Instapot Inspirations Episode #63

While quilting and crafting are our top priorities when it comes to our hobbies, we’re human and we have to stop cutting fabric at some point and eat! This is where our new found love of the Instant Pot has come in handy. Check out our latest episode where we chit chat about our recent cooking successes!

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I’ve already shared some of my success with the InstaPot (really, we know it’s Instant Pot but we love to nickname things!) on my Meal Prep Monday post not long ago. Together, Dori and I talk about our interests in learning and doing more with our magical opt of foodie goodness.

#quiltnon2017 was a blast and we even WON SOMETHING! How cool is that! Check out the hashtag on Instagram so see all the great posts from this weekend’s stay-at-home party while all the Quilt Con-goers got to party it up live in Savannah.

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UH OH!! There are a few finishes in da’ house!!! Dori wrapped up grand baby #2’s quilt and even a little fuzzy-love for it to cuddle some day. That post will being coming to Hobbies Up To Here soon!

coffee chat

  • A shout out to a new follower/listener: Nat Alee (@natalee4444). Thanks for the love and sharing our fun little podcast!
  • Alida gave us some great insight into how to talk to a designer about a problem with a pattern, our last podcast topic. It was super helpful to here what she had to share!
  • G of @blingnailsbyg shared our little podcast with some of her Instagram followers! Thanks for the love, G! xoxo

Thanks again to all our listeners and friends. We feel blessed to be apart of such a wonderful, crafty community that’s supportive and loving. We hope you continue to enjoy our little chats and that you feel like we’re sitting with you, laughing and sharing with you 🙂

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Growing Up QAL Block 2 

I recently discovered that I had a plethora of red, white, and/or black fabric stuffed everywhere about my craft room. I found them while looking for a scrap to cut up for a block. I was stunned that I had so much within that color combo!

What can I say? I’m addicted to reds!

But this works to my benefit because I’ve decided to use them for my Growing Up QAL blocks. This way I stick to my crafting resolution to not buy any new fabric.

For our February block, we had two choices: Birds in the Air or a Lady of the Lake and while both were cool, I went with the Lady of the Lake for more practice with half square triangles (HST).

I was pretty proud of myself because I did all the cutting from the start. I cut and pressed everything right off the bat so that I could work step by step instead of my usual way. Usually I’d cut a color at a time and then work at a square at a time. But not this time…

I was in it for the night so I set up my favorite binge watching show. I’m currently working through Friends from the beginning. It’s not a first time through but it’s one of my favorite shows to watch while I’m sewing.

I did it all in one sitting and it came together pretty easily. I made a few mistakes and sewed right sides to wrong sides on some of the smaller squares. Looking at it in person I felt like some of the corner squares were a bit off but in this picture it doesn’t seem so off.

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Problems With Patterns Episode #62

We all know that feeling. Reading a pattern and it’s going along fine until you hit a snag. Suddenly, it’s like the instructions are written in a different language, one you don’t understand.

Well, we asked our fellow quilter’s and listeners what their go-to solutions were when facing a problem with a pattern and today we share those thoughts and comments! So tune in and maybe you’ll learn something new along with us!

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And to celebrate our friends all going to Quilt Con this week, there is a Quilt Non 2017 Instagram hop happening. Last year we had the chance to go to our first Quilt Con and it was amazing!!! So even though we aren’t there in body, we are there in spirit.

Happy Birthday to G and Sherri, some of our wonderful quilty friends we met at Quilt Con last year.

If you want to see any of the original comments from our friends and followers about the topic today, feel free to check out our Instagram feed and our Facebook page with the links below.

And if you are interested in a very details tutorial on binding your finished quilt, check out the Fat Quarter Shop video below that Dori really got a lot out of!

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Meal Prep Monday: Instant Pot Magic

Instant pots cropped up in my world around Christmas time. Many friends were gifted the magical pot that cooked instantly and can cook just about everything.

