Friday, September 30, 2011

watched wax doesn't melt

I wasn't going to let the beeswax from the new hive to go waste. After all of that trouble, we had to wind up with something! After the bees left, and the yellow jackets cleared out all of the brood and honey, my husband pulled all of the empty comb out of the hive.

And today, I decided to figure out how to melt it. I had already picked up a cheap sauce pan from the thrift store, so I went online and Googled "melting beeswax." The instructions I found assumed that I was melting nice wax from a commercial source.

My wax has a few dead bees in it, and yucky dark patches, and what might've been some capped brood the yellow jackets missed. So I set up my double boiler and hoped for the best.

An hour or so later, I strained the nasty stuff that looked like it was never going to melt through some cheesecloth and wound up with this:

It's not much, but it's mine!

This post is linked to Farmgirl Friday

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mom, I need to borrow the camera!

I'm always nervous about sending my camera out to the yard with the boys. I worry that they'll drop it, and then how will I show off picture of my quilts?

The last time my eleven-year-old raced in and wanted it so he could take a picture of the deer that was standing out behind the bee hive, I almost said no. It was in the bottom of my tote bag. There are lots deer in our yard. We've got more pictures of deer than anyone could possibly need.

I'm so glad I said yes, because it turned out the deer he wanted to take a picture of was the three legged doe my husband had seen a few weeks earlier. He was so excited to realize what he had pictures of, and I finally got to see for myself that she existed. (I missed seeing her for real. That's what I get for just glancing out the kitchen window and not paying enough attention to his excitement. But he would have been that thrilled about any big wild mammal in the yard.)

Today he wanted the camera so he could get a picture of a snake. I followed him out, mainly to make sure that no one was going to get bitten trying to catch the thing. It was still on the lawn, squeaking loudly.

Snakes don't squeak. Even though I don't watch nearly as many reptile shows on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel as my boys, I'm very very sure that snakes don't squeak.

Mice do squeak. And as I was trying to quietly convince the boys to back off so that the snake didn't lose his mouse, the noise drew the attention of my daughter's cat.

Have I mentioned that I don't like snakes? I love that we have them in the yard and that they eat the outside mice before they can try to become inside mice. But I'd rather not get too close to them.

I wasn't sure if the cat was after the snake or the mouse, or if the snake would fight back. How's a mother supposed to handle these things?

My daughter is mad at me for throwing an empty plastic bottle at her cat (I missed, but it was the only way I could figure out to get the cat away from the snake without getting close to it myslef), and the poor snake seems to have lost his mouse. And I'm staying inside for the rest of the afternoon, just in case there's any more drama out there.

No pictures were taken of the snake or the mouse, but they did find a big spider on the basketball hoop and take pictures of him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

100 Quils for Kids!

Swim, Bike, Quilt

The date snuck up on me. When I first read about 100 Quilts for Kids, I thought I could get a bunch of baby quilts whipped up. Apparently, I forgot it wasn't last year and I'm not quilting as fast as I used to. But I did get these two finished and mailed them off yesterday for the Down Syndrome Association of Middle TN. When I saw Diane's post about collecting quilts for them, I knew I had to make her some quilts.

I'm hoping to get a couple more quilts done by the October 14 deadline.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WFMW - Can you tell if your food is safe?

My husband needed a glass jar for the bees. None of the glass jars under the sink would fit their new feeder, which was sized for a narrow mouth canning jar. If I am canning, which is a rare occurrence, I buy the wide mouth kind because they're easier to fill.

To save myself a trip to town to buy a case of jars for the bugs, I decided to hunt through the pantry and see if there was something I could either eat or sacrifice. I did find something, but after turning over the half filled jar and shaking the jar and still being unable to figure out what those gelatinous black discs were (sweet pickles?), there was NO way I was opening it, not even to throw out the contents.

I recently read that you should throw away the entire contents of your refrigerator if the power is out for more than four hours. That the cost of replacing everything is far less than the medical expenses from a potential illness.

