Sunday, July 24, 2011

On the Ironing Board

It's really hot here. Like over 100 degrees hot. Ok, today it's only in the 90s. We don't have air conditioning (no, we don't want it) so we do a lot of sweating. Things slow down a bit during weather like this. I'm working on quilts slowly. I've decided to work on my etsy inventory over the next year before I try to promote my shop. It seemed sort of silly to promote an empty shop. So I'm thinking long. There is also some sewing I want to do for me. The above photo shows the first project I want to work on. I love strawberries and have collected a few vintage pieces. I want to make a pennant banner for our sun room. I'm hoping to get to it sometime this week. Stay cool, folks.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sew It Up

After selling a cute Fisher Price Merry Go Round I had to get out my Little People. I'm thinking of adding this baby to a business card.
 I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about my little (and I mean VERY little) sewing business. I don't have a ton of time to focus on too many options. There's the Building Character option.
Newest table runner quilt made from left over blocks.
 On the one hand I LOVE the idea of having my own space there. It is such a great spot on a great street in our fair city. I can just see my quilts hanging and draping and folded on a vintage table. Right now I have some items at a friend's space to "check it out."
I just love this red embroidery thread. On the spool it looks pink but with the red fabric it looks more red.
 Another option is my etsy shop. I've sold some things there in the past. I love etsy, too. It's conveniently located on my computer so I can go there at any hour of the day or night. Etsy is also overloaded with shops. That's good and bad. Good because you really can find some amazing things. Bad because my own things can get buried pretty quickly. On the other hand, etsy does work to help you build your business. They have video and chat and conferences galore. I like that.
I'm in love with this cherry backing fabric. I found it at Joanne Fabrics and ended up buying the end of the bolt. It cheers me up!
So, for now, I'm both places. I've got a few things at BC. It's enough to see if anything will sell. I'm not sure it is the place for my wares. The overhead is VERY steep. That's another good thing aboug etsy. It isn't too pricey. For example, I just sold a vintage toy for $45. Total taken by etsy was $1.78. If I had sold the same thing at BC the total cost taken by BC would have been $7-$9 depending if the person paid with cash or VISA. And that doesn't include your monthly rent. Of course, I wouldn't have the hassle of shipping or of storing items. So, what to do? 

For now, I'm staying the course. Keeping my options open. Seeing how things go. Speaking of go, I'd better get going to work.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homemade Bread Recipe

I can't tell you how much I adore Saturdays. They remind me of who I am and what I do. Since going back to work, I've taken to using my Saturday to really dig into the things that make me me.

This morning I went out to garage sales with Nathan. If you look in my etsy shop you'll see my great find. Nathan found a Garfield glass that he didn't have and a Pokemon Monopoly game for Nolan. A good way to spend an hour of our morning.

After our garage sale extravaganza, the boys set about playing Monopoly and Mike was getting ready to play a wedding so I went to pick up our CSA share for the week. I'm excited about our little carrots.

I wanted to supplement our CSA share and have had a hankering for BLT's and fresh corn on the cob. So after lunch I headed out to Eastern Market and picked up some beef bacon and corn and peaches. Then I had a need to bake bread. I miss the kitchen.

I'll share my bread recipe. It's from a Taste of Home magazine from many years ago. I modified it to make it whole wheat instead of white.

Homemade Bread

1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
7-8 cups bread flour ***

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface. Divide into thirds. Shape into loaves and place in three greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield:  3 loaves.

***I used 4 cups of white flour and the rest whole wheat.

The boys and Mike are at Mass while I am working on dinner. Corn on the cob and BLT's from Lancaster county! Yum.

Hope your meal is as delicious as mine.

Friday, July 15, 2011


isn't like the stories I've read in books. It isn't the same as the movies I've watched or the music I've listened to.

The challenges just don't come across the same way. I guess that's why we read and watch and listen. To lighten the load.

Garage sale-ing with the boys tomorrow. Never read a book about that but it is fun.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Modern Art Mini Quilt

This was a quickie quilt. I've had the top on my design board for probably a year. I have to say it is a favorite of mine. I love all the fabrics involved and love the ladder type piecing in the center. This will be going in my etsy shop shortly. I lost my light tonight when I was taking photos so this is the only decent one. The quilt measures about 15x18 inches and has a hanging pocket in the back. I have a hankering for some mini quilts. They are fun and fast and use up those pieces of batting that are too small for regular quilts but I refuse to part with. I have to work tomorrow night so I have the day at home. I think some weeding and sewing are in my future.