Having a kitchen full of items, I wasn’t really jumping at the idea of adding another one to my arsenal. While all the food cooked in it looked great and seemed like this incredible, too good to be true item, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one.

Luckily for me, my mom has one. She’s had it for a while now. Except she always referred to it as her pressure cooker. She even suggested it give it a go at some point because she felt that I would like it.

As my media feeds were food with pictures and posts of this cooking revolution, I asked my mom if her cooker was the same and she told me that yes, the one she had been using for some time is the same one that everyone was in love with now.

So, I borrowed it. And this weekend I made a few meals to help me make it through the week with healthy options.

Our first attempt was simple. Steaming some green beans coated in a little oil and salt and pepper.

These didn’t last long once they came out because my husband started eating them like candy. So I’d say they were a success.

My next recipe was a whole meal with honey teriyaki chicken and carrots. I got to use the sauté function and brown the chicken then pressure cooked the whole thing together. It came out great! So good that AGAIN I had to hide it from my husband. Within minutes of it being out of the cooker (while I was making the sauce thicken up a bit) he had devoured a whole chicken breast.

See?! I’m not lying. He totally nommed on a whole breast while I was busy stirring.

My last effort to play with the instant pot was cooking a whole spaghetti squash.  Now I’ve never had a spaghetti squash before but I’ve aways heard great things about it working well as a low calorie option for pasta.

Initially it took 15 minutes to soften but it didn’t feel completely cooked through so I put it back in for another 5 minutes. After that second round it was perfect. I carefully took it out and cut it open to pull apart the meat.

For lunch I made a spaghetti squash, green bean, and chicken sausage bowl and it was good. Not great, but good. I’d have to say that the spaghetti squash was definitely something I’ll have to get used to but it’s nice to have some different options for healthy eating.

So far my first foray into the instant pot has been successful. I’m fascinated by the process and I think my husband is too. He’s been very hands on with helping me cook and test out new recipes, although his favorite job in my kitchen is taste testing. I can’t wait to try it again, maybe with a meat sauce to go with my spaghetti squash.

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When Good Crafts Go Bad Episode #61

Sometimes crafts go well. And sometimes…sometimes…the crafts go bad!

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We both had some pretty frustrating moments with some of our hobbies and crafts this week. Between my mom’s fabric just not piecing together properly and my cake falling apart before I could decorate it, we seemed to have the universe against us!

But we’ve learned a lot in all the years of crafting we have behind us. Neither of us gave up but instead worked through the issues and continued to complete our projects.

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Comeback Quilters Episode #60

We’ve had a rocky start to the year but we’re finally back and ready to podcast!

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2017 has started off with quite a bang! With two new babies joining the clan and now a new sister-in-law to add to the bunch, we’ve been busy planning showers and weddings and gatherings. Very little quilting has been happening but we’ve managed to sneak a few crafty things in here or there.

I’m participating in Alida’s Growing Up QAL and I’ve finished the first month’s block. I also attempted (poorly I might add) an Instagram fitness and QAL called the Sweat and Sew.

Dori has been cranking out baby blankets left and right to prepare for the new grandbabies about to make their appearances in a few months. Her knitted blanket is done and she’s moved on to a cute whale quilt. Pictures are on Instagram!

We went to our first guild meeting! We got to see a wonderful presentation by Thom Atkins (not Atkinson) and we enjoyed our first meeting so much we’re planning on going to this month’s!

Dori enjoyed her 2nd trip to Road to California, even with it’s bumps and issues. Even with the rain and her cold, she came home with some wonderful items from Carol’s Zoo and Golden Thread Silks.

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A few shout outs to our friends around the web.

  • To all those going to Quilt Con this month! We are anxiously awaiting your pictures and posts of your experiences so we can live vicariously through you!
  • Thanks Kati for the book recommendation you left us on Episode #56.
  • Congrats to Francis and all the other quilter’s who have a quilt being displayed in Quilt Con this year!

