Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Juki Cover

Today I made a cover for my Juki sewing machine.  It came with a really lame vinyl-plastic thing which has been relegated to the linen closet for now.  I love these black and white pics I took of my machine!

I measured the machine pretty carefully since it's wider on the right than the left.  You can see in the picture above that the back end of the picture shows the cone/thread stand.

Here's what I created today:

 Top view:

And here's how I made it:
Using an amazing whimsical cotton/linen Kokka fabric from and a silk piece acquired from my friend Diane, I cut a 38" long by 30" wide piece from each fabric.  I ironed fusible cotton on the back side of the silk to stabilize it and then sewed the two pieces right sides together, leaving a 6" opening to birth it.  I turned it right side out and gave it a good pressing.

Next I edge stitched all the way around, stitching across the opening I had left to turn it.  I figured a handle would be come in handy for lifting it off of the machine so I made a little handle using the Kokka fabric and the fusible again.

I sewed the sides together and made a 7" gusset on the left side and a 3" gusset on the right, to compensate for the thread stand in the back of the machine.

I turned the bottom edge up 2" and stitched it down, adding a bit of heft at the bottom for weight.  It will keep my machine dust-free for those times when it must wait for me to sew on it.  So much better than that vinyl cover!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Needle Arts Seminar

My friend Jackie Compton is the Event Coordinator for the Spring Needle Arts Seminar being held in May at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  If you've never had the pleasure of staying at this marvelous place, which is on the list of Historical Hotels of America, then you need to get there!

Here are the details:
For 2013, we are hosting the Spring Needle Arts Seminar May 3 – 8th meant for those who love quilting, needlepoint, knitting, and embroidery. Throughout the five days nationally acclaimed teachers will host lectures and teach classes all based on their original art and fabric designs.

We are very excited for this seminar and proud so many talented teachers are coming to host the event. These include June McKnight,from Pacific Grove, CA who specializes in NeedlepointJudith Baker Montano, from LaVeta, CO will teach Crazy QuiltingPaula Nadelstern, from New York City will host lectures and classes in Kaleidoscope Quilts, and Sally Melvillefrom Ottawa Canada will teach Knitting. Stay for as a little or as long as you would like. All the classes are setup to accommodate various lengths of stay and include Grand Hotel accommodations.

We are very excited about this special seminar for 2013 and we wanted you to know about this event.  For additional information about the instructors and classes please visit our brochure.  Package information can be found on our website or by contacting Jackie Compton, the event coordinator at We hope to see you on Mackinac.
Now don't be scared off by the hotel prices, which are extremely reasonable for this seminar, much lower than the summer season prices.  The rooms are beautiful, the food delicious!  The workshops are a great value for the caliber of teachers.  Grab a friend or husband and go together!  I know my Chicken friends Sue and Kathy are going, along with several members of the Great Lakes Heritage Quilters.  

Contact Jackie ASAP to secure your spot!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Cleaning??

Yesterday I tackled my cookbook collection in my entertainment center.  I did not take a before picture, darn, but I do have the after picture.  I eliminated over 30 books from my stash.  Some went to my roommate, some to the Salvation Army, and a couple of quilt guild books for the GLHQ free table next month.

When I was deciding whether or not to keep a book, I based my decision on a few things:
  • Have I used it to make anything in the last year, if ever?
  • Will I make anything out of it in the next 6 months?
  • Could someone else make better use of it?
  • Can I find the one recipe I did like on the Internet instead of storing the book?
I'm still trying to decide whether I really need to keep FIVE books from Martha Stewart.  Really??

The little 'house' on the left holds a whole lot of recipes from cookie exchanges, etc.  Below it is a journal with plenty of family recipes.  Below that is the recipe journal that will house all of the recipes ripped out of magazines, etc.  That's a project for another day!

Not sure if you can tell, but that shelf is bowed from the weight of all those crazy books.  Should have done this ages ago!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Cleaning Continues

This morning I was jolted into replacing my microwave oven when my roommate announced it was smoking, yet again.  I saw it with my own two eyes this time.  I decided, however, that I have replaced one too many microwaves and it was time for an alternate solution.  I jumped in my car and headed to Costco.  Where else?!

I found a KitchenAid convection countertop oven:

I handed over the existing toaster to my roommate for his future residence (whenever that may come), freed up some much needed counter top space, and the new oven takes up less room than the old microwave did in my former wall oven's space.

