Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sew Fun

Learning to sew is a big item on this year's school agenda.  I've blocked off two mornings a week, which means that even if I slack off we'll still accomplish something.

The girls and I are working through Stitch by Stitch (thanks, Elizabeth, for the inspiration!).  We started in September, creating a stitch sampler to see just what our old machine can do.

Next up  was another mini-project (not even at lesson one yet!):  machine appliqueing on a t-shirt.  Knowing the anxiety level/perfectionistic attitude of some members of the crew, I gave a pep talk about process vs. product, we're all learning together, etc. etc.  I also decided we would work on a sample together, using a discarded shirt, before making the ones that mattered.

After shopping trips to aquire t-shirts, fusible webbing, and iron-on stabilizer, we were ready to begin.  BTW, the shopping isn't easy for me.  I am so not in my element at the fabric store.  The folks there are helpful, but sometimes I'm so hazy about what I want/need that it's hard for them to answer my questions.  Anyway . . .

 Ta da!  What we thought would be a throw-away is now a night shirt!
Then it was on to the real appliques.  BTW, Deborah specifically recommended hearts so we could practice straight lines (we sewed them first), corner pivots, and curved lines.
The appliques are ironed onto the stablized t-shirts, then the edges are stitched to prevent unraveling.

Since then, we've completed lesson one (napkins) and bought our supplies for lesson two (a variation on a placemat with pockets).  More pictures to come . . .

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Summer's Gone

But not forgotten . . .
 Our early October harvest
We call it home ec      :-)
I've had trouble keeping my pesto beautifully green.  I've tried "Ever Fresh" and crushed vitamin C tablets, which only seem to work until the sauce contacts the hot pasta.

This summer I got a tip from my sister's friend:  briefly blanch the basil in boiling water (say that five times fast!), shock in ice water, and proceed.  I blanched our entire harvest, tossing handfuls into the 8 quart pot and scooping leaves out with a strainer before depositing them in a sink full of ice water.  Dried in the salad spinner, the basil remained a gorgeous green (see above). 

An added bonus:  much more wilted basil fits in my food processor at once.  (I measured the leaves before blanching.)  I was able to make a 6 X batch instead of the usual double.  A quicker way to get a dozen bags of summer into the deep freeze!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In This Storm

My life has been challenging lately, with some distressing situations taking up mental, emotional, and spiritual energy.  As much as I enjoy my blog,  posts take some focus-time, and I have been too preoccupied to concentrate.

One issue recently resolved, at least enough to move on, leaving it on a back burner.  Another is still up and down; I don't know when peace will come.

A few songs bring me comfort, including this one by Casting Crowns.  An excerpt:

I was sure by now
God, you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, "Amen," and it's still raining
And as the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
. . .
Every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side

Listen to it all: