Monday, November 30, 2009

Another project...

I know, I needed to start a new project. Those bags and boxes of half done quilts and random sewing stuff just aren't enough to keep me busy...that is my story and I'm sticking to it! Anyway, I have been on a finish it kick for several months so pulling out fabric to do something new was just too tempting.
So when Bonnie started posting her Carolina Christmas it was just what I needed to justify a day of fabric rummaging (amazing what I unearthed but that will be in a future post!) I live right on the border between Georgia and South Carolina. When I walk Macbeth along the river I can see S.C. on the other side so a Carolina quilt makes all sorts of sense to me. But of course there is a twist...I am doing it in Pennsylvania colors. My quilt will be in reds, greens, yellows an pinks seen in so many antique quilts from the Pennsylvania area.This quilt was my inspiration for pulling pink or green there you are thinking...well, I put this quilt out every Christmas and think the same thing! In my mind though it is a Christmas quilt. So I thought if I made a quilt that used similar reds and yellows and then added some green then "they" become Christmas quilts. Why the pink...well I like it that is why! And, every quilt needs a bit of surprise in it...

During the past weekend we have been invaded by strange herds of reindeer...hundreds of them. My neighborhood has gone crazy decorating for Christmas. There are large reindeer, small reindeer, some made of wood while others are made of wires, some deer look more like misguided moose, and there is even one that is supposed to be nodding its head grazing but instead does a sort of exorcist head twirl and shimmy that scares the heck out of poor Macbeth. There are so many light I think they could see us from the space station. Now I generally like Christmas decorations but a 15 foot blow-up snowman when it is 70 degrees outside just seems wrong. So I haven't done any decorating outside an only put up a few things indoors...I'm hoping this Christmas quilt gets me in the mood!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Like thousands of other folks I will be hitting the road the holiday to visit with my husband's family. My stepson arrived back last night from his deployment to the Middle East. With him safe and sound we have a lot to be Thankful for (and thanks to the Virginia State Patrolman who pulled him and his brother over, warned them to drive slower, and didn't give them a ticket...they still got home a few minutes before midnight as they were trying to!) I miss not being the chef in charge of the feast but I will just have to adjust. I am still making a couple of pies but will be in my Father-in-laws kitchen. He doesn't think anyone can bake like he can so it could be tricky....

This year I thought I would share my favorite Pumpkin Pie recipe. I was given to me
by my hairdresser in Stone Mountain Georgia almost 20 years ago. It is a light textured for a pumpkin pie and I have even made it without the crust as a sort of pudding...still really good.
Applesauce Pumpkin Pie
1 cup canned or cooked and strained pumpkin
1 cup of canned applesauce
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup milk

9-inch unbaked pie shell

Combine pumpkin, applesauce, sugar salt and spices. In a separate bowl beat the eggs then add to the applesauce mixture. Scald milk and 1/2 cup cream then slowly add to the applesauce mixture. Pour into 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 435 degrees for about 45 minutes. Cool before slicing.
Another thing to be Thankful patio/step at the foot of my deck is almost finished! The soil kept washing away so we had to do something. So two weeks ago they poured a 8x10 foot concrete slab which was functional but boring..but this week we laid the broken tiles and I am so much happier with it! Now if it would just stop raining so we can get it grouted and sealed!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

back of the closet projects

Spent a lot of time this weekend going through boxes in my sewing closets and just sorting fabrics and old projects. I have finished several "almost done" tablerunners, christmas ornaments, and even a few pillowcases. Today I am going to baste the quilt-top in this photo and get it ready for some simple handquilted baptist fans....This snow wallhanging was started last year using Tonya's letters...I'm going to do a bit of hand-quilting on it this week during out Thanksgiving roadtrip so I may even have it on the wall before the first snowfall.

I am a bit "housebound" - fell headfirst into the refrigerator and even broke the top shelf off sending mustard, spagetti sauce, and lots of other condiments smashing to the kitchen floor (which of course means then we had a condiment covered black-ish scottish terrier and brown-ish cat...any hints on how to get mustard out of a scottie's beard - it is vaguely blond and sort of surfer-dude looking at the moment)

All of this was to make space for my latest baking adventure...artisan bread. When my favorite loaf went over $5 last week I knew I had hit my limit and it was time to take matters (or dough) into my own hands. I had seen this book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" on several blogs so thought I would give it a go. It is super easy and even my DH (a bread snob from many years living around the Mediterranean) liked the first loaf! You do need to make space in the refrigerator warning label on that! When I am back on my feet I am going to try a few more of the recipes...

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I've been bad about posting the past couple of problems. I kept getting dropped off the internet - wicked frustrating. I could read and/or answer about a half dozen emails at a time then bonk...have to go back to the beginning. Grrrrr....

