Sunday, August 30, 2015

Another basket

I made another basket.  This one has a lot of purple with blue and green swirls. 


I made a slightly flared edge around the top.  I found a silver colored doohickey that I sewed on with invisible/polyester thread.


I like it and another one done. 


Every time I think I have made enough, I go to a fabric store and find some fabulous fabric.  OCD.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peaches and Cream Muffins

I visited the Bryant Orchards shop this week.  They mostly sell peaches and that is why I go there.  You will not find peaches like these in your grocery store.


I had some heavy cream I purchased and never used, so Peaches and Cream Muffins were born.


Peaches and Cream Muffins

1 large or 2 medium peaches
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
3/4 cup cream, you may substitute milk
1/3 cup oil
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 Tablespoons raw sugar for sprinkling on top


Preheat the oven to 400°.  Spray a muffin baker with Pam and set aside.  I used a silicone one on top of a baking sheet.


Peel, slice and dice the peaches.  You will want around 3/4 to 1 cup after dicing.  Sprinkle the lemon juice on top and give them a stir. 


This is to prevent browning while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. 


Place the egg, cream and oil in a large bowl.  Give it a brisk whisk to incorporate them.  Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to the egg and cream mixture.  Switch to a spoon as the whisk will clog with the batter. Mix just until moistened and then fold in the peaches.


Fill the muffin baker.  I used an ice cream scoop and it made 10 substantial muffins.  You may fill them 3/4 full and you will be able to get 12 muffins from this recipe.


Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Test with a toothpick.  My big muffins took 25 minutes.


The muffins were nice and moist and not too sweet.  I used less oil than a lot of recipes I found, so I worried they may turn out dry, but they were quite good.  I'm sure the moist and delicious fresh peaches had a lot to do with it!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rubber Ducky Quilt


I finished the baby quilt.  It is bright and yellow and I really like it.


What I don't like is that the clear polyester thread leaves VERY slightly scratchy bits where they are cut short.  It makes for a great quilting thread, as you don't have to change colors all the time, but it tangles FREQUENTLY  All the poky bits were a pain. 


I sat down with some cuticle scissors, because sewing scissors did not cut close enough to the fabric.  I brushed my hand over every stitch on both sides of the quilt, cutting as I felt little pokes.  I sure hope I got them all, because I want the new baby to adore this quilt. 


The satin binding is silky smooth and I picture this baby rubbing her fingers up and down the edges, like my kids did with their blankets.


I am loving my new basket making, so I made a wee basket out of the yellow scraps to go with the quilt.  Small babyish things can be placed in there. 


Maybe it will have a spot on the changing table.  I didn't put any embellishments on it is case they are pulled off and consumed by a small baby.  No choking hazards for THIS baby!


I finished the quilt, so where is the baby?  Guess Vanessa is still making that gift for ME!

Friday, August 21, 2015

It's A Girl

Our daughter-in-law had her ultrasound and now we know that our future grandchild is a girl.  It's A Girl!  As any grandparent ( or future grandparent) can tell you, any gender is more than fine.  But because we now know it is a girl, then that is the BEST kind of grandbaby!

I am not a only-pink-for-girls kind of person, but I thought there should be SOME pink things, as a celebration of knowing.  My babies were so big they didn't fit into any of the 3 month size clothes I received, washed and carefully placed in the dresser.  But you need SOMETHING to put on in case the baby is small or even average size.  So I bought some 3 month and 6 month size pink items, added a gift receipt and started making a card.


I used my Cricut machine and pulled up all they have on the It's A Girl theme.  There were a lot of ideas.  I chose this card.


I didn't make an envelope because I just placed the card inside the box.  The words that were cut from the card were too cute to throw away, so I glued them to some purple cardstock and sent them along, too.  Who knows?  They might want to put up a sign somewhere to announce their good fortune.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Getting Close

I am contemplating only making baby quilts and throws in the future.  They are so much faster to make than bed size quilts!

I am quilting with invisible thread. Iit comes in either polyester or nylon.  It is VERY hard to work with.  It is so thin and lightweight that it jumps off the various hoops that the thread is threaded through on my machine.  This means the tension gets all messed up and there is a lot of stopping and starting, ripping out and replacing.  I am worried that all the little cut off threads will be irritating to a baby's skin.  When I am all done I will go over every inch and cut the thread ends as close to the fabric as I can get.


I quilted some wave-like shapes where there is water.  I quilted around the ducks and wings.  I did some free motion quilting everywhere else and last I used a template to quilt some shapes on the borders.



When I finished all the quilting I cut the edges for a four inch border all around the quilt.


Now I am working on the purchased satin blanket binding.  I am doing a small border on the front of the quilt, in keeping with the size of the project.  The back will have a wider border.  All my babies liked to rub their hands and faces on a satin binding and there will be a nice thick portion to do so.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Card

My sister is having a birthday this month.  Usually I remember a birthday way in advance, like the first of the month.  And then I mean to send something.  And I forget.

This time I decided to be proactive.  I will make the card and set it aside until closer to the date.  Then I will probably forget to mail it, but I will have MADE it on time!

Cricut sends me emails almost daily with specials and promotions.  At first I bought a few of the cartridges with images I could use for various crafts.  Then I realized it would be cheaper to buy just the images I want and have them sitting up on the cloud for future use.  The bad part about this is keeping track of what I have bought. 

