Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sew in shape

November 17th 2013

As you might have heard me say here, old Jenny was having some hot flashes when I did any free motion quilting.  I thought maybe she needed a little TLC, a tune up, some oiling, something that would make her feel “younger.”


The local sewing machine repair shop quoted me $59 for a tune up for the sewing machine.

You tube had a 5 part sewing machine tutorial for free. Her machine is more modern and plastic, you may find that tutorial to be just what you need since I am tuning my vintage Kenmore.

A sewing machine maintenance kit at Walmart was $8.97.

maintenance kti

So I decided to save some money and do it myself!  I put a plastic garbage bag on the service to catch anything that would come out of the machine while cleaning it out.

First,  take off all the covers, depending on your machine.  Use the screwdrivers to remove the screws that hold down any of the covers.  DO NOT TAKE OFF THAT FRONT PLATE WITH THE KNOBS!!!  I made that mistake and these buttons became unattached from their “motor” connections and my personal mechanics (husband and dad) were able to fix that, thankfully!

front plate

I used an air can and brush to get all the lint out of her.

needle plate


Because my machine is 40+ years old her bottom is exposed. She used to be attached by hinges to her cabinet.  I use rubber drawer liners to keep her from sliding around in the new cabinet I bought for her a few years ago.

drawer liner

Make sure you look for stray threads laced around her parts. I found all this thread tied around the fly wheel.

flywheel thread

Once I cleaned out all the lint and dust and stray threads, I oiled wherever metal touched metal. Then I looked in the manual and it tells you exactly where to oil it. oiling

After the first drop of oil, I could feel the ease by turning the fly wheel. Jenny was feeling much better!

liner oil drip

Once I was finished, I cut some new rubber drawer liners to match the surface where she sits.

air cabinet This Arrow cabinet is air powered and a cinch to work by just pressing it down it springs up or down. When I bought it from Sears more than 10 years ago, it was only $89. Now it’s more than $500!!   It’s a very simple cabinet, I don’t see the justification for such a price hike! I just wish I would have gotten it in white, as the little voice in my head suggested.


So Jenny rested in her cabinet a couple of days to let the excess oil drip out. Then I did lots of practice sewing fast and slow on some batting to soak up anything dripping down into the needle. So she is ready to quilt some more and I saved $50!

Holiday Extravaganza: Photo Card Keepsake

November 17th 2013

Never mind about Black Friday, how about Let’s Craft Friday!  I made these great little recycled tags and ornaments that also fits into my “There’s a craft for that” series.

photo jar lids gift tags

The complete tutorial is over at RUKRISTIN‘s blog but you can’t see it until after Thanksgiving!!  That’s when she’s hosting the

I am so excited to be a guest blogger over there, thanks Kristin!! (even if it’s only for an hour.) Every hour or so great bloggers, and crafters and artists (oh my!) will be featured on her blog sharing some fantastic craft ideas, techniques and tutorials for the holidays which are fast approaching.  So grab your eggnog and your mouse and click on over there and see what all the fun is about and get YOUR CRAFT ON!!  Look out for my post and leave a comment to say hi, okay? It’ll be great to know when came for a visit! Thanks!


Friday Night Block Party: Box

November 15th 2013

Welcome to another Friday Night Party!

 pinwheel block party

We are quilting through the blocks of the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along and this week the block I am showing is out of order because I had Christmas on the brain! Sorry!


photo from

This block is called the Box, but it looks more like the windmill, or pin wheel-y type of block.

FWQA book block 9

I really liked combining different scraps from the pile that I had used for different projects, there are so many possible combinations, it’s great playing with them all!

FWQA BOX block #9

This is from “We ain’t no farmer’s wife but quilt like one”

Jennifer Worthen

Thanks to our sponsors!  This month the giveaway is 2 charm packs from Fat Quarter Shop.

quilt taffy

lordellinens etsy

thimble blossoms

FQ shop


Holiday Extravaganza: Get your craft on!

November 10th 2013

Hey readers,  I just wanted to give you the heads up of what’s happening the day after Thanksgiving. NO!! It’s not Black Friday, it’s the


I am so excited to be participating in this bash!!  You’ll want to be sure and hop on over there. Every hour a new crafter/blogger will be sharing their, tips, techniques and tutorials on tons of crafty ideas!  Please say you’ll join us. You won’t be sorry, there will be games and giveaways, eggnog and caroling, (okay those last two are my idea) but I promise you’ll meet some super creative people and


In honor of the cat that came with the house

November 7th 2013

A Kitty Tote

Kitty Tote

This is Katie was the first to welcome us when we first came to the open house event here with the Realtor.  She was here when we closed and when we fixed up the place and when we moved in a few years ago now.


She just sat out front, looking a little lost I must add, and wondering “where have all the people gone?”  While we like animals and respect them, we are sneezy, sniffly, itchy people when it comes to dogs and cats.  We thought she would leave if we did not feed her but my dad gave her french fries.  We later learned that she had kittens and that’s why she had stayed. On Mother’s day we started feeding Katie because it was the kind thing to do.


In July, Katie had ktttens again. This time, she brought all five of them to our front door. Long story short some of the kittens disappeared and one died,  two of those are in the picture above.  And here is Katie with her little family that Summer. (Everyone got fixed of course!)


It has been so fun seeing them grow up.


They each have their own personality.  Sugarplum is the friendliest and least shy, she is a curious kitty.

Sugarplum window

These cats are Manx. They don’t have full tails, they are born with a nub or partial tail. The dad’s tail was exactly half of a tail. Katie the mom is the only one with a full tail, and one of the kittens that disappeared.

Sugar booger

Dexter who has no tail, is the laziest and only male and there is also Apple who entered the scene later.  This is my take on it.  Since apple looks just like our cats, her mom who is gray and related to our Katie, “brought” her over so we could “adopt” her kitty.  She came every afternoon to make sure her baby was ok, until she was “accepted” by our cats. TRUE STORY!


 Well, my daughter is tickled pink to have her own pets, since her cousin is a dog lover, she’s the cat lover. And I am always make “dog” things for my niece. It’s about  time I made a cat craft for my daughter.  So here is more on the Kitty Tote! She thinks being last is a bad thing but my skills have improved so much! Look how my seams on the band match!

kitty tote seams

I added my label and magnetic snaps.

Kitty tote label and snap

I alternated the black triangles on the back and front so the lettering would be right side up.

(It’s the teacher in me!)

kitty tote front

I like how the lining and outside have great contrast!

Kitty Tote closed

I was especially proud of my squared corners on the bottom!

Kitty tote base

I combined two pattern ideas/techniques from Quilts and More Magazine and did it with my own measurements and features. Once I figure out how to “PDF” an EQ7 pattern,  I’ll have patterns for sale!

french seam

This is a french seam so there are no raw edges. This is how you do that: With WRONG sides together sew 1/4 inch seam to close the sides of the bag, then trim to 1/8 inch. Turn bag inside out, (I like to squeeze the seam to get a close stitch) and sew a 1/4 inch seam on the sides to cover the raw seams. It sounds weird but when you do it you’ll see it’s a piece of cake! This is my favorite technique to make sure the insides of bags are “clean” when I want them quilted.

kitty tote with dolls

Here is a size reference, these are 18 inch dolls and I have to include my daughter’s  rendition of Sugarplum, that cat that kisses her back!