About Me

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Sewing and cooking are two of my favorite things. In the past, I often found myself searching for pictures and details of projects I have done, without success. So I decided to start documenting my creations. Then my son suggested I add my recipes to the blog so that they are documented also.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sewing Happiness

My granddaughters gave me a book for Valentines Day, Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida. It’s a documentation of her journey from sickness to health through the joy of basic Sewing. It’s an easy enjoyable read and contains basic Sewing projects for beginners to more experienced sewists. The projects are ones I can use to get my two Valentines started in my favorite hobby.

Sewing and Sewing tools are loves of mine. My sewing room is my refuge and favorite place. I dabble in all kinds of Sewing but have always stayed away from hand Sewing because I have no patience for it. But lately I have become fascinated by Kantha quilts, very similar to Japanese Sashiko quilting. Both are running stitches but in Kantha they fill in outlines where as in Sashiko they make up the outline designs. So what a nice surprise to find a chapter in Sewing Happiness on Sashiko quilting. The chapter contains a Mini Sashiko Primer and is just what I needed to start into this technique.

Kantha Quilts

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Making Embroidered Quilt Blocks

I have been busy this last week making embroidered quilt blocks from the new Amelie Scott Designs book Build-A-Quilt.  http://www.shop.ameliescott.com/Build-A-Quilt-on-Your-Embroidery-Machine-ASD220.htm.  The book comes with a CD of designs for 6, 7 or 8 inch blocks. Once the blocks are made they are connected with sashing to make quilts, placemats, table runners, tote bag or anything else your creative mind can come up with.

I made a lap quilt first and added a border. The method of joining the squares is easily done as described in the book. I made my squares 7 inches since that is the biggest hoop I have for my embroidery machine.

I liked some of the designs better than others so I chose my favorite design and decided to make a runner for my buffet. I bought a steel blue batik to use without embroidery, just to showcase the fabric. I got an off white batik to embroider on. I think it looks great on my buffet.

Here is a close up view

If you have an embroidery machine this method is a fun way to make quilted projects.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

DIY Bicycle Handlebar Bag

Before I took my new bicycle out for a ride I needed a handlebar bag. I figured I could make one but as I was looking through my purse hardware I realized that I have been saving old handbags so I could use bits and pieces of them. Well why reinvent the wheel.  I found a cute New York & Co. bag that was just the right size so I did some modifications and Voila!

So here is how I altered a handbag to make the perfect handlebar bag.
This is my handbag before modifications.

As you can see it has a zippered top and a cell phone pocket on the front. It has some O rings on brown webbing strap.  I left the O rings on, in case I want to clip something to them, and cut the strapping off.

I cut two pieces of strap, each 7 inches long, and melted the ends with a match so they wouldn't fray. The melting method works great with nylon based webbing.

My intent was to sew the webbing to the front of the purse and have Velcro sewn to the back of the other end of the webbing. So I sewed a 3 inch piece of Velcro to the inside of the back side of my strap.

I now sewed my straps to the front of my bag, about 1 inch in from the side and 1 1/8 inch down from the top. Since I melted the ends, I did not have to fold the webbing under, thus eliminating bulk. The free arm on my sewing machine came in handy here.  Remember to check inside the bag before sewing, so as not to sew into a zipper or snap.

I sewed a 2 inch piece of Velcro on each side of the back of the bag and this is what it looks like when the strap is brought over and connected.

So if you need a handlebar bag, look at what used handbags, camera cases or pouches that you have laying around. Why spend $15 or $20 for a run of the mill black handlebar bag when you can have a unique one for pennies. Be creative!

New Year's Resolutions 2018

I haven't posted for quite awhile - well actually years - because I have been too busy enjoying my granddaughters, sewing, cooking and attempting to stay fit. So my New Year's resolutions included getting my blog up to date and to "make me a better me". Well as you can see it is the middle of February and I am just now getting to my blog. In my quest to better myself, my hubby and I got new bicycles and before we set out with them I wanted to make a handlebar bag to hold my cell phone, keys and the few essentials that may be needed while out cycling. So my next post will be a tutorial of the handlebar bag I made.

So it was 52 degrees here today, the warmest it has been in weeks, so we decided to take the bikes to the bike trail. Unfortunately the ice and snow was still on the trails but we rode a few miles anyways. The scenery was beautiful, the air refreshing but it is not all that easy to pedal through the slush. Since we haven't biked in years it was good we could only do a few miles. Tomorrow will tell if I have aching muscles.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sewing for Baby

I haven't been blogging much lately but I have been sewing for my granddaughter. Here she is at 4 months. I haven't made clothing for little ones for a long time but it definitely is fun to do it again.

