Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sewing Machine Shopping

I have spent the whole week end shopping for a sewing machine.  I suspect you all know what I'm talking about when I say this is mind blowing.  I had no idea this would be so hard.






Here is my sewing love.  She and I have put a lot of miles in together.  I don't want to lose her but give her a little rest. I have had her in my life for 26 years and I will never say good bye to her.  She has made some beautiful dresses, quilts, curtains, costumes, decorations, clothes, and purses.  She whines a little, but so would I if I had to put up with the abuse she has had to endure.  lol

My husband was so sweet to take Friday afternoon off to take me to a little quilt shop about 45 minutes away.  It's a Bernina dealership and I went armed with the idea of purchasing one of two machines I had seen in magazines.  I had no idea what the price would be, but I knew Bernina had great machines and I really wanted to have a machine with that fancy stitch regulator for free motion quilting.  Embroidery is something I'm also interested in but the main feature I'm looking for is a big throat area.


My dream sewing machine is the BERNINA 830LE.  This machine has everything I want.  It also has a very big price tag.  It's not out of the question, but I keep thinking of all the things I could buy if I didn't purchase this one.


I also like the features of the BERNINA 580 E.  It's throat area is too small but this machine is wonderful.  The BERNINA Stitch Regulator fits on this machine to make fmq a lot easier, but the price of that little gadget makes me wonder if it is that important.  So....



I decided to look for a Free Motion Pressure Foot to put on the Kenmore and try my luck.  I thought a quilt shop might have one, so I went over to the closest shop to have a look around.  No feet, but a class was going on.  I met a lot of very nice quilters and they listened to my shopping woes and gave some much needed advice.  75 percent of them either owned a Janome or wanted the machine.  Wow, that really got me excited to know that I could have a machine with a big throat at a fraction of the cost of my dream machine.  I won't have embroidery, but at this price, I can purchase a separate embroidery machine and still buy thread.... lol 

The Janome MC6600P is looking like a great option for me.  The price is right and it has some great features with some fun stitches.  I could do more that stitch a straight (somewhat straight) line.  It has a lot of room for king size quilts, which is one of the main features I want.

I left the quilt shop ready to go home and start my Internet comparison shopping....again.  But, I still wanted to find a FMQ foot for the ole Kenmore.  I found another Sewing Machine dealer with a google search on my phone and decided to head over there.  This is my last local chance for a foot.  The search didn't reveal what kind of machines they had, but I was willing to take a chance.  I'm desperate for supplies around here.


 





Hello sweetness.  The shop was downtown and sells vacuum cleaners as well as ......wait for it.... yes, they have JANOME and a pressure foot.  Of course, they do not have the model I'm interested in, but Miss Carol will order it and she was very helpful in the embroidery machines as well.  I haven't used the foot yet, but hope to try it out later today on my little Kenmore love.  I want to start this class:
 
Free Motion Quilting Project

The instructor, Leah, uses a Janome Horizon 7700, but I've read there may be glitches.  I've read good and bad about all machines though.

Here are a couple links I've used in the search:
http://www.sewforum.com
http://www.PatternReview.com



If you have any advice, I'm welcoming thoughts.  Please.

I need to sew and quit worrying about the next machine of my life,




















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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Craftsy Block of the Month - February

I have successfully ignored some unfinished projects in order to start a new quilt project, but I'm so excited to finally take a quilting class. I have found this great FREE class online and want to share it with you.


The class is called, "The Craftsy Block of the Month" with Amy Gibson. The link is HERE .  Every month you will learn a new technique and make two blocks.

February Blocks


This month's blocks were a bit more challenging with 1/4" SCANT seams.  The written instructions don't mention anything about "scant" seams, but if you don't use them, you end up with smaller blocks.  I went back and watched the videos when the Balkan puzzle block was too small and heard Amy mention the SCANT seam on the first seam around the first square.  I then went to the discussions (I was feeling like a looser) and found out I wasn't the only one having trouble. 

