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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.

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!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Another Potholder Class

So Tuesday evening was the second class for the potholder/towel class.  I must say we had such a fun time sewing together.  It never ceases to amaze me how much we all learn from one another - and not just about the subject at hand! 

All the items turned out so very nice.  If you scroll down you can see those from the first class in the previous post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

One of My Favorites

I love Fall!  I love the weather, the mild temperatures and all the decorations with leaves and pumpkins. And yes I also rank the Pumpkin Spice Latte up there at the top. So today I am pulling out my autumn home decor and one of my favs is this Pumpkin Runner.  You can go back to my previous posts to get the pattern. Pumpkin Runner

Friday, September 26, 2014

Class Potholders and Towels

Yesterday was my first class for the potholder/towel class.  We had a great time sewing together and the attendees were happy to complete their sets.  Don't they look great! The next class is on Tuesday evening so we will be at it again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Latest Endeavor

I decided that I needed a cute gift idea to use as a class.  I came up with a pot holder/ tea towel ensemble. The uniqueness of it is that both items are done on the embroidery machine.  To be able to teach a class on it, I needed to actually digitize the designs myself.  So I set about it and actually it did not take me as long as I had thought it would.  I have already used the idea for an engagement party gift where I added the couple's names to the potholders. It made a cute set.

So for my class, I decided to present the theme of holiday hostess gifts.  Since it is early fall, I made appliques of leaves and a christmas tree. So here is what the class attendees will learn - how to make a potholder in-the-hoop and how to do embroidery machine applique. I think it will be a hit!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Crab Dip Placemat

Earlier this summer I attended the Three Rivers Art Festival and just had to buy this adorable crab dip dish and cracker plate. I had a bridal shower coming up and knew this would be a great gift. The pottery was made by Francine Zajac from Washington, PA. Francine's web site  shows many of her functional items including brie bakers and chip and dip plates.  I was quite taken with her pieces so my daughter-in-law and I couldn't leave without purchasing a few.

I always like to make a handmade item to go with my gifts so I found quilting fabric that went so well with these pieces.  I decided to do an applique of a crab in the center and quite luckily found this free crab applique on Designs by JuJu  http://www.designsbyjuju.com/free-applique-crab?___SID=U.

I absolutely love this set of pottery with the placemat and had a hard time giving it as a gift!

Here is the crab dip recipe that came with the pottery:

Hot Crab Dip

1 can crab meat                      1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
8 oz. cream cheese                 1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tblsp. mayonnaise                Parmesan Cheese
1 Tblsp. lemon juice

Combine crab, cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Put in crab dish and top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Singer 99 - What a Beauty!!

I didn't feel like sewing tonight but was bored so I decided to get one of my vintage Singers working.  I have this little 3/4 Singer 99 that was given to me by a former co-worker.  He had found it in his aunt's house and no one really wanted it so he gave it to me a few years ago.  I looked it up online and it was born in October 1955.  I really do not think it was used hardly at all.  I did not get a manual with it but I was able to find the manual online free so I proceeded to oil the many places indicated.  The manual says to oil every 8 hours of sewing - I find that amazing because I also have a vintage Singer 66 that my mom and I sewed furiously on  for decades and probably oiled once a year.  My 66 was well used and looks way worse for the wear than this beauty.

So after a really good oiling - I figure it hadn't been run since the 50's - I just ran her for a few minutes with no thread to get the oil all through her.  Then I was able to wind a bobbin (one I had from my 66) and threaded her.  Here are my first rows of stitching.  I didn't even have to mess with the tension.  This machine has a great rhythmic clickety clack of a mechanical sewing machine.

I didn't get any extra attachments other than the seam guide with this machine but I do think my ruffler, hemmer foot, gathering foot and 15/16 binder from the 66 will fit her.  I don't have a zipper foot but I doubt that I will be inserting any zippers with her anyways.  I really like the skinny feed dogs and may actually do some piecing with this machine.

I guess next I will clean up the 66 and see if I can get her running.  The 66 was born in 1948 and my Singer Treadle, according to it's serial number, was born in 1910.  Both of these will take alot more work than the 99.  Jobs for the cold snowy days of winter!