Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wall Hanging for a Customer

I had a request from a customer to make a wall hanging for his Mother...who has bees and makes all kinds of wonderful items from beeswax, not to mention the honey....
He wanted something 24" square and he liked the fabric that was on a lap quilt I had...which he also bought.
 Here is a close up of the corners with the feathers I did...
 This is the embroidery I did with the name of her bee business...
My new machine does a really good job scanning and centering the embroidery...

 Each corner of the wall hanging has a star with a bee hive in the center....
 I had a great deal of fun quilting this....
Here is my sweet supportive Hubby, holding up the wall hanging.
I thought I'd show you before he gets it tomorrow....
I will tell you what else I did today....
Nancy

Sunday, March 26, 2017

What A Couple of Weeks!!

I have not been idle. I've been busier than usual and out of my comfort zone....for the better.
For two weeks I have taken a class in the evening....(yeah, I know, right?? I usually relax and watch TV while having dinner and do .....nothing....)
The first class was how to make Kombucha!
Kombucha is a drink I have been spending money on ....every day!
However, I believe that it was one of the reasons I have stayed healthy, especially around a two-year old......
Last year, I was so sick and had two horrific chest colds....that got into my chest...(and you know how that goes)...so I vowed I would do something to stay healthy this year.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It is so good for you! It is loaded with polyphenols and enzymes, and probiotics. One bottle a day I have been drinking. I feel peppier...and healthier.
So, since I have been spending lots of $$$ on Kombucha (they run $1.94-3.99 each), Hubby said "you should learn how to make it!"....so, I did!
There are a few tricks, but nothing hard....the hard part is waiting! It takes about 15 days to become Kombucha...and 5 more if you want flavors....
So, here are my two batches, waiting...and growing...
So, far, so good....
If want to know more...just ask....
Then, I took a class at the sewing shop so I could use my machine
So, for a week I have been "studying" how to use certain features.....
 The first feature is using the new monogramming and scanning parts of the machine....this machine will actually scan the area in the hoop and find perfect center and the thickness of the fabric....wow.
Here I learned out to design a piece...this is my newest design...I hope I remember how to use it.....
I also learned how to use the embroidery unit to Quilt! So, much more to learn...it is amazing...
Anyway, that's not all!
This week, I learned how to make kraut!
Yes, went back for another class, this one was very exciting...we made garlic kraut, beet kraut, and turnip pickles....
Who would've thought? I had no idea...I've been canning for 38 years...and didn't really know the difference between canning pickles (which I will still do) and fermenting pickles.
Fermented pickles, like Kombucha, are loaded with probiotics and good things for you. When you can them...it kills much of the good stuff for your "gut". Anyone heard about "leaky gut"?
Yeah, what fun!
 This is the pounder, a beautiful piece of wood, and much needed tool.
This jar, equals about 3/4 of a gallon. It holds, five pounds of cabbage. Yes, it does. I didn't believe it, but we help make it happen....an amazing task that the pounder makes happen....
The result is a fresh and yummy kraut....not like any other I have had.....
We also did the beet kraut that has red cabbage, red onion, carrots and beets in it. All 5 pounds.
Have any of you made kraut??
And.....on top of it all.....
I am learning piano!
We have a piano in our house...and no one plays....except our daughter....and it just sits there....until now.
It is slow, I am learning on my own, with my daughter "checking" my progress..
So, that is some of what I have been doing for two weeks.
In between, I finished off two quilts and started a wall hanging for a customer. Yup, I have sold a lap quilt and a wall hanging.....
It appears my sewing machine will be very busy.....
Happy Sunday!!
Nancy

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Newest Iron

This is not a paid commercial...I just want to share with you my findings.

You all know I am a quilter.


