Category Archives: Product Placement/Reviews

Fall Classes

I’m signed up again to teach a few classes at a local store – Wholly Craft – which, btw, has an AWESOME craft supply trade section, where people donate old craft supplies, and then other people buy them. Proceeds go mostly to charity, some to the store. I think it’s great and came up with some classes designed to teach a few quilting basics and to use up some scraps from the scrap bin.

I have been offering and Intro to Cross-stitch and done a few intro to quilting classes. But I wanted something simpler than even a baby quilt for these classes – something that could be finished comfortably in 3 hours…hopefully…

A foundation pieced scarf – featuring an old wool sock and flannel scraps for extra warmth…

Scarf for Scarf Class

I made two versions of the same scarf – this one draws from my ridiculous corduroy scrap pile. Wasn’t thrilled with either, but it gives a good idea of what can be done.
Scarf for Scarf Class

Quilted Coasters

Coaster for coaster class

Pillow case with 3-D flowers – This takes a whole fat quarter, unless folks choose to piece it.

Pillow for pillow class

I also made up a class sample of some scrappy placemats, napkins, and napkin rings, but apparently forgot to take pictures of those. We’ll see if anyone signs up for my classes – either way, this was a fun way to think about what I can do with my own burgeoning scrap pile. It’s also great that I now have a local place to take my fabric scraps guilt free for other sewists to enjoy! If you live in Columbus, be sure to check out Wholly Craft ‘s new Supply Closet!

Deer Repellents

Back in May we had deer issues – not too bad, and I think we nipped their interest in our plants in the bud. (Get it?)

The first night they came in and chomped down several feet of tomatoes and pepper plants. We put out Irish Spring soap all around those plants by taking plastic cups, placing a half-bar of soap inside, and wrapping tulle or pantyhose around the cup. Then we hung the cups UPSIDE DOWN so the soap doesn’t get wet and wash our garden in the rain. The tulle keeps the soap in and lets smell can get out, We hung our fancy contraptions from the tomato cages. Holy cow is that soap smelly.

The next night they avoided the plants with the soap on them and ate down the raspberries and strawberries. Dang it. So we hung more Irish Spring soap, and went to the store to find some deer repellent – which is about $17 a half gallon and consists of water, eggs, garlic, and pepper. Seriously? Seriously.

So we drove right back home to make our own. I blended up an egg, a dried habanero from last year’s garden and a gallon of water and sprinkled it all around the yard from an old laundry detergent bottle.

Delightfully, our neighbors all came out during this strange ritual and asked what we were up to. I asked them to step back a few paces. Luckily, the Irish Spring soap mostly masked the smell of the rotten eggs.

Aaaaaaand it’s been two months and the deer haven’t come back! The Irish Spring is still working, and we’ve re-applied our rotten egg and pepper stew a few times.

However, as of this week, the raccoon are getting into our corn. Seeing as the raccoon actually ate several of the rotten eggs I was planning to make more deer repellent with, and are probably out washing their tiny hands with the Irish Spring right now, I don’t know what to do about it.

Our main solution to that has been to just eat the corn before the raccoon do, which means before the corn is fully ready. It’s still good with butter on it!

July 2012 Garden
Here are some more recipes: http://www.deer-departed.com/deer-repellent-recipes.html

Amaranth is so pretty! Can’t wait to make my red cornbread!

Amaranth July 2012

Note the brown ‘bells’ hanging around – they are full of Irish Spring soap.

July 2012 garden

How I Machine Sew Binding

I won’t bore you with a bunch of stuff about binding from start to finish. There a lot of great places to learn about binding, like from Jaybird Quilts or from Sew Happy Geek. I just have one thing to sort of add to the conversation.

I machine sew my binding on. Some people hand-sew it, and I’m sure that’s great, but eh, not for me. Generally, people say that when you machine sew your binding, you should sew it onto the back of the quilt, and then fold it over to the front.

Machine sewing Binding to the front

Here’s where I’ll toss out my opinion: Instead, I sew my binding onto the front of my quilt, and then fold it over to the back. I use binding clips to secure the binding every few inches.

Then, I insert in straight pins between the binding clips, double checking that the binding on the back is caught in the pin.  I like the combination of the two more than one or the other. I usually only stick in 3-4 pins at a time as I go along.

This allows me to sew right along the binding, and the stitch on the front just fades into the seam. I generally use a 60 wt. thread (YLI Soft Touch currently), but sometimes I use a heavy thread, like Aurifil Lana Wool Thread, if I want the stitching to be part of the quilt design. You can probably also use an invisible thread if you like, though I have never done so.

