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Update on my 12 for 2012 Quilty Goals

Jen Ofenstein's 12 for 2012 large graphic

I shared here that I would like to get some of these UFO’s finished, and I wanted to share a picture-full blogpost with you to show you how it’s going.

After piecing the main quilt into 1/3 sections, I did a lot of research on the quilt as you go method. I haven’t decided what method I will try yet, but will let you know what I decide. It seems like there are a lot of ideas out there, which made it kind of confusing to me. I will share what I have finished this far and I hope to get the whole thing done by the end of January, boy that’s coming fast.

An update on my quilt…the process, oh the process.

Horrible picture, but wanted to show my mistake. When I first made this block (one of my first ever), I made it for vertical not landscape…oops, so I had to rethink the block.
I needed to take off the “side” stuff that I didn’t even like. My seam ripper is my friend, I call him Victor.
Laying the quilt blocks out according to the pattern, I think.
This is the paper our quilt group followed to make the right dimensioned block (and orientation as it so happens, I figured that out after mine fortunately.)
Some of the blocks needed squared up. Thanks to my husband for helping me with that!
Getting a better idea of orientation and colors.
When these two blocks were pieced together the top one screamed that it needed “something” in those white spots.
I didn’t want to take the time to applique something, so I had an idea to use the fabric paint pens that I had bought at JoAnn’s thanksgiving sale…I was going to use them for another project, but never got around to it. I made my own letter templates using some regular engineering paper.
I practiced with the fabric pen and templates on some cotton muslin first. I traced the template with a regular pencil and got to color in with the pen.
I wrote “Family” on some paper to make sure that the writing would fit on my white fabric well and I made my letters that size.
Regular pencil was used on here.
The cursive writing was done, now to color in the “JOY”.
While coloring, I realized that the fabric’s texture was coming more clear, it was snowflakes…it was a perfect accident and I love it.
The top with the addition of red goes great with the cute snowmen now.
Found out I had someone else’s quilt block with mine, oops. Glad I can give it back to the rightful owner before too much time had passed by.
Looking to see what red borders would look like in the middle and getting layout just right to put together.
Top 1/3 sewn together, yay!
Middle part sewn together, we had to add some borders to the top and bottom of my original block because of the orientation mix up that I made.
Bottom 1/3 sewn together, here they all are at this point. Now I need to get to the backings.

My Personal Home Goals/Dreams/Thoughts 2012

Thanks to Jules at Pancakes and French Fries for her list and her motivation to share our progress this year with a weekly update on how living according to the William Morris quote makes a difference in our personal lives.

This week, I did a few small things and got my brainstorming list together, I’m a week behind. I may come back and add some things to this list to help me keep track of stuff and as I think of things. This project and quote sure makes me look at things differently…here is my brainstorming list for some of the rooms I am thinking about:

Office

I want this room to be a practical/comfortable place where work is produced efficiently and items and tools are easily found and accessible. This room also serves as a guest room with a pull out sofa.

1. A place for old boxes that can be reused for shipping, maybe they should be broken down-have the packing tape “homed” in this room?
2. Clean out my cabinet with old real estate stuff.
3. Get rid of the orange truck that I don’t love. 1/26/2011 Read about the orange truck here.
4. A quilt on the back of the couch would be cozy.
5. Is there anything I can do to make the closet more accessible for tacks and paper and stuff? Maybe paper can go in my cabinet?
6. Paint the trim where we’ve insulated.

Kitchen

I want this room to be a happy place where the children feel comfortable learning, baking, cooking and making a mess. I would like the kitchen to be easy to use, easy to clean and fun to be in.

1. Organize the spices…I really like that pinterest idea of using old Starbucks Frappacino bottles here. I would like to find a friend who drinks them and ask if I can get their recycled bottles.
2. Seriously organize cabinets, they are out of control.
3. Pinterest idea or here of teaspoons and measuring cups I love.
4. My baking cabinet is so deep and ridiculous to get into. Is there a way to organize it to be more accessible and maybe even have a footstool close by that isn’t something to trip over?
5. I bought some blue plates from the goodwill and I would like to find my plate hangers somewhere to hang them up…I think I have plate hangers somewhere, I just don’t know where.
6. Fix the flappy trim that comes off the countertop.