I don't know about you, but our power goes out fairly often. Usually for brief periods, but we have at least a couple of outages a year that would put us in the "throw everything out" category if I listened to that particular website. I don't want to add up the cost of replacing the complete contents of our refrigerator and freezer even once a year.

A lot of the things we refrigerate don't need to be in there at all. Some of the things we refrigerate can go bad and kill you even if they're kept at the proper temperature -- and I'm not talking about the obvious ones like milk and raw meat.

Do you know the safety rules?

One of the most educational things I've ever invested my time in was the thirty hours I spent becoming a Master Food Preserver. It was ten years ago and I don't claim to remember everything I learned there, but if I quickly review the details, I know how to freeze it or dehydrate it or pickle it or can it with either a pressure canner or in a water bath. And I should know what to do with it if the power goes out. That same knowledge also comes in handy on road trips when all of the ice in the cooler has melted.

Classes through our extension office were free as long as the participants committed to volunteer a set number of hours after receiving the training. In my case, I was able to answer the food preservation hot line from my own living room. As soon as my kids are old enough, I want to get them signed up for the classes - even if it means taking them again myself.

Don't tell anyone, but I still thaw meat on the kitchen counter. I didn't always rush straight home from the grocery store with the produce in the air-conditioned back set. (How exactly are you supposed to do that with kids in all of the seats? Guess that's one of the advantages of the minivan not having a trunk.) And I'm not giving up fried eggs with runny yolks or raw cookie dough.

There are chances I'm willing to take, and things that are not ever going into my kids' mouths, even if it hurts a loved one's feelings. Salmon canned by someone who didn't have the gauge on the brand new pressure canner checked? Unpasteurized cider from the pumpkin patch? Ain't gonna happen!

I don't do much canning. These days, my food preservation is limited to putting it in a plastic bag and carrying it out to the chest freezer in the garage. But I do know how to do it right if the urge strikes. It's a good thing to know. You should check with your extension office and see if you can get the training yourself.

By the way, the USDA website has lots of great information about what is and isn't safe.

For more WFMW post, visit We are THAT family

Extra Scrappy Pinwheels - Tutorial & Video

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Two color quilts make my heart go pitty-pat. Two color quilts with dozens of different prints in them my my heart pitty-pat even faster.

I've made them before -- the brown Double Irish Chain, the blue and white Irish Chain with the sawtooth stars (maybe I need to add Irish Chain quilts to the list of things that make my heart skip a beat!), and a bunch of smaller scrappy two color quilts.

When I first started planning my Extra Scrappy Pinwheels, I thought it would be one of my everything-that's-dark-enough-to-contrast-with-the-muslin-background scrap quilts. I don't remember actually changing my mind, but there were some bags of red scraps from a craigslist find, and I started cutting and quilting took its course...

For each pinwheel block, you will need four 2 1/2" squares, eight 2" finished half square triangles, and four 4" finished half square triangles. (That would be 2 7/8" and 4 7/8" half square triangles if you're not using the AccuQuilt Dies.)

Sew two of the small print triangles to a square to form a larger triangle. Then add a white triangle to form a square. Once the squares are done, you're just making regular pinwheels -- easy!

Fabric Requirements for a 40" square pinwheel quilt:
3/4 yard red scraps
1 1/2 yards white background fabric
1/3 yard binding fabric

Cutting Instructions:
36 white 4" finished half square triangles (4 7/8")
64 white 2" finished half square triangles (2 7/8")
36 red 2 1/2" squares
136 red 2" finished half square triangles (2 7/8")

To duplicate my quilt, make nine pinwheel blocks and assemble them using 2 1/2" sashing between the blocks. Add a 2 1/2" white border around the center section, then a pieced triangle border (each side is made up of sixteen half square triangle units, with 2 1/2" squares at the corners), then another 2 1/2" white border.

