Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Princeton Library Featherweight Day

It has been SUCH AN EXCITING time!! Mary was here...and then, just as we were recovering from all that action -- JACKIE came home (from North Carolina) for a visit. SO MANY THINGS TO PLAN AND DO..!!
Cousin Jackie, on the left -- with her sister Linda. (LK of the TMBC)...
Jackie took this picture of the four of us. (Sandy, me, Linda K. and Linda P.)  EVERY single Tuesday morning -- this is where we sit. We do our weekly "downloads"...and there is always a Sew and Tell to share...
The only thing that is more fun than showing and sharing sewing projects is actually getting together to DO SOME SEWING PROJECTS...So, for Jackie's visit -- we reserved the back room of the Princeton Library for another FEATHERWEIGHT SEWING DAY!!
My little hometown branch library is in our 100 year old former bank building.
I visit this particular building two or three times a week...
Last summer, the back room was used for the kick-off of the summer reading program.
Dawn always has a lot of activities planned for the kids.
But on this day -- WE STARTED WITH A BACON PIZZA..
Then, we set our Featherweights up.
And GOT TO SEWING..!!
Sandy is our official photographer (we have our own private page on Facebook) -- so she TOOK all these library pictures, and posted them...and I just realized she's not in any of them!!
AND YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT WE MADE THAT DAY!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Phyllis and T-shirt Quilts

I am DEFINITELY on a roll with Mary Mulari's new ragged edge-shirt quilts. There are so many things about it that appeal to me. For one thing -- it is allowing a t-shirt to BE A T-SHIRT..!!

Mary's method maintains the soft, flexible personality of all your favorite t-shirts...all those memories and smiles -- combines them with some warm flannel -- and -- WOW...!! What a great idea!!
When Mary comes to town -- we always have our "Rita's Sew Fun" Reunion. Phyllis, Mary, me, Judy and my sister Ronda.
This is a picture from last year, after our visit to the Figge Art Museum, Phyllis and Mary were admiring the napkin folding at the Hotel Blackhawk...
This year, Phyllis couldn't join us -- but Mary left some "gifts" for her. I called Phyllis to see if we could get together for lunch:

Me:  What day is good for you this week?
Phyllis:  I don't know if this week is going to work.  Andy (her daughter) is bringing over a basket of t-shirts from her nephew.  He's graduating from high school in May, and if we don't get started soon, we'll never get his quilt done in time.
Me:  YOU'RE MAKING A TRADITIONAL QUILT OUT OF T-SHIRTS?
Phyllis:  Yes, and we have to get them all cut down, and add the interfacing to the back...

At that point, I cut her off...and said..."I'm coming to your house in the morning. Mary Mulari is about to save you $250 and three months of your time..."

IT WAS GREAT.  I felt like a SuperHero!! I swooped in with an example of a finished quilt (thanks, Warren) -- Mary's new book/pattern -- and the perfect burgundy flannel flat sheet to use for the backing of the new ragged edge t-shirt quilt.
I had breakfast with Phyllis, her daughter Andrea and her THREE girls
Mary's new system will save them SO MUCH TIME...not to mention the money!!
And here's another thing about traditional t-shirt quilts. Like everything else in this world -- they have a lifespan. The truth is, this quilt won't be the one they put on the bed when they move into their first house. High School t-shirts fall into the same category as high school class rings. If you're doing it right -- it's a phase you move through..and that big, giant, expensive t-shirt quilt ends up folded, under a bed or in a tub in the attic...

BUT -- as a soft, ragged edge flannel  blanket weight, it becomes everybody's favorite sofa cover-up...

And THAT's a very good thing!!

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Today's MMWI:  258.8.  Yippee Kayee!!  I lost one pound...which doesn't sound like much, but I AM EXCITED...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The NEW way to make T-SHIRT QUILTS

When Mary comes to Iowa -- we ALWAYS have work to do. Sometimes, she uses my Iowa crew as a focus group..we try things on, share our input - that kind of thing. It's VERY cool. Last year, Mary was working on her new recycled t-shirt book (it didn't have an actual title at the time)...and we had great fun chipping away at t-shirt mountain in my basement.
And, as you know -- we spent some time at my sister Rondás house -- looking at her ragged edge flannel quilts.
Ronda has done scores of these quilts...she can hammer one out in a week or so...
Taking my lessons from Ronda -- we've made these ragged edge quilts with Lilly and Memphis -- and last year, Warren got one for Christmas, too.  I incorporated some t-shirts. His favorite, Thomas train, his Dad's football team, etc...
That blanket quickly became his favorite thing to sleep with (Frankie, too)...
Mary's new book, "Second Chance T-Shirt Gifts" has LOTS OF GREAT IDEAS -- and using t-shirts to make a ragged edge quilt is a REAL WINNER.
For sooo many reasons. For one thing -- it's basically a "quilt as you go" project -- so you don't have to spend the extra money to hire a long-arm quilter to finish off your t-shirt quilt. for another thing -- if you have ever made a traditional t-shirt quilt -- you know how time consuming it is...you have to cut the t-shirt fronts, interface them, sew the sashing, and once you have the top done -- you need to add the batting, have it quilted, and then do the binding.

