August 28, 2015

One Day...


With the mister on the road to recovery I'm feeling more into the swing of things.  Abby is keeping watch and giving lots of extra love when she sees it's necessary.  I'm using my dining room table to cut patterns and fabric.  I made a maxi skirt!  Perhaps I'll share it, one day.


I've been sewing, a lot.  Oh and perhaps buying fabric too.  Picnic by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel was simply too irresistible.  I mean just look at the selvedge!  I hope you feel like the selvedge says when I show you what I've made.


Pattern writing -- one word -- ick!  But I'm really working on it Candace.  It will be available, one day.



The mister and I needed some fresh air so we drove out to our favorite fruit farm.  I've been wanting to buy an apple crate and it's a perfect prop for this photo shoot too.  This is a table runner, yet to be quilted.  I'm still waffling about writing the pattern.  Yes, no or maybe so...


Just look at that darling ant.  


I have many pips (projects/patterns in progress).  I'll share them, one day.  Meanwhile I hope you come back Monday because I have something exciting to share.

~Piecefully, Stephanie

August 1, 2015

Dear Abby



Hi There.  What's up?  I asked Mom if I could write a blog post.  Most of you know I'm over on Instagram.  Mom and I share an account.  You can find us at @sadunphy

If you click on the link you can see what we've been up to.  You don't even have to have an Instagram account!  

I have really good hearing so I hear things when I pretend I'm snoozing.  Dad left me for a hospital stay.  Do you know he was gone for 15 days?  I stayed close to mom except I wasn't allowed at the hospital.  Dad had a stem cell transplant and now he's back home recovering.  He's doing well but it's a long and slow process.  In another month or so the doctor will decide if he can return to work and when the next treatments begin.  I've also heard Mom and Dad are going to sell our house and move next year.  I've never moved before but  I'll be able to see my boy and meet Mr. and Mrs. Squash.  I'm not sure their girls will like me though.  

Hope everyone is having a nice Summer.

Love, Abby

July 1, 2015

Backyard Circus


Once upon a blog lifetime ago, I found Jodie, softie toy maker/pattern writer.  Her blog, Ric Rac, is fun, funny, colorful, and so so creative.  It's been my favorite blog since the beginning and remains so today.  Lucky for me I met her in person at Portland Quilt Market.  She is her blog, in the flesh and I feel so lucky to call her my friend. 

Last month these amazing fabrics landed on my doorstep.  Jodie was at Minneapolis Quilt Market debuting her very first line of fabric called Backyard Circus for Ella Blue Fabrics, due out this month.




At first it wasn't easy to unbundle the stack of fun, tied up with tiny red rick rack with a green pom pom on top!  But ideas for fun things kept popping into my head so I got straight to play.  First up was this adorable little mat for my Hoosier Cabinet and vintage milk glass cake stand.  Pom poms are the sweetest things but a bit bitchy to sew with.  I love you dear pom poms!



A mini kaleidoscope quilt was a must and because there were leftover wedges, I made a pattern bucket.  If you're interested in making your own kaleidoscope quilt of any size you don't need a pattern!  I have a tutorial HERE.


Well the amazing selvedge should not go to waste so I added it to the bucket with some red rick rack, of course.  Oh and red corduroy, a must.  Don't ya love the white on white hexagons I found in my stash?


Lastly, I made a couple of "simpler" buckets using vintage trim and corduroy.  I love it when a plan comes together.  And each bucket has a coordinating mini.  Seven projects using a fat eighth stack 



and elephant tons of fun!  Oh and maybe mini patterns, one day, if I ever get back to writing patterns.

Jodie's fabric is due out this month.  Although Ella Blue is an Australian fabric company I have it on good authority that US shops have picked up this collection.  So...go forth and search for the cutest fabric on earth!  I think elephants will be flying off the shelves!!!  And there are darling panels too and I have one, waiting...

Thank you, Dear Jodie!

~Piecefully, Stephanie

March 18, 2015

Celebrating Quilters


Hello March!  Since it's National Quilting Month I decided to share some of my recent finishes and celebrate the amazing long arm quilters who make my quilts look awesome.  **Warning, photo heavy.

This is Baker's Acres, started a few years ago.  Made using a FQ Stack of Willow by Alexander Henry and a jelly roll of Kona Solids, it just kept getting more cheerful and fun to work on.



Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts has done many of my quilts.  She gets me just by looking at my quilts.  I send them to her and tell her to let them speak to her.  




Love her quirk and attention to detail.


I love patchy backs so I combined Alexander Henry's Farmdale with some olive corduroy, all from my stash.



Striped binding?  Yes, please.  


A new to me quilter is Laura Davies of Tanderwen Quilts.  Carrie at A Passion for Applique has shared many wonderful quilts Laura has done for her.  I've admired Laura's work.


Laura quilted Amish Buggy Wheels using a fun all over design.  


I love how the quilting doesn't overshadow the quilt design.  Laura puts time and thought into her work and shares ideas before she gets quilting.