If that sounds like a scary lot of little triangles, it's really not. You can cut more red triangles than you'll need for the blocks and border with two passes through the Go! Cutter. And one more pass for the white ones. And with those pre-trimmed corners, they go together faster than you think they will. I did them in my "just sit down and sew for fifteen minutes" breaks and probably had all of the stitching done in and hour and a half. Even though my machine kept eating the triangles. (Totally the fault of my stupid, fussy Janome.)

This post is linked to Rednesday at It's a Very Cherry World! Head over there for more red goodness.

Monday, September 26, 2011

mice and nine patches

Two new projects this week.

The nine-patch blocks are for a little Halloween quilt that I'm hoping to be ready to show off next week.

The mouse with the wedge of cheese is an experiment. I've got two yards of the cute mouse print (part of that awesome craigslist find in January.) It's enough to make a baby quilt with matching backing. Instead of making a strippie quilt like I did with the fish fabric. I decided to see if I could blow up the little mouse and make an applique center for the quilt. But I'm not sure if the solid greyish fabric I bought for Swoon is grey enough. Or if I want to go back to the fabric store. I am reasonably sure that I don't have any mouse grey fabric in my stash.

There've been quite a few comments that I'm brave to be out that close to the bees. There really isn't much bravery required. Unless we've done something to rile them up (like bringing home another hive to attack them!), they're very calm. And I don't actually open the hives or pull out any frames. I just hand things to my husband or check them out from a few feet away.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

using what I bought

This week, I used up 3 1/4 yards of fabric and half of a large zucchini. And posted a tutorial for a bird needlecase using the Go! Cutter. There's still time to enter my giveaway.

I'm actually kind of proud of myself for using the zucchini within a few days of buying it. For years now, I've been talking about making some zucchini bread and cookies. Mom made them when I was little, and I remember really liking them, so I thought my own kids might. I've bought the zucchini, more than once, but never made the recipies.

This time I got it used up before it spoiled and the kids ate both loaves of bread before I had a chance to take a picture. Which might or might not mean they liked them. I'll use up the rest of the zucchini this afternoon and see how fast that batch gets gobbled down.

Here are my numbers for this week. I can't believe it's taken this long to break the fifty yard mark!

Fabric Used this Week: 3.25 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 52 yards
Added this Week: 20 yards
Added Year to Date: 861 yards
Net Added for 2011: 809 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6640 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 14075 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7435 yards

Friday, September 23, 2011

more drama in the hive

If the chickens are picking on another chicken, you can remove the injured one from the coop. If the cats or kids are fighting, you can separate them.

If the bees are fighting, you can just stand there helplessly and wish for a can of bug spray. Not because the bug spray would solve anything, but because you're so ticked off at those stupid bees that just spraying them all suddenly seems like the best option.

To bring you up to date --

Husband relocated a hive from a co-worker's pump housing.

The new bees swarmed from their hive and attempted to invade our established hive.

Husband got the swarm back into their own box and moved them to the opposite end of our property.

I got a bee in my hair.

Tuesday, my husband discovered that the new bees had swarmed from their box again. Yellow jackets had moved into that hive and cleared out the little honey that was there. And the swarm was on the move, headed back in the direction of our established hive.

We thought we were going to have to wrap the hive in wet sheets to keep out the invaders. So of course I took sheets from the linen closet. Those are the ones I know I can replace! I wasn't sacrificing a vintage sheet, or one of my white ones, for the bugs.

Turned out, we didn't need the sheet after all, so it'll get washed and go back inside. But my oldest son is still telling anyone who will listen that I took his sheets for the bees. I'm learning from the experience and going to track down a set that isn't bed or quilt worthy to keep around just in case.

We tried putting swarm lure in the new hive, mainly to steer the swarm away from the established hive. Only a small handful of bees turned up there. I don't know where the rest went.

Now we're just hoping that they didn't weaken the big hive too much. With winter coming, this was the last thing the bugs needed.

I've saved the beeswax from the abandoned hive. There's no much, but I figure I can melt it down into a little lump to use for hand stitching.

