Sunday, June 29, 2008

Japanese Stenciling Book

Japanese Stencil Idea Book

I dragged my family into our local Mitsuwa Marketplace after church today. I was sort of pushing my luck because we'd just been to Ikea. They agree the Japanese marketplace is pretty cool and I let the kids pick out whatever sweet Japanese treat they want. My son always prefers Pocky, while my daughter finds something with some sort of cuteness as part of the design. Today she got chocolate lollipop kids.

I looked through the craft books to see if ther was anything new that caught my eye. I didn't see much felt craft this time, and the kids embroidery motif books weren't available at this store today. The book I chose is a stenciling book. ISBN978-4-277-43110-1

These are ideas and stencil patterns you can use with simple freezer paper or regular card stock and acrylic paint. As usual, the instructions are very clear, even though I can't read Japanese:
Japanese Stencil Idea Book

This page is cute animal shapes. They make a good napkin set:
Japanese Stencil Idea Book

Here's leaves on brown paper:
Japanese Stencil Idea Book

This page is my favorite. It's doughnuts and cakes! Cute!
Japanese Stencil Idea Book

Simple sewing patterns are included. It has some traditional Japanese designs, flowers, kitchen motifs, an English alphabet, fruits and other fun shapes. The more I go through this book the more I like it!

I tried to find a link for you at YesAsia, but I couldn't find it there.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rainy Day Machine Quilting

Machine Quilting

It's a rainy Saturday here so I decided to do some machine quilting on one of the tops I recently finished. I tried to use the free motion foot and do flowery swirls but I just don't have the knack for free motion so it's straight lines instead!

The cotton/poly batting I selected requires the quilting to be spaced a maximum of 4 inches apart so I had to add an extra set of lines. Quilting diagonally across each block wasn't close enough.
Machine Quilting

I penciled in little tick marks on the edge of each block and I aimed straight for them with my walking foot. This worked like a charm! My lines aren't always perfectly straight, but that doesn't bother me. This quilt will shrink in the wash and willhave a flat, puckered, vintage look.

Clean out the lint from under your presser foot!

Machine quilting produces lots of lint! I cleaned out under the presser foot 3 times so far. This photo hardly begins to show how much lint is in there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches

It's ice cream season! Hooray! I love making homemade ice cream.

Here's the summer treat I did yesterday for my kids to snack from in the freezer. My daughter is in some sort of growth spurt kids go through at around 8 years of age and she is hungry all the time. My son's medication makes him hungry only in the evenings and boy is he hungry in the evenings!

I've made ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies but I found that they break apart too easily. These are Chips Ahoy and they are an excellent alternative. The ice cream is homemade. I tried a new recipe for the ice cream and I learned that I don't care for condensed milk in my vanilla ice cream... I prefer my regular recipe passed down in my family through Great Aunt Florence from Waterloo, Iowa. Waterloo is in the area badly hit by the recent Iowa floods, so if you make this recipe, send those folks some good thoughts for strength in their crisis.

I use very fresh eggs and in all the years I've been making this ice cream, we've never had a problem with the raw eggs. I always give everyone fair warning about them in case anyone is pregnant and is being careful about those things. You can substitute pasteurized eggs or just leave out the eggs altogether. Additionally, this recipe is a very light milky version of ice cream with a much higher proportion of milk to cream.

Aunt Florence's Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 2 quarts

Whisk together in a large bowl:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
5 cups milk (use whole, lowfat, or skim as you desire)
1/4 tsp salt

Stir together well and make as ice cream according to manufacturers instructions on your ice cream maker.

Enjoy! My favorite summer ice cream treat is hot fudge sundaes with bananas over cream puffs. Cream puffs are so incredibly easy to make you should try baking those too!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Getting Cozy

Summer tick-tick-ticks away! I'm trying to beef up my reading this summer and I finished all of the Chronicles of Narnia. That's 7 books so far! I know they were written for children, so this isn't much of an accomplishment. They were delightful and even better than I remembered as a kid. I don't know what I'll read next, but I was about halfway through Middlesex before I misplaced it.

I did a belated birthday project this morning for my niece:
Water Bottle Cozy

This is a water bottle cozy from a pattern in Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful. I made a different one last spring for my daughter. She loves it and it was a big hit at school. The pattern says to use Sugar and Cream cotton and that's what I used for the other version. This one is Red Heart Acrylic and I think it''ll be more stain resistant and durable than the cotton one.
The back closes with buttons:
Water Bottle Cozy Detail

Next week is my daughter's 8th birthday and I am really excited about her gift. I'm probably more excited than she'll be about it. She is getting the Hello Kitty Sewing Machine. She's done a little bit of sewing on my machine, but this one is supposed to be a good one for beginners, and well.. it's Hello Kitty! I got her a bunch of nice notions and a good pair of Fiskars scissors. I forgot to bring my coupons to JoAnns so I paid too much for her stuff, but I think learners should have good tools to start with. I have idyllic dreams of us sitting at the table sewing projects together. This will probably not actually happen, but not for lack of supplies! She wants a craft themed birthday party which I have not even begun to plan.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Videos and an Update

My summer goal is to get at least one of my new quilt tops quilted on my home sewing machine. My camera is not cleaned out of the pictures from our trip because our summer weather has been too beautiful for sitting at they computer. If you've been to the theater lately you may have seen the preview made fun of in this video.