The center of my Amish Buggy Wheels are cut from a vintage quilt top.  I "designed" or did the math, to continue the feel of the old quilt.   The dots are Avant Garden by MoMo for Moda.


Love this fabric.


This is Long John James, a larger version I made of my Long Johns quilt.  My son is James, he is tall, we have great childhood memories of pirates.  It all makes sense to us.  Arrr!


I love the geometric manly quilting design Laura did on this one.  I combined flannel and corduroy for a very warm and cozy quilt.  The prints are flannel called Quilter's Candy Flannel Neutral Sampler by Connecting Threads.  I love their flannel!  There are some flannel solids as well but the majority of the solids are corduroy.  


I love the richness of these colors.  So I give thanks to the wonderful quilter's of the world.  You're awesome!  I'll be back, one day, to share more finished quilts...once I get the bindings done.

~Piecefully, Stephanie

February 24, 2015

February


It's -11* F this morning so I'll just lay here with thread stuck to my ear.  I'm getting a suntan on my backside from camping on the heat vent.  I wish I was a cat.  Indoor facilities are preferable right now!

Love, Abby

February 18, 2015

Is it summer yet?



Congratulations to Yvonne at Yvonne W Designs.  She is the winner of the AJ Bag.  Thanks everyone for stopping by and taking time to leave your comments.  If you aren't familiar with Yvonne, her handiwork is lovely.  Not only is she talented with needle and thread but paint and brush as well.  You should stop by and see her beautiful hand painted buttons and other goodness.

~Piecefully, Stephanie

February 16, 2015

Soap Making




None of the soap above was made by me.  I just wanted to start off with a pretty soap picture.


Before we begin please know this is not meant to be a "how to" process or a tutorial.  This is just to share the experience and take the mystery out of soap making.  Any questions you may have are probably better "googled" to find the answers.

You need protective gear to include old clothes and/or apron, rubber gloves, mask and eye protection.


The equipment for soap making can come from your kitchen cabinets or can be purchased at garage sales or charity shops such as Good Will.  You need measuring cups, a scale is a must as well as a digital thermometer.  These are fairly inexpensive as you don't need the top of the line.  An immersion blender is helpful.  I found mine at Walmart for less than $20.  And you need a sizable bowl.  I use glass.  Those larger pyrex with handle and spout are perfect.


You need something to hold your soap batter such as silicon moulds or plastic storage trays.  These do not have to be expensive.  


Your ingredients depend on the recipe.  These I purchased at my local Walmart/grocery store.  All came from the food/oil section except Castor Oil.  It is found in the pharmacy section by laxatives.


Other ingredients that I can't source locally were purchased on line.  There are a wide variety of on line shops to order all of your soap making supplies.  I happen to use The Original Soap Dish.


This is lye.  It's a granular powder.


It's the reason for the protective safety gear.  For soap making you need lye, water, and oils.  It's best to follow a tried and true recipe instead of inventing your own for the first try.  Then if you want to experiment you can use a soap lye calculator, also found on line.  


Measuring is important.  Different oil combinations give you different outcomes -- hardness, foaming, conditioning, lather, etc...


Some oils are liquid and some are solid.  Shea butter, cocoa butter, as well as palm and coconut oil are solids.  After the oils are measured they are heated, microwaving is perfect, so there are no solid clumps.  This is my second attempt at soap making.  We had clumps the first time.  You will cool the oil to a room temperature.


While the liquid is cooling (ours got pretty hot) you measure the water and lye.  You should work with lots of ventilation.  We had windows open. 


You add the lye to water and not the other way around.


 Stir to dissolve the lye.  See the steam on the glass bowl?  This lye/water mixture heats up very quickly and gets really really hot.  It sits until it gets to a room temperature.


Once oils and lye are at the desired temperature you pour the lye/water into the oils.  This is where you can also add essential oils if you want scented soap.  Because there is an outlet in the small bathroom in the basement where we make our soap, we used the sink for mixing.  I bought a plastic microwave cover and cut it to fit on the mixing bowl.  The immersion blender fits in the opening that I cut.  Although not required I just wanted a splash guard while working with lye.  You give it a whirl and as you can see, the mixture looks white and creamy.  You want it cake batter consistency.


See how nicely it pours.


 The recipe we used makes 32 ounces and filled 2 trays.  Now we have loaves.  These got covered with plastic wrap and will sit for several days.  Then they are un-moulded and sit uncovered for approximately 4 weeks.  Different recipes may require different curing times.  If the soap is too soft it "melts" quicker and won't last as long.  You want the soap to be hard.  The loaves will then be cut into bars.


This was our first batch of soap and we used silicon moulds.  It was a learning experience and we "over mixed" our soap.  While still useable, certainly not as pretty.  Instead of a creamy cake batter consistency we got a muffin consistency and had to scoop instead of pour.  This is the reason for the imperfect look of the soap.  

Below are some links for recipes, online supplies, and lye calculators.

The Soap Dish -- this is where I buy my supplies


Vicki's Soap Recipes -- these are the recipes I've tried


How Soap is Made -- informational, interesting, helpful

Will you give soap making a try?

~Piecefully, Stephanie