The purple binding above is a 2.5 inch binding. I used the white thread on the top, and purple thread to match the binding in the bobbin.

Here is the front of a quilt I used red wool Aurifil thread on:

Machine Sew Binding

On this quilt (which I believe has 2.25 inch binding), I have sewn right along the edge of the binding with a light weight thread. After crinkling in the wash, you can’t hardly see it:
Machine Sew Binding

Here’s the back of the same corner of that quilt, you can see where the bottom thread is not 100% even with the edge of the binding, but it is pretty close.

Machine Sew Binding

Another note, before attaching binding, I usually do a long basting stitch all around the quilt to secure and flatten the edges, just under a quarter inch. When finished, the binding covers this stitch. In the top image with the purple binding, I played with doing this stitch a half inch from the edge so it was visible. I’m not crazy about the effect, but it’s not a dealbreaker…

My binding isn’t perfect (hahaha), but this is the best way I have found to efficiently create binding that gives me the look I prefer. Any other tips for doing binding? I’m pretty much self taught, so if I’m doing something horribly wrong here, let me know!

Cathedral Window Block

A Walk In the Woods Cathedral Window Block

I found – and finished ! – this block. Here I have photographed it in front of something that looks like barnwood, because I love Regretsy.  I really love the colors!

As an obsessive process point – the windows are a little wonky because my squares I started with were not exactly, exactly square. I thought, eh, what’s a smidge here and there? It’s a lot, people. But not enough to scrap the block.

I am thinking of making it into something for my new little niece that will be born in June (!!!!). But that got me thinking that maybe having the little white Red Riding Hood in the front and center block isn’t the greatest, since my niece will not be white. Not that she will care, but I care that my very first gift to her doesn’t include a picture of a cute little girl who doesn’t look like her.

Does any know of any adorable designer fabric with little brown skinned girls? I imagine it’s not exactly something you can type into google search, without getting some distressing results… As a side note, not that it’s my business, but for the record, the designer of the fabric above is actually a woman of color.

Pretty Little Lost Projects

Sooo, I’m so excited to say that I won a fat quarter bundle of A Walk In the Woods courtesy of Happy Quilting Melissa (who has an adorable baby, among other amazing quilting talents) and the Fat Quarter Shop. Excited? Delirious? I don’t normally win things. This was basically better than that kabillion dollar lottery prize everyone is fussing about.

I have a whole list of quilting goals which are written on a whiteboard above my desk. HOWEVER, when this fabric arrived in the mail, what choice did I have but to cut straight into it, to prove that it was real, and really mine? I have been wanting to make a Cathedral Windows block since, umm, I think in 2002 I saw it in a book and put it on a quilting to-do list…So, better late than never!

It’s about half done…I wanted to get some better pictures of this, but I can’t find it now…no really, just looked for about 10 minutes…hilarious to lose a block that features Little Red Riding Hood, right? Ehhhh…my office/sewing room isn’t that big, I’m sure it will turn up…in the mean time, this is the only shot I have of it:

Walk in the Woods Cathedral Windows

For the record, he is yawning, not threatening to bite me. If he was mad, you’d see a blur of white and pink paws.

I am also working out how to border my HST Seam Showing Quilt, to make it twin-ish sized. Thinking deep thoughts. I think I have a date with this project tomorrow. Stained Glass next steps

As always (ok, sometimes) I am linking this up to Freshly Pieced Work In Progress Wednesday!

Rearranging Triangles

I love that stage in working with Half-Square Triangles (HST’s in quilt language) where you can totally change your design and make all kinds of crazy patterns.

Like diamonds!

Options for Triangle HST Reunion by Moda Quilt

Or some kind of flying geese/chevron hybrid!
Options for Triangle HST Reunion by Moda Quilt

Or maybe a more centered diamond. Yesss….
Options for Triangle HST Reunion by Moda Quilt

I wanted these to look like stained glass, or more quiltily – like when you hold an unfinished quilt top up to the light and you can see all the seams. I love the way that looks, and am trying to replicate it.

The problem with these lovely triangles is that it makes me want to make ALL THE QUILTS! Too many options can be a bit crippling?

My fabric is Moda Reunion line – which is very trendy, let me tell you! With good reason, because it is so nice. Lots of grays and mustards and chartreuses and bricks, which are the best colors as of the last year or so, don’t you agree?

I’m linking up to other people creations at Sew Modern Monday and Sew Happy Geek. I’d love if I can get this top finished by next week – not quilted or anything!  So I am pledging it via One Thing One Week. 

