Friday, September 30, 2011

laying out the lay out!

I seem to spend a lot of time laying out blocks, and shuffling them around. Even though they are semi-random in placement, I keep moving things and exchanged blocks. I am really not sure if it actually looks any different or better when I am done !!

So I was laying out my collection of "Etchings" blocks
I took a picture of the layout..

and then from a different angle..

I find this gives a good "birds eye view" and sometimes makes it easier to spot a colour combination that needs changing or a misplaced block.

Once I am happy with the to keep them all organized ???
I have tried a number of different methods, some with limited success, but think I have a method that seems to work for me now.

First I put a little tab of paper on the upper Right hand corner of the block on the Right end of each row, starting with number "1" at the bottom....

then I pile the blocks in each row, starting from the far Right hand side, so that numbered block ends up on the top of the pile....

Then I pile these piles of blocks, starting from the bottom row, so that the number "1" pile is on the top...

Now you can move the whole lot over to the sewing machine. I leave the numbers pinned on there till I am finished sewing the top together. I flip the top block over and sew it to the the second block in that pile. By always checking the number and always turning it over the same way, they all stay in order !! The pinned number tag also helps to make sure that everything is still turned the right way.

I have tried working with 2, or sometimes 3 rows at the same time, alternating as I work, so I can chain them together. Of course I was feeling pretty smug about how smoothly this was going until I realized that I had picked one block off the wrong pile!! Then it took awhile to sort myself out again. Fortunately I had that picture on my camera that I could check back to. Of course they are randomly placed, so if you do make a mistake it is likely that it will not be noticed----by anybody except yourself that is!

Anyway, the final result is all the rows sewed together, and numbered so that they can be sewn together in the right order...

Another day!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Well, it is Wednesday again....time to take inventory of what is going on here...and everywhere else too! It is so inspiring seeing all the amazing projects out there!

Here is what is onn my Work in Progress list:
"Oasis" is basted and ready to quilt...

"Square Dance" has both the top and backing finished, ready to sandwich and pin ...

"Etchings" is near completion.( I .love this fabric)...then I will need to decide on backing for this one...

Nothing at all has happened with the "Wonky Blocks"or the Newfoundland fabric creation.. : ( .... well as a few other projects that are hidden under all that stuff, I think!!

And the tote bags are near I just had to start something new !!
(can you say quilters attention deficit??)
This is a really quick one. It is one of those Jelly Roll 1600 tops, made from Moda's "Comfort" ...

Just perfect for a cozy throw cuz I am thinking that winter is on the way !!
..Now off to check out what everyone is up to over at Lees blog..Freshly Pieced!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

some more pretty!

My sweet little girl (well she is now 23 yrs old....but still my baby!) gave me some fabric for my birthday...

I love the colors!! I have not worked with batiks much before, so am excited to try this out.  I have some fabric that coordinates well with this to use for sashing/borders etc, so will have to get busy and cut this little bundle up soon!

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a Jam?

Remember all those apples I picked off my little apple tree? Well, I have peeled an frozen bags of them....mmm ...I can almost taste the apple crisps that will be cooking up this winter !!

I still had some left, so thought I would try making some jelly! It is actually a lot easier than it sounds!
You don't need to peel or core the apples, just quarter them (any tart apple will work), add water (dont float the apples) and then boil them for 10-15 min until they are soft. Then let the juice drain by hanging the apples in cheese cloth.. You need to leave it dripping for at least a couple of hours, some say overnight! Dont squeeze  the bag, just let it drip, or the jelly will be cloudy.

Then you get nice rosy pink coloured juice...

Add the sugar and Certo as directed.
I used about 9-10 cups of apples, and about 5 cups of water. That gave me about 4 cups of juice. (you can add up to 1/2 Cup of water if you need more juice) I added 3 cups of sugar and a box of Certo.
Bring this to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.
I sterilize my jars in boiling water, but I have read that you can also do that in the dishwasher.

Fill the hot jars with jelly and seal.

There seems to be some dispute about whether or not you have to process the jars once they are sealed. I always process tomatoes or salsa, but have not done so for jelly. If the jars are sterile, and hot and the jelly is hot and sealed immediately there I have read that you don't need to process them in a water bath. This is a small batch anyway, so will get used up quickly, so I am not too worried about it.