I'll be linking this post to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This one's been sitting for a couple of weeks, waiting for me to dig out some black cotton for the binding. I wound up buying a yard of fabric, thinking it'd be my constant fabric for Jo's Crumb Along, but I stole a bit to get this project finished. Now I'm not sure if I like the quality of it or not. In the store, I was sure it was 100% cotton. (The information on the end of the bolt had been torn up by a price sticker.) At home, it's making me wonder.

I'll see how it handles a trip through the washer and dryer and decide from there. If it's not quilt-worthy, I've got a Halloween decoration to use it for.

As for the project itself, it's going right back on the sewing room wall where it hung for a couple of years. And I get to cross another item off of the UFO list.

I finally seem to be getting back into the swing of things as far as my quilting is concerned. The pattern for Swoon is all printed out and sitting next to my computer. As soon as I get a chance, I'm going to prewash my Halloween prints and start deciding which ones I want to use.

And I'm absolutely drooling over the vintage sheet projects over at quilt.cook.keep. She's made dresden plates and postage stamps and a log cabin variation that just make my heart go pitty pat.

I've decided the best way to get as many different prints as I can as cheaply as I can is to haunt the thrift stores for pillow cases.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WFMW - Dry Erase ABC Books

One of my big pet peeves with workbooks is that they give you one, maybe two, pages to practice writing each letter. Lots and lots of pages for circling which animal is bigger and which one is smaller....but hardly any room to practice writing. And by the time you get to the next level workbook, it's apparently assumed that the child knows how to write. (And read -- there are some tremendous leaps that I'll never be able to figure out!)

I've been resisting the latest batch workbooks at Costco. Just because it's got a flashy new cover this year doesn't mean I get to buy another copy of the same book. But I totally fell in love with these at Walmart while my oldest was shopping for a new book journal.

We are loving them. I don't have to worry that we're ruining the one letter page in the workbook because someone decided that he'd rather draw worms than write letters. The boys love that they get to use markers -- which are super cheap at the Dollar Tree. They try some letters and erase them and try them again and decide they want to do a different page instead.

We'll be writing legibly in no time!

Another thing working for me this week is my bird needle case. There's a tutorial and giveaway here.

For more Works for Me Wednsday posts, visit We are THAT Family.

Bird Needle Case Tutorial and Giveaway

Somehow, I never got around to posting my bird needle case here. It's a fun little project that uses the AccuQuilt Bird die -- or you could find a bird applique pattern to use. You've probably already got one somewhere in your pattern collection.

This is the first needle case I've made, and I'm surprised at how handy it is. I can never find a needle when I need one because I hide the packages from my little boys and then can't remember where I put them. My youngest takes those round plastic packages that dispense the needles one at a time as a personal challenge. And pin cushions, especially the cute ones, are just asking for trouble.

The needle case is small enough to tuck away, and they can't see the needles -- I think that's the secret of its success.

Want to make your own? (If you want one but don't want to make it, just scroll down to the bottom and enter my giveaway.) You'll need four 3 1/2" x 6" pieces of print fabric (if you're using the bottom bird on the die -- if you're using a different bird, check the measurements), some small scraps if you want your birdie to have wings, two 3 1/2" x 6" pieces of cotton batting, and four 3 1/2" x 6" pieces of fusible web, and a 6" wide strip of flannel for the inner pages.

Make two sandwiches of fabric and batting by fusing your print fabric to both sides of a batting piece. (I made my first birds without the fusible web, but I think it adds more structure to the book covers and makes sewing the edges easier, especially around the beak and tail.

Run each piece through the AccuQuilt Go! cutter. If you want your bird to have wings, cut those too. Cut four layers of flannel for the inner pages.

Trim off the head and tail of your inner pages, and just a bit off of the belly. This keeps the tail and beak from showing once your needle case is assembled.

Zig zag or buttonhole stitch around both birds and their wings. Layer the front and back covers of your needle book with the inner pages and sew a straight seam just inside the edge of the bird's back -- from the base of its neck to the beginning of the tail (marked with pins in the picture.)

