December 2009


Christmas break was pretty uneventful for the most part. I did get to bring home the Bernina 730e from the shop, which is always fun. We also had quite a snow storm, considering this is Oklahoma. Here are a few pictures to recap the holiday weekend.

At the beginning of the week I started making lots of paper snowflakes, that way there would be some sort of snow around here. The final count is 18, which translates to only about 4 1/2 hours spent cutting, folding, and gluing. *smiles*

Snowflakes at SewFlakes

SnowFlakes at SewFlakes

It started with just 3, but it couldn’t end there. I had to make some for the front window at work. Then I had to make some for our apartment.

Snowflake Bunting

Snowflakes from the ceiling.

Some might think it is a little elementary to make so many paper snowflakes, but they are cute. I also made a gingerbread man chain, cut and colored, but I don’t have a picture of it.

All weekend and week leading up to Christmas the weather reporters couldn’t make up their mind whether it would actually snow on Christmas or not. Well it certainly did snow! It started with rain, which turned to sleet, and finally we got snow – about 6-8″ of it.

I went for a walk in it on Christmas day and some of the drifts were up to 2″, if not higher is some spots. This is unheard of in Oklahoma. Really, the last time we had a winter storm we received about 6″+ inches of ice which tore the city apart! Either way, Tulsa didn’t get as much as Oklahoma City, so all my friends and family are okay.

Gracie in the Snowfall

Gracie in the Snowfall

Gracie, our Schnauzer didn’t really have much of a reaction at first, but after a couple trips outside she became really enthusiastic. (Yes, she wears a jacket when she goes outside. She has to because she had all of her fur cut off.)

Anyway, going back to babysitting the 730e, I made an April Bag sample since I’m going to teach it as a class at the end of January. This is the second time I’ve made this bag. It is super easy to begin with, but the second time went a lot faster. It does help that I omitted the interfacing in the handles this time. I like that the handles are a bit more floppy.

April Bag

I also made a drawstring bag for my Gingher scissors and case. I used this tutorial by BunnyBum. Her tutorial is great. Everything worked out perfect and went together in a jiffy!

Gingher Drawstring Bag

Gingher Case

The bag is even fully lined. Ooh! Awe!!

Gingher bag lined

It is safe to bet that these scissors are as safe as they can be, within reason. Not only are they in their case, but if I accidentally drop them I don’t have to worry about them falling out of their case because it is in a case as well!

That is about all my holiday weekend consisted of, other than a quick dinner at Grandma’s before the storm got to bad. How was your weekend?

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Penguin Stitches

I’m on Facebook all the time!  Seriously I spend about 6 hours on and off through the day on Facebook! This isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds though because most of that is work related. (Oh my job really is the pits – I have to sit in a fabric store and “play” on the computer. If that isn’t the worst job ever I don’t know what is! *note the obvious sarcasm*)

Santa Stitches

Anyway, I was piddling across Facebook and saw that Sublime Stiching was tagged in a few photos.  These stitches were done by Shannon, and I just have to pass them on they are so cute!

Gingergirl Stitches

You can visit Shanon’s blog, here, and see all of her awesome embroidery projects.  If you like the stitches she made and would like to make your own you can get the pattern from Sublime Stitching, here.

(I will add both links to the side of this page for future reference and inspiration!)

I woke up early Wednesday morning, as planned, to get the turkey in the oven. Everything went perfect – almost.

The turkey was suppose to have two bags in it, one for the neck and one for the giblets. Finding the bag for the neck was easy – it was in the stuffing hole just like I thought it would be. However, I looked all over the stuffing hole and didn’t see the other bag. I dumped out the bag containing the neck because I thought they might have decided to consolidate the giblets and neck into one bag, but nope. I picked up the turkey and shook it and nothing fell out. So I figured, “Oops someone forgot the giblets.” Oh well, move on and lets get this bird cooking.

