Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Just use your regular oven to melt these. They will begin to melt at around 250 degrees, but this can vary. Just watch the record. It only takes a few minutes to get soft. There are different ways to do this, but I like to melt mine centered over a large glass mixing bowl, open side up, and when it softens, push it into the bowl. Wear oven gloves or dish washing gloves. I like dish washing gloves because they are less bulky and give me better flexibility. The record will be hot (obviously) but not very hot. You only have a few seconds to work because the record will begin to cool and stiffen immediately after it's removed from the oven. The other way to form these is to slump them over an upside down glass bowl, then quickly remove them from the bowl, turn the bowl over, and push the record into the bowl. Although this may let you control the record a little better, I'm just too slow to get the record off and pushed into the bowl before it becomes too hard to shape. Another tip that helped me control the record was to place a large bolt in the center of the record to use as a handle. There is no easy way to grip and slide the softened record and the bolt gives me a way to move it towards the center if I haven't lined it up right. This won't make a lot of sense until you actually try to make one of these. I would start with a test record, not the one that you would like to use for your bowl or gift. As simple as these are to make, it's also easy to mess up and get your record stuck to itself. You can reheat and try again, but I haven't had much success with this. Making it work the first time around is the way to go. Have fun with these. Maybe you could put your Halloween candy in one of these! I forgot to add that if you are going to put food items in them that might be greasy or wet, spray the record bowl or just the label area with Krylon Clear, or similar. This will make your record label waterproof instead of soaking up the potato chip grease. ;)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
As the heel turns...............my new soap opera. Yes, I turned the heel! This was no easy feat (feet, hee-hee) for me and I'm really happy that the worst part of making the sock is over. I'm now knitting the foot part which is a simple knit stitch, round and round, round and round, for 7" to 8" or so. Mindless knitting......the kind that lets your fingers go on automatic pilot and you can actually watch TV and pay attention to the plot. No stitch counting. I'm hoping to have the foot part completed by next Tuesday, the last class, and then learn how to close the toe. I'm just thrilled to have made it this far, as it looked like I might not make it to the home stretch when the class started. I'll post a final picture next week of what I hope will be a recognizable sock!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I chose the darkest fabric to represent night, the red to represent my heart, and the gold to represent God.
This quilt will be made with fabric on hand except for the gold fabric, which will be the connecting fabric. Hopefully, I'll be able to use the gold fabric in each block if I can make it blend appropriately. I bought 5 yards of the gold fabric, which I hope will be enough. I may use it for borders or sashing as well, but I won't know until the blocks are finished and I plan the layout.
If you have an interest in this quilt series, "Quilting the Psalms", I also belong to two other quilting series that are Bible based. One is "Women of the Bible" (WOB) and the other is "The Names of Jesus". These are online Yahoo groups and are open to anyone. You will need to join each group with a short statement telling the leader why you wish to join. Then, on a weekly basis, you are given the week's lesson and pattern. Along the way, the participants post their blocks, their feelings while making the blocks, and how these studies have changed their lives, etc. It's a very rewarding study method that combines quilting with Bible study. There is no pressure to participate. In the WOB series, I've only made one block and we are on Week #35 out of 54 weeks. I just continue to read and print off the weekly lessons and will keep them for future use. You may join anytime and many women are on their second time through.
These links will have further information for you;http://groups.yahoo.com/group/QuiltingtheNamesofJesus/
Monday, September 22, 2008
This is the finished purse. My dish towel choice wasn't the best because the rose pattern on the towels is almost hidden. On the inside towel, the roses are crimped up in the handle and on the outside towel, the roses are on the bottom of the purse. Now that I have made one, I'll know what kind of pattern will show the best. I finished all of the raw edges on the inside with a simple zig zag stitch, just to keep the threads under control. This was not in the instructions, but it gives the purse a more finished look. Overall, I was pleased with the project and plan to make more. I think that this is more of a tote than a purse because the outside pockets are not that usable. They are loose and open so you wouldn't carry anything in them that was of much value. Good for tissues, comb and brush, water bottle, that type of thing. Things that wouldn't be sorely missed if they fell out of your purse. A decorative snap or button closure on each pocket section could solve this problem and even enhance the purse. Maybe later............
