Well, it’s a new year and I’m on to new projects. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted updates and although the intention is good, somehow I don’t seem to update as often as I would like. I’m just going to start small with one of the fun projects that I did for the holidays. These paper pieced Santa’s were my holiday ornaments this year. I had so much fun doing them that I was sad to think I can’t do them and give them again next year. So I’m on the hunt. I still have a couple of months to think about it.
This was a flex frame Christmas. Or what I mean to say is I made lots of flex frame pouches this year for Christmas gifts. It’s really kind of addicting. Once I figured out a pattern it was hard for me to leave them alone.
When I was trying to decide what to make that would be fast, easy and fun I always start with zip pouches. The friends who have known me for a long time however have zip pouches. I do like to make them. I find them useful and it helps me feel organized.
This year I remembered seeing some flex frame tutorials and thought this might be fast and easy. I read a few tutorials that I found on the internet and then searched for flex frames. My friend Amazon of course had many sources for flex frames. My confusion was that they were all given in metric measurements. I used a converter tool to see what size they really were in inches and bought a package of 30. I knew that I would make several for Christmas and I had an event in January that I could use them for and then would still have a few left for future projects.
When I got the frames the first step was to create a pattern. The first one I decided was too deep. By the time I opened the pouch, it was hard to reach the bottom. The second time the channels for the frame were a little bit too long and wide. Once I had a pattern I cut and sewed several at one time. They were so cute it was hard to stop. I have about 6 more to make this week and then I think I’m done for a bit and ready to get back to finishing several more baby quilts that I’ve started and put aside.
I’ve made it through Christmas. Tomorrow is Aaron’s birthday so dinner again but I love to have the kids around and don’t mind cooking if they will come and visit for a while.
Part of the bigger family Christmas celebration this year was a handmade gift exchange. We each had the name of a family member. The only guideline was something you made. I enjoyed seeing what everyone created for their giftee. I had Kim’s name. The item that I had planned on making didn’t happen. I ran out of time when my mother became ill and ended up with a 5 day hospital stay from the 15th to the 20th. I had finished most of the other projects and knew that I would have plenty of time to create this gift. I’m not going to mention what the gift is. She will probably get this for another occasion because now I have the pattern and all the supplies. My second idea came together quickly. Kim is a knitter and last fall I traded a friend some market bags for yarn that she had spun into a beautiful skein just right for knitting. I passed this on to Kim with a bag that I made for her to carry her knitting in. It’s easy to tuck in a bag or a suitcase. I had also included a little pair of scissors. After the gift opening, I told her that I almost put a ribbon on the scissors and attached it to the bag so they would not be so easily misplaced. She said that she would love that. I ended up opening the side of the bag and attaching a D ring. This D ring is now hard at work holding a clip that has the scissors, a tape measure and a needle book attached. They are all long enough to leave attached to the bag and still be used but the clip can also be unhooked and the tools used. It’s big enough that it will be noticed if the bundle is set down and yet small and light enough to easily live in the bag until they are needed.
During the summer I bought a die cutter to do applique faster and more easily. I used it a couple of times and put it away because I had trouble getting all the pieces to cut correctly and I had some adhesive that didn’t work well. I decided with Christmas gifts on the horizon I needed to get it out again and see if I could remedy the problems and have some fun. I’ve had mixed success. I had both Heat and Bond and also some Wonder Under which are iron on fusible that act like double stick tape. I also tried some spray on adhesive on the cutting mat rather than the liquid that came with the machine. I also ordered a Christmas die from the Internet as these no longer seem to be available in the area stores. I certainly with they were easier to find because I would certainly buy some more.
I found that the machine seems to prefer the Wonder Under so I just bought more of that. I also realized that because this machine will cut paper for scrapbooking as well as fabric, that some of the cuts are not easily stitched around due to the intricacies and the fine detail. This has led to some experimentation with the applique. Instead of a solid applique stitch I’ve done some regular zig zag and also some of the machine stitches that look like hand stitching. I also tried a free form straight stitch that loosely follows the outline of the applique. This seems to be a very popular style right now. I’m looking forward to trying some more. Weekend.. here we come!
As it’s getting closer to holiday time my family starts to think about lefse. If you’re not Scandinavian, you might not know what lefse is. For those that don’t know or haven’t heard of this delicacy it’s like a tortilla that is made from potatoes. Most people eat it rolled up with sugar and butter. Some like cinnamon added however and my dad liked it plain with potatoes and gravy. Now lefse is made from mostly potatoes however it does have some flour and butter and cream added. This creates a problem if you have Celiac disease and need to eat gluten-free. My youngest brother is a diabetic and also has Celiac disease so food is a challenge for him. He loves lefse and can eat some sugar if he’s careful so I’m on a mission to make some lefse he can eat. Dale and Jill have been eating gluten-free for 3 or 4 years now and they have much of the diet worked out. They make bread every week, have a list of recipes that work for desserts and have started to eat pizza again and more. There are so many more options for gluten-free diets that it’s becoming easier all the time. We even had adults and children at camp that needed a gluten-free diet so it’s been a part of my life for a while now. I have been searching the internet for people who have successfully made lefse with gluten-free flour. I have found many adaptations of the recipe but there has been not consensus about the best type of flour to use. This lead me to my local store to see what was available. We are fortunate to have several large stores and options in the immediate area. I chose the local grocery type natural food store and they had many options. I ended up with a new flour make by King Arthur Gluten free flour. I know this brand is preferred by many bakers so I decided to take a chance and see how it turns out. I suspect that as long as it tastes remotely like lefse and it stays in one piece that Dale will be a willing subject to try out the end result. I think this might be tomorrow’s adventure.
The fall table runner is finished and I think it looks ok. When I added the oatmeal colored border it really helped pull it all together. It gives your eye a place to rest among all the busyness of the patterned fabric. The dark brown binding really finished off the runner by framing the entire mini quilt. It think it was a good choice. I also decided to try my hand at free motion quilting. I traced a stencil on the middle portion and then just did a rounded zig zag down the sides. It’s far from perfect but for the first time I felt it was acceptable and not so bad I had to rip it out and start again. I figure it’s on the table for only a month or two and no one really looks at the stitching but only the overall effect. I know this is how people get better at a skill but I was lamenting to a friend that it’s hard to admit that at my age I’m really just a beginner. When people get older I think there is a tendency to think you should be able to master a skill the first time and not have to start at the bottom of the skill level. Sort of a humbling reminder I guess. I did have great fun doing the free motion quilting however and really look forward to finishing more projects so I can do it again. I think it’s time to finish up the x’s and o’s quilt and see how I do on that one.
It’s been a busy week. Daughter #2 has been here for about 10 days and daughter #1 and one and only son have been in and out as well. Add in some work some sewing and a holiday and tonight we’re sitting in the old rocker with the feet up and vegging out. This next week will be hectic as well with some Girl Scout commitments and getting ready for a bridal shower for my niece next weekend. Oh yes and there is always the work thing to consider too. Hmm, guess I’ll have to fit it all in.
Today my mother came and had lunch and then we went to the grocery store and the cemetery. We do have a nice cemetery here in our little town and my dad is resting there. I think many of us “talk” to dad when we drive by. It was nice to see all the flags and flowers. Someone appears to have removed the flag from dads vase but we knew it should have been there to honor his service in the Navy and we remember and are thankful. We did leave some flowers and a plant and we were all pleased.