Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Embroidery Sewing Machine

I have wanted an emboidery sewing maching for awhile now. 

Of course, the good ones cost thousands of dollars and I just don't have that.  BUT, Brother makes a "beginners model" so to speak.  It's the SE-400 Embroidery and Sewing machine.  I got it off  They had the best price.  Plus, there were over a hundred reviews and almost all of them were good.  The people just went on and on about how much they loved it.  I stared at it for months before actually working up the nerve to buy it.

It certainly is alot different from my Janome.  For one thing, it takes forever to wind a bobbin.  You have to do it really carefully and follow all these steps.  But once you get it all done and threaded and it startes embroidering something, it's awesome!  I'm still learning how to use it and what it's limits are.  But I'm having fun with it for now.

Do you have a machine that does embroidery?  What kind and how do you like it?

Bonus:  Here's a pic of my giant 6 foot son on his first day of 8th grade.  You can't see his mustache very well in the picture but apparently, it was dark enough for his science teacher to tell him he had to shave.  He had already shaved the scruffy whiskers on the rest of his face.  Sigh!  He's only 13 - why does he have to shave?  Why is he growing up so fast?  Sigh.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning to Paper Piece

A few weeks ago, I took a class at one of our local sewing centers, Sharman's.  It was a class to learn how to machine paper piece.  To be honest, before I took the class, I wasn't too sure what that was.  I googled it before class but that didn't really help.

We had a great teacher.  She used the book "Show Me How to Paper Piece" by Carol Doak.  The first time she explained the process, I was completely lost but after a couple of minutes of following her directions, I realized that this is the best thing ever!  I love doing it.  It's so cool, not that hard and the end results look like you really spent oodles of time on it when maybe you just spent 30 minutes.  I love things that make hard things easy.  Also, you don't have to cut pieces of fabric exactly the size you need.  You can just cut pieces that are big enough and then trim them later.

Since taking this class, I watched a video online of someone paper piecing, and she was cutting each piece of fabric precisely the size she would need.  It involved  measuring and rotary cutting and was just a big obsessive compulsive deal.  It almost made me cry.  Why would anyone do it such a hard way when you can just randomly cut the fabric into shapes that are big enough and then trim?  I'm even saving pieces I've trimmed that are large enough to reuse.
 This is the heart I paper pieced.  Then I made it into a little pillow Christmas ornament by sewing a back on it and stuffing it.  You could also sew several of these together to make a real pillow or even a quilt.  The pattern can be enlarged so that if you're making a quilt, you don't have to make so many tiny hearts.
 This is the second heart that I started working on in class.   I'm since finished it but haven't stuff it yet.
This is what the pattern looks like.  You actually sew the little pieces of fabric on the paper, following the lines.  Each area is numbered (1,2,3, etc) according to where you put the next piece of fabric.  At the end, you just rip the paper off.

I have since ordered myself a big ol' pattern book that has 365 patterns in it. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taco Bake - a recipe

We don't eat alot of meat at my house.  Therefore, I don't buy alot of meat.  I buy chicken that they slice for me in the deli for sandwiches and I buy those packages of precooked bacon that I sometimes put on my sandwiches but that's about it.

However, when you have a ginourmous 13 year old growing boy who is a total carnivore, you have to start rethinking things when you go to the grocery store.  It's been very hard for me because frankly, I'm not even sure what all the cuts of beef are.

I do know how to buy ground beef though and I've been making alot of tacos.  But tacos get old after awhile.  So, I've been trying to come up with something else to make.
And while standing in the taco shell aisle at the grocery store, it came to me.  Taco Bake.  I was actually looking at this box of some kind of taco bake stuff and thinking that it looked good in the picture when I decided, "hey, I can make my own taco bake."  SO, I did.

My Taco Bake Casserole Recipe:

1 lb. of ground beef  (I use the 96% lean kind)
1 package of taco seasoning
amount of water needed as stated on the back of the taco seasoning package
1 onion
flour tortillas
cheddar cheese or the mexican cheese mixtures or a combination of the two
fresh cherry tomatoes from the plants in the backyard  (or whatever kind they have at the grocery)

I browned the ground beef and added the chopped onion until it was cooked (see through).  Then I added the taco seasoning and water and let it simmer for a bit.

I started layering the stuff in the pan.  First the meat mixture and then a layer of tortillas, then cheese - repeat until all the meat is gone.  Then I topped it off with more cheese and tomatoes.

I made some of that Rotel dip to go along because our arteries weren't being clogged enough.

And I have to say, it was simple but it was really good.  Both my husband and son liked it and we even ate the leftovers.
Tonight, I'm making some kind of steak that I've been marinating since yesterday.  Pray for me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Say Hello to Bob

Say Hello to my new friend Bob.

Bob likes to eat nuts on the ground around the tree that is outside my sewing room window.  I love watching him and he seems to like watching me too.  He hangs out on the branches staring at me and letting me take his picture.
I left some pecans for him but it took him two days to find them and the bird who lives in the tree also, had already eaten most of them.  The bird is really mean and he hates Bob.

Bob is my new boyfriend.  Isn't  he sweet?  :)

And now for crafting news.
Here are some Christmas stockings that I'm almost finished with - I'm sewing the last button on now.  I want to start listing them today.
These particular stockings are made with Moda Flurry fabric and Riley Blake Christmas Candy Rolie Polie.  I will also have available Moda's Ready Set Snow and a very limited supply of Moda's 12 Days of Christmas.
I'm going to have a very limited supply of Christmas stockings this year because they are very labor intensive to make.  There are about a million pieces to each stocking.
So, if you want to get in a custom order, or you know someone who does, get your order in early.
My next post will be about this great sewing class I took last week to learn machine paper piecing.  It was awesome!