Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flat iron caddy

I found this idea posted from this website listing easy DIY projects.

Make a Travel Flat Iron Holder Out of a Pot Holder

I needed a project some novice sewists and this looked simple and practical. Indeed it is, but finding the cute pot holder presented a challenge. I found some I liked for $6, but I needed a less expensive option. The ones for less had undesirable kitchen images, like roosters and cooking pots. Then one of my brilliant sewing companions suggested using one of the kitschy ones and sewing the edges so the design was on the inside.

Off to Dollar Tree where I found them at two for a dollar. But how to embellish, they looked so plain.
I pulled out my scraps of fabrics that had been fused to Wonder Under, and started to play.
Here are two samples, one was turned inside out and fabrics were fused and stitched, the other used a larger piece of fabric which I fused right over the image, then did a zigzag stitch with variegated thread around the edge. 

 caddieswith iron

Glasses case anyone?

Serger Envy

My sister bought a new Baby Lock serger that does the wave stitch, and I am jealous. Not jealous enough to actually purchase one, because I have a wonderful Huskylock 936, but I’m just sayin…

I went with her to her serger club where everyone had one of these fantastic self threading wave machines. My envy dropped a little bit when most of the women in the class had trouble threading their machine, changing needles, etc. but I digress. My sister has never owned a serger before and has had this serger for less than a month, and here’s what she’s done.

Here’s the black and white ensemble. She made the skirt and refashioned a black tee from her closet by cutting off the hem, and adding a black and white wave stitch to the neckline, bottom hem and sleeves. The hem of each of the skirts she made are finished just using the wave stitch.
black and white2 black and white

Next up a fantastic multi-color skirt
multi skirt white blouse closeup

She made the skirt, then refashioned a blouse by cutting off a white camp shirt from her closet and adding wave stitching to the sleeves and the new shortened hem.
Here’s a combo made from Robert Kaufman’s Stockholm fabric she didn’t cut off the tee from her closet, but did add wave stitching at the sleeves…and made a tote too! Brava!

blue and brown

Saturday, August 25, 2012

And the winner is…

Nancy who commented: “Cute bag just right to store all manner of treasures. I like the colors you chose. I'm a follower. Going to check out the pattern, too. Thanks for the opportunity.”

I’ll be sending this bag to Nancy as soon as she emails me her address.

susans bag2

If you missed out on the bag, here’s the tutorial to make one for yourself.

Thanks to all of  you for your kind and generous comments.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Drawstring Bag Giveaway

It’s time for a giveaway. Patti Wagon and I are having a giveaway for patchwork drawstring bags. By following the contest rules on this blog, you can win this bag, then head over to Patti Wagon for a chance to win a different drawstring bag.
The bag on this blog measures 11” wide by 13” tall and has an interior pocket. The ties on the drawstring are long enough to go over your shoulder, but can certainly be replaced. For directions on how to make one, click here.
susans bag2
Enter a comment on this site for one chance to win. As one of my followers or as a new follower, you'll get another chance.  To my readers who know me personally, you have to make a comment on this blog. Although I'd love to hear from you, sending me an email, text or phone message won’t give you a chance to win.
The contest will end on Saturday, August 25 at noon Eastern daylight time.  The lucky winner will be selected by random drawing posted here later that day.  If your name is selected, you have 48 hours to respond. If the winner doesn't respond with a mailing address, I'll pick someone else who then has 48 hours to respond.
Here’s the bag you can win at the Patti Wagon blog.
pattiwagon bag 
The fine print: Comments with inappropriate content or comments from spammers will be removed at the discretion of the blog owner, and will not be eligible to win. Prizes will be mailed by USPS. I will not be able to send a package outside the continental US.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I love Threads!

I am a quilter. I love quilt shops, I love fabric, I live quilt shows, I love to make quilts, but what I really love to do is machine quilting. And for that, you have to have quality threads.

