Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reversible Bag


Man, long time no blog!  My bad, y'all.  Life has this funny way of getting in the way.  Anyhoo, today I have a fun little bag for you.  It's actually a Reversible Bag by Novita, but I have no intention of flipping it because I added this cute embroidered pocket (which is the perfect size for my cellphone ;)).  I also added an identically sized pocket on the inside for my keys.

For the embroidery I printed the art I liked onto the paper side of freezer paper and ironed it to my fabric.  Then I simply stitched over it. I also poked extra holes with my needle as I went to perforate the paper well, because the next step is simply to pull off the paper when finished.  I did this on just one layer of my pocket fabric and then stitched a second layer to the back, so that the back on my embroidery was enclosed.  It's much neater and I don't have to worry about catching and undoing knots and such.

I didn't do the straps the same way as she did in the tutorial.  Honestly, I got going and forgot to look at the instructions and just did them the way it made sense to the at the time. lol. Her way is wonderful, too, but I thought you might want another option.

First, I pressed my seams and pinned the last 4" to be sewn (after all other steps), leaving one side raw.

The second side I pressed the edges under.

Then I pinned the raw edged straps inside the "finished" ones.

Next I sewed a nice double lined seam to add a professional finish and strength to my bag :)

If you make one I would love to see it!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Angel Food Cake - Revisited


Awhile back I wrote about Single Serve Angel Food Cake.  I had a hankering for some again the other night, but I wanted it lighter than it turned out last time.  So what did I do?  Doubled the egg white mixture and add vanilla for a little more flavor.  It was delicious, but next time I will use two ramekins and just a pinch more sugar.  I highly recommend this method if you want a lighter cake, and especially if you want two small cakes :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hexie Baby Quilt - WIP


I mentioned in an earlier post that I had started a second quilt.  I actually started it shortly after the first so that I would have a portable project, as well (Hubby and I were going to his parents' that weekend).  Coincidentally, some good friends of our just found out they are expecting :)  So, what better portable project than a baby quilt!  Since we don't know if the baby is a boy or girl yet, I wanted to stay pretty neutral.  Also, due to the fact that I was looking for portable it had to be hand piecing, which lead me to English Paper Piecing (tutorial at the end of this post), for which hexagons (or hexies) are the most common shape.

First, come the papers.  I started with these templates in the 1" size. I didn't have much success cutting as she instructed, though.  For me printing the template and gluing a stack across the top and then cutting along the lines in vertical strips gave me the most accurate hexies.  Be sure not to cut into your glued area.  It's important for keeping things aligned properly.  Also, don't get in a hurry.  These papers are the foundation for your entire quilt, so spending a little extra time on them in the beginning will result in less headache and a much more beautiful finished product later.  I cut just over a thousand in a relatively short amount of time.  I used just regular computer paper and have been happy with the results, but you could also use cardstock or freezer paper, too.  Don't forget you can reuse your papers.  I would recommend ironing them before another round as you can see they get folded a bit in the piecing process.  

Next step is cutting your fabric hexies.  I really liked the method in the tutorial at the end of the post.  I used a little piece of tape on the back of a paper and then used a 4.5x4.5" grid ruler to add a 1/4" seam allowance on all sides.  The picture to the left is what I currently have left from what I have cut.  Again, since I was cutting multiple layers of fabric, this didn't take long once I got a rhythm.
Next comes basting, which means that you attach the fabric hexies to the papers with a temporary, contrasting stitch to create seam and provide stability.  You can tape, glue, or pin the paper down if you like, but I found just firmly and carefully holding the paper was easiest for me - less time, hassle, and stuff involved.  As the tutorial at the end states, you don't need a knot at the end of the basting since you're going to pull the stitches out.  By the way, use the removal method in the tutorial because it works and has no headache involved.  Can you tell I like this tutorial? lol
I couldn't wait to baste everything before I started to sew my little hexies together.  I just couldn't stand it, I had to see my fabrics together and be able to show off to Hubby (he likes to see periodic progress, otherwise he doesn't believe when I say things are coming along lol).  So, here is an unpressed snapshot of the WIP.   What do you think?

I have found a few tools highly valuable in this process.  One, Thread Heaven - a thread conditioner.  DO NOT hand sew without it.  It is cheap (I paid $3.99+tax for it) and it will save you immense amounts of time, headaches, and money in liquor.  Two, a thimble for my thumb.  I push with my thumb for the whip stitch and it was getting really sore.  I really like this leather one, called Nimble Thimble (I think), because it fits my finger nicely, it has an opening for my fingernail (I tend to keep them long if you haven't noticed my Nail Art Tab), and most importantly I can still grip the needle really well.  The last thing are these wonderful little snips that I picked up from Joann's for super cheap; they are perfect for getting close to the work, ergonomic, and travel well.

I am finding that I am truly enjoying the hand stitching, especially when I am not feeling well.  I find it incredibly relaxing and rewarding.  What do you tend to do for stress relief?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My First Quilt - WIP


As I have mentioned in a previous post I have been bitten by the sewing bug.  Hard.  I have actually sewn everyday since I received my sewing machine.  :)  I don't know why, but quilting has caught my fancy.  So I started researching quilting and talking to my mom (an amazing sewer) about it.  Apparently I come from a very long, prestigious line of quilters on both sides of my family.  So, I started a quilt.  I began the quilt with these block patterns in mind, a couple of charm packs in Papillion by Moda, and a little bit of yardage in complimentary brown.  I really do love it, unfortunately my cutting skills have not proven up to the task to all of these points :(  My Scrappy Four Patches are pretty, but far from perfect.  So, instead of doing a Four Patch with and X block. I think I am going to change my game plan to a Scrappy Four Patch with sashing and a border, which means this will probably go on the back burner until I get a hold of some sashing fabric.  But, I do have another quilting in progress that I will be sharing with you very soon.  Until then...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

French Toast Casserole

The other evening I couldn't for the life of me decide what I wanted for supper.  So I started rummaging around to see what I had in the frig and pantry.  Then I remembered the Amish Cinnamon Bread I still had half a loaf of. And thought French Toast Casserole sounds great!

I went to searching for a recipe.  I found several, but decided to use this one as my guide.  I used half a loaf of Cinnamon Amish Bread (and did not measure) and an 8x6" casserole.  I used buttermilk instead of regular milk and probably way more vanilla (I LOVE vanilla).  Once I added my egg mixture to to the bread I was like no way this is enough.  So I grabbed three more eggs (all I had) and add the same amount of the other ingredients - again with buttermilk and a little more vanilla than called for.  That brought the egg mixture almost to the top, so I let it soak about 10 minutes before I sprinkled with just enough cinnamon sugar to coat the top (not as much as the original recipe calls for) and popped it in the oven until the eggs were firm and the top was beautiful.
I must say is was nummy nummy.  I had a piece warm with syrup almost immediately and then for breakfast the next day ;)  This would be good with about any bread.  I think next time I am going to include the spice into the egg mixture and possibly use cardamom, too.
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