Between the video and this tutorial, I've made more needle cases than I can use myself, so I'm giving one of them (the black one from these pictures) away. To enter, just become a follower and leave a comment before 11:59pm September 29. Or, if you're already a follower, leave a comment and let me know. You can get an extra entry by linking to this tutorial from your blog - just leave another comment and let me know where you've linked from.

I'll pick a random winner and send the needle case off along with some needles to keep in it. International entries are okay, too -- it's light enough to mail anywhere.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I've been having all kinds of fun this week, cutting and piecing and playing with new projects. The red and white half square triangles are part of something I'm not ready to show off quite yet. And there are the bow ties. And I finished a few more blocks for Quinn's green quilt.

I've also learned an important difference between bees and fabric. New fabric doesn't swarm and try to kill the stuff that you already had. Those bees hubby brought home and installed in a new hive swarmed and tried to invade our existing hive. He got them back into their own box and moved it to the opposite end of our property and we're hoping we didn't lose another queen.

These bugs are stressful!

When I walked out to the hives yesterday, just to look at them, not to touch anything or even get very close, a bee flew into my hair. Usually, you can ignore them and they'll fly off, but this girl was mad. I undid my hair clip and shook my hair out in case she was stuck -- and she flew a few feet away and then looped straight back into my hair again. I still can't believe she didn't sting me on the way back into the house or while I was trying to find a big kid to squish her for me. I do feel a little bad about squishing her, but not bad enough to get myself stung.

To see more design walls, click over to Patchwork Times

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I want to make Swoon. I'd been drawn to the pattern before, but since I saw Amanda's version here, I've been getting a little obsessed. And then I saw this one. I love regular quilts made with Halloween fabrics.

I was hoping to buy some light grey fabric for the background, but the best they had was a darker purplish grey. I took it over to the Halloween fabrics and held up some of the orange and black prints. I think it'll work. It'd better, since I've got six yards of it!

Is it just me? Every time I go to the fabric store hoping to buy fabric for a specific project, I wind up settling for something that's not quite what I was hoping for. Or leaving empty handed.

With enough patience, I probably could have found a grey sheet at the thrift store. But I want this quilt NOW! (And have conveniently pretended to forget the dozen other things I need to be working on.)

Alex found the Dia de Los Muertos fabric and it was just too neat for me not to buy a yard. I'm thinking I'll use it in a quilt, but not anytime soon.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 48 2/3 yards
Added this Week: 20 yards
Added Year to Date: 841 yards
Net Added for 2011: 792 1/3 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6640 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 14075 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7435 yards

For more weekly stash reports, visit Patchwork Times.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Beauty Secrets

When I read about Beauty Secrets: 150 Years of History in One Quilt Pattern, I was desperate to head to Philomath just as soon as it opened. Time passed, I got bogged down in my knee surgery and the drama that followed -- and I forgot about it completely.

Thank goodness I remembered before it was over! Points and pieced curves...what more could I want to drool over?

There's the quilting. I have never been so completely blown away by quilting. I've seen gorgeous quilting, sure, but never so much that made me desperately need to learn to do it myself Right This Second. And it's all hand quilting.

There's a great slide show of the quilts here. And there's lots of detailed information about the quilts at Wonkyworld. Start with these posts and works your way through the newer ones.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

bees are like fabric

I hear that once people know you quilt or knit, they'll offer you all sorts of unwanted fabric and yarn. Apparently, it's the same with bees. So far, my husband has been told about the bees in two co-workers' pump houses. The first hive turned out to be yellow jackets. The second is honeybees. Those, we want.

And, like gifts of fabric and yarn, you need things to store them in. So we've been shopping for supers and frames and hive lids. Do I want my own bee suit?

This post is linked to Farm Girl Friday

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

time to make some baby quilts

When I first saw a post about 100 Quilts for Kids, I thought it sounded like an absolute blast and that I'd make up a batch of baby quilts. Because last year, I was making up baby quilts to donate in batches of ten or twelve at a time.