I basted the bird with olive oil and spices, tried to reposition the wings since I stretched them out when shaking it, and put it in the oven. I waited about 45 minutes then put the first glaze of (farm fresh, local) honey on. Then it was time to pass the torch to Erik because I had to go to work.

Erik was on “Turkey Watch” and did a beautiful job. When I came home to pick up the turkey, it was perfect!

I was so proud I took pictures of it before it was carved, unfortunately none of those pictures turned out. Either way, everyone was pretty impressed.

Mrs. Clara, an 82 y.o. lady that works 1 day a week, said she would do the honors of carving the turkey, to which we all obliged because she obviously has more experience than all of us.

Carving the turkey

This went well too, for a few minutes. Then, while I’m sitting there watching her, soaking in the ecstasy that I cooked the turkey, she leans over and whispers to me, “Sweetheart, I think you forgot something,” and she pulls out this wrinkly bag containing the giblets!

Forgotten Giblets

Those darned things we in the neck cavity! Why? is all I have to ask. Why would they put one bag in one hole and one in another? Why wouldn’t they put the neck in the neck hole where it would be easier to see because it is so big, so that the smaller bag could be in clear view inside the stuffing hole? *laughs*

Its okay though, the turkey was great, and no one would have noticed I forgot the bag if I hadn’t told them. We had a great time at the Christmas party, and I definitely learned something new about cooking! (Oh, and I’m sure we will have something to laugh about at future holiday parties. *smiles*)

We are having an employee Christmas party tomorrow at SewFlakes.  I volunteered to cook the turkey.  (Thankfully, Erik will be home tomorrow to watch it as it cooks, while I’m at work.)

About 4:00 this afternoon.

It is 2:15 in the morning, and the turkey is nearly completely thawed.  After sitting in cold water for the last 12 hours, it was a close call, but it will be ready to cook in the morning. Yay!

I will wake up early (oh around 8:00am haha), baste it, and get it in the over, and then make the gravy.  Everything will be perfect!

In other news, I finally took a (bad) picture of the neck warmer I made for my Grandma’s Christmas gift.


I used lentils in the bag instead of corn.  It really works well, and the lentils are smoother than the lumpy corn.  The only thing wrong with it is that it smells like cattle feed when you heat it! I will add some lavender essential oil to it before I give it to her.  (According to aromatherapy theories it should be relaxing every time she heats it up.  We shall see.)

Another thing with using lentils – you don’t have to heat them as long because they get hot quick! 2 – 2 1/2 minutes should due fine for a while.

I will try to post again, later tonight, with the out comes of the turkey, though I’m confident enough to say I’m sure it will be delicious!

Trina

It was my intention yesterday to work on the quilt I am making for Erik (which I will have to post pictures of later) while I was baking the cake.  However, my sewing time didn’t go according to plan.  Instead, I saw a tutorial that a SewFlakes QBS partner posted for making a disappearing 9-patch and I decided I just had to give it a try.

For once I had the perfect fabric already in my stash – a fat quarter pack by Andover.  The pack of 8 features 6 pieces from Kathy Hall’s “Intrigue” line and 2 pieces from Gail Kessler’s “Dimples” line.  How lucky was I to pick this pack up for free while SewFlakes was having a buy 10 fq’s get 10 free sale after Thanksgiving!

So having decided that it wouldn’t hurt to have two projects, okay three projects, fine! four quilting projects going at one time I started cutting out the 2 1/2″ squares.  The 8 fq’s yielded 448 – 2 1/2″ squares.  The original tutorial calls for bigger squares, but since I knew I didn’t have enough fabric to make a quilt, I thought I should cut smaller pieces to get more blocks.  With more blocks I should be able to make a decent sized quilt after adding sashing and borders – plus more blocks will make it look “fuller”.

9-patch cut into quarters

After sewing the normal 9-patch block I cut it into quarters.  Then I rearranged, this part was all fine and dandy.