Yay, it got fixed with some liquid nails and some tape to keep it closed, we kept getting caught on it

Dining Room

Of course this is a dining room, but it also serves as more around here, since we homeschool. We use the table for crafts, the bookcase for cookbooks, homeschool books and artwork display from the family.

1. Get a whiteboard made to use for school. We made one from some tileboard I bought at Home Depot…it was a while ago, so I don’t remember details. I have been asked for a tutorial, so I will try to get that together to share.

Our new whiteboard

2. Organize the cookbooks, what do I love and use?
3. It would be nice to be warmer at night, I need to make sure to close the drapes when the sun goes down.
4. My gardenia is in there in the winter and I need to make sure I water it regularly…maybe keep the watering can next to the kitchen sink as a reminder?
5. Organize the bookcase, I would like to showcase the artwork.
6. Maybe some of the “special” gadgets from the kitchen could go in here to make them easier to access?
7. The food dehydrator is in there, but I think I would like it to be in the kitchen in the spring and summer to be closer.
8. It would be nice to hang up some pictures?

Entryway

Living on a small homestead with animals, this room gets dirty quickly. I would like this room to be easier to clean and keep organized with all the shoes and coats and bags.

1. My idea of boot storage outside, I thought it was from pinterest, but can’t find it now…there’s no way I thought of it on my own, hmmm. Feb 4, 2012 Made a boot tree, see this post for details.
2. If possible, I would like to have better lighting in there, it seems dark and it’s the first room everyone comes into.
3. Make a sign like my friend’s mom had on here side door entrance, “Side Door Guests are the Best” and hang on the door.
4. I would like to store the vacuum in the closet in the entry way so I could use it in the entryway easier and faster and to use on the dogs (the dog attachment) during tick season.
5. Need a mat outside the door to catch leaves and debris.
6. Implement the boots outside only plan.
7. Use the closet for extra shoe storage.

Entry Way

Laundry room

This room is more than a laundry room. It is also used to start seedlings in the growboxes and perhaps used as a clean room for the honey and maple syrup processing.

1. Build the table to store the laundry baskets Pinterest idea amalgamation of this and this.
2. Use the top of the table as a cutting board for quilting.
3. Maybe an apartment stove would fit in the corner.
4. NO animals should ever come into this room.
5. Have a rubber gasket at the bottom of the door to prevent bees from entering house during the honey harvest?
6. This room is easy to keep clean.
7. The cleaning cabinet needs to be cleaned out for tox-away day…there may be much that I would never use.
8. The table will be useful for crafts that the children like to make, using the extra chairs that we have in the entryway closet.

Library

This room has some bookshelves and the piano sits in here. It would be nice to have some relaxing chairs and good lighting to be able to relax and read in there or listen to the piano.

1. I would like to paint my Goodwill chair using the awesome instructions from this website.

My Goodwill Chair I found, I want to try to paint it.

2. Need to set up my light in there with an extension cord.
3. It would be an ultimate dream to organize the books. I’ve heard that there is a software program on Mac, but I don’t have a Mac. I tried to organize them one time, but it was hard to utilize. Maybe I should get back to that.
4. The carpet in there gets dirty…its a light beige and I would like to pull it up and learn how to paint the subfloor. The subfloor is really old, so it may be more difficult than that.
5. Research more subfloor stuff.
6. It would be so neat to have lighting in the bookshelves some how…maybe they could even be painted on the outside? That would lighten the room.
7. I would like to put family history pictures in this room in a neat, organized way. I need to get old pictures together or copies made from relatives and slowly work on that.
8. It would be neat to make a family tree using toilet paper rolls like on Pinterest here. That looks neat!
9. If I do have a hardfloor in there, I want a rug in there that would be washable.