This Sunday was youth Sunday at our church, our associate pastor wanted a colorful stole for the event and one of the women in our wrapped in love group made a gorgeous stole for her. The fabric she chose is a “cheater fabric” from Malka Dubrawski’s Stitch in Color line. The patchwork and stitching lines are printed on the fabric. My challenge was to quilt it such that the new quilting lines didn’t interfere with the printed lines. The friend who made the stole suggested meandering quilting with gold metallic thread.

Eme's stole eme and muriel

I used Superior gold metallic thread in the needle and tawny WonderFil from their Invisafil line in the bobbin.

close up front closeup back

I could not have been more pleased with the thread. I’ve been using Superior threads for a long time. Their metallics are in my opinion, the best available. The company suggests a 90/14 topstitch needle, and a tension setting of 1. I have never found the need to dial the tension lower than 2.5, but that is something you would need to try with your machine and the specific quilt. I always do extensive testing for top and bottom tension before beginning a project.

Wonderfil brand thread is fairly new to me, but their Invasifil line is fantastic. It’s a 100 wt. poly thread that is about the thickness of human hair, maybe even cat hair. It’s strong,  and it is perfect for the top or bottom of your quilt when you only want the quilting design to show. When you use it in the top, you would want to use a 60 or 70 needle. I also used Invisafil when I hand stitched the binding to the back of the quilt.

It’s a joy to quilt when you can just sit and stitch and not have to worry about shredding thread and tension issues on the back of your quilt.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer’s Bounty, part 3

Last stop on the summer preservation tour, ripe tomato catsup.
This is different than the red stuff you squirt on a hot dog at a picnic. It’s chunky, spicy, and oh so delicious. I’ve been making this for years, but it recently joined others in my family in making it part of tomato camp. For the past seven years, my daughters have met at their aunt’s home to have a tomato canning marathon. I joined them a couple of years ago, and it’s lots of fun but a tremendous amount of work. We canned salsa, pizza sauce, chopped tomatoes, catsup, and gallons of juice. This year’s count was 275 jars of assorted product totaling  33.3 gallons.
I didn’t get enough catsup for gift giving, so I’m making some today.
You can use any variety of red tomatoes, but I prefer Romas because they are so meaty. I bought 5 dry quarts of Romas at the Farmers’ market.
ripe tomatoes
Here’s the catsup recipe
1 peck of ripe tomatoes*, peeled, seeded and ground*if you are not into the bushel/peck measurement system, 3 quart jars of peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes is just about right.
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
6 onions, ground
2 teaspoons allspice
1 tablespoon ground hot pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups vinegar
2 pounds brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
To facilitate skinning the tomatoes, drop them in boiling water for a few seconds.
The skinning is easy, but the seeding is labor intensive. It’s a lot more fun to do it with friends or family.
After the tomatoes are skinned and seeded, grind tomatoes and onions using a vintage food grinder
food grinder

Don’t have a vintage food grinder? a food processor will work just fine. Be sure not to process too much, you want the finished product to be chunky. You may want to grind the onions and tomatoes separately as they will process differently.

Drain ground tomatoes and onions for about an hour, then mix in other ingredients. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer at least 40 minutes until thick.  This recipe will make about 7-8 pints
cooking catsup
No need to use a pressure or water bath canner, just fill clean hot jars with the catsup, screw on the two part lid and wait for the ping that indicates the jar has sealed. Patti Wagon describes the process here. She’s making salsa, but the process is the same for the catsup.
Ready! I found some 4 oz. jars; just perfect for a sample.
tomato catsup jarred
How do I  use the catsup?
On home grilled hamburgers, my favorite way!
Meatloaf. Make this humble entree sing by adding a dollop of catsup to each serving. Tom’s favorite way! Hmm. need to make some meatloaf for him
Pour over a block of softened cream cheese when you need take an hors d’oeuvre to a party. The hostess would love to have a jar as a gift.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer’s Bounty, Part 2

