Mosaic Baby Quilt

 This is my first mosaic quilt. This is on one side of a baby quilt.
 The image of our friend's toddler is easier to see when the image is small or the quilt is farther away. 

Up close, the mosaic looks like a jumble of small blocks and the face if harder to see. 

The other side of the mosaic quilt has three butterflies and a caterpillar. 

The purple border around the butterflies has heart stitches.  

 The wings of each butterfly have a different designer stitch. This is one is a vine with leaves. The butterfly heads and bodies are trapunto. 

 This butterfly has bows on its wings. 

 This butterfly has arrows. 

Red & Gold Candle Mat

Today, I finished the red & gold candle mat. 

Here is the video tutorial: Video 

Folded Candle Mat

I made a folded candle mat. I plan to make another one that red and gold. I'll post when it's completed. 

I found the tutorial --> Folded Candle Mat Tutorial

Mosaic Quilt

This is my mozaic quilt so far. I'm in the process of sewing each row and column. 

This is how I made my pattern. I printed a black and white photo onto lined graph paper. Then I made a cheat sheet of my fabric in black and white as well. Then I matched the fabric shades to the photo shade. The part that I wasn't happy about was the chin area. There appears to be too much light coloring. In the future, I'll have to watch for such a problem to avoid it. I'll doctor it up a bit with slightly darker shades to create more dimension in the mozaic. 

When I matched the fabric to the photo, I wrote down the letter or number that corresponded with the square on the photo. I wrote letters and numbers on the organizer. I kept the fabric squares in a bead/jewelry organizer. 

More to come later. 

Sewing hacks

Here are some of my favorite sewing hacks and tips. 
 This is the spare spool holder on my machine. I place a large cap on the bottom and then one of the smaller ones near the top. 

 Then I can use it for a spool that is too large for the regular horizontal spool holder. The bottom cap is where the spool rests. The smaller cap prevents the spool from wobbling. 

Sometimes, I forget to remove a pin and then hit it with my needle. If I pin my projects parallel to the foot, then I don't need to worry about removing them because the pins don't get near the needle and I never hit the pins. 

Pumpkin Carving

 I carved pumpkins again this year. I used a Drummel tool with the carving bits to do my pumpkins. 

 This one is supposed to be a dog. I traced a photo of one of our dogs, but I had trouble. The tracings either looked like a teddy bear or a pig. I tried several times and then decided this would have to do. 

 I found this pattern on Pinterest. After I finished carving it, I dropped the pumpkin and the mouth area fell off. I had to fix it with toothpicks. You can see one of the toothpicks if you look closely. 

 I used a photo of one of our cats to make this template. This is my favorite pumpkin this year. 

 This is the photo that I traced of our cat, Mystique. Not all her tabby coat markings are on the traced paper, but this gave me a good starting point. 

 This is the cat template. I used an Exacto knife and cut out the carving areas. Sewing pins tacked the paper onto the pumpkin and I marked the lines with a red Sharpie fine point marker. Notice that not all my lines meet. 

 Last year, my hands were sore trying to scrape out the pumpkins so that the Drummel tool could cut deep enough for the light to show through. This year, I ordered this from Amazon. It was much easier and a lot quicker to scrape down the pumpkins. 

Gift for Niece

 This is a fleece blanket for my niece's birthday. She wanted zombies. I used a tutorial from the internet making scalloped edges, faux braids. When I took a close up image of the braid, the details got lost in the colors. 

It is supposed to be a no-sew pattern, but I used a walking foot and a zigzag stitch to secure the edge of the blanket about half an inch from where the braids start. 

 My niece's birthday is in December and this is now ready. 

Butterfly Quit progress

Here is the progress of the butterfly quilt. I still need to add a border before I work on the back. 

Butterfly Block

This is my butterfly block. It is applique. The head and body are trapunto. I hand stitched the head and body onto the green butterfly fabric. I used a simple chain stitch to connect the antenna tips to the head. I used the sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch to sew on the wings. I need a total of 3 butterfly blocks and I think I'm going to use a different stitch for each block. I haven't decided if I'm going to use white thread and give the butterfly a smiling face.  

Wedding Star Project

Update: I have added the paper piecing pattern for two sizes. The 6 inch block pattern will require four to make a finished 12 inch wedding star block. The 8 inch block pattern will require four to make a 16 inch wedding star block. 

To print the patterns, place mouse over the image, right click and pick "copy image". Paste image in a word document or any other program that offers printing. You may have to adjust to get the gauge to match the actual measurement.

This is the 6 inch pattern, page 1 of 2. I placed a measuring gauge on the page to help with accuracy. Print 4 for each block. 

 This is the 6 inch pattern, page 2 of 2. I placed a measuring gauge on the page to help with accuracy. Print 4 for each block. 

This is the 8 inch pattern, page 1 of 4.  Gauge included for accuracy. Print 4 for each block. 

 This is the 8 inch pattern, page 2 of 4.  Gauge included for accuracy. Print 4 for each block. 

 This is the 8 inch pattern, page 3 of 4.  Gauge included for accuracy. Print 4 for each block. 

This is the 8 inch pattern, page 4 of 4.  Gauge included for accuracy. Print 4 for each block. 

*** end of update, original blog below***

I have seen some wonderful wedding star projects. I haven't had the time to do one, yet, but I hope to do so soon. I did figure out how to make the pattern for it, though.

I plan to use four of the paper pieced sections (8X8 inches) above to create a full block.

 This is a version of a dark background quilt. 

This is a version of a light background quilt. I plan to make my quilts bigger than four full stars. My quilts will have eight to ten full stars wide by eight to ten full stars tall. 

My First Chili Recipe

2 pounds ground beef
3 cans of Bush's Best Chili Beans in mild sauce
2 (28 ounces) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 large onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
Optional: Shredded cheese & crackers

Brown the beef in a skillet. Drain grease. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Heat until boiling. Lower heat to simmer. Simmer 2 hours to allow flavors to mix.

This can be made in a crock pot. Cook until ground beef is browned, 4 to 6 hours.

Burp Cloth Project

I made some burp cloths using some fun fabrics with fairies.

 I didn't cut them apart for any quilt block design because I liked the fabrics so much just as they were. 

This is a pink fabric with fairies. Both will be used in a future quilt.

I sewed the fabric, right side against the cotton diaper, on all sides leaving a 4 inch gap to invert the burp cloth so the right side was then out. I clipped the corners to reduce a little of the bulk. 

After turning the fabric right side out, I used a zipper foot and sewed along the "bump" that the two fabrics created with the extra layers along the outer edge. 

Finally, I hand sewed the opening closed.

I had two different sets. I made three of each. 

Pressing pad idea.

 I have a different desk now and needed a different ironing set up. Here is a sleeve that I made to place over a wooden cutting board. There is a layer if Insul-Bright between two layers of fabric. Then I sewed that into a sleeve. 

 The wooden cutting board is a little difficult to see on the wooden desk, but the sleeve slips easily on and off for washing. 

You can see the handle of the cutting board on the left. The cutting board is the best that I have found so far to prevent heat from getting to the desk. It is also thick enough that steam doesn't damage the desk. This is small enough to be portable and works well for my quilt blocks and other smaller projects. 

Dyeing Raw Eggs

These are raw eggs and not for hiding. 

 From left to right: green, red, blue, and purple. 

I put these back in the fridge to use for cooking. I used cold raw brown eggs because that was what I had. Even though the eggs were brown, I liked the results. 

Items needed:
-Frosting dye/gel dye
-Container for dyeing (I used pint size canning jars.)

For each jar/container, add one cup of water or enough to cover the eggs completely. (I used cold out of the faucet) Mix enough frosting dye into the water to get the color you want. (I made mine darker so it wouldn't take as much time.) Add 1 Tbl of vinegar per cup of water in the container. 

Gently place egg(s) in the container(s) and check every 5 minutes until you get the desired color. Gently remove eggs and place on paper towel over newspapers to dry for a couple of minutes. Return colored eggs to the refrigerator. 

Now you have pretty eggs to use as you wish. 

The green and red eggs took 10 minutes to reach the desired colors. The blue egg took 15 minutes. The purple egg took the longest at 20 minutes. 

For food safety, do not keep the eggs out of the refrigerator long enough to come to room temperature. 

Why would someone want to dye eggs and not hide them? Because we have no little ones in the home. Older kids (and adults) like the fun of colored eggs, but do not want to hunt for them. I plan to give raw dyed eggs to some friends and family for Easter so they can make breakfast omelets or anything else they would like. 

*CAUTION! Leaving the eggs in vinegar too long will soften the shells. Okay for hard boiled eggs, but now raw. 

Caramel Apple Poke Cake Recipe

Yellow box cake, prepare as directed.
2 cans apple pie filling
Caramel ice cream sauce or syrup. Sauce is thicker
1 - 16 oz tub whipped topping.
*optional: 1 cup nuts, such a pecan or walnut. 

Prepare yellow cake as per box directions. While still hot, poke holes in the top with a wooden spoon. Some people like to poke all the way to the bottom of the pan. I like to just break a hole in the top to a depth of 1/2 inch to 1 inch. 

Pour half a jar of caramel sauce over the cake and use a spatula or spoon to move the sauce toward the poked holes. The heat of the cake will encourage the sauce to penetrate the cake. 

While the cake is still warm, spread the apple pie filling over the top of the cake. I needed 2 cans to make a nice even coverage. Allow the cake to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before moving it to the refrigerator to cool completely. 

After chilled, spread the whipped topping over the cake and use the rest of the caramel sauce to drizzle over the whipped topping. If using nuts, add at this time. 

Alternatives that I have used for this recipe:
Cherry pie filling with chocolate syrup. 
Raspberry pie filling with butterscotch.

Light Box

  I used an LED light and an ArtBin storage unit to make a light box. 

  Here is the LED light and I added a sheet of aluminum foil to reflect any bouncing light back to the lid.