Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Have you heard?

Have you heard?    Elizabeth Dackson from Don't call me Betsy just announced this morning that she will be hosting a new Block of the Month Club for 2013.

Here it is!!!   It is called Lucky Stars.       Click here for the link to her post.



  
Looks cool huh?

Don't be intimidated because its foundation paper piecing. You are only committing to one block a month, so it is totally doable.  I have never done foundation paper piecing, but have always wanted to.  That's why  I am joining.  It is a great way to learn a new quilting technique and to get to know a lot of other great quilters along the way.

It is $10.00 for the whole year, but you get all 12 downloadable patterns emailed to you each month, plus a bonus pattern, group chats on google hangout, access to the flickr group and connections in the quilting community.  If you sign up after Jan. 5, 2013, the price goes up to $15.00 so hurry and get signed up now.  Let me know if you sign up.



Monday, December 17, 2012

What is a holiday party without a little fabric.

This past weekend the Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild had their December Holiday Potluck.
(Our President, Tiffany Larsen, brought these gorgeous pearly blue candies from her recent wedding.  Gorgeous)



 We had a great turn out.  


We had delicious food.


We swapped fabric.

We voted on our favorite quilt from our member's during show and tell.
And...We shared lots of stories and great sewing information... 

Sewing TIP:

For example, one member asked the group how to fix a seam that has pulled apart after the quilt is finished.  Another member who has had much experience with this was able to share her techniques.  She explained that you need to buy a product called "liquid stitch" which you can purchase at your local fabric store.  


You apply it to the underside of the fabric where the seam has come undone.  (It is similar to a liquid glue).  Then you heat set the area with an iron so the liquid stitch sets in.  After you heat set the, then restitch down the seam as best as you can with an invisible ladder stitch.  Now I have to be honest with you...I have never tried this technique.  In fact, I don't even know what an invisible ladder stitch is, but you can bet I will be googling it here soon and may even do a tutorial on it at some point.  

Anyway, I thought this tidbit of info might be helpful to others.



YUMMY ENCHILADAS

I also wanted to share my recipe for the main dish that I brought to the potluck.  I brought red beef enchiladas.  I do not measure the ingredients when I make it, I just add until I like the flavor and texture.  I tried to recreate as best I could the approximate measurements for each ingredient.  

They turned out delicious.  In fact, they are now my kids favorite dinner (and I have four kids ranging in age from 3 to 8, and they all like them).

Lisa's Red Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2lbs shredded beef or roast (I use 1/2 of a bag of SAMPCO Shredded Beef from Costco - It comes precooked in a 3 lbs sealed bag- good for food storage)
1/2 Onion (diced)
1 tsp minced garlic
Canola oil
1 C Beef broth
1/2 C Soy Sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos (I actually use Braggs Liquid Aminos.  It is a liquid protein concentrate from soybeans.  It tastes just like soy sauce and is good for you.)
2 Tbs Jalepeno or Peppercini Juice
1/2 c sour cream 

Seasonings:
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2tsp-1 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp oregano
(note: the measurements for the seasonings are not exact.  I do not measure them.  I keep adding seasonings until I get the flavor I like)

2 dz White Corn Tortillas
16-28oz  Red mild enchilada sauce (I use 2 of Chef Rick Bayless's sauces in a bag from Sprouts. Each bag is 8oz).
Mexican blend cheese
1 small can olives

(green chilis would be really good in it as well, but my family can't eat them so I don't use them)

_________________________

Directions:

Pour Enchilada sauce in a sauce pan and start heating up on medium low heat. 

In a large frying pan, heat a thin layer of canola oil.  When oil is hot, add the diced onion and minced garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the onions are soft ( about 3-5 minutes).  Add shredded beef, beef broth, soy sauce, japeleno juice, sour cream and seasonings to taste. Mix well and heat thoroughly.  

While meat mixture is heating up, pour about 1/2" of canola oil in a small frying pan.  Heat on medium to medium high heat.  Quickly fry all the corn tortillas.  I fry each tortilla in the oil for about 10 seconds.  Lay out on paper towels and blot of excess oil.