Now this new purchase led to more tidying in the kitchen, which was not on my agenda for the day.  My fabric re-org will have to wait for tomorrow.  I took care of the cabinets above and below my new appliance:

Today I got rid of chocolate molds from 1980 (used once), a quick pasta cooker (As Seen On TV, now seen at the Salvation Army), a broken slow cooker, several vases (I don't get flowers any more -- what am I storing these for?), and a host of other treasures.  Phew!  Feels so good to be rid of these items and organized.  You can see we even moved our vitamin stash from the counter top (hello -- not enough space, remember?) to the top drawer in my wall pantry.  Think I have enough wax paper??

I even got the cabinet over the refrigerator organized.  Once I tuck a few things away in my staples cabinet I will be done, done, diddley done!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tidy Sunday

I started the day by making a big recipe of macaroni and cheese to take out to my Mom's for lunch.  My roommate and I took Maggie with us.  My Mom always enjoys getting visits but especially loves when the various dogs come to see her.  There was enough macaroni & cheese left to last her a few meals.  I also took her a ham bone and some yellow peas so she can make a big pot of French Canadian pea soup.  Oddly though, she had a bit of a struggle remembering the ingredients.  She's made it a hundred times but not for a few years, she said.  Hmm....

Once home I got busy organizing my kitchen.  The rule is to tackle one drawer or cabinet or closet a week. I neglected to take before pictures so these ARE the after pictures!

I went gang busters and cleared out my cabinet with the storage items, bakeware, bowls, etc. :

I got rid of so much Tupperware from the '80's: Jello molds, etc., not been used in at least 10 years.  Again, why did I still have it???

Feeling pretty successful, next it was the gadget drawer.  It was so full of crap I could hardly open the drawer.  There were 'must have' tools in there that I hadn't used in YEARS.  Some went to my roommate, some to Salvation Army, and a bunch in recycling or garbage.  Anybody need a shrimp deveiner???
Then it was time to do the cutlery drawer and then the dreaded catch-all drawer.

The kitchen linens drawer was in reasonably good shape.  Don't you love all those knitted dishcloths courtesy of my friend Carol?!

I'm ready to tackle my Craft Cave next.  I really need to organize my fabrics and get them queued up for quilts, clothing, home dec items.  So little time, so many ideas!!

Hope you have a great week!  Get organized!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Super Buy

The other day I went to Macy's to buy a Dutch Oven.  I thought I knew exactly what I wanted until I flipped it over and saw those hated words 'Made In China'.  I set it down so quickly I think the sales clerk's head was spinning.  I continued to look and look.  I found one from Calphalon but it was $320!  I had a rebate gift card from Macy's for $150 so to me it was still too much.

Then I spotted the one I HAD to have.  It wasn't really a Dutch Oven but it didn't matter.  It was toooo pretty to leave the store without it.  It was on sale too, plus I got 15% off using my Macy's card.
7 1/4 qt. Round French Oven

Tonight I made my first dinner using my beautiful Cherry Le Creuset Round French Oven, Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Shallots.  I needed a beef tenderloin for it so I headed down to Wigley's at Detroit Eastern Market.  They had none!  The clerk said they're too expensive right now and she was right!  When I did find one at Costco it was $18/pound!  I had to *settle* for a package of filet mignon instead. I know, poor me.

The dish turned out so well it is going on my repertoire list and the pot was so easy to clean up.  I sure do wonder why I didn't buy it years ago.  I've always wanted one.  Now I want more of them!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Email Overflow

A few weeks ago my roommate had to use my computer due to a virus on his.  After he was done I noticed he had nearly 3000 emails in his Gmail inbox.  Yes, nearly 3000.  I know what you're thinking -- how the heck did he let it get so bad?  Well, his answer was simply neglect.

Yesterday he whittled his inbox down to less than 30 emails.  Unfortunately he forwarded boatloads of 'important' things I needed to read (i.e. jokes, junk).  But later on in the day I learned of a great way to clear out your Gmail inbox.  It's called The Email Game and it makes it fun to clean up your overloaded inbox.  If you've been neglectful in keeping up with your email, check them out -- it looks like a lot of fun!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kim Diehl -- the afterglow

I have been busier than a beaver this past week.  I welcomed Kim Diehl to speak at the GLHQ meeting last week and we had over 90 members and 22 guests!!  Woohoo!  We had three very successful workshops   with a total of 73 students with Kim.  It was amazing to watch all of the participants just enjoy the workshops and speak so highly of Kim.  We all learned so much and I know I'm going to finish the quilts I started in class.