Balkan Puzzle Block

The secret to this block is to sew the first seam around the first 4 squares a SCANT 1/4".  The rest of the seams are the normal, 1/4".  It's a great technique and I will use it again to make triangle squares.

The Chunky Chevron Block pattern is made with triangle squares also.  This whole block needs to be sewn with SCANT 1/4" seams.  Yes, I found this out the hard way, AGAIN.  There weren't many posts about this block yet.  But, once again, the written instructions mention nothing about SCANT 1/4" seams.  WATCH THE VIDEO CLOSELY.  Still doesn't help much, but screwing it up will make you figure it out.

Chunky Chevron Block

I used a chain sewing technique to put the block together fast.  I used a tutorial from the blog, Hooked On Needles, on chain sewing a quilt top, I just used it on my little block.  The link to her tutorial is HERE.  It made nesting the rows so easy.  The only tricky part is pressing the seams, when they are so close together, in opposite directions.  Be sure and check out Hooked On Needles.  There are some great tutorials.

January and February Blocks

I am all caught up on The Craftsy Block of the Month class.  Now to get busy on an unfinished project.  Really.

Can't wait until the March class,

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Homecoming coiffure

It's an exciting day for my niece.  She is up for homecoming queen tonight at the basketball game. 
Kari, my niece
Isn't she beautiful?  I'm such a lucky Aunt.  She let me do her hair for the night's festivities. We tried to keep her hair simple and not to Prommy (not a word, I know). lol The braid is laid over the rest of her hair.  You can't really see it in the picture, but it looks like a spider web.

She'll be wearing a very cute strapless dress.  The hair should be perfect with it.




She is so sweet.  I hope tonight turns out just the way she hopes it will. She would make a beautiful Homecoming Queen.  She is just so happy to be nominated.  

I wish I would have taken a better picture of her,

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Craftsy Block of the Month - January

I have successfully ignored some unfinished projects in order to start a new quilt project, but I'm so excited to finally take a quilting class.  I have found this great FREE class online and want to share it with you.

The class is called, "The Craftsy Block of the Month" with Amy Gibson.  The link is HERE.  Every month you will learn a new technique and make two blocks.

I just completed January's class and have decided I love Slash blocks.  Next month I'll probably fall in love with that technique too, but right now I want to make all kinds of slash block quilts. lol


Slash blocks for January

I chose to purchase some new fabric for this quilt and went with an assortment of browns and teals.  I think black and white would be kinda fun.  In fact, I can think of a lot of colors I would like to try but I need to stick this one out with my first fabric choices first.



Asterisk Block



Wonky Pound Sign

I've never taken a quilting class before so I am very excited to be able to do it online.  There aren't quilting shops around me and the classes I've heard of do not work with my schedule.  This will be fun.











On to February's lesson,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Cookies

This is my favorite Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe.  I prefer it over cookies with flour because I think they are peanuttier...I know it's not a word, but I like it.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies


Grandma Wycoff
 
My Grandma Wycoff used to make these and  I thought she was brilliant.  Now, I realize she probably got the recipe from someone else - but to me, she was the queen of the easiest peanut butter cookies.












 It only takes 3 ingredients to make these cookies. 

1 Cup Peanut Butter (I use creamy or Crunchy - I like em both)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg

Combine ingredients until dough forms.  Roll dough into about 1 inch balls.  Place on cookie sheet and flatten with fork dipped in sugar.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing.  Makes about 2 dozen amazing cookies.




I've started 2 quilt projects, but gotta get the darn taxes done.  I hope to post more on the quilts in a couple days,












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Monday, February 6, 2012

Cookie Cutters Storage

This is a fun and easy way to store cookie cutters.  You can see through it which makes it easy to find the one you are looking for and it makes for an interesting conversation piece. 

