Friday, August 17, 2012


Supplies. stainless steel large pot
Metal whisk
vinegar for neutralizing any lye or soap that may splash on you
wooden spoon for stirring 
weighing scale

12 oz lye
21  1/2 oz cold water
5 lbs 7 1/3 oz lard

 I have wanted to make homemade lye soap for quit a while. I even bought the book on soap making that sat on my shelf for the last 3 years. The prospect of using lye was scary. especially after reading all the precautions written in the book so I decided to wait...

One of my friends Ronnie offered to do a hands on tutorial, it is fascinating to think that lard turns into soap by just adding lye, and water to it.

Lard was melted in a enamel pot.

Lye was mixed with ice water in a high temperature resistant glass jar, until the lye water was clear.  Making sure you wear safety glasses, and have vinegar on hand to spray in case of lye water splashing on the skin. The water actually reaches 180 degrees.
 The lye water is then poured into the melted fat, and stirred.
And stirred, and stirred, and stirred... for  4 hours to be exact , until the soap looked like thick gravy. That's what is called the trace stage when you pour some of the soap on top of the soap, and it lays on top for a moment before disappearing. At this stage is when we poured the oatmeal, and lavender.
Ronnie then poured it into a plastic lined cardboard box. It had to harden to fudge hard stage. Which took 12 hours.
I cut the soap into bars. It has to cure for 3 weeks before using. A chemical reaction process occurs in that time where lye dust appears to the surface of the bars. The dust is cut away, the soap gets mellow.
This soap is the best feeling soap, it's slick when wet, and does not feel scummy like store bought soap. The glycerin is not removed in homemade lye soap. I added the oats for exfoliating dead skin,the lavender was added for scent, and texture.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Folk Art Quilt

About in the 80's I was watching Sewing with Nancy, she was showing how to make a lone star quilt. I decided I was gonna try to make one too. After I got the quilt top finished I didn't know what to do with it. So I bought a double size flat sheet, using  the sewing machine I proceeded to sew the quilt only to have a big jumble mess the quilt had a wow in it. In other words it didn't lie flat.
This is the 2nd quilt that I have completed. I am real happy with the way it turned out. I found the pattern in a book by Clare Kingslake, called Folk Quilt Applique. I love her work. I was truly inspired by her work.

I have now joined a quilting gathering, am learning what mistakes I had made with my first quilt.
to make an applique quilt I first drew the shapes onto freezer wrap, then the shapes were cut out and placed on the color materials which I had chosen for each item.

Using a dark thread I turn the edges under by hand, and put a running stitch in a dark color thread. After I press the material with a iron I remove  the tread.
Here are some bird cut outs ready to go on to the block of material.
At first I was pinning them into place, while I hand sewed them on, I didn't like the fact that those pins kept poking me...

So I discovered this stuff called wonder under transfer web, I cut little pieces on to the objects that needed  sewing, which eliminated having to use pins.
Here's a peek at the double sized quilt top before  quilting has begun.  My friend Pam showed me how to sandwich the quilt. First she took the bottom material laid it on a large table taped it down with masking tape , so it would be flat, and tight.  The batting was laid on top next, then finally the quilt top last.The quilting was done in a random pattern, using a hoop to keep it tight.
When the quilting is finished trim the quilt, square it off cutting away the unnecessary material and batting.  Cut material for the binding 2.5 inches wide. Iron in half, and again in half to frame the outside of the quilt. I sew one part to the front, and hand stitched the  the back part by hand.

This is the progress of the binding first the strip, then the folds ironed, then the end result, binding.
 The back side of the baby quilt. Happy sewing : )

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Knitted Felted Purse

This is  the first time I have tried to make a felted purse, I must admit that I like the feel, and look of felted purses. Besides the fact that they are strong, and light the shapes of the purse are as varied  as your mind dream.

The pattern called to make 2 sides, 2 bottoms, and 2 side panels.

 The bottom panels I did in different colors.  The side, and front measured 9.5 inches high, the bottom measured 7x20 inches square, the handles measured 25 inches,the width of the purse was 20 inches.