Living Room

I would like this room to be a relaxing room for the whole family. I would also like to use the desk that I set up behind the couch.

1. Paint the “game” table with chalkboard paint. Maybe paint the legs a neat color. The Nester has a great blogpost on painting furniture!
2. There are no curtains in here…I don’t mind that but the trim needs painted where we have insulated and some are peeling.
3. Organize my desk and figure out why I don’t use it.

School hallway

This is the hallway where we keep our workboxes for homeschooling. I would like it to be a bit more decorated and happy.

1. Hang a quilt using a curtain rod, need to finish the quilt first.
2. Move the magnetic photo frame to another wall.

Master bedroom

This is where we can relax, where I sew and we all watch movies.

1. I would like to recover the couch using a canvas that I saw in MaryJane’s magazine.
2. Make shadowboxes for each of the children from their baby days.
3. Organize the linen closet, it’s ridiculous.
4. Make a threshold to our room’s carpet from the garage sale hardwood floor.
5. Need a mat inside and outside the door for doggie footprints.
6. Paint the old chair in my room a pretty red according to this website .
7. My sewing area is out of control and I don’t want it to take up so much space. Get rid and reorganize my thoughts.
8. Make a smaller ironing board that isn’t so ugly and bulky for small jobs when sewing. I made this using a TV tray and some fabric I loved!

Small Ironing Board

Hive Management and Making Nuc Splits 2011

*Disclaimer- We tried to use Mel Disselkoen’s Method, but that doesn’t mean we actually understood the method. After watching his most recent presentation and video on youtube and seeing his recent power points on his website, I realize more than a few areas we can definitely improve upon for the upcoming year. This blog post is mostly as a review and summary (in one place of our beekeeping records for 2011)

Feb 26, 2011 – Realized the importance of pollen patties for our hives in early spring generational growth and bought some patties at the Bee School after listening to Randy Oliver speak. Two out of three of our hives survived the winter.

April 12, 2011 – Wrote in my journal, “Well, I am going to try to make my own queen cells and splits on my strong hive in the next few days. Need to read more and think more, I guess the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” applies here.” That is so true…failures will happen, but if we don’t try, nothing will happen.

April 30, 2011 – Using Mel Disselkoen’s Method, we made splits by pulling the brood frames out, finding the 72 hour or less larvae and breaking the cell walls underneath them. We took the original queen and a couple of frames of brood and separated her. We took the 4 new nucs that we split from the strongest hive out 2 miles or more, but now realize that we should have taken the queen and her split out that far and kept the nucs at home.

Looking at the splits May 8, 2011 and talking about them

May 8, 2011 – Opened the splits – Checked if there were queen cells and there were plenty, in fact we needed to kill off a few extra to make it easier for the virgin queen to have energy to mate, not having to expend energy killing her competitors.


Video taken after checking nuc splits May 8, 2011…they had queen cells

May 21, 2011 – Watching the original beehives, talking about them and the splits we made from the one on the right (it seemed more hygienic).

Watching the Original Two Beehives May 21, 2011

June 1, 2011- Moved the splits back to our house.

June 2, 2011 – Added a second brood box to the hives because they had already pulled out about 80% of their first brood box. The video shows a shallow being used as a brood box, that is because that is how I chose to split the nucs, I used a shallow where the queen had laid eggs and tried to make a new queen from that.


Adding a Second Brood Box to the splits

June 2, 2011 – Added entrance reducers to the splits to reduce robbing. Part of the problem is probably due to having the sugar waterers outside the hive.

Adding Entrance Reducers, Robbers are in our Midst!

June 2, 2011 – Adding a third brood box to one of the strong hives (the one we didn’t split)…trying to get it to pull out more frames. We started the year with little to no foundation pulled out.