As you begin assembling the enchiladas, dip each corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce, making sure it is completely coated with red sauce before layering them in the baking dish.    

To assemble the enchiladas, lay out 8 of the fried tortillas (dipped in enchilada sauce) on the bottom of a lightly greased 9"x13" pan. Then spread out 1/2 of the meat mixture on top of the tortillas.  Lightly sprinkle a layer of cheese over the meat mixture.  Repeat with another layer or 8 fried tortillas (dipped in enchilada sauce, then the other 1/2 of the meat mixture and another light layer of cheese.  Add a third layer of 8 fried tortillas (dipped in enchilada sauce), followed by a final light layer of cheese and sprinkle sliced olives on top.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  

Serve with sour cream, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.  
_________________________________________________




I hope they turn out.  Good luck :)

Lisa 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winner for Dec 2012

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the sewmamasew giveaway day (week) last week.  Quilters and crafters came out in droves to see what great giveaways were up for grabs.  Thanks to especially to everyone who entered my giveaway.   Check back on my blog next week for a fun survey generated from your responses.

And without any further ado, the winner of the 5 fat quarters of Secret Garden by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller.....is.................

Cheri Moseley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Cheri

Check back on my blog next week for a fun survey generated from everyone's great responses to What makes a great blog?.

For some fun Christmas stocking stuffer ideas, check THIS out.

True Random Number Generator  
Result:
152Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sneak Peak and Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I am really excited because I just finished the quilt top for my latest project.  Here is a sneak peak.


I can't show it to you fully yet because I am in process of writing the pattern .  I hope to have it ready soon.  I designed this quilt for 2 of my boys .  For the other two boys, I used Amy Smart's Double Crossed Pattern.  I am frantically trying to get all four of these quilts finished by Christmas, so every free second (which is not very much time) is spent in my sewing office working on these quilts.   I am hopeful that I will be able to finish all of them by Christmas, but honestly, I have never made so many quilts in such a short period of time.

Speaking of Christmas presents, I had an idea as I was working on a project for a pattern I am reviewing.   It is called Go To Gift Bags by Andrea Pannell of gotopatterns.com.  (I will post the full pattern review next week).
















































One of the patterns is for a gift card wallet made out of felt.  As I got looking at it, I decided that I would make four of them (one for each of my kids), put some cash in them and add them to their stockings.


Now the pattern itself is pretty basic, just a piece of felt and velcro.  It is a 2 step process.

I chose a metallic green thread to sew a decorative stitch around the outside of my wallet.
This type of thread is very difficult to work with and can be extremely frustrating.  Because of the types of fibers they use to create the metal texture of the thread, the thread is very brittle and harsh.  It breaks easily while trying to thread the bobbin and can snap while sewing, so use with caution.

After I finished the wallet,  I decided that I wanted to embellish mine a little more so I appliquéd the first letter of each child's name on each one's wallet.


While I have quite a few pieces of felt in my stash, most of them have been cut into and are mostly just scraps.  I really only had 4 colors that had enough material to make the wallets.  I had black, white, navy and brown, so by default, those are the colors of the wallets.

I then went through my stash of fabric scraps and chose 4 prints that looked good on each color of felt.  I cut each piece of fabric to about a 2.5" x 2.5 " square (roughly).  I ironed them onto a piece of heat n' bond appliqué paper.



I cut apart the squares 


and sketched out my boys' initials backwards on the reverse side 
of the heat n' bond . 


If you hold the fabric up to a light like this, then you can see how your design will look from the front before you cut it out.  Make any adjustments necessary and then cut out with a small pair of sharp scissors.


I used these applique scissors from OLFA to cut out the letters.  They are extremely sharp and have a really pointy tip which makes it easy to make small cuts.  


Olfa Precision Applique Scissors 5


Here they are all cut out.  C for Case, R for Rail, L for Ledger and J for Jesse.



