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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

More Tiny Dress

To me smocking is such a timeless technique and it perfect for creating heirloom pieces.  So I finally did it, I purchased a pleater and well these little dresses are the perfect little projects to practice smocking!
I LOVE tiny little dresses and even though this one is 4 times as large as my earlier tiny dresses I do believe this one is my favorite!  I love the cottage chic feel of this precious little dress.  Wouldn't it make the most precious decoration for a little girl.
Well, you all (all 3 of you) must be really tired of seeing my crazy posts about new techniques I'm learning....  :)  but I do love posting pictures of my projects; mostly because I often go back and look at past projects for inspiration for new projects.  This one will be super hard to let go of so if I sell it...it will not be cheap :)
Here is my first smocking project


Saturday, November 28, 2015

How to marry your needle, the most important thing you can learn :)

Sounds silly doesn't it?  Well this little tip has saved me from going bald tearing my hair out because of tangles in my handwork thread.  I even use this technique on the thinnest of threads and the tiniest of needles!  This has got to be on the top of my list of "best things I've ever learned" for handwork.  I use it for embroidery, binding and yes of course on applique which I have found causes most of my stress in handwork.  Those thin little threads tangle and knot up so fast right before your eyes like magic!
Well this will eliminate 98% of those obnoxious little knots!

Step 1:  Thread your needle leaving about a 2 inch tail as you see in the image below.

Step 2:  As close as you can get to the needle on the 2 inch tail (or longer if you need) pierce the tail with the needle but do not pull it through the thread.

Step 3:  Then do this again a little further up on the tail.

Step 4: Then do this one more time (yes one more time) a little further down on the tail. :)

Step 5:  Now slide the first pierce you made down to the eye of the needle and pull on the working thread (the other end not the 2 inch tail) slightly to straighten it.

Step 6: And Finally pull the other two piercings down past the needle using your index finger and thumb and then straighten and smooth it with your fingers till you do not feel any knots. that is all there is to it.  

Oh and now enjoy doing needle turned applique or sewing your binding on or what ever hand work you have handy without the constant untangling of those nasty little knots!  

If this was useful to you.  Please share it with a friend so they too can keep their hair in tact :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

In the hoop doggy belly bands!

Yes I finally did it.  I've taken the time to design a doggy belly band that can be made in the hoop.
You do have to have an embroidery field of 5.71 x 10.04 to make these in the hoop.
So here it is, an in the hoop doggy belly band.  You can get the pattern HERE.

Monday, October 12, 2015

More Mr. Potato Head Applique Patterns

Mr. Potato Head was my all-time favorite toy as a child so I couldn't resist creating a series of applique blocks just to celebrate him.

One more border and this top is done :)

All of them together


Block # 4 

Block #13 

Block #10

Block #11

Block #12

Block #14

Block #8

Block # 15

Block  #16, (24" center block pattern).

Block #6

Block #7

Block #3

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mr. Potato Head Applique Pattern

Mr. Potato Head was my all-time favorite toy as a child so I couldn’t resist creating a series of applique blocks just to celebrate him. I'm planning a nice size quilt of 12 small blocks and one large center block.  :)

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Braised Short Ribs

Based on Bon Appetit's recipe
5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons filtered organic coconut oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 750 ml Cabernet Sauvignon
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 350°. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. drippings from pot.
Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2½ hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over or with creamy polenta.
Here I've served with polenta fried and fresh yard long beans.

Pork Ragu & Polenta

based on Bon appetit's recipe
Ingredients for Ragu
3 pounds boneless pork butt, same as you'd use for pulled pork
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup full-bodied red wine
1 28-ounce can fire roasted whole peeled tomatoes
4 sprigs thyme (fresh)
2 sprigs rosemary (fresh)
2 bay leaves

For the Polenta
3 cups filtered water
3/4 cups coarse polenta (not quick-cooking)
¼ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (from about 2 ounces), plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Cook pork, turning often, until evenly browned, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour off pan drippings.
Wipe out any burned bits from pot, but leave the golden-brown pieces (doing this will keep the finished sauce from tasting bitter). Add onion and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to brown and caramelize, 12–15 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly darkened in color, 5–8 minutes.
Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by about half, 5–8 minutes.
Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go, then add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves; stir in 2 cups water. Add pork with any juices accumulated on the platter; season with salt and pepper.
Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until pork is falling-apart tender, sauce is thickened (it will be thicker than a typical pasta sauce), and flavors have melded, 2½–3 hours.
Using 2 forks, break up pork into pieces or shred it (your choice!); taste and season with salt and pepper.
Pork can be cooked 5 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill in sauce.

Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a large pot. Whisking constantly, gradually add polenta; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking often, until polenta is tender and creamy, 20–25 minutes (if polenta becomes too thick too soon, loosen mixture by adding more water and continue cooking). Add butter and ½ cup Parmesan to polenta and whisk until melted; season with salt and pepper.
Spoon polenta into bowls or onto a platter and top with pork. Add more Parmesan over top and drizzle with oil.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Jelly Roll Strip Starburst Block Swap

Here they are FINALLY.  This is a block swap we are doing on the Mug Rugs and Pot Holders Swaps Oh My group.  We had 9 participants and of course 2 people that joined couldn't follow through (this always happens in block swaps).  So one other participant and myself have to make two more sets of 9 of these guys.  This block is not the easiest and the person who wrote the pattern well lets just say shouldn't be writing patterns.  I had to use a little over 1/8th inch seam allowance to get the finished size correct on these blocks.  I mean seriously.  I've got the second set all cut out and ready to sew together.  That will take about 3 days and since they are due in February I have plenty of time.  Each of us has a different block in this set.  Here are the two I'll get finished soon.  :)

Oh and here is another swap....this one is a mug rug and the swap was called "What's all the Buzz about".  This one was fun to make, not perfect but fun.

Missouri Star's Irish Chain Completed

This is so exciting and I'm not sure why I waited so long to put the binding on this quilt.  I made this one for us, yes for us and it's an extra large king so that it would hang over our bed sides and be super cozy.  No fighting over the blankets with this massive quilt!  This is the first quilt I've ever made to actually use.  :)  I think I'll do more just for us, I mean really what have I been quilting for if not to enjoy these beautiful creations?????

Spoolie Birds Quilt top ready for quilting

This is a pattern on Craftsy called Spoolie Birds.  I didn't follow the instructions completely mostly because I did not want to do the scrappy sashing but I do like the way it turned out.  The sashing fabric it the cutest fabric EVER :)  it has the word meow all over it and I added a kitten to the bottom to make it playful.  I think I'll change the kitten embroidered face a bit because I think I have his whiskers to far from his little nose. :)  I'll show you this one again when I have it quilted.

Betsy's Closet Quilt blues :(

I decided to practice my free motion quilting on my Betsy's Closet quilt so I used a Dritz blue chalk marker to mark my line....  didn't realize that the blue marks would not come out of the quilt easily.  I washed it 3 time and it's still there.  Very disappointed in a chalk marker that is marketed for quilters. Seems like they would test their product so that we wouldn't ruin our quilts we worked so hard on.  Oh well, here it is after three washing's :(

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Block swaps...

I was included in a secret Facebook group for swapping blocks.  Here are what we've done so far.  These are the winder and fall block swaps.  I'm hoping for a red block swap next time :) .

My blocks for the fall block swap.

My blocks for the winter block swap

Everyone's blocks for the winter block swap.