Making that quilt will takes weeks -- if not months -- and it will end up costing you hundreds of dollars. WHICH IS WHY MARY'S SYSTEM is sooo genius. Because you can do every bit of it yourself -- and, depending on the size, and your devotion -- you can get the whole thing done in just a few days.

If I'm not explaining it well enough -- you can check out the new Sewing With Nancy shows -- which explain the method completely...

 http://video.wpt.org/video/2365855241/

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Secret to an ALWAYS Moist Cake

My computer is giving me fits lately -- so I am blaming it for the blogging lapse. Although, who are we kidding -- I think I bought this laptop in 2009...so it is BEYOND old...

Remember when appliances would last for decades? Growing up, we had ONE toaster...for at least 20 years. Nowadays, we spend all that money on computers and we just accept that they are obsolete after two or three years. If measured in dog years, my Dell laptop is about 160 years old...

Anyway -- I DID PROMISE to share my secret to an ALWAYS incredibly moist cake...and this is strange, but it has NEVER FAILED ME...
At Linda's birthday lunch -- the restaurant charged me 50 cents per person to "plating" fee. I was fine with that. But, when the waitress brought the cake to the table, she asked if the cook could have a piece? I was flattered and said of course...then, before we left, another waitress stopped by our table to tell us how delicious the cake was...lol...
At that point, I wondered if I might charge them a 50 cent per person "eating" fee??
I always start by making a basic chocolate cake mix.  The brand does NOT matter...
I bake the cake in a rectangle cake pan. While it's cooking, I put

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup);
1 cup of sugar, and
1/2 cup of evaporated milk (or regular milk)

 into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add 1 tsp. of vanilla at the end.

When the cake is done -- I take it out of the oven, and poke it all over (I use my turkey forks to make a lot of holes at one time)...then I pour the hot boiled mix over the cake.  It will look wrong.  Completely wet.  Like the cake will NEVER soak up all the liquid...

But -- not to worry.  It will.  And when it cools, you frost it as per usual...peanut butter frosting is my favorite...but you can use whatever frosting you like.

Honestly -- I never thought I invented this trick -- but I can't find it anywhere.  Does anybody know where this idea comes from??

Your cake will be FANTASTIC...and it will stay moist for days.  (I'm just guessing about that -- because cake doesn't last at my house beyond the second day...)

 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Birthday Surprises!!

For cousin Linda's birthday, we had a little surprise cooked up...
On her birthday, we had our usual TMBC breakfast -- and Linda brought a big sew and tell.  (she is REALLY getting into it since she got her Featherweight).
Linda Phillips gave her a hand-made card...(like THAT was the actual gift, eh?!)
Because the REAL GIFT was that her sister Jackie was coming in (from North Carolina) for a Birthday visit!! Although Linda knew Jackie was coming -- she didn't know we were all going to hook up for her special Birthday Luncheon at the Captain's Table, a kinda fancy restaurant in Moline, Illinois...
SURPRISE!!  Linda, me, Linda P., Sandy, Jackie and their mother -- my Aunt Adda.
Linda had the pork tenderloin. GREAT FOOD, PEOPLE...
I took a picture of everybody eating the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing...
Me, the birthday girl -- and my amazing chocolate cake.
Tomorrow -- I'm going to share my secret for taking a cake mix and creating the most decadent, delicious, moist cake. You won't believe how easy it is...and I can't believe I never shared this secret before...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Splendid Sampler Catch-Up

AFTER ALMOST A YEAR -- the Splendid Sampler is coming to an end. Two of our TMBC members have been absolutely DEVOTED to keeping up with the new blocks as they've been issued (TWO A WEEK)...and I've gotta say -- their efforts have been IMPRESSIVE...
Seeing the new Splendid Sampler blocks every week has become a big part of our TMBC get-togethers..
Every week, we got to see three different versions of each new block design...
Sandy was determined to catch up after the holidays...
Even though there were a LOT OF EXTRA BONUS blocks
But she did it!
Linda has been making pillowcases.
I brought a ring for show and tell..
Could it be real?
It's a very unusual setting...I got it at an auction, years ago.  In a box full of other rings...
LP's first picture always looks like this.
Then I wait...and get THIS FACE...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Children and Valentine's Day

Warren stays overnight at our house one night a week. His mom drops him off on Wednesday afternoon, and he spends the night and we have him all day Thursday.
After his bath, he puts on his favorite pajamas, and watches YouTube videos with Grandpa. (fun with Ferrets, or any kind of train video).
When Warren goes to bed, he wants Frankie to go, too. 
But as soon as Warren falls asleep, Frankie sneaks out of the room
Uncle Ross built a fort out of large cardboard boxes.
NOTHING could be more fun than that, eh?
On this day, we were having pancakes for supper.  Warren ALWAYS wants sprinkles on his pancakes now...
And I thought it would be fun to use some heart shaped cookie cutters.
A GREAT Valentine breakfast idea!  Warren wanted to take these home to Lilly.
Except that he ate most of them...
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 Monday Morning Weigh In (MMWI):   259.8

(I know it's a squeaker...but, fingers crossed -- I have seen the LAST of the 260's..!  And it's been awhile...)