Friday, March 27, 2009

Frugal bits holder

1076Every once in the while, I like to do hand embroidery.  It soothes the soul – at least, my soul!  This pattern came from my American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, but it is available to all, online, at AP&Q’s website --

I used some felted wool that I had in the stash.  It is so pleasing to embroider on felted wool.  I would recommend it, if you are looking for a relaxing stitching experience.  You can get lost in your Zen.  The stitches go thru like a knife thru softened butter.  Used 2 strands of DMC floss.  Yes, I have a stash of DMC, too!

Instead of making French Knots for the flowers that go up the sides of the appliqué, I used beads.  I like to use beads instead of French Knots, cuz then it justifies the purchase of the beads.  Yup, another stash!1077 Aaaaah, but why are there threads hanging from the bottom of the caddy?  Those threads are the Frugal Bits, of course.

I read (or saw) a sewing machine tip some time back that said to “floss” your thread guides each time you changed your spool thread.  That is, instead of pulling the thread up and out when you remove the spool, clip the thread at the spool and pull it down and out and through, just before the needle. 

That seemed like a waste of thread to me.  So, instead of throwing away that 27” of thread, I save that Frugal Bit of thread and it drapes from a pin on the back of the caddy, until I’m ready to use it –


That Frugal Bit of thread is the perfect length for me, for hand sewing and basting.  It is very easy to pull a thread out and away from all the others.  Right now, there are lots of colors to choose from, as I haven’t had the occasion to use any.  Sometimes, there is way less thread draped over that pin.

I’ve read where some sew-ers use a stuffed animal that they have beside their machine and drape the threads on it. 

I like seeing that pretty embroidery that hangs from a pegboard hook, convenient to my sewing area. 

Nothing is in that pouch on my caddy, but if I were to get some extra cash, that would be a good place to stash it!  Nicely folded up bills.  Oh, wouldn’t it be grand to have a stash of cash?  That would require a much bigger pouch!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March clubEQ Challenge


Have you ever looked at a quilt that was designed to showcase a new fabric line & thought “Gee, I could do that”? Well if you have EQ5 or EQ6, you can do just that.

This month’s Electric Quilt clubEQ challenge is to design a quilt from Erin McMorris’ new fabric line “Wildwood” by Free Spirit. I colored the above spring flower in 4 of 34 of Erin’s fabrics.

Here’s a link to the description of the challenge, the rules and a downloadable file of the fabrics. When you create a quilt, or two, and email it into the challenge, you’ll get a project file of all the other entries. It is interesting to see other designer’s techniques. Deadline is March 30.

I had a good time designing a quilt that would be nice for a young girl’s bedroom. I found Erin’s fabric to be perfect for this.

I have not entered every month, but my entries are listed on one of my webpages -- You can request project files of most of the entries.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Burying a short thread

I don’t like to backstitch when machine quilting, unless it’s at the edges, within the seamline, where it won’t be seen.  After knotting my threads, I like to bury the thread ends before cutting them off and make the knot disappear by tugging on it.  Sometimes, my thread ends are not long enuf to thread through a needle very easily.


I either saw or read a hint about self-threading needles.  I got a package at Joann’s.  They were called “Easy Threading Needles” by Dritz.

1055 No matter how short those threads are, they slip right in the slot in the needle!  I put the empty needle in position in the fabric --


then slip the threads in the slot --


And pull the needle through, pull needle off --


Trim the excess thread ends close to the fabric, thread tail disappears in the batting --

1061Look, ma, no knot, no backstitching showing!  Clean & neat!
And I didn’t have to contort around the needle and short thread to get the job done …  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quilt tip – Marking rows

I’ve tried all sorts of methods of numbering rows for a quilt to keep the sewn rows in order.  Most times, I use a small square of paper and put the row number on it and safety pin it in place.  But, the paper usually curls and can’t re-use them too many times.  I think I’ve thought of a clever way of numbering the rows.

1044 I took 2 reinforcement labels - usually used for reinforcing the holes on loose leaf paper – stuck them together, put a number on both sides and used a pin to pin the marker to the row.  I had some pins that don’t have that coil at the end of the pin.  I like the way they work for this.

1045Seeing as how these are made from vinyl, they will probably last a long time.   I seem to remember back when I did some knitting years ago, they had plastic row markers that might work for this purpose.  The next time I go to JoAnn, I’m going to check out the knitting department to see if they have something that might be used instead of the reinforcements.  If not, then I better be sure to have a good supply of the  reinforcements on hand.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Crystal Light Deception

1042 Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

Container on left is an old one, on right the new one.
Old – makes 12 quarts.  New – makes 10 quarts.
Old – 6 tubs in container.  New 5 tubs in container.
Old – 3.2 oz. of powder.  New 2.5 oz. of powder

Both containers are the same size and you would never notice the size of the tubs unless you had an old tub and a new, side by side.

1043The new tub on the right is just a smidge taller so that 5 tubs fill the container to the level that 6 tubs did.

Oh, the price?  Price is the same.  Less product for the same amount of money.  And they wonder why we get angry!  The food industry has been doing this for years.

Gotta hand it to KraftFoods, they are giving us “Great New Taste”.  Hoo Boy …

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Daylight Saving Time - Yuck

I just realized that on Sunday March 8, we will be turning our clocks ahead, again. Ooh, this nonsense has got to stop. Those wonderful congressman in DC think we need to save daylight. If they could figure out how they could save money, then I’d be interested.

I found a website that is dedicated to ending Daylight Saving Time -- They have links to contacting your congressman to let him/her know your feelings on DST. I will be doing that. They also have a petition you can sign. I did that.

I read an article today about politicians twittering and it mentioned Senator John McCain. I went to his twitter feed and read about the omnibus bill and all the pork attached to it. Is this what those politicians do for us? $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa? $1.4 million for genetic improvements of switchgrass? Those are a couple of the items I found interesting. The whole list sounds like a bunch of hogwash.pig Here’s the link to Sen. McCain’s statement about the omnibus appropriation.

I went to wikipedia and found out that an “Omnibus bill is a single document that is accepted in a single vote by a legislature but contains amendments to a number of other laws or even many entirely new laws. An example of these are the Omnibus spending bills regularly used by the American Congress to group together the budgets of all departments in one year.”

So, this happens every year. With all kinds of pork. I don’t think my household budget would allow for this kind of tinkering.

Politicians don’t know how to save money. What makes them think they can save daylight?

Monday, March 2, 2009


That’s how the article in today’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper started out. Urawaza is the Japanese word for simple, clever lifestyle fixes for difficult problems. Funny, I had just heard about how to dry out a cell phone by putting it into uncooked rice on today’s “Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda” and that hint was in the article.

The article said to go to LifeHacker for more low-cost remedies. I stayed a while at LifeHacker! I put that site into my Favs. Tons of things to find out about. Says it is a “geek” site, but I found a lot of useful stuff which I did not consider “geeky”.

I found out about Google Analytics which comes with high recommendations as a great Stat Counter for websites and blogs from LifeHacker.

And I also found out about “Windows Live Writer” which is what I am using right now to write this blog entry. It’s the #3 Tool on their list of

090110_945I’ve put in the pic above to see how it’s gonna handle graphics and if it will put the hyperlink on the pic so that it can be viewed larger. I like that the pic is put in place where it will appear – not at the top of the post, like Blogger does which requires me to move it to where it should be. There were several options for the borders of the pic – I chose to round the corners.

I do appreciate the spell checker in the program!
There’s even “strike-through” = strike- through if ever you need it.

I think Windows Live Writer is Urawaza!