Showing posts from 2010

The Control Journal saved me!

The week before Christmas, my DH Randy became deathly ill. What started out as a cold-like flu morphed horribly into a very bad case of pneumonia, though I didn't know it at the time. When Randy asked to see a doctor, I knew then he was very sick. I took him to Solantic and they called an ambulance! I had minutes to make the necessary phone calls, grab up our roomie, and drive to the hospital. I knew better than to break speed laws, much as I wanted to. While at the house picking up our roomie, I also quickly packed a few necessities for my husband's comfort. Then, I remembered one thing I'd need-- my Control Journal. In my Control Journal was many of the things that kept me organized and --as the name implied-- in control. While our roomie drove us to the hospital, I updated the journal and made a few notes to myself as to who to call. The emergency section wasn't as filled out as I'd like, but you live and learn. That minor problem has been corrected. As my husban…

Gallery Glass Holiday Snowflake Ornament

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Project Pattern
Stained Glass Snowflake OrnamentBrian Carter

This project is not available online. Please check with your retailer for supplies.

16008 - Gallery Glass ® Window Color™ - Kelly Green, 2 oz.16025 - Gallery Glass ® Liquid Leading™ - Black, 2 oz.16442 - Gallery Glass ® Window Color™ - Glitter Hologram, 2 oz.16456 - Gallery Glass ® Window Color™ - Morning Glory, 2 oz.

3mm flat round glass ornament Pencil Paper 1” wide sheer silver ribbon (12” piece)

1. Print out the pattern or create your own by tracing around the ornament and drawing your design inside the circle.2. Put ornament on top of the pattern and trace the shape with Liquid Leading. Outline outside edge of ornament with Liquid Leading. Let dry completely.
3. Fill in the snowflake with Hologram Glitter. Use a toothpick to smooth the color to all the edges and remove air bubbles.
4. Fill in the background with Kelly Green and Morning Glory. Use toothpick to swirl colo…

Sugarplums (yes, really!)

SugarplumsRecipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2009

Prep Time:45 minInactive Prep Time:13 hr 0 minCook Time:--Level:EasyServes:approximately 80 (1/4 ounce) balls Ingredients6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted 4 ounces dried plums 4 ounces dried apricots 4 ounces dried figs 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom Pinch kosher salt 1/4 cup honey 1 cup coarse sugarDirections Put the almonds, plums, apricots, and figs into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 20 to 25 times or until the fruit and nuts are chopped into small pieces, but before the mixture becomes a ball.

Combine the powdered sugar, anise seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, cardamom, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the nut and fruit mixture and the honey and mix using gloved hands until well combined.

Scoop the mixture into 1/4-ounce portions and roll into balls. If serving immediately, rol…

Thanksgiving Leftovers 1-- Thanksgiving Pie

From Alice Johnston's Thanksgiving Pie
Serves 4 to 6 Leftover gravy, heated
Leftover turkey, chopped
Leftover stuffing/dressing (whatever you call it at your house)
Leftover mashed potatoes
Leftover veggies
Leftover cranberries Preheat 375 degrees. In an 8 to 9 inch pie pan, press the leftover stuffing into a bottom to make a pie shell of sorts. Next, make a layer of potatoes, then veggies. Add the chopped turkey to the heated gravy and mix well. Pour that turkey mixture into the middle of your pie and put it in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or so until completely heated through. Serve with leftover cranberries.
Coming Soon!
A Haunted Halloween Blog Tour
Lena Austin

Quilting 101: Cutting Four


Quilting 101: Cutting Part Three


Quilting 101: Cutting Two


Quilting 101: Cutting Part one

Quilting 101-- Cutting

Commentary: There's a certain amount of repetition in all of this as far as preparing to cut. There's a reason. Get into the habit now of taking your new fabric out of your shopping bag and throwing it directly into the apprpriate laundry hamper. Yeah, take a moment to gloat over your loot, but wash the fabric now. When it's dry again, iron it. Fold selvage to selvage. Put it and all the other stuff (pattern, thread, notions, etc) into one project bag. (Remember I mentioned those 2 gallon Ziploc bags?)

The first few patterns in the Super Quilter and Reader's Digest books await us, and cutting is very simple. We're talking straight lines, okay? What few special stuff is cut with scissors, like a paper heart pattern. So just read the next few lessons and just learn. Easy!

