Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Get ready for Apple Season - Super Oatmeal Breakfast

I'm looking forward to Autumn - I know, I know, it's only the beginning of August.  However, the other day, I tried a new way of making and serving oatmeal cereal.  Here's the recipe:

Super French Vanilla Oatmeal Breakfast

4 c. water
1/2 t. salt
2 c. Regular (not instant) Rolled Oats
1 T. ground Cinnamon
1/2 c. Dried Apples or 1 fresh Apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1/3. c. Raisins
Coffee Mate French Vanilla non-dairy creamer
Brown Sugar or Splenda

Place water, salt, apples and raisins in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to the boil, uncovered.

Add oatmeal......

and cinnamon....

turn heat to Low and stir a little until boiling is calmed.

Cover and let cook on low for about 10 minutes.

Stir before serving.... looks good.

Sprinkle with sweetener (Splenda, brown or white sugar)....

add creamer or milk and Voila!

I had mine with creamer and Splenda and my favorite, de-caf Chai Tea.  A creamy, cinnamony, chewy, satisfying way to enjoy oatmeal.  What a way to lower cholesterol, eh?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Working Ribbon Embroidery Roses on Applique' Blocks

(And this pattern is this month's FREE Pattern:  leave a comment and follow me to enter the drawing.)

Here's the block from my pattern, "Strawbonnet Sue".  The applique' and other embellishments are all finished and I've chosen some silk 4 mm ribbon to use for flowers in her hat and bouquet.  I'm going to make roses.  The first step is to draw the five spokes for the threads that will be the foundation of the flower head.  

Ordinarily, I avoid using an embroidery hoop on applique' because it can damage the edges of the pieces.  But, you'll need one with this little project because you have to keep turning your piece.  So, using a good, strong thread, sew the spokes as shown.

Each bouquet.....

....has four roses.  You can make more and add other embellishment but, for the purpose of this demonstration, I'm just doing four.

Thread your embroidery needle with a length of the silk ribbon about 12 to 15 inches long.  It's important to use an embroidery needle, because you need an eye that is long enough to hold the ribbon flat.

To secure the ribbon in the needle, pierce the end of the ribbon about 1/2" from the end which you threaded through the needle.

Then, pull the little loop knot through.....

until it's snug up against the eye end of the needle.  This will secure it so that it won't come out of the eye while you are working.  You can do the same thing with most thread, even double strand embroidery floss.

Come up at the center of one of the stars and, working in a counter-clockwise direction, slip the needle under a spoke, then, over the next spoke; then, under a third spoke.  Pull the ribbon moderately snug toward the center.  Continue around the spokes, over one and under the next.

Don't worry about how the ribbon twists.  Just let it do it's thing.  It's all good.  Keep going around.....

....and around.  When you've covered the spokes, go down under the flower to the back and tie off the ribbon with a couple of half-hitches under a thread and trim the tail end to about 1/4" to 1/2" in length.

Begin another flower with the same or a different color.....

going around and around....

and completing all four.

Here are the finished roses.  They are sturdy, don't you think?

There's a place for a rose on the hat, too.  You can see, I've drawn the spokes for this one, bigger than those in the bouquet.

Also, I'm using 7 mm silk ribbon for this one.

Once again, you go round and round, over, under, over, under.....

over, under, over, under.......

....until the ribbon covers the spokes.

Here she is with all the roses finished.

With some of her other friends in the quilt.  These blocks are done with two-sided fusible (Wonder-Under) under the pieces, which are, then, attached at the edges with a buttonhole or blanket stitch.  I use this method when I make my samples, but include instructions for freezer paper applique' in my patterns.  I believe freezer paper applique' is a great method for beginners and almost guarantees a successful applique' experience.

The hat band is make from 1/2" strips cut and folded by a little tool made by Clover.  You run the strips through the tool and iron them so the edges are turned under, then, blind-stitch them in place.  I use a few little drops of basting glue to hold them in place while I stitch.

