Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A First For Me

More Peaches

I finally started canning!  The past few years I've researched canning and planned to do it, but then just never did.  Last year I got a bushel of apples and intended to can some of them, but instead made 3/4 of them into pies to freeze and stored the rest.

The last of the bushel.

This year I got a 1/2 bushel of peaches (I now wish I would have gotten a whole bushel).  The last two days I have been up to my elbows in peaches, literally, the juice runs everywhere!  They are SO good it was hard not to keep eating them!


My friend came over with her 1/2 bushel of peaches and we worked together.  It's so much more fun that way! 

Peach Pie filling!

I made all of my peaches into pie filling.  I started with 11 jars, but three from my first batch didn't seal. :(  This was a bit discouraging, but I quickly turned it around by making them into pies and freezing them.  So I ended up with 3 ready to bake pies and 8 quarts of filling.  I can't wait to have fresh peach pie in the middle of February!


My friend canned all of the peaches she brought (she has another 1/2 bushel at home!) in light syrup.  She ended up with 8 quarts.  Don't they just look delicious?!  She was nice enough to leave behind 15 or so peaches and I plan to can a few pints like this, they just look too good not to have some!

We ordered our peaches from a small Amish market about 30 minutes from here and they also do the apples.  So we placing our order for apples here in the next few days.  I might be crazy, but I plan on getting 2 bushels.  The Jonathans they get are SO good.  My son and I just eat them up!  So I will probably get a whole bushel of just Jonathans and then a couple 1/2 bushels of two other kinds to have a mixture.  I plan on canning pie filling, applesauce and apple jelly, yum.

I also have a bowl full of tomatoes in the fridge from my friends mom and I plan on heading out to my parents this afternoon to pick what they don't want from their garden.  And then I'm heading to the farmers market in the morning to see if I can get a good deal on some more tomatoes!  Then I will can them to have tomatoes for chilli and salsa all winter.  I love this canning business!

So not much sewing, but lots of yummy peaches!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pleated Clutch Tutorial

I'm very excited for my first tutorial!  I love making zip pouches, they are so fun and come together very quickly.  But beware, they are very addicting!  It's hard to make just one.

Pleated Clutch TutorialThis bag finishes at about 11"x6.25" with a divided pocket on the inside.  It's nice and sturdy due to the fusible fleece attached to the lining.  I also rounded and darted the corners to give it a nice shape that wouldn't just be flat.  I am very happy with the way this bag turned out and hope you are too!

You will need:
For the outer fabric- (2) 5.5"x18" and (2) 2"x11.5"
Lining fabric - (2) 7"x11.5" and (1) 8.5"x8.5"(pocket)
Light weight interfacing - (2) 5"x17.5", (2) 1.5"x11" and (1) 8"x8"
Fusible fleece - (2) 6.5"x11"
Matching Zipper - at least 12" (Mine was 14" because that's what I had on hand.)

Outer fabric - (1) 2"x2"
A .5" D-ring

Alrighty, lets get started.  Attach the matching pieces of interfacing to the 4 outer fabric pieces and to the pocket following the manufactures instructions.

Take the 2 large outer pieces and line them up on your cutting mat or use a ruler to mark it for the pleats.  Mark the center of the 18" length, then mark 1" from the center, then 2.5", 4.5" and 6" along the edge.  Repeat on the other side of the center line.  Do this on both the top and bottom of each piece.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial

Starting from the outside fold the fabric on the first line and then match it up to the second and pin it.  Repeat along the bottom edge.  Now fold the fabric at the second line and match up with the fourth line in the same manner as before and pin it.  Repeat along the bottom edge as well.  Turn the fabric around and repeat the process on the other side.  When finished you should have 2 pleats on each side that fold toward the center.  Repeat the entire process on the second piece.

Pleated Clutch Tutorial

They should look like this.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial
Now you need to round the bottom corners.  Just find something small and round, place it on the corner lined up with the sides and trace.  I used a small candle, you don't want anything too big.  Then cut off the corner on the line you drew.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial
Pin the top bands to the pleated sections.  My pleated sections were slightly larger than 11.5" so I lined up the ends and pinned them and then the center and then again between the center and the edges.  This way any extra would be eased into the 11.5" band.  Sew with a quarter inch seam.  Press the seams up toward the bands.