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Do you love a bargain? We all do, don't we? It makes our heart race and we just can't believe our luck. This past summer, a friend and I found this chair (and 6 more of the same) outside of one of our Meijer stores, sitting on the curb area. They were originally from the food court, but that has been gone for several years in our store, so I suspect these chairs made their way into a storage area or a break room. Anyway, we went inside to find out what the deal was and they sold them for $1.80 each! I took two of the chairs and he took the other five chairs. These are commercial strength chairs and they must weigh 25 pounds each. Heavy duty steel frames and fiberglass seats. Once you get yourself situated in them, you can't just scooch in or away from the table without standing up, picking them up, and moving them forward or backward. They were originally black and red (black frames with red seats), but I cleaned them up and spray painted them white and tan. I'll try and get a before picture, as my friend has left them in their original condition. The seats could be removed and made into upholstered cushions but that's a project for later down the road. I just wanted to get them into my kitchen and put to good use. They look just great in my kitchen and are probably the sturdiest items in the house! They will be here long after I'm gone......Even Oliver approves! (Truth be told......if he can get his picture taken, he'll approve of anything!) This does give you a little idea of the scale of this chair. As heavy as it is, it's on the small side, similar to an ice cream chair. Perfect for my small kitchen.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
We didn't get much sewing done as we got sidetracked with catching up on the latest news from each other and then we started planning a group project. We are going to make a quilt that will be donated for a charity auction. The blocks will be representing the Psalms and we will each make contributing blocks, as well as make blocks for our own personal quilt. There will be 12, 12" blocks, set on point, some will be applique, some will be pieced. I'll be making pieced blocks, as applique is just not my cup of tea. As always.....I'll keep you posted!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I wouldn't be promoting my Bible study class, except for the fact that they have classes all over the world and are adding more and more. There may very well be a class near you, no matter where you live. BSF has a seven year course of study and I have just started my fifth year. It's interdenominational and has a very unique and effective way of studying the Bible. They've been at this for 50 years, so they have a very proven method of study. I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box and I have learned more in four years at BSF than I have in a lifetime of church going. Again, details can be found on their website.
I personally recommend this class. I have met some amazing ladies, forming friendships that will last a lifetime. Please check out BSF and see if there is a time and a place that will fit into your schedule. You'll be so glad that you did!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This sort of stalled the class as we had to regroup and get back on track. Because of this, we are now behind in our lessons. It was supposed to be a three week class, but they've extended it another week and told us to stop by anytime for further instructions. I live nice and close to the shop so it will be easy for me to get some personal instruction. I've started the heel flap, which was fairly easy, and after that's done, I'll get my next orders!
My little Australian bear sits on my coffee table and has been watching me struggle with knitting my sock. He never even laughed at my clumsy knitting. I thought he deserved to have his portrait sketched.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I'm knitting away on those socks and have no other projects to post today. I'm really having a rough time with them and wonder why they don't start newbies off with a thicker yarn and larger needles. These socks will definitely not be worn, as they have many, many errors in them. IF (and that's a BIG "if") I can just get through the class and make one lone sock, I'll then go off on my own and try to knit a usable set. Without a time table and my choice of supplies, maybe I'll be able to conquer the mysterious sock!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I'm listed in the big list of sewing blogs. Right now, I'm #422, but this will change periodically.
I'm hoping that being listed will get more people to visit which will, in turn, make me more accountable to get things done! Procrastination can really take hold of you and it's hard to shake it off. Hopefully, I won't disappoint everyone and will keep up with regular posts. With winter on it's way, I'll be able to spend more time at various crafts and will be happy to share them with you.
Thanks for visiting and please feel free to contact me, leave comments, and subscribe to my blog!
OK, what is this contraption? Experienced knitters will know the answer. For the rest of us, these are going to be socks. (At least that's the plan!) I started a sock making class yesterday and this is what I accomplished in an hour and a half. I had NO idea how to make socks and NO idea how fumbly and difficult they would be. Linda, my instructor, tells me that it will get easier and easier. They are made on 4 needles. Three needles hold the majority of the sock in progress and one is the working needle. You knit in the round, working from one needle to the next, making a tubular shape.
The sock yarn is very thin, almost like a thick thread, which complicates matters. It's kind of hard to see where you are going and it's hard to control the 2 needles that aren't "doing" anything while you work with the other 2 needles. Practice, practice, practice. My assignment is to get the cuff part finished by our next class. It will need to be something like 4" to 6", depending on my preference. It's about 1/4" long right now, so for me, that will mean many, many hours. You can begin to see the ribbing shape taking place. I was thinking that these would make great presents, but gee.......they are considerably more work than I ever expected. I'll still make some for gifts, (provided I can learn how to finish them), but I won't be turning them out as quickly as I had hoped. I'll post weekly progress reports!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
And this is the September block and block #1 in a brand new block of the month series. There were two colorways that were offered, but I signed up too late to get both of them. I'm pleased with the blue colorway and hope that the fabrics that will be offered throughout the upcoming year will be as pleasing as these. When you sign up for these block of the month series, you are taking a chance because you don't know what you will be making each month but that's part of the charm, the unknown.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
This first picture is of a sewing mat/scrap catcher that you put under your machine. It protects the surface that your machine is on, and the pockets hold supplies, scrap fabric, and threads. I take this with me when I go to classes, as sometimes there is only one wastebasket and it's across the room. You know how messy it can get when you have threads and snippets all over the place. You should always cut your threads as you sew, keeping things neat, and this makes it easy and convenient. This mat was very easy to make. I used pre-quilted fabric, a bias edge, and clear plastic table cloth material for the outermost pocket. All of the materials came in a kit, but are a snap to gather yourself. You can't really see it in this shot, but the there is a center seam down the pockets, making two clear pockets and two cloth pockets, both edged with bias seam binding. If you click on these pictures, you will get an enlarged shot which shows the details much better. This shows the mat in place, under the machine. Notice the matching sewing machine cover. :) This machine is my class machine, as it only weighs 11 pounds and it usually finds itself sitting on my dining room table for quick use and set up. Because it's out in the open most of the time, I wanted to use a conservative fabric that fits my decor a little bit. (There's really no good way to hide a sewing machine in your living room/dining room!)
