Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Years


I received this email from a German friend my sisters made while travelling in the South Pacific on a freighter.  He kindly contacted me and forwarded some pictures of Rosalind.  She is no longer with us and I miss her so much. 

Her trip to French Polynesia and this trip to Germany were part of her bucket list.  Our other sister, Robin went on the freighter journey, and I'm sure it was worth the broken arm she ended up with on the way.  Well, I HOPE it was worth it!  I went with her to get her scuba certification.  Another bucket list item.  And schlepping around Southern California lugging heavy scuba gear and wearing a wet suit is not my best thing.  But totally worth it.

Damn cancer.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cricut Cards

I've been trying to learn to use my new Cricut.  It looks like it will be fun to use, once I figure out what I am doing. 



It is the first few cards that take forever and frustrate me. 

 

I need to hire someone to follow me around and tell me how to do the stuff I don't know how to do.  In a nice way. 


 

Any takers?

 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

RJ

I've heard that you should let sleeping dogs lie.

 

But I think they should always tell the truth, even when asleep.

 

Not sure what he's saying, but our RJ wouldn't lie!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Free Motion Quilting

I have taken a total of ONE class on free motion quilting.  Basically, you drop the feed dogs on the machine, these are the little teeth that pull the fabric through the machine.

 

This is my original practice fabric.

 

Then you put a special foot on the sewing machine and while you are pushing on the foot peddle to make the needle go up and down, you place your hands flat on the three layers of fabric and move the fabric in a pattern.  I use special gloves with rubberized fingers that help grip the fabric.

 

Try this while patting your head and rubbing your stomach!

Here are the most difficult parts.  You have to keep the pattern you are trying to stitch on the quilt in your head.  There is no way to put the pattern on the fabric.  You are using thread that matches the fabric, so that it can't be seen.  Basically, you are drawing with a pencil with no lead.   But the pencil is drawing and you have to move the fabric under the rapidly moving pencil. 

The fabric is heavy, so you have to kind of muscle it around.   This leaves pull marks on the back of the quilt.  I am trying to bunch up the quilt on the sides so that there is some give when I manipulate the fabric, but it is not easy.

The top is looking pretty good.  The back, not so much.

This quilt is a gift for my aunt.   She will have to keep it face up wherever she uses it.  If I get GOOD at this, I may take out the pulled stitches and start over.  Maybe. It is a lot of work.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Whippersnapper Cookies

I recently made some Baked Chocolate Donuts from a Joanne Fluke murder mystery.  I like her mysteries.  I love the recipes that she includes in each book.  This time I tried one of her Whippersnapper recipes.  These recipes are made using cake mix and Cool Whip.  You change up the flavors by changing the flavor of the cake mix.  I decided to try them
 
She has different ones in several of her books, but I had never tried one before.  The most recent guests at our B&B really liked them.  I made a dozen, but they only got about 8 of them.  I had to keep some for us to try.  You can't serve cookies you have never tasted!  The rest are frozen in dough balls to be thawed and baked for the next guests.

 

Salted Cashew and Milk Chocolate Whippersnapper Cookies

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 large egg
2 cups thawed Cool Whip
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped cashews

1/2 cup powdered sugar
18 to 24 maraschino cherries

 

Don't preheat the oven.  These need to chill for at least one hour after mixing.  They are too sticky to handle when first mixed.

 

Chop the cashews and set aside.

Whisk the egg in a medium sized bowl.  Add the Cool Whip and stir gently.

 

Place about one half of the cake mix from the box in a large bowl.  Fold in the Cool Whip mixture, being careful not to stir too vigorously and stir all the air out of the Cool Whip.

 

Place the cashews and the chocolate chips on top and fold them in.  Don't over stir.

Sprinkle the rest of the cake mix on top and mix this in.  Use a large rubber spatula and scrape up from the bottom of the bowl and bring it to the top. Mix only until combined.

Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Don't get the cookies out next.  They need to stay cold until the oven is ready.

 

While it is heating, drain the cherries and cut them in half. 

 

Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar.  Spray the cookie sheets with Pam or use parchment paper.  I used a Silpat.

 

Then get a cookie scoop and start your assembly line.  Scoop up a ball of cookie dough and place it in the powdered sugar. Roll to coat and place it on the prepared cookie sheet.  I used my thumb to make a small indentation for the cherry half.  Before I did this, they tended to fall or slide off.  Place the cherry with the rounded side up.

 

Only make as many dough balls as you have room to bake at onetime.  Place the rest of the dough back in the refrigerator until you can place them directly on a cookie sheet.

 

Bake for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. 

 

When cool, store them between waxed paper in a cool dry place.  Not the refrigerator.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Quilting Part

I hate the quilting part.  It is hard to get all the fabric under the arm of the machine.

 

You discover all the areas where it doesn't sit flat.  But it is too late to fix it.

But I am too cheap and too wrapped up in doing it myself to hire it done.

 

So I am quilting.  I am just following the rings for the most part.  Then I am repeating the ring pattern inside the circles. 

 

I will do stitch in the ditch where possible.  This involves holding the fabric open at the seams with the flat of my hands and stitching in the seams to hide the stitches as much as possible.

I am going to try to do some free motion quilting on the edges of the quilt where there is a bunch of background and not a lot of ring.  I took a class, one,  so this should be interesting.  Not good, but interesting.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Latest Scarf Project

Tara and I visited a craft shop and discovered some scarves that looked like thick yarn made with a giant crochet hook.   I think they were really made from fleece that was cut in long strips and then crocheted.

I wanted to try it with some thick yarn.  I bought a few different versions and this is the first one I made.  There is no pattern for this.

 

Wait.  Here is the pattern.  Buy some thick yarn and use a giant crochet hook.  Crochet a chain out of the whole skein.

 

Leave just enough yarn to connect the ends.  Form loops with the chain.   Tie the ends around the loops.  That is it.

 

I highly suggest doing this in a cat free room.

 

Why, you ask?  No reason.

 

The yarn package showed a similar scarf using arm crocheting.  But I chose to use the giant crochet hook.

 

What do you think?  I have two more kinds of yarn to experiment with.  I want to do each one a little differently, so I shall see what I come up with.