Other years I have saved the apples from the cheesecloth and made apple butter. All you do is work the apple mash through a sieve to get a apple sauce like pulp. It takes quite a bit of mashing to get it all through the sieve!!
You can add a bit of water if it is too thick.
Cook for 10 min stirring frequently, then mash and strain again.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to the apple sauce and simmer on low for 2 hours.
Add apple pie spice (I use about 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and a dash of cloves, but it is a personal taste, so try adding whatever you like)
Cook for 10 more minutes and then fill your sterilized jars, and process for 10 minutes.
This has enough natural pectin from the apple peels that you do not need to add any Certo to it. It is nice and thick, and tastes great on toast!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Christmas around the corner

I am trying hard to get some Christmas gifts finished before the last minute this year! We will see.
But I have finished a couple more tote bags! I love these, they are quick and easy, and a great size to haul all my stuff around in.

This time I decided to add a little zipper pouch to clip onto the bag to hold some of the smaller stuff that tends to get lost in the bottom of the bag.
So I cut a 10"x12" piece of both the Home Decor fabric and the lining..

and added a zipper..
Fold the outer fabric in half and sew the zipper and outer fabric right sides together..

then sew the lining onto the zipper, right sides together. I always pin it in first, so I am sure I have it correct and can still turn it right side out once it is sewn. Believe me, I learned this from experience, and have ripped others out a few times before!

Turn right sides out and open the zipper to top stitch close to the zipper edge.

I made a little tab with a D ring on the end so I could clip it to the bag..

And tuck this inside the outer fabric so you catch it in the side seam...

Then sew the side seams, leaving a gap on one side of the lining to turn it through..

slip stitch the opening ....(of course...this is an example of why I dont do much hand sewing!!)

And Voila!! done!

For one of the little pouches, I squared off the bottom, the other one I just left it flat.
Sometimes I don't line these, and then they are even easier to make. All you do after you have the zipper sewn in and top-stitched is sew up the side seams. I like to zigzag all the edges if I am not lining the bag, to keep it tidy inside.

I also added a strap to the bag with a little swivel hook on the end, to snap the zipper pouch....or a set of keys onto..
and that's all folks!

Friday, September 23, 2011

In love with Etchings

First of all, I want to say sorry to any one who commented that I did not respond to. I love hearing from you and try to send a hello back again, I am working through all this stuff with my computer I found out yesterday that the emails were not sending!!! I think I have it all sorted out now! I hope.  Anyway, I do love to get comments, so really I wasn't ignoring you. : )

Now on to my new love affair..yes, I am in love again....with Etchings fabric. I had started making blocks awhile ago and when I laid them all out to see how they looked together....I loved it! ( I need to reorganize the layout, I know)

I decided that I wanted to make it a queen size for the guest room at the cabin, and fortunately a sweet friend, Sharon at Vroomans quilts had sent me a little package of goodies and in there was some more Etchings fabric! Yeah!
So I have been busy making the rest of the blocks...
These are made from a layer cake, so actually 2 layer cakes altogether. There is almost NO waste in making these blocks, which I really like. With fabric costing so much, you hate to waste any!! For details about how the blocks were cut out you can go back and check out my blog here.

I love the colors, and look at these details...a map of Paris!!!

I keep thinking .."Oh this is my favourite block"....then I find another one I love!

I have them all done, so hope to get them laid out and sewn together this weekend. I cant wait to see this one put together!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

never as easy as it looks!

Well I got my laptop back yesterday....with my old hard drive packaged up in pretty cellophane HaHa!
But of course because it is a new hard drive, I have to re configure my email, find a product key to register with Microsoft (I know it must be in my files somewhere ????) and re-enter all my email contacts....and where will I find those ????

Oh well, it will all come together eventually!
I have been having some fun in the sewing room though!
I decided to try to make quilted coffee cup sleeves (like from Starbucks) to add to the kids Christmas stockings. How hard could that be..right??

So I snagged one as I was passing by and used it as a template. I am sure that there are patterns or tutorials out there somewhere, but I just started playing~!

I used scraps of fabric and batting..