I was turned onto the Children's Corner Patterns http://childrenscornerinc.com/wp/ by an online friend and bought the Taylor pattern. So far I have made 2 in size 3 months which fit my granddaughter now at 13 pounds.  I know I will make this little summer romper next year again in a bigger size. There are no exposed seams once it is turned and  looks so well finished. Plus it takes only a few hours to make.  I have embroidered on both that I made.  I used the Babyville snaps from Joann Fabrics and they were quite easy to install.

I also made an outfit from McCall's, # M6303.  This dress also is turned and has no exposed seams. However the panties with it really are oversized and I would probably use another pattern for the bottoms next time. I really love the crossover back of this dress. The smallest size of this pattern is small which is too big at present but should fit when she is around 16 pounds.


Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad


I needed a dish to take to a potluck Fourth of July party. I had seen some posts about Buffalo Chicken Pasta  that sounded different from other pasta salads. So I looked over various recipes and this is the variation I came up with for my first try.

1 lb Rotini
1/2 cup Franks Red Hot
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup Hellmans Mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup Kraft Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb shredded cooked chicken

First of all I cooked my chicken breasts and then shredded it. I actually weighed the pound after shredding.  I generally put my chicken breasts in the crockpot on high for four hours and then shred. I don't add additional liquid to the crockpot.

Cook the rotini according to package directions and rinse with cold water and drain well; next time I will use the tri-color. Mix the mayonnaise, red hot, salt, pepper and Bleu Cheese dressing with a whisk. Add the onion and celery to the chicken and then mix with the rotini. Chill the chicken mixture and the dressing for a few hours before serving. Up to an hour before serving toss the chicken mixture and the dressing. Sprinkle paprika over the top. I don't mix the chicken rotini combination with the dressing too far before serving so that it remains creamy.

If you like more heat to your pasta salad increase the Franks Red Hot sauce. The bleu cheese dressing tends to cut the heat of the red hot sauce. Also next time I will toss in a jar of pimentoes to add a little more color.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Twas The Night Before Easter

On February 21, 2015 our first grandchild Cecilia Grace was born and has become the most important person in our life.  So of course I had to make her a little softie bunny for Easter.  Having an embroidery machine allows me to personalize everything and anything for her. I made her a few personalized burp cloths. Then I realized that they really needed functional burp cloths so I brought out the serger and made her a stack of tri-layer flannel ones that I just serged around.

Here she is at one month.  Her expressions are priceless!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Version of the Hanging Kitchen Towel Topper

I have always liked those kitchen towels with a topper to hang onto the kitchen drawer handle. Now I know that it isn't that hard to make one with the sewing machine but I wanted to do most of the work with the embroidery machine. Heck I have a couple of embroidery machines so I might as well use them!

First I digitized the topper so that while it is hooped I stitch down batting, then the front fabric and quilt it, next the embroidered name and lastly, stitch on the back.  Once it is removed from the hoop it is turned right side out.

The kitchen towel gets cut in half and it is used to make two of the hanging towels. I took one half and pleated the cut edge to fit into the topper. You can just gather it but I decided to make pleats. Once I pinned the pleats I ran a straight stitch about 1/4 from the edge to hold it in place.

Now I put it inside the topper and topstitched it in place.

Next I made a button hole in the tab.

I sewed a button on and here is the finished product.

This was my first attempt and then I added quilting to the body of the topper. I definitely like the quilted version better. 

This is definitely a great hostess gift.  It only takes about 8 minutes to do the topper in the embroidery machine and depending on how adept you are at making buttonholes, the whole project is done within a half hour.  Below are some that I made.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Makeover of a Glider Rocker

So my son and daughter-in-law were given a glider rocker for their nursery but they tend to like a classical look more than a country style. So we took off the cushions and were left with the wooden skeleton. We perused some sites on the internet and got some great ideas to redo it.  I don't do upholstery or slipcovers but agreed to attempt it. From reading a few blogs I decided on 5 yards of upholstery fabric but honestly could have used another 1/2 yard but I managed to make it work.

So here is what we started with.  We bought 2 yards of 3 inch high density foam to provide structure.  By the way the foam is really expensive so try to get it on sale. I also wrapped batting over the foam on the arms to keep the wood from jutting out.

Next I made a muslin sample out of some old fabric I had. It fit pretty well so I cut into the good fabric. To figure out how to cut it I followed Slipcovers for Dummies http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-make-slipcover-patterns.html. If I were to do this again I think I would like to take a class to learn some methods for measuring and tricks for sewing it all together.

I am pretty happy with the end result. It is not perfect but it looks really nice in the nursery and is exceptionally comfortable.

