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Monday, December 22, 2008

From the Bergstrom Kitchen to Mine

Last night I read The Quilter's Kitchen, Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek series novel with recipes. The reviews I read were poor, so I was not anticipating much enjoyment from the book.

I was so wrong.

Yes, the book is lacking in substance. There isn't much of a story. Yes, it's loaded with recipes and I got the impression that the author had to rush to meet a deadline and threw in whatever recipes she could find to fill the pages. I did not even look at most of the recipes. When I got to Chapter 8, entitled, "Christmas", I was hoping to read about Gerda's apple strudel and find a recipe. I was happy to find it on page 162.

At first I wasn't too impressed as it called for purchased phyll0 dough. We all know Gerda didn't use purchased dough. While reading the recipe I noted that I had everything I needed to make the 21st century version of the strudel, then put the book down and went to bed.

All alone in my kitchen at 6:30 this morning, I decided to give it a try. I went around and turned on all the Christmas lights, then began peeling the Gala apples I had on the counter.

As I spread melted butter
over each piece of the paper-thin phyllo sheets,
bits and pieces of the previous novels popped into my thoughts. Before long I was deep into Bergstrom reverie. I felt like one of the Bergstrom women making Gerda's legendary apple strudels to take to friends during the Christmas season.

I even wrapped one up, jumped into my car, and took off down snow-filled, slippery country roads to deliver a strudel to my Mother while it was still warm. If only I had a horse and buggy as Gerda would have used to deliver hers....

Was the strudel worth making?

Yes, it was delicious and very easy to make. I did omit the raisins and the walnuts because unlike the Bergstrom men, my 21st-century man does not like raisins or nuts.

My enjoyment of this book was not so much in the reading, as it was in the strudle making that followed. It ended up giving me a very enjoyable experience that I would not have otherwise had.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Outrageous Prices for Button Cover Paraphernalia

I had DH drop me off at Joanne's this morning while he went to the supermarket.

I wanted to get a some button covers. Holy smokes, I was surprised at how much those things cost. I expected to get a big bag for $4 or $5.

No way. They are about .75 each and then I have to do all the work to make them. I think that's outrageous!

I bought this Butterick pattern for chair covers.

I love B - the first one on the bottom row. It requires 6 button covers per chair and almost 4 yards of fabric per chair. GET OUT OF HERE! I am not about to spend over $50 per chair cover! If I am making these myself, I expect to exchange my labor for the big bucks chair covers cost at retail. You can't find a decent home dec fabric for much less than $10 a yard. I guess I will hold this pattern until I find some good quality fabric that is reduced to a fraction of its full price.

Does anyone have a source for button covers at a lesser price?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pink Christmas Centerpiece

Now that I have the centerpiece made, you can hardly see the Dresden plate. I think it's just enough to add a little "something" to the center of the table. At least I will convince myself of that so all of my work was not in vain. :) I already posted about how I made this. If you want, you can read about it by clicking here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dresden Plate Table Center or Mini Tree Skirt

It's been a couple of years since I made something that was not paper pieced.
I was in the mood to sew something that was quick and easy. I decided to make this in pinks and it could go in the center of my dining table. I still need to make a centerpiece.

Just prior to making this I had been ironing a new jacket and the pressing ham I used for the sleeves was still on the ironing board. It's a real pain to iron out scallops. I usually use a straight pin to pull them out, iron a bit, pull out more with the pin, etc. I am always looking for easier ways to accomplish the same task and decided to try the ham (I know many people no longer iron, so if you have never heard of a pressing ham, it's that brown plaid thing. It helps to iron in small places).
I stuck it down to the scallop seam
and pulled it taut.
Then hit it with the iron and moved on to the next. It went fast and the scallops came out pretty nice. I just had to pull a few places with the pin on the final ironing.
This can also be used as a tree skirt for a 2 ft. tree.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is Anyone Doing Paper Panache Mystery #49?

I gave up on the elf clothing. It was too much work, for too little reward.

But I am so glad I tried. While looking for the shirt pattern, I found this tool that I have been trying to find for months. See that clear thing on top of the box? Do you know what it is?

It is a quarter-inch marker for adding that amount to templates.

It is so much easier than using a ruler and making little 1/4-inch ticks, then trying to align the ruler and draw the line.

I am thrilled to have it back! It was worth the 30 minutes I spent making the rejected elf shirt.

That template I am marking is for the Paper Panache Mystery Challenge #49. I am wondering if anyone else has done this one because I don't think I have it made correctly.

I need to make 6 of these and put them together in a hexagon and then I will know what it is. I can't imagine that it will look like anything recognizable, so I am wondering if I have made mistakes.

I went back to the site and she says it will look like nothing for quite a while. That was reassuring. Then she said you may have to stand back to see the secret message. I stood back, on top of and then photograped to view it on the computer. I don't see anything. I hate to make 5 more of these if I have them wrong.

I decided to make 6 copies of the finished block and set them side by side.

I still can't tell what it is.

Can you?

If you have made this, I would be eternally grateful if you could give me some direction so I know if I should continue on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Honored with an Award

Anya, from Hills Creek Quilter, recently surprised and delighted me by naming Perpetually Piecing as a blog that she finds creative. With millions of blogs out there, I am always thrilled when someone finds something in mine that inspires them to return on a daily (or near) basis. Thank you, Anya, for making my day!

I visit so many blogs that there is no way I can pick 5. Simply put if I visit you often, then I find your blog creative. Otherwise I wouldn't check in all the time to see what new and wonderful projects you have all posted. I just wish I had more time in the day to visit more of you.

See all of these elves that I have made?

I love these guys. They hang out all over my home during the month of December.

You might find one in a tree,
sitting in a stocking, or

perhaps peeking through a vase of live greens.
Why, they even find a way to get up in the archway garland! They are everywhere!

I have decided to make some new clothing for a couple of them. I want to try to insert a tiny paper-pieced block into the shirt front.

Stayed tuned to see if it works. If it does, I think it will qualify as a quilting post, since it will be paper pieced. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rosette Gift Topper

I found another use for the rosettes. I put one of the tree ornaments in the middle and just hot glued it to the package.

I think they make a nice substitute for a bow on tiny packages.

I still have not been doing any quilting, but I did do a little sewing yesterday to make these chair backs to match my dining room tree.

Did you notice that I used the rosettes here, too?

I am certainly having fun with those. Thanks again, Sparkle Jars.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've Been Too Busy Christmas Decorating

Sorry, it's been a while since I've posted here. I have decorated 11 Christms trees in the past week. Nine at home and two at work. I've been posting about it all on my main blog. You can click this sentence if you want to go there.

I hope to get back to sewing soon.
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