June 20, 2011 – My journal…just spent a long time in the beeyard making splits. One hive, the queen played hide and go seek for too long. Being such a grey, windy day put them in a foul mood. After introducing the queen in her new split, I got rewarded with a nice sting to my backside by a mad worker. Oh the thrills 🙂

We made 4 more splits from our strongest hive. These were going to be going into winter as nucs. We added the second layer of brood frames in early August.

Cactus Jack wanted a Beehelmet to just fit him. 6-20-2011

Cactus Jack watched for awhile as we did the summer splits. He took these photos that follow:

Looking for <72 hour larva to break the bottom of the cell to cause a queen to be formed. Mel Disselkoen explains this method on his website

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Lots of bees
Look at all those bees on the first brood box, we are making splits from this strong hive. June 20, 2011

During the splits, we made a replacement hive of the hive we didn’t make splits from and it became a honey hive.

August 22, 2011 From my journal, “state bee inspector went through all our hives (and tasted the honey we entered in the fair). She said everything was great and the honey was just strong fall honey. I’m excited to extract and get them ready for winter. I really hope to sell some nucs next spring, if my hives survive the winter.”

September 7, 2011 – With 3 full supers of capped honey (30 medium frames) we extracted 72 lbs of honey at a local honey house.

Cutting the Cappings off the Honey frames with a heated knife…I need concentration, still getting the hang of it all.
We bottled 72 lbs in all the jars we had and had about 30 more pounds that we put in mason jars for ourselves when we got home.

December 5, 2011 – In order to ensure our bees had plenty of food to survive the winter, we placed a candy-board frame on top of each nuc as described in Making Nuc Candyboards for Over-wintering

Backyard Hugulkultur Bed

After listening to Paul Wheaton who runs Permies.com and Richsoil.com on Jack Spriko’s The Survival Podcast talk about hugulkultur beds the first time , I was so intrigued! Unfortuantely, at the time there was only one video I could find on youtube that demonstrated what he was saying in his interview. I am more of a visual learner than an audio learner, so I wanted more visuals!

Fortunately, there has been a surge of information on hugulkultur beds since that first interview and I think other people just like me were excited to find a way to use old logs and branches to make raised beds that could eventually be irrigation free, wow, a way to grow things without watering them all the time in the summer! I would like to say that I am excited about this method because of the amazing water conservation, but I must confess that I am lazy and any non-work solution that can be found (even though the labor is in the frontend) is something that I jump at! I don’t think I’ll have MORE energy in 20 years when these beds are still delivering a nice crop with little-to-no watering.

Paul Wheaton has written up a pretty great explanation of hugulkultur beds. I like his graphics too, did I say I’m a visual learner?

Paul Wheaton learned about hugulkultur beds from the amazing Sepp Holzer out in Austria. Sepp and his wife are living on the Alps growing things that one would never think would grow up there, like Lemon trees. Sepp only speaks German which makes me want to learn German just so I could hear his talks; I am sure that every sentence of his is fraught with so much information that a translator who isn’t a permaculturist or a farmer would never be able to truly express all that is packed in those few words…not to diss any translators, but if an Austrian farmer talks anything like an American farmer… there is a lot said and unsaid in the words they choose, in my opinion. Sepp does have a great book where he talks about his farm and he even goes into the hugulkultur beds that he makes, it’s a great book! Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture…it is packed with information that I am still digesting.

My husband is on the hugulkutur train and I am so thankful for his hard work in building the beds, it’s not easy, but I so appreciate him. He uses his trusty Rhino tool that we talked about when making trails as well.

Today is a warm day in January and I caught Pat outside working on our hugulkultur bed in the garden so I took a video of him here:

So, next time a tree falls down, maybe you could make a garden bed and reap the non irrigating rewards for years to come!

My Home Goals/Projects – 2012 – The Laundry Room

This blog thingie has been great to get all of the stuff floating around in my mind out. It feels good to make it concrete out in the world and allow my brain a breather. In October, I “met” Jules from Pancakes and French Fries over at Pinterest when I saw a picture of her shoe organization and spent time reading her blog about her William Morris Project on my phone while laying in bed suffering from insomnia. I called my sister, Carmen, and told her about The William Morris Project the next morning, I was so excited!