However, I would like some feedback. This stuff is work, and I'd rather know someone is actually interested and learning.

A side note on applique quilting

Never ask an advanced quilter how to do applique. You'll get a non-answer of, "Oh, there's hundreds of ways. I really can't begin to tell you all the various techniques." Then you get a discourse of on the various kinds of appliques most favored by that quilter that may or may not be for the beginning quilter, except you don't even understand the terms. After beating my head against a wall, I gave up. Today I just watched the second in a three-part series about applique from the tv show, Sewing With Nancy ( and I was really impressed. Finally, I got to see a demonstration I not only understood, but was equipped to do. Amazing! Between that show (I want the book and DVD set) and some very patient instruction from Ruth Brittain and Sandy Hamilton of my guild, I get it at long last. I more than get it. I wan…

Quilting 101-General Marking and Cutting Instructions

Quilting 101- General Marking and Cutting Instructions (Chapter One of Super Quilter referenced)
Boy-oh-boy! I'm changing a lot of this chapter. Some of the basic info is good, but much has changed since the early 1980's.
Squares are the fundamental basis of piecework. This is like learning your ABC's for all the stuff you learn later, so don't think you can skip this. If you like, you can do a tooth fairy pillow to practice. It's easy, and a nice gift for your kids. (Yeah, Susan. Make it now and put it away for later.) An alternate might be a hot pad for placing your hot pans on the counter. You won't need special heat resistant fabric for this. It's just a trivet-like barrier, but by the same token don't use it to take hot stuff out of the oven. You don't want to burn your hand.
General Instructions
Wash all fabric immediately upon purchase. Get into this habit now. It's highly important to get all the harsh chemicals and sizing out as well as m…

Supplies and Demand-- Part Two

Supplies and Demands Part Two

Okay, back to the supplies. I remind you that I’m drawing info from the Super Quilter book. However, I hope to have the "Patchwork, quilting, & appliqué (Reader's Digest)" by Jenni Dobson. Believe it or not, I just bought it from for a mere fifty cents. No, that’s not a typo; a hard cover book that gives excellent lessons and projects for a mere fifty cents. The shipping costs more.

I may pull projects and lessons from both books. I’m really impressed with both, and I think both have value.


1. For piecing and appliqué, common sewing thread is fine. She does recommend acquiring the basic colors: black, white, natural, red, yellow, blue, and green.

2. Quilting thread had also become readily available. Threads are designated by weight, so 12 weight is what you want. There are almost as many colors in quilting thread as the more common all-purposed threads.

3. You may wish to acquire 40-weight rayon for “pretty shiny”…

Supplies and Demand-- Part One

Supplies and Demands for Quilting

As I read this chapter of Super Quilter by Carla J Hassel, I’m struck by how much has changed in the past 20+ years since she sat down to write it. My amusement has faded to awe. I’m now wondering how my grandmothers managed with a cigar box as a sewing box, a set of hand-sewing needles, pins, scissors, thread, beeswax, chalk, a ruler, tape measure, pin cushion, thimble, seam ripper, and fabric. They made do or did without.

Now I admire my lovely computerized sewing machine, my collection of rulers and templates, stabilizers, Heat-n-Bond, glues, and myriad of gadgets available. Am I the one deprived because I’m not sitting around a frame with other women, learning from those who came before me? Maybe I am. They fearlessly attacked their ignorance and knew they had a lifetime to perfect their skills.

So I use a plastic tote and a photo box instead of a cigar box. It’s not a crime. I made my own pincushions from my early experiments with different blo…

Magickal Needlework-- Quilting 101

If you haven't read Magical Needlework by Dorothy Morrison, you might wish to borrow it or buy. This book covers all the reasons to do magic through the juxtaposition of needle, thread and cloth to create magical items. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel when Dorothy did it so well.

For the purposes of this series, I'll deal with the pioneering art of quilting since it is versatile and practical. I'm teaching my daughters with this blog, so you'll see me refer to them as Merri, Susan, Tuesday (TJ), Jenny Elf, and Desi. Two are the daughters of my body, and the rest are adoptees, but who cares? I love them all.