After the appliquéd letters were cut out, I ironed them into place onto the front flap of the felt wallets and stitched them into place with a decorative appliqué stitch.  I used a white thread to appliqué the letters on because I wanted the stitching to pop against the dark colors of the fabric.  Here is a front and back shot of the white stitching.



All in all, I am really pleased with how they turned out.  I know my boys will love them.  It is a win win for everyone.

You can check out some of my other Christmas appliqué projects here and here.

Happy Holiday Sewing :)
Lisa

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway. Fabric!!!

This giveaway if officially closed.  

Check back on Monday to see who won!  

Good luck to everyone who entered.


Its time again for my favorite giveaway of the year,  the Sew Mama Sew giveaway.  This year, I wanted to give away something really great so I decided to give away fabric, and not just any fabric, really great fabric.  I am giving away five fat quarters from the Secret Garden collection by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller Fabrics.



What do you think? Pretty huh?  I think I just heard your excited squeal.  Ya, I am excited too!  

Here is what you do to enter.  I will make it real easy for you.  All you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me what you think makes a great blog.  If you would like to get a bonus entry, you can follow my blog and post an additional comment letting me know you did, but it is not a requirement to get an entry into my contest.  The winner will be selected at random using the random.org random number generator. 

This giveaway is open until December 7th at 5pm PST.  Any comments posted after 5pm on December 7th will not be included in the contest, so hurry end enter.

I will email a winner on December 9th.  Make sure you include a valid email in your post if you are an anonymous commenter. If you win and I can't notify you by email, then I have to choose another winner.  Check back after the 9th to see who won.  The fabric will be shipped out to the winner by December 14th (but not necessarily delivered by then).

Good luck !!!

Lisa


This is my 3rd Sew Mama Sew giveaway contest.  If you would like to see what the previous giveaways, click here and here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

72 Hour Emergency Kits


Have you done your 72 hour kit yet?  I just did mine.  However, in the past, I have found myself completely paralyzed when it comes to putting together  72 hour emergency kits for my family.  Not only do I have my husband, my four kids and myself to make a kit for, but I also wanted to make a pack for our already grown son and my disabled father.  So I would be making 4 adult packs and 4 kid packs.  I have searched the internet 10,000 times over (maybe a little exaggeration) and never seemed to come up with a list of items that fit my family's needs.  Then a few weeks ago, I decided it was time for me to stop making excuses and just do something.  I got on the internet one more time and compiled a list for my family that I could live with.  It is not a perfectly balanced diet, but it will feed us for a few days if we find ourselves the victims of an emergency.  Now I am not a dietician, nor did I count the total caloric value of every item on my list, but I did try to make sure there was some sort of protein at all the meals, because I know when I don't get my protein, I feel really weak.  I thought I would share with you what I did in the hopes that  it will motivate any one who hasnt gotten in gear to get moving and get their own family prepared.

Here is the list that I came up with to put in each person's backpack.  I did not vary the amount of food very much between the adult kits and the children's kits mainly because I didn't want to get too complicated and secondly, I figured that whatever the littlest ones didn't eat, the older ones would.

MY FOOD LIST FOR ONE PERSON FOR 3 DAYS:

Pop Tarts                                              (3 double packs)
Protein Bars                                          (3)
Beef Stew or Hearty Chicken Soup     (1)
Ramen Noodles                                    (1)
Individual Peanut Butter packets           (2)
Tuna (or canned chicken )                    (2)
Crackers                                                (1-2 dz.)
Fruit Leathers                                        (3-6)
Fruit Snacks                                          (3)
Fruit Cups                                             (2)
Applesauce                                           (1)
Pudding Cups                                       (3)
Granola Bars                                        (3-4)
Suckers/Hard Candy                            (6-12pieces)
Hot Chocolate Individual Mixes          (3)


Nonfood items: Spoon and fork
Can opener
A comfort item or toy for each child


SUBSTITUTIONS:
Any of the above items could be substituted with a similar item to suit individual tastes.  For example, canned chicken could be substituted for canned tuna (although remember, canned chicken is more expensive), drink Powder mix-ins for hot chocolate mixes, oatmeal packets for pop tarts or beef jerky for peanut butter.

note: beef jerky and crackers go rancid pretty quick so include them with caution.  I am trying an experiment with mine.  I bought crackers that were sealed and packaged in columns.  Each package hold probably 4 dz crackers.  Instead of breaking open the sealed packages to divvy up, I kept them sealed and put 1 box of crackers in each adult pack ( I have 4 adult packs).  If we ever have to use them, then the adult will open his box of crackers and share it with one of the children.  