Another Baby Quilt

Here is the latest baby quilt  I have made.  I digitized the birds to match the wallpaper in the nursery and embroidered some woodland appliques to go with their theme.  It is pretty simple but will go well with the white furniture and theme of the nursery.  Below is a pic of the wallpaper and a closeup of the birds I digitized.  Notice with the birds that one of them I used a satin fill but the other I used a motif fill.  I liked the difference in the texture.  I free motioned a stipple design to further add texture to the quilt but maintain its simplicity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Baby Items

These are a set of baby items that turned out so great.  This all started when I was on vacation last fall and visited the quiltshop Granny's Quilt Fabric and More in Ridgeland, S.C. http://grannysquiltfabrics.com/home If you are traveling near Hilton Head or Savannah you need to seek out this shop. They had a kits made up for the full body bib shown above. What a great bib for a little one eating spaghetti.  I did not like any of the fabrics in the kits but I knew I needed the 2 fabrics above. So I asked if I could buy the pattern and the gracious clerk went and got freezer paper and made me a copy of the pattern and just gave it to me. What service! I bought 3/4 yard of each fabric and was able to make all of the items. Oh yes I did buy quite a bit more fabric but I won't go into that now. The burp cloth, baby wipe cover with zipper and the bib were all made in the hoop on the embroidery machine. These designs are all from Five Star Fonts  http://fivestarfonts.com. At the shower the full body bib was one of the most talked about gifts!

Oh My I am Falling Behind

Yes it has been since Thanksgiving for my last post.  Somehow the Holidays got in the way and now I have been prepping and sewing for the expected first grandchild. YES I SAID FIRST GRANDCHILD! So I have attended one baby shower a few weeks ago and have another this weekend.

Of course I am making quilts and some cute baby items.

Here is the Sock Monkey Quilt.  I actually bought this fabric 2 years ago when I went to the Lancaster Quilt Show.  My DIL loves sock monkeys and I purchased and held onto it for this exact occasion.  I wasn't sure what design to use until a lady came into the sewing store and was showing me her quilts used to highlight a special fabric - a light bulb went off in my head and I knew this was the layout I needed for this fabric.

Yep I Know that center block looks a little scary! For all you quilters out there, I did not do free motion quilting all over this quilt because I did not want to take away from the focus fabric.  I just did stitch in the ditch on the railfence squares and a diagonal X on the monkeys and was quite happy with the results. And here is how I wrapped the gift; I actually made an embroidered gift tag.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey - It takes a Village


So for the last few weeks every newspaper, magazine, and blog that I have read and every TV show I watched has featured the best way to roast a turkey. So at 7AM this morning I decided to incorporate 4 of the methods into my way of roasting a turkey. If one way is supposed to be good why not incorporate many of the techniques to get the best turkey onto my table.

Roasting the turkey upside down was a big item this year. One show said to turn upside down for the first hour and another for the last hour. Butterball said no way because it is too wobbly to turn around.

Stuffing the bird with citrus fruit was another popular twist as was coating the bird with olive oil and paprika. Another old standby that I have not done was using a Reynolds roasting bag.

I decided to use a turkey bag because I figured it would be easier to flip a 22 pound turkey if it was contained.  I stuffed my turkey with clementine oranges and apples - mostly because that was the fruit I had in my fridge. I oiled it up and sprinkled salt and paprika all over its skin. Then I placed it in the roasting bag, which was already sitting in a foil roasting pan set on a cookie sheet, and put the tie on the end to keep the contents in the bag.

Since I was going to church after I placed it in the oven, I opted to roast it breast side down for the first two hours. A purely subjective amount of time because that was how long it was cooking by the time I got home from Mass. It was actually pretty easy to flip it breast side up since it was in a bag. I just had to use 2 potholders and rolled the bag right over in the foil pan. After the pop up timer indicated it was done I turned the oven off and let it rest in the bag for about 1/2 hour while I finished the mashed potatoes and other sides. That turkey stays really hot inside the bag!

Well I am not sure which technique made the turkey the most flavorful and moist that I have ever made but next year I am following the same routine!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Two More Baby Quilts

So I have been busy traveling the last month but before I left on my trip I had 2 baby showers to attend.  I like making quilts for these events because the quilts usually are a very manageable size and I can be somewhat creative.

The first quilt is a sailboat for my expected grand nephew.  This was actually made with the rail fence pattern as depicted in the book Picture This by Billie Lauder.I have been wanting to try out the technique and since this baby will live in New England I thought the sail boat was perfect.

The theme of the nursery for the next expected baby is World Travel so what better quilt than one of the world.  The hardest part of this one was scaling an outline of the world so that it would fit the expected quilt size.  I wasn't sure how this would work out but I was thrilled with the outcome.  I appliqued the continents onto the pale blue ocean and then did some basic straight and wavy line quilting.

Now I can't wait till the new babies arrive!