The William Morris Project is based on the quote by William Morris who apparently was a textile designer and artist and had many other interests; his artwork and textiles influenced the decorating of churches and homes in Europe (thanks to wikipedia for helping learn who he was). His quote is simply this:

Jules over at Pancakes and French Fries has invited others to share how the William Morris Project has helped them and she encouraged us to share our progress every Thursday. I love Jule’s list where she wrote about her home and the intentional plans she has for each room. I have a list like that in my brain that I may eventually organize and share here, so I can have more space in my brain. Today, I’ll share how I got motivated to work on my laundry room and what plans I still have for it.

My husband went on a business trip not long after reading Jule’s blog and I decided it was time to tackle my laundry room; it was a bit out of control.

Yep, that’s my gardenia that needs to be indoors in the winter and someone’s lone underwear…it happens OK?
My growboxes were in the dining room, which made for interesting conversation starters, especially when we had a state trooper and his family over…

I didn’t want to have my garden growboxes in my dining room anymore, I thought they could work in my laundry room if I made a few alterations, thus begins the laundry room project…

There was a cabinet that was hard to reach over the deep counter, I thought the growboxes might fit here.
Cleaned off everything from the cabinet and on the countertop, some of this stuff was here when we moved in.
Trying to unscrew the cabinet…I ended up finding a drill to help me, the manual screwdriver was killing my hands. I used my laundry soap to catch it when it gave. One screw was hidden and it took all my patience not to try to rip the thing out of the wall before I found the screw under the cabinet.
Found a basket that had been outside for ages that could hold the dog grooming supplies.
Now to find room for the basket of dog grooming supplies. The lady who lived here before us left most of these cleaning supplies, I have probably only 4 things that I have put in there. She was a much better “cleaner” than I am, but I appreciate her Goo-B-Gone and the stainless steel cleaner and am slowly using stuff.
One of the cleaners in that cabinet…it’s scary how old it is…I think next Tox-Away day, I will clean out this cabinet of any cleaners that I will never use.
The dog grooming supplies fit!
Vacuuming the dusty and dirty countertop
I found some sweet pictures that my children made and got some magnets to put them on the freezer. I’ve never put a magnet on the freezer…I always thought it could only be on the refrigerator. It makes the laundry room “happier”.
While cleaning out the shelves, I found some stuff to get rid of and decided to use some pretties that I love, but hadn’t used in a long time.
I wanted to hang some little plant vases in front of the windows, but had to screw in these hooks, it helped to use a washcloth to save my fingers.
I like them!
Both plant hangers are hung up, yay!
The growboxes fit. My husband put them on a timer too, so I don’t have to remember to turn them on and off, thanks Pat!
The milk pasteurizer fits right by the growboxes.
This coatrack was in the laundry room closet taking up space; my husband had made it for the children’s winter clothes and supplies when we rented a house and didn’t have a closet. I want to use the hangers to put in the closet for their winter gear and use the wood to make a Pinterest project that I am excited about. But, I want to use an old door that I bought at an auction for $1.00 for the top with some plexiglass on it…I think it will work.

Thanks for joining me to see my laundry room project, inspired by the William Morris Project. I’ll try to get my list together and have something to share with you next Thursday, that will keep me motivated. Thanks again Jules for your help and encouragement!

Seeds, Growboxes and Gardening – Oh My!

It’s that time of year again, time to get organized to start some seeds for the veggie garden. Last year was the second year that we used Jack Spirko’s Grow Light System
We had one box the first year and upgraded to 3 boxes last year.

Here are a couple of videos I took of our seed starts last year:

Grow Box Starting Jan 20, 2011

More growbox starts Feb 14, 2011

My seeds are far from being organized, yikes.