This was the result of felting.  It shrank too small, more of a clutch size.
Being this was my first time felting, I just put the purse in a pillow case, filled the washing machine with hot water, and a squirt of dish soap. I let the washing machine agitate for 20 minutes before I checked my  purse, it was too late. I tried to pull it larger without success.
The size of the purse is 16 inches wide, 5 inches high, the bottom 3x16 inches square, the handles 18 inches. I'm going back to the drawing board...

So I bought more yarn, and decided to knit a round piece that I can sew into the clutch size purse, to enlarge it.
This is what it looked like after I cut the clutch in 2, and sewed the middle piece on. I had a piece left over so not to wasted I made  a small purse.
By laying brightly colored roving in round shapes. Take a empty bottle  dish soap fill with hot water, squirt a bit of dish soap. It should feel real soapy between your fingers. Dribble a generous amount of soapy mixture on top of felt, and roving.Wrap in bubble wrap tie ends together, rolling back and forth. and forth until the roving sticks to the felt piece.
You can see how the roving has intertwined with the felt piece, rinse allow to dry.
I added glass beads, and a large button.
This purse I felted with a felting needle, laying the roving in shapes of flowers, and leaves. The inside of the purse was lined with cotton fabric, and I sewed 2 pockets on each side.

This is a close up of the decorations on the purse, I added glass beads, and embroidered around the felted roving, I really learned a lot from this purse, and it was so much fun : )

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I have a new way to spice up chicken breasts. What I like about this recipe is that the white meat stays moist, and tender.

6 Chicken breasts with skin
6 oz ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup of Swiss chard fresh, or  if you can't find it spinach
1/2 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese
1 medium onion chopped
Vegetable spray
Montreal season
In a pan saute the onions, in a tablespoon of butter until the onion is translucent, add the Swiss chard until it wilts remove from stove.

 In large bowl place cooked Swiss chard mixture, egg, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Italian seasonings , and salt.  Mix well this will be the stuffing for the chicken.
Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towel, season with salt, even lift chicken skin up, and salt there also.

 Stuff the cheese, and vegetable mixture under the skin. Place in a baking dish sprayed with vegetable spray this will keep the chicken from sticking, easier clean up.  Sprinkle Montreal seasonings on top of chicken skin.  Bake in pre heated  oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  I like to serve this with potato salad, and salad. Enjoy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

China Silk Painting

Silk China Painting is a free style art form, very relaxing project, it can't be messed up.

100 % silk scarf (Jo Ann's or Amazon on line carry the scarfs )
Dye-na-flow paints made by Jacquard are sold on also
Spray bottle filled with water
Small child rubber bands
7 Styrofoam cups
Tray to catch drips
Rubber gloves optional

Grab a dime size piece of material, twist, place rubber band around it. Pick 7 spots on the scarf, and repeat 6 more times make sure to stagger the positions on the scarf for a more natural effect.

Place the rubber banded  buttons of material on top of a Styrofoam  cu which has been inverted upside down. One cup per button. Arrange on a tray, to catch paint, and water because it will flow.

Place a drop of the color yellow on the tip of the button of material, allow to dry for 15 minutes or use a blow dryer to speed up the process. When applying the next color leave a space of white between the 2 colors.

To achieve a softer looking flower spray water on the edges of the flowers. The colors chosen on some of the flowers were red, orange, blue, and purple. You want the colors to fall in the valleys of the cups. The buttons on top of the cups make this work. Place the color green in the valley of the cloth, and again spray water to give the greenery a softer look.

Here is a group of happy painters : )

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Shower Ideas

I have 2 wonderful nieces that are expecting babies at relatively the same time. Since we didn't know the sex of the babies I was looking for a theme that would incorporate both a girl, and a boy. I stayed with yellow, green, blue, red for the color palette. I decided to go with a jungle animal theme.

I made 2 diaper cakes for each of the nieces using animals that I had sewn, or purchased. Walmart carries  cute cloth rattles.

Made onesies  sugar cookies : )
Sunny yellow with happy poka dots.
I also to decided to make cupcakes instead of a big huge cake. My thinking was the left overs would be easier to store. I put a small 6 inch cake on top for the theme of the baby shower. Carrot cake with cream  cheese frosting, covered with homemade fondant.
The characters are made from the fondant, it is difficult to work with next time I will use sugar paste. My niece Summer was still expecting, so I made her holding her big tummy. Tammy had delivered her son by the time of the baby shower.

Food was set up cafeteria style.

The happy mothers : )