And something every quilter needs...is an iron! You press every seam as you make it...and press every fabric....
So, a good reliable iron is what a quilter needs.
I had a Black & Decker iron that worked pretty well for two years....then it got too hot, then not hot enough...and just bellied up....
So, I went to Target and bought another just like it, for $15.
It was ok, except one problem, it didn't get quite hot enough, even on the highest setting and then even though it didn't say so on the box, it has a shut-off.
Every quilter I know hates that shut-off.
We sit and sew and turn and press....
So, a shut-off is frustrating...
I searched the stores, and the internet for an iron that would at least have a long shut-off...(30 mins).
I went to Amazon and read almost every review of every iron. I was willing to spend big money....
I thought I wanted the Oliso iron, and they cost about $150+
But, may I suggest you read those reviews, even if you do not buy from Amazon...those reviews are invaluable.
Oliso irons got horrid reviews!
While cruising through Amazon, I came across a recommendation from a seamstress. Seems they need a good quality iron just as I do. She recommended This iron....
It doesn't have a shut-off!!
But, it has everything else I needed!
It's the best yet!
I do not expect any iron to last more than two years...but I expect good steam when I want or need it.
I expect good heat.
I expect just enough weight without breaking a wrist....(rowenta is one that is very heavy)....
I expect to be able to iron on demand....
This iron, like all the others is also made in China (really they all are)....but, it is different!
It has an easy to fill water compartment....and will not leak from there (how many times have you been burned by hot water coming from that compartment??)
 It has both spray and a steam burst, which I absolutely love! Gets those seams that are too stubborn to lie down!
It has a non-stick sole pad and see the shape?? Yeah, the expensive one have that and it's critical for little spaces...if you do sewing of any sort you know what I mean....
I have had it now for about two months. It is easy to fill and has a huge tank for water and comes with a little pitcher for it!
It gets hot pretty darn quick...unlike the Black & Decker one I bought two months before.
It isn't too heavy.
No, it doesn't sit like the Oliso, which sits horizontally and irons when you set your hand on it (but that is a whole other story....read the reviews!)
So, how much did I pay for this marvel???
$18 (Amazon prime)....
Yeah.....just that. Yes, I am a Prime member...totally pays for itself....(that too is another story).
So, while the sewing machine costs thousands (they all do at that level)....
You don't have to pay hundreds for a great iron!
I pretty much love this iron...
It has a long cord....and sits at the ready when I am ready....
It is self-cleaning and easy to use....good thing...I use it a great deal.....
And it was only $18....Honestly, it were to go up...I'd pay for it....
Okay...that's my sales pitch....
I am not getting reimbursed...or anything....(I could use the $$ for fabric LOL)
Just wanted to share my honest opinion on a iron....
Nancy

Sunday, March 19, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Treasure

St. Patricks day was awesome around here!
All our kids and family were doming for dinner! I put two briskets in the roaster with all the veggies and put it on low to cook all day. While it cooked, we cleaned up a bit and I set the table.
I put on the Irish Damask tablecloth...(yeah, I don't have a green one) and a table runner I have. Decorated with three shamrocks, one for each girl and one for us.


The bowls are due to the fact that it's a bit messy...and the rule is to help yourself...very casual...and lots of food...too much on purpose as we send each household home with leftovers, so they can make traditional hash....
After I had set the table I had arranged with Hubby to go get 4 French "bistros" chairs....
A sweet lady, who is beginning her downsizing, was selling these chairs. I was looking and looking for a deal for about two years. I wanted them to supplement the seating for big occasions but didn't want to pay much each.
So, we went down to Laguna Niguel where she lived and sure enough, they are darling!

Well, I love them anyway....$200 for all four! I haven't seen them much less than $169 per chair new.....so to us it was a deal. They are sturdy and lightweight and will fill in seating outside and inside....how cool is that?? They don't stack...but that's ok...they can go in the garage (when we clean it up) and also hang....
Must be the luck of the Irish!!
What a great day it was!
Today, I am painting the tomato boxes out front....so they don't look quite so shabby.....
Have a great one...
Nancy

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I've Been Busy!

I know, I haven't written in what seems like an age. It's true...I don't have much time before I run off to babysit....
but I wanted to share with you all that has been going on.
Our tree out front, the old (58 years old) pepper tree that lost a huge limb during that big storm looked sick...we told the city as they own that tree....and they agreed...it needed to come down (st their cost).
So, one morning last week, they showed up...and in 15 minutes the tree was down!
 They tied a line to it and the other guy just cut it and down it went.
 When we looked at the branches and the trunk, it was a matter of time before it toppled actually, as rot was in the branches and and started to develop in the trunk. Sad part is the wild doves roosted in that tree at night....they have moved on sadly....