Rainbow Scrappy Quilt

Quick Quilts to Make in a WeekendI finished my latest quilt. This one was from my very fist quilting book. The book is Quick Quilts to Make in a Weekend by Rosemary Wilkinson. I bought the book so many years ago because it had a log cabin quilt pattern. I've made several quilts from the book but don't think the log cabin was one of them! It is a really informative quilting book with quite a few interesting quilts. When I first got into quilting it wasn't quite as "in style" as it is now and there weren't as many really cool books out there showcasing fabulous fabrics. I'm amazed at the number of sewing and quilting books that are being published right now. I have to really watch out or I start to want to buy them all. What I actually do is go to the bookstore and pull out all the books I think I'd like to buy, look through them and generally I'm satisfied.

Right now I'm itching to look through the book
Block Party--The Modern Quilting Bee: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog & 12 improvisational projects. I used to read the blog as they were making the blocks for each other. Since each of the quilt block makers is a really talented sewer, crafter, quilter, it must have been amazing to be a part of that quilting bee. Last time I was at Borders they didn't have the book but I'm sure they will at some point over the summer. So many quilty ideas.
The above quilt is small sized like most of my quilts. It was made from my stash and backed with that awesome fabric I bought at Lancaster Creative Reuse. I'm always amazed at how little fabric is often used to make a quilt like the one above. It was just a small piece of each fabric but when brought together it makes such a delightful quilt. This will either go down to Building Character or in my etsy shop. Just in case you're interested!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Knuckles the Echidna.....cross stitch style.

After seeing Nathan's Mario and Luigi pillow case, Nolan requested Knuckles and Tails. I just finished Knucles and my eyes are bugging out from counting all those little squares. I informed Nolan that I needed to take a break before getting started on Tails. It may be Nolan's birthday (which is in December) before I can bear to start in on it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pesto...It's not beautiful

but it is tasty. I've never made pesto before for several reasons. The first reason is that I never really liked it. I always thought it tasted like a pine tree. Many people use pine nuts in their pesto. I think pine nuts are very overpowering and, like I said, make me feel like I'm eating a pine tree. Not a flavor I enjoy.

I then learned that you don't have to put in the pine nuts. No brainer, right? Well, sometimes I'm such a rule follower that I can't think outside the box (or the recipe as the case may be). The problem then became the fact that I didn't have a food processor. 
Saturday at Homefields it was pick as much basil as you want day. So I decided we would make pesto. Now, I have quite a bit of basil in my yard but probably not quite enough to make pesto without eliminating the entire plant. So, we cut A LOT of basil. You can see it in the above photo along with the other ingredients. I chose to use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Pesto is really a personal taste sort of food. Use what you will. I used parmesan and romano cheeses, walnuts, basil and olive oil.
Above is the pesto after Nolan and I food processed the heck out of it. As I said in my title, pesto isn't really beautiful. Nolan, who likes to ask important questions at dinner, asked what we thought was a kids least favorite food color. Green, of course. Followed by a close second of yellow (we had zucchini and yellow squash as our side).

Well, once I had my bowl of pesto, it occurred to me that I should freeze it. I then remembered that people freeze it in ice cube trays. Well, right now our extra ice cube tray is full of coffee. What to do? Hey....use muffin tins!
 Freeze over night, pop out and throw them in a plastic ziplock and you have pesto for the year! I'm hoping to use it in soups and on poultry throughout the year. Yum!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fabric Finds in Blue

We're so fortunate to have the Lancaster Creative Reuse here in our fair town. Fortunate for those who are cleaning out the house to have somewhere unique to donate their goods and fortunate for those of us who sew and craft and create to have somewhere to purchase amazing products for very little money. 