I Need a Seam Ripper Theme Song

I have been going out on a limb a little, using batiks for the first time. I love it when other people use batiks, but it’s not very natural for me. I have been really unsatisfied with how it’s looking, and I can’t decide if it’s because I don’t like the colors or I don’t like that it’s not what I’m comfortable with.

After much fussing (and more grumping) I’m taking a seam ripper to about half my colors and giving them the boot.  And then I guess since I turned this queen sized quilt into a lap quilt, I’m going back to the store. Blergh!

On the bright side, I have been very happy with my curved piecing foot and the Drunkards Path Template 7″ blocks I was hypnotized into buying at a curved piecing demo at last month’s quilt guild meeting. It is slightly less painful to be brutally murdering half my quilt when I think of how quickly it was cut and pieced!

I want it to look watery and natural, with greens to gray, but it looks more washed out than watery.

IMG_3172[1]

See other people quilt more successfully (hopefully for them!) at Freshly Pieced!

UPDATE! Husband walks in and says, Well, what’s your seam ripper theme song? (I guess he reads the blog!) I decided “Barracuda”)

Organic Windmill Quilt!

I got a bunch of organic cottons – specifically Daisie Janie Shades of Grey – over the summer and haven’t been able to find a place for them. But what better use for them than some windmills?

Organic Windmill Quilt

I am mixing them with my preciousssss green Moda It’s a Hoot fabric – which is not organic – but the white fabric is…and the green fabric came from a charity auction – and also WINDMILLS and GREEN.  So, basically, this quilt is saving the earth, people!

Anyway, I’m just really proud to be using up stuff from my stash, since I’m not allowed to buy any new fabric unless it is SPECIFICALLY to finish a project or a really good deal or really pretty.

Here is a super nerdy quilter question: When making half square triangles, ideally, which side do you want the bias to line up with? Is there a professional preference? Like the wild and crazy gal that I am, I generally do what I like best with the pattern of the fabric, but when there isn’t pattern, I was just wondering.

I’m linking up to the lovely Freshly Pieced Work in Progress Wednesday. I have a number of works in progress leftover from last year namely, a star quilt, a globe quilt, and a wonky log cabin quilt, but let’s not concentrate on that right now.

Media That I Am Currently Enjoying

In case you are looking for pleasant entertainment suggestions:

Moving Pictures with spoken words:

  • Dexter (re-runs): A bit gruesome but with hope and wit and manageable amounts of moral ambiguity mixed in.
  • Parks and Recreations: The best thing TV has done since Arrested Development?

Just pictures:

Just words:

  • I have decided to re-read some Kurt Vonnegut, starting with Timequake, since that’s what was on the shelf. I like it! It’s funny and sad, but not too sad.  An old man in 1996 wandering around through his life and trying to imagine the year 2011.

Spoken words:

  • Pop Culture Happy Hour – recent find, it’s a podcast spin off of the NPR blog Monkey See
  • Science Friday – an actual NPR show
Any enjoyable media suggestions? 

Vegan Apple Cake Success

imageThis recipe was my second attempt to come up with some kind of vegan apple recipe to use up the half gallon of apple butter that we didn’t can (ran out of jars!!!). I suppose I could freeze the apple butter (???), but I’d rather freeze it in some kind of usable form.

I got “Canning for a New Generation” by Liana Krissof as a wedding gift, as well as another book about canning. I am pretty happy with her book, it’s cute and friendly and casual and MOST IMPORTANTLY has lots of tips for the lazy, non-perfectionist person (like, you don’t have to peel everything). Yay! It’s really usable and includes recipes on how to use all the crap you just preserved and not just HOW to can/preserve, but WHY you have to do it that way so that you don’t die and/or kill all your friends (ie, a lecture on botulism, fun!).  I like knowing WHY I am supposed to do something a certain way so I know which rules I can safely ignore.

But she really won me over when I realized her Applesauce Cake recipe is vegan AND formulated to use the leftover pulp from her recipe for homemade apple pectin stock.

Vegan baking sidenote: I actually prefer cooking without butter, because I think butter tastes too, ahh, buttery. To me, butter is more of a savory flavor than a sweet one.  So it doesn’t phase me at all to bake without butter.

The struggle with vegan baking (for me) is moisture and density, as in, too much of it, always. Eggs really do a lot of good things for cakes and breads. My vegan sweet breads especially often come out doughy in the middle.

My last round of attempts to use up apple butter and apple pulp were ridiculously dense and gooey in the middle. Though they tasted awesome, it was a bummer. And edible bummer though!

These cakes rose really nicely and fluffily. So now I will make six more of them and put those in the freezer too. If you come and visit, I’ll pull one out for you!