Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hairpin Lace

A couple days ago I grabbed a couple bags off the shelf in the basement to see if there was anything inside that was worth hanging onto.  My sewing/quilting room here is much larger than my previous one, but I had three different areas in Texas to store crafty things I wasn't using... unfinished projects, etc. What I lack here is extra room for storage. I had seen this old vintage tapestry bag that I knew was not mine, and pretty sure it was not my mother's either.  Inside I found a project that I knew looked like a familiar crochet type project, but I could not remember what the technique was called.  I knew I had done it before... but it was likely close to 40 years ago.  I did a little poking around and was able to identify the technique, and a YouTube video to review how to do Hairpin Lace.
Hairpin Lace requires the use of a loom and a crochet hook and a basic knowledge of how to crochet.  It turns out that this project, bag and loom belonged to Ron's grandmother.  There probably is enough yarn in the bag to finish a baby afghan.  The yarn still seems to be in pretty good condition, but then it has been closed up in a tapestry bag for a very long time, so no real exposure to the elements.  There were probably 4 strips done and woven together.  The 5th strip was about half done and I really thought it would be worth finishing, so I went back to the video to help refresh my memory on how to get the strip done. It seems that lots of new variations have been created since I last did any Hairpin Lace, but it did not take long to finish the one strip that had been started on the loom using a basic stitch.  When I took it off the loom and wove it onto the others, it looked like a good option for a scarf for a little girl.  Not sure that our 6 year old grand-daughter will even want it, but I finished it as a scarf, complete with tassels. 
The significance of the scarf... even though I am sure that was not the initial intent, is that it was started by our Grand-daughter's Great Great Grandmother.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fun Quilts

January has already been a busy one. These two quilts have been pieced for quite some time, but before I could send them to their new home, they needed a little brother quilt to accompany them. If not for Ben I might have never known who this Dragon was.  Minecraft has a multitude of characters to choose from, but the Ender Dragon I thought was the most impressive.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Weather guy on TV noted that it was 1,057 days since there was this much snow in a storm. Although snow was not on our list of things we missed from the north while we were in Texas, if you don't have to get out to go somewhere, it really is pretty. 

 With our short driveway and minimal sidewalk, getting a small electric snowblower appears to have been a good choice.  What I am really pleased about is we were able to give my daughter a tip on how she could get her snowblower started.  Earlier this winter she acquired her large, gas powered snowblower thanks to her Dad, and she was not able to get it started.  It would not have been a good morning for her without a snowblower, as her driveway is way longer than ours.

I didn't give my quilting friends much notice for the exact date of my departure, so it was an especially big surprise when they presented me with my memory quilt. Their first names were embroidered on each block, and most of the fabric they used was from my stash.  They did a fabulous job, and I wanted to be sure that a few years down the road that I would remember each one of these beautiful ladies... and their full names. Every good quilt deserves a good label, complete with date.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Greetings from Ohio

In June when my grand daughter came to visit me in Texas, I had no idea what was to follow.  Her wish was to learn how to quilt, and she was very hopeful that she could complete a queen size quilt to return home with.  She was a very good student, and we used pre-cut fabric... mostly, and Grandma kept the momentum going to make sure the mission was accomplished.  She did an awesome job of piecing the strips and squares together, and got a little quilting on the longarm done before she turned it over to Grandma to finish.  She did do the binding.  So having never quilted before she came to Texas, she went home after 10 days with a quilt that was completed.  She had lots of help, but she had a full spectrum experience with quilting her first quilt.

Fast forward a few months, and here I am in Ohio in my new house, just minutes away from a few members of my family.  As I reflect back on how my grand-daughter's visit got me thinking about all the family time I was missing, I am now reminded of all the memories I acquired in Texas.  This is a group with some of my dear friends in Texas, and in the background is the quilt they presented to me as a reminder of all those precious memories.

