Archive | June 2012

Super Gardening

A friend shared this link with me.  Almost makes me want to start a garden, but not quite, considering the heat we have.  Could be a novel idea, though.  Veggies would grow as long as I water them, then be baked when I’m ready.  😀


Make sure you check all the tabs at the top of the page.  One of them goes to some neat pics of his gardening ideas.


My first quilt


Mom taught me to quilt using a preprinted quilt top. The frame was 4 1X2’s & c-clamps sitting on the backs of kitchen chairs.

I would love to hear about how you learned your favorite hobbies.

Traditional vs non-traditional tools

I always like to hear ways of doing things that make life easier, especially if it means using something for a purpose it wasn’t made for. 

Recently, I opened a brand new box of straight pins.  They wouldn’t go through the fabric very well & I was about to toss them in the trash.  I noticed they felt like they had a coating of candle wax on them, but not a visible coating.  I wiped one off with a nylon scrubber & it started going through the fabric as it should have.  There was no way my hands would allow me to manually clean  a whole box of pins, so I had to come up with another plan.  I spotted a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, & tried it as a pincushion.  Worked like a charm.  That got me to thinking  about other things that weren’t made for the sewing room. 

No sewing room is complete without a few tools.  Have to have a few screwdrivers to clean & maintain the sewing machine.  Never know when will want to hang something on the wall, or put together a new set of shelves, so might need a hammer.  Magnets used by mechanics are nice for picking up dropped pins & needles, just don’t get them too close to the computerized sewing machines.  Back scratchers can also  be used for retrieving things that find their way under cabinets or machines.

Oh yeah, don’t forget storage.  Embroidery floss on those little cards fit perfectly in a tackle box.  So do a lot of small sewing machine parts.  Peg boards are great for hanging rulers & rotary cutters.  My fabric, that isn’t  precut, is folded onto comic board cards (sold to keep magazines from getting damaged on display or in shipping) & will be placed on shelves later, similar to the bolts of fabric in a store.

I’m sure I haven’t listed everything that migrated from our kitchen to my sewing area.  What about you?  What do you have in your sewing / craft area that is used for something besides it’s “normal” use?

Happy first day of Summer

Isn’t this the perfect time for homemade ice cream?  We love ice cream around our house, but a lot of commercial ice cream has a lot of fat in it.  We don’t really care for the fat, but don’t want it to taste like watered down milk, either.  We have a compromise that works well for us, so I thought I’d share our recipe.  It’s not as rich as using whipping cream, but is richer than it sounds.  The recipe is for a 6 quart freezer.  I won’t go into the freezing instructions, since they might vary according to your particular freezer.


4 boxes Junket Ice Cream powder

1 1/2 cups powdered milk

3/4 cups sugar, or to taste.

1 can fat free Eagle Brand Milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or to taste

About 5 quarts milk (we use 2%)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then add condensed milk & about a quart of milk to make sure it mixes well.  Pour into freezer bucket.  Use additional milk to rinse the bowl, then fill with milk to about an inch from the top of the bucket.  Freeze according to freezer instructions.

Do you have any summertime family traditions? 

Have a blessed summer.

Pilot Frixion pens

Fairly recently, I heard about ink pens that can be used for marking on fabric, but the marks are removed by ironing.  I thought they sounded like handy tools, so I ordered some & gave them a shot.  They are made by Pilot, so I knew they should be high quality.  I was happy to know I can get them at office supply stores, so if you don’t have a quilt shop that carries them, you may still be able to get them fairly locally.  Here is a link to their website.

I haven’t been this excited about a fabric marker since someone came out with the ones that disappear with air.  The pens work as described.  I’ve seen comments that they can leave a faded looking line on some fabrics, but the comments were specifically for the red pens.  I haven’t run across the issue yet, but will update if I do.  One of my concerns was that it’s easier to do all marks on a quilt piece at once.  Problem is, if you mark everything, then iron each seam as you go, lines can be lost.  From what I’m hearing, that isn’t a problem after all.  Just put the fabric in the freezer for about half an hour & the lines come back.  Now, I’m really a happy camper.  I’ll need to have a basket or something to put the pieces in for the freezer so the fabric doesn’t touch a food item.  I’d hate to have something get on the fabric & stain it.  I’ll have to give the pens a thorough test to see how the heat & freeze pans out.  Supposedly, after ironing the article, washing it keeps the lines from coming back in the future.  That’s what I want to test to be sure.  I would hate to use the pens to mark quilting lines & have them come back to haunt me.  I was taught to use chalk to mark lines & some of those never seem to go away.

The only thing I would like to see improve is the amount of use from a pen.  The one I used seemed to run out fairly quickly, but it could be that this quilt has so many pieces that I used more ink than I realized.  They do cost a little more than a standard pen, but I figure with time, they will be more comparable.  I wouldn’t really call them expensive, especially since they are a specialty type pen.  I do think they should work longer for the price, though. 

If these continue to work as I think they will, I’ll have to invest in the highlighters of the same nature to mark cross stitch patterns on the canvas.  If you try these pens, I would love to hear how you like them, & how you use them. 

Happy stitchin’.

Not to sound like an advertisement board, but…

For all practical purposes, I’m a quilting newbie.  Sure, I know how to piece quit tops & how to quilt, but there are so many tools out there that I’m learning about.  Some of the “new” discoveries I’ve made are things like the Accuquilt GO die cutter, Aurifil thread, Frixion pens, & all sorts of techniques that I’ve never thought about.  I’m almost like a kid at Christmas when I get a package.  That doesn’t include all the rotary cutters, mats, templates, & stuff that I’m finding.  Then there are all the tools that I can’t afford to try, like all the embroidery & quilting machines.  The list never ends on new things to try. 

I think I need to make sort of a schedule on how often to review tools.  Maybe some sort of game plan.  Maybe to keep up with what I’m doing & when, something like tools on Tuesdays, surprises on Saturdays.  I’ll see what all I can toss in there.  For the most part, I’m taking Sundays off.  😀

Have a wonderful week.  Be blessed.  I know I am.