Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall and Winter Knitting

We have (very slowly) been converting a spare bedroom into my sewing room, which unfortunately means that all my fabric and sewing stuff is spread between two rooms and very little sewing has been done in the last couple months. Hopefully, the room will be complete this weekend (yay!) and I can work on the several projects that have been pushed to the back burner lately.

What all this does mean is that I have had a lot of time to knit and cross stitch. But still not as much time as I would like. 

I've been slowly plugging away at my Once Upon a Time Sampler, however I am still several months behind.

I finished my Germinate Shawl and my Color Affection shawl, however CA still needs blocked. I also knit a sweater! It is done but still needs the ends wove in and blocked. I will try and get good pictures once that is done.

I am also working on a pair of socks that I am hoping to finish by the end of the month, as well as a beaded scarf. 

Now that the weather is starting to cool off I have a list of things I want to knit.

In no particular order 
1. Seed Stitch Wrap from the Purl Bee with Madelinetosh yarns 

2. Cape Cod sweater with The Plucky Knitter Trusty in I feel Pretty

3. Harvest Cardigan with Trusty in Sticky Toffee

4. Nutkin socks with MadTosh Sock in Holli Festival

5. Ashburn Shawl- colors yet to be determined.

I also have a few projects that need finished like my simple ribbed socks and Rayures Cowl. Not to mention I ordered two new cross stitch patterns from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery too. 

There just aren't enough hours in the day!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I Can't Believe It's Been So Long!

I really can't believe it has been MONTHS since I've written a post! Time goes by so fast anymore and we have been so busy with medical things and work that I've barely had time to sew, never mind take pictures and write about it. I've been doing more handwork than actual sewing at my machine. Mostly knitting and some cross stitch. I'm hoping now that things in my personal life are getting settled I will be able to sew a lot more and shar a lot more here! I do have two quilt tops to share and several knitting projects and WIPs as well. 

With the weather changing soon we will be spending a lot more time indoors so that means a lot more time for making things!

I've been doing A LOT of canning this summer and have a lot more to do as summer wraps up. I will dedicate one post to my canning in a week or two and share what I've been making this summer. I will leave you with just a few peeks of what I've been up to the last few months!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Instagram Update

Things have been very busy around here lately, so I'm sorry for the lapse in posting. Hopefully, once the weather warms up it will be easier to get good pictures. For now, here is a little glimpse of what has been going on from my Instagram feed.

Sock blockers my boyfriend bought me
New fabrics and Fiestaware bowls from a weekend trip.
Work on my Fruit of the Month Sampler

New fabrics I ordered from Fat Quarter Shop
Duck embroidery in progress

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Orange Creamsicle Marmalade

I have really enjoyed learning about canning lately. I had a good time making berry jam last weekend, and decided to try some marmalade this weekend. My boyfriend loves oranges, so I went with a pretty traditional orange marmalade recipe, except I added some vanilla extract at the end to give it an almost creamsicle taste without any cream.

I started by scrubbing the oranges really well, and halving them then slicing them really thin and combining them with lemon juice and zest, and water. Cooked it down for over an hour until the peels broke down into smaller pieces, and added the sugar. Then cooked it more until it reached the gel point.

Then I put it in the jars and processed it for 10 minutes and voila! Delicious, bright tasting orange marmalade, with a hint of vanilla. I think it really could have used more vanilla to really get the creamsicle taste, but it still tastes really good. It set up perfectly, I had just a little extra that I was able to taste test. All my jars sealed too, which is encouraging in itself. I really can't wait until summer when I can put up things from my own garden. We usually do mostly tomatoes, but I have a blackberry bush, that hopefully will put out enough this year to make some more jam, and maybe I can convince my boyfriend to take me to some pick your own farms nearby :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mixed Berry Jam

Just a quick update post, we've had a crazy amount of snow and bad weather and I took a tumble a week or so ago and busted my rump so I haven't been nearly as productive on the sewing front as I would like to be, but I did make some jam! 

I've been wanting to try canning for a while now, as I mentioned before, and last weekend I have it a shot. The jam came out perfect! It set perfectly, all my jars sealed and it tastes amazing! I hope to make some orange marmalade this weekend and finish the other dress for my boyfriend's niece!

Hope you're all staying warm!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sewing Machine Review: Brother SQ9050

I've only been sewing for a few years now. I guess I started sewing about 3 almost 4 years ago, and after sewing mostly by hand for more than a year I decided to get a sewing machine. I couldn't and didn't want to spend a lot of money, mostly because at the time I wasn't sure that sewing was going to turn into this huge hobby for me. I wanted something easy to use, because my previous experience with sewing machine was fraught with curse words and frustration. I read some review online, looked at a few different brands and decided that the $200 machine at my local Walmart was the way to go, at least at the time.