WATER:

The above list does not include water.  FEMA  recommends 1 gallon of water per person per day.  I keep 1 case of water per person. Cases are easier to load in the car than gallon jugs.  But you do what is best for your family's circumstances.









BULK SHOPPING:
After I came up with my list, I headed to my local bulk food store and bought all the food that I needed. (ignore the other items, like Christmas Presents in the cart).

This is not always the most cost effective method for food buying.  Sometimes you can buy a lot of the same item on sale at your local grocery store for a better price.  I just wanted to get it done quickly because I know if I didn't, I would find more reasons to put it off and then my kits would have never gotten done.

ORGANIZING AND STORAGE:


I came home and separated each person's portion into their own pile. I then took each person's pile and separated it into three meals and a snack for each of the three days.


I took a picture of each day's meals so I would remember what I had planned to go with what in the event we should actually need it.

 






 I then printed out a copy of the pictures on my computer and put them in my backpack.

Cheat Sheet:

Day 1                                            Day 2                                       Day 3      

Breakfast:                                      Breakfast:                                Breakfast:
1 pack of pop tarts                         1 pack of pop tarts                  1 pack of pop tarts
1 protein bar                                  1 protein bar                            1 protein bar

Lunch:                                           Lunch:                                     Lunch:
Peanut butter and crackers             Peanut butter and crackers      Ramen Noodles
1 canned fruit                                 1 granola bar                           1 fruit cup
1 granola bar                                  1 pudding cup                         1 granola bar

Dinner:                                          Dinner:                                      Dinner:
1 can hearty soup                           1 can tuna fish and crackers     1 can tuna fish and crackers
1 fruit snack                                   1 fruit snack                              1 fruit snack
1 pudding cup                                1 apple sauce                            1 pudding cup

Snacks:                                          Snacks:                                   Snacks:
2 fruit leathers                                2 fruit leathers                         2 fruit leathers
2 suckers                                        2 suckers                                2 suckers
hot chocolate                                  hot chocolate                          hot chocolate
                                                                                                      1 granola bar




Next I put each day's food into 2 ziploc bags and labeled them 1-1, 1-2 (meaning "day 1-bag 1" and "day 1-bag2") 2-1,2-2 ("day 2-bag1" and "day2-bag2") and 3-1,3-2 ("day3-bag1" and "day3-bag2").  I used two bags because they would not fit into one.
You don't have to use sealable bags, but I did for two main reasons:
            #1 It keeps your food dry, and
            #2 It keeps your food organized by days which helps simplify things when you are in a stressful            
             emergency situation.

After each person's food was bagged, then I put it in a backpack and stored them in an empty cupboard.  In order to get 8 backpacks at a fairly cheap price, I went to thrift stores and picked them up REALLY inexpensive.  Trust me, in an emergency, no one is going to care if their backpack has a picture of Spongebob on it.  

While some of this may seem like over planning, please remember that the time to think of all the details is before the event happens.  If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in an emergency situation, you want to minimize some of the decisions you have to make.

PACK ROTATION:
It is a good idea to rotate the food in your packs every 6 months to keep the food fresh.  If you have ever tasted rancid crackers, you will know how important this step it.  Pick two events that are roughly 6 months apart, and use those events as reminders to rotate your packs.

Event ideas:  New Year's Day and the end of the school year (Jan and June)
                     For my LDS readers, Bi-annual General Conference (April and October)
                     Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice (June and December)
                     Spring Equinox and Fall Equinox ( March and September)
No matter what two events you choose, just pick two and begin.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF:
Remember, the first time you make a 72 hour kit can seem overwhelming and the list long, but you need to start somewhere.  Somewhere is better than nowhere.  I know that you will feel more peace in your life if you will just bite the bullet and make your kits.  There is security and peace in preparation.  This is a principle I believe in and try to live by in my every day life.

