Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Catching Up: Pumpkins and Pennants

I've been back in the kitchen cooking.  This is what happens when there is a chill in the air!  We're in need of some comfort food.  

Apples were a bust this year with the early warm temperatures bringing out the blossoms only to get clobbered by several hard frosts.  To compensate for the lack of apples, I am diverting my attention to pumpkins.  Here is the best recipe for a pumpkin bread.  It is a yeast bread that is super easy and the texture is wonderful. There are raisins and ginger in the dough.  The ginger is a wonderful compliment to the pumpkin flavor.

Be sure to plump your raisins before you add them to your dough.  You can do this by taking your raisins and placing them in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water.  Cover and microwave for two minutes on high.  Let them cool before adding to your dough.  If you add dry raisins to your dough they will absorb the moisture from your bread and make it dry.   I brushed the top of my braids with butter and then sprinkled raw sugar to the top before baking.    

My husband is not fond of pumpkin and he thinks this bread is delicious.  Thank you again King Arthur Flour for having the best recipes and products!

Next month is my daughter's wedding.  I got an email from her the other day announcing she had forgotten all about decorating the outside area of the arboretum where the wedding ceremony will take place.  Could I make some wedding banners to block off the chairs from the center isle?

Let see, I've been collecting lace, hankies and tatting for over a year now, I'm sure I have something in my sewing room.

Some wonderful NOS hankies.  Also, some great embroidered organdy from the 1950's.

This is some vintage bias tape with the right patina to go with the vintage lace.  If you ever get discouraged going to the grocery store to find the one pound bag of coffee (16 ounces) is no longer 12 ounces, but now 10 ounces, realize this sales merchandizing of providing less product for more money has been going on since Capitalism was invented.  Notice the bias tape package went from 10 yards to 8 yards.  I bet those home sewers were upset!!!
One of the doilies I cut up looks like a heart. 

So off to the sewing room.  Three banners made, three to go.......

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words..... New Machine in the House

A Bernina 730 Record Sewing Machine.

I guess a picture should be enough, but since I'm entitled to a thousands words, I'll see what else I could say about this sewing machine I just purchased.

I got my first Bernina in 1983.  My husband took me to the local sewing center along with three children so I could pick out my Mother's Day present.  My Kenmore at the time had terrible thread tension and made sewing quite frustrating.  My husband, along with my three little tykes by his side, stood guard by the $99 Singer the store was advertising.  I went home with the Bernina 930 at the other end of the $$$ spectrum as well as being located at the other end of the store.

I had sewn on a Bernina when I had taken a clothing construction class in college and I found it to be an amazing machine.  It was a thrill to finally be able to take one home.

In 1993, ten years of sewing later and one additional tyke in the family, I replaced my 930 with a 1230.  I sold my 930 machine to a quilting friend and as far as I know she is still sewing strong on it.

It is easy to spot a good machine.  All you really have to do is plug it in and listen to the motor.  Then, check the different functions and how easily the components move - is any gear locked in place?  This 730 passed the test with flying colors.  It had its original table and pressure foot knee lift along with the manual and all the additional feet.  (Don't you wish new machines came with the feet selection the older machines had!  Those feet are expensive!)  It didn't have its case or the swing out accessories holder in the back, but those items were minor compared to the great shape and stitch quality of the machine.

This particular machine had its original warranty card and was purchased in December of 1969.  

Over the years I had several additional Berninas pass through my hands - an 830 I found for a friend and an 801 Sport I gave to my daughter.  Currently I sew with my 1230 and a 440QE.  I still prefer my 1230 over the 440. 

This was  the second machine I purchased within the last three weeks.  The other machine  was a Singer 201 and it went out the door to a friend within a few days.  It was serendipitous to find a machine that my friend was looking for as she had sewn with this Singer model as a child.

I like to think that I have been lucky finding sewing machines, but now I'm wondering if they are finding me.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bundle of clothes to wrapping a bundle...

Yesterday I finished up a baby quilt made from clothing.  I had a blue Ann Taylor wool sweater, a pair of pink velour pj's and several printed bandanas.

Two sisters wanted their other sister, who is expecting a baby girl, to have a baby quilt made from their Mom's clothing.  She had passed away five years prior to cancer.  The quilt wasn't suppose to remind them of their Mom's final journey, but rather be a joyful quilt.

Tulips were her favorite flower.  She had handwritten a note to her girls that I could include.

The binding is a solid magenta and the backing is the same cream color as in the top.

The first thing I did was take the sweater and wash it up in the hottest, soapiest water - felting the fabric so it wouldn't shrink later when the quilt was washed.  Then I carefully pressed lightweight interfacing to the wool and velour.  If you've ever sewn with a knit, you'll understand the stretching that takes place if it isn't stabilized.  Then I cut the pieces I needed from these fabrics.

I made sure with the design that the wool and velour was always sewn next to a cotton and not next to each other.  The reason is so I always had a very stable fabric next to the knit piece.

I ended up melting a few of my velour sqaures - I am too accustomed to using a hot iron for pressing as I'm piecing my blocks together.  So using a pressing cloth was important as well as turning down my iron heat setting to low

The blocks are 8" square finished and the border is 4" with the quilt ending up 40" x 48".  Using the wool and velour, although a bit challenging to machine quilt, makes a great textural surface giving more depth to the quilt.

I like to think that this woman is able to loving wrap her arms around the new bundle even though she isn't physically here to do so.  

Cancer has touched the lives of so many individuals I have never met, yet we are now connected through needle and thread.