My mom had an old Singer, one of those huge heavy all metal deals, and it was a great sewing machine for longer than I have been alive, but not long before she passed away she had a few problems with it and the ancient Singer was banished to the storage shed in our backyard. Unfortunately now it is rusted inside and several of the parts need replaced, I am sure it is repairable but I am not in a position right now to have that done.

Regardless, I was at Walmart one day after I had done all my research and decided to bite the bullet. The machine was in stock and I bought it. The main reason I decided on that one was the included quilting feet. A walking foot for straight line quilting and a free motion foot, and also the ability to drop the feed dogs to allow for free motion quilting. Plus it was in my price range.

I was worried that it would be as good as the much pricier machines that all of the blog authors used but there was no way I could shell out a thousand bucks for a sewing machine. I would have had to save for a year before I could afford a Janome or Bernina.

Now that we have a little history on why I decided on this machine let me tell you what I think of it. I have had this machine for about a year and a half now and I LOVE it. It is the perfect machine for someone who is wanting to learn to sew. I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it has been. I have gotten my money back on this three fold, at least. I have made so many quilts on it I can't even count. And from start to finish, I piece and quilt my own quilts on it. The only thing I don't like about it is the harp space. I wish it had more room to allow me to quilt larger quilts a little easier. It is still doable with some practice, it's just awkward. That is the only con. Let me touch a little more on the pros.

1) As I said earlier, the quilting feet and the ability to lower my feed dogs is a big deal. I wanted to be able to free motion quilt and I can with this machine.
2) Error messages- when you do something wrong, and as a new sewer or quilter you will (you will forget to lower your presser foot, or you will forget to move your bobbin winder back after winding bobbins) it gives you an error code that tells you what you did in case it takes you more than a split second to realize it on your own.
3) Decorative stitches and alphabet- this wasn't a deal breaker for me, but it does come in handy. I have used the decorative stitches and even the alphabet stitches before. Now, don't take this to mean it does embroidery, it most certainly doesn't. The letters are one font, one size but they are handing for making labels, or sewing a name on a tote bag or something along those lines.
4) It's TOUGH. For a $200 machine it is beyond what I could have imagined. If you sew a lot, or read a lot of sewing blogs, you have probably heard the tale of the Weekender bag, and broken needles. Lot's of people had trouble getting their Weekender bag together, saying their machines had trouble sewing through the several layers of batting, canvas, piping and patchwork. Mine was a champ. Not a single broken needle, and although it did struggle at times, it was not nearly as frustrating as I had read on other blogs. I also made my sister a Kitchen Aid mixer cover for Christmas, using the same method and the only problems I had was topstitching along the bottom edge where there were 3 layers.

If you are just starting sewing and are looking for a good machine but don't want to invest a lot of money then this is the perfect machine for you. I am looking to upgrade to another Brother machine with larger harp space to allow me to quilt a little more freely, but I plan on keeping my machine to sew clothing and for the decorative stitches.

So what machine do you use?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Canning Goals and Dress Sewing

Ever since my last post about my non-sewing related goals for this year I have been doing a lot of research on canning. I have been following the blog Food In Jars for several months now and I picked out a few more recipes I thought would be good to try this summer. I also bought a couple books that came highly recommended. 

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is called the Canning Bible. I have another Ball book, The Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving. It's a smaller book with fewer recipes, but lots of good tips so I feel pretty confident that this bigger book will have a lot more good recipes. Hopefully, if all things go well I will be able to give out some jams, jellies and pickles for Christmas this year!

The other book I got also had great reviews and is Southern Living's newer canning book. What was the deciding factor on this one was the fact that it is geared to small batches of canned products. Most recipes are geared to huge outputs, like 7-9 quarts or pints. I'd much rather make a few half pints of jelly, especially if it is a recipe I haven't done before. I would hate to be stuck with 8 half pints of a Blueberry Lemon Jam that no one likes.
I also managed to get some sewing done this weekend. Have I mentioned before that my boyfriend and I have the most adorable nieces and nephew? The two youngest girls are the perfect age and size for adorable homemade dresses. I bought some Pam Kitty Picnic fabric around the holidays when Fat Quarter Shop had a huge sale going on and knew it was perfect for the Oliver and S Ice Cream Dress. I still have to find a cute button for the back closure, but how adorable is this? I mean really, the fabrics were PERFECT for this dress. I simply adore Pam Kitty Morning and I am hoping to snag some more of the flowered fabric for an apron for myself!