.
  5. When I was done with this project my head was spinning from all the math I had to do.  I realize most of this is because I make up my own patterns as I go along.  It would be so much simpler if I just followed a pattern.  But I got it all figured out and I understand the process much better.
My next project will be new pillows for the new couch.  My denim rag ones just don't make the cut.  I'm going to do a rail fence pattern in brown, beiges and a contrasting blue.  All the more reason to finish that ornament so I can start a new project.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Folded Star Hotpad

Photo: Folded star hot pad I made. More info on my blog http://tswiftgirl.blogspot.com

Here's the folded star hot pad I made.  This is one of those retro patterns that I missed the first time around.  For some reason I didn't make one before.  I guess better late than never.  Anyway I really wanted to do the ornament on the Styrofoam ball but I had the pattern for the pad and thought that might be an easier one to start with.  This one was basted around the edge and was pretty simple.  What was interesting with this one was the material I used for 2 of the rows was a Christmas striped design.  Depending how it is cut and folded determines the pattern that comes out of it.  Next time I would definitely use and place material differently.  So my next project will be the ornament which is all pinned instead of sewn.  I have a bunch of old pins I never use so this would be perfect.  You're probably wondering why Christmas stuff, huh?  Well, this past weekend was Christmas in July on QVC and one of the quilt shops is planning classes that get people going on their gifts.  It got my juices flowing, I guess.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Faux Spider

Photo: Our faux spider at the cabin

It sure looks like a spider but it's just the light bulb and wire inside with the sun shining through.  I've seen this many times and also cringed thinking it was real.  One time I even got a fly swatter and kept looking for it.  I never thought to count how many legs it had or realize how misshapen it was. Maybe I can get the kids going this weekend if they think it is real.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Twister Jack Project

Photo: Twister jack after!

Here's my twister jack after I used the twister too.  I'm really pleased with how it came out especially since I just did this based on what I saw on the internet.  Before I started I had no idea how this was going to end up.  It is fairly simple, as I found out,to come up with a pattern.  Just lay out your 3 1/2" squares to look like the picture you want and sew them together.  My tool was the lil' twister, not the smallest I don't think.  I thought this translated to a picture better than the bigger ones.  This project was definitely not a quickie by any means.  I had my squares cut out a while ago and like usual I got side tracked into doing something else.  I finally decided when I was at the cabin by myself and the hubby was off to a blue/white game, that it was time to start.  Mistakenly I figured I could have it finished by the end of the day.  Boy was I wrong.  All those 3 1/2" squares had to be sewn in strips and then the strips together.  This thing covered our double bed at the cabin.  I don't know how many times I started to rethink this project.  I barely got the squares sewn into strips and my machine started to squeal.  Not a good sound.  It had been years since I got my mom's old Singer Touch and Sew serviced so  it didn't really surprise me.  I prodded on to finish the strips hoping I wasn't doing any permanent damage to the machine.  Anyway the project was put away yet another time to wait for the right time.  In the mean time, my machine has been serviced and ready to go.  Then when I went over to my daughter's to watch the dog, I took the project.  She had a big table to work on so it worked pretty well  -  hence the first picture on facebook (twister jack before).  By that time I was itching to finish it up so after I got the washcloth overnighters done I was on to twister jack.  Deadlines, especially self-imposed, are my friends as I realized.  With the grandkids coming next week I knew the sewing machine will be idle so I completed it yesterday.  It was really fun to do though time-consuming, but not in a hard way.  Some would say there is too much waste but with my idea to make this into a seasonal wall hanging, I have plans for as much as the scrap as I can.  I'm also looking into other projects I can use the tool with.  I see that the Christmas tree lends itself especially well to this technique.  And with the way quilters are, I'm sure someone will come up with more ideas.