If you like this tip about preserving your family in the face of an emergency, check out my post about an easy way to preserve your family's memories.

Good luck!!!

What great tips do you have for 72 Hour Emergency Kits?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Great Chevron Quilt Tutorial

I was blog hopping the other day and came upon this repost of a fabulous Halloween Chevron Quilt Tutorial created by Angie from The Little Fabric Shop.  I love it not only because it is a Halloween quilt, but mostly because it is a great chevron quilt tutorial.  The method is laid out really easy.  Anyone can do it.  I thought I would repost it here cause I can't stop thinking about it.








































I wish I had thought of this.  Too cute.  Check it out.

Check out these other posts about other great quilts I love:  Amy Smart,  Alisa from the PhxMQG and The Vintage Clothespin.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Name Tag Tutorial


The Non-Embroidered Name Tag Tutorial




Do you want to make a cute name tag, but hate all the hand stitching and embroidery required to add your name to it?  Then I have the perfect name tag tutorial for you.  My name tag tutorial requires no hand stitching or embroidery.  All you need are a few supplies and you will be on your way to a unique and fun name tag that you can use anywhere.  Also intermingled  in this tutorial are some handy tips to help you along as you complete your own name tag.

Supplies: 

Inkjet printer
1     8-1/2”x11” piece of Printable fabric
4     1” x 1”  scraps of coordinating fabric
1     3” x 6” piece of white fabric
1     1”x 14” strip of border fabric (not binding fabric)
1     1-1/2"x 60” strip of binding fabric 
1     4” x 5” piece of batting
1     4” x 5” piece of backing fabric 

note 1  : This is not a comprehensive list.  Assembly supplies are implied (i.e., iron, sewing     machine, pins, etc.).


note 2: All seam allowances in this tutorial are a scant 1/4” unless otherwise noted.

Handy Tip #1:   A scant 1/4”  seam means a seam allowance that is not quite 1/4”.  It helps the creases to lay flatter.
_________________________________________________________________

Lets begin:

Step 1:  In a word processing program, type your name and any other identifying information that you want on your name tag.  

I used this font http://www.dafont.com/fabrics.font for my name with a 48 point font size and this font http://www.dafont.com/kg-seven-sixteen.font for my quilting blog title with a 24 point font size. 


Here is what it looks like on my computer: 

 LISA 
                             The Scrapbucket Quilter LISAi a
PHX MQG


Step 2: Print out your text on regular printer paper until you get the look and color you want.  Make sure that you print with at least a 1” margin on all four sides of your text.

Once you have the text looking the way you want it, print it onto printable fabric following the directions on the package,  You might want to consider printing multiple copies of your text all on the same sheet incase you make a mistake during assembly.  Follow the directions on the back of printable fabric packaging to set the ink         to the fabric.  Cut fabric text block to 2-1/2” tall by 3-1/2” wide.  




Step 3: Cut 4 scraps of fabric into squares measuring 5/8” x 5/8” and a 1”x6” strip of white fabric .  




















Step 4: Start with a runner if desired before sewing the squares to the white fabric.  With right sides together, sew each of the four squares to the raw edge of the white strip in a chain, leaving a little space in-between each square. 


Handy Tip #2:  Sewing in a chain means that you sew your fabric one right after the other without stopping to cut thread in between.  This cuts down on wasted thread as well as speeds up the sewing time. 

Handy Tip #3: When you sew little pieces of fabric , it is helpful to start with a runner ( a random scrap of fabric that you sew first before  you start sewing your first piece.)  This keeps the little pieces of fabric from getting pushed down into the bobbin hole by the needle.   




Step 5: With chain still in tact, press seams toward the squares. Do not cut fabric yet. 



















Step 6: With the chain pressed open, cut the white fabric strip side 1/2” beyond the seam. 














Step 7: Now cut apart the strips using the edges of the squares as your top and bottom guide. 

