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Growing Up QAL Block 1

This year for 2017 I’ve join a QAL (quilt along) or two from around the web. Now, my past experience with QAL’s has not been so great. I tend to lose interest or get so busy that I fall behind easily or I find myself in a QAL  and learn that I’m not interested in the type of blocks being made and thusly drop out.

This would be my reasoning for leaving behind the Splendid Sampler QAL. I learned through that one that I’m not fond of small blocks. Too fussy for me. And it makes sense, I’m not a fan of  patterns and following direct instructions so not only doing what I already don’t like PLUS making super tiny squares wore thin quickly.

But I’m not a complete quitter. I do intend on making it through a QAL at some point so I joined up with Alida from Alida (TweLoQ) Designs for her Growing Up QAL. Now these blocks are MUCH bigger (12 inches, yes!) and there is only one a month which is more manageable for me (at least I thought so). And I’ve already completed the first block which was an appliqué rose or heart.

My goal this year is to dive into my stash and only work with fabric I have on hand. I’m trying NOT to buy anything new. I had made a block the night before in some red/white/black combo that I love so I decided to stick with this. Because both QALs are the same sized finished blocks, maybe I can piece them altogether in the end and make a big sampler for me.
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So I went with a tiny red pattern and a cream background. The appliqué kind of intimidated me because I instantly saw the cuts and corners and felt that strain of “Ugh, too fussy”. But it was beautiful so I cut it out and pressed it on. I chose to machine stitch it down with a dark crimson Aurifil thread that matched the small crimson pattern on the flower.

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It was a bit stressful managing those corners and as long as you don’t stare too closely, you don’t notice when I went off roading a few times (just a few).

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It’s now complete and hanging out on my design wall with my other blocks.

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But I do have quite the mess to clean up. I can never do anything simply. I alway shave to get in there and just Tasmanian devil the place.

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And thankfully I had some gift cards because I didn’t have any fusible webbing to trace and iron on my design. With our weekends being so busy I had no time to pop out and grab what I needed till this weekend when we had no weddings, baby showers, or soccer games.

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A New Year For New Things

Every year the same thing happens. I get the bug to start fresh. Try new things. Jump back into old projects that I promise I’ll actually work on and finish “this time”.

This year was no different than last year. Last year I went head first into hexies and paper piecing. I wanted to improve my skills and step outside of my comfort zone. Again, I’ve got that need to take on something new.

So why not attempt some 3D sewing? I’ve had a kit laying around my sewing room for over a year, a kit I picked up during the 2015 Quilter’s Run. It’s been moved around and misplaced a few times but I finally dug it out to give it a go.

It came with everything I needed. From the fabric to the matching zipper and instructions. And the only things I had never really done was the zipper and the lining. But the instructions seemed clear so I jumped into my new project with confidence.

Ah, starch, my best friend. I really like to use starch when I want my seams and lines to be as straight as possible.

The first step in the process was to create two patchwork panels, one for the outside and one for the lining. Once done, I had my husband help me pick which would look best for the outside. Then I had to muddle my way through the lining as I had never used the heated webbing for the lining. After a bit of googling I found some instructions and was able to bond the webbing to the lining.

Then came time for the sewing of the zipper. I’ve NEVER attached a zipper before. NEVER. Hell, I didn’t even know I had zipper foot to play with. And this point in the instructions was a little hard to understand. Once I played around with it, even opened and closed a few baggies I had laying around for a better visual, I was ready to sew.

And ta-da! A cute little baggie that I made all by myself! And it turned out to be super easy! I could have easily made this first one in under an hour but I took a moment away before I came back to finish it up.

The zipper was easy and came out looking so nice. I did have a seam that didn’t sew together cleanly and some of the lining was peeking out of a hole in the seam so I went in, ripped out a small portion, and worked it back together to grab that hole and close it up.

