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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.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

San Antonio Escape

Just back from a trip to San Antonio, a mother/daughter escape to explore a city neither of us has been to. We explored and explored, and walked and walked, plus biked, Ubered and took a cruise on the river in a cute bright colored tour boat that looked like a sardine can to me!

The San Antonio Riverwalk is so beautifully laid out and landscaped. We truly walked 9 miles one day and 7 another plus threw in 3 miles on bikes. Apparently there is no open container law in Texas so you can walk and drink your liquor as you go. Couple this with the fact that every restaurant has the best nachos and salsa, there is no way we could lose weight even though we got plenty of exercise.

Highlights of our trip included the Food, the Alamo, the Missions, the Riverwalk, the Mexican Market and a warehouse fabric outlet Fabrictopia. Plus our hotel, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, was just super, great room, great location and great breakfast bar.

The Mexican Market was so much fun, hours and hours of looking for just the right piece of pottery not to mention a few new rings. The Turquoise jewelry was more than reasonably priced and so hard not to buy.

This trip was so special and we have decided a mother/daughter trip should become an annual event. I was trying to decide what was the favorite part of the trip but it wasn't any place or thing we did; it was our time together!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Irish Sweetpea Pods

I made these cute pouches for my granddaughters for St. Patrick's Day.  Little girls love anything they can store their small treasures in. These were no exception and they loved opening and closing the zipper - good practice for little hands.

These were made using the pattern from Lazy Girl Designs, Sweetpea Pods.  Honestly after I figured out how to make them it only took me about a half hour to make these two. Unfortunately, the first two I made took me hours.  Thee directions were really wordy and confusing to me.  However after I figured it all out, it is a cute pattern and I will make many more. I have a never ending supply of fabric and zippers in my stash. The pattern calls for a 10 inch square to make 2 but I discovered I like the size of a 9 inch square better. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Reading Pillow with Personalized Pocket

These are the two pillows I have made so far.  This 18 inch pillow with a pocket for a book is such a cute idea for a gift. Although these are for children, one could make one for an adult also.

The butterfly pillow was made for the birthday gift for a friend of my granddaughters'. Aubrey is a friend they see at library story time so a reading pillow was indeed a perfect gift for her.

I made the Reading is my Superpower pillow as a donation for the library, which is going to raffle it off.

I wasn't planning on writing a tutorial so I didn't take pictures of my work but below is my process. I will add pictures after I make another pillow.

Materials needed:

18 inch pillow form
18 inch square of fabric for front of pillow
18 inch square of fabric for back of pillow
11 x 18 inch fabric for pocket lining
10 x 18 inch fabric for pocket front
coordinating zipper at least 14 inches, can be longer

  1. First the embroidery is done on the front of the pocket.  Center your design vertically but move it up towards the top of the pocket front. Notice I forgot to move it up on the Superpower pillow and had it centered vertically and horizontally. I used wash away stabilizer but will try cutaway on my next one.
  2. Next I matched the tops of the pocket front and pocket lining, right sides together, and sewed a 1/2 inch seam.  Turn this right side out and match the bottom edge of the lining and pocket front. When you match the bottom edges, the lining fabric will form a quasi binding at the top of the pocket. Top stich along the bottom of this quasi binding. Then baste 1/8 inch from the 3 raw edges to hold the pocket lining to the pocket front.
  3. Now lay the pocket ontop the pillow front, matching sides and bottom. Baste a 1/4 inch along the sides of the pocket and bottom.
  4. I added a zipper now at the bottom of the pillow. Layer the pillow front and pillow back, right sides together. I seamed the bottom with a 1/2 inch seam but basted the center 14 inches and only used a regular stich on the first 2 inches on each side. I inserted the zipper in the center of this seam.  After insertion, I removed the basting stitches to expose the zipper. Open the zipper halfway.
  5. Now line up the other 3 edges of the back and front, right sides together. Sew a 1/2 inch seam around the rest of the pillow. 
  6. Turn right side out and push out corners. Insert pillow form.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Crockpot Stew

Its still cold and dreary and comfort food warms you up.  I often use my crockpot in the winter to make good old fashioned comfort foods.  I have found there is no easier or better way to make beef stew than in a crockpot.

This recipe is just too easy. All you need is 1-2 lbs cubes of stew meat, quartered potatoes, shortcut carrots and a quartered onion. Throw it all into the crockpot and cover with a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of tomato soup. Cook on high for 4 hours or medium for 6 hours. Sometimes I add Golden Mushroom soup instead of the tomato. It makes the perfect consistency gravy everytime. If you prefer a lot of gravy add a third can of soup; no added water needed.

Beauty of the Forgotten

Hubby and I went for a bike ride on Tuesday on an unusually warm winter day. The sun was brightly shining and gave a beautiful sheen to all the wintry grays and browns of the landscapes. I took several pictures along the way but this old house made me stop and pause.

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.