Pleated Clutch TutorialAt this point I also stitched along the bottom just in about an 1/8 of an inch to baste the pleats so I could get rid of all the pins.

Pleated Clutch TutorialTop stitch a scant quarter inch up from the seam on the top band.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial
Now you need to dart the corners.  I lined up my pieces on my cutting mat and used the 45 degree line to mark an inch in from the edge.  Mark all 4 bottom corners in this manner.  Then fold on the line, right sides together, and sew a line starting on the inside, an inch in, to the edge a quarter inch from the fold.  It might help if you mark the back side of the back side of the fabric.

Pleated Clutch Tutorial

If you are attaching a D-ring or would just like a loop of fabric you need to grab your 2"x2" piece of outer fabric.  Fold it in half and press.  Unfold and fold the edges into the center fold and press again.  Keep the edges folded in and refold along the center line, press again.  Stitch about about an 1/8 of and inch along along the unfolded edge.  You should now have a piece that measures 2" by about .5".  I hope that is clear, I'm sorry I don't have any photos.  Slip on the D-ring and fold in half.  I usually stitch mine to the left side of the front, but it is up to you, this bag doesn't have a clear front and back so it doesn't really matter.  Stitch it on the top band just above the seam (see photo) about an 1/8" from the edge.

At this point the outer pieces are finished.  Time for the lining.

Start by rounding the bottom corners of the lining pieces the same way you did the outer pieces.  You also need to round the corners on the two pieces of fusible fleece.  Once the corners are rounded you can attach the fusible fleece to the lining pieces, again, follow the manufactures instructions. 

Pleated Clutch TutorialFor the pocket grab the 8.5"x8.5" lining piece, fold in half right sides together and stitch down the sides.  Turn right side out, press and then top stitch along the folded edge about a quarter inch down.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial

Lay the pocket piece upside down so the raw edge is about 2" from the bottom.  Make sure it's centered and sew a quarter inch from the raw edge, press up.  Pin in place and then sew a scant quarter inch up both sides back stitching and the beginning and end.  Then come in about 2.5"-3" from the right side and stitch up from the bottom back stitching again. (Don't mind my pocket piece, it was a little short, but I made it work.)

Pleated Clutch TutorialDart the bottom corners of the lining pieces in the same manner as you did the outer pieces.

Now the outer and lining pieces are finished and ready to become a bag!

Are you still with me?  I know this is getting pretty long!

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial
Take an outer piece and lay it right side up, place the zipper top/right side down along the top edge.  Then lay the lining piece right side down lining up the top edge with the zipper and top edge of the outer piece.  Pin and sew a quarter inch from the edge.  You can use your zipper foot, but I didn't.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial

Now flip back the outer and lining piece away from the zipper and top stitch about an eighth of and inch from the edge.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch TutorialRepeat with the two remaining pieces making sure the outer pieces are right sides together and the lining pieces are right sides together and top stitch.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial

Flip the pieces back right sides together and unzip the zipper 3/4 of the way.

Pleated Clutch TutorialPleated Clutch Tutorial

Pin all the way around the edges making sure to pin the zipper coils towards the lining.  Make sure to pin it good around the zipper so it doesn't shift while sewing.  I made sure to line up the darts and and pleats when pinning.

When sewing around the edges I used a 1/4 inch seam around the outside pieces and more like 3/8 to a 1/2 around the lining pieces.  This just makes sure the lining fits nicely and doesn't bunch up.  Make sure to leave a 3"-4" opening in the bottom of the lining for turning.

Pleated Clutch Tutorial

Once you've sewed around the edge, turn the right side out and either machine or hand stitch the opening closed.  I always machine stitch it since it's on the inside and no one will really see it.  Stuff the lining down into the bag, shape it up a bit and voila!

Pleated Clutch Tutorial

I hope this all made sense.  If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will respond to you and also update the tutorial.  If you make one please leave a link in the comments, I would LOVE to see it!

Feel free to post any photos of your bag in my new Flickr group!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sarah Needs Your Help!

I am very excited to be helping out a fellow "small blogger". 

Sarah over at So Sarah Sews needs our help!  She is hoping to make two quilts for two young girls in foster care.  When it comes to kids it is beyond worthwhile to give up some time and a bit of fabric to give them a little (or a lot of) comfort!  So join me in hepling Sarah by making two 12" blocks and sending them off to her.

If you are interested, head over to this post to get more of the story and leave Sarah a comment letting her know you want to help. 

Help out by doing something you love!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I've Been Featured!

Woo! Hoo!  I'm being featured by Jennifer over at Ellison Lane Quilts today.  Isn't that awesome?!  Well, I think it is!

Jennifer is so sweet!  She is one of those awesome people that you immediately want to be friends with.  She hosted the Rainbow Charm Swap that I participated in and is currently hosting a second round (which I am totally kicking myself in the butt for not trying to get into, so there needs to be a round three! ;-)).  I get so excited when I see that she has a new post, I just can't wait to see what she's been sewing up.  She hasn't made anything that I didn't love! 

I mean look at her Dresden plates quilt.  It's fresh and colorful...just beautiful!

So go learn a little more about me over on her blog and don't forget to check out her work!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweat and Swoon

The weather has been beautiful, sunny with high 70's to low 80's and nights in the low 60's to high 50's!  So not August weather and I am very grateful. So with it being to nice out we have been busy outside. 

We have these evergreen bushes along the front and one side of the house with river rocks all around them and then just an empty bed of rocks along the opposite side of the house.  Ever since we bought the house four years ago I have wanted to get rid of it all and this week we finally decided to do it.  I'm excited that it is getting done, but I am SO tired!  The bushes in front of the house were small and were really quite easy to dig out, but the bushes on the side of the house were much bigger and much more difficult to deal with.  And the rocks...a LOT of shoveling!  So I've been pretty busy.

However, I did manage to get two Swoon blocks done!  Oh how I love this pattern!

Swoon Block #3

Swoon Block #4

So four down and 12 to go.  I only have enough fabric to make 4 more so I will need to do some shopping here soon.

Swoon Block #1Swoon Block #2

Swoon Block #3Swoon Block #4

Now I'm off to bed to sleep like a baby!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Martha's Quilt and a Birthday!

Martha's Quilt

Martha's Quilt
32" x 38"

Martha's Quilt

It's finished, my 3rd quilt finished in a month!  I went from none to three in no time.

Martha's Quilt

Martha's Quilt

The label turned out great thanks to Cindy and Ruth!  I embroidered the lettering on, then took the finished piece and sewed it right sides together with another piece of fabric and sewed around the edges.  I turned and pressed it and then ladder stitched it on the back through the batting.  Then went back and embroidered a line of chain stitches a quarter of an inch from the edge also down through the batting.

Martha's Quilt

I did straight line quilting just off to one side of the seams.  I love how it mimics the diamond pattern. 

To be honest, I wanted to make an argyle quilt.  After seeing this pillow and then this quilt I have been in love with the idea, but when I got to the point of stitching the lines through the diamonds I chickened out.  I was worried my lines wouldn't be straight and it would look like crap.  So I just skipped it.  I am still very happy with the results!

Martha's Quilt

Martha's Quilt

It's all rolled up and tied with a bow just waiting to be delivered.  I can't wait!  I think the label makes it so much more special...is that just me?


The cat thinks that it is his new pillow.  He had his head on it until I walked over to take this picture...

On another note, today is my baby's birthday!  No, not my son.  My first baby, my boxer, Oliver.

Happy Birthday Oliver

I made this collage this morning with photos I already had on my laptop.  He was only 2 and 3 in these photos.  So I set out to take a current one of him.


I have to admit I teared up a bit when I uploaded this photo.  When I look at him I still see my 2yr old baby with out a single grey hair!  But anyway he's 8 today!  So I will be baking up a special birthday batch of dog treats today.  He will love them!

Happy Birthday Oliver!!