Kim was so easy going-- I had plotted out in my head all the restaurants I would take her to but you know what?  She was totally satisfied just getting a sandwich at Jimmy John's -- no diva there!  She's working on her next book, with a deadline nearing, and she really just wanted to relax in her motel room at the end of the day.

 Doesn't my banner from VistaPrint look great?!

 Kim was helping someone with their mono filament thread.

 Karen looks like she's attacking something with her bottle of Best Pressed but I assure you, she's just pressing some fabric.

 Busy bees!

Kim is working with Joyce here.

Carmen from Cousin's Quilt Shop in Bellaire brought LOTS of goodies to our workshops and lecture:

It was so amazing -- Carmen worked on the honor system:  she would write down on a notepad what you were taking from her tables, and then squaring up with you at the end of the day.  Or in my case after two days -- I can honestly say she did a LOT of business.  We had a total of 73 students over 3 days -- she had a captive audience!  It was so helpful to have a quilt shop on site with all of our necessities!

I am no where near ready to show you what I worked on in the two classes I took, but will hopefully have something to show for it in the coming week.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kim Diehl is Coming!

I've been super busy this week preparing for the visit from Kim Diehl to GLHQ.  Last minute details, more fabric cutting and sewing prep for workshops, and a whole lot of sweatin' as Kim has been battling from laryngitis!  I am hoping her voice can hold out for the three days she'll be teaching and speaking.  If you're in the Detroit area, please plan on attending her lecture tomorrow night at 7 pm -- see the guild website for details.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Doggone It!

Today I went out to Holly's with my friend Sue to watch Denver so Holly could see her doctor and get her hair done.  It was a really great day.  Denver was entertaining us, ate his lunch well, screamed bloody murder when he set off the carbon monoxide detector, and then settled down for a much needed nap.

I discovered something quite disappointing however, beneath his dressing table --

Here's what it used to look like:

Yep, apparently the 36" square Shepherd's Wool blanket I made for Holly's baby shower for Denver was WASHED and FELTED!!!!  Now it's about 15" square, if that.  UGH!!  Lesson learned about knitting with wool for babies but GEEZ, I'm not even able to knit anymore......

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Giveaway Winners!

And the winners are:
Research Randomizer Results
3 Sets of 1 Unique Numbers Per Set
Range: From 1 to 18 -- Unsorted

Job Status: 
Set #1:10

Set #2:9

Set #3:13

Number 10 is Kara, Number 9 is Kim T, and number 13 is Stacey.  I have contacted each of you.  Whoever replies first gets first dibs of the prizes.  Woohoo!

ETA:  Kim has claimed the yarn!  Kara has claimed the patterns!  Stacey is getting the needles!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Love of My Life

I know last weekend didn't go as well as I had hoped with Holly being rushed to the hospital but I got to spend lots of quality time with my grandson Denver, the cutest, smartest, most adorable grandson ever (except for yours, right?).  All of the clothing here is courtesy of Grammie!!  The first outfit was from American Apparel -- yippee, sewn in Los Angeles -- love to support them!
Here are some of my favorite pics:

He was watching the signed language wallhanging tumbling in the washer -- his quilt, oh no!!!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Today I was in the market to buy more of Mary Ellen's Best Press for ironing my fabric.  I used half a bottle last night on my fabrics for the Kim Diehl workshops.  After forgetting to look for it the FIRST time I went to Joann's today, I doubled-back and you know what???  They didn't carry it in the store but had it online.  Hmmpph!

So what do you think I did next????  I looked for it online!  I discovered something MUCH better than a source for Best Press -- I discovered a RECIPE for it!  Here it is:

3 oz. Vodka (I chose a potato based one thinking it might be more starchy, not sure there)
24 oz. Distilled Water
Several drops of essential oils (I choose to use some scented pressing water I got at Costco years ago)
Mix all three ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.  Shake each time before spraying to mix it all up.

Let's think about the cost here -- cheap bottle of Vodka ($15), gallon bottle of distilled water ($1.35), fragrance (nil).  That comes out to $1.77 in vodka, 25¢ in distilled water, and negligible fragrance for a grand total of $2.02 for 27 ounces of imitation Best Press.  Hmmm, I paid $7.95 the other day for a 16 ounce bottle.  Momma didn't raise no dummy.