Anyway we are back on the internet superhighway (as opposed to the unpaved driveway I was limping along for the past couple of weeks.) Ended out it was an electrical issue...less than $20 to fix...and here I was ready to buy a new computer!

The quilt above is our latest donation quilt. Each year my guild makes a quilt to raise money for Camp Rainbow - a camp for critically ill children run by Children's Medical Center. This year's quilt is a pattern by Piece of Cake Designs and done in a wide range of calicoes and batiks. It is very pretty. I appliqued the cherry block that is the second down on the right side.

(the top photos is yet another quilt from our show last how this one photographs!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

finish it?

I haven't sewn much this week...lots of looking at quiltbooks, did a demo for the quilt guild, and folded lots of fabric (how does it get onto the floor in the sewing room?) Oh ya...the cats....

Found this little (8-inches by 8-inches total) blue drunkards path that I made almost 15 years ago! It was tucked in with Album blocks that didn't make the cut for my first album quilt.

After our quilt show I am sort of just putzing with my quilting...tired I guess. I don't want to jump in and finish stuff right now. Much rather look at patterns, audition fabric, and just zone a bit....I do have to get my act together on my Christmas projects though. I have about 6 bags cut out and cluttering up the kitchen table and a couple of notebook covers that just need I just need to get a "finish it" you think it is in the Eggnog?

Monday, November 09, 2009

FW update...

Last weekend I sat with some quilting friends and watched a DVD by David McClallum on how to care for my feather-weight sewing machine. It was really good. One of the parts I was particularly interested in was how to get rid of the FW case smell...So for the past couple of days I have followed his directions. They do work but I learned a few things along the way.....
First, putting together the light to go inside is really easy - toughest part was stripping the wires for which I had to dig through my beading supplies. Parts cost less than $8 at the home improvement center (I had a 150 watt bulb on hand as well as some scrap wood.) All good....

Second, the inside of your FW case looks much worse in bright sunlight then in the semi-cave-like depths of the sewing closet. How embarrassing is this! In the past I have done all the FW case tips like spritzing with Lysol, putting soap inside, putting it out in sunlight - all sort of work. McCallum says the smell is primarily cause because the glue used was horse glue which leads to bacteria and mold (all that organic stuff....) Since so many folks have emailed or commented on their issues with the smell then maybe it isn't solely FW abuse on my part...phew.

Third, well I almost got this step right. A 150 watt bulb generates a lot of heat. I put the case on the tiles in front of my fireplace (which also happens to be near the kitchen fire-extinguisher.) Thankfully it was by the back door as well because when that case heated up boy did it stink! I mean really STINK....I turned out the overhead fan, the kitchen fan and sprayed lots of de-stinking stuff. (Even Macbeth turned up his nose and hid in the bathroom!) I ended up stopping at 4 hours, waiting until the case cooled a bit them moving the whole operation outside! In all my case "cooked" for about 10 hours (McCallum says it can be done in 8...but I still had some grey "stuff" in one corner so let it go on longer.) BTW, the lid is closed and one latch snapped for the 8 hours - I just opened it up for the photo...
Fourth, Did I mention how hot a 150 watt bulb gets? Be very careful taking the bulb out of the case. In hindsight I should have worn my oven gloves...enough said. Also, when a mixture of 50% Clorox is sprayed onto a warm surface it is noxious (hope that is the right word...) anyway you need to spray from a distance and not with your head right over the, I did not do that but very well could have!
Bottom line seems to have worked! There is no visible mold or spots on the inside of the case. I'm letting it air-out a bit before I do the sniff test but it seems a lot better.

And to get rid of the smell it has generated in the house I baked a pecan pie....that does a great job of making the house smell better!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Back to sewing...

Why is it I came back from vacation as or more tired than when I left?! Oh, well...guess that means I had a good time. We went on a cruise to the Bahamas. It was nice to catch up with old friends and to not have any housework to do but I found I did a lot of walking (these ships are big) and combined with some late nights I way overdid it. Didn't get much sewing done - I did pack lots of little projects but did more reading then anything.
Today I went to a class on how to care for my little Featherweight sewing machine...boy, did it need some TLC. The machine is in pretty good shape but the case is really bad. Tomorrow I am taking step one to get rid of the nasty smell that keeps creeping back into the case no matter how much Lysol and other mold and mildew products I use. I have to rig up a 150 watt bulb on a small wooden square so it will stay upright and lit for 8 hours....if I smile, look pathetic and go early before the crowds maybe the guy at Lowes will put it together for me...

I am going to try and finish my wave-runner quilt top this weekend. I want to start a new one with some patterned fabric in it but will not let me start anything new until I finish a project....