I've got to remember that this isn't last year. Two days before it's time to start donating, and I haven't made a single one. The two tops I just finished aren't baby quilts. They could be...I'd wrap them around my babies, if I had any little enough...but they're not what I had in mind when I decided to do this. I want something bright and cute. Something new. Using the baby quilts that have been hanging in the dining room since before my knee surgery would be cheating. The idea (for me) is to make new quilts.

And I don't know what I want to make. So I pulled out the photo album I started last year and I'm deciding which ones I want to make a again. I'm figuring out what I'd do differently this time. And remembering those quilts that I meant to make but never quite got around to.

I can do ten baby quilts in a month!

Swim, Bike, Quilt

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WFMW - second hand appliances

When's the last time you saw a washing machine with a dial like this one? I think that dial might just be my favorite thing about this machine, in addition to its not-quite-yellow color and the fact that it actually washes clothes. It works and it gets the clothes clean -- what more could a stay at home mommy want?

We thought we were going to buy a new machine. We went to all of the big stores that sell them and the more we looked the more dismal I felt about the idea. Because we just bought a new HE machine four years ago and the thing needed repairs eight times before the warranty expired, on at least four different parts. (And it's not just me -- All I Want is Clean Laundry! almost sums up our experience with the same machine.) The more research I did about new machines, the less I wanted one.

So I started searching Craig's List ads and found this beauty for thirty bucks. We tested it in the guy's driveway with a hose and an extension cord (which was a good idea, since the first washer we tested that way died during the spin cycle.)

We've done this before. When the stove at our old house gave out, we installed a stove my uncle had just ripped out for his kitchen remodel. The thing was dark brown and ugly and sat on cinderblocks, but it got the food hot. That temporary solution lasted until we needed to put the house on the market. Then we put in a new one (and finally painted the kitchen...there's something a bit wrong with that logic!)

I'd definitely do this again. I wouldn't spend a lot on a used appliance, and wouldn't buy one that I couldn't try out first. I know that my new washer probably won't last long, but for what we spent, I can live with that.

For more WFMW posts, visit We Are That Family

maybe I need a different word

I started referring to these as the "drab quilts" because the fabrics I had pulled out for them looked so drab compared to the rest of the scraps I was using in my baby quilts. But Jo and Melanie are right -- together, they're not drab, they're rich.

These aren't all fabrics I was bugged by. I've added some prints from my "good" stash to stretch them further and make sure the quilts aren't all the same shade of brownish grey.

I've decided to put these aside for a while to focus on some projects for 100 Quilts for Kids, but I'd love to cut up a bunch more squares and make a larger version of the top I finished over the weekend.

Monday, September 12, 2011

design wall Monday

I spent Sunday morning cutting green strips for Quinn's quilt. Now that I've settled on a pattern (Scrappy Trips Around the World from Quiltville) and I think I've come up with enough green fabric, I can actually start piecing this thing.

Did I mention that he wants an anteater on it? And a corn dog? If I can figure out how, I'm thinking of appliqueing them on the back. Or the front, if I can come up with a really great anteater.

It's been far too hot in this house to stand next to an iron and cut fabric, but if I'm ever going to get productive again, I'll need something ready to sew, so that's how I spent my weekend. Now I've got green strips and red half square triangles and lots of little bow tie pieces -- and lots and lots of plans.

Head over to Patchwork Times for more design wall Monday fun.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

this is much better

I should've replaced that rotary cutter months ago. It's amazing how much faster things get done when I'm not stopping to adjust the nut after every other cut! Now if I can just get the tension on my sewing machine to cooperate, I'll be on a roll.

The second drab quilt top is together and I really like it. Those fabrics that couldn't play nicely with bright prints work just fine on their own.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 2 1/3 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 48 2/3 yards
Added this Week: 70 yards
Added Year to Date: 821 yards
Net Added for 2011: 772 1/3 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 50 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6640 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 14075 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7435 yards

To see how everyone else is doing, click over to Patchwork Times.

