Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My new computer

My husband thinks he's pretty slick. He went behind my back and bought me a new notebook to replace the one that died. It's pretty nice but as with any new computer, you have to get used to a different keyboard.

I'm having fun playing with it. I still haven't looked at the manual, so I don't yet know what I'm missing.

I'm still plugging away at my hexagon flowers. I am now up to 3 colors, purple, pink, and teal. They all have the same yellow centers so although they're different, they work together. I only have 22 flowers put together so far but I've been steadily making at least 2 per day. I'm also testing the washable glue stick method of basting. Much faster but I don't know how great it will be when it comes time to remove the papers. The glue really sticks!

I also made a little zippered wristlet upon which I've appliqued a teacup. I just wish I put in a layer of batting or interfacing to give it a little structure, but then again, I really didn't think it would turn out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My first Tim Tam and a tuna casserole recipe

biscuit,Tim Tam

OMG! These biscuits are to die for! Steph and I stopped by the British Grocers store on Decatur/Twain this afternoon for a look-see as we had never been there before. We were used to getting our stuff at International Marketplace but were curious. They had all kinds of goodies but we found the prices of their products to be quite high. I understand that as a small store they can't buy as much as International Marketplace and keep their prices down. I did love their selection, however, and will be back. They carry frozen bangers, crumpets, scones, and other yummies as well as dry goods. Having heard about the delicious Tim Tam biscuits, I just had to get some. I also bought a couple of small bags of Smokey Bacon flavored crisps for Chris (whose favorite food in the world is bacon).

If you don't like tuna casserole, please look away now.

tuna casserole

What do you do when you look at the clock and realize it's 7:30 pm and you haven't cooked dinner yet? I made tuna casserole!

1 16 oz pkg elbow macaroni
1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 soup can full of milk
2 6 oz cans tuna
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Fiesta blend)
salt & pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions, though I like to cook mine a little longer. Drain and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients except the cheese. Stir to blend completely. Add cooked macaroni and stir. Add cheese and stir to blend completely. Serve as is or transfer to a greased casserole dish, top with crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly. I didn't have crackers on hand and we were to hungry to wait for that anyway. I served mine with homemade dinner rolls. A salad would have been good, too.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Framed hexagons - quilt-as-you-go

Yesterday, my fabulous husband made me a couple of Lexan hexagon templates. Okay, I hounded him until he made them to shut me up.

I saw some projects that people made with this framed hexagon technique and just had to try it, particularly since it's quilt-as-you-go. I found the instructions and templates at Anyone who knows me knows that I don't have patience to wait for things and I especially didn't want to wait for a couple of templates to come all the way from Australia. Besides, for what purpose is my 3-car garage filled to the hilt with power tools of all sorts other than to make whatever I desire? Ha! (and that's not exactly what he'd say if I told my husband that!) Anyway, the templates for sale were 5" and 7" but I wanted them to be 6" and 8". "No problem", he says, and these are what he made for me. In fact, after seeing the completed hexies, he offered to make me a 10" template. See why I love him?

He made these templates from 1/8" Lexan (similar to plexiglas) so I can just position them over my fabric and rotary cut them. So quick! Also, because they're clear, I can fussy cut the fabrics if I want. I may offer a set on my Etsy shop to see if anyone else wants one.

I must tell you that like any sewing project, pressing is absolutely essential. I tried to do one without pressing and it was not pretty. Also, I found that for me, a small (1.8 L X 3.4 W) zigzag stitch was much easier for me to handle than a straight stitch. I really didn't have the desire to hand stitch these. I will, however, whipstitch them together by hand when I'm ready to connect them. I can get 8 of these hexies from one fat quarter for the front motif. I'm not sure how much of the backing fabric I've used. This is a fun little project and I can see these turning into a table runner. On their own, they make cute coasters.

Lexan hexagon templates

framed hexagon quilting

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hexagon quilting - English paper piecing

The other night I saw some hexagon quilts and found them to be so pretty. I don't really want to undertake that kind of endeavor at the moment but still want to make something with these pretty little English paper pieced hexagons. I saw that some people turned them into coasters, purses, placemats, etc. I also wanted some handwork to take with me while hanging out with my friends at our weekly get together. These were perfect to work on! I adapted one of the little wallets I made into a mini sewing kit. It held everything I needed: templates, scissors, needles, pins, bobbins full of thread, and fabric strips. So neat and tidy and takes up as much room as my cell phone. Since the picture was taken, I have added a magnetic strip up the middle to hold my pins and needle while I'm sewing. I have lost one needle in Bernie's keyboard already and almost lost a needle a couple of times while sewing in my recliner. That wouldn't have ended well.

I appliqued one of the flowers to a hot pad but in a moment of "not-so-brightness" used monofilament thread! Yikes! I can still use it but have to turn it over and put the hot object on the back side so as not to melt the thread. Can you say, "Duh"!!?? I plan to make coasters as well as a table runner. These projects are very quick and so satisfying. I've seen the flowers appliqued to tote bags and jeans as well. Now I just have to figure out how I want to back them and I'll be good-to-go.

I also wanted to show the method I use to baste and piece these motifs. Some people pierce the paper when they baste. I do not. This way, I can reuse the same template several times. This example is the fourth motif I've made with the same set of templates. Thrifty or lazy? I found these templates online but I have since made my own using Microsoft Word. I tried printing on cardstock because I thought they'd last longer, however, I think I like regular printer paper instead for ease of removal. Keep watching to see where these little flowers end up!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I've been wanting to blog for awhile now but I am on my husband's desktop. My laptop is dead. I had a Gateway that was about 4.5 years old and was working just fine, especially since Bernie wiped the hard drive for me and we re-installed all my stuff. It ran so much faster without the extraneous crap on it. I went to turn it on a week and a half ago and the "on/off" button was stuck. We called the computer guy who came and fixed Bernie's laptop a couple of weeks earlier and he couldn't get the cover off while at my house so he took it home. Long story short: it would cost about 1/3 of what he thinks it's worth to fix it. No matter that we paid $1300 for it when we got it. He thinks I can find a comparable one for about $400. Maybe, but who wants comparable when I can get BETTER! In fact, I saw one the other day for about $600. Wow! I had no idea what is out there for the price! I'll be getting another laptop soon, when I can be assured the purchase won't leave us hurting, after the mortgage, bills, groceries, and other necessities are paid for. In the meantime, I can use Bernie's or Chris' computers.

What have I been working on? More potholders in that double-thick crochet pattern, some reverse applique coasters, padded paperback book covers, magnetic bookmarkers, and small bifold wallets. I even made myself a new tea wallet tonight. Sounds like a lot and it is, but I've been having fun. I love my book covers! I used to make them years ago, before I knew my way around a sewing machine. They were ugly but functional. I used to make them out of quilted placemats back then. The new ones are so pretty, especially with matching bookmarkers. The bookmarkers are quick and easy and I can dig into my scrap bag and find enough fabric for several. I've given a few as gifts already. I have really enjoyed the reverse applique coasters. I've been wanting to teach myself the different techniques for applique and this one was first. I found a tutorial on The Sometimes Crafter and they looked so easy I just had to try them. Mine turned out just too cute! I have already given away two sets. One set I liked in particular because I used Chris' old blue jeans as the main fabric and appliqued a hawaiian print to them. They were a gift to a friend who loves Hawaii. I'll make those again! Too bad I didn't get pictures of those! I think for my next foray into applique, I'll try this technique from A Few Scraps' blog. I don't use disposable fabric softener sheets anymore but I saved some of my used disposables for just this purpose. I hope to be able to post pictures soon.