Next stop on the summer preservation tour, peach honey.
I have often said that if I had to live on just one food, it would be peaches. I love them any way they are prepared. If you can still get peaches at your local farmers’ market, here’s a recipe for yummy peach honey.
I went from this step
to 14 half pints of delicious peach honey
peach honey
By following the directions at the Patti Wagon blog.
Other than giving it to friends, here are some of the ways I plan to use it.
Mix with mayonnaise and a bit of curry for a chicken salad dressing, yum, add red grapes and slivered almonds
Glaze grilled pork or chicken
Use as a topping ice cream or pound cake..add rum
Add to Dijon mustard and olive oil for a honey mustard salad dressing
Pour over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers

If you still have some fresh peaches left over, make this salad for dinner
1 cup sliced peaches (if you don’t have peaches, use melon)
1 cup chopped tomatoes, any variety
1 avocado cubed
1T olive oil
½ lime, juiced
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients and toss until juices combine
peach, tomato and avocado salad

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer’s Bounty, Part 1

Preserving the fruits and vegetables of summer is a family tradition. I have always had a garden, sometimes large enough to grow a lot of produce, other times just a pot or two of herbs. In our current house, we have not been successful in growing tomatoes, but our herbs are doing well.

First stop on the summer preservation tour: Pesto

I don’t make pesto by any of the recipes that call for pine nuts and parmesan. As delicious as that sounds, I use pesto in a variety of ways and may not always want those ingredients. You can always add them at the time you prepare your dish. (Think pasta tossed with pesto, walnuts and parmesan cheese)

Here’s how I do it

Snip, wash, and dry the basil in a salad spinner. Pick the leaves and shoots off the woody stems Stems smaller than a coffee stirrer are good. Buds are good, but don’t use the flowers. And don’t put any brown shriveled leaves in there.


Pack the basil leaves into a 1 quart measure, and put in a food processor along with 6-8 cloves garlic. Start the processor and add olive oil as the processor whirls. Stop occasionally and scrape the sides. Add more oil as needed. Your goal is to have a product about the consistency of hummus. It will be a beautiful green shade. Spoon into small jars, cap and freeze.  If you want more explicit instructions, click here, just remember I skip the parmesan and pine nuts. When I want to use it, I put one of the jars in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and scrape off what I need and refreeze. You could put it in ice cube trays and freeze. The amount pictured below was made from four quarts of basil. I use it as an alternative spread for pizza, I add a couple of tablespoons to vegetable soup, I add it to omelets, I stir it into pasta. It makes a fantastic sandwich with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. (especially yummy when grilled on a George Foreman grill) You can add more oil and drizzle it over fish or chicken. It makes everything taste so fresh and wonderful. Click here for an abundance of ways to use it.


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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Refashioning Part 2

OK. consider me hooked on refashioning. I was clearing a few things out of my closed yesterday and found a dress I purchased a few years ago. It’s a great color and weight for fall in Florida. I wore it a couple of years, but it was a little short. It was fine when I was standing, but I found myself tugging at the hem when I was sitting.



The chop


Note to self…pay close attention to where the tab of the zipper is located before cutting. I could have saved myself some time had I not had to put in a new zipper.



Thursday, August 2, 2012


Of late I have become interested in refashioning, the art/skill of making something new from something previously unusable.
In a previous post I pictured my daughter of the blog Patti Wagon and her transformation of Lilly palazzo pants into a fun summer dress.

The refashioning continued with a top and purse from another discarded Lilly dress. You can check out her blog for how she did it.

And while in Kentucky, my niece showed me a purse she had made from three pairs of old jeans. Two years ago she spent a few days with me learning how to sew. Her projects were among the first I blogged about. I'm impressed with the ways she used the elements of the jeans, the hand stitching and the embellishments.

BJ bag
Here’s the back
bj bag back 

She's sewing with a Singer 237 I found at a thrift shop. Great Job!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spelling Lesson

Image from a men’s room on a recent road trip
spelling lesson