Patchwork Times

Friday, September 09, 2011

feeling lazy

The sun is shining, my new washer is agitating, I've got a brand new rotary cutter... and after running errands all day yesterday and the day before that, I'm just worn out. I've spent a huge chunk of the afternoon sitting here looking at pretty eye candy instead of tackling the projects I'd hoped to start today.

I meant to buy dark embroidery floss so I could start this. Now it'll be at least a week before I get back to town. (The closest place I can find that sells DMC is thirty miles from here.)

I also meant to buy a couple of cans of pumpkin at the grocery store. Not because I had a specific recipe in mind, but because I knew I'd want to make something yummy and pumpkin-y soon. And this morning I found this recipe for Pumpkin Nutella Bread. Doesn't that sound good?

I know darn well that even if I had cans of pumpkins and skeins of floss, I wouldn't be working on either project. But it still bugs me that I forgot them.

I thought I'd be cutting fabric today, but it's just too hot to turn on the iron.

I'm loving this quilt. I loved the pattern the first time I saw it, but those are Halloween fabrics! I've got a bunch of Halloween fabrics I'd like to use up -- wouldn't that be just the best way to do it?

As lazy as I'm feeling, I think I'm running out of things that need to be run through the new washer. My infautation with this thing can't last much longer. It's only laundry...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

faded quilt love

My second quilt, which just surfaced in the boys' room after a lengthy and unexplained absence, is a combination of thrift store scraps and red tag clearance fabrics from Joann's. Half of the binding is cotton left over from a shirt I made in high school home economics. The muslin is the least expensive stuff I could find at Joann's using a coupon.

I've been snuggling under it on the couch for the past few evenings (Everyone else in the un-airconditioned house is roasting, but the fans give me goosebumps. I'm blaming the blood thinners.) I really, really love this quilt. I love the setting, the fabrics, the way it's softened and faded over many washings, even though it's only about five years old.

I'll be honest, one or two of the scrap fabrics (out of the fifty or more in the quilt) did get dingy after washing. Many of the fabrics are starting to get an aged, slightly faded look. I like that look.

But, over and over, I hear quilters warning against cheap fabric because it will fade. Am I the only one who doesn't want my quilts to always look just like they did the day I finished sewing down the binding? Obviously, I don't want them to fall apart, but I love it when they fade and soften just enough to make the quilt look loved.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I'm doing laundry!

I'm almost afraid that I'll jinx myself by saying it, but I am doing laundry. The nasty, awful stuff that I didn't want to haul fifty miles to wash at Grandma's house, so it's miserable laundry.

But it's getting clean! Because we didn't buy a new washer. I'll hopefully introduce you to my new best friend soon. She seems just too perfect to last.

I'm dying to start the Lego Tutorial at Lazy Girl Quilting. Up in the sewing room, or maybe under my ironing board, is a very big box full of very little, mostly rectangular scraps. Not quite the right size for cutting into my usual 2 1/2" squares, but I could get all sorts of 1 1/2" strips out of them.

I've seen a lot of Lego blocks this morning, and they're all gorgeous. Joe Tulips is using flying geese in her Lego quilt and they're absolutely amazing. I can do this! I've got just as many ugly fabric scraps as anyone else.

Jo's Crumb Along started today. I love all of the little stars and nine patches hiding in her crumb quilt.

I've got to buy myself a new rotary cutter this week and start cutting itty bitty pieces.

Monday, September 05, 2011

same fabric, different quilt

The blocks I posted last Monday are now a finished top. (Just to be clear, I make little quilts -- this batch is wheelchair quilts for the nursing home.) Now I'm using the same fabrics to play with a postage stamp quilt.

I still need to dig out some more fabric (because I know I've got more good drab stuff upstairs) and cut some more squares. And then cut more from the fabric I'm already using, because I think I've got a few more ideas for drab little quilts.