I am in charge of the craft for the Kids Camp we run at work. I've been able to find most of what we need at the Reuse. I think so far I've spent $10. Of course, while I'm there I also have to see if there are any goodies for me. This week I was able to find some great fabrics.
 We had a very rainy, overcast day, so my photos aren't as vibrant as I'd like but you'll get the idea. The above fabric was the best find. It was labeled 1972 on the original sales sticker. I think the almost 10 yards was originally priced at $4. I bought it for $13. That's $1.30 per yard. I'm going to use it to back quilts. I always have trouble ironing that much fabric so I only ironed the bit I used last night for my quilt. It looks great. I can't wait to get started on the quilting.
 All of the fabrics I'm showing you today were in a vintage box. The above pieces were $.35 each. Did I mention how much I love the Creative Reuse? I'm pretty sure I'm going to make something for myself out of these. I just haven't decided yet. Maybe some placemats and napkins.
And finally this lovely cowboy piece. I think it was an old sheet but the fabric is pretty thick. Price tag? $1. I'm trying to think on how to work this one in to a quilt. I'm so excited about these fabrics. I'm trying not to be too depressed about the lack of time I have to work on projects! So much creative energy, so little time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Highly recommended.

"Fiver?" said the other rabbit. "Why's he called that?"
"Five in the litter, you know:  he was the last--and the smallest.  You'd wonder nothing had got him by now. I always say a man couldn't see him and a fox wouldn't want him. Still, I admit he seems to be able to keep out of harm's way." 

From Watership Down by Richard Adams. Our summer read aloud. Often read in the presence of a few rabbits in silflay on the lawn. Read it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Morning After

After Independence Day that is. It was a well needed day at home for us together as a family. We all got to do a little of what we love. For me that was starting a new quilt, reading at the pool, eating some good food, playing games with the whole family and shooting off some grocery store fireworks. Perfect.
Getting ready for action
This was the Fire in Fireworks
Smoking gun (or popper as the case may be).
Nolan's turn. He's enjoying this.
It takes a lot of concentration
 Definitely a good day. Now it's back to the old grind. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fireworks on the cutting board

 I've got a new quilt in the works. It'll be baby sized like most of my quilts but should be very colorful. Again, it's totally from the stash. I just spent about 2 hours cutting and my stash isn't really any smaller than it was before I started. I love the scrappy quilt! We watched fireworks from the sunroom last night. I guess seeing all those colors made me want to get as many colors into a quilt as I could. It's so wonderful to have a lazy day at home with the family to pursue our interests. I'm sure we'll have some fire crackers later tonight to cap off a day of relaxation. Happy 4th.

Sunday, July 3, 2011 gotta have enough of it

 But on the other hand, you can't have too much. I'm talking about sewing machine tension. I was tired the other night when I started this little project. I made a small quilt out of scraps a long time ago and never quilted it. Part of the reason was because I didn't especially like the way it looked. However, our cat has been sleeping on our new sofa cover and the amount of hair that thing leaves behind is staggering. So I thought I'd use this little quilt in that spot so I could easily clean it (or just remove it when we have company). 
Back of the mini quilt. You can see how the thread is poking through from the front in some spots.
So what's the tension problem? Well, if you look at the photo above you can see that my quilting isn't looking proper in all the right places. I usually make a practice little quilt sandwich to check my thread tension before I start in on my actual project. It saves a lot of ripping out. Well, I was tired and I didn't bother with my sample. Too bad. It reminds me that the extra step is always worth while. It also reminds me to just go to bed when I'm tired and not try to get one more thing finished.
A close up of the front of the quilt and my empty spool.
The other thing that occurred while quilting was that I ran out of thread! Since I just wanted this as a cat hair catch all I just took the next nearest thread color and went with it. To be honest, it isn't really noticeable in the finished product. I guess when you start out not really liking what you are making it makes you care a lot less about the quality of the finished product. It's why I always hope to be able to love the things I make to sell. 
The finished product waiting for the cat. My luck, he'll pick a new spot to sleep.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quick Pennant Banner

 I love these little pennant banners you see different places. They bring color into a room and add a bit of festivity to any occasion. I used scraps of fabric from my stash and a pack of bias tape. You wouldn't have to but I put a plastic ring on each end to make hanging really easy. Again, I had them in my pile of hardware. Total cost to make something like this is so minimal if you have a "stash." Makes me sound illegal, doesn't it?
Close up of the banner.  I'm thinking of making a few to hang permanently in my sunroom.
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