My Seed Storage “Method”, I think there are more in a drawer somewhere

I once made a list of them, but I have misplaced it. I tried to put my seeds away in air tight containers (I use my foodsaver attachment with my mason jars), but never put them away properly last year. Getting the seeds started was a large enough goal and I just couldn’t keep up with everything.

We started almost 95% of our garden from seed and bought some herb plants. We had delicious hybrid tomatoes, despite having some blossom end rot due to all the rain. Our peppers never did great because their position in the garden was too shaded. The zucchinis did OK, even though they had a rough start due to the chickens pecking them when they were little transplants.

First Ripe Tomato (Early Girl?) June 29, 2011

One thing my husband and I agreed on last year was I would be in charge of seed starts and he would do the transplanting and tending. We both canned the excess; it was our first year to can tomatoes last year. It helped us to divvy out the responsibilities, because I was feeling overwhelmed with trying to transplant, but Pat was happy to. Communication is tough and is sure important for these kind of tasks we have found around here on the homestead.

I would like to try some heirloom tomato varieties this year, but I haven’t made any decisions. Learning to save seeds of the tomatoes that we grow is a goal, that’s why I would like to have an heirloom variety that will breed true and I can try to regrow the next year. Hybrids are delicious and yummy, but they may not be the same when started from the saved seed the next year, I’m sure they would be tasty tomatoes though. Some heirloom varieties have been handed down for generations and bred for certain characteristics and I think that is really cool to learn about in all of the awesome seed catalogs that I tend to drool over.

I’d like to grow watermelons again, for some reason I never started any seeds last year, but the year before my children loved the watermelons that came out of the garden. Pumpkins, more kale, swiss chard and comfrey is on my list as well. Starting to thing springtime thoughts over here at Locust Farms.

What are you thinking about growing this year? Please let me know, I’d love to hear your plans.

Bees Buzzing in January

We started keeping bees the summer after Petunia and I took a local beekeeping class in 2008. Keeping bees has been a challenge for me, because they aren’t a cut and dry thing…they are little livestock that need tended and managed and they know more of their needs than I do…sometimes I just get in the way. The first year was a great summer even extracting about 25 pounds of their yummy honey from our first hive. Fortunately my beehive lived through the winter of 2008-2009 with no help from me besides making sure they had honey and a windbreak.

We added two more nucs in the spring of 2009 and tried to make a split of the older hive because it was about to swarm. We also captured our first swarm at the beginning of June even knowing that the swarm wouldn’t have time to make a healthy hive before winter; it was a great learning opportunity to “catch” a swarm. That winter we went into it with 3 strong hives, a weak split and a very weak swarm hive. We left all honey (it wasn’t a lot as most were newer hives) on them for winter reserves.

In the beginning of Feb 2010, I knew my strong 3 hives were alive, but everything was dead in March, less than a month later. We had demolished their windbreak while making a pond nearby and it was really cold those last few weeks of winter, very cold. So, we thought that the bees had frozen since they had some reserves left…not much but there was still some honey. Looking back, I realize that little honey wasn’t enough for them and they actually had starved. I about gave it all up that year.

It was tough to get a nuc that spring 2010, because I wasn’t on any waiting lists and nucs can go fast. Fortunately, I was able to buy three nucs at the beginning of June and tried hard to get them strong enough for winter, actually I didn’t try as hard as my husband; I was still whining about how I had killed all my hives before and had no business killing more. We gave them sugar water to try to get them enough time to pull out their wax on the frames to have space for building their brood and reserves for winter. You may wonder what happened to all the hive frames that were in the other hives that died a few months before…well, the wax moths destroyed them so fast, it was incredible and so very discouraging. So we were starting from scratch with these new bees. Winter came and we just left any honey on the hives and hoped for the best.

Feb 2011 was the annual Indiana Bee School and Randy Oliver was the guest speaker. My husband was able to go with me for the first time and he brought a fresh set of eyes and ears, plus we could double team and hear more information. During lunch my husband told me that Randy talked about the reasons why most bees die in the midwest – the most common reason being starvation. The brood is made up of protein and when the queen goes to make the next generation of bees, there isn’t enough protein to do that and the bees eat the brood to survive but the entire hive dies – we ran to buy pollen patties right then.