But it's going to have to wait a bit because I started the morning by slamming my own thumb in the bedroom door and my hand is still throbbing.

I don't have time to sit here with ice on my hand -- I've got cutting to do! In addition to the drab squares, I need green strips for Quinn's quilt. When I posted about my green fabric a couple of weeks ago, Jan left a comment and asked if I could use some green fabric she had just culled from her stash.

Saturday, there was a whole box of green fabric waiting for me at the post office. I am so thrilled with these -- so many of them are totally different from the green fabrics I already had, and they're going to be so much fun together.

Thank you Jan!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

some sad news

The thrift store that's been the source of most of my fabric scraps (not to mention a lot of my best cheap yarn finds) is closing at the end of this month. Do I even need to tell you how sad I am? It may not be the end of scrap quilting as I know it, but what is my teenage daughter going to wear?! She's found some of the greatest stuff there recently.

Here's the stash report for this week. I've used some fabric (that drab lap quilt top) and some yarn (three baby hats.) And some fabric found its way to me. I hear that more (possibly a lot more) is on its way, but I'll explain that once it gets here.

Fabric Used this Week: 1 1/3 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 46 1/3 yards
Added this Week: 10 yards
Added Year to Date: 751 yards
Net Added for 2011: 704 2/3 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 150 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 6590 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 700 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 14075 yards
Net Added for 2011: 7485 yards

Judy had issued a stashbusting challenge. My year got off to such a dismal stashbusting start, I'd like to use up twice what I've used already -- another 90 yards. And it's possible, if I don't spend all of my quilting time on projects that use up more time than fabric.

I'm not going to choose projects based on how fast they'll meet my goal. It's already been a lousy year for quilting, so I'm going to work on what makes me happy at the time and just see what I wind up using.

My big, MUST DO IT NOW goal is still to get my stash and my sewing room organized. I don't know when I'll find the time to actually get out there, but it's going to happen. Someday.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I've been playing

The winner of the Frixion pens is Sandi. Please get in touch with your mailing address so I can get them sent off to you!

I found more drab scraps, including the print that first came to mind when I started this project. I knew I still had some of it, I just didn't know where it was.
I spent Friday night cutting it up and finally started cutting some yellow squares for Bonnie's Bow Tie Challenge.

These little bow tie blocks are cute! And fun. It might be hard to save them as leaders and enders.

The first drab quilt is done and I'm really pleased with it. These prints that weren't playing well with the bright colors are just great on their own. I'm already starting a second lap quilt in a different pattern.

If I had a Bernina, I'm sure I'd want a skin for it. Because a machine with roses on the front? That would be just too much fun! The Wantobe Quilter Campaign is still going strong, and right now they're giving away a sewing machine with a skin. The winner will be announced on Monday, so I think that means you've got all weekend to enter. It's hard to believe there are almost two more months of tutorials and giveaways to go!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sauerkraut Soup

The first time my husband made this, I accused him of wasting my favorite sausage. Now, it's one of my favorite soup recipes.

4 medium potatoes
1 package sausage (I used Johnsonville Apple Chicken Sausage)
1 32 ounce jar sauerkraut
1 large can chicken broth

Cut sausage into small pieces. Add sausage and a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a dutch oven or stock pot and cook until browned, then move sausage into a bowl until later.

Add a large can of chicken broth to the stock pot. Peel four medium potatoes and cut into small pieces. Cook the potatoes in the broth until they're about half done.

Drain the sauerkraut, but don't rinse it. Add the sauerkraut and sausage to the pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I love soup recipes that I can start when I've got some time, then simmer until we're ready to eat dinner. It saves me from frantic last minute rushing and trying to time things so that they're done by a certain time on the clock.

I think I could eat this every night, except I've got to watch my green vegetables because they can interfere with the blood thinners. And, somehow, sauerkraut is a green vegetable. Yeah, I know it's cabbage, but I have a hard time lumping it in with the brussel sprouts and broccoli.


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