I have not been very good about keeping my page updated, but I will make an attempt to post some of what is going on in my new life experience back here in Ohio. I won't make any promises though cause "things" have a way of getting busy sometimes, and before you know it months can go by. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Post Office and Quilts

Quilts are ever present at my house.  You walk in the door and there is no question that a quilter lives here.  I even have one hanging in the garage.  My latest "finish" is going to my sister.  I brought the quilt with me to a retreat that she was at.  This was before the quilting was complete, so when I bought fabric for the back, it was with my sister in mind... she loves ladybugs.  I had brought the quilt top with me to the retreat to show what can be done with scraps.  I even used really small scraps to make a border using adding machine paper tape as a foundation.  It is a really cool quilt, I don't blame my sister for wanting it.

Recently I finished quilting a beautiful quilt that my niece pieced.  She did an awesome job, and when I had the quilting done it only needed to be bound to be an amazing quilt project with a neat story.  This all began with a kit won at a guild meeting in North Carolina (Mom), was gifted to the piecing quilter (Daughter) in Massachusetts,and sent to the longarm quilter (Aunt) in Texas. This was a queen size quilt and the top fabric was hand dyed batiks.

This is where the story of this quilt goes awry.  I was really pleased at how well the quilting turned out and wanted to get it shipped back to my niece quickly.  I did not have a Post Office supplied Priority box big enough to fit this quite heavy large quilt, but I used a sturdy box and sent it off from the PO on Saturday morning... quite pleased that it was going to be there on Monday.  I used to think that if you chose to send a package using Priority Mail that your package was handled in a priority manner.  It probably did move through the system quite smoothly for it to make it to Massachusetts by Monday.  What I didn't know was the postman was only interested in dumping a package on the porch in the rain and getting himself back in his truck out of the rain.  Oh yea... he apparently left all his plastic bags at the office or used them up before he got to her house.  Common sense says you would not leave ANY box on an open porch in the rain without putting it in a plastic bag.  It had started raining early on Monday morning and did not quit till 4 pm.  Normal delivery is between 11 to 12... so I would say there was no chance it wasn't raining when he left the package on the rain soaked porch.  The box was totally saturated and fell apart as she opened it. The quilt inside was soaked, and with a white back that was now highlighted with colors from the front side.

The quilt is still awesome, just with a unique story for the next generation to tell their children. The lesson learned here... don't assume that the Post Office is going to take any special measures to protect your treasures. 
I have shipped many quilts and never have I had a problem like this previously.  I contemplated wrapping the quilt in plastic for an extra measure of protection, but opted not to because a quilt in plastic just doesn't sit right with me.  I never imagined something like this could happen.
I have more quilts to ship soon, but waiting to ship them as I have ordered some desiccant packs to put inside the plastic that I will wrap my shipped quilts in from now on.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Best Brownies yet!

Found a new way to take plain brownies to a new level 

This inspiration came about after we were unable to find the new treats we had found at Sam's called Brownie Brittle.

We started experimenting with a Ghirardelli Brownie mix and the pizzelle press.  The pizzelle press was a bust.  The batter was a totally wrong consistency for the pizzelle press and did not show potential, so next I put some parchment paper on my cookie sheet and spread the batter around pretty thin. 

Baked it at
325° as the package indicated, but took a guess at the time because no pan size was close.  I left the pan in for 25 minutes.  These brownies turned out great. 


Next batch was not Ghirardelli as Sam's was out, but they did have Betty Crocker.
I basically follow the box directions, except when it calls for vegetable oil, I use coconut oil. 

This second batch we decided to try a slight change and eliminate the cookie sheet. I spread the brownie mix on a sheet of parchment paper the size of my large cooling rack.
This made the brownies about 1/4" thick. 
I then slid the parchment paper onto the cooling rack.  The oven was preheated to 325°as usual and baked for 25 minutes.  This helped the brownies to be the same crispness all across with no softer center like those baked on the cookie sheet.

I was questioned as to why I had not added any nuts to my brownies... after I had already spread the brownie mix on the parchment paper.  Decided to try another experiment and chopped about a half cup of pecans and sprinkled them over the batter before I put them in the oven.  These also turned out great.

When I took the brownies out of the oven, I immediately slid the parchment sheet to the counter and used my pizza cutter to score the hot brownies.  When the brownies are this thin and crisp they only crumble if you try to cut them when they are cooled.