Step 8Arrange the strips in the order desired with the white side to the right. Use the chain method to sew the white side of piece 1 to the color side of piece 2 and  the white side of piece 3 to the color side of piece 4.  Cut threads between chain and sew the white side of piece 1-2 to the colored side of piece 3-4.





Step 9: Sew a piece of white piece of fabric about 1” x 1-1/2” long to the left side of the chain so that you begin and end the chain with a white piece of fabric.  Press all the seams towards the colored squares. 


Measure the length of your finished chain. (Mine is 3”).


Step 10: Cut two more strips of white fabric, 3” x 1” each if your chain measured 3", otherwise adjust the length to however long your finished chain ends up.  Sew one strip of white fabric to the top length of the chain and the other strip of white fabric to the bottom length of the chain.  Trim up sides of the finished piece leaving 1/2” of white fabric on top and bottom and about 3/8” of white fabric on the sides.  



Step 11: Sew a strip of fabric to the top, bottom and sides of the block until you now have a color border (or you could just add more white fabric).  Press seams and square up block to the width of the fabric text block.

Handy Tip #4: Squaring up a block means making sure that the top and bottom of the square are the same length, the left and right sides are the same length and that all four corners are at a 90 degree angle.  





Step 12: Put a small crease in the bottom center of the text block and a small crease in the top center of the four square block.    Line up creases to center the fabrics.  Pin and sew the top of the four square block to the bottom of the text block.  Press seams towards the text block.

Step13: Cut a piece of batting and backing fabric the same size as the name tag front. (mine were about 4” x 5”).  Pin all three layers together with either pins or safety pins and square up all three layers together. 






Binding:

Step 14: Either cut one continuous piece of fabric 
1-1/2"x 60" or cut multiple shorter strips of binding fabric into 1-1/2” strips and sew together end to end until you have a piece of fabric roughly measuring 1-1/2” x 60”.  Press seams to one side.  





















Step 15: Iron binding in half length wise.  Open up and iron again folding raw edges towards the middle crease as you iron.  

Handy tip #5: Typically I iron the top  raw edge first and then go back and iron the bottom raw edge.  












Step 16: Cut a piece of your pressed binding the same length as the top of your name tag (mine was about 3 1/2” long).  With the binding folded on its creases, slip the binding over the top edge of the name tag.  Stitch the binding from the front side of the name tag, making sure to catch the binding on the back side at the same time.  Even up the sides.















Step 17: To make the binding into a lanyard, take the remaining strip (about 56"-57") of binding and put a small crease in the center lengthwise (about 28" or so from the end of the strip).  Line up this crease with the middle of the bottom of the name tag.  Pin the binding around the bottom and sides of the name tag.  There should be quite a bit of binding extending beyond the top of the sides.  Fold the rest of the binding up so the raw edges of the loose binding  are tucked inside itself.  Pin. Start sewing at the very top of the loose binding on the right side, about 1" below the top edge of the binding strip.  Continue sewing onto the side of the name tag,  then  across the bottom  and back up the left side to the top of the other loose edge, stopping 1" from the top of the left side.  






Step 18: To attach the top edges of the lanyard, place the top raw edge of the right side inside the top raw edge of the left side, folding under the left raw edge.  Sew together for a nice clean seam.












Step 19: Add your own quilting effects. I stitched in the ditch where the text block and the four square block meet.  I also used a wave stitch already preset on my sewing machine and lengthened the stitch so it made longer waves.  I sewed them on a diagonal across the text block.  Then I sewed wonky squares around the four colored blocks on the square block.  I used a grey thread, but you could match your thread to your fabric for a more discrete look.

Handy Tip #6: To add a decorative stitch to your quilting, you can lengthen one of the decorative                            stitches already on your machine.




VOILA, you now have a non embroidered name tag that will fool your friends.  Your finished name tag should look something like this. 

Make sure and post your finished name tag here in the flickr group for others to see.  I would love to see your take on this name tag tutorial.



If you like this tutorial, check out some of my other tutorials here and here.
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