I tried several different approaches too. First I cut one with an extra 1/4" seam allowance and sewed one Right sides together, and then tuned it right side out and topstitched it..

Then I tried cutting one exact size and cutting bias binding to cover the edges..

Then I did the same but used packaged bias tape...and I used a zig zag stitch ... (aren't those little birds just the cutest!!)
I tried to ease the bias binding around the corners on the green one, but on the white one I did a mitred turn on each corner like you would on a quilt, and I think it looks a bit neater.

The ones with binding are a bit larger and more bulky, but I like the added color. The other one is smaller, and probably easier to tuck into your purse or backpack.
Now I have to go out and actually buy a cup of coffee to try these out and see if they fit !!
I was thinking originally that I could use a Velcro closure, but now I think I will just stitch them closed. The paper ones are glued together, so a solid sleeve should be ok.

Off I go to buy a Latte...or maybe a Carmel Maccichino..or something equally as fancy and decadent!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tomorrow, tomorrow...

I got a phone call today....from the computer repair store! My laptop is ready to pick up hard drive and all.
So...tomorrow I will be ready to tackle blogging again!
And I have some fun things to talk about....oh yes I do!
I have been a busy little bee! You will see.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Well, I thought I was back!

I am home from computer died the day after I got home! Of course after I had uploaded all my pictures from Scotland.....but before I backed them up onto my external hard drive!

Do you all back up your computer everyday? I know I should, but just don't bother ....and now I see why I should have been more disciplined about that.

I have taken the laptop into the computer hospital, and they tell me the hard drive needs to be replaced! Doesn't sound good :(

So for the meantime....I can read blogs on my iPad, but it is more difficult to post and add pictures. I am here...really!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a little overwhelmed here

Wow!! It is really hard to catch up on everything you miss here in blogland over 2 weeks!! It seems like a lot has been going on, and everybody has been so productive....except me!! Haha! I am getting quite used to sitting around reading a book and having someone else cook dinner !! Wonder if I can find someone here that would cook for me??? Wouldn't that be nice...if they did the dishes too!

OK, so I need to win a lottery then....that is why I bought these....
I think the draw was for 4.5 Million dollars ....that would do nicely, don't you think?
I am thinking that I won't check them for awhile....that way I can keep the dream alive a little longer : )

But...back to reality....
When I got home from Scotland, I received the nicest surprise...from a wonderful blog friend who sent a box of goodies. (Thank you Sharon from Vroomans Quilts!!)

And, the best arrived on my birthday...isn't that a great birthday surprise?? I am thrilled with this little package.  A card holder and zipper bag...

a beautiful needlepoint wall hanging! I am always in awe of people who can do this!

And some fabric. I love the fabric she many great ideas of how to use it to get busy and get some work done!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm back!

Hello! I am back! Home from Scotland, and although it was a great trip, it is always nice to get home again.

We stopped in London to visit my DH's son, who lives there, so of course did all the tourist stuff....
The Tower of London...

The Tower Bridge...

"Big Ben", which is actually the name of the bell inside, and the tower itself is properly named the "Clock Tower "....but...everybody calls it Big Ben anyway : )

Buckingham Palace....just imagine Kate and William standing on that balcony after their wedding....I can almost see them!!

and of course the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace...
There is so much to see, and so much history there. We saw St Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar square and Trafalgar fountain, and there is a big sign there counting down the seconds until the 2012 Olympic games start in London..

Westminster Abbey is very impressive..

Then we were off to Glasgow, Scotland for a family wedding. It was beautiful of course...
The men in their kilts. Here is my DH in his kilt...very dashing I think!!

We had lots of fun, and my hat was a big hit!!

Apparently it is is a "Hatinator" rather than a "Fascinator" because it has a small hat part to it! Who knew??
Anyway, it was fun to wear, and I left it with my Sister-in-Law there in Scotland, as they will have many more opportunities to wear it than I ever will. Besides it was a pain carrying it on the plane in a shoe box!

I checked the opportunity to visit a quilting store while I was there, but they do not seem to be plentiful. There was one on the way to Edinburgh, but that would have been about an hours drive from where we were and we were busy with family/wedding so I did not get there. Soooo....I am home and ready to get back to my sewing room !!