I'll refer to several books, but most commonly I'll refer to You Can Be a Super Quilter! by Carla J. Hassel. This book, written when the girls were infants or before they were born, focuses on the simplest aspect of quilting--hand piecing and hand-quilting. I'll refer to more modern books or give my own comments as we go, as needed. However, the mo…

Thanksgiving 5 Things

Thanksgiving Five Things
Doing these five things ahead will save you time, stress, and money. Do it now, and write them down. If you don't have the FlyLady Holiday Control Journal, go get one. Search "Control Journal" and you'll find it.
1) Guest List. Pretty basic, but seriously, make your list; check it twice and start making those all-important phone calls. Knowing how many to plan for is an integral part of successful holiday planning.
2) The Menu. What are you having besides turkey? Make your menu and appropriate grocery list and get everything purchased except the perishables (do that a few days before). If you have stuff that might get mistakenly eaten before the big day, put it in a box and stash it in the linen closet or label it instructing your loved ones to stay far, far away from this Thanksgiving food item.

3) The Turkey. If you're going to order a fresh one, time's running out. Make that phone call now. Make sure you get a c…

A great gift idea for the holidays--Stick it Right on the Money Stickers This has to be the most innovative way to give a plain old monetary gift some pizzazz to show you really did think about  what gift would suit the recipient. My mother in law used to say that giving money, gift certificates, and gift cards were in a way a cop out and borderline rude. They require very little thought, and while "one size does fit all" it does show a certain casual disregard for the likes and dislikes of the recipient or even little more than a nod to the occasion. However in today's busy world, sometimes giving cash can mean a whole lot more, especially when friends and family can be many miles apart. Cash spends well without having to worry.   Now, with Stick It Right On the Money stickers, you can do more than give a nod to the occasion! Each frame and sticker are "Post-it" sticky, so the money isn't damaged. (That's illegal.) See the video at the website. What a great gift idea. Lena Austin

Quilting 101- How to Use the Book and this Blog

I'll start by inserting the scanned page from the book. You'll need to save it to your computer and print it out or look at it with the Zoom feature. After that, we'll discuss it via Comments.

Okay, now for the discussion. I'll post the list of supplies ASAP. I'll post the page with a template or pattern when it's needed.

Once again, I remind you to save the plastic lids to margarine tubs, coffee cans, sour cream containers, and similar plastic lids. You'll need many. Also, save as many of the plastic inserts in bacon packages as you can. These will come in especially handy for some of the larger templates. I've looked at them, and they are some of the most common templates available. You'll want permanent copies. 

I suggest you think very seriously about color schemes. You may have already noticed a theme or color scheme you particularly favor. For instance, I'm well known for loving hot tropical colors like Caribbean blue, hot pink, and gras…

Learning Quilting Together

I've already spoken with TJ about this by phone, since her internet will be out for another few days. She's in, so I'm including her in these emails. (Susan, you may include Elf in this if she wishes.) I'll also be posting this on my Third Infinity blog.

I found among some of the books Karen DeAngelo gave me a book called, "You can be a Super Quilter!" by Carla J. Hassel. (ISBN 0-87069-294-1) I've hyperlinked it to the listing, where it's on sale for cheap if you want your own copy. What a great book! It's like a workbook, taking you step by step through the process.

The plan is for me to scan the pages and discuss them with you, page by page and lesson by lesson. Eventually, we'll all be learning together and doing the "homework" together via the internet. Upon occasion, we can learn about alternative methods using more modern conveniences or options, since the book was written thirty years ago.

However, this book was …

Uses for Ice Cube Trays

Quite a few people have seen me blog about using ice cube trays to freeze chicken, vegetable, or beef broth into manageable cubes for use in recipes. Here are a few more:

Ice cube trays are perfect little organizers.

They can be used to freeze herbs, coffee/tea and baby food.

They stack easily, so use them to organize jewelry, loose change, tacks, paper clips, small screws and bolts or buttons.

They're great to hold different-colored paints for kids or candies, a variety of dips, to grow seeds or as a candy mold.

Wall Pegboard Storage

Use Wall Space for Storage!  Empty wall space can become a useful storage area, and it's a great way to keep scissors and other scrapbook tools out of little hands. Go to the thrift store to save big bucks and dig through the wall art for a frame whose shape or texture you like. Don't worry about color, or even if it has glass. You can change the color, and you don't need the glass anyway. Now go to the hardware store and cut a piece of pegboard to size, and secure the pegboard inside the frame. Give the wall hanging a coat of paint for a uniform look. Paint the frame in a contrasting color if desired, and decorate to suit your personal tastes.