Now I know what you're thinking -- but does it really work???  I pressed one large piece of wrinkled cotton fabric and it turned out great, maybe not quite as stiff as the 'real' Best Press, but great nonetheless.  Next I pressed a fat quarter of fabric with half 'real' and half 'recipe' Best Press.  Again, maybe the 'real' side was a bit stiffer but actually I think I might like the results on the 'recipe' version better.

If you give it a try let me know what you think.  Maybe I need a bit more vodka in it.  I know the brand I bought will never be going down my hatch!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blogoversary Giveaway!

Ta-daa!  It's finally here.  My 4th Blogoversary Giveaway!  No fancy-shmancy rules here -- just leave me a comment with one of your crafty goals for 2013.  Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!  

Prize #1 -- Five skeins of Araucania Azapa yarn, 30% Alpaca, 45% Merino, 15% Silk, 10% Donegal -- nearly 1000 yards!!!

Prize #2 -- Knitter's Pride Dreamz Sock Needle Set, sizes 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 !!!

Prize #3 -- Four Knitting Patterns from Iknitiative:

I'll be drawing the winners on Sunday, March 1710, 2013 at 7 pm EST.  Don't forget to change your clocks on Sunday if you live in the U.S.  I will give each of the three names drawn by the chance to choose their prize from the three pictured above.  Good luck!

ETA:  Fixed the end date.  I had my weeks mixed up!!  I couldn't possibly wait that long to hand out the prizes!!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Busy Busy

I have been very busy with a little of this and a little of that lately.  I'm still cleaning and tidying things up.  I vacuumed all over the house today.  It started when I decided to clean up behind my entertainment center when I was installing a new antenna.  My new vacuum can extend way beyond my normal reach and I found all kinds of dirt I didn't know was there.  Okay, maybe I knew it was there but chose not to see.

Last weekend I finished a cute little wall hanging for my daughter Holly to use in her classroom.  She's a special ed teacher for grades 3-5 and has two students in her classroom who are non-verbal so she's trying to teach them sign language:

I used a fusible batt called 'duo fuse' by Innovative Craft Products.  I'll admit, I wimped out and used fusible because I just didn't want to pin baste and although I know I have fusible spray, I took the easy way out.  It worked really well except for the sticky deposits on my ironing board cover.  At first I thought it was really stiff, but it was easier to quilt than the June Taylor brand.  It took less than an hour to machine quilt but about 3 hours to sew the bind down on the back - crazy! 

I used my brand-new iron from Vermont Country Store -- a DRY iron -- wow!

I know what you're thinking -- How in the world can it press without steam?  Oh, mon ami -- it does so very well, and without the distortion I get when I use a steam iron.  I bought the iron for an upcoming workshop with Anita Grossman Solomon, who recommends the dry iron.  I'm getting some practice in before the workshop!

I pressed all of the fabric I will be using for next week's workshops with Kim Diehl.  Tomorrow I'll get the pre-sewing done and I'll be all set for the classes -- phew!

I'll have my blogoversary giveaway reveal tomorrow so be sure to check back in!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Positive Thoughts Needed

I know I promised a giveaway but this past weekend has thrown me for a loop.  While up north at Holly and Mike's, Holly began hemorrhaging and went into shock.  I couldn't believe I was witnessing her crashing before my eyes.  She was rushed to the closest hospital 40 minutes away and received treatment, albeit not the correct treatment.

One of the problems with being up north is there's no cell phone service at their home.  Nothing.  Zero.  Zip.  I felt so isolated -- cut off from technology and unable to do any research.  Thank goodness I was able to get a text message off to my friend Joyce, who at midnight was willing to listen to me and help answer my questions.  Yesterday I was able to troubleshoot Holly's medical issues with my friend Jackie, a former OB/GYN doctor and today, after another hemorrhaging episode, Holly's doctor concurred.

Having friends like these make getting through episodes such as these bearable.  It sure was difficult watching her being loaded into the ambulance and whisked away.  She's a tough little snot, just like her Mom.  Holly is on five different medications and I may need to drive up to her home to care for her and Denver tomorrow.  She may need more surgery and plenty of rest.  And prayers and positive thoughts please.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Out of Time

Sorry to say, I've run out of time for a suitable post.  Long story that involves quilting, lunch with my Mom for her birthday, a horrible car accident (not me) and delay after delay in getting on the road for Holly's up north weekend.  Gotta go, more after the weekend!