This video from The Onion is also funny:

High School Tony Awards Honor Nation's Biggest Drama Club Nerds
I was a theater kid in High School so it brings back memories. I never ever did any acting and never wanted to be onstage. I was in the band and on the Tech Crew. As the crew, we sometimes used to joke that our shows would go so much more smoothly if it wasn't for those danged actors getting in the way. If theater kids were considered nerds, I suppose the tech crew was really low on the totem pole, but life is much more fun if you let your geek flag fly!

Anyone watching Swingtown on CBS? I had to take my post about my connection to the show down because I was uncomfortable about all the hits I was getting about it. (I happen to have grown up in the same neighborhood at the exact same time as the creator of the show who loosely based the show on his childhood recollections.) My blog was coming up on the first page of google searches on the topic of the show and I prefer the coziness of supportive crafty blog readers to the snarky judgement of pop culture blogging. My Chicagoland Craft Collective friends wanted to know, so I'll say that the unhappy judgemental woman angrily baking pies is not my mom! I'm also not the young girl who ran away because her mother is more focused on her coke fueled affairs. However, the map she drew to her woodsy hideout is nearly accurate! I don't remember anyone's dad being an airline pilot but lots of people were traders at the commodities market. Our train station does look like the one in the show, but riders to our neighborhood would come out of a spooky underground tunnel which was covered in graffiti in the 1970's.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back to the Real World

We are back from our trip. It was lovely, although stormy mid-week. It never occurred to us that the storms were devastating to others in our region of the USA. We are emerging from our cocoon of isolation from all media sources to terrible news of flooding in the midwest. My uncle has lost his home to the flooding in Waterloo, Iowa and has applied for FEMA assistance. Our first clue that something big was going on was that the interstate was closed around Portage, Wisconsin due to flooding and we were trapped on the highway for about 4 hours while they rerouted the traffic in that area. I suppose you saw THIS VIDEO of Lake Delton near the Wisconsin Dells bursting it's banks. We often go to that area for getaway weekends with our children. Our home in northern Illinois is safe and dry, but we are keeping our extended family in Iowa in our prayers.

In regularly scheduled crafting news, my article about Clover Bias Tape Makers ran last week at Craft Critique. I used the opportunity to trim a tea towel with some of the jelly roll strips I received recently as a gift.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Wild Thing" Quilt Top

Quilt Top
As promised, here is my latest quilt top. I used the fabrics I purchased from the discount remnant bin at Hancock's of Paducah when we were in Paducah, Kentucky this winter. This top still needs it's multicolored print border, but I have to purchase new yardage for that. Since I cut way too many half square triangle units, I'm planning 2 versions of this one. This is the top for my mom who is redecorating her bedroom. She was going to order a quilt from a catalog and I told her I'd do a quilt for her if she purchased the lengthy yardages needed for borders, backing, and batting. My mom loves brightly colored batiks and had already approved of the saturated, large scale fabrics collection I'd gathered.

The pattern is called "Wild Thing" from the March/April 2007 issue of Quiltmaker.
This block summarizes the color palette. It's rich blues, warm pinks, and chartreuse which has a way of making other colors brighter and better:
Quilt Detail

Here are more blocks so you can see the ecclectic fabrics up close:
Quilt Detail Quilt Detail

Quilt Detail Quilt Detail Quilt Detail

I rejected some brown and olive toned fabrics, but they look pretty good together and will make a nice project for the fall. Some of these fabrics made the quilt above, but they fit with the browns too:

Fabrics with browns

I feel ready to tackle some traditional blocks now and tone things down again from bright, and carefree. Did you see Lily's tutorial on Flying Geese? Today she did a tute on the Dresden Plate.

Now I have 3 recently finished tops that need backs, batting and quilting.

Next week we are going on a weeklong getaway to Lake Superior. It promises to be chilly but gorgeous and we are very excited. I'd planned to bring some crochet projects, but I changed my mind and decided to take a break from crafting and computers so I can read, play games and skip rocks with my family. My neck needs a break too: too much hunkering over stitching for me lately.

The internet is undependable on our little isolated island cabin, so Susie Can Stitch is going on hiatus until after we get back in mid-June. Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley

I listened to several Bo Diddley performances on You Tube last night and the beat is still going in my head this morning. I don't know how those audience members inthe video can sit still to that hopping beat! Many years ago, my brother was going to make a mix tape with only songs with the Bo Diddly beat. I don't think he ever got to it. Mr. Diddley grew up in Chicago and I read yesterday that he was always skeptical of the music industry, "A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun."

My son keeps pestering us to take him to Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. I hope we can go sometime soon. He'll love it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Colorful Lace

Dyed Lace

So colorful! I used this tutorial.

Dyed LaceDyed Lace

I hung it on a shrub outside to drip dry. I hope to use this to make a birthday banner for my daughter. We've decided to have a crafty themed birthday party. It'll be much later in the summer when we are less busy. Last year we did a star theme, and the year before that, we did rainbows