When we got home, we put those pollen patties on the hives and two lived, the third had already died by the time we realized our mistake of not enough protein for the first spring generation brood.

Mel Disselkoen was also at the school; his website is a wealth of information where he speaks of making OTS (on-the-spot) queens and splits. We decided to try his method of making splits while also using Randy Oliver’s advice of choosing hygienic hives (where the bees themselves are cleaning up and fighting against the Varroa mites). I just wanted to recoup all of the hives that I had bought (and killed since 2008)…those nucs weren’t cheap and I was sick about all of them dying.

Using the very best hygienic hive, we made one spring split (which created 4 new hives) and a summer split (making 4 nucs). We also split the other hive to have a replacement hive and use the original as a honey hive that Mel talks about in his information, we did not use that hive to make more queens. Winter 2011-2012, we went in with 7 strong hives and 4 nuc sized hives. This January there have been some nice warm days and the bees have been flying for cleansing flights, yay bees buzzing in January…that’s always a welcome sight! Every hive seems to be doing well and I pray that the healthy ones survive. It is a goal to be able to make early spring splits to have nucs to sell this year, it would be nice if my bees could help send our children to college…please bees?

The bees are still buzzing and I am grateful to all of the beekeepers who have been so helpful as I travel and stumble along this beekeeping journey.

Paper-Piecing Project – Mini Eve (from Wall-E) Pillow

Quilted Eve Pillow

This project wasn’t on my 12 for 2012, but it was on my sewing machine. And, I really want to clean my sewing machine off before tackling the 12 for 2012. My sewing machine is like any other horizontal surfaces in my house…it is subject to fierce piling, my “organizational” strategy.

This is paper piece pattern that liljabs made and is found on Fandom in Stitches.

Liljab is one of the designers at Fandom in Stitches…one day I would like to learn how to design paper-pieced patterns and I appreciate the designers who share their artwork and patterns with the world.

I decided to make a quilted pillow for my niece and I like how it turned out, I didn’t quilt the off white areas, just around Eve in the “space” area. I used metallic thread that doesn’t show up in the picture. The pattern is a 10 inch, but I forgot to turn off the scaling on my printer, so it ended up a bit smaller. When first stitching back in November, I didn’t recognize some of the different shades on the pattern – the greyscale represents different colors. This mess up derailed me for the past two months…does that happen to anyone else? Talking it through with my sister on why I was “blocked” and couldn’t finish the project, I realized that my colors didn’t have a darker shadow under Eve’s arm, so I decided to use a permanent fabric marker to “shade” that area in. It bothers me a bit, because it really should be her “body” and not the background under that “shading”, but I didn’t want to go back and rip the seams. It works good enough and I tried not to give up just because it wasn’t perfect. It could either get done or be perfect and I decided it needed to get done. I watched season 1 of Downton Abbey while working on Saturday too, that was fun.

The pillow has an envelope backing which is what I learned last year when doing the pillow project from Sew Mama Sew blogpost on How to make a basic pillow and finish with binding.

Envelope backing

I wish that I would have stuffed the pillow a bit less or made my envelope “flaps” longer because they tend to show the pillow underneath.

Here is my facebook album on that project last winter with photos…I didn’t have a blog back then and tried to enter the contest, so I needed to take photos and talk about my process. It was my first ever homemade pillow. I like pillows a lot now and think they are fun to make.

First Pillow I Made Winter 2011

This was a fun project to do. It is nice to clear it our of my brain and my sewing machine. Can’t wait to give it to my niece to enjoy. What do you like to make? Are you “blocked” on any project because it has problems? Push past them and get those done, even if they are “good enough” and not perfect 🙂

Family First Aid Kit

My husband and three daughters went in town to help clean up one of the community rooms for an upcoming meeting. On the old building, there is a horrible, heavy door that slams shut very fast and unfortunately Petunia got her index finger caught in it while carrying items outside. This time we were more prepared than we had been the last time…[flashback to the last time].

