Sunday, January 21, 2018

Under suspense?

Adding the binding to my last quilt was a drag.  No joking.  The weight of the quilt kept pulling the binding edge out from under the sewing machine foot.  The binding was finished.  But as I mentioned in my previous post, I'm really not happy with how it turned out.

I know there is a solution out there.  I've watched enough videos while I was avoiding doing something productive.  Sew it's time to re-do the sewing room/quilt studio.

First thing that came to mind was snow carpets from the dollar stores.  After a bit of searching I found the video that shows how these carpets are used.  The slippery side of the kids sled helps reduce the fabric drag.  Cost $3 per snow carpet.

 When working on a large quilt, I can place both carpets over the two sewing machine tables that are back to back.

If I have another quilter over for a sewing session, we each can have a carpet on our sewing table. 

But there is still a lot of drag when the quilt is really heavy.

Next comes looking for videos on quilting suspension systems.  There are quite a few sites that sell these.  But I'm cheap.  (See above using snow carpets from the dollar store instead of the expensive sliders sold at quilt shops and sewing machine stores)

A DIY quilt suspension search lead to some interesting ideas.  The one that did not require putting holes in the walls/ceiling (anyone met my DH?), suggested using a garment trolley.   A quick trip to Jysk and $26 CDN later, I have a trolley.

DH came up with the bungee cords and another trip to the dollar store provided 10 clamps for $2. 

Now for the real suspense story.   Will this work the way I'm hoping it will?  Later.....

Friday, January 19, 2018

2015 365 Day Block Challenge - Finished! Well at least half of it is....

January 1, 2015, a number of quilters (myself included) started a quilting adventure.  We signed up to receive quilt block instructions every day.  And it was a challenge to keep up with these blocks.  Life does get in the way!

The blocks were 3 1/2" for the dark fabrics.  And 6 1/2" for the lighter value blocks.  A lot of different techniques were used.  Who knew there are so many ways to make flying geese or half square triangles?  And lets not talk about Y seams.  Thank you!

When it came time to put the blocks together in a top, I soon realized several things.  The top would be too large to go on my mid arm quilt frame.  And I really didn't like how busy the quilt would be.  My solution was to calm the quilt down by using half the blocks required and substitute tone on tone squares to give the eyes a place to rest.  This meant I have enough blocks for two quilts.

The centres and first border on both quilt tops went on my mid arm and were quilted.  I left plenty of room around the edges to attach the borders.  The borders were to go on using a quilt as you go method.  Each quilt would use a different method.

Confession time.  You know how seams are supposed to be a scant 1/4"....well a lot of my seams are fat 1/8".  Or plain 1/8".  I can only hope the quilts will manage a few washings before they fall apart!

Sew, here's the first Block of the Day quilt.  No promises on when the second quilt will be finished!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Quilty Start To 2018

New Year's Eve was lovely and quiet.  Good friends came over for the afternoon.  After a pleasant visit they went on their way and we headed over to my Mom's.

We drove Mom around looking at Christmas lights and then came home.  DS joined us for a while and all of us watched some really old black and white Christmas specials while snacking on the appetizers I forgot to serve Christmas Eve.  The shows were memories for Mom, and something new for DS.  Not sure what he thought of these old shows.  Some of them were groaners.

When we took Mom home, DH decided to drive through some different residential areas so Mom could see even more Christmas lights.   I love the introduction of projection lights.  It makes it that much easier for home owners to light up their homes.  The lighting bug is sneaky.  One starts with a projection, then add an inflatable snowman or Santa.  Next thing you know your whole yard is decorated.  Makes it fun for all of us.

After dropping Mom off, we drove past DH's parents to see if the lights were on in their home.  Yep, they were.  So we parked in their driveway and called them to see if they were up to having some company.  They were, so we got our New Year's hug from them as well.  All in all, a wonderful way to spend New Year's Eve.

New Year's Day 2018 started with a mystery quilt.  Merry Meyhem Mystery Quilts hosted this mystery project.  The instructions were great.  Several of the ladies from hearts2hands Yahoo group were participating.  So there were a few emails from the group during the day about the mystery.

While squaring up a block, my ruler slipped and I trimmed off a tad more than I was supposed to.  Okay, a lot more.  And it was the fabric that I didn't have any left.  Do I trim all the blocks down?  Or do I rip out all the blocks, choose a different fabric and re-make all those blocks.  Guess what I chose!  The 8 1/2" blocks are now 8" blocks.  And I was able to get the quilt top finished in one day.  Not sure if I'll add a border or two.  It's a larger lap size now (instead of the twin size it was supposed to be).  A decision for later. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Pickled Christmas

At Thanksgiving this past October, my in-laws brought over a restaurant size jar of dill pickles.  Although our fridge isn't exactly small, it is always full.  So both DH and I knew that once that jar was opened, it would have to be eaten.

Since it's a crime to waste dill pickles, I had to think out of the "jar".  Off to the net for ideas.  And there were some "dills" out there.

Christmas Eve DS hosted the traditional open house at his new place.  The agreement was he'd clean and decorate his home and we would provide the food.  Can you see where this is going?  Yep, we tried out these crazy recipes on his guests.