Cookie Cutter Storage

I've had so many visitors ask me about what is in the jar.  They are surprised to find out that it is full of cookie cutters. 

I don't use cookie cutters too often, so storing them above the counter works well to keep them out of the way and it's kinda cool to look at...



I would like to take  complete credit for the idea, but it was one of the girls I work with that suggested that I find a jar to keep them in.  I don't think she had any idea how many I have, but Hobby Lobby had this huge jar on clearance...

Maybe I need to go bake some cookies,

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ice Cream Cups

Ice cream cups seemed like a great Super Bowl dessert this year with the weather so warm.  So easy and yummy.


I followed Rachael Ray's recipe with some changes of my own.  Here is the link to her recipe:  Healthy Tortilla Ice Cream Bowls



This is my version:

6 Whole wheat tortillas
Cooking Spray
Ice Cream  (I use "no sugar added" ice cream)
Lite Cool Whip
Cinnamon Chips (recipe link to come)  I cut them into footballs
Maraschino Cherries (for garnish)

Preheat over to 375 degrees

Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 15 seconds.  Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray and slowly and gently push them into a jumbo muffin tin to form the bowl.



Bake 12 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Cool on a rack until ready to use.

I wish I would have sprinkled them with a little cinnamon before I baked them, but that is all I would change. 

Load them with ice cream, top with cool whip, and garnish.



Yummy,

Cinnamon Roll Shapes?

Happy Super Bowl Day! 

I've been trying to come up with a great post for Super Bowl Sunday, after all, it's one of my favorite days of the year.  I love food, television, and football. 

What I have done here, is NOT my greatest "think out of the box" idea.  It's "something" though.  You can shape those tubes of cinnamon rolls into anything..

Hearts and Footballs



The inspiration for the hearts is here.  I had seen the hearts but hadn't pinned them.  I had to search to make sure credit was given where credit was due.  She made her own cinnamon roll recipe.  I'm not that ambitious...

Just re roll the dough into a football shape, add a little food coloring to the frosting, and there you go.  Footballs.


I wonder if my husband is sick of me trying out all of these Pinterest ideas.  LOL

Have a great day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rustic master bath

It's time to start focusing on home improvement a little around here.  I will start posting a little about some of the finished and unfinished projects around the cabin.



Rustic Bathroom




Our first project when we moved in about a year ago was the master bedroom and bath.  Although the cabin is mostly rustic, the master bedroom and bath were somewhat Victorian.  This just would not work for me.  The walls were a light green, turquoise color (which I liked, kinda), but the carpet was the same color and there had been some pet damage to the carpet.  The ceiling was that popcorn stuff which would be fine, but the ceiling comes down far enough that if you rubbed your elbow on it, ouch... not to mention all that popcorn falling from the wall.  The ceilings in the main part of the house are all pine which we wanted to duplicate in the upper loft bedroom.


I didn't take pictures of "the before".  I've regretted that many times.  We were in such a hurry to get that ceiling and carpet out, that we were shopping for carpet immediately after closing on the house and my husband started scrapping the ceiling the very next day.

The bathroom was all marble and just seemed weird in a cabin.  The vanity was a double sink marble and really needed to go...can you say yucky.......  We wanted to put vessel sinks in, but didn't want to spend a lot of money.  One day, while talking about the project out in the garage, we came up with the idea of re purposing a work bench top.  My husband refinished a work bench ( FREE) that came out of the garage. (you'll see more benches when my sewing room is finished).

This project was labor intensive, but wasn't super expensive.  We saved a lot by using what we had and it doesn't hurt the cost by having such a handy husband.  He spent a lot of evenings sealing wood.  I love the results.


Pine ceiling



Bedroom corner to show the ceiling. 


We still haven't found the right light fixtures and I really want to change the floor in the bathroom from marble tile to more of a rustic tile.  We have such great tile in the other bathrooms, I would like to match that. 

I can't wait to show more,

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