This is very easy and I hope you'll try it.  Write to us here when you try it and let us know how it went.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making a 4-Patch Pin Cushion - Something for Newbies and Oldies

I made my samples from my stash of "Starters and Stoppers".  Follow the link to learn about starters and stoppers.  Anyway, that's why the samples in the pictures are all different.  I was making up samples for a presentation at our quilt guild and wanted the pieces to show at each stage of the project.

Stuff you need, beside your sewing machine:

Sewing Needle
Rotary Cutter
Knitting Needle
8 – 2 ½” Squares, 4 Lights and 4 Darks
Cutting Mat

Lay out your squares the way you would like them to be for the top and the bottom of the pin cushion.  Pick them up in the order you want to sew them, right sides together with the side to be sewn to the right.   You don't need to pin these.  After you sew the singles together, you will be ready to sew the pairs to pairs.  All seams are ¼”.  Check the setting of your sewing machine needle and foot to be sure it will stitch ¼” from the edge of the fabric.

Make the seams interlocking.  You can feel with your fingers when you have them just right.

Pick them up in order and chain piece them on the sewing machine.  Here, I've cut off the end starters and stoppers but left one in the middle.  I'll clip these apart, tossing the blue patch into the stash for future use.

Pin the seams.  Sew slowly, removing pins as you go.  Don’t sew over pins.
When you press, flatten, don’t pull or stretch.  (In garment sewing, we press seams open; in quilt sewing, press seams to the side to avoid bearding.)  Press the seams to the dark side, then stitch the additional pair of squares to the bottoms of each pair to make two blocks.  
Press the seams in opposite directions, side to side.

Square your blocks by trimming the edges to be square and straight.  Notice the block is straight along the "7" line and a small bit of the white patch is showing at the bottom, ready to be cut off with the rotary cutter.

Place the blocks right sides together and stitch all around, leaving about 2” open in the middle of one side. Back stitch at the start and finish because the opening is a stress point.   Press it.

Clip the corners and turn the piece right side out, poking out the corners, 
GENTLY, with the knitting needle point.  Press it.  Now stuff it with poly-fill or batting...anything you like.  Someone suggested unraveled wool yarn or raw, washed sheep's wool.  They said it will keep your pins and needles clean and sharp.  I'll have to try that one.

Voila!  You're almost all done.  I mean, you may want to add a "fuzzie" velcro to the bottom of it to stick to the "hookie" velcro patches you have around.....I have them on the top of my machines and by my ironing board so I can save pins and needles easily, one-handed.

Or, tack a loop of ribbon to one corner and and hang it up.  You can stab a pin or needle into it very easily so it's a great cushion for catching pins you remove as you sew.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Answer the Question: What is your favorite Anniversary/Birthday/Holiday food?

Please write and tell me your favorite celebration-type food (anniversary or birthday).  As women, we usually wind up MAKING the food for the celebration, don't we?  But when we get treated, what is our favorite thing?  My DH would say, prime rib, a baker and pie for dessert.  I'm as apt to say, TOFU!!!!  But, then, I'm different.  What's YOUR favorite?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blog Hopping - Red, White and Blue Blog Hop

I hope you are all doing the Red, White and Blue Blog Hop.  I'm a hopper, this time but hope to be a participant blogger on one of these hops, soon.  I've seen some beautiful blocks and quilts.  Hop on over to  Crafty Sewing & Quilting and get on the hop.  The full list is right there and there are lots of give-aways.  It's a great way to meet new friends and find new followers.  Here's my July Banner in the EQ version:

Today's my anniversary and my DH says I don't have to cook all day.  Hmmmm, I hope that doesn't mean this is a "fast day".  I'm hoping for a "feast day".  Funny how similar those two phrases are.  See you later.  Enjoy the "hop".

Monday, July 9, 2012

Congratulations ! Our July Winner is Janet!

Janet is our winner for the month of July!  She wins a free copy of "Heart Etui", a pattern for a small needle case!

  To enter for the next drawing, Follow me between now and the 7th of August....and leave a comment somewhere on a post in that time period (even this one) and you're automatically entered.  Our next pattern to give away will be "Hawaiian Sue" in honor of the warm summer days ahead!