And as I mentioned, there was talk of a ribbon to be attached as a handle but I didn’t have one in my kit. I could have made my own but I just decided to focus on finishing.

After figuring out the instructions (which got a little tricky at one point) and making my way through this baggie easily, I can see how they are SO addicting! I could seriously sit and make a few in a row as gifts. I’m happy to have taken a chance and tried something new.

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2017 WIP List 

A big part of a quilter’s life is half-done projects, partially started quilts, and almost completed gifts. What can I say, it’s a BIG part of our culture.

It could be that new fabrics and patterns are coming out all the time and something new will catch our eye and we feel it call to us. Or may we can get a little bored with our current WIPs and just feel the need to start fresh, something different.

This year, after watching The Minimalist with my husband, I got the itch to pull out all my WIP and UFO quilts and make it a point to wrap them up. To keep myself accountable to this goal of mine, I’m listing these quilts here and I plan to revisit the list each month.

#1: The Friendship Quilt (for my husband)

This quilt goes WAY back. Like summer of 2015 WAY BACK. The kit was a gift to me from my parents. When I pulled it out and started cutting it, my husband liked the look of the batik fabrics and the earth colors. So I deemed it to be his.

I finished the top and bought the batting and backing for 25% from my local quilt shop, The Orange Quilt Bee. Then I decided to go with a free motion wood grain pattern for the quilting. That seemed like an awesome idea in the beginning and so far it’s looking beautiful but I ran into a few issues. Firstly, it’s going to take me FOREVER to quilt the full sized quilt on my own. I’m wishing now I would have picked a simpler pattern or sent it out to be done.

Then I found a fold in the backing that was too big to leave alone. I mean I could have just kept going but I wouldn’t have been happy leaving such a glaring mistake. So this quilt lingered for a LONG time just sitting there while I avoided the task of taking out the stitches to fix it. Finally, over winter break, I finally got around to fixing the problem and I’m ready to start quilting again.

This quilt is the furthest along in the process of getting finished.

#2: My CIRCA Quilt

I don’t know many quilters that quilt for themselves. So many of our projects are for others and we are often left to say goodbye to many of our beautiful finishes. Not this one…

This one is for me!

I love this CIRCA kit and I fell even more in love with it when I framed it in cream and black borders. It’s also been a long time in progress, another 2015 start. The top has been long done but I really stalled on the backing. I needed to sew together two red pieces and then frame them in the same black as the top. But, for some reason I just couldn’t get myself motivated to do any of that.

Again, over the winter break, I got the itch to start wrapping these projects up so I pulled this top out and finished piecing together the back. All I need now is my batting and to baste it together. The quilting on this will be simple, just simple squares and straight lines. Maybe even a little stitch in the ditch.

With the Friendship quilt being so complex, I’m happy to keep this quilting simple. and straight forward.

#3 Marvel Quilt (for Jake)

Oh man, this is a definite UFO. This project is for Jake and was started a long, long time ago. It’s going on 3 years now and it’s started and stopped me so many times. First, everything needed to be cut. There were NO pre-cuts for me to work with so I was stuck cutting everything myself.

Then, I decided to do my own block. Yeah, this decision is really holding me back because of the process of piecing together isn’t smooth and it’s time consuming. Had I gone with a block that had a pattern already created I may have moved faster to complete them but as it stands, I’m still making the blocks and I may soon run out of my sashing material. Yikes…

I have two rows completed and on my design wall but I have six more to go. I’m aiming for eight rows of six blocks, giving me a full sized quilt for my growing boy.

#4: Puzzle Box Quilt

Over the span of 2015, we made a lot of new friendships both online and off line. We also connected with other quilts that we happily learned from and shared with. In that time, we got to know Christa Watson, both as a friend and a fellow quilter. She puts out some amazing tutorials and information for quilting at home and I decided to join her website. In doing so I received a free pattern.