If you ever plan on working with plastic or other sticky type materials, you really need a Teflon foot. Instructions often tell you to cover the plastic with tissue paper, but I find it this awkward and you can't see through the tissue paper, making it hard to stitch accurately. There are other ways around this, but the easiest way is to just buy the foot! You can get Teflon feet at sewing stores or on EBay. I got mine on EBay for around $5 and using it once, pays for itself. Now to the sewing machine cover that I made today. This machine stays in my sewing/office room and the pre-quilted red fabric works quite well. I had 1/2 yard of this fabric and I used every scrap. Here it is on my flannel board after cutting out the pieces. I wanted to show you this picture because my flannel board was also homemade. I used a tri-fold, student science project foam core board as a base. My house is apartment sized, so space is at a premium. This unfolds to a nice size (36" H x 48" L) to plan small projects and quilt blocks, then folds up. It can be stored in the space between a washer and dryer....between the wall and the fridge......you get the idea. To make the flannel board, I used double sided fusible web and just ironed it between the felt and the board, then trimmed the edges with a rotary cutter. It was pretty cheap to make and very useful. My machine cover does have a specific front and a back, as my machine is asymmetrical. I wanted a tighter fit than a symmetrical, universal cover would provide. This little kitty tells me which side is the front. I'll have to embellish it a bit more at a later date. For now, it does the trick. And here's the final cover. Simple and easy. I think it took about an hour from planning to putting it on the machine.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This is a picture of the cross stitched tin, when open. I believe it's an Altoids tin, or at least that's the size. She also made the stickpin (the largest green one) and enclosed the other pins and tiny scissors. There is a magnetic surface attached to the underside of the lid.
This is the pincushion set that I made for my part of the swap. The pincushion and needle book are made from 2" quilt blocks, all using Civil War reproduction fabrics. I used foundation paper to make the tiny blocks. Once you catch on to using foundation papers, it's pretty quick and easy. There is no way I would attempt to make blocks this small and intricate without using these papers. Once you are done, you peel the paper off the back. The pincushion is fairly large and should do it's duty well. The needle book has felt pages on the inside for her needles.
The stickpin was made with my own lampwork beads. In addition to sewing, I love to work at the torch and melt glass. These were some left over beads that didn't make their way into a piece of jewelry and they seemed to go well with the Civil War colors.
Sorry about the way these pictures are lining up. I've played around with editing them long enough!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Fall apple baking time! I threw (you throw a pot, so is this the right word for past tense?) this apple baker in a pottery class a few years ago and just love to use it. It makes a simple apple turn into a "fancy" dessert. I wasn't sure how big to make the center post, but this seems to be OK. If I were to throw another, I believe I would make the post a little thinner because I have to remove a pretty large core area to fit over it. Of course, you don't have to make your own apple baker! You can find them in most stores that carry housewares and cooking supplies.
I really don't have a recipe and I don't think you can really do this wrong. First, core the apple. As you can see, I pretty well butchered this apple by using a short, stubby knife. Not to worry....it will be fine. If you want, you may peel the apple. I like the extra chewiness from the peel.
Mix up a equal parts of sugar and cinnamon (maybe half a teaspoon to a tablespoon of each) and a tablespoon of butter. I've never used margarine, but I think it would be just fine. If you have raisins or nuts on hand, these are great additions. Put the apple on the baker and stuff it with your mixture. You don't need to be neat and the exact amounts do not really matter.
Microwave the apple for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on the size of the apple. It's done when it's tender. You can also bake it in an oven (what's that, you say?) for 350 degrees for 25 minutes or so......again, until tender.
Here it is plated. It's not very pretty but it sure tastes good! Cut it up and dip it in the sweet sauce. It's really yummy, quick, and easy enough to make.
Enjoy your fall apples!