Rearranging the 9-patch

After achieving the desired look of the block you sew all the pieces back together into the square to finish the block.  Or…

Seam ripper

…if you are like me, you realize that your corners are off by 1/8th” so you sit and rip the seam out and try again.  For the record, an 1/8th” wouldn’t matter on a galloping horse, however, a block 1/2″ smaller than the other finished would, so I had to redo it.

Finished block

This is the finished result.  The corners are still off ever so slightly, in the center, and the block needs to be squared.  All in all, after spending about 1 1/2 hours making the first block (sewing, eating, talking, undoing, and resewing) I think I’m going to like the results of this quilt.   I’ve already picked a name for this quilt as well.  I will name it “Mysteries”.

That is all I have so far!

I hope you stay warm, as the temperature seems to be dropping quickly here.

Trina

I haven’t done much cooking since this spring.  Of course I have cooked, but only the boring normal things like spaghetti! So it is high time I get back in the kitchen!

Friday night Erik and I made chocolate chip cookies.  He laid out all the ingredients then I went in to mix it all together and do the dough plopping.  Doing this made me wonder why I had stopped baking in the first place.  It isn’t like it takes long or takes a big exertion of energy.  Besides, during the holidays the house feels more cheerful if there are smells of baked treats welcoming you as you step in the door.

Tonight I made a Cinnamon Buttermilk Coffee Cake using this recipe from Cooks.com.  It turned out alright though I may tweak the recipe if I try this one again.  Here are my notes…

***Cooking the cake in a bundt pan takes about 15 minutes less than the recipe calls for when cooking in a 9×9-inch pan.

***Make sure you drop your egg into the mixing bowl and not the bowl with the topping mixture in it.  If you get distracted by something (like your imagination) and you drop the egg in the topping mixture don’t worry about it.  Just mix the topping in with the rest of the cake and call it good.

***When dusting the pan with flour, before pouring the cake batter in, it is possible to use to much flour.  If you use to much try banging the pan on the wall of the sink to knock as much as possible out of the pan before adding the cake mix.  If you notice there are a lot of white flour spots all over your cake after you have cooked and released it from the pan sprinkle powdered sugar over it – no one will notice.  (Powdered sugar will also cover up the fact you had to mix the original topping into the cake after dumping the egg into it.

***If I try this recipe in the future instead of using a different one I will probably add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar.  Coffee cake is suppose to be a little bit more dense than this one turned out, and it wouldn’t hurt if it was just a tad sweeter.

***I didn’t have buttermilk, so substituting the buttermilk for a cup of regular milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar worked out great.  (When using this substitution put your vinegar in the measuring cup first then add milk to the 1 cup line, then stir and let set for a few minutes while you mix the dry ingredients.  Filling the measuring cup with 1 cup milk first then adding the tablespoon of vinegar could be the little difference in the density of the cake.)

“It won’t make a difference on a galloping horse.”

This is a saying I picked up from the ladies that I sew with. One morning after finishing a technique class on learning how to match stripes and do mitered corners I took my sample to show the ladies. Knowing that all these ladies were seasoned seamstresses I figured it would be easier to point out the flaws rather than hear them tell me.

Before I showed them I told them the flaws – one of my corners had a small hole because I didn’t meet my stitching lines and on the other corner my stripes were off by about 1/16th-inch. After stating my claim to imperfection I held it up for them to see. Much to my surprise they gave me a grade of “A+”. (I thought it would be a low “B”.) Then they preceded to tell me that once I quilted it, it would all work out, and if it still wasn’t perfect, “Well, it won’t make a difference on a galloping horse!”

This saying really tickles me. It isn’t an excuse for mediocrity, but an allowance you give yourself when you’ve done our best and can live with it. (Because no one gives your work as critical of an eye as you do!)

So this blog is going to be a record of my sewing adventures and misadventures, not to mention the same about other daily activities thrown in the mix. I hope it inspires you to go into your life and do whatever it is you are passionate about! Not everything you do will be successful, but it won’t all be a complete failure either. (Besides, no one will notice on a galloping horse.) *winks*

Trina