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Seeing the pattern and knowing that I had a jelly roll made for this pattern, I starting cutting for it. It’s a project that stays at my mom’s house so it rarely see the light of day. But it definitely needs to be put on this list so that it gets some much needed attention. I’m still cutting away at it and this year I plan to get further along!

Four projects, all at different points of finish. I’m quilting, basting, piecing, and cutting my little heart out with the intention of finishing some or all of these projects this year.

What are YOUR 2017 WIPs or UFOs?

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Dream Design Wall

Around Thanksgiving, I got the bug to get my craft room in shape. For a while it had been no more than a storage space after we moved in. Any furniture we didn’t want to get rid of and any special paperwork that needed to be sorted was shoved into my crafting room. Nothing was done with any of it and the piles kept rising so I slowly closed my door and forgot that the original intent of that space was to give me some creative space.

Well, I was feeling the need to sew again and I knew I wanted to make my space functional for not only when I wanted to sew but also when I had a friend or two over to sew with.

After cleaning up and getting the space ready, I knew what I wanted next: a design wall! And I had the space for it. One of my walls was completely free of doorways or windowsills and I knew with the right pieces I could pull together a rather inexpensive space to put up my blocks and quilted pieces.

Before heading to Home Depot, I did a little research and decided to follow this tutorial from SewCanShe. Seeing how easily one could be put together, I was pumped and ready to go.

And so were my guys. At Home Depot we spent around $15 for two panels of 4ft x 8ft insulation. I wasn’t looking to make a beautiful design wall, just a functioning one that did what I needed it to do.

Then I headed to Joann’s and bought some fleece on sale for 50% off. This is where I made a mistake. Most tutorials for making a design wall suggests buying fleece or flannel with the width of 108″. As I went in, armed with my 50% coupon, I headed to the wall of fleece bolts and picked a light buttery yellow fabric. My craft room is small and anything TOO dark would have made it feel cramped so I wanted to keep it light.

But in my haste to run home and get started on piecing it together, I accidentally bought the 45″ wide fabric and only cut a single 3.5 long piece. Proud of my decision and my ability to pull everything together quickly, I headed home and set to work.

Laying the boards on the ground in my living room, I lightly sprayed some 3M adhesive and wrapped the boards tightly in the soft buttery yellow fabric. Once the adhesive took hold, I went back over it and used a stapler to really hold it down. As I moved down the first board, I started to panic a bit. If I was seeing things correctly, I would run out of fabric once I wrapped the first board and trimmed the excess off. OH DAMN!

Yeah, I had bought the wrong width of fabric which meant, even with my coupon and the sales at Joann’s, I had to purchase my fabric TWICE. In the end I was spending twice as much as I needed to had I bought to correct sized fabric in the first place. BLAH!

After finishing the first panel, we nailed it into the wall. The height of of the panel is 8ft which fit perfectly and gave me a completely covered wall from ceiling to floor. We don’t have any molding at the top but we did have some baseboards to work around. Instead of cutting the insulation boards, we just affixed them above the baseboards and left them intact. There is a bit of lift along the baseboards but you don’t really notice that at all.

After my second trip to Joann’s, I wrapped the last panel and then attached it to the wall in the same manner. I noticed once I had them up and side-by-side that I didn’t pull the fabric as taut on the second panel which bugs me but not enough to pull them down and fix it. And had I gone darker with the fabric, it would have nicely covered the decals on the panels, another thing that bugs me but not enough to take them down and fix the problem.

In the end, all the little bugs and pet peeves don’t matter much because I know have a completely covered wall that allows me to put up my WIPs and UFOs. No longer will projects languish in my drawers, out of sight and out of mind.

While I sew, I can see it looking back at me, reminding me to keep working. It allows me to play with my colors and fabrics, placing them and then removing them based on my needs and my creative whims.

And being such a visual personal, this is a great tool that will help me see my projects before I sit down to make them.

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