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Friday, October 26, 2012

I love bread ...

 and I especially love crusty bread! Imagine how happy I was when a friend of mine pointed me to a recipe for a very easy-to-make crusty loaf. Yes, I do have a bread machine, and I use it a lot for our regular sandwich bread and a few variations. However, it doesn't do "crusty". I can do — and have done — dough in the machine and then baked it, and the results are good. However, this recipe sounded so easy that I decided to give it a try. Wow! "Easy" hardly begins to describe this. There's no kneading, and it can be started a day or so ahead of time, then baked for dinner. The crumb isn't as fine as a kneaded bread, but it's good, and I really enjoyed having it with some homemade turkey soup just now. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New "stuff"

 I've been working on a Craftsy class on doing beaded knitting for some time now. I'd already made one shawl from the class, and today I finished blocking the second/last one. This one is actually from a pattern I used in my very first Craftsy class, but the beads were added along the edging. I've pretty pleased with how it turned out, though I see that some of my points are turned under in the photo. Oops.

The beads are clear, with black centers, so they aren't very evident; they're more of an "effect", if you know what I mean.

That was the fun update. The not-so-fun update is that our refrigerator was becoming more and more unreliable over the course of the past few months. We'd had the compressor replaced, but we still experienced short periods where neither the freezer compartment nor the refrigerator seemed to be "on". A good clue was the mini "stalactites" I'd find hanging in the freezer every day or two.

Friday it happened again. While the cooling eventually turned itself back on, we'd had enough, so off we went to do some major shopping. I'm happy to report that our new refrigerator was delivered and installed yesterday afternoon! In addition, I finally have the bottom freezer I've wanted for so long. :) That puts the refrigerator at eye level and increases efficiency, since cold air falls. Now all we have to do is convince Bisou that the new appliance isn't some sort of scary monster! LOL!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On the Go Bag — sort of

A good friend of mine made Annie Unrein's On the Go Bag and liked it except for the size. It was simply too big for convenient use at — for example — a quilt show. Previously, I'd made Annie's Name Tag Bag, and I love it, except for being able to easily access and organize money in it. (As an aside, it is a perfect bag to use on a cruise ship, where carrying money isn't a consideration).

At any rate, my very good friend figured out how to alter the On the Go Bag to make it a size we'd both prefer, and then she shared her tips with me. :) Here's my new bag, ready to take to the next show. This one is roughly 7" x 8" and has pockets galore. There's the clear pocket for show badges, with a divided zippered pocket above that on the flap. The back has a large open pocket that will work quite well for my cell phone and my small sunglasses case. The main compartment of the bag, also zippered, has several credit card pockets and space for a change purse, a lipstick, some tissues and even a small camera.

The strap is adjustable, so I'll be able to wear it as a neck wallet, a shoulder bag, or across my body, depending on my mood. The bag has the perfect amount of stability, thanks to the Soft and Stable that adds both padding and body. I'm ready! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dimensional Christmas Tree

At last month's meeting of the smaller group I attend, one of our members kindly taught us how to make a dimensional Christmas tree wall hanging. I've managed to finish my version of it just in time for the next meeting, which will be this week. :) It was suggested to use green fabrics for the tree — of course! -- and a light background, but I was using scraps from my stash and found it better to reverse the colors because of the shapes I had available.

I think you can tell that the bottom of each "layer" of the tree isn't sewn down. I was supposed to make each one slightly "poofy" to stand away a bit from the background, but I decided to make them flat to make storage simpler. ;) I machine quilted the background before applying the tree parts, and that was definitely a good decision; I didn't have to work around the tree at all as I quilted! I kept the quilting simple, with wavy lines around the tree trunk and some basic large feathers around the top. I think you may be able to see the feathers here, if you click on the photo to make it larger.

The original pattern had a pieced border, but I happened to have this pretty stripe left over from a previous project, so I used that instead.