In a total of 30 minuets all they guys were gone as was the tree....
Hubby decided we needed more tomato boxes so we found two more to add to what we have...there are now10 tomato plants out front....
These boxes will get painted like the others this weekend...we had run out of paint...
 Here are two boxes. Interesting thing here....we planted the top off of a tomato we liked, one from the market....and now we have tomatoes! There were just enough seeds!
This box has a different variety of tomato....planted from seed....both these boxes got covered with bird netting as last year they ate everything green thing that came up!
And then.....
I have been quilting....for a customer....



 Hubby has been enjoying my quilting...and volunteered to hold both quilts up for me....Isn't he sweet??
Well....I am off....running late...
Have a great day!!
Nancy

Friday, March 10, 2017

Aye...'tis Almost St. Paddy's Day...

With St. Paddy's Day almost here...a week from today, I've been decorating.
No, I am not Irish, but enjoy the day....
So, we hung the flag I got last year...
I added a little leprechaun to my wreath on the door.....
I put out my table runner on the table (I made this two years ago...)
I filled a vase with Valerian as those are the only flowers blooming right now. Roses aren't ready yet.
And last week, I was tired of the wool rug by the door...almost antique but just felt heavy and I wanted something easy to clean and lighthearted....
Isn't it cute?? It's just a simple little throw rug, 4x5...from Amazon....
And then because I took the pillows away from the bench outside...I had to have a pillow, preferably with green....
I found two napkins that I hadn't used in forever...and stitched them together...and voila! A pillow!
It is Irish Damask after all...and soft touch...
So, what do you think??
Nancy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

It's Destiny

Ha! Got ya!
You see, I have a new sewing machine.....it's name is Destiny. No I didn't name her....her name by BabyLock is Destiny II.....
My other machine kinda kept going to the shop...I used it so much over the last 8 years that I wore it out....I know, right?? Over 2,500,000 thread miles....and wore out parts that were replaced last year.
Hubby knew it would happen, just a matter of time.
New sewing machines are really cool....but super expensive as they are all computer driven.
This one even has its feed dogs computerized.
Anyway, I've been putting her through her paces and getting to know Destiny.
I made a table runner and two quilts.

 For example, this is the Dual Feed foot....it replaces those old "walking foot"...which always made more of a mess than help...
See the big rubber "tractor" thingy? (tech term)...well it works beautifully and the back part is much like a motor and plugs into the back of the machine....does the most wonderful job stitching in the ditch I ever did see!
Well....I am learning....
Yesterday, I got out of the house and went shopping with my dear friend and I found this cool box with drawers !
 Isn't it neat? Well, it needs serious cleaning and probably paint...but can you imagine all the stuff it will hold??
 It is deep enough for smaller spools of thread....and all the other stuff that needs organizing....
 I will show you when I get it painted...cause I am leaning that way....

Here's a terrible shot of the top....kinda ugly.....
But it has potential....
Today is a cleaning day....I have stripped the bed and will hang linens out in the sun!! How's your weather???
We are actually gonna have several days of sun....
Nancy

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gardening Between Storms

We have had the most glorious spring like weather! Perfectly warm, little wind and sunny!
It was also "Tomatomania" at the nursery called Roger's in Newport Beach.
Yes, I said Tomatoes!
You see, every year, they have this spring festival which also sells peppers, cukes, herbs, and other summer treasures (all but squash apparently)...
So, we went on Friday and it was crazy busy! Because there is now a restaurant on the property the parking was even crazier!
However, we had a great time finding the tomatoes we love and peppers and cukes....
So, we planted 6 varieties of tomatoes on Friday,and  4 bell peppers, 2 jalepenos, 1 poblano....and cukes on Saturday.
Then, Hubby decided he wanted to plant a Sungold in the middle of the other two pots in front and wanted to buy two more pots on the other side! Wow, I created a gardener!
There is no more trim paint to paint the pots, and we wanted to plant them before this little rain storm comes....
So, we gardened!







I garden looks a little rough right now...and Hubby was fixing a corner of a raised bed the best he could as it was already planted and breaking down....
But by mid spring it should look much better..
And out front
Here you can see the new pots...we hope to get some paint soon...
 And on the other side you can see an older pot (his Sungold pot)....
Here are some seeds we planted in wine shipping packaging....we are starting some seeds from last years phenomenal peppers and sunflowers...I will be potting more sunflowers...
Meanwhile, the birds are singing and the bluebirds are greeting me...
It is most definitely trying to be spring here in So. California...
Even if there is more rain here and there...
Have a great weekend.
Nancy