When you buy a cartridge, you get a very small booklet with very small images, so that you can ALMOST see what you have purchased.  Then you go to the Cricut Design Center and see the larger images on your iPad or computer.  With individual images you have to just remember what you bought.  I have a list that I try to keep updated.  I have since learned to save any project I make and then I can go to the saved projects file and use or change the images.  It keeps them all in one place.


Our family used to keep peacocks, so this peacock image appealed to me.  My sister and I frequently give peacock themed gifts to each other.


I cut the peacock (99 cents) and then used a free image to cut a different piece of cardstock to go behind it.   I found a blank card shape on my Creative Cards cartridge and used the free fonts to add text.  At first I used the Cricut font, until they wanted to charge me $5 for the pleasure.  There are scads of free fonts, so I found one I liked and typed that in.  I had to make sure to change the text to write instead of cut and then highlight the whole card with the text in place and attach the writing to the card.  If you skip any of these steps it won't turn out right.


I made a non-standard card, so I needed to make an envelope to fit.  Once again I went to the Creative Cards cartridge set and pulled up an envelope.  I placed it over the image of the card and make it slightly larger so the card would slip in easily.

I used regular copy paper and cut out the envelope, remembering to change the setting to paper, rather than the light cardstock setting I had been using.


I carefully lifted the feather cutouts and glued the peacock to the cutout card.

Now I have to write something in my more than terrible handwriting and remember to mail it!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Rubber Ducky

I have decided baby quilts are the way to go.  Maybe they don't provide instant gratification, but they certainly are faster to make than a full sized quilt.  The baby quilt I am making is coming along nicely.


After a lot of peeling, placing


and ironing, I placed all the squares and tried to arrange them so that they mix of colors and duckies looked randomly placed. 


This was not easy and every one I placed meant two others had to be moved.  I finally got it as close as I could to what I wanted and then started to sew. 



Next I had to put a small inset border. I found a totally cute yellow fabric with tiny black dots and I like that it is sewn in such a way as to be attached on one side only.


After that the last of the aqua border was cut and sewn.


The top is FINISHED.  Now to the sandwich making.  This is what I call getting all the pieces together for the quilting process.


The back of the quilt goes face down on a table.  Smooth it out and tape it in place.


Place the cotton batting on top and smooth that out.


Then the recently finished quilt top is placed and smoothed.


Start at the center and pin the whole "sandwich" every few inches, smoothing and flattening as you go.  Sit down when you can.  This takes awhile and it can hurt even young people with GOOD backs!


Cut most of the excess away, leaving an inch or two around the edges, and start to quilt.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

After The Storm


I recently read the latest Linda Castillo book.  She is one of my favorites authors and I look for her latest book each year.  I hate it when an author takes more than a year to finish a book.  Don't they know I am waiting impatiently?

Castillo writes a series about a former Amish who is also Chief of Police in Painter's Mill.  That is a blessing and a curse when dealing with the local Amish population.  She can speak Pennsylvania Dutch and understands the culture, but a lot of them don't trust her because she left the church and even some of her family still shuns her.  When she comes around as a detective, they are obligated to speak to her.

I recommend starting with Sworn To Silence, Castillo's first book in the series.  It helps to see the progression of her character development as Burkholder works her way through some traumatic events in her past that lead her to leave the church.

After The Storm takes place after a tornado roars through Painter's Mill.  During the clean up a body is found.  The Amish are generally a peaceful people, but they have the same human emotions and fears of all people and someone is trying to stop Burkholder from discovering the truth about the dead body. 

At the same time the investigation takes place there is a disruption in her personal life as she and State Agent Tomasetti hit a bump in the road.

I prefer a novel to have some emotional depth and not just be a police procedural.  Castillo excels at this and her books never disappoint.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Quilt Progress

I've been working on a baby quilt.  This one has rubber duckies all over it in different fabrics.  Once again I am going solo, without any expert help, so there are times I have to cut new squares or waste material in other ways.  I always try to buy extra so I don't have to match fabrics from one store at another.  Now that I make scrap fabric baskets, I don't mind having the left over bits and pieces of fabrics.


The rubber duckies are appliques, so I bought some clear plastic to cut out templates.  The only kind they had was with a grid, but that made it easier to see when then templates were on the counter.  They were pretty easy to cut.


I ironed some fusible interfacing on to the fabric.  On the wrong side.  You know, after you do it on the RIGHT side and say a bad word. 


Then I traced the duck parts on the paper and cut them out.


The small blue squares are placed in the corner of the light green and yellow green larger squares and then sew on the diagonal.


Cut off the excess and press to one side.


You have to peel the paper backing off the cut outs.  Place the glue side down on the squares and iron them in place to glue them down.  I ironed one duck, one wing, one beak and one eye on each square.  Try to make each one a different combination.  One set of duck parts is backwards and one of the duck tails is different.  So maybe the baby can play., "One of these things is not like the other..."  What do you mean you never watched Sesame Street? 


The pattern called for hand stitching the edges of the ducks parts with a blanket stitch.  I tried it and didn't like the way it looked. 


I also worried about little finger picking at the edges and lots of machine washing and decided that machine stitching was the way to go.  In some places I had to do one stitch, turn the fabric and do one more.  For the whole thing.  But it was still faster and better than the hand stitching and I like it. 

I need to do 18 squares for this quilt.