Into the air fryer went about a third of the jar (after being sliced very thin).  The younger guests had fun eating these dehydrated pickle chips with the regular potato chips.  Apparently the flavour is really interesting.  I couldn't say from personal experience though since it's just way too salty for my taste.  And yes, this is how 1/3 of a jar of pickles looks after being dehydrated.

The next third of a jar was candied.  Slice the pickles then place into a large pot along with a half cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.  Bring to a slow boil. The water and juice from the pickles will dissolve the sugar.  I let it boil until the sugar water passed the hard candy test.  (Look up how to test boiled candy when you don't have a candy thermometer.  The explanation on the net will be better than I can provide.)  Once the sugar water was at hard boiled stage, I used tongs to pull out the pickles and let them dry and harden on wax paper.  The remaining sugar/dill water was cooled until I could touch it.  Then I rolled it into the shape of butter scotch candy.

Both the pickles and the hard candy were tasty.  But not a treat for anyone with a loose filling or dentures.  So these treats were set out with a warning.  I didn't want to be responsible for any emergency dental appointments at Christmas!

Now for what turned out the best.  The chocolate dipped pickles.  Everyone who was brave enough to give it a try really enjoyed them.  And went back for more!

Slice the pickles up, lay them on a parchment covered tray and freeze for two hours.  Melt a small bag of dark chocolate chips along with a table spoon or two of coconut oil.  The oil keeps the chocolate from hardening faster than you can dip the pickles.

Dip the pickles into the chocolate and set onto parchment paper covered plates or trays.  Then place the pickles in the fridge until the chocolate is hardened.

The trick is to pop the entire treat into your mouth.  Do not nibble.  You don't get the blend of the pickle and chocolate that way.  These were really good and the one I'd make again.  (And gift back to my in-laws should they ever bring over another restaurant size of pickles again 😊)

Shout out to my son for the wonderful job he did of decorating his home for all of us.  He chose to go over the top with decorations from the 50's 60's and 70's.  Bringing back a lot of memories of Christmas Past.

Thank you and Hugs! Love ya!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Craft Memories

My Dad worked a lot of evening and night shifts.  Which meant keeping the house quiet so he could sleep.  Some of my favourite memories of Christmas past are of Mom and I crafting at the kitchen table.  It was something we could do and not disturb Dad's sleep.

Mom and I talked about those evenings recently and neither of us could remember how we made the stars and wall hangings from aluminum foil and Christmas wrap.

You know those videos that show up on YouTube that don't have anything to do with what you are watching?  Well one I saw recently was for a Polish Star.  Curious, I checked it out.  And there it was.  The instructions for making the aluminum foil star!   I sent the link to Mom and then sat down to make a few.  Only I used bits of left over Christmas wrap instead of foil.

Back in the early 60's we didn't have glue sticks that made making these stars really easy!

But there were other stars we made from Christmas wrap.  Either hung from the ceiling or as a wall hanging.  I couldn't find those, until Eileen from hearts2hands posed a link for stars made from fabric.  There is was.  The stars we used to make from wrapping paper.  Used wrapping paper of course.  Giving second life to the previous years savings.  We were the original recyclers.

I'm not sure if Mom is going to try her hand at making any of these.  Knowing her, if she does, there will be lots of embellishments as well as improvements.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Upcycling Placemats and a bit of catching up

A long story made even longer.  A couple of days ago I talked myself into getting an air fryer.  Yeah, I know, the person who doesn't cook has more kitchen gadgets than anyone else around.

Of course I had to make room in my pantry/linen closet to house the air fryer.  It's one way to get the closet emptied and organized.  During the clean up I came across four place mats gifted to me by a friend ages ago.  They are a bit on the large size.

Too nice not to use.  So I look around my kitchen in a desperate search for ideas.  On the counter is a glass baking dish that I have to return to my Mom.  That's it!  I'll make a holder for glass baking dishes.  That way they won't scorch the table/table cloth when sitting on the table.  And it will be much easier to pass along the dishes with no need for pot holders.

First comes bringing the sides together:
Next mark a line about 4 to 4 1/2" from the corner using washable marker:
Repeat for the other three corners then stitch along the line.  An hour later I have four dish holders:

DS will be hosting Christmas this year in his new home.   The outside of the house is all decorated.  Now for the inside.  A three skirt:
Bet he wishes he hadn't bought me that Christmas Disney  Cars fabric.

And two bows made from Christmas Pooh Bear (again gifted to me by DS).
If he didn't want me to make him something with this fabric, he shouldn't have given it to me!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Belated Halloween

Here we are and November will be over before we know it.  And I forgot to post photos of DS's Halloween decorations!   He had fun celebrating the first Halloween in his new home.   Lots more Trick or Treaters than he had at the condo. 

There were probably 80 plus kids that stopped by his home.  We had about the same.  Since we were prepared for 160 kids there were a lot of left overs!

Here's DS's Halloween decorations.  I forgot to take photos of the projection show.   And no photos of our own decorations.  What was I thinking?