My mother, a veteran of both oil painting and stained glass art, changes frames the way we change clothes. one frame of a seascape is covered with an old thick rope she salvaged from the beach. For another, she recycled a few silk flowers to match the painting in the frame. Use your imagination and indulge your senses in a bit of fu…

Spinning Tool Caddy

Spinning Tool Caddy
Craft an inexpensive desk caddy for go-to tools and supplies. Clean up cans of all sizes and stick them to a lazy Susan with heavy-duty adhesive. Wrap the cans in patterned paper for a personal touch. (To eliminate sharp can edges, cover them with masking tape or the colorful duct tape now available in many craft stores. Add a little bling with rhinestones, buttons, beads and bows if you desire. This is all about you!

Recipe: Spicy Cheese Soup

I think I'll treat them with some cheese biscuits to go with their Spicy Cheese Soup

Spicy Cheese Soup

1 lb processed cheese, cubed (like Velveeta)
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can (8-3/4 oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (4-oz) green chiles, chopped
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning
Corn chips for garnish, optional

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, and cook on Low 4-5 hours. Serve with corn chips if desired.

Original recipe in Rival Crock Pot 3-in-1 Cookbook. ISBN: 978-1-4127-2584-2
Coming Soon!
A Haunted Halloween Blog Tour
Lena Austin

Recipe: Apple Caramel Pie in the Crock Pot

Apple Carmel PieFix-It and Forget-It Cookbook Revised and Updated, p. 248 Sue Hamilton, Minooka, IL Makes 8-10 servings Prep. Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 3 hours Ideal slow-cooker size: 4- to 5-qt.
2-crust refrigerated pie dough pkg. 2 22-oz. cans apple pie filling 1 tsp. cinnamon 12 caramel candies
1. Press one crust into half the bottom of a cold slow cooker, and an inch or so up half its interior side. Overlap by ¼ inch the second crust with the first crust in center of slow cooker bottom. Press remainder of second crust an inch or so up the remaining side of the cooker. Press seams flat where two crusts meet. 2. Cover. Cook on High 1½ hours. 3. In a bowl, mix together pie filling, cinnamon, and caramels. 4. Pour mixture into hot crust. 5. Cover. Cook on High an additional 1½ hours.
Coming Soon!
A Haunted Halloween Blog Tour
Lena Austin

Quiltfest-- What I learned from Bonnie Hunter's Trunk Show

Wow, it's really amazing where you can find a fellow Flybaby. This past weekend, I went to Quiltfest 2010, and I eagerly ran to hear the featured speaker, Bonnie Hunter. While I'm not much on trunk shows, she was famous for her organizational techniques for scrap management and stash control. While my stash isn't out of hand yet, I didn't want to get that way. We arrived for the trunk show in plenty of time and happily took our seats.

How shocked and pleased I was when Bonnie opened up her show by asking how many of us in the room were Flybabies! My hand shot up eagerly, and she picked me to ask if my sink was shiny! I nodded, grinning. Yes, I'd shined my sink and done all my morning routine including hanging out a load of laundry. I was a proud Flybaby! Women all around me asked "What's FlyLady?" and I gave out lots of little scraps of paper with written on it. (grin)

OMG! Bonnie's whole scrap management system was base…

Fw: Pokey's Sharing a Cool Secret for making Holiday Ornaments

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Quilting Arts Gifts is a special issue of Quilting Arts Magazine devoted to the art of gift-giving! September 9, 2010My Recipe for No-sew Snowflakes

It's no secret I'm a surface design junkie. Over the years, I have amassed an overflowing stash of fabrics that have been dyed, printed, screened, stamped, and stenciled.

Not only do I despair of ever using these fabrics up in art quilts, I have to admit that some of them aren't quite art quilt-worthy.

I also have to admit that, being a surface design junkie, I also collect a ton of objects that could be used in surface design.

A category of those objects is cookie cutters—implements that I can assure you will never be used in the presence of butter and sugar. Soy wax, maybe.
So you can imagine my delight when I figured out a way to use these extra fabrics and some sno…