Philodendron had a similar situation at our church VBS in summer 2010 during clean up. She got her pinky caught in the truck bed cover latch and hurt her nail and finger badly. There was a small first aid kit at the church, but it didn’t have everything we wanted to help her. Fortunately a friend had Ibuprofen in her purse for pain and we had a bandaid from the first aid kit. We decided we needed to get a first aid kit together and keep it in the car.

We put the first aid kits together, but they weren’t ALL the way together (I hate my perfectionistic tendencies that cause me to think it has to be “right” before it’s done, whereas “good enough” usually works most of the time), so they ended up in a storage room until just recently when we cleaned that out getting ready for guests for the holidays, yay for deadlines! [Now back to current time]

Now we have a first aid kit in each car and our house. They could still use some stocking on a lot of things, but we have the basics: gloves, bandages, gauze, tape, Aleve, scissors, breakable ice things, wound closure strips, butterfly bandages, neosporin, and meat tenderizer (to make a paste for stings).


Our “At Home” First Aid Kit

My husband was so happy to be able to send one of the girls to get the first aid kit, while he helped Petunia with her injury. We try to take care of even small injuries quickly to try to lower the risk of infections, so even using minimal products can help contain the risk.

So, do you have a first aid kit? Do you carry one in your car?

While putting our first aid kits together, we liked the First Aid videos by Dr. Schulze. He has great ideas of what to include in a first aid kit, including his herbal tinctures that he sells, but he talks about more than his tinctures as well; he talks about how to talk to an injury victim and how to treat them.

Dr. Schulze has a blog where I got these videos and there is so much information there too. I will link to a few of the First Aid videos and also the entire one at the end. It entire one is long, but full of information that was helpful to me and I wanted to share with you if it might be helpful to you. His videos are hard to embed (I can’t figure it out), but I will try to link directly to his first video here:

Making a Small Ironing Board Using a TV Tray

Not sure where this idea came from, I’m sure it wasn’t my original idea (don’t know who to give the idea credit to), but I have never seen a tutorial, so hopefully this is helpful to someone out there. I like to paper-piece when I am quilting and that process can take some ironing in between lots of little pieces, so I thought a small little ironing board would be helpful and convenient to have and use right beside my sewing machine. I used an old wooden TV tray, some extra cotton batting and some fabric to make a nice, small, personal ironing board.

I used old Warm and Natural Batting from another quilt project…keep those scraps, they come in handy. This tray was from Goodwill and we had been using it for school before this, yay for repurposing.
My husband helped me and decided to take the hardware off the bottom of the tray…I wouldn’t have done that, cause I am lazy and don’t care. I’m glad that he wanted it to last longer, so he unscrewed all of the hardware.
We used a stapler to staple the batting to the bottom of the tray and left the corner “ears” to deal with next.
We “cut” the ears a bit diagonally to take the bulk out before stapling the corners.
Stapling the batting corners down.
I had bought some neat fabric at the local box store when it was on sale, this is thick fabric, but I think any cotton would work well (something that can take the iron heat). We stapled it down just like we did the batting…and left these “ears” at the corner to deal with.
We didn’t cut the fabric at the corners (but you can), we just chose to for the batting (so it wouldn’t be bunchy underneath). We “opened” the ears like this to staple them down nice and smooth around the corners of the table.
When the ear is opened and folded down, it looks like this.
Then just staple it down.
We put plenty of staples to make it secure.
Putting the legs back on the table. We put our tray on upside down at first (my fabric was directional, so it made a difference…just keep an eye on that if you want your fabric to be right side up when the tray is folded down.)
Putting the other hardware on…this is the rest for the leg…this isn’t the safest table around (it can close easily while being moved) so be careful if you have little ones around.